Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are you better off now than you were five years ago?

Happy anniversary, everyone.

When ever the world witnesses something historic, we have a tendency to remember exactly where we were when the feces hit the rotating blades. Such was the case five years ago today. I was watching the initial invasion of Iraq on television with the publisher of our newspaper. Wayne is probably the best supervisor I have ever had. It never affected our working relationship when we disagreed about something.

The only thing we agreed on that morning was that we were both hoping for a win for our country. There was never a doubt in my mind that U.S. and Allied forces would roll into downtown Baghdad within weeks. On the other hand, I also predicted an insurgency not unlike the enemy that we faced in Vietnam. That insurgency, I predicted, would turn "mission accomplished" into another quagmire and we would be stuck in a two-front war for years and spend billions, if not trillions, of dollars on the adventure. I also doubted the WMD claim.

Unfortunately I was right, but I was not alone. Regardless, even after the first two years of the insurgency, it was not cool to be honest and call the situation in Iraq a “quagmire” because FOX “News” would tear you a new one.

Not that this alleged news service is alone in the blame. I have been working on a systematic study on exactly how the MSM lead this nation into a war on grounds that have been largely discredited.

As a professional journalist, I could get fired for not verifying a boneheaded comment like this:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
Here's a good analysis of the veracity of that claim.

So much for the "lies" by the administration and the failure of the MSM to question the more dubious claims they made. Let's move on to what is happening now, not that you have heard if you rely on CNN for your information.

One anniversary that went largely overlooked this week was the massacre at Son My. Sunday, March 16 was the 40th anniversary (warning: graphic photos) of the event that you probably know better as My Lai in that other quagmire, Vietnam.

What more appropriate time to open the Iraq war version of the Winter Soldier hearings? These are hearings based on similar testimony offered by Vietnam vets in the 1970s. Once again we are treated to stories of atrocities that we assumed only the enemy would commit. The stories from Vietnam and the stories from Iraq sound eerily similar.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time.

The MSM are getting nailed for allegedly downplaying the current hearings*. Thankfully, (again with the warning: graphic descriptions) and Pacifica Radio are broadcasting the hearings. Here's a quick, unscientific attempt at verifying the claim that the media are downplaying the hearings. A quick search last night turned up these results:

-- Google news search for "winter soldier": brought up 162 stories; 65 without including duplicates, six stories are listed
-- Top Story is "Bush Maintains War Was Worth it." A search for Winter Soldier turns up one story that has already been removed. I could not even find a mention in the recent Countdown transcripts.
-- New York Times: The most recent article posted under the Iraq section of the website reads thus: "Estimates of the Iraq War Costs Were Not Close to Ballpark." Thanks for the update. No headlines that appear to talk about the hearings appeared in that section.
-- Well, the girl Spitzer "dated" was once featured in Girls Gone Wild. Over on the Iraq special section, the headline is Our Fearless Leader stating that the war must go on. A search for Winter Soldier is fruitless.
-- Fox"news".com: Take a really wild guess. No, I couldn't come up with anything.

Some examples of outlets carrying the Winter Soldiers story:
-- Slate Magazine
-- Boston Globe
-- Socialist Workers Online
-- Democracy Now! and other Pacifica Radio networks
-- Barre Montpelier Times Argus (Vermont)
-- Independent UK
-- Huffington Post

Regardless of what has happened, we are now stuck in a quagmire with no end in sight. At least there is little possibility that leaving now will result in a "good" situation. Staying in Iraq exacerbates a bad situation and continues to drain our treasury. Leaving entirely opens the door to all kinds of dangerous possibilities including: Balkanization of the country, invasion by Iran and possibly Turkey, the rise of a strong man worse than Saddam, and ethnic/religious cleansing.

The only viable solution seems to be a gradual troop draw-down, coupled with a significant and honest reconstruction program (what we should have been doing all along). Let the Iraqi leaders know that we stand ready to offer help, but we can't stay forever. The surge is over; it's time for a purge.

In any case, don't bet on the price of oil dropping any time soon. I have heard a rumor that
had nothing at all to do with securing a significant source of crude oil. Naturally, a chaotic state is not conducive environment for oil drilling. The result? Oil supplies drop at the same time that demand is rising. A first year economics student should be able to tell you what happens to the price of the commodity in that situation.

I have a simple two-part solution to avoid another preemptive war against a petro-state.: 1) get off of foreign oil and 2) don't elect leaders with significant ties to the oil industry and defense industry. That said, I have withheld an endorsement of a presidential candidate until now. I am voting for the one legitimate candidate who has opposed this war and questioned the accuracy of the intelligence since the very beginning. Not this guy (he wouldn't be so bad, though and I initially supported his quixotic campaign because he released the Pentagon Papers). I am supporting this gentleman.

To the families of the 4,000 dead to the many thousands more wounded, I say this. Thank you for your sacrifice. Some of us opposed this insanity from the very beginning and tried to stop the invasion. I'm sorry that we could not convince Our Fearless Leader and his lackeys to take the time to think this through rationally.

Considering the enormity of this tragedy of errors, it seems way too flippant to say it but, "We tried to tell you so."


*Oh, and speaking of stories getting lost in the MSM, what ever happened to this guy? I submit that if he had student loans in arrears, we would have had him in a week. Isn't it interesting that the man who masterminded 9/11 went from Public Enemy #1 to The Boogie Man that we don't discuss too often?


Mandy said...

Wonderful post, and wonderful blog!!

Coffee Messiah said... mean we aren't better off after all this time with an administration that hasn't been held accountable for "anything?"

; (

Chris said...

Surprisingly, no. It turns out that a lack of accountability tends to lead to poor decision making. *gasp*

Thanks for checking out the site.