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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, May 11-13, 2007


And Three are Missing

Perceptions are everything. it has come to the point where we're more concerned about missing soldiers than those who are slain. Perhaps it's because we can no longer do anything for our dead children-soldiers (the Bushies like to use euphemisms such as "the fallen" and "those taken from us") that we look towards our soldiers who are MIA (missing in action) with hope. After all, it is a hope that the dad don't have.

A patrol of seven soldiers and one interpreter was attacked near Mahmoudiya, a Sunni stronghold about 20 miles south of Baghdad. And yes, there are strongholds of many kinds still in Iraq where we don't have the upper hand. Five members of the patrol were killed and three are missing. Our hope and our fears live along the same line: As long as they're not dead, there is hope. But as long as they are missing, there is the apprehension of how the insurgents will use them and what their fate is.

We've seen the fates of those taken "prisoner" before. Although the President calls the conflict in Iraq a "war", it isn't like wars we're used to seeing. There are no defined lines; there is no geography to keep and hold (at least not without a vastly larger force, preferably an international force); and there are no POW (Prisoner of War) camps. When this war is over (not that we can even define what "over" is), there won't be a massive exchange of POW's. There will only be the return of bodies.

The last time soldiers were taken was in a brash attack where highly organized insurgents dressed up as US soldiers, drove through Iraqi Army checkpoints and entered a building where a group of REAL US soldiers were mediating and guarding a peace meeting. Five US soldiers were killed and two were taken prisoner. Their bodies were found not long after. Their assailants, nor the organizers of the attacks were ever found.

Today we have three missing soldiers. The second-to-last thing the Bus administration wants to see is their blindfolded faces plastered across out television screens with terrorists' knives to their throats. The last thing we want to see is their decapitated bodies. Remember how we felt when Nick Berg's murder by al-Zarqawi made its way to the internet?

We don't know who the enemy is. Worse than that, we don't know who are allies are. When you're in the middle of another nation's civil war, the usual tact to take is to take sides. We haven't and we won't. Our soldiers are as likely to be taken by Iranian-backed Shi'ites as they are to be taken by Sunni insurgents. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, very loosely aligned with Osama bin-Laden's al-Qaeda is the least of our problems. If we were to leave today, their influence and presence would be the first thing the people of Iraq would get rid of.

The worst thing that the insurgents who kidnapped our soldiers would do is to continue to use and threaten them in front of our television cameras. This would embolden president Bush and Dick Cheney to say things like "we don't negotiate with terrorists" and "the kidnapping of our brave soldiers will only strengthen the resolve of the American people". Dangerously so, some of us will actually agree with the President. The longer they are kept captive, the longer the bush administration will use them as fodder for our never-ending occupation of Iraq, something which nobody, except the Bushies and their "base" of "haves and have mores" want.

President Bush, with Karl Rove's help, of course, is great at using bad situations to enhance his agenda. Cries of "We can't let them get away with it," will, no doubt, emanate from the halls of the West Wing as proof that our continued presence in Iraq is necessary. "If we give in, then the terrorists win," will be the cries from the faithful. The Bushie mouthpieces-as-pundits, such as Fox news Channel will point to Israel's policy of not negotiating with terrorists as their model. The difference is that the Israelis are protecting their borders. We aren't, no matter how many times the Bushies attempt to "catapult the propaganda" and tell us "if we don't fight them over there, we're going to have to fight them here."

If anything, this should go to show us that a real timetable, with certain caveats are necessary for us in Iraq. It is time for the Iraqis to stand up. They were under the thumb of Saddam Hussein for a long time and one would think that giving them back their nation would be the best thing. We have become a common enemy and a constant distraction there and, as a result, we aren't taking care of our problems here at home, and there are certainly enough of them to go around.

George W. Bush's presidency has been a horrible experiment in Conservative Politics run amok. The experiment was, and still is a failure and it's time for us, the American people, to take back our nation.

As President Ronald Reagan said, "Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong." This war occurred because George Bush had a strong military. It is now made weaker and our enemies are emboldened by it.

-Noah Greenberg

Major General John Batiste (Ret.)

John Batiste is well worth listening to. General Batiste is a conservative, military-admiring Republican who is fed up--and he's doing something about it by speaking out. I respect him. He calls himself a patriot, and he is--a passionate one.

So are those millions who spoke out against rushing to unnecessary war as early as 2001. I was one of them, still am. Patriotism can take many forms, come from many different ideological directions. Citizens in a democracy can and should be freely discussing many contradictory economic, social and political points of view, because nobody has all the answers. Listening, stating views, open and vehement argument, balance, and--usually--horse-trading and compromise are the heart and soul of a democracy.

What patriotism CANNOT be is a monster riding roughshod over all dissent, the abjuring of discussion, disrespectfully labeling all dissenters as "traitors," wrecking Constitutional checks and balances, ruining ancient protections against privacy invasions and illegal imprisonment without counsel, failing to compromise and calling stupid intransigence "decision-making", creating endless war with the death and permanent crippling of a generation of patriots, greedily sucking the national wealth from the majority of citizens into the pockets of a sinister junta of super-rich and political insiders who care nothing for our country except as a source of cheap disenfranchised labor, and feeding the public a pack of lies in support of anti-Constitutional tyranny through the junta's corrupt, abjectly crawling media--one branch of which, CBS-TV News, has fired General Batiste for speaking freely!

Nor can the beliefs of legislators and citizens who swallow and mimic those lies, which have long been exposed as harmful to our country and the world, be called patriotic. Such people may be ideologues--"true believers"--but true believers, right-wing, left-wing, or fanatically religious, are in no way good Americans or American patriots. They should be ashamed!

I would love to live long enough to be sure that my country is secure again in a balanced democracy--won so painfully over hundreds of years of bitter, bloody struggle against kings and bishops. I want to stick around, help hold the line, and push as hard as I can until my beloved United States of America has been saved from the homegrown Hitlers and Stalins and pseudo-religious Torquemadas. I would enjoy having conservative friends again, with evenings of rousing argument and mutual insight. Knowing the views of the other person is the only rational way to make political progress that encompasses the greatest good for the greatest number--for a longer time than the brief reign of a Roman Emperor or "benign dictator" who is invariably followed by idiots, madmen and crooks. This time the tyranny begins with idiots, madmen and crooks, and can only go downhill into chaos.

We need to clean house, starting with the White House. Impeachment is the obvious next step. Bush and Cheney must be brought to the bar of law for the most despicable crimes committed by American public officials since the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter.

-Jenny Hanniver

In response to, "In a report just a couple of weeks ago, US News and World Report stated that mid-east oil billionaires, from Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other nations, didn't want to invest in the United States, preferring European investments. They feel that the US simply can't be trusted, Rhian writes:

If true, this would be a good thing. Money is not the end all and be all of everything good.
If Arab Muslims feel that the US simply cannot be trusted, perhaps they will be wary about jihad here.

It is certainly true that operatives and operators, millionaires and sheiks from Dubai and Saudi cannot be trusted, as their empires and cultures are built on deception and trickery from ancient times to now.

Odd that US News and World Report is unaware that Prince Bandar has been involved in US government as advisor and now as official consult to President Bush since day one of his first term, and that the Bush family has been in business bed with the Bin Ladens for three generations.

In response to, "But the statement attributed to President Bush that really made me get up and take notice was this one: "I don't want to pass this off to another president - I don't want to pass this off, particularly to a Democratic President," stated Russert, and he added "underscoring (President Bush) understood how serious the situation was," Rhian writes:

If the mess is passed off to a Democrat president, Iraq will be shut down. Investigations of all cabinet members would be launched. It is possible that some even in the Department of Defense would be investigated. Those returning from Iraq would testify.

Bush and Cheney, and Rice, and Rove and the rest would surely be lynched (in effigy, of course). Bush is trying to protect his criminal secrets. If he wraps it up and shreds all documents by 2008, and can state, I don't recall enough times, he thinks he'll be fine. It's the mentality of the beast. Remember the meltdown of Enron? That is how serious the situation is.

In response to "Mullah Mouse" (Far four), Stephen J Spiro writes:

"Far four" is nothing new. Just for the record, Mickey Mouse (and Donald Duck) were used extensively for anti-German and anti-Japanese propaganda during World War II. And most of the propaganda was NOT political (anti-Nazi or anti "Southeast Asia Co-prosperity Sphere). It was blatantly ethnic hatred.

And Madman Responds:

But today, we live in the instant world of satellite TV and the Internet. The use of such icons, and the speed at which they can be viewed not only contribute to their effective use, but also grant the use of the element if surprise. We don't only hear about it, then have to wait days or weeks to see it, we get it all in one shot and our surprise and anger get to be instantaneous.

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-Noah Greenberg