Brains or Brawn

Senator Obama got it right. McCain didn’t. Even Governor Palin got it right, for which she will probably spend another week on the leash.

Obama said and both Biden & Palin concurred that if we knew Osama bin Laden, our arch enemy was being sheltered in Pakistan and we knew where, we should go in and get him. Pakistan be damned.

McCain, however says that’s a no-no, Pakistan is a sovereign nation. McCain said don’t go after bin Laden?

Scratching my head, I think, If Osama bin Laden, who is directly responsible for the death of three thousand innocent American citizens and all the NATO & Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan and with Bush’s help, forty some thousand dead and maimed in Iraq and is America’s public enemy number one, is pinpointed in Pakistan where everyone knows he is, why the eff not go get him?

Just who is the real warrior here? Barack Obama? He’s the guy with the brains. Joe Biden? He’s the guy with the experience. Sarah Palin? She’s got moxy. (but not my vote)

Oh, that’s right we have to finish the job Bush started in Eyerack.

October 5, 2008. Tags: , . Democrats, Humor, McCain, Obama, Palin, politics, President, Republicans, Terrorism, Vice Presidency. 3 comments.

Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World

While women can be mistreated by individuals in any society, Islam, at least extreme Islam, sanctifies the systemic abuse of all women.

“A man loves first his son, then his camel, and then his wife”
Arab Proverb

This book, written in 1995 by Jan Goodwin, describes the sometimes gruesome position many women find themselves in just by living in many predominantly Muslim countries. It lays out a theory wherein the rising popularity of militant, extreme, Fundamentalist Islam is the main reason for the deterioration of the rights of Muslim women, as these Islamists increase they’re power base at the expense of women’s rights. Goodwin goes on to say that there is little or no basis in the Koran (the Islamic Holy Book) for the deteriorating position of women in many Muslim countries. The scope of women’s disenfranchisement varies from mild to severe from country to country as Goodwin addresses conditions in the ten countries she visited. It also varies according to the beliefs of branch of Islam to which the woman’s family belongs, Fundamentalist being the most oppressive. She also describes how this creeping tide of militant fundamentalist Islam in a danger to mainstream Islam and moderate Muslims. Though life in moderate or mainstream Muslim societies is very hard on most women it borders on slavery under extreme societies.

“There is no fun in Islam”
Ayatollah Khomeini

In the Peoples Islamic Republic of Iran, Khomeini lowered the marriage age for females from eighteen to thirteen (ya hear that Jerry Lee), but permitted girls as young as nine, even seven in some cases to be married if a physician signs a certificate agreeing to their sexual maturity. (pedophilia heaven). However, to the Ayatollah’s credit, he drew the line at seven, stating that it is forbidden to have sex with girls under seven!

“If a man and woman are alone in one place, the third person present is the devil”
Prophet Mohammad

“Under the law as it stands in Pakistan, women who have been raped can be charged with adultery or fornication. The proof required for zina (sex outside of wedlock including rape) is that there be four Muslim adult males of “good repute” present who can attest to the act of sexual penetration. No male witnesses of good repute, of course, are likely to stand and watch a rape in progress without trying to stop it. And because of this requirement it becomes impossible to punish the rapists. Instead the victim is prosecuted. Her legal complaint of rape is considered a confession of illicit sexual intercourse.”

“The majority of Muslim women find their lives controlled by their closest male relative. They are the daughters whose future marriage partners continue to be determined by their fathers. They are the brides who must be virgins on their wedding nights in a culture where, if they are not, honor killings are common and often carried out by the girls own brothers”


Muslim Irony

Fundamentalists restrict women from working, leaving the house unescorted and unveiled, being clergy, driving, reading the Koran, marrying an infidel, going to school after the sixth grade if at all and more.

The Irony of this treatment is in this Quote: “Such restrictions on women are necessary. They are to protect women’s honor and they are also a symbol of our enormous respect for women”

CONCLUSION

This book and several others like it document the ugly, onerous, abhorrent living conditions perpetrated on many Muslim women by Muslim men in the name of Islam. In fairness, The Author has on numerous occasion stated there is no basis for this treatment in the tenets of Islam. In Islam, especially the fundamentalist version religion is power. The Clergy gain power by elevating their male adherents, as do the adherents, over the females. They also gain power by espousing enmity toward a common enemy as Khomeni did toward the U.S. This is the politics of Theocrats. (The last three sentences are my observations)

As for the book, I highly recommend it. It’s 358 pages is well written, easy to read, compelling and chuck full of insights. The author, Jan Goodwin, did a tremendous amount of research, visiting and living in some ten countries, interviewing hundreds of, sometimes shy and reluctant, women to publish this very comprehensive book. Many of these women gave interviews, even though it endangered them. A couple observations I came away with is that the exception of Saudi Arabia, the holy seat of Islam, the quality of women’s living conditions increased with the wealth of the country or in large countries the area. Also it seemed to me that for the average Muslim male, appearances took precedence over the welfare of his womenfolk.

There are so many other things I would like to bring out, like how many Muslim women are malnourished by getting only leftovers, while doing three times the work of her counterpart but you really need to read the book.

July 27, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Atrocity, Islam, misogyny, religion, review, Sharia, Shiite, Sunni, Terrorism, Wahabism. 9 comments.

Too Much Clout for Iowa (and New Hampshire)! Too much Power for Evengelicals!

Am I mad. You bet I am. Every four years, two people get nominated to run for President of our fair country–all fifty states. Do I have any say in who gets nominated? Hell No! Do you have any say in who gets nominated? Not unless you live in Iowa or New Hampshire or possibly South Carolina. That’s right. The caucuses and primaries in two, sometimes three, rarely four under populated, relatively insignificant states, for better or worse (usually worse) always choose our candidates for president. The other ninety-seven percent of the population can go to hell.

Now, if you happen to live in one of the three or four deciding states, please don’t take what I say personal, you lucky dogs. I personally think the time for a national primary has arrived, but assuming things aren’t going to change, you people have an obligation to choose the best candidate for the rest of the country and frankly you haven’t. In hindsight one could argue that in 2000 and 2004 you gave us the worst candidate and Iowa, in 2008 you may have done it again. Mike (Huckster) Huckabee?

Ahhh. The Evangelicals. I’m about to ruffle some feathers here. It never ceases to amaze me how selfish this group can be. To the detriment of everything else their main concern always seems to be social issues. They got their man in 2000/2004 and look what it got us, two wars (one unprovoked and unwarranted), two trillion in additional debt, three, soon to be four dollar a gallon gas, disdain around the world, tax relief for the rich and an epidemic of corporate greed and fraud to name a few.

To the Evangelicals, think about it. Do social issues have anything to do with prosecuting a war, dealing with national emergencies, dealing with our former friends and enemies overseas, dealing with the energy crisis, curbing our national debt, providing affordable health care, or dealing with terrorists?

Mike (Huckster) Huckabee? The only candidate that has stated he believes in creation. Forget billions of years of sedimentary and fossil evidence. Forget Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. For this man, the earth and life upon it began seven thousand years ago. (sometime after the first pyramid was built.)

Yes, Mike Huckabee is likable and charismatic, but I think we’ve learned that charisma doesn’t run a smooth government. The man was an apprentice to Jerry Falwell. He was a preacher for chrissake. Evangelicals, if you want to be taken seriously, go do some good in the world and stop trying to shove your religion down my throat.

January 4, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . candidate, ethics, Evangelicals, fairness, George W. Bush, lobbists, overated, Overzealous, politicians, politics, President, President Bush, primary, pro life, science, Terrorism. Leave a comment.

The Bush Legacy

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The Bottom Line
Where previous books I’ve read on the Bush adventure have taken us to and briefly beyond our initial occupation, Fiasco takes through 2004, with in depth analysis of the insurgency.

The brand new book by Thomas Ricks’– Fiasco, provides the reader with an informative assessment of the conception, planning, prosecution and aftermath of the unprovoked invasion of Iraq. Intentional or not, Fiasco ends up as an indictment of, not only the Bush Administration, but the military itself for extremely poor judgment at the least and malfeasance at the most.

Ricks goes into some detail lining out to chain of events, naming the patrons of the war and their motives, along the way, which led to the war. He also describes the planning, or mis-planning if you wish, of the war, but the majority of the book centers on the immediate aftermath of the invasion, from April of 2003 through 2004. Ricks lays out the argument that during this period, Phase IV of the war (the aftermath) was so bungled that we were within an eyelash of turning victory into defeat. He also maintains that this mishandling was so endemic and pervasive that the outcome is still in doubt.

Summary

Ricks postulates that the Iraqi war was contrived by neo-conservatives led by Paul Wolfowitz, justified by handpicked intelligence, much of which had been discounted. He goes on to say the military planning was altered time and again by the overbearing Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield, who at one time proposed an invasion force of ten thousand men.

Then after the successful invasion, despite a flawed plan, which totally by passed the ultimate enemy and the backbone of the future insurgency — the Fedayeen, our troops throughout the country stood by as witnesses to the greatest act of thievery in the history of the world, as looters stole Iraq. This was the result of having too few boots on the ground, a fact that haunts us (the military) to this day. A result of the widespread looting of Iraq, besides requiring billions to replace, was that it set a tone for lawlessness in Iraq. It also made our troops appear indecisive, which they were.

Ultimately, the biggest sin the military committed was a sin of omission. Purposely or not, they refused to recognize the character of the war they were in (with Rumsfield’s help) as an insurgency and act accordingly. The lessons of the insurgency we fought in Viet Nam seem to have been lost as a bad dream and the military insisted on fighting a brutal conventional war. This was a major error in strategy.

Last but not least, the tactics used by our military lost the backing and respect of the Iraqi people and fueled the fire of the insurgency, which the generals refused to fight as such.

Conclusion

As a newspaper reporter, Ricks’ writing takes on a news reporting style of writing — very compelling, very smooth and very easy to read. While the writer does perform an occasional analysis, the book seems to center around hundreds of quotation bites and the author’s attendant explanations and elaborations.

Of course, this means that there are many opinions mixed in with the reported facts and history. Still, I give these opinions credence for two reasons — the high quantity of similar views within the book and the fact that these views mirror conventional wisdom and other publications.

Being an opponent of the war, this book was a vindication, of sorts, for the deductions I had arrived at. The Bush Administration took us to war with a marginal war plan and no plan whatsoever for reconstruction, disengagement or exit. I find it incongruous that the Administration is constantly saying the Democrats had no plan for Iraq, when they, themselves, had no plan.

By the way, according to this book, Jay Garner the one time reconstruction czar, who was unceremoniously dumped after two weeks, originally voiced the one plan the Administration keeps harping on — “we’ll stand down when they stand up,” in an unapproved speech: a speech for which he was chastised, but from which their big plan evolved. The plan of course was poorly implemented and has yet to bear fruit.

The true irony of the war was that the approach the Administration took toward the war. The parsimonious use of troops, telling the generals to expect redeployment in a matter of months and trying to fight the war on the cheap, actually had the opposite effect by adding to the longevity of the war and running the cost into the hundreds of billions.

I give this book a five star rating.

November 18, 2007. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . attack, Baghdad, Cheney, George W. Bush, Iraq, Islam, liberators, lies, politics, President Bush, Rumsfeld, Saudi Arabia, Shiite, slam dunk, Sunni, Syria, Terrorism. Leave a comment.

A Review of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades)

The Bottom Line
Most followers of Islam maintain their faith is a religion of peace and Allah (God) is merciful. Yet, the jihadists are even more vocal about their aggressive, destructive ways being directly from the Qur’an, therefore Allah (God).

Who’s right? They both are. Remember Muslim hordes set out in the seventh and eighth century to conquer the world and convert all infidels (non believers) to Islam. The fact is, the Qur’an and other Islamic holy books are full of contradictions, so if you are looking for answers to questions you may have about Islam, you won’t find them here. But, if you want to know what kind of people we are fighting against and why, this book will tell you.

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In this timely, hot button book, Robert Spencer examines the motivation and goals of, not necessarily, just the terrorists alone but fellow extremists and, by association, all Muslims in general.

He claims there is a substantial quantity of misinformation being disseminated about Islam, some officially and some by apologists. Islam, which, translates into surrender, appears to be aptly named since there was plenty of surrendering going on among Islam’s perceived enemies in the first hundred and fifty years of the religion. That’s when aggressive, ruthless armies of the Prophet Muhammad, poured out of Arabia, spreading the nascent religion across a swath of Africa and Asia from the Atlantic Ocean to India. Later Indonesia and parts of India, Thailand, China, Malaysia and the Philippines were added. The victims of this onslaught were given three options: surrender and convert to Islam, surrender and become a dhimmi (a second-class citizen subject to onerous taxation) or DEATH.

This area is home to some one point two billion Muslims, which Spencer claims are all potential enemies of the rest of the inhabitants of the globe. The reasoning is that the seeds of confrontation are intertwined within the fabric of Islam, through the Muslim holy book and he cites various passages from the Qur’an to substantiate his theory. At the head of these passages is Jihad, which means struggle. The struggle, according to Spencer is to struggle against the infidels (non-believers) to achieve a position of preeminence where Islam reigns supreme.

We all know that this is what bin Laden wants but it’s been widely reported that this view is a perversion of Islam. According to Spencer, this is straight out of the Qur’an and the perversion is that this information is being withheld from the public, ostensibly to not engender additional angst with John Q. Public. Even mainstream Muslim’s seem to have trouble coming to grips that their holy book is the basis of so much terrorism and could be so inconsistent.

Other passages that should be of concern to Westerners are the traditions of deceit and duplicity. Muslims should not befriend infidels and it’s expected that they should lie to them (but not Muslims). If they do befriend an infidel, it should only be to gain an advantage and any agreements with infidels are again, to gain an advantage and if no longer needed, should be discarded. No wonder Israel cannot get a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Spencer also takes a cursory look at the Crusades. He states that, although they appear to have been a waste of time and manpower, they kept the Muslims at bay for almost two hundred years. Spencer believes this gave the Europeans just enough time to build their strength and technology to hold their own when the Islamic hordes, once again set their sights there.

Even so, there are large pockets of Muslims left over from Jihadists incursions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania and Spain. It is Spencer’s contention that without the Crusades we might all be on our knees five times a day facing Mecca. However, that still might happen since an estimated fifteen million Muslim immigrants, with more daily, have inundated Europe. As we’ve all seen on the news recently with bombings in London and Madrid and riots in France, these immigrants can be problematic, but they also could become a fifth column.

Conclusion

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) is the kind of book that can get under your skin if you let it. I’m sure it’s accurate and factual and in comparison to other similar books I’ve read, specifically, about the plight of Muslim women, it backed what I had previously read. However, it seems to me, to be written with a conservative slant. It seems to highlight the worst of Islam, giving only perfunctory concessions to other views. The fact that Regnery Publishing, a well-known right wing publisher, published the book reinforces that feeling.

As for the author, Robert Spencer, he did a good job of presenting his case in a fluid, easily understandable and readable style. I personally believe what he wrote but many would feel it wasn’t balanced. He is obviously well versed on the subject of the book, providing the chapter/verse in the Qur’an, wherever he paraphrases a passage. He has a thorough knowledge of the subject and puts his views forward in a believable method. In addition, he provides many interesting sidebars where there are comparisons of the teachings of Muhammad and Jesus, quotes from historic figures, Books You’re Not Supposed to Read and Just Like Today segments.

Spencer makes several good points, such as saying our war on terror is incorrectly named, terror being a tactic. He says the enemy is the Jihadists and the war should be so named. I also got a kick out of Spencer’s term for outrageous, seventy-two virgins in heaven Muslim belief. He called it bordello paradise.

Frankly, if you are looking for some good news about the Muslims, this book is not for you, unless you consider learning more about their downside, good news. The bottom line, according to Spencer, is their can be no long-term peaceful co-existence with the Muslim society unless they modify the aggressive tenants of the Qur’an. Don’t hold your breath.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) is 231 pages and contains eighteen chapters. They are titled:

1] Muhammad: Prophet of War
2] The Qur’an: The Book of War
3] Islam: Religion of War
4] Islam: Religion of Intolerance
5] Islam Oppresses Women
6] Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, Kill
7] How Allah Killed Science
8] The Lure of Islamic Paradise
9] Islam – Spread by the Sword? You Bet.
10] Why the Crusades were called
11] The Crusades: Myth and Reality
12] What the Crusades Accomplished – And What They Didn’t
13] What if the Crusades Had Never Happened?
14] Islam and Christianity: Equivalent Traditions?
15] The Jihad Continues
16] “Islamophobia” and Today’s Ideological Jihad
17] Criticizing Islam May Be Hazardous to Your Health
18] The Crusade We Must Fight Today

November 3, 2007. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Atrocity, attack, Baghdad, Cheney, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Islam, President Bush, Saudi Arabia, Sharia, Shiite, Sunni, Syria, Terrorism, women. 6 comments.

Execution of a teenager – A followup

Here is a follow-up of the blog I posted October, 17th.

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Neka (northern Iran), Aug 31 – The orphaned 16-year-old girl hanged in front of residents in this town close to the Caspian Sea on August 15 suffered years of brutal violence, exploitation and torture in the hands of relatives, local officials and plain strangers, and in a country where girls are the most vulnerable members of society, she had no one to go to for help.

The tragic picture emerges from dozens of interviews conducted by an Iran Focus correspondent with Atefeh Rajabi’s classmates, friends, relatives and neighbors in this humid, overcrowded industrial town that sits on a busy highway linking Tehran with the north of the country.

The hanging of Atefeh Rajabi has shocked the residents of Neka, who still differ widely in their assessment of the girl, but none voices support for the punishment that she has received. An air of tension and eerie silence hangs over the town’s smoke-filled tea-houses, or chaikhanehs, where men spend hours chatting quietly in clusters of three or four over tea. In a summer month like August, business should be booming in this town as thousands of Tehran residents flock to the sandy beaches of the Caspian. But right now, the visitors are for the most part not holidaymakers.

“There are lots of strangers who come and we are used to them,” says Askar, a young shopkeeper who sells a variety of citrus fruit jams. “But right now, all of them are asking about the girl. They want to know who she was and how she died.”

The shock of Atefeh’s execution has gone far beyond this town. Even in a country that has the highest number of executions in the world and routinely executes minors, Iranians across the nation have been bewildered by accounts of the hanging of a 16-year-old girl. The fact that the religious judge himself put the rope around her neck and the letters of “congratulations” from the town’s governor to the judge, commending him for his “firm approach” have only added to the torment and pain many say they have felt.

“Atefeh was not a well-behaved girl, that’s for sure. But do you hang a girl for having sex with an unmarried man?” asked Fariba, a girl in Atefeh’s neighborhood, who like many others did not want to be identified.

According to judicial records, by the time Atefeh was 16, she had been convicted five times of having sex with unmarried men. Each time she spent some time in jail and was given 100 lashes (Under Iran’s law, punishment for having sex with a married man would have been far heavier.)

Atefeh’s father is an unemployed drug addict whose whereabouts are not known. Her mother died when Atefeh was still a child and she was left in the care of her octogenarian grandparents, which meant no care at all.

“She was abused by a close relative,” says Mina, one of the few girls in Neka who identify themselves as Atefeh’s friends. “But she never dared even to talk about it to anyone. Tell your teachers? They’ll call you a whore. Tell the police? They lock you up and rape you. Better keep your mouth shut.”

Mina sobs as she recalls her friend’s tormented life, but many of these horrendous experiences are everyday facts of life for girls being brought up under a rigid theocratic regime that has institutionalized misogyny in its laws and practices.

“She sometimes talked about what these ‘Islamic moral policemen’ did to her while she was in jail. She still had nightmares about that. She said Behshahr Prison was the Hell itself.”

Alijan, a local grocer with graying hair, said many parents did not want Atefeh to socialize with their kids, because they thought she would have a corrupting influence on other young girls.

“Who can blame them?” he said, with a deep sigh. “In this country, if you’re a man and you go to jail, you can forget about having a future. Now imagine if a girl goes to jail. She was hopeless.”

“I knew this girl very well and she did not deserve what they did to her,” explains a middle-aged woman who once taught Atefeh in the local girls’ school. “She was lively, intelligent, and, of course, rebellious. She wouldn’t take injustice from anyone. But the authorities here equate these qualities in a girl to prostitution and evil. They wanted to give all the girls and women a lesson.”

Hamid was one of those fathers in the neighborhood who did not want her two daughters to befriend Atefeh, but with hindsight, he feels the guilt of not having done anything to help the girl.

“I think the most devastating event in her life was the death of her mother,” Hamid said. “Before that, she was a normal girl. Her mother was everything to her. When she died, she had no one to look after her.”

A pharmacist, whose shop is not far away from the Railway Square, where Atefeh was hanged, recalls her final, painful hour. “When agents of the State Security Forces brought her to the gallows, I felt cold sweat running down my back. She looked so young and innocent, standing there in the middle of all these bearded men in military fatigues. Judge Reza’i must have felt a personal grudge against her. He put the rope around her neck and left her dangling on the gallows for 45 minutes. I looked around and everyone in the crowd was sobbing and damning the mullahs for doing this to our young people.”

Atefeh had no access to a lawyer at any stage and her death sentence was upheld by a Supreme Court that is dominated by fundamentalist mullahs. Haji Rezaii, the religious judge, was reportedly so incensed with Atefeh’s “sharp tongue” during the trial that he travelled to Tehran to convince the mullahs of the Supreme Court to uphold the death sentence.

The tragically short life of Atefeh Rajabi its brutal end are a reminder of the plight of millions of girls in a country where, according to state-owned newspapers, 75 percent of the population live below the poverty line, 66 percent of women are victims of some form of domestic violence, and over 70 percent of women suffer from varying degrees of depression. Iran remains, in the words of UN Human Rights Rapporteur Maurice Copithorne, “a prison for women.”

October 25, 2007. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Atrocity, Iran, Islam, misogyny, murder, Sharia, Terrorism, women. 6 comments.

The Bush Legacy continues – Bush’s Five Biggest Lies

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The Five Biggest Lies was not the first book I’ve read on George W. Bush and or his misadventure and it probably won’t be the last. Obviously, from the title, one can deduct that this is not a book that praises the forty-third president. The book is well written and planned and is generally about what the title describes – the five major fallacies that were given as the rationale for the unprovoked aggression of Iraq. It is basically set forth in an outline style, starting with an introduction, then a chapter on the reasoning and methodology behind the deception. The deceptions themselves follow, with a chapter allocated to each lie, followed by the conclusion.

The chapters outlining the five lies are titled by the lies:
1. Al Qaeda’s ties to Iraq.
2. Iraq’s Chemical and Biological Weapons
3. Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons
4. The War Will Be a ‘Cakewalk’
5. Iraq as a Democratic Model
6. Conclusion

Al Qaeda’s ties to Iraq

The authors methodically expose this deceit pointing to the fact that all of the prewar suppositions regarding an alleged tie between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had previously been discredited. Yet, as in the pattern of other falsehoods, these lies mysteriously found their way back into the conversations and speeches of administration officials.

Iraq’s Chemical and Biological Weapons

Another stretch by the administration that had been debunked previously, even as the administration members continued to talk about Chemical and Biological WMD. They shamelessly continued to use this discounted intelligence as a pretext for invasion. Even though the United States and the UN had Hussein in a box, in control of only a third of his country and was unable to reconstitute chemical and biological programs; the administration pointed to this phantom program as a grave world threat.

Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons

This may have been the largest and most damaging of the fabrications. Everything that the administration put forward to justify their mushroom cloud scenario had already been discredited numerous times and in many ways, yet the people in Rumsfeld’s personal intelligence gatherers, whose only purpose was to dig up intelligence that would support the administration position, wouldn’t let it die. This despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there was no evidence of any kind of WMD in Iraq and weapon inspectors had come up empty. Vice President Cheney in no uncertain terms said they were “Flat wrong.” Well, the head of IAEA ended up with a Nobel Peace Prize and we ended up with a quagmire.

The War Will be a ‘Cakewalk’

Here again the administration’s leading Hawk, VP Cheney was head cheerleader for invasion by going on TV and saying the war would be a “cakewalk.” Others treated the invasion in a cavalier manner as well. The administration planned on reducing troop levels to 30,000 troops within three months.

The authors point out that this may be the only inadvertent lie, with administration officials truly believing their own hyperbole in this case.

Iraq as a Democratic Model

This is, of course, the back up rationale for the invasion of Iraq, but it was the primary policy on a position of expansion and policing, which authors put forth in the conclusion.
The authors don’t disagree with the idea of a model democracy in the Middle East but it is generally conceived that if such an event were to occur it would have to be nurtured, not imposed from the end of a gun.

Conclusion

The authors postulate that the invasion of Iraq was the first salvo in a new grandiose, radical foreign policy of deterrence by aggression. In doing this the administration made numerous assumptions, all of which turned out to be fallacious. Instead the results of the invasion had the opposite effect, bogging us down in Iraq, helpless to confront other developing mischief in the globe, ie. Iran and North Korea.

My Thoughts

This book only deals with the lead up to the war and the very beginnings, having being published in October, 2003, yet the authors seem quite prescient, having correctly predicting the present situation in Iraq.

Like the other similar books I have devoured, it is meant to be informative and factual. It is probably directed at the average Bush supporter who seem to shun being confused with facts and therefore would not be caught within a mile of such ‘dreck.’

Therefore this book and others like it serve as kindling, inflaming the passions of those of us that believe Dubya is, at best, a study in mediocrity. It reinforces our incredulity that this man was re-elected. I don’t know about others, but it makes be mad at the voters that voted, with whatever stupid reason in mind, for Bush. I can truthfully say, not a day goes by that I haven’t marveled at the fact that this man is our President.

October 20, 2007. Tags: , , , , , , , . attack, Baghdad, Books, Cheney, George W. Bush, President, President Bush, review, Rumsfeld, slam dunk, Terrorism, Vice Presidency, Watergate. 3 comments.

Iranian Justice (Based on Islamic law)

On August 8, 2004, Atefeh Rajabi, a sixteen year old girl, was executed in the Iranian city of Neka. Officially, her crime was ‘acts incompatible with chastity.’ Unofficially, it was because she was a free spirit in a dogmatic theocracy, doing what she wanted and thumbing her nose at authority in the form of the stupid Iranian laws

An example had to be made and made it was as the teenager, Atefeh Rajabi dangled from the end of a crane in a square for forty-five minutes.

The late not so great Ayatollah Khomeini, was quoted as saying “There is no fun in Islam.” Obviously this is true, unless you happen to be one one the misanthropes who run the misbegotten hunk of desert called Iran.

The following is a reprint of an article I came across on the internet.

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Siamack Baniameri
September 25, 2004
iranian.com

In the past twenty some years, I have seen them come and I’ve seen them go. Some live, some die, and some disappear. Some are executed, some are tortured, some are rotting in prisons, and some are rotting in hell or heaven — depends on who you talk to.

It doesn’t bother me none. They have chosen that path and they have bigger balls than you and I. They have been around for thousands of years and they’ll be around for thousands more: the rebels, revolutionaries, freedom fighters, activists, and whatnot.

But seeing her picture, hanging from a rope, broke my heart. I generally don’t give a shit, but this one, I couldn’t stomach. Dead, she looked more human than many of the living in this jungle of inhumanity.

Atefeh Rajabi was my kind of a girl: a hard-drinking, sex-loving, foul-mouthed, rebellious, defiant, seductive teenager who didn’t take shit from grownups and made no attempt to sugarcoat her demeanor the way Iranian women often do.

She was a type of a teenager who would look us straight in the eyes and tell us to go to hell. She didn’t put up with our rules and laws and traditions and social standards and religious beliefs or code of conduct. She didn’t buy any of our bullshit. She didn’t care anymore. She had enough of our crap.

Atefeh did what she liked and for that she stays on my cool-list. Atefeh’s defiance of all conceited Iranian social and cultural values is what makes her my number one girl.

Some of you are probably thinking that admiring a teenager who exhibited immoral and decadent behavior is inappropriate and sets a bad example. The only answer I have for you is what most likely Atefeh would’ve told you to fuck off. You created Atefeh and many like her. And you — that’s right, you — tie the rope around their necks every single day of their young lives.

Atefeh and many like her are byproducts of dysfunctional Iranian culture that push teenage girls underground in search of answers to some fundamental human questions and needs. A sick culture that is cherished by many of us because it feeds our egos and band-aids our defeats and deficiencies.

We have managed to deprive our teenage girls from every essence that makes them human. We have managed to take away their desires, curiosity, self-respect, wit, and the most basic instinct of every human: to seek happiness.

We get offended by Atefeh Rajabi and others like her because she challenges every fiber of our traditional pride and she questions everything that is sacred to us. Atefeh was poison to Iranian values and she needed to be silenced. And that’s exactly what we did.

While thousands of execution enthusiasts watched her little neck snap like a toothpick and her small body dangling from a rope for twenty minutes, not a single asshole said a damn thing to stop it. Boy, am I proud to be an Iranian.

I wish I knew her. Like her big brother, I can picture myself having a lively conversation with her over a shot of chilled vodka and maasto-khiaar. Would I have a drink with my teenage sister? Why the hell not!

I would’ve told her a dirty joke or two and I’m sure she would’ve matched with some of her own. I would have asked her if there was a guy in the ‘hood that she had her eyes on. I would’ve asked her who her favorite singer was or what kind of music she listened to. I would have thanked her for being who she was and kissed her small hands for no particular reason.

For many self-righteous Iranian folks who abandon Atefeh and many like her because she was a “whore” or “misfit,” take a good look at that small girl’s body hanging from a crane. This is your daughter.

October 18, 2007. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Atrocity, execution, hang, Iran, Islam, misogyny, murder, Overzealous, sex scene, Sharia, Teen, teenager, Terrorism, women. 3 comments.

Is it Okay to say Viet Nam Yet?

Iraq
The war in Iraq is now the longest declared war in the last century, having surpassed WW1, WW 2 and Korea.

I remember in the early days of the Iraq incursion how a progression of administration sycophants, military analysts and elected officials hit the air waves, denying any similarities to our only armed humiliation – Viet Nam. I’d like to say that I was prescient and suspected better, but no, I was right there foolishly nodding my head and saying darned right, Iraq’s totally different, they don’t have a jungle. They have a desert and it’s hard to hide in a desert. Instaed they hide in cities.

US Soldier

Unfortunately, I and a strong majority of the country were wrong. It’s of little consolation that I started changing my view over two years ago. It is apparrent that what we have now is worse than Viet Nam. The Viet Cong at least had the support of North Viet Nam regulars and were backed and supplied by China and Russia.

In Iraq, a small disassociated ragtag group of insurgents are holding the most powerful military in the world to a stalemate and time appears to be on their side. Do they have aircraft carriers and fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, satellite reconnaissance and tanks? They don’t have a Stealth bomber or fighter but they have stealth. They are fighting us to a standstill with small weapons (AK47s), RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades), IED’s (improvised explosive devices), suicide bombers and of course fear and terror. Much of the munitions which have been turned against us, were scavenged from Iraqi ammunition dumps that were left unsecurred
by our brilliant administration.

For those who still insist that Bush’s Iraqi adventure is nothing like Viet Nam, I have drawn up a list of similarities:

1] It’s a guerrilla war
2] The enemy looks just like the civilians
3] We’re trying to beef up an unpopular government. (actually, an unfulfilled government)
4] We are trying, with poor results, to train an indigenous army.
5] The insurgents are getting help from outside sources.
6] It is a war with a dubious purpose.
7] There appears to be no exit strategy.
8] The war has left us unpopular, worldwide.

The military commanders must feel frustrated. The stated reasons for the war did not pan out, no WMD, no ties to 9/11, no free democratic Irag as an example and yet we dare not leave, abandoning the Iraqis to the chaos which would ensue such a move. How impotent they must feel, since they have all this technology and firepower which can only be used sparingly. I remember a quote by whom I ‘m not sure, which is most appropriate, it goes something like this, “Those who fail to heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

Dead Soldiers

Iraq may not truly be another Viet Nam, it’s just a ‘quagmire.

September 26, 2007. Baghdad, cakewalk, Cheney, Civil War, George W. Bush, Iraq, liberators, politics, President, President Bush, Rumsfeld, Saudi Arabia, Shiite, Sunni, Syria, Terrorism, Vice Persideny. 2 comments.

The Iraq War – A forty Day Party

As a former Reagan Republican, I cannot help but be severely disappointed by the level of incompetence of the present administration. However, it appears there is still a good deal of support among so-called Bush loyalists, a fact that amazes me. Either they are ignoring the mountain of evidence of malfeasance that has been accruing or they pay no attention to the country’s current military and financial situation. Therefore, I will occasionally post a review of one of the many books that chronicle the run-up to and the prosecution of the Iraq War. These are not Left-wing books of anti-Bush propaganda but books written by thoughtful writers, whose only purpose is to present the facts. And to any that bother to read the facts, they are disturbing.

Here is the first review,

cobra_ii_the_inside_story_of_the_invasion_and_occupation_of_iraq-resized200.jpg

COBRA II by Michael Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor

The Bottom Line:
Cobra II provides a good account of the thinking and non-thinking that propelled us into this never-ending war.

While reading Cobra II – when I wasn’t simmering – I got the impression that the strongest military in the world was being controlled and misused by a modern day version of the Keystone Kops. Not that I’m surprised. I and two thirds of the country (God help the other third) knew something was amiss, but many of the things I suspected were laid out in glaring fashion in this interesting text.

It’s like President “What me worry?” was having his arm twisted by Vice President “Darth Vader” undersecretary Darth Maul (Wolfowitz) to throw a forty day party in Baghdad. That’s right the war that has outlasted both World War I and the Korean War and is fast approaching World War II (It has now surpassed it) was expected to be a thirty to fifty day party and then we all go home with smiles on our faces. Perhaps it would have, except for two things.

First, our Defense Secretary, decided he knew more than all his generals combined. He threw out ten years of military planning for the invasion of Iraq, and proceeded to badger his generals to keep reducing planned invasion troop levels to a number he liked. I guess the secretary is into numerology. The number the generals started with was 380,000. The number the S.O.D. accepted was 140,000 – just enough to get us into Baghdad but not enough to get home.

The second thing, which some knowledgeable people foresaw, but not the myopic administration, was that the party might get crashed by some unwanted guests. Who you ask? Why, a bunch of young hot heads driving Toyotas, some wearing towels over the faces, some carrying funny objects on their shoulders or weapons in their arms and all looking for trouble. The first fatality of the war was caused, not by an Iraqi soldier but, a group of these hot heads in a Toyota Pick-up.

Commanders on the ground noticed this effective, unforeseen adversary, utilizing hit and run guerilla tactics and wanted to confront them, but the bigwigs in Cent Com ordered them to bypass these future insurgents and head straight to Baghdad, do not pass Go. Apparently they felt that once Baghdad fell everything. would fall into place. What they got when they took Baghdad was widespread looting. The authors Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor go on to speculate that the fediyeen, which the army was ordered to ignore and bypass on the way to Baghdad, became the backbone for the strong insurgency we now face.

Conclusion

Liberal, Conservative, independent – Right wing, Left wing, it doesn’t matter, reading this book will upset you. The book is not a liberal rag. It does not have a political bias, unless you consider a bias toward incompetence political. It just lays out the facts, often in minute detail. That, in fact is one of the books weaknesses. Cobra II reads like a play by play description of the war to date from the rationale though the planning to the prosecution of the war, with it’s attendant mis-steps. The prosecution portion of the war takes up at least two thirds of the book and unless you are a war junkie and despite some interesting parts begins, after awhile, to all sound the same.

The parts of the book I found most interesting were the initial planning stages and those portions dealing with the dissension that developed between Rumsfeld and Franks and later the turmoil between Franks and the generals in the field. The authors also point out how many of the problems that developed in the initial occupation of Baghdad and the aftermath were anticipated by various sources with suggestions, but were discounted or ignored by the administration. In short, the administration didn’t want to hear anything that might disrupt their vision of a forty day party.

Unfortunately the book only takes us through the war itself and the stirrings of the nascent insurgency. Three years later we are seeing what almost everyone agrees is a low grade civil war, verging on civil war.

Author’s Note; This review was written over a year ago. I would say things are pretty much the same, wouldn’t you?

August 17, 2007. attack, Baghdad, Books, cakewalk, Cheney, Civil War, crime, dishonest, ethics, explosions, George W. Bush, Iraq, liberators, politics, President, President Bush, Psychiatry, relationship, Rumsfeld, satire, Saudi Arabia, Shiite, slam dunk, suicide, Sunni, Syria, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Vice Persideny, war. 2 comments.

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