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Today's BushBlog  Volunteer for Bush2004  Donate  Yesterday's Best Blogs   Best of the Blogs

The Agonist:

Friday, April 30, 2004

Plan of Attack: A Review
by Agonist member GRG

Readers of Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack expecting to come across the cartoon image of George Bush will be disappointed. The cerebrally-challenged figure with the elfin ears and monkey-like face one finds in most political cartoons does not show up in this book. Nor does marionette Bush, dancing around the White House with each step choreographed by Dick Cheney. In fact, compared to Cheney, who on every page is frantic to get on with the task of deposing Saddam Hussein and who ceaselessly thwarts Colin Powell’s diplomatic initiatives, George Bush is a model of caution and discretion. As the columnist Maureen Dowd has pointed out, this is a White House that doesn’t seem to know what George Bush is thinking, and has taken to reading his body language to divine his intentions.

MORE...
Nick @ 01:48 PM EDT/Printer Friendly | Visit News Board | TrackBack (0)

http://agonist.org/ 


Saturday, May 01, 2004

National Chickenhawk Day 

One year ago today, the national Chickenehawk and his hawklettes crooned to America under a banner that said Mission Accomplished that major combat operations were over. Since that day, the total Coalition Fatality number is 849 dead and over 4000 wounded.

The cost to the nation in taxes is about $160 billion and the cost to our relationships around the world cannot be measured.

Keep in mind the Chickenhawks who never served in combat: Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and Tom Delay, and Dick Cheney.

Today I will celebrate National Chickenhawk Day by praying to God that W doesn't get elected.


Comment (0)

You’re Won’t Like This. Of The $160 Billion You Paid For Iraq, Only $2.3 Billion Has Gone To Reconstruction 

Have an excerpt and a link.

Seven months after Congress approved the largest foreign aid package in history to rebuild Iraq, less than 5 percent of the $18.4 billion has been spent and occupation officials have begun shifting more than $300 million earmarked for reconstruction projects to administrative and security expenses…

…Of the $18.4 billion in Iraqi aid approved by Congress in October, just $2.3 billion had been steered to projects through March 24, the CPA told Congress this month. Only $1 billion has actually been spent, the authority's inspector general told congressional aides Monday. In January, the CPA had said it had planned to spend nearly $8 billion during the first six months of this fiscal year.

The first round of rebuilding funds, about $4.5 billion, focused on rebuilding the electricity grid, restoring the flow of oil, Iraq's main source of revenue, and fixing schools and hospitals.

In a report this month, occupation officials warned Congress that security, project management and logistics expenses may "reduce slightly" the level of funding for reconstruction but said they were still working with the Office of Management and Budget to determine how much money would be moved.

So far, occupation officials have reassigned $184 million appropriated for drinking-water projects to fund the operations of the U.S. Embassy after the provisional authority is dissolved June 30. An additional $29 million from projects such as "democracy building" were reallocated to fund the U.S. development agency's administrative expenses.

http://ambidexterity.blogspot.com/ 


Friday, April 30, 2004  

Someone Else's Life (anonymous blog with photos):

CLOSE PROTECTION? THE SHADOWY WORLD OF PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

"They travel in armoured SUVs, ostentatiously carrying powerful weapons - assault rifles, sidearms, grenades - and they shoot and arrest people just as the soldiers do but minus the uniform and legal status. They're paid around $1,000 a day, considerably more than the regular soldiers or police officers which they used to be, work six weeks on and three off with paid flights home at the end of each tour. The advantage for the US is that their deaths and injuries don't show up on the figures for troop casualties. They are the bodyguards.

"Jo Wilding said it best in her piece on the incident when four 'contractors' were killed, sparking off the siege of Falluja by US Marines.

""We arrived back just after the incident in Falluja where the contractors were shot, burnt, mutilated and dragged through the streets. The scenes themselves, on satellite TV in a friend's house, were shocking, all the more so because the dead men were described as civilians.

"But what if they were soldiers, armed men who signed up for war and were paid to fight it? They were shot dead in an ambush - what was done to their bodies afterwards was distressing no matter what, but if they were soldiers, they were killed in action. The truth of course is that they were somewhere in between, mercenaries from US firm Blackwater Security, given a contract by USAID to protect contractors".

"And it's not just the US government engaging the services of these private armies, operating on the very edges of legality in the shadowy world of close protection. Britain's own Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs civilian close protection officers from UK firm Control Risks Group amongst others to look after its staff and secondees deployed to Iraq. Global Risk International, another British private military contractor has had as many as 1,200 of its personnel in Iraq making it effectively the sixth-largest contributor to the Coaliton Forces. Most of its uniformed troops are either Nepalese Gurkhas or demobilised Fijian soldiers....

"There exists an uneasy relationship between the various subcultures of close protection officer in Iraq, and I witnessed a diverse range of nationalities and abilities working for different agencies. Senior officials representing the British Governemnt in Iraq such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock or Christopher Segar are protected by the professionals - members of the army's Royal Military Police close protection squads. The rest of the British contingent in Iraq are looked after by amed civillians under contract to private security companies. The British contingent from CRG were for the most part, extremely professional, courteous and low profile. Most were drawn from the various branches of the UK military, with a number of ex- Royal Military Police close protection officers amongst their number. I met at least two who were serving police officers with firearms experience and who had resigned from the police specifically to take up positions in Iraq. They were under no illusions about the longevity of the role, taking the money and flirting with the danger for as long as it was worthwhile.

"The Americans on the other hand - especially those looking after Bremer himself - were the polar opposite - loud, brash and arrogant. They wore a de facto 'uniform' which although it was of their own choosing, looked to have been formed by common consent from a depot of Banana Republic. They parade around wearing Oakley sunglasses, wearing flak jackets and vests laden with ephemera - radios, grenades, spare cartridges and magazines - curly wires trailing to their ears whilst they cradle automatic weapons aggressively in front of them. Beige cargo pants, held up by a gunbelt bearing a personal sidearm seemed to be the order of the day and their attitude made them no friends, especially amongst the soldiers and journalists who their work often brought them into contact with.

""They act like they're God's gift to combat operations" complained one soldier to me, "Swanning around with weapons and equipment every bit as powerful as anything in our armoury, but without any of the legal framework that we have to work within. They're rude, aggressive and to be honest, their attitudes piss us guys off so I dread to think how the Iraqis view them".

..." [more]

posted by Major Barbara | 1:43 PM

http://majorbarbara.blogspot.com/ 


Apr 29 , 1:27 PM
Closing The Sale With Swing Voters
by Rick Heller

I've been anti-Bush for some time, but I've been undecided between Kerry and not voting. Now, with the combination of Richard Clarke's testimony, and the uprising in Iraq, I've come to the conclusion that the Bush Administration is not only misguided, but may be dangerously incompetent in foreign affairs. I've decided that I will support Kerry.

The best way I think I can help Kerry is by communicating to his campaign the attitudes of swing voters, and in particular the reservations and skepticism they may feel that make them reluctant to vote for him even after they've concluded that Bush is doing a lousy job. To do so, I've created the Swing Voter Weblog, and kicked things off with posts here and here on swing voter attitudes toward Iraq.

The Kerry campaign of course has polls to determine swing voter attitudes. But unless you're a swing voter yourself, you may not come up with the right questions to ask. I hope this weblog can be a sort of "focus group" which, while not statistically representing the attitude of swing voters, at least covers the spectrum and gives the Kerry campaign a change to address every reservation that a voter might have, in order to close the sale and get the vote.


Permalink
Rick Heller - Comments (4) , Trackback (0)
Other blogs commenting on this post

http://bopnews.com/ 


California Leads the Way

Joe Drymala

California has, for many decades, been a reliable indicator of where our country is headed. From the birth of the 60's counterculture to the opening salvos of the Reagan Revolution, California has consistently led the way.

As our largest state economy (and independently, the fifth largest economy in the world!), it has the power to influence our policymaking decisions in ways other states simply do not. For example, when California passed regulations requiring electric automobile alternatives to gas-powered cars, it forced the entire auto industry to start mass-producing cleaner vehicles.

That's why it was great to see California raising serious questions about Diebold yesterday:

The state's top elections official called for a criminal investigation of Diebold Election Systems Inc. as he banned use of the company's newest model touchscreen voting machine, citing concerns about its security and reliability.

Friday's ban will force up to 2 million voters in four counties, including San Diego, to use paper ballots in November, marking their choices in ovals read by optical scanners.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley asked the attorney general's office to investigate allegations of fraud, saying Diebold had lied to state officials. A spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer said prosecutors would review Shelley's claims.

 

The Diebold danger is one of the most underreported stories of this election cycle, and it may not have been reported at all had it not been for a strong grassroots push online. Their electronic voting machines leave no paper trail, they have been accused of tampering with the controversial results of the Georgia 2002 elections and Wally O'Dell, the chairman and CEO of Diebold, is as major a Republican as one can get:

For years, O'Dell has given generously to Republican candidates. Last September, he held a packed $1,000-per-head GOP fundraiser at his 10,800-square-foot mansion. He has been feted as a guest at President Bush's Texas ranch, joining a cadre of "Pioneers and Rangers" who have pledged to raise more than $100,000 for the Bush reelection campaign. Most memorably, O'Dell last fall penned a letter pledging his commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."

Over 50 million voters will use electronic touch-screen machines this November, and Diebold makes more of them than anyone else. Bravo to California for taking this first step against them. The more eyes on Diebold, the better.

Posted by Joe Drymala at 10:44 AM
# | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

http://www.changeforamerica.com/blog/ 


 

 

 

 

 

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bush2004.com is not affiliated with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the White House, Congress, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Party or any state, county or local Republican Party, or any other political party.
Any information on this site should not be considered an endorsement of any candidate.
bush2004.com opinions and statements expressed here are not intended to be representative of the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign, or the Republican National Committee.
bush2004.com is not under the direction of or an official part of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.
Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion, advice or other content.
Make no mistake, this site is run by two guys sitting around in their underwear.

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The Agonist:

Friday, April 30, 2004

Plan of Attack: A Review
by Agonist member GRG

Readers of Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack expecting to come across the cartoon image of George Bush will be disappointed. The cerebrally-challenged figure with the elfin ears and monkey-like face one finds in most political cartoons does not show up in this book. Nor does marionette Bush, dancing around the White House with each step choreographed by Dick Cheney. In fact, compared to Cheney, who on every page is frantic to get on with the task of deposing Saddam Hussein and who ceaselessly thwarts Colin Powell’s diplomatic initiatives, George Bush is a model of caution and discretion. As the columnist Maureen Dowd has pointed out, this is a White House that doesn’t seem to know what George Bush is thinking, and has taken to reading his body language to divine his intentions.

MORE...
Nick @ 01:48 PM EDT/Printer Friendly | Visit News Board | TrackBack (0)

http://agonist.org/ 


Saturday, May 01, 2004

National Chickenhawk Day 

One year ago today, the national Chickenehawk and his hawklettes crooned to America under a banner that said Mission Accomplished that major combat operations were over. Since that day, the total Coalition Fatality number is 849 dead and over 4000 wounded.

The cost to the nation in taxes is about $160 billion and the cost to our relationships around the world cannot be measured.

Keep in mind the Chickenhawks who never served in combat: Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and Tom Delay, and Dick Cheney.

Today I will celebrate National Chickenhawk Day by praying to God that W doesn't get elected.


Comment (0)

You’re Won’t Like This. Of The $160 Billion You Paid For Iraq, Only $2.3 Billion Has Gone To Reconstruction 

Have an excerpt and a link.

Seven months after Congress approved the largest foreign aid package in history to rebuild Iraq, less than 5 percent of the $18.4 billion has been spent and occupation officials have begun shifting more than $300 million earmarked for reconstruction projects to administrative and security expenses…

…Of the $18.4 billion in Iraqi aid approved by Congress in October, just $2.3 billion had been steered to projects through March 24, the CPA told Congress this month. Only $1 billion has actually been spent, the authority's inspector general told congressional aides Monday. In January, the CPA had said it had planned to spend nearly $8 billion during the first six months of this fiscal year.

The first round of rebuilding funds, about $4.5 billion, focused on rebuilding the electricity grid, restoring the flow of oil, Iraq's main source of revenue, and fixing schools and hospitals.

In a report this month, occupation officials warned Congress that security, project management and logistics expenses may "reduce slightly" the level of funding for reconstruction but said they were still working with the Office of Management and Budget to determine how much money would be moved.

So far, occupation officials have reassigned $184 million appropriated for drinking-water projects to fund the operations of the U.S. Embassy after the provisional authority is dissolved June 30. An additional $29 million from projects such as "democracy building" were reallocated to fund the U.S. development agency's administrative expenses.

http://ambidexterity.blogspot.com/ 


Friday, April 30, 2004  

Someone Else's Life (anonymous blog with photos):

CLOSE PROTECTION? THE SHADOWY WORLD OF PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

"They travel in armoured SUVs, ostentatiously carrying powerful weapons - assault rifles, sidearms, grenades - and they shoot and arrest people just as the soldiers do but minus the uniform and legal status. They're paid around $1,000 a day, considerably more than the regular soldiers or police officers which they used to be, work six weeks on and three off with paid flights home at the end of each tour. The advantage for the US is that their deaths and injuries don't show up on the figures for troop casualties. They are the bodyguards.

"Jo Wilding said it best in her piece on the incident when four 'contractors' were killed, sparking off the siege of Falluja by US Marines.

""We arrived back just after the incident in Falluja where the contractors were shot, burnt, mutilated and dragged through the streets. The scenes themselves, on satellite TV in a friend's house, were shocking, all the more so because the dead men were described as civilians.

"But what if they were soldiers, armed men who signed up for war and were paid to fight it? They were shot dead in an ambush - what was done to their bodies afterwards was distressing no matter what, but if they were soldiers, they were killed in action. The truth of course is that they were somewhere in between, mercenaries from US firm Blackwater Security, given a contract by USAID to protect contractors".

"And it's not just the US government engaging the services of these private armies, operating on the very edges of legality in the shadowy world of close protection. Britain's own Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs civilian close protection officers from UK firm Control Risks Group amongst others to look after its staff and secondees deployed to Iraq. Global Risk International, another British private military contractor has had as many as 1,200 of its personnel in Iraq making it effectively the sixth-largest contributor to the Coaliton Forces. Most of its uniformed troops are either Nepalese Gurkhas or demobilised Fijian soldiers....

"There exists an uneasy relationship between the various subcultures of close protection officer in Iraq, and I witnessed a diverse range of nationalities and abilities working for different agencies. Senior officials representing the British Governemnt in Iraq such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock or Christopher Segar are protected by the professionals - members of the army's Royal Military Police close protection squads. The rest of the British contingent in Iraq are looked after by amed civillians under contract to private security companies. The British contingent from CRG were for the most part, extremely professional, courteous and low profile. Most were drawn from the various branches of the UK military, with a number of ex- Royal Military Police close protection officers amongst their number. I met at least two who were serving police officers with firearms experience and who had resigned from the police specifically to take up positions in Iraq. They were under no illusions about the longevity of the role, taking the money and flirting with the danger for as long as it was worthwhile.

"The Americans on the other hand - especially those looking after Bremer himself - were the polar opposite - loud, brash and arrogant. They wore a de facto 'uniform' which although it was of their own choosing, looked to have been formed by common consent from a depot of Banana Republic. They parade around wearing Oakley sunglasses, wearing flak jackets and vests laden with ephemera - radios, grenades, spare cartridges and magazines - curly wires trailing to their ears whilst they cradle automatic weapons aggressively in front of them. Beige cargo pants, held up by a gunbelt bearing a personal sidearm seemed to be the order of the day and their attitude made them no friends, especially amongst the soldiers and journalists who their work often brought them into contact with.

""They act like they're God's gift to combat operations" complained one soldier to me, "Swanning around with weapons and equipment every bit as powerful as anything in our armoury, but without any of the legal framework that we have to work within. They're rude, aggressive and to be honest, their attitudes piss us guys off so I dread to think how the Iraqis view them".

..." [more]

posted by Major Barbara | 1:43 PM

http://majorbarbara.blogspot.com/ 


Apr 29 , 1:27 PM
Closing The Sale With Swing Voters
by Rick Heller

I've been anti-Bush for some time, but I've been undecided between Kerry and not voting. Now, with the combination of Richard Clarke's testimony, and the uprising in Iraq, I've come to the conclusion that the Bush Administration is not only misguided, but may be dangerously incompetent in foreign affairs. I've decided that I will support Kerry.

The best way I think I can help Kerry is by communicating to his campaign the attitudes of swing voters, and in particular the reservations and skepticism they may feel that make them reluctant to vote for him even after they've concluded that Bush is doing a lousy job. To do so, I've created the Swing Voter Weblog, and kicked things off with posts here and here on swing voter attitudes toward Iraq.

The Kerry campaign of course has polls to determine swing voter attitudes. But unless you're a swing voter yourself, you may not come up with the right questions to ask. I hope this weblog can be a sort of "focus group" which, while not statistically representing the attitude of swing voters, at least covers the spectrum and gives the Kerry campaign a change to address every reservation that a voter might have, in order to close the sale and get the vote.


Permalink
Rick Heller - Comments (4) , Trackback (0)
Other blogs commenting on this post

http://bopnews.com/ 


California Leads the Way

Joe Drymala

California has, for many decades, been a reliable indicator of where our country is headed. From the birth of the 60's counterculture to the opening salvos of the Reagan Revolution, California has consistently led the way.

As our largest state economy (and independently, the fifth largest economy in the world!), it has the power to influence our policymaking decisions in ways other states simply do not. For example, when California passed regulations requiring electric automobile alternatives to gas-powered cars, it forced the entire auto industry to start mass-producing cleaner vehicles.

That's why it was great to see California raising serious questions about Diebold yesterday:

The state's top elections official called for a criminal investigation of Diebold Election Systems Inc. as he banned use of the company's newest model touchscreen voting machine, citing concerns about its security and reliability.

Friday's ban will force up to 2 million voters in four counties, including San Diego, to use paper ballots in November, marking their choices in ovals read by optical scanners.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley asked the attorney general's office to investigate allegations of fraud, saying Diebold had lied to state officials. A spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer said prosecutors would review Shelley's claims.

 

The Diebold danger is one of the most underreported stories of this election cycle, and it may not have been reported at all had it not been for a strong grassroots push online. Their electronic voting machines leave no paper trail, they have been accused of tampering with the controversial results of the Georgia 2002 elections and Wally O'Dell, the chairman and CEO of Diebold, is as major a Republican as one can get:

For years, O'Dell has given generously to Republican candidates. Last September, he held a packed $1,000-per-head GOP fundraiser at his 10,800-square-foot mansion. He has been feted as a guest at President Bush's Texas ranch, joining a cadre of "Pioneers and Rangers" who have pledged to raise more than $100,000 for the Bush reelection campaign. Most memorably, O'Dell last fall penned a letter pledging his commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."

Over 50 million voters will use electronic touch-screen machines this November, and Diebold makes more of them than anyone else. Bravo to California for taking this first step against them. The more eyes on Diebold, the better.

Posted by Joe Drymala at 10:44 AM
# | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

http://www.changeforamerica.com/blog/ 


 

 

 

 

 

Join our email list for news, views & events.
paid for by bush2004.com

Copyright © 2004 bush2004.com. Use freely, but please respect the property of others. All other trademarks appearing on bush2004.com are the property of their respective owners.
bush2004.com is not affiliated with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the White House, Congress, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Party or any state, county or local Republican Party, or any other political party.
Any information on this site should not be considered an endorsement of any candidate.
bush2004.com opinions and statements expressed here are not intended to be representative of the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign, or the Republican National Committee.
bush2004.com is not under the direction of or an official part of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.
Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion, advice or other content.
Make no mistake, this site is run by two guys sitting around in their underwear.



Today's BushBlog  Volunteer for Bush2004  Donate  Yesterday's Best Blogs   Best of the Blogs

The Agonist:

Friday, April 30, 2004

Plan of Attack: A Review
by Agonist member GRG

Readers of Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack expecting to come across the cartoon image of George Bush will be disappointed. The cerebrally-challenged figure with the elfin ears and monkey-like face one finds in most political cartoons does not show up in this book. Nor does marionette Bush, dancing around the White House with each step choreographed by Dick Cheney. In fact, compared to Cheney, who on every page is frantic to get on with the task of deposing Saddam Hussein and who ceaselessly thwarts Colin Powell’s diplomatic initiatives, George Bush is a model of caution and discretion. As the columnist Maureen Dowd has pointed out, this is a White House that doesn’t seem to know what George Bush is thinking, and has taken to reading his body language to divine his intentions.

MORE...
Nick @ 01:48 PM EDT/Printer Friendly | Visit News Board | TrackBack (0)

http://agonist.org/ 


Saturday, May 01, 2004

National Chickenhawk Day 

One year ago today, the national Chickenehawk and his hawklettes crooned to America under a banner that said Mission Accomplished that major combat operations were over. Since that day, the total Coalition Fatality number is 849 dead and over 4000 wounded.

The cost to the nation in taxes is about $160 billion and the cost to our relationships around the world cannot be measured.

Keep in mind the Chickenhawks who never served in combat: Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and Tom Delay, and Dick Cheney.

Today I will celebrate National Chickenhawk Day by praying to God that W doesn't get elected.


Comment (0)

You’re Won’t Like This. Of The $160 Billion You Paid For Iraq, Only $2.3 Billion Has Gone To Reconstruction 

Have an excerpt and a link.

Seven months after Congress approved the largest foreign aid package in history to rebuild Iraq, less than 5 percent of the $18.4 billion has been spent and occupation officials have begun shifting more than $300 million earmarked for reconstruction projects to administrative and security expenses…

…Of the $18.4 billion in Iraqi aid approved by Congress in October, just $2.3 billion had been steered to projects through March 24, the CPA told Congress this month. Only $1 billion has actually been spent, the authority's inspector general told congressional aides Monday. In January, the CPA had said it had planned to spend nearly $8 billion during the first six months of this fiscal year.

The first round of rebuilding funds, about $4.5 billion, focused on rebuilding the electricity grid, restoring the flow of oil, Iraq's main source of revenue, and fixing schools and hospitals.

In a report this month, occupation officials warned Congress that security, project management and logistics expenses may "reduce slightly" the level of funding for reconstruction but said they were still working with the Office of Management and Budget to determine how much money would be moved.

So far, occupation officials have reassigned $184 million appropriated for drinking-water projects to fund the operations of the U.S. Embassy after the provisional authority is dissolved June 30. An additional $29 million from projects such as "democracy building" were reallocated to fund the U.S. development agency's administrative expenses.

http://ambidexterity.blogspot.com/ 


Friday, April 30, 2004  

Someone Else's Life (anonymous blog with photos):

CLOSE PROTECTION? THE SHADOWY WORLD OF PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

"They travel in armoured SUVs, ostentatiously carrying powerful weapons - assault rifles, sidearms, grenades - and they shoot and arrest people just as the soldiers do but minus the uniform and legal status. They're paid around $1,000 a day, considerably more than the regular soldiers or police officers which they used to be, work six weeks on and three off with paid flights home at the end of each tour. The advantage for the US is that their deaths and injuries don't show up on the figures for troop casualties. They are the bodyguards.

"Jo Wilding said it best in her piece on the incident when four 'contractors' were killed, sparking off the siege of Falluja by US Marines.

""We arrived back just after the incident in Falluja where the contractors were shot, burnt, mutilated and dragged through the streets. The scenes themselves, on satellite TV in a friend's house, were shocking, all the more so because the dead men were described as civilians.

"But what if they were soldiers, armed men who signed up for war and were paid to fight it? They were shot dead in an ambush - what was done to their bodies afterwards was distressing no matter what, but if they were soldiers, they were killed in action. The truth of course is that they were somewhere in between, mercenaries from US firm Blackwater Security, given a contract by USAID to protect contractors".

"And it's not just the US government engaging the services of these private armies, operating on the very edges of legality in the shadowy world of close protection. Britain's own Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs civilian close protection officers from UK firm Control Risks Group amongst others to look after its staff and secondees deployed to Iraq. Global Risk International, another British private military contractor has had as many as 1,200 of its personnel in Iraq making it effectively the sixth-largest contributor to the Coaliton Forces. Most of its uniformed troops are either Nepalese Gurkhas or demobilised Fijian soldiers....

"There exists an uneasy relationship between the various subcultures of close protection officer in Iraq, and I witnessed a diverse range of nationalities and abilities working for different agencies. Senior officials representing the British Governemnt in Iraq such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock or Christopher Segar are protected by the professionals - members of the army's Royal Military Police close protection squads. The rest of the British contingent in Iraq are looked after by amed civillians under contract to private security companies. The British contingent from CRG were for the most part, extremely professional, courteous and low profile. Most were drawn from the various branches of the UK military, with a number of ex- Royal Military Police close protection officers amongst their number. I met at least two who were serving police officers with firearms experience and who had resigned from the police specifically to take up positions in Iraq. They were under no illusions about the longevity of the role, taking the money and flirting with the danger for as long as it was worthwhile.

"The Americans on the other hand - especially those looking after Bremer himself - were the polar opposite - loud, brash and arrogant. They wore a de facto 'uniform' which although it was of their own choosing, looked to have been formed by common consent from a depot of Banana Republic. They parade around wearing Oakley sunglasses, wearing flak jackets and vests laden with ephemera - radios, grenades, spare cartridges and magazines - curly wires trailing to their ears whilst they cradle automatic weapons aggressively in front of them. Beige cargo pants, held up by a gunbelt bearing a personal sidearm seemed to be the order of the day and their attitude made them no friends, especially amongst the soldiers and journalists who their work often brought them into contact with.

""They act like they're God's gift to combat operations" complained one soldier to me, "Swanning around with weapons and equipment every bit as powerful as anything in our armoury, but without any of the legal framework that we have to work within. They're rude, aggressive and to be honest, their attitudes piss us guys off so I dread to think how the Iraqis view them".

..." [more]

posted by Major Barbara | 1:43 PM

http://majorbarbara.blogspot.com/ 


Apr 29 , 1:27 PM
Closing The Sale With Swing Voters
by Rick Heller

I've been anti-Bush for some time, but I've been undecided between Kerry and not voting. Now, with the combination of Richard Clarke's testimony, and the uprising in Iraq, I've come to the conclusion that the Bush Administration is not only misguided, but may be dangerously incompetent in foreign affairs. I've decided that I will support Kerry.

The best way I think I can help Kerry is by communicating to his campaign the attitudes of swing voters, and in particular the reservations and skepticism they may feel that make them reluctant to vote for him even after they've concluded that Bush is doing a lousy job. To do so, I've created the Swing Voter Weblog, and kicked things off with posts here and here on swing voter attitudes toward Iraq.

The Kerry campaign of course has polls to determine swing voter attitudes. But unless you're a swing voter yourself, you may not come up with the right questions to ask. I hope this weblog can be a sort of "focus group" which, while not statistically representing the attitude of swing voters, at least covers the spectrum and gives the Kerry campaign a change to address every reservation that a voter might have, in order to close the sale and get the vote.


Permalink
Rick Heller - Comments (4) , Trackback (0)
Other blogs commenting on this post

http://bopnews.com/ 


California Leads the Way

Joe Drymala

California has, for many decades, been a reliable indicator of where our country is headed. From the birth of the 60's counterculture to the opening salvos of the Reagan Revolution, California has consistently led the way.

As our largest state economy (and independently, the fifth largest economy in the world!), it has the power to influence our policymaking decisions in ways other states simply do not. For example, when California passed regulations requiring electric automobile alternatives to gas-powered cars, it forced the entire auto industry to start mass-producing cleaner vehicles.

That's why it was great to see California raising serious questions about Diebold yesterday:

The state's top elections official called for a criminal investigation of Diebold Election Systems Inc. as he banned use of the company's newest model touchscreen voting machine, citing concerns about its security and reliability.

Friday's ban will force up to 2 million voters in four counties, including San Diego, to use paper ballots in November, marking their choices in ovals read by optical scanners.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley asked the attorney general's office to investigate allegations of fraud, saying Diebold had lied to state officials. A spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer said prosecutors would review Shelley's claims.

 

The Diebold danger is one of the most underreported stories of this election cycle, and it may not have been reported at all had it not been for a strong grassroots push online. Their electronic voting machines leave no paper trail, they have been accused of tampering with the controversial results of the Georgia 2002 elections and Wally O'Dell, the chairman and CEO of Diebold, is as major a Republican as one can get:

For years, O'Dell has given generously to Republican candidates. Last September, he held a packed $1,000-per-head GOP fundraiser at his 10,800-square-foot mansion. He has been feted as a guest at President Bush's Texas ranch, joining a cadre of "Pioneers and Rangers" who have pledged to raise more than $100,000 for the Bush reelection campaign. Most memorably, O'Dell last fall penned a letter pledging his commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."

Over 50 million voters will use electronic touch-screen machines this November, and Diebold makes more of them than anyone else. Bravo to California for taking this first step against them. The more eyes on Diebold, the better.

Posted by Joe Drymala at 10:44 AM
# | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

http://www.changeforamerica.com/blog/ 


 

 

 

 

 

Join our email list for news, views & events.
paid for by bush2004.com

Copyright © 2004 bush2004.com. Use freely, but please respect the property of others. All other trademarks appearing on bush2004.com are the property of their respective owners.
bush2004.com is not affiliated with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the White House, Congress, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Party or any state, county or local Republican Party, or any other political party.
Any information on this site should not be considered an endorsement of any candidate.
bush2004.com opinions and statements expressed here are not intended to be representative of the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign, or the Republican National Committee.
bush2004.com is not under the direction of or an official part of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.
Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion, advice or other content.
Make no mistake, this site is run by two guys sitting around in their underwear.