Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!
U.S. Prepares to Send More Troops To Iraq
The Pentagon is preparing to send more troops to Iraq ahead of a scheduled vote in October on the new constitution and elections in December. The U.S. currently has 138,000 troops in Iraq. The total jumped to 160,000 ahead of the elections earlier this year. Pentagon spokesperson Lawrence Di Rita said, "It's perfectly plausible to assume we'll do the same thing for this election."
More troops to Iraq? Well where are they going to get them? Recruiters can't get bump those numbers up. But how long ago was it that Bully Boy was floating the "reduce troops" angle?
We have to increase troops to reduce troops. Dad said that sounds like "we had to burn the village to save the village."
There are no answers from the Bully Boy cause he's got none. Instead he hides out from the press, the people and Cindy Sheehan. Tomorrow's supposed to be the big arrest day for Sheehan. That's what they're threatening. And they're calling out all the usual smear tactics to question her and make people back away to look resonable which is the same old bullshit they do every time. I try to keep the language clean here for Ma but bullshit was she said when she heard some of the attacks on Cindy Sheehan. Ma's not much on cursing. I think I heard her curse four or five years ago when she was slicing an onion and cut herself real deep. C.I. had a thing up that was talking about these tactics and how it's important we combat that by getting the word out to everyone. Not just the people who pay attention to the news but to as many people as we can. Like C.I. said, we need to get the word out because people need to know about the brave stand Cindy Sheehan has taken.
If a brave stand takes place and people don't know about it, it's still a brave stand. But the more people who know about it, the more people it influences. You know about Cindy Sheehan and you start thinking, "Cool." And you start thinking about stuff you could do too.
So I'm asking readers here to do the same thing C.I. asked last night and that's talk to everyone about this. Get the word out on this like nothing you've ever gotten the word out on before. We're all doing that in my home. Dad's telling his friends and people he works with, same with Ma, they're both telling people at the church and my sister's copied and pasted C.I.'s thing and turned it into an e-mail chain. At work and on campus today, I was talking about this.
A lot more people know about it than I thought would. But most don't. And some who do know just know that she's outside Bully Boy's ranch. One guy in class said, "But she's there to support Osama." I took 10 minutes with him. He's not a bad guy, he just doesn't get information. After we started talking he was like, "Her son died there?" And I told him about how she was doing this to get an answer for why we're over in Iraq, why we got people dying over there. He went from knowing of some woman outside the Crawford ranch that he thought was for bin Laden to knowing Cindy Sheehan as a person making a brave stand.
Be pushy. Talk about this. Bring it up. Don't wait for someone else to.
Let's say Cindy Sheehan gets arrested tomorrow, okay? (I don't think Bully Boy has the guts to do that.) If she's arrested and it makes the news, we want everyone to know how outrageous this is. This isn't about going to your friends who you can usually get to do an e-mail to a Senator or to sign a petition, this is about talking to everyone around you.
People need to know what she's doing. They need to know that she's asking for answers.
So start talking. Or e-mailing friends or instant messaging them or calling them but tell everyone you can think of. Let's get a movement behind her.
I'll dip into the e-mails now. Mick e-mailed because there's this recruiter that won't stop bothering him. It's only going to get worse for Mick and for everyone else. They want to put more troops in Iraq and they got to get them somewhere. So Mick, hang tough. Hang up on the dude's phone calls. Walk away from him if he's stopping by. And everyone else, if you're in high school or college, you better get used to it because they're going to be bothering you too.
I talked to C.I. on the phone today and we were discussing an article I hadn't read yet. C.I. ended up typing up a section and e-mailing it to me so I'm going to share it with you here. It's
Michael Bronner's "The Recruiters' War" from Vanity Fair, the September, 2005 issue but the article's not available online. C.I.'s going to write on it tonight so check out The Common Ills.
Here's the section, C.I. sent and I'll try to remember to pick up the issue tonight after my date:
In the spring of 2000, just out of high school, Tim was working part-time with his mom at the trout plant and taking welding classes at the community college. One morning, two Marine Corps recruiters arrived on campus in their dress blues and set up a "fruit stand" (a recruiting table). They rarely made the trip all the way out to Andrews, Tim's hometown, but one of the administrators at the college was an old Marine Corps master sergeant, so they were always welcome. That morning, they caught Tim Queen's eye. "I think I may be joining you soon," he announced.
Tim caught the recruiters' eyes, too. It was crunch time, a couple of days before the end of the month, and they needed one more body to "make missions" -- their monthly quota. Timmy Queen would be that body.
The trip to Tim's school was a training run for the younger Marine, Sergeant Jimmy Massey, who'd been on recruiting duty less than a year. He was out with his gunnery sergeant, Tim Dalhouse being shown the ropes. Massey wasn't new to the Marine Corps. He'd been in for eight years already, several of them working with new recruits as an infantry instructor at basic training at Parris Island. He planned to retire from the Marine Corps an old man; he was in for the long haul, and for many career Marines, doing a tour on recruiting duty is a gauntlet worth running, a roll-of-the-dice that can fast-track your career, all but guaranteeing promotion if you're good. If you're not, however, it can be a career-ender.
[. . .]
On that spring day in 2000, Tim Queen was impressed by Massey and Dalhouse. "They were always saying things like 'Semper fi' and all that stuff, and it was definitely encouraging to be around. They seemed to me to be true and hard-core people, and I liked that."
[. . .]
Over his three years on recruiting duty, Massey developed such a knack for scooping up questionable new recruits that he earned a nickname: "Jimmy the Shark." By his own account, he entlisted kids with asthma, illegal-drug users, kids with criminal records. He'd coach most to lie to military doctors during their physicals. He'd advise some to stop taking prescription medications like Ritalin and antidepressants -- which could disqualify them -- without consulting their doctors. "The Marine Corps will be your backbone now," he'd explain. He was investigated for badgering a high-school student for lack of patriotism in the wake of 9/11. He was cleared (though he told me he taunted poolies all the time). "If it comes between a recruiter's word and some kid's, the recruiter wins every time," he said. He received a dozen or so recruiting awards. He was promoted to staff sergeant. None of his methods were new, however, or unique to the Marines. Rather, they are well-worn tricks of the trade passed down by veteran recruiters in the strip malls where military recruiters of all stripes share real estate.
The kid got accepted, Tim, and guess what, he shows up for training and he's accused of lying to his recruiters and doctors and they end up slapping a dishonorable discharge on him. Tim wanted to serve. He didn't lie. He told his recruiter. And his problems were visible, this twitch he had, the doctors should have seen it when they were evaluating him. But, pay attention to this Mick, they don't care. The recruiters don't care. They just need to make their monthly quota. They do that by signing you up. After they've signed you up, they don't care if the military takes you or not. They've made your quota.
The only way to fight lies is with truth and where you can tell the truth right now is to get the word out on Cindy Sheehan's bravery. Elaine's getting word out Cindy Sheehan, Cedric is, Kat is and Betty said she'll post the editorial tonight. So do your part and talk to the people around you.
Tomorrow, I'm hoping to have an interview with Jim. We may talk about trapping a bear. We may not. (No we're not hunting a bear.) But we will be talking about Cindy Sheehan. Make sure you are too.