24 November 2007

Iraq Vets in Maine?

p>A brief post aimed at my fellow Mainers - even though I'm not a true (native) 'Main-ah,' I make my home here now and enjoy it, even if they tax the holy hell out of us here!

If you are an Iraq/Afghan vet in Maine (or VT/NH) and are as sick of what's going on, politically and strategically speaking, as I am, I'd love to hear from you! Drop me a line (either through comments or my email address), and maybe we can get together and share views over a beverage of choice.

I'd also direct you to VoteVets.org and its newly launched blog, VetVoice.com. The blog has been "live" since 20 NOV, and seems to be gathering a lot of steam in its infancy.

20 November 2007

VetVoice launches; McClellan confirms obvious

An interesting day indeed!

VetVoice launched today with posts from several of our presidential candidates, including Senators Edwards, Clinton, Obama, Biden and Dodd, Rep. Paul and Gov. Richardson.

While all the participants outline a number of ideas in terms of rebuilding and retooling our nation's priorities and policies concerning veterans' care, the Armed Forces, Iraq, the War on Terror and the other issues discussed here and on many other blogs, one stark fact jumped out at me.

All, save Rep. Paul, are Democrats. Ron Paul was the only GOP hopeful (and all were invited, as VV is a non-partisan group) to participate in the forum.

I, for one, am particularly peeved that the vast majority of the GOP candidates would not respond to the valid concerns of a growing number of veterans who believe that our nation's policies are not carrying us in the right direction.

It underscores the obvious: The GOP has no intent on leading a nation "Of the People" through actually hearing from the very people (taxpayers) whom they supposedly serve.

I have one hard, fast maxim when it comes to politics: If a candidate chooses not to debate the issues or listen to his/her potential constituents, that candidate chooses not to get my vote.

As of today (unless one of the following changes position), Giuliani, McCain, Hunter, Huckabee, Romney, Tancredo and Thompson are completely out of the running in my book.

Of course, McCain's nonsense in Baghdad earlier this year sealed the deal on that one already. If you have to walk while wearing a flak vest, it's not safe. Duh!

McClellan confirms obvious

President Bush's former press secretary, Scott McClellan, now writes that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby (he of the presidentially commuted sentence) and Andy Card were definitely behind the Valerie Plame issue.

There is still no accoutability - zero - within the Administration; we've reached the point in which impeachment is almost moot....unless of course, Mr. Bush wants to take us to Iran.

Who in Congress has the stones to stop him? Anybody...anybody? Bueller....Bueller?

Also - any vets in or near the Lewiston/Auburn, ME area who want to get together and discuss the issues over beverages of choice (any choice, of course)? Drop me a line and we'll get in contact soon.


I have a lot of hope for this project, in that it can become a great place for reasonable discussion among vets and our supporters (and those who pine for a rational 'strategery' in the Middle East).

I've spent too much time on this blog in the past using four-letter words and other turns of phrase that I certainly would not use on TV or in front of an elected/appointed official, and my word to the wise is simple: Let's keep it clean, well thought out, rational and with a focus on pressure and change. Using 'rough' terms isn't going to help - leave that for your own blog posts about "that time when we were downrange..."

I'd also caution editing posts/using spell check before you send, as well as staying away from military-speak (the type of stuff you have to explain to others when you use that term). The broader the audience we can connect with will translate into more success down the road.

Just my quick two cents.

So if you get a chance, head on over and see who's got something to say. I've heard around the campfire that some big names will make an appearance soon.

As for me, I will launch a new diary soon there.

Also - just wondering if anyone out there is familiar with American Military University, and if so, what you have to say about it, good, bad or ugly. I may take a class or two there toward my Masters, and the more input, the better.

19 November 2007

Brief apology...

To Army of Dude...I tried to link to his site a few nights ago, mistyped it, and got some other site I have no interest in.

Sorry, Army of Dude!

17 November 2007

No free lunch!

Here we go again...the chickenhawks, going bullshit with rage over not getting their way, slam Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) over his post-vote comments that the administration's "days of a free lunch are over." This after competing Dem and GOP military spending bills failed to clear the Senate on Friday, setting up a possible budget crunch for the Pentagon if nothing happens in the next month or so.

I was struck by Rep. Heather Wilson's (R-N.M.) comment that Schumer should immedately apologize to the troops for his 'insensitivity.' "Sen. Schumer only wants to fund pay, body armor and chow for the troops if he can put conditions on the money so that they cannot do the mission they have been ordered to do," she said.

Right...this after a GOP-led Congress signed billions and billions of America's dollars over to the administration, which has made a career of fighting an ill-begotten war in Iraq that is systematically destroying America's Armed Forces and leaving our flanks exposed to another 9/11 and/or inability to fight if, say, something really bad happens with Pakistan, North Korea, China or Russia...not to name any of a dozen other potential combat scenarios worldwide.

The Democrats have an extremely valid point: Yes, the military must be funded well, trained well and...here's the part the Bush faithful have yet to grok: USED IN A REASONABLE MANNER THAT BENEFITS AMERICAN INTERESTS.

Then again, if 'American interests' mean chucking blood and treasure into unneccesarry operations, destabilizing the Middle East and leaving America vulnerable, then I guess Rep. Wilson and her colleagues have done a damn fine job.


In slightly better news, the Army is taking the unusal step of having a theater commander, GEN Petraeus, (perhaps the last, best hope among senior officers) help select some of out Army's future leaders. This story is a small glimmer of hope that the Army is starting to listen to officers and NCOs who know well that things are a bit different where the bullets fly and the IEDs detonate than they are in a well-secured palace in Iraq. At least SOMEONE out there is thinking of the Army's future.

I don't see much thought of the future coming out of the current administration. Besides, it won't be their problem...they'll just blame someone else, as they always do! Accountability be damned!

I'll be posting soon on a new intiative coming out of VoteVets.org, which is launching VetVoice.com next week. I haven't looked at it much yet, but I think it's going to be a good place for those of us who are in the know - and care about it - to share ideas on what needs to be done in Congress and the Executive as this nation faces God-knows-what in the coming years.

Long post...time to hang it up and go nighty-night.

14 November 2007

Back in the saddle again

Yeah, it's been a while...time to get this old warhorse going again and hopefully bring back some readers. It's been an incredibly busy year - getting married, moving, changing jobs and coming to grips with some of the anger issues I've been dealing with since 2004.

I've recently come to the realization - a moment of clarity, if you will - that I've spent entirely too much time in recent years being frustrated about the past, without making any real effort to change things in the future.

Another outfit I've discovered more in depth lately is VoteVets.org. Sure I've heard of them over the past couple years, but never really took the time to 'get to know them,' so to speak. Of course, they regained national attention after the Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" fiasco, panning the so-called 'pro-military' radio rambler's dismissal of Iraq Vets who criticize the war as 'phonies.'

(My favorite response to Rush and his ilk comes from Army of Dude, a blog much greater than mine.)

Anyway, I think VoteVets is gaining steam and will have an impact on the outcome of the 2008 elections - getting the word out that being pro-military doesn't necessarily mean toeing the GOP/GWB line at all times.

Pro-military means supporting a strong defense, using the military in a smart, well-planned, well-reason fashion - and only as a last resort. It also means ensuring the military is staffed, funded, rested, trained and ready to respond to the needs of defending the nation. Furthermore, pro-military means supporting care of our veterans who have answered the call to service, not turning their back on them as the Decider did on Monday, the day after paying lip service to vets.

Pro-military, to most of the GOP, means hiding behind the flag and calling into question the patriotism of those who dare to challenge this administration's flawed policies.

I'm saying stuff that's been said ad nausem in many other ways by thousands of others, but the reminder needs to be there that those of us who truly love our country and are alarmed by current policies must take a stand. Bumper stickers just don't cut it.

Fed up with W's careless and reckless policies? His administration's complete lack of accountability? The endless lining of Halliburton's pockets? The slow destruction of our military?

Write your Senators and Congressman! I did.

This is America, and the more we participate in it, the better off we may be.