Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Words Just Won't Flow Man.......

I've got writers block. I've had it for a couple of weeks now, since that exchange with the Young Republican who suggested that I'd be happy if the USA was taking it on the chin.

The thing of it is, I've just gotten a little bored with all of the things I usually take an interest it, politics being the number one blow out. Anymore I read the newspapers and I think, "War, death, political corruption. More of the usual. Ho Hum."

It isn't that there isn't anything to be outraged about. In fact there is plenty. Allow me to offer a list:

There are the soldiers accused of capital crimes in Iraq. We've known about the problems in Abu Ghraib with the abuse of prisoners for quite some time. Now we have accusations of soldiers executing large groups of civilians and the charges of rape and murder against a GI and some alleged accomplices. God only knows what circumstance might drive men to see these actions as justified. I can't imagine such a thing myself, but I would hazard a guess that it might be related to these soldiers being stuck - for a prolonged period of time - in a hostile environment that does not seem to be improving, despite the best wishes and claims of our political leadership. I'm not offering an excuse by any means, but if these guys weren't in this dead end situation they would not have been in a position to take these actions, let alone to think they were warranted. I feel bad for the soldiers. I feel bad for the victims. The whole thing stinks.

There was a very interesting article in the New York Times today about Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-Oh) who is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. In a May 18th letter to the President Rep. Hoekstra outlined his concerns about Bush appointees to the CIA, lack of consultation with members of the President's own party in Congress and especially, about the questionable legality of ongoing intelligence gathering activities. And this guy is an ALLY of the President. Way to go Pete. This kind of thing should happen more often.

There was another frightening article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker this week. (I think if the White House was going to start secretly assassinating reporters this guy would be at the top of the list. Mr. Hersh is one huge pain in the ass for Rumsfeld and Cheney. Pentagon Brass talks openly to him about stuff the White House would rather not have talked about at all. He’s the guy that broke the story about current and retired generals lining up against Rumsfeld earlier this year.) The crux of the piece is that the military brass is trying to prevent the political leadership from going to war with Iran over their atomic program. According to the article, Pentagon planners at one point included a nuclear option, among many options, as a normal course of tactical planning, only to be taken by surprise when the political leadership - read Rumsfeld, Cheney et al - actually embraced the idea as a viable, even preferable plan. In an odd turn of events the Pentagon has forced itself to examine the global political costs of such an action, even as the White House continues to poo-poo such concerns in its messianic fervor. I might be overstepping here, but I’m reading that to mean the White House actually WANTS to drop the big one.

I’ve got to add my two cents on this one. The fact that the White House would actually consider this a viable idea shows how utterly bereft of any diplomatic skill or creativity this administration really is. They really think the U.S. is the global equivalent of John Wayne riding into town to clean up the bad guys with a big iron on its hip. How utterly simplistic and stupid can these people truly be? We might succeed in destroying a nuclear facility, but the damage to the prestige and moral authority of the nation – which is already taking some lumps due to poor leadership – would be incalculable. No one has dropped an atom bomb in sixty-one years. It’s an evil that the entire civilized world has recognized as the ultimate in destructive capability, the use of which is to be avoided at all costs. Are we really going to be the ones to set all of that aside with a pre-emptive atomic strike? What the Fuck?!

Oh yeah. The President also had the stones to compare himself favorably with Winston Churchill. Yeah Gads!

Also in this week’s issue of the New Yorker is an article by Lawrence Wright that basically lays out in great detail what the CIA knew, and chose not to turn over the FBI, about the Al Qaeda operatives within the United States prior to 9/11. The article makes a pretty good case that the FBI agents working on Al Qaeda had most of the pieces of the puzzle, and if the CIA had been forthright with them they could have easily connected the rest of the dots and possibly prevented the attack. It broke down over an inter-agency pissing contest. Very outrageous.

Let’s see, there was also an episode in Baghdad yesterday where masked Shiite gunmen set up checkpoints on the roads and started checking ID cards. Every time they got a Sunni they’d just shoot him. Good thing we’ve got 120,000 soldiers on the ground making Iraq safe for democracy. I’d say the situation is improving, wouldn’t you?

Hey, my writers block seems to be getting better.

I guess the reason I haven’t felt like writing about any of this is that I don’t see where the situation is changing, let alone getting any better. I wish the opposition, or even Republican’s like Rep. Hoekstra, had the skill or even the spine to put the brakes on all this. At least then there might be some hope that someone rational might step in and force a change in direction. I’m not sure we can continue on this path until January 2009. In 1968 a Democratic Congress said ‘no’ to Lyndon Johnson’s request for appropriations to expand U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In doing so they forced the nation from an escalation policy to an extraction policy. It still took another five years for large scale U.S. military operations to come to an end, but at least they made it clear that we did not want to be in that war indefinitely. I hope someone has the strength to take a similar stand this time. I pray we don’t do anything even dumber than we already have in the meantime.



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