Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Tenuous Case for Strategic Patience in Iraq

Anthony Cordesman, director of the Center for Strategic Studies, was the guest this morning on C-Span's Washington Journal. He is the author of the newest study on Iraq, The Tenuous Case for Strategic Patience in Iraq. You can read the report here. The man knows his stuff, to put it colloquially. He is a scholar of the middle East, Iraq in particular.

I was embarrassed for him with some of the callers, ignorant callers. One suggested to him that Iraq needs to have a democracy so that it becomes 'a civilized nation.' It did not take too long for Mr. Cordesman to assure the caller that Iraq had been a civilized nation for thousands of years before the British and Americans de-civilized it.

Another embarrassing call suggested that the problem in Iraq was the fault of the Democrats as did one other caller who said that if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, Americans would need to have an arsenal of guns in their homes, just as the Iraqi people.

The host asked Cordesman about the Dick Cheney question and answer he gave in a recent interview where Cheney was asked why, in 1991, he said that no American life was worth being sacrificed in going into Baghdad to get Saddam, but now he thinks it was the right thing to do. Cheney answered, "because of 9-11." Cordesman, instead of being unkind to Cheney, said that the Administration's biggest blunder was having no plan for the after-Saddam topple. That stupidity, he suggested, has caused much bloodshed, both ours and the Iraqis.

"American mentality is to blame," he declared. "We think in short terms only." He went on to lecture us on the consequences of such football logic. We fail to see the big picture, the long-term consequences, just like the British when they occupied Iraq.

His tone was one of despair; his hope for any meaningful outcome to the fiasco there was at best dim. One could detect in his voice and words that he had great pity for the people of Iraq and the awful consequences they have suffered at the hands of the British and Americans for the past 75 years. And the dumbed-down callers proved his conjecture very well.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Silent Screams of a Survivor: Toledo Author Mitch Garwolinski

Toledo resident Mitch Garwolinski has written a detailed account of his childhood experiences in Nazi controlled Poland in WWII. A summary can be found here. My wife's brother gave her the book yesterday; he is a runner and often runs with Mitch. That's how he got the book.

It's an easy but stomach-curdling read like all accounts of Nazis both living and now dead. One more episode in the file, 'man's inhumanity to man.'

The author is also a cancer survivor which begs the question: how much can one person endure in life? He is in therapy too, trying to get rid of those horrible experiences as well as the guilt for the three murders he committed. Writing the book was one way to help him try to put the past aside, if that is ever possible.

He speaks to groups around the Toledo area about his experiences, often to high school audiences. He hopes that his life story will have some effect on the youth of the area. Surely some in the audience will find his story compelling and it may also serve as an impetus to them to reach for higher ideals during their own lives.

Presently the city of Toledo has been 'threatened' with an unwelcome visit by a neo Nazi group this Sunday. These boneheads will stimulate the residents and news media into action just as they have planned. Shortly after their verbiage is finished, they will drive back to their places of residence satisfied with the ugliness they perpetrated in the name of their god of hate. One wonders if they have families, wives, and children. Do they go to church? What do they see in the mirror each morning? What do they dream of at night? What will be said of them at their funeral service? What will be written in their obituary? On their tombstone?

Man's inhumanity to man. Alive and thriving in America. Thank God there are men like Mitch Garolinski who educate our youth on evil.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

John Pilger's Warning to Journalists

Author John Pilger has penned a scorching warning to those who call themselves journalists. The Unseen lies: Journalism as Propaganda is an article that lays bare the shenanigans of so-called journalists who are little more than government pimps. Pilger berates especially the 'journalists' and news media in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. But Clinton doesn't get off the hook either. He says of the former president, "Bill Clinton [was] the most violent president of the late 20th century."

The article is fascinating and jaw-dropping in detail. The man knows his stuff about propaganda, a theme I have visited regularly on this blog.
Read it and weep; cross your fingers that there are a few honest mud-raking journalists still willing to expose the fascism and warmongering tendencies of this nation and our allies, especially the UK.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I'm not smarter, but maybe I'm wiser

Frank Rich had an interesting article in the New York Times on Sunday titled, "Patriots Who Love the Troops to Death."

He mentions Michael Ignatieff, a former Bush War cheerleader, who acknowledged "that those who “truly showed good judgment on Iraq” might have had no more information than those who got it wrong, but did not make the mistake of confusing “wishes for reality.”"

Although I don't like to toot my own horn: me too.

The title: Patriots Who Love the Troops to Death is morbidly humorous but deadly accurate. I have to scoff at these war-lovers who, when confronted by these thousands of useless American military deaths, offhandedly remark: 'it's an all-volunteer army,' s if 'they were asking for it.' Or that other callous statement flowing from their lips; ' Vietnam saw 50,000 dead.' Which statement is more ignorant is up for grabs. Did you see that recent Young College Republican Convention video where the reporter asked these young men about supporting the war, then asked 'why haven't you joined the military?' The bobbing, weaving, and ducking was classic Dick Cheney.

Yes, these 'patriots' love the Bush War. Broad definition of patriotism, no doubt. Does a true patriot follow the leader blindly and mindlessly? Does the leader receive carte blanche from his citizens? One might ask: when does dogged party loyalty dilute patriotism?

Today we read that Afghanistan is more dangerous than it was a few years ago according to President Hamid Karzai. The poppy crop was enormous this year. Karzai told the press yesterday about finding bin Laden, "We are not closer, we are not further away from it."

Six full years after 9-11, the mastermind is still on the loose, but Saddam Hussein is dead. And so are more American soldiers than Americans who died on 9-11. Brilliant.

I am still troubled by the fact that so many of my fellow citizens were bamboozled by the Bush/Cheney rhetoric and rush to invade Iraq while bin Laden sat in his mountain hideout. What happened to my fellow citizens? Was their need for vengeance so great than they were willing to use Hussein as a scapegoat for bin Laden? Any dastardly dictator will suffice?

What were they thinking? Why do wisdom and logic fail during patriotic passion? Perhaps the better question is: have we learned any lesson from this major mistake? Or, will some charlatan a few years down the road once again lead us astray with a wave of the flag?

Lefty Blogs