Monday, December 4, 2006

So far in December.....

*39 US military killed in Iraq so far in December

- The Iraq Study Group finally provided its report and it turned out to be much ado about nothing. Looks like more of the same to me - playing around the edges. A little bit of acknowledgement that things aren't going so hot, a little bit of recommendation that we might need to start withdrawing some troops at some unknown point in the future, a little of bit suggestion that, you know, maybe the Iraqis themselves could pick up the pace. Meanwhile our president was first snubbed by the leader of the Iraq government and then taken to task for not providing them with the equipment they need to kill each other in even greater numbers, even though we are practically bankrupting our own damn country to prop up his. We let one of our own great cities die, so we can send the money to Iraq. Meanwhile, Bush stated that there is no graceful exit from Iraq. Well, finally, he gets something right! It probably doesn't matter what the Baker/Hamilton group come up with anyway. I don't think Bush has any intentions of taking anyone's advice.

I think we ought to just bail. Just say, "see ya" and pull our troops. Tell them we got rid of their awful dictator for them, gave them over 3 years and almost 3,000 lives and God knows how many grievously injured, both physically and emotionally, and about a gazillion dollars - now its up to them to do the best they can. Of course, that probably means Sunnis and Shiites will blast each other back to kingdom come but you know, that's what they are doing anyway. I think it is what they will continue doing, with us or without us. Only difference is that our soldiers won't be caught in the cross-fire.

- As an aside, I saw former Chief-Justice Sandra Day O'Conner being interviewed about the Iraq Study Group report. She would hear no criticism of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq. "We didn't look back," she said, "only forward." I wondered if she felt some responsibility for the tragedy Iraq has become seeing as how she was one of the 5 votes that put Bush in the White House despite a significant majority of Americans having expressed their preference for Al Gore. Doesn't she ever second-guess that vote, do you suppose?

- No, no, no! I don't want to hear about the 2008 presidential campaign! Please, national media, leave it be. You can report who is announcing they will run and who is forming an exploratory committee but beyond that, just shut up! It is too early for the prognosticators to begin telling us who is going to win. There may be someone out there we've never even thought of who will catch fire with their party's supporters. The front-runners of today are not necessarily the front-runners of two years from now. I don't want to listen to endless hours of how Barack Obama affects Hillary's chances and whether Republican evangelicals will vote for the Mormon Mitt Romney and how much the media loves the "maverick" McCain and on and on and on. Give it a rest for a year or so.

- There is a great dispute in the Washington in-crowd about an incident that occurred between President Bush and newly-elected Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb. Webb attended a ceremony at the White House along with other incoming freshmen Congresspeople. He deliberately avoided the Bush receiving line as well as not having his picture taken with the president. He didn't make a big issue of it but simply stayed out of the way. But Bush sought him out especially and asked him how his boy was doing. Webb's son is a Marine in Iraq. Webb believed we should never have invaded Iraq and campaigned on that issue. He responded to Bush - "I'd like to get them home, Mr. President." Bush snapped back, "that's not what I asked you, I asked you, 'how's your boy?'" Webb replied, "that's between me and my boy, Mr. President."

Oh, my goodness, what an uproar erupted in the media. This simply isn't how it is done in Washington. Our capitol city survives on charade. People who despise one another refer to their congressional brethren as "my esteemed colleague, the honorable...." Hypocricy is elevated to the level of Olympian skill. (Unless, of course, you are the vice-president and tell a senator to "go f--k yourself", then it is simply an amusing little side story but then, that's our liberal media for you.) But honest emotion on the part of a father concerned about his son's safety in Iraq and no doubt bitter toward the president who put him in harm's way, that is simply unacceptable in a city where insincerity is an art form.

- And speaking of hypocricy, Mary Cheney, that would be the Vice-president's lesbian daughter, is pregnant and whew, Baby, is she ever catching it from her father's so-called friends and allies. The right-wing has gone off the map registering blistering criticism. You just have to wonder how much of a split personality you have to have to be a conservative religious-right Republican and also a pregnant gay woman. Talk about working against your own self-interest. Mary was officially involved on the Bush/Cheney ticket even as they were trumpeting their disapproval of her very situation. Mary and her "wife" live in Virginia which passed one of the most onerous anti-gay marriage laws in the country. Mary's partner will have no official right to a claim on this baby. Should Mary die, I guess it would fall into some kind of familial limbo state (although I presume, the Vice-president would ride to the rescue when his very own grand-child was involved). If Mary's father were't the Republican vice-president, wouldn't her natural home be with the Democrats who tend to get more exercized about thousands of military deaths in Iraq than two people who love each other choosing to have a baby, be they man and woman or two women?

- In the same way, the evangelical Christians saved most of their outrage against the Reverend Ted Haggard for engaging in homosexual sex. They barely mentioned what I thought was much the more serious of his failings, buying and using meth. If I was a member of Ted Haggard's family and loved him, I'd be much more concerned about his use of meth than his gayness.

In fact, the whole issue of gays is one that puzzles me. I have gay friends and family members. They are just like straight people in every way except who they are sexually attracted to. They have the same strengths and weaknesses; they love their kids and worry about paying their bills. Some of them hate their jobs and some of them hate to get up in the morning. Some of them drink too much and some of them are active in their church.

- In the same way, I am taken aback when told by the media that some people simply wouldn't vote for a black person, even one like Barack Obama, who is only half-African American. Can that really be so? In the 21st century? I barely even notice that Barack Obama is black and if I do, I certainly don't care. What is Black anyway? If you are half white and half black, are you black? If you are one/fourth black and three-fourths white, are you black? In the old days (and even in the not so old days) in Louisiana, if you were even one 32nd black, you were black. Isn't it ridiculous to label a person based on some tiny percentage of ethnic heritage? If we have moved beyond declaring a person black if a 32nd of their DNA is black, then where is the line to be drawn?