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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I will be traveling tomorrow, but I don't think that it will interfere with my publishing Thursday Madman. Just in case, if there is no Madman on Thursday, July 27, please except my apologies in advance. NG

Waking Up?

"The plan is to prevent a civil war, and to the extent one were to occur, to have the from a security standpoint have the Iraqi security forces deal with it, to the extent they are able to,"
-Donald "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" Rumsfeld

Huh? Maybe I should let Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) explain it:

"Obviously, it's not realistic to depend on the Iraqi security forces, which are not yet able to fight on their own," Kennedy said. "So, Secretary Rumsfeld is basically saying that if the prevention strategy fails and Iraq plunges into civil war, U.S. troops will inevitably be deeply involved."
-Sen. Kennedy

So, the "Little Civil War" is no longer "little". In this late hour, even "Rummy" has, finally, noticed it. I guess when one gets hit in the head over and over again, one has to, eventually, say "What the h--- is that?"

"There's no doubt that the sectarian tensions are higher than we've seen, and it is of great concern to all of us,"
"It's my impression that Iraq is not moving toward civil war,"
-Gen. John Abizaid, the United States' top commander in the Middle East

First, Gen. Abizaid, the sectarian violence is an atrocity. It's what leads to things like "ethnic cleansing". One wonders what will happen when a winner to these "tensions" finally arises.

Second, Gen. Abizaid, the move has been made. This IS a civil war. It is bloody and it is secular. There is no other name for it.

Make no mistake. This war is the offspring of the Bush administration's reckless policies and those war profiteers who see the red blood of our American children as an acceptable price to pay for their green, silver and gold. They must feel that running the world may be fun, but owning it must be so much better.

One hundred Iraqis a day are dying. 2300 Children of America are dead. 17,000 of their mates are wounded. And Halliburton's stock has risen almost three-fold since the 2003 invasion. The numbers are staggering. And they are disgusting.

Although we "officially" haven't taken sides, we appear to be backing the ruling religious sect (the Shi'ites). They are the same Shi'ites who run Iran. They are the same Shi'ites who make up Hezbollah. Just what in
God's name are we doing?

-Noah Greenberg

Before sending the following, I asked two other Madman contributors their advice. Here is what I printed and the advice I received from one contributor:

"No Doubt"

"I have no doubt there are those who wish to strangle a democratic and sovereign Lebanon in its crib. We, of course, also urgently want to end the violence."
-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

As my brother Perry pointed out, Lebanon, under the control of Syria, was less of a threat than it is today. Hezbollah, as a political party and the only one which has their very own militia, is being sponsored by both Syria and Iran. While Syria was in control of the small nation just north of Israel, they were responsible for the goings-on there, In other words, while they were there, there was a nation to hold responsible. If Hezbollah bombed Israel, or kidnapped her troops, we all knew who was responsible, We all knew it was at the behest of Damascus.

Iraq is similar. While there were, "no doubt" (as Dick "Go <F---< Yourself" Cheney might say), problems that persisted for the people of Iraq, the tyrannical dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, was almost entirely limited to his terrorizing his own people. The enemy was known to all, and it was from within.

Today, Iraq has both home grown enemies (the Shi'ites to the Sunnis and the Sunnis to the Shi'ites), not to mention the al-Qaeda presence of imported terrorists who now use Iraq as their training ground.

In my opinion, some nations aren't ready for democracy. Democracy, as it exists America, Canada and Western Europe isn't the cure-all for all that ails the middle east. Bush's brand of democracy has led to a civil war in Iraq and a minority terrorist organization/ political party ruling Lebanon.

During the Cold War, the question asked was this: If we knew the Soviet Union was incapable of launching a nuclear attack for a period of 24 hours, would we launch against them? The answer, for most Americans, was "Yes". Today we have a very similar situation in Iran, a main supporter and supplier of Hezbollah.

What should we do now?

There is "no doubt" (do I have to pay Cheney every time I say that?) that we can't show our real force against the likes of Iran, North Korea and Syria because of our involvement in Iraq. Our nation's resources are being exhausted there, thanks to the bad planning of the Bushites. In their zeal to make their "Base" of "Haves and have mores" become "Having Even Mores", they have used their leadership role to push US taxpayer dollars toward their war profiteer biddies (at the middle class expense) and, at the same time, have given hope to terrorism worldwide.

-Noah Greenberg

And Robert Scardapane's answer to "My Dilemma":

I think you should always print what you feel in your heart. I find myself torn by this issue. On the one hand, I am pro-Israel. On the other hand, I find myself becoming increasingly disgusted with warfare and nations that can't settle issues without using it. I also fear that the neocons use false pro-Israeli sentiments to further their nefarious goals. The crazy Pat Robertson Dominionists, I personally think they are Satanists, want to use Israel to bring on the "end of days". So may agendas that just make no logical sense.

Hezbollah and Hamas are problematic. In the eyes of the Arab people, they are often considered freedom fighters and are forces for social good (they do run hospitals, schools, etc...). That means they are very dangerous as they are imbedded in these societies much like the "Madrassas" in countries such as Saudi.

I hate saying the Arabs aren't ready for Democracy ... it just feels like predujice to me. I wonder sometimes if Americans are ready for Democracy ... of late, we sure seem more Fascist than Democratic. I think it is possible to have Democracies in these societies but it will never occur at the point of a gun. That is why I hate the neocons. I say let's go back to Carter's paradigm of foreign policy based on morality and human rights ...
it's more honest that way.

Well, that's my two cents.


Biting Off More...


"The truth is let me say this clearly we didn't even expect (this) response ... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us,"
We expected "the usual, limited response"
"The response is unjustified,"
-Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the political arm of Hezbollah, regarding the terrorist organization's kidnapping of two
Israeli soldiers

Well what kind of response did you expect?

Ask yourself one question: If you were the Prime Minister of Israel, what would your reaction be? Think about how you reacted when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. Did you want to show "restraint" then? How many of our mothers and fathers wanted to show "restraint" when Pearl Harbor was bombed?

What would you have wanted done if a troop of Cuban soldiers was to cross into Guantanamo Bay and kidnap a couple of Marines, then demand that the US withdraw from South Florida? What would you have wanted done if, during the Cold War, Soviet troops came into West Berlin, kidnapped two American soldiers and ordered us to leave all of Berlin, or all of Germany?

Here's an idea. Are you ready? Return the soldiers and see what happens.

Israel was "waiting for the right time" to carry out a big war,

Then you gave Israel all the ammo they needed. If what you state is true, that Israel wanted a big war, you played right into her hands.

I want the bombing to stop today. I want the captured soldiers released today. I want the people of Lebanon to stand up and say "No" to Hezbollah. I want them to say "We elected our government. Give it back to us." It's too bad that we (the US) have only Condi Rice to offer as a peace-maker. She doesn't have it in her.

Think about this: The Arab League doesn't even stand with Hezbollah on this one.

I want there to be peace in he middle east. I want both the Israelis and Lebanese people not to have to fear walking down the streets of Beirut and Haifa, respectively.

In answer to Mr. Komati, don't stick your hand in the tiger's cage and it won't get bitten off. And don't put innocent people in the way of your indiscretions.


-Noah Greenberg


In Afghanistan, freedom is also on the march including the freedom to be harassed by a government agency that the Taliban used a little too effectively.

Under the Taliban, officials from the Department for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue struck fear into women's hearts, beating those who let a glimpse of wrist or ankle peek out from beneath their burqas. The hated religious police were disbanded when the hard-line Islamic regime fell in 2001. But President Hamid Karzai is planning to resurrect them, much to the alarm of human rights groups, parliamentarians and Western diplomats.

During the Taliban's reign, the religious police would beat women who were seen on the street without a male relative an impossible demand to meet for the millions of women widowed by the civil war and would thrash men who did not pray five times a day or keep their beard at the proper length. Afghan officials have said the new department which was approved by the cabinet last month and is pending approval by parliament would be a kinder, softer version of its Taliban predecessor and would not enforce such harsh penalties for moral transgressions.

So, we're talking about Taliban-lite? Is this the Middle Eastern progress the White House is so anxious to boast about?
It's not at all encouraging. Shukria Barakzai, a Member of Parliament and analyst, said the new department is a "symbol of the past" and worries that even if it is staffed by competent people, it would be difficult to monitor in coming years. "The president could appoint people who are good today, but what about tomorrow?" she said. "It could be the same as the Taliban, and allow people to deliver violence against women, against freedom of speech."
The fact that Afghanistan didn't even bother to change the name of the morality-enforcing agency from the Taliban days is not a good sign.

While the Bush cabal is busy working on World War III in Israel and Lebanon, the slight of hand in Afghanistan is the same as it ever was: women and girls last. As I wrote two years before 9/11, if the civilized world continues to let women and girls die as if they didn't matter, soon it will be many others. And it was.

-Submitted and commented on (harshly, I hope) by Victoria Brownworth, with thanks as always to the great folks at carpetbagger.com


The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. [...] You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.

School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.

Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag's real meaning remains.

Charlotte Aldebron, wrote that in '02 for a competition in her 6th grade English class while attending Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle, Maine. Four years later, it seems even more relevant.

-Submitted by Victoria Brownworth

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-Noah Greenberg