Why do people have to die everyday for things to stay the same?

And get even worse...

It is undeniable that the Iraq war is a debacle of immense proportions. Every time I try to write something, I simply can't. And after all the blank spots have been filled in with vivid color by my family members with whom I was re-united with during the winter break, I do not have the words to express anything...much less my disgust for the situation.

But, Eric Haney, the founder of the infamous American Delta Force does not have the same such problem.

Eric Haney, a retired command sergeant major of the U.S. Army, was a founding member of Delta Force, the military's elite covert counter-terrorist unit. He culled his experiences for "Inside Delta Force" (Delta; $14), a memoir rich with harrowing stories, though in an interview, Haney declines with a shrug to estimate the number of times he was almost killed. (Perhaps the most high-profile incident that almost claimed his life was the 1980 failed rescue of the hostages in Iran.) Today, he's doing nothing nearly as dangerous: He serves as an executive producer and technical adviser for "The Unit," CBS' new hit drama based on his book, developed by playwright David Mamet. Even up against "American Idol," "The Unit" shows muscle, drawing 18 million viewers in its first two airings.
Since he has devoted his life to protecting his country in some of the world's most dangerous hot spots, you might assume Haney is sympathetic to the Bush administration's current plight in Iraq (the laudatory cover blurb on his book comes from none other than Fox's News' Bill O'Reilly). But he's also someone with close ties to the Pentagon, so he's privy to information denied the rest of us.

We recently spoke to Haney, an amiable, soft-spoken Southern gentleman, on the set of "The Unit."

Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?

A: Utter debacle. But it had to be from the very first. The reasons were wrong. The reasons of this administration for taking this nation to war were not what they stated. (Army Gen.) Tommy Franks was brow-beaten and ... pursued warfare that he knew strategically was wrong in the long term. That's why he retired immediately afterward. His own staff could tell him what was going to happen afterward.

We have fomented civil war in Iraq. We have probably fomented internecine war in the Muslim world between the Shias and the Sunnis, and I think Bush may well have started the third world war, all for their own personal policies.

Q: What is the cost to our country?

A: For the first thing, our credibility is utterly zero. So we destroyed whatever credibility we had. ... And I say "we," because the American public went along with this. They voted for a second Bush administration out of fear, so fear is what they're going to have from now on.

Our military is completely consumed, so were there a real threat - thankfully, there is no real threat to the U.S. in the world, but were there one, we couldn't confront it. Right now, that may not be a bad thing, because that keeps Bush from trying something with Iran or with Venezuela.

The harm that has been done is irreparable. There are more than 2,000 American kids that have been killed. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed ñ which no one in the U.S. really cares about those people, do they? I never hear anybody lament that fact. It has been a horror, and this administration has worked overtime to divert the American public's attention from it. Their lies are coming home to roost now, and it's gonna fall apart. But somebody's gonna have to clear up the aftermath and the harm that it's done just to what America stands for. It may be two or three generations in repairing.

Q: What do you make of the torture debate? Cheney ...

A: (Interrupting) That's Cheney's pursuit. The only reason anyone tortures is because they like to do it. It's about vengeance, it's about revenge, or it's about cover-up. You don't gain intelligence that way. Everyone in the world knows that. It's worse than small-minded, and look what it does.

I've argued this on Bill O'Reilly and other Fox News shows. I ask, who would you want to pay to be a torturer? Do you want someone that the American public pays to torture? He's an employee of yours. It's worse than ridiculous. It's criminal; it's utterly criminal. This administration has been masters of diverting attention away from real issues and debating the silly. Debating what constitutes torture: Mistreatment of helpless people in your power is torture, period. And (I'm saying this as) a man who has been involved in the most pointed of our activities. I know it, and all of my mates know it. You don't do it. It's an act of cowardice. I hear apologists for torture say, "Well, they do it to us." Which is a ludicrous argument. ... The Saddam Husseins of the world are not our teachers. Christ almighty, we wrote a Constitution saying what's legal and what we believed in. Now we're going to throw it away.

Q: As someone who repeatedly put your life on the line, did some of the most hair-raising things to protect your country, and to see your country behave this way, that must be ...

A: It's pretty galling. But ultimately I believe in the good and the decency of the American people, and they're starting to see what's happening and the lies that have been told. We're seeing this current house of cards start to flutter away. The American people come around. They always do.


What: Action-adventure about special-ops unit.
Where: CBS (Channel 2).
When: 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

What's the matter with me...

You might be asking this just about now. And I don't blame you. I've been MIA quite some time...and for a number of reasons. First, every time I actually try to sit and write about the current situation and all that's happened to me in the past couple months I'm met face to face with some serious questions that concern my identity and my changing priorities in life and I'd just rather avoid such questions for the meantime in order to gain focus. I've become more pragmatic and see how little affect I've actually got on the whole ball of wax which melts, runs, and withers in every which way at the whims of the flaming sharameeet on all sides who bi' ya'khrab for sport. That sport is making money and grabbing power. Over the course of one's life, we each dabble in this sport at various degrees. But the degree in which current leaders and former leaders in the new and "democratic" and American/Irani Iraq (and this includes leaders of the occupation as well) partake in such sport is beyond any sane person's wildest imaginations. We can safely say at this point that nobody wants Iraq to be a success, even anti-war Europeans and Americans. I realize I'm citing FF in this link, but he makes some damn prescient points in today's Guardian. And he makes the point I've made over and over about how Democrats and Republicans are essentially a different face leading to the same bullshit. But I think FF is being a bit too much of an apologist for the GOP in this article, because I do not believe Al Gore would have necessarily taken this country into such an ill-advised war. But we're already here, so no need to harp on about the past, right? Wrong!

What's another reason why nobody wants Iraq to be a success?

If Iraq had some securtiy and essential services, the theives are were there before the elections and the theives who are there now could not steal as efficiently as they do. Add a chalabi or two and you have expert Theive Trainers spreading around the cash...because there's tons to go around. Unfortunately, there isn't enough power to spread around to all the terminally corrupt and inept asswipes who think they have some control over the current situation. The situation is out of control, but the president tells you to look past the bloodshed and not lose your nerve. On the other hand, the Iranian Iraqis tell you that they want the US out soon because there's no need for them there because the current Iraqi "government" has everything under control. And if we were to believe the rosy outlook the White House continues to take on Iraq, we might even begin to believe the Iranians and withdraw, right? WRONG!

And with this, the true Iraqi's delemmna is thus presented...And I guess I can only speak from the Iraqi Christian perspective when I point the following out. The troops cannot stay and they cannot go.

But I firmly believe that this is America's dilemma now. Every American's dilemma actually. And America won't leave Iraq...and they won't interfere with all-out civil war, according to Squire Rumsfeldio. But I bet you a bottom dollar Americans side with Sunnis and Saddamites in the coming months and years and try to grab back some of the power that the Shiites have taken. Not interfering in an all-out civil war reeks of some of the reality that quite literally gushes out so often onto our television sets and web browsers...meaning, the occupation has come to protect America's oil underneath Iraq's soil, even if innocent Iraqis continue to die because of the American and Iranian presence. The 51st state indeed. How many states get a 500 billion dollar budget over three years?

So, we know what they won't do...but what will they do to stay in Iraq?

I'm sure they don't even know what the long-run has in store. But lying to the American people is a pre-req of seemingly everything the cabal on the hill do. It's important to note that there are other cabals in other places who are also meddling with Iraq's fate. And knowing this makes me the saddest. It is truly an arena for other people to fight their wars. I need not mention Lebanon's or Algeria's similarities any longer. This is a much more formadable monster. And it will be Bush's legacy whether he likes it or not.

Personally, I hope he succeeds. But I know he won't because of his miserably poor performance to date. Success is something you build one brick at a time, not something you imagine.

My internet is back

First, my apologies...

I was supposed to do so much, but for over a week now my internet has been down. Good news is that it works again. Bad news is that I don't have the time now to get to anything. I just wanted to say hello and let people know that I will return to the fold shortly.

I've got a thing for elephants.

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