Friday, December 02, 2005

Maddening, maddening

"Ten soldiers killed in Iraq today," crawls across the TV screen. The pundits, too, announce this as a news coup, a significant development. This drives me crazy. In the first place, it's flat wrong. Eleven died. But that's not what drives me crazy. Several days in the last few months ten or more soldiers have died in a single day, but didn't die in a single incident or whose deaths weren't reported in a single dispatch; and on numerous days the death toll has been seven, eight, nine. A brief survey of the above-linked website will demonstrate this.

Another thing: All this hoopla about the Pentagon planting news in Baghdad dailies. Yup, it's a bad thing. But in the face of all the outrages we've been committing in that country--killing civilians, jailing innocents, torturing, destroying cities--how can such a story even get traction in the US?

Because it's about the media, stupid. We are at the mercy of the media in America, and that's the most maddening of all.

What's in a word?

The Downing Street memo, isn't a "memo," it's minutes of a meeting. And the "Bush-bombing-of-al Jazeera" memo isn't a memo, either. It's a transcript. I know they're off the radar right now, but with some luck they'll come back, during impeachment proceedings of Bush/Cheney, let's hope.

Withdrawal defined

With all this discussion of "withdrawal, "draw-down," and so forth, of our forces in Iraq, let us not be misled. As Tom Engelhardt points out in this lengthy piece, these various phrases disguise the following eventualities, if the NeoCons have their way: (1) Continued support of the Iraqi "forces" by US naval air power, missiles and planes, from ships in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, as well as the US Air Force stationed nearby, their targets called in by Iraqi forces on the ground; (2) the presence of US ground troops in at least one--probably more--permanent bases in Iraq and nearby, to rush in as needed to assist in the suppression of any violence in Iraq; (3) the control of oil and other business opportunities in Iraq by Western interests; (4) protection of the "independence" of the northern region of Iraq, "Kurdistan," to the dismay of the remnants of Iraq and of its neighbors of the region.

Make no mistake. Nothing in the current debate addresses these issues, and Bush is keeping quiet about them. But when we crazies chant--as we have for three years--"Out of Iraq!" we don't mean any of these things. We mean that the US should get out of Iraq entirely, get our troops out of harm's way and leave Iraq to the Iraqis. That's withdrawal.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


These soldiers--happen to be Brits--are more evil than the worst movie villain, as evil as evil can be. Here's the video of them shooting randomly at civilian autos, while an Elvis CD plays in the background. Imagine, for a moment, what it feels like to be subjected to automatic weapon fire, your car and person torn to shreds by huge bullets sprayed from the vehicle ahead! Think of the horror, the rage!

We've got to get our troops--all of them, Brits, Aussies, U.S.--out of Iraq to let them come home and return to humanness because this war is making some of them into monsters.

Colin Powell, the wimp

This article sums up my feelings about Powell, as well as my contemporaneous reaction to his presentation to the Security Council in the runup to our invasion of Iraq. Maybe because of my lawyer background I videotaped Powell's speech and went through portions of it afterward, especially his dog-and-pony show about the mobile labs for producing biological weapons, and it had a familiar smell to it: bullshit. I recalled at the time the U-2 overfilight photos that President Kennedy showed the nationwide TV audience to demonstrate the Soviet Union's actions in Cuba to install long-range missles. Now there was evidence! But the video graphics of Iraqi trucks equipped with laboratories?--c'mon, already.

As to Colin Powell? I've defended him heretofore as a "soldier," honor-bound not to denigrate his commander, the Commander in Chief. But I've changed my mind after these weeks of hearing from his Chief of Staff, Col. Wilkerson. Obviously, Wilkerson's statements are Powell's too, and so now it's clear that Powell is hiding behind Wilkerson's skirts to save his image.

It's time for Powell to step forward in person. Not as a soldier, not as a diplomat, but as a human being. Otherwise, I label him a coward, and so, I hope, will history.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


This type of analysis of America's outrageous disparity of resource and income distribution is long overdue. Our policies, the innate greed of the capitalist system and its child, unbridled consumerism, have brought us to this point. I've lived through times when the existence of well-paid, unionized workers, a respected middle-class, and a fair apportionment of the nation's wealth were fundamental precepts. No more. Now, with a greed government at the helm, with corporate profits the aim and end of our system, we've become an indebted, impoverished nation, consuming on credit, living beyond the insecure, stingy means that we're given by a beaten-down economy, and buying and borrowing more.

Meanwhile, the poor in America have nothing and, under recent Bush legislation, will have even less in the future. Yeah, it's a human rights issue, nothing less.

Throw out the bastards, all of them...

except, maybe, Murtha, Feingold and of course Kucinich. A few others, maybe, maybe.

I've just watched Lehrer's interview of Senators Warner and Reid, a Republican and a Democrat, who hummed the same tune backing today's Presidential "speech" about Iraq, in particular, withdrawal of our troops. In essence, never.

We, the people, have got to take back America, because our representatives aren't doing our will.

We've got to start somewhere

How 'bout sending Rummie to Iraq, without a full military guard?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

'Splain this to me

A college kid, a golfer on the University of Arizona, a year ago loses his entire family--both parents, his sister--when their private plane crashes on the way home from watching the kid play in a tournament. A young girl, allergic to peanuts, dies an agonizing death, seizures and great pain, after kissing her boyfriend who'd eaten a peanut butter sandwich nine hours before.

Does God have a plan? If He's omnipotent, can't He control such events? Was He too busy? If so, why bother to live a life that accords with His supposed dictates? Or maybe He just doesn't care.


Uh oh

Some weeks ago we learn of the first female suicide bomber in Iraq, and now we learn of the first female European suicide bomber, a Belgian woman.

Good job, Bush. You finally succeeded at something. Creating a truly global war of terror.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let me get this straight

We invade Iraq on various pretenses and finally settle on the "we deposed a dictator who tortured and abused his fellow citizens" rationale, only to turn the place over to a regime that tortures and abuses its fellow citizens.
Sounds like a hell of a deal for $300 billion and 17,000 killed or wounded US soldiers, eh?

Come the revolution...

It will start because of this.

How do you spell mutiny?

Check out these letters to the editor of Stars and Stripes, the Army's daily, Middle East edition, especially the first letter, but others as well. Do they sound like the Army's TV commercials to you?

Well, now isn't this interesting...

The EU has got some balls, after all. Threatening to sanction members states that have harbored the CIA's secret jails and demanding that their location and activities be disclosed.

Maybe it's time to move over there--past time.

I never doubted it

This post by Juan Cole, citing Sy Hersh's report in the New Yorker, tells of US plans to withdraw troops on the ground in favor of supplying air power in support of Iraqi forces to put down the insurgency. Not only is this madness--empowering the Shiites and Kurds to call down bombing on Sunnis--but it's hardly the stable democracy, with sovereignty and freedoms, that we're supposed to be establishing. What a God-awful mess, leaving the Middle East in a much worse position than when we invaded.

Cole also has a word of advice for George Bush about his heritage, worth reading.