[Promoted from the Diaries by Meteor Blades.]
Mark it down. August 29, 2007. That’s the day the Pentagon announced it was done being responsible for Mr. Bush’s waste of lives, time, and money in Iraq. Tonight, the Defense Department has essentially told the President, "Thanks for the war, George, but it’s all you from here on out, buddy."
Via ThinkProgress this afternoon:
Despite Announcing His ‘Retirement,’ General Who Oversaw Walter Reed Scandal Still Serving In Army
On March 12, the Pentagon announced that Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who oversaw neglect at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was resigning, effective immediately. NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported that it was "very likely" Kiley "would be reduced in retirement, at least one rank" and "be forced to retire at that two-star level."
In order to retire as a three-star general, Kiley would have had to do at least three years of active-duty service in that grade. The higher the grade, the greater the retirement pay and benefits a general receives.
Kiley was appointed Army Surgeon General on Sept. 30, 2004. Therefore, as Miklaszewski noted, he retired before serving out his three-year term at the three-star level.
But ThinkProgress has learned that Kiley is still serving at the Pentagon, despite announcing his "retirement" in March.
I wouldn’t think a fine upstanding public servant like Ari Fleischer would be capable of lying to the American people, so I guess he must just be confused.
Beginning today, Freedom’s Watch, a new right-wing front group for the White House, "will unveil a month-long, $15 million television, radio and grass-roots campaign" to pressure Congress to continue supporting President Bush’s disastrous Iraq strategy. The group, which is "funded by high-profile Republicans who were aides and supporters of President Bush," is headed by a familiar face from the Bush war effort: former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.
This is a big deal—whether you think this shows renewed signs of life on the part of the Republican Party, or whether you view it as a sign of desperation. Either way, this is a huge ad buy—and this is going to be all over the media in the coming days.
Some time ago, I wrote an article called "The Young Chickenhawks." In it, I profiled a number of loud-mouthed, well known warmongers—all of whom were still young enough to enlist, but still too afraid to go fight. Today, we’re going to take a look at some other prominent Iraq War-supporters—but this time we’re going to focus on the under-30 crowd. For me, this is the most entertaining type of chickenhawk—because the younger the chickenhawk is, the more hilarious the excuses for not serving become.
You may be familiar with a couple of them, and two of them you may not know. But either way, you should find this fascinating—and you should continue finding ways to heap scorn on these cowards.
Today 175 Iraqi civilians were killed and 200 more were wounded when suicide bombers struck in Qahataniya, a town in extreme northwestern Iraq. It was the third deadliest coordinated attack on Iraqi civilians since the war in Iraq began.
On MSNBC’s Hardball, Jim Miklaszewski had this to say in response to the attack:
These bombings occurred in an area we hadn’t really heard much about until today.
Really? No shit.
(Promoted from the Diaries by Meteor Blades)
Author’s note: Both Michelle Malkin and Matt Drudge are still young enough to enlist in the military. As such strident war supporters, it’s anyone’s guess as to why neither of them has yet felt the need to pick up a gun and help out, while other troops—some under the age of 25—are beginning their fifth and sixth deployments. With morale plummeting over the war, the military is in desperate need of the type of motivated troopers I’m sure both Malkin and Drudge would make.
On Friday morning Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org moderated a YearlyKos panel called The Military and Progressives: Are They That Different? I was on the panel with Jon, along with General Wesley Clark, Iraq veterans Jonathan Powers and Josh Lansdale, and author Ilona Meagher. The panel went fine. However, at the end, there was some drama. Tempers flared between Soltz and a questioner in a military uniform, and the right-wing Pajamas Media reporter in the room began falling all over himself to film it—thinking that he had just scored a "macaca" moment for the Right.
This is how it happens: A desperate Republican goes to Iraq looking for something—anything—to justify the continuing presence of American troops there. The Republican stays for a week (give or take), and then returns home as if he or she were Moses coming back from Mount Sinai, carrying to the American people stone tablets engraved with The Ultimate Truth About Iraq.
And of course, this Ultimate Truth About Iraq is learned by the Republican in the chow hall, on the secure base, with the hand-picked soldiers sitting at the table.
This is what Senator Jim Webb rightly called the "dog and pony show." For those who don’t know, that’s an old military expression used to describe how troops are often forced to put on a "show" for visiting politicians or VIPs to convey just how swell everything is going on the front lines.
Politicians or VIPs who’ve served in a combat zone know this. Sadly, the rest visit the troops in a state of blissful ignorance.
Max Blumenthal of The Nation is my new hero. In fact, anyone who exposes College Republicans as smarmy warmongers who mysteriously can’t enlist because of "asthma" or "bad knees," is my hero. But Blumenthal has taken it to a new level with a video he produced and released yesterday on Huffington Post.
The video depicts his covert infiltration of the recent College Republican convention in Arlington, Virginia. In it, he goes around engaging College Republicans about the War on Terror. He first has them explain why it’s so important to fight, before going on to ask them why they’re not serving overseas themselves.
I've been on Capitol Hill with VoteVets since this afternoon. I'm using a computer I borrowed from Faiz of Think Progress. It's after 2:00 AM here on the east coast, and I'm smoked. But we're still here, and I thought I'd take this time to pass on a few of the highlights from this long day.
So in no particular order, here they are:
Frederick Kagan, AEI’s fraudulent "military expert" testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs today during a hearing entitled Iraq: Is the Escalation Working? Retired Major General John Batiste, an active member of VoteVets.org, joined him. As most of you know, Batiste commanded the Army’s 1st Infantry Division during the battle for Fallujah in 2004.
During the hearing, Kagan, one of America’s Young Chickenhawks, had the nerve to tell General Batiste that he, Frederick Kagan, knew more about military strategy in Iraq than did the general.
Kagan’s remarks were insulting and, for the most part, pretty outrageous. Unfortunately, most mainstream media outlets failed to take notice.
If families weren’t being torn apart and people weren’t being killed, this galactic level of incompetence on the part of the Bush administration would be slightly funny. As it stands, however, this is pretty serious. Anne Flaherty of the AP reported this afternoon that,
The Army is considering whether it will have to extend the combat tours of troops in Iraq if President Bush opts to maintain the recent buildup of forces through spring 2008.
Nice. Of course, this would be an extension to the already excessive 15-month deployments the Army is already being forced to endure. Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren told the Senate today that he was continuing, "to look into our options."
If Secretary Geren, with the tacit approval of the President, extends soldiers past 15 months later this year, I expect Army generals to resign en masse in protest. If they do not, they are cowards.
Nobody wants to talk about this in the media, but it’s true: The Army hates the Bush administration, and the Bush administration hates the Army.
This is all started when the White House ordered the Army to fight a war that wasn’t necessary. And if you’ve been in the military, or know those who have, you know that this is the cardinal sin in the sometimes rocky, but always balanced relationship between the military and its civilian principals. In essence, it’s the basis of trust between the military and the civilians who control it: You don’t send us to fight when it isn’t necessary, and we’ll do whatever else you want.
While most people would see this as pretty fair, President Bush doesn’t. He wants a military that doesn’t ask for as much. That’s why his administration has begun purging the military’s top ranks of Army officers.