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11 March 2007


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Chris Marlowe

No matter how Iraq plays out for the Americans, I'm convinced that it will be almost impossible for another American president to wage another overseas war unless there is a spectacular terrorist attack greater than 9/11.

There are many problems:

-- The very high cost for taking care of the wounded, which will last more than 50 years

-- The very high percentage (more than 30%) of vets who suffer some kind of mental disorders from the conflict

This means that there will be a very high percentage of vets who will not be able to hold meaningful jobs, military or civilian and will require on welfare for the rest of their lives.

Most Americans would just prefer to forget this war, and pin the blame on Bush.

One can also expect a significant number of murder/suicide incidents from these vets in coming years.

I have believed that the goal of al-Qaeda has not been to defeat the US militarily (that would be impossible), but to get the US in a financial hole so great that the country's economy and overseas empire would eventually collapse under the weight of the financial burden. I believe that the American people and Bush administration have played right into that trap.

The social costs and monetary costs of the war in Iraq are huge, and will easily top $2 trillion. It is a gift that just keeps on giving, incidents like those mentioned above will constantly remind Americans of this overseas adventure. That is why short of a major terrorist incident, it would be very difficult for any upcoming administration to make the case for war.

Going against this, will be a declining standard of living in the US, regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are elected as president. There will be a great temptation to create "incidents" to divert people away from their own economic misery, and placing the blame on terrorists.

Now, would a US administration manufacture domestic terrorism incidents to create the pretext for war?

That is another story. The Bush administration has shown us through Cheney, Rumsfeld and Arturo Gonzales that there is very little that they will not do for political reasons.

It is not a big step beyond that to kill Americans en masse to justify a political goal.



Much of this discussion (and in truth any dissussion of Iraq) brings to mind the old saw about the futility of cursing a rainstorm. If you can't stand getting wet, either get an umbrella or get out of the rain.

Sorry to seem so pessimistic, but can't say that I see any useful umbrellas for the Democrats, our military or particularly the Iraqis in this particular storm. There are however alot of useful "pretend umbrellas" (troop surges, further Iraqi military and police training, sanctions and threats against, Iran, Syria, whomever, etc., etc.) that the Bush administration and the Neocons will continue to unveil and that our military will continue to support, being the good soldiers that they are.

And we certainly have seen this pattern before - in Vietnam. Thought we learned something there though.....?

Richard Armstrong

I'm of the opinion that the a great majority of the 90% of the troops who responded that they felt the war in Iraq was a reprisal for Saddam's complicity in 9/11 will have to rely on believing the "stabbed in the back" legend or "Dolchstosslegende" that will undoubtably arise. This is NOT a slap at the soldiers. It's a statement regarding human nature. They believed the lie. They paid dearly and willingly because they believed the lie. It is very, very difficult for any human, much less someone who has seen, done and felt so very much to rationalize how they could have been wrong or misled, either point forcing the individual to assume personal responsibility for the events that followed. Human nature being what it is allows that same person to blame someone else much more easily.

Patrick  Henry

I think I understand your "Point" Colonial..since you are an "Expienced" Viet Nam Combat Vet...and a Good Commanding officer who respects the "Troops" and Understands them...since you "Are One"..

I also appreciate comments here by others..All Interesting to Read...

My Brother in Law had half his facwe damaged..(Lost an Eye) and got a steel plate in his Head from an "IED" in Viet nam..he also fought during Tent..

After getting a glass eye and recovering from some of his injurys...he went back to Nam..

When Later..I asked him why...He said "Thats where my TEAM was.."..and "That was the War we had Going ON.."

The Military Mind is a TEAM MIND..Discliplined..
and Dedicated..

They have no choice in where they are told to go to Combat or go do thier JOB...They are the Finest in the World..They OBEY Orders and do thier Job..

They have done a good job in Iraq..considering the "Mission" and Manpower they were given to work with..

The Burden on them and thier familys Tremendous..being recycled on Tour after tour while thier Loved Ones go through all that stress and HARDSHIP..
(Another Issue)

The "WHYS" are a seperate Issue from HOW Our military and Troops are Performing.."ABOVE & BEYOND.".by Our Troops..As usual..
A good Warrior is a GOOD Warrior.. They will always perform..and they will always have a HO~RAH
attitude about thier Job..and supporting and honoring thier Comrads..Living and DEAD..

COMBAT does that to People..

They may suspect why they got there..thats seperate from doing thier Mission..

They May have to Face REALITY ..when they return..or when we withdraw..or when future Political and global Events in the Midddle East make Our troops wonder if they were Pawns..Cannon (IED) Fodder..in some giant scheme that was not really in the Best interest in the United states..

But were the result of some other PLAN..

Our Troops are doing thier Job..They probably have 12-18 months to Complete thier Assigned "MISSION"..since nothing is really "Changing" in that regard..Just alot of TALK..

The Bush/Cheney Corporation will Move On..to what ever is being set up In Riyad..

And..Like Viet Nam..we Americans and Veterans will have to Clean up the Mess..Try to get our government back under control..Find ways to Solve Many complex Domestic issues..Rebuild Our military..try to solve our Hugh DEBT Problems..since Our National WEALTH Paid for eeverything the Neo cons did..

And..Like Post Viet Nam..we will all be Examining Our CONSCIENCES..

President Bush Once tryed to explain "Fool Me Once..Fool Me Twice and SHAME on someboy" ..Principal..

he handled that about as well as he handled the Presidency and being commander in Chief..

I think there should NEVER be a Third time..and America has Had enough of "FOOLS & BEING FOOLED.."

Thank a Vet..and remember Our POWS..



Mr Marlowe says-

"The very high percentage (more than 30%) of vets who suffer some kind of mental disorders from the conflict

This means that there will be a very high percentage of vets who will not be able to hold meaningful jobs, military or civilian and will require on welfare for the rest of their lives.

One can also expect a significant number of murder/suicide incidents from these vets in coming years."

BS is all I can say. The great majority of these vets will be better citizens than you, Mr Marlowe - and better citizens than the average American regardless of socio-economic status and political party. Of course Hollywood and idiots like you will try to convince us all otherwise.



Great thoughts and comments on reality - something most of us have occassionally escaped due to our outrage. Glad to read your concern is the enlisted corps, as a son and grandson of its former members.

I'm less certain of Zanibar's comment, "Those Democrats with a sense of history remember Vietnam and how the military became Republican in its aftermath." Undoubtedly the officer corps could have been a branch of the republican party after Vietnam, (though look at the modern hypocrisy of how few recent political leaders meaningfully served when they had the opportunity). However the enlisted corps was and is far, far more diverse than the officer corps. Further, the enlisted corps has a much stronger tradition of identifying bullshit when they see it. I suspect that the enlisted corps was and is too self-respecting to cowtow too strongly to either party. (Though President Clinton did not help his party with "don't ask" - but now that is also a default policy of a republican president.)

There are good thoughts throughout the thread to minimize the "stab in the back" and "survivors' guilt" - if only those thoughts will be put into acts.


Col, I think that it is commendable that so many of our troops are still gung-ho, despite being sent to war on a lie, and then forced to fight it on the cheap. Otoh, since this is part of their 'warrior DNA,' it is up to wiser heads to know when to pull them out, and save powder and manpower for another day. What would Sun-Tzu do?

binkieandmarcel, the bases will never be abandoned, in fact, they are integral to the neocon strategy, much like modern day Crusader castles. Since they are technically considered 'American soil,' any attacks on them by the locals could then be trumpeted as 'attacks on American soil,' thus justifying further military adventures.

I think today's Halliburton announcement speaks volumes about the future of US interests in the mideast, and also the priorities of the current US junta. I would be interested to hear what others think.


Dems abandon war authority provision By DAVID ESPO and MATTHEW LEE

WASHINGTON - Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.



Why would it be so hard for them to agree and pass something on Iran? That should be no-brainer to do first and then they can wrangle about what to do in Iraq. Have they been so cowed by decades of GOP accusations of treason that they are afraid to do or agree on anything re foreign policy at all? Sad, if true. And very dangerous for the country, ever since nut cases captured the GOP. I agree with comments above that best thing for the Democrats to do, while they are making up their minds, is to very loudly investigate and loudly explain to the public exactly who conceived, designed and executed this disastrous and immoral policy (Bush/Cheney).

And why is it impossible to make some statements about the bigger picture -regional negotiations, what a diplomatic solution would look like, US policy re Iraqi funds, where the US-Iraq aid and Iraqi revenues went, and are going, and how they could be used better, assuming they can be found. I am a Democrat and am ashamed, and a little frightened by their seeming lack of courage, vision and initiative. One party is feckless, visionless, spineless and timid; the other is feckless, incompetent, crazy and bloodthirsty.

The State department says three auditors in the Green Zone would place insurmountable strains and cripple the effort. We should be hearing every Democrat yelling "WHO STOLE THE MONEY!?" every day over stuff like that. But no, the Democrats natter around.

They need to get in the faces of some corrupt big media pundits too -repeatedly. One thing I have noticed is that the pundits sit around and poo-poo on any ideas at all except more violence. And the Democrat pols mostly just sit there and plaintively bleat. They need to get in these bozo's faces. It would be a kind of assertiveness training for when they go up against the Bush/Cheney crowd.

And about a year ago I saw and listened to McCain list all the reasons a military solution would not work, and then go ahead and advocate more military force, with nothing else to offer.

What a unimaginative, cowardly, murderous, incompetent, stupid national political debate we are having.


I'm with Walrus. All of this is moot when Bush nukes Iran.


"a journalist friend... can’t recall soldiers ever saying ”I want us all to give up and go home now.""
"...a "stab in the back" legend will be born that will have great strength and persistance."

Col, your journalist friend's observation is correct, and seems to mediate concern about stabbing legends. enlisted men's anger will be revealed elsewhere than the voting booth - like in their personal lives. not good for America, but fine for politics.


The Army is ordering injured troops to go to Iraq

At Fort Benning, soldiers who were classified as medically unfit to fight are now being sent to war. Is this an isolated incident or a trend?

By Mark Benjamin

Mar. 11, 2007 | "This is not right," said Master Sgt. Ronald Jenkins, who has been ordered to Iraq even though he has a spine problem that doctors say would be damaged further by heavy Army protective gear. "This whole thing is about taking care of soldiers," he said angrily. "If you are fit to fight you are fit to fight. If you are not fit to fight, then you are not fit to fight."

As the military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records.

On Feb. 15, Master Sgt. Jenkins and 74 other soldiers with medical conditions from the 3rd Division's 3rd Brigade were summoned to a meeting with the division surgeon and brigade surgeon. These are the men responsible for handling each soldier's "physical profile," an Army document that lists for commanders an injured soldier's physical limitations because of medical problems -- from being unable to fire a weapon to the inability to move and dive in three-to-five-second increments to avoid enemy fire. Jenkins and other soldiers claim that the division and brigade surgeons summarily downgraded soldiers' profiles, without even a medical exam, in order to deploy them to Iraq. It is a claim division officials deny.

The 3,900-strong 3rd Brigade is now leaving for Iraq for a third time in a steady stream. In fact, some of the troops with medical conditions interviewed by Salon last week are already gone. Others are slated to fly out within a week, but are fighting against their chain of command, holding out hope that because of their ills they will ultimately not be forced to go. Jenkins, who is still in Georgia, thinks doctors are helping to send hurt soldiers like him to Iraq to make units going there appear to be at full strength. "This is about the numbers," he said flatly.


they are fighting the good fight, that they will prevail and that their comrades' blood cries out for vindication through victory.

What kind of victory (or defeat) are we talking about?

Even such Republican noteworthies as Rumsfeld, Kissinger, Gen. Odom, and others (Petraeus?) have stated that there will not be a purely military victory. Does the constituency realize that "victory" is going to come - if it comes - in the form of peace talks and negotiations with "the enemy" followed by U.S. withdrawal?

Are we supporting our troops when we foster unrealistic expectations? I would think the President and the Republicans ought to be very careful about that.


According to news reports, Speaker Pelosi has just been booed by the real constituency that matters to the Dems at the moment - AIPAC, over her attitude to Iraq and Iran.

The reason I see very dark clouds ahead for America is about constituencies all right, but not quite in the way that Col. Lang sees it.

I think we can agree that the only constituency that SHOULD matter is the American people as a whole, and perhaps from time to time certain subsets of it such as minorities, the military etc.

However campaign funding laws and practices have made it impossible for a poor man, and even a millionaire however talented to run for high office, unless he is prepared to sell his soul to billionaires, well healed special interest groups (such as AIPAC) or corporations.

Thus elections do not turn on ideas, policies, vision and intelligence. Instead they pivot on money, spin, mud throwing, lies deception and special interest groups.

The outcome of this is that only people who have a very high narcissistic drive and a totally warped personality will stand for President.

As far as I can tell, the last "normal" presidents were Carter and Bush senior. JFK and Clinton were womanisers. Nixon was a crook. Reagan was....an Actor.

Kerry was a narcissist who is at least as deeply flawed as George W Bush.

Gore is normal, Hilary Clinton is just plain evil, Edwards switched off a friend of mine after he was advised that "access" to Edwards would cost $100,000.

Seriously folks, considering that "suicidal Statecraft" is what destroys nations, what sort of future does the United States have when the only people capable of being elected to high office are freaks in the pay of special interest groups?

To put it another way, where is another George Washington when we need one?


Reflecting on Vietnam-the Mid-East connection.

Congress had inexlicably cut off funds to the Vietnamese in the Foregn Aid Act of 74'. Most Americans except a few advisors had to have been gone by then. A Democratic Congress had cut off funds to a war that had been started by their own Presidents. Nixon, a Republican, had dragged it on unnecessarily for another four years. The cut-off of funds contributed to Premier Thieus state of mind and catastrophic military decisions.

The mid east connections. My speculations. The oil shock of 73-74 caused by the tight supplies of the embargo crushed Viet Nam's economy.

Sadat had offered Peace but arrogant Israeli leaders had famously declared "better Sharm-el-Sheikh w/o Peace then Peace w/o it." And the U.S. kept on funding them and providing international cover and U.N. vetoes.

U.S. Operation "Nickel Grass" which resupplied Israel when they were on the ropes during the 73 War took military supplies out of the pipeline destined for South East Asia. I remember Chairman of the JCS General George S. Brown getting into hot water complaining about that.

michael savoca

There is a course for those to pursue who would de-escalate the war and seek negotiated settlements and at the same time avoid being branded as traitors and deserters.

Col.Lang is right, politically, and for other good reasons the democrats must fully fund the war effort… BUT at the same time congress must crank down hard on all other spending that supports the current regime. Make the neocons hurt.

Start with demanding a census of all private contractors in Iraq and support areas.

Draft all private contractors into the US armed forces. End the payment of dividends to stockholders of corporations that are profiting from this war.

Pass legislation to authorize and fund an army of special prosecutors to go after the people who twisted and filtered the intel AND those who have stolen or fraudulently used war funds, and put them in prison damnit.

(remember, we, the taxpayers, spent over 100 million dollars investigating and prosecuting a stain on a blue dress. And we impeached a president for lying about sex. )

We must use all reasonable economic and political options to stop this administration from starting another war that will involve all Iraq’s neighbors and the US and Russia too.

The pilot of the ship of state is steering us onto the rocks. Somebody grab the helm…lawfully.

Chris Marlowe

Let's take a look at where VP Cheney is investing his own private investment portfolio (hint: he's not investing in the US).


Then Halliburton moves it HQ to Dubai.

He has played the American people for a bunch of schmucks.

This is great; the US vice president won't invest his own money in the US!

That really says it all...

Nancy Kimberlin

I find it beyond sad that young men and women who are faithful to each other, their country and to their commander in chief, would be so used and discarded. This president and his administration care nothing about our soldiers. They are not given the equipment they need to survive and when injured are not given the medical care they need. Shame on this administration and the congress that allows this to happen.


Huh... I wouldn't think that a fellow like Glenn Greenwald and a fellow like Col. Lang would agree on much of anything. But look at this at the end of Greenwald's column today. I'm not sure that they would agree about much after the debate they both suggest was over, but... at least I feel more certain that the most imprtant thing to do right now is for the Democrats to force a public debate on the big picture, and explore comprehenseve strategies to solve the mess is. If there was something that could realistically be done re Iraq in the short term that would improve things, it might be different, but it aint. The Dems are losing their chance for any meaningful action on Iran... and that would have been an excellent platform for the debate.

Tuesday March 13, 2007 09:38 EST
Dick Cheney's warped vision of the world

Far more than haggling over Iraq bills that are not going anywhere or picking apart the various proposals of each candidate, the critical priority is to demand that these fundamental premises guiding our behavior in the world be meaningfully examined and debated. The Baker-Hamilton Report actually tried to provoke such an examination, which is why it was so viciously demonized and instantaneously discarded. But until those premises are candidly discussed, we are going to remain on the incomparably dangerous path which the Bush presidency has so fervently embraced.



From one "crazed Vietnam Vet" to another: Great post!

TR Stone

To all:

If anyone still thinks the Dems are different than the Repubs, watch what they do not what they say.

Chris Marlowe

Just in case you thought the Democrats were going to do something to rein in the "rights" of the president to expand the war.

Looks like James Webb got his Iran war resolution killed by his own party:


Babak Makkinejad


I think that the move of Halliburton HQ to Dubai is indicative that there is money to be made in the Persian Gulf; it will be considered as a vote of (economic) confidence in Dubai and in that region.

Secondarily, I think that the presence of Halliburton in Dubai is useful to the development & modernization of that region since the local people would be exposed to the business practices of a US company: more accountability, less nepotism; more share-holder value, less theft; more professional governance, less venality.


Mr. Savoca's comments caused me to think a bit further on this issue. I hope a bit better too.

The bill of particulars against the Bush Administration includes:

1) Lying to take the nation to war.

2) Failure to provide life-saving equipment to our troops in the field.

3) Failure to provide adequate medical care to our wounded troops.

I guess that I would interpret Colonel Lang's post in the following way:

If you don't think you can impeach the President, then how can you cut off funding for the war?

Impeachment, not war funding is the correct issue.

In that vein, if the Congress cannot stomach an impeachment proceeding, then I believe that the debate should be about Iran.

I think Congress can influence whether we attack Iran. It should.

Babak Makkinejad


Much of what Dennis Ross stated in the ABC interview that you have posted here is more applicable to the Arab states rather than to Iran.

For example, the Iraqi refugees are a problem for Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria - I cannot envision a situation in which there could be refugee problem for Iran.

He might have mentioned Iran but was thinking Arab states.

Should the United States post a departure date, the Arab states that are allied to US would be most negatively affected and therefore would be (the hope in D.C.) more amenable to helping US.

I observe here that US really does not have good allies among the Arab states - when Clinton was trying to settle the Arab-Israeli wars, no Arab states joined him to carry the load forward. They left the heavy lifiting to US.

I also recall that when GHWB was visiting the US troops in the Persian Gulf immediately after the 1991 War against Iraq, he had the American Thanksgiving Dinner with US troops aboard a US warship since Saudis would not let him celeberate it on Saudi soil for (non-existent) religious reasons.


To All:

We need to remember one thing, we are there. This is not like a little child whining and saying, "I'm going to take all my marbles and go home!" This war in my personal view goes back not to 9/11, but to the First Persian Gulf War. We went to the Prsian Gulf under George H.W. Bush. Now starting from this point, the people of Saudi Arabia, were being protected but also they were EMBARASSED. If I remember my Bedouin or Desert Code correctly, there was one thing you never did, which was to embarass your host. There is nothing which supercedes this rule, including war. Cardinal Rule- Know the cultures of your friends and your adversaries. In their view, it is more powerful to embarass the son, rather than the father. They knew there was nothing the father could do except watch. Just one extra note, I showed this whole posting to NASA scientist and he said he wouldn't have even thought of touching this one.


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