Monday, March 25, 2013

The Republicans reveal their new plan

This is an open letter to George W. Bush. It is written by an Iraq veteran who is terminally ill as a result of his service and sacrifice for Mr. Bush. I post it on my blog to honor this veteran---and because no one...and I do mean no one--- has said it better!!  Bill Sanders

 I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

 And as a soldier in Iraq I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbageback at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens.
 I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion.
I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013

It is hard to hear over the sounds of gunshots!

         On the matter of gun control:
         First, for the sake of argument, let us concede the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling-- that overturned  a hundred years of precedent and runs counter to the opinion of most Constitutional scholars-- and set aside that debate!

        There are some flat-out realities that should find traction outside the looney-tune world of the NRA, its “John Wayne” followers and firearms manufacturers.

      Reality one: There is no threat to our second amendment rights, period!  And there never has been.  Any “law abiding” citizen can become a gun owner.

      Reality two: President Barack Obama does not have an agenda to confiscate guns from “law abiding” citizens.

       Reality three: America is the greatest democracy on earth and the idea of a tyrannical government coming to power is absurd!

       Subscribing to the flip side of those realities is an exercise in paranoid delusions and should have no standing in a serious discussion about the sea of weapons that have flooded our nation and facilitates the epidemic of killing within our shores

       The essential point is that we as a nation should hold ourselves accountable with safeguards if we are to own machines that are designed for the sole purpose of killing. We concede necessary safeguards as the price for the privilege of owning other machines and technology of our times---automobiles, motorcycles, airplanes, boats, computers, cell phones, drugs, pesticides and credit cards---to mention a few.

      When the founding fathers crafted the “right to bear arms”, I doubt that they could conceive of the firearms power and technology of today---anymore than they could have foreseen automobiles capable of 100 mile-an-hour speeds over trails of concrete that reach across the nation.

      Why should it be easier to buy a killing machine than it is to buy a cough medicine with codeine?

      At the very least, owing a gun should meet the same requirements as owning an automobile. There should be a minimum age. It should require a license and registration. The buyer should be required to pass a written on the use, safety and laws governing the weapon. The buyer should be required to demonstrate the ability to appropriately use the weapon.

     The argument that such laws will not prevent any given deranged individual or criminal action---is a non-sequitur. However, strictly enforced national gun control laws and accountability would most certainly put a dent in the extemporaneous behavior that costs thousands and live every month in this country.

       Anyone privately selling a gun should require the same paperwork as selling a car and universal national background checks should be a no-brainer!

        Apparently, it is hard to hear over the sounds of gunshots!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, January 01, 2013