Pat Riots!

An American patriot, eyewitness to 9/11 in NYC, serving the USA and the world by resisting a war based on lies, economic policies that favor the wealthy and well connected at the expense of everyone else, trying to reach out to and (if possible)reason with Americans who have forgotten what patriotism really is as they attempt to change America into a one party theocracy.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

American Legion of Redcoats

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, American Legion

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them..." Thomas Jefferson

"There are particular moments in public affairs, when the people stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow mediated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice and truth, can regain their authority over the public mind?" James Madison

"It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.” Cadmus

"War is not the best engine for us to resort to; nature has given us one in our commerce, which if properly managed, will be a better instrument..." Thomas Jefferson

"No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies." Cadmus

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all...." Thomas Jefferson

"We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm's way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies." Cadmus

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullability, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck...." Thomas Jefferson

"The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life." Resolution 3, 2005 Amercican Legion Covention

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
James Madison

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." George Washington

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." Thomas Jefferson

"Let's not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on Sept. 11, 2001." Cadmus

"The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest." George Washington

"A Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth." George Washington

"I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast...would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it." Thomas Jefferson

The American Legion, and Mr. Cadmus, are so out of touch with what this country is supposed to be about that it is almost laughable; except that it is extremely tragic, especially for the young soldiers these old soldiers claim to support.

Mr. Cadmus, whatever it was that you and the veterans in your organization stand for, it is definitely NOT American feedom.

Do not lecture us about patriotism. You have forgotten what patriotism is. It is not obedience, it is not self-censorship, and it is most certainly incompatible with the notion that a president, just by commiting troops to combat, becomes immune from public criticism.

May I remind you, the Vietnam war was fought on the premise of the domino theory: that if the Viet Cong won, we would eventually have to fight them in the United States. This was a false premise; we lost the war and we didn't wind up fighting the Vietnamese in the United States.

Therefore, Jane Fonda's extremely inappropriate form of protest notwithstanding, much of the criticism of the Vietnam war was in fact proved right: the war was not vital to our survival as a nation.

This writer witnessed 9/11, and will never forget the victims, two of which were relatives of a close friend.

Your assumtion that protesting the repugnant invasion of Iraq, a nation that was not involved in 9/11, means forgetting the victims of 9/11 is insulting.

No amount of military service gives you immunity from your responsibilities as a citizen. Until the American Legion recognises that blind obedience is not patriotism, you will remain American
in name only.

And the rest of us will have little inclination to listen to anything you have to day.





Tuesday, August 23, 2005

GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ

A quote from the Boston Globe:

''There's so much negative information in the media," said Deborah Johns, a Roseville, Calif., mother of a Marine who is about to serve his third tour of duty in Iraq. ''If the building of bridges and roads and schools and power plants was portrayed in the media, it would make a huge difference."

Chances are some of our soldiers may in fact be building bridges and schools in Iraq. Why isn't this reported in the media? If it more stories about soldiers building schools and bridges were in the media reports, shouldn't that increase support for the war?

We'll examine both questions, in the order they were posed.

First, even a casual viewer of domestic news (national or even local) will discover that what is usually considered "news" by the people in charge of producing "news" tends to be items that are by definition NOT everyday occurences. Thus, while bloody crimes or politicians caught in some scandal make it onto the airwaves, a bridge or school being built, if it makes the broadcast at all, will certainly not lead the news, even in the smallest of markets.
Those wishing to see "human interest stories" from Iraq are disapointed due to the old adage of "Dog bites man, not news. Man bites dog, news." and its younger sibling, the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. Would one really want to have a story about seven marine snipers killed in ambush to be squeezed out by a story about Army engineers building a bridge in a part of Iraq where the insurgency isn't as intense?

Put another way, if all we heard was good news from Iraq, would the families, friends, co-workers and spouses of the dead soldiers somehow not realise that the person they knew was killed? Would the roadside bombs somehow fail to detonate?

But let us accept that reasonable people have a right to expect as full a picture as possible of what is going on in Iraq, and that violence may be crowding out stories of schools and bridges being built.

Let's examine the second of the two questions...

If we were to discover that several schools and brideges have been built, doesn't that mean that our troops are doing much better and are more popular with Iraqis than our media wants us to believe?

Now, a careful reader will notice that the pro-war mother mentions not just schools and bridges, but power plants. That's the key to why the good news stories are completely irrellevant to the issue of whether the war is a good idea or a huge, tragic mistake.

Building power plants....and schools....and bridges.....

Is this mother trying to have us believe that Iraq, one of the most advanced modern countries in the region, did not have power plants, and schools, and bridges before we invaded?

In fact, what this mother probably means to say is RE-BUILDING power plants and bridges (both of which would be very probable military targets in the invasion of any country, and were targets of the Iraq invasion) and schools, which we can suppose were either destroyed by military action or in extreme disrepair due to a decade of sanctions. Viewd from this angle, our troops re-building things that country was instrumental in destroying is less than noble. Certainly, if al Qaeda was to offer to rebuild the WTC, Americans wouldn't say "Oh, how helpful of them!"

In any case, no amount of construction projects will bring back a dead Iraqi civilian, nor American soldier.

Nor can any Army engineer, no matter how talented and well meaning, build (or rebuild) enough bridges, power plants and schools to make this sorry episode in America's history anything but the obscenity that it is.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bob Herbert raises an excellent point in his latest column.

(http://nytimes.com/2005/08/22/opinion/22herbert.html)

Here is an excerpt:

"...the teenagers who are the prime targets for recruitment are being told just about anything to ward off whatever misgivings they may have. Need money for college? No problem. You want to go to a nice place? Certainly. Maybe even Hawaii.

A young man who recently registered, as required, with the Selective Service System received an upbeat brochure in the mail touting the military's 30 days of annual "paid vacation," its free medical and dental care, its "competitive retirement" benefits and its "home loan program."

There was no mention of combat, or what it's like to walk the corridors and the grounds of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where you'll see a tragic, unending parade of young men and women struggling to move about despite their paralysis, or with one, two or three limbs missing....."

It seems rather odd that the the military is allowed to advertise on TV without having to conform to the rules every other advertizer is obliged to follow.

We've all seen the ads for pills, a parody of which follows:

"Get back into the swing of things with Psychotix. Ask your doctor whether Psychotix is right for you. Pychotix isn't for everyone. Your doctor may perform a simple blood test to check for liver damage. In clinical studies, Psychotix has been known to cause skin rash, loss of teeth, swelling in the legs, exfoliation, dysentary, loss of muscle control, bad breath, rage, depression, blindness,
false memory syndrome, vomiting, restless leg syndrome, hives, itching, paranoia, headache, paralisis, death....and abdominal pain!
So try Psychotix, and take back your life."

Always good for a laugh when you see one of those!

But then, the next ad is about adventure, friendship, pride, a free education, money, travel! Just sign on the dotted line!

It hardly seems fair to the poor drug companies. So here's a suggestion:

Why not hire one of the perky voiced talents from the drug ads to sunnily impart this small disclaimer:

"The Army is not for everyone. Your president may tell you a few simple lies about your mission to inspire you to sacrifice your life. In some wars, people in the Army have experienced killing, seeing friends killed, living for days among decomposing corpses, extreme terror, post traumatic stress, an inability to re-adjust to civilian life, cynicism, anger, loss of legs and/or arms, guilt, nightmares, strange ailments not recognised by the government, homelessness, alcohol and drug abuse, a decrease in veterans benefits, death....and abdominal pain!"

The drug companies seem to still be making obscene profits, even with the disclaimer albatross wieghing down thier ads. So, we can assume recruiting wouldn't suffer. And then, next time a gold star mother complains about some future war based on lies, the right winger can say "Your son/daughter volunteered...he/she knew what they were getting into and wanted to go" and the argument would actually make sense, unlike the current situation where such people make such claims in the face of clear evidence that the Army has always run ad campains that omit key considerations for any potential recruit.

It's time for truth in advertizing across the board!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hello world! (This is my very first post! Sorry about the spelling)

What is the best way to support our troops? This writer rejects the notion that silence and obedience are required of Americans whenever troops are sent into "harms way."

The argument that certain people (who seem to think they are more patriotic than anyone else) make goes something like this:

"Our troops are over there fighting to preserve your freedom. You wouldn't be able to protest if it wasn't for them being in Iraq (or Vietnam, or Grenada, or Panama) and your hurting their morale by opposing your commander in chief."

I use the examples of Iraq, Grenada, etc because in none of those conflicts was Americans freedom in doubt. Supporters of such conflicts rarely have proof that such places threaten us, nor do they seem to care if they do or not. There is a certain type of person who is more than willing to follow. These people will always take the word of a president they already like and when questioned about reasons for that support, usually spout slogans and buzzwords. These people have let themselves become conditioned to think that whatever thier country does militarily anywhere in the world, it is automaticly to protect our freedom. Where is the evidence? For example: How exactly was Saddam Husein supposed to destroy our freedom? What would his motive be for attacking us, what would lead him to believe he could get away with it? What actual military capabilities did he possess that we do not possess 10X more of? True, most people were told and believed that he had WMD, but this was based on misinformation leaked by Iraqi exiles who hoped to become the next rulers of Iraq. The problem is, anyone with internet access could have easily found enough information to call the reasons for war into serious question before it began. But too many people don't want to question this or any president about such matters. It's a deadly form of laziness, one that is causing severe problems for America.

We can paraphrase this argument as: "Troops have died for your right to speak, so shut up and obey."

Let us examine one of the other usual rationals for conflicts overseas: "If we don't fight them there, we'll have to fight them here."

I really love that one. It was said ad nauseum during the Vietnam war, a war we lost, and since we lost it, of course we all remember fighting the Viet Cong in Indianapolis and Butte, Montana, right?

In fact, there is absolutely no reason to beleive that our third generation military (by that I mean a military relying on high tech equiptment and mechanized warfare---aka the blitzkrieg type war)
fighting anywhere overseas has any effect at all the ability of an enemy to fight a fourth generation war (terrorism) against us.
al Qaeda has actually discovered and developed a set of tactics our military is not trained or equipted to fight. So, in fact, fighting them over there doesn't mean we won't have to fight them here. Not at all.

And who is this "them", anyway?

The lazy "patriots" offer us a version of guilt by association. "Osama is muslim and uses suicide tactics. Iraq is muslim and is using guerilla tactics, including suicide bombs, therefore: they are all part of a united force (which somehow includes the Palastinians, since they too are Muslim and use suicide tactics)
that think alike, have the exact same motives for attacking their targets, all bear guilt for 9/11 since Islam is an evil religion that requires beleivers to slaughter infidels, etc."

Lost are such notions of cause and effect (did you know that there weren't suicide bombers in Iraq until after we invaded?) or regional issues (Osama's main gripe: US military bases in Saudi Arabia. Palastinians: dispute over Israeli settlements on their land. Iraqis main gripe: suspicion that the USA did not depose Saddam for entirely pure motives, a suspicion fueled by our construction of permanent military bases near thier oil installations, plus a decree by Paul Bremmer requiring that Iraq de-nationize it's industries (read: oil industry) and let multinationals aquire Iraq's biggest asset).

Of course, it's completely anti American to point that out. After all, this Iraq war is at least an emotional response to 9/11 even if the Iraqis were innocent of that atrocity. Don't we Americans deserve to strike back at the easiest target we can find? After all, Osama's a tough nut to crack, and our military is not ready to fight his kind of war. Far better we defend our freedom somewhere else, like a country crippled by a decade of sanctions and boxed in by our navy and air force. A lot easier, especially for the lazy "patriots" among us. Except we're losing there, too.

Can't someone please invent a slogan or buzzword to fix this problem? The lazy "Patriots" are in danger of having to actually think about this war. Some one help them!