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From Right to Left: The Adventures of a Liberal Veteran

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The first time I voted in a presidential election was in 1988. I’m ashamed to admit that I voted for George Herbert Walker Bush. I don’t even have a good defense for my actions. Like most members of the armed forces, I voted Republican. It’s my shame.

I joined Reagan’s military machine in 1986 at the age of 17. I did not do a lot of research in making this decision. I remember seeing a pamphlet for the U.S. Navy at my high school’s career center, and as I leafed through the pamphlet, I saw that the Navy had journalists! As a budding journalist (I wrote for my high school paper) I thought enlisting in the Navy was a great idea. I didn’t realize the other branches of the armed forces also had journalists. If I had known that I would have gone with the Air Force; they have better uniforms and call their barracks ‘dorms.’ Also, they were very generous in allowing members to take time off to work on political campaigns. Oh wait, that’s wrong, sorry. I’m thinking of the Texas Air National Guard.

My first duty station was at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As I was land-based I have no good excuse as to why I didn’t educate myself about politics. Although, and I’m a little embarrassed to say, I was drunk most of the time. Just kidding. Some of the time.

I don’t even remember if I registered to vote when I turned 18. It was a different time, I guess, and without the benefit of information sources like the Internet, I had no easy way to learn more about the candidates or collect pornography.

Today’s children are more politically savvy than I was at that age. Case in point: World Net Daily columnist Kyle Williams. The kid is 16 and already he’s writing a column and has even published a book. Although his style is a watered-down version of Sean Hannity’s philosophy, still, he knows more about politics than I did when I was 16. At 16, if you had asked me what the line of succession was, I surely would have brought up Disney Land. Hell, even grown adults who are supposed to know what it is get confused. I’m looking at you, Alexander Haig.

So, I voted Republican. And my horrible shame – my vote for Bush/Quayle – resulted in a victory for Bush, and a symbolic kick in the groin for Dukakis. I should point out that the Willie Horton ads did NOT influence my vote. In fact, I actually thought Willie Horton was Dukakis’ running mate, that’s how ignorant I was.

In 1990 it was time for me to pick my next duty station. I picked the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), which was based out of Yokosuka, Japan, so I was pretty jazzed about getting to visit Tokyo. Until Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and really screwed up my travel plans. I ended up serving for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and by that time I was not very happy with the Bush administration. That war was a defining moment for me in my transformation to a liberal Democrat.

I left the Navy in 1992, and cast my very first vote for a Democrat when I voted for Bill Clinton.

I wasn’t any more politically savvy in the 1990s than I was in the 1980s. But the Internet changed that, when I first had access to it in 1995, and discovered the world of Usenet, Internet message boards. In between arguments over which Enterprise captain was better, Kirk or Picard, I started to engage in political discussions. And, of course, easy access to porn.

In 2001 I finally got around to registering a domain. Now I’d have a venue to write anything I wanted on any topic I wanted! I was so excited I did nothing with it for two years. By September 2003 I was very much against the war in Iraq, and I started my web site, What’s In Scott’s Head. At my site, I write about politics, and most of all, I write in an effort to slam Republicans and every pungent idea they stand for.

Oh, and conservatives hate a liberal who is also a veteran and who opposes the war in Iraq. Hate mongers began to take opportunities to write to me and express their opinions about me being a veteran. I haven’t received a lot of e-mails, but the ones I do get are not friendly. Here’s a typical example (and I’ll leave any typos intact, as they add to the overall tone of the mail. Well, it’s really just an excuse to make fun of them):

“For you to include yourself in the group of military heros called ‘vets’ is an insult to them and the country they served so grandly. While you ‘toiled’ on a ship in a non-combat position, other real ‘vets’ were out there flying combat missions, walking in hostile territory with an infantry unit, or other such real combat scenarios. You have the audacity to criticize our President for not attending individual Vet Day observances? How many places can he be at one time you idiot? What exactly did you do to observe Vets Day, submit more treasonous postings to your web page?

I and other past members of our great military know what a real vet is; and you Mr. Smith are no real vet, despite what you keep telling yourself and your readers.”

You can just feel the love. And no, I did not observe Veteran’s Day last year with more “treasonous” postings to my web site. I did write an article encouraging people to make donations to veteran charities, which I suppose can be confused as “treason” if you’re stupid.

The war in Iraq has really energized my writing, and with it came a very real hatred of the Bush administration and hypocritical right-wingers who dare to tell me that I’m not a “real” veteran. Believe me, serving on board a ship does not guarantee safety. Ships can be taken out with missiles, or they can run into mines. And my “non-combat” role during the war was to provide first aid to battle casualties, should any be brought to my ship. My ship was a backup to the hospital ships in the region; at one time, we were expecting over 10,000 casualties.

I’ve cemented my position as a rabid left-winger by attending a Michael Moore rally a couple of years ago. But, being your typical outdoor-fearing introvert, I have to rely on the written word to express myself, for the most part.

I try to fight the good fight with endless insults against people like Sean Hannity and George W. Bush at my web site. It’s not easy to come up with insults all the time. My wife wants me to be more positive, but I don’t see a change in my attitude anytime soon. There’s just not enough sarcasm in the world, and I see it as my divine duty to spread the happiness and joy I feel in my heart.

Oh, and Sean Hannity sucks.

About scottcsmith

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Good post, Scott.

    By the way, I had no idea that WND had a 16-year-old commentator. Why would anyone think that a teenager who’s never even filed tax returns as an independent, or voted, could have a mature opinion (let alone a professional one) about politics or anything else????

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Some 16-year-olds indeed can.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    and scott seems a pretty typical american path towards politics, you turned left. Some turn right. Some have pet issues. Most ignore everything when it comes to voting but do complain constantly – and rightly in many/most cases – about pocketbook issues.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    Usually they go from Right to Left.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    Scratch 4.

    Usually they switch from Left to Right.

    Winston Churchill once said:

    “To be 17 and a Conservative is to have no heart, but to be 40 and a Liberal is to have no brain.”

    Words from o great man.

  • Jon Fowler

    Nice post.

    “Now I’d have a venue to write anything I wanted on any topic I wanted! I was so excited I did nothing with it for two years.”

    This made me laugh. I was so excited that I had a domain a few years a go I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

    “Some 16-year-olds indeed can.”

    I agree 16-year-old can definitely hold very strong and well informed opinions, but I think that until experience is granted their views should not be weighed so heavily. When I was 16 I thought I was well informed on issues, but it wasn’t really until experience that I really understood those opinions. But a good place to voice your opinion when you’re young like that would be a blog… too bad they weren’t around when I was younger.

    “Oh, and Sean Hannity sucks.”

    You can’t argue with the facts.

  • Luke

    Why were you unhappy with the Bush administration? Saddam started it by invading Kuwait, if you’re going to blame someone, blame Saddam, if he hadn’t invaded Kuwait back then, there would be no sanctions against WMD’s and therefore no pretense for the current war, Saddam gave America the ammunition needed to go to war in the region for a second time.
    and then a Michael Moore rally, that guy is a lying piece of shit.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    What kind of America-hating, Bush-bashing liberal would I be if I didn’t attend a Michael Moore rally?

    I’ve also seen Bill O’Reilly at a speaking event, and he’s sooo boring.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    So you been at a Michael Moore rally AND a Bill O’Reilly rally. [edited] You saw Americas two biggest losers.

  • Luke

    Scott, what about my first question, if you could do history over, you’d let Saddam have Kuwait? That’s not good for anyone, as far as Michael Moore is concerned, you can’t really take that guy seriously can you?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Some 16-year-olds indeed can.

    As Jon said, they can indeed have strong and well-informed opinions. Intelligent ones too. But mature ones? That is EXTREMELY rare.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    No, I wouldn’t have let Saddam invade Kuwait. I think our military action during Desert Storm was justified. As far as the current Iraq war goes, most experts agree that Saddam Hussein’s weapons were all but destroyed by 1998. He was no threat to anyone when we attacked. Let’s not forget what Colin Powell said in 2001 about Iraq, on Oct. 24, 2001, in Egypt:

    link

    “We will always try to consult with our friends in the region so that they are not surprised and do everything we can to explain the purpose of our responses. We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions — the fact that the sanctions exist — not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein’s ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq, and these are policies that we are going to keep in place, but we are always willing to review them to make sure that they are being carried out in a way that does not affect the Iraqi people but does affect the Iraqi regime’s ambitions and the ability to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and we had a good conversation on this issue.”

    Michael Moore is entertaining. Unlike Bill O’Reilly.

  • Anthony Grande

    Desert Storm was justified but I believe that we should have taken Saddam out right then and there.

    Bush probablly would have been reelected if he would have done that.

  • Luke

    Okay Scott, but why then are you ashamed of voting for G.Bush senior? He did what he had to do because Saddam started some shit. Would you have been proud if you voted for the other guy? Things probably wouldn’t have turned out any different, unless they took the opportunity to kill Saddam, which would’ve been nice.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    My comment about voting for H.W. Bush was meant in jest. But no, I wouldn’t have voted for Dukakis because at that age I just wasn’t well informed about politics, and to be honest, most of my shipmates voted Republican, so I pretty much followed suit.

  • Jon Fowler

    The problem with the 1988 election was that both HW and Dukakis had major flaws in my opinion (not that any canidate usually doesn’t have some major flaw). I would not have voted for HW just for the simple fact that he was the vice president for Regan. But Dukakis really wasn’t any better in my book. Although he was liberal and I usually sway that way, he had some character flaws that made him seem like a horrible choice for president. My personal choice would have been Ron Paul. The problem with America is we have such a bipartisan system that the 3rd party canidates don’t have much of a chance.

  • Bill B

    Scott-

    Your discussion w/ Luke about the justification for going into Iraq the first time made me think of April Glaspie, Ambassador to Iraq leading up to Desert Storm. You may remember the controversy over whether she gave Hussein a green light or not to invade Kuwait.

    A pretty good read on this topic is here if your interested.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/april-glaspie

  • http://winston_jen@yahoo.com.au Winston Jen

    I don’t know, Anthony. I know many conservatives of all ages without brains, such as Fred Phelps…

  • RogerMDillon

    Winston also said, “The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”

    Remember that when defending your precious President and his war on terror

  • Bill B

    To AG re #13.

    You should peruse this

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/051031fa_fact2

    A little education on the administration level thinking re Desert Storm and taking out Hussein. I don’t want to assume too much about how familiar you are with it, but by my estimation you were what, 4 yrs. old?

  • Anthony Grande

    The thing with the Communists and Nazis is that they threw people into prison just because they were either different or that their views contradicted that of the dictator’s or that they were a threat to the current administration.

    Bush is only throwing known Terrorists in prison.

    There is a big difference there. Do you see it???

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Bush is only throwing known Terrorists in prison.

    Not quite. Bush is also throwing SUSPECTED terrorists in prison. And not presenting any proof that they’re terrorists. Therein lies the problem.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>By the way, I had no idea that WND had a 16-year-old commentator. Why would anyone think that a teenager who’s never even filed tax returns as an independent, or voted, could have a mature opinion (let alone a professional one) about politics or anything else????<<

    I volunteered to work on a political campaign for the first time when I was 15 and had my first professional writing published at 17, so I don’t see 16 as improbable. The brain is pretty well formed by then. I imagine the writing may lack the depth which experience brings, but I’m sure good, analytical writing can be done at that age.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    “Bush is also throwing SUSPECTED terrorists in prison. And not presenting any proof that they’re terrorists. Therein lies the problem.”

    Yeah and I bet that 99% of them actually have terror affiliation. As for the other 1%, better safe than sorry.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Dave Nalle:
    I imagine the writing may lack the depth which experience brings, but I’m sure good, analytical writing can be done at that age.

    I don’t dispute that a 16-year-old can do good analytical writing. I flatter myself that I did good analytical writing at 16.

    What I question is the experience that you mention. When you’re 16 (generally speaking), you’ve never filed your own tax return, paid any bills on your own, bought insurance, or really made any life choices that Mom and Dad couldn’t instantly and completely override.

    What, really, does even the most intelligent and articulate 16-year-old have to say about the major political issues that affect and are affected by these things? This, after all, is the same reason that we don’t let 16-year-olds vote–they don’t have the experience, and therefore the maturity, to take on those issues realistically.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Anthony Grande:
    Yeah and I bet that 99% of them actually have terror affiliation. As for the other 1%, better safe than sorry.

    If 99% of them actually have terror affiliation, they shouldn’t have any problem proving it. So why don’t they?

    As for the other 1% (the ones that DON’T actually have terror affiliation), how do you know they won’t come for you, and lock you up, because “better safe than sorry”?

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    Scott;

    Great post, thanx!

    Re: “Oh, and conservatives hate a liberal who is also a veteran and who opposes the war in Iraq.”

    So true, Scott, so true. As a Vietnam era vet who opposes the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I have received the wrath of several of Blogcritics more bellicose right-wing chickenhawks, particularly Bobby (RJ) Elliott and Dave Nalle. In addition to mocking my service – which I’ve never pretended was anything but mediocre – I’ve been called a “pinko,” a “dumbass,” a “f—ing pacifist,” a “moron,” and a “commie.”

    Anyway, keep up the good fight against this illegal invasion, Scott. Here’s a couple more sites for veterans opposed to the administration’s war policy:
    Veterans Against the Iraq War, http://www.vaiw.org/vet/
    Iraq Veterans Against the War, http://www.ivaw.net/

    “Support the troops, oppose the policy.”

    – MCH, USN (NavCommStaHono, ’71-73)

  • tommyd

    MCH, great post.

    There’s no doubt these resident blogcritic “laptop bombardiers” would fiercely fight the futile “war on terror” right down to the last American male under the age of 30. Also, it seems a very common trait amongst the “armchair generals” to blast any questioning dissidents who have the gall to call the “armchair generals” on their blaring lack of real battlefield experience.

    But I’m a coward because I oppose this disgraceful illegal war on Iraq?! And I’m not even a liberal! Go figure. This is America circa 2005.

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    Thanx, tommyd, and agreed…”words speak louder than actions” is their credo.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    MCH,

    I have a hate mail section at my web site — e-mails I’ve received from people who have mocked my service, called me a traitor, and the usual right-wing attacks. Whatever. I still served my country, and served proudly. Thanks for your kind words.

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    Scott;

    Re the letter from the so-called “real veteran,” who claims that “…you are an insult to real veterans…”

    The following are words from another veteran, who 35 years ago had the courage to speak out against an unjust war:

    “Vietnam is a bad war. It can’t be won, we need to get out.”
    Colonel David “Hack” Hackworth on the TV show Issues and Answers, 1971

    Oh, by the way, here are Hack’s credentials:
    – 25 years in the U.S. Army
    – 7 years in combat in WWII, Korea and Vietnam
    – 10 Silver Stars
    – 8 Purple Hearts
    – 8 Bronze Stars
    – Twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross
    – The Combat Medal, for 90 consecutive of combat
    – Nominated for the Medal of Honor 3 times

    I wonder if Hack would qualify as a “real veteran” for your letter-writer?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Why MCH, you totally forgot to mention that Hackworth also opposed the Iraq War.

    As for your earlier personal attacks, I’ve never called you any of the names you listed, so don’t include me in your petty little smear.

    And perhaps you and Scott and TommyD ought to take a moment to consider that we live in a nation which does not have a draft and in which people are not required to serve in the military. Now I’m sure you think that a draft or compulsory military service is just a great idea, but that’s not the law of the land right now, and I hope that it never will be. You see, we’re a society that values freedom, and that includes the freedom not to serve in the military if you don’t want to and your country doesn’t demand it. And it also includes the freedom to express opinions about issues which effect your country and endanger your life – even if you’re a civilian. You seem to think that only the warriors should have opinions on war, but war is fought to protect those who are not combatants and to preserve the rights and freedoms of all the people. Every one of us is at risk of attack in a time of war, and every one of us might face danger from terrorism at any time. That being the case, we ALL have the right to have an express opinions regarding issues which threaten our safety, and the arrogance of those who think that their military service negates our rights as citizens is abhorent and disgusting.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Thanx, tommyd, and agreed…”words speak louder than actions” is their credo.<<

    BTW, MCH – are you aware that you’re taking pride in your commonality of opinion with a self-admitted nazi?

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    point of Order, Mr Nalle…

    what many vets( such as myself, as well as others here), who oppose the occupation of Iraq are trying to say is NOT that those who did not serve themselves should have NO voice in the discussion…

    only that perhaps folks might want to take into account the Opinions of people who HAVE SERVED, and lend them a bit more weight than those who have no real world clue as to what is involved…

    example: let us say a 16 year old versus a viet nam combat veteran…whose Thoughts on War hold more gravitas?

    get the point?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I tend to judge thoughts on their quality rather than on who says them. If a veteran says something idiotic, or drones on and on about chickenhawks it’s hard to take him seriously. If a 16 year old comes out with something insightful then he should get credit for it despite his lack of age and experience. Without actual statements to go on I’d look to the veteran first on issues of war, but I’d also take just as seriously the thoughts of civilians who had lived through a great many wars and studied war, and I wouldn’t write their opinions off solely because they didn’t serve in the military.

    On the other hand, if someone – of whatever background – says something incredibly bigoted and simpleminded like calling a person a ‘chickenhawk’ just to shut down discussion, then I don’t take much of what they say seriously from that point on because they’ve shown flawed judgement.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    ok..it’s good to read you saying that…

    but let me share a bit of Thought with you…

    you talk about folks that have “lived” through a war or “studied” it…and then attempt to equate their knowledge with those that have experienced it firsthand…

    tell me, think back in your own life..you could have talked to folks that lived through sex, and studied it all you wanted…would you say that made you as knowledgeable as you were 5 minutes after you had experienced it for yourself?

    a pale Analogy indeed, as any vet will tell you…but it IS as close as i can think of to explain “color to a blind man”

    your mileage may vary

    Excelsior!

  • Anthony Grande

    “As for the other 1% (the ones that DON’T actually have terror affiliation), how do you know they won’t come for you, and lock you up, because “better safe than sorry”?”

    Well I wouldn’t be doing anything to be a suspect. Even that 1% aren’t completely innocent. They are probablly men with some knowledge or freinds of terrorists.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com/ gonzo marx

    oh…and we know that how?

    we know it is even 1% how?

    we know all the folks being detained without even their Rights under the Geneva conventions are being treated humanely how?

    we know they are guilty of something , how?

    you take a lot on Faith….me..i want the Rule of Law, NOT the whims of a totalitarian dictator

    and here i had always thought we were the good guys…

    Excelsior!

  • Anthony Grande

    We know this how???

    Yeah, Gonzo, I am sure that just about all the detainees were innocent, hardworking people who minded their business and know nothing of terrorism.

    Then one day us Americans just came and arrested them for no reason at all.

    “and here i had always thought we were the good guys…”

    Are you inferring that we are worse then them????

    Even if we did the slightest bit of torture to them (not true) we are worse then them and there beheading tactics.

    Or maybe we are worse than them because we take prisoners and they don’t.

    They don’t take prisoners, they either kill them on site (after a bit or torture) or behead them on a camera.

    Great men, huh???

    They are sooo perfect that the Geneva Convention doesn’t even apply to them. They are above the Geneva Convention.

  • gonzo marx

    pitiful attempt at both logic and sarcasm…

    did i say anybody was the “good guy” here?

    ummmmm….nope

    as for detainees held in GITMO, or the “secret” camps..or anywhere else for that matter…i have no idea about their guilt or innocence when it comes to anything….do you?

    if so..where did you get your evidence?

    now..let’s review…many were captured in Afghanistan….they do any beheadings?

    ummm…nope…

    oh, you mean the islamic terrorists that did those beheading videos on al Jazeera?

    did we catch any of them?

    ummmm….nope

    i realize it is difficult for you to keep track of folks without a scorecard…but al Quaeda is NOT Iraqi civilians and a Taliban is not an Afghan cab driver…tho some cab drivers may be Taliban, and some Iraqi’s may be aligned or working for al Qaeda now…both the CIA and the 9/11 commission showed that there were NO ties between Iraq and al Qaeda before we invaded…none…like the WMD’s…

    just not there

    so…try fact checking before you spew, it would make this so much more productive for everyone

    nuff said?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>you talk about folks that have “lived” through a war or “studied” it…and then attempt to equate their knowledge with those that have experienced it firsthand…

    tell me, think back in your own life..you could have talked to folks that lived through sex, and studied it all you wanted…would you say that made you as knowledgeable as you were 5 minutes after you had experienced it for yourself?<<

    Gonzo, war is more than just the immediate experience of the people fighting the war. War impacts society and it is part of politics and diplomacy and operates on a great many levels beyond those which the soldier in the field is actually involved in.

    I would never presume to tell a soldier how to execute battlefield maneuvers, but as a person with political experience and experience in society I have some basis to form opinions on how and when war should be employed and whether war is a good idea politically, diplomatically or culturally. Which are, in fact, areas of warfare which the soldier in the field is NOT necessarily better qualified than anyone else to assess.

    Dave

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    No beheadings in Afghanistan, you say???

    “did i say anybody was the “good guy” here?

    ummmmm….nope”

    Oh but you said:

    “and here i had always thought we were the good guys…”

    What exactly were you trying to say here if you weren’t saying anyone was the “good guy???”

    Please tell me. I really want to know.

    “but al Quaeda is NOT Iraqi civilians”

    Oh, so we have no Al Queda detainess. We just have Iraqi civilians that never did anything wrong.

    Is that what you really believe???

    “and a Taliban is not an Afghan cab driver…”

    Yeah, I am sure he is just an innocent cab driver who was only doing his job.

    “both the CIA and the 9/11 commission showed that there were NO ties between Iraq and al Qaeda before we invaded”

    No, probablly not…but we did have a vicious, oppressing, own people murdering, suicide bombing paying, weapons of mass destruction hunting, madman, DICTATOR in Iraq (along with his party).

    Is he gone??? Is his party gone??? Has Iraq held Democratic elections??? Has Iraq ratified a Democratic Constitution??? All thanks to Bush and the U.S.???

  • Bennett

    Still incapable of creating a clickable link, AG?

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    No, obviously not. Tell me old wise one… How in this God forsaken Earth do you create a God damn clickable link???

    And does it really matter??? You know you can just copy and paste the link to your search engine.

    [COMMENT EDITOR: It is my volunteer job to correct non-correctly formatted links, amongst other things, so yes it matters]

  • gonzo marx

    ok..your “link” is just an adserver…no info there…

    nice try in yer attempt to twist what i say around…you learn that on Limbaugh?..or right from Fox ?

    there are bad people..and i am fairly certain some of them are captured and a bunch of them are killed

    my concern is for due process, the Geneva Conventions….and who is telling the Truth in our government

    but i can tell, none of it matters to you…and i have no idea how to adequately converse with you on the many subjects of which you have shown scant knowledge…which woudl be ok, if you had an open mind and an honest desire to exchange thoughts and ideas as well as the capacity to agree with objectively observed Facts…

    so let me boil my point down simply…my Thought is that we need to be better than those we would wage War upon…you know, the whole Christ “turn the other cheek” thing….not being a pacifist, but holding the ethical high ground…

    secret prison camps, torture, holding human beings without due process…that’s not my Idea of American Ideals…i think we, as a Nation are better than that….and that being better than that, we can still whip the shit out of anyone that fucks with U.S.

    the Means ARE the End….

    now spin away..but maybe, just maybe…some small bit of my pitiful prose may penetrate your patently preposterous pre-suppositions

    Excelsior!

  • http://ezsgblog.com/vtdawson/index.php Bennett

    Well said Gonzo old bean! And absolutely correct. We need to take the high road or we are worse than those who attack us.

    This is the shame of the Bush administration, and hearing President Carter name it as such was sobering indeed.

    Never in my life would I have thought that Americans would participate in the torture of POWs on a grand scale. Have we no shame?

    The damage that these actions have had on the psyche of the American public has yet to be measured. It is NOT insignificant. We no longer lead the world, and we have lowered ourselves to the level of the brutes of the world. I wonder if we will recover our national character in my lifetime.

  • Anthony Grande

    Sorry, that adserver was a pop up and I must have took its link instead of this one:

    It talks about how 6 police officers were beheaded on a such and such date by Taliban fighters.

    “so let me boil my point down simply…my Thought is that we need to be better than those we would wage War upon…you know, the whole Christ “turn the other cheek” thing….not being a pacifist, but holding the ethical high ground…”

    I agree one hundred percent. What’s the problem???

    Yes or no: Do you believe that we have secret prison camps where we are ACTUALLY torturing prisoners???

    “nice try in yer attempt to twist what i say around…you learn that on Limbaugh?..or right from Fox ?”

    You actually believed that I was trying to twist and confuse you and that link that I gave you wasn’t an honest mistake???

    Who do you think I am???

  • troll

    heartbreaking

    troll

  • Anthony Grande

    “Never in my life would I have thought that Americans would participate in the torture of POWs on a grand scale. Have we no shame?”

    So you, Bennett Dawson, actually and truly believe that we are torturing our prisoners???

    P.S. they, by definition, are not POWs. They are ununiformed terrorists.

  • Justin Berry

    So you blame the republicans because you didnt get to go to japan? You didnt miss much. anyway why did you enlist? Did you miss that whole “all enemies foreign and domestic” thing anyway thanks for giving us Billary the rest of the veterans who had to live with your vote should get afree kick at your nuts!!!! A-hole

  • http://ezsgblog.com/vtdawson/index.php Bennett

    “actually and truly believe that we are torturing our prisoners???

    If you don’t about this stuff by now, your head has been firmly packed into a sand dune.

    Documented stuff. We have been doing it with enthusiasm! We have hired folks to do it, we have sent prisoners to countries where there are experts at doing it – fully expecting them to do what they do, and we probably have several bases in the ex-USSR where we have flag-waving musclemen applying the baton and electric prod this very day.

    What?

    You actually think that sadists have nowhere to go for fun?

    Wake up AG!

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    Justin,

    I did in fact go to Japan, and had a lovely time there. Thanks for asking. Lots of wild weekends in Ropongi.

    Do people actually still say “Billary?” What is this, 1995?

    Does calling me an “a-hole” count as a personal attack? Just curious.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    Bennett, I would love to see some proof.

  • Bennett

    Scott – Good job on this post. An honest and thought provoking reflection. I was impressed with the way you presented you political “coming of age”.

    [Ignore the buffoon, we all are.]

    Thanks for this!

  • Bennett

    Uh, we just court-martialed a few soldiers, the tip of the iceberg by all accounts.

    Even Dave Nalle admits that (some number) of “detainees” (POW’s) had died (tortured and beaten to death) while in USA custody.

    Didn’t catch that news?

    You must be the only person who visits BC regularly who doesn’t know about this stuff.

    Do yourself a favor and go to google news and do some basic searches through the news stories.

  • http://YesterdayArnolddidnotloose,theRepublicansdidnotlooseandtheBushadministrationdidnotloose,THEPEOPLEOFCALIFORNIALOSSED. Anthony Grande

    No Bennett, you claimed that we have hidden camps where we torture prisoners and would like you to prove this.

    You also claimed that we are shipping terrorists to other countries where torturing is allowed, I would like to see some proof.

    I never dodge any of you questions so do not dodge mine.

  • RogerMDillon

    Justin “Dingle” Berry, maybe you should blame your party for who they ran against Clinton. What choice did the voters have?

  • lumpy

    as I recall the alternatives to clinton were bush senior and bob dole, two men who dwarf pantsdown billy as statesmen , leaders and men.

    lumpy

  • Bennett

    [sigh]

    The latest blow to the Bush administration’s “war on terror” came from an unexpected source: a judge in Italy, a key European ally of the U.S. war on Iraq.

    On June 24, Judge Chiara Nobili issued a warrant for the arrest of 13 CIA operatives in Italy in connection to the kidnapping of Islamic cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Nasr, an Egyptian national living as a political refugee in Milan, was “disappeared” by U.S. agents on Feb. 17, 2003, in blatant violation of Italian sovereignty.

    Accused of recruiting fighters against the Iraq occupation, Nasr was flown to Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured. He was released in 2004 for medical treatment, then rearrested, and hasn’t been heard from since. (Reuters, June 24)

    Italy asks US ambassador to explain CIA’s kidnapping

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has summoned the United States ambassador to Italy to explain CIA’s kidnapping of an Islamic cleric from a Milan street in 2003, a minister said on Thursday.

    Italian Minister of Relations with Parliament Carlo Giovanardi told the Senate that Italy had no knowledge of such an operation, denying that Italy had been informed by US authorities of an undercover operation targeting terror suspect Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.

    He also said the ambassador would hold talks at the prime minister’s office when he returned to Italy, possibly on Friday.

    “Our secret services were not aware of the operation,” Giovanardi said.

    “It was never brought to the attention of the government or national institutions,” he continued. “Consequently it is not conceivable that any operation of this type was authorized or that Italian organisms were involved.”

    Giovanardi said the government intended to “take all possible measures to discover the facts” so that transgressions of national and international law could be laid bare.

    Italian prosecutors say he was abducted by the CIA as part of its program of “extraordinary rendition” in which suspected terrorists are transferred without court approval to third countries for interrogation.

    Last week a Milan judge signed arrest warrants for 13 people that prosecutors say made up the CIA team which carried out the kidnapping.

    =====================================

    AG, you should really open your eyes about what is going on in the world.

    One quick google search brings you news reports from abound the country, and the world. You seem to be living in denial, no?

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    that separator was messy

  • Bennett

    Yeah, sorry.

  • RogerMDillon

    “as I recall the alternatives to clinton were bush senior and bob dole,”

    Yes, and how well did that turn out for you?

  • Luke

    Anthony Grande: “Yeah and I bet that 99% of them actually have terror affiliation. As for the other 1%, better safe than sorry.”

    That is not right, you support the idea that people can be jailed without trial because they are assumed guilty, if the law worked that way for everyone, then half the black people in america would be locked up for being drug dealers, and every white person who makes more than $100,000 a year will be locked up for white collar crimes, and every latino person will be deported to mexico.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Back to comment 37, Anthony:

    Well I wouldn’t be doing anything to be a suspect. Even that 1% aren’t completely innocent. They are probablly men with some knowledge or freinds of terrorists.

    If there’s no burden of proof, then how do you know they’re not completely innocent? How do you know if they have knowledge or friends of terrorists? For that matter, how do you know what they did to be a suspect? And if you don’t know what they did to be a suspect, how do you know YOU’RE not doing it?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Uh, we just court-martialed a few soldiers, the tip of the iceberg by all accounts.

    Even Dave Nalle admits that (some number) of “detainees” (POW’s) had died (tortured and beaten to death) while in USA custody.

    Didn’t catch that news?<<

    Just to be accurate, I admit that some detainees have died in custody – that’s incontrovertible. I’m not entirely certain of why, how or how many that might be. I’m sure that at least a couple are the result of neglect and/or mistreatment, but whether that was torture or unauthorized abuse remains to be proven. There have also been a number of suicides and some natural deaths, which is not at all surprising.

    Dave

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    “…yadda, yadda, yadda…blah, blah, blah…yadda, yadda, yadda…
    …as a person with political experience and experience in society I have a basis to form opinions on how and when war should be employed, and whetehr war is a good idea politically, diplomatically or culturally…
    …blah, blah, blah…yadda, yadda, yadda…blah, blah, blah…”
    – Dave (I had other priorites during Desert Storm) Nalle

    And it’s a good thing there are others brave enough to actually serve in those wars you promote, eh Nalle…?

  • http://flvoter.blogspot.com FL Voter

    It’s interesting that we both had a similar experience. I was 18, joined the Marines, spent a year in Okinawa where I voted in my first election for G.H.W. Bush. I am not proud of that vote upon reflection, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I’m also not sure that Dukakis would have been a better choice.

    My turn came in 1992 as well with the Clinton years. Bush 41, much like Bush 43, did a terrible job handiling the budget deficit and spending.

  • http://anonymoses.blogspot.com anonyMoses

    Great post! And welcome back to the sunlight!

  • Anthony Grande

    Bennett, I really do not see what this proves.

    1) I would like to see a link

    2) Even if this was true I know for a fact the CIA does not work in command with Bush. The CIA does things that are top secret even to the Federal Government.

    If it was true, how would it damn Bush???

    We would all be surprised and shocked if everything that the CIA has down was made public.

    And how do we know that the guy the CIA caught, if the guy even exists, was tortured???

  • Bennett

    “And how do we know…”

    YOU, never will. The rest of us listen/read/watch the news.

    Here’s your link.

    Look around. Learn a thing or two.

  • Anthony Grande

    O.K. Bennett, you say I am ignorant to the world but your the one that is spewing off with these made up conspiracy theories and shit.

    I don’t know if your just playing with me or if you are serious.

    There was nothing in that link you gave me about tortured prisoners.

  • Bennett

    “you say I am ignorant to the world”

    The world is listening AG, and no one is contradicting me.

  • Anthony Grande

    “The world is listening AG, and no one is contradicting me.”

    You notice that only you and me are talking, there is no one else here.

  • Anthony Grande

    You must really believe that I am ignorant to give me these made up conspiracy stories.

  • RogerMDillon

    I didn’t know we needed to speak to the matter. What do you think I’m going to say?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Is this a vote?

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    “BTW, MCH – are you aware that you’re taking pride in your commonality of opinion with a self-proclaimed Nazi?”
    – Dave (Tailgunner Joe) Nalle

    I now believe in reincaranation…Dave Nalle was Joe McCarthy in another life…

  • Anthony Grande

    What’s wrong with Joe McCarthy?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Oh good lord, Anthony. Get a clue. MCH is incapable of any kind of common sense, but I do at least hold some hope out for you. McCarthy was a self-aggrandizing opportunistic scumbag and even if communism was evil, his excesses in the pursuit of it were a stain on our constitution and on the senate.

    Dave

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

    Wasn’t Joe McCarthy gay? Wasn’t he lovers with Roy Cohn?

  • Anthony Grande

    Dave, honestly I was not defending McCarthy.

    All I ever heard of McCarthy was that he was active in the War against Communism. I thought I might learn why MCH disliked him.

    McCarthy sounds like a good subject to read about.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Yes indeed, Anthony. You should read about McCarthy and also about Roy Cohn. Or see if you can find the video of the 1992 miniseries Citizen Cohn. You’ll find it enlightening.

    Dave

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

    Ah yes, Roy Cohn. The poster boy for self-loathing homosexuals who was so afraid of society’s backlash at his sexuality that he was an uber-conservative with an agenda. People like Cohn, J. Edgar Hoover, McCarthy are examples of men who were so afraid of themselves that they persecuted everyone else.

    In reality, Cohn and Hoover were quite brilliant. Their mistake, however, is that they bought into the fallacy that their sexuality was a thing of shame. Had they accepted themselves and spit in the face of those self-righteous who persecuted gays they could have accomplished so much. FDR’s words fit so well here, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” So much prejudice, hate and negativity is rooted in fear. At a funeral last weekend, the hymn “Be Not Afraid” was central to the service. The lyrics have been engraved in my mind’s eye since. Indeed, be not afraid. Never fear the truth.

  • http://www.nrlc.org/ Anthony Grande

    Silas, Hoover and probally Cohn and McCarthy being gay are just rumors started and spread by their enemies.

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

    You are kidding, right? Cohn and Hoover are fully documented. In Cohn’s case the proof is irrefutable.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    i don;’t think anyone has ever claimed that McCarthy was gay, though he may have loathed himself for any of a number of other good reasons.

    Dave

  • troll

    AG – where do you get your information – ?

    how did you know to spew that claims about Hoover etc were a plot – ?

    take your consistently skewed propaganda off my bridge

    troll

  • steve

    Well, Scott; it seems as though you are still uneducated regarding your politics.

    So let me get this straight…you turned into a liberal because you disagreed with the US saving Kuwait.

    I suppose I would be upset too if I was also indulging in sakke, sushi, and beautiful japanese women in tokyo…its too bad you actually had to work! that is what people in the military do, you know? work. fight.

    besides, you were a journalist…so there is no whining. you werent out in the trenches with the rest of the boys, were you? so you didnt ACTUALLY have to fight…just write and record; or am I mistaken?

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    Attn…
    Scott, Justin, FL Voter and all veterans everywhere;
    Happy Veterans Day!! And thanx for your service to our country!!!

    – MCH

  • Anthony Grande

    “how did you know to spew that claims about Hoover etc were a plot – ?”

    How do you know it wasn’t a plot?

    You know, it is not a known fact that he is gay. I could be wrong but Hoover denied being gay.

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

    Many men have denied being gay because the cost of such an admission was too great. J. Edgar Hoover was keenly aware of that fact and was quite self-loathing. Many actors and public figures spent their entire careers in the closet, depriving themselves of the fulfilling life they could have had were it not for society’s intrusion into their personal lives. Things aren’t that much different today. Opponents of the homosexual lifestyle are hard at work trying to force open those closet doors and delegate us back into the shadows. It’s not going to happen this time. The gay community is an economic force to be reckoned with. We’ll put up with a lot of crap but, in the end, you can be rest assured that the gains we’ve made in the last forty years will not go without a fight. This country is in too much of a mess for the uber-rightists to baffle the American public with their anti-gay hyperbole. Try as the oppostion will, I believe that the gay community will rise to the occasion and deliver a message home to every government body in this land. Oppression only goes so far before the oppressed fight back. The Stonewall Riots will be like a Martha Stewart Tea Party once we start fighting back. There’s plenty of room for compromise and dialogue. Robertsonites, Falwellians and Uber-Bible Thumpers would do well to remember that two can play at this game and it’s in the best interests of all sides that we sit at the negotiation table.

  • Anthony Grande

    Silas, let’s not get into a full fledged discussion about how homosexuality is or isn’t a choice.

    Hoover may or may not have enjoyed sexual contact with men along with enjoying women. No one knows.

    What makes you believe that Hoover was gay?

    It is just something you heard as a rumor.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    Anthony, I don’t understand why ANYBODY’s sexuality matters. As long as people aren’t committing aggressive acts, who cares what they are doing?

    There are far too many important issues we have to deal with today. People’s private lives, sexual or faith related, should just not enter into the political debate.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    What makes you believe that Hoover was gay?

    It is just something you heard as a rumor.

    Not “rumor” so much as “common knowledge.” Everybody in Washington during Hoover’s tenure at the FBI knew he was gay.

    LBJ regularly used that knowledge to put pressure on Hoover. And when President Nixon was told that Hoover had died, his response was, “What, that old cocksucker?”

    Not to mention the whole thing with Clyde Tolson, who was Hoover’s second in command at the FBI. Even their own officers believed that they were a romantic couple. Neither ever married; Tolson was the only bureau person that Hoover associated with outside the office; they were constant companions for 40 years, who ALWAYS went on vacation together; and when Hoover died, Tolson inherited his entire estate and lived in Hoover’s house for the rest of his life. Oh, yeah; when Tolson died, he was buried next to Hoover–they’re side by side for eternity. Awwwwwwwww.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    MCH,

    Thank you for your thanks. Sorry I’m a day late, but I’d also like to thank all veterans for their service. I wish we lived in a society where veterans banded together, instead of being divided by politics. I may not agree with your politics, but I’ll always respect that you served your country.

  • Anthony Grande

    Alienboy, comment 93, refer to comment 80 and see who started it.

    I personally believe that Hoover had crazy sexual desires (I won’t say Gay because there is no such thing), but I also believe that it is wrong to say that statement as a fact because it is a theory, not a fact.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    besides, you were a journalist…so there is no whining. you werent out in the trenches with the rest of the boys, were you? so you didnt ACTUALLY have to fight…just write and record; or am I mistaken?

    I love this. A guy joins the military and serves in it honorably for four years, and some jackass has the gall to denigrate the service and imply that it wasn’t “real”.

    ANYbody who served in our military deserves thanks and respect for doing so [even W.]. There are no degrees of service, with stateside service or noncombat service being somehow less “real” or “manly” or some other bullshit. You either served or you didn’t.

    What a stupid comment, steve.

  • http://www.scottcsmith.net Scott C. Smith

    Steve,

    You apparently missed an important part of my essay: I served on a ship, so no one on board was “in the trenches.” Are you going to suggest that the folks in the Navy now, patrolling the Persian Gulf, aren’t “real” members of the military because they aren’t in the “trenches?”

    Also, during the war, my primary duty was to the ship, as was everyone else. A ship is filled with non-combat personnel. All of us are trained to protect the ship. You know, in case we struck a mine or were blasted by a missile. I was trained as a stretcher bearer. Do you know what that is? Well, I’ll let you in on a little something: during the war, we were expecting over 10,000 casualties, and my ship was a backup to the USNS Mercy and other hospital ships in the area. In other words, had the hospital ships been overwhelmed, the casualties would have come to MY ship, where I would then have had to perform first aid. So no, I wasn’t writing about anything during the war. You know, too busy training in first aid and fire fighting and other measures to protect my ship and my shipmates. Boring shit like that. But thanks for caring.

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

    Alienboy, comment 93, refer to comment 80 and see who started it.

    If you’re going to bait, AG, at least have the balls to call me out. Yep, I said J. Edgar Hoover was a self-loathing homosexual. My initial comment was a slight against Joe McCarthy and his human Weimeraner, Roy Cohn. I threw McCarthy into the mix because we gays are hated so much we might as well have jumpin’ Joe join us. I’m far from proud of the fact that we’ve got our share of self-loathing hate mongers in our corner. I’m willing to admit and do something about it because the good in our corner far outweigh the bad.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    Anthony, it really is irrelevant who started it.

    You are pouring out hate against other people simply because you either dislike/fear them or are secretly drawn to them and that makes you uncomfortable.

    Either way, your position is morally and ethically untenable and you need to decide: are you going to be a person of hate or a person of love?

    In the end, it all comes down to that choice and your future will unfold from the choices you make. So far, you seem to be drawn to the dark side by the power of your hostility and intolerance.

    It’s entirely up to you which side you pick of course, but you might want to think seriously about the real core implications of your christian faith, which I understand to be basically a faith of positivity and love. I think your unthinking hostility is truly against the dogma of jesus and you should at the very least consider the damage you are doing to yourself with such continual hating.

    Respectfully,

    Christopher

  • http://aqualung@bresnan.net MCH

    Re comment #87;
    “you werent out in the trenches with the rest of the boys, were you? So you didn’t ACTUALLY have to have to fight.”
    – steve

    Yo, steve babe…you forgot to mention which war and with which branch you were in.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    MCH: Please email me through the yahoo group, I need to talk to you. Thanks.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I think we should refrain from war until all of our ships have trenches on them.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    Alienboy, can you please tell me where you get the idea of I being a person of hate?

    I hate no one. And Gays are people, but they are not “a people”. They are just like everyone else except that they have a little block in their head that they should get corrected.