Tag Archives: Iraq War

Rand Paul Grills State Sec. Nominee Pompeo on Foreign Policy

Washington, D.C. — During the nomination hearing for Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, on April 12, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who is the only Republican senator that has publicly announced opposition to President Trump’s nomination of CIA director Mike Pompeo to become Secretary of State, told Pompeo that his nomination doesn’t appear to align with the foreign policy view that Trump outlined during his presidential campaign.

“[Trump] says the Iraq war was the single worst decision ever made. So, once again, I’m concerned that you won’t be supporting the president,” Paul said to Pompeo. “That you will be influencing him in a way that I think his inclinations are actually better than many of his advisors. That the Iraq war was a mistake that we need to come home from Afghanistan.”

“He was against being involved in Syria at many times in his career,” Paul said, noting Trump’s previous public statements that implied opposition to “another Iraq war, bombing Syria without permission.”


“So, these are the advice you will give and I guess that’s my biggest concern with your nomination is that I don’t think it reflects the millions of people who voted for President Trump who actually voted for him because they thought it’d be different. That it wouldn’t be the traditional bipartisan consensus to bomb everywhere and be everywhere around the world. So, that’s my main concern and I just want to make sure that that’s loud and clear to everyone that is my concern,” Paul repeated.

Paul also took issue with Pompeo’s belief that the President has the authority to bomb Assad’s forces or installations without congressional approval.

“Thanks for your testimony and thanks for going through this grueling enterprise and your willingness to serve the country. You discussed with Senator Kaine a little bit about whether or not the President has the authority to bomb Assad’s forces or installations in Syria and you mention historically, well we have done it in the past,” Paul said.

“I don’t think that’s a complete enough answer,” the senator added. “I mean my question would be do you think it’s constitutional? Does the President have the constitutional authority to bomb Assad’s forces? Does he have the authority absent congressional action to bomb Assad’s forces or installations?” Paul asked.

“Senator, as I — I think I said this to Senator Kaine, I’m happy to repeat my view on this. Those decisions are weighted. Every place we can, we should work alongside Congress to get that, but yes, I believe the President has the domestic authority to do that. I don’t think — I don’t think that has been disputed by Republicans or Democrats throughout an extended period of time,” Pompeo asserted.

Paul argued against Pompeo’s assertion, stating, “Actually it was disputed mostly by our founding fathers who believed they gave that authority to Congress and actually they’re uniformly opposed to the executive branch having that power. In fact, Madison wrote very specifically.”

“The executive branch is the branch most prone to war. Therefore, we have with studied care vested that authority into the legislature,” Paul added. “So, the fact that we have in the past done this doesn’t make it constitutional and I would say that I take objection to the idea that the president can go to war when he wants, where he wants.”

Paul’s continued his questioning of Pompeo by asking, “With regard to Afghanistan, some have argued that it’s time to get out of Afghanistan. What do you think?”

Watch below:

h/t RCP

NBC Removes Brian Williams From ‘Nightly News,’ Sends Him To MSNBC

Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor who was suspended from the network for six months after revealing that he had lied about his coverage of the Iraq War, will not return to the “Nightly News” after his suspension ends.

Instead, he will appear on NBC’s sister-network, MSNBC.

Williams admitted that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on Feb. 4, and from there his overall credibility as a journalist was called into question.

Related: Brian Williams Admits Lying For 12 Years About Iraq War 

NBC launched an internal investigation into the accuracy of Williams’ reporting on Feb. 6. After he revealed that he had lied about his time in Iraq, questions were also raised about Williams’ reporting of other events, such as his claim that he had seen a dead body float by his hotel during Hurricane Katrina and his claim that Katyusha rockets had passed directly underneath his helicopter while he was covering the Israel-Hezbollah war.

NBC News suspended Williams for six months, without pay on Feb. 11. Deborah Turness, the President of NBC News, released a statement saying that Williams’ actions “jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News” and that because “his actions are inexcusable,” his suspension is “severe and appropriate.”

Related: NBC Suspends Brian Williams For 6 Months Without Pay

NBC News chairman Andy Lack released a statement confirming that Lester Holt will be the new anchor for NBC Nightly News. Lack also said that Williams’ “excellent work” has earned him a second chance “to earn back everyone’s trust.”

Holt, who has filled in as the temporary anchor on the “Nightly News” while Williams has been suspended, makes history as the first African American to become a solo anchor of a nightly broadcast network evening newscast.

CNN reported that after Williams’ six-month suspension ends in August, he will have two jobs: an “anchor of breaking news and special reports on MSNBC” and a “breaking news anchor for NBC News live special reports when Holt is not available.”

The Los Angeles Times noted that at MSNBC, Williams be paid “significantly less than the $10-million-a-year” he earned at NBC, and he will have a much smaller audience, with approximately 301,000 viewers instead of about 7.5 million.

Following the announcement, Williams began what CNN referred to as an “apology tour,” where he “met with NBC staffers in both New York and Washington D.C.,” and was “deeply apologetic.”

Williams released a statement saying that he was sorry, and he “said things that weren’t true.”

“I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers, and I’m determined to earn back their trust,” Williams said. “I will greatly miss working with the team on ‘Nightly News,’ but I know the broadcast will be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor. I will support him 100% as he has always supported me. I am grateful for the chance to return to covering the news. My new role will allow me to focus on important issues and events in our country and around the world, and I look forward to it.

Ron Paul: Is Chaos An Excuse For Escalating U.S. Forces In Iraq?

Despite admission of failed policies, the strategy for resolving the the battle against the Islamic State seems to be escalating U.S forces in Iraq.

It’s been 12 years since the war started, yet three-time presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul has been dealing with our government’s intervention in Iraq since 1998. Even with half a million people killed and billions of dollars wasted, it seems the policy direction is staying the same.

President Barack Obama announced Monday that despite not having a specific strategy for Iraq, he is sending 500 troops there to set up a new base. These troops won’t be on the front lines, Obama said.

In his latest Liberty Report, Paul countered that any truck, any base, any embassy—any U.S. presence over there is a target. He asked, “Where are the front lines?

Paul shared his thoughts on the efforts to rally support from other countries in the fight against the ISIS. “I’ve heard some of the generals on TV and some of the political pundits say, well, we need to get Turkey to act differently and be on our side more,” he said. “At the same time, you don’t hear much about what Israel should be doing. Nobody really talks about Israel. But they are very much involved.”

Daniel McAdams, co-host of the Liberty Report, concurred. “Certainly, in regard to Syria and the goal of overthrowing Assad, Israel is firmly on the side of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which is in favor of overthrow,” McAdams said. “In fact, it’s been shown many times that Israel treats wounded al Nusra fighters—which is the al Qaeda franchise in Syria—on Israeli soil. So they are certainly involved in this.”

Paul also noted U.S. Gen. John Allen‘s comments about about the U.S. military fighting the ideology of ISIS. “ISIS is not the country of Syria or Iraq,” Paul said. “It’s amorphous and it is ideological. Ideas, good and bad, are very difficult to handle. But when that idea becomes popular with the people, good and bad, the ideology becomes very important.

Watch the full episode above and check out more episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report here at Truth In Media.

In case you missed Ben Swann’s Truth In Media episode on ISIS watch it below:


Video Shows Sen. Cotton Confronted By Father Of Deceased Veteran

Washington, D.C.- During a lengthy discussion about foreign policy on Friday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was confronted by Fred Boenig, a Pennsylvania man who described himself as a gold star dad before calling Cotton “the biggest hawk in Washington” and asking when combat in the Middle East will end.

The exchange began when Cotton asked Boenig about the 4 lapel pins he was wearing. “I’m a gold star dad and I have three more kids currently serving,” Boenig answered.

Boenig then said, “And I would consider you probably the biggest hawk in Washington, maybe Lindsey Graham, right? I mean, you’d admit that, right?”

As the attendees broke into laughter, Cotton responded that he believes in “strength in confidence,” a term that Boenig said reminds him of “someone knocking on my door again.” Boenig’s son died in Afghanistan in 2010.

Boenig asked Cotton to tell him how many days have passed since the last U.S. military combat zone death. Cotton did not give a direct answer.

Boenig, who told Cotton that the answer is 58 days, went on to ask “When do we get to hang the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner, and when do I get my kids to come home safe again? That’s the only thing that matters to me.”

Cotton said that there is “no definitive answer because our enemies get a vote in this process. I’m deeply sorrowful for your loss and I greatly honor the service that all of your children have rendered like all of our veterans do, but in the end I think the best way to honor our veterans-“

“Is to have more killed?” Boenig interrupted.

“Is to win the wars in which they fought,” Cotton said.

Boenig went on to challenge Cotton about combat in Iraq and Iran as a means to prevent terror attacks in the United States, and noted that Cotton met with defense contractors the day after he wrote a letter to Iranian leaders warning that a nuclear deal with President Barack Obama could be revoked after Obama left office.

Watch the debate between Boenig and Cotton below:



Fmr CIA Deputy Director: Drones Do Radicalize But “No Other Alternative”

Washington, D.C.- Drones are “the most effective” weapon the US has in the war against terrorism, and while collateral damage does occur, “propaganda” makes it seem far worse than it actually is, according to former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.

Morell sat down with Ben Swann to discuss drones, as well as a wide range of national security issues, including Iraqi WMDs and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Morell tells Swann that the information the CIA had gathered on Saddam Hussein prior to the Iraq war was convincing but unfortunately was dated.  Morell goes on to say that the CIA did warn the Bush Administration that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda and that it was the office of Vice President Dick Cheney who pushed the CIA to find a link between the two.

In the interview with Morell, Swann asks about the Seymour Hersh article on the killing of Osama bin Laden.  It is in that conversation that Swann asks a question Morell is unwilling to answer.

Best Discussion You’ll Hear About Reality of Iraq on 12 Year Anniversary

Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, has been one of the many critics of US policies during the invasion of Iraq.

During an in-depth interview with Ben Swann, McAdams talks about the Obama administration’s hypocrisy in asking for an AUMF in the face Bush administration’s errors, the poor care of veterans when they return to the US and the millions wasted in the years of this military operation.

After 12 Years, CIA Releases Classified Document used to Justify Invasion of Iraq

On the twelfth anniversary of the day President George W. Bush declared that the United States was invading Iraq, a new version of the classified document used to justify the war was released.

In 2004, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by releasing a heavily redacted version of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) the US originally used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

John Greenewald, the operator of The Black Vault, a hub for declassified government documents, contacted the CIA in 2014, requesting an updated version of the NIE that contained more details. The CIA provided Greenewald with a newer version in Jan. 2015, which he first shared with VICE News.

VICE News noted that the release of this document marks the first time the public has access to the “hastily drafted CIA document that led Congress to pass a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.”

While the newly released version of the NIE still keeps some details from the public, it provides more information about the intelligence the US claimed to have when choosing to invade Iraq, and it points out some holes in the stories of the US officials who were justifying the invasion to the American public.

When presenting the war on March 19, 2003, Bush stated that the United States’ goals were to disarm Iraq of its supposed weapons of mass destruction, to overthrow Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, and to free the Iraqi people.

While Bush stated in Oct. 2002, that there was evidence indicating that not only did Iraq possess and produce “chemical and biological weapons,” it was also “reconstituting its nuclear weapons program,” VICE News reported that according to the NIE, the US believed Iraq had probably “renovated the facility” it used for producing the weapons, but they were unable to determine whether the research or production of the weapons had resumed.

In Sept. 2002, the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed that the US has “bulletproof” evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

However, according to the newly released version of the NIE, any information the US had on the overall relationship between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government were “second-hand or from sources of varying reliability.”

Read the full document, courtesy of VICE News:

Iraq October 2002 NIE on WMDs (unedacted version)

SCANDAL Continues: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Following NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ revelation that he lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, multiple instances have surfaced that raise questions about his credibility as a journalist and his accuracy when reporting ranging from his coverage of Hurricane Katrina to his coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war.

The latest report that is drawing criticism stems from 2007, when Williams was interviewed by Emily Fitzmaurice at Fairfield University:

When asked about which stories he had covered that have had the biggest impact on his life, Williams responded:

I’ve been very, very lucky the way my life has turned out. I’ve been very lucky to have survived a few things that I’ve been involved in. At a reception a few minutes ago, I was remembering something I tend to forget: the war with Hezbollah in Israel a few years back, where there were Katyusha rockets passing just underneath the helicopter I was riding in. A few years before that, we go back to Iraq, and I look down the tube of an RPG that had been fired at us, and it hit the chopper in front of ours.

While he did mention that he had covered the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, the 2007 interview was the first time Williams mentioned Katyusha rockets “passing just underneath” the helicopter he was riding in.

In an article for NBC News that was published just days after the incident occurred in 2006, Williams wrote that he was “in a Blackhawk helicopter at 1,500 feet,” and that he did witness a rocket launch, but it was “from a distance of six miles.

Williams’ comments from the 2007 interview about looking “down the tube” of the RPG that had been fired at the helicopter in front of the one he was in also raised questions. His report on the helicopter that was grounded by RPG fire in 2003, changed in 2013, during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman when Williams claimed he was on board the helicopter that was hit.

Williams repeated the same claim during a broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Jan 30. Following backlash from soldiers who were on board the helicopter, Williams issued a public apology on Wednesday, and claimed that he had “misremembered” the exact details of which helicopter he was on.

Questions have also been raised over Williams’ coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While the reports originally won him a Peabody Award, speculation has been raised by citizens of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Advocate reported that the claim Williams made of watching a dead body “float by face down” from his hotel room window in the French Quarter is not possible, due to the fact that the French Quarter is the “original high ground of New Orleans,” and “was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.”

The Washington Post noted that another story Williams “likes to tell,” which he emphasized during an interview with Tom Brokaw, but has “never reported” to his viewers, is the story of the time he was “overrun” by gangs while staying at a Ritz-Carlton during Hurricane Katrina.

On Friday, NBC News announced that it will be conducting an internal investigation regarding Williams’ reporting in Iraq. The network released a statement from Williams’ on Saturday announcing that he has decided to take a leave of absence for “the next several days” and that NBC News anchor Lester Holt will take his place.

On Sunday, NBC announced that Williams has cancelled another appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, which was scheduled for Thursday.

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay

SCANDAL: Brian Williams Now Accused of Lying About Seeing “A Dead Body” During Katrina

Following NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ revelation that he had lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, his credibility as a journalist has been called into question, and there is now speculation regarding his reporting during Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Advocate reported that once Williams admitted to lying about his Iraq story, there was an “online feeding frenzy,” which turned the focus to his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

In 2006, during an interview with Michael Eisner, Williams discussed the time he spent  on the ground, covering Hurricane Katrina. He claimed that he had watched a man “float by face down” from his hotel room window in the French Quarter:

When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country.”

However, the New Orleans Advocate noted that the French Quarter is the “original high ground of New Orleans,” and “was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.”

During a 2014 interview with Tom Brokaw, Williams claimed that while he was covering Hurricane Katrina, he “accidentally ingested some of the floodwater” and “became very sick with dysentery.”

Dr. Brobson Lutz, a former city health director who was on the street manning an EMS trailer in the French Quarter, told the New Orleans Advocate that the area was “never wet” and that as for dysentery, he didn’t recall a “single, solitary case of gastroenteritis during Katrina or in the whole month afterward.”

While Williams has yet to comment on the accusations related to Hurricane Katrina, he did issue a public apology on Wednesday for claiming he was on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In his apology, William claimed that while he wasn’t on the Chinook that was hit, he was on one of the helicopters in the same formation. However, crewmembers on board the helicopter that was grounded by RPG fire claim Williams arrived at the scene an hour after the helicopter made its emergency landing, and then left shortly after, according to a report from Stars and Stripes.

In his 2003 report of the incident, Williams said, “On the ground we learned the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky” by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), which “punched cleanly through the skin of the ship,” but did not explode.

In 2008, Williams retold the story in a blog post, stating once again that the Chinook helicopter flying in front of his “took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”

However, Williams’ story changed in 2013 when he gave an account of the incident on an episode of Late Night with David Letterman. “Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in,” Williams said.

Although Williams’ 2013 version of the story was false, he did not correct it, and went on to repeat the same lie during a broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Friday, claiming that the helicopter he was flying in was “forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

On Saturday, Lance Reynolds, one of the soldiers on board the Chinook helicopter that was hit, addressed Williams in a Facebook comment, saying that while he didn’t remember Williams being on the helicopter, he did remember the NBC team leaving the scene and flying to Kuwait to report their “war story” for the Nightly News, all while the crew from the grounded flight was “stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft.”

Williams replied to the comment, saying that Reynolds, along with several others who had called Williams out on the inaccurate report, were right, and that he “felt terrible about making this mistake.” Williams wrote that he “was in fact on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.”

On Wednesday, Williams issued a public apology on the Nightly News, claiming that he had made a mistake. 

“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago and it did not take long to hear from some of the brave men and women in the air crew who were also in that desert,” said Williams. “I want to apologize, I said I wasn’t traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in the following aircraft. We all landed after the ground fire.”

While Williams claimed that he was riding in the helicopter “following” the Chinook that was hit by RPG fire, he made it sound as if his helicopter landed shortly after.

In contrast, those who were actually on board the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit told Stars and Stripes that Williams was “nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire.” Instead, the crewmembers claimed Williams “arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing.”

Stars and Stripes reported that Williams and his NBC news team only stayed on the scene for “about 10 minutes,” before they left “to see the Army armored units that had been guarding the nearby Forward Operating Base Rams.”

On Thursday, Ben Swann addressed the story on RT America’s newscast, and he pointed out that while the crew members’ stories have not been verified, if they do turn out to be true, it will mean that not only was Williams’ story untrue, “the 2003 story that aired on NBC News is untrue as well.”

Swann was joined by RT Producer Tyrel Ventura to discuss the potential impact of the crewmembers’ claims being true and NBC News providing a false report. Watch the full video below:

Feb 8, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams Announces Hiatus as NBC News Launches Internal Investigation

Feb. 9, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay

Brian Williams Admits Lying for 12 Years About Iraq War Story

On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted that his story about being on board a helicopter that was hit by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was false.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams brought up the original story on Friday, in a video it posted on Facebook. In this video, Williams claimed that in 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, a helicopter he was traveling in was shot down by an RPG.

Williams said that he and his NBC team were “rescued, surrounded and kept alive” by an armored, mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry. One of the men who Williams attributed with protecting his safety, retired Command Sgt. Major Tim Terpak, was reunited with Williams during a New York Rangers hockey game. Their reunion was featured in the video.

The post received nearly 75,000 likes, over 45,000 shares, and over 2,500 comments. While many of the comments said things such as “made me cry,” and “class act Brian Williams,” there was one particular comment that received a response from Williams.

On Saturday, the flight engineer, Lance Reynolds, left a comment on the video, saying that while he didn’t remember Williams being on the aircraft, he did remember the NBC team leaving the scene and flying to Kuwait to report their “war story” for the Nightly News, all while the crew from the grounded flight was “stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft” and pulling their own Security:

Lance Reynolds Comment

Williams replied to Reynolds’ comment on Wednesday, admitting that he was actually  “on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp,” and calling the false report a mistake:

Brian Williams Comment

Reynolds told Stars and Stripes that he spoke up in the comments section, in order to preserve his account of the event.

It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it,” said Reynolds. “It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.”

After originally reporting the story in 2003, Williams mentioned it again in 2008, when he wrote a blog post for NBC News:

We came under fire by what appeared to be Iraqi farmers with RPG’s and AK-47’s,” wrote Williams. “The Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”

Williams then referenced the story in 2013, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. This time, while he changed his story by stating that only two of the four helicopters were hit by ground fire, he reiterated that he was aboard one of the helicopters that was hit:

Feb. 6, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams Now Accused of Lying About Seeing “A Dead Body” During Katrina

Feb 8, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams Announces Hiatus as NBC News Launches Internal Investigation

Feb. 9, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay


Exclusive: Jesse Ventura Says American Sniper “Falls Short in Honor Department”

Washington D.C.- “One must not be a liar to have honor, which means that Navy SEAL Chris Kyle falls short on the honor department,” said former Minnesota Governor and SEAL Jesse Ventura in an exclusive interview with Ben Swann.

Swann talked to Ventura about the stunning success of the movie American Sniper, which has taken in over $200 million dollars in its first two weeks.

In an interview focusing on the controversy surrounding the movie “American Sniper,” Ventura explained why he felt he needed to sue over Chris Kyle’s claim that he punched out the former Governor and why after winning that suit, he is now suing again. Ventura is now suing the publisher Harper Collins for enriching themselves off the story for which a federal judge said there was “substantial evidence” was fabricated.

Former Bush Official: CIA Torture Program Produced False Information to Justify the Invasion of Iraq

Following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency on terror suspects after September 11, 2001, the reason given for the use of practices such as waterboarding, rectal feeding, and sleep deprivation, was that the CIA was in search of information that would secure the nation’s defense against any post-9/11 attacks.

With the emphasis on preventing another 9/11-style attack on the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney stated that while he wouldn’t call the methods used by the CIA “torture,” he would say that they had worked, and that he would “do it again in a minute.”

While President Barack Obama admitted that the United States had “tortured some folks,” and that “some terrible mistakes were made,” he defended the Bush administration, stating that it acted in self-dense, and that there were “a lot of people who did a lot of things right and worked very hard to keep us safe.

On Tuesday, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, revealed that there were other motives behind the torture program, and that the U.S. government used it to gather information from hostages to build false information, and to link al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein, in order to justify the invasion of Iraq.

One of the main cases presented on why the United State should invade Iraq, stemmed from a speech Powell gave to the United Nations in February 2003. In that speech, Powell used the testimony of Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, a hostage who was sent by the U.S. to a prison in Egypt.

Libi asserted that Iraq gave chemical and biological weapons to al-Qaeda, which fueled the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. However, Libi later recanted the statement, claiming that he had been tortured, and had “only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear.

Wilkerson helped Powell prepare his speech for the UN, and he told Democracy Now that the choice to include Libi’s statement in the speech was the most “seminal moment” in his memory of the time he spent at CIA headquarters.

Wilkerson detailed a confrontation with Powell, in which Powell lectured Wilkerson on how “he was dissatisfied with and very unhappy with the portions in his presentation that dealt with terrorism, particularly the connections with Baghdad and al-Qaeda.” Wilkerson said that he felt the same way, and that he and Powell agreed to remove that section of the presentation.

However, Wilkerson said that shortly after the confrontation, CIA Director George Tenet “laid a bombshell on the table.

He essentially said: ‘We have learned from the interrogation of a high-level al-Qaeda operative that not only were there substantial contacts between al-Qaeda and Baghdad, that those contacts included Baghdad Mukhabarat, secret police, Saddam’s special people, training al-Qaeda operatives in how to use chemical and biological weapons.'”

Following Tenet’s statement, Wilkerson said Powell turned to him and told him to put the portion on terrorism back into the presentation. Wilkerson went on to say that while he did “take some of the stuff out,” he did so with George Tenet’s counterterrorism czar standing behind him, trying to prevent him from removing parts of the presentation.

People were trying to get that portion back into the presentation,” said Wilkerson. “But the damage was done. The secretary, as you know, presented the information as if there were substantial contacts.”

Wilkerson said that after the “Abu Ghraib incident was made public,” Powell instructed him to look into how the U.S. had gotten to that point. During his investigation, Wilkerson discovered that the CIA’s torture program had been used for more than just ensuring the prevention of another 9/11-style attack:

I learned that there was, as early as April-May 2002, efforts to use enhanced interrogation techniques, also to build a legal regime under which they could be conducted, and that those efforts were as much aimed at al-Qaeda and contacts between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, and corroboration thereof, as they were trying to ferret out whether or not there was another attack coming, like 9/11.

Dr. Ron Paul’s ‘What If’ Speech Still Rings True

Many have already seen or listened to Congressman Ron Paul’s famous “What If?” speech. Paul gave this speech back in 2009, and now five years later President Obama has announced sending more troops to Iraq yet again, even though Obama has claimed this mission “will not involve combat troops on foreign soil”. Despite that claim Paul’s foreshadowing, including “What if Obama has no intention of leaving Iraq?” is worth remembering in light of an uncertain future as the United States continues to involve itself in the Middle East:

“Madame Speaker, I have a few questions for my colleagues.

What if our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and has not served our national security interests?

What if we wake up one day and realize that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in the affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?

What if propping up oppressive regimes in the Middle East endangers both the United States and Israel? What if occupying countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing Pakistan is directly related to the hatred directed toward us?

What if some day it dawns on us that losing over 5,000 American military personnel in the Middle East since 9/11 is not a fair trade off for the loss of nearly 3,000 American citizens no matter how many Iraqi, Pakistani, or Afghan people are killed or displaced?

What if we finally decide that torture even if called “enhanced interrogation technique” is self destructive and produces no useful information and that contracting it out to a third world nation is just as evil?

What if it is finally realized that war and military spending is always destructive to the economy? What if all war time spending is paid for through the deceitful and evil process of inflating and borrowing?

What if we finally see that war time conditions always undermine personal liberty? What if conservatives who preach small government wake up and realize that our interventionist foreign policy provides the greatest incentive to expand the government? What if conservatives understood once again that their only logical position is to reject military intervention and managing an empire throughout the world?

What if the American people woke up and understood that the official reasons for going to war are almost always based on lies and promoted by war propaganda in order to serve special interests? What if we as a nation came to realize that the quest for empire eventually destroys all great nations?

What if Obama has no intention of leaving Iraq?

What if a military draft is being planned for, for the wars that will spread if our foreign policy is not changed?

What if the American people learn the truth that our foreign policy has nothing to do with national security and that it never changes from one administration to the next?

What if war and preparation for war is a racket serving the special interests? What if president Obama is completely wrong about Afghanistan and it turns out worse than Iraq and Vietnam – put together?

What if Christianity actually teaches peace and not preventive wars of aggression?

What if diplomacy is found to be superior to bombs and bribes in protecting America? What happens if my concerns are completely unfounded? Nothing. But what happens if my concerns are justified and ignored? Nothing good.”

~ U.S. congressman Ron Paul before the United States House of Representatives (2/12/2009)

Rand Paul to Hannity: “…we’ve been funding Islamic rebels who kill Christians…”

On Sean Hannity’s show, Hannity tried one more time to get Sen. Rand Paul to blame President Barack Obama on the failed policies in Iraq.

But Paul didn’t fall for Hannity’s partisan rhetoric and Dick Cheney talking points.

Paul told Hannity that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki deserved a lot of the blame. “We shouldn’t always say that it is just our fault, or any one person’s fault over here. For example, the person most culpable in all of this is Maliki. He he kicked the Sunnis out of his army … so really Maliki deserves a lot of blame,” Paul said.

On of the most striking comments that Paul said – a comment that Americans do not hear enough from a sitting U.S. Senator – is the truth regarding the funding of Islamic terrorists.

Paul told Hannity, “One of the reason’s they’re (ISIS – Islamic terrorists) stronger is that we have been allied with them in Syria. We’ve been funding Islamic rebels who kill Christians. We’d be funding Islamic rebels to fight against Iranian proxies in Syria, but now, on the other side of the world, we’d be siding with the Iranian Guard. If we actually put troops in there we’d be siding with the Iranian Guard.”

Paul added, “If the Shi’ites won’t fight for Mosul, I’m not willing to send my son and I feel strongly about that.”


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Flashback: Video shows Rand Paul accusing Dick Cheney of going to war to benefit Halliburton


Senator Rand Paul and former Vice President Dick Cheney have been sparring on multiple TV appearances for a few weeks now.

According to the AP, President Barack Obama says he’s sending about 200 more U.S. troops to Iraq to protect Americans and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. That makes a total of 800 troops on the ground in Iraq.

The Republican war hawks are trying hard to convince President Obama to go to war in Iraq and Syria. But there is one problem. They have to combat libertarian Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul who seeks a peaceful solution in the Middle East.

But apparently Paul has been calling out neocons like Dick Cheney for years.

In a 2009 video, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told students at Western Kentucky University that former Vice President Dick Cheney had plunged the U.S. into the Iraq War so as to benefit Halliburton, of which he had been CEO.

In the video Paul said, “There’s a great YouTube of Dick Cheney in 1995 defending [President] Bush Number One [and the decision not to invade Baghdad in the first Gulf war], and he goes on for about five minutes. He’s being interviewed, I think, by the American Enterprise Institute, and and he says it would be a disaster, it would be vastly expensive, it’d be civil war, we would have no exit strategy. He goes on and on for five minutes. Dick Cheney saying it would be a bad idea. And that’s why the first Bush didn’t go into Baghdad. Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he’s back in government and it’s a good idea to go into Iraq.”

Watch the video below:

There is no doubt there is history behind the recent spats between Paul and Cheney.

But the battle between Paul and Cheney is really emblematic of the current ideological war within the GOP itself regarding foreign policy.

When asked to comment on Rand Paul’s Presidential aspirations, Cheney simply told the DailyCaller, “Isolationism doesn’t work as a philosophy for defending the nation.”

Cheney added, “Isolationism, I think, is a flawed concept. My disagreement with Rand Paul isn’t personal. It’s on substance. I just think he’s wrong.”

Paul is mulling over a 2016 Presidential bid, but it appears that Paul is not backing down from fighting the wars hawks and neocon wing of the GOP.

It appears that Paul is trying to save the soul of the Republican Party and wants to change America’s war culture to a peaceful culture based on his core beliefs.

Paul explained his view of the “Just War Theory” during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“I think you need to remember that [Jesus] was the ‘Prince of Peace’… blessed are the peacemakers not blessed are the war makers,” said Paul.


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Shep Smith Blasts State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf for giving him Snarky Smile


When State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said “Special operators are on the ground today, they know how to fight terrorists…” in an interview with FoxNews, the host Shep Smith was outraged. 

“Did you just say special operators are on the ground to attack ISIL? Because that’s the biggest fear, that’s exactly what the fear is — that these special operators, these ‘advisers’ are going to turn out to be advisers just like they were in Vietnam,” Smith said. 

When Harf gave Smith a snarky smile he scolded her saying, “Well, you can smile about it all you want, but that’s the fear. You’re the one that said they are ready to fight ISIL, I hope that’s not the case.”


Watch the exchange below:




Michael Reagan: Conservatives Share Blame for Chaos in Iraq

After the US spent untold billions of dollars and lost thousands of American lives in a failed attempt to remake Iraq into some type of secular Jeffersonian-style democratic republic, the Persian Gulf nation has slipped into a full-blown civil war. Some experts are suggesting that Iraq might even split into three separate countries. With the Sunni rebel group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria having seized control of huge sections of the nation and neighboring Syria, Iraq’s US-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is swiftly losing credibility as a leader.

Iraq War veterans have been forced to watch their efforts unwind on television, after many lost friends securing since-fallen areas like Mosul and Fallujah and spent significant time training Iraqi forces that would later drop their weapons and run in the face of conflict. Understandably, a broad debate has emerged over what went wrong, with neoconservatives blaming Obama for pulling out of Iraq, despite the fact that he did so according to the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement signed by former Republican President George W. Bush. On the other hand, US Senator Rand Paul pointed the finger at neoconservatives like Dick Cheney, expressing that, had we followed the foreign policy of former President Ronald Reagan, the nation never would have gotten itself involved in the quagmire in Iraq in the first place.

Michael Reagan, the adopted son of former President Ronald Reagan, seems to agree with Rand Paul’s point of view. In March of this year, when Rand Paul penned an op-ed for Breitbart called “Stop Warping Reagan’s Foreign Policy,” Michael Reagan tweeted a link to the article with the added comment, “Rand Paul gets it.” This week, the son of the Republican Party’s favorite President went even further in an opinion piece for the Albany Herald, apologizing for his own support of the War in Iraq.

Said Reagan, confessing early concerns about the sensibility of the Iraq War, “I had serious doubts about the United States going to war in Iraq in 2003. But I joined the bipartisan parade and supported the commander in chief. I figured George W. Bush knew more than I did about the situation in the Middle East. I also figured he had lots of good reasons to go to war and assumed his administration knew what it was going to do after our easy military victory.” However, he was skeptical of the need for a full-blown invasion if the rationale was to stop Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction. “If the whole idea of going to Iraq simply was to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his invisible weapons of mass destruction, we should have just sent some Special Forces guys in to do the job in the middle of the night.”

Though Reagan indicated that President Obama bears responsibility for the disaster in Iraq, he penned tough words for his ideological allies who also supported the original push for war, “But we conservatives have to take a lot of the blame too. It was us who supported going to war in Iraq in the first place, even though Bush 43 didn’t have an entrance strategy or an exit strategy.”

After so many American families lost loved ones in a war that seems now to have served little purpose, Michael Reagan humbly offered an apology for his own support of the invasion and occupation, “As a conservative who supported the war in Iraq and my president, I apologize to all of the families of those killed or wounded in Iraq. Going to war in Iraq seemed so right at the time. But I didn’t think it through and neither did Washington. Next time, I promise I’ll know better.”

Megyn Kelly Confronts Dick Cheney: “History Has Proven That You Got It Wrong” About Iraq

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show The Kelly File on Wednesday to discuss their launch of a new organization, The Alliance for a Strong America, aimed at “preserving freedom and restoring American strength and power in the wake of the Obama administration’s national security failures.”

The father-daughter duo also were on the show to discuss an op-ed they had written for the Wall Street Journal titled “The Collapsing Obama Doctrine“. The piece was critical of Obama’s handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and implied that Obama’s foreign policy has played a part in leading to the current crisis in Iraq. “He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America,” wrote Cheney.

“Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is “ending” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality.”

Cheney’s op-ed spurred a response from Paul Waldman, who wrote a rebuttal for The Washington Post. Kelly read an excerpt on air for Cheney: “There is not a single person in America…who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney. And now, as the cascade of misery and death and chaos he did so much to unleash rages anew, Cheney has the unadulterated gall to come before the country and tell us that it’s all someone else’s fault.” 

Kelly then asked, “The suggestion then is that you caused this mess, Mr. Vice President, what say you?” Once again, Cheney boldly defended going into Iraq and made the same criticisms about Obama’s decisions regarding Iraq.

It was after Cheney’s repetitive defense of the Iraq war that Kelly went on to challenge him concerning statements he has made in the past: “But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in its last throes back in 2005, and you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to quote ‘rethink their strategy of jihad.’ Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

“No, I just fundamentally disagree with you,” Cheney replied.

Kelly’s confrontation ended with that question, but it’s come as a surprise to many that Kelly briefly scrapped with Cheney in an unlikely outlet.

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Kucinich: Stop Calling Iraq War a “Mistake”

The current state of affairs in Iraq is drawing the attention of many, including politicians like Dennis Kucinich, who served as a member of the United States Congress from 1997 to 2013. Kucinich expressed his frustration with current American sentiments about the Iraq War in an editorial for The Huffington Post.

Kucinich claimed that both media commentators and politicians had settled upon deeming the war a mistake. He said that by calling it a mistake, “it minimizes the Iraq War’s disastrous consequences, removes blame, and deprives Americans of any chance to learn from our generation’s foreign policy disaster.”

According to Kucinich, the American people were lied to, and the truth, although widely available, was ignored. He wrote, “Millions of people who marched in America in protest of the war knew the truth, but were maligned by members of both parties for opposing the president in a time of war.” Kucinich went on to write that the war was not about liberating the Iraqi people, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, and there were no weapons of mass destruction.

In 2008, when Barack Obama became the President of the United States, he declared that his administration would not investigate the Iraq War. “Essentially, he suspended public debate about the war,” said Kucinich. “That may have felt good in the short term for those who wanted to move on, but when you’re talking about a war initiated through lies, bygones can’t be bygones.”

Kucinich wrote that, in order for the United States to address its true role, President Obama must tell the American people the truth about Iraq and the false scenario that caused the United States to go to war. “President Obama didn’t start the Iraq War, but he has the opportunity now to tell the truth,” said Kucinich. “That we were wrong to go in. That the cause of war was unjust. That more problems were created by military intervention than solved. That the present violence and chaos in Iraq derives from the decision which took America to war in 2003.”

According to Kucinich, journalists and media commentators also needed to address their true role in forming the lie the American public believes about the war in Iraq. He said they should “stop giving inordinate air and print time to people who were either utterly wrong in their support of the war or willful in their calculations to make war.” Kucinich blamed the media for fanning the flames of war, due to the fact that they did not give “adequate coverage to the arguments against military intervention.”

The unwillingness to confront the truth about the Iraq War has induced a form of amnesia which is hazardous to our nation’s health,” Kucinich explained. “Willful forgetting doesn’t heal, it opens the door to more lying. As today’s debate ensues about new potential military “solutions” to stem violence in Iraq, let’s remember how and why we intervened in Iraq in 2003.”