Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Buying silence: Bush awards Medal of Freedom to key figures in Iraq debacle

By Barry Grey
16 December 2004

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President Bush’s awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday to three of the chief architects and executors of the Iraq war is an affront to the concept of freedom of Orwellian proportions.

The White House ceremony that saw Bush bestow the gold medallions on retired general Tommy Franks, former CIA Director George Tenet and former US administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer for their roles in an illegal war and brutal occupation that have killed 100,000 Iraqis and 1,300 US soldiers could not come as a shock to those who follow this administration with a degree of critical thought and are genuinely devoted to the principle of freedom. Many people throughout the world will react, appropriately, with revulsion.

The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor bestowed in the name of the American people. The dispensation of the award for overtly political purposes is by no means unprecedented. President Lyndon B. Johnson, for example, in the final 24 hours of his presidency in January 1969, gave out 20 medals, including to McGeorge Bundy and Walt W. Rostow, two leading Vietnam War advisers.

Johnson, however, used the award to defend his war policies on the eve of leaving office in response to mounting popular opposition and growing conflicts within the US ruling elite fueled by the worsening military situation in Southeast Asia. The timing of Bush’s awards, and the individuals honored, are clearly meant to show that the military quagmire in Iraq, the continuing opposition within the American population, and the increasingly bitter divisions within the state apparatus—including the military itself—will not deter his administration from continuing its militaristic policy—not only in Iraq, but against future targets of US aggression.

The glaring contradiction between Bush’s praise for the three honorees and the disasters over which they presided—in Tenet’s case, within the US as well as in Iraq—points to an additional motive behind the awards. In the atmosphere of crisis and palace intrigue surrounding the Bush White House, the medals suggest a payoff to buy the silence of individuals in a position to tell tales that could prove highly damaging.

The awards ceremony took place only days after US soldiers about to be shipped to Iraq confronted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Kuwait on the lack of armored vehicles and the “stop loss” policy of forcing soldiers to remain in the military beyond their agreed term.

An indication of the anger growing among the troops was given by Paul Rieckhoff, a former Army lieutenant who served in Iraq and presently heads an organization of veterans opposed to the war. He called the awards “a slap in the face to the troops” from “an administration that loves the big PR move...It validates how out of touch Washington is with the reality of what is on the ground in Iraq.”



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