When it comes to Iraq, Jeb Bush was for it before he was against it, and is now for it again.
Speaking at a National Security Forum in Iowa, Bush sought to distance himself from his previous attempts to distance himself from his brother’s invasion of Iraq, saying he believed the multi-trillion dollar war with the massive death toll was a “pretty good deal” since it ousted Saddam Hussein.
Bush had previously faced a pretty major backlash for saying he’d have invaded Iraq like his brother did, and faced with that insisted he “misunderstood” the question and was actually against it.
Jeb Bush went on to talk torture, saying he believes “in general” torture isn’t appropriate, but refusing to rule out a return to torture if he was elected, saying he “didn’t want to make any blanket statements” about who he is or isn’t going to brutally torture in detention in the future.
At the same time, Bush conceded that he understands torture is “not effective” and said he believes President Obama’s ban on torture was “the proper thing to do.” He then claimed that torture was effective when his brother’s administration did it, and that torture “made the country safe.”
Most candidates haven’t taken official stances on torture, though Sen. Marco Rubio (R – FL) has gone on the record as opposed to the torture ban, believing it is important to keep the torture card “in the deck,” though he was not actually present for the vote on the torture question in the Senate.
Railroaded into a military prison for 35 years, whistleblower Chelsea Manning is now facing “indefinitely solitary confinement” for a handful of trivial charges, which stem entirely from allegations by one of the guards (termed “specialists”) that she swept food on the floor in the dining area. This led to a charge of “disorderly conduct.”
That “violation” on the books, Manning was placed in “administrative segregation” and her room searched. They found a handful of magazines, including the issue of Cosmo she had an interview published in, and political books, unsurprising since she’s working on a degree in political science. They dubbed this “Prohibited Property.”
They also found a tube of “anti-cavity toothpaste may-keep-in-cell,” which upon further inspection was a couple of months outdated. This led to the charge of “medicine misuse.”
Taken together, the toothpaste tube, the alleged food on the floor, and the magazines are enough to send Manning even further up the river, apparently, and officials are spurning calls to make the hearing open to the public.
Manning was already in solitary confinement for months pending the initial trial, and saw deteriorating health during that time. As someone who leaked evidence of government abuse and has publicly been calling for reforms during her time in prison, there seems to be a concerted effort to cut Manning even further off from the public, and given her health problems in the past solitary confinement period, it’s no guarantee she’ll even survive the 35-year sentence to keep calling for reforms throughout.
Former Defense Intelligence Agency head Gen. Michael Flynn is not backing down from his claims that elements of the US government were aware of and supported the rise of jihadists in Syria as a means by which to overthrow its president, Bashar Assad. As the US moves ever closer to a full-out invasion of Syria the lack of media interest in Flynn’s story is reminiscent of the one-sided (pro-war) coverage of the run up to the 2003 Iraq War. More on the disturbing new revelations in a special edition of the Ron Paul Liberty Report:
There is a Japanese jail not far from the Hiroshima Peace Park, and in my guise as a diplomat working in Japan, one of my jobs was to visit Americans in jail, typically young men and women who’d smoked a little weed in drug-conscious Japan.
I’d check up on their welfare, pass messages to and from home for them, that kind of thing. There were always enough of these folks in Hiroshima for at least quarterly visits, and I always took the opportunity to visit the Peace Park, the Atomic Dome and the museum. You’ve seen them all in photos many, many times.
The thing that always struck me about Hiroshima was simply being there. The train pulled into the station under an announcement that you had arrived in Hiroshima. It was another stop on the bullet train’s long run from Osaka to Fukuoka, so they called out the name as if it was just another stop. I’d get off the train, step out into the sunlight — that sunlight — and I was in Hiroshima. I had the same feeling only once before, taking a bus out of Munich and having the driver announce the next stop as Dachau. Somehow such names feel wrong being said so prosaically.
The struggle over the Iran Agreement reminds me of the seventeen years I spent as editor of Present Tense, a liberal Jewish-oriented magazine, published by the American Jewish Committee.
In 1990, we featured a detailed investigative piece, "Speaking for the Jews." Our cover blurb read: "A growing number of American Jews, including many inside the Jewish establishment, are fed up with the hard-line views of Jewish leaders whom they did not elect and who, in any case, do not speak for them." Some members of The Lobby were quite upset and Present Tense was shut down soon after for debatable reasons. Even so, the article’s writer, Robert Spero, and the magazine’s editors, were absolutely on target in 1990 and even more so today. In short, the Israel Lobby doesn’t speak for American Jews.
In addition to the fabrications and fantasies concocted by PM Netanyahu’s Israel and endlessly repeated by his followers, it is that for the first time in memory a foreign country – Israel – is publicly fighting an American president’s foreign policy on American soil. Israel’s allies include Obama-hating Republicans, intimidated, largely Jewish, Democratic politicians, and Bibi-supporting Jewish and Christian Zionist lobbies – none of whom have ever offered any lucid or rational alternatives, and many of them empowered by a few mega-rich and hawkish American Jews.
At 8: 16 AM on August 6, 1945 – 08:16:02 to be precise, Hiroshima time – Little Boy exploded. When President Harry Truman learned of the successful detonation of the atomic bomb and the destruction of the Japanese city, he said, "This is the greatest thing in history" (Richard Rhodes: The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Simon and Shuster: New York, 1986, p. 734).
When future historians convene to compile an account of the 20th century – if there is enough of a future after global warming and nuclear proliferation – they may very well agree with Truman.
The effort and enterprise and science that went into the development of nuclear weapons embraced most of the greatest scientific minds of the generation, and the ability to unleash the immense forces within the basic building blocks of nature represented an astonishing culmination. If there is any single and irreplaceable watershed in the history of human intellectual accomplishment, the success of the Manhattan Project represents it.
And if there is a watershed in the history of human morality, the cataclysms caused by Little Boy over Hiroshima and, three days later, by Fat Man, the second atomic bomb used in warfare, over Nagasaki, are at the top of the heap.