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Nothing But Lip Service .
Jun 30th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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 .
Jun 27th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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 .
Jun 26th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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 .
Jun 25th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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 .
Jun 25th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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 .
Jun 25th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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…
Jun 25th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

From a post on 1911Forum on the prospect of Arnold Schwartzeneg­ger run­ning for Gov­er­nor if Davis is suc­cess­ful­ly recalled:

bq.
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 .
Jun 24th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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 .
Jun 24th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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.
Jun 23rd, 2003 by Ken Hagler

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.

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