Thursday, April 20, 2006

NYT: Michael V. Hayden dummies up to Scott Shane

General Hayden, who was director of the N.S.A. for six years, said he "didn't understand" the criticism from Representatives Hoekstra and Harman about excessive bureaucracy, "because in the same press briefing they said we need to do more."

Is there a more clueless person than Michael V. Hayden pretends to be when speaking to Scott Shane for "In New Job, Spymaster Draws Bipartisan Criticism" in this morning's New York Times? (Let's stipulate, anyone more clueless not working for the paper?) The complaints against John Negroponte in his newly created position of national intelligence director (from Democrats and Republicans) is that (yes, Hayden) a new bureaucracy has been created. Apparently, without someone to explain PDBs to him or to say, "Remember the disagreement, Bully Boy," fearless leader wouldn't be able to process information. So the position of national intelligence director is created to 'streamline' the process. The complaints are that instead of doing the job (do more), a new maze of bureaucracy has been created. Hayden can play confused but, if he truly is, he needs to resign immediately because anyone who can't follow what's sketched out in the article isn't fit for a position in "intelligence."

Stated in the article are concerns about the continued spying of the Defense Department that Negroponte has not curtailed. Unstated is that fact that Porter Goss feels he has been circumvented but that's as much a reason for what's on the page as anything else.

Information (intelligence?) that even Michael V. Hayden would have trouble pretending not to grasp can be found in the Associated Press' "3 Companies Credit Military for Profit Gain:"

Three of the nation's largest diversified manufacturers said yesterday that their profits topped Wall Street forecasts in the first quarter, helped by strong spending in the military and aerospace sectors.
The three companies -- General Dynamics, Honeywell International and United Technologies -- each reported that profit and revenue rose by more than 10 percent.
General Dynamics, which is primarily a military contractor, said net income increased to $374 million, or 92 cents a share, on sales of $5.57 billion, from $336 million, or 83 cents a share, on sales of $4.80 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had estimated earnings of 84 cents a share.

Rachel noted the AP article on war profiteering. And we'll tie it into an article Martha wanted highlighted. From Jonathan Weisman's "Unforeseen Spending on Materiel Pumps Up Iraq War Bill: Senate to Take Up Measure as Military Fights to Keep Guns, Tanks Working" (Washington Post):

With the expected passage this spring of the largest emergency spending bill in history, annual war expenditures in Iraq will have nearly doubled since the U.S. invasion, as the military confronts the rapidly escalating cost of repairing, rebuilding and replacing equipment chewed up by three years of combat.
The cost of the war in U.S. fatalities has declined this year, but the cost in treasure continues to rise, from $48 billion in 2003 to $59 billion in 2004 to $81 billion in 2005 to an anticipated $94 billion in 2006, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The U.S. government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found.

Annual war costs in Iraq are easily outpacing the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars.

What we're dealing with are several factors. Among the factors are the very obvious (and disgusting) fact of war profiteering (something that has bothered in the Oval Office in other periods but you really need leadership for it to be an issue and there's no leadership in the current Oval Office), the fact that the administration has wanted to fight on the cheap and the fact that they've underestimated the costs (on all levels) from the start. On the first item, Democracy Now! will be covering one aspect of it today so listen, watch or read. Items number two, "fight on the cheap," is not my saying, "More troops! More bodies with targets on the back!" It is noting that the "cost-cutters" have privatized things that should have never been privatized. Bully Boy, Rummy, et al have gotten out the scissors and clipped their coupons but the reality is that the grocer bill due is double what it would have been had the decision not been made to privatize. (Well you got to toss your pals some of the big bucks because war is big business.) They have never had any concept of government's role other than "Cut it! Privatize it!" Which always leads to cheaper quality (think of it as another form of outsourcing) and higher costs (especially when the government then has to step in and sort out the mess privatization has created). Third factor, it's been lie to the people (if not themselves) from the start. Promise the easy path and once we're over there and the costs rise (on all levels including the price paid in blood), say, "Well we're there now, we have to say." It's like buying something on installments that you can't afford and you hide from your spouse hoping, that when the true costs are noticed, you'll be so far in that your spouse will feel like there's no point in pulling the plug now. That's really all "stay the course is."

It's not about the Iraqis, it's not about the troops. It's about stay there because we're there now (and contracts have been signed). The illegal occupation breeds the violence. But it must be continued and the real reason has never been "democracy" or "liberation." It's been about control, economics and economic control. Trick a nation into (an illegal) war and then lie (repeatedly) and falsely claim that now that we're "there," we must stay.

Rod notes today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

Blackwater USA in the Crosshairs: We'll look at a groundbreaking lawsuit filed against the private military company.

Blackwater has cleaned up (financially) in Iraq as well as in New Orleans. It's "privatization" or "outsourcing" security and the results have been neither "pretty" nor reassuring. Be sure to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today.

For members who are only able to read transcripts and online early, check out two previous reports from Democracy Now! on Blackwater: first, Jeremy Scahill's report and, second, Barry Yeoman's report. (Those are two that spring to mind. There are more.) (Scahill's also written on the topic for The Nation.)

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