Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The media is always interested a story and not the truth. And, for the life of me, I don't see why we can't get it. Well, yes I do: most who watch TV or even read print media don't take the time to be discerning with questions like, like "where is the truth here?"

The latest bruhaha about the USDA female fired over remarks made 20 years ago, now discovered to be taken out of context and video doctored. An example of how media outlets will do or say anything for a story. They don't give a damn about truth and they never apologize. Assholes and sorry MFers is all I can say.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


In life, rarely do we find ourselves in the presence of someone that we can genuinely call hero. Hero is so banied about in our culture that it is downgraded somewhat. Still, I give it special meaning. I think I get what most are meaning. Most often we hear hero as related to soldiers and rightly so. Why not? But there are heroes and then there are heroes. Warren Chan is a true hero. He didn't just do his duty, he personified his duty by soldiering in a rare way.

I've read somewhere that the WWll combat soldier was in actual combat seventy days. The average for Vietnam combat soldiers was something like 200days. For Warren, it was like 365 days. If he ever came out of the field, I don't know when it was. Let me just kind of spell itout. Warren goes into the Army during Vietnam, is assigned to an infantry unit in the 101st Airborne Division. One would almost have to get into the psyche of the 101st and the country to understand what this means. Vietnam is building up. The generals want more troops. The 101st is training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They are a proud Division (about 16,000troops). At that time, one of two Airborne Divisions in the Army, the other being, the 82d Airborne. Warren, possibly the only Asian American in the entire Division, surely in our Battalion (1/501sr Infantry)He is sent to jump school. He's a paratrooper.

The 101st deploys to Vietnam. The 1st Brigade is already over there. It is just before Christmas and of course as we now know, just before the 1968 TET offensive which many believe was the turning point of the war. Warren, of course, is thrust into this. He becomes the RTO (radio telephone operator) for the D (Delta) Company Commander of the 1/501st Airborne Infantry battalion. From that time forward, Warren never leaves the field. He is essentially in combat every day. During that period, he sees his platoon leaders wounded or killed, to include his company commander. At one point because he is the ranking person alive, a Sergeant E5, he literally is in charge.

Here's a good story. All his life, Warren has had a speech impediment. In elementary school, through High School, he goes for therapy. Slurring his rrrs according to him, hard for people to understand him. And, of course, this brings me to something that makes me smile. Here you have Warren, hard to understand, what does the Army do? You got it! He is given a job where he talks on the radio constantly. I guess saying "over, out here," maybe doesn't require oratory but there are times... Anyway, his commander, Captain Holland, multi-toured Vietnam leader is his CO (commanding officer). It is a 24/7 thing as they are together, Warren is monitoring radio traffic. They are operating in the AO (area of operations) when they have contact. The Artillery FO (forward observer) calls in for the 105s (artillery guns) to fire. They catch a "short round." (a round that falls on their position, rather than the target). Captain Holland gets hit, a sucking chest wound. Warren realizes what happens and calls for a cease fire. Theys say at first, they can't understand him. Of course they can't. He is excited and this makes his impediment worse. He prays according to him, "please God, I have got to do this. His speech impediment disappears. "Cease fire, cease fire." They understand him." The firing stops. He calls for a medivac. In the meantime, he is on top of Captain Holland applying pressure to his chest wound as the blood is pumping out. The medivac can't come as they have been taking fire, (VC shooting at them and the Medivac is worried that they will get shot down) Suddenly, a General in a Command and Control helicopter who has been monitoring the radio traffic tells them to "pop smoke" he's coming in. He does and they load Captain Holland aboard. He lives.


The Vietnam war ends. 39 year anniversary. I don't think so. In a real sense, it isn't over. On PBS, Jeffrey Brown interviewed the author of
The Things They Carried. It wasn't very satisfactory to me. No
comments would have been comforting, however. I don't know exactly
why. Tim O'Brian gave some innocuous answers about war. This isn't
criticism of him although it sounds like it. He actually is going
around talking to kids in schools about war, his book. It sounds like
some good responses from the kids.

The sour grapes are mostly my fault. I want someone to raise hell, to
say what war is all about. How governments make stupid decisions and
then try to justify them. It is not that war in Afghanistan or Iraq is
not a noble effort at least in theory but it is stupid. And, without
going into a rant, let us lament the fact that we lost 58,000 plus
Americans in Vietnam and accomplished nothing but the scars we still
live with. Let me hear the argument that we have accomplished
something in Iraq. There's almost as much chaos as when we invaded.
American deaths are way down as we have moved out of the cities but
with great regularity, thr people are being killed. They are
struggling with the government after no clear cut winner in the recent
election. I'm still skeptical that we'll be able to get out clean. In
Afjghanistan, we are operating with the best strategy to be successful
I think. The only caveat: in Afghanistan 20 years for it to possibly
work. No way. So, this ex soldier ain't celebrating the anniversary of
the ending of the Vietnam war.


Give me a break! If there has ever been any idea that Congress is a
bunch of brainless politicians in denial of any semblance of reality,
the 100% confirmation so quickly of General Petraeus has got to be it.

After listening to his statements about the future of Afghanistan, I
am personally aghast. He could not make it any plainer. There is no
end in sight for Afghanistan. And, to think that reasonably smart men
seize on something like, "artificial deadlines."

This is bpth stupid and weird. Petraeus says things like, going to get
worse before it gets better, expect more deaths, going to take years.
WHAT! We are locked into a strategy that with just a rudimentary
understanding of the difficulties, makes the idea of winning so much
worse than even Vietnam, I shutter. You have to be kidding me.

I don't even want to sound out my "crying in the wilderness" views of
Afghanistan but any way you look at it: a fast tract to nowhere. I
hope and pray that Petraeus is not believing his press releases already.


I sure as hell hope not. I am no apologist for the president but admit upfront that I am a Democrat. Mostly out of honoring my Dad. He would turn over in his grave if he thought any of his boys were Republicans. This from a man convinced that FDR saved the world. really consider myself more of an Independent.

So, these polls predicting the demise of the Democrats fit in that self fulfilling prophesy. You say something long enough, then it becomes true. The polls, which I hate, are predicting a takeover of the Congress. What! Where the f... are peoples' heads. Don't they remember the Bush years: (I voted for George W. The first time): two wars, an economy
in shambles. Where are the heads of this crowd polled. I'VE NEVER BEEN POLLED.

I do think that for some odd reason, polls are more true than not but here is a time when individual Democrats need to turn this "mother" around. Those of us who try to be objective, the kids and others who elected Obama need to get off our asses. And, keep guys like the president's press guy, Gibbs, from almost conceding defeat. Who in the f... wants to return to where we were.

Personally, I think we expect too much out of a president. He is our leader but most of what goes on in the country is out of his hands, i. e., Unemployment is high. It is hard to know why, indicators are that we are recovering. We want to think the jobs will be back. Maybe, maybe not but it isn't the president's fault.

What is baffling to me is why would people turn to yesteryear which was disastrous. HERE'S A VIEW, people who have these really entrenched views, mostly the Fox News types. Even when presented with the facts,
i. e., jobs created through the stimulus, they can see construction work being done, statistics back it up, they still stick to their views. There is nothing the President can do to turn them around. A University of Michigan study says essential the same thing. What I would like to see happen will never do it. The Individual Democrats should make their mantra: our first priority was that we did what was good for the country, i. e., a stimulus package to get people working, health care for all Americans, etc. And, if that is not good enough for you, f... you very much.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Actually, Afghanistan is a war of choice
By Ian Welsh

Michael Steele's comments on Afghanistan remind me of my favorite definition of a gaffe: "saying the truth in the worst way possible." To wit, Steele said that Afghanistan is a war of Obama's choosing, and that everyone who's occupied Afghanistan has come to grief over it. Now one can quibble a bit over the details of who came to grief and who didn't, but basically he's right. Afghanistan went badly for the Russians and the British, most recently. There's a reason Afghanistan is called the "graveyard of Empires" and if the US isn't careful it'll be the graveyard of the US empire.

Likewise, yes, this is a war of choice for Obama. He could have done his review, said, "Hey, there are almost no al-Q'aeda fighters in Afghanistan anymore, so we won, let's go home." He could have said, "Fighting in Afghanistan is seriously destabilizing Pakistan, which is far more important than Afghanistan, so let's go home." He could have said, "Yes, if we leave, some al-Q'aeda camps might spring up but we can always bomb them and anyway there are plenty of failed states where al-Q'aeda can set up camps and we can't occupy all of them."

The point is that continuing in Afghanistan was a choice. Obama could have chosen otherwise. Not being in Afghanistan will not create an existential threat to the US.
So yeah, Steele was right. Of course, being the RNC chairman, Steele isn't allowed to say things that make sense and contradict Republican warmongering. Now here's a truth that Steele didn't tell.


I like this. And, I think there is much truth. I've had what I have believed is a solution all along, that fits politics (which cannot be escaped); Steele should have been pushing it: leave 20-30,000 Special Forces troops in Afghanistan, fight for the population centers, use it as a training ground. (We spend millions of dollars a year training all the Armed Forces in desert warfare at the National Training Center in the deserts of California) Allow for a very liberal immigration policy to the US, especially for women. You'd have to do that to satisfy the politics of it. Guys like John McCain have gone "round the bend" I think and sound exactly like Vietnam but not much choice as politics go. And, unfortunately, Steel is no MLK who had the moral ground to publicly condemn the Vietnam war. Fortunately, too, he had all these draft dodgers (and this isn't negative but the draft obviously made it easier to protest--dodging bullets in Vietnam is not the same as protesting in Berzerkly). I hope Steele doesn't resign and he has "color" on his side. The guy has withstood financial scandal and so hang in with this. Make them fire him and he can be a martyr.