Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Iraq War Veterans' Open Letter to the President

Do words matter more than actions? Are Democrats and liberals traitors for their words that are deemed insufficiently supportive? Are Republicans and conservatives patriots for talking tough and cheerleading the Administration and war?

Paul Rieckhoff -- veteran of GWII -- of Operation Truth has an opinion (via WTF Is It Now?):

Mr. President, we don’t need to be told that the insurgents intend to shake our will, because we’ve sifted through the havoc wreaked by even the crudest weapons, then watched our friends sent home, changed forever. We don’t need to be told that your
administration is committed to taking care of the Troops, because we’ve already gotten the bill you sent us for the meals we ate while recovering at Walter Reed.

We don’t need to be told that flak jackets and safer Humvees are on the way, because we’ve already learned that a phone-call home and a few hundred bucks is probably the quickest way to get body armor. Hundreds of Troops have been wounded or killed because of faulty vehicles or missing armor, but who has been held accountable?

Action speak louder than words. Support isn't just saying "good job," it's giving the troops the tools to be able to really do a good job.

But it's the liberals who are weak, cowardly, unsupportive traitors who want to hurt the troops, right, Karl?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Maybe It Will Begin to Sink In

My parents, fully immersed in right-wing ideological sources, read WorldNetDaily, so maybe this analysis of history as I recall it (and as it happened) may finally sink in, 'cause they wouldn't believe me and my liberally biased sources:

"After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no
evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq."

Twelve days later Bush invaded Iraq.

There is no evidence that Bush-Cheney-Rice paid any attention whatsoever at any time to the null results obtained in Iraq by the U.N.'s intrusive go-anywhere see-anything inspectors.

On the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that Bush et al. disputed their results and attempted to influence – "fix" is the word Dearlove used – their conclusions.

(via Radamisto)

Armies are for Drunken Hitlers; or A Virgin Rummy on the Rocks, No Salt

The Founders had a mistrust of standing armies and their historic use by tyrants to oppress the citizenry.

With a very mature and responsible understanding of his own proclivities and weaknesses, President Bush has twice rejected Rumsfeld's offered resignation (Pictured).

Rummy -- our country's Key Master and hero to B.A.D.D. (Bloggers Against Dictating Democracy) -- deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a kiss on each cheek for watering down the military to a harmless potency.

Never forget the two men responsible for restoring our military to its oppression-proof original state:

"General Washington was often short of shoes and powder, but rarely were he and other commanders without men when they needed them most, although at times American leaders had to take into the army slaves, pardoned criminals, British deserters, and prisoners of war. Moreover, Americans owned guns, and they knew how to use them."

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Rove's Words a Distraction

Letter to the Editor, Rocky Mountain News:

Karl Rove recently made some outrageous remarks about liberals. He said that instead of striking Al-Qaeda militarily we wanted to give them therapy, that our motive for criticizing the Administration's actions is to cause harm to the troops. Not only are these remarks base and inaccurate, they are part of a tried-and-true technique Rove has used to win political campaigns; ignore his candidate's weakness and attack his opponent's strength. Our strength is that we opposed the Iraq War as a distraction from the true war on terrorism taking place in Afghanistan.

Public opinion is turning against the conventional wisdom that Republicans strongly support the military and war, for good reason. The Bush Administration has made many missteps in the War on Terrorism, starting with the decision to move troops, intelligence assets, and $700 million from Afghanistan to Iraq before Al-Qaeda had been broken and bin Laden captured or killed.

In his desire for an Iraq War, Bush ignored warnings of the difficulties, including the numbers of troops needed or the costs which would be incurred. Instead, he relied on pie-in-the-sky assessments from Rumsfeld and Ahmed Chalabi's INC that few troops would be needed; Saddam's army would surrender, Iraqis would welcome US troops with flowers. While the initial ground assault did go quickly because the Ba'athist Army wasn't much of a threat and the Republican Guard disappeared into a guerilla force and insurgency, the battles continue with rapidly mounting casualties of troops who are still inadequately staffed and armed.

The latter mistake is part of Bush's worst error in Iraq -- not preparing for an aftermath. Knight-Ridder reported that mere days before the invasion began, "the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C," had to be referred to as "To Be Provided." Since then, many post-war decisions have been severely wrong, for example, disbanding the Iraqi Army and disenfrachising all Ba'athists, not just the true Saddam loyalists. This excluded the people most experienced in running a country and keeping order. Suddenly loose in the countryside were a lot of soldiers and bureaucrats with nothing to do and foreign troops to kill.

And yet Karl Rove would have America believe liberals are the threat to our troops and our security. He's just attacking our strength; we have the best interests of the troops in mind because we oppose Bush's misguided and badly planned and executed venture in Iraq and are calling for a true assessment of what is needed to keep our troops safe.

Julie O.

Response From White House

It's an automated response.

(During the Clinton Impeachment, I sent Clinton a supportive email telling him to hang in there. Clinton Sent back a snailmail letter.)

Patriots Undercover at the CRNC

On the exploits of our intrepid agents, Conventioneer and Conventionette, who have eyes like hawks, nerves of steel, and the stomachs of concrete elephants.

via Jesus' General

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Rove's Plan -- So Cunning, You Could Put a Tail on it and Call it a Weasel.

There has been much speculation about Karl Rove's political brilliance, yet seeming political blunder in calling liberals traitorous Osama-huggers who want our troops to die. Mahablog summarizes the theories going around: it's part of a coordinated propaganda attack; it's a sign that the machine's not so well-oiled anymore; Rove himself -- a pathological, immoral monster -- really needs to get some help because he's cracking up publicly.

Well, I've developed a theory, myself.

Daily Kos reports the President has lost the independent vote by a stunning amount...17% approve, 75% disapprove. That's pretty bad. That's lose-the-White House bad, and reflective of how unpopular the Republican-lead Congress is. But Bush is a lame duck, and the next Presidential election is still three years away. It's very important to this Administration to maintain majorities in both houses in the coming 2006 elections. If they lose even one, the real investigations will begin -- and two years is plenty of time to impeach a President.

There are a number of seats in both houses which are vulnerable. The DCCC blog has a list of the Congressional seats that are most likely to flip: Marilyn Musgrave, Bob Beauprez, Rob Simmons, Christopher Shays, Katherine Harris, Mike Sodrel, Jim Nussle, Chris John, Charles Taylor, Bob Ney, Jim Gerlach, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Dave Reichert.

In The National Journal, Chuck Todd lists the most vulnerable Senators: Rick Santorum, Lincoln Chafee, Conrad Burns, Jon Kyl, James Talent, Mike DeWine, and Richard Lugar.

I figured we should look for these people to distance themselves from Rove's comments. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was surprised to see Atrios report that Santorum had distanced himself. And First Draft's first respondent to the letter campaign was Rob Simmons. Rob who? Rob "On the vulnerable Reps list" Simmons, that's who.

Chuck also gives me more reason to think Rove has a clever plan:

Iraq, the number one issue for voters, is devouring the Republican Party. And with no new moment to look for that doesn't have the word "withdrawal" in it, it's hard to see how the situation improves before next November...We've been writing for months that at some point, Iraq was going to hurt the Republicans as much as it helped them in 2002. They lucked out in 2004, but 2006 is a whole new ballgame.

Karl's winning strategy is to not defend his guy's weaknesses while attacking the other guy's strengths. The Iraq war is rapidly becoming Bush's weakness, and, if not the Democrats' strength, the Democrats' blamelessness. Americans, including an increasing amount of Republicans, know this is Bush's war, his plans, his screw-ups.

Now is a good time -- especially so soon after Durbin's widely mischaracterized remarks were roundly criticized as being harmful to the troops -- to go after that perceived blamelessness in the traditional, proven tactic of questioning Dems loyalty and concern for the military.

But why, then, would certain Republicans distance themselves from Rove's words? The White House is backing could these Congressmen distance themselves when the White House won't?

Here's my theory: Since Bush is a lame duck, and the two houses of Congress are most at stake at present, Karl's plan is to let the White House take a hit with wildly offensive remarks and allow vulnerable Republicans to distance themselves and seem more principled, independent, and sane. This would probably be only the first instance.

Look for more opportunities for vulnerable Republicans to distance themselves from the White House.

Do I think we are playing into Karl's hands by distracting the public from more important issues and giving the vulnerable Republicans cover? Possibly. Maybe instead of writing letters to our representatives demanding apologies and distancing, we should use the opportunity -- piggy-backed onto our brief complaints of Karl's outrageous comments -- to remind the public that this Administration, utilizing typical, tired rhetoric, is just trying to distract us from its incompetence and serious breaches of trust. Cite examples. Be specific.

Perhaps I shall write a letter.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ken Salazar, Flag-Burning Crusader

Dear Sen. Salazar,

It was with a sick heart I read of your decision to vote to pass the Flag Burning Amendment. Please reconsider this decision.

You gave as your reason that you think of the "flag-draped coffin of [your] father and his love for this country." I respect your love for your father and his service to this country. I have many family members who served in peacetime, love my country, and take pride in flying the flag, as well.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Democratic Party, Joelle Martinez, said this decision shows you are "an indepedent thinker who follows his heart and follows his gut on this kind of thing." But banning flag burning in protest -- an action that rarely ever happens -- strips us all of that same indepedence of thought you enjoy.

Flag burning is a thought crime. The proper way to dispose of a flag is to burn it. How are we to determing whether a flag is being burned in the proper fashion? Will we assume someone wearing a GOP lapel pin is burning it properly, while someone in a t-shirt is violating the Constitution? What if someone burns the flag in protest, but does it in a solemn public ceremony? Will the authorities have to determine the irony? And will there be a statute of limitations if the perpetrators later admit their true intentions?

That's going to be one long, convoluted amendment full of caveats; or a vague, unenforceable or patchily enforced one -- enforced only against the one guy every year who burns the flag in anger. Such an amendment would be nothing more than a symbol itself.

The Constitution is meant to be the laws which protect our human rights. The Flag Burning Amendment is meant to protect -- with all due respect -- a piece of colored cloth and your sensibilites -- from the exercise of our human rights.

You have independence of thought; you also have power. You would use that power to deny the rest of us independence of thought. Think of your stated motivations...some people do not show the flag, our country, or your father the proper respect. You would use your power to shut those people up.

Please do not pass the Flag Burning Amendment.


Julie O.

(This is very close to the email I sent, but I hit submit before I copied the letter.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

If It's Good for Durbin, It's Good for Karl

Dear Mr. President,

Of course you are aware of Karl Rove's recent comments to the New York Conservative Party:

"Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

When questioned, your spokesman, Scott McClellan, said you will not ask Mr. Rove to apologize for impugning the motives of a large segment of the American population, of which I happen to be a part. Mr. McClellan attempted to excuse such sentiments as being a reflection of a difference in philosophies. Since he was specifically addressing Senator Durbin's publicly stated opinion that torture is not an American attribute, am I to assume that you think torture is an American attribute? Or is the objection that Senator Durbin was talking about it publicly?

Perhaps believing that officials should not speak publicly about wrongdoing in the administration or its departments, the military, or of individuals is a difference in philosophies -- though I don't know how you would expect a participatory, transparent, representative democracy to work if we're not allowed to publicly call you all to task for your bad behavior.

However, the difference in philosophies of which Mr. Rove was speaking is clearly about liberals' motives: he says we seek to put the troops in greater danger. If Mr. Rove spoke inelegantly, he should look to Senator Durbin for guidance on what to do.

Senator Durbin apologized; so can Karl Rove.


Julie O.

(thanks to

First Draft - A Contest - With Prize

First Draft - A Contest - With Prize:

I slightly revised the letter suggested at First Draft (link above) in response to Karl Rove's statement:
"Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."
For some reason I was unable to send it to Sen. Allard (R-CO).

"Dear Rep. Tancredo,

According to the New York Times, presidential advisor Karl Rove recently said that liberals in this country want our troops to die.

As a liberal, I find this deeply offensive. I resent the idea that I want any of our troops to come to harm. In making such statements Mr. Rove is not only impugning my politics, he is degrading my basic humanity.

As a constituent of yours, I would like to know, sir, if you agree with Mr. Rove's statements. Does he speak for you?

Julie O."

Via atrios

Wot's All This, Then?

I've noticed in my daily lurking on various political websites the occasional call to action to contact Congress. Sometimes a site will show some feedback that emailers have gotten, but often we just don't know how things are going.

In my own experience, I've had patchy responses from my elected representatives. Karen Thurman (D-FL) was very responsive to my emails -- though she kept misunderstanding my point -- while Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) never replied.

Since I've moved to Colorado, I've contacted my Senators and Representative more than once, and so far only Ken Salazar (D-CO) has bothered to send back an automated reply.

Do they just not care about people who use the internet? Are we less important than those who use telephones or snailmail? Email is a valid form of communication, and bloggers are becoming more important and influential in the political process. It would behoove our elected representatives to acknowledge that fact and act accordingly.

Thus I am creating what I hope will be Email Central for Contacting Congress, a repository of email correspondence between internet users and their elected officials. I plan to post emails to and from members of Congress and the White House, to keep track of their stances, what they're saying to constituents versus what they say in the media or in Congress.

I invite others to submit their correspondence, as well.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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