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Iraq Policy/NCLB Policy, With Liberty and Justice for the Privileged Few

Posted: 2008-01-02

This is the opening part of a lengthy document designed to help us think about the devastation our government has brought to people in a distant country and to children and teachers in our own.

George W. Bush: "I am the commander in chief. I am also the educator in chief."
--Wheeling, West Virginia, March 22, 2006

Part I

IRAQ Policy

Weapons of Mass Destruction
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.1
--Dick Cheney
"Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention," August 26, 2002

Weapons of Mass Destruction
The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons.2
-- George Bush
speech in Cincinnati, Oct.7,2002

Weapons of Mass Destruction
If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.3
--Ari Fleischer
The White House, Press Briefing, Dec. 2, 2002

Weapons of Mass Destruction
We know for a fact that there are weapons there..4
--Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, Jan. 9, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction
We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more..5
--Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council, Feb 4, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction
Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations.
--Sen. Hillary Clinton, Feb. 5, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction

We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons..6
--Vice President Dick Cheney
Meet the Press, March 16, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction
We know where they are..7
--Donald Rumsfeld
ABC "This Week," March 30, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction
We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so. 8
--George W. Bush
Remarks to reporters, May 3, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction.9
--Condoleeza Rice, May 12, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on. 10
--Paul Wolfowitz
Interview with Karen DeYoung
Washington Post, May 28, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction
Columnist Charles Krauthammer, reliable unofficial spokesman for the administration’s foreign adventures. . .said of course there were WMDs. Anyone who said otherwise, he wrote, was an antiwar, Saddam-sympathizing leftist. . . .11
--Frank Rich
The Greatest Story Ever Sold:The Decline and Fall of Truth

Double Super Secret Formula
Apparently, the Pentagon has a double super secret formula that it uses to distinguish sectarian killings (bad) from other deaths (not important); according to press reports, all deaths from car bombs are excluded, and one intelligence analyst told The Washington Post that “if a bullet went through the back of the head, it’s sectarian. If it went through the front, it’s criminal.” So the number of dead is down, as long as you only count certain kinds of dead people.12
--Paul Krugman
"Time to Take a Stand"
New York Times, Sept. 7, 2007

A Government That Lies
The issue I have is not whether the war was justified (with or without the presence of WMDs) but whether we are prepared to accept a government that knowingly lies to the people in order that it may do as it pleases.
In the corporate world people caught lying may be charged with fraud or other offences. Why should a government in command of a military be allowed the freedom to deceive the public?13
--Peter Horrocks
Sydney Morning Herald, June 18, 2003

The Defense Science Board
The Defense Science Board was established in 1956 in response to recommendations of the Hoover Commission: "The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Development) will appoint a standing committee, reporting directly to him, of outstanding basic and applied scientists. This committee will canvass periodically the needs and opportunities presented by new scientific knowledge for radically new weapons systems."14

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)had been contracted by the Pentaon to run the Iraqi Media Network (IMN), which would comprise the national television station, a national radio station, and a newspaper printed six times a week. SAIC had no experience running media operations in a post-conflict environment. . .
Nevertheless, the Pentagon offered the Iraqi media contract to SAIC without inviting other firms to bid.15
--Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Who’s In Charge?
American Military personnel stationed in the Republican Palace rarely had a kind word to say about the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The soldiers, many of whom were majors and colonels, had been in uniform for more than two decades and resented being ordered around by CPA staffers in their twenties. The soldiers. . . knew a thing or two about post-conflict nation building. But to the CPA/s young turks, the soldiers were drivers, guards, and errand boys. The civilians made policy; the soldiers implemented it. . . .

The acronym CPA, [the soldiers] joked, stood for Can’t Produce Anything.16
--Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Secret police and state terrorist agencies normally try to disguise what they are doing by hiding behind bland euphemisms for their most odious operations. As long ago as the eighteenth century, Voltaire observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” On sanitizing language, the Stanford University psychologist Albert Bandura writes, “By camouflaging pernicious activities in innocent or sanitizing parlance, the activities lose much of their repugnancy.17
--Chalmers Johnson
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

The most widely recognized case of blowback was provoked by Bremer’s first major act, the firing of approximately 500,000 state workers, most of them soldiers, but also doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers. “De-Bathification,” as it was called was supposedly driven by a desire to clean out the government of Saddam loyalists . . . .[I]t does not explain the scale of the layoffs or how deeply they savaged the public sector as a whole, punishing workers who were not high-level officials. 18
--Naomi Klein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Declined to Supply
In January 2006, almost three years after the war began [New York Times reporter Michael] Moss would discover an . . .uncorrected shortfall in bodoy armor: a secret Pentagon study revealed "that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor" and that while such armor had been available since 2003, "until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protections."19
--Frank Rich
The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth

General Casts War in Religious Terms
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has assigned the task of tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other high-profile targets to an Army general who sees the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan. . . .
Discussing the battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, Boykin told another audience, "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."
"We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God have been raised for such a time as this," Boykin said last year. . . . 20
--Richard T. Cooper
Los Angeles Times, Oct. 16, 2003

The Agenda
What is particularly scary about Blackwater’s role in a war that President Bush labeled a “crusade” is that the company’s leading executives are dedicated to a Christian-supremicist agenda.. . .The company is the living embodiment of the changes wrought by the revolution in military affairs and the privatization agenda radically expanded by the Bush administration under the guides of the war on terror. 21
--Jeremy Scahill
Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

No Room for Iraqi Voice
Put simply, if Iraqis were allowed to freely elect the next government, and if that government had real power, Washington would have to give up on two of the war’s main goals: access to Iraq for U. S. military bases and full access to Iraq for U. S. multinationals. 22
--Naomi Klein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Why We Must Stay in Iraq
I'm encouraged to see that Iraqi political leaders are making good progress toward forming a unity government, despite the recent violence. Our Ambassador to Iraq, Zal Khalilzad, reports that the violence has created a new sense of urgency among these leaders to form a national unity government as quickly as possible. I urge them to continue their work to put aside their differences, to reach out across political, religious, and sectarian lines, and to form a government that can confront the terrorist threat and earn the trust and confidence of all Iraqis.
I also remain optimistic because slowly but surely our strategy is getting results. This month I'm giving a series of speeches to update the American people on that strategy. I'm discussing the progress we are making, the lessons we have learned from our experience, and how we are fixing what has not worked.23
--George W. Bush
Radio Address, March 16, 2006

[T]he sectarian divisions and religious extremism engulfing Iraq cannot be neatly detached from the invastion and the occupation. Although these forces were certain present in advance of the war, they were far weaker before Iraq was turned into a U. S. shock lab. It’s worth remembering that in February 2004, eleven months after the invasion, an Oxford Research International poll found that a majority of Iraqis wanted a secular government: only 21 percent of respondents said their favored political system was “an Islamic state,” and only 14 percent ranked “religious politicians” as their preferred political actors. Six months later, with the occupation in a new and more violent phase, another poll found that 70 percent of Iraqis wanted Islamic law as the basis of the state.24
--Naomi Klein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

NCLB Policy

Nation at Risk
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.25
--Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform
National Commission on Excellence in Education
April 1983

NCLB's Weapons of Mass Mis-Instruction
The real reason that Nicklebee resembles a group nightmare is the lack of truth that permeates it. It is a search for weapons of mass mis-instruction that simply aren't there.26
--Paul D. Houston, Executive Director
American Association of School Administrators

Weapons of Mass Public Education Destruction
Unlike the alleged WMD in Iraq that have yet to be found, NCLB weapons of mass public education destruction have been located. They have caused, and continue to cause serious distress and harm to students, families, teachers, public schools, and public school districts while exercising the illusion and fallacy of "raising standards." NCLB architects had no concern or respect for pedagogy. . . .27
--Daniel Pryzbyla
Center for the Study of Jobs & Education in Wisconsin and the US, June 2003

Candidate seeks textbooks as shields
OKLAHOMA CITY --A candidate for state superintendent of schools said Thursday he wants thick used textbooks placed under every student's desk so they can use them for self-defense during school shootings.
"People might think it's kind of weird, crazy," said Republican Bill Crozier of Union City, a teacher and former Air Force security officer. "It is a practical thing; it's something you can do. It might be a way to deflect those bullets until police go there."28
--Tim Talley
Associated Press, Oct. 19, 2006

Overcoming the Weapons of Mass Indoctrination
Government is a weapon of the rich. That is true of every aspect of government schools, cops, the military, politicians and the political processes , the laws, the courts, and I will toss in the press as well. 29
--Rich Gibson, August, 2007

The Final Knock Down
The No Child Left Behind Act is a trap. It is the grand scheme of the school privatizers. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) sets up public schools for the final knock down.30
--Gerald W. Bracey

Forget Bin Laden; Get the Teachers
What do al-Qaida and the National Education Association have in common?
Do you give up?
The answer: Both have been labeled "terrorist organizations" by the Bush administration.
That's right, on Feb. 23, in a private meeting with the nation's Republican governors, National Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union, NEA, a terrorist organization.31
-- Bob Leonard
Herald-Leader, March 2, 2004

Poor, Black, and Dumped On
The evidence has been before us for decades that black people, other ethnic minorities and some poor whites have been getting sick and enduring horrible deaths from the filth that they breathe, eat, drink and otherwise ingest from the garbage dumps, landfills, incinerators, toxic waste sites, oil refineries, petrochemical plants and other world-class generators of pollution that have been deliberately and relentlessly installed in the neighborhoods where they live, work, worship and go to school.32
--Bob Herbert
New York Times, Oct. 5, 2006

A Weapon
[T]he requirement for scientifically based research was first intended as a weapon against whole language. 33
--Richard Rothstein
New York Times, Sept. 5, 2001

Educator Roundtable Petition
NCLB represents the federal takeover of America's public schools and completely undermines the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Congress should be ashamed of themselves.
—Signer #9047, The Petition

Put to the Test
I have never believed that this law is the idealistic, well-intentioned but poorly executed program that many claim it to be. NCLB aims to shrink the public sector, transfer large sums of public money to the private sector, weaken or destroy two Democratic power bases--the teachers unions--and provide vouchers to let students attend private schools at public expense. . . .Of what use is a program that fails everyone?34
—Gerald Bracey
Stanford Magazine, July/August 2006

Formation of the National Reading Panel
In 1997, Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read.
For over two years, the NRP reviewed research-based knowledge on reading instruction and held open panel meetings in Washington, DC, and regional meetings across the United States. On April 13, 2000, the NRP concluded its work and submitted "The Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read," at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. 35
Panel Members:
â€Â˘ Dr. Donald Langenberg, Chair, Physicist. Area of expertise: Condensed matter physics, superconductivity, higher education leadership and policy. 36
â€Â˘ Dr. Gloria Correro, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction; A veteran college educator who is an authority on early childhood education 37
â€Â˘ Dr. Linnea Ehri, Past President, Society for the Scientific Study of Reading; research consultant to Houghton Mifflin
â€Â˘ Mrs. Gwenette Ferguson, Houston Reading Teacher
â€Â˘ Ms. Norma Garza, Brownsville, Texas Certified Public Accountant
â€Â˘ Dr. Michael Kamil, Professor of Psychological Studies in Education and Learning, Design, and Technology
â€Â˘ Dr. Cora Bagley Marrett, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost
â€Â˘ Dr. S. J. Samuels, Received the Wm. S. Gray Citation of Merit from the International Reading Association
â€Â˘ Dr. Timothy Shanahan, Coordinator of Graduate Programs in Reading, Writing, and Literacy; Scott Foresman author, Harcourt author, McGraw-Hill author 38
â€Â˘ Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Professor of Pediatrics
â€Â˘ Dr. Thomas Trabasso, Professor, Department of Psychology,
â€Â˘ Dr. Joanna Williams, Oscar S. Causey Award for Outstanding Contributions to Reading Research from the National Reading Council
â€Â˘ Dr. Dale Willows, Professor, Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology
â€Â˘ Dr. Joanne Yatvin, Forty-one years' experience as a classroom teacher and school administrator.35

Reading First Expert Panel
Reading First is authorized under Title I, Part B, Subpart 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. As required in the legislation, each State educational agency (SEA) must submit an application to the Department in order to receive funding. The legislation also requires that an expert panel selected by the Secretary, the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL), the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) review State plans. This requirement makes it infeasible for States to apply for Reading First through their ESEA consolidated applications.

Once the expert panel recommends funding an SEA’s application, the Secretary will award funds on a formula basis. 2004. The panel of 76 "experts" includes:
â€Â˘ zero specialists in children’s literature
â€Â˘ one teacher
â€Â˘ two persons elected to the IRA Reading Hall of Fame
â€Â˘ half a zillion people with research and/or business connections in Texas
â€Â˘ a zillion people with advanced degrees in abnormal psychology
â€Â˘ two zillion people with research concentration in special education39

Follow the Money
If the district desired Reading First Funding, it must substitute technology for people—a scientific core reading program for the human expertise and presence that her district proposed. As Shelley explained, the state seemed uninterested in districts’ accomplishments or plans for their local community. Rather, the state and its federal sponsors sought a universal solution, which denied the importance of the local. In the end, the federal money intended to help students learn to read would land in the coffers of educational publishers.40
--Patrick Shannon and Jacqueline Edmondson
Follow the Money: Reading First Grants in Pennsylvania

The Agenda NCLB. It’s clear to me what Bush is using this for. He’s using it as a pathway to privatizing the public schools. 41
--John Edwards
Marshalltown, Iowa, Dec. 12, 2007

Just the Facts on No Child Left Behind NCLB is a sweeping piece of federal legislation that controls instructional methods, materials, and what teachers can do and say in the classrooms.42
--Elaine Garan
In Defense of Our Children

The NEA Supports Substantial Overhaul, Not Repeal, of NCLB
The NEA has been asked whether we endorse the petition being circulated by the Educator Roundtable that calls on members of the U. S. Congress to vote against reauthorization of NCLB.

The short answer? Absolutely not. . . .

[T]here is no chance that Congress will repeal NCLB. Those who do not articulate a positive set of changes to the law will simply not be at the table in negotiating any improvements to it.
--Joel Packer, NEA director of policy and practice
Phi Delta Kappan, December 2007

Make Room at the Table For Teachers
[W]e fear that the NEA leadership—by insisting that it cannot work to dismantle NCLB and replace it with an education policy more suitable to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—teeters close to moral bankruptcy. . . As long as union leaders refuse to insist that teachers’ voices be brought to the forefront in curriculum decisions, teachers remain muzzled and impotent. Make no mistake about it: this silencing of teachers is catastrophic to the health of our nation.
--Susan Ohanian and Philip Kovacs, organizers of Educator Roundtable Phi Delta Kappan, December 2007

1 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/08/20020826.html
2 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html
3 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021202-6.html
4 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030109-8.html
5 http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2003/iraq-030205-powell-un-17300pf.htm
6 http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bush/cheneymeetthepress.htm
7 http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2676
8 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030503-1.html
9 Alan Elsner, “Bush Officials Change Tune on Iraqi Weapons,” Reuters, May 14, 2003
10 http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2676
11 Rich, Frank, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, Penguin 2006, p. 86
12 http://tinyurl.com/2f6lgy 13 http://tinyurl.com/2xgzk5
14 http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/history.htm
15 Chandrasekaran, Rajiv, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, Vintage, 2006, p. 149
16 Ibid. p. 262
17 Johnson, Chalmers: Nemesis:The Last Days of the American Republic, Metropolitan 2006, pp. 120-121
18 Klein, Naomi, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Metropolitan Books 2007, p. 351
19 Rich, Frank, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth, Penguin Press 2006, pp.157-159
20 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1016-01.htm
21 Scahill, Jeremy, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Nation Books 2007, p. xxv-xxvii
22 Kein, Ibid, 350
23 www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060318.html
24 Klein, Ibid., p. 362
25 http://www.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/index.html
26 Houston, Paul D. "NCLB: Dreams and Nightmares," Phi Delta Kappan, Feb. 2005, pp. 459-70
27 Pryzbyla, Daniel, "NCLB Weapons of Mass Public Education Destruction," June 2003 http://tinyurl.com/yt358f
28 http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.html?id=6688
29 Gibson, Rich, "Going Beyond Jonathan Kozol's Manifesto: How Can We Overcome the Weapons of Mass Indoctrination?" Aug. 2007
http://www.richgibson.com/beyondkozol.htm 30 Bracey, Gerald W., On the Death of Childhood and the Destruction of Public Schools, Heinemann 2003, p. 1
31 http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_atrocities.html?id=423
32 Herbert, Bob, "Poor, Black, and Dumped On," New York Times, Oct. 5, 2005
33 http://tinyurl.com/yuyn42
34 http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2006/julaug/features/nclb.html
35 http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/NRPAbout/Charge.htm
36 http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/showcase_member/user_id-1050?cat_id=1297
37 http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=474
38 http://uic.edu/educ/cfl/vita-Shanahan.html
39 http://susanohanian.org/show_commentary.php?id=14
40 Shannon, Patrick and Jacqueline Edmondson
Follow the Money: Reading First Grants in Pennsylvania in Bess Altwerger, ed. Reading for Profit: How the Bottom Line Leaves Kids Behind Heinemann 2005, p. 52
41 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW9lhfylOgw&eurl=http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/2007/12/john-edwards-on-nclb-pathway-to.html
42 Garan, Elaine, In Defense of Our Children, Heinemann 2004, p. 20
To Be Continued. . .

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