Friday, December 16, 2005


Milestones are like little gifts. You're handed the opportunity to reflect; how travels the path you've chosen, or didn't? What lies ahead? Are you ready? Are you scared?

Sometimes people don't recognize milestones. There's always something still out of reach, a goal or desire required for ultimate happiness. Other times, milestones are of the in your face variety. A decision is required. A door must open or close in your life. Relationships, jobs, death... all stones of a sort, to be endured or enjoyed, but undeniably, to be recognized and pondered.

God Dem! is one year old.

Re-reading my first post was interesting, to say the least. Like lots of left leaning bloggers, the Presidential Election was a turning point that bloated discontent to the breaking point and belched it into the blogoshpere. I was a belchee. Anger, an emotion I'd never felt in connection to the American political scene, was in my driver's seat. I'd lived in a reddish state, surrounded by people who ate, breathed and slept Rush Limbaugh, patiently waiting for sensibility to take over. Surely a blow job was not this encompassing.

But it was.

If so, certainly we could move past a "mis" leader after four years? The administration that scared me with nonexistant nukes, yellow cake, and WMD's should be accountable for their words, right? The President who was a divider, not a uniter, would publicly scrutinized for his actions?

What we saw was the nastiest election ever. Florida was too close to call. The last three weeks of the campaign left me nauseated. Truly, I saw American idealism decimated for profit and power. My country was not great, it was not honest, it was not civil or gracious. She was the hot, easy chick who asked for it. America is a nation that is comprised by millions. Our "being", as it were, is personified by the leaders we choose to implement the course we believe best. When the bullies took the keys from Diebold, they changed the look of the country.

They raped idealism.

Overnight, we became citizens too scared and stupid to know what was best for us. We allowed aggression to become our footprint, without viewing aggression through Honor's looking glass. Afghanistan lies on the bed, forgotten, while Cheney humps for oil. We've shit on our veterans, exist in racial denial, and denigrated our poor.

A year later, I look at the body of essays that is God Dem!, and I'm proud of the work. This blog started in anger has grown, and grown up. Through it, we've pondered the role of liberals in our world, the schism of the Democratic Party and religion, in three parts (1, 2, 3), the power of prayer, and the fall of an administration built on a tissue of lies. I've met some amazing minds, and learned how to defend with grace and pith.

Coming into another election year, we will undoubtedly be nauseated again. This time, though, the number of blog voices has grown in both ability and desire. We understand very well that nothing less than citizen involvement will do. There will be no more waiting for sanity to prevail.

Lock and load.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Piper

We are a country in love with clichés, figures of speech, maxims, you name it. In America, things come home to roost. If you build it, they will come. What goes around, comes around. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. We don’t do the crime if we can’t do the time

In the case of the Iraq war, it’s time to pay the piper.

Comparisons of Iraq to the Vietnam War are increasing. I’ve seen several remakes of Nixon’s “Vietnamization” speech of 1969, and it’s a bit eerie. Dems in Washington smell blood, and some of the more professional fence sitters (Hi, Hillary!) are sliding off the pickets. Personally, I think this country runs best when the congress and the Whitehouse are controlled by different parties. After this last fiasco, I’d like to see a fiscal conservative of any stripe replace the theo-wags in the House (Yes, Mr. Santorum, I’m talking to YOU, and no, I’m not Satan), and a Dem with vision at the helm. Gore would do nicely.

But, we were talking about maxims, weren’t we? Specifically, piper paying, I believe.

This is where any similarity to the Vietnam War ends. We have summarily created growing enemy combatant forces, training grounds and funding in Iraq where there were none. (See the things come home to roost thing, above. You see, we built it. Now, they are coming.) In Vietnam, we schlepped some fancy names on it, and finally, years too late, we pulled our troops out.

Confronted by a demoralized army on the battlefield and by growing opposition at home, in 1969 the Nixon administration started withdrawing most of its troops in order to facilitate what it called the "Vietnamization" of the country. The rest of America's forces were pulled out after Secretary of State Henry Kissinger negotiated a "peace settlement" with Hanoi. As the troops withdrew, they left most of their equipment to the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam — which just two years later, after the fall of Saigon, lost all of it to the communists. – Martin Van Creveld, The Forward

It’s VERY expensive to move gear out of an arena. That’s why we left all that stuff in Vietnam. That, and because in order to conduct a classic withdrawal, moving piles of equipment over hundreds of miles, we put our military personnel at extreme risk. Factor in a country guaranteed to sink into an all-out civil war, whose love of America is thin, and whose population is growing daily with our true enemy, Al Qaida, and you have a horrific scenario of our own making. What goes around comes around.

Why do it?

Well, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Our 1960’s version of the military was vastly different than the one we field today. The technological advances in weaponry which enabled us to mass greater firepower and effectiveness with less personnel (not to mention the huge cost of these weapons), means we don’t exactly have that many of them. It’s critical to our national defense that we keep them, and that means we have to move them with our troops. Hence we are already committed to an expensive and deadly classic withdrawal strategy.

Handing over their bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.

Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not. – Martin Van Creveld, The Forward

Once we’ve paid for all that, we still have to maintain a presence in order to keep the dogs at bay. Iran, complete with impending nuclear capability, will sniff around that door immediately, and this war that wasn’t about oil but really was about oil is going to require us to stay in a security capacity. The value of the region is too high.

The cost of this war for lies, ego and profit sickens me.

Tough nuts. The piper is at the door and he doesn’t take checks.

Impeach Bush.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sandbox Ettiquette

Kids have a way of peeling back gentility. When needs are immediate, and generally self orientated, the niceties of cooperation are basically just in the way. After all, we’re talking things of value, here; who wants the red truck when the blue one rocks?

Not getting your way happens. It’s how you handle it that’s interesting.

Grabbing works, sometimes. Just march your happy self across the box and TAKE that toy. This works best for the littlest or the biggest kid. Little kids get away with grabbing because they’re too little to know better. Uh huh. Big kids get away with it because they’re scary. Oh boy.

Once a toy is commandeered, there are choices. Adults would ask for it back in a reasonable tone. In the sandbox world? I don’t think so. Depends on the variables. How big is the kid? Is your Mom looking? What would make you happiest? Grabbing it back, throwing sand, or just whacking the kid upside the head with the yucky truck?

See, you were having a good time with the blue truck. You made roads and built a big pile of sand. Things were great. Then, three kids grabbed your truck, stomped your pile flat and dug a big hole where your extra sand used to be.

Everything is messed up. You not only got no sand, you owe huge amounts of sand. You may never get that hole filled. Plus, they stole your truck!

Sometimes, being the nice kid in the sandbox sucks.

So you check out the three kids. Kid number one talks pretty tough, but you think he’s bluffing. He’s got the truck. He’s also got two kids to back him up. Kid number two is big. And scary. He looks like he’d eat live baby rabbits. He keeps digging that hole, deeper and deeper. Kid three is a weirdo. He keeps standing behind one and two, whispering in their ears. He’s creeping you out.

Big Time.

What’s the best way? Who do you tackle first? You can’t walk away because you really love that truck. After scoping out the status of the ruined sandbox, it’s obvious your truck needs you too.

Sometimes, problems are just too big for one kid to solve alone. A kid needs reinforcements. A kid needs numbers. A kid needs….you.

Allleealllee all in free!

Georgie swiped our truck. Little Dick’s digging for oil and smearing dirt to cover his tracks, and that weird kid Karl just took a crap in the sandbox.

There's a lot more of us now than there used to be. It's time to get our truck back.