Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th Special: The Civilian War on Military Truth

If you think this Administration is doing a peachy job managing the war in Iraq, and/or you distrust/loathe the U.S. Military, prepare for an opposing view.

Is there anyone left in the U.S. who doesn't acknowledge this war was planned, entered and executed on a foundation of knowing, calculated-to-con-us lies? Hopefully not.

Is there anyone who doesn't know the C.I.A. and other intelligence services sworn to serve the nation were pressured to either support or at least not contradict our civilian /elected administration's chosen list of lies and fabrications?

Is there anyone who doesn't know that Vietnam War veteran (wounded in combat, disabled by any standard) General Eric Shinseki was fired and then treated like scum by his civilian/elected Overlords for daring to speak the truth, that the U.S. needed 300,000 to 400,000 ground troops to pacify and control Iraq after the war--precisely what our intelligence services had concluded?

Here's my July 4th thought: our elected officials who are in charge of the nation's military--and by this I mean our Commander in Chief, former Scretary of Defense and on down the line from there-- are unworthy to lick General Shinseki's boots, much less attempt to humiliate and discredit him because his judgment on military matters was at odds with their politically calculated expediencies.

I am also offended on behalf of the many Asian-Americans who have served in this nation's Armed Forces. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion, comprised of Japanese-American volunteer troops and Caucasian officers, earned the most combat decorations of any unit that served in World War II. I invite you to visit the 442nd/100th's "Go For Broke" Monument. ("Go For Broke" was the Hawaii-inspired motto of the units; many volunteers left Internment camps to join.) My wife's uncle's name is engraved on the list of those who served.

Here is a description of the unit's service:

"Composed of all volunteers, the 442nd fought in the Italian campaign. The 442nd is the most decorated unit in United States history. In less than two years of combat, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team earned more than 18,000 individual decorations including one Medal of Honor, 53 Distinguished Service Crosses, 588 Silver Stars, 5,200 Bronze Star Medals, 9,486 Purple Hearts, and eight Presidential Unit Citations (the nation's top award for combat units).

In June 2000, President Clinton awarded an additional 20 Medals of Honor to members of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. One of these recipients was Hawaii's U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, whose right arm was shattered by a grenade while successfully destroying three German machine gun nests. The 442nd/100th sustained 9,486 wounded and over 600 killed suffered, the highest casualty rate of any American unit during the war."

Now you can perhaps partially understand my outrage over the way General Shinseki was treated by this pathetic parade of arrogant liars, none of whom served a day in combat but who have been pleased to lecture the nation about duty and sacrifice for 7 long, hypocritical years. Meanwhile, General Shinskei is serving as the national spokesman for the Go For Broke National Education Center, furthering the nation's understanding of what sacrifice, valor and honor really mean:

"The Go For Broke National Education Center is pleased to announce that General Eric K. Shinseki (U.S. Army, Retired), a Vietnam veteran who went on to serve as the 34th Chief of Staff, United States Army, has agreed to serve as the Go For Broke National Education Center's national spokesperson. In this capacity, General Shinseki will help to ensure that the significant, but little-known, contributions of Americans of Japanese Ancestry during World War II are understood and remembered.

"There is no other story in the history of the U.S. Army like this one, and given the conditions that gave rise to the extraordinary valor of Japanese American soldiers, there may never be another story like it again," Shinseki said, referring to the valor of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), whose prowess in battle resulted in the award of 21 Medals of Honor."

I have many Filipino-American friends, and as a result I am also deeply offended by the way the dishonorable pack of liars in the White House and Pentagon have treated another U.S. Army general whose sworn duty was to the nation, not them: Antonio Taguba.

The entire story can be found in this New Yorker piece by Seymour M. Hersh: The General’s Report: How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties.

The story is by now depressingly similar: a career Army officer fulfills his duty by telling the truth, and is promptly punished and sent packing by the arrogant politicos who have so badly mismanaged the terribly serious business of war.

here are some excerpts from the story:

"Here . . . comes . . . that famous General Taguba—of the Taguba report!" Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice. The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.); and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with Craddock and other officials. Taguba, describing the moment nearly three years later, said, sadly, “I thought they wanted to know. I assumed they wanted to know. I was ignorant of the setting."

CHS: The setting being a group of political hacks who don't want the public to hear the truth about anything, lest their own lies, deceptions and dishonor be revealed.

"I’ll talk to you about discrimination," Taguba said one morning, while discussing, without bitterness, his early years as an Army officer. “Let’s talk about being refused to be served at a restaurant in public. Let’s talk about having to do things two times, and being accused of not speaking English well, and having to pay myself for my three master’s degrees because the Army didn’t think I was smart enough. So what? Just work your ass off. So what? The hard work paid off."

Taguba had joined the Army knowing little about his father’s military experience. "He saw the ravages and brutality of war, but he wasn’t about to brag about his exploits," Taguba said. On (his father) Tomas’s eightieth birthday, he was awarded the Bronze Star and a prisoner-of-war medal in a ceremony at Schofield Barracks, in Hawaii. "My father never laughed,” Taguba said. But the day he got his medal “he smiled—he had a big-ass smile on his face. I’d never seen him look so proud. He was a bent man with carpal-tunnel syndrome, but at the end of the medal ceremony he stood himself up and saluted. I cried, and everyone in my family burst into tears."

Army regulations required that the head of the inquiry be senior to the commander of the unit being investigated, and Taguba, a two-star general, was available. “It was as simple as that,” he said.

"The dirt and secrets are in the back channel," the former senior intelligence officer noted. "All this open business—sitting in staff meetings, etc., etc.—is the Potemkin Village stuff. And the good guys—like Taguba—are gone."

In some cases, the secret operations remained unaccountable. In an April, 2005, memorandum, a C.I.D. officer—his name was redacted—complained to C.I.D. headquarters, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, about the impossibility of investigating military members of a Special Access Program suspected of prisoner abuse."

If this doesn't make you want to send the entire Administration from the President on down to Abu Ghraib for high treason, then I recommend you read the entire article--carefully.

Many of you may not know that military service has long been a proud tradition in the Filipino-American community; you may also not be aware that like African-Americans, prior to World War II, Filipinos were only allowed to serve as wardroom staff--waiters and kitchen staff. It was only after the War, and the many sacrifices made by Filipino troops--many of whom rescued or aided American soldiers and airmen fighting in the Phillipines--that these limits on service were raised.

To have such a fine, honorable citizen and Army officer denigrated and shoved into retirement by a pack of liars is more than I can stomach. I don't care who takes over as President in January 2009--I will cheer the passing of this arrogant dishonorable collection of liars and shameless political hacks. How long it will take to repair the damage they have inflicted is unknown, but it will be a long time.

No one has to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces; it requires a devotion to duty not many of us possess. To have those who have served our nation their entire lives insulted by an arrogant, smirking pack of shameless liars--I weep for our nation and those so dishonorably discredited by those unworthy of any office.

Oh, and when the global Depression grabs the U.S. by the throat in a year or two, you can thank this same pack of liars for that, too. (See previous entries for details.)

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