Editor’s Note: Readers offered a variety of comments on our Bush’s Mafia article, our story on Barack Obama, Ivan Eland’s piece on Iraqi refugees:

I liked your article, "Bush's Mafia Whacks the Republic."  However, I was wondering if the "executive action" and the "special military task forces or Special Access Programs set up to roam the world and assassinate suspected terrorists" are the same people referred to by John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hitman) as "jackals," such as Jack Corbin, the pseudonym of the jackal in Perkins's most recent book who is busy creating carnage in that poor, besieged country.  If so, it might be advantageous to make those connections for the reader.  

I realize that would mean trying to establish a direct connection between the investigations and experiences of two other writers: John Perkins and Seymour Hersh. The connection between what the two writers have stated seem to be inescapable and to corroborate each other.

Terry Hildebrand
'Ewa Beach, Hawai'i

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I was very impressed by this article. However, I have a few, similarly-unconnected dots of my own to propose. Given that nothing in history happens in a vacuum, neither did the Bush administration. I believe that American democracy has been slowly murdered over a period of decades by militarism run amok and its concurrent imperialism, as well as by an electoral system that is now geared to serve campaign financiers rather than the electorate. The present criminal administration is perhaps only the death blow, made possible by these factors, and also by the voting public (a pathetically small percentage of the citizenry) having been lulled into a stupor of complacency by our consumer society--a uniquely American brand of bread and circuses. There is some reason to hope, however, that the public is beginning to wake up and smell the rats, evidenced by the increasing numbers of grassroots impeachment movements. One can only hope.

Ellen Remore
Monroe, NY   

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The American Republic was NEVER meant to be for the people, by the people and of the people. It was founded by the same sort of elitists that ruled England at the time. They just decided to veer course a titch and go their own route ala elitist rule only by their own hand and not the ruling families of the UK & Europe.

If you read the Constitution carefully it is designed for the elite rule. The Bill of Rights was later brought in to satiate some dissenting views and that was a thorn in the side of the elitists but they decided to bide their time and get around the Bill of Rights eventually down the road. And this is what we see today in America. Both the Constitution AND the Bill of Rights are NO MORE !!!

Thanks to the Neo-Con-men and our puppet in chief GW Bush. I'm Canadian and I'm probably MORE repressed than the average American. So I have no bias here. I don't really give to much thought to what will happen to America ... it's doomed, due to Israel's influence/domination.

Kevin

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With regard to your question "How, these historians may ask, did the U.S. press corps miss one of history’s most important developments?", one doesn't have to be a historian to give a decent answer to this question, although it certainly helps to have some substantial knowledge of cultural anthropology, Western Culture, our historical inheritance, the combination of hidden operations and sophisticated propaganda, and the general workings of manufacturing consent.  

The difficulty of connecting the reasons is that numerous techniques and long term programs have been used, and are still being used.  Imagine a crab with a dozen pincers that is patient and waits until they have all been properly developed, then grabs its prey with all of them.

Any given person or investigator is likely to be aware of no more than 2 or 3, so, of course, they will not know where all the control has "suddenly" come from.  Of course, "suddenly" itself is misleading since the methodologies have been tested on smaller scales for many decades (and in some cases, centuries), and certainly the slow heating of the water has been a major tactic. 

By the way, the frog is not proverbial, it is a real phenomenon.  Try it some time.  Once the water is hot enough, the frog's mind and body are too weak to do much.  Of course, if you toss a cool frog into a pan of hot water, it will jump out.  How many U.S. citizens do you know that have seriously risked their ability to find a job, getting beaten, or tortured and are organized and willing to protect one another?

Gregory Markowski

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Please allow me to point out another failure in dot connecting by the docile fourth estate during the destructive Bush administration:
No one, to my knowledge, has made the effort to connect the dots in the massive conflicts of interest of the people running this government.

The US has traditionally had greater traffic through the revolving doors between the White House, the cabinet, government departments and agencies and lobbying and industries than other Western democracies allow in their political systems. But this administration has raised this blurring of the lines between governance and business to never before seen levels. Never before have the private interests of the people running the country been made so identical to the "national interests".

We have heard endlesly about incompetent Bush cronies and greedy neocons, moving seemlessly between positions of political power and lucrative business arrangements etc., etc. Fragments of this story appear more and more.

But it would be truly instructive (and scary) to see a more comprehensive migration chart showing the movements of top level people and profiteers in the Bush halls of power.   

Niels Christiansen

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Obama’s not African-American.  He’s an American. His father was from Kenya.  His mother’s ethnic/racial heritage I do not know.  Her skin is white.  This does not make Obama an African-American in the same sense that others who are descendants of slaves brought from Africa who have lived in America since that time are African-American.  It’s an important point because many of these latter African Americans already see Obama as an elitist who will offer them little support.   Many are supporting Hillary Clinton because they believe (though she, too, is an elitist) they can expect more from her administration than from Obama’s.  I think they are right.  On that promise, the Clintons did deliver.

What was Gore Vidal’s comment:  “Those who want to run for President and are qualified to do should be disqualified from doing so.”  (something like that)
Only those political candidates who are at the fringe with the right ideas but without the means (money) of winning should be supported but then they can’t win.  That is why so many people will not give money to such candidates. 
We have only a sham democracy – it’s the oligarchy trying to wear a mask of democracy for the masses…

When the electorate overcame their apathy enough to vote for Gore in 2000, votes were disqualified and discounted.  Then the voting machines appeared during the next Presidential election cycle.  You know Help America Vote Act is about as true as Clean Air.  (No one dares call the legislation by the true intent and result:  Deter Americans from Voting Accurately and Dirtiest Air Ever.)

Nancy Griffith

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On the surface, "Leaving Iraqi Refugees in the Lurch" by Ivan Eland, June 
12, 2007, presents a dissenting view of America's role in the "war" in 
Iraq. But, sadly, the dissent is more illusory than real.

For instance, Ivan writes: "Many of these people [Iraqi refugees] helped 
the United States in Iraq and could be in grave danger once U.S. forces 
are reduced or withdrawn."

Iraqis that work for the U.S. are already in danger - America doesn't have 
to leave for them to end up injured or dead. A 13-year-old interpreter 
risked his life for the Americans, and the U.S. was happy to oblige 
(http://desert-smink.blogspot.com/2005/01/logan-iraqi-boy-wonder.html). 
And a 25-year-old woman was blinded in an attack while working for the 
U.S. (http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000245.php). 
She received not an ounce of help or assistance from her former U.S. 
bosses, let alone compensation. These are not instances of aberrant 
behavior. The U.S. values an Iraqi's life - one it "accidentally" snuffs 
out - at just $2,500, a derisory sum that quantifies how much America 
values its relationship with the Iraqis.

Ivan then writes: "Alas, however, the United States, the melting pot of 
immigrants, has a surprisingly poor record of opening its borders to 
wartime refugees." Wartime refugees? So, America is at war, like it was at 
war with Germany, fighting the good fight? Shelling primary schools, for 
instance? America is NOT at war. No country has declared war on America, 
and no country wants to.

Ivan also says: "The United States left far too many of its friends to a 
grim fate after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam." Has Ivan no handle on 
recent Iraqi history? America has never been a friend to the Iraqis:

1) From 1980-1988, America encouraged Saddam to sacrifice hundreds of 
thousands of America's "friends" in a war against Iran, while arming both 
sides.

2) In 1991, America assisted Saddam in quelling a Shiite rebellion that 
could have overthrown Saddam. Tens of thousands of America's "friends" 
were slaughtered.

3) America wanted – and got - Saddam tried in Iraq with little to no media 
attention. The majority of Saddam's victims – America's "friends" – were 
given no opportunity to level charges against their former dictator. 
Saddam was officially hanged for killing 148 Shia Muslims in Dujail, in 
1982. That's the sum total of Saddam's crimes. All crimes in which America 
played a role were excluded from the charge sheet.

Ivan's closing paragraph begins: "...the Bush administration needs 
to...help save Iraqis that have already sacrificed much to help the United 
States in its quixotic quest to bring democracy to that divided nation." I 
presume the word "democracy" is code for "how the U.S. government would 
like Iraq to be, and what it can do for U.S. interests and economic 
growth". Ivan conveniently overlooks the striking oil workers, public 
hostility towards the wholesale privatization of Iraq (which "The 
Economist" magazine called "a capitalist's dream", meaning a US/EU 
corporate-capitalist dream, not an Iraqi capitalist's dream), unpopular 
IMF dictates, and the anti-union policies imposed by America, and opposed 
by Iraqis. These "economic measures" have caused poverty and riots in 
Iraq. They have also caused Iraqi businesses to close. And to top it off, 
America is now arming the Sunnis in the name of fighting Al Qaeda.

If Iraq is divided, it's being divided with America's blessing.

Ivan ends by saying: "...the United States has a very poor record, and the 
Bush administration is not good at even implicitly admitting mistakes." 
Mistakes? Is this the subtext of Ivan's article: it's all been one, big, 
jolly old mistake - please excuse us! Was the bombing of Lebanon last year 
also a mistake? As civilians were being blown sky high with U.S.-made 
bombs, Bush and Blair stood shoulder to shoulder in a press conference, 
unabashedly irritated when journalists dared to question their right to 
slaughter innocent people for no reason (in the ten years prior to last 
year's attack, Hezbollah had killed no Israeli civilians; and even if the 
group had, two wrongs do not make a right). Bush, Blair, and Olmert 
committed a worse crime than Saddam hanged for. And now Ivan presents a 
version of events in which America invaded Iraq - perhaps not with the 
best of motives, but with the best of intentions – and then, sadly, 
slipped on a banana skin.

It would seem Ivan wants Americans to believe that every war the U.S. has 
fought was fought with the best of intentions - but "communism" got in the 
way in the past, while "terrorism" is getting in the way in the present. 
Ivan seems determined to give a future American president the ability to 
assault and pillage further nations under the guise of bringing democracy 
to the oppressed.

Michael (London, England)

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