Before putting a bullet through his head, Westhusing had been deeply disturbed by abuses carried out by American contractors in Iraq, including allegations that they had witnessed or even participated in the murder of Iraqis. His suicide note included claims that his two commanders tolerated a mission based on "corruption, human right abuses and liars." One of those commanders: the future leader of the "surge" campaign in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus.
[Ted] Westhusing, 44, had been found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport in June 2005, a single gunshot wound to the head. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq. The Army concluded that he committed suicide with his service pistol. Westhusing was an unusual case: "one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor," as Christian Miller explained in a major Los Angeles Times piece.
"In e-mails to his family," Miller wrote, "Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military." His death followed quickly. "He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," one official recounted. Westhusing said that "he had not come over to Iraq for this." After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing's death a suicide.
This is the McCain Doctrine in action. This is the plan that John McCain has been pushing for all these years. This is the plan that was implemented, to the enthusiastic cheers of the media. Once again, Maverick McCain rides to the rescue. The Surge, by golly, worked and set things in place.
Instead of the Surge, we need to call this so-called "surge" the McCain Doctrine. This was all John McCain's idea. He was the one who was pushing for the ouster of Rumsfeld. If only they tried my ideas, he groused, things would be so much better. Well, Senator, we tried your "surge." It didn't work -- we lost. The Battle of Basra will be to the McCain Doctrine like the Tet Offensive was to Vietnam -- a complete and total failure. And the McCain Doctrine will be hung around its originator like an anvil and the Straight Talk Express will turn into the Straight to Hell Express.
Hamilton, a 35-year House member from Indiana, which holds its presidential primary May 6, chaired the Committee on Foreign Affairs and co-chaired both the 9/11 commission and the Iraq Study Group.
"I read his national security and foreign policy speeches," Hamilton told Bloomberg News today, "and he comes across to me as pragmatic, visionary and tough. He impresses me as a person who wants to use all the tools of presidential power."
The backing of Hamilton, who was said to be on the list of possible vice presidential partners for Bill Clinton in 1992, could help Obama, who's been criticized for his foreign policy inexperience.
Both his Democratic presidential competitor, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, and the Republicans' presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who has many years of foreign policy experience, have attacked some Obama foreign policy statements.
Hamilton said he particularly agreed with Obama's stand on meeting with adversarial foreign leaders without preconditions and on Obama favoring possible unilateral military action against terrorist hideouts, although in the case of Pakistan that would be attacking a staunch ally.
Freudenthal said he was impressed by the large, enthusiastic crowds that turned out to see Obama when he visited Wyoming ahead of last month's caucuses.
"They paid attention and were riveted and reactivated, and trying to be part of an America that's bigger than just their own self-interest," Freudenthal told The Associated Press. "And you hope that can work. Because something has got to dig us out of this morass that we've gotten into, where it's sort of gotcha politics."
Freudenthal is the second Western governor and former Clinton appointee to endorse Obama in recent weeks. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former energy secretary and UN ambassador under Clinton, announced his support for Obama two weeks ago.
I repeatedly urged Democrats to stop attacking each other personally and even offered a DNC resolution calling for a positive campaign based on the issues. I was evenhanded in my efforts. In fact, my intervention in a debate during a particularly heated exchange was seen by numerous commentators as an attempt to defend Sen. Clinton against the barbs of Sens. Obama and John Edwards.
As I have pointed out many times, and most pointedly when I endorsed Sen. Obama, the campaign has been too negative, and we Democrats need to calm the rhetoric and personal attacks so we can come together as a party to defeat the Republicans.
More than anything, to repair the damage done at home and abroad, we must unite as a country. I endorsed Sen. Obama because I believe he has the judgment, temperament and background to bridge our divisions as a nation and make America strong at home and respected in the world again.
I just watched Morning Joe just now and Joe was interviewing Elizabeth Edwards. He asked her point blank that there was a NY magazine article that talked about why John Edwards hasn't endorsed Barack Obama. In that article it said that one of the reasons was that Obama got in an argument with Elizabeth Edwards over health care and was "condescending".
Well she just said that that article is false and that Obama was really charming in discussing a variety of things including health care. She said that people should just be careful what you read for many things aren't true.
AND THE ENDORSEMENTS KEEP ROLLING IN:
Melcher is one of eight Montana superdelegates who can vote for whoever they please at the party's national convention this summer.
Melcher says he chose Obama because he believes the Illinois senator has been against the Iraq war since the start.
Five state senators and 19 state representatives, along with the state superintendent of schools and state treasurer pledged their votes to Barack Obama.
Independent senator Avel Gordly announced she would change her party affiliation and become a registered democrat after meeting Obama at a campaign rally.
"He said to me, I need the help of independent like yourself, and I told him then, he could count on my support. And, let me tell you why: Barack Obama is a unifier," Gordly said.
Representative Mary Nolan told the group she wants her daughter to be able to have a woman as president, but does not believe that Hillary Clinton is the candidate.
Nolan repeated what many others agreed, Obama’s message of change is one, they believe, is worth sharing.
Michael Mukasey cries crocodile tears over 9/11:
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Barack Obama is a real Constitutional scholar. The fact that he is means that he is the person most qualified to undo the damage of FISA and the Patriot Act and the rest of the Constitution because of his understanding of Constitutional law. We need a President who will put the Constitution front and center and not throw it out whenever it is not convenient for him.
Sen. John McCain disclosed Wednesday he is in the "embryonic stages" of selecting a vice presidential running mate and hopes to unveil his choice before the Republican National Convention to avoid the type of problems that plagued Dan Quayle's debut two decades ago.
"It's every name imaginable" he said of his list-in-the-making, about 20 in all.
He disclosed none of them and declined even to identify the individuals he has approached to supervise the vetting that will inevitably winnow the field.
In expressing his hope to announce his choice before the convention opens in September, McCain added, "I'm aware of enhanced importance of this issue because of my age." He is 71, and if he wins, would be the oldest president elected.
McCain's comments seemed to startle his top aides, who have scripted an elaborate weeklong series of events designed to introduce the Republican to a wider audience of voters and emphasize his military service.
Just four months after the Valdez spill, Sen. George Mitchell introduced S.686, a measure relating to oil spills and liability. Sen. Brock Adams then introduced an amendment (S.Amdt.669) requiring double hulls on all new tankers over 20,000 tons operating in U.S. waters. (Valdez was a single-hull tanker.)
Big Oil's Best Buddy Sen. John Breaux moved to table the amendment. When the vote was taken, the amendment was indeed tabled, by an extremely narrow 51-48 vote.
Guess who voted with Breaux and Big Oil? That's right: Straight Talkin', Special Interest Hatin', Enviro-Maverick John McCain!
Again: four months after the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, McCain voted against requiring double hulled tankers.
To this day, Exxon is the only oil company that doesn't use double-hulled tankers to ship oil in and out of Alaska.
Now, this fantasy unfortunately doesn't match with the reality of Exxon Eddie's voting record. He says he is focused on Renewable Energy, but the opposite is true. Yes, Exxon Eddie wants you to believe that he is working so hard to try and make renewables viable, but he voted against this bill in 2007:
HR 6: To reduce our Nation's dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable, and alternative energy resources, promoting new emerging energy technologies, developing greater efficiency, and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to invest in alternative energy, and for other purposes.
Here is what it sought to accomplish:- Denies a deduction for income attributable to domestic production of oil, natural gas, or their related primary products. - Defines conditions of new leases authorizing oil or natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, requiring lessees to have: (1) renegotiated covered leases to change payment responsibilities to include price thresholds equal to or less than specified price thresholds; or (2) paid all conservation of resources fees or agreed to pay them. - Establishes fees for producing and nonproducing federal oil and gas leases in Gulf of Mexico - Repeals incentives for natural gas production from wells in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico - Creates reserve of funds received as result of this Act, that will be used to offset costs of accelerating the use of renewable energy resources and alternative fuels
This is the McCain Doctrine on the environment -- say you're an environmentalist and then turn around and do whatever Exxon wants. John McCain and Ed Whitfield are two of Exxon's biggest friends in Congress.
The abuse, rising to the level of torture, of those captured and detained in the war on terror is a defining feature of the presidency of George W. Bush. Its military beginnings, however, lie not in Abu Ghraib, as is commonly thought, or in the "rendition" of prisoners to other countries for questioning, but in the treatment of the very first prisoners at Guantánamo. Starting in late 2002 a detainee bearing the number 063 was tortured over a period of more than seven weeks. In his story lies the answer to a crucial question: How was the decision made to let the U.S. military start using coercive interrogations at Guantánamo?
The Bush administration has always taken refuge behind a "trickle up" explanation: that is, the decision was generated by military commanders and interrogators on the ground. This explanation is false. The origins lie in actions taken at the very highest levels of the administration—by some of the most senior personal advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense. At the heart of the matter stand several political appointees—lawyers—who, it can be argued, broke their ethical codes of conduct and took themselves into a zone of international criminality, where formal investigation is now a very real option. This is the story of how the torture at Guantánamo began, and how it spread.
"Crying. Angry. Yelled for Allah."
One day last summer I sat in a garden in London with Dr. Abigail Seltzer, a psychiatrist who specializes in trauma victims. She divides her time between Great Britain’s National Health Service, where she works extensively with asylum seekers and other refugees, and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. It was uncharacteristically warm, and we took refuge in the shade of some birches. On a table before us were three documents. The first was a November 2002 "action memo" written by William J. (Jim) Haynes II, the general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense, to his boss, Donald Rumsfeld; the document is sometimes referred to as the Haynes Memo. Haynes recommended that Rumsfeld give "blanket approval" to 15 out of 18 proposed techniques of aggressive interrogation. Rumsfeld duly did so, on December 2, 2002, signing his name firmly next to the word "Approved." Under his signature he also scrawled a few words that refer to the length of time a detainee can be forced to stand during interrogation: "I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"
The second document on the table listed the 18 proposed techniques of interrogation, all of which went against long-standing U.S. military practice as presented in the Army Field Manual. The 15 approved techniques included certain forms of physical contact and also techniques intended to humiliate and to impose sensory deprivation. They permitted the use of stress positions, isolation, hooding, 20-hour interrogations, and nudity. Haynes and Rumsfeld explicitly did not rule out the future use of three other techniques, one of which was waterboarding, the application of a wet towel and water to induce the perception of drowning.
The third document was an internal log that detailed the interrogation at Guantánamo of a man identified only as Detainee 063, whom we now know to be Mohammed al-Qahtani, allegedly a member of the 9/11 conspiracy and the so-called 20th hijacker. According to this log, the interrogation commenced on November 23, 2002, and continued until well into January. The techniques described by the log as having been used in the interrogation of Detainee 063 include all 15 approved by Rumsfeld.
John McCain's gaffe on the Battle of Basra:
So now, it seems that nothing is off-limits to John McCain. Rather than admit the failure of the McCain Doctrine, he will stop at nothing to get elected, including telling blatant lies about what happened. It was Maliki who turned tail and ran, while it was Iran who brokered the recent negotiations in the first place. If John McCain can play this fast and loose with the truth, then why should we trust anything he says?
So today, a dozen states, three cities, and eleven non-profit organizations took legal action to compel EPA to comply. The parties are led by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and include Environmental Defense Fund.
The first step is to obtain EPA’s formal determination of whether global warming pollution endangers public health or welfare. This determination was transmitted to the White House in December and improperly withheld from the public.
So the parties filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., asking the court to direct EPA to issue its determination within 60 days.
The petition documents EPA’s defiance of the Supreme Court:
As EPA’s own statements and a Congressional inquiry demonstrate: the Administrator publicly set a firm deadline for making the endangerment determination by the end of 2007; the agency has already completed all of its work on issues that, under the Supreme Court’s decision, are relevant to that determination; the Administrator has in fact made an internal decision in favor of endangerment; and the Administrator has forwarded the full formal write-up of that determination to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The publication of the endangerment determination, however, is now being withheld. The Administrator has refused to give the petitioners or Congress a timetable for action, and he has explained his delay by reference to considerations that are not legally relevant under the Supreme Court’s ruling.
For more on the background of this standoff, see today’s Washington Post editorial, "Ignoring the Supreme Court".
This is the difference between an Obama administration and a McCain administration. Obama would be one of the most open administrations in US history. A vote for John McCain would be a vote for a third term for Bush, meaning more signing statements, more defiance of the rule of law, and more hobnobbing with Exxon.