Saturday, February 10, 2007
At a farewell reception at Blair House for the retiring chief of protocol, Don Ensenat, who was President Bus'’s Yale roommate, the president shook hands with Washington Life Magazine's Soroush Shehabi. A grandson of one of the late Shah's ministers, Soroush said, "Mr. President, I simply want to say one U.S. bomb on Iran and the regime will remain in power for another 20 or 30 years and 70 million Iranians will become radicalized."
"I know," President Bush answered.
"But does Vice President Cheney know?" asked Soroush.
The president chuckled and walked away.
I think "chuckled" is a polite way of saying "mumbled 'fuckin' media asshole' under his breath". Well, what was Bush gonna say? How about "Of course he knows. He thunk it all up." Nah, Bush hasn't said anything that close to the truth since he claimed to have stopped drinking 20 years ago.
Also at Think Progress:
Evidence Grows That White House Planned To Release Cooked Intel On Iran
Gee, whatever could have possibly given anybody that idea? Oh, their track record.
Despite the intelligence community's intervention, there is still no guarantee that the intel on Iran that is eventually made public will be factual or comprehensive. As yesterday's report on Douglas Feith reinforced, senior administration officials are perfectly willing to work around intelligence professionals to obtain the "facts" that justify their ideology .
Note to the Press Corpse, and particularly that Bush-blowin' Gray Lady: You fuckers better get it right this time.
Our Betters—the VRWC and its cocktail wienie-gobbling shills and whores in our famously free press and the Beltway kakistocracy—are clutching their pearls because, ya know, some bloggers use bad words.
Friday, February 9, 2007
Regarding my promised hiatus. It looks like I'll be starting in about a week or so (18 - 20 Feb), being all the stumbling blocks to the new construction have been removed as of yesterday and there's a lot of work in my future. More on this next week when I firm up building plans; I might push it off another week or two if we get swamped at the shop with the Indian off on his yearly pilgrimmage to Daytona for Speed Weeks (He and Mrs. Indian are leaving early tomorrow morning).
I will be posting my weekly installment of The Captains at The Practical Press on Saturdays while I'm hiatusing, but you probably won't be seeing as much of me here or around Blogtopia (y!sctp!), though I'll probably have the news on while I'm carpentering and something is sure to piss me off enough to blog about it (and of course if I hurt myself I'll definitely share it with yas. Too bad I wasn't blogging when I stuck my finger in the table saw). Who the hell knows, a couple weeks are an eternity on the interwebs and shit can change a lot between now and then.
According to United States law governing the behavior of 501(c)(3) organizations, it seems highly likely that William Donohue--President of the Catholic League, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization--may have broken the law by attempting to intervene in a political campaign.
Beyond Donohue's appearances on broadcast media, during which he has spoken out against the John Edwards campaign, The Catholic League which Donohue used its 501(c)(3) non-profit status website to publish the following Press Release that included this explicit attempt to intervene in a political campaign:
Catholic League president Bill Donohue is demanding that presidential hopeful John Edwards fire two recently hired anti-Catholics who have joined his team: Amanda Marcotte as Blogmaster and Melissa McEwan as the Netroots Coordinator.
Bill Donohue, of course, has every right according to the U.S. Constitution to use speech as a tactic for intervening in and attempting to influence a political campaign. He does not, however, have the right to use his tax exempt organization to assist him in that task.
To do so is not only wrong, it is illegal.
He who laughs last, laughs best. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
I just got off the phone with Flynt Leverett, a former CIA Mideast analyst and National Security Council staffer during President Bush's first term. Leverett says he finds it "really quite curious" that Secretary Rice is pleading a memory lapse on an Iranian offer shortly after the Iraq war to, among other things, recognize Israel.
Leverett himself says he "saw the actual document" detailing the offer, which arrived at the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau via fax around late April or early May of 2003, when he had left the White House to return to his regular post as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Iran reached out to the incompetent Bush diplomatic team in 2003 but its calls went unreturned by the worst president ever's worst diplomats.
Conjuring deja vu all over again in congressional testimony this week, Secretary of Narcolepsy State Condo Rice said the Iranians just didn't make it clear enough for her or her predecessor, Colin Powell.
Rice told Congress she does not remember seeing the 2003 Iranian proposal, which suggested Iran was ready to discuss its disputed nuclear program, support for militant groups that the United States labels terrorists and the acceptance of Israel…
The document, faxed to the State Department in the early days of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, proposed direct talks, perhaps in Paris. Iraq was at the top of the proposed agenda, with Tehran proposing "active Iranian support for Iraqi stabilization."
Like the infamous "Terrorists are Going to Hijack Passenger Jets and Fly Them into Skyscrapers" memo that Rice's National Security Council couldn't quite parse out the meaning of, the Iranian fax will go down in history as one of the biggest missed opportunities since Capt. Smith said, "Icebergs? Who cares about icebergs? This ship is unsinkable!"
My opinion is that Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al, put the pedal to the metal and drove the damn ship full speed ahead right into the iceberg, just knowing they could knock it out of the way because it was weak and they were strong. God and the neocons told them so.
"But I think I would have noticed if the Iranians had said, 'We're ready to recognize Israel,' " Rice said. "I just don't remember ever seeing any such thing."
Well of course you don't, Condo, and therein lies the problem. The Bush team's idea of diplomacy is sitting back and waiting for the other side to wave a white flag and say, "O.K., we're giving you everything you want and a few things you haven't thought of yet! And would you like that gift-wrapped?"
To them, it's a zero-sum game. Gone are the days of give and take, back and forth, and agreements all parties can live with long-term that win Nobel Peace prizes. Now it's just threaten sanctions, impose sanctions, and send Cheney off to the bunker to await the explosion.
"This administration, out of some combination of ideological blindness and incompetence, couldn't be bothered to explore whether this opportunity was as serious as it looked on paper," [Rice's former National Security Council Aide Flynt] Leverett said Wednesday...
The Bush administration has resisted suggestions, including from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, that it should engage Iran to try to improve security in next-door Iraq.
And these idiots want us to take their word for it when they tell us now that we might possibly need to go to war with Iran? Don’t!
They didn't 'forget' jack shit. Dialogue with Iran was and is the last thing these megalomaniacal crooks/traitors in the White House want. They've wanted to knock Iran over since forever. They figured they'd bump off Saddam, conquer Iraq easily, and have a jumping-off place with bases, oil, etc. to go into Iran.
That didn't work so pussy good, so now that they've wrecked our Army and Marine Corps they're going to do it from an aircraft carrier. Yeah, right.
They are without a doubt the most incompetent bunch that ever inhabited our halls of power. Not only could they fuck up a junkyard with a rubber hammer, it'd be the wrong goddam junkyard for the wrong reasons!
With a little diplomacy, all this death and destruction could have been avoided. Bush, Cheney, Rice, all of 'em who had a hand in this criminal venture, belong in jail. If I have to live to be 100 to see it, I will. Tomorrow would be better.
The 'can't remember' bullshit? It ain't workin' for Libby and it ain't gonna work for ChimpCo.
From the San Francisco Chronicle (and numerous other sources):
"The capital saw an unusual tag team in action Thursday when President Bush's spokesman Tony Snow supported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi against an escalating attack by House Republicans over Pelosi's potential use of a government plane to fly nonstop between Washington and her home district in San Francisco.End of another manufactured "controversy".
"This is a silly story, and I think it's been unfair to the speaker," Snow said at the White House briefing."
The combination of religion and government have done more to fuck things up on this planet than any other, since time immemorial. Idiots like Bill Donohue and Frank Gaffney, the Pope, the American Jesus freak pastors, the crazy rabbis, and the militant imams have no place in our political discourse. In my book, religion lost its usefulness somewhere around the time of Cromwell, but I don't gather up like-minded individuals and try to run the rest of you outta Dodge.
Keep your crap for your congregations and you won't hear a peep out of me. The minute you try and tell me how to live my life (or tell people who to hire because of a percieved 'offense') we're gonna have problems.
Deep within the bowels of the Pentagon, policy planners are conducting secret meetings to discuss what to do in the worst-case scenario in Iraq about a year from today if and when President Bush's escalation of more than 20,000 troops fails, a participant in those discussions told me. None of those who are taking part in these exercises, shielded from the public view and the immediate scrutiny of the White House, believes that the so-called surge will succeed. On the contrary, everyone thinks it will not only fail to achieve its aims but also accelerate instability by providing a glaring example of U.S. incapacity and incompetence. [my em]
Nobody thinks the surge will work except the mouth-breathing wingnuts who believe everything that comes out of the Chimp's blowhole or the 'pundits' who are paid to. I just hope we can fix this mess in my lifetime.
Great thanks to Cdr. Huber for the link.
Yes, people die every day, and too many do so before their time. But this woman was special, and the things that she did made an impact on all of us.
Oh, there were many things that this woman, so deserving of our undivided attention tonight, did not do. No, she didn't take off her clothes for a men's magazine for a big payday, work as "an exotic dancer" or marry a billionaire customer who was 63 years older than her. Nor did she spend most of her adult life pursuing that billionaire's estate in courtrooms from Texas to Washington, D.C., or record her life for a reality TV show, or abuse drugs, or give birth to a child whose paternity is the focus of a legal battle.
Her name is Jennifer M. Parcell. She was just 20 years old, and she graduated in 2004 from Fallston High School in near her hometown, Bel Air, Md.
A couple of years ago, Jennifer Parcell went to Parris Island and watched the Marine graduation services for her older brother, Joseph. She decided that she, too, wanted to join the Marines, and eventually both Jennifer Parcell and her brother were sent to Iraq, even serving at the same post for a time.
But then, they separated. Yesterday, Jennifer Parcell was supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province when she was killed in action. If we had more information about her death, we would provide it. But here at Attytood, we don't have the millions of dollars in resources or the extra manpower that they have at CNN, or MSNBC, or Fox News.
Out of sight ... she'll be mourned by her family, her friends, maybe her town, and the old vets who mourn every death in this illegal occupation. A sad statement on the attitude of this nation when we pay more attention to the death of a money-grubbing porn star than we do to the deaths (or lives for that matter) of people sent into harm's way on our behalf.
A bit of advice for young ladies from one who's been there, also the newest member of the 'Rogues Gallery' otherwise known as the American Patriot Institute.
Big tip o' the Brain to Nicole @ C & L.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
When Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of "aiding the enemy," the Democratic senators gathered around him yesterday did not wince. Nor did Democrats object when Soltz, the chairman of a group called VoteVets.org, called President Bush and Vice President Cheney "draft dodgers."
Democrats said they will not muzzle the veterans. In many ways, the former soldiers and Marines are expressing sentiments the lawmakers want broadcast, and they help inoculate Democrats against Republican claims that opposing the president's plan undermines the troops. [my ems]
Hallelujah! I have seen the promised land!
Great thanks to Maru for the link.
Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC) announced today, at his blog, that two bloggers who have gotten the campaign in "hot water" would not be fired, even though he was "personally offended" by some of the things they have written in the past.
However, the Edwards campaign ended up standing behind the two bloggers, whom had become a cause célèbre in the liberal blogosphere.
"The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me," Edwards writes at his blog. "It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people."
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else," Edwards blogged.
"But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake," Edwards continued. "I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word."
Edwards added, "We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in."
That's an America where you can say what you want on your personal blog. Even if it offends and/or makes wingnuts snivel, moan, bitch, whine, and complain, which doesn't take much.
Bravo, Mr. Edwards. I think he realizes that even if he personally doesn't care for the tone of some of their posts, their audience eats it up. It's just one segment of the electorate - us. Maybe not the most refined or politically correct bunch, thank God, but he needs all the segments he can get.
Links and statements by Sis and Amanda at the link.
See also EssEffChron.
But when the Times claims that the Edwards campaign is "in hot water," what they mean is that there are complaints from right-wing bloggers and people like the right-wing Catholic League's Bill Donohue, who is an excellent arbiter of bigotry and impropriety as the author of such enlightened views as: "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it."
Nobody cares except the wingnuts, who are getting fewer in number every day. An aside. I think Greenwald is as mad as I am because he's updated his post 6 times ... so far. A record, I think, even for him.
A side note to Mr. Edwards. If you fire Shakes and Amanda, you'll not only have zero chance of getting my vote, but I will actively work against your nomination. If you forfeit your spine on this, you certainly don't have what it takes to become President of the United States.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
The Carpetbagger Report
The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare's Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions...
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said in a statement on Tuesday, "John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots."
Bill Donohue is about as much of a right-wing throwback as a Catholic can get, Mel Gibson notwithstanding.
If a person is known by who their enemies are, Sis is my buddy.
I have no idea what she said to piss this clown off, but I do know that Sis is a graduate of Loyola University and you know how Liberal those Jesuits are!
She does cuss and mention private parts and bodily fluids & functions once in a while...
I'm a fallen-away Catholic ever since I figured out what an oppressive scam the Church is. Its wealth and opulence were derived, more properly stolen, by manufactured fear of eternal damnation, kinda like Bush uses on the rest of us, from their - Baa-aa-aa-aah - flock, amongst whom are some of the poorest people on Earth.
Luther and Cromwell may have been right, if guys like Donohue are any indication.
I put this post in draft form to go do something else for a minute, and when I went to complete it I noticed Fixer posted on the same subject. This has only happened twice in two and a half years. Great minds.
But getting our policy in order is also being stymied because the political opponents of the war aren't willing to say that, yes, the policy has failed. Not 'defeated'. To be 'defeated' you need to have some other party 'defeat' you. This is just a failure. But whichever it is, that bogey is being used by the White House to scare off the opposition. It's a failure. There's no recovering it. And the unspeakable reality -- truly unspeakable, apparently -- is that it's not that bad. Horrible for the Iraqis. Horrible for the American dead. Terrible for American prestige, power and honor. All that. But not the end of the world. The future of our civilization isn't at stake. And our physical safety isn't at stake. We'll go on. We are not the brave British standing behind Winston Churchill bucking us up with the confidence that "We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender ..." Those aren't the stakes here. Put it in those words and it's almost comical. President Bush wants us to believe that it is because it serves his grandiosity and direct political interests to believe that, to believe that his political interests -- where everything, history, legacy, etc. is on the line -- are the same as ours as a country. They're not.
Bush's interests are diametrically opposed to the interests of the United States, and his legacy, such as it will be, is gonna be right up there with Benedict Arnold's, except that Arnold actually had some earlier successes as a military man. The British made him a General. I wonder if al-Quaida will do the same for Bush? They should - he's their secret weapon.
Lost in the "surge" debate is the unfortunate reality that escalation in Iraq, just like the invasion itself, plays into al-Qaida's ultimate strategy to eliminate America. As revealed in a 2005 strategy document, al-Qaida hopes to repeat Osama bin Laden's victory over the Soviet empire in Afghanistan by eliminating the chief obstacle in the way of establishing an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. The goal is not, as Bush administration and right-wing pundits proclaim, to conquer or directly destroy America. Osama bin Laden wants to provoke the United States into destroying itself.
[...] "Power can be maintained only by a prudent balance between the creation of wealth and military expenditure, and great powers in decline almost always hasten their demise by shifting expenditure from the former to the latter. (my em)"
All of this time, al-Qaida's master strategists have manipulated Bush like a marionette. Instead of cutting his losses and withdrawing from Iraq or critically re-examining the failures of the American intervention in Afghanistan -- Bush continues blindly to throw more resources into battle, believing that the United States simply lacks "a will to win." Ironically, he may be partially correct. An Iraqi fighting for his country or an Arab fighting for his umma against foreign occupiers will likely show a good deal more resolve than American soldiers fighting a guerilla conflict thousands of miles away from home.
Americans have little knowledge about Mideast culture or international politics but feel strongly that they have been misled and betrayed by their superiors. This was true as well in Vietnam. Yet the horrors of both wars will be paltry in comparison to the horrors unleashed if we escalate in Iraq and attack Iran. The only voices aside from Bush's calling to "bring it on" are those from al-Qaida itself.
Al-Quaida calls, Bush answers. Thanks a pile, Chimp-o.
... We're the optimist who jumped off a building, and every floor down, yelled, "So far, so good!" Things just keep getting worse, and we just keep acting like we're lucky to have the scraps we've got. When did we all get so helpless? ...
Have you noticed this in other industries? I have. Every day in my business, I watch Ford and General Motors zip by my window. We see it in government too, as we watch the debacle in Iraq go from bad to worse, as we watched them drop the ball in New Orleans. Know what? The people of Ancient Greece saw the same things. So did the people of Ancient Rome, of the Ottoman Empire, of the Supreme Soviet. They would recognize present day America immediately as an empire in decline.
Empires have the curious affliction of being succeptible to stagnation. It's because Empire is an endgame. Once Empire is achieved, the impetus to innovate and explore is gone. It's evident in our infrastructure, in our political discourse, and in our lives.
Look at our infrastructure, our bridges, roads, and services. How many of you have said, 'they can't run a railroad like they used to' or something to that effect? How many have said, 'they don't make things like they used to'? These aren't just things people bitch about. They are indicators of an empire reaching its zenith and is now on the path to decline.
I remember growing up in the 60s. My parents spoke with optimism about the future, a time when the 'American Dream' could still be achieved. They were successful and assumed I would do even better. I have been successful, but that optimism for the future is gone.
Our manufacturing jobs have gone away, to people who's 'imperial star' is rising. The Indians, the Chinese, they are two of the societies who will surpass us in the next 20 - 50 years because they are on the other side. They aren't comfortable and still see the brass ring ahead instead of behind.
I remember how proud I was of my dad when he won the contract from Grumman to do testing on the Lunar Module parts before it was assembled. When Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the Moon, a part of our family went with him and the sky was the limit. It was the era of the "by the year 2000".
Remember when everybody would say 'by the year 2000' we'd have a man on Mars? Or 'by the year 2000' we will have cured cancer, or we'd fly around in our personal aircraft, or we would end pollution? The sky was the limit in 1969 and almost 40 years later, we haven't moved much farther forward.
Ironically, the 'year 2000' will be a marker as the beginning of the end of the American Empire. We have lost our abilty to remain an Empire. We are in hock up to our eyeballs, stuck in a quagmire of an imperial war for resources, and have no reason to look to the future in a hopeful manner. This nation is ruled by a handful of oligarchs who just want to grab their share before they expire or this whole thing crumbles around them.
The long-term future is not a concern anymore. The future is only as far out as the next quarterly report. Ask any CEO if he has a plan for his corporation 50 years out. He'll look at you with a blank stare. Ask him if he has any responsibility to anyone or anything except the shareholders and he'll laugh at you. And our political leaders are of the same mind. We're running the Iraq occupation with a six-month future, praying our feeble attempts will make a difference in six months. No one looks farther ahead because there's no point. The bottom could fall out by then.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
"If the President of the United States knew that his or the government's failure to act could reasonably be expected to lead to the misery, impoverishment, or death of scores of Americans and/or other innocent people all around the world and he did nothing to prevent it - wouldn't that be an impeachable offense? How would that not be an impeachable offense? And, what does this President and administration's tendency to ignore, bury, censor, and cover up realities it doesn't want to acknowledge say about the way in which terrorists were able to be so successful in their attacks on September 11, 2001?"
Immediately upon taking office, the new Bush Administration actively took up negotiating with the Taliban once more, seeking still to have the Bridas contract vacated, in exchange for a tidy package of foreign aid. The parties met three times, in Washington, Berlin, and Islamablad, but the Taliban wouldn't budge.
Behind the negotiations, however, planning was underway to take military action if necessary. In the spring of 2001 the State Department sought and gained concurrence from both India and Pakistan to do so, and in July of 2001, American officials met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence agents to inform them of planned military strikes against Afghanistan the following October. A British newspaper told of the U.S. threatening both the Taliban and Osama bin Laden -- two months before 9/11 -- with military strikes.
According to an article in the UK Guardian, State Department official Christina Rocca told the Taliban at their last pipeline negotiation in August of 2001, just five weeks before 9/11, "Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs."
President Bush formally established the PNAC's prescription for pre-emptive, premeditated war as U.S. policy when he signed a document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" early in his first term.
Still nothing illegal or unconstitutional had been done.
But the rationale and the planning for attacking both Afghanistan and Iraq were in place. The preparations had all been done secretly, wholly within the executive branch. The Congress was not informed until the endgame, when President Bush, making his dishonest case for the "war on terror" asked for and was granted the discretion to use military force. The American people were equally uninformed and misled. Probably never before in our history was such a drastic and momentous action undertaken with so little public knowledge or Congressional oversight: the dispatch of America's armed forces into four years of violence, at horrendous costs in life and treasure.
9/11 was a shocking event of unprecedented scale, but it was simply not an invasion of national security. It was a localized criminal act of terrorism, and to compare it, as the Bush Administration immediately did, to Pearl Harbor was ludicrous: The hijacked airliners were not the vanguard of a formidable naval armada, an air force, and a standing army ready to engage in all out war, as the Japanese were prepared to do and did in 1941.
By equating a criminal act of terrorism with a military threat of invasion, the Bush Administration consciously adopted fear mongering as a mode of governance. It was an extreme violation of the public trust, but it served perfectly their need to justify warfare.
Why, then, was a "war" declared on "terrorists and states that harbor terrorists?"
The pre-planned attack on Afghanistan, as we have seen, was meant to nullify the contract between the Taliban and the Bridas Corporation. It was a matter of international energy policy. It had nothing to do, as designed, with apprehending Osama bin Laden -- a matter of security policy.
The objective of the first premeditated war was now achieved. The Bush Administration stood ready with financing to build the pipeline across Afghanistan, and with a permanent military presence to protect it.
Within two months President Bush sent the armed might of America sweeping into Iraq.
The oil wars are abject failures. The Project for a New American Century wanted, in a fantasy of retrograde imperialism, to remove Saddam Hussein from power. President George Bush launched an overt act of military aggression to do so, at a cost of more than 3,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and half a trillion dollars. In the process he has exacerbated the threats from international terrorism, ravaged the Iraqi culture, ruined their economy and their public services, sent thousands of Iraqis fleeing their country as refugees, created a maelstrom of sectarian violence, dangerously destabilized the Middle East, demolished the global prestige of the United States, and defamed the American people.
Like a desert bike at speed, I just hit the high spots with those quotes. You owe it to yourself to not miss this one.
This nation was founded on debate. The Continental Congress is known for nothing if not argument and discourse. There were well known arguments over the issues as this nation was founded, John Adams and Stephen Rutlege having some of the best. The Bostonian, Adams, denouncing the institution of slavery with South Carolina's Rutlege fighting back to save the economy of his people and the American South. They would go round for hours, days, parrying, thrusting, each defending his position. Adams lost that fight and we are paying the price to this day, but it was debated.
Today, many are of the opinion that debate is somehow unAmerican. That talking about something, namely stopping the bloodshed being wrought in our name, will somehow hurt the troops, undermine them in some way. Ladies and gentlemen, the right of free debate is the reason they are supposedly 'fighting to preserve our freedoms'. As for undermining our troops, please pardon me but it doesn't matter what the troops think. It's their responsibility to follow their orders, regardless of the debate taking place in Washington. The only thing that undermines the troops is turning our backs on them when they return injured and maimed, and we've done a hell of a lot of that since this disaster began.
When I see guys like McConnell, McCain, and Lieberman stand up there and say debate will ruin the troops' morale, I laugh. Being stuck on your third or fourth tour in the meatgrinder is demoralizing. Seeing your buddies being blown away, wholly or in part, from an IED that you have no defense for is demoralizing. Insurgents impersonating your people and walking onto your base, capturing four of your mates, and walking out again is demoralizing. Listening to the justification for this war change more often than they can get a shower, that's demoralizing. I don't think they can be any more demoralized short of us just giving up on them altogether and leaving them there. Go ask the troops since you're so concerned about what they think, Messrs McConnell, McCain, and Lieberman, and they'll tell you, to a man, what they want most is to go home.
This is America, ladies and gentlemen, and America is tough stuff. It is about preserving the rights of people you strongly disagree with. It is about being able to say what you want and respect the right of your opponent to do the same. Stifling debate is as American as borscht; if you want easy, go live in some dictatorship. They'll tell you what to eat, what to think, and who to fight without requiring any thought on your part. Of course, thinking for yourself could be deadly. That's why America is difficult, because you are allowed to think for yourself, to voice your opinion, and elect people to represent your views.
Ladies and gentlemen, the enemy is emboldened when we don't debate. If we are now fighting the 'War on Terror', Osama bin Laden won the first battle because he has caused us to stray from the principles this mighty nation was founded on. If we stifle debate, usurping more of the 'inalienable rights' we (well, most of us, thank you Mr. Rutlege) have taken for granted for two centuries, he will have won another.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Legendary folk guitarist Richard Thompson recorded an anti-war song which is told from the viewpoint of a US soldier who fears being killed in Iraq.
"Lately at concerts he's been singing a song in protest against the Iraq war titled 'Dad's Gonna Kill Me,'" Goldstein writes. "'Dad,' Thompson explains to audiences, is grunt-speak for 'Baghdad,' much as ''Nam' once meant 'Vietnam.'"
In the song, Thompson sings, "'Dad's in a bad mood, 'Dad's got the blues; It's someone else's mess that I didn't choose; At least we're winning on the Fox evening news; 'Dad's Gonna Kill Me."
An mp3 of "Dad's Gonna Kill Me" can be heard at Thompson's website*, and it will be on his next CD, "Sweet Warrior," slated for release in May.
Protest songs are good. The more the merrier. Forty years ago there were a lot of 'em, rightly so, and it's good to see more and more of them coming out now from modern artists.
Different century, different war, different artists, different audience. Same sensibilities - when something's wrong, it's wrong, and needs to be protested. Bush's War was wrong out of the gate.
*Also at YouTube, amateur concert video from the cheap seats with a fine view of the porta-johns. From the "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival" at Golden Gate Park in EssEff aka "Baghdad By The Bay".
"I can tell you what will erode our prestige. I can tell you what will hurt our viability as the world's superpower, and that is if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aideed's lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige.I couldn't agree more. As fast as possible to get the troops out safely. Alas, that was then and the President was a Democrat. Amazing how the rules have changed with a Republican in the White House and McCain thinking he might be the next President. The guy is nothing if not a hypocrite.
We suffered a terrible tragedy in Beirut, Mr. President; 240 young marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia as rapidly and as promptly and as safely as possible.
I, along with many others, will have an amendment that says exactly that. It does not give any date certain. It does not say anything about any other missions that the United States may need or feels it needs to carry out. It will say that we should get out as rapidly and orderly as possible." - John McCain, Oct 19, 1993.
Hat-tip to Glenn Greenwald
The California Nurses Association reported that in the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have a backlog of 400,000 cases." A returning soldier has to wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits, and an appeal can take up to three years.
This is unacceptable and reprehensible.
Veterans coming home stated that their superiors have harassed and punished them for seeking help for psychological problems triggered by their service in Iraq. Several of the soldiers' supervisors acknowledged the callous treatment.
A recent national study by the Government Accountability Office found that most of the troops who show signs of PTSD were not referred to mental health professionals, despite Pentagon claims, in NPR's report, "that providing support to soldiers with emotional problems is a top priority" and "that resources are being made available to returning veterans."
If the same disastrous pattern unfolds that affected Vietnam-era veterans, and these PTSD sufferers do not obtain appropriate and timely assistance, tens of thousands will become unnecessarily and tragically addicted to drugs or alcohol, and many may commit suicide. Besides the 58,000 lost in combat, we lost tens of thousands of Vietnam-era military personnel to suicide and drugs.
The American people must actively advocate and demand appropriate treatment for veterans who have been psychologically wounded by war.
Maybe the military needs a new slogan: "Join the __________! Go fight Bush's War. If you make it back, you'll get kicked to the curb by the very people who profited by your sacrifice, sucker!"
This treatment of Veterans is not only unacceptable and reprehensible, it's also unconscionable, appalling and immoral. It's positively Republican.
In a piece headlined "Vice President's Shadow Hangs Over Trial," the WaPo has a nice synopsis of Cheney's involvement in the Plame matter.
Actually, you could headline just about every story that way these days: "Vice President's Shadow Hangs Over _________."
Fill in the blank: Iraq. Iran. Global warming. Renditions. Domestic surveillance.
I will confess to having been extremely skeptical in the early years of the Bush Presidency that Cheney was really running the show. It seemed too facile an explanation for what I was convinced was a far more complicated situation. Until the 9/11 Commission report came out.
Since then, I've gone from being open to the idea of an Imperial Vice Presidency to being convinced that historians will debate whether something approaching a Cheney-led coup d'etat has occurred, in which some of the powers of the Executive were extra-constitutionally usurped by the Office of the Vice President.
Still, I can't help but be fascinated by the more pedestrian issue of how Cheney continues to assert himself so vigorously without running up against the ego of a cocksure President. How is it that Bush, who is so caught up in macho public demonstrations of his own personal strength and courage, can tolerate a shadow presidency within his own White House? What kind of spell has Cheney cast that allows Bush to continue to believe he is the decider? You can imagine all sorts of dysfunctional psychological dramas playing out behind the scenes.
But whether it's the legal or political aspect of Cheney's role, it all comes down to the same thing: we just don't know.
It's about time we find out.
Interesting. Go read.
Outwardly, Bush projects machismo (macho, by the way, is Spanish slang for "mule") but inwardly he's a coward. I'm sure he's scared of Cheney, though I don't know why, and offered no resistance when Cheney usurped power. Maybe Cheney's got compromising pictures of Bush, or has some police records or something. Maybe it's a deal Bush made in order to get installed in the White House. Maybe Cheney just took over and told Bush to STFU. If we knew, we could deal with it. Maybe someday. Sigh.
The important thing is to get them out.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
"As Bush and Cheney get more and more unpopular, their legacy becomes more and more predicated on the fact that they did the unpopular thing for the greater good. The more unpopular they get the more they have to prove."
I couldn't say it any better myself, but the statement, as it stands is incomplete, it doesn't call for their removal from office. The only way we are going to stop them, the only way we are not going to get involved in a tragic war in Iran. The only way we are going to regain respect in the world. The only way is to put both of them on the express route to impeachment. Now, not later, and as fast as possible. Building the case should be a no brainer.