My head hurts bad, and I hate my nose. Since BooMan is packing (or so he claims), I am morally bound to post something, right?!
Achoo … and screw you!
(Hey, Alan Alda’s on Hardball talking about his run for the presidency on West Wing.)
Anyway. My nose requires too much attention and tissue to allow me the time to post something thoughtful. But, I can’t forget another part of Amy Goodman’s interview of Seymour Hersh this morning. It was about Jack Murtha. I like that guy. This section didn’t fit with the story earlier today about the special forces in Syria and secret camps. But it’s very important. I’ve boldfaced a couple sections I think important.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Murtha is one of those oldies, in his 70s now. He’s somebody … like me, I always try to get to. I can talk to some of his aides. He’s on the Defense — he’s one of the leading players on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He’s a very conservative military guy, who controls the budget, not only the budget we know about, but the black budget, the covert budget. He’s one of those people trusted. Jerry Lewis in the Congress is another one, a House member. In the Senate, it would be Senator Inouye of Hawaii and Senator Ted Stevens, both in their 80s, of Alaska. They run the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. These are the guys that the generals talk to. And Murtha is one, in particular. He’s known for his closeness to the four-stars. They come and they bleed on him.
And so, for Murtha to suddenly say it’s over, as he did three weeks ago or two weeks ago, as I wrote in this article, it drove the White House crazy. They were beyond mad, as somebody said to me, because they know that the generals are talking to him. So here you have a case where we don’t have — you know, the generals are terrified pretty much, as they always are. That’s just the nature of the game. But they don’t speak truth to power. They’re not telling the American people exactly what’s going on, and they’re clearly not telling the White House, because the White House doesn’t want to hear.
So Murtha’s message is a message, really, from a — you can consider it a message from a lot of generals on active duty today. This is what they think, at least a significant percentage of them, I assure you. This is, I’m not over-dramatizing this. It’s a shot across the bow. They don’t think it’s doable. You can’t tell that to this President. He doesn’t want to hear it. But you can say it to Murtha, you can say it to Inouye, you can say it to Stevens. … continued below — and it’s important, so read it, dammit!:
AMY GOODMAN: It’s interesting what you write, the examples of what Murtha said, the most devastating comments that he reported. “The number of attacks in Iraq has increased from a hundred and fifty a week to more than seven hundred a week in the past year. He said that an estimated fifty thousand American soldiers will suffer ‘from what I call battle fatigue’ in the war, and he said that the Americans were seen as ‘the common enemy’ in Iraq. He also took issue with one of the White House’s claims — that foreign fighters are playing a major role in the insurgency.”
In fact, he says, “American soldiers ‘haven’t captured any in this latest activity’ — the continuing battle in western Anbar province, near the border with Syria. ‘So this idea that they’re coming in from outside, we still think there’s only seven per cent,’” Murtha said.
SEYMOUR HERSH: And most of those, you know, the Sunnis and Baathists have no love for jihadists. I mean, Saddam was always on war against jihadists, just as Asad was, the father of the son back in Syria. There’s no love among the secular Baathists for any fundamentalism. And so what happens is it’s very cynical. What’s happened now is the insurgency welcomes — if you want to come and be a car bomber, come on in and kill yourself. They couldn’t care less. But it’s not as if there’s any shared responsibility there.
This is a war run by the Baathists and the Sunnis and many Iraqi citizens, who initially had no reason to dislike us, but because of the way we’ve behaved in the war and the way we’ve conducted the war with these house-to-house searches and the search-and-destroy missions and the bombing. You know, bombs don’t — they never always go where they’re aimed, even though they’re more accurate than ever, they’re still –even the Pentagon statistics indicate 10-15% of bombs don’t go where they’re aimed, even with laser guidance.
So, Murtha, yes, I was interested in the press coverage, because they did deal with what he said about Cheney and his caustic comment. But in the speech was this — I thought the statistic that was devastating was the 50,000 statistic, of combat fatigue or whatever syndrome they call it now, more sophisticated than that word now. But my friends inside the V.A. tell me that as of late June or early July, there had been about, oh, 900-950,000 American soldiers, men and women that have gone to war since March or April of ’03, by July of ’05, two years and three or four months later, over 104,000 had come into the V.A. looking for help. Once they returned, rotated home, come back to V.A. hospitals, a staggering statistic.
You know, you can’t — we talk about torture. And one of the things to remember about mistreating people is, you know — this isn’t cynical, but I really do mean it — you know, the people that do the mistreatment end up being as much victims as the people they mistreat. They come home with a lot of lot of bad baggage. …