TERRE HAUTE —
“Master, master, old news! And such news as you never heard of!” — William Shakespeare
It’s the same old, same old when I read the newspaper. Republicans believe (or pretend to believe) that the 7 percent of union members in America’s workforce caused the Bush Depression. Charlie Sheen again demonstrates which part of “Two and Half Men” he is. And college sports scandals continue to blossom and smell stronger than the sweat in a crowded locker room or the money in a big booster’s off-shore bank account.
Not getting as much attention is the same old news on America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I guess the expiration date on interest in these costly wars (trillions and counting) and deadly (thousands and counting) has run out.
So in case you aren’t current with the same old news in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, here are a few items sitting in the “Let’s just forget about it” bin from last month’s reports.
In Iraq, the citizens of this American-assisted “democracy” project are upset about the lack of jobs, electricity and clean water, better pensions and medical care. The “Days of Rage” demonstrations took place across the country, starting as peaceful gatherings and ending with 19 dead as the “elected” government’s security forces used tear gas, water cannons, sound bombs and at times live bullets to disperse the crowds.
We have 47,000 American troops in Iraq. Remember when presidential candidate John McCain speculated that the United States might be in Iraq for maybe a hundred years?
Who buys and reads the books by the Bush war architects and cheerleaders? Trying to paper over his role in the tragedy that is Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld is out plugging his just released memoir, “Known and Unknown.” The book might as well be titled “Forgetting and Dissembling.” For a guy who is good at numbers he tries mightily to squirm away from a blood and treasure cost analysis of the war he did so much to push us into. This is old, old news.
Another new book out last month knows what Rumsfeld ignores and General Petraeus and President Obama refuse to acknowledge. Bing West, an infantry officer and former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, decided at age 70 to spend time, a lot of time, embedded with American troops in Afghanistan. He saw and studied the war there up close — in Garmsir, Marja and Nawa in Helmand Province; Barge Matal in Nuristan; and the Korengal Valley in Kunar. The title of his book doesn’t say it all, but it has a forthright ring to it that is missing in Rumsfled’s trip down a rabbit hole. Thank you Bing West for your “THE WRONG WAR, Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan.”
Here’s an old story from West’s book. “For three years, the provincial reconstruction team had lived in a compound a few blocks from the scene of the tragedy [a grenade blew up a truck in Asadabad in 2009 killing a number of civilians]. The P.R.T. had paid over $10 million to hire locals, who smiled in appreciation. Every time a platoon from 1-32 patrolled through town, they stopped to chat with storekeepers and to buy trinkets and candy to give to the street urchins. Yet the locals had turned on the soldiers in an instant.” … “‘Kill the Americans!’ the Afghans shouted. ‘Protect Islam!’ Only later did a videotape of the incident show clearly that an Afghan had tossed the grenade.”
West’s recounting of this old story fits perfectly with a mid-February shift in troop deployments. Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, the commander for eastern Afghanistan, ordered the withdrawal of Americans from the Pech Valley, an area previously described as “central” in the fight against the Taliban. Over 100 American soldiers have died there. “I don’t want [to give] the impression we’re abandoning the Pech.” General Campbell said. As troops who fought hard and died hard in the Pech were leaving, General Campbell put a nice double-speak spin on the withdrawal: “I prefer to look at it as realigning to provide better security for the Afghan people.”
In a moment of candor, someone familiar with the withdrawal decision with stars or bars on his helmet [in a not-for-attribution comment] offered this assessment: “What we figured out is that people in the Pech really aren’t anti-U.S. or anti-anything; they just want to be left alone. Our presence is what’s destabilizing this area.” This conclusion is painfully old news to those who have been opposing the war for nine years.
Then there was this from our current Secretary of Defense. “… Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim.” I doubt if Gates will be reading Rumsfeld’s “Known and Unknown” but he seems to know Bing’s “The Wrong War.”
Finally we have the new old news of brave Americans paying the ultimate price in these wars. The Defense Department reported that CARPENTER, Andrew P., 27, Lance Cpl., Marines; Columbia, Tenn.; Second Marine Division; HIDALGO, Daren M., 24, First Lt., Army; Waukesha, Wis.; Third Squadron, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment; and SISSON, Robert C. Jr., 29, Sgt., Army; Aliquippa, Pa.; Fourth Infantry Division, died in Afghanistan sometime in February.
To date, 1,467 American service members have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations; 4,439 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. The seriously wounded exceeds 40,000.
— Gary W. Daily
TERRE HAUTE —
“Master, master, old news! And such news as you never heard of!” — William Shakespeare
Noteworthy in the news: MVC tourney an event worth having
It’s been a long time since the Missouri Valley Conference chose Indiana State University to host its post-season baseball tournament, but Terre Haute had never been more prepared for an event such as this.
- Readers’ Forum: May 23, 2013
EDITORIAL: Cleaning up voter rolls
It’s not a lot of money in the big scheme of things, but the $2 million designated in the recent session of the General Assembly will begin the messy but necessary process of cleaning up Indiana’s voter registration rolls.
READERS' FORUM: May 22, 2013
Rich history all along the river
Great work by Duke employees
RONN MOTT: Rabid Republicans
The so-called news people at Fox News can hardly sit still long enough to report on the latest gossip or untruth about our sitting President. They can hardly contain themselves.
READERS’ FORUM: May 21, 2013
• Great response to annual golf outing
• Doing your part on climate change
LIZ CIANCONE: Smell of fresh air gave way to dryers
Remember when clean clothes smelled like fresh air and sunshine rather than fabric softener and dryer sheets?
READERS' FORUM: May 20, 2013
The dangers of a little knowledge
Students enjoyed Rose study trip
Mark Bennett: High-profile mural connects historical dots from city to river
At 96 feet wide and 2 stories tall, the power, impact and value of the Wabash will be evident.
EDITORIAL: Waging the ‘readiness’ campaign
Almost every Hoosier who starts college intends to finish. Unfortunately, those who arrive on campus unprepared in key academic areas are far less likely to fulfill that aspiration.
READERS' FORUM: May 19, 2013
• Flawed reasoning on gun checks
• A hint of things yet to come?
• Are the ‘makers’ doing the ‘taking’?
• The ‘Obamination’ is finally revealed
• Pondering effects of Obamacare
• Fantasizing on the ‘Apocalypse’
• Another view of Hinduism
• Great experience for HCMS students
FLASHPOINT: A legislative session of missed opportunities
Given the nature of politicians, grand claims of accomplishments and overblown rhetoric about “historic” efforts are to be expected at the close of any legislative session.
RONN MOTT: Mushrooms = Hoosier happiness
Someone wrote or said a few years ago a statement that would define the word “Hoosier.” According to this urban legend, a Hoosier is somebody dribbling a basketball around the Indy 500 while eating a fried, morel mushroom. It did not define me, at the time.
EDITORIAL: Insult to an independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
READERS' FORUM: May 17, 2013
Hinduism doesn’t deserve ridicule — Shefali Purohit, Terre Haute
RONN MOTT: Israel’s Air Force
Recently the Israeli Air Force bombed and rocketed a convoy leaving Syria going to Lebanon with rockets that were going to be used to attack Israel. It did not get there. It was destroyed.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news: Dashing finish for the Sycamores
It’s always thrilling to see Indiana State University’s athletic teams do well in high-level competition, and two specific teams rose to impressive heights last weekend in the Missouri Valley Conference outdoor track and field championships.
Readers' Forum: May 16, 2013
Moving Deming folks sounds ‘nuts’
Readers' Forum: May 15, 2013
Participants rise to the challenge: I would like to write a letter congratulating all the Wabash Valley Roadrunners that competed in the One America Indianapolis Mini Marathon.
RONN MOTT: Media merry-go-round
Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. That isn’t a unique phrase to this writer or to this era in time. But, when it comes to the musical chairs of broadcasting, it certainly applies.
LIZ CIANCONE: Courts see a different appearance than cops
Have you ever noticed the transformation between the arrest of an accused lawbreaker and the first appearance in court?
READERS' FORUM: May 14, 2013
ISTEP failure exposes flaws
Community hasn’t changed its spirit
Egregious threat to nation’s defense
READERS' FORUM: May 13, 2013
• Women’s group criticizes Bucshon
• Let’s hope this doesn’t come true
• Many get thanks for fest success
MARK BENNETT: Life at face value: Mom’s simple advice still presents a valuable daily challenge
Most moms don’t base their advice on scientific research.
(Unless, of course, your mother is a scientific researcher. If so, carry a No. 2 pencil and take good notes.)
EDITORIAL: Better monitoring needed to prevent local environmental messes
The nasty, hazardous messes lurking in the community raise a bottom-line, red-flag question. Could these environmental problems have been monitored and, thus, prevented?
GUEST COLUMN: Nursing more than medicine and bandages
Being a nurse … Like most nurses, I chose this profession because I had a strong desire to help others and no other career would allow me the opportunity to touch lives the way I have been able to through nursing.
READERS' FORUM: May 12, 2013
Vigo Youth Football, entering 45th year, seeks new support
Media ignoring important case on abortions
Proud to be old-fashioned
Guns in school? What’s next?
Promoting hate not a ‘brave’ act
FLASHPOINT: Again in 2013 General Assembly, middle class generally ignored
Last year, the people of Indiana entrusted the Republican Party with some of their most precious possessions.
RONN MOTT: ‘Raccoons II’
In the Algonquin Indian language, raccoon means “working with hands.” They are really cute little fellows until they injure a child, or a pet, or leave feces around where you certainly do not want it.
Readers’ Forum: May 11, 2013
I just wanted to express my disappointment at the lack of response shown by President Obama after the Boston Marathon bombings.
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