February 23, 2007

An Open Letter To Our Troops

February 23, 2007

To the brave men and women serving in our military:

I think I can speak for all Americans when I say that I have the utmost compassion and gratitude for you who have sacrificed so much, including your very own jobs, lives and health, to serve in our armed forces. You have taken the risks that most of us at home could not or would not take. You have endured the hardships that most of us at home couldn't possibly have sustained. And you have represented our country with pride, passion, dignity, and integrity.

Our country should owe you enormously for the service you've performed. But unfortunately our government has let you down in so many ways. We sent you into war’s theatre without adequate equipment or leadership. And when you returned maimed and broken, we didn't take adequate care of you. Those of you who returned in caskets never received proper recognition. Instead you're a statistic - well into the 3000's now. As President Bush implements his "surge" strategy in Iraq, we know that you'll be staying in the theatre longer, and/or returning to battle sooner, and it pains us to see you endure even more hardship.

What bothers me the most is that our government sent you into harm's way under false pretenses. We know that now, with a multitude of evidence, that this invasion of Iraq was wrong in so many ways. It wasn't just wrong in how we did it, it was wrong that we did it in the first place, since the intelligence wasn't just faulty, it was fabricated. It wasn't just wrong that so many lives were lost, it was wrong in that so many people profited. It wasn't just wrong that America's standing in the world stage has diminished, it was wrong that turmoil, tensions, and violence in the Middle East have magnified because of it.

Today I write to you to give you a message from the vast majority of Americans who feel like I do. We want this senselessness to stop. We want you to come home, in one piece, and with all your pieces.

President Bush’s mission in Iraq has been a disastrous failure from the inception, but it's not your fault. You have valiantly and gallantly performed your duties as ordered, but the mission was doomed from the start. You went into a country and successfully overthrew a government and military headed up by the minority party, and installed a democracy which by definition means that the new government is headed up by the majority party. A civil war was inevitable. There was no way you could stop it then, and there’s no way you can stop it now. The Sunnis and Shiia have been battling for centuries, and Bush’s ousting of Sadaam Hussein essentially tore down the barriers to their own conflict. As occupiers of this country, America’s presence is only making this situation worse.

Your Commander-in-Chief treated you with disdain and contempt when he arrogantly misled you into thinking you were protecting America's national security. Instead, you were sent there to protect the interests and profits of our military-industrial-complex. We don't blame you for the failure of his mission. We blame George W. Bush and his neo-con cabal for contriving this imperial conquest in the first place. Please know that our anti-war efforts are directed at our President and his mission. They are not directed at you. We don’t want you to be in harm’s way over greed, arrogance, stupidity, or a personal vendetta.

And when you do return, we want to treat you with respect, dignity, and appreciation for your service. You should have your old jobs back or a reasonable alternative opportunity. You should have access to the finest health care just as our law-makers have. And you should be recognized as the heroes you are.

Scott ShusterAmerican Citizen (and blogger)

February 16, 2007

Some Tough-Talking Republicans

I was watching 'Meet The Press' this past Sunday morning and happened to catch this piece of sh*t sitting next to Steny Hoyer trying to tell us how we should support the President and the mission in Iraq. John Boehner (R-Ohio) opened his mouth and all I heard were White House talking points about how we need victory in Iraq, success, the consequences of failure, and the like. Then, on Tuesday I read this article off of Yahoo news quoting Boehner saying:
"We will embolden terrorists in every corner in the world. We will give Iran free access to the Middle East, [snip] And who doesn't believe the terrorists will just follow our troops home?"
I guess when our troops come home, they'll leave a trail of breadcrumbs.

Let me set you straight, Mr. Boehner...

We are not at war with Iraq. There IS a war going on, but it's not OUR war. It's THEIR civil war. Yes, we caused it by overthrowing their existing government which was keeping order, but it's not our war. We are not at war with Iraq, we are at occupation in Iraq. It's unfortunate you're too stupid to understand that occupying a foreign country is not something which can be won or lost. There will be no victory, and there will be no defeat.

The best that we can hope for is to resolve this crisis and save face. Unfortunately, even that hope will have to wait for the next president. THIS president, along with his cronies and arrogance, have made it quite certain that resolution of this conflict will not happen in his tenure.

You Mr. Boehner, are a typical Republican parrot without a compassionate bone in your body. You drank the Kool-aid and bought into all the typical right-wing jive which has damaged this world, killed/maimed countless innocent people, and trampled all over our Constitution to diminish the Democracy we cherish. Our freedoms, rights, liberties, and privacies have one-by-one disappeared into oblivion.

Quoted in that same article is another right-wing dipstick who has no original thoughts of his own - David Dreier (R-Calif). How about these for talking points:
"We go to war to win, we go to war with a mission. [snip] We dishonor the lives of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice if we in fact abandon that mission. .... We have a duty to pursue nothing less than victory."
Gee, where have I heard that before?

The drumbeat of war against Iran

Yes, it's déjà vu all over again. The threatening rhetoric. The kidnapping of foreign nationals. The accusations. The arrogance. We must protect our troops and prevail!!!

This week the Bush Administration, along with their shills and puppets, continued to build their case for conquering Iran. Now they're claiming the Iranians are fueling the Iraqi Shiia who are killing American soldiers. They had some kind of trumped up news conference where the sources were anonymous, the reporters were not allowed to take pictures, and they had their cell phones confiscated. Then, after claiming the Iranian government was involved, they even backed off on that.

Okay. So, some Shiite militias are fueled with Iranian-supplied weapons. What else is new? Is that a reason to attack Iran? Does it matter at all that the bulk of the Sunni munitions are supplied by Saudi Arabia? And that the bulk of attacks on American soldiers are from the Sunni insurgents? Gee, I wonder why Bush isn't talking tough with Saudi Arabia? It can't be because Bush is in bed with the Saudi royal family, could it?

February 09, 2007

2009 Can’t Come Soon Enough

Like the majority of people in this country, I was giddy and ecstatic when the Democrats took over the majority in both houses of Congress last November. I thought that finally we’d have some checks-and-balances on the Bush Administration’s executive power grab. I thought that maaaaaybe there would be some common sense back in our government. I thought that the progressive agenda might get a little headway. I thought there was a possibility that Darth & Dubya might be humbled into acknowledging the will of the people, particularly after the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations also encouraged redeployment of troops and political solutions engaging the neighbors. But noooooooo.

If nothing else, this week taught me that even though the Democrats have the majority, they really don’t have enough control in Congress to “Get ‘er done”. The rules of the Senate are such that they protect the voices of the minority. And as such, the Republicans still wield enough power and influence to obstruct democratic progress. While level-headed senators try to send a (non-binding) non-escalation message to the president, the slant-headed senators (i.e. Republicans & Lieberman) are busy pulling parliamentary maneuvers to prevent even debating the issue.

Given all that’s happened, not just this week but over the last two months since the election, I’m ready to make some predictions…
  • Very little progress, if any, will be made in the next two years. It will take one more election cycle to posture our government for getting positive things accomplished. Not until after the Democrats take over the Executive branch of government will this dark cloud be lifted.
  • Bush’s agenda for the remaining two years of his presidency will be mixed. Anything he can do (i.e. get away with) that doesn’t require Congressional approval, he’ll move forward with. At the same time, if he can bully Congress into approval, he’ll do that too. You can see that’s already happened with all of the Democrats except Russ Feingold vowing to continue funding the troops already in the theatre. God forbid they get demonized with the tag of not supporting the troops. Any of Bush’s new agenda items will not make it through Congress. THIS Congress will not rubberstamp Cheney’s big-business giveaways.
  • The Democrat’s agenda will go nowhere. While Bush is in office he’ll veto anything the Democrats send across his desk if it doesn’t jive with HIS agenda. They don’t have enough votes to override a veto, so there will be tons of significant legislation that will have to wait. I’m holding out hope for stem-cell research and minimum wage which might have veto-proof support.
  • A major incident will take place that the Bush Administration will pin on Iran (true or not) and then they’ll extend the Middle East conflict in that direction. All signs are pointing to Bush wanting to attack Iran, as they’ve goaded them repeatedly with threats, kidnapping (i.e. detaining) their nationals, and economic sanctions. As long as Bush is in office, things can only get worse.
Yes… my fellow Americans, 2009 can’t come soon enough. And until that time, we’ll continue living under a cloud of darkness with middle class people hurting at home and tensions escalating abroad. Bush will get his ‘surge’ so Halliburton & Blackwater will continue to rake it in. However, as the death toll rises and it becomes abundantly clear that the surge idea was imbecilic, all of the Republicans (and Lieberman) who supported it, will burn. Hopefully, the 2008 election will move the Senate & the House even further towards the Democrats.

Just imagine… in 2009, with a Democrat in the White House AND the House & Senate dominantly Democratic, we might actually see some daylight.

February 02, 2007

Dick Cheney: The Evil Behind The President

It didn't take 6 years of the George W. Bush presidency for most intelligent people to realize who's calling the shots in the White House. If anyone thought that W himself was really setting White House policy and making the administration's decisions, that fallacy was made abundantly clear when it came time for George to testify to the 9/11 commission - not only did he refuse to testify under oath, but he also insisted on having Dick Cheney present with him.

Who developed the country's energy plan under the strictest secrecy? Why, Dick Cheney of course. Well... maybe it was the energy industry's lobby that developed America's energy plan under the auspices of Dick Cheney, whose history and fortune just happens to be intimately linked to the energy industry. But there's no conflict of interest there!

Enter the conflict in Iraq

The scope of this short article can't possibly cover all of Dick Cheney's lies, or even all of his lies on just Iraq. Sure... he said there was no doubt Saddam had WMD's, that we'd be greeted as liberators, that the war would pay for itself, and after 3 years of fighting that the insurgency was "in its last throes". Even the ignorant in this country and abroad have come to realize that Dick Cheney has absolutely NO credibility whatsoever. (I guess shooting his friend in the face didn't help either).

We know where he's coming from. We know where he's going to. And, there's no reason to believe ANYTHING he says. Here's a quote from a recent article entitled "White House defies Congress, public to push Iraq surge". This would be comical if it wasn't so pathetic.
[Cheney] cautioned against the phased withdrawal backed by Democrats, saying Iraq would collapse into chaos and the United States would lose stature in the world.
As I just mentioned, Dick Cheney has absolutely no credibility to tell us what will or would happen in the future, given any course of action. In fact his credibility is further compromised by his complete denial to even realize what has happened in the past. News flash: Iraq IS ALREADY in chaos! Do you actually think the civil war going on there is orderly? And not only is Iraq currently in chaos, but it's Dick Cheney's foreign policy blunders which have caused it.

Here's another news flash for you... the United States HAS ALREADY lost stature in the world, and again it's Dick Cheney's foreign policy decisions which have caused that as well. And it's not just that he invaded Iraq against the recommendations of the United Nations and many other foreign heads of state. Perhaps some of that 'stature' was lost when he started withdrawing the United States from foreign treaties like the Kyoto Accord (global warming), the InterContinental Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the International Criminal Court? Perhaps some of that 'stature' was lost when his company (Halliburton) attained no-bid contracts, plundered billions of dollars, and lied about providing goods and services even as Iraqis were suffering from astronomical unemployment, and critical shortages of potable water, electricity, and other necessities.

And what about Scooter and Valerie?

The trial of Scooter Libby is not getting enough exposure in my opinion. While the mainstream airwaves are filled with talks of troop surge, war escalation, and 2008 presidential politics, this travesty of justice is going largely unnoticed.

To date, the only one who has been indicted for any wrongdoing in the leak of this undercover CIA operative (Valerie Plame) is Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff. And these indictments are only for lying and obstructing the investigation, not the original crime itself.

What's going largely unnoticed however, is that the testimony has started coming out that Dick Cheney was the mastermind of this whole dirty scheme to discredit Joseph Wilson and punish him by outing his wife, which by the way, was a severe national security breach. Clearly, Libby was lying to protect his boss.

Let's not forget that Valerie Plame's mission was that of WMD reconnaissance in both Iraq & Iran. By outing her and her front company (Brewster Jennings, Inc.), the White House compromised intelligence on Iran's WMD program - something Bush continues to carry a torch against. And that doesn't even begin to assess the damage caused by the compromising of an untold number of other operatives who were associated with Valerie Plame or Brewster Jennings, Inc.

So I ask you Mr. Fitzgerald, why isn't Dick Cheney being indicted for treason? Why isn't SOMEONE being charged with the actual, treasonous crime of outing an undercover CIA agent and compromising national security?


So here's my message to you this week, America. Take a good, long look at the man who's really running our country and forging United States' policy. The man who has absolutely NO credibility, clearly linked to the energy industry and big business special interests, with delusions of conquest of the Middle East, is the one who committed treason in many people's opinion.

All of Dick Cheney's actions and decisions are made purely for profit & conquest, and he doesn't care how many people are killed or maimed in the process. In my book, that's the definition of evil.