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Photos By Michael Dubiner
Memorial Day Indictment
Investigate, Then charge or impeach.
And if there are no grounds,
Let the voters throw them out!
The Voice Behnd The Lens
Writings on Photography and Beyond.
With writer, street, documentary photographer Michael Dubiner.
If Al-Qaeda intended to change the United States by their inhuman acts on September 11, 2001, they accomplished what they set out to do. Americans took the bait and President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their cronies took advantage of our fears to begin to reshape America in their own vision.
We went to war to wipe out the Taliban. Then, before we could finish the job in Afghanistan, Iraq became more important. What could have been more important than totally vanquishing the government in power in Afghanistan, the one government that we know directly participated on September 11, 2001? Incredibly, the Taliban today controls sign cant portions of Afghanistan.
This Administration never told us we were voting for a war in Iraq if we were voted for Bush/Cheney. Perhaps I missed the code words during the speeches and debates in the run up to the election. It appears that one needs to be able to divine this Administration's code in order to understand its intentions. A little like Bill Clinton's verbal linguistics but far more dangerous and much more personal. A good example is the code word "Coalition". What that means to this Administration is mostly US and several other countries with most committing a minimal number of troops. Watch Bush's lips move and listen for the code. It happens all the time, now that he is President. I must admit I do not yet fully understand much of the code I hear.
We went to war on Iraq based on the Administrations' request, to us, and Congress, to trust their Intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld even told us where they were located. We are now told that since there were no weapons of mass destruction we were nevertheless justified in waging war because Saddam Hussein is a terrible person. If that is a justification for going to war, what about all those other really bad guys out there?
We were also told that Saddam Hussein was somehow involved in the September 11, 2001 terrorist acts. Ooops, that was a mistake in Intelligence as well.
And the biggest failure of Intelligence lead to the Administration's biggest mistake, next to our entry into Iraq. Because they thought our troops were going to be greeted by the Iraqis with flowers and candy instead of bullets, they massively underestimated the number of troops we needed to commit if we had any chance of a successful outcome. Then, when it became clear that we could not provide security in Iraq, the Administration refused to admit its mistake and thereafter refused to significantly raise the number of troops when they could have done the most good. There was no backup plan. If no flowers and candy, maybe we should have had a contingency plan to seal the Iraqi borders. Maybe we could have stockpiled armor in the event the flowers and candy turned to IED's. Maybe we needed to have more troops in reserve, ready to win the war if things did not go as we were lead to believe? In response to the question, "who could have known?" I spoke to many people in the lead up to the war that made these exact arguments.
Who gained by this war? Are there fewer deaths in Iraq now than there were in the years before the war? What about the thousands of soldiers and the tens of thousands of civilians? Is the typical Iraqi not living in the Green Zone better off today in their personal security, economically, in their freedom of religion and by most other measures? I think not. Are Americans any safer? While there been no terrorist attacks in America since the September 1, 2001 attacks, the war has nevertheless cost the lives of a similar number of Americans as did the airliner attacks. And the financial cost to our kids and grandchildren? What about our standing in the world?
So who did benefit from this unjustified war? The only clear beneficiaries are a few multi-national corporations, like the Kuwaiti firm that is building the massive American embassy in Baghdad and Dick Cheney's old pals at Halliburton. I make no claim that this result was the aim of the Administration. It is sad enough to report the results of this Administration's actions.
And when we discover that our Intelligence was faulty, and it is revealed, the Administration retaliates by leaking the name of a CIA agent. This is the very Administration that complains about leaks and the irresponsibility of the press revealing the governments' actions.
Our citizens discovered that the NSA was conducting communication intercepts through the press. The Secret Court pushed for by the Administration was never consulted. While this Secret Court does not sound particularly American, we clearly need to take some secret action to fight terrorism. Apparently, the Administration did not trust that these intercepts would be found legal by its' Secret Court so it did not try to secure warrants for these intercepts. The President's lawyer who gave the stamp of approval to this program then is promoted to Attorney General. That is the head of the Agency that, in normal times would investigate the legality of the program.
The Administration refused to grant their own Justice Department attorneys security clearances in order to investigate the Justice Departments' lawyers role in these communication intercepts. Therefore the investigation was closed by the Administrations' Justice Department. Is that how our system is set up to work? Where are the oversight and the balance of powers contemplated by the Constitution?
We are continuing to incarcerate suspected terrorists in Cuba so that they can be far from American justice. They are subjected to what has been described as "coercive" measures to get them to reveal information. When questioned, the Administration justified Guantanamo Bay and practices such as water boarding as necessities and legal during war. If necessary, and lawful why did we have to carry out those practices in Cuba? Now, many of those "terrorists" have been released after years in custody and more will be freed soon. Many because they were innocent. After more than four years of detention and "persuasive interrogation". A few of these "high security" detainees were just children. Would that have been allowed if they were jailed in America and subject to the scrutiny of the Courts? I hope not. And what about those high level terrorists captured over the past four years? Why are they not brought to the United States? Why are we hiding them in other countries? This is America and I did not think that we did things that way.
An American is arrested in the United States. He is held without access to the Courts or even an attorney for years as an "enemy combatant". When a challenge to that status is like to be upheld by the Supreme Court the Administration finally charges him with a crime to remove that issue from being decided by the Court.
Now we learn that most of our telephone records have been mined by the NSA. Again, this was revealed by the press. Again too, the Secret Court was not consulted for fear that the massive spying on Americans would not have been deemed legal.
Is this Administration telling us that in this war on terrorism, the American Courts cannot be trusted?
The head of the NSA at the time, these determinations were made and carried out, a general, is made head the civilian CIA. The first general to head the CIA in over 25 years.
The Administration defends some of these actions by the fact that there have been no terrorist incidents since September 11, 2001. Don't tell the American public that avoiding the scrutiny of the Secret Court prevented terrorist acts. Even though it would not justify the Administration's failure to attempt to secure warrants, I would like to know exactly how many terrorist acts were prevented by the Administration learning what we read and who I call.
Some of these actions appear to fly in the face of the law of the land. The Administrations' response? The President has the inherent power to order these actions in a time of war. In other words, this President has a right to defy the law of the land, when he determines it is in our best interest. Trust him.
I do not. This is the same Administration that never told us before the war started what the plan was and what the commitment would be. Did they do this out of evil intent? Maybe not. But they have lost my trust, and hopefully the trust of millions of Americans.
That is not all.
As unbelievable as it may seem, we are further cutting taxes, in this time of war and deficit. It is a fact that these cuts benefit mostly the wealthy. The excuse the Administration gives is that these tax cuts are needed to stimulate the economy. Yet the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates since June, 2004 in order to control economic growth to control inflation. The upper class gets major tax cuts while the rest of us get enough to fill our car up, once, if we are lucky. Our children and grandchildren will finance this Administrations additions to the deficit and the entire war on Iraq. Where is the Republican fiscal conservatism?
Enough already. If there are crimes that were committed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their friends, let us bring them to justice. If we cannot do that because of his presidential power, then Bush should be impeached. If there are no crimes or impeachable offenses, then let the voters, Republican and Democrat alike run these very dangerous rascals out of office.
Al-Qaeda wins when, because of fear, we lose our civil liberties. This Administration took advantage of the events of September 11, 2001 by stoking our fears to foster its own agenda. We need to fight terrorism by Determination, Brain Power, Manpower, Funding, Technology and Intelligence and by cherishing and respecting the Constitution and protecting our rights and civil liberties. We only foster the aims of terrorism when we allow ourselves to forget what a great, strong and potentially united a Nation we are. We have to fight terror with all our might. We should never agree to fight it by allowing our leaders to frighten us into submitting to our own form of dictatorship, where our leaders make up the law as they go along.
My email address has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(The author, Michael Dubiner is a professional image maker and lawyer who lives in Wellington, Florida. His articles will appear twice monthly on PixiPort. His work can be seen at PixiPort.com and at his web site, duby.com.)
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