Army screws national guardsmen out of educational benefits

October 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Posted in iraq war | Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) — When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush’s surge.Anderson’s orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

“Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month,” Anderson said.

http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=71741

In the meantime, of course the private security firm Blackwater kills innocent people and the Defense Department is paying them $455,000 a year per man.

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Blackwater immunity to come to an end?

October 4, 2007 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Blackwater, iraq war | Leave a comment

WASHINGTON – The House passed a bill Thursday that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts. It was the first major legislation of its kind to pass since a deadly shootout last month involving Blackwater employees.Defense vs. diplomatic missions
The current law, called the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, covers personnel supporting the mission of Defense Department operations overseas. But because Blackwater’s primary mission is to protect State Department officials, defense lawyers would likely argue that the law doesn’t apply.

At the same time, all U.S. contractors are immune from prosecution by Iraqi courts.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21132418/

You can bet this will get vetoed.

Blackwater security $445,000 per year per man

October 1, 2007 at 10:27 pm | Posted in Blackwater, iraq war | Leave a comment

The report also raised questions about the cost-effectiveness of using Blackwater forces instead of United States troops. Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day per guard, “equivalent to $445,000 per year, or six times more than the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier,” the report said.

Why is the U.S. deploying private firms to do its dirty work?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/washington/01cnd-blackwater.html?hp

Michael Bolton – US ambassador to U.N. – Bomb Iran – Iraq is model for change

October 1, 2007 at 10:21 pm | Posted in iran, iraq war, war | Leave a comment

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that former U.N. ambassador John Bolton advised Tory delegates in Britain this weekend that they should press for “pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities” in Iran.

“Because life is about choices, I think we have to consider the use of military force,” Bolton said. He added that any strike “should be followed by an attempt to remove” the “source of the problem,” Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Fleshing out his hawkish dreams on British television, Bolton suggested that the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was a model for the “policy of regime change” he would like to see done in Iran:

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/10/01/bolton-iraq-iran/

The Iraq war could have been avoided for $1 Billion

September 29, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Bush, iraq war, war | 1 Comment

How much money does Bush think a US soldier’s life is worth? How much money does Bush think the lives of our allies’ soldiers or innocent Iraqis are worth?As we’re finding out, not very much. On March 17, 2003 President Bush issued the warning: “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing ,” yet now thanks to a transcript leaked to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, we learn that more than three weeks prior to that Bush had told former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that “The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1 billion …” When confronted about the leaked transcript yesterday, Whitehouse spokeswoman Dana Perino did not dispute its accuracy.Just last week we learned from former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan that the real reason behind the war in Iraq was oil , and now we are finding out that the entire war could have been averted for letting him get away with $1 billion. That’s just than one tenth of 1% of what this insane invasion and occupation of Iraq, that continues claim the lives of our country’s bravest men and women, has now been forcast to cost. Think about that just for a second. Every single death, Iraqi and American coalition alike, could have been saved and Bush could have had Saddam’s oil, but apparently he didn’t even seriously consider it. Topping that, he then lied in public to the entire world about it just so he could have his war regardless. How’s that for compassionate conservatism?

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/09/28/saddam-wanted-out-bush-lied-about-it/

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saddam Hussein accepted an 11th-hour offer to flee into exile weeks ahead of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion, but Arab League officials scuttled the proposal, officials in this Gulf state claimed.

The exile initiative was spearheaded by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at an emergency Arab summit held in Egypt in February 2003, Sheik Zayed’s son said in an interview aired by Al-Arabiya TV during a documentary. The U.S.-led coalition invaded on March 19 that year.

A top government official confirmed the offer on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Updated: 7:38 p.m. ET Oct 29, 2005
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9864433/

Rolling Stone – The Great Iraq Swindle

September 23, 2007 at 11:51 pm | Posted in iraq war, Uncategorized, war | Leave a comment

How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini?…You’ve done such a terrible job, in fact, that when auditors from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction visit the college in the summer of 2006, their report sounds like something out of one of the Saw movies: “We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and feces that it would not operate,” they write, adding that “the urine was so pervasive that it had permanently stained the ceiling tiles” and that “during our visit, a substance dripped from the ceiling onto an assessment team member’s shirt.” The final report helpfully includes a photo of a sloppy brown splotch on the outstretched arm of the unlucky auditor….get asked by an irritatingly eager Maryland congressman named Chris Van Hollen how you managed to spend $72 million on a pile of shit.

You blink. Fuck if you know. “I have some conjecture, but that’s all it would be” is your deadpan answer.

The room twitters in amazement. It’s hard not to applaud the balls of a man who walks into Congress short $72 million in taxpayer money and offers to guess where it all might have gone.

There isn’t a brazen, two-bit, purse-snatching money caper you can think of that didn’t happen at least 10,000 times with your tax dollars in Iraq.

According to the most reliable ­estimates, we have doled out more than $500 billion for the war, as well as $44 billion for the Iraqi reconstruction effort. And what did America’s contractors give us for that money? They built big steaming shit piles, set brand-new trucks on fire, drove back and forth across the desert for no reason at all and dumped bags of nails in ditches. For the most part, nobody at home cared, because war on some level is always a waste. But what happened in Iraq went beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even. This was about the business of government being corrupted by the profit motive to such an extraordinary degree that now we all have to wonder how we will ever be able to depend on the state to do its job in the future. If catastrophic failure is worth billions, where’s the incentive to deliver success? There’s no profit in patriotism, no cost-plus angle on common decency. Sixty years after America liberated Europe, those are just words, and words don’t pay the bills.

RollingStone.com
The Great Iraq Swindle
How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury
Posted Aug 23, 2007 8:51 AM

Vanity Fair – How the U.S. lost $9 Billion in cash in Iraq

September 23, 2007 at 11:50 pm | Posted in iraq war, war | Leave a comment

Between April 2003 and June 2004, $12 billion in U.S. currency—much of it belonging to the Iraqi people—was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad, where it was dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Some of the cash went to pay for projects and keep ministries afloat, but, incredibly, at least $9 billion has gone missing, unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed. Following a trail that leads from a safe in one of Saddam’s palaces to a house near San Diego, to a P.O. box in the Bahamas, the authors discover just how little anyone cared about how the money was handled.


Vanity Fair
Billions over Baghdad
by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele October 2007

Soldier harrassed for being an atheist – Army can’t find the defendant in lawsuit

September 23, 2007 at 12:24 am | Posted in iraq war, Religion | Leave a comment

Pentagon Can’t Find Major Named in Suit

By JOHN MILBURN

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 22, 2007; 5:08 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. — Military officials are investigating an Army specialist’s allegations that he was harassed for being an atheist but said Saturday they have found no trace of the officer listed as a defendant in the soldier’s lawsuit.

Spc. Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit this past week against a Maj. Paul Welborne and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.


“We’re talking about stuff that happened 36 hours ago. If they can’t find the people who have been harassing Jeremy, we will,” said Weinstein, who released Hall’s e-mails to The Associated Press on Friday. “This isn’t that hard to do.”


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/22/AR2007092200939.html?tid=informbox

Bush and Republican senators help raise money for moveon.org

September 22, 2007 at 11:25 pm | Posted in iraq war, politics | Leave a comment

Moveon.org placed a full page ad in the September 10th issue of the New York Times.

The Washington Post, hardly a bastion of the neocons has a fact check blog.

Rather than let the story die, 30 Republic senators and Joseph Lieberman introduced a resolution condemning the ad. abcnews

Bush attacked the ad. (cnn with link to video).

The end result? Moveon.org raised another half a million based on the publicity.

And the soldiers? Support letters to moveon.org here.

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