Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Bush cuts in African aide impede war on terror, officials say.

Many in military upset; China gains influence in the area

By: Mark Mazzetti
New York Times
July 23, 2006

Washington---The Bush administration and Congress have slashed millions of dollars of military aid to African nations in recent years, moves that Pentagon officials and senior military commanders say have undermined U.S. efforts to combat terrorist threats in Africa and to counter expanding Chinese influence there.

Since 2003, Washington has shut down the Pentagon programs to train and equip militaries in a handful of African nations because they have declined to sign agreements exempting U.S. troops from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

But the policy, which was designed to protect U.S. troops, has instead angered senior military officials, who say the cuts in military aid are shortsighted and have weakened counterterrorism efforts in places where the threat of international terrorism is said to be most acute.

Some cite as a case where the unintended consequences of the go-it-alone approach to foreign policy that Washington took after the Sept. 11 attacks affected the larger U.S. efforts to combat terrorism.

Last year, the United States cut off $13 million for training and equipping troops in Kenya, where al Qaeda operatives killed 224 people when they bombed the U.S. Embassy compound in Nairobi in 1998.

In 2003, the flow of $309,000 annually was suspended to Mali, where Pentagon officials contend an Algerian seperatist group with ties to al Qaeda---known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC---has established a base. Money has also been cut for Tanzania, Niger and several other African nations.

Citing Kenya as an example, Pentagon officials say it makes little sense to ask for Kenya's support in fighting terrorism while denying it the money it needs for training and equipping troops.

"Kenya is a key partner in our counterterrorism strategy and our goals in Africa," a Pentagon official who works on Africa strategy said. "This hurts us, there's no question about it."

Some military officials also contend that the aid cuts have given China an upper hand in what they describe as a kind of modern "Great Game," referring to the 19th century rivalry in Central Asia between the British and the Russians.

Specifically, the officials cite the millions of dollars the Chinese government has spent on infrastructure projects and military training in Africa to help secure contracts for such natural resources as oil, timber and metals.

China has substantially expanded its presence in Africa in recent years. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, China's trade with Africa doubled to $18.5 billion between 2002 and 2003, and the figure exceeded $32 billion in November 2005. China has overtaken Britain to become the continent's third most important trading partner.

But it is the impact on counterterrorism efforts in Africa that most alarms military officials.

The situation in Mali is of great concern because the Salafist group is believed to have established o foothold in that desolate country's northern region. A recent State Department report said Mali's northern territories had tuned into a "safe haven" for the group's fighters.

The Salafist group's ability to attack the Algerian government is believed to have diminished in recent years, but intelligence officials are now concerned that the group is expanding its ties to al Qaeda and other groups, and has used networks in the Middle East to send fighters into Iraq.

"Mali doesn't have any power production capabilities, and its military can't extend any power up into the north," said a U.S. official, who recently made a fact-finding trip to the Sahara. "The terrorist organizations can run around up there because the army can't get to them."

In March, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said blocking military assistance to nations seeking to combat terrorism was "sort of the same as shooting ourselves in the foot," and the Pentagon's recent Quadrennial Defense Review calls for the government to consider seperating military funding from the 2002 law.

Congress is also considering a bill to repeal some of these measures. But the policy still has advocates in Washington, especially in the White House.


As George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice huddle with representatives of old-line Arab regimes and as Israel continues pounding targets in Lebanon, it is becoming increasingly clear why al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden wanted Bush to gain a second term as U.S. president.

On Oct. 29, 2004, just four days before the U.S. election, bin-Laden took the risk of breaking nearly a year of silence to release a videotape denouncing Bush. The CIA quickly reached a classified conclusion that bin-Laden knew that his anti-Bush tirade would spur more American voters to back Bush for another four years in office.

CIA analysts recognized that bin-Laden saw Bush's policies---such as the Guantanamo prison camp, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Iraq War---as playing into al-Qaeda's hands by creating a new generation of Islamic jihadists and undermining pro-U.S. Arab governments.

"Certainly," CIA deputy associate director for intelligence Jami Miscik told a senior meeting of CIA analysts, "he [bin-Laden] would want Bush to keep doing what he's doing for a few more years," according to Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine.

As the CIA analysts reviewed this internal assessment, they grew troubled by its implications. "An ocean of hard truths before them---such as what did it say about U.S. policies that bin-Laden would want Bush reelected---remained untouched," Suskind wrote.

Meanwhile, in the hours after the Osama videotape was released, pro-Bush pundits fell into the trap by defining bin-Laden's rant as an endorsement for John Kerry. Heading into the election, Bush's support jumped six percentage points in one poll.

Popular Rage

Today, bin-Laden's strategy makes even more sense. Bush's violent policies for reshaping the Middle East are spreading popular rage as the death toll mounts in Lebanon from Israeli air strikes against Hezbollah guerrilla strongholds and as Palestinians continue to die for Israel's crackdown in Gaza, following raids that captured three Israeli soldiers.

Just as Bush and his advisers see the carbage as "birth pangs of a new Middle East"---in the words of Condoleeza Rice---so bin-Laden perceives the same violence as crucial for his own vision of a "new Middle East," by isolating the dwindling numbers of pro-Bush leaders in the Arab world from the "Arab street."

Compounding this Arab political problem, the Bush administration has even boasted of the anti-Hezbollah positions taken by the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan---exposing those autocratic leaders to furious criticism from their citizens.

This dilemna seems to have contributed to a surprising development on July 23 after Bush invited some of his more reliable friends from the Saudi monarchy to a strategy session at the White House.

However, instead of simply endorsing Bush's hard-line support for Israel's Lebanese offensive, Saudi Foreign Prince Saud al-Faisal delivered a letter from Saudi King Abduallah beseeching Bush to pressure Israel to stop its attack inside Lebanon that have killed nearly 400 people, mostly civilians.

"We requested a cease-fire to allow for a cessation of hostilities," the Saudi foreign minister told reporters after the meeting. "I have brought a letter from the Saudi king to stop the bleeding in Lebanon."

White House officials said Bush rebuffed the king's appeal and remained adamantly opposed to the idea of pressuring Israel into a cease-fire. Though the Saudis and other Sunni governments see a threat from the rising influence of Shiite-ruled Iran, which backs Hezbollah, they also are worried about being viewed by their own populations as Bush's puppets.

"Bandar Bush'

Underscoring Bush's predicament---appealing for help from old friends who find their pro-U.S. positions more and more troublesome back home---the rocky White House meeting even included the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who is bow the secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council.

Over the past quarter century, the cigar-smoking Bandar has lent a hand to Republican administrations from the Iran-Contra Affair in the 1980s to the response to the 9/11 attacks, which involved 14 Saudi hijackers working for bin-Laden, the scion of another prominent Saudi family.

In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, Bandar met with Bush and helped arrange an airlift of well-connected Saudis, including members of the bin-Laden family, out of the United States. Bandar has been such an intimate of the Bush family that he earnd the nickname "Bandar Bush."

Yet not even "Bandar Bush" could keep the Saudi king from sending a letter that suggests a rift in the historic alliance between Riyadh and Washington.

While Bush's latest strategy was to use the Saudis to pressure Syria into splitting from Iran as well as abandoning the Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, the image of Saudi royals arriving for meetings with Bush also was perfect for bin-Laden's goal of radicalizing th Arab masses.

Bin-Laden has long targeted the Saudi royals because of their strategic support for the United States in the Middle East. But the Saudi princes now find themselves in a tight spot because even their favored Islamic clerics have denounced the intensity of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sadais, the senior Saudi imam, delivered a sermon from Islam's holiest site in Mecca on July 21 praising the bravery of the Palestinians and Lebanese in their confrontation with Israel and urging Muslim leaders to "unify their ranks."

In a swipe at Bush and his administration's lectures about freedom and democracy, Rahman asked, "Don't they fear that history will condemn them for their double standards?" [NYT, July 22, 2006]

Other Islamic clerics were even blunter in their criticism of pro-U.S. Arab leaders.

"Where are the Arab leaders?" demanded Sheik Hazzaa al-Maswari, an Islamist politicain in Yemen. "Do they have any skill other than begging for a fake peace outside the White House? We don't want leaders who bow to the White House."

Mohamed al-Habash, a cleric who serves in the Syrian parliament, said the United States---in letting Israeli warplanes slaughter Lebanese women and children---was helping extremists attract young Muslims to terrorism.

"The United States is creating more Zarqawis, more bin-Ladens in the Mideast every day," Habash said. [NYT, July 22, 2006]

So, bin-Laden may well have been executing a clever stratagem when he released his "October Surprise" video in 2004. At the time, even Bush recognized the odd fact that bin-Laden's video was a boon to his campaign.

"I thought it was going to help," Bush said in a post-election interview with Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon. "I thought it would help remind people that if bin-Laden doesn't want Bush to be the President, something must be right with Bush."

As Bush suggested, many undecided voters apparently did take bin-Laden's words at face value and assumed that bin-Laden really wanted Bush defeated. In secret, the CIA had reached the opposite conclusion, that bin-Laden had reached the opposite conclusion, that bin-Laden was playing a double game, pretending to want Bush out when he really wanted Bush to stay in.

With the Middle East descending into bloody chaos---and the radical Islamists exploiting the anger of the Arab masses---bin-Laden appears to be winning on his bet that Bush's war-like strategies would indeed create a "new Middle East," though not the kind the United States had once envisioned.

Consortium News
By: Robert Parry
July 24, 2006


(CBS) Americans generally approve of President Bush's handling of the current Mideast crisis, according to CBS News/New York poll, but 6 in 10 say the president is not respected by foreign leaders.

The poll finds Americans are pessimistic about the prospects for Mideast peace and do not think the United States should involve itself in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

More than 60 percent think the conflict will lead to a larger war in the region, and a similar number doubt Israel and the Arab states will ever be able to live in peace.

Just 32 percent said U.S. troops should be sent to the Mideast as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force, although 60 percent favor such a force.

More Americans (47 percent) say they approve of how Mr. Bush has handled the conflict so far than disapprove (27 percent), but one in four said it's too early to form an opinion.

Mr. Bush's overall approval rating remains low---and in an additional diplomatic concern, most Americans (60 percent) now think he is not respected by foreign leaders.

That number is down significantly since just before the Iraq war began in 2003, when about half of Americans thought Mr. Bush was respected around the world.

Slightly more than half of Americans said they believe Mr. Bush respects foreign leaders, a number that's also down from 2003.

Most Americans do not think the United States should step up its diplomatic efforts in the latest Mideast crisis. Fifty-eight percent said solving conflicts between Israel and Mideast nations is not America's responsibility, while 33 percent said it is.

By 59 percent to 31 percent, Americans said the United Nations and other countries, rather than the United States, should take the lead in solving international crises.

Pessimism about the Mideast extends to U.S. efforts in Iraq. Just 27 percent of Americans---the lowest number to date---now believe the United States is winning the war, compared with 13 percent who say the Iraqi resistance is winning and 58 percent who call it a stalemate.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans said the war was going badly, including 27 percent who said it's going very badly.

While a majority of Americans, 58 percent, still believe success in Iraq is at least somewhat likely, 53 percent think Iraq will never become a stable democracy, up 10 points from last month.

Forty-one percent said the U.S. presence in Iraq is making the region less stable, nearly double the number in March. Twenty-five percent said the U.S. presence in Iraq was making the region more stable.

Sixty-nine percent also said the U.S. presence in Iraq is hindering U.S. diplomatic efforts elsewhere in the Mideast. Nearly three in four said the war in Iraq has worsened America's image in the world.

Blame for the current Mideast crisis was split, with about half of those polled saying Israel's response in the conflict was about right, and a similar number saying both Israel and Hezbollah were at fault.

A seperate CBS News/New York Times poll on Congress and the 2006 election found continued low approval ratings for lawmakers and the president translating into a Democratic lead in the midterm voting this fall.

If the midterm elections for the House of Representatives were held today, 45 percent of registered voters said they would support the Democratic candidate, while 35 percent would support the Republican.

NEW YORK July 26, 2006


One year ago today, Congress finalized the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which lavished $14.5 billion in tax breaks on energy firms, nearly 60 percent of which went to "oil, natural gas, coal, electric utilities and nuclear power."

One year ago, the average natural gas price was $2.14. Today, it's $3.00. The country is no closer to ending its addiction to oil, and fuel economy standards are still stuck at 27.5 miles per gallon (where they've been for 20 years). Meanwhile, "five of the world's largest energy companies are expected to report combined second-quarter profits next week of more than $30 billion."

For most Americans, this is no reason to celebrate. But most Americans aren't "Representatives of industries who are benefiting from tax incentives available through the Energy Policy Act of 2005." Those industry reps are holding a "celebration" of the bill on Capitol Hill today with Energy Secretary Bodman, according to a press release obtained by ThinkProgress:


Media Advisory

Secretary of Energy to Observe One-Year Anniversary of the Energy Policy Act of 2005

WASHINGTON, DC---On Wednesday, July 26, 2006, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman will join Senator Pete Domenici and Congressman Joe Barton to deliver remarks at an "APAct at One" celebration. Secretary Bodman and Chairman Domenici and Hobson are expected to discuss the importance of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, America's first comprehensive energy legislation in over a decade. They will also highlight progress towards implementing the Act intended to increase the United States energy security and reduce its dependence on sources of energy from unstable regions of the world.

WHO: Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (NM)
U.S. Congress Joe Barton (TX-6th)
Representatives of industries who are benefiting from tax incentives available through the Energy Policy Act of 2005.



Democrats are committed to a New Direction for America and each day there is evidence in the press that America needs a New Direction. Please see some of the examples below. Thanks!

"Eight in 10 cities say their emergency responders still can't communicate with each other or area towns, 44% have not created or updated their evacuation plans, and nearly three-quarters say they're not prepared to handle a flu pandemic outbreak."---USA Today on a new survey of 183 American cities released today by the Conference of Mayors


"The increase in energy prices is clearly making the economy worse off both in terms of real activity and in terms of inflation," he said. "There is no question about it."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke


"Essentially what the White House is saying is 'Stay the course, stay the course.' I don't think that course is politically sustainable."

Rep. Gil Gutknecht (MN) on Iraq, Washington Post 7/20/06


"I don't think any of us have done a terribly good job of thinking through how far behind the eight ball we are on these issues."

Carlos Pascual [former aide to Sec. Rice & current foreign policy studies director at Brookings] on oil & foreign policy issues


"DOD has not enforced security controls for preventing sensitive excess military equipment from release to the public," the report concluded. "GAO was able to purchase these items because controls broke down at virtually every step in the excess property turn-in and disposal process."

AP on new GAO report on sensitive military equipment being sold to the public instead of being destroyed. GAO report said, "data could be usefull to terrorists." 7/23/06



WASHINGTON (Reuters)---The US military, faced with unrelenting violence in Baghdad, is expected to delay the departure of about 4,000 troops due to leave Iraq in the coming days in order to boost the size of the U.S. force, officials said Wednesday.

In a sign that any significant cut in the 130,000-strong U.S. forces in Iraq is unlikely soon, officials also said there are no plans to drop below the current level of 15 combat brigades this fall, as had previously been discussed.

***What? Was all of the talk by the Republicans about a drawdown of our troops only discussed to bring up Bush's polls? If things in Iraq were getting better, this wouldn't be happening! If you think morale was bad before these 4,000 troops thought that they were going to be leaving, just wait! When is this administration and their Republican cronies going to quit kicking our troops in the face?

The military, as it has done periodically during the 3-year-old war, would temporarily increase the size of the U.S. force by extending the overlap between newly arriving units and those leaving.

***How many tours are our troops going to have to do before they can leave the military? Aren't some of them working on their 3rd and 4th tours already? How is this going to effect their minds and for that matter society when they do return home? I hope like hell that they aren't going to be labeled for the rest of their lives like the Vietnam veterans have been!

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions, said at least 200 troops from the Alaska-based 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, operating primarily in the Mosul area in northern Iraq, already had left Iraq after a yearlong deployment.

But the remaining 3,700 troops are expected to have their departure delayed, the officials said. Officials could not say how long they will remain, but typically these delays have lasted a few weeks to a couple of months.

President George W. Bush said on Tuesday at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that more U.S. troops and Iraqi troops would be deployed in Baghdad from other parts of Iraq to try to curb sectarian violence in the capital amid concern that the country is sliding toward civil war.

***And as usual, while troops are taken from other provinces and put into Baghdad, the insurgents leave Baghdad and put the rest of the country in turmoil. This has been happening for 3 years already. So sending more troops to Baghdad isn't going to help this situation, it's only going to make it worse! Let's face it, Bush and the Republicans blew it!

Pentagon Policy

Pentagon policy is for Army units to serve 12-month tours in Iraq and Marine Corps units to serve seven-month tours.

But at key times in war---for example, during Iraqi elections in 2005 and during the return of sovereignty in 2004-the Pentagon has delayed the departure of thousands of troops to beef up American troop presence temporarily.

***So what's the excuse now, that the war has gone terribly wrong?

Officials said that commanders in Iraq also were looking at shifting some troops from other parts of Iraq into Baghdad. In addition, 400 soldiers who had been held in reserve have been brought into the country, they said.

***Who are they trying to B.S.?

Another defense official said the idea would be to create "a momentary overlap of a t least a brigade"---meaning roughly 3,500 troops. Another official said the increase might be "from the low 3,000s to the high 4,000s."

***Makes you wonder when the draft is going to start!

A third defense official said there was concern over keeping troops, facing stress and peril, longer than they had expected. "It's always painful to try to tell a unit they are staying longer than they were supposed to stay," this official said.

***Bush and the Republicans continue to tell us how good things are going in Iraq. Then why are all of these troops needed? It common sense people, you can't believe a word that the Republicans have to say!

Opinion polls show eroding U.S. public support for the war and Bush's handling of it as congressional election approach in November. The U.S. military death toll in the war, which began in March 2003, stood at 2,565 on Wednesday, with 19, 157 wounded, the Pentagon said.

Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, last month expressed confidence that the military would be able to cut the size of the U.S. force there over the rest of the year. Defense officials months ago had said one option was to drop about 10,000 troops.

***I guess Bush and the Republicans blew this with all of their foreign policy disasters!

But Bush, Casey and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have emphasized that reductions in the U.S. force depended on the security situation situation in Iraq and the development of U.S.-trained Iraqi government security forces.

***Then we'll never get out of Iraq! With civil war spreading across the country of Iraq, the U.S. trained Iraqi government security forces are already turning sectarian along with the Iraqi Police force. They have come to the point of protecting their own. The Sunnis don't believe that the Shiites will protect their people and visa-versa. It's called survival. And when our troops leave other areas to go to Baghdad, the rest of Iraq will fall into civil war. How stupid is this plan?

Will Dunham
July 26, 2006
*Additional reporting by Kristin Roberts


Doubts about children's future and concerns about wars weigh heavily

WASHINGTON---With congressional midterm elections less than four months away, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that candidates will be facing a public that has grown increasingly pessimistic, as nearly two-thirds don't believe life for their children's generations will be better than it has been for them, and nearly 60 percent are doubtful the Iraq war will come to successful conclusion.

***Not as long as Bush is in office! And if Republicans become a majority in Washington again, they will consider it a mandate of the people to continue doing what they have been doing for the past 5 years! The Republicans have destryoed the middle class and want to make it possible for illegals to become legal in this country so that they can exploit the almost "free" labor that they can get from them. We soon will have no country left.

And there's more pessimism: Among those who believe the nation is headed on the wrong track, more than 80 percent say it's part of a longer-term decline.

"This is just a horrendous set of numbers." says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff. The mood is "as dank and depressing as I have seen."

According to the poll, 65 percent say they feel less confident that life for their children's generation will be better than it has been for them. In December 2001, the last time this question was aked, respondents---by a 49-42 percent margin---said they were confident life would be better for their children.

***How can life under the Republican rule become better? They have taken away most of our "entitlements." They claim the tax breaks are helping stimulate the economy and so on and so for. They do nothing but lie to us and will continue to lie to us until they are removed from office.

In addition, only 27 percent think the country is headed in the right direction, while 58 percent say they are less confident the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion.

***Anybody who is supported by this president should not be put into office this election season. They are his lapdogs! Especially Judy Baar Topinka who is running for Governor of Illinois in this election season. She's as corrupt as they come!

And among those who believe that the nation is headed on the wrong track, a whopping 81 percent believe it's part of a longer-term decline and that things won't get better for some time. Just 12 percent think the problems are short-term blips.

War concerns deepen

The NBC/Journal poll---which was conducted from July 21-24 of 1,010 adults, and which has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points---comes amid a new wave of escalated violence in Iraq. Just Tuesday, President Bush announced that the United States would strengthen the U.S. presence in Baghdad by moving additional soldiers to the city.

The poll comes as Israel battles the group Hezbollah in Lebanon. In the survey, 45 percent approve of Bush's handling of that conflict, while 39 percent disapprove. Moreover, regarding the recent violence there, 54 percent of respondents say they sympathize more with Israel, while just 11 percent side with Arab countries.

Fifty-three percent believe that the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah will likely lead to a major Middle East war involving other countries. Just 34 percent think a major war is unlikely.

Yet perhaps the most revealing finding in the poll is how little the political environment has changed in the past year. For the eighth straight survey since October 2005, President Bush's job approval rating sits below 40 percent; for the fourth straight time since March, just a third approve of his handling of Iraq; and also for a fourth straight time since March, only a quarter believe the nation is headed in the right direction.

Fall election effect

And this isn't good news for Bush and the Republican Party, say the pollsters who conducted this survey, because it means that---outside of an extraordinary event---the political environment is pretty much locked in as we head into the November elections.

"I feel like Republicans are in a barrel and headed toward Niagara Falls," says Hart. "It's ... a python-like grip in terms of a negative mood. This is wrapped pretty tight.

***It makes you wonder what the Republicans are going to "let happen" to this country so that they can win the November elections.

McInturff, the Republican pollster, adds that GOP candidates can count on having plenty of money and a proven get-out-the-vote operation. "But they are going to have to run very aggressive campaigns at an individual level to seperate themselves from the national environment."

***How are they going to "seperate" themselves from the national environment?" They are the ones that helped Bush put this country in such a bad place as they played lapdogs for the White House! What are they going to do, lie some more? The American people aren't as stupid as the Republicans think that they are! If they try to distance themselves from the White House now, they are the liars that we already expected that they were!

In fact, McInturrf says, Republican incumbents who wait until the fall to begin engaging their Democratic opponents will be "rolling the wrong dice." The national mood is too set and there is not enough time."

According to the poll---which was partially released Wednesday night on NBC's "Nightly News" while more comes out in Thursday's Wall Street Journal---Bush's job approval rating is at 39 percent, up two points from the last survey in June (but still within the margin of error). And just 34 percent approve of the president's handling of Iraq.

Mark Murray/Political reporter/NBC News
July 26, 2006