U.S. troops home now!

Despite last week’s sunny forecast by President Bush and Iyad Allawi, the U.S.-installed ruler of Iraq, about how swimmingly things are going over there, the quagmire is rapidly deepening. U.S. troops and Iraqis continue to die each day.

Allawi, a well-known CIA “asset” who during his recent visit to the U.S. served as a major campaign prop for the president, claimed democracy is making advances. Bush chimed in, “We are succeeding in Iraq.” This is a lie.

Senior political and military analysts point out that the vast majority of ordinary Iraqis deeply resent the U.S. occupation, that attacks on the occupation forces average 80 per day, and that huge swaths of Iraq are “no go” zones for U.S. troops or other “coalition forces.” The U.S. government’s own National Intelligence Estimate spells out a grim outlook for Iraq’s future, saying the best case scenario would be maintaining the shaky situation that currently exists. The worst case would be Iraq’s descent into civil war.

Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, when asked last week about the situation, admitted, “Yes, it’s getting worse.”

Meanwhile, working people in the U.S. and Iraq continue to suffer terribly. Over 1,049 GIs have died, and more than 20,000 have been wounded. Iraqi casualties exceed 10 times these figures. Crying needs in both countries go unmet, thanks to the Pentagon’s runaway budget, war profiteering by outfits like Halliburton, and widespread graft.

Ominously, there is mounting evidence of a planned Pentagon offensive, right after the Nov. 2 election, to “flatten” Fallujah and other strongholds of resistance to the U.S. occupation. This would risk the deaths of untold numbers of innocent Iraqi civilians. Such “collateral damage,” in Pentagon-speak, is already responsible for at least two-thirds of Iraqi civilian deaths today, according to a recent report.

This illegal war — waged on the basis of Bush’s lies — for oil company profits and U.S. imperial domination of the Mideast, must be stopped. There is no time to lose. Bring the troops home now!

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The Teflon prez?

The GOP presidential campaign continues to bulldoze through the American landscape despite the heinous crimes this president and his cohorts have committed.

First, there was preemptive war in the name of WMDs that didn’t exist. Then there’s the detention and torture of innocent people at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Bush’s tax cuts make the rich richer, but leave unemployment sky-high. His prescription drug program enriches the pharmaceutical companies while opening the way for privatization of Medicare. The stories of these crimes and rip-offs appear for a few days and then vanish in thin air. How do they get away with it?

Bush seems to be coated with Teflon. The corporate media is a part of the problem. Led by Fox News (guided by the dictum that if a lie is repeated often enough it becomes the truth) the rest of TV news seems to just follow suit. Where are the hard-hitting, investigative reports on the record of this administration? There were more TV stories on Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky than Bush’s misleading the American public into war.

After the CBS memo debacle, will the corporate media throw in the towel and give Bush a free ride?

In “Rich Media, Poor Democracy,” professor Robert McChesney writes that the problem is corporate ownership and the solution is democratizing the media through public ownership.

The mass base is already mushrooming. Millions surf the Internet seeking other sources of news. Syndicated columnists like Molly Ivins and Bob Herbert cut through the curtain of deceit, as do investigative reporters like Seymour Hersh. But these are all in the print realm. We need more “truth-tellers” on TV.

The turnout for Michael Moore’s film, “Fahrenheit 9/11” proves that millions hunger for the truth and would want to see it nightly on their television sets.