Sunday, April 01, 2007


As Ruth's noted in her latest Ruth's Report, hearing the truth about the Democratic measures passed by the House and Senate isn't easy. One radio program you could count on was Flashpoints. If you're a believer in the truth, or just a fan from a distance, the idea that the realities of what Congress actually did could be addressed seems a given. On Flashpoints it was and Robert Knight, who does "The Knight Report" Mondays through Thursdays, never felt the need to pick up a pair of pompoms all week. Instead of cheering, he stuck to the news.

From Monday's broadcast:

In today's "Knight Report," House Democrats have passed a bill that would preserve the war in Iraq until August 2008, maintain half the 150,000 troops currently in Iraq, and offer no opposition to a new war in Iran consistent with the Democratic Leadership Council. I'm Robert Knight, in New York.
House Democrats, operating under the strategic vision of the Democratic Leadership Council, Friday passed yet another resolution that would save the war in Iraq from the impatient will of Congressional voters who gave the Democrats a bi-cameral majority and an anti-war mandate in November mid-term elections. By a margin of 218, which is fourteen short of the 232 Democrats currently in the House, Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, narrowly secured passage of HR 1591 -- officially called "The US Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act of 2007." Pelosi bragged that the measure was "a giant step to end the war and responsibly redeploy our troops out of Iraq."
But in reality, the bill fulfills neither claim. The measure grants President Bush the unimpeded prerogative of maintaining his current escalation in Iraq through October 2007 at which time he is merely requested to self-certify success in his self-defined benchmarks.
Those benchmarks include provisions for the Iraqi occupation regime to reign in death squads
and to enact the US designed and multi-national friendly oil law that is presently before Iraq's absentee occupation parliament.
Regardless of Bush's automatic auto-certifications, no actual troop withdrawals would be required before August 2008 during the height of the national party conventions at which time the Democrats would then blame the Republicans with a war whose continuation they would have guaranteed until the eve of the November 2008 presidential election.
But even when the August deadline matures, Bush would still be allowed to maintain more than half of the 150,000 trooops in Iraq due to a term of art in the legislation that requests the redeployment but not the homecoming of some 70,000 so-called combat troops. This would leave an equal or greater number of US troops in Iraq under the vague but permanent classifications of counter-insurgency, security and training for what New York Senator Hillary Clinton calls "remaining vital national security interests in the heart of the oil region."
The rhetorical flourish of referring only to the withdrawal of combat troops recalls the tactic by which earlier administrations once referred to US soldiers in Vietnam as advisers rather than troops.
Moreover the bill's supposedly stringent requirements that new troops in Iraq receive better training, equipment and recuperation is, in fact, non-binding since Bush could unilaterally waive that requirement by invoking the words "national security" during any future escalations he might contemplate.
The bill also fails to limit war funds or prohibit a new war in Iran and maintains 90% of government funding for the mercenaries and privatized security squads that support military and corporate operations inside Iraq.
It also features a protein-packed pork barrel that subsidizes the spinach, shrimp, and peanut industries to the tune of a quarter billion dollars. The Senate today began debate on its version of the pro-war House measure which faces a White House veto even as the measure is voted through later this week.
Despite the disappointment of anti-war voters who elected the Democratic majority, Pelosi's plan is quite consistent with the latest epistle from the Democratic Leadership Council's Wil Marshall, the president of the 'Progressive' Policy Institute, who declared in January, "It makes little strategic sense for the new majority in Congress to micro-manage troop deployments in Iraq." The neoconservative Democratic maven concluded that, "If there is to be a calamitous, Vietnam style, US defeat in Iraq, Karl Rove would probably like nothing better than to goad Democrats to assuming full responsibility for it. There's no reason to fall into this trap now."
That from the Democratic Leadership Council's 'Progressive' Policy Institute. The conservative Democratic strategy on maintaining the Iraq war, without serious challenge to the Republican White House has suggested to some critics, that the Democrats deserve a new name to match their new vision for Iraq: "The Grand Old Party of the Second Part." From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

From Tuesday's broadcast:

In today's "Knight Report," the Senate stands firm on a soft bill on the war in Iraq which faces a Bush veto if and when it's ever passed. I'm Robert Knight in New York. The Senate deliberated late into the evening to resolve a difference in the Iraq war spending bill, S695, with Friday's House version, HR 1591. The House version of the appropriations measure would extend the war until September 1, 2008 and allow the Bush administration to retainin Iraq more than half of the 150,000 US troops already there through the technical artifice of declaring them "non-combat."
Just moments ago in a preliminary skirmish, Senators voted 50 to 48 along party lines, with the exception of neo-Republican Democrat Joseph Lieberman, to retain that would suggest but not require a US troop redeployment from Iraq by April 1, 2008.
The language of the pending Senate bill being pushed by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is even weaker than the House bill since it only expresses the unenforceable goal, but not requirement, that most troops leave Iraq by March 31, 2008.
As with the House's war preservation bill, the Senate version would enable an unknown number of US troops to remain in Iraq beyond April 2008 for counter-insurgency training and security operations.
As of deadline the Senate continued deliberations over the 122 billion dollar appropriation which remains to be resolved with the House measure.
The final legislation will almost certainly be met with a veto from President Bush.
Referring to Iraq's militarily occupied puppet regime and absentee parliament, the White House declared late today that, "This and other provisions would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk, embolden our enemies and undercut the administration's plan to develop the Iraqi economy."
Passage of the non-binding Senate measure and it's subsequent veto would require Congress to reconvene and override or to re-legislate at the 122 billion dollar military and pork-barrel appropriation is ever to become public law and provide funds to continue the interminable wars
in Iraq, Afghanistan and other venues of the so-called war on terror.
Meanwhile in Iraq, more than 80 died in various attacks today as Shia death squads and Sunni nationalists continued their lethal operations. More than five dozen died after US and Iraqi troops were ambushed by a truck laden with bombs and bakery goods in Tal Afar. That's the town that President Bush described exactly a year and a week ago as "a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq."
And on the political front, puppet prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, under the urging of US pro-counsel Zalmay Khalilzad, made an in substantive promise this week, to consider easement on the ban on former Baathists in Iraqi public life. But the proposal contained no significant details or procedures and is being viewed in the Arab world as a public relations sop to the upcoming Arab League summit whose member states have been demanding an end to Shia death squads and the abolition of the so-called de-Baathification Commission headed by United States intelligence asset Ahmed Chalabi whose serial prevarications enabled the Bush administration initial excuses for launching the war in Iraq.
And finally, the BBC is reporting today that on the basis of freedom of information documents, government scientists inside the Blair regime disagree with the challenge made by the British prime minister and Islamic scholar against a recent report by the medical journal Lancet which found that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the Anglo-American invasion of 2003. The study was conducted by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. It was immediately condemned by the Bush and Blair administrations but, according to the BBC, science officials say the study properly used, "a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."
Moreover, the chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Roy Anderson, said the methods used were "robust and close to best practice."
The Lancet study estimated that 600,000 of the two-thirds of a million Iraqi deaths were due to violence. An that's some of the news of this Tuesday, March 27, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

From Wednesday's broadcast:

In today's "Knight report" and war summary, a new massacre in Iraq as the Senate deliberates and Democrats contemplate a war ending strategy of ready, aim, compromise. I'm Robert Knight in New York.
The sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shia Arab majority in Iraq assumed even greater dimensions today when as many as 120 Sunnis were dragged from their homes and executed by Shia death squads from the Mahdi army and Badr brigades supported by members of the US trained police in the city of Tal Afar -- 250 miles north of Baghdad where a Sunni driven truck bomb killed 80 Shias yesterday.
Today's revenge massacre in the mixed city lasted through the night with assassins roaming through Sunni neighborhoods and dragging residents into the street where they were summarily shot point blank. Current reports indicate 70 known dead with an additional 50 or more missing and presumed dead. Sunni groups blame Shia infiltrated security forces for the killings along with at least 18 police arrested after they were identified by survivors.
The US installed office of Shia backed prime minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an investigation but the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars said the murders were " evidence of "the clear plot and coordination between the militias and the government of interior and defense."
Yesterday, a presumed Sunni insurgent detonated a truck purporting to deliver bakery goods to a Shia neighborhood killing 85 and wounding a 100. But Sunni parliamentarian Dhafer al-Ani said that, "If yesterday's attacks were carried out by unidentified terrorists, today's events were conducted by well known criminal police and they must be punished."
Amid the latest breakdown of civil order, despite the current US military escalation, Pentagon publicist and Rear Admiral Mark Fox declared today that "We are seeing preliminary signs of progress but there will be rough days ahead."
Fox went on to compare the US security plan to "backing a rat into an corner and increasing pressure on the extremists."
The crisis generated ripples in the Arab world earlier today when Saudi King Abdullah condemned "the illegitimate foreign occupation of Iraq" during an opening statement to the Arab League Summit in Riyadh.
Abdullah said, "In beloved Iraq blood is being shed among brothers in the shadow of illegitimate foreign occupation and ugly sectarianism. threatens civil war."
Meanwhile in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid condemned the US escalation saying, "The idea that the 'surge' is working and that it needs more time is a fantasy. What we see today in Iraq is more the same. The same violence, the same chaos, the same loss of life we've seen in Iraq over the past four years. "
As he spoke, Democrat and Republican senators continued quibbling over a 125 billion dollar appropriations bill that would guarantee a continued military presence in Iraq well into the year 2008 if not beyond. The Senate measure ,which awaits a final vote and resolution with a similar non-specifically binding House bill is expected to be voted on later this week even though it faces a presidential veto. Meanwhile Democratic leadership is already announcing that it's willing to negotiate with president Bush to water down the provisions during markup in order to avoid that veto.
But the White House defiantly announced today, "If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the frontlines, the American people will know who to hold responsible."
However polls now consistently indicate the American people also know who to hold responsible for the lie-based invasion and Congressional acquiescence that unleashed the sectarian violence in Iraq.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll has found that nearly two-thirds say the current US occupation and escalation "has not made much difference or has actually made the situation in Iraq worse." And that's some of the news of this Wednesday, March 28, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

And from Friday's broadcast:

Meanwhile in Washington the Senate a sort time ago passed a long discussed resolution that ties military funding to non-specific suggestions that President Bush accept the goal but not the requirement of removing less than half of the 150,000 US occupation troops from Iraq by the unenforceable deadline of March 2008. Nevertheless, President Bush has promised a veto. Today's 51 to 47 vote was mostly along party lines and now the Senate and House must resolve their respective legislation neither of which require a full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq till well after the installation of the next American president. And that's some of the news this Thursday, March 29th, 2007. From exile, I'm Robert Knight.

File it under both reality and brave voices.
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