Memorial Day 2012: A Lesson Not Yet Learned

 

by WALTER BRASCH

Today is Memorial Day, the last day of the three-day weekend. Veterans and community groups will remember those who died in battle and, as they have done for more than a century, will place small flags on graves.

But, for most of America, Memorial Day is a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer. 

There will be memorial concerts and parades. The media, shoving aside political and celebrity news, will all have stories. Among those who will be the first to patriotically salute those who died in battle are those who enthusiastically pushed for them to go to war.

Each of the extended weekends also provides forums for politicians to stand in front of red-white-and-blue bunting to deliver political speeches they hope will make the voters think they care about veterans and the working class—and if it helps their election or re-election campaigns, so much the better.

The first Memorial Day was May 1, 1865, when hundreds of freed slaves, missionaries, and teachers held a solemn ceremony to honor the Union soldiers who died in a Confederate prison camp in Charleston, S.C. That memorial evolved into Decoration Day and then in 1882 to Memorial Day. The last Monday in May now honors all soldiers killed in all wars.

There haven’t been many years when the U.S. wasn’t engaged in some war. Some were fought for noble purposes, such as the Revolutionary War and World War II; some were fought for ignoble purposes, such as the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars.

The U.S. is currently engaged in winding down the longest war in our history. The war in Afghanistan had begun with the pretense of a noble purpose—to capture the leaders of al-Qaeda who created 9/11. But, that war was nearly forgotten while the U.S. skip-jumped into Iraq, which had no connection to al-Qaeda, 9/11, or any weapons of mass destruction. It did have a dictator who allowed torture against its dissidents— but so did North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and dozens of other countries that the Bush–Cheney war machine didn’t consider.

No, it was Iraq that became the focus of the White House Warriors. It wasn’t long before the U.S. commitment in Iraq was more than 10 times the personnel and equipment than in Afghanistan. It was a commitment that had left the U.S. vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita within a month of each other proved. The Bush–Cheney administration had diverted funds from numerous public works projects, including reinforcement of the levees in New Orleans, to increase the U.S. presence in Iraq. By the time Katrina had hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, National Guard troops and their equipment, including deep water vehicles, were in Iraq.

Also in Iraq was now al-Qaeda, which Saddam Hussein had managed to keep out of his country; and a civil war, as Iraqi political and religious groups fought for control.

Barack Obama, as promised in his campaign, did end the war in Iraq, and reasserted American presence in Afghanistan, sought out and killed Osama bin Laden, and then created a way for complete U.S. withdrawal from combat.

The Bush–Cheney Administration had figured a maximum cost of $100 billion for what they believed would be no more than a two year war. The financial cost of the wars has been almost $4 trillion, according to an investigative study by researchers at Brown University. The $4 trillion includes rampant corruption and no-bid contracts to numerous companies, including Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s home for several years.

But the real cost is not in dollars but in lives. The war is being figured not by names and their lives but by numbers. The war in Afghanistan as of Memorial Day has cost 3,016 American and allied lives. The American wounded, some of whom will have permanent disabilities or may die lingering deaths from those wounds, is now at 15,322. In Iraq, 4,486 Americans died; 32,233 were wounded. There are no accurate estimates of the number of civilian and enemy deaths and wounded, but the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands.

“War represents a failure of diplomacy,” said Tony Benn, one of the most popular politicians, who served in the British parliament for more than 50 years, including several years as leader of various cabinet departments.

In wars throughout the world, there will be more deaths today and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and every day thereafter. And once a year, Americans will honor the deaths of young men and women sent into battle by intractable politicians, supported by media pundits and a horde of civilians with the wisdom of asphalt who have not learned the lessons of Tony Benn.

[Walter Brasch’s latest book is the critically-acclaimed journalistic novel, Before the First Snow, which looks at the anti-war movement and the cost of war.]

 

U.S. Court to Hear Conspiracy Case against Cheney, Rumsfeld

Military officer April Gallop, who survived the 9/11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon, has charged Bush administration officials with conspiring to carry out the event. Tomorrow, her case will be heard in Federal Court:

 

Top Secret Military Specialist April Gallop saw disturbing things up close that have not been reported in the media.

 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, she was ordered by her supervisor to go directly to work at the Pentagon, before dropping off her ten-week-old son Elisha at day care...



Escaping through the hole reportedly made by Flight 77, she saw no signs of an aircraft – no seats, luggage, metal, or human remains.  Her watch (and other clocks nearby) had stopped at 9:30-9:31 a.m., seven minutes before the Pentagon was allegedly struck at 9:38 a.m.



The 9/11 Commission reported that "by no later than 9:18 a.m., FAA centers in Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Washington were aware that Flight 77 was missing and that two aircraft had struck the World Trade Center."



Why then were there no anti-aircraft defenses, Gallop asks, or alarm warnings inside the Pentagon?

 

...On April 5th, 2011, at 11 a.m., at the Federal Courthouse at 141 Church Street in New Haven, Connecticut, the case of Gallop v. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Myers will be heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

 

Gallop's case will bring legal scrutiny upon many Bush administration claims about the attacks which were previously assumed to be fact.

 

Ms. Gallop will, through photographic and other physical evidence, as well as the testimony of a multitude of military and civilian survivors, demonstrate the impossibility of her having lived through the attack on the Pentagon if it had taken place as the government and the defendants claim...

 

"No independent court has applied legal procedures to review the available evidence on who was responsible for the attacks."

 

Also, that "it is not acceptable for a constitutional state...to declare war, bomb a foreign country, and place it under military occupation," without first identifying suspects.

 

Dieseroth also said the U.S. "was under burden of proof" that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attacks, yet the FBI admits it has no evidence presentable in court to back this up.

Watch Cheney and Co. Respond to the Ghailani Sentence

In recent months we heard a lot of pundits wax hysterical about the chaos and mayhem the federal court trial of a former Guantanamo detainee would bring to New York.

The folks at Keep America Safe – Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, and Debra Burlingame – called the trial “dangerous,” “ reckless,” and “embarrassing”. 

But in New York the trial proceeded with no disruptions. No street closures. No increased police presence. And, this week, a federal judge sentenced Ahmed Ghailani to life in jail with no chance of parole.

There's more...

Tea Party Protests White House Turkey Pardon

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama performed an annual Thanksgiving tradition on Wednesday by pardoning a pair of turkeys named Apple and Cider.

The two 45-pound birds who got a new lease on life, were selected from a group of 25 turkeys during a competition “that involved strutting their stuff before a panel of judges, with an eclectic mix of music playing in the background,” Obama said. “We were hoping for Bristol Palin as the first choice, but the voting seems to have been rigged,” Obama chuckled in high spirits. “Besides, I’d never pardon her anyway.”

Despite the good luck of the fowl, the event was marred by Tea Party activists from around the country. The protesters, many dressed in pilgrim attire to honor the holiday, held signs saying, “Eat the Damned Bird You Commie!”, “Go Ahead and Eat IT! You’re the Top of the Food Chain!”, and “Drive the Muslin Turkkey [sic] Birds Out!”. One protester held high a sign saying, “Evolution is a Crock! Dinoturkeys Ain’t Real”.

Muslim Turkeys
While the protest seemed to lack a central focus, many Tea Party members expressed outrage on the legitimacy of a pardon to turkeys that they charge were raised at Muslim madrases in Pakistan.

“Pardoning these birds is nothing but the first step toward death panels,” one protester who declined to identified said. “The Messiah there is a complete moran [sic]. There he goes wasting big old birds that could feed a family of 90. I don’t care if them fambilies [sic] are trying to get by on a $1.35 a month. To hell with those damned lazy gold-brickers. Give me the damned turkey, I work for a living! Poor people don’t pay a god*damned penny in taxes! I say beat the commie scum with a drumstick until they bleed gravy.”

Other protesters also questioned the birth origin of the pardoned fowl.

“Everybody knows the Obamanation is a Kenyan commie. We done asked repeatedly where he keeps his birth certificate and he never has produced one and neither has one of his filthy birds,” said Jed Pickens who traveled from Branson, MO to attend the rally. “That Orly Taitz lady is right. He ain’t fit to be the President and those turkeys ain’t fit for an American table.”

Mary Hottalot of Front Royal, VA agreed. “Obviously these ain’t American birds like the proud eagle and wholesome hootie owl. Nope, these are foreign agents working undercover for a Muslim power. Is it a coincidence they call them turkeys? I don’t think so. They birds are most definitely birds direct from Turkey, which I’ll have you know, is a Muslim country.”

Seth Foreman, a plumber from Pulaski, VA said, “I heard those Muslim birds just up and flew into the Twin Towers -well more like walked real fast into the lobby on account of them not being able to fly. You can’t trust them. They just aren’t Christian birds, like your chickens or your starlings. They’re big. They can carry a buttload of C4″

Some protesters were upset at changes in the ceremony introduced by the Obama administration after the Bush administration’s departure.

“This was a sober ceremony back in the day,” said Zeke Knight, a farmer from South Carolina. “Why, that Mr. Bush treated these birds right. While Obama just lets them off the hook without a military tribunal or nothing, Bush had a solid avian policy. He knew how to handle dangerous Islamoturkey killers.”

“By God, Bush lined them all up in a row and a real Vice President, Dick Cheney, bit the heads off and burned them in a big bonfire. We liked to call it cleansing by the fires of Hell,” Knight said. “Sometimes he got a little sloshed and took potshots at them too.”

Tea Party Draws ‘Substantial’ Crowd
White House officials estimated the crown at no more then 10. Tea Party spokespeople characterized the crowd as slightly larger, based on estimates provided by Fox News. “We had 200,000, maybe even a million people here. We would have gotten more, but the backyard of this place is pretty small and we couldn’t get anyone else in,” said Heather Haskell Director of Disinformation at the Rupert Murdock School of Journalism at Regent University.

White House officials said the crowd was mostly orderly, although there was an $879 bill for the clean up of RC Cola bottles and Moon Pie wrappers strewn on the lawn near the Rose Garden.

“And don’t raise my taxes to pay for picking up the mess either,” said a departing protester firing a parting shot. “Me and those business bigwigs deserve a big tax cut for putting up with such shenanigans as these.”

The pardoned fowl left the ceremony in a limousine provided by meat and poultry processor Foster Farms. The birds answered no questions as ‘bodyguards’ held the assembled media at bay with what appeared to be semi-automatic hatchets.

The telephone at the birds’ shared coup went unanswered later in the afternoon, prompting one anonymous White House official to speculate something ominous may have happened to the plump and juicy birds.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Tea Party Protests White House Turkey Pardon

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama performed an annual Thanksgiving tradition on Wednesday by pardoning a pair of turkeys named Apple and Cider.

The two 45-pound birds who got a new lease on life, were selected from a group of 25 turkeys during a competition “that involved strutting their stuff before a panel of judges, with an eclectic mix of music playing in the background,” Obama said. “We were hoping for Bristol Palin as the first choice, but the voting seems to have been rigged,” Obama chuckled in high spirits. “Besides, I’d never pardon her anyway.”

Despite the good luck of the fowl, the event was marred by Tea Party activists from around the country. The protesters, many dressed in pilgrim attire to honor the holiday, held signs saying, “Eat the Damned Bird You Commie!”, “Go Ahead and Eat IT! You’re the Top of the Food Chain!”, and “Drive the Muslin Turkkey [sic] Birds Out!”. One protester held high a sign saying, “Evolution is a Crock! Dinoturkeys Ain’t Real”.

Muslim Turkeys
While the protest seemed to lack a central focus, many Tea Party members expressed outrage on the legitimacy of a pardon to turkeys that they charge were raised at Muslim madrases in Pakistan.

“Pardoning these birds is nothing but the first step toward death panels,” one protester who declined to identified said. “The Messiah there is a complete moran [sic]. There he goes wasting big old birds that could feed a family of 90. I don’t care if them fambilies [sic] are trying to get by on a $1.35 a month. To hell with those damned lazy gold-brickers. Give me the damned turkey, I work for a living! Poor people don’t pay a god*damned penny in taxes! I say beat the commie scum with a drumstick until they bleed gravy.”

Other protesters also questioned the birth origin of the pardoned fowl.

“Everybody knows the Obamanation is a Kenyan commie. We done asked repeatedly where he keeps his birth certificate and he never has produced one and neither has one of his filthy birds,” said Jed Pickens who traveled from Branson, MO to attend the rally. “That Orly Taitz lady is right. He ain’t fit to be the President and those turkeys ain’t fit for an American table.”

Mary Hottalot of Front Royal, VA agreed. “Obviously these ain’t American birds like the proud eagle and wholesome hootie owl. Nope, these are foreign agents working undercover for a Muslim power. Is it a coincidence they call them turkeys? I don’t think so. They birds are most definitely birds direct from Turkey, which I’ll have you know, is a Muslim country.”

Seth Foreman, a plumber from Pulaski, VA said, “I heard those Muslim birds just up and flew into the Twin Towers -well more like walked real fast into the lobby on account of them not being able to fly. You can’t trust them. They just aren’t Christian birds, like your chickens or your starlings. They’re big. They can carry a buttload of C4″

Some protesters were upset at changes in the ceremony introduced by the Obama administration after the Bush administration’s departure.

“This was a sober ceremony back in the day,” said Zeke Knight, a farmer from South Carolina. “Why, that Mr. Bush treated these birds right. While Obama just lets them off the hook without a military tribunal or nothing, Bush had a solid avian policy. He knew how to handle dangerous Islamoturkey killers.”

“By God, Bush lined them all up in a row and a real Vice President, Dick Cheney, bit the heads off and burned them in a big bonfire. We liked to call it cleansing by the fires of Hell,” Knight said. “Sometimes he got a little sloshed and took potshots at them too.”

Tea Party Draws ‘Substantial’ Crowd
White House officials estimated the crown at no more then 10. Tea Party spokespeople characterized the crowd as slightly larger, based on estimates provided by Fox News. “We had 200,000, maybe even a million people here. We would have gotten more, but the backyard of this place is pretty small and we couldn’t get anyone else in,” said Heather Haskell Director of Disinformation at the Rupert Murdock School of Journalism at Regent University.

White House officials said the crowd was mostly orderly, although there was an $879 bill for the clean up of RC Cola bottles and Moon Pie wrappers strewn on the lawn near the Rose Garden.

“And don’t raise my taxes to pay for picking up the mess either,” said a departing protester firing a parting shot. “Me and those business bigwigs deserve a big tax cut for putting up with such shenanigans as these.”

The pardoned fowl left the ceremony in a limousine provided by meat and poultry processor Foster Farms. The birds answered no questions as ‘bodyguards’ held the assembled media at bay with what appeared to be semi-automatic hatchets.

The telephone at the birds’ shared coup went unanswered later in the afternoon, prompting one anonymous White House official to speculate something ominous may have happened to the plump and juicy birds.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Diaries

Advertise Blogads