Wednesday, July 11, 2007

1st Lt. Pete Hegseth, Neocon Fraud Part II

but Lt. Hegseth doesn’t tell the whole story, does he?

Like we’ve won the war, every battle, but we are losing the occupation. Or that never in modern history has there been a successful occupation of an Arab country by a western power or that the only reason Israel is hanging on is because she has got us at her back and a few nukes.

Like the now friendly warlords in Anbar fighting AQ and the Taliban are minority Sunni and likely to turn on us as soon as we’ve helped them accomplish their goals.

Or that our allies, Turkey, has declared there will not be a Kurdish state on its border and is massing troops along the Turkey/Iraq border already.

Or particularly that regardless of how much extra blood and treasure we spend trying to buy the princes of the greenzone a bit of time, that they’ve made absolutely no substantive progress on actually forming a working country or finding a way to defend themselves.

What 1st Lt Pete Hegseth of VFF needs to do is abandon his part-time National Guard post and join the regular fighting Army, the folks who have made 3 or 4 or 5 deployments to Iraq and where company grade officers like Hegseth are leaving in droves and are in extremely short supply. Let him fight and die for his beliefs like a real soldier, instead of standing on the sidelines writing articles.

BTW, Hegseth and VVF are a bit of ringer. Check out him and his organization at Vets for Freedom is a completely GOP owned and run 527 front organization and has, as far as anyone can determine, very little active duty military membership (VFF won’t releasea list of members, but their 527 reports show donors and contributors are mostly republicans loyalists).

I heard a radio interview the other day with a Lt. Col. His assessment: “right force, right mix, too little, too late.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


You'd expect more visitors than we see in our graveyard. Sure, Easter and Christmas, Mother's and Father's Day are big visiting days in the boneyard, but other than Toddler's Row there's never much traffic in the yard, which makes the regulars standout.

Without fail at 0630, rain or shine, an older gent struts into the graveyard, proud and purposeful, erect in a stooped sort of way, trying to retain that old military bearing despite his age, gravity, and, one suspects, arthritis. He's always crisp, probably a retired Marine or an Army lifer. He tends a single grave, bending at the knees to to sweep away the dead grass, then stands erect, removes his cap and prays...or maybe he just remembers. He's never long, though. It's only a minute or so before he about faces and marches across the yard and through the gates.

My wife and I make up stories about some people we see, like the older guy in the white convertible with a much younger blonde riding shotgun. They whizzed in one Sunday morning with the top down, all tanned and fit.
"I guess they're going by to show the old dead wife his new car and spouse", I said.
One visitor we can't figure out, however, is the younger girl in the black over silver PT Cruiser convertible. Every weekday morning around 6 am she enters the graveyard and just drives aimless, looping circles on the roads around and through the graves. She never stops, never takes the same route twice, and then, like she'd finally made up her mind about something, she heads out for the boulevard. Cruiser girl's been doing this for several weeks now and I'm getting ready to go stop her and ask what she's up to.
On the other hand, maybe she can be my private Suzanne Sommers in a white Tbird.
I like the biker best of all the visitors. A big guy with a black beard and one of those black Nazi-looking helmets riding a real Harley hog thunders into the cemetery every now and then, always around sunset. You can tell him from the note of his pipes. Even inside our house we feel the earth tremble as he racks his pipes and shuts down in an expensive part of the graveyard.

His ritual is aways the same. He always brings a big pizza in a flat box and a six-pack of Corona, and, sitting next to a grave, he eats a single slice of pizza and drinks a single beer with his buddy. When he's finished, he boxes up the pizza and leaves it and the beer on the grave.

Years ago, I spent 4 years in the Western Pacific on the island of Guam, where America's day begins. There was some flavor of Buddhist temple near our house that I visited now and again. The temple catered to the needs of Japanese families making pilgrimage to Guam to honor the fallen family members from WWII and was kind of a mixed use Taoist, Buddhist, whatever establishment. The monk was affable and enjoyed the occasional visitor. His gardens were beautiful and restful. He had a 3-legged dog.

Inside the temple itself, always awash with the smoke of dozens of burning incense sticks, worshipers bring food and drink to leave on the alter for ..."the gods" the spirits of the dead? Somebody. I learned from the monk that the gods ate the essence of the offering, leaving the physical behind. While I never saw him eating or drinking items from the alter, I always suspected that he did. He never looked like he had much to eat: scrawny.

So when the Harley fires up and after the biker has rumbled out of sight through the gates, it's my cue to hop over the fence and retrieve our dinner, I say to the gods or the dead guy or maybe both or maybe no one, "hey, you gonna finish that?"

I hope the gods got all the essence out of that pizza and 5-pack of Corona.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Michael Moore's Sicko

Maybe we should run Michael Moore for President. I went to see Sicko yesterday. Even though it was 5pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon there were a couple of hundred people at Sicko--in Virginia Beach! a Navy town and the GOP's Elephant Graveyard. People were actually applauding and hooting. Interesting mix, oldsters and younger people. Not a lot in between.

I thought it was quite good and quite thought provoking. I'm trying to image why we couldn't have organized universal health care in the US. Perhaps it's time we start taking seriously the

"in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"

part of the Constitution. Of course, you only have to walk into any county ER to see that we have a sort of unorganized universal health care going right now, for which we pay through the whazoo locally.

Stats don't lie. By virtually every measure (available through the CDC and WHO), there are many countries with much healthier people who live longer. It's not like we're not paying for health care; we just don't seem to be getting much for what we do pay for. I see no reason cradle to grave health care could not be a birthright of every American.

I think, particularly with an aging population, that Moore has hit on something. What could actually be more freeing than to have the burden of worry over health care and health insurance lifted from our shoulders?

Moore is right on another of his points, too. Americans are sheeple, chained to systems that keep us enslaved. One of my favorite philosophers Jean Jacques Rousseau said, "man was born free, yet everywhere he is in chains". The chains he was referring to were the chains of ideas and traditions and systems that keep man down.

Finally, Moore is right about our government not being nearly as afraid of us as it should be, sheeple.