4000 Peeps

Meet Joe Peep:

Large Peep

Great Peep, Joe Peep.

Comes from a hard working family (the Peeps, duh).

He loves his country.

Joe graduated from high school in the late 90’s during a time of peace and prosperity in America. Rather than hearing about war on the nightly news, people discussed blue dresses. Seriously, that was the news of the time.

So when Joe was trying to figure out how to pay for college, joining the National Guard seemed like a smart call. The Berlin Wall came down when Joe was in grade school, the Soviet Union was dead and we were now friends with Russia. The Word Trade Center was bombed by some religious radicals in 1993, but the perpetrators were captured, tried, and convicted for their crimes in 1994 and 1997.

It seemed pretty clear to Joe that any time he spent overseas would be serving on peace keeping missions.

And is Joe was asked to fight, he’d be ready to do so since he believed the Commander in Chief would have a damn good reason send troops to battle.

So Joe joined the guard. He went to boot camp, missed his girlfriend, but enjoyed meeting new people. Sure enough, the Guard helped pay for college, and Joe earned a degree. His degree helped him land a great job and start a career that he couldn’t have dreamed of without the financial assistance he received from the National Guard.

But then 9/11 happened, which somehow justified attacking a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Joe was called up and sent to Iraq, where Joe’s life ended in a Humvee near Baghdad.

Joe Peep’s story is one of 4000 that have come to an end to date.

 

4000 Soldiers:

Self-Inflicted Waterboarding Experiment

Dear Future Generations. In the 2000’s, we had a president from Texas who’s international crime fighting policy was basically this:

1. Offer bounties to people living in poverty who are willing to turn in other 3rd world living humans in exchange for cash.

2. Torture the captives to find out if they actually know anything.

3. Don’t allow the tortured to have trials where they could explain the circumstances that led to their capture, how they’ve been tortured, and that they’d like to get back to herding sheep now.

This president managed to scare enough crap out of the public that they were willing to go along with his pro-torture policies.

In fact, it became patriot to be scared.

Yes, we were the most powerful country in the world, but our president’s power came from keeping citizens living with a sense of fear.

Fear allowed the government to carry out known forms of torture on humans with full knowledge of the public. The government managed to convince the public that torturing fellow humans was justifiable. It got to the point that major national news channels like FOX News actually debated whether a torture technique called waterboarding was really torture.

Is waterboarding torture?

Try it on yourself to find out.

That’s what this guy did. Keep in mind that he was in complete control in this situation. He wasn’t locked up in a razorwire jail thousands of miles from home where he wasn’t allowed to see a lawyer.

This is a guy with a weight bench in his home who attempted to simulate waterboarding on himself to see what he could learn from that:

I waterboard!

So, is it torture?

I’ll put it this way. If I had the choice of being waterboarded by a third party or having my fingers smashed one at a time by a sledgehammer, I’d take the fingers, no question.

It’s horrible, terrible, inhuman torture. I can hardly imagine worse. I’d prefer permanent damage and disability to experiencing it again. I’d give up anything, say anything, do anything.

The Spanish Inquisition knew this. It was one of their favorite methods.

It’s torture. No question. Terrible terrible torture. To experience it and understand it and then do it to another human being is to leave the realm of sanity and humanity forever. No question in my mind.

Your tax dollars at work.

It’s worth clicking through to read his full experiment and reactions to the varying degrees of waterboard torture my 2004 Bush supporting friends endorsed by re-electing our torturer in chief.

Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, George W Bush, and everyone who voted for this group in 2004 should run their own self-torture tests to get a feel for the inhumane treatment they’ve authorized.

via Kottke

Invading Iran: Pistachios or Helium

Back in 1983, my dad took a phone call from his friend Dan who called with an interesting piece of information. This happened to be October of ’83 just after the invasion of Grenada on Ronald Reagan’s orders. Dan called to tell my dad that he had been trying to figure out why the heck the US was invading a small island when he stumbled across what he considered to be the only possible justification: secure access to Grenada’s nutmeg.

All of a sudden, it made sense. How is one supposed to make a decent pumpkin pie without nutmeg? Imagine how different life in the USA would be today if it wasn’t for Operation Urgent Fury.

Flash forward to today. We’ve started and are now bogged down in two wars with countries that did not attack us. But that doesn’t seem to be slowing down plans by the Bush administration to invade a third country that didn’t attack us.

Since a war with Iran makes no sense using Bush’s typical 9/11 fear mongering, I’ve been using Dan’s strategy of trying to get to the root justification of a war with Iran.

(By the way, some cynics would have you believe that out choice to invade Iraq rather than nuke-toting North Korea has something to do with the ocean of oil Iraq happens to sit on.)

I’ve stumbled across two recent nuggets of information about Iran that could potentially be the real justifications for an invasion that will surely lead to people being melted in their own homes. Oil? Too obvious.

1. Helium

2. Pistachios

1. Helium: It turns out that Iran is sitting on a ton of Helium. It’s not extracted directly, but it a byproduct of natural gas extraction, and Iran sits on a LOT of natural gas. While we obviously need that to fill balloons at the Republican National Convention next year, it’s also used in MRIs and has other industrial uses. Who knows what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s plans are for all that helium? Better to invade first, ask questions later. Plus, we’ll be able to pay for the war out of helium revenues, right?

2. Pistachios: On top of that is the pistachio situation. The Moderate Voice pointed me to an article that shows the United State’s Middle East ally, Israel, has been aiding and abetting terrorists by eating their nuts:

[US Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark] Keenum told [Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom] Simhon that it was absurd that Israel was purchasing most of its pistachio nuts from an enemy state. According to the undersecretary, Washington was extremely troubled by this, as US pistachio growers have protested the fact that America’s friend favors Iranian pistachio nuts over American ones.

Simhon, who was surprised by the information, promised to act immediately to halt the import of the forbidden pistachio nuts. “Israel is not interested in helping Iran’s economy,” he said.

Iran is the world’s biggest exporter of pistachio nuts, while Israel is the world’s biggest importer of pistachio.

Love ’em or hate ’em, it sounds like Iran has some great nuts. Clearly, we’d be nuts NOT to invade Iran, thus freeing Iran’s nuts for nut lovers around the world. Until this happens, stick to freedom nuts from California.

Minnesota National Guard Troops Screwed by Bush on GI Bill Benefits

The Other Mike sent over this link to a story by NBC on an amazing coincidence in the time served by Minnesota’s National Guard troops in Iraq. Had they served 730 days, they would have been eligible for the GI bill, helping them pay for educational costs and improve their careers after returning from war.

Any guesses how many days their tour ran? 729 Days.

[1st Lt. Jon] Anderson’s orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

“Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month,” Anderson said.

That money would help him pay for his master’s degree in public administration. It would help Anderson’s fellow platoon leader, John Hobot, pay for a degree in law enforcement.

The Minnesota National Guard’s tour is the longer tour served by any group sent to Iraq to date. And I imagine it will continue to hold onto that record, knowing that anything longer would provide benefits to our soldiers upon return.

More on the CityPages Blotter.

What are you doing in 2012?

If you’re in (or considering joining) the military, you could be spending 2012 in Iraq. And don’t expect the 2008 election to change that.

A Lack of Clarity

Thank you, Tim Russert, for dragging the truth from all the Democratic candidates about what “ending the war” actually means. We hear these words a lot, especially from Hillary Clinton, yet Russert’s questioning at MSNBC’s New Hampshire debate last night revealed that none of the top three Democratic contenders for president would commit to doing so by the end of their first term.

2012.

Petraeus = Big Plastic Turkey

Bryan Lambert gets to the heart of the message Gen. Petraeus has been sent to congress to deliver:

Come On Mock Me, I’m Petraeus | You Are Dumb

Here’s the deal. You remember, shortly after the war started, when Bush made one of his surprise visits to Baghdad for Thanksgiving? You know, back when Baghdad was safe enough for Bush to sneak into in the dead of night? Anyway, there was this big photo op of Bush presenting a gorgeous, Norman Rockwell turkey to the troops. Turns out, of course, that the turkey was plastic – there for show, to make us all feel good about the war. The troops were eating some kind of pressed formed Halliturkey loaf or something.

General Petraeus is Plastic Turkey, 2007 model. Because the war’s a lot worse now, they have to have a more complex system in place, but the goal is the same – keep the pressure off.

If Petraeus is able to confuse enough members of congress into believing that things may actually be going kind of okay through the use of cherry picked numbers, his trip to the hill will be a success.

By success, I mean he will have earned the permission of congress to go on killing people, to put the lives of overt 100,000 American soldiers at daily risk, to separate 100,000 American families from their loved ones, to spend billions and billions of US tax dollars per month, and to continue to achieve . . .

. . . . um . . .

. . . could someone remind me what the point of all this is?

A Look Back at Bush’s 9/11 Reaction

He calls himself “The Decider” so what did he decide to do on 9/11 after hearing about then watching replays of the first of the attacks by plane? He stuck to his plan to give a speech to a group of elementary school students.

BAGnewsNotes has an excellent analysis:

BAGnewsNotes: More Karl Post-Mortem: Beyond My Pet Goat

According to his original pre-“attack on America” schedule, Bush was slated to give a speech to the Booker Elementary student body at approximately 9:30. So, thirty-nine minutes after the first crash (which Bush was aware of by approximately 8:55); and nineteen minutes after hearing about the second crash; and with the fate of America supposedly hanging in the balance, what do you suppose Bush had in front of him and was working on?

Yep, it’s the speech he ended up writing, then delivering, four minutes later to 200 elementary school students, along with some teachers and a handful of reporters.

If Bush’s actions confirm his incompetent, pre-formulated, performance-by-rote, what, in addition, might the craft and composition of the photo indicate? In this moment of extreme crisis; 13 minutes before Flight 77 would slam into the Pentagon; with the atmosphere rife with speculation that numerous highjacks were in progress, can anybody say there wasn’t still time for posing?

Before you can be a decider, you need to be an analyzer who determines what the real problem you’re facing is. Once you know that, you may be able to make a proper decision.

Bush was a decider on going into Iraq, but the real problem was – and still is YEARS later – Osama bin Laden and terrorists subscribing to his world view.

A real decider may realize that occupying a country fosters terrorism.

Sticking with a mistake is certainly a decision, but not one our president should be proud of.

And who “decided” to call September 11th, “September the 11th?” Try that with your friends sometime. Next time a friend asks you the date, say, “August the 15th” or whatever date it happens to be. I bet they’ll give you a head-tilted squinted look like you have a screw loose.

The Minnesota National Guard Troops are Almost Home

There is a great story on KARE 11 by Tricia Volpe reporting from Camp Douglas covering the arrival of MN National Guard troops back to the Midwest.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to smell a Midwestern summer after 22 months away, including 16 months in Iraq. Turning in their weapons must be a strange after being so attached to it for so long.

It’s too bad they didn’t come up with a way of getting the face of every guard member who’s returned onto the air. How many people watching that story were squinting looking for their friends and family?