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On Success, the Surge, and the Baghdad Morgue Queue

The Corpse on the Gurney: The "Success" Mantra in Iraq
By Tom Engelhardt
The other day, as we reached the first anniversary of the President's announcement of his "surge" strategy, his "new way forward" in Iraq, I found myself thinking about the earliest paid book-editing work I ever did.
 
 
An editor at a San Francisco textbook publisher hired me to "doctor" god-awful texts designed for audiences of captive kids.
 
Each of these "books" was not only in a woeful state of disrepair, but essentially D.O.A. I was nonetheless supposed to do a lively rewrite of the mess and add seductive "sidebars"; another technician then simplified the language to "grade level" and a designer provided a flashy layout and look.
 
Zap! Pow! Kebang!


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Ending a Culture of Impunity

Ending a Culture of Impunity for Contract Soldiers
by Scott Horton
Today, Human Rights First released its report “Private Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunity”(4MB PDF), which I helped write and edit. The report’s focus is not on the misdeeds of private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather it focuses on the United States Government, and particularly the Department of Justice.
 
The Bush Administration has crafted a culture of impunity for contractors in Iraq. This can be seen in a number of acts and in a policy of official indifference towards violent crime involving contractors.
 
The victims of this policy are Iraqi civilians, coalition military, and members of the contractor force themselves. As a senior general in Iraq recently told one of my colleagues: “The three biggest threats faced by American soldiers in Iraq are IEDs, al Qaeda fighters, and unaccountable contractors.”
 
Repeated hearings and demands for action from Congress are ignored by the Justice Department.


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To Those Who Follow in Our Wake

Brecht ‘To Those Who Follow in Our Wake’
by Scott Horton
 
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
Das arglose Wort ist töricht. Eine glatte Stirn
Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin. Der Lachende
Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
Nur noch nicht empfangen.
 
 
 
 
Truly, I live in dark times!
An artless word is foolish. A smooth forehead
Points to insensitivity. He who laughs
Has not yet received
The terrible news.
 
 
 
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Canadians 'Too Thick' to Support Afghanistan Mission

Canadians Too Thick to Support Afghanistan Mission
by C. L. Cook
By way of getting to know his new subjects, freshly minted Conservative Defence Minister, Gordon O'Connor summed up what he sees as his greatest challenge: How to get through to the sixty-two percent of Canadians who don't believe the country should be involved with the worsening occupation of Afghanistan.

"The population out there doesn't really understand right now why we're there and what we're doing. You have to say the thing five, six, seven, eight times before it really gets through to a large number of people." - Defence Minister O'Connor instructs the foreign press.
[This comes from 2006. The minister has since departed his post. - lex]

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A Predictive History of George Bush's Second Term

Deceits to Come: A Predictive History of George Bush's Second Term
by C. L. Cook
Before the New Year gets out of its diapers, and in the spirit of pre-emption lately so fashionable, I think it fitting to sketch out a few of the inevitable crimes, and misdemeanors George W. Bush must commit during his second illegitimate term if he is to complete the creation of the nightmare project that is his New American Century. 
 
[I wrote this in the early days of 2005, those halcyon years when war was young and... - lex]


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Liberty’s Light and Independent Views

Extinguishing Liberty’s Light and Independent Views
by Paul Craig Roberts
What was the greatest failure of 2007?  President Bush’s “surge” in Iraq?  The decline in the value of the US dollar?  Subprime mortgages?  No. The greatest failure of 2007 was the newly sworn in Democratic Congress.

The American people’s attempt in November 2006 to rein in a rogue government, which has committed the US to costly military adventures while running roughshod over the US Constitution, failed.  Replacing Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate has made no difference.  

The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic Party is as determined as the assault by the Republicans.  On October 23, 2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.


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Canadian Nuke Watchdog Fired Hours Before Testimony

Nuclear Safety Watchdog Head Fired for "lack of leadership": Minister
by CBC News
Federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn defended his decision to fire the head of Canada's nuclear safety watchdog Wednesday, arguing she lost the government's confidence over the way she handled the shutdown of a medical isotope-producing nuclear reactor late last year.

The former head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Linda Keen, will remain a member of the commission. (CBC)
 
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission president Linda Keen was let go hours before she and Lunn were set to appear before a House committee in Ottawa on Wednesday. Keen subsequently backed out.


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Canada: Nearly Achieving Sub-Nation Status II

Canada Report 2007 – Part II – Canada’s Policy on Israel/Palestine
by Jim Miles
Previously I had looked at several factors that tend to indicate that Canada’s actions with foreign policy and with domestic policy are increasingly following American policies.  
 
One of the areas that receives very little local media attention is the official policy towards the Israeli/Palestine question – seldom do the issues on Israel/Palestine surface in any of the media, and what little does generally follows the lines of Palestinian terrorists, the undemocratic Hamas takeover of Gaza, and the hardships of the Israeli population. 
 


 
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Hillary's Martin Luther King Dilemma

Hillary's Real MLK Problem
by Barbara Ehrenreich
At first I took it as another -- yawn -- white rip-off of black culture and creativity: the Rolling Stones appropriating the Bo Diddley beat, Bo Derek sporting corn rows, and now Hillary giving Lyndon Baines Johnson credit for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
 
If you had to give this honor to a white guy, LBJ was an odd choice, since he'd spent the 1964 Democratic convention scheming to prevent the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party from taking any Dixiecrat seats.
 
By Clinton's standards, maybe Richard Nixon should be credited with the legalization of abortion in 1972.
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America: Deflation Time Bomb

The Deflation Time Bomb
by Mike Whitney
We are to about see how much George Bush really believes the “supply side” mumbo-jumbo he’s been spouting for the last seven years.
 
Last week’s Labor Department report confirmed that unemployment is on the rise (5%) and that corrective action will be required to avoid a long and painful recession. There’s a good chance that the Chameleon in Chief will jettison his “trickle down” doctrine for more conventional Keynesian remedies like slashing interest rates, government programs, and tax relief to middle and low-income people.
 
 
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Ontario Uranium Mining the Line Too Far: Ottawa on the Mohawk

Women Title Holders Assert the Great Law over ALGONQUINS 
by Kahentinetha Horn
The  Kahtihon’tia:kwenio have been forced to assert their responsibilities as caretakers of Haudenosaunee land. 
 
The land in question is south of the Ottawa River which was Huron [Wyandot] territory 308 years ago.  After many years of warfare between the Iroquois and the French and their allies, the Hurons, there was a meeting in Montreal in 1700.  At this time, this land passed to the Haudenosaunee in exchange for prisoners.
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