January 25, 2006

Mea culpa: I was wrong on Iraq

Prefatory comment No. 1:
It’s nice to be back. Rapprochement was reached, details unnecessary.

Prefatory comment No. 2:
You’ll hear less about Carl Brown and more about real life in this and future columns. Let me lay it down: You readers already know too much about me.

So, about Iraq: mea culpa, maximus. I was wrong to urge war and occupation. I conclude the following after 14 months of research and reflection:

No. 1: The Bush administration lied to U.S. citizens, Congress and the U.N. about the reasons to invade Iraq. We discovered no weapons of mass destruction. Bottom line.

No. 2: More than 2,000 battle-hardened American patriots have eaten sand and died - for what? Occupations don’t work. Neo-cons should read history and learn from Santayna when he said those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Vietnam still should be fresh in blood-soaked memory.

No. 3: Why can’t we provide troops with proper body armor? I quote The New York Times, Jan. 7, 2006, “Pentagon Study Links Fatalities To Body Armor: Says Many Hit In Torso Could Have Survived.”

The shocking article read, “A secret Pentagon study found that as many as 80 percent of the Marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.
“The ceramic plates in vests now worn by the majority of troops in Iraq cover only some of the chest and back.”

I wonder how many dollars would have to be shifted from missile purchases to give worthy armor to our brave soldiers? I am sending $10 to the Pentagon, earmarked for body armor. I hope you do the same. Send them a message from Louisville.

No. 4: What about people who’ve lost arms, legs and eyes, now living in Louisville or shelved in military hospitals, men and women who pray for death? Their broken lives must be taken into account and put on the chalkboard as wasted human potential.

No. 5: Query: Why did the Bush administration fail to use the vaunted Republican Guard as police after we occupied their country? Why did Bush fiat that the Iraqi military be disbanded?

No. 6: Why do we think we can defeat the urban terrorists of Iraq when we fail to seal the borders of Syria, where droves of men and women cross willing to sacrifice their lives for Allah?

No. 7: When military recruiters go to high schools and wave flags in the name of God and country, they once upon a time could promise with integrity that young patriots could look forward to no more than a weekend a month and two weeks in summer camp playing soldier, with educational benefits and bonuses to boot. No one emphasized the small print. Now, National Guard members are wrenched from their families, jobs and communities.

No. 8: Why no exit strategy, Bush? Were you and your sycophants so arrogant as to think we’d never have to leave, that we’d make Iraq the 51st state?

No. 9: The despicable, horrific and pornographic accounts of our abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and undisclosed locations in Eastern Europe should haunt us forever.

No. 10: This is a religious war. Osama bin Laden ordered a mass destruction of innocents on 9/11. He would tell you this was done in the name of Allah. Bush called the war a “crusade.” So, this being a religious war, why don’t we let world religious leaders negotiate a peace treaty? I therefore call for a Blue Ribbon U.N. Task Force of World Religious Leaders Dedicated to End Religious Wars. In my Own Damn Opinion, this Task Force should include the Dalai Lama, the Pope, rabbis, nuns and Methodist missionaries, Muslim mullahs, scientologists, snake handlers, the Rev. Joe Phelps of Highland Baptist Church, Daniel Braden, three of The Wise Elders of Heine Brothers, the resurrected ghost of Bill Dakan, Billy Graham, the reincarnation of David Koresh, witch doctors, the head Shinto guy, an Indian fakir or two, a few Buddhists, of course, and some whirling dervishes for entertainment’s sake. These folks would hammer out the peace treaty for religious war. If parties fail to reach accord, nobody goes to heaven.

But anyway, I’m Carl Brown, Louisville’s Plain Brown Rapper, and that’s just my own damn opinion. If you don’t like it, sue me. Just be elastic-minded enough to admit it when you’re wrong.

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Hey, Carl

By M. Liam Boland

I learned of Dr. Bill's death via the thick-skulled neo-con, Gary Hibbelin. This is surely still being absorbed as the great loss that it is. I'm in Kandahar, Afghanistan, waiting for a helicopter ride to the Forward Operating Base (FOB) where I'm employed. I love it o0ver here. It's hard to believe almost a year has past since I left the comfort and relative security of the U.S.A. I'm returning from a 16 day R&R in Thailand. I had some dental work done in Bangkok (the work is topnotch and very inexpensive compared to the states), and spent the bulk of my time on the sunsplashed isle of Kho Samui. My days there were mainly taken up with lolling about in the sea, sipping beer and enjoying the local cusine--especially the seafood. Everything you have heard about this country is true and then some...it is truely a "man's world", but all that shit leaves me cold, as that path--for me anyway--leads away from the whispers of what Lincoln so famously referred to as "our better Angels". I'll be back in the Bluegrass for about a month come mid-April. I look forward to many things, including seeing you, Dan, Troy, Gary and whoever else I might run into up at the old coffee shop cum Salon. Carl, I would ask that you refrain from making mention of me and my situation in a publicized way. That said, I am thankful that you seem to finally have seen things for what they are. My thoughts on the events of the last 4/half years has hardly changed a jot. I always felt Afghanistan made sense...someone hits you, you hit back...but Iraq, well that never made sense to me. I think your blood was up, and that is totallly understandable. The event of the last few years should--if anything--put conspiracy theorys to rest once and for all. I always thought that this cabal were a bunch of overreaching, incompatent boobs. They were able to create and maintain their spin-laden neo-reality for a surprising length of time. The true damage of Katrina went far beyond the coastal regions of the deep south. They are ruthless, still, but their utter lack of even rudimentry competance has been exposed. And conspiracys require--if anything-- the ability to direct and control events. Other than smear/charactor assasination, what are these boobs left with? And even that isn't getting near the milage it once did. Again Carl, I expressly ask that my name, situation, whereabouts, etc.,not make it into any and all media. We can chat about these events and more at our liesure in an ever-warming Kentucky Spring. But I do not want to run afoul of any parameters of communication. Understood. My concerns are no doubt wholly unwarranted, as I am just exercising my Constitutional(sic) rights, freely expressing myself, as is my want....Unless those said rights have completly been lost. I pray not, but if so, may God help us all--M.Liam Boland