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    26 August 2005

    Supporting our troops

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    Wulf said in a comment from the post below...
    I am glad to see you saying that you support the troops despite your obvious dislike for Bush and his rhetoric... but I have to ask, why should taxes be raised? How does that help the will and resolve of the troops - what Myers said is most important?

    Most of the soldiers coming back that I have talked to had little to say about events at home, and most also question why they are there. But nearly all were upset at the level of personal protection they received given the level of advancement humanity has gained in the study of protecting the body from projectiles. That along with sending too few troops in the first place, I feel, led my friends and other soldiers I've met with, to believe that their government did this war on the cheep; I certainly believe that. This was reported earlier this year and posted by me here. Also, the long term cost of the war assuming a quick resolution and lasting peace (heh?) will shock most people, and are unsustainable at the current rate of growth of our increasing deficit (the whitewashed deficit or the actual and unreported deficit); read this from a few days ago. Here at home, planting a garden will not help the soldiers any more than putting a yellow ribbon sticker on you car would; on an SUV it is almost ironic. But giving them full support on the ground certainly helps their moral, and full support when they return helps the families suffering through this at home cope (I’m sure they are a large percentage they have with home). Keep in mind that this president and the Republicans cut taxes (on people who are extremely wealthy) for the first time ever in any industrialized nation during a time of war, and two wars at that! This has been done by our government; just imagine the signal it sends to soldiers who are placing sandbags on the floor of their HMMWV (Humvee) or their wives supporting the family alone at home.

    While I admit that org's like the USO, or writing a letter or taking a soldier on leave out for lunch does strengthen the "will and resolve" of troops more directly; I also maintain that putting a flag up, a ribbon on, or supporting your leader blindly has no affect on the mind of a soldier. This is "Patriotism lite" just like Charles Moskos, military sociologist, has said.

    Therefore, the main factor in keeping the moral of the troops high is monetarily and the only viable way to keep this necessary increase from causing our deficit to turn a new shade of red is to increase taxes. I will add, primarily on those in the highest echelons of wealth since they received the most recent tax breaks (one that was nearly fruitless when it comes to our economy). That said, I'm a realist and I know that a Republican controlled government would never allow this so I'll admit right here that I'd take the burden for them if I must. I’d do it happily.


    Myers faults poor war PR

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    Top U.S. officer faults leaders on terrorism war stakes
    The top U.S. military officer faulted U.S. political leaders on Friday for failing to get across what he portrayed as the huge stakes in
    Iraq and elsewhere in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism.

    "The most important thing we have ... right now in this kind of conflict is our will and our resolve," Gen. Richard Myers, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the
    Pentagon, adding the U.S. public does not get the stakes.

    "I think it's incumbent on the national leadership, writ large, to help communicate this to the American public," said Myers...

    "The soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen engaged in this fight are the reason we are winning. Their successes are the untold story of the global war on terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom," he said.

    He contrasted the national mood with World War II, when Americans planted "victory gardens" of vegetables and took part in scrap metal and paper collection drives to boost the military effort.

    I agree, we've made no support our troops, we have had tax cuts and poor funding on essential protections for our soldiers. One thing we could've done is vote out bushCo. but we failed at that. Another thing that should be done but wont (because it would piss off the republican base) is raise taxes, and raise it double on the very rich.

    More on this story.

    It will be hard to regain the support for this attack; which once had WMD, al Qaida and then human rights as rationales. But there were no WMD and the story appears to have been fixed. We brought al Qaida to Iraq, and now the new constitution will probably turn back women rights and give disproportional influence to the Shi'a and Kurds.

    I support our troops wherever they are deployed, that doesn't mean that I have to support the people that send them there; they are not packaged together.


    Before It's Too Late in Iraq

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    Listen to the General.
    In the old, familiar fashion, mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq have mobilized increasing public doubts about the war. More than half the American people now believe that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. They're right. But it would also be a mistake to pull out now, or to start pulling out or to set a date certain for pulling out. Instead we need a strategy to create a stable, democratizing and peaceful state in Iraq -- a strategy the administration has failed to develop and articulate.


    25 August 2005

    Red(neck) states leading in obesity race

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    How soon until we see over 50% obesity in American adults? My guess is around 2027 the way we're going.

    Here's the article

    Rank 1 - Mississippi - 29.5%
    Rank 2 - Alabama - 28.9%

    Haha, fat reddist of red state bastards!

    Matthews asks a good question!

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    I used to love watching Hardball on MSNBC, but after the War on Iraq began Chris began sounding like a conservative cheerleader. Now his show is almost unbearable and he has become another O'Reily or Hannity (well that is a lil unfair but you understand). I suspect that some of this shift is to attract a more conservative audience as Olberman has the progressive PoV locked up. Any way Col. Pat Lang was on Hardball and posted the text on his site, which had some statements from Chris which resembled the old guy I remembered long ago. Maybe Chris is getting his backbone back! Matthews said:
    Why does the president keep issuing statements saying they`re terrorists; they`re the guys that came after us on 9/11; they`re from outside; we have got to stop them there or stop them here? Nobody has ever accused Iraqis of coming to America and attacking us. Why doesn`t the president say, we`re going after Iraqi insurgents and fighting them? Why doesn`t he -- why does he keep saying we`re fighting terrorists along the lines of the ones we had attack us 9/11?

    BTW, Lang's contributions were on the money; it's a good read if you missed it.

    24 August 2005

    Obese woman offended by Doc's advice

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    Get this, an obese woman complained to the state board of medicine because her doctor told her that she has to lose weight. That's what a doctor is supposed to do!!!! Obese people need to stop trying to be treated like ethnic minorities and live up to the fact that their lack of willpower is killing them. If you think obeisity is a genetic problem, you are wrong 99% of the time. Are there any obese people in Haiti? in Cuba? in China????? in Bally's??? in Arby's???? NO, NO, NO, NO, YES!!! It is a lifestyle problem. Sorry if the person reading this is obese, but you decided to go down and remain on that rich creamy finger-licking road...Mmmm...

    Note that I'm talking about obese people, not fat people. Some people are naturally more or less chubby but NOBODY is genetically programmed to be over 400 damn pounds!!! So, if anyone that reads this is fat, but not obese, do not be offended by my statements...but put down the Big Mac anyways :)

    Here's the article

    "I told a fat woman she was obese," Bennett says. "I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.' "

    Liberals to blame for terrorism

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    Dale Hurd of CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) thinks liberals are to blame for the London Underground bombings. Heh, and our president and countries leaders foreign policy had nothing to do with it I suppose.

    What a joke.

    23 August 2005

    VFW tired with Bush

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    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

    BushCo. is almost 'anti-math'

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    At least he will be if he reads Linda Bilmes in the NYT. According to her math and some fairly reasonable projections, the war on Iraq is not only taking human life but, as if this news, draining our pocketbooks and wallets as well. While the cost of life often overshadows the cost of war, as it should. Her article sheds new light on the long term impact of this and other wars that our country will/is pursue(ing). Most obvious is how we will care for the soldiers when they return.
    But the biggest long-term costs are disability and health payments for returning troops, which will be incurred even if hostilities were to stop tomorrow. The United States currently pays more than $2 billion in disability claims per year for 159,000 veterans of the 1991 gulf war, even though that conflict lasted only five weeks, with 148 dead and 467 wounded. Even assuming that the 525,000 American troops who have so far served in Iraq and Afghanistan will require treatment only on the same scale as their predecessors from the gulf war, these payments are likely to run at $7 billion a year for the next 45 years.

    In short
    ...if the American military presence in the region lasts another five years, the total outlay for the war could stretch to more than $1.3 trillion, or $11,300 for every household in the United States.

    The "Swiftboating" of Chuck Hagel

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    Col. Lang weighs in on the latest attacks, all from the right, on fellow GoP Senator Chuck Hagel by comparing it to what they did to John Kerry (and omitted but still the same was what they did to John McCain in '00)
    ...the process of relentless, remorseless, cruel denigration of his character, military record and general "style" which was carried on by the friends of the president was despicable. They attacked his wife for her "foreignness." They attacked him for being able to speak French and being comfortable with his French relatives. They seem not to have known of Mr. Jefferson's opinion that "every civilized man speaks two languages, his own, and French." The assault on Kerry was reminiscent of the kind of fascist manipulation of the opinion of the masses that George Orwell warned us of in "1984." Now it comes again.

    Now for the fascist puppet
    Yesterday I watched as a pretty boy 35ish yuppy political hack from the crowd of sycophants with whom the president has surrounded himself described Hagel (with a sneer) as "someone who has lost his way." He (the yup) went on to say that Hagel has no ideas worth listening to in the matter of the possible resemblance of the Vietnam War to the mess in Iraq. Actually, he said, Hagel no longer knows what the war in Vietnam was about.

    Now, consider that. This kid was still crapping in his pants and crying for the pacifier when Hagel and his brother and Hagel's "boys" were fighting to defeat the VC/NVA in the outskirts of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) but he, from the depths of his marvelous intellect knows better what VN was "about." You can see where this is going. Are these swine going to spread the rumor that Senator Hagel was an agent and informer for the communist enemy in VN? That's what they did to McCain in South Carolina.

    My bad, he did mention McCain...

    [UPDATE] Joe Trippi on the Swiftboating of Cindy...

    22 August 2005

    The new Iraq and the woman

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    Assuming that, someday, Iraq gets a constitution (it shouldn't be hurried, Iraq should have nothing to do with the timing of American politics) and becomes some type of nation, the right will begin to take credit for a job well done. Although Iraq didn't go as planned; cost and lasted far longer than expected, it was correct to take Saddam out for the human right violations that he committed. The only thing is this war was about WMD and an 'imminent threat'. But since the build up to war, the reasoning has shifted like sand in a dessert. However, while the numerous abuses of the Baath regime have been removed, issues that accompany an occupying force in a semi-hostile nation remain. In addition the new law may include some laws that actually degrade women rights!
    According to Kurdish and Sunni negotiators, the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, proposed that Islam be named "a primary source" and supported a wording which would give clerics authority in civil matters such as divorce, marriage and inheritance.

    If approved, critics say that the proposals would erode women's rights and other freedoms enshrined under existing laws. "We understand the Americans have sided with the Shias. It's shocking. It doesn't fit with American values," an unnamed Kurdish negotiator told Reuters. "They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state."

    So the existing law of Saddam would be better than the possible new laws; WRT women. We just won a war in the name of women oppression if you choose to be that critical. How sad is that?

    The Iraq debate

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    The debate rages almost two years after we attacked Iraq in '03 (and a little in '02) and the country is divided, beyond partisan lines now. Some want us out now and some want to stay the course; I have dabbled with the 'get out now' view and feel that this approach still is unwise. We have a responsibility as a country to fix what we broke no matter how against the war we were or how ingnorant our leaders are. Juan Cole agrees
    Personally, I think "US out now" as a simple mantra neglects to consider the full range of possible disasters that could ensue. For one thing, there would be an Iraq civil war. Iraq wasn't having a civil war in 2002. And although you could argue that what is going on now is a subterranean, unconventional civil war, it is not characterized by set piece battles and hundreds of people killed in a single battle, as was true in Lebanon in 1975-76, e.g. People often allege that the US military isn't doing any good in Iraq and there is already a civil war. These people have never actually seen a civil war and do not appreciate the lid the US military is keeping on what could be a volcano.

    All it would take would be for Sunni Arab guerrillas to assassinate Grand Ayatollah Sistani. And, boom. If there is a civil war now that kills a million people, with ethnic cleansing and millions of displaced persons, it will be our fault, or at least the fault of the 75% of Americans who supported the war. (Such a scenario is entirely plausible. Look at Afghanistan. It was a similar-sized country with similar ethnic and ideological divisions. One million died 1979-1992, and five million were displaced. Moreover, all this helped get New York and the Pentagon blown up.)

    I mean, we are always complaining, and rightly so, about the genocide in Darfur and the inattention to genocides in Rwanda and the Congo earlier. Can we really live with ourselves if we cast Iraqis into such a maelstrom deliberately?

    And as I have argued before, an Iraq civil war will likely become a regional war, drawing in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. If a regional guerrilla war breaks out among Kurds, Turks, Shiites and Sunni Arabs, the guerrillas could well apply the technique of oil pipeline sabotage to Iran and Saudi Arabia, just as they do now to the Kirkuk pipeline in Iraq. If 20% of the world's petroleum production were taken off-line by such sabotage, the poor of the world would be badly hurt, and the whole world would risk another Great Depression.

    People on the left often don't like it when I bring this scenario up, because they dislike oil; they read it as a variant of the "war for oil" thesis and reject it. But working people, whom we on the left are supposed to be supporting, get to work on buses, and buses burn gasoline. If the bus ticket doubles or triples, people who make $10,000 a year feel it. Moreover, if there is a depression, the janitors and other workers will be the first to be fired. As for the poor of the global South, this scenario would mean they are stuck in dire poverty for an extra generation. Do you know how expensive everything would be for Jamaicans, who import much of what they use and therefore are sensitive to the price of shipping fuel? It would be highly irresponsible to walk away from Iraq and let it fall into a genocidal civil war that left the Oil Gulf in flames.

    On the other hand, the gradual radicalization of the entire Sunni Arab heartland of Iraq stands as testimony to the miserable failure of US military counter-insurgency tactics. It seems to me indisputable that US tactics have progressively made things worse in that part of Iraq, contributing to the destabilization of the country.

    So those who want the troops out also do have a point.

    Continue reading here...

    21 August 2005

    Four more years!!!

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    If Iraq were to take a turn into the 'worst case' of full out civil war, we are prepared. But that is only if that happens. Heh...

    On a similar note, let's hope that the forecasted wave of violence that may greet the new constitution in Iraq doesn't materialize. If it does the outcome will be massive Iraqi casualties as the US occupation will likely sit it out behind the green zone and similar fortifications throughout Iraq. I'm not to optimistic as the let up in violence doesn't seem to be any 'last throes' of an insurgency.


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