Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Puppet and the Master

The Puppet and the Master, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

A Very Revealing Press Conference

The True Situation In Iraq, as Revealed by Mssrs Bush and Jaafari, as revealed by the press conference of June 24, 2005

The sheer transparency of the american occupation of Iraq was laid bare in the last segment of the press conference:

PRESIDENT BUSH: Final question, Mr. Prime Minister. Would you --

Q Mr. Prime Minister, I am a presenter on radio in Iraq. My question is for you. For more than two years we've started a change in Iraq, but the process of building is very slow. There are secure cities in Iraq, Samarra and Kurdistan. When will you begin the reconstruction in Iraq? When do we begin to establish the first bases of reconstruction? And you know that if you started reconstruction in Iraq it will mean that young people will have something to do, and they will leave terrorist activities. So the question is for Mr. Prime Minister. There were discussions held with the President Bush, and the most important thing you discussed with him we want to know about it.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Sometimes we don't tell you things, you know. (Laughter.) No, we discussed a lot of important things. We discussed democracy, we discussed having the constitution there, and we discussed security, we discussed reconstruction.

We are spending reconstruction money, but, you know, you need to ask that to the government. They're in charge. It's your government, not ours. This is the government that is --that has got the ministries in place that spends the money. We're willing to help, and we have helped. And I want to thank the Congress and the American people for their generosity in helping Iraq rebuild. And we're spending money.

But, remember, your question kind of made it seem like --that we're in charge. We're not. You had elections; 8.5 million people voted, and this good man is now in charge of the government. I don't want to be passing the buck, as we say, but we're more than willing to help reconstruction efforts, but this is a sovereign government --

PRIME MINISTER JAAFARI: Thank you, very much.

PRESIDENT BUSH: --with an elected Prime Minister by the people of Iraq. And so we want to look forward to working with the government. Our role is to help. His role is to govern and lead. And we've got the money allocated. Obviously, it's important to get electricity to the Iraqi citizens and clean water to the Iraqi citizens. And, you know, I was pleased to see the other day when I was reading that there's a lot of air traffic in and out of the airport now, quite a lot of air traffic. In other words, there's commerce beginning to develop. We want to be helpful. But the responsibility rests with the people who the Iraqi people elected. And that's you, Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER JAAFARI: Thank you, Mr. President. Of course, there were many points discussed with the President, Mr. Bush, in our special meeting, and we talked about so many facts. It was the first meeting between us, so we talked directly about the democracy in Iraq and the constitution, the achievement of the constitution, and we decided to continue the case of security until everything is well established.

And at the same time, we thought that there is a Marshall project after the Second World War that contributed --the

U.S. contributed in that and in the Truman's government when they presented assistance to the German people. German people had selected Hitler in a democratic process that had a 98 percent result, however, we are quite happy with this hospitality of the U.S. So Germany was able to work.

The Iraqi people did not elect Saddam Hussein. In fact, they suffered a lot from Saddam Hussein before he attacked the geographical adjacent countries. He took their money before he took the money of Kuwait. He occupied Kuwait, in fact, as he did, and there is a lot of indications to tell us that the Iraqi people are innocent of all that had happened. They have to pay off their --so many debts, and we hope that all countries will stand beside us to correct this unexceptional [sic] situation. They did not commit any crime against any people, they are peaceful. But it was Saddam Hussein who committed the crimes. And he brought about so many debts and losses to the Iraqi people.

We look forward to the international community to stand beside us, and we believe that this is a humanitarian stance. And we hope that Mr. Bush will try to redo a Marshall Plan, calling it the Bush Plan, to help Iraq, to help the Iraqi people. And this would be a very wonderful step that they stand beside us.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you all. ''

Today I heard my President very proudly... pass the buck to an operative. And no one can tell me that Jaafari was there as an equal !

No one can challenge the position that the United States is the real master in lraq. As a matter of fact, when expounding on the "War On Terrorism", Bush & Co. won't hesitate to brag about how they're in control. Yet when the question of finally rebuilding Iraq came up, Bush committed the unthinkable. The unbridled Conqueror of Iraq publicly disavowed any responsibility to rebuild what he had destroyed, and hid like a coward behind his stooge!

And oh, how stupidly he had begun! Not only does he rudely butt in to answer a question meant for Jaafari, but he betrays his discomfort at the very idea of betraying his unpreparedness at reconstructing Iraq. I love this line:

'' Sometimes we don't tell you things, you know ".

Yeah, "you know" I swear I could've heard his patented "heh, heh!" at the end of that statement!

He then proceeded to explain how it wasn't his responsibility to begin the rebuilding, but that it would depend on the actions of the '' Iraqi Government":

"We are spending reconstruction money, but, you know, you need to ask that to the government. They're in charge. It's your government, not ours. This is the government that is --that has got the ministries in place that spends the money. We're willing to help, and we have helped. And I want to thank the Congress and the American people for their generosity in helping Iraq rebuild. And we're spending money''.

Bush's press conference of the 23rd on Iraq clearly illustrates who the true masters of lraq are. True, Jaafari was there, but it was clear who's hand was up who's butt. It was especially clear at the end, when Jaafari was forced to back a play that must have been humiliating. I listened to that exchange, and l saw and heard Bush at his most self-serving, and base.

Ah! The hypocrisy! A disingenuous Bush suddenly got self - conscious:

''I don't want to be passing the buck, as we say, but we're more than willing to help reconstruction efforts, but this is a sovereign government --''

'' Passing the buck '' ? ! But that's EXACTLY what you did George ! It doesn't matter what the Iraqi government says, They've only a fledgeling army. You have a considerably larger force. You imposed so-called "sovereignty" according to the neocon Master Plan! And you are telling me that you don't have ultimate responsibility? Once again you ask a minion to pull your fat out of the fire?

'We are spending reconstruction money...''

Tell me then, how is the reconstruction coming along, Mr. President ? Why don't we hear about it on CNN, or MSNBC?

And Bush the Space Commander-in-Chief rhapsodizes:

''And, you know, I was pleased to see the other day when I was reading that there's a lot of air traffic in and out of the airport now, quite a lot of air traffic. In other words, there's commerce beginning to develop. We want to be helpful. But the responsibility rests with the people who the Iraqi people elected. And that's you, Mr. Prime Minister.''

No, that's YOU Mr. Bush!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ruthlessly Bush - Part 2

Elizabeth Wilmshurst, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

The Benchmark of Moral Turpitude

BBC News Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 10:22 GMT:

"Elizabeth Wilmshurst, deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office, resigned in March 2003 because she did not believe the war with Iraq was legal. Her letter was released by the Foreign Office to the BBC News website under the Freedom of Information Act.

A minute dated 18 March 2003 from Elizabeth Wilmshurst (Deputy Legal Adviser) to Michael Wood (The Legal Adviser), copied to the Private Secretary, the Private Secretary to the Permanent Under-Secretary, Alan Charlton (Director Personnel) and Andrew Patrick (Press Office):

1. I regret that I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution to revive the authorisation given in SCR 678. I do not need to set out my reasoning; you are aware of it.
[The following italicised section was removed by the Foreign Office but later obtained by Channel 4 News]
My views accord with the advice that has been given consistently in this office before and after the adoption of UN security council resolution 1441 and with what the attorney general gave us to understand was his view prior to his letter of 7 March. (The view expressed in that letter has of course changed again into what is now the official line.)
I cannot in conscience go along with advice - within the Office or to the public or Parliament - which asserts the legitimacy of military action without such a resolution, particularly since an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression; nor can I agree with such action in circumstances which are so detrimental to the international order and the rule of law.
2. I therefore need to leave the Office: my views on the legitimacy of the action in Iraq would not make it possible for me to continue my role as a Deputy Legal Adviser or my work more generally.
For example in the context of the International Criminal Court, negotiations on the crime of aggression begin again this year.
I am therefore discussing with Alan Charlton whether I may take approved early retirement. In case that is not possible this letter should be taken as constituting notice of my resignation.
3. I joined the Office in 1974. It has been a privilege to work here. I leave with very great sadness"

From Elizabeth Wilmshurst's Resume:

International Law:

the use of force
international criminal law including the international criminal court
the law of the United Nations and its organs
consular and diplomatic law
State and sovereign immunity
international humanitarian law."

"Academic and Professional Experience

2003-Date Visiting Professor, University College, London University
1999-Apr 2003 Deputy Legal Adviser, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
1994-1999 Legal Counsellor at United Kingdom Misson to the United Nations, New York, then in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
1990-1994 Legal Counsellor, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
1986-1990 Assistant Legal Adviser, then Legal Counsellor, Attorney General's Office
1974-1986 Assistant Legal Adviser, then Legal Counsellor at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1972 Lecturer, Bristol University"

Ruthlessly Bush - Part 1

Sunday Times of London July 12, 2005:

Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action

The paper, produced by the Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, is incomplete because the last page is missing. The following is a transcript rather than the original document in order to protect the source.
Ministers are invited to:
(1) Note the latest position on US military planning and timescales for possible action.
(2) Agree that the objective of any military action should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD.
(3) Agree to engage the US on the need to set military plans within a realistic political strategy, which includes identifying the succession to Saddam Hussein and creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action, which might include an ultimatum for the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. This should include a call from the Prime Minister to President Bush ahead of the briefing of US military plans to the President on 4 August.
(4) Note the potentially long lead times involved in equipping UK Armed Forces to undertake operations in the Iraqi theatre and agree that the MOD should bring forward proposals for the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements under cover of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and the outcome of SR2002.
(5) Agree to the establishment of an ad hoc group of officials under Cabinet Office Chairmanship to consider the development of an information campaign to be agreed with the US.
1. The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.
2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.
3. We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.
4. In order to fulfil the conditions set out by the Prime Minister for UK support for military action against Iraq, certain preparations need to be made, and other considerations taken into account. This note sets them out in a form which can be adapted for use with the US Government. Depending on US intentions, a decision in principle may be needed soon on whether and in what form the UK takes part in military action.
The Goal
5. Our objective should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or to international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD. It seems unlikely that this could be achieved while the current Iraqi regime remains in power. US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination if Iraqi WMD. It is however, by no means certain, in the view of UK officials, that one would necessarily follow from the other. Even if regime change is a necessary condition for controlling Iraqi WMD, it is certainly not a sufficient one.
US Military Planning
6. Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq. In a 'Running Start', military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up. Air strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime. A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003. US military plans include no specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start'. CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.
7. US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia. This means that legal base issues would arise virtually whatever option Ministers choose with regard to UK participation.
The Viability of the Plans
8. The Chiefs of Staff have discussed the viability of US military plans. Their initial view is that there are a number of questions which would have to be answered before they could assess whether the plans are sound. Notably these include the realism of the 'Running Start', the extent to which the plans are proof against Iraqi counter-attack using chemical or biological weapons and the robustness of US assumptions about the bases and about Iraqi (un)willingness to fight.
UK Military Contribution
9. The UK's ability to contribute forces depends on the details of the US military planning and the time available to prepare and deploy them. The MOD is examining how the UK might contribute to US-led action. The options range from deployment of a Division (ie Gulf War sized contribution plus naval and air forces) to making available bases. It is already clear that the UK could not generate a Division in time for an operation in January 2003, unless publicly visible decisions were taken very soon. Maritime and air forces could be deployed in time, provided adequate basing arrangements could be made. The lead times involved in preparing for UK military involvement include the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements, for which there is no financial provision.
The Conditions Necessary for Military Action
10. Aside from the existence of a viable military plan we consider the following conditions necessary for military action and UK participation: justification/legal base; an international coalition; a quiescent Israel/Palestine; a positive risk/benefit assessment; and the preparation of domestic opinion.
11. US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council. A detailed consideration of the legal issues, prepared earlier this year, is at Annex A. The legal position would depend on the precise circumstances at the time. Legal bases for an invasion of Iraq are in principle conceivable in both the first two instances but would be difficult to establish because of, for example, the tests of immediacy and proportionality. Further legal advice would be needed on this point.
12. This leaves the route under the UNSC resolutions on weapons inspectors. Kofi Annan has held three rounds of meetings with Iraq in an attempt to persuade them to admit the UN weapons inspectors. These have made no substantive progress; the Iraqis are deliberately obfuscating. Annan has downgraded the dialogue but more pointless talks are possible. We need to persuade the UN and the international community that this situation cannot be allowed to continue ad infinitum. We need to set a deadline, leading to an ultimatum. It would be preferable to obtain backing of a UNSCR for any ultimatum and early work would be necessary to explore with Kofi Annan and the Russians, in particular, the scope for achieving this.
13. In practice, facing pressure of military action, Saddam is likely to admit weapons inspectors as a means of forestalling it. But once admitted, he would not allow them to operate freely. UNMOVIC (the successor to UNSCOM) will take at least six months after entering Iraq to establish the monitoring and verification system under Resolution 1284 necessary to assess whether Iraq is meeting its obligations. Hence, even if UN inspectors gained access today, by January 2003 they would at best only just be completing setting up. It is possible that they will encounter Iraqi obstruction during this period, but this more likely when they are fully operational.
14. It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.
An International Coalition
15. An international coalition is necessary to provide a military platform and desirable for political purposes.
16. US military planning assumes that the US would be allowed to use bases in Kuwait (air and ground forces), Jordan, in the Gulf (air and naval forces) and UK territory (Diego Garcia and our bases in Cyprus). The plans assume that Saudi Arabia would withhold co-operation except granting military over-flights. On the assumption that military action would involve operations in the Kurdish area in the North of Iraq, the use of bases in Turkey would also be necessary.
17. In the absence of UN authorisation, there will be problems in securing the support of NATO and EU partners. Australia would be likely to participate on the same basis as the UK. France might be prepared to take part if she saw military action as inevitable. Russia and China, seeking to improve their US relations, might set aside their misgivings if sufficient attention were paid to their legal and economic concerns. Probably the best we could expect from the region would be neutrality. The US is likely to restrain Israel from taking part in military action. In practice, much of the international community would find it difficult to stand in the way of the determined course of the US hegemon. However, the greater the international support, the greater the prospects of success.
A Quiescent Israel-Palestine
18. The Israeli re-occupation of the West Bank has dampened Palestinian violence for the time being but is unsustainable in the long-term and stoking more trouble for the future. The Bush speech was at best a half step forward. We are using the Palestinian reform agenda to make progress, including a resumption of political negotiations. The Americans are talking of a ministerial conference in November or later. Real progress towards a viable Palestinian state is the best way to undercut Palestinian extremists and reduce Arab antipathy to military action against Saddam Hussein. However, another upsurge of Palestinian/Israeli violence is highly likely. The co-incidence of such an upsurge with the preparations for military action against Iraq cannot be ruled out. Indeed Saddam would use continuing violence in the Occupied Territories to bolster popular Arab support for his regime.
19. Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks. In particular, we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective as set out in paragraph 5 above. A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor. We must also consider in greater detail the impact of military action on other UK interests in the region.
Domestic Opinion
20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action.
21. Although the US military could act against Iraq as soon as November, we judge that a military campaign is unlikely to start until January 2003, if only because of the time it will take to reach consensus in Washington. That said, we judge that for climactic reasons, military action would need to start by January 2003, unless action were deferred until the following autumn.
22. As this paper makes clear, even this timescale would present problems. This means that:
(a) We need to influence US consideration of the military plans before President Bush is briefed on 4 August, through contacts betweens the Prime Minister and the President and at other levels;

Downing Street

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Charity: O'Reilly Style

Bill O'Reilly Wrapped in Vanity, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

And What Does O'Reilly Know About Charity?

Sooooo! Bill O'Reilly actually HAS a heart!. He's getting maudlin because suddenly he has discovered that rhere is famine in Africa. Of course it required Tony Blair to wade across the pond all the way to Washington to switch the old ticker on, since O"Reilly rarely uses it. But now his leader Bush needs him to be compassionate, so he switched the old pump on.

Suddenly O'Reilly's characterization of Bush and Blair's work in Africa reminds me of that stereotypical insult about Poles, or Italians, or Ukrainians et al., screwing on a lightbulb.

You see, what with our unnecessary involvement in lraq, how can we now manage the resources to think of taking on the bandits starving the people in Sudan? Mr. O'Reilly, we can't get together the resources to help Africa with our "Coalition Of The Willing". We need Europe, and that entity O'Reilly hates so much - the UN.

O'Reilly hoists himself on his own petard when he mentions how Live Aid foundered on the rock of local tyrants. We barely have an army large enough to handle Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ghastly way we are handling those wars is having a devastating effect on recruiting. This means that we can't even get in to protect the people, let alone feed them.

O'Reilly's crocodile tears for the starving people in Sudan fall disingenuously since at the same time he defends a policy that has left the Iraqis living in the Stone Ages, and turned Afghanistan into a large opium farm. O'Reilly speaks of a Marshall Plan for Africa. Where was Bush's beneficence when he gave Iraqi jobs to foreigners, while he gave away their economy to American and foreign interests? As far as NGOs like Doctors Without Borders are concerned, first make it safe for them in Iraq where at least you have an army there, before you go off on another adventure.

To me the whole thing is a disingenuous "Wag The Dog" tactic. Bush and Blair wish to misdirect our attention from the Downing Street Memo, and so they are cynically using Africa as a prop to hide behind. O'Reilly, who to me doesn't look the charitable type, (Though I'm sure he has a few favorite charities.) is suddenly wearing sackcloth and ashes for Africa. I just wish he could spare a few threads for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sweet Jesus I Hate Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly's Official Home Page

O'Reilly Sucks

Fox "The O'Reilly Factor"

Thursday, June 09, 2005

An Answer To an Open Letter

Hannity the Blind, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

The Problem Is, The Blind Arrogance of The Right!

I just read from The Moderate Republican where Dennis posts "An Open Letter to Democrats from a concerned Republican". Well Dennis, here is my reply:

The problem with your party is that it has been taken over by ideologues of a totalitarian leaning bent, and that being so, moderates of your party have about as much chance of fighting the Right Wing as a Quaker did against Nazi Germany. The truth is, that up until recently, your wing has allowed the conservatives to walk all over them, and you hadn’t the nerve to oppose them. You say you are a person of color. On how many hands can you count the number of “persons of color” in positions of influence in your party. We at least have Jesse Jackson, Kweisi Nfume, Vernon Jordan and Al Sharpton. Also, there are times when race issues become entwined with labor issues, and the right to work will be upheld by people of any race, religion or sexual orientation. This usually happens in the Democratic Party. Can the Log Cabin Republicans say the same?
You accuse us of offering “no ideas” of our own. You say: “The Baby Boomers are getting ready to retire and that will put pressure on the system.” I’m afraid that you’ve allowed yourself to be confused by your leaders. Can we start with the simple notion that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH SOCIAL SECURITY? Nothing that a few tweaks and simple mathematics can’t solve? Look, simply pay down the deficit like President Clinton did. A small raise in the Income Tax (yes, you’ll have to do that). Raise the cap on Social Security. If we do it now in small increments we will avoid a whole lot of pain later. Those of us who can, should have a reduction on their benefits, without raising everyone elses. And let US THE PEOPLE DECIDE WHAT THE SLIDING SCALE SHOULD BE, not the denizens of a back room in the White House or the Capitol Cloak Room.

I’m sorry that you don’t like Howard Dean, but now, more than ever, we need a truth teller.

Dean is simply saying what most of us believe. We are witnessing a time when the rabid ideologues of your party are threatening the foundations of our democracy with things like permanently prolonging the most extreme parts of the Patriot Act. We have witnessed the temerity with which they tried to destroy the checks and balances system of our government, and are even now attempting to co-opt the judiciary. The unbridled corruption of the Right with their corporate networking, and the quid pro quo’s with which they buy one another, launder money, and funnel it to maintain power has turned the Capitol into a brothel. The New Boss Tweeds are Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, and the RNC is their Tammany.

You say: “I'm busy trying get my own party to become more sensible, so I can help you. So, you need to do this. Please stop speaking to the converted and make a choice to reach out.” But we are reaching out. Every time we point out the hypocrisy between what the Right says, and what it does, we reach out. We ask the American people to be honest. Every time we point out that nothing has been done to improve the day-to-day life of Iraqis, while our boys die there needlessly in a war that in no way was meant to better things there, and that the cynical way they conduct it has created the largest terrorist boot camp in the world, we appeal to American’s mercy, common sense and reason!

Let’s be honest. A party whose Majority Leader can bully Congress and contort it to defend him at any price, a party that thinks nothing of creating such abominations as Camp X-Ray, Baqubah and Abu Ghraib cannot in any way “become more sensible”. Your best bet is to come over to our side. Be a moderate Democrat. At least here you’ll have more influence. Listening to people is part of the ideology.

A Letter To Congressman James T. Walsh (R. NY, 25th District)

James T. Walsh, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

Please Come See Your People!

Sent to Representative James T. Walsh, and to the Syracuse Post Standard:

Dear Sir:

I understand that you are on the fence as to what you should do concerning Social Security. On the one hand, your party and your President are calling for you to step in line with their approach to “saving” Social Security. On the other, your constituents feel that they are better informed about the Social Security situation and feel that the Republican approach is a cure that is not only worse than the disease, but a poison for a disease that doesn’t exist. I feel that listening to your constituents is the better choice, and if you heed my invitation, you will hear what your constituents have to say.

Your constituents are worried that the shortfall Bush warns about occurring in 2018, will occur much earlier if money from the deficit is borrowed to pay for privatized accounts. They are worried that this would affect the Social Security of their grandchildren. Likewise, they know that would have to be severely regulated to the point where they are virtually restricted to the very thing that our present Social Security is already based on, Treasury bonds. Thus the private accounts really do not make any improvements in Social Security.

In This Together, CNY Alliance for Retired Americans, Greater Syracuse Labor Council, Central New York Labor Council (Utica, NY), The Oswego County Labor Council, and The Working Families Party, are planning a Town Meeting, a public forum on Social Security. They wish to invite you, Congressmen Boehlert and McHugh, Senators Schumer and Clinton and their representatives. It is to be held at Grant Middle School on Thursday, June 23rd, 2005. The aim is to discuss the important, and potentially destructive changes being proposed for Social Security. They wish to invite you, and I wish to invite you, as my Congressman to this forum.

You will hear how real people feel about the Social Security issue. I’m sure that no one will have to be screened, or otherwise invited, or approved of in order to attend this meeting. What you will get is the real deal, how people truly feel about an institution that has stood by them through thick and thin, always could be counted on, and really doesn’t need drastic unnecessary dangerous surgery.


George A. Wojtowycz