Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Support Our Troops - Condemn the Bush Administration

Driving around town, whenever I notice one of those yellow "Support our Troops" magnets on the back of a car, I can't help but wonder why somebody would bother to display such an obvious message. Who in their right mind doesn't support the troops? These are brave men and women, risking their lives in the service of our country -- nobody is questioning the honor and the role of the troops. Does these people who proudly display this message have some sort of superiority complex?

Supporting the Bush administration and the war itself is a completely different issue. I would hope that anybody driving around with a "Support the Troops" sticker voted against the Bush Administration -- even though that does seem to be a mathematical impossibility, given the seeming omnipresence of the yellow magnets.

In the execution of the Iraqi War, the major players in the Bush Administration have demonstrated overwhelming incompetence, and a complete lack of support for our troops. In this blog, I will paint you a picture of the overall lack of support demonstrated by the Bush administration.

Issue #1 - Waging an illegitimate War Based on False Pretenses

No matter how you look at it, the Bush Administration screwed up by pre-emptively starting a war against Iraq. There is no reasonable explanation for why the United States mass media has allowed the Bush Administration to get away with this. They completely lied about the justification for the war. Later, when the evidence came out to prove they were wrong, they simply changed their story....and the media let them get away with it? Why?

The 9/11 Commission Report was clear about this -- their was simply no evidence to back the reasoning used to justify the war. As John Kerry stated in the debates, war should be chosen as only a last resort -- after all other means have been exhausted. What was their rush? The Bush Administration has put the lives of over one hundred thousands US soldiers to fight a war, all the while lying about why we started it. This is inexcusable

Issue #2 - preparation for War

Before starting the Iraqi Invasion, General Eric Shinseki warned the Bush Administration that a force of 300,000 armed forces would be required in order to quickly stabilize the region, and quell any insurgencies. Unfortunately, Donald Rumsfeld was convinced that he could win the war with a small army. This has proven to be a recipe for disaster.

The arrogance of the Bush Administration was never more proudly on display than on May 1, 2003, when President Bush announced to the nation, off the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, "Major Combat Operations in Iraq have ended". This was just a few weeks after an unprecedented worldwide protest against the preemptive attack United States, where literally millions of people around the world pored into the street in protest. President Bush demonstrated unmitigated gall, dismissing the opinions of millions around the world as no more than "a focus group".

Issue #3 - Donald Rumsfeld - contemptible Partisan Hack

I'll sight right now -- If you want to demonstrate support for the troops, call for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. This man has done more to harm the troops than any Iraqi insurgent, through reckless disregard for the troops safety, and a complete lack of competence.

Look at this man's record:

Just last week, Rumsfeld was grilled by our very own US Troops on several key issues. The bravery demonstrated by U.S. Army Spc. Thomas Wilson in directly questioning the Secretary of Defence was an amazing and unprecedented moment in US history. Rumsfeld's response:

As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.

What an arrogant and uncaring prick! First off - it was the Bush Administration that decided to blunder off and start the war, pulling troops from the effort in Afghanistan, simply because they new they had to start the war while they still had political momentum. Secondly, a representative of a critical army supplier, ArmorWorks, came out immediately to refute Rumsfeld's claim, stating that they have been producing armor at only half of the plants full capacity, and have repeatedly contacted the Pentegon to discuss increasing production.

Issue #4 - Al Qaqaa

As I have discussed in a previous blog entry, the Bush Administration demonstrated a great conflict of interest in how they chose to start the war, and the targets they chose to guard. The war was supposed to be about disarming Saddam, yet they chose to ignore the Al Qaqaa munitions facility, instead choosing to have troops guard the Iraqi oil fields.

At first, news came out that 380 tons of high explosives and ammo were missing. The Bush Administration was able to spin this story in many different direction, attempting to use one excuse after another, until the mass media decided it wasn't worth the effort to follow up. First they said that the weapons were missing before the war started, then they said that the weapons were destroyed. I even heard one defense stating that there were literally hundreds of thousands of tons of unsecured weapons in Iraq, so it would be impossible to defend them. Well--if that was the case, wouldn't you still think it would be better to guard the weapons you could, rather than using the troops to guard the oil fields? After that, a KSTP Video came out showing that the US soldiers did indeed visit the Al Qaqaa facility, with weapons storage rooms stored behind official IAEA tags and seals.

Reports came out stating that soldiers witnessed heavy looting at the Al Qaqaa weapons facility, while receiving no response to calls for help. Meanwhile, US troops are now suffering major casualties from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), devised from the very explosives that were stolen.

Issue #5 - Torture/Ignoring Geneva Convention/Abu Gharib

Of all ways in which the Bush Administration has demonstrated a lack of support for the US Troops, this issue has to top the cake. The Geneva Convention exists for a reason -- it is a two way street -- By conducting torture on captives in the Iraqi war, the United States has created an open invitation for abuse of US Captives in the war.

The Bush Administration tried to play off the issue - blaming it on a few rogue soldiers. This simply not true. Just look at these statements from the highest levels of the Bush Administration:

"They will be handled not as prisoners of war because they're not, but as unlawful combatants. As I understand it technically, unlawful combatants do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention". - Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense

How can the Secretary of Defense get away with such a comment? He should be condemned. The International committee of the Red Cross has found many examples of human rights violations, both in Iraq, and at Gitmo, a hidden prison at Guantanamo. According to CBC, Maj. Gen. Geoffry D. Miller was sent to Iraq in order to "Gitmo-ize" the prisons in Iraq.

Now, lets look at Bush's choice for Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez is the author of a May 16, 2004 memo which states that the Geneva Conventions are "Obsolete" and "Quaint". The orders to perform torture at Abu Gharib were not the work of a few rogue soldiers. These orders came from the highest levels of the Bush Administration.

Issue #6 - Lack of Respect for US Soldiers Among Republican Party and Right Wing Media

"No matter how you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?" - Rudy Giuliani, appearing on NBC's Today Show

How dare you? Blaming the brave men and women of the US Army for the failures of the Bush Administration. Despite being on the IAEA Watch list of known weapons facilities, the Bush Administration failed to inform the army of this key location.

You can have all of the armor in the world on a tank, and a tank can be blown up -Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, Glib response to questioning of lack of armor provided for U.S. Soldiers

Statistically speaking, U.S. soldiers have less of a chance of dying in Iraq than citizens have of being murdered in California. Brit Hume, Fox News Anchor, attempting to demonstrate that Iraq is a safe, stable, environment. Hume's basis for the comparison? California has about 6.6 homicides per day, while at the time we were losing about 1.7 soldiers per day in Iraq. Hume went on to add that California is about the same geographical size as Iraq. What does that have to do with anything. Meanwhile, California has 30 million people, while there 140,000 US Troops in Iraq at the time. What a prick -- trivialize US Troop deaths in the interest of making a political point.

For the sake of argument, lets do a little math. Iraq, with a geographical area of 171,599 square miles, results in 0.0000099 troop deaths per square mile per day. Meanwhile, New York City occupies 322 square miles, and has a murder rate of 1.5/day. The translates roughly to 0.00465 murders per square mile per day. By Brit Hume's logic, You are 47000% more likely to die by being murdered as a resident in New York than you are to die in combat as a U.S. soldier in the Iraq war. Sound right? Didn't think so. And this guy calls himself a News Anchor.

Issue #7 - One last look at Secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld

Still not convinced that we should call for the resignation of Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld? This one should put you over the threshold: It turns out that Rumsfeld hasn't even been bothering to sign condolence letters to families whose loved ones died in Iraq. These letters were being signed by an autopen - a machine that automatically generates the Defense Secretaries signature.

How completely disingenuous, rude, insensitive, and completely incomprehensible is this? These soldiers have given their lives for our country, and in return, the man responsible for sending them to their death cannot even bother to take a few moments to sign a condolence letter.

This completely unprecedented action couldn't simply go without discipline, could it? Well, it appears so...in a press conference held earlier today, President Bush gave Secretary of DefenseRumsfeld a vote of confidence, stating that Rumsfeld is "doing a really fine job", and that he was "very pleased" when Rumsfeld agreed to stay on.


Given the widespread incompetence demonstrated by the Bush administration, the complete lack of accountability that the administration has been held to, and the lack of support provided to the U.S. Troops by the Bush Administration, I really cannot explain the abundance of yellow "Support our Troops" magnetic affixed to almost every car in sight. Did all these people really vote for regime change? If so, maybe the election really was stolen....