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Election 2008 Amnesia: War? What War?

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With eight weeks left in the race for the White House, America’s attention is focused on the most popular issues:

  •   Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s problems: pregnant unwed teen daughter, child with Down Syndrome left in the care of others, “Trooper-gate” scandal, allegations of abuse of power, charges of racist remarks and the list goes on.
  •   The attacks between John McCain and Barack Obama over who will save the U.S. economy (even as the federal government prepares to swoop down and confiscate Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae).

Meanwhile, the damage to lives, communities and the environment in Iraq and Afghanistan go on with few paying attention. The Bush administration continues to hold aloft its so-called success in Iraq attributed primarily to the “surge” that it foisted upon Congress and the American people along with the invasion in 2003. That surge wasn’t responsible for this year’s sudden decrease in violence in Iraq, says Bob Woodward in his new book, The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008.

The Surge of Propaganda

As I have been saying for months, Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr played a major part in the efforts to quell the violence in Iraq, but the Bush administration has used a compliant press to promote its propaganda to influence the public that its “surge” in forces resulted in what it now claims as military success in Iraq. Indeed, anything can be described as a military success since the media and the American public are preoccupied with everything except the most significant issue of our lifetime — the U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

As we head down the final stretch toward choosing yet another Commander in Chief who will adhere to the status quo, the public has forgotten that there is a war going on. The Republican platform, which consists of 55 pages of issues, devotes a single paragraph to the Iraq war. Senator John McCain, who has experience serving in the military and is touted as a “war hero,” has been content to allow year after year pass by (including this one) without challenging the Bush administration on flagrant abuse of the military.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Senator Barack Obama, who is charged with a lack of experience in foreign relations and commanding a military outfit, has stayed as far from the issue as he possibly can.

War? What War?

If we read the front pages of America’s newspapers over the past nine months, we would discover that nothing of any substance has taken place regarding the war in Iraq. The American public is woefully uninformed on the following issues:

  •  The U.S. military conspired with its so-called enemies in Iraq to quell the violence. That included a deal with Muqtada al-Sadr and the hiring of thousands of those opposed to U.S. presence in Iraq.
  •  The U.S. military has conducted strategic talks with Iran on security in Iraq.
  •  The U.S. military has doubled its security force in Iraq through the hiring of high-paid civilian contractors.
  •  The U.S. is secretly involved behind the scenes in manipulating the Iraqi Oil Ministry in order to achieve goals on an agenda for U.S. oil companies.
  •  The U.S. has been accused by Iran and numerous other nations (including our own Senate Intelligence Committee) of invading Iraq under false pretenses and sustaining combat operations that have damaged the lives of more than one million families, destroyed entire infrastructures and polluted the land, air and water.
  •  The U.S. has sought to force Iraq to use its own economic resources to assist in rebuilding the destruction set in motion by the U.S. invasion.
  •  The U.S. is responsible for a protracted war that now expands across Afghanistan and into Pakistan.
  •  The U.S. is responsible for the strength of the Pakistani dictator Gen. Musharraf, who sought to retain power despite a massive opposition against his leadership in the aftermath of the suspicious assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
  •  The Bush administration has been under constant massive opposition from public demonstrations, protests, organized grassroots campaigns, congressional investigations, articles of impeachment, impeachment hearings, a barrage of books exposing the lies and deceptions of the White House and public exposure of the lies and deception propagated by the Pentagon.

American Idol Election

About Mike Green

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    These are interesting points and I wonder the same thing every day. But it’s not just the media. I have to think that most people just aren’t interested. Most people are dazzled by glitz and glamour, by rhetoric and they aren’t interested in the “bad” side.

    Then there are people like me who see so much corruption in local politics. I imagine it is the same the farther up the ladder you go.

  • Barbara

    Finally a realistic view of this current campaign and all that it’s lacking. The only news we get about the war/occupation is when there’s a local funeral for a soldier, otherwise the ‘front page’ covers sports & gossip. Cheney and Rice are wandering the globe initiating ‘who knows what’ while Bush is pretending to be dis-owned by McCain with Rove in the middle. And yes Obama is saying nothing. So from a Liberal to a Conservative, I thank you for the honesty that reaches out to all of us.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    This piece is brilliant! Unfortunately it seems that only a handful of us care enough to probe, asking the questions that need to be asked.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Matt, you are right about the war, but not so much about the media. The New York Times consistently reports on the war. In fact they broke the story about our going into Pakistan. But the public does not seem to give a damn. I still think Bush and friends need to be prosecuted for war crimes. Meanwhile, we have several hundred thousand wounded vets (many many with severe head injury and trauma), nearly 5000 dead, a million Iraqi refugees, hundreds of thousands of them dead, 60 innocent kids dead in Pakistan, a country decimated, and WHO is winning WHAT? HOW? Afghanistan is still a mess (60 Minutes did a great story on it last Sunday, speaking of The Media)…. Russia is flexing its muscles, and so on. And now we have the chance to elect a veep who just got her first passport last year. Oh Boy!!!!!!!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Good work, Mike.

    You covered all the bases I’ve been neglecting while commenting on Sarah Palin. Well, you covered almost all the bases. You neglected one. But that leaves something for me to write about, so you’re forgiven.

    It’s remarkable how Biblical prophecy seems to be coming true, and how nobody seems to notice – or wants to notice.

    “I want my, I want my, I want my MTV….”

  • Lisa Solod Warren
  • Lisa Solod Warren

    whoop, meant to say “on”

    anyway, hit the link.

  • Clavos

    Meanwhile, we have several hundred thousand wounded vets

    According to Michael Moore, as virulent an anti-administration critic as exists, we have had 30568 U.S. MILITARY WOUNDED IN IRAQ, as of today.

  • Clavos

    Even in Vietnam, a war in which American involvement 16 years (1957-1973), and to which, ultimately nearly 2.6 million troops were committed, we had 153,303 wounded.

  • Mike Green

    Number of wounded according to Michael Moore? While I applaud Moore’s passion, concern and efforts to bring to light those issues of importance overlooked, downplayed or ignored altogether by the media on the issue of war in the Mideast, Moore’s focus is severely limited.

    Since the overt U.S. military invasion of Iraq in 1991, the military has never left Iraq and neighboring countries in the Mideast. It has bombed Iraq every year since 1991. That means military personnel were in and around Iraq for 17 years! It means they have been subjected to combat and related combat issues during all of those years.

    But since the media stopped covering the military involvement in Iraq until a “surge” in 2003 brought ANOTHER ground invasion operation (not another war) in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the American public has been duped on the depth of casualties, wounded and overall impact.

    Additionally, since the military categorizes everything, it can marginalize and minimize categories. But when one takes in the overall toll: deaths from all causes including accidents, suicides, friendly fire, combat and illnesses along with adverse physical consequences that entails not just physical injuries, but mental and emotional instability as well, the numbers skyrocket.

    Indeed, even lawmakers have acknowledged that if we stopped pretending not to see the overall impact of this ongoing war, the numbers would be in the six figures. And even if we fail to include all 17 years of military deployments to the Mideast, in just the past 5 years we STILL reach hundreds of thousands of wounded vets (according to the Veterans Administration, not Michael Moore). Mort folks don’t know that more than ONE MILLION service members have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    I’m not one to dismiss the impact of war, both seen and unseen; short-term and long-term. Here is just one of MANY articles on this issue. This one from the VA itself.

  • Clavos

    Studies have shown that non combat related death rates of US GIs in Iraq are no greater than for GIs in non combat zones or even than those of the overall US population.

    Here is just one of MANY articles on this issue. This one from the VA itself.

    Your link is NOT “from the VA itself.” It’s, as its name states, a self-styled “watchdog” site purportedly “Keeping an eye on the VA…” As such, it is looking for ways to discredit the Department of Veterans Affairs, with a focus on alleging that the VA underserves the veterans, and its claims are suspect, at best.

    The link you provided deals only with the incidence of PTSD among combat veterans, an issue which, due to Congressional budget pressure on the VA in 2005, was the focus of an investigation of the VA PTSD program (approximately 70,000 cases at the time) by its own Inspector General, who found widespread abuse of PTSD claims and that the VA had for decades too easily awarded disability benefits to far too many veterans for specious PTSD claims. As soon as the Inspector General’s office announced its findings, there was general hue and cry, especially from veteran’s groups, and the report was squelched by Congress.

    As a Vietnam combat veteran with a number of problems stemming from my incountry service, I have been a VA patient for several decades. The Department of Veterans Affairs receives its funding in part based on the number of patients it is treating. It has a strong incentive to exaggerate numbers, and does.

    From the Washington Post:

    Experts say the sharp increase does not begin to factor in the potential impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, because the increase is largely the result of Vietnam War vets seeking treatment decades after their combat experiences. Facing a budget crunch, experts within and outside the Veterans Affairs Department are raising concerns about fraudulent claims, wondering whether the structure of government benefits discourages healing, and even questioning the utility and objectivity of the diagnosis itself. (emphasis added)

    Hmmm. My fellow Vietnam vets. Decades afterwards.

    And yet the organization you cite is alleging the VA is withholding PTSD diagnoses from deserving vets. That is a ridiculous charge which flies in the face of what has actually gone on.

    Additionally, since the military categorizes everything, it can marginalize and minimize categories. But when one takes in the overall toll: deaths from all causes including accidents, suicides, friendly fire, combat and illnesses along with adverse physical consequences that entails not just physical injuries, but mental and emotional instability as well, the numbers skyrocket.

    Here’s an anti-war site which contradicts your assertion. It is updated through four days ago, and gives figures of 4155 total from all causes and 3376 combat deaths. That would make the total to date of non-combat deaths in Iraq only 779.

  • Kwaayesnama

    I’M VOTING FOR THE SMART BLACK MAN

    The question should be do you want intelligence or four more years of the same intellect running this nation.

    Lets see my choice is John McCain or that smart black man Barack Obama?

    McCain who does not know how to use a computer but is willing to learn if we elect him – I’ll just vote for that smart black man.

    My Choices are: John McCain who says the economic downturn is psychological? – Na! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    McCain who says you are better off under George Bush? – Nope I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Mc Cain who wants to continue killing more people looking for weapons of mass destruction that do not exist? – Gee! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    McCain who believes that we should stay the course but is not willing to support the people he puts in harms way. – I’ll take a chance on the smart black man.

    Should I vote for a man that does not know that 9-11 was caused by Osama Bin Laden not Sedam Hussein? – Easy! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man who does not know if the Sunnis or Sheits are our enemies? – No way I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man who helped put our government on the China, Saudi Arabia credit card? – Not a chance I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man with the worst temper in the Senate to have his finger on the nuclear button? – No way – I’ll vote for the smart black man.

  • Vera From Sedona

    John McCain claims that his military service is one of his qualifications to be commander in chief. I seriously doubt his dedication to the American military. His voting record shows his lack of concern for our bravest men and women.

    John McCain missed 10 of the past 14 votes on Iraq.

    John McCain in September 2007: voted against the Webb amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments.

    John McCain in July 2007: voted against a plan to drawdown troop levels in Iraq.

    John McCain in March 2007 was too busy to vote on a bill that would require the start of a drawdown in troop levels within 120 days with a goal of withdrawing nearly all-combat troops within one year.

    John McCain in February 2007 didn’t even bother to show up to vote against a resolution condemning it. For such a strong supporter of the escalation, McCain didn’t even bother to show up and vote for it.

    John McCain in June 2006, voted against a resolution that Bush start withdrawing troops but with no timeline to do so.

    John McCain in May 2006, voted against an amendment that would provide $20 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care facilities.

    John McCain in April 2006, was one of only 13 Senators to vote against $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.

    John McCain in March 2006, voted against increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

    John McCain in March 2004, once again voted for abusive tax loopholes over veterans when he voted against creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans’ medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating abusive tax loopholes. Jeez, McCain really loves those tax loopholes for corporations, since he voted for them over our veterans’ needs.

    John McCain in October 2003, voted to table an amendment by Senator Dodd that called for an additional $322,000,000 for safety equipment for United States forces in Iraq and to reduce the amount provided for reconstruction in Iraq by $322,000,000.

    John McCain in April 2003, urged other Senate members to table a vote (which never passed) to provide more than $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment in Iraq related to a shortage of helmets, tents, bullet-proof inserts, and tactical vests.

    If he believes that we should stay the course for as long as possible he should be willing to support the people he puts in harms way.

    John McCain is not a friend of the American Military.