Abu Ghraib Report: We Suck

From the Washington Post:


Earlier reports and photographs from the prison have indicated that unmuzzled military police dogs were used to intimidate detainees at Abu Ghraib, something the dog handlers have told investigators was sanctioned by top military intelligence officers there. But the new report, according to Pentagon sources, will show that MPs were using their animals to make juveniles -- as young as 15 years old -- urinate on themselves as part of a competition.

What Iraqis see when they think of "America":

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report has not been released, other officials at the Pentagon said the investigation also acknowledges that military intelligence soldiers kept multiple detainees off the record books and hid them from international humanitarian organizations. The report also mentions substantiated claims that at least one male detainee was sodomized by one of his captors at Abu Ghraib, sources said.

How Not to Fight A War

From The Star Ledger:


Marines slash final combat training in half
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
BY DAVID WOOD
NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

Under growing pressure to ship Marines to Iraq, the Marine Corps is cutting in half the rigorous field combat training it gives units preparing to deploy, senior officers say.

The Marines hope to make up the time by intensifying this final, pre-deployment training and focusing it on skills needed to survive and prevail in Iraq's brutal combat conditions. This means practicing more nighttime operations, ambushes, city fighting and guarding of convoys.

The exercise, called a CAX in Marine lingo, has been shortened from 23 to 11 days, Col. Blake Crowe, operations officer for the Marine Corps Training Command at Quantico, Va., said in an interview.

This was done, Crowe said, to "get more battalions through" in a shorter period of time. Until now, the Marine Corps trained 10 battalions in CAX every six months. Under the accelerated schedule, it will train eight battalions in two months.

The intense course, to begin this fall at the Marine desert training base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., will for the first time include thousands of Marines who hold traditionally noncombat jobs such as truck driver, intelligence analyst and jet aircraft technician.

<edit>

The new, noninfantry Marines who show up for their crash course in combat at Camp Lejeune each year are well aware of the building pressure. They literally run from one event to the next, and in their final field exercise they work around the clock, snatching 20 or 30 minutes of sleep when they can.

"I wish we did have more time," said Capt. Dan Snyder, who oversees the teaching of 54 specific combat skills. "It's difficult to do in the time we have."

<edit>

Staff Sgt. Don Allen, a combat instructor, said his trainees watch demonstrations of the M203 grenade launcher, the Squad Automatic Weapon and the .50-caliber machine gun, but not everyone gets to actually fire the weapons.

"It's financial," said Allen, a combat engineer who fought in Iraq last year with the 8th Marines. "I wish I had the money for them to shoot actual rounds. When I went through this training in 1995, we all shot every weapon."

Two words: Cannon fodder.

Leaving aside for a moment the arguable fact that we shouldn't be in Iraq at all:

Even as someone who is utterly opposed to our action there, I am simply appalled at the U.S.'s inability to fight -- let alone win -- this war. Our military leaders are either hamstrung by the Pentagon or incompetent.

Knowing what I know about Donald Rumsfeld, I'd say the military is hamstrung by his incompetence.

Boykin Gets A Pass

From Washington Post:


Missing the Point
Monday, August 23, 2004; Page A14

LAST FALL, DEFENSE Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ducked the embarrassing matter of grossly offensive, anti-Islamic remarks by Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin by asking the Defense Department's inspector general to examine his behavior. This was a ruse. The problem with Gen. Boykin's words was never the possibility that they violated this or that department regulation -- the sort of thing inspectors general are charged with investigating. The problem was that Gen. Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, was delivering himself of bigoted remarks -- generally while in uniform -- that directly undercut President Bush's repeated insistence that America's war is not against Islam generally and is not a clash of religious civilizations. By unloading the matter on the inspector general, Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush avoided having to condemn the remarks forthrightly while seeming to take appropriate action.


There's more...

Swift Liars Campaign Continues Meltdown

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I direct your attention to the Extreme Right, where you may witness the implosion of The Bush/Rove Smear Strategy, currently in progress in real time.

Reuters: Vet Admits He Has No Proof AGainst Kerry


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A veteran who disputed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam war record acknowledged on Sunday he had no proof to back his charge that Kerry fabricated the reports of enemy fire that won him two medals.

There's more...

The Lies of George W. Bush

It took me a while, but I have finally managed to condense the salient  features of David Corn's excellent polemic, The Lies of George W. Bush. He also has a website: www.bushlies.com/blog

Herewith, I give you my breakdown of Corn's breakdown of the Lies of George W. Bush. I have not bothered to distinguish between his lines and mine; suffice to say my own interjections are far fewer in number than Corn's own prose. (Actually, that's not true. I just re-read it and it seems I did a lot of the writing myself, using Corn's data as reference. Don't blame him for the tone. I've also added stuff that's come out since Corn wrote the book.)

This summary is nothing compared to reading the book itself-- Corn has amassed documentation and analysis that will make your head spin. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I posted this a week or so ago on Daily Kos, thought it might be worthwhile here, too. I later got a nice email from David Corn himself, thanking me for the publicity and admonishing me to make sure the link I provided to his website was the one to his Blog. Hence, the link above is the direct one to Corn's Blog.

There's more...

Swift Boat Liars: Condensed Debunkage

By now, virtually anyone with a television and a computer is aware of two things:

 1. A group of Vietnam veterans who did not actually serve with John Kerry have joined forces (covertly) with the Bush Administration to attempt to smear John Kerry and his record of service in Vietnam.
  -- It is no coincidence that these same men attacked John McCain in his primary bid against Bush in 2000, nor that they also attacked Max Cleland in his Senate race in 2002. If anyone believes this to be a coincidence, an MRI is in order -- or, at the very least, an IQ test.

 2. It is not necessary for any of these smears to be truthful in order for their desired effect to be achieved. The mere fact of their having been uttered is enough.

 Therefore, the onus is, shamefully, on John Kerry and his supporters to discredit these baldfaced lies and the liars who are perpetrating this slanderous malfeasance.

 Mr. Kerry has provided plentiful evidence to back his claims, while the liars have provided merely hearsay, innuendo and malicious mendacity. The media, while doing its usual yoga positions to appear neutral, fair and "balanced," have only served to lend legitimacy to the liars by repeatedly offering them a platform.

 It appears, in this season of malice, that the only conceivable way to win against liars is to shout the truth more loudly than they shout their lies -- and more frequently.

 In the spirit of that unfortunate necessity, I have reproduced John Kerry's own compendium of evidence.

 From the Kerry/Edwards website, a comprehensive debunking of the false claims made by the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

There's more...

Vietnam Redux

It seems to me that the old cliche, "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it" applies much more to ordinary citizens than to politicians.

In fact, politicians COUNT on that truism. How many people actually know how Vietnam started? How many people further know how our involvement in Vietnam accelerated? How about when the draft was implemented?

THIS IS HOW VIETNAMS GET STARTED.

THIS is what Ted Kennedy was saying, what so many of us have been saying all along. And the fact that we are, collectively, so very uneducated about our own recent history, is what the right wing is counting on when they send out the attack dogs to decry any comparison between Iraq and Vietnam.

And we wonder why the right wing devalues public education. It is in the interest of the powerful, who wish to retain their power, to churn out generations of badly educated citizens. It is in their interests to churn out giant segments of the citizenry fit for little more than manual, menial labour. Else where will we get our waitresses, our janitors, our grocery store clerks? Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue in a country this size if the majority of the population were actually college educated? Why, we'd have to open the borders and... Oh. Never mind.

No doubt the advances in public education of the past 40 years, inadequate though they may be, drive the neo-fascists mad; there are so many of us who do remember history. Not just Vietnam, but the protests against it, the gradual awakening of an entire generation to the lamentable fact that our beloved paternalistic government was a lying, manipulative, amoral gathering of rich, old, white men who decidedly did not have our interests at heart or in mind. The question is, are we strong enough, in great enough number, to derail this disaster? Will we be able to convince the older version of that heroic Vietnam Veteran that his true heroism lay not in his laudable actions in battle, but in his even more courageous actions at home? Or will we find ourselves pleading with a decent but calcified member of the newest older generation, using some version of his own words, hoping to pierce through 20 years of Senatorial stultification: "Who's going to be the last one to die for this mistake, President Kerry?"

I diluted my primary argument by veering off into the OTHER reasons why bad public education is considered, in the collective unconscious of the power structure, essential to the status quo. But it's all of a piece.

The cliche to which I referred might best be worded thusly:

"Those who are not taught history are doomed to repeat it."

Vietnam Redux

It seems to me that the old cliche, "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it" applies much more to ordinary citizens than to politicians.

In fact, politicians COUNT on that truism. How many people actually know how Vietnam started? How many people further know how our involvement in Vietnam accelerated? How about when the draft was implemented?

THIS IS HOW VIETNAMS GET STARTED.

THIS is what Ted Kennedy was saying, what so many of us have been saying all along. And the fact that we are, collectively, so very uneducated about our own recent history, is what the right wing is counting on when they send out the attack dogs to decry any comparison between Iraq and Vietnam.

And we wonder why the right wing devalues public education. It is in the interest of the powerful, who wish to retain their power, to churn out generations of badly educated citizens. It is in their interests to churn out giant segments of the citizenry fit for little more than manual, menial labour. Else where will we get our waitresses, our janitors, our grocery store clerks? Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue in a country this size if the majority of the population were actually college educated? Why, we'd have to open the borders and... Oh. Never mind.

No doubt the advances in public education of the past 40 years, inadequate though they may be, drive the neo-fascists mad; there are so many of us who do remember history. Not just Vietnam, but the protests against it, the gradual awakening of an entire generation to the lamentable fact that our beloved paternalistic government was a lying, manipulative, amoral gathering of rich, old, white men who decidedly did not have our interests at heart or in mind. The question is, are we strong enough, in great enough number, to derail this disaster? Will we be able to convince the older version of that heroic Vietnam Veteran that his true heroism lay not in his laudable actions in battle, but in his even more courageous actions at home? Or will we find ourselves pleading with a decent but calcified member of the newest older generation, using some version of his own words, hoping to pierce through 20 years of Senatorial stultification: "Who's going to be the last one to die for this mistake, President Kerry?"

I diluted my primary argument by veering off into the OTHER reasons why bad public education is considered, in the collective unconscious of the power structure, essential to the status quo. But it's all of a piece.

The cliche to which I referred might best be worded thusly:

"Those who are not taught history are doomed to repeat it."

Diaries

Advertise Blogads