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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, May 17, 2007


A New American Royalty: The War Czar

"A War Czar? isn't that what the Commander-in-Chief Is supposed to do?"
-Former Rep. and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough (REPUBLICAN-FL)

Lt. General Douglas Lute is our first ever War Czar. But what the President and the others who chose Gen. Lute didn't know (or failed to research) is that their new War Czar was opposed to "The Surge" which the President and his band of cluttered minds insist is working. (By the way, nine out of ten GOP Presidential candidates insist "The Surge" is working.)

Four-plus years into the Iraq War and ensuing occupation, the President now has the answer for all of the problems we're facing in, as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show puts it, "Mess O' Potamia". And that answer is yet another layer of government.

Off the top of my head, I can count three - count 'em - three more layers added by the Bush administration. For a President who wanted to, as his ally and friend Grover Norquist put it, shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub," George W. Bush has put more red tape into Washington DC and added more payroll to the federal ledger than any other president that I can remember.

Maybe this is the way Gush is adding to the "jobs of tomorrow".

The three layers added are: The New War Czar; The New DNA (Director of National Intelligence); and a whole new, red-tape ridden bureaucracy, The Department of Homeland Security.

Inside the Beltway the talk is about NSA Director Stephen Hadley. You might remember him as the guy who took Condoleezza Rice's place at the helm of that agency after being her chief deputy. It seems that Hadley is a bit overworked and creating this new spot, directly under Hadley, is a way of getting someone else in to help him with the hard work of running the nation.

Hey... Isn't George W. Bush supposed to be doing that?

How many more layers can this administration pile onto our debt-ridden nation? How many more cronies can get a paycheck at the expense of the American people?
Only President Bush knows for sure. or does he?

-Noah Greenberg

A Report Signifies That it's Time to Come Home

The three still missing soldiers kidnapped by either insurgents, an al-Qaeda in Iraq group or maybe even fundamentalist Shi'ites with ties to Iran (who knows?), and the four other soldiers and one interpreter who were killed, are officially the fault of the platoon leader and the company commander, according to a seven-page summary of the investigation provided by the Army to the Associate Press. Neither face criminal charges, but it's sure that their military careers are now over.

What is lost in this investigation, at least as far as reporting it to the American people, is this little tidbit of information:

"It appears insurgents may have rehearsed the attack two days earlier, and that Iraqi security forces near the soldiers' outpost probably saw and heard the attack and 'chose to not become an active participant in the attack on either side.'"
-The summary, as told to the AP

In other words, the Iraq Army, who are supposedly our allies, could have stepped in and fought with the eight soldiers. The Iraqi Army could have said, "Those guys are on OUR side. We have to help them!" Instead, they stood on the sidelines as five of the eight were killed at the scene and three were taken hostage.

"This was an event caused by numerous acts of complacency, and a lack of standards at the platoon level,"
-Lt. Col. Timothy Daugherty, the investigating officer

That's not entirely true. You see, had the Iraqi Army decided that saving their American compatriots' lives was the right course to take, it would have made them heroes; it would have made them, in the eyes of us regular Americans, the Calvary coming to the rescue. The Bush administration could have pointed to their participation as proof that the Iraqis are, indeed, "stepping up so that we might step down." Instead it only goes to show that the longer we remain the less we can count on the Iraqi Army for support.

It's also in the realm of possibility, if not probability, that those in the Iraq Army near the attack actually knew that this attack was going to occur and that their non-actions were premeditated. One might even say that they were active participants caused by their inactivity. By doing nothing, they aided and abetted the enemy and helped cause the deaths and kidnapping of our troops.

Why are we still there again? Oh yeah, I forget. It's to make things better before they get worse. We're there to make sure that Iraq doesn't turn into a state where anarchy rules and terrorists lot against the world. let's remember that it was the Bush administration, through lying, deceit, bravado, overconfidence and greed that put our troops in this no-win situation.

If our objective was to remove Saddam Hussein, then we've accomplished it. Let's get out.
If our objective was to make sure Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, then we've accomplished. Let's get out.
If our objective was to make sure that "We don't have to fight them over here", we have no worries. The Iraqis aren't coming here. Let's get out.
If our objective was to remove the Sunni minority from running that nation, then we've accomplished that as well. Let's get out, please!

Our stated objectives aside, the only reasons that have been persistent for us staying "over there" is the revenue being stolen from the Iraqi people and being stolen by private industry. And as a by product, our enemies get stronger and more aggressive in their intentions. All one has to do is look towards Iran, ho, thanks to us, has become a world power with future nuclear capabilities. Iran has become the scourge of the mid east with other nations like Sunni Saudi Arabia fearing their competitive Shi'ite power. Indeed, this world has become a much more unsafe place since George Bush chose to go to war with Iraq. make no mistake about it, it is his hands, and his hands alone that are dirty here. But he would never admit that.

Stress and fatigue are enemies of our troops as much as insurgents who can blend into a crowd. having no goals other than "Stay the Course" can make an army weary. They want to come home, even as many of them say, "We want to finish the job, as soon as you tell us what the job is." They're soldiers and they will do as they're told.

Tell them to come home and raise their families. Tell them to come home and coach little league, Pop Warner Football and soccer. Tell them to come home and contribute to the ultimate good of our American society before George W. Bush and his cronies sell the rest of it off to his global corporate "base" of "haves and have mores".

-Noah Greenberg

Meeting in the Desert

The US and Iran are going to begin talking about the future of Iraq on May 28. The only subject of these talks will be Iraq. Nothing else, and that's okay with me.

If we're serious about peace in Iraq and, eventually, the entire middle east, then getting neighbors involved as interested parties is essential to the process.

"Nothing but Iraq is on the agenda,"
-Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki

Yeah, we got that Minister Mottaki. But is the US ready for these talks?

"I'm ready to sit down anytime they like,"
-U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker

Really now, Ambassador Crocker. Then answer me these questions. Why did Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Egypt along with the Iranian Minister and others, refuse to meet with him there? Why did our number one diplomat basically ignore the one person she should be speaking to?

It's essential that all of Iraq's neighbors get involved, not only in talks regarding the failing nation, but in security with troops on the ground and troops protecting the borders which they share. They have to realize that preventing terror groups entry into a nation which has to rebuild itself is not only in Iraq's best self interest, but theirs as well. This means controlling those in their nation who supply guns and bombs to Sunni insurgents and foreign fighters alike.

Perhaps the US leaving Iraq would be the catalyst which would begin a peace process that is necessary for the world's second largest oil producer to get back on track.

There can be no doubt that the ones who profit most from Iraq the way it is today are the no-bid contractors reaping big American tax dollars for their work there. Even now, the oil companies are pushing the al-Maliki government to sign thirty year deals whose end result will be the continuing theft of the oil rich natural resources the Iraqi people should be benefiting from.

A stable Iraq will mean more stability in the middle ease. A peaceful Iraq will allow its citizens who left for fear of their lives the opportunity to return. These people include doctors, business owners and other people of influence and good thoughts that nations rely on to become stable.

If US-Iranian talks can begin this process, the whole world will welcome it, with the exceptions of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and profit-seekers such as Halliburton. However, if these two parties use this meeting to point fingers at each other and leave things status quo, or make them worse, even more blood will be on their hands.

-Noah Greenberg

Going... Going.... Gonzo?

The scandals surrounding Alberto Gonzalez continue to grow. James Comey, Deputy AG for Ashcroft, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Gonzalez (President's special counsel at the time) along with Andrew Card showed up in AG Ashcroft's hospital room in the middle of the night to demand that the Bush's warrant-less spying program be renewed. Now mind you, I am hardly a John Ashcroft fan but this is just a bit sleazy? The two of them were clearly trying to take advantage of a sick person.

In fact, Ashcroft was quite ill at the time and, from his hospital bed, expressed strong disapproval for the program. But, Ashcroft was unable to do anything about it because technically he passed control to Comey. Gonzalez and Card summoned Comey to the White House and proceeded to badger him about it. These sort of bullying tactics have become a signature of the Bush administration. On an issue of such sensitive nature, we should expect our leadership to rationally evaluate the legality of such programs.

-Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg