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Congess finds out the dangers faced by our solders

We have heard so often that the surge is working. Perhaps it is working far too well. Four arch-Conservative Congressional delegates flying out of Baghdad, came under fire just as their C130 lifted off from the Baghdad airport. Judging from the depth of the Pentagon’s reaction, it was a close call.

The C-130 cargo aircraft conducted evasive maneuvers after a nighttime takeoff from Baghdad, said Ken Lundberg, spokesman for Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was on the plane.

In addition to Martinez, the plane was carrying fellow Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Alabama Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer, a Democrat.

With the exception of Cramer the Blue Dog Democrat, all of the three republicans would be considered extremely conservative. Shelby, was the individual responsible for announcing that we had intercepted Osama bin Laden’s phone messages. Inhofe accused the Weather Channel of creating global warming. Martinez was in charge of Bush 2000’s Florida campaign, and we all know what happened there. In 2006, he helped craft the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 that would be referred to by much of his own party, as “amnesty”.

All three of these are extremely conservative; all three are potentially embarrassing to the future Republican party; all three have uttered controversial statements like this one…. by Inhofe:

“I am outraged by the ‘outrage’ over the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib”, suggesting that liberals being outraged over Rumsfeld’s abusive tactics, were more of a outrage to American values, than the actual torture practiced on Iraqis by American servicemen.

Each of these Republicans has become and will be a future embarrassment to their party in the upcoming elections. Each of these statements will be pounded over the airwaves with undulating precision.

But if you look beyond the glossed over press reports there seems to be something deeper going on behind this incident. Perhaps it was more than just a close call?

For one, why would the C 130 fired upon as it left Baghdad, just happen to carry three of the most conservative members of Congress? Of course one option, and the first considered, is that it occurred randomly. However two other possibilities that could occur, are 1) either the Iraqi insurgents have remarkable intelligence capabilities, capable of communicating the precise moment the plane lets go its brakes to a position miles away, or……2) it was an inside job.

Was it random? At roughly 150 of these planes flying in and out of Baghdad on a daily basis, the odds at firing on this one randomly selected over the last five years, would be: 1 chance out of 273,750. That would be a 2737.5% chance of not happening. But anything is possible, right?

So let’s examine the logistics behind the alternatives. To fire upon this one plane, the enemy would need to know which plane out of the twenty five lined up on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, contained the conservative legislators. That means the insurgents would have had access to Baghdad military airport, in the heart of the super safe Green Zone.

If the enemy was this intelligent, they should know that killing four congressional legislators would not end the war. It would escalate it further. (To end the war they would need to kill liberals.) They would also know that creating martyrs out of the four most conservative Congressional members, would embolden a 9/11 response across this country. It would rally international support behind the US, now waning worldwide, and create an international environment more hostile to Al Qaeda. The insurgents would be foolish to fire upon that plane.

So who stands to gain if these men were shot down? Obviously those republicans waiting in the wings in their safe red districts, would benefit. So would the RNC. There would be NO chance of a blue taking any of these seats. Obviously the Republican party would be better off by not having their own comment blaming “the Weather Channel for creating global warming”, receiving international airplay. (They are so losing this next election; I hope that Mondale lives long enough to see his dubious record broken.) Obviously the next big republican scandal that will come out of Florida (Martinez), would be nice to nip in the bud. Furthermore anyone having a vendetta against that one single person responsible for leaking that nugget that we were listening to Osama’s phone calls just after 9/11, causing his GPS location to be lost to us forever, would rub their hands with revenge.

These shots fired, based on a cross reference of the press reports description and the Pentagon’s map of Baghdad, originated from an area safe from insurgents, and entrusted to private corporate mercenary services. The location of these shots makes it even more unlikely that an insurgent pulled the trigger. The odds that an operative of Al Qaeda, infiltrated a private security service such as Blackwater, was in real time informed as to when this very plane was taking off, and knew exactly when to pull the trigger seconds before he even saw or heard the plane, all without any experience of ever having done so before at this location…….. are impossible to calculate…………….

If this was an inside job, perhaps instead of an assassination, it was a mere attempt at a scare. They missed on purpose. For by instilling fear in some of the most conservative members of the Congress, one could continue to count firmly on their future loyalty and support.  No doubt as they spoke before their respective branches of Congress, they could then be counted on to convey to others, that the threat was real.

For if on their return, had these four wavered and decided that all future expenditures were nothing but a massive waste of money, that the surge was not working, and that it was time to make a change in Iraq policy, then dreams of all neocons everywhere, would be nothing more than a wisp of gunsmoke……………

But such talk is just “hullabaloo” , really……… it was nothing more than a random event, a one in a 273,750 chance.
defensive actions by a C130 over Baghdad

Recently Duffy made a comment that was, as my kids would say, was “sooo…..2004” Being away I failed to respond in a timely fashion, and Tyler Nixon, thankfully, stepped up to the plate, and contributed the opposing point of view.

But it caused me to reflect, since a month ago I heard the same type of comment offered again in defense of Cheney, that events have moved forward so fast, that it is quite plausible that one missed an integral piece of the puzzle needed to understand today’s events.

In an effort to fill in those “gaps of knowledge”, perhaps allow me to expand on why it is quite conceivable that Cheney orchestrated the war to enrich his pockets.

These sources may be unknown to many of you. But I have found that credibility is often more prevalent, the further one is removed from the Kleig lights of media’s attention. When thing are said that are not “self serving”, their is a good chance that there may some truth buried within.

The area of concern lies with how intelligence was orchestrated by the administration to create an illusion, instead of being used to find facts. Now in late 2006 and 2007 we are starting to get the “unofficial” side of events that led us to invade Iraq, as ex-American intelligence officers have vetted their manuscripts and now are publishing them.

Are these ex intelligence officers to be believed, over the “official” Administrative take of events leading up to March 03?

Perhaps. Our Supreme Court always publishes a dissenting opinion, whenever it processes a verdict. This allows the open discussion of ideas, even after the discussion is rendered obsolete due to the decision having already being made.

These opinions, now being published, should be treated as the dissenting opinions that did not win in the inner office discussions leading up to the chain of command’s decision. But unlike Supreme Court decisions, these do not need a court case to be overturned.

One further note, before I begin. If history had shown the Iraqi war to be successful and accomplish the mission that was sold to the American people, then this conversation would be irrelevant. It is only within this context, that five years after we were first presented this intelligence, we are currently mired in dealing with bombs smuggled into the very safe Green Zone, and with demonstrations against American occupation, by the very Iraqi policeman and Iraqi army officers we counting on to defend our troop’s safety and security within that region, that this dissenting opinion, belatedly offered, has any merit.

When one of these sources took over as CIA chief of the European division, he was told the White House was extremely interested in Iraq, and that his department should report everything they could find out about it, as well as on Iran and China. The scuttlebutt within the agency was that the Bush people were out to settle the score for the first Gulf War. Bin Laden was an afterthought. All effort to move the terroristic threat into the inner sanctums of the White House, were blocked or shut down, as evidenced by the now famous “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” fiasco proved. Instead of revamping efforts to concentrate on unearthing terrorists in Europe and infiltrating weapons proliferation networks in Europe, resources were shuffled towards gathering any dirt on the Saddam regime that could justify a ground attack upon that country. In any bureaucracy one career moves forward only if one gets noticed. When praise was delegated to Iraqi findings and silence given towards Bin Laden findings, a strong signal reverberated throughout all intelligence agencies.

George Tenet, to his credit was dedicated to breaking down barriers with our European allies. but he was swimming against the tide, which was turning increasingly away form the real targets and toward Iraq.

“The Bush administration was about to embark on a course that would do more to undermine this country’s intelligence community than any of the actions of its predecessors.”

This caveat was offered to illuminate how this administration chose fiction over fact.

Just hours after 9/11 one of our allies offered their support. “Anything we can do”, they said, “is at your disposal”. ” I hope we can all agree that we should focus attention on Afghanistan and not be tempted to launch any attacks on Iraq.” this representative said.

George Tenet replied. “absolutely, we all agree on this that. Some might want to link the issues but none of us wants to go that route.” The other side of the argument was of course represented by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, and the others, but for now, under the quiet skies over post 9/11 DC, no one in the intelligence communities on BOTH sides of the Atlantic, considered pursuing Iraqi leads.

Had intelligence been part of the policy decisions, we might be in much better situation than where we are now. Under a different administration, the policy hatched out in meetings between underlings of international intelligence agencies may have risen to the policy determining level of senior officials. It was thought that European allies might take a request of cooperation from one of their neighbors better than they would have from us. This attempt to make the pursuit of Al Qaeda appear to be a multinational effort, was stopped by Rumsfeld’s disparaging remarks against our allies France and Germany by calling them “Old Europe” Had this officer known what was to come, he would have tried to make them understand the value of our friends across the ocean. “But then again, with their agendas, their mind was made up.”

Recently on Battlestar Galactica, which happens to be not only my favorite, but also one of the best shows currently showing on television, a Doctor on board the ship Galactica, was racially killing off, and essentially effectively practicing genocide on a certain species of people, while maintaining his appearance as the compassionate, benevolent, humanistic Doctor we wish every physician would be.

The hour-long plot traces a trail of evidence from the suspect realm of a incredibly bizarre notion, to the ultimate arrest of the perpetrator who committed these heinous crimes.

What amazes me is that this television show which was shot last year, always seems to mirror today’s current events whenever its episodes happen to be shown. For just last year while watching the show, I actually came to understand the thought progression that pushes one down the road to torture, and why Americans in real life, chose to venture down that path. They were not butchers, but instead were just following the logical course of events that transpires when only Spockian rational thought is applied..

Likewise, during last season I finally came to understand how the cards are stacked so that an insurgency will always win and how it is impossible to totally suppress any people fighting oppression, for their resistance grows proportionately to the amount of force applied against it. Only through other means, such as negotiation, so that a person’s quality of life does truly benefit by their surrender, can one convince a proud oppressed people, to fall in line with a captor’s demands. At this point, my eyes opened and I realized that Iraq was unwinnable if we continued to fight as conquerors, and that like Vietnam where the longer we fought, the worse the war become for us, even as we won every battle our troops engaged..

So now each time as I sit down on Sunday nights and put reality on hold for an hour, I anxiously wait for some inspirational understanding to waif upon me and show me the relevance of today‘s current events.

Cynical as I am, I am always shocked each time that epiphany happens. This week I was not disappointed.

Stripped of everything unique to this show, the plot was simply a twist of the same theme of every thriller: in which the culprit does something so outrageous that when any accusation is made against him, it is deemed preposterous and impossible to believe, and the credibility, if not sanity, of the accuser is often at stake.. It was only through the protagonist’s dogged suspicion, and his dedication to uncovering a vague pattern of events over a very long period of time, that we, as viewers, determine that the trend definitely defies the laws of randomness and must be caused by some type of criminal intent. Once adequate suspicion is laid, a simple re-look at the last victim, uncovers evidence of criminal action, and the culprit is culled from his place of trust in society. It’s the same CSI plot, shown every week…….

So what does this have to do with today’s political landscape? Again, through whatever magic this show has going through it, it is timing. For this week we are reinvestigating the influence of oil in the Middle East and whether we went to war for the simple reason to acquire cheap energy, Not cheap for us as a country, we still would pay market price, but for those who would develop it cheaply and then sell it to us for as high a price as they could.

Again, there were those chanting “no war for oil” as we protested the buildup around the perimeter of Iraq. Most of us dismissed it as a slogan venting their anti-war feeling. These accusations were simply brushed off with a shrug, and a “don’t be silly” demeanor, which at that time, was convincing. We marched into Iraq, with almost no casualties, and celebrated our quick victory on the Lincoln, and thought to ourselves, ‘boy, didn‘t those protesters look silly.”.
But if one looks at these actions over a distant time line, there seems more truth in those slogans then we ever gave them credit.

My interest was peaked by a comment to a previous post in this forum, titled “It’s the map” We were discussing the possible origins of a map that is hyper linked on the post, so it was in researching that map’s history that I stumbled across some very troubling patterns beginning to emerge.

This was dug up from the comment section in a recent Colossus of Rhody post regarding great education movies.

“Sometimes these movies make it seem like the right teacher can inspire even the most reluctant of students, but in nearly every case, the teachers just got rid of the students that weren’t being inspired. Apparently, the moral is that many children must be left behind.

Posted by Ivan Wolfe at January 6, 2007 11:39 PM


Has this nation, bent on the noble intention of educating everyone, lost its innate ability to educate anyone?

It has.

This nation should shift its focus from whether “any child is left behind”, and go one step further and guarantee that all children, are endowed with the inalienable right to be educated to their own full potential.

Briefly stated, the educational focus needs to change from holding a class back until the “dumbest” finally “get it”, to pushing each member of a class forward to the best of their own abilities, whatever they may be. In doing so, not only are we educating each student to comprehend those basics needed by society, but we are also able to challenge and groom the brightest minds, on whose talents our future will depend.

Education has not caught up with a significant change in our brain development. Due to breast feeding, early development toys and tools, and educational programing, the child entering our educational stream is far more developed than what our educational system presupposes. The first year of instruction at age 5 in kindergarten covers what most kids know by age 2, simply from watching Sesame Street, Nickelodeon Jr, or assorted special videos purchased by their parents. The second year of instruction covers the same material. It is necessary review, the bureaucrats tell us.

Think for a moment. Have you ever seen a five year old who doesn’t want to learn. No, they are bubbling full of questions covering every topic. Next compare that with a room full of high school seniors, slumped in their chairs, staring at the ceiling, who are there only because they are forced to be. Somewhere in between we, as a society, lost them.

As we banter back and forth over the security issues that flash across our screens and news-wires today, we spend relatively little emotional energy to the most pressing problem facing this country’s future.

And that is our country’s corner on the market that creates technology. We have moved so far, just in the past three years, (as the technology of this very blog proves), that it is becoming obvious that any nation’s dominance in the world arena, will be determined by that country’s grasp of exciting technology. The power to shape world events, which has been ours since WWII, will fall to whatever nation advances furthest in matters of intellectual prowess. A nation’s wealth will be determined, no longer by its indigenous raw materials, but by the number of its cell phone companies, broadband Internet providers, and cable services it can offer to the world economy.

Tom Friedman put it most succinctly to his children using the old adage mothers fed their children by. ” You had better do your homework, because somewhere in the Third World, there is a child doing his homework, WHO WANTS YOUR JOB.”

On this playing field, what does our country gain if everyone knows the history of the underground railroad, the rote of vocabulary words picked two generations ago, and how to add and subtract, multiply and divide. All are worth knowing, don’t get me wrong, but just how necessary are they to our future? Basic blocks of knowledge, but as a society we have to figure how to play and win at NFL playoff-level football after having just been taught how to throw and catch.

There are good ideas out there to move us in this direction. I will make them the subject of another post.

But right now, the point that needs pondered, as put best in the quote I started with, is whether or not some kids do need to be left behind.