June 30th, 2004 ~ Until now, I have tried to control my tongue about the deployment of America's National Guard and Reserves in Iraq, because I felt such remarks might be twisted into some sort of pacifist position. But today I learned that by next Tuesday, more than 5,600 Individual Ready Reservists will be notified of their involuntarily call to active duty. Pentagon officials indicate this is only the beginning.
Anyone familiar with the Vietnam War knows that beyond a token mobilization by President Johnson in 1968, The Reserves and the Guard acquired reputations as no-combat havens for relatively affluent young white men. Heck, when MY draft notice arrived, I was first in line to be laughed out of the the National Guard and Reserve recruiting offices in my home town. I might not have had a Rich Daddy like Mr. Bush, but my Momma didn't raise no fool either.
I was lucky. Despite being drafted into active duty service, I did not see any combat. I can understand, however, a young man of draft age in those days wanting a sure thing which didn't entail an extended vacation in Canada. The Guard and Reserves provided that sure thing back in the 60's and early 70's.
Today, there is no draft. Young men and women join the Guard and Reserves because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. They intentionally choose the Guard or Reserves because of the implicit agreement that - unlike the active duty services - they will not be torn away from their jobs and families except TEMPORARILY and only in times of immediate and dire national emergency.
Ironic, then, that THIS President, who received the benefit of that implicit agreement by joining the Guard during a wartime draft, should now be so cavalier in throwing those who joined voluntarily and in peace-time into an arbitrary conflict in Iraq. If Bill Clinton sanded the veneer of political ethics to a wafer-thin coating, this action by the Bush Administration strips the furniture of government down to bare wood.
I guess this is the inevitable wakeup call for us to put the American Dream on hold for a little while and squarely face the waking nightmare of "executive privilege" run amok. This President has now exhausted every loophole in that privilege which might be used to put our children in harms way. In doing so, he has also exhausted the good will and tolerance of the American People. He can count on our vote in November to express just how we feel about his interpretation of executive privilege. After all, why should we be the only ones to have a wakeup call?
June 28th, 2004 ~ Iraq is now a sovereign nation. Today, at 10:26 a.m., coalition administrator, L. Paul Bremer, signed the documents transferring power to interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi and the Iraqi Governing Council, which will rule until elections can be held; possibly as early as January 2005. In one of the smarter moves of this campaign, the turnover took place two days ahead of schedule; thereby shortcircuiting any rationàle Saudi, Iranian, Yemeni, and Syrian agents might have had for a final orgy of destruction. This doesn't mean they won't still try to murder as many people as possible in the next few days or weeks. That is, after all, fundamental to their pathology. It only means they have to come up with a new justification for their blood-lust.
Meanwhile, one American Marine, three Turkish men, and one Pakistani are all being held under threat of death and it's possible an Army Specialist, captured in April, may already have been executed.
June 26th, 2004 ~ Following yesterday's coordinated string of homicide bombings in Iraq, Wahabbi holy man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has kidnapped and is threatening to murder three Turkish men in the name of God. By this time it must be dawning on the world that this maniac and his minions have no interest in God, the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Islamic holy places, or anything beyond achieving their all too earthly goals.
While al-Zarqawi, bin Laden, and all these Wahabbi sickos wrap themselves in the holy white raiments of the righteous, their garments have long been fouled with the blood of Islamic innocents and stained with the Sa'udi oil of hypocrisy. They model themselves after the 12th Century Assaassioun; the fanatical blood-cult of shaik-al-jibal (Old Man of the Mountains), Hasan ibu-al-Sabbah. Yet, unlike the struggle of al-Sabbah and Saladin against the Crusaders, their "Jihad" kills more of their fellow Muslims than the foreign infidels they claim to fight and their lust for secular power appears much greater than their quest for paradise.
No difference, really, from the black-on-black violence in America, where defendants claim white "oppression" as justification for their butchery, or white supremacists who blow up women and babies of all races to demonstrate their "racial purity". After all the flowery words about justice, and righteousness, and purity, it still comes down to a mundane lust for power and a pathological desire to hurt those who stand in the way of that power.
June 24th, 2004 ~ Today, by a vote of 7 to 2, the Supreme Court decided to refer back to a lower federal court, a suit brought by the Sierra Club and
Judicial Watch against Vice President Cheney to produce documents related to his 2001 "Energy Task Force". Writing for the majority (which included Cheney's duck hunting pal Antonin Scalia), Justice Anthony Kennedy declared as justification for their decision the "...paramount necessity of protecting the executive branch from vexatious litigation that might distract it from the energetic performance of its constitutional duties."
The obvious question that comes to MY mind is whether ANY effort by American citizens to discover what their government is up to under the Freedom of Information Act, is to henceforth be considered "vexatious litigation", or whether that particular appellation is reserved by the court for suits brought against duck hunting buddies of certain justices? The overt, unvarnished, partisanship of this decision is truly breathtaking. It is also disturbing in its implications about those who, till now, have enjoyed the absolute trust of the American People as the stewards of our Constitution.
Of the three branches of our government, the judicial derives it's power solely from the consent of the American people and that consent is predicated on our belief in its impartiality. If that trust is shattered - even if it is drawn into serious question - our consent must ultimately follow. I would suggest the court deliberate long and hard on THIS before issueing their next decision.
June 23rd, 2004 ~ Only a week away from turnover of power to an Iraqi government, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has claimed another bit of butchery in the name of God. The latest victim of this "holy man" is South Korean businessman, Kim Sung Il. I don't think al-Zarqawi understood the cultural differences between Korea and America - despite our seeming similarities - in taking Mr. Kim's life. I worry now that Wahabbi Imams, Madrasas, and Mosques throughout the Far East may be fresh targets of Korean-style retribution for this heinous murder.
June 19th, 2004 ~ Aeronautical engineer Paul Johnson is the latest victim of the diseased minds of Al Qaeda. Like Nick Berg in Iraq, Johnson's killers had no intention of letting him go. This is why they made demands of the Saudi royals they knew could not be met. Like any true psychopaths, Johnson's butchers had to capture his murder in photos to display on their website. Mass murderers always take trophies from their victims. It's part of their deranged profile.
We can expect the Saudi government to round up or kill a few expedient "suspects" in the next few days or weeks; carefully avoiding, of course, any of the scions of the House of Sa'ud who might have been involved. Meanwhile, the Madrasas will keep injecting their disease into fresh young minds at the usual pace; funded by their usual royal patrons. And our government will continue to claim "our Saudi friends" are doing everything in their power to bring Johnson's murderers to justice.
June 21st, 2004 ~ History was made today with the first successful flight of a privately built, manned spacecraft, Spaceship One, from the Scaled Composites team of Bert Rutan and Paul Allen. We used to look forward to such achievements (like Lindburgh's flight) as an excuse for a national party. Now, we can't even do that. We're too busy worrying about loved ones shanghied into extended service in Iraq, or desperately trying to find a job that hasn't already been shipped offshore.
June 16th, 2004 ~ With the words "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States..." the special commission investigating the 9/11 attacks concluded there was no conspiracy of the Saddam Hussein government with Al Qaeda, either before the attacks or afterward. Undaunted by this revelation, President Bush responded by pointing out recent activities by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as evidence of a pre-invasion Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. This logic is akin to saying the maggots on a corpse are proof that we all carry them inside of us and only when we die do they become visible.
June 10th, 2004 ~ The sweetest American voice, Ray Charles, died today at the age of 73. He left behind a legacy of music our world is richer for.