In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Ethics on the battlefield

Ethics on the battlefield

Sarah Sewall, director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, most recently wrote the introduction to the University of Chicago Edition of the new U.S. Counterinsurgency Field Manual.

Ethical lapses among military personnel in Iraq pose a grave danger not simply to U.S. military professionalism but also to the operation itself. According to a newly released Army field survey, significant numbers of U.S. troops directly undermine their mission by mistreating civilians. Ironically, the same person who inscribed high ethical standards into new U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine -- Gen. David H. Petraeus -- inherited this compromised force. While the Army and Marine Corps can address future education and training for U.S. forces, is it too late to fix the problem in Iraq?

Intuitively and anecdotally, we understand the corrosive effects of irregular warfare. An unseen enemy that won't respect the laws of war tempts the opposing force to abandon its professional ethic. Now for the first time, we have hard data that scopes the extent and nature of the problem.

Read the rest of Sewall's column from the San Francisco Chronicle
(Sunday, July 1, 2007)

Bring Back the Citizen-Soldier

After hearing U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., explain his program to keep veterans off the streets, I couldn't help but think of Rome.

During the middle republic, military legions consisted of landowners, who, although required to supply their own equipment, weapons and armor, did not suffer the ravages of battle worrying about homelessness upon their return.

A recent Newsweek story puts the number of homeless Iraq war veterans between 500 and 1,000, a shameful, shocking red flag considering that, unlike the Vietnam era, the homelessness is taking root not just before the war ends, but in the midst of a surge. This wave of homelessness indicates many things -- misguided and myopic government spending, lack of insight among policymakers, decaying social infrastructure, toxic levels of a "suck-it-up" mind-set among soldiers -- but most of all, it indicates the extent to which civilians have grown divorced from the military. The days of military service as public service have largely ended, and our mentality is a far cry from Rome's plough-and-sword system.

Today, we non-military citizens tend to think of the military as "over there," a view that is inaccurate, dangerous and unkind. Inaccurate, because the military is not a monolith; it is people. Dangerous, because it encourages apathy among civilians, military disdain for civilians and a level of military autonomy that, history teaches, can lead to chaos. Unkind, because it allows us to look the other way when warriors come home emotionally, physically and spiritually scarred by acts carried out in our collective name.

Many Americans don't want anything to do with the military, and that is a problem. Mandatory conscription would quickly eliminate the "us versus them" gap, but any attempt at making service mandatory would probably incite outrage.

Read the rest of H. Savala Nolan's column from the San Francisco Chronicle
(Sunday, July 1, 2007)

LittleBill Is Back!

Hi, everybody, I got home on Tuesday and am so glad to be Back. I will require all day help for a number of weeks, and there are a ton of papers and bills to take care of, so things will be slow for a while.

I have some very interesting things to write about my stay first in the rest home and then in a recovery home. I got new furniture for my “office,” but will have to learn the computer again, as well as rearranging the office. LittleBill has walked all over my keyboard and is now on my lap helping correct the mistakes he made.

Have also written a couple of political things while I was there.

Thanks to everyone for your cards, calls, emails, and comments. I have missed all of you tremendously.

Love to all.

Behind the Scenes with Neo-Cons

Tuesday is as good day as any to demonstrate bipartisanship, so. . . .

Columnist Johann Hari recently infiltrated an annual National Review-sponsored cruise so that he could discover What Conservatives Say When They Think We Aren't Listening. Seminars were designed to exhume the conservative corpse and discover its cause of death on the black night of 7 November, 2006.

I have excerpted from the forest some of the more coherent trees which Hari relates.

Dinesh D'Souza:

It's customary to say we lost the Vietnam war, but who's 'we'? The left won by demanding America's humiliation.. . . of course politics is about class. Republicans are the party of winners, Democrats are the party of losers.
Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan's one-time nominee to the Supreme Court, mumbled from beneath low-hanging jowls:
The coverage of this war is unbelievable. Even Fox News is unbelievable. You'd think we're the only ones dying. Enemy casualties aren't covered. We're doing an excellent job killing them.
Rich Lowry, the preppy, handsome 38-year-old editor of National Review, says,
The American public isn't concluding we're losing in Iraq for any irrational reason. They're looking at the cold, hard facts. I wish it was true that, because we're a superpower, we can't lose. But it's not.
The ageing historian Bernard Lewis - who was deputed to stiffen Dick Cheney's spine in the run-up to the war - declares,
The election in the US is being seen by the bin Ladenists as a victory on a par with the collapse of the Soviet Union. We should be prepared for whatever comes next.
Norman Podhoretz and William Buckley are adversaries on the topic of Bush and his Iraquagmire. Podhoretz, looking in Buckley's direction, says,
I have lots of ex-friends on the left; it looks like I'm going to have some ex-friends on the right, too. . . . There were WMD, and they were shipped to Syria … This picture of a country in total chaos with no security is false. It has been a triumph. It couldn't have gone better. . . . There was nobody better than Don Rumsfeld. This defeatist talk only contributes to the impression we are losing, when I think we're winning.
pertaining to Islamophobia and Iraq, Buckley confides in an interview,
. . . . what animated the conservative core for 40 years was the Soviet menace, plus the rise of dogmatic socialism. That's pretty well gone. . . .I think the prudent Reagan would have figured here, and the prudent Reagan would have shunned a commitment of the kind that we are now engaged in… I think he would have attempted to find some sort of assurance that any exposure by the United States would be exposure to a challenge the dimensions of which we could predict. . . . found a strongman to replace Saddam. . .
James O'Beirne is husband to National Review's Kate O'Beirne and was Rumsfeld's Pentagon personnel director who staffed Iraqi occupational authority based upon personal loyalty to Bush:
The civilized countries should invade all the oil-owning places in the Middle East and run them properly. We won't take the money ourselves, but we'll manage it so the money isn't going to terrorists.
Mark Steyn, author of America Alone bemoans a fact that Muslims are procreating faster than
European races . . . who are too self-absorbed to breed . . . large-scale evacuation operations circa 2015. . . Greater France remorselessly evolve[s] into Greater Bosnia.
Here endeth my weekly duty to the spirit of bipartisanship. I've done my best to provide fairness, balance and equal time.

Watchin' NASCAR. . .

Hi all my adoring fans in NASCar-Land.

I'm taking a moment from the last practice before Sunday's race to let you all know that I'm doing okay. I've been lying here on my bed of pain after falling and braking my hip with internal fractures a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, my surgeon was able to put it together again with a screw of some sort. (They say it was just strength of character and from heavy-duty drugs that pulled me through.)

Hey mark, don't let that son of a bitch do that to you again! Next him just knock him the hell out of the race.

Sorry, I've got distracted by an accident. Where was I?

Oh Yes, They say I will rise from my bed of pain, any day now, just in time to get back home to a new table set up for my computer, and catch up with all of you.

Hugs & Kisses

Appraising George Bush

Some people have said, in appraising George Bush, that he is a “nice guy”. Being a party clown does not qualify a person for membership in any intellectually motivated groups.

If he were a man with any moral capacity at all, he would drop to his knees before his God, take full responsibility for the dreadful hubris which has driven him to sacrifice so many human lives, and beg for forgiveness.

Victory through size and strength alone is hollow and meaningless.

Settlement through mutual acknowledgement of personal and national error and overeach is the only possible basis for peace. Each side deserves recognition without condescension of its values, needs, and rights.

Courage is exemplified by public acknowledgement of a true leader to those whom he has harmed, both his “enemies” and his adherents.

Endurance Test

How long can you watch this historical review?

Hope You're Healing, Little Bill!

Hope it won't hurt you too much to risk a chuckle!