Friday, December 03, 2004

December 2, 2004


You may have read in your morning paper that the US is about to increase troop levels in Iraq to 150,000. Early this morning News For Real obtained the secret memo that sparked the decision to quickly add to the current level of US troops already there.

All we can tell you at this point is that the memo below was written by a “high administration official,” who was sent by the President to the theater of war specifically to assess the strength of the insurgency and the likelihood the interim government would survive after planned elections.


To: The President
White House, Washington D.C.
From: (Deleted)


The government is surviving, but not acquiring wide support or generating actions; pacification is thoroughly stalled, with no guarantee that security anywhere is permanent and no indications that able and willing leadership will emerge in the absence of that permanent security. (The Prime Minister estimates that his government controls only 25% of the population today ….)

The dramatic recent changes in the situation are on the military side. They are the increased (insurgent) infiltration ….and the increased willingness of the (insurgent) forces to stand and fight, even in large-scale engagements….

To meet this possible--and in my view likely—(insurgent) buildup, the presently contemplated Phase I (U.S.) forces will not be enough. Bearing in mind the nature of the war, the expected weighted combat force …will not be good enough. Nor will the originally contemplated … 28 US battalions (112,000 men) be enough… The initiative, which we have held since August, would pass to the enemy; we would fall far short of what we expected to achieve in terms of population control and disruption of enemy bases and lines of communications. Indeed, it is estimated that with the contemplated … 28 US battalions, we would be able only to hold our present geographical positions.

I see two possible solutions:

One is to go now for a compromise solution (something substantially less than the "favorable outcome" I described in my memo of Nov 3) and hold further deployments to a minimum.

The other is to stick with our stated objectives and with the war, and provide what it takes in men and materiel. If it is decided not to move now toward a compromise, I recommend that the US both send a substantial number of additional troops and gradually intensify bombing.

Okay, so I lied. We didn’t get a secret cable slipped to us by anyone. But, what you read above was once a secret cable.. and it was written by a high administration official, just not one from this administration.

It was written by then defense Secretary Robert McNamara on November 30, 1965 to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Had President Johnson accepted McNamara’s first option – a negotiated settlement, it would not have changed the way the Vietnam War turned out. The insurgents from the North would have “won” and we would have left. But it would have saved the lives of tens of thousands of US troops and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives. No small matter, to be sure.

I don’t think I need to explain why I chose today to remind everyone we’ve been at this juncture before. Maybe this time we can make the right decision.

Memo to George: Take a moment today and spend some quality alone at the Vietnam Memorial counting the names of those who died after McNamara's Nov. 30, 1965 memo to President Johnson. It will take some time because a lot of names were added after that, kids -- other people's kids -- who died for nothing. But as you send more other people's kids to Iraq, don't you think it’s the least you could do?

Selected Shorts

Right to Strife

As the stock market looks less and less like a good bet I have been considering other investments. Coat hanger manufactures…hmmmm… yes, that could be winner under the New Values Order. Bolstering my hunch, the NY Times reports this morning that Abortion opponents now consider the US Senate in the bag. The Senate has represented a daunting roadblock in the past when they tried to get abortion restrictions or anti-abortion judicial nominees approved. But now the blue noses from the red states have both the House and the Senate well in hand. They see the path clear now to begin to incrementally shut down abortions in America.

Of course these pious busy bodies know better than to begin with anything as ham handed as a Constitutional amendment banning abortions. No, that might get your attention and encourage you to get involved again. These guys are sneaky. (They have to be.) So they will begin with a carefully calibrated array of incremental, focused restrictions, like a measure to make it a federal crime to circumvent state parental consent laws by transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion. Abortion opponents say there is particularly strong support for one of their newest legislative initiatives, the proposed Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which would require women seeking abortions after 20 weeks to be told that Congress has determined that the fetus can feel pain and to be offered pain-relieving medication for it. From there the logic leads inevitably to a ban.

Investment Tip of the Day: Coat Hangers…. Buy low, sell high -- then don't get pregnant.

Stick-em Up
Guns don’t kill people, politicians who vote against gun laws kill people. Yesterday there was another killer vote. The Republican Congress eliminated financing for a Justice Department program that had been the centerpiece of the Bush administration's stated desire to prosecute black-market gun crimes.

"If you use a gun illegally, you will do hard time," Mr. Bush is quoted as saying on the Web site for the neighborhoods program, www.
The funding cut was attributed to “competing budget priorities.” (Translation: We are broke - gave away too much tax breaks to the rich, up to our ass in debt and no one will lend us any more money so we have to cut domestic programs.)

The cut in funding the anti-black-market guns program comes just months after the Republican Congress refused to renew the assault rifle ban. So far the Bush administration has been everything the National Rifle Associate said it would be -- in their pocket.

Erections Okay, Tolerance No way

As the broadcast media has become corporatized it has begun acting like the
toady companies that now own them. The last thing a company wants is to say or do anything controversial. Pissing off potential customers just isn’t part of the business plan. We saw the best example of that yet yesterday when two major TV networks refused to let The Church of Christ run a TV ad encouraging tolerance. Yes ladies and gentlemen, tolerance is now too hot to handle.

The United Church of Christ, (relatively speaking, one of the nation's more liberal Christian denominations,) says that CBS and NBC rejected a 30 second commercial it had produced supporting religious tolerance. See the problem was that the ad was not about the rest of us being tolerant of religion.. that would have fine. Instead the Church wanted to encourage tolerance of “them.” You know who I’m talking about… gays, colored people, Jews…. The ad showed a couple of beefy bouncer types turning “them” away from Sunday services while allowing in the ever so proper Leave It to Beaver family clones.

CBS and NBC said only that rejecting the Church’s ad was consistent with th
eir policy against “advocacy advertising.”

So, let me get this straight. The networks can advocate hard-on and hemorrhoid meds, feminine hygiene and adult diapers during the dinner hour, but not tolerance. Merck could bombard us with ads for their killer drug. Vioxx, but two gay guys being turned away from church by a couple of values thugs is dangerous stuff.

You see of course what’s going on here. Thanks to rampant media consolidation corporate marketing people make programming decisions now. At this pace within ten years each time you turn your TV on you will be “greeted” by a smiling senior citizen in a Wal-Mart vest, assuring you that you will have nothing but a good time because you are in a place where people care about your best interests --whether you like it or not.

Memo to CBS and NBC corporate cubical rats:
1) Disengage heads from ass.
2) Let the church run its damn ad.
3) Get a life – (and this time, make it a real one.)

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