Friday, September 28, 2007

Geese and Ganders

Our two towering paragons of virtue, Senators DeMint and Graham, were among those who were oh so eager to denounce Move On for a pun. They joined the whole of the Republican membership of the Senate (and a collection of weak willed Democrats) and participated in this absurd political Kabuki in an effort to score a few popularity points by pretending to defend the honor of our armed forces by passing a resolution that said in part:

2) to strongly condemn any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces;

Now we have the chance to see if they were really serious about this. For if they were it would mean that they would now have to aggressively lead an effort to pass a condemnation of Rush Limbaugh for his anti-armed forces rant.

On his radio show yesterday, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh attacked the “honor and integrity” of some members of the Armed Forces. Limbaugh attacked troops who hold a different viewpoint than his own as “phony soldiers.”


I strongly recommend that you not hold your breath waiting for their action. Our Senators have shown a strong partisan streak that makes it clear that the actions of those on the left, if they are an effort to overturn their political goals must be condemned, but those exact same actions on the right (the questioning the impartiality and honesty of members of the armed forces) are just fine.

It goes back to the rule of ethics and political discourse that has existed for at least the last 10 years at least, IOALAYAAR. (It's OK as long as you are a Republican)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Well, It Appears That Our Mercenaries In Iraq

Are acting just how you should expect mercenaries to act.

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization

You might be thinking that 'with friends like these, who needs enemies', but the fine folks at blackwater are not our friends. They are mercenaries, they are being paid, and paid quite well, to do a risky job.

The trouble is, as it has always been with mercenaries, they are there for the money, and in any group of mercenaries, there will be some that will continue to follow the money, no matter where it leads.

So, in addition to the various investigations into excessive use of force, we now have this.

Just two more benefits of outsourcing work that our armed forces should be doing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Joy, Sorrow and Rage

CNN is following the story of a small boy from Baghdad that was badly burned in a sectarian attack. Recently they covered the family's arrival in LA for medical treatment. Having a 5 year old son, this hits close to home. There is an undeniable Joy in seeing this vibrant and innocent child be given health and hope.

This is the kind of heart warming human interest story that the American public loves. It reinforces their view of the kindness of our people, our nation, our government. I too am deeply touched by the profound difference that we are able to make in this one families life.

Then I step back.

I consider the fact that, at it's root, we are the cause of this boys current suffering. The US is Iraq's Pandora. We have taken the lid off of that nation and unleashed a riot of miseries upon that land. In time, one of those miseries landed on this boy. So when I read of the kindness we are extending to this boy, I am also fully aware that in large measure we are simply addressing a wrong that we are, in small part, responsible for. While we did not do this, we enabled the creation of an environment where this could occur.

And these events are not just happening to one small boy or just one family. While we are helping him there are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who we can not aid. All of these people are suffering, and we can do little more that help a handful. Our nation will latch upon these stories to assuage any guilt we feel about the whole situation. By helping this one family, we are not responsible for the pain that our actions has caused tens of thousands of families. While we have created joy in one home, we have left a land overwhelmed in sorrow.

But there is more; Once you realize the whole truth about their trip to the US, rage starts burning. Even in our kindness there is also an amazing amount of self serving of cruelty.

We have plucked this boy, and his family from a 1 room home in the middle of a city that is the front line of a civil war that shows no sign of ending. We have moved them to a land of safety, prosperity and hope. We will repair the damage that has been done, and then we will drop them back into the disaster area that Iraq now is.

So when I read of the suffering of a child so like my own; when I read of the simple joy he experiences in pushing a luggage cart, when I hear of his pain, his joy, his fears, and his hope, I can not help but feel fear and anger about the fate that awaits him. For after we have repaired the damage, we will then place him back into the very environment that almost killed him.

I can also not forget the children, teens and adults whose misery and suffering, unlike Youssif's, has gone unnoticed by the US media and who will live and die in the hell on earth that our Pandora created for them.

America follows the story of one boy from Iraq, and allows themselves to bask in the warm glow of this humanitarian act. To many never consider the deeper meaning of the story, and what the final act of this play will mean. They are content to not consider how this happened, or where it leads, and simply want to continue their lives, reassured in the fact that we are kind and charitable, and that those who don't see it that way are just ill informed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Republican Senators Having a Bad Week

Although Sen. Vitter (R-La) keeps deigning it, the working girl that claims he was a regular visitor is speaking out about his actions.

"I want the truth to be known," Ellis said. "It was a pure sexual relationship. He would come in and do his business."

In light of this latest development, one has to wonder his Vitter's wife still thinks the Bobbit option is best.

And on the non-hypocritical traditional corruption front, Sen. Stevens (R-Ak) has again been tied to by a collection of rather unsavory friends.

During a secret meeting to discuss what prosecutors say was a dirty deal to keep Alaska oil taxes low, two oil contractors said they had a powerful ally coming to town who could help build support for the plan: Sen. Ted Stevens.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Why The Surge Will Fail

and confirmation that billions of dollars were spent for nothing.

Those are the lessons to learn from the Independent Commission on Security Forces in Iraq

We have spent billions building the police forces in Iraq, and the result:

Iraq's Interior Ministry is regarded as "dysfunctional and sectarian," and the National Police should be "disbanded and reorganized,"

So, time to spend a few billion more.

And, what tells us that the surge will fail?

Iraq's armed forces won't be ready to perform independently during the next 18 months.

We have been promised a viable and effective Iraqi army was only a year a two away for 4 years now. It is very clear that at this time Iraq is unable to hold any of the gains the US forces make during the surge.

The end result for the people of Iraq; A period of improvement that last only as long as US troops are present. If troops move on there will be rapid decline into violence that the Iraqi army is unable to prevent.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

It May Still Violate The Geneva Conventions But

I think I know a way we could close Guantanamo, and still torture those the Bush administration wants to torture.

Just make them fly around the nation on commercial flights in economy class.

They would spend the rest of their lives having to deal with faulty self check-in machines, endless lines, absurd security rules, inexplicable flight delays, bad pay as you go meals, and lost baggage.

This could be as effective as waterboarding.

And as a quick aside:

Is there any rule that mandates that the employees of Delta Air Lines are not allowed to smile? I have never seen as grim a collection of people as those manning the Delta service counters across the nation.