Home > Uncategorized > Joe Benson visits Hometown Radio

Joe Benson visits Hometown Radio

There will be no show on Monday because of the Labor Day holiday, though a “Best of” will run from 3 to 7.

On Tuesday, we’ll discuss the controversy surrounding the Cambria Air Station and three of the key players in the story will be in studio with me.

On Wednesday, we’ll give Gail McPherson from Los Osos a chance to rebut today’s hit piece in the Tribune against her. They’ve been working on that story for more than a year. Reporter Abraham Hyatt refused to write it last summer, but their current Los Osos reporter Sona Patel apparently had no reluctance. By the way, the story is incorrect regarding Gail’s position on 218. I’ve nterviewed her dozens of times and she has never come out against 218.

On Thursday, Joe Benson, formerly of KPRL, sits in with me during the second half of the show and we’ll go wherever the callers take us. Looking forward to having Joe back on the radio and picking his brain on the issues of the day.

We’re also keeping an eye on Iran since numerous reports suggest that a U.S./Israel bombing raid is imminent. We’ll see.

  1. Chuck from Atascadero
    September 3, 2007 at 6:17 am


    I look forward to hearing Joe on your show this week. Perhaps you’ll consider making him a regular.

    I also share your concern about Iraq and hope you’ll bring Jack Greene on soon to get his perspective.

  2. Rich from Paso
    September 3, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Maybe Joe could co-host the morning show with King. Personal success is usually the best revenge and Joe prospering on a rival station just might do it.

  3. Marilyn
    September 3, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    The Iran attack discussions taking place currently seem to be more urgent than what we heard at the beginning of the year. Many “experts” are claiming some kind of attack is “imminent” and soon. Again, we cannot be certain, but the political games between the United States and Iran continue.

    I think Iran is more concerned about an attack now than before, or at least is attempting to take steps for public consumption and to avert one.

    Iran has agreed to open up some of its nuclear enrichment plants for inspection by the UN, a move which has left some in the U.S. administration disappointed: US envoy to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, said Iran had manipulated the watchdog as a way to avoid harsher sanctions.

    Iran is currently under two sets of UN sanctions, with a third set being strongly pushed by the United States. There is conflicting public understanding of what the current nuclear capabilities of Iran are.

    At the same time, the United States is also pressuring the UAE to restrict trade with Iran citing the supply of materials for explosive devices that target U.S. troops in Iraq.

    At the same time, the president of Iran, Ali Khamenei, announced the replacement of the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, with General Mohammad Ali Jaafari (no reasons were given). Of course, the IRGC is a new target by George Bush’s administration in an effort to delegitimize a section of the state army and target its assets by placing it on the infamous “terror list,” thus making an attack on Iran more legitimate.

    From a public policy perspective, an article came out the explores the ways in which the United States can help salvage its ailing image across the globe and, specifically, in the Middle East and among Islamic nations. The focus is grassroots types relations in education, diplomacy, business, the media, and other areas. This, of course, may not go hand in hand with the political and military policies of the ruling parties of all the nations concerned and the large corporate/military/industrial/media conglomerates that act as their mouthpieces.

    Ordinary citizens have a lot of power in changing the course of events to the betterment of everyone. They just have to believe they can.

  4. Anonymous
    September 3, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Hey Marilyn,

    The original post was “Joe Benson visits Hometown Radio”. What part of that were you commenting on? Why is your subject posted here?

  5. Dave Congalton
    September 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    I assume Marilyn is posting aobut Iran because I announced in my original post that we were keeping an eye on Iran and would probably be discussing it soon.

  6. Rich from Paso
    September 3, 2007 at 10:22 pm


    That’s all great and all, but answer this question with a yes or a no.

    Is Iran working to develop its own nuclear bomb?

  7. kevin in paso robles
    September 3, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Joe Benson and bombing Iran?
    What a dichotomy.
    This is exactly why this blog gets off tangent.

  8. Dave Congalton
    September 3, 2007 at 10:57 pm


    I am merely announcing upcoming segments on the show for people in case they want to make a point of tuning in. If people want to comment on those segments in advance, that’s fine.


  9. Marilyn
    September 4, 2007 at 2:56 am


    I am not a prophet and, unlike some of the self-proclaimed “experts” who supposedly have “sources” in every corner of the globe, I do not have an “inside” line into the mind of Ahmedinejad and his religious entourage of defenders of the faith. In addition, the question of whether Iran is working on developing nuclear weapons or not does not hinge on my answer to the “challenging” questions put to me, but hinges on the evidence that is made public to all of us and we can all make our inferences. Personally, I think that if they are given the chance, the Iranians will develop nuclear weapons. They are no different from any other major country in the world who already possesses nuclear weapons or who would like to have them.

    This regime in Iran is on a “mission” not unlike the mission our administration is on or the government of Israel is on. Don’t you find it ironic and fitting that the three nations locked into this nuclear farce are the representatives of the Three Great World Religions? (I know the US is not a “Christian” nation, but the majority of people living here are Christian and they identify themselves as such). The difference here is that Iran has always been a thorn in Israel’s side and that is the issue.

    I can say with certainty that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has had an active nuclear weapons program since the 1960s (they continue to deny the existence of that program). But that’s o.k., they are a Judeo-Christian nation and they get a kudos for that.

    I know a couple of Iranians locally whose judgment I trust and they tell me that Iran does have the intention of developing nuclear weapons. They do not have them yet, but they would like to have them.

    I think everyone is focusing on Iran to the exclusion of other important players in the region, mainly the countries who have actually used weapons of mass destruction against civilians, the United States and Israel (and previously Saddam when he was our buddy and when he used nerve gas against his own people. But they are Muslim peasants. Who cares about them?). The other threats to the East of the Middle East are of course India and Pakistan.

    At the same time, don’t you think it is kind of hypocritical to continue the developing of more sophisticated WMD programs here and in Israel while trying to forbid others from having them?

    There are also weapons that possess horrendous damage capabilities that are used regularly by the two rogue nuclear states and they include depleted uranium, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, nuclear tipped politically correct named “bunker busters” that vaporize everyone they come in contact with, and nerve gas.

    Isn’t it also hypocritical to gang up on one nation because of what they might do in the future when in fact we and Israel are polluting the Middle East with depleted uranium, burning fuel, unexploded cluster bomblets, and white phosphorous?

    If any nuclear weapons are used in any war, it will be by us, not Iran. Your Commander in Chief does not have the moral depth to think of the consequences of his actions and policies when he pushes for legitimizing the use of nuclear weapons.

    So, now are we going to destroy another country, kill thousands of people, pollute the air and soil, and cause future health problems because at some point in the future they may develop nuclear weapons?

    And Israel could fall into the Mediterranean Sea in a cataclysmic earthquake and if and when that happens we will start wondering what all the fuss with God’s Promised Land was all about and why all that killing was taking place in the Middle East.

    Maybe the United States and Israel need to get off their high horses and start negotiating with people instead of giving ultimatums and threats on a continuous basis. But that is what happens when people deal with each other from a religious paradigm and world view. Iran, Israel, and the United States, if and when they do face off, will hopefully show the rest of the world how destructive it is when the morality of conflict resolution is based on the concepts prevalent in the ORGANIZED aspects of the three religions, mainly punishment and vengeance for personal, spiritual, and economic aggrandizement, versus what is good for the communities which they all serve.

    I am done with this topic.

  10. NewsstandGreg
    September 4, 2007 at 5:49 am


    Would you put in a few good words from me to Joe? Thank you.

    Joe, I hope you’re not only well, but getting stronger every day!

    Looks like a strong slate of programming for this first week of September and school for many kids (and parents!)

    –Newsstand Greg

  11. Downtown Bob
    September 4, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Dave, thanks for bringing back the blog. It will be interesting to hear Joe Benson on your show as I have never had the experience of listening to him before, and it will be good to hear first hand what his situation is concerning his termination from his previous station.
    As for the possibility of an “imminent” attack on Iran; when the rumors of an attack were played out earlier in the year by Sy Hersch (who is usually spot on with his reporting), the uproar created in the media may have had the effect of splashing the cold water of reality on the administration so that they went back to the drawing board to come up with a better excuse to attack Iran. IF the attack is only about the supposed nuclear ambitions of Iran, how can our President honestly believe that anyone will give him any credence, based on how every single reason given for invading Iraq has been proven completely and utterly false? IF the rumored attack on Iran is to played up as a part of the greater “War on Terror©”, how can the justification be made given that most of the foreign fighters in Iraq are coming from Saudi Arabia, not Iran? There have been some “reports” that the improved “shaped” charges that have devastating to our troops supposedly came from Iran, but didn’t our forces recently destroy an IED factory recently? If Iran is making the “improved” ied’s and smuggling them into Iraq, that must be stopped, no question; but attacking Iran certainly seems to be an over-reaction. How about concentrating on sealing the borders better? I hope these new rumors of attacking Iran are just that, rumors. What little credibility our nation has will be completely gone if President Bush goes ahead with an attack on Iran. What was his famous quote: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Can we get fooled again by this administration?

  12. Rich from Paso
    September 4, 2007 at 11:23 am

    First of all, we weren’t fooled by this administration; we were fooled by Saddam Hussein, to his own detriment. All Hussein had to do is come clean, allow unfettered access to the suspected chemical weapons plants and account for all for all of the chemical weapons he supposedly destroyed since he kicked out the UN weapons inspectors and we would have had no provacation to attack. Since Saddam postured that he had chemical weapons (and here I throw in the aside that we did find chemical weapons, to include sarin, that were recently manufactured, just not in the quantities stipulated inthe UN speech by Powell), the Bush Administration errored on the side of caution and invaded Iraq. Saddam falsely believed that by posturing as if he had chemical weapons and his scientists telling him he was months was from a nuke, gave Saddam the false belief that the threat of chemical weapons would be enough to deternot only his enemies in the region, but the United States as well. Even though we did not find the quantities of chemical weapons we thought was there there has been enough suspicious activities to make people believe in the conspiracy that they were moved. Bush did not lie about chemical weapons; he told the truth about what the entire world intelligence committee beleived was there, which turned out to be false.

    As for Iran, here we are again: we have a nation that publically tells the world that they would destroy every man, woman and child in Isreal if only they had a nuclear bomb, then they go and build 3000 centrifuges for the purposes of enriching uranium and they have done everything in their power to not let UN inspectors in to confirm that their nuclear program is for civilian power production. Tack on the fact that they refused to let Russia provide them alreay enriched uranium that would have been certified capable of going into a reactor for electricity production and you have all of the ingredients for a clear and present danger to the world community. Yes, Iran is smuggling into Iraq the explosive formed projectiles (EFPs) that have destroyed our M-1 Abrams main battle tanks, the finest produced in the world. Yes, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has been training terrorists just on the other side of the border on how to fight our US troops. There is a huge difference between 4 155mm artillery rounds packed in C-4 expllosives (an IED) and an EFP.

    Finally, I would like to point out that this has nothing to do with Iran; it has everything to do with Bush. First, you all were bitching that there wasn’t enough uparmored HMMWVs in Iraq and you all lambasted Rumsfeld for saying that you go to war with the Army you have. Well, now soldiers have the uparmored HMMWVs and the add-on armor kits and now you all are bitching that they don’t have the MRAP vehicles, again claiming that the Bush Administration is costing soldiers’ lives by not having 3500 MRAPs and only having 1500. While Dave embargoed the blog inputs, a Marine Corps general says that all of the media hype on the MRAp is making the soldiers a larger target of the terrorists by drawing out the exact number of MRAPs in Iraq. So thank you for that. The other thing I would like to mention in the latest Zogby poll is that a larger number of people than what the anti-war liberals have reported, 1) believe that the war is still winnable, 2) Bush is doing a better job as Commander-in-Chief than Congress is regarding the Iraq War, and 3) more people have a favorable opinion of Bush as president than have a favorable opionion of the Democrat-controlled Congress.

    You have to make sure America loses in Iraq, because a win in Iraq for America, and by extention Bush, is a loss for the Democrat party. That is what is pathetic about the modern Democrat party.

    One other thing I would like to mention on a related note, the regime in North Korea has agreed to total openness with reagrds to their nuclear program and to cease all enrichment activities. They have even agreed to begin negotiations for the true end of the Korean War. I beleive that the storms that hit North Korea last month have created this need. Whatever the reason, how big a black-eye on the Democrats would be a peace treaty with the oldest enemy of the United States, North Korea? It would draw into stark contrast between George W. Bush’s legacy of accomplishments and the need that Bill Clinton still has to try and find a legacy, hence the run for president of (not-named-for-Sir-Edmond) Hilliary Clinton.

  13. Rudy McCain
    September 4, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Glad to have the blog back and I’m looking forward to hearing Joe on Thursday. I no longer listen to KPRL.

  14. Brett
    September 4, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    “Rich from Paso said…
    First of all, we weren’t fooled by this administration; we were fooled by Saddam Hussein, to his own detriment. All Hussein had to do is come clean, allow unfettered access to the suspected chemical weapons plants and account for all for all of the chemical weapons he supposedly destroyed since he kicked out the UN weapons inspectors and we would have had no provacation to attack.”

    Saddam Hussein did allow weapons inspectors into all the areas that they wanted into prior to being taken out of Iraq because the President Bush was hell bent on attacking Iraq.

    President Bush and his administration were creating requirements that they knew would sooner or later not be met by Hussein. In fact I think the last request was for Hussein to leave the country within 48 hours.

    Do you think that the U.S. would not have attacked Iraq if Saddam would have left. If Saddam would have actually fled President Bush have found another reason to attack.

    Rich you need to watch the PBS special on the selling of the war.

  15. Rudy McCain
    September 5, 2007 at 3:02 am

    Much better blog Dave! Thanks for cleaning up the neighborhood.
    All that snipping wasn’t good for anyone, it only served to divide us from our main goal.
    Thanks for putting things back in perspective and allowing only what you want here.
    I’m a blog fan now.

  16. Rich from Paso
    September 5, 2007 at 3:29 am

    I love these coulda, woulda, shoulda suppositions from those opposed to the Iraq invasion. There is no way of knowing if we would have still invaded because Saddam refused to leave when given the 48-hour deadline to abdicate. I think that either Jordan or Syria agreed to take him in. The “don’t you think” comment is the absolute highest degree of sophistry out there and only exists to keep the conspiracy theories alive. They are not the foundation of an honest debate.

    Furthermore, are we not creating false requirements that the Iraqis are sooner or later going to be unable to comply with so that it will ensure failure in Iraq? So what is the difference?

    Finally, the reasons for going into Iraq still, despite liberal efforts to the contrary, in the past. The liberal intelligencia in America is devoid of any future thinking, always looking in the past for why Iraq will fail in the future. The reality on the ground is that progress is being made. The Maliki government has reached agreements on local elections, oil revenue sharing and the re-baathification issue that are all listed as “not making satisfactory progress” in the GAO report. There is progress in Anbar province. There was a sign of progress with Al-Sadr calling for a 6 month stand down of his Mahdi Army.

    Peel your 20/20 hindsight eyes away from the past for a second and you will see that progress is being made.

  17. Dave Congalton
    September 5, 2007 at 3:35 am

    Program Note:

    Jack Greene will come in Friday from 6 to 7 and discuss rumored plans to attack Iran.

  18. chuck from atascadero
    September 6, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Dave, I do like having the blog back, but I am conflicted. I miss the lively debate. I can’t help wondering who is not able to weigh in on these topics because all the comments are sanitized.
    Now, I know you will say it was because of personal attacks, yet if you blog here and you put out ideas as radical as they may seem to some, they are still opinions. Responses to those comments help shed light on the topic.
    As an adult I have the ability to read comments and gleen the main points for myself.
    How many are not making it through Dave? or are the comments just down now?
    I have seen posts with over 100 reponses. I want that back. What say you?

  19. Dave Congalton
    September 6, 2007 at 3:44 am

    This blog continues on an experimental basis, week by week. I am not sanitizing any comments. People are allowed to advance any argument they want as long as it’s on the general discussion topic and is not a personal attack.

    I am quite satisfied with this new system where all comments are subject to my approval. Again, I don’t censor, but like my show, I’m forcing people to stick to the topic and stick to the facts.

    I could care less aobut having more than 100 posts on a thread, especially if most of them are crap. We’ve got some very thoughtful bloggers participating in this discussion. Read their comments and learn!

  20. Marilyn
    September 6, 2007 at 3:46 am


    I listened for about half an hour to the Gail McPherson segment. I think it was great and, from the little I heard, I have a certain degree of admiration for that woman for what she is doing on behalf of her community.

    I think all the residents of San Luis Obispo County need to get together and help the people in Los Osos pay for the sewer. We can all donate within our means and push for grants and government subsidies from Sacramento as well. After all, this is an unusual and long-overdue fix-up. The less economically advantaged should not carry the same financial burden as the rest and they should not be expected to leave because they cannot afford the sewer.

    I think it is the fairest solution and it is our duty as residents and citizens to help those in need or at least facilitate it for them.

  21. Rich from Paso
    September 6, 2007 at 4:47 am

    As with most liberal issues, I still don’t understand why people in San Diego or Marin County or Redding, CA need to pay for Los Osos’s sewer. Los Osos is paying thousands of dollars a day, as I understand it, for not having a sewer. It should be a simple cost-benefit analysis pointing to the need for Los Osos to have that sewer. Of course, like everything else, it all boils down to who pays for it and, gee, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else pay for their sewer. There is no reasonable way to explain to Barstow why they need to pay for Los Osos’ sewer. Los Osos specifically or SLO county in general need to suck up this bill and pay for it to 1) stop wasting taxpayer dollars on needless fines, and 2) stop polluting the environment.

  22. Anonymous
    September 6, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Income redistribution is NOT the answer! As for our beloved California, we are broke and getting broker every day.

    As for the poor, last I checked they flush too. We are now expected to subsidize that for them as well?

    Build the sewer or close the town. It’s not rocket science!

    Those that live there should pay. Anything less is socialism, and that’s not going to happen on my watch

  23. Downtown Bob
    September 7, 2007 at 7:04 am

    Rich: Sorry to take so long to reply to your “revisionist” history: You mentioned how all Saddam had to do was allow unfettered access; there were weapons inspectors in Iraq prior to the invasion that President Bush sold the American public on. And, he knew there were no WMDs, according to the CIA.
    As for the chemical weapons, that link talks about a “suspected” chemical lab that was new (having been operating after the 2003 invasion), and, as far as sarin gas, that link discredits the reporting that sarin was actually found.
    Please read my links, and then offer your professional (military) opinion; do you have any evidence to refute the evidence I have offered? It is one thing for you to know what you saw and experienced in Iraq, but how about some documentation backing up your assertions?
    Without concrete evidence to challenge my assertions I can only believe that President Bush sold the American public on the invasion of Iraq on either faulty intelligence or, more likely, he knowingly mislead Congress and the general population. That is why I believe that President Bush has no credibility when he beats the drums of war for an attack on Iran- how do we believe him, this time?
    I know that many on the right believe that someone like myself who cannot believe President Bush must be a “hater” of all things Bush; it is just not so. I think it comes down to the notion that those on the right believe in, that is many of their beliefs are “black and white” (or good vs. evil) and therefore will not attempt to delve into the “gray” areas. To say that I (or others who think like I do) are “Bush haters” is an attempt to simplify the argument for your own agenda.
    Rich, you also make an argument that the Democrats need for Bush to fail in Iraq; I for one would love for Iraq to be more than wildly successful, and President Bush could accept all the accolades that would follow, and I would be totally fine with that. That scenario would certainly give the loved ones of fallen troops a reason to believe that their sacrifice was for a “noble cause”; given how boldly we were mislead, how poorly the planning was, how undermanned and under-equipped the military was when facing the aftermath of the invasion(initially), and, how badly the execution of post invasion Iraq has proceeded by the contractors in Iraq, do you really believe that there is a chance in hell that Iraq can turn out well? When you have the administration “massaging” the numbers by not counting car bombs as “sectarian violence” and excluding those killed by the car bombs from the tally of Iraqis killed, how can we even be sure that if things were going well in Iraq, that we could believe it?

  24. Rich from Paso
    September 7, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    In my military opinion, you still have never gotten right the history of our invasion of Iraq. You say we were undermanned. We defeated Iraq with four divisions. You say we were underequipped. Again, we defeated Iraq with equipment that we defeated Iraq with during the Gulf War. In many cases, it was the exact same equipment. None of us (except maybe you, Bob… yeah, right) have the foresight to know exactly what equipment we will need or what tactics the enemy will employ in order to have that equipment on the ground before the enemy attacks. The lack of body armor was overblown by half. I had body armor, and everyone in my unit had body armor. The Democrats have done a wonderful job of blowing out of proportion every incident that has gone on in this war. First, it was a lack of body armor. Very, very few units did not have the Interceptor body armor. Then it was the HMMWVs. I rolled into Iraq in a vinyl sided HMMWV. When the enemy started employing IEDs, we adjusted our tactics and developed the uparmored HMMWV and the add-on armor kits. You liberals distorted Rumsfeld’s words on the subject into a stance that would prevent the US from ever going to war until we knew what tactics the enemy would use. That is preposterous. Now it is the MRAPs, which has draw attention to how many are on the ground and how many we are short of the stated goal. That provides valuable intel on the vehicle and our numbers of MRAPs in theater.

    I will provide evidence supporting my experience in Iraq when you provide evidence you were ever in Iraq to not see what I saw. Why should I have to give you evidence to what I saw unless you are calling me a liar? Rick Santorum told you about what I saw.

    What is your obsession with contractors? You need to get over that too. You may not like them but they are still American citizens and did not deserve to be desecreted the way they were.

    I agree that car bombs are not “sectarian violence”; they are al Qaida acts of terrorism. I disagree that they aren’t being counted; they are counted differently.

    Bottom line is that you will never believe that things are improving in Iraq because you truly don’t want to. You politicize, distort and spin the way you want to see it. No matter what happens, you will always believe that the Bush Administration is lying or spinning or whatever because that is your template and all your opinions are built on that template. I don’t provide revisionist history; I just provide you a history lesson about a place you have never seen except in the pages of the New York Times or the nightly news.

  25. Downtown Bob
    September 8, 2007 at 5:37 am

    Rich: Thank you for your reasoned reply. I never meant to assert that our military didn’t have the manpower to do the initial job (the invasion and take over of the country), but I was referring to the aftermath, when it turned to a matter of policing the country to keep the possibility of violence down. When I say that there weren’t enough troops on the ground, I am talking about the protection of electrical generation stations, water treatment plants, weapons dumps, museums and other less important places. We (our government) dissolved the Iraqi military, and most of the Iraqi police stayed away fearing that their uniform might make them a target for the US troops. Now, if you can “enlighten” me as to how I am wrong about how there were plenty of troops in Iraq so all of those problems that have occurred since the invasion were going to happen no matter how many military personal we had in Iraq, please. As for the equipment shortages that were reported by most of the MSM and various websites, I did ask for your expert opinion; you say that you and everyone around you had everything you needed- do you know of units that did not have what they needed? Were all of the reports wrong? If you say they were and every unit you know of had everything they needed, then I will accept what you say. And I never meant to suggest that you are or were a liar. I was just asking for documentation, as you have asked of me when I make assertions so you can look for yourself where I am getting my information.
    How many contractors are currently in Iraq? What is the difference in their pay and those serving in the military, for doing essentially the same job? How many contractors have received all of the money awarded for their contracts, but did little if any of the work they promised to do? Once again, you seek to simplify those like myself who question what is being done in Iraq with our blood and treasure and by companies whose allegiance is to profit, not what is in our national interest as a “hater” because that is much simpler than discussing the finer points of gross incompetence by those contractors who you seem to have an unending admiration for.
    Lastly, any comments about the link I provided asserting that President Bush knew that Iraq did not have WMDs based on the CIA reports in the Salon article? Thanks.

  26. Rich from Paso
    September 8, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I will tell you that I was there when the electrical power lines and sewers and oil pipelines were being destroyed. Those are terrorist acts because an insurgency is trying to win the support of the populace against the occupying force. There is nothing that car bombs on civilians, or making the civilians live in sweltering heat in the summer due to no power (you, the terrorist just finished destroying it) will do to win the civilians to your side. Al Qaida, on the other hand, has no problem with brutality towards civilians, Muslim men, women, and children alike. That is why I have always said that the insurgency has always been small, but the terrorist numbers are large. Is it any coinsidence that attacks against our soldiers have gone down at the same time the Sunnis have joined us against al Qaida in Anbar province. I think not.

    Speaking of Sunnis… Have you seen this article on the some of the Sunni lawmakers that are returning to the parliment? No? Well, here is the most important piece for me:

    “Major Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders said they had agreed in principle on some of the 18 issues that the U.S. has set as benchmarks. Among them were holding provincial elections, releasing prisoners held without charge and changing the law preventing many former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party from holding government jobs and elected office.

    The so-called de-Baathification draft law appears to be the closest to being ready.

    “We will receive it today or tomorrow and then it will be put forward in parliament for discussion this week,” deputy parliament speaker Khaled al-Attiyah told The Associated Press by telephone.”

    I don’t fault some of the contractors in Iraq. Kellogg, Brown and Root, as I have said in the past, built the chow hall I ate in, built the showers and toilets I used, serviced the DC-10 I flew home in. Many of my friends that have since retired from the military took jobs with KBR or others because of the great pay that they receive being unarmed in a warzone doing what they do. Now there are some security contractors like Custer Battles (Michele cited them many months ago) or elements of Blackwater that are also ex-military guys that conduct illegal operations. Some of my friends that were in the same areas that CB guys were doing that did say that they were acting illegally and they were expelled from Iraq. Largely though, the contractors in Iraq are subcontractors to bigger contractors. I might have told this before, but KBR subcontracted the cooks in the chow hall to DNP, a pakistani company. DNP men and women lived on the same camp I did, secluded in their own part of the camp. They had no more protection from mortar fire than I did. Actually they had less because I could put on my body armor if I felt threatened. They could just hide under something.

    Speaking of body armor… as for your question about equipment, the reports of soldiers not having the right equipment did happen but they were overblown, mostly by emotional loved ones. Yes, a few units, mostly National Guard units, had older flak jackets instead of the IBAs, but they were victims of supply shortages. It was temporary and fixed when manufacturing caught up. Now soldiers everywhere have the IBA and SAPI plates that go with them. Again, we would have fought the Soviet Union with vinyl covered HMMWVs and flak jackets instead of MRAPs and Interceptor Body Armor. The only difference here is that you would support a war against the Evil Empire, but you don’t support a war in Iraq.

    On the WMD article in Salon… First, Sidney Blumenthal is a Clinton hack and will say anything that makes Clinton look good and Bush look bad. I don’t trust him any further than I can throw the planet. Second, George Tenet has been thoroughly discredited. Tenet used the “Slam Dunk” comment twice; first with regard to gettign bin Laden in Afghanistan, and then second with regard to the WMDs Blumenthal says were never there, Third, the 9/11 commission report blamed Tenet personally for many of the intelligence failures that led to 9/11. Fourth, your article goes on to show that Tenet didn’t share this “no WMDs” slam dunk with no one, including Powell who is supposed to have been totally against the invasion.

    Okay, so let’s assume the Sabri intel was valid and Saddam didn’t have WMDs, why then would Saddam not provide full disclosure to prevent his country from being invaded? Remember that teh Powell UN address was mostly made up of the facts that Saddam had never accounted for tons and tons of chemical weapons. If Saddam was “innocent” (using the term loosely) why then posture like he had them? Even during the invasion, soldiers found thousands of chemical suits, jets equipped to dispurse chemical weapons, etc. The small amounts of evidence found by the caolition troops gives the conspiracy theorists enough ammo to continue to believe that Saddam had chemical munitions. We may never know with abolute certainty. It is undeniable that, the WMD issue notwithstanding, Saddam Hussein, Chemical Ali, Uday and Qusay Hussein, et al, were responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity we have seen since Pol Pot or the ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia. On that point, there can be no debate.

    Could things have been done better in Iraq? Sure. Every war, even the ones we have won, could have been done better. The Sherman Tank was an inferior tank and a death trap that killed more of our soldiers from fires and secondary explosions than the German Panzers main gun rounds. Task Force Smith in Korea was a abysmal failure and a clear reminder of the dangers of complacency and not remaining vigilant as a military force. Tet 1968, which was a victory for America, showed that you could win all the battles and lose the war due to bad PR. But, all that aside, we are in Iraq now; the damage has been done. Either we can stay, stablize the country and make it work, or we could leave the country in shambles, ripe to fall into true civil war and watch the body count rise as Shia executed Sunni with the same fervor that the Hutu visited on the Tutsi in Rwanda. I think that leaving Iraq shattered is just as criminal as all of the crimes against humanity Saddam Hussein and crew perpetrated on the Iraqi people. We can also begin to prepare for terrorist attacks on Americans everywhere in the world. Steel yourself; GEN Petreus will tell Congress that we have turned the corner in Iraq and we will pick up momentum in 2008. Democrats in Congress will attempt to discredit Petreus as a bush lapdog… to their detriment at the ballot box next November. Democrats will retain the Senate but lose the House and the White House.

    Finally, I’m not really an expert, just the most knowledgeable person on this blog with regard to military matters and conditions on the ground in Iraq: after all, I was there. I appreciate the esteem with which you hold my opinion on military matters.


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