death


If we (the United States) turned everything over to the Iraqi government and we’re so proud of how democratic things are becoming there, then why are we (Condi Rice) trying to overturn their rules? We have nearly run out of soldiers and marines to send to Iraq, but the private
mercenaries are not as reliable since they are not subject to any laws or rules. The article in the Guardian points out that:

The dilemma for the US government is that it needs private security firms but a reversal of the Iraqi government decision
would undermine the credibility of assertions by the Bush
administration that the Iraqi government is autonomous.

No wonder the Iraqi Government wants the mercenaries security contractors out.

The private security firms are controversial, often hated by Iraqis who regard them as trigger-happy. US soldiers can face court martial if accused of unprovoked assaults or over-reaction, though the ratio of those convicted is low. But the law in relation to private security firms is vague.

Here is more of the article:

Iraq orders expulsion of US security firm

· Decision taken after killing of Iraqi civilians
· Rice tries to overturn ban on Blackwater guards

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Tuesday September 18, 2007
The Guardian

The Bush administration faced an embarrassing stand-off yesterday when the Iraqi government ordered the immediate expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.

The Iraqi ministry of interior took the decision after eight Iraqi
civilians were killed and 13 wounded in Baghdad when shots were fired from a US state department convoy on Sunday.

Iraqis, quoted by news agencies, reported seeing helicopters, protecting the convoy, opening fire.

The secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was forced to intervene to try to have the ban reversed. She was planning to call the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. “She is going to express regret for the loss of life … (and) make it clear that we are investigating this incident,” the state department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said. The state department has refused to confirm whether Blackwater was involved. The state department and reconstruction workers rely heavily on protection by Blackwater.

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at
Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

 

    My brother was 6 when he decided to join the military and 18 when he did. He was not drafted. It was his choice. I do not want to get drafted when I turn 18 in 2 yrs (and a few months). Do you? If Bush doesn’t ever let this war end, and if Congress never pushes for it to end, then we all might end up fighting. Even with enlistment bonuses and 5th tours of duty, the military is going to run out of soldiers and marines.

This is an ad that is being run in Maine where Susan Collins is up for re-election, but it could run anywhere. Watch it. Share it with people. Keep me and my friends and our classmates and our generation from having to get drafted to fight Bush’s war.

Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to go on 3 or 4 or 5 deployments? Are you ready for PTSD? Are you ready to die?

funeral.jpgMy dad left when I was five. He did not die. He was not in a war. He just left. After he left I was angry at him and sad, but I did not have a grief camp. Maybe it would have made things easier for me and for my brother.  They’re probably very helpful and I am glad they exist. My brother and I  were just angry for a while and then dealt with other issues and then FINALLY went to therapy about it more than six years later.

But now our country has grief camps for kids, because of the Iraq War.  Great idea, HORRIBLE reason for needing it.

At Camp Good Grief, all the children are mourning for a parent or other relative who died while serving in the military.

“Age doesn’t matter. The grief process is the same,” said Vanessa
Gabrielson, a camp counselor whose father was killed in Iraq in 2003. “Every time I go, it gets easier, and I learn something from them.”

Some of the campers have never discussed their parent’s death.
Others describe the grisly details of war matter-of-factly. But being with children who have endured a similar loss provides comfort, counselors said.

More than 20 children ranging from 7 to 19 years old attended the one-day camp this past week in Salado, near Fort Hood. About 40 parents and other adults attended a separate survivor seminar,
also run by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

The nonprofit organization known as TAPS has held an annual children’s camp in Alexandria, Va., since shortly after the group was founded in 1994. It began holding camps and adult seminars nationwide last fall in cities near military bases.

The children and their parents grieve for family members who were killed by roadside bombs, snipers or crashes. Others lost relatives to accidents, illness or suicide after their loved ones returned to the U.S.

The United States should not need to have a camp where kids can
grieve because their parents died as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We should not be in this war. We should not have started this war.

We need to get out of Iraq and as part of the money we pay them
to repair what we did for their country, maybe we should set up grief
camps there for all of the kids who lost a brother or a sister or a mom or a dad or a best friend because of this war.  I bet there are a lot of kids in Iraq who need a grief camp.

 

tanksIt is very wrong for the Pentagon to operate this way. It is wrong to the soldiers that work for them and to their families. Who is making a profit from this?

Pentagon criticized for armor contracts

By RICHARD LARDNERandANNE FLAHERTY

The Defense Department put U.S. troops in Iraq at risk by awarding contracts for badly needed armored vehicles to companies that failed to deliver them on time, according to a review by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

The June 27 report, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, examined 15 contracts worth $2.2 billion awarded since 2000 to Force Protection Inc. and Armor Holdings Inc.

The contracts were issued without the normal competition for government work because the military determined these companies were the only ones capable of supplying the vehicles fast enough to meet the demands of deployed troops.

Yet the inspector general’s report concluded otherwise.

Overall, Force Protection of Ladson, S.C., received 11 contracts from the Army and Marine Corps worth $417 million for a variety of vehicles, including its Buffalo and Cougar mine-resistant trucks.

Force Protection failed to meet all delivery schedules, according to the report, and acquisition officials knew there were other manufacturers that might have supplied some of the vehicles in a more timely fashion. The report does not provide the names of those possible alternative sources.

Mike Aldrich, a Force Protection vice president, acknowledged the delays and said the problems were caused by an inability to get essential manufacturing materials.

The company’s production and delivery schedules have improved greatly in recent months, Aldrich added, noting that 100 of the Buffalo vehicles have been delivered.

“Government reports are largely written by lawyers and look intimidating when you pick them up,” Aldrich said. “But our vehicles perform well in theater and have saved the lives of troops.”

The inspector general’s report agreed that Force Protection’s vehicles have been of substantial value since they arrived.

The report, not yet publicly released, also criticizes the Army’s award of a $266 million contract for crew protection kits to Simula Aerospace and Defense Group, a subsidiary of Armor Holdings of Jacksonville, Fla.

Simula lacked the internal controls necessary to ensure delivery of the kits, which were needed to make military vehicles less vulnerable to roadside bombs and small-arms fire, according to the report.

The Army received kits “with missing and unusable components, which increased installation time and required additional reinspection of kits,” according to the report.

In describing the scope of the problem, the report said that some of the Simula kits delivered to the troops had two left doors, were missing side plates and contained brackets that needed re-welding.

Overall, the problems “resulted in increased risk to the lives of soldiers,” the report states.

Armor Holdings received three other contracts worth $1.5 billion for armored Humvees and armor kits to strengthen older-model vehicles.

Spokesman Michael Fox said the company had not seen the report and had no immediate comment.

The review was requested by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., in April 2006, after she learned the Pentagon was relying on just a few small companies to supply bomb-resistant vehicles to troops in Iraq.

With improvised explosive devices accounting for the majority of combat deaths and injuries, Slaughter said that strategy needed to be examined.

“It’s been business as usual,” Slaughter said Wednesday after reviewing the report. “The lives of our soldiers took a back seat to who got the contracts.”

Slaughter said the report raises more questions than answers and that she wants to know if the awards were the result of “influence peddling or insider connections.”

In written comments to the inspector general, the Marine Corps defended its acquisition decisions for the vehicles.

The armored vehicle contracts “were executed within the law, spirit and intent of the current acquisition rules and regulations,” according the comments.

In separate written comments, the Army did not object to the report’s findings.

No NiggerWhen I was in 8th grade, I had the coolest social studies teacher ever. We were always acting things out, holding mock trials and having debates in class, and it really made a difference in what we learned.

Today, the NAACP did something in Detroit that made a difference. They had a mock funeral for the word “nigger”. They used a coffin, but people were cheering instead of crying. According to the AP,

Delegates from across the country marched from downtown Detroit’s Cobo Center to Hart Plaza. Two Percheron horses pulled a pine box adorned with a bouquet of fake black roses and a black ribbon printed with a derivation of the word.

The coffin is to be placed at historically black Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery and will have a headstone.

One of the speakers was Detroit’s Mayor:

“Today we’re not just burying the N-word, we’re taking it out of our spirit,” said Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. “We gather burying all the things that go with the N-word. We have to bury the ‘pimps’ and the ‘hos’ that go with it.”

He continued: “Die N-word, and we don’t want to see you ’round here no more.”

They even had a preacher giving a eulogy:

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, pastor of Detroit’s Fellowship Chapel and member of the NAACP national board of directors, said the efforts were not an attack on young people or hip-hop.

He said they were a commentary on the culture the genre has produced.

“We’re not thugs. We’re not gangstas,” Anthony told the crowd. “All of us has been guilty of this word. It’s upon all of us to now kill this word.”

So, if you could have a funeral for a word or for an idea, what would you bury? Please leave a comment


comic by Bill Day

When I get lazy, or busy with exams, I don’t think, write and then post. Instead I just pick the best of the day’s political cartoons and post those. Here ya go!

stamp mail email price

moderate republican

cartoons_051907_a1.jpg

Tinkie Winkie Jerry Falwell

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no more bushies

wolfie world bank

elephants

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