Thursday :: Jan 19, 2006

The Issue Of Control Of Self

by pessimist
"I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself." - Gen. Robert E. Lee

It is no secret that King George had self-control issues when he was younger. He's admitted to alcoholism, and he has not denied reports that he was putting the coke hose up his nose. He could have learned something from Lee:

"I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it."

All of King George's war horses and all of his neo-con(wo)men warmongers seem to be doing things without any oversight or control from him, and the country is going to Hell in a hand basket. It seems that George could have learned something else from Lee:

"Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.”

Worse yet, the only thing left for George to hold over the Red State flatliners - the 'Woh on Terrah' - isn't going well at all:

U.S. occupation’s problems increase in Iraq

While the U.S. is not facing imminent military defeat—far from that—it is clear that a decisive military victory is unattainable and the political and economic costs of its war in Iraq are growing. Two top economists—Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes of Harvard—just released a report estimating the total costs of the war in Iraq will be over $2 trillion.

It won't cost you near as much to go over to the flip side.

Every public opinion poll shows that doubts and outright opposition are growing among the U.S. population.
The New York Times published an article Jan. 7, asserting that the United States is conducting wide-ranging, exploratory talks with certain elements of the Iraqi resistance with the aim of splitting the Al Qaeda faction from the rest. This article was widely reproduced in the Arab and Asian press.

That the U.S. government says it is negotiating with elements in the resistance indicates that at least some elements directing the U.S. occupation believe that the Pentagon and its Iraqi puppets have failed to win a military victory. The U.S. is thus in an untenable stalemate.

These talks are Washington’s admission of weakness, an admission that all the tremendous military force the U.S. can bring to bear is still not enough to crush the Iraqis.

Lee rides in once again with wisdom:

We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.”

King George is a walking disaster! The latest outrage is the shortage of body armor for our troops. Several members of Congress - from BOTH sides of the aisle - are demanding that this need be met as quickly as possible:

The U.S. military, under extreme pressure from Congress, adopted a program to reimburse up to $1,100 of the money families have spent on personal safety equipment, mainly body armor for soldiers sent to Iraq. The armed forces say they can’t solve the bureaucratic problems involved in giving its soldiers all the protection the soldiers have asked for.

General Lee, what do you have to add to this?

"I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving."

I guess this situation is nothing new, is it?

We interrupt our regularly posted article to bring you this important message about why all you bad boys in THE Donald's NeverPlanLand should be buying armor for the troops you send into harms way:

Spec. Denver Rearick of Waco, Ky. was shot in the back but saved by his body armor.

Rearick said he heard gunfire, thought, 'They're shooting at us,' and suddenly felt a blow to his back that knocked him facedown.

Back at the Gator outpost a few hours later Rearick stripped off his jacket and T-shirt while a medic, Spec. Wayne Webb of Clifton, Va., checked him out. There was a round red circle on the upper right side of his back perhaps four inches across. "Doc, it only hurts when you touch it," Rearick said.

Fellow soldiers peeled the ceramic plate out of the body armor. A 7.62 caliber bullet had almost penetrated the plate. Almost, but not quite.

Denver Rearick would live to fight another day. "I'm OK. Damn lucky, too."

This is why you stupid tax-dollar-wasting $600-hammer-buying SOB's need to buy all the armor our troops need and not those damn gold-plated toilet seats you Pentagon pansies park your porky posteriors on to poop!

Do you expect our soldiers to have to resort to this????

"Know any good Moslem prayers? I don't wanna miss any bets."


I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity.”

We now return you to our regularly posted article.

But the need to buy this armor and to spend a trillion or so tax dollars, the need to ensure the safety of U.S. troops and to end the slaughter of Iraqis in this war — all these difficult and complicated problems — could be relieved by the prompt and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Iraq would still face major issues in reconstruction, rebuilding and fashioning a working society. But U.S. withdrawal would give the Iraqis a chance.

"What a cruel thing is war... to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world."

The current militarist strategery of Bu$hCo isn't working, as this attorney (in civilian life) argues:

"In a war you can do everything 100 percent tactically correct but create a nightmare if you don't realize that culture is part of the mission," said Lt. Col. Rick Welch, who as a civilian serves as prosecuting attorney for Morgan County.
In Welch's case, culture was the mission. As a senior civil-military affairs adviser with the 1st Cavalry Division, Welch's job was to supervise and carry out cultural training in Baghdad and serve as a liaison to Iraqi religious, tribal and political groups.
"It was the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life," Welch said.
Welch said he recognizes that many Iraqis have been treated unjustly and disrespectfully, and does not agree with the "egocentric" mindset of some Americans.

"Many in Iraq do not understand who we think we are, a nation of only 250 years, trying to diminish the culture of a nation that is over 5,000 years old," Welch said.

"I did not like that we went into a culture and overnight tried to dictate it."
"The war... was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forebearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides."

The imposition of a foreign culture by force is always going to be resisted, but in true Bu$hCo fasion, anyone who doesn't knuckle under and bow to Washington instead of Mecca risks a summary demise - maybe innocently and en masse:

Precision killing in Iraq

A little more than a year ago, a group of Johns Hopkins University researchers reported that about 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a result of the Iraq war during its first 14 months, with about 60,000 of the deaths directly attributable to military violence by the US and its allies.
"It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it."

What was it Hizz Hindni$$ said about this topic not long ago?

Ah, yes!

"I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis." - pRedzidint George W. Bu$h, speaking to the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia on Dec. 12

Yet another prevarication to add to the long and growing anti-verisimilitudinalism list!

But I digress. Our Lancet report is just beginning!

[T]he researchers did not explain how the occupation had managed to kill so many people so quickly - about 1,000 each week in the first 14 months of the war.

They could ask veteran British journalist Robert Fisk!

But I digress.

[T]he Iraq war is a 21st-century war and so the miracle of modern weaponry allows the US military to kill scores of Iraqis (and wound many more) during a routine day's work, made up of small skirmishes triggered by roadside bombs, sniper attacks and US foot patrols. Early this month, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported a relatively small incident (not even worthy of front-page coverage) that illustrated perfectly the capacity of the US military to kill uncounted thousands of Iraqi civilians each year
A pilotless reconnaissance aircraft detected three men planting a roadside bomb about 9pm. The men "dug a hole following the common pattern of roadside bomb emplacement", the military said in a statement. "The individuals were assessed as posing a threat to Iraqi civilians and coalition forces, and the location of the three men was relayed to close air support pilots. The men were tracked from the road site to a building nearby, which was then bombed with 'precision guided munitions'," the military said. An additional military statement said navy F-14s had "strafed the target with 100 cannon rounds" and dropped one bomb.
The statement did not say whether a roadside bomb was later found at the site.

But those Iraqis were still dead in either case.

WaPo describes another attack, one which had to have enflamed anti-American feelings:

The dead included women and children whose bodies were recovered in the nightclothes and blankets in which they had apparently been sleeping. A Washington Post special correspondent watched as the corpses of three women and three boys who appeared to be younger than 10 were removed Tuesday from the house.
We can gain some perspective on this military strategy by imagining similar rules of engagement for a police force in some large US city. Imagine, for example, a team of criminals in that city fleeing into a nearby apartment building after gunning down a police officer. It would be unthinkable for the police simply to call in airships to demolish the structure, killing any people - helpless hostages, neighbors or even friends of the perpetrators - who were with or near them.
This is, by the way, the textbook definition of terrorism - attacking a civilian population to get it to withdraw support from the enemy.

What this strategic orientation represents - applied wherever US troops fight the Iraqi resistance - is an embrace of terrorism as a principle tactic for subduing Iraq's insurgency.

"Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one."
Consider then this gruesome arithmetic: if the US fulfills its expectation of surpassing 150 air attacks per month, and if the average air strike produces the (gruesomely) modest total of 10 fatalities, air power alone could kill well over 20,000 Iraqi civilians in 2006. Add the ongoing (but reduced) mortality due to other military causes on all sides, and the 1,000 civilian deaths per week rate recorded by the Hopkins study could be dwarfed in the coming year.
The new US strategy, billed as a way to de-escalate the war, is actually a formula for the slaughter of Iraqi civilians.

The New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago police departments (among too many others) have had to deal in the past with charges of causing the indicriminate deaths of innocents, which resulted in a change of strategy and tactics. If Bu$hCo were serious about its claims that they are seeking to pacify the country and bring it democracy, would they be having so much trouble three years after taking Saddam down? Their actions prompt reactions - and we hear - loudly and often - what these reactions are.

No matter what the outcome of the Occupation, however, some version of law and order will have to be established. got any advice, General?

The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.”

Let's hope that can be taught at the Bu$hCo Police Academy:

Law enforcement in a lawless, violent country

Like a recovering alcoholic who remembers with vivid clarity the exact moment he had his last vodka on the rocks, Sgt. 1st Class George Wehrly doesn't hesitate when asked how long he spent in war-torn Iraq: "Eleven months and 23 days." For most of his tour in Iraq, Wehrly was the operations sergeant at the Baghdad Police Academy where an average of 3,000 Iraqis were on site every day, most who were being trained on how to enforce the law in a lawless country.

While most of the Iraqis Wehrly came into contact with were "very nice people," he said they are emotional and easily swayed - and being a cop in Iraq today puts a mark on the officer, his family, even the tribe to which he belongs. "Being an Iraqi police officer has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They give up a lot to be police officers," he said.

Private and public life are subject to the same rules-- truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better then policy or tact or expediency or other words that were devised to conceal a deviation from a straight line.”
So why would anyone want to be a police officer in a country where being one puts self and family at great risk? In a word - money. "A lot of them are really good kids, and they are kids, some are just 16 (years old) that got recruited at high school ... but being an Iraqi policeman means you have one of the best paying jobs in the country. Still, they really put a lot on the line to get that job.
"The average Iraqi earns about 50 dollars a year. If an insurgent offers you 50 or 60 bucks to set an improvised explosive device on the road you could make your entire annual wage in one act," he said.
"We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have been defeated. For us as a Christian people, there is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation."
The British army and its police detachment take a much more friendly approach to patrolling the dangerous streets of a nation in turmoil, and Wehrly said our allies might be closer to winning the hearts and minds of an occupied people than is the United States - though he is quick to point out Americans have learned from mistakes and have taken steps not to repeat them.
"You must study to be frank with the world: frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted that you mean to do right."
The main distinction in how law enforcement is carried out in America and Iraq might come as a surprise to westerners. "There's a big difference between Western law enforcement and Iraqi law and culture," Wehrly said. "Much of Iraq's law comes from the Koran" and federal mandates handed down by Hussein's regime.
In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.”
According to Wehrly, an American police officer would be fully within his or her rights to use lethal force against an aggressive suspect wielding a knife or a baseball bat, or any other potentially deadly weapon, once that suspect comes within 21 feet of the officer.

If an Iraqi police officer shot an Iraqi citizen under similar circumstances, that officer would probably go to jail, his family would have to pay to feed him during his incarceration, and in all likelihood that officer would have to pay the attacker's family for its loss.

Is this not a clue as to why the Iraqis are extremely angry about how they are treated by US forces? Or is that just an 'urban legend' being broadcast by those liberals in the multinational-corporate-dominated media?

Ask Wehrly:

When asked if the media has been accurate in its reporting on Iraq, Wehrly says the answer depends on who you read.
"The English media is far more accurate than the American media," Wehrly said. "I studied it; I thought about it and the English are more impartial and more accurate. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is very accurate."

Remember - Wehrly was there. He knows what the truth is concerning events he must have witnessed, and based on that can make his determination.

O'Lielly and Handjobity and Lu$h Rimjob were not in Iraq, have no personal experience with those events, and should STFU!

General, have you anything to add?

"We made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake. We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers."

Then we should immediately send O'Lielly and Handjobity and Lu$h Rimjob to Iraq to conduct the war!

But I digress.

Wehrly has a message for us here in the States that I endorse:

Wehrly said he would be eternally grateful for those at home who send letters and supplies to coalition forces, and continue to do so. "You have no idea how much the troops appreciate the support. They really do."

I hope this helps that effort, soldier!

Another soldier who has been there - this one in Afghanistan - had some eye-opening experiences also:

Manitowoc woman motivated by humanitarian work in village
January 11, 2006

Nan Groll is willing to risk her life for a child's smile.

The 56-year-old is on a two-week "R and R" (Rest and Relaxation) visit to the Lakeshore area before returning to serve another six months in Afghanistan as a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army.

She said her service in Afghanistan has been a revelation, witnessing first-hand cultural and religious customs of the Asian country with some 30 million people, almost half under the age of 15.

"If I lived in that country, I'd be dead. They'd have killed me because of my mouth," Groll said, noting that adult women continue to wear burqas, the garments that conceal the entire body, with net curtains hiding the wearer's eyes.

"They just had an honor killing before I left. A woman whose husband repeatedly beat her came home to her parents," Groll said. "Her father killed her and her two sisters in front of their mother because the daughter had walked out on his son-in-law."

Let's try American policing methods in THAT kind of a country!

Groll, on the other hand, seems to have a much better approach:

She said her service in Afghanistan has been a revelation, witnessing first-hand cultural and religious customs of the Asian country with some 30 million people, almost half under the age of 15.

Groll squeezes in humanitarian aid visits to a women's and children's health clinic in Charikar, a village seven miles from Bagram Air Base, whenever possible to distribute clothing, diapers, toothpaste and other items. She wears body armor and is driven to the clinic by fellow soldiers in an "up-armored" Humvee with her escorts possessing "lots of firepower."

Groll hasn't had to discharge her own sidearm in self-defense but "it is with me 24 hours a day and always loaded," she said, seated for the interview next to her husband, Phil Groll, a retired city of Manitowoc firefighter and Army veteran.

On Monday night the couple of 35 years celebrated a delayed Christmas with presents exchanged with their son, Erik, daughter-in-law, Stacy, and granddaughter Brianna, born Dec. 8.

"You don't know what you'll miss till you can't have it," she said. "I miss grass (and) am so tired of rock and sand," she said of Afghanistan topography, ten-and-a-half time zones to the east. "The mountains are gorgeous. It is getting cold; (it) was seven degrees when I left."
The visits to the village will continue. "We've built a lot of schools and are trying to educate the kids," she said, with particular emphasis on the girls.

"Seeing the kids' smiles is my motivation. And the one young girl in the clinic, who said, 'we don't get any toothpaste. It goes to the men's side,'" Groll said.

"It has been quite an experience ... a third-world country, seeing how they dress and what they don't have ... living in mud houses, no electricity," Groll said of her tour of duty in a foreign land.

"I have certainly learned and seen a lot but I'll be glad when it is over."

Come home safe, soldier. Your family needs you. Right, General?

"The life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”

Iraq and Afghanistan are hostile places and the news report confirm that fact daily. But why are US troops in danger in a country wich is both accustomed to us and relatively civilized?

Could it be George's Crusade for Crude has pissed someone off?

Protest greets U.S. troops training in Philippines

Protesters chanted anti-American slogans outside a Philippine army camp on Tuesday as 30 elite U.S. soldiers began counter-terrorism drills with local troops in the heartland of the largest Muslim rebel group. Arrangements had been made with the ceasefire panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to avoid any conflict with the Muslim separatist rebels. A truce with the MILF has been holding since July 2003 and Malaysian-brokered talks to end the conflict are due to resume this month in Kuala Lumpur.

Outside the camp in Carmen town on Mindanao island, anti-riot police backed by soldiers and a fire truck blocked a 35-vehicle convoy of about 5,000 protesters demanding that U.S. troops leave Muslim areas in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic country. They chanted "U.S. imperialist, number one terrorist" and other slogans, sang revolutionary songs and waved placards before police allowed them to hold a rally at the town's public park.

"We don't want U.S. troops on Muslim soil," said Zaynab Ampatuan, one of the protest organizers. "There are no terrorists in our communities. We fear an increase in human rights violations as more U.S. troops are expected to arrive in Mindanao in the guise of non-combat missions."

One hundred years ago, the Philippinos were fighting a war very similar to that in Iraq today. They know something about human rights violations at the hands of Americans.

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order "KILL EVERYONE OVER TEN" was the caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The bottom caption exclaimed, "Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines."

Sadly, it still continues to this day:

Four U.S. Marines, who had taken part in other exercises in October, have been charged with raping a 22-year-old Filipino woman in a van at a former U.S. Navy base northwest of Manila.

As if things aren't already tense enough, the commander of the American unit issued a veiled warning:

Major William Nagel, commander of the U.S. commandos, said his soldiers had seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq before helping to train soldiers from more than 25 allied countries.
"I don't see any problem on the safety of my troops as long as they (protesters) don't interfere in our exercises," Nagel told reporters.

The Philippino authorities aren't willing to take any chances:

Philippine army officials said the U.S. troops would be confined to the training camp to avoid any possible controversy similar to [the] rape case in the northern part of the country.

We've come a long way since citizens of a foreign country looked on the American GI like this:

instead of this:

It would be great if they could again - without being forced to at gunpoint.

We'll give General Lee the final word:

All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of the war and to restore the blessing of peace. Save in the defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword.

If you become as good a merchant as you were a soldier, I shall be content. No one will then excel you, and no one can wish you more success and more happiness than I. My interest and affection for you will never cease, and my prayers are always offered for your prosperity.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell."

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