Memorial Day – Lest we Forget

Today is an important day – one where we recognize all the service men and women whom have stepped up and put their lives on the line in order to service our nation and protect our country.  No matter your view of war or our country, let it not be forgotten the sacrifice and dedication of these individuals and let us not forget our obligation to make sure their needs are not ignored nor are they shortchanged.  In particular, those people who have taken up the cause in Afghanistan and Iraq should be in particular focus.  Never have we seen the this large a percentage of active forces who have returned injured and disabled.  The backlog of cases is staggering and the outcry is too silent.  In reading some of the statistics and data this morning, I’m was blown away by the devastation to people’s lives and the amount of money we give for someone 100% disabled.  Take a guess and I expect you will find yourself equally astounded.  For current service people who are deemed 100% disabled, they are given less than $2,800 a month.  In consideration of what these men and women have done and their level of sacrifice, this is a sin beyond belief.  We should look long and hard at our values as a nation.  Whether for or against the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, this should be a rally point for our people – Memorial Day should always evoke more than patriotism and waving of flags.  It is a time to also put our money where our mouth is.

This should also be a time that invokes remembrance of who got us into these two wars.  It is amazing that aside from the degree of damage and destruction to the people who fought the wars, the impact on our economy and the long-lasting costs to our country should cause everyone to stop and remember the administration that made the decision to go to war, the administration who lied to everyone, the administration with an obvious personal agenda – it is the administration that should be tagged as it deserves for the mayhem and pain that resulted.  But to be honest, it is really about two men who could and should be thought of as war criminals – George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are undoubtedly the worse of the bunch but let’s not forget John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Karl Rove – the list is long and the competence is short.  What a group of fucking bastards.    This is one of the few areas where I can hope my views as an atheist are wrong – and that they all get to burn in hell.

Bring it On – Part 2

Easy to go the "Bring it on" route when you have nothing at stake

Hard to believe that after almost 6,400 American deaths (75% age 30 and under) in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ricky Santorum can stand up and bash President Obama for his apology toAfghanistan and its people.  I find is amazing Ricky can trash Obama when the President’s action shows a real thought process (something I suspect is somewhat foreign to Ricky) and some level of personal responsibility for the lives and safety of our men and women still in combat.  Ricky’s comment and basic stance of “tough shit” reminds me of our former President who found it appropriate to challenge Iraq with the threatening “Bring it On!”.  One has to wonder how many of our 6,400 dead and 34,000 wounded might not be a statistic if not for such foolish bravado.  But then again, Ricky is stuck in the past as he shows time and time again.  I wonder if he even realizes that women actually service in combat positions at this time.  As with Bush, who really didn’t get it, easy to be tough when he never really saw anything resembling combat – but at least he stepped near a fighter jet.  I strongly doubt that Santorum ever has unless it was part of a campaign photo op and I doubt he ever lost a night’s sleep concerning the possibility of his being in a situation where he might have to serve the country as the actual draft was abolished before he came of age.  I myself did not serve in Vietnam but I remember vividly a large group of us college freshman sitting watching the draft “bingo” as they picked the balls with birthdays to determine the order of who would get drafted.  Luckily, while my birthday was picked 53 out of 365, I did not serve but that time and the results of the Vietnam war has no doubt had a lasting effect on me.  Apparently none on Ricky.

Oh - he doesn't really mean "fight" for our country...

While I think the reaction in Afghanistan is a bit over the top and there are likely many there taking advantage of the situation, President Obama’s attempt to do something to quell what is already an untenable position for the US is a justifiable position if for no reason as a means to not add more danger and risk to our people that remain in that country.  He shows some forward thinking and some responsibility for actions and repercussions.  Yes, as a culture it is sometimes hard for Americans to understand and relate to why and how other cultures and poeples react to things as they do but we can at least recognize that many of us don’t get it and try to reach a point in our perception where we admit that we don’t get it rather than taking the Santorum route and basically throwing kerosene on what is already a burning platform.  But again, the Santorum’s of the United States don’t ever really understand any point of view other than their own – again evident in Santorum’s views on life and willingness to have everyone fall under that hammer.

I ask you, is this the sort of man who should be running a country?  A man who doesn’t think but just reacts based on some emotional fuel.  A man who is more than willing to put others at risk but doesn’t set the same rules for himself or his family.  The only justice here would be to have the war extend long enough to somehow have one of his spawn have to serve in the service of our country – although highly unlikely given the Republican track record of managing to avoid serving their country in some capacity).   There are already enough assholes at various levels of power that adding another is pushing the balance much further than we, as a country, can continue to absorb.  Let’s not forget the path that Bush and Cheney took this country down – at least 40,000 families whose lives have changed for ever won’t forget…

C'mon - Ricky's got a few sons - he can sacrifice at least one.

Another take on it…

When I read the story in our local newspaper (again, using the term loosely given we are talking about The Pocono Record) about the two American soldiers shot and killed in Afghanistan by an Afghani soldier (or at least someone in a Afghani Army uniform) in response to the burning of copies of the Quran at a NATO base, my immediate reaction this morning was one of anger and a gut reaction that it is time to leave that hellhole and let them take care of it themselves.  Seeing people so obviously blinded by their religious beliefs that they can kill again provides more support to my existence as an atheist.  We, as American people, will likely look at this action over there as just one more bit of evidence of how screwed up they are and how superior we are as a people – that’s how we “civilized” societies think. However, in thinking about it a little more, another perspective and thought came to mind.  How different is this act really from those in our “civilized” society who see it perfectly justified and rational to murder an abortion doctor or who have seen fit to burn down a Planned Parenthood facility or torching a mosque in the name of religion?

Back to politics – in watching the Arizona Republican debate the other night, my wife so aptly commented on the candidates on the stage as we listened to their chest pounding as to whether any of these men actually sound like Presidential material – I guess if we use GW Bush as the yardstick it might work but beyond that, it is a sad commentary – little class and alot of nothing.

Moe, Larry and Curley,

Last thought – the world can again rejoice – I see that Paris Hilton has again ascended from her hole and is gracing her adoring public with her presence in a new video.  No doubt long overdue. I guess the good news is that she isn’t singing but only speaking her lines.

What should have happened following the release of her last album

The real question here – what is wrong with the 197,000 people who bought that album?