This has been a good week for RPN

The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad, bringing nearly nine years of US military operations in Iraq to a formal end.

The US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, told troops the mission had been worth the cost in blood and dollars.

He said the years of war in Iraq had yielded to an era of opportunity in which the US was a committed partner.

via BBC News – US flag ceremony marks formal end of Iraq war role.

The Iraq War is over.  The Arab Spring is here.  And RPN is now a married man.

A good week.  2012, contrary to popular opinion, will not bring the end of the world, but instead a new and better one.

Facing a great many challenges, as per.    But that is the focus for another today.  Not this one.

Peace and love in the new year, all ya’ll!

UPDATE: 12/19: Wake up this morning to the news that the Beloved and Fearless Immortal Leader of North “Best” Korea has also shuffled off from the mortal coil.   What a week.

Regarding World War II and the Great Depression

I put together a video of an argument last night that I would like to share with you.

If you are a youngin’ and completely lacking in historical context, here’s a bit of it…

That’s it for now, as I went out and about after finishing the video and am now somewhat incapable of consistent coherent thought. I might flesh out the argument tomorrow with more typing, but I hope the video speaks for itself.   If you have any questions, please feel free to put them forth.

UPDATE: Here’s another video of some of the destruction of Germany.  The text of the video makes it VERY clear that the entire purpose of the U.S. bombing campaign was the destroy Germany’s industrial infrastructure.  It was the destruction of the Germans and French and Russians and English and Japanese and Italians and Chinese that allowed the U.S. to establish a naturally advantageous (i.e. still in existence after the war) industrial and economic position that persisted for nearly 60 years.

BTW, this fortuitous situation also fed into the “Project For a New American Century” and their plans to keep this dominance going for another 40 or 100 years.  As we all know now, the centerpiece of that global strategy, invading and controlling IRAQ, was a clusterfuck of such massive proportions it has greatly accelerated the trend to a more level playing field.  Which is to say, screwing up Iraq will be seen in history as the biggest single reason for the end of U.S. economic dominance.   It was not the not the whole of it, but it did serve as a rather large piece of straw on a montrously laden camel.

UPDATE: 2/17/09:

Well, it looks like that move to leveler playing field happened a lot quicker than even I expected.  And the War in Iraq seems to be gone from the economic discussion.  Does not one realize that is why Bush, et. al. had to let the shennanigans on Wall Street continue so long?  Without the myth of great wealth, we couldn’t fund his War.   And that’s where the other 3 trillion went.

Does no one remember that Bush took the deficit from this…

Instead, the president explained, the $5.7 trillion national debt has been reduced by $360 billion in the last three years — $223 billion this year alone.

This represents, Clinton said, “the largest one-year debt reduction in the history of the United States.”

To this…

Are you surprised? Times Square’s National Debt Clock, which has been tallying up money owed by the U.S. government since 1989, is running out of spaces.

In September 2008, the digital dollar sign was eliminated to make way for an extra digit—the “1” in $10 trillion (the national debt is currently $10.2 trillion). Now, a new clock is in the works that will make room for a quadrillion dollars of debt, according to the Associated Press. Anticipated completion is early 2009.

A little history on the clock: It was created in 1989 by Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst to inform the public about the nation’s snowballing national debt (back then, it was $2.7 trillion). Seymour died in 1995, and the clock is now owned by his son, Douglas Durst.

Bush ran up a $4,500,000,000,000 tab.

Lest we forget…

Helen Thomas on the Media and the War

People can handle the truth about war

That makes me wonder why the media have shied away from telling the story about Iraqi civilian casualties. News people and editors were more courageous during the Vietnam War. What are they afraid of now?

Who can forget the shocking picture of the little Vietnamese girl running down a road, aflame from a napalm attack?

And who can forget the picture of South Vietnamese Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan putting a gun to the temple of a young member of the Viet Cong and executing him on a Saigon street?

I don’t remember any American outcry against the media for showing the horror of war when those photographs were published. Were we braver then? Or maybe more conscience stricken?

Of course, the Pentagon did not enjoy such images coming out of Saigon in that era. Most Americans found them appalling, as further evidence of our misbegotten venture in Vietnam. Americans rallied to the streets in protest and eventually persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to give up his dreams of re-election in 1968.

Some Americans believe the media were to blame for the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Nonsense.

Johnson knew the war was unwinnable, especially after the 1968 Tet offensive and the request by Army Gen. William Westmoreland for 200,000 more troops, in addition to the 500,000 already in Vietnam.

The Pentagon made a command decision after the Vietnam War to get better control of the dissemination of information in future wars. That led then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to create an office of disinformation at the start of the Iraqi war. It was later disbanded after howls from the media.

More recently, we have seen the Pentagon’s propaganda efforts take the form of carefully coaching retired generals about how to spin the Iraq war when they appear on television as alleged military experts. The New York Times’ revelations about those pet generals have cast a pall over their reputations.

Too often in this war, the news media seem to have tried to shield the public from the suffering this war has brought to Americans and Iraqis.

It’s not the job of the media to protect the nation from the reality of war. Rather, it is up to the media to tell the people the truth. They can handle it.

Pretty nice rant from Grandma Thomas.  There has been a concerted effort, now well documented, for the Pentagon to control information that flows out of the warzone (embedding), and a concerted effort to spin that information when it gets here (GeneralGate).

In general (ha!), however, these are no more than delaying actions (perhaps that is their only purpose…) and the realities of war eventually filter in, as they did re: Abu Ghraib.   

War ain’t pretty.  It never has been.