A decision to call former marines back to active duty reflects deepening strains on the US military amid spiralling violence in Iraq, a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan and tensions with Iran, analysts said.
The US Marine Corps disclosed this week that it has been authorized to call up as many as 2,500 marines at a time from its inactive reserves to fill shortfalls in the elite force.
"It's no secret that we're very busy," said Brigadier General Michael Barbero, the deputy director of operations for the Joint Staff.
The marines have relied on reservists to volunteer for active duty when they had gaps to fill and have only rarely resorted to involuntary call-ups in the past, most recently during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Barbero said the number of volunteers has fallen off over the past two years while demands on the marines, which with the army have carried the burden of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, have increased.
that's the opening of afp's 'Marines Call-up Reflects Deepening Strains on US Military.' kat's already posted tonight but she called (and it's not 'tonight' yet in her area though it's close to ten in mine) to ask if i'd heard about a story. i hadn't. she heard it on the kpfa evening news today and i looked for something online in print. (if you prefer audio and missed the kpfa evening news, check it out. i would but it's on right now and won't be available until 15 minutes after 10. i'm tired and wanting to post.) so the ap has a story on it (and the story is at yahoo so if you're trying to find it a few weeks after this posts, cry to some 1 else or listen to the audio at the kpfa evening news for more on the story.)
the army's going to be reviewing fatalities. pat tilman is a famous case but a lot of families have been told 1 story only to learn later that what the military told them wasn't true.
so i think about that, i think about the call-up, the back door draft that's been going on for some time - where at the end of your tour, you're suddenly told, 'guess what, you're not leaving.' and it's no surprise that the military can't meet quotas or that, with 2 wars raging and iran on the horizon, bully boy can't get enough troops to fight all the wars that he hopes will somehow, someway turn him into a 'real man.'
he probably carries a lot of guilt now over his decision to skip out on his national guard duty. maybe even realizes, as he struts like a war hawk, that if that's what he thinks (that human lives should be sacrificed for foolish leaders) his butt should have been over vietnam during that war.
he can keep starting wars. it won't make him a 'real man.' it won't erase the memories of big babs kicking off her shoes to hop out on the field and cheerlead with him (he was a cheerleader during prep school and there's nothing wrong with male cheerleaders but if you're a man trying to prove your manhood it's an obvious minus - if mommy joins you to cheer, it's even worse).
he's the boy who never amounted to anything.
he couldn't cut it in the business world. he could never stand alone and be a success and would have gone under (and possibly to jail - hello, harken) if daddy's friends hadn't bailed him out over and over.
daddy's friends on the supreme court handed him the oval office after he couldn't win an election. and installed in the white house, he's ruined everything he touched. he is the eternal peter pan and all the lives he sacrifices won't give him maturity or manhood.
you know what i'd love to see? carolyn ho asking big babs why her son should go to war when bully boy didn't. carolyn ho is ehren watada's mother.
last week wally did 'THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY HAS SOME TIPS FOR EHREN WATADA!' and cedric did 'Bully Boy offers Ehren Watada some tips (humor)' (joint post) and that really is the difference between an adult and a child. an adult acts on their own.
ehren watada acted on his own. he made the decision not to go to iraq and he stood up. adult actions. jeremy hinzman made the decision not to go and he went to canada. adult actions. a little child, a boy in this case, runs to daddy and says 'daddy, i's scared, save your little boy' and daddy makes a few calls and the little prince leaps ahead of other applicants and ends up in the so-called champaegn unit avoiding serving while his country is at war but never having to take a stand against the war thanks to the easy out.
adults stand up. children hide.
bully boy is probably wonderful at hide-n-seek but that's not really what we look for in a leader. we saw the hide-n-seek with katrina. 'look, there's the bully boy! oh wait, where'd he go?' we've seen it with every issue and we'll see it a lot more now that the sheen is off and he realizes what a laughing stock he is. (i would love it if he'd play dress up again just so the nation could laugh.)
here's what i find most distasteful about the bully boy's personality: he is in this huge competition with his father. it was bad enough when, drunk off his ass and running over trash cans, he confronts with his father with a 'mano y mano' threat. but that was drunk and, though not a teenager or really a young adult, many years ago. that he still does that now, that he still has to compete with the man who saved his ass repeately is just ingratitude personified.
you'd think he'd be kissing his father's ass because the little baby wouldn't have made it the last decades without daddy. but instead, now he wants to prove he's better than his father. (this isn't a defense of poppy.) and the reality is he can't because he's done nothing with his life.
he can't speak english well despite an education at the supposed best facilities in the country. he got there because of daddy (and granddaddy). every opportunity meant the little coward looked for the easy way out instead of attempting to make something of himself. he wants to proclaim himself better, he just doesn't want to do the work.
he's a failure on every level. his father (whom i don't like or agree with) can point to things and take pride in them. (i'd be ashamed if they were my accomplishments.) he actually did them. bully boy?
he lets dick cheney run the show so he can get in his work outs and his early bed time and his nap and ...
he's a child. he's the peter pan syndrome occupying the white house.
people keep thinking they can appeal to his better nature. this is the boy who had access to education facilities that people work their butts off to get into and he couldn't even be bothered with learning anything. (and he bickered with his economics professor because, he thought, poor people were poor because they didn't want to work. were that what made some 1 poor, bully boy would have been government welfare his entire life. instead, he got by on social welfare.)
there is no better nature. that's why he couldn't meet with cindy sheehan. an adult could have. hillary clinton (whom i detest) did meet with sheehan. she blew smoke up cindy's ass, but she could go face to face with her because, whatever her faults, hillary clinton is an adult. she could probably even relate a tiny bit (despite being a war hawk) with sheehan. not just because they were both parents but also because they both had a drive. cindy's drive right now is ending the war and hillary didn't coast through college, she worked very hard.
but bully boy? he has to run from cindy sheehan. he has to avoid her because, face to face with cindy sheehan, he's revealed as the scared little boy he is.
he's spent his life running from self-reality. though he should be tried for war crimes, i take comfort in the fact that he'll have his own daily hell once he leaves the white house and grasps how little any 1 cares about him. they won't. this is no jimmy carter. this isn't any 1 who will do public service. he'll sit around his ranchette and tell stories about the time dick decided to do this or condi said do that or ... and even any syncophants a weakling like him manages to attract after he's out of the white house will have to think, 'you really didn't do anything, did you?'
and he'll have to face that on some level as well. though he played dress up, in middle age, he'll have to accept the fact that his life was a wretched failure because he never accomplished anything.
here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Thursday, August 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, John Abizaid must be drinking something stronger than cough syrup, Ehren Watada's father Bob continues speaking out to raise awareness about his son, a British military flack plays word games, Operation Happy Talk launches a new wave and reality (as is so often the case) crashes into the propaganda.
The BBC sums up the reality this way: "At least 12 Iraqis and three US soldiers have died in bombings and gun attacks across Iraq in the last 24 hours, officials say." As Elena Becatoros (Associated Press) notes: "The killings came despite assurances from U.S. officials that progress was being made to improve security in the capital."
We'll start with the violence and chaos.
Elena Beatoros (AP) notes that a US soldier died today "when his vehicle was hit by a a roadside bomb south of Baghdad." Reuters notes three car bombs and two roadside bombs today in Baghdad have taken at least four lives and left 24 injured. The AP notes that three police officers were killed in Baquba (minivan bomb) that left another wounded and, on the edges of Baquba, a roadside bomb claimed the lives of three Iraqi soldiers.
A US soldier was killed on Wednesday (one of the three noted at the beginning) in what the BBC describes as "small-arms fire" to the south of Baghdad. Also dying on Wednesday from gunfire (and not included in yesterday's snapshot -- it wasn't reported then) were three police officers in Balad. Reuters reports seven who had been shot dead were taken to a hospital in Mosul and that three police officers were shot dead in Balad (those six are today, yesterday three police officers were shot dead in Balad).
Elena Becatoros (AP) notes that a US soldier was shot dead in Baghdad today while on a patrol.
Reuters reports a corpse discovered in Suwayra ("handcuffed . . . gunshot wounds"); one discovered near Latifiya ("handcuffed, blindfolded . . . gunshot wounds"), a third discovered in Tikrit; a fourth discovered Baiji (this was the body that went with an earlier discovered severed head) and three more ("handuffed . . . gunshot wounds") were discovered in Baghdad.
And in the face of the above, General John Abizaid launched a wave of Operation Happy Talk that out does the strongest happy talker. (Okay, maybe not Dexy Filkins.) "I think there has been great progress on the security front in Baghdad recently," declared Abizaid. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and puppet of the occupation, knew Happy Talk wasn't enough. Instead, AFP reports, he "has banned television channels from broadcasting gory images of daily bloodshed in the country". Keep it off the TV screens, the thinking seems to go, and Iraqis will forget that they're occupied. This 'policy' seems to invite government censorship as someone has to determine what will "arouse passions and sectarian feelings". All this time after Paul Bremer had a hissy fit over an editorial cartoon, the press is still the occupation's first target.
Meanwhile British troops of the Soldiers of the Queen's Royal Hussars are . . . on the move. Ross Colvin (Reuters) reports a lot of talk about how they're 'stripped-down' and mobile (in Landrovers) but the reality is that they're also homeless -- they've "abandoned their base in Iraq's southern Maysan province on Thursday". Though the base was under "nightly attack" and though it has, indeed, been abandoned, British flack Charlie Burbridge disagrees that "the British had been forced out of Amara".
Meanwhile, in the United States, Ehren Watada's father Bob continues his efforts to get the word out on his son, the first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Momo Chang (Oakland Tribune) quotes Bob Watada saying: "Ehren is not doing this for himself. He is doing this for every American who believes in democracy and the Constitution. . . . And I am very proud of him." NBC11 reports Bob Watada, speaking in San Jose, saying, "My son is very strong. He's going to -- even if there's a court-martial, he's going to go to jail instead of killing innocent Iraqis -- that's the real tragedy here."
Chang notes that Bob Watada will have taken part in 25 speaking engagements during his brief time in the San Francisco Bay Area and that Sarah Olson (one of two journalists the governments wants as witnesses against Ehren Watada should a court-martial be scheduled) has stated, "It's not my job as a journalist to help the Army prosecute Lt. Watada."
Bob Watada continues to speak out and here are some of the upcoming events:
7pm Reception & Educational Event Newman Center, 5900 Newman Ct.,
Sacramento Contact: Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action 916-448-7157
No. Cal. Japanese Christian Theological Forum Berkeley Methodist United Church- chapel 1710 Carleton St/McGee in Berkeley Contact: Laura Takeuchi 510-848-3614
"Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070
Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239
4-6pm Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119
A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found here.
Remember: Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use email@example.com to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org. will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
Ehren Watada is only one resister. Yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein spoke with war resister Carl Webb who has repeatedly refused to serve in the Iraq war. As noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Webb recieved a letter saying that he was released from the Texas National Guard but, as Jeff Mackler pointed out, Webb also got a second letter saying that "they were reassinging him to the pool for the people who could be drafted." ("Drafted" refers to the stop-loss/backdoor draft program. Those new to this topic can refer to Scott Cannon and Rick Montgomery's "Back-Door Draft Shakes The Military" from the Kansas City Star.)
Replying to a question from Bernstein as to whether or not he had any regrets, Webb replied, "No, I have no regrets at all" and noted the importance of raising awareness about the GI resistance and getting the word out on "how much GI resistance there is in the military because that's why I'm here, to tell my fellow soldiers that they don't have to obey orders, that they have to refuse by any means necessary."
Webb discussed the story of his refusal to serve in an illegal war and noted, "I'm here hoping to be an example not only to do those being called up but to anyone in the military". Webb will be speaking this Saturday in San Francisco:
Aug. 26 7:30 pm
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia St.
Jeff Mackler is running for the US Senate out of California the seat currently occupied by War Hawk Dianne Feinstein. Yesterday, on The KPFA Evening News, Feinstein revealed that she'd come to the conclusion intelligence was misused and abused to lead us into war. Three years and a primary challenger was all it took. Possibly in three more years she may be able to note the illegal nature of the war as well.
[Rebecca noted Bernstein's interview with Carl Webb yesterday.]
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad continues. The lead in the reports is about a big, teary performance delivered by a witness -- Brigadier Paul Symon. The AAP tells you Symon is "Australia's former commander in Iraq" and that he "says he will take responsiblity for the bungled return of Private Jake Kovco's body" and he did so, according to the AAP, via "emotional evidence". Australia's ABC informs that poor Symon "was reduced to tears". If some felt it was performance akin to the one Patrick Walters reported on March 9th of this year (where Symon announced to the world that the corner had been turned and that troops were 'turning the tables') it may go to the fact that he blew his credibility in the eyes of some a long time ago. It may also have to do with the excessive coverage his dramatics overshadow a genuine response by the family of Jake Kovco.
But let's back up, for those who've forgotten or are late to the discussion, Jake Kovco didn't make it back to Australia as planned. Instead, Juso Sinanovic was sent to Austrlia -- a problem since he should have been sent to Bosnia (Sinanovic died on April 17th). As Elizabeth Jackson reported on AM (Australia's ABC), April 27th: "The Body of an Australian soldier killed in a shooting accident last week in Baghdad has been accidentally left behind in Kuwait. Privated Jake Kovco's body was due to arrive in Melbourne late last night on a flight from Kuwait. But it didn't." Jackson interviewed Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) who declared that Kovco "was at all times appropriately identified by the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Army" which we now know, one of the few things the inquiry has established, that's not true.
In terms of Paul Symon, he was the commander when Kovco died. He was reponsible. That he broke down in tears after reading "a statement he had written to his superiors on April 27, explaining how the wrong body was sent back to Australia" says little about his compassion for Jake Kovco (it can be argued he had none, hold on for that), it has to do with the public humilitation of having to publicly have all eyes on him while he read his "Oops" in public.
The delicate flower was weeping for himself. After cry baby dried up his tears, he resumed testifying and went on to refer to Jake Kovco, as Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports (and one of the few to lead with this), as "a piece of cargo." This caused a genuine objection from Judy Kovco (as opposed to the earlier theatrics from Symon) who shouted, "He's not a piece of cargo. Don't you dare. He was my son."
Now remember, this was the grown man who broke down in tears when he had to read his "Oops" to the hearing. That wasn't about Kovco, the tears. That was about the humilitation of having to own up to mistakes under his command. Demonstrating this point further is Symon's response to Judy Kovco which was to describe his reference to Jake Kovco as "a piece of cargo" as being "not well chosen."
Tara Ravens (News.com) reports on his "Oops" he read to the hearing: "If mistakes are found to be made . . . I accept responsibility for those mistakes. If mistakes have been made outside . . . I would expect their senior management to accept responsiblity in exactly the same manner. After all, someone has to take responsiblity for this dreadful mistake." Yes, someone does. And despite the April 27 "Oops" where he spoke of "responsibility" it's still not happening. The AAP notes that, at the hearing, while doing his responsiblity 'talk,' he "implored the federal government to adopt better repatriation policies." Blah, blah, blah, "human emotions" are messy (this is a summary of Symon's supposed acceptance of responsibility) and we need "technical solutions" blah blah blah. Referring to the body of Jake Kovco (the first Australian on the ground death in the current war) as "we have here a piece of cargo" doesn't indicate that Symon's lost in "human emotions."
The inquiry also addressed the movement of Kovco's body. Again, Symon says it wasn't his fault. Symon states: "When the advice came not to move the body, it had already been moved so I could not turn the clock back".
Yesterday, Soldier 47 gave testimony stating that he had "instructed authorities in Baghdad not to move the body" -- before leaving for Baghdad "immediately." Though Symon congratulated himself for "common sense and good judgement," there's no indication that he applied either. Tracy Ong reports: "Brigadier Symon said a request from military policy in Syndey that Kovco's body remain in Baghdad came after it had been moved to the US morgue at the airport at the request of medical staff. He said he thought he was helping military police by having the body moved to the evacuation point in Kuwait where they could see it sooner." The evacuation point refers to the private morgue -- soldiers have testified that if the US morgue had been used, the mix up wouldn't have happened and they've criticized what they saw as the cheapness in the decision. Ong notes Anzac Day and Symon denies that there was a rush to get Kovco home in time for that holiday while admitting "I could see a certain poignancy in a good soldier being returned to the nation on Anzac Day."
Anzac Day is April 25th. It's a national holiday in Australia, a day of memorial beginning in the 1920s and furthered by the human costs of WWII (it became an official holiday in 1916 to mark the actions of the newly independent Australia in WWI). A certain poignancy in Jake Kovco being returned to Australia on that day?
Does Symon mean poignancy or does he mean PR?
Possibly the remark underscores the PR hopes of Symon who's had his hand in selling and shelling an illegal war. The hopes of a PR coup (remember, the month prior Symon was -- falsely -- telling reporters a corner had been turned) may be the what added further stress to an already difficult mourning for Jake Kovco's family and friends.
cedrics big mix
jacob bruce kovco
gold star families for peace
sex and politics and screeds and attitude
the third estate sunday review