Friday, March 28, 2008
Bush: "a defining moment" in Iraq" - Into the Valley of Death
Listed below are the names of 29 American soldiers who gave their lives so far in the month of March for the president's "defining moment".
Christopher S. Frost, 24, Air Force Staff Sergeant, Mar 04, 2008
Jose A. Paniagua-Morales, 22, Army Corporal, Mar 07, 2008
Phillip R. Anderson, 28, Army Sergeant, Mar 10, 2008
Donald A. Burkett, 24, Army Specialist, Mar 10, 2008
Ernesto G. Cimarrusti, 25, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 10, 2008
David D. Julian, 31, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 10, 2008
Torre R. Mallard, 27, Army Captain, Mar 10, 2008
Robert T. McDavid, 28, Army Corporal, Mar 10, 2008
Scott A. McIntosh, 26, Army Corporal, Mar 10, 2008
Shawn M. Suzch, 32, Army Sergeant 1st Class, Mar 10, 2008
Laurent J. West, 32, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 11, 2008
Juantrea T. Bradley, 28, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 12, 2008
Dustin C. Jackson, 21, Army Specialist, Mar 12, 2008
Tenzin L. Samten, 33, Army Private 1st Class, Mar 12, 2008
William D. O’Brien, 19, Army Specialist, Mar 15, 2008
Lerando J. Brown, 27, Army National Guard Specialist, Mar 15, 2008
Michael D. Elledge, 41, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 17, 2008
Christopher C. Simpson, 23, Army Specialist, Mar 17, 2008
Gregory D. Unruh, 28, Army Sergeant, Mar 19, 2008
Tyler J. Smith, 22, Army Private 1st Class, Mar 21, 2008
II, Thomas C. Ray, 40, Army National Guard Sergeant, Mar 22, 2008
David S. Stelmat, 27, Army National Guard Specialist, Mar 22, 2008
David B. Williams, 26, Army National Guard Sergeant, Mar 22, 2008
George Delgado, 21, Army Private, Mar 23, 2008
Andrew J. Habsieger, 22, Army Private 1st Class, Mar 23, 2008
Christopher M. Hake, 26, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 23, 2008
Jose A. Rubio Hernandez, 24, Army Specialist, Mar 23, 2008
Joseph D. Gamboa, 34, Army Staff Sergeant, Mar 25, 2008
Gregory B. Rundell, 21, Army Specialist, Mar 26, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Hubris and 'The Enemy Within'
Researching the phrase "the enemy within", I came across items about the late cartoonist Walt Kelly, creator of Pogo. Interesting.
---Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays (ECM Records, Feb.2000)
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
No, this isn't about John Schlesinger's great 1971 film based on the story by Penelope Gilliatt.
"I can't stop asking why? The more I think the more I cry."
---Pfc. Ryan J. Hill
Wild Flowers at Coal Mine Creek
Went for the traditional Easter Sunday walk with a group of friends. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm. The wild flowers have started to bloom. The wood duck, reported to be found at the lake, was not seen but we had a good walk and returned to Palo Alto for lunch. Fried chicken, steamed artichokes accompanied by a mayo/mustard dip, french bread and cheeses. We enjoyed a bottle of Margaux and a Sauvignon Blanc. To cap it all, there was a home made Tiramisu. By that time we were ready for a nap.
I keep it staying at Home -
With a bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome."
----Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Spring, 2008: How Green is the Valley !
Looking down from Parrott Drive
©Musafir - March 17, 2008
Cherry Blossoms - Tournament Drive, Hillsborough
Spring comes , and the grass grows by itself."
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The War Goes On
Iraq War Veterans * Countdown for Bush Presidency
War Stories Echo an Earlier Winter
Grim-faced and sorrowful, former soldiers and Marines sat before an audience of several hundred yesterday in Silver Spring and shared their recollections of their service in Iraq.
The stories spilled out, sometimes haltingly, sometimes in a rush: soldiers firing indiscriminately on Iraqi vehicles, an apartment building filled with Iraqi families devastated by an American gunship. Some descriptions were agonized, some vague; others offered specific dates and locations. All were recorded and streamed live to the Web.
The four-day event, "Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan -- Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations," is sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War and is expected to draw more than 200 veterans of the two wars through tomorrow. Timed for the eve of the fifth anniversary of the war's start next week, organizers hope the soldiers' accounts will galvanize public opposition.
For some of the veterans speaking yesterday, the experience was catharsis.
Former Marine Jon Turner began his presentation by ripping his service medals off his shirt and tossing them into the first row. He then narrated a series of graphic photographs showing bloody victims and destruction, bringing gasps from the audience. In a matter-of-fact voice, he described episodes in which he and fellow Marines shot people out of fear or retribution.
"I'm sorry for the hate and destruction I've inflicted upon innocent people," Turner said. "Until people hear about what is happening in this war, it will continue."
Yes, there were pro-war soldiers.
- Counter-protesters outside derided the event and were deeply skeptical of the claims being made inside. "We want absolute specifics," said Harry Riley, a retired Army colonel who leads Eagles Up!. "This is too important to our nation. The credibility of our nation and the credibility of our soldiers are involved."
- Riley said those making allegations against the U.S. military should have to give sworn testimony instead of speaking at an antiwar conference.
- Organizers said they have sought to verify the records of all soldiers speaking, including reviewing their service records and talking to other members of units. Some soldiers had videos and photographs, which were displayed yesterday on a large screen in the auditorium.
The War President
This from the man who dodged Vietnam:
- "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true. " --- G.W. Bush, Feb 8, 2004, Meet The Press, MSNBC
War hath no fury like a non-combatant.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Casualties In Iraq
Last week, the Senate held a hearing about costs of the war. Do not expect much from it. McCain blithely talks about a "hundred-year war". Soldiers are still dying. With the deaths of five soldiers in Baghdad today the total number of U.S. casualties is nearing 4,000.
- BAGHDAD, March 10 (Reuters) - Five U.S. soldiers were killed and three others wounded in a bomb blast in central Baghdad on Monday, the U.S. military said, in the worst single attack on U.S. forces in Baghdad in months.
they will mean what you make of them'."
---Archibald MacLeish (The Young Dead Soldiers)
The last thing the Democrats needed was a scandal involving a prominent politician. But it happened and now the inevitable fallout will take its course.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Applause for the people of Brattleboro and Marlboro, Vermont, who approved resolutions to indict President G.W. Bush and Vice President R.B. Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution".
- No specific crimes are mentioned, but organisers of the anti-Bush effort have referred to perjury, obstruction of justice and war crimes related to the Iraq conflict. The resolutions ask town attorneys in Brattleboro and Marlboro to draft indictments without outlining how to enforce them, giving the charges little practical consequence.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Think Trillions - Cost of Bush's War
The $2 Trillion Nightmare
On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.
Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”
Mr. Hormats mentioned Social Security and Medicare, saying that both could have been put “on a more sustainable basis.” And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers.
What we’re getting instead is the stuff of nightmares. Mr. Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia, has been working with a colleague at Harvard, Linda Bilmes, to document, among other things, some of the less obvious costs of the war. These include the obligation to provide health care and disability benefits for returning veterans. Those costs will be with us for decades.
Mr. Stiglitz noted that nearly 40 percent of the 700,000 troops from the first gulf war, which lasted just a month, have become eligible for disability benefits. The current war is approaching five years in duration.
“Imagine then,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “what a war — that will almost surely involve more than 2 million troops and will almost surely last more than six or seven years — will cost. Already we are seeing large numbers of returning veterans showing up at V.A. hospitals for treatment, large numbers applying for disability and large numbers with severe psychological problems.”
The Bush administration has tried its best to conceal the horrendous costs of the war. It has bypassed the normal budgetary process, financing the war almost entirely through “emergency” appropriations that get far less scrutiny.
Hypocrisy of Muslim Countries
- A book fair in Paris has become the subject of controversy with several Muslim countries announcing boycotts because the guest of honour is Israel.
- Saudi Arabia has become the latest to withdraw, following Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.
- The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Isesco) has also urged its 50 members to pull out from the fair, which starts on 14 March.
- Isesco said Israel had committed crimes against humanity in Palestinian areas.
But look at the roster of accusers. None of the Muslim countries involved can claim to be exempt from human rights abuses. Like the United States -- guilty of "extraordinary rendition", waterboarding and other shady acts that are yet to be reported -- the Islamic countries consider themselves to be untainted. It is a laughable position to take. They are like the proverbial ostriches with heads buried in the sand.
Monday, March 03, 2008
The Hague to Mazar-i-Sharif
"On Sunday, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to protest against the film.
Demonstrators burned Dutch flags, and called for the withdrawal of Dutch troops from the Nato force."
The Indian government today announced a scheme to pay poor families to give birth to and bring up girls in an attempt to stop families nationwide aborting an estimated half a million female foetuses a year.
Families in seven states are set to benefit from cash payments amounting to 15,500 rupees (£193) to keep and bring up their female children.
Ministers say more than 100,000 girls could be saved in the first year. In India ultrasound technology coupled with a traditional preference for boys, who are seen as future breadwinners, has led to mass female foeticide.
Apart from occasional wintry showers
And frosts some nights to spoil our flowers,
--David Curtis (Perthshire, Scotland, 2002)