Friday, October 20, 2006

Kevin Tillman: Somehow

Kevin Tillman at TruthDig

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bush's Comma Grows

...into a semicolon. When will it finally morph into an exclamation point for the American people?


Republican Crony Synopsis

The Smirking Chimp has a great synopsis on the (as of this posting) list of Republicans that have been disgraced/indicted/convicted/etc/all of the above.

He also posts an intresting "5 Step" guide to Republican scandal response:

1. "I have not been informed of any investigation or that I am a target."

2. "I am cooperating fully, but this whole thing is a political ploy by the Democrats."

3. "I'm SHOCKED by the mistakes made by my subordinates."

4. "I'm deeply sorry for letting down my friends and family. I now recognize that I am an alcoholic. I will be entering rehab immediately, so I have no time for questions."

5. "Can I serve my time at Eglin Federal Penitentiary (aka Club Fed)?"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Never Again

Armenia 1915-18
Ukraine 1932-38
Nanking 1937-38
The Haulocaust 1938-45
Cambodia 1975-79
Bosnia 1992-95
Rwanda 1994
Darfur 2003-

Via Ed Stein

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Frist Now Member of "Blame America Party"

From Yahoo:

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, under fire from critics for his handling of
Iraq, on Tuesday vigorously defended the U.S. war on terrorism and ruled out negotiation with Muslim extremists.

"They're attacking the ability of a people to be free," Rumsfeld said. "You can acquiesce and let them win, or you can decide that you're not going to acquiesce and not let them win."

"You're not going to have a negotiation with them to be not extreme because that's what they are, is extreme," he told reporters after a meeting of defense ministers in Nicaragua's capital, Managua.

Rumsfeld rejected suggestions that disagreement about the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan and international criticism of the United States should change Washington's defense policies or lead to the abandonment of operations in the two countries.

The wars have become campaign issues ahead of the November 7 election to determine control of the U.S. Congress. A Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan and unrelenting violence in Iraq have led to calls for Rumsfeld's resignation and a timetable for withdrawing American troops.

"Now you can debate exactly how it should be done, or whether it should be done," Rumsfeld said. "But the fundamental issue is what's facing free people everywhere in the world. And simply because someone doesn't like that, in my view, is not a reason to pretend, to stick your head in the sand and pretend that that's not the case."

Rumsfeld has stepped up his warnings against a "blame America" mentality and drawn comparisons to World War Two to make the point that the United States' current enemy cannot be appeased.

Frist: Negotiate w/Taliban

So Frist says that we can't defeat the Taliban militarily and must negotiate to pull (presumably the "non-terrorist") Taliban into the local government.

Statement 1

Wow. Nuance from this administration? Is Frist turning into a Democrat? Or is he just an unloyal, snot-nosed liberal non-patriot? What's the difference these days?

Strange that the W-Admistration still insists that we continue to fight (forever?) a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda yet suggests that we negotiate with the Taliban, which actually *did* (still does?) support Al Qaeda. Stunning.

Having discussed the situation with commanders on the ground, I believe that we cannot stabilize Afghanistan purely through military means. Our counter-insurgency strategy must win hearts and minds and persuade moderate Islamists potentially sympathetic to the Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the Afghan national government and democratic political processes.

Statement 2

Wow! again! Further suggestions of negotiating with an enemy. "Winning the hearts and minds" and pulling them into local government has worked so well in Iraq... we just must try that in Afghanistan.

Do go on...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Foley-ing: When "Hypocrit" Just Isn't Strong Enough

There's got to be a word for this. "Hypocrit" just isn't quite strong enough.

"Hypocrit" is when someone bitches about bad drivers just before executing a triple-lane change and cutting off two other drivers.

No, I'm thinking we need something bigger. Say, for instance when a gay-bashing reverend turns out to be gay himself. When an infamous anti-Semite turns out to be 100% Jewish. Or when the co-chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus winds up being prosecuted under laws he helped write because he tried to twiddle 16 year-old boys. Don't forget that he also criticized Clinton openly for sexual piccadillos:

"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction." -- Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach, September 12, 1998, referring to Bill Clinton in the St. Petersburg Times.

But yur honor - he looked 17!

Does 'hypocrisy' cover the Republican leadership that knew about his issue for almost a year without doing anything to protect the young page?

Say what you will about Monicagate, but at least Monica was

- legal
- the opposite sex

Another thing: Since when did alcohol rehab begin addressing the desire for gay sex with minors? Who knew that homosexuality was really just a by-product of a drinking problem? Or as TTS points out, anti-Semitism as well. Compared to his other problems, perhaps Foley considers pedophilia just a minor issue! Badda-bing!

I must give Foley credit for one thing: he didn't fight the allegations, like many politicians would have. He did have the good grace to quickly admit to wrongdoing and resign. This is at least a modest show of integrity when many other congressmen (Delay, fight to the last.
[ Update (3 Oct 06): I may have to backtrack on this one. Foley's now blaming his problem on (unspecified religion) sexual abuse.]

More examples (of the congressional pedophilia, not the bad humor) here and here.

If you're like me and could use some (more bad) humor regarding this situation, try Simply Left Behind.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Osama is Clinton's Fault

So now neocons are blaming W's failures to capture Bin Laden on Clinton.

Remind me... this isn't the "Blame Game" W dodged during Katrina, was it?