Friday, September 14, 2007

No end in sight

So W. had his big speech last night which was intended to round out a week of 9/11 nostalgia and feel good news about Iraq. A glorious week for White House PR flaks. The best part about this whole deal is W.'s dirty little gets almost another year of life without having to worry about any pesky legislation from Congress calling for major troop reductions. That is, if he can continue to molify his Republican enablers worried about the elections in '08.

All this hogwash about "progress" and the new "Return on Success" may have taken the Democrats aback a bit and confused the media, but it shouldn't be too long before everyone starts to wake up to the fact that this bold new plan leaves us in June of '09 at the same place we were in November of '06.

There were 130,000 US troops there then and at the end of this so called "gradual change in mission" there will still be 130,000 troops. We'll still be spending $3 billion a week on this war and since, as Gen. Petraus says "we're on the offensive," there will be a corresponding number of casualties. According to there have been 773 US deaths since around the time that this new surge began and 4,996 wounded. That's all in 9 months, and W. is asking for another 9 months of the same. You do the math. That's what W. is signing everyone up for. Over five thousand more families grieving there young sons and daughters coming back in flag drapped coffins or without their limbs or more than likely without their minds.

The WaPo reports:

"Army Gen. David H. Petraus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Washington Post reporters and editors yesterday that current U.S. projections anticipate Iraq reaching nationwide 'sustainable security' by June 2009. Administration officials have said that they hope to draw down forces substantially by the time Iraq reaches such a state, transitioning to a more limited mission aimed at supporting Iraqi forces and hunting down al-Qaeda cells."

But isn't his all what they've been claiming they've been doing all along? Didn't Petreaus write in 2004 that, "there are reasons for optimism . . . Iraq's security forces are developing steadily and they are in the fight?" We all know how that's gone, so why is anyone falling for this stuff again?

It really boggles the mind. With the devestating loses the GOP took in Congress in November '06 and the hype about the the Iraq Study Group, it seemed there was no way W. could possibly get away with keeping us in this war a day longer than we needed to be and yet, he went right ahead and sent 30,000 more troops and escalated the conflict.

When will people wake up?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My 9/11

Well, here we are six years to the day I was leaving work very early from Olsson's Books & Records on 7 & E. St. NW in Washington DC, making my way up 7th to K Street trying to get to Dupont Circle on September 11th 2001. I was hoofing it because something told me I shouldn't be putting my life in the hands of the crack security staff of the DC Metro.

As I walked down K Street I saw an ever evolving scene of complete rush hour chaos, but in reverse -- and panicked. It was 10 in the morning and everyone was trying to get out of Dodge. Along my way there was a odd scene where maybe a hundred people stood in a semi-circle, apparently stuck in their tracks by what was transpiring on a bank of TVs in the windowe of a video and electronics store.

I didn't even stop, I kept walking not knowing that the towers were falling until much later. Whe I heard fighter lets overhead firing their afterburners and I knew I had to keep moving to my friend's house on R street to find out what the hell was going on.

When I got to R street my friend still hadn't made it home yet. I went to a pay phone to call her but and there was this massive line because, as I soon found out, everyone's cell phones were out. I eventually got in touch with my firend who, I was told, was in a meeting.

I was dumbfounded. I told the person on the phone, "In a meeting? Are you kidding, do you know what's going on?" But, I guess, the BS business of Burson Marsteller never stops for anything, not even an attack on the United States.

While I was waiting for my friend to get home, I made my way down to Q street and stopped into that little beer and wine store on the corner to get a Mountain Dew. I found inside a line of men and women all decked out in their K Street power suits waiting to buy their bottles of wine and six-packs. I couldn't believe there were these upstanding K street types standing in line at 10:30 in the AM waiting to go home and get drunk!

After cogitating over that weird scene for a while, I made my way down to Conn. and R st. to wait for my friend at the Cozi that used to be there. The place was shut down but there were folks sitting in the outdoor cafe looking through the window trying to see that was on the TV. All I could see was a huge cloud of smoke over the river, but the closed-caption was too small for me to read so I still didn't know what was going on.

A German TV crew amazingly had found two Germans standing right next to me, who were interviewing them about their reaction to what was going on. Bizarrely, while that as going on, there were three Arab guys sitting down, very nonchalantly, speaking in Arabic like there was nothing going at all.

I thought, that was very strange, because even though I had no idea what was going on, beyond knowing about a plane hitting the WTC, I just had this feeling the Arabs had something to do with it.

My firend finally got home,I found out what was going on and the rest is history. I went home, eventually, white-knuckling it the whole way back to the People's Republic of Takoma Park on the Metro and and spent the rest of the day and night until about 4 AM watching TV.
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