United States News Digest
Conyers Wants More Democrats To Support Him on Impeachment
Aug. 30 (EIRNS)Apparently feeling the heat from constituents who are demanding impeachment of Dick Cheney and/or George W. Bush,, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told a town meeting in Pontiac, Michigan, "I want you to know that I have no reticence, no reluctance, no hesitation to use the tool of impeachment ... whenever I feel that it is appropriate.... I only wish that I could be moved by a lot of people coming to my office." Rawstory.com posted a video of the event.
Conyers said that there are not enough Democrats in the House at present who support impeachment. But, making clear that he is counting those votes, he said that his decisions are not dictated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "Nancy Pelosi has impeachment 'off the table,' but that's off her table, it is not off John Conyers' table," said Conyers. "Nancy Pelosi, who I actually supported, cannot prevent me from introducing an impeachment resolution againstwell, I've got a long list of people who are eligible."
Conyers reviewed his own history in taking the lead in impeachment, in the case of President Richard Nixon in 1974. At that time, said Conyers, he introduced an impeachment resolution, and it was supported by the Congressional Black Caucus. Conyers cited Reps. Shirley Chisolm (D-N.Y.), and Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) as playing an especially important role.
"I understand the politics of impeachment," Conyers said. "But we have something going on now that we've never had before."
Columbine, MySpace, and Facebook Named in Investigation of Virginia Tech Killer
Aug. 30 (EIRNS) The just-released report of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's Virginia Tech Review Panel demonstrates that Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho was exactly the kind of violent-media and violent-video-game addict about which this news service has been warning since April 16, when Cho killed 32 people, then himself. It was the worst youth school shooting in history, in any country. The report documents that Cho became obsessed with the Columbine High School shooting of April 20, 1999, and wrote about creating "another Columbine." And, in 2007, very close to the tenth anniversary of Columbine, he did exactly thatbut on a larger scale.
Yet the Virginia Tech Panel went out of its way to understate, or ignore Cho's deep involvement in violent Internet culture, from video-games, to underground movies like the violent "Old Boy."
Commenting today on the release of the panel's report, Lyndon LaRouche said, "This commission came under major political pressure to keep out what is known about Cho's involvement with video-gamesthey obviously didn't want to offend somebody. But, they left in a hint of the truth in mentioning MySpace and Facebook. Of course, MySpace is owned by right-wing British operative Rupert Murdoch. Another hint is the panel's documentation of Cho's fascination with the Columbine massacre, beginning in April 1999. We will encourage further investigation in this direction," said LaRouche.
Army Contracting Probe Accepts Cheney's Assumptions
Aug. 29 (EIRNS)Secretary of the Army Pete Geren announced today that he has established two commissions to look into Army contracting, an internal one to probe problems in the contract management office in Kuwait, and an external panel, to look at how the Army does contracting in general. But Geren's mandate for both investigations accepts Vice President Dick Cheney's assumptions that led to the contracting problems that Geren seeks to address. First is the permanent nature of the war, and the second is the privatization of military logistics. Geren said that his objective is to determine whether the Army is properly organized to meet the acquisition needs of frontline units operating "in an era of persistent conflict."
In response to a question from EIR, Dr. Jacques Gansler, a former Undersecretary of Defense in the Clinton Defense Department, who will be heading the external review, admitted that there probably are activities that have been contracted out that should be performed by the military itself or the government, but spoke highly of public/private competitive sourcing, where government employees are forced to compete against private contractors to keep their jobs. This type of competition, where government employees lose out to private contractors, which was a factor in the collapse of outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that caused such a scandal early this year.
AFL-CIO Declares Mobilization for Health Care for All
Aug 30 (EIRNS)At his annual Labor Day briefing Aug. 29, AFL-CIO international president John Sweeney declared that the organization was putting the full force of its 10 million members on a mobilization to secure high-quality health care for all by 2009. Sweeney stated that the organization will hold candidates at every level, from union locals to U.S. President, responsible for supporting comprehensive health-care reform. While he stated that the AFL-CIO is not endorsing a specific health-care approach at this time, he laid out a set of criteria that any proposal would have to meet including: covering everyone in the United States; providing preventive care; preserving the right of patients to choose their own doctors; requiring the government to police greed and incompetence, and to lower costs. Sweeney announced that the mobilization will begin at AFL-CIO events throughout the country during the Labor Day weekend, and extend until legislation is passed in 2009.
EIR's reporter asked Sweeney to comment on House Resolution 676, Rep. John Conyers' (D-Mich.) single-payer, universal health-care legislation, noting that 22 of the AFL-CIO state federations have endorsed the it. Sweeney answered that "the AFL-CIO could easily support" HR 676, but reiterated that the organization was not endorsing any specific proposal at this time, preferring to assess the result of its mobilization and challenge to candidates.
When Will the Army's Debate About Iraq War Focus on Cheney?
Aug. 27 (EIRNS)The professional responsibilities of U.S. military officers go far beyond the technical competence of fighting wars, as shown by the officer's oath to uphold and defend the Constitution "against all enemies foreign and domestic." They must understand who the enemies of the U.S. Constitution are, and take responsibility for defending against those enemies. Yet the debate that is raging now among the officer ranks of the U.S. Army over the conduct of the Iraq War, important as it is, appears to leave out the most crucial issue, that is, the decision to go to war in the first place.
As former Marine and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter wrote, in an op-ed on truthdig.com last week, "The Vice President is the single greatest threat to American and international security in the world today," because it is Dick Cheney, who not only bears the most responsibility for the war in Iraq, but who represents the greatest threat to the U.S. Constitution.
The debate that is going on within the ranks broke out into the open last May, when an active-duty Army officer, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, wrote an article for Armed Forces Journal entitled "A Failure of Generalship." Yingling argued that U.S. failures in Iraq were attributable to a crisis in the institution of the Army. "America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy," he wrote.
Fred Kaplan, national security columnist for Slate.com, reports in an article in yesterday's New York Times, that Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody was recently challenged about that article by a room full of captains at Fort Knox, Kentucky, who apparently felt that Yingling spoke for them. One asked why the top generals failed to give political leaders full and frank advice on how many troops were needed for Iraq. Another asked whether any generals "should be held accountable" for the war's failures. Another said that general officers were so far removed from the fighting that they wound up "sheltered from the truth," and "don't know what's going on."
Kaplan further described the tensions between junior officers, who often have two or three combat tours in Iraq, and the generals who lead them, but have no comparable experience. Kaplan relates the situation today to that in the early years of Vietnam, described in the book Dereliction of Duty, by H.R. McMaster, an active duty colonel in the Army with a PhD. in history. McMaster concluded that the then-senior leadership of the military betrayed their professional obligations by failing to provide unvarnished military advice to President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. In fact, though Kaplan doesn't say so, McMaster documented how Army Chief of Staff Gen. Earle Wheeler and Gen. Maxwell Taylor, among others, participated in the lies that Johnson and McNamara were telling about Vietnam. McMaster's book made such a deep impression in the Army when it was published in 1997, that it has been on required reading lists ever since.