Sunday, January 28, 2007

"The Decider" or "The Dictator" -- What's the big difference?

Lots of great protesting went on yesterday and continues today. My friend in San Diego just called to tell me that he attended an Out of Iraq rally at Horton Plaza yesterday along with some 2,000 others to hear Daniel Ellsburg speak. Later Saturday night, Ellsberg spoke on "Truth-Telling In A Time of War: A Call to Civic Courage." From the Activist San Diego page:

"Daniel Ellsberg will speak on the need for a “Pentagon Papers” of the Middle East, a new ethic of patriotic whistle blowing, a resolution to the constitutional crisis due to the president’s abuses of power, and an enlightened and effective policy to prevent nuclear proliferation and further U.S. aggression.

Background Information

Daniel Ellsberg was former official in the Defense and State Departments, he released the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971. These top-secret documents revealed that official accounts of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam were deliberate deceptions. His courageous act helped bring about the resignation of President Nixon and the end of the Vietnam War.

For the last 35 years Daniel has continued to be a leading voice of moral conscience and warning. "

Yes, we certainly could use some speaking truth to the lies that are destroying life and limb in Iraq. What do you do when the top official of the country you live in refuses to listen to the people's will? How many carriers must arrive in the Gulf region with missiles trained on Iran does it take before The Decider is carried off in a strait jacket? What does it take to get the congress and senate, our duly elected officials to understand that WE the People, want the war to end now. That's now, not later.

There are plans afoot to mass once again in Washington DC on Saturday, March 17. If that is the case, everybody who can get there ought to start making arrangements now.

Here's a portion of a stirring manifesto for the proposed March 17 march (tragically, the 4th anniversary of the Iraq War) from the New Hampshire Independent Media Center:


We will be in Washington on January 27 and we will come back on March 17. And when we come back in March, this time we must be prepared to stay there in the thousands to force Congress to vote NO on more war funding. If Congress tries to rush a vote on war funding before March 17, this time we must be prepared to come to Washington in mass to make sure that the war funding is voted down.


We are asking people to bring their medical, rent, heating and utility bills; student loan bills; credit card bills, and food bills that they can’t afford to pay as well as shut-off notices, mortgage foreclosures, eviction notices to the march on Washington. It must be made clear to Congress that feeding more money to the war while more and more people cannot pay for their basic living expenses is a crime. The cost of the war is not the only reason why we oppose the war. We oppose the war because it is an imperialist war for colonial conquest and plunder. Yet the cost of the war is important because it’s paid for by money stolen from providing social needs. The money that has paid for death and destruction in Iraq could have gone towards reconstruction in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

In his famous speech declaring his opposition to the Vietnam war almost 40 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It is disgraceful that a Congress that can vote upwards of $35 billion a year for a senseless immoral war in Vietnam cannot vote a weak $2 billion dollars to carry on our all too feeble efforts to bind up the wound of our nation’s 35 million poor. This is nothing short of a Congress engaging in political guerilla warfare against the defenseless poor of our nation…”

Everybody knows it -- Bush is gunning for Iran next and will not listen to reason. He is either trapped by his own irrational brain or else is protecting the huge profits for those Big Business interests that backed and bought his presidency. Perhaps both forces are intertwined in a stranglehold of Bush's brain. Perhaps if he sees masses of citizens screaming oaths outside his White House barricades, he or his handlers might step back from the brink of outright nuclear war.

Or the elected officials might grow a spine. One of the Daily Kos diarists RenaRF has some great pictures of the giant spine paraded in front of the Capitol yesterday. Let's hope a bunch of our elected officials start growing them immediately.


RoseCovered Glasses said...

Your post has some excellent points. Here's some additional data:

The Department of Defense, headquartered in the Pentagon, is one of the most massive organizations on the planet, with net annual operating costs of $635 billion, assets worth $1.3 trillion, liabilities of $1.9 trillion and more that 2.9 million military and civilian personnel as of fiscal year 2005.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years.

What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

On the same subject, you may also be interested in the following sites from the "Project On Government Oversight", observing it's 25th Anniversary and "Defense In the National Interest", insired by Franklin Spinney and contributed to by active/reserve, former, or retired military personnel.

microdot said...

I have read the same post on quite a few blogsites (rosecoveredglasses) and it contains information we need to know...but over a year of posting the same comment everywhere?
I am relly nervous about the up coming date of Febuary 10th when the next UN action on Iran will take place.
Winston Churchill said:
"A War of Agression Is Always Preceded by a Pack of Lies!"
We lived through on pack of lies and now the public is being force fed another on Iran. I don't believe Mr. Cheney thinks there is any force on earth that can stop him from executing the final phase of the Cheney Doctrine.
The word in the press and blogs these days to describe him is delusional. Fine, but delusional, he still is proceeding to make his deluusions reality.
When for what ever pretense, an attack on Iran is initiated, the results in America will be a panic fed by the Administration with unprecedented Security Threat announcements. This noise will drown out any protests as Cheney proceeds to destroy the constitutional limits on presidential power even more. This has been a long time project and is not about any Iranian Secuurity threat. The fact that the oil supply will be strangled and we will suffer is only icing on the cake for him. His buddies will make huge profits off of ouur suffering. He is not so much deluusional as psychopathic and our existence is but a mere detail to his lust for power and greed!
This is my extremely depressing thought these days. Can anything be done?

microdot said...

Sorry for the gloom and doom post this morning. I had to get up at 6:30 for my language class and I was thinking while I was waiting for my wife to get ready and looked at your post and it all came gushing out.
I hope I didn't spoil your day.

Village Green said...

Hey Microdot! You are allowed to get depressed here at the Village Green. I do too, and goodness knows there are plenty of reasons to get down about the state of the world and the leaders who keep messing it up for the rest of us.

But we know what to do, don't we? In the words of the Bard of Muswell Hill:

Have another drink
It'll make you feel better
Have another drink
And you'll feel all right
Feeling down and
You're under the weather
Have another drink
And you'll feel all right!

Village Green said...

Hi Rosecovered glasses,

Thanks for your interesting post. It's pretty tough to get rid of the military-industrial complex when so many people are making bucks from doing business with it.

I really want to see Dennis Kucinich as head of the Department of Peace. The Pentagon's war machine needs to do a turnabout and make war on unsustainable living and global warming. So Al Gore for Department of the Environment.