Saturday, September 8, 2012

The GOP: Promoting War While Ignoring the Warrior


Let’s begin straight up…. 

I AM a "PEACE-NIK".....


I HATE death and destruction and lives lost for hubris and ignorance and fear. 

I HATE STUPIDITY and GREED. AND THAT, friends, is what war is all about. 

That said, I cannot possibly hate the warriors….. 

Young WOMEN and men sent to foreign lands under the American flag to fight and die and be slaughtered as ordered by old MEN who can’t figure any other way. 

Yes, to date, there aren’t many women who have ordered such actions except in defense of their land – 2 reasons…
  • We no longer have as many women in the role of leader of major world powers once the patriarchy spread throughout the world, and
  • Those women leaders, THE Hatshepsuts, The Cleopatras, the Theodoras, the Suikos, the Boudicas, the Saint Joans D’Arc, throughout our HUMAN-story rarely attacked unless in defense of lands being stolen or of people being oppressed.
This year, we still have boots on the ground in Afghanistan. 

Four years ago, we had BOOTS ON THE GROUND in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN.. 

Eight years ago we had a President who acted like he was playing video games. Rumors of childish rants and jumping up and down as things blew up in videos shot thousands of miles from his safe cocoon in Texas and the WH. Let’s face it, the only thing productive Bush did was clear brush in Texas and he spent an inordinate amount of time doing just that . George spent 477 days in 8 years at Camp David….but that is minor compared to the “77 visits to his ranch in Crawford during his presidency, and spent all or part of 490 days there.” 

 In the past, the RNC has played war hawk to the planet and that isn't any different than today. War Hawk and American Exceptionalist (for America may BE exceptional in so many ways, “Exceptionalism” is HUBRIS – arrogance, ignorance, and childishness mixed with bigotry to form an unrealistic narcissism) John McCain TOOK THE STAGE IN Tampa ..... propose that WE NEED TO BE ON THE ground IN IRAN, Syria, Libya, Iraq (still?), Afghanistan,….
“…..By committing to withdraw from Afghanistan before peace can be achieved and sustained, the president has discouraged our friends and emboldened our enemies, which is why our commanders did not recommend that decision and why they have said it puts our mission at greater risk.
We can't afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget - on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making. His own secretary of defense has said that cutting our military by nearly $1 trillion would be "devastating."
And yet, the president is playing no leadership role in preventing this crippling blow to our military.
But most of all, we can't afford to abandon the cause of human freedom. When long-suffering peoples demand liberation from their jailers and torturers and tyrants, the leader of the free world must stand with them.
Unfortunately, this is not happening.
When Iranians rose up by the millions against their oppressive rulers, when they beseeched our president, chanting in English, "Are you with us, or are you with them?", when the entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot and bled to death in a street in Tehran. The president missed a historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world.
The situation is far worse in Syria. What began as peaceful protests has now become, 18 months later, a savage and unfair fight.
With the full backing of Iran, and Hezbollah, and Russia-with tanks, and helicopters, and fighter jets, Bashir Assad is murdering men, women and children.
More than 20,000 people have perished. Extremists are gaining ground. And the conflict is becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies, and for us.
In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents - both Republicans and Democrats - have acted to help them prevail.
Sadly, for the lonely voices of dissent in Syria, and Iran, and elsewhere, who feel forgotten in their darkness, and sadly for us, as well, our president is not being true to our values.
For the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of people who are willing to give their lives so their fellow citizens can determine their own futures and for the sake of our nation - the nation founded on the idea that all people, everywhere, have the right to freedom and justice - we must return to our best traditions of American leadership, and support those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and our enemies.
Across the world, people are seizing control of their own destinies. They are liberating themselves from oppressive rulers. And they want America's support.
They want America's assistance as they struggle to live in peace and security, to expand opportunity for themselves and their children, to replace the injustices of despots with the institutions of democracy and freedom.
America must be on the right side of history.
The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater. People don't want less of America.
They want more.
Everywhere I go in the world, people tell me they still have faith in America.
What they want to know is whether we still have faith in ourselves.
I trust that Mitt Romney has that faith, and I trust him to lead us.
I trust him to affirm our nation's exceptional character and responsibilities.
I trust him to know that our security and economic interests are inextricably tied to the progress of our values.
I trust him to know that if America doesn't lead, our adversaries will, and the world will grow darker, poorer and much more dangerous.
I trust him to know that an American president always, always, always stands up for the rights, and freedoms, and justice of all people.
I trust Mitt Romney to know that good can triumph over evil, that justice can vanquish tyranny, that love can conquer hate, that the desire for freedom is eternal and universal, and that America is still the best hope of mankind.
And now, my fellow Americans: Let's elect our next commander-in-chief, and the next leader of the free world, my friend, Governor Mitt Romney."
NOT a SINGLE word about the troops - those in battlefields in Afghanistan or training Afghan troops; Nothing about the 550 to 761 to over a thousand bases outside the US (that number changes, on any given day, if one speaks to the Pentagon or as reported by various sources - and we won't EVEN get into the number of maintained Black Sites); Nothing about the over 2100 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan or the nearly 5000 Coalition Soldiers killed in Iraq; NOTHING about the over 32,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS INJURED in IRAQ or the over 15,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS INJURED in AFGHANISTAN.
Let’s look at this realistically.
Johnny “Reb” is looking for war on 5 fronts, if not 6. He is looking to attack multiple sovereign nations that DO NOT THREATEN American shores; that do not threaten attack. Any American lives lost are caused by American intervention in the affairs of other nations and the nations named by Johnny have not asked for us to run in guns a-blazin’; nor have there been US lives lost for any reason but our BEING in a country that does not want us there. There have been no attacks on other nations – sure, lots of bravado and pomposity but just when did Iran attack anyone? Libya? Syria? Their fights are revolutions and Civil Wars. When asked, it is for support not take over – and support is necessary. Support for the people through HUMANITARIAN MEANS NOT MILITARY MIGHT! Diplomacy, protection of refugees, food, clothing, shelter, water, medical care and funds to support the people’s resolve against oppression but NOT take over. IF there is intervention it must be in terms of the international body; through declaration by all countries for just cause with request by the people in those nations. Support is not intervention. As for allies?
  • Israel has invaded and attempted to settle lands they took in the 1960’s. The Gaza and Palestine/West Bank, held for generations by people now oppressed and denied rights that we, in the US, consider “inalienable” (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). Yes, Israel is afraid – for good reason. Instead of diplomacy, they have been riding the war horse to demand fealty and fear.
  • Iraq didn’t ever want us there and after years of ramming our “democracy” down the throats of the people and attempts to steal their oil through installation of a puppet regime, we failed and we created a nightmare that is still being lived in the streets of Baghdad.
  • Afghanistan, where empires go to die, was another attack on a sovereign nation. Sure Bin Laden was hiding there. A great place to hide, but the corruption of Karsai became so much worse with American fire power, American greenbacks and American bullying. We destroyed land, farms, families …The Taliban was replaced by crony corruption and the US became like every other imperialist nation to fight there (with the thought "we have to burn the village to save it"...the Vietnamization of Afghanistan). Pouring billions of dollars and thousands of lives into a hole. Under Obama, attempts were made to finish the ONE thing that could be justified - capturing Bin Laden (who was living quite royally in his manse in Pakistan for years).
The depraved, testosterone fueled Old white guys Boys Club wants to play fast and loose with life. They want to go all “Shock and Awe” on the Middle East like George Bush in a hidden cocoon watching videos of explosions thousands of miles away as if it were some SAIC video training film for new recruits.
The RNC Convention was big on pushing "USA, USA, USA" in terms of BIG Business, BIG Balls, and BIG Body count but the WARRIORS... what about the WARRIORS?
Where was the concern for them ?
Certainly NOT with MITT ROMNEY, who never mentioned them during the convention......
Here is Senior Advisor to the Romney campaign, Eric Fehrnstrom, discussing the Mitt Romney faux pas with CNN's Candy Crowley....
Certainly not with John McCain who spent all his time looking to justify putting meat in the boots on the ground in multiple countries, on multiple fronts.
Let’s look at THE Republican Record on "caring for the warrior"....
The IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) has been keeping report cards scoring Congress on their "support" for the troops. Rating the votes on various bills presented and how members voted. The report cards, created every 2 years, for 2008 and 2010 rated John McCain as consistently a "D" level....
The rest of the "D" level,or below, as scored for 2010 are listed here- those who scored low in voting for bills that supported veterans benefits, equipment needs in the field and assistance once returning from battle:
2010 Senate "D" List - Republicans
Alexander Lamar R-TN 
Barrasso John A. R-WY 
Bennett Robert F. R-UT 
Bond Christopher S. R-MO Brownback Sam R-KS 
Bunning Jim R-KY 
Chambliss Saxby R-GA 
Coburn Tomas A. R-OK 
Cochran Thad R-MS 
Cornyn John R-TX 
Crapo Michael D. R-ID 
DeMint Jim R-SC 
Ensign John R-NV 
Enzi Michael B. R-WY 
Hatch Orrin G. R-UT 
Hutchison Kay Bailey R-TX 
Inhofe James M. R-OK 
Isakson Johnny R-GA 
Kyl Jon L. R-AZ 
Lugar Richard G. R-IN 
McCain John R-AZ 
Graham Lindsey O. R-SC 
Gregg Judd R-NH
2010 Senate "D" List Democrats:
Feingold Russ D-WI
2010 House of Representatives "D" List - Republicans
Aderholt Robert B. AL 
Akin W. Todd MO 
Alexander Rodney LA 
Bachmann Michele MN 
Bachus Spencer AL 
Barrett J. Gresham SC 
Barton Joe TX 
Bilirakis Gus Michael FL 
Bishop Robert W. UT 
Blunt Roy MO B
oehner John A. OH 
Bonner Jo AL 
Boustany Charles W. LA 
Brady Kevin TX 
Broun Paul GA 
Brown Henry E. SC 
Burgess Michael C. TX 
Burton Dan IN 
Buyer Steve IN 
Camp Dave MI 
Campbell John CA 
Cantor Eric VA 
Carter John R. TX 
Cassidy Bill LA 
Chaffetz Jason UT 
Coble Howard NC 
Cole Tom OK
Conaway K. Michael TX 
Crenshaw Ander FL 
Culberson John Abney TX 
Davis Artur Genestre AL 
Dreier David CA 
Ehlers Vernon J. MI 
Fallin Mary OK 
Flake Jeff AZ 
Fleming John LA 
Forbes James Randy VA 
Fortenberry Jeffrey NE 
Franks Trent AZ 
Gohmert Louie TX 
Goodlatte Bob VA 
Granger Kay TX 
Graves Sam MO 
Harper Gregg MS 
Hastings Doc WA 
Heller Dean NV 
Hensarling Thomas J. TX 
Herger Wally CA 
Hoekstra Peter MI 
Inglis Bob SC 
Issa Darrell E. CA 
Johnson Sam TX 
Johnson Timothy V. IL 
Jordan James D. OH 
King Steven A. IA 
Kingston Jack GA 
Latta Robert E. OH 
Lewis John GA 
Linder John GA 
Lucas Frank D. OK 
Lummis Cynthia M. WY 
Mack Connie FL 
Marchant Kenny TX 
McCarthy Kevin CA 
McCaul Michael T. TX 
McClintock Tom CA 
McHenry Patrick T. NC 
McMorris Rodgers Cathy WA 
Mica John L. FL
Miller Gary G. CA 
Miller Jefferson B. FL 
Moran Jerry KS 
Neugebauer Robert TX 
Nunes Devin CA
Olson Pete TX 
Paul Ron TX 
Paulsen Erik MN 
Pence Mike IN 
Petri Thomas E. WI 
Pitts Joseph R. PA 
Posey Bill FL 
Price Tom GA 
Putnam Adam H. FL 
Radanovich George CA 
Rogers Michael D. AL 
Rogers Mike MI 
Rohrabacher Dana CA 
Roskam Peter J. IL 
Royce Edward R. CA 
Ryan Paul WI 
Scalise Steve J. LA 
Schmidt Jean OH 
Schock Aaron IL 
Sensenbrenner F. James WI 
Sessions Pete TX 
Shadegg John B. AZ 
Shimkus John IL 
Shuster William PA 
Simpson Michael K. ID 
Smith Adrian M. NE 
Smith Lamar S. TX 
Stearns Cliff FL 
Sullivan John A. OK 
Thornberry Mac TX 
Tiahrt Todd KS 
Wamp Zach TN 
Westmoreland Lynn A. GA 
Whitfield Ed KY 
Wilson Addison Graves SC 
Wittman Robert J. VA 
Wolf Frank R. VA 
Young C. W. FL
2010 House of Representatives "D" List -Democrats:
Capuano Michael E. MA 
Conyers John MI 
Davis Lincoln TN 
Lee Barbara CA 
Payne Donald M. NJ - deceased 
Slaughter Louise McIntosh NY 
Speier Jackie CA 
Waters Maxine CA 
Welch Peter F. VT
OUR OWN PENTAGON understands we are stretched thin so to add troops to another front? FIVE MORE FRONTS?
The Democratic Convention, highlighted Tammy Duckworth, candidate for US House of Representatives in Illinois' 8th District (Against Joe Walsh) and veteran of the war in Iraq. Tuesday night, she spoke of her life and her service to this country as she stood, courageously, and knocked it out of the park ....
And of course, Joe Biden who spoke at great length about the veterans of both Iraq and Afghanistan with an emotional moment as he ticked off the numbers of lives lost and numbers injured as well as our responsibility to those who served...........
And the President, paying tribute to those veterans and talked about our responsibility to them all as well as ending our longest war.......
"Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm's way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you've served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home. "
But the path to compassion for the warrior does not start and end with the speeches on Thursday....
The 2012 Democratic National Platform, addressed the issues of veterans directly (pg. 47-48):  
"Supporting Troops, Military Families, and Veterans"
 President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to keeping the sacred trust we have with our troops, military families, and veterans. These brave men and women and their families have borne the burden of war and have always made our military the best in the world. We will not only continue to support them in the field, but we will also continue to prioritize support for wounded warriors, mental health, and the well being of our military families and veterans. We will keep working to give our veterans the health care, benefits, education, and job opportunities that they have earned. That’s why the President and the Democratic Party supported the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to provide opportunities for military personnel, veterans, and their families to get a better education. That’s why the President is working to ensure returning veterans are able to get good jobs and put their skills to good use at home. That’s why the President has launched partnerships with the private sector to help veterans transfer their experience into skilled manufacturing jobs, and why the President has proposed a new Veterans Jobs Corps to put veterans to work as first responders. That’s why the President signed an executive order making it harder for for-profit colleges to prey on veterans. That’s why we enacted the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit to give companies incentives to hire vets. That’s why we have committed to ending veterans’ homelessness by 2015, and have launched new partnerships with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and with veterans’ organizations to do just that. That’s why, because the traumas of war don’t always end when our loved ones return home, this administration is continuing to work to meet the mental health needs of our veterans. That's why we will continue to partner with the nation's Veterans Service Organizations and veterans advocacy groups to ensure that every veteran of every generation receives the care and benefits they've earned. That’s why we have made it easier for veterans in rural communities to get the care they need. And it is why we have substantially increased funding for the VA, and directed it to eliminate its backlog of claims, hire additional claims processors, and deploy new systems to improve claims processing times."
And checking that IAVA report card from 2008, President Obama, then Senator Obama, was given a "B" and Vice President, then senator, Joe Biden, was given a "B", as well.
I know, what have they done recently, right?
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, as well as the rest of the Democratic Party in elected office, have repeatedly shown respect and commitment to the troops and the veterans of this nation =- this is not just the rhetoric used in speeches at the Democratic Convention this last week, but us evidenced in their actions in Congress and their support of veterans like Tammy Duckworth.
Mitt Romney didn't just "overlook" mentioning the "troops" in his nomination speech, ignoring the troops and their contributions, their pain and their loss has become more evident in the past decade - Republican Party shows more concern for committing lives to war and ignoring them when they come home; Focusing on the creation of war at the expense of the warrior and the warrior's loved ones back home. This isn't new, the record for the Republican members of congress over 4 years has repeatedly exhibited this attitude in their lack of support for benefits, health and welfare if both active duty and inactive or retired veterans.
The question for veterans in 2012 - If you are going to vote this election, can you afford to vote for a party who can't even honor you while beating the drums for war?
Dedicated to ELI: Vet of both Iraq and Afghanistan Wars - Medic and healer, Conscientious Objector, now working to heal the wounded warriors' minds and souls
 Cross-posted on FreakOutNation

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