Was Lara Logan’s husband behind the infamously incorrect 60 Minutes piece on Benghazi


The 60 Minutes hatchet job that Lara Logan aired last month and then had to retract because it was based on a lie was most likely based on information fed to her and her colleagues not by the person she interviewed on air, but most likely by the person she sleeps with at home.  Notice how Joseph W. Burkett, Logan’s husband, who has a shady background and an unnamed employer is a stay at home dad with nannies and hired help; shades of David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell where authors of the printed word meet commanders of  military might to produce fanciful fiction designed to encourage imperialism.  In Logan’s case both inhabit the same dwelling.

Nobody at 60 Minutes has been fired or even publicly disciplined for its odd, inflammatory and dead-wrong October 27 story on the Islamist assault in Benghazi that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But it has apologized. That mea culpa, however, left some large and troubling questions unanswered; the most important one is how CBS’s superstar correspondent, Lara Logan, her producer and other network news executives let security contractor Dylan Davies on the air with his explosive tale about what he did and saw during that attack.

While Davies was the central on-camera personality in that report, the most interesting figure in this mystery was never on screen, nor listed as a contributor to the piece. It is Logan’s husband, Joseph W. Burkett, a former Army sergeant and onetime employee of a private intelligence outfit hired by the Pentagon to plant pro-U.S. stories in the Iraqi media in 2005.

One recent account implied that Burkett, 42, was the Svengali behind the now infamous story that pinned responsibility for the Benghazi attack on al Qaeda, without citing any sources.

“He was an employee of the Lincoln Group, a now-shuttered ‘strategic communications and public relations firm’ hired by the Department of Defense in 2005 to plant positive stories written by American soldiers in Baghdad newspapers during the Iraq War,” the website Gawker reported.

The Gawker account also implied Burkett was a key operator in the covert action. A source intimately familiar with Burkett’s family told Newsweek that he regularly suggested he was some sort of super-spook.

According to an internal company document obtained by Newsweek, the Lincoln Group specialized in producing films, news clips, and print stories in Baghdad that would be fed to the media through cutouts on an unattributed basis, making them appear as originating from legitimate news organizations.

During the 2006 battle for Fallujah, “Our development of documentaries of the Fallujah campaign and our ability to develop non-Coalition attributable messages enabled us to reach out to the Iraqi audience,” the document says. “This multifaceted project produced content for Western, Arab, and Iraqi audiences and is still ongoing. For each audience we have identified content and formatting that is appropriate andnon-attributable to the actual source.” (Italics added.)

But others who claim to have known Burkett in Baghdad paint a starkly different portrait of the former enlisted man, one more akin to the role Steve McQueen played as a gofer for army supply sergeant Jackie Gleason in Soldier in the Rain.

According to a source intimately familiar with his family, Burkett routinely implied, without foundation, that he was a key player in classified operations in Iraq.

“He’s what we call a puffer – he puffs himself up,” said the source, on condition of anonymity. “He alluded to top-secret work, but he didn’t make as much money as a truck driver over there. He had some kind of minuscule position.… He was kind of an errand person or something like that.”

Besides, the source says, “People who are spies don’t really tell people they’re spies.”

When Logan and Burkett began their affair in Baghdad, he was married and she was in a relationship. They were married in 2008. “I knew him for about six years before we got together,” she told The New York Times in a soft-focus feature in 2012. “He had a very secretive job, and I always respected that. I know tons of people in that world, and I never ask them questions because it’s a violation right there.”

“He never crossed my boundaries,” Logan said of Burkett. “I never crossed his.”

After Logan was named CBS’s chief foreign correspondent, she purchased a $1.5 million home in D.C., which she now shares with Burkett and their two children. When asked for comment on Wednesday at the couple’s Cleveland Park home, Burkett angrily ushered me out the door. (CBS also declined to comment.)

Since returning from Iraq, Burkett appears to have cut ties with Lincoln and its various corporate permutations, but he has clearly kept a hand in the world of security contractors. In 2011, according to Texas public records, he was listed as “managing member” of Janus Lares Associates, an Austin-based ammunition dealer. (Burkett is from a prominent family in Kerrville.) In 2011, he was also named as the “governing person” of Sakom Services LLC in San Marcos, Texas, which lists an office in the UAE, whose owner-director is Justin Penfold, a U.K.-based “subject matter expert in the security industry” with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whatever Burkett is doing now, it doesn’t appear to be a full-time job. When New York Times reporter Sally Singer interviewed Logan at her home last year, she identified Burkett as a “work-at-home Congressional liaison,” without noting his employer. When I spoke to him midday on Wednesday, Burkett was home in jeans and a T-shirt, having just emerged from the shower, helping take care of the couple’s two kids with paid helpers in the kitchen and the backyard.

“Congressional liaison” is another way of saying lobbyist, but a search of public records did not reveal Burkett’s name. Nor did his name pop up in a search of the Justice Department’s registered foreign agents.

None of this would matter or even be a topic of conversation had Logan’s Benghazi story not included so many errors, documented most thoroughly by McClatchy Newspaper’s Cairo correspondent Nancy A. Youssef.

The unmasking of security contractor Davies as a fabricator was the starting point for Youssef and other critics, but what stood out for them was Logan’s unsourced allegations pinning responsibility for the attack solely on al Qaeda, and in particular, operatives with close ties to Osama Bin Laden. The effect of such allegations is to once again undermine the Obama administration’s position that the attack had local origins and came as a surprise, and that all that made rescuing the besieged Americans very difficult, if not impossible. And the 60 Minutes broadcast was hardly off the air when South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, a persistent critic of the administration for its handling of the Benghazi attack, declared he would block all of Obama’s nominations for government posts until he got more answers.

The State Department and CIA have conducted extensive internal investigations that, to unbiased observers, persuasively debunk charges of an orchestrated cover-up of the events in Benghazi.

Asked about the 60 Minutes report this week, a senior U.S. intelligence official toldNewsweek that, based on what U.S. intelligence has learned, “members of several militia groups and al Qaeda linked affiliates participated in the attack.” However, he added on the condition of anonymity, since he was discussing a still-sensitive matter, “even though it has yet to be determined who called the shots, I have not seen any credible information that it was core al Qaeda.”

So why did Logan put that story on the air? Her pro-military bias is as well known, but so is her mettle – she’s worked in some of those most dangerous parts of war-ravaged Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt, where she was sexually assaulted by a mob. She won an Emmy for one of her Iraq reports.

In other words, she’s a smart, tough, experienced reporter. And the producer and writers and reporters who helped her put this Benghazi story together are honored, respected professionals, many of whom have been covering the region for years. Whoever fooled them, whoever convinced them that al Qaeda orchestrated that attack on the U.S. embassy, had to be smart, incredibly persuasive and savvy about the media. And unquotable.

In other words, an intelligence source. And the person closest to Logan with those credentials is her husband. But he’s not talking.

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Let’s hope none of the respondents were Americans


 

tentAli Abunimah ran the above photograph and chronicled the response of some Israelis and to read what they wrote was quite disturbing.  Look at some of them and tell me whether their suggestions don’t remind you of something that has already happened

Run the tent over with a truck/Merkava tank/a bus/ whatever it takes to crush and kill these children (Rachael Corrie)….

I’d have thrown nerve gas into the tent and closed it and made them breath it until the end…… (Saddam Hussein)

Put a couple of bullets in their heads and we’re done (Adam Lanza)

My point is these people are suggesting things be done that have been done to or by people that we acknowledge as social psychopaths, deviants who have been killed by us or whose death we cheered.  If you read Abunimah’s article you’ll find who some of the people who responded are and its scary because many of them have the means and opportunity to do what it is they are suggesting be done.

The Washington Post gets pwned


I’m not a fan of corporate media because it tends to make unsettling alliances with people of power to insure its profitability through devious journalistic and financial practices but I have a special enmity for corporate media that didn’t do its job during the time of the crisis with Iraq and misled the country with the help of dubious politicians into one of the greatest crimes against humanity that we’ve seen in our lives.  Here is another brilliant piece from Robert Parry about the culpability of the Washington Post

Four days after the Iraq War’s tenth anniversary, the Washington Post published an editorial about the disastrous war of choice, a conflict which the Post’s neocon editors promoted with falsehoods and distortions both before the invasion and for years afterwards.

However, if you thought there would be some admission of the newspaper’s long litany of mistakes or some apology to the war’s critics who were routinely maligned in Post editorials and op-eds, you would be sorely disappointed. There was not even a mention of the nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died.

President Barack Obama remains a target of the Washington Post’s outrage over his supposed failure to complete the neocon agenda in the Middle East. Obama is shown here touring the crypt containing the reputed birthplace of Jesus during the President’s visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the West Bank, March 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After a brief acknowledgement that the war’s tenth anniversary “generated plenty of commentary about the lessons of that war,” the Post’s editors said nothing about what, if anything, they had learned. Instead, they remained in positive spin mode, citing one supposed accomplishment from the invasion.

“For the first time in decades, contemporary Iraq poses no threat to its neighbors,” the Post declared. However, even that is a lie on two fronts.

First, Iraq under Saddam Hussein had not been a threat to its neighbors since the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91, unless the Post’s editors were having a flashback to the glory days of 2002-03 when they were disseminating President George W. Bush’s bogus WMD propaganda. Do they still believe that nonsense?

Second, today’s Iraq under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has become a threat to its neighbors because al-Qaeda-affiliated Sunni extremists from western Iraq have crossed the border to Syria where they have assumed a major role in the violent opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

But the Post’s editors want you to believe that the Bush-neocon expedition to Iraq was on the cusp of some great success until President Barack Obama showed up to squander the victory – by not insisting on a continuation of the U.S. military occupation of Iraq.

“Iran’s influence over Mr. Maliki’s government is mounting, thanks in part to the Obama administration’s failure to agree with Baghdad on a stay-on force of U.S. troops,” the Post wrote, making it seem as if it were Obama’s petulance that prevented the continued U.S. military presence, not the insistence by Maliki’s government of terms in a “status of forces agreement” unacceptable to the Americans.

Lost Influence

In the Post’s frame of reality, however, this failure to keep tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq has led to other terrible consequences: “According to U.S. officials, Iraq has been allowing Iran to fly weapons through its airspace to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Repeated appeals from Washington to stop the traffic have gone unheeded.”

But an objective observer might have noted that it was the Bush-neocon hubris, rushing into a war to oust Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime that led inevitably to the expanded influence of Shiite-ruled Iran within the new Shiite-controlled regime in Iraq. Yet, the Post instead placed the blame squarely on Obama.

The Post’s editorial then returned to its current campaign to pressure the Obama administration into entering a new military conflict in Syria, accusing the President of unmanly softness.

“The civil war in Syria, and the passivity with which the Obama administration has responded to it, have reinforced these negative trends. Mr. Maliki fears that the downfall of the Assad regime could lead to a Sunni-dominated government that would back insurrection in Sunni parts of Iraq.

“As with leaders across the Middle East, he perceives that the United States is unwilling to defend its interests in the region, either by stopping the Syrian bloodbath or countering Iran’s interventions. The risk of greater turmoil or even a return to civil war in Iraq is one of several compelling reasons for more aggressive U.S. action to end the war in Syria.”

The Post then summed up its case by suggesting that Obama has betrayed the great victory that the neocons supposedly had won in Iraq.

“President Obama has often given the impression that he has turned his back on Iraq, and many Americans understandably sympathize with him. But a failure to engage with the fragile state U.S. troops left behind would endanger U.S. interests and break faith with the many Americans who made sacrifices there.”

What is particularly startling about the Post’s editorial, which curiously appears four days after the Iraq War’s tenth anniversary, is that the dominant newspaper in the nation’s capital continues to live in a neocon fantasy world or at least refuses to acknowledge key Middle East realities.

In Neocon-land, the big U.S. mistake in Iraq was not forcing the Iraqis to accept an indefinite U.S. military occupation, compounded by the Obama administration’s hesitancy to join Israel in bombing Iran and to jump into another bloody quagmire in Syria – in other words to continue the neocon grand plan of “regime change” across the Middle East. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

Not only did the Post editorial, entitled “Iraq, 10 years later,” offer no self-reflection on the Post’s many factual errors about Iraq’s non-existent WMD, no apology for its bullying of war skeptics, and no recognition of its complicity in a criminal invasion, but the newspaper’s editors appear to have absorbed not a single lesson from what happened a decade ago.

That inability to utter even the most obvious and necessary mea culpa is disturbing in itself. Indeed, if the Post were still a serious news organization committed to the principles of honest journalism, it would have undertaken a major overhaul of its editorial-page staff rather than keeping in place the same leadership and punditry that was so embarrassingly wrong on Iraq.

But, even worse, the Post’s editors continue to pontificate with an arrogance resistant to the undeniable reality of their own misjudgments, incompetence and immorality. In that sense, the Washington Post has become a threat to the Republic and to the world.

What Happened to the US Press Corps?


U.S. President George W. Bush meets with troop...

U.S. President George W. Bush meets with troops and serves Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the Bob Hope Dining Facility, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq

Beautiful article written by Robert Parry asks the rhetorical question about the ineptness of the American media and then brilliantly answers it and it’s not a pretty answer, but it’s real and honest. Below is an excerpt to remind everyone while we talk about the ten year anniversary of the Iraq invasion of the how complicit media was in that war crime.

Why this history is relevant today, as the United States commemorates the tenth anniversary of the disastrous Iraq War, is that it was the Reagan administration’s success in housebreaking the Washington press corps that guaranteed that only a handful of mainstream journalists would ask tough questions about President George W. Bush’s case for invading Iraq.

Put yourself in the shoes of an aspiring Washington correspondent in 2002-2003. Your immediate editors and bureau chiefs were people who succeeded professionally during the 1980s and 1990s. They climbed the ladder by not reaching out for the difficult stories that challenged Republican presidents and earned the wrath of right-wing attack groups. They kept their eyes firmly on the backsides of those above them.

The journalists who did the hard work during that era suffered devastating career damage, again and again. Indeed, they had been made into object lessons for others. Even progressive publications, which wanted some “credibility” with the mainstream, turned away.

In other words, a decade ago – as in the 1980s and 1990s – there was little or no reward in challenging the Bush administration over its claims about Iraq’s WMD, while there was a very big danger. After all, what if you had written a tough story questioning Bush’s case for war and had managed somehow to pressure your editors to run it prominently – and then what if some WMD stockpiles were discovered in Iraq?

Your career would end in ignominy. You would forever be “the Saddam Hussein apologist” who doubted the Great War President, George W. Bush. You would probably be expected to resign to spare your news organization further embarrassment. If not, your editors would likely compel you to leave in disgrace.

People may forget now but it took guts to challenge Bush back then. Remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks, a popular music group, when they dared to express disagreement with Bush’s war of choice. They faced boycotts and death threats.

At Consortiumnews.com in 2002-2003, we ran a number of stories questioning Bush’s WMD claims and his other arguments for war – and even though we were only an Internet site, I got angry e-mails every time the U.S. invading forces found a 55-gallon drum of chemicals. The e-mails demanded that I admit I was wrong and telling me that I owed Bush an apology. [For details on the wartime reporting, see Neck Deep.]

When I would read those comments, I would flash back to the stomach-turning angst that I felt as a correspondent for AP and Newsweek when I published a story that I knew would open me to a new round of attacks. At those moments, all I had was confidence in my tradecraft, the belief that I had followed the rules of journalism in carefully assessing and presenting the evidence.

Still, there is no certainty in journalism. Even the most careful reporting can contain imprecision or errors. But that imperfection becomes a major problem when the rewards and punishments are skewed too widely, when the slightest problem on one side leads to loss of your livelihood while gross mistakes on the other carry no punishment at all.

That was the core failure of the U.S. news media on the Iraq War. By 2002-2003, a generation or more of American journalists had absorbed this career reality. There was grave danger to question Bush’s claims while there was little risk in going with the flow.

And, if you made that assessment a decade ago, you were right. Even though you were wrong journalistically in promoting or staying silent on Bush’s assertions about Iraq’s WMD, you almost surely continued your career climb. If questioned about why you got the WMD question wrong, you could simply say that “everyone got it wrong” – or at least everyone who mattered – so it would be unfair to single anyone out for blame.

But most likely, no one who mattered would even ask the question because those folks had been traveling in the same pack, spouting the same groupthink. So, if it seems odd to some Americans that today they are reading and watching the same pundits who misled them into a catastrophic war a decade ago, it shouldn’t.

Ten years ago we invaded Iraq


and our lives have not been the same since. We laid bare for all the world to see the dysfunction of our society, politically with corrupt leaders who lied and led us into an unnecessary war and socially with throngs of people who opposed the war and even more who believed in it and others who fought it….all led by a media that gobbled up everything given them by our self-serving politicians, hook, line and sinker.  Image

All of this was a long time coming.  Our institutions had been co opted long before we were attacked that fateful day in September, 2001 that they had ceased to perform in the manner for which they were created.  If it’s one thing to be taken from all this, it should be that the job of the people in this day and age is to hold everyone involved in shaping public policy accountable for what they’ve done or said.  No where has that been more eloquently done than in a piece written by a young man who will soon die because of the injuries he suffered fighting for his country ten years ago.

Image

Tomas Young has given far more to his country than he has received from those who asked him to make that ultimate sacrifice.  It’s too bad he won’t live to see them held accountable for the deception they offered that rendered him a quadriplegic after just 22 years of life.  This is what Chris Hedges had to say about him in a piece entitled “The Crucifixion of Tomas Young”

I flew to Kansas City last week to see Tomas Young. Young was paralyzed in Iraq in 2004. He is now receiving hospice care at his home. I knew him by reputation and the movie documentary “Body of War.” He was one of the first veterans to publicly oppose the war in Iraq. He fought as long and as hard as he could against the war that crippled him, until his physical deterioration caught up with him…

Young will die for our sins. He will die for a war that should never have been fought. He will die for the lies of politicians. He will die for war profiteers. He will die for the careers of generals. He will die for a cheerleader press. He will die for a complacent public that made war possible. He bore all this upon his body. He was crucified. And there are hundreds of thousands of other crucified bodies like his in Baghdad and Kandahar and Peshawar and Walter Reed medical center. Mangled bodies and corpses, broken dreams, unending grief, betrayal, corporate profit, these are the true products of war. Tomas Young is the face of war they do not want you to see…

On April 4, 2004, Young was crammed into the back of a two-and-a-half-ton Army truck with 20 other soldiers in Sadr City, Iraq. Insurgents opened fire on the truck from above. “It was like shooting ducks in a barrel,” he said. A bullet from an AK-47 severed his spinal column. A second bullet shattered his knee. At first he did not know he had been shot. He felt woozy. He tried to pick up his M16. He couldn’t lift his rifle from the truck bed. That was when he knew something was terribly wrong….

Young had been in Iraq five days. It was his first deployment. After being wounded he was sent to an Army hospital in Kuwait, and although his legs, now useless, lay straight in front of him he felt as if he was still sitting cross-legged on the floor of the truck. That sensation lasted for about three weeks. It was an odd and painful initiation into his life as a paraplegic. His body, from then on, would play tricks on him….

Young joined the Army immediately after 9/11 to go to Afghanistan and hunt down the people behind the attacks. He did not oppose the Afghanistan war. “In fact, if I had been injured in Afghanistan, there would be no ‘Body of War’ movie to begin with,” he said. But he never understood the call to invade Iraq. “When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor we didn’t invade China just because they looked the same,” he said.

He became increasingly depressed about his impending deployment to Iraq when he was in basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. He asked the battalion doctor for antidepressants. The doctor said he had to meet first with the unit’s chaplain, who told him, “I think you will be happier when you get over to Iraq and start killing Iraqis.”

“I was dumbstruck by his response,” Young said….

For Young, the war, the wound, the paralysis, the wheelchair, the anti-war demonstrations, the wife who left him and the one who didn’t, the embolism, the loss of motor control, the slurred speech, the colostomy, the IV line for narcotics implanted in his chest, the open bed sores that expose his bones, the despair—the crushing despair—the decision to die, have come down to a girl. Aleksus, his only niece. She will not remember her uncle. But he lies in his dimly lit room, painkillers flowing into his broken body, and he thinks of her. He does not know exactly when he will die. But it must be before her second birthday, in June. He will not mar that day with his death.

And though he is an atheist, though he believes that there is nothing after death—that, as he says, “the body is like a toy that runs out of batteries, only there are no replacements”—his final act honors the promise of Aleksus’ life. As he spoke to me softly of this child—it hurts, even now, he said, to know she will grow up without him—I wondered, sitting next to him on his bed, if he saw it, the glory of it, his final bow not before the specter of his death but the sanctity of her life. The resurrection….

ImageThankfully, for this brave young man who refuses to go down without a fight, he chose to remind people just what it was they asked him to do and what he finally has to say about that.  Here is Tomas Young in his own words

The Last Letter

A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness. 

While I grieve at the suffering of this young man, I am glad he is on our side, that his answering the call of duty necessitated him speaking truth to power when he realized his mistakes; his absolution for the sin of unbridled trust in dishonorable men was to muster enough strength to honorably assert the obvious, that we were wrong.  It’s nothing we will ever hear from the likes of those who  pushed him towards war and that’s what makes Tomas Young special.  Courage!

An American casualty to ‘endless war’


This is what happens when you drink the kool-aid, believe the lies that were made to start America down the path of endless warfare that only enriches the coffers of the military complex but sucks the life out of the people who put their lives  on the line to operate it.

Robert Bales enlisted in the US military in response to 911, answering the call of patriotism to fight an enemy that was shadowy  and  elusive.  That’s a good thing………the people who asked for his help, the politicians who made him and us feel good about that service knew it was predicated on a lie, and was designed to make sure that a way of life, not threatened, would be even more enhanced with his and countless others’ sacrifice. The Bush administration didn’t care one iota what the effect would be of countless tours it would ask its service men and women to go through; it never crossed the minds of the planners of one of the biggest bold faced lies America would embark on in some time.  What mattered was the mission be accomplished.

Sgt. Bales served three tours in Iraq and a fourth in Afghanistan, the graveyard of Russia’s military.  It was irrelevant to most in US  policy circles that  after Russia withdrew from Afghanistan it would undergo a radical political transformation…some would say because of its reckless foray into Afghanistan in just a few short months.  America somehow thought its outcomes would be different and so Sgt. Bales was sent there on a 4th tour, injured and almost surely slightly insane.  Now he has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder; nothing done in defense of his country or even of his fellow troops on the battlefield but something he initiated on his own in the dead of night at which time he murdered men, women and children in their homes while they slept.

The US military, stretched to its limits in theaters all over the world fighting people who are not a threat to the American way of life, but called that because a politician or special interests says they are, is reassigning soldiers who are crippled (Sgt. Bates supposedly had part of his foot amputated because of injuries he received in Iraq) or suffering from debilitating emotional paralysis due to things they’ve experienced, seen or done in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These men and women simply are not getting the help they need to heal because the military has no time for their recuperation as it goes about the business of chasing ghosts.  So Bales and countless others are recycled endlessly within the military until they crack, die, retire or are replaced by others.  Bates cracked.

The American military is  desperately in need of being treated for this disease of endless war

Since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, the rate of Suicide among U.S. Army soldiers has soared, according to a new study from the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

The study, an analysis of data from the Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment, shows a striking 80 percent increase in suicides among Army personnel between 2004 and 2008. The rise parallels increasing rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions in soldiers, the study said…..

“This study does not show that U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan cause suicide,” said Dr. Michelle Chervak, one of the study’s authors, a senior epidemiologist at the U.S. Army Public Health Command. “This study does suggest that an Army engaged in prolonged combat operations is a population under stress, and that mental health conditions and suicide can be expected to increase under these circumstances.”

In other words we can expect more Bates in the near future…and if that’s not distressing enough, remember these men and women return to the shores of our country with the war parasite embedded into their being and if we’re lucky enough not to have them  act dishonorably, as Bates did, in Afghanistan or Iraq, that doesn’t spare us the possibility they might unleash their psychosis on us at home.

Sgt. Bales was doing what he was expected to do, not by the US military but by the people who  sent him there.  His job was to fill a slot and make it possible for US money to be funneled into it and into all the other slots occupied by American men and women who are manning military installations around the world.  The people who started this war and used as a rallying cry that it’s a war with no physical or time  boundaries are ultimately responsible for what happened the night Bates cracked and became homicidal. The truly tragic aspect to this all is, they’ve probably already replaced him with someone who is just as battered and bruised as he was.  It’s just a  matter of time before we will read about him or her.

Glen Greenwald’s definition of terrorism is right on the money, really


He nails it and has nailed it for some time.  This is what he says

I’ve often written that Terrorism is the most meaningless, and thus most manipulated, term in American political discourse.  But while it lacks any objective meaning, it does have a functional one.  It means:  anyone — especially of the Muslim religion and/or Arab nationality — who fights against the United States and its allies or tries to impede their will.  That’s what “Terrorism” is; that’s all it means.  And it’s just extraordinary how we’ve created what we call ”law” that is intended to do nothing other than justify all acts of American violence while delegitimizing, criminalizing, and converting into Terrorism any acts of resistance to that violence….

it’s not remotely criminal that the U.S. attacked Iraq, spent 7 years destroying the country, and left at least 100,000 people dead.  To even suggest that American officials responsible for that attack should be held criminally liable is to marginalize oneself as a fringe and unSerious radical.  It’s not an idea that’s even heard, let alone accepted…..

The U.S. repeatedly tried to kill Saddam at the start of the Iraq War, and — contrary to Obama’s early pledges — has done the same to Gadaffi in Libya. NATO has explicitly declared Gadaffi to be a “legitimate target.”  But just imagine if an Iraqi had come to the U.S. and attempted to bomb the White House or kill George Bush, or if a Libyan (or Afghan, Pakistani, or Yemeni) did the same to Obama.  Would anyone in American political circles be allowed to suggest that this was a legitimate act of war?  Of course not:  screaming “Terrorism!” would be the only acceptable reaction.

I applaud Greenwald’s courage in taking a stand against the very obvious racist application of the terrorist term.  It’s use is meant to conjure up images of a ‘clash of civilizations’ where no such clash exists.  When one hears the term it can only mean one thing, the destruction of the values that we hold so dearly by Muslims who want to impose Sharia law on an unwitting population.  Quite frankly it is demagogic, designed to elicit a fear and loathing response that it’s hoped will drive America to systemically oppress a group of people based on their race and religion.  I renew my call for all good people of conscience to reject such grandstanding and bigoted behavior and to call it what it is, just like Greenwald, whenever the opportunity presents itself.