Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exceptionally American

My pal SadButTrue, part of the Unruly Mob over at Les Enragé, has a truly exceptional post up about the harm "American Exceptionalism," via Bush's criminal policies worldwide, have wrought upon international peace and justice. Here's a bit of the post, then get over there and read the rest.
...from the point of view of someone who isn't an American (I'm proudly Canadian, eh?) - is that this is just another example of the idea of American Exceptionalism that has been accepted and even nurtured under the good old Stars and Stripes for far too long.

Ah yes, American Exceptionalism - the bastard child of Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine. The not-quite-so-evil twin of Might Makes Right. Nurtured and fed on a falsehood that is older than the country itself - the idea that the US is so morally superior to everyone else that it can be described as The City on the Hill, The Beacon of Democracy, the Font of Everything That is Good in The World.

And the reason that the world doesn't have to be concerned about the actions of America or its leaders? - because they're just so darned peachy-keen, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed gee whiz golly gosh dripping with good intentions. And if those good intentions turn out to make some US businesses a tidy profit? Well all the better! We'll throw in a slice of hot apple pie, and teach your folks how to play baseball.

And if those good intentions lead to us backing a coup against your democratically elected leader and installing a business-friendly tinpot dictator who starts murdering the opposition? Well shucks, dang, and whoa there Bessie. That never happens! Except for a few times in Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Panama, and enough places that it's hard to remember them all. But you can rest assured it will never happen again anyway. Trust us.

And not to seem too critical of our well-armed neighbour to the south, I'd like to add that this principle of Exceptionalism is running afoul of another principle that originated in the US, in fact the very principle that the ICC is based on. Yes, that's right, it's called the Nuremberg principle. The idea is that entire countries are not responsible for wars, their LEADERS are. Especially when the leaders in question have been caught in so many lies that no-one can even keep track anymore. And let's not forget that indispensable adjunct to the Nuremberg principle, that the leaders must be held accountable for their actions. Please let's not forget that.

If Bush and his gang of criminals are not held accountable, and significantly if that accounting is not spearheaded by America herself, any credibility you have internationally will be lost forever. Because in Bush's eye's it's not the country as a whole that benefits from this status of City on A Hill, it's himself personally. And that's just not right. As important as it is for the world that Bush be brought to justice it is equally important to America that they take an active role. Else you'll be painted with the brush of complicity in his crimes.

The eyes of all people are upon you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shadows and Light

It's all I can can bear tonight, long week. Here's where Iwanna be.

Coralie Clément, L'ombre et la lumière

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Women Soldiers Revistited

Somebody just posted a comment to a post I did in March 2007 called, "The Women Soldiers" I felt as a response to this comment I needed to revisit that post. Check the link and read my musings but in short, I addressed the woman now in 'combat' positions regardless of the DoD ban on woman in "direct combat positions." Also focused on the dramatic increase of sexual assault of deployed military women.

The "anonymous commenter" wrote this:

The last entry is correct.[my note: referring to the previous comment about women being able to serve in combat 'limited' positions] Women have been in combat roles for sometime. The Air Force and Navy have allowed them to serve as figher(sic) and bomber piolts(sic) for sometime, and those are combat positions. Also the Army allows women in quasi combat(sic) roles, such as Military Police (they patrol Iraq and guard convoys). I spent a year in Iraq and saw female turret gunners in convoys and female gunners on choppers. One of my female sergeants was a turret gunner and was wounded when her convoy was attacked back in 2004. She recovered, has a Purple Heart and contiues(sic) to proudly serve her country.

I have to laugh at all the lefties who left anti-military comments. Sure some women may face harassment in the military, just as they face it anywhere else but lets not take a few isolated incidents and generalize.[emphasis is mine] Also, remember that these women warriors are armed to the teeth (see the Blog photo, one of the woman is sporting an M16 with grenade launcher), so they are more than capable of fending off anyone who tries to get too fresh.

My response follows:

HopeSpringsATurtle said...
Dear Anon:

On October 1, 1994, the Defense Department issued a policy that rescinded the so-called "risk rule" that gauges the specialties to which women can be assigned. The policy was backed strongly by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and was the extension of the changes made in April 1993 that opened most aviation specialties, including attack helicopters, to women (Army, March 1994). The policy emphasized that no job will be closed to women just because it is dangerous, but fails to open direct offensive ground combat jobs to women (Army, March 1994). Even today, though, the official policy of the Army and Marine Corps excludes women from combat which precludes 12 percent of skilled positions and 39 percent of the total positions (GAO Report, July 1996).

One more casualty of the war in Iraq brought home to Decatur, Illinois, last weekend. In this case, the soldier's vehicle was hit in Baghdad on June 21st by a rocket-propelled grenade. But this death is one of those that makes this war unique, for it was a woman, 22-year-old Army Specialist Karen Clifton.

She is one of the most recent of more than 80 women (including a friend) who have so far been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a figure nearly double the number of American military women killed in Desert Storm, Vietnam, and Korea, combined. Some 500 have been wounded, many grievously.

American women are serving in the U.S. military today in ways and numbers unthinkable a few decades ago. They are now eligible to fill more than 80 percent of military jobs, 250,000 different assignments, often serving side-by-side with men.

So far, women have served some 167,000 tours of duty in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than four times the number in the first Gulf War. They are not assigned to infantry units, to tanks or submarines, and Pentagon policy officially precludes them from serving in so-called "combat occupations." But in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, where no clear frontlines exist, such distinctions are often hard to make.

Women in both theaters today drive Humvees and trucks, escort military convoys, serve as military police, even pilot helicopters and planes on the battlefield, all of it done under the very real -- and constant -- threat of attack. And like men, many women of the U.S. Armed Services have by now served several tours in the war zones.

Insofar as rape and sexual abuse, one doesn't typically have to sleep with one eye open and armed, on a US military base, in order to not be raped or sexually abused. The incidents of such violence are at an all time high--and most of it is covered up. Your assumption is naive and uninformed, regardless of your "year served in Iraq."

When was the last time you heard of male soldiers having to wake up another soldier in order to go to the bathroom after dark as to no be raped? Waking another woman as an "escort" is the standing order for women while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many women choose not to disturb the already less-than-advantageous sleep schedule of others, and "hold it." This has caused a precipitious increase in urinary tract infections and dehydration among other maladies.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Double Plus Good

In news today, a new phrase has been given us by BushCo: Aspirational Time Horizon This new-speak nonsense is Chimpy's sycophantic cohorts way of finally agreeing to a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Admittedly, I have doubleplusgood bellyfeel about what I hope is not just another good duckspeaker from Oceania, er, I mean the White House.
Interestingly enough, notice how "new-speak" is a frighteningly accurate commentary on what the MSM dishes out daily as 'news.'

GWB’s lie-berry

Found this over at friend Lotus' place (and what a place it is...), folo:

GWB’s liberry
The George W Bush
is now in
the planning stages.
The Library will include:

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won’t be able to remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don’t even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don’t let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don’t let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.

The National Debt Room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The ‘Tax Cut’ Room with entry only to the wealthy.

The ‘Economy Room’ which is in the toilet.

The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, they make you go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

The Airport Men’s Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.

The ‘Decider Room’ complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, pretzels, and straws.

The museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate the President’s accomplishments.

Admission: Republicans free; Democrats - $1,000 or three Euros

And just to compare and contrast for the New Yorker, the above is satire.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gummint High-pocrisy

State cancels contract, faces investigation after posters plaster London

By Alex Johnson, MSNBC
A state employee has resigned and officials have disavowed an international advertising campaign that led to calls for an investigation of tourism posters proclaiming “South Carolina is so gay.”

The campaign, which plastered the London subway with posters advertising the charms of South Carolina and five major U.S. cities to gay European tourists, landed with a resounding thud in South Carolina, where the issue of gay rights has long been a political flashpoint.

The advertisements were timed for London’s Gay Pride Week, which ended Saturday. The posters touted the attractions of the state to gay tourists, including its “gay beaches” and its Civil War-era plantations.

Comment from reader RF
:It’s a wonderful poster. I just love seeing the state gummint hung from its hypocrisy.

(H/T RF, thanks for the story)

Politics and Pundits: The Influence of Media on Elections and Democracy

The Financial Times of London in conjunction with the U.S. State Department held a panel discussion with talk radio personalities this morning. Featured on the panel, held at the U.S. Embassy in London, were Stephanie Miller, liberal talks morning queen, Neal Boortz, right-wing blowhard, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, broadcaster, writer & columnist, The Independent & The Evening Standard,and Nick Ferrari, LBC 97.3 Breakfast Show host. The panelist were asked questions submitted by the public and a spicy discussion ensued. Give it a watch. [note: Boortz is such a tool]

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Update on USAF Firings, Lost Nukes

I posted on resignation day when the story broke and Air Force Times did an interview with former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne. Wynne, along with Chief of Staff Gen. Michael T. Moseley who were both forced to resign June 5, 2008 under the cloud of the "accidentally" loaded, armed nukes, flown to Barksdale AFB where one bomb subsequently went "missing," and of course the nuclear warhead fuses mistakenly shipped to Taiwan.

When asked by AFT why he was fired, Wynne responded, "...long-standing disputes about the funding for F-22...a dispute as to whether or not you should spend your time worrying about the strategic effects of the future, or you should spend your time on the war as it sits." He goes on to address the airborne nukes and oops, mistaken missile parts, "We moved missiles between Minot and Barksdale. We did. In 2004 began the odyssey of the missile parts to Taiwan, which was not in the watch I was on, but nevertheless the results occurred during the time I was [secretary]. And so ascribing it to my tenure is interesting. ..."

So, to sum up, as with all things Bush, Mr. Nobody did it. Whatever it was, whenever it happened, no one is really responsible except possibly, the democrats.

Mr. Nobody, meet Mr. Lonely.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Torture 2.0

Jane Mayer (author of The Dark Side) did an interview with Harper's Magazine, published today. Scott Horton Asks Jane six pointed questions further exploring points made in her explosive book exposing the torture of whomever BushCo thinks fit to torment. This information comes on the heels of the payload discoveries in the recent ICRC report, and lends a deeper examination of the apathy and tacit approval given by the American public for the '24' style of "enhanced interrogation" in real-life situations which consistently lowers the very ethical foundation of our Republic, at home and abroad.

Photo courtesy of Clinton Fein from his art exhibit "Torture"

Read this revelatory conversation with Mayer while the rest of America exercises the luxury of supposition on America's 'right' to torture.
Eyewitnesses describe Mitchell as quoting Seligman’s theories of “Learned Helplessness” as useful in showing how to break the resistance of detainees’ to interrogation. One source recounts Mitchell specifically touting the experiments done on dogs in the context of how to treat detainees.
Good posting in a diary at DKOS and H/T to reader Mary for the heads-up.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Don't Ask

...I'll just tell.

The 60 Minutes episode entitled, "Military Soft On Don't Ask, Don't Tell?
Is Military More Tolerant Of Gay Members In Wartime?
" was a real disappointment. First, in the inimitable words of Stephen Sondheim, "It's intolerable, being tolerated." The U.S.military has become "more tolerant...and...soft," by allowing convicted felons, lowering intelligence standards, increasing age limits (42) and literally paying people to join and stay.

Why? Because George W. Bush and his legions of cronies have broken the military -- not to mention the country as a whole. The military have "relaxed" the witch hunts of previous years precisely because the current servicemembers are overworked with war on two fronts and another one looming.

The 60 Minutes piece was a joke. Representing the government was the infamous tool Duncan Hunter (R-CA). Leslie Stahl doesn't bother to call him on much, most particularly when asked about why Gay persons can't serve and he responds, "It's wartime..."and he goes on to intimate that Gays won't or can't fight. "We need hardened warriors, " says Hunter. Leslie Stahl just lets it go as if it's a given that Gays can't or won't fight.

I am sick to death of listening to Gay-bashers in and out of the service. Others agree. JOHN M. SHALIKASHVILI, former Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff says in a NYT article, "I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces." Watch the segment and then let CBS know that 75% of the public do not agree with DADT or the "60 Minute" treatment of such an important topic.

Friday, July 11, 2008

To Friends

I saw an old friend yesterday and we spent the day together catching up. We went into the USAF on the very same day (900 years ago) and were in BMTS squadrons right next to one another. He turned out to be my Air Force hero in so many ways. He retired 4 years ago and moved with his partner to Lackland AFB with me and my partner. We are now both single.

We had many parallels in life and now we are both back in California. It was great to see him and see him doing so well. I've missed you so much John, I'm glad we got to see each other again. In honor of old friendships and the hope that we can make sense out of the brave new world we seem to be entering, the full story of Christian the Lion (get a tissue).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Serial Killers

So much of what's going on in politics right now strikes me as just 'going through the motions.' I have this terrible feeling of impending doom. So much so, that I haven't been blogging. Still reading and listening but not sharing my thoughts until now. I can't imagine that BushCo would go to all this trouble to change the entire government, amass all the "unitary executive" power, subjugate the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights and then just walk away.

I don't understand how McCain, being the complete liar-dud-loser he is, can still be be competitive in the fall, in spite of all the help from the MSM. We already know the depth and breadth of the horrific changes this criminal administration has made: NSPD-51, the "detainment camps," the nearly completely corrupt DOJ, the illegal wiretapping; you know the list goes on and on. I repeat: Why go to all that trouble and then just walk away?

Karl Rove is a top level advisor to McCain. Is it a coincidence the "architect" of the GOP election theft is now on the team? How about the complicit congress? Not to mention the hackable voting machines still in use in most of the 50 states. C'mon people this is a big set-up. And I have no idea what to do about it. How about you?