Thursday, February 11, 2010

Government Officials Do The Craziest Things!

Jack Straw was facing a top-level investigation and calls to resign last night amid claims that he broke the ministerial code of conduct before the invasion of Iraq. The Liberal Democrats have asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell to investigate evidence presented to the Chilcot Inquiry that Mr Straw, who was then Foreign Secretary, pressured Attorney General Lord Goldsmith not to give his full legal advice to the Cabinet. Foreign Affairs spokesman Ed Davey said Mr Straw should resign for breaching the code, misleading Parliament and then, in his current role as Justice Secretary, preventing the release of relevant Cabinet papers from 2003.

The above is from the Daily Mail's "Jack Straw 'should quit' over his role in Iraq" and Jack Straw has (thus far) testified twice to the Iraq Inquiry and still in England, and also a witness for the Inquiry, Geoff Hoon. The Times of London reports that he is standing down in the upcoming election, "A minister throughout Tony Blair’s time in power Mr Hoon led the Ministry of Defence during the Iraq War, later serving as transport secretary under Gordon Brown." Richard James (In The News) adds, "During his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry recently, he suggested he had been kept out of the loop regarding crucial discussions between the former prime minister and George Bush." And officials are crazy the world over. Where ever you go, where ever you land. Nick McKenzi and Rafael Epstein (Sydney Morning Herald) report that Australian army military advisor (retired in December) Andrew Bird is stating they sold the wars as ordered:

"The way that we communicated is all government-centric. It just relayed the ministers' and prime minister's message, reinforcing the government's message. Every image we took, every interview we did and every bit of vision ... was to support the government's view," he said.

And in the US . . . Vice President Joe Biden appeared on Larry King last night. Sadly, some so-called reporters are focusing on the most inane details. (Joe's thoughts on Sarah Palin? Not news. Nor is Michelle Obama's thoughts on Sarah Palin. In fact, it's rather sad on the interviewers that either was asked the question. Joe's thoughts on a terrorist attack? News. Joe's thoughts on an ongoing war? News.) Andrew Malcolm's "Joe Biden update: Iraq one of Obama's 'great achievements'" (Los Angeles Times) rips Biden apart (before excerpt that follows so use link):

Here's how Biden put it to Lar:

I am very optimistic about -- about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.
I spent -- I've been there 17 times now. I go about every two months -- three months. I know every one of the major players in all the segments of that society. It's impressed me. I've been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.

Biden did not elaborate on what all the administration's other "great achievements" were so far.
No doubt, Iraqis too are very thankful for that 2008 U.S. election. (Full King transcript here.)

And another official, a mayor spoke out against where the money goes and the general apathy towards the war:

We always believe America is number one. If you start the first World War, the Second World War, then you take Korea and Vietnam and Iraq I and II and Afghanistan -- just think of all the money that we spend on wars to save the world. Today we can't save America. What is this? Why do we always have to go to war continually? Why can't we rebuild America? Why is it we have to take three hundred, four hundred billion dollars and tell people we're only going to be there for a year and we're coming home and we declare victory. What is it? What is it about America? How did we start this century of ten years of war? Ten years of war. We started it and we continue to move forward. Where are the anti-war people? "I looked down at the [. . .] center" -- where are they? Where are they? They've disappeared. What happened? I thought war was evil. Where are the people who believed in their heart against George W. Bush? 'We have to organize and walk down Michigan Avenue and Clark Street.' What happened? I thought they believed in their heart. Oh! It became a political issue. 'Barack won the election, now we go home.' What happened to America?

That's Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and WBEZ has the audio (first clip is above, second clip focuses on things like DC closing down due to snow which doesn't happen in Chicago and Daley says that workers are expected to be at work, snow or no snow as well as including the above statements). Cate Cahan (WBEZ) notes "that his son Patrick is being redeployed in the U.S. Army. War looms large when it looms close." Richard Daley is calling out the peace movement on apathy. Richard Daley. You know it's bad.


And we'll close with this from Margaret Kimberley's "Obama’s Murder Inc." (World Can't Wait):

No one has the right to kill, or so we are told. Regardless of motive, murder is illegal, and the legal system rightfully sets the bar at a very high level before excusing this act. Not so where the government is concerned. Our constitutional law professor president, Barack Obama, like his predecessor George W. Bush, claims the right to murder American citizens.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush gave the CIA and later the military, permission to kill American citizens abroad if those persons were declared threats to the United States, its people or its interests. President Obama believes that he too can decide to assassinate Americans if he declares them to be terrorists. This is not some bizarre assertion made by tin foil hat conspiracy theorists. The president’s Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, stated for the record and under oath before a congressional committee, that the president can give "special permission" to target American citizens for death.
In words that would make George Orwell proud, Blair explained that the rationale for killing is the taking of actions threatening American lives. "If that direct action -- we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that." So, if an American outside of the United States is considered a threat to other American lives, the American suspect can be killed on orders of the president. If that circular logic was followed consistently, then the killers of the terror suspect would also be killed for taking an American life. Of course, that would never happen because acting on behalf of the government absolves any and all criminal behavior.

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