Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People?

One bumper at a time.

If driving the Crosstown in Minneapolis during rush hour has taught me anything it’s that people LOVE it when you honk and honk and honk, then bump into their cars because you’re so damn important:

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Yco1deXOzN8″ width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]

This is how America is being represented on the streets of Iraq. Wow.

What are you going to do about this, Mr. Commander in Chief?

Bush Lied about Size of Escalation

Via AMERICAblog.

This is news in the sense that more troops than expected will be going to Iraq, more money will be thrown at the effort, and more people will likely end up dead or injured. It’s NOT exactly news that Bush has lied about his plans for increasing the size of his disaster:

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would “surge” an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 — more than double the number the President initially said.

Defense Tech: Breaking: Double the Troops in “Surge” (Updated)

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would “surge” an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 — more than double the number the President initially said.

George W. Bush’s War

Wars are started by small groups of people who manage to drum up enough fear among citizens to get their support. This is exactly what George W. Bush did in order to gain the support of the American people to invade a country that did not attack us. In addition to scaring and lying our country into a war, the execution of the war can been downright criminal.

George w. Bush’s lack of leadership really shines in the video found here. The transcript below is an outtake nonchalantly describing the rape of a 15-year old girl by soldiers reporting to George W. Bush.

IraqSlogger: Abu Ghraib video transcript

What else would you guys do?

What would we do?

****

Or we would take plastic and wrap it around their heads until they started choking….

****

CIA showed us a lot of shit….

****

…..crank generator, where we’d hook it up to their nipples or their nuts, fucking crank it and shock the shit out of them.

***

What was the most fun things?

The most fun thing, umm….definitely the women.

Yeah? They had chick insurgents, man?

No, they didn’t have chick insurgents.

***

Something goes down, they just grab everyone around, you know, fuck em. I mean, you gonna have 35 trials? No, you know. People are like, “Oh they’re innocent.” You know what, I don’t give a fuck. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all guilty. You know what? They should have kicked Saddam out themselves. Instead, we’re there doing the fucking job. We’re losing guys…..

***

Were those people in the World Trade Center guilty? No. Fuck them. They fucked us, so now we’re fucking them. Fuck them, dude, anyone with a fucking rag on their head is fair game.

***

….girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn’t been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So….

***

One of the guys started pimping her out for 50 bucks a shot. I think at the end of the day, you know, he’d made like 500 bucks before she hung herself.

Really?

Yeah.

She hung herself? How’s come she hung herself?

I don’t know. She wasn’t happy.

***

In their culture, it’s really shunned upon if you get raped. I guess she would have been stoned to death anyways by her people, you know. It’s fucked up.

She was fucked anyway, I guess. In more ways than one.

***

You didn’t get shit from the CO, did you?

Uh-uh, not until those fucking pictures came out. After then the biggest rule was no fucking cameras.

Via Jesus’ General.

Bush’s Illegal War Hurts Minnesotans

I’m still catching up on local news after returning from Las Vegas. It really sucks to hear that our Minnesota National Guard troops are going to be stuck in Iraq for even longer dealing with the mess Bush created:

MPR: Minnesota National Guard mission in Iraq extended

About 2,600 Minnesota National Guard troops will be staying in Iraq longer than they expected.

The Minnesota soldiers in the 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, were supposed to come home in March after a year-long deployment, but they will stay longer as part of the president’s plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Keep in mind that a year long deployment is actually much longer than a year, because they don’t count time spent training or rotating in/out of Iraq in that year. It’s only boots on the ground time, as I understand it.

I just hope the strain of this type of news in all 50 states will somehow act as a catalyst for bringing this war to an end. We’ve already lost. How much longer will it be before Bush and Rice are willing to come to terms with the disaster they’ve created?

Oil and Permanent Bases

The Nation, via Yahoo, provides a concise explanation of why Bush is so stuck when it comes to Iraq:

There are two elephants in the room when it comes to Iraq, and for some reason the establishment press can never quite bring itself to broach the subjects: permanent bases and access to oil. It’s fairly clear that Bush is not going to withdraw from Iraq no matter what happens. Part of this is due to the fact that he has decided that as long as we stay in Iraq we can’t lose the war, and he doesn’t want to lose it. But there’s also the not-so-minor fact that if we withdraw from Iraq we’ll have a hard time establishing permanent bases and may not have any secure access to the country’s oil.

“Stay the course”

“You’re with us against us”

“When they stand up, we’ll stand down.”

“A New Way Forward”

All just ways to buy time for Bush with the American people. Time that costs billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

George Bush’s Iraq

The Saddest Year End Round Up You’ll See

  • The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.

  • Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.

  • The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.

  • The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.

  • An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country’s ‘Golden Years’.

  • Your country is purportedly ‘selling’ 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.

  • For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it’s going to cut back on providing that hour.

  • Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is ‘sectarian bloodshed’ or ‘civil war’.

  • People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that’s been missing for two weeks.

Saddam’s Dead. Do You Feel Safer?

The only time I truly felt threatened by Saddam Hussein was when Colin Powell went to the United Nations and lied about weapons of mass destruction. If it wasn’t for Powell’s compelling yet completely dishonest presentation to the United Nations, I don’t believe we would have invaded Iraq.

Colin Powell, I hold you personally responsible for the death of every American soldier who’s died in Iraq and the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens.
Had Powell not lied to the United Nations, there’s a very good chance that Saddam Hussein would still be alive. While I’m pretty indifferent to the health of Hussein, I think it’s dispicable that 3,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in a trumped up war justified by making Saddam Hussein seem like an imminent threat to America. We now know that we were fed a load of crap, yet more soldiers will die tommorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that. In fact, our president would like to increase then number of American soldiers in harm’s way.

Would Saddam have been a threat to America if we surrounded Iraq militarily, put sanctions on the country, and built up a world-wide coalition of countries opposed to any aggresive moves by Iraq? Of course not. And this could have been done without dropping a single bomb. Without sacrificing a single soldier’s life. But it would have involved maturity beyond the capability of our current president.
Do I feel better knowing Saddam Hussein is dead? Absolutely not. He presented no threat to me sitting in jail, so killing him simply makes a martyr out of him leading to even more hostility against the United States.

Central Front in The War on Christmas: Eastern Wisconsin

A friend of mine from college thinks that George W. Bush’s Texas accent is real, that we’re winning in Iraq (yet he can’t define HOW we’re winning or what winning looks like), and that Democrats drink the blood of babies (more or less).

He also happens to be a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders defending Christmas from Democratic evildoers. While crushing his latest can of Busch Light (ironic when said rather than read) with his left hand, he forwards right-wing jokes with his right. Here’s the latest:

For My Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere.

For My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My friend celebrates the birth of a non-white, non-American, non-Republican person born to an asexual couple by making fun of people (Democrats) who, ironically, respect others without regard to “race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference.”

Here’s a previous exchange from over three years ago when he was convinced the media was misleading the American public by supposedly failing to report on how well things were going in Iraq. 465 Americans had already died in Iraq. 2,485 more Americans have died since.

I suppose it’s easier to fight (via keyboard) a fake war trumped up by a couple FOX News talking heads than to defend the bloodshed caused by President Bush.

What I don’t understand is why so many people NEED an enemy in their life. Is hate therapeutic? Does a polarized world-view give people a sense of place?

Here is my first shot at a theory on this: people who look down on others due to their political affiliation or religious beliefs would like to live in a simpler world. By dismissing the beliefs of the vast majority of Americans (the majority of Americans belong a different political party or no party at all), and the vast majority of the world (people of different religions, races, etc.), the world becomes a much smaller and more manageable space. It’s a comfortable world-view that comes without the burden of learning about other places, people, and religions beyond basic stereotypes so you can make fun of them.

Cost of Looting in Iraq

I figure day to day life in Iraq much be pretty rough. With limited access to power, thus refrigeration, things we take for granted like drinkable milk in the refrigerator become impossible.

Unemployment numbers are insanely high, but beyond that, something like 2 million people have be dislocated from their homes due by either having their homes destroyed or simply due to the danger they faced living in their now-dangerous neighborhoods.

So, what does a person without a job, a home, refrigeration, and general safety do? I imagine just about whatever it would take to provide those basic needs for themselves and their families. I’m certain that if someone kicked down my door in an attempt to find WMDs, the first thing I’d do after they left would be to repair the darn thing. Would you be able to sleep at night without a secure door on your home?

With this in mind, I find the behavior of the US troops in this video from Iraq absolutely disgusting. According to the non-FOX News reporter, the US troops featured in this video stumbled across a group of men and children who were looting lumber. This, of course, is a crime and deserves some attention. Considering my preface to the video above, what would be an appropriate solution to deal with this situation? I’d like to see something like this:

1. Ask them why they’re looting lumber. Maybe they have a justifiable reason.

2. Arrest them.

3. Make them return the lumber.

Or, you could do what the US troops did: shoot the looter’s car then crush it with a tank.

I’m not sure what the punishment is for looting lumber in the United States, but looking at the lumber on their car, it looks like it would probably be a misdemeanor charge in most states. I imaging a typical US judge would listen to the defendant’s case, “Your honor, the doors to my home were destroyed by US troops, and my kitchen is missing due to an errant shot from a tank. This is why I look, your honor.” Somehow, I think the sentence would fall somewhat short of a crushed car given the circumstances.

My questions:

Why didn’t the troops arrest the looters?

Isn’t there a criminal justice system set up to deal with things like this?

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Who made the troops the judge and jury?

What do these troops do when the camera isn’t running? When a reporter isn’t standing right there? When children aren’t present?

Any thoughts?

The Cost of Staying the Course in Iraq

An interesting comparison of the opportunity costs associated with the wasteful spending on the needless war started by President Bush without justification:

Crooks and Liars » The Cost of “Staying the Course�?

Taxpayers in California will pay $40.3 billion for the cost of war in Iraq. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

* 16,733,296 People with Health Care or
* 627,551 Elementary School Teachers or
* 4,767,634 Head Start Places for Children or
* 25,168,314 Children with Health Care or
* 235,246 Affordable Housing Units or
* 4,390 New Elementary Schools or
* 7,685,109 Scholarships for University Students or
* 616,017 Music and Arts Teachers or
* 741,482 Public Safety Officers or
* 117,140,845 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
* 601,790 Port Container Inspectors

Go check out what the trade-offs are for your state.