Northern Valley Beacon

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Friday, November 10, 2006


Honor our military. Stop killing them.

As a veteran, I can attest that nothing is more infuriating than people who mouth all the platitudes about honoring our troops, and then support actions which designate them as expendable and disposable. For this Veterans Day, it would be nice to see our troops honored as something other than cannon fodder.

Today, a veteran from the Iraq debacle was interviewed on CNN because he was self-employed and while he was serving his country, his business was damaged and he returned to a $100,000 debt. When asked if he would go back to Iraq, he said yes. Anything positive he could do to help keep his comrades in arms alive, he would do. His statement expresses the deep sorrow and regret over the loss of lives, especially when those losses cannot be justified on the basis of our country's security and lifting the weight of oppression off of a people who want to be free.

While the pussies among us are whining and prattling over "bi-partisan" possibilities with the Democratic congress which will take power in January, the real political battle is shaping up. Six months before our invasion of Iraq, many people, including incoming Sen. Webb from Virginia, were warning of the false premise of the invasion and the terrorism and violence it would inspire. Webb is a Viet Nam veteran and was Secretary of the Navy under Reagan. He ain't no pussy.

A journalist who has also warned about the false premise and utter foolery of the war on Iraq is Joseph Galloway. He wrote, "We were Soldiers, and Young," which was made into a film. No one's voice has spoken out against the waste and tragedy of lives taken by unwarranted, poorly planned and executed military action like he has.

In honor of veterans, it is fitting to reprint in its entirety his column from today's newspapers. It lists the way we can honor our soldiers and our veterans and set this nation on the right course.

Posted on Fri, Nov. 10, 2006

New Congress needs revised defense 'to do' list

Better late than never.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is gone, but there's little time for celebration, even for those of us who long ago began calling for his removal. The damage that men do lives after them, and it's time at last for an accounting. The nation's voters have spoken, and it's reasonable to expect that the Congress finally will begin to exercise some oversight of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after five years of serving as rubber stamp and doormats.

Can you spell "subpoena"?

For the Democrats who will soon take charge of the House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate, too, here's a preliminary laundry list of some of the things that need doing:

• A comprehensive investigation of the pre-war intelligence on Iraq and how it was perverted, how the mine was salted, and by whom.

• A thorough investigation of what pre-war advice was offered by senior American military commanders on troop strength, equipment requirements and strategy and tactics. Did even one general ignore the bullying from on high and ask for more troops, and how did Rumsfeld respond?

• Why did the Pentagon send American troops into battle without enough armored vests, armored vehicles, rifles, ammunition, food and water? Who's responsible for that debacle, which cost so much in blood and money?

• Where did our money go? Billions of dollars of taxpayer money disappeared down various rat holes in Iraq, forked over to contractors without even so much as a handwritten receipt. Who got the money? What did they do for it?

• What about those no-bid Defense Department contracts that were parceled out to the Halliburtons and KBRs and Blackwaters in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other more costly weapons and equipment contracts that went to big defense industry conglomerates accustomed to writing very generous checks to the Republicans?

• Why did an administration that was hell-bent on going to war, with the inevitable and terrible human casualties among our troops, consistently under-fund the Veterans Administration, which is charged with caring for our wounded and disabled?

• What's been the effect of the grotesque politicization of the selection and promotion system for senior military commanders by the office of the secretary of defense?

• Who at the top bears responsibility for the torture and mistreatment of prisoners and detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and the Guantanamo detention camp? A score of Pentagon investigations got to the bottom of the chain of command but declared that the top, in Rumsfeld's office and the White House, was innocent.

• Who's responsible for breaking our understrength Army and Marine Corps with endless combat duty tours in Iraq and Afghanistan? Who stubbornly refused even to consider the inevitable consequences of an Army so tied down trying to man these wars that it no longer could react to an emergency anywhere else in a dangerous world?

Simply put, the jig is up. President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld have come to the end of their free ride. No longer can they act without thought or ignore the boundaries of the Constitution, the law and common sense.
Did they really think they could get away with all of this without ever being called to answer to history and the American people?

They all deserve what's about to descend on their heads. They deserve every subpoena. They deserve every indictment. Most of all, they deserve a reserved place atop the ash heap of history.

Joseph L. Galloway is a columnist for McClatchy Tribune Information Services. His column appears most Fridays. Readers may write to him at: P.O. Box 399, Bayside, Texas 78340; e-mail:

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