Tag Archives: Pakistan

Why ‘Benghazigate’ never will catch fire

Updated below

Apparently we’re actually supposed to believe that the members of the Repugnican Tea Party are very, very concerned about preventing the preventable deaths of Americans in the Middle East. The preventable death of even one American in the Middle East is absolutely unfuckingacceptable, right?

After all, “Benghazigate,” in which four Americans (including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens) were killed in Libya in September when the American consulate in Benghazi was stormed by militants — even though Mittens Romney failed comically miserably to make political hay out of it during the presidential debates — like Freddy or Jason, just won’t go the fuck away.

Today the do-nothing, sleazy and slimy, Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives held yet another so-called “hearing” in D.C. on “Benghazigate” because the party just doesn’t want you to forget about “Benghazigate.”

But the same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who have expressed no real problem whatsofuckingever over the wholly unnecessary and wholly preventable deaths of more than 4,ooo U.S. military personnel in the unelected Bush regime’s wholly bogus Vietraq War have zero fucking credibility when they cry, incessantly, that we have to get to the bottom! of “Benghazigate.”

They don’t care about American deaths in the Middle East, of course. If they did, they wouldn’t have supported the Vietraq War. But the Vietraq War was launched by a white Repugnican president, you see, and that fact alone makes it all A-OK.

“Benghazigate” is all politics — and if it had happened under a Repugnican president, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors of course would lecture us about how you shouldn’t shamelessly politicize a tragedy like this — and “Benghazigate” is meant to give the Repugnican Tea Party traitors a twofer: an attack upon Democratic President Barack Obama and an attack upon former Secretary of State Billary Clinton, who probably will run for the presidency in 2016.

I don’t allege that the September attack on Benghazi was unpreventable. I don’t allege that there wasn’t any negligence where security was concerned. There might have been. I wasn’t there, wasn’t in the situation.

But preventing another incident like the one in Benghazi in September isn’t the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ main goal. That should be what comes out of the incident, but what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want, more than anything else, is control of the White House, and if they can shamelessly politicize the deaths of four Americans in Libya (while they have ignored the deaths of more than a thousand times that number of Americans in Iraq) to help them achieve that, they will do so.

But “Benghazigate” never will be the “scandal” that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have wanted it to be. The reason that Mittens couldn’t turn “Benghazigate” into an Obama-damaging scandal last fall in order to help his presidential bid is that enough American voters know that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are fucking chickenhawks who don’t actually give a flying fuck about the deaths of Americans abroad. Enough Americans know that Mittens and his ilk are sociopaths who are lying through their fangs when they claim to care so fucking much about the lives of even just a handful of Americans in the Middle East.

Enough Americans recall how cavalierly the unelected Bush regime sent thousands of our troops to their pointless deaths in Vietraq for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s war profiteering to be able to buy for a nanosecond that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors now are being sincere when they claim to care so much about the four Americans who were killed in Benghazi. And enough Americans identify how sick and fucking twisted it is for these sociopathic hypocrites to be using the violent deaths of others for their own political gain.

That’s why “Benghazigate” hasn’t caught fire outside of the right-wing echo chamber and why it never will. It fizzled out in the fall, when Mittens’ sad and pathetic attempt to use it for his own political gain fell flat, but the Repugnican Tea Party traitors still are huffing and puffing on those long-spent ashes that they delusionally believe still actually are embers.

All of this isn’t to say that Barack Obama has been a great president. He has not. His continued slaughter of civilians with his killer drones in Pakistan and in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East only ensures more anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, which makes us Americans less safe, not safer.

Apparently afraid of being branded “soft” or “weak” on “terror,” Obama repeatedly has trounced all over the law, both international and domestic, in order to demonstrate what a bad-ass he is (even though no matter what he does, the wingnuts still are going to call him “soft” or “weak” on “terror”).

Yes, even the Obama administration’s assassination — its extrajudicial execution — of Osama bin Laden on another sovereign nation’s (Pakistan’s) soil without that sovereign nation’s knowledge or approval was a violation of international law, and we know that at least three U.S. citizens (one of them a 16-year-old) thus far have been killed by one of Obama’s drones and that at least four U.S. citizens have been killed altogether by drone strikes in the so-called “war on terror.”

(And before you cry, “Yeah, the war on terror!” I will pronounce right now that the “war on terror” is as bullshit now as it was when the unelected Bush regime declared the “war on terror.” A war is only a conflict between two nations, and the United States of America is not at war with another nation.)

As much as President Hopey-Changey has not delivered upon his promises of (positive) change and has not given us much, if any, reason to hope for a better future — which is why I could not vote for him again in November — one thing that we cannot say about him is that overall he has not kept Americans safe.

We’re five years into the Obama presidency and we have yet to see anything like the almost 3,000 who were killed on September 11, 2001, or the almost 2,000 who were killed in late August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Even if we give George W. Bush a pass on 9/11 — despite the August 6, 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” — there is no excuse for the fact that with at least two or three days’ warning that the approaching Hurricane Katrina could be catastrophic to New Orleans and the surrounding areas, the unelected Bush regime basically allowed hundreds of (predominantly black) Americans to drown.

So for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to act now like their party actually is the party with the actual track record of keeping Americans safe is way beyond ludicrous.

As incredibly fucking stupid as Americans can be, not nearly enough of them are stupid enough to believe, after the catastrophic George W. Bush years and the comparatively very peaceful Obama years, that the best thing that we could do for our own safety is to put another Repugnican in the White House.

So keep it up, Repugnican Tea Party traitors. Your repeatedly bringing up the issue of national security can only remind everyone of the facts of recent U.S. history, and those facts, to put it mildly, do not favor you.

Update: In a pretty good piece on Salon.com about how fucktarded it is to compare everything to Watergate, I followed a link to a piece on the wingnutty website townhall.com. In the piece, written by apparently fairly well-known wingnut Neal Boortz, Boortz proclaims that this is the reason why Benghazi isn’t a Watergate (this is a copy and paste; my comments are in brackets):

… Let me tell you what the American people are concerned with right now – and we’re talking about those who aren’t gunched up with 24/7 discussions about college football recruiting and gay NBA players. In a nutshell (and thank goodness for the few exceptions we DO have) the majority of the American people are more worried right now about acquiring and keeping their monthly checks from the government than they are about 0bama’s [sic — apparently the uber-patriotic Boortz and/or townhall.com refuse to capitalize the name of the duly elected president of the United States of America] lies or foreign policy failures. [“The majority of the American people” are preoccupied with their handouts from the government. So we’re beyond a mere “47 percent” now, apparently.] They think a Benghazi is a small yappy dog.

These people are more concerned about next Winter’s [sic — you don’t capitalize the seasons] home heating assistance checks than they are about dead ambassadors. They’re worrying about getting more federal dollars for child care to help them take care of the next tricycle motor they’re fixin’ to download without the benefit of a husband. [A “tricyle motor,” apparently, is a baby, and while the members of the right wing say that women can’t have abortions or even contraception, at the same time they’re going to slam the wrong women for giving birth. (And “wrong,” of course, means non-white, non-conservative, non-“Christian” and/or poor and/or the like.)] They’re wondering who is going to pay their medical bills, and how they can get their hands on one of those great Section 8 housing vouchers. Some are looking to upgrade their 0bamaPhones.

How many people do we have on Social Security disability right now? The figure is nearing 12 million Americans. These 12 million are principally worried about how to keep those checks coming, while another 12 million (at least) are wondering how to get on this bandwagon as well. After all, their backs hurt and you surely can’t expect them to get out there and work for a living, can you? (Apologies to those of you with actual disabilities, but we could probably cram every one of you into a Jai Alai Fronton somewhere in Miami if we had to.)

Then there’s millions more who’s [sic — why can’t wingnuts get basic fucking English correct? It’s “whose,” not “who’s”] main concern is making sure their unemployment benefits don’t run out (Me? Get a job?) and others who are waiting for 0bama to make their boss pay them more than they’re actually worth on their jobs. …

There you have it. The “small yappy dog” joke is funny, admittedly, but what we have here is a restatement of Mittens Romney’s “47 percent” rhetoric: More Americans don’t care about Benghazi than the number of Americans who actually do because these lazy Americans care only about getting their next handout from the guvmint.

Wow. Seriously. The “47 percent” bullshit hasn’t been working out for the wingnuts very well, but they only are going to continue it? Your stock response to those who disagree with your politics is to claim that they’re living off of the guvmint even when most of them quite demonstrably are not?

True, many if not most Americans are more concerned about their personal economic situations than they are about what happens abroad. Benghazi might indeed, to them, be a “small yappy dog.” But did we not have a pretty good economy under Bill Clinton, only to see George W. Bush destroy it with his Vietraq War, which has cost us trillions of dollars (it’s a huge chunk of our federal budget deficit), and with his tax cuts for the super-filthy-rich (which also is a huge reason for our federal budget deficit)? Does the Repugnican Party have no responsibility for the fact that Americans might be more concerned about their personal economic situations right now than they do about foreign affairs?

And might Americans be quite understandably numb to the bloodshed that they — we — witnessed (and some of us were touched by personally) during the eight very long Bush years?

I mean, fuck: Almost 3,000 dead from 9/11. More than 4,000 dead in the bogus Vietraq War. Almost 2,000 dead from Hurricane Katrina.

After you serially are assaulted with shit like this, are you really supposed to be all fucking bent out of shape over the deaths of four Americans? Really?

It’s interesting, though, I think, to compare my answer to the question of why Benghazi never will be Benghazigate with Boortz’s “answer” to the question.

It wasn’t long ago enough that the wingnuts falsely accused those of us on the left of “hating Americans.”

Being that the wingnuts, probably first and foremost, are fucking hypocrites, I guess that it doesn’t come as a huge shock to see that now it’s fairly apparent that it’s the wingnuts who actually hate Americans — “the majority” of whom, you know, care only about their guvmint handouts. (Ironically, as I have noted, it’s the red states, not the Obama-loving blue states [whose denizens love Obama so much that they actually capitalize his name], that are the welfare states. Of course.)

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I voted for Jill Stein, fuck you very much.

Updated below

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein delivers remarks during a press conference on July 11 in Washington, D.C.

AFP/Getty Images

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, photographed in Washington, D.C., in July

It wasn’t a difficult decision. It felt at least a bit liberating, in fact, to fill in with my black ballpoint pen the oval next to her name on my mail-in ballot, and putting my completed ballot in the U.S. Postal Service mailbox yesterday gave me the at-least-mild satisfaction of having an important task finished.

President Barack Obama is leading Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Mittens Romney by double digits in polling here in California. California and its 55 electoral votes, the nation’s biggest prize, are so not up for grabs that neither candidate is airing any TV commercials here. No mailers, either. Nothing that I have seen, in fact, except what’s on the Internet.

The New York Times’ prognosticator Nate Silver, as I type this sentence, puts Obama’s chances of re-election at just a little below 75 percent and Mittens’ chances of winning the White House at just a little above 25 percent.

Fact is, living in a solidly blue state under the undemocratic, winner-takes-all Electoral College system, my vote for president essentially doesn’t count. I could have voted for Mittens, for fuck’s sake, and the outcome in California wouldn’t have been altered one nano-iota. That Obama would win all of California’s 55 electoral votes on November 6, 2012, was a foregone conclusion long ago.

No, of course I don’t want Mormon multi-millionaire fascist Mittens to win, and of course I recognize that the winner of the election will be Obama or Mittens (and certainly not a third-party candidate), which is why this time around I gave Obama more than $100 in campaign contributions — much less than I gave him in 2008, but, according to an e-mail that the Obama campaign put out earlier this month, only about one in 75 Americans has given Obama one single penny, so hey, even the less than $200 that I’ve given him toward his re-election bid is pretty fucking good, comparatively.

But I almost didn’t vote for Obama in November 2008. When I went to my polling place on Election Day 2008, I had it down to Obama or to independent progressive candidate Ralph Nader, and even when I’d just received my ballot I still had to ponder which candidate to vote for, and at the last minute I went ahead and gave my vote to Mr. Hopey-Changey, knowing that he would carry California whether I voted for him or not, but hoping that he would at least try to deliver the change that he’d promised.

And yes, I also felt that I wanted to take the opportunity to vote for the first non-white president of the nation’s history. It gave me at least a little bit of an uplift to know that I was part of that historical event. (Of course, any Obama-related uplift was blunted by the blow of the passage of Proposition Hate here in California, which happened in large part thanks to the big money and the efforts of Mittens’ Mormon cult and Pretty Boy Paul Ryan’s Catholick church, which, much like the Taliban, seek to shove their theofascist, ignorant, hateful bullshit down the throats of all of us.)

Four years later, it is clear to me that Barack Obama had only said what he’d figured (correctly) would get him elected. Indeed, his take of the popular vote was bigger than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever got.

I could post a litany of reasons why, in good conscience, I could not cast my vote for Barack Obama again, but here are just three of them:

  • Obama for the most part just sat idly by while British Petroleum assured us that it had its crude-gushing underwater oil well perfectly well under control. Obama’s inaction was a clear signal to the planet-raping corporations: Do (or don’t do) whatever the fuck you want. The Democratic Party is addicted to your campaign contributions and therefore won’t lift a fucking finger to stop you from destroying the planet.
  • Obama had promised before his election that if the right to collectively bargain ever were under threat anywhere in the nation, he’d don a pair of comfortable walking shoes and join the fight himself. Yet when workers in Wisconsin fought for months and months for the survival of their right to collectively bargain, Obama showed his face in Wisconsin not one fucking time. Wisconsinites were on their own, with only very-last-minute support from the national Democratic Party, which was way too little way too late, and resultantly, Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived the gubernatorial recall election against him in June.*
  • The Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning-for-fuck’s-sake Obama loves his civilian-killing drones, which, if you are awake, alert and oriented, you should find spine-chilling. A recent study of drone strikes by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law found that “from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 to 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 to 881 were civilians, including 176 children.” Um, yeah, “they” don’t hate us for “our freedom.” And what’s to stop drones from being used against American civilians here at home at some point in the future?

Even without those three things, this one thing is more than enough reason not to vote for Punker in Chief Barack Obama again: Obama’s best opportunity to push through a progressive agenda was in 2009 and 2010, when his party controlled not only the White House but also the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Instead of even fucking trying to deliver upon his promises of hope and change for his base, however, Obama in 2009 and 2010 was too busy trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress whose only mission was to make sure that the nation’s first non-white president failed. (They even openly had stated that this was their mission from Day One.)

You don’t negotiate with terrorists. You crush them. Which is what Obama should have done.

Obama’s role model, he repeatedly essentially has told us, was Ronald Fucking Reagan, who, in my book, ranks with Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush as the worst three presidents of my lifetime (I was born in 1968).

Obama’s “signature” “achievement,” the so-called “Obamacare,” contains little to nothing that the wealth-care industry didn’t rubber stamp, and even while proclaiming his support of same-sex marriage, Obama still maintains that each state nonetheless should be allowed to decide whether or not same-sex couples’ constitutional guarantee of equality should be honored or denied.

All of this, yet Barack Obama is on our side?

After the 2008 election, Obama and his surrogates called us progressives — the Democratic Party’s (disappearing?) base — “sanctimonious” members of the “professional left.”

I, for one, don’t forget such slights — I helped put you where you are, and then you turn and shit and piss all over me? Really? — and the Obama administration’s incredibly stupid practice of base-bashing is a large reason why I voted for Jill Stein.

Again, of course I hope that Mittens Romney doesn’t win, but if he does, you can’t blame me.

Blame Barack Obama, who promised hope and change but who has delivered only sweet-sounding rhetoric and even base-bashing, and who has presided over the nation as a Ronald-Reagan-loving Repugnican Lite.

And blame the Obamabots — the blind, mindless, amoral Democratic Party hacks — who to this day have refused to hold the center-right Barack Obama accountable for anyfuckingthing only because he wears the brand-name label of “Democrat,” and who continue to actually buy the Democratic Party’s pandering bullshit that the Democratic Party of today actually gives a flying fuck about us, against the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Update: I’d wanted to keep my bullet-pointed list of Obama’s fuck-ups to only three items, but Barack Obama has been such a fuck-up that I found it fairly impossible to list only three of his fuck-ups, so I ended up listing other fuck-ups of his elsewhere in my post, and I want to add a fourth bullet point, a point that I’m surprised that I forgot to include in my original post:

  • Early on, Obama appointed Wall Street weasels like Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers as his economic advisers, and in 2008, Obama took more money from Wall Street weasels than even John McCainosaurus did — which is probably why Obama rejected the advice of progressive economists, like the Nobel-Prize-winning Paul Krugman, who warned that Obama’s “stimulus” wasn’t nearly enough to restore the nation’s economy. All of this while Obama claims to care sooooo much about the working class and the middle class. Again: Whose side, exactly, is Barack “Talk One Way, Walk Another” Obama on?

*A judge in Wisconsin last month struck down Walker’s union-killing legislation, which was a victory for labor, but a victory that neither Obama nor the Democratic Party had a hand in. And the state is appealing the judge’s ruling, so the fight isn’t quite over quite yet.

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My last word on the assassination of Osama bin Laden (I hope)

I had thought that the Osama bin Laden assassination would have run its course by now here in the United States of Amnesia, but, with nothing else to replace it – except, perhaps, for the “news” that Bristol Palin’s facial appearance indeed has been altered, she says, because she had jaw surgery (this is the most-viewed “news” story on Yahoo! News as I type this sentence) — it lingers still.

It’s a sign of the collapsing of the American empire that so many Americans have found comfort, I suppose the word is, in the assassination of a rather pathetic man in hiding whose last big show was almost a full decade ago.

I mean, how convenient it is to blame more than a decade of American stupidity and laxity* on one man, and how tempting it is to believe that with his death goes American stupidity and laxity. If bin Laden was the cause of all of our problems, then surely his death is the magical solution to all of our problems! Right? Right?

As I wrote right after I found out about it, bin Laden’s assassination has changed nothing except for the national “news” obsession du jour (or, in this case, de la semaine). Bin Laden had been fairly powerless for years before his assassination, and his largest achievement was in destroying the American economy.

And hell, he didn’t even have to do the work. It was the treasonous wingnuts of the unelected Bush regime, using their wet dream of 9/11 like the Reichstag Fire to fulfill their wingnutty wish list, who did the work for bin Laden, using 9/11 for years as their cover to push through a radical right-wing, treasonous agenda they otherwise never would have been able to push through.

And it was an hysterical, cowed populace that allowed them to, just as it had allowed them to steal the White House in the first place.

While President Barack Obama seems to have driven the final stake into the heart of “birtherism,” whose death was long overdue, and for at least the short term can stave off any charges that militarily he’s a pussy, sooner or later the economy is going to reassert its political gravitational pull on Planet Obama.

An NBC News poll taken late last week shows that while almost 60 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy (the bin Laden bounce, no doubt), almost 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.

The bin Laden bounce has put Obama slightly above a 50-percent overall approval rating in the Gallup Poll after he had languished in the 40s for more than the past year, only occassionally hitting 50 percent or 51 percent in that time period.**

Given the weak field of Repugnican Tea Party candidates, however, Obama’s re-election is likely even in an economic environment that might otherwise seriously jeopardize a second presidential term.

But what Obama’s probable re-election means is the continued rightward drift of the nation, in which the new “center” is still right of center and continues going rightward. What’s good for Barack Obama’s personal political fortune, unfortunately, is bad for the nation and for the rest of the planet.

And how you do something matters. I don’t mourn the death of mass murderer Osama bin Laden any more than I would mourn the death of mass murderer George W. Bush or mass murderer Dick Cheney (or mass murderer Condoleezza Rice*** or mass murderer Donald Rumsfeld or…), but how it was achieved was shitty, regardless of how history, which up until now, at least, always has been written by the victors, might tell the story.

George W. Bush is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent human beings, is a much bigger mass murderer than was bin Laden, yet should a military team from a justice-pursuing Iraq (which was home to most of Bush’s victims) take out Bush on American soil like a military team from the U.S. took out bin Laden on Pakistani soil, Americans would be, literally, up in arms.

Even mass murderers like George W. Bush deserve a fair trial. Summary, extrajudicial execution, no matter who its victim is, is always wrong. The perpetrators of such tactics are no better than are their victims. And that’s what the Obama administration’s assassination of Osama bin Laden proved to the world: That the majority of the inhabitants of the United States of America is no better than was bin Laden.

Finally, I hope to make this my last post on Osama bin Laden’s assassination. But before I go I want to leave you with Ted Rall’s current column on the topic. Here it is, in full:

President Obama murdered Osama bin Laden. I am surprised that the left has been so supportive — not of the end result, but of the way it was carried out.

Imagine if the killing had gone down the same exact way, but under Bush. Armed commandos invade a foreign country, storm into a suburban neighborhood, blow a hole in a house and blow away an unarmed man in front of his 12-year-old daughter. The guy is a murder suspect. Mass murder. But there’s no attempt to arrest him or bring him to justice. They spirit his bloody corpse out of the country and dump it into the ocean.

Osama bin Laden was suspected ordering of one of the most horrific crimes of the decade. He might have been taken alive. Yet Obama’s commandos killed him. A big part of the puzzle — the key to the truth, who might have led us to other people responsible for 9/11 — is gone.

Barack Obama is our Jack Ruby.

Liberals would be appalled if this had happened four years ago. They would have protested Bush’s violations of international law and basic human rights. They would have complained about killing the Al Qaeda leader before questioning him about possible terrorist plots. They would have demanded investigations.

But this happened under Obama. Which means that even liberal lawyers who ought to (and probably do) know better are going along. At a panel discussion at the Justice Institute at Pace Law School, University of Houston law professor Jordan Paust asserted: “You can [legally] use military force without consent in foreign countries.”

“At some point a sovereign state [such as Pakistan] that’s harboring an international fugitive loses the right to assert sovereignty,” added Robert Van Lierop.

Paust and Van Lierop are, respectively, a leading opponent of torture at Guantánamo and a former UN ambassador known for his activism on climate change. Both are “liberal.”

In the U.S., conservatives and “liberals” agree: Might makes right. America’s military-intelligence apparatus is so fearsome that it can deploy its soldiers and agents without fear of retribution.

Might makes right. [Emphasis mine.]

In 2007, for example, U.S. Special Forces invaded Iran from U.S.-occupied Iraq in order to kidnap Iranian border guards. It was an outrage. In practical terms, however, there was nothing the Iranians could do about it.

The United States’ 900-pound gorilla act might go over better if we weren’t a nation that constantly prattles on and on about how civilized we are, how important it is that everyone follow the rules. For example:

“We’re a nation of laws!” Obama recently exclaimed. “We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate.”

He wasn’t talking about himself. This was about PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of supplying the big Defense Department data dump to WikiLeaks. Manning has been subjected to torture including sleep deprivation and forced nudity — treatment ordered by Obama.

Truth is, the Constitution, our treaty obligations and our stacks of legal codes are worthless paper. We’re not a nation of laws. We’re a nation of gun-toting, missile-lobbing, drone-flying goons.

U.S. officials do whatever they feel like and then dress up their brazenly illegal acts with perverse Orwellian propaganda. [Emphasis mine.]

“I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice,” Obama claimed, as if blowing away an unarmed man in a foreign country was the moral equivalent of filing an extradition request with the Pakistani government and putting him on trial before 12 unbiased jurors in a court of law.

Justice is a legal process. It is not a military assault. [Emphasis mine.]

When considering the legality or morality of an act it helps to consider different scenarios. What, for example, if Pakistan had military power equal to ours? Last week’s lead news might have begun something like this:

“Pakistan has intercepted four U.S. helicopters over its airspace, forced them to land, and taken 79 heavily-armed commandos as prisoners. According to Pakistani military officials, the incident took place about 100 miles from the border of U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

“‘They didn’t stray across the border accidentally. This was a deliberate act,’ said a Pakistani general. President Asif Ali Zardari has asked Pakistan’s nuclear weapons infrastructure has been placed on high alert as the parliament, the Majlis-e-Shoora, considers whether to issue a declaration of war…”

Or let’s assume a different reimagining. What if the United States really [were] a nation of laws?

Then the news might look like the following:

“Bipartisan demands for congressional investigations into the assassination of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden quickly escalated into demands for presidential impeachment after reports that U.S. forces operating under orders from President Obama invaded a sovereign nation without permission to carry out what House Speaker John Boehner called ‘a mob-style hit.’

“Standing at Boehner’s side, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi decried Obama’s ‘cowboy antics’ and said she had received numerous phone calls from the relatives of 9/11 victims furious that true justice had been denied. Meanwhile, in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon moved for sanctions against the United States…”

In fact, no one knows whether Osama bin Laden was involved in 9/11.

They suspect. They feel. They don’t know.

For what it’s worth, he denied it: “Following the latest explosions in the United States, some Americans are pointing the finger at me, but I deny that because I have not done it,” bin Laden said in a statement released on 9/16/01. “The United States has always accused me of these incidents which have been caused by its enemies. Reiterating once again, I say that I have not done it, and the perpetrators have carried this out because of their own interest.”

Why should we believe him? Why not? He admitted his responsibility for the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998.

Interestingly, the FBI never mentioned 9/11 on his “wanted” poster.

There was the famous “confession video” — but it was translated into English by the CIA, hardly an objective source. Arabic language experts say the CIA manipulated bin Laden’s discussion of what he had watched on TV into an admission of guilt. For example, they changed bin Laden’s passive-voice discussion to active: “[the 19 hijackers] were required to go” became, in the CIA version, “we asked each of them to go to America.”

“The American translators who listened to the tapes and transcribed them apparently wrote a lot of things in that they wanted to hear but that cannot be heard on the tape no matter how many times you listen to it,” said Gernot Rotter, professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the Asia-Africa Institute at the University of Hamburg.

Other [bin Laden] communiqués appear to take credit for 9/11 — but there’s a possibility that he was trying to keep himself relevant for his Islamist audience. Anyway, a confession does not prove guilt. Police receive numerous “confessions” for high-profile crimes. They can’t just shoot everyone who confesses.

I’m not angry that Bin Laden is dead. Nor am I happy. I didn’t know the guy or care for his ideology.

I’m angry that, without a trial or a real investigation, we will never know whether he was guilty of 9/11 — or, if he was, who else was involved.

Our Jack Ruby, Barack Obama, made sure of that.

Yup. And I’ve wondered if perhaps bin Laden was assassinated by the Obama administration because he knew too much, and a trial at an international court of law would have brought what he knew to light. 

*Our problems preceded Sept. 11, 2001. Our democracy pretty much was diagnosed with terminal illness when Americans just allowed Team Bush to steal the White House in late 2000. After that, anything else that followed, such as the devasation that was just allowed to occur on 9/11 and with Hurricane Katrina four years later, couldn’t have been a surprise.

**Obama enjoyed approval ratings in the 60s during his first six months in office. He then gradually slid into the 50s and then into the 40s.

***Rice’s recent interview on MSNBC was, um, interesting. She hasn’t changed a bit. You still know when she’s lying — it’s whenever her lips are moving. (Seriously, though, she always has the quavering voice of a liar, and when she’s really lying, she moves her head rapidly from side to side.)

While I doubt Rice’s sanity, as I doubt the sanity of any mass murderer/war criminal, I don’t believe that she actually believes the lies that she spews forth. I believe that she is terrified that one day she might actually be hauled before an international criminal court, and therefore she’s sticking to the same old lies about her part in the execution of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War that she’s been telling for years now.

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UN looking into legality of slaughter of bin Laden

Was this past weekend’s assassination of Osama bin Laden legal?

Unsurprisingly, in the articles that I’ve read online, Americans tend to say that of course it was — he was an “enemy combatant” with whom we were “at war”; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually called, quite speciously, bin Laden’s assassination “an act of national self-defense” (and not, say, a revenge killing); and besides, Barack Obama had said when he was campaigning for president that if we got bin Laden in our sights then he would order him killed (as though if you simply warn someone that you will do something illegal, such as rape her or murder him, if you get the opportunity to do so and then do so, then your actual act is not illegal because hey, you’d given him or her a warning!) — while those outside of the U.S. are much less likely to make such a certain pronouncement, expressing problems with the facts that bin Laden was unarmed and that the raid on his compound was conducted without the consent or even the prior notification of the government of the sovereign nation of Pakistan. Bin Laden should have been captured, if at all possible, and put on trial, since everyone, even the likes of bin Laden, has the right to due process, these dissenters have expressed.

One of these dissenters, Kent University international lawyer Nick Grief, called bin Laden’s killing what it apparently was: an “extrajudicial killing without due process of the law,” and he noted that even Nazi war criminals were brought to trial at the end of World War II.

Louise Doswald-Beck, former legal chief for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that bin Laden was not an enemy combatant but that “He was basically head of a terrorist criminal network, which means that you’re not really looking at the law of armed conflict but at lethal action against a dangerous criminal.”

Another British lawyer, Michael Mansfield, said, “The serious risk is that in the absence of an authoritative narrative of events played out in Abbottabad, vengeance will become synonymized with justice, and that revenge will supplant due process. … Whatever feelings of elation and relief may dominate the airwaves, they must not be allowed to submerge core questions about the legality of the exercise, nor to permit vengeance or summary execution to become substitutes for justice.” [Emphasis mine.]

And it looks as though the United Nations is investigating the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reports The Associated Press today:

Geneva – The United Nations’ independent investigator on extrajudicial killings* has called on the United States to reveal more details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement [today] that Washington “should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.”

Heyns says “it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden.”

His statement echoed similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law.

Of course “U.S. officials say the raid [was] legal under U.S. and international law.” How often does the perpetrator of a crime admit it?

In any event, it’s not like the U.S. is going to respect any adverse finding by the UN anyway. The UN Security Council would not rubber-stamp George W. Bush’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, but the Bush regime went ahead and launched it anyway in March 2003. The U.S. respects the UN only when it is convenient for the U.S. to do so, which is one of the many reasons that the U.S. is so hated throughout the world: its blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

I still believe that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was meant, at least in part, for Barack Obama’s political gain. I believe that Obama wanted to show that he’s just as bad a bad-ass as George W. Bush tried to pass himself off as, and also, what’s better to counter the charges that Obama is not really an American and actually is Muslim than to snuff out Osama bin Laden, to take him dead or alive dead?

The so-called “swing voters” are susceptible to such wingnutty charges that Obama isn’t a citizen and that he’s actually a Muslim, and it’s the support of the “swing voters” (he’s screwed his progressive base) that Obama so very badly wants for his re-election.

Weirdly, though, in the White House photo of the gathering in the Situation Room during the operation to assassinate bin Laden that everyone has dissected to death —

In this image released by the White House and ...

— to me, Obama doesn’t look like the leader of all of it. To me, he looks like he’s just kind of shrinking in the corner, a bit bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed by all of it, and hell, just from this photo, Secretary of State Billary Clinton appears to be more in charge than Obama does. Obama appears in the photo to be an onlooker at most.

In any event, Osama bin Laden is dead, which even Al-Qaeda has acknowledged, and it’s not like there will be formal repercussions for the U.S. government for once again very apparently having violated international law.

But it will be interesting to see for how long the U.S. can maintain its position as the global bully. Bin Laden’s actions significantly weakened what he believed to be the “great Satan,” the American empire, costing the United States at least $3 trillion, pundits are saying. (Of course, much if not most of that $3 trillion went to greedy war profiteers, not for the actual benefit of the U.S., and much of it simply disappeared and remains unaccounted for to this day.)

And as China is poised to become the world’s No. 1 economy within the next decade, as the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, how long will the U.S. be able to call the shots globally?

It is in the long-term interests of the United States of America — and any other nation’s — to follow the rule of law. It is easier and more convenient, in the short run, to circumvent the law, but to circumvent the law often bites you in the ass later, often (if not usually) costing you more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Because he was not put on trial, but was assassinated, Osama bin Laden is now, to many in the Muslim world, a martyr whose manner of death only proves his assertions about American abuse of power against Arabs and Muslims to be correct. We Americans can, and should, fully expect bin Laden’s death to be avenged. And then we’ll avenge that. This tit-for-tat bullshit bloodshed can go on for years and years and years, which is exactly what the war profiteers and the weasels of the military-industrial complex want.

And just as the United States was somewhat recovering from its reputation as the global asshole that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime earned it, Barack Obama, by mimicking George “W. for Wanted Dead or Alive” Bush, has taken us backasswards again.

Can we at least take away that Nobel Peace Prize that he so prematurely was awarded while the UN investigates the legality of his unilateral order to assassinate bin Laden?

P.S. Reuters reports a little more thoroughly today of the United Nations’ looking into the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reuters reports today:

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism … and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in certain exceptional cases, deadly force may be used in “operations against terrorists.”

“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially-decided punishment,” the independent experts said in a joint statement.

“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said. “It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden.”

Scheinin, a Finnish law professor who teaches in Florence, and Heyns, a South African human rights law professor, report to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include the United States. …

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, also called this week for light to be shed on the killing, stressing that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

“We’ve raised a question mark about what happened precisely, more details are needed at this point,” her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva [today].

*Those Obama apologists and American jingoists who take exception to the word “assassination” (as though only, say, an American president could be assassinated) at least cannot argue that bin Laden’s killing was indeed, at the least, an extrajudicial execution.

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The bin Laden assassination account du jour

OK, so first, we were told that Osama bin Laden was armed and posed an immediate threat to the U.S. Navy SEALs who shot him dead in Pakistan this past weekend.

Then, we were told that he wasn’t armed, but that nonetheless he still somehow was threatening to the SEALs — maybe he had a bomb* on him, even! (Of course, anyone could have a bomb hidden on [or in…] his or her body, so using that “logic,” it’s OK to shoot dead anyone.)

Now, we are being told that the SEALs had planned to kill bin Laden no matter what.

Reports Yahoo! News today:

The SEALs’ decision to fatally shoot bin Laden — even though he didn’t have a weapon — wasn’t an accident.  The administration had made clear to the military’s clandestine Joint Special Operations Command that it wanted bin Laden dead, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the discussions.  A high-ranking military officer briefed on the assault said the SEALs knew their mission was not to take him alive.

Publicly, the White House insists it was prepared to capture bin Laden if he tried to surrender, a possibility senior officials described as remote.

John Brennan, the administration’s top counterterrorism official, told reporters on Monday if “we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that.”A senior intelligence official echoed that sentiment in an interview [yesterday], telling National Journal that if bin Laden “had indicated surrender, he would have been captured.”

But bin Laden didn’t appear to have been given a chance to surrender himself to the SEALs.

“To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything,” CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an interview airing on “PBS NewsHour.”

There is a word for this kind of thing: Fuck.

One of my U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein, who is chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that she was informed of the planning of the raid on the compound in Pakistan that held bin Laden in December.

In December.

One, if bin Laden (still) were such an imminent threat that he needed to be summarily executed on the spot, then why did it take the Obama administration that long to finally get him?

Two, since the Obama administration had bin Laden’s nabbing in the works at least since December, why the fuck has it been unable to get its fucking story straight?

I have as much confidence in the Obama administration as I did in the bumbling Bush regime.

This bullshit bungling is supposed to help Obama’s re-election campaign how?

*The Los Angeles Times reports:

After saying Monday that the American operatives who raided the Pakistani compound had orders to capture Bin Laden if he gave himself up, U.S. officials [yesterday] added an important qualifier: The assault force was told to accept a surrender only if it could be sure he didn’t have a bomb hidden under his clothing and posed no other danger.

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The (Jessica) Lynching of Osama bin Laden

Wow. You expected this kind of shit from the unelected Bush regime, with its lies about and cover-ups regarding the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman sagas, but you (or at least I) expected more from the Obama administration.

Until now I have held off on repeating any of the details that have been released regarding Osama bin Laden’s actual moment of death because I was skeptical of them – and for good cause, because now, they are reporting, apparently bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot dead in the head and did not use one of his wives as a “human shield.”

The “human shield” charge especially was repeated all over the corporately owned and controlled mass media, because it fit in nicely with the pre-existing jingoistic narrative of bin Laden as actually being a “coward” instead of a bad-ass — a charge that is probably more false than true and that says a lot more about Americans’ actual collective level of courage than it does about bin Laden’s. (Americans, after all, kill with high-tech weaponry and they usually kill from a distance. [Which makes American killing “civilized,” you see, while the less technologically advantaged “terrorists” often if not usually kill others more closely and personally, which makes them “terrorists,” as does the fact that they’re not Americans.])

Anyway, so now the latest word is that bin Laden was unarmed and that the woman who was shot dead along with him was not his wife, but was another woman, and that his wife was injured in the firefight, but was not used by bin Laden as a “human shield.”  

These are just basic facts of what the fuck happened. You would think that the “transparent” Obama administration would have done a much better job of getting out accurate information about such a momentous news event.

And the fact (well, the fact du jour, anyway…) that bin Laden was unarmed raises the legal, moral and ethical question of whether or not he should have been captured and brought to trial instead of executed on the spot. Does a “civilized” nation of “laws” and “order” and “human rights” execute someone who is unarmed, even someone like Osama bin Laden, on the spot?

I recognize the huge problems, including, of course, security issues, that putting bin Laden on trial would have presented. But do we have principles or not? Do we mean what we say in our Constitution about human rights — including the right to a fair trial and the right not to be summarily executed, no matter what it is believed that you have done – or don’t we?

All of this — the initial misinformation about bin Laden’s summary execution, the apparent fact that bin Laden could have been taken alive — makes Barack Obama way too much like George W. (“W” for “Wanted Dead or Alive”) Bush for my sense of right and wrong, and I have to wonder how much of bin Laden’s execution was calculated to benefit Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

I mean, fuck: In January, Team Obama did indeed roll out, as part of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, the lame meme of “We do big things” in the State of the Union Address. Yesterday, Obama said of bin Laden’s execution, “Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do.”

I mean, that looks like a link to me. It’s fairly apparent that Team Obama sat around and pondered: Hmmm… How can we fit Osama bin Laden’s death into our re-election campaign narrative?

Even in this great age of cynicism, that’s some sick shit, in my book.

Again, I’m not crying that Osama bin Laden is dead, but we cannot claim to be a “civilized” nation that respects human rights and laws and at the same time do shit like summarily execute the “bad guys.” (As far as body counts of innocents go, we Americans actually are the biggest global bad guys, but because we’re Americans, we’re fucking saints.)  

And to watch Barack Obama act as though he went over to Pakistan and got bin Laden himself – when that long, hard work was done by other people, including some who apparently put themselves at the potential risk of great injury or death – is nauseating, especially when Obama apparently plans to use bin Laden’s scalp for political gain.

But that is the history of the slimy political opportunist Obama: taking credit for others’ work, such as how he only rode, all the way to the White House, the wave that Howard Dean had created with the left-leaning “netroots.”

Now, it appears, it is the execution of Osama bin Laden that is going to keep Obama in the Oval Office for another four years.

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My quick and dirty take on Afghanistan, graveyard of empires

I don’t know much about Afghanistan. Luckily, lack of knowledge never stopped me from giving my opinion.

I would love to think that President Barack Obama knows something that I don’t. That he plans to send 30,000 more U.S. troops into Afghanistan for a better purpose than to rebut the Repugnicans’ claim that he’s too pussy.

However, all things considered, I think that sending more troops to Afghanistan is a big fucking mistake that ultimately will make the United States of America less safe, not more safe.

President Obama said this tonight:

“I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al-Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.”

After years of the unelected Bush regime citing 9/11 and the threat of another terrorist attack as its excuse for everything, from the nation’s economic problems to illegally spying on American citizens, it really sucks ass to see Obama waving the bloody shirt featuring the smoking twin towers.

Hope?

Change?

When does the tit-for-tat shit ever end?

Islamists perpetrated 9/11 in response to the American military presence in the Middle East and the slaughter of Muslims in the Middle East by the American military. U.S. support of the bloodthirsty Israelis, who can’t slaughter enough Palestinians and Arabs while claiming to be such victims themselves, also prompted the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Of course, I’m an “anti-Semite” for saying that, even though Osama bin Laden and his cohorts have said it themfuckingselves.) 

So we are going to prevent more 9/11’s by slaughtering even more Muslims in the Middle East?

Aren’t we more likely to end up like the Israelis and the Palestinians? Again, when would the tit-for-tat slaughter ever end?

Americans also gravely underestimate Middle Easterners as stupid savages. These are the same “stupid savages” who masterminded the largest terrorist attack on American soil — without using bombs or missiles. And who have given the technologically superior American armed forces a real run for our money (hundreds of billions of dollars of our money) in Vietraq since the unelected Bush regime illegally, immorally, unjustly and unprovokedly started that war in March 2003.

The Repugnicans are loving Obama’s decision to send more young men and women to their slaughter in the Middle East for the profits of the war profiteers, only the Repugnicans (such as war hawk John McCainosaurus) are whining that by giving a timeline for withdrawal, even just his fuzzy 18-month timeline, Obama is “[sending] exactly the wrong message to both our friends and our enemies.”

Oh, puhfuckinglease.

Like our “enemies” don’t know that the United States of America is rotting from within from the ravages of the eight long years of the reign of the unelected BushCheneyCorp and cannot sustain the perpetual warfare that the Repugnican plutocrats — who never have to pay the price of the warfare that they initiate and perpetuate, either in a fair share of taxes or in bodies — want for the United States of America, a la Big Brother in 1984.

I have to agree with Michael Moore that an escalation in Afghanistan is more likely to speed up the Fall of the American Empire than it is to accomplish anything else.

In an open letter to Obama, Moore noted:

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the “war president.”

Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line — and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Yup. The “heathens” tore us to shreds in Vietnam and in Vietraq.

Prolonged warfare in Afghanistan stands to benefit only the war profiteers, whom the Repugnican Party coddles.

We just dumped one “war president” (and rejected the bloodthirsty old bastard who would have continued his policies if he had been elected) only to get another?

I also have to agree with Moore’s assertion that Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan could be his undoing. Moore proclaims in his open letter to Obama:

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can’t take it anymore. We can’t take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of “landslide victory” don’t you understand?

Don’t be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor.

You could send a million troops over there and the crazy right still wouldn’t be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can’t change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can’t be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

I, for one, voted for Obama in November 2008, but I am unlikely to vote for him in 2012, assuming that he runs for re-election.

As a gay man, I’m still waiting for him to deliver on his campaign promise of equal civil and human rights for non-heterosexuals, and his apparent blind support of the military-industrial complex also violates his campaign promise to end the perpetual warfare.

If he goes through with his proposed escalation, Afghanistan probably will be Obama’s Waterloo. Much worse, it could be the final nail in the coffin of the American Empire.

As Moore notes, “Afghanistan’s nickname is the ‘graveyard of empires.'”

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