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

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So .. a draft IS possible

Despite previous denials by the White House, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the hand-picked "war czar" of the Bush administration said in an interview with National Public Radio that it "makes sense" for the US to consider a military draft to deal with recruiting shortcomings of its current all voluntary forces because of the consternation created by the Iraq war.

In other words, no matter what's been said by Bush administration representatives and President Bush himself, the draft is being considered.

In these situations, individuals in appropriate positions of power are sent out by government administrations to release "trial message balloons." Which means that they'll see just how people respond to the test pronouncements. If they don't seem to respond loudly and quickly? They proceed with plans they have clearly told us they are considering.

The spokesperson, say, Lt. General Lute, indicates it would only be common sense to re-institute the military draft. This generally means that every able-bodied man is supposed to serve in the military at the age of 18 unless he has deferrals - such as college or other "legitimate" reasons to postpone their service.

In today's world, this may also mean every man and woman.

Although in the past draft, there has been an upper age limit for service, that age limit has been raised by the Bush administration to allow more people to volunteer these days.

When you sign up for the military, you become government property. They can send you where they wish and have you perform jobs for which they believe you are most suited. More, after your "active" service is supposed to end, the government can extend it.

I believe in national service, such as Peace Corps or Americorps, as well as a military enlistment. There are other ways to serve our citizens, too.

I believe two years is fair. It gives us an opportunity to serve our country in a way that makes us feel more a part of it, and that part is positive when it deals with peace keeping and positive support and constructive contribution.

I served in the US Air Force just shy of four years. I felt it was two years too long, but a USAF enlistment is for four years.

I am not anti-military. I am anti-government misusing our troops, putting them needlessly in harm's way and then not taking proper care of them when they come home wounded, maimed for life or psychologically impaired. Some 80% of our troops returning from Iraq have exhibited symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

That is an astonishingly high number, and my hunch is that it's because when they get there, no matter how supportive of the war they may have been when they went over, the duty turns out to be not at all what they expected - in terms of their mission and what they are expected to do and what they must put up with (not enough equipment, not enough protection, hideous living conditions).

So, now you know there is, in deed and in fact, a consideration to re-institute the military draft.

This should please you if you support President Bush and his plan to keep fighting in Iraq no matter how long he believes we "should" be there or how many American lives are claimed in his crusade. You and/or (probably) your children could be drafted into the military to fight shoulder to shoulder with the brave soldiers there now!

If there's any question that our less advantaged citizens are fighting that war now, the Army's giving enlistees a $20,000 award to sign up now! If you or your family desperately need money for essentials (health care, food, housing), you'll be more tempted to consider joining, no matter how risky.

With a draft - conservatives will be pleased that all these sign-up bonuses will be saved because everyone (if women are also part of the draft) who is able-bodied and under 40 or so will suddenly become part of the mandatory military picture.

Because of the many, many stories of privileged family members who dodged the draft when it existed before, you can be sure those loopholes will be closed so that everyone has an equal opportunity to put their lives on the line for their country.

I would think that the first person who would be in favor of the new draft would be super-Hawk Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He's all about sending American soldiers to fight wars. He has 5 able-bodies sons who, I'm sure, he would love to see in those snappy uniforms. Especially since he did not join the military when he had the chance.

Come to think of it, there are an awfully lot of conservatives supporting this (IMO) needless, endless war who have never served in the military and, further, who don't want their kids to go over there to fight, either.

The draft would give these folks the opportunity to step up and walk their talk, wouldn't it?

Tick tick tick tick. Only a matter of time as long as the Iraq war continues. Meanwhile the majority of insurgents we're fighting in Iraq as well those responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers September 11 are Saudi Arabians.

How are all those insurgents getting weapons and ammunition? Well, some 19-20 BILLION dollars/US of artillery and ammo have been lost by the US in the past two years in Iraq. I wonder how many bullets taken out of the bodies of our wounded, maimed and killed soldiers are being tracked back to our own weapons. They're also being paid for with Saudi Arabia money.

All fighting for "democracy," which is a vague, impossible to-implement-philosophy to warring Middle Eastern peoples fighting US forces and one another.

Especially with the Iraqi congress taking off on vacation for a month or two, basking outside their nation's danger zone.

I wish our soldiers could get those kinds of breaks and vacations.

Iraqi congress members fly in for confabs, don't you know, to avoid the noise, *heat* (as Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow answered when asked how could the Iraqi congress go on vacation when their country is in the middle of a war... "It's hot over there.")

And fighting. Of course they want to get away from all the fighting surrounding them.

Yes, I'm talking about the Iraqi congress that is supposed to find ways to unite the nation - another task considered impossible because of the generations-long warring between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds - or at least figure out ways to reduce the bloodshed among innocent Iraqis.

So while all those Saudis are fighting us in Iraq and the small numbers of al qaeda terrorists use the Iraq war as a temporary training ground, then move out of Iraq as soon as they're trained, our borders continue to remain vulnerable to all those terrorists.

Terrorists President Bush insists we're fighting "over there" to prevent them from coming "over here."

We're so busy investing our military resources in Iraq, they are not here prepared to defend us.

And of course there are the hundreds of billions of dollars we're paying Haliburton to rebuild the warring region that only sucks taxpayer dollars without an ounce of return because anything they build is again destroyed by insurgents, and Haliburton moved its primary headquarters to Dubai in order to avoid paying taxes here in the US.

Yep, a draft would definitely be the solution to have enough military power not just to wage war in Iraq, but Iran and other nations in which Bush wants to install "democracy," (without including Saudi Arabia) as well as have *some* people here to take care of us, natural and other disasters, forget the possibility of another massive terrorist attack.

If this sounds like a "leftist" analysis? It's not.

It's just someone trying to inform herself and understand how our nation allowed anyone to put us in the horrific situation we are in - whether in New Orleans or Iraq.

And we'll have no one to blame but ourselves because most have only stood by and let it happen - Democrats and Republicans.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Six fundamentalist Islamics and would-be terrorists from the Middle East and Yugoslavia .. in the US illegally .. were arrested this month in New Jersey when two of them tried to buy AKC automatic machine guns. They planned to kill as many people as possible at US Army base Fort Dix.

One of the men delivered pizzas to the base and told the group he knows Fort Dix "like the back of my hand."

They had been plotting the attack for some 16 months, according to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie.

Thanks to a local video store employee, the six were identified, followed by law enforcement and two paid informers infiltrated the group. The clerk was asked to transfer a video to DVD showing ten men preparing for the attack and making anti-US statements. The clerk reported them immediately.

The group had been watching tapes of terrorist activities and one of the 9-11 suicide-hijackers speaking to a camera to inspire others to commit themselves to "the jihad."

"Jihad" actually means a holy cause, not war, but terrorists consider killing themselves and all "non-believers" a holy cause, which is why they call their acts of terrorism jihad.

Suicide bombers are treated like rock stars among "believers," and make tapes of themselves to show how dedicated they are to Allah and how they look forward to the good fortune they will enjoy when they die - hooking up with all those virgins, yanga yanga yanga. Families of suicide bombers are frequently given large sums of money for sacrificing their lives to the cause of killing.

While fundamentalist Islamics are among those who entreat followers to kill "non-believers" and themselves in order to do that, mainstream Muslims the world over are starting to speak up, insisting that terrorists have hijacked their religion to carry out their own particular political agendas.

Now, here's my problem with what politicians have said after exposing the plot and arresting the six defendants - who are actually considered "far from hard core" terrorists by law enforcement officials:

Republican presidential wannabe Rudy Giuliani said that, literally, if you vote Democratic, you're going to die from terrorist acts. Republicans will protect us.


Other typical ultra right-wing wackos have said the same. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for inviting terrorism in the US, especially if we bring our troops home from Iraq. Riiiiight.

You know, they're using the old illogical argument that we need to fight 'em over there, so we don't have to fight 'em right here at home.

If you read my recent blog about this bizarre assertion, you know that fewer than 4% of those fighting the US in Iraq are associated with al-qaeda.

Terrorists don't need to be in Iraq because the Iraqis and now infiltrating Iranians are doing their work for them: keeping our soldiers busy being caught in the crossfire of a civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites (who have been warring for some 1,300 years) and fighting previously peaceful Iraqis who have grown to hate the US because - gosh - more than half a million innocent Iraqis have been killed since the US invaded, and US soldiers are now blamed for destroying their country.


So the question has to be why we're there to begin with, losing nearly 3,400 American lives with tens of thousands of our soldiers injured or maimed. What was the goal to begin with? More and more, the real answer appears to be to get our hands on their oil.

To all those who claim that the Republicans are strong on defense and security?

The six would-be terrorists - and who knows how many others who are not stupid enough to take a video of themselves practicing killing people to a video store for transfer - made their way into this country across who knows which border, port or train - on the Bush/Republican watch.

When they entered the country, Republicans and Bush had complete domination of the White House, Congress and Judicial branches.

Democrats didn't get any clout until the election was held several months after the pizza delivering terrorist had free reign to move around Fort Dix - where they train troops to fight in the Middle East.

Is this even starting to make sense?

The most serious questions:

Why are we not devoting our resources to flushing out Ben Laden and al qaeda -- those actually and vocally (proudly) responsible for killing thousands of people (many of whom were Muslim and non-American) on American soil September 11, 2001 (when Bush and the Republicans again had total control in the White House and congress) instead of fighting in Iraq.

Why do so many security loopholes remain in our borders and ports?

Why have we gone so deeply in debt to fight the war in Iraq - borrowing billions from our "good friend" China - without a specific goal or end to the battles in sight?

Are we sending tens of thousands more American soldiers to Iraq to be cannon fodder?

Three former US generals who were military leaders in Iraq - at least one of whom resigned in protest of what he considers President Bush's misuse of military personnel in Iraq - are featured on television ads now, stating plainly that President Bush has placed our nation at risk, that he is destroying our Army and Marine Corps and is needlessly costing us lives in a war we have no business fighting.

He does not mention to the vast destruction to the nation of Iraq itself and the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed because we are there. He is only talking about his concerns of what he considers the dismantling of our army and marine corps - his area of expertise.

Still, Bush sends more soldiers over - making them work far past their legal commitment and enlistment agreement. Not giving them the proper breaks between being sent to the front lines. It's no wonder so many of our brave women and men are coming home with post traumatic stress disorder - only to find too few resources to help them when they return.

Meanwhile, we don't have enough military personnel in the US to address disasters here in the US - whether it's from the horror in Louisiana, Mississippi and other states from Katrina or recent hurricanes in the Midwest and other domestic disasters.

In case you don't know - I am an Air Force veteran and am astounded at the decisions that have been made about the use of our military, our continuing security loopholes and other problems that appear to be overlooked because we have concentrated so many resources in a nation that was never a threat to our country or borders to begin with.

I'm delighted Saddam Hussein is history - but the "threat" he was to anyone outside Iraq and the Middle East was no greater than other leaders in other Middle Eastern nations and certainly far less than Ben Laden and al qaeda, sitting tightly in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the notorious Taliban, who are working to gain a foothold there again.

Expect the Republican rhetoric to skyrocket the closer we get to the election. I mean it is going to get nasty. I mean you won't know real nasty until you witness this coming election.

Because they don't want Democrats coming into the White House to witness the shambles Bush has made of the US Presidency, and the evidence he will leave behind of all the other *extraordinary* errors of judgement he made during his tenure.

Republicans would come in with a CYA attitude, wanting to clean up Bush's mess without any public notice. And believe me, they will desperately want to be sure they are in a position to take care of the mess left in his wake.

Democrats would definitely - to a degree - expose what they find. They can't afford to expose too much evidence of the Bush travesty because it would make the government and our two- party system appear to be broken.

Now the question is whether the Democrats have the stomach and stamina to stand up to all the right wing bravado, fear mongering, dishonesty and dirty politics. Take special notice of who counts the votes.

And whether Americans care enough to get involved with the election to make sure the nation gets back on track - working for the ideals and promises pledged by our constitution and Bill of Rights.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Want to REALLY support our troops!?

If you are a wounded veteran returning from the Middle East, recovering in a VA hospital - you're supposed to bring your own "kit"- toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant, etc.
Because there is no budget for them, poor veteran patients or those incapable of buying a "kit" must rely on receiving DONATED BASIC HYGIENE ITEMS.

Basic hygiene items are not provided for vets by VA hospitals unless they are donated.

Thanks to Congress and President Bush (who *insists* he "supports the troops,") VA hospitals cannot afford to supply basic hygiene items like tooth brushes, shaving cream, toothpaste, and deodorant.

They refer to basic hygiene products euphamistically as "comfort items."

The people who put their lives on the line for us - you and me - every day; who come home without limbs and faces - who too often sacrifice their minds and families as well, are not even provided with basic health care items we take for granted by VA hospitals unless they are donated.

When donations run out?

Apparently that's just tough.

Being a veteran myself, I was treated at a VA hospital. Although I wasn't expected to stay overnight, I did. The following morning, I asked for a toothbrush, and they told me they were "out." That toothbrushes are donated; they didn't have any more.

Patients treated at civilian hospitals -- paying full price or indigent, even prisoners in jail are given a toothbrush and basic hygiene items as a matter of course. It not only contributes to the patient feeling better psychologically but helps prevent the spread of disease.

But veterans who serve their country?

I don't know about you, but I consider this an outrage. Our veterans have done enough for us. They deserve, at the very least, primary hygiene items without wondering if their VA hospital will "run out."

Let's start a national drive to provide these basic hygiene items for our vets.

They can't accept anything that is not direct from the vendor, or it needs to be in sealed factory wrapping. Items must be alcohol free. And they also accept funds to buy these items.

Everything has to be donated through the Voluntary Section at VA hospitals. Volunteers deal with the donations, distributing them to the veterans who need or request them.

This department is run by few paid staff members -- so you can rest assured your tax dollars are not being wasted on pampering our troops!

Here's what they define as basic "comfort" items for our hospitalized veterans:

Hair combs
Denture Adhesive
Denture Cleaner
Denture Cup
Disposable Safety Razors
Emery Board
Hair Brushes
Hand/Body Lotion
Nail Clippers
Shaving Cream
Toothbrush Cover/Cap
Foot Powder
Toe Nail Clippers

For more information you can contact the Seattle VA Hospital Voluntary Section/HRMS at (206) 764-2195. They can help put you in touch with where to send your donations as well as how to contact the VA Hospital in your area.

Please let our veterans know we actually care about them in a most fundamental way.

I mean, if (thanks to a president who ignores our election results) we are powerless to save their lives, perhaps we can save their teeth!

Labels: , , ,