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Truly Shameful

Wow. I was appalled. From Wapo:

Twenty-eight percent of the public is aware that nearly 4,000 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq over the past five years, while nearly half thinks the death tally is 3,000 or fewer and 23 percent think it is higher, according to an opinion survey released yesterday.

Access to information is nearly instantaneao us these days. We don’t need the mainstream media to publish to learn about things like war casualties. Via the internet, we have a ongoing stream of traditional reporting, opinion and research.

Maybe instant is still too much work. We need an A-game, and I don’t mean apathy.

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28 Responses to “Truly Shameful”

  1. There is a March 19th Blogswarm against the Iraq War. Here is the site with more information:

    http://march 19-blogswarm m/

    I will be participatin g here and on the other places I write. I am doing a new YouTube that has JFK’s words attached from a great site I found that contains many of his speeches in mp3 format. I am trying to find a site like that with Eisenhowers speech about the MIC.

    Perhaps I should writeup a post about the Blogswarm?

  2. If anyone wishs to participate. .just stop by the link I left in my comment above and add your name and blog url to the list.

  3. We need to find some way to encourage the general public to increase their sense of connectednes s and identificati on with the people in the military - the draft used to guarantee that by ensuring that (at least if you were middle or working class) you knew a lot of people who had served or were serving, but since it’s been all-voluntee r, the demographic sector from which the services draw has gotten narrower. I don’t think bringing back the draft is the answer - it has always struck me as wrong in a free society - but something needs to change. I see expressions of generalized support and sympathy for the troops from most of the public, but not the sense of urgency or the keen awareness that should be there, i.e. a majority not knowing even roughly how many people we’ve lost.

  4. Well, I think LJ, if the draft was reintroduced ..more people would be willing to protest in large numbers and when it’s all equal, they will then speak out loud and clear against the war and what it is doing to the thousands of soldiers that survive the carnage, only to come home and deal with the VA system and it’s worthless ass.

    The majority of American’s do not suffer because of the war. They have no one they love involved in it. That makes it too easy to ignore in my humble opinion.

  5. yes it is too easy to ignore. One of the reasons I’ve been promting a 1% tax surcharge to pay for the war is to get people to think about it. We keep hearing how important it is to stay the course. If you are not willing to pay for it how important can it be?

    I also endorse two years of universal government service immediately out of high school. This can be in the military or any other function.

  6. I think the two years service to our country is a great idea Christopher. .you have mentioned it before and its a sound idea.

    Don’t know about the surcharge..I think the War Profiteers should pay for it myself..they are the ones getting rich and fat off it and the lives of the dead Americans and Iraqis.

  7. I think it’s true that more people would be protesting if the draft were reintroduced . People tend to protest involuntary servitude (13th amendment) and governmental infringement upon their liberties (fifth and 14th amendments) without anything like due process. That’s understandab le.

    I think we are and have been suffering because of the war? We have Bush’s “Worst Economy Since Herbert Hoover” (registered trademark of the DNC), Bush’s wage stagnation, Bush’s recession everyone is saying we’re in, and high gas prices (of course, we don’t have nearly the number of grieving widows, parents, and children as in past wars but that’s a good thing). These are present-day versions of gas rationing, war bonds, scarcity of goods due to the war effort.

    I don’t think anyone is ignoring the war; they are largely ambivalent about it. In latest polling that I’ve seen, the nation is almost exactly split down the middle as to whether we should withdraw troops as soon as safely practicable or leave them in until Iraq has been stabilized. More than two thirds of Americans think we have an obligation to establish a reasonable level of stability in Iraq. Twice as many Americans think the Surge has made things better as think it has made things worse in Iraq. Yes, other polls say that it would be better for the United States if we brought troops home as soon as possible over against leaving them in Iraq, maybe for years, to bring stability there but, well, those results illustrates three things: 1) Americans recognize that they ARE being asked to make a sacrifice by not bringing the troops home right away, 2) Americans feel a strong sense of obligation to Iraq and 3) Americans are evenly spit on whether to accept those sacrifices by leaving our troops in or to reject those sacrifices by bringing them home no matter what our obligations. That, in my opinion, is why there are few people protesting. You’re not going to get much protest while more than two thirds of Americans feel a strong sense of obligation to Iraq and very nearly half the country thinks the troops should stay in that country.

    Craig R. Harmon

  8. People do not connect the economy with the war. We have forgotten that this is the same scenario as Nam. Johnson refused to pay for that war too.

    i disagree with all three of your reason for there being few protest. We stay out of fear and pride. We don’t protest because few of us see any direct connection with the war.

    With the 13th amendment arue we should not be forcing people to go school or serve on jury duty

  9. The media as usual, can only highlight one issue at a time- It’s the Economy stupid! They are bombarding us with numbers daily about the dollar, the foreclosure rate, price of a barrel of oil, etc.

    The polls are worthless, and frankly I don’t even pay attention to them any more.Anyone will say anything when called on the phone and asked a few questions.

    Also..Where did you get these numbers btw Craig You’re not going to get much protest while more than two thirds of Americans feel a strong sense of obligation to Iraq and very nearly half the country thinks the troops should stay in that country.

  10. I think that the impending recession will be the red herring needed to have a “save face” exit out of Iraq, CR. This country is going to start screaming as the pinch gets more pronouced, and those war billions will look pretty good to harrassed legislators.

    We may not leave for the right reasons, but we will rapidly hit the point we cannot afford to stay.

  11. Dusty,

    Those and many more can be found here.


    My points were logical conclusions drawn from the results of recent polls by independent polling companies as enumerated. Yours are drawn from…where exactly?

    The specific polls I referenced for the claims made above are:

    For my claim that “Twice as many Americans think the Surge has made things better as think it has made things worse in Iraq,” see:

    USA Today/Gallup Poll. Feb. 21-24, 2008. N=2,021 adults nationwide. MoE ± 2.

    The exact question asked was:

    “Based on what you have heard or read about the surge of U.S. troops in Iraq that began last year, do you think the increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq is making the situation there better, not making much difference, or is it making the situation there worse?”

    The results were: Better = 40%; Not Much Difference = 38%; Worse = 20%; Unsure = 2%.

    For my claim: “More than two thirds of Americans think we have an obligation to establish a reasonable level of stability in Iraq” See the same poll.

    The exact question asked was:

    “Do you think the United States does or does not have an obligation to establish a reasonable level of stability and security in Iraq before withdrawing all of its troops?”

    The results were: Does = 65%; Does Not = 32%; Unsure = 3%.

    For my claim: “the nation is almost exactly split down the middle as to whether we should withdraw troops as soon as safely practicable or leave them in until Iraq has been stabilized”, see:

    Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates Internationa l. Feb. 20-24, 2008. N=1,508 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

    The exact question asked was:

    “Do you think the U.S. should keep military troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, or do you think the U.S. should bring its troops home as soon as possible?”

    The results were: Keep In Iraq Until Stabilized = 47%; Bring Home As Soon As Possible = 49%; Unsure = 4%.

    For my claim: “Yes, other polls say that it would be better for the United States if we brought troops home as soon as possible over against leaving them in Iraq, maybe for years, to bring stability”, see that poll referenced earlier:

    USA Today/Gallup Poll. Feb. 21-24, 2008. N=2,021 adults nationwide. MoE ± 2.

    The exact question asked was:

    “If you had to choose, which do you think is better for the U.S.: to keep a significant number of troops in Iraq until the situation there gets better, even if that takes many years, or to set a timetable for removing troops from Iraq and to stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Iraq at the time?”

    The results were: Stay Until Situation Gets Better = 35%; Stick To A Withdrawal Timetable = 60%; Unsure = 5%.

    So, when asked which is better for the U.S., to stay or set a timetable for withdrawal, by almost 2/3s to slightly over 1/3, they say it would be better for the U.S. to set a timetable and stick to it. When asked whether they recognize a responsibili ty to Iraq, those numbers more than reverse. And, as you can see, the nation is almost exactly (within the margin of error) split on whether to stay or leave asap.

    I suppose you could look at other polls and come to your own conclusions but these seemed both interesting and meaningful to me.

    Craig R. Harmon

  12. do you really think that they would answer a poll honestly that asked if we are in there because of fear or pride. Remember the constant arguement that we can not leave because it would dishonor the soldiers who have already died. Or the arguement that if we leave then Al quida will win. I do not remember bush ever arguing that we had an obligation to the Iraqis. Nor do I remember any member of the government saying that we need to raise taxes to pay for the war.

    I also do not remember bush ever saying that part of the problem with the economy is the expense and debt being incurred due to this war.

  13. As to the 13th amendment and education, you’ve got a point. It is involuntary  (although it is service to oneself, not primarily to the nation, although the nation benefits as well) but we only insist that children be educated for a certain number of years; we do not force adults to. Yes, we treat children differently than we treat adults both in law and in the constitution  (after all, the Constitution preserves certain offices to adults and reserves the right to vote to adults of 18 years and older).

    We also grant minor children fewer rights than adults: their lockers at school can be checked without advanced warning or permission, they can be drug-tested. Their speech can be punished, told what to wear and not to wear, etc. The point here is that for right or for wrong, children are not full citizens with full rights. Also, of course, a child without at least a minimal education is pretty much lost in this world.

    The Supreme Court has granted children certain privileges, in compensation  : they are generally treated more leniently in separate, juvenile courts; their trial transcripts are typically sealed and placed off limits as regards their adult life; even for the worst offenses, such as murder, they cannot be executed.

    Also, of course, there’s nothing inherently life or death about insisting that children attend school.

    As for jury duty, to have a trial by jury is our right. In order to give that right to defendants, jury duty MUST be mandatory to some degree. It is a right that preserves all of our liberties against excessive coercion by the state in the justice system.

    We citizens generally accept that living in this country entails certain obligations — because of its importance as a fundamental right, jury duty is chief among those.

    Of course, not all agree that jury service is a reasonable obligation and anyone who does not wish to serve on a jury cannot get out of jury duty is mentally deficient to the point that he should be given leave not to serve on one. Just say, “I think the defendant is guilty; it’s his eyes!” and the defense lawyer will oblige you and the judge won’t object.

    So the point here is, jury duty is only a duty to those who choose to be bound by that duty because, though a nuisance, they realize that, if they should ever end up where the defendant sits, they would want their fellow citizens to feel it their duty to serve on the jury for their trial. And jurors very rarely get shot at or blown up. In other words, jury duty is seen by most as in the best interest of the country’s people, themselves included and those who don’t can pretty easily avoid it.

    Also, from what I’ve read, an all volunteer army is superior to a conscripted one for many reasons but I’m not really qualified to speak to that point. I do think I’d prefer to be protected by an army of people who choose to so serve than by one consisting of a large number of people who would rather not be there. It would seem that desertions would be higher in a conscript army, discipline more difficult to maintain, volunteers for important and highly dangerous missions more difficult to find and so on.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    Craig R. Harmon

  14. Christopher,

    I don’t know why they wouldn’t answer truthfully. Of course, you always get a certain number of people who will just lie for the hell of it but I think and hope those numbers would be small and that their answers would not break heavily in any one direction and, so, would cancel one another out. I think that for the most part, people who are willing to take the time to take a poll do their best to be honest. In the end, the polls are anonymous and no one person’s answers are going to be tracked back to them.

    Nor do I think that what Bush has or hasn’t argued matters much in these polls. There are too many influences out there competing with Bush’s bully pulpit, which of all the presidents in recent time, Bush has made the least effective use of in any case. How many people do you suppose listen to his radio broadcasts or read his speeches? Hell, I don’t even do that unless I’m looking for a specific data point about what Bush has or hasn’t said about a given topic for use in a comment debate here or elsewhere on the web.

    Craig R. Harmon

  15. Christopher and Dusty,

    Dusty, you said you don’t believe the polls. Okay. You obviously have distinct impressions about why your fellow citizens are or are not protesting the war in large numbers. The question is, from where do you draw those impressions if not from people actually telling pollsters what they think? As I put it to Christopher above:

    “My points were logical conclusions drawn from the results of recent polls by independent polling companies as enumerated. Yours are drawn from…where exactly?”

  16. Exactly how many true answers do you think you get to the question are you afraid?

    However the main reason there has not been a hugh cry in congress to leave Iraq is because polls have consistantly shown that the american public is split on how to continue. While the majority now believe the war is wrong, this does not translate to a majority wanting to pull out.

  17. You can not get out of jury duty in NY and if this country isn’t worth two year what are you doing here? Isreal has (or use to) a two year or more mandatory service requirement in the military. Think of it as two years field work for school.

  18. Christopher,

    Sorry, but exactly zero questions were “Are you afraid” so you question is moot.

    As to the second point in your 10:09 pm comment, that’s exactly what I said. I’m glad that you agree with me.

    As to getting out of jury duty, you may not be able to get out of appearing but you can certainly get out of serving for any trial by being the sort of person that (a) no prosecutor would want on a jury or (b) the kind of person no defense lawyer would want. Every juror goes through voir dire, a questioning period. Just lean in your answers toward the prosecution and the defense lawyer will ask for you to be removed from the jury or lean in your answers toward the defense and the prosecutor will ask to have you removed. Nothing’s simpler. In fact just keep looking askance at the defendant throughout voir dire, even if you’re not asked a question by either side, the defense lawyer will ask to have you removed. You’ll be gone and back to your life the next day. Even in New York. As for me personally, I’d love to serve on a jury. I’ve been called up three times. I’ve sat all day in a common room only to be told that my services weren’t required.

    As to what my country is worth, that’s up to me, not you or the government. I’ll decide what I give to the country and how. Since the 13th amendment, no American should be forced into giving up two years of his life at the government’s whim.

    As for Israel, everyone who moved to Israel knew that requirement before they moved to Israel and, if they were born there, they could move out if service was not what they wanted to do.

    I went through field work for school to get my degree. I chose to do it; it was not forced on me. Had I wished not to perform that field work, I could have chosen another career. That’s what liberty is about: choices that YOU get to make, not choices that the government makes for you.

    However, the draft is not just an academic question for me. When I turned 18 and signed up for selective service, the Vietnam war was winding down but, at one point, my birthday drew the #3 in the lottery. Had I been born, say, two years earlier, I’d have gone to Vietnam. I may or may not have come back. But, had I been called up, I’d have gone. This is not about how much I value my country; it’s about whether this country is about liberty or involuntary indenture. It used to be about liberty. I’d just as soon it stay that way. I think the government has it’s hands in our lives more than enough already.

    But all in all, this isn’t about what I think about the draft or what I think about the 13th amendment. My claim was no more than, and I’m quoting myself now, “People tend to protest involuntary servitude (13th amendment) and governmental infringement upon their liberties (fifth and 14th amendments) without anything like due process.” That, it seems to me, may be taken as an aphorism, unless you know of people who LIKE involuntary servitude. I don’t know anyone like that. Most people I know, like making their own choices, not being told what to do.

    But I’d like to get back to the polls. You, like Dusty, seem extremely distrustful of polls, since you believe that people are lying right and left in them. So if you come to exactly the same position as I do, based upon the polls that I’ve pointed out, but you don’t trust the polls, and this is the third time I’ve asked the question (perhaps you’ll answer it this time), upon what do you base your opinion about why more Americans are not protesting?

  19. I’m not altogether happy with my answer about Israel. What I wrote is true but could equally apply to the United States. The better answer is, the United States is not Israel so the fact that Israel does it is irrelevant. That’s the better answer.

  20. Though a Democrat, I prefer JFK’s formula: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Volunteerism was one of his great legacies. At the heart of ‘Volunteeris m” is, of course, ‘volunteer’. This is the way to go: inspire the spirit of volunteering . This is the polar opposite of the knee-jerk statist solution of mandatory service and the draft.

  21. It is not a knee jerk solution. I also was of draft age and would have been drafted if I did not volunteer. I believe 2 years service benefits both parties. I have not met anyone from that error who served and does not agree with the idea of 2 years of service. If it is universal then all people would not be in the military as they could not absorb them all.

    Also remember that our present day arms forces mix was designed to make heavy use of the reserves and guard in war. The thought was that a president would need a strong reason to go to war before involving those units. It was suppose to be a deterrent.

  22. governmental infringement upon their liberties (fifth and 14th amendments) without anything like due process.

    Didn’t you defend the administrati ons wire tapping and disregarding the 6th amendment?

  23. Christopher,

    Very well, then, I retract “knee-jerk”. I just don’t believe that adult citizens should be forced to do things by their government that they would not voluntarily do. We’re the land of the free, not the land of the coerced. I’d like to see us stay that way.

    It’s the fourth amendment, not the sixth amendment and if you read it, you learn that it forbids “unreasonabl e” searches and seizures, not all searches and seizures. If, for example, we capture a lap-top at a safe-house in Iraq or Afghanistan or somewhere that’s been used by the enemy and a phone number appears on that computer, we should be able to put a tap on that phone immediately. A warrant should not be necessary under any condition because we’re not talking about the criminal prosecution of an American, we’re talking about the interception of signals intelligence . To insist that our military get warrants from some court in the United States before moving on a potential source of intel is what is unreasonable . And yet, if that phone call, no matter where in the world it originates or terminates passes through the United States, there are many, mostly Democrats, who would preclude tapping that line until a warrant is obtained. This is, in my opinion, ludicrous. If someone is calling that number, no matter if it’s from Main Street, U. S. A. by my mother, that phone should be tapped as soon as we obtain the number because if my mother is talking to someone at that phone number, I darn well want our government and military to know about it.

    It isn’t about disregarding the fourth amendment. The text of the amendment makes its own distinction between reasonable and unreasonable searches and seizures. I just happen to think that, in such a case, it is unreasonable to expect or demand, during wartime, that we keep our intel gathering abilities hostage to a judge. We’re not prosecuting criminals at that point, we’re fighting a war and there is no right or liberty to collude with one’s nation’s wartime enemies, so tapping that phone immediately infringes no right or liberty.

  24. And I believe that many misunderstan d the Warrants clause of the fourth amendment. The fourth does not require a warrant for all searches; it simply says that, where warrants ARE required, they must be obtained from a judge upon a showing of probable cause. There’s no indication that it was ever required for wartime activities. Requiring a warrant to tap a phone, the number of which was found on a lap-top in a house used by the enemy would be like requiring troops to obtain a warrant from a judge in the US to capture enemy troops during battle. That’s not reasonable, that’s ludicrous.

    But even when we’re not talking about war-time military action, even in every day law enforcement, the fourth amendment is not interpreted by the courts as requiring a warrant for every search or seizure. There are recognized exceptions. There’s the ‘plain sight’ exception whereby if you have illegal contraband in plain sight of a police person, no warrant is required to arrest you and seize the contraband. There are exceptions for border guards whereby the decision to stop and search those entering or leaving the country is wholly within the discretion of the border agent; no warrant required. If a person is stopped for erratic driving and arrested for resisting an officer, no warrant is required to pat the detained person down. Any contraband found during said warrantless search can be seized immediately and used against him in court. And these are criminal procedure laws involving citizens, not wartime intelligence collection. This whole thing where war is increasingly brought within the jurisdiction of US civil criminal courts is absurd to me. The fourth amendment was never designed or intended to limit our country’s war time intelligence gathering.

    So yes, I support the government’s wire tap policies. No, I do not advocate ignoring the fourth amendment.

    Craig R. Harmon

  25. 6th amendment

    In all criminal prosecutions  , the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Think Jose Padilla

  26. he fourth amendment was never designed or intended to limit our country’s war time intelligence gathering.

    There is nothing in the 4th amendment that says except when gathering war time inteligence

  27. Christopher,

    The sixth amendment has nothing to do with wiretaps. It is the fourth that covers them. So far as I know, warrantless wiretaps had nothing to do with Jose Padilla. Since it was wiretaps that you asked about, I answered your question as the law and constitution relate to wiretaps. As to the fourth saying nothing about wartime intelligence  , you can’t be serious. When has any country at any time in its history, including England and the colonies at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, ever considered that there was a warrant requirement for wartime intelligence gathering? If it wasn’t explicit in English or colonial law prior to the ratification of the BoR, you simply cannot seriously suppose that the fourth amendment entails some sort of warrant requirement for wartime intel gathering.

    I have no problem discussing the case of Padilla but, so far as I know, any wiretaps of him and his friends were resulting from the lawful and constitution al use of warrants. If you know otherwise, provide a link and I’ll have to eat the above assertions and go on and try not to type with my mouth full. :-)

  28. Okay, so I think I get you. You were talking about two different things: wiretapping and the ignoring the 6th amendment. I mistook you as speaking of wiretapping in such a way as to ignore the amendment. Well, I’ve covered wiretapping. Now on to the 6th amendment, particularly as related to Jose Padilla.

    As I understand it, Jose Padilla had been detained deboarding a flight at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL on a material witness warrant and detained for several years without charge and, therefore, trial. This has been criticized as a misuse of the material witness warrant, intended to place witnesses to crimes into protective custody to prevent being killed or intimidated into silence by the mob or street gangs. They were, it is argued, not intended for indefinitely detaining individuals without charge or trial.

    With this, I think I’m pretty certain that I agree. If the authorities thought he was part of a terrorist cell, as it seems they did, and they were ready to move on the cell, he and his accomplices should have been taken into custody and charged. If they were not ready to move on the cell, they should have kept him under surveillance to gather more evidence and then arrest the cell members when they had sufficient evidence.

    The one situation in which I might say they acted properly in detaining him is this: if they had enough evidence to suggest that a major terrorist plot were to be immanently carried out (say, the detonation of a dirty bomb) but not enough evidence to provide probable cause to a judge for an arrest warrant, then it would have been a judgment call as to whether to pick him up and try to get him to identify his accomplices or get operational details of the plot like location of the bomb and when it was to be detonated.

    Here’s my reasoning. Such a bomb could kill many thousands and irradiate many thousands more. Knowledge sufficient to suspect that such an action were immanent does not necessarily translate to probable cause, which is the only standard a criminal judge is permitted to consider when deciding whether to make out a warrant. So what does one do? Does one (1) try to follow Padilla, hope he doesn’t evade his tail, hope he leads his shaddows to other members of the cell before the bomb goes off? Does one (2) pick him up and try to elicit the information? Were I in charge, I’d have preferred (2) but then, I am not in possession of all the pertinent facts so it’s hard to know what led to the administrati on choosing (1).

    My preference, though, since Padilla was never actually charged with anything related to a dirty bomb, is to say that the administrati on screwed the pooch on Padilla. Citizens should be treated constitution ally. I don’t have that problem with non citizens who have never had either legal nor illegal residence in the US and who have been picked up outside of this country. The Constitution covers Americans, not foreign enemies suspected of being or assisting wartime enemies. In short, I don’t view indefinite detention of non Americans (Americans defined as either US citizens or foreign legal US residents) picked up in foreign countries as being constitution ally problematic. Ossama bin Ladin, should we ever capture him, is not entitled to 6th amendment rights, which are for US persons, not our foreign enemies, in my opinion.

    Long way around to say, I think the administrati on did infringe upon Jose Padilla’s 6th amendment rights but that’s my layman’s view. I don’t really know or understand whatever legal authorities the administrati on depended upon for doing what they did but the Supreme Court appeared to be about to bite the administrati on’s ass for their treatment of Padilla, hence he was turned over to the civilian criminal justice system, charged and tried.

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