President Bush Rejects a Plan for Peace

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” No matter how many times the President wishes it were so, peace in Iraq will not be found at the barrel of an American gun. No matter how hard the President hopes it will happen, sectarian violence will not be quelled with U.S. forces occupying the Iraqi nation. Cross your fingers. Pull out your lucky rabbit’s foot. Even nail a horse shoe over the Oval Office door. But, hoping for luck will never change the deadly dynamic in Iraq.

Peace demands an Iraqi-led political solution to transcend the ethnic and sectarian divisions that are splitting the country apart — a political effort which, to date, the Iraqi government has been unable or unwilling to take on. Our legislation could have spurred that progress, but President Bush has defiantly said no. This White House clings to its “foolish consistency.”

Senator Robert Byrd | CommonDreams.org

Mission Accomplished: 59,498 dead

38,813: The number of “individuals in Iraq killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism” in 2006, according to statistics from the National Counterterrorism Center released Monday by the State Department.

20,685: The number of “individuals in Iraq killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism” in 2005.

Add them together, and you get 59,498 dead in two years in a country with a population one-tenth that of the United States.

Tim Grieve | Salon 

Goodbye, Baghdad

On the one hand, I know that leaving the country and starting a new life somewhere else — as yet unknown — is such a huge thing that it should dwarf every trivial concern. The funny thing is that it’s the trivial that seems to occupy our lives. We discuss whether to take photo albums or leave them behind. Can I bring along a stuffed animal I’ve had since the age of four? Is there room for E.’s guitar? What clothes do we take? Summer clothes? The winter clothes too? What about my books? What about the CDs, the baby pictures?

The problem is that we don’t even know if we’ll ever see this stuff again. We don’t know if whatever we leave, including the house, will be available when and if we come back. There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends … And to what?

Riverbend | Baghdad Burning 

Hooked on Violence

Those who are interested in the safety and well-being of children should keep in mind that only motor vehicle accidents and cancer kill more children in the U.S. than firearms. A study released a few years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health compared firearm mortality rates among youngsters 5 to 14 years old in the five states with the highest rates of gun ownership with those in the five states with the lowest rates.

The results were chilling. Children in the states with the highest rates of gun ownership were 16 times as likely to die from an accidental gunshot wound, nearly seven times as likely to commit suicide with a gun, and more than three times as likely to be murdered with a firearm.

Only a lunatic could seriously believe that more guns in more homes is good for America’s children.

Bob Herbert | The New York Times

Bush Blames The Troops

Blame it on the military but make it look like you’re supporting the troops. That’s been the convenient gambit of failed emperors throughout history as they witnessed their empires decline. Not surprisingly then, it’s become the standard rhetorical trick employed by President Bush in shirking responsibility for the Iraq debacle of his making.Ignoring the fact that we have a system of civilian control over the military, which is why he, the elected president, is designated the commander in chief, Bush hides behind the fiction that the officers in the field are calling the shots when in fact he has put them in an unwinnable situation and refuses to even consider a timetable for getting them out.

Robert Scheer | TruthDig.com 

A Hostage Situation

The fact is that Mr. Bush’s refusal to face up to the failure of his Iraq adventure, his apparent determination to spend the rest of his term in denial, has become a clear and present danger to national security. Thanks to the demands of the Iraq war, we’re already a superpower without a strategic reserve, unable to respond to crises that might erupt elsewhere in the world. And more and more military experts warn that repeated deployments in Iraq — now extended to 15 months — are breaking the back of our volunteer military.

If nothing is done to wind down this war during the 21 months — 21 months! — Mr. Bush has left, the damage may be irreparable.

Paul Krugman | The New York Times

Arming Ourselves as the World Burns

At present, for every $1 spent on alternative energy research in the United States, $200 is spent on the military. It has been estimated that over 40% of each American citizen’s tax bill goes to war.

The earth is being choked by carbon emissions as the nations of the world continue to spend their money on perceived short-term threats rather than on the future needs of their children. Much of the world looks to the United States as a global leader. We need a national leader who will direct our goals away from confrontation and toward cooperation in the search for life-giving energy.

Paul Buchheit | CommonDreams 

What I Think About Guns

Guns have no other purpose than killing someone or something. All the other murder weapons Americans use, from automobiles to blunt objects, exist for another purpose and sometimes are used to kill.

But guns are manufactured and bought to kill. They invite their owners to think about killing, to practice killing, and, eventually, to kill, if not other people, then animals.

They are objects of temptation, and every so often, someone comes along who cannot resist the temptation — someone who would not have murdered, or murdered so many, if he did not have a gun, if he were reduced to a knife or a bludgeon or his own strength.

I wish that the right wing would admit that, while people kill people and even an “automatic” weapon needs a shooter, people with guns kill more people than people without guns do.

Jane Smiley | HuffingtonPost