Tuesday, March 13, 2007








Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Strange World

The photo below is from November, 1970. It was taken in a Hootch in Dong Ha Combat Base in Vietnam. The three people in the picture, from the left, are CPT Gary Rumberg, CPT Doug Wheeler, and me. We were all graduates of the Marshall University ROTC program, the same year and were all three stationed together in Dong Ha, and all physically together when we heard the news about the Marshall plane crash.

Captains Three Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Boiling Blood Pressure

I 've REALLY got to be more careful about what books I buy. My blood pressure is normally pretty good, but some of the books I read, get my blood boiling and who knows what that does to the old BP!

The latest one is "Armed Madhouse" by Greg Palast, a winner of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism award for his BBC investigations. Palast is also the author of a NY Times Bestseller: "The Best Democrasy Money Can Buy." What I find interesting about his writing is that, as a non-citizen of the U.S., he has no personal stake in the issues facing us politically. In fact, he notes that in the 2004 election, "I don't care which rich, white kid won the election."

But, unlike many Americans of both political stripes, Palast doesn't just spout opinions. He documents what he says and prints the documentation along side of his stories.

Palast notes that in early 2001, a member of the transition team (a former Reagan defense offical) said his only real problem with Bill Clinton was his obsession with Osama bin Laden. He quotes and provides documents that CIA and FBI and DIA were all told to back off of the investigations of bin Laden and al Quaeda for fear of offending the Saudi's. None of this is saying the 9/11 could have been prevented, but for God's sake, we'll never know what might have happened if the investigations had proceeded.

Osama's Mission Accomplished

And his comments about what drives bin Laden are equally damning. To quote from the book: "On Thursday, May 1, 2003, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.... the scene was so exiting that the media had failed to notice that the War on Terror had ended on the previous Tuesday.

"On that day, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld quietly acknowledged that he was withdrawing America's armed forces from Saudi Arabia."


Palast says the "two holy places" are Mecca and Medina, and their "land" is Saudia Arabia.

"Bin Laden issued his demand on August 23, 1996; and on April 29, 2003, the Tuesday before the President was chauffered by fighter jet onto the deck of the Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Bush gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted: U.S. troops sent packing from the Land of the Holy Places."

Why has the U.S. not been attacked again? Maybe it isnt because of the bloated Department of Homeland Security. Maybe it is simply that al Quaeda's mission has been accomplished without fanfare.

There is more to this story.... much more.... and I'm not going to sit here and copy the whole book. It is well written; it is well documented; and it points the finger of justice directly at the current Administration. I'm only a little way into the book. Later chapters deal with the 2004 election ("Kerry won, get over it!") and plan to steal the 2008 election. It is all in detail and it is all documented.

It is well worth the money ($25.95 at Border's), if you do'n't have serious medical problems which might be aggravated by the elevation of your heart rate and blood pressure.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

America's Dirty Little Secret

We like to think of ourselves as one of the most prominant democrasies on earth. Our President has made it his personal mission to spread our style of democracy around the world, beginning with Iraq. And yet, a bad taste remains in our mouth following the 2000 and 2004 elections. Not only conspiracy theorists, but many normal average Americans, have the vague notion that these elections for President were somehow "stolen."

Those on the winning side, unable to "walk a mile in the other man's shoes and trying to understand why we feel this way, tell us "Bush won. Get over it." They of course ignore that they wouldn't have gotten over it if the results had been exactly opposite.

But we now have proof that none of us elected the President. He was elected by a category of voter called "uncounted." In a report by the U.S. Census Bureau issued seven months after the 2004 election, a footnote, buried in the report, notes that more than three million votes were not counted in the election. They were reported as spoiled.... over voting, under voting, illegible... shades of Florida in 2000.

The "spoiled" ballots in Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico and Arizona alone would have given Kerry the victory.

Now, please understand, I don't think there is a nickel's worth of difference between the two parties. I doubt there would be that much difference in the way things are going, given the Republican stranglehold on the Congress. Its just the principle of the thing, damn it.

We preach democrasy to the world as if it were a religion. We started a war in Iraq, theoretically, to spread it. (That's certainly the only excuse left to the President... all his other reasons have been proven false.) And, yet, we can't keep it straight in our own country.

Our policy makers don't seem to understand that our system of government works only so long as the people believe in it. Take away their faith in the way it works and you've got the makings of a revolution. There are already rumors of plots afoot to steal the 2008 election. Should it be another close election with disputed results, I fear for my country.

Meanwhile, the American people go forward, as always, blissfully ignorant of the facts that their birthright is being denied them. And that is America's Dirty Little Secret.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pardon me.......

The purpose of the American Legion is to foster patriotism and to work to ensure that veterans recieve all the benefits to which they are entitled. It has other purposes, too, but those two will do for a start.

I just received my latest copy of American Legion Magazine.... pardon me, while I throw up.

I'm almost 60. I have lived thru the Korean War (although I only vaguely remember it) and fought in Vietnam. I have clear memories of our other conflicts in between and since. I remember well how divided my country was during Vietnam and I remember how the public confused the soldier with the war. I remember our troops coming home and being spat upon. I will work hard to insure that doesn't happen again.

But, the American Legion is once again confusing patriotism with blind faith in a President. That blind faith is what got us into trouble in Vietnam and its happening again. The "America, love it or leave it!" B.S. is coming thru, again, loud and clear. The Legion Commanders seem determined to make those of us who oppose what is happening, who believe we are better than we are behaving at Gitmo, who belive that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home before more of them die is a senseless conflict... into anti-patriotic, leftist, anti-American, Communist dupes.

I read the Legion magazine and find only opinions which support President Bush's position. It blindly supports what he says, even in the face of evidence that he is wrong. It is following the party line that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and that Iraq had WMDs... even in the face of convincing evidence that both are untrue. And it is trying hard to marginalize those of us who, having fought for our country, believe that, this time, we're wrong.

Blindly following what the President of the United States tells us is not an example of patriotism. It is, at best, Jingoism. I belong to both the American Legion and the VFW. But I have tired of picking up the Legion's magazine and seeing how it ignores both reality and the fact that many of its members are not in support of this war. I am astounded that it can ignore how public sentiment, including that of Vietnam War heroes, in support of a President who, at best, was mislead by CIA, or, at worse, deliberately lied to the American public.

Does anyone really think the American people would have supported a war in Iraq with the sole purpose of "regime change?" Of course they wouldn't have. Some other excuse had to be made and, in this case, it was that Iraq posed a clear and present danger to our security. Now, in the face of evidence that both Iran and North Korea do pose a clear and present danger, it is going to be extremely difficult to convince the American people of a need to fight them. Real dangers are going to go unfought.. because we were lied to. And the American Legion needs to take note of that fact.

They do no one any favors by marginalizing those of their members who oppose the war in Iraq. They only make certain that more American servicemen and women will die to no purpose. And that, my friends, is sickening. I am making it a point to round file American Legion Magazine until this war is over. I don't need their help in throwing up.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Speaking out.

Many of you reading this know that I've been down with a broken hip since January and haven't been much in the mood to sit at a computer. That explains two things: the length of time since I've posted and the length of this post.

Speaking out.

There has been something of a furor, recently, about five retired flag officers (generals or admirals) of the U.S. Military speaking out about the planning of the Iraq War and the arrogance and swagger evinced by SecDef Donald Rumsfeld. (For whatever it is worth, Rummy served in the U.S. Navy (one of the few officials in the White House group that ever bothered to put on a uniform for real. Still, it is my opinion that, as a military officer, I wouldn't have wanted to serve under him and don't believe he could find his ass with both hands and a map.) reaching the rank of Captain.

Former Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, the right-wing advocate of Iran-Contra under the Reagan administration, who apparently sees nothing wrong with his speaking out, is particularly incensed and seems to feel that these officers speaking out is somehow treasonous and, at the very least, a cabal of senior military officials determined to bring down the administration and destroying all that is right and good.

Let us leave aside, for now, the fact that U.S. Military officers, especially senior ones, tend to be conservative by nature and every one of them I ever met was a dyed in the wool Republican.

If these officers speaking out were currently on active duty, I might be somewhat concerned, as some seem to be now, about the concept of civilian control of the military. Active duty military personnel may bitch to one another about how things are being done.... but they seldom go public with those concerns. On the other hand, these officers have served this country for 20 - 30 years, putting their own lives on the line for much of that time, unlike our current President or most of his staff.

Frankly, I am hard pressed to think of anyone who has more right to speak up about the policies which led us into an unjustified war in an unprepared, arrogant manner, than these men. They certainly know more about what happened than most of us on the outside lookiing in, including LTC North. And they have certainly earned their right to speak out. That's more than can be said for most of those who are incensed by their doing so. I'd though that North would understand that..... and I suspect that if these same men had come out supporting Bush, North would have had nothing but praise.

As usual, in politics, it is a matter of whose ox is being gored.

If any veterans are reading this, I urge you, no matter what stand you take on the war, to use your rights.

SPEAK OUT! Now while you still can.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Law

They call it "The Law of Unintended Consequences." By which they mean that any action you take may have unforseen results.

And the United States is seeing its fair share right now in the Middle East.

Iran and Iraq were, for many years, deadly enemies. They held the balance of power in the Middle East, with Iraq's minority Sunni Muslims holding power there and the Shitte Muslims holding power in Iran. And so long as that balance obtained, it is unlikely that we would be facing either an Iraq or an Iran with Weapons of Mass Destruction (no matter what GWB thought).

Iran would have been terrified of Saddam having nuclear weapons for fear he would use them on Iran. Iraq (read Saddam) would never have tolerated a nuclear armed Iran.

But now, we've taken Iraq and Saddam out of the picture. Iraq will not be capable of defending itself against an outside attack for years..... and maybe never if a civil war breaks out as seems likely.

But you only have to look back a few years to what George W. Bush and his crew of Merry Men had to say before we took Saddam down to understand that they never considered that law of unintended consquences. Iran now looks to become a nuclear power and we lack the military strength to do anything much about it.

There is a song, I don't recall the author, that describes the current situation perfectly:

Serpent's Song

There's a price for too much arrogance;
A price for too much greed;
And in complacent ignorance;
You've sewed the whirlwind's seed.