#WARCRIMES & THE RECKONING

How many people have been negatively impacted by the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq? How many have been killed, both civilian and military, throughout the greater Middle East, Europe, Central and Eastern Asia, Australasia, even the United States, by both direct and indirect result of George W. Bush’s decision to topple the Baathist Saddam Hussein regime that had ruled Iraq for nearly 30 years? As a thought experiment, let’s attempt to balance out those incredible ongoing losses with the benefits of Iraq’s supposed liberation. For one, “the evil dictator Saddam Hussein…Hitler revisited” was deposed along with his porous army and political party. I suppose the “War Dogs” that corpratized warfare in Iraq and the larger War on Terror made, and continue to rake in, massive profits? I’m sure some of the largest businesses in the energy field have done well privatizing the 2nd largest oil reserves in the entire world? As far as I can tell the entire mission can only be judged a failure of epic proportions that will no doubt be recorded in history for the massive human toll it has, and still is, exacting upon the world.

But this is little more than my humble opinion, right? I mean, take a listen around the media in America and try to find any serious voices that agree with my assessment. It’s just down right un-American to judge the war and a living President so harshly, despite how apple-pie American it is to “tell it like it is.” About as close as you’ll get to a US corporate journalist denigrated the Bush Administration so poignantly is commentary along the lines of: “Saddam was evil, so that was a good thing but,…you know, Iran, Syria, Libya, the Arab Spring, al-Qaeda in Iraq, WMD’s, etc ad infinitum.”

This is not to say that true scholars such as Andrew Bacevich haven’t echoed my assessment, -or mine theirs- of the 2003 Iraq War. Or professional journalists like Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept, it’s just these voices, when rarely heard in the mainstream, are typically mocked by some counter-pundit like Paul Wolfiwitz while simultaneously undercut by a partisan ideologue who cannot go so far as to say they were utterly and completely wrong back in 2002-03. It’s going to be hard as hell to face up to the total mess of this war, however, like it or not, a reckoning will come. An epic failure such as it is will no doubt push back.

As a participant in the initial invasion in March 2003, I bear my own responsibility and suffer my own lifelong scars. When I deployed to Afghanistan in 2002, I held a deep belief that our mission to destroy al-Qaeda was a righteous one that was worth the sacrifice. I can say now without pause that the day I learned we would be refitted for Iraq while continued operations to hunt al-Qaeda in the AfPak weren’t fully realized, was the day I began to drift from righteous to dismayed. I was not alone in my early frustrations, yet complete dissent went against almost everything the Army. In retrospect, it’s easy to put it simple: We left Afghanistan and the hunt for those involved in 9/11 to topple a sovereign government, firing its massive military, thus birthing a well-armed, well-trained, bored, angry militia we named “The Insurgency,” that now calls itself the Islamic State or ISIL.

So yeah, we couldn’t have fucked it up any worse if we had wanted to. And to put it all rather bluntly, the ultimate responsibility for this modern-day fiasco falls upon President George W. Bush. Unless there was a secret coup d’etat that controlled foreign policy in 2003, then George W. Bush is the person most responsible for this disaster. Just on the orbit of US foreign policy, has there ever been an US President so culpable for such destruction and mayhem? Sure, WWII led the US President’s FDR and Harry Truman to order massive destruction upon Germany and the Empire of Japan. The difference in terms of culpable morality is stark.

Take stock in the Bush Administration’s initial term; 2001-05. It’s a fair argument to claim Bush shouldn’t be held accountable for the 9/11 attacks, despite the certainty of guilt laid at the feet of Obama had the enormous terrorist attack happened during his Presidency. Bush cannot be absolved the crimes associated with his torture/rendition policy or the unprovoked attack upon Iraq, a sovereign nation and member of the United Nations. At minimum, these calculated operations must not be ignored or go unpunished, if we intend to continue thinking of ourselves as a nation of laws, “the indispensable nation.” To simply claim “this was war, bad things happen in war,” only muddies the future of a reasonable world order. The United States has hanged many who made that claim, or that they were “just following orders.” Our credibility will be bankrupt until our government addresses these hypocrisies. Keeping our heads buried in the sand, so to speak, will only prolong the inevitable reckoning. History proves over and over this fundamental truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EARN MY VOTE: AMERICAN RADICAL

The older I get, the less ideological my positions become. I suppose this is the case with many American’s, I just never believed the rule would include me? Of course, it’s not 100% true. Gay marriage for example, was beyond my scope of liberal thinking 20 years ago. An ex-girlfriend who I still have immense respect for, argued the point with me. I was all for “civil unions,” but marriage, that seemed more in the realm of the Church. I was wrong, of course, and can only laugh at my innocent ignorance and unconscious bigotry. I thought at the time, I’m cool with gay, civil unions proves my progressive cred, right? And so it goes; at least I’m able to modify my core beliefs when they are in direct conflict with my sense of morality.

If I have a pet peeve associated with Presidential Election cycles it has to be this knee-jerk argument: “A vote for a 3rd party candidate is a vote for….X. Usually a Republican it seems? The reason being, the GOP has an entirely different, more in your face strategy, for influencing elections. Liberals use shame; Conservatives use the law. Get over it Liberal’s, I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton…and I’m sure as fuck not voting for Donald Trump. I might not vote at all, so there. My so-called “protest vote” is exactly that, whether I file a 2016 ballot or not. If Donald Trump gets elected, it won’t be because of me, or fellow voters like me. It will be because Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate that didn’t earn our votes. Period.

The same failed logic is used to blame Ralph Nader voters in Florida for the George W. Bush disaster. Of all the data points you could reference to make a case for Al Gore’s loss, the Ralph Nader is the laziest, least democratic and poorly thought out. Another words, the perfect excuse for Liberal pundits like Bill Maher and Joan Walsh. I’d start out with Al Gore’s shitty campaign that ran away from the most popular Democratic President in a generation for one. Or how about the fact that if Gore would have won his home State of Tennessee, Bush would have lost, even with Florida? Or how about the fact that the one State that became a controversy, Florida, just happened to have as Governor, Jeb Bush, the President Elect’s brother, as well as his Florida campaign chairperson, who just happened to be in charge of elections in the State? Combine any or all of these factors with the fact that Democrats are whiny weaklings, and sure…let’s blame Ralph Nader.

I say; if you are stupid, please don’t vote. If you are voting just because some celebrity urged you to do your duty, please stay home. If Donald Trump gets elected because a plurality of our fellow citizens actually believe he has their best interest at heart, will fix Washington DC or will “Make America McGreat Again,” maybe we deserve the thump on the head? Maybe the shock of a Trump Administration -I cannot believe it’s actually even possible- is just the sort of sour milk we need to clean out the intestinal crud that is our current system of governing? Maybe a Clinton Administration simply continues this drip, drip, drip of increasingly out of touch, Aristocratic, beltway governing, that is becoming more and more based on legalized bribery and out of control Executive power based on the theory of Constitutional War Power’s, despite the fact that Congress hasn’t declared War since December 11th, 1941.

Okay, that was a lot of commentary for one single sentence. I could be completely wrong and Hillary Clinton might end up in the same conversation as an FDR or JFK? And maybe a Trump win could end in more of a fatal blow than a severe concussion? Or it might be that the Presidency is more rhetorical power than it is transformational power, and little will change no matter the outcome November 9th? What do I mean? I look at President Obama and I have to wonder: Is it possible that he actually does want to close GITMO and reduce nuclear arms and simply cannot, despite being the POTUS? Maybe there is an underlying power structure, -The Deep State- that limits certain policy goals? Or at least there are forces so strong only the boldest and brashest of President could effectively overcome their resistance? It’s possible, maybe even likely?

What does all this mean for me? Maybe I’m not a Liberal or Progressive? Maybe these counter current positions I gravitate towards make me a Radical? Does that make me dangerous? I’d like to think it represents an open-minded, historically adept, position? Maybe though, in this climate, it’ll simply get me put on a “watch list?”

Then I’ll know for sure that I’m right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel the Donald

I’m aware of the fact that my mind hasn’t been quite right, and getting progressively worse, over the course of the last 10 years. All things being equal though, isn’t this presidential election cycle remarkably insane? It can’t just be me, right? Usually politics offers only maddening pandering and empty promises that I tend to cynically see right through. 2016 though, I mean fuck, this country really is on some runaway train. Let me run through some of the more bizarre theatrics.

First of all, Hillary Clinton. Hearing her speak enters my brain on the frequency shared by fingernails on the chalkboard. Her canned responses, punctuated by the repeated “ummm’s,” and “ugh’s” come across as something even worse than phony. Now, I am not one to punish a politician for their so-called “evolving” as the country goes. My distinction with Hillary, fully acknowledged and accepted by the media punditry, is her “shifting to the left,” in response to Bernie voters. There is something so disingenuous with these tactics the press never seems to put their finger on? What should be pointed out is that because of these “pivots,” the electorate never truly knows where she stands on any given issue? My biggest frustration with her is this “press” voice she presents during interviews. I’m almost positive that if she would just speak her heart, and not her mind, voters would accept small differences between them and her? Instead, she tries to be a chameleon, succeeding in one way at least: her slithering is like a lizard.

And then we have the Donald. What the fuck republicans? I have to think there will be eventual consequences to not standing up to his behavior by elected Governor’s, Senator’s and Representatives? I feel like the nation is under a “War of the Worlds” spell with this guy. That is, really stupid people are lining up behind him because….what? He tells it like it is? He’s the opposite actually. He tells the truth no matter what people think? No! He does the exact opposite. All he does care about is what people think. Most of all; what people think about him. He is the product of our uber-celebritized, reality TV, WWF, obsession with money culture that is eroding our culture. Either he will be elected or he wont. Either way, the future will pass cruel judgement upon the current state of affairs, greed, ignorance and dishonesty. And don’t fucking compare Trump to Reagan! There are no similarities, period. The thing with the worst decisions humans tend to make is that they are unique. History is littered with lessons to occlude most events. I have a feeling the Donald is about as close to one of a kind as we can find?

What about Bernie Sander’s? Of course I like the man. But consider how weak Clinton is as a candidate that a self described Socialist is nipping her heels all the way to the convention? I would argue even, if democratic primaries were all open, allowing anybody the vote, she would have lost. The establishment of which she is the star player has quite literally pulled her through, despite the country’s repeated attempts to burn it all down. I have a feeling it’s not over, despite the mainstream media’s conclusion otherwise? With this cast of characters it’s impossible to foresee a month from now? Bernie understands this as well, hence his continuing campaign. Feel The Bern.

What does it all mean for Veteran’s and active duty servicemen and women? Today Hillary delivered a speech on what the media called “foreign policy,” but I call Trump trolling. It’s rich for her to question Trump’s acumen on these issues considering her track record? The nerve! Trump never cast a vote authorizing Bush to invade Iraq? She did. How many people have suffered because of that disaster? Millions. Including about 3,000 dead American soldiers, another 30,000 severely wounded. Now, Trump would be a national disgrace, in my opinion, but Hillary needs to stop with the higher than thou bullshit and reflect on her poor decisions, like the overthrowing of the Libyan regime. That country is a hot mess now, violent, and another base of operations for ISIS. But yeah, she wants Assad gone and a no fly zone in Syria? Also consider none of these candidates served in the military or have children in service. Trump went to a military academy as a rotten little child. 

I have to take a break. WEW!