Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trickle Down Truth, Drip, Drip, Drip; Someone’s Going To Drown: Bush Or The Nation?

Trickle Down Truth, Drip, Drip, Drip; Someone’s Going To Drown: Bush Or The Nation?



This Is Precisely The Infiltration Of Progressive Organizations I Have Written Of Time And Again.  Be A Real Advocate And Will At Least Make The List.  Be A Real Advocate And There Will Be A Knock On Your Door.  I Know!


DHS Spies On Maryland Peace Activists: It's Worse Than We Thought

By Jesselyn Radack

Today's WaPo has an article opaquely titled "Federal Agency Aided Md. Spying" it's worse than originally reported. Initial reports were that Maryland police classified nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names into state and federal terrorist watch lists for opposing the death penalty and Iraq war. But it's the other way around: DHS spied on peaceful protest groups and gave the information to state police.


Federal Agency Aided Md. Spying

Homeland Security Dept. Gave Information to State Police

By Lisa Rein

Washington Post Staff Writer 
Tuesday, February 17, 2009; Page B01



The U.S. Department of Homeland Security tracked the protest plans of a peaceful Washington area antiwar group and passed the information to the Maryland State Police, which had previously labeled the activists as terrorists in an intelligence file.


The federal agency obtained two e-mails containing plans for upcoming demonstrations at a military recruiting center in Silver Spring in 2005, the first indication that DHS might have worked with the police to monitor advocacy groups. The notification by DHS appears in a state police file on the DC Anti-War Network, or DAWN, provided to The Washington Post under the Public Information Act.


The file is one of five created by the state police on the antiwar group in 2005 and 2006. Along with 53 individuals and about two dozen other protest groups, including Amnesty International and CASA of Maryland, the network was labeled a terrorist group in an internal police database. Police have said the names were not put on federal anti-terrorism lists.


An entry in the D.C. network's file dated June 21, 2005, notes that the DHS office in Atlanta forwarded two e-mails from an affiliate of the group, the name of which was redacted from the document provided to The Post. The state police file states: "Activists [from DAWN] are going to stage several small (12-15) weekly demonstrations at the Silver Spring Armed Forces Recruitment Center. If there is enough support these will become weekly vigils." According to the file, the protests were peaceful.


The DHS intelligence work has alarmed civil liberties groups and Maryland's U.S. senators, who are concerned that police shared with federal authorities personal details about the activists swept into their widely criticized spying operation. In a letter two weeks ago responding to their inquiry about the spying, DHS told Maryland Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) that an "exhaustive review" of the agency's records and databases found that none of the activists' names were shared with Maryland's intelligence fusion center.


But Cardin, who last week was named chairman of a Senate subcommittee on terrorism and homeland security, said he has not received "all the direct answers I need." He said DHS might have violated federal rules by forwarding information about a peaceful group that showed no intention of breaking the law. "They exercised their right to petition their government in a lawful manner," Cardin said in an interview.


In a letter to Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano to be released today, Mikulski and Feingold demand that the agency "reexamine" its files to determine how the e-mails on DAWN were obtained and whether they were sent to the Maryland State Police for a "legitimate law-enforcement purpose."


"The information reportedly received from DHS describes only First-Amendment protected activity," the letter states. "This evidence raises several questions, particularly in light of your inability to locate records in response to our previous inquiry."


DHS spokesman Andrew Lluberes said the agency was passing on "normal information that is exchanged between law-enforcement agencies," particularly because the Silver Spring protests involved a federal building. "It happens every day," he said. The information was most likely taken off the Internet, he said, although he did not know why the Atlanta office was involved.


But the organizer of the protests said federal agents would have had to infiltrate DAWN e-mail lists to gain access to the messages.


"They would have had to join our group as a member,'' said Pat Elder of Bethesda, the leader of a national network that opposes military recruitment in high schools. He said he was in contact in 2005 with an activist in Atlanta about how to build the cardboard coffins frequently used by protesters against the Iraq war as a symbol of what activists have called needless military deaths. The antiwar group was dissolved about 18 months ago, the result of "the natural ebb and flow of the peace movement," Elder said.


"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then,
to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in
broad daylight!"

- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) –

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude
than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask
not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed
you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget
that ye were our countrymen!”

-Sam Adams-






A Truth Commission to Investigate Bush-Cheney Administration Abuses


I have set up a petition at BushTruthCommission.com, and I hope you will sign it to urge Congress to consider establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the Bush-Cheney administration's abuses. We already have over 7,000 signatures, but we need to hit 10,000 signatures -- or more -- by next week, to build momentum behind this idea.

Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator


Indict Bush Now.org

Camus Cafe Political Coffee House: Leahy Opens Petition Drive to ...
By Ed. Dickau 
EdDickau, Thank you for signing my petition at BushTruthCommission.com, urging Congress to consider the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate Bush-Cheney Administration abuses. ...
Camus Cafe Political Coffee House - http://cafecamuspoliticalcoffeehouse.blogspot.com/



JUSTICE  Http://www.Newsweek.Com/Id/184801

A Torture Report Could Spell Big Trouble For Bush Lawyers

By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK

Published Feb 14, 2009

From the magazine issue dated Feb 23, 2009


By Chris Hedges
U.S. Intel Chief's Shocking Warning
Wall Street's Disaster Has Spawned Our Greatest Terrorist Threat. It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. We will see accelerated plant and retail closures, inflation, an epidemic of bankruptcies, new rounds of foreclosures, bread lines, unemployment surpassing the levels of the Great Depression and, as Blair fears, social upheaval.


"The Bush Recession" -- Let's Call it What It Is (Probably Depression II)


By William Cormier
Tighten Your Seat Belts - This Recession Is Turning Into Another Great Depression!
Now that the "Stimulus" has been passed by the Senate, and we know what is contained in the package, it is obvious that the next round of this financial meltdown is guaranteed to cause the financial community to request more taxpayer money to "bailout" themselves from the billions in credit card and auto loan defaults that are already beginning to occur; for those of you that have the means, it's now time to prepare


By David Glenn Cox
Charlotte's Economy (A Fable)
"You're that little spider?" "That's offensive, Wilbur, we prefer to be called Arachnid-Americans." "I'm sorry, I don't get out of my stall much so I not up on these things." "I understand that, Wilbur. Little pigs such as yourself don't get to see much of the world. But we Arachnid-Americans, we have seen much and we're your friends and we want to help you."


Rove's Lawyer: He Won't Take The Fifth If He Testifies
By The Huffington Post News Team 
Rove along with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowtiz et al are criminals and belong in prison. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 10:04 PM on 02/16/2009. - + lthuedk 1 See Profile I'm a Fan of lthuedk 1 I'm a fan of this user permalink ... At best they can sully Bushes presidency with a legal claim of wrong doing and post impeachment ... I doubt any more will be pushed. ;-(. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 08:51 PM on 02/16/2009 ...
Politics on HuffingtonPost.com - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/feeds/verticals/politics/index.xml




By Lech Biegalski
Israel Ready To Launch Military Offensive On Iran
Israel ready to launch a military offensive against Iran In the wake of Gaza, can the world afford to live with a nuclear Israel?


What Will Cost $1 Trillion in 2009 and Has Never Been Conquered?
By Robert Greenwald, Brave New Foundation
A call for Congressional oversight hearings for the war in Afghanistan. Read more »


The war in Afghanistan is "going to be much tougher than Iraq," according to Richard Holbrooke, the State Department's special envoy. Tougher than Iraq? Does that mean the Afghanistan war will last another six years or more? Will the death toll be worse than 4,200 soldiers and over 100,000 civilians killed? And will Afghanistan cost more than the $3 trillion our country will have spent on Iraq when all is said and done?


The time has come to Rethink Afghanistan, and one of the best ways we can is through Congressional oversight hearings. These deliberative hearings are fundamental to raising critical questions, examining the Pentagon's plans, and investigating military spending before this war spirals out of control. Historically, oversight hearings have played a major role in our system of checks and balances in wartime, except during the Bush administration.


In the past, you helped Uncovered: The War on Iraq penetrate the national consciousness, compelling people to examine the reasons for war. Thousands of you screened and distributed Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, which caused war profiteering to become a national concern. Now we need your help demanding Congressional oversight hearings to Rethink Afghanistan. Sign the petition and urge Senator John Kerry and Representative Howard Berman to hold oversight hearings immediately. Then,watch the introductory video and send it around, alerting people to the urgency of this situation and the need for hearings.


Congressional hearings, coupled with vigorous public debate, would allow experts in the field to raise key questions that must be answered. To that end, we are launching a series of online debates featuring prominent thinkers and progressives.


Watch political activist Tom Hayden debate whether we need more troops with Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution. See bloggers David Atkins of Daily Kos and The Seminal's Jason Rosenbaum debate whether escalation would hurt President Obama's domestic agenda. And don't miss Jon Rainwater from Peace Action West and Brookings' Jeremy Shapiro as they weigh in on whether military action will reduce the risk of terrorism in the United States.


The issues raised in these debates could serve as topics forCongressional oversight hearings that re-examine our country's approach toward Afghanistan. We look forward to more debates; to producing several videos that look at troops, costs, and military objectives; and to collaborating with the bloggers who have been writing about these issues at Get Afghanistan Right. Let's work together to inform the public and ask the pressing questions our elected leaders must answer. Let's do everything possible to rethink Afghanistan while there's still time.


Dean Baker: In Two Weeks, Obama Will Support A Task Force to 'Reform' Social Security

From CrooksandLiars.com


Ex-VP Dick Cheney outraged President Bush didn't grant 'Scooter' Libby full pardon


A Truth Commission?  (This Abolute Rubbish!)

The Danger in Democrats' Rush to Investigate

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

Tuesday, February 17, 2009; Page A13

A growing chorus of critics is demanding the creation of a special commission to "investigate" the Bush administration's alleged abuses of power, especially prosecution of the war on terrorism. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy called for a "truth commission" last week, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. has introduced legislation to establish a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties.


Military Coffin Photos Stir Debate
Washington Post - United States
Bush/Cheney? Why didn't the press work harder to pursue impeachment charges..." babs1 wrote, "I would be for lifting the ban except for the sickening ...
See all stories on this topic


Obsidian Wings: In Praise Of Anxiety
By hilzoy 
publius: I'm hoping that this will be a prelude to bar association sanctions, which in turn could mean Bybee being impeached, or Yoo losing tenure ... Basically: they get a lot of mileage out of the idea that they are just lawyers offering their opinions on legal issues. Fine. ... Disciplinary proceedings would send a signal, but not a very strong one -- unless they provide a political foundation for actual prosecutions of Bybee, Yoo and the rest of the Bush/Cheney cabal. ...
Obsidian Wings - http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/




 KBR (Halliburton) is at it Again--Gets $35 Million Contract from the Pentagon,

I got an email from Haliburton's senior manager of public relations correcting us on this. She asked that we remove the name Haliburton from theheadline, since it was, as of 2007, not connected to KBR.

I didn't obey. Instead, I added the word "former" changing the title to:

KBR (formerly part of Halliburton) is at it Again--Gets $35 Million Contract from the Pentagon


The Existentialist Cowboy: Time To Stick a Fork in Reagan's Ass
By Ed Encho 
Such a thing would have been cause for an extraordinary rendition under the Bush-Cheney junta, perhaps closing Gitmo is premature because we have an admitted fifth column waging war against America from within and being far more ...
The Existentialist Cowboy - http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/



China's military rebirth prompts U.S. response

Pentagon shifting more surface ships, subs to West Coast

By Steve Liewer


While China's growing financial clout has garnered worldwide attention in the past decade, it is the Asian nation's military awakening that has Pentagon leaders in Washington gazing warily westward.


China has been boosting defense spending by double-digit percentages annually – 17.6 percent last year – in a bid to modernize its large but relatively low-tech air, ground and sea forces.

The country is building destroyers, frigates and submarines; researching ways to construct an aircraft carrier; developing more sophisticated defense satellites; and aiming more missiles toward the island of Taiwan – the source of its main military conflict with the United States over the years.


China also has commissioned a hospital ship, which could be used to treat troops and project “soft power” through overseas humanitarian missions, similar to what the U.S. Navy does.


Top Pentagon commanders are responding to China's strategies by shifting more surface ships, submarines and service members from the East Coast to the West Coast. Two attack submarines have been moved to the Point Loma Naval Base, the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson will join two other carriers next year at North Island Naval Air Station and the first batch of Littoral Combat Ships will be assigned to San Diego.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton probably will discuss the overall topic when she visits China during her current swing through Asia.


As part of those diplomatic efforts, representatives of the U.S. and Chinese armed forces are expected to resume contact next week. China had cut off military dialogue with Washington after the Bush administration approved a $6.5 billion arms package to Taiwan in October.


Military analysts are debating whether the United States should view China as a rising military friend or foe – or both. It's been a hot topic in various publications, on Web sites and during gatherings such as last week's West 2009 in San Diego, the largest defense-industry convention on the West Coast.


“China may be the only country out there trying to deter the United States. China has dramatic ambition. We can't afford to forget that,” said Jacqueline Newmyer, who participated in a panel discussion on the topic during the recent conference and is chief executive of the Long Term Strategy Group, a defense consultancy in Cambridge, Mass…



The Final Post


Andy Olmsted

by hilzoy


Andrew Olmsted, who also posted here as G'Kar, was killed yesterday in Iraq. Andy gave me a post to publish in the event of his death; the last revisions to it were made in July.


Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I'm glad Andy -- generous as always -- wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all. Beyond: Andy, I will miss you.


My thoughts are with his wife, his parents, and his brother and sister.


What follows is Andy's post: a bit here; the rest below the fold. [UPDATE: I'm adding links to Andy's last post at his Rocky Mountain News blogs, from about a week ago, where friends and family are expressing support in comments; to anarticle from yesterday that I believe is about his death; and to a post he wrote on his reasons for going to Iraq last June.]


[FURTHER UPDATE: Somehow, I thought that given Andy's wish that his death not be politicized, people would refrain from political rants. Most of you have, for which I thank you. Anyone who does not respect his wishes, in this thread, will have his or her comment deleted. I am disemvowelling the one that has already appeared. END FURTHER UPDATE.]


"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."

G'Kar, Babylon 5


"Only the dead have seen the end of war."


This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.


"When some people die, it's time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it's time to celebrate."
Jimmy Bender, "Greg the Bunny"


"And maybe now it's your turn
To die kicking some ass."
Freedom Isn't Free, Team America


What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life. So if you're up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw 'Freedom Isn't Free' from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can't laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.


"Our thoughts form the universe. They always matter."
Citizen G'Kar, Babylon 5


Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them. While the blogosphere has its share of partisans, there are some awfully smart people making excellent arguments out there as well, and I know I have learned quite a bit since I began blogging.


I flatter myself I may have made a good argument or two as well; if I didn't, please don't tell me. It has been a great five-plus years. I got to meet a lot of people who are way smarter than me, including such luminaries as Virginia Postrel and her husband Stephen (speaking strictly from a 'improving the species' perspective, it's tragic those two don't have kids, because they're both scary smart.), the estimable hilzoy and Sebastian of Obsidian Wings, Jeff Goldstein and Stephen Green, the men who consistently frustrated me with their mix of wit and wisdom I could never match, and I've no doubt left out a number of people to whom I apologize.


Bottom line: if I got the chance to meet you through blogging, I enjoyed it. I'm only sorry I couldn't meet more of you. In particular I'd like to thank Jim Henley, who while we've never met has been a true comrade, whose words have taught me and whose support has been of great personal value to me. I would very much have enjoyed meeting Jim.


Blogging put me in touch with an inordinate number of smart people, an exhilarating if humbling experience. When I was young, I was smart, but the older I got, the more I realized just how dumb I was in comparison to truly smart people. But, to my credit, I think, I was at least smart enough to pay attention to the people with real brains and even occasionally learn something from them. It has been joy and a pleasure having the opportunity to do this.


"It's not fair."
"No. It's not. Death never is."
Captain John Sheridan and Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5


"They didn't even dig him a decent grave."
"Well, it's not how you're buried. It's how you're remembered."
Cimarron and Wil Andersen, The Cowboys


I suppose I should speak to the circumstances of my death. It would be nice to believe that I died leading men in battle, preferably saving their lives at the cost of my own. More likely I was caught by a marksman or an IED. But if there is an afterlife, I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok?


I do ask (not that I'm in a position to enforce this) that no one try to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side. If you think the U.S. should stay in Iraq, don't drag me into it by claiming that somehow my death demands us staying in Iraq. If you think the U.S. ought to get out tomorrow, don't cite my name as an example of someone's life who was wasted by our mission in Iraq.


I have my own opinions about what we should do about Iraq, but since I'm not around to expound on them I'd prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital to support a position I probably didn't support. Further, this is tough enough on my family without their having to see my picture being used in some rally or my name being cited for some political purpose. You can fight political battles without hurting my family, and I'd prefer that you did so.


On a similar note, while you're free to think whatever you like about my life and death, if you think I wasted my life, I'll tell you you're wrong. We're all going to die of something. I died doing a job I loved. When your time comes, I hope you are as fortunate as I was.


"What an idiot! What a loser!"

Chaz Reingold, Wedding Crashers


"Oh and I don't want to die for you, but if dying's asked of me;
I'll bear that cross with honor, 'cause freedom don't come free."
American Soldier, Toby Keith


Those who know me through my writings on the Internet over the past five-plus years probably have wondered at times about my chosen profession. While I am not a Libertarian, I certainly hold strongly individualistic beliefs. Yet I have spent my life in a profession that is not generally known for rugged individualism. Worse, I volunteered to return to active duty knowing that the choice would almost certainly lead me to Iraq. The simple explanation might be that I was simply stupid, and certainly I make no bones about having done some dumb things in my life, but I don't think this can be chalked up to stupidity. Maybe I was inconsistent in my beliefs; there are few people who adhere religiously to the doctrines of their chosen philosophy, whatever that may be. But I don't think that was the case in this instance either.


As passionate as I am about personal freedom, I don't buy the claims of anarchists that humanity would be just fine without any government at all. There are too many people in the world who believe that they know best how people should live their lives, and many of them are more than willing to use force to impose those beliefs on others. A world without government simply wouldn't last very long; as soon as it was established, strongmen would immediately spring up to establish their fiefdoms. So there is a need for government to protect the people's rights. And one of the fundamental tools to do that is an army that can prevent outside agencies from imposing their rules on a society.


A lot of people will protest that argument by noting that the people we are fighting in Iraq are unlikely to threaten the rights of the average American. That's certainly true; while our enemies would certainly like to wreak great levels of havoc on our society, the fact is they're not likely to succeed. But that doesn't mean there isn't still a need for an army (setting aside debates regarding whether ours is the right size at the moment). Americans are fortunate that we don't have to worry too much about people coming to try and overthrow us, but part of the reason we don't have to worry about that is because we have an army that is stopping anyone who would try.


Soldiers cannot have the option of opting out of missions because they don't agree with them: that violates the social contract. The duly-elected American government decided to go to war in Iraq. (Even if you maintain President Bush was not properly elected, Congress voted for war as well.) As a soldier, I have a duty to obey the orders of the President of the United States as long as they are Constitutional. I can no more opt out of missions I disagree with than I can ignore laws I think are improper. I do not consider it a violation of my individual rights to have gone to Iraq on orders because I raised my right hand and volunteered to join the army. Whether or not this mission was a good one, my participation in it was an affirmation of something I consider quite necessary to society. So if nothing else, I gave my life for a pretty important principle; I can (if you'll pardon the pun) live with that.


"It's all so brief, isn't it? A typical human lifespan is almost a hundred years. But it's barely a second compared to what's out there. It wouldn't be so bad if life didn't take so long to figure out. Seems you just start to get it right, and then...it's over."
Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5


I wish I could say I'd at least started to get it right. Although, in my defense, I think I batted a solid .250 or so. Not a superstar, but at least able to play in the big leagues. I'm afraid I can't really offer any deep secrets or wisdom. I lived my life better than some, worse than others, and I like to think that the world was a little better off for my having been here. Not very much, but then, few of us are destined to make more than a tiny dent in history's Green Monster. I would be lying if I didn't admit I would have liked to have done more, but it's a bit too late for that now, eh? The bottom line, for me, is that I think I can look back at my life and at least see a few areas where I may have made a tiny difference, and massive ego aside, that's probably not too bad.


"The flame also reminds us that life is precious. As each flame is unique; when it goes out, it's gone forever. There will never be another quite like it."
Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5


I write this in part, admittedly, because I would like to think that there's at least a little something out there to remember me by. Granted, this site will eventually vanish, being ephemeral in a very real sense of the word, but at least for a time it can serve as a tiny record of my contributions to the world. But on a larger scale, for those who knew me well enough to be saddened by my death, especially for those who haven't known anyone else lost to this war, perhaps my death can serve as a small reminder of the costs of war. Regardless of the merits of this war, or of any war, I think that many of us in America have forgotten that war means death and suffering in wholesale lots. A decision that for most of us in America was academic, whether or not to go to war in Iraq, had very real consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. Yet I was as guilty as anyone of minimizing those very real consequences in lieu of a cold discussion of theoretical merits of war and peace. Now I'm facing some very real consequences of that decision; who says life doesn't have a sense of humor?


But for those who knew me and feel this pain, I think it's a good thing to realize that this pain has been felt by thousands and thousands (probably millions, actually) of other people all over the world. That is part of the cost of war, any war, no matter how justified. If everyone who feels this pain keeps that in mind the next time we have to decide whether or not war is a good idea, perhaps it will help us to make a more informed decision. Because it is pretty clear that the average American would not have supported the Iraq War had they known the costs going in. I am far too cynical to believe that any future debate over war will be any less vitriolic or emotional, but perhaps a few more people will realize just what those costs can be the next time.


This may be a contradiction of my above call to keep politics out of my death, but I hope not. Sometimes going to war is the right idea. I think we've drawn that line too far in the direction of war rather than peace, but I'm a soldier and I know that sometimes you have to fight if you're to hold onto what you hold dear. But in making that decision, I believe we understate the costs of war; when we make the decision to fight, we make the decision to kill, and that means lives and families destroyed. Mine now falls into that category; the next time the question of war or peace comes up, if you knew me at least you can understand a bit more just what it is you're deciding to do, and whether or not those costs are worth it.


"This is true love. You think this happens every day?"
Westley, The Princess Bride


"Good night, my love, the brightest star in my sky."
John Sheridan, Babylon 5


This is the hardest part. While I certainly have no desire to die, at this point I no longer have any worries. That is not true of the woman who made my life something to enjoy rather than something merely to survive. She put up with all of my faults, and they are myriad, she endured separations again and again...I cannot imagine being more fortunate in love than I have been with Amanda. Now she has to go on without me, and while a cynic might observe she's better off, I know that this is a terrible burden I have placed on her, and I would give almost anything if she would not have to bear it. It seems that is not an option. I cannot imagine anything more painful than that, and if there is an afterlife, this is a pain I'll bear forever.


I wasn't the greatest husband. I could have done so much more, a realization that, as it so often does, comes too late to matter. But I cherished every day I was married to Amanda. When everything else in my life seemed dark, she was always there to light the darkness. It is difficult to imagine my life being worth living without her having been in it. I hope and pray that she goes on without me and enjoys her life as much as she deserves. I can think of no one more deserving of happiness than her.


"I will see you again, in the place where no shadows fall."
Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5


I don't know if there is an afterlife; I tend to doubt it, to be perfectly honest. But if there is any way possible, Amanda, then I will live up to Delenn's words, somehow, some way. I love you.


 [UPDATE, by hilzoy: this thread has well over a thousand comments, and I'm beginning to wonder whether the software can handle it. I've opened another thread here; please write your comments there, rather than here. Thanks.]


Posted by hilzoy at 01:16 PM in Nothing Else Fit | Permalink



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