Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Non-Person Of The Year

Time Magazine has a tradition of recognizing (though not necessarily "honoring") a person or persons deemed most influential and significant in any given year.

In the spirit of fairness and balance, I humbly offer the distaff side of this "recognition"--the least significant and least influential person or persons of the last twelve months:

May I present "The Non-Person Of The Year"

For tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% and tax breaks for the wealthiest business that placed an $100 billion dollar a year immediate burden on the majority and added approximately $30,000 in future debt to every tax paying individual whilst social services and infrastructure investment were cut.
For the millions spent on a 60-day tour touting Social Security "reform" despite obvious public awareness that the scheme would cost more and deliver less.
For the administration’s continuing claims of ties between Hussein and Al Qaida and Iraq’s threat to the US despite a majority of the public finally recognizing that lies led to the war and occupation.
For the purely political and simply vindictive "outing" of a CIA NOC whose duty was specifically to prevent the acquisition of nuclear materials by terrorists who wish harm the US.
For the firing of government officials performing their public duty of ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
For the refusal to provide verifiable election results and the continued use of flawed purge lists.
For the planting of propaganda and the manipulation of the "free press"
For having personal religios beliefs used as a means of oppression and manipulation
For the preferential provision of flu-vaccine to Congress
For sending troops to battle in insufficient numbers, with insufficient armor, bullets and supplies
For refusing dead soldiers honor guards and shipping them as freight
For cutting veterans benefits and healthcare
For leaving Hurricane Katrina victims to their own devices
For spying on peace groups and labeling at least half of US citizens as treasonous, unpatriotic, un-American.
For reserving the right to incarcerate, convict and torture by presidential fiat, without due process, representation or appeal
For eviscerating the separation of powers, the separation of church and state and public representation in favor of ultimate executive power

For all these reasons ( and others that could be mentioned), for being ignored, manipulated, burdened and suppressed I nominate the average American Citizen the "Non-Person of the Year".

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

International Rice Skating

In the world of ice skating national champions compete for international recognition. They are judged on a combination of skills—the confluence of technical and interpretive skills that culminate in a memorable and worthy performance.

Condoleezza Rice is currently America’s ice skating champion, lifted into the international arena by overwhelming partisan support. But out on the ice she stands alone, save for an isolated partisan crowd, and faces European judges inherently critical and wiser and older than she.

As the music swells she begins her routine cautiously, defensively but then quickly builds up her energy. Starting with some easy but crowd pleasing double toe-loops and salkoes she gathers momentum before launching into a spin. The pace now quickened she proceeds to the footwork section, traversing the ice with dazzling changes of position and direction before finally lining up for a double-triple combination capped with a camel spin.

The scores are posted. On both technical merit and interpretation the European judges are less than impressed. Rice’s "Rendition Rhapsody", and her originality, though recognized counted against her.
With disappointing scores Rice’s response was to attack the judges—not a tactic that will turn them around any time soon.

Will she be back next year to finally clinch worldwide acclaim and financial nirvana? Or will she be relegated to the exclusively American professional ice-skating circuit, performing "oil’s Well That End Well on Ice" or "Rendition Rabbit Saves Christmas"? Only time and millions of wasted dollars will tell.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The (Military) Children Are Our Future

Apparently it’s not enough for President Bush and Dick Cheney to justify their Iraq policy to captive audiences of serving military personnel, now they have to appeal to their kids too.

But instead of the childlike POTUS or the scowling "VEEP" delivering the message, it is Mrs Cheney who has been tapped to explain to elementary school children at two Washington-area Marine Corps bases in Quantico and Fort Belvoir, Virginia how 21st Century Iraq is just like 18th Century America.,,-5476471,00.html

Who better to explain to these likely future recruits the historical importance of their parents’ mission than a woman best known for a novel about barely concealed lesbianism in the Wild West?
``Two hundred and seventeen years ago, we held our first vote under our Constitution,'' Vice President Dick Cheney's wife said. ``We started then on the path the Iraqis are walking now.''

Never mind that the new Americans didn’t have to risk their lives to cast their votes, that they weren’t under occupation, that the Constitution specifically rejected the role of religion in both government and law.
The new Iraqi Constitution does( in common with the US Constitution) allow for amendments—an aspect that Lynne Cheney said provides ``a very important historical parallel'' with America's early democratic struggle.

``We did much the same thing in terms of our Constitution,'' she said on CNN.
``Many were reluctant to ratify (it) until they were told there would be amendments. ... So there are indeed many parallels and I look forward to talking with kids about it.''

Well that much I suppose is true: the paths are parallel…meaning they don’t converge in any way whatsoever. But draw two horizontal parallel lines on a chalkboard and any elementary schoolchild will recognize it as "equal".

It seems we can no longer rely on the old adage "History is written by the winners". From today it seems it should be replaced by "History is written by those who write it first, and re-write it later". As the military kids grow up and stumble across another old chestnut "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" which history will they remember? The history written after the fact or the history crafted before the fact?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Iraqi Free Press (a $100 million value!)

Rumsfeld Praises Role of Free Press in U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan (23/04/2004)
"Washington -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the emergence of a free press in Iraq and Afghanistan is an important current event in both countries but one that is under-reported by the media."

Military Admits Planting News in Iraq (New York Times/Eric Schmitt 12/03/05)

From The Baghdad Bugle ( "All the news that fits" )
A Special Investigative Op-Ed by Daoud Rumsfaud.

As-salamu aleikum and al-hamdu lillah as we 100 per cent genuine Iraqis like to say.
And as I like to say; Is Allah great? You bet! Is Allah doing a terrific job? Absolutely!

But enough of my unimpeachable camel-jockey credentials. There has been a disturbing trend lately of only bad news coming out of our great sovereign colony of Iraq (may its oil supplies last for a hundred years!).

Saah? (Is this really true?) Indeed my friends it is true, yet such things that are said are clearly false! These lies are spread by snakes and dung beetles unfit to drink my camel’s pizzle! Who you ask is behind these lies and rumours?

Is it the Jews? Yistuwi (it could be), who knows?

Is it the liberal lefty, godless communist democrats who want nothing more than to steal our oil and build permanent theater workshops and giant tofu-outlets on our blessed land? Absolutely!

My friends, heed not these illegitimate sons of mosquito poop who would as soon sleep with a camel as steal it, or trade their donkey for an elephant and then complain about the bargain!

Ubashshirak (I have good news for you), al-kheir fi batin ash-sharr (good is in the belly of evil). Just consider these "known knowns" ( i.e. facts)

The number of our brothers and sisters who WEREN’T blown up, shot or kidnapped in the last few weeks (may god keep them safe) are numbered even as the stars in the sky.
By Allah’s will, pre-owned cars and car parts can be found on almost every street corner.
Schools and hospitals have been rebuilt, some of them every other week.
Public demand for medical care has shown rapid growth with no end in sight (here’s a hot stock tip; Al Faid Prosthetic Limbs LLC) .
Iranian, Syrian and Saudi tourists are crossing our borders in record numbers.
The electric companies now provide every Iraqi at least 110volts, just like in the US!
Iraqis have embraced the new legal system so wholeheartedly prosecutions have increased 125% in just the last year! If that isn't progress i don't know what is!
Iraqi industry produces almost no "greenhouse gases"—so who needs a "Kyoto treaty?" Take that, Tojo!
Oil production is back to pre-war UN sanction levels of 2 million barrels a day--to the extreme happiness of the guys who make those barrels .
The interim government now enjoys the same level of respect from the Iraqi public as the US government does from it’s own people. Truly freedom and democracy are on the march!

And of course Iraqis now finally have a well-financed press.

So remember my friends not only is Allah great, but so is Iraq! So don’t let the crazed followers of that Hollywood Babylon whore Barbra Streisand (who is Jewish, you know) tell you any different.

Allan Akbar!—I mean, Allah Akbar!

Disclosure: Allan Akbar contributed to this article and is not in any way willingly associated with the DoD, the Pentagon, the Office of Strategic Information or the Alberto Gonzalez Academy for Recalcitrant Ragheads. Daoud Rumsfaud has appeared in hundreds of Al Jazeera news reports and is the author of "Rumsfaud’s Rules"—a guide for minions).

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Yesterday George Bush gave a speech at Annapolis Naval College in which he offered up the shiny new ‘National Strategy for Victory in Iraq’.

The partisan pundits and clueless commentators then exercised their jaws about the quality and content of Bush’s turgid performance instead of analyzing and discussing the strategy document itself—even though Bush himself invited everyone to do so. .

The fact that this ‘strategy’ now exists isn’t due to the administration’s initiative, but instead due to the likes of Cindy Sheehan, Congressman Murtha and the overwhelming and obvious truth that the White House was fiddling whilst Baghdad burned.

Nearly 3 years ago the Iraq Experts Group offered the White House a comprehensive strategy for the Iraq war plan which Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Libby, Rumsfeld, Rove and Rice pointedly ignored. Every dire prediction that the IEG made were its recommendations not followed has since come true.

So has the White House finally "wised-up"? No, of course not. Given the challenge of acting responsibly for once and diligently addressing the deadly serious issues of Iraq’s present and future (and thus that of the United Sates too) Bush and company have once again sacrificed policy for politics.

You have to read it for yourself but here are some highlights that I have gleaned and would like to share:

Firstly, this document was clearly cobbled together purely in response to recent public pressure. Nice to know that the futures of two nations and the "global war on terror" can be organized in just a few weeks.
Secondly, this "strategy paper" has no author! NOT ONE! No attribution whatsoever. Shouldn’t Rumsfeld’s name be there? Or Rice’s? Bueller? Anyone? Ah ha! With no attribution there is no responsibility, no accountability, nor is there any authority.
Thirdly, the document begins with a couple of lies (actually by default because it opens with a quote from George Bush speaking a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq) :
"The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected." (February 26 2003)
Every country requires a leader if not a government. Chalabi was hand-picked by the US to replace Saddam Hussein and form a new US funded government.
As for citizens’ rights, need I mention Abu Ghraib?

And then the lies and bullshit continue:
"Our strategy is working" (Infrastructure, services and even oil production are still behind pre-war conditions)
"Much has been accomplished in Iraq, including…restoration of full sovereignty" (except that the Iraqi economy is being subsidized by the US, the police force was once again placed under the control of the US army just a few weeks ago and the Iraqi "Army" is just one battalion)
"Coalition troop levels, for example, will increase where necessary to defeat the enemy or provide additional security for key events like the referendum and elections". (The Spanish quit, the Poles, Italians and British are drawing-down and the rest of the coalition have no plans of increasing their troop commitments).

How about some "fun facts"?
"Hundreds of judges have been trained since the fall of Saddam Hussein. These judges are now working and resolving cases under Iraqi law. In 2003, approximately 4,000 felony cases were resolved in Iraqi courts. In 2004, they resolved more than twice that number. This year, Iraqi courts are on track to resolve more than 10,000 felony cases."
Actually Iraqi law hasn’t been codified; it doesn’t exist. Bremer’s statutes are still on the books but the legal system remains undefined because the constitution hasn’t been ratified.
As far as the processing of felony cases is concerned are the courts now more efficient or have the number of felonies increased? And how exactly are these cases being ‘resolved"?

One of my favorite sections is entitled "Progress On The Economic Track".
Here’s a typical example:
"Since April 2003, Iraq has registered more than 30,000 new businesses, and its stock market (established in April 2004) currently lists nearly 90 companies with an average daily trading volume over $100 million (from January to May 2005), up from an average of $86 million in 2004."
Note the benchmark date of 2003, specifically April which closely approximates the end of the invasion that destroyed the Iraqi government and its economy. With whom have these businesses been registered? What types of businesses are they? How many Iraqis do they employ?

I’ll spare you the rest.

This strategy paper is nothing more than a cut and paste collection of meaningless verbiage and promotional pieces crafted by political advisers collated by anonymous interns as a pathetic sop to public outrage in a desperate attempt to shore up a failed presidency.

This isn’t a strategy for "Victory In Iraq" it’s the same old strategy of hanging on to domestic power through lies, obfuscation, manipulation and misdirection.

As an alternative to this highly polished turd, here’s my strategy for "victory" in Iraq:

Remove the President and his political cronies from policy-making and set up a bi-partisan task force to address the realities of this particular issue and arrive at a policy based on intelligent consensus.

Unfortunately for our troops, Iraqis, the American public and the world there’s little chance of that happening before the 2006 elections.
Bush and the Neocons have three more years to go and their strategy is clear--to ignore their moral and might I add legal and constitutional responsibilities and instead use their current power and position solely for their own ends. And that's the strategy behind the 'strategy'.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Declare a Dumb War!

According to John Gibson and Bill O’Reilly but most especially John Gibson the US is engaged in a WAR ON CHRISTMAS
Apparently this WAR ON CHRISTMAS threatens the US like no other war the US has ever known because the WAR ON CHRISTMAS is being fought from WITHIN!
On the front lines of this war stand O’Reilly and Gibson. Actually O’Reilly isn’t so much on the front lines as back in HQ, issuing orders such as "boycott Sears!" and "buy my mugs and loofahs!"
Gibson however has decided on a more active approach in warning us all of a vast lefty liberal secularist army intent on destroying Christmasâ and thus America, simply because that’s what liberals want, more than anything else in the world.
Channeling the spirit of a perverted Paul Revere, Gibson has mounted his high horse and galloped off into the night yelling "THE SECULARISTS ARE COMING, THE SECULARISTS ARE COMING!" to all who will listen by writing a book called ( approximately) "The War On Christmas And Why It Is Worse Than You Think".

As a practicing secular liberal I must say I’m a bit miffed at not having been clued-in on the WAR ON CHRISTMAS . I regularly get e-mails from "Friends of Hillary" and "Move-On" and even Michael Moore once in a while but apparently all that doesn’t even qualify me as a simple camp-follower to the vast lefty liberal progressive secular army that has been amassed to destroy Christmas . Despite my adoration of Janeanne Garofolo I guess I’m just not that hard-core.
Yet despite this obvious snub from the lefty intellectual elite, I’m still keen to join this vast army of anti-Christmasites so that together we can crush the dangerous notion of "peace on earth and goodwill to all men" once and for all.
Perhaps my being overlooked as a potential stormtrooper in the WAR ON CHRISTMAS is simply a result of the inherent lefty-liberal fault of bad organization; it is entirely possible that someone forgot to mail my invitation.

In order to shake off my obviously clerical error-driven 4F rating and to prove myself worthy as a frontline liberal elitist secular America-hating defeatist, I chose to go independently behind enemy lines and infiltrate the ranks of the Pro-Christmasites in the hope of gaining valuable intelligence to serve our WAR ON CHRISTMAS.
Cleverly disguised as an Internet "user" I penetrated a target-rich environment which I will call "Amazon" and acquired my subject, codenamed "Review". What I uncovered raises more answers than questions.

In reviewing John Gibson’s book about the "War On Christmas", Julie Wood of DeatsVille Alabama (boasting approximately TWELVE streets, half of which are dead-ends, yet still having Internet connectivity) offered the following:
Quote: " How very sad that people feel they must bash this book due to what they perceive to be grammatical errors, yet their (sic) very own review contained spelling and/or grammar errors! The point is NOT to find grammatical errors, it IS to see that in America, there is a great falling away from what our wonderful country was founded upon - belief in the God who made us. Although this falling away was predicted in the Bible millions of years ago (emphasis added), it is comforting to know that there are those of us, like Mr. Gibson, who are not afraid to stand up for the tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ. I commend Mr. Gibson for taking a stand, and I pray that others will follow his lead".

Oh Julie! How very sad that you can’t tell the difference between "perceived" grammatical errors and actual grammatical errors, such as you yourself have provided. And FYI Julie, America WASN’T founded on a belief in God, but rather in rejecting the imposition of intransigent religion on public life.
As to the Bible predicting a "falling away" MILLIONS of years ago, you’d have a hard time explaining that particular belief to your fundamentalist leaders whose calendars begin 4004 B.C. The term "millions" simply isn’t in their vocabulary, and it shouldn’t be in yours either. Methinks you are a false Christian and a blasphemer!

With a "review " entitled "Get a life, losers", reviewer ‘Freethinker’—"not afraid of diversity of political thought" writes:
Quote: "Here's a revolutionary thought-how about all you hate-filled, closed-minded intolerant liberals quit writing reviews for a book you haven't even read???? Go to Michael Moore's website if you want to spew hate. This forum is for people who READ!!! Is this how you form your beliefs, through blind ideology, without even examining the evidence???

Whereas "riceburner117" with a review entitled "whats wrong with all you liberals" offers the following
Quote: "Ok, let me start off by saying that I'm 15 and probably have more sense than most liberals out there. Any one who says that this book doesn't preach the truth is blind. Have you noticed how Coca-Cola didn't put Santa on their cans this year? Have you noticed that most stores aren't allowed to say "Merry Christmas" because it might offend some minority that no one has ever heard of? People dont understand that we are the silent majority. We dont stick up for ourselves. Even our schools marquee's don't say Merry Christmas, it's "have a happy holiday" or "have fun on winter break". That I know of, we have one Jewish kid in our school. I talked to him, and he said that he's even part Christian. It makes me sick, and the Liberals who are so blind by their own ego's, beleive that it's propaganda set out their by the Republicans. We should start sticking up for ourselves, and if you dont like it, you can move over with your French buddies and riot in the streets".

What can I say? If these are the defenders of Christmas then our lefty-liberal progressive tree-hugging fag-embracing godless treasonous communist forces are assured of victory in our glorious WAR ON CHRISTMAS!

I just have a few questions: Who is in charge? When do we charge? How much can we charge? And once we succeed in destroying Christmas, do we still get presents?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Security Detail

Ever since Richard Reid’s attempt to blow his feet off in the hope of killing his fellow air travelers was thwarted by an observant flight attendant, the majority of airline passengers have been obliged to remove their shoes for x-ray examination before boarding a flight, domestic or international.
Since the shoes-off policy was initiated no one else as far as I know has attempted to blow an aircraft out of the skies with their shoes, so could this be an example of an actually successful security procedure?
As I watched the four-year old ahead of me submit to the procedure I’d have to say, mmmmh--not so much.

Instead of a security procedure we have an institutionalized reaction to the lunatic scheme of a lone nutcase. If this procedure really worked why not apply it to say, shopping malls which we have been repeatedly told since are also potential terrorist targets? Of course causing an explosion (however small) on an aircraft is potentially disastrous, but then walking into a mall with a machine gun causes a bit of mayhem too—and didn’t that happen just the other day, for about the umpteenth time?

Reid was caught whilst trying to light the fuse to his shoe bombs. The subsequent shoes-off policy was accompanied by a "no lighter and no matches policy"
Presumably if x-raying shoes eliminates the concealment of explosives in them, the means to light the fuse is surely irrelevant, so why ban lighters and matches too?

Unless x-raying shoes doesn’t actually guarantee the discovery of plastic explosives that can be lit by a fuse, in which case it would make sense to ban lighters and matches, just in case.
But then if x-rays DON’T provide a guarantee of discovery, why are lighters still banned but matches are now acceptable?

How is it that the x-ray operator on my flight to Washington didn’t note the lighter in my coat pocket (I voluntarily handed it to a TSA official after the X-ray)? On my return flight from Washington it was also missed and this time I carried it on the plane.
Having no explosives in my shoes, being allowed a lighter makes logical sense, yet regardless it was a contravention of the security procedure in place.

Personally I find this whole security procedure only mildly irritating, but its implementation is clearly suspect. I wonder what that four year-old ahead of me thought?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

America's Giant Balls: A Larger View.

(An Examination of Ownership, Handling, Size, Use and Importance of Physical and Metaphorical Balls in 21st Century Washington D.C by Professor Splink, Dean of Spherical Studies, Hopped-Johnkins University). Published by Universally Pressed; contains over 100 color photographs of physical balls, 22 examples of metaphorical balls (Scott McLellan, Dick Cheney, Rick Santorum, Paul Inhofe etc.) as well as a handy illustrated "How To…" pullout guide. $49.95

Not only is the Bush administration juggling more balls than any in history, its balls are much, much bigger. So big in fact that they are literally in your face, every single day.
Now, just because you own enormous balls and are used to playing with them it doesn’t necessarily follow that you know how to handle them skillfully. Indeed to have your balls properly handled it’s best to find a professional to give you a hand.
Anyway, it is a simple fact that when it comes to juggling your balls, the smaller they are the less likely it is that you will drop one.
Lately this administration has discovered that simple and often painful truth; to their recent dismay they’ve begun to drop some of their enormous balls.

Every flim-flam artist, clown and illusionist knows that to continue to mystify the audience and maintain the illusion it is essential to be well versed in the art of redirection. As soon as the artiste is aware that he is dropping a ball he immediately draws the audiences attention to some other balls. With the audience distracted the illusionist can grab his ball and then either juggle it again or put it in his pocket for future handling. At least that’s the theory.
Unfortunately when juggling or handling really enormous balls the redirection trick requires even bigger balls, bigger than any one man (or woman---don’t want to be sexist here) can handle.
If the group needed to properly handle the even bigger balls is not utterly disciplined the balls will also be undisciplined and before you (or you---don’t want to be sexist here) know it the illusion will be shattered and there will be enormous balls in plain sight all over the place.
Clearly the handling and prominent display of really, really big balls is essential to the performance but is also inherently risky. When these big balls are mishandled the required redirection of the audience to maintain the performance may be better accomplished by the use of "virtual" balls or more properly "metaphorical/theoretical" balls rather than just bigger physical balls.
Metaphorical/theoretical balls have the advantage of being infinitely adjustable in size to suit almost any situation. Though more convenient to handle than huge physical balls, metaphorical/theoretical balls are inherently unstable. Metaphorical/theoretical balls injudiciously exposed to the audience can in fact rebound and slap the performer in the face, sometimes repeatedly.
They key to using the handy but sensitive metaphorical/theoretical balls lies in understanding the audience; in particular knowing whether the audience possess any balls of its own or whether it can distinguish between different types of balls. Most performers, their managers and agents agree that for insurance reasons and to comply with certain national security regulations it is best that audiences check their balls at the door 2 HOURS before the performance-NO EXCEPTIONS!
Once the audience has been shorn of its own balls the enormous size of the performer/illusionists balls will be that much more impressive and they will accept those balls as a standard. Herein lies the performer’s dilemma; to maintain the audiences interest and secure their applause the performer/illusionist must logically present bigger and bigger balls until the show reaches it’s climax. The most adroit performer will thus expose to his audience bigger and bigger physical balls and then (usually by instinctively gauging the audiences gasps at the size of his balls) cleverly switch to the metaphorical/theoretical balls.
The audience, having followed the performer’s balls all along and having no balls of their own will probably never notice the switch. But to determine the true success of the performance and the illusion an exit poll of the audience is recommended.
Just as the performer/illusionist controls his own act, he should also control his audience’s response; therefore the exit poll questions should also be controlled and, just like the balls, carefully handled.
The audience reaction exit poll questions should follow this type of format:
"Have you ever seen such enormous balls?
"If you had any balls, would you like them to be just like the ones you just witnessed?
"Do you think you could handle as many enormous balls as the performer did?"
For the younger crowd one might pose the question:
‘Would you describe the performer’s balls as being ‘in your face’?"
If we are to draw any lessons from Intelligent Design, one of the most significant is that the Lord gave some people more balls and bigger balls than others.
It took lot of balls (or perhaps two really ginormous ones) to create the biggest ball in the world (our planet Earth) in just seven days (okay, it was six days--but you are missing the big picture).
So it only makes sense for the man with the biggest balls on the planet to want to personally handle the biggest ball on the planet---that of course would be the planet itself. And if so-called ‘science" has taught us anything (which I doubt) it is that really big balls are naturally attractive. So it only makes sense that God’s chosen representative on Earth has ball’s almost as big as God’s and like God he intends to use them and to share his gigantic heaven-blessed balls with the rest of the world.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, consider this; what are the three most popular sports in the US? FootBALL, BasketBALL and BaseBALL! Am I right? Of course I am! Wake up my friends, gird your loins, grasp your fellow man "under the thigh" and shout it out, loud and proud…"America has the biggest, the best and the most balls in the world and the rest of you can’t touch ‘em!. (unless you really want to of course….no go ahead, go on, touch them… careful now…..yeah that’s it… just like that… )
About the author: Professor Splink first became interested in balls at his bar-mitzvah. He personally owns two of slightly different sizes. He had them encased in lucite and likes to stare at them occasionally. He is not now, nor has ever been, married.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I'm Not Dead Yet!

After a few weeks of blog inactivity and unanswered e-mails some fellow bloggers began to wonder if something extraordinary had happened to me.
I might have been ‘renditioned’ to some foreign state and denied all communication with the outside world.
Conversely I might suddenly have won millions on the lottery, bought myself a South Pacific island and been lying about smashed out of my gourd on coconut hooch whilst lissome dusky wahinis attended to my every whim. Or perhaps I’d fallen down a well.

However, in the reason-driven liberal world those who expressed concern regarding my whereabouts and condition universally conjectured that I’d probably been hit by a truck.
To the larger world I’d ceased to exist. Yet I still existed, I was just temporarily almost invisible.

Let me explain:

In late May my widowed mother was rushed into an ICU.
My eldest brother Ian flew back to the UK within hours of the news. I had to wait four days before I could take an "affordable" flight, my other brother Julian had to wait six days. None of us knew how the future would unfold.
Our mother was released from the ICU but was confined to a bed with a modest number of tubes stuck into her and oxygen as needed. If she recovered she would obviously require 24 –hour care, or she was simply We three going to die. After two weeks of daily visits our mother said she’d had enough and asked the doctors to let her die.
No evangelists showed up to fight for her "right to live". No lawyers for the hospital filed any motions. No Member of Parliament offered a diagnosis and Tony Blair did not comment or interrupt his schedule one jot.
We spent the next week and a half dealing with the funeral, the requisite municipal and governmental notifications and the estate. It was like ‘wedding-planning’ in reverse.
With everything organized as best as we could manage we left the probate process in the hands of the lawyers and returned to the US.
Living in the UK was not cheap. To give you an idea, ten gallons of gas cost $40. At the time Britons saved money by flying to New York to shop just for jeans and sneakers!
Every day spent in the UK cost us twice what we'd spend in the US and as we also weren't earning anything the effect was doubled yet again.
When we returned to the US the three of us were not only broke, we were in mor edebt than we had ever been. We three brothers could barely help ourselves , let alone each other. I no longer had a job, I couldn't pay the rent, my phone was cut-off and I was overdrawn.

When someone dies they cease to exist. But one can cease to exist without actually dying. In many respects I had ceased to exist.
It doesn’t take a spectacular event such as war or earthquake or flood to make it happen.
The only thing that maintained my existence was the concern of others—a few close friends and some sympathetic strangers with the wit to relate to my particular situation. Humanity and common cause prevailed over the rules and dogma that in general define our individual and collective lives and the nature and quality of our respective existence.
Though I ceased to "exist" for a while, I was not completely dead. Just because a person disappears, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still exist.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Dukes of Hazard County

On September 11 2001, Government was already back at work. Bush was doing his job as the hood ornament for the automobile of state whilst Cheney steered, Rove worked the pedals, and Condiscentia Rice waved from the back seat.

On August 29th 2005 the entire Government was still on vacation.
Having achieved the historic record of being the fittest yet most relaxed President ever, Bush finally got off his buns of steel and went back to his job of looking good at the front of a powerful, glossy and expensive machine.

Unfortunately for Bush there was no one behind the steering wheel, the car was in the wrong gear and the brakes had worn out. The “good ol’ boys” had bailed-out, the “General B” was out of control and headed straight for a swamp! Heavens to Betsy! What was Dubya to do?

Well, after a lot a hootin’ an’ hollerin’, Dubya figgered it was time to ass-wage the reg’lar folk and un-extended the hand o’ friendship to Mike “Cooter” Brown whose maintenance of the General B had clearly been lacking.

Even so, the General B was still up to it’s STP stickers in the bayou ooze, and it warn’t goin’ nowhere ‘ceptin some he’p from a friendly quarter. Unfortunately cousin ConDayzee (who could charm the pants off Strom Thurmond) had to visit her podiatrist Manolo Blahnik in Jew York on account of a rare shoe condition and was unavailable, but good ol’ suthern hospitality reared it’s deformed inbred head in the form of Karl Rove.

See, nobody knows more ‘bout how to “fix” things than good ol’ Karl, so naturally ol’ GB asked him to fix up this whole mess, by appointin’ him in charge of the recovery effort. Now Karl may be quiet, but he does know which end of the rope needs to be pulled when an overpowered and badly driven vehicle needs to be hauled out of the muck, and above all he knows slimy grease like no one else.

So in the end, everything’s working out. The General B is being restored, the swamp had been drained to prevent it from being a continuing hazard, Condayzees foot condition is cured and Karl’s got a new job. And as for the “revenooers” well they got their hands full just figgering out the dollars an cent’s of it all so they don’t have the time to stop the General B delivering the moonshine.

Sure it can make you blind, but what do you care? The gumment shore don’t. So, “oil wells that ends well” as the saying goes. See you next week, until then we’ll keep the grits warm for y’all.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Precision Bombing and Imprecise Casualties

During the 1991 Gulf War the US military made much of the precision of their armaments, specifically bombs, against Hussein's forces and strategic targets. Careful post-war analysis showed firstly that guided bombs accounted for only 10% of the munitions expended and furthermore that guided weapons, though vastly improved over conventional "dumb" munitions still missed their targets around 50% of the time.

With the advent of the GPS guided JDAM system, bombs could finally be steered to within a meter or two of their intended targets. A JDAM is simply a conventional "dumb" bomb fitted with a relatively cheap GPS transponder that controls the bomb's fin steering to actively "fly" the bomb to an exact map coordinate rather than just being dropped in the target's vicinity.

This innovation is a boon to military commanders and to taxpayers alike. It considerably reduces the waste of conventional munitions and significantly reduces the need for sophisticated and very expensive missiles.

According to the military and their political friends a more accurate bomb is a "friendlier" bomb. Instead of missing it's target most of the time, a JDAM bomb will HIT it's target most of the time. Result? The bad guys get killed and "collateral' damage is minimized. Civilian casualties therefore are kept to a minimum, and war can be conducted on a more "humane" level. The notion of "precision bombing" therefore makes war more acceptable, especially to those who don't have to experience it first-hand.

But consider the "precision" bombing of Bagdhad. Specific locations were targeted and destroyed. Militarily the strikes were "perfect" and "minimized" the impact on civilians.

The trouble is, no matter how precise the targeting a bomb is inherently an indiscrimate weapon. Bomb casings are just containers for the explosive material, they are part of the destructive effect of the bomb. They are specifically engineered to fragment into pieces that will be accelerated to velocities around 4 times greater than regular rifle bullets. And unlike rifle bullets the bomb fragments are dispersed in a complete 360-degree radius.

The accuracy of a GP-guided JDAM is useful militarily, basically guaranteeing a direct strike on the desired target, just as a laser guides a sniper's bullet. But to ensure the destruction of the target a lot of explosives are used.
The smallest bomb in any military inventory these days weighs 250lb. Essentially half that weight is the bomb casing, half the explosive. 100 lbs of HE can throw a 6-ton vehicle 20 feet into the air, make a crater 6 feet deep and 25 feet wide and blast bomb case fragments for a mile ( not to mention the fragmentation of the target). So clearly , no matter how precise the targeting, the destuctive effect of such a bomb extends far beyond it's intended purpose.

In an urban target area despite the accuracy of GPS, civilians will be maimed and killed simply becuase civiilians will live and work within a mile of the target. And the 250lb bomb is the smallest one currently used. Indeed 500 lb bombs are more common amongst rich nations such as the US.

Of course "precision" bombing is preferable to the random effects of 'carpet bombing' but when it is a city being bombed rather than an army far removed from population centers the effect is the same. And in pretending that "precision"' bombing in an urban area is somehow effective and somehow "saves lives" is utter rubbish. A bomb is a bomb, it is indiscreet and it has no "life-saving" qualities whatsoever. For all the subtleties of directing a bomb to its intended target, the damage is never limited to that target. A bomb reaches out to everyone, in all directions and indiscriminately. Carefully designed and precisely guided, a bomb's impact is ALWAYS random, violent and uncontrolled.

If We Don’t Bomb Europe, Who Will?

According to Tony Blankely (erstwhile press-secretary to Newt Gingrich, former Reagan speechwriter/ political analyst, weekly political columnist/editorial page editor of the Washington Times and the large smug noisy object on ‘The McLaughlin Report’) the threats just keep on coming--not from China, Cuba, North Korea or Iran but from Europe.

In his latest book, The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations? (published by Regnery) “Bombs Away” Blankley posits that Europe is being overrun by Islamic extremists bent on using it as a base from which to attack the United States.

Blankely makes part of his case with claims as bloated as his own physique and ego. From his self-serving promotional post on the Huffington Post he writes:

“Indeed, Muslim parts of Paris, Rotterdam, and other European cities are already labeled "no-go zones" for ethnic Europeans, including armed policemen.”

The fact that armed German, French, Spanish and British police have arrested dozens of suspects in urban Muslim areas since 9-11, 3-11 and 7-7 rather undercuts this claim, as does the fact that NO European police force or politician has declared any part of any European city a “no-go” area for either authorities or “ethnic Europeans”

Tony goes on to say: “If the current leaders of Europe do not respond to the Islamist threat boldly and effectively, the common European people might decide to defend their culture as vigilantes. In that case, Europe will again become a bloody urban battleground.”

Ah yes, the “common European people” from that tiny old country of Europe with all it’s quaint little states and funny dialects and weird food and inability to protect itself without the good old US of A. Tony’s fat-fingered grasp of civilizations clearly extends far beyond his spell-checker. But I digress….

What really matters and what Tony Blankely as a public service insists we understand is this:

“What's more, an Islamified Europe would be as great a threat to the United States today as a Nazified Europe would have been to the United States in the 1940s. Even before Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt understood that a Nazi-dominated Europe would be more than a fearsome military and industrial threat; it would be a civilizational [sic] threat. Now we face another civilizational threat in insurgent Islam.”

The big issue isn’t that Tony Blankely insists on torturing the English language, history, facts, basic sentence construction and logic. The big issue is that Muslims threaten Europe, and thus will Europe threaten the US. Logically therefore the US must bomb Europe before the whole situation spirals out of control. After all it's a lot easier to bomb the shit out of an imaginary problem than to deal with a real one.
Clearly someone has to bomb Europe and wouldn't it be a whole lot better for the US to do it? After all we've got the bombs, we've got the will, we've got the policy and it's what we, the US, are best at.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Threat Level: BROWN

This is a long one… When I started it was just two short paragraphs, but I couldn’t help myself…Iraq, Katrina, Fashion Week and the UN, it’s hard work tying these things together.


One of the less injurious but still insulting actions of the Bush Administration post 9-11 was the introduction of the Color Coded Threat Level Indicator, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security.

Originally dead-set against creating the DHS, the White House caved to public pressure and embraced the theory of an integrated national public security and safety department.
In practice however the DHS was used to increase public insecurity through widely publicized random alerts that coincided with the release of bad domestic news, the unwanted RNC re-election extravaganza in Manhattan and voting in the crucial state of Ohio.

The various national safety and security services were supposed to be transformed into a single cohesive department with common standards, equipment, protocols, communications and planning as the 9-11 commission had recommended. But instead, after four years the only cohesive thread that bound the participants together was their subordination to the strictly political needs of the White House.

Once again it took mass destruction, death and displacement for the White House to respond to the demands of the public for answers and accountability.
And once again Bush bowed to the damnation and the facts. This time around he actually used the words "I accept responsibility", probably for the first time in his life.

But don’t get too moist over this apparent "group therapy breakthrough"; Bush doesn’t deserve any hugs or a report card suddenly festooned with glitter and gold stick-on stars.
Bush is not Helen Keller—he’s finally learned the words but he still doesn’t know what they mean. he just bought himself some more time to avoid some serious discipline and more ‘hard work"

Even now Bush and his cohorts oppose a publicly demanded independent investigation into the "Katrina Affair" just as they opposed the investigation into 9-11. If Bush and his supporters were so sure of their actions and where the blame really lay, why wouldn’t they want the "truth" as they have explained it to be told?
If the Republicans had done such a stellar job and the Democratic Mayor and the Democratic Governor of Louisiana been so incompetent, wouldn’t such an investigation serve the GOP politically? Wouldn’t such an investigation serve Democrat and Republican voters alike who pay the politicians their wages and who have a right to know about such matters?

Tom Ridge, a party loyalist but utterly "beige" Pennsylvanian politician was the very first chief of the DHS. Increasingly confused by the DHS’s supposed purpose and its actual operation Ridge used the meager $170,000 per annum paycheck as an excuse to resign before anything really bad happened to either him or the US.
Ridge was replaced by Michael Chertoff, a lawyer ( not an accountant as I posted earlier) who it turns out knew "the price of everything and the value of nothing".

Second in the DHS hierarchy came the head of FEMA, Joe Allbaugh who as a media hack for the Bush election campaign had seen up-close the shambles of the Democratic election efforts and thus was intimate with at least one kind of disaster.
But if Ridge couldn’t stomach a piddling $170,000 per annum as the head of the overarching DHS (ignoring the pension, health benefits etc accrued as an elected representative) what was Joe Allbaugh’s income as head of the subsidiary FEMA, a sub-department of DHS that still carried huge responsibilities? Like Ridge, Allbaugh defined his job satisfaction and his personal worth not in his abilities, the task before him or his pay scale, but simply in the title that had been handed to him. And like Ridge he passed the baton before anything bad could happen, to Mike Brown.

Mike Brown, in case you haven’t been paying attention, was never an exceptional law professor at a half-arsed law school, but a mere half-arsed student.
He was an intern in an emergency-response department of an Oklahoma city (in the tiny UK it would qualify as town, not a "city"), not an assistant director, and ….well, everything on his resume was a pack of lies---except for his position at the International Arabian Horse Society from which he resigned just before he was going to be fired for fiscal impropriety. His final departure from FEMA was not a result of his contributing to multiple deaths as a result of his criminal "professional" incompetence, but rather for his political incompetence.

Anywhoo, this all might seem like bloated corpses floating under the remains of the bridges and levees at this point, but the important thing now is not to point fingers but to look to the future.

And what does the future hold?

Well rest-assured an accountant, Michael Chertoff is still working hard to figure out how best to amortize recent losses whilst maximizing recent gains in the GOP-US portfolio.

Iraq is more than ever the hot terrorist market, but it has inspired other "young guns" throughout the world.
"Look out for more explosive challenges to the status quo coming not from the establishment Whitehall and Washington’s K street, but from the radical international communities in other cities worldwide that have grown up in the shadows but refuse to be encompassed by them" said Trixie Von Shoehorn, (political fashion editor for the 5th Estate).

And speaking of the international community, what of John Bolton, US "Ambassador" to the UN?
Appointed (despite serious objection) by presidential fiat during a congressional recess, the man voted mostly likely to resemble an irascible walrus with a perverse desire to mate with a Trident III missile, Bolton has taken the lead in destroying a 30-year extant nuclear weapon non-proliferation treaty. He has halted efforts to secure "loose-nukes" floating amongst the tenuous states of the C.I.S. He has declared that the UN needs to lose enough pounds sufficient to declare it "unrecoverable" unless it can suckle the homogenized, pasteurized, vitamin-injected USDA –approved milk provided by the fulsome breasts of mother United States.

Bush is actually working hard to dodge the fictitious "bullet" he and his shills have claimed were the post-Katrina newspaper "headlines" (the phrase appeared once as a headline, in a Greneda newspaper!). But despite his remarkable declaration of responsibility, I’m afraid there are bigger issues at stake for which he still continues to deny responsibility, even for the sake of domestic political expediency.
It took the deaths of nearly 3,000 people (more than a quarter of who weren’t actually Americans) before Bush and the GOP woke up to the terrorist threat, despite warnings from officials and massive intercepted intelligence chatter and the very obvious August 6th PDB.
It took months of public outcry before a bipartisan independent investigation examined the factors surrounding 9-11 and even then the investigation was obstructed and 28 pages of the report specifically regarding Saudi connections were redacted.
It took the deaths of hundreds and possibly thousands of New Orleans citizens and a public outcry before George W. Bush recognized some federal responsibility for the mismanagement of the Katrina hurricane aftermath, yet as with 9-11 he and his administration has refused an independent investigation.

So what kind and scale of disaster will be required before John Bolton is called to account and by proxy George W. Bush. Will it take just another toll of thousands more dead by unnecessary starvation and disease that occurs predominantly in Africa year after year, or will it take something more spectacular, like the explosion of a "dirty bomb" in a rich nation’s city before once again a Bush appointee’s real qualifications are exposed, before Bush once again "accepts responsibility" without accepting the consequences of his enshrined stupidity, his callous ignorance, and his blind arrogance?

As I write, Bolton is trying to destroy not just the ideals of the UN, but its apparatus. Bush’s backers are actually promoting the use of nuclear weapons to combat terrorism, promoting the use of WMD’s to counter the threat of WMD’s.
The similarities between this notion and the Cold War notion of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) are clear. Yet what Bush’s masters refuse to acknowledge is that their pre-emptive policy promotes MAD, with the subtle, yet not so subtle distinction that their version of MAD requires the push of only one button on one side of the world, not two. Should the US choose to "go nuclear" the US and the world will actually "lose".
As in all conflicts whether armed or ideological, the winners will be those who survive the aftermath the best.

Bolton only has 18 months "legally" left to serve, but as we have all seen even 6 months can change not only the present but future decades and ultimately centuries. It took Bush and his buddies 15 months from the time they officially got into power to launch an illegal war. Like Iraq, Iran has long been on the Neo-Con radar. Bolton has 14 months left to serve, the war drums against Iran are already beating a familiar tune.
Not everyone in Bush’s camp is looking for a new Armegeddon, but many in Bush’s voting base are, and they don’t have to camp out in front of Bush’s ranch to get their views noticed--they have a direct line.
Bush doesn’t have the wit to understand their ultimate agenda, all he cares about is his cushy job and the benefits that will result when his term ends. He thinks he’s protected, as he always has been but he doesn’t foresee any reckoning for himself. Despite his public homilies, he thinks HE is the highest power on Earth and is thus above real reproach and beyond guilt. After all, if HE weren’t the "bestest", why the hell would he be President of God’s own country and the most powerful nation on the planet?

Brown is the color of shit.

Despite being shit at every job he supposedly had, Mike Brown was hired to take care of serious shit.
Bush also was supposed to take car of serious shit. When the shit hit the fan on September 11, he didn’t do shit until September 14. Only then did Bush appear to have his shit together.
After that all kinds of shit happened. Shit went down in Afghanistan. But then there was the shit with Iraq. So Bush sent the shit to Iraq and those Iraqis caught some serious shit. But then shit started to happen and the Iraqis gave our troops some shit, so we matched their shit and raised them some extra shit.
Somehow the shit got out, and Bush caught some shit for the shit that was going down in Abu Ghraib. But Rove figured out a plan to make all of the shit look like shit and after a while the public didn’t give a shit.
But then more shit happened and people started saying shit about how the veterans weren’t getting the shit they deserved, and then the shit started hitting the fan. But Bush didn’t give a shit, he just kept on doing his own shit. And after a while it all became the same old shit.
And then, I shit you not, Katrina came along and the same old shit didn’t float like it used to, or rather it did ‘cos the shit kept floating so everyone could see, and no-one really wanted to see that shit but there it was. And then Mike Brown caught a lot of shit, but he tried to pass it off but Nagin and Blanco weren’t about to put up with that shit and all the regular people who’ve been putting up with shit for years had enough of all this shit and demanded that Bush and his buddies DO something about this shit. But they didn’t do shit.

Now, it may look like the shit is going or even gone, but that shit is still there. There’s a huge pile of shit in the corner that hardly anyone can see on account of all the shit that’s happened so far, but it’s there alright and it won’t go away unless someone says hey! What about this pile of shit?
Forget Threat Level Orange or Red or Purple… the only color anyone should really be concerned about is brown---it is the color of shit, and we are almost up to our necks in it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

Seven years of professional IT experience and I've finally created by own personal Web prescence, this blog. Wow, that didn't take long!
And now, having bored friends and colleagues with my exceptional insights on every subject under the sun, especially those in which I am most ignorant, I can now bore complete strangers too.
As with the Titanic, the Maginot Line, the Leisure Suit, the AMC Gremlin and invading Iraq, creating this blog seemed like a good idea at the time.
But now the cows have come home to roost, and viewed through a glass darkly , the sands of time will bear witness to the tiger I appear to have caught by it's tail.

And yet I feel honored to have finally become a part of the blogging community, and I am proud to have created for myself what amounts to a job with no pay and no H.R department to go whining to.

But I shall stay the course, or quit. If it weren't for the Backspace and Delete keys, I'd be more worried. So I shall blog until I can blog no more, and then who knows? I hear FEMA needs a new Director , and it has an actual website. Crap floats, and I hope to do the same in the blogging pool.

Please don't comment on this entry, I'm just filling some cyberspace. But stay tuned, I might make some actual sense any day now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's Official! The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

According to the AP today:

Pentagon Plan Envisions Using Nukes on Terrorists: U.S. Forces Must Pose a Credible Deterrent to Potential Adversaries'

It begins:
"A Pentagon planning document being updated to reflect the doctrine of pre-emption declared by President Bush in 2002 envisions the use of nuclear weapons to deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies."

The article is available here;

It is chilling in mundane language and spectular in it's stupidity.

The only preemption this administration has conducted has been against Iraq.
Results? The US completely missed Hussein for a start. Now Iraq has terrorists it never had before and the State Department stopped publishing their annual Global Terrorism report after they realised international terrorism had increased by 300% since the invasion!

Now, what happened to the WMD that weren’t under Bush’s desk but were, according to Rumsfeld "in Tikrit, and north, west, east and south" ? They weren’t there! So why should we, or even the Pentagon have any confidence in their WMD-detecting capabilities?

So far Osama Bin Laden is alive and well and Al Queda-inspired operatives have bombed Turkey, Bali, Madrid and London. Exactly how would the threat of nuclear weapons dissuade them? How the hell would the DOD target them? A 250 lb bomb has an impact radius of a hundred feet, the smallest nuclear bomb has an impact radius of miles, and today’s smallest nuclear warheads have ten times the destructive power and radiation of "Fat Boy" and "Little Boy"—the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Quite apart from being a completely insane, impractical and inhumane doctrine, this latest brainwave from the dangerous dimwits in the DoD is also a clear admission of the total failure of their deranged policies thus far. Incapable of facing the truth, incapable of evolving, their "solution" is to increase the threat, encourage greater violence and bomb the crap out of everyone who "looks at them funny".

This is no joke, these death-cult lunatics are serious and they have the power to act on their delusions.

If we don’t do something soon we can all kiss our crispy assess goodbye.

9-11: Happy Neo-Con Christmas!

The sky is bright and blue and cloudless, the air is still. It’s perfect flying weather, a beautiful day.

On any day In Manhattan you can always spot the tourists---they’re the ones with heads tilted back, trying to fathom the heights of the myriad skyscrapers that the locals no longer see.
But on this day even the locals are tempted to look up, just once, and gaze for a moment at what can’t be seen, and for a few seconds they hear what can’t be heard. And they remember.

It’s a beautiful day in Washington too, but some there do not shiver with dread remembrance, for today is the holiest day of the Neo-Conservative faith.

Since 1997 the Neo-Cons have been publishing position papers and essays on the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) website. Reading through the turgid prose, asinine “analyses” and laughable “logic” the Neo-Cons’ objectives are made tediously and terrifyingly clear:

The US should rule the world for its own benefit, it should increase “defense” spending to guarantee its dominance, and it should attack Iraq ASAP in order to control the oil supply on which the US depends. This is all laid out in “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century” published in 1998 and available at

The above mentioned goals are then repeated pretty much ad-nauseum in every other paper or article they have published right through to today.

In the above mentioned publication there is one particularly fascinating tidbit:

“ A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is
likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a
new Pearl Harbor.”

Ignore the appalling sentence construction and look at the first paragraph:

What it actually says is that the US needs “forward bases” to satisfy “larger American policy goals” (and hilariously the author implies that US allies would be perfectly okay with more US military bases dotted around the world).

Now look at the second paragraph.
It says that what would really kick-start the whole process of transforming the military and projecting US power into the rest of the world would be some kind of spectacular sneak attack against the US. That, according to the Neo-Cons, would be really handy.

But wait, there’s more!

Under the section titled “The Price of American Preeminence “ we find these two gems:

"We believe it is necessary to increase slightly the personnel strength of U.S. forces – many of the missions associated with patrolling the expanding American security perimeter are manpower-intensive, and planning for major theater wars must include the ability for politically decisive campaigns including extended post-combat stability operations."

"At the same time, we have argued that established constabulary missions can be made less burdensome on soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and less burdensome on overall U.S. force structure by a more sensible forward-basing posture; long-term security commitments should not be supported by the debilitating, short-term rotation of units except as a last resort.
In Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, enduring U.S. security interests argue forcefully for an enduring American military presence.
Pentagon policy-makers must adjust their plans to accommodate these realities and to reduce the wear and tear on service personnel.
We have also argued that the services can begin now to create new, more flexible units and military organizations that may, over time, prove to be smaller than current organizations, even for peacekeeping and constabulary operations."

So the plan here is to establish enduring military bases in regions of strategic interest, minimize troop rotations whilst also reducing “wear and tear on service personnel”, and plan for post-combat stability operations whilst using smaller peace-keeping and constabulary forces than conventional wisdom suggests, or for those of you who learned “new math”, 3 - 1 = 5!

Remember, all this was written in 1998, and guess who came up with this brilliant treatise?
Amongst others; Stephen Cambone, National Defense University; David Epstein, Office of Secretary of Defense; Robert Kagan, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; William Kristol, The Weekly Standard; I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Dechert Price & Rhoads; Paul Wolfowitz, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

If you go to the PNAC “Statement Of Principles” page you will also find these very recognizable names:
William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, Donald Rumsfeld.

So there you have it. The Neo-Cons couldn't argue their case with logic and reason, they needed a giant fucking disaster to get their own giant fucking disaster off the ground before they, having not bothered to learn how to land, crashed it the city of their choice .

For millions of Americans and other nationalities as well, 9-11 is remembered as a tragedy.
For the Neo-Cons it is remembered as Christmas, a time to play with shiny new toys as sugarplums danced in their heads.
But with the passage of time it appears that Santa might be a fiction, and the toys are losing their luster. The G.I. Joes are missing limbs and accessories, the wheels are falling off the tanks and trucks. They don’t seem to be as much fun to play with as they were 3 years ago.
Still, when bright memory turns to melancholy, the best thing to do is stuff yourself with cake, knock down a bottle of scotch and dream of the next September Christmas.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Reluctant Warrior

During an interview by ABC’s Barbara Walters, the TV mother-confessor of the rich and famous, Colin Powell expounded as much as he felt he was able to on his role as Bush’s Secretary Of State, his presentation before the United Nations, and his views of the administration to which he no longer belongs.
According to ABC news he told Walters that he feels "terrible" about the claims he made to the UN, since widely debunked.
“It's a blot” he told Walters, “I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."

I didn’t actually watch the interview, but I’m familiar with Walter’s softly-softly style. And I’m familiar with Powell from his frequent appearances on the Sunday political TV shows. I cannot contest his Vietnam war record and I have no reason to believe that most of his career has been anything but exemplary.

But when it came to his presentation before the UN with “evidence” that he knew damn well did not fit even his own criteria to commit the United States to a war, he made the case anyway. The question that the increasingly soft-focus Barbara Walters should have asked, but didn’t (and never would anyway) was--What the hell happened to your spine?

According to ABC: Powell told Walters he is unfazed by criticism that he put loyalty to the president over leadership. "Loyalty is a trait that I value, and yes, I am loyal. And there are some who say, 'Well, you shouldn't have supported it. You should have resigned.' But I'm glad that Saddam Hussein is gone. I'm glad that that regime is gone," he said.
When Walters pressed Powell about that support, given the "mess" that the invasion has yielded, Powell said, "Who knew what the whole mess was going to be like?"

To which I would reply “YOU DID, you sorry sonofabitch! You told Bush! It’s on the record! You knew of Shinseki’s statements and agreed with them, you knew the content of the Iraq Expert Group’s report, you admitted you didn’t trust the “evidence” you were given and yet you actively promoted the lies that have killed tens of thousands of innocents---ignorant propagandized American troops and helpless Iraqi civilians. DON’T GIVE ME THIS “WHO KNEW? “ BULLSHIT!

Thousands of ordinary citizens knew, people without the latest top secret “intelligence”, people way “outside the loop” living ordinary lives, THEY KNEW and what’s more they TOLD YOU they knew in demonstrations and rallies which YOU and your masters ignored.

Your UN testimony is a blot on your resume? A BLOT? That's no blot, its the blood of thousands who have died for what? So that you could keep your pension?
You are glad that Saddam Hussein is gone? GLAD! How you feel is hardly the point. How do the families of the dead feel? And is YOUR "pain" greater than that of the napalmed civilians, of those who lost limbs and sight?

"Reluctant warrior" my ass! When faced with a fight, you cowered and begged and plead allegiance to the bullies who threatened you. You are a coward and a murderer, a deserter and a traitor to your fellow soldiers and the American people.

Oh, and Barbara Walters... what's the point of interviewing the powerful unless you reveal something we don't know already? Give it up!