Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Deadliest US year in Iraqi war with zero progress

As one CNN reporter put it, although the military "surge" in Iraq may have seen some temporary success, temporarily healing one isolated illness, the patient may be dying.

After six years, the Iraqi government, under a hand picked Bush "leader," has once again failed to reach any agreement or come up with any plan to work together for peace and the future of the country. The factions of the civil war there remain unmoved or unconvinced to change their stands or positions, so their war will continue with business as usual, with our soldiers caught in the middle.

Which means that US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen are losing their lives and limbs in record numbers while the Iraqi government has made literally no political progress toward peace.

Political solutions are what make peace possible, but there are none because representatives of the factions there can't figure out how to get along. Just like they haven't for hundreds of years.

Capitalism is encouraged, however, hoping that business relationships can help Iraqis put salve on historical wounds with money. The US government is funding grants to individual Iraqis so they can open their own businesses.

I'd love for Americans to receive grants to open businesses as well, but then these Iraqis have had their nation and homes and commerce destroyed by President Bush starting a war there, so it's part of a massive, multi-billion dollar reconstruction attempt.

Unfortunately as soon as reconstruction happens, it's generally destroyed by civil war fighting.

For this, the Bush administration is spending more than 2.4 Trillion dollars on this never ending war that you and I and our kids must repay (approximately $40,000 for every one of us) because it's *borrowed.*

Many billions of dollars sent over to Iraq have literally been "lost." It's been handed out like cheap candy to win over people who only turned around and spent it trying to kill US soldiers and rid the nation of the US presence. Many more billions have been squandered on mercenaries like Blackwater, a private enterprise army hired by the Bush administration to beef up the lack of American soldiers needed to fight in Iraq. Mercenaries are paid far more than US soldiers.

Several members of Blackwater have been accused of killing innocent Iraqi civilians two months ago but have not even been questioned as of today by the FBI. The military has no control over them.

Mind you, the administration is demanding much more money from congress for the military to pour down that Middle Eastern black hole without spending money needed by US kids for health care, a decaying national infrastructure and other causes that would help the USA financially, socially, structurally and individually.

But the news is not bad for everyone - under Bush/Cheney priorities, the one group benefiting is multinational corporations, people who are their friends, comrades and peers.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Renewable resources: the key to a healthy economy and life!

A renewable resource continues to create something new rather than simply be used up or destroyed.

For example, education is a renewable resource because it helps people create work, art, skills and ideas that not only help the students, but the workforce, society and culture.

It gives a great return on the investment. People go deeply in debt for an education expecting to make many times over that amount when they graduate.

War is not a renewable resource. Its machinery and weapons are intended to destroy and are expected to be destroyed. More, the machinery are intended to destroy the resources of the enemy - their economy, natural resources, infrastructure, populations, animals and plant life.

The breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) is attributed to that government investing so much money in war machinery and military - spreading their fighting forces so thinly - that there was no money left to run the country.

There has to be some sort of balance or the economy of a nation suffers - or can be completely destroyed.

When we invest so much money in war machinery and armies, that is money paid out with no money coming back in, even when politicians insist there will be.

One of the reasons the Bush administration said that invading Iraq would not harm our economy is that Iraqi oil would pay for the war and rebuilding the destruction there.

Well, the war has crippled Iraqi oil production so the war has cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars - which we've had to borrow from other countries (China is a major source).

So after promising that the war would in effect create a new renewable resource for the US because it would bring oil to America? It turns out to not only be a *non*-renewable resource but a huge drain on our national resources.

People are a renewable resource. If they are killed in war, they cease to be a renewable resource and a need is created for replacing them.

Another reason war is a source of economic depletion: our wounded, maimed and traumatized veterans need expensive medical, dental and psychological care when they return and the government doesn't want to pay for it. The military really is a cheap workforce - the pay is deplorable. Medical and psychological care is not cheap. The payment to survivors of US veterans killed in war is also deplorably low.

Think of the renewable resources that surround us: animals who produce milk we drink. They not only provide the milk we drink - but babies who grow up to give us more milk. It's important to protect these animals from abuse or overuse so they can continue to be a renewable resource without having their lives cut short.

Egg-laying chickens? Renewable resource - again, as long as they are not stressed and abused to overproduce, cutting miserable lives short.

Imported goods? Renewable if exported goods are exchanged in kind.

This economic philosophy is known as guns and butter.

And it's pretty simple. If there's not some sort of balance? There's too much money going out with no promise of sufficient income? The drain on an economy laden with debt can be brutal.

You or I would be tossed out on the street if we lived this way.

The government just borrows money from other nations. In the case of Iraq, which is costing us more money than we generate in the US, it's many billions of dollars from China.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent who used to be a conservative Republican, now writing and speaking about the insanity created by the Bush administration in Iraq, says that this issue of the US being mislead into a war is not a matter of "left" or "right," Republican or Democrat.

It's a matter of right or wrong.

Oil companies, the Bush family bread and butter, are cleaning up at the gas pump as prices skyrocket - and will continue to through his presidency (remember he promised to keep gas prices down when he ran for election?).

His family will, as usual, enjoy fabulous Christmas celebrations for centuries to come while we try to figure out how to dig our way out of the sickening debt and recover from the unnecessary deaths created by his war.

The unlimited tax money and massive debt used to pay Halliburton (vice-president Cheney's former employer) to "rebuild" Iraq without a single bid or even a plan will certainly keep the Cheney family warm at night for centuries to come while other Americans freeze to death.

New government reports declare that attempts to rebuild the majority of warring Iraq are fruitless. As soon as something is built, it's blown up. But Halliburton is paid still more money to re-rebuild or re-re-rebuild ad infinitim, while it moves its main headquarters to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to avoid paying US taxes.

Guns and butter.

War and peace.

The people making money off the war are the cronies of Bush and Cheney - including private armies like Blackwater hired by them.

The losers are our honorable military men and women who with good conscience and courageous hearts put their lives on the line to carry out the orders of a president who can't be bothered to attend one of their funerals - even symbolically.

I wish on July 4, Americans would fly their flags at half mast in memory of all those American military men and women and innocent Iraqis who have given their lives over the past five years in a war that was entered by president Bush cavalierly, without integrity, honor or honorable purpose.

A US-instigated war which has fomented old wounds among all the warring factions of Iraq to the point that there is not one, but several civil wars being fought, while our soldiers become cannon fodder as they try to quell some of the killing.

Leave or stay, the Bush administration has fomented a bloodbath in Iraq that will not end until the Iraqis decide they want to stop killing one another.

What motivates too much of the killing now is one group pointing to the other, accusing the US of "taking sides."

That is the argument for the US getting out of Iraq.

Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney have plans to keep US forces in Iraq - a nation that was no threat to the US - for the foreseeable future, incorporating a policy similar to establishing a presence in south Korea.

And there is more talk of the US invading Iran, a nation which may well develop into a threat. One day.

That day is moving up more quickly because the most powerful nation in the world invaded its neighbor, Iraq.

Call them crazy, but they see invading their sovereign neighboring nation as a threat to their country.

Imagine that.

Imagine Russia invading and starting a war in Canada - think the US would consider that a threat?

Guns and butter can co-exist as long as the gun expenditure doesn't swamp the butter boat.

The situation gets dangerous when we have to start asking, as we become more and more deeply in debt because of war and money becomes scarce -- which we need more: guns or butter.

Depletion or restoration.

Some politicians know which side of their lives is buttered, because they continue to make a few people who are manufacturing war machinery -- who don't care who's buying their goods and services -- wealthy.

Very, very, very wealthy.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The war with Iraq - who's on first?

Do you know that President Bush has *never* attended the funeral or memorial service of even one soldier killed in Iraq?

But he attended the memorial service at Virginia Tech last week, proclaiming he mourned the senseless deaths of the 32 students killed by another student.

Flags fly at half mast honoring those slain students.

No flag has hung at half mast mourning the more than 3,300 American military lives lost in Iraq in the past four years.

Only starting this year, after a legal battle was fought are military caskets brought home to American soil in public. That legal fight was brought about by the parent of a son killed in Iraq who wanted the public to see - to understand - that his son gave his life for his country.

Before this, military caskets were brought home out of public view. In fact, there was a huge broohaha over a photo released to the media that showed a plane load of caskets carrying Americans soldiers killed in action home from Iraq.

It's almost as if the Bush adminstration wants the human cost of this war shaded in some sort of secrecy for fear the public would be outraged if we found out the truth and saw for ourselves the reality of what is going on.

Speaking of truth, did you know, according to author Jeremy Scahill, that the Bush administration has hired some 48,000 "private" soldiers from Blackwater mercenary services to fight in Iraq?

Which means we can actually withdraw the US military, but still pay billions for mercenary soldiers from other nations to continue the fight on our behalf - in our name - there?

A couple more books on the subject that may interest you that are not as politically progressive are Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) by P.W. Singer, and Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror by Robert Young Pelton.

Does this mean we are paying all those billions of tax dollars for the Bush administration to outsource a "US war" with Iraq?

Actually, Bush has pushed the US into what some declare catastrophic debt by borrowing the money to fight in Iraq - mostly from our, um, "close ally" China. Right.

There are some constitutional questions - like is this a legal war to begin with? What does having expensive private soldiers fighting a war on behalf of the US - in our name - mean?

Does going into such horrific debt with China give them some sort of power over us if they suddenly declare they want to get paid what we've borrowed from them *now!*?

Again - why are we losing all those American lives fighting a war in Iraq? Why are our valiant men and women coming home missing limbs, faces, and even their sanity? Only to have problems receiving proper medical and psychological care at home? Only to have families go through hell because their soldier has been so traumatized by what they've done and seen?

Why are we viewed in the world, more and more, as terrorists, invaders and occupiers instead of the good guys - liberators, freedom fighters and defenders of the downtrodden?

The only answers we seem to be getting to these questions are more questions .... like-

who's on first?

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