Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Looks like Suicide Ralph has just found a rudderless ship he can climb on board. Ralph has just received the nomination for president from the Reform Party . This puts Reform Ralph on the ballot in eight states: Florida, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
The real boost for Reform Ralph is that this puts him on the ballot in Florida in Michigan. He would have needed 10,000 signatures in Michigan and over 90,000 in Florida, and it really threatens Kerry in both states. The other states have low ballot requirements and Reform Ralph would have probably made the ballot there anyway.
You remember the Reform Party -- the party who nominated THIS MAN in 2000?
I remember reading a fantastic piece by Peter Bagge about the 2000 Reform Party convention written for Suck , the Spy Magazine of the Internet (and the artist who drew the above cartoon). Read it, and you understand how Reform Ralph got the party nomination...after all, they've given the party nomination to about everyone under the sun....
(And if the Greens nominate Ralph, the Green Party can go to hell. End of discussion.)
posted by Green Voicemail 5/12/2004 10:48:00 PM
Fight Smarter, Not Harder
We can say that our boys in Iraq are doing the best job they know how to do -- when they're not being corrupted by military intelligence (an oxymoron) or by outside contractors telling them to "soften up" prisoners. As for the Berg murder, I'll just make the comment that I thought American soldiers were supposed to set the moral bar higher than that of the jihadists we come across. The problem is that conservatives not only wish to lower the bar, they wish to lower it actually lower than the strikingly low jihadist bar.
There's a lot of loose talk about nuclear weapons going on. Bad idea, which is why I worry because Bush never came across a bad idea that he didn't warm up to almost immediately. Nixon thought of dropping nukes on the North Vietnamese, so I don't want to hear any talk about how Bush would "never do that".
Basically, it's wrong to drop nuclear weapons because you're killing scores of innocent people on a mass scale. You set a moral precedent that states, "if I have a war that inconveniences me, or if the enemy does anything that offends me, I'll just drop a nuke". Before you know it, North Korea is nuking Japan for some imagined slight, the Russians are nuking the Chechens, India and Pakistan are swopping volleys, and China is threatening Taiwan with The Bomb. Soon, a radioactive cloud of dust ominously swoops down from the sky.... For those of you out there who are still struggling with the Kolberg scale, I'll get down to your level: nuking Iraq would mean that we couldn't use any of the oil. And we couldn't keep military bases there. And it would risk the lives of our soldiers on the ground. End of discussion.
The less completely insane conservatives, however, are begging that we should somehow really show the Iraqis who's boss. We have a lot of rhetoric right now about how we need to "stay the course" and "fight harder". The words "light at the end of the tunnel" aren't used, but they persist in the pro-war imagination, which still believes that if we just fire off a few more rounds in the direction of Fallujah, the Iraqis will suddenly come to their senses and invest in Coors stock.
I think I mentioned that this was akin to a man who was being bitten by a wolf, and found his arm down the wolf's throat. The conservatives want the man to stick the hand down the throat some more. The liberals prefer to extricate the arm.
Here's why Iraq will not be won. It has absolutely nothing to do with the valor of our troops, and everything to do with the leadership, and by "leadership" I mean Rumsfeld. (I refuse to give Bush any credit for management of ANYTHING. He signs memos and gives speeches. He does not lead in any real sense of the word.)
How does one win in Iraq? One gets the enemy to stop fighting. That's how you win any war. There are only two ways to do that:
1. Inflict enough damage on the enemy so that he gives up, or
2. Convince the enemy to stop fighting you -- the enemy sees you in a different light.
Option One will not happen given the present conditions. Our force is undermanned. We are stretched to our maximum point, so much that if there were problems on the Korean border, I doubte we could cope. We are having to use National Guard troops to supplement the regular army in Iraq; God knows what would happen if we were needed anywhere else.
The Iraqis have a MONSTROUS advantage over us. We have to go home when this is all over. Their supply lines are short. They are at home. They have neighbors. We are far away. Our supply lines are long. We don't speak the language. We stand out. We don't know anyone. In a war of occupation, we have become targets.
We have little support from the native population. The Iraqis who are inclined to be on our side have no confidence in us. When we tried to form an Iraqi army, those units either defected or refused to fight their fellow Iraqis. We have no large, visible, vocal minority of Iraqis that is willing to put its life on the line.
Sooner or later, the attrition will just wear us out. We're close to 800 men killed on the BATTLEFIELD (and God knows how many died "off the books") and about 4000 wounded, from what I understand. And al-Qaeda's philosophy is not a four years war, or ten years, but a DECADES-CENTURIES-MILLENIA war. They intend to fight a generational war. I doubt we are capable.
Therefore, we are only left with two options if we want to get out fast. Increase the size of the fighting force, or lower your moral standards and become as monstrous as your opponent. Bush couldn't do part one, because that would mean a draft -- he might try it in 2005, though. He's tried part two already, and he's experiencing the blowback.
How can you claim that you're restoring human rights in Iraq when you don't give a fuck about them on the battlefield?
As for Option Two, the Iraqis quite simply hate us. They see us as hypocrites at the very least. If that were our ONLY problem, it wouldn't be so bad. But since the pictures from the prison came out, they sense that we are here to humilitate them in ways that Islam forbids. We will force them to have homosexual sex with each other and to submit to women. And because of that, the number of Iraqis that say, "well, I won't surrender, I'll keep my honor (wrongheaded though it is) and die on the battlefield" increases the chance that more American soldiers will die.
The fact is, fighting harder doesn't work in this battle. Look at Israel. The Israelis have fought the Palestinians for decades. They have superior weaponry, and are more skilled in down-and-dirty street war. The Palestinians, however, haven't stopped fighting.
In order for us to have a CHANCE of winning this war, we will need at least 500,000 troups on the ground who are willing to fight there for THIRTY YEARS. Long enough for a new generation of Iraqis to grow up who have some practical experience with us rather than the "all Americans are evil" story practically told. We will have to LIVE in Iraq. We will have to learn to speak Arabic, understand the philosophy and culture of the Middle East fundamentally. We would have to be philosopher-soldiers. We would have to change our entire fundamental outlook on what victory means. We would have to use violence as a LAST resort, and not a first restort. We would have to be BETTER than our enemies.
However, our leaders have led this war on a foundation of lies and deceit. The justifications they tell us grow every day -- twenty-seven so far, and counting. What will we hear tomorrow? Everyone in Iraq knows that we are there only to secure the Middle East oil fields and to have a place to put military bases, now that Saudi Arabia and Iran have thrown us out. The contrast between what we tell ourselves, what we tell the world, and what we tell Iraqis is glaring, save to those that are deliberately blind.
You cannot win a war of this nature when your leaders are liars and charlatans. Bush cannot win it. His deceit is the worst, self-deceit. He is a lazy thinker; he gives no more than short shrift to the overwhelming moral quandaries before returning to Crawford for a nice two week's long nap (500 days of vacation, and counting).
There is no accountability anywhere along the line. Rumsfeld will not be held accountable for his planning failures. Military contractors run rampant. Cover-up is now General Order One of the Iraqi Occupation Army -- "Thou Shalt Not Get Caught". Our troops are poorly supplied. Corporations are making a killing. The troops get their benefits cut.
I don't think that Kerry can do a better job. I will say this. He couldn't do much worse. You would have to get down to the Hannity-Coulter-Limbaugh level before you could find someone who would do a worse job.
We will not win. We will just suffer. God help the beloved country. Pray for us all in the tough years ahead. As Kerry said, "how do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
posted by Green Voicemail 5/12/2004 08:09:00 PM
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
"It is first-rate research," Althaus said, "the best senior thesis I have ever seen -- thoroughly documented and elaborately detailed. Her methodology is first-rate."
And the writer hasn't even graduated from college yet.
Devon Largio , a student from the University of Illinois at Champaign, wrote her senior honors thesis for political science about the rationales Bush used to go to war with Iraq.
The thesis is 212 pages long. No more than TWENTY-SEVEN different rationales have been used by Bush, members of his administration, and other conservatives.
I've not read it yet, but it is located here , at the University web site, in PDF file form.
Twenty-seven reasons for going to war with Iraq. These people had Iraq on the brain.
posted by Green Voicemail 5/11/2004 08:29:00 PM
Time Makes Fools of Us All, But Makes Fools of Some Easier Than Others
From President Bush's Master on May 10, 2004
Across the nation, we are seeing the results of the President's policies. In the first quarter of this year, the economy grew at a strong rate of 4.2 percent. Over the last three quarters, the economy has grown at a rate of 5.5 percent --- the fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's first term in the White House. The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Interest rates and inflation are low. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Productivity is high. Business investment and factory orders are rising.
From Reality on May 10, 2004
Stock markets worldwide fell sharply yesterday as the prospect of higher interest rates in the United States, high oil prices and the war in Iraq unnerved investors.
All three of Wall Street's main market gauges fell more than 1 percent to new lows for the year, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell below 10,000 for the first time since mid-December. The Dow is now off 4.4 percent for the year while the Nasdaq composite index is down 5.4 percent.
Read both articles, BTW...remember, in the Bush Administration, Reality is a four-letter word.
posted by Green Voicemail 5/11/2004 08:44:00 AM
Monday, May 10, 2004
According to the Houston Chronicle , Ralph Nader has failed in his second attempt to get on a state ballot. His first attempt to get on a state ballot was in Oregon; he will have another opportunity sometime this year.
Suicide Ralph needed over 60,000 signatures to make it on the Texas ballot. He came close -- about 50,000 -- but was so far away from his goal that he didn't bother turning in the signatures that he had already collected. He will now attempt a lawsuit in hopes of gaining access.
What to conclude? First, there was the theory that Republicans would turn out in droves, eager to get Nader on the ballot. Texas is Bush's home state. It's Republican through and through. There wasn't a real Republican primary, so just about every Republican was eligible to sign the petition (only people who had not voted in either primary were permitted to sign). There was rumor that the Texas Reform Party would pool its strength to get Ralph on the ballot. We've heard of strange Green/Reform/Libertarian coalitions that would jump at the chance to break the Republican/Democratic stronghold.
However, it hasn't happened. Which implies that Republicans AREN'T going to petition for Suicide Ralph. They have their own candidate to worry about right now.
Ralph's next chance for a ballot spot is June 8th. He can easily get 800 signatures to make it to the New Jersey ballot, so that's ONE state. Arizona and Illinois, however, provide much bigger obstacles -- about 14,000 and 25,000 signatures respectively.
My prediction -- if he fails in Illinois, it's over. He has no excuse not to make the grade there. And it will be a sorry and pathetic end for a fighter for the common man -- but end, it must, and soon.
posted by Green Voicemail 5/10/2004 06:11:00 PM