Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Five Hundred
By William Rivers Pitt

t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 8 January 2004

Fuzzy Math
"..The number of wounded American soldiers shipped home fails to find a consistent count. Some say 2,000, others say 9,000, and still others say 11,000 and rising. Another generation of shredded American veterans has been born, honored when the country needs heroes to inspire the next generation into enlisting, but forgotten the rest of the time, left to pinch pennies and rub the stumps where their healthy young legs used to send them running and leaping and dancing through a life they surrendered in a blinding flash of pain and light.

The number now stands at 487 Americans killed, according to figures provided by the Department of Defense. The Army Times, a reading staple for the enlisted ranks, had different numbers before the New Year. Jimmy Breslin, columnist from Newsday, wrote on December 30 that the Army Times said, "There were 506 killed by the time the newspaper closed last Friday. Since then, another seven have died. The newspaper has said this is the deadliest year for the U.S. military since 1972, when 640 were killed in Vietnam." That makes 513 Americans killed before the ball dropped in Times Square. Add the six who have died since then, and the number becomes 519. Even on this most important tabulation, the numbers are fuzzy...

There is no accurate accounting of the civilians who have died, but a cross-section of the math places their count in the tens of thousands. They died in their homes, shocked and awed before the fire took them. They died in the streets, fleeing the storm. They died in their beds from wounds, or disease, or despair."

David Brooks is falling in line (sheep-like) with the newly attempted Bush administration appearance to separate itself from the Neo-cons
What an intellectual weakling David Brooks seems to be. I'd expect something far more reasonable from him...some clue to show me he's not a victim of dependent thought.
I find it intellectually dishonest for Brooks to claim that there is an anti-Israeal component to any American's complaint about the troubling influence the PNAC has had with the Bush administration.
Brooks moans:
"..the people labeled neocons (con is short for "conservative" and neo is short for "Jewish") travel in widely different circles and don't actually have much contact with one another."

So who died and left David Brooks the judge and jury of who's an anti-Semite, already?

I am a liberal American who wants to see American support, fairness and safety for the people of Israel...and a solution to the two-state plan... and I realize it should NOT involve negotiating with terrorists. Now, how do we define terror?
Ariel Sharon was personally responsible for the slitting of the throats of many Palestinian villagers (see: Sabra and Chatila/Kibya/Commando Unit 101). Like Arafat, he's no stranger to terror. What if Bush had once ordered (and participated in) the slitting of throats of innocent people before he ever came to power over our nation? It would be like trusting Col. John Chivington to strike a peace negotiation with the Native Americans after the Sand Creek Massacre. Bush may be a puppet-warrior, but when he was (s)elected in 2000, we knew he had shirked violence as a young (AWOL) man. He's a tough-talking marshmallow chickenpuff. Not so with Sharon, I'm afraid. What I really hate to see is Bush patterning his war on terror based upon any Sharon-like unilaterlist tactics. It's a recipe for hate everlasting...war everlasting. When these leaders..Sharon and Arafat.. love and respect their duties to their respective citizens more than hating one another, perhaps real negotiation can take place.
Perhaps I'm anti-terrorist or anything remotely associated; perhaps I'm not fond of the Likud party; perhaps I am not fond of the American version of Likud (the Perles/Frums) infiltrating American foreign policy. Likud is a political party, by the way...not a people.
Someone should remind David Brooks. He may be confused..ignorant..deliberate?
Here's my point: No one can ever have the right to call me anti-Semitic...not David Brooks..not G-d Himself.

I'd tell Brooks to stop his false generalising about the Jewish-American population. They aren't all Richard Perles, nor are they all supporters of Douglas Feith or avid readers of William Kristol.
Sorry, David Brooks..those aren't requirements in G-d's pro-Semite playbook...only in the cheapshot partisan's playbook.

I find Brooks' apparent effort to divide us by his racist talk to be factionalising, condescending and ignorant. It's typical of the pop-schlock Conservative writer of today..abandoning honest intellectualism for factionalizing generalisation. It's no wonder we are so politically polarized in America. How shall we ever be able to help the people of Israel when we have these N.Y. Times pundits creating false suspicion and creating further divide between Americans? How can we look with any judgement toward people in foreign lands when our own house is so filled with partisan hatred?

Bush is worried about re-election..has the taint of the PNAC on him...can David Brooks help remove the scent of a Neo-Con? Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum...I smell the stench of Perle and Frum

Brooks also sounds absolutely daft in trying to portray the NeoCon philosophy as something that was never welcomed into the White House or their policies. Richard Perle and Douglas Feith are just two examples of people employed by the Bush administration to assist in consulting (and forming) U.S. foreign policy.

I'm highly suspicious of a new political trend here..perhaps a Bush re-election tactic.. in light of the fact that, on the Today show this morning, I heard there were going to be guests who "had the ear of the Bush administration, but now are criticizing their foreign policy". I thought to myself.." mean NBC is actually going to put someone on the air who openly rips away at the Bush foreign policy? Whoa..I'm going to have to tune in....". So I waited. Guess who came on? Richard Perle and David Frum. What a joke! They stopped just short of saying we'd be warring with these nations in order to effect a regime change. Diplomacy was absolutely not in the cards with their way of thinking. All they wanted to do was to criticize the State Department (so Bush doesn't have to) and make way for filling Colin Powell's spot in 2004 (should Bush be re-elected) with a NeoCon-friendly hack who will submit to a regime change policy (ie:WAR) in Iran, Syria, and who knows where else?

Ready for the draft, American citizens?
American parents: Are you ready for your boys and girls to go to war?

Yes, yes..I know they're only teenagers now. But in another four years with George Bush, we'll need them
NOT in college classrooms (there won't be jobs for them or money for tuition)...Bush and Richard Perle will need them
to participate in the violent spreading of their co-opted and prostitutionalized version of democracyand freedom.
Keep reading David Brooks. If you believe his theory about reasonable people being "full-mooners", you'd best start preparing your children for an endless, unjust, and dirty, violent war that people like David Brooks (through his race-baiting conspiracy-theory-conspiracy-theory) consciously choose not to put the brakes on.

I'd like to tell Brooks to take his outright accusation of Americans like me being anti-Semitic and shove it. I'm absolutely appalled. He's way out of line. It's high time we start calling these people on such unfair commentary.

Here's a corker from Brooks:

"It's true that both Bush and the people labeled neocons agree that Saddam Hussein represented a unique threat to world peace. But correlation does not mean causation. All evidence suggests that Bush formed his conclusions independently."

To this, I say, most unequivocally, bullshit.


Read Karen Kwiatkowski's take on this issue.
She knows what's happening. She worked amidst it all.

".....The Frumster and Richer Perle have produced a book that finally reveals "their blueprint for what could become the Bush administration’s agenda in the war on terrorism." My dear, dear boys! Are you saying that in a fit of electoral excitement, young Dubya has already begun to diverge from your neo-Jacobin empire mongering? Is he beginning to exhibit a certain lack of concentration on cementing the White House-Likud Alliance? I mean, who could have predicted that in an election year?" ;)


Victory of the Loud Little Handful
by Mark Twain

The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit will - warily and cautiously - object... at first. The great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it."
Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men...
Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)

The anti-Dean hatespeech is firing up on the right
..and the funny part is that anybody could take any sentence from this N.Y. Post hate-piece and put George W. Bush's name on it.
George the Coward. George the Fascist. Blah, blah.
This, my friends, is the real anger.
Howard Dean offers hope. His fiercest critics employ the very tactics of which they accuse Howard Dean.
Come and see the real anger when they know they know they've got nothing more..especially in the hope or reason department.


The Club for Growth (the club for killing social democracy) is said to be getting ready to air a new ad. SEE AD HERE!
I hope Iowans appreciate being categorized and pandered to as redneck bumpkins by the Club.
Pssst--there are plenty of foreign car dealers, Japanese restaurants, and coffee-lovers in Iowa these days. They've even got those pesky old movie theatres where they can still catch an admiring glimpse of California's new GOP darling Hollywood-type.

In another article about the ad, it says: "That ad's just another stereotype of Iowans by people who think we all live on a farm and eat nothing but corn," grumbled Desirae Coker, 18. A body-piercer at a tattoo parlor, she was reached by phone at her other part-time job, creating lattes and cappuccinos at Java Station in Davenport, Iowa.

Not so,[Stephen]Moore said. "We're not at all ridiculing Midwesterners. What we're trying to do is poke fun at the cultural elite who are the real supporters of the Howard Dean program," he said.

But Coker didn't think so. "In a way, it's kind of like insulting people who are into piercing and coffee-drinking," she said. "It's like, they made some ad to criticize me?"


"Something irrational comes over Republican governors when they start fraternizing with their Democratic counterparts. A few years ago when congressional Republicans were trying to cut the capital-gains tax and reform welfare — two issues that tremendously benefited states — the governors issued a whiney statement complaining that these policies might hurt the poor because federal payments to the states would be cut."

-Stephen Moore (President of "Club for GrowthKilling Social Democracy") in an article written with fellow social-democracy-killer Grover Norquist


Arianna Huffington is all for Dean!

New Feature on Technorati-Top 100 Interesting Newcomers
I found this while doing a search.
Fellow League-of Liberals member Futurballa is on today's top 100.
Writer Dan Savage Accuses Dean supporters in Iowa of outright intent to cheat.
The NY Times editorial staff obviously finds this great fodder for gossip. I can just see William Safire and Joe Lieberman salivating now. Drrrrrip...drrrrrrip.
While I scour their pages for more information on the candidates' actual stand on their own words...I get tabloid-style gossip-mongering.
This attempt at humor is a poorly-masked and insulting accusation (insinuation at best) about the intent of honestly energized (hard-working) campaigners for Howard Dean. (Dean's not named in the column, but anyone with at least a pea-sized brain can figure it out).
Nothing against Dan Savage (he's funny and adorable...and amusingly disgusting for what he admits to having done in Iowa past)...but how about some substance from the NY Times? I mean, we're not all cheaters like Dan admits to being.

I've been turning to the Boston Globe and Washington Post first lately.
Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert are the shining columnists at the NY Times.
Frank Rich is still interesting..I don't see enough from him.
Safire's full of himself (Note: I didn't say full of sh-t..that recent Dean-attack column on the Biblical Job could have put a wildly spinning insomniac to sleep )...David Brooks doesn't apply enough solid reasoning behind his conservative arguments...All Thomas Friedman talks about these days is Poland (what's the obssession with Poland?)...Maureen Dowd is a sourpuss hiding behing her often-destructive line of humor.

William F. Buckley continues his washed-up rant against Howard Dean

"....He [Dean] puts too great a strain on us with his novel ideas about how to redirect America's destiny..."

I suppose, to the hopeless and the poor fearful fools who allow the orange threat level to wipe out the memory of the Constitution of the United States, this may be true.

I saw Gore Vidal virtually bitch-slap Buckley on an old tape of a debate from the late 60s. It was a real cat-fight with Vidal coming out the clear winner. With his great wit, Gore Vidal smilingly turned Buckley into a vitriolic spewing monster. It was priceless. (There's a 15-second clip of it here). I'd love to bitch-slap Bill the whiny Dean-hater myself..if not only to wake him up. Buckley's a wash-up. Retirement is always an option after the 2004 election...I don't think the flab around his jaded ego will energize him to do that anytime sooner.

"A narcissist is someone better looking than you are."
- Gore Vidal

*Here's a wonderful Gore Vidal reference website*
Long Train's Journey into Night

"Journeys are the midwives of thought" -Alain de Botton

The India Times' Bachi Karkaria writes a personally erotic accounting of a communal experience.

Food for thought:

"If only we could apply a travelling mind-set to our own locales, we might find these places becoming no less interesting than, say, the high mountain passes and butterfly-filled jungles of [Alexander von] Humboldt's South America."
-Alain de Botton

"One can leave the self through the senses. It is through the senses (though not exclusively) that one perceives what is outside the self--and then these perceptions confirm something within the self, of which one was previously unaware. This confirmation is mysterious--it's one of the sources of the human sense of mystery. The whole world is mysteriously within us."
-John Berger

Transcript of NPR Democrats' Radio Debate January 6, 2004
"I didn't want to go into Iraq in the first place. I thought it was a mistake. I thought that Saddam Hussein did not pose the kind of danger to the United States that, say, the Soviet Union did. But now that we're there, if we pull out precipitously, we may end up with a much greater danger.
Al Qaida was not in Iraq before, but they are now, almost certainly. And if we pull out precipitously, or if we give over the Iraqi government to the Iraqis precipitously, and Al Qaida establishes a foothold in Iraq, we have a much more serious problem in terms of our defense than we did before



CONAN: Senator Kerry, Pakistani officials are accused of trading nuclear weapons technology to other countries, including Iran, North Korea and, as we heard today, possibly to Libya as well. Pakistan is also an essential American ally in the war on terrorism, and you look at the map, it's crucial to any continuing operations in Afghanistan.
How do you balance those two issues?

JOHN KERRY: It's complicated, but you have to balance them and it's even more complicated than that. There have been two attempts on the life of President Musharraf. The specter of an Islamic radical state with nuclear weapons is unacceptable for the world.
And that is what is at risk in Pakistan today.
Pakistan has, frankly, misled the United States and the world with respect to its proliferation responsibilities for years. I remember meeting in Washington with President Zia, and he lied to my face about what they were doing with respect to nuclear weapons. And that's when we put sanctions in place on Pakistan as a consequence.
I believe that you have to walk a very fine line, but I am convinced we can be tougher with Pakistan. There are steps that we could take now to deal with the northwest component where Osama bin Laden is. We know he's up there. We have not pushed hard enough.
And I think there are combinations of initiatives we could take with India that would also help us resolve the tensions in that area.

CONAN: Ambassador Braun?

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN: "Senator Kerry is exactly right. When Benazir Bhutto was president she swore directly to us that there was no nuclearizing going on, and we saw the O-rings on the Chinese boat in Karachi's harbor.
The fact of the matter is, Musharraf overthrew a democratically elected government there. We have to work with the Pakistanis but be very clear about the fact that our interests and their interests may not be coherent. There are rumors even that bin Laden is hanging out in the northwest territories there.
So the fact of the matter is, we have to, you know, take advantage of our -- we have to relationship-build even with bad people, but at the same time we have to be very clear about who it is we're dealing with."