Archive for the ‘Iraq’ category

R.I.P. Paul Newman – An additional thought

September 28, 2008

Paul was 83 when he died. He had an enormously successful career playing some of the most memorable characters in Hollywood history. Just as important though, he was a gracious and generous man and a man committed to a long lasting (very rare in Tinsletown) marriage.

Because of his success in the entertainment industy, Newman was also able to afford his dreams when it came to car racing and philanthropy. 83 years is a pretty long life, and it seems he had a rich and fulfilling one.

In contrast, the unpublicized 23 American young people who were killed in Iraq in the month of September did not have a long lasting or fulfilling life. They might have, had they lived, but they didn’t. Nor did the 23 killed in August or the 19 killed in July or the 29 killed in June.

We don’t know their names, or their family histories, or their talents, or their dreams or anything else about them. It didn’t get any press except in the towns that they used to call home. They were all young and we will never have a chance to know if they might have become famous, rich, philanthropic or exceptional. Because, just like Paul Newman, they are dead.

In a couple of days, it will be October. Thirty one days later, it will be November. During that month, if history is any measure, another 20 to 30 Americans will be killed in the Iraq war – the one that the American people don’t want but refuse to do anything about. Their deaths, like the 4000+ who came before them, are blood on your frightened, ignorant and idle hands.

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Oregon: Vet Suicides Skyrocket

August 24, 2008

This part of the nightmare just keeps getting worse. VCS reports that more troops from Oregon are dying of suicide than from the war itself.

In 2005, 19 Oregon soldiers were killed in combat. In that same year, 153 Oregon veterans of all ages committed suicide.

The group facing the highest risk of suicide is veterans between 18 and 24 years old. Portland VA officials told The Portland Tribune that Oregon vets made almost 900 calls to the National VA Suicide Hotline in the last year.

I just don’t understand why people cannot get it through their heads that men and women coming back from the war MUST have a sophisticated and professionally applied debriefing period to learn how to cope with what they have seen and done. Is it because we still have this John Wayne, movie vision of what war is? Is it because we back home just don’t want to have to face it ourselves or admit how badly we’ve all screwed up?

Why state governments are not stepping up to the plate on this issue is beyond me. And I’m not talking about offering counseling or mental health, I’m talking about installing a mandatory program that each and every veteran must attend, be assessed, and if necessary receive further treatment – free of charge.

Forcing these brave young men and women to go and fight this dirty war – many having to go repeatedly and some being forced to go even after their enlistment ends – is bad enough. To not give them every possible chance for a successful return to civilian life is indecent and immoral.

Iraq. Remember?

August 22, 2008

Marty on the Homefront has several posts up that are no less than necessary reading at this time. The first is a secret tape made of an army recruiter threatening a potential recruit. The second is a post – the final post – of an American soldier who used to have a blog. It is one of the best things I have ever read. It’s long. Read it.

Link to this blog. It’s a good one.

I read the news today, oh boy….

August 19, 2008

Just a quick note. Lots in the news about Georgia and Russia and how incensed our goverment is that Russia would have the gall to invade another country. That is so absurd I can’t even comment.

Lots in the news about Obama and McCain and $5 million dollar rich people. Lots about Hurricane Fay and ofcourse lots about the Olympics.

In case anyone else forgot – the msm certainly did – there are still a couple of wars going on in the world. Innocent people are being slaughtered, mutiliated and left homeless because we are too stubborn to admit we fucked up.  And American men are dying or having their limbs blown off while the media focuses on everything else but.

Bush must love it.

Vincent Bugliosi rips Bush a new one

July 27, 2008

In case you missed this over at C & L, I think it’s the best thing on YouTube today. Bugliosi is given a platform before the Senate Judiciary Committee to defend his new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. The repubs on the committee got a little more than they bargained for.

A Last Throw of the Dice…?

July 13, 2008

I rarely read the US press anymore as I find that, when the biased reporting isn’t downright outrageous, it is often just plain silly. It’s also frequently behind the times. I read first about Tony Snow on the BBC Online. It was another hour before I saw the first article from a US source.

New Zealander, Bob Rigg, writing freelance for The Asia Times, sums up the US strategy in Iraq-Iran very nicely. In 13 paragraphs, his summary puts it in a perspective that even I might understand.

…architects of the Project for a New American Century, including luminaries such as John Bolton, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.

The neo-conservative scenario was clear: a devastating military strike would knock out Iraq’s powerful armed forces, and its population would welcome US liberators with open arms. The US would then immediately strike at Iran…Before the world could collect its wits, both Iraq and Iran would have been under direct US control. But the best laid plans of mice and men …

He explains how the Middle Eastern countries, instead of kowtowing to the US since the invasion of Iraq, are doing exactly the opposite. They are flexing their muscles and becoming bolder.

…its [US] pre-eminence has been eroded by misguided neo-conservative adventures in the Middle East, and by the emergence of a new international constellation of powerful and assertive states, including in the region. Their assertiveness has increased in proportion to the decline in the political and moral standing of the US, which is now less in control of the world and the Middle East than at any time since the turn of the new century.

This entire master plan for control of Middle Eastern oil reserves, which has been in play and passed down from one administration to the next since the Shah, finally settled in the incapable hands of one George W. Bush. He surrounded himself with those who were already involved in the plan, indeed I’m sure they are the same ones who worked behind the scenes to insure his election,  and he gave them free reign to finally complete it.

But now that the plan is falling apart, what with the Iraqi government demanding a timetable, the American public strongly against expansion, the economy going in the toilet while Bush continues to spend millions daily in Iraq, and the incompetence and impotence of the Bush White House, he is becoming desparate to make something happen before he leaves office. Or I should say, the powerful repubs who pull his strings, fearful that the Bush clone, McCain isn’t going to pull off the election, are scrambling to position the US so there will appear to be no alternative other than war with Iran.

I think we better be careful in these final days of Bushco just what we believe about Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and everyone else in that region. The propoganda and fabrications are going to get heavy. I don’t think ANY major decisions should be allowed in these final few months before the next president. The chances of Bush actually improving the situation are nil. He hasn’t done one positive thing for the country yet. Don’t believe he is going to start now.

General Accuses Bush Administration of War Crimes

June 23, 2008

Well George, remember what you said about “listening to your commanders in the field”?

A retired Army general who spent 10 months in Iraq and led an investigation into the atrocities at the Abu Ghraib prison there accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing war crimes and called for those responsible to be held accountable. Full article here.

“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account,”wrote Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba.

Bush, as the Commander in Chief, and as a “war president” as he likes to call himself, is ultimately responsible for the actions of his military underlings.

“The detainees suffer permanent hearing loss, persistent and debilitating pain in limbs and joints, major depressive disorder, severe post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks.” The men were later released and were never charged with any crimes.

We may be Democrats or we may be Republicans, but we are all Americans. Is this what our founding fathers envisioned and is this what is acceptable now in the United States of America? If we are patriots, is not our first patriotic duty to uphold our own Constitution and abide by our own laws? Or are we ready and willing to uphold that Constitution only when the going is easy but when the going gets a little tough, when we feel a little insecure, we forget all that and start behaving like the very barbarians we are supposed to detest?

“With this evidentiary record, this report provides the most detailed account available thus far of the experience of detainees in US custody who suffered torture — a war crime — at the hands of US personnel. Additionally, this report provides further evidence of the role health professionals played in facilitating detainee abuse by being present during torture and ill-treatment, denying medical care to detainees, providing confidential medical information to interrogators, and failing to stop or document detainee abuse.

Just what justification is there, once we are smacked in the face with evidence of actual war crimes, to not take some kind of action against those who are responsible? Just what excuse for our actions do we expect to be acceptable by the international community? Or are we so arrogant, that we no longer care what anyone else thinks?

The report was released Tuesday, the same day documents made public by the Senate Armed Services Committee presented during a hearing on the administration’s interrogation policies showed a pattern of humiliation, abuse and even torture inflicted on detainees was a deliberate policy of the Bush administration.

Jonathan Fredman, chief counsel to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, discussed with U.S. military officials how interrogators could use the “wet towel”technique against detainees to extract information.

Fredman added that the “wet towel”technique would only be defined as torture “if the detainee dies.”

Just what kind of a fucking country are we, anyway?