Friday, October 29, 2010

'When the army has all but completely pulled out of Iraq . . .'

Gen George Casey is Chief of Staff of the Army and he gave a speech earlier this week. What's interesting is the way the army elected to write it up. Here's the opening paragraph from the army's press release (that they would call a "news article"):

Soldiers can look forward to increased time at home station when the Army has all but completely pulled out of Iraq, leaving a larger pool of units free to do rotations in Afghanistan. But those rotations will continue for a some time, said the Army's top Soldier.

Can look forward to casts this sometime in the near future and, according to the army's press release, at that point the US will not be out of Iraq, it will have "all but completely pulled out of Iraq". It's an interesting word choice. Especially coming on the heels of the US State Dept's acknowledgment that the White House is "open" to extending the SOFA and keeping 50,000 US troops in Iraq beyond 2011.

It'll be ignored just like Casey's remarks about the "longterm" war "we" are in with "violent extremism." Someone needs to ask Casey, when did the American people make the decision that they wanted that? Or that they could financially afford it? Or that bombing and killing doesn't breed violent response? When did they decide to throw out every bit of political science and study on the nature of violence and think they could bully and cow the world? No one will ask that anymore than they will challenge Adm Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when again refers to the Iraq War as a "success" for the US military. By what standards? By the fact that unlike England as summer faded in 2006, they didn't have to abandon a base that was stripped to the ground by Iraqis within 12 hours of the British military fleeing?

There was no success in Iraq by any standards. Have the established benchmarks for success ever been met? NO. Has the infrastructure been rebuilt? NO. Has the violence ceased? NO. No success. Mullen should be asked to define success on the record when he insists upon making the claim.

But the press is so very damn eager to look the other way.

An angry vistor e-mails the public account insisting that we should be covering "the Democrats" as they run for office. Are they campaigning in Baghdad? How is it Iraq-related? It's not. And you've got a million sites online gas bagging and predicting. We're not interested in it. I'll try to do a talking entry this weekend to address some of the visitors e-mails. I'll also note that at Third Sunday, one of the pieces planned is on how Nancy Pelosi (who is running for re-election) and Barack Obama have fooled the country on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Judge Viriginia Phillips took things "too far" in her decision. Because what she did in ruling Don't Ask, Don't Tell unconstitutional went far beyond what Barry and the Congress is attempting to do. It's a real shame nobody's been covering this story. And it's a shame John Denis hasn't made an issue out of this because this is yet another stab-in the back to the LGBT community and you might be able to get away with that in some cities, but San Francisco's demographics make it a little harder to get away with. Other than that, I don't believe we have anything remotely related to the political races planned for Third. (Which was the second question the visitor had.) And, FYI, a friend (attorney in the Justice Dept) brought this up and had raised it elsewhere only to have the topic dismissed.

While the coverage of the campaigns threaten to drown out everything else, Tony Trupiano (ChattahBox News) notes:

War is no longer cool, I guess. For the past four election cycles, war, either in Iraq or Afghanistan was all the rage. It was in the top two campaign issues and deservedly so. Today’s news that Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam Hussein’s top deputies was sentenced to be hanged for crimes against humanity made news, but not BIG news, as it should. It will be mentioned, but more in a passing way and in a way that makes me a bit uncomfortable, mostly because we still have thousands of Americans at war and in harms way.Since March 19, 2003 American military deaths in Iraq have reached 4426 and well over 100,000 have been wounded. In Afghanistan 1352 U.S. soldiers have died in combat with many more wounded. These are atrocious numbers that have been largely ignored the past few years and I find that very disturbing.
But the question to be asked is why have we seemingly forgotten the wars and the devastation? Have we just surrendered to the fact that it’s there, we can’t change it and therefore it’s just time to move on?

In the latest I-guess-the-gun-pulled-its-own-trigger piece, where a journalist expresses surprise that a topic the press is ignoring isn't brought up by people outside the press, Helene Cooper (New York Times) offers:

From Wilmington to Cleveland to Seattle, as Republicans try to wrest control of Congress from Democrats, the subjects barely come up. Ditto for President Obama’s stump speech as he zigzags around the country.
[. . .]
Both Democrats and Republicans appear to have decided that talking about the wars is not in their best interest. Democrats are divided on the war, and do not want to air internal divisions in a year when they have so many other problems. Republicans are unified in support of the war in Afghanistan and Mr. Obama’s decision to send more troops there, but see no need to stress an issue on which they are more or less allied with him.

Really? I can't imagine, for example, that a politician caught giving their own family monies that were supposed to be college funds for the impoverished but the press has managed to repeatedly ask one incumbent running for re-election about that. It's only with the ongoing wars that the press gets all touchy-feely and decides to back off apparently.

The press has created the vacuum. And as the left largely remains silent, a number of people are rushing in. The Chicago Tribune remains as trashy as the 'elites' in its city and runs a 'column' by Jonah Golberg which basically asks why someone won't already murder Julian Assange?

It's a vile little column and one could easily point out that Little Jonah came to his tiny amount of fame by clutching onto the skirts of his trashy mother, that his his soft little ass never served in the military but that didn't prevent from cheerleading an illegal war that's cost millions of lives. Meaning, Jonah, if you're asking that question of others, maybe it's time to apply it to yourself?

On the death toll, Les Roberts and Gilbert Burnham, co-authors of the study that found over a million Iraqis had died since the start of the illegal war, respond to the Washington Post's recent editorial here.

The following community sites -- and the Guardian -- updated last night:


The International Junior Hockey League(IJHL) may have “hockey” in its name but “it's really about helping (our young players) get a better education,” the League commissioner says. “That's the first thing, not getting into the National Hockey League(NHL). If they can make it to the NHL, well, that's all gravy,” says Charlie Nielsen.
Nielsen is determined to make the League “stronger and better” and to do so, he says, “we opened up the international end of it. We have quite a few players now who are Russians, Finns, Swedes, and Czechs, and a lot of them are going to school” (as a result of an unlimited import rule.) Most of them are stand-out competitors and, Nielsen says, he's delighted to have them because, “If you don't play against the best, you won't be the best.”
Nielsen was interviewed by Professor Diane Sullivan of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover for the broadcast “Educational Forum” to be aired at 11 A.M. Eastern Time Sunday, October 31st on Comcast Sports Network and seen nationally. Asked how many players go through juniors hockey and continue on into the pros, Nielsen replied, “I can tell you my own personal experience is that in 35 years of doing this with my own program there have only been seven or eight players that made it. I have been in leagues that sent a lot of people to the pros. I got a lot of people who played in the American Hockey League or the East Coast Hockey League. But the education is our focus, (otherwise) when you're all done playing hockey all you got left is a beer league or something like that.”At one junior team, the Boston Blackhawks, Nielsen said 22 of the 25 players on its roster are going on to college.
Asked if he was concerned about his young players getting injured on the ice, Nielsen replied, “It's a tough, fast sport and they hit hard and you're going to have injuries. Is it a concern? Yes. We make all our teams have an emergency trainer on hand at every game just in case there is an injury, so you've got a first responder who's got some medical experience.” Additionally, some teams have an EMT and a doctor standing by. Players, he says, “get hurt, but no more than any other sport.” Asked about his league's position on fighting, Nielsen replied, “It's a no-fight league. The first fight a player gets into results in a game suspension; the second fight he get suspended for three games; and if you have a third fight you've got to come see me and that's not very pleasant.”
Junior hockey is a catch-all term used to describe various levels of amateur ice hockey competition for players generally between 16 and 20 years of age, Wikipedia says. The IJHL was launched in 2005 after eight years of prior evolution as the Interstate Junior Hockey League. Its Super Elite Division has swelled to 12 member teams, half in the New England division and half in the Mid Atlantic division. One advantage of its structure is that IJHL can conduct its Nationals without the monumental costs of having to travel to far-off venues, according to its website. The proximity of the competitors also enables players to get more rest. Besides the Boston Junior Blackhawks, IJHL teams in the Super Elite division are the Cape Cod Cubs, Eastern Kodiaks, Massachusetts Maple Leafs, and Mariners. Teams in the Mid Atlantic division are the Trenton Habs, South Jersey Raptors, Philadelphia Jackals, Long Island Wolfpack, East Coast Generals, and New Jersey Storm.

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