Friday, July 01, 2005

Not Racist?
In case you've missed it, Mexico has released a series of stamps showing a lovable cartoon character beloved in the nation. His name? Memin Pinguin. His appearance?

Wow. Now, I am rather anti-PC. I see a lot of it as cry-baby antics. But this stamp is so over-the-top racist as to beggar the imagination.

Oh, never mind. According to Vincente Fox, President of Mexico, I don't have the information I need to make this judgement. The inflated lips and the Aunt Jemima mother in the background aren't brutal stereotypes. I'm just ignorant of Mexican culture. Shame on me!!

Fair enough. So, in the interest of expressing our American culture, I'd like to re-introduce a classic icon. He's a little wild, and a dangerous gun-slinging chip pitcher. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you this...

Yes, it's the Frito Bandito!! I implore the Postal Service to immediately put a one-sheet into circulation showing the lovable Bandito in all his corn-chip glory. We need more Frito Bandito!!

And if Vincente has a problem with that? I guess he just doesn't have enough information to make that judgement.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush Speech = Political Expediency

This'll be quick, but I wanted to get something in as I slowly (oh so slowly) get back into the writing routine.

Bush's speech last night was lousy. Just lousy. Why?

He used our troops as political props: Bush spoke of supporting our men and women in uniform and letting them know we're behind them. Which is the proper thing to do. These brave warriors don't craft policy, they execute it as commanded by their superiors. So whether we support this war or not, we should do what we can for our troops.

Unlike Bush, who cut benefits for injured vets yesterday. Who sent them into war under-manned and under-equipped. Who says in one moment "If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them" and in the next "Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy..." This means there won’t be more troops. Which means the borders will remain porous. Which means more American soldiers will die needlessly.

He used 9/11 shamelessly: Here is a quick exercise. Repeat after me:

Remember that, because it's true. Iraq didn't house Al-Qaeda terrorists until we invaded Iraq. Iraq wasn't a front in the war on terror until Bush made it one. Hussein, as vile a man as he is, had nothing to do with 9/11.

We are fighting terrorists in Iraq because Bush made it a haven for terrorists. The chaos that followed the Administration's half-assed post-war plan almost guaranteed the terrorists would flourish in Iraq.

This battle could have been pursued without making Iraq another front. Al-Qaeda was cornered in Afghanistan. But Bush decided to take his eye off the ball. And now we have to clean up his mess with the lives of American men and women.

Bush is still not leveling with us: Last night's speech was supposed to be the President coming clean with America. Well, call it Mission Aborted. Bush did nothing of the sort.

He traded on the painful memories of 9/11 to justify his ineptly-planned and executed Iraq war. He claims we don't want to stay when we are building multiple permanent bases to house troops. And he says there are 160,000 security forces "Trained and equipped", which is a bald-faced lie. There are 160,000 total Iraqis, but only 2,500 of them are capable of independent operations. That is less than 2 percent of the total men. Based on that level of achievement, we should have them all trained and ready to go by 2103. Something more than the "6 months" that was being tossed around by Cheney and Rumsfeld before the war started.

The kicker in all this is that we can't set a timetable, we can't just pull out. We have to set benchmarks, achieve them and ensure that Iraq is stable when we (eventually) leave. If we pull out early, or set a date, we will essentially turn over Iraq to either terrorists or Iran, and neither is an acceptable choice.

But this fact doesn't get Bush off the hook. He and his Administration must be held accountable for starting this war. A war that didn't, and shouldn't, have been fought. A war that turned Iraq into a terrorist haven. A war that has distracted us from what is supposed to be our real goal: capturing Osama bin Laden. A war that is throwing away the lifeblood of our Armed Forces, that is crippling their ability to recruit new soldiers, that is dangerously weakening our capacity to respond militarily elsewhere in the world.

The war against terror is a necessary war. But the war in Iraq was a war of choice. Bush and his Cabinet chose this fight. The shame is that they don't have to suffer the consequences for it.

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