What if John McCain’s campaign ads, instead of being lame and toxic, were instead made by John Woo, Kevin Smith, and Wes Anderson. Well wonder no more.
For those of you, who like me, can’t stand watching The O’Reilly Factor here is the first part of O’Reilly’s interview with Obama. The second part will be released next week. It’s a pretty good interview, and it will be interesting to see where this interview goes next week. I find it odd that O’Reilly pretty much assumes that diplomacy will get us no where with Iran or any other Middle Eastern country. He pretty much dismisses the idea as pointless, and just wants to go to war already. It’s amazing how quick some people are to ring the bell of war who have either never served or never been in one. It’s easy to be a hawk when you know your not the one that is going to have to fight.
Here’s a couple of videos that make light of this whole Sarah Palin veep pick. Personally I think this is akin to suicide for the McCain campaign, but who knows sometimes these long-shots pay off. It’s just that I think her negatives far outweight any of her potential positives. One of the worst parts about this picks, from McCain’s standpoint, is that it takes away his argument against Obama’s experience. Her youth and inexperience combined with his age and proclivity for cancer make for one potentially devastating ticket. If he died in his first year or two the effects would be catastrophic and would make the Bush Administration look like FDR’s. If McCain wanted to pick a women I’m sure he could have found a more experienced candidate, but maybe he just has a penchant for the beauty queens–Cindy McCain better watch her back. Also it is never good for your veep pick to be embroiled in scandal on the first day. Besides now I am going to have to listen to commentary about how her kid has Downs Syndrome and that somehow qualifies her for the VP. Lastly, she has almost no opinion on the important foreign policy issues of our day: nuclear proliferation, Iraq, terrorism, Russia etc. Doing a search for her on LexisNexis and EBSCO brings up nothing. The closest she has come:
Alaska Business Monthly: We’ve lost a lot of Alaska’s military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?
Palin: I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.
Not exactly the deep thoughts I was hoping for out of a veep candidate, besides the fact that this is a blatant attempt to pander to women, and win their votes. The only problem is that most of Hillary’s supporters won’t vote pro-life just out of spite. I will re-iterate that is, in my opinion, political suicide, and that McCain’s campaign is effectively over. Anyways enjoy the videos.
After watching this superb mini-series on HBO I decided to pick up Generation Kill. I took it with me to Houston, and I was able to pretty much read the whole book in the airport because of all the delays that came from Tropical Storm Eduardo. As good as the mini-series is the book, for me, is even better. Evan Wright goes step-by-step in his journey with First Recon, and events that get cut short in the show are more fully explained in the book. The greatest strength of the book is the fact that Wright doesn’t try to turn the book into some treatise into why the war is bad, or good, or any other crap like that that usually gets in the way. Instead he makes it unpolitical, and just tries to relay to the reader what life is like for the these Marines in a war zone. He doesn’t hold back with the language or in any of the events that happen throughout the march to Baghdad. I really found it to be a fair and impartial account of life in the Marines during the invasion. This book is an incredibly smooth and easy read, and as long as you can handle reading a book with often times filthy language you should be able to cruise through it no problem.
One of the best parts of this book was that my old battalion got a little shout out, and I found out something that I have been wondering about for a long time. This chapter was cut down a bit in the show, but in the book it goes more in depth. The set-up is that a Marine is killed, and his body is taken into the town of Ash Shatrah and mutilated by the populace. My company was called in, along with others, to look for his body. The CIA was also called in, because supposedly Ali Hassan al-Majid or “Chemical Ali” was hiding out in the town. Probably one of the most bittersweet moments of my life leading a patrol to find this Marine and getting complimented by the CIA, but yet not being able to find the Marine. We didn’t not find him for lack of looking though. We tore up the hospitals and other locations, and ended up finding intel on other terrorists, but not the missing Marine. We were told by some of the elders that his body was taken out to the desert, and given a Christian burial. However, we all knew this was bullshit. Unfortunately we didn’t get Chemical Ali either, and after looking for him, and looking for the lost Marine again we had to leave for another mission. I have often thought about the guy since then. Who was he? was he ever found? does his family know how hard we looked for him? Things like that, and then I read:
The body of this Marine is discovered a week later by other American forces. They find him buried in Ash Shatrah’s trash dump.
Over six years later I finally find out what happened to the missing Marine. That alone makes the book worth the read for me. It feels good knowing that he was found, and that his body was brought back to the US to his family. It’s just too bad that it took six years for me to find this out.
So I finally got around to seeing The Dark Knight the other day, and I’m not going to bore you with another cookie-cutter review. Besides this movie is all over the news, and it’s making money hand over fist, so you have to be living under a rock, under another rock, to not know that this movie is great. What I do want to talk about is how solid this movie was from top to bottom, and some of the themes that were weaved in that really impressed me. You can take any movie that has come out this year–whether a dramatic, action, or otherwise–and The Dark Knight will match up to any of them.
This has to be one of the top comic book movies that has ever been made, and I think what surprised me the most was how deep the movie ended up being. Comics have always been fairly deep, and have always been a form of social commentary. As of late this has been translated into the movies better. From here on out I’m going to talk about some of the specifics of the movie so if you haven’t seen it then don’t make the jump.
I just finished watching HBO’s new miniseries Generation Kill. I would have to say that so far this is probably one of the most realistic Iraq dramas I have seen yet. The show follows the First Recon Marines before the invasion, and then what happens after they invade Iraq. Watching this I feel so many emotions bubbling up. Although I am glad that I am not in the Marines anymore there was a certain simplicity in the Marine Corps that is still enticing. What do I mean? There is a certain comfortability within the Marine Corps that you won’t find anywhere else. That is one of the aspects that this show captures really well.
It’s good that this show is on HBO, because on regular ass TV you wouldn’t get the sense of brotherhood, or the crudeness. They didn’t shy away from some of the most lewd, and crude, but very fitting language that is prevalent amongst Marines. No where else would you see blacks, whites, asians, latins etc all calling each other the most racist names they could think of, and not get in fights, but just laugh it off, because despite your differences you’re brothers. It’s akin to a big brother who calls his little brother names, but as soon as someone else calls him names, he gets in a fight to defend his brother. This show also gets the ridiculousness of the Marine Corps. You see the commanding officers and the Senior NCO’s complain about Marines not tucking in their shirts or not shaving properly. While all the regular Marines are concerned about the war, and surviving it, all the senior Marines are worried about stupid, meaningless regulations. Most people don’t realize that this happens way too often, and that Marines end up spending too much time and effort getting hair cuts or worrying about dress regulations, than about the more important details of staying alive. In one scene a Sergeant Major yells at the Marines for not shaving properly, and for not being properly dressed, yet when the Marines get their MOPP suits, they notice that the suits are camoflauged for woodland terrain, and not for the desert. Also they don’t have all the equipment they need to fight the war. As one Marines says, “they don’t give us everything we need to keep us pissed off. If we were happy we wouldn’t be ready to kill all the time.” To true, when the other branches of the Armed Forces go to war they have more than they need, the Marines, however, are always woefully undersupplied.
There is one scene in this show that cracked me up, however, and that was when the Marines heard a rumor that J-Lo was dead. I remember that rumor–and the shit ton of other rumors like it–and how people were either kind of sad or just really, really happy that she was dead. Rumors are a daily part of life in war, and most of the time some dude just starts a rumor just because he’s bored. Actually most of the rumors are false, but they gave us something to talk about besides what we were doing, and because of that, rumors always spread like wild fire. Then there is the real news that we get, like the story about Justin Timberlake and Pink recording an anti-war song. Despite what we all thought about the war, we felt that that was a direct attack on us, and everyone was (and probably still is) bitter, and would have shot J.T. on sight. He’s lucky he never did a USO show, because he probably would have never come back.
This show almost gets it all right when it comes to candy. When you get your MRE’s you get some sort of candy in it. You either get peanut brittle, M&M’s Skittles, or Charms. The funny thing is is that most people that have had to eat these don’t eat Skittles anymore. They were the most prolific candy of the bunch, and we all tired of them really quickly. They don’t mention that in the show but I hope they bring it up in later episodes. They get it right with the charms, however. Charms are bad luck. Everyone I have ever known who has eaten them has had bad things happen to them. Luckily for us though we learned that while we were still in the states, so that by the time we were in country anyone that got charms in their MRE immediately threw them away. This is another one of the small details that his show got right, and lends to it’s authenticity.
There’s plenty else that is good about this show. It’s really hard to put everything into words, and I am still a little bit conflicted about watching something this authentic. Here’s a few small details that were good: everyone dips, everyone hates their commanding officers, everyone knows better than the people that are planning the war (and seriously it’s hard to contend that point after how this war has turned into a complete debacle), no one trusts outsiders, and porn is everywhere. These are just a few of the small detail points that this show gets right. It’s little details that normally no one would notice if it was missing, but for those of us in the know it’s these details that make it realistic.
This show was based on a book from an embedded journalist with the First Recon Marines–he’s from Rolling Stone. One of the best lines is when one of the Marines–commenting of Rolling Stone readers–mentions that they only feeling they know is the feeling of having a cock rammed up their ass. One of the Marines yelled at the journalist saying, “so you gonna tell everyone we are baby killers and women rapers?” The sad thing is is that most people don’t think that, but there are plenty that do. Many anti-war activists have no clue, but enjoy throwing those pejoratives around. I read a blog recently that called all the soldiers baby killers, and if I could have met that writer, I would have wrapped my hands around his throat until he turned blue. This is why many veterans and current Marines don’t like or trust outsiders. This show helps to convey the feeling among many Marines of “us against them.” You get the sense from the beginning that all of these Marines hate outsiders, and feel like no one is on their side. This is one of the most authentic feelings I believe that they conveyed in the show. It’s an amazing (and not amazing in a good way) feeling to be half the world away doing something that you hope is right, but also knowing that most people don’t give a shit whether you going to live or die. It’s that feeling that hardens you soul, and makes you do whatever it takes to get back home, to the few people, who you know actually care. That feeling comes though loud and clear in this show; although I’m not sure that the viewers will really understand it. Most likely they will just believe that the Marines are cocky, condensending assholes–which they are, but only because of the reasons I have mentioned.
But going back to the journalist, most of those guys were cocksuckers. The guy in the show seems ok, but I’m not sure how he is going to turn out (since I haven’t seen the rest of the series or read the book. For all I know this could turn out to be an expensive hit job on the Marines, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt). For the most part it was hard for those journalists to separate their political beliefs from their duties as a journalist. Most of them couldn’t and would end up writing a biased piece, or they would try to tell you how to do your job. One asshole tried to tell us that we shouldn’t be breaking down doors in this school, because we were damaging the school. He never wrote about how the schools haven’t been schools for years, because the Iraqi government had been stockpiling weapons in the schools for a decade. We cleared out schools all over Iraq so that kids could actually use the schools for school, but regardless, we still ended up being the assholes. I hope this show further explores some of these dichotomies throughout its run, and helps to show people a little bit of what it was like to be there.
One of the few things that bugs me about this show, so far, is that it follows a Recon unit, and not a regular Marine unit. I would just once like to see a show that follows a Marine Infantry unit, and shows, realistically, what it is like to go on a patrol. Not everyone gets to drive around Iraq in Hummers. Many of us ended up spending more time walking than riding, and we walked through terribly dangerous neighborhoods. Maybe someday something like that will come out, or maybe not. I’m sure this article has been a bit disconjuncted, and I apologize for that, but I am drunk, and I am trying to remember everything that I wanted to talk about. I’m sure I missed a few key points, but hopefully I told you enough to pique your curiosity. You should watch this show, no matter what side you are on, because most likely you will learn something that you didn’t know before. I looking forward to the rest of the series, however, because I want to see how my old unit the 1st Marine Division gets treated.
For those that don’t know and don’t read the comments, Oscar Mike stands for “on the move” in military jargon.
So the GOP is ramping up their attack machine and one word I’ve been hearing a lot is appeasement. Everyone is all up in arms because Obama wants to meet with Iran and Syria. Usually it comes from buffoons like this guy:
You have to love people who are so adamant about issues that they don’t really have any clue about. Most people don’t get appeasement, because most people try to pigeonhole the term into today’s standards. What they don’t get is that when Chamberlain went to Munich he went there in a position of weakness. The west was still reeling from World War I economically and militarily. Germany was already more powerful militarily than the West. While it is generally considered that giving away half of Czechoslovakia was his big mistake, it was one of the main issues that Churchill used to become PM, there is an argument that it was the right choice. Many historians will say that Chamberlain was right to have done what he did, in order to, give England enough time to ramp up their industrial military complex.
So how does this fit into today’s argument about appeasement. Very simply today America doesn’t have to meet with anyone from any country from a position of weakness. We always have other options, whether that is political, diplomatic, or military options. Invariably we will be meeting on our terms and in a position of strength. If we have someone who understands this then we will never have to capitulate completely on an issue. Instead we can meet with leaders of other nations from a position of strength ie. Ronald Regan during the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. Now watch this video and the next time the GOP starts throwing around appeasement you can just laugh it off.
Looks like Obama is taking off the kid gloves:
Well I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let’s talk about 9/11.
The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice. They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors – the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we’d be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.
Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership – the people who murdered 3000 Americans – have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That’s the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism.
I love it. After watching Guliani’s campaign I am sick and tired of 9/11 being thrown around like it’s some edgy catch phrase. I’m also sick and tired of the GOP trying to scare up votes. And lastly, I’m sick and fucking tired of knowing that somewhere out there Bin Laden is still alive and planning god knows what. I want to see his carcass hanging from the GW bridge. Check out the full story here.
These untruths are going to continue to be beaten into the consciousness of the American public throughout this election cycle. However, these are all false accusations that are meant to do one thing: make people afraid. Get them afraid of the boogey-man so they vote for the other guy. It has worked before, numerous times, and unless the word gets out it can work again. This is the politics of old, Karl Rove politics. Fear people into voting their emotions and fears. It needs to stop, and this is something that this election, in particular, is about. Changing the way we do business. The Obama campaign has set up a new website to get the word out about the untruths that Barack is a Muslim and that Michelle hates whitey. They will always say they have proof but that they are waiting for the ‘right’ time to release it, but it never happens. This is the same thing that has happened to both Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore, when they supposedly have pictures to prove that they burned the American flag–which they never produced. Those aren’t the only instances, however, and if this continues this election will be another instance. Let’s get the word out. Go to Fight the Smears. Let others know also.
This video was sent to me by a loyal reader and it is especially apropos for this post, enjoy.