I’m glad to see that the last United States troops are leaving Iraq. Many hawks are quick to blame our president for the uncertain end of the mission. That’s unfair and unfortunate because the war never had areal mission to begin with. It was all based on lies and subterfuge. We invaded a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with 9/11 and we caused tremendous carnage. Between Iraq and Afghanistan we have spent nearly 4 trillion dollars. Imagine what good we could have done here and elsewhere with that capital. This is the season that many of us celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace so it is all the more fitting that our engagement in Iraq is at an end. Thank you to the American forces who served so admirably and at such great cost to themselves. May God bless our troops and their families and grant them a lengthy furlough at home with their loved ones. In the spirit of another great president from Illinois, let us “care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
For the last several weeks we’ve been treated to non-stop coverage of one man’s infidelity to his wife. I’m not excusing Tiger Wood’s behavior, but that is a matter between he, his wife and family. I’m not sure even Bill Clinton got this much attention. There are larger issues. Affordable health care for all Americans is slipping off the table. Americans are dying everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan but that goes largely unreported while we have non-stop coverage of Tiger’s infidelity. I wonder how many of the main stream media and sportscasters in particular could stand up to the scrutiny they’ve put Tiger to. Enough! Let’s get on with real issues.
A real leader is always at the scene of the battle. Contrast Barack Obama’s tour of Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq with the leadership style of our current president. Senator McCain’s camp actually leaked the details of the trip, but Obama, a real leader went anyway and visited U.S. troops. That’s a paradigm change from our current leader who always arrives in Iraq under the cover of darkness and cloaked in secrecy.
Take a look at this video.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was going to leave us with a democracy in the Middle East. It looks like the Iraqis are catching on and that things are going swimmingly well for them but not so well for us. Turns out they don’t want us occupying their country afterall. They don’t want a permanent US presence complete with contractors and 58 permanent bases. Looks like we’ll have to install a strong man like Saddam and prop him up. Read more here.
Today when I arrived home from work I checked my mail. The largest parcel came from the American Friends Service Committee. When I opened the large envelope it contained a poster that can be displayed that simply states Friends for Peace. The American Friends Service Committee holds a special place in my heart. They are people who never seem to grow tired of working for peace. The letter invited me to contribute and at the same time send a letter to my elected representatives asking them to do their constitutional duty and end this War in Iraq. You too can defund the War by following this link.
Yesterday, President Bush told a reporter that he gave up golf to be in solidarity with the parents of loved ones who had been killed in Iraq. Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force and Marines who’ve been killed in an un-necessary and illegal war can draw solace that Mr. Bush has given up golf. What a guy? Do you think George Bush belongs in the same history books as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln? Does this poor man get it? What planet is the guy on? Tonight Keith Olberman lit into the President in a tongue lashing without peer. View it here.
Sadly this is too little too late for thousands of Americans and Iraqi people who have been killed by a person who cares little if anything about human life. I have to wonder what if any lessons we as a country have learned from this debacle in Iraq. Have we learned that war only begets war and that only peace can bring an end to terrorism. I wish the president had kept playing golf and given up lying. You want to engender solidarity, call the nation to shared sacrifice. There should be no tax cuts for the wealthy in war time. You want to promote solidarity, how about gas rationing or a call to use alternatives to fossil fuels. How about an end to no bid contracts for your buddies. How about less “bring’em on” speeches and less politicization of opponents of your failed strategy.
You want to show real solidarity with the troops, own up to your mistakes honestly. Admit you were way wrong and ask forgiveness for yourself and your wrong headed strategy. Instead of a presidential library how about taking the money and putting it towards a trust fund to help the widows and children of the four thousand dead military personnel and the countless thousands of wounded from this debacle. How about asking the war profiteers to give back some of the billions of tax payer dollars to establish the beginning of an international aid program. Start playing golf again and while you’re out there invite some of the orphans of Katrina, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere to join you for lunch. Live with the victims of war and you’ll be a little less likely to start another one. Spend some time living with a military family, eat the food they eat, sit up with them while they worry and pray for their loved ones. When you’ve been in their shoes it’ll be a little tougher to start another war.
This week in Congress, General Petraeus, told our representatives that we have to pause on the draw down of our troops in Iraq. Iraq is not really any safer than it was a year ago when we were told that we needed to surge our troops in order to bring stability to the country. I didn’t watch the testimony. I’m sure I would have been sickened by the baloney. I’m a bit cynical after growing up during the Berlin buildup, a draftee during the War in Vietnam. Continue reading “Terribly profitable”
There’s a chill wind blowin’ in Washington today as Army Vice Chief of Staff told congress that you either change course or start the draft and/or face a broken army. I’m not in favor of the draft and neither are the politicians as it would spell doom to their endless war. I’d be in favor of drafting “chickenhawks.” The more vocal you are as a supporter of war the greater your opportunity to see combat ought to be. I’ll bet we’d see a growth of pacifism in this country. Five time deferred Dick Cheney never served, and our Commander-in-chief was AWOL for part of his tour. I’d like to see Joe Lieberman, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh join. Rush avoided military service because he had a cyst on his rump during Vietnam. Read more of what General Cody said here.
Today I came across a nice interview conducted by Charlie Rose on public television with two Iraqis. Their subject matter had do with whether Iraq was better off five years later as a result of the United States invasion and occupation. I hope you take the time to listen to this as it’s quite informative and not supportive in general of much of the baloney that we’ve been fed by our government and the United States press.
History is written by the winners. ~Alex Haley
Today marked the 4,000th American soldier killed in combat in Iraq. Colonel Dan Smith has a well written piece at Quakers Colonel. I also read a well written piece my Michael Moore at CommonDreams. It is more than a sad story. It is the tragic death of the American Democracy. We’re taxed to death to pay for their war machine and what money they can’t wring out in taxes is beaten out of us at the gas pumps. I think the country as we knew it is dead. We have no voice in our government. Word that Exxon deliberately under produced to drive up prices brings no response from the government. It’s no surprise and none of the candidates can do a damn thing about it. The election is just a sham, policies will remain the same. They are all just figureheads for the war machine.
Thomas Merton sums up my thoughts best.
“I am against war, against violence, against violent revolution, for peaceful settlement of differences, for nonviolent but nevertheless radical changes. Change is needed, and violence will not really change anything: at most it will only transfer power from one set of bull-headed authorities to another.” Thomas Merton