Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ditching the equipment

The conferees have some ideas for getting rid of some of that U.S. military equipment sitting in Iraq. They authorized Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, as long as he has the okay of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to give as much as $750 million of military equipment now in Iraq or Kuwait to the military or security forces of Iraq or Afghanistan. And being members of Congress, they said Defense should be sure to report any transfer to them 30 days before it occurs.

The above is from Walter Pincus' "From Uniforms to Cybersecurity, Report Details Defense Dept. Activities" (Washington Post) in which he reports on a "638-page House-Senate conferee report". And that was always know, that huge portions of equipment would be left in Iraq. You have a military which always wants new toys so they were never going to bring everything back. Nor should they. But getting honest about how much hardware would be left behind would make it harder for them to whine about how long it would take to withdraw 'responsibly.' They've used hardware and equipment as their excuse foever and a day. When Georgia and Russia had their conflict last year, the world saw how quickly a country could leave Iraq. No surprise, it was as fast as Bill Richardson said was possible when he was running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, no surprise it was as fast as George McGovern said it was possible for the US to fully withdraw from Vietnam when McGovern was running for the presidency in 1972.

Meanwhile Kati Bexley (St. Augustine Record) reports on members of Florida's National Guard's 3153rd Finance Detachment who are deploying to Iraq:

On Monday, the Guard held a send-off ceremony for the unit and their families at the Mark Lance National Guard Armory on San Marco Avenue. The group is leaving today for additional training at Fort McCoy, Wis. Tech Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa said they'll stay at the Wisconsin base for about a month for more training on improvised explosive devices and mortar attacks.

Though some (Medea Benjamin?) like to pretend the Iraq War has ended, it has not. Yesterday we noted Paul Andersen who was the first US service member to die in Iraq this month. His funeral was yesterday and Stephanie Stang (WNDU -- link has text and video) reports on it.

Meanwhile Philip B. Fregeau grasps that the Iraq War has not ended and grasps a great deal more. From his letter to The Republican:

But, no matter how they parse the rhetoric, in Afghanistan and Iraq there is nothing for America to "win." The Afghans and Iraqis have internal problems which do not involve us, do not relate to our vital interest, and are beyond our ability to solve. The Taliban pose no threat to us.
Al Qaida, in particular, and terrorism, in general, are police matters, not military matters. Al Qaida, denied safe haven in one place, will simply move on to another. Endlessly pursuing al Qaida with military invasions is neither possible nor justifiable.
It does not matter how President Barack Obama and the politicians in Washington rationalize the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It does not matter how bravely our young men and women risk their lives or how hard they struggle to carry out their impossible military mission.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq remain never-ending wars of choice that America did not, and does not, have to fight. There is no such thing as a "good war."

Meanwhile, if you live in Shreveport or Bossier City, KSLA reports free shipping on items to US service members in Iraq or Afghanistan is being offered by a new UPS Store in Shreveport. See the article for details and the offer "will run from October 17 through October 24." And let me also add that those who visit the boats in "Shreveport" (they're actually over the bridge in Bossier) from any of the surrounding areas (including surrounding states) could also use the offer. Again, see link for details.

From Tom Eley and Barry Grey's "Obama continues assault on democratic rights" (WSWS):

Obama, no less than Bush, represents the interests of the American financial aristocracy. Internationally, it increasingly employs military aggression in pursuit of its global economic and strategic aims in an attempt to offset the decline in its world economic position. At home, it turns to anti-democratic methods to defend an economic system that promotes staggering levels of inequality and growing social misery for broad masses of working people.
The ever more pronounced concentration of wealth at the very top of society and heightening of class tensions are ultimately incompatible with democratic procedures and methods of rule. The trampling of the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus is bound up with an awareness in ruling circles that their policies must give rise to social opposition. The police-state framework built up under Bush and Obama is a response by the ruling elite to a threat not from foreign terrorists, but from its main enemy -- the American working class.

Mike's grandfather (Trina's father) noted the above. The following community sites updated last night:

Democracy Now! broadcasts Dan Choi's speech from Sunday's DC rally today. Choi is also a guest on the program.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends