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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


140,000 Children of America, and Counting

140,000 Children of America will be in Iraq for the foreseeable future. That's how many troops the top commander says we will need there.

“I think that this level probably will have to be sustained through next spring, and then we’ll re-evaluate,”
-General John P. Abizaid

And that may not be all:

“We’ll bring in more forces if we have to,"

So 140,000 troops may not be enough. It's like when President Bush said, in one of his debates with Senator John Kerry, when Kerry said that he would rescind the tax break for the richest Americans (I paraphrase) "When a politician says they're going to raise taxes, you can bet that they're gonna do it."

When a general says that he "might" need more troops. you can bet he's gonna need them. Whether or not the Bushies give them to him are another story.

Remember this as well: The president has said if the generals need more troops, they'll get them. As a matter of fact, Bush also said that the troops will get whatever they need. If we go on his track record, we're all in trouble.

What happened to all of the GOP predictions that our troops level will fall as the Iraqi troops "take over"? I guess they're just no ready yet. It's beginning to appear that they may never be.

“If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said that we would be down a couple of brigades from what we currently have,”

Part of the problem is that top generals, affiliated with this administration, have to be political. It's unfortunate that they have to take "advice" from people like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and VP Dick Cheney while ignoring the requests of their commanders on the ground and the needs of their troops. We all know that this wasn't their first choice.

There are so many problems in Iraq, not the least of which is the Anbar Province, which is completely out of control. Its status is similar to that of southern Afghanistan: We are no longer in charge there. And to make matters worse, every day Baghdad erupts in violence every single day. It's estimated that 200 innocent Iraqis lose their lives daily.

“Baghdad is not going to clarify itself in my mind militarily for a couple months.”

That might be the most optimistic thing Abizaid has ever said. But I think he meant to say "years" instead of "months", and that might be too optimistic as well.

“What’s the endgame? We need a deadline to force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq and get our combat troops home,”
-Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

And to echo his thoughts:

“We can fight for 10 years.”
-Senator Jack Reed (R-RI), the author of a resolution that would begin bringing troops home this year

And that's a scary thought.

“What we have to have is a police department that works, governing officials that work. That’s the challenge, and I don’t see the administration talking about it. I don’t see them putting up budgets that would fund that.”

And this guy isn't even up for re-election this year. Maybe someone should call him and tell him to switch parties before the Republicans, led by Rove and Cheney target him with an ultra-right and easy to control religious fanatic.

“The insurgency can’t be fatal to Iraq in my mind, but I do believe that the sectarian tension if left unchecked could be fatal to Iraq, and the center of the problem is Baghdad,”

It's called a civil war, Senator Reed, and the people of Iraq, as well as our own American Children are right smack in the middle of it. In fact, President Bush can't even say which side we're on. If we side with the Sunnis, then we're siding with Saddam Hussein's Baath party, and, therefore, saying we made a mistake in our invasion of Iraq. If we side with the new government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, then we're siding with the Shi'ites who are aligning themselves with Iran and their President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Call it Bush's rock and hard place, and our troops are stuck right between them.

-Noah Greenberg

Dr. Bush's Snake Oil

President Bush, in explaining why the US is engaged in Iraq, frequently states that all human beings have an inherent desire to be free.

The GOP supporters of the President's so-called anti-terrorism legislative package are living proof that intelligent, sophisticated and powerful political actors often have agendas at odds with freedom.

It is unlikely that America's historical ability to withstand the encroachment of governmental intrusion will long survive the passage of the wiretapping bill. And the Bush Administration's belief that it can revise longstanding understandings of basic freedoms with each transient threat will lead to the loss of the very concept of freedom.

President Bush's approach to fighting terror is a prime example of the cure being worse than the disease.

-Robert Chapman

Road Thoughts

I am on the road again, as the song goes, writing from a hotel room in Maryland. I normally don't read USA today but that is what they provide in the hotel for free.

Yesterday, the front page news was the latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows Bush's approval rating is up 8% within the past two weeks. I am amused though that the article failed to mention a Rasmussen poll over the same time frame shows Bush's approval rating dropping by 8%! Bias - most likely! Gallup over polls Republicans.

-Robert Scardapane

ID Me an Angry Voter

The House passed the voter I.D. bill and I am steaming mad. This is not supposed to be some dictatorship where we have to carry around IDs for everything. People who register to vote are sent cards every year in the mail and in NYC one does receive a voter ID card anyway.

All of this is supposedly aimed at the undocumented immigrants--but I don't believe that! Most of them are too scared--and too overworked--to try to vote.

This is just another way of disenfranchising the poor and disabled so we cannot vote the way we want. It costs money to get this IDs. It also costs time. To get one, one has to stay at the Motor Vehicles Bureau for about 3/4s of a day. Most people don't even have time to take off to do that--and that bureau is not open on the weekends. It took us that much time to get our nondriver IDs. And we had to pay. For us it wasn't so expensive, but for very poor folks, it may mean giving up a meal to pay for these plus the carfare and all the other things involved. And it is hell on disabled people to go down to Motor Vehicles. And how do parents with children manage this when their spouses are at work.

Another civil right is going, going, gone down the drain. . .into the Black Hole of the Bush Universe.

-Billie M. Spaight

In response to, Egypt's religious affairs minister, Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq, who said, "The pope's words have caused a deep wound in the hearts of Muslims that won't heal for a long time, and then only after a clear apology to Muslims," Rhian writes:

Yeah, well, just think, all those extremely sensitive Muslims are absolutely bleeding over the Pope's words. They obviously didn't understand them, and have now taken offense and are going to a great deal of trouble to be deeply wounded, as publicly as possible.

Geez. Men who treat women the way Muslim men treat women are claiming to have their sensibilities offended by words?

I do hereby grant the BEST LIAR OF THE DECADE award to Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq, may the birds of paradise infest your nose

And I have one question, since when to Muslims have hearts?

In response to, "It is so vital to understand that, while extremists get the press coverage, there are so many normal moderate people going about their lives and practicing their religions quietly. These people have no desire to offend anyone else. They have no desire to dominate the world or to force anyone to believe what they believe in. And these are the people we have to remember when we speak!" Rhian writes:

No bunch of people who insist that the women of the group wear veils, and/or headscarves, and burhkas are normal.

No bunch of people who insist that a woman cannot go where she wants to go unescorted by a male family member is normal.

No group of people who accept Islam as their law, and recognize no other law, no matter what country they live in, is normal. Indeed, that group of people, who consider themselves law unto themselves are extremely offensive to the rest of society.

No one in the world should have to respect Muslims, or make sure that while living their lives the do not offend Muslims, just because Muslims have the reputation of hatred, violence and rioting.

Any human who cannot laugh at themselves, on occasion at least, is not sane.
Any human who cannot question and/or test their beliefs is walking dead.

The Pope was right to remind the world of the wisdom of the ancients. If Muslims had any sense or sanity, they would think about his words and take a good long look at the world, and and their place in it, and free themselves of their constant, incessant desire to oppress, and to draw blood.

In response to Robert Chapman's "I had a student, (college level), ask about me about the motives of suicide bombers.
"I suggested that he Google international terrorism and begin reading some of the research published by various institutes that study terrorism.
"Have I now set him up for a dossier by the NSA?"
Chris Tennant writes:

I'm afraid so. Robert. In fact, people have dossiers kept on them for things far less "threatening" than that. Believe me, I speak from personal experience. Better warn that student to conduct his search surreptitiously, which means, of course, NOT to Google it!

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-Noah Greenberg