Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The truth about what Bush did with his medals

George Dubya Bush is a practical man. A man who values utility. Why did he join the Texas Air National Guard? Two reasons: 1) to save his sorry ass; 2) to "better" himself (which from all reports would have required very little at the time.)

In his own simple words, before he envisioned leading the Free World (or even Texas):

"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."

Now, his surrogates are smearing Kerry. Was one of his Purple Hearts a little "questionable"? Did he throw away his actual Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, or just his ribbons? And has he "allowed" people to be confused about the difference? Was he brave, cowardly, medal hungry or just an atrocity seeking mad man when he left his boat, ran down a VC and killed him?

Lost in these distractions is another story of which I am hot on the trail. What happened to Bush's medals? Or ribbons? I've heard rumors (mostly because I listen to myself sometimes) that although Bush wasn't granted medals, or ribbons, or whatever, except an honorable discharge which Republicans seem to think warrants more respect than three Purple Hearts, that Bush routinely stole other soldiers medals and sold them to support his cocaine habit....Developing...

Monday, April 19, 2004

The primaries are over, John

Gotta love those ad companies that cut corners during a presidential campaign. Kerry has had a few ads this season that are cut and paste jobs, but now it is time to at least think, if not be totally original. Two of Kerry's "new" ads, "Choice" and "Join the fight", contain the tag line, "I promise to take the fight to George Bush every single day." Well, that's what the Dems wanted to hear when choosing a candidate, but now Americans want a President who is focused on making their lives better, not "taking the fight to George Bush..." Hey Bob Shrum, this is not the time for amateur hour. The message from the candidates lips kinda matters.

Friday, April 09, 2004

What a difference a year makes

April 9, 2003

According to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, President Bush watching the statue fall on television, and said, "They got it down."

"The president is filled with joy for the fact that the Iraqi people soon will be free," Fleischer added.

Likening the scenes of Iraqis destroying symbols of Saddam's power to the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called it a "very good day" for the Iraqi people.

Then there were utter morons like this guy about a week later:

Hardly a month into it, the war to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein is winding down. The past 10 days have seen....

The taking of the Baghdad airport, as well as Basra and Baghdad itself. The collapse of resistance in Kirkuk, Mosul, Tikrit and Qaim. The repatriation of the Magnificent Seven POWs (plus one). The capture of key Saddamite operatives, the flight of others and the death of still others, such as Chemical Ali and possibly even the big enchiladas - Saddam and his two cretinous sons.

Cooperation with the Turks. Cheers, celebration, jubilation in the streets - Iraqis hugging Marines, saying, "I love Mr. Bush," and shouting, "America, yes!" Torture chambers found, missiles found, caches of likely biochemical weapons found. Warnings to Syria. Statues of Saddam defaced and toppled across the land.

Yet the people who said....

Let the UN do it. Give the inspectors more time. It's all about oil. The Europeans are irked - the Chinese, too. People will die; better start stocking up on body bags. War will cost too much. Preemption is wrong; war to liberate Iraq wouldn't be just; the protesters and the Dixie Chicks are right. It would be an American jihad - war against Islam, war against the Arabs. Iraq isn't our problem; Saddam isn't so bad.

...Are many of the same people who said....

What does stupid Bush know? Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Wolfowitz are proven warmongers - not to mention the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Saddam might use biochems - verily, what if he does? The retired flag officers on TV are skeptical. The coalition forces are too few, too green, can't possibly win quickly. We'll get mired in Iraq à la Vietnam.

...Are many of the same people who, following the statue's destruction, liked these commentaries and headlines....

Celebration is unseemly and premature. Columnist Thomas Friedman: "No water, no food, no happy faces," so "hold your applause." Imams and intellectuals are voicing concerns. Cox News Service: "Sentiment in Baghdad is about 60-40 joy; many Iraqis are sullen and despise the U.S." ...

"Reaction in Europe Muted and Mixed." "Arabs Gloomy." "Some Iraqis Grateful to U.S. But Wary of Any Changes." "Muslims Unmoved by Fall of Saddam; Leaders Condemn U.S. as Colonizer."

...Are many of the same people who are saying now....

The United States has won the war but can't possibly win the peace. There is chaos, mayhem, looting, vigilantism and anarchy. Bush is a boob; he has put a retired general in charge of the interim transition government. In an Arab/Islamic country, democracy can't work.

When will Bush start moving on democracy? What about reconstruction? What about humanitarian assistance? The United States better leave soon, soonest - yesterday. The United States better not leave before the restoration of civil order. If the United States lingers too long, U.S. troops will be viewed in the Arab street as nothing more than latter-day Ugly Americans.

Bush and Blair are arguing over post-liberation Iraq. Who will run the place? Islam hates us; Arabs hate us; we are loathed. What about Arab/Islamic despair over the defeat of Saddam? We need to restore the Arabs' - Islam's - lost honor. Give the UN - and our crucial allies France, Germany, Russia and China - a wider role to get the crucial things done.
Questions: Who is ignorant (Jane Fonda said in Vancouver the other day that Americans are)? Who have their arms around the situation and really know what they're talking about? Who are doing what they said they would do and, thankfully, checking things off the list instead of constantly carping - who is out there in the fray securing liberty for Iraqis and protecting the people and interests of the United States?

Who is out there in the fray today? A bunch of underpaid, underresourced, overextended soldiers. Bush has gone fishing with his Dad and will probably squeeze a fundraiser or two in this week.

Cheney before the war:

MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

Iraqis withold flowers on the anniversary of Saddam's collapse

On the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Baghdad and parts of central Iraq were chaotic.

At a square in the capital where Saddam's statue was toppled a year ago, soldiers took down a new icon: pictures of the radical Shiite cleric whose followers have risen up against coalition forces in the south.

Another U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on a base elsewhere in the capital, and large groups of insurgents fought U.S. soldiers in two cities to the north, Baqouba and Muqdadiyah.

One Marine was killed in Fallujah and another wounded in exchanges of fire after U.S. forces called a stop to offensive operations in the city, a spokesman said.

The death - along with those of three Marines a day earlier announced yesterday - brought the toll of U.S. soldiers killed across Iraq this week to 46. More than 460 Iraqis have been killed in the fighting - including more than 280 in Fallujah, a hospital official said....

Elsewhere, fighting with al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army militia diminished. Coalition forces largely left gunmen in control in three cities of south-central Iraq, and further south, coalition forces have largely succeeded in taming the uprising, though Italian soldiers still experienced light fighting in the city of Nasiriyah.

In Fallujah, Marines stopped their assault on Sunni insurgents to allow U.S.-picked Iraqi leaders - angry at the United States over the bloodshed from five days of heavy fighting - to hold talks with city leaders on how to reduce the violence.

The governing council issued a statement early today demanding an end to military action and "collective punishment" - a reference to the Fallujah siege.

Abdul-Karim Mahoud al-Mohammedawi, a Shiite on the governing council, said he was suspending his council seat until "the bleeding stops in all Iraq." He also met yesterday with al-Sadr, whom U.S. commanders have vowed to capture.

Meanwhile, in an indication of the emergence of a new enemy in Iraq, two pictures of al-Sadr hung from a sculpture in Baghdad's central Firdos Square, where one year ago Marines toppled a statue of Saddam.

A U.S. soldier climbed a ladder to tear down the posters, and the military warned that al-Sadr's followers were planning bomb attacks in the area. Hours later, a mortar landed nearby

A more pleasant memory from 30 years and one day ago:

Hammerin' Hank hits number 715

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Let's make him pass it first

Bush Endorses Testing Of 12th-Grade Students

EL DORADO, Ark., April 6 -- President Bush endorsed a proposal Tuesday that would require states to test 12th-grade students and called for the replacement of an 87-year-old vocational education program.

George W. Bush: Uniter Extraordinaire

Shrub ran for President as a "uniter, not a divider." Okay, he's totally polarized this country, but he has done an excellent job of uniting much of the world against us and now he has pulled off what most experts previously thought to be impossible-- Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq have found common ground, at least for now. Too bad our troops have to suffer the consequences.

Muslim Rivals Unite In Baghdad Uprising

BAGHDAD, April 6 -- On the streets of Baghdad neighborhoods long defined by differences of faith and politics, signs are emerging that resistance to the U.S. occupation may be growing from a sporadic, underground effort to a broader insurrection by militiamen who claim to be fighting in the name of their common faith, Islam.

On Monday, residents of Adhamiya, a largely Sunni section of northern Baghdad, marched with followers of Moqtada Sadr, the militant Shiite cleric whose call for armed resistance was answered by local Sunnis the same afternoon, residents said.

As protesters chanted anti-occupation slogans in Abu Hanifa Square, militants were seen hustling toward the site carrying AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, residents said. The guerrillas opened fire on the U.S. armor deployed near the demonstration, attacking from positions in a neighborhood where militants appear to be not just tolerated but encouraged.

"I saw three mujaheddin on this street, and another three moving up this side," said Abu Hassan, pointing toward narrow lanes running toward the square on either side of the bakery where he works. On the other side of the counter, a customer spoke excitedly of guerrilla fighters arriving in several Toyota Coaster minibuses, then melting into the neighborhood.

"Everywhere among the houses they hid," said the young customer, who left without giving his name. "Then they started shooting at the American army."