With even more U.S. contractors now in Iraq and Afghanistan than U.S. military personnel, government officials told Congress yesterday that the Bush administration is not prepared to manage the contractors' critical involvement in the American war effort.
At the end of last September, there were "over 196,000 contractor personnel working for the Defense Department in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Jack Bell, deputy undersecretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness.
Contractors "have become part of our total force, a concept that DoD [the
Defense Department] must manage on an integrated basis with our military forces," he also said in prepared testimony for a hearing yesterday of the Senate homeland security subcommittee. "Frankly," he continued, "we were not adequately prepared to address" what he termed "this unprecedented scale of our dependence on contractors."
The above, noted by Lloyd, is from Walter Pincus' "U.S. Cannot Manage Contractors In Wars, Officials Testify on Hill" (Washington Post) and let's be clear about what's being described, it's not about a 'lack of planning,' it's about expecting to fight the illegal war with hundreds of thousands of contractors and get away with it. That's why Pincus ends the article noting that the witnesses, when questioned, had to admit "they knew of none" "who had been fired or denied promotion because of contracting mistakes disclosed in more than 300 reports over five years".
Actions to support war resisters are gearing up and we'll again note this press release Twyla forwaded:
Rallies across Canada and U.S. to urge Parliament to let war resisters stay in Canada
On Saturday, January 26, rallies will be held in cities and towns across Canada
to urge the House of Commons to adopt a recommendation of its Committee on Citizenship and Immigration that would make it possible for US Iraq War resisters to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.
Supporters of the war resisters in Ottawa, Toronto, Sudbury, London, Thunder Bay, Saskatoon, Nelson, BC, Vancouver, and Victoria will also call on Parliament to take urgent action to stop the possible deportations of four of the war
resisters, several with families. This step was also recommended by the Standing Committee.
On Friday, January 25, there will be demonstrations in the US, also aimed at urging Canada to let the war resisters stay. In New York, Washington, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, supporters will gather outside Canadian consulates to show support for the war resisters in Canada.
"We believe it is urgent for Parliament to take action in line with the recommendation of the Standing Committee," said Lee Zaslofsky, coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign. "Canadians would be deeply upset if
their government forces any of the war resisters to go back to the US, where they would face imprisonment because they decided they would not take part in the Iraq War."
As well as the events on January 26, other events are planned in Halifax, NS, on January 29 and one was held in Grand Forks, BC, on Thursday (Jan. 24).
"It's great that people all across Canada and the US are coming out to show support for the war resisters," said Patrick Hart, a former sergeant in the US
Army who came to Canada in 2005 with his family. "My family could be told we have to go back to the States anytime now. We just want to be able to live here in peace and raise our son, Rian. We hope that the politicians willlet us do that."
War resisters will be available for comment on January 26.
Please contact us to arrange.
Visit War Resisters Support Campaign for details on events in Canada or
Courage to Resist for information on US events.
Staying with press releases, Third Party notes "Greens: Tactical retreat by pro-Democrat fake antiwar lobbies is setting back the peace movement" (Green Party USA):
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Substituting goal of electing Democrats for goal of immediate US troop withdrawal will lead to more war, say Greens
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders called on Americans who oppose the Iraq War to rebuff an agreement among pro-Democratic 'antiwar' lobbies to scale back pressure to end the war."
MoveOn.org, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, and other groups have decided that passing legislation in Congress that does nothing to end the war makes their favorite Democratic candidates look better than demanding action to end the war quickly," said Jason Wallace,
Green candidate for the US House in Illinois' 11th District <http://www.electwallace.us/> and active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War . "The big myth of the 2008 election is that Democrats are the antiwar candidates. In reality, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for a longer occupation in Iraq and possibly a war with Iran."
According to Politico <http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/7949.html>, several mainstream antiwar groups in a recent K Street meeting have decided on a tactical retreat in
the face of Congress's failure to reverse the Bush war agenda.
Greens have sharply criticized Democrats in Congress and leading Democratic presidential candidates for offering vague and deferred timetables for withdrawing US troops from Iraq; refusing to cut off funding for the war; criticizing President Bush solely on the basis of strategic mistakes in Iraq; for signing on to Mr. Bush's military threats against Iran; having voted to surrender Congress's constitutional war powers to Mr. Bush in 2002; and refusing to rescind the war authorization after the 2006 election.Greens also noted that the Democratic Party leadership, including most presidential candidates, have rejected calls for impeachment despite evidence that the Bush Administration's fraudulent justifications for invading Iraq, war crimes, authorization of torture and warrantless surveillance of US citizens, broken treaties, and other abuses of power and violations of the US Constitution.
"Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both said they'd maintain a permanent US military presence in Iraq with only a limited draw-down of combat troops that could then be redeployed 'just over the horizon.' This military misadventure is not in the best interests of Americans or Iraqis and only benefits the oil and weapons industries. Groups like MoveOn that divert the energies of peace activists towards Democrat candidates who fail to push for a prompt and total withdrawal only undermine the peace movement and advance the war agenda. Voters need genuine peace candidates like those from the Green Party," said Titus North, Green Congressional candidate from Pennsylvania's 14th District <http://www.votenorth.org/>.
MoveOn has called on the Democratic presidential candidates to "be unequivocal in their commitments to remove all US troops within eighteen months of taking office,"
which could delay withdrawal until mid 2010. Greens contend that Democrats in Congress could have brought a rapid end to the war merely by stalling on White House requests for continued war funding.
"The position of Green candidates is that we are not willing to accept any more dying by violence -- American or otherwise. It has been the willingness of US military policy to accept collateral damage in the hundreds of thousands and forcing people to live under governments of our choosing, which drives hostility towards us and decreases our own security. The recent statement by NATO leaders urging maintenance of a first strike nuclear policy is one more example of a dangerous position that has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats," said Bob Kinsey, Colorado Green candidate for the US Senate <http://www.kinseyforsenate.org/>.
The Green Party recently opened a new web page featuring videos of Green presidential candidates and debates <">http://www.gp.org/2008-elections/presidential-videos.php>. The party will choose its presidential and vice presidential nominees at the 2008 Green National Nominating Convention in Chicago, July 10-13.
"The election of a couple of Greens to Congress and a strong showing for the Green presidential nominee on Election Day 2008 would end the war quickly by showing Democratic and Republican politicians that they can no longer take votes for granted, especially votes from Americans who want peace," said Deanna Taylor, Desert Greens Green Party of Utah and participant in the Green Party Peace Network.
Green Party of the United States
Video of Green presidential candidates
Green candidate database for 2007 and other campaign information:
Green Party News Center
Green Party Speakers Bureau
Green Party Peace Action Committee
I've inserted a link into the press release instead of allowing the web address to run. The address is too long and will throw the site off. The link is still there (the MoveOn) quote but it's inserted. On the links, Third Party notes there is a site we don't link to. I don't have time this morning to debate that with myself. It's included today. In the future, press releases for anyone or any organization that are noted here will not include a link to that site.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the washington post