February 21, 2007 - The greater the U.S. military commitment…the less possibility that any…government will be capable of asserting its own authority on its home ground or abroad…The size of the U.S. commitment already clearly is suffocating and serious possibility of self-determination…for the simple reason that the whole defense of that country is now totally dependent on the U.S. armed presence.” The speaker went on to say that the United States should declare victory and start bringing the troops home. He was not speaking of Iraq. “South Vietnam” fills the elisions.
Those words were spoken on the Senate Floor by Vermont Senator George Aiken. Senator Aiken was a Conservative Republican elder statesman when he spoke. He was first elected to the Senate in 1941. It was October 1966 when he spoke. At the beginning of 1966 2,800 American soldiers had died in Vietnam. By the end of 1966 the death toll stood at 8,400. George Aiken never changed his mind about Vietnam. His vocal opposition to the war continued through the Nixon and Ford administrations. When he was later asked on Meet The Press just how he would bring the troops home his response was terse. “On boats”, was what he said...click here for entire article
February 20, 2007 - The President, having seen almost every justification for his war in Iraq evaporate before his eyes, likes hastens to remind us of 9-11 and a smoking gun that just might be a mushroom cloud. His administration is fond of telling us that Iraq is the central theatre of our war on terrorism. It isn't. The central battlefield against Al Qaeda and Islamist terrorists is George Bush's neglected war in Afghanistan. It is there where Al Qaeda and the Taliban confront us. It is from Afghanistan and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan that international Islamist terrorism is being directed. It is there where the United States and its NATO allies are losing the battle.
Another tired justification for the Iraqi War has been to wave the bloody shirt of terrorist attacks and declare that, "We are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here!" Bin Laden too is invoking that strategic doctrine. "If he fights us in Baghdad he won't have to fight us in Kandahar. Better, if he can foment a civil war in Iraq and embroil our army in the midst of it, then he will not have the troops left to effectively occupy Afghanistan." Bin Laden has more effective in implementing the strategy than has Bush...click here for entire article
February 8, 2007 - Speaker Nancy Pelosi has achieved a place of dishonor in the hagiography of the Republican Right surpassing even Senator Hillary Clinton. Madam Speaker is now the Republicans’ Wicked Witch of the West and they are waiting with bated breath for a house, or more precisely an airplane, to fall on her.
The GOP back benchers who could not find a voice to express their outrage while Denny Hastert was Speaker have a new cause célèbre in the Speaker’s use of military aircraft for the long commute between the Capitol and her home district. The problem seems to be that it is 2,800 miles to San Francisco and only 700 miles to Hastert’s district, just a short taxi ride from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. That longer ride requires an aircraft with a longer range than the one that the former speaker used.
The Speaker of the House is second only to the Vice President in the line of Presidential succession. In the aftermath of 9/11 the Whitehouse and Pentagon agreed that Speaker Hastert should have the use of military aircraft for official travel and to commute between his home district and Washington. The assets of the 89th Airlift Wing based at Andrews Air Force Base outside the Capitol. Hastert used a C-20, the military version of a Gulf Stream 3 business jet. According to Capt. Herb McConnell of the 89th the C-20 is able to make it to the West Coast non-stop but not in the winter when strong headwinds are blowing. The aircraft would typically be forced to stop to refuel on the way....click here for entire article
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