Oct 31, 2006

Stuck in Iraq


John Kerry- or - George Bush- If you don't know which one is the traitor to the American Military then you are a complete and utter fool.

Doonesbury toon

"Victory" and the 30%'ers

On the Brink, a new book by a retired CIA Chief details how Bush's administration neutered the CIA and politicized the "need" to attack Iraq. As Nicole Belle, of Crooks and Liars says:

"Another nail in the coffin. How many are necessary before those last remaining 30-odd percenters stop defending the decision to invade Iraq?"

On the Brink

The answer is that they will Never stop supporting the failed policies of "their side".

Their tunnel vision stems from their ignorance, but their hate for liberals makes their limited vision become even less and less until they are completely blinded. For them to admit that they were wrong about Iraq is a very difficult indeed. But what is impossible for them is to acknowledge that Liberals were right.

The only thing that will turn these 30 percenters around on Iraq will be some grand excuse on their part. They need some talking point that will allow them to bow out with a measure of grace, if not in our eyes (not hardly) - in their own clouded illusion of how they see themselves.

I am all for the 30 percenters declaring Victory! in Iraq and allowing our troops to leave. You know as well as I do that "Victory!" in the form of bragging rights is ALL that these shallow people want. They don't care if Iraq falls apart tomorrow. They will cut and run to their hearts' content, as long as they don't have to admit defeat to the Left-wing. They will grind every soldier in Iraq to dust and blood to prevent THAT.

So, Let these fools declare victory so we can bring our troops home as soon as possible. Otherwise, they will Never allow our troops to leave the hell that the American invasion has made of Iraq.

Bush Family War Profiteering

From Common Dreams...

Bush Family Profiteering

Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: "Iraq was better than expected ... Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good."

Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq's coffers, a country battered by civil war - but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.

Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war?

Yet Cheney isn't the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration's destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too.

More War Profiteering in Iraq:

War Profiteers

Another Deck of Cards full of criminals, terrorists, and scumbags:
The Cabal

See the Movie
Iraq for Sale

Top 10 Most Brazen War Profiteers
Top 10

Oct 30, 2006

Juan Cole writes today about where we are in Iraq, where we have been, and why we should have never went in without SOME form of understanding about the task at hand. He also discusses those who have attacked him over the past 3 years as he attempted to make them realize the heart of the matter and the truth that was always hanging over Iraq. Those who wanted this war so badly were those who knew the least about Iraq. He discusses how two of his longtime detractors continued to attack him, regardless of any facts about Iraq:


Goldberg wrote as a way of bringing to a close our debate nearly two years ago:

' Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn't want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading.'

What was wrong with this is that you cannot, contrary to the cannons of American punditry, actually separate out "judgment" and "knowledge." Judgment comes out of knowledge and experience. Goldberg was sounding off on matters about which he just didn't have much of either. But note, too, that Goldberg has, since our debate, been hired by the Los Angeles Times to purvey his opinions regularly to the nation's second largest city, while veteran reporter and Iraq War critic Bob Scheer was fired and is no longer at the Times. It doesn't matter that Scheer was right and Goldberg was wrong. The important thing for the corporate media is that a pundit supports the status quo (whatever that is), not whether he or she makes epochal mistakes. The ability to produce and reproduce a narrow rhetoric in support of the projects of our plutocracy is what counts. No matter if those projects kill hundreds of thousands of people in the course of failing.

Not Bush, not Rumsfeld, not Wolfowitz, not Goldberg, not Jarvis, knew anything serious about Iraqi history, religion or society. But they were going to "democratize" it with a foreign military occupation. I'll wager none of them knew anything serious about French Algeria or British Egypt, the sort of experience Arabs had in the 20th century with the "liberty" of being occupied by Westerners.Neither Jarvis nor Goldberg has any wisdom for us now in how to get out of this quagmire without the world coming down around our ears. But it was never about Iraq. It was about the all-purpose punditocracy, the vicious jab, the smearing of those with whom one disagrees, in the service of the rich and powerful. It is about the cheapening of our democracy, the termite-like boring at the pillars of our republic.
I'll close with a fuller quotation of Alexander Pope's famous phrase than is usually given. I apologize for the difficulty of the language, but hope readers will try to work through it and grasp what he is driving at. Because he was not just talking about ignorant fools, but also about learned ones. And what he was saying is that civil society is best served not by polemic but by urbane understanding. It is something we can strive for over here, even if we don't have any good solutions for the Iraq catastrophe. And if we had more of what Pope recommends, maybe we wouldn't have so many quagmires.

'Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead;
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.
Distrustful Sense with modest Caution speaks;
It still looks home, and short Excursions makes;
But ratling Nonsense in full Vollies breaks;
And never shock'd, and never turn'd aside,
Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering Tyde!

But where's the Man, who Counsel can bestow,
Still pleas'd to teach, and not proud to know?
Unbiass'd, or by Favour or by Spite;
Not dully prepossest, nor blindly right;
Tho' Learn'd well-bred; and tho' well-bred, sincere;
Modestly bold, and Humanly severe?
Who to a Friend his Faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the Merit of a Foe?
Blest with a Taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
A Knowledge both of Books and Humankind;
Gen'rous Converse; a Sound exempt from Pride;
And Love to Praise, with Reason on his Side? '

Oct 27, 2006

Came back from lunch to see this MSNBC update...

Ah Thank God the Media has our priorities lined up for us.


But don't worry, folks! The price of gas is okay!

Okay, America. You can go back to sleep now.

(unless this is part of the NeoCon plot to begin the Invasion of Iran...?)

Hillary's enemies?

Anna Quindlen of Newsweek waxes ridiculous in this week's edition. She describes liberal Democrats as Hillary's worst enemies. I must admit, I don't support Hillary for President at all, even though I have heard she has done some really good things for New York. I don't believe she deserves the support of liberals as far as being the next President-elect. But for Quindlen to label progressives like me as Hillary's "enemies" is just more media chaff ejected to distract the American public.


Here is my reply to Ms.Quindlen:

RE: Hillary's biggest enemies.

Anna, Anna, Anna,

Where to start? Why don't you mention "Hillary Clinton" to the next 10 random people you run into. After you hear the outlandish vitriol from the Republicans who despise her from head to toe, then you can use the word "enemy" in its proper context. As it is, your article is just so much more tripe. Hillary is unelectable for two reasons. Number 1 is because, from my dear old Fox-news imbedded Grandmother to young Republicans everywhere, she is despised and blamed for everything from "Fake" Global warming to coddling terrorists. None of this has any basis in fact, but neither does listening to Dubya tell millions of Americans that we are winning in Iraq.... It is utter manure.

That said, Reason No.2 is that Hillary Clinton is like Republican Lite- She's a pure politician who, until she stood up against Rumsfeld recently, (after she sensed the political wind shifting) has not stood strong with the Democrat party enough. She had the power to stand up a LONG time ago and speak out openly against this Administration, against torture, against wiretaps, against renditions, against Bush's failure to take accountability for 9-11 AND the Katrina fiasco. Time and time again, she has not.

In short, she's failed every Democrat, and especially every liberal Democrat out there by failing to do so. Explore the blogosphere- few Progressives OR Liberals OR Democrats desire to see Hillary on a ticket or TALK INCESSANTLY about it, like you folks in the media. She's insincere. She's just another politician, and thats EXACTLY what we don't need.

Here's some things that Liberals know that it takes the Mainstream media 3 years to figure out, and will probably take Bush supporters another 3 years after that to figure out:

1. The Iraq war is a massive Mistake.
A. No WMD existed at the time we invaded, as we screamed and protested at the time.
B. It Increased Terror and Terrorist activities
C. It has resulted in a monumental loss of life for no, absolutely NO Measurable Benefit to the average American.
D. It has bankrupted our country.

2. Hillary Clinton WILL NEVER Be the Candidate in 2008.

3. Iran is NOT a threat, but if Bush has his way, he will begin Iraq Part Deux ASAP to distract voters. (Note the wargames going on?)

4. Impeachment and immediate THOROUGH investigations on Foleygate, Traitorgate, and the 9-11 commission are the Absolute Best Way to end Political Corruption and the Pork of the Century element of the Abramoff Republican Era.

Don't believe me? Well then, by all means- please, continue writing such inanity as Hillary's enemies being Democrats.

Oct 26, 2006

Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone Article "The Worst Congress ever" is must read stuff. It has the benefit of being written by in a scathingly funny tone while simultaneously delivering more insight into the way our government is currently being run than ANYTHING ELSE I have read this year. A tour de force Expose' of - the not-so-hidden overbelly of the Republican congress.

The whole article can be found here: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/worst_congress_ever/page/6

This passage, for me, spotlights the worst of the worst:

When one considers that Congress has forsaken hearings and debate, conspired to work only three months a year, completely ditched its constitutional mandate to provide oversight and passed very little in the way of meaningful legislation, the question arises: What do they do?

The answer is easy: They spend. When Bill Clinton left office, the nation had a budget surplus of $236 billion. Today, thanks to Congress, the budget is $296 billion in the hole. This year, more than sixty-five percent of all the money borrowed in the entire world will be borrowed by America, a statistic fueled by the speed-junkie spending habits of our supposedly "fiscally conservative" Congress. It took forty-two presidents before George W. Bush to borrow $1 trillion; under Bush, Congress has more than doubled that number in six years. And more often than not, we are borrowing from countries the sane among us would prefer not to be indebted to: The U.S. shells out $77 billion a year in interest to foreign creditors, including payment on the $300 billion we currently owe China.

What do they spend that money on? In the age of Jack Abramoff, that is an ugly question to even contemplate. But let's take just one bill, the so-called energy bill, a big, hairy, favor-laden bitch of a law that started out as the wet dream of Dick Cheney's energy task force and spent four long years leaving grease-tracks on every set of palms in the Capitol before finally becoming law in 2005.
Like a lot of laws in the Bush era, it was crafted with virtually no input from the Democrats, who were excluded from the conference process. And during the course of the bill's gestation period we were made aware that many of its provisions were more or less openly for sale, as in the case of a small electric utility from Kansas called Westar Energy.

Westar wanted a provision favorable to its business inserted in the bill -- and in an internal company memo, it acknowledged that members of Congress had requested Westar donate money to their campaigns in exchange for the provision. The members included former Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin and current Energy and Commerce chairman Joe Barton of Texas. "They have made this request in lieu of contributions made to their own campaigns," the memo noted. The total amount of Westar's contributions was $58,200

Keep in mind, that number -- fifty-eight grand -- was for a single favor. The energy bill was loaded with them. Between 2001 and the passage of the bill, energy companies donated $115 million to federal politicians, with seventy-five percent of the money going to Republicans. When the bill finally passed, it contained $6 billion in subsidies for the oil industry, much of which was funneled through a company with ties to Majority Leader Tom DeLay. It included an exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act for companies that use a methane-drilling technique called "hydraulic fracturing" -- one of the widest practitioners of which is Halliburton. And it included billions in subsidies for the construction of new coal plants and billions more in loan guarantees to enable the coal and nuclear industries to borrow money at bargain-basement interest rates.

Favors for campaign contributors, exemptions for polluters, shifting the costs of private projects on to the public -- these are the specialties of this Congress. They seldom miss an opportunity to impoverish the states we live in and up the bottom line of their campaign contributors. All this time -- while Congress did nothing about Iraq, Katrina, wiretapping, Mark Foley's boy-madness or anything else of import -- it has been all about pork, all about political favors, all about budget "earmarks" set aside for expensive and often useless projects in their own districts. In 2000, Congress passed 6,073 earmarks; by 2005, that number had risen to 15,877. They got better at it every year. It's the one thing they're good at.

There is simply nothing more I can add to that, is there?

Vote ALL Democrats / Progressives/ Independents / Liberals. NO MORE REPUBLICANS.

Our country can't afford it. This is Capitalism as the Golden Cash Cow idol. And your prayers to this cash cow, your checks written for a slice of salvation- are just making these fat cats fatter.

Fear of the Democrats

If there is one thing the Republican party knows it's fear.

From President Bush on down the line to the man on the street, the prevailing emotion of Republicans is fear. Fear of terror. Fear of Iran. Fear of North Korea. Fear of Mexican immigrants. This President and his inner circle of self-servants tell the American people what they should fear and their followers run in circles screaming. They churn the waters and throw the bloody chum out until their base is caught up in a frenzy, frothing at the mouth and biting even themselves. They prop up the boogie men of Iran and North Korea to terrify the American public- to sidetrack the people from discerning their true motives: just enriching themselves and their associates- while America is weakened by their games. Keeping Americans scared keeps this administration safe, even though it does NOTHING for the safety of the country.

The real fears of all Americans should be the fears of unending war, of nuclear strikes initiated by a power drunk administration that result in global nuclear war, and of immoral, murderous actions that dishonor the United States and create MORE Terrorists across the planet who want to kill us. Those are rational fears.

But rationality is wasted on this new breed of Republican. As those of us on the left know, the leaders of this new Republican movement- the Neocon cabal- don't fear North Korea or Iran any more than they "Feared" Saddam. So what DO they fear? What does Bush fear? What does Cheney fear? What does Rove fear?

They have proved that they are not afraid of bankrupting the government - and still cry for more tax cuts for their millionaire friends. They have proved they aren't afraid of breaking the U.S. military- cutting military funds: to the VA, to disabled Iraq vets, to soldiers' wages - while simultaneous funneling BILLIONS to war profiteers, Private Mercenary armies FOR those war profiteers, and corrupt Iraqi pyramid schemes that do absolutely nothing to improve the situation IN Iraq (which could have saved countless lives and actually ACCOMPLISHED THE MISSION). They don't fear the constitution, or our nation's laws, or the laws of other nations- as they kidnap and torture citizens of other countries- under the flimsiest of evidence. They don't fear the Supreme court- ignoring the rulings and pushing through the destruction of Habeus Corpus without a valid reason at all. They don't fear the destruction of an entire American city- as they proved when they let the people of New Orleans die during Katrina.

The only thing these priveleged men of power and money fear is losing their money and power.

What do they Fear? The Democrats. The ones who can take their power, so gluttonly snatched up, in the wake of 9-11, away. And so, on top of everything else that they have told YOU, the American public to fear- they now tell you to fear the Democrats. They tell you to fear the "Unknowns" of a Democrat Congress.

They have the utter contempt for you, to tell you to fear that Democrats may HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!

They have the sheer arrogance to tell you to fear losing them as your Shepherds!!

Ask yourself what good has this group of corrupt and ineffective Republicans done for America.
Ask yourself what good has the Invasion of Iraq done for either America OR Iraq.
Ask yourself what good has this Administration done for ANYONE besides the top 1% of Americans.
Ask yourself what good has this group of incompetents done for our Superpower standing in regards to China and Russia.

These "Shepherds" are wolves. There is ONLY ONE THING That President Bush, Karl Rove, and the rest of these contemptible bastards FEAR more than they fear the Democrats.
And that is that the American public will put aside their fears for Reason and Democracy and morality.

Oct 24, 2006

Speaking the "Wrong" Language

Hat tip : to Daithi' of The Gaelic Starover and this post:
Ní Bheidhmid inár dTost

This blog is in response to the two or three emails I get every damn week from some of my fellow whitefolks about how bad it is that some people speak Spanish in America (the Horror!)

A little more insight on "Language Rights" from a completely different perspective can be gained from reading the Celtic League article linked below. Looking at Ireland and the sectarian strife instigated by the argument for English only speaking there may perhaps open the eyes of the anti-Mexican crowd.

Celtic League article

In Ireland, an Irish teacher was arrested for speaking Gaelic instead of "the Queen's English". Maybe you are well-versed in the situation in Ireland, maybe you are not- But either way, that story says a lot about how intolerance provokes violence and hate. It reminds me of the sectarian violence in Iraq- Sunni vs. Shia. You know, I can no more tell a Sunni from a Shia than I can a Palestinian from a Jew, or than I can an Irish Protestant from an Irish Catholic.

And it's too damn bad that all these groups can be incited into hating all those differences about each other so easily, while they blind themselves to how much they are alike. Sunnis and Shias didn't allow themselves to hate each other for a long while before the American invasion. It doesn't take long for political upheaval and war to quickly boil away man's humanity to one another.

There's a lot of enmity in the history of ALL the races, religions, and creeds of humanity across the globe. Some people can discard the centuries old primitive hate that they are 'supposed' to have for their racial enemies. Some people can see such bigotry for the counter-productive bile that it is. They can see the pain it ends up causing for everyone, including for their own people, over and over.

But, then - there are the ones who inflate these differences by voicing their irrational discord against those differences. They magnify the differences with rhetoric and vitriol. They begin actively avoiding those other people. And as they separate themselves from those people whom they desperately want to blame for problems in their environment, they separate themselves from the reality of those people. They allow themselves to believe their own worst fears about those people, and lose sight of our shared humanity.

The proper way to end this hate breeding is by rational discussion with those on both sides of the fence. It is to not allow separatism. It is not to avoid the other side, but to go to it- to understand that there is a common ground and to actively find it!

The Irish should know better. The Iraqis should know better. Americans DO know better.

Now. After 200 years of intense racism and segregation, we finally know better. Or I thought that we did.

Over the course of my life, I have seen (in West Texas, even) racism slowly slipping away. I see growing tolerance for people of other races and religions- I see people even talking about racism less and less. But, now- like the situation in Iraq- people who are in fear divide themselves. People who fear losing their "power" or their "control" draw lines. Racist white people start getting afraid that Latinos are overtaking the population of America. They fear for the control that white men have had in the past. They stop thinking about Americans as a whole and start thinking instead about White Americans. Where does the division end? Do we return to the whole English based superiority complex over the Italians, French, and Irish?

I believe that Americans as a whole DO know better. But that can change in a blink of an eye. Iraqis have lived in relative sectarian peace for a long while. There were no major Sunni-Shia troubles like we witness now. Where does this new aggression against Mexican-Americans lead? Where else can it possibly lead? In the past six years, I see more racism instead of less. It's the atmosphere of fear and mistrust that rebuilds the walls that Americans tore down in the past fifty years.

So to all the Americans who see fit to throw a fit about Mexican-Americans speaking Spanish: Please take a moment to see past your differences and put aside your racism. It can only lead to more and more hate. You may not think it is racist, or isolationist on your part. But it is. And bringing it up, over and over again- is NOT Helping. Maybe you think that if everyone spoke English your life would be somehow more rewarding? Maybe you believe that America should be homogenized and dumbed down by forcing everyone to give up their customs and traditions for something that YOU relate as "American" because it is your tradition and custom? That is ridiculous. Native Americans are the only ones who should have any claim on "American" traditions and language.

America was a melting pot in 1776. It took a lot of cultures to make America what it is. And America's strength IS ITS DIVERSITY. If it was up to those who want to isolate differences and eradicate them, then we would all wear the same colors, dye our hair the same color, eat the same foods, watch the same tv shows, and read the same books- so that we would all be more alike. I don't believe this would make our country any stronger or more honorable.

There is enough ridiculous hate in the world. There is enough division. Our world's very survival -for the benefit of ALL of mankind's children- relies on our tolerance and our empathy for one another. Put away your petty differences, for the sake of us all.

Oct 23, 2006

Gitmo Investigators fighting AGAINST Torture

Finally some GOOD news out of Guantanamo Bay... Today's MSNBC reports that honor and common sense have not been completely lost in the case of Gitmo. We find that senior U.S. law enforcement investigators have been struggling against inhumanity, indecency, and FOR interrogations and punishments that will actually be effective in our battle to defend ourselves from terrorists and get some real intelligence.

In part one of a two part series, MSNBC investigates how these brave men have fought for their country in order to live up to their duties in the best way possible. They have set aside the tactics of Soviet style brutality ala Rumsfeld/Gonzales that only hurts America and inspires more hate against us all from the rest of the world.

Gitmo Report


former leaders of the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigation Task Force said they repeatedly warned senior Pentagon officials beginning in early 2002 that the harsh interrogation techniques used by a separate intelligence team would not produce reliable information, could constitute war crimes, and would embarrass the nation when they became public knowledge.


The law enforcement agents, who were building criminal cases against the detainees, also say that military prosecutors told them that abusive interrogations at Guantanamo compromised the chance to bring some suspected terrorists to trial. Among them, the agents say, is Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi whom the Pentagon has described as the intended 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"We were told by the Office of Military Commissions, based on what was done to him, it made his case unprosecutable," said Mark Fallon, the deputy commander and special agent in charge of the Criminal Investigation Task Force from 2002 to 2004. "It would taint any confession if obtained under coercion. They were unwilling to move forward with any prosecution of al-Qahtani."


It was two years before the photos emerged from Abu Ghraib, the Pentagon cops said, when they began arguing that coercive or abusive interrogations would not serve war-fighting or justice.

"No. 1, it’s not going to work," said Col. Brittain P. Mallow, the commander of the task force from 2002 to 2005. No. 2, if it does work, it’s not reliable. No. 3, it may not be legal, ethical or moral. No. 4, it’s going to hurt you when you have to prosecute these guys. No. 5, sooner or later, all of this stuff is going to come to light, and you’re going to be embarrassed."

I understand there is a knee jerk mentality to "Get Medieval" on their asses. But that's just ridiculous over-macho posturing. If we want to protect the United States, it MUST be done with honor, dignity, and morality. If you believe that torture works- you might want to google Chechnya and see how well its working for Putin. (It's not). Here's more on why torture doesn't work, why it hurts America and why it will result in more dead soldiers and civilians in the future -


The point is- MORE and MORE actual investigators and professionals are coming out of the woodwork, to repeat, louder and louder - that Torture doesn't work. Maybe you can believe them- and NOT just regular American citizens like me - as our nation's current sadistic leaders continue to offer the people who they are supposed to be serving, helpings of twisted bloody failures time and again.

I do worry quite a bit about my children growing up in a world that is starting to hate and disrespect Americans for the disrespectful and reprehensible actions of our current leadership.

"We will not be a party to this'"

What makes me intensely proud of all these individuals was they said, ‘We will not be party to this, even if we're ordered to do so,’" said Alberto J. Mora, the former general counsel of the Navy, who ultimately got Secretary Rumsfeld to roll back permission for some of the harshest interrogation techniques. "They are heroes, and there's no other way to describe them. They demonstrated enormous personal courage and personal integrity in standing up for American values and the system we all live for."

Part Two of the MSNBC Report

Who do we want to be, as a country?

"It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives." Dorothy Thompson

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe

The choice, to me, is a very easy one.

Another Day, Another Bush lie

From Crooks and Liars:

President Bush ... "It's never been stay the course"

Do the people who have "Stayed the course" with their support of this President EVER get tired of his out and out bullshit?

UPDATE: Billmon tells us more... http://billmon.org/archives/002869.html

Oct 20, 2006

Our Overtaxed Military, Our undertaxed Millionaires

Some news headlines today show how bad our military and their families are suffering under this administration. They have been asked to take a backseat financially to mercenaries and private contractors in Iraq while doing all the dangerous work in Iraq, stymied in Afghanistan by Rumsfeld's failure to provide enough resources to do their job. President Bush is more concerned with alleviating the stress of the poor put-upon millinaires sitting on their fat asses at home than he is with addressiong our troops' failure to make enough money to even feed their families while they are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military families relying on donated goods:

Our Troops in debt:

And then there's the rising healthcare costs in order to keep up with all the darn wounded people that just don't seem to stop coming in from Iraq.

Our government doesn't have the money to support our military AND a War in Iraq. So what does it want to do? Cut more Taxes for its millionaire supporters and the war profiteers who are drenched with the blood, sweat and tears of our troops.

We have GOT to get our military out of Iraq before the whole military is broken irreparably.
And before the whole country is broke.

Or do you believe that all these millionaires will happily give up their money in order to bail out America? Are you laughing? Or crying?

They will break every soldier in this country just to make a buck. THAT's what THIS Republican leadership is doing.

Get the U.S. out of Iraq- And get every Republican OUT OF OFFICE!
And then, we can start salvaging our military and paying our brave soldiers what they deserve!
And if you elitist rich bastards don't like it, As Dick Cheney likes to say: You can go fuck yourselves.

Militias making Open Moves now

A year ago.. from Nov.17, 2005: (Spaces Blog)
What is to gain by staying in Iraq now? Nothing. We pull out. We let the Iraqis who can Stand up- Stand up for themselves now. Let them take control of their own country. Get American lives, money, and ideas out of there. Iraq will be Iraq. For better or for worse on its own terms. Those of you who really believed in what we are doing there, (the few of you that there are now)- You can always claim that Americans got Saddam out of power. We did that. Now leave them to govern theirselves. We need to step back from this nation that we wrought so much pain upon. And then we can take a long hard look at the results.

Nothing is to be gained by staying in the Sunni/Shiite civil war that we see happening now. It is an exercise in futility. Immediate withdrawal. This antbed is not worth kicking any longer.

Two months ago: (spaces blog)

A year later and nothing much has been accomplished, except that Sadr's goons and the Sunni militias are 100% more organized, and getting more violent. Add to that the Israel/United States failed excursion into Lebanon and Israel's defeat by Hezbollah- and you have both sides amping up against the Occupiers and the "puppet Iraqi" democracy. The elected officials in Iraq are busy working under the table; wrangling support and jockeying for position for the future of Post-Occupation Iraq. They, like the neocons, are watering at the mouth for unfettered war. They cannot wait for the Americans can leave so that they can return to doing things the way they want to. And in the end, one man: the most powerful, ruthless, with the best connections to money and arms, will rise to run Iraq. Saddam Hussein Junior.

from C&L
Staying the course in Iraq is only allowing our military to be bled dry. And they want to do it for Four More Years? The current Iraqi leadership will define the country in the next four years. And I am sorry to tell you that they are not concerned with the welfare of the Iraqi people. If it's NOT a civil war, at the very least its' a series of intricate powergrabs by the men who run the militias. If it's NOT a civil war, its because they haven't quite got their power structures cemented quite yet. When they do, it won't matter if there is an American Military presence or not. The real bloodshed will begin in earnest, and our troops will be stuck in the middle.As it is, our troops are being killed at the rate of 30-40 per month. So in 48 more months, that will be another 1700 American dead and probably 7000 badly wounded. Is your son or daughter there? Your brother, sister,father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend? Our troops presence there is NOT preventing 100's of Iraqis from dying every single day. Its time to get them out of this useless exercise in "Staying the course".
fade 10.13.06

There are no "power structures" in a civil war, that's what makes civil war possible. The very tearing down of those power structures
mudkitty 10.13.06

Mk- I disagree- Al-Sadr and his "power structure" are more powerful than ever. The Sunnis and Shiites aren't openly fighting each other- they are just picking off the people who are in the wrong neighborhoods, purging their areas of the "wrong people". There aren't Sunni-Shiite militia shootouts going on yet - they are just helping shape their organization. Once they think they can win decisively, the Shiites will make a large aggressive move against the Sunnis.. right now, they are just jockeying for position.
fade 10.13.06

Today's News:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Iraq.html?hp&ex=1161403200&en=eb96c35aac0be456&ei=5094&partner=homepage BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said.

Meanwhile... Mosul is being targeted by the Sunnis...
The US military withdrew 3,000 troops from Mosul to send to Baghdad, where 15,000 US soldiers are now engaged in Operation Forward Together. Guerrillas in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city with a population of some 1.8 million, some 80% of them Sunni Arab, have taken advantage of the draw-down of US troops there to multiply the number of their attacks on police and the institutions of the new government. Mosul was a bastion of the Baath Party in the old days, and crowds there have chanted for Saddam even after his fall. Some Sunnis in Mosul support the fundamentalist Salafi movement.

Oct 19, 2006

Riverbend is back...

Riverbend returns! ( http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com )

Her last blog post was on August 5, "Summer of Goodbyes". After checking each day for the past two and a half months, I wondered if this was, indeed her goodbye.

In the various blogs I visited, in the commentaries and such, I would run into others who wondered where she was, and if she had fallen prey to the violence in Iraq.

Billmon noticed her return and I breathed a sigh of relief. And then, reading her new blog, I wondered just how naive and ridiculous American bloggers must appear to her- voicing Our concerns and Our fears about her- when we all have our share of blame for the plight of Iraqis.

Even those like me, who were against the invasion before it started. Maybe she could rightfully blame us as well= for not doing enough to stop our countrymen in their lust for revenge, in their rush to destroy muslims and Saddam and anything unAmerican that might possibly stand in the way of our God-given American pride and glory.

What does my angst and hand-wringing mean to HER? With her country in shambles around her, death surrounding every family she knows- how can my sympathies do anything but disgust her? I know that in my heart, it would be very hard to not hate all things American at this point were I in her shoes.

How do you comfort the family member of someone that your family has murdered? I don't really know...

I don't know what she sees when she reads American blogs. I don't have any idea if she sees anything more than a spoiled nation of pampered elitists and warmongering racists. I don't know if the growing number of Americans who are working towards peace for those in the middle east gives her hope, apathy or despair...

But I am glad she is alive. And I am glad that she decided to blog again, because the window into her world that is her blog is a necessary view for me, and I think for all Americans who want to see a glimpse of what is REALLY going on in Iraq's streets, away from the rose-colored television news with its sunshine-spewing politicians telling us that everything is alright.

And in seeing her truth, and knowing that the worst IS TRUE- What are we to do? We have Republicans who say that they will not leave Iraq. Their corporate sponsors aren't done raping the people of Iraq yet. We have weak democrats who WILL follow the Republicans if they retain control of Congress. We have "Strong" Democrats who do this right now- Like Hillary and other spineless cowards.

As Billmon says: ( http://billmon.org/archives/002843.html )

We were all complicit. I was complicit. Because I was afraid -- afraid to sacrifice my comfortable middle class lifestyle, afraid to lose my job and my house, afraid of the IRS, afraid to go to jail.

But not nearly as afraid, of course, as the thousands of Iraqis who have been tortured or murdered, or who, like Riverbend, are forced to live in bloody chaos, day after day. Which is why, reading her post today, I couldn't help but feel deeply, bitterly ashamed -- not just of my country, but of myself.

So what will we do? We must remove the Republican party from all positions within our government by voting them out. We must put Democrats in both houses in such a majority in on Nov.7 that they will be able to completely wipe the stain that is the Bush administration from our flag.

We can't remove the bloodstains of the Iraqi people from our hands- and if we are to atone for our complicity- we cannot remove them anyway. We must hold our bloody hands high even in our shame- and bring down the masterminds of terror who have orchestrated these warcrimes against the people of Iraq.

We must ALL be held accountable in order to save America's soul.

Vietnam Parallels Revisited

from ABC news: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2583579

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2006 — President Bush said in a one-on-one interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, which was widely seen as the turning point in that war, might be accurate.

Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.
"He could be right," the president said.

The new Neocon Talking Point is now along the lines of : "Okay, we admit it- Yes, Iraq is like Vietnam. But you see, the Tet Offensive wasn't as bad as the Media made it out to be back then..." Now they are framing the Tet Offensive as some kind of missed oppurtunity. It's the old "We could have won in Vietnam, you know, uh if we would have stayed the course" argument. Which is absolute horseshit. We killed a million people, 58,000 Americans lost their lives and the American people said enough! and we left Vietnam.

And guess what? 30 years later we do business with their communist country just fine. In fact, probably a little too much business with them, as their cheap labor and manufacturing is now being used by U.S. Corporations instead of American labor. Yay Corporate Profits! The Economy is Booming! uh. not.

So, I don't know what kind of Vietnamese-American Utopia those "stay-the-coursers" desire... I mean if we had stayed to kill 2 million Vietnamese and let another 50,000 U.S. troops die in order to defeat North Vietnam would it be our 51st state now? What the hell do they imagine is worth all those lives?

And yes, I realize that Vietnam went to hell even worse when we left and a lot of people lost their lives. But at least it wasn't our troops killing them anymore. We were no longer dropping chemical weapons and carpetbombing the countryside. When we left the Vietnamese to run their own country, free of our "help" - they survived. And Hey! 30 years later- they don't hate us anymore. Even with heartbreaking stories like this as a result of our use of Agent Orange...

Once again, they try to sell the idea that the continued occupation of Iraq is worth something substantial. They tell us that more dead and maimed US soldiers are just a speedbump to stability. They tell us that more deaths of Iraqis at the hands of American troops is just collateral damage that Iraqis don't care about, because they are used to the violence.

They say if we leave then Iraq will become a hotbed of sectarian violence and fundamentalist sentiment. Well, it has already become that while we are there. Our presence has not prevented that from occurring. So, we are moving into a Tet Offensive stage, our troops are slowly picked off while they police a population that increasingly NOT ONLY HATES THEM- But that OUR TROOPS HATE as well.

The Iraqis will stand up when we leave. The Iraqi ministers are already talking about selling the oil contracts to countries OTHER than America- hence the talk that Bush will simply dismantle the "democracy" that he wrought and render Al-Maliki even more impotent than he currently is.. (Is that Possible?)

It is time to withdraw ALL U.S. Presence out of Iraq. It was a failure. All we can hope for now is that in years to come, with smart diplomacy and economic reparations to Iraq, they can forgive us for what we did to their country.

(as Vietnam has).