Saturday, June 3


More on Haditha. Horrifying, simply horrifying.

Kilo Company did not dwell on what happened Nov. 19. Mike Coffman, who was a Marine Reserve officer in Haditha at the time, recalled that another officer, telling him about the incident, "indicated to me that he thought from the beginning that it was overreaction by the Marines, but he didn't think anything criminal had occurred."

Dear Lord, nothing criminal? An officer of the U.S. Marine Corps thought it was LAWFUL to murder babies, children, and wheelchair-bound grandfathers in cold blood, that it was merely an "overreaction"? Maybe we SHOULD be giving "remedial decency" lessons to our troops.

On March 10, the findings were given to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine ever to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld told aides that the case promised to be a major problem. He called it "really, really bad -- as bad or worse than Abu Ghraib," recalled one Pentagon official. On March 11, President Bush was informed, according to the White House.

Stories differ about when Bush was informed. This detailed and graphic account of the events has Bush "apparently roasting" Rumsfeld for not informing him as soon as Rummy was briefed, but the Post article cited above has Bush being informed the day after Rumsfeld.

That weekend, almost four months after the incident, "we went to general quarters," recalled one Marine general, using the naval expression for the call to arms. The following Monday, March 13, Marine officers began briefing key members of Congress on defense-related committees. Their message was succinct: Something highly disturbing had happened in Haditha, and its repercussions could be serious. The alacrity of the Marine response surprised some of Rumsfeld's aides in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. OSD, as it is called at the Pentagon, told the Marine Corps a few days later not to say anything to anyone about the investigation, recalled the general. Too late, the Marines responded, we've already briefed Capitol Hill.

Typical Rummy. "Don't tell anyone!"

But even then, nothing had been made public about the November event that might have distinguished it from Iraq's daily bloodshed. Then, on March 19, the Time magazine article appeared.

From the Sunday Herald:

CIVILIANS who spent time at the Haditha Dam base of the Third Battalion of the First Marines describe the place as something out of Apocalypse Now or Lord Of The Flies. It was “feral” one said. Soldiers didn’t wash. They had abandoned regulation billets and had built make-shift, primitive huts bearing skull-and-crossbone signs. The place stank. One American civilian engineer attached to the camp, with the task of keeping the huge hydro-electric dam nearby operating, said he was terrified of the soldiers he had to live alongside.
The bodies of the 24 men, women and children killed in the hours after Terrazas’s death are in a cemetery known as the martyrs’ graveyard. On a nearby wall graffiti reads: “Democracy assassinated the family that was here.”

Waleed Mohammed, a lawyer representing some of the families, said the survivors were waiting desperately for news of criminal charges being pressed against the marines of Kilo Company. “They are convinced that the sentence will be like one for someone who has killed a dog in the United States,” he said, “because Iraqis have become like dogs in the eyes of Americans.”



An incredible finish. I was so disappointed during the first half I had to keep turning off the game, but not even my son's assurances that we'd win the 7th for sure since it was to be played in Dallas could keep the frustration at bay. What a turnaround!

Now as a native Floridian I might be expected to be conflicted about the Miami Heat facing the Mavs in the finals. Nope, not a bit of it. The Mavs are my team, I don't give a flip about the Heat. And I really, really want to make my friend PSoTD eat his words about "the curse of Jerry Stackhouse."


I haven't linked to RFK Jr.'s terrific article about the stealing of the '04 presidential election because it's simply everywhere, and because I was thinking, "I already knew all this." Just a month ago, I posted about my fears that the Rethugs might steal the midterms, too.

Then I remembered that a few of my family members read nothing but my blog and might otherwise miss it.

So guys, it's a must-read. Give it the time, it'll blow your mind. And while you're at it, read this one, too.



Jeff Greenfield makes a good point in his article comparing Haditha to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

But what My Lai and Haditha may have in common is the special complexity that involves a war where the people we are fighting for and the enemy occupy the same space.

In such cases it is difficult for troops to tell friend from foe, which is one of the major reasons insurgencies are so hard to fight. But that doesn't go far enough. It is an axiom of insurgencies that the indigenous peoples may be friends one minute and foe the next. For while they may harbor anxieties about or opposition to the insurgents, the foreign forces are still an invading, occupying force, not of "their own." While Iraqis may appreciate their toppling Saddam they nonethless have a cultural bias towards being ruled and pushed around on their own land by what Islam would call "infidels."

The bottom line is, when the enemy is not clearly defined, or even clearly recognizable, tragic mistakes are going to be made, innocent lives lost as "collateral damage," and our own soldiers put at terrible risk. They are walking targets, they know it, and they can't even identify the source of their danger. Yes, it was the same situation in Vietnam, and while My Lai was an outrage I can't forget my three-tours-in-Vietnam brother-in-law's horrifying rejoinder, "When any nine-year-old kid may be rigged as a bomb, how can you call anyone innocent with any certainty?"

Bush and others may characterize the Marines who snapped in Haditha as "bad apples," but the fact is that many, many people including diplomats, generals, historians and experts on the Middle East cautioned against putting our troops in a Vietnam-like environment, predicting such an insurgency as we have experienced, and the Bush administration chose to ignore those warnings, preferring to believe that American military might would just march in, take over and rule a grateful, pliant people. I hold no brief for Marines who murder innocent women and children (or men, for that matter), but none of this would have happened but for the disastrous policies and deliberate ignorance of the Bush administration. The Iraqi people never threatened the U.S. Even what are now the insurgents never posed a danger to us before we invaded. Even if Saddam himself had been the threat Dubya called him (which he clearly was not), invading the country to remove him was always a boneheaded idea.

George Walker Bush is as responsible for the deaths in Haditha as are the Marines who pulled the trigger.

UPDATE: Eleanor Clift thinks Haditha could haunt the GOP in the midterms:

The American people have already decided we’re not any safer because we're in Iraq and that the war is more of a humanitarian gesture to help the Iraqi people. When it looks like we’re creating more misery than we’re alleviating, pressure will mount to bring this madness to an end. When a government takes a country into war, everybody should be forewarned that war is not a glorious little romp—a cakewalk—that terrible things will happen to innocent people. The Bush administration failed us on that count. Iraq was not a war of necessity; it was a war of choice, entered into with a willful disregard for the consequences.

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Friday, June 2


During the Nixon years, the president's staff included a number of advertising and PR flacks from J. Walter Thompson and the like, including Haldeman, the chief of staff. So spin, coverups, etc. were the order of the day rather than open, honest government. Likewise, during the Reagan years, the policy of lying to the American people was institutionalized (be sure and read the article linked). Under George W. Bush we have the same kind of mentality, operated by many of the same cast of characters, only it's so very much more pervasive. We can't rely with any sort of confidence upon a single word coming out of any department of this government, and this report to the Congress by the Defense Department, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," is just another example. Read the whole thing. You won't be surprised at how mendacious it is.

Hey listen, my business is public relations. But good PR depends upon framing, not lies. It means countering seemingly bad news with the larger story so that the impact is mitigated, not covered up. The adage "Get the story out early and completely" is still the hallmark of responsible PR. But the Bushies continue to rely on fake news, false and misleading data, and repeating the Big Lie until it takes hold.

IF THE UNITED STATES is to win in Iraq, it needs an honest and objective picture of what is happening there. The media and outside experts can provide pieces of this picture, but only the U.S. government has the resources and access to information to offer a comprehensive overview.

But the quarterly report to Congress issued May 30 by the Department of Defense, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," like the weekly reports the State Department issues on Iraq, is profoundly flawed. It does more than simply spin the situation to provide false assurances to lawmakers and the public. It makes basic analytical and statistical mistakes, fails to define key terms, provides undefined and unverifiable survey information and deals with key issues by omission. It deserves an overall grade of F.
Yet there is still a tendency to promise too much, too soon, to understate the risk and the threat, and to disguise the fact that the U.S. must be ready to support Iraq at least through 2008 and probably through 2010.



My hopes endure.


I'm going to be traveling extensively during the next few weeks for business reasons, so I don't know how much time I will have available for posting. I leave Sunday for Detroit, where I will be most of next week. The week after that I spend in Kansas City, and after that I'll be home in Dallas for a couple of days but totally absorbed with editing video. Then I go to Charlotte, NC for the next week.

I will for my own reasons try to keep up with the news, but it's going to be such nonstop, sometimes 16/24 hour days, that I have no idea now how I will be able to keep up. It's times like this that I wonder if it's even worth spending the few hours I have for rest trying to keep up. But then I hear a news report that so inflames me that I can't help putting in my own two cents' worth.

So we'll see how the days go.

Thanks for bearing with me. I often wonder, how do the big blogs keep going? I surmise from my observations that by this time they all have guest posters, which I don't. But if you're interested, I'd love to hear from you. It's not as if we're essential to extending the discourse, but we do have a (probably disturbed) following that I don't like to let down.

Anyone interested in substituting and keeping things moving along? Let me know, please.


Go, Lou. Dobbs just responded with that statement to the news item that troops in Iraq will receive "core values training" since the allegations of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Haditha and elsewhere in Iraq.

Lou went on to point out that the Iraq war is now vying in length of time with our involvement in WWII and suggested that he's not impressed with the performance of our general officers OR the civilian leadership in the Pentagon relative to the conflict in Iraq. It's a failure of leadership, he suggested.

Duh. But kudoes to Lou, anyway, for speaking out.

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This is just nuts. Or maybe I should say, cynic that I am about the Bush administration, an example of another pure politics play by the Bush administration.

New York is a Democratic stronghold, and the District of Columbia likewise. Both were the focus of the attacks on September 11. They are the two most iconic cities in the United States. Yet the Department of Homeland Security has determined that they are not as threatened as Florida or Rhode Island. Yeah, sure, Rhode Island is top of mind for international terrorists.

Yet Homeland Security has assessed NYC as having "zero national monuments and icons" so they don't deserve much money.

Zero? The Statue of Liberty isn't a national icon? It's THE national icon, isn't it?

Well, no. Considering the current Republican-induced-and-manufactured immigration crisis, the Statue of Liberty is now an embarrassment, considering its Emma Lazarus' inscription -- "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores; send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Yeah, the Bushies would probably love to see that blown up. They only want the unwashed masses to come in under a guest worker program akin to indentured servitude.

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Thursday, June 1


Walter Uehler, president of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA), writes about a speech by and encounter with Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the Communist Party and de facto ruler of the former U.S.S.R. He quotes from Gorbachev's keynote speech to RAISA a couple of weeks ago. Gorbachev responded to recent criticism of Russia by Dick Cheney.

"To the question of Americans about democracy, I answer: Do you consider us a talented people? Yes, you must consider us the most talented of all. For what it took you 200 years to build, you want us to create in 200 days?"

Mr. Gorbachev added that the ultimatums have no place in Russian-American relations and suggested that those American politicians who believe that "there are things more important than peace" have lost their minds. In that context, Mr. Gorbachev asserted: "Military action in Iraq gave birth to chaos and tensions throughout the Middle East." In his view, that war, along with American unilateralim, have made it enormously more difficult for the world to attend to the three urgent problems - security (terrorism and nuclear weapons), poverty and the ecological crisis - that make peace more necessary now than ever.

Mr. Gorbachev closed his speech by quoting from President Kennedy's June 10, 1963 Commencement Address at the American University in Washington: "The most important topic on earth is world peace. What kind of peace do I have in mind? Not a Pax America enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of a slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children. Peace not only for Americans, but peace for all men and women. Peace not only in our time, but peace for all time."
Perhaps it was the intensity of the moment that caused most of his specific words about Peter and reform to escape my recollection. More likely, what he said next best explains my faulty recall. Not only was it out of character, when compared with his seminar speech, it was out of character with what he had just spoken to me.

For, just as he's about to leave, I hear:

Gorbachev: Cheney is a fool (Cheney "durak.").

Uelhler also quotes Vladimir Putin, the current Russian ruler, criticizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Bush administration values and actions by saying, "How quickly all the pathos of the need to fight for human rights and democracy is laid aside the moment the need to realize one's own interests comes to the fore. In the name of one's own interests, everything is possible, it turns out, and there are no limits."

Anyone disagree with either assessment?


Wednesday, May 31


Two studies link global warming to greater strength of hurricanes.

This is not exactly great news for my native Florida or adopted Texas, or any of the Gulf states (I consider the entire region home; I've lived in all of them). I'd a heap rather think that last season was a fluke.

And it's not definitive science yet. But unless you're a reactionary Kyoto-basher, you've probably been expecting something like this. I know I have.

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A tale of two edifices inspires a different kind of shock and awe. Who would have believed that five years after 9/11, Ground Zero would still be a zero but we'd be building a bilion-dollar embassy in IRAQ to rival Saddam's palaces.

Only in Bush World.

In those few years, the World Trade Center site has gone from a symbol of American power (when the towers stood) to solemn proof of American grit (while the site was being cleared) to . . . what? We're still waiting, although as a symbol of America losing its way, ground zero is it for now.

Meanwhile, seven time zones away, another massive construction project is having none of those problems. Spread over 104 acres and known locally as "George W.'s Palace," it's the 21-building, $600 million complex that will become the American Embassy compound in Baghdad. The Iraqi capital daily goes without electricity for all but four hours a day, water and sewage operate at prewar levels. Only six of 150 health-care facilities promised by the occupation forces have been built.

But at the embassy complex, work is proceeding swiftly and secretly but for the forest of cranes rising on the skyline. It has the distinction of being "the only big U.S. building project in Iraq that is on time and within budget," the London Times reported. As an added insult to local workers, the White House contracted the job to Kuwaiti companies who, in turn, have trucked in exclusively foreign workers.

According to the Times, the compound eventually will house a staff of 8,000 and "what is rumored to be the biggest swimming pool in Iraq, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a cinema, restaurants offering delicacies from favorite U.S. chains, tennis courts and a swish American club for evening functions." It will be as ostentatious a display of power and luxury as any of Saddam Hussein's palaces, which the old tyrant loved to build in his people's faces, and at their expense.

The American compound in Baghdad is being built at the expense of American taxpayers. But it is already a monument to American hubris abroad and a sad contrast with what remains at ground zero in Manhattan: We can make war. We can build fortresses. We cannot build peace, abroad or at home.

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Tuesday, May 30


In an interview with the Guardian, Al Gore demonstrated more of his straight talk about the Bushies that he has been sharing since at least 2002 and the runup to the Iraq war.

Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency, describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing extremists".

In an interview with the Guardian today, the former vice-president calls himself a "recovering politician", but launches into the political fray more explicitly than he has previously done during his high-profile campaigning on the threat of global warming.

Denying that his politics have shifted to the left since he lost the court battle for the 2000 election, Mr Gore says: "If you have a renegade band of rightwing extremists who get hold of power, the whole thing goes to the right."

Al indicated once again that he will not be a candidate for president in '08. I think that is currently his true intention, and perhaps with his newly recognized stature as prescient statesman (he opposed the war in Iraq, called out the truth about the Bush administration early on, and his decades-long crusade for the environment is now being, finally, recognized as ahead of its time, and accurately based in good science) he can actually be more effective outside of government than in it.

But I believe that Al Gore is, above all things, just that, a statesman. And the reason he is not categorically stating that he will never be a candidate for president is that if he truly believed the nation needed him, he would put aside his present contentment and activities and respond to the call.

At the weekend, Time magazine reported that he was telling key fundraisers they should feel free to sign on with other potential candidates. The magazine quoted unnamed Democratic sources as saying that the former vice-president had also been asking the fundraisers to "tell everybody I'm not running".

Mr Gore would not find it difficult to raise millions of dollars, if he did decide to run. But while public denials might prove a wise campaign strategy - not least by prolonging the period of positive attention Mr Gore is now receiving - actively turning away fundraisers does suggest a firmer resolve not to re-enter electoral politics.

It is significant, however, that Mr Gore refuses to go beyond saying that he has no "plans" for such a campaign. "I haven't made a Shermanesque statement because it just seems odd to do so," he has said - a reference to the famous announcement by the civil war general William Sherman, who unequivocally refused to stand in the election of 1884. "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve," General Sherman said.

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Oh my, Dr. Bruce has done it again.

Ohio's legislation authorizes posting national and state mottoes in public schoolhouses:

The national motto is "In God We Trust"; the state's is "With God All Things Are Possible."

"The goal is to make sure that students have a basis to talk about the historical aspects of how this country was founded," said state Rep. Keith Faber, who sponsored the bill.

"I don't think the mottoes are necessarily religiously based," the western Ohio Republican said.

Faber language treats God as an artifact of American history. God, in his mind, has been reduced to a national mascot. Or, perhaps, God has merely become a magic talisman to ward off evil in public schools.

This is precisely what God prohibited in the Decalogue when he commanded, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain." (Exodus 20:7)
[Emphasis mine]

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This is the kind of thing that makes me cynical and yes, even crazy.

Next week the Senate is scheduled to consider legislation (H.R. 8) to repeal the estate tax. Repealing the tax, which has been law since 1916, is estimated to cost $1 trillion from 2011-2021. Although the tax affects few Americans, repeal will give some families extraordinary windfalls. The CEO’s of major oil companies, for instance, would get enormous benefits if H.R. 8 were enacted. The family of one oil executive, Lee Raymond (the former ExxonMobil CEO), alone could receive a tax break worth over $160 million.

This report analyzes the impact that repeal would have on the families of the senior executives for the major oil companies. In 2005, the minority staff of the Government Reform Committee released a similar analysis showing that repealing the estate tax repeal would save the President, Vice President, and 11 cabinet members as much as $344 million.

Heaven forbid that the heirs of the wealthiest 5% of Americans should be taxed upon their inheritances. Remember, we're not talking about the hard-working professional that wants to leave each of his/her two children a million dollars. The top one-tenth of the top 1% of taxpayers pay more than 33% of estate taxes ("the most progressive of all taxes"). The vast majority of Americans are exempt (no tax on estates of $1 million or less).

So the Bush twins, along with Paris Hilton and other little jet-setting party girls and boys, will get a bonanza if their daddy's pet bill passes. Dare I hope that there are enough Senators with the moral courage to heed Bill Gates, Sr.'s plea to "tax the wealthy" and restore sanity (and financial balance)?




Violence worsens, the Taliban resurges, and conditions fail to improve in Afghanistan. Can the Bush administration point to a single foreign policy success, especially regarding the so-called "war on terror"?

By Tuesday, police had restored calm to the streets of the Kabul. But as Afghans came out to survey the damage, many were asking where the foreign troops where they were when they needed them. NATO peacekeepers offered support to the Afghan army and police during the riots, but local authorities thought their presence might spark more violence. "There were no American soldiers on the street. They stood back and let the rioters loot. People say the Russians were better because they did more for the people," said Fahor, a 35 year-old shop-keeper in downtown Kabul. If the Americans can't even live up to the low standard set by their cold war enemies during their eight-year occupation of the country, their prospects for success in Afghanistan are dimmer than anyone may have realized.

I grew up in a world where the Russians (Soviet Union) were the bad guys, and we (the U.S.) were the good guys. We were also competent in business and government, libertarian, and democratic and though our military was recognized as the mightier, we were considered peace-loving and non-militaristic.

What happened?

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney happened.

Now the only action approved by most of the world as right and just retaliation against those who perpetrated the events of 9/11 and preventive against further acts of terrorism by Al Qaeda is testament to the failed policy, misdirection and incompetence in execution of the U.S. under the Bush administration. Just as Dubya took a budget surplus from Bill Clinton and turned it into record deficits, he has taken the good will of the world community and turned it into general disapprobation, moral condemnation. And those hopeful Afghanis who actually believed we came to give them freedom and a better way of life are expressing their outrage at the betrayal of that hope.



Hey, Dallas readers. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth will air at the Angelika (Plano) and Magnolia (Dallas) theatres this Friday night, June 2.

A panel of environmental scientists will lead a discussion afterwards.

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Monday, May 29

More than 20,000 American troops killed or wounded in Iraq.

$284 billion in American taxpayer dollars and counting.

Cost of each and every life ended or damaged: Priceless.

Honor the fallen, not the war.

Sunday, May 28


Much has been written about Republican voter disaffection with the current Republican leadership both in the White House and Congress. It's been suggested that some conservatives may sit out the midterm elections, thus enhancing Democratic chances of retaking a Congressional majority.

But I'm perceiving among progressive a similar anger against Congressional Democrats. Perhaps we're still more motivated to vote because of the horror of the Bush administration and Rethuglican record over the past six years, but there are months to go before the elections, and I, like others, am absolutely appalled and disgusted by the failure of so many of our party to stand up to the Bush-Cheney cabal on the Iraq war, judicial appointments, the Hayden CIA confirmation, the bankruptcy bill ... there have been so many, many disappointments!

I'm still so disgusted with the Rethuglicans that I will certainly vote in '06, and even campaign so far as I am able. But the fire is dimming every day, with every weenie vote by the Democrats.

Who do I still support and admire?

Howard Dean. The feisty DNC chairman has battled all the conventional wisdom to establish a 50-state strategy and speaks the truth articulately and forcibly in the face of media skepticism.

Al Gore. No longer part of the Democratic establishment, Gore has pulled a Jimmy Carter -- post-politics serving the public good instead of cashing in on investment banking, corporate board seats or lobbying.

John Edwards. Although I believe Edwards still harbors ambitions for the presidency (and what's wrong with that if it's meant to improve the lot of the working man?), he is clearly focused on an issue that is meaningful and important: poverty in America.

Ted Kennedy. Perhaps Teddy's personal life is rife with difficulties, but he has been a standup guy for progressives on almost every issue.

Russ Feingold. Along with standing alone in proposing a censure of president Bush, Russ has sponsored campaign finance reform. But beyond that, he has consistently demonstrated courage in so many areas, including defying a secret Senatorial committee considering an anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment.

John Kerry. Kerry is now fighting the fight he should have pre-election '04, to rebut the charges of the Swift Boat Liars and re-establish his military credentials. But more than that, Kerry has asserted his claim to a position of party leadership (which Dems, as opposed to Rethugs, decry for a presidential nominee that fails) by continuing to appeal to his network of supporters on a range of progressive issues.

But these are all focused on the '08 presidenial election. Where are our Congressional Democrats that we can support in the critical mid-terms?



No, I don't ordinarily comment on the lives of celebrities, but I couldn't help noting the good taste Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie showed in naming their new baby girl.

She's "Shiloh Nouvel" -- and I must add that after reading that item I had to call our youngest daughter, my own Shiloh, to tell her the news. She got a kick out of it. I thought it was funny/weird, considering that last Halloween our middle daughter went to a party as Angelina Jolie and her boyfriend as Brad Pitt, while our oldest daughter trailed behind them as Jennifer Anniston (all bear a remarked-upon resemblance to the celebrities they impersonated).



Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) has characterized the slaughter of Iraqi civilians in the village of Haditha as "worse than Abu Ghraib," which president Bush said in his joint press conference with Tony Blair had plagued our efforts in Iraq. This time, the story isn't going away. Sen. John Warner (R-VA) told George Stephanopoulos on This Week this morning that he would hold hearings on the matter to discover "what happened and when it happened and what was the immediate reaction of the senior officers in the Marine Corps when they began to gain knowledge of it."

That's not too reassuring, though, since Warner went on to say, "I can assure the American public this morning, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, I'll do exactly what we did with Abu Ghraib." As we all know, that resulted in exactly zero accountability for anyone involved except for lower-ranking Guardsmen and soldiers. Don Rumsfeld, Gen. Geoffrey Miller, Gen. Sanchez et al are still merrily rolling along.

We will likely see a reprise of those results, with the U.S. Marines involved in the Hidatha murders, some of whom were on their third tour of duty in Iraq in three years, being strung up by their thumbs while their superiors escape any responsibility.

No flag officer seems interested in going to the mat for any of the young men in the US military who stand accused of war crimes — and who very likely will be found guilty on most counts. This is a perfect replay of the lack of any responsibility — not even the most infinitesimal drop of responsibility — exhibited by senior military and civilian leaders after the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal.

Instead, modern American military leaders, like trained dogs, sit silently alert. They are not alert to the physical, psychological and moral damage to Americans in uniform brought on by enforcing a wrongheaded police state in a shattered Iraq. Instead, they are alert only to any sign that their political masters may be displeased. Barring that, our great military leaders are as silent as the tombs in which nearly 2,500 Americans already rest.


While the truth of what I have written here is verifiable by every American soldier and Marine in Iraq, and every general officer they serve, not a single flag officer on active duty will risk his reputation as a good boy who sits and stays.

We will figuratively hang those Marines who participated in the slaughter at Haditha. We will also crucify those who did not participate, but failed to stop it, and those who helped to cover it up. We will not pity those young Americans we trained to kill when they failed to show mercy in a place they don’t understand, on a mission as frivolous as it is insincere. We will hold them responsible.

We ought to set our sights a bit higher, and begin in a serious way to politically destroy those people in Washington who placed our young men and women in Iraq, on such a frivolous and insincere mission. Those worthy of a criminal punishment include much of the Senate, many in the House, and of course, our great decider, his untrustworthy Vice President, and their Pentagon senior staff.

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