28 May 2010

Huffington and Puffington

I cant help but draw comparisons between the Katrina and the oil spill in the Gulf.
Arianna Huffington helped me to put it into perspective.
I am always amazed how quickly some people forget their own words.
What I did was copy an article from the Huffington post


I then put her words in parenthesis and inserted mine in bold italics See if this sounds like it is relevant today.

The president's (35-minute Air Force One flyover of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama) first press conference in almost a year was the perfect metaphor for his entire presidency: detached, disconnected, and disengaged. Preferring to take in America's suffering -- whether caused by the war in (Iraq) Afghanistan or (Hurricane Katrina ) the largest ecological disaster in American history -- from a distance. In this case, (2,500 feet.) 2500 miles away in Washington, DC.

Apparently, the president "sat somberly on a couch (on the left hand side of the presidential jumbo jet peering out the window" at the catastrophe below), in the Oval Office staring at images of catastrophe in the Gulf, joined at different times by White House staffers including (Karl Rove and Scott McClellan.) David Axelrod and Rom Emmanuel (McClellan) Axelrod later quoted the president as saying, "It's devastating. It's got to be doubly devastating on the ground." Ya think?? Hey, here's an idea, Mr. President: maybe you should, y'know, get off (the plane) your ass and see for yourself?

Instead, (he jetted on to Washington for a brisk 9-minute Rose Garden speech) he has a press conference designed to let us know that his administration was doing everything in its power to mitigate the looming PR disaster the (flooding of New Orleans) oil slick could create for the White House... Uh, I mean, everything in its power to aid the recovery.

The speech contained the usual (Bush) Obama bonhomie (he's "confident" (New Orleans) the Gulf Coast "will be back on its feet, and America will be a stronger place for it"). But the most telling moment came when the president discussed the ways his administration was moving to help ease the suffering of (profit-soaked oil companies impacted by the storm,) Unionized fishermen pointing out that he had instructed Energy Secretary Sam Bodman to work with (refineries) the Federal Reserve to "alleviate any (shortage) suffering through loans" and that the (EPA) Treasury Secretary had waived (clean air standards for gasoline and diesel fuels in all 50 states.) all interest and will forgive the debt of anyone on Government assistance. You could almost see him getting misty.

He also unleashed a torrent of facts and figures: "The Department of Transportation has provided more than 400 trucks to move 1,000 truckloads containing (5.4 million Meals Ready to Eat -- or MREs, 13.4 million liters of water, 10,400 tarps, 3.4 million pounds of ice, 144 generators, 20 containers of pre-positioned disaster supplies, 135,000 blankets and 11,000 cots.") thousands of feet of boom, It was as if by piling so many disparate numbers so high he might be able to block out the two most significant numbers of all: the number of National Guardsmen unable to help out (in Louisiana and Mississippi) in the Gulf because they are deployed in Iraq,and Afghanistan and the tens of millions of (hurricane and flood-control) dollars to assist in the clean up that never made it to (Lake Pontchartrain) the Gulf coast because they had been diverted to (Iraq.) Afghanistan

The president's (Rose Garden speech) press conference followed an all-hands-on-deck press briefing earlier in the day featuring Homeland Security Secretary (Michael Chertoff) Janet Naplatano and as many cabinet members and agency heads could be crammed around a podium, including Bodman of Energy, Mineta of Transportation, Johnson of the EPA, Leavitt of HHS, and McHale of DoD. It had the feel of the old circus bit where clown after clown after clown piles out of the impossibly small car.

And, like the president, (Chertoff) Napalatano and company came armed with plenty of designed-to-obfuscate numbers.
Those are the blood red elephants floating belly-up in the middle of this deadly disaster -- and the reason for the full-court PR press.

During his press briefing, (Chertoff) Obama declared the aftermath of (Katrina) oil spill "an incident of national significance." It's clear from (Bush) Obama and his team's actions how worried they are that, as the facts come out, it will become "an incident of political significance" as well.

27 May 2010

Are you kidding me?

I think it was Napoleon who said.. "Give me enough medals, and I will win any war"

Hold fire, earn a medal

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday May 12, 2010 15:51:31 EDT

U.S. troops in Afghanistan could soon be awarded a medal for not doing something, a precedent-setting award that would be given for “courageous restraint” for holding fire to save civilian lives.

The proposal is now circulating in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, a command spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

“The idea is consistent with our approach,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis. “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Are things so bad, that we are going to start awarding medals for NOT shooting? I know what some of you are going to say... "Eric, we are killing women and children" My answer to that is... YEP!!! As unfortunate as that is, coalition forces have killed civilians who were either mistaken as enemy combatants, or were just caught in the line of fire. Now, it doesn't help matters much when the enemy is welcomed openly into these villages. Villages where they receive aid and comfort. Villages where they plan, and often execute attacks on coalition troops. Look no further than Wanat.

Now, bad guys using good guys and their houses for cover is nothing new..History is full of examples. What is also not new is hoping, if not knowing, that good guys will generally not kill civilians,or blow up their shit. It is when the enemy is counting on the good guy not shooting that things get hairy. If the enemy and the civilians who are supporting them KNOW that their villages, and every living thing in them MIGHT get blown off the face of the planet, the village elder might just tell the bad guy to pack sand, and move out.

In terms of collateral damage. I seem to remember watching B-17s carpet bomb Germany, and Japan on the History Channel. Operation Rolling Thunder in Vietnam indiscriminately bombarded hundreds of square miles. In today's world of Laser and GPS guided bombs the likelihood of collateral damage is small. I guided bombs to within 10 feet of the target. Guess what.. Bad guys died, the houses where the bad guys were hiding were destroyed, but the girls school didnt recieve a scratch, nor did the Mosque.

Eric's Law on Medals.
Anyone who receives a medal, or award above an ARCOM (Army Commendation Medal) should be required to immediately pin it on their dress uniform and proceed to the nearest VFW. Whereby they should be required to tell all present the circumstances by which the medal was awarded. If at the end of your story, a member of the VFW buys you a drink, you can proudly wear that medal. However, if at the end, that Veteran slaps the taste out of your mouth, looks at his friends and says " Can you believe that shit" or words to that effect you should immediately take that medal off or better yet, never been awarded it because you pulled the trigger.


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