Before turning on the television tonight for the President's latest attempt to convince us that we aren't losing in Iraq, here is a series of articles (spanning the past year) dealing with the Iraqi war and the prospects for success, the pros and cons of withdrawl, etc. The series is part of a Brookings Institute research project and is an interesting read. It will be even more interesting to see whether the President addresses any of the issues raised in these articles or merely continues poor attempts to wax philosophic on the greater good we are serving in the name of liberty and justice for all.
As debate over the Iraq war heats up once again, it is natural to question why the two parties always tend to end up on opposite sides of military debates. Republicans argue that Democrats are just soft on terrorists and don't like paying the price or bearing the burden. But, who really is paying the price and bearing the burden for our country? A friend of mine sent me the list below earlier today - the stark contrast in military records of Democratic leaders and Republican leaders begs to wonder whether Republican leaders are more willing to send Americans to die because they, themselves have never faced the harrowing experience - or even trained to face it.
That's not to say that Republican leaders aren't patriotic or take the loss of American lives with a grain of salt. But, it does offer one explanation for the apparent refusal of many Republicans to acknowledge what Democrats have said all along and what increasing numbers of citizens are saying - Is the price we're paying in Iraq worth the results (i.e. increasing bloodshed and devolution into civil war)? This is also not to say that this isn't a complex issue with many sides worthy of discussion. But none the less, as a party the Republicans have tried to sacrifice Democrats as unpatriotic and anti-military, etc. In light of these affronts, the follow is certainly food for thought.
* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard,
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan.
1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star,
Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver
Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain,
Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII;
Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW.
Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd
Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor.
Marine in Vietnam, Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student
deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea, six DFCs
and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground
in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several
deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven
deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad
knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his
six-year National Guard; got assigned
to Alabama so
he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up
for required medical exam, disappeared from
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after
fighting was over in Korea
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star,
Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee
problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served
in a non-combat role making movies.
There has been much in the news lately concerning public broadcasting content, coverage, percieved bias, funding, etc. Now, in light of proposed budget cuts and pending court decisions, the path to Congressional elimination of this great institution is being cleared. Regardless of your political views the merits of NPR and PBS can't be argued. We all remember watching Sesame Street and The Muppets growing up and many of us rely on NPR while commuting for the news today. Both institutions are hallmarks of the free speech and press that make this country great. So join in the efforts to save these services - services that, incidentally, cost only $1.12 per tax payer, per year.
weeks as death tolls skyrocket and daily our headlines are encumbered by
stories of death and destruction and deprivation in Iraq many more Americans are now
asking “Why?” – Why are we there? Why
did we go? Why aren’t we coming
home? Why aren’t things getting better?
enlightening and thought provoking article in this issue of the Washington
Monthly sheds a great deal of light on the answers to such questions. Iraq is a mess because we rushed to
war when it wasn’t necessary, without a plan – all of the reasons we’ve heard
before are true. But The Unquiet
American illustrates that Iraq is also a mess because President Bush has spent the last two years sitting
above a cesspool of corruption and greed and organized crime that would make
Corleone proud. Bush, with the aid of
his consigliore, Donald Rumsfeld, has attempted to replace a corrupt
dictatorship through corruption of the worst kinds. Back alley deals for defense contracts,
mismanagement – one account in The Unquiet American speaks of money exchanging
hands in pizza boxes.
more infuriating than the corruption, is the gross incompetence that has led to
the deaths of so many Americans and Iraqis. The article relates the existence of stock
piles of barely used Iraqi guard munitions, tanks, etc. that went unused for
more than a year and half as American and Iraqi soldiers died for lack of proper
equipment and armor.
article is a must read for every American citizen because we must confront what
is really happening – and has been happening all along – in Iraq.
On a similar
note – Huffingtonpost has a terrific letter from John Boyce to John Kerry
asking him “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” The letter is excellent and it’s call for honesty
and clarity in admitting this war was a mistake is reinforced by the Roston’s
In the wake of yesterday's second failed attempt to force a vote on John Bolton's nomination, and a morning of speculation as to what President Bush will do . . . . Frist just announced he will not seek another vote on Bolton. I think that pretty well sums up the question of what Bush is planning -- a recess appointment it is.
Postblog: Frist has just changed course and after meeting w/ Bush says he will push for a vote on Bolton. I think this is another attempt to paint Democrats as obstructionist. I don't think that tag will stick this time -- it fell short w/ the general fillibuster argument as most Americans were opposed to the nuclear option. I think in the case of Bolton those Americans paying attention (and they could be few in number) have reservations and would like to see what the White House is hiding.
I will likely return to the topic in a few days. But as I am still digesting the article's many points, I will simply bring it to your attention right now.
Yesterday's New York Times magazine has a fabulous piece that explores both sides of the gay marriage debate in-depth and offers a feast of food for thought. As this is one of the so-called hot button issues that is gripping our country right now - I feel this and other such exposes are important items for us all to read - regardless of our feelings on the subject. So, enjoy and I look forward to sparking lively discussion in the future.
I generally like Tom Tomorrow's cartoons - but the latest which mixes the modern and Watergate eras is priceless. We've heard a lot lately about the danger of unanimous sources and the evils of the "liberal" media . . . . This cartoon should serve to remind us all of the important balancing role the independent media SHOULD play - Enjoy!
has turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for Senate Democrats. Reid was a tremendous leader during the
judicial stand-off and has delivered one-liners that have managed to garner
press attention where Democratic leaders haven’t been able to buy it for years.
Now, as Republicans turn their sites on
shoving through the wildly unpopular nomination of John Bolton, Reid again is
leading with conviction.
on the Senate floor earlier today plainly outlined the Democratic strategy - "Answer our simple questions – our simple,
justified questions and we’ll vote." It’s
that simple. What two questions does
Senator Reid want answered? In his own words:
We are not
going on a fishing expedition here. Democrats are seeking clearly defined and
specific information about two very important issues that bear directly on John
Bolton's fitness to represent this great country at the United Nations:
Bolton attempt to exaggerate what Congress and the American people would be
told about Syria's alleged WMD capabilities?
Bolton use, and perhaps misuse, highly classified intelligence intercepts to
spy on bureaucratic rivals who disagreed with his views or for other
question is particularly important as the White House continues to try to avoid
the Downing Street Memo story that will not die. If Bolton
exaggerated intelligence to mislead the American people, and Bush fabricated
intelligence to mislead the American people, then the two make a dangerous pair
and should be stopped in the name of protecting our democracy. Unfortunately, with the current balance in
Congress, even if irrefutable evidence of intelligence fixing on the part of
the White House surfaced, impeachment is at present of little concern to Bush. But,
those conscionable members of Congress who regret the Iraq War escalation can
learn from their mistakes and keep Bolton from
wreaking equally disastrous and erroneous havoc on the UN.
to Harry. And, Mr. President, if Bolton is the right man and you have nothing to hide,
then what are you hiding? It’s certainly
not the names of those involved because Republican Senators are throwing names
about left and right.
The full text of Senator Reid’s
comments are available here.