Topic: General News.
A few days ago there was news that a four star general had been cashiered. I thought, gosh, this probably has something to do with some sort of prisoner abuse scandal, right? Forget that, no general officer ever gets fired for that. No, what we have here a case of adultery!
General Kevin P. Byrnes has been relieved of his duties at the Army Training and Doctrine Command because he was having an affair with a civilian, even though he’s been separated from his wife since 2004. (His mistake was taking so long to get divorced.) “He was told to knock it off, and he ignored it and continued the affair,” says a senior army official. Byrnes is a highly decorated officer and was about to retire.
Obviously, having a consensual, adult relationship is an offence sufficiently egregious enough that it must be dealt with severely. Byrnes might even face a court martial. Marching boldly into the 19th century, the Army’s Manual on Court Martial describes adultery as “unacceptable conduct” and----this is the best part---the Uniform Code of Military Justice considers those who do it to be “bringing discredit on the military.” [NYT]
In contrast to Byrnes, General John Abizaid, who let troops under his command get out of control at Abu Ghraib, gets a pass.
So what that his soldiers stacked naked prisoners into pyramids, walked them around on leashes, and attacked them with police dogs? At least he wasn’t sticking his pen in the company ink. Some people actually think he should be held responsible. Poppycock! It’s not like Abu Ghraib has damaged the Muslim world’s impression of the US Army or brought dishonor upon the Institution. Heaven’s to Betsy, no! How was he supposed to what was going on? He was only in command!
I worked with a reservist MP, who was in Iraq from the beginning of the war up to 2004 just before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. He said everybody he knew was taking pictures of Iraqis in various degrading poses under their control and bragging about hitting prisoners with rifle butts etc. A lowly sergeant in a Virginia reserve unit knew about this, but the commanding general didn’t. That’s pretty impressive.
You know, it was just a bunch of young recruits running amok, their officers were oblivious. The military, after all, is pretty much a group of individuals free-lancing. Haven’t you heard the slogan, “Army Of One?” No one is accountable. If this is really what’s going on over there, we’ve got bigger problems than just degraded equipment and inadequate armor.
Speaking of the Guard and Reserve:
32 Guardsmen have died in Iraq in the first ten days of this month. There is a mounting concern among communities around the country that their local firemen and police officers and husbands and fathers are being sacrificed because units of the active service are getting better training and equipment.
My friend in the reserve said he got his flak jacket at the beginning of the war but didn’t receive the armor plates that go inside the jacket for almost six months into his deployment. That’s just one case, right?
Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, questions pentagon spokesperson Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke’s contention that the military will “not deploy a soldier, sailor, or Marine who is not fully trained and prepared for the mission.” (My friend must have the one who fell through the cracks.) O’Hanlon says, “It is hard to believe that most reservists in Iraq are really as strong as active duty troops, especially when they first arrive in country.”
But, you can believe the pentagon, they’ve been absolutely correct about every aspect of the Iraq war so far. Don’t believe some academic egghead. Remember, Rummy said before the war that it would “last six days, six weeks, I doubt six months.” He was right on, except for the six days, six weeks, no more than six months part. Of course, he also knew exactly were the WMD was, south, west, east and north somewhat of Baghdad. Need I say more?
By the way, Rummy is hosting a parade to honor those who died on 9/11. The marchers will go from the Pentagon to the National Mall where they will rock out to Clint Black, to show their support for the war in Iraq, which has nothing to do with 9/11, but has more targets to bomb than Afghanistan does. Next is the plan to reenact the battle of Kolberg using 20,000 US troops as extras!
We don’t the read polls. The president is busy doing the people’s business. (Because the business of America; is business.)
In any case, a new poll finds 59% of Americans think Bush is doing a rotten job of handling the war. Only 38% now support the W.’s handling of the situation. 50% think all that “progress” we’re making over there is just a desert mirage. Considering the fact that 2/3s of Americans think the war is making us less safe, only 12% think we should just pull out right now. The common opinion seems to be that we just can’t leave now, because all these deaths will have been for nothing.
The truth is, this war is and has been totally meaningless. It was conceived in a lie, it never had anything to do with 9/11 and it hasn’t made us any less vulnerable to another attack. No matter how long we continue to bang our heads against this brick wall, it won’t justify the 1,846 deaths that it has caused. The only way to honor those who have sacrificed everything for their country is to save the soldiers still over there by bringing them back here and holding those responsible for all this death and misery accountable.
Another turning point:
As I write this, the Iraqi constitution is still up in the air. Even if the Iraqis actually do present a draft version today, there is no guarantee that either the Sunnis, or the Kurds won’t kill it in a referendum in October over disputes about religion and regional concerns. Among all the hot button issues like federalism and oil money is another very important concern that hasn’t made it into the mainstream media here. Tribalism. Along with religion, the tribal aspect of Iraqi society is crucial.
This important getting-to-know-you moment happened for the Army in Fallujah in April 2003 when soldiers fired on a group of unarmed protesters, killing 19 of them. The Army soon found themselves having to pay blood money to keep Fallujah’s tribes from trying to kill our soldiers in revenge, which is obligatory when another tribe kills one of its members.
Two years later, powerful tribal leaders, who are also in the national assembly, are trying to get tribal codes enshrined in the constitution. The FT writes this would mean the “legitimizing of a traditional system of dispute resolution.”
Such anachronisms as: ‘nahi in which a woman’s paternal cousin can marry her, and kill anyone else who does so—or fasl settlements, in which transgressing tribes offer their daughters to aggrieved tribes, who can either marry them or take them as servant girls,” would become the law of the land. [Maybe, Bush could make the insurgents sweet by giving up the twins?]
Tribes also take an indulgent view on ‘honor killings,’ which is what I thought we were fighting to get rid of in Afghanistan. It’ll be interesting to see if this gets into the final version of the constitution and how the Bush administration will spin it if it does. [Note: the delivery of the constitution has been delayed.]
Another reason Bush should fire Karl Rove:
Not for the obvious reasons, the Plame leak, but for the tone-deaf handling Cindy Sheehan’s Crawford vigil. Here’s a forty something mother who’s son was killed in Iraq asking the president who sent him there to explain his death to her. Instead of just talking to her and defusing the situation, he speaks to her through the press and then zips past her in his tinted windowed SUV on the way to a $2 million fundraiser!
Oh, and by the way, he has now become the most rested president in history, surpassing even Ronald Reagan for vacation time. Is the Turd Blossom on vacation, too? (Where’s Karen Hughes when you need her?) Meanwhile, six more US troops were killed in Iraq over the weekend. Every day he ignores the grieving mother camped out on his doorstep, is another day the American people are reminded he’s on vacation as the casualties continue to mount.
Curt Weldon dissed by 9/11 commission:
WaPo:: 9/11 “Commission leaders Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton said in a joint statement that panel staff members has found no documents or other witnesses to back up claims by a US Navy officer, who told the commission staff in July 2004 that he recalled seeing Atta’s name and photograph on a chart prepared by another officer…’none of the documents turned over to the commission mention Mohmad Atta or any of the future hijackers.’”
Curt Weldon, despite this embarrassing rebuff, says, “I will continue to push for a full accounting of the historical record,” even if doesn’t exist. The “Able Danger” data mining project, run out of the Army’s Special Operations command, according to Weldon’s “source, ‘ identified three of the 9/11 hijackers as living in Brooklyn in 1999 or 2000.
Unfortunately, Atta didn’t enter the country until 2001. Weldon arguing for his full accounting of the historical record says, “Able Danger isn’t about dates and times “ (What do dates and times have to do with history?), it’s about, “linkages and associations of individuals identified with direct links to al-Qaeda.”
Right, but he wasn’t in the US, never mind Brooklyn; so, what the hell are you talking about Curt? The commission statement went on to say that the Navy officer’s “account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revising the report [On 9/11] or further investigation.” The same might be said Weldon’s super Sybil Manchir Ghobanifar.