Bad Thanksgiving ahead

The first article, “The US Has Lost; Let’s Leave,” succinclty states the honest, common-sense case against the war. The second, a statement by Sojourner founder, Jim Wallis, expresses the national wrath about all that is being forgotten as this bloody spectacle in the Mideast blows apart. Wallis reminds us that that the war, like wingnut threats to start another one in Syria or Iran, distracts our attention from the deep moral problem of how these despicable little bullies manage the national budget.

Things are very bad this Thanksgiving. Military commanders are trying to get US troops out of Iraq and the administration is not permitting it because they see every dead American soldier as political cover. Meanwhile national debt and balance of trade are dangerously askew, the speculative housing boom, the source of an unhealthily large percentage of (temporary) employment, particularly in California, is also slowing as interest rates rise. The president has escaped to Asia this weekend to lecture China on its human rights, trade policies and deplorable religious immaturity.

"I look forward to frank discussions on Sunday with President Hu about our need to find solutions to our trade differences with China," Bush said in his weekly radio address on Saturday.

"Access to American markets has played an important role in China's economic development," he said.

Bush will also urge Hu to allow greater religious freedom in China, a message he will underscore by starting his day at Sunday services at the Gangwashi Church, one of five officially recognised Protestant churches in Beijing.

U.S. officials were not happy when a Chinese court recently sentenced a Protestant minister, his wife and her brother to prison terms of up to three years for illegally printing Bibles and other Christian publications.

"Of course, it's Sunday so the president will want to worship," said Mike Green, Asian affairs director at the White House National Security Council. "But it's also important that the world see and that the Chinese people see that expression of faith is a good thing for a healthy and mature society." (1)

The US trade deficit, particularly, has raised worries among economists, and it relates directly to decisions China makes about its currency valuation. (2)

The trade deficit remains a trouble spot for the U.S. economy as it widens to new record highs in 2005. Since this deficit has to be financed by borrowing abroad, the question arises as to how long foreign lenders, particularly China, Japan, the UK, Taiwan and Germany, will lend to the U.S. at comparatively low interest rates. A widening trade deficit could ultimately put increasing pressures on U.S. interest rates, thus potentially contributing to an economic slowdown.

Bill Hatch

The US Has Lost; Let's Leave
Murtha and the L Word
By DAVE LINDORFF – Nov. 18, 2005

Rep. John Murtha, the decorated Vietnam and Korean War Marine vet and conservative Pennsylvania Democrat who stunned Bush administration and Republican congressional warhawks and Democratic go-alongs like Sens. Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden alike with his call for an immediate U.S. pullout from Iraq, left unsaid one important word in his dramatic turnaround announcement: defeat.

But that's the real message of his change of heart from Iraq War backer and booster to peacenik.

The war begun by President Bush with such bravado and so little braino, which was designed to convert him from a dismal president to a crisp and awe-inspiring commander-in-chief, has been lost.

The nearly 2100 Americans who have died so far to help the president get re-elected, to make him look like a leader, and to provide cover for his criminal executive power grab, have died for nothing.

An unorganized bunch of insurgents armed with nothing but raw guts, aging Soviet-era rifles, and home-made explosives, have routed the most powerful military machine the world has ever known.

There will be efforts to cover up this astonishing defeat, just as there were efforts made by the Nixon and Ford administrations to hide the fact that the U.S. was defeated in Indochina, too, but the truth is clear.

American military might can destroy a country. It can kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. It can sow terror through the use of indiscriminate use of such WMDs as DU explosives, phosphorus bombs, helicopter and fixed-wing gunships and computerized drones and missiles. But it cannot defeat a concerted popular resistance.

The American military, according to some generals, is once again, as it was during the Vietnam War, falling apart. Recruitment is collapsing, both for the regular Army and Marines, and for the reserves and the National Guard. Parts and even ammunition are in short supply. Morale is at an all time low and sinking.

Who in Iraq would want to die for Bush and Cheney at this point? And yet they keep on dying.

Murtha has it right. It's long past time to call the whole disastrous thing off. The Bush-Cheney mantra of "stay the course" is the desperate cry of two mad men caught in a trap of their own making--two men who are perfectly willing to send thousands more American soldiers to their deaths, and to slaughter tens of thousands more innocent Iraqis, in order to cling to power and to defer a final reckoning for their crimes.
They cannot be permitted to do this.

The war is lost. Iraq has been destroyed and will have to be helped for a long time to allow its people to recover somehow from the devastation caused by decades of brutal dictatorship, American-led sanctions and America's war of aggression and criminal occupation. The broken military will have to be returned home and made into something appropriate for a world that settles disputes diplomatically, not by unilateral acts of violence and terror. Finally, the veterans of this war will need help recovering from the horrors they were forced to participate in and from the physical and psychic wounds they have endured.

Meanwhile, the political leaders who brought all this about must be called to account. Either they apologize, as growing numbers of Democrats (and some Republicans) have begun to do, like Murtha and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards have done, or they must be ousted. Half steps like Kerry's admission that his pro-war vote and his pro-war campaign were mistakes, after which he then trashed Murtha on Hardball, won't do. As for the criminal authors of this war-Bush, Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and others--they should be impeached or indicted as appropriate.)

The first step will be admitting that the US has been defeated in Iraq. Murtha is right that the troops did what was asked of them, but their sacrifices were for naught. The war is lost.

Then we can begin the blame game in earnest.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" to be published this fall by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at

As Nation Prepares for Thanksgiving, Jim Wallis and 45 Religious Leaders to Hold Faith Summit on Poverty Nov. 21

11/18/2005 5:29:00 PM

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor

Contact: Jack Pannell of Sojourners, 202-745-4614 or 202-285-1899 (cell)

News Advisory:

What: Roundtable with the Media (Jim Wallis and several religious leaders will discuss the tragic meaning of House Budget vote during the season of Thanksgiving).

When: Monday, Nov. 21, 12 noon until 1 p.m.

Where: Jury's Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave., Washington, D.C.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and Convener of Call to Renewal, made the following the statement today on the narrow passage of the House Budget Reconciliation Bill.


"The prophet Isaiah said: 'Woe to you legislators of infamous laws ... who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan.' Today, I repeat those words. When our legislators put ideology over principle, it is time to sound the trumpets of justice and tell the truth.

"It is a moral disgrace to take food from the mouths of hungry children to increase the luxuries of those feasting at a table overflowing with plenty. This is not what America is about, not what the season of Thanksgiving is about, not what loving our neighbor is about, and not what family values are about. There is no moral path our legislators can take to defend a reckless, mean-spirited budget reconciliation bill that diminishes our compassion, as Jesus said, 'for the least of these.' It is morally unconscionable to hide behind arguments for fiscal responsibility and government efficiency. It is dishonest to stake proud claims to deficit reduction when tax cuts for the wealthy that increase the deficit are the next order of business. It is one more example of an absence of morality in our current political leadership.

"The faith community is outraged and is drawing a line in the sand against immoral national priorities. It is time to draw that line more forcefully and more visibly."