Saturday, May 29

: "By David H. Hackworth

Top military managers insist that our all-volunteer Army isnt stretched too thin from this countrys heavy and hazardous commitment to hot spots like Iraq and Afghanistan and cooler places in another 131 countries around Planet Earth. They spout positive numbers like carnival hucksters, hyping enlistment and re-enlistment rates they keep insisting are at an all-time high.

Loyalty, patriotism and seeing the results of successfully accomplishing their missions are the key factors in this success, said Col. Elton Manske, an Army personnel chief in the Pentagon.

Except thats exactly 180 degrees out from what hundreds of soldiers have told me during the past few weeks.

It also doesn't square with the fact that the Army is currently extending 44,000 soldiers under stop-loss provisions which, like a form of the draft, arbitrarily keep a soldier in service beyond the agreed-upon term of enlistment.

'Stop loss is not only a breach of contract, its a form of slavery,railed a Special Forces (SF) senior noncommissioned officer. There's a tidal wave of folks getting out. ... The number of senior SF NCOs leaving is amazing. Our battalion had three of five sergeant-majors retire, and our sister battalion had two of five. The number of master sergeants was well into double digits. I predict that the exodus will devastate the senior NCO corps at a time when experience and stability are most needed. "
New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Richard Cohen: W's blind to the Iraqi reality show: "On a recent Sunday, four men, stripped to their underpants, were paraded through a city on the back of a pickup truck. They were escorted by scores of masked men shouting 'Allahu Akbar' ('God Is Great'), and their backs were bleeding from the 80 lashes each had received for selling alcohol.
Where did this happen? Fallujah, the Iraqi city described by President Bush in the most serene terms in his address at the Army War College the other night. He mentioned the city when he said military commanders had exercised commendable restraint in not leveling the place after American contractors were killed and hung from a bridge.
'We're making security a shared responsibility in Fallujah,' the President told the nation. 'Coalition commanders have worked with local leaders to create an all-Iraqi security force, which is now patrolling the city.'"

Monday, May 24

The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Editorials: "Bill Nevins, a New Mexico high school teacher and personal friend, was fired last year and classes in poetry and the poetry club at Rio Rancho High School were permanently terminated. It had nothing to do with obscenity, but it had everything to do with extremist politics.
The 'Slam Team' was a group of teenage poets who asked Nevins to serve as faculty adviser to their club. The teens, mostly shy youngsters, were taught to read their poetry aloud and before audiences. Rio Rancho High School gave the Slam Team access to the school's closed-circuit television once a week and the poets thrived.
In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.
A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being 'un-American' because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its 'No child left behind' education policy.
The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.
Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal."
The true 'obscenity' is the stiffling of free speech in America.

Friday, May 21

Naked Truth (PNEWS) Portal - US Tried to Plant WMDs, Failed: "According to a stunning report posted by a retired Navy Lt Commander and 28-year veteran of the Defense Department (DoD), the Bush administration's assurance about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was based on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan to 'plant' WMDs inside the country. Nelda Rogers, the Pentagon whistleblower, claims the plan failed when the secret mission was mistakenly taken out by 'friendly fire', the Environmentalists Against War report."
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: May 16, 2004 - May 22, 2004 Archives: "Department of unintended Chalabi ironies. From President Bush's commencement speech at LSU: 'On the job, and elsewhere in life, choose your friends carefully. The company you keep has a way of rubbing off on you. And that can be a good thing or a bad thing.'"
Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | George Bush never looked into Nick's eyes: "George Bush's ineffective leadership is a weapon of mass destruction, and it has allowed a chain reaction of events that led to the unlawful detention of my son which immersed him in a world of escalated violence. Were it not for Nick's detention, I would have had him in my arms again. That detention held him in Iraq not only until the atrocities that led to the siege of Fallujah, but also the revelation of the atrocities committed in the jails in Iraq, in retaliation for which my son's wonderful life was put to an end. "
Direct Quote from the father of slain American Nick Berg.

Wednesday, May 19

WorkingForChange-Scandal's shame, Massachusetts' pride: "In the end, the irony is grim: The U.S. military bans openly gay soldiers but apparently does not effectively screen out heterosexual sadists. Meanwhile, at home the president tries desperately to make an election-year issue out of preventing free adults from civilly consecrating same-sex partnerships.
Unfortunately there are many in this country, at least in the political class, who claim to support the rights of the individual abroad while struggling to limit them at home. Yet, as with classic images from earlier civil rights movements, such as that of a poised black girl walking to school through a jeering crowd, the dramatic scenes of joy and love now unfolding in Massachusetts are likely to be looked back upon by future generations with a 'what took us so long?' relief.
Bush has condemned the Massachusetts high court for tampering with the 'traditional values' enshrined in the Constitution. But we should be grateful for such tampering, or we would still have slavery and women still would not be allowed to vote. "

Tuesday, May 18

Locked in Abu Ghraib - The prison scandal keeps getting worse for the Bush administration. By Fred?Kaplan

Bush knew about it. Rumsfeld ordered it. His undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Steven Cambone, administered it. Cambone's deputy, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, instructed Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who had been executing the program involving al-Qaida suspects at Guantanamo, to go do the same at Abu Ghraib. Miller told Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of the 800th Military Brigade, that the prison would now be dedicated to gathering intelligence. Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy, also seems to have had a hand in this sequence, as did William Haynes, the Pentagon's general counsel. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, learned about the improper interrogations—from the International Committee of the Red Cross, if not from anyone else—but said or did nothing about it for two months, until it was clear that photographs were coming out. Meanwhile, those involved in the interrogations included officers from military intelligence, the CIA, and private contractors, as well as the mysterious figures from the Pentagon's secret operation.

That's a lot more people than the seven low-grade soldiers and reservists currently facing courts-martial.

Yahoo! News - FIRE THE WAR PIMPS: "
NEW YORK--A year and a half late and 30,000 lives short, supporters of the war in Iraq finally admit that they were wrong.
When I appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show recently, his bellicose bravado was MIA. We argued about Bush and war, but he studiously avoided talking about Iraq. The Fox News demagogue limited his attacks to my opposition to the war against Afghanistan (news - web sites). To his credit O'Reilly, formerly a ferocious advocate of the Iraqi invasion, was one of the first media war promoters to concede that Iraq had never been a threat to the United States. 'I was wrong,' he told ABC in February. 'I think every American should be very concerned' that weapons of mass destruction have not been found. "

Monday, May 17

Thursday, May 13

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Clash of Civilizations: "The Bush hawks, so fixated on making the Middle East look more like America, have made America look un-American. Should we really be reduced to defending ourselves by saying at least we don't behead people?"

Wednesday, May 12

Will the Torture at Abu Ghraib (Finally) Open Americans' Eyes? - Maureen Farrell at
AlterNet: SCHEER: Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office: "The Red Cross complained directly to the authorities at that time, two months before the now-infamous photographs were taken.
The White House and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have for months stubbornly ignored and kept from the public the conclusions of both the Red Cross report and the even more damning internal report done by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba for the Pentagon in March. " - US WORKER EXECUTED IN REVENGE FOR JAIL TORTURE: "Nick's distraught dad Michael blamed the US government for his son's after he was arrested in March in Mosul. He had ebeen trying to find work fixing communications masts. His parents filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia alleging illegal detention by the American military.
His father added: 'I think a lot of people are fed up with the lack of civil rights this thing has caused. I don't think this administration is committed to democracy.'"

Tuesday, May 11

Pa. family angry with American government over son's brutal death: "Michael Berg lashed out at the U.S. military and Bush administration, saying his son might still be alive had he not been detained by U.S. officials in Iraq without being charged and without access to a lawyer.
Nick Berg, a small telecommunications business owner, spoke to his parents on March 24 and told them he would return home on March 30. But Berg was detained by Iraqi police at a checkpoint in Mosul on March 24. He was turned over to U.S. officials and detained for 13 days.
His father, Michael, said his son wasn't allowed to make phone calls or contact a lawyer.
FBI agents visited Berg's parents in West Chester on March 31 and told the family they were trying to confirm their son's identity. On April 5, the Bergs filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, contending that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military. The next day Berg was released. He told his parents he hadn't been mistreated.
Michael Berg said he blamed the U.S. government for creating circumstances that led to his son's death. He said if his son hadn't been detained for so long, he might have been able to leave the country before the violence worsened."