Monthly Archives: June 2014

Iraq Again! Oh, Hell No!

Zombie hand

“It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive!”

Colin Clive in “Frankenstein


As the United States slowly recuperates from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are suddenly beset with a very real horror show: the rise of militants in Iraq, as well as the collapse of the Iraqi government. Most of us keep smacking ourselves across the face; trying to wake up from what can only be deemed a nightmare. No – a night terror. This can’t be happening. There must be some kind of misunderstanding. The media has it all wrong.

No, they don’t. It is happening. And, we’re all wide awake.

I wish that the brewing fiasco is – at best – a really cruel, heartless joke. But, it’s simply not. The blatant reality is that radical Iraqi insurgents have risen from the crypt of hate and anger to launch an assault on that nation’s fragile government and hapless military. They’ve already taken over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. It’s surely only a matter of time before they attack Baghdad.

President Obama, who campaigned in 2008 partly on the promise to end the war in Iraq, says another round of military intervention is not likely. But, almost in the same breath, he added, “We have enormous interests there.”

What happened to the good old days, when a president would say stupid crap, but still really believe it with all his heart? Many of us disagreed with George W. Bush, but at least we knew where he stood on an issue. Along with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, Bush hoodwinked much of the nation into believing Iraq had a role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and was secretly building a nuclear arsenal. In the twisted logic that only a draft-dodging right-wing lunatic could manufacture, Bush forced the U.S. to switch its attention abruptly from Afghanistan to Iraq. Most of us level-headed folks saw the ruse clearly and still didn’t mind being labeled terrorists. We knew it was a lie. But, Bush was a puppet president for corporate oil interests (in much the same way Warren G. Harding was), so I don’t blame him completely.

But, with nearly 4,500 U.S. dead in Iraq alone – not to forget those who died from their injuries or suicide once back home – we’re faced with a bizarre quandary: sending troops back into Iraq to thwart what observers have ominously deemed the “threshold of civil war.”

Trick question: what’s the difference between the threshold of civil war in Iraq and a total conflict?

Answer: nothing!

The difference is in terminology only. Hearing military and political “experts” trying to define the two concepts is like saying there’s a difference between azure and blue. I knew a guy in college who got upset when people said he was Italian. He preferred the term “Sicilian.” Oh, of course! Silly me! And, just so you’ll know, I’m not Latino. I’m Hispanic! ¿Entiendes?

The U.S. put itself into a quixotic situation with Iraq more than three decades ago when it began funding its war with Iran. That came to an abrupt end in 1988, when Saddam Hussein launched a genocidal chemical attack on Kurdistan. The U.S. also placed itself in a quagmire with Afghanistan when it supported mujahideen rebels in their valiant fight against the former Soviet Union – and then forgot about the Afghan people. One nation doesn’t make a promise of that magnitude to another nation without owning up to it.

If, by some wretched chance, we do send our military back into Iraq, here’s what I’d like to see happen:

  • Initiate a military draft. Every 18-25 able bodied person (including women, Jews, Mormons, conservative Republicans and rich kids) will have to serve in some kind of capacity. No exceptions!
  • Raise taxes on the wealthiest 5% of American citizens. Since many of them are the ones who propagated the war in Iraq and subsequently benefited from it, we need half of their income to go into Pentagon coffers.
  • Cease all foreign aid. This includes Israel. Unquestionable financial and political support for Israel by the U.S. is another reason for the 09/11 attacks.

It’s only fair all of the above should occur, as the U.S. roars back into Iraq like a repo man going after a late-model BMW for the third time. But, I also think it’s only fair I should be rich and famous without working too hard for it. After all, I’m attractive (in the right black light) and intelligent. Why should I struggle so hard?

Will the U.S. boomerang its troops back into Iraq? I can only hope not. But, you know how that goes.


Filed under Essays

Happy Father’s Day 2014!


“Only a dad with a tired face,

Coming home from the daily race,

Bringing little of gold or fame,

To show how well he has played the game.


But glad in his heart that his own rejoice,

To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,

One of ten million men or more.


Plodding along in the daily strife,

Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,

With never a whimper of pain or hate,

For the sake of those who at home await.


Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,

Merely one of the surging crowd,

Toiling, striving from day to day,

Facing whatever may come his way.


Silent whenever the harsh condemn,

And bearing it all of the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,

To smooth the way for his children small.


Doing with courage stern and grim,

The deeds that his father did for him.

This is the line for him I pen:

Only a dad, but the best of men.”


“Only a Dad” – Edgar A. Guest

Father’s Day.


Filed under News

One Year Update: The Chief Almost Kills Himself


Today officially marks one year since my near-fatal accident here at the house. Some of you might remember: I slipped on a wet spot on the linoleum floor the atrium in my parents’ home while carrying a gallon glass jug of iced tea. My feet literally went out from under me. Being airborne for a split second allowed my entire body to rotate 180 degrees and land face down on the floor; two shards of glass from the shattered jug piercing my right arm. After a three-day stay at Hotel Parkland, I returned home with multiple stitches, no feeling in my right hand and an overwhelming desire to bathe for two or three hours. I was still pissed that I wasted half a jug of that herbal tea because I didn’t watch where the hell I was going. It’s amazing how a simple misstep can be so life-changing.

I had surgery last September 13 – a Friday, to be certain – and I’m just now starting to regain function and feeling in the right ring and little fingers. The hand surgeon had told me it would probably take up to a year to regain full functionality and sensation – if that happens at all. At the rate I’m going, I figure I might get up to 75% by this September. It’s a good thing I can do a lot with my left hand. I always knew being bi-manual would come in…well, handy some day.

I note that my accident was near-fatal because of the severity of the wound in my upper right arm and the amount of blood loss. If my father hadn’t wrapped a towel tightly around it, just beneath the elbow, I could have bled to death. The only other thing I had going for me was that the glass cut a vein and not an artery. If it had cut an artery – well, let’s just say I’d have to change the name of my blog to “Chief Writing Spirit.” That would give a whole new meaning to the term “ghost writing.”

I’m fortunate, though, very fortunate. I managed to survive and live to see my 50th birthday last November. I still have great parents and a great dog, plus a good collection of close friends. I consider military veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and realize I don’t have much to complain about. Why does it take such catastrophic events to make people realize how good they actually have it? I don’t know. I guess we need to get shaken up like that – sometimes shaken up badly, in a bloody painful way – to understand life can be good most of the time.

So, as I mark this unwanted first anniversary of stupid accident and a difficult recovery, I continue writing and enjoying the people I love the most. But, damnit, I’m still pissed off about wasting that perfectly good herbal tea!


Filed under Essays

In Remembrance – D-Day: June 6, 1944


“We do not know or seek what our fate will be. We ask only this, that if die we must, that we die as men would die, without complaining, without pleading and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believed was right.”

Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, Commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 506th Paratroop Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.


“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”

Bertrand Russell




Filed under History

In Memoriam – Chester Nez: 1921 – 2014


“My wartime experiences developing a code that utilized the Navajo language taught how important our Navajo culture is to our country. For me that is the central lesson: that diverse cultures can make a country richer and stronger.”

Chester Nez, 2011


When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.

– Navajo Proverb


Navajo Code Talkers

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Filed under News