The Home Of Radical Islam.

ISIS (aka ISIL and the Islamic State), al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the radical Islamic madrassas in Pakistan all have something in common aside from Islam. They have all been funded by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabia that is sitting on an ocean of oil which has turned a family of desert tribesmen into billionaires; the Saudi Arabia whose ruling family consists of nearly 15,000 members; the Saudi Arabia that is home to Mecca and radical Wahhabi Islam; the Saudi Arabia that has a dismal record for women’s rights and human rights; the Saudi Arabia that has a government based on nepotism and corruption; the Saudi Arabia that still beheads criminals and dissidents; the Saudi Arabia that has close ties with both former Presidents Bush; the Saudi Arabia that was held harmless for 9/11 even though the plot was mostly financed and carried out by Saudis.

Yes, that Saudi Arabia!

Considering all of this, you may wonder why we continue to treat Saudi Arabia as a close ally. The answer can be summed up in a single word. It begins with “o”, ends with “l” and has an “i” in the middle.

If we are ever to bring peace to the Middle East, we can’t do it militarily. Our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that. Radical Islamists must be defeated from within…by moderate Muslims. We can only remove the Saudi’s sources of arms and funding. Of course, that means ending the sale of arms from our defense industries. It means ending our reliance on Saudi Arabian oil. It means committing to sustainable forms of energy. It means developing alternative sources for plastic, such as the process that makes plastics by drawing carbon from the atmosphere.

It means ending support for Saudi Arabia as long as it continues to fund extremist groups.

Congress Should Have Given As Much Attention To Iraq As Benghazi.

Congress has spent far more time debating and analyzing the events at Benghazi than it did the invasion of Iraq. The results of the terrorist attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi resulted in the tragic deaths of four Americans. While the cavalier invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of 4,486 US soldiers and, by at least one authoritative estimate, the deaths of more than a million Iraqis. The invasion of Iraq was based on false pretenses while the concern over Benghazi is that the White House falsely stated the cause of the attacks.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Benghazi has been investigated, analyzed and politicized to death. And the GOP is still out for blood. They want someone, anyone, to pay. They already derailed the nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State for merely stating what she believed to be true. And every investigation has proven that her remarks were accurate. But the GOP wants to hang Benghazi around the necks of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There is talk of impeachment and the everlasting hope that further investigations of Benghazi will prevent Hillary from running for president in 2016. There is also the very real likelihood that another sensationalized kangaroo investigation of Benghazi will help the GOP capture the Senate in the mid-term elections.

Yet, the many falsehoods and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq have scarcely been investigated. No one involved in the lies at any level has paid a price. Only recently has the Senate investigated the accusations of Bush-sanctioned secret prisons and torture! In an attempt to heal the wounds caused by that costly and unnecessary war, President Obama chose not to pursue investigations and sanctions against the pepetrators of the lies, even though there is clear evidence that the Bush administration lied about the existence of WMD (weapons of mass destruction), sanctioned torture, and punished anyone who stood in their way, going so far as to commit treason by outing a clandestine CIA operative as payback for her husband’s op-ed debunking the notion that Saddam Hussein had purchased yellow cake uranium from Niger.

And what of the warnings Bush, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice received before 9/11? What of claims from numerous credible sources that the Bush administration received more than 40 detailed warnings of the impending attack? What of the single investigation led by Condoleezza Rice’s pal, Philip Zelikow, which whitewashed the lead-up to the attack and absolved Rice of wrongdoing despite obvious negligence as the National Security Advisor? What of the administration’s blatantly false claims that Saddam Hussein had partnered with al-Qaeda?

Are the American media really so stupid that they would treat the Benghazi hoax more seriously than the deception and lies behind the Iraq War and the negligence surrounding 9/11? Can the GOP be so cynical as to perpetuate the Benghazi myth for obvious political purposes? Are American voters so stupid or naive that they would believe the GOP’s disproven theory that Benghazi is worse than Watergate?

Unfortunately, I believe the answer to those questions is an unqualified yes.

A Memorial To Gun Victims?

A new study by Dr. John Leventhal, professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, found that firearms kill more than 3,000 children each year in the US.  Another 7,000 are wounded badly enough to be hospitalized, most from assaults. And those are just the statistics for children! Overall, there are more than 11,000 homicides per year in the US involving a firearm and more than 19,000 suicides involving a gun according to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

No other advanced nation comes close.

To put these statistics into perspective, the number of children killed by guns in the US in a single year exceeds the 2,977 people who died in the attacks on 9/11. The 4,486 US soldiers killed during the 6 years of the Iraq War is less than half the number of gun homicides that occur in the US in a single year. And the 2,287 US soldiers who have been killed during the 10 years we have been engaged in the Afghan War is roughly equivalent to two and a half months of gun homicides in the US!

Put another way, as of May 2011, there were 58,272 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, representing the number of US soldiers killed during our 14 years of military involvement in Vietnam. The number of gun homocides in the US would exceed that number in approximately 5 years. And, if you included gun suicides, the number would be exceeded in just 3 years!

Do you still think we don’t have a gun problem in this country?

Yet despite the overwhelming reality of these statistics, American politicians refuse to act. The shooting of a US Congresswoman and the mass murder in Tucson, Arizona wasn’t enough to force common sense gun control. The mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater wasn’t enough. Even the slaughter of 26 children in Newtown, Connecticut wasn’t enough to prompt Congress to act. They couldn’t even pass a measure calling for universal background checks of gun purchasers when polls showed that a vast majority of Americans supported it.

It makes one wonder what it will take to bring Americans to our senses.

I would suggest that we create a memorial to gun victims listing all of their names. Make the memorial as visible and as powerful as possible, something similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Add the names of gun victims week by week; month by month; year by year. It may take a while, but eventually most sane people will realize exactly what our lax gun laws are costing us.

At least I would certainly hope so.

Prelude To 9/11.

Understandably, 9/11 is a very sensitive subject. It was the only attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. The people who died in the attacks are still being mourned, and those who gave their lives trying to save the victims are legitimately American heroes. Additionally, there are still many questions about how the attacks happened and why they were not stopped.

To be clear, I’m not a “Truther”…never have been. I believe it’s nonsense to think that the attacks of 9/11 were engineered and carried out by our own government. Not only would it be difficult to hire people to commit such heinous acts, it would be impossible for anyone with any knowledge of such treason to remain silent. However, I do believe there is abundant evidence that the Bush administration willfully ignored numerous and dire warnings of an impending al Qaeda attack prior to 9/11.

Why would the administration do such a thing?

You’ll have to draw your own conclusions. But I suspect that it was a matter of convenience for Bush, Richard “The Dick” Cheney and the rest of their neocon Project for a New American Century (PNAC) crowd to allow them to display our military might in order to force our economic will on the world. In their defense, I doubt that they could have imagined that an attack from a few extremist Muslims could result in so many casualties. After all, only a year earlier, Bush dismissed Clinton’s attempt to destroy Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda training camp as “sending a million dollar cruise missile to blow up a camel tent.”

Nevertheless, even a relatively minor attack on US soil would give the Bush neocons an opportunity to unleash our military to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. It would provide a showcase for our “Shock and Awe” weapons. The spectacle would serve as a warning to potential opponents and “encourage” other governments to accept our corporate demands. And, by “liberating” Iraq or, more precisely, Iraqi oil, I believe the neocons assumed they would be able to accomplish their goal of establishing a US military presence in the region to counterbalance the influence of Iran and protect our access to all Middle East oil reserves.

Pretty crazy, huh?

But when you look at the events leading up to the al Qaeda attack, it’s the Bush/Cheney neocons that look crazy. (And that’s being polite!)

National Security Council Counter-terrorism Chief, Richard Clarke, has testified that he tried to get the attention of Bush officials to warn them of an imminent attack by al Qaeda as early as January of 2001. Almost immediately after the administration had assumed office, he asked for a cabinet-level meeting with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Cheney and Colin Powell. But Rice ignored him until September 4. In the meantime, according to Clarke, he and CIA Director George Tenet were running around with their “hair on fire” in order to get the administration’s attention. Clarke recalled Tenet saying, “I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.”

Additionally, Bush was handed a Presidential Brief on August 6, 2001 that was headlined “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” But, according to those close to the situation, Bush dismissed the brief by telling the CIA briefer, “Alright, you’ve covered your ass now.” Further, there is evidence that the administration was warned of an impending strike as many as 40 times! But officials in the administration, particularly Rice, not only ignored the threat, according to Clarke and others, they seemed disinterested.

Immediately following 9/11, Rice, Cheney and Bush claimed that there were no credible warnings prior to the strikes. They accepted no responsibility. Instead, they blamed the intelligence community for not communicating effectively. They claimed that, had they known in advance, they would have done everything in their power to save the country.

They then set about planning an invasion of Iraq which had absolutely no role in 9/11.

To this day, Bush, Cheney, Rice and the rest of the neocons have never been forced to answer for their treachery. Instead of being impeached, Bush was re-elected. Instead, of being charged with war crimes; with invading Iraq under false pretenses; with authorizing torture; with causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands, Bush and his posse have ridden off into the sunset. A presidential library has been erected in Bush’s honor. Rice has been awarded a cushy position at Stanford University and given the honor of helping to select the college football teams that will participate in the championship playoffs. And Cheney walks around with someone else’s heart beating in his chest, still trying to justify the invasion of Iraq and still pushing the PNAC.

These people have not only escaped justice. They have proven that there is no justice.