Friday, March 25, 2011

His only chance at re-election?





Because she will forever be the little Piss Panties girl who kicked Elaine in the shin when Elaine asked if little Katrina (well, not so little then, old enough to be toilet trained) might have messed herself, Katrina vanden Heuvel soils her nest again, this time at the website of The Nation where the Peace Resister thinks she has a moral soap box to stand upon in "Wake Up! End the Silence on Afghanistan" which is the sort of weak ass, half-assed nonsense we've come to expect from Katrina. Before she gets pissy -- and I mean that in every way imaginable -- please note that Piss Panties vanden Heuvel is whining about others allegedly forgetting the Afghanistan War or being unwilling to speak out against it. This from the woman who is both editor and publisher of The Nation magazine which did nothing, NOTHING, to note the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War. The same war that once led her to pen an editorial claiming that the magazine would support no Democrat who didn't end the war. Katrina hopes you've forgotten that editorial. Let's highlight the main point of that November 28, 2005 editorial:
The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position. Many worry that the aftermath of withdrawal will be ugly, but we can now see that the consequences of staying will be uglier still. Fear of facing the consequences of Bush's disaster should not be permitted to excuse the creation of a worse disaster by continuing the occupation.
The illegal war continues and Katrina can't be bothered with it. In that same editorial, they trashed "Senators Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden and Evan Bayh, who continue to huddle for cover in 'the center.' They offer little alternative to Bush's refrain 'We must stay the course!'" Let's pretend for a moment US forces leave Iraq at the end of 2011 (it's not happening). Would some being sworn into office in January 2009 and keeping troops in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 and all of 2011 be "a speedy end to the war in Iraq"? Of course not. But The Nation refuses to call Barack out on that reality.
In the midst of her blog post today, Katrina wants to talk costs of the Afghanistan War but, having wasted her academic career fraternizing with professors, she never learned how to do her own calculations so she's left to raid the work of others which forces her to include Iraq for one paragraph:
You wouldn't know about all the real long-term costs from the sparse media coverage. For example, when taking into account caring for the physical and psychological wounds of returning soldiers, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes estimate the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will reach $4 trillion to $6 trillion. (This looting of our Treasury at a moment when people also say they would opt for cuts in defense spending over cuts in Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security.)
Now watch what she follows that with:
But until people wake up, speak out, organize and mobilize to pressure their representatives and President Obama, the opposition numbers reflected in the polls won't mean much, and the staggering numbers describing the costs of this war will continue to climb.
"Wars" drops back to "the costs of this war." Maybe Katrina's the one who needs to wake up. February 1st, the US Ambassador in Iraq James Jeffrey and the top US commander in Iraq Gen Lloyd Austin appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to beg for more money -- specifically three billion to three-and-a-half billion for this year alone. As Wally noted in his report on the hearing, "We have a record number of US citizens on food stamps, if the ambassador doesn't know, and we can't even seem to keep unemployment payments going without repeatedly voting for extensions in Congress, but James Jeffrey is comfortable spending your money and mine in Iraq." The same day as the hearing, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a 20 page report entitled [PDF format warning] "IRAQ: THE TRANSITION FROM A MILITARY MISSION TO A CIVILIAN-LED EFFORT." The reports notes that "uncertainty about the nature of the U.S. military presence in Iraq after 2012 is complicating all other aspects of transition planning." From the report:
But regardless of whether the U.S. military withdraws as scheduled or a small successor force is agreed upon, the State Department will take on the bulk of responsibility for their own security. Therefore, Congress must provide the financial resources necessary to complete the diplomatic mission. Consideration should be given to a multiple-year funding authorization for Iraq programs, including operational costs (differentiated from the State Department's broader operational budget), security assistance, and economic assistance programs. The price tag will not be cheap -- perhaps $25 - 30 billion over 5 years -- but would constitute a small fraction of the $750 billion the war has cost to this point.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee estimates that the next five years in Iraq could cost US tax payers $30 billion dollars. Yet Katrina vanden Heuvel, who can't find the courage to call for an end to the Iraq War, wants to insist other people need to wake up? Seriously?
In May of 2007, Bill Van Auken (WSWS) called out Katrina's craven editorials and sorry excuses offered for Democrats who continued to support the Iraq War:
Treating the Democratic leadership's hollow pledge to "keep fighting" as good coin, the Nation writes, "Pelosi and Reid are right when they say this is not the end of the fight over money for Iraq." The only problem, it suggests, is that "there are still prominent Democrats who don't get it" -- Levin, Hoyer and Co. --and they "are slowing movement toward unity in support of withdrawal."
The "unacceptable votes" cast by these supposedly rogue Democrats "should raise the ire of antiwar activists and the American people," the Nation affirms, and those who cast them should be "held accountable for extending the war."
The editorial concludes, "Americans must make it clear that when the next chance comes to use the power of the purse, our representatives should follow the will of the people and call a halt to Bush's disastrous war."
Nothing could more clearly sum up the Nation's political function. It seeks to delude its readers into thinking that the ongoing complicity of the Democratic Party in the launching and continuation of the war in Iraq is a matter of a "razor thin" majority in Congress and the wayward votes of a few political miscreants. Thus, the perspective it advances is that these few politicians -- mere warts on an otherwise healthy political body -- should be shamed, and the public should wait for the Democrats to do better next time.
Everything here is reduced to the small change of party politics and petty maneuvers in the halls of Congress. It leaves unanswered the big and obvious questions of why the Democrats are incapable of mounting a genuine opposition to the war and why the party's congressional leadership has no intention of doing either of the two things that could force its end -- blocking all funds for the Iraq occupation or impeaching Bush for the war crimes and anti-democratic abuses that have been carried out under his administration.
The explanation is to be found not in the "razor thin" majority that the Democrats have in Congress -- that never stopped the Republican Party from forcing through its right-wing agenda when it held the leadership -- but in the class nature of the Democratic Party and the character of the war itself.
It's the craven nature that allows elected Democrats to think they can continue to fool their constituents into thinking they any any way stand for peace and/or rationality. It's what allows the always embarrassing Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer to do what they did today. No, not the hair. But please, please, let's get a rule in place. If you're not an entainer and you're over 70-years-old, you wear you real hair in public, not bad wigs that you hope make you look '40-ish.' And Barbara, after we can all agree on that, let's do something about the racoon eye-liner you favor, okay? Members of Congress should look age-appropriate, not as though they're aging sex pot left over from a 60s Matt Helm film. There is something truly sad about supposedly powerful, supposedly mature women who turn themselves into objects of scorn and ridicule in the mistaken belief that they can shave multiple years off. That self-deciption is probably in part why Carla Marinucci (San Francsico Chronicle) can report that Babsie and Nance came out today in favor of the unconstitutional attack on Libya -- it is an attack on Libya, not on the leader, get real, those bombs fall on people. As John V. Walsh ( notes today, "Partisan considerations should not impede the move to impeach Barack Obama. When George W. Bush was president, many on the Democratic Party Left called for his impeachment. They must do the same for President Obama who has more clearly violated the Constitution than President Bush since he did not even seek the dubious Congressional 'authorization' which George W. Bush asked for and received. If the Left cannot do this, its credibility will be in shambles, and quite deservedly so. On the other side clearly there is reason to indict Bush, and some on the Left are calling for that as are certain authorities in European countries where the former President dare not go. But at the moment Barack Obama is in charge and capable of greater damage if he is not stopped by impeachment. Impeachment of Barack Obama can no longer be avoided." Unless you're Katrina vanden Heuvel, a hopeless hypocrite who is unable to call out the continued Iraq War. Falls silent on the topic even on the 8th anniversary. Shameful.
Showing more courage on his own than Katrina, Nancy and Barbara combined could ever hope to have, Iraq War veteran Kevin Baker delivered an important and moving speech (March Forward!) at the LA rally Saturday for the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War:

On this day last year, Spc. Derrick Kirkland, who I served on a tour in Iraq with, hanged himself in his barracks room. He was found dead on March 20th.

This date also marks the date of the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States. These two dates now mark two specific but not isolated atrocities committed by this government.

Derrick Kirkland was killed by this government -- for sending him to a war we had no reason to fight, then neglecting him when he asked for help.

He was in Iraq on his second tour and was sent home early because the pains of PTSD and other issues were to much to bear alone. Kirkland had tried three times before to kill himself. Despite 3 suicide attempts, Army psychologists labeled him a "low" risk for suicide. He was ridiculed and mocked by his chain of command, who then placed him in a barracks room by himself. He was there only 3 days before he took his life.

As someone who has battled though the Army medical system, I can tell you that it is not designed to help anybody. In fact, it sets up barricades to ensure soldiers stay in the military, despite seeking help. There are only a fraction of the number of psychiatrists that are needed. Appointments are months apart and treatment is reduced to nothing more than "checking boxes" to make soldiers legally ready for another deployment. Kirkland is not an isolated incident. In 2009 and 2010, more soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers are killing themselves on an average of one per day.

If you want to know how much our chain of command cares about us, just look at what our executive officer Major Keith Markham, in memos he sends to other officers: "We can accomplish anything we put our minds to ... with an endless amount of expendable labor." The "expendable labor" this officer is speaking about is Derrick Kirkland, and every other soldier who has lost their life to suicide, and in combat.

Officers build their careers off of the backs of enlisted soldiers. Officers like Major Markham, General Petraeus, and everyone in the Pentagon, don't care about its soldiers -- our friends, loved ones, husbands, daughters, sons and wives. If this government does not care about its own soldiers then why would we even begin to think it cares about "liberating" peoples of another nation? This is why we say 'this is not our war' and service members have an absolute right to refuse orders to Afghanistan and Iraq!

We can stop these wars, but we need each other to do it. Those of us who mourned Kirkland's death, those of us who were sent to die in these wars, we know that this government cares nothing about us; we're just the cannon fodder in their wars for the rich. Those experiences have woken us up, and we are fighting back, and we will fight back until we stop these criminal wars!

It's a shame that the all the real leaders are outside of Congress. But apparently it's an unwritten law that Congressional critters must be de-spined before taking their oath of office.

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