Saturday, October 27, 2007

Meanwhile, Back In Iraq

More GIs continue to get slaughtered for no particular reason. Here's one Green Beret I wouldn't mess with:
'I Don't Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier's Life'

You're right Sergeant, it isn' never was.

We have failed you young man. You trusted us to never send you into harm's way unless absolutely needed for the defense of your country, and we all betrayed that trust by allowing a morally bankrupt psychopath on the payroll of Big Oil to take charge of our brave volunteers.

Can you ever forgive us?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What? No Prenup? It Reveals True Republican Values

Just when you thought the hypocrisy of the right wingers, defenders of marriage couldn't get any more clearer, you find another example of why hetero-marriage is not better than any other kind. Have a look at this article:

Looking for a perfect little weekend vacation this fall? Here's a travel tip you don't hear very often: Head to Pittsburgh. Right away.

Seriously, get in the car and read this story later, because when you're done reading, you'll wish you'd left 10 minutes ago. There are towns with better vistas, sure, and there are getaways with more sunshine. But only Pittsburgh is the scene of the fabulously tawdry and surpassingly vicious spectacle that is the divorce of Richard Mellon Scaife.

Remember him? The cantankerous, reclusive 75-year-old billionaire who's spent a sizable chunk of his inherited fortune bankrolling conservative causes and trying to kneecap Democrats? He's best known for funding efforts to smear then-President Bill Clinton, but more quietly he's given in excess of $300 million to right-leaning activists, watchdogs and think tanks. Atop his list of favorite donees: the family-values-focused Heritage Foundation, which has published papers with titles such as "Restoring a Culture of Marriage."

The culture of his own marriage is apparently past restoring. With the legal fight still in the weigh-in phase, the story of Scaife v. Scaife already includes a dog-snatching, an assault, a night in jail and that divorce court perennial, allegations of adultery.

Oh, and there's the money. Three words, people.

No. Pre. Nup.
Read on if you dare to discover what good old fashioned republican values are all about.

Say What Mr. President?

Is any one still tracking "Bushisms?" Here's one I found today:
All I can tell you is when the Governor calls, I answer his phone
Gee whiz George, I sure hope your not reaching into Ahnuld's pocket to answer his phone. That might end up with you getting slapped with some kind of sexual harassment suit.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Blame Game: Hey, I Thought W Didn't Like People Playing It?

You remember a bit ago when people started pointing fingers around the leak situation and Valarie Plame, no?

You remember the W, Rove and Co chastising a wide assortment of people for "playing the blame game" revolving around the Fed response to Katrina, don't you?

You remember the Presidential spokesmodel, Scotty McMessage McClellan saying we don't "play the blame game," and suggesting that people shouldn't do it otherwise they would receive the Parental Look of Disdain from the President, among others?

Well, of course, here's the president just the other day doing what? Of course, it couldn't be "playing the blame game," could it? Let's have a look:
Q Is it all their fault that these bills aren't moving, that you've got these veto threats out?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it is their fault that bills aren't moving, yeah.
What? That doesn't sound like a heaping load of blame to you? But really, the veto is a last resort for failed diplomacy. Who is not bending to the will of the people here?

Let's have a look at how he justifies his actions:
As I said, I'm not a part of the legislative branch. All I can do is ask them to move bills. It's up to the leaders to move the bills. And you bet I'm going to put veto threats out. Of course, I want to remind you, I put a lot of veto threats out when the Republicans were in control of Congress. I said, now, if you overspend I'm going to veto your bills, and they listened, and we worked together. Whether or not that's the case, we'll find out.
Now if that doesn't sound a lot like the spoiled child taking his ball and going home because he is not winning the game, I don't know what does. Really, that's not how I understand the history of the President's relationship with the prior congress. But of course, I'm critical of a man who brought us into an unnecessary, protracted, bloody, expensive war with and inside of Iraq. I can't rightly and most certainly don't trust him to act in our best interest.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mandatory Reading For Iraq War Supporters: Five Years After The Biggest Mistake Ever Made By A Sitting President

Every time I type the phrase "supporter" I remember the quote from Animal House: "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter." A friend of mine sent along a link to a very interesting letter posted by 12 former Army Captains.

No doubt, the reichwingers will be in full tilt to try and smear these folks, but I think we should all read this article. Have a look and tell me what you think. It's short, so I pasted the whole thing in:
Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles.

As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we've seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it's like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it's time to get out.

What does Iraq look like on the ground? It's certainly far from being a modern, self-sustaining country. Many roads, bridges, schools and hospitals are in deplorable condition. Fewer people have access to drinking water or sewage systems than before the war. And Baghdad is averaging less than eight hours of electricity a day.

Iraq's institutional infrastructure, too, is sorely wanting. Even if the Iraqis wanted to work together and accept the national identity foisted upon them in 1920s, the ministries do not have enough trained administrators or technicians to coordinate themselves. At the local level, most communities are still controlled by the same autocratic sheiks that ruled under Saddam. There is no reliable postal system. No effective banking system. No registration system to monitor the population and its needs.

The inability to govern is exacerbated at all levels by widespread corruption. Transparency International ranks Iraq as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And, indeed, many of us witnessed the exploitation of U.S. tax dollars by Iraqi officials and military officers. Sabotage and graft have had a particularly deleterious impact on Iraq's oil industry, which still fails to produce the revenue that Pentagon war planners hoped would pay for Iraq's reconstruction. Yet holding people accountable has proved difficult. The first commissioner of a panel charged with preventing and investigating corruption resigned last month, citing pressure from the government and threats on his life.

Against this backdrop, the U.S. military has been trying in vain to hold the country together. Even with "the surge," we simply do not have enough soldiers and marines to meet the professed goals of clearing areas from insurgent control, holding them securely and building sustainable institutions. Though temporary reinforcing operations in places like Fallujah, An Najaf, Tal Afar, and now Baghdad may brief well on PowerPoint presentations, in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map and often strengthen the insurgents' cause by harassing locals to a point of swayed allegiances. Millions of Iraqis correctly recognize these actions for what they are and vote with their feet -- moving within Iraq or leaving the country entirely. Still, our colonels and generals keep holding on to flawed concepts.

U.S. forces, responsible for too many objectives and too much "battle space," are vulnerable targets. The sad inevitability of a protracted draw-down is further escalation of attacks -- on U.S. troops, civilian leaders and advisory teams. They would also no doubt get caught in the crossfire of the imminent Iraqi civil war.

Iraqi security forces would not be able to salvage the situation. Even if all the Iraqi military and police were properly trained, equipped and truly committed, their 346,000 personnel would be too few. As it is, Iraqi soldiers quit at will. The police are effectively controlled by militias. And, again, corruption is debilitating. U.S. tax dollars enrich self-serving generals and support the very elements that will battle each other after we're gone.

This is Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality we experienced. This is what we tried to communicate up the chain of command. This is either what did not get passed on to our civilian leadership or what our civilian leaders chose to ignore. While our generals pursue a strategy dependent on peace breaking out, the Iraqis prepare for their war -- and our servicemen and women, and their families, continue to suffer.

There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.
I think these folks, closer to the boots on the ground than the W, Rove and Cos. hand picked "generals," are better informed and yield still better advice than will be headed the the suits in charge, no doubt.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Coalition Of The Willing Shrinking Like America's War Libido

Looks like the "Coalition of the Willing" is about to shrink.
Britain will halve its force in Iraq to 2,500 troops from spring next year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday against a backdrop of noisy anti-war protesters outside parliament waving "troops out" banners.

Any one can do the math, but it sure seems like when the W, Rove And Co spouted their anthem, "coalition of the willing," it really seems like it's more like the coalition of the hangers on, and then only by the slimest of margins. Five thousand troops pales in comparision to the number of folk we have risking it all for the great Bush's Iraq Democracy and Freedom Spreading Experiement.

Well, this we can say, it sure seems like the American public isn't the only country that is having it's war libido doused by the cold shower that is Iraq. Just wondering, for those of you who swing "right," is this an "artificial" or a "real" deadline?

Meanwhile, back in Iraq, it doesn't seem to be progressing all that well:
Some potential progress toward reconciliation has run into recent trouble. The U.S. effort to recruit Sunni tribesmen to join the police force and fight the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq was strongly opposed last week by Shiite officials, who asserted that the Sunni recruits were killing innocent people under the guise of fighting insurgents.

"We demand that the American administration stop this adventure, which is rejected by all the sons of the people and its national political powers," the leading Shiite political coalition said in a statement. "Their elements are criminals who cannot be trusted or relied upon."
Just one small question to close with, which I have asked in a similar vein a number of times. When recruiting new police officers from the ranks of qualified Iraqi's, how do we tell which Iraqi is our friend and which is our foe?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

F! The Dead Iraqi Civilians, Our Guys Are The Good Guys

I suppose that rationalizing the killing of civilians is why the CEO of Blackwater gets paid the big bucks:
"We have 1,000 guys out in the field. People make mistakes, they do stupid things sometimes."

ERIK D. PRINCE, chief executive of Blackwater USA
"Oops.Sorry we killed your uncle...Ahmed."