Tag Archives: September 11 2001 terrorist attacks

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Now that we’ve reached another major milestone with the 09/11 attacks – 15 years – with more moments of silence, replays of news footage from that awful day and myriad personal stories, I have to express my growing cynicism about those events.  Short of joining the cadre of unrepentant hawks who believe it was all a well-orchestrated conspiracy, I’m at least settled in the belief that those in charge of national security – from the White House occupants to the guardians of airline safety – failed in every sense to anticipate something like this.  You mean to tell me that no one, absolutely no one, in any role above a street cop didn’t think for a moment that someone could hijack a large jet liner and slam it into a building?  Did no one overseeing the nation’s immigration system not postulate that people overstaying their work or tourist visas could pose a legitimately fatal threat to a large segment of the populace?  In retrospect, I guess not.

We’re the country that developed both the first fully-functioning automobile and airplane and were the first to reach the Earth’s moon.  We were instrumental in developing radio, television, air conditioning, computers and cell phones.  We rose up from the depths of the worst economic downturn in our brief history to help defeat some of the most brutal dictators the world has ever seen.  Did no one – not even a secretary – sitting in an FBI office think, ‘Hm…you know, box cutters could be pretty nasty.’

The U.S. has failed before on such grand levels.  In the fall of 1979, we were still so concerned about the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviet Union that we didn’t think a handful of really pissed off university students could overwhelm our embassy in Tehran, Iran and hold people hostage for fourteen months.  Less than four years later we had military personnel in Beirut, Lebanon when a dynamite-laden box truck plowed into a compound and took 299 lives.  Again, it seemed no one thought these events were possible.

On the other hand, someone did think of crashing a plane into the White House.  In February of 1974, Samuel Byck, a failed Philadelphia businessman, planned to hijack a plane and nose dive it into the White House.  Upset, in part, because the Small Business Administration didn’t grant him a loan to start his own company, Byck had actually come to the attention of the U.S. Secret Service more than once before his enacting fateful ploy.  But, in the days when people could literally walk onto an airplane carrying more than just a bottle of water, Byck stormed aboard a Delta Airlines flight; killing first a policeman and – after firing through the cockpit door – the co-pilot with a stolen .22 revolver.  After forcing a flight attendant to close the cabin door, he announced that he wanted the plane flown to Washington, D.C.  He had even nicknamed his plot: Operation Pandora’s Box.  The bomb he claimed was housed in his briefcase was actually two Valvoline containers filled with petrol, but it had no ignition device.  Out on the tarmac police tried to disable the jet liner by blasting away at its tires.  Finally another police officer fired directly through the cabin door, subsequently and fatally wounding Byck.  Officials learned much about Byck’s plan from the audio tapes he left behind.  However, both the media and the nation were enthralled with the brewing Watergate scandal, so Byck’s failed hijacking warranted little attention.  Still, did no one with some degree of authority at the FBI – beyond that nosy secretary – not view this event with ominous potential?

In the aftermath of the 09/11 attacks, the country – already heavily divided over the previous year’s presidential elections – united in a way not seen in years.  It’s a shame how people don’t often see the value of humanity or realize the fragility of their existence until someone dies.  When death occurs on such a massive scale, though, it’s akin to a natural disaster: we lowly bidepals suddenly get it that we’re just a speck in that hourglass of time.  But, no sooner had we come together in one of those Kumbaya / We-Are-the-World kind of ways than politics crept up from its sewer of a home and started ruthlessly dissecting the national conscious (as it’s wont to do).  Among the first notable reactions was our descent into Afghanistan.  Once a beacon of literature and mathematics, Afghanistan – by the start of the 21st century – had toppled into the madness of religious fervor and extremist conservatism.  The Taliban had taken over a decade earlier and – as the U.S. became drunk on a newfound economic boon – Afghan war lords never forgot the promises our nation made for helping them defeat the Soviets: promises of new infrastructure, health care and all that comes with nation rebuilding.  They didn’t forget.  The U.S. did.  Any average person knows one of the worst friendship betrayals is to forget a heartfelt promise.  Hell – some people get pissed off if you forget their birthday!  But forget about building a new hospital?!  The one holding that bloody promissory note damn sure doesn’t!  Hence, 09/11.  So the U.S. invaded – and still hasn’t left.

Next came the Patriot Act.  This Hallmark-style gem blossomed from the hearts of the U.S. body politic as a concerted effort to prevent any future terrorist attacks.  It snagged tools already in place to fight drug trafficking and organized crime and reconfigured them into a tool to infiltrate terrorist organizations.  In that case, I wonder why they haven’t gone after the IRS.  But it quickly metamorphosed into a pathetic dogma allowing social conservatives to dictate what they felt was un-American.  Any suspected anarchist – you know…gays, lesbians, atheists, abortion doctors, Negroes, Hispanics, Native Americans, feminists, Muslims, Roman Catholics, environmentalists, vegans – fell under the proverbial microscope of questionable behavior.  So, what’s new in America?

One of the most curious – and most comical – of responses was the passage of a bill by the U.S. Congress declaring that French fries in the commissary would be renamed “freedom fries”.  This was strictly due to the fact that France refused to let itself get hoodwinked into believing the Bush Administration’s claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and should therefore be invaded.  Freedom fries?!  Yeah!  Showed those Frenchies a thing or two about pissing off Americans!

Here’s the crux of my argument: the single greatest response to the 09/11 attacks is the equally catastrophic reaction of the Bush White House’s decision to invade Iraq because they maybe-kind-of-sort-of-in-a-way had something to do with killing nearly 2,900 people on that gorgeous Tuesday afternoon.  The invasion of Iraq, along with passage of the Patriot Act and overall mismanagement of the Afghanistan War, annihilated our collective response of unity and hope rising from the ashes of the 09/11 carnage.

I’m old enough to recall Watergate and the destructive impacts it had on the collective American psyche.  It brought down the notion of the imperial U.S. presidency, when we learned that Richard Nixon was a bigoted, foul-mouthed jerk.  Americans shouldn’t have been shocked, though.  Presidents are people, too.  But then again, that level of authority imbues a certain degree of responsibility the average person can’t fathom.  Or it should.  There’s an exception to everything, and Bush certainly was exception to the concept of personal responsibility and high-caliber ethics.

George W. Bush had a prime opportunity to seal his future as one of the greatest Chief Executives ever to occupy the highest office in the land.  Instead he screwed it up royally because of his own incompetence and narrowmindedness.  That’s, in part, because he was nothing more than a puppet of right-wing extremists who targeted the White House and the U.S. Congress long before the 09/11 terrorists started plotting.  Some large oil and energy corporations here in the U.S. set their sights on Iraq in the 1990s, strictly because of its vast reserves of natural resources.  I’ve consistently pointed to one critical, almost overlooked fact: in 1998, Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron declared, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.”  Derr later became CEO of Halliburton – the same company Vice-President Dick Cheney lead until May of 2000, when he abruptly resigned and moved from Texas back to his native Wyoming.  In 2000, Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell dumped millions into the Bush presidential campaign; more than any other presidential race.  Their efforts seem to have paid off.  Less than two weeks after Bush took office, Cheney chaired the newly-formed National Energy Policy Development Group whose entire purpose was to lay out the course for America’s energy future.  In March 2001, the group outlined Iraq’s oil production capacity.  In 2004, Bush’s first Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, said, “Already by February (2001), the talk was mostly about logistics.  Not the why (to invade Iraq), but the how and how quickly.”

In November of 2002, the Bush Administration RELUCTANTLY established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known affectionately as the “9/11 Commission.”  The bipartisan group pulled as many high-ranking political and national security officials beneath the magnifying glass glare of its hearings.  Watching bits of the hearings again recently, I noticed a few phrases kept popping up: ‘I’ll have to get back to you on that.’  ‘I can’t say right now.’  Here were some of the most critical figures in U.S. national security and they didn’t know that, for example, many of the 09/11 hijackers had expired visas?  Or that “Bin Laden determined to strike US” could translate into: bombs on planes or even planes used as bombs?  Seriously!

I have one question: what the fuck were you doing in that job anyway?

If, for any reason, I had ever told a supervisor questioning me on something in a past job, “Let me get back to you on that,” there’s a good chance I’d get fired.  I’ve actually seen it happen to people.  Long before 09/11!

When you reach that level of authority in government (or business, for that matter), you are held to a greater degree of accountability than, say, someone mopping the floors at Wal-Mart.  It’s why the police aren’t really granted the benefit of an “honest mistake” when they reach for their guns and pull the trigger.  But then, we’re talking about the Bush White House.  Its people weren’t held to a higher standard than the rest of us.  They got away with it, too.

In September of 2009, political activist and author Van Jones resigned his new-found position as “green jobs czar” in the Obama Administration due to his affiliation with self-proclaimed 9/11 conspiracy “truthers.” The group claims the Bush White House was complicit in the September 11, 2001 terrorist onslaughts.  Within their own ranks they generally fall into two camps: those who say the Bush Administration (and, to some extent, the Clinton White House) dismissed a growing body of intelligence beginning in the late 1990s that the attacks were imminent; and those who declare the Bush gang actually planned and carried out the events with the express intent of invading either Afghanistan or Iraq and accessing their natural resources.  Or invading both countries.  Either theory is plausible.

Consider – among other things – that 511 executives at 186 large corporations, such as Halliburton and Exxon-Mobil, hoarded stock options towards the end of September 2001 at a rate never seen in corporate America before.  Or that one company, Teradyne, laid off a slew of employees just hours before the 09/11 events, and its chairman gathered 602,589 stock options just two weeks later.  Or that KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, received $39.5 billion in no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq – the most of any company.  Remember, Dick Cheney had been CEO of Halliburton before assuming the vice presidency.

There are a few figures who have become lost in questions over 09/11.  One is William Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was one of the last people who made it out of World Trade Center Tower 1 before it collapsed.  A maintenance worker with 20 years on the job, Rodriguez is considered a hero because he unlocked doors for arriving firemen.  In testimony before the 09/11 Commission, he claimed he heard an explosion in the basement of that building as he arrived for work; which was just before the plane hit.  Kenneth Johannemann, a part-time janitor in WTC1, stated he also heard the explosion.  And a maintenance worker in Tower 2 reported a similar explosion just before the plane struck that building.  Barry Jennings, a former New York Housing Authority Emergency Coordinator, had been in World Trade Center Tower 7 (the Deutsche Bank Building) and claimed he and another man, Michael Hess, had been “blown back” by an explosion in the structure hours before it and WTC Towers 1 and 2 collapsed.  They also claimed to have stepped over dead bodies in WTC7 as they fled.  WTC7 had not been struck by an airplane, but it caught fire and crumbled within hours after Towers 1 and 2 fell.  Other occupants claimed they’d heard explosives go off in the building some time before its downfall.  But the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which investigated the collapse of the three edifices solely from a structural standpoint, highlighted the amount of debris (including flaming refuse) that fell onto WTC7 from Towers 1 and 2.  Still, conspiratorialists point to the fact that Jennings died under suspicious circumstances on August 19, 2008.  Twelve days later Johannemann also died; in this case, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

There are other mysterious deaths of people with direct and indirect ties to 09/11.

Beverly Eckert, whose husband died on 09/11, co-founded Voices for September 11th, an advocacy group for 09/11 survivors and their families.  Eckert had also pushed for the U.S. to allow legal action against the government of Saudi Arabia, pointing out that 15 of the 19 09/11 hijackers hailed from the oil-rich kingdom.  She and others claimed that, like the U.S., the Saudi government helped to facilitate the attacks.  Eckert died in a commuter plane crash on February 12, 2009.

Christopher Landis was Operations Manager for Safety Service Patrol for the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2001.  He had an unobstructed view of the Pentagon, which was struck by American Airlines Flight 77.  Landis had taken photos of the area in the days immediately preceding 09/11; many show light poles that were down near the Pentagon.  Afterwards Landis turned over the photos to authorities.  But he also kept copies and handed the same batch over to “The Pentacon,” an organization dedicated to investigating military injustices.  Jason Ingersoll, who worked for the U.S. Navy, took pictures of the same area in the moments after Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon.  In some of the photos, the same light poles as in the Landis shots are knocked down.  In November 2006, Landis committed suicide.

Bertha Champagne was a babysitter for the family of Marvin P. Bush, a younger brother of President George W. Bush.  Often dubbed the “neglected Bush,” he had served on the board of directors for Securacom/Stratesec, a Kuwaiti/Saudi-backed company, from 1993 June 2000.  Securacom/Stratesec provided electronic security for the World Trade Center Complex and Dulles International Airport from where American Airlines Flight 77 originated.  By September of 2001, Marvin sat on the board of HCC Insurance Holdings (now Tokio Marine HCC), which insured parts of the WTCC.  On September 29, 2003, Bertha Champagne was crushed to death by her own vehicle on the grounds of Marvin’s family home in Fairfax County, Virginia.  The car inexplicably rolled forward and subsequently trapped Champagne against a small building beside the driveway.  There were no witnesses, and nothing was stolen from either Champagne or the Bush home.  Champagne’s death appears to have been purely accidental, but it wasn’t reported in the media until October 5.

It’s all circumstantial evidence that can point to a deliberately wicked machination.  Or not.  There’s nothing like a good conspiracy, though.  Even the pragmatic, ever-cynical Chief Writing Wolf loves one.  Yet, amidst any great national tragedy, people will always make tangential connections between seemingly unrelated events and individuals.  Marife Torres Nichols, the Filipino-born second wife of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, had lived briefly in a New York City building where a man named Ramzi Ahmed Yousef also occasionally resided.  A Kuwaiti national, Yousef helped to plan and bomb World Trade Center Tower 1 in February 1993.  He and another man drove an explosives-laden truck into the building’s garage.  The resultant explosion killed 6 and injured more than a thousand.

If you think the U.S. federal government doesn’t engage in such unseemly practices, I have a couple of vials of Jesus Christ’s blood in a Tupperware container beneath my bed I’d like to sell you for $25,000 a pop.

 

Regardless of whether the tragic events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 were a carefully-conceived Mephistophelean drama or the end result of people in government who just should have known better, it all served as a conduit for poor behavior at the highest levels of authority; gateway, if you will, for a small cadre of government and corporate elitists to twist reality into a new and more affluent life for themselves.

The rest of us were forced or tricked into submission via personal shaming or voter intimidation.  Just when we progressive futurists felt two centuries worth of human rights advances had finally produced a casteless society, we got shot down like…well, like a bird out of the sky.  Many of us saw this coming.  The hijacking of four airplanes was preceded by the blatant hijacking of the 2000 presidential elections.  Once again, the message was clear: White male privilege is not to be questioned.  (And, in case anyone forgot, the Chief is mostly of the Caucasian persuasion.)

Like microwaved French fries (yes, that’s what they really are), it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  And in my soul.

Let political and business titans tap-dance on the graves of those who perished – were murdered – on 09/11, if it makes them feel empowered.  They can’t take that feeling with them when they meet their own fate.

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The Worst Legacy

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This past April marked twenty years since the death of President Richard M. Nixon, which came nearly two decades after he became the first Chief Executive in U.S. history to resign from office. That ignominious fortieth anniversary is coming up next month. It’s not something to be celebrated. The Watergate affair that brought him down has left an indelible stain on both American politics and the soul of the American people. Those of us in the 50 and under crowd have pretty much grown up in a world suspicious and even hostile towards all levels of government. The over 50 crowd helped build and fuel that distrust after a brutal sense of betrayal for a nation that set itself up more than two centuries ago as a beacon of democracy and freedom.

I’ve always said Watergate burned whatever bridges of faith and trust the American public had in their elected officials. But, the wicked uncertainty actually began the moment President John F. Kennedy had his head blown apart by an assassin’s bullets and Jacqueline Kennedy clambered onto the trunk of the presidential limousine in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The ensuing Warren Commission Report hoped to quell doubts that the murder was anything but the act of one deranged ex-Marine with delusions of grandeur. Yet, people saw it for what it really was: a rush to judgment. Americans weren’t so gullible anymore. The quagmire in Vietnam; the various energy crises of the 1970s; and the absolute failures of the Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter Administrations (the latter burdened by the ineptness of the Iran hostage ordeal) only sealed the fate of Americans’ general distrust of their government.

Ronald Reagan fed off that fear like a lion gorging on a sick zebra and metamorphosed it into two successful political campaigns. One of his most popular statements, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’,” resonated strongly with the frustrated masses. Indeed, he had a point. But, Reagan’s own professional disconnect and ineffectiveness – Iran-contra, covert U.S. involvement in Central American conflicts, ignoring the AIDS epidemic, a pathetic war on pornography – placed him in the same pantheon of “Them.”

Almost from the moment Bill Clinton announced his candidacy for president, Republicans took retribution against their Democratic counterparts over Watergate by targeting Clinton every chance they could. They dissected the Whitewater deal and found – nothing. So, they turned to First Lady Hillary Clinton and manufactured something called “Travelgate.” When that didn’t work, they pounced on the events surrounding the suicide of Vince Foster; dragging the memory of a man who may have had severe emotional problems into their cesspool of arrogance and striving fruitlessly to twist it into an evil political plot. Alas, in 1998, they zeroed in on something totally unrelated to politics: the Monica Lewinsky affair and tried to impeach Clinton over a tawdry sexual indiscretion. The final report by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr read like a soft-core porn novel. I remember looking at that mess and thinking, “They want to impeach a U.S. president over that?! A blowjob?!”

We see that stubbornness now with the likes of House Speaker John Boehner and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. They complain that President Obama has no viable plans to help the U.S. economy, for example, but stand in their buckets of ideological cement and won’t budge. Thus, Obama (slowly growing some semblance of a backbone) has been forced to invoke executive privileges to get the work done. Now, Boehner is threatening to sue him because of it! I remember Boehner repeatedly asking, “Where are the jobs?” But, when Obama wanted the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans to expire at the end of 2010, Republicans balked and threatened to block extension of unemployment benefits, which were also set to expire at the end of that year; thus holding struggling Americans hostage. Obama relented, and the wealthiest citizens continued to see their after-tax incomes grow, while average Americans continued to lose their jobs and their homes.

The administration of George W. Bush solidified, in my mind, the corruptness and intransigence of the U.S. government. The 09/11 horror compelled many Americans to question what our government officials know and what they’re doing about it. That the Bush Administration then tied the 09/11 affair to Iraq’s alleged development of nuclear and / or chemical weapons convinced so many of us that our government is willing to go to extreme lengths to obfuscate and mislead just to embolden its own agenda. They tap-danced on the dead bodies of the innocent people who hurtled themselves from the World Trade Center’s burning Twin Towers and merely wiped the blood of soldiers from the millions of dollars they earned from oil revenue.

Bush was a puppet president; a doll adorned in designer business suits and propped up with ersatz ‘Mission Accomplished’ bravado. I almost feel sorry for him. Even he said, after leaving the White House, that he felt “liberated.”

Obama hasn’t done much better. At least he’s more verbally adept than Bush. But, I wish he’d make the time to rummage through his wife’s cache of designer handbags for his gonads before telling John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, “Fuck you. I’m president of the United States. I run this shit here – not you guys.”

It bothers me, for example, that we’re still entrenched in Afghanistan. I feel we should have bombed the crap out of them twelve years ago – damn their civilians, including the children and women, because they didn’t care about ours – and then leave. Maybe airdrop a few high-protein biscuits and bottled water into the mountainside, just to show we’re not complete assholes and go about our own business.

But, it bothers me even more that Obama hasn’t empowered Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the causes of the near-total economic collapse in 2008. The worst financial downturn since the 1930s didn’t happen because someone on the Dow Jones trading floor accidentally unplugged a computer before the end of the business day because they needed to do a software upgrade. It resulted from a multitude of events; such as hefty tax cuts for that “job-creating” 1%; extreme deregulation of the housing and banking industries; and the billions of dollars on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Except for a handful of notable exceptions – Bernie Madoff, Mark Dreier – no one has been held accountable for the “Great Recession.” But, if I walk into a local convenience store with a toy gun and rob the Pakistani clerk of fifty bucks, I could spend thirty years in prison. I believe there were other more diabolical machinations in play, beginning in 2001, that caused the economic downturn. Yes, economies endure cycles of bull and bear markets. But, this fiasco wasn’t just cyclical, like rainfall. Somebody did something, and it wasn’t by accident.

In February 2012, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe stunned her constituents by announcing that she wouldn’t seek reelection that year. She didn’t hesitate to explain why: the level of hostility and unwillingness to compromise in the U.S. Congress had become unbearable. To her, I guess, it wasn’t worth the trouble anymore. It was a shame. Snowe was one of the most level-headed politicians in Washington, regardless of party affiliation. She was willing to listen to and work with all of her colleagues. But, many of them just didn’t seem to share the same ethic.

I still say it all goes back to Watergate. Nixon and his band of henchmen were determined to keep the president in power, as the 1972 elections neared. Nixon had a modest tenure as Vice-President under Dwight Eisenhower, but suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the upstart Kennedy in 1960. When he lost the California governor’s race in 1962, he vowed to exit public life altogether, loudly proclaiming, “You won’t have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore.” But, he just couldn’t stay away. He loved the political game and desperately wanted the presidency. His dogged ambition put him in the White House six years after the California debacle – and forced him back out six years later.

Things have never been the same since. And, we still can’t bring ourselves to trust anyone in government.

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Iraq Again! Oh, Hell No!

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“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.

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In Memoriam – September 11, 2001

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September 11, 2001.

Image courtesy Layout Sparks.

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Worst Quote of the Week

“It’s no secret that our nation may very well be experiencing the hand of judgment.  It is no secret that we all are concerned that our nation may be in a time of decline.  Our nation has seen judgment not once, but twice, on September 11.  And, that’s why we’re going to have 911 pray on that day.  Is there anything better that we could do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and to pray to an Almighty God?”

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, in a prayer service, stating that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the ambush of the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 were both signs from God.

Once again, a right-wing extremist has belittled the tragedy of terrorism by dismissing it as “God’s judgment.”  This reminds me of the time when that other redneck asshole, Jerry Falwell, claimed the September 11, 2001 attacks were the results of God’s judgment on America because of abortion, homosexuality and other so-called deviancies.  Falwell eventually apologized for the comment, and I wonder how long it’ll take before Bachmann realizes her head is still not screwed on right.

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