Nothing But Lip Service. In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap - and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately.
For example, the White House griped that various pay-and-benefits incentives added to the 2004 defense budget by Congress are wasteful and unnecessary - including a modest proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty. This comes at a time when Americans continue to die in Iraq at a rate of about one a day.
Similarly, the administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones. (link)
From the Army Times. The next time the Bush Administration talks about how it supports the troops, laugh in its face. As the title of this editorial says, Bush only gives that lip service. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]
No surprise there.
Quiet Birth for Star Wars World. George Lucas’ company and Sony launches one the biggest games of the year today: Star Wars Galaxies. But don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard. Lucas and Sony like it this way. By Suneel Ratan. [Wired News]
I got my copy on the first day (yesterday), but early server problems have thus far kept me from getting into the game.
Occupation Report. The postwar war claims 10 more casualties: six British, four Iraqi. [Hit & Run]
It turns out the British soldiers were trying to disarm the local militia, and the entire team sent was killed. British soldiers killed by the militia they were sent to disarm–where have we heard that before?
Lock The Safe, Margaret. Every so often, I read an article that just makes me go absolutely insane with rage. Here’s a snippet:bq. Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday pointed his finger at the Bush administration, saying it is erasing accomplishments that he worked hard to achieve. [Kim du Toit]
The irony is that Bush has actually accomplished some significant things that Clinton tried to achieve but couldn’t–the so-called “Patriot Act” for example. Personally, I think this accounts for some of the hostility that Democratic partisans have towards Bush–they’re jealous that he’s gotten away with doing things they tried to do and failed.
Divine Inspiration. Apparently, it's not about oil, WMDs, human rights, Halliburton, or even the Straussian Grand Plan. Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas quoted Bush as saying:
bq. God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.
Now, it's no surprise that Dubs is a religious guy, and more power to him, but the wording here is just a touch disconcerting. Does the President literally believe that God is giving him personal instructions? Does he hear voices? If so, are we sure it's not just Paul Wolfowitz playing with a megaphone? [Hit & Run]
It's amazing how much Bush sounds like Osama bin Laden.
I Accuse: To Those Who Pave the Way For the New Fascism. This is, indeed, a post of accusation — an accusation directed primarily at those libertarians and Objectivists who appear to have succumbed to the philosophical disintegration that marks our time. By their support of the foreign policy of the Bush Administration — and, more particularly, by their support of the specific means being employed by this administration, including extended periods of foreign occupation — they support and help to pave the way for the rise of the New Fascism.
It no longer matters to me that such people protest that they love liberty and freedom, and say that they value freedom and individual rights above all. At a certain point, what you claim to support and to love ceases to matter. That point comes when the policies you support in fact, and in reality, must necessarily lead to the opposite result. In this case, that result would mean the final destruction of freedom, here in the United States — which, despite all of its problems and all its self-destructive policies, remains the last beacon of freedom to the world.
Those libertarians, and more horrifyingly to me personally, those Objectivists who support this administration’s current policies ignore the lessons of history, they ignore the necessary and logical connections between foreign and domestic policy, and, most significantly, they ignore that a policy of aggressive foreign intervention is not merely an adjunct to the program of the New Right, or the New Fascists. The truth of the matter, which becomes clearer every day, when at least five or ten additional news stories show the unavoidable consequences of the reckless policies upon which we have now embarked, is the following — which I will have to repeat several times in the course of this essay, to try to break through the massive resistance which so many seem to have to this idea, which is blinding to me in its clarity: a policy of aggressive foreign intervention, coupled with lengthy periods of foreign occupation, is an integral, necessary and key part of the program of the New Fascists.
The apparently self-willed blindness of certain people to this critical, hugely significant fact — people who have every reason to know better — would not concern me so much, except for the fact that they thereby make it that much easier for the New Fascists to achieve the realization of their destructive program. That program, in its full reality, would destroy the remnants of freedom in the United States — which means that it would destroy my freedom, and the freedom of all those I love and care about. This is why I take these issues so personally. All of this is very personal to me. When you support my enemies, and the enemies of freedom, you declare war on me. In such a case, I have no choice but to respond to the challenge. You may therefore consider this my declaration of war in return. [The Light of Reason]
This excellent essay is the first of three parts.
From a post on 1911Forum on the prospect of Arnold Schwartzenegger running for Governor if Davis is successfully recalled:
Yeah, I can see the headlines now…
Davis caught in true lies, terminated by voters after total recall. It looks like the end of days for Davis Governorship. People of California feel they got a raw deal with Davis’ re-election, but hope to take an eraser to his legacy in the fall. An unrepentant Davis declares “I’ll be back”, if the recall proves to be successful. Republicans hope for a great deal of collateral damage to the state’s democratic party from the political fallout.
Electronic Adolescent. I have developed a theory about contemporary American politics, which is, in essence, that people don’t pay much attention to the facts. They decide they either like or don’t like some politician and that’s the end of it. Don’t try to confuse them with the facts.
I’m quite certain that if it were proven beyond a doubt that President Bush lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, it wouldn’t affect his popularity any more than Monica Lewinsky affected Bill Clinton’s. American politics today is all perception and emotion. Maybe, and I emphasize maybe, 5 percent of the people would change a political opinion based on the facts. The rest are attached to their favorites like movie fans. They just stare at them with goo-goo eyes and squeal on cue. [Charley Reese]
British troops killed in Iraq. Six British military personnel die and eight are wounded in separate incidents in southern Iraq, the UK prime minister’s office says. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]
bq. “In responding to the incident, an RAF Chinook helicopter carrying a Quick Reaction Force came under fire as it landed,” the statement said.
“Seven personnel on board the helicopter were wounded, three of them seriously.
Helicopters are vulnerable to ground fire, and especially so when taking off and landing. The US learned this in Vietnam, and the Russians in Afghanistan.
Charley Reese -
A Sad Story — how America, by the sheer stupidity of neglecting to
plan the rebuilding part of the mission, is losing the peace in
Iraq. [lew] [End the War on Freedom]
bq. The lot of an occupier is not an easy one. First of all, he is a foreigner who conquered the country. This will breed some resentment even among people who hated Saddam Hussein. Second, he is torn between the need for his own security and the need to win over the people. Third, practically everything the Iraqis are demanding is not in the power of the individual soldier to give them. A GI can’t help it if the big shots in the palace headquarters are dragging their feet, but it’s the GI, not the big shots, who is exposed to the Iraqi people.
Every time our soldiers fire into a crowd, every time they kick down a door in the middle of the night and start jerking people around, they will breed bitter resentment. Some of our soldiers recently killed four young Iraqis who were just firing into the air to celebrate a wedding. It’s a custom in that part of the world. T.E. Lawrence called them joy-shots. It’s also a custom in that part of the world that every wrong must be avenged. But our soldiers aren’t given courses in Arab culture, and they are trained to shoot first and ask questions later. Any man who intended to come home in one piece would have to adopt the same practice.
Incidentally, firing into the air to celebrate was an American custom until fairly recently. It’s a sad sign of the slow collapse of America that an American no longer even recognizes something that’s part of his own culture.