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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Today's Note From a Madman
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
What's in a Number?
"It's an arbitrary number that doesn't mean anything to us."
-U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, referring to the 3,000th US American troop death in Iraq
3,000 dead American troops. That's the official number, of course. It doesn't include what the Pentagon considers non-combat or "other" deaths of American servicemen and women. As former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld might say, "What's in a number?"
"As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."
-Rumsfeld, in a dismissive response to Specialist Thomas Wilson's "Why don't we have those resources readily available to us?"
Do you remember when that photographer had the audacity to take pictures of the flag-draped caskets on the American transport plane? It was about two years ago, if I remember correctly. I guess the American children in those boxes were just some of those numbers. One wonders if, when the Pentagon returns the remains of those who gave their lives to their nation to their mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters if they have those remains numbered? Do they number the dead that aren't considered combat related differently? Who makes these decisions anyway?
If you're keeping track, 3,000 dead American troops averages out to just above 62 American deaths each and every month since the war in Iraq started.
If there was any way the Pentagon could have kept that number of dead American troops under 3,000 before the end of the year, you can bet your bottom dollar they would have. But it's hard to argue when young people stop breathing. Just a few days ago, when the cable news program talking heads noticed how close we were to crossing that 3,000 dead troop marker, they started talking about how that milestone wouldn't come until sometime after the first of the year. Well, resolutions are made to be broken, aren't they?
Hey Mr. Cheney, are the insurgents still in their last throes?
In all, six of the forty-six months we have spent in Iraq have produced more than 100 American combat-related deaths. Of those six months, two have come in the final quarter of 2006 (110 dead American troops in October and 116 in December). The worst month of all was November of 2004 where 141 Americans lost their lives in Iraq. Just how might the Rovian spin-machine spin those numbers? It might go something like this: "The number of Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Iraq and freedom (after all, you can't expect these guys to say 'dead' and 'American' in the same sentence) this past December is almost twenty percent less than we had a little over two years ago. We're making progress."
In actuality, the 116 American deaths in Iraq for the month of December makes it the most deadly month in over two years. But to the Bushies, it's all a question of spin.
While the children of America who died for Iraqi freedom reached the 3,000 dead plateau, President Bush remained on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. He didn't even have the decency to come back to DC for the arrival of president Ford's remains. Either the back forty really needed some clearing or he didn't want to be at the helm when the news of the 3,000th dead American in Iraq came out.
Sounds about right, doesn't it?
And remember that Bush said he wouldn't make any decision at all about Iraq until after the new year. One wonders how many children died during Bush's newest period of indecision? Why doesn't "The Decider" start "deciding"?
Bush is considering sending an additional 40,000 troops into Iraq. As I have said before, a number as small as 40,000 troops in a nation of some 27 million just creates an additional 40,000 American targets. The Italians realized that when they withdrew their troops from "The Coalition of the Willing" as did the Spaniards, Japanese and most of the rest of the "Coalition". Even the Brits, our fiercest and most loyal ally are beginning to understand that, as they get ready to pull out the rest of their combat and policing forces.
"What you see is the U.S. deeply involved in this fight against an insurrection and increasingly trying to bring order to a low-level civil war. There's no way you can do that with 140,000 troops in a country of 27 million without having casualties. This pace of casualties is likely to go on until we can change or find a new approach."
-The Center for Strategic and International Studies Anthony H. Cordesman
I wonder if there is going to be a special award, posthumously awarded of course, to "Number 3,000". Maybe his parents could spend some time in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House, or sit next to Laura at the next State of the Union Address. The suspense is killing me!
In response to the US body count, the Pentagon put out its own press release stating that we have been achieving a "strategic success" against the insurgency in Iraq. Someone look for Don Rumsfeld, will you? It sure sounds as if he's still there. As The Who might say, "Meet the new Pentagon, same as the old Pentagon."
"It's an arbitrary number that doesn't mean anything to us."
-Lt. Col. Garver
They don't get it. 3,000 does matter because 3,001 starts the next thousand, and there appears to be no end in sight.
"It's particularly difficult during the holidays."
-Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros, a Pentagon spokesman
It isn't any better on December 24th or December 26th, Col. Ballesteros, either.
He's the Decider. He hears the voices. He talks to Barney the Dog about Iraq.
He decided Rummy will stay but only until he decided Rummy must go.
We are not winning in Iraq but we aren't losing either says the Decider.
Bush the Decider is mad as a hatter. The new Congress needs must wrap butterfly net over him soon.
More on Killing Saddam
Someone, please tell me what was accomplished by the execution of Saddam Hussein.
-Carroll S. Rankin
We are all saddened and ashamed that the Human Race has the ability to produce such monstrous men as Saddam and that there are others willing to follow him and to abet his atrocities. I think it is important for a moment to stop to think about Saddam's henchmen and accomplices:
-Does his execution send a message to those who in the future will advance themselves by supporting thugs posing as statesmen?
-What message does Saddam's execution send to the boys who might be willing to become accomplices to others in Iraq and beyond aspiring to power and status through murder and war?
My sense is that Saddam Hussein's trial and execution could have sent a perfect and clear message of zero tolerance to all concerning such acts in the future. The shortcomings of the legal proceedings blur this message, but do not obliterate it. If the International Criminal Court had run the trial, convicted Saddam, allowed an appeal, confirmed the verdict and then executed him, Saddam's rights would have not been violated and society would have sent the right message through Saddam's trial and execution.
The flaws in Iraq's criminal justice system and America's unwillingness to stand up and demand procedural safeguards even for such as Saddam severely weaken the message we are trying to send.
We can make partial progress in clearing away the blurring of our message by declaring that in executing Saddam the Coalition has met one of our major objectives and follow this pronouncement with a plan for the complete restoration of Iraqi sovereignty and a phased, orderly and prompt withdrawal of the occupation forces.
Execution, American Style
The big question in my mind is this: What did the U.S. have to do with Saddam Hussein? Why did WE execute him? He was not a good leader by any means but there were plenty of other leaders in the world who were as bad as him or worse. Yet we did not execute them. We had no business being in Iraq and we had no business getting involved in their government and their leaders. We were not asked for help by the populace.
We didn't even execute Hitler. We did not execute Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeni, and countless other bad leaders. Why is Saddam Hussein special?
-Billie M. Spaight
I am vehemently against the death penalty, and regardless of Saddam's guilt, I am not glad he's dead. And no, I don't think that is irrelevant. In addition, I think Saddam Hussein could have provided much information Bush would have wanted concealed. Hussein is not a poster child for the death penalty, for there are others far worse than he. Not only that, if you're looking for other possible candidates for the death penalty, why haven't you thought of Bush and Cheney and others who have worked with them? Look at the Iraq War, and what was done to cause it, with all its horror and death. Look at the torture and deaths of prisoners who haven't even been charged with a crime. If there were ever a complete list, I think one should be grateful there are those of us who are against the death penalty.
(Recommended by the author: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16031.htm)
I disagree with capital punishment even for a monster such as Hussein. With that out of the way, this was indeed a grisly execution. Hussein was heckled by the executioners as reported by the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html):
"The cacophony from those gathered before the gallows included a shout of 'Go to hell!' as the former ruler stood with the noose around his neck in the final moments, and his riposte, barely audible above the bedlam, which included the words 'gallows of shame.' It continued despite appeals from an official-sounding voice, possibly Munir Haddad, the judge who presided at the hanging, saying, 'Please no! The man is about to die.'
"The Shiites who predominated at the hanging began a refrain at one point of 'Moktada! Moktada! Moktada!'— the name of a volatile cleric whose private militia has spawned death squads that have made an indiscriminate industry of killing Sunnis — appending it to a Muslim imprecation for blessings on the Prophet Muhammad. 'Moktada,' Mr. Hussein replied, smiling contemptuously. 'Is this how real men behave?'"
What good can come from this? This will only increase the hatred between the Sunni and Shia.
Here is even more on the idiocy of Hussein's execution. From The NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html):
The New York Times reported today that it was American representatives who were most concerned about the appearance of fairness and adherence to Iraqi law, at one point refusing to hand Saddam over to Iraqi custody until the Iraqis could muster the required decree signed by President Jalal Talabani and his two vice presidents. As this was unlikely to happen--Talabani is a death penalty opponent--the Iraqis played what the NYTimes called their trump card: "they telephoned officials of the marjaiya, the supreme religious body in Iraqi Shiism, composed of ayatollahs in the holy city of Najaf. The ayatollahs approved." The end result? A sectarian spectacle. Saddam led to the gallows by thugs in leather jackets and ski masks. Taunting and jeering from his executioners despite pleas from the judge for decorum.
"Saddam appears like a hero to the Iraqi people now," Saleh Mutlak, leader of the second-largest Sunni group in parliament, said by telephone from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "Even those who hated Saddam love Saddam now."
Dumbya succeeded in making a monster into a martyr. Good move bozo the clown! By the way, shortly after Hussein's execution, there was a triple car bombing in Baghdad. Happy New Years one and all!
In response to, "This was the man responsible for the deaths of at least 100,000 Kurds in northern Iraq, although some would say that President George H.W. Bush's apathy is almost as complicit, it was Hussein who turned his arsenal of >weapons, including chemical weapons, against his own people," Eddie Konczal writes:
So, Saddam Hussein was tried and executed for causing the deaths of at least 100,000 Iraqis. When does George W. Bush go on trial?
In response to, "The big question that each and every channel asked was 'How much of a bump in the polls will this hanging give President Bush and how long will it last?'" David W. forwards:
To answer this question:
AP Poll: Bush #1 Villain of 2006
By: SilentPatriot on Thursday, December 28th, 2006 at 10:05 PM - PST
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for President Bush, AP comes out with a new poll.
SCARBOROUGH: Now you don't have to have a political doctorate in Political Science to realize it's never a good sign when you're outpolled by Lucifer
Good thing he doesn't follow those pesky polls…
Steve Colbert (The Colbert Report): But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.
by Melida Arredondo
I can hear them.
The screams as she cries
What more can she do?
The pressure on her chest
Just won't go away.
Today, ends the year
Her child's death day.
The wife stands alone
Her kids at her side
Saying "Mom, what's wrong?
Mr. is my Daddy alive?"
The men dressed all nice
One with a collar
Do not explain
all this death for a dollar
Or oil or greed.
They are not here to talk real
They bring only news
That cause the whole family to kneel.
The Father grabs one man
by his uniform in anger
The other hold his arms
To protect the GI from the stranger.
Yet, this Father to him
A stranger is not
The GI looks into his tears
and sees the eyes of his Pop.
The words are not friendly
Yet the pain fills all who love
And lose their own family
Due to bombs from above.
I hear the endless screams
They just won't go away...
At least 3,000 are dead
And no cause to celebrate
On this last day of the year
I desire so much more
from my country and neighbors
to unite against senseless war.
Mélida Arredondo, www.peopleunited4peace.org Remember Lcpl Alexander S. Arredondo, USMC, 08/05/1984 - 08/25/04
"To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men"
-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane
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