43 years ago Ronald Reagan gave a speech. What he said was true then and it is true today. And, most likely, it will be true for as long as there are human beings in this world. This seems to be our lot in life.
Happy Independence Day.
The borders in the middle east were drawn by Europeans. How 'bout we just let them sit down and draw their own borders? Maybe that would solve a lot of the shit that's going on there. I dunno.
I guess there are lights in North Korea at night after all.
Out, out, brief candle! mwheh.
She was born some time in good ole' ' 72. The year of Mac Davis, the Nixon landslide and "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..." by Johnny Nash. She was the baby girl of a couple o' young dreamers called her mom and dad. They named her Amy Hope.
She was a Long Island gal. Massapequa to be exact. Fiesty little one, she was. Always having fun and shining a smile that dimpled her cheeks. Her friend Sheri, whom she met at age 5 in Brownie troop 749, said that Amy was "the dispenser of the best advice, she was a shoulder for me to cry on countless amounts of times. She was also such an intelligent, well informed person."
And, among some of the lesser known facts, "she was so uncomfortable with the word 'Grapefruit' that she couldn't say it..." and "Amy really wasn't the 5 feet tall she claimed to be, but a mere 4 feet 11 1/2 inches."
Seems she was an avid runner and loved to travel. Maybe she thought she had somewhere else to go, or maybe she thought that running itself was where she needed to go. I don't know. Amy was a petite five-foot-nuthin', but her friends remember her as being so much larger than that, and who are we to argue. They loved her.
Her sister recalled: "She loved the Beatles and was devastated when John Lennon was shot, although she was only 8 at the time."
She also loved to laugh and would stay up late to watch "Saturday Night Live" after everyone else in their Selden household, including her sister and older
brother, Stephen, had gone to bed. "She was crushed when John Belushi
died." Tragedy came closer to home when her mother, Anita, died when she
She knew of the ups and downs of this old world, and never let 'em get her too up or too down. Amy was a brave and daring soul, and was never too timid to let the potential of reality enter her world.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, she was an events manager for Risk Waters Group and helping to set the tables for a breakfast conference at the Windows On The World Restaurant on the 106th floor of Tower 1 (the North Tower).
"She would have stayed through the whole
event," her sister said, "she was so conscientious."
Oh, did I forget to mention that Amy met her fiance on September 11th, 1999?
I can't possibly eulogize a stranger and do her justice, so the rest of this post is in the words of her fiance, Shannon:
In the beginning of the movie Arthur, Dudley Moore says that the best thing to have is fun. Fun was a strong voice in Amy's life. Amy was a fun person, a funny person, and sometimes a shockingly funny person. People, music, travel, politics, the diversity of New York City - these were some of the other strong voices in Amy's life.
When I met with Nadia a few days ago to discuss this service, she spoke to me about the many voices present in the Jewish religion. Here, I'll try to find expression for some of the many voices present in Amy. Many of her voices will not be heard today, but will be heard tomorrow, or next week, or next year. I've been trying to hear those voices by reliving the many wonderful memories we had together, by listening to her music, by watching her favorite movies, by reading her favorite books, and by spending time with her friends and family, who formed the fabric of her life.
We used to all talk sometimes about "desert island" movies. What movies would you want with you if you were stranded alone on a desert island? I think Amy's true answer to that question would have been something like, "But what's the point, if there's no one there to share it with?"
Amy and I first met in a chance encounter on the Long Island Rail Road. About five minutes into the first conversation we ever had, she asked me if I liked to travel. I said, "Yes," thinking to myself, "Of course! Everyone likes to travel!" It was only as I got to know Amy over the following two years that I realized she took a love of travel to a whole new level. She wanted to see everything. She wanted to experience everything. And she wanted me to join her for the journey. She wanted to see what sort of stuff you might buy in a local grocery store in Barcelona, just because it showed her a little more about how the people in the area lived.
Together, Amy and I traveled to London twice, to Scotland, to Spain, and to Costa Rica. We were planning to travel to Japan in a few months. We were planning to travel back to Latin America, and to take an intensive Spanish language course so that we would never have to embarass ourselves again trying to explain to a Costa Rican cab driver where our hotel was by saying that it was the "grande building next to Denny's." We were planning to travel to Australia after we married.
Amy's desire to experience everything carried over to so many other aspects of her life. She always took pride in her knowledge of trivia. However, her knowledge of music, politics, international travel, Joan Crawford movies, and all sorts of other interesting stuff, was anything but trivial.
Amy would constantly visit the used CD shop in Park Slope, trading in her old music for something new, often just trying out whatever the guy behind the counter recommended. Sometimes she liked it. Sometimes she traded it back the following week. Either way, she got to try something new.
Amy wasn't just interested in politics. She was an active participant. She would call her senator to express concern or praise over some piece of legislation that was being considered. She would attend protests against policies she disagreed with, and she would seek out chances to hear local politicians speak. Her attitudes and actions persuaded me, after having spent 13 years with no party affiliation, to finally join a political party.
Amy brought me to some of the best independent and classic films I've ever seen. And she brought me to some of the worst contemporary Hollywood films I've seen in a long time. She was an avid celebrity-spotter who recently tried to claim David Caruso as a spotting, only to be told by her friends that he wasn't a celebrity anymore.
Together, Amy and I discovered Brooklyn. The first summer that we lived in Carroll Gardens, we rode our bikes all over Brooklyn, including many rides through Prospect Park and longer rides to Coney Island, Bay Ridge, and Sheepshead Bay. We got to see a side of the city neither of us had ever seen before, including an area of Brooklyn called Midwood that is filled with old Victorian Houses.
Of course, no picture of Amy is complete without talking about the dogs in her life. The local dogs of Carroll Gardens include a Bassett Hound named Emily and an adorable Pomeranian named Sandy. Amy and I would routinely walk a few blocks out of our way just to walk past Sandy's house, in hopes that Sandy might be outside and waiting to be petted. Amy taught me to love pugs and other dogs with snubbed noses.
Amy welcomed me warmly into her life. The care and consideration she showed amazed me nearly every day. She introduced me to friends and family who I now count among the closest people in my life, and who have wholeheartedly embraced me. Amy became a close friend of my closest friends and family.
By the end of the movie Arthur, Dudley Moore has realized that just having fun is not enough unless you have the right person to share it with. Amy found many of the right people to share her life with, and I consider myself lucky to have been counted among them. I guess I was in her "desert island" movie.
When we leave here today, we will reenter a world that seems somewhat less fun, somewhat less loving, somewhat less musical, and somewhat less political, all for having lost Amy. She will will live on in our memories, and in the actions and feeling which she impacted while she was with us. The love that she created in this world has been planted within our hearts, and will continue to grow. She will be dearly missed, but she will never be forgotten. Her smile, her laugh, her love, her strength - these things I will keep in my heart.
Amy, you've made people love you. You've made them miss you. In my humble estimation, your life has been a success. You've left your mark.
May God bless Amy Hope Lamonsoff, and may He comfort all who were blessed to have known her.
It's interesting that the word on the street was that Zarqawi had come into bad graces with al-Qaeda because he was targetting innocent Iraqi bystanders because, I mean, targetting innocent bystanders is what al-Qaeda does, afterall.
But, apparantly, Iraqis are not Spaniards. They'd lived and died for decades under the boot of Saddam and were having no more of that rot. Thankfully, it may have been the @#$%-terrorism-and-the-camel-it-rode-in-on resolve of the Iraqi people that led, finally, to Zarqawi's demise.
Al-Qaeda has failed in Iraq. And in Jordan. And, soon enough, anywhere else that has had to endure it's "leadership".
Europe (and the rest o' you "peaceniks"), take note. Appeasement leads to slavery and shame. Victory leads to freedom and peace.
Sic semper tyranus.
Allah's got a round-up of blog posts about a new video of an interview with one Jesse MacBeth, who is alledgedly a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq for 16 months. The MilBloggers are all over this guy.
I can't really add to what you'll read in Allah's links, or the links from the links. But, I just gotta point out my favorite discrepency. MacBeth is wearing the same shirt in the video that he wore in the photo on the wall which was supposedly taken several years ago while he was still in the service.
Photo on the wall:
MacBeth in the interview:
What an assclown.
One thing that I caught was that, early in the interview, he mentions Osan Air Base in South Korea. But, he seems to pronounce it "Osank". A minor discrepency, perhaps, but I just wanted to have a unique observation to add to what everybody else is chiming in with, mwheh.
UPDATE: BLATHER REVIEW EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT BLATHER REVIEW!
Jesse MacBeth seemed to indicate that he joined the Army after 9-11 and was a part of the first wave of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He claims to have entered Ranger school just after basic training and, all-in-all, served from 2001-2005. Still, with Army basic training lasting 9 weeks and Ranger training lasting 14 weeks (over 5 months total), I looked at the graduation photos beginning with May '01 and going right through to June of '03.
Just when I was sure that I wasn't going to find his face in any of those class pictures I saw it: my tube of Pringles potato crisps. I popped a few in my mouth and munched away and realized that I can say with 97% certainty that Jesse MacBeth was never an Army Ranger.
(I leave a 3% possibility open only because some of those classes were quite large and the photo was taken from a distance that makes the graduates' faces a bit hard to make out. But I kept clicking back and forth -- with loupe in hand -- from the Ranger page to the video capture just to reaquaint myself with his face.)
I say, emphatically, that he's nowhere to be found in these Ranger School class photos.
Not that that's actually news at this point...
On Friday, April 28th, Neil Young's new album, Living With War, is being presented at neilyoung.com. All ya gotta do is visit the site and the album will begin playing from beginning to end. I shall now give it a listen and record my first impressions.
1. AFTER THE GARDEN
I read the lyric to this yesterday and I assumed that it would be a slow one. But it kicks ass and is a great song to kick off the album. Moderately paced with heavy distortion on the guitars and played with some gusto. Small band; guitars, bass and drums. The choir is a little distant in the mix, but it sounds good. Kinda like a live audience signing along. I think the lyric is a bit weak, though. "What will people dooooooo.....after the garden is go-o-o-o-ne? What will people say-ay-ay-ay....after the garden is go-o-o-o-ne...?". I'm not sure what this is about but, all-in-all, a good start.
2. LIVING WITH WAR
This is taking a while to begin playing. Hmmm. Page is still loading after about four minutes of silence.
Actually, it took me quite a few attempts to even get to this page. It's very busy today.
Hmm hmm hmm hmm.
Nine minutes. Still loading.
Twenty minutes passed and I reloaded the page. I'm listening to After The Garden again.
Okay here we go...
Sounds like Peter, Paul & Mary if they were backed by the Plastic Ono Band. Nice. I think I love this song. The choir sounds awesome when they climb to those high notes when they sing the lines "the rockets' red glare, bombs bursting in ai-ai-ai-air / give proof through the night that our flag is still there-ere-ere-ere!". Very melodic but played kinda heavy; a very Rust Never Sleeps sound. Almost like Weezer. I hated Weezer, but this is excellent. The lead guitar almost sounds like trumpet. Actually, I think the guitar and a trumpet are playing the same notes in unison. Neil's voice is a little shaky toward the end. It's not the kind of melody he's used to singing.
3. THE RESTLESS CONSUMER
This reminds me of something but I can't put my finger on it. Minor chord driven, hard, forward moving, omenous, powerful. Actually, it sounds like a few songs that I wrote years ago. .The mix is a tad bit muddy but it's no biggie. Excellent use of the choir. Feels kinda like Dylan's version of All Along The Watchtower played with more drive. Sounds like something Roger Waters might have written. Neil's voice is perfect for this song.
4. SHOCK AND AWE
This sounds a lot like the full band version of Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black). In fact, I think it's exactly the same chord progression and an almost identical melody. That's definately a trumpet there.
Ooops, I just lost the feed again. I'll bet there are at least ten thousand people trying to load this site right now.
Three minutes, still "transferring data from www.neilyoung.com...".
Fifteen minutes. It's coming up on noon so this site is probably only get busier for a while. Maybe I'll come back to it in a couple of hours.
I reloaded the page again. After The Garden is playing again. Let's see I far get this time.
Dammit. Got all the way through The Restless Consumer but it wont start Shock And Awe. I'll try again later.
2:00, I'm trying again. After The Garden is playing. I'm gonna know this song by heart if this keeps up.
UGH! Same thing! Got through Restless Consumer but no Shock And Awe to follow. I give up.
4:00, trying again. One song then silence.
7:00, trying again. I'm liking After The Garden more and more. I'm hearing passion in Neil's voice that I didn't appreciate on the earlier listenings. It's becoming a very short song to me.
Living With War is playing again. "and on the flat screen we're killed and we're killed again...please remember peace..." "don't take no tidal wave, don't take no mass graves, don't take no smoking gun to know how the west was won..." The grunge-folk style with the back-up choir is a nice combo. Kinda clumbsy at times, sloppy, but just different and new enough to make me forgive every not-so-great moment. This was definately a half-baked idea that actually works.
The Restless Consumer again. This is almost frantic. Every song sounds faster and more manic than they did earlier. I really hope I get to hear this all the way through this time.
I'm still reminded of Roger Waters, but also of David Byrne. The music is raw; the word "garage" comes to mind. My understanding is that the basic tracks were recorded in two days. The choir was added in one other day, and the rest was mixing.
Shock And Awe. This is a little less imaginative than the previous songs. Like I said, it's just like the band version of Hey Hey, My My, but faster and more brutal. "We had a chance to change our minds... but now we can't go back... we had a chance to change our minds..!
Neil is playing like an inspired teenager. I swear I wrote all of these chord changes a hundred times. Or maybe Neil did. This one is just rockin'.
Very short song.
6. FLAGS OF FREEDOM
I can predict the next chord each and every time. This is remincent of a kick-ass version of Dylan's Chimes of Freedom.
Good lyric. Not too tart, not too sweet.
This is Sonic Youth playing P.F. Sloan. Kewl.
Sorry that I'm not quoting lyrics. It's going by so fast.
Doesn't really make a point.
Another short song.
7. LET'S IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT
This is the one that all the buzz is about. Let's see.
I read the lyric a few days ago.
This is the worst mix yet.
Christ, this is awful. Lyric aside, this is noisy crap. Noisy monotonous crap.
Ooooo, some Bush samples...
Cleverly edited. Propaganda.
Ouch, that audio montage is unworthy of even Michael Moore.
Wow, this is worse than I imagined. And I have a vivid imagination.
8. LOOKIN' FOR A LEADER
This album is going downhill fast.
Mentions Obama, "but maybe he's too young".
Dammit. Another ordinary track. I'll bet Neil wrote this ten minutes.
Thankfully -- this time -- another short one.
9. ROGER AND OUT
Turn up the distortion and sharpen the drums on Neil's 1974 song Ambulence Blues, take away the variety and subtleness, and you got this droning piece o' crap.
I still don't know what this song is about.
It's half a song. Thankfully short.
10. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
The choir is singing the familiar song with a little too much earnestness.
It's like gospel with all the reverence missing.
This is the worst version of this song I've ever heard. Some of the singers are trying to be Whitney Houston. Crap, shut up.
Oh sure, hum it now.
Good God, this is awful.
Sorry, Neil. Brian Wilson you ain't.
And that's the last of it.
The first third of this album is awesome. Then it's hit and miss. The rest is -- sorry to say -- earnest sloppy crappola. Neil, I luv ya. Take more time next time. You don't need to finish an album in 48 hours just to get the good stuff out immediately. Yer only an artist... it's not that important.
And learn some new chord changes.
UPDATE: I thought that was to be a one-day thing, but as of 7:00am EDT the album is still playing when you visit neilyoung.com. Give it a listen or two and write a review. And lemme know about it. I'd like to read some more reax.
Remember that old joke where a guy puts a gun to his head and shouts, "Everybody freeze or the Polock gets it!"? Well, have a gander at this from the AP.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday again raised the specter of U.S. designs to oust him and promised that his government will blow up his country's oil fields if the United States should ever attack.
U.S. officials have repeatedly denied any military plans against Chavez, but also call him a threat to stability in the region.
If the United States attacks, Chavez said, "We won't have any other alternative - blow up our own oil fields - but they aren't going to take that oil."
I remember the video, all those years ago, of American and Afghan Northern Alliance forces riding across the plains on horseback. I remember the dancing on tanks in Kabul and the footage of Afghan men shaving their beards for the first time in years, finally able to be defiant of Taliban rule and it's accompanying warnings that shaving was blasphemus and thus punishable by frickin' death.
This impermeable mountainous landlocked region, where some of history's most brazen bullies had, for years and years, imposed their version of Holy Submission on God's wary sheep, had finally found it's voice; it's freedom to celebrate Freedom. Oh, yeah, baby. The casting away of theocratic tyranny was a cause for celebration, indeed.
Then came Abdul Rahman.
The problem with bringing the fullness of Liberty to a region that has never known it is that that region doesn't know what Liberty looks like. We can try to dismiss the appologists of slavery, f'rinstance, on the grounds that they were merely uncomfortable with changing the world, overnight, in such a dramatic way. They were more comfortable with the ordinary. They were willing to choose the devil they knew rather than the devil in the dark; the undiscovered country; the Future.
And so Rahman faced death for leaving Islam and becoming an "apostate". A Christian, in this case.
Condi Rice inexplicably (very nearly) excused Afghanistan's recent tribunal as a symptom of a "young Democracy"; a work in very early progress, if you will.
Ferphuqusake, the case of Abdul Rahman is not symptomatic of a "young democracy", it is symptomatic of an old theocracy.
Our founders didn't allow any wiggle room for arguments of religious persecution on this continent.
They not only vehemently opposed it, they decisively defeated it.
The first act of a tyrant is to disallow your disapproval of their tyranny. The next act of a free People is, then, to reclaim their sovereignty. If Afghanistan is to join the community of Free nations then it must renounce, reject, repel, relinguish and rejoice in the extinguishment of religious government. Only a free People can define their society, and only a Free society can prosper.
The Future has spoken.
Sic semper tyranus.
I mean, is it sooo @#$% hard to understand that Democracy and Theocracy are incompatible?
Three years ago, the liberation of Iraq began.
But, of course, there were none in Baghdad. Well... 'cept maybe by this guy:
So, let 'em protest. Hopefully they'll take a moment to give thanks for being free to do it.
Some protesters in Islamabad, Pakistan try to win over some hearts and minds:
Yep. We've got a long way to go.
This is the first demand we must raise and do: That our people be set free, that these chains be burst asunder, that Islam be once again captain of her soul and master of her destinies.
And the fulfillment of this first demand will then open up the way for all the other reforms. And here is one thing that perhaps distinguishes us from the Great Satan as far as our program is concerned, although it is very much in the spirit of things: our attitude to the Jewish problem.
For us, this is not a problem you can turn a blind eye to-one to be solved by small concessions. Don't be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don't think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid Islam of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the Nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst.
If I am really in power, the destruction of the Jews must be my first and most important job. And since I have power, I shall have gallows after gallows erected, as many of them as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged one after another, and they will stay hanging until they stink. They will stay hanging as long as hygienically possible. As soon as they are untied, then the next group will follow and that will continue until the last Jew in Islam is exterminated.
Why does the world shed crocodile’s tears over the richly merited fate of a small Jewish minority? I ask Bush, I ask the American people: Are you prepared to receive in your midst these well-poisoners of the Muslim people and the universal spirit of Allah? We would willingly give everyone of them a free plane ticket and a thousand-dollar note for travelling expenses, if we could get rid of them!
When the question is still put to us why Islam fights with such fanaticism against the Jewish element in Palestine, why it pressed and still presses for its removal then the answer can only be: Because jihad desires to establish a true community of the people…. Because we are jihadists we can never suffer an alien race which has nothing to do with us to claim the leadership over our people's land.
Europe and America cannot find peace until the Jewish question has been solved. In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet and have usually been ridiculed for it. Today I will once more be a prophet: if the presence of the Jews in Palestine should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a war, then the result will not be the democratization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Islam.
The Jewish question today is no longer a Palestinian problem: it has become a world problem. Only when this Jewish bacillus infecting the life of peoples has been removed can one hope to establish a co-operation amongst the nations which shall be built up on a lasting understanding.
There was a time when the Jews in Islam laughed at my prophecies. I do not know whether they are still laughing today, or whether they have been cured of laughter. But take my word for it: soon they will stop laughing everywhere.
Hmmm. Now, vai dush zis all zound zo familiar?
Emperor Darth Misha I points to an encouraging article here which reports that the Sunni's, "insurgents" and Ba'athists are signaling that they may be looking for a way to cut and run from the "resistence".
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Several insurgents groups have contacted President Jalal Talabani's office in the past few days, with some saying they are ready to lay down their arms and join the political process, the presidential security adviser said Thursday.
(This is a response I left in the comments here: )
WARNING: GRATUITOUS IMPERFECT VIETNAM ANALOGY:
The war had been plodding along without anything identifiable as “progress” for quite a few years. President Nixon’s goal was to bring our troops home, but only after the South Vietnamese were prepared to defend their country by themselves. “Vietnamization.” “Peace with honor.”
But, after four years in office, the Paris peace talks were no further along than they had been when he took office. Ho Chi Minh had no intention of settling for a Korean-style solution, and so Nixon decided that in order to get Vietnam’s war behind US he had to do something bold.
So, after winning a landslide re-election, he took his political capital and — in December — went to Camp David and ordered the “Christmas bombing” of Hanoi and North Vietnam. For two weeks the onslaught continued while Nixon stayed at the presidential retreat refusing to explain himself. People wondered if he’d finally gone mad and was intent on invading North Vietnam.
After two weeks the bombing stopped and Nixon came down from Camp David and announced a 90-day cease-fire with the North Vietnamese, during which time all US troops would withdraw from the South. That, finally, ended our active military involvement in defending South Vietnam. Two years later the South fell.
Possible parallels: Nixon’s landslide re-election followed by the Christmas bombings put the fear into the North Vietnamese. The 403-3 vote in the House followed by/concurrent with the offensive in western Iraq put the fear in the “insurgents”.
The North Vietnamese agreed to a cease-fire in order to allow the major obstacle to invasion to leave the theater: US troops. The “insurgents” and Ba’athists make overtures to lay down their arms in order to speed up the withdrawal of their major obstacle to re-taking power in Iraq: US troops.
Possible difference: The North Vietnamese made no bones about the fact that the cease-fire was not a peace treaty but only a temporary end to hostilities after which the war would continue. The “insurgents” and Ba’athists claim that they are interested in peacefully joining the political process. Great news if it’s true and not a ruse.
I just hope that — once US troops are gone — having brought the”insurgents” and Ba’athists into the political process doesn’t simply transform them from “insurgents” into insurgents.
Okay, that title's a bit snarky, but so's she. So, let's just proceed......
Babs wrote a post on the Statements page of her website calling for the impeachment of President Bush. She doesn't really offer anything new or insightful here. She aimed to hit all the usual taliking points and she didn't miss a-one of 'em.
If there was ever a time in history to impeach a President of the United States, it would be now. In my opinion, it is two years too late. We should have done this before the election to spare the country the misjudgment, the incompetence and the malfeasance of this administration.
Okay, there's the opening salvo. Now onto the details...
Let us remember that UN weapons inspectors asked for more time to search Iraq for WMDs. Two months into their search, the Director General of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons program since its elimination in the 1990s. And Saddam Hussein had begun to comply with the administration's demands.
Yes, that is some of what he said. But, he also said that the Iraqis were being less than "proactive" in handing over documents, and that they had equipment that was banned under earlier UN resolutions. After the war had started he said that, while he'd be "surprised" if a nuclear program was found, that "there could be [a nuclear weapons programme.] ..... I did not certify that Iraq was clean when I left Iraq."
The larger point, however, is that the existance of WMD in Iraq was only one of many justifications for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Justifications include: The myriad violations of the 1991 ceasefire including the ejection of inspecters in 1998, the constant shooting at US airplanes, the payments to the families of suicide bombers, the brutalization of the Iraqi people and the safe-harboring of a most-wanted terrorist, Abu Nidal.
The biggest justification, of course, is the beginning of transforming the backward-looking, corrupt and closed nature of middle eastern governments and the instilling of hatred in their mosques and schools.
Why would you invade a country if there was still a chance for peace?
Shouldn't war be an absolute last resort?
We went to war because we were misled.
And we should be angry because of the 2,000 American soldiers and the 200 armed coalition forces that have died. We should be livid because of the 15,000 American soldiers that have been horribly maimed and wounded. We should be disgusted because of the 30,000 innocent Iraqi civilians that have been killed and the 20,000 that are wounded after administration officials claimed that the US was going to liberate the Iraqi people.
Secondly, and just to put it into perspective, well over 100,000 people have died in traffic accidents in the United States alone since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, yet there is no outrage and clarion call to ban motor vehicles. Each one of those more than 100,000 people died for nothing, but each and every soldier and civilian who died tragically in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of freedom-hating terrorists, has given their lives in defiance of tyranny.
When does it stop? It stops with the indictment and impeachment of this corrupt, power-hungry, greedy group of incompetent leaders. How many more have to die before this happens?
"How many more have to die?" That's up to the terrorists, not us. We don't target civilians in marketplaces, nurseries, mosques or voting booths. We're there to help put an end to that. What we want is a real chance at freedom, prosperity and peace in our time for every deserving soul, not merely peace in our own place and time.
As for "corrupt, power-hungry, greedy group of incompetent leaders"; without specifics I wont bother to respond. I can assume what Babs is referring to and address each of those, but I don't feel like it. Heh.
Impeachment will be difficult. People must understand the power of Congress. When one party controls both the House and the Senate, they control the agenda. They control what hearings are held, what legislation gets voted on, whether subpoenas are issued and which investigations can take place. And they control whether impeachment proceedings can be brought.
We were clearly deceived by this administration and now we find ourselves fighting a war under false pretenses. There was no connection between Iraq and 9/11, despite Dick Cheney's many assertions.
Neither Vice-President Cheney nor anyone else in the Administration ever claimed that there was a connection between Saddam and 9-11, but that there were connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda. It doesn't matter one charm quark whether or not Saddam had any link to 9-11 anymore than it matters if Muhamar Qaddafy had any link to 9-11. The war is on terrorism and the social mores that instill the martyrdom impulse.
There were no WMD's and the CIA had intelligence which corroborated that evidence.
There was no nuclear threat contrary to Condoleezza Rice's "smoking gun becoming a mushroom cloud" scare tactic.
Huh? That sentence doesn't even make sense. Oh, wait. Yes, it does. I forgot for a second that Babs and her fellow travellers simply refu-u-u-use to admit that Bush never called Iraq an imminent threat, but that we didn't want to risk waiting until he does become an imminent threat. My bad.
And there was no yellow cake purchased from Niger by Iraq as former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, along with our European allies, confirmed.
This is a reference to a line in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.
" The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities.
(The Iraq part of the speech is in the final third, and mentions what the UN itself agreed was fact.)
The specific identification of yellowcake and Niger came from Colin Powell during questioning at the United Nations. The British intelligence, however, turned out likely to be based on a forgery.
(Powell's presentation and the follow-up questioning is a long but fascinating read.)
All of these misconceptions and falsehoods were relentlessly stated. But this administration disregarded the facts because they wanted to wage this war, as we learned in the Downing Street memo.
Heh. Heh heh. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The Downing Street memo! Oh, Babs, you just can't let a dead horse die, can ya?!
Oh, man... **guffaw**...actually bringing up that Downing Street memo again....**chuckle**... priceless...**wipes tear**...
This President will go down as the worst president in American history.
HEY!!! Coming out of yer mouth, that honor still goes to Ronald Reagan.
His administration ignored and neglected the threats before 9/11.
The same threats you want him to ignore now...?
His team was not prepared to act and react before, during or after Hurricane Katrina.
Because the local authorities never bothered to put out a call for help...?
His policies have contributed to the hastening of global warming,
He's bitch-slapped Mother Nature? Mighty impressive for a bungling fool, that...!
an ever growing national debt,
For once we are in agreement...
a rise in poverty and an increasing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Huh? Source, please? 'Cuz this sounds like Reagan-era blather t'me...
We are watching the middle-class disappear under Bush's leadership. He has taken our economy from the largest surplus in U.S. history to the largest deficit in U.S. history. And he has appointed several people to important positions that are unqualified and loyal to a dangerous fault.
Well, I'm inclined to meet ya half-way there. Cronyism in Washington; Whodathunkit?!
With the recent controversy surrounding the potential indictments and charges of perjury against senior members of the Bush administration, some have made comparisons to the perjury charge that was brought against President Clinton.
Oh, c'mon! Let's not delve into the realm of "potential", shall we? OK, let's...
Perjury under any circumstance is wrong. However, in President Clinton’s situation, the matter was concerning an issue that only adversely affected himself and his family.
Uh...no. It was about the Jobs-For-Silence program that Bubba had a pattern of engaging in. And I don't recall reading comparisons of Libby and Clinton, but, then, I don't get around as much as you do. But, sure, it was all "lies about sex", but it was lies about sex in a sexual harrassment lawsuit! Yeesh, can't we just MoveOn.org?!
But the potential charges filed against Bush’s closest advisors have put everybody’s families and the national security of the United States at risk.
"...the potential charges filed..."?! What in the world does THAT mean?! Could you have possibly meant to write "...the charges potentially filed..." or "...the potentially charged files..." and simply made an error in syntax? Or, could it be, maybe, that you were so eager to include the phrase "...charges filed..." that you forgot how to build a sentence? Nah! Yer just kinda sneaky, ain'tchya? Ain'tchya!
And, just how does "outing" a beaurocrat put "everybody's families and the national security of the United States at risk", anyway? Valerie Plame was never a covert agent, as the MSM keeps repeating. That she worked somewhere in a cubicle at the CIA was "an open secret". (No, I have no link for that assertion. It's too well known...)
Thank god the media and the American public are finally waking up and asking the tougher questions now.
As a Jew, Babs, I'm sure you know that "god" is properly spelled "G-d". Do not invoke the name of a diety whom you do not serve. It's a respect thang. As an athiest/agnostic, I'm jus' sayin' is all...
I keep hearing Harry Truman's famous statement ringing in my brain, "I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who's hitting you?"
That's the best you could come up with?! THAT'S ringing in yer head?!! Oh, I've had enough of this dingbat. I'll expect to learn from her the day pigs fry in Mecca and MTV actually plays some frickin' music...
From this article:
Iraq's landmark constitution seemed assured of passage after initial results Sunday showed that a strong push by minority Sunni Arabs to veto fell short _ a major step in the attempt to establish a democratic government that could set the stage for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops.
But the outcome could further divide the nation, with many Sunnis fearing the new decentralized government will deprive them of their fair share in the country's vast oil wealth. Large numbers of Sunnis voted "no," and some of their leaders were already rejecting the apparent result.
If the Sunni's insist there's a problem then maybe they're it. Civil war shmivil war. Let's get with the program, people...!
I couldn't find what I was looking for -- a painting of Justice-with-a-purpose; sword up and scales forward and maybe with windswept hair. But I stopped looking when I found the photo of the Goddess Justice above. It's by one Chad Awalt. I'd link to how I found it, but that site gave me pop-ups up the wazzoo.
A few days ago Airman First Class Elizabeth Jacobson, aged 21, became the first and hopefully last female airman to lose her life while serving in Operation: Iraqi Freedom. Slaglerock has the story and is collecting thoughts and prayers in the comments.
It's not that I got nothin', it's that I got no time or energy left after a long day in this awful heat and humidity to show you what I got. So, in the spirit of network prime time, I present a summer re-run!
From August 11th, 2004, I give you:
THIS IS SO EASY IT'S FRIGHTENING!
Fisking Helen Thomas, that is.
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they write something untrue, and imagine they just haven't gotten the lowdown, or are just too dumb-struck with tunnel vision to see all of the facts.
But, when it comes to someone like Helen Thomas, who's supposedly well-read and, thus, "clued in" to the facts, then I gotta wonder if she's either pathologically willfully ignorant, or simply just a lying old hag.
From her most recent column I present:
Kerry Forgot Vietnam Lesson In Voting To OK Iraq War
BOSTON -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry made a name for himself more than 30 years ago as a passionate anti-Vietnam war protest leader. But something happened on the way to the U.S. Senate where he adopted that exclusive club's credo: "To get along, go along.''
So far, so good. The Invisible Senator hasn't accomplished much at all in his 19 years there. He seems to like letting his 99 colleagues do the work, then get the gyst of what they've recommended and vote up or down.
But, I dunno Helen. At times he also seems to be the NASCAR Senator , content to just take his seat and turn left for 500 miles.
Surely he hasn't forgotten he fought the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time in Vietnam and the ensuing quagmire that caused the greatest domestic division in the United States since the Civil War.
Well, he sure hasn't forgotten that he fought in the war. But, fighting (protesting) the war? Funny, he never mentions it.
Why didn't those memory bells ring for him when he voted last year for a resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to invade Iraq?
Actually that was two years ago. But time flies by faster and faster as you get older, so we'll let that one slide.
That resolution was a replica of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution that took the country into Vietnam and gave the president the power to do anything necessary for national security -- with few questions asked.
Yes, it was. And I was surprised that more people didn't bring that up at the time. The resolution passed in the Congress 534 to 1.
Still, the Congress can just as easily revoke it if they wanted to.
Kerry won medals ["won", not "earned"? What was he doin', competing in the Jungle Olympics? - TS] for his heroism in Vietnam and his war record has been proudly paraded at the Democratic Party's National Convention where his Vietnam veteran buddies and an array of top retired military brass skeptical about the Iraq war were in the spotlight.
Like the rest of the country, Kerry now knows that all the major reasons cited by Bush to justify his war of choice -- the alleged weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaida and the imminent threat allegedly posed by Iraq -- have turned out to be false.
Aah, finally, we've come to your first swooping bevy of moonbattery!
"War of choice". Every war is a war of choice -- even a defensive war where the alternative is surrender.
But, of course, what you meant by that was "A war that we started, where our actions ended the status quo of Peace." The "peace" that you so sorely miss was a 12-year cease-fire that existed only because the U.N. and the U.S. refused to hold Saddam to the terms of the end of Desert Storm. It was years of Iraqi anti-aircraft guns shooting at our patrol planes. That "peace" was years and years of the filling-up of mass graves, imprisonment of children, of torture chambers and rape rooms. And "peaceful" payments, from Saddam to you, if your son "martyred" himself for the cause of Islamist theocracy in the garden of Isreal.
More on this later, dear Helen.
"the imminent threat allegedly posed by Iraq". Once again, with feeling: Bush. Never. Said. That. Saddam. Was. an Imminent. Threat. He said that we couldn't wait until he was because that would mean that he -- with his un"alleged weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaida" -- would have the capability of enabling a nuclear "dirty bomb" (or other such device). Maybe you just need to pop a few Cognimax pills and everything'll be fine.
Bush has neither apologized nor offered an acceptable explanation for that immense national deception that is still taking American and Iraqi lives daily.
Maybe because there was no deception. J'ever entertain that possibilty? Of course not; and I doubt that that consideration is imminent.
In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry socked it to Bush without mentioning him by name. In several pointed remarks in his address to the delegates, the challenger hit Bush's obvious vulnerabilities and credibility problems.
"I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war,'' Kerry said. "I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an attorney general who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.''
Wow, I'm convinced. So much empty rhetoric, so many rote accusations, so little evidence. I guess that just saying it makes it so! What more can a barking moonbat ask for?!
Kerry also took a swipe against Bush's militant foreign policy but stopped short of saying what other senators have said: That if they knew then what they know now, they never would have supported Bush's unilateral and unprovoked decision to attack Iraq. Somehow, Kerry cannot cross that bridge, apparently fearing he will be called "unpatriotic'' or accused of not supporting the troops in Iraq.
Welp, he's actually come out and said that he would have voted for the war anyway. I guess he's even more frightened and uncourageous than you thought! What a lame-ass, eh?
But he has some second thoughts.
read: developing strategy.
He promised the delegates -- and the nation -- that, "as president, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics.''
read: blah blah blahbiddy blah...
He was obviously referring to Bush's blame-shifting to the CIA for providing him with the flimsy data he flaunted to back up a war he already wanted.
As opposed to what... blaming himself for reading it? Did you skip your naptime again?
"Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so,'' Kerry said. "And proclaiming 'mission accomplished' certainly doesn't make it so,'' he said in another jab at the president's past statements.
Okay, Helen, now I know what you're doing, you clever gal you! You're presenting a farse, right? You're actually making fun of those rediculously partisan idiotarians that want to convince us that they actually believe that "mission accomplished" was one of "the President's past statements"! That those words actually came out of his mouth and not just two words on a banner that the returning sailors on the U.S.S. Lincoln had put up to celebrate their homecoming! Oh, you had me so-o-o fooled for a minute there!
Oh, wait. You're not joshing? That's not a smirk to let me in on the joke? You're serious?!!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! dammit, my sides...
Kerry promised that he would "bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: The United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.''
Vietnam, Panama, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti... Do any of these ring a bell?
What was missing in Kerry's good [sic] speech was a roadmap to peace and reconciliation in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
Kerry and his nominating convention cloaked him in the Vietnam theme all week long. It's a shame that he seems to have forgotten another lesson he could have learned from Vietnam: He can best support the troops in Iraq by bringing them home as soon as possible.
Let's see now.
We were in Vietnam attempting to drive back the Communist invaders from the north thus to secure liberty in the south. We had no direct national interest, just the sneaking feeling that maybe we should bare any burden to support any friend and oppose any foe in the defense of liberty.
We're in Iraq and Afghanistan because our nation was brutally attacked three years ago. We want to cut the snake of Islamist tyranny off at the head 'cause that's the only way to kill it.
The Islamist movement was driven out of Europe by the Crusades and, to this day, children in the middle east are taught in their schools that that was a setback to the solemn goal: to see that the world submits to Islamic law.
Feeling bitterly outcast, they try to needle their way outward through intimidation and terror. The creation of Isreal 56 years ago is seen as a further tresspass on the territory of Islam. The children of the muslim world are taught to hate Jews, and Jews they do hate. Passionately. Not so much because they're Jews (as opposed to Christians, Hindus or Buddhists), but because they're non-Muslims with a recent foothold in traditionally (to them) Islamic land.
They now populate Europe in astounding and increasing numbers in order to "Islamicize" the west by sheer force of their presence. It's not the past so much as the future that they focus on. Like a laser.
How do we best preserve Freedom from the religeous tyranny that this country was founded to defeat?
The answer, dear Helen, is to go to the source of the problem and do away -- premptively -- with the shallowness of theocracy that infests the entire region, and to bring to it the prosperity that comes with democracy. We are choosing between a future of religeous persecution, medieval Inquisitions, public stonings and misery, and one of enlightenment, liberty and prosperity.
That war has been fought and won before, but only because we knew that it was worth it. We now have to drag a backward, narrow-minded, tyranical sandtrap kicking and screaming into the 17th century, 'cause it's either that or a return to darkness.
In this day, at this time, the crossroad has been reached and we have a choice. Don't cower away and hope that everything'll work itself out. If you do then yer just in denial.
Persecution and terror, or; liberty and peace. That's our choice today.
Which shall it be, Helen? Which shall it be?
Which shall it be?
Oh England, my Lionheart,
I'm in your garden, fading fast in your arms.
The soldiers soften, the war is over.
The air raid shelters are blooming clover.
Flapping umbrellas fill the lanes--
My London Bridge in rain again.
Oh England, my Lionheart!
Peter Pan steals the kids in Kensington Park.
You read me Shakespeare on the rolling Thames--
That old river poet that never, ever ends.
Our thumping hearts hold the ravens in,
And keep the tower from tumbling.
Oh England, my Lionheart,
Oh England, my Lionheart,
Oh England, my Lionheart,
I don't want to go.
Oh England, my Lionheart!
Dropped from my black Spitfire to my funeral barge.
Give me one kiss in apple-blossom.
Give me one wish, and I'd be wassailing
In the orchard, my English rose,
Or with my shepherd, who'll bring me home.
Oh England, my Lionheart,
Oh England, my Lionheart,
Oh England, my Lionheart,
I don't want to go.
Oh England, my Lionheart,
Oh England, my Lionheart,
Oh England, my Lionheart,
I don't want to go.
--Kate Bush, 1978
John Daly of UPI has an... er... interesting item for us. Seems that a former Bush economist is convinced that the U.S. gubmint blew up the World Trade Center towers.
Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.
I guess Mohammad Atta and friends were either working for the CIA or they just happened to crash our planes into the WTC just as our guys were planning to fake a terrorist attack. Not sure if Reynolds thinks that the Pentagon's damage was also an inside job.
Why would Reynolds suggest that the towers collapsed from a "coordinated demolition"...?
[The] professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling." Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office,
Yes, it would be compelling. Too bad that it was clearly the fact that jet fuel burning at 1600 degrees melted the thin steel gridwork at precisely the spots where the planes impacted. Oh, but that's right. al-Qaida was in cahoots with the demoltion team. That's how they knew where to strike the towers.
"It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."
If this guys as expert in economics as he thinks he is in physics then I weep for Texas A&M.
Now, why would a UPI journalist like John Daly even take this rediculous rot seriously enough to write a story about it? I wondered that, too, until I read the opening line of his next item:
Two years after President George W. Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" in Iraq,...
**sigh** First of all, and to re-state the bleedin' obvious, it was the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln that put up a banner reading Mission Accomplished. It was about THEIR mission. It was ACCOMPLISHED. That's why they were heading HOME.
But, no-o-o-o-o-o. Because it was on a banner behind him as he gave a speech, it was President Bush who "said" "mission accomplished in Iraq". John Daly knows that his above sentence is a lie, he just doesn't wanna to tell YOU that he knows that because that would deprive him of one of his favorite premises -- that President Bush LIED.
The useless idiots will never admit that Bush never "said 'mission accomplished in Iraq'". They'd rather just keep lying and lying and lying in the hopes that the lie eventually becomes the "truth". Truely pitiful.
Tip o'the tam to Drudge, btw, for linking to the items!
The following is a statement from Texas A&M University regarding recent news reports about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11.
Dr. Morgan Reynolds is retired from Texas A&M University, but holds the title of Professor Emeritus-an honorary title bestowed upon select tenured faculty, who have retired with ten or more years of service. Additionally, contrary to some written reports, while some faculty emeriti are allocated office space at Texas A&M, Dr. Reynolds does not have an office on the Texas A&M campus. Any statements made by Dr. Reynolds are in his capacity as a private citizen and do not represent the views of Texas A&M University. Below is a statement released yesterday by Dr. Robert M. Gates, President of Texas A&M University:
"The American people know what they saw with their own eyes on September 11, 2001. To suggest any kind of government conspiracy in the events of that day goes beyond the pale.”
I no longer weep for Texas A&M. :)
May I make an observation for the benefit of some of my friends? Of course, I may. It's my blog!
Today some of us think about how misguided we think she was. Or how unfounded her parents' lawsuits against the IDF and Caterpiller are. (And they are.)
But, at her ending, she was a young woman who died tragically while doing what she thought was right.
I've always refused to call her "Rachel Pancake" or any other sickening slur. She didn't go anywhere to die for a cause. She went there and sat there because she knew she would be safe. She was a "human shield". She could trust that she'd be safe because she had faith in humanity.
Unfortunately, the shield was useless as she was not noticed by the bulldozer's operator.
To me, today, it doesn't even matter why she was there or what she was thinking when she went there. I wonder more about what she was thinking when she realized that she was about to die unnoticed by the machinery that was pushing at her and heaping debri upon her. When did she know that she'd made a mistake and what in the world was that experience like?
In my opinion the only one responsible for Rachel's death is Rachel herself. She was careless. In a dangerous situation she failed to make her presence absolutely clear and for her early-morning foggy logic she died. I hope the weight of the concrete was so great that she never felt a thing.
Being only 24-years old, her life was a short story. She made a mistake, yes, but, please, her reasons for making that mistake that morning had nothing to do with her ideology. I think it's despicable to translate political opinion into ghoulishness if only because Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and their ilk were so good at it.
I may not agree with what, in life, were her politics. But, I consider her death a tragedy on many levels. Philosophical, methodical and, especially, physical. On no level do I consider her death a joke.
Here's the car that Giuliana Sgrena was riding in when the engine block was hit. CENTCOM says that the driver refused to stop after signals and warning shots were issued at a checkpoint near Baghdad International Airport. Sgrena claims that they received no warning to stop, just a sudden hail of 300-400 bullets.
Hmm. 300-400 rounds at a moving target and not a single one even hit the hood or windshield. Assuming Sgrena is telling the truth, that's some mighty fine shooting, boys.
Of course, assuming her boyfriend was telling the truth -- that the passengers were deliberately targetted -- that's some damn lousy shooting.
(Tip o' the tam to LGF)
UPDATE: Apparently this is not the car that Sgrena et al were travelling in at the time. The AP seemed to have, at first, used an image of the car she was in when she was "kidnapped". Now it's apparent (for the time being) that the AP used an image of a car that had nothing to do with Sgrena at all.
My appologies for passing on the MSM's sloppy reportage... reportery... reporting. Yeah, that'll do.
Just read this over at DailyKos:
Oh my god (3.81 / 16 )
"I don't want to be a daddy because daddies die,"
That is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever, ever read in my life. And I've read a lot of them.
Of all the tens of thousands of heartbreaking storeis out there, one thinks they get inured to it, and then something like this slips through and hits you like a freight train.
More and more, all I hear is the end of Bridge On the River Kwai: "Madness! Madness...madness!"
The worst thing is that 60 million Americans were callous and hateful enough to vote for the architect of that father's death. And the deaths of hundreds of other fathers and mothers. And thousands of Iraqi fathers and mothers.
Why. Dammit, dammmit, fuck fuck fuck, why.
"We will fight them, sir, until hell freezes over. And then, sir, we will fight them on the ice."
by Raybin on Wed Dec 15th, 2004 at 16:48:44 PST
First thing first.
"I don't want to be a daddy because daddies die,"
You're so heartbroken at reading these words because you think they mean "I wish my daddy wasn't dead." Read it again. He's just saying "I don't wanna die." These are the words of of a 4-year-old..
Second things second: He probably said them after his not-so-4-year-old mother told him that "Sometimes daddies die for reasons that you'll only understand when you're older".
But, let's get to the meat of this bony issue, eh?
"The worst thing is that 60 million Americans were callous and hateful enough to vote for the architect of that father's death.
Why. Dammit, dammmit, fuck fuck fuck, why."
I don't know you and you don't know me. Maybe you get your news from DailyKos and Bartcop and a few others because they, to you, tell it like it is But, if that's all your seeking then that's all you'll get.
I was tempted to write a very vitriolic response to your question "Why?". But, on further reflection, I sense that you are an honest broker and deserve, at the very least, my feeble attempt to answer the question as a fellow honest broker.
Saddam Hussien may or may not have been a direct threat to the United States of America. It doesn't matter.
.The freedom of Iraqis shouldn't matter to us, right? After-all, they aren't Americans and only other Americans should matter to Americans.
So, I ask you, my friend: What is an American?
Maybre you think that "Americanism" is no different than some kind of Euro-fuedal, colonialist my-country-right-or-wrong
Do you know what Freedom is? Of course you do.
Do you know what a lack of Freedom is?
A lack of Freedom is getting arrested for walking down the street reading an open Bible or Torah or some sanskrit text. A lack of Freedom is speaking your peace against the government.and then watching your children killed and bulldozed into a mass grave for your transgression against your precious tyrant.
Get it so far? Good.
We're in Iraq because it's our way into the gut of the Middle East.
The Middle East is the place where theocrats think they'll rule for time immemorial. They teach their children to hate Jews just 'cause they, Jews, want to live freely in the Middle East without being subject to torture chambers and rape rooms. We support Israel because they are a democracy that want to protect the right of a muslim who merely wants to walk down the street reading the Koran. Freedom, my friend. It's what's for dinner and I can smell something cooking.
The only campaign I ever worked on as Jerry Brown's in 1992. I knew then that Bill Clinton was a meely-mouthed piece o' shit.
I supported Bill Bradley and John McCain in 2000, so you can imagine my horror when Bush and Gore, the Annointed Ones, had actually been choen by the media.
I actually liked Al Gore until he ran for President and revealed himself to be a meely-mouthed piece o' shit. And I even liked John Kerry! Until he ran for President and became a meely-mouthed piece o' shit... But, I digress.
September 11, 2001. Remember that morning? 3,000 men, women and children on their way to do something for someone else and never got there 'cause daddies, mommies and kids had to die?
Do you remember how you knew how fucking fucked-up the Middle East was when those fucking theofucks gloriously killed thousands and themselves for their fucked-up fantasies of glory and killing?
You wonder if there's a national interest somewhere in all of this, do ya? If you don't consider the wanton death of bystanders to be evil then, I fear, you are lost in a search for a greyness that even the most jaded ethics professors would find repulsively alien.
If you don't consider Iraq, centrally located, to be a major strategic inroad to the reformation and modernizatoion of the entire Middle East, then you might as well say that you just don't understand the war on terror. .
Okay, enough tweaking. Time for bed.
[Wish I could find some photos to accompany this...]
Mine eyes have seen the gory ugly coming of a horde
who will hide away, take hostages, and raise a Ba'athist's sword
But the time has come to show the bastards to their great reward
so troops are marching on.... to...
gory, gory al-Fallujah
gory, gory al-Fallujah
gory, gory al-Fallujah
These troops are marching on to clean out the rotting filth like your formerly fearless leader...
Sic sempre tyrannus.
Duty now for the future.
A quarter century ago the Iranian Hostage Crisis began the modern era of Islamist terrorism.
May the re-election of GWB, the quiet celebration of that fact by millions of Iranians, the establishment of democracy in Iraq and Afganistan and the demise of Yassar Arafat signify the beginning of the end of the terror era.
Let it be.
I haven't been doing much web surfing recently and, I presume, Osama's latest speech has probably been fisked to death. But I just read it today and thought I'd throw in my 3 cents.
So here we go........
To begin: Peace be upon he who follow the Guidance.
People of United States, this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan and deals with the war and its causes and results..
Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar in human life and that free men do not forfeit their security contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom.
If so, then let him explain why did not strike - for example - Sweden..
And we know that freedom haters do not possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 may Allah have mercy on them..
No, we fight because we are free men who do not sleep under oppression.
We want to restore freedom to our Nation and just as you lay waste to our Nation so shall we lay waste to yours..
But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real cause and thus the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred..
So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and I shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken for you to consider..
I say to you Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike towers.
But after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the America/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind..
The events that affected my soul in a difficult way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American 6th fleet helped them in that.
And the whole world saw and heard but did not respond..
In those difficult moments many hard to describe ideas bubbled in my soul but in the end they produced intense feelings of rejection of tyranny and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.
And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressors in kind and that we destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children..
We have not found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half of which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents.
Our experience with them is lengthy and both types are replete with those who are characterised by pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of wealth..
This resemblance began after the visits of Bush Senior to the region at a time when some of our compatriots were dazzled by America and hoping that these visits would have an effect on our countries. All of a sudden he was affected by these monarchies and military regimes and became jealous of their remaining decades in their position to embezzle the public wealth of the Nation without supervision or accounting..
So he took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act under the pretences of fighting terrorism..
In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors and did not forget to import expertise in election fraud from the regions presidents to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty..
All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.
And for the record, we had agreed with the Commander-General Muhammad Ataa, Allah have mercy on him, that all the operations should be carried out within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration notice..
It never occurred to us that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone at a time when they most needed him.
But because it seemed to him that occupying himself by talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers we were given three times the period required to execute the operations.
All praise is due to Allah..
While peace-loving muslims need not apologize for the barbarism of the Death Cult, my faith in humanity is, nonetheless, strengthened by the message HERE
Here's a taste:
Only moderate Muslims can challenge and defeat extremist Muslims. We can no longer afford to be silent. If we remain silent to the extremism within our community then we should not expect anyone to listen to us when we complain of stereotyping and discrimination by non-Muslims; we should not be surprised when the world treats all of us as terrorists; we should not be surprised when we are profiled at airports.
Simply put, not only do Muslims need to join the war against terror, we need to take the lead in this war.
The linked article is very brief and to the point. Read it. Love it.
And commendations, kudos and pengos to Drudge for snooping it out.
Susie's looking for fiskings of the pinhead points made in the comments that Susie posted HERE.
Everybody's doin' it so, of course, I wanna get in on the action. I purposely haven't read any of the other fiskings yet.
1. Mr. Bush allowed Iraq to become a distraction from the war on terrorism.
Before we invaded Iraq, it was a stable nation.
If by "stable" you mean "cold, wooden and full of horse shit" then you're talking about John Kerry not Iraq.
Saddam provided a secular government and would not tolerate the Islamic fundamentalism that fuels al Queda—in fact, he brutally suppressed it.
Saddam didn't tolerate any "fundamentalists" at all, such as civil libertarians, or anyone who should even show a hint that they might not vote for Saddam in the next "election" - he brutally suppressed them.
He did however send money to the families of Palestinian terrorists who blew themselves up in order to kill innocent men, women and children in Israel.
He suppressed the warring of one tribe against another in Iraq because it threatened his own chokehold on the people, not because he thought that anti-Israeli/anti-American would-be killers are just too tacky to be tolerated.
For an article on the direct connections between al Qaeda and the Saddam Feyedeen see this WSJ article.
Don't get me wrong, he was an evil SOB, even worse than Dick Cheney!
Well, at least you didn't say "almost as bad as Dick Cheney" like I'm sure you wanted to. mheh.
But Iraq was off-limits for al Queda activities.
Nope, sorry. (See above linked article.)
Al Qaeda trained at Saalam Pak (sp?), just outside of Baghdad..
Saddam was well contained militarily by UN sanctions and the US enforcement of them. He posed no threat to the region, nor to the US homeland.
This sentence, just as it's written, is pretty much true. But it addresses Saddam's ability to militarily threaten the region. (At least one exception, however, is that he had violated the terms of the 1991 cease-fire by having missiles that could reach Israel. I believe the range limit was 90 miles.)
The threat that he posed to the US - and everyone else - was WMD ending up in the hands of al Qaeda.
(Even though it's a digression let me just add: WMD. We know he had them and we know that he didn't provide evidence in December '02 that he'd destroyed them. So either he destroyed them and forgot to jot it down, or they're still there, either in Iraq or elsewhere.)
Now, Iraq is unstable, a “failed nation” at present,
Actually, it wont even be a nation until July 1st.
.. with little control of the populace.
Why does my hair hurt everytime I hear barking moonbat leftists start talking about "control of the populace"?
(That a rhetorical question, btw.)
Terrorism is rampant, aimed at Iraqi collaborators and American occupiers.
Well, I wouldn't call it rampant. The terror attacks are committed overwhelmingly by foreigners, not Iraqis. They attack the coalition forces and the UN as well as civilian marketplaces and Iraqis involved in the Iraqi government that you complain is a failure.
What's rampant in Iraq is the building of the schools, playgrounds, fresh water running in peoples' home for the first time ever, electricity being brought to all the people for the first time ever, and the revitalization of the Iraqi economy.
The US occupation of an arabic nation, an Islamic nation, fuels al Queda's recruiting. Iraq is one big training camp where live fire operations are possible. This is George W. Bush's gift to al Queda.
So... fighting terrorism causes terrorism. This is like the little kid who thinks that if he doesn't do anything about the bully then maybe the bully will decide to leave him alone. The terrorists are there and they want to kill us. 3,000 in one day? That's peanuts compared to what they'd like to do. We gotta get 'em now, bucko, before they start leaving craters where our cities and town used to be.
2. Mr. Bush lied to the American people and the world about the threat posed by Iraq.
Mr. Bush has destroyed most of the good-will that the United States received internationally after 9-11.
Yes, victimhood was good for our foreign relations, wasn't it...
That "good will" evaporated as soon as we went to Afghanistan to get the Taliban who, more than any other government, was responsible for 9-11. This is the lefty mentality of places like Berserkley that blames a schoolyard fight on the kid that threw the second punch; i.e. defended himself. Liberals like people that they can feel sorry for because strength and competition is inherently frightening to them. Victimhood requires sympathy, not respect.
He changed the focus from fighting terrorism (an action with broad international backing) to demonstrating that in US foreign policy, might makes right, a policy that has lost us the sympathy of many foreign nations.
Actually, regarding this whole sympathy/respect issue, right makes might. We are mighty because we're rich; we're rich because we're free; we're free because we refuse to be the victims of a foreign crown or a foreign terrorist.
I pity you for even having the thoughts that led you to write your post. You love that though, don't ya?! I pity you! Yay, you're feeling right at home now, eh?!
3. Mr. Bush has instituted policies that destroy the freedoms of Americans.
While this may make it marginally more difficult for terrorists to operate in the homeland, al Queda can point to impacting the American way of life. They counted coup on us, not just by knocking down some buildings and killing some people (Yes, 9-11 was horrible, but let's put it in perspective: depending on which source you choose, between 1,000 and 4,000 women die each year of domestic violence, itself a form of terrorism that leaves many severely scarred who manage to physically survive it. It scars children, too. Homeland Security? Give me Dennis Kucinich's cabinet level Department of Peace that would address this problem directly), but by changing our way of life.
Taking out that rediculously long parenthetical paragraph, the second sentence is "They counted coup on us, not just by knocking down some buildings and killing some people but by changing our way of life".
I'm no expert on the Patriot Act. In fact, I can remember almost nothing about it. I've heard and read about various aspects of it, but can't recall much. That's probably because none of what I heard/read particularly struck me as dangerous to our liberty.
The one aspect that I do recall is that it allows people to be wiretapped, not just phones. The thing about this is that the FBI still needs probable cause to get a warrant for a tap. If they were just tapping any phones that they suspect a suspect might be using, then there'd definately be a problem. But the Patriot Act only makes it different in that a warrant can be pursued to tap an addition phone being used by the known suspect, rather than having to get additional warrants on the same suspect over and over. Once the suspect is identified, the burden is only to prove to a judge that a certain phone is being used by that suspect. I got no problem with that.
As for that parenthetical paragraph: If between 1,000 and 4,000 women died of domestic violence due to the actions of an organized network of conspiratorial wife-beaters, then we'd be on the case in a hummingbird's heartbeat.
Other than that, I don't understand the purpose of your comparison of domestic violence to al Qaeda terrorism. Are we supposed to ignore them both? Fight them both? Ignore one and fight the other? Let al Qaeda kill 3,000 more people because 1,000 to 4,000 other people were killed by people who are not al Qaeda?
4. Mr. Bush has de-emphasized solving the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire
Stabilizing Israel and Palestine will remove a key recruiting point for al Queda. But, Mr. Bush chose to put less energy into solving this problem, and to focus in causing a problem in Iraq. Good for al Queda, bad for Israelis, bad for Palestinians. Bad for Americans.
I'm not going to get into a lengthy examination of how the indoctrinated hatred of Jews throughout the Middle East fuels all terrorism. I'll just say this:
If Bill Clinton couldn't bring peace to Israel/Palistine then no one could. The problem is not America or Clinton or Bush. The problem is Arafat.
Bush decided that Arafat will not be dealt with, and that, my friend, is the first step toward a lasting peace. The next step is for Israel and the Palistinians to stop killing each other.
5. If elected, Mr. Bush can be counted on to continue a policy of international beligerence, thus strengthening the terrorist call to action.
Mr. Bush has given no indication that he will repudiate Dick Cheney's implementation of the Plan for a New American Century, a plan of military intimidation and dominance. This belligerent behavior will serve only to isolate America and coerce cooperation from fear. But al Queda will not be coerced, it will only grow in the nooks and crannies and dark spaces of the globe. The Bush doctrine of preemption isolates us from our allies and fuels the fires of hatred that power terrorism.
# posted by Elderbear : 11:41
I'm not all that familiar with the Plan for a New American Century but I'm familiar with some of it's authors.
What you call "belligerence" is actually a pro-active addressing of the root of terrorism: an entire region of the world that is conditioned by it's culture to fuse religion with government and to hate non-muslims, especially Jews.
A democracy in Iraq, the rising democratic youth in Iran, the repudiation of terror in Lybia, and the general moderization of education and government in the muslim world is the answer. This scares a lot of people. "Oh, no! We're gonna upset a lot of racist Islamist sticks in the mud who wont like this at all!"
Yes, it will upset a lot of sociopathic mass murderers. Good. This will make them show their presence by getting involved in networks that we have infiltrated and/or are monitoring.
I am not frightened by a future where we confront both the threat and the root cause of the threat of terrorism. I am frightened by a future where we believe that if we just play as nice as possible, forgive tresspass after tresspass, that the bullies will leave us alone. Seems like peace; the peace we had on September 10th, 2001.
Only we didn't have peace, we only thought we did.
The future you want, Elderbear, is a frightening one indeed. We know it is because we've seen it -- on September 11th, 2001.
According to THIS ARTICLE Michael Moore has footage from the interview portion of the tape of Nick Berg being beheaded by al Qaeda in Baghdad. What would Michael Moore want with THAT you ask?
The footage, of an interview with Berg, "is approximately 20 minutes long. We are not releasing it to the media," Moore said in a statement. "It is not in the film. We are dealing privately with the family."
My trick knee tells me that fellow travellers Michael Moore and Michael Berg are powwowing to decide how to use this to slam President Bush since, clearly, Nick Berg died because Bush started a war in Iraq under false pretenses because Saddam wasn't a threat because al Qaeda's not in Iraq.
Which leads to announce a winner in my recent caption contest:
"Help! George W Bush is gonna kill me!!!"
(Okay, I made it up just now. The actual winner is Ted's "What... me worry?" just 'cause I'm a MADmag fan.)
Also, and on a related note, Newsmax has a short article on the connection between al Qaeda and the Saddam Feyedeen.
(They actually cite the Wall Street Journal as the source which is unusual... Newsmax citing a source, that is,,, But they don't link to the wsj.com article. I looked for it but it's either off the main page, or the info on the Iraq-al Qaeda connection is embedden somewhere in an article that had a different or larger purpose.)
"We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war." (August 9, 1945) "...and I'd do it again." --Harry TrumanI was going to write a long post tonight about the history of civilian casualties during warfare. But I think I'll just post a quicky...
The targetting of innocent bystanders in a war has, throughout history, been seen as a barbaric practice.
It was a taboo, universally acknowledged as unconscionable, until World War II.
Hitler had bombed Guernica Spain and, suddenly, all bets were off.
The bombing of London by the Nazis and of Tokyo by the US -- and the war-ending bombing of Berlin -- were seen as neccessary to winning the war.
That the killing of civilian men women and children, in the interest of the bigger picture, was a no-no, is both an old and new concept.
But it had conveniently been forgotten during WWII.
There's an excellent overview HERE.
The more I think about this the more I think I'm beginning to understand the Muslim reticence to outwardly condemning Islamist terrorists. Terrorising the population at-large with blitzkrieg was beginning to seem like a useful stategy toward forcing governments to give up the fight for the sake of the innocent.
The presumed humanity of the enemy was a weapon to use against them.
But, we've always been disgusted with the idea of bombing cities - even as we did it. We excused the horror, temporarily, on the grounds that the stakes were just that high. The hugeness of the threat determined how willing we were to accept the death of hundreds of thousands of defenseless men, women and children.
Once precision-guided missles and "smart bombs" became usable the debate began to shift toward "collateral damage" again. By the waning years of the Cold War strategists weren't taliking about cities burning up so much as missile silos burning up. The term "military targets" was coming back into vogue.
(I have no links here; only my own memories of the period.)
We have smart bombs; the enemy, in this current war, has small bombs and stealth. The question for them is not "Is killing innocent civilians wrong?", but; "What the hell ELSE are we gonna do?"
When the stakes are that high: the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians may seem like an acceptable price to pay to preserve your very Way of Life.
The wanton slaughter of a city's population is abhorant to us because we know that we have the ability to defeat an army by more sophisticated means; the PR and philosophical hit, if we targetted civilians, would be too devistating to bear. (We could never show our face on the world stage again.)
But, to "armies" that possess less sophisticated means, the destruction of a city is an excusable horror because the stakes are just that high.
Or, to put it even more pompously: The degree to which the killing of civilians is intollerable
is proportionate to the degree to which their deaths are unprofitable.
Am I wondering if it's hypocritical to defend the bombing of Hiroshima while condemning the beheading of Nick Berg?
But I think I may be finding an answer.
We struggle to decide between which we value more: the win or loss, or how the game is played.
Therein may lay the difference between us and them.
We're brought up and taught that it's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game. Most Middle Easterners (and I have this on good authority -- I'm not speaking out of my ass again) are taught to hate Jews.
Most Muslims only hate Americans when they think about how America supports Israel.
I don't think that it's America that Islamists hate. I don't even think that Islamists give a crap about our decadant culture infesting theirs (maybe they even see us as a guilty pleasure).
I'm thinking, more and more, that Islamists hate America soley because she has delivered a Jewish homeland in the midland of Islam.
(And that the very idea that a "seperation of Church and state" is unimaginable to most Middle Eastern Muslims.)
I remember a report in the fall of 2000; just running up to the election. A conversation going on in a gathering place some city in Jordan I think. Bush or Gore? Whaddaya think?
Even though Bill Clinton was reasonably popular in the region a majority were willing to take a chance on Bush.
George Bush? The son of the man who'd attacked Iraq?!
Yep. Even though they despise "Western Imperialism" they had only one thing foremost on their minds: If Gore was elected then the Vice-President would be a Jew.
This, more than anything, illustrates the root of the problem in the Middle East. It's not about sex and violence; it's about sects and violins. (ouch! sorry!)
It might be ironic that America was founded on the principle of religious freedom and is hated by States that think we're out to destroy their own religious Freedom.
No, wait. Only Alanis Morrisette would call that ironic.
Well, I said I wasn't gonna post a long one and I seem to have blathered on again...
I'll just slink away now and maybe re-read this and fix everything I've f'd up and conclude with something that I've forgotten to say.
UPDATE: Oh yeah! What I'd forgotten to say...:
Terrorists. They target your Mom.
I'm even more pissed off today then I was yesterday and I've got questions.
I don't know any Muslims well enough to ask them about this whole war on terror thing, so, if there are any Muslims out there who care to educate me about the everyman attitude about it, feel free. In the mean time, here's what I'm thinking today:
I see vicious barbarians murdering innocent men women and children. I see throngs of hateful sociopaths in the streets shouting for jihad against "infidels". I see suicidal "martyrs" destroying themselves just to kill as many strangers as possible and no one amongst you speaking out against it.
This is what I see because that's all you show me.
Where are the voices that want to set me straight? Tell me that Islam is not an evil religion. I really want to believe it. If these terrorists are an aberation then say so.
Where are the good Muslims who want to rescue their beautiful faith from the gangsters that have hijacked it and use it to justify tyranny and mass slaughter? All I've seen are appologists at best, and ranting would-be fellow tyrants at worst.
This is what I see because that's all you show me.
The word islam means "submission." By "Islam" do you mean your submission to Allah, or my submission to you? Is the imposition of your faith on me your mission - even if I choose not to submit? Is my brutal painful death by torture the price I have to pay for not following the same star that you do?
If that's the case then all I can conclude is that the war on terror really is a war on Islam -- just like I've heard it said so many times by so many muslims.
If you want to claim that terrorism and tyranny are not the ways and means of "defending" Islam then please do, because I haven't heard it yet.
A man walked up to Jesus and asked him what he had to do to receive the blessing of God. Jesus told him to give up his riches and follow him. The man was sad because it was too big a sacrifice for his selfish self to make.
What did Jesus do? Did he chop of his head in five easy strokes? Did he call for the mob to stone him? Did he burn him alive and string up his remains on bridge over the Jordan River?
No; Jesus let him go on his way -- hoping that one day he would change his mind. This is the difference between religious freedom and religious tyranny.
Can I walk along the streets of Saudi Arabia with that Verse in my hand? Can a Jew walk down the streets of Syria with an open Talmud in his hands?
Can a Muslim walk down the street of any free society with an open copy of the Q'aran?
Even Israel -- a "Jewish State" with the star of David on it's flag -- is not a theocracy, and all Israelis of any faith are free to express their faith openly.
Okay, so most people are content to go about their daily routine without ever speaking out against the twisted amoral choas that they see on the nightly news. No matter our religion, our time is more consumed by work and play than with activism.
But, if there's a silent majority of peace-loving, religious freedom-loving, live and let live Muslims out there, now's the time to show your presence. I want to see you -- just to know that you're there and that Islam really is a religion of peace and mercy and not a religion of anger, repression and treachery 'cause I ain't seen that yet 'cause all I can see is only what you show me.
It just occured to me that today (or, yesterday, most likely by now) is the 11th.
Let's wake up and stay awake, shall we?!
Al Qaeida responds to the insulting humiliation of terrorists with barbaric murder of innocent Americans. Who'd o' thunk it...
My condolences to Nick Berg's family and friends.
Nick was a 26 yr old business owner -- in Philidelphia -- who was contracted to Iraq to help rebuild the country's communications infrastructure.
For more on Nick Berg this article, by Sandy Bauers, appeared in the Philidelphia Inquirer on Saturday.
The last time Nick Berg called home, he was OK.
He had been released from the prison where he had been held for 13 days by Iraqi police for reasons he said he did not know.
He had made his way from Mosul to his Baghdad hotel.
He was finished with being an independent civilian contractor and was coming home to West Chester.
That was April 9.
And then nothing.
Now, a month later, Berg's parents, Michael and Suzanne, have gone from concerned to frantic.
And they hope that someone, somewhere, can give them the news they desperately want to hear: that Nick Berg is alive, that it is simply taking him a long time to make his way home.
"Our hopes are that he's still in hiding or en route and traveling in a very slow manner," Michael Berg said yesterday.
A spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq who tracks the number of civilians missing in that country was unavailable for comment yesterday.
But in mid-April, coalition spokesman Dan Senor said during a news briefing in Baghdad that about 40 people from 12 countries were missing and presumed hostages, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Nick Berg, 26, owns a business called Prometheus Methods Tower Service Inc. He climbs communications towers to inspect the antennas, the electrical connections and the structure.
He first went to Iraq on Dec. 21. "It was more of an exploratory mission," Michael Berg said. He stayed until Feb. 1, making contact with a company that indicated there would likely be work for him later.
His parents had not wanted him to go. But they say they think he was lured partly by a sense of adventure, partly because he is a "staunch supporter of the government position in Iraq and he wanted to go over there and help."
But when he returned to Iraq on March 14, the company had no work, so Berg began traveling and networking and found some.
He usually called home once a day and e-mailed several times; Michael Berg is his business manager, and they needed to stay in touch.
They spoke on March 24, and Nick Berg told his parents he was coming home on March 30. He was to be in a friend's wedding that weekend.
Michael Berg went to John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 30 anyway, hoping against hope. His son never got off the plane, and an employee of Royal Jordanian airlines later told him Nick Berg was a no-show.
When FBI agents arrived at the Berg's West Chester home on March 31, they were relieved to know their son was alive - although in jail. The agents questioned them about various details that only they and their son would know about.
Jerri Williams, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia FBI office, said the agency was "asked to interview the parents regarding Mr. Berg's purpose in Iraq."
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 in Iraq.
The next day, April 6, Nick Berg was released.
He told his parents he had been riding in a taxi on March 24 when he was arrested by Iraqi officials at a checkpoint in Mosul. He told his parents he had not been mistreated.
The Bergs heard from their son on April 6, 7, 8 and 9. He said he would come home through Jordan, Turkey or Kuwait, whatever looked safest and most feasible.
But by then, hostilities in Iraq had escalated, and Michael Berg said they have not heard from their son since.The Bergs have hounded the State Department, the FBI and the International Committee of the Red Cross, seeking any shred of information.
Michael Berg said the State Department sent an official to Nick Berg's hotel, where an employee told the official they had not heard of him.
The Bergs hired a private investigator, who talked to an American hotel guest who said he remembered Nick Berg, his father said.
So now, they are waiting. Sometimes, they tell themselves their son "is a resourceful fellow who can take care of himself," Michael Berg said. Nick's friends call and say the same thing.
"Other times we think perhaps he was dead on April 10," Michael Berg said.
"My worst fear is that I'll never hear anything."
Forgive me if I'm pissed.
Jose Aznar's defeat in yesterday's election can only embolden al-Qaeda. "Look what we've done!" they'll marvel. "Just a few days before the election we bombed a train and killed 200 people and they oust the government that opposes us!"
So, are we to be concilitory sheep and live in a world were brute terror rules; or will we respond to terrorism like brave and civilized men and women? Spain has made their choice.
Shall 3/11 live forever as a date that will live in infamy? Freedom itself is being attacked. Will freedom be defended? No. Spain has opted to cower to the threat of murderous tyrants.
Maybe it's their mandatory 35 hour workweek. Maybe it's the 8 weeks of paid vacation each of 'em are guaranteed each year. I dunno. But, something tells me that Europe is too distracted by getting even more soft and comfy leisure time to be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with the reality outside.
228 years ago America gave the world a Republic. What has Europe given us in the past 100 years? Hitler. Stalin. Musselini. Melosovic. Ceausescu. Franco.
Maybe the very love of Liberty is something essentially alien to Europeans -- something they're afraid of just because it demands them to have a voice in their government. You tell me.
On 9/11 3000 innocent men, women and children who were simply going about their daily business were murdered and America decided that it was time to kick some terrorist ass. On 3/11 200 innocent men, women and children who were going about their daily business were murdered and Spain has decided to punish the government that tries to stop it.
Sometimes I wonder if Europe was ever worth saving from it's mistakes: it seems ready and willing to make the same ones over and over.
I am ashamed for our Spanish cousins today.
Sic semper tyranus.
UPDATE: Emporer Misha ! has a pithy yet clueful post, as usual... and links to a few others.
Pardon my Freedom:
FoxNews has obtained a videotape of just a few of the torture and mutilation methods gleefully employed by Saddam's regime. Back beatings; shoulder whippings; fingers, legs, heads being chopped off by machete by the Saddam Feyedeen; men bound and then dropped from sixth story rooftops for their crimes of disobeying an order...all done publically -- in front of civilian men, women and children -- in order to instill the fear in them of daring to speak freely against their ruler and his psychotic (now ground temperature) sons.
As if we didn't know it already: the real weapon of mass destruction in Iraq was/is Saddam.
Tell me again, U.N./E.U./D.N.C.(and anyone else who hates Bush more than they love Liberty), why you think it was a good idea not to put an end to that. I fuckin' dare ya.
Uday and Qusay are dead! They are no more! They have exited their mortal coil! Their membership in the league of the living has expired! They have ceased to Be! They are Ex-people!
Pop a cork and let the party begin!!!!!
For a peek into what Saddam is really thinking these days, check out his weblog by clicking HERE.
Professor De Genova,
My I make a suggestion? Let's call this "constructive criticism": If you were to remove your head from your ass the quality of your academic instruction would be greatly improved.
At Wednesday's "teach in" you said (among several other shit-haired remarks), "If we really believe that this war is criminal...then we have to believe in the victory of the Iraqi people and the defeat of the U.S. war machine."
The enemy of the Iraqi people is Saddam Hussein--and any Iraqi free to speak his mind without fear of being eliminated as an enemy of the state will tell you that. The victory of the Iraqi people will come when the coalition that is currently working to remove Saddam's regime is successful....not defeated.
I used to be opposed to this mission because of concerns about the unprecedented preemptive crossing of borders to address a non-imminent (and possibly non-existent) threat. But I have come to support the mission based on the need to be rid of a psychotic mass-murdering tyrant. Please read a newspaper, or search the web, to enlighten yourself as to the barbarism of the Ba'ath regime.
Let me just give a brief illustration of what the "U.S. war machine" is.
When that piss factory Achmed Akbar (or whatever the little turd's name is...) rolled grenades into a command tent killing two (so far) and wounding ten others (not quite the "million Mogadishus" you so eagerly await), what did our war machine do to him? Did they string him up on meat hooks? No! Did they shoot his children or rape his wife in front of him? No! Did they feed him feet-first into a plastics shredder? No! Did they pluck his fingernails or sew back his eyelids and pour sodium-sulfide into them? No! You know what they did? They arrested him! And now he's going to face a *boo hoo* trial! So don't give me any shit about how our troops are war criminals who deserve the fate of the soldiers in Somalia. We're pretty damn civilized!
That's right, I said "we". Because, unlike you, I have friends in the military, and I am former USAF myself. But they are also my fellow Americans, and I wouldn't wish harm to come to any of them. Nor to any Iraqi civilian. Hell!, nor even to any Iraqi soldier! I hate war and I hate, unlike yourself, when anyone in injured or killed.
So, while Saddam's henchmen shoot civilians trying to leave Basra, shoot family members in order to get the others to fight the coalition, put tanks in hospitals and civilians at military targets, execute POWs, feign engine trouble and then blow up taxi cabs when our guys and gals offer to HELP the maggot, feign surrender and then open fire on our guys and gals, brutally murder supplies transporters and bury their shredded remains in shallow graves...you can keep cheering them on. I will keep hoping for a quick end to the hostilities, and the liberation of the Iraqi people.
I'm sorry that the number of coalition--and in particular U.S.--casualties isn't high enough for you. But, I suggest (again, some constructive criticism) that you ought to conduct yourself in a professional manner consistent with that of a well-compensated University professor. And in the future, for decorum's sake, keep your disgusting sociopathic fantasies of mass-slaughter to yourself.
Robert Warren Jones
As the anti-war protests in New York begin to turn ugly, there's a UPI story that's creating alot of chatter. A group of would-be human shields had fled Iraq and entered Jordan with videotaped interviews with Iraqis. One Iraqi mentioned that just as the American came to Iraq willing to die for peace, he was willing to die for his freedom. This is the operative paragraph:
"A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which had not been seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."
As an example of "before and after"; I was just watching a news report where a protester in New York was being interviewed by a reporter:
reporter: So you agree that Saddam must go?
protester: Oh, yes!
reporter: But, you think it should be done in a way other than by war?
reporter: All right, then; how?
...at which time she gazed off into the distance while searching her mind for an answer and finding only tumbleweeds blowing down the ghost town of her depth of understanding.
In terms of most protesters and human shields, I believe she represents the "before", and Kenneth Joseph is the "after".
But, the organizers of the protests, the hardcore anarcho-socialists, don't suffer from such moments of unclarity. They would probably read the above UPI excerpt and dismiss the Iraqis' desire for liberation as a product of their being so consumed by the immediate terror of Saddam that they have no time to consider the higher abstract concepts of agenda-laced anti-Americanism. (And, anarcho-socialism is not merely anti-Bush, it's politically anti-democracy, economically anti-lassez-faire, wholly anti-American.)
The terror alert has been raised to "orange" again. I was just thinking back on how pundits and peons yammered about how confused it all seemed at the time the color-scale was first introduced. So, here's my idea:
Our traffic lights should have the same color scheme as the terror alert code. The colors are (from top to bottom): red, orange, yellow, blue, green. Doing this would address some the nuances of traffic law;
red = stop.
orange = come to a full stop, look around and be sure that the road is clear, go. It's in the vein of the "right on red" law--with no pesky "no turn on red" signs to look around for.)
yellow = caution, the light's about to turn red (or orange.)
blue = this will warn that the light will be turning yellow. This comes in reeeeeeaally handy on them wide-open, depth-perception-defying, main routes (i.e.: US-1) where every car is cruises at 40mph. When the light up ahead turns yellow you gotta hit the brakes and slow from 40 to 0 in 3 seconds.
green = go! man, go!
Plus, seeing the color scheme in a regular routine, everyday on the road, will help us all to remember A) which color falls where on the terror alert scale, and B) that driving your SUV helps to support the rebuilding of the infrastructure of newly liberated former dictatorships.
Who are we? We're Ted Bundy, and we're Todd Beamer. We're Charles Lindberg and Charles Manson. Ghandi and Stalin are in there, too, arguing...the one determined to topple the other. When examined down to the brass tacks, is there any meaningful difference between them? Are they seperate but equal philosophers, each right in his own way, according to his point of view? Since they each sprang from the same human gene pool, who among us--sprung from that same muddled puddle--can pass judgement on what is right and what is wrong? On what then should our moral choices be based? Should we even bother to agonize ourselves over "moral" choices at all?
Werner Heisenberg, the great German physicist, had a choice to make. Nazi Germany was taking shape...a twisted shape. With war raging and Hitler expanding his reign and his weaponry and what with concentration camps filling up with people and all, Albert Einstein fled Germany for America. Neils Bohr fled Denmark for America. Nuclear physicists, under cover of some of the darkest of all European nights, were escaping Hitler's realm, lest they be "invited" to work for the Nazi nuclear program.
Heisenberg's main achievement was his "Uncertainty Principle"; the realization that the more we established a particle's velocity, the less we are able to determine it's location, and vice-versa. And not just because of a technically limited ability to measure those properties, but because uncertainty is a basic property of sub-molecular form. Uncertainty at the base level of matter was a new and fascinating notion. Extending the idea from the microscopic to the macroscopic world was philosophically inviting. Nietzsche's "Beyond Good And Evil" was a popular read among the intellectuals of 1930's Europe, and it had two well-placed admirers.
Heisenberg found Nietzsche's thesis intriquing. Hitler found it useful. Finding no certain justification to condemn the morality of Hitler over any other, Heisenberg led Hitler's nuclear project, his quest for the atomic bomb.
In America, Albert Einstein implored President Roosevelt to get to work on an atomic weapon...as Heisenberg would surely be making significant progress. Although having made a late start, the Robert Oppenheimer-led Manhatten Project succeeded where Heisenberg's project had failed. Perhaps it was because the best scientists had fled Europe, or perhaps it was because Heisenberg's heart wasn't wholly in it. Either way, one thing that the Nazi atomic bomb project lacked was moral purpose.
It isn't very "intellectual" to talk about moral purpose. Intellectualism is, by default, academic; thoughtful, unextreme...inconclusive. But one wonders in what way that kind of academic non-definitiveness applies to the real world. Moral relativism may be a kind of denial; an "intellectual selflessness". But since when are we ever not ourselves? That amorality is a kind of unreality poetically seems to be self-evidenced by the fact that when a particular point is moot we call it "academic." Thought experiments that don't interface with life experience are moot. They are academic.
France (at times anyway) doesn't consider morality to be a moot point. When Princess Diana et al were killed in a car crash resulting from a high-speed evasion of paparazzi photographers on motorbikes, French (or, perhaps, merely Parisian) law was to come down hard on the bystanders, including the paparazzi, who offered no assistance to the crash victims. Parisians agree, then, that bystanders to a tragedy are not innocent, they are involved in the moment at hand just as much as are the victims and victimizers. To excuse one's self from the events at hand, especially moments of tragedy and/or atrocity, is to have chosen alienation over empathy; selfishness over selflessness. Amorality then reveals itself to be more than a bit self-serving.
Elie Weisel spent some time in a Nazi concentration camp. He's a Pulitzer Prize winning author whom wrote, in "Man In Search Of Himself", about that experience; and his education as a result of it. I remember clearly he imploring President Clinton (at--if memory serves--the 50th anniversay of D-Day commemorative service on June 6th, 1994) not to look the other way while "ethnic cleaning" scourged within what was left of Yugoslavia. What struck me the most was that I discerned a curious expression on the President's face as Weisel, staring to his right and directly at the President, called for what sounded like international intrusiveness. Clinton's expression seemed thoughtful...yet agitatedly so. Actually, the expression had an almost nervously self-conscious dismissiveness to it. Aw hell; Clinton seemed downright irritated by the appeal, as if he were mulling through his mind "Who are we to do this?"
Bill Clinton did eventually do it. He knew he had to intervene because, morally, it was right. And, instructively, he didn't waste time trying to corral the U.N. He simply chose not to join in the synchronous writhing of the Security Council's endlessly contorted academic self-doubt.
Today, with respect to Iraq, the U.N. is trying to decide if it cares whether or not it enforces it's own resolutions. It seems to me that the time has come to either enforce them, repeal them, or just whistle merrily down the same path to obsolescence first blazed by the League of Nations. Wake up and smell the East River, boys; to lead is to choose.
I've seen coverage of the large anti-war rallies that have recently filled world capitals...heard their arguments...witnessed their vitriol at the very idea that we have a "right" to depose a "sovereign" tyrant. In New York I saw Americans; Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, German-Americans. But we have to ask: where were the Iraqi-Americans? More specifically, where were the Iraqis whom are free to protest?
They were in Jordan, having crossed the border under cover of the darkest nights they've ever had to find the strength to see each other through. They were in American cities, too, pleading for the libertation of their country and their countrymen. We won't find Iraqi-Americans at the anti-war rallies, because they know all too well something every willfully ethically conflicted academician will never know: moral purpose. Iraqis know what evil is because they've seen what it does.
And so have we. Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, and the others...all the others; the guy with a steak knife ready to take on his first fight since 2nd grade...the flight attendent with the pot of piping hot coffee--ready to splash it over a high-jacker's face and hands...the Air Force pilot who would take the hot seat if the insurgence were to be--fingers crossed--successful.
Each woke up that morning an average Joe, a plain ol' Jane...same as we had. They, too, had grown up with cats and dogs and slingshots and Mr. Rogers... only they suddenly found themselves in a circumstance where they'd make themselves fully locked and loaded and determined to assault their captors with a brutality that they, up to that moment, probably thought could only arise from within a darkened heart. Yet, all they did was refuse to accept that their fates were sealed.
They knew that they were likely to die trying. And if they couldn't take back that plane, they would at least spare the lives of others at the sheep-shaggers' intended target.
Morality is something we can--and should--examine; but not as a maze of semantic vaguery that we'll never be able to exit. Sometimes we don't think we know that as clearly as we do. The passengers of flight 93 weren't constipated with some academic uncertainty when they faced their moment of decision. They made a choice (perhaps--I hope--the only choice that we could have made), and it was correct. We know that because we honor their choice.
And not just because it may have saved others on the ground. We, I think more deeply, honor their choice because of what it showed us about ourselves. We may have Ghandi and Hitler within us, hiding and arguing somewhere in an unexplorable recess of our psyche; but we know now, through vivid example, that we have every reason to expect that we too can rise above isolation, alienation, and fight...yes, fight...for the reclamation of life, liberty and dignity.
I am a very reluctant warrior, and it's taken me a long time to come around to support the mission to liberate Iraq. And it will be a struggle; ground troops will have to go in (you can't occupy a country from 15,000 feet). But I believe that the degree of horror that is Saddam's method--judging from what is known of it and what is feared to be discovered--as it terrorizes a nation, is enough madness to call us to reclaim the human nature of moral clarity from the soft-bellied doubt of a cynical academia.
Do we have to free a nation--or a region--from the terror in the mirror we call Saddam? No. But we know we can do it. And maybe that's all we need to know--because, even more deeply, we know we will do it, because that's who we are.
Apparently the "severe consequences" mentioned in UN res. 1441 that were to befall Saddam should he fail to disarm--or show proof that he has disarmed--did NOT refer to military action in the mind's of the French, German et al UN delegations. The "severe consequences" were to be more debate and, possibly, more resolutions.
Judging by the headache all of this is giving me, those are indeed severe consequences. Not for Saddam, of course, but for free people around the globe, and especially those yearning to breathe free in Iraq.