Showing posts with label Army. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Army. Show all posts

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Diary of a mad white president . . . or just another day in hell

Donald Trump is the devil. And the devil is lord in America.

Since its founding, the United States has been a country with a guardian angel sitting on one broad shoulder and a demon on the other. Sometimes, we listen to the angel.

Other times, we invade Mexico because we can . . . and to grab some land. We go to war in defense of slavery. We pal around with Mr. Jim Crow. We decide 58,000 dead American soldiers is an acceptable price for not losing face in Vietnam. The list goes on.

Tiny hands and all
Now, one could be excused for believing that Americans have decided to skip the middleman altogether and just install the devil as president. Donald Trump, to be fair, is not the devil. But he is a devil. The difference is only a matter of lowerarchy.

The devil presides over his people from an oval office in which there are no corners to hide. Like the real deal below, he wouldn't think of harming a hair on our chinny-chin-chin -- directly. That, he convinces us to do ourselves, to ourselves.

Our devil in Washington is not the persecutor we're all looking for -- or at least the one the alleged Christians among his minionish base have been expecting forever. Ol' Devil Trump is the subverter we never saw coming.

Check that. Trump is the subverter we damn well saw coming, but kept trying to pass off as something else entirely.

In our nation's capital and in Anytown, the subverter-in-chief bids his victims forward one by one to tell each how he must offer up his immortal soul this day. One of today's dead men walking was retired Gen. John F. Kelly, White House chief of staff and Gold Star father.

"General," sayeth our demonic majesty, "you gotta get me out of this." "This," as we all now know, is the matter of what the president said to the young widow of Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson. Johnson was one of four soldiers killed in an ambush while serving as advisers to troops fighting Islamic extremists in Niger.

Kelly's mission, should he choose to accept it -- and he did -- would be to somehow normalize the grossly ham-handed, insensitive thing Trump said to Myeshia Johnson about her KIA husband, whose name he couldn't be bothered to utter. Probably because he couldn't remember it.

Trump's idea of comforting the stricken is to tell an Army widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for . . . but when it happens it hurts anyway.”

Kelly's idea of selling that to the American people as perfectly normal is "Why, that's exactly what my buddy said to me when my boy got killed in Afghanistan!"

That's a paraphrase boiled down by me. Here is what he actually told the assembled White House press corps. In this extract, Kelly starts out by explaining Trump had a question for him:
And he said to me, what do I say?

I said to him, sir, there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families. But let me tell you what I tell them. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me, because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we're at war.

And when he died — and the four cases we're talking about Niger, in my son's case, in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends.

That's what the president tried to say to four families the other day.

I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing, a member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion that he's a brave man, a fallen hero.

He knew what he was getting himself into, because he enlisted. There's no reason to enlist. He enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.

That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this earth. And you can always find them, because they're in Arlington National Cemetery.
I DO NOT doubt that Kelly, the career military man, found comfort in his friend's words. I also do not doubt that Kelly's preferred script for these difficult conversations is entirely too complicated to be followed by "a fucking moron" with an emotional quotient measured in negative numbers.

So . . . here we are. Trump botched a script most people -- because common sense, sensitivity and basic human compassion -- would not follow when attempting to console a young war widow with two young children and a third on the way. Trump's words not only were heard by Mrs. Johnson, but by everyone in the funeral-home limousine as family and friends traveled to the airport to receive the body of Sgt. Johnson.

One of the family friends happened to be a member of Congress. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) had known the Johnson family for years. She also had been a mentor to Sgt. Johnson and his two brothers. She was his father's school principal years before.

And she was outraged by what she heard on speakerphone.

Too bad for her. The only unforgivable sin in the Church of Satan -- Trumpistan is to shine light on the sins of our father below.

When one disses the devil, the sulfurous one has any number of acolytes who will try to snuff out the light as they snuff out their own self-respect. In the case of Wilson, the Church of Satan lowerarchy -- at least in my viewing of what it's trying to pull off here -- went full-bore for racist stereotyping with no hesitation at all.  Let's review:
It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred. 

IT TAKES little effort to read between those lines. After all, the Trumpian base isn't that bright, and its attention span isn't that long. That said, the multitude of Trump's minions are outdistancing the there-are-none-so-blind White House press (who maybe need to get out more) on this one.

Briefly, the White House is sending the nearly unmistakable message that Frederica Wilson is just another crazy, angry black woman who's simply out to stir up shit and lay waste to every social norm precious to proper white Americans.

We're to see the congresswoman as some sort of malevolent Madea, out to throw a potful of hot grits in the face of the Great White Dope Hope, then cold-cock him with the empty pot. Right before she tears up Arlington National Cemetery via unlawful use of a front-end loader.

That's the message our government wants to send to alt-white America, which is the only one that matters to the devil.

Not so long ago, which seems like a lifetime ago, presidents didn't talk like this. Presidents didn't send staffers out to pull stunts like this. Richard Nixon, for God's sake, would not have been so brazen or so emotionally stunted -- and that's saying something.

 That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There are worse things than taking a knee

'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.'
-- Donald Trump
speaking to pregnant
widow of Green Beret

I am from south Louisiana. When I was growing up, there were certain colorful words you might have used to describe such a "man" as Donald Trump.

One who just said what he said to the pregnant widow of a Green Beret killed in combat in Niger.

"Goddamn son of a bitch" would be where the description began. The rest I must leave to your imagination.

The tragedy of my home state -- the tragedy of my country -- is that so few still have the moral imagination or the moral vocabulary to call a goddamn son of a bitch a "goddamn son of a bitch" when they see the goddamn son of a bitch.

Worse, we elected the goddamn son of a bitch president of the seemingly God-damned United States of America.

CBS News continues where I no longer can:

Sgt. La David Johnson
President Trump told the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger that he "knew what he was getting into," said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami), who said she was in the car during the phone call.

Myeshia Johnson was on her way to the airport to greet the remains of her husband, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, when she received the call from the commander-in-chief, CBS Miami reports.

"David was a young man from our community who gave his life for our country," Wilson told CBS Miami. "He's a hero. I was in the car when President Trump called. He never said the word hero. He said to the wife, 'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.' How insensitive can you be?"

*  *  *

CBS Miami reports that after it reached out to Wilson a second time, she repeated that the president told Myeshia that her husband knew what he was signing up for when he enlisted, adding "it still hurts." Wilson said Myeshia was livid and "cried forever" after Trump's call.

Johnson was killed Oct. 4th with three other soldiers in Niger. U.S. officials said they believe extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were responsible for the attack.

The U.S. and Niger forces in a joint patrol were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders and were in trucks. They were ambushed by 40-50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Afghanistan Now


One of the "Afghanistan Now" suspects is a soldier from Wasilla?

I guess Sarah Palin not only can see Russia from up there in Alaska, but
My Lai, too.

Here's something from ABC News that only reinforces the view that Afghanistan is the new Vietnam War. In every way that made the Vietnam War the Vietnam War:

Dressed in a t-shirt and Army shorts, a 22-year-old corporal from Wasilla, Alaska casually describes on a video tape made by military investigators how his unit's "crazy" sergeant randomly chose three unarmed, innocent victims to be murdered in Afghanistan.

Corporal Jeremy N. Morlock is one of five GI's charged with pre-meditated murder in a case that includes allegations of widespread drug use, the collection of body parts and photos of the U.S. soldiers holding the Afghan bodies like hunter's trophies.

All five soldiers were part of the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, of the 2nd Infantry Division, based at Ft. Lewis-McChord, Washington. In charging documents released by the Army, the military alleges that the five, Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs, Spec Adam C. Winfield, Spec. Michael S. Wagnon II, Pfc. Andrew H. Holmes and Morlock were involved in one or more of three murders that took place between January and May of this year.

Lawyers and family members of the soldiers say they all intend to fight the charges.

An Article 32 hearing for Morlock, the military equivalent of a grand jury, is scheduled later today at Fort Lewis-McChord, Washington.

On the tape, obtained by ABC News, Morlock admits his role in the deaths of three Afghans but claims the plan was organized by his unit's sergeant, Calvin Gibbs, who is also charged with pre-meditated murder.

"He just really doesn't have any problems with f---ing killing these people," Morlock said on tape as he laid out the scenario he said the sergeant used to make it seem the civilians were killed in action.

"And so we identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment, like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy or what?" Morlock told military investigators during an interview videotaped in May at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

The corporal said Gibbs gave orders to open fire on the civilian at the same time Gibbs threw a hand grenade at the victim.

"He pulled out one of his grenades, an American grenade, you know, popped it, throws it, tells me where to go to whack this guy, kill this guy, kill this guy," Morlock told the investigators.

Morlock said Sergeant Gibbs carried a Russian grenade to throw next to the body of the dead Afghan, to make it seem he was about to attack the American soldiers.

The corporal said he opened fire as directed, fearful of not following Gibbs' orders.

"It's definitely not the right thing to do," Morlock told the investigators. "But I mean, when you got a squad leader bringing you into that, that type of real, that mindset, and he believes that you're on board with that, there's definitely no way you wanted him to think otherwise."

The investigator asked Morlock, "Because you felt maybe the next shot might be coming your way?"

"You never know. Exactly," answered Morlock. "I mean Gibbs talked about how easy it is, people disappear on the battlefield all the time."
YOU KNOW, our young barbarians are out there in their own personal Heart of Darkness fighting the Taliban's young barbarians, and the only difference I'm seeing here is that the Taliban's young barbarians a) at least aren't violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, b) rules of engagement, or c) the Geneva Convention, because they don't have a) or b) and didn't sign on to c).

So who's worse? Their barbarians, who don't know any better but come from a land where life is cheap . . . or ours, who are supposed to know better but operate with minds rotted by violent video games, violent music and a society where life is cheap?

Empire's a bitch. Ask Joseph Conrad.

Or Francis Ford Coppola.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How we fight

Forget that our A-Number One "ally" in the Afghan War -- Pakistan -- is playing for the other side, too.

Forget that our whole game plan since 2001 has been that the locals are more or less just like us and want the same things as any reasonable Westerner, and that from such naiveté, much mayhem has ensued.

Forget that it wasn't that long ago that the Red Army got its ass handed to it by herdsmen with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and old rifles.

Forget that the U.S. Army, the Marine Corps and the whole NATO shooting match is getting their asses handed to them right now by herdsmen with heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, IEDs . . . and materiél that mysteriously made its way from the Afghan "government" to Taliban fighters.

FORGET THAT this war, and the one winding down in Iraq, are bleeding the U.S. treasury dry amid the ruins of a wrecked economy in an era of unsustainable sovereign debt.

Forget that we're writing $500 million checks to the double-crossing Pakistani government, while Congress for weeks and weeks refused to keep unemployment checks coming to millions of cast-off American workers.

Forget that the money spent each year on an unwinnable war fought for now-nebulous reasons could by itself fund --
and fund well -- cash-starved and unimplemented blueprints for restoring Louisiana's disappearing coastline.

Just remember -- with the
WikiLeaks release of this generation's Pentagon Papers -- that the South Vietnamese government looked like a model of legitimacy and propriety compared to the nightmare we're trying to prop up in Afghanistan, as graphically pointed out in one 2007 U.S. Army dispatch the Guardian has highlighted:
TM HADES (HHC 508th STB) conducts humanitarian assistance delivery on 200330ZMAR07 VIC VC 9126724284 IOT provide relief to citizens of the Kharwar District affected by winter weather and build trust between the ANP/IRoA and the local populace.

Initially, the only signs of town inhabitants were trash and feces in the streets. The people stayed inside until the Apaches left station; they were mostly unresponsive, even when we told them that we had brought HA- they were not impressed as they did not believe that they would get any of it. HUMINT collection was virtually fruitless.

What little infrastructure they have is crumbling and the quality of life is extremely poor. Come summer and spring, the hygiene conditions will worsen and be cause for concern.

HUMINT Assessment: As we walked into the Bazaar, we noticed no one was in the street. We could see people in their shops; doors were closed and very few smiles or waves were returned. A few people were receptive as we spoke to them. We did receive some mean looks. They wondered why we were coming in with such force. We told them that we had a lot EOF HA for their village. They expressed concern that the HA would not be fairly distributed. Security was not an issue, according to the people with whom we spoke. Their main concern is the water supply and buildings collapsing due to the recent rain. They said people who have been working outside of Afghanistan will be returning in a nother month or two. These people have been in Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Key Leader Engagement Assessment: Met with MAJ Rafiki (ANP Chief of Police), Mirr Akbar (Criminal Officer), COL Latifi (Logar ANP XO), and the Mullah/Platoon Leader. Took a tour of the compound and spoke about the physical security issues they were having and also made some recommendations about their improvements. We discussed previous attacks on the ANP station and the reasons for them (i.e.- why they were coming from different directions, etc). After the tour, we sat down to chai. We discussed the HA distribution in detail with the ANP CoP. From the first five minutes, there seemed to be an ongoing discussion between COL Latifi and MAJ Rafiki. As the engagement progressed, the interaction became more heated. The interpreter explained that MAJ Rafiki was complaining about something.

Absent was the Sub-governor. We were told that he would be there, but he decided not to come. He doesnt live in the town- he lives about 30-45 minutes away and drives himself to work. He does not have a driver or a bodyguard and it is strange that he drives himself (alone) to work in Kharwar. This may indicate that he is not worried about anti-government or government threats, which may mean he has both in his pocket.

The ANP CoP seems like the best among the worst; he understood what we were talking about concerning the equitable distribution of the HA. However, he made several comments about the people of Kharwar- how they should get jobs and how he had little influence. We got the impression that he has little concern for the needs of his people. We tried to impress upon him the difference between the people and a civil servant and he seemed to understand, if not agree. The ANP CoP is from the Konar district, so he has no family in Kharwar, which is a good thing as he may normally be tempted to give hand-outs to his family first. We discussed the plan to use the Shura, the Red Crescent and the Sub-governor to distribute the HA; he seemed to understand what we were saying about his job being easier if the people trusted him to support them. He mentioned that he had a meeting with the Taliban Leaders in Kharwar. At that point, we asked him Do you know who they are?! and he said yes, of course. At this point in the conversation, COL Latifi kicked out the criminal officer and the mullah/platoon leader. We began to discuss a mission that the ANP had with the 10th MTN. They were talking about what a failure the mission was because of the terrible intelligence they had received. We tried to ask about the Taliban leaders and the recent intel we have received, but at that point, the apaches returned on station and it was time to establish the HLZ.

As we were walking out, the heated discussion between COL Latifi and MAJ Rafiki flared up again- apparently, the Criminal Officer had drawn his weapon on MAJ Rafiki and threatened him either this morning or last night. According to MAJ Rafiki, the Criminal Officer had been bribed to kill him. MAJ Rafiki said that he was going to quit if he had to continue to work with the Criminal Officer. We were trying to leave, but a crowd of ANP gathered and the heated discussion almost came to a head. We loudly told COL Latifi that we had to get on the helicopter and if he wanted me to arrest the criminal officer, we would. He said that he didnt want to arrest him, but wanted to take him back to Pul-e-Alam for interrogation and to fire him at least. We searched the Criminal Officer and found one 9mm pistol with 3 rounds in the magazine. We took the weapon from him and returned it to COL Latifi after we landed at Pul-e-Alam.

The Mullah/Platoon Leader assumed himself in positions of closeness to whomever he felt was the most powerful of the group. We asked who he was, and was told he was a platoon leader. We asked his name and they called him Mullah- according to the Terp, this is strange.

Other: As we walked through the bazaar, there were no shop doors open and few people peeked out from behind windows or curtains. The bazaar was a canalizing tunnel and the impression was of walking into a trap/ambush. There were stray animals and barnyard feces in the street and trash was thrown out of doorways without concern. There were several dead dogs inside the ANP compound and throughout the town. Also, there was human feces everywhere, without regard for foot traffic or modesty. Several of the bunkers and trenches had obviously been used as latrines, despite the fact that there is a latrine facility in the compound. Not only was the facility in disrepair, it appeared as though the occupants were maliciously negligent. Yesterday, we gave several tarps and sandbags to the ANP to patch a caved in roof, but the tarps had not been used to make any repairs.

Note: The DSHKA gunner is a LT, who apparently spends his nights on the megaphone, talking to the Taliban- taunting them and telling them what a good shot he is. At least one person in Kharwar understands PsyOps.
AND REMEMBER that we are governed by men and women who think such a figurative -- and literal, too -- s***hole is worth the expenditure of a single American life (and billions of American dollars) long past the expiration date of any clear strategic rationale . . . or any reasonable chance at "victory," whatever that might look like anymore.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking it out on the 'small people'

Devoured all the news today. That was a big mistake.

Got the top general in Afghanistan being insubordinate in front of a Rolling Stone reporter and, therefore, all the world.

Got any number of plugged-in political types saying, yeah, what Gen. Stanley McChrystal said about his civilian bosses was bad . . . but, geez, we don't know if President Obama can afford to fire him.

Got a federal judge in New Orleans striking down Obama's moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

And now we got Interior Secretary Ken Salazar vowing to impose a new moratorium on such offshore drilling.

A PATTERN is emerging here. A swaggering Obama talks about finding out "whose ass to kick" and then talks big about what BP is going to pay for in the Gulf . . . right before getting rolled by BP, which refuses to pay for what Obama promised Americans it would.

A swaggering Obama calls McChrystal on the carpet last fall for ridiculing remarks by the vice-president . . . right before McChrystal and the Pentagon roll him and get "the surge." And now McChrystal and his aides further heap ridicule upon the civilian leadership -- including Obama himself this time -- to Michael Hastings, who got it all on tape . . . or in his notepad:
The next morning, McChrystal and his team gather to prepare for a speech he is giving at the École Militaire, a French military academy. The general prides himself on being sharper and ballsier than anyone else, but his brashness comes with a price: Although McChrystal has been in charge of the war for only a year, in that short time he has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake in the conflict. Last fall, during the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in London, McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as "shortsighted," saying it would lead to a state of "Chaos-istan." The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One. The message to McChrystal seemed clear: Shut the f*** up, and keep a lower profile

Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. "I never know what's going to pop out until I'm up there, that's the problem," he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.

"Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?"

"Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say: Bite Me?"

When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, he immediately set out to deliver on his most important campaign promise on foreign policy: to refocus the war in Afghanistan on what led us to invade in the first place. "I want the American people to understand," he announced in March 2009. "We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan." He ordered another 21,000 troops to Kabul, the largest increase since the war began in 2001. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn't know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn't go much better. "It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his f***ing war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."


Part of the problem is structural: The Defense Department budget exceeds $600 billion a year, while the State Department receives only $50 billion. But part of the problem is personal: In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk shit about many of Obama's top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a "clown" who remains "stuck in 1985." Politicians like McCain and Kerry, says another aide, "turn up, have a meeting with Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for the Sunday talk shows. Frankly, it's not very helpful." Only Hillary Clinton receives good reviews from McChrystal's inner circle. "Hillary had Stan's back during the strategic review," says an adviser. "She said, 'If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.' "

McChrystal reserves special skepticism for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating the Taliban. "The Boss says he's like a wounded animal," says a member of the general's team. "Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous. He's a brilliant guy, but he just comes in, pulls on a lever, whatever he can grasp onto. But this is COIN, and you can't just have someone yanking on shit."

At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke," he groans. "I don't even want to open it." He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance.

"Make sure you don't get any of that on your leg," an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail.

By far the most crucial – and strained – relationship is between McChrystal and Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador. According to those close to the two men, Eikenberry – a retired three-star general who served in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2005 – can't stand that his former subordinate is now calling the shots. He's also furious that McChrystal, backed by NATO's allies, refused to put Eikenberry in the pivotal role of viceroy in Afghanistan, which would have made him the diplomatic equivalent of the general. The job instead went to British Ambassador Mark Sedwill – a move that effectively increased McChrystal's influence over diplomacy by shutting out a powerful rival. "In reality, that position needs to be filled by an American for it to have weight," says a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations.

The relationship was further strained in January, when a classified cable that Eikenberry wrote was leaked to The New York Times. The cable was as scathing as it was prescient. The ambassador offered a brutal critique of McChrystal's strategy, dismissed President Hamid Karzai as "not an adequate strategic partner," and cast doubt on whether the counterinsurgency plan would be "sufficient" to deal with Al Qaeda. "We will become more deeply engaged here with no way to extricate ourselves," Eikenberry warned, "short of allowing the country to descend again into lawlessness and chaos."

McChrystal and his team were blindsided by the cable. "I like Karl, I've known him for years, but they'd never said anything like that to us before," says McChrystal, who adds that he felt "betrayed" by the leak. "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.' "
THE ONLY WAY the military -- or at least this part of it -- could show anymore contempt for the commander in chief, civilian rule and the constitution would be to frog march Obama out of the White House with an M-16 to his head . . . right before seizing control of the TV networks and announcing the coup d'état as a fait accompli.

The obvious course of action here would be to fire McChrystal on the spot. Now, it's starting to look not so obvious, says
The Washington Post:
But relieving McChrystal of his command on the eve of a major offensive in Kandahar, which White House and Pentagon officials have said is the most critical of the war, would be a major blow to the war effort, said military experts. The president has set a July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, creating massive pressure on the military and McChrystal to make progress in stabilizing Afghanistan this summer and fall when troop levels are at their peak.

"My advice is to call him back to Washington, publicly chastise him and then make it clear that there is something greater at stake here," said Nathaniel Fick, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. "It takes time for anyone to get up to speed, and right now time is our most precious commodity in Afghanistan." If Obama believes the current counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan is the right one, then he cannot afford to jettison McChrystal, Fick said.
OBAMA CAN'T win Afghanistan. But he can lose civilian control over the military, and greatly speed up the bipartisan, administrations-long process of delegitimizing the U.S. government.

And faced with a fresh humiliation at the office, Barack Obama comes home, puts on his favorite "wife-beater" and opens up a fresh can of Stanley Kowalski on the hapless people of Louisiana:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday he will issue a new order imposing a moratorium on deepwater drilling after a federal judge struck down the existing one.

Salazar said in a statement that the new order will contain additional information making clear why the six-month drilling pause was necessary in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. The judge in New Orleans who struck down the moratorium earlier in the day complained there wasn't enough justification for it.

Salazar pointed to indications of inadequate industry safety precautions on deepwater wells. "Based on this ever-growing evidence, I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities."


Salazar said in his late Tuesday statement imposing a moratorium "was and is the right decision."

"We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP's well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling," Salazar said. "That evidence mounts as BP continues to be unable to stop its blowout, notwithstanding the huge efforts and help from the federal scientific team and most major oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico."
OF COURSE, when a feckless and emasculated president starts abusing the "small people" just to prove he can kick somebody's -- anybody's -- ass, what he may well end up doing is finishing off a wounded state. And nothing says "economic recovery" like possibly erasing 100,000 jobs in a matter of mere months.

In that case, the bed Obama makes for himself just might be
The Burning Bed.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's Muslims, guns and morons
. . . and the s*** has hit the fan


It didn't take long after the Fort Hood massacre for the usual suspects to say exactly what you'd expect.

IN FACT, I was so sure of that, just a little while ago I Googled "Barack Hussein Obama," "Fort Hood" and "Muslim." And in the combox of an item on . . . the mother lode:
Reply 15 - Posted by: ann_n_GA, 11/5/2009 6:21:55 PM (No. 6002989)
How in the world could someone like this horrible Muslim terrorist(s), become a Major in the US Army? Don't we make sure people like this are not able to gun down the men and women in our armed forces?

Now I'm hearing he's a mental health professional and/or a doctor. Well, it makes no difference to the Muslims, as long as they can sneak them in.

And I'm sure Zippy and his Reverend Wright are gleeful, right now.

I would have never believed that in my lifetime, I would see a man get elected President who outwardly exhibits hatred for his country. And I feel very sorry for our military, who has to call this man their CIC. It's disgusting.

This all makes me nauseated...

Reply 18 - Posted by: 10ftOverhead, 11/5/2009 6:24:19 PM (No. 6002995)
Will Obama and Michelle do a little fist bump when he gets home?

Reply 19 - Posted by: planetgeo, 11/5/2009 6:24:27 PM (No. 6002996)
"Any one in the military with a muslim background should be scrutinized very carefully."

Wrong. Any one in the military, or any sensitive government position, should be removed from their position and placed under watch by our intelligence agencies. This is now at least the 3rd incident of Muslims either planning or executing an attack on our military facilities in the United States. How many more will our leaders tolerate before they stop the nonsense about "a tragic event" and planned, pre-meditated jihadist action?

How many more?!

Reply 20 - Posted by: planetgeo, 11/5/2009 6:27:44 PM (No. 6003007)
I'm so angry I couldn't even see straight enough to add the obvious..."with a Muslim background". I'm sure my fellow LDotters know the feeling.

Reply 21 - Posted by: bean, 11/5/2009 6:29:43 PM (No. 6003011)
EVERY news channel is AVOIDNG the obvious-this was a terrorist attack. Is the White House threatening them to keep quiet?

Reply 23 - Posted by: vrb8m, 11/5/2009 6:37:27 PM (No. 6003031)
"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States of America, from the book "The Audacity of Hope".

Reply 24 - Posted by: Israel Putnam, 11/5/2009 6:39:30 PM (No. 6003034)
Get angry...get ready.

Reply 26 - Posted by: loosietoot, 11/5/2009 6:40:17 PM (No. 6003038)
Sorry folks! I hold this so-called and probably illegal President directly responsible for all deaths of all soldiers with his dithering on Afganistan increases, and his praising of HIS MUSLIM BROTHERS.

I thought he sounded so PHONEY IN HIS APPEARANCE ON FOX!!!! My God, our country is in serious peril with this Muslim President!!!!!!!!!!

Reply 31 - Posted by: RedWhite&Blue2, 11/5/2009 7:00:28 PM (No. 6003096)
One wonders how a crazy Muslim could become an American army Major?

The same one wonders how in blazes a guy named Hussein, raised by commies, could become CIC of the USA? A very skinny, purple-lipped, whistling ignoramus!

What the hell is wrong with us? 40% conservative in America and yet we let the commies, the muzzies, the lefties,the public schools, the DNC, the sandal-wearing commie creep professors, the LSM, and Hollyweird DICTATE our very own policies to us!

I am MAD as HELL and if I wasnt 60 I think I'd re-up and pick up a gun again like I did in '67! It's been a civil war here for some years, hasnt it? Isnt it most evident today?

God have mercy on their souls....
I THINK that's enough. You get the picture.

And I think it's pretty apparent by now where "Liberal Fascists" author Jonah Goldberg gets his reactionary nature . . . is run by his mother, Lucianne Goldberg.

Right now -- and it's now 7:44 p.m. Central time as I type -- we know damned little about what happened in Texas. We know the alleged shooter, an Army psychiatrist with the rank of major, was a Muslim.

We know he's dead, having been shot by police.

We know he may have been “pretty upset” about his pending deployment to the war zone, at least according to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

We know Fort Hood's commander, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, said there were eyewitness accounts of a second shooter, and that a person of interest is being questioned.

We know the dead suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, may have posted Internet items justifying suicide bombings. Likewise, we know federal authorities have yet to confirm Hasan was the author.

And we know that, ironically, Hasan was a graduate of Virginia Tech.

THAT'S ALL we know, and we don't know no more. Then again, since when has not knowing much been a deterrent to the Tea Party set when the subject matter is extreme rhetoric and rash action.

Keep your powder dry, people. There will be lots to think about -- and to decide what to do about -- when we have a few answers in hand.

Until then, "patriot" morons and their Internet enablers are just making a bad situation a lot worse.

UPDATE: And sometimes what we "know" just ain't so . . . which just goes to prove my point.

The alleged gunman isn't dead. Wounded, yes, but not dead:

An Army psychiatrist opened fire Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 12 people and wounding 31 others, military officials said.

The gunman was wounded multiple times at the scene but was captured alive and was in stable condition, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of the Army’s III Corps, said at a press conference late Thursday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's a lock: Death a winner in '08

Great. It looks like it's pretty well official now.

The November election will be the Party of Abortion and Sex squaring off against the Party of Greed, Eternal War and Torture.

The U.S. Senate -- or was it the Roman Senate . . . I forget -- today voted largely along party lines to restrict the Central Intelligence Agency to interrogation techniques approved in the Army field manual. In other words, no waterboarding, no torture of any sort.

NOW THE BILL goes to Caesar President Bush who, as head of the Party of Greed, Eternal War and Torture, has vowed to veto it. Joining his fellow Greed, War & Torture senators in voting against the anti-torture legislation was presidential candidate John McCain, who had very nasty things done to him at the Hanoi Hilton many years ago.

(For those of you under 35, the Hanoi Hilton was not a five-star hotel. But it was in Vietnam.)

Meanwhile, after breaking from his fellow Abortion & Sex senators to vote in favor of torture, Nebraska's allegedly pro-life Ben Nelson was reported to be unavailable for comment due to overwhelming confusion.

The Associated Press has the depressing details:

Congress on Wednesday moved to prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects, despite President Bush's threat to veto any measure that limits the agency's interrogation techniques.

The prohibition was contained in a bill authorizing intelligence activities for the current year, which the Senate approved on a 51-45 vote. It would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.

The House had approved the measure in December. Wednesday's Senate vote set up a confrontation with the White House, where Bush has promised to veto any bill that restricts CIA questioning.

Arguing for such restrictions, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the use of harsh tactics would boomerang on the United States.

"Retaliation is the way of the world. What we do to others, they will do to us — but worse," Rockefeller said. "This debate is about more than legality. It is also about morality, the way we see ourselves ... and what we represent to the world."


Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, backed by Senate Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, inserted the provision in December into a bill providing guidelines for the running of U.S. intelligence agencies this year.

The 19 approved interrogation techniques in the military field manual include "good cop/bad cop," "false flag" — making prisoners think they are in the custody of another country — and the separation of a prisoner from other prisoners for up to 30 days at a time.

It prohibits military interrogators from hooding prisoners or putting duct tape across their eyes. They may not be stripped naked or forced to perform or mimic sexual acts. They may not be beaten, electrocuted, burned or otherwise physically hurt. They may not be subjected to hypothermia or mock executions. It does not allow food, water and medical treatment to be withheld, and dogs may not be used in any aspect of interrogation.

Republican presidential contender Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, voted against the measure Wednesday.

LET ME ATTEMPT to get this straight. And, please . . . bear with me here.

Come November, as a Catholic who believes what his Church teaches, I am somehow expected to vote either:

* For the Party of Abortion and Sex in order to put an end to the Party of Greed, Endless War and Torture's relentless pursuit of . . . well . . . greed, endless war and torture.

* Or, alternatively, for the Party of Greed, Endless War and Torture in order to keep the Party of Abortion and Sex from getting its grubby, K-Y jelly-smeared hands on the Supreme Court, which someday is supposed to put an end to Roe v. Wade. But hasn't yet after 35 years, despite enough Republican appointments to supposedly have done that already.

UMM HMM. I think I get it now.

How about this instead? How about -- as a Catholic who believes what his Church teaches -- I tell both parties to go to hell.

And then spend my time trying to figure out how to survive the long, ugly decline of an empire that lost its soul, then lost its mind.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Godwin's Law goes way of Geneva Conventions

You know, it's impossible to abide by Godwin's Law -- the unofficial law of argument that he who calls someone a Nazi automatically loses -- when so many people in this country are acting like Nazis.

First in the ranks of goosestepping disciples of evil would be
the government of the United States of America. Specifically the Bush Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Consider, for example, this testimony before Congress by CIA Director Michael Hayden, as reported by MSNBC:
Congress is considering a bill that would restrict the CIA to only those methods authorized by the Army's field manual for interrogation. Hayden said that would make no sense. The Army's interrogators are young people with limited training, while the CIA's interrogators are highly trained, he said.

The Army interrogates a broad range of people, while the CIA's program is tailored to a specific group of terrorists. It would make no more sense to apply the Army's interrogation manual to the CIA than it would to apply the Army's grooming standards or its rules on sexual orientation, Hayden said.
YES, THE CIA has goons quite skilled in the black art of torture. They can do this, because they are highly trained for it.

Just like the SS.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jena: The gift that keeps on giving

The latest installment in Nooses Across America, this time from the Omaha World-Herald:
The U.S. Army Reserve is investigating allegations that an officer hung a noose in the Council Bluffs office of an African-American sergeant and Iraq war veteran, Army officials said Friday.

Sgt. Tiffany Robinson filed a complaint alleging that her commander, 1st Lt. Harold Hessig, a part-time reservist who also works as a Bellevue police detective, left a rope tied in a noose hanging from a pipe in their office in October.

Robinson, who served in Iraq with the Reserve's 784th Transportation Company, requested transfer to a new assignment, saying she felt that her civil rights had been violated.

"I felt it very offensive and psychologically damaging. I don't feel safe," she wrote in the complaint sent to Army Reserve officials.

Except to confirm that an investigation is in progress, Reserve officials declined to comment Friday.

"There is a formal investigation into these allegations that is currently under way. Until that is complete, we can't comment on the case," said Lt. Col. Kathy Klein, spokeswoman for the Reserve's 89th Regional Readiness Command in Wichita, Kan., which oversees Nebraska Reserve units.

Hessig did not return calls to the Bellevue Police Department seeking comment. A home phone listing for him had been disconnected.

Bellevue Police Chief John Stacey said that in light of the Army investigation, the department has opened an internal investigation into Hessig's actions. He remains on duty while the inquiry continues, Stacey said.

In Hessig's 7½ years with the Police Department, no complaints have been lodged against him, Stacey said. He said Hessig had compiled an "exemplary record."

Stacey said Hessig left the department in 2004 to serve with the Army Reserve in Afghanistan, returning in 2006.

"I'm a little shocked they'd consider him at the center of this," the chief said. "I think they'll probably find out they've got the wrong guy, but that's what investigations are for. We'll find out."

According to her complaint, Robinson walked into her Reserve office in October to find Hessig and another soldier fashioning a noose out of a piece of rope that Robinson had found earlier in a file cabinet.

Robinson said she felt uncomfortable and left the office but "brushed it off" after she returned and didn't see the noose anywhere.

She said she found the noose hanging from a heating pipe in the office the following Monday.

"I don't know what the intentions were behind it or if it was racial at all, but I am very offended. I don't feel safe at home or at work," Robinson wrote in her complaint. "I don't think Lt. Hessig would intentionally do anything to hurt me, but under the circumstances I can't be 100 percent sure."

Robinson said she received several apologies from Hessig but that his attempts at reconciliation began to worry her when he showed up unannounced at her home.