February 22, 2013
The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 19 March 2003 to 1 May 2003. Eight years, eight months and 26 days later, on 15 December 2011, finally U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially declared the Iraq War over, at a flag lowering ceremony in Baghdad. March of 2013 brings us to the 10th anniversary of the war against Iraq. The question is: are we able to see clearly the effects of the Iraq War 10 years later and learn from it?
But even that considerably smaller figure of $4-$5 billion is still much less than it would have cost the Bush administration to simply pay attention to the flood of warnings pouring into Washington from foreign intelligence agencies, our own CIA, and from FBI field operatives during the spring and summer that preceded the 9/11 attacks, and preventively order commercial airline cockpit doors to be locked in flight, just as the Israelis had been doing for the previous 30 years.
Such a step, appropriate in light of the circumstances would have saved the lives of the nearly 3,000 killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. A serious investigation into the 9/11 tragedy was prevented by the terms of the Bush administration’s Victim’s Compensation Fund, which used US taxpayer money to pay an average of about $1.8 million to each of the 9/11 victim families willing to sign an agreement not to sue and thus force disclosure of the extensive negligence and security breaches that led up to the tragic events.
So, what did the paths taken towards invading Iraq instead accomplish? Ten years later, the Taliban has been returning to Afghanistan; they never were a threat to the US anyway, having several times attempted to turn Osama bin Laden over to the US. George W. Bush. Yet, our government managed to turn 2 wars over to al-Qaeda, instead of just the one it had been trying to provoke since 1996 with the purpose of draining the US economy. This greatly helped the terrorist organization accelerate the realization of its loudly stated goal of harming the US financially.
What was the result of all this over-the-top spending? It took 10 years and a Democratic administration to take care of bin Laden after Bush blew the opportunity in Tora Bora in December 2001. Iraq still has a strongman government; only now the current version is Shia instead of Sunni developing an ‘Axis of Evil’ alliance with Iran and contracting to sell most of their oil to China instead.
All these non-accomplishments of the Bush administration came at the cost of nearly 7,000 US dead in both the Iraq war starting 2003 and the Afghan war. As many as one-third of returning Afghan-Iraq vets are showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the number of suicides among these returning vets is becoming higher than the rate of combat deaths. The cost to Afghanistan and Iraq is somewhere between 200,000 and 1,000,000 dead civilians. The conflicts created 3,000,000 orphans and rapidly rising birth defect rates, a stunning and life-long witness of the failure to ‘win their hearts and minds’. 
As the Vice-President of Iraq asked, rhetorically, in the opening days of the 2003 Iraq War, ‘What is George Bush trying to do, create an entire generation of terrorists?’ As Edward R. Murrow once observed, “The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer”.
Incredibly oblivious to the above mentioned facts, there are still those that want to maintain Bush kept us safe from terrorism.
What planet have these seceded to – Delusionus?
Well, as a result of the Iraq war of 2003-2011 and its mismanagement a lot of people in the 6 counties surrounding Washington D.C. got rich beneficiaries during the Bush administration years, one of the most corrupt administrations in US history.
George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq War demonstrates much of what is wrong with aggressive neo-conservative foreign policies. Its lessons are made most clear within the perspectives of the philosophers of War – particularly Sun Tzu and America’s own Colonel John Boyd – who provide sharp understanding to the Bush administration’s unfortunate choices. As Dr. Andrew Krepinevich of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments noted on our ‘War on Terror’, “Being on the wrong side of cost imposition is not a characteristic of strategic competence”. Staying on the wrong side has even higher costs.
These lessons must be learned, for if we fail to do so, it is likely our $1.2 trillion/year military will become increasingly vulnerable to the asymmetric defenses of local hegemons, such as Iran, with its 0.015 trillion/year in military expenses, or China, our nearest military competitor. China with its $0.14 trillion/year defense budget is choosing to put most of its money into developing its economy instead, and plans to deal with our aggressive $6 billion super carriers using relatively inexpensive anti-ship ballistic missiles!
Those who continue to advance the unnecessary and ineffective case for big government militarism as the answer to every problem are keeping us on the wrong side of strategic competence.
Combine this position with our increasingly hollowed out economy – ‘free trade’ they call it, having no historical memory that the same thing doomed the British Empire a hundred years ago – and the replay of another Iraq-type Middle-Eastern scenario (such as Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper’s demonstrated during Operation Millennium Challenge) is the sort of thing that brings down a great power. , , 
With more than 600 references, the book “Iraq War 2003: What Really Happened Behind the Political Scenes” by Charles Edmund Coyote provides an thorough analysis of the political atmosphere that led to the Iraq war of 2003 and its effects on the decline of the American economy.
 4.5 Million Orphans in Iraq: Protests Over Food and Shelter, Global Research TV, 22 February 2011; http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2011/02/45-million-orphans-iraq-protests-over-food-and-shelter
 THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREAT POWERS, Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000, BY PAUL KENNEDY, pp178-228, Vintage Books, New York, Copyright © 1987 by Paul Kennedy
 War games rigged? General says Millennium Challenge 02 ‘was almost entirely scripted’, By Sean D. Naylor, ArmyTimes, 16 August 2002; http://www.armytimes.com/legacy/new/0-292925-1060102.php
 Wake-up call, Julian Borger, the Guardian, 5 September 2002; http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/sep/06/usa.iraq
The title of the book tells a lot about its content: Osama bin Laden and his escape in Tora Bora; neoconservative philosophy of the Bush administration; the project of the New American Century; reasons of the Iraq war; facts about the Iraq war & the Bush administration most do not know; analysis of the long term cost of both wars; its effects on the American economy and recession; casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and US troops; history background of the first Iraq war, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, etc.
June 16, 2009
On the Nature & Philosophy of Financial Instability and Application to the Current Financial Crisis Part IV
Role and Purpose of Taxpayer Bank Hard Asset Managers
By Julian Sanchez, PhD
The Hard Asset Manager:
Hard assets must be treated differently since they affect supply and demand in a given local market. If you release these assets too quickly, you can accentuate the problem making it worse for the banks. The Hard Asset Manager must work with suppliers for controlled release of assets. In the case of houses, the major suppliers are the homebui lders. The Hard Asset Manager should work with homebuilders to establish a release program so that both the government and the homebuilders can establish the supply each are contributing to the market. The Hard Asset Manager has a dual role, to maximize the return for the taxpayer and to stabilize home prices. The number of homes in many markets can reach a critical mass, resulting in a downward spiral of home prices. If the downward spiral is not stopped, it will jeopardize the stability of banks and their capital structure, which will reinforce the slide in home prices. Therefore, the Hard Asset Manger should not only seek returns for the taxpayer but also balance this with stability of the markets by:
1. Writing down the loan and interest for viable homeowners. They should lower the mortgage and interest sufficiently so that the homeowner can contribute to the local economy, continue paying their taxes, and reduce the inventory of government homes. The key to a successful loan modification program is to ensure negative equity is eliminated2. Without eliminating20negative equity there is a high probability the loan will default again and the deflationary spiral continue. The details of how to implement such a plan with the ability of the government to recover its investment is discussed by Jack Guttentag3. Once these loans have been fixed, they can be added to the loan portfolios of banks that have been nationalized and repaired and the government can then sell stakes in these banks back to the public. These loans can be traded to MBS portfolios to unwind and repair bad loan portfolios. The government can also hold them to maturity to recover their investment and stabilize the housing market, attracting both foreign and out of state investors with government incentives. This is important in the hard hit states of FL, CA, AZ, NV, OH, and MI. Most of these states have high population growth, which can be used to reduce the government’s inventory of homes. These high growth states will eventually absorb the homes with a high probability the government will earn a significant profit.
2. Renting homes by first filling government sponsored rental programs such as Section 8, then going to out-of-state investors and finally the public in the local market. The government’s need to manage these assets can be done though capable asset/property management companies. These asset/property manager companies will hire maintenance, management and service personnel to maintain the inventory of government owned property, which will increase employment in areas hardest hit.
3. Selling mobile assets, such as autos, in a controlled release to the local market or in other states or foreign markets where demand exists. Prudence should be used when releasing these assets into the local market since it would be unwise to disrupt local supply/demand structure.
4. Moving assets to viable sub-divisions or other locations to restore balance.
5. In the extreme, bulldozing down the sub-division, as was done in the Houston market followin g the oil market collapse, and recycling the material.
6. Contemplating new ideas to restore equilibrium to local markets.
May 20, 2009
On the Nature & Philosophy of Financial Instability and Application to the Current Financial Crisis Part III
The Pros and Cons of a Taxpayer Bank
By Julian Sanchez, PhD
The most attractive time for the taxpayer bank to purchase loans is when there is a significant drop in the price of the bank stock. In the case of National City Corp., (whose purchase by PNC Financial Services in late 2008 for about $5.2 billion in stock was supported by U.S. Treasury funds), the returns were as high as 1650% for the capital injected by the taxpayer bank. In a certain sense the taxpayer bank acts as a counterweight since the investment becomes more attractive the greater the fear in the market as the stock price of the bank becomes more depressed. This will place a floor on the stock price of the troubled bank when it needs it the most. Hence, the taxpayer bank will stabilize the financial system in much the same way as a counterweight causing a building to stabilize in a high wind. That is, the taxpayer bank incentive increases as the market spirals further downward (depressing the stock price). The increased likelihood of the taxpayer bank to invest in a downward spiral will cause investors not to panic and force the shorts (attempts to profit from an expected decline in price) to be more cautious, therefore stabilizing the market.
One main argument against forming a taxpayer bank is the implications concerning morale hazard. In essence, the concern is that a government bank acting as a backstop would encourage reckless lending by the rescued bank in order to secure short-term profits at the expense of its shareholders and customers. In general, this is a true statement; however, one can engineer the system such that this risk is eliminated as will be discussed later in this paper.
The taxpayer bank should be organized into two main groups. One group, referred to as the Hard Asset Manager, will manage financial instruments that have physical assets tied to them. This includes but is not limited to residential and commercial real estate, autos, etc. The second group, called the Soft Asset Manager, will manage financial instruments such as Credit Card Debt, MBSs (Mortgage Backed Securities), CDOs (Investment securities backed by bonds, loans, and other asset pools), SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles that borrow money by issuing short-term securities at low interest and lend money by means of long-term securities that pay higher interest), etc., which might not involve the disposition of assets. In the next installment, we will discuss the role and purpose of each of these asset managers.
April 11, 2009
On the Nature & Philosophy of Financial Instability and Application to the Current Financial Crisis Part II
By Julian Sanchez, PhD
Part II. General Approach to Solution
Figure 2.1 illustrates a simplistic view of a given market. The taxpayer bank is a government formed entity that purchases the assets from weak financial institutions and manages them for the benefit of the taxpayer and for stabilizing the local market. Since the taxpayer bank will earn a profit (G-1) for every dollar invested1, it can use these funds to stimulate the economy.
First it can send the taxpayer a check as a return on investment thereby creating its own stimulus package. Second the taxpayer bank can work with the states to fund infrastructure projects, which are desperately needed and can increase jobs in the area.
Next the taxpayer bank can also guarantee a larger amount of Small Business Loans, focusing on those companies that will generate the largest amount of job growth and benefit the economy the most. Once banks are re-capitalized they can start to lend to both the public and businesses. This will stop the slide in job losses and improve the credit markets. The taxpayer bank also has to carefully manage assets so as not to accentuate a further slide in asset prices. We will now discuss the taxpayer bank in more detail.
The taxpayer bank can be viewed as the buyer of last resort. In essence this bank will purchase loans at the originated face value for the discounted assets and the difference received in equity. The equations governing the returns for both the government and the shareholders are defined in “Analysis and Solution to the Current Financial Crisis” 1. The taxpayer bank acts in a certain sense as a counterweight to the financial system.
In a systemic failure, banks start experiencing large losses causing their stock prices to collapse. As their stock price collapses other banks stop lending to them and each other. Capital becomes constrained. Asset values decline since there are fewer buyers. Banks stop lending to each other and to their customers reducing the opportunity for new earnings, which depresses the stock price even more.
As asset values decline further, bank stock prices fall even more restricting their ability to raise capital in an effort to slow down or reverse this trend. As the stock price of more banks collapse, more assets are dumped onto the market causing a further spiraling downward of asset prices, leading to other bank failures.
“Analysis and Solution to the Current Financial Crisis” Public Domain Oct 3, 2008.
March 18, 2009
On the Nature & Philosophy of Financial Instability and Application to the Current Financial Crisis Part I
By Julian Sanchez, PhD
Very large systems operating in their normal range exhibit quasi-linear relationships between input and output that can be used to predict output behavior. However, when the system becomes destabilized, the dynamics change so that the relationship between output and input is non-linear. Making matters worse is the fact that these non-linear relationships between output and input become a function of time. The time varying non-linear nature of the system implies that injections into the system cannot be predicted and can produce large perturbations resulting in unintended consequences which are even more difficult to control. These perturbations are even more troubling since the entire system becomes unstable and not well understood. Altering the system in an effort to fix the problem usually results in new perturbations of the system. The probability increases that these quasi-random perturbations will synchronize triggering a cataclysmic failure resulting in system collapse or that outside disturbances such as environmental disaster, weather related tragedies, war, etc. will cause a weakened system to fail. Therefore, when dealing with a very large out of control multi-dimensional system, the best approach is to preserve the entire system (irrespective of moral hazard). In this paper we will discuss a comprehensive solution to stabilizing and preserving the system along with the philosophies that motivate them.
Can circuit systems teach us how to solve our financial crisis?
The purpose of financial systems is such that a gain is produced for each dollar invested into a given instrument. This gain in nature is similar to gain produced by a circuit that amplifies. However, any circuit that produces gain suffers from instability. The solution to eliminate such instability is to couple the output to input with negative feedback. Without automated negative feedback, the circuit will require excessive manual controls and high quality low tolerance components which are expensive and require constant maintenance to implement the negative feedback. The constant maintenance and excessive manual controls cannot be maintained without human error entering the process and occasionally inducing the collapse of the design. Therefore to produce a more robust design able to operate under a variety of conditions while still maintaining the desired operating conditions with lower quality components, control systems and circuit designers use negative feedback loops to create self correcting circuits able to produce the desired result under a variety of conditions. In this paper we review the overall philosophy of stability in financial systems. This paper provides an overview into guidelines and principles for a comprehensive solution to the current financial crisis. We will discuss the impact of shorting stock, morale hazard and other financial topics that can result in instability of the financial system. Our purpose is to provide a philosophical view with guiding principles for the current financial crisis.
March 16, 2009
The far right is on the march again: the rise of fascism in Austria – BILLY BRIGGS
The Long, Dark Night of Pakistan – FAWZI AFZAL-KHAN
JOKE OF THE DAY:
I was depressed last night
so I called Lifeline…
Got a freakin’ call center in Pakistan.
I told them I was suicidal. They got
all excited and asked if
I could drive a truck.
NATO promises to prepare Georgia to join alliance – Georgia Times
January 26, 2009
On January 19 2009, the Huffington post carried an article on Bush pardoning Osama bin Laden…. Seriously now, the funny thing is that Osama bin Laden has done more for the Bush administration than any potential pardon candidate and would have “deserved” such a pardon from Bush!
Here are some reasons why al-Qaeda and the Bush’s neocons were indeed “useful” to each other:
Charles Edmund Coyote, January 26, 2009:
Before the September 11 attacks, Washington’s neocons waited for a ‘Pearl Harbor’ type event that would give them the opportunity to rouse public support for a war against Iraq and Six other [Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran] “rogue states” they were sure American military power could easily dispatch. The neocon’s Project for the New American Century proposed to remake the oil-rich-Middle-East in America’s image. Vice President Dick Cheney dreamed of restoring the imperial presidency that had been lost in the debacle of Richard Nixon’s Watergate. And George W. Bush had an agenda that was anything but the ‘humble’ foreign policy on which he had run in the 2000 Presidential race.
In 1999, when Texas Governor George Bush was preparing to campaign for the nation’s highest office, he contracted with Houston Sportswriter and Author Mickey Herskowitz to ghost-write his autobiography. It would be called ‘A Charge to Keep’. After 2 months of interviews and work, however, Bush’s team of advisors decided they better get rid of Herskowitz. The gregarious Governor Bush was telling Mickey too much. What’s most interesting about the Mickey Herskowitz saga is that Bush explained to him that if a President attacks a small country and wins an easy war, it is an effective way to increase his popularity with the American people and gain the ‘political capital’ needed to advance his political agenda. Bush and his team had seen Bush’s father, H.W., rise to 90 percent approval ratings over the First Iraq War in 1991, but felt he failed to take advantage of the popularity gained.
As a well-known RAND Corporation study advocated, the most effective way to fight terrorist organizations is through a combination of intelligence operations and police work, using flexible military power when necessary. That, in essence is what the U.S. had done with such success during the opening weeks of its Afghan War. The Bush Administration, however, switched the focus to Iraq, before the job was done in Afghanistan, and, for reasons that remain unclear, badly fumbled the opportunity to eliminate bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri at the Battle of Tora Bora. Disingenuously, the Bush neocons and Cheney imperialists then militarized the ‘War on Terror, formatting it as a perpetual state of “war”, which made it easier to delimit government, expand presidential power, and use American power to attempt to remake the world.
In South Asia, al-Qaeda was also making its plans. During the 1990′s, the people and the governments of Muslim nations from Algeria and Egypt, to Saudi Arabia and the Sudan, had grown tired of the Islamists and were running them out of their countries. In Algeria, Islamic radicals had even taken to eliminating each other over perceptions that many of their own members were “”not Muslim enough”. Bin Laden had been expelled from Saudi Arabia to the Sudan and then back to the caves of Afghanistan. Even in Afghanistan, his friend Mullah Omar, concerned for the well-being of his Taliban government, had ordered bin Laden to stop giving interviews to the western press talking about jihad against Israel and the U.S.A.
Rudyard Kipling once described Afghanistan as the “place where empires go to die”. Bin Laden understood the advantages of taking on superpowers in that region and had done it with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Believing that Israel and its supporter, the United States, were instruments of oppression for the muslin people, he planned for an opportunity to drag the United States into a long and costly war similar to what had helped drag the Soviet Union down twenty years before. One effective, low-cost, guerilla fighter can keep a hundred expensive military personnel busy for a long time. Al Qaeda’s goal, in the September 11 attacks, was to provoke a heavy military response from the Americans, the inevitable cost and clumsiness of which would offend the Muslin world and destabilize the Middle East, thereby increasing oil prices (which had been cheap for decades), damage the American economy, and bring prosperity to the Muslim people.
Bin Laden took the chance that America would strike back at al-Qaeda in a way that would alienate the U.S. from the larger Muslim world. But that did not happen in Afghanistan where the U.S. used only 400 CIA agents and Special Forces (along with a very effective Air Force and suitcases of cash for the Northern Alliance) to tear the Taliban government apart. The Bush administration, however, was not focused on bin-Laden, and used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to attack Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Instead of using available U.S. troops to trap bin Laden, Washington hired Afghan mercenaries who were also taking money from al-Qaeda! During the battle of Tora Bora these local “allies” let many of al Qaeda’s fighters escape, while the nearby U.S. Marines and Special Forces, foreseeing al-Qaeda’s strategic withdrawal to safety, were under orders to do nothing to stop it. Most experts and witnesses claim Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora around December 14, 2001.
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” said George W. Bush on March 13, 2002, six months after September 11.
Bin Laden repaid the favor to George Bush during the 2004 presidential election. Although Bush adviser Karl Rove successfully painted George W’s image as “resolute” and Democrat John Kerry’s as “a weak flip-flopper”, the race for the presidency was still neck-to-neck even a few days before the election. Then, with four days to go, Osama bin Laden released a tape telling the American people “Your security is in your hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked”. According to a CIA analysis, reported in the book, W Got His War, Bin Laden knew that by demanding US withdrawal from the Middle East, Americans would instead fight all the harder and consequently vote for the “resolute” appearing Bush instead of the more nuanced Kerry. Bin Laden wanted Bush to win and continue his clumsy war in Iraq in order to deplete the American economy and continue to harm American relations with the Muslim nations.
The distracting war in Iraq turned out not to be easy ‘cake walk Bush had expected. Sad to say, it became instead a walk into bin Laden’s trap, helping al Qaeda achieve many of its goals. Years ago, bin Laden demanded that the price of oil should be $144 a barrel. By 2008 this had come true, in large part because of the Hubris of President Bush’s clumsy Middle East policies.
Charles Edmund Coyote
January 20, 2009
Our 44th President takes the oath of office. There was a trivial, momentary slip when Chief Justice John Roberts asked Obama to recite the first line of the oath in the incorrect order. Roberts said “execute the office of President of the United States faithfully,” rather than “faithfully executive.” The oath reads: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Obama paused and allowed Roberts to correct himself. Watch it:
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REMARKS OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
January 20, 2009
must be brought to justice.
We compromised with slavery in the Declaration of Independence – and four score and nine years later we had buried 600,000 of our sons and brothers in a Civil War.
After that War’s ending, we compromised with the social restructuring and protection of the rights of minorities in the South. And a century later, we had not only not resolved anything, but black leaders were still being assassinated in the cities of the South.
Bush guilty of torture
More on Bush guilty of torture
January 20, 2009
OBAMA TRANSITIONS TO THE PRESIDENCY
Perhaps we should encourage the Republican Party to seat Chip Saltsman as RNC Chairman. If that once great organization insists on continuing to run itself into the gutter, then let them build a home there – Peter Yarrow’s comment
How many people would want to go through years of a modern President’s daily life – Obama bristles as the bubble closes in