Tragedy Everywhere

I just can’t take all the fucking bad news anymore. There seems to be tragedy everywhere. First is the major loss of life, destruction of property, etc. in the south from Hurricane Katrina. Then there’s the largest loss of life in Iraq in one day since we’ve been there, this one due to panic over a report that a suicide bombing was about to occur. And perhaps most disheartening is this blog from an American soldier who had just returned to Iraq. His blog just sort of… ends. And then in the comments section is an outpouring of grief where I realize that he was one of those names that you hear about in the press (or don’t hear about)… Where “three soldiers in Iraq were killed today when their transport overturned in a sinkhole…”

Going about my day to day life here in the US, not being asked by our government to sacrifice anything, it’s so easy to get caught up in my own life. And when I hear that another three or four soldiers died in Iraq, it’s so easy to just get upset and curse George Bush and then go on with my life with this whole thing occupying some dark space in the back of my head… Knowing that some horrible shit is going on “over there,” but being otherwise powerless to stop it.

And then I read something like this soldier’s blog and I realize just how many people are connected to every one of those soldiers who die in this unholy war. There is so much suffering… Some of it is inevitable, but some of it was preventable. George Bush has so much blood on his hands. He says he’s a Christian. I wish I could be there when he has to explain his actions. Last night the Majority Report had an audio clip of Dick Cheney back in 1991 claiming why it would be so crazy an idea to go into Baghdad — that establishing some kind of government would be such a monumental undertaking that we surely had better not get ourselves involved in this “classic definition of a quagmire.” Amazing what money can do to a person, eh?

There is true evil in the world, and it scares me that it’s gained such a foothold.

But there is one bit of comfort in the news today. Apparently, the attacks on Cindy Sheehan by the group behind the “Swiftboat Vets” aren’t registering with a large majority of the population. According to this article on Salon, she has a much higher approval rating than the president.

Politicians Kids and Risk Aversion

“This is just one more politician who is willing to risk the lives of our loved ones and celebrate sending them off into a war that we never should have in…”

So says Nancy Lessin, a spokeswoman for Military Families Speak Out, on the day that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was honored by the National Guard for extending pay for state workers on active duty. According to this article in the Boston Herald, Romney has been a big supporter of the war in Iraq, but apparently hasn’t thought to ask his own five sons — ages 24 to 35 — to sign up for National Guard duty. Speaking of which, I wonder where the Bush girls are partying today? My guess is that it’s not in Baghdad.

Letter to Mr. Bush

Mr. Bush, Cindy Sheehan deserves to be heard. I understand that this thing has now spun too far out of control for you to take the time to see her at this point, but your response as to why you couldn’t see her is nothing short of pathetic.

“I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life … I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I’m mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I’m also mindful that I’ve got a life to live and will do so.”

When you have time to take five weeks of vacation, you should have time to take 30-60 minutes to speak to the mother of one of the US citizens you sent to death due to an unnecessary war. His blood is on your hands, and he also “had a life to live” once upon a time. You are directly responsible for his death, having jumped to war before the facts were in. If you were any kind of man of strong moral character as you claim to be, you’d suck it up and go speak with her. What is wrong with you?

What Do Iraq Vets Say About Bush?

Over on, Corporal Abdul Henderson, a Marine who served in Iraq from March until May, 2003, was asked what he would tell Bush if he could?

[He] took a deep breath and said, “It would be two hits-me hitting him and him hitting the floor. I see this guy in the most prestigious office in the world, and this guy says ‘bring it on.’ A guy who ain’t never been shot at, never seen anyone suffering, saying ‘bring it on?’ He gets to act like a cowboy in a western movie…it’s sickening to me.”

That’s all we’ve been saying. Then this, “from Alex Ryabov, a corporal in an artillery unit which was in Iraq the first three months of the invasion, asked for some time to formulate his response to the same question.”

“I don’t think Bush will ever realize how many millions of lives he and his lackeys have ruined on their quest for money, greed and power,” he says, “To take the patriotism of the American people for granted…the fact that people (his administration) are willing to lie and make excuses for you while you continue to kill and maim the youth of America and ruin countless families…and still manage to do so with a smile on your face.”

Taking a deep breath to steady himself he continues as if addressing Bush first-hand; “You needs to resign, take the billions of dollars you’ve made off the blood and sweat of US service members….all the suffering you’ve caused us, and put those billions of dollars into the VA to take care of the men and women you sent to be slaughtered. Yet all those billions aren’t enough to even try to compensate all the people who have been affected by this.”

Head over here for the entire story.

You might also want to wander over to, where a former Iraq veteran has posted a letter that basically says this administration and its lackeys in the press have been lying about Iraq. Nothing we didn’t know already, but it’s interesting to hear it straight from a soldier’s pen. Anyone wanna call these guys unpatriotic? Anyone wanna tell these guys who were actually over there that they’re “emboldening the enemy?” Didn’t think so.

Bush Goes On Vacation… Again…

On a day when fourteen Marines were killed in Iraq in the deadliest single bombing since the war began, George W. Bush, um, is going on vacation again. And we’re not talking about a two-week vacation like most of us get (personally, I haven’t had a chance to take a vacation at all yet this year), but a five week vacation. Sure, pro-Bush hacks say that “he’s not really vacationing all that time, he’s working,” but you might recall that it was during a similar vacation back in 2001 that Bush was too busy “clearing brush” on his ranch to take notice of a little memo entitled something like, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within US.” I’d like to see Bush take a couple weeks of that vacation and go to Iraq to visit the troops that have had their tours of duty extended time and again due to the incompetence at the White House. Bush goes on his 319th day of vacation, and our boys and girls over in Iraq can’t even get home when promised to see their families. I wonder what they’d say if they were allowed to talk to anyone? Would it be, “our Commander-In-Chief deserves a five week vacation…” What was that Bush said about “working hard?” “We’re working hard for this, we’re working real hard for that.

Sure you are, Mr. Bush. Sure you are…

Dean Wing of DNC Posts a Victory

About a month ago, I received a note from Howard Dean’s brother, James, who has been running the Democracy For America website ever since Governor Dean became chairman of the DNC. The note was sent to all DFA subscribers, and requested financial support for Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq War veteran and virtual unknown who was running for Congress in a district held by Republicans for the past thirty years. When I got the letter, I contributed some cash, thinking that the chances of a Democrat winning in Red Ohio was slim at best, and then pretty much forgot about the race until yesterday, which was election day.

Now I wish I had followed the election closer, because it appears that Hackett made standing up to the Bush regime a major part of his platform. So how did he do? He lost by four percentage points. FOUR. I hope Hillary and the DLC are watching. This is by no means a sure bet that the Democrats will win a majority in the House and Senate in 2006, but it’s a sure indication that if Democrats stand up for what they believe instead of what they think the public would LIKE them to believe, they stand a MUCH better shot at winning. This should be a giant wake-up call to the DLC. I’m sure it has been one for the GOP. The question now is, who will adapt the quickest?