Monday, February 26, 2007

Cut and run as fast as we can

If you know who Hugh Hewitt is you know he is, in the words of Andrew Sullivan an "empty gas-bag of ideology." Imagine the self-importance and pompousness of William Buckley crossed with the anti-intellectual vaudeville qualities of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and that's Hewitt. Another thing Hannity, Rush, and Hewitt have in common is that none of then have ever served in the military but lecture people on military affairs. Hewitt has a long resume. Among his positions was executive director from groundbreaking through dedication of the Nixon Library. In 1990 Hewitt proposed ideological screening of researchers wishing to use the library resources; for example, Hewitt said Bob Woodward would not be admitted because he was "not a responsible journalist."

Here, again in the words of Andrew Sullivan, is a "priceless" interview on Hewitt's radio show. He tries to pick apart Lt. General William Odom (ret.) on Iraq and Iran. Let's just say it doesn't go so well for Hewitt. It's hilarious to hear another mighty chickenhawk try to go toe-to-toe with a Lt. Gen. and one who headed the NSA under President Reagan. Take a few minutes and listen to the interview or read the transcript. It's well worth it if you want to hear why we should cut-and-run as fast as we can out of Iraq. And this from a three-star general who is an America first hardliner.

Some of the better parts of the interview:

Lt. Gen. Odom: We have made [Iraq] much worse.

Hewitt:: Much worse than Saddam?

Odom: Yeah.


Lt. Gen: Odom: Look, I mean, I…this a kind of a pointless argument. I mean, the issues…all of your things can be true. They don’t make it any better for us. We are on a path to suffer every month we stay. The defeat we face will be larger, and we will put off the time at which…and where we will have even less resources to recover. If you remember the Second World War, Hitler had 600,000 troops thrown into Stalingrad, refused over four, five months to withdraw them, at the plea by, from his generals, and he ends up losing them all. If he had withdrawn them as they said, asked him to do, and let Stalingrad go, he could have shortened his lines by seven or eight hundred kilometers, and had nearly, had over 600,000 troops survive. Now that’s…a military commander that doesn’t know when to retire from one area so he can approach the conflict from another area, is not a smart commander. And it seems to you’re advocating a kind of policy where you have a president who jumps off the Empire State Building, and he goes by the 50th floor, and he says I’m on course. Well, I want a president who knows how to change course.

Hewitt: I’m actually just trying to figure out what you think Iraq would look like if after four months hence, we leave, what it would look like in a year?

Odom: It’s going to look worse if we stay.

Hewitt: I know that, but what do you think it will look like? I know you believe that…

Odom: I don’t know. I don’t know. You don’t know, and it’s just a guess. And I don’t see killing more Americans based on your guess.


Lt. Gen Odom: ...I'm saying the big scare in Southeast Asia was that there will be a whole group of countries that became pro-Soviet bloc, and pro-Chinese. Well, two more went communist, but they were not pro-Chinese. We were pursuing a war to contain China, the Soviet policy had become containing China. We were presenting a half a million U.S. troops in pursuit of Soviet foreign policy objectives. Right now, we are pursuing al Qaeda and Iranian foreign policy objectives in Iraq.


Hewitt: Would Libya have disarmed its nukes and chemical weaponry, General, if we…

Lt. Gen Odom: It’s not analogous. If you are trying to [apply] a general rule to cause something to happen in all countries, that is…you know, I’d flunk you on a sophomore international relations course.

Hewitt: I’m asking whether or not you thought the Libyan disarmament had anything to do with our invasion of Iraq?

Odom: None.


Hewitt: Are you gambling with Israel’s future, then, to allow a radical regime…

Lt. Gen. Odom: No, Israel’s gambling with its future by encouraging us to pursue this policy.

Hewitt: So Israel should not take unilateral action, either?

Odom: That’s up to them, but I think it’ll make it worse for them. Israel’s policies thus far have made its situation much worse. If you read all of the Israel press, you’ll find a lot of them there are firmly in my camp on this issue. And I’ve talked to many Israelis who are very sympathetic with the view I have on it. You’re making it much, much worse for Israel.

Hewitt: Are you familiar…

Odom: If I were an Israeli right now, given Olmert’s policies and Bush’s policies, I would fear for my life.

Hewitt: Are you familiar with…

Odom: So I would say the policy you’re advocating is a very serious threat to Israel.

Take a listen and see if you can hear the difference between the Moe, Larry and Curlys who run this country and pontificate from behind a microphone and a former head of the National Security Agency, a Lt. General with a PhD and a few strategic and historical thoughts in his head. It's like listening to the Daily Curmudgeon and everyone else. Does that make me Curly or the other guy?

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Would you like a backrub Mr. bin Laden?

In an interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney, with his permanent crooked smirk, said that House Democrats, who recently passed a resolution expressing disapproval of President Bush's plans to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq, were pursuing a course that will “validate the al Qaeda strategy.” The smarmy leaker of classified information said, "I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the Al Qaeda strategy," the vice president told ABC News. "The Al Qaeda strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit." Ouch. What the unindicted co-conspirator really was saying was that Democrats have taken al Qaeda and the points and bet against their home team.

The "strategy" Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha are pursuing is trying to pass restrictions on the troops that are to be surged into the jihadist civil war in Iraq that someone said was "in its last throes" not too long ago. The Murtha restrictions are to limit deployments for troops to one-year tours of duty to avoid the type of stop-loss indentured servitude going on in Iraq and Afghanistan; that all troops being sent to Iraq have the equipment they need for their mission and that they are fully trained on that equipment before being sent into battle and that they have one-year between deployments so that they can see their wife and kids for longer than a long weekend before being sent back to defend W's right to never admit a wrong. Short story - properly training our troops and rotating troops after one-year and giving them sometime before re-deployment is an al Qaeda strategy. I think someone's sanity is in its last throes.

Speaker Pelosi, ran like Cindy Brady and "told" on Cheney. "No one likes a tattletale," said a famous sage name Mike Brady. Pelosi phoned President Bush to complain about the Vice President's remarks but couldn't reach him. "Tell her I'm not here," you could almost imagine W saying and then forcing Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to take the call and listen to her whining. "He called us unpatriotic!" sounded more like a baby's plaintive wail to Bolten.

Yes, Cheney is a vicious bully and a plague on this nation but what he said is no better or worse than when Pelosi or Murtha, or anyone else for that matter, argues rightly that Bush and Cheney's policies are an al Qaeda's wet dream. Invading Iraq has only strengthened al Qaeda and jihadists around the world. Iraq is the best recruiting tool for al Qaeda and related Islamic terror organizations. Terrorism has only increased since 2003. The Taliban, al Qaeda's protectors in Afghanistan are packing up the truck and moving back in. Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, extraordinary renditions and torture prisons around the world have only energized the al Qaeda base (the Base's base?) and given them invaluable propaganda tools to use against us.

So I have no problem that Cheney says the Democrats are pursuing a strategy that validates the al Qaeda strategy. They are only only pursuing a strategy. Cheney and Bush have actually implemented a strategy for the last 5 years that has has validated the al Qaeda strategy and made them stronger and more dangerous than they were when we invaded Iraq. So Nancy, stop calling the complaint line at the White House and find a better writer to call these guys what they are - supporters of al Qaeda. I'm available.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


It's only 21 months until the next presidential election so I thought I would clear my desk early and tell you what's going to happen. Let's go through our "choices."

Sen. Chris Dodd? Who? I mean to say I know who he is only because I have to know who the self-important loudmouths are on Capitol Hill. His daddy, Thomas Dodd, was also a senator from Connecticut. Daddy Dodd lost his 1956 senate run to Prescott Bush, W's granddaddy and H.W.'s daddy but won in 1958. Another hereditary office passed down to Son Dodd. President, Senator - whatever. Junior wants something to do? Let's put him in charge of running the state or the country. On paper Dodd has a decent resume but let's be real - he has no chance and will never get out of single digits. Waste of time for everyone except Son Dodd who might get a few more name recognition points in national polls. Since he was re-elected in 2004 a presidential run, more like walk, is a freebie. File some papers, make an announcement, raise some money, get more television face-time and when you quit after the first few primaries you've lost nothing and your senate seat still has two years left. I actually can't believe I've spent this much time explaining how this guy should do something to help the country instead of himself.

Joe Biden? Oy vey. He's like a more talkative John Kerry. How many ways can this guy open his mouth and insert his feet? Long-winded and cracking racially stereotype "jokes" that can't be funny to even himself isn't what is going to drive voters to the polls. The fact that he comes from one of the smallest states in the country means that there is a chance he'd get even less electoral votes than Walter Mondale got in 1984. Mondale got 13 which is only 13 more than I got and I didn't even run. I'm not wasting anymore time on Biden running for president even if that's what he wants to do. Good luck with that three electoral vote head start.

John Edwards? Sure. He ran such a great campaign last time. (Read last sentence with dripping sarcasm.) He sat across from Darth Cheney in a debate and when Darth attacked him for not showing up in the senate and that he'd never met Edwards before, Edwards couldn't even remember that he had meet Cheney (it's on videotape) and if he did remember it he should have shoved it up Darth's ass and told America that, "See he lies about small things and he lies about big things. He just lies because that's who he is." No. Edwards sat there and smiled and got his ass kicked. The only way I could dislike Edwards more is if he pulled a Lieberman and betrayed the Democratic party as fully and as disgracefully as Joe Lieberman has.

Barack Obama? Okay. He's not horrible. In fact he's very smart and very likeable. I'd say he's "clean and articulate" but Joe Biden already covered that. I don't mind his so-called lack of experience. True, George Bush had the least experience of any modern president and look how that turned out. The difference is Obama got to Harvard without daddy's help and he earned his way onto the law review and then president of the review. He has also taught constitutional law at University of Chicago so I'm going to bet he has a bit more respect for the entire document rather than just the "commander in chief" line that Bush and his pack of authoritarian handmaidens love so much. But let's be honest. Obama has no chance. I voted for him in 2004 and I'd vote for him over the others but this country is not going to elect an African-American in 2008 and I want to win the White House. It's a shame but it's the truth. This country has a deep streak of bigotry and whether it's religion or race a lot of people are irrationally suspicious and will never vote for him. Democrats can't get enough people to vote for two white guys to win and I think there are a lot of places in America that won't vote for him simply based on race. It's wrong but it's a reality in America today. Maybe Obama can lay the groundwork to change that for a future run because he is very smart and people really like him and the country will see that clearly. And by the way, forget about Obama being a vice-presidential pick under Hillary. He's much more likeable and warm than she is and she would never let anyone take a flicker of candlelight away from her spotlight. He also adds nothing to her vote count so that's that. She would win Illinois anyway and I doubt people who would vote for Obama would vote for some GOP candidate. Look for Jim Webb for VP. If he loses he still stays in Senate and if he wins he's vice-president. Not a bad choice.

Hillary. Unfortunately she will win the Democratic nomination. She has the money, the fundraising organization, the network, Bill and the experience to measure every word she says carefully so as not to say anything that will kill her chances. After eight years of W people will long for the Clinton years and if it takes electing her to get him again they'll do it. Bill will end up as Secretary of State and she'll be Madam President. It will also drive every Republican insane and that galactic irritant to the evil empire, otherwise known as the GOP, seems to makes sense in a sick sort of way. It's like the ultimate payback. I say she'll unfortunately be the party's pick because I'm just sick of both the Clintons and the Bushes. This nation is becoming a big House of Lords where your family's last name is all you need to get your federal office. Three-hundred million people in the pool and we always go to the very, very shallow end? When does the Chelsea for President campaign begin? Right around the time Jenna for President campaign kicks off? There has to be better people than these in the nation to run things. There just has to be. Come out come out wherever you are. I feel like clicking my heels together chanting, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home."

So there you have it. Hillary will win the democratic nomination and will just win the presidency. Unless of course she calls Obama "clean and articulate." Then I'd put some money down on President Gore.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


We've all heard and seen the story about NASA astronut Lisa Nowak who donned space diapers and drove 900 miles to pepper spray her alleged rival to a love interest with another astronaut. I've now heard some "expert" professor on Nightline talking about how intelligent she was and how only an astronaut would have the ability to plan ahead that much to wear diapers so as not to waste time stopping on the way to her crime scene in Florida. Come again? She drove 900 miles from Texas to Florida so unless she was driving a gas truck I believe she would have had to stop for gas at least once probably twice. I'm more impressed that she drove that far and was able to find her victim at a busy airport. Apparently she tracked her down and followed her onto the rental car shuttle bus and accosted her, allegedly, in the parking lot when she got off. Now that's some airport meet-up. I can't find my ride when I'm trying to look for it. After she gets out of prison Nowak has a future as an airport taxi driver.

This story is on par with the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding train wreck. They probably didn't think to try to do a pay-per-view boxing event back then but I'm more hopeful today that the Navy Captain Nowak and the Air Force Captain victim will be ready to rumble soon. At a minimum a Playboy spread. At worst an endorsement deal with Depends?

It's obviously a tragedy for everyone. This nut has twin 5 year-old daughters and a teenage son. Mommy was in outer space last July and now she's out of her mind. Her marriage of 19 years went into a black hole not too long ago and she is going to prison before the year is out. If I was her defense lawyer I'd try some new defense theory like maybe she got infected by an alien virus up on the International Space Station and that took over her mind. That happened on every other episode of Star Trek and while that was fiction this story proves that truth is really stranger than fiction.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The only thing we have is fear itself

So let me get this straight, a few Lite Brites were left around Boston and the city paralyzed itself with fear and brought the town to a complete halt? This is how we are fighting the war on terror? (Don't even get me started on that phrase. Before we fight a war against a feeling or a tactic we should be fighting a war on illiteracy.) Oh but it had lights and wires and it was electronic and funny looking you say. Can't wait until a lost Speak and Spell shuts down New York City. Run for your lives, it's talking! If this is how we are reacting to this stuff we are all doomed.

I remember the terror alerts pumped into the nation's veins every time the President needed a bump in the polls. Watch out for the malls and the banks and apartment buildings and trains and buses and railways and planes and basically everywhere. And after my ducking and covering, in the words of Gomer Pyle, surprise, surprise, surprise it's all a hoax or false alarm. Some waitress hears some lunchgoers talking about "bringing down the building" and of course it's not construction crews talking it's Osama bin Laden's henchmen meeting at the local Denny's to plot their next move. Shut I-95 down for eight hours? Go ahead it makes for great programming. With 24 hours to fill you got to point a camera somewhere. White powder on the sidewalk? Can't be a spilled packet of Nutrasweet. No it must be Anthrax. Do you hear hoofbeats? Are they horses or zebras? Go with zebras that's a better story.

In Israel when security officials know a bomber is on his way to a certain town or area of town they, A: put out a public APB on every radio station and cable news show live and plead with the public to report anything suspicious or, B: release no information to give you a chance to intercept the bomber before he attacks and thus avoiding tipping him off that you are looking for him and then he just picks a place at random to blow up. Um, I'd recommend you go with "A." If you want to really worry about fighting terror plots in your backyard you can do it the Israeli way, no terror alerts, no garbage cans in public places to allow concealment of bombs, searches and pat downs before you enter malls and the shooting of purses and briefcases, to explode any bomb, left by accident by a forgetful person. Oh I forgot my backpack in the park! Blamo! No, let's go with the unserious American way of fighting a feeling called terror: first soil yourself then duck and cover and then arrest some grungy guerrilla marketers who got exactly what they wanted. The next step is to ask for and receive additional federal funds to fight the war or terror or Lite Brites, whatever the case may be.

Ten other cities had these crappy marketing pieces of junk and no one cared. No calls to 911. No bridges and tunnels closed. No city brought to a complete halt. Only Boston. There was a time when Boston was fearless. Stood up the the British Empire. The Battle of Bunker Hill, part of the Siege of Boston, is considered by some to be the bloodiest battle in the American Revolutionary War. Today a Lite Brite has them wetting themselves. We may win the war but we lost this battle.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A horse is a horse is a horse of course

I'm cranky and heartless. I didn't care about Barbaro before or after he broke his leg. I certainly don't wish an animal to suffer so I would have rather seen Barbaro recover from his injury than be put down but let's get real - it's just a horse. The public sympathy and attention to this story is really mindblowing. Today's New York Times has a long article about Barbaro's brother (to be named later) who may race in the future. Great. Maybe after all the training he'll be able to run at 30 miles per hour around an oval track and if he takes one wrong step they'll blow his brains out too.

On the op-ed page, "Why We Mourn Barbaro" took up space that could have been used to inform people about things they need informing about. Pardon me that I'm not mourning Barbaro. I'm not happy he got injured or happy he was put to sleep but I'm not sad about it either. Sorry, but I'm not mourning Barbaro. He got better medical care than 90% of the people in this nation. Maybe we should be talking about that. Millionaires breeding animals to end up with pencil-thin legs and racecar bodies and then running them at full speed in circles, risking theirs lives to do so, isn't something I'm going to invest my time, money or emotions. Maybe Barbaro should have been giving horsey rides to the kids then we wouldn't have to "mourn" him. At least there haven't been teddy bears and flowers left for him in some makeshift memorial.

So let's review. I'm not happy or sad Barbaro died. I just don't care. He was the toy of bored millionaires who knew the risks to the horse that Barbaro didn't - that one twisted ankle at top speed means you're dead. And now we're already scoping out his brother and soon to be arriving second brother. Maybe they can entertain the horse owners and gamblers and if they're lucky they might not get injured and die. Sounds like something that deserves this outporing of grief and plantiff wails of "Why Barbaro? Why?"

So go ahead mourn for Barbaro. We care so much about celebrity people I guess celebrity horses isn't so much of a stretch. If only Robert Kennedy were around today to give the eulogy for Barbaro. It might have sounded something like this, "Some men see things as they are and ask why? I dream thing that never were and ask why not? Why didn't Barbaro live so that he could have had his own reality show. Think of all the endorsements he could have had. And a Barbaro-Jennifer Aniston match-up? Barn-ifer would have given people hope that dreams really can come true for people and equines alike. Alas. It was not to be. Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night, Give me my Barbaro; and, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun. Sleep well Barbaro."