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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Democratic strategy for Iraq

Gene Lyons
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Don’t hold your breath, but Democrats may be showing signs of life in the national debate over Iraq. For most of three years, including Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign, party leaders have appeared fearful of challenging George W. Bush’s belligerent bungling. They haven’t wanted voters to mistake them for George McGovern, the World War II bomber pilot and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who made the mistake of being right about Vietnam too soon. Now that may be changing.

As recently as July, the party establishment worried that Americans couldn’t be trusted to make elementary distinctions. Writing in the Democratic Leadership Council’s Blueprint Magazine, Will Marshall opined that while "[i] ntellectually, of course, it’s possible to separate Iraq and the war on terror," Democrats needed to be wary lest voters mistake them for anti-American, hippie pacifists. "[A] s the opposition party," Marshall wrote, "Democrats have a responsibility to hold the White House accountable for the painfully high price we’ve paid in Iraq, the thousands killed and wounded, and the billions of dollars spent. But they must do so in a way that makes it clear they are rooting for America to succeed in Iraq."

Marshall urged the party to heed the example of Sens. Joe Biden, John Kerry, Evan Bayh and Hillary Rodham Clinton, "who have set an example for responsible, progressive patriotism."

Rooting for America to succeed in Iraq? As in rooting for the Chicago Cubs to win the National League Central? The bitter truth is that we’re far beyond that. Moreover, the cultural climate is very different. Try as they may, right-wing talk radio savants can’t turn a grieving mother turned anti-war protester, Cindy Sheehan, into another "Hanoi Jane" Fonda—partly because there’s no military draft, there are no mobs of "flower children" chanting slogans in support of Saddam Hussein or barbaric Iraqi insurgents.

Polls show that most Americans have made the basic distinction that DLC thinkers feared would escape them. Recent surveys show that the majority understand that invading Iraq on a false pretext has made the nation not less but more vulnerable to terrorism, weakening the U.S. military, draining the treasury, alienating America’s natural allies among the world’s democracies and sowing Arab fanaticism like dragon’s teeth.

Many see Bush’s famous "resoluteness" for what it is: a stubborn inability to admit error or to compromise with reality. And they’re beginning to wonder if it’s really possible that the U.S. will remain in Iraq indefinitely to guarantee the security of an Islamic state allied with Iran.

Meanwhile, most Democrats agree with the question put by former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart in a recent Washington Post column: "[W] hat will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on?" Many have begun to despair of leadership from the aforementioned U.S. senators, all of whom voted in favor of giving Bush a blank check to do as he pleased on Iraq back in October 2002 and can’t seem to admit they were bamboozled.

But there’s at least one name-brand Democrat who wasn’t obliged to vote in 2002, and whose patriotism is hard to question: retired Gen. Wesley Clark. Maybe that’s why the former NATO supreme commander and neophyte 2004 presidential candidate has taken the lead.

Beginning with a trenchant column in The Washington Post and a subsequent appearance on NBC News’ "Meet the Press," Clark has begun a calculated assault on the Bush administration’s Iraq policy from the right and left simultaneously. "More than half the American people now believe that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake," Clark writes. "They’re right. But it would also be a mistake to pull out now, or to start pulling out or to set a date certain for pulling out. Instead, we need a strategy to create a stable, democratizing and peaceful state in Iraq—a strategy the administration has failed to develop and articulate."

Clark lays down what he calls "a three-pronged strategy: diplomatic, political and military" to deal with the realities the Bush administration ignored in its half-baked belief that American invaders would be greeted by flower-throwing throngs. Almost none, frankly, has any likelihood of being enacted. Hire 10,000 Arab-American translators? Convene a regional security council to hash things out with Iraq’s neighbors, i. e., Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc.? Not gonna happen. And then? "If the administration won’t adopt a winning strategy," Clark writes, "then the American people will be justified in demanding that it bring our troops home." He doesn’t pretend that would be a good thing. Asked about the consequences of retreat in an online forum, Clark concedes that "[a] n exit that leaves behind violence, chaos and civil war will be viewed as a clear American defeat. And it will supercharge terrorist recruiting, increase problems for American diplomacy... and increase the danger closer to home."
Clark only implies that retreat could end up being the least bad option.
Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The end is near.

Sheehan's numbers? Better than Bush's

George W. Bush says that he's met with the families of a lot of fallen soldiers and that Cindy Sheehan "doesn't represent the view of a lot" of them. We have no way of knowing one way or another, of course: The meetings are closed to the press, so it's hard to know what family members have told the president, let alone what they actually think.

But thanks to the wonders of modern polling, we do know what American families think more generally, and it turns out that Cindy Sheehan does indeed "represent the view" of a lot of them. In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of Americans say they support what Cindy Sheehan is doing in Crawford.

The president can only dream about poll numbers like Sheehan's. While Americans support Cindy Sheehan's actions on Iraq by a margin of 53 to 42 percent, the latest AP-Ipsos Poll shows they disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq by a margin of 58 to 37 percent.

Memo to the right: The demonization of Cindy Sheehan is working just about as well as the president's plan for Iraq. Perhaps it's time to reconsider both.

-- T.G.

The Lords of War

George Bush. "One dead American for every day in office".

By Mike Whitney

08/29/05 "ICH" -- -- President Bush's latest milestone in the war on terror has been predictably ignored in the mainstream media. Bush, who is now in the fifth year of his presidency, has served 1727 days in office. With the death toll in Iraq currently at 1873 servicemen, Bush can now boast that at least one American has died for every day he's been in office; a sobering tribute to a man who wants to be remembered "a war president".

Every day; another Casey Sheehan or some other faceless patriot dies in Bush's war of choice.

The tragedy of the war cannot be fully grasped simply by listing the number of American casualties on Bush's watch, but it's a good place to start.

We should also be paying careful attention to the deteriorating situation in Iraq, which is lurching in an even more deadly direction.

The sudden breakdown in the talks on the proposed constitution is an ominous sign that the violence in Iraq is likely to escalate dramatically in the coming months. The Sunnis, who represent 20% of the population and the vast majority of the Iraqi resistance, have played a minor role in drawing up the constitution. The Shiites and Kurds have dominated the negotiations and composed a document that will divide the country into three nearly-autonomous regions; leaving the Sunnis in an area with miniscule oil resources.

The Shiites have managed to introduce Islam as the religion of the state and "a primary source of legislation"; ensuring that it will be an integral part of the legal system all the way up to the Supreme Court. American's who may have thought that we were fighting for democracy in Iraq may want to read Article 2 of the constitution:

Paragraph 1.Islam is the official religion of the state, and is a fundamental source for legislation. No law may be legislated that contravenes the essential verities of Islamic Law. "By specifying Islamic Law this text enshrines Shariah or Islamic Canon Law quite explicitly in the constitution and would allow religious jurists to question secular legislation" (Juan Cole)

Cindy Sheehan has every right to ask if this is the "noble cause" for which her son died.

In just two years Bush has managed to achieve bin Laden's dream of establishing an Islamic Theocracy and rebuilding the Caliphate. Who could have guessed that it would take the ham-fisted policies of the Bush administration to accomplish that goal?

Even more noteworthy, is the language in the constitution that provides for "vast autonomous regions" in the oil-rich north and south that will be controlled by the Kurds and Shiites respectively. That means that the central oil-poor region will be left to the Sunnis, who will lose political power accordingly.

Was the United States behind this strategy to divide Iraq into three parts?

In a word; yes.

Acting viceroy, Zalmay Khalilzad, is one of the founding members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and has been actively involved in the negotiations from the beginning. Khalilzad oversaw the writing of the Afghanistan constitution which, according to the New York Times, "declared it an 'Islamic Republic' in which no law could contradict Islam". Khalilzad has played a similarly supportive role in Iraq and produced the very same results.

In view of this, it is absurd to say that the administration is committed to democracy in the Middle East. Quite the contrary, they are looking to duplicate the Saudi regime which has served American colonial objectives for over 50 years.

Does the Bush administration support the division of Iraq, as well? Of course; it was the US that introduced the deceptive language of "federalism", probably conjured up in a right-wing think tank, to disguise their real intention of breaking the country up into smaller, more manageable mini-states. The principle of "divide and conquer" is still the time-honored strategy of imperial powers. There's nothing new here.

Two weeks ago, the Washington Post reported that "The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges." It was an astonishing admission of failure in all the original objectives of the war. The constitution moves the US mission in Iraq from mere disappointment to catastrophe. It is the calculated partitioning of the country and the destruction of Iraqi society through civil war. The administration's plan to break up Iraq will end the political process, energize the resistance and, ultimately kill more American soldiers.

Bush is now in a great position to smash his previous record for "more dead Americans than days served in office".


Charge Him or Release Him
Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned
Without Trial or Charges for 3
Years and 114 Days

Chimp_junta kills Reuters cameraman and holds two others in solitary confinement---Why? What did they see???

Top News Article | "BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Reuters demanded the immediate release on Monday of an Iraqi cameraman who was still being held by U.S. forces in Baghdad more than a day after being wounded in an incident in which his soundman was killed.

Iraqi police said the news team was shot by U.S. soldiers.

The U.S. military said it was investigating and refused to say what questions it was putting to cameraman Haider Kadhem. It would not say where he was held nor identify the unit holding him."

Chimpers delivers "dumbokracie" to Irakkeys by gun barrel

Monday, August 29, 2005

Indy to play War Criminal General Mark Kimmet, the FUCKING BUTCHER OF FALLUJAH!?!

Here is a petition against a film being made about Fallujah in Hollywood which I encourage you to sign and distribute far and wide:

To: Patricia McQueeney, Mr Ford's agent

Harrison Ford has announced that he wishes to play the role of the
general in charge of the assault and seige of Fallujah, in an upcoming
movie to be entitled No True Glory. This action resulted in the
destruction of a whole city and the loss of many thousand innocent
lives, and caused over 300,000 people to become homeless, while the
insurgent Iraqis mostly slipped away, to attack again from elsewhere. We
do not trust Hollywood to show the abuses of the US forces, who broke
Geneva Conventions and denied civilians hospitals, water, food, opening
fire on ambulances and denying the press coverage. We do not believe the
military to have been innocent pawns of flawed government, and do not
wish Mr Ford to play General Mattis, and we vote against the making of
this film. We ask the studios to examine history before they rewrite it.
We ask Mr Ford to read up on the truth. "And the truth shall set us free."

Chimp_junta's other puppet, Greenspan

Greenspan and the Bubble - New York Times: "Regular readers know that I have never forgiven the Federal Reserve chairman for his role in creating today's budget deficit. In 2001 Mr. Greenspan, a stern fiscal taskmaster during the Clinton years, gave decisive support to the Bush administration's irresponsible tax cuts, urging Congress to reduce the federal government's revenue so that it wouldn't pay off its debt too quickly.

Since then, federal debt has soared. But as far as I can tell, Mr. Greenspan has never admitted that he gave Congress bad advice. He has, however, gone back to lecturing us about the evils of deficits."

Chimp_Junta may have to extradite Pat Robertson, the terrorist

Chavez seeks justice on Robertson remarks: "CARACAS, Venezuela (UPI) -- The Venezuelan government said it might request the extradition of a U.S. televangelist who called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez said his government would take legal action against Pat Robertson, stressing that 'to call for the assassination of a head of state is an act of terrorism.'

Last week TV preacher and conservative personality Robertson said that the United States should not spend billions of dollars trying to remove Chavez from power. Rather the U.S. military should send assassins into Venezuela to kill the president.

We don`t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator,' Robertson said. 'It`s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.'

Robertson has since apologized for his comments though said he was also misquoted. The evangelist`s controversial comments were televised on his program 'The 700 Club,' broadcast by the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International"

This day in history...

Jerusalem fell to Roman army
Josephus before Vespasian, detail of a miniature from a Josephus manuscript, 14th century; in the …

70: The First Jewish Revolt was the result of a long series of clashes in which small groups of Jews offered sporadic resistance to the Romans, who in turn responded with severe countermeasures. In AD 66 the Jews combined in revolt, expelled the Romans from Jerusalem, and overwhelmed a Roman punitive force. A revolutionary government was then set up. Vespasian was dispatched by the Roman emperor Nero to crush the rebellion. He was joined by Titus, and together the Roman armies entered Galilee, where the historian Josephus headed the Jewish forces. Josephus's army was confronted by that of Vespasian and fled. Josephus gave himself up, and the Roman forces swept the country. On this day, the 9th of the month of Av, Jerusalem fell; the Temple was burned, and the Jewish state collapsed.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Chimp_Junta kills another newsperson--the latest breech of Geneva conventions on war crimes-- trying to bring out the truth of the occupation

Reuters soundman killed in Baghdad, police blame US - Yahoo! News: "BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A Reuters Television soundman was shot dead in Baghdad on Sunday and a cameraman with him was wounded and then detained by U.S. soldiers.

Iraqi police said they had been shot by U.S. forces. A U.S. military spokesman said the incident was being investigated."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Two Green Zones

by Dahr Jamail (Unembedded independent war correspondent)

As the US-backed Iraqi puppet government flails about arguing over the so-called constitution, Iraq remains in a state of complete anarchy. There is no government control whatsoever, even inside the infamous “Green Zone” where the puppets seem to have tangled their strings.

Why the harsh tone for the conflagrations of the so-called Iraqi government?

Because the price paid for this unimaginably huge misadventure of the neo-conservative driven Bush junta is being paid by real human beings who shed real blood and cry real tears. Because well over 100,000 Iraqis and over 1,800 US soldiers would be alive today if it wasn’t for the puppeteers of Mr. Bush.

Continue reading "Two “Green Zones”" on Dahr Jamail's Blog

Arianna Huffington's Blog:

The New York Times Falls off the Wagon
Posted August 22, 2005 at 7:20 p.m. EDT

It's hard to believe, but the New York Times is back on Chalabi. Not unlike Courtney Love, the paper of record swears it's going to go straight, stop using, be responsible, really change this time, and then it happens again. For whatever reason, the paper falls off the wagon. It's an addiction. And addicts embarrass themselves again and again. And you feel stupid for ever having given them the benefit of the doubt.

And they try to hide it. Just look at the August 22 above-the-fold, front-page story on Iraq's constitution. It's headlined "Leaders in Iraq Report Progress on Constitution."

Who are those "leaders"? Once again, Ahmad Chalabi and an American official speaking "on condition of anonymity." And Chalabi is simply identified as "the deputy prime minister."

The deputy prime minister? That's it? That's like doing a piece on the energy bill and citing one of your main sources as "Ken Lay, a prominent Houston businessman."

They could at least have added a sentence from their own newspaper of May 26, 2004: "[Chalabi] became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off."

Or, here are a few other descriptions they could have used:

Ahmad Chalabi, who used the United States to try to regain power in Iraq and then bragged "we are heroes in error."

Ahmad Chalabi, the man who bamboozled the Pentagon while pocketing $340,000 a month from the US government.

Ahmad Chalabi, who introduced Curveball, another phony source on WMD, to the intelligence community, and whose chief aide was Curveball's brother.

Ahmad Chalabi, who tried to sabotage the efforts by the United Nations to put in place an interim government in Iraq.

Ahmad Chalabi, who gave faulty intelligence to Times reporter Judith Miller in an attempt to mislead the American people and thus make it easier for the Bush Administration to invade Iraq.

Adding any one of these descriptions would have meant leveling with the Times readers in a way that simply describing Chalabi as the "deputy prime minister" did not.

It's not surprising that the LA Times story from the same day, which did not use Chalabi as a source, turned out to be a much more accurate prediction of what happened.


At least we know it wasn't Judy Miller's fault. The one good thing about prison is that it gives you a great alibi.

The Times will have to bottom out before it decides to go straight. It's not as if we're not rooting for them. I mean, I really believed they were sincere when they said, in their war-reporting mea culpa:

The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on "regime change" in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as anoccasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.)

And the mea culpa ended with:

We consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight.

They probably meant it at the time. But the question is: how many chances do they get?

And this one:

It All Goes Back to Casey
Posted August 24, 2005 at 4:09 a.m. EDT

I met Cindy Sheehan on Sunday afternoon while her mother was still in the intensive care unit. Listening to her, I just wanted my teenage daughters to meet her. Because it's never too early to teach young women fearlessness. And despite everything Cindy Sheehan has been through in the last year and a half, including weeks of sliming and smearing and swift-boating by Bush's attack machine, what she exudes, above all, is fearlessness. Fearlessness and authenticity.

With her was her sister Dede, eleven months younger and, as Cindy put it, "Casey's second mom."

"The fun mom," bantered Dede.

"Well I was fun too," Cindy shot back. "You were just the funnest one."

Somehow whatever we were talking about, the conversation would always steer back to Casey. Never more chillingly than when Cindy described that night in April 2004 when she and her husband were watching CNN and the news from Iraq came on about a Humvee burning... eight soldiers killed.

"I just knew at that moment," she told me, "that one of them was Casey. My husband got angry with me. 'You can't do that to yourself every time there is news of a dead soldier in Iraq,' he said. 'There are a hundred and thirty thousand American soldiers there, so what are the chances?' Still, I knew. After a while I just went out walking with my dogs, crying all the way. On the way back, as I turned the corner, I could see three Army officers in my living room. They were waiting for me. Casey had designated me 'first of kin,' so I was the one to whom they had to give the news of his death. I just collapsed on the floor."

It's that unfathomable pain that, through the months that followed, she turned into a take-no-prisoners stand. And it's that pain that continues to fuel her determination -- no matter what's thrown at her. The more unreal and disconnected Bush becomes, the more real and engaged Cindy is.

And instead of just summoning the small amount of courage it would take to meet with her and answer her questions, the president retreats to his fraudulent allusions to a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq as the justification for the war. (This will culminate next month in the "Freedom Walk," Bush's plan to commemorate those who died on Sept. 11th by using them in a political stunt to save his sagging presidency.)

And now there is Bush's newest fabrication about the Iraqi constitution, or at least the latest draft of a draft of a constitution:

Q If [the constitution] is rooted in Islam, as it seems it will there still the possibility of honoring the rights of women?

THE PRESIDENT: I talked to Condi, and there is not -- as I understand it, the way the constitution is written is that women have got rights, inherent rights recognized in the constitution, and that the constitution talks about not "the religion," but "a religion."

In fact, that's not at all what Article 2 Para. 1 says: "Islam is the official religion of state, and is a fundamental source for legislation."

So is this version of Islamic theocracy what we are fighting for? Is this the "noble cause" Cindy's son died for?

Cindy Sheehan, in personifying the human cost of the war, has exposed the fault lines in the administration's policies. Her real concern for the troops highlights the president's lack of concern, and her sacrifice makes nonsense of Bush's questioning the patriotism of anybody who disagrees with him. Editor and Publisher reported on Tuesday:

Meeting briefly with reporters Monday aboard Air Force One, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman subbing for Scott McClellan, said that President Bush believes that those who want the U.S. to begin to change course in Iraq do not want America to win the overall "war on terror."

Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford as the smear machine moved into overdrive. Its talking points are now in the mouths of supposedly neutral anchors. Example: Norah O'Donnell subbing for Chris Matthews, on Hardball , referred to those at Camp Casey as "anti-war extremists."

Welcome back to Crawford, Cindy.

© 2005, LLC

Friday, August 26, 2005 Should I move to Amsterdam?

Seth Stevenson
Subject: Shroomin'
Friday, Aug. 26, 2005, at 4:24 AM PT

Click here for a slide show.

9: Satori

It's my last day in Amsterdam. I've got no one to hang out with. I've seen all the good museums, I've biked through all the interesting neighborhoods. What's left?

Ah yes, one last thing to do: eat psychedelic mushrooms.

I'm fretting over this decision. I have taken shrooms once or twice before, but it was years ago. What if I get superpotent, brainfry shrooms, flip out, and wind up in a straightjacket? It's especially scary because I'm a firm believer in the buddy system, and I'm alone here. Also, to top it all off, it's drizzly out. Which means all the best shrooming spots (nature preserves, the beach, nice parks) are out of the question. My worry is that urban shrooming—in the streets and public spaces of central Amsterdam—could turn into a howling, gnashing nightmare.

But screw it. It's time for me to dance with the fungus.

Luckily, the "smart shops" here are incredibly professional. They tell you precisely the dosage to take (it's pre-packaged), help you determine which shrooms are best suited for your purposes (I took a pass on the daunting "Philosopher's Stones" and went for the wussiest option: "Thai"), and even explain how to come down if you're freaking out (you fill your stomach with food and sugary drinks, which mutes the effect).

So, now I've bought some shrooms, scurried them back to my hotel room, and gobbled them up. And now the waiting game begins. I walk around Amsterdam aimlessly, doing some window shopping, trying to kill time until the trip kicks in.

I'm in an H&M, on the edge of the socks and accessories aisle, when the drugs begin to take hold. My body starts to yell at me: "Something is happening! What is happening?! Yeeeee!!" Racks of cotton dresses shimmer together in a wavy mass. Sounds that were soft are suddenly loud, while sounds that were loud are now fading away.

I manage to stumble outside to an empty park bench. The trees here are waving wooden fingers at me, and birds are somehow flying without flapping their wings. It feels like I'm in a scene from Koyaanisqatsi. And my stomach seems poised to eject from my torso at any moment. I am clinging to broken shards of reality.

Then, after a few terrifying minutes like this, it all smoothes out. My stomach settles. My eyes refocus. I decide that I am not in fact dying ... and that the basic laws of physics still pertain. I gather myself, and I stand up straight.

It feels like there is a magical accordion in my skull and that it's pumping a thick, steady breeze of colors through my brain.

The rain has picked up and that low, weighty Netherlands sky looks sort of evil, so I duck into a nearby cinema. I complete the ticket transaction with a surprising degree of competence. Now I find myself watching What the #$*! Do We Know? in a theater with a few dozen people. The British women to my left whisper during the coming attractions, gossiping about their love lives. Their voices sound like they're living inside my cortex. Then the film starts up, and it turns out to be just the ticket: an exploration of quantum physics and the meaning of life, written by members of a bizarre, guru-centered cult. Perrrrrfect.

The accordion in my skull eventually slows. The experience is becoming less physical and more cerebral. My thoughts race and blend. Concepts and forms crystallize, then melt, then merge.

I start contemplating my visit to Amsterdam: how wonderful travel is—the way it jolts you from patterns and ruts and lets you examine your everyday life from the outside. I think about the people I've met here, conjuring their faces in my mind. I remember the thoughts and stories that spilled out in our conversations. Each person and thought and story forges a teensy new dot in my brain ... a dot that hadn't been there before ... and these dots join a web of connections in my head ... and the people and places and thoughts and stories swirl together in an overarching conceptual understanding of the universe and my place in it ...

I know it's silly. I know I've totally lost you here. And I don't mind you laughing at me—I realize that this seems not nearly so profound as it did when I was in that satori moment.

One thing about interesting drugs (not boring drugs like cocaine or Vicodin) is that they can help you appreciate simple truths. Things you've been taking for granted. I mean, you look down at your hand, and the drugs say, "Wow, far out, there are bones inside my hand!" but then the sober, together voice in your head says, "Well, of course there are bones inside your hand, you doofus—you have a skeletal system to provide structure for your body," and then the drugs say, "No, dude—there are bones inside my hand! That is trippy!"

And the thing is, both of you are right.

When the film ends, I sit in the cinema lobby for a while (it's a plush, upscale place—not some popcorn-shrapneled megaplex), and I let myself come down. I sip on a fountain Vanilla Coke. I watch people come and go. A few Dutchies have set up a sort of picnic at a table in the corner. They are surrounded by their empty bottles of Heineken. Their children are playing a game of tag, shrieking and circling the bench I'm sitting on. People board the escalator, and I follow them with my eyes as they ascend. Everyone I see, I love. You, guy in the glasses with a backpack: You're A-OK! Hey, you, mom with the stroller: Rock on! I feel deep empathy for all humankind. This is a feeling I wish to hold onto forever yet also wish to be rid of as soon as possible.

I suck at my straw and the last drops of Vanilla Coke burble up to my tongue. So, this is the end. My travels are over. Tomorrow I'll get on a plane and be back at home, back at work, back in the swing, back on track.

But I've realized it's just a state of mind. Going to an art museum shifts my perspective. Meeting new people shifts my perspective. Taking mushrooms shifts my perspective. Being here in Amsterdam shifts my perspective. But I needn't actually move to Amsterdam (or, thank God, be on mushrooms) to find the life I'm seeking. It's all waiting for us, up there in our noggins. We choose to become who we are, and together we all create the world we live in. And now my rational, together voice is saying, "Duh! You're a mushroom-eating moron." But my Amsterdam voice is saying, "That is trippy!"

Every animal deserves love--and has tons of love to share

Humane society going 'no-kill' - Jacksonville - "JACKSONVILLE -- The Jacksonville Humane Society will adopt a no-kill policy Oct. 1, the first move in an organized effort to end the common act of euthanizing unwanted animals by government and private shelters in four area counties.
The no-kill policy, under which only animals in intractable pain or having a dangerous temperament are destroyed, has divided animal activists in other cities and can curb fundraising, said Joseph Cannon, executive director of the humane society. No-kill shelters are limited admission and many wonder about the fate of the animals turned away. "


Thursday, August 25, 2005

For your weekend viewing pleasure--harmless and beautiful, a red Argiope spider builds a web outside my study! (Scale 6" from tip to tip)

A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed

A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed - Yahoo! News

"WASHINGTON — Toward the end of a steamy summer week in 2003, reporters were peppering the White House with phone calls and e-mails, looking for someone to defend the administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction in

About to emerge as a key critic was Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who asserted that the administration had manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion.

At the White House, there wasn't much interest in responding to critics like Wilson that Fourth of July weekend. The communications staff faced more pressing concerns — the president's imminent trip to Africa, growing questions about the war and declining ratings in public opinion polls.

Wilson's accusations were based on an investigation he undertook for the
CIA. But he was seen inside the White House as a "showboater" whose stature didn't warrant a high-level administration response. "Let him spout off solo on a holiday weekend," one White House official recalled saying. "Few will listen."

In fact, millions were riveted that Sunday as Wilson — on NBC's "Meet the Press" and in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post — accused the administration of ignoring intelligence that didn't support its rationale for war.

Underestimating the impact of Wilson's allegations was one in a series of misjudgments by White House officials.

In the days that followed, they would cast doubt on Wilson's CIA mission to Africa by suggesting to reporters that his wife was responsible for his trip. In the process, her identity as a covert CIA agent was divulged — possibly illegally.

For the last 20 months, a tough-minded special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has been looking into how the media learned that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative.

Top administration officials, along with several influential journalists, have been questioned by prosecutors.

Beyond the whodunit, the affair raises questions about the credibility of the Bush White House, the tactics it employs against political opponents and the justification it used for going to war.

What motivated President Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove; Vice President Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; and others to counter Wilson so aggressively? How did their roles remain secret until after the president was reelected? Have they fully cooperated with the investigation?

The answers remain elusive. As Fitzgerald's team has moved ahead, few witnesses have been willing to speak publicly. White House officials declined to comment for this article, citing the ongoing inquiry.

But a close examination of events inside the White House two summers ago, and interviews with administration officials, offer new insights into the White House response, the people who shaped it, the deep disdain Cheney and other administration officials felt for the CIA, and the far-reaching consequences of the effort to manage the crisis."


Cindy Denounces Bush's Smokescreen

George (Chimpo) Bush in Idaho on Tuesday:

"I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."

Cindy's reply:

"This is the biggest smokescreen from him yet. I didn't ask him to withdraw the troops; I asked him, what 'noble cause' Casey died for. I am still waiting for one of the press corps to ask him that. I am still waiting for that answer.

First, we were told WMDs -- false. Then we were told Saddam=Osama -- false. Then we were told Saddam was a bad man to his own people and we had to get rid of him -- he's gone. Then we were told the Iraqi people had to have elections -- they did. Now we are spreading 'freedom and democracy' but we are building 14 permanent bases, some the size of Sacramento, California. To me that indicates that we are spreading the cancer of imperialism and usurping THEIR natural resources."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cowardly opposition party...Democrats piss their pants and ask for more boots on ground?!?

Who Will Say 'No More'?
by Senator Gary Hart
Wednesday, August 24, 2005; Page A15

"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative era entered.

Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse.

Gravestones of fallen Americans at Arlington National Cemetery. (J. Scott Applewhite -- AP)

History will deal with George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who misled a mighty nation into a flawed war that is draining the finest military in the world, diverting Guard and reserve forces that should be on the front line of homeland defense, shredding international alliances that prevailed in two world wars and the Cold War, accumulating staggering deficits, misdirecting revenue from education to rebuilding Iraqi buildings we've blown up, and weakening America's national security.


Bush advertises on the tombstones of the ones he sent to die

Operation Names Added to Gravestones: "Families are supposed to have final approval over what goes on the tombstones. That has not always happened.

Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval."

More reprehensible war crimes from Bush & Co

Reuters calls for release of Iraqi cameraman - Yahoo! News: "BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Reuters called on the U.S. military on Wednesday to explain the detention of an Iraqi journalist working for the agency, who has been held incommunicado for two weeks, or release him immediately.

U.S. military spokesmen have refused to say why they are holding Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani, a 36-year-old freelance cameraman and photographer who has worked for the international news organization for a year in Ramadi, capital of Anbar region.

Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, spokesman for U.S. detainee operations in Iraq, said the journalist was now in Baghdad's
Abu Ghraib prison: 'He will not be able to have visitors for the next 60 days,' he added.

Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said: 'We are very concerned and dismayed by this unexplained and prolonged detention of a journalist working for us and urge the U.S. military either to release him or provide a full account of the accusations against him."


Bush’s campaign on Iraq: more lies in defense of war

By the Editorial Board
24 August 2005

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

The campaign launched by the Bush administration this week to boost public support for the war in Iraq is both reactionary and desperate. Reactionary, because it entails an escalation of the lies spewed forth to conceal the predatory aims of American imperialism in its conquest of Iraq. Desperate, because the White House imagines that official propaganda can offset the impact of the daily bloodshed in Iraq on American public opinion.

Bush devoted his Saturday radio address to Iraq, followed by an appearance Monday before the convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Salt Lake City, Utah and a speech Wednesday to a National Guard assembly in Idaho.

The “big lie” of 9/11

In both his Saturday radio address and his speech Monday to the VFW, Bush reiterated the principal theme of his “war on terror.” The United States was engaged in the “first war of the 21st century,” he said, one which began with the attacks of September 11, 2001 and will continue until “total victory” over the terrorists.

For nearly four years the White House has used the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon as an all-purpose justification for military aggression abroad and attacks on democratic rights at home, but the “big lie” of 9/11 has become more and more threadbare. Bush has long since dropped the claims, voiced incessantly before the invasion of Iraq, that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Qaeda, and that he might supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction to use against American targets.

No WMD have ever been found in Iraq, nor was there ever any evidence of significant collaboration between the Iraqi leader, a secular nationalist, and the Islamic fundamentalists, bitter enemies for decades in the politics of the Middle East. Bush made no reference to either issue in his speeches this week.

Instead, he told the VFW, “this is a different kind of war. Our enemies are not organized into battalions, or commanded by governments.” This ignores the inconvenient reality that in both Afghanistan and Iraq it was precisely battalions and governments that were the target of the US invasions. The American military overthrew the Taliban regime of Mullah Omar and the Baathist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, destroying their organized military forces and occupying their countries.

In neither country was the war actually directed against terrorists. In the case of Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and the bulk of his followers escaped into neighboring Pakistan. In the case of Iraq, there were no terrorists active until after the US invasion and occupation triggered an insurgent movement among sections of the Iraqi population.

In both cases, terrorism was only the pretext for carrying out a program of conquest and occupation of territories of major strategic value: Iraq, possessor of the second largest oil reserves in the world, occupying a central position in the Middle East; and Afghanistan, whose invasion brought American military forces in strength into Central Asia, a rising source of oil and gas.

Neo-conservative ideologues of the Republican right advocated the projection of US military power into Central Asia and the Middle East long before 9/11. They argued that the United States should seize the opportunity for successful military aggression opened up by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Democracy” in Iraq

After Iraqi WMD proved to be non-existent, the Bush administration shifted its justification for the invasion to its alleged mission to establish democracy in Iraq. In his speech to the VFW, Bush portrayed all resistance to the US occupation of Iraq as opposition to democracy. “Terrorists like bin Laden and his ally, Zarqawi,” he said, “are trying to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a place where women are beaten, religious and ethnic minorities are executed, and terrorists have sanctuary to plot attacks against free people.”

These words actually describe what American occupation has created in Iraq. Only it is the Iraqi puppet of the US occupiers, the transitional government in Baghdad, which is attacking women and religious and ethnic minorities.

According to a lengthy account published August 21 in the Washington Post, “Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country’s divide along ethnic and sectarian lines, according to political leaders, families of the victims, human rights activists and Iraqi officials... In Basra in the south, dominated by the Shiites, and Mosul in the north, ruled by the Kurds, as well as cities and villages around them, many residents have said they are powerless before the growing sway of the militias, which instill a climate of fear that many see as redolent of the era of former president Saddam Hussein.”

The Post report described “dozens of assassinations” in Basra, Iraq’s Shiite-ruled second-largest city, many of them carried out by men wearing police uniforms, and a network of secret prisons in northern Iraq where the two ruling Kurdish parties “incarcerate hundreds of Sunni Arabs, Turkmens and other minorities abducted and secretly transferred from Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city.”

As for the status of women, the draft constitution tentatively agreed to by the Shiite and Kurdish party leaders—and hailed by the Bush administration—represents a drastic regression, subordinating women to the rule of the Islamic fundamentalist clergy, who will decide family and property disputes in religious courts based upon “sharia,” Islamic religious law severely unfavorable to women.

According to the Post, a fervent editorial supporter of the Iraq war, “The draft constitution submitted Monday stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, negotiators confirmed. Opponents have charged that the latter provision would subject Iraqis to rule by religious edicts of individual clerics or sects. The opponents also said women would lose gains they made during Hussein’s rule, when they were guaranteed equal rights under civil law in matters including marriage, divorce and inheritance.”

The New York Times noted that US pressure was instrumental in insuring that religious rather than secular law would govern family relations: “The tentative agreements on Islam were brokered by the American ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, according to a Kurdish negotiator who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the delicacy of the talks. The Kurdish leader said that in both cases, Mr. Khalilzad had sided with Shiite leaders in backing a more expansive role for Islam. That, the Kurd said, angered many of the secular-minded Iraqis who have been fighting for a stricter separation between Islam and the state.”

A government in crisis

The immediate cause of this hastily scheduled round of appearances was the presence of Cindy Sheehan outside Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Sheehan became an antiwar campaigner after her son Casey was killed on patrol in Baghdad last year. More than 1,000 people have flocked to Crawford to join Camp Casey, demanding Bush meet with Sheehan. As many as 60,000 people participated in evening vigils on August 17, in response to an appeal to support Sheehan’s demand for immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

While Republican Party spokesmen and right-wing media outlets like Fox News smear Sheehan and deride Camp Casey as a publicity stunt, Sheehan’s efforts have won a powerful response among the wider public because they are rooted in the brutal reality of a war which has taken tens of thousands of lives, both Iraqi and American.

The US death toll in Iraq was 1,864 when Bush addressed the VFW, (2,087 when deaths in Afghanistan are added). More than 15,000 have been wounded, many of them horribly, and countless thousands have been damaged psychologically, like the “Marine of the Year” who lost control and fired a shotgun at partygoers last week in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Nearly all of these US victims of the war are young men and women killed or maimed in the prime of their lives. Each of them is connected to dozens if not hundreds of family members, friends, and co-workers all over the United States. To this must be added the families and friends of the nearly 200,000 troops in and around the two war zones, held as hostages to be used as cannon fodder in the Bush administration’s criminal war. The result is a collective trauma that already affects millions, mainly in the more impoverished sections of the working class where military service has been a traditional route to college education or technical skills.

Sheehan has touched a chord in public consciousness with her bitter attacks on Bush as a war criminal who should be held responsible for causing the death of her son. She voices what millions feel: anger at the arrogant lying of the Bush administration and at Bush’s own personal indifference to the fate of the soldiers whom he ordered into Iraq. This is a president who has never attended the funeral of a soldier killed in his wars, and who mentioned the number of soldiers killed in Iraq for the first time in his speech Monday to the VFW, more than two years after the war began.

While Sheehan has become the focal point, antiwar sentiment is growing rapidly, even according to the opinion polls commissioned by the largely pro-war US media. Public support for Bush’s conduct of the war in Iraq was down to 34 percent in one recent poll, and by a nearly two-to-one margin those polled said they now opposed Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. The polarization over Iraq has reached an unprecedented level, with 80 percent of self-identified Republicans supporting the war, but only 12 percent of Democrats. (Among those with no party affiliation, only 36 percent supported the war.)

There is no reason to believe, however, that the Bush administration will be pressured by the growth of antiwar sentiment to pull back from its policy of military aggression. On the contrary, a government which took the country into war on the basis of out-and-out lies will have no compunction about using the most brutal and anti-democratic methods to continue on its chosen course—including the preparation of new wars, such as an attack on Iran, using that country’s nuclear energy program as a pretext.

Bush’s war policy is sustained, not by popular support, but by the consensus of opinion in US ruling circles, including virtually all the leading figures in the Democratic Party, that winning the war in Iraq is a vital necessity for American imperialism. Having embarked on a course of military aggression aimed at seizing control of crucial energy resources, there is to be no turning back.

In both his radio speech and his address to the VFW, Bush made repeated references to World War II, comparing his “war on terror” to the struggle against Nazism. If comparisons are to be made to Nazi Germany, however, it is Bush who is aping the methods of Hitler, at least in foreign policy. Not since the Third Reich has a great power so brazenly trampled on international law, defied world public opinion, and sought to achieve its goals through the ruthless exercise of military force.

The eruption of American militarism has the most ominous implications, not only for the people of the countries targeted for US conquest, but for the working people of the United States as well. It was significant that Bush chose to devote much of his VFW speech, not to Iraq, but to demands for more repressive powers for the government at home, including renewal of the notorious USA Patriot Act. Rather than bringing democracy to the Middle East, the danger is that this program of military aggression will mean the end of democracy in the United States.

The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party call on all American working people to unite in a broad, grassroots campaign against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to demand the immediate withdrawal of all American and other foreign troops, the payment of reparations to those countries, and the prosecution and punishment as war criminals of all those responsible for planning and executing the program of military aggression.

This struggle cannot be waged through protest and pressure on the political establishment, or appeals to any section of the Democratic Party. It requires the building of a new, independent mass socialist party of the working people. And it must combine the struggle against war and militarism with the defense of the social and economic interests of working people at home: jobs, living standards, social services and democratic rights.

See Also:
The media and Cindy Sheehan

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cindy puts George on the spot again

My Response to George As He Speaks from his Vacation away from his Vacation: "The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford - Day 17

By Cindy Sheehan

(The quotes are from an AP story)

08/23/05 'BuzzFlash' -- -- 'President Bush charged Tuesday that anti-war protesters like Cindy Sheehan who want troops brought home immediately do not represent the views of most U.S. military families and are 'advocating a policy that would weaken the United States.''

Bringing our troops home from the quagmire that he has gotten us into will be weakening the United States? George: even if you pretend you didn't know that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction and Iraq was not threat to the USA before you invaded -- Americans know differently. We have read the reports and the Downing Street Memos. We know you had to 'fit the intelligence around the policy' of invading Iraq. I want to know what your real reasons were.

'In brief remarks outside the resort where he is vacationing, Bush gave no indication that he would change his mind and meet with Sheehan after he returns to his Texas ranch Wednesday evening. Sheehan lost a son in Iraq and has emerged as a harsh critic of the war.'

I will be back in Crawford George: Even closer to you now in Camp Casey II. Why don't you channel some courage from my son and come down and face me. Face the truth. Your house of cards built on smoke and mirrors is crumbling and you know it.

'Sheehan has been maintaining a vigil outside Bush's ranch, a demonstration that has been joined by more and more other anti-war protesters.'

Because I am not the only one in America who wants the answers, America wants the answers."


Slaughter of innocents by Nazi Hoards gets more violent

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **

*This is an appeal written by Iraqi Doctors concerning what is happening in western Iraq. It is both extremely informative as well as an important appeal. Operations in many of these areas are ongoing today, despite the fact that this press release is a week old:


*As US/ Iraqi military attacks continue in Haditha, Rawa, Parwana and Heet in the West of Iraq, Doctors for Iraq is warning of an urgent health and humanitarian crisis unfolding on the ground.

Haditha, Rawa and Parwana have been under attack for the past three
weeks with US/ Iraqi military activities intensifying over the past few
days. The main hospitals in the area are reporting shortages of medicine
oxygen, sugerical kits, anti-biotics and other basic medicines.

Civilians have fled to neighbouring towns and villages such as Ana and
are in need of basic foods, water and shelter. Shop keepers are unable
to open their premises because of the US/ Iraqi operation, and trucks
with urgent food supplies are facing serious difficulties entering the
seiged areas.

Eyewitnesses and medical personal have told Doctors For Iraq that
snipers are operating inside some of the seiged cities. Haditha hospital
estimates that at least eleven civilians were killed during the attack
and 15 injured. The US military prevented ambulances from entering the
areas and medics from working freely. The area remains under siege.

Local people say that US marines invaded the town of Rawa and carried
out air strikes bombing many buildings and homes. It unclear how many
civilians have been killed or injured in the areas where the military is
carrying out operations A school building in Parwana was bombed with
people inside the school. It is unclear how many people were inside the
school and who they were.

Doctors for Iraq has organised for medical aid to reach some of the
hospitals and a medical team has been sent to the affected areas.

The military operations in the West of Iraq have left the healthcare
system paralysed. Hospitals in the area are unable to provide sufficient
medical services for the population. The new military attacks are
further compounding the suffering of people in the area.

Doctors for Iraq is calling for the *_immediate_* *_end_* of US/ Iraqi
military attacks in the area.

Doctors for Iraqi is calling for an independent investigation into the
serious breaches of the Geneva Convention, the alleged killing of
civilians and obstructing medical personal from carrying out there work.

We need urgent medical supplies to be delivered to the hospitals in the

For more information or to find out how you can send medical aid to the
areas contact:

Dr. Salam Ismael
_Salam.obaidi at
_Or Aisha Ismael
_Press.officer at doctorsforiraq.org_

Call these bastards today:
White House
COMMENTS: 202-456-1111
SWITCHBOARD: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

Stop the bombing. Stop the killing. The president will answer to a war crimes tribunal for this.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hey chimp, strike three. Walk away.

The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan - New York Times: "August 21, 2005


CINDY SHEEHAN couldn't have picked a more apt date to begin the vigil that ambushed a president: Aug. 6 was the fourth anniversary of that fateful 2001 Crawford vacation day when George W. Bush responded to an intelligence briefing titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States' by going fishing. On this Aug. 6 the president was no less determined to shrug off bad news. Though 14 marine reservists had been killed days earlier by a roadside bomb in Haditha, his national radio address that morning made no mention of Iraq. Once again Mr. Bush was in his bubble, ensuring that he wouldn't see Ms. Sheehan coming. So it goes with a president who hasn't foreseen any of the setbacks in the war he fabricated against an enemy who did not attack inside the United States in 2001.

When these setbacks happen in Iraq itself, the administration punts. But when they happen at home, there's a game plan. Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president who had 'other priorities' during Vietnam.

The most prominent smear victims have been Bush political opponents with heroic Vietnam résumés: John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry. But the list of past targets stretches from the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke to Specialist Thomas Wilson, the grunt who publicly challenged Donald Rumsfeld about inadequately armored vehicles last December. The assault on the whistle-blower Joseph Wilson - the diplomat described by the first President Bush as 'courageous' and 'a true American hero" for confronting Saddam to save American hostages in 1991 - was so toxic it may yet send its perpetrators to jail.

True to form, the attack on Cindy Sheehan surfaced early on Fox News, where she was immediately labeled a "crackpot" by Fred Barnes. The right-wing blogosphere quickly spread tales of her divorce, her angry Republican in-laws, her supposed political flip-flops, her incendiary sloganeering and her association with known ticket-stub-carrying attendees of "Fahrenheit 9/11." Rush Limbaugh went so far as to declare that Ms. Sheehan's "story is nothing more than forged documents - there's nothing about it that's real."

But this time the Swift Boating failed, utterly, and that failure is yet another revealing historical marker in this summer's collapse of political support for the Iraq war.

When the Bush mob attacks critics like Ms. Sheehan, its highest priority is to change the subject. If we talk about Richard Clarke's character, then we stop talking about the administration's pre-9/11 inattentiveness to terrorism. If Thomas Wilson is trashed as an insubordinate plant of the "liberal media," we forget the Pentagon's abysmal failure to give our troops adequate armor (a failure that persists today, eight months after he spoke up). If we focus on Joseph Wilson's wife, we lose the big picture of how the administration twisted intelligence to gin up the threat of Saddam's nonexistent W.M.D.'s.

The hope this time was that we'd change the subject to Cindy Sheehan's "wacko" rhetoric and the opportunistic left-wing groups that have attached themselves to her like barnacles. That way we would forget about her dead son. But if much of the 24/7 media has taken the bait, much of the public has not.

The backdrops against which Ms. Sheehan stands - both that of Mr. Bush's what-me-worry vacation and that of Iraq itself - are perfectly synergistic with her message of unequal sacrifice and fruitless carnage. Her point would endure even if the messenger were shot by a gun-waving Crawford hothead or she never returned to Texas from her ailing mother's bedside or the president folded the media circus by actually meeting with her.

The public knows that what matters this time is Casey Sheehan's story, not the mother who symbolizes it. Cindy Sheehan's bashers, you'll notice, almost never tell her son's story. They are afraid to go there because this young man's life and death encapsulate not just the noble intentions of those who went to fight this war but also the hubris, incompetence and recklessness of those who gave the marching orders.

Specialist Sheehan was both literally and figuratively an Eagle Scout: a church group leader and honor student whose desire to serve his country drove him to enlist before 9/11, in 2000. He died with six other soldiers on a rescue mission in Sadr City on April 4, 2004, at the age of 24, the week after four American security workers had been mutilated in Falluja and two weeks after he arrived in Iraq. This was almost a year after the president had declared the end of "major combat operations" from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

According to the account of the battle by John F. Burns in The Times, the insurgents who slaughtered Specialist Sheehan and his cohort were militiamen loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric. The Americans probably didn't stand a chance. As Mr. Burns reported, members of "the new Iraqi-trained police and civil defense force" abandoned their posts at checkpoints and police stations "almost as soon as the militiamen appeared with their weapons, leaving the militiamen in unchallenged control."

Yet in the month before Casey Sheehan's death, Mr. Rumsfeld typically went out of his way to inflate the size and prowess of these Iraqi security forces, claiming in successive interviews that there were "over 200,000 Iraqis that have been trained and equipped" and that they were "out on the front line taking the brunt of the violence." We'll have to wait for historians to tell us whether this and all the other Rumsfeld propaganda came about because he was lied to by subordinates or lying to himself or lying to us or some combination thereof.

As The Times reported last month, even now, more than a year later, a declassified Pentagon assessment puts the total count of Iraqi troops and police officers at 171,500, with only "a small number" able to fight insurgents without American assistance. As for Moktada al-Sadr, he remains as much a player as ever in the new "democratic" Iraq. He controls one of the larger blocs in the National Assembly. His loyalists may have been responsible for last month's apparently vengeful murder of Steven Vincent, the American freelance journalist who wrote in The Times that Mr. Sadr's followers had infiltrated Basra's politics and police force.

Casey Sheehan's death in Iraq could not be more representative of the war's mismanagement and failure, but it is hardly singular. Another mother who has journeyed to Crawford, Celeste Zappala, wrote last Sunday in New York's Daily News of how her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was also killed in April 2004 - in Baghdad, where he was providing security for the Iraq Survey Group, which was charged with looking for W.M.D.'s "well beyond the admission by David Kay that they didn't exist."

As Ms. Zappala noted with rage, her son's death came only a few weeks after Mr. Bush regaled the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association banquet in Washington with a scripted comedy routine featuring photos of him pretending to look for W.M.D.'s in the Oval Office. "We'd like to know if he still finds humor in the fabrications that justified the war that killed my son," Ms. Zappala wrote. (Perhaps so: surely it was a joke that one of the emissaries Mr. Bush sent to Cindy Sheehan in Crawford was Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser who took responsibility for allowing the 16 errant words about doomsday uranium into the president's prewar State of the Union speech.)

Mr. Bush's stand-up shtick for the Beltway press corps wasn't some aberration; it was part of the White House's political plan for keeping the home front cool. America was to yuk it up, party on and spend its tax cuts heedlessly while the sacrifice of an inadequately manned all-volunteer army in Iraq was kept out of most Americans' sight and minds. This is why the Pentagon issued a directive at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom forbidding news coverage of "deceased military personnel returning to or departing from" air bases. It's why Mr. Bush, unlike Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, has not attended funeral services for the military dead. It's why January's presidential inauguration, though nominally dedicated to the troops, was a gilded $40 million jamboree at which the word Iraq was banished from the Inaugural Address.

THIS summer in Crawford, the White House went to this playbook once too often. When Mr. Bush's motorcade left a grieving mother in the dust to speed on to a fund-raiser, that was one fat-cat party too far. The strategy of fighting a war without shared national sacrifice has at last backfired, just as the strategy of Swift Boating the war's critics has reached its Waterloo before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury in Washington. The 24/7 cable and Web attack dogs can keep on sliming Cindy Sheehan. The president can keep trying to ration the photos of flag-draped caskets. But this White House no longer has any more control over the insurgency at home than it does over the one in Iraq."