BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Saturday

Lots of weird stuff today - NON-Rove, mostly.

But first, Daniel "NPR" Schorr's editorial re: Rove - which follows yesterday's sentiments re: THE LARGER PICTURE.

Rove Leak is Just Part of Larger Scandal:
Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.

In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail.
So "someone" sent Wilson to Africa to look into those claims. He went, found nothing, and told the Bushies they were shit out of luck.

However...
No news is bad news for an administration gearing up for war. Ignoring Wilson's report, Cheney talked on TV about Iraq's nuclear potential. And the president himself, in his 2003 State of the Union address no less, pronounced: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Wilson declined to maintain a discreet silence. He told various people that the president was at least mistaken, at most telling an untruth. Finally Wilson directly challenged the administration with a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed headlined, "What I didn't find in Africa," and making clear his belief that the president deliberately manipulated intelligence in order to justify an invasion.

One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a supersecret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.

The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.
Yep. That's the deal.

Onward.

Did you know that the Army's DIVORCE RATE has jumped 80% since the beginning of Operation Desert Whatever?!

The LA Times has a crazy article out - entitled "Shrapnel From Home."

Long story short, dudes are coming home from Iraq to find their marriages & relationships in flames. An old story for military dudes, but the divorce rate seems to be higher than usual.
After surviving the chaos of Iraq, thousands of soldiers have become casualties of a fight they were poorly trained for: keeping control of their family lives during the separation of war. Men and women who feel lucky their units suffered few fatalities say they can name dozens who returned to empty houses, squandered bank accounts, divorce papers and restraining orders.
The Army divorce rate has JUMPED MORE THAN 80% since the fighting began overseas in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The courts around Ft. Hood, the Army's largest post, may have to add another judge to handle the caseload. Divorce lawyers hire extra staff whenever a division prepares to come home.

To a soldier in battle, the threat of a family falling apart can be a dangerous distraction. "That's probably the worst part about being over there," said Hall, now back at Ft. Hood and facing a marriage so damaged it may not survive. "Your wife's cheating on you, you know she's been spending all your money the entire time, and there's nothing you can do about it. You think about that more than you do a bomb on the side of the road."
Dude, please, try to think about the bomb on the side of the road. You can get another wife. A new leg? That's another deal.

The high divorce rate is not the weirdest part of the article:
Whether by accident or design, the Army encourages its soldiers to marry.
Huh?!
The best housing goes to families, leaving single soldiers to share the barracks. Wages are higher for active-duty soldiers with dependents, and higher still for those sent overseas, when the pay is tax-free. Hazardous-duty and family-separation supplements can amount to several hundred dollars a month.

Soldiers tend to enlist young and marry young: 1% of civilians under 20 is married, compared with about 14% of military members in the same age group, said Shelley M. MacDermid, co-director of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.

"These early young marriages are not a great recipe for marital longevity," MacDermid said. "Research on divorce shows that. Add to that the anxiety associated with a dangerous job, and it doesn't bode well."

The deadline for going to war is among the most powerful incentives to rush a wedding. This time around, those unions are being tested by the longest and most recurrent deployments in the history of the volunteer military.
Seriously: Can someone tell me why the Army would encourage soldiers to marry?

That doesn't make sense to me. ('Cause I'm a stupid lefty.)

Is it because it's easier to get a guy to go through Hell if he's fighting for his family, too? Huh? I'd love to know. If a dude is single, he won't have to worry about all that nonsense back home...right?

Hey, speaking of soldiers - check out this scam - from the UK's Independent:

Corruption threatens to leave Iraq with a 'ghost army'

It's a pretty good scam:
A tidal wave of corruption may ensure the Iraqi army and police will be too few and too poorly armed to replace American and British forces fighting anti-government insurgents. That could frustrate plans in Washington and London to reduce their forces in Iraq.

The Iraqi armed forces are full of "ghost battalions" in which OFFICERS POCKET THE PAY OF SOLDIERS WHO NEVER EXISTED or have gone home.
You got that?
The Iraqi armed forces are full of "ghost battalions" in which OFFICERS POCKET THE PAY OF SOLDIERS WHO NEVER EXISTED or have gone home.
Brilliant.
"I know of at least one unit which was meant to be 2,200 but the real figure was only 300 men," said a veteran Iraqi politician and member of parliament, Mahmoud Othman. "The US talks about 150,000 Iraqis in the security forces but I doubt if there are more than 40,000."

The army and police are poorly armed despite heavy expenditure. "The interim government spent $5.2bn (2.6bn) on the ministry of defence and ministry of the interior during six months but there is little to show for it," said a senior Iraqi official who did not want his name published.
Because most of that CASH went to...?

"Evil Iraqi Defense ministers?"

"Mysterious US Businessmen?"

"High-end call girls?"

Well, it went to dudes who spent some of that CASH on high-end call girls. And other stuff. Methinks.
The corruption started under the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 when Iraqis, often with little experience, were appointed to senior positions in ministries.
But knew enough to help the CPA scam the US taxpayers.
The Iraqis did not act alone.

"The Americans were the partners of the Iraqis in all this corruption," says Dr Othman. The results of the failure to buy effective arms are visible at every Iraqi police or army checkpoint. The weapons on display are often ageing Kalashnikovs. The supposedly elite police commandos drive about in elderly pick-ups with no armour. The ministry of the interior was recently unable to provide a presidential guard with 50 pistols.

As a result of the LACK OF WEAPONS, the Iraqi police and army are often less well-armed than the insurgents.
Goddammit. I'm in the wrong business.

Wish my dad was an international arms dealer. I'd be in the presidential suite of a five-star hotel somewhere in the Middle East right now...

With a bunch of high-end call girls.

$25,000 a night girls. 'Cause I could afford 'em, with all that American cash money.

Tie this story to the missing 8-9 BILLION DOLLARS in US CASH.

Think every penny of that CPA $ went to "rebuilding Iraq" and "creating a strong Iraqi defense force?"

Ha!

More later...

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