Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Want To Know What Pi**'s Me Off – Or What We Have Here Is A Failure To Lead

The following is in the diplomatic language of a very unhappy Sergeant Major. If you are easily offended please do not read any further. If you want to know what would piss a Sergeant Major off then read this.

The following is an excerpt from the Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll of American military personnel serving in Iraq.

The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure. *While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks*,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”

“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.” Just 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%).

Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll – Released February 28, 2006

One of the basic tenets of military leadership is to “know your mission.” What the results of this poll tells me is that not only is the Commander in Chief of the United States military derelict in his duty but he is obviously not a competent leader nor is he commanding his troops. This poll alone should tell you that George W. Bush doesn’t have a clue and is an incompetent buffoon. He can’t even communicate to his own troops their mission and purpose. Yes I’m pissed because it’s the soldiers of this great nation that he is screwing with. That’s right I said screwing with because if you can’t tell the men and women that are fighting and dying for their country the truth then, your a** ain’t worth the powder it would take to blow it away.

While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks

What the f*** is that all about? What f***ing role in 9/11 would that be? Official Iraqi Cheerleader in Chief of al Qaeda. Something similar to George W. Bush’s role in relation to the United States military I trust.

2,296 killed in action and 16,653 wounded in action and you didn’t have the kahoonas to tell them what the hell the real mission was mr. president. Excuse me while I go puke!

Sorry about that rant but now you know what pisses the Sergeant Major off.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, February 27, 2006

What George W. Bush Won’t Do –The Right Thing

On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked by a terrorist organization known as al Qaeda that was and probably still is headed by a sociopath by the name of Osama Bin Laden.  Bin Laden was at the time of the attacks residing in Afghanistan where he was supported by the Taliban government that was in control of that country.  Note for later reference: The United Arab Emirates was one of the few nations of the world to recognize the Taliban government.

In response to the attacks by this terrorist organization the United States retaliated by attacking and invading Afghanistan and subsequently over throwing the Taliban government and assisting in installing a new democratically elected government.   These actions were done in concert and coordination with American allies and the United Nations.  This was and is an ongoing and reasonably successful operation but it must be noted that during this action Osama Bin Laden was not and never has been captured and that the Taliban insurgents continue to be a threat to the Afghan government.

Subsequent to the successful invasion of Afghanistan the Bush administration attempted to build a case against the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein by, not just suggesting but, stating outright that Iraq was a party to the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.  The administration then simultaneously declared that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was an imminent threat to the United States.  Some knew then and all know now that as evidenced by numerous public documents and intelligence reports there was never any evidence showing any connection between the Osama Bin Laden led al Qaeda terrorist organization and Saddam Hussein.  Additionally it has sense been shown that Saddam Hussein neither had nor was he even close to acquiring and possessing weapons of mass destruction.  And the sad reality is that intelligence sources tried in vain to make the Bush administration see and understand that there was “no convincing evidence” that Saddam possess weapons of mass destruction.  In fact it has sense been shown that the Bush administration, in all probability, not only did not possess convincing evidence but, actually ignored intelligence sources and intentionally misled and most likely simply lied to the nation and the world on these two points.

Let me clearly state that I believe it is certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Saddam Hussein was a singularly sinister, cruel, and inhuman dictator who ruled Iraq with an iron, sadistic fist.  It is just as certain that he, like many other dictators today, needed to be removed from power; having said that, it is my opinion that the Bush administration made gross diplomatic, strategic, and military errors in judgment and actions by invading Iraq.  It was a diplomatic error in that it has signaled the Muslim world that the United States will take unilateral action and invade a country without regard for international law and precedent.  It was a strategic error in that it is having a destabilizing effect on the region and possibly world and it was a military error because it was ill planned, ill executed, and has overstretched the American military to the breaking point.  I also believe that the administration compounded these errors by not creating a true alliance and instead created an essentially paper alliance that was overwhelmingly American with a token participation from the few other nations that made up the alliance.

The results of the Bush administrations misguided actions will be felt by this nation and the rest of the world for generations to come.  By virtually unilaterally conducting a preemptive invasion of a sovereign nation without the full support of the United Nations and the rest of the world and without concrete evidence of a significant threat to the United States or any other nation it is my belief that the Bush administration has rushed down the path to destabilizing the Middle East and most probably the majority of the Muslim world.  This track toward destabilization is evidenced by the near civil war currently raging within and threatening to spill out of Iraq.  It is also evidenced regionally by the recent election of Hamas in Palestine and the election of the ultraconservative radical president in Iran and their now even more extreme militant posture toward the United States and the rest of the Western nations.  This trend toward destabilization is also manifesting itself in the apparent hyper sensitivity of the Muslim world in general to the smallest negative gesture from any Western nation.  These are just a few of the most obvious signs of what I believe could be the total destabilization of the Muslim World.

So this is where I believe we stand today.  We stand with 130,000 +/- American soldiers in a country on the verge of all out civil war.  We stand virtually alone without the confident backing of our customary allies because we have chosen to discard them like so much excess baggage.  We stand in the middle of an ever increasingly hostile Muslim world with no discernable foreign policy.  We stand in an ever increasingly hostile world with our economic and physical resources stretched to the breaking point.  We stand in an ever increasingly hostile world with our ports and borders unsecured against further terrorist strikes.  We stand in an ever increasingly hostile world when our dependency on foreign oil imports is greater than ever before.  We stand in an ever increasingly hostile world and our government has demonstrated that they are so incompetent so as to be incapable of defending us not only from terrorist attacks but also natural disasters.  We stand in an ever increasingly hostile world when our word as a nation is virtually worthless because we have so consistently broken it as our government has shown contempt for most of the world.   And not last nor least we stand in an ever increasingly hostile world without leadership.

I write this not as a statement of defeat but as a statement of simple fact and reality.  We have been brought to this point by a level of presidential incompetence never before seen in this nation’s history.  I write this because I believe the citizens of this nation must take action and take it soon to bring oversight back to our nation’s capital.  It is my belief that George W. Bush does not have the courage, desire, drive, or moral strength of character to do what this nation so desperately needs and that is for someone to step up and lead the nation out of a quagmire of war, dissolute incompetence, cronyism and plain corporate greed.  George W. Bush cannot lead this nation because he does not possess these traits and because he is controlled by the extreme radical religious right, the neocons, and the radical conservative corporate interests from which his Vulcan vice president and senior advisors come.   Lastly I write this too clearly state that I believe that with honest real leadership the terrorists can be brought to justice and peace can be brought to the entire Middle East.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I Want The Cost Of Bush Failures To Be In Your Living Room

That’s right. I think it is time that the 45% of the American people who think the war in Iraq was worth it to come over and join me and the other semi-sane 55% of the American citizens in demanding that the main stream media broadcast the cost of the Bush War right into living rooms of all Americans. It’s time that the American people got a taste, albeit a miniscule taste it would be, of what our soldiers get every single day that they are serving and sacrificing for us, the American people. What they are sacrificing in Iraq because their inept, incompetent, and immoral Commander in Chief has ordered them to do so.

I want it to be right in front of you, in your face, on your 40 inch plasma screens, in living, real life color. I want every one of you who is not demanding that George W. Bush pull our troops out of his war to see our sons and daughters, mothers, and fathers, brothers and sisters loosing their lives and limbs. I want every one of you to see the carnage wrought, not by our military, but by George W. Bush. I want you to see the carnage brought on the soldiers of this nation and the innocent men, women, and children of Iraq who have never had anything to do with terrorism or al Qaeda. And I want you to see it each and every day, in your living room, until it is over. I want every one of you to count every single flag draped coffin as it is rolled off of that airplane at Dover Air Force base. (Oh that’s right, you won’t be able to do that because George W. Bush has said you aren’t free people who can do that.) I want every single one of you to watch, in living color as a nation slides into a bloody civil war that has every possibility of boiling over into the rest of the Middle East.

There is no doubt in my mind, based solely on what has been widely reported, that George W. Bush lied to the American people in order to invade a country in a preemptive war. One must come to this conclusion based solely on George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s public statements and subsequent morphing of those statements along with the statements and actions of their cabinet members as published in newspapers and seen on Television and heard on radio. Speaking of lying here is another two examples (Iraqi Readiness, Port Security) of, if not lying, then simple spinning of which there is no difference in my mind.

Having said that let me now say this. Regardless of the reason, I repeat, regardless of the reason that we went to war in Iraq we must, for the sake of national security, physical and economic, withdraw our troops from Iraq. It is my firm belief that we are expending precious national resources at a rate that is totally unsustainable and we are in such dire straits that we must withdraw from Iraq. We must adopt the Jack Murtha plan and stand off and let the Iraqi people settle their differences as we serve as a shield and support preventing invasion or any other actions or interference by outside powers. It is my belief that failure to do this will result in this nation becoming embroiled in a civil war and cost us even more dearly in American lives and wealth. (2,288 soldiers killed in action, 16,653 wounded in action and $250 billion dollars expended and this doesn’t include the damage to our economy so far.)

This nation’s precious resources must be expended on the most pressing issues as we develop a cohesive, coherent and effective foreign policy. (Something which we do not currently have and have not had for over 5 years.) We must focus on the real terrorists that continue to strike at will as in Saudi Arabia most recently.

It looks like it took three years for the grand father of Republican conservatives, William F. Buckley Jr. to realize what a catastrophic failure the Bush war was and is; so maybe if the mainstream media does their real job and puts this war in our living rooms the willingly blind will see.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Eye On The Failure – Or What Some Senators Believe

Why does the Bush administration have such a difficult time seeing how absolutely stupid and what a gross misjudgment, if not criminal act, the invasion of Iraq was?

Perhaps this might give us a small clue. Senator Orrin Hatch recently said,
“We've stopped a mass murderer in Saddam Hussein. Nobody denies that he was supporting al-Qaida. Well, I shouldn't say 'nobody' -- nobody with brains."
I would like to know where Senator Hatch has been, or what special intelligence he is privy to, that has inspired him to say this. Perhaps this sheds a little light on why there has been no oversight by our Congress and Senate. I can only respond to such a silly statement by saying that if they (neocons) are all this ignorant, or stoned, then we are in some serious trouble because you’d have to be one of the two to believe what the good Senator said. I’m personally leaning toward the later being the case because simple ignorance couldn’t possibly explain it and good drugs might.

It just seems to me that when things get sublimely and absolutely ridiculous for this administration it turns around and out does itself i.e. UAE control of United States ports. But, and still only 55% of the American public thinks it was a mistake to go to war in Iraq. That makes me wonder where (under what rock) the other 45% have been or what they have been doing (probably sharing with Senator Hatch).

Let’s just look at a few recent and current events. As of today the number of American soldiers killed in this conflict has reached 2,287 and the number wounded and maimed has reached 16,653. By most accounts the Iraqi civilian death toll is somewhere between 28,501 and 32,119 and the country is generally believed to be on the verge of, if not already deeply in, a civil war and that that gargantuan sucking sound is the billions of American taxpayer dollars speeding toward that Middle Eastern black hole. Then there is the Iraqi oil production which is “dramatically” below prewar levels and there is their domestic electricity production that is ‘far’ below prewar levels and the number of fully functional hospitals which is, oh yeah, non-existent. What part of this real life scenario do you think the Bush administration calls success? Oh let me guess. We eliminated the threat to the United States from a country ruled by a dictator who had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what. That’s not a true statement Senator Hatch. I know it was said by your president but unfortunately it isn’t true and has never been true. Okay then that I believe that makes your president a liar and since he said it too it also makes your vice president a liar. But you know what?

The president just said that,
"people don't need to worry about security."
Now I’m real……….comfortable. Since I’m in a State where his brother is Governor and we have several ports that the UAE will be soon running I’m so comfortable I may be comatose.

From the warm and cozy State of Florida near the secure port of Miami –

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why Soldiers Keep Dying – Or I Can’t Keep Up And It’s His Fault.

Every day, twice a day I go to this website.
This evening the count stood at 2,287 American soldiers killed in action (KIA) and 16,653 American soldiers wounded in action (WIA). I record the number of my soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan that day by recording it in my journal and putting it on the screensaver on my computer. After I record the numbers I think about them. Not them as a group but each individual soldier. I think about each of them and their families. I think about their wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, and brothers and sisters. But mostly I think about each soldier. What did they look like before? What do they look like now? What did they do that morning? Did they write a letter home? Was it to their mom or dad or was it to their sweetheart? Did they have a chance to go to the chow hall that morning and have a cup of coffee or are they so young they don’t have a taste for coffee yet. Did they have a chance to shoot the shit with their buds?

After I think about all of those things, then I ask myself, what were they doing when they ‘got it’? Were they walking a patrol in Karbala or were they riding in a humvee through Baghdad? Were they maybe standing guard outside of a police station or a mosque or were they just strolling through a market amidst innocent civilians when the bomb went off tearing at their flesh and the flesh of the men, women, and children around them (Civilian Deaths 28,501 – 32,119)? Was a medic nearby? Did the medic get there in time to save their life but not their arm or leg? Did they suffer a lot of did the medic have morphine to give them so they died without too much pain?

I think about all of this and then I wonder to myself; do you think about these things George W. Bush? And I know the answer. It comes screaming at me. No! You don’t think about these things. George W. Bush doesn’t think about these things. He hasn’t thought about these things since May 27, 1968. That was the last day that there was a chance he might have to serve. That was the last day that there was a chance that it might be his flesh that would be torn apart by a bomb or a bullet. That was the last day that there was a chance that it might have been his picture on NPR’s broadcast that night. He didn’t want that to happen. Back then he thought about all of those things that I think about every day, and he was afraid. George W. Bush was afraid then but George W. Bush isn’t afraid now. He isn’t afraid now because he knows he doesn’t have to go. All of that is behind him. He isn’t afraid now because his children don’t have to go. He isn’t afraid now because the children of his friends don’t have to go.

The problem with George W. Bush is that he does not take responsibility. He has never had to take responsibility or be responsible. He didn’t have to be responsible for getting into college because his father arranged for him to get into Harvard even though he didn’t have the grades. He didn’t have to be a responsible adult because his father arranged for him to get into Air National Guard as a pilot in spite of the fact that his score was the very minimum you could achieve and still get accepted. He didn’t have to be a responsible business man because even in business his father’s connections and money always bailed him out. He bailed him out even when he bankrupted every venture he ever attempted. The problem is that George W. Bush has never had to be responsible for anything and because of that he doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions. This is why he doesn’t care about the soldiers that are dying and sacrificing their lives and limbs for this country.

Mostly George W. Bush does not think about the soldiers dying and suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan because he doesn’t understand the concept of selflessness and serving a greater cause because today, as always, to George W. Bush, George W. Bush is the only greater cause.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Trite and True

Well, Mr. Bush continues to prove himself a hollow human being.

For the most part I see things through the prism of a soldier. It seems to be in my nature but I find that it is most often a good thing. Soldiers tend to look at all things in a pragmatic and realistic manner. Charging an enemy position, where there is a very good chance of being killed, is a pretty realistic situation so it is generally beneficial to look at it realistically.

So let’s take a realistic look at couple of recent Bush related events. Let’s look at this situation. The administration cuts the budget of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This is the DOE agency responsible for developing alternative energy sources. This cut results in 32 agency employees losing their jobs. The President goes on a PR trip pushing his hollow energy program that he proposed in his State of the Union Address. He needs to stop at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to showcase his ‘program’. The administration restores about one fifth of the funding to the agency so they can hire the 32 employees back before he gets there. The realistic side of the Sergeant Major says bull. George W. Bush is big oil and George W. Bush will always be big oil. George W. Bush could give a s**t about alternative energy sources and the funds were restored for pure PR reasons.

Now let’s look at this situation. George W. Bush has repeatedly professed to be a “war President”. This is an individual that has justified the invasion of a sovereign nation based on his and his administrations cooked books and lies. This is an individual that has violated the constitution and the FISA laws by ordering wiretaps of the domestic communications of American citizens while using the “war on terror” as excuse. And yet he would let an obscure and secretive government committee approve a country with known ties to terrorists to take control 6 of America’s major ports. Could it be that the UAE has not only significant oil wealth but other significant investments in the United States and close ties to the Bush family? Short answer, yes.

These are two very simple, straight forward, realistic examples of the crass nature of George W. Bush. This is an individual that is so obvious in his actions as to be transparent. This is an individual that puts self before all else. I have used two very simple examples here but throughout George W. Bush’s life he has been just as transparent in his actions. If it is getting his father to pull strings to get him into the Texas Air National Guard or ordering a preemptive misguided invasion of a sovereign nation his motives are obvious and one readily sees that he is simply a coward on the one hand and a misguided, greedy, zealot on the other. That is pretty straight forward and it’s time people started calling them like they are.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this administration is totally focused on furthering the good fortunes of their wealthy cohorts at the expense of the middle class and poor of this country. We can enumerate the actions taken by this administration and draw a clear definitive line to the neocon reasoning behind the actions and it is no stretch whatsoever.

George W. Bush is neither a conservative president nor a liberal one. He is quite simply a neo-conservative radical.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sleep Well Mr. Bush – Better Men And Women Than You Stand Guard For Your Freedom – Or Should We Sacrifice For Your Arrogance Mr. Bush

I am probably somewhat of a novelty today in that I am the direct descendent of two families which have served in every war ever fought by America including the Civil War but, I am proud to say that that lineage does not include the current war in Iraq. To clarify just a little, beginning with me, my father, my grandfather, (my grandmother), my great grandfather, my great great grandfather, and my great great great grandfather have all served in the American military back to and including the revolutionary war. I have always been terribly proud of this military tradition but what I have always found most striking is that as my family would relate their stories to me about my family and their military experiences was the unwavering support that they all received from their friends, families and communities. It was that incredible sense of a need to sacrifice for family and country that was so obvious in their voices.

I remember long conversations with my grandparents about World War I, the depression, and World War II and thinking to myself how complete and absolute the sense of community was during those conflicts and struggles. My grandmother would tell me stories of how they would have war bond drives and collect scrap metal for the war effort and how so many families had victory gardens to supplement their food and income and to support the war effort. They would tell me of the rationing and how it was hard but worth it because they knew it was all for America.

I also remember my grandfather telling me stories of the great depression and of families helping families to survive and I remember all of my grandparents telling me stories of how they admired President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the new deal and the creation of the social security system and how they thought that this was real America and real “community” taking care of real people.

Now as I reflect on these stories and the history of my family I look around and ask myself, where has the sense of community, family, and friends gone? It has indeed vanished and we are, I believe, the worse for it. We have become a self absorbed, selfish, intolerant and arrogant nation of whiners. We are losing our greatest generation and with them our deeper understanding of hardship and sacrifice. But it is not just that we, as a nation, have become so ego centric but it is also that we no longer have any kind of leadership to help us focus on what is important as a nation and to give us that sense of purpose.

If we go back in American history and look at the leaders of our nation at the times of greatest crisis we find real leadership. Beginning with Washington and moving on to Jefferson, and Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and even John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis, we always had leaders with the moral courage and strength of character to guide the nation. We have not had that type of leadership for a very long time and now when we are at one of the most critical junctures in our nation’s history we have a complete void in moral courage, strength of character, and leadership.

What I would consider some of the most important traits demonstrated by Americas leaders throughout our history is a sense of honesty and fair play and a commitment to sacrificing on the part of “all” Americans for the good of the nation. I do not believe that the current president, administration, House and Senate Leadership possess one iota of these traits. In my mind it is incongruous and unconscionable for a leader to tell a nation to go out and shop and spend, while developing and implementing policies so obviously slanted to further enriching and giving incredible tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and at the same time calling on middle class and poor America to sacrifice for the nation with their children’s blood while giving up their civil liberties in the name of security. What kind of warped logic is this? What kind of immoral course have we been set on by this misguided administration?

It saddens my heart to know that the military forces to which my family has so willingly given themselves for generations is now being so abused and misused in such an illicit manner. I have written this before and I will write it yet many more times but this is not what the American military force was created for nor is it the honest purpose for which I believe it should be used. They are not being used as the founding fathers had envisioned but abused as the current administration sees fit. This is not about liberty and democracy in the Middle East or the world but about one mans ego and aspirations and the egos and aspirations of his cronies and wealthy cohort. It is not about the security of the nation and this is evidenced by the ever shifting justifications spun and spewed by this administration. These are the reasons that the American people are not supporting the war and the reasons that others believe if they put a magnetic yellow ribbon on the back of their SUV they are supporting the war and the troops. That is not support. That is not sacrifice and that is not patriotism. That is superficial eye wash mixed with sick consumerism.

I believe that, when used properly, the American military ‘can be’ one of the most powerful tools in an American president’s foreign affairs tool box. The key phrase here is ‘when used properly’. Sooner or later a bully always gets his comeuppance. We cannot go around the world attempting to install Jeffersonian democracies on cultures and peoples we do not even understand. And we certainly can’t do it with the brute force of the American military. That only gets soldiers killed and peoples, cultures, and countries pissed off. The United States can however, through the use of diplomacy, allies, and understanding bring about meaningful change in the world.
Diplomacy is not about making war but about making peace and the Bush administration doesn’t have a clue about diplomacy and that I believe is obvious by the tremendous chaos that this administrations actions have brought about in the world. It is certainly imperative that when a country is assaulted the way the United States was assaulted on September 11, 2001that the response is sudden and swift aggressive action to bring justice to those who are guilty of the assault but that response should not include preemptive wars on countries not involved in the assault. Unfortunately that is precisely what the Bush administration has done to the detriment of the nation. We now have a Muslim world community agitated and openly and aggressively hostile toward the United States as a direct result of this countries response to 9/11. They are not angry at the United States for invading Afghanistan where the terrorist attacks originated but because we invaded Iraq and neglected to treat the rest of the Muslim world with respect.

You do not lead Mr. Bush you bully. You show no courage Mr. Bush you show greed. I have no doubt but that my family, like so many others, hangs their heads in shame at your dishonorable actions Mr. Bush. I weep at the graves of the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for your dishonesty.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Sergeant Major’s Incensed Rant – Or Give The Damn Ports Away

As of today 2,273 American soldiers have died in Iraq, and 16,653 have been wounded and maimed. Today I read this article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10704051/from/RSS/ and grew ill with contempt. I would like to ask Mr. Bush this question. Have these Americans died and sacrificed their lives and limbs so that you can turn the control of American ports over to an Arab country that, unlike Iraq, has been directly linked to terrorists.

Mr. Bush I served my country for 27 years. I did this freely and without reservation, just as hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have done through out history and are doing today and will do tomorrow but, I must tell you this Mr. Bush. We have not sacrificed so that you may continue to make a mockery of being Commander in Chief. At what point do you or will you begin to have a drop of shame, remorse, or courage? How can you look the mother, father, sister, or brother of a soldier in the face?

I will not go into the details in this post because I have enumerated and listed gross transgressions and incompetence’s in many of my past post but you Mr. Bush have shepherded a never ending string of catastrophes that are destroying the American military and you have done absolutely nothing to make this nations safer and now you would outsource control of our ports in such a reckless manner.

I am too furious to express my contempt for you George W. Bush but I pray that America will wake up and do something to remove you and your neocon cohorts in the Senate and Congress from office. I promise you that I will do all in my power to motivate and move as many of the citizens of this nation to vote you and all of your cronies from office.

God help us all and protect us from your insane idiocy.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Extremely Distressed Thoughts On That.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Painful Truth– Or Why The Neocons Keep Winning

I don’t know if you have noticed but since 1994 the Republican Party has been winning and, since the presidential election of 2000 the Neocons have been winning.  I know this is a shock but it is the truth.  It is the plain and simple truth.  That’s right, we can complain and we can call them incompetent and we can call them failures and we can curse them for the evil they are doing in the world but the reality is that they are winning elections and staying in power and becoming more powerful each day.  Why?

Well the answer is as simple as the plain truth I’ve stated above.  They are winning for two reasons.  The first reason is that they are united with a single message.  The second reason is that the Democratic Party is not united and does not have a single message.  It’s really just that simple.  Sure there are other more complex facets to these two reasons but those are the basic core reasons.

Let’s do a quick study of their unity and single message.  Since the presidential election we, the citizens of this nation, have watched as this administration, Senate, and Congress have:
  • provided tax cuts to the very wealthy at the expense of the Middle Class and poor,

  • taken the nation from a near $300 billion budget surplus to a near $400 billion budget deficit,

  • driven the national debt to over $8 trillion dollars,

  • created a national disgrace with the haphazard implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Program while placing an unreasonable burden on the elderly,

  • attempted to destroy Social Security and when they failed a frontal assault have now tried to clandestinely stick it in the budget and implement it through the back door,

  • lied to and deceived the nation as they took us into a misguided and illegal war,

  • began a spying program that is blatantly illegal and an obvious violation of the 4th amendment to the constitution,

  • through procedural and political maneuvering, neglect, and dereliction of duty avoided taking action and investigating illegal wiretaps,

  • outed a CIA covert operative in violation of national security policy and law,

  • committed acts of perjury,

  • participated in money laundering,

  • taken bribes and other gifts from lobbyist in return for legislative favors,

  • neglected homeland security and emergency management and allowed an American city to be virtually obliterated,

  • failed to provide adequate aid to the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in American history,

  • appointed arch conservatives to the Supreme Court who will legislate from the bench,

  • destroyed virtually any chance of peace or developing constructive relationships with the Muslim world through misguided and blatantly ignorant foreign policy,

and last but not least shot their friends with bird shot.  And throughout this string of obvious disasters they have consistently supported one another.

Throughout this catastrophe called Republican leadership they have beat the drum:

  • that tax cuts for the wealthy stimulate the economy,

  • we have budget deficits because we’re fighting a war on terror,

  • private drug programs provide the cheapest drugs for America,

  • Social Security is broke and private investments are the answer,

  • Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction,

  • FISA is broken and doesn’t allow us to do what we need to do to defend the nation,

  • the president has the authority to wiretap because Congress gave it to him,

  • Valerie Plame wasn’t a covert agent,

  • anyone who outed an agent will be fired,

  • my superiors authorized me to divulge classified information,

  • sending money to the national party and then them sending us money isn’t money laundering,

  • I never met Jack Abramof,

  • I don’t know Jack Abramof,

  • you’re doing a heck of a job Brownie,

  • we are reorganizing FEMA,

  • the State failed to respond,

  • the city failed to respond,

  • Judge Alito meets the gold standard,

  • Judge Alito is a mainstream jurist,

  • there is a democracy deficit in the middle east,

  • the Palestinians will elect their own government,

  • Hamas is a terrorist organization,

and all though they are mostly lies, to a neocon, they all stay on message.  And they not only stay on message but neither the Senate nor the Congress ever holds this administration accountable.  There is no system of checks and balances with a Republican held executive branch, legislative branch, and judiciary and that is what we have.  The president does what he wants and the Republican Party toes the line and voices the Party line while the Senate and Congress simply take no action or passes the law the president wants.  If he’s breaking the FISA laws then they change the law.  This is the unity and single message the Republicans and Neocons use to continue to win.

Now let’s look at reason two.  What is the Democratic Party doing to counter the single mindedness of the Republican Party?  What has been the united Democratic response to any one of the issues I’ve listed above?  Think about the two lists I have provided above and bear in mind that these are not comprehensive lists.  Pick a single issue on the list and see if you can clearly articulate the Democratic response or position on that issue. I’m betting you can’t.  And the reason is that the Democratic Party is not united and does not have a single message for the party to stay on point with.  That is the very sad and real truth.  And what makes this very bad is that we are reaching a point of no return.  I do not believe that I am being an alarmist but rather a realist.  This nation and this world are facing some very real, very large and very, very dangerous issues and we are not coming up with the correct answers.

This nation, by virtue of who we are, where we are, when we are, holds great responsibility and we are not living up to of fulfilling that responsibility.  So what can we do?  We must find a way to counter what the Republican Party and the Neocons are doing and I do not believe that an independent or new party is the answer.  The Democratic Party is the answer to this dilemma.  The structure and heart is there but the vision and discipline is not so there must be some fundamental changes made within the Party.  The Chairman of the DNC provide vision and must take the leadership in a new direction and we must help him.  As I have mentioned in past posts we are the heart and soul of the party and we must motivate these men and women who lead our party or as we use to say in the army we must show them that they need to, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” And that is the message that has to be carried to the party leadership.

Lastly let me add this bit.  For each and every point above the Democratic Party must have a clear position and message that goes to the heart of what the American people think, feel and believe.  For example fifty five percent of the American people believe the Iraq war was a mistake so why isn’t the Democratic Party clearly communicating that it was a mistake and Jack Murtha is correct and we must pull out.  That’s simple, direct, and what the American people think.

We must not let the Neocons continue to dominate the American agenda and continue to warp our society and government.  They must be made to answer to the American people this November and in November 2008 and in order to do that the Democratic Party must wake up and show real leadership, have a real plan, and have a clear unified message.  And remember, in the words of Joseph Heller, “The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."  George W. Bush and the Neocons are getting thousands of Americans killed and will get thousands more killed.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Waiting Until He Shoots Himself

Let me say up front that I am, to paraphrase General Douglas MacAurther, just an old soldier and I am fading away.  Having said that I am however a follower of current events and political machinations and what I have observed over the last 5 years makes this old soldier, shall we say, nervous and in fact very, very nervous.  Not to mention nauseous and sometimes just plain violently ill.  Let me explain why.

Over the last five years I have watched an administration that does not have the support of a majority of Americans become what I believe is one of the most insolent and powerful administrations in the history of United States.  And what makes me very, very nervous is first, that I do not see an end to the accumulation of power by this administration and second I do not see either the House or the Senate reining in the executive power grab.  I believe that the legislative branch leadership is in fact a bunch of blindly greedy, inept, and almost buffoonish coconspirators.

I believe this crusty old Sergeant Major is becoming somewhat infamous for his lists of Bush transgressions against this nation so I’m not going to do the usual here because I believe I have provided enough of those in many of my earlier posts to support what I say here.

From day one this administration has had a very specific, and not conservative but radical, neo-conservative agenda that has had two main purposes and several sub-purposes.  The first goal of this administration was to garner as much executive power as possible as soon as possible so as to further empower themselves to accomplish their second goal which was to implement an agenda aimed at first enriching a very elite group of their wealthiest American cohorts and second to break the social programs of the American government while simultaneously redirecting and pumping as many tax dollars as possible into corporate America (Privatization and Outsourcing) and they are succeeding in their endeavors.

The Bush administration is using brute force, coercion, and intimidation in all that they do whether it is politically twisting the arms of fellow Republicans and Democrats alike or forcing the opposition party off of K street to forcefully get their way in the legislative branch or it is taking oil fields of other countries, they know only a slash and burn mentality for getting all they want.  One must not be a political science major or possess an advanced degree to draw a clear picture of where this administration was headed from the beginning or where they are going in the future.

In their every act is arrogance, disdain, and often open contempt for anyone or anything that disagrees with them or gets in the way of their agenda.  This is overtly, intuitively, and blatantly obvious by their actions as was demonstrated by the president in by-passing courts to, let’s not sugar coat it, spy on American citizens and it was reinforced by the idiotic actions of the vice president in snubbing his nose at the American public when he does something as serious as shooting someone.  And by the way, not to be nitpicky but, as a ‘former’ quail hunter, you have to be an idiot to shoot a fellow hunter.  Especially if you are considered a veteran, ‘expert,’ hunter.

From the building of the Texas Republican political empire through the slimy political gerrymandering, redistricting, and political contribution kickback schemes to the K Street project to totally marginalize the opposition party financially they have plotted taking complete control of our government.  (Yes I used the term ‘plotted’ but only because it is so blatantly obvious that these things are overtly intentional and planned.)  From the disastrous 2000 presidential election that was so manipulated by the Governor of Florida and conservatives on the Supreme Court as to make elections a joke to the malicious use of 9/11 for political gain they have crawled to new lows for any group of “Tammany Hall” style politicians in the history of our nation.

Yes today is an open rant but a healthy one.  I am also furious at the Democratic Party because they have been so obviously paralyzed as to make virtually no progress in even slowing down this administrations march to a near autocratic government.  Virtually all progress that has been made against this administration has been by grassroots organizations operating in near autonomy through the internet and on blogs.  I must ask the Democrats, as someone who has contributed to the Party and many of its candidates consistently, I would like to know if you simply do not have the ability to sit down together (the leadership) and look at the never ending and blatantly, intuitively obvious list of failures, missteps, and plain old criminal acts of the Bush administration and come up with a logical, meaningful, and effective plan to defeat this political machine or are you all so inept that you cannot take something so obvious and use it to your advantage?  Can you not think out of the old guard box or do we have to wait until he shoots himself?  (That’s a joke NSA, Secret Service, O’lie-ly or whoever else is listening in.)

Listen Democratic leadership, there is a vast common ground among the varied constituency of the Democratic Party.  We have an internet community that is easily and readily mobilized.  Form and solidify the message of the party (I’ve told you what it is enough times.) and start getting it out.  Use all of us crazy, whacked out bloggers and wanna be geeks.  Don’t play doormat anymore.  Attack the Republican machine and, above all, be consistent and unified.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What Part Of This Administration Do You Find Competent

For over five years now the United States has suffered under an incredibly cruel burden. That cruel burden, in a word, is incompetence. The citizens of this great nation have suffered tremendous lose of life through grotesque attacks against our nation, the consequences of a misguided war, and a series of horrendous natural disasters that have been devastating and have seemed endless; but the single greatest burden we have suffered and had to bear is that of incompetent leadership. Incompetence on the part of the nation’s leadership starting with the president and going down through and including the Senate and the Congress.

Now you might ask how it is possible that I would put incompetent leadership above this series of horrible disasters that our nation has endured. Simple, because with competent leadership, though the attacks against our nation might not have been prevented, the chances would have been much greater that they could have been prevented. As for the misguided war, it definitely could have been prevented and thousands of casualties’ spared and untold suffering avoided. With regards to all of these events including the natural disasters, competent leadership would have certainly and dramatically mitigated the results.

What makes all of this even more repugnant and sad is that our governments system of checks and balances also failed in that the leadership ranks of the Senate and the Congress were and are as void of competent leadership as is the executive branch and as a result they took no steps whatsoever to intervene and mitigate the damage that was done by the executive branch.

But the damage hasn’t and doesn’t stop with the catastrophic events mentioned above. America’s domestic and foreign policy are also in a shambles with much of the damage done and being done a direct result of the actions or lack of action on the part of incompetent leadership.

Let’s do this by the numbers beginning with domestic issues. This administration entered office with an inherited budget surplus of over $400 billion dollars and immediately began to squander it for partisan political gain. It is now at a -$300 +/- Billion. They began their incompetent leadership with the cooperation of the House and Senate leadership by initiating a series of tax cuts specifically targeted at enriching their cohort of wealthy Americas through tax cuts aimed specifically at the very wealthy.

Tax Cuts – Act I

Tax Cuts – Act II

Tax Cuts – Act III

This irresponsible action resulted in a bloated federal deficit never before recorded in American history.

Bloated Deficit Act I

Bloated Deficit Act II

They continued demonstrate their incompetence with their assault on domestic policy and insult to middle class and poor America with their education wrecking, un-funded program of “No Child Left Behind.”

Education Left behind Act I

Education Left Behind Act II

But simple domestic incompetence in leadership wasn’t enough for this administration, Senate and House. After 9/11 they had to forcefully demonstrate their complete lack of competent leadership by ignoring common sense and the advice of those who were competent by initiating a misguided and probably illegal “preemptive” war.

Iraq Intelligence Misuse Act I

Iraq Intelligence Misuse Act II


Iraq Invasion

Still Lying

Once they were armpit deep in this war they continued to show a complete lack of competence by failing to demonstrate leadership and if not ordering torture then silently condoning it.

Torture Act I – GITMO
Torture Act II – Abu Ghraib
Torture Act III – Abu Ghraib
Torture Act IV – Abu Ghraib

And by way of further demonstration and in order to remove any doubt as to their total lack of military competence they fail to plan the war, execute the war, and manage the occupation.

Un-Armored Humvees Act I
Un-Armored Humvees Act II
Troops Body Armor Act I
Troops Body Armor Act II – Wife Armor
Occupation Failure
Readiness Act I – Murtha’s Letter to Bush
Readiness Act II

And of course once we have botched the war we can continue to add insult to injury in the Middle East and the Muslim world in general by burnishing our Foreign Policy credentials by demonstrating our incompetence in world leadership by ignoring Israel and Palestine until it’s too late.

Election Results Not To Our Liking

But remember that no incompetent leadership is complete without a domestic disaster so horrendous that it can demonstrate incompetence squared.

Katrina Disaster Act I

Katrina Disaster Act II – Waste

Katrina Disaster Act III – Failure

So now we come to the competency score card. Let’s check those grades.

Tax Relief = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Deficit = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Education = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Disasters = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Integrity = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Foreign Policy = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Iraq War = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

Military Leadership = Executive Branch F, Senate F, Congress F

As a result of this analysis if find no part of this administration or Congress and Senate competent.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What America Stands For – One Soldiers View – Or What Mr. Bush And The Neocons Don’t Get.

Simply put, I believe that America stands for all the hopeful and grand ideals that the founding fathers put in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The emphasis here is on “grand ideals”.  Ideals such as equality, liberty, freedom, and justice.

Those great yet fallible men who wrote these two documents were human beings and they like the documents they wrote and this great nation were, and are, and always will be, filled with fallacies.  More than many of us even care to contemplate.  Yes I hate to break it to some of you but the United States of America is not a perfect nation.  But, what I believe many people do not seem to realize, and this applies to those on the extreme left and right alike, is that the founding fathers never thought of these documents or our government as perfect or even near perfect.  In fact I believe they purposefully used words like “in order to form a more perfect union” to tell us this and this should tell us implicitly that they understood that the documents and the nation were not, are not, and never would be perfect.  These historic documents were in fact cobbled together from many different ideas and often through bitter argument and yes great struggle and compromise.  And, the simple construction of these two documents acknowledged that they must be living documents capable of growing with the nation but growing with extreme caution.

I believe that from the very founding of this great nation and because of our own difficult  struggles for freedom, our citizens have held these two documents up and proclaimed to themselves and the world, “this is what we want and strive to be”, “this is what we believe is right and correct and good”.  But, contrary to what this country’s current administration apparently believes, I do not believe we should ever hold these two documents up and say these documents are perfect and this is what we think the rest of the world should do and be.  And, contrary to the radicals on the other side who would destroy our country I promise you these documents, these ideals, and these people are strong and you will never succeed.

So what does all of this mean to me as a soldier/citizen?  What does this mean to me when someone holds up a list, from inception to the present, of our nation’s transgressions, domestic and international?  What does this mean to me when someone holds up pictures of innocent people killed, injured, and maimed by our military forces?  What does this mean to me when someone says you are and evil nation with out principles?

It means that I am deeply and woefully and painfully sorry for any unintended consequences of our actions but it also means I will march straighter and hold my head up higher because we are still a nation of free people struggling, sacrificing, and dying to achieve the ideals set forth in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  It means that Abraham Lincoln knew and understood this struggle.  It means that Carrie Nation knew and understood this struggle, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew and understood this struggle.  And, it means that innumerable other Americans knew and know this struggle and died and are dying for it.  It means we are a nation in a constant internal battle to “form a more perfect union” while simultaneously defending ourselves and much of the world from real aggression.  And, it means that while we are all of these things, we are also a nation whom the world looks to as an example of a struggling nation of free people.  It means we are a nation often and consistently called upon by the world to intervene and aid and assist in spite of our fallacies and shortcomings and the mistakes we make.  It means that we are a nation that many other nations respect and fear and covet and loath all at the same time.  It means we are one nation trying to live and survive like so many other nations in this world.  And it means we are not perfect.  It means we are.

No we are not perfect, but to those of you who would damn us I say this.  Before you damn this nation again, I would ask you this.  Look around at the rest of the world.  How many other nations do you see struggling as vehemently as America does to achieve the “grand ideals” which we struggle so desperately to achieve?  How many other nations do you see who are capable of shouldering the burdens thrust upon this nation by the rest of the world?  How many other nations do you see where their citizenry have the freedoms to struggle against and change their government as we Americans do?  And, I would ask you this; would you have this nation put down all of its weapons and leave the rest of the world to have their own?  No, I think not, and if you would I would tell you it would be easier to simply place the gun at your head now and pull the trigger.  

I am not a champion of war.  I hate war!  I have lived and survived war.  It is an ugly, callous, and cruel thing that is visited upon mankind but, I also know all too well that there is evil in this world and if those who are not evil would discern between good and evil and bring peace then I would tell you war is all too often an unfortunate necessity.

I believe that perhaps this quote by an Englishman, Economist, and Philosopher is appropriate.  “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse.  A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety; is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made so by the exertions of better men than himself.”  John Stuart Mill, 1806 – 1879

So I say this to those Americans who would curse and damn this nation.  Demand change!  Struggle for change!  Fight for change!  And if necessary die for change but, think twice and long and hard before you curse, or damn this country for we are the mightiest of the islands of freedom and in our absence, not just this country but this world would surely descend into anarchy.  Use your energy to bring change to your country and not to weaken or bring it down because if you succeed I do not believe you will find another sanctuary from which to take up your fight.

Lastly, I would tell you that George W. Bush and the neocons do not understand any of what I have written here because if they did we would not be in Iraq today.  They do not understand that it is a moral obligation of this nation to not impose our system of government or belief system on other nations and cultures.  It is my belief that if, and it is a big if, we as a nation are charged or morally obligated to do anything in this world it is to create an environment around us where nations and peoples can grow and develop in a peaceful manner without threat from tyranny either from within or without and that is most often accomplished effectively through leadership, diplomacy, and example and not through brute force.  Mill explains Mr. Bush and the neocons for us with this quote.  “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”  John Stuart Mill, 1806 – 1879

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why I love America and Don’t Like George W. Bush – A Soldiers Thoughts

I was browsing the news today and began to think to myself; this really is a great country but why exactly do I love America? I thought to myself, I know I love this country because I served in her armed forces for 27 years and through a couple of wars so I must love her. So I decided to make a quick list of all those plain Jane kinds of reasons I love my country and here is the list that just popped in my head in just a few minutes so you know it is by no means all inclusive.

Reasons the Sergeant Major loves his country.

I love America because we are a land of high ideals.
I love America because we are a land of frugal and prudent people.
I love America because we are a land that believes in honesty and integrity.
I love America because we are a land that respects the rights of others.
I love America because we are a land that believes in the rule of law.
I love America because we are a land of people that are always there helping our neighbors.
I love America because we are a land that would never use military force without just provocation.
And last but not least I love America because we love and take care of our soldiers.

So after I made that quick list it suddenly hit me that the news I just read says that George W. Bush must not love America very much. The news I just read, in fact, says George W. Bush doesn’t even represent our mainstream American values. So I don’t like George W. Bush. And here are some of the reasons I don’t like George W. Bush.

I don’t like George W. Bush because he doesn’t have the mainstream American value of being frugal and prudent.
U.S. Trade Deficit

I don’t like George W. Bush because he doesn’t have the mainstream American value of honesty and integrity.

I don’t like George W. Bush because he doesn’t have the mainstream American value of honesty and integrity and respect for America’s laws and constitution.

I don’t like George W. Bush because he doesn’t have the mainstream American value of always being there to help his neighbors.

I don’t like George W. Bush because he have the mainstream American value of never using military force without just provocation.

I don’t like George W. Bush because he doesn’t have the mainstream American value of loving and taking care of our soldiers.
Body Armor

These are just some of the reason I don’t like George W. Bush but mostly I don’t like George W. Bush because he’s not a nice man and I know that because nice men wouldn’t do what George W. Bush does. Like this.
And this.
And this.
Humvee Armor

George W. Bush should not be president because he doesn’t represent mainstream American values and because he’s not a nice man or a good Commander in Chief.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

America’s Army Decimated Seven Ways From Hell – Or Bush Failure To The 10th Power

What the Bush administration has done to the military should make the “Greatest Generation” weep for their children, their grandchildren and their nation.

The threat that called our nation and the “Greatest Generation” to war on December the 7, 1941 was a clear act of war by a nation state and the response of the United States and the President on December 8, 1941 was an equally clear declaration of war.  The President mobilized the nation in response to a clear and present danger and he mobilized them in the most appropriate manner.

The threat that called our nation to action on September 11, 2001 was equally clear but it was NOT an act of war.  It was a simple, horrific, and deadly act of terrorism and it was not an act by a nation state but an act by a sinister and thoroughly evil terrorist group.  On September 12, 2001 the President mobilized the nation in response to a clear and present danger and he mobilized them in the most INappropriate manner.  The threat that called our nation to action on September 11, 2001 was one of terrorism that called for an appropriate anti-terrorist response.  The President was not up to this historic challenge.  He either failed to recognize or simply ignored the fact that acts of war, as we generally understand them, are acts committed by political entities which are usually associated with nation states and terrorist acts, as we generally understand them, are acts committed by terrorist and criminal elements not usually associated with nation states.

The President, instead of calling our nation to action against terrorism, lied and misled the nation into an ill-conceived and misguided war.  The actions by George W. Bush of failing to be engaged in Palestine, declaring a previously none existent “Axis of Evil”, making blatantly false accusations against Arab nations, and declaring a war on terrorism and finally by invading a sovereign, though militant and belligerent, Arab nation did nothing help to legitimize a terrorist organization in the eyes of many in the Muslim world.  This resulted in the rallying of many Muslims to the side of al Qaeda and the radical Muslim community.  That gross intentional act has wrought horrific results on our nations military.

Armies, Air Forces, and Navies are generally designed to fight wars; they are not designed to combat terrorism and terrorist acts.  That is a simple fact.  Military forces can be configured to fight different types of wars to include conventional wars such as World War II or guerilla wars as in the case of the Vietnam War and they can be configured to fight certain other limited combat even anti-terrorist operations but that does not change their basic purpose and function.  The American military was not and is not designed to be a primary anti-terrorist force nor is it a very effective force for such purposes.  That is not to say that they cannot be used as a “tool” in the fight against terrorism because in very specific circumstances they can be most effective.  However, it is my belief that anyone who would say otherwise is perpetuating a lie that only gives the American public a false sense of security.  The Iraq war itself is proof positive of this fact.

After the invasion of Iraq the major conflict of armies was over in a matter of weeks with a resounding, total and complete American victory.  “Mission Accomplished”.  That part was true by the way.  The American Army did exactly what it was designed and trained to do and did it with exceptional skill but, remember that it was after this total victory that the carnage began.  Simply put the 2,264 American deaths and 16, 653 wounded and maimed clearly demonstrates that our army was not designed or trained to deal with terrorism.  These soldiers were not killed and wounded by enemy soldiers in combat but by terrorists and criminals committing terrorist acts within a country on the verge of civil war.  This is further amplified by the fact that we incurred these casualties as a result of our equipment, i.e. vehicles and body armor, not being designed to withstand the “improvised” explosives used by terrorists in terrorist attacks.  It is critical that one understand that the troops serving in Iraq, though exceptionally professional soldier and in many cases “Rangers” are not anti-terrorist troops.  They are simply GI’s, “Mud Puppies”, “Jar Heads”, and “Dog Faces”.  Regular soldiers trained to fight wars.

To this point I have mostly talked about the obvious repercussions to this misguided and mislabeled “war on terrorism” but now let’s talk about the other types of decimation being wreaked on our armed forces.  In a conventional war the active forces are the first in and then the reserves are activated and brought into the conflict.  Virtually always during a major conflict a draft is implemented bringing in huge numbers of additional soldiers from every walk of life.  While all of this is occurring the military industrial complex goes into action to produce the needed equipment for fighting the war.  And through all of this the families love and support all of the soldiers because they all have a steak in the conflict and their flesh is on the front lines.  This is an example of the simple use of overwhelming force to bring about a quick and complete victory.  When the war is over the reserves and guard go home and the active force continues their mission.  Such is the clean neat conventional war.

As we all know this is not the way it is going in Iraq and in the fight against terrorism.  The Bush administration has not mobilized the nation in this fashion because they understand, but would never admit, that you cannot fight a “war on terrorism” and they have no intention of ever admitting that you can’t do this.  They understand that the problem with terrorism and Iraq is that they are two totally separate things.  Terrorism is most probably a never ending world wide police action.  That is not a defeatist statement but a simple statement of fact and human nature.  Iraq on the other hand is a war created by the Bush administration through a preemptive invasion and for questionable reasons and not for reasons of the national interest.  As a result of this folly the American army is now stuck in the middle of what has become essentially a civil war created by the George W. Bush and the neocons.

The war in Iraq has gone on longer than any American conflict or war in over 150 years.  Longer than World War I, longer than World War II, longer than the Korean War and longer than the Vietnam War.  It has gone on for nearly 4 years and our relatively small active duty, guard, and reserve forces are simply being worn out for what is in reality a civil war and they are simultaneously being decimated by terrorists.  This problem is further compounded by the fact that all of our forces are now voluntary and the pool of replacements is sorely limited.  (In case you haven’t noticed recruitment is way down.)  Additionally this means that we do not “all” have a steak in this Iraq war because not all of us have our flesh on the line in the conflict.

I believe that at last count a total of one member of the Congress had a family member in Iraq.  The nation has not been mobilized but our volunteer army has.  The reality is that the vast overwhelming majority of the American military forces are made up of soldiers, sailors, and airmen from poor and middle class families.  These are soldiers who joined not to be professional soldiers, but to pay for college or gain a skill to make a living and get ahead in the world.  These are the soldiers who are fighting and dying and being wounded and maimed for America and there is little or no relief in sight for these men and women.  And the reason that there is no relief in sight for these soldiers is because creating a faux national mobilization by encouraging people to put a yellow magnetic ribbon on the back of their SUV’s does not mean the nation has been mobilized or that their flesh is on the line.

On top of this human toll a heartless Bush administration continues to short change the military for the sake of tax cuts.  The military equipment our soldiers need is being worn out and when this Iraq war is over it will cost us, our children, and our grandchildren billions upon billions of dollars to replace and repair what Bush has wrought.

This to me is failure to the 10th power.  As a retired soldier, who after Vietnam saw the devastation wrought on our military by another misguided administration, and like many other professional soldiers, chose to stayed on to help build a military force that is the finest in the world am sickened by what George W. Bush has done.  America deserves far better and our brave soldiers certainly deserve better.

Let me summarize with this.  There is a difference between choosing the well worn and easy way when you are afraid and taking the path less worn and showing courage in the face of fear or doubt.  George W. Bush has chosen the well worn path.  George W. Bush did not serve during Vietnam and he is not serving now.  Soldiers know that when you have to search for the records somethin’ ain’t right.  It’s kinda like the clerk with the Silver Star; you know he got it but he didn’t get it with a weapon in his hand.

I believe this quote best fits Mr. Bush and based on their records most if not all of his administration.

“It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.”   Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983), The Passionate State of Mind, 1954.

How much of my brothers’ blood must be spilled for this shallow, weak man?

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What America Knows - Or Democrats Need Focus And Voice

One of the inherent problems in politics is an inability to maintain focus.

Whenever I need to re-focus I go to this link Casualties and it helps me get right back on track. That link is to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count and there is something on it for everyone whatever your political persuasion. But let's stay on task and that is talking about focus.

It is pretty obvious to me that the political landscape in the United States is divided into two simple groups and those groups are the conservatives and the liberals. (Please note that I said the political landscape and not the American people are in two simple groups.) Now I break those groups down a little bit more and I say conservative-bad and liberal-good. To me that is pretty straight forward but just for those who don't get it let's do it by the numbers.

Conservative – Bad – They want:

  • A never ending war on Terror that bestows unlimited power on their president.

  • Big tax breaks for rich.

  • No tax breaks for poor and middle class.

  • No regulation on big corporations.

  • No Social Security.

  • No Medicare.

  • No Medicaid.

  • No pension plans.

  • No health insurance.

  • No Food and Drug Administration.

  • No Department of Education.

  • No rich child left behind.

  • No Environmental Protection Agency.

  • No environmental protections.

  • No Department of Health and Human Services.

  • No affirmative action.

  • No foreign policy.

  • No fourth amendment rights.

Liberal/Progressive – Good – They want:

  • An effective law enforcement and homeland security program to fight terrorism and bring terrorist to justice and keep our country safe.

  • Fair taxes for everyone.

  • Corporations to be regulated – No monopolies, no ENRONS.

  • Social Security.

  • Medicare.

  • Medicaid.

  • Pension Plans.

  • Health Insurance.

  • Food and Drug Administration – That does its job.

  • Department of Education – So every American gets a good education.

  • NO child left behind – with funding to pay for the program.

  • Environmental Protection Agency – With enforcement capabilities.

  • Environmental Protection for our fragile environment.

  • Department of Health and Human Services funded and empowered to provide public health and human services required by the citizens of the nation.

  • Affirmative Action Program – That ensure a fair and equal chance for every citizen.

  • A foreign policy that incurs the respect of all of the nations of the world and does not alienate half of the world and promotes peace and prosperity.

  • A government that respects the Constitution of The United States.

Now I don't know about you but when I look at those two lists I think conservative-bad and liberal/progressive-good. That's just the truth of it. So I don't quite understand where the focus problem for the Democratic Party comes from. I believe that the vast majority of Democratic politicians, the extreme vast majority, get it with a few Lieberman exceptions so why don't they just get on with it?

Certainly every politician has his or her own special circumstance but they all have pretty much the same American values and belief system and believe me this great country is not divided into two groups of extreme conservative-bad on the right and extreme liberal/progressive-good on the left. They are pretty much right down the middle moderates like you and me that want that list of programs and institutions listed in the liberal/progressive-good column above.

So my question is this. Why can't the Democratic Party take that liberal/progressive-good list and expand it to include everything I didn't mention and make that their pledge to America? Why can't they take that message to America and show them, and pledge to them, that the Democratic Party is the party of America made up of "the Fighting Democrats", "the Fighting Independents", "the Fighting Moderates" and the rest of just plain old home town America?

America doesn't need any more sniping and bickering. America doesn't need a party of name callers and partisans. America needs a party with a focus that is carrying America forward. They need a party that calls them like they see them and then moves on to solve the problem.
  • They need a party that has called the folly of the Iraq war and that has a plan to withdraw from Iraq in a positive, productive manner.

  • They need a party that has called hooey on the "war on terror" and has a plan to combat terrorism in a meaningful manner with police forces and tactics the world over and with military force only when needed and only with surgical precision and in unison with our real allies and coalition partners.

  • They need a party that has called bull on the "my way or highway foreign policy" and has a plan to develop and implement a foreign policy that cultivates international relations and coalitions that will fight not only terrorism but poverty, genocide, and health crisis worldwide.

  • They need a party that calls BS on hallucinogenic budget proposals and has a plan to balance the budget and keep America on the leading edge of industry and economics.

  • They need a party that has a plan to guarantee every child will get an opportunity for a good education.

  • They need a party that has a plan to guarantee that every American has health insurance and social security.

  • They need a party that has a plan to insure that every American has an equal chance in every facet of our society.

  • They need a party that is not corrupt to the point of distraction and ineffectiveness.

So here is what I think. I don't believe the average American follows the Supreme Court nominee proceedings and whether or not the nominee is conservative or liberal. I don't believe the average American follows the submission of or the budget process of the nation. I don't believe the average American follows whether CAFTA or NAFTA is approved or disapproved but I do believe this. The average American knows how much taxes they are paying. The average American knows when he or she has or doesn't have a job. The average American knows if he or she or their family has health insurance. The average American knows if he or she has or will have Social Security. The average American knows if he or she has or will have a pension when they retire. The average American knows how much it cost him or her to fill up their gas tank and how much it cost to buy that new car or stereo or washing machine. And the average American knows if the country is wining or loosing a war and they know if the country has or hasn't been attacked. And the average American knows if Americans are dying on foreign soil.

What all of this means is that the Democratic Party needs to talk to the American people about what they know and how the Democratic Party can do for them what needs to be done. That's what all of what I have said here means. It's time for a plan and plain English.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Why It's All His Fault – Or The Failures Of George W. Bush

I am not one who normally places blame (Yes I am when it comes to George W. Bush!) but sometimes it is called for and this is one of those times.
When he came to office George W. Bush became president of a nation with a budget surplus approaching $300 billion dollars, a standing army that was combat ready and whose strength was unmatched in the world, and a nation with an international reputation for doing the right thing and, if resented on some levels respected on most.   He has, during 5 short years, created an annual budget deficit approaching $400 billion dollars in 2006, has decimated the active duty, guard, and reserve forces by pushing them to the breaking point and they are now in need of billions of dollars to rebuild and reequip and he has taken us from having a modicum of respect in the world to being nearly universally vilified as a result of his foreign policy.   And all of this from a man who while campaigning for president promised America that he was a "uniter and not a divider", and he would be a leader who was a "consensus builder" and that he was someone capable of "reaching across the isle" politically.   And don't forget he is the same man who said he would bring "civility back to Washington" and he did not believe the United States should be in the nation building business and he would not be a nation builder president.
I'd like to talk common sense.  First let's talk about the budget deficit and to simplify process I want to compare our national budget to our family budget.   It goes like this.  So you have a family budget and it's based on income and expenses and the nation has a national family budget and it's based on income and expenses.  Your current income is $1,000.00 dollars and it pays all of your expenses which are $700.00 dollars a month and you have enough left over for savings and you save $300.00 a month.   This was basically the financial position of the United States when George W. Bush came into office.
So one day you become insane and tell your boss you want to keep working but you only want to be paid $300.00 dollars a month now.   In this insane moment you just created a situation where you will without a doubt have to declare bankruptcy and you have placed your family in a potentially life threatening situation.   You now have the same expenses of $700.00 a month but only an income of $300.00 a month so you just took a $700.00 cut in pay and you're not saving anything.  That is precisely what George W. Bush has done with the American family.   He went to" some" of his bosses (rich ones) and told them he didn't want their tax money anymore.  Now we, the national family, are in debt up to our eyeballs and must cut our expenses or we're going to go bankrupt.   It's as simple as that.  But it's not really so simple because you know what?  You use to have medical insurance (Medicare) and now you can't pay for it so if you get sick you're probably going to die.   And you know what else, you use to be able to pay into your retirement plan (Social Security) but now you can't so you're not going to be able to retire.   Now I don't know about you but I call that insane and anyone who would create a situation like that is insane.  So in my opinion he's insane and the condition of the national budget is George W. Bush's fault.
Now let's talk about common sense national defense.   On September 11, 2001 a group of terrorists hijacked four airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.   These men were a group of terrorists organized by Osama Bin Laden to execute a plan of his design which was a terrorist act against the United States.   Note that I said a terrorist act and not an "act of war".  The reason for this is common sense.  Terrorist are not soldiers but criminals.   Terrorist do not conduct military operations but criminal operations.  Terrorist organizations are not nations with armies with whom one can fight a war.   They are organized criminals to be fought with police forces and tactics and not with military forces and tactics of war.  
You cannot fight a war on terrorism.  It is that simple.  During prohibition and the era of gangland mobs the United States did not use an army to fight these gangs of criminals.   Even though the criminal gangs used bombs and machine guns and murdered people by the hundreds the United States did not declare war on Mafia gangs, (except perhaps in a philosophical sense), they fought them with police forces both federal, state, and local.   Today the drug cartels of the world use bombs and machine guns and carry out criminal operations to move, sell, and distribute drugs in and out of many countries of the world but we don't declare war on them, (except perhaps in a philosophical sense), we fight them with state and local and federal law enforcement.  You know those special counter drug forces.   So why does George W. Bush want to declare war on terrorism?  The straight answer is that it simply fulfills a political expedient.   War powers gives him more power and power and money is what he’s all about.
Lastly let's talk first about common sense credibility at home and then common sense credibility abroad.   Since taking office, George W. Bush has alienated people both domestically and abroad.  Domestically his political and legislative agenda has been focused on taking from the poor and giving to the rich through tax cuts and policies aimed at benefiting the very wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class.   This has been a pretty straight forward process that is best explained this way.  If you reduce the amount of taxes paid by the very wealthy without proportionally reducing the taxes on the middle class and poor then the middle class and poor end up shouldering the bulk of the national budget.  He has done this in a manner that has been best described as the "my way or the highway" attitude and without consulting with the minority party in Congress.   The repeal of the estate tax is a perfect example of tax relief aimed at the very wealthy.  Additionally he has, in budget after budget, cut programs aimed at benefiting the middle class and poor while giving away taxpayer dollars in no bid contracts to wealthy corporations.   If you do this after disproportionately reducing the taxes on the very wealthy you are now taking money from the poor and middle class and just giving it to the wealthy so it's a double tap.   One for them and one for them and none for anyone else.  Simple huh?
Now what about our credibility abroad.  If you just go to war because you feel like it and you justify that war with fake documents and lies then you have no credibility.   That is precisely what Mr. Bush did.  He sent his Secretary of State to the United Nations and in front of the entire world, most of whom were already skeptical, presented a case for war with Iraq using suspect and in many cases patently false information to convince them to go to war with Iraq.   This tactic failed with almost every country and did incredible damage American credibility.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.