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DIG DIRECTOR

Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter, a former Marine intelligence officer, served as a chief weapons inspector for the United Nations in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is author of “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2006) and the forthcoming “On Dangerous Ground: Following the Path of America’s Failed Arms Control...






 
 

Scott Ritter: Calling Out Idiot America

The ongoing hand-wringing in Congress by the newly empowered Democrats over what to do about the war in Iraq speaks volumes about the level of concern (or lack thereof) these “representatives of the people” have toward the men and women who honor us all by serving in the armed forces of the United States of America.  The inability to reach consensus concerning the level of funding required or how to exercise effective oversight of the war, both constitutionally mandated responsibilities, is more a reflection of congressional cowardice and impotence than a byproduct of any heartfelt introspection over troop welfare and national security.

The issues that prompt the congressional collective to behave in such an egregious manner have more to do with a reflexive tendency to avoid any controversy that might disrupt the status quo ante regarding representative-constituent relations (i.e., re-election) than with any intellectual debate about doing the right thing.  This sickening trend is bipartisan in nature, but of particular shame to the Democrats, who obtained their majority from an electorate that expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of the war in Iraq through their votes, demanding that something be done.

Sadly, Congress’ smoke-and-mirrors approach to the Iraq war creates the impression of much activity while generating no result.  Even more sadly, the majority of Americans are falling for the act, either by continuing their past trend of political disengagement or by thinking that the gesticulation and pontification taking place in Washington, D.C., actually translate into useful work.  The fact is, most Americans are ill-placed intellectually, either through genuine ignorance, a lack of curiosity or a combination of both, to judge for themselves the efficacy of congressional behavior when it comes to Iraq.  Congress claims to be searching for a solution to Iraq, and many Americans simply accept that this is this case. 

The fact is one cannot begin to search for a solution to a problem that has yet to be accurately defined.  We speak of “surges,” “stability” and “funding” as if these terms come close to addressing the real problems faced in Iraq.  There is widespread recognition among members of Congress and the American people that there is civil unrest in Iraq today, with Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence tearing that country apart, but the depth of analysis rarely goes beyond that obvious statement of fact.  Americans might be able to nod their heads knowingly if one utters the words Sunni, Shiite and Kurd, but very few could take the conversation much further down the path of genuine comprehension regarding the interrelationships among these three groups.  And yet we, the people, are expected to be able to hold to account those whom we elected to represent us in higher office, those making the decisions regarding the war in Iraq.  How can the ignorant accomplish this task?  And ignorance is not something uniquely attached to the American public.  Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the newly appointed chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, infamously failed a pop quiz in which journalist Jeff Stein asked him to differentiate between Sunni and Shiite.  Reyes has become the poster boy for congressional stupidity, but in truth he is not alone.  Very few of his colleagues could pass the test, truth be told.

The task of holding Congress to account is a daunting one, and can be accomplished only if the citizenry that forms the respective constituencies of our ignorant congressional representatives are themselves able to operate at an intellectual capacity above that of those they are holding to account.  So rather than issue “pop quizzes” to our elected representatives, I’ve designed one for us, the people.  If the reader can fully answer the question raised, then he or she qualifies as one capable of pointing an accusatory finger at Congress as its members dither over what to do in Iraq.  If the reader fails the quiz, then there should be an honest appraisal of the reality that we are in way over our heads regarding this war, and that it is irresponsible for anyone to make sweeping judgments about the ramifications of policy courses of action yet to be agreed upon.  Claiming to be able to divine a solution to a problem improperly defined is not only ignorant but dangerously delusional.

So here is the quiz:  Explain the relationship between the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Baghdad as they impact the coexistence of Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni populations.

Dig last updated on Mar. 23, 2007


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By flycatcher, July 19, 2007 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Sounds like everyone but a Muslim or someone pursuing a Ph. D. or D. D. in Islamic studies would fail this test.  Not only are contemporary Muslims left to interpret recorded historical events of their past—which are invariably theologically driven—but so are the rest of us. 

What are we to understand of Islam since Muhammad’s calling by Allah to be His chief prophet?  Is it the more or less constant in-fighting over lines of succession that led to and sustained the formation of Sunni, Shi’ite, Wahhabi, and other Islamic sects?  It would appear that every new introduction of Islamic interpretation has been brought about by some war—jihad or not.

Meanwhile…back in the land of the Crawford Ranch…let’s say I’m some idiot American and somebody in a position of authority waves an American flag in my face.  Amazing that ritual still works at all—but there your are.  If front of Old Glory feel free to get all misty-eyed and superior feeling.  Add to that the fact that the news I get is heavily censored.  Worst, this media coverage is often framed around the sacrifices already made in Iraq and Afghanistan as a casus belli to continue the war.  I.E., so that those American who’ve died so far will be avenged so that these heroes “shall not have not died in vain.” 

Cable news also finds just enough time between reporting on the financial markets to bring us the words of Bush and Cheney—both still clinging to the hope that the sheer force of repetition of their outrageous lies will somehow make them true—rather than impeachable.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have already backed off impeachment of these two war criminals so as not to give some appointed Republican replacement(s) a springboard for the ’ 08 elections.  After all, he’d be an “incumbent.” This decision also effectively suppresses the Jackasses from voting more aggressively for a withdrawl timetable for Iraq.  Doing so could bring about the worst constitutional crisis in US history.  I.E., Bush—in issuing another “signing statement” to set aside any timetable legislation—should compel Congress to take impeachment measures.  Either that, or Congress would or continue to be the cheese puff, canday-ass deliberative body we know them to be. 

What bothers me the most is that some status quo has been bargained by the Dem leadership with Bush and Cheney and this includes continuing the war and no impeachment bills in the House.  Makes you wonder what the Dems got in return—if anything.


But I sure liked the start of Ritter’s article.  Intellectual debate on Iraq is already dead in the water, and your average Congressman or woman know little more other that to raise money for the next election.  Knowing that, the real demonstration of American idiocy is in not demanding an honest media that truly teaches the ignorant—historically challenged individuals that only a dishonest media can create.

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By Peacetroll, July 18, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This guys a shill.

He’s trying to divert peoples attention from what the obvious problem is.

The obvious problem is not one regarding the American citizens level of education and knowledge regarding the relationships between the Sunni, Shiite’s and Kurds.  No.  Not at all.

The question is what is a country that is completely on the other side of the world doing manipulating and ordering other soviergn peoples/country around like they were cattle?

True democracy is not MANDATED onto a peoples.  No.

The bush administration and the goof ball democrats are all guilty of allowing over 1 million Iraqi’s to die either directly or indirectly because of their paranoid lust and love for Israel.

The Israel Lobby controls the government.

Learn, educate and spread truth.

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By Sean Maurice Hunt, July 16, 2007 at 7:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott Ritter is a truth teller and a Patriot…The citizens of the United States need to educate themselves and ask critical questions.

We have lost our abillity to think critically and act in responsible ways and that was by design.

Mr. Ritter told us the truth when nobody would; the run up to the Iraq war…The media villified him and many of you ate it up.

Now that he has been proven right you still attack him…it says in prophecy (the bible) that in the bad times the truth tellers would be the exception not the rule and they would be set upon by the powers of darkness…I believe that we are in some bad times now and the truth tellers are routinely attacked by the corporate greed media and everyone else who has bought into the lies and propaganda…

Mr. Ritter you are a true hero and patriot!!!  Please keep up the good work!

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By Skruff, July 16, 2007 at 5:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

87153 by aries on 7/15 at 7:53 pm

Alrighty then, let us bury the hatchet.

I don’t like labels either… The reason for me “escaping” my Republican roots and my family’s religion.  In fact, I’m considering abandoning yet another “birth right” and moving 13 miles down the road….across the Canadian border!

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By Bukko in Australia, July 16, 2007 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

Some people give up too easy. I didn’t know of any rule on TruthDig about resident reviewers. I hope I’m not considered one. I’m just a country-abandoning loudmouth.

And whilst I’m at it Skruffo, I liked that anecdote on the Stan Goff thread about your mom sticking it up the anti-Semitic friend with the sensitive nose. Schwing!

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By aries, July 15, 2007 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#86829 by Skruff on 7/14 at 5:30 am
(Unregistered commenter)

“Oh, but I do like your posts. 

another assumption out-the-window”

Alrighty then, let us bury the hatchet. You mistake me for a liberal. I really do not like titles at all. I am southern born and bred. I am an escapee/survivor of deep south fundamentalism. I also had to step back and review my political inherited views. It takes a huge yearning for truth to leave the things that one was born into. As Thomas Paine said “religion is an accident of birth”. Most people never question what they were born into and continue on that path until they die. I want the truth, even if it means turning my back on all I ever knew. When I left the christian church, that was the happiest day of my life and now I wonder how I ever believed in such a hateful and arrogant doctrine. I was raised in it!!! No one wants to believe their parents could be wrong and that is why 96% of the worlds population grow up to follow in the path they were taught in. We should never hate the people of any religion. They were brainwashed just like the rest of us. It is the leaders of those religions we should detest. Until we all realize that religion and politics are both woven from the same cloth, we will stay in bondage to both. I do believe in a Creator, but not the god portrayed in the bible. We all were given a mind to reason with. We all know, without being told, there is a right and a wrong. It is up to each of us to choose which way we go. Our world is in a perilous state and religion and political views will be the thing that will keep us apart. That is what the powers that be want! They seem to be winning and we have the power to stop it. As long as we fight each other, they will continue to accomplish their gaols. I came here with hopes of meeting others who really were concerned about our government and what it was doing to this country. I have tried other sites and sadly, they are all the same. People don’t seem to come together to solve anything. They only want to be heard and insult anyone who has a different view. New people are seldom welcomed and the resident reviewers ignore them. We are sheeple, the government knows this and we make it easy for them. This is my last post here. I just wonder if there are people who really give a damn about what is going on in this country. I don’t think I will find any answers here.

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By Skruff, July 14, 2007 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

86763 by aries on 7/13 at 7:02 pm

“BTW, If you don’t like my posts, simply don’t read them. Didn’t mums and pops ever teach you that?”

Oh, but I do like your posts. 

another assumption out-the-window

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By aries, July 13, 2007 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#86696 by Skruff on 7/13 at 1:56 pm
(Unregistered commenter)


“I need no pity. I don’t work even one job, have a nice home (left to me by generous parents) and enough Exxon Mobil stock so I can read a book occasionally.”

Oh, how very nice of mummzie and pops.  They must have known you could never make it on your own! You must be very young as most mature people seldom have a need to brag about what they have.

While you sit around in your free home worrying yourself into a fit of the vapors about the poor working class, try to get up once in a blue moon and do something useful for someone else.

BTW, If you don’t like my posts, simply don’t read them. Didn’t mums and pops ever teach you that?

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By aries, July 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#86640 by John Vargo on 7/13 at 9:58 am
(Unregistered commenter)

“Ah, meet the new boss same as the old boss.
Until the US is rid of Skull & Bones leadership NOTHING will change. Skull & Bones are Republican and Democrats. Get rid of this “mafia” and support for Isreal and America would be a whole different country. I don’t see arguing all the “small” stuff when if you focus on the real truths about the leadership in America you can solve a multitude of major problems. “

Very well said!!!!  One short paragraph and you have nailed the problem. You are so right. Until the root of all these problems is removed, they will just keep growing back bigger and harder to control.

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By Skruff, July 13, 2007 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“knowing what is going on in the world we live in should be a number one priority for all!”

In case you haven’t noticed folks (OF ALL POLITICAL STRIPES) are tired of hearing what SHOULD be their number one priority.

One of the reasons liberals and political leftists have trouble “recruiting” to their POV is their nasty divisive language.

I need no pity. I don’t work even one job, have a nice home (left to me by generous parents) and enough Exxon Mobil stock so I can read a book occasionally.

I do, however, live in a county where summer people out number year round residents 3 to one, and I can see where you might get the idea I was seeking some sort of pity.

That’s what I love about liberals…their big hearts.

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By aries, July 13, 2007 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#86570 by Skruff on 7/13 at 5:25 am
(Unregistered commenter)


“I’m always amazed at folks who (like Scot Ritter) feel that they see so clearly what everyone else is missing. That they are in motion, while the rest of us lazy uneducated louts are sitting around drinking beer and watching American Idol, unconcerned by things like rising prices and falling wages.

Lives are different, and while a great many of us find time to read and writetruthdig about “the important issues” some people may be taking care of their aged parents, parenting three children under seven, and working two jobs.  Laundry, meals, transportation, customers who think it’s 1840 and youse on the plantation. Having witnessed this, I’m here to tell you it makes for a tiring day.

Let my pose a question:

How many books should a single mother (or father) read after their day of double jobs at Walmart and Burger King? Give people a break. they’re not “unconcerned,” “lazy,” or “Idiots”, just overwhelmed and deliberately (IMHO) mis-educated.”

My, my!  Where did I say everyone had to sit 24/7 and read? I am well aware most are busy just taking care of daily life, but what good will that be when we lose more and more rights? I know many busy people, and I am one of them.  I don’t care how full someones life is or what they have to do, knowing what is going on in the world we live in should be a number one priority for all! It is people like you who are the problem for the rest of us. In this day and age, there is NO excuse for not being informed. Your sad swan song didn’t impress nor move me.

Skhruff pity party of one, your table is ready. May I suggest a serving of Cry Me a River, followed by a nice dessert of Oh, Woe is Me.

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By John Vargo, July 13, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah, meet the new boss same as the old boss.
Until the US is rid of Skull & Bones leadership NOTHING will change. Skull & Bones are Republican and Democrats. Get rid of this “mafia” and support for Isreal and America would be a whole different country. I don’t see arguing all the “small” stuff when if you focus on the real truths about the leadership in America you can solve a multitude of major problems.

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By GW=MCHammered, July 13, 2007 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

DECIDE FOR YOURSELF…

America: Freedom to Fascism - Director’s Authorized Version
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1656880303867390173

Producer, writer, director, Aaron Russo promoted rock acts including Led Zeppelin, The Who, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. He produced movies like The Rose, Trading Places and Teachers. Russo received numerous awards including a Grammy, a Tony and an Emmy. His films were nominated for six Academy Awards, as well as seven Golden Globes and have won three Golden Globes and the Image Award.


America: Freedom to Fascism Home Page:
http://www.freedomtofascism.com

Primary Objectives

  * Stop the polarization of America
  * Stop the domination of the Democratic and Republican parties over our political system
  * Shut down the Federal Reserve system
  * Return America’s gold to Fort Knox and have it audited
  * Have Congress and the IRS, in a public forum, reveal the law that requires Americans to pay a direct, unapportioned tax on their labor.
  * Make computerized voting illegal in all 50 states
  * Keep the internet free and out of the control of large institutions
  * Rescind the law called the Real ID Act so Americans never have to carry a National ID Card
  * Make it illegal to implant RFID chips in human beings
  * Educate juries to the fact that they have the right to determine the law as well as the facts of a case
  * Educate juries to the fact that they are not obligated to follow the instructions of a judge
  * Stop Globalization because it is the path to a one world government
  * Protect our borders
  * Restore the environment
  * Put an end to the Patriot Act
  * Sign up millions of Americans so we can accomplish our objectives

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By Skruff, July 13, 2007 at 6:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

86410 by aries on 7/12 at 4:56 pm

“I forget who said these profound words, but they stand true ‘Americans are ignorant because they don’t read’.”

The CEO of Border’s no doubt!

I’m always amazed at folks who (like Scot Ritter) feel that they see so clearly what everyone else is missing. That they are in motion, while the rest of us lazy uneducated louts are sitting around drinking beer and watching American Idol, unconcerned by things like rising prices and falling wages.

Lives are different, and while a great many of us find time to read and writetruthdig about “the important issues” some people may be taking care of their aged parents, parenting three children under seven, and working two jobs.  Laundry, meals, transportation, customers who think it’s 1840 and youse on the plantation. Having witnessed this, I’m here to tell you it makes for a tiring day.

Let my pose a question:

How many books should a single mother (or father) read after their day of double jobs at Walmart and Burger King? Give people a break. they’re not “unconcerned,” “lazy,” or “Idiots”, just overwhelmed and deliberately (IMHO) mis-educated.

One solution for one (of our many) problem(s) is being attempted in Montana where a town Council wishes to tax big box stores for the difference between what they pay employees (including health care benefits) and what those cost the taxpayer.

Sounds like an idea that might be better proposed at the State or Federal levels, but a good idea none-the-less. 

NAFTA has a provision against member countries “subsidizing” business. The US used this provision against Canada when it was learned that that country was renting, under market value,
national forrest lands to loggers. (hereabouts called “stumpage fees” In view of that, it might be good to attempt a test case against say…Walmart to see if taxpayers are subsidizing that business.

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By aries, July 12, 2007 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

86419…Took long enough is certainly correct! If people don’t wake up and take a good long look at that pack of devils running this nation, we may wake up one day in the very near future and find we have no rights and no claims to anything. Knowing such power is in the hands of lying, cheating evil sacks of manure should scare the hell out of the simplest minds! Take a look at this, because if there is one shred of truth to this, we are in serious trouble.

http://www.proliberty.com/observer/20070405.htm

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By Michael Shaw, July 12, 2007 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

86410 Well close to 60% of our population wants to impeach Cheney. So obviously the message is getting through though I’ll admit it took long enough.

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By aries, July 12, 2007 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

I am not sure if Americans are ignorant or just lazy and unconcerned. Lord knows the information is out there in plain sight for anyone who puts a minimal amount of effort into finding it. Look at how people re-acted to Clintons lies. As long as their pocket books weren’t hurting, they could not have cared less what kind of sleazy dog the man was. This nation has become an ‘everyman for himself’ and ‘don’t complicate my world with facts’ self-centered deceived mess. I forget who said these profound words, but they stand true “Americans are ignorant because they don’t read”. Truth can be found easier today than it ever was due to the internet, but sadly I am afraid people willingly choose to be ignorant and deceived.  They are under the false assumption if they ignor the bad, it will go away. Unfortunately, we are not dealing with the boogieman that might be hiding under the bed when the lights go out. This is the real world and the boogieman is in charge in broad daylight and few seem to see him! Wake up!

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By dalton, June 30, 2007 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Skruff.  Now I get it.

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By cann4ing, June 29, 2007 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

Leslie, “chill” doesn’t mean “shut-up.”  It is another way of suggesting that you calm down.  The balance of my statement to you was an attempt at humor.  Sad that you didn’t see it as such.

If you “dig” through “Truth”-dig, you will find many posts from myself and others that are quite substantive, but that shouldn’t prevent some occasional attempts at levity.  Chill!

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By Skruff, June 29, 2007 at 6:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leslie Brundige I assume you just arrived, so I would like to explain our system.

On these older posts (and this one has been here for awhile) participants tend to “dig” into ancillary issues.

The newer posts are more on subject, but because this board hsas no provision for cross chatter, we use the older posts this way.

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By CitizenDefender, June 28, 2007 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Real reality

http://video.stumbleupon.com/#p=fhdja5t1go

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By Leslie Brundige, June 28, 2007 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chill?  Nah, I don’t think I’ll shut up.  But I won’t frequent this board either, I seek knowledge not squabbles.

Adieu

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By cann4ing, June 28, 2007 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Chill, Leslie.  If you don’t like the way we drive, stay off the sidewalk.

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By Leslie Brundige, June 28, 2007 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?  If I were a cynical sort of person it might seem to me that one or more of the posters here are plants, to keep the focus on inane minutae while ignoring the topic at hand.  Grow up, or go find a Faux News board if your presence here is only to obsfucate and obscure.

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By Skruff, June 28, 2007 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest Canning on 6/28 at 7:10 am

“... Truth is a constant.”

You must be very young, or not a student of history if you believe that.

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By cann4ing, June 28, 2007 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Your posts are ephemeral, Skruff.  Truth is a constant.

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By Skruff, June 28, 2007 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

82009 by Ernest Canning

“There you go again, Skruff.”


Wasn’t that Ronald Reagan’s favorite quote?


...and “Truth” is ephemeral.

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By cann4ing, June 27, 2007 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

There you go again, Skruff.  Ignore history.  Ignore facts.  Nothing matters except that the Moron was sworn in.  So why talk about it?  I’ll tell you why.  Truth matters!

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By Skruff, June 27, 2007 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

81640 by Ernest Canning on 6/26 at 8:12 pm

“Skruff, the problem was not certification, it was fraud.  If it doesn’t bother you that millions of votes could be flipped electronically to deny the will of the electorate…”

It concerns me… It bothered me when Daley did it for Kennedy in Chicago in 1960, and I have an old Aunt who swears Samual Tildon should have been president except for fraud. 

“Being bothered” really is not productive is it?  Gives one an ulcer, and pretty much leaves things as they are.

When The crowd picks up their deer rifles and marches toward Washington, I’ll be with them…. UNTIL that happens (for better or worse) Bush is the president.

One problem with folks here is the baniality of the arguments…. “You are either one of us, or a Nazi…” “you think like us, or you are Joe Stalin’s butt buddy” 

Come on Mr Canning, you have exhibited a better mind than that.

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By cann4ing, June 26, 2007 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Skruff, the problem was not certification, it was fraud.  If it doesn’t bother you that millions of votes could be flipped electronically to deny the will of the electorate, then you would probably have gotten along quite well with Joseph Stalin who said, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing.  The people who count the votes decide everything.”

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By pbin21, June 26, 2007 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks.  Interesting and engaging.  The “pop quiz” conceit doesn’t quite work—you barely mention Baghdad yourself in your otherwise very interesting essay.  Should re-phrase to simply: “Outline the relevant threads of Muslim faith at play in Iraq today and their significance in driving and addressing the civil strife underway.”

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By Skruff, June 26, 2007 at 5:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Canning, you have used the word “canard” in several of your posts to dismiss irrelevant, or blatently false material. 

As I am sure you know; under our system, once votes are certified by State those votes become (under our law) the official tally.  You use the same argument folks use concerning the Simpson trial.  They say O.J. is guilty, dispite a jury verdict to the contrary.

In a perfect world, maybe you (and they) would be right, but here in reality land, Bush is president, and O.J. is innocent.

That’s life!

You may also make the case that U.S. citizens are victims of oil companies, and car companies,  rather than their customers.  You may talk about an electric car (incidently more smoke and mirrors here because although the “car” uses no oil while running, the energy companies which provide the power to charge batteries are coal and oil burning plants in the midwest which dump tons of pollution into the air every day.) developed by GM, but they are relatively easy to construct… why not build one if you wish?

On this site we have a bunch of folks who believe we are being run by nasty scurlous folks who (through no fault of ours) have come to dominate the landscape.  I believe if we go out to our garages, sit next to our tools and think, we might come up with PERSONAL solutions to some part of our problems.  It beats the hell out of feeling controled.

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By cann4ing, June 25, 2007 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Not to burst your bubble there, Skruff, but John Kerry did not lose the 2004 election—not by more than three million votes as listed in the official count.  In fact, if it had even been possible to count all the votes cast, we would find that Kerry won the popular vote by a margin of approximately five to seven million votes.  It was not possible to accurately count all the votes cast because a large percentage of Americans who thought they were participating in an “actual election” simply took part in a “virtual election” where their votes disappeared into electronic black holes.  One cannot accurately state that eight to ten million votes were “stolen” because the number of votes included within the official count did not match the number of votes cast.  In addition to millions of cast-not-counted votes, the official totals include an unknown quantity of Bush votes never cast.  Perhaps a good title for 21st Century American virtual elections would be “George Orwell’s 1984 Meets the Matrix.”

Before you start thinking, “this guy has flipped his cork” get ahold of “Was the 2004 presidential election stolen?  Exit polls, election fraud and the official count” by Steven F. Freeman & Joel Bleifuss.

Freeman is a PhD, a member of the teaching faculty at the Univ. of PA Graduate Program of Organizational Dynamics.  His 1984-like moment occurred on election eve:  “The laptop screen projected a Kerry victory in nearly every battleground state, in many cases by substantial margins.  But on TV James Carville was saying Kerry needed to ‘draw an inside straight’...The Slate Web site indicated a narrow edge to Kerry in Florida; the netoworks all had Florida solidly in the Bush camp.  CNN’s Web site data informed us of commanding Kerry victories in PA and MN; TV anchors told us these states were too close to call…[In] Ohio—-exit polls showed Kerry with a projected victory of more than 4%....TV viewers were left with little doubt that Bush had won.”

As a statistician Freeman understood all too well the meaning of exit-polls.  As Dick Morris noted on CNN, “Exit-polls are almost never wrong….”  As Freeman notes, the “difference between conducting a pre-election telephone poll and conducting an Election exit-poll is like the difference between predicting snowfall…in advance of a snowstorm and estimating the region’s overall snowfall based on observed measures taken at representative sites.”

A funny thing happened after the polls closed and the Kerry exit-poll lead, in state after state, slid into the Bush column.  The inexplicable vast discrepancies between the exit-polls and the official results simply vanished as the pollsters “corrected” [I prefer “corrupted”] the exit-polls in order to reconcile them with the official results.

Thanks to a technical glitch on the CNN site that permitted the uncorrected data to be collected and preserved, Freeman & Bleifuss were able to make short work of the theory that the vast discrepancies could be explained away by a late surge in Bush voters or any of the other theories.  Warren Mitofsky had been involved in the very first exit-poll in 1964 and in thousands of elections since.  There were six instances in which exit polls were skewed.  In all six, the beneficiary of the discrepancy was a Republican and “in five out of the six elections; the candidate whose official numbers far exceeded exit-poll results was named George Bush.”

In “ten of the eleven battleground states there was a shift…and in all ten the shift favored Bush.”  The odds of that happening were one in 1,024.  In OH, PA & FL the shifts were dramatic—4.9%, 6.7% & 6.5%.  “Assuming that these state exit-polls had no systematic bias, the likelihood of three such statistical anomalies…occuring together and all favoring the incumbent, Bush, is about one in 660,000.”

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By Skruff, June 25, 2007 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Canning writes:

“Skruff, I recall reading a poll that said eleven out of twelve people who drive hybrids voted for Kerry”

Since fewer than 1% registered in the USA are classified as “Hybrids” I guess that’s why Kerry lost?

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By cann4ing, June 24, 2007 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Skruff, I recall reading a poll that said eleven out of twelve people who drive hybrids voted for Kerry in the last election.  (And no, I don’t recall whether the balance voted for Nader).  There are certainly a large number of Americans who are foolish enough to drive SUVs, even some dumb enough to drive Hummers, but then there is a large segment of the population who voted for Bush, twice—though it is difficult these days to find anyone who will admit it.  So I think the “addicted to oil” argument is a bit overbroad.

As to all-electrics lacking power, the Tesla Motors Roadster, which runs on a Lithium-ion battery similar to the cells found in laptops and cell phones, has a 248 mph peak hp, a maximum speed of 130 mph and has gone from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 4 seconds—a little too powerful for my blood.  It can be plugged into an ordinary wall socket and has a range of 200 miles on a single charge.

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By Skruff, June 24, 2007 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

by Ernest Canning on 6/24 at 12:52 pm says:


“Skruff, the idea that Americans “love oil” or are “addicted to oil” is a canard ...”

The idea that US folks, when choosing a new car, buy a disproportnate share of gas-guzzeling SUV’s and to the degree that America’s two fuel effecent auto companies are out-of-business, makes me think that we get what we want.

Mass transit (around New York) is an alternative to The Sprain Brook, The Hutch, The Sawmill,The New England Turnpike and the New York State Thruway. There are three seperate train lines running into the city where the subway or surface transit can take one anywhere in the five bouroughs…. but as I say, people would rather sit in one person cars in traffic… Free country… their choice… but pleeze don’t blame the “establishment” 

There’s also a book on who killed the steam car, but in truth, the electrics didn’t go fast enough for opur tastes, and the steam cars took too long to start.

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By cann4ing, June 24, 2007 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Skruff, the idea that Americans “love oil” or are “addicted to oil” is a canard that obscures the level of collusion between U.S. automakers and the oil cartel that leave Americans with few alternatives, especially where I live, in sprawling Southern California.

I would encourage you to obtain a copy of the DVD “Who killed the electric car?” which is available at:

http://www.pluginamerica.com/whyev.shtml

At a time when California was forcing auto manufacturers to place a percentage of zero emission vehicles on the market, GM insisted that it could only lease the EV-1 because there was no demand for them.  In fact there was a huge demand.

The EV was a problem not only for the oil industry but for the auto industry because, unlike cars with gas guzzling, internal combustion engines, those damn things take forever to wear out and need very little in the way of repairs.  Through legal actions and extensive lobbying, GM and the other auto mfgs. were able to rid themselves of the pesky California regs.  GM turned down a multi-million dollar offer from the lessees to purchase the remaining EVs but chose, instead, to ship them all to a wrecking yard in demolished where these fully operational vehicles were demolished.

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By Skruff, June 24, 2007 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

80693 by LeftBehindnLovingIt on 6/24 at 3:50 am Says:

“Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron/Texaco MUST have their oil, regardless of the human cost, either to Iraqis (whom they don’t care about AT ALL) or US soldiers (whose lives they trade for profit).”

Some facts which may have been overlooked;

US citizens crave oil. We use more of it than any country on earth (China will catch up soon…about 20 years) We complain bitterly when the price increases but refuse to car-pool, drive less, or take mass transit. We also do not want smelly oil refineries in the USA so the oil companies must use off-shore refinaries to keep us supplied.

Aramco (a consortium of oil companies doing busimness in the middle east) employees Saudis, Iraqis, and other nationals throughout the region. The jobs are good, high-end, and I’m sure the people working for our oil companies (through ARAMCO were not forced into their jobs.  Oil companies don’t “take” oil from other countries, they buy it. (at around $70 a 42 gallon barrel) Many of the older wells and sites (developed by the oil companies) have been transfered to “service companies” owned and operated by in country citizens. Since these people are the source of raw product, I’m sure the oil companies do care about them.

The final factoid which people may find interesting is Exxon Mobil’s C.E.O. (at the time) Lee RAymond lobbied hard AGAINST the war in Iraq…. and for good reason The cost in indurance for a tanker entering the persian Gulf before the war was about $150K it has since increased to over a million dollars per trip. which accounts for a good precentage of the run-up in gas prices.

It’s nice to have “big Oil’ to kick around, but the trouble is closer than that, and we can all get a good view of it by looking in a mirror.

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By cann4ing, June 24, 2007 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

Robert Chaney:  If Scott Ritter was working for the U.S. government at the time, there would be a very good reason for him to “quit and walk away.”  However, he was not.  He was the lead weapons inspector for UNSCOM which was the United Nations’ agency charged with uncovering the truth about whether Iraq was in compliance with UN resolutions governing Iraq’s elimination of its WMD.  He served in that position from 1991 to 1998.

A Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting study revealed that in the weeks surrounding Colin Powell’s infamous UN presentation only 3 of 393 on-air experts appearing on the major networks were affiliated with anti-war activism.  While Bush & friends were spinning their unchallenged tale of ominous “mushroom clouds,” Ritter was in Baghadad trying to convince the Iraqis that they faced imminent invasion unless they granted the inspectors immediate and unlimited access.  For this, he was slammed on CNN by Clifford May, former director of the RNC, as a “misguided” fool who had “become an apolgist for and a defender of Saddam Hussein.”

As noted by Mark Crispin Miller in “Cruel & Unusual,” this view was briefly “obliterated” when Ritter was interviewed by CNN’s Miles O’Brien.  Ritter said that by the time UNSCOM left Iraq, they had ascertained “a 95% level of disarmament that included all production equipment and means of production used by Iraq to produce these weapons.”  Ritter set the record straight.  The inspectors were not kicked out by the Iraqis but “were ordered out by the United States after the U.S. manipulated the inspection process to create a confrontation that led to Operation Desert Fox.”  The claim that Iraq had interfered with the inspections was “absolutely false.”  The problem was the US tried to use the inspections for penetrating sites, like presidential palaces, that had nothing to do with disarmament.

As noted by Mark Crispin Miller, Ritter’s CNN performance “clearly threatened Bush & Co. propaganda.”  CNN’s chief news executive, Eason Jordan—the same Eason Jordan who made it a point to ask the Pentagon whether they approved of the line-up of generals who would appear as experts on CNN when the war got underway, asserted that Ritter’s behavior was “chameleon-like” and that “people are…stunned, really, as to his position on these matters.”  He added, “US officials no longer give Scott Ritter much credibility.”

No doubt Mr. Jordan subscribes to the Jim Lehrer school of journalism:  “Unless an official says something is so, it isn’t news.”  Within the realm of the American propaganda network, an assertion that US officials do not find Ritter credible is enough to banish Ritter’s forceful rebuttal of the WMD canard to the netherworld.

That’s the real Scott Ritter story, Mr. Chaney.

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By Robert Chaney, June 23, 2007 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to Mr. Ernesr Canning #79375 from Chaney.
Dear Mr. Canning, Thank you for the correction information as I didn’t know Ritter had early declared there were no nukes in Iraq. That is a good thing, but since he knew it was a fraud, why didn’t he quit & walk away ? [I’m aware Fox News was used to destroy his credibility as he stood in the way of the war & invasion.] The question remains. I’m sure those that spent long time in Iraq walked away with a lot of money, salary, “war zone pay”, per diem, etc. so they had personal reason to “not find” WMDs & just keep looking for absurd years. I was given offer to go as consultant to the UN IAEA thing, & rejected it. I’ve made some notes about the how readily ANY use of nuclear radioisotopes in any facility is absurdely easy to detect. e.g., a scintillation couner can reliably detect 20 counts per minute—a spill on the lab floor - an the surface of a lab bench, etc.  That means 52.875 micro-grams of uranium spread on a broad surface is readily detected. Readily. Taking the density of uranium metal (heavier than lead) the volume is easily obtained as a sphere diameter less than a human hair. Imagine spreading that minute volume across a lab bench; on the floor,etc. and it is easily detected. ( I haven’t closely checked my calculatons) I thought of a short post of the science, calculations, about the detection of radioisotopes—not sure folks care about facts.
It shows there is no way to NOT readily detect any use of nuclear material anywhere. Busy lately, & would want to check my numbers before a post.
thanks again, (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))  Robert

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By LeftBehindnLovingIt, June 23, 2007 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
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This was a great history lesson, Scott.

Given that no one who is actually in charge of running this war understands (or likely even gives a darn) about this issues you raised, the whole idea that we can effectively manage affairs in Iraq becomes a sham. I have been reading about the lack of Arabic speakers in the Administration and in Iraq. Why doesn’t anyone care to understand what the Iraqis are saying? The sad answer is because, frankly, we don’t give a damn.

Given also that since we don’t care about the history of Iraq, then the obvious answer of what we are doing there in the first place once again rears its ugly head: we are oil addicts, and they are sitting on the “stuff”. True to addict behavior, we are willing to cojole, lie, and decieve to get our fix, and if that doesn’t work we’ll extract it by force.

Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron/Texaco MUST have their oil, regardless of the human cost, either to Iraqis (whom they don’t care about AT ALL) or US soldiers (whose lives they trade for profit).

If the American people won’t support it through government, then they just outsource ops to private companies. Blackwater and Halliburton and their ilk are more than willing to take on activities the government, or even the Pentagon, can’t stomach. Conversely to the US situation, the distinction between a US Marine and a Blackwater Mercenary is lost on youraverage Iraqi citizen. Result: America gets blamed for any and all atrocities the private contractors commit (even if they are a “Dubai company”, such as Halliburton).

The Bush Family Network seems to have an inexhaustible supply of morally-impaired loyalists to replace whoever gets bumped out by scandals. We got rid of Rummy, we have Wolfie on the run, and we’re after Gonzo. We got rid of Tenet, we have a ridiculiously thin majority in Congress back (but that is watered-down by prominent Dems who say “impeachment is off the table” -Pelosi - and pander to the same corporations and think-tanks the Neocons derive their imperialist policies from - Clinton).

So what you are saying is sorely needed to be heard.

Unfortunately, the sponsors of Armegeddon (Coca-Cola, Amway, Fox News, Big Oil, and Megachurch Christianity, and others) are not going to pay attention. They want their goddam end-of-the-world, and they will do everything in their power to have that end, no matter what.

The whole machinery is set up to rush to self-destruction. The fools at the helm think they can loot the train and jump out with golden parachutes just before the final crash. They plan to leave the Faithful on the train to disaster with the convenient lie that Jesus will suddenly appear in the sky and save them from their self-created doomsday.

If the consequences weren’t so tragic, it would be funny to see the looks on these people’s faces when the nukes start flying and they realize they are still here, and they are the ones who are going to have to deal with the aftermath. Dang, I could have sworn that mushroom cloud had the image of Jesus in it!

Empires come and go. The American Empire is no exception. Our mistakes will be a study for history majors by the end of the 21st century.

A lot of Nazis went to Brazil after WWII. I wonder what country the Neocons are planning to find refuge in? Where will they be able to go and disappear after their scheme for world conquest fails?

When they are finally held responsible for their treason against America, their war crimes, and their crimes against humanity, where will they hide?

Of course, like all imperialists before them, they believe that day will never come. History disagrees.

Maybe they SHOULD study it a little more.

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By cann4ing, June 19, 2007 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Robert Chaney: You should read “Iraq Confidential” by Scott Ritter.  Your effort to pin the WMD canard on Ritter and UNSCOM is misguided and flat-out wrong.  As Seymour Hersh reveals in the forward to Ritter’s book, Ritter “told us again and again in 2002 and early 2003 as President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair prepared for war in Iraq that there were no weapons there….

“With each statement, Ritter became more and more unpopular—with the politicos in the White House, the neoconservatives in Washington, the war planners in the Pentagon and the American press corps (which was, with few exceptions, panting for the war).  Ritter was in their face and stayed so—even after the show and awe began….”

“Iraq Confidential” reveals that UNSCOM was aware that most of the WMD had been destroyed immediately after Gulf War I; that Iraqi concealment was centered on hiding the methodology of the destruction of WMD and the direct involvement of Saddam’s son in that event, and that the U.S. government, at every turn, thwarted efforts by UNSCOM to verify the absence of WMD as the goal of three successive administrations (Bush I, Clinton & Bush II) had consistently favored “regime change” rather than Iraqi disarmament.  Only the methodology changed—from the Bush I & Clinton adminstrations, who utilized devastating UN sanctions that are estimated to have cost the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children during the thirteen years they were in force, interspersed with intermittent airborne attacks from the “no-fly zone” to outright invasion by the Bush II administration.

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By Robert Chaney, June 19, 2007 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now retired, I went to Los Alamos when it was still a “secret city”, I’ve observen,measured more nuke bomb explosions than I can remember, spent many days & nights in nuke weapon storages sites, worked in all-source intelligence ( e.g., CIA et al) for years, been in middle east & 47 countries—there is essentially nothing I do not know about nuke bombs or reactors. Sorry—but with that said, why didn’t Ritter beginning in 1991 within 6 months announce Iraq had no WMDs ? Hiding the making of nuke weapons is impossible & can be detected in many ways. Myself & one other at Los Alamos wrote the first report on doind that for the CIA. It’s almost impossible to make a uranium bomb, the US made only one took years, an entire city of 25,000 people(Oak Ridge TN) in giganic facilities, & many many others. There is almost nothing the “intellegence comunity” doesen’t know - rarely is there a “surprise”. There was no intel. that Iraq had any weapons of any kind to be a threat. Even if a country were given 95+% enriched U235 metal (uranium ore, yellow cake is useless) or reactor-produced plutonium metal that isn’t even the beginnng of all the extreme technology needed to make a bomb. Finally, there is no way to “hide” nuke weapons or the making of them. A KH-11 hi-resolution satellite can about read the label on Bush’s Jack Daniels whiskey bottle - & Powell tells the UN you can hide a weapons factor under a palm tree ! No person in the US Congress could have failed to know Iraq had no WMDs. The all knew it. There was no “bad intell. info.”  All, including those now running for president, knowingly voted for Iraq war, knowing it was based totally on lies.  Ritter participated in this great lie, apparently from 1991 to 1998. He first must explain this. Why didn’t he speek up a the start of this UN IAEA hoax ?  ( also, it is impossible to conceal any place where radioactive material has been handled. a swipe & counter can show a trae that is so small it is beyond the detection of the most powerful miroscope, including an beta-particle machine.)

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By Skruff, June 14, 2007 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

77816 by MAR on 6/13 at 7:12 pm

If a people spend most of their time analyzing their own belly button than how can they ever know what the rest of the world is, does, or thinks?

77319 by Ohioan4truth on 6/12 at 8:45 am

“WOW! Has everyone missed the point”


It is always amazing when I encounter the “I got it right, how can everyone else be so stupid” line. 

Unfortunately it is becomming more common.

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By MAR, June 13, 2007 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If a people spend most of their time analyzing their own belly button than how can they ever know what the rest of the world is, does, or thinks?

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By Ohioan4truth, June 12, 2007 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

WOW! Has everyone missed the point with Mr. Ritter’s article? Does not articulate conversation begin with accurate information? How can anyone make an intelligent argument without factual, concise knowledge?

We cannot hold our elected officials accountable for their decisions unless we have a basic understanding of the situation. This is what the article was demonstrating.

But…..all I read on this blog is one ‘agenda’ after another. No one is delving into the intricacies of the debate at hand.

ZOOM!!!...right over their heads!

Imagine trying to quell the hatred between catholics and protestants at a time when they “hated” each other…that’s the conflict that created the good ol’ U.S. of A., people…and if you were to get in the middle of them, why, they BOTH would have tried to destroy you! Try getting between a husband and wife while they’re fighting and see how far you get!

I believe in LUCK.. defined as “Labor Under Correct Knowledge”.

Here’s what I posted on my blog a while ago:

http://ohioan4truth.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
You are missing the point!

Why do I feel that everyone is missing the point about the Iraqi situation? If our elected officials, who are supposed to be intelligent, yet not understanding the difference between Shiite, Sunni or Kurd and their ‘fundamental’ schizms, how can they come to a real solution to end the violence and nurture peace?

All of us should, and need, to become educated concerning the world and it’s politics. It starts with ourselves, let alone our children.

Ignorance is as ignorance does.

No wonder we as a nation continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

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By ctbrandon, June 12, 2007 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Ernest,

I agree with you. I am completely against funding the war any further, and I am personally in full support of an immediate exit plan. When I say “Support Our Troops”, I mean supporting them by demanding that our government bring them home safe, and immediately. Hopefully that clears up any confusion.

ctbrandon
http://www.actforyourself.org

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By cann4ing, June 11, 2007 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

ctbrandon, it’s not just that “you can support our troops, and not support this baseless war.”  When our representatives vote to extend funding, they are not “supporting our troops,” they are betraying them by allowing the Bush administration to leave them in harm’s way.

Like the so-called “war on terror,” the phrase “support the troops” is a piece of Orwellian Newspeak designed by the sociopaths who betrayed not only this troops but our nation by carrying out the goals of the Project for a New American Century—regime change in seeking a permanent base of operations in the oil rich Middle East—under the rubric of WMD and false links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

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By ctbrandon, June 10, 2007 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Fox News and our President have done a masterful job of blurring what I am about to say. So please read it, and make sure you pass it along.

“YOU CAN SUPPORT THE TROOPS, AND NOT SUPPORT THIS BASELESS WAR.”

While there may be some resent aimed at our troops in small group of citizens, I believe that our current situation is much different than that of Nam. The majority of Americans support the troops completely. It is the policy of our leadership and the baseless war that we oppose. This is a more informed culture than that of the late 60’s and early 70’s. We have access to a wealth of information that makes us much more informed. I guess you could call us Next Gen Flower Children. I for one can and will do anything I can to voice my support of our soldiers. I am proud of them and they deserve my eternal gratitude and respect. They also deserve better than to be used as pawns on a chess board so the elite rich who run our country can continue to sacrifice their lives for oil.

brandon
http://www.actforyourself.org

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By cann4ing, June 10, 2007 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

As someone who served in Vietnam, then returned home, I can personally state that reactions ran the gamut.  The more sophisticated members of the anti-war movement were glad to have us home, because they knew that we came back bearing a different perspective than when we left, and, of course, many who returned joined with those at home already opposing the war.

I do remember one instance in which an individual called me a “baby killer,” but that was an isolated incident.

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By Michael Shaw, June 10, 2007 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Well I never saw anyone spit on the soldiers after Nam.It could have happened though. That said, I did hear soldiers use to fill squirt guns with urine and spray them on conscientious objectors who were imprisoned at the Presidio for refusing to fight in the war.

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By Ghosts of Abu Graib Ass, June 10, 2007 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one spit on the soldiers.  Period.

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By Skruff, June 9, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“How in the world can you say that?  In fact, yes it did.  I was there and people spat on the troops, verbally abused and discriminated against them.  I knew many who were afraid to go anywhere in their uniforms.  It was a low point for this country.”


I was there too… and this scholck one of the greatest and most pervasive urban legends.  Just another kick at folks who happen to disagree with jingoistic US policy.

I have no hope or illusion that I’ll change even one mind, but I can’t let this ubiquitous comment pass without a challenge.

My generation’s theme was “Do your own thing” This included heading off to kill or be killed in some giant pissing contest.

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By Expat, June 9, 2007 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

#70786 by Skruff on 5/18 at 6:08 am

“The Country” did not turn against our troops following (or during) Vietnam.”

How in the world can you say that?  In fact, yes it did.  I was there and people spat on the troops, verbally abused and discriminated against them.  I knew many who were afraid to go anywhere in their uniforms.  It was a low point for this country.

As against the war as I was (I marched), I sure as hell didn’t blame the troops as the majority of anti-war people did. 

Please read history and get your facts straight.

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By Michael Shaw, June 8, 2007 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Hey Pepsiholic, consider yourself lucky Scott Ritter isn’t in the same room as you are. He’s a decorated former marine.

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By Pepsiholic, June 8, 2007 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott Ritter… isn’t he that child molester?

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By newsuperhuman, June 8, 2007 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

It’s too bad that a man as intelligent as Ritter has to come across with such an arrogant, condescending style. Of course he’s right that most Americans are stupid, ignorant, complacent, uneducated morons, but then he goes too far when he makes this nonsensical assertion:

“If the reader fails the quiz, then there should be an honest appraisal of the reality that we are in way over our heads regarding this war”

What? Come again? What is the logical connection between Americans being ignorant and Ritter being right? That’s called a non-sequitur, or essentially, a statement that makes no sense due to flawed logic.

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By Skruff, June 6, 2007 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

75600 by tedbohne on 6/05 at 4:58 pm


“for ‘skruff’ ....

“What a fucking moron.”
“...are you that stupid?”
“...idiots such as yourself ...”
“you need to wake up?!” 
“you poor dumb bastard!”

I guess someone is fairly cranky this morning.  I can’t even guess on what post you are commenting.
I’ve re-read the most recent ones, and I can’t find one which was strong enough to elicit that response.

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By tedbohne, June 5, 2007 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

for ‘skruff’ who in the hell are you goint to vote for?  What a fucking moron.  Did you thing there was a forum you could expect redress for your grevances in the US govt?  are you that stupid?  clearly you do no research into the history of the current social control paradigm.  These people were not elected.  They have no control accept what idiots such as yourself give them.  They have no legal or constitutional powers.  I recall george commenting on the constitution in this way; “it’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”  What in hell do you need to wake up?!  you have no reasonable format to voice your complaints in!  you poor dumb bastard! 

tedbohne

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By Bukko in Australia, June 2, 2007 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Hey Ralph—I agree with Skruff and Shaw. The thread is not all about Ritter. Such is the nature of Internet forums. When an article is fresh, comments tend to be about IT. As it gets older, the comments become more like cross-chatter. I find it interesting, what other people have to say, especially some of the commenters I recognise. Part of Truth DIG is for people to dig out the opinions and observations of others. If you don’t like it, mate, then turn the page.

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By Skruff, June 2, 2007 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

74733 by Ralph on 6/01 at 10:01 pm

HEY GUYS AND GIRLS, This post section is not a debating area for Skruff, Shaw, Jonathan and others to fire back and forth at each other about the validity of each other’s view on totally unrelated, yet very well presented subjects,

Since the “TD moderator” claims to inspect my posts (all of them) for relevance before they are posted, I assume the people running this website disagree.

Concering the burning question of the moment: is Scott Riter an asshole or not?? I sense enough collective intelligence among you to put him in his place; yet you continue to snipe at each other with the savagery of a pillow fight conducted at a 6th grade sleep-over!

I hope I was not snipeing and as the parent of over 100 children, 6th graders seldom “pillow-fight anymore. ... at least for the past 20 years.


316 comments of fluff response directed toward someone who has called you an idiot, is not my idea of a vicious defense of my intellect!! Step up toward the real target; ritter, or you risk being tagged soft on derisive insults! What about it??

What about it?  I’ll tell you, when a person labels my entire class “idiots” without knowing us personally, I accept that the same way I would accept the use of “jew” as a verb.  I put that person in my box of “ignorant antis” and go about my business.

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By Michael Shaw, June 2, 2007 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

I see your point Skruff and like you I agree with most of what you’re saying. However,when we look at outsourced jobs to foreign sweat factories or the fact most people have to work 2 full time jobs just to make ends meet, we can see the mentality of today’s corporate mega-giants are not far removed from their McKinley Era counterparts. The same company(Walmart)that you speak of, who limit employee work hours here to undercut their benefits are enjoying virtual slave labor from abroad where all of their manufacturing is done. As for child labor here goes, there are still labor laws in practice that protect 8 and 9 y/o’s from working in the mines, mills and factories as they did back then. But as labor laws are weakened and continue to crumble, how long will it take before this practice returns? Young children might be forced to work simply to sustain the family as they did back then.

What we see today are the beginnings of corporate feudalism and Karl Rove doesn’t love that period in time for nothing. With a crew of lawless nits like this current administration who promote torture and preemptively war, trash our constitutional rights and scoff international laws, how long might it take before we return to the days of the barons and kings and we ourselves become serfs?

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By Michael Shaw, June 2, 2007 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

Hey Ralphie boy, I can’t speak for anyone else in here like you’re trying to do, but this is an open dig, not your personal website. If you had any conception whatsoever about what Mr. Ritter’s been conveying here(and it’s obvious that you don’t) you wouldn’t have opened your self righteous pie hole in the first place! I could give a crap what you think about my posts. Since none of them were aimed at you till now, frankly what I post or who I converse with is none of your business.

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By Ralph, June 1, 2007 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

HEY GUYS AND GIRLS, This post section is not a debating area for Skruff, Shaw, Jonathan and others to fire back and forth at each other about the validity of each other’s view on totally unrelated, yet very well presented subjects, concering the burning question of the moment: is Scott Riter an asshole or not?? I sense enough collective intelligence among you to put him in his place; yet you continue to snipe at each other with the savagery of a pillow fight conducted at a 6th grade sleep-over! 316 comments of fluff response directed toward someone who has called you an idiot, is not my idea of a vicious defense of my intellect!! Step up toward the real target; ritter, or you risk being tagged soft on derisive insults! What about it??

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By Skruff, June 1, 2007 at 6:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

73771 by Michael Shaw on 5/29 at 2:05 pm

“The McKinley Era, the years of child labor, the 14 hour work day and the robber baron!”

Dear Mr. Shaw, while I have agreed with 90% of your posts, I must quibble about the elimination of “child labor” and 14-hour-work days.

I understand that at the time of McKinley, both these issues were controversial.  BUT, now we have Walmart saving money by labeling 28-hour-a-week-employees as “full time workers” I know you can multiply, but in the intersets of speed, $6.15 (Maine’s minimum) times 28 equaals 172.20 leaving the “full-time” employee, and his family way below the poverty line.

“Child labor” also needs redefining. in our society there is no recognition that some children will not be going on to college. Our vocational schools are not working.  The answer might be an apprentice program which would allow children to work half a day in their chosen profession.  Anyone who knows children is aware that they must be taught to work. If this education begins at a young age (as it did for me) they also learn to enjoy being a part of the “adult world.

I am not opposed to child labor which is well regulated and open to public view.  This does not imply support for a McKinleyized system of six-year-olds standing on boxes, running looms for ten and 12 hours a day…. as was the case in Massachusetts at the turn of the last century.

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By Ralph, May 31, 2007 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

Re: Comment #68390 by Mr. Anthony Smith on 5-05-07.

I had to read through a number of posts concerning Ritter’s demeaning remarks to the American public, to find a response that not only correctly and successfully defended the opposite position, but did it with a lot more class, dignity and intelligence than Ritter could ever muster! I am now pleased that I kept reading until I found Mr. Smith’s post as noted above. It said all that I was struggling to construct and post myself; without the vitriol and obscenities that ritter deserves. That smug air of superiority displayed by ritter because he knows more about civil unrest in a country that 95% of intelligent Americans couldn’t have cared less about 6 years ago, is a blatant attempt to garner some attention by someone who has obviously been ignored and bullied most of his formative years. By the way, here’s a test for you ritter: how long do you think it will take before you quit sniveling about the glory of your self-proclaimed “astute” opinions, climb out of your highchair and join the grown-ups of this country??

The undeniable truth is all there in Mr. Smith’s post, and I’ll bet anyone a sincere apology if I’m wrong, but we won’t hear one word of retraction from ritter or any of his supporters! Remember ritter, painting good people negatively with such a wide brush only ensures that you will get some splashed on you! I really wish you could get to know Mr. Smith, myself and millions of other caring intelligent people like us. Not only would you find us “not idiots”, but you would discover a remarkable degree of self restraint in replying to your uninformed condemnation of so many noble people, whose only mistake was believing in an administration that we had faith in between 4 to 5 years ago! It’s very difficult to undo 6 years of lying, stonewalling, patronizing and ignoring intelligent voters, pandering to special interests, treating the separation of church and state like it didn’t exist, trampling on not only the rights and freedoms of the American people, but those of so many other nations and claiming to know more than the majority of people who have spent their entire lives advancing the discoveries of mankind to improve life for us all, when we only get one precious vote every 4 years to try and counteract all the crap we’ve been exposed to for the last 6 years!! We try to remain fair and balanced, and all we get is more of the same! I have the highest of respect for the Office of the President of these United States, and absolutely none for the current inhabitants of that office!!

geo bush once said that “history will decide what kind of a presidency he had”; well geo, pull your head out of it’s “happy place” and realize…it already has…years ago!!

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By Michael Shaw, May 29, 2007 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Richard Dungeon IE So stupid they ignore 1200 years of history….I believe they understand history all too well, or at least better than we might think. I don’t mean they’re obvious lack of knowledge concerning Iraq or Islamic history, I mean the so called, “New World Order”. They extracted that ideology from history, the history of 60 short years ago when Adolf Hitler proclaimed his thousand year Reich. And just as Hitler’s Germany trashed organized labor, its constitution, scoffed at international laws and spied on their own people, so too do the current occupants of this White House! Also let’s not forget where their economic plans came from either. The McKinley Era, the years of child labor, the 14 hour work day and the robber baron! No surprise it’s Karl Rove’s favorite period in US history!

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By Richard Dudgeon, May 29, 2007 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

“Most readers might complain that it is not realistic to expect mainstream America to possess the knowledge necessary to achieve the level of comprehension required to pass this quiz.”
Perhaps, but shouldn’t our imbecile leaders?
This reduces to such a simple concept—how the hell did we get this stupid?  So stupid that we ignore 1,200 years of history and blithely stumble into this mess with an Alfred E. Neumann, “what, me worry?” smile on our idiotic faces?  This is beyond dumbing down; we’ve embraced stupid with the passion of a lover!!
This may seem off point, but I submit it is relevant:  the most cogent argument comes from Sam Harris in “The End of Faith.”  Note the title is not “The End of Religion,” because religion is only the most obvious manifestation—the problem is faith, faith being defined as the unshakeable belief in that which cannot be verified empirically or that which is actually verified as the opposite!
We went into this ignoring the history of this culture, believing, with nothing to support it, in a reverse domino theory—that democracy, once planted, would blow on the winds across the borders and transform the whole area.
Surprise!!  Everything the critics said would happen did happen—remove Saddam and suffer a civil war, destabilize the region,  etc, etc, etc. 
Sigh!  Is there any point to re hashing this? 
We talk about the lessons of Vietnam, but we were all asleep in class. 
If we haven’t yet learned those lessons, how many future wars await us before we learn the “lessons” of Iraq?

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By Michael Shaw, May 23, 2007 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

Hey Skruff, good points as to the sense of hopelessness. It certainly does go on right here. As the gap between rich and poor grows, indifference to the suffering going on grows as well. It can already be seen twixt the decay of our inner cities, gang warfare and criminal activity. Education is of course the key along with going after the root of the real problems rather than the after affects of those problems. People here seem to wonder why anyone would become a suicide bomber for example. They mark it off as insanity or radical religion. The truth is the reason these kids are so easily captivated is because of a sense of no hope, no future, things never getting better, only worse! But if you can somehow remove this sense of hopelessness and provide opportunity, I believe much of the insanity we see going on today would be alleviated.

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By Skruff, May 23, 2007 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A sense of hopelessness.” is not limited to the third world.  I just had a call from one of my foster children last night.  When he lived with me he was 11 to 19, and a really decent boy.  He was abused by his parents, then taken by the State, and re-abused by staff members at the facility where he was placed.  At age 14, he had a plan to become a roust-about for Smokey’s greatest Shows. He was a big person and really strong, but not able to “get” academics. He made a contact with the SGS scouter, and could have been hired at age 16, with guardian consent, which the “state” refused to provide.

He’s now 39, living on welfare, and using a buffet of drugs. He has two children, but has no idea where they are.

Hopeless?  Maybe, damn shame? For sure.

I’m not going to quibble on Joan’s age, or king Tut’s relevance, but I maintain children, raised from birth to be good citizens, can perform that task by age 16.  My Graduate degree is in education; my thesis was “Is middle school a waste of time”

My conclusion is that making school more relevant,(teaching children what they really need to know) taking out the many “repeats” (three years of the same “American History” is too many)would move High School graduation to age 16, and subsequently B.A. graduation to age 20.  If society changes the steps of adolescence (a Psycho-babble invention of the 1950’s crowd) the period we label “adolescence” will move.

Of course, (as you point out) we’ll never do this because we need children in the throes of change and confusion, to fight our wars….while we stay home and shop.

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By Michael Shaw, May 22, 2007 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

IE Joan of Arc, king tut. Yes but Skruff Joan of Arc who is one of my biggest heroes by the way, was actually 18 when she first led the army to the English forts in Orleans and King Tut and the other monarchs inherited a throne, no big task in the days of dynasties. I do not try to undermine what you’re saying about youthful courage and deeds. But by most accounts these are anomalies rather than norms. Good point though about keeping kids, kids to long. They had to grow up a whole lot faster back in those days and kids that age today continue to fight in various parts of the world. Most of them never had a childhood, only famine, poverty and a sense of hopelessness.

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By Michael Shaw, May 22, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Well Jonathan, I disagree. He even tried to cover up Bush’s DUI when he was the legal adviser to then Governor George W. Bush. He’s been playing the devil’s advocate for years and his help in dismantling our obligations to the Geneva Conventions, calling them quaint and antiquated should tell us volumes about the man. Also the recent revelations that he attempted to coerce John Ashcroft into signing that illegal domestic spying program into law while he was in a hospital bed suffering from a pancreatic attack shows this little wing-nut is capable of anything! His aid in firing those attorney’s to politicize the Justice Department is yet one more antic of the many antics this “little corporal” has perpetuated! Of course the president solely continues to defend him and insists no laws have been broken, that the democrats are trying to politicize this issue. If you believe that, I’ll tell you another! How about we’re in Iraq to defend and preserve democracy??

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By jonathan, May 22, 2007 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Gonzales has not yet - reached the low level of George W Bush and GWB just keeps on nodding his cross eyed head and watches the World go by !

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By Michael Shaw, May 22, 2007 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

I’d like to add that people like “Andy” coming in here is for one reason only, to disrupt this board.

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By Michael Shaw, May 22, 2007 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Mr. Chalmer’s, Bukko the Aussie isn’t the guy you should be going after. This Andy dude is. Bukko was actually defending those of us in here while Andy made the rye, childish commentary saying all of us in here are gay. With a name like “Andy,” he hardly has room to talk. Perhaps he should resort to using his proper name the next time he attacks this board. He still wouldn’t have credibility but at least he wouldn’t come off as being so damn butch!

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By jonathan, May 22, 2007 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

I will be buying the “End game” by Scott Ritter and placing it next to “America what went wrong” a book written for Americans by two American Journalists.
A book that exposes just how vile, vicious and corrupt some American industrialists are to this very day.
(lobbying congressmen with money for their congressional votes)
First off; The so called ignorant American folks did not entirely elect G. W. B.
He was truly’ appointed by the US Supreme Court.
Ignorant as we might be – 50% of voters did not vote for George W Bush – in spite of the repetitious malicious lies !
Sixteen of the ”Arabs” that attacked the WTC were from “Saudi Arabia” not Iraq. That’s why John Kerry said; it is a wrong War, at the Wrong place, at the Wrong time !
The war in Iraq is like the US War to exterminate all American and Mexican Indians – it was done by religious fanatics for what they call “Manifest Destiny”
a plan to conquer and dominate and rule nations by white religious doctrine.
(assuming they are not capable of governing and controlling their own nations) That’s why American religious fanatics support George Bush’s War in Iraq.
Several US Generals stated that the methods and reasons for attacking “Mexico”  were unfair, malicious and shameful to say the least. (sound familiar ?)
Some of the founding fathers were Atheists – that’s why they set the rule about “Separation of Church and State.”
They knew that 50% of American citizens were ignorant, not knowledgeable about politics and elections. (many were illiterate) So they established the “Electoral Board College” - allowing them (professional politicians) to select the US President when ever the “popular vote” elected an incompetent candidate. 

The “Federal Reserve Board” was established on 23 December 1913 – while opposing Congressmen were away for the Holidays. The Federal reserve board passed as a temporary fix and in that amendment, there is a stipulation that the Fed can be purchased and terminated for $420 Million dollars. $2.00 per/citizen.
Nobody in congress has dared to move to purchase and terminate the unconstitutional “Federal Reserve Board” who charges us “prime rate interest” for the use of our own money. (the FED gets “prime rate interest” for nothing)

Bottom lines; The US Congress is not complying with their jobs responsibilities !
That is why they shifted the authority to declare War to George W Bush.
American citizens for the most part are not ignorant. Some of us are working 16 hour work days just to make ends meet. There is no time left to acquire political knowledge for the Presidential Elections – the news media publishes anything that anybody pays for.  Whoever has more money gets more paid political announcements. Observe; The “American Israel Political Action Committee.”
NO ! We did not elect GWB – US Congress has not been representing us.
YES ! America needs an informed and participating people and a responsible Congress.
Jonathan

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 22, 2007 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

#71661 by Bukko in Australia on 5/22 at 5:36 am: “...Andy… this article makes no sense to me bc its all politics and politics are gay, like all the men in here…....That must be why you’re here, mate…”

Oh, is that the limit of intelligence from commenters from Australia???

No wonder, then, that the jumior-most partner in the coalition of the willing has become the third political casualty of the illusory war in Iraq:-

“The Prime Minister (of Australia) has warned his colleagues that current opinion polls mean the Coalition (their Liberal + National parties) would not just lose a federal election (later this year), it would be annihilated.

John Howard has told a meeting of Liberal and National MPs the polls show Labor would win emphatically.

He has warned if they are expecting him to pull a rabbit out of a hat, he does not have a rabbit…...”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1930125.htm

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By Skruff, May 22, 2007 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

71661 by Bukko in Australia on 5/22 at 5:36 am replies to:

Andy who says:

Andy :”... gay, like all the men in here… “

Bukko: “That must be why you’re here, mate… “

I was wondering how to respond, then wondered if response was appropriate. 

I guess this was the best possible outcome. 

(Off the subject question)

If someone admittedly “doesn’t care” (thinks all politics is gay(sic)) Why post on a political website…  ie Bukko must be correct?

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By Skruff, May 22, 2007 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

71513 by Michael Shaw on 5/21 at 2:19 pm

“As for 15 year olds leading armies go, I’m not sure who you’re talking about.”

Joan of Arc, born in 1412, was 17, she is the best youthful representative from western culture, BUT

Tutankhamun, Pharaoh of Egypt in the 14th century BC

Others who lead:
Francis II of France (1544-1560), King of France and king-consort of Scotland
Olaf III of Denmark (1370-1387), king of Denmark, Norway and titularly of Sweden
Arnulf III, Count of Flanders (1055-1071), killed in battle
Others of note;
Wilfred Benitez (born 1958) became, in 1976, at the age of seventeen, the youngest world boxing champion in history.
Stephen de Cloyes, reputedly organized the Children’s Crusade (1212) at the age of 12
Johnny and Luther Htoo (born c. 1987), Burmese guerrilla warriors

My point is we keep our “children” children too long.  Unpopular opinion, but physically true. 

Intresting article in Parade this last wweekend:

Foster children, who are tossed to the street (at age 18) often do not know how to obtain housing, cook a meal, or have their utilities turned on… What the hell are we teaching our children through 12 years of schooling?

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By Bukko in Australia, May 22, 2007 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Andy
(Unregistered commenter)

i have no idea what the hell wnyone (sic) here is talking about… this article makes no sense to me bc its all politics and politics are gay, like all the men in here…

That must be why you’re here, mate…

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By Michael Shaw, May 21, 2007 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Good points Skruff and that was exactly the point I was trying to make about kids going to war. During Vietnam it was John Wayne. Every kid in the country thought that’s what war really is. His Green Beret film took the cake!

As for 15 year olds leading armies go, I’m not sure who you’re talking about.I would be interested to know. I believe Alexander the Great was about that age when his father Philip was assassinated. But even he had tutors(Aristotle for one) and advisers who guided him. I know there were 15 year olds fighting for the Viet Cong and there are still kids that age fighting in the Middle East and Africa but that is more so because the older males had been killed. Also their leaders are generally old men.

As for our troops, I believe they are going to need a whole lot of TLC when they return. I would not like to see a repeat of Vietnam. Many will need counseling, perhaps even for the rest of their lives. There are adaptation programs beginning all over the place that are geared to incorporate them back into society so that is a start at least.

But you’re right! These kids are shaped and molded, brainwashed in fact. There is good reason as to why the military grasps upon the youth. Their minds are not yet fully developed and more easily manipulated. Let’s not forget the situation they’re being placed in either. Indoctrination + environment= Hell!

That said, if any one over there did commit crimes against humanity as some most certainly have, are they really fit to rejoin our society? Should they not be tried for these crimes? Should these crimes not be met from the top on down, rather than vice-versa? I think they should since the only way we can expect this kind of lawlessness to never happen again is by holding our leadership accountable. They created the environment, they manifested torture and they ignored international laws we helped to create after WW2. 

The military leadership, with the influence of this administration, particularly Rumsfeld and Gonzales, have literally changed the rules that govern warfare. Those rule changes in many cases are not only morally wrong, they are perhaps the biggest blunder in our nation’s history. The utter indifference to the Geneva Conventions are apparent and have made we as Americans a whole lot less safe then we were prior to their implementation.

I think those who committed atrocities should be punished, but we should never damn an entire group of enlistees for the actions of a few amongst their ranks or because of the blatant actions of the defense department.

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By Andy, May 21, 2007 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i have no idea what the hell wnyone here is talking about… this article makes no sense to me bc its all politics and politics are gay, like all the men in here…

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By Skruff, May 21, 2007 at 6:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Michael Shaw (#71272):

“How can anyone suggest an 18 or 19 year old kid really knows what he’s getting himself into?”

Fifteen -year-olds have led armies, conquered nations, Stood up to power, built cities, vanquished foes, made fortunes, and changed the course of history in as recent time as our 1960’s

It is only the 18, & 19-year-olds brainwashed by the military, marching in lock-step peer-pressured into the warped idea that “WE” are better than the folks in country where we fight….it is these young people, who are beset with the “anything we (The US) do is right.”

In my view these folks are to be “forgiven” and reprogramed.  Further, at risk of sounding like a “liberal” it is not their fault that true history is not taught in our schools, that the schools near trailerparks and slums are inadaquate, and that the fermented patriotism programed into American citizens from birth has often (in their case) no adult male family member with military experience to advise.

When I went to Whithall Street for my physical (From wealthy green Westchester County New York) I was one of three white people on the bus.

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By Michael Shaw, May 20, 2007 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Thair I never excluded anyone. In fact I said I wanted to see all of those who commit war crimes to be punished “from the top on down.” Rather than take anyone off the hook, I merely chose to place the lion share of the blame where it truly belongs, on those who created this mess in the first place, rather than blame our entire military who go where they’re sent and do what they’re told to do.

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By Jaki, May 20, 2007 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

On Democracy Now! this past week, there was an interview with Agustin Aguayo, who has applied for Conscientious Objector status after going to Iraq and concluding he could not do what he was ordered to do. He pointed out that never in the course of his military indoctrination was he given any idea of what killing another human being in a war zone was really like. He found he just could not do it and maintain his humanity.

However, his request for CO status doesn’t look good because the military requires that one must have a LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO PACIFISM (and usually involvement in a religion that reflects that value) in order to be declared a CO.

Isn’t it ironic that a certain person most of us now despise became INSTANTLY BORN AGAIN in order to hoodwink a large religious segment of the country into buying his pitch for the Presidency (then engaged in mass murder). Is that what being “born again” means you have the right to do?


.

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By Jaki, May 20, 2007 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an anti-war activist for over 40 years, I feel it is important to have this discussion about whether we should “support the troops” now and when they come home. It is troubling to me.

Coming from my political perspective, the easiest and most consistent value judgment is holding all of them responsible for their actions, especially those who break down doors, rape and kill innocent families, torture, shoot first then ask questions, bomb, and commit other heinous acts. 

HOWEVER, I also agree with Michael Shaw (#71272): “How can anyone suggest an 18 or 19 year old kid really knows what he’s getting himself into? These kids are told they’re fighting for freedom and in defense of their country even though in this case they are not. They are sent and ordered to fight by generals and bureacrats. These kids who represent the bulk of our military are coming from the poor and working poor of our nation. They joined the army for the most part to get an education and better their lives since that option in our poorest communities is virtually non existent. They also joined and serve for love of country…” 

He goes on to point out that those (currently in power in Washington) who sent them never went themselves.  Shame shame shame on them.  Hopefully they WILL be tried as war criminals.

He also makes the poignant argument that in a war zone our soldiers are constantly in a survival mode that causes them to react in ways they can’t help.  Extreme fear can do that.

On Democracy Now! this past week, there was an interview with Agustin Aguayo, who has applied for Conscientious Objector status after going to Iraq and concluding he could not do what he was ordered to do.
He pointed out that never in the course of his military indoctrination was he given any idea of what killing another human being in a war zone was really like. He found he just could not do it and maintain his humanity.

However, his request for CO status doesn’t look good because the military requires that one must have a LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO PACIFISM (and usually involvement in a religion that reflects that value) in order to be declared a CO.

Isn’t it ironic that a certain person most of us now despise became INSTANTLY BORN AGAIN in order to hoodwink a large religious segment of the country into buying his pitch for the Presidency (then engaged in mass murder).  Is that what being “born again” means you have the right to do?

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By Rob Thair, May 20, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Mr. Skruff, I was being ironic.  I do not call myself an theist, because to me I don’t believe in using a word to define something that doesn’t exist.  I was simply saying, since so many of those who started this mess used a “Christian/Judeo motif, that they are hypocrites.

To Mr.Shaw, I would say, to exclude those who execute the crimes of the leaders makes no sense and the sooner they realize that, regardless of their age or excuse, they are responsible and when it is deemed that they too committed those crimes and are culpable for choosing torture, the sooner we may find ourselves in a situation that we all can live with. For now, I can’t see any reason to exclude those who are pulling the trigger, even though I’m sure many of them did not know what they were getting themselves into.  They should have paid attention to history class.

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By Michael Shaw, May 20, 2007 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Thair, you are talking to a conscientious objector here, not someone who endorses torture or advocates the killing of children. I’ve been opposed to this war in Iraq since day one. I was opposed to Desert Storm, the invasion of Panama, Grenada and the Vietnam war too! My question to you would be who exactly was it who promoted the idea of torture in the first place and created such an environment? Who said it’s time to take the gloves off and scoffed the Nuremberg Trials and Geneva Conventions? Was it not Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Gonzales? Was it not this entire administration, the same canard who fired up the nation with false and doctored intelligence to put us over there in the first place? 

I read an article somewhere that suggested 40% of our troops support the idea of torturing enemy combatants. Frankly I find that hard to believe, especially since the government has the military so censured and controlled. We never or rarely hear, for example, about the many troops who believe what we’re doing there is wrong. The White House propaganda machine is in full swing over there and in fact I’d even be willing to suggest that the idea of this poll came from the White House itself, especially since most of them are presently under the scrutiny of the International War Crimes Tribunal!

We also seem to forget US G.I.‘s were the first to come forth and tell us about the tortures of Abu-Ghraib and elsewhere. We also it seems are failing to see the Tillman family and Jessica Lynch who are touring this country and telling the American people exactly how they were propagandized and exploited to promote this ill-conceived and damnable war!

Even if this so called torture poll is true(though I highly doubt it), you are saying you wouldn’t hire anyone involved over there,  apparently even if they might represent the 60% who are obviously against torture! By acknowledging that notion you are in affect blaming those who were ordered to take part in this war, who are themselves just as much the victims of White House deceptions as the Iraqi people!

There are always war criminals in any war. I believe those who are should be punished from the top right on down. But you sir are presumptuously convicting an entire nation of enlistees and basing it on a poll that was no doubt fabricated by the real war criminals.

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By Skruff, May 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

71237 by Rob Thair on 5/20 at 7:49 am

“.....the sooner we resemble the “Christian’Judeo” ethic we espouse.”

Again, who the hell is “we” I am an American with 11 generations of family history on this soil, and I espouse no such ethics.  AND I’m not alone, check out Athiests on Easter, and Athiest manefesto.

The ethic I espouse (and I do not suggest it is popular) is; “Leave me alone, and I won’t bother you.”

It’s sort of a “old-fashioned0-yankee-ethic.”

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By Rob Thair, May 20, 2007 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Shaw, the facts show that these troops even favor torture, so what would you expect someone who is opposed to killing innocent children think?  How old were you before you realized that shooting small children was wrong, that torture was wrong?  Do you really think eighteen year-old men don’t understand that is wrong?  Do you think they entered this mess out of some patriotic feeling?  Is eighteen too young to understand that this nation they were sent to liberate, meant not killing their elderly and helpless?  Give me a break, please. We are supposedly a Christian nation but apparently our younger men and women are exempt from murdering defenseless innocents just because they fly the red, white and blue.  I disagree and I believe that when they return, they will be in worse shape than those who returned from Viet Nam.  I sure as hell won’t hire them, or talk to them.

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By Michael Shaw, May 20, 2007 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

IE “The country did not turn against our troops following or during Vietnam”, Well I had relatives in that war and was a year shy of being a part of it myself. I do know that hardly a family in this nation hadn’t been affected in some way by that war. And the families themselves greeted their own with open arms. I know that some people did treat the soldiers badly when they came home. Some would like us to think they were all hippies who did it when in fact a whole lot of the private sector treated them as losers too. But the families didn’t. The idea that some of the troops themselves should share in the responsibility for their own actions in the war is I suppose what some might call reasonable but I’d say that reason is standing on very thin ice, especially when you consider what being in a war is really all about and what it does to all involved in one. It matters little as to whether you enlisted or were drafted. Once you’re in it what you see, hear and do is based solely on a matter of survival, a primordial instinct. It’s a side of us that most people do not have to see in themselves but that soldiers have no choice but to see. 

What really burns me up is how some people(these armchair generals) tend to suggest that since one joins the army on a volunteer basis they know what they’re getting themselves into and then go on to use that reasoning to justifying our actions in Iraq. How can anyone suggest an 18 or 19 year old kid really knows what he’s getting himself into? These kids are told they’re fighting for freedom and in defense of their country even though in this case they are not. They are sent and ordered to fight by generals and bureacrats. These kids who represent the bulk of our military are coming from the poor and working poor of our nation. They joined the army for the most part to get an education and better their lives since that option in our poorest communities is virtually non existent. They also joined and serve for love of country. Then these armchair generals, many of whom escaped the draft themselves during Vietnam by either joining the guard as Bush did or deferring from service like Rove, Cheney and practically everyone else in this current administration did, with the exception of Colin Powell, are pushing for this so called war on terror, yelling out we can’t lose this war like we lost in Vietnam and are so pro war it simply amazes me! These will be the folks who treat our troops the worst for losing in Iraq, losing for the “Gipper” back home who is nothing short of being a punk and a coward! But just as in Vietnam, the families of those kids will greet them with open arms and so will I because they are our kids and they had nothing whatsoever to do with involving us in this trumped up chicken-hawk war!

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By Rob Thair, May 20, 2007 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“‘The Country’ did not turn against our troops following (or during) Vietnam.”

I’m not sure how anyone defines the “country” but my memories are vivid of how vets were treated and many of us treated them poorly and many of us still have an even lower opinion of those who are serving today. The idea that those who commit the atrocities bare no responsibility is rubbish, regardless of what the articulate Mr. Ritter may say to the contrary.  To abide these guys the privilege of exemption from responsibility, and to blame it on the government that declared the war, or the citizenry, is more rubbish.  Those who signed on and those who drop the bombs and execute the citizens of a foreign land assume the responsibility along with those who order them once they sign on.  Until everyone realizes that part, regardless of the history aptitude, the sooner we resemble the “Christian’Judeo” ethic we espouse.

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By Skruff, May 18, 2007 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

70694 by Debbie from Texas on 5/17 at 6:49 pm says:

“We are AGAIN creating an impossible situation for our troops - if something is not done soon, I believe the people in this country will turn on them again - just as they did following Vietnam.”

“The Country” did not turn against our troops following (or during) Vietnam. 

We sunk into a “poor us” morrass and walked away from our resopnsibility to “heal wounds” We defunded VA rehab programs, and let vets become homeless, and a large part of our prison population, BUT that was our government, and as I said, we the people were too busy finding ourselves and moving “back to the land” to complain.

Remember the Seventies?  unemployment, sky-high gas prices, secured loans at 20% and a “can’t do attitude like none I’ve seen in my life.

Oh, and BTW we didn’t only abandon our vets, we cut unemployment funds, chopped what medicaid would cover, sliced off funds for troubled children, and deregulated the Phone compang, oil producers, and the airline indrustry….. BUT all this ain’t nothing compared to what we will get when we retreat from the middle East. 

Check the price of a gallon of gas in (our good friend) Israel… If we lose, bug out, leave without honor, that will be our gas price. 

I am not suggesting that we stay for oil. BUT folks ought to know what happens after the US loses a war… Those who were there, Debbie, need to remind them.

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By Debbie from Texas, May 17, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I’m sure 99% of Americans did, I failed the quiz.  The detail provided about the history of Iraq is amazing.  However, even though I knew little about the details of the historical enmity between the parties in Iraq, I know enough to realize we can do nothing to change the situation.

I can’t stand hearing about “winning” or “losing” this war - how can we even call it a war?  Although I know it sounds totally naive and even stupid to admit this, but at the time our government made the decision to invade Iraq, presumably because of WMD, I supported it. It made me uncomfortable but I couldn’t believe we would do something so serious as start a war without justification.  Sounds ridiculous now, doesn’t it?  Now I am so angry that I believed this garbage - and I am so frustrated that I don’t know what to do about it.

I am old enough to remember Vietnam - my husband served there.  How could this happen again?  How can we continue to keep this going?  We are AGAIN creating an impossible situation for our troops - if something is not done soon, I believe the people in this country will turn on them again - just as they did following Vietnam.  There is no doubt they are doing things they are horrified by and that they will never get over - but we have put them in that situation.

Memorial Day is coming up - many people say we should thank the troops - I think we owe them an apology.  They are truly good and brave people - we have let them down by letting this continue.  It must stop.

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By Skruff, May 17, 2007 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

70538 by Hal on 5/17 at 5:07 am

“...when the Democrats get the White House, as they certainly will, in 2008.”

It is interesting but whith whom are the D’s gonna win the WH?

Dennis (He’s too short)
Obama (peaked and falling)
Hillary (sinking in her own vitrol)
Biden (If he was not a D no one would know his name)
Edwards (anyone take this DLC clown seriously?)


If the center-left crowd bolts for a independent, the party is over and we have four more years of Repub administration. 

Looking at 2004, all the repubs need to do is stop 2000 folks from voting D in New Hampshire, that’s 140,000 votes in Ohio, and 117,000 votes in Wisconsin and the map changes.

No one likes to think about this, but the D’s had a clear shot after Reagan, and they ran Dukakis.

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By Hal, May 17, 2007 at 6:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott is one of the few to cut to the heart of things at the moment, that is to say, to denounce the cowardice of the Democrats to end this war NOW. They could do so, as Pat Buchanan said recently on MSNBC, but they are too frightened of the GOP warmongers to do so. So while we dither, thousands die in Iraq. Just like Vietnam. Elected in 2006 to get us out of Iraq, we will still be in Iraq when the Democrats get the White House, as they certainly will, in 2008. And then we may still be in Iraq for years afterward. Don’t kid yourselves: the Democrats are NOT going to put an end to the Iraq affair. They are too craven to do so.

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By GI Joseph, May 16, 2007 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

70370 by Al Forget on 5/16 at 11:32 am

CMCPO A. Forget, USN (Ret)

I served for 30 years on continuous active duty and, in retirement, was reluctant to join either the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Both organizations do yeoman work in supporting our troops and for that they are deserving of commendation.

Year, when I got back from Vietnam, the VFW was the only place in White Plains where you could get a drink on Sunday morning.

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By Al Forget, May 16, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

CMCPO A. Forget, USN (Ret)

Just wanted to take a moment to thank Scott Ritter for his May 10, 2007, Article “The Good American”.

I served for 30 years on continuous active duty and, in retirement, was reluctant to join either the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Both organizations do yeoman work in supporting our troops and for that they are deserving of commendation.

I am a life member of the VFW and did join the Legion but do not participate.

Every member of those organizations should be proud of the service they rendered.  It must be noted, however, that very few of them have an understanding of things military other than their own often quite limited personal experiences.

It is extremely unfortunate that they choose to involve themselves in politics as they have in giving their support to a completely unjustified war in Iraq.

I had the privilege of working directly with 11 different admirals (from the time when I served with VADM Theodore D. Ruddock, Jr. in 1953-1955 and met FADM Chester W. Nimitz) till I retired.

I learned from such men that our military exists to be so well manned, trained, equipped, and armed—so prepared to fight war—that no darn fool will choose to do battle with us.

War has been defined as diplomacy through other means.

Thank you, Scott, for pointing out the mistaken beliefs and positions held by so many members of the Legion and VFW.  Serving in a foxhole or in a rice paddy does not necessarily make one knowledgeable about all things military.  Those organizations should continue to provide support to membes of the armed forces.  When they support the positions taken by politicians they go beyond their mandates and charters.

Neither organization should consider themselves an arm of the republican party as they now seem to.

Under fire political positions are or no concern.  As veterans that should also be the case.  Our troops need our support no matter how they might vote.

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By Jaki, May 14, 2007 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

I HAVE A DREAM.  Everyday I VISUALIZE it.  At 67 years of age (with over 40 years of activism), I hope to live long enough to see it come true.
But I need others to also VISUALIZE and ACT, not on their collective “stupidity,” but their collective “intelligence,”

REAL intelligence (not: “Have no doubt that Dick Cheney, who is, unfortunately, rather intelligent…”  as one writer assessed this madman).

It sickens me everytime I hear people call Karl Rove a genius.  He is the antithesis of genius.  It does not take real intelligence to cheat, lie, manipulate,
steal, cause massive death, and prance around like a little cock with a one-inch dick (it’s called compensation).

INTELLIGENCE that includes heart, spirit, genuine creativity, a sense of “future,” for children and the planet.  That kind of intelligence.

INTELLIGENCE that also acknowledges that sometimes
people become so corrupt and, yes, evil, that they need to be stopped by any means necessary.

INTELLIGENCE that understands that certain laws, domestic and international, were not created as decorative benign statements, but should be enforced
when absolutely and inarguably applicable.

Because I see real intelligence in the following quotes extracted from other responders, I will include them and then conclude:

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. ...Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced.” And so, by any measure, the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the displacement of millions more, is a true war crime.” 

and another…

“I would argue, though, that American citizens need not be conversant with even the basics of Iraqi society to know - and know with absolute certainty - that speculative invasion of a sovereign nation is a war crime.  The murder of hundreds of thousands, the displacement of millions, the criminal use of depleted uranium munitions, of cluster bombs, of white phospherous, these acts alone should be enough to warrant the impeachment and imprisonment of the leaders and enablers of this monstrous enterprise.”

So, if you believe in the POSSIBILITY of collective
consciousness ultimately creating the Hundredth Monkey Effect, please join me in MY DREAM:

That the perpetrators of this horror that has caused and continues to cause the suffering of millions and to which we all must be exposed on a daily basis (today 150 new reported deaths by suicide bombing in Iraq) will ultimately not escape being brought to trial for WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

I actively visualize it happening.  I visualize Dick Cheney, George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Herr Karl, and the rest of the Fascists (including Kissinger) hanging together. 

Generally I am against capital
punishment.  But, one must sometimes make exceptions when it is is clearly needed as a deterrent.  Capital punishment is rarely a deterrent for most crimes, but in the case of leaders who prey on the rest of the world for their personal gain and barbaric ideology, and in the process wreak such irreversible havoc, perhaps it will be.

CAN YOU SEE IT?  TRY IT AS A DAILY MEDITATION.

If you can’t go that far, at least SEE them brought to trial and put in prison together, naked.  For the rest of their lives.

Now, let’s act.  Bombard the Democrats, regardless of what you think about their spinelessness, with emails, letters, calls, whatever.  They are in power.
Hold them responsible.  Demand that they follow the Constitution:

IMPEACH BUSH/CHENEY then support the World’s demand that they be put on trial.

Otherwise…no consequences, deja vu

And my DREAM will instead continue to be the NIGHTMARE in which we all seem to be trapped.

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By Allan Wheeler, May 13, 2007 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are not in Iraq to spread Democracy. We are not fighting a war on terror. We must stop using such incorrect terms. They are misleading. We invaded Iraq to secure the re-election of a venal and vile administration. We invaded Iraq to secure the rights to Iraqi oil. We are occupying Iraq and allowing American soldiers to die so that the friends of this vile administration can loot the US treasury and profit from the deaths of Americans. We are occupying Iraq with National Guard Troops so that the US can become more vulnerable to threats and catastrophes. And we are not doing anything to stop the destruction of our country and our Democracy.

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