Tag Archives: attaboys

The Inconvenient Truth About Iraq and Benghazi

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“The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it’s scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based. And if you can’t find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don’t deserve to wear that uniform!” Captain Jean Luc Picard to Wesley Crusher Star Trek the Next Generation “The First Duty” 

I was talking with a conservative friend the other day and he ended up bring up the subject of Benghazi and the tragic loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other State Department personnel at the consulate last September 11th. He was talking about the scandal of this and the political impact that he hoped it would have on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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I was actually shocked that he said this so for once I decided to actually say something and mention the 4486 official US military deaths in Iraq. My friend who I really do like and respect commented that they were “the result of what happened in war.”

It stunned me when he said that because he is a military brat, but then I realized that he had bought the lie about Iraq and was so solidly partisan that he could not see the moral, ethical and even legal discrepancy in what he was saying. For me the question was far less about whatever impact it might have on Hillary’s campaign should she decide to run but about the truth.

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When I confronted him about it I was stunned by how easily he dismissed all of the dead and wounded and other casualties of Iraq but was so insistent on some kind of conspiracy to cover up Benghazi. But this is how so many people think today thanks to the constant bombardment of ignorance on Fox News and other partisan outlets. It is not about the truth, it is about the nastiest kind of politics.

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I too am upset about Benghazi, but likewise I am upset about the 241 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers killed at Beirut in October 1983 when the Reagan Administration ignored warnings about putting US troops into Lebanon while taking sizes in that county’s civil war. I am upset about the nearly 3000 killed on 9-11-2001. I am upset about dozens of other terrorist attacks that occurred under both Republican and Democratic administrations in which DOD, the State Department and other agencies made mistakes that cost lives.

Some attacks could have been prevented and others probably not. However they were terrorist attacks committed by our enemies, not an illegal undeclared war of preemptive choice conducted by a United States administration against the will and recommendations of many of our closest allies. That is the inconvenient truth.

What has happened over the past decade is that many on the political right cannot admit that they were wrong about Iraq. This despite the fact that President Bush, Karl Rove and almost every senior member of the the Bush administration have admitted that the reasons that they took us into war with Iraq were wrong. There were no weapons of mass destruction, the nuclear program was a shambles and Iraq was not working with Al Qaida, which like most secular military dictatorships in the Middle East loathed. That is the inconvenient truth.

The fact that so many people on the political right go into a nearly toxic lather about four people lost in Benghazi while shucking off the deaths of nearly 5000 Americans who died in a war that was not only a mistake but violated the very laws that we helped establish at Nuremberg infuriates me. This is no longer about national security to them, it is about politics. This is not about ethics for those that led us into Iraq have none. It is not about justice for if there was justice those who made the decision to attack Iraq would be tried for war crimes.

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I served in Iraq and was fortunate that I served with our advisors and the Iraqis in Al Anbar during the time of the Anbar Awakening. I saw a different war than many people observed and for that I am glad because it busted my illusions about what we did in Iraq forever. I needed that. I may have come back thoroughly goofed up with PTSD and at times I am sure certifiably crazy, but I needed it to see the truth.

The fact is that unlike Benghazi the war in Iraq has crippled this country. Nearly 5000 dead, 30,000 wounded and trillions of dollars of national treasure dumped into the abyss. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed, wounded or driven into exile, many who greeted us as liberators.  Of course that was before the Bush Administration put the kleptocrats of the Chalabi group rape and pillage the country.

Likewise it was after the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer, a man who had never in his career served in the Middle East threw out ever carefully orchestrated plan of DOD and CENTCOM for a peaceful transition in the country thus bringing misery to Iraq and triggering the anti US-Coalition insurgency and Iraqi Civil War. The great military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz said: “No one starts a war–or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so–without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.” The fact is that the Bush Administration was not only not clear, but they were inept and lawless in invading Iraq.

Additionally the invasion cost the United States the goodwill and trust of many allies and friends. No one will ever see us in the same light again. Instead of being a liberating power and “light to the nations” we are seen in much of the world as a rogue, lawless and imperialist state. Otto Von Bismarck put it so well when he said “preventive war is like committing suicide out of fear of death.”

I don’t know about you but I am sure that is not the vision of our founders. I was told on my first day in the Army back in 1981 that “there are attaboys and aww shits and it takes 2000 attaboys to make up for one aww shit.” The Bush Administration’s lawless invasion of Iraq and incredibly inept occupation was a disaster for the United States, Iraq and most of the region, except maybe for Al Qaida and Iran. By the way let us not forget the crippling effects of the Iraq invasion on the campaign in Afghanistan which allowed both the Taliban and Al Qaida time to regroup, consolidate and regain the advantage in that God forsaken land.To the 4486 we can add a couple of thousand more deaths in Afghanistan thanks to the decision to invade Iraq. That is the inconvenient truth.

For people to ignore a war that defies American and International Law as well as common sense which cost us and the world so much while making cheap political points by exploiting the deaths of four men is a disgrace. Had the men who started the invasion of Iraq been tried for by Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg they would have been convicted as war criminals and sent to the gallows. That is the inconvenient truth.

Justice Jackson said at those trials:

“If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.” Justice Robert Jackson International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945, Dept. of State Pub.No. 3080 (1949), p.330.

My closing thought is that those that want to make political hay out of Benghazi need to take a serious look at Iraq. What’s fair is fair. 4486 dead and over 30,000 wounded not counting another 100,000 or so with PTSD or TBI versus 4 dead and no wounded. I don’t make light of any of the deaths of Americans serving this country at any time or in any place.  I would not dishonor their memory by playing politics with their deaths. But the truth is indeed terribly inconvenient and those who do this must be called out regardless of their political orientation.

If there were mistakes or cover ups by Obama administration officials regarding Benghazi, so be it let them be investigated fairly an impartially not with an eye to political advantage and those that partake of this cup must be willing to drink of the cup of crimes committed by the Bush Administration in Iraq. The same is true when Democrats do the same to Republicans.

Truth matters too much to be sacrificed on the altar of politics even while those doing it ignore far greater crimes of far more epic dimensions committed by members of their political party.

Truth is terribly inconvenient and even when painful should never be sacrificed on the altar of political advantage by partisans of any party.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under ethics, History, iraq,afghanistan, middle east, Military, national security

Andino’s Errors Costly as Tides Lose to Bulls 9-8

Frank Mata strikes out Desmond Jennings on Sunday night

It was a warm and uncomfortably humid night at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.  It was so humid that it seemed that the very air was trying to mug the 5000 of so fans that braved to weather to come to the game.  After a 28 minute delay the game got underway with Tim Bascom facing former Tide Bobby Livingston.

Michael Aubrey doubles

Both Bascom and Livingston held the opposing team scoreless for the first three innings but that did not last as they entered the 4th inning when the game became a see-saw match as each team kept pace with the other.  In that inning Bascom gave up a single to Leslie Anderson which was followed by Angels Chavez’s 9th home run of the year to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead. The Tides got 2 in the bottom of the 4th when Nolan Reimold singled and scored on Lou Montanez’s triple. Montanez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Aubrey.  In the 5th inning Bascom walked J. J. Furmaniak and with two outs gave up a home run to Rocco Baldelli.  The Tides then scored 4 in the 5th inning as with 1 out Scott Moore and Robert Andino singled to put runners on first and second.  Nolan Reimold flied out for the second out but was followed by Montanez who doubled to bring Moore home.  With Michael Aubrey at the plate Livingston threw a wild pitch allowing Andino to score once again tying the game.  Aubrey doubled his 25th of the year to score Montanez and would score himself when Bull’s right fielder made a play right out of Bull Durham and simply missed an easy routine fly ball off the bat of Brandon Snyder for the 4th run of the inning.

Rocco Baldelli doubles off of Alberto Castillo

In the 6th inning the game went glunk for the Tides.  Pat Egan relieved Tim Bascom and gave up a single to the persnickety Angel Chavez who has been a pain to Tides pitchers this series.  However Egan got Omar Luna to ground into a double play and it looked like the Tides would get out of the inning with no damage and the lead.  That did not happen, the next batter Fernando Perez hit a sharp ground ball which was deflected off the glove of Paco Figueroa for an infield hit. Desmond Jennings then hit a routine chopper to Robert Andino who bobbled the ball to put runners on first and second. The very next batter, J.J. Furmaniak hit a similar ball to Andino who this time missed the ball completely appearing not even have his mind in the game took his time to track it down behind 2nd base to allow Perez to score.  This opened the door for the Bulls whose next batter Dioner Navarro singled to left to score Jennings and was followed by Chris Richard who doubled to score Furmaniak and Navarro to give the Bulls an 8-6 lead.

The Tides came back in the bottom of the 6th inning against Bulls reliever Brian Shouse. Jeff Salazar doubled to lead off the inning and was followed by Paco Figueroa who walked. Scott Moore stuck out swinging and was followed by Robert Andino who singled to load the bases.  Shouse then walked Nolan Reimold to score Salazar and narrow the Bulls lead to one run.  Lou Montanez drove in Figueroa on a force out. Shouse walked Michael Aubrey to load the bases. Then controversy happened. Brandon Snyder appeared to draw a walk on a checked swing on a 3-2 count but Bulls catcher Dioner Navarro appealed the call to the 1st Base umpire Stephen Barga who called Snyder out. Snyder ran down to argue the call and was tossed from the game and Bobby Dickerson continued the discussion for several minutes before giving up. Thus at the end of the 6th the score was tied 8-8.

There were no runs scored in the 7th or 8th innings, Frank Mata set the Bulls down in order in the top of the 7th while Shouse retired the Tides giving up a walk to Paco Figueroa.  Mata had trouble in the 8th after getting two outs on a double play loading the bases to bring in Alberto Castillo who struck out Chris Richard swinging.  Joe Bateman replaced Shouse in the 8th allowing a leadoff walk to Andino but retiring Reimold, Montanez and Aubrey in order. Castillo came back out in the 9th to face Rocco Baldelli who doubled and advanced to second on a ground out by Leslie Anderson. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Angel Chavez before Castillo stuck Omar Luna out swinging to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order facing Jake McGee in the bottom of the 9th and the delayed and slow moving game came to an end with the Tides losing 9-8.

Joe Bateman (6-0 1.81 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Jake McGee the save, his first and Alberto Castillo got the loss (1-1 4.33 ERA) got the loss. In the end the game came down to Robert Andino’s costly errors which helped the Bulls to 4 unearned runs in the 6th inning.  Andino now has a league leading 28 errors many of which have cost the Tides pitchers runs and the team games. Egan should have left with the lead and Castillo should have been pitching for a save with a decent lead.  Despite his clutch hitting Andino will need to get his head in the defensive game if he hopes to play shortstop in the Major Leagues.  When he is locked on defensively he is excellent but as of now his poor defense is a liability that sometimes cancels out all his excellent work at the plate.  When I first entered the Army a Special Forces Sergeant told me and those with me that there were two things in the Army, “attaboys” and “aw shits” and that it took 2000 attaboys to make up for one aw shit.  Andino now has 28 aw shits this year in the field. I wish him well but his defense needs to improve dramatically to be the kind of asset to a Major League franchise that his obvious talent at the plate would make him.

The teams played today with the Bulls winning again. The article on that game will be separate from this and will likely appear tomorrow.  The Tides travel to Durham for the first two games of a road trip that will take them to Charlotte and Gwinnett before returning home on the 31st for their final home stand of 2010 against the Braves. Troy Patton (7-10, 4.85ERA) will take the hill for Norfolk against Durham right-hander Richard de los Santos (13-5, 3.59 ERA).

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, norfolk tides