Iraq


The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since the fall of my second grade year, and in Iraq for half of the years I have been in school. In all that time, and in all of the years that we watched Channel One News in the mornings, we never saw a casket, never heard about the war dead or the loss of limbs, and only heard about veterans one day a year.

That changed last Tuesday.

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been President of the United States during my schooling, and all three have addressed the nation’s students in the first weeks of school. Clips of these addresses were shown on Channel One, or the existence of the speeches was mentioned in news stories. There was never any controversy.

That changed this September.

This August, we were warned that the President was scheduled to speak to students across the nation, and the news media was full of dire predictions of this unprecedented address. We were originally asked to have our parents sign a form saying that we could listen to the fifteen minute national pep rally for paying attention and focusing on our studies, with the option of spending that time in another room. Then the speech was canceled except in U.S. government classes. Our infantile minds were apparently not prepared to absorb such concepts as hard work and setting goals.

image via Fort Hood Sentinel

image via Fort Hood Sentinel

And yet, we were apparently sufficiently mature to watch last week’s memorial service from Fort Hood. Without warning and without parental permission, this solemn service and the words of the President and several reverends were shown school-wide, in class.
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Time magazine had a story this week that asks a great question, but they’ll never find the right answer if they continue to see our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as “wars” and not “occupations”.

Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves?

I’m glad they’re asking the question about military recruiters, and glad people are reading about it, but here’s the part that shows they’ll never find the answer:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now the longest waged by an all-volunteer force in U.S. history. Even as soldiers rotate back into the field for multiple and extended tours, the Army requires a constant supply of new recruits. But the patriotic fervor that led so many to sign up after 9/11 is now eight years past. That leaves recruiters with perhaps the toughest, if not the most dangerous, job in the Army.

The problem is not that we are less patriotic or that no one wants to serve. The problem is that these are occupations and no one wants to continue fighting wars that we won years and years ago.

Last year alone, the number of recruiters who killed themselves was triple the overall Army rate. Like posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, recruiter suicides are a hidden cost of the nation’s wars.

Yes there is a problem here, and yes the recruiters need help, but mostly we need to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even with this economy, poor kids don’t want to go into the military any more. Would you?

It’s time to end the Iraq War and Occupation!

Protesters march to Pentagon, call to end Iraq war

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Are you depressed about the last eight years? Of course! But now that it’s ALMOST over, we can start looking back on it.

This is Keith Olbermann’s retrospective from the other night.

I can’t find the transcript, but it will be here when it does come up! 😦

Laura sent me a link to this blog, and I think it’s amazing.

Days of My Life

Talk about daily life of a teenage girl in Iraq, and days of suffering and success. My nick name will be Sunshine.

The author is my age, but lives in Mosul in Iraq. She talks about school and friends and watching movies in class, but she also talks about the dangers of living in Iraq. Here’s some of what she says that I was really impressed with:

I admire M’s courage, she’s attending school everyday, doing her homework, attending exams and taking 100%, I’d say she’s a hero because she didn’t kill herself after her mom’s death, I can’t find a word to describe her courage, her determination, I don’t know how can she handle everything.. I was there for R, Rita and their families, and I’ll be there for M and help her in every possible way, all the girls in my class are with her, in the break-time, the girls and I explain to her the lessons she missed.

I think some of the stuff she writes sounds just like me.

One of the things that makes me really proud is my blog , you know that..
When I started 3 years ago I had no idea what’s going to happen, I remember the pleasure of receiving the first encouraging comment, and in the next day I got 9 E-mails I started to jump in the middle of the living room shouting “ I GOT 9 COMMENT OH I AM FAMOUS “

I don’t know anyone who has had this experience but I can still relate. I don’t care if it is war or child abuse or having drug addicts in your family, the only way any of us survive is if we have friends who can help us through. Some of what Sunshine writes is so horrible that I can’t relate at all. And I DO know what it is like to be afraid.

On Friday morning, my mom told me that dad was asking her to take care of the kids, and his parents, I went to my room, opened my book to study but I burst into tears, and cried for long time until I was unable to open my eyes, and my book page was completely wet. I throw the book away, and kept blaming myself and cry for not doing my best to fix my relationship with dad, I was telling myself, what have I done? If something bad happens to dad, I won’t forgive myself ever, part of me was ordering me to go to my dad, apologize and make sure he forgives me for every time I was adversarial to him, for every word I said and made him upset, for every night I slept without wishing him a good night, but I couldn’t, I was tight, I don’t know why..

I suffered from horrible headache and insomnia, I want my dad to see me publishing my first book, graduating from the best collage, being successful person in my life, and more important I want to be so nice to him and make him forget everything, every disparity we had, & every time we argued, I hope he’ll forget those memories.. and be proud of the girl he raised, although he tells me he’s proud but I want to make him even more prouder..

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Is he humble?

Or crazy?

(Yes, I already know that it’s 4000 US soldiers dead in combat and not 3000. It’s an old video!)

Or just plain evil?

Sorry for the light posting during my vacation. Been having way too much fun to pay a lot of attention to politics. Good thing that people sometimes send me links like this one!

New Poll: 12 Year Olds Know Congress Could Cut War Money, Adults Believe Congress Powerless to End Iraq Occupation

By David SwansonA pair of new polls may suggest the power of falsehoods repeated ad infinitum on our televisions and in our newspapers. The first poll asked 2,000 American 12 year olds whether Congress has the power to end the occupation of Iraq. Minorities believed Congress did not, or believed it could do so if the Democrats had larger majorities. But a 61 percent majority of those polled believed that Congress could simply stop funding the occupation, and that the Democrats in Congress had sufficient majorities to accomplish this without any Republican assistance.

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Well I can’t go, but maybe you can.

CALLING STUDENTS AND YOUTH NATIONWIDE

 

Spring Break in Washington D.C. to End the Iraq Occupation

We invite you to invite yourself, your friends, and your peers to come to Washington D.C. to join youth and students from around the nation to

Break the War with Spring Break!
http://www.ourspringbreak.org

Come any time from March 7th to March 23rd to protest the Iraq War as it is forced into its sixth year. This spring our Generation steps up.

Events will include but are not limited to: Sit-Ins, Demonstrations, Marches, Rallies, Civil Disobedience, Music Performed by Head-Roc and Son of NUN and more

Spring break: one usually imagines these words screamed from bourbon filled mouths at a tacky beach resort. Let’s use this vacation as an opportunity to take concrete creative action to end this unjust war and show that we care.

Be There

Click facebook.com/group.php?gid=7034243829 to join the Facebook group!

Click groups.myspace.com/ourspringbreak to join the MySpace group!

Click www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7FheS2RFMs to see the YouTube video!

To organize for Our Spring Break, e-mail: contact@ourspringbreak.org

http://www.ourspringbreak.org

Our Spring Break is endorsed by: Artists Against the War, Backbone Campaign, Camp Casey Peace Institute, Campus Anti-War Network, CODEPINK Women for Peace, A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, AfterDowningStreet.org, The Critical Voice, Democrats.com, Grassroots America, Gold Star Families for Peace, Kennebunk Peace Department, Not In Our Name, Progressive Democrats of America, World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime

Who’s the phony one here? Rush or the soldiers from Vote Vets?

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.

 

How stupid does Bush think that we are?

Note: spew alert for the second cartoon.  Don’t have anything in your mouth that you don’t mind having all over the screen and the keyboard.  —Freckles

The surge

The surge is working

Bush is supposedly all about accountability. Every year we have to do better on the tests and every year the tests get harder. Know what the teachers say when you don’t pass a test the first time? They say you’re making PROGRESS. I think that means you did better than you did before, and that you’re getting closer to passing.

But that’s not what it means to Bush. Watch this video from MoveOn.Org and see if you can figure out what the word PROGRESS means in his world. If you figure it out, please let us know in the comments section.

    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?

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When I was in 8th grade, my language arts teacher focused a lot on our writing styles and wanted us to always have in mind who the audience was. She taught us that writing a letter to the editor called for different vocabulary and style than a letter to a friend. Even my first or second grade teachers taught about about school words and playground words.  When I was very little, my mom told me there were certain words that were only bathroom words. (So of course I stood in the bathroom and screamed them as loud as I could.  What can I say? I was two!)

George Bush is not a two year old, and has completed the second grade and even the eighth grade.  And college.  And MBA school. But he has not yet learned which words and expressions are appropriate in private and with friends, and which ones are appropriate to use when speaking with the prime minister of a country he is visiting. Mr. Bush, would you like Ms. Livingston’s phone number? I bet she could teach you to be aware of your audience.

Things are going well in Iraq, according to President George W. Bush.

Upon his arrival in Sydney Wednesday, Deputy Australian Prime Minister Mark Vaile “inquired politely” about his stopover in the war-torn country.

We’re kicking ass,” Bush said.

The remark was overheard by a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and caught by an Australian blog.

According to the paper, Bush arrived in Australia in a “chipper mood.”

…..

“Apart from his introductory remarks, Howard never spoke during the press conference,” the paper added. “It was the George W. Bush show.”

The Herald asserted that Howard’s staunch position backing the Iraq war “is growing.”

“He implied that those who argued against the war in the first place had no role in the current debate,” the article said.

bush's legacyIt seems that George W is concerned about his legacy, and he is talking to a biographer named Robert Draper:

In book, Bush peeks ahead to his legacy

In an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, President George W. Bush daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

The articles talks about these kinds of issues

First, Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With joint assets that have been estimated at as high as nearly $21 million, Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

and

The transcripts and the book show Bush as being keenly interested in what history will say about his term despite his frequent comments to the contrary; as being in a reflective mode as his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue dwindles; and, ultimately, as being at once sorrowful and optimistic – but virtually alone as commander in chief, and aware of it.

Here is the worst line in the whole article:

And in apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, he continued, “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ – there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”

HE just wants to make money, but I think that his real legacy will include these:

  1. a million people dead because of wars that we started
  2. 3000 dead at Ground Zero, flight 93 and the Pentagon, with bin Ladin still on the loose and not even a suspect by the CIA
  3. an unsolved anthrax terrorism case that killed five people
  4. increased opium exports all around the world
  5. privatization of everything from highways to schools to prisons hospitals to the maintenance of Walter Reed hospital and rehab
  6. many millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans with no access to decent health care when they need it
  7. the drowning of a city and a whole section of another state
  8. hard times for poor people, and a whole lot more poor people
  9. most of his administration resigning on him, and some of them being investigated and tried and convicted for crimes
  10. having the whole world hate us
  11. almost (I hope) starting a war with Iran
  12. stealing elections
  13. having hookers in the white house pretending to be reporters
  14. the giant corporations having a super time while the planet heats up and regular people suffer
  15. high gas prices and high prices to heat houses
  16. spying on Americans without a warrant or even telling the FISA court
  17. locking up Americans for years without a trial
  18. locking up thousands of other people in torture camps with no lawyers and no rights
  19. making students only learn stuff that is tested in April and not the important things in each subject

I bet George won’t talk about those things when he has speaking tours. (He’ll get more for one talk than my whole family has in a year!) What do you think his legacy will be? Can someone please call the Hague?

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

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