Libya
August 22, 2011

Congratulations to the Lions of Libya.

They probably don’t call themselves that, but they should. A few months ago they were a ragtag amateur collection of angry young men seeking freedom from a forty-year tyranny.

They didn’t have a chance in hell of succeeding but they charged into battle against professional, disciplined forces. And got their collective ass kicked. And refused to quit.

NATO forces saved them, kept them going, helped train them and turn them into a force that could survive and learn. But those guys did it themselves, did the fighting, did the dying. Their blood stains the sand from one end of Libya to the other. And as of this morning they’ve bloodied Tripoli and are on the verge of ending Kadhafy.

I hope they hold it together and develop a rational, egalitarian government with a minimum of bloodshed.

Was the United States right to get involved?

Morally? Yes.

Financially? No.

The United States is failing to care for its own people, to take care of its own governance. Does it have the right to interfere in the governance of other countries?

Does such interference nonetheless make the United States a moral country in such matters?

No.

Syria’s tyrant continues to slaughter the Syrian people and continues to lie to the world about his actions. The United States does virtually nothing, its proclamation of sanctions an empty gesture, unsupported by other major players in the sanctions game. Will the Syrians, if they get rid of al-Assad, look to Libya and ask where was the United States when we fought and died?

And Bahrain, what of Bahrain? The people rose up, were slaughtered, were further victimized by Saudi troops, while the United States looked on, supported the Saudi move, said nothing, did nothing, unwilling to risk losing its military assets in Bahrain. What will the Bahrainis ask when they look to Libya?

Afghanistan? The United States, and its so-called allies, continue to brutalize that country by fighting, on the ground, in a civil and religious war. They have succeeded only in destabilizing the entire region, and continue to honor their own dead by insuring that more Americans and many more Afghanis will die in pursuit of a vague goal that makes no sense on any level, to wit, that no terrorist ever attacks the United States from Afghanistan again, completely ignoring that the attack in question came not from Afghanistan, but from airports and flight training centers in the United States and could just as easily have been organized in Peoria and operated from Dallas. But the killing and the waste goes on under the aegis of bobblehead politicians in Washington and their profiteering corporate masters.

Iraq? What’s to be said of Iraq? Only that George W. Bush and his cohort of amoral greedmeisters should long ago have been arrested and locked up in Guantanamo with the so-called terrorists from overseas. The Bushies would have been the real terrorists in Gitmo cages.

So while the Libyan fighters deserve their victory, the United States, which helped the Lions of Libya defeat their tyrant, once again appears to be the clumsy elephant in the room, the amoral giant which has eyes only for its bright and shiny drug of choice – oil – and cares not a whit who dies as it pursues its addiction, pursues it right to the graveyards of Asia and the Middle East as it makes a graveyard of the world.

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Remember Afghanistan? It’s Not Going Away. The Damn Fool’s In The Big Muddy, Again.
March 29, 2011

Do you remember this, the last verse of Pete Seeger’s song:

Knee deep in the Big Muddy
And the fools keep yelling, Push on
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fools keep yelling, Push on
Waist deep, neck deep
We’ll be drowning before too long
We’re neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fools keep yelling to push on

Nothing much has changed if you believe Ray McGovern’s piece over at Common Dreams. Same fools, different names, same games.

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Scott Ritter Reports From Baghdad. Nasty Truths.
September 8, 2007

If you haven’t read this, go here and read it.

Fuel Efficient Cars? Sure, Twenty-five Years Ago. But Automakers Just Can’t Manage It Now.
July 30, 2007

John Donnelly’s got a big front-page article in the Globe today about the Congressional debate on increasing the gasoline efficiency of automobiles.

Two bills are up for discussion:

Representative Edward J. Markey… is sponsoring a bill that calls for a 35-miles-per-gallon standard by 2019. Another House bill, endorsed by more than 40 Democrats and 60 Republicans and backed by much of the auto industry, calls for a standard of at least 32 miles per gallon for cars and trucks by 2022.

Wow!

The automakers’ bucks go far indeed when they’re paying for politicians.

Two decades ago, government analysts informed Congress in three reports that technology existed to produce cars that could achieve an average of up to 45 to 50 miles per gallon by 1995, if Congress chose to adopt higher fuel economy standards.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Congressional Budget office showed that high mileage technology was available, in reports done in 1979 and 1980.

Here’s the kicker:

Automobile industry officials, in interviews, agree that such technology exists, but said consumers would pay much more for those vehicles and would sacrifice safety features.

Do they mean safety features like air-conditioned gloveboxes?

No. What they mean is that to make high-mileage vehicles they would have to forego the hefty profits they make off the heavy, inefficient pieces of iron they sell now. They want to make their profits safe, and the country and the environment be damned.

Had Congress enacted legislation back then, fleet fuel economy for cars and trucks could have reached an average of 37 to 42 miles per gallon in the 1990s.

But in 1985 the Carter Administration caved in to the fat cats in Detroit, refusing to call for an increase in standards when the boys in Detroit objected.

Along came Ronnie Raygun, who opposed any increase in mileage standards and tried to roll back other environmental initiatives.

Republicans in the White House and in Congress, supported by key Democrats from auto-industry states, successfully stalled efforts to increase the standards for cars, while increasing the standard for light trucks by just 5 miles per gallon over the last 28 years.

As usual, the Republicans want to have it both ways. They, with help from key Democrats, want to keep their fat cat automaker friends happy and the money flowing into Republican coffers and pockets, while ginning up a war for oil to keep their fat cat oil friends happy.

Remember that the next time you read about dead American soldiers in the Middle East and South Asia.

Remember that the next time you see a picture of a dead Iraqi child.

They died to make a few sociopathic Americans rich.