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This is for Rich in Paso

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12— In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top American commander called the Bush administration’s handling of the war incompetent and warned that the United States was “living a nightmare with no end in sight.”

In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability.

“After more than fours years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism,” Mr. Sanchez said, at a gathering here of military reporters and editors.

General Sanchez is the most senior in a string of retired generals to harshly criticize the administration’s conduct of the war. Asked following his remarks why he waited nearly a year after his retirement to outline his views, he responded that that it was not the place of active duty officers to challenge lawful orders from civilian authorities. General Sanchez, who is said to be considering a book, promised further public statements criticizing officials by name.

“There was been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding later in his remarks that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

The White House had no initial comment.

But his role as commander in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal leaves General Sanchez vulnerable to criticism that that he is shifting the blame from himself and exacting revenge against an administration that replaced him as the top commander in the aftermath of the scandal and declined to nominate him for a fourth star, forcing his retirement.

Though he was cleared of wrongdoing in the abuse matter by an Army investigation, he nonetheless became a symbol, along with officials like L. Paul Bremer III , the chief administrator in Iraq, of the ineffective American leadership early in the occupation.

Questioned by reporters after his speech, he included the military and himself among those who made mistakes in Iraq, citing the failure to insist on a better post-invasion stabilization plan.

But his main criticism was leveled at the Bush administration, which he said he said has failed to mobilize the entire United States government, other than the military, to contribute meaningfully to reconstructing and stabilizing Iraq.

“National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone,” he said. “Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat.”

Asked after his remarks what strategy he favored, General Sanchez ticked off a series of steps — from promoting reconciliation among Iraq’s warring sectarian factions to building effective Iraqi army and police units — that closely paralleled the list of tasks frequently cited by the Bush administration.

But he said that the administration had failed to craft a detailed strategy for achieving those steps that went beyond the use of military force.

“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable,” General Sanchez said.

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  1. Rich from Paso
    October 13, 2007 at 4:50 am

    Thanks, Dave. Appreciate it.

  2. proud real american
    October 13, 2007 at 4:51 am

    This only goes to prove that you can keep gays out of the military but it seems you can keep those tax troughing liberals out.

    Nice try Dave.

    The guy in charge now and the gutsy president have cut fatalities in half! And we have turned a corner in winning the war against islamo-facists!

    Of course your side prefers to call him a traitor. The new radical left is saddening America.
    But our brave soldiers are winning this war even for the likes of you!

  3. Guy Murray
    October 13, 2007 at 5:50 am

    General Sanchez’ comments are indeed a damning indictment of the Bush Administration’s failed Middle East Policy. Why is it that high ranking military officers after high ranking military officers are coming out and publicly condemning the Iraq war? Are all these retired professional soldiers wrong and only the Bush administration right?

    We are not turning any corners in Iraq. All we are doing is going around the block at the expense of America’s blood and treasure.

  4. Chuck from Atascadero
    October 13, 2007 at 7:12 am

    The good general may be bias and bitter, but he is also the latest in a series of military commanders to reach basically the same conclusion.

    Yes, thankfully, our fatalities are down, but who knows what will happen long term? The problem is that Bush doesn’t have a plan for achieving political stability. He’s just waiting to hand his mess over to Hillary.

    I don’t suppose George Bush will ever be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  5. Downtown Bob
    October 13, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Gee, I wonder what Rush will call this retired general. Probably something like “proud real American”; the retired general is a “tax troughing liberal”? ? ? ? Wow. And, to address the General Patraeus ad, again, wasn’t the comparison about “betray us” meant to point out the he was betraying his own counterinsurgency manual? Getting back to General Sanchez, he supposedly authorized the unmuzzling of the guard dogs at Abu Garib, and hasher interrogation techniques, but I’m sure to the far righties he is still to be trashed because he has spoken of the failures of President Bush’s administration. Is he trying to deflect some the blame for the torture that went on in Iraq under his command? It is likely, but does not diminish the responsibility of the administration. Unlike those on the right, I will not trash or challenge his right to speak out about the leadership of our nation; his service to our country more than gives him that right. I will say that he is no apparent “white knight” meaning that he may have less than pure motives; but he still has earned the right to speak out.

  6. the ghost of christmas past
    October 13, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Why are you picking on Rich from Paso? He made his case as best he could from the moment he started blogging here. He believes what he believes based on what he saw. So you disagree with him. Big deal! To serve this up directly to Rich just makes you look petty, IMHO.

  7. Thomas W
    October 13, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Dear Mr. Proud;
    According to you, we have now kept both the gays and the tax troughing liberals out of the military. Wow, that doesn’t, according to you, leave many left does it?
    In actuality, most young men and women at that age don’t know or care what a “tax troughing liberal” is. They are doing the best they can in a terrible situation.
    I do agree with others that the Genral is doing a “CYA” job and probably is motivated to speak out because of possible monetery gain. But he is right about the mess we are in. It’s been four years and no end in sight. As many of you know, both Dave and I said, at least a year before we went in, that if we did go to war we would be stuck there for years to come. I’m awfully afraid we were right.But, hindsight is always 20-20.
    Tom

  8. Dave Congalton
    October 13, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Settle down, Ghost. Rich is our most articulate and passionate blogger. I was just offering him a challenge with General Sanchez’s analysis. Isn’t the largest issue that we have another military general coming forward, detailing all the mistakes that were made? These need to be part of the historical record, a part of the continuing indictment against this administration. I want them to be held accountable.

    But General Sanchez is correct in his belief that we’re in this mess long term. You just can’t pull out. We don’t really have an exit strategy, so we’re stuck.

    And our President won’t even consider raising taxes to pay for the war.

  9. Wilson
    October 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    The only time the liberals have use for a the miltiary is when they can quote them for their politcal gain.
    Very sad Dave, but very liberal of you.
    Hey Dave has your personal hero John Murtha accused any more Marines of murder lately?

  10. Dave Congalton
    October 13, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Wilson,

    And your point is what, exactly?

    If Murtha is wrong, he should apologize.

    And if Bush is wrong, he should apologize.

    Sanchez is more proof about just how wrong Bush was.

  11. worried and concerned
    October 13, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Dave, let me try and help you out here. First, we are at war! We are in Iraq and will stay until we free and rescue the abused women and children there and save thousands of gays from being beheaded. That is what a decent American does.
    Now, get this and get it good! Your party’s 3 top cnadidates will NOT even say that they will commit to having all troops out of Iraq by the end of their first term.
    Knowing this, it is clear that you are a MoveOn’er radical. And that says all it needs to about you and your agenda.
    Google all you want for fringe atricles and disrespectful tax supported liberals that will damn Bush and war. It’s a good use of your time. It keeps you busy, and that’s good.
    But copy-n-paste all you want, attack Rich all you want, and slam/hate Bush all you want…
    But here is the root of the root the bud of the bud in the starry sky at night…You ate wasting your time and ours. Wasting!
    Go with marilyn to one of her meetings and opine with that ilk.
    There are far more important things to talk about.
    OK? Gte it? Get my point? Is it clear enough? If not just ask questions and I will answer them one by one.
    This hate has altered your personality Dave. Be careful…very careful!

  12. do new tax laws make you happier
    October 13, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    News Flash!
    For those that want taxes raised to pay for the war…hear ye! hear ye!
    Go ahead! Send as much of your net spendable income to the United States war fund as you want. You can start today if you want. How wonderful of you! Great idea.
    Just don’t include me in your “raise taxes schemes”. I am fine with what is nearing 45% taxation.
    But don’t let me stop you! Send your money now! I think it’s great idea! You could start a trend! A national buzz for all who hate Bush and the war to start sending money to the government to help pay for the war.
    If every liberal sent an additional 10% of their net income we’d be home free! Those that like more taxes will be as happy as a pig in the trough! And those that think taxes are too high will be equally as happy.
    Why or why must the federal government have to pass laws to make you liberals do what you know is the right thing?
    hmmmm

  13. Downtown Bob
    October 13, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    wilson said: The only time the liberals have use for a the military is when they can quote them for their political gain. Nice bit of projection there, Wilson. Liberals believe that anyone should be able to voice their opinion, and if they have particular expertise in a given field their comments should have a little extra credence. As for using the military for political gain, the right has been among the most vocal to disparage anyone, especially anyone military who dares to speak out against the Bush Administration. Period.

  14. Dave Congalton
    October 13, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Worried & Concerned —

    I would submit that it is you who has the hatred, not me. You label anyone who disagrees with you as a “Lib” and paint us all with a broad brush. We’re always wrong. You’re always right.

    All I did was post the remarks of the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. I did it without comment. I directed it at Rich since he has been so adamant in his defense of our policy over there, so let him respond to this.

    So W & C, why can’t you respond to General Sanchez? Tell the rest of us, please, where the general is wrong? Try something else other than your emotional diatribe. You, my friend, need to be de-Hannitized. You’ve been drinking too much of the Kool Aid.

  15. Do your homework
    October 13, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Dave said:
    “So W & C, why can’t you respond to General Sanchez? Tell the rest of us, please, where the general is wrong?”

    OK Dave…here goes. For every tit there is a tat.
    Read & weep! The MSM fails again!

    Scathing criticism of the war effort in Iraq from retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez making headlines all over the place right now

    But it’s worth noting that there are some things to remember about this story though that the main stream media – delighting in the opportunity to get in some digs at the Bush administration from someone as accomplished as Lt. General Sanchez – isn’t going to tell you (“REALLY?”) hahaha!

    First, remember that Lt. General Sanchez is now retired, and that his career pretty much ended with the Abu Ghraib scandal. (“HMMM…”)
    Sanchez feels he was scapegoated for that, so he has an ax to grind. (“A BIG AX!”)

    Meaning he’s not exactly the most objective source of analysis for the Bush administration’s performance on Iraq. “ANYONE WITH ANY BRAINS KNOWS THAT!”) But you’ll notice this tid-bit of information isn’t brought up very prominently in the articles about his latest comments (“WONDER WHY?”)

    Second, why is it that we only hear from retired military commanders who are critical of the Bush administration and/or the war in Iraq? The military has 876 general officers. Counting retired general officers, that number has to be in the thousands. Keep in mind the what we, the non-military public, typically think of as a “General” is the four-star variety. There are only 35 of them currently, eleven in the army specifically. Lt. General Sanchez was one of 126 “generals” in the military while he served (“LOW LEVEL GEN.”)

    So why do we never hear from those retired Generals? Hmmm? (“THEY ARE PATRIOTS”)

    I have a feeling that, were they polled, most of them would probably (being the professionals they are) hold different opinions about what should have been done in Iraq, and what should be done now, but that almost none of them would hold a view as pessimistic and cantankerous as Lt. General Sanchez

    Third, Lt. General Sanchez has been widely criticized (“WOW!”)for having failed to recognize the growing insurgency in Iraq and for failing (“WOW!”)to put together a unified military effort, something that really wasn’t accomplished until General Casey took over in Iraq. (BUSTED!)

    Those that have come after Lt. Gen. Sanchez’s tenure in Iraq have accomplished a lot more than he did, and his professional ego is no doubt smarting from it. (BINGO!)

    The bottom line is this: Lt. General Sanchez is, for the Bush administration, the equivalent of a spurned ex-employee. His criticism of his former employer may or may not be valid, but before we buy into his arguments we should consider the source

    Becareful what you post Dave. It will always bite you in da butt if you don’t do your homework.

    Your welcome for the needed clarification on this putz!

  16. moquiti
    October 13, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    General Sanchez – yet another of the faithful jumping ship and attempting to create some distance from this administration.

    It has become a competitive sport.

    General Miller’s silence was bought with a Medal of Whatever. Sanchez was his replacement, and a player. Unlike Miller, Sanchez never got the recognition he deserved for faithfully carrying out Gonzalez’ torture mandate in silence. So here’s the blowback for the administration. A little flack. So what. In a month nobody will remember Sanchez’ damning critique. They’ll be distracted by thansgiving and christmas and the stock market and the next hollywood starlet-gone-bad.

    It’s all a joke anyway. “Victory in Iraq.” Like the war on terror, it’s a joke. An evil, sick joke. Like “Spreading Democracy,” it’s a pallative for the unquestioning American. For the sheep. When America Spreads Democracy, it means misery for everybody but the most wealthy. Sure, we get a few bones, like cheap gas, and cheap toys. But it’s our silence that we’ve traded for those toys.

  17. Marilyn
    October 13, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    I don’t think most people pay 45% in taxes. The figures are close to 15-20% (I do my own taxes every year, so I should know).

    Secondly, millionaires and corporations pay more like less than 5% because of the loopholes and ways they can hide their money. Many of those corporations are subsidized by the “public trough” currently with many of their contracts coming from the Department of Defense at exorbitant sums.

    As far as the worried guy/gal, what meetings are you referring to that I am supposed to be attending: you mean the ones where people walk around in bed sheets dressed in pointy pillows singing and burning crosses while singing “white power” all night?

    Hey, maybe if guys like Sanchez had some guts in the first place, they would have done something to halt the illegal activities of the Bush administration. But the fact is most people in higher positions in the military, like their counterparts in civilian life, are worried about their jobs and pensions, so they wait till they are out before they say anything. However, there are a minority of officers such as those in the Air Force who recently blew the lid off the B-52 bomber that was supposedly carrying nuclear weapons: target Iran. Rumor has it that they leaked the information to the media to avoid a nuclear showdown in the Middle East. Their cover was blown one day before the Israeli attack on Syria. Those are the true heroes in my book.

    As far as the person concerned about the women in the Middle East, isn’t kind of hypocritical to claim the fight is for their freedom while condoning their killing, the killing of their men and children.

    I think people in the Middle East have had enough of our military and their mercenary sidekicks.

    Read THEIR lips: GET OUT!

  18. book worm
    October 14, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Marilyn, Do your homework! It’s not only personal income taxes that you pay, you pay retail sales taxes, you pay tax on cars that have had almost every part large or small taxed in one way or the other. Used cars are taxed at every sale…some many times!
    We are taxed on taxed taxes on taxes that were taxed on other taxes. Start with Rome and do some research on the net. You’ll find I am right. All need to know the level that they are taxed. Rome fell because of taxation…America is close.
    Also, for those that believe that corporations should be taxed more is clear eveidence they do not understand corporate taxation nor free enterprise. Coprporations when taxed more simply add those taxes to the cost of their products thus it is the consumer who winds up paying all that load. By keep corporate taxes low we stimulate the economy, create more jobs and help those that need the help the most. Those that don’t have much to begin with.
    I would suggest any of the books written about John Maynard Keynes’ theory & practices of economics. It’s a great place to start to begin to understand economic theory and pratice in a free enterprise, especially for immagrants to the USA.

  19. fact checker
    October 14, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Many reliable surveys now show more & more Iraqis want U.S. troops to stay in Iraq.

    BAGHDAD, A growing number of Iraqis think occupying U.S. troops should stay in Iraq until the security situation improves, research published this month has shown.

    In a survey carried out by the respected Psychological Research Centre of Baghdad University, 71.5 percent of Iraqis think the U.S. occupation is necessary, compared to 42 percent in an earlier survey.

    “This shows an acceptance of the foreign presence as a solution because of the fear, confusion and absence of law and order.”

    U.S. President George W. Bush said “We will finish the job we have begun.”

  20. this will shock you
    October 14, 2007 at 12:21 am

    A Consumer Guide To
    Taxes: How Much Do You Really Pay In
    Taxes?

    by George Nastas and Stephen Moore

    Most Americans complain that taxes are taking a larger bite out of their incomes than ever before. During the month of April, tax-filing time, they complain most bitterly.

    This study calculates how much additional money middle- income workers must earn to purchase various goods and ser vices–a new car, a computer, or a year’s college tuition for their children–after all taxes are fully taken into account. For instance, a wage earner in an average-tax state must earn $17,038 to purchase a $10,000 car. That means that the work er pays $7,038 in income, payroll, and sales taxes on a $10,000 car. The study finds that in some high-tax states, such as California and New York, the “true” price to consum ers of goods and services is twice the retail price because of taxes. Self-employed workers, who must pay a self-employment tax, routinely must also earn double the retail price of an item to have the after-tax income to buy it. That is the “rule of two on taxes.”

    Introduction

    Most Americans complain that taxes are taking a larger bite out of their incomes than ever before. During the month of April, tax-filing time, they complain most bitterly. But do workers really know how much they pay in combined federal, state, and local taxes each year?

    In 1960 middle-income Americans paid less than 30 percent of their earnings in local, state, and federal taxes; today that figure is up to 40 percent.[1] Furthermore, many middle- and upper-income families living in the states that have the highest taxes, such as New York and California, pay nearly half their incomes in taxes. High taxes reflect the growth of government, at all levels, in the United States since World War II.[2]

    This study presents a new and easily understood method of measuring the impact of taxes on the finances of American workers. We calculate how much additional income middle- income workers must earn to purchase various goods and ser- vices–a new car, a computer, a year’s college tuition for their children, or a year’s supply of gasoline–after all taxes are fully taken into account.

    That is a good measure of the impact of taxes on American workers because the main reason people work is to earn money to buy the things they want. But much of American workers’ income is consumed by taxes. The question is, how much? Our standard example is the purchase of a new car with a sticker price of $10,000.[3] Because of taxes, the average worker needs to earn significantly more than $10,000 extra income to pay for that car.

    * In an average-tax state a middle-income worker with earnings of $34,000 must earn an additional $17,038 to purchase a $10,000 car. That means the worker must earn $1O,000 to pay for the car and $7,038 to pay the sales tax on the car and the income and payroll taxes on the earnings used to pay for the car.

    * A worker with an income of $34,000 must work three and a half months of the year to pay for the car, and then two and a half additional months to pay the taxes on the income used to purchase the car.

    * For a self-employed middle-income worker, the true cost of the $10,000 car is $18,320, because self- employed workers pay a 14.1 percent self-employment tax, to cover the employee and the employer shares of Social Security and Medicare (FICA) payroll taxes, on their incomes.

    * In a high-tax state, such as California, the pre-tax cost of the car is $18,776 for a wage earner and $20,186 for a self-employed worker. In a low-tax state, such as New Hampshire, the car costs a middle-income wage earner $15,540 in pre-tax income and a self-employed worker $16,708.

    * In the five states with the highest taxes, wage- earners have to make roughly $2,000 more to purchase a $10,000 car than they do in the five states with the lowest taxes.

    Taxes also affect the true price of a variety of other products and services.

    * In an average-tax state the amount of earnings needed to pay for a $1,500 computer is $2,568. A self-employed worker needs $2,748.

    * In an average-tax state the amount of earnings needed to pay for a year’s tuition at a private college ($8,000) is $13,107, and a self-employed worker needs $14,092.

    * In an average-tax state the typical driver spends $479 a year on gasoline, excluding all taxes. But the income needed to purchase that gasoline, after accounting for all taxes including the federal and state gasoline taxes, is $1,065. Self-employed workers must earn $1,145 to purchase the gasoline.

    As those examples demonstrate, taxes take a much larger chunk out of Americans’ incomes than is generally realized– which leads us to our rules of thumb on taxes:

    * In high-tax states the true price of goods and services is roughly twice the retail price at the store. To figure how much income you need to purchase an item, multiply its price by two.

    * The rule of two applies to self-employed workers in most states. Half of their earnings are consumed by taxes.

    * In low-tax states the true price of goods and services, including all taxes, is one and a half times the stated price. To figure how much of your income goes to purchase an item, multiply its price tag by 1.5.

  21. Marilyn
    October 14, 2007 at 1:24 am

    We are one of the least taxed nations in the world, yet other nations seem to have a higher quality of life than we do and their educational system and health care are comparatively better. Even with sales tax and property taxes, it is not 45%, unless you are the kind of person who buys expensive luxury items on a regular basis, and if you can afford to buy millions worth of goods, you can afford to be taxed 45% (but these people never pay their fair share of taxes anyway. They have CPAs to find the loopholes for them). Most people live paycheck to paycheck and people are going bankrupt not because of taxes but because we keep buying things we do not need on credit and because we have to declare bankruptcy as a result or when we cannot afford to pay our health care bills, even with health insurance. We ARE a CONSUMING nation. We consume at more than most industrialized nations combined.

    Societies have always been taxed or have had to contribute in some way for public welfare, even in tribal societies and, in the absence of a centralized government, another entity will have to fill in. You will still need to pay for services that are provided to you. We do not live in the jungle any more and, yes, even the Romans had to tax. That is how they supported their expanding empire and that is one way they were able to afford to pay for their imperial soldiers. They did other important things with the money. They built beautiful buildings that are feats of architectural and utilitarian value. They built universities and schools inside whose walls the whole history of the Western civilization was studied and translated into different languages of the ancient world. That is one reason why Western civilization expanded culturally, scientifically, morally, and aesthetically. The civilized world at the time understood the importance of public works and the dissemination of knowledge. The different moral and legal theories were debated in public areas and were open to all. Do away with that and I can assure you that this nation will be quickly relegated to the drifting sands of time.

    The person who wrote the book about Rome falling because of taxation probably has his own agenda. Rome, like any other empire before and after it, fell because it spread beyond its capacity to govern itself efficiently. As the borders of the empire expanded, the central government found it extremely difficult to control the outlying areas (does this sound familiar in our modern time?). Part of that loss of control involved the loss of tax revenue and the rebellion of the outlying areas against the imperial power. At the same time, local governors set up shop on their own and created their own armies and little mini states. That is how empires fell. Empires need taxes to survive. We are in the beginning of a decline because our spending is out of control (billions a day on war alone) while there is no revenue to supplement it. The way this government is able to do it is they keep printing money that does not really exist to pay for this war and for the benefit of corporations. That is why our dollar is really worthless.

    Even if the federal government stopped taxing us tomorrow, you will still have to pay to have your schools run, your water pumped, your roads built, your disaster areas cleaned up and people rescued. If we did not have taxes, you would have to still pay someone to do it for you. Nothing in life is free. In the absence of a central government, the security day-to-day operations will have to be taken over by private armies and, guess what: they we be coming a knocking on your door asking for money to pay for all that and, if you do not pay, they will get it out of you somehow. And, also guess what: if you cannot pay, I can assure you you will NOT be protected. That is the reality of a private business in a capitalist system. It will be every man for himself and the neighborhoods will be run by militias and warlords.

    You may not like taxes (most people don’t) and that is fine, but taxation will not cause our demise: overspending and over borrowing and downright theft by the big corporations and their lobbyists and politicians will.

    It is our civic duty as citizens of a nation and the world to contribute to improve the quality of life of other people, not just ours. Taxation in itself is not a bad thing. In a democracy, where people’s rights are much more easily abused and violated with their consent, it is imperative that citizens remain informed about HOW those taxes are spent.

    What you think you are saving in not paying taxes, you will have to pay privately to go see the doctor if you do not have health insurance. You will have to pay large sums of money to send your child to school. You will have to find a company that will contract to collect your garbage. If you need to fix the potholes in the road, your neighborhood will have to have a contract with a company to fix it and, as citizens of that neighborhood, you will have to come up with the money to fix those potholes and, it may drive you bankrupt.

    See, when you stop paying taxes, the rest of the country ceases to be responsible for your little paradise of an isolated island you set up for yourself and the likes of you. You will have to come up with ways to tackle all those problems and, then, you will have to worry about law enforcement. Who will be appointed and what will the process be like and how will they get paid? Are you going to create a militia to take care of that aspect of neighborhood watch and what happens when different militias in different neighborhoods do not see eye to eye and they start squabbling over water rights and property and school rights. So, in addition to working 60 hours a week, you will still have to come up with the time to be involved to take care of all that. After all, YOU and your neighbors become the government. You appoint or elect your local judiciary, police, teachers, public defenders, doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedic and you will have to come up with a way to pay them (no more taxes to fall back on).

    No taxes sounds really easy from the onset, but it does not work in a highly mechanized, computerized, and industrialized society that no longer hunts and gathers for a livelihood.

    Maybe you are not reading enough! But most importantly, maybe you have not had the real world experience in living in a society without government and taxation. I have. It was no fun.

  22. Anonymous
    October 14, 2007 at 1:42 am

    If the Bush administration gets attacked, the press will report it. But what if someone attacks the press? If the attack goes unreported, did it ever really happen?

    Today General Ricardo Sanchez gave a speech to the Military Reporters and Editors’ annual conference, in which he criticized just about everyone associated with our effort in Iraq. The Washington Post’s headline was typical: “Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush.”

    Actually, I don’t believe Sanchez ever mentioned Bush by name, although, as I say, he was critical of just about everybody. But it would be hard to tell from press accounts of Sanchez’s speech that he was mostly critical of…the press. Here is the first half of Sanchez’s speech, verbatim:

    GOOD AFTERNOON LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

    SOME OF YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE THIS BUT I AM GLAD TO BE HERE. WHEN SIG ASKED ME IF I WOULD CONSIDER ADDRESSING YOU THERE WAS NO DOUBT THAT I SHOULD COME INTO THE LION’S DEN. THIS WAS IMPORTANT BECAUSE I HAVE FIRMLY BELIEVED SINCE DESERT SHIELD THAT IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE STRENGTH OF OUR DEMOCRACY THAT THE MILITARY AND THE PRESS CORPS MAINTAIN A STRONG, MUTUALLY RESPECTFUL AND ENABLING RELATIONSHIP. THIS CONTINUES TO BE PROBLEMATIC FOR OUR COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY DURING TIMES OF WAR. ONE OF THE GREATEST MILITARY CORRESPONDENTS OF OUR TIME, JOE GALLOWAY, MADE ME A BELIEVER WHEN HE JOINED THE 24TH INFANTRY DIVISION DURING DESERT STORM.

    TODAY, I WILL ATTEMPT TO DO TWO THINGS – FIRST I WILL GIVE YOU MY ASSESSMENT OF THE MILITARY AND PRESS RELATIONSHIP AND THEN I WILL PROVIDE YOU SOME THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR WAR EFFORT. AS ALL OF YOU KNOW I HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF RELATIONSHIPS AND EXPERIENCES WITH OUR NATIONS MILITARY WRITERS AND EDITORS. THERE ARE SOME IN YOUR RANKS WHO I CONSIDER TO BE THE EPITOME OF JOURNALISTIC PROFESSIONALISM – JOE GALLOWAY, THOM SHANKER, SIG CHRISTENSEN, AND JOHN BURNS IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND. THEY EXEMPLIFY WHAT AMERICA SHOULD DEMAND OF OUR JOURNALISTS – TOUGH REPORTING THAT RELIES UPON INTEGRITY, OBJECTIVITY AND FAIRNESS TO GIVE ACCURATE AND THOROUGH ACCOUNTS THAT STRENGTHEN OUR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND IN TURN OUR DEMOCRACY. ON THE OTHER HAND, UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE ISSUED ULTIMATUMS TO SOME OF YOU FOR UNSCRUPULOUS REPORTING THAT WAS SOLELY FOCUSED ON SUPPORTING YOUR AGENDA AND PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS OF WHAT OUR MILITARY HAD DONE. I ALSO REFUSED TO TALK TO THE EUROPEAN STARS AND STRIPES FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS OF MY COMMAND IN GERMANY FOR THEIR EXTREME BIAS AND SINGLE MINDED FOCUS ON ABU GHARAIB.

    LET ME REVIEW SOME OF THE DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES THAT HAVE BEEN USED BY SOME OF YOU THAT HAVE MADE MY PERSONAL INTERFACES WITH THE PRESS CORPS DIFFICULT:

    “DICTATORIAL AND SOMEWHAT DENSE”,

    “NOT A STRATEGIC THOUGHT”,

    LIAR,

    “DOES NOT GET IT” AND

    THE MOST INEXPERIENCED LTG.

    IN SOME CASES I HAVE NEVER EVEN MET YOU, YET YOU FEEL QUALIFIED TO MAKE CHARACTER JUDGMENTS THAT ARE COMMUNICATED TO THE WORLD. MY EXPERIENCE IS NOT UNIQUE AND WE CAN FIND OTHER EXAMPLES SUCH AS THE TREATMENT OF SECRETARY BROWN DURING KATRINA. THIS IS THE WORST DISPLAY OF JOURNALISM IMAGINABLE BY THOSE OF US THAT ARE BOUND BY A STRICT VALUE SYSTEM OF SELFLESS SERVICE, HONOR AND INTEGRITY. ALMOST INVARIABLY, MY PERCEPTION IS THAT THE SENSATIONALISTIC VALUE OF THESE ASSESSMENTS IS WHAT PROVIDED THE EDGE THAT YOU SEEK FOR SELF AGRANDIZEMENT OR TO ADVANCE YOUR INDIVIDUAL QUEST FOR GETTING ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH YOUR STORIES! AS I UNDERSTAND IT, YOUR MEASURE OF WORTH IS HOW MANY FRONT PAGE STORIES YOU HAVE WRITTEN AND UNFORTUNATELY SOME OF YOU WILL COMPROMISE YOUR INTEGRITY AND DISPLAY QUESTIONABLE ETHICS AS YOU SEEK TO KEEP AMERICA INFORMED. THIS IS MUCH LIKE THE INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS WHOSE EFFECTIVENESS WAS MEASURED BY THE NUMBER OF INTELLIGENCE REPORTS HE PRODUCED. FOR SOME, IT SEEMS THAT AS LONG AS YOU GET A FRONT PAGE STORY THERE IS LITTLE OR NO REGARD FOR THE “COLLATERAL DAMAGE” YOU WILL CAUSE. PERSONAL REPUTATIONS HAVE NO VALUE AND YOU REPORT WITH TOTAL IMPUNITY AND ARE RARELY HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR UNETHICAL CONDUCT.

    GIVEN THE NEAR INSTANTANEOUS ABILITY TO REPORT ACTIONS ON THE GROUND, THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ACCURATELY AND TRUTHFULLY REPORT TAKES ON AN UNPRECEDENTED IMPORTANCE. THE SPECULATIVE AND OFTEN UNINFORMED INITIAL REPORTING THAT CHARACTERIZES OUR MEDIA APPEARS TO BE RAPIDLY BECOMING THE STANDARD OF THE INDUSTRY. AN ARAB PROVERB STATES – “Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity.” ONCE REPORTED, YOUR ASSESSMENTS BECOME CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AND NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE. OTHER MAJOR CHALLENGES ARE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO BE MANIPULATED BY “HIGH LEVEL OFFICIALS” WHO LEAK STORIES AND BY LAWYERS WHO USE HYPERBOLE TO STRENGHTEN THEIR ARGUMENTS. YOUR UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCURATELY AND PROMINENTLY CORRECT YOUR MISTAKES AND YOUR AGENDA DRIVEN BIASES CONTRIBUTE TO THIS CORROSIVE ENVIRONMENT. ALL OF THESE CHALLENGES COMBINED CREATE A MEDIA ENVIRONMENT THAT DOES A TREMENDOUS DISSERVICE TO AMERICA. OVER THE COURSE OF THIS WAR TACTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS HAVE BECOME STRATEGIC DEFEATS FOR AMERICA BECAUSE OF THE TREMENDOUS POWER AND IMPACT OF THE MEDIA AND BY EXTENSION YOU THE JOURNALIST. IN MANY CASES THE MEDIA HAS UNJUSTLY DESTROYED THE INDIVIDUAL REPUTATIONS AND CAREERS OF THOSE INVOLVED. WE REALIZE THAT BECAUSE OF THE NEAR REAL TIME REPORTING ENVIRONMENT THAT YOU FACE IT IS DIFFICULT TO REPORT ACCURATELY. IN MY BUSINESS ONE OF OUR FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS IS THAT “THE FIRST REPORT IS ALWAYS WRONG.” UNFORTUNATELY, IN YOUR BUSINESS “THE FIRST REPORT” GIVES AMERICANS WHO RELY ON THE SNIPPETS OF CNN, IF YOU WILL, THEIR “TRUTHS” AND PERSPECTIVES ON AN ISSUE. AS A COROLLARY TO THIS DEADLINE DRIVEN NEED TO PUBLISH “INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OR OBSERVATIONS” VERSUS OBJECTIVE FACTS THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL CHALLENGE FOR US WHO ARE THE SUBJECT OF YOUR REPORTING. WHEN YOU ASSUME THAT YOU ARE CORRECT AND ON THE MORAL HIGH GROUND ON A STORY BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT RESPOND TO QUESTIONS YOU PROVIDED IS THE ULTIMATE ARROGANCE AND DISTORTION OF ETHICS. ONE OF YOUR HIGHLY REPECTED FELLOW JOURNALISTS ONCE TOLD ME THAT THERE ARE SOME AMONGST YOU WHO “FEED FROM A PIG’S TROUGH.” IF THAT IS WHO I AM DEALING WITH THEN I WILL NEVER RESPOND OTHERWISE WE WILL BOTH GET DIRTY AND THE PIG WILL LOVE IT. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOUR STORY IS ACCURATE.

    I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS IS WHAT OUR FOREFATHERS INTENDED. THE CODE OF ETHICS FOR THE SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS STATES:
    …PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT IS THE FORERUNNER OF JUSTICE AND THE FOUNDATION OF DEMOCRACY. THE DUTY OF THE JOURNALIST IS TO FURTHER THOSE ENDS BY SEEKING TRUTH AND PROVIDING A FAIR AND COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT OF EVENTS AND ISSUES. CONSCIENTIOUS JOURNALISTS FROM ALL MEDIA AND SPECIALTIES STRIVE TO SERVE THE PUBLIC WITH THOROUGHNESS AND HONESTY. PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY IS THE CORNERSTONE OF A JOURNALIST’S CREDIBILITY

    THE BASIC ETHICS OF A JOURNALIST THAT CALLS FOR:

    1. SEEKING TRUTH,

    2. PROVIDING FAIR AND COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT OF EVENTS AND ISSUES

    3. THOROUGHNESS AND HONESTY

    ALL ARE VICTIMS OF THE MASSIVE AGENDA DRIVEN COMPETITION FOR ECONOMIC OR POLITICAL SUPREMACY. THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR ETHICS HAS BEEN ENABLED BY YOUR PARENT ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH POLITICAL AGENDAS. WHAT IS CLEAR TO ME IS THAT YOU ARE PERPETUATING THE CORROSIVE PARTISAN POLITICS THAT IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY AND KILLING OUR SERVICEMEMBERS WHO ARE AT WAR.

    MY ASSESSMENT IS THAT YOUR PROFESSION, TO SOME EXTENT, HAS STRAYED FROM THESE ETHICAL STANDARDS AND ALLOWED EXTERNAL AGENDAS TO MANIPULATE WHAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC SEES ON TV, WHAT THEY READ IN OUR NEWSPAPERS AND WHAT THEY SEE ON THE WEB. FOR SOME OF YOU, JUST LIKE SOME OF OUR POLITICIANS, THE TRUTH IS OF LITTLE TO NO VALUE IF IT DOES NOT FIT YOUR OWN PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS, BIASES AND AGENDAS.

    IT IS ASTOUNDING TO ME WHEN I HEAR THE VEHEMENT DISAGREEMENT WITH THE MILITARY’S FORAYS INTO INFORMATION OPERATIONS THAT SEEK TO DISSEMINATE THE TRUTH AND INFORM THE IRAQI PEOPLE IN ORDER TO COUNTER OUR ENEMY’S BLATANT PROPAGANDA. AS I ASSESS VARIOUS MEDIA ENTITIES, SOME ARE UNQUESTIONABLY ENGAGED IN POLITICAL PROPAGANDA THAT IS UNCONTROLLED. THERE IS NO QUESTION IN MY MIND THAT THE STRENGTH OUR DEMOCRACY AND OUR FREEDOMS REMAIN LINKED TO YOUR ABILITY TO EXERCISE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – I ADAMANTLY SUPPORT THIS BASIC FOUNDATION OF OUR DEMOCRACY AND COMPLETELY SUPPORTED THE EMBEDDING OF MEDIA INTO OUR FORMATIONS UP UNTIL MY LAST DAY IN UNIFORM. THE ISSUE IS ONE OF MAINTAINING PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND STANDARDS FROM WITHIN YOUR INSTITUTION. MILITARY LEADERS MUST ACCEPT THAT THESE INJUSTICES WILL HAPPEN AND WHETHER THEY LIKE WHAT YOU PRINT OR NOT THEY MUST DEAL WITH YOU AND ENABLE YOU, IF YOU ARE AN ETHICAL JOURNALIST.

    FINALLY, I WILL LEAVE THIS SUBJECT WITH A QUESTION THAT WE MUST ASK OURSELVES–WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE ETHICAL STANDARDS OF THE PROFESSION IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT OUR DEMOCRACY DOES NOT CONTINUE TO BE THREATENED BY THIS DANGEROUS SHIFT AWAY FROM YOUR SACRED DUTY OF PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT?

    So, one might ask: Why did the Washington Post (and every other news outlet I have seen) not headline their story: “Former Iraq Commander Bitterly Denounces Mainstream Media’s Coverage of Iraq War”? Or, perhaps, “Former Iraq Commander Accuses Biased, Unethical, Agenda-driven Press of ‘Killing Our Servicemembers Who Are At War'”?

    I guess the question answers itself. The Post has an agenda, and those headlines wouldn’t have advanced it. The same is true for essentially all newspapers and other news outlets. It’s quite a luxury to be able to decide whether criticisms of your own conduct ever see the light of day–a luxury the mainstream media not only enjoy, but abuse.

  23. Rich from Paso
    October 14, 2007 at 3:57 am

    I decided to do the wise thing and actually listen to what the general said before commenting on it. I have learned that the MSM is totally unreliable to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth with regard to the war in iraq. I have been proven right once again. On C-Span, I watched what the general had to say. The first thing he spoke about is the utter lack of professionalism with regard to the Mainstream Media. Didn’t know that, did you? He excoriated the MSM about how they lied about him regarding Abu Ghraib and how people who never met him wrote that he was dense and dictatorial and a liar. He spent a good ten minutes taking the media to task for not correcting egregious errors, or if they did correct them in the press, buried the correction on page D-16. Of course the press is not going to report on someone raking their profession over the coals and I challenge anyone to find any reporting on that aspect of the general’s speach.

    Then General Snachez transitioned to the war in Iraq. He spoek about how there is not a Grand Strategy of political, economic and military engagment in Iraq that is properly resourced and sychronized across the entire US government and our coalition members. He faults both parties for failing to come together with a unified and truly bipartisan strategy that will ensure that Iraq doesn’t spiral into pure chaos. He stated that while political leaders of both parties seek to use Iraq for short-term political gain, soldiers will die. He did criticize the pre-war planning of the invasion and felt that the lack of an effective plan at the point of transition from liberator to occupier was the biggest mistake of the war. He blames the National Security Council in particular for failing on the political and economic front. He blames the military for not assuming the mantle of leadership in Iraq and not asserting it’s supremacy by taking control of the efforts and providing the sychronization and orchestration he felt the civilian agencies failed to provide. The general also went on to say that we cannot pull out of Iraq because that will only cause the US military to have to go back into Iraq at some point in time. It is the military that is keeping Iraq from utter chaos and if will pulled out, that utter chaos would be guaranteed to happen. His words “nightmare without end” was in reference to the lack of bipartisan (said “bipartisan” numerous times) political moral courage to come together and develop a long-term plan for victory in Iraq on the political, economic and military fronts. Since the military leg of the stool is the only thing getting any traction these days, the military plan only prevents defeat. When pressed in the Q&A about the three legs of the stool and how that was the plan of hte administration, GEN Sanchez replied that it was the plan of the administration to do economic, political and military, only it is not properly resourced. The general also said that while serving in uniform it is the absolute duty of every one in uniform to execute the orders of the president of the united states so long as the orders are morally, ethically and legal correct and the American people would not tolerate it’s professional military class acting as so-called “whistleblowers” if they disagreed with the president’s policy. He then said it is up to the conscience of that officer to either resign or retire if they feel totally opposed to the policy they are charged with implementing. He also said that there is a big debate in the retired GO community as to whether or not retired GOs should be speaking out or not.

    So, after watching the video on C-SPAN, I don’t have any real criticism of the general’s comments. There wasn’t anything he said that I felt was out of line with the current status of Iraq. In the context of his speech, he didn’t say that iraq was unwinnable and he certainly didn’t entertain the question of whether we shouldn’t have gone in in the first place stating that such rearward thinking was “useless and irrelevent”. General Sanchez said what he said and I have no real grief with it.

    That said, the media is the one that is making him out to be bitter about Iraq with regard to abu Ghraib. The general is bitter about that feeling that he is being unfairly criticized for something he had no personal knowledge of. He tempered his comments on the abu ghraib because the ACLU is still trying to sue him. So he is bitter about that. But it goes back to what Sanchez said about the media and how they tarred and feathered him and therefore he was unpromotable to the Chief of Staff position GEN Casey holds. It was the irresponsible media that made abu Ghraib indicative of every soldier, sailor, airman and marine in Iraq and that, if anything, is what General Sanchez is truly bitter about.

  24. Rich from Paso
    October 14, 2007 at 4:06 am

    I recommend the books of Milton Friedman, but for Marilyn, it sounds like she needs Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics and Advanced Economics. She clearly doesn’t understand how the tax code works. Regardless of the fact she “does her own taxes” she still doesn’t know how much she truly pays.

  25. Marilyn
    October 14, 2007 at 5:27 am

    I think our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is contributing to our economic demise. Add to that the overprinting of money not backed by gold. Add to that most profits are made by corporations, not individuals. The Middle Class continues to shrink. The only thing that is keeping us afloat at this time is the plunder of much of the resources in the Middle East, but most of those are going to the large corporations through no-bid contracts. We are also the ONLY nation that buys things they do not need because we underpay and we are not paying the people who produce those goods the actual wages they are worth because of companies like Wal-Mart. By our consumption habits, we are actually contributing to the poverty of other people across the world.

    Do you see how much we throw away every day? Maybe if we paid a fair price for gasoline, toys, clothes, etc., we would not be so nonchalant about waste.

    We are subsidizing two militaries: the regular one and the one of mercenaries which, by the way, outnumbers US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The recent publicized atrocities by Blackwater specifically should erase any doubt.

    I do not think the demise of our economy is because of too many taxes. It is the opposite.

    THE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE PAYING TAXES AREN’T.

    The rest of us are and that is the problem.

    In the absence of taxes and in a Capitalist mode of production without government oversight, wages will drop and working conditions will and are getting worse.

    What good is exempting corporations from paying more taxes as the people working for them see the purchasing power of their wages drop while corporate executives accumulate millions in profits which continue to increase every year?

    Does anyone wonder why Congress voted itself automatic pay raises yearly with the best health insurance while most people have to pay $400-$600 month for a plan that requires a $2,500 deductible a year in addition to a % if you are admitted to the hospital for surgery. Do the math: That is $4,800 – $$7,200 a year in premiums alone to belong to a plan. Then $10.00 – $45.00 copay for every doctor’s visit depending on which one you have. Add to that the co-pay for medications (and insurance companies do not cover all medications, so if your doctor orders a certain medication for you and it is not covered, you are out of luck or you have to get a cheaper one that is “similar” which may not be suitable for you. Who determines that? Some bureaucrat who works for a multi-billion dollar insurance company. It may cost you hundreds of dollars for a single prescription (due to the patent laws). Meanwhile, you go to Europe and the Middle East, and the same drug costs one tenth of its value here.

    A job is worthless if all you can do is live on the edge of poverty despite qualifications and hard work. I do not think we should measure the quality of life by number of jobs strictly. I suggest a visit to the local homeless shelter to investigate how many residents of that shelter actually have a job but they cannot afford rent? How would anyone feel if they had to count pennies every day just so they could have three meals?

    I think there is a segment of American society that some bloggers are unfamiliar with. Maybe it is a good idea if you walk any city and look around. Do not look in the GAP or Banana Republic stores. Do not look at Cal Poly students driving around in $40,000 cars. Go to Food 4 Less and to the local dollar store and see how the other half live, and let’s thank McDonalds for giving them a job!

    How much does McDonald’s pay an hour, by the way? And you want to exempt them from paying taxes?

    How much is the dollar worth?

    1.00 British pound = 2.03401 USD

    How much is the American dollar really worth and why?

  26. the ghost of Christmas past
    October 14, 2007 at 6:10 am

    Marilyn, Marilyn Marilyn, tut tut tut. You are absolutely delusional and you have ZERO clue how the world economy works. Your anti-capitalism, pro-communist, pro-marxist screeds and rants expose your ignorance of the world. Please read at least ONE of the books that Rich and the other guy recommended.

    The fact is that the US is one of the HIGHEST taxed nations in the world. We pay 15 – 35% in income tax at the Federal level, then there are the state, county and local taxes. We pay sales tax on all the consuming you think is so bad. We pay the taxes you ignorantly believe corporations aren’t paying. We, the taxpayer, pay a tax when inflation goes up due to the moronic taxpolicies your fellow liberal, Marxists, Communists foolishly pass in a vain attempt to “soak the rich”. One thing you are right about is that the rich don’t pay taxes because they are rich enough to get people who know the tax code to get them out from under the government yoke. Ma and Pa American wade through the paperwork and overpay their taxes 9 out of ten times. But you forget, the poor don’t pay taxes either!! As a matter of fact, we have the richest “poor” people in the world. Our poor usually smoke and drink regularly, have two cars, have cable TV and internet access and a whole slew of appliances that your former countrymen in Lebanon have probably killed someone over. Speaking of the Middle East: prove that we are “plundering” the resources of the Middle East! Just because you say it doesn’t make it fact. Last I checked, the market has America and the rest of the world paying anywhere between $70 and $80/barrel for oil. That is a mutually agreed upon price. Well, that’s not completely true because OPEC, (you know, that Muslim dominated monopoly) does a damn good job keeping prices high by controlling the flow of oil out of their countries. It is liberal, such as yourself that prevent the uS from drilling for oil off the California coast, forcing us to buy from Arab nations. It is liberals, such as yourself, that have stopped the US from drilling for oil in ANWAR, a completely barren wasteland, and force us to buy oil from Arab nations. It is liberals, like yourself, that prevent the US from drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico but don’t blink when China and Cuba and Mexico go into the exact same area and pump the shit out of the oil there, forcing us to buy oil from Arab nations.

    What do the Arab nations do with the money their oil brings? They fund jihadists in Iraq and build indoor ski slopes in Dubai. They pay the widows of martyrs in the West Bank, after they buy solid gold Mercedes limosines. the Muslim world is squandering the wealth that the people of America and the western world have begrudgingly given them. Begrudging because we would much rather pay Americans to drill for oil in America. At least China is taking the money from the trade imbalance (another tax) and isinvesting in Africa.

    Americans are the most generous people on the planet. We gave billions of dollars to Indonesians that spat at our Navy sailors bringing the taxpayer purchased goods to them after the Tsunami hit their impoverished country. America gives more to charity than any other country in the world, even after all of the taxes that we pay and that money is given away to the despots and morons that the poor countries of the world choose, are forced to have, as leaders. You liberals want to hold up the Iraq War as some sort of moral equivalent; “if not for the Iraq War, we could do X, Y or Z.” But that is crap. Our $8 trillion debt, never a problem for bleeding heart liberals who just love to spend money, means that all we have to do is write the check. We can pay for whatever we want because the money doesn’t matter. For your information, the debt represents less than 15% of our annual GDP, which means that isn’t that big a deal either.

    If it were any other subject, I would say “sorry” before disagreeing with you, but I have nothing to be sorry for. It is your kind of thinking that keeps poor people poor, racially divided people racially divided and ignorant people ignorant. Get a clue, Marilyn. You are in desparate need for one.

  27. moquiti
    October 14, 2007 at 8:05 am

    I recommend watching this interview with Aaron Russo if you’d like to skip the partisan BS (for 1 hour and 9 minutes) and are curious about why we’re heavily invested in a war without end, the larger war on terror.

    It’s a bit heavier than a Tomas Sowell comic book. Or a Milton Friedman historical novel.

    Food for thought.

    Cut & paste:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5420753830426590918&q=aaron+russo&total=467&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=8

  28. The number don't lie
    October 14, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Marilyn,
    You simply do not understand our economy and how taxes are paid and by whom. You do certainly understand who is consuming the goods & services provided by those taxes…

    If people are going to catagorically complain about every aspect of American life, our politics, our economy, etc. it begs the question “why do they stay here?”

    Millioins of people from other countries spend a lifetime trying to get to America, for the freedom and life we provide. So why do those that hate us want to stay?

    The so called low income folks you are talking about actually pay no taxes at all when you look at the net effect of the goods and services they consume in proportion to what they actually pay. They are a drain on the economy!

    These facts may help you understand the big picture:
    An enormous percentage of taxes are payed by a minority of Americans:
    The Top 1% of taxpayers pay 29% of all taxes.
    The Top 5% of taxpayers pay 50% of all taxes.
    Our tax system is not so much progressive as it is confiscatory — Frederic Bastiat called this phenomenon “legal plunder.” A progressive tax is based on the premise that those with more income can afford to pay more taxes, and conversely, those with little or no income should pay no tax. However, the U.S. tax system has become far beyond progressive. Fully half the taxpayers contribute almost nothing in individual income taxes.
    The Top 1% of income earners (comprising about 1 million families) earn about 15% of the total income earned by all wage earners in the United States, yet they pay almost 30% of all individual income taxes.
    Furthermore, the Top 1% are shouldering a roughly 50% higher proportion of the overall income tax burden than they did in 1977.
    The argument most oft used against tax breaks are that they benefit only the wealthy. It is clear from even a cursory look at the numbers that the ‘wealthy’ will receive the majority of any income tax reduction because they pay a disproportionately huge percentage of the income taxes! To structure a tax break such that those in upper income brackets are excluded would constitute nothing more than transfer of wealth from those who have it to those who don’t (i.e. legal plunder, or better stated “socialism”)

    Here are the Percentiles Rankings by Threshold on Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

    Top 1% income earners
    pay 39.38% of the taxes

    Top 5%
    Pay 59.67% !!!!!!!!!!!

    Top 10%
    Pay 70.30%

    Top 25%
    Pay 86%

    Top 50%
    Pay 97% of asll taxes paid!

    Bottom 50%
    Pay 3%…literally NOTHING!

    You can not ignore the fact that 97% of taxes are paid by 50% of Americans and the other half pays only 3%.
    How can you give a tax cut for those that don’t pay taxes? Answer that!

    Te group that least understand the real tax structure and burdens are those that work for agencies that consume taxes! They have no real understanding of where income is derived from nor the impact of the taxes paid on families. This is the very reason that most, if not all, tax supported services should be outsourced to private industry and the government should get out of the business of pretending to be a business. Real change would occur then. Real & profound changes!

  29. a brilliant plan
    October 14, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Here is a solution to many problems…but listen to libs yell & scream about it!
    1) Build the border fence and man it with the National Guard. Stop all illegal immagration now!
    2) Deport all illegal alliens now! Families and all. Obey our laws or get out!
    3) Demand that Mexico take back all their illegal criminals in our jails and keep them in Mexico.
    4) Start using prison labor to pick and harvest produce, clean hotel rooms and wash dishes in retsuarnts, as well as mow lawns and hang sheetrock. They get paid nothing until they earn more than it takes to keep em locked up! This helps the bisunesses and the prisons. No more free rides for law breakers.

    Since we are the most incarcerated nation in the world we have an unlimited supply of grunt workers. They or their families need to be finacially responsible for the cost of their upkeep for breaking laws. Watch the crime rate drop when mom or dad or aunt shanequa have to pay for Darnell to be in prison.
    And don’t call me a racist! Over half the prison population is black when they are only 12% of the population. Teach them the meaning of a hard days work and they may stay in school and make something of their lives!

    There ya have it! Perfection of logic and economic responsibility!
    A perfect end to illegal immagration, and hope for the prisoners after they get out.

    How could possibly disagree with this plan?

  30. Anonymous
    October 14, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Everyone knows there are mistakes in war. I would contend that the optimistic war plan did not take into account second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking in this country which fueled so many of the setbacks we have seen. The enemy realizes there is a wedge here to exploit. The “unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders” goes to both sides by the way – with a state department full of questionalble leaks and objectives. I guess we can all relish in the fact the Nobel Peace prize went to someone who is really doing something to bring about world peace.

  31. Downtown Bob
    October 15, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    anonymouse said: … I would contend that the optimistic war plan did not take into account second guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking in this country which fueled so many of the setbacks we have seen. What the hell? The “setbacks” we have seen have been due to inept planning, undermanned approach, underfunded beginning and utter incompetence by Donald Rumsfeld in trying to run this occupation on the cheap. Our military has done all that they have been asked to do, even without with all that they should have had in the beginning, so no one can fault the military here, it is the civilian leadership that screwed up, period. To glibly state that it is because of “Monday morning quarterbacking” and “second guessing” that has fueled the setbacks is a very lame attempt at deflecting the responsibility for the mess Iraq is now. Very typical of defenders of the President to not acknowledge why Iraq is such a mess. Where are the diplomatic efforts? Anonymouse, dude, (or dudette), really a desperate post here. I would suggest you try again, but judging from your first attempt you will simply attack me instead of answering my charges about the administration. Really lame.

  32. SLO Bear
    October 15, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Hey folks – this isn’t a partisan issue anymoe. Many Republicans also want out. We have gotten nothing for our money and lives lost.

    No funds for children’s health, but plenty wasted in Iraq – very sad.

    http://www.RonPaul2008.com

  33. Anonymous
    October 15, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    When our own U.S. news media can’t give us the full facts including ALL of General Sanchez’ comments (yes the parts about partisan bickering killing our soldiers), then I would suggest this country is being setback on a regular basis by our own news agencies. Whatever happened to getting out the truth instead of select soundbites to legitimize only one side of any argument. And what’s up with our own congress trying to start trouble with Turkey so we’ll have even more trouble in Iraq.

  34. Anonymous
    October 16, 2007 at 12:13 am

    So, Bob this is a direct quote from General Sanchez, left out by the media (wonder why)–it’s speaking of them. Pretty sad that we have to do our own research to get a full story.

    LT. GEN. SANCHEZ: “Once reported, your assessments become conventional wisdom and nearly impossible to change. Your unwillingness to accurately and prominently correct your mistakes and your agenda-driven biases sometimes contribute to this corrosive environment. All these challenges combined create a media environment that does a tremendous disservice to America, in some instances. Over the course of this war, tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for our country because of the tremendous power and impact of the media — and by extension, you individually, the journalists.”

    LT. GEN. SANCHEZ: “What is clear to me is that you’re perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war, in some cases. “

  35. Downtown Bob
    October 16, 2007 at 5:11 am

    So, if by the General’s remarks you meant to indict anyone who questions the administration’s motives, means or execution of war planning, we are the cause of all of the bad results in Iraq? While I will give General Sanchez his due and I do recognize that the media did not report on the spanking he gave them, let me remind you that the media in Iraq has been more tightly controlled than any other conflict in modern history. Embedded reporting; remember that? If the General or anyone on the right wants to demonize the media, how do you reconcile the near absolute control of media access in Iraq? The reporting of the abuses at Abu Garib (under the leadership of General Sanchez) led to the entire world knowing that we (America) was actually torturing detainees; so by your reasoning, that reporting was the wrong thing to do? I can understand General Sanchez being upset about the reporting of Abu Garib, I know that I were in charge and the reporting came out showing the abuses, I would be upset; that does not diminish the fact that what was done was absolutely wrong. Perhaps the spanking of the media by General Sanchez was an attempt to deflect some of the blame for his failings? I will be the first to say that I do not know what is the correct story here, I am simply bringing up one possible motivation of both the media and the general.

  36. the ghost of christmas past
    October 16, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    So General Sanchez led the torture of the prisoners of abu Ghraib. You are a hypocrite of the first order. You bash Rush with your harebrained interpretation of the phony soldiers comment and then you accuse general sanchez of torture. Who is slandering our troops and their leaders now? It is you, Bob. By the way, the drive-by’s was reporting on the Army’s investigation of abu Ghraib that broke the story. The military was already on the case before the drive-by media came in lobbing their grenades of disinformation. Embedding reporters always walk away with a differing version of the truth than those reporting from the relative safe and comforatble confines of the Green Zone. Go to michaelyon-online.com for the real scoop on life in the streets of Iraq with our soldiers. And now Gerneral Snachez is indicted anyone who is critical of the war? He talked directly, only and specifically about THE MEDIA! Rich is right, you are dense. It’s obvious to me that Bob will demonize anything and anyone that doesn’t get behind his and the loony left’s insane drive to lose the Iraq War at all costs no matter the price we will pay in the process.

  37. conservative talk radio
    October 16, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    The drive by MSM is in the pockets of the libs. Everyone knows this. Thus the huge popularity of talk radio. We have all learned where to get the real news and it ain’t in the liberal secular progressive media.
    It was good to finally see al the general idiot’s remearks about how the media and the libs are aiding our emenys.
    Conservative talk radio is here to stay, and it will be the death of the radical libs.
    Just wait until this election process really gets under way!
    The deocratic party will be shredded with the real truth. Hellery will crash and burn, B. Hussien Obama will be proven the jr high politition he is…So I guess we will run agaist the breck girl. The left is running a bunch of goofballs! I love politics!

  38. Wilson
    October 16, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    comrade Bob says:

    “The reporting of the abuses at Abu Garib (under the leadership of General Sanchez) led to the entire world knowing that we (America) was actually torturing detainees; so by your reasoning, that reporting was the wrong thing to do? I can understand General Sanchez being upset about the reporting of Abu Garib, I know that I were in charge and the reporting came out showing the abuses, I would be upset; that does not diminish the fact that what was done was absolutely wrong. “

    Comrade are you talking about the naked pyramids or the panties on the head torture?

  39. Dave Congalton
    October 16, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    These last two posts are marginal, at best, and I was tempted not to post either. No need to call Bob “Comrade,” nor do we need the shots against the various Democrats.

    It has been my experience that we make the personal attacks when we don’t have anything else to say, so let’s try to maintain the higher ground like Bob and Rich do, please?

  40. lib translator
    October 16, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Dave Congalton said…
    “These last two posts are marginal, at best, and I was tempted not to post either.”

    Most libs need to be translated so you get the main point without all the fluff…So here goes:

    1)”These last two posts are marginal, at best”
    MEANING: I disagree so they are marginal.

    2)”I was tempted not to post either”

    MEANING: I do censor at will. So watch it!

    This is why we need talk radio! So we can figure out what they are really saying.
    To uncover the flip-flops! Like Dave has said he will post anything as long as it is not a personal attack , and yet admitted he was “tempted” to not post them!
    Dats da flip-flop! You saw it with your own eyes!

    You can never really trust what any libs says…Do your homework don’t be fooled!

    But I doubt that you will see this post as the libs hate getting caught in their own trap!

  41. Anonymous
    October 19, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Why didn’t Sanchez publically resign to protest rather than overseeing what he considered a bad policy. A man of integrity would have

  42. disgusted
    October 24, 2007 at 1:22 am

    Sanchez is a tax trough feeding coward. Now that he has his $125,000 a year for life retirement he can now disrespect that which brings him his money/
    Our nation is lucky he is out of uniform!
    Period!

  43. Rich from Paso
    October 28, 2007 at 3:02 am

    Sanchez does not get $125K for life. He gets about half that. he paid for that retirement with his sacrifices he has made over his career. He is an honorable man that did his duty even when he thought thigns were going badly. Lighen up and go easy on the man. His speech was even-handed and fairly delivered. As a veteran, I have no problem with him. Why do you?

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