Monday, March 10, 2008

Why Bush NEEDS a Third Term ...

By NanceGreggs

(… or why McCain needs one – same dif.)

I hope you have all seriously considered the things that Mr. Mission Accomplished has yet to do, and the dire consequences if he is forced to leave office in January 2009 before being allowed to complete his tasks.

Here are my Top Twenty Reasons why Bush should be allowed another term to finish what he’s started:

20. We are literally minutes away from complete victory in Iraq. I know we’ve been hearing this for five years, but this time it’s really true!!!

19. Sure we have millions of Americans who are homeless, bankrupt, uninsured – but do we have enough?

18. Bush has brought the economy to the edge of the cliff – shouldn’t he be allowed to kick it completely over the side before he leaves office?

17. The end of the Bush “presidency” will lead to massive job losses in the Burnable-Bush-Effigy industry, the “Impeach Now” sign-making business, and the “Off to the Hague” T-Shirt Manufacturers Union.

16. While most Bush inner-circle cronies have made their millions, some have not yet been awarded government consultancy contracts – can’t we wait until they get their fair share?

15. A new president might not award no-bid contracts to companies like Halliburton. Just what is Dick Cheney supposed to live on should that happen? Is it really fitting that a former VP end his days subsisting on Caviar-Helper?

14. The cost of education will skyrocket due to US kids having to learn English as opposed to what’s been passed-off as English for the last seven years.

13. Comedians and monologue writers will no longer have easy access to jokes that virtually write themselves every time Bush opens his mouth.

12. There are still Iraqis who are alive – and they’re screwing up our ability to steal their oil.

11. US cities could be over-run by homeless billionaires if the tax-cuts aren’t made permanent.

10. Photographers could suffer serious injury if the carefully-staged photo-op, attended by hand-picked crowds, becomes a thing of the past.

9. Having to revert to the Constitution and the rule of law could adversely affect the livelihood of history revisionists.

8. Seeing a presidential approval rating that surpasses 20% might be too jarring a change for many citizens.

7. DC paper-shredders could find themselves on the unemployment line, along with IT workers with expertise in erasing WH emails, videotapes of interrogations, etc.

6. The great sport of waterboarding could lose its audience share.

5. Yes, we’ve pissed-off millions of people world-wide – shouldn’t we stay the course until every last person is pissed-off?

4. A new administration could decide that our vets actually deserve the very best of treatment upon their return – just where is that money supposed to come from?

3. All right, big deal, so we lost one US city due to failure to mitigate the damage caused by a natural disaster – don’t we have plenty of cities? Shouldn’t we be in a position to get rid of a few more before it’s too late?

2. Isn’t insisting on an AG who remembers stuff an affront to the memory-impaired everywhere?

And the Number One Reason for giving Bush a third term:

1. Sure, we as a nation are fucked – but shouldn’t we forge ahead until we are Unequivocally the NUMBER ONE most fucked-up nation EVER in the history of mankind?

Why should the Greatest Nation on Earth settle for being second best?

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Troops Die While Bureaucrats Blunder: The Fight Against Red Tape

Paul Rieckhoff @ 11:24 am
February 28, 2008

Time and time again, we’ve seen troops and veterans suffering at the hands of an inept government bureaucracy. Wounded troops have been forced to repay their enlistment bonuses. Amputees fell through the cracks at Walter Reed. And 400,000 veterans are still waiting months (and even years) for their disability benefits.

Well, here we go again:

Christopher M. Simmance helped keep the peace as an American Soldier in the Middle East, but when he returned home and later suffered a breakdown, he was turned away from the VA hospital because the government didn’t acknowledge his overseas duty.

The whole story is here. Overall, at least 2,000 veterans across the country are struggling to correct mistakes on their military records - mistakes that have cost some of them their jobs and their health care coverage. The wait to correct these errors can stretch for as long as three years. In the meantime, the veteran is not eligible for any of the services or benefits to which they are entitled.

But the battles against the bureaucracy are not only fought by the wounded.

Army Sgt. Kendell Frederick, who had tried three times to file for citizenship, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq as he returned from submitting fingerprints for his application.

There are roughly 7,200 service members or veterans waiting on their citizenship applications, despite a 2002 pledge from the Bush administration to fast track paperwork for immigrant members of the U.S. military. They have to wait months, and sometimes years, for their applications to navigate lengthy background checks, misplaced paperwork, confusion about deployments, and a plethora of other bureaucratic obstacles.

Troops in Iraq getting shot at right now are also bearing the burden of bureaucracy. Our slow acquisitions process and the inadequate oversight of military procurement can have dire consequences for troops in theatre:

Casualties could have been reduced by half among Marines in Iraq if specially armored vehicles had been deployed more quickly in some cases.

That’s according to a new blockbuster report to the Pentagon.

This is just unacceptable. For every bureaucratic snafu and oversight failure, there are thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans paying the price-with their lives and limbs. That’s why Government Accountability is so important, and why we have included it as one of the five key areas of IAVA’s 2008 Legislative Agenda.

But accountability isn’t very popular in Washington right now. The fate of one of our successes from last year’s Legislative Agenda has just been thrown into jeopardy. The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act established a new Wartime Contracting Commission to investigate fraud and waste by defense contractors. But in his signing statement, President Bush has objected to this new “Truman Commission” on the grounds that it might tie his hands as Commander-in-Chief.

Senator Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran whose son served in Iraq, championed the new commission, and has sworn the commission will go forward. He rammed it home on the Senate floor stating:

“If the Administration would like to explain to us what their constitutional issue is with a piece of legislation that the President has just signed, we would be happy to hear that. In the meantime, we are moving forward with this Commission. It is vitally important to accountability in the government, and I’m very proud to have introduced it. We are marching forward.”

Troops and veterans will be marching alongside Senator Webb on this. And we need the American people to do the same.

Posted in full with author's permisssion.

Originally posted at

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Winter Soldier fundraiser in Somerville 3/7/2008

Veterans for Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade

in partnership with

O2 Yoga


Winter Soldier II Fundraiser

Where: O2 Yoga
288 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA

When: Friday, March 7, 2008

Time: 8:15 - 9:30PM

Please come and help O2 Yoga and Veterans for Peace support the Winter Soldier II hearings March 13th to 16th in Washington D.C. Veterans and civilian survivors of both conflicts will give public testimony and eye witness accounts of what is really happening on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is a fundraiser, please bring your checkbooks.

Speakers - Iraq Veterans: Liam Madden and Carlos Harris

Gold Star Family: Carlos and Melida Arrendondo

A short film, Winter Soldier II will be shown.


Mimi Loureiro, Owner O2 Yoga

Winter Soldier fundraiser in Essex 3/2/2008




Sunday, March 2nd, 3pm

First Universalist Church

57 Main Street, Essex, MA

Keynote Speaker: Andrew Bacevich, Boston University

Professor of History and International Studies

Featured Speaker: Iraq Marine Veteran Liam Madden

Music by Pat Scanlon • Short DVD by IVAW • Light refreshments


Help us support the Winter Soldier hearings

March 13th to 16th in Washington DC

where recent US combat vets will testify on

what is really happening in Afghanistan and Iraq

Sponsored by the Samantha Smith Chapter Veterans for Peace

and the North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice

Contact: Paul Brailsford: (978) 356 7671

The plan for what comes after Iraq

By Andrew J. Bacevich

February 24, 2008

THE ISSUE that ought to occupy center stage in the 2008 presidential campaign is not US policy toward Iraq but US policy after Iraq. "After" in this context does not mean that Iraq is now receding in America's rearview mirror; the conflict there will continue for years to come. "After" means that, like it or not, dealing with the war's consequences will rank near the top of the next president's agenda.

more stories like this

One such consequence is this: the United States finds itself without a set of viable and morally coherent principles to guide decisions regarding the use of force.

The United States once adhered to principles that were both sound and eminently straightforward. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s, the so-called Vietnam syndrome exercised a restraining influence. Americans saw military power as something to be husbanded. The preference was to use force as a last resort, employed to defend vital interests. Overt aggression qualified as categorically wrong.

After the Cold War, enthusiasm for precision weapons and a brief infatuation with "humanitarian interventionism" eroded those principles. During the 1990s, the use of force, usually on a small scale, became increasingly commonplace. The lessons of Vietnam lost their salience. Then came the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which prompted the Bush administration to jettison those lessons in their entirety.

In their place, the administration substituted a breathtakingly ambitious new framework. Through the use of preventive war (the Bush doctrine) the United States set out to transform the greater Middle East (the freedom agenda), thereby liberating the people of the Islamic world and preventing further terrorist attacks. Rather than a last resort, force became a preferred instrument. Given the right motives, aggressive war became justifiable and even necessary.

Two key assumptions underlay this approach. The first was that US troops were unstoppable: once committed into action, US forces could be counted on to deliver a quick, decisive, and economical victory. The second assumption was that the greater Middle East was ripe for change, with liberal values providing the antidote to the pathologies afflicting the region.

Events have now demolished these assumptions. Except when fighting on its own terms, the United States military has proven itself unable to deliver quick, decisive, and economical victories. Within 18 months of the terrorist attacks, President Bush initiated two major wars. Years later, despite the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars and the loss of thousands of lives, those wars continue, with no end in sight. The president will bequeath both of them to his successor. Bluntly, the Bush doctrine hasn't worked as advertised.

Similar problems beset the freedom agenda. Efforts to democratize Iraq and Afghanistan have produced not effective and legitimate governments, but quasi-permanent dependencies. In the West Bank and Gaza, American insistence on free and fair elections delivered power to Hamas. In Lebanon, elections enhanced the standing of Hezbollah. Rather than alleviating pathologies, democracy has accentuated them.

Although the White House may pretend otherwise, the Bush doctrine and the freedom agenda have failed their trials. That failure is definitive. Only the truly demented will imagine that simply trying harder will produce different results - that preventive war against Iran, for example, will hurry that nation down the path toward Western-oriented liberal democracy. The collapse of the Bush doctrine and the freedom agenda leaves a dangerous void.

In the place of defective principles regarding the proper role of force, we now have no principles at all. Nothing in the presidential campaign thus far suggests that any of the candidates is aware of this problem. Regardless of the election's outcome, however, it will be incumbent upon the next president to replace the Bush doctrine and its corollary.

This will be no easy task. Yet the place to begin is with a candid recognition of just how far Americans have strayed from the path of wisdom and prudence since persuading themselves that the lessons of Vietnam no longer applied.

A first step might be to enshrine a new Iraq syndrome to serve the same purposes today that the Vietnam syndrome did after that failed war, reminding us that power has limits, curbing the reckless impulses of our politicians, warning against those who promise peace while sending young Americans to fight in distant lands.

The Iraq syndrome ought to begin with this dictum: never again. This time we need to mean it.

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. His new book "The Limits of Power" will appear later this year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let's talk a bit about money

Did you know the 2009 military budget is $735,700,000,000? No shit.

Hmmmm. I wonder why that is so. . .

F-22 Raptors cost $355,000,000 a pop.

F-35 Lightnings cost $239,000,000 a pop.

C-17 Globemasters cost $202,000,000 in 1998 dollars.

Littoral Combat ships cost over $600,000,000 each.

The new national security cutter costs $536,000,000.

MRAPs cost at least $1,000,000 a pop.

BTW, the F-22s had to go into the shop for corrosion repairs, the F-35 still has not flown above 40,000 feet, the C-17 assembly line is getting shut down in 2009, the Littoral Combat ships have increased in cost by 300%, the Deepwater program is on the ropes, and the US Military uses 340,000 barrels of oil a day.

You're probably scratching your head asking "Huh? Where did he get those numbers?" I post daily at democraticunderground in the Veterans forum.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Ya gotta give the DoD credit for balls. They ask for more than $700 billion in their 2009 budget, and then four days later ask for another $30,000,000,000.

The toys are starting to get expensive: F-22s at $355,000,000 a pop, F-35s at $239,000,000 a pop, Virginia class submarines at $2,500,000,000 a pop, DDG destroyers at $3,300,000,000 to $5,000,000,000 a pop. The list goes on and on and on.

Deepwater program failures trashed the Coast Guard hopes for a replacement fleet. Admiral Allen's been on a propaganda tour trying to get more $$$.

The F-35 still cannot fly above 40,000 feet.

B-2s need $71,700,000 worth of display upgrades.

The Navy's LCS program is out of control. Instead of costing $220,000,000 a ship, the estimated cost is now $600,000,000 a ship. The Navy canceled two of the four ships ordered.

So back to the budget. The additional $30,000,000,000 makes the 2009 defense budget $735,700,000,000. That's almost 3/4 of a trillion dollars..

How much longer can we afford to do this?