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Archive for the ‘iraq war’ Category

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Phase one of the Mother’s Day Project, launched in April 2007, is complete.  Cross-posted with additional details at the MDP website.

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Holy buckets! You just KNEW this was going to bring me out of blog seclusion.

I’ve sorely missed my old friend, Scott McClellan and can barely believe it’s been two years since he left the White House. Oh, sure, Tony Snow and Dana Perino have had their bloggable moments, but it was Scotty who could be depended upon for blog inspiration. Slow day at the blog post screen? Hell. Just skip on over to the official White House website for a transcript of the day’s press briefing – the well of sycophant word-twisting that never ran dry.

Now Scotty’s back with a tell-all book about his years as press secretary. According to the book, President Bush “is depicted as an out-of-touch leader, operating in a political bubble, who has stubbornly refused to admit mistakes.” He devotes an entire chapter to “Selling the War,” wherein “he alleges that the administration repeatedly shaded the truth and that Bush ‘managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option.'”

In short, Scotty provides us with the “big reveal” in which he finally comes around to saying what the rest of us have known since 2000 about Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby, Rice, Rumsfeld and all the rest of the White House criminals.

Scott McClellan, you are an ass.

While you were worried about your personal reputation during the Plame-gate affair, you should have been worried about the administration’s dissembling of our Constitutional rights. While you perceived that the run up to the war in Iraq was being deliberately manipulated by the President and his advisors so that “the use of force would become the only feasible option,” you should have been worried about the inevitable loss of American and Iraqi lives, about shattered families, children made orphans, about widows and widowers.

Claiming there’s a “Culture of Deception” in Washington does not distance you from responsibility. When your revelations could have done some good, you said nothing. You were, in fact, the bloviating master of saying nothing for three long years.

Nothing has changed.

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Mother’s Day 2008

One year ago, the Mother’s Day Project was launched from this site. Since then, another twenty-four women soldiers have died in Iraq.

Please take a moment today to recall their names, and to remember the many thousands of soldiers and civilians who have died in Iraq as a result of our invasion of the country in 2003.

Remember them, and all those who have been left behind – the widows and widowers, the orphaned children, the bereft parents, siblings and other loved ones – and hold them in your heart as you continue to work for peace.

That’s what mothers everywhere want on this day and every day.  We don’t need breakfast in bed, flowers or greeting cards.  We want peace.  We want our children to be safe, well-nourished and happy.  We want our families intact.  Our world intact.

Peace.

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100

sunset, Thanksgiving 2007

Over the weekend I added what was the 100th name to the list of female Coalition casualties serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. You can read about Ashley Sietsema and the other 99 women who have died at The Mother’s Day Project website.

Operation Iraqi Freedom. Funny how that phrase doesn’t begin to capture the violence, the bloodshed and the awful, incomprehensible loss of human life that has occurred since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 – most of those losses borne by the Iraqi people themselves. Iraqi Freedom, indeed.

Greatest Husband and I spent a long Thanksgiving weekend with our children in the Ozark mountain countryside. We hiked. We told funny stories. We ate meals of gargantuan proportions with great relish and enthusiasm.

At night, we slept with the deep peace and fitfullness that only happens when, as a parent, you know your children are safe and near. Even though our children are grown and living many states distant, there is something deeper and more settled at work when we are all together under the same roof.

Safe.

Near.

Working on The Mother’s Day Project reminds me every damn day of the reality of war. No matter what our government calls it, this “operation” is war and dead people are not “free.” Parents are burying their children. Families are torn apart. Mothers and fathers are disappearing from the lives of their children. Husbands lose their wives, and wives their husbands.

If this blog has been a little light on posts lately, it’s mostly because I am finding it hard to distance myself from the task of cataloging the dead. Sometimes, the best I can do is fill the bird feeders, turn off the news and sit with a skein of yarn in my lap.

To say that I’m grateful or thankful for the comfortable life I have, seems to imply that I’ve done something to deserve all the goodness. I haven’t. Death and suffering is capricious. It could land on my doorstep tomorrow. Unavoidably. Without warning.

But this “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” was wholly avoidable. It occurred as a premeditated crime and no one should ever forget that fact.

If I’m thankful or grateful for anything, it’s that I have a very long memory.

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Iraq: In = Out

Again, this week, I heard a respected interviewer begin a discussion about Iraq with the now well-established caveat,

“No matter how you feel about how we got into this war, whether you believed in the reasons set forth by the Bush Administration or not . . .”

It stopped me dead in my tracks. Why? Because the reasons we got into this war DO matter. In fact, those reasons make all the difference between perceiving a US withdrawal as surrender, or viewing our withdrawal in terms of how we clean-up the damage and instability we have brought to the region.

Our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was, and is illegal. That fact is absolutely relevant to any discussion of how we extract ourselves from the region. We are doomed to continue to fail to meet our own objectives – successfully quell the insurgency, train an Iraqi police force, establish a democratic form of government – all the tasks set forth by the Bush Administration, because we lack the moral authority to do anything but dig the hole we’re in deeper and deeper.

Life is not returning to normal in Iraq, despite President Bush’s assurances last week that it is. Thousand of Iraqis die violently every month as a result of bloody spasms of ethnic cleansing. It has become routine for the authorities in Baghdad to report finding a dozen or more bodies throughout the city each day, victims of torture and execution. Basic utilities like running water and electricity are scarce and unreliable. Iraqis who manage to avoid meeting a violent end, must fear the ravages of emerging plagues like cholera.

In whose twisted reality are these the signs of life returning to normal? The answer is clear; the same architects of war who led us into this mess with lies and manipulation and then squandered every opportunity to win over the Iraqi people and stabilize their country, continue to lie, manipulate and squander, all for their own personal gain.

Our withdrawal from Iraq – when it comes, if it comes – will be difficult and ugly. But, it doesn’t have to bring additional shame to our country. If we are honest about how we got into the Iraq War, it will inform our efforts to leave the country in a way that will stress bringing humanitarian aid and providing safe haven for Iraqis who have served our Armed Forces.

It also means punishing the US leaders who crafted this abomination in our name. Our Constitution gives us the tools to do this in a non-violent manner through impeachment proceedings.

I’m starting my letter writing campaign today to let my elected representatives know that I support impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as the first steps toward reuniting our divided country and restoring our good standing in the world.

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I know. I know. This is the day General Petraeus presents his report to Congress on the progress of “the surge” and the Iraq War. I could feign surprise. I could mock spineless Dems. I could write post after post about the sad predictability of everything we are going to hear from Washington today. But, why should I when other bloggers are doing a better job of it?

This is what caught my eye this morning – General Motors dressing its male engineers in garbage bag skirts, high heels and fake fingernails in order to give them a sense of what will make women drivers more comfortable in the cars they are designing.

I mean, OK, I get the “fun and games” aspect of play-acting an opposite sex role for what? half a day? And, making men load a vehicle with grocery bags, buckle and unbuckle a child from a car seat, fold up and stow a stroller and find a safe and accessible place to put one’s handbag while driving is all well and good, but aren’t all of these activities common to both sexes? Men don’t generally carry around handbags, but they do carry briefcases and wallets and cell phones and, in the case of Greatest Husband, multiple water bottles, all items in need of stowage and quick access to the driver.

Instead of focusing on the stereotype of women performing domestic chores in heels and short skirts, why not focus on the fact that women are generally shorter than men, have less upper body strength and more restricted reach for grabbing and securing tailgates, and that women’s sight-lines in a vehicle will be very different from a man’s.

Or, how about this? Ask us. Don’t pretend to be us. Just, you know, ask us.

But if you want to play games, here’s one I would be happy to arrange. It takes place in a dark parking lot and you’re being stalked by someone twice your size and weight. If you manage to make it safely to your vehicle and lock its doors, your likelihood of winning is greatly improved, but not necessarily guaranteed.

Skirt and heels optional. Bonus round calls for carrying child on hip.

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Cleaning rotten tomatoes – the perfect metaphor for . . .

Is this woman mad?!?

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