Posts Tagged ‘war’

Some Perspective

Posted: 13 March 2008 in Uncategorized
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Lest we forget [source].

Deaths in the middle east caused by American-led wars


Blackwater USA Update

Posted: 2 October 2007 in Uncategorized
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Last week I commented on the piece in the NY Times about Blackwater USA being disproportionately involved in confrontations in Iraq.  A followup piece today indicates that they have been involved in 168 shootings in Iraq since 2005, and in “a vast majority of cases firing their weapons from moving vehicles without stopping to count the dead or assist the wounded.”  The report was issued by the Democratic majority staff of a House committee and criticizes the State Department, as well, for helping cover up and gloss over several incidents.

This seems to confirm the suspicion that Blackwater USA has a culture of shoot-first-ask-questions-later.  And as I said before, the strain is just too much for people to handle.  Families in Iraq are torn apart when innocent people are killed and these security guys doing the shooting will be suffering the consequences for the rest of their lives as well.

Vote Kucinich.

This appears to be the policy of Blackwater USA, a security contracting firm providing services in Iraq to the State Department. The New York Times reported yesterday that the firm is under investigation in both Iraq and in Washington for a shooting on September 16th in which at least 11 Iraqis were killed. State department officials report that the incidence of violence by Blackwater personnel was at least double the rate of the other two security firms. The State department did go on to say that of the 1800+ missions that Blackwater personnel have been on, a very small percentage resulted in violence. While not quoting numbers, the department rep said there “dozens” of incidences. DynCorp, another security firm, reported 32 cases out of 3200 convoy missions, a rate of 1%. Blackwater’s rate is at least double that, so there were a minimum of 36 episodes.

So looking at the real numbers, you might think: “big deal.” The problem is that this could be representative of a culture at Blackwater that encourages a shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality. Now, I am actually sympathetic of these guys. I can’t imagine the incredible stress you must be under as a security professional in Iraq. Every corner, every roadside bump, every window could be hiding the bomb or person that kills you. If I were there, I probably would have shot someone by accident a hundred times just from stress. Hell, when I play multiplayer war games I’m constantly shooting my teammates when they run around a corner or jump up in front of me. The situation has to be insane.

The reason I’m even talking about this is that I think this is a good example for what war does to people. The Blackwater people may be like me and get jumpy and shoot first rather than restraining themselves and waiting for cooler heads to prevail. Or they could be giving in to the power that a nearly lawless warzone enables. In either case, not only are more people dying, but these security personnel are suffering emotional damage. Losing your humanity to bloodlust or becoming more and more neurotic due to constant fear — either way it’s a losing prospect for these people. Also, if they are killing twice as many people and there is no significant increase in the danger factor for their missions, they could very well be killing innocent people. The regulation of contractors is attracting attention from the top brass, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is sending a team to Iraq to discuss the situation with General Petraeus. (It just struck me what an imperial-sounding name that is.)

So, bring these guys home and the soldiers who are suffering just as much or more. Vote for Dennis Kucinich.

Well, I didn’t get a chance to listen to Edwards last night on MSNBC, since I apparently can’t work a TV anymore. I thought I was watching MSNBC, it was actually NBC and then after Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island made the Democratic response and there was no John Edwards, I realized my mistake. Thanks to the wonders of the giant tubes that make up the interwebs, I was able to watch his speech:

I was pretty happy about the speech, though it came off as disappointingly weak at the end. He made a convincing, fairly non-aggressive case against prolonging the war, arguing from simple practicality. It seems this approach could possibly be better at persuading conservatives and fence-sitters than saying that Bush and the military are terrorists (ala Rosie O’Donnell). And yes I know she didn’t actually say that. What was weak in Edwards’ speech was the whole “timeline” business. It annoys me whenever I hear it. It’s so open-ended. If by timeline, he means in three weeks, then I can live with that.

Another problem here is that while Edwards has come out on the side of peace, he still voted for the war: a serious failure in judgment. And I don’t even listen to Obama (aka Obomba) when he chastises other candidates for voting for the war. Based on his long history of voting to prolong W’s endless war, I have little doubt that Obama would have been right there with his “aye” raised high when called upon to vote to overthrow a sovereign nation whose leadership we installed.

It returns to the fact that there is only one choice: Dennis Kucinich. Electability is a term invented by the corporate-sponsored media. Real electability is what happens when you actually go out and vote with your mind and heart instead of voting because of what some plastic face on a TV screen tells you to do. Dennis Kucinich is the only one who has opposed this war at every turn, the only one who has a real plan to bring our troops home. Edwards was right when he said the only way to force a political solution between Shiites and Sunnis is for us to get out of there. Kucinich has been saying that all along. We should hold all of these democrats accountable and vote for the only one with the clarity of mind and morals to do what was right from the very beginning and elect Kucinich.

And the bodies lie scattered…

Posted: 16 August 2007 in Uncategorized
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More sad news from the Endless War. The New York Times is reporting at least 250 dead in an attack on two Kurdish villages, Qahtaniya and Jazeera. As they always do, these numbers will surely rise. As of the time of the Times report, at least 40 obliterated homes had not been searched for casualties.

Reading these stories is enough to make you weep. They also report on a Kurdish woman stoned to death by her own people for dating a Sunni man. Sunnis then killed 26 Kurds in response. And then to hear the US Ambassador spin it: “This indiscriminate and heartless violence only strengthens our resolve to continue our mission against the terrorists who are plaguing the people of Iraq.” They are plaguing Iraq because we brought them there. As long as we are there, they will continue to plague Iraq.

It’s time to leave.

My friend John (the Wrathful Dove) pointed me to a great article today about Barack Obama, who is turning into quite the warhawk. This comes as no surprise. All of the mainstream candidates are clones of W with a different set of pretty noises to placate one special interest or another (be those the religious right, gays, fiscal conservatives, pro-abortion, wev). War is a business and big business backs all of the mainstream candidates. By pocketing them all, they ensure a win-win.