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Nov 222010
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It’s Monday… so we’ll visit with Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars as we do every Monday morning for our “Fools on the Hill” segment, recapping the Sunday talking head shows.  And yes, we have a whole crop of new and bigger fools heading for the Hill…and we’ll hear from at least one of them today.

In the first hour, I’ll be joined by my favorite activist, David Swanson, whose new book, War Is A Lie, hits stores today.

This weekend, I participated in a voiceover workshop… and one of the exercises was to write and deliver a rant, in order to help us find our true voice.  Knowing that I’d be speaking with David about his book today, I ranted about the wars…

Over the past nine years, we have spent over $367 billion on the war in Afghanistan, and more than $743 billion on the war in Iraq.

Although most Americans will now admit that Iraq was a giant mistake — we were lied into invading a country who did nothing to us, by a sociopath who wanted to be a “war president” — many otherwise intelligent people still think that invading Afghanistan was the right thing to do because, after all, they attacked us.

Uh, no they didn’t!

We were attached on 9-11 by Al Qaeda.   A senior U.S.  intelligence official, last December, told ABC news that there are fewer than 100 Al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan!  But most people don’t know that because the media no longer reports the truth.

So now we’re told we’re still fighting in Afghanistan because of the dangers posed by The Taliban!  Seriously?

I agree that the Taliban are evil people, but who died and made us the police of the world?  We were told that we invaded Afghanistan to avenge the 9-11 attacks  and to get Al Qaeda — not to protect the people of Afghanistan from the Taliban!

It’s the same logic that kept us in Iraq. We invaded Iraq because we were told that they had weapons of mass destruction – aimed directly at us.  They lied and said we were in imminent danger and if we didn’t invade them now, it would be too late when we found ourselves under a mushroom cloud!

Fear worked, and we invaded a country that did nothing to us and posed no threat.  When not a single weapon of mass destruction was found, the reason changed.  Then we were told that we had ridded the world of an evil dictator and that the Iraqi people were much better off.

But that’s not what the Iraqi people say… who’ve lost anywhere from 150 thousand to a million of their friends and family, and who are lucky if they get an hour a day of electricity in their post Saddam Hussein world.

And then there’s OUR most precious treasure, our young men and women sent to fight and die in those wars.

According to icasualties.org, the US has lost 4746 men and women in Iraq, and another 2224 in Afghanistan.  (That was last night. The number could be higher by now.)  We’ve spent over $1 trillion, taken the lives of 6970  American men and women, and left many, many thousands more maimed and broken – physically and mentally, to what end?

Victory? How do you win a war? The only winners are the arms manufacturers and military contractors to whom war is a business, and they get even richer.

For the rest of us, including those screaming about the federal deficit, the trillion dollars and counting we’ve spent killing people on the other side of the planet is being taken from us.  Money that could be better spent on paying teachers, police and firefighters and helping the millions who are unemployed due to the state of the economy–which is this bad, in large part due to the ridiculous amount of money we’re spending to fight these insane wars!

And then there are the families of the almost 7000 men and women who were killed, or the countless others who have to live with their injuries and memories..

There is no way to win a war.  In war, everyone loses.

If you want to follow along with Fools on the Hill today, here are the topics and links to the clips we’ll be discussing, courtesy of Nicole Belle:

Apparently, the media en masse decided that the important story of the week had to do with national security and foreign policy.  That’s my presumption at least, looking at a Sunday morning schedule that included no less than five appearances of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Adm. Mike McMullen.  Personally, I’d love to have a little more of a realistic discussion about Afghanistan, but that is a little too optimistic of these Sunday shows.
But Hillary Clinton did defend the criminal courts trial and conviction (on one of almost 300 counts) of terror suspect Ahmed Ghailani, saying most suspects should get their day in court, as opposed to a military tribunal.
Honestly, I don’t understand the right’s demagoguery of this.  How can you simultaneously hold up our criminal justice system as the best in the world and be afraid to use it with terror suspects?  How is it that our courts are perfectly appropriate venues for Eric Rudolph or Tim McVeigh, but suddenly become unacceptable if the suspect’s first name is Muslim?
But at least that’s better than Rep. John Mica, who thinks we should privatize TSA.  Of course, because adding a profit motive to porno scanners and pat down molestations is bound to make everything better.
Frankly, I’m hoping that the pushback on the TSA’s new procedures sees some modifications to these ridiculous measures.  The choice between getting dosed with radiation (I used to fly constantly for my job.  If I went through those scanners, I would be glowing within a year) or getting felt up by an underpaid and undertrained TSA agent is not making flights any safer.
Meanwhile, David Brooks–ignorant of just how desperate the situation is for many seniors, likens the raising of the age for Social Security to the inconvenience of losing a wisdom tooth.  (On a semi-related note, this Friday, Mike Pence started off his rumored run for the Republican presidential nomination by insisting that people WANT a smaller safety net.  There are just no words for this level of stupidity.)
And then there is my favorite subject of how the media fails us.  And who is the poster child for this kind of egregiousness?  David Gregory on Meet the Press.
Gregory interviewed newly elected (and already controversial) tea party candidate Allen West.  But did he mention any of the violent rhetoric that has surrounded West and his inner circle?  Nah, that would be journalism and Gregory doesn’t play that.
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