Further on down the road

Was it really 10 years ago today that I wrote this?

It shouldn’t be any surprise that on the evening Junior decided to launch his war — a war that is not, repeat not, for oil — the local ABC affiliate’s “news” half-hour featured ads, in rapid succession, for various Chevys and Fords, the Hummer H2, Jeep, Hyundai, Subaru, Pontiac and Honda. Semper finance, with easy monthly payments.

How time flies, etc. Those “easy monthly payments” sure have turned out to be a bitch, though, eh? Especially in this economy. Maybe it’s time to trade the old heap in on a new model.


25 Responses to “Further on down the road”

  1. Mike Frye Says:

    One question is, Did you really like Sadam and all the neat things he did for his contry? If you were a journalist writing from iraq I think you would occupy a little hole in the sand were they fond the other dissidents that Sadam had exicuted.

    If memory serves me correct there was a a time when peace was working in iraq and then a shrine that was very inportant to the Shiite population was blown up. After that a unofficial civil war stated in the contry. How much can you blame Bush for that?

    Mike Frye A.K,A. Frye Bikes

    • khal spencer Says:

      What was done to dissidents in Iraq does not meet the legal requirements for going to war and further, the reasons we went to war were, to put it charitably, smoke and mirrors sold to the US public as fact. We are, as Patrick says, still paying both the financial and moral bills for that war.

    • john Says:

      Saddam was a horrible, evil dictator, in a distant foreign country.

      Was it worth 4000 Americans, countless Iraqis, shattered lives, international opprobrium, and a trillion dollars to get rid of him and hand his country to the Iranians?

      That’s a rhetorical question, I think, to anyone with any sense.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I can blame Bush for plenty, Mike. As Khal notes, Numbnuts and his handlers sold the war to Americans the same way an unscrupulous used-car salesman would pitch you a beater with a cracked block and oatmeal plugging the holes in the radiator.

      The sonofabitch got more than 200 of my neighbors killed. Doesn’t sound like much — until you consider that we used to get about 200 participants in our cyclo-cross races back in the Nineties. It looks like quite a number when they’re all in one place, at one time.

      None of the dead was related to the chickenhawks who started the ruckus, either, if memory serves. These punks are the same frat boys who liked to talk up a fight in a bar and then fade into the background to watch as the fists and feet flew.

      And is Iraq a better place for Shrub’s splendid little war? Are we and our allies safer as a consequence? Was the money well spent, the lives lost expended on a worthy cause? Have a look around and then get back to me.

  2. Larry T. Says:

    I was out in the streets 10 years ago protesting against this war of choice…as a bad one. Took plenty of crap in our small, midwestern town over it too. So I get a bit wound up when the old “Saddam was a bad guy, we’re better off without him” mantra gets trotted out. I ask those who spout it if we should now be warring against the rest of those bad guys? Where does it stop? What about those who thought Bush was an evil guy? Should they have gone to war against the USA? After all WE do have the WMD!
    I find it interesting that John “get off my lawn” McCain and Lindsay “fainting couch” Graham could make such a huge deal about the Benghazi fiasco…but they say NOTHING much about the huge mess they were involved in creating in Iraq. In the end I don’t really blame W so much, he’s just an idiot..the guy to blame is Dick Cheney and his henchmen like Rummy, etc.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Me, too, Larry. The cops tear-gassed our lot as soon as the Black Bloc started acting the fool. (Not all the dummies are on the other side.)

      Some folks can’t look beyond the latest news cycle. Saddam was our buddy at one time (until he wasn’t). How many times has that happened? I’m only on the first cup of Joe and not yet ready to count. Noriega comes to mind, of course.

      Great powers go to war based on their own calculated self-interest, not for any altruistic reasons. My primary question remains: Was this war in our national interest? I think history has answered that one. The one bit of honesty shown by Dubya and his clique of belligerent chickenhawks was stating flatly that the United States reserved the right to push over anyone who stood (or might stand, at some time) in its way.

      In a proper world Dubya, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest of them would be cooling their heels in a cell, awaiting the judgment of a war-crimes tribunal, instead of wandering about unsupervised (and in the case of the first two, supported by taxpapers’ dollars).

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Spot on, Patrick. The most honest thing that Shrub et al ever said about their Iraq adventure was along the lines of “…we can push over anyone who stands in our way…”. The altruistic, patriotic, and moralistic reasons are merely the con game to sell this crap to the people who ultimately make the blood and treasure sacrifices–the little guys.

        You and I have been around the block long enough (not to mention we went to school when they still taught critical thinking skills) to have seen this Marx Bros act numerous times. Realpolitik prevails, and benefits the frat boys every time while the folks who populate places like Fort Cartoon pay the ultimate bills.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Wait a minute – my wife is still trying to teach those same critical thinking skills…though it’s probably just as hard these days as when you jokers were in school!

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Larry, from what I recall, Heather teaches at a small private college. Perhaps that is the last refuge of Those With Standards. My wife spent 20 years (without parole) at a community college in Honolulu, dealing with students who had been passed through K-12 via social promotion and low standards. About half the youngsters who showed up at her college could not pass the entrance exams into English 100 or Math 100 and were relegated to remediation, where they learned that for the first time in their lives, they would not be socially promoted. My wife, who, for our last few years in Honolulu, was the director of that program, often came home looking very tired and somewhat demoralized.

        The main reason I took the job at LANL was that my wife was feeling more and more like a member of the German 6th Army in Stalingrad: abandoned to her fate in a hopeless situation, while the political bigshots constantly proclaimed how important the community colleges were to “jobs, jobs, and jobs”. Plus, the salary sucked compared to the cost of living. So when that last opportunity to fly out of The Pocket appeared in the form of this job at Los Alamos, we packed the house and she said goodbye to what we jokingly referred to as the Academic Equivalent of the Russian Front. Editing, even for government bureaucrats, is less emotionally vexing than dealing with year after year of damage control on Hawaii’s K-12 system.

        Me, either way, I get to play in the laboratory. So it was not that hard a choice.

  3. Khal Spencer Says:

  4. Khal Spencer Says:

    Gee, and there was this, the alternate ending to that 2003 Foaming Rant (original seems to have disappeared):

    “…It could be worse, I suppose. Without the moisture in this snow and rain, come the summer fire season I would be bitching about contesting city-limit sprints on a smoking bike with gooey, melting tires, raising one hand in triumph and beating out the flames on my charring jersey with the other.

    Actually, it could be even worse than that. I could be a young Marine, shot and killed near a burning oil-pumping station in southern Iraq, or a badly burned Iraqi villager left with his skin peeling away from his body in layers after a relentless nighttime bombardment, all because the world has no idea how to keep its maniacs from each others’ throats.

    I bet they’d both trade places with me in a heartbeat, no matter how chilly it suddenly seems here in the land of the free and the home of the brave…”

  5. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    The Iraq was two trillion dollars wasted. Nothing good came of it.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      PS: I wrote a couple of paragraphs after the first two sentences, but deleted as redundant. Two trillion of borrowed money down the shitter. Don’t ask me about the lives lost. That will get me cranking on the “rant of no return.”

  6. Larry T. Says:

    Who was the Bush administration guy who said the mess would cost a trillion bucks…then was quickly shown the door? Those rat-bastards knew this thing was going to be an expensive fiasco – part of the reason to get it going – Dick and Rummy’s pals needed the money! All these KK…Tea Party jerks whining about govt. spending don’t seem to care about DEFENSE spending…same as ol’ Johnnie Boner. Every time these bozos start their “we must cut spending!”..bleating,.the first place I suggest is the Pentagon. I’d even be OK with spending TWICE as much as any other nation on defense…if we did only that I think we could pay for pretty much everything we want or need. I love to recite the saying Khal put up here awhile back, about the air force holding a bake sale for the new bomber fleet, while education and health care get the blank check!

  7. Mike Frye Says:

    I can’t handle about thinking about all that cash. All I do is fix bicycles (and build frames) What I do know is more people died in the moving of the troops than in the original conflict. Then after somebody blew up that temple all hell broke loose..

    next question If Iraq was a “bad” war than Afghanistan must be the “good” war Because Democrats have never gotten us into a war we didn’t need to be in, right?

    As far as i can tell we still have troops in Iraq and prisoners in GITMO. and the whole idea of them being tried in a U.S. court went over like a lead balloon.

    could it be that our prince among men BHO is using the same tactics as the idiot he replaced ? If that is the case than maybe he wasn’t as dumb as we made him out in the first place?

    Mike Frye A.K.A. Frye Bikes

    • khal spencer Says:

      I’m pretty disappointed with the current Prez on a lot of this war stuff, but considering the alternatives…well, I don’t think there was a credible alternative. Not to mention, it wasn’t his choice to not bring the GITMO Prisoners of Whatever stateside–my recollection was that option was foreclosed by Congress.

      Plus, I don’t get to walk a mile in his shoes so I’ll temper my criticism just a little. Its a shitty job.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Mike, you bring up some good points. The current President’s campaign promised to end those wars and shut down Gitmo have not been kept, at least not soon enough. Congress shares much of the blame too. Guess the wars, and terror fear mongering, are still a profit center the oligarchs are not willing to give up yet.

      Changing subjects, since I don’t have a frame builder’s ear very often, what do you think of Tange and Sanko steel tubing for bike frames?

      • Mike Frye Says:

        I am currently riding a Tange fixed I built about fifteen years ago( its on my trainer going nowhere fast) I also found a pair of campy record fixed dropouts for it.. It seems to work well for me.
        I have never used Sanko and am currently mainly True Temper builder.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m not quite certain what you’re on about here, Mike. For “Democrats and bad wars,” see Vietnam, Kennedy-Johnson. Ike had more sense than to get involved in that clusterfuck, though Nixon was all for it. Myself, I’m a Socialist and think both modern mainstream parties need a kick up the hole.

      As regards Afghanistan, Shrub started that one. I’ll listen to arguments on the merit of nation-building in Afghanistan — which is a fake country but a very real place — while remembering Kipling’s poem about what happens to fools who try to hustle the East and the splendid time the Limeys had remaking the place in their image. Also, too, the Soviets. Remember them?

      Khal is exactly right on Gitmo. The Elefinks won’t let the prez shut that place down — or do much of anything else — and they squeal like hamsters every time the feds haul a terrorist into a civilian court (see Lindsey “Fainting Couch” Graham).

      K is also correct on the prez providing progressives with little reason to cheer on many fronts. Conventional wisdom among the Tea Baggers notwithstanding, he’s the worst socialist I’ve ever seen. And I’m not particularly overjoyed with his embrace of drone warfare, which seems likely to make the costs of combat even less visible to the average American than does the all-volunteer service.

      But ours is a two-party system, the others being mostly for comic relief (Libertarians, Greens, etc.) and the choices we were offered in the past two presidential contests were no choice at all. The country is in enough trouble without handing it over to the barrel-scrapings the GOP served up. You may recall that this was briefly considered presidential timber instead of plain ol’ peckerwood.

      Any other questions?

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Can I get an amen for brother Patrick? I was in that clusterfuck in SE Asia. I was not a grunt but just another soldier on a small firebase. I learned an acronym that sums up what I expect from the oligarchs who have taken this government over from an electorate that is stupid, ignorant, apathetic, or all of the above. BOHICA. Bend over, here it comes again.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Patrick, I was spared that adventure (absurdly low number in the last round of the lottery). Some friends weren’t as fortunate. Most came back OK, but a couple came back crazy, and one came back as a publisher. Talk about your BOHICA. …

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        That little trip I took in 1970 doesn’t buy me much cred. It does amplify my anger over needless wars. Any publisher worth his salt should be lapping your stuff up and paying you enough to buy a bike elevator for your garage.

    • Khal Spencer Says:

      The drone question really does trouble me. For a guy who came in with a promise of open government, the drone issue takes secret war to a new level. I was never a fan of Richard Nixon’s secret wars in Southeast Asia (i.,e., the Cambodia bombings, etc http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4444638.stm ). The current campaign of “Leave it to Barry” makes one wonder how the average slob, I mean citizen, is supposed to manage a republic when he/she is told that what da gubbmint is doing is none of our business.

      Certainly one cannot fight a war without some secrecy. But to me, the bottom line is that we need to know, in some general terms, what the fuck the government is doing in our name and to whom it thinks it can do it to. I generally think Rand Paul is out in left field, but with his filibuster on the drone issue, he was spot on.

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