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Pentagon keeps dead out of sight

Bush team doesn’t want people to see human cost of war
Even body bags are now sanitized as `transfer tubes’

Americans have never seen any of the other 359 bodies returning from Iraq. Nor do they see the wounded cramming the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington or soldiers who say they are being treated inhumanely awaiting medical treatment at Fort Stewart, Ga.

In order to continue to sell an increasingly unpopular Iraqi invasion to the American people, President George W. Bush’s administration sweeps the messy parts of war � the grieving families, the flag-draped coffins, the soldiers who have lost limbs � into a far corner of the nation’s attic.

No television cameras are allowed at Dover.

Bush does not attend the funerals of soldiers who gave their lives in his war on terrorism.

If stories of wounded soldiers are told, they are told by hometown papers, but there is no national attention given to the recuperating veterans here in the nation’s capital.

More than 1,700 Americans have been wounded in Iraq since the March invasion.

“You can call it news control or information control or flat-out propaganda,” says Christopher Simpson, a communications professor at Washington’s American University.

“Whatever you call it, this is the most extensive effort at spinning a war that the department of defence has ever undertaken in this country.”

Simpson notes that photos of the dead returning to American soil have historically been part of the ceremony, part of the picture of conflict and part of the public closure for families � until now.

“This White House is the greatest user of propaganda in American history and if they had a shred of honesty, they would admit it. But they can’t.”

Lynn Cutler, a Democratic strategist and former official in Bill Clinton’s White House, says this is the first time in history that bodies have been brought home under cover of secrecy. more

If I Were Bush’s Speechwriter … by Andy Rooney

Years ago, I was asked to write a speech for President Nixon.

I didn’t do that, but I wish President Bush would ask me to write a speech for him now.

Here’s what I’d write if he asked me to – which is unlikely:

My fellow Americans – (the word “fellow” includes women in political speeches):

My fellow Americans. One of the reasons we invaded Iraq was because I suggested Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. No evidence that’s so, I wish I hadn’t said it.

I said we were going to get Saddam Hussein. To be honest, we don’t know whether we got him or not. Probably not.

I said we’d get Osama bin Laden and wipe out al Qaeda. We haven’t been able to do that, either. I’m as disappointed as you are.

I probably shouldn’t have said Iraq had nuclear weapons. Our guys and the U.N. have looked under every bed in Iraq and can’t find one.

In one speech, I told you Saddam Hussein tried to buy the makings of nuclear bombs from Africa. That was a mistake and I wish I hadn’t said that. I get bad information sometimes just like you do.

On May 1, I declared major combat was over and gave you the impression the war was over. I shouldn’t have declared that. Since then, 215 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. As the person who sent them there, how terrible do you think that makes me feel?

I promised to leave no child behind when it comes to education. Then I asked for an additional $87 billion for Iraq. It has to come from somewhere. I hope the kids aren’t going to have to pay for it – now in school or later when they’re your age.

When I landed on the deck of the carrier, I wish they hadn’t put up the sign saying MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. It isn’t accomplished.

Maybe it should have been MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

I’ve made some mistakes and I regret it. Let me just read you excerpts from something my father wrote five years ago in his book, �A World Transformed.�

I firmly believed we should not march into Baghdad …To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant, into a latter-day Arab hero �

This is my father writing this.

…assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war.
We should all take our father’s advice.

That’s the speech I’d write for President Bush. No charge.

Report Links Iraq Deals to Bush Donations

Companies awarded $8 billion in contracts to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan have been major campaign donors to President Bush (news – web sites), and their executives have had important political and military connections, according to a study released Thursday. The study of more than 70 U.S. companies and individual contractors turned up more than $500,000 in donations to the president’s 2000 campaign, more than they gave collectively to any other politician over the past dozen years.

The Center concluded that most of the 10 largest contracts went to companies that employed former high-ranking government officials, or executives with close ties to members of Congress and even the agencies awarding their contracts.

Major contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan were awarded by the Bush administration without competitive bids. The top contract recipient was the Halliburton subsidiary KBR, with more than $2.3 billion awarded to support the U.S. military and restore Iraq’s oil industry.

Haliburton, by the way, is Vice President (term used loosely) Dick Cheney’s former company. Cheney still receives money from them.

And this cronyism suprises you why? story

Will �Reagan Democrats� revolt?

Since Reagan�s 1980 election victory, the votes of manufacturing workers and their families, unionized or not, have trended increasingly Republican in presidential races. This predominantly male, Roman Catholic, Rust Belt constituency cheered the New Deal but rejected the Democrats in droves during the 1970s and 1980s.

This year, however, after a loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past several years and no indication that the economic recovery is reversing that trend, political analysts on both sides of the aisle believe the Democrats have a shot at winning back the hearts and minds they lost to Ronald Reagan.

�I think to so-called Reagan Democrats are more up for grabs now than at any time since the 1970s,� says Lee Edwards, a conservative political analyst at the Heritage Institute. �I don�t see an easy way out of this for Bush.� more

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