Thursday, November 30, 2006

Afghanistan is Lost

Afghanistan; you remember that place, don't you? It's where the 9/11 hijackers trained or received support. It's where al Qaeda - protected by the Taliban - was based, where BushCo. struck out with the support of the world and where they quickly lost interest as they turned to their long-lusted for invasion of Iraq.

It's long been on a slide back towards complete Taliban control. That long slide is mostly complete:

The gunmen came at night to drag Mohammed Halim away from his home, in front of his crying children and his wife begging for mercy.

The 46-year-old schoolteacher tried to reassure his family that he would return safely. But his life was over, he was part-disembowelled and then torn apart with his arms and legs tied to motorbikes, the remains put on display as a warning to others against defying Taliban orders to stop educating girls.
Afghanistan is lost.

Can Iraq be far behind?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Through the Woods and Over the River

Vacation is nearly over.

It's been warm and wonderful here in sunny Florida. I've had my share of turkey, I've had a great time with family, but now it's time to head back to the great white North.

Back to work. Back to the news - not that there's been all that much happening. Back to blogging!

I hope that all of you had a great Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Over the River and Through the Woods

I've almost forgotten what the word vacation really means. But this coming week I'm sure going to do my best to remember.

My wife and I are flying out of Rochester on Monday morning, headed for Florida. All of my family still lives there, on the mid-Gulf Coast, in the town of Bradenton. This Thanksgiving will be the first holiday of any sort I've spent with my family in over 6 years and I'm really looking forward to it.

The fact that there will be sunshine (which we haven't seen here in - I'm not making this up - over 7 days) and temperatures in the 70s and perhaps the 80s only makes it all the sweeter.

Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately - not only will I not have regular access to a computer, but I probably will not keep up with the news. I probably will not post until I return on the 29th.

So I'll take this chance to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. We have lots to be thankful for and we should take all the chances we have to celebrate those things and those people who make our lives happier.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Be Afraid

The rumors have flown for years, the deployment of two carrier groups to the area have fueled the speculation, but I think most people didn't really believe that BushCo. would attack Iran.

But the rumors have not died down. The carrier groups remain in the Persian Gulf.

In yesterday's post at Altercation, Eric Alterman linked to a series of articles by William R. Polk, an author who "was the member of the U.S. Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East from 1961 to 1965. Subsequently, he was professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and later president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs."

See the articles here, here and here.

Polk has laid out the background, current status and the ideas and ideology driving this idiocy. His arguments seem cogent and well informed and he certainly has the CV to back his claim to expertise.

What is most chilling is the final section of the third article where he describes the probable fallout of an attack on Iran. There are chilling echoes of the current debacle in Iraq with the potential for a much worse outcome.

Please read these articles, please talk about them, please write or call your members of congress to let them know how much this scares you.

Failure May Be the Only Option

I am not surprised that top military commanders do not want Democrats to impose a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. And honestly, I don't blame them. Right now, to them, withdrawal looks like failure on their part. It's too soon for withdrawal from the battlefield without a clear victory for these commanders, most of whom are Vietnam veterans.

Mostly it won't matter how often they will be told that they and their men fought honorably; and that it was the politicians who sent them on a fool's errand. I know how military people think - and they all want to complete the mission. They all want to win.

Unfortunately for them and unfortunately for the new Congressional leadership, there may be no way for us to win.

While American commanders have suggested that civil war is possible in Iraq, many leaders, experts and ordinary people in Baghdad and around the Middle East say it is already underway, and that the real worry ahead is that the conflict will destroy the flimsy Iraqi state and draw in surrounding countries.

Whether the U.S. military departs Iraq sooner or later, the United States will be hard-pressed to leave behind a country that does not threaten U.S. interests and regional peace, according to U.S. and Arab analysts and political observers.

"We're not talking about just a full-scale civil war. This would be a failed-state situation with fighting among various groups," growing into regional conflict, Joost Hiltermann, Middle East project director for the International Crisis Group, said by telephone from Amman, Jordan.
So not only have the neo-cons and their puppet President lied their way into a war, not only have they bungled the execution of that war, not only have they plundered the nation's treasury to the tune of $8 billion per month, not only... that list could go on and on. But not only have they done all of that, but they've put us into a no-win situation with the possibility that we could wind up being responsible for igniting a regional conflict that could kill millions and keep the region in a state of war for decades.

And when we wind up withdrawing at some point in the near future - and we will have to withdraw - our politicians will have burdened our military once more with the albatross of an unwinnable war and a peace with no honor.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm So Proud

If you're bemoaning the fact that we are no longer the shining beacon of democracy that we used to be, there always this...

U.S. top arms supplier to developing world

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who Said There Was No Plan for Post-Invasion Iraq?

Based on observations of the chaos that broke out after "Mission Accomplished," just about everyone who didn't have their heads in the sand.

Now we know for sure:

There is no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has visited Iraq more often than Gen. Mike Hagee, whose term as Commandant of the United States Marine Corps ends Monday.


Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of those cities. He wanted to know what the plan was for Phase IV — military terminology for the phase that follows the end of major combat operations. Phase IV is, in other words, what comes after "mission accomplished." Hagee says that he sent his questions up the chain of command, as they say in the military — and never heard back.
Never heard back.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps asked a question. And never heard back.




The Rehabilitation of Judith Miller

Maybe spending a little time in jail did her good.

Miller said many Americans don't understand how their access to information and the freedom of the press have been affected in the past few years.

"We are less free and less safe," she said, explaining that there is a "growing secrecy in the name of national security."
But then again, maybe not.

The blurring of entertainment and news and the relaxing of journalistic standards can be seen in online bloggers who are critical of people without giving them an opportunity to respond or who don't post corrections when they learn that what they have posted is wrong, she said.

"I'm worried about bloggers," she said. "(A post) starts as a rumor and within 24 hours it's repeated as fact."

While she advocates a federal shield law to protect mainstream journalists from divulging their sources, she doesn't favor extending that to bloggers who don't follow the standards and ethnics [sic] of the journalism industry.
Pot, meet Kettle.

I wonder if she's in favor or shield laws being extended to so-called journalists who don't follow the standards and ethics of the journalism industry?

Feeling Better

I've always found it amazing what the body's attempt to expel something foreign does to us. Not only can an infection knock us down for varying lengths of time, but the recovery process can be amazingly fast in most cases.

Anyway, I'm feeling better - although very tired - today. Thankfully I didn't have to go to my doctor.

But thinking about going to the doctor got me to thinking about our healthcare system and by coincidence today's news had a story about the "Big Three" automakers meeting with BushCo. today. High on the list of topics to be discussed under the general heading of competitiveness, is the cost of health insurance that the car manufacturers have to carry in the US that their competitors operating overseas do not. They claim that their portion of medical insurance coverage for employees adds about $1,000 to the cost of each vehicle.

This would be a great opportunity for Bush to do something that might add the slightest of luster to his shredded legacy. A Republican making a start towards a single payer system in the US would be an incredible way for Bush to help level the competitive landscape for all US manufacturers as well as to rid us of the stigma of having so many citizens with no access to health care.

But there's no way that will happen. Perhaps it was just my fevered mind playing tricks on me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Feeling Like Crap

I've come down with a wicked cold somehow.

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes; the whole works.

Stay back, I don't want to give this to anyone. Please go visit someone in my blogroll, hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow.


Saturday, November 11, 2006


It seems inconceivable to me that with soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan every day that Veterans Day - for most people - is still just an excuse to have a day off from school and, in rare instances, from work. The lessons of past wars seems to be lost on people today.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most considering that nobody in my circle of friends has ever served in the military and very few of their parents did either.
Much like our illustrious Vice President, they had other priorities.

Young men and women are struggling to recover from the most horrific of injuries incurred in what will probably prove to be this generation's Vietnam and all around me today and yesterday were signs touting "Veteran's Day Sales" and people who were mindlessly taking advantage of some early November warm weather and a day off. Everywhere I went the atmosphere was more holiday than memorial.

I stopped by an American Legion Post this afternoon - a final stop for a funeral for a friend's mother whose husband had been a member. Other than family and friends, there were few members in sight and I wondered what they must think of the situation we find ourselves in.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

But I remember what it's like to miss holidays and birthdays and my daughter's first steps while far away. I remember what it's like to mourn the loss of brothers-in-arms when something goes awry in peace or war. I remember what it's like to ring the doorbell of a fellow soldier's wife so that I could tell her that her husband wouldn't be coming home any more.

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

But this year there is some hope as well. Hope that wasn't there last year when it seemed that "stay the course" would be the epitaph of our military and perhaps of our country. It remains as true today as it was on Monday before the elections that there is no good or easy way out of the quagmire we've created for ourselves in Iraq.

But it is true now that at least the adults have started taking control of things in Washington. Perhaps next November, while there will certainly be more Veterans that there was today and more dead and wounded as well, perhaps there will not be that dread that more will be joining the ghosts of the past that were all around us today.

But maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A New World?

Somehow, on our (almost) nightly walk tonight, the air seemed fresher and cleaner; the stars shone brighter, even through the clouds, the coyotes - howling in the valley - sounded freer.

It's Now Official - Both Houses Taken

Details here on George "Macaca" Allen conceding the race in Virginia.

Congratulations to Jim Webb!

Blogger's been up and down all day. Which is okay, I'm taking a break today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Both Houses

This has been a total BushCo. smackdown.

Rumsfeld GONE!

Breaking on MSNBC.

Ex-head of CIA Robert Gates nominated as replacement.

Democracy Spread at the Point of a... Blog?

While I certainly can't claim to be anything other than a bit player in the blogosphere, it is certainly good to see that all of our efforts, combined, and especially those of the big bloggers whom the rest of us orbit is having a national impact. The 2004 Presidential race was probably too early in the evolution of the "big blog" for there to be a truly national effect, but it seems that this off-year election was perfectly timed to be the first.

What better subject for bloggers and their web of contacts and readers than voting problems?

Here's the NYT on the subject this morning:

Blogs of all political stripes spent most of yesterday detailing reports of voting machine malfunctions and ballot shortages, effectively becoming an online national clearinghouse of the polling problems that still face the election system.

And in a new twist this year, many bloggers buttressed their accounts of electoral shenanigans with links to videos posted on the video Web site YouTube.
And a final feel-good report on the bloggers themselves should make us all feel a little bit better about ourselves, while once again showing the shallowness of the MSM:

Constantine Stavropoulos, the owner of the cafe, said he had closed its doors for the “blog party,” which the network [CNN] periodically broadcast and streamed online. He said he expected the bloggers — an attractive bunch, he said — to linger long after the votes were in.

“Bloggers look a lot better than I thought they would,” Mr. Stavropoulos said.

Bush Talks to Democrats - Through Iraq

If you've wondered how BushCo. would react to the change in Republican fortunes in Congress, you'll have to go to Iraq to get an answer. Before the last votes have been counted, this misadministration has sent this message to Iraqis:

The United States ambassador sought on Wednesday to reassure Iraqis that U.S. policy would not dramatically alter after Democrats seized control of the U.S. House of Representatives in midterm elections.
Not all Iraqis are on board, though.

"I hope this will change the Bush policy in the Islamic world and especially in Iraq," said 48-year-old engineer Suheil Jabar, a Shiite Muslim. "We hope American foreign policy will change and that living conditions in Iraq will improve."
As everyone said last night, and as I wrote in my last post: "now comes the hard part."

A New Day

The House changed hands in a big way with Dems picking up seats at the high end of projections (33 so far). The Senate remains to be called with two races still too close to call (Virginia and Montana). But there's no doubt that things went our way last night.

Now comes the hard part.

But it feels good!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Early Results

So far (10:10 pm), so good.

Keep your fingers crossed, and if you're on the West Coast and haven't voted yet, get out there and VOTE!

I agree with Chris Matthews (something that happens so seldom) that one of the first thing Democrats need to do should this continue to develop so well is to make a clear, unambiguous statement of their plans for the war in Iraq.

Tomorrow we may wake up to a new country, but just because we've supported the Democrats throughout these past several, horrible years doesn't mean we won't hold them to account with as much fervor as we've shown the Republicans

We're still watching.

Can We Get U.N. Election Observers?

Some of the early reports of "irregularities" leave me feeling like I live in some third-world country that can't even hold an election without handholding from the outside world.

In the Washington, D.C., area, NBC affiliate News4 reported on its Web site that it had received e-mail from a viewer in Virginia who said he received a phone call from so-called volunteers threatening voters with arrest if they cast ballots.


Meanwhile, programming errors and inexperience with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts early Tuesday, delaying voters in Indiana and Ohio and leaving some in Florida with little choice but use paper ballots instead.
The FBI is already involved in Virginia, some news outlets are claiming that there will be close races that might not be able to be fully tabulated until Wednesday.

Only Republicans gain by suppressing the number of voters. Only Republicans.

Are we on democracy rations? Did we export it all to Iraq? They were able to vote there with nothing more than paper and pencil and a bottle of ink. What the hell have we become?

Vote for change.

Olbermann in 2008?

I'm not sure what's worse; that I would consider voting for an ex-sportscaster or that an ex-sportscaster has a better grip on history and our constitution and our place in the world than our President. Or, in fact, than many of the people currently being considered for that post. Certainly he speaks better than just about any politician I've heard over the past six years, save perhaps Bill Clinton.

Check out Keith Olbermann's pean to checks and balances here.

And Now We Wait...

I voted this morning in what the Republicans are calling "The Killing Fields" or " The Blowout Belt." The little town I live in - in fact the whole county - is heavily Republican. Lots of farmers and older folks; the median income is somewhere in the $48K range... It's definitely one of the areas where the people vote against their better financial interests by voting Republican.

There were five or six people already at the polling place, inside an old brick elementary school. The poll workers were very nice and helpful, but all of them were women and all of them were well past retirement age. Everything went smoothly and there were no problems. I doubt I will get called to witness any problems at the polls around here. I hope that the rest of the country can vote so easily today.

Hopefully the "Blowout Belt" name is accurate.


I'm off to vote this morning. In the sleepy little New York town I live and vote in there's not likely to be anything untoward going on at the polls. In fact, this early in the morning, there's not likely to be much going on at all. But I know that that won't be true for everyone this morning.

Yesterday I was able to talk one coworker into voting today - and she will most likely vote Democratic. Have you gotten anyone to vote who might not otherwise have done so?

Monday, November 06, 2006


It's nearly impossible to find instances of Democratic efforts to suppress voter turnout. It's almost universally agreed that the more people who vote, the more Democrats benefit. It's also why it's almost always Republicans who are responsible for all the challenging and intimidation of voters and why they are nearly always behind schemes like recent illegal robocalling.

There are lots of states where this is happening and several states where attorneys general or other legal and/or election officials have shut them down as illegal. This is a growing scandal and it's time to call in the FBI.

Get all the details at AmericaBlog.

Had enough?


And Should Mehlman be Right?

All of you parents with kids in the Reserves or that are old enough to be drafted, you'll have more of this to look forward to:

The Army's National Guard and Reserve are bracing for possible new and accelerated call-ups, spurred by high demand for U.S. troops in Iraq, that leaders caution could undermine the citizen-soldier force as it struggles to rebuild.

Two Army National Guard combat brigades with about 7,000 troops have been identified recently in classified rotational plans for possible special deployment to Iraq, according to senior Army and Pentagon officials, who asked that the specific units not be named. One brigade could be diverted to Iraq next year from another assignment, and the other could be sent there in 2008, a year ahead of schedule.
You've been warned.

Had enough?


A Pipe Dream

What's Ken Mehlman been smoking? Sure the polls have been showing a somewhat shrinking gap between Democrats and Republican, but, as George Stephanopoulis said this evening on ABC news, the Republicans had a smaller generic lead in 1994 when they swept into power with 51 seats.

In a memo released to the media, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman touts "major gains" by the GOP, and points to signs of a "minimal change in the balance of Congress," RAW STORY has learned.
Now if the system is strong enough to withstand continued voter suppression by Republicans, we'll see what voter disgust really looks like!

Worst Case Scenario

I have two questions for anyone stopping by over the next couple of days:

1. What will happen, in general, should there be widespread attempts at voter suppression, last minute roll purges and/or outright fraud at polling places? Will there be protests and demonstrations, maybe violence? Or will voters revert to sheeple and meekly accept it all?

2. What will you do, specifically, should you be witness to any of the above at your polling place?
Leave your thoughts in the comments, talk about it, get others to think about it.

Most importantly, don't forget:


I Wonder If He'll Vote?

Dick Cheney's going hunting again. This time on election day. I assume he'll have already voted. But given all the glitches in e-voting and the rampant voter intimidation by the GOP and the annoying robocalling by Republican campaigns, maybe he feels he doesn't have to.

This time he's taking his daughter, Mary. I wonder if she's bringing her body armor...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Nobody Could Have Predicted...

Well, actually they could. And did.

The U.S. government conducted a series of secret war games in 1999 that anticipated an invasion of Iraq would requ 400,000 troops, and even then chaos might ensue.
But of course the MSM released this story on a Sunday and it likely won't survive the news cycle into the week especially not with Sadaam's verdict and the election taking all the oxygen out of the system.

“The conventional wisdom is the U.S. mistake in Iraq was not enough troops,” said Thomas Blanton, the archive’s director. “But the Desert Crossing war game in 1999 suggests we would have ended up with a failed state even with 400,000 troops on the ground.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Why Don't the Troops Support the Troops?

I was in the Army for 14 years, including four years at West Point. During that time, as far as I could see, everybody, from the generals down to the privates, active duty, reserve and family members read The Army Times. I'm sure it was and is the same in the other four services with their respective "Times" papers. The editors and writers are very much "in the know" about what goes on in the services. In many cases they are ex-soldiers.

In short, it's pretty much impossible to get more "Support the Troops" than these papers.

That's why this is so devastating:

Just days after President Bush publicly affirmed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's job security through the end of his term, a family of publications catering to the military will publish an editorial calling for the defense secretary's removal.
That this editorial will be published just the day before the mid-term elections is particularly damning. This timing cannot be accidental. This is just a step (or two) shy of a revolt of the generals. I do not believe that I'm overstating the gravity of this.

AmericaBlog has the entire text here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Republican Party Imploding

I can't keep up with all the scandals, missteps and crimes. But John and friends over at AmericaBlog can.

The latest? How about the RNC taking money from gay porn producers? The party where homophobia is de rigeur even if only hypocritically.

There's also the most important evangelical preacher in the country, Ted Haggard, going down in flames over his at least three year liaison with a male prostitute and use of crystal meth.

There's more Mark Foley madness.

How about Repugs closing down the only office actually doing real oversight in Iraq?

Oh, and at the urging of the Republican leadership, there were documents laying out how to make an atomic weapon put on the internet. And they were there for a long time. Until the New York Times called them on it.

There's more. Lots more.

Sweet Schadenfreude!

Had enough?


Bush Jong Il? George W. Kim?

We should be so proud...

The United States is seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbors and allies, with Britons saying President Bush poses a greater danger than North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, a survey found Friday.

Comedy Break

Funniest thing I've heard in a long, long time:

Tom DeLay, the former Republican congressman from Texas and House majority leader who resigned in June under an ethical cloud, came to Long Island yesterday to promote his vision of "moral clarity" that he said should guide Americans' discussion about how to best combat terrorism.
DeLay and "moral clarity" in the same sentence? Now that's funny!

What Bush's "Democracy" Looks Like

Not that Republicans care what the rest of the world thinks of us, but... you've got to be fucking kidding me:

A military dog handler convicted for his role in the prisoner abuse scandal has been ordered back to help train the country's police.
Do we need further proof that the idiots in charge of this misadventure in Iraq should be drug from their offices in shackles and sent before the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague?

So Nine Republicans Walk Into a Bar, Part II

How low have Republicans sunk in their dirty, no holds barred street fight to keep control of Congress? So low that some Republicans - the ones with a shred of decency left - are starting to leave the party. Yesterday it was the story of nine former Republicans running as democrats. Today we get more fallout from the Allen - Webb race in Virginia.

The headline:

Frank Schaeffer: I Should be Supporting Allen. Instead, I'm Leaving the Party
Frank Schaeffer is a relatively well-known writer and evangelical with close family ties with the Bush Family. His father, a minister, often visited with the Bushes at home and at the White House.

The bottom line:

My wife and I have reached the tipping point. We plan to go to town hall to dump our Republican voter registration and reregister as independents. I don't care anymore what party someone is in. These days, what I care about is what they're made of.
Maybe, just maybe there is hope for next Tuesday.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

That's Gonna Leave a Mark!

How do you think this will play with all the parents out there with kids not quite old enough to join the military or be drafted who might have thought their little darlings might not have to fight?

Had enough?


So Nine Republicans Walk Into a Bar...

Seeing Republicans branded as Democrats is old hat if you can stand to watch FOX News; they have a nasty habit of showing Republicans in trouble with a 'D' after their name rather than the correct 'R.'

But this is something new:

But this year President George W. Bush, the country's leading Republican, is making a last-minute campaign stop in Kansas, where at least nine candidates running on the November 7 ballot are Republicans-turned-Democrats. They include a veteran county prosecutor seeking to unseat the Republican attorney general and a former state Republican Party chairman running as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
That 'R' after their name has become radioactive.

A Burr Under Bush's Saddle

Seymour Hersh continues to show what a real journalist looks like. He can speak truth to power like nobody else.

"The bad news," investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told a Montreal audience last Wednesday, "is that there are 816 days left in the reign of King George II of America." The good news? "When we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be one less day."
The list of our government's malfeasance that he has exposed is a growing list of shame, but also a glowing beacon of the power of a free press.

Since his 1969 expose of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, which is widely believed to have helped turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War, he has broken news about the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia, covert C.I.A. attempts to overthrow Chilean president Salvador Allende, and, more recently, the first details about American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
His next expose?

"...there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq."
Sooner would be better, Seymour.

The Buck Stops...

With someone else if you're a Republican.

Somehow it's James Webb's fault that two of George Allen's thugs beat up on a man trying to ask Allen a question.

Somehow you can vote in other than your own district - a felony - and just not cooperate with the police if you're Ann Coulter.

Somehow - at least according to the Commander-in-Chief's House Majority Leader - it's the generals' fault that BushCo.'s war is a quagmire.

Somehow it's never your fault. If you're a Republican.

Had enough?


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Drip, Drip, Drip

The truth, slowed every step of the way by BushCo., is slowly making itself known about so many different aspects of their misadministration, most especially the quagmire in Iraq. A few - too few - journalists are actually doing their jobs to get the truth out. Take this very sad story about how decisions about how we treat prisoners can affect our own soldiers:

The true stories of how American troops, killed in Iraq, actually died keep spilling out this week. On Tuesday, we explored the case of Kenny Stanton, Jr., murdered last month by our allies, the Iraqi police, though the military didn’t make that known at the time. Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.

She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Az., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”
Note below a journalist actually doing the hard work of tracking down facts and not just repeating the latest talking points:

But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston decided to probe deeper and filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the government. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Here’s what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston now works, reported yesterday:

“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed….”
We could use more reporters willing to do the hard work to get real answers.

The bigger issue remains BushCo. working desperately to hide the real results of their war based on lies. To keep up a lie you have to tell more lies; eventually you forget what lies you told to whom. Eventually lies come back around to bite you on the ass. This administration deserves every bite on the ass it's getting.


The Republicans and their lapdogs in the media have spun up a mighty storm over John Kerry's remarks yesterday. They are in full outrage mode; I thought Rush Limbaugh was going to have a goddamn heart attack - he was jumping around, waving his arms; you'd have thought he was purposefully off his meds.

But here's what really ought to inspire outrage; in all of us: Both constructions of Kerry's remarks, what he meant to say and what it sounded like he said, are true.

Bush did just scrape by in school, getting an undergraduate degree only by the skin of his teeth and a few well placed donations to his Alma Mater by his well-heeled family. His lack of curiosity and lack of mental discipline really was a key element in our country being in the quagmire that is Iraq.

And, unfortunately, it always has been true - and still is - that the soldiers who fight our wars are, for the most part, the poor and under-educated. The rich have always been able to find a way to buy their way out of battle, from the Revolution right through to today. Those who've done well in school and gone on to university have either been able to get deferals or have been able to make their way into the Guard or Reserve as commissioned officers. Those who have wound up on the front lines, fighting the battles chosen by or committed to by the rich and powerful have always been those with fewer opportunities.

Those are the real issues that ought to inspire outrage. But the mighty Wurlitzer has been once more pulled from the closet and it's wheezing and grinding out that same old cloud of noise and distraction. Hopefully, the rest of our fellow citizens have had enough distraction. Hopefully they have learned to see through the noise and to the heart of the real issues.