Archive for the ‘military’ Category

I thought this crap had been put behind us.

It seems the “Obama wasn’t born in America” crowd has been actually gathering some steam lately, with a court ruling from a judge willing to examine the “merits” of the case (shouldn’t take long, since there aren’t any).  And now we have this:

Soldier balks at deploying; says Obama isn’t president

U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, set to deploy to Afghanistan, says he shouldn’t have to go.

His reason?

Barack Obama was never eligible to be president because he wasn’t born in the United States.

Cook’s lawyer, Orly Taitz, who has also challenged the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency in other courts, filed a request last week in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and status as a conscientious objector for her client.

In the 20-page document — filed July 8 with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia — the California-based Taitz asks the court to consider granting his client’s request based upon Cook’s belief that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Cook further states he “would be acting in violation of international law by engaging in military actions outside the United States under this President’s command. … simultaneously subjecting himself to possible prosecution as a war criminal by the faithful execution of these duties.”

Cook, a reservist, received the orders mobilizing him to active duty on June 9.

According to this document, which accompanies Cook’s July 8 application for a temporary restraining order, he has been ordered to report to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday. From there, the Florida resident would go to Fort Benning before deploying overseas.

Documents show Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, two years after it became a state.

A hearing to discuss Cook’s requests will take place in federal court here Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

It’s distressing enough to realize that there are still people out there stupid enough to believe this line of bullshit, but it’s even more disheartening to realize that at least one of them is in a position of leadership, responsible for training and mentoring young troops.  What kind of example is Maj. Cook setting for the young soldiers he might command?  What kind of judgement is he showing by clinging so tightly to such a ridiculous and obvious line of right-wing lies and smears?

None whatsoever.  He deserves to be court-martialed, demoted to Private and sent to Fort Leavenworth.  He’s a disgrace to himself, the Army, and his country.

If he wanted out of the Army so badly, it would have been better if he’d just told them he was gay.

Update (7/15/09): Major Cook’s deployment orders have been rescinded.  In a curious twist to this sordid tale, it turns out the “Major” actually volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan in May of this year, six months after President Obama’s election and four months after his swearing-in.  If he had these concerns about the legitimacy of his commander-in-chief, why didn’t he quit the reserves six months ago?  Why volunteer to go, and then make up this bogus claim about the President’s birth certificate?

I smell a rat.  This looks like a transparent ploy to put this ridiculous conspiracy theory in the national media spotlight.  Major Cook is a disgrace to the uniform.

Update 2 (7/15/09): Keith Olbermann reported last night in his “Worst Persons” segment that Major Cook has now lost his job as a Pentagon contractor.

Just when you thought the misguided, ill-conceived, bastard policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” couldn’t get any stupider, we have this:

Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, a fighter weapons systems officer, has been flying the F-15E Strike Eagle since 1998. He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron’s history. On that infamous September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation’s capital. Later he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received at least 30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is now a flight instructor in Idaho, where he has passed on his skills to more than 300 future Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force weapons systems officers.

Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction. He comes from a military family. His father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, his mother an Air Force nurse and captain. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach has honored that tradition.

Now, I know you’d think the Air Force would want to keep this guy for the rest of his natural life.  He’s the poster child for military heroism, honor, duty and integrity.  But no; the military has been taken over at the highest levels by proselytes and religious fanatics who think that homosexuality is just too darn evil to be tolerated, even if the soldier, sailor, airman or marine exhibiting such sexuality has served honorably and bravely for nearly 20 years.

No, that sort of thing has no place in America’s military.  We just serve and protect the country, we don’t accurately represent it.

Folks, this is stupid.  There is no logical reason to discharge this man, nor was there any reason to discharge Lieutenant Choi last month.  Lt. Choi, you will recall, was until recently an Arabic linguist whose horrible crime against decency and public order was, well, being gay.  Again, a highly trained soldier filling a role in a critical field was kicked out for nothing more serious than violating 19th century standards of conduct.  You’d think the Army would want to keep as many Arabic linguists as possible.  Apparently ideology trumps operational needs.

This is madness, and it must stop.  Unfortunately, the one man who now has the power to make it stop, has shown little inclination to do so.  I’m talking about President Barack “Yes we can, but we probably won’t” Obama.  His latest solution to the problem appears to be to ignore it for now.

Maybe changing the law isn’t possible at the moment.  He can still issue an Executive Order directing the service chiefs to stop implementing it, in light of the critical need for specialist personnel.  Whatever.  He really needs to grow a pair and end this fiasco once and for all.

For his part, LtCol Fehrenbach has made his case tonight, live on the Rachel Maddow show.  Watch it on MSNBC.

 

On last night’s Colbert Report, host Steven Colbert unveiled his new children’s charity.  It’s called DonorsChoose.org, and it is a place where schools whose populations include a high number of military families can go to request donations of money for supplies and special projects.  Usually these are cash-strapped or in some cases downright poverty-stricken districts that need all the help they can get.  You can search the site for schools near you and find out what the classrooms and students there are in need of.

All of the schools listed are, as I’ve said, in areas with high military populations.  These kids have it pretty tough already, dealing with the constant stress of deployment.  Please surf there and give what you can so the children of our nation’s best 1% can get a break.

Support the troops by supporting their kids!

In what is fast becoming both a pathetic cliche and a sad reality of the McCain campaign, prospective first “lady” Cindy McCain has once again uttered a completely ignorant, insensitive and disrespectful comment about the troops in an interview.  Talking to Marie Claire magazine recently, she had this to say about her husband’s wartime experiences and the possiblity that he still suffers from them as a result:

MC: I heard that when you were in Vietnam recently, you found yourself in the same hospital room where your husband was taken after he was shot down. How did that feel? Surreal, or all too real?
CM:
Yeah, actually, that’s a great description of it. You know, I had this feeling that that was the place. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. And then they proceeded to tell me that indeed it was the hospital and it was the room where he’d been photographed — you know, that famous photograph of him.

MC: Did you get a chill?
CM:
I did. I got a chill, and I also was very poignantly reminded of just how strong my husband is, how tough and determined.

MC: You met your husband after his POW days. To what extent is that still with you — or is it a part of history?
CM:
My husband will be the first one to tell you that that’s in the past. Certainly it’s a part of who he is, but he doesn’t dwell on it. It’s not part of a daily experience that we experience or anything like that. But it has shaped him. It has made him the leader that he is.

MC: But no cold sweats in the middle of the night?
CM:
Oh, no, no, no, no, no. My husband, he’d be the first one to tell you that he was trained to do what he was doing. The guys who had the trouble were the 18-year-olds who were drafted. He was trained, he went to the Naval Academy, he was a trained United States naval officer, and so he knew what he was doing.

We’ll put aside the laughable assertion that her husband “doesn’t dwell on it” when in fact he and his surrogates never miss a chance to bring up his POW history even in the most trivial of circumstances.  And maybe she’s telling the truth when she implies he doesn’t have nightmares as a result of it.  If that’s the case, then that’s great for him.  He’s a lot better off than probably most of his fellow prisoners.

But to suggest that the only troops who suffer from PTSD are the 18-year old draftees is not merely ludicrous, it’s ignorant, insulting and demeaning.  To suggest that her husband doesn’t have it because he had proper training is equally stupid and ignorant.  To say this at a time when our nation is at war on two fronts overseas, and our young men and women are returning home with very real symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (even the officers), and treatment for PTSD is being denied them or is simply unavailable, is irresponsible and reckless.

And to say all this when your husband, the Republican candidate for President, is a man who has voted repeatedly against funding for veterans’ health care, and who voted against a funding bill that would have provided improved body armor for combat troops because it included a timetable for withdrawal, is more than a little ludicrous.

It’s insane.  It’s insensitive.  It’s unworthy of a first lady.  Cindy and John McCain owe the troops a massive apology.

In what is possibly the most untentionally hilarious opinion piece in today’s New York Times, Stanley Fish attempts to explain how Dubya might be “regarded with affection” after he leaves office.  No, really.  I’m not kidding:

In the past year I have hazarded a number of political predictions, some of which (like the prediction that in a McCain-Obama matchup the Iraq war would play for the Republicans) panned out, and some of which (like the prediction that Hillary Clinton would easily win the Democratic nomination) didn’t.

Now I would like to enter these treacherous waters again and venture another prediction: within a year of the day he leaves office, and no matter who succeeds him, George W. Bush will be a popular public figure, regarded with affection and a little nostalgia even by those who voted against him and thought he was the worst president in our history.

Yes, I know that right now Mr. Bush is associated with an unpopular and disastrously expensive war, with an economic collapse brought about in part by an administration that abhors regulation, with a spectacularly inadequate response to hurricane Katrina, with a precipitous decline in America’s reputation. After all, this is a guy whose name was never mentioned at the national convention of his own party, the guy that John McCain seems barely able to remember (just as after the Enron debacle Bush seemed barely able to remember that he ever knew Kenneth Lay).

But when Bush leaves office, he leaves behind all those liabilities, even though he had a large part in producing them. The war, the economy, the environment, the Middle East, a newly bellicose Russia — these will all be either McCain’s or Obama’s problems, and Bush will just be someone who shows up regularly and says mildly self-deprecating things about himself on the way to doing some good deed, perhaps in the company of his father and Bill Clinton.

What does Bush have to do? Not much, just be himself, not the wise and inspiring leader of the Western world — he never quite got that one right — but the amiable, funny, folksy and gregarious guy who tricked himself and the rest of us into thinking he was something more. Now he doesn’t have to do that. We’ll not be depending on him, so we’ll be free to like him.

And the fact is that he’s likable. I don’t mean on the superficial level of being someone you’d want to have a beer with. It’s deeper than that. He comes across as a basically decent man who is at peace with himself. Despite the fun poked at his verbal maladroitness, he is actually quite skillful (certainly more skillful than either Al Gore or John Kerry) in conveying his positions succinctly and persuasively. (He didn’t win two national elections — well, maybe one — by accident.) He may not be an intellectual, but he isn’t dumb and he is shrewd enough to play his “aw shucks” personality for all it’s worth. And he has a really good sense of humor (something Barack Obama seems to lack) and a comedian’s ability to make capital out of his own malapropisms. Putting aside the agendas for which he will no longer be held responsible, what’s not to like?

In addition, the road to rehabilitation will be shorter for him than it was for some of his predecessors. It took a while for Harry Truman’s feistiness to erase the memory of the 22 percent favorable rating he had at the end of his tenure. Richard Nixon had to make his way back from disgrace, and he did it being smarter than anyone else (he was, I think, the smartest president of the 20th century) and becoming an astute political commentator and historian. Jimmy Carter just continued being good and after a while it payed off in a Nobel Prize. Bush I’s basic, undemanding decency kept shining through after he left office. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan didn’t need rehabilitation; each would have won a third term easily and still could (even though Reagan is dead).

Of course, rehabilitation can’t begin until your term is over, which may be why Bush is acting as if his term is, in fact, over. Some think that either Henry Paulson or Nancy Pelosi is now president. There are still occasional foreign policy forays and talks with international leaders, but they seem more ceremonial than substantive. Bush remains the titular head of his party, but the party is running away from him, and he seems irrelevant to the political process. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, for it allows him to appear to be above the fray as he prepares to exit or, rather, as he is already exiting.

How will he occupy his time? Roving ambassador? Baseball commissioner? University president? (Don’t groan; he’d probably be good at it.) I don’t know, but I do expect that one night in the not-too-distant future, some TV host will be calling for the drum roll and announcing, with pleasure and pride, “Heeeere’s Georgie.”

I don’t normally repost articles in their entirety, but felt this one deserved particular attention and comment.  Hundreds of comments follow on the original page, and run the gamut from guarded agreement to scathing opposition.  You can guess where the majority of responses fall.

Let’s see, we have a president who, during his eight years in office, presided over:

  1. Two wars, one of revenge and the other an illegal war of, well, revenge
  2. A half-assed overreaction to the most significant terrorist act committed against any major power
  3. The erosion of our civil liberties
  4. A botched and incompetent disaster relief non-effort after an entire city was nearly wiped off the map (2005, New Orleans, look it up)
  5. The squandering of international goodwill toward America
  6. The overt use of mercenaries in (1) above
  7. The systematic abuse and neglect of our nation’s veterans
  8. The use of torture, extraordinary rendition, secret prisons overseas, and military-style trials for civilians, detentions without habeas corpus or trial – all activities previously associated with the worst dictators on the planet
  9. The worst financial crisis to hit the nation since the Great Depression
  10. Abuse and misuse of our nation’s armed forces

What exactly will we remember him fondly for?  The worst is, this is only a partial list.  Just what I could think of off the top of my head.

He’s not likeable, he’s not even competent.  Everything he’s touched has turned to shit.  And that includes our great nation.  He’s been a walking clusterfuck as President, and the worst example of low-class humanity that ever existed.  A thug, a brute and a dictator, GWB should have been impeached years ago.

Maybe he can spend the rest of his life in Argentina with all the other retired dictators.

Peace.

After watching Sarah Palin’s interview with Charles Gibson last night, I’ve come to the conclusion that that woman shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House unless she’s part of a tour group.  I’ve never seen a less prepared, less qualified, and more dangerous choice for Vice President.  She and Mr. Gibson discussed a lot of topics, but for me the most disheartening part of the interview was when he asked about her “foreign policy credentials.” She responded by repeating the line that because Alaska is close to Russia, that makes her experienced in foreign affairs:

PALIN: We have to keep our eyes on Russia. Under the leadership there.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.

Ridiculous, as I have said previously.  If these are the standards McCain is setting for his administration (have the last eight years really lowered our expectations that much?), then God help us.  By this abysmally low requisite, any military person who’s been stationed in South Korea and visited the DMZ is qualified to be at least an ambassador.  I’ve actually stepped across the line in the negotiations room in Pyongyang!  That means I’ve been to North Korea; could I have a spot at the table?

Earlier, she was unable to define the Bush Doctrine of preemptive self-defense (hit them before they hit you), and Gibson had to explain it to her:

“The Bush Doctrine is we have the right to self-defense, pre-emptive strike against any country we think is going to attack us,” he noted. “Do you agree with it?”

“Charlie, if there is enough intelligent and legitimate evidence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country,” [Palin] said.

Strangely enough, this was actually an improvement on the Bush doctrine.  At least she would rely on legitimate information before bombing another country.  Though I’m not sure what “intelligent evidence” is.  Perhaps she was referring to intelligence.  But that’s being a bit optomistic.

Gibson also questioned her on her recent (July ’08) words in the Wasilla Assemblies of God church.  She said that she would “never presume to know the mind of God.”  For the record, her actual words from that service in July were

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

The interview was both frightening and disheartening.  Her answers, on the rare occasions when she managed to spit them out, were evasive and simplistic, entirely unworthy of a person who could reasonably be expected to one day command the largest military force in the world.  I cannot believe a man of McCain’s experience and knowledge would ask us to trust the future security of the nation to this untested, ignorant, inexperienced person.  This has nothing to do with her gender – there are many competent and eminently more qualified women McCain could should have chosen.  Instead he chose a complete unknown who didn’t even own a passport until a few weeks ago.  Either he’s not taking this election seriously, he’s not taking the future of the nation seriously, or he’s not taking the American people seriously.

I cannot begin to describe how angry I am at this.  The McCain campaign expects us to believe that this woman is actually qualified to be President.  For all their talk earlier this year about issues and substance, they’ve been running a campaign that could be described as Seinfeld-esque.  It’s about nothing.  Every day there’s a new attack ad focusing on yet another source of manufactured outrage.  They know if they focus on the issues they will lose, because there is no substance to their campaign.  And the choice of Sarah Palin proves it.

I hate to say it, but Matt Damon is right.  The whole thing reads like the plot to a really bad “Lifetime Original Movie”.  Only this is real life, and if Palin becomes President there won’t be a happy ending.  Does anyone seriously think Putin or Ahmadinejad are going to be impressed or, less likely deferential, to this so-called “hockey mom?”  Are they really going to buy the “I live close to Russia so I have foreign experience” line?  If you do, you’re an idiot.

Wake up, America.  This thing is more important than this.  Men and women are dying overseas, people are losing their homes, their jobs and their health at home, and the McCainiacs think non-issues like lipstick comments are of earthshaking importance.  It’s all bullshit.  They’re liars and frauds and they know it.  Wake up, America.  The future of our nation is far to important to be trusted to POW Jack and his plucky sidekick PolarGirl.

Wake up, America.  Before it’s too late.

Oh, REALLY?

Posted: September 10, 2008 in america, lies, military, politics, stupid, war
Tags:

Megan McCain, on the Today show recently:

No, certainly not.  Especially not the families of these warriors:

Or these guys:

I’m sure these guys don’t know as much about it as the McCains do (warning: graphic images).

No, I’m sure no one knows more about living in military housing with asbestos in the air vents and lead paint on the door than Megan McCain.  I’m sure no one knows more about having to move every two to three years, trusting all your worldly goods to the lowest bidder contractor.  I’m sure no one knows more about living in a shoebox on the tenth floor of a high-rise apartment in downtown Songtan, Korea than this family does.  Nah.  All those thousands of military families are clueless.

Do us a favor, Megan.  Shut the fuck up.

Oh, and in case any readers think I’m being hypocritical by criticizing the child of a candidate after my recent post, think again.  Earlier I was criticizing the irresponsible spreading of an unconfirmed, baseless and salacious rumor about the child, a young lady in a difficult situation who did not ask for that kind of attention.  Megan McCain, by her own words, has injected herself into a conversation she knows nothing about.  And she deserves to be called out on it.