Thursday, June 30, 2005

War? No Way!

I figured it was only a matter of time before those who opposed the war would take the blame for the recruiting shortage. Now a number of Republican senators are blaming the media and other lawmakers for the fact the armed forces aren't meeting their recruitment numbers. It is, they say, because of the "negative media out there," according to Senator Inhofe. Inhofe went on to add that other senator's criticism of the war has contributed to the propoganda of our enemies.

It's the old, "If you ain't with us, you're against us," diatribe.

If I'd been born male, I would have been in Vietnam as my number was pulled. That's always given me much thought. But for a small chromosonal change, I could have been wading hip deep in the rice paddies trying to kill Charlie.

War is a brutish, ugly hell that either kills you or scars you for life. Some wars are necessary, some aren't. Iraq is an unnecessary war costing us valuable men and women, crippling our economy and teaching our foes how best to kill us. Iraq is now an incubator for terrorists and we're paying for the training, just as they learned from the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Perhaps the reason the enlistment numbers are down is because people don't believe it's worth sacrificing their kids in the sands of Iraq. Maybe it's because they see this isn't making us safer, isn't what we should be doing at this critical juncture in American history.

The lack of keen recruits willing to expose their bodies to IED's in Iraq is not because of negative media or subversion lawmakers. It's because people are wising up and saying, "No way."

I'm willing to make a prediction, one that will probably come back to haunt me. If an attack occurs on US soil, the enlistment numbers will rise again. Why hasn't there been an attack? Partly because of our law enforcement folks and partly because I believe the bad guys know not to go there, at least until Iraq is settled. They have the better edge right now. So if an attack occurs, keep an eye on the dynamics of the moment. A true cynic would say that an attack would benefit us more than them...

Bring the troops home, folks, as soon as humanly possible. We're losing too many good people and ruining too many lives.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Invoking the "I" Word

"I" as in impeachment. It is an impeachable offense to lie to Congress. A couple former presidents have stumbled over that law in the past. And now the buzz surrounds our current president and whether he misled Congress in to a war based on falsehood.

The fact that there is a call to have hearings regarding the 'Downing Street Memos' by both congress, and by the public, is heartening. When military families get involved (many of which who have lost sons and daughters in the conflict) then matters are becoming serious.

If the decision to go to war was made lightly and under false pretenses (and I believe it was) and the public and our elected representatives were deliberately misled, then heads should roll. America is strong enough to handle that. We survived Nixon's scandal and that didn't involve body count. This war has bred the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, damaging our image as a fair and humane country. It has served as the ultimate recruiting poster for Bin Laden and his ilk. It has tumbled over the hive, sending a torrent of enraged bees swarming throughout the world. If we were sent into that war based on a lie, we need to know that and insure that sort of travesty never happens again. Too many soldiers and Iraqis have died to hide the truth.

I recently read an article that made a number of things very clear to me. Unfortuntately it received little notice when it was published last October. The article discusses Mr. Bush's biographer and what the president told him during their interviews in 1999. The biographer, Mickey Herskowitz, was eventually replaced as the prez's handlers didn't feel he was shading the book in a way that made Mr. Bush look good.

From the article:
"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade·.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker."

If you're up for more, the link is below. It's worth the read if nothing more than to send a cold shiver up your spine.

Do I believe this? Actually, I do in light of other unrelated incidents involving Mr. Bush. When the word came that our forces were moving into Iraq, according to reporters present, the president pumped his hands in the air and cheered. It so unnerved the reporters given the solemnity of the moment, they didn't tell the public, feeling it was highly inappropirate as our soldiers would be dying in battle. I can't imagine Lincoln or even Bush I being so callous. But then, according to Rev. Pat Robertson, Bush II honestly believed there wouldn't be any casualties in the war. That is indicative of a man who is dangerously out of touch, solely focused on his own agenda.

In another blog down the line I'll chat about the conspiracy theories around 9/11, including the one that believes that certain key members of our government knew about the terrorists plans before that day and chose not to intervene. When the terrorists got 'lucky' and the towers fell, the imagery was even more graphic. Now even I don't want to contemplate that a president of the United States would allow such a horrific thing to happen solely to insure his presidency was a raving success. Is it impossible? No. Johnson made sure to engineer the Gulf of Tonkin incident to get us into Vietnam. It's been done before. I just hope 9/11 wasn't one of them.

That sort of revelation would do incalculable damage to our trust as a nation. I prefer to think that fate handed Mr. Bush a moment of glory and he milked it. Yet, he should be careful. Those who claim they want to create a legacy invariably do, but not in the way they intend.

For further info on the Downing Street Memos and how the Brits saw the Iraqi disaster coming and that Washington wasn't listening, please visit:

Monday, June 13, 2005

Losers? I think Not....

According to an interview with Newsweek, Paris Hilton plans on hanging up her 'career' in a couple of years for motherhood and the quiet life. To be honest, that's not soon enough for me. Paris (and her ilk) are a constant embarassment and the sooner she's out of the limelight, the better. (And no, the cynic in me doesn't believe she'll just melt away.)

But I digress...

From the Newsweek article due out on June 20th (and according to

"I don't enjoy going out anymore... It's such a pain. It's everyone saying, 'Let's do a deal! Can I have a picture?' I'm just, like, 'These people are such losers. I can't believe I used to love doing this.' " she is quoted as saying.

Losers? Oh, honey, where do I start? Are you truly that clueless or is that just P.R.? You're sitting on a pile of cash you didn't earn and don't use for the common good and you think other folks are losers? Sigh...

And now on to my rant. I don't do these very often, but certain spoiled types have been chafing my behind for a very long time. Being rich and famous comes with responsibility. Bill Gates & spouse understand that, even if you can't stand his software. Paul Newman gets it. George Soros gets it. So why not Paris and Britney and J.Lo? Another recent example; Jennifer just rec'd a cool $1 million dollar engagement ring from her hubby even though they've been married a year. Romantic? Yes. Socially responsible? Not close.

What I want to see is a celeb who takes that $1 million and donates it (anonymously) to food pantries, endows an inner city school or underwrites the budget of a homeless shelter for a year. Then you'll have my respect. Oprah frequently whips out her check book and helps out. That's what money and fame are for, folks.

Is this sour grapes? Not at all. The gap between wealthy and poor is widening, the food pantries and homeless shelters are pushed to the max. If the rich set the standard, others will follow.

Clunk... off my soapbox. And now back to the writing while wishing Paris' two years will seem like 2 days...

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Agony & The Ecstasy of Words

Most folks, at least those who aren't writers, believe an author's life to be pretty exciting. You drop a few words into the computer, send them to the Big Apple and lo, you're sitting next to Mr. Cruise on Oprah comparing notes about pharmecuticals. Alas, it's pretty much not that way. The average writer has two jobs; the one that pays the bills and keeps them from eating the household pets and the other one; writing. If you're really fortunate, the latter will generate enough cash to pay for the paper and ink cartridges you will blow through in a year.

At present I'm enjoying the aforementioned Agony & Ecstasy of mushing verbs around the page. Three projects are in the works, two of which have a contract attached to them so there are deadlines to be made. Project #3 is in quest of another contract. It's been a particularly remarkable year for this author, to say the least.

But now I have to deliver. Previously self-published, I wrote for my husband's company and set my own deadlines. Now those due dates are set by someone else, for the most part. Welcome to the real world. I also see the work more as a job now than before. The actual work hasn't changed, only my perception of it. Since I have a high boredom factor, change is good. Writing a new story is like a new love affair. Thrilling at first, but eventually you decide it's done and let your beau go and begin the hunt for another frog prince to flirt with.

The struggle is to constantly better your prose, find the perfect word for the sentence, create a scene that leaves your reader breathless. T'aint easy, folks. But then bending steel and racing into burning buildings isn't either.

That's my job. Some days the words are magical, some days they are moldy and stale. I call it 'pushing the boulder up the hill.' Fortunately, the view at the top makes it all worth it.