Saturday :: Oct 22, 2005

The Dogs Of War Slip Up


by pessimist

Things aren't going too well for Bu$hCo and its allies around the world. King George's approval rating has dipped again, slipping generally below 40% all across the board, with only 2% of blacks thinking he's doing a good job. He should have the good fortune of kindred spirit Junichiro Koizumi, whose recent visit to the Yasukuni war shrine, which raised the hackles of Asia and which was noted to be unwelcomely troublesome by some in Japan. This notice is a reflection of the close numbers of a Japan divided over the correctness of such an act while so many government officials hide behind the law for doing so also.

Meanwhile, over in Italy, the most openly Bu$hCovite foreign leader, corporate criminal Silvio Berlusconi, is seeing his popularity decline also, and is facing a real challenger for once.

But Bu$hCo'$ Be$t Supporter is clearly Tony Blair, who is closest of this bunch to facing removal from office:


GLOBETROTTER BLAIR'S OUT FOR A LAME DUCK

Blair's legacy? The nation is split on that. But as for when he should go, most would prefer him to forget about 2008 and make it 20.08 next Tuesday. All together now, in the style of the Barmy Army: Hand it over, hand it over, hand it over, Tony Blair.
The last thing Britain needs right now is a lame-duck leader whose sole objective is finding a way to be remembered in a decent light.

That's the last thing we need here Over The Pond as well!

Its people are consumed with fear about jobs and crime and pensions. They live in the harshness of the here and now. And need a leader to be here with them, eyes focused on their problems, not his own future laden with golden invitations.

Meanwhile, as he ups his world statesman profile to ensure a lucrative retirement, back in the real world we saw who is really running this country. Gordon Brown. He it was who took control of the fuel crisis by turning the pressure on OPEC and slapping petrol protesters down. He passed on the government's hard message to the TUC foot soldiers in their Brighton conference hall, that no special favours are coming their way. While Blair had a cosy dinner with the leaders.

It is no different here in America. The same bill of complaints levelled at Tony the BFEE/PNAC Lap Poodle can be aimed as well at The Crawford CheerLeedur. Even as I write this, we are watching airline and automotive and lumber employees losing their jobs, while criminal indictments are brought against Republican reprobates all over the country. Pensions are going the way of the Passenger Pigeon, sped on that one-way ourney into oblivion by the anthrpomorphic version of the Dodo which allowed this to happen to other Americans and held their hands out for a mere pittance of a tax refund.

Just to assure balance and fairness on this post, being a Dodo is non-partisan. The Democrats are being nudged into supporting Hillary Clinton as the 2008 presidential candidate despite poll results that show weak GOP opponents like John McCain and Rudy Giuliani beating her (these two are weak because both carry weighty personal baggage which keeps them captive to certain controlling political interests). Such a move could only result in a 2008 GOP victory, so the nudging can be seen as coming from the GOP Dirty Political Tricks Department.

Sorry, Hil. Not your time yet.

But we digressed. Tony is supposed to be the topic this part of our trip, for he has far more parallels to Bu$hCo than any other world leader, and in recent history, events in Britain tend to precede similar happenings in America.

For instance, Tony is being scortched for usurping war powers from Queen Elizabeth II:

The right to declare war is a Royal Prerogative — the legal powers and privileges of the sovereign, including appointing ministers and dissolving Parliament, that date back to medieval times. Although nominally held by the monarch, they are now exercised by the prime minister.

"The accountability of the executive to Parliament is a very important democratic principle which should surely be extended to the making of war," said former Cabinet member Clare Short, who resigned from her post as international development secretary following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Short challenged the government's power to authorize military action without the approval of Parliament and insisted lawmakers must be given the right of veto. Under her proposal, the executive would have to show both chambers of Parliament the case and legal justification for war and receive their backing before committing British troops. A prime minister would still be allowed to take urgent action without approval, but would be forced to withdraw troops if Parliament later rejected the move.

But Short noted that even if he had lost the vote, Blair could have gone ahead with military action.

Remember, George pulled an Adolph and got the Congress to surrender their war powers to him. We aren't sure what Tony did to get Royal Sanction to go to war. Unfortunately for Blair, his army isn't taking the strain very well:


Are British Troops at Breaking Point in Iraq?

According to Combat Stress, the military charity dedicated to helping soldiers suffering psychological problems, the seemingly indefinite struggle has created the greatest crisis of morale among British troops for decades.

Commodore Toby Elliott, the chief executive of Combat Stress, told The Independent that many soldiers were leaving the Army early in the hope that its psychological effects - flashbacks, nightmares and guilt that they had survived while colleagues had not would abate. Commodore Elliot said: "The effects of the Iraq situation are comparable to serving in Northern Ireland during the worst of the Troubles when they were subjected to car-bomb attacks."

The incidents are symptomatic of a general malaise. One corporal said: "This has been a hard, hard tour. I would be glad not to be back in Iraq for a while." Another NCO added: "Mr Blair keeps on saying that everything is getting better here. Perhaps he would care to come and see for himself. He is pretty good at sending other peoples' sons to Iraq."

Pte Samuels' decision to leave the Army may be a particularly significant landmark. A war hero, he was decorated for saving lives during the ambush which earned his comrade Pte Johnson Beharry a Victoria Cross. But he told The Independent yesterday that he decided to leave the moment he was told his unit would be returning to Iraq.

"I couldn't do that," he said, "Not straight away like that. It would be different if they were sending me to somewhere like Afghanistan - but not Iraq, right now. The stress for the guys out there is immense. They are seeing so much bad stuff. I owed it to my family to call it a day." The current intensity of day-to-day combat is evident in the recent incident logs for Pte Samuel's regiment which show that soldiers have faced 109 individual attacks in a single day.

Seventy soldiers from Private Samuels' battalion, the Princess of Wales Regiment (1PWRR), have also decided to leave the Army during the past year rather than return to Iraq
A string of incidents in the past week has contributed to the sense of crisis:

* An RAF officer, Flt-Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, said he was prepared to face jail rather than serve in Iraq, in a war he considers to be illegal. He is to be court-martialled for "refusing to obey a lawful command" and is the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of the war.

* The Ministry of Defence has launched an inquiry into the apparent suicide of Captain Ken Masters, a military police investigator who was found hanged at his barracks in Basra. Capt Masters, 40, with 24 years' experience, had been involved in investigations of alleged mistreatment of detainees by British soldiers. Army sources have reported that the stress of investigating colleagues may have contributed to his death. Pte Samuel's decision to leave showed that "psychological injuries" could affect the bravest of officers, said a spokesman for Combat Stress, which is helping 57 soldiers from the conflict.

Paul Beaver, a defence analyst with close links to senior staff, said: "There's obviously a disappointment that things have not gone better. But the main difference between army morale now and 12 months ago is that there is a resignation among the soldiers that they are in it for the long haul. There is also recognition that some of the elements [the Iraqi police] that they trusted can no longer be trusted and that they must fall back on their own resources."

That had to be what the Seventh Cavalry felt in their final moments. Certainly, with the Pentagon STILL not supplying our troops with equipment that improves their chances of survival, this forces their families to buy it for them. If they could, they would also buy and ship to Iraq some of the armored Humvees sitting idle on US lots. This is vital, as reports indicate 25% of returning troops need medical care as it is.

In an effort to keep these families from becoming progressive anti-war voters, the Pentagon announced a policy to reimburse them for body armor, but the Republican Senate refused to fund it, choosing instead to protect the firearm manufacturers from their economic karma even though they don't make bullets for our army. So the Pentagon again reversed itself, taking that 'Fuck You' attitude that is Bu$hCo.

This isn't going to play well in Peoria:

Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon still hasn’t figured out a way to reimburse U.S. troops for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq. Does this sound like an administration that cares about our troops?

It is a crime – literally – that the Pentagon has not reimbursed the troops for their body armor and other vital equipment. It is equally reprehensible that our troops and their families are still purchasing this equipment themselves.

Others hold similar views:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Department of Defense are complicit in the maiming and killing of United States military personal. This obstinateness and insubordination should not go unpunished. It is inexcusable, and we dare Rumsfeld and his Pentagon pencil-pushers to look into a parent's eyes when a soldier surrenders his life for want of some Kevlar.

Can we as a nation possibly have a deeper, truer obligation than to provide life-protecting equipment to the men and women we send off to war?

Is it any wonder, especially after reading all of this, that US forces are suffering from stress like their British allies?

Such stress should be suffered by those who sent them there!

Blair is certainly suffering stress, especially from his own party members in Commons. They aren't happy that he's going to spend £20 billion 'on a useless status symbol' - and not allow them to decide as he is supposed to do.

Has Britain been coopted by corporate governence just as the US has?

It does so appear. The only differences between Britain and the US is that the ruling party membership is turning against their leader, and the British public is paying attention as well.

Would that it be so here. Our military is trying to reach us and warn us of the danger of following wannabe ideologues:


Props and Puppets

It remains to be seen just how far George Bush is willing to go in exploiting the members of our uniformed services to compensate for his own lack of substance. Bush should be proud that he holds the record, by a wide margin, for more military photo-ops than any other prior president. For Dubya, there is nothing quite like surrounding himself with manly men (and women) for that martial touch he craves.

However, you can be assured that the Stepford soldiers that stand behind him are not random volunteers. Not since that embarrassing incident where a soldier actually had the bad judgment to ask our hero an intelligent question, and Rummy got a proper Texas ass-chewing for it, has selection been left to chance.

Mr. President, I've dabbled in show biz so let me make a few modest proposals. It's the ruins of Falujah at sunset. Glowing and the end of a rubble-strewn street, a flickering fire is surrounded by battle-weary, dusty, and dirty warriors. Except for the crackling of the fire, and the distant rumble and crash of firefights and artillery, it is eerily silent. The camera moves across the faces: strong, white, born-again Christian faces (except for Condoleezza Rice, who is doing her best Halle Berry), and there you are, Mr. President, the firelight etching lines of character into to your face. You look up at the camera and say, “Live, from Fallujah, it's Dubya live!” With the bawdy honking of saxophones backing you up, you proselytize to an energized nation. Just a few thoughts.

I am telling you, and you can take this one to the bank, the troops are going to love it and love you. But, even more important than all that, Mr. President, if they don't like it, tell ‘em God told you to do it.

It's what Tony would do!


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