Saturday, March 31, 2007

From, supporting the Gulf of Tonkin incident fears of many

Intel Vets Question the Iraq-UK Crisis

March 30, 2007

Editor’s Note: Below is an assessment by a group of former U.S. intelligence analysts about the crisis between Iran and the United Kingdom over the seizure of 15 British naval personnel for allegedly crossing into Iranian territorial waters:

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Brinkmanship Unwise in Uncharted Waters

The frenzy in America’s corporate media over Iran’s detainment of 15 British Marines who may, or may not, have violated Iranian-claimed territorial waters is a flashback to the unrestrained support given the administration’s war-mongering against Iraq shortly before the attack.

The British are refusing to concede the possibility that its Marines may have crossed into ill-charted, Iranian-claimed waters and are ratcheting up the confrontation. At this point, the relative merits of the British and Iranian versions of what actually happened are greatly less important than how hotheads on each side—and particularly the British—decide to exploit the event in the coming days.

There is real danger that this incident, and the way it plays out, may turn out to be outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s last gesture of fealty to President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and “neo-conservative” advisers who, this time, are looking for a casus belli to “justify” air strikes on Iran.

Bush and Cheney no doubt find encouragement in the fact that the Democrats last week refused to include in the current House bill on Iraq war funding proposed language forbidding the White House from launching war on Iran without explicit congressional approval.

If the Senate omits similar language, or if the prohibition disappears in conference, chances increase for a “pre-emptive” US and/or Israeli strike on Iran and a major war that will make the one in Iraq seem like a minor skirmish. The impression, cultivated by the White House and our domesticated media, that Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-majority states might favor a military strike on Iran is a myth.

But the implications go far beyond the Middle East. With the Russians and Chinese, the US has long since forfeited the ability, exploited with considerable agility in the 70s and 80s, to play one off against the other. In fact, US policies have helped drive the two giants together. They know well that it’s about oil and strategic positioning and will not stand idly by if Washington strikes Iran.

Lying Poodle

Intelligence analysts place great store in sources’ record for reliability and the historical record. We would be forced to classify Tony Blair as a known prevaricator who, for reasons still not entirely clear, has a five-year record of acting as man’s best friend for Bush. If the President needs a casus belli, Blair will probably fetch it.....

What do the BUshies have on Blair, et. al that makes them lapdogs to the Bush admin?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sen Judiciary committee hearings today on C-span

Randi is so right. It's amazing, frustrating and IMHO, too nice. I think I would have ripped a new ***hole for Samson. His testimony....I don't remember, blah blah...or my favorite, I did not keep notes. B.S. Oh and not a very good file, as he stated.
B.S. I work as a low level employee, and I keep files on EVERYTHING! I think I could get better information when grilling my 8 year old on homework!
Why are the members of the judiciary so lax? I think Samson and the others need to be interviewed by well informed mothers of young children and/or grandmothers. We take no B.S. and we will get to the heart of the problem. And....we don't take "I don't remember" as an excuse!
We pay these idiots to do their jobs? Jeeez.
Oh wait...I don't remember, to the best of my recollection....I don't remember.
I don't remember. It was based on an assumption. I don't remember. Not to my knowledge. I don't remember.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

OMG....more guns ok in Texas. So, should I get a gun to defend my daughter from the wierd guy in the gold Buick LeSabre who has followed her home on 3 occasions? I dunno. I could, but I am against gun ownership. I could, I qualified on the military firing range as a sharp shooter on the M16 and the 45. Hmm....I still think I would call the police first.

DALLAS (Reuters) - Criminals in Texas beware: if you threaten someone in their car or office, the citizens of this state where guns are ubiquitous have the right to shoot you dead.

Governor Rick Perry's office said on Tuesday that he had signed a new law that expands Texans' existing right to use deadly force to defend themselves "without retreat" in their homes, cars and workplaces.

"The right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but is intuitive to human nature," Perry said on his Web site.

Reuters Pictures

Editors Choice: Best pictures
from the last 24 hours.
View Slideshow
The new law, which takes affect on September 1, extends an exception to a statute that required a person to retreat in the face of a criminal attack. The exception was in the case of an intruder unlawfully entering a person's home.

war games in the gulf...bad juju

Can you say "Gulf of Tonkin?" This exercise has some bad potential...

ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS IN THE GULF (AP) — U.S. warplanes screamed off the deck of two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf Tuesday in a massive show of force that military officials said was intended to send a message to Iran.
U.S. military commanders would not say when the operation, the largest in the region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, had been planned. They specified that the war games had not been organized as a direct response to Iran's capture of 15 British sailors on Friday, but made clear they intended to send Iran a warning.

"If there is strong presence, then it sends a clear message that you better be careful about trying to intimidate others," said Captain Bradley Johanson, commanding officer of the USS John C. Stennis.

"Iran has adopted a very escalatory posture with the things that they have done," Johanson said, adding that the U.S. Navy was mitigating that posture.

The maneuvers, involving 15 American ships and more than 100 aircraft, were sure to exacerbate tensions, as Iran has frequently condemned the U.S. military presence off its coastline.

Monday, March 26, 2007

terrorized by "War on Terror"

Terrorized by 'War on Terror'
How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Sunday, March 25, 2007;

an excerpt:

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own -- and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

Don't give in to the fear mongering, and laugh at the absurdity of airport security whenever you fly. It's the major eyewash of the century.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Disgusting, shows Bush Admin is careless

While helping my daughter with a power point presentation, and checking the very late news I found this....

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Debris that may have contained bits of bone from victims of the World Trade Center attacks was used to fill potholes and pave city roads, according to court papers filed on Friday.

The charge was made in an affidavit filed in Manhattan federal court in an ongoing case filed in 2005 by family members of those killed in the attacks against the city. They say the city did not do enough to search for remains, denying victims a proper burial.

Eric Beck, a construction worker employed at the Fresh Kills landfill in the borough of Staten Island, where the rubble was taken after the Twin Towers fell, said in his affidavit that the process of sifting through the debris was rushed.

Doesn't it make you wonder why they were in such a hurry to get rid of the evidence?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Attorneys General scandal

Since 2005, McClatchy Newspapers has found, Bush has appointed at least three U.S. attorneys who had worked in the Justice Department's civil rights division when it was rolling back longstanding voting-rights policies aimed at protecting predominantly poor, minority voters.

Another newly installed U.S. attorney, Tim Griffin in Little Rock, Ark., was accused of participating in efforts to suppress Democratic votes in Florida during the 2004 presidential election while he was a research director for the Republican National Committee. He's denied any wrongdoing.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the four U.S. attorneys weren't chosen only because of their backgrounds in election issues, but "we would expect any U.S. attorney to prosecute voting fraud."

Taken together, critics say, the replacement of the U.S. attorneys, the voter-fraud campaign and the changes in Justice Department voting rights policies suggest that the Bush administration may have been using its law enforcement powers for partisan political purposes.

The Bush administration's emphasis on voter fraud is drawing scrutiny from the Democratic Congress, which has begun investigating the firings of eight U.S. attorneys - two of whom say that their ousters may have been prompted by the Bush administration's dissatisfaction with their investigations of alleged Democratic voter fraud.

If only we could get the TV to cover this properly. And why are they letting Tom DeLay, who is under indictment, speak on this issue on various networks? Makes no sense to me. The bug man is an idiot.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Power Women


The Flying L Ranch "slumber party" for the power women of Bexar and Kendall counties.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 09, 2007

What is FUBIJAR?

As a former reservist, I love this acronym.
It means.......F'd up but I'm just a reservist.
How true. Reservists get the dregs of everything, so how appropriate.

Veterans related videos; please take a moment and watch

Thanks to a fellow veteran at TomSongs.

and more....


Veterans for Peace, if you are a veteran consider joining now.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit

Well aren't the Mayans really smart! I just loved this.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit
JUAN CARLOS LLORCA | AP | March 9, 2007 12:20 AM EST

GUATEMALA CITY — Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

FDR's 4 Freedom's speech to Congress

This was delivered on Jan 6, 1941.

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want -- which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-- anywhere in the world.

full transcript

I learned about this from King Abdullah's speech before Congress this morning. Basically King Abdullah spoke on the need for peace in the middle east, and the need for the US to be a leader in this effort, working to obtain peace during the current year, and making it a priority. It was an excellent speech and can be watched in re-runs on C-span.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More crap in the news today

Today's news:

FLASHBACK: In 2005, Kiley Covered Up Abuse At Military Detention Centers
Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley commanded Walter Reed from 2002-2004. Recent reports show that Kiley knew about the neglect and deplorable conditions there for years. In one stunning case, Kiley took no action when personally informed that a soldier was sleeping in his own urine. He continues to skirt responsibility for the neglect, calling the Washington Post’s Walter Reed investigation “yellow journalism at its worst.”

But this scandal isn’t the first time Kiley has tried to play down “allegations of concerns with the Army medical community.” In 2005, his office conducted a review of medical personnel overseas, after multiple reports alleging their roles in detainee abuse.

– A report in the New England Journal of Medicine found that “U.S. Army doctors violated the Geneva Conventions by helping intelligence officers carry out abusive interrogations at military detention centers, perhaps participating in torture.”

– A 2004 study in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, found that medical personnel “collaborated with interrogators or abusive guards and failed to properly report injuries or deaths caused by beatings.”

And more.....a former Halliburton offiical slashed the budget for Walter Reed

Lawmakers questioned the policy under which maintenance and operations functions at Walter Reed were outsourced to IAP Worldwide Services, a Florida firm run by a former Halliburton official who reduced Walter Reed's staff from 300 to 100.,0,7854356.story

And 9 more troops were killed today.

For a full list of the most important news of the day that you won't see on your TV go here:

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Newt blames victims of Katrina

Someone should take Newt out behind the woodshed, and give him a good talking to. Or, maybe he needs anti-psychotic medication since he is apparently completely delusional. Well, neocons, conservatives and repugnants do what they do best....blame the victim.

Newt Blames The Victims of Katrina
By: Nicole Belle @ 11:07 AM - PST
Blog for our Future:

(Newt Gingrich, speaking at CPAC) blamed the residents of New Orleans' 9th Ward for a "failure of citizenship," by being "so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane."

And he called for a "deep investigation" into this "failure of citizenship."

Here's the full quote:

How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane. (emphasis original)

It's not just Walter Reed...

There is a bigger underlying problem, the way we treat all our vets. The red tape, the crumbling buildings and the way we sweep our vets under the carpet, has been going on for years. Will we finally do something positive? I am hopeful, but skeptical.
Here is a film trailer that depicts part of hte problem, the homelessness and hopelessness of vets.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bill would reform treatment of wounded vets

Bill would reform treatment of wounded vets

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Mar 1, 2007 17:00:08 EST
In the wake of the continuing scandal over the housing and medical evaluation process for wounded service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, House and Senate Democrats have unveiled a sweeping bill promising comprehensive reforms of how combat veterans and their families are treated.

Called the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act, the bill would mandate housing standards for the wounded, overhaul disability review boards, require one caseworker for every 20 recovering service members, extend job protections for service members to include family members who are at their side during recovery, demand that an ombudsmen be available around the clock by phone and in any hospital with more than 100 patients, and create a new independent oversight board to monitor how recovering service members are treated.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, a Democratic presidential candidate and a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee member who is the chief sponsor of the bill, said it is designed to “not only fix problems at Walter Reed but improve conditions at other hospitals.”

“We think this is a comprehensive bill,” he said.

“This is not window dressing,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of the co-sponsors. “This is not a new coat of paint.”

Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., one of the House co-sponsors, said, “It is appalling and absolutely unacceptable for our wounded troops to return from the front lines and receive this kind of treatment. We are going to investigate this and do everything we can to make sure this never happens to our brave men and women again."

The bill, introduced in the House and Senate, breaks down into six parts.

US Army Secretary quits over the treatment of US wounded soldiers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey abruptly stepped down Friday as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for wounded Iraq soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The surprise move came one day after Harvey fired the two-star general in charge of the medical center in response to disclosures of problems at the hospital compound.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Harvey had resigned. But senior defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Gates had asked Harvey to leave. Gates was displeased that Harvey, after firing Maj. Gen. George Weightman as the head of Walter Reed, chose to name as Weightman's temporary replacement another general whose role in the controversy was still in question.

"I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed," Gates said in the Pentagon briefing room. He took no questions from reporters.

Hooorah! Wonder what the back story is dontcha? I do.

Well, this works?

How totally stupid is this statement?

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Army spokesman Paul Boyce insisted that the Army Times report is inaccurate, and that injured vets are “free to exercise their First Amendment right” and speak with the media. But upon further questioning, Boyce acknowledged that if patients at Walter Reed wanted to speak to reporters inside the hospital, they must first receive approval from the hospital’s press relations office.

What if reporters want to speak to a reporter without getting approval from a PR office? “They can go to Starbucks,” Boyce said. Asked whether this was a reasonable solution for patients recuperating from physical and mental trauma, Boyce said yes. “It’s just a short trip, and many of them want to get out [of the hospital] anyway.”

Ok troops gather your medical equipment and haul yourself to the nearest Starbucks...good grief!

Gen. George Weightman, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley Expected to Appear at Walter Reed Field Hearing

Gen. George Weightman, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley Expected to Appear at Walter Reed Field Hearing
March 2nd, 2007 by Jesse Lee

Just out from the Army Times:

Ex-Walter Reed chief to face Congress Monday
Rick Maze, Army Times - March 2, 2007

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal involving the living conditions, medical treatment and retirement process of wounded combat veterans will be the subject of five congressional hearings next week, including one on Monday that is expected to include testimony from the hospital commander who was relieved Thursday.

Army Maj. Gen. George Weightman, who since August had been the hospital commander and also head of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command, is one of the witnesses scheduled to appear Monday before the House subcommittee as it holds a hearing in the Walter Reed auditorium.

The House Oversight and Government Reform national security subcommittee, long known for its investigative hearings into defense-related matters, has scheduled a first panel of witnesses that includes Army Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, a 43-year-old wounded soldier, and Annette McLeod, the wife of Army Cpl. Wendell McLeod, another wounded soldier. Both have been quoted in the media about problems at the hospital.

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, whom the Army has asked to step in as Walter Reed commander, also will testify. Kiley has become a lightning rod for congressional criticism because he was the Walter Reed commander from 2002 to 2004 and was responsible for the outpatient program that is now the center of attention.

I only wish that Cspan would cover this hearing so that I could listen to it. I want to hear all the rhetoric that will be spewed by this Commander. No excuses buddy. Of course, this type of problem is not new, ask a Vietnam Vet. We have been shortchanging Vets for years and years. It is time to STOP.

What Does America Owe to Those who Serve?

This is a comment that I read on either Huffington Post or apologies to the author, for forgetting to add his name.

What does America owe to those who serve?

Walter Reed has caused quite a stir here in Washington.

Hearings have been announced, people are starting to get fired, ceilings are being patched, members of congress are taking tours and soldiers are being told to shut up.

Everyone seems to be very upset.

I'm not --

I am outraged.

The conditions at Walter Reed come as no surprise to most of us in the Veterans community. The failure of our government to follow through on their obligation to heal those injured in battle is not a new phenomenon in this country.

These problems didn't happen over night -- we just want to think they did.

As the Washington Post reported this morning, our own Director of veterans affairs, Steve Robinson told Army Surgeon General, Gen. Kiley, point blank in 2003 while he was commander of Walter Reed, that the conditions were appalling and that soldiers were drinking themselves to death, sharing drugs and not getting the care that they needed.

Sadly, this is the way we have always treated injured service members and veterans in this country -- like disposable commodities.

38 years ago, while serving in Vietnam, a bullet severed my spine and left me paralyzed from the chest down. The hospital I recovered at -- Kingsbridge VA Hospital in the Bronx -- was the subject of a shocking cover story in LIFE magazine about the horrible conditions we were forced to endure.

The issue was the second-biggest selling LIFE issue ever. The cover story included a photograph of Mark Dumpert, one of the quadriplegics in my spinal chord injury unit, who had been left dripping wet in his chair after being showered.

Similar to the Walter Reed story, the nation was up in arms to learn about our conditions at Kingsbridge. And similar to Walter Reed, there were congressional visits, hearing and pledges galore that justice would be realized for those wounded in wartime service in Vietnam.

It never happened.

My best friend in that spinal chord injury ward, John Macari, gunned down by machine gun fire at age 19, committed suicide out of despair. Many others followed suit.

It was then that I decided to fight for my care so that the system would not ruin me.

Being an advocate, first for my own survival, put me on a path that led to founding a national organization for Vietnam veterans (VVA). I remained its president for nine years. I was intimately involved in the efforts to attain justice for Vietnam veterans. We led congressional hearings on PTSD, vet centers, an improved GI Bill, Agent Orange compensation, judicial review of VA decisions, etc.

Nothing we achieved came without a fight.

Round two is different. In many ways it's harder - it's deeper now.

As the media has demonstrated over the past several weeks, this country is failing its service members and veterans across-the-board.

The system is beyond broken. It is completely shattered.

The root of this problem is much, much deeper than any current political debate. It goes deeper than decrepit facilities, convoluted claims processes, long waiting lines, interminable budget hearings, inaccurate casualty numbers and ridiculous gag orders on soldiers.

The social contract between this country and those it sends to war is broken. Every problem facing our service members and veterans stems from the fact that as a country, we have never been able to answer one fundamental question - What does America owe to those who serve?

We have NEVER had a guiding philosophy for the healthcare and rehabilitative needs of service members and veterans. And as a result, the system in place today is an erratic hodgepodge of programs that has failed over and over again.

We are at a critical juncture in this country. We must come to an understanding about what is owed to those who serve, and we must find a way to engage the America people in this issue so that treatment of service members and veterans becomes a national issue and national commitment.

Anything less is unacceptable. We need an overhaul; we need a moratorium on band-aid solutions that do nothing more than perpetuate the failing status quo.


What does America owe to those who serve?

Walter Reed Hospital's flaws are indefensible.

Walter Reed Hospital's flaws are indefensible.
Washington - A day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is an eye-opener - about our soldiers, our government generally and the Bush administration.

I visited the renowned hospital after The Washington Post exposed serious problems at the center, where as many as one-fourth of our injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.

The Post reported that soldiers are housed in deteriorated conditions of mold, mice infestations and disrepair. Facilities for amputees are inadequate. Depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome are often overlooked. Nightmarish paperwork stymies even the most aggressive.

What I saw was not a lack of caring or quality medical care. But I found a soldier without his legs sent in four different directions for four forms over the course of a day. His exhausted wife, near tears, was pushing him in a wheelchair through ice.

I talked with a woman whose husband has been in and out of Walter Reed for nearly two years after losing his face in war. His wife had nothing but praise for his plastic surgeons. But she said Walter Reed's bureaucratic morass is unbelievable.

I saw the family of a soldier whose helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. He has badly broken legs, a cracked pelvis, a broken jaw, a collapsed lung and a punctured eardrum. Six of his teammates hovered near him, caring for his family, who had flown across the country, including his disabled father.

His fellow soldiers said he described the pain as "intolerable" after his first surgery, but that he was more concerned about the fate of his friends. Eight did not survive. Eager to help, one of his comrades went looking for a video-game console. "At least his hands are OK," he said.

In recent days, the commander at Walter Reed, Maj. Gen. George Weightman, and the Army's surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, have been all over TV, saying the problems at the facility are being fixed and that they are "extremely proud" of the work their staffs are doing.

But the point is that crumbling infrastructure, inhumane bureaucracy and inadequate treatment for mental disorders have been known about for years and have been permitted to continue.

The month before The Post's series ran, a conference on "quality of life" problems faced by soldiers, their families and civilian staff at Walter Reed found a long list of "issues." They included: soldiers not getting benefits to travel as scheduled; lack of direction for emergency family care; unequal benefits based on the locale where a soldier is injured and not on the extent of injuries; and no overall plan to help wounded warriors through their convalescence.

When former defense chief Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush were planning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, did they never think to determine how the wounded would be helped? Did they not know that today's injured soldiers are dealing with far more horrific injuries than in the past because battlefield medicine keeps more of them alive?

Walter Reed is supposed to close in 2011. But facilities to handle its patients have not been built, renovated or expanded. Funds may not be scarce for cool new weapons, but they are exceedingly scarce for real soldiers.

If the Army is broken, as many believe, Rumsfeld and Bush broke it. And fixing it is proving more difficult than fixing the courageous soldiers the administration sent to war and who came back broken.


My anger knows no bounds when it comes to this subject! Donations built the Center for the Intrepid, not federal funds. There have been negligible funds put forward to help our vets, and disability ratings are denied, denied and denied. Here in San Antonio, a disabled Iraq Vet could not even get the funds to make his home accessible, something that has been done in the past. Or at least I knew about it in 1981 when working at the VA. Did that disappear? We don't do that anymore? There is no justification for asking people to sacrifice their lives, and then leave the survivors and their families in the lurch.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bob Woodruff's report, Back from Iraq

Mr. Woodruff was named co-anchor of “World News Tonight” less than a month before he went to Iraq. His injury was a huge story and a milestone in the public’s perception of the war; it was already all too obvious that soldiers, American and Iraqi, were wounded and killed by roadside bombs and ambushes every day. But the explosion that injured Mr. Woodruff and, to a lesser extent, Doug Vogt, a cameraman, dramatically brought home how vulnerable all Americans, even visiting anchors, are over there.

Like celebrities who battle cancer, H.I.V. or Parkinson’s disease, Mr. Woodruff decided to put his fame and experience to public use. And like so many people fueled by a sense of mission, he seeks government accountability.

The film notes that the Department of Defense puts the number of men and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan at about 23,000, while the Department of Veterans Affairs has recorded treating more than 200,000 veterans of those two wars. Paul Sullivan, the director of programs at the advocacy group Veterans for America, says, “What you have are two sets of books.”

Mr. Woodruff politely asks the secretary of veterans affairs, R. James Nicholson, to explain the discrepancy. Citing department reports that list 73,000 mental disorders, 61,000 diseases of the nervous system and others, Mr. Woodruff says, “These are huge numbers beyond the 23,000.”

Mr. Nicholson, a Vietnam veteran and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, replies, “A lot of them come in for, for dental problems.”

Mr. Woodruff illustrates quite graphically that some veterans are sent home to recuperate in smaller cities that do not have veterans’ hospitals equipped to handle the growing number of those returning with severe traumatic injuries. He interviews a young soldier who is slowly but steadily recovering at a state-of-the-art veterans’ polytrauma rehabilitation center in Tampa, Fla., then checks in on him weeks later in his hometown in Texas, where he has noticeably regressed.

The Bush Administration in One Sentence

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist

Wednesday 28 February 2007

History is bunk.
- Henry Ford

Just because the Supreme Court set that poison precedent and anointed Bush, who brought in a crowd of neocon yahoos which earned no attention before the 2000 campaign, just because we 'Muricans vote for the man and not the mob, which in this case turned into the mob that ruined the country, you know, Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Perle and Feith and Ledeen and Negroponte ...

... just because unreasonably massive tax cuts were combined in 2001 with the economic depth-charge that was the Enron/Arthur Andersen/inflated revenues/overstated tax earnings scandal, which was umbilically connected to the White House, just because the economy (not to mention our whole psyche) absorbed another blow when four commercial airplanes somehow managed to pierce the most impenetrable air defense system in the history of the universe, fooling the entire intelligence community as well, if you believe what you hear...

... just because this happened despite a blizzard of warnings delivered in the weeks and months beforehand, along with a raft of information gathered by the previous administration, just because a bunch of anthrax got mailed to Democrats by the Ashcroft wing of the Republican Party in what were obvious assassination attempts and yet nothing but nothing has been done about it, just because the 9/11 attack was immediately - and I mean the day after immediately - grasped as an excuse to invade Iraq, just because virtually everyone in the administration lied with their bare faces hanging out about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, terrorism ties in Iraq, so break out the plastic sheeting and duct tape because we're all gonna die ...

... just because they did this in no small part to win the 2002 midterms by any means necessary, just because they have used that day against us with deliberation and intent, just because 3,160 American soldiers have been killed looking for 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons (which is one million pounds) of sarin and mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 munitions to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, aerial drones to spray the aforementioned stuff, and let's not forget the uranium from Niger for use in Iraq's robust "nukular" program, all of which was described to the letter by Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address, claims that still remain today on the White House web site, on a page titled 'Disarm Saddam Hussein' ...

... just because the medical journal Lancet estimated that as many as 198,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed as well in the war to get at this stuff, and that was a while ago and a whole slew of bombings ago, just because none of the stuff was there, and by the way none of the stuff was there, and did I mention that none of the stuff was there, just because the idea that Hussein was allied with bin Laden was laughable because Osama has wanted Saddam's head on his battle standard for decades, just because the true source of world terrorism, which is Sunni Wahabbist extremism out of Saudi Arabia, goes completely unaddressed because the Houses of Bush and Saud have been partnered for decades ...

... just because the lie that says the GOP is strong on national defense still permeates everything, though the loss of those 3,160 soldiers combined with the grievous wounding of between 47,000 and 53,000 other soldiers amounts to the evisceration of between a fourth and a third of our entire active fighting force, which makes us safer in no way that can be fathomed, and never mind the soldiers living in filth and among rats and roaches because they have been deliberately shafted so the Bush boys can squeeze a few more pennies into the coffers of folks like Halliburton and Exxon...

... just because so much of 9/11 and this 'War on Terra' has to do with business arrangements going awry between these two Houses, just because a deep-cover CIA agent who was working to track any person or nation or group that would give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists got her cover and her network blown by administration officials who wanted to shut her husband and any other potential whistleblowers the hell up, just because the front company she was working out of called Brewster Jennings and Associates was likewise blown, thus torpedoing other agents and their networks, just because absolutely all of this went virtually unreported by the mainstream media until it was too late, if it was reported at all ...

... just because dangerous spies like Ahmad Chalabi used Judy Miller and the New York Times to disseminate the lie that Iraq was riddled with weapons, thus opening the floodgates for the rest of the media to repeat the lie, because once the Times says it, it must be true, just because this lack of reporting combined with an astounding level of cheerleading from the aforementioned media combined with some good old-fashioned vote fraud in places like Ohio, Florida and New Mexico gave the aforementioned group of yahoos four more years in 2004 ...

... just because this means the Iraq war will continue and Iran will probably be next, despite the fact that we basically gave the Iraqi government to Iran when we invaded and handed the Shi'ite majority control over the place, a majority that is ideologically and religiously allied with Iran, a majority controlled by two Shi'ite factions called Dawa and SCIRI, which have been creatures of Iran since the early 1980s, which were centrally involved in the 1983 Beirut bombing that killed more than 200 American Marines, just because we knew this going in but it happened anyway, and even though we know Iran is running Iraq, we still have to hear all this blather about Iran "interfering" in Iraq ...

... just because our phones are tapped and our homes are no longer protected from unreasonable searches, just because we torture at will, just because we detain forever and use habeas corpus like so much toilet paper, just because signing statements have dismantled the separation of powers one brick at a time, just because no page is safe in a Republican Congress, just because no bribe is too small in a Republican Congress, just because a Democratic resurgence in 2006 is only a tiny beginning and not any kind of an end, because these Bush boys have no intention of slowing down or backing off ...

... just because our national reputation is ravaged and our future has been sold out from under us, just because Truman's wartime economic footing has morphed into a machine that Eisenhower would recognize in horror as the very thing he warned us about before he left, just because the whole system now requires us to manufacture wars if none are available because the system itself has been wired to feed the beast no matter the consequences, just because television tells you not to worry, look at these breasts or this shaved starlet's head, or this shiny thing, look here, shhh, be silent, be still, sleep ...

... doesn't mean We The People are finished, because all of this is why "We The People" was written down in the first place, and though the day is late and the road is long and the chances for success are slim, We The People are here to stay, so strap in and look out, because we are just getting started, and the next sentence will be ours to write.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence. His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation, will be available this winter from PoliPointPress.


This says it all in a nutshell. Thank you Mr. Pitt for putting this down so clearly and concisely.

Eisenhower's Worst Nightmare Now Harsh Reality For U.S.A

By John Hanchette

02/20/0 "Niagara Falls Reporter " - -- OLEAN -- I have come to believe Dwight David Eisenhower, our 34th president, is one of the most underrated and unappreciated men ever to hold that office.

Until recently, Eisenhower was generally regarded as a terrific general (commander of all Allied Forces in World War II) but mediocre president. Now, he is proving to be one of the most prescient visionaries of our modern age.

All of my high school years occurred during Ike's second term. Think "Happy Days" of TV fame, with Fonzi and the malt shop. To most parents, the biggest crisis seemed to be this terrible rock 'n' roll music that was sweeping the nation and corrupting our youth. The new dance sensation the Twist (in which partners never even touched each other) was banned at my high school, despite being downright puritanical by today's standards.

The White House coverage was pretty boring, and so was Ike. The American public loved him because not much all that bad was happening and he'd gotten us out of the Korean War, but he was viewed by most commentators as an unimaginative avuncular type.

Young people paid so little attention to him that my birth cohort was dubbed the Apathetic Generation. (We dispelled that unfair tag when Vietnam came along.)

Eisenhower, however, in January of 1961, in his last speech before vacating the White House to make room for the just-elected John F. Kennedy, warned America of a "disastrous rise of misplaced power" if we continued allowing the germination of a new historical entity he called "the military-industrial complex."


And then, my generation, who were taught "duck and cover" and didn't buy into the hysteria. Heck, I remember being issued dog tags and an Army blanket during the Cuban missile crisis and being told we would be sent to Seattle directly from school, without our parents. (From Alaska). We all thought it would be one big adventure, but dutifully memorized the air raid siren information. Now the war machine tries to keep us all scared on a daily basis. I think I am too jaded. I was not afraid of the bomb and I am not afraid of terrorists. What I am afraid of is the Bush crime family and the neocons, like Darth Cheney, and the military industrial complex. They will bring us to rack and ruin, while they line their pockets. Eisenhower was oh so right.