Posts Tagged ‘Colin Powell’

Seven Years of War in Iraq: Still Based on Cheney’s Torture and Lies

March 22, 2010

Andy Worthington, The Huffington Post, March 21, 2010

Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq, but by now, it seems, the American people have become used to living in a state of perpetual war, even though that war was based on torture and lies. Protestors rallied across the country on Saturday, but the anti-war impetus of the Bush years has not been regained, as I discovered to my sorrow during a brief U.S. tour in November, when I showed the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself) in New York, Washington D.C., and the Bay Area.

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If you’re disillusioned with Obama, you don’t understand how he won

January 18, 2010

The distance between the aspirations he raised and his record a year on is the distinction between the electoral and the political

Gary Younge, The Guardian/UK, January 17, 2010

You’ve got to feel sorry for the Democratic ­Senate leader, Harry Reid. In 1995, when it seemed Colin Powell might run for president, Powell explained his ­appeal to white voters thus: “I speak reasonably well, like a white person”, and, visually, “I ain’t that black”.

More than a decade later, Reid said almost the same thing about Barack Obama, arguing that the presidential candidate owed his success in part to his “light-skinned” appearance and the fact that he spoke “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”.

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Iraq reconstruction ‘has failed’

December 14, 2008
Al Jazeera, Dec 14, 2008

The report quotes Powell as alleging that Iraqi troop numbers were inflated by defence officials [AFP]

The US-led force’s $100bn effort to rebuild Iraq has failed amid bureaucratic quarrels, ignorance of Iraqi society and violence in the country, the New York Times says, quoting a US federal report.

The newspaper said on its website on Saturday that it had obtained a draft copy of Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, which is circulating among senior officials.

The report was compiled by the Office of the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is led by Stuart Bowen Jr, a Republican lawyer.

In the report, Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, alleges that after the 2003 invasion the US defence department kept inflating figures on the number of Iraqi security forces on the ground.

The defence department “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces – the number would jump 20,000 a week! We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000”, he is quoted as saying in the draft report.

The report says that Powell’s view was supported by Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, the most senior ground troops officer in Iraq, and Paul Bremer, who was the civilian administrator before the Iraqi government takeover in June 2004.

It concludes that the US government does not have the policies or the organisational structure required to put the largest reconstruction programme since the Marshall Plan into place, the newspaper reported.

Cronyism alleged

The rebuilding effort did not go beyond restoring what was destroyed during the invasion and its immediate aftermath, the newspaper cited the draft report as saying.

By mid-2008, the report says, $117bn had been spent on the reconstruction of Iraq, including about $50bn in US taxpayer money.

In one example, an official at the US Agency for International Development (USAID)was given four hours to work out how many miles of Iraqi roads needed to be repaired, the Times said.

The official’s estimate came from documents in USAID’s library and was then submitted into a master plan.

Furthermore, funding for a large amount of Iraqi reconstruction projects was divided up among local politicians and tribal leaders, according to the New York Times.

“Our district council chairman has become the Tony Soprano of Rasheed, in terms of controlling resources,” it quotes one US embassy official in Baghdad as saying.

“You will use my contractor or the work will not get done.'”

Political lobbying

The report also pointed to political manoeuvring in the US, highlighting an example where a Republican lobbyist working for the US occupation authority called on the Office of Management and Budget to fund $20bn in new reconstruction money in August 2003.

“To delay getting our funds would be a political disaster for the president [George Bush],” Tom Korologos, the lobbyist, said, according the report.

“[Bush’s] election will hang for a large part on show of progress in Iraq and without the funding this year, progress will grind to a halt,” the draft quoted Korologos as saying.

The Bush administration supported Korologos’ request and the US congress allocated the money later that year.

The draft report is based on about 500 interviews and more than 600 audits, inspections and investigations undertaken in Iraq over several years.

Powell Lies About Iraq War after Endorsing Obama

October 22, 2008

By Matthew Rothschild | RINF.COM, Oct 21, 2008

Save your praise of Colin Powell.

Because while he was endorsing Barack Obama, he was busy rewriting the history of the Iraq War and perpetuating blatant lies about his role and George Bush’s role in the lead-up.

At a press conference after his appearance on Meet the Press Sunday, Powell responded to a question about his involvement in the decisions around the Iraq War.
http://www.cnn.com (starts at about 2:48)

Here was his answer: “My role has been very, very straightforward,” he said. “I wanted to avoid a war. The President agreed with me. We tried to do that and couldn’t get it to the U.N.”

There are at least four falsehoods in that little passage.

First, Powell’s role wasn’t very straightforward. While he did initially oppose the war, his deceitful testimony at the U.N. on February 5, 2003, prepared the battlefield for war.

Second, Bush never agreed with Powell about the need to avoid the war but was always fast peddling toward war.

Third, Bush and Powell did not go to the U.N. to try to avoid war. They went there to get the Security Council to greenlight the war.

And finally, what they couldn’t get through the U.N. Security Council was not an effort to avoid the war. A majority on the Security Council was begging for more time for the weapons inspectors, who had found nothing, to continue to do their work.

It was the U.N. that wanted to avoid war. It was Bush and Powell who were in a hurry to start the war.

Powell may be getting heaps of praise from the liberal punditocracy for breaking with his party on Obama. But he has not broken with his party on the Iraq War. In fact, he’s still trying to cover up Bush’s and his own shameful acts that precipitated the war.

Obama selects Biden to reassure the US ruling elite

August 26, 2008

World Socialist Web Site, August 25, 2008

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

The selection of Senator Joseph Biden as the vice-presidential candidate of the Democratic Party underscores the fraudulent character of the Democratic primary campaign and the undemocratic character of the entire two-party electoral system. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the supposed protagonist of “change,” has picked as his running-mate a fixture of the Washington establishment, a six-term US senator who is a proven defender of American imperialism and the interests of big business.

The rollout of the Biden selection over three days of escalating media attention, culminating in the text-message announcement early Saturday and a kickoff rally in Springfield, Illinois, is a metaphor for the entire Obama campaign. His presidential candidacy represents not an insurgency from below, but an effort to manipulate mass sentiments, using Internet technology and slick marketing techniques, aided by a compliant media, to produce a political result that is utterly conventional and in keeping with the requirements of the US ruling elite.

Long gone are the days when the selection of a vice-presidential candidate by one of the two major big business parties involved a complex balancing act between various institutional forces. In the Democratic Party, this would have involved consultations with trade union officials, civil rights organizations, congressional leaders and the heads of particularly powerful state and urban political machines.

Today, neither party has any substantial popular base. In both parties there is only one true “constituency”: the financial aristocracy that dominates economic and political life and controls the mass media, and whose interests determine government policy, both foreign and domestic. The selection of Biden, the senator from a small state with only three electoral votes, whose own presidential bids have failed miserably for lack of popular support, underscores the immense chasm separating the entire political establishment from the broad mass of the American people.

Obama has selected Biden to provide reassurance that, whatever populist rhetoric may be employed for electoral purposes in the fall campaign, the wealth and privileges of the ruling elite and the geo-strategic aims of US imperialism will be the single-minded concerns of a Democratic administration.

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Was 9/11 an Inside Job?

August 17, 2008

By Mark H. Gaffney | Information Clearing House, August 15, 2008

The following is an excerpt from Mark H. Gaffney’s forthcoming book, THE 911 MYSTERY PLANE AND THE VANISHING OF AMERICA, to be released in September 2008.

Regrettably, there is considerable evidence that elements of the Bush administration were complicit in the 9/11 attack, and may even have helped stage it. Let us now examine some of what I regard as the most compelling evidence. However, the following discussion makes no claim to be comprehensive.

We know that within minutes of the “worst terrorist attack” in US history, even before the collapse of WTC-2 at 9:59 am, US officials knew the names of several of the alleged hijackers. CBS reported that a flight attendant on AA Flight 11, Amy Sweeney, had the presence of mind to call her office and reveal the seat numbers of the hijackers who had seized the plane.[1] FBI Director Robert Mueller later said, “This was the first piece of hard evidence.”[2] In his memoirs CIA Director George Tenet emphasizes the importance of the passenger manifests, as does counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke.[3] All of which is very strange because the manifests later released by the airlines do not include the names of any of the alleged hijackers. Nor has this discrepancy ever been explained.

According to MSNBC, the plan to invade Afghanistan and “remove Al Qaeda from the face of he earth” was already sitting on G.W. Bush’s desk on the morning of 9/11 awaiting his signature.[4] The plan, in the form of a presidential directive, had been developed by the CIA and according to Richard Clarke called for “arming the Northern Alliance…to go on the offensive against the Taliban [and] pressing the CIA to…go after bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership.”[5]

A former Pakistani diplomat, Niaz Naik, tells virtually the same story. During a BBC interview, three days after 9/11, Niak claimed that senior American officials had informed him in mid-July 2001 that the US would attack the Taliban “before the snows start falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.”[6] Niak said he received this information in Berlin at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan. He also predicted, correctly, that the US attack would be launched from bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. But how could US officials know in mid-July that American forces would invade Afghanistan in October unless they had foreknowledge of the attack?

Foreknowledge probably also explains why General Richard Myers, the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on 9/11, announced at the first post-9/11 meeting of Bush’s National Security Council, held on video-conference the afternoon of the attack, that “there are forty-two major Taliban bombing targets.”[7] But how did Myers come to have such detailed information about military targets in Afghanistan, so soon after the 9/11 attack? This important detail belies oft-repeated claims that the US military was not prepared to attack Afghanistan, and points to extensive war planning before 9/11. Journalist Steve Coll arrived at a similar conclusion while researching his 2004 book, Ghost Wars, an excellent history of the period leading up to the 9/11 attack. Coll interviewed two Clinton administration officials who informed him that ”the Pentagon had been studying possible targets in the same spring [i.e., 1998] that the CIA had been drawing up its secret plan to raid Tarnack Farm,” located near Kandahar, Afghanistan, where bin Laden had taken up quarters at the invitation of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.[8]

According to Clarke, at the same meeting on the afternoon of 9/11, CIA Director George Tenet informed the president that “Al Qaeda had committed these atrocities.”[9] But, again, how did Tenet know this so soon after the attack, especially given that “security failures” had occurred, unless he had foreknowledge?

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