Sunday, December 17, 2006

Iran The Model ... not

Iran held a midterm election recently. YAWN. The structure of Iran clearly shows that there are no free choices of candidates for the people to vote for. The grand ayatollah, supreme leader, has control of the military and the courts. A Guardian Council selects the candidates who the electorate may choose between. They know this dictatorship is the only way for them to remain in power. Similar efforts are underway in other countries throughout the world to put the mullahs in charge. It is not just a problem for these countries. It is a big problem for Israel and its biggest supporter the USA.

There is a strategy these mullahs have adopted from a menace of the past Adolph Hitler. The strategy is to brainwash through propaganda the citizenry to believe that all of their problems and misfortunes and hardships are because of the JOOOOOOOOOS. Makes it easier to keep control when people are angry and blame somebody else for all their problems.

An Iraqi blogger has a good appraisal of this situation. The money quote from his blog entry “if dictatorship remained in power, political Islam would've kept growing stronger but if I accept it as a transitional element in an inevitable stage and allow it to practice governance then performance will be the judge and the decision of the people through elections will then decide who deserves the next chance.”

One inconvenient truth that all of the antiwar folks ignore is that while Saddam was not into Islamic extremism when he took power in 1978 he most definitely was into it after we defeated him in 1991. After that he had the Iraq’s flag changed to include Islam inscription. I hope we can succeed in Iraq to secure the country from the radical extremists who want to build another theocratic dictatorship like Iran in Iraq.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Remembering our fallen

This week I read accounts about red-haired lady from California , a young man from central Ohio , and another young man from Illinois . Their lives were cut short when a roadside bomb exploded near the truck they were riding in in Ramadi, Iraq on Wednesday 12/13/06. I have the utmost sympathy and prayers for the families and friends of these soldiers. I also have the utmost gratitude and appreciation for their service and sacrifice to the USA.

I don't know what happens next with respect to course change in Iraq. I hope and pray that President Bush will stand up and fight against the defeatists. Please Mr. President, don't let the ultimate sacrifice of soldiers like these be in vain.

My words on this subject are not so great. Michael Marks has written a poem that says it best for me at this time.

A Soldier's Christmas
By Michael Marks

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight;
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight;
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
In perfect contentment or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear;
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near;
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold;
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line
That separates you from the darkest of times;
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

"My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram' always remembers;
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

"I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile;"
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue ... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone
Away from my family, my house and my home;
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

"I can carry the weight of killing another
Or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To insure for all time that this flag will not fall.

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

"For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Michael Marks
December 7th, 2000

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jay Garner talks to Darth Vader in Iraq

So it's early Monday Morning and I am trying to get enough coffee drank to wake me up. I've C-SPAN turned on a few minutes before the Washington Journal program begins, and Brian Lamb is interviewing former Iraq administrator Jay Garner. The transcript of this interview can be found here
I hear Brian ask Jay

LAMB: What’s the Darth Vader story?

My eyebrows are raised as I turn to listen to this. I am not sure if I just heard Brian speaking about our Vice President or what.

GARNER: Darth Vader?

Malcolm MacPherson, who you may or may not know, Malcolm writes for ”Time,” and he’s written several books. He was over there, and I asked him one day, I said, ”Hey, you want to go with me?” And he said, ”Sure.”

So, we went down to Al Hillah. And in Al Hillah, I had a team down there under a retired brigadier general named Buck Walters, a great guy.

And so, we were down there looking at things, and Buck says, ”Hey, Jay. Before you go back, I need to take you to talk to Darth Vader, because he wants to talk to you.”

And I said, ”Who’s that?” And he said, ”Well, he’s a pretty powerful player we got here. He runs things, and I need you to talk to him.” I said, ”OK.”

I said, ”Why do you call him Darth Vader?” He said, ”You’ll understand that when you see him.”

So, we go to the mosque and walk in, and the lesser clerics bring us, and they bring us in the room to sit down. And then Darth Vader comes in.

Now, this guy’s about the size of Shaquille O’Neal. I mean, he’s a huge man. He’s got his big, black turban on.

And he shakes my hand and just - a big old hand just wraps up around my hand. And he says, ”Please sit down.”

And so, I sat down, and he said, ”I’m glad you came to see me.” He said, ”Do you have any questions?” I said, ”Yes, sir, I do.”

I'm not going to put any more of the transcript out on this diary. I highly recommend that you read it for yourself. I am not going to call Jay a liar. Time magazine could call him out on it if he lied. What I really think though is that this Darth Vader said some of the best stuff that I have heard from anyone with respect to rebuilding Iraq. I wish that Jay had told President Bush about this meeting. The Darth Vader dude went off the deep end a little at the end. Still it is one awesome story.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Connecticutt Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

A Connecticutt Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Lately I have been thinking a lot about where US Presidents come from. I refer to both their birthplace and their political philosophy. I used Google and came up with this site. It revealed to me that President George W. Bush is the only US President who was born in Connecticutt.

There are some especially here at RS that prefer to associate President Bush with Texas. There is a wish, a strong desire I also have for this cowboy CINC to lead the way the Texans lead here . Unfortunately, this President does not have the breeding and genes of those Texans. I will accept that living in Texas for so many years maybe some of this spirit could have rubbed off onto President Bush.

Connecticutt reminds me of a wonderful Mark Twain novel . This satire while a work of fiction is very much a reminder of the real problems that humanity faces. The novel reminds me of the similarities between the good intentions. One section of analysis of Mark Twain’s work that especially seems apropos to President Bush is this”

“Training v. Nature: A theme central to all of Twain's satires is the question of the power of training against an inherent human nature. On most levels, Hank Morgan believes that training and influence determine the good or bad outcome of a society; his project of civilization is based on the belief that he can train the English people to think and thus, live differently. But he is at a loss to explain why, despite training, people revert to foolish and destructive practices.. Even after giving them a new world of technological and economic improvement, Hank finds that this is insufficient to keep them from abandoning his system for the Church's favor.”

If you replace Hank Morgan with President George W. Bush, and English with Iraqi I think you have described the current circumstance that we have in Iraq.

I searched some more with Google about historical rankings of US Presidents . The number 1 is Abraham Lincoln, the only President born in Kentucky. Therefore being the only one from any particular state can sometimes work out quite well for us. Nobody knows the future, but if the 2008 election is between Obama and McCain we will have elected either the first President from Hawaii, (Obama), or the first president born in the Panama Canal zone, (McCain). There is still 2 years to go, and hopefully some better choices for the US between now and then.