Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Out of Iraq

"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

George W. Bush
State of the Union address
28 January 2003

My! My! What a difference sixteen little words makes!

"It was a stupid fucking war."

-Molly Ivins on the subject of Vietnam

There will be no L
ife magazine photo of a fired-up sailor embracing an unwitting passerby in a spontaneous, passionate kiss. There will be no jubilant celebration in Time Square or at the Hollywood Bowl or the Boston Commons - or anywhere else for that matter. There will be no ticker-tape parades. The brave men and women who were used as pawns by these dirty old men should be honored and respected, but there is no reason to feel good about any of this except for the fact that it's finished. This stupid fucking war - a war that should never have been fought - is over and done with.

There is a tiny stretch of real estate where I live in Goshen called "Triangle Park". It borders North Church Street and Delta Place. It is directly across the street from the childhood home of my old pal Kevin Swanwick. When I need to do some serious thinking about something or other, I'll go there in the late afternoon and early evening; I just park my van, sit in the dark and think. That's where you would have found me last night. How was I going to write about the stupidest military blunder in the history of this country? Where does one even find the words? Do the needed adjectives even exist? This was gonna be tricky.

"Bring 'em on."

The question is determined to rear its ugly head: Why the hell were we there to begin with? Oh, right. Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction that he was about to unload on the helpless American people. The smoking gun would "come in the form of a mushroom cloud". Remember that line? Anyone with half-an-eye open at the time knew what a load of shit that claim was. Those of us who bother to pay attention to affairs of state knew damned well the reason George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were literally hellbent on going into that country: Iraq sits on an ocean of oil. Their scheme failed miserably. The American occupation of Iraq got horrifically out-of-control within three months of its start. By the summer of 2003, the mission became a pathetic attempt to save face. When the premise for invading was finally and irrevocably exposed as the lie it was, the mission became one of "nation building".

Nation building? Just take a good look at the "nation" these homicidal assholes h
ave "built".

George W. Bush. It still infuriates me that this half-witted little bastard called the White House "home" for eight, long years - the same house that Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt once lived in. Here's a clip from the very first piece I ever posted on this site on June, 2, 2006:

"In November of 2000, when the voters of the United States of America foolishly sent this moron to the executive mansion, we effectively pointed the proverbial loaded pistol at our own collective head. Four years later, on Election Day 2004 - make no mistake about it- we pulled the trigger."

My opinion hasn't changed in five-and-a-half years.

Was Iraq worse than Vietnam as some have implied? Certainly not in terms of lives lost, thank goodness. But in terms of the damage done to our economy and infrastructure, Iraq clearly wins out. Also we need to be reminded that Vietnam only gradually evolved into the quagmire it eventually became. In the case of Iraq America stupidly dove headfirst and smiling - eyes wide open - into the muck. For the first time in history, taxes on the rich were actually lowered during a time of war. Saddam Hussein was going to destroy us we were led to believe. It was a lie of course. We destroyed ourselves quite handily thank you very much. We didn't need Saddam Hussein.

What is the fin
al tally of American servicemen and women killed? Four-thousand? Five-thousand? I lost count a long time ago. The amusing thing is that they still tell us (with faces as straight as a two-by-four I swear) that these unfortunate victims "died to keep us free". Here's a fact that no one wants to acknowledge: They died in vain. Every single one of them. They only died to increase Halliburton's coffers. They only died so that Corporate America might score some megabucks on the killing fields of Baghdad. Operation Iraqi "Freedom" will be remembered as the world's first privatized war. They died to keep us free? Bullshit. I'm a lot less free than I was on the night of March 20, 2003 when the United States invaded the (like it or not) sovereign nation of Iraq. You're a lot less free, too. You don't believe me? Three words: "The Patriot Act". Need I elaborate?

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-Benjamin Franklin

Hardly any of us knew anyone doing the actual fighting in this debacle. In almost a decade of war, I only knew one serviceman stationed in Iraq, and only casually at that; a guy named Irving Media. He was killed when the vehicle he was riding in hit an Improvised Explosive Device. His broken body lies about two miles from where I now sit, at the Orange County Veterans Cemetery which is located
at the edge of the village of Goshen, New York. Irving Media died in vain.

What is the final tally of Iraqi men, women and little children killed in this atrocity? Here's the punchline: Nobody seems to know. Nobody bothered to keep an eye on the numbers. They can't even give us a rough estimate. Isn't that a scream? Some human rights organizations believe that the number is well-over a million souls lost to the Bush Mob's greed and stupidity. We'll never know how many innocents died in that stupid fucking war.

And finally, what is the final tally of men and women whose injuries on the battlefield were so severe they will be dependent upon assisted living for the rest of their lives? Somewhere around thirty-thousand or more. How many men and women have been so psychologically damaged by the trauma of Iraq that all they can look forward to are lives fraught with emotional dysfunction? No one has any idea. We'll be living with the sick legacy of the Iraq war for a long time into the future. Here is something you need to keep in mind: The last surviving American veteran of World War One ("The war to end all wars") passed away only a couple of months ago. A long time indeed

War is over
If you want it
War is over - NOW

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Given the fact that he was murdered during the Christmas season, this is the time of year when I feel John's absence from our lives the most. I often wonder what he would have had to say about all of this. No doubt he would have written a song or two about that stupid fucking war. We really could use him now. A tip of the hat to the jackass who decided that his life had to be terminated,

So let's try to be optimistic. "Always look on the bright side of life", as Monty Python instructed us. The war in Iraq - or American involvement in it anyway - is finally, mercifully over. Now we need to set ourselves to the task of putting our house back in order. How do we do that? It's Easy!


I'm sorry, I was only kidding

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


"Fair Game"

Valerie Plame's excellent book recounted the persecution she and her husband Joe Wilson were subject to after he revealed to the world that the Bush Mob's justification for invading Iraq was a goddamned lie. It has been made into a movie which is out on DVD. Read it. Watch it.

And so, happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

Happy Christmas, folks!

For more recent postings on this disgusting commie blog, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

See you there!


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Jesus, Tom. You nailed it.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Victor David said...

Yep, we really showed em Tom, we really did. We saved the hell out of our freedoms. I don’t know sometimes whether to laugh or cry. How much longer can people put up with this upside-down bullshit is beyond me. We’ve got people these very days like Lindsey Graham saying on the floor on the senate for all the world to see (if anyone gives a shit) and with a straight face that we need to be able to imprison anybody / anywhere / anytime-we-feel-the-fuck-like-it forever if we want and without trial to preserve our freedoms.

Of course, he and his ilk don’t dare call it imprisonment. They scrub the stains from their bullshit very methodically and deem it a detention, like it’s teacher keeping a student after school for an hour.

So, yes. We kicked butt and preserved our precious freedom to: kill, lie, torture, lock people up, bash the crap out of peaceful protesters, swindle mom and pop out of their life savings, buy your very own congressman / senator / president on the open market, and (most importantly and most revered) receive 577 cable channels of inane bullshit to help distract you from the fact that the average Joe gets only crumbs.

When I think of the young men and women that died in this insane debacle called Iraq, I absolutely DO know whether to laugh or cry and I always come down on the side of tears. They died for a buck. A filthy fucking buck. That’s it. Cheerleaders, spin it anyway you want, but all you had to do was watch the constantly changing rationales of the swine that started this slaughter to see behind the curtain.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger B. F. Koch said...

Doesn't make a whole lot of sense does it, Tom?

They said we had to fight them over there so we wouldn't have to fight them over here; now we're fighting ourselves over here and next they'll be back to fighting themselves over there!

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Cheer up. Iraq War One was a glorious victory. Iraq War Two was a glorious victory. Iraq War Three and Iran War One will be glorious victories, too, just as soon as we elect another Republican president. Those of us who don't like it will be smeared as unpatriotic and spied on as usual.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Tom, a terrific article - and a great picture of Bush and Cheney - but yes, thank God it is finally over.

Victor David, I have no idea how old you are, but I share many of your sentiments. I just hit the 70 year mark and it seems the older I get, the more pain I feel for the lost and shattered lives destroyed in a pointless war.

And good wishes to all for a happy and peaceful holiday season.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Carla Binion said...

Brilliant! I must share this.

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Ron Baldwin said...

Pretty much everyone now admits that the basis for the Iraq War was fabricated at best. How quickly we forget. What is that definition of Insanity – doing the same thing but expecting a different result?

The Glory and the Dream, A Narrative History of America 1932 to 1972 by William Manchester was published in 1973 (some versions are one book, some two volumes, and I have both versions). On page 1244 Manchester starts the saga of the Vietnam War, beginning with the Gulf of Tonkin events in August 1964. From then on it was one massive deceit on the American people and the 46,000 US military people who died in that war and the many more whose lives were injured and harmed by that war. A good friend handled agent orange in that war, with no warning about the ravages of the dioxin it contained. He found out years later.

We did it again in 2003. Remember how the Iraqi people would greet us with rose petals and the oil in Iraq would pay for the war. Wasn’t that Paul Wolfowitz who made those claims? And when it became clear that was all false propaganda how was Wolfowitz punished? They banished him to be President of the World Bank. Hey, didn’t they do the same with Robert McNamara?

The more things change the more they stay the same. What was that 1960’s song that lamented, “When will they ever learn?”

At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need another war to strike fear in the hearts of these Americans.
Remember, "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself!"?

Whoa! This thing is not over til it's over! The sabres are rattling . . . . Drums are beating.

Just as soon as the dust cloud clears - Iran will occupy Iraq.

Don't put your brogans and fatigues in the closet too soon.

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that the war is over when will Iraq start repaying the USA for their Freedom from their Oil Profits? That was part of the deal right?

At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What freedom, didn't Iraq already have that before the war? Why repay America for something Iraq didn't want or need? I thought the war was stupid, wasteful and stupid? I thought there was no need to remove Hussain from office?
Is the world a better place because Hussain left this world?

At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Fred Drumlevitch said...

Well said. A fine and fully-justified rant.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Robert said...

With every visit to the clinic at the VA hospital I sit among the mounting costs of this and previous adventures.
Every time I turn on broadcast and cable news, or read posts at websites I see, from my perspective, mostly Republican politicians seeking to profit twice from those adventures. First by sending off the children of others to do battle in privatized, for profit, conflicts, and then to treat the injured in a privatized VA health care system they're jonesing to create and turn over to their corporate contributors.
It's depressing. For the past 42 years it's taken the jingle out of my Christmas.

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Suzan said...

I love you, Tom.

What you write I want to read.

Never quit.

You rock, baby.


At 8:41 AM, Anonymous boltok said...

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Governing in a manner converse to the above is exactly what the Progressive movement is all about.

The TOTUS (Teleprompter of the US) is maximizing the intrusion of the Patriot Act and seeking ways to control the media on top of it. The liberals will blame Bush for his reaction to 9/11, but happily take his baton and sprint with it.

Homeland security now scans your package in high detail and performs prostate massage. Obama signed off on Durbin/McCain apprehension of US Citiens without due process. Etc, etc.

Bush is Bambi compare to the big eared monster who desecrates the White House.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anon said...

Hey Boltok, you sound like you might be in need of a good prostate massage.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Boltok, you said...

"...liberals will blame Bush for his reaction to 9/11, but happily take his baton and sprint with it."


"Bush is Bambi compare to the big eared monster who desecrates the White House."

Your observation is correct except for one glaring error: Obama is not a liberal (or progressive). He never has been, and never will be. He's a neoconservative, like his predecessor, only wearing the less daunting Democratic logo instead of that of the Republican vintage. Make no mistake about it; he's the clever reincarnation of the Trojan Horse.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Kevin Swanwick said...

Beware of Neocons taking their places again near the Oval office, NSA, State and the Pentagon. Netanyahu isn't cool towards Obama over settlements on the West Bank, though this is a nice foil. He wanted US backing for airstrikes on Isfahan and Bushehr (sorry, that rhymes with Bush err) and didn't get it. After the next election he could have that support. If Israel strikes, its war, and as my father would say "don't write any checks with your mouth that your ass can't cash." They will need US support to wage war. The March of Folly can easily continue.

At 2:36 AM, Blogger Kevin Hayden said...

The terror schools (madrassas) where Al Qaida was trained. The developer and spreader of nuclear bomb technology. The country where Bin Laden was given aid, comfort and protection.

Afghanistan? Iraq? The Axis of Evil? Nope. All along it was Pakistan. And they downplayed the facts to advance their lies. And some, like Cheney, directly profited from the War on Iraq. Sick sadistic mofos, the whole Bush team is.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous diane said...

I agree it has been depressing and isn't realy over. We didn't vote that fuck in, he stole the election with the help of the corporate supreme court. we can never justify it. It isn't said anywhere that I can find, but the Arab spring is a revolt against the oppression of free market democracy backed by the largest military in the world. we will be fighting our own military like the Egyptians with rocks and what puny weapons we have, and our bodies before it is done. The corporatist will not let go easily they worked 30 years to get it this way. merry merry fellow traveler.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Diane, I'm afraid you're right on the money -- literally.

Merry Christmas to all...

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Just the Facts said...

What do you think Gore would have done if he had been president instead of Bush?

At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Al Gore had been president 911 wouldnt have happened. Please keep informed you dipshit. Merry Christmas to all.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Just the Facts! said...

Really, 9/11 would not have happened, if Gore had been president! Tell this uniformed "dipshit" why so I can go into 2012 well informed.
Happy New Year to all.

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous michael McCoy said...

Tom Degan for President 2012....DEGAN DEGAN DEGAN for President!!!!


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