A New Beginning?

It appears that I may be starting a new job on Monday at United Space Alliance. I probably shouldn't say too much else, but it sounds like a fantastic job. More later.


More Dum Dum

More on the obscene claims that WWII or the American Civil War are similar to the war in Iraq. This time from Newsweek:
But only speechmakers from coddled, comfortable backgrounds who’ve never heard a shot fired in anger, much less seen “dead men by mass production,” would dare use the blood of those who died at Normandy 60 years ago to try to cleanse their conscience of those dying in Iraq today.


Sixty years ago, those who thought they could teach the world how to live the only right way, which was their way, and launched unprovoked wars claiming this was the only thing could do to defend their values—those were the people we called the enemy.

Dummy Dum Dum Rumsfeld

I previously mentioned that Rumsfeld wasn't correctly analyzing war history...

It appears that Steve Chapman seems to be voicing the same sentiments in his editorial in the Chicago Tribune. He thinks that Bush and Rumsfeld should have learned something else from previous wars.
For the American people to accept substantial outlays of blood and treasure, they have to believe the sacrifice is being made for a truly imperative purpose--not a merely desirable one. They also have to believe that the mission can be accomplished. They could believe those things for World War II and the Civil War, but they have deep doubts this time, and with good reason.

If Bush and Rumsfeld keep reading, though, they may get an insight into the resistance we face in Iraq. When Union soldiers asked a captured Confederate what he was fighting for, recounts historian Shelby Foote, he replied, "I'm fighting because you're down here."

Tough words from a former writer for the Weakly Standard, and even tougher when you consider that they come from a conservative that was born in Brady, Texas!!


I might write another post about Ronald Reagan, but here are my initial thoughts on the subject...

I'm the same age as Tacitus, and I have a much different recollection of Reagan and the era in American politics that he is associated with.

I remember as a child, sometime around 1983, helping my mother deliver food and fruit packages to the few local homeless, even though we were barely scraping by economically. I didn't know very much about the homeless situation, only that our President kept referring to the United States as the richest country in the world. And yet, even though I hardly understood the meaning of the word "greed", I knew the wealth of this country was not "trickling" down as many would report on the news or in the newspaper. And it certainly didn't trickle down to the level of the guys who dug around the fast food dumpsters in town.

Around 1986, I began thinking about sex and tried to learn as much as I could about it, including homosexuality. People on television would discuss "the disease", and it even crept into my parent's conversation. I didn't fully understand my parent's conversations, but I had to be mistaken... could they possibly be accusing the POTUS of ignoring a disease that seemed to slowly suck the life out of a person? And then I began to learn about the real disease, homophobia. It was a hard lesson to learn that a fellow human would attempt to ignore the suffering of another based solely on sexual orientation. I may have been eleven years old at the time, but not much older or younger. It was a tough pill to swallow, and it permanently changed my view of the President. And it made me aware of the acute powers that he possessed over the populace.

A human has no excuse to stand idle and watch another human suffer. The President, Ronald Reagan, could stand firm and demanded public awareness and education. How could he not have been more proactive?

And Along Came Ollie. And a President's lack of recollection. And a President's willingness to allow those in his administration to deceive the American public. Again, I was young. I was under the impression that certain men are elected to positions that absolutely demand full truth and accountability. This was before I was required to study the Presidencies of Nixon, Johnson, JFK. I now understand that all men distort the truth, but Reagan set the example for me.

Was Reagan the only possible politician that prevented the Reds from taking over America or, annihlating US with nuclear weapons? Was he personally (and solely) responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall? I didn't think so then, and I don't now. I can't condemn his rhetoric on those subjects, and agree that he may not have been the worst choice for President at the time, but certainly not the only one capable of promoting Democracy and providing security to the US.

As a child, I honestly gave Reagan too much credit for the AIDS epidemic and the poverty that seemed to affect the lives of everybody around me. I see now that he effectively used his rhetoric to redefine the Republican party for a new generation. Aside from that, it seems as though that those around him were the real power players. I once saw him as powerful politician, but now view him as little more than a figurehead. He wasn't a revolutionist, he was a reactionist. And a commentator on world events, who just happened to have an international platform in which to speak.

He's worm food now. He enjoyed the brief stastical anomaly known as life, and now it is gone. Perhaps he isn't a lying sack of shit, just a deceptive bag of (mostly) water. His actions indicate that he had little concern for the spread of AIDS among homosexuals (and other 'amoralists'). Reciprocity was paid lip service, but was not actively promoted by his Administration.

If bipartisan civility wasn't dead when Reagan took office, he certainly allowed it to die on the vine... if not drove the stake through its heart himself. Reagan shattered my view of the American presidency. I will always associate the greed, callousness, and hostility of the 80's with Reagan's rhetoric and ideology, perhaps because he was in office while I grew up and was learning the harder lessons of life. Like many politicans after him, he held the Cross of Jesus in one hand, while shaking Satan's hand with the other. I learned this from my first true President, Mr. Reagan. (I can hardly count Carter because he took office when I was six months old.)

No, Reagan didn't deserve to die of Alzheimer's. It was too easy. He was allowed to forget the depth of the pain of life. No, he deserved to lay in a hospital bed and whither away slowly, aware of what was really happening to his body, with no chance to fight it. Call me cold, call me callous, but I only have as much respect for Reagan's life as he had for the lowliest of gay needle addicts dying of AIDS. That's the most that I can offer to his family and supporters. (And you can take that statement however you like.)

Sure, I am somewhat embarassed to say all of this, because it makes me feel that I am as much of a slimeball as I perceive Reagan to be. But at least I view him as an equal human, one that deserved the best in medical attention. I would always grant that to him, no matter how much I couldn't stand him or others like him. I guess that is what separated humans like him and I...


Bridging the Gap

I had a great telephone conversation with my grandmother today. She had a recent visit from her cousin in California, and expect to see him and his daughter again this year...

So what's the big deal, right?

Well... It gives me hope that the partisan gap in our country can be bridged. You see, my grandmother is a Democrat from Texas... and her cousin is a Republican from California. And if these two can come together and have a civil relationship, perhaps all is not lost.

Be All That You Can Be

And if you can't be all that you can be, then join the Army and Beat all that you can Beat.

Go read this WaPO piece about Charles Graner, one of those lovable, huggable military guys in Iraq who, by all accounts, should be rotting away in the darkest cells in Abu Ghraib for the rest of his life.

Here is a ringing endorsement from one of his fellow co-workers in the United States:
"Yo, Charles, I heard you got a good left," the guard said mockingly. "You're the toughest wife beater I ever met."

Of course, don't take his word for it. This is his wife's testimony.
"I ran past him and up the stairs to my kid's rooms and I went into Dean's room first (they were both in their own rooms screaming and crying for me). As soon as I got into Dean's room, Charles was behind me and told me to get away from my son. . . . He then grabbed me by my hair a second time, pushed me down, dragged me out of Dean's room into the hallway, into my bedroom, and started banging the left side of my head against the floor."

But... Surely he's a decent father, right?
As for the children, the moment they walked out the door with their mother I washed my hands of them.' Kelle replied, 'But you're their father, Chuck,' and he said, 'Those two no longer have a father.' "

But... surely the Army wouldn't accept a soldier if these type of allegations were hanging over his head, right? Surely the Army wouldn't attempt to provide an excuse for this type of guy to avoid a court hearing, right?
"Cpl Graner will be unable to appear and protect his interests in this case until December 2002 because of his support with the training of the high volume of soldiers deploying overseas with Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle," said the letter, which was written on U.S. Army letterhead.

"This letter is a special request in my capacity as a commander, charged with a mission supporting the national security of this nation, that you delay the proceedings to allow this soldier to perform his critical part in that mission."

OK. Now, I'm getting a little vomitous. There is every indication that the Army should not accept any individual with a record implying this type of aggressive behavior towards his wife and children.... But how did he treat prisoners when he served in Iraq in the first Gulf War?
He remembers that after the riot, when the reservists handed out their boxes of rations, they deliberately did not bother to mention which ones contained pork.

Aww. So he has absolutely no respect for the religious rights of Iraqi prisoners in 1991... But was he ever violent as a corrections officer in the United States?
June 29, 1998. At State Correctional Institution-Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania, the inmates are eating mashed potatoes. Horatio Nimley, who is serving time for burglary, takes a spoonful. His mouth fills with blood. He spits out a razor blade. He screams for help. At first the guards ignore him. Then they take him to the nurse. And then they punch him, kick him and slam him to the floor, and when he yells, "Stop, stop," one of the guards says, "Shut up, nigger, before we kill you."


Goodness. So this guy beats the hell out of his wife, leaves his children to fend for themselves, and the Army provides an excuse for him to avoid court. He had a pattern of disregard for prisoner rights in Iraq over a decade ago AND American prisoner rights less than five years before he left to serve again... I was under the impression that there was some type of background check for our military. Evidently, I was mistaken.

Makes you wonder... Do we have our nation's child molesters rebuilding Iraqi schools? Have we sent mobsters over to run the waste disposal systems? I've heard that Ken Lay is looking for a new job. Perhaps he could rebuild the Iraq oil structure. Perhaps Michael Milken could rebuild the financial system. Maybe OJ Simpson could go work in the Marriage License Dept.

But I shouldn't use my own words to tear Graner down. His words will suffice:
"The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.' "


Secretary Duncefeld

Dum Rumsfeld was just interviewed on CNN. He claims that the Invasion of Normandy would have been a disaster if the 24 hour news networks could have covered it and had embedded reporters in it. He says that the world would not have accepted the mistakes and casualties in the Invasion...

Technology cuts both ways, Rummy. If our global information structure had existed in the middle of the 20th Century, the Invasion of Normandy would have been much, much more efficient and may have resulted in fewer deaths, if not certainly fewer miscalculations and mislandings. Of course, that's if the Invasion would have still been necessary....

At some point, it seems like somebody should question why Rumsfeld makes such absurd statements. Of course, we hit that point by Dec. 2001....

One in the Hand, Is Worth Two In Teh Boosh

(Not every title can make sense....)

Perhaps an apt title would be "Holy Paranoia Complex, Batman!"

Capitol Hill Blue isn't the most trustworthy website, but they have run two explosive articles in the past two days that, if true, demonstrate that the wheels have fallen off the Bush Admin's wagon.

President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.
In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state

"Tenet wanted to quit last year but the President got his back up and wouldn't hear of it," says an aide. "That would have been the opportune time to make a change, not in the middle of an election campaign but when the director challenged the President during the meeting Wednesday, the President cut him off by saying 'that's it George. I cannot abide disloyalty. I want your resignation and I want it now." - CHB

Sounds like Bush has been hitting the 'Jesus Juice' a little too hard lately. Which you can take to mean that he's drinking again, drinking wine supplied by Michael Jackson, or is getting 'drunk' on his imagined relationship with an invisble deity. Take your pick, they're probably all valid.

Of course, Bush has some more problems of his own (if CHB can be trusted):

Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.

Their damning testimony has prompted Bush to contact an outside lawyer for legal advice because evidence increasingly points to his involvement in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert Novak. The move suggests the president anticipates being questioned by prosecutors. Sources say grand jury witnesses have implicated the President and his top advisor, Karl Rove. - CHB

If this is true, then Bush should really be in trouble. Because he, of all people, should have known better. As the son of a former head of CIA, Bush knew right from wrong. And he chose wrong. Of course, one could argue that his father was a screwup at the CIA, and was directly responsible for allowing foreign terrorists to assasinate Letelier on American soil, and covering US culpability in Pinochet's assasination... So perhaps W. is just living up to the lofty standards set by his father...

And yet, I still can't imagine that GH Bush would have sat passive in the Oval Office while his aides outed a CIA officer. H Bush is old school, where the rules are different... and when examining US involvement in South American politics in the mid-1900's, one could argue that most rules were 'soft' or even non-existent: they were making them up as they went along. Now, this isn't to excuse our activites in Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, or even Cuba or Mexico. However, our standards have greatly changed since then.

I don't have much respect for George H Bush's record in the CIA or the White House. But I do have respect for him as an individual. He took a lot of nasty hits in public, and still rolled with the punches. Could you imagine W going on SNL with Will Ferrel like H did with Dana Carvey? And say what you will about the 1991 Gulf War, but it was an ugly necessity and H certainly used diplomacy to his advantage to build a true coalition. And when H saw that he was going to be slaughtered by Clinton, he took it like a real man. It's unfortunate that he never taught that skill to his children...


Back for Good?

I've caught the blogging bug again, and since my work hours won't be changing anytime soon... I have no other excuse but to blog now.