Levees Not War
Rebuilding New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast.

Posts Tagged ‘dick cheney’

We’re Not Forgetting

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

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Except for posting this brief comment, we are among the millions of New Yorkers who are doing anything but “commemorating” the 10th anniversary. We are not reading the magazines’ special commemorative editions or watching the solemn and reverent broadcasts brought to you by our sponsors of the corporate media. We live in New York City—we don’t need to be reminded. It’s with us every day, in every heavily armed National Guardsman at Penn Station, every fire station you pass by, etc., just as you can still hear Hurricane Katrina howling through New Orleans, not only on the anniversary of Aug. 29, 2005.

Let Us Remember These Attacks Could Have Been Blocked

While we remember the dead, and those who died bravely trying to save lives, while our sincere condolences go out to their families, the children who never knew their daddy who died that day—

While we are never forgetting let us also recall that for eight months in early 2001 Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice blew off counter-terrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke’s repeated requests for meetings to brief them on the threat of Al Qaeda; and that Bush was specifically warned in an Aug. 6, 2001, CIA briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” but remained on vacation till Sept. 4 and never did call Clarke. And we will never forget watching the towers burning—we could see the smoke from an elevated subway track in Queens a few miles away—and then on a TV in our office in midtown Manhattan watching the towers burning, hearing about another plane striking the Pentagon, and looking out the window and wondering, “Where is the f—in’ goddamn air force?!”

The first plane to hit the World Trade Center was American flight 11 out of Boston. It took off at 7:45 a.m. After 8:13 there was no more pilot contact with air traffic control. Around 8:20, two flight attendants called American’s headquarters to report a hijacking. Under normal conditions that plane would have been stopped, shot down if necessary. But NORAD and the FAA claimed NORAD wasn’t contacted until 8:40. Even then, the first fighter jets weren’t scrambled until 8:52. American flight 11 hit the north tower at 8:48—thirty-five minutes after Boston lost contact. McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey is only 70 miles from Manhattan—an F-15 at top speed could have been there in three minutes—but instead the order went to Otis AFB in Cape Cod. Cape Cod? It would have been strange enough for the system to fail for Flight 11, but the same thing happened with all four hijacked flights: FAA is tardy in telling NORAD, then NORAD is slow to order up fighter jets from unnecessarily distant bases, then the fighters don’t arrive till after the damage is done. For Washington, the obvious base is Andrews, 10 miles away, but instead the jets were ordered from Langley AFB, 130 miles from Washington, after the Pentagon was hit. (The USAF was budgeted $85 billion for fiscal year 2001.)

While human beings, many of them with their clothes on fire, were jumping out of the burning towers and splattering like eggs on the concrete plaza a quarter mile down, the commander in chief was in Sarasota, Florida, sitting virtually paralyzed as a class of second-graders read a story about a pet goat. Four different accounts attest that he had been notified about the attacks in New York before he entered the classroom for the photo-op.

(Imagine the reaction if any of this happened with the current president, or any Democrat in the White House.)

This is not the part they want us to remember today. Sorry. This is what we remember and always will, just as we’ll never forget the entire city abandoned by that same administration (with the president this time on a five-week vacation), children and elderly and all ages in between suffocating and dehydrating in the Superdome and outside the Convention Center for days after Hurricane Katrina and on rooftops all around the sweltering city of New Orleans in late August and early September 2005.

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And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.   —Revelation 21:4

et absterget Deus omnem lacrimam ab oculis eorum . . . 

Il essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux . . . 

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See also:

Is Katrina More Significant Than September 11? Thoughts on Two American Traumas (Sept. 11, 2010)

Anti-Islamic Furor Helps al Qaeda, Endangers America: On the proposed Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan (Aug. 23, 2010)

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Top photo from WTC observation deck by Nathan Benn, Feb. 18, 1988; bottom photo of New Orleans resident Angela Perkins outside the New Orleans Convention Center, Sept. 1, 2005, by Melissa Phillip/AP Photo.

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BP Oil Flood Brought to You by U.S. Supreme Court?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

[cross-posted at Daily Kos]

Let’s play what-if: Would the BP Oil Flood have happened if the Rehnquist Supreme Court in its Bush v. Gore ruling had not stopped the state of Florida’s vote-counting? We think maybe not. We think it’s not too far a stretch to say that the BP Oil Flood is a direct consequence of the Supreme Court’s 5–4 ruling in Bush v. Gore, about which dissenting associate justice John Paul Stevens lamented:

“Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear.”

Even though the Clinton administration was not noted for its environmental activism, we can be sure that if Al Gore had gone from vice president to president—which he nearly did, at least by a half million popular votes—he would have been a tougher regulator of the oil and energy industry than George W. Bush. The Bush administration in effect was the oil and energy industry, with either direct or close ties (including substantial investments) held by the president, vice president, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, national security adviser and later secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, energy secretary Spencer Abraham, EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, commerce secretary Donald Evans, and on and on. The Bush method of cabinet selection—a sharpened version of the usual Republican way—was to appoint as secretary a person who came from the industry that would be overseen by the department in question, or disagreed with the department’s reason for being. For example, energy secretary Spencer Abraham, when he was a senator from Michigan, in 1999 had cosponsored a bill (S.896) to abolish the Energy Department and transfer the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the Defense Department.

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“Oil-Spotted Dick”: Cheney’s Oily Fingerprints in the BP Disaster

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

It’s Not “Obama’s Katrina”—But It’s Cheney’s Second

[ cross-posted at Daily Kos ]

Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.”

—Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted in New York Times, May 1, 2001

The good people of Great Britain have a beloved and time-honored delicacy, a steamed suet pudding known as spotted dick. Well, we Americans too have a celebrated concoction that has served as vice president and secretary of defense as well as CEO of Halliburton. And what a rare and piquant morsel is our Dick.

Conservative media outlets and their followers at CNN have been quick to ask in their usual accusatory way if this disaster is “Obama’s Katrina” (by all means, lose no opportunity to attack!). It is probably true that the administration should have been more proactively skeptical of BP’s assertions that the situation was under control. (TPM’s timeline here.) But the responsibility for the leak’s happening at all lies closer to the George W. Bush administration—and to its all-powerful vice president. Halliburton was cementing the base of the well at the time of the explosion, and for its involvement in the accident the Houston-based oil services giant is named in a lawsuit filed by the widow of one of the 11 missing offshore workers. The Wall Street Journal reported (4/30):

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig. . . . Halliburton also was the cementer on a well that suffered a big blowout last August in the Timor Sea, off Australia. The rig there caught fire and a well leaked tens of thousands of barrels of oil over 10 weeks before it was shut down.

But Cheney is implicated also in the absence of a device that could have stopped the leak. The Wall Street Journal, Salon.com, the New Republic, and Michael Tomasky at The Guardian have been following the dripping trail of oil that leads to Dick Cheney’s (formerly undisclosed) location.

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Feeling No Pain: Your Representative Democracy at Work

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with White House correspondent Martha Raddatz aired on March 19, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, Vice President Dick Cheney revealed once again how closely he listens to public opinion.

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.

CHENEY: So?

RADDATZ: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

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Obama Warns Bush, “You Don’t Have Our Authorization” for Iran War

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Here is heartening news: The first of the major Democratic presidential candidates tells the White House not to start a war against Iran. Now, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, what say you?

(Reid, Pelosi-care to add your voices? John Warner? Retired generals?)

The Huffington Post presents exclusive excerpts of a major policy speech to be delivered in Iowa today (9/12) by Senator Barack Obama in which the Illinois senator will declare: “George Bush and Dick Cheney must hear-loud and clear-from the American people and the Congress: you don’t have our support, and you don’t have our authorization for another war.”

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Freedom on the March, continued: War President Authorizes Military “to confront Tehran’s murderous activities”

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Excerpts from the Commander’s remarks to the American Legion in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 28. Hear any echoes of Dick Cheney’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2002 (almost five years ago to the day)?

“[W]e are advancing freedom and liberty as the alternative to the ideologies of hatred and repression. . . .

Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region. It is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran backs Hezbollah who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon. Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, and target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories. Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops. Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime. And Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

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July 2007 Deadliest Yet for U.S. Troops; Cheney Sees Surge “Producing Results”

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

BBC reports that Vice President Dick Cheney-who predicted in March 2003 that “we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators” and claimed in May 2005 that the insurgency was in its “last throes“-is ready to declare the surge a success. Meanwhile, in the reality-based community, Juan Cole at Informed Comment counters that in July, normally a low-casualty month in Iraq because of the searing heat, U.S. military deaths were nearly double the casualty rate in July 2006.

• July 2003: 48
• July 2004: 54
• July 2005: 54
• July 2006: 43
• July 2007: Now up to 79

[Source: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count]

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