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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Absolutely Nothing

 

This post has been removed.

It has removed because a number of commercial news sites and radio shows stole my intellectual property without bothering to ask for permission or offering compensation. These thieving sons of bitches took my material and used it to attract readers and viewers which in turn makes them money, none of which was offered to me.

Here I write for myself and I don’t mind you reading it for free, here on Stonekettle Station. But I will be goddamned if I’ll allow people to take my stuff without permission and go make money on it without giving me a piece of it.  When I said something to this effect on social media, I began receiving messages from readers who were offended and seem to think I owe it to the world to give my material away for free to whomever wants it and however they want to use it - and that I’m somehow a whore for expecting payment.  Tell you what, you’re welcome to write your own goddamned stuff.

If you want to read the article, well, folks, it’s been posted all over the internet, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding a copy. 

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There’s a follow up post, Thieving Bastards, which describes why this event bothers me so much and exactly what it takes to write what I write.

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You may read an authorized copy of Absolutely Nothing here.

Or

You may read an authorized copy of Absolutely Nothing here.

Or

You may read an authorized copy of Absolutely Nothing here.

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Stonekettle Station will be off-line until further notice.

434 comments:

  1. Thank you Jim. I just can't watch those idiots. I got into a lot of arguments about the first time in Iraq, and new it would not last, GWB bankrupted tis country for that war and paid for it behind the lines. I lived in Ft. Hood 2005-2010 and cried when I would see how they came back from battle and the ones that were leaving. I lived thru Vietnam with my family, God forgive me, I never wanted to see another like it. My heart goes out to you and your family for what those assholes have put you through. (((hugs)))

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  2. Thank you, Jim.

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  3. Damn, Jim.
    Amen.
    I don't know what else to say.

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  4. Yes. Thanks, Jim. Really nailed it to the wall.

    BTW, "motley" instead of "motely"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's hardly appropriate to play grammar police on an article of this caliber, don't you think?

      Delete
    2. Actually, here on Stonekettle Station, I'm perfectly happy to have free proof-reading, regular readers help out all of the time. My stuff is "this caliber" in part because my readers help correct the mistakes, and I appreciate the hell out of it. // Jim

      Delete
    3. Stuart in CincinnatiJune 14, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Remember, Jim is working without the help of an editor, it is easy to see what you meant to type when you copyedit your own writing. His long time readers consider it a sacred duty and honor to find the occasional typo, and since we are also forwarding, linking, and sharing his work, we want it as close to perfect as it can be.
      I have never seen the correction delivered in a meanspirited way, and it is always received graciously.

      Delete
    4. South Jersey DocJune 14, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      Thank you Jim and Stuart.

      Delete
    5. another editing error: Maybe they should have had Colin Powell tell that wopper to the UN, but he’d quit by then and was suddenly as invisible to America as those flag draped metal boxes arriving at Dover Air Force base in the middle of the night.

      Urban dictionary says that wopper is defined as "a burger made out of italians".

      Meriam Webster online lists "whopper" as:
      1: something unusually large or otherwise extreme of its kind
      2: an extravagant or monstrous lie

      while it also indicates "wopper" is not in the dictionary on the online site.

      cheers!

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    6. Excellent work.

      One more typo: " Is it it to make defense contractors rich?" <-- repeated "it"

      Delete
    7. Anyone who wants to know what Iraq was really about, just research what we did to Iraq's largely heirloom farms, and what Monsanto did when they came rushing in. Find out for yourself why we bombed the hell out of crops and farms.

      Delete
  5. when Iraqi began tearing itself apart - Iraq, not Iraqi
    old motely cast - motley
    you lead the charge this. - this time, perhaps?

    Thank you for asking the questions at the forefront of my mind since this started up again.

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    Replies
    1. I'm hearing the same stupid arguments from people who never had to serve that I heard when we still had the draft. "We owe it to the ones we've lost." Like that's going to bring them back.

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  6. "If he gets himself shot down and taken prisoner again, well, you know what? Fuck him, leave him to the enemy because frankly his hate and bile and raging insanity have done more damage to this country than Bowe Bergdahl ever did."

    A-fucking-men.

    Beth in London

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  7. Amen.

    Proofreader's note: Several paragraphs above "Here's my question"

    "The same old motely cast of characters . . ." s/b "motley"

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  8. Yes, absolutely, yes. I don't pretend to know nearly as much, but the bits I did know all agree with you.

    And speaking as a proofreading nitpicker, near the top, a couple of small words seem to have gone missing. I can't figure out how to italicize, or underline them, so I'll capitalize only to show where they are. And then you're welcome to delete this comment if you like.

    "First, I’m going TO need somebody to explain to me exactly what it was that we were fighting for.

    What was it? What is IT that we gained, according to Mitt Romney?"

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  9. Exactly right. Most in a conservative area refuse to listen to someone who believes this war was fought based on lies. When I tell them I've had 20 years of service the question is: How can you possibly be a liberal? No sense in telling them that I consider myself a person who votes for the right reasons and not the party.

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  10. Very, very, very, VERY well said!

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  11. Exactly right Jim. Thanks for the insight. Always good reading.

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  12. You've got a big piece of it, Jim, but I think there's a piece you're missing. Or at least didn't mention, possibly because it is so obvious to you that it becomes part of the background -- the water in which the fish swims.

    That thing Mittens says we're "on the cusp of losing?" That thing they won in the Iraqi war? It's a thing, all right, and it's quite real, although they never dare to speak its name. That thing is *control*. The ability to control other nations; their governments and their people, at the point of a gun. The gun has to be held by people like you, of course... they wouldn't get their hands dirty with it. But *they* have to be the ones in control.

    These are people who began their careers in the Cold War, when we had control over half the world. They watched as, without the threat of the USSR to hold it together, our little satellite countries drifted off and began making their own choices. Hell, right now we can barely even make the United Kingdom do our bidding on the subject of copyright violations. We don't have CONTROL anymore.

    And they want it back. But they can't invade Europe (though they're doing their best to regain control over it, too, by exporting global corporations on whose boards they sit, and tying everyone together through the TPP and the TPIP, so that those corporations can take all the countries to court -- including us -- if we don't do what they say). So they pick some little countries they can dominate, and they go in with the sons and daughters of the people whose jobs they've downsized, because the military's the only place young people can get work anymore, and they take *control*. Of something. Because they've learned to feel unsafe if the United States military doesn't have *control* of at least half the world.

    That's what we're losing. And it was inevitable we'd lose it, because you can't keep control of a country unless either there's enough of an outside threat (like there was in the cold war) to make them voluntarily submit to you as the lesser of two evils, or you stay there with boots on the ground and enough firepower pointing at their people to give them no choice but to do what you say.

    We're losing control. Most of us don't actually care, although I'd sure feel more comfortable if we left that control in the hands of a stable government than in the seventeen-part mess fighting each other that we have now. But we don't feel that desperate, panicked need for control.

    But Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, McCain, Romney? They can't stand it. And you know what makes it even worse -- what *really* makes it unbearable to them that they can't have control over Iraq anymore?

    They can't have control over the United States, either.

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    Replies
    1. An excellent point, Naomi. I was talking to a cousin of mine who could not understand why the rest of the world is not perpetually grateful to the United States. We were once the leader of the free world and she does not understand that freedom does not mean that other countries must do what we tell them to do.

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    2. Very interesting observation, Naomi Rivkis -- especially when you consider what I would then suggest as the mirror image of this: Putin's trying to regain control over the old Soviet empire.

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    3. Huzzah, Naomi! That is exactly what is implied when people say we've "lost" Iraq. You cannot "lose" something you did not own.

      Bruce

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  13. Now that's giving 'em both barrels (and then some)....

    Well done, Jim. Well done.

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  14. Jim - another home run. I can't say enough about how you tell this story. No one out there is putting it out there the way you do. In recent years, I've made comments about how badly we need Hunter Thompson. I still miss him, but you, Jim, have made me feel as though we have someone to voice our feelings. Thanks again for what you do. You're the best.

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    Replies
    1. I was never into Hunter Thompson, but boy do I miss Molly Ivins.

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    2. I was going to say that I haven't read a painful-truth-telling rant like this since Hunter ate a bullet in 2005. I can't help but think that the Iraq war was the real reason—he just didn't have the energy to fight it, or the faith that his arguments might make a difference. Thank god there are still people who get angry enough to tell the truth.

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    3. Valerie - agreed. I sure miss Molly as well.

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  15. This so true and accurate. I've been crying a long time.

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  16. You tell 'em Jim. Lost my nephew in 2007 to an ied in Diyala province because of these lying bastards. I'm a vet as is many of my family. We know the sacrifices vets make. Like you say..I will gladly strap all my gear back on.....but it better be a damn good reason.

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  17. While considering this all week I have thought, "we broke it, don't we now have to buy it?" But we have haven't we? Not me. I was out of the AF before 9/11. Not my husband who retired from the Navy in Sep 2004 (and BOY am I happy he was on shore duty!). Not my son who turned 25 in April. But those who were there. Those who lost their children and their limbs and their minds. Or even just Christmas Day with their family.

    Thank you for helping to clarify my thoughts.

    Have you considered a Facebook login? I read your comment rules. I have a gmail and an old blog, but I don't use them ever. Just a thought.

    Ann from Panama City Beach, FL

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  18. Can't disagree with anything you said except the part about how this is all because they hate Obama. I don't think that's quite right. What they hate about Obama is the fact that the American electorate voted for him ... so what they really hate is the vast majority of Americans, who saw through their bullshit. And I think the evidence for this includes the vicious, unprincipled, insane greed that all their policies both domestic & international support. They don't actually gave a shit about America or ordinary Americans. Obama is just the in-your-face reality that tells them just how little control they still have over the world.
    Tehanu

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    Replies
    1. I'm curious what you don't agree with in Jim's excellent rant.

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    2. I wish "they" thought that deeply. No, I agree with Jim. "They hate this President". And it is such a blind, frothing hatred that they couldn't possibly self probe their own hatred to ascertain that they hate him because if reflects badly on "them". They're blind with hatred and resentment and rage. The sad thing is that they will not stop being in a blind, swinging at the air, frothing at the mouth rage until "they" are back in control. Not until they've gerrymandered every voting district, or rigged every ballot box, or disenfranchised every minority voter. They will stop at nothing to regain the position they think they deserve....It may be the loss of control that gives them a tic....but it's "who" they lost that control to that flares up their insanity. .

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  19. I opposed the war in Iraq for all the reasons you outlined. I knew it was a lie, but felt horribly powerless to say so. In our neck of the woods, people said we were anti-soldier for opposing the war. One 4th of July parade organizer said that anti-war floats would not be allowed in the parade. Goddamn, Independence Day and no one can use their First Amendment rights! It was a scary, crazy time. I never want to experience that again. Thank you Jim.

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  20. Amen. I am so pissed about the fact that these bastards want to do this shit again. Let those who are agitating go - and go with the tools, supplies, weapons, etc.. that *they* have now. Hell, send the group from Bundy's ranch there since they're itching to shoot something/one.

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  21. I've been trying to cultivate peace in my heart toward my conservative brothers and sisters, but sometimes you just have to let the rage out. Well done.

    You would think all these expert economists would understand the idea of sunk costs. It really doesn't matter how much money and how much blood was spent for whatever someone thinks we accomplished in Iraq. It's gone. Any further blood and treasure has to be justified in terms of future gains, not past losses. As for the responsibility for those losses, I seem to recall that the Republicans became the "bring the boys back home" party somewhere around 2010-11. Not that anyone was really excited about staying there, but the R's were pushing to get out NOW. So we did. That being the case, they are the last people to bitch when the situation went, predictably, tits up.

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    Replies
    1. "Sunk costs." That's the term I've been trying to remember, and the principle is so applicable.

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    2. (Trying again) "Sunk costs," that's the term I've been trying to remember. It's so applicable to the situation.

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    3. Tried to delete my duplicate comment and things went berserk.

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    4. And then there's the so-called Pottery Barn rule. Yes, we broke it. Yes we bought it (and paid an outrageous price). But nobody has ever explained why we have to keep it and why we must keep on paying for it until the end of time--or the next Republican presidency, whichever comes first.

      -rachel

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  22. I've been mourning the premature retirement of the legendary Billmon (Whiskey Bar blog, and most brilliant progressive blogger ever -- once most memorably dubbed Ronald Reagan the "Potemkin President")) since 2007, so am delighted to have found Stonekettle Station to fill the void of intelligent, informed subversive thought.

    Thank you for this particular post. You've said what many of us are thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Billmon is back @billmon1 on Twitter.

      Delete
  23. I agree with everything you've said. However there is a "why" in addition to the CONTROL mentioned above. And one reason that I would support although it is easier to believe we'll have magic bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows first. That reason is to have reasonable men and women is charge. People who don't push their religious ideology on others. Where people can live their lives as they wish within the confines of what western cultures consider human rights. I don't believe in cultural relativity anymore. I don't believe that women need to be subservient because the theocracy says they have to. If the women accept that then so be it. But male hierarchies rule by force - physical injury, threat of punishment or Republican state legislation. The question is "how do we do away with this?" War is not the answer but what is? Constructive Engagement? That just creates mirror copies of the Cheney's of the world - skimming the wealth off the top.Showing them the great lifestyle created in western cultures? You too can have your own Desperate Housewives and Honey Boo-Boo shows. Yah... that will really win them over. War is not the answer but do we let a large minority of dominant males control the basic human rights of the rest of their citizens. Oh wait... I live in Canada where a conservative government won only 39% of the votes cast and still has an absolute majority. Forget what I said.

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    Replies
    1. I'm hip. Tell me how we put "reasonable" men and women in charge.

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    2. Hell, we can't even get reasonable people to run for office.

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    3. Well, we could start by at least letting actual voters elect the president, instead of the Supreme Court, and by learning the difference between money and speech.

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    4. Oh, isn't that the question? I've been advocating electoral reform for years, but I don't think it's enough.

      Delete
  24. http://www.businessinsider.com/750-million-united-states-embassy-iraq-baghdad-2013-3?op=1
    Maybe McCain want to save this

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  25. I find the lyrics of Steppenwolf's MONSTER ctually more appropriate today than in 1969 when it was written.

    "The cities have turned into jungles
    And corruption is stranglin' the land
    The police force is watching the people
    And the people just can't understand
    We don't know how to mind our own business
    'Cause the whole world's got to be just like us
    Now we are fighting a war over there
    No matter who's the winner we can't pay the cost."

    'Cause there's a monster on the loose
    It's got our heads into the noose
    And it just sits there watchin'

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  26. I heart you, Stonekettle. And since I have had the nickname of Badger for many years, please do feel free to point me in a direction and release me like a heat-seeking missile that will chew someone to ribbons and then juggle their eyeballs. Or do you have other badgers?

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  27. Brilliantly written. At the time, I felt the reasons were obvious, and they continue to be: 1 - to distract from the coming Enron shitstorm, ensuring Dubya could sail through without a scratch, despite being elbow-deep in it, and 2 - to make sure oil companies had an excuse to drive prices through the roof with an artificial shortage and make the biggest profits they'd ever seen.

    Both things happened.

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  28. Stewart NakamuraJune 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Soooo.... how do you REALLY feel?

    Seriously, thank you for being a voice of reason. Maybe they should put YOU on one of those Sunday morning news shows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That'd work until they put Jim across from someone like Rumsfeld or Doug Feith. After a sudden commercial they'd come back to Jim's empty chair, a shaken-looking host, and a smoking pair of wing-tips.

      Delete
  29. I'll suit up and go with you Jim, we'll be behind the assholes all the way, myself by a couple of hundred miles, but I promise I'll follow them and scrape their sorry asses off the ground and find a couple of old fuel cans to send the pieces back home in. And, by if by some miracle if they're only wounded I'll recommend to the President that he get them an appointment at the Phoenix VA Hospital and while they're waiting on the doctors appointment they can camp out under the expressway bridge near by. I'm even willing to let FEMA throw them a couple of blue tarps on a drive by.
    If they are captured and imprisoned by the brownies, then we'll send a couple of drones to retrieve them. Duck you Mutheur

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  30. I recommend the book Future Tense by Gwynne Dyer, Mr. Wright. I believe it got to the real reason for the Iraq War.

    That reason was to establish a Pax Americana. Iraq was meant to be an object lesson to the rest of the world. That message was, "America goes where it wants when it wants and ors what it wants to who it wants. This is what happens to people who get in our way. You may hate as long as you also fear."

    Unfortunately, unlike the British and Romans that the Bush administration was trying to emulate, the chicken hawks knew too little about reality to succeed.

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  31. Actually McCain did promise us more war in 2008.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y395Tftgz0E#t=122

    I came away agreeing with Pat Buchanan. McCain would have made Bush look like Gandhi. Romney would have made McCain look like an amateur

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  32. During the 1st Gulf Ware, my youngest son was in the Navy, stationed in Rota, Spain and my nephew in the Air Force. Now my Grandson is in the Navy Seabee Cadets program and is in Boot Camp this week, I am worried about this crap going on. He is only 15, but then so were some of the men serving now when the Towers went down. God for give this country for it's arrogance and vengeance.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Lost my SIL to an IED in December 2006. One of the last things I said to him was "I am proud of you for doing this job, for being 'that guy', the one that can be counted on. I just wish this country had given you better leadership".
    We won nothing in Iraq.
    War, if it is done correctly, is a political tool, a way to solve a problem. In this case, the war in Iraq was not solving a political problem, it was about greed. It solved no problem. Greed is like a cancer - it just grows unchecked, spreading destruction and death. That is all we won over there. The feeding of the greed of the American Aristocracy.

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  34. In 2001 I watched as the aircraft impacted the second of the Twin Towers. ‘Oh Shit!’ I thought to myself, knowing that: A. There was a Madman in the White House and (more importantly) that B. I only had another 16 months to serve. If America reacted the way I thought they would, then there was no telling how long we would be in a war; a war in which I would become involved. Another war; to go with Gulf War 1, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo…

    Then… Nothing happened.

    Then there was the adventure into Afghanistan to ‘get’ Osama bin Laden.

    OK I thought, I can live with those (limited) objectives in Afghanistan (Ha! How wrong as I?)

    16 months later I was out in Civie Street. I remember being on the way to work in the late Feb/early March and listening to the radio in my car. A report came on from a UK Government spokesperson stating that: ‘Saddam had WMD’s and that ‘He could launch within 45 minutes’. At that point I knew the UK was going to join the US on an ill-advised adventure into Iraq based upon a lie.

    Let me explain. For a start, I had NEVER before heard the term ‘WMD’ – it was obviously a piece of ‘spin’ designed to sucker the voting public. Jim will tell you that the NATO term of the day was ‘NBC’ (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical). Secondly, my last Tour in the RAF was at Strike Command, specifically at the Group Headquarters responsible for ‘Offensive Air’ (ie the Bombers). My job, amongst others, was to work in the Bunker as an Intelligence Analyst and Targeteer, ie to propose targets for our jets to take out. As such I was party to some pretty high level Intelligence. Moreover the Group Headquarters had been responsible for maintaining the Northern Watch and Southern Watch air commitment to policing the No Fly Zones in Iraq for the previous 10+ years. So it is fair to say that there was a great deal of Corporate Knowledge.

    Yes Saddam had had chemicals, he’d used them on his own people. Yes he’d probably also had biologicals. However, given that there had been sanctions applied to Iraq since the War of 1991, the chance of him having them in 2003 were about the square root of fuck all. With regard to nuclear weapons, well the Israelis had taken out his reactor many years before and that had not been rebuilt.

    But the real piece of spin was the: ‘He could launch within 45 minutes’.

    The longest ranged weapon in Saddam’s arsenal was the ‘Al Hussein’. This was a modification to the Soviet (battlefield range) SCUD missile. This modification extended the range of the system from around 190 miles (SCUD D) to some 400 miles – in other words, enough range to strike Cyprus.

    So why were London and Washington panicking? It made no sense to me other than justification for an unjustifiable war.

    And so it was.

    Later in 2003, or whenever it was that the ‘Shrub’ stood on the deck of a carrier and proclaimed the war won, I thought to myself that the only way forward to maintain stability in that region would be to carve Iraq up into separate Sunni, Shia and Kurdish States; only that didn’t happen – we brought so called ‘democracy’ to the region and walked away patting ourselves on our collective backs (while at the same time making $billions from the tragedy).

    Countless deaths of UK and US Servicemen and women later, not to mention untold Iraqi casualties, and where are we now? Nowhere! Yet a bunch of knackered, cowardly old farts (who almost certainly smell of wee and would no more fight for their Country[s] than fly in the air sideways) are blaming Obama for the (well predicted) results of their stupidity and demanding what would effectively be the maiming and deaths of countless more members of our Armed Forces.

    I have a message for them. Sure, I’ll go to war for you again. Only this time you get to pick up a weapon and lead us from the front.

    Politeness makes me refrain from really saying what I think of these cnuts.

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    Replies
    1. Brava, dear. and please, allow me. Cunts.

      M.R.Pool

      Delete
  35. You had me before the line: "Yeah, fuck you, Mitt."

    Those who would send troops to die based on invented intelligence and propaganda should be required to send their firstborn into such a fight - or, if childless, go to war themselves. I wonder just how many wars we would be involved in then?

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  36. Thanks for saying what many of us feel but have a difficult time voicing ourselves.

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  37. dear god, yes... WHY?

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  38. I was in college during the Vietnam days. There were a lot of different views, but there was one group that everybody, right and left, hated. They were the 4F Hawks. They were all for the war -- but they'd gotten their deferments and would never have to fight. And look who were the cheerleaders for the Iraq war -- from Rush Limbaugh (anal fistula) to Dick Cheney ("other priorities"), just about every one of them, 4F Hawks.

    A couple did serve. Georgie Bush was in the National Guard, which at the time was reserved for rich kids. And even then, he deserted. (There's no evidence that he ever showed up for duty in Mississippi.) Colin Powell's job in Vietnam was swiftboating the witnesses at My Lai. McCain we know about (How did a guy who had wrecked multiple planes keep a flying gig?)

    And these are the guys who sent us into Iraq.

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  39. "Masters Of War" -- Bob Dylan

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build all the bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks.

    You that never done nothin'
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it's your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly.

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe
    But I see through your eyes
    And I see through your brain
    Like I see through the water
    That runs down my drain.

    You fasten all the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion'
    As young people's blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud.

    You've thrown the worst fear
    That can ever be hurled
    Fear to bring children
    Into the world
    For threatening my baby
    Unborn and unnamed
    You ain't worth the blood
    That runs in your veins.

    How much do I know
    To talk out of turn
    You might say that I'm young
    You might say I'm unlearned
    But there's one thing I know
    Though I'm younger than you
    That even Jesus would never
    Forgive what you do.

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul.

    And I hope that you die
    And your death'll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I'll watch while you're lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I'll stand over your grave
    'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

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    Replies
    1. Perfect then and now. Thanks for posting it.

      Delete
  40. Your question is one they can't answer. Romney is a despicable human being. You know the type that say let me hold your coat. It has been ever thus, a few powerful egotistic sacks of human excrement who cherish power and appearance above the suffering of those they wish to use. Yeah Mitt helped you guys, just like he helped us in our crucible in S.E Asia, that would be not one bit. But he wanted to go, oh yes he wanted to be with us, but, golly gee, they need me in France at the villa and someone has to eat the croissants. Well guess we should give credit where due he did support sending conscripts, just not him or his family and forget about his sons, way too important. Hope the prick runs for president again and gets his ass handed to him, but even worse then the last time.

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  41. Right on, Jim. I'm sick to death of these lying cowardly money grubbing shitbags like Romney, McCain and pretty much the entire GOP and their bought and paid for propaganda machine. Pack them up, send them over to Iraq and tell them "Give 'em hell!".

    If I was Mr. Obama, knowing I only have a couple of years left in office, I'd pull every damned troop we had out of that part of the world and tell the GOP to kiss my ass.

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  42. This story was about 'Freedom Fries.' Seriously, it was about domestic politics and getting the public to all support the president the way our history tells us happened in other wars (never mind that every US war has had anti-war protesters.) It was about the political power grabs that can be justified by a war. It was also about the oil contracts which 'US' international oil companies and 'French' 'international oil companies both wanted. The irrational hate for the French for disagreeing with the march to war ties into that.

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    1. Ah yes 'Freedom Fries', because anything French was 'Snail Eating Surrender Monkey', un-American, and therefore bad beyond reproach (YAWN). I remember pointing out at the time, to some rabid unthinking GOP types, that they might want to give the Statue of Liberty back.

      Needless to say they didn't understand my comment.

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    2. Well, truthfully, the French were pretty galling ... especially that part where it turned out that they were right about Iraq.

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    3. French intel knew damned well what the Italians and English were up to in fabricating all that WMD crap.

      Delete
    4. The French are always Gauling (:-).

      I told a friend who was spewing about the French, "No more mousse au chocolate. It's blood pudding, toad-in-the-hole, and rhubarb crumble for you".

      "In Heaven, the police are British, the cooks are French, and the engineers are German. In Hell, the police are German, the cooks are British, and the engineers are French." (There are many, many variations of this.)

      Delete
  43. Thanks for saying what I think and feel, but stating it so much better, than I could. I only hope President Obama can stand up to these fools and not be pushed into another mess. Stonekettle station makes me feel less alone.

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  44. This old world keeps on turning, but from where I sit, it sure seems to be upside down and inside out,,when the mere expression of less war and more peace is enough to bring forth the label traitorous terrorist loving fool...when telling our kids to think before they leap is deemed a waste of time and that they might be better off by not following our lead. Thanks, Jim, for your brutal honesty and the words you speak which echo much of my own thoughts. .

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  45. I have always believed that wars should be fought only by the old men politicians who are so eager to start them. End of problem.
    Thank you, Jim. Again.

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  46. I will never forgive Colin Powell for that UN speech. Prior to that speech, I was not buying any of the BS coming out of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the rabid gang of psychopaths. But when he sat in that chair at the UN and SWORE he was certain there were WMD and Saddam Hussein was preparing to use them, I believed him. I trusted and respected him. The others I had no use for at all. I knew they were untrustworthy and I knew that if their lips were moving, they were lying. But Colin Powell -- he got me. I knew he wasn't stupid and I just did not believe he would lie. But he damn sure did lie. He sat right there and LIED!! I didn't go to Iraq or Afghanistan. I did my 6 yrs in the Air Force in the 80s, one of the most peaceful times ever in the US. A few skirmishes but nothing to write home about. But I had several family members and friends that did go to Iraq and to Afghanistan. Those lying bastards put them all at risk of being killed and/or maimed. Why? I'd like to know why too. As usual, great article. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. Agreed- I was never for the war, before or after, but Powell made me think twice. Clearly I was naive, but while I thought that Powell would shut up and soldier on whether he agreed with a policy or not, I didn't think he'd toss out his honor telling absolute lies to us and the world.

      I've developed a healthier layer of cynicism since then.

      Delete
  47. Jim, I'm no billionaire - far from it. Just an ordinary working American, doing the best I can every day. Today, that includes going out back to bury our 21-year-old kitty; she passed away last night. But I digress.

    I'm no billionaire, but I would pay money - real, honest-to-goodness American dollars, to see Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and every single one of those powdered, Botoxed talking heads at Fox News in the vanguard of the wars they love so much. I'm willing to bet there's bunches more people like me out there.

    Thanks for saying, again, that which needs to be said.

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  48. Many of us NOT in the professional intelligence community (and not American) also looked at each other and thought, wait, what? I have been waiting for America to take those blinders off for a long time. Finally! Now I want those obscene fuckers to pay for what they did, not just to their own country, but to many others' as well. What they owe is almost beyond comprehension.

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  49. Bravo - every word. Thank you Jim.

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  50. Well said that man. Thank you for saying that so clearly and cleanly.

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  51. Excellent post, as always.

    I remember the whole "WMD" façade of reasons for going into Iraq after 9/11. I bought it to some extent, I am very sorry to say. My late husband said it was a pack of lies, but I knew that Saddam had gassed the Kurds and I didn't put getting nuclear weapons an inch past him. I had my doubts but decided to come down in favor of invading. I was so very very wrong. Instead of curtailing Al Quaeda, we caused it to be franchised to other countries.

    However, even if we had had wonderful and true reasons to go into Iraq in 2003, even if we had a decent reasons to go in today, we now have the experience of knowing that we are not welcome, that we are not useful in the least there, and that, at best, we would throw a couple thousand US lives and many, many thousand other lives into the venture without a single God-damned thing to show for it.

    It doesn't matter if there is a good why or a bad why, there is nothing useful we can do there. Not one damned thing and certainly no blessed ones.

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    Replies
    1. Short edit: "When we invaded Afghanistan, instead ofcurtailing Al Quaeda, we caused it to be franchised to other countries."

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  52. ONE more reason. As long as Saddam was alive and in Power they had sanctions were in force that kept western multinational oil companies from developing the Iraqi Oil fields. Only if Saddam was dead and a New Iraqi Oil law was passed could ExxonMobil, Chevron Total and BP make legal contracts with the government of Iraq to drill and sell that oil to China. Exxon recently sold part of its 50 BILLION dollar field to the National oil company of China. This and then there was these guys who planned it since 1996 "The Clique that Sold Us the Iraq War
    Almost the entire Iraq-war clique, advocated the war from 1998 on. 9/11 was only a convenient pretext. Amazingly almost all were members of just two organizations: IASPS and PNAC. Both were neoconservative, and there were many links between the two.
    http://zfacts.com/node/297

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  53. And in the meanwhile we have scum like Sen. Jeff Sessions saying “I feel strongly we’ve got to do the right thing for our veterans. But I don’t think we should create a blank check, an unlimited entitlement program, now.”

    Well, no, you useless hack. But no one has suggest a blank check, unlimited entitlement (dog whistle there -- entitlements are things that you are *entitled* to. You damned well earned them. But it's become a word that to the brain dead means "give-away), HAVE they?

    No sir. They've suggested actually bellying up to the bar and FUNDING the *obligations* of the American people to those who've served.

    I'll just sit and hope that the veterans of America -- and particularly those of Alabama -- get very familiar with the kind of "support" they get from this jackass. And that he ends up in an alley with a bunch of them.

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  54. God-DAMN right, sir.

    There's an old Jackson Browne song that rang so true to me in the run-up to the Iraq debacle; that played in my head over and over again as the chickenhawks did their damnedest to get us into war with Iran; that's playing again now:


    "Lives In The Balance"

    I've been waiting for something to happen
    For a week or a month or a year
    With the blood in the ink of the headlines
    And the sound of the crowd in my ear
    You might ask what it takes to remember
    When you know that you've seen it before
    Where a government lies to a people
    And a country is drifting to war

    And there's a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who send the guns
    To the wars that are fought in places
    Where their business interest runs

    On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
    You hear one thing again and again
    How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
    And we come to the aid of a friend
    But who are the ones that we call our friends
    These governments killing their own?
    Or the people who finally can't take any more
    And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
    There are lives in the balance
    There are people under fire
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire

    There's a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who fan the flames
    Of the wars that are fought in places
    Where we can't even say the names

    They sell us the President the same way
    They sell us our clothes and our cars
    They sell us every thing from youth to religion
    The same time they sell us our wars
    I want to know who the men in the shadows are
    I want to hear somebody asking them why
    They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
    But they're never the ones to fight or to die
    And there are lives in the balance
    There are people under fire
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire

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  55. Pardon me, Mr. Wright, but I may vent a bit here... don't usually say much but this has moved me to fury.
    In 2004, I had 3 children in 3 different branches of the armed services. 2 of them? If something happened, we would be notified by phone or a uniform showing up on our doorstep. The 3rd?
    No. We were informed by his commanding officer that, if one of the missions failed, we would never know where, how or why. There would be nothing. Nothing. How do you suppose that worked for him? Knowing that the family he loved so much, his parents and siblings and fiancee would never know what happened or why?
    That little curly-haired boy who wanted to fix everything from the sick bunnies to the birds falling out of their nests, the boy who tried to make it all ok for his classmates, how could he possibly do what he had to do? In service to a chimera, a lie?
    The best we could do, his stepfather and I, was to hold each other tight during the dark hours and hope... just hope because there is no efficacy in prayer.
    He made it through but is not the same... those things he had to do will be with him, burdening his unconscious, for the rest of his life. He is rebuilding, bit by bit.
    The thing is... WHY THE FUCK? The pox-riddled brains of those warmongers, their scrofulous dead souls, would send our children into another hell for no damned reason. and they will sit in their mansions and their clubs and their yachts and pat each other on the back for being such great patriots.
    I am infuriated by this whole business. The veteran has kept silence. He has not made any comments about the prisoner exchange, he has not opined about the politicians blathering.
    He is and will always be, a professional soldier.

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  56. Kudos, once again, Jim! I've now read it three times silently and once aloud to my hubby when he came home. By the end, I was stomping my foot and frothing at the mouth like a Southern Baptist preacher at a revival. We both agree wholeheartedly with every word.

    I was once a naive Georgia farm girl who vividly remembers being in Atlanta at a convention during the first Gulf War invasion in January, 1991. The keynote speaker was Max Cleland, our Secretary of State at the time, and the entertainment, by happenstance, was a medley of patriotic songs by a choral group. You know Cleland, he's the guy with only one extremity after serving honorably in Vietnam. There wasn't a dry eye in the house after his speech. Everyone kept going out during the dinner before he talked to watch CNN on the TV's in the lobby. I got him to autograph my nursing license which already had his stamped signature. It was one of the most memorable nights of my life. He's the same moral, sane Senator who lost his bid for re-election in 2002 because that chickenhawk warmongering Saxby Chambliss spent millions on an ad that suggested Senator Cleland supported Bin Laden and Hussein. Sadly, our uninformed, low information electorate in this bastion of Christian conservatism could not see through the lie. All because Cleland would not vote "aye" on a Homeland Security bill unless it included provisions to assure veterans in the federal workforce would have bargaining power regarding healthcare and other issues. Sound familiar? Here we are 12 years later and the neocons in DC continue their push to decimate VA services all at the expense of the corporate masters at Lockheed and their ilk like those miscreant Kochs. Anyway, I just wanted to share that story with you. Suffice it to say, I'm no longer naive. You're a gem; I think hubby might worry about my crush if you weren't 5,000 miles away! (insert wink)

    Your Facebook friend and fan,
    Janie Thomas

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    Replies
    1. Re the election of Chambliss -- there was also the "midnight upgrade" of the (totally unauditable) computerized voting machines right before the election.

      Delete
  57. I remember the lead-up to Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL). In the weeks before the WMD excuse was pushed forward, there were several other excuses that apparently didn't push enough buttons. So they kept trying until they found one that "stuck".
    America as currently constituted is not long for this world. We need to quit invading countries and start showing them how good we can be. Fix our Infrastructure. Fix our Education. Fix our Health Care. Fix our Government. We could do this if we'd just quit being so arrogant as to believe that no other country could possibly come up with a way to do something better than us. Sooner or later, America will come to its collective senses. I just hope it happens before we go too much further down the Nationalism path.

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  58. You needn't approve this post, but I did want to say: Jim, thank you.

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  59. Kathleen in CincyJune 14, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Thank you yet again, Jim.

    I always wondered why no one in the media ever followed the money and described who controlled Iraq's assets, such as oil, or the banking structure, etc.

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  60. Man, Jim, you've got the experience and you tell it so well. It amazes me how so many forget that the 'peace' was already lost on inauguration day 2009. It didn't matter how many surges we performed. We were excising skin lesions from an AIDS victim, one we had infected with our invasion. We keep believing that all the world will adopt our form of democracy at the drop of a hat, without fighting a Civil War and without our historical background. Then we look on in disbelief as the political machine we created falls apart. The arrogance astounds me. A lot of people have gotten the message that we cannot win a war unless we are totally committed. Few have gotten the message that we cannot win a peace, period. We did not win the peace after WWII. The people of Europe and Japan won that peace, because they wanted it.

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  61. Jesus H Christ, Jim. This is fucking awesome!

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  62. I believed the first time that the fucker, Saddam, had to go, and I believe that Daddy Bush should have finished the job. The American people and the world might have bought that reason if he did choose to finish the job. I doubt the American people and the world would have bought the fucker has to go the second time around. The concocted stories drummed up to convince the American People and the world that the fucker should go the second time around made the whole thing horse shit. It was horse shit when the job wasn't finished the first time. There is always a problem with, "the fucker has to go", even if it's morally right. Some other fucker always steps in and takes the fucker's place, and that fucker is often times worse than the first. The US fucked up, they need to move on and live with the shit they've created because of it. Let the fuckers have it and deal with them diplomatically, if such a thing is possible, after the dust has cleared, and some fuck in a clown suit heads up whatever government prevails there. Let Iran handle it, if they wish. Keep the two fucks busy throwing stones at each other. Afghanistan is probably going to end up the same.

    A good portion of my adult life has been wrapped up in the Gulf, both as a sailor and a civilian. Eleven out of thirteen were deployed there as a sailor, and three years were spent in Bahrain as contractor. I left in 1990. I have on my conscience the deaths of 37 sailors and the wounding of 21 others. The attack on the Stark was the reason for the start of my 20 year civilian career. The story goes that the Stark provided a geographic reference point in the north Gulf for Iraqi aircraft to turn on when making raids in to Iran. Then the fucks drop two Exocets on her. No one can ever explain the reasoning for that. Those fuckers don't think like us.

    One fucking war, the one to end all, WW-II resulted in a geographic shuffling of the world map by the allies. That shuffling is still fucking us today. Stay the course Mr. President nothing will change this fuck story.

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  63. Jim, I'm with you 100% on this except for one issue: we were not already in Iraq when it became clear that Powell, Bush, Cheney, and all the rest were selling complete bullshit, ginning up a war and then cobbling together lies and excuses and complete fairy tales to justify it. Our own expert weapons inspector, Scott Ritter pointed out that if Iraq still had any of the chemical weapons we sold them, they'd have been inert crap by 2001, and the media focused on helping the administration distract us with his sex life. Our own covert intelligence expert on nuclear materials, Valerie Plame, pointed out the problems with the yellow cake uranium story, and got her cover blown by her own administration for her trouble in their desperate scramble to discredit her. Various actual nuclear scientists pointed out that it was deeply unlikely that those missile cylinders could be used for gas diffusion refinement of uranium, and if you speak scientistese at all, or know anything uranium centrifuges, you knew that what they meant was that it was fucking impossible. The information was there. There were people who knew we were going into Iraq for a bullshit lie, and I was one of them. I wept for the Baghdad philharmonic when NPR did a story on them before the war, because I knew then what would become of them.

    By all means send every lying, profiteering, self-aggrandizing cowardly one of the Republicans, their media lackeys, and their billionaire supporters off first to lead the charge in our next war. But maybe leave the Iraqis out of it. I think they've suffered enough at our hands already. And please don't say we didn't know it was all for lies and less than nothing until after you poor bastards were already in Baghdad, because some of us did. And we tried to tell people. And got shouted down.

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  64. There ought to be a Pulitzer for blogs like yours. There really should be.
    M from MD

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    1. Given how Pulitzer made his fortune, that would be some irony indeed.

      Also, I'm pretty sure that if you use the word "fuck," you're automatically out of the running.

      But I appreciate the thought.

      Delete
    2. Pulitzer was a newspaper publisher, and sounds like an okay guy. You are probably thinking of Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

      Delete
    3. I take it you're not familiar with William Randolph Hearst and Joesph Pulitzer and the Spanish American War?

      Delete
    4. I am not. Once again, you are better informed than I. I'll do some reading on the subject.

      Delete
  65. Brilliant. Beautiful. Articulate. Accurate. In a word: Perfect.

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you, SO much!

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  66. Jim, you are a master of "Telling it like it is"! You gotta write a book or many books, I'd love to see you interviewed by Faux News, that would be amazing, you would flatten all their pointy little heads, of course they would never have the guts to put you on, but it would be interesting. Thanks again for Telling It Like It Is......

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  67. Some of the simmering rage I've felt since my own service in mid-late 60s.
    The CHICKENHAWKS are screaching again.

    Thank you,Sir, for saying it so well.

    peace royeh

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  68. Hi Jim, This post is masterful. I am an Episcopal Priest, and tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, always a hard one to preach, and as usual I will be preaching about love. I wish I could preach about this. Peace. Rhonda

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  69. And it's one two three
    What are we fighting for?
    Don't ask me I don't give a damn
    My next stop is Viet Nam
    It's five six seven
    Open up the Pearly Gate
    There ain't no time to wonder why
    Yipee we're all gonna die

    Country Joe & the Fish

    ----------------

    We could edit the third and fourth lines to bring it up to date….

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    Replies
    1. and "fuck" almost rhymes with "Iraq". Jes' sayin'

      Delete
  70. Right on. Please keep on keepin on.

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  71. One of the best Fucking things I've ever read!

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  72. You write so well but this time you have outdone yourself! EXCELLENT!!!

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  73. A fellow Alaskan salutes you.

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  74. Ho-ly Shit! I could see you spitting and hear your fingers destroying the keyboard as you wrote this. I am humbled by your justifiable rage, Jim.

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  75. The idea that that there are people in charge of our government who would even contemplate sending troops back to that hell when we can’t even adequately care for the ones who came home physically and mentally damaged from the first time around is simply mind boggling. Then I remember that they are cowardly, chicken-hawk, asswipe republicans and it all makes sense.

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  76. loved it. need more of your truth

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  77. i needed to hear that thank you

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  78. The really messed up thing is that David Brooks gets a big check for his drivel, and you get hosting bills for your fine words. NY Times, you listening?

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    Replies
    1. The NYT already has plenty of fine columnists like this one telling us that we need big wars to spur the economy. The lack of major wars may be hurting economic growth

      Delete
  79. Damn Chief, you sure nailed it right on the money with this one. As a retired veteran, as a man who was there in Iraq, as a father who has sons, as a soldier who lost friends there the last go-round... as a fucking human being... since this story broke I haven't been able to watch the news for being afraid of the anger that never seems far from the surface when I hear a person who didn't serve, who's sons will never serve, who probably doesn't even KNOW anyone who IS serving, tell me how valuable Iraq is. Or how the "Military ought to be run!" and all that other chairborne ranger bullshit.

    Now I have words to describe my own feelings and questions to ask of anyone who dares mention "we ought to go back." Thank you for, at the least, showing me I am not the only one who feels angry, ashamed, afraid, confused, lied to, used, abused, betrayed... but mostly just really pissed off.


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  80. I discovered your blog with the Bergdahl post....thought it, perhaps, the finest discussion of that situation possible. With the second post which presented another sane perspective of his release from captivity I was truly impressed with your ability to consider other view points.While I did not agree with much of what the Captain had to say, I as a US Army vet, (70-73), who never saw a lick of combat, greatly respected his on the ground experience.

    Now, after reading this narrative, I have to echo what so many others have said.

    Well Done, Sir.

    You have a remarkable ability to put in words what I believe to be the truth..and in a way that I am unable to do.

    I am glad you are doing what you do, and hope you continue for as long as I can read.

    Thank you.

    Rick Morton

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  81. Thank you for your eloquence.





















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  82. Jim- your rage is well placed. Thanks for doing what you did for us in this wasted war. I am not part of the "WE" the stinking assholes that say "we" are losing, or "they" are ruining America. Your comments made me laugh ... the kind of laugh of hysteria that only magic bunnies coming out of Rumsfeld's ass could generate. Fighting a war of no purpose is a crime. it's a crime against our soldiers and country. The raping and pillaging of other countries matter not to the corporate bandits that have figures out how to leverage a buck out of every battle-- and insurgency and sending our soldiers into a minefield is the perfect profit engine for them.

    In WW2 we would have marked the minefield and passed around. In Iraq our military brain trust sent you in and said make camp in the minefields... this is some kind of twisted genius general clusterfucking that rivals Gallipoli in stupidity. And yet you did it.

    It's an honor to read your post... these are some of the worst human beings I have ever seen now in our country... but the fear of the 9/11 has made people's backbone's shrink... nobody reads Bin Laden's manifesto-- how we will implode and break up... and we do that more every day. Nobody reads Smedley Butler... it's magical bunnies in America.. coming out of all our asses..
    thanks

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  83. The first war against Iraq, the country that did NOT attack us on 9/11, gave us Abu Ghraib. And we brought all those soldiers, who did all those horrible things there, home. And we're quibbling about Bowe Bergdahl?

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  84. Bravo! I was in Romania when the flag (officially) went up. My commander and I looked at each other when we got the word, and I gave my opinion of what was about to happen; "This is Bullpucky." I decided then to get out of the service. 20 years in, and it took 'George and Dicks Bogus Adventure' to get me to leave in disgust. What we've lost in men, women, and respect will never be replaced. I'm with you - if they want more, then they (and their whole family) should lead the way.

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  85. Jim- your rage is well placed. Thanks for doing what you did for us in this wasted war. I am not part of the "WE" the stinking assholes that say "we" are losing, or "they" are ruining America. Your comments made me laugh ... the kind of laugh of hysteria that only magic bunnies coming out of Rumsfeld's ass could generate. Fighting a war of no purpose is a crime. it's a crime against our soldiers and country. The raping and pillaging of other countries matter not to the corporate bandits that have figures out how to leverage a buck out of every battle-- and insurgency and sending our soldiers into a minefield is the perfect profit engine for them.

    In WW2 we would have marked the minefield and passed around. In Iraq our military brain trust sent you in and said make camp in the minefields... this is some kind of twisted genius general clusterfucking that rivals Gallipoli in stupidity. And yet you did it.

    It's an honor to read your post... these are some of the worst human beings I have ever seen now in our country... but the fear of the 9/11 has made people's backbone's shrink... nobody reads Bin Laden's manifesto-- how we will implode and break up... and we do that more every day. Nobody reads Smedley Butler... it's magical bunnies in America.. coming out of all our asses..
    thanks

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  86. Awesome. Thank you. I was on the streets along with so many others protesting the invasion. Knew from the start that it could not possibly end well. Heart overflowed with concern for what seemed to me the most vulnerable of our citizens - the families of our soldiers - forced to endure loved ones in harm's way for lies, chicanery, buffoonery, and greed. Argh. The anger is all back again. Deep appreciation for how well you think and write. Jennifer

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  87. I'd add "Before you send in more troops, lets (1) Fully fund the VA (2) Completely pay off the LAST time we went in (3) Figure out *explicitly* how you intend to pay for it THIS time.

    I don't think the chicken hawks can get beyond #1. But I'm sure they'll start the immediate crys of 'MURICA FIRST!

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  88. Damn, Jim...You do know how to speak MY mind. I am so glad you are there, speaking truth to these assholes.

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  89. YES. All of it. Every single word. You said it all better than I ever could. Thanks Jim!

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  90. I fully agree with your sentiment about why we went into Iraq in the first place. Completely agree. I was one of the few who vocally spoke out against the march to war - even when the "liberal" press was advocating going in... But that was then. This is now. We broke that country. We broke it. We broke ours as well... but that was our decision. We broke Iraq and it wasn't their decision. I'm not advocating sending another boot on the ground - but don't you think we have some obligation - after destroying that country - to not see it spin even further out of control? To not see the spent American lives wasted? But more importantly - to not see that country's civilian populations subjected to even more pain and suffering that what we brought upon them....? ISIS works off funding; cut it off. Deploy drones. But do something to prevent even further pain to these people. We broke them. We should be ashamed of what we have done to that country in the name of whatever Cheney and Bush called it...

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  91. A nation run at the political and corporate elevations by psychopaths and sociopaths. Pain they thrive on pain, they don't care who's. It's like blood, it sustains them. As a nation we must grow out of the childish conception they have human things like concience. When we do well still need people like that but we wouldn't have to shoulder the blame of electing them. I say firm's for all elected offices so we can check for reptilian brain structures and nonexistent wiring. Ya know, just like pure employment drug screens

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  92. Well said. Just very well said.

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  93. Okay, I didn't really cry. And I have no god... ("For I am RA!" [... It's an inside joke])

    But a damned fine piece of writing.

    Thank you sir, for your service, and for your thoughts.

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  94. Thank you.

    Our first mistake was going to war in Iraq.

    Our second mistake was going in with a plan for the war but not a plan for what would happen 'after'. In a nation with the diversity of culture and sophistication of military intelligence that we have, there is no excuse for invading a country that has a history of hundreds, if not thousands, of years of sectarian conflict with no apparent understanding of, or appreciation for, the history, culture, and religion of the people who live there.

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  95. Thank you, Sir, for your service, and even more so, for your brutal honesty. This needed to be said, and it needed to be said by someone who's both been there, and done that. Thank you again.

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  96. Saw this article on Facebook and was going to share with this comment:

    All that we've fought for in Iraq" ??? Really??? Conservative asshats like Romney act like Iraq became our 51st state. I've got an idea for Romney and his summit, all the right wing American jihadists at his little meeting can grab an M16, strap on a helmet, and go protect their own ideas of what they think the right thing to do is. I'd be more that happy to pitch in on a one way ticket...

    Jim, you said it a hell of a lot better than I could ever do, so instead I'm just going to cut and paste a little section and urge everyone else to read it.

    P.S. Ignore the grammar Nazi comments as some people just can't seem to help themselves from correcting somebody else's work. I am always left to wonder when are they going to create something that we get a chance to pick apart, but then I realized, they don't create, they only criticize.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, here on Stonekettle Station, I'm perfectly happy to have free proof-reading, regular readers help out all of the time in an effort to make my stuff better, and I appreciate the hell out of it. // Jim

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    2. I hear ya Jim, sorry, I read too much into it. My apologies to anyone that I might have offended.

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    3. Heh heh, it's all good. I appreciate where you're coming from. Most places, pointing out a typos isn't being helpful, it's being an asshole. We're good, Scott, thanks!

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  97. Everything he said is exactly the way I felt back in 2003 when Bush, really his cronies, were on their rampage to war. And it basically has turned out exactly the way I predicted as well. And now they want to repeat so we don't "lose" what we never had and never will have. We don't understand the region, the religion, the psyche and we never will. We cannot occupy this land for the ages it would take and even if we did we would never change the psyche. A great editorial Jim and you pointed fingers at the group responsible the first time around who would be only to happy to do it all over again.

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  98. Thank you for expressing so well what many of us feel. I wish these jerks in charge would read articles such as this and the responses. But even more, I wish the people upon whose backs their lies scar would wise up and vote them out of office. No, they can't see past the dogma bullshit. We are doomed to see more of the same.

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  99. Don't blame me. I voted for Harry Browne in '00. Why Iraq? To keep the gravy flowing to Raytheon, Halliburton, General Dynamics, Blackwater and all the other war profiteers. The US military is just a front company. Iraq is a still a great potential market for $60K Hellfire missile's. Training and arming insurgencies isn't nearly profitable enough. We need another big one. Boots on the ground is money in the bank for the profiteers.

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  100. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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  101. Wow man. This. Thank you for the eloquent phrasing.

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  102. I see that you are just getting started. Let it out, sir. It should come as no surprise that the majority supports you. It's the damned minority with the big mouths (and no asses) that need to be stood down. Don't stop now.

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  103. Jim,

    The most appropriate punishment I can think of that should be delivered to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the other neo-cons, cheerleaders, and sycophants who dragged this country into their neo-con wet dream would be for each of them to be strapped into a chair, Alex-DeLarge style (movie reference: A Clockwork Orange) and forced to listen to your words screamed at them at full-on Marine Drill Instructor volume, shouted by Dwayne ("The Rock") Johnson, if he's available and amenable to the idea.

    Not that such would ever happen, but as far as punishment goes, I suspect there is a special circle of Hell reserved for the aforementioned idiots who took us to war based on lies.

    These people will unlikely ever read or see your words about them, but we get to read those words and we get to take those words to heart, and for that, I am grateful.

    We can only take the lessons of the past and apply them to the next time some warmongering group of fools tries to take us to war, based on lies, deceptions, and half-truths.

    We can only say, "Never again."

    Thank you for that very powerful and eloquent essay. It should be shouted from the rooftops and in every town square and every city block across this land, but it won't be.

    We get to read it, and that matters.

    Liam Wescott
    Fairbanks

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  104. Can I copy/paste this whole post to my severely mentally/psychologically/personality challenged US representative (Bentivolio)? I'd like to send John McCain a copy too. Giving you full credit of course. Not sure the staff would bother following a link.

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  105. I imagine your hate mail is going to explode again. Plus your FB friend requests. Didn't you have enough "fun" the last time? I just wish we could get a DoJ that would actually do a real investigation into the lies that led us to war and put the criminal slime that did it behind bars permanently.

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  106. When we went to Iraq I was still working for the Army as a Civilian. I had to pretty much keep my opinions to my self, because.thinking the Iraq war was not a good thing, was not a good thing on an Army base. Now I am retired, I live in Alabama near my 14 and 15 year old grandsons and 18 year old granddaughter and live in fear of the draft if the republicans get their way. Because I can see another 10 years of worthless war. It thoroughly pisses me off that these assholes are so willing to use other peoples children as cannon fodder. I don't know what the answer is but I do know I would help anyone of my grandchildren disappear before I would allow them to be drafted for some rich fucker's benefit.

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  107. Thanks, Jim, for your righteous rant which perfectly captured my thoughts and anger. I do appreciate your way with words and share your blog widely.

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  108. We should all realize now that it was nothing else but the lying corporate SOB's and their political lackeys profiting from perpetual global chaos who are responsible and the real reasons behind the American War Machine... they've been getting away with it for almost 100 yrs.

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  109. Bravo! SK...you wrote so eloquently...even the cussing, making it all the more eloquent and AND powerful. Thank you for telling people who have actually read and listened to you what I, have been saying to one person at a time. I am very glad you have this pulpit...this forum for preaching what you seem to know so very well. Thank you.

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  110. Right on and thank you for expressing it so well. I am mostly with you up to the cause being BHO. Oh, he is high on the list for sure. Probably #2, but my thinking always leads me back to greed. Money. It is always the money and who gets it. Fuck everything else. And just to add insult to injury, this is all being done by males that can only use their little brains that are getting very low on hormones.

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  111. Again, you say what I cannot articulate in my sputtering, disbelieving rage at these people, and the citizens who support them.

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  112. Pardon a late entry in the grammar Nazi sweepstakes: "Maybe they should have had Colin Powell tell that wopper to the UN..." How about "whopper".

    Very powerful piece of writing, Sir! Thank you for saying so eloquently what needs to be said, and would that it could get to those who really need it.

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  113. (a) Yes, what you said. And

    2. It's late-ish and I'm stupid tired, so I may have just missed the ironic whatever, but for the record, the Dixie Chicks did not support the war. Natalie Maines, the one who spoke out about it, her daddy is Lloyd Maines, friend of many friends of mine, whom I shall be most happy to be seeing at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival next month. We're *all* of us a bunch of ol' Woody Guthrie Democrats, and yeah, no, not so much in the way of support for the war, then or now.

    And in conclusion: SQUIRREL!

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  114. Thank you very much for telling it like it was and like it is...in no uncertain terms. Every one of the thieving, lying, greedy sons of bitches that got us into Iraq and 'Afghastlystan' should all burn in Hell with a hot poker up their asses, especially Tricky Dick Cheney. That rat bastard and his ties to Halliburton, and all of their 'profit at all costs' cronies like Blackwater, General Electric, DHS Technologies, Martin Marietta, General Dynamics, KOCH Industries, Schlumberger and a dozen other major corporations reaped hundreds of billion of dollars on the blood and sacrifice of thousands of young American men and women. Now the CEO's and major shareholders of those companies are sailing luxury yachts around the Cayman Islands smoking fucking Macanudos with vaults FULL of offshore tax-free money at their disposal. I hope each and every one of those cocksuckers croaks in their tracks. The day that bastard Cheney dies they better not bury him in a public place like Arlington because I guarantee there will be a million people lining up outside the gates just for the chance to piss on his god damn grave...that SOB. This country deserves better than we have gotten from the no good criminal politicians and bloodsucking corporations who have been running the show, and running this nation down a rat hole for personal gain. Fuck the entire Middle East. If we took a time machine 500 years into the future and got out to look around those Muslim jerkoffs would STILL be fighting and killing one another, and still screaming Allah Akbar...Let them all kill one another down to the last person if that's what they want to do...just make sure we are left OUT of it.
    Thanks again for your very timely and absolutely truthful letter.

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  115. There was a comment somewhere in there that says they hate all the people that don't agree with them, so send 'em all to war. In essence, all the black people (pull 'em outta jail!!), all the libtards, all the Asian-Amurikans, Jews, immurgrants, uppity women..... you name 'em...... THEY can fight the wars for these guys that don't have to send THEIR kids..... the guys with the clean towels down in the gym, the white guy swimming pools.... whatever. And to HELL with the volunteer (kids-from-rural-trailer-parks-who-have-no-better-options-in-our-economy) armed service children of struggling parents. We need the fodder for WAR WAR WAR!!!!!! Go TEAM.

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  116. Thanks Jim. Your words alone are worth more than those of every one of these war mongering chicken hawks put together; the same death merchants we're forced to listen to every damn day when we turn on the evening news. It's like a horrible rerun of the worst reality show in history. Your essay was one I looked forward to and not only did you not disappoint, you once again outdid yourself.

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  117. Roger Woods, former MM3June 14, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    I served under a couple of square and fair Warrants during the South-East Asian War Games, still have my second place ribbons. Everything you have said in this blog could have been said 40 years ago of Vietnam.
    The cost of a war does not end with a treaty or armistice. The war ends when the last veteran of that war dies. I like your blog and will continue to follow it. Carry on sailor.

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  118. I protested in the streets the day we went to war in Iraq. They pepper-sprayed us, beat us, and took us to jail. They mocked us on the nightly news as fringe idiots who hated America. And when I went to high school the next day, I'll never forget how I was attacked by my classmates and friends as a misguided idiot, that I was the one hurting people by standing in the streets and raising my voice.

    I knew it was wrong, and nobody believed me... not my friends, my teachers, my city, my family... nowadays, everyone has a fucking opinion about it. But back in 2003, I remember it differently.

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  119. Beautifully written and a beautiful sentiment. I come with an honest question, though.

    Was this sentiment really not there among the Coalition's armed forces when over a million protesters took to the streets of London, and when the UN itself said there were no WMDs?

    This war was always horseshit. I've never seen such a vast and all-encompassing resistance to a conflict, especially not in Britain and the rest of Europe. Did all of those soldiers really, honestly believe Rumsfeld and co. were painting a credible story, when the rest of the world's media painted the exact opposite tale? Was the war sold that well in American, and literally nowhere else?

    This isn't a case of hindsight being 20/20; the resistance against this war was off the charts in Europe. It was unprecedented. Everything coming out of the States looked like absolute bullshit. You explain it brilliantly, Jim, and I'm in no way deluding myself that Europe's "better" or magically more enlightened than the States, or anything like that. I'm just surprised and confused by a lot of recent sentiment that "now" we know it was all for nothing, when that was always the case - it was the very reason the British government struggled so hard to even get the unpopular and potentially illegal war off the ground here in the first place.

    I'm looking for more context, I think, as I'm still confused.

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  120. This is amazing. I'm definitely sharing this within my own circles and will be following you from now on.

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  121. Magnificent rant there Jim. Well said, no punches pulled and clearly spoken from the heart.

    One minor typo I noted :

    "Ours, as they say, is not to reason why, ours is to but do and die, right? At least that’s what Rummy .. "

    Needs another 'to' in the but to die bit doesn't it?

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  122. My first thought thought was "Thank you, Jim." My second was "Watch your back, Jim." But I guess I've been reading too many thrillers lately. Or, maybe, it's just a wee flashback.

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you're always afraid
    Step out of line, the men come and take you away
    --Buffalo Springfield, 1967

    Ellen Horr, Houston, TX

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  123. As the saying goes, "war is profit" and in that respect, Mitt Zombie and the rest of the neo-clown shit heads have done just fine for themselves.

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  124. Amen.

    The thought of sending troops into combat without providing them a clear objective (yes, a strategic one) is absolutely UNCONSCIONABLE. Such an act of inhuman disregard, in and of itself, constitutes a war crime, in my opinion.

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  125. "You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
    We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!"

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  126. Thank you !!!!!!!! Brillant !!!

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  127. The overarching excuse I heard at the time, or at least when wasn't A.Q. or W.MD. was "Democracy". We were going to bomb them and shoot them until they all agreed to vote for a guy we would permit them to vote for, and then they were going to lie back and let us, through him, organize things until they all saw the light and sat up straight and started behaving the way we expected them to behave.

    Read any of Donald Rumsfeld's now declassified Top Secret policy and "strategy" papers from the time: he was playing fantasy football. With fantasy populations and fantasy villains and fantasy objectives.

    And obscene numbers of actual human beings had to bleed and suffer and die in the attempt to play out his fantasies.

    Mitt Romney is the same: he has never even tried to live in the real world. It's all fantasy to him. And John McCain is all about his own lurid fantasy about his own greatness, and nothing else. Except, as you say Jim, hatred for our President. But isn't our Presidents essential crime, in the eyes of people like Romney and McCain and those who follow them, isn't his essential crime his dogged refusal to buy into (at least most of) their fantasies?

    BB

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  128. Country Joe & The Fish did realy justice to the VN war with "Vietnam Song" Hell we even used to sing it around campfires as did many of my buddies in more harm's way than most people can imagine:

    Well come on all of you big strong men, Uncle Sam needs your help again,
    he got himself in a terrible jam, way down yonder in Vietnam,
    put down your books and pick up a gun, we're gunna have a whole lotta fun.

    CHORUS
    and its 1,2,3 what are we fightin for?
    don't ask me i don't give a dam, the next stop is Vietnam,
    and its 5,6,7 open up the pearly gates. Well there aint no time to wonder why...WHOPEE we're all gunna die.

    http://www.lyricsbox.com/country-joe-the-fish-lyrics-vietnam-song-live-from-woodstock-dzgc6jx.html

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  129. I believed Powell, too. Also the NYT had a great effect on me. But when Bush pulled the weapons inspectors out of Iraq, I knew the whole thing was a con. I think it will be years before we get the real story. A few people talked about Nixon sabotaging peace talks to win the election, but until recently it was not widely known. Thanks for your post; I trust the people who were fighting more than the people who were swanning around Georgetown restaurants.

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  130. Jim, I raise my mouse to you, sir. Excellent post!

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  131. Powerfully said. Thank you. I'm glad that Adam Troy-Castro (a big fan of your writing) shared enough of your astute and ass-kicking commentary to alert me to your blog.

    Incidentally, I was teaching World Religions at FSU when the Operation Iraqi Freedom began. My degree in comparative religion included a concentration in Islam, and I studied Arabic for three semesters to dip my toe into understanding the religion. I TOLD MY STUDENTS "UH-OH. THIS IS TERRIBLE: IT'S GOING TO QUICKLY DEGENERATE INTO A LONG, BLOODY CIVIL WAR BETWEEN SHIIITES AND SUNNIS. JUST WATCH."

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  132. Thank you for writing this. Very well done. I don't like to comment on blog posts without reading all of the comments first, but in this case I would be here a long time; a testament to the strength of the thinking put into this piece. Regardless, I'm fairly certain nobody is going to ask what I'm going to ask. In high school I was looking to the future, and I didn't see college as an option. I took the ASVAB test, and considered, briefly, the military option. Signing up meant putting my future into the hands of the US Government. Signing up meant help with paying for college when I got out, if I did not choose the military as a career option. The temptation to sign up after high school, when I was at an obvious turning point in my life, was strong. College seemed like a free range option, and the military seemed like a structured option: and letting someone else tell me where to go, what to do, was very attractive. I felt lost. Serving my country was not high on my list of reasons; I was a well-read youth, and I was acutely aware of US military and diplomatic actions in other countries: the support of despots and dictators. This was the mid-80s: Ronald Reagan was president, Maggie Thatcher was prime minister in the UK But the temptation to not have to make any real decisions on my own was strong. I had no idea who I was, or what I wanted to be. But one thing stopped me. It was possible, even likely, that I would be told to go somewhere, and kill another human being. Maybe not exactly like that: maybe not as a sniper. But even to be told to go to a war zone, or "police" zone, to enforce government policies I may not agree with, and to be put in a position to have to use a gun or weapon to kill another person (husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father), was a likely scenario. I didn't know who I was, but I did know that I had no right to take another life. So I chose to enter the workforce: not military; not college. A third option. I have asked a few military people if this was a consideration for them when they signed up, and none have said it was. So I'm wondering if my thinking was anomalous. Did you consider it? Did others? Is this something that you talked about with fellow enlistees?

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  133. I hope this goes as far and as wide on the internet as your writing on Bergdahl.

    Yes, republicans, enlighten us. I am still waiting to hear your thoughts on unemployment and your ideas on health care.
    We all know how you feel about a black POTUS but that's all I've heard for the last 6 years.
    You have destroyed your own party, and have started on this country.
    You will NOT talk us back into war and I think It is a perfect time to hold cheny bush and Rumsfeld accountable for their actions against the US.
    Yes a perfect time.

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  134. If there were a Louvre for op ed, this post should hang on a wall in it.

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  135. There are 3 answers to why we went into Iraq:
    1. You mentioned that the Iraq War made some well-connected people very rich at taxpayer expense (One of those people was a Richard B Cheney, one of the admitted war criminal the US is currently protecting from international law). This was a major motivating factor - it always is. For more on this subject, read Major General Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" (Butler was 1 of only 19 people to have received the Medal of Honor twice).

    2. As George Carlin put it when talking about the first Gulf War: "So, as I'm concerned, that whole thing in the Persian Gulf was nothing more than a big, prick waving dick fight. In this particular case, Saddam Hussein had questioned the size of George Bush's dick. And George Bush had been called a wimp for so long (wimp rhymes with limp), George's been called a wimp for so long that he has to act out his manhood fantasies by sending other people's children to die. Even the name, "Bush", even the name Bush is related to the genitals without being the genitals. A bush is sort of a passive secondary sex characteristic. Now, if this man's name had been George Boner, well he may have felt a little better about himself and we wouldn't have had any trouble over there in the first place. "

    3. The guys who pushed most heavily for war within the Bush administration (particularly Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz) had spent the last decade involved with a group called Project for the New American Century (PNAC). They pushed for war in Iraq several times during the Clinton administration, and in September of 2000 released a report that described a plan to attack countries in the Middle East, starting with Iraq, followed by Iran, in order to gain control of the oil fields of the Middle East. The idea was to take control of all major sources of oil, then cut off supplies of oil to Russia and possibly China, and watch their economies drag to a halt, after which the US could take over the remaining portion of the world that it currently has no control over. They were just waiting for "a new Pearl Harbor" to justify their actions, and they got one on 9/11/2001.

    You can understand why they didn't tell America about those reasons.

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  136. Jim Wright, I salute you, sir, and thank you for putting the powerful truth in finer form than I could muster.

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  137. Right ON, Jim!

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  138. I join the author in his most vehement dislike of the hating warmongers that control the budgets and minds of so much of the US. Fuck them? No. They deserve far worse.

    However, my one problem with this piece is the idea that the deaths of US soldiers is somehow a greater tragedy than the deaths of Iraqi civilians. No. When someone signs up to go shoot people and get shot at, they should expect to get shot. When you're just going to the grocery store or taking your kid to school, or sleeping in your bed.... that's really not fair. And until the average Amurkin can see that, can FEEL that in their guts, then sadly, the people of most of the rest of the world will continue to be towel heads, camel jockeys, insignificant little brown people, etc. And also they will continue to be increasingly pissed off.

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  139. Following 9/11 my idealistic eldest son enlisted to engage in the War on Terror. He didn't take any phone calls while there except from his wife and 4 month old daughter. He didn't answer his letters...not from his wife....his mother....or his father. And he came home changed. He won't talk about it, but whatever he saw in Iraq resulted in a very different, disillusioned, angry man. I may never know what happened.

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