Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

By JC

I’ve been spending far more time reading than writing lately, as writing and nursing blog posts eats up more time than I’m willing to expend. However, I think it time well spent to point folks to articles that begin to make sense of the precarious position our nation or world finds itself in.

So pull up a comfy chair on this grey and dreary spring day (thought the rain is most wonderful), pour a cup of coffee, tea or what have you and dig in.

Today’s reading comes from William R. Polk, Losing the American Republic. Here’s the end of Part 1 (Part 2 hasn’t been published yet, but I’m looking forward to it).

Lessons Needed Learning

It would be rewarding if one could say that our experience in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan has made us wiser in our approaches to Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen, but it is hard to substantiate that conclusion. Yet the lessons are there to be learned. There are more, but consider just these few:

  • Military action can destroy but it cannot build;
  • Counterinsurgency does not work and creates new problems;
  • Nation building is beyond the capacity of foreigners;
  • Piecemeal, uncoordinated actions often exacerbate rather than solve problems;
  • The costs of military action are multifold and usually harm not only the attacked but also the attacker’s society and economy;
  • Reliance on military action and supply of weapons to the client state encourages it to undertake actions that make peace-seeking harder rather than easier;
  • War radiates out from the battlefield so that whole societies are turned into refugees. In desperation they flee even far abroad and create unforeseen problems.
  • The sense that the attacker is a bully spreads and converts outsiders into enemies;
  • Failure to understand the society and culture even of the enemy is self-defeating;
  • Angry, resentful people eventually strike back where they can and so create a climate of perpetual insecurity.

The result of such actions is deforming to the central objective of an intelligent, conservative and constructive American foreign policy — the preservation of our well-being.

By Duganz

I remember sitting in my high school computer lab when we started shocking and awing Iraqi civilians, and soldiers into oblivion. Some of my classmates were cheering. I was 18 so I could only think of Johnson, Nixon, and the story my Dad’s plan to run to Canada when he got his draft number (just a few months before the end of the Vietnam draft).

We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for over nine years, and in Iraq nearly eight years. The cost of the wars has exceeded $1 trillion. Nearly 100,000 American troops have been wounded, and thousands have died.As for civilians of those two nations, thousands are dead, homeless, or slowly descending into a mindset wherein bombs are a fashion statement.

All those years, all that money, and all of those wounded human beings and I still have yet to get a sound reason for this question I’ve had all along: “Why are we fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

It’s a childish question, I know. But it is nonetheless relevant. The Left has laid blame on reactionary tactics (Afghanistan), and corporatism (Iraq). The Right is quick to beat the purity drum with a ratta-tat-tat roll for FREEDOM! FOR! ALL! The Left arguments may be true, we may be in these conflicts for empty reactionary reasons and our ongoing desire to burn dead dinosaurs. I don’t know.

As for the Right’s reasoning, well, I don’t know how an occupation creates freedom. And I mean that literally. How are people free if armed soldiers are walking around telling them what to do?

I ultimately want to believe the best in all people, even former President George W. Bush. I want to believe that he got bad intel, and that he stretched facts for pure reasons (it ain’t likely, but I want it to be true). I want to believe that we are still losing lives and money for the cause of freedom, even if I feel that war is a misguided means to an end when it comes not from the people, but from an outside force.

But, hell, it’s probably just imperialism and greed.

I want answers to why this has happened, and why it’s still going on. I’m Cruise in A Few Good Men. I want the truth (and, sadly, my government seems to think more like Nicholson).

So I decided to email Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Max Baucus, and Rep. Dennis “Denny” Rehberg that one simple question: “Why are we fighting wars Iraq and Afghanistan?”

I didn’t put anything else in the email. Just the question; no slant or bias. I could have asked how any of them sleep at night knowing they could save lives, or if each flag-draped coffin means something to them. I could have asked Baucus if his nephew dying changed his mind.

I only used those eight simple words.

For those of you who have never emailed our national representatives, the easiest way is through the email forms available at their websites (links above). You give some personal info (most likely for future mailers), select a topic from a pre-made list, and then you’re free to write a little message.

But here’s something interesting:

At Tester’s site you cannot select Afghanistan as a topic, but you can ask about Iraq; Baucus apparently wishes to avoid talking about either (regret those votes Max?) as neither war is an available topic so I chose “foreign policy”; Denny is the only one providing an option for both under the heading “WAR.” I’m not lying. His topic list has the word “WAR.” Just like that. In CAPS. Like it should be proceeded by a grunt and the words “Good god, y’all. What is it good for?”

My emails have been sent. I’m waiting for responses.

I’ve been waiting for nearly ten years. I’ll post the responses as they come in.

***

Update (5:20pm): I posted this on Twitter at approximately 5:10pm MST. Rep. Rehberg’s account is verified. Sen Tester’s is not. It’s possible that Mr. Smith can infact no longer go to Washington, but Mr. Duganz can go to the internet.

by jhwygirl

Via Helena’s CBS KXLH reporter Marnee Banks’ twitter feed, comes the sobering reminder that Montana National Guard Troops will be deploying Monday morning for (first) a six-week stop for training in Mississippi and then to their purposed assign in support of the Overseas Contingency Operation.

This is their second deploy, having already supported Operation Iraqi Freedom for 12 months in 2004-2005.

Montana’s soldiers leave from 5 major departure sites in the state – here are the times and locations:
Helena: Army Aviation Support Facility 2:40 pm
Great Falls: Great Falls International Airport 5:35 am
Belgrade: Gallatin Field Airport 6:00 am
Billings: Billings International Airport 3:40 pm
Missoula: Missoula International Airport 6:35 am

Today my thoughts are with them and their loved ones – their wives and husbands and children and fathers and mothers. Each of them take every drop of good will and wishes that I have in me.

by jhwygirl

For those of you who might of missed it, CBS News’ Face the Nation has posted the video of Bob Schieffer’s interview with Bozeman native Greg Mortenson.

Don’t miss it. There’s lots to learn there.

Nicholas Kristof, one of NYTimes best, had a column recently where he lamented the war as it juxtaposed upon the wisdom of Mortenson’s best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea. It’s a must-read.

One thing that’s been stuck in my head from watching Mortenson’s interview this past Sunday?

The U.S. spends $1 million per soldier, per day, for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan

Imagine if we’da built schools over these last nearly 10 years? Imagine if we’d bring 246 our soldiers home today and build a higher education system for all of Afghanistan?

by Pete Talbot

4&20 offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lt. Col. Garnet “Gary” Derby. He was from Whitehall but listed Missoula as his home. He was killed in Iraq on Monday, along with three other soldiers and an interpreter, in a roadside bombing.

Lt. Col. Derby is the 21st Montana serviceman to die in Iraq (ranking Montana fourth per capita in residents 18-54). Only Vermont, North Dakota and South Dakota lead Montana in number of deaths as a percentage of population.

He is the 4243rd American killed. There have been 31,035 injured. Estimates range from 90,670-98,992 in the number of Iraqis killed as a result of direct military or paramilitary action.

The war enters it’s sixth year next month. Sectarian violence continues. American deaths since George W. Bush proclaimed “mission accomplished”: 4105.

(Update — In the comments below, jhwygirl corrects the number of Montanans killed in Iraq: 29. My fault for working off an incomplete list.)

by jhwygirl

Unveiling what they call “one of President Bush’s most lasting legacies,” the New York Times brings us the news that the Bush Administration has nearly tripled foreign arms sales to countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and countries in northern Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, this fiscal year alone, has signed at least $6 billion worth of agreements to buy weapons from the United States government — the highest figure for that country since 1993, which was another peak year in American weapons sales, after the first Persian Gulf war.

The 9/11 terrorists came from where?

Saudi Arabia, of course.

Even further – and the Times article touches specifically on this – didn’t the U.S. arm Osama bin Laden when he was helping lead the fight against the Soviet Union in the Afghani War back in the 80’s? Yep.:

Travis Sharp, a military policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, a Washington research group, said one of his biggest worries was that if alliances shifted, the United States might eventually be in combat against an enemy equipped with American-made weapons. Arms sales have had unintended consequences before, as when the United States armed militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, only to eventually confront hostile Taliban fighters armed with the same weapons there.

That exact scenario is playing out right now. Pakistan is buying a huge chunk of arms. Apparently, we’ve picked a side in the Pakistan/India rumblings. Of course, Pakistan is our friend too, right? But wait. Just this last week Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, lashed out at the U.S. Wednesday, saying the cross-border military raids executed in the last week were not in keeping with any military agreement between the two nations.

Of course, there’s this, too: The U.S. is currently faced with fighting the same F-16’s it’s supplied to Pakistan.

Might have to rethink that friend thing.

I guess the Bush Administration figures it hasn’t left us with enough mess – a crumbling economy and an illegal war in Iraq that has only fed the rise of terrorism in the Middle East – now they’re increasing arms sales to throw the unstable regions of the world into more chaos.

Maybe that’s the Bush Doctrine: The Foreign Policy via Chaos Theory.

by jhwygirl

Consider this an open thread, too, folks….

One-man show Gary Marbut, self-professed President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association has been a busy busy boy. Earlier this week he was in town to kick off his campaign against the statewide mill levy that supports the university system, and then on Friday he was in the paper endorsing NOT John McCain, but Ron Paul for President of the United States. Paul, on the other hand, wants off of the ballot here in Montana.

Gee…maybe Marbut and I agree on something. I mean, if you absolutely are NOT going to vote for Obama, Ron Paul certain is a better choice….that would be if you don’t want more of the same, John McCain.

Deepak Chopra weighs in on the election and what the McCain/Palin ticket means for America. Some highlights:

–Small town values
— a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.
–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
–Patriotism — the usual fall back in a failed war.
–‘Reform’ — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

The Clark Fork Journal – that free paper in business lobbies around the area – has some great pieces in its September issue. Here’s just two of their fabulous offerings:
The Original Man: The Life and Work of Architect A.J. Gibson, and Fruits of Labor of Sweet Success, a piece on a Missoula fruit farm and its unlikely crop of blueberries.

Wulfgar! (out of Bozeman) reminds us that candidate for HD-96 Steve Eschenbacher thinks that Missoulians who are supporting Obama are igner’t pups.

Vote Teresa K. Henry for HD-96.

Retired Army Major General Paul D. Eaton, who served in Iraq as the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) commanding general will be in Montana campaigning for Barack Obama. He called for Rumsfield to leave, saying “Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead America’s armed forces.” He has been critical of the Republican-led congress for “refusing to hold the necessary hearings and investigations the Army desperately needed…The result is an Army and Marine Corps on the ropes, acres and acres of broken equipment, and tour lengths of 15 months because we have too few troops for the tasks at hand.” Eaton was an adviser to Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He will be coming to Helena, Great Falls, Anaconda and Missoula.

I wonder how I can get that invite?

Finally – Here our our allies. Bush’s buddies. A country of war lords and and wealthy landowners. The people who champion brutal, brutal honor killings, protect Osama Bin Laden and threaten reporters. Yep…there’s democracy a-brewin’ in the Middle East.

by jhwygirl

Guess.

Gee – that didn’t take long, did it?

UPDATE: The White House apparently brought this upon themselves. Methinks someone is waking up this morning hating themselves.

by Pete Talbot

(Here are some tidbits gleaned from weekend newspapers, a magazine, some websites and emails. This post’s headline is to be sung to the tune of Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” as performed by Johnny Cash.)

First, a little humor from Sunday’s Pearls Before Swine comic strip. It’s for all of us bloggers who sometimes take ourselves a little too seriously.

Both Jay at LiTW and jhwygirl here at 4&20 are promoting an ActBlue site via this link. Your donations in these critical Montana House races can make all the difference. For example, I received this email from a progressive friend in Miles City (yes, there are progressives in Miles City): “We need to raise more money for Bill McChesney…his opponent is a wealthy ranch/real estater with ambitions akin to Taylor Brown.” This race in HD 40 pits incumbent Democrat McChesney against Republican Jeff Harding.

Missoula County Democrats are holding their summer picnic. Here’s the skinny: “Tuesday, July 15, 6:00 p.m. in Bonner Park in Missoula and all are invited. This is great opportunity to get together with your fellow Democrats over a burger and a beverage, hear some short political speeches and generally have a good time. Local and statewide candidates will all be taking part in the festivities. The Democrats are providing the main course of grilled meat or vegi. Wayne Fairchild of Lewis and Clark Trail Adventures (www.trailadventures.com) is providing the equipment and his guides will be doing the grilling. We are asking attendees to bring a side dish if their last name starts A – K. A salad if name starts with L – R and a desert for those whose names start with S – Z. We will be providing the rest. If you don’t have time to bring a dish to pass, come on anyway. We’ll have plenty of food. This is not a fundraiser although a donation of 5 – 10 dollars would be appreciated to cover the costs of food and beverages.”

Right below the pop-up food ad on the Missoulian’s website, there’s a story about Mayor John Engen, headlined: “Svelte mayor kisses 102 pounds goodbye.” I’m not sure if “svelte” is the word but congratulations, Mr. Mayor. Keep up the good work.

Harper’s magazine has a superb article called “The Wrecking Crew” with the subtitle “How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing.” It stars our old friend Jack Abramhoff and is a litany of malfeasance and corruption. Unfortunately, you’ll have to go to the library or buy a copy of Harper’s because you can’t read the story online, but it’s well worth the effort. Or, here’s a link if you want a subscription.

Sadly, there’s this news out of Afghanistan. The op-eds, letters and pundits say we’re winning the war in Iraq — that remains to be seen. For now, we’re losing ground in Afghanistan, which was our first mission. We have international support in Afghanistan yet there’s no solution in sight. The sooner we can disentangle from this mess, and let the locals decide their fate, the better. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have given their all.

by jhwygirl

May 25, 1961:

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket engines, which gives them many months of leadtime, and recognizing the likelihood that they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

JFK gave this speech (above is only a minuscule portion) to a joint Congress in what could effectively be described as his State of the Union assessment, having sized up American from inside the pearly white walls of the White House for four months. The Cold War was in its full glory; the economy, while strong, was showing sign of weakening; and social unrest driven by the civil rights movement was driving to its apex.

Kennedy felt that America’s security was threatened by the Russian space program – Sputnik, first, and then their success in launching a man into space. Kennedy decided that putting all of the United State’s resources behind beating the Russians in their space race, by landing a man on the moon – a tremendous challenge, considering how far behind we were – was best for the nation. The proposal was thought by many to be sheer lunacy.

Just 16 months later, on September 12, 1962, Kennedy gave a second speech on the race to the moon at Rice University, defending both the dedication of government resources and the enormous expense.:

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this State, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your City of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year’s space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year–a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United Stated, for we have given this program a high national priority–even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us. But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun–almost as hot as it is here today–and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold.

~~~~~
So here America sits, in 2008: in the throes of an illegal – what McCain has said will be 100 years – war in Iraq; the country divided maybe not by race, but by political and religious extremism; and our addiction to oil essentially, in a very backhanded way, funding the very terrorists that attacked our nation on September 11th.

Can we eliminate our need for crude? I don’t think so – at least my unscientific mind can’t imagine, realistically, a Jetson family-style world – but do I think that America can create a world where the bulk of our elementary carbon-fuel based needs (such as electricity and heat and small vehicle transport) can be met with alternative and more efficient means.

If a president can state an impossible goal, from a point so far behind the curve that many can call him crazy, we can harness the power of the wind and the sun to power our homes. If we can put a man on the moon and bring him back to earth in just over 8 years, we can build household transportation that efficiently uses a combination of fuels and newer technology. We can make oil a minor source of our energy need.

This is America. Where is the “can do” mentality from our government – from its citizens? The “can do” mentality that makes or breaks the corporate world and its inhabitants?

Go ahead and laugh. It’s that mentality that holds us back and keeps us beholden to Middle East interests.

America must begin to dream. Today. Tomorrow. Now.

Time’s a-wastin’.

by jhwygirl

I marked my calendar a little over a week ago for Scott McClellan’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which will be looking into the leak which exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Valerie Plame was undercover investigating the trafficking of yellowcake uranium in Niger, and trying to keep the stuff out of Iraq. Her name was leaked out of the Whitehouse, and Scooter Libby was subsequently found guilty of obstruction of justice, for failing to reveal the source of the leak. Libby’s sentence was quickly commuted by President George W. Bush.

Shows the Whitehouse’s commitment to national security, huh?

Hearing begins at 8am (MST), and C-Span radio will be streaming. Go to C-Span for specifics.

by jhwygirl

Live, on C-Span, right now, he’s reading his 35 count resolution of impeachment.

I had to commemorate this with a post.

It’s about time.

Go Dennis!

UPDATE: Apparently a lively beginning – upon initiating his floor speech this evening, Kucinich turned to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said “The House is not in order,” to which Ms. Pelosis pounded her gavel, and Kucinich then continued with his resolution. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said numerous times that impeachment is “not on the table.”

by jhwygirl

All who serve in the military do it.

Gone but not forgotten, these Montanans gave their lives.

Killed in Iraq:

Cpt. Andrew R. Pearson, 32 – Billings (April 30, 2008 )

Pvt. Daren A. Smith, 19 – Helena (December 13, 2007)

Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26- Ismay (September 10, 2007)

Spc. Donald M. Young, 19 – Helena (August 8, 2007)

Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins, 31 – Bozeman (June 1, 2007)

Cpl. Chris Dana, 23 – Helena (March 4, 2007)

Pfc. Kyle G Bohrnsen, 22 – Philipsburg (April 10, 2007)

Staff Sgt. Shane Becker, 35 – Helena (April 3,2007)

Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18 (February 2, 2007)

Army Pfc. Shawn Murphy, 24 – Butte (December 10, 2006)

Marine Lance Cpl. Nick Palmer, 19 – Great Falls (December 16, 2006)

Sgt. Travis M. Arndt, 23 – Bozeman (September 21, 2005)

Pfc. Andrew D. Bedard, 19 – Missoula (October 4,2005)

Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, 26 – Glasgow (August 20,2004)

Capt. Michael J. MacKinnon, 30 – Helena (October 27, 2005)

Cpl. Dean P. Pratt, 22 – Stevensville (August 2, 2004)

Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Sandvick Monroe, 20 – Chinook (October 8,2006)

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28 – Wolf Creek (July 29,2006)

Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem, 20 – Belgrade (August 3, 2005)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles V. Komppa, 35 – Belgrade (October 25, 2006)

Sgt. 1st Class Robbie D. McNary, 42 – Lewistown (March 31, 2005)

1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, 27 – Bigfork (December 22, 2003)

Cpl. Raleigh C. Smith, 21 – Troy (December 23, 2004)

Pfc. Owen D. Witt, 20 – Sand Springs (May 24, 2004)

Killed in Afghanistan:

Pfc. Kristofor T. Stonesifer, 28 – Missoula (October 19, 2001)

Joshua Michael Hyland, 31 – Missoula (August 21,2005)

by jhwygirl

Monday night’s The Daily Show – which shows at midnight Tuesday morning here in the mountain west – had an extremely interesting interview with Douglas Feith, former Undersecretary for Defense Policy – the man who helped formulate the war in Iraq.

So there I was a midnight, trying to fall asleep. Stewart interviewing Feith about his book, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism. {yawn}

Boy, I was wrong.

Maybe he thought he’d get the cakewalk that McCain got last week when Stewart let the defacto Republican presidential candidate escape any question regarding his pastor problems (Pastor I-hate-Catholics Hagee and Pastor Rod Islam-is-a-false-religion-that-must-be-destroyed-by-America Parsley).

Far from it – Feith was but-but-buttin’ from the get go, but only after a deadpan “holy crap” look on his face from Stewart’s first real question out of the box, after first asking him what was his favorite baseball team. Video is best, really – like I said, the look on his face was priceless, but here’s some highlights:

Stewart: oh, man. we really disagree. mets. “war: indecision.” what if it boils down to that, i like the mets, you like the phillies. the whole thing falls apart. it seem like in reading it sort of the basic idea of the book– and tell me if i’m wrong– that a lot of what we know about the run-up to the iraq war, a low of the conventional wisdom is wrong. this idea that, i think it’s something that you might take offense to that we were misled into war somehow. (one person applauding)…
settle down. it will be a long ten minutes, lady. the idea we’re misled in a war is wrong. now, from this side of it, i always felt like we were misled. so, let’s bridge that gap in ten minutes. what makes you say we were not misled? what was so honest about….

Feith: i think the administration had an honest belief in the things that it said. some of the things that it said about the war that were part of the rationale for the war were wrong. errors are not lies. i think much of what the administration said was correct and provided an important argument that leaving saddam hussein in power would have been extremely risky even though the president’s decision to remove him was extremely risky.

Stewart: let me stop you there because the president’s decision to remove him was extremely risky. that’s not the sense, i think, that the american people got in the run-up. (applause) the sense that you got from people was not… the sense was, we’ll be greeted as liberators. it will last maybe six weeks, maybe six months. it will pay for itself. all these scenarios that were publicly proffered never happened. you said something that i thought was interesting. the common refrain that the post war has been a disaster is only true if you had completely unrealistic expectations. where would we have gotten those expectations? (laughing)

Feith: well, there were a lot of things that did not go according to expectations. we know that the war has been bloodier and costlyier and lengthyier than anybody hoped. but the president had an extremely difficult task. after 9/11, there was a great sensitivity to our vulnerability. and the president had to weigh– and what i do in the book is i look at the actual documents where secretary rumsfeld was writing to the president and powell and rice and the vice president and general myers and others. i talk about what they said to each other and what they were saying back to secretary rumsfeld. what you see is there was a serious consideration of the very great risks of war. i think that many of them were actually discussed with the public. but to tell you the truth, looking back one thing is absolutely clear. this administration made grocerors in the way it talked about the war. some of them are very obvious like the….

Stewart: that was all we had to go on. you know, that was… i guess the difference in my mind is if you knew the perils but the conversation that you had with the public painted a rosier picture, how is that not deception? that sounds like… when you’re sell ago product…. ( applause ) what it sounds like for me. sorry. the fact that you seem to know all the risks takes this from manslaughter to homicide. it almost takes it from like with the cigarette companies. if they come out and say, no, our products i think are going to be delicious. you go back and you look and they go, well, they actually did talk about addictiveness and cancer. isn’t that deception?

And so it goes – and that was only the beginning.

Every once in the while you see something on the television that makes you want to get up and cheer like you’re sitting in the endzone at Heinz Field and its 4th and 10 and Roethlisberger is earning his pay.

Stewart’s interview was one of those times.

Here is the full transcript.

There’s also uncut video – as I said, the look on Feith’s face is priceless. Part I and Part II.

by jhwygirl

Olbermann’s Special Comments are a treat. Most of them leave me standing in the livingroom, fist raised in the air, cheering or sitting there saying “oh no he didn’t!” Olbermann is the best of the best political pundits anywhere.

Wednesday night’s Special Comment was another one of those moments – with me both cheering and saying “oh no he didn’t!” as he chastised Bush for his lies and feigned non-sacrifices in the face of the 4077 U.S. soldiers now killed in Iraq.

He closed it out with this:

When somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abdicating sacrifice of your golf game, so as to soothe the families of the war dead – this advice Mr. Bush: Shut. The HELL. Up.

Full text here. It’s 4 pages – longer than usual – but a thorough dressing down of Bush arrogance.

~~I love you Keith. Call me. :-)

by Pete Talbot

In our previous meetings, I have noted that I am unwilling to vote against funding the occupation. The President has made it clear that if such funds were cut off, he would allocate resources from other defense projects like Malmstrom Air Force Base.”

Those awkwardly worded sentences come from a letter by Sen. Max Baucus to a peace activist in Butte. What Max is trying to say, I think, is that he will continue to funnel money to Iraq so an air force base in Great Falls gets it funding.

So, it’s all about the pork. We’ll stay in Iraq for, let’s say 100 years, so that military bases in places like the Electric City can continue to get their share of the pork pie. Can’t cut the Iraq occupation funding because we’d have to cut Malmstrom funding. Talk about fuzzy logic.

Malmstrom’s main mission, by the way, is to guard those nuclear missiles we have in holes in the ground all over Charlie Russell country.

I like Great Falls and certainly wouldn’t want it to suffer economically but as is pointed out in an email thread I received from peace groups around the state, Malmstrom isn’t that great a deal. This from a Great Falls resident:

“In short, it’s corporate welfare, and most of the money spent goes to a few out of state companies like Boeing. The Minuteman system (periodically upgraded at the same price it would cost to develop new systems, now) has cost the U.S. taxpayers some $50 billion in Montana alone over the life of the program, but not even 10% of that was actually spent in Montana.

(snip)

And the nuclear mission profoundly discourages local private business investment and other forms of real economic growth. Who wants to live in a nuclear garrison town? Yet, our Congressional delegation thoughtlessly supports this mission (with lobbying co-ordinated by Boeing and other major military contractors), just as though it were somehow to our advantage. It’s absolutely despicable.

(Most) every other city in Montana has grown and prospered over the past 40 years. Great Falls is much poorer and less developed now than it was in 1968, with almost exactly the same population. If Malmstrom was so good for our local economy, we’d be rich and the other Montana cities in decline.

Another email contained this gem:

” … dollar for dollar (Malmstrom is) one of the worst investments in Montana’s economy compared to investment in the immensely pressing Montana needs in affordable/decent housing, genuine economic development, health care, protection of the environment, education, children’s well-being and all issues that progressives care about.”

And this from a Great Falls resident:

“The idea that Bush would close Malmstrom if Congress refused to fund the Iraq occupation is insane. The correct policy would be to demand that Bush (it is actually Congress that decides, unfortunately) close Malmstrom as part of an overall military spending reduction focused on ending the war and occupation, as well as the nuclear arms race. Both are very positive and necessary steps to take.”

The logic in the above quotes is certainly stronger than Max’s.

We’re in year number five in Iraq and the violence there continues. Max is slated to go back to the U.S. Senate for six more years, barring some extremely bizarre twist of fate. When is Max going to give us the real reason he’s still supporting the Iraq occupation, or if he isn’t, what’s his strategy for getting us the hell out?

by jhwygirl

A friend mentioned it, and I went looking. It’s real hard to prove that something doesn’t exist. After all – if it didn’t happen, how do you prove it didn’t happen?

And maybe that is the point of it all.

Two weeks ago I wrote that the Symbiotic Relationship of the Bush Administration and the Mainstream Media has No Boundary. That piece detailed the relationship between the mainstream medias so-called military analysts (retired Army General James Marks, retired Army Colonel John C. Garret, retired Air Force General Joseph W. Ralston, retired General Paul E. Vallely, retired Major General Bob Scales – hell, the list goes on…) and the Pentagon, which provided them with perks and inside scripted talking points. The Times article went on to expose the corporate connections these so-called analysts have, and the conflict of interest resulting from the inherent financial benefits they stood to gain from keeping the war machine moving along, irregardless of the dangers it posed for our troops. Irregardless of the truth it masked.

Has there been a mention of that extensive article by the New York Times on any of the television news outlets? No.

How many times has the New York Times article been mentioned since its publication two weeks ago? Twice. Two pieces, both being on the April 24th PBS NewsHour.News coverage in the week following the New York Times article

This illustrates, for me, why blogs are all the more important in today’s media. News sources – local and national – are failing us, folks. While blogs won’t replace traditional media, they can serve to keep important issues in the public’s eye, and they can serve to give attention to the issues that affect our everyday lives.

by jhwygirl

A little over a week ago I wrote about the NY Times story which exposed the who’s-up-whose-ass relationship between the Bush Administration and the media’s so-called military analysts – those retired generals that you see on every major news station telling us that the surge is working, that the troops have enough armor, that we are winning the war in Iraq.

In other words, one more shame on the Bush Administration.

At least I didn’t see the honorable General Wesley Clark on that list. At least some of the retired military still look out for the men that they previously commanded.

And boy, you should have heard the reaction from the two Army veterans of the Iraq war when I forwarded that story to them.

On Thursday, Representative Ike Skeleton (D-MO), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, had a whole hell of a lot to say about the article.

Why is it that only Democrats have come out on record as being appalled of the behavior of not only the Pentagon but the retired generals also? Not one of Montana’s conservative bloggers have expressed outrage over this either. When you think of how many Montanans are in the reserves, and serving in Iraq, or have served in Iraq, don’t you think that maybe even one of them would express some disappointment? Aren’t these guys supposed to support the troops? How is remaining silent about retired generals who were more concerned about their consulting fees than the troops they served with supporting the troops?

Principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense Robert Hastings halted the feeding of information to those military analysts after seeing the NY Times article, saying that he is concerned about allegations that the Defense Department’s relationship with the retired military analysts was improper.

Stars and Stripes has the story.

by jhwygirl

See it for yourself. Notice the title.

VA email – February 13, 2008

Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) office said statistics provided earlier this year by the VA showed that 790 veterans under VA care attempted suicide in 2007.

790? Talk about fuzzy math.

790 does not equal 12,000. Unless your a tool of the Bush Administration.

That’s nearly 33 attempted suicides by military veterans per day.

Sen. Harkin, Sen. Patty Murray (D- WA) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced legislation Tuesday calling on the VA to track how many veterans commit suicide each year. Currently, VA facilities record the number of suicides and attempted suicides in VA facilities – but do not record how many veterans overall take their own lives.

On Monday, a class action suit brought by veterans groups opened in San Francisco charging a “systemwide breakdown,” citing long delays in receiving disability benefits and flaws in the way discharged soldiers at risk for suicide had been treated.

Kerri J. Childress, a department spokeswoman, said Monday that there were an average of 18 suicides a day among America’s 25 million veterans and that more than a fifth were committed by men and women being treated by Veterans Affairs.

Fuzzy math continues.

So if it’s not mistreatment of living veterans, and it’s not disrespect after they’ve given their lives in service – it’s lies about the reality this illegal war is bring to our sons and daughters, our families – our nation.

Mayor of Mahem, commenting on a previous post, Americans Don’t Know How Many U.S. Soldiers Have Been Killed in Iraq, explained to us the reality he already knows:

…I have a family member that has returned from Iraq in apparent good health, only to find out later that they will never be the same. This is especially disturbing to the son of a Vietnam conflict veteran who has watched a father fight that war over and over again for the last 40 years. The cost to our country for this war will be paid for the next fifty years. Not by those who who gave all, their sacrifice and that of their families is immeasurable. The long term cost of caring for physically injured and mentally effected US servicemen will be a heavy load for US families to carry. Say a prayer tonight for the 19 year old North Dakota farm boy walking through an alley in Bagdad or the twenty six year old sergeant and father of two from Los Angeles on duty in Fallujah.

There is a fire burning in the middle east and the fuel for that fire is our children.

I cry for my nation. I cry for its soldiers.

God Bless.

by jhwygirl

A Pew Institute survey, results released March 12th, shows that American’s awareness in the number of American military casualties in Iraq is slipping.

The number of American military deaths, as of Sunday evening, is 4039. The total number of coalition deaths is 4348.

The number of American military deaths on August 7th, 8 1/2 months ago, was 3684.

How can we be so far removed from the reality of the war in Iraq that we are unaware – to the tune of only 28% being able to cite “4000” – of the number of American sons and daughters that have been killed in a war built on lies?

Could it be that the media coverage of the war is dropping? That biased media coverage?

Well, maybe so. That same survey tells us that press attention to the war has dropped to an all-time low of just 3% in February. The overall coverage, from January 1st through March 20th, is 4%.

Coinciding with the drop in war coverage is an increase in the number of Americans who think that military progress is being made in Iraq.

What does this mean?

It means McCain is walking on a free pass with the media’s lack of focus on the war. It means that journalists get away with asking questions about Drudge Report allegations and flag pins. It means that the beverage of choice (Crown Royal or green tea anyone?) is more important than the national debt.

The national debt? Nearing $6,000,000,000,000.

How about some war costs?
The cost of the Iraq war? Nearing $515,000,000,000.
The daily cost of the Iraq war? $314,400,000.
The cost of the Iraq war, per household? $4,681.

The cost to the entire state of Montana? $790,000,000.

Meanwhile, in other news, McCain has vowed a war on wasteful spending.

Given the evidence of the media’s output on that topic, and McCain’s expert grasp on economic issues, one has to wonder if he even knows what in the hell he’s actually talking about.

(Hat tip to hummingbirdminds.)

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar!, under his Deeply Stupid category, takes local attorney and candidate for HD 96 Steve Eschenbacher to task for his poor attorney-speak (“absolutely positively probably”) and other conspiracy theories.

Eshenbacher is the blogger behind Rabid Insanity, something he has not hidden.

Makes me wonder what Eschenbacher thinks of my post below, on our mainstream media’s military analysts.

Oops. Wait. I already know. Can’t question a retired officer and military analyst– that would be unpatriotic.

Must…Drink…Kool-Aid…Make…Mine…Red…Please…

Eishenbacher is running against Teresa Henry, incumbent for HD 96. There will not be a primary for HD 96.

by jhwygirl

A New York Times article released yesterday but dated today – much of which was the result of having to sue the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of email messages, transcripts and records – goes into gory, disgusting detail of the relationship between the Pentagon, the Bush Administration and most (yep, most) military analysts on mainstream media outlets like Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and NBC.

Some of these analysts were on the mission to Cuba on June 24, 2005 — the first of six such Guantánamo trips — which was designed to mobilize analysts against the growing perception of Guantánamo as an international symbol of inhumane treatment. On the flight to Cuba, for much of the day at Guantánamo and on the flight home that night, Pentagon officials briefed the 10 or so analysts on their key messages — how much had been spent improving the facility, the abuse endured by guards, the extensive rights afforded detainees.The results came quickly. The analysts went on TV and radio, decrying Amnesty International, criticizing calls to close the facility and asserting that all detainees were treated humanely.

“The impressions that you’re getting from the media and from the various pronouncements being made by people who have not been here in my opinion are totally false,” Donald W. Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, reported live on CNN by phone from Guantánamo that same afternoon.

The next morning, Montgomery Meigs, a retired Army general and NBC analyst, appeared on “Today.” “There’s been over $100 million of new construction,” he reported. “The place is very professionally run.”

Within days, transcripts of the analysts’ appearances were circulated to senior White House and Pentagon officials, cited as evidence of progress in the battle for hearts and minds at home.

Are you kidding me?!

Assistant secretary of defense for public affairs Torie Clark, a former public relations executive, cooked up the plan. Before 9/11, she had begun to build a system within the Pentagon to recruit key movers and shakers that could be counted on to generate support for Secretary of State Don Rumsfield’s priorities. She found them in military analysts who she saw as not only getting more airtime than network reporters, but were also viewed by the public as independent of the media – which we all know can be biased, right?

What the public got, instead, was a neoconservative brain trust which spoonfed Pentagon and Bush administration talking points to the public while raking in increasingly larger salaries from military contractors that supplemented their retirement incomes.

Neocons such as retired Army general Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News military analyst from 2001 to 2007. Vallely had specialized in psychological warfare and co-authored a paper in 1980 that blamed American’s loss in Vietnam on American news organizations failure to defend the nations from “enemy propaganda” during the war – a belief shared by many on Bush’s national security team.

Then there were defense profiteers such as retired Army general James Marks, a military analyst for CNN from 2004 to 2007, who worked as a senior executive for McNeil Technologies which pursued both military and intelligence contracts. Marks was also national security adviser for former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

There was also retired Army colonel John C. Garret, a military analyst for Fox News TV and radio & a lobbyist at Patton Boggs, which assists firms wishing to win Pentagon contracts. Or retired Air Force general Joseph W. Ralston, CBS military analyst and vice-chair of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm headed up by former defense secretary William Cohen, which represents agencies and firms wishing for entry into the aerospace and defense market.

The Times admits to having had at least nine of the Pentagon’s recruited minions writing op-ed articles for them.

Vallely is apparently having some crisis of conscience. In an interview with the Times, commenting on a September 2003 tour of Iraq with fellow military analysts, Vallely expresses remorse: “I saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south.”

Vallely had told Alan Colmes of Fox News, upon his return from that very same propaganda-filled tour, “You can’t believe the progress”

Fox news military analyst and retired Army lieutenant colonel Timur J. Eads had a crisis-of-conscience too – he told the times that he, too, had at times held his tongue on television for fear that “some four-star would call up and say, ‘Kill that contract.’ Eads believe Pentagon officials misled the analysts aboutthe progress of Iraq’s security forces. “I know a snow job when I see one,” he said.

Eads never mentioned that on Fox News.

You don’t say!

The Times story goes on to shine the light, in full disgusting brightness, on the self-serving criminal arrogance of the Bush Administration and Don Rumsfield and the Pentagon. In April 2006 the Bush Administration faced what is now known as the General’s Revolt – open criticism by Rumsfields’ former generals that his wartime performance was crap. His resignation was being called for and his days were beginning their downward spiral.

The day after that NY Times article, the Pentagon helped Fox analysts General McInerney and General Vallely write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending Rumsfield. News of that meeting leaked, and was printed on the front page of the Times. By Tuesday, the Pentagon was in full defense mode, and had a larger group of analysts in its offices willing to propogate the spin necessary to help defend Rumsfield from his own Iraqi war generals:

“I’m an old intel guy,” said one analyst. (The transcript omits speakers’ names.) “And I can sum all of this up, unfortunately, with one word. That is Psyops. Now most people may hear that and they think, ‘Oh my God, they’re trying to brainwash.’ ”

“What are you, some kind of a nut?” Mr. Rumsfeld cut in, drawing laughter. “You don’t believe in the Constitution?”

There was little discussion about the actual criticism pouring forth from Mr. Rumsfeld’s former generals. Analysts argued that opposition to the war was rooted in perceptions fed by the news media, not reality. The administration’s overall war strategy, they counseled, was “brilliant” and “very successful.”

“Frankly,” one participant said, “from a military point of view, the penalty, 2,400 brave Americans whom we lost, 3,000 in an hour and 15 minutes, is relative.”

An analyst said at another point: “This is a wider war. And whether we have democracy in Iraq or not, it doesn’t mean a tinker’s damn if we end up with the result we want, which is a regime over there that’s not a threat to us.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, taking notes.

But winning or not, they bluntly warned, the administration was in grave political danger so long as most Americans viewed Iraq as a lost cause. “America hates a loser,” one analyst said.

Much of the session was devoted to ways that Mr. Rumsfeld could reverse the “political tide.” One analyst urged Mr. Rumsfeld to “just crush these people,” and assured him that “most of the gentlemen at the table” would enthusiastically support him if he did.

“You are the leader,” the analyst told Mr. Rumsfeld. “You are our guy.”

At another point, an analyst made a suggestion: “In one of your speeches you ought to say, ‘Everybody stop for a minute and imagine an Iraq ruled by Zarqawi.’ And then you just go down the list and say, ‘All right, we’ve got oil, money, sovereignty, access to the geographic center of gravity of the Middle East, blah, blah, blah.’ If you can just paint a mental picture for Joe America to say, ‘Oh my God, I can’t imagine a world like that.’ ”

Even as they assured Mr. Rumsfeld that they stood ready to help in this public relations offensive, the analysts sought guidance on what they should cite as the next “milestone” that would, as one analyst put it, “keep the American people focused on the idea that we’re moving forward to a positive end.” They placed particular emphasis on the growing confrontation with Iran.

“When you said ‘long war,’ you changed the psyche of the American people to expect this to be a generational event,” an analyst said. “And again, I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job…”

“Get in line,” Mr. Rumsfeld interjected.

The meeting ended and Mr. Rumsfeld, appearing pleased and relaxed, took the entire group into a small study and showed off treasured keepsakes from his life, several analysts recalled.

Read it if you dare. I’ll just leave you with the image above: Rumsfield, appearing pleased and relaxed, showing off his little trinkets.

by jhwygirl

The Jeanette Rankin Peace Center is hosting Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Trent and her latest documentary Soldiers Speak Out at the Roxy Theater tomorrow.

A wine and cheese reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and a Q&A with the filmmaker follows the screening. Suggested donation is $10 ($5 for those living lightly). RSVP at543-3955, or via email at peace@jrpc.org.

A half-hour documentary, Soldiers Speak Out is told entirely from the mouths of American veterans who have been to the Iraqi war and are now opposing it. They discuss how they came to join the military, their experiences in training and in war, and what led them to the point where they decided they could no longer, in good conscience, participate in the war or keep silent.

The film provides a sobering view of the war in Iraq, and sheds light on the growing and anti-war and anti-occupation movement within the military and their families.

On Thursday, Ms. Trent will be at UM’s UC Theater for a presentation of her feature-length award-winning documentary COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair. Two screening are being held, one at 5:30, and another at 7:30 p.m. Both will be followed by a Q&A session. COVERUP is one of eleven films being brought to UM as part of the Montana Peace & Justice Film Series for Spring 2008.

COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair exposes several of the most disturbing chapters in the history of U.S. covert foreign policy, and presents a tale of politics, drugs, hostages, weapons, assassinations, covert operations and the ultimate plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution.

Trent’s film was the first to reveal the ‘October Surprise’ hostage deal (the Reagan/Bush campaign deal with Iran to delay the release of the 52 American hostages until after the 1980 election), and is the only film that presents a comprehensive overview of the most important stories suppressed during the Iran Contra hearings.

Ms. Trent’s visit to Missoula is sponsored by Students for Peace and Justice, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center, Associated Students of the University Montana, Film Studies, the History and English Departments, Environmental Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies Program, Davidson Honors College, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the Empowerment Project, and provide locals and students alike with an excellent opportunity to see some power films and Q&A a seasoned activist who has publically exposed criminal activities in the White House, Pentagon and the CIA.

Barbara Trent has been the target of at least three FBI counter-intelligence operations. Appointed as an Expert Senior Training Specialist for the VISTA Program under Jimmy Carter, Ms. Trent has been decorated with the Gasper Octavio Hernandez Award by the Journalist’s Union in Panama, and is a recipient of the American Humanist Association’s Arts Award for her “courageous advocacy of progressive ideas.”

by Rebecca Schmitz

Bozeman’s Mayor Jeff Krauss wants us to win in Iraq. Conservatives on Missoula’s City Council feel it’s “wrong and disgusting” to discuss the war on Council’s time. With all the division in Bozeman and Missoula over our towns’ Iraq War resolutions, other American cities serve as a reminder that we’re not really all that radical. Take some of the citizens of Brattleboro, Vermont for example. In the words of Emeril Lagasse, they’re kickin’ it up a notch:

A group in Brattleboro is petitioning to put an item on a town meeting agenda in March that would make Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney subject to arrest and indictment if they visit the southeastern Vermont community.

The central argument of their opponents is the same as in our communities:

“I would not be supportive of it,” said Stephen Steidle, a member of the town’s Selectboard, which oversees its government. “It’s well outside of our ability. From my perspective, the Brattleboro Selectboard needs to focus on the town and the things that need to be done here.”

From my perspective, if we can’t get Congress or the Administration to listen to us, why shouldn’t we turn to our local politicians? Change has to start somewhere. However, as amusing as this petition is, I don’t think arresting Bush and Cheney will bring our nation together, let alone redirect our foreign policy. I doubt both men will ever find themselves in Brattleboro. Bush has yet to visit Vermont at all during his term in office. More importantly, our country is too dependent on fossil fuels to get our fingers out of the Middle East’s petroleum pie. For better or worse, we’ll be involved in their internal politics until all of us finally realize our national security depends on switching to other energy sources.

On the other hand, I won’t lie: it warms the cockles of my little black heart to imagine both of them handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car.

by jhwygirl

By a 3-2 vote, the Bozeman City Commission supported a resolution for a “orderly, rapidly and comprehensive” withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

More of Montana speaks.

by jhwygirl

Looks like Bozeman’s city council will consider a resolution calling for President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

The Bozeman Peace Seekers have been gathering signatures since November. The city council, in November before a packed meeting, voted 3-2 to consider the resolution.

Critics, like those in Missoula, say that city council has more pressing issues to attend to – like the new jail and fire station.

With today’s news of the Private Darren Smith’s death in Iraq, this former Bozeman resident believes nothing could be more appropriate.

by jhwygirl

Private Darren Smith, 19, of Helena, was killed in Iraq on Thursday of non-combat related injuries. The DoD has not released any additional information, but does say that his death is still under investigation.

Pvt. Smith is the 21st Montanan killed in Iraq (2 have also died in Afghanistan), and the 6th soldier from Helena.

Prayers and tears to Pvt. Darren Smith’s family and friends.

God Bless.




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