Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Patraeus Testimony: A Snapshot of Bush World

When the spoiled brat from Texas was elected appointed 7 years ago, anybody with half a brain who followed Politics as a hobby knew what was going to happen by the time his term ended in 2008. The United States would be transformed into the Military Industrial Complex, a 2nd Gilded age.

Corporations would be free to bribe their way to success, and if caught a newly transformed Department of Justice would happily accept a bribe themselves so the Plutocrats could avoid prison:
    In Justice Shift, Corporate Deals Replace Trials
    Published: April 9, 2008

    In a major shift of policy, the Justice Department, once known for taking down giant corporations...put off prosecuting more than 50 companies suspected of wrongdoing over the last three years.

    Instead, many companies...have avoided...criminal charges with a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, which allows the government to collect fines and appoint an outside monitor to impose internal reforms without going through a trial. In many cases, the name of the monitor and the details of the agreement are kept secret.
While independent reporting and gonzo documentary films still exist, the average citizen who relies on Major Media (print and electronic) for information would find his knowledge carefully filtered. The so called 4th Estate would function as a house organ for the Government, ensuring that mindless drivel (h/t Glen. You and Digby are the best) would replace any serious examination of Government Policy:
    The U.S. establishment media in a nutshell
    Glen Greenwald
    Saturday April 5, 2008 08:11 EDT
    Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

    "Yoo and torture" - 102

    "Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73

    "Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

    "Obama and bowling" -- 1,043

    "Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

    "Obama and patriotism" - 1,607

    "Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079

    And as Eric Boehlert documents, even Iraq...has been virtually written out of the media narrative in favor of mindless, stupid, vapid chatter..."The Clintons are Rich!!!!" will undoubtedly soon be at the top of this heap within a matter of a day or two.
And as for President Washington's pleading against "the mischiefs of foreign intrigue...the impostures of pretended patriotism", forget it. War would be a source of profit disguised under the false flag of protecting America from "The Enemy".

But for all of this I was naive enough to believe that no Professional Soldier would ever allow himself to be used as a political tool. With the promotion of David Patraeus as Commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq, I was an idiot:
    Petraeus' Testimony: Everything His President Wants to Hear

    By undercutting the widespread support for getting out of Iraq, Petraeus did indeed betray the American public, siding with an enormously unpopular president who wants to stay the course in Iraq for personal and political reasons that run contrary to genuine national security interests...

    It is an abdication of civilian control of the assign a central role to an active duty general to make the decision to end the war. It betrays the legacy warnings of our two most famous wartime generals, George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
I retired from the Army 5 years ago shortly after the start of the Iraq quagmire. In June of 2003 I was Channel surfing when I came across a Military Retirement Ceremony broadcast on CSPAN. The retiree was Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki; which blew me away because NOTHING had come down the chain of command about the date and time of this event. I soon found out why:
    Soldiering On
    By: Jennifer Reingold

    There were a few empty chairs at General Eric Shinseki's June 2003 retirement ceremony. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld didn't make it to the event...Neither did Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz...For a four-star general concluding a brilliant career, it was a major breach of protocol.... the general testified before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the looming war in Iraq, Senator Carl Levin asked him what kind of manpower he believed it would take to keep the peace in postwar Iraq. "Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required," he said.

    But it was not the answer [Rumsfeld] was looking for.... Shinseki could have parroted the party line, or hedged his answer to appear more neutral, but he didn't.
As the title of this post says, a snapshot of Bush World.

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