Category Archives: Military

So where are we with General Petraeus?

What on earth is happening when an American who has been trusted as much as General Petraeus has his little love affair exposed (which doesn’t seem to have effected his CIA leadership at all) and feels the need to resign?

This article is from Truthdig… I’m putting it all here:

How the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell Affair Was Uncovered

 

AP/Cliff Owen
Former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Modern technology apparently cost ex-CIA Director David Petraeus his job. The retired general’s affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by the FBI while it was investigating harassing emails she sent to Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old woman who serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A former associate of Petraeus says he and Kelley are just friends.

After news of the FBI investigation that uncovered the affair, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stepped in and asked Petraeus to resign.

The Associated Press:

Clapper was told by the Justice Department of the Petraeus investigation at about 5 p.m. on Election Day, and then called Petraeus and urged him to resign, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

…Concerned that the emails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.

Read more

In the wake of Petraeus’ resignation, members of Congress are asking for more information about the investigation, including why they weren’t alerted sooner and whether the probe had any impact on national security.

Now here are my thoughts. Given the world situation, why in hell are we letting a man with this amount of military and foreign policy and management experience leave this job over a little penis stimulation? You can’t tell me that the Congressfolk who would sit over his situation if he hadn’t resigned haven’t been involved in the same kind of stuff.

If I were Obama, I would have, at least temporarily, refused Petraeus’ resignation and let him go ahead with his testimony about Libya (which he should do anyway, whether he has resigned or not.)

If we really let him go we are more stupid than I already think.

 

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It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

What is it about Republicans and their need to create wars?

Here’s where to look for a World News Daily article by Jamal Abdi: New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for Israeli “Preventive” War on Iran.

Before reading it, here’s the first couple of sentences:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel’s back. But when your friend is drunk, you don’t hand them the keys. If Graham has his way, he will hand Bibi the keys and lend him our car, while the rest of us ride shotgun.

If this gets you at all nervous about creating a new major mideast war at the behest of Israel (and Lindsay Graham), then get ready to write your senator.

 

The next time Romney says Obama did nothing to create jobs, introduce him to Mitch McConnell…

 

Thanks To Connecticut Against Linda McMahon

The President’s Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 would have spent $1 billion over five years to put veterans to work tending to federal lands, and in the nation’s police and fire departments. Created by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), it was based on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Republicans say they opposed the bill because there is no proof that it would work. Forty Republican members of the United States Senate betrayed veterans when they decided that denying President Obama a victory was more important than spending $1 billion to create jobs for vets.

It doesn’t matter to most Senate Republicans that the CCC put 2.5 million people to work. When confronted with an actual jobs program for America’s vets, including the 220,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the majority of Republicans claimed the plan, which was already offset, was too expensive.

This is all part of Mitch McConnell’s stated goal to let Obama accomplish nothing. In so doing, he has made America worse. Here’s hoping vets in Kentucky make sure he loses the election.

 

How about a foreign policy statement from Mitt…

That video from the secret fundraiser is sure providing tons of revelations of the presidential talents of Mitt Romney – or the fact that there are no such talents present.

Here is a statement that gives us a real view of how he sees tyhe middle east:

“If I were Iran – a crazed fanatic, I’d say let’s get a little fissile material to Hezbollah, have them carry it to Chicago, and then if anything goes wrong, or America starts acting up, we’ll just say, “Guess what? Unless you stand down, why, we’re going to let off a dirty bomb. I mean this is where we have – where America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people. So we don’t have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

– Mitt Romney

Hey… I’ll bet he’ll start another war if he gets the chance. Let’s not give it to him.

This will be a mobbed weekend in our general area…

Tomorrow and Sunday is the reenactment of the Battle of Antietam over the river from us in Sharpsburg. It is the 150th anniversary of the battle and this is drawing reenactors from all over the country, judging by the large amount of out-of-state license plates showing up here and over in Washington County.

Elly and I are going over to her friend Joan’s at some point to sit in front of her house on Main St. and watch the downtown activities.

Getting from our place to Hagerstown is going to be a mess tomorrow, since many of the main roads will be closed around the Battlefield National Park. Anyone trying to get from Shepherdstown to Hagerstown is advised to go a little out of your way and take Interstate 81.

A day I have not looked forward to… have you?

 

It’s the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and it will be the subject of all of today’s talk shows. The very thought of everything involved in the event… from the destruction of the World Trade Center, the crash into the Pentagon and the plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field. I remember the father of one of Buddy’s friends when we lived in Marlborough,CT, who had made his monthly business trip to NYC and died in the attack… which means not only did it happen, but I knew someone killed in the tragedy.

We are at war in the Middle East… still going after Al Qaeda. It is the longest war in our history and seems to go on forever. After the loss of citizens on 9/11, we continue to lose even more Americans because of the attack. I ask my self: what have we become?

I will try to put the day out of my mind. I have thought about it so much over the past eleven years. I am just crestfallen to find it on my mind again.

 

New Antietam Museum Room to open on Friday.

 

Antietam National Battlefield announces the opening of a new museum exhibit room in the park visitor center. A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m.

The new exhibits highlight the impact of the battle on the nation that occurred 150 years ago… and the families that lived on the battlefield. The exhibit includes wartifacts and photographs of veterans returning for reunions and the creation of the park by the U.S. War Department.

According to Park Superintendent Susan Trail:

Sharpsburg was a farming community for one hundred years before the battle was fought. Now we are able to tell a broader story through the artifacts and images of those who lived here. We are extremely pleased to have our new exhibit opening just in time for the 150th Commemoration.”

Some of the artifacts that highlight the new exhibit include a gold watch owned by the Mumma family whose farm was destroyed in the battle; furniture from the Roulette farm; a hand carved headstone that marked a soldiers grave just after the battle; and numerous reunion medals and ribbons.

For more information call 301-432-5124.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – The Republican Convention is delayed a day… Women cheer!

 

Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

Republican Convention is waiting for women…

– and –

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Of course, the strategy is to attack Obama‘s speeches…

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

It’s a good thing women can turn off pregnancy when raped (thanks, Todd Akin)…

– and –

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Of course, war is always an issue at conventions…

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

…and when they get elected they will start REGULATING.

 

 

Neil Armstrong, first person to walk on moon, dies at 82

 

Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface in 1969  –  a monumental achievement in human history. Despite his fame, Armstrong shrank from fame and called himself a ‘nerdy engineer.’

Armstrong died today from cardiovascular complications. Saturday.

When he made that famous step on July 20, 1969, he uttered a phrase that has been carved in stone and quoted across the planet: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” It was heard by 60 million television viewers worldwide

His professional career kept him in the air. In 1945, he started taking flying lessons, paying for them by working as a stock clerk at a drugstore. On his 16th birthday, he got his pilot’s license but didn’t yet have a driver’s license.

Upon graduating from high school in 1947, he was awarded a Navy scholarship to Purdue University. When the Korean War started in 1949, Armstrong was called to active duty.

Armstrong was one of the first Astronauts recruited for the space program – a true American hero.

 

My brief reviews of the CATF plays this season

It is the 22nd season of the Contemporary American Theater Festival and I’ve been reviewing the five plays that go on throughout July for WSHC.

Here are transcripts of those reviews.

Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams. World Premiere. Directed by Ed Herendeen

What begins as an elementary school parent-teacher conference rapidly becomes a volatile conflict between a distressed mother and a reticent fifth grade teacher. The problem? Why did Gidion come home on a Friday with a note suspending him from school? As his story progresses, the women assemble the elements of Gidion’s behavior like a complex jigsaw puzzle.

 
As we descend toward the unexpected and painful outcome, the roles that a teacher and a mother play in a child’s life are revealed in an interaction of deception, vehemence and accountability. The audience follows this conflict and learns in the removal of layer after layer of information the actions leading to the fate of a fifth grader.

 
I particularly liked Margaret McKowen’s set that turned the entire performance space and audience area into an actual schoolroom. Director Ed Herendeen has children going through the classroom, using lockers in the audience lobby area, and planting the usual “turn your cellphones off” instruction into a teacher’s admonition to a student.

Joey Parsons, as the teacher, and Robin Walsh, as the mother, give intense and involving performances, aided by playwright Johnna Adams’ stylized dialogue.
“Gidion’s Knot” is an emotional and dangerous exploration into the freedom of expression.

The Exceptionals by Bob Clyman. Directed by Tracy Brigden

Not too far in the future, two mothers from very different backgrounds, face choices that are to be made for their extraordinarily gifted sons, the results of a genetic experiment in a fertility program. The question is how far will ordinary people go to provide opportunities for exceptional children? Is it a competition among parents? This is something that Gwen and Allie, and her husband Tom, must come to terms with in the course of the play.

They are steered through this process by Claire, a program manager for the program, who tries to get them to both understand the education process that the children could be going through and to give up part of the parental shelter of their sons. It is not an easy progression.

Director Tracy Brigden has taken the characters developed by playwright Bob Clyman through a series of duo and trio scenes until everyone comes together with a resolute view of where the future will be. The play is about a half an hour longer than it needs to be, but this is the kind of thing that benefits playwrights at the CATF, where they can edit and rewrite as part of the “new play” process.

The Exceptionals is worth the effort of the talent involved and is certainly worth the participation of the audience.

Barcelona by Bess Wohl. Directed by Charles Morey.

What happens when an intoxicated American girl goes home with an aggressive Spaniard for a one-night stand in the shadows of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s famous cathedral in Barcelona?  After meeting in a bar and falling into a funny and lusty meeting of cross-cultural opposites, Irene and Manuel make us laugh party with them — until the party changes into a dangerous and political lesson in truth.

Two people who have met as surface level characters reveal more and more about themselves and their real lives discovering things that push them apart rather than bring them closer. Partly it is what it means to be an American in a Spain that has reason to hate Americans. Partly it is the very personal lives of each of the two characters that redefine their needs for the other.

Bess Wohl has written a fantastic play with the best interactive dialog I have heard this season. Every year there is one CATF play that becomes my favorite and this year it is, hands down, Barcelona. Charles Morey’s direction is the kind I think of as perfect… the director is invisible. Things happen as if they are actually being lived.

Anne Marie Nest and Jason Manuel Olazabel are exceptional actors and certainly, along with playwright and director, deserved the standing ovation they received from an enthusiastic audience.

In A Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute. Directed by Ed Herendeen

Bobby and Betty, a brother and sister, get together in the woods to clean out her cottage to show to a new tenant. At least this is what Bobby thinks as he wonders why his University Dean sister can’t have her husband and kids around helping her… and why she would want the brother she has been estranged from for years to assist with the packing?

Is this a cottage Betty and her husband own? Or is it a place her husband knows nothing about? Is there a student who has been living here having an affair with Betty? Every lie leads to the revelation of another truth as Bobby gets to the bottom of Betty’s story. And what will he do when he learns all of her secrets?

LaBute’s play is about the lies people tell themselves and each other, and about the way lies can become increasingly vicious and escalate to a point that is out of control. The play exposes the desperation of a woman who realizes she has aged past her early attractiveness and become more or less “transparent” to men.

The set for this stormy night in the woods is spectacular, designed by David M. Barber. It focuses the audience in the very large Frank Center into the confined world of two actors in a country cabin. Johanna Day, as Betty, and Joey Collins, as Bobby, are steered through LaBute’s often violent language by Director Ed Herendeen with an inspired verbal choreography.

As the dialogue says: “the truth it hurts.. don’t it?”

Captors by Evan M. Wiener. Directed by Ed Herendeen

In 1960, a group of Israeli Intelligence agents capture escaped Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires and confine him for 10 days in a hidden safe house. Eichmann, the world’s most wanted war criminal and the architect of the Holocaust, has spent 15 years in Argentina leading an assumed life. His captors now want to transport him to Jerusalem, by his own will, to be publicly tried.

The play focuses on two men: Eichmann, the “Good German” who was following orders and Peter Malkin, the Mossad agent and artist burdened with bringing evil to justice. The Nazi uses charm and sophistication, lies and compliments, to ease out of the captive situation. Malkin’s main objective is to disguise the prisoner so he can board an Israeli plane leaving Buenos Aires without being discovered. He must also convince Eichmann to sign a release saying he leaves of his own free will… something that seems impossible.

The conflict between Malkin, his associates and Eichmann –  between Jews and the murderer of Jews – is haunting and challenging. Combine this with Malkin’s jumping thirty years ahead to write a book about the events with a  co-author who seeks to clarify the actual facts, and you have a complex dramatic presentation which will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Special praise should be given to the characterizations of Malkin, played by Joey Collins, and Eichman, portrayed by Philip Goodwin, and the involving dialogue of Evan M. Wiener. Ed Herendeen has made it all work to perfection.

Captors appears on the 50th anniversary of Eichmann’s conviction and execution, a haunting reminder of the darkest part of the last century.

I hope you get to see some or all of these plays… but hurry. I understand Barcelona is pretty much sold out now.

What A Navy Seal Wants You To Know About Obama

(thanks to Linda Bartash for passing this around. You should, too.)

The next time you hear Romney say that Obama has no experience in the military (which Romney, btw, doesn’t either) haul this out.

Why are we so stupid that we will be tied up in Afghanistan for another 12 years?

I hear it coming up in the Presidential campaign with insistence and regularity: We’re getting out of Afghanistan in 2014. Right? Yeah, it takes a long time to get all those troops and all that equipment out… 2014 is really pretty quick.

But…

Today we signed a strategic partnership pact that pledges American support for Afghanistan for 10 years after the withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014.

Put your fingers away… the count is to 2024. The cost in money, military death and injury, Taliban conspiracies against American cities and people, and so many other things is more than poor indebted bozos like us can sustain.

The draft of the pact has been signed at the diplomatic level and will now be sent to Mr. Karzai and to the Afghan Parliament for review and approval, and also to President Obama and the White House. It will become final when signed by both presidents… and don’t even begin to think it won’t be signed.

Look, put the moral and ethical concerns aside… ignore what the majority of Americans think about our involvement in the longest war we have EVER been involved in… WTF are we going to pay for this with?

Costs totaling $2.7 billion a year have been discussed, but it would likely be more. Add in aid for civilian programs , too.

The powers that be will say that this is a reduction from the amount the United States now spends here (about $120 billion a year), and we should all feel the financial relief that brings. We just have to bring in a few bucks compared to what we have spent already (and still owe.) So where will we get it?

Money from the Rich? Doubt it. How much do you want to bet this will make them more rich (richer?)? Money from the rest of us? You betcha!

Let me be very clear about my political view here. I am a liberal and a Democrat, but this disgusting cesspool of foreign policy can be laid just as easily at the feet of Republicans and to those of President Obama. Neither side is putting America ahead of our military-economic suckfest.

Makes you wonder who you can vote for that will make any difference. It’s a good thing it is not the only issue being considered this year.

But it is an unabating one.

News that makes America wince…

BrickTeeVee reports at the Sam Seder Show:


Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States.

I'll bet this makes Cheney ecstatic...

Dick Cheney's home state Wyoming House 
advances doomsday bill  
(Wyoming Trib.com) 

CHEYENNE — State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States. House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government. The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

What in Hell would Wyoming do with an aircraft carrier?

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Get out, Get out, Get out!

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Get out, Get out, Get out!

– and –

 

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Get out, Get out, Get out!

– and –

 

Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

Get out, Get out, Get out!

– and –

 

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

Get out, Get out, Get out!

– and –

 

Dan Wasserman in the Boston Globe:

Get out, Get out, Get out!

 

 

Remember when “Conservative” used to be a word defining a form of political economics?

Sometimes we just have to admit that even some women politicians are a bit crazy. Like Majority Whip Debbie Lesko who authored Arizona House Bill 2625 which would allow employers to eliminate employee health care coverage on birth control and related needs:

“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So government should not be telling organizations or employers to do something against their moral beliefs… My whole legislation is about our First Amendment rights and freedom of religion.” 

And what about freedom FROM religion?

But the most revealing look at conservatism is the current Doonesbury series that many newspapers are not printing. Gary Trudeau is looking at the trans-vaginal sonograms required in Texas prior to an abortion:

It would be very nice if “conservatism” got back to economic politics and out of the bedroom and the vagina. Little choice is left to women when considering who to vote for.

Major Quote of the Day – Do you want to get out of Afghanistan?

 This amazing solution is from Father Tyme on BlondSense:
You want to end this thing? Send every proponent who thought or thinks this American Military/Political/Business crusade justifiable; every Congress person who voted for this travesty along with their entire family; every Right Wingunt; every Pseudo-patriotic NASCAR sucking holier-than-thou Evangelical Right Wingunt Mother’s son and daughter; every Ted NugentVictoria JacksonPatricia HeatonKelsey GrammerMegyn Kelly-Money grubbing Rush Hudson Limbaugh-Bill O’Reilly-Glen Beck cocksucking bird brained “Let’s you and him fight, but not me” advocate; every unemployed Joe the Plumber who salutes the flag but hates anything non white; every media owner, media personality and political hack; every pajama-clad envelope stuffing/bake sale College Republican Chickenhawk; every money-loving bishop, priest, pastor, reverend who intentionally misinterpret and mouth beliefs different from a true Xtian gawd’s will (and any of their following sheep who thinks their religious leaders saints); every Fatherland Security Employee; every CEO, investor and banker’s child…send them all over there right now with the same equipment and unprepared training assholes like Rumsfeld, Powell, Bush etc. and now Obama thought and still think was and is acceptable…send them all over there – to Democratize and Americanize those heathens; to convert those infidels to American Business Dogma; to allow Americans their inalienable ability to suck all the oil they can suck; to make America safe for rapists, thieves and especially for increased business profits. While we’re at it send their aged, infirmed and invalid, handicapped or otherwise physically and/or mentally challenged parents as well.
 
I’d give it two days! They’ll all be home!
Send this to your Congress folks and Senators… send it to your local papers…pass it on all over the net. Someone has to get this travesty stopped!

I listened to Repub candidates propose that we could be invaded from Iran…

…but, although the USA professes itself menaced by Iran, it rather has Iran encircled by military bases:

Stars = US Bases

(thanks to Juan Cole‘s Informed Comment.)

So what I want to know is which of these Repub candidates has any kind of grasp on mid-east policy? Certainly Iran knows that they can be completely wiped out by us with little or no provocation.

 

An article that caused me to question…again…our position in the Middle East.

A question I would like an answer to:

Why Are We Fighting On the Same Side with Al Qaeda?

The U.S. Is On the Same Side as Al Qaeda In Syria

Reuters notes that the leader of Al Qaeda – Ayman al-Zawahri – is backing the Syrian rebels, and asking his followers to fight the Syrian government.

Some of the main Al Qaeda fighters who overthrew Gadaffi – and now appear to be in control of Libya – are already helping the Syrian rebels.

This is curious, given that the U.S. is considering military options for ousting the Syrian government, American allies Britain and Qatar allegedly already have foreign troops inside Syria, and the U.S. has been planning regime change in Syria for over 50 years.

Mainstream reports also state that the U.S. and its allies are backing Iranian terrorists.

I thought Al Qaeda was America’s mortal enemy. Why are we backing terrorists?

I was asked by a radio caller last week if I thought we should charge back full force into the Middle East a la Rick Santorum and the right wingers. My answer was a simple “No.” Frankly, after the past 15 years or so of wondering what the hell we were doing there anyway, killing off our young soldiers and an immense quantity of Middle Easterners to keep our access to oil, the value of maintaining war there is invisible.

No matter that we have built a huge military industrial economy spread over many states in order to keep Senators and Congress folks voting to spend what’s left of the national wealth on tanks, planes, aircraft carriers and guns,guns,guns… no matter that we have been building a population consumed by fear of attack by Iranian nukes (caught that on the news this morning)… wanting to get out of all of this gets harder and harder.

Like the tri-national divided world in the novel 1984, the enemies of the country change constantly and become social buddies while previous friends become the enemies. It is an international trick to keep people under control. It is not far fetched to see Al Qaeda become our fighting allies.

I will say once again: Get out, get out, get out… oh, why bother repeating it? No one in authority listens and no one under that authority seems to be able to do anything about it.

Getting Ready for the End of the Earth in 2012…

So the year 2012 starts on Sunday and we have a few possibilities (improbable as they may be) which can stagnate our minds in a thick depression if we let them.

The Mayan calendar, say. Sometime next December, the ancient Mayan calendar ends and with it, some disturbed thinkers claim, the world. So what will do it? What will make the world crumble and the pieces drift into the universe? Maybe some of the actions we might take along the way.

For instance, we might elect Newt Gingrich as President. This would make our military grow and perhaps bring us into a new and destructive war while wiping out all the aspects of government that deal with education, poverty and civilian participation. Then again, we might elect Ron Paul who wants to turn off recognition of Israel, turn on recognition of Palestine and acknowledge, but not indicate any changes, in remarks stated in racist newsletters in the 90s. These factors would certainly end MY world, and I’m not sure that they wouldn’t lead to ongoing destruction across the planet. What fun.

Or we might continue to ignore Global Warming (like the majority of Tea Partiers) or air pollution, or ongoing poisoning of our water, or the Monsanto chemicalization of our food. Then we might all be gone and who cares what happens to the planet.

So let’s celebrate the coming of 2012 and begin the campaign to educate and change the world (even though both Paul and Gingrich would end the Department of Education) and do what we can before it’s too late. As to the Mayans, they didn’t stick around long enough to update their predictions… but, hey, that’s how it goes.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Welcome Back from Iraq

Jeff Danziger of the L.A. Times:

And what did you guys do for (or to) your Country?

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

…and now that you’re back… NOTHING!

– and –

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

… but maybe you’ll be able to vote. Unfortunately it might not be easy.

 

Today starts the removal of troops from Iraq…

… and over the next couple of weeks they will be out, with a few thousand (more?) advisors remaining… doing what, I don’t know. There is, I guess, a certain amount of relief being felt, but the government is not making this a huge event. It’s pretty quiet actually.

While looking at comments from warriors and people who made their billions off of war, I found this in the NY Times from 2009 when the forthcoming (2012) pullout was announced:

“Now that the war’s over, we’re going to get to go back to developing exciting new weapon systems, instead of just trotting out the ones that are proven to work,” said a visibly excited Robert Stevens, Lockheed C.E.O., before a reporter informed him of the Senate moratorium on new weapons systems development.

“Oh,” said Stevens, looking flushed, and quickly excused himself.

As for me, the most exciting weapon systems are the ones you dismantle.

Thoughts on Pearl Harbor Day

Seventy years ago the United States was attacked by the Japanese and we were plunged into what became World War II…and we stayed in some form of military activity for decades thereafter. Korea, Cuba, Viet Nam, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan… even times of peace have been warlike.

However, Pearl Harbor Day makes us realize that we were vulnerable to someone else’s plans (as did 9/11) and we became a defensive nation as a result.

I’d like to think that here in the 21st Century it was going to get better, but I don’t really think it will. Just think of the fun we’ll get into if Gingrich becomes President.

Cartoon(s) of the Week

Tom Toles in the Washington Post:

Holidays reflect our lives…

– and –

Nate Beeler in the Washington Examiner:

Home is where the heart is…

Obama: Troops out of Iraq over next two months…

The President scored another foreign policy day following  the demise of Qaddafi… All US troops are coming home from Iraq ASAP.

The major reason is that the Iraqi government would not extend immunity from legal prosecution to US Troops if they stayed as trainers… therefore Obama is pulling them out. Relations between Iraq and America are now turned over to the State Department.

Obama’s successes in foreign policy (especially in the past year as he completed goals that the Bush administration couldn’t get to over two terms… notably the ends of Qaddafi and Bin Laden), although played down and ignored by Republicans, puts him in a position of leadership many didn’t expect. Of course, the Republicans are going to find away to play this down as well.

If we credit the Bush Administration with anything, why not the almost 4,500 military deaths in Iraq (and over 39,000 permanent injuries)?

I’m interested in what the debating clowns say next Tuesday when their topic is supposed to be Foreign Policy.