Saturday, November 25, 2006

Off the reservation

Chuck Hagel has attempted to be honest before, but since the election I think he feels like a 'liberated moderate':


The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.


Sorry about the light posting but I feel like shit today.

Link via C & L.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quote of the Day


I love this time of the year, when common turkeys are indistinguishable from sitting Presidents.

An insult to turkeys everywhere ... Heh ...

Giving thanks ...

I'm thankful I'm not in Iraq.

Black Friday

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road

~Black Friday, Steely Dan

The Mrs. has me up and we're heading out to do some professional shopping. Oy!

And not to be forgotten, 16 years ago today, Mrs. F had the biggest lapse in judgment of her life. We were married in front of 300 of our closest friends and relatives. Best move I ever made; she's stuck with me. Happy Anniversary, darling. I love ya!

And as if we didn't have enough to eat last night at my brother-in-law's house, we'll be having dinner at our favorite restaurant this side of the Atlantic.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble this!

Bob Geiger

"Flyer" and "Fryer" who hail from the Lynn Nutt farm in Monett, Missouri, were formally pardoned by Bush in a ceremony today at the White House, marking the 59th anniversary of the Thanksgiving tradition.

But both white-feathered birds made it clear that they would refuse the president's pardon, citing fundamental disagreements with Bush-administration policies and the legacy of last year's pardon recipients, "Yam" and "Marshmallow," who broke new ground in the turkey community by spurning Bush in 2005.

"This wasn't an easy decision. I mean, hey, I used to be a Republican," said a pugnacious Fryer in an interview on Tuesday evening. "But this guy Bush being both a Chickenhawk and a lame duck is an insult to all birds. Even turkeys have standards."

White House spokesman Tony Snow said that the president found the birds' stance "disappointing" and that, like last year's turkeys, Flyer and Fryer had a clear partisan agenda.

There's more, but the tryptophan is kickin' in from the turkey I ate. I don't think it had a name...zzzzz

Holiday reading

Because it's a slow news day, I posted the next chapter (Chapter 6) of The Captains at The Practical Press. I'll also post one on my usual Saturday night this week. Hey, it's a holiday.



Be careful on the road if you're driving. Getting to grandma's house on time ain't worth your life and those of your loved ones. Be safe and be happy.


Someone in charge speaks for the troops. The new Marine Corps Commandant warns of damage to the Corps:


Speaking to reporters Wednesday, [General James] Conway said both individual Marines and the Corps institution are feeling the stress of multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.


Conway said he is concerned about what will eventually happen to Marines who have already deployed and are now in supporting roles have to deploy again.


The grind also means the Corps is focused almost solely on counterinsurgency operations. Conway said units are no longer training as many Marines for other combat contingencies.


The Marines are an invasion force, not cops, not an occupation force. They are not interchangable with the Army. About time someone in D.C. realized that fact.

U.S. Retreat from Iraq? The Secret Story

Tom Hayden

According to credible Iraqi sources in London and Amman, a secret story of America's diplomatic exit strategy from Iraq is rapidly unfolding. The key events include:

First, James Baker told one of Saddam Hussein's lawyers that Tariq Aziz, former deputy prime minister, would be released from detention by the end of this year, in hope that he will negotiate with the US on behalf of the Baath Party leadership.

econd, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice personally appealed to the Gulf Cooperation Council in October to serve as intermediaries between the US and armed Sunni resistance groups [not including al Qaeda], communicating a US willingness to negotiate with them at any time or place. Speaking in early October, Rice joked that if then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "heard me now, he would wage a war on me fiercer and hotter than he waged on Iraq," according to an Arab diplomat privy to the closed session.

Third, there was an "unprecedented" secret meeting of high-level Americans and representatives of "a primary component of the Iraqi resistance" two weeks ago, lasting for three days. As a result, the Iraqis agreed to return to the talks in the next two weeks with a response for the American side, according to Jordanian press leaks and al-Quds al-Arabi.

Fourth, detailed email transmissions dated November 16 reveal an active American effort behind the scenes to broker a peace agreement with Iraqi resistance leaders, a plot that could include a political coup against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Fifth, Bush security adviser Stephen Hadley carried a six-point message for Iraqi officials on his recent trip to Baghdad:

* include Iraqi resistance and opposition leaders in any initiative towards national reconciliation;general amnesty for the armed resistance fighters;

* dissolve the Iraqi commission charged with banning the Baath Party;

* start the disbanding of militias and death squads;

* cancel any federalism proposal to divide Iraq into three regions, and combine central authority for the central government with greater self-rule for local governors;

* distribute oil revenues in a fair manner to all Iraqis, including the Sunnis whose regions lack the resource.

Prime Minister Al-Maliki was unable to accept the American proposals because of his institutional allegiance to Shiite parties who believe their historic moment has arrived after one thousand years of Sunni domination. That Shiite refusal has accelerated secret American efforts to pressure, re-organize, or remove the elected al-Maliki regime from power.

It must be emphasized that there is no reason to believe that these US gestures are anything more than probes, in the historic spirit of divide-and-conquer, before escalating the Iraq war in a Baghdad offensive. Denial plausibility - aka Machiavellian secrecy - remains American security policy, for understandable if undemocratic reasons.

Yet Americans who voted in the November election because of a deep belief that a change of government in Washington might end the war have a right to know that their votes counted. The US has not abandoned its entire strategy in Iraq, but is offering significant concessions without its own citizens knowing.

Yes, I'm sure the Bush regime feels we are the last to have the "need to know". Besides, he might have to admit a mistake, and that might open the floodgates.

If Hayden's report turns out to be true, it could have the same effect. Here's hopin', but the main idea is to stop the killing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sorry about your dick ...

Shakes has Bill Frist's final resting place retirement home. Think he's got some inferiority issues?

The real reason ...

Charlie Rangel's proposal on reinstating the Draft should go to a floor vote. I like the idea of a compulsory national service with some reservations as we discussed on Gord's post the other day. The thoughtful Lawrence O'Donnell:


Rangel could never get such attention to that message without introducing his bill. Nancy Pelosi should let it come to a vote. She should let the House debate the draft. Let the Republicans give speeches listing all the good reasons why we should have a volunteer Army. But let's hear Rangel's speech about how the burden of war is not fairly shared in this country. Let's get America thinking about exactly who is being left in the line of fire in the war Americans have turned against and know we can't win. Let's get America thinking about John Kerry's line about Vietnam--who is going to be the last soldier to die for a mistake? A real debate on the draft will do that. Don't worry, the bill has no chance of passing. [my em]


You know it has no chance of passing. Too many on both sides don't want their kids losing a limb, or their minds, or their lives in that, or any, meatgrinder. But we need to have the debate about how valuable the lives of our soldiers really are and their real purpose of defending this nation as opposed to making a bunch of oligarchs richer.

Great thanks to C & L for the link.


I've known about Rush Holt (NJ12) for a while, thanks to Froggy's work on H.R.550. Committee appointments are being handed out and Holt is being considered to chair the House Intelligence Committee. He's got a great article up today on why Holt should be named to the job. Give it a read and lend your support.

But . . . but . . . but . . .


"My son is an honest man," Bush told members of the audience harshly criticized the current U.S. leader's foreign policy.


"We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," a woman in the audience bluntly told Bush after his speech.

Bush, 82, appeared stunned as others in the audience whooped and whistled in approval.


As the Rethugs did before the elections, Poppy is still swimming in that river in Egypt*. Everybody has the Chimp's number except daddy, but this was the guy who had no idea what a gallon of milk cost when he was President. Too bad RU486 wasn't around when he knocked Bar up with the asshole baby.

*Link via Holden.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Headin' out

Me'n Mrs. G and the pups are gettin' ready to head out for the Coast for our Thanksgiving family get-together, so it'll be light blogging for a few days. I'll have mini-Hal with me, but we'll be roughing it. Our favorite (read "cheap") motel has dial-up.

All of you nice folks have a great National Stuff Yer Face Day, and please drive carefully.

Now to get the kitchen sink unbolted and loaded on the truck...

Screw bipartisanship; it's time for revenge.

From The BEAST

The question isn't whether Bush should be impeached; it's how many decades his prison term should last. And "should" doesn't really cut it: Bush needs to be impeached.

Bush needs to be impeached because Bush worshippers just plain deserve it. It was they that were giddy with self-righteous rage, so desperate to take Clinton down that they didn't care how pathetic their excuse was. They need to be paid back, and to know they asked for it. They need to be demoralized and dismissed before they take the government back and damage it further. They need, after all, to know their reign was a colossal failure, a blight on the record. They need to know that now and forever, George W. Bush will be to presidents what OJ Simpson is to all-star running backs. These people understand things in terms of winning and losing, and they need to know that, in the end, they lost.

Bush needs to be impeached because the only language these people understand is power. Their hearts will not be touched by forgiveness. Any mercy is a sign of weakness to them. If you want to earn a thug's respect, you've got to kick his ass up and down the block (my em). No negotiation. No compromise. Slash and burn. Teach these assholes a lesson. Leave them broken and gasping in a puddle of their own urine. Don't ever let them forget the humiliation and the shame of it.

But beyond revenge and humiliation - the reasons that Republicans will actually understand - Bush needs to be impeached because he is a criminal of the highest order, and because tolerating criminals at the seat of power is itself a crime against the nation. The core problem in Washington today is not the president's lack of respect for the law; it's that congress has done nothing about it. The first step toward restoring a reasonable government is correcting that.

Bush needs to be impeached for the same reason any conservative will tell you that drug offenders need to go to jail forever. In other words, if a president abuses his power, misleads the nation, flouts the constitution, breaks longstanding international laws and ignores congress - and then, when the opposition takes power, nothing happens - what kind of message does that send to the next power-mad president? Bush - and Cheney - need to be impeached because that's how this thing works.

Bush needs to be impeached, but it's not going to happen. Not a chance. Because as wrong as the Republicans are, they're right about one thing: the Democrats just don't have the courage to do what's right.

Gee, that rant was going along fine until the last paragraph!

I have high hopes that all the high-minded rhetoric about impeachment being "off the table" is just that - rhetoric, and will fly out the window soon after the investigations get started and evidence of Bu$hCo's high crimes and misdemeanors comes to light. One can only hope the Dems are ready for this. They've had six years of sitting in the corner taking notes.


Usually, I don't give a shit what TV and movie stars do. Most of 'em are idiots anyway, but this Michael Richards thing is something I have to say a few words about. Like Mel Gibsion, there is nothing he can say that will make me believe he is not a racist. Not after seeing the video of his 'stand up' tirade.

A note: He'd better be glad none of the brothas I know were in the audience. They'd have dragged him off the stage and handed him his head.

Another note: The only one on Seinfeld with any talent was Jerry himself. The rest of them should go back to waiting tables.


These three days before Thanksgiving are the worst for us in the shop. Everybody travels this holiday and most do it by car. So, starting yesterday morning, conversations I have on the phone go something like this:

Me: Good morning.

Customer: You have to look at my car today.

Me: I'm booked up.

Customer: You don't understand. I have to drive to Boston/Baltimore/D.C./Philly/Miami tomorrow/the day after/the day after that, and my brakes are making noise/my inspection sticker is expired/my windshield wipers don't work.

(Note: Brakes don't just wear down overnight. You hear them squeaking for weeks before they turn into a lathe and grind your rotors away. Also, why is your inspection a priority now when the sticker expired the end of August?)

Me: And you're just hearing/noticing this now or have you been turning up the radio so you don't?

Customer: You have to fix it, I'm gonna have my kids in the car.

Me: Fine, leave it with me.

Seems bad brakes or whatever is just fine to take your kids back and forth from school, go to the mall, and take your ass back and forth to work. Planning, people. And by the way, remember I squeezed your ass in this week when Christmas time rolls around. I drink Jack Daniel's by the way.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm outta here

Well,almost. I'm still doing laundry and packing,but as of,I gotta get off the computer,shut it down and get ready to leave here at the godawful hour of 5 freaking AM tommorrow. 12 hours in the car with the manly ones is not something I look forward to,but if they get too assinine,I'll leave 'em at a rest stop on the turnpike.

Put your clothes in the hamper,not on the floor,remember to take out the trash and feed the kitties,and try to keep the strippers and general debauchery to a level that won't cause the neighbors to call the cops,ok?

Have a happy Turkey Day Extravaganza,see you in a week.


"Grounded for life."

Andy Borowitz

In yet another setback for President George W. Bush, his father, former President George H.W. Bush, appeared in the Oval Office today and demanded that his son give back the keys to the White House at once.

For the elder Mr. Bush, who has largely taken a hands-off approach during his son's first six years in office, the decision to demand the keys to his erstwhile residence was regarded as extraordinary.

But according to witnesses to the unprecedented confrontation, the senior Mr. Bush also demanded the keys to Air Force One and informed his son that he was "grounded for life."

After the 41st president reprimanded the 43rd president for invading Iraq, the younger Mr. Bush attempted to offer a defense for his unilateral action, telling his father, "All of my friends said that it was a good idea."

"Oh, and if all your friends told you to go AWOL from the Alabama National Guard, would you do that, too?" his father thundered. "OK, well maybe that wasn't the best example, but you get the point."

Speaking to reporters later, the 41st president said that he forbade his son from spending time with Vice President Dick Cheney, calling him "a bad influence."

"I told George to spend the weekend mowing that big lawn in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," he said. "I want him to think long and hard about what he's done"

Elsewhere, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group issued recommendations for winning the war in Iraq, including putting former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in charge of the insurgents.

Shit, our troops could come home next week.

Koppel in Iran

I watched Ted Koppel's two-hour show on Iran last night on The Discovery Channel. I thought it was excellent. Click the link to see some clips. I also recommend you catch the show when it is shown again, as it surely will be.

There were two things that struck me that I feel are worthy to pass along.

The first is that the Iranians think their president Ahmadinejad is not up to his job, that he uses religion to bolster his image and stir people up, and that he is largely ignorant of foreign affairs and policy. They see the similarity between him and Bush.

The second thing is the changes they've seen due to the rise in the power of religion:

"We used to pray at home and go out and drink. Now, we drink at home and go out to pray."

I think we have more in common with those folks than we might have thought.

Oh yeah, they're still pissed-off at us for nipping their nascent democracy in the bud by replacing the elected Mossadegh with the Shah in '53 after he nationalized the oil industry, and for supporting Saddam in their eight-year war in the '80s that killed 800,000 Iranian soldiers, almost a whole generation of young men.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rangel to propose new draft


Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars and to bolster U.S. troop levels insufficient to cover potential future action in Iran, North Korea and Iraq.

"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rangel said.

Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, said he will propose a measure early next year.

He said having a draft would not necessarily mean everyone called to duty would have to serve. Instead, "young people (would) commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great republic, whether it's our seaports, our airports, in schools, in hospitals," with a promise of educational benefits at the end of service.

This is win-win-win.

Win No. 1: America's kids will get a chance to go somewhere and see and do something besides video games, getting fat on junk food, getting each other pregnant, and apathy. It wouldn't hurt our spoiled, over-protected youth to get their hands dirty either. It's a good thing for kids of different backgrounds to get thrown together so they have to work together and get to know one another as well, aka "seeing how the other half lives".

Win No. 2: They'll get to go to college, which is rapidly getting beyond the means of average and low-income folks. As a nation, we need them to get a higher education. Brains, and the opportunity to develop them, are not, or at any rate should not be, the exclusive property of rich white kids, however much they think they are.

Win No. 3: America's youth will get the chance to become more involved as citizens, which is good for democracy. We have a startling, unnerving lack of that at present.

Go get 'em, Charlie. One thing I would add: NO DEFERMENTS, except for truly impaired conditions.

They took shelter amid the poison

Here's a four-part story in the LATimes coming today through Wednesday about how uranium mining has affected Navajos over the years and what the government hasn't done about it.

During the Cold War, uranium mines left contaminated waste scattered around the Navajo Nation. Homes built with it silently pulsed with radiation. People developed cancer. And the U.S. did little to help.

I first got acquainted with this problem several years ago when I read People Of Darkness by Tony Hillerman, one of a series of novels about Navajo tribal policemen Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn.

Our Southwest and its Navajo culture are just an interest of mine, and I pass this on to whomever else might be interested as well.

Send in the subpœnas

Ron Suskind on investigations, subpœnas, and congressional leadership.

The new Democratic Congress may well come down to a series of confrontations between the competing urges to investigate and to lead. Between delving into past wrongdoings and building consensus on how to proceed in Iraq. Between, in a sense, the Democratic Party's show horses and its pit bulls.

Democrats should be able to both investigate and lead, but it will take an embrace of Republican-style discipline (hardly a Democratic strong suit), an appreciation for deferred gratification (think inauguration day, January 2009) and a shrewd division of labor between pit bulls and show horses.

Here, then, is a playbook for the Democrats -- one that keeps the show horses preening, lets the pit bulls attack, helps the party figure out how to use its new subpoena power to maximum effect and encourages the sort of reality-based disclosures that all citizens, regardless of party, deserve.

First, the Democrats must broker a separation of powers. The show horses are their putative candidates for president, especially in the Senate, and the party's leadership in both chambers. Keep them above the fray, focusing on proposals for the future and the new "action plans," especially in foreign policy. But unleash the pit bulls: the committee chairs, their seconds and investigators who will dig relentlessly, identify targets and thus, inevitably, leave themselves vulnerable in their next reelection campaigns.

Over in the people's chamber, some House investigators are quite clear on how to make things personal: Force administration officials to say that they lied or to take the Fifth Amendment.[...]

Please read the rest. There's 435 of these people. Surely, in amongst the "show horses" there's enough "pit bulls" and "workhorses" to do two things at once.

Same old song and dance ... revisited

Like a TV show going into reruns. Ed Encho sent me a link to this:

Washington - A classifed draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.

Seymour Hersh, writing in an article for the November 27 issue of the magazine The New Yorker released in advance, reported on whether the administration of Republican President George W. Bush was more, or less, inclined to attack Iran after Democrats won control of Congress last week.


WMD! Rape rooms! Uranium! The Russians! The Chinese! Mushroom clouds!

Yawn ...

On torture 2

I've touched on the torture issue before, in general terms and of how wrong and useless it is for the purpose of information-gathering. Well last night, after an email exchange with a fellow blogger and one of the Brain's best friends, I got to thinking about it after reading through the links sent to me. I thought about it all night (thanks, pal), though I thought those dreams were a thing of the past. (I'm going to keep our friend's identity vague, National Security Secrets Directives are involved) I, on the other hand, don't give a fuck anymore and if they got a problem they can take their best shot. Today, I'm going to talk about torture and how it works in the real world, as opposed to what all the talking heads and Rethug assholes say about it. That said, we can move on.

Link #1: Excerpts of an interview with Edwin Meese (former AG under Reagan). Meese is discussing the concept of waterboarding as torture.

Let's move to the Geneva Conventions. A lot of people are concerned that terrorism suspects don't have any kind of habeas corpus.
In order to be covered by the Geneva Convention, you have to fulfill certain requirements. . . . So there are a number of criteria in the Geneva Convention that are not met by everyone on the battlefield. Then there's another category of people going back to the Revolutionary War-people who were in those days called spies. If they were not in uniform, they were subject to being summarily executed.

You mean they were executed without even a military tribunal?
I think there were some. Also, a "tribunal" could be a military commander ordering the hanging. I think that's what happened to some of them.

You're advocating summary execution.
Well, yeah, that happens in the military. Illegal combatants are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

Um, no. There is no such thing as an 'illegal combatant' on the battlefield. You're either my friend or enemy. If you're the latter, I'm gonna try to kill you. Even the Rosenbergs were given a trial. And I have a pretty good feeling that no spies were summarily executed (without trial) in our nation's history. If you disagree, you'd better be armed with proof.

As many of you know, my mother was a nurse in the German Army during WW2. She was captured by the Americans and held as a POW for eighteen months. She always said the American soldiers treated her, and her fellow nurses, with the utmost respect. They also treated the German soldiers with respect as long as they followed the rules. No, we do not have a history of torture.

They then go on to ask Meese about waterboarding and he's as evasive as the rest of them when it comes to calling it torture.

It seems like some of these techniques, like waterboarding, are a long way from humane.
Well, again, I have a great deal of confidence that the administration would not engage in torture.

Would you call that torture?
I don't know. I don't know about waterboarding.

It's putting a wet rag over someone's mouth and making them think that they're going to drown.
Yeah, I don't know. As I said, I don't know enough about it to give a firm determination.

That doesn't necessarily sound like torture to you?
I don't know whether they're doing that.

And if they are?
I don't know, because I don't know enough about it.

I'm asking, if that is what they're doing, does that sound like torture?
Well, I'd have to find out how long they do it and whether it does create the impression of drowning. I've never heard of this using a washcloth in their mouth before.

But he sure knows about summary executions. Waterboarding is torture, period. Putting people you have in confinement in fear for their lives is mental abuse at the least. I gather if you're on the receiving end, 'abuse' would be considered a benign term. Let me explain, we did not use techniques like this until this bunch came to power. Don't get me wrong, we're not chiorboys, but this is the first time techniques like this were offcially sanctioned from on high.

Which brings us to Link #2: An interview with an Air Force weenie (like myself) about the survival school at Fairchild AFB where most Air Force combat troops go to learn how to live on their own in the wilderness and how to evade and, if not so lucky, deal with capture (I have also been through the course, 1980, and can vouch for what's written).

I served in the Air Force from 1982 to 1988. I was an airborne linguist and, as such, was required to go through survival school at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane. This was a school that officers and enlisted men alike were required to attend...anyone who might end up in a hostile situation or behind enemy lines--or a POW. That was in January of 1984. Part of survival school was training in interrogation resistance and how to handle oneself in the event of capture by enemy forces.

What does that have to do with Meese's remarks, you might ask? Simply this: Our trainers were careful to instruct us on the Geneva Conventions and which interrogation techniques were covered and which were illegal. I have a very clear memory of what they said about waterboarding. As I recall, water boarding was classified as torture and was a violation of the Geneva Conventions. They told us about the technique for the simple reason that the North Vietnamese used it on American Forces. They wanted us to know about that technique in case we were ever captured by "scumbags who didn't respect the Geneva Conventions." There were no demonstrations; it was considered too traumatic. [my ems]


And believe me, if the Air Force refused to allow their people to experience it, it was bad. Once I was strung up with my arms behind my back, wrists tied togther, pulled up behind me with a rope tied to the cieling, off balance so I was on tip toe. It was only 5 minutes (it felt like an hour) but I swore my shoulders were going to dislocate. (Let that be a lesson to you kids who are thinking of enlisting: Don't volunteer for anything!) However, a Squid related his experience with waterboarding to the Air Force weenie.


My cousin, who was a diver for the Navy, also went through similar training at the same time I did, but in a difference school. We both wen't through survival training at the same time, and we met up on leave in Montana in February of 84 before I went off to my permanent duty station in Greece and he went to Hawaii. He told me they actually put them through the experience for a very short period of time (less than a minute each) so they could see how psychologically disturbing it was.

The procedure as he described it was as follows: You are strapped to a board or plank that is set at an incline angle so that your head is approximately a foot below the level of your feet. A wet cloth is placed over your face so that it covers your eyes, nose and mouth. Then water is dripped steadily onto the cloth over your nose and mouth.

It doesn't sound that bad in the abstract, does it? According to my cousin, it was a terrifying experience. And like me, he was taught that this practice was clearly torture and a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Anyone who went through Survival School at the same time I did, in the mid-80's, would have been taught about water boarding and would also have been taught that it was a form of Torture. For the mouthpieces of the current administration to now pretend that waterboarding is somehow acceptable--or even somehow borderline--is a deliberate and methodical deception. I can't speak knowledgably about the interrogation resistance training of the US Military for the last 15 years, but if you were in the service in the 80's and you had any chance of being in a combat risk situation, you went through this training. And every last one of us who has completed this training knows that waterboarding is torture, pure and simple. [my em]


The institutional sanctioning of torture puts us in the same league as Soviet Russia, the Khmer Rouge, Nazi Germany, Kim's Korea, Amin's Uganda, and Mao's China. Neocon America is not the nation I put my ass on the line for, not the nation I pledged my life to defend, and not the nation whose secrets I pledged to keep. Now for personal experience, because torture takes a toll on the people who are charged with meting it out as well, unless they are psychopaths or sociopaths.

In a combat situation, I have done things that could be qualified as abuse and torture. In order to protect my mates and achieve success in the mission, I was prepared to do anything to gather information I needed. Example: My intel is shaky and I'm not sure of the size of a guard force protecting an enemy installation that we're charged with destroying. What do I do? I grab a perimeter guard and demand to know the troop strength. He tells me to go fuck myself. I take out my knife and either remove a finger or dig an eye out of his head, or both depending on his stubbornness and pain threshold. I ask the question again and get an accurate reply. Needless to say, his usefulness to me is over and he becomes just another casualty of war. I have no qualms about this because it's happening on the battlefield and war is horrible (there is no glory in war). The only consequences I have to deal with is what goes on in my own head (I don't wish that on anybody). I've been sentenced to that prison for the past 20 years.

Now, after combat is over and I have prisoners, the scenario changes. Case in point - Grenada 1983. We took about a hundred Cuban soldiers prisoner when we took the airport in Fort Georges. They were in our custody for about 72 hours until the appropriate authorities could take them off our hands. After hostilities were over and they realized they weren't going to be executed, the macho Latino came out and a lot of them got lippy. It got to the point that you just wanted to grab the loudmouths and kick the crap out of them. We talked about it because we were worried they might foment an uprising, and yes we even considered killing the lot of them. My CO took us aside and said this: "The Geneva Conventions apply here, boys. If you abuse one of them, I'll shoot you myself." He wouldn't even let us threaten them.

I know it's a fine line I'm walking and I hope most of you get it. Once an enemy is reduced from 'combatant' to 'prisoner', the rules change. When an enemy is your prisoner, you are responsible for his well-being. He can't harm you, he can't kill your people, he is impotent and depends on your good graces to remain alive. Regardless of the Geneva Conventions, it's just a basic fact of humanity that you don't abuse those who are incapable of defending themselves.

Americans don't torture. Correction, torture should not be sanctioned by our government. Yes, shit happens on the battlefield, but when an enemy is disarmed and captured, we have a moral imperative to show our humanity toward our fellow man, not only for humanity's sake but for the protection of our own troops who might find themselves in a similar situation. Just because 'they' do it, doesn't mean we should. We are better (supposedly) than 'they' are, and only these chickenhawk assholes who are running the show want to lower ourselves to 'their' level.

Any more former or current GIs who'd like to add to this? As my Air Force brother says:

I'm a little baffled that I haven't seen any other ex-service people speaking up about it.

Well, I am because it disgusts me.


Brother Lurch picks up the ball.