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Bike-Deep in the Big Muddy
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: August 27, 2005
W. has jumped the couch.
Not fallen off the couch, as he did when he choked on that pretzel.
According to UrbanDictionary.com, "jump the couch" has now become slang for "a defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end. Inspired by Tom Cruise's recent behavior on 'Oprah.' Also see 'jump the shark.' "
The former stateside National Guardsman who was sometimes M.I.A. jumped the shark by landing on that "Mission Accomplished" carrier. (With Tom Cruise cockiness.)
Then, as president, he jumped the couch by pedaling through the guns of August - the growing carnage and chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He did do a few minutes of work this month, calling a Shiite leader in Baghdad a few days ago to lobby him to reach a consensus with the Sunnis, so Iraq doesn't crack apart. But the Shiites and Kurds ignored the president and skewered the Sunnis.
Iraq, it turns out, is the one branch of American government that the Republicans don't control.
Radioactive Wounds of War
By Dave Lindorff
In These Times
Thursday 25 August 2005
Tests on returning troops suggest serious health consequences of depleted uranium use in Iraq.
Gerard Matthew thought he was lucky. He returned from his Iraq tour a year and a half ago alive and in one piece. But after the New York State National Guardsman got home, he learned that a bunkmate, Sgt. Ray Ramos, and a group of N.Y. Guard members from another unit had accepted an offer by the New York Daily News and reporter Juan Gonzalez to be tested for depleted uranium (DU) contamination, and had tested positive.
By Karen Houppert
12 September 2005 Issue
The US Army Recruiting Command has a motto: "First to contact, first to contract." In the school recruiting handbook the Army gives to the 7,500 recruiters it has trawling the nation these days, the motto crops up so often it serves as a stuttering paean to aggressive new tactics - tactics that target increasingly younger students.
To make sure they are the first folks to contact students about their future plans, Army recruiters are ordered to approach tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders - repeatedly. Army officials spell out the rules of engagement: Recruiters are told to dig in deep at their assigned high schools, to offer their services as assistant football coaches - or basketball coaches or track coaches or wrestling coaches or baseball coaches (interestingly, not softball coaches or volleyball coaches) - to "offer to be a chaperon [sic] or escort for homecoming activities and coronations" (though not thespian ones), to "Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month," to participate visibly in Hispanic Heritage and Black History Month activities, to "get involved with local Boy Scout troops" (Girl Scouts aren't mentioned), to "offer to be a timekeeper at football games," to "serve as test proctors," to "eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month" and to "always remember secretary's week with a card or flowers." They should befriend student leaders and school staff: "Know your student influencers," they are told. "Identify these individuals and develop them as COIs" (centers of influence). After all, "some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist." Cast a wide net, recruiters are told. Go for the Jocks, but don't ignore the Brains. "Encourage college-capable individuals to defer their college until they have served in the Army."
American Legion Press Release
HONOLULU, August 23, 2005
Article from Editor and Publisher
American Legion Declares War on Protestors -- Media Next?
America Legion's Attack on Dissidents, A Gold Star Families for Peace Member's Response
Diana Rowe Pauls
Gold Star Families For Peace
Sister of Marine KIA/Member of American Legion Auxiliary
Dear Honorable Commander Cadmus,
I learned today that the American Legion passed Resolution 3, which states: "The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life."
I would like to bring to your attention a previous position from the American Legion.
In 1999, the American Legion wrote the following letter to President Clinton:
The American Legion, a wartime veterans organization of nearly three-million members, urges the immediate withdrawal of American troops participating in "Operation Allied Force.''
The National Executive Committee of The American Legion, meeting in Indianapolis today, adopted Resolution 44, titled "The American Legion's Statement on Yugoslavia.'' This resolution was debated and adopted unanimously.
A Nurse's Perspective on Iraq
First Lutentant Rachel Grover has been serving as a nurse in Iraq since the beginning of December. On leave for two weeks Rachel is relaxing with family and friends. But she talks about how the injuries to soldiers have gone from bullet wounds to something worse.
“IED Injuries...shrapnel wounds a lot of burns and amputations stuff like that
Courage under fire
By NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
BAGHDAD - As its armored Humvees rumbled west along Route Mets in northern Baghdad, the ill-fated convoy sensed something was wrong.
"I remember we all mentioned there were no Iraqi police out. We were like, 'Oh man, that's never a good sign,'" said Daniel Barr, 33, a sergeant with New York's Fighting 69th.
"It was still an hour and a half before curfew. It seemed like the neighborhood knew something."
The soldiers were in the same meat market a week earlier, buying watermelon from a local vendor. But now it was 10:45 p.m., and the darkness was compounded by the start of a nasty sandstorm that would later shut down Baghdad.
Nobody saw the powerful platter charge hidden in a bag and tucked beside a vending stall.
No special treatment for journalists in Iraq, says US
Friday August 26, 2005
The US military has told journalists working in Iraq they will be given no special consideration after Reuters demanded an explanation for the continued detention of its cameraman in the country's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
Reuters has been denied access to Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani since he was arrested by US troops at his home in Ramadi on August 8.
Military sources told the news agency Mashhadani was a "security detainee", implying suspected links to insurgents, but have refused to give details of any suspicions or accusations.
Houston, Tx.: How would you respond to Cindy Sheehan and the other family members who believe their children have been sacrificed for a lie?
General Clark: I have the deepest sympathy and empathy with Cindy Sheehan. My son served in the Armed Forces and I worried about him every day. And, I carried a burden of guilt about his service, as I am sure most mothers and fathers do. Because, after all, we either encourage them, supported them, or sustained them in making this committment to their country. My prayers and condolences are with every family who has lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or seen him or her come home forever scarred or crippled. And I thank them for their loved ones' service and for their sacrifice. And I understand the depth of their feelings I believe, because every American trusts our leaders to use our men and women in combat only, only, only as a last resort. And in Iraq, this wasn't the case. And we will probably never learn the full array of motives that lead our nation's leaders to take us to this war. I warned at the time that it was "elective"--we didn't have to do it. There wasn't an eminent threat. So why did we? Cindy Sheehan, every mother and father of our service members, and every American has a right to know. It was a strategic blunder to go there. Now America sees it in hindsight. But those in power have responsibilities to do the right thing, and when they don't they should be held accountable. Cindy is doing everything she can to hold them accountable. President Bush should talk to her and tell her the truth.
He was having an online discussion at WaPo.
"If I only had a nickel for each time Bush mentions 9/11, I could have enough money to go after Bin Laden!
Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 00:49:08 PDT
Know how conservatives love to use those maps showing areas that voted Republicans, and those that voted Democrats?
What would they say about this map?
Update: Thanks to popular demand, the 2004 map by county:
A new Scott Bateman flash animation takes a look at Bush's February 6, 2003 speech about Iraq's WMD here.
by Timothy Garton Ash in Stanford
Thursday August 25, 2005
The US is reeling, like imperial Britain after the Boer war - but don't gloat
If you want to know what London was like in 1905, come to Washington in 2005. Imperial gravitas and massive self-importance. That sense of being the centre of the world, and of needing to know what happens in every corner of the world because you might be called on - or at least feel called upon - to intervene there. Hyperpower. Top dog. And yet, gnawing away beneath the surface, the nagging fear that your global supremacy is not half so secure as you would wish. As Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary, put it in 1902: "The weary Titan staggers under the too vast orb of his fate."
Before It's Too Late in Iraq
By Wesley K. Clark
Friday, August 26, 2005; Page A21
In the old, familiar fashion, mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq have mobilized increasing public doubts about the war. More than half the American people now believe that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. They're right. But it would also be a mistake to pull out now, or to start pulling out or to set a date certain for pulling out. Instead we need a strategy to create a stable, democratizing and peaceful state in Iraq -- a strategy the administration has failed to develop and
From the outset of the U.S. post-invasion efforts, we needed a three-pronged strategy: diplomatic, political and military. Iraq sits geographically on the fault line between Shiite and Sunni Islam; for the mission to succeed we will have to be the catalyst for regional cooperation, not regional conflict.
Unfortunately, the administration didn't see the need for a diplomatic track, and its scattershot diplomacy in the region -- threats, grandiose pronouncements and truncated communications -- has been ill-advised and counterproductive. The U.S. diplomatic failure has magnified the difficulties facing the political and military elements of strategy by contributing to the increasing infiltration of jihadists and the surprising resiliency of the insurgency.
Thursday, August 25, 2005 · Last updated 7:23 p.m. PT
Bush family hosts White House reporters
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush played host to the White House press corps Thursday night for a private off-the-record dinner at his ranch.
The casual affair of fried catfish, potato salad, coleslaw, homemade cheese and chocolate-chip cookies followed a tradition in which Bush and his wife, Laura, have the press covering his annual August vacation out to the their ranch in central Texas as a sort of thank-you.
The event was not held last year because of the busy campaign season. The invitations to the reporters were issued on the condition that they not discuss conversations at the event.
By James Maynard for SeattlePI.com:
President Bush's recent statement about needing to "stay the course" in Iraq gives pause for reflection and concern. To "stay the course" implies that there is a charted course to follow, a defined course objective, navigational tools to guide the progress and an expected time of arrival.
None of these appear to be the case in our Iraq adventure, and the president's statement rings hollow. Broader analysis may cause us to question the entire "course" laid out by a neo-conservative philosophy grounded in a belief that the United States is a divinely inspired empiric instrument for global transformation whose immediate goal is the creation of a democratic Iraq to usher in a new era of peace and freedom in the Middle East.
On the face of it, this course is not a course at all, but a naïve ephemeral projection of individuals who do not value the lessons of history and have no real understanding of the complexities of the Middle East.
The speaker of the fledgling Iraqi parliament has announced a 24-hour extension to talks over the country's new constitution on a day of renewed sectarian infighting that left at least 40 people dead.
Hajim al-Hassani declared the second extension to negotiations shortly after the midnight deadline. "We found that time was late and we saw that the matters will need another day in order to reach results that please everyone, " he said.
The chaos inside the new legislature continued against the background of another surge in violence.
This article comes from the Democracy Cell Project.
I have heard many proponents of the Iraq War, those specifically who disagreed with France's refusal to join the coalition, fling out the words, "Hey, like they've got anything to talk about. They've got the whole Oil for Food scandal." Then the same people would smirk at the idea that our soldiers are over in Iraq fighting for Iraq's oil. They say, "Blood for oil, yeh...right!"
The common theme in both appear to be the oil and the allegations of corrupt behavior to get to that oil. Can either be substantiated with solid proof? U.N. Secretary General-General Kofi Annan has praised the Oil-for-Food Programme for accomplishing one of the largest, most complex and unusual tasks ever entrusted to the Secretariat.
Here in NYC, my friend Luis wears a t-shirt that reads "We deserve the government we allow." Luis is an artist; he knows the power of truth-telling.
Last night, we sat in Central Park and saw the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company move through memory, speaking and evoking truth and hope.
The crowd was large, and the shared understanding, palpable.
One small section was about the peroneus, a muscle along the side of the leg, and the use of the "peroneus strike", a method of torture. Bill T. made the connection between joyous moving in community and abuse of each other as humans quite clear.
A Zogby poll released today finds 42% of all Americans—including 25% of Republicans—say that "if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment." According to Zogby, in Eastern and Western states supporters of impeachment outnumber opponents.
Zogby also found that Bush’s speech on Tuesday "produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%."
What's happened to you? You were often quite good when you were on the Post's White House beat...perceptive�occasionally even courageous�especially in exposing White House dishonesty. Is that why you were taken off that beat and assigned yesterday to trivialize the historic proceedings in the Capitol basement and Congressman Conyers' courage in convening them?
You used to get your facts straight, at least. It appears that in your new assignment meticulousness is not a requirement. Even your "search of the congressional record" concerning mention of the Downing Street Minutes came up short. Do you not consider Sen. Harry Reid a member of Congress?
By Paul Loeb, member of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition
It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that their 'coalition of the willing' meant the U.S., Britain, and the equivalent of a child's imaginary friends.
It's even worse that, as the Downing Street memo confirms, they had so little evidence of real threats that they knew from the start that they were going to have manufacture excuses to go to war. What's more damning still is that they effectively began this war even before the congressional vote.
by David Michael Green
Published on Commondreams.org, 6/14/05
I saw a movie last night that was excellent. It was also awful.
The film was The Downfall, the reputedly historically accurate depiction of the end of the
Third Reich, showing Hitler and his crew holed up in their Berlin bunker, awaiting their
appointment with the Russian Army.
It was excellent in that it portrayed this scene so vividly, and it was awful because of the
scene it so vividly portrayed.
In the film, we see what happened when Germany allowed an emotionally ravenous
June 14, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
Not just because many of my relatives got wiped out in the Holocaust, or because my wife is Bavarian, but, like so many others around the world, I am ineluctably drawn to the Hitler period in Germany.
How could this have happened - 6 million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others herded into camps and slaughtered? More than 50 million killed on all sides in World War II? It's too much for the mind to comprehend.
And yet, I know that given the right set of circumstances, shameful episodes could, and in many instances did, happen in our own country (to African slaves, to Native Americans, to Japanese-Americans, et al). Fold in the current rise of anti-rational thought and militarist leadership in Bush America, symbolized best perhaps by the fact that torture is now officially sanctioned U.S. policy, and America would seem ripe for even worse excursions into the shadow world.
It's me again - "grandma / mental health professional / outside the beltway." I've just read the chapter of your new book that is offered on the downing street memo web site and have placed my order.
In the chapter, you state, "I have been asking myself why Americans find it so painful to delve..." I am writing now to offer a partial answer to that question. And in advance, I will state that you have my permission to use what I am saying, either anonymously or with my name, if you find it useful.
There is, of course, as you suggest, the possibility of "denial." And yes, denial is rampant, and some of it is as insidious and sinister in the Americans who harbor it as in the effects it wreaks.
Retired Editor of MAD Magazine is Mad:
The Downing Street Minutes is one more piece of evidence that supports my contention.
By Al Feldstein, Retired Editor of MAD Magazine
I respect and admire you for your Liberal, fair and responsible stances on many Political issues...
...but let's stop all the nit-picking crap and get to the real heart of the matter.
When are you...and the rest of the American public... going to take your heads out of the sand and face the awful truth about the wasted deaths and needless maiming of our innocent G.I.s and Iraqi civilians?
From Our E-mail In-Box:
My 19 year old son, Gordon Gentle, joined the army in November, 2003. He finished his six months training in April, 04. He was sent to Iraq, and was killed by a roadside bomb on the 28th of June, 2004.
They were sent to Iraq on a pack of lies. Blair has a lot to answer for. This war is wrong. It is an illegal war, and no one should be forced to to go and fight it. Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush lied to us all, and now MFSO [Military Families Speak Out] are not going to stop. We now have it in the hands of solicitors. I'll not give up on this. What was Iraq's crime to warrant such an illegal invasion? Was it that Iraq contains the second largest oil reserves in the world and was viewed as an easy target for western interest to plunder? No more lies. We have to get Blair and Bush in court.
Nearly six weeks after the disclosure of the Downing Street Memo -- which suggests that the Bush administration decided to go to war in Iraq much earlier than acknowledged, and that it manipulated pre-war intelligence to support that decision -- the memo still has not gotten much serious media coverage.
While many news organizations that ignored the story for weeks have finally touched on it, few have done more than repeating what the British Sunday Times reported on May 1, and much of the coverage has focused on the lack of coverage the memo has gotten, rather than on the content of the memo, its credibility, and what it means.