HERE AT HOME

Wed Nov 17, 6:49 AM ET
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

A day after Attorney General John Ashcroft told the nation’s largest association of law enforcement executives that the Bush administration had made the nation more secure from terrorist attacks and violent criminals, the group lashed back at the White House on Tuesday.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) said that cuts by the administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever to public safety threats. The 20,000-member group also said in a statement that new anti-terrorism duties for local cops – which have come as state and local budgets have declined and historically low crime rates have crept upward – have pushed police agencies to “the breaking point.”

FROM THE FLU

Excerpted from American Progress Report:

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S CRONYISM AND INCOMPETENCE WILL COST AMERICANS DEARLY THIS FLU SEASON. More than 1,000 pages of documents obtained by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) reveal, in striking detail, “that despite being aware of major problems at the [Chiron] vaccine manufacturing facility as early as June 2003, [the Food and Drug Administration] missed repeated opportunities to correct them.” (The Chiron facility was located in Liverpool, England, but Chiron is a California company whose operations are regulated by the FDA.) Sixteen months later, British regulators shuttered the facility because of contamination problems and the United States was left with a massive flu vaccine shortage. The incident draws focus to bipartisan concerns about the impact of the Bush administration’s personal and financial ties to the drug industry. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said, “The kind of mismanagement we’ve seen this year by the Food and Drug Administration demands tough scrutiny. One of my concerns is that the FDA has a relationship with drug companies that is too cozy. That’s exactly the opposite of what it should be. The health and safety of the public must the FDA’s first and only concern.”

. . . FOR 16 MONTHS FDA DOESN’T INSPECT THE PLANT: For 16 months, the FDA failed to send inspectors to the plant to see if Chiron had fixed the problem. FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford “defended the decision not to send inspectors into the plant.” Crawford claimed that occasional conference calls with the company were “a form of ‘re-inspection.'” (For more on the Chiron debacle, check out this column.)

. . . CRAWFORD SAID HE WOULD DO VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING THE SAME: The FDA’s negligence has put the health of tens of millions of Americans at risk. But appearing before the House Reform Committee Crawford testified, “except for the late delivery of its full report, the FDA has done nothing wrong – and would do nothing differently if given the chance.Sound familiar?

IN FALLUJAH

What’s so deeply troubling about this post by Matthew Heidt, a former Navy Seal – well, there are lots of things deeply troubling about it, but one is, it rings authentic. The fault may not lie with the soldiers he describes shooting wounded Iraqis in the head, but with the civilians who put them in this impossible situation . . . choosing to ignore the advice of Bush 41* and Colin Powell and various generals, relying on the advice of known swindler Ahmed Chalabi instead. Anyway, here’s the post. Don’t read it if you’re feeling fragile.

They’re Called Security Rounds

Its a safety issue pure and simple. After assaulting through a target, put a security round in everybody’s head. Sorry al-Reuters, there’s no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up “prisoners” and offering them a hot cup a joe, falafel, and a blanket. There’s no time to dick around in the target, you clear the space, dump the chumps, and moveon.org. Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative. Hey libs, worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to spend one man minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist, its much cheaper to just spend the $.02 on a 5.56mm FMJ.

By the way, terrorists who chop off civilians’ heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses.

UPDATE: Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people get this concept, but there are some stragglers. Here is your situation, Marine. You just took fire from unlawful combatants shooting from a religious building attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you’re in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they’re not playing that game this time. That was Najaf. So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (Rockets), some 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down. So you run over there, and find some tangos wounded and pretending to be dead. You are aware that suicide martyrdom is like really popular with these kind of idiots, and like taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fireteam’s lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy that you think is pretending to be dead for some reason. Also, you don’t know who or what is in the next room, and you’re already speaking english to each other and its loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days. So you know that there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque. Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist that was just shooting at you from a mosque playing possum. What do you do?

You double tap his head, and you go to the next room, that’s what.

What about the Geneva Conventions and all that Law of Land Warfare stuff? What about it. Without even addressing the issues at hand your first thought should be, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” Bear in mind that this is a perpetual mindset that is reinforced by experiences gained on a minute by minute basis. Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a Sanctuary which is a double No No on his part. Third, tactically you are in no position to take “prisoners” because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same… Marines get hurt or die. So there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission.

If you are a veteran then everything I have just written is self evident, if you are not a veteran than at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now. Right NOW. Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is not easy, and if you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your hole about putting Marines in jail for war crimes. Be advised, I am not talking to my readers, but if this post gets linked up, I want regular folks to get this message loud and clear. Froggy OUT.

UPDATE #2: See my Prayer for some insight as to how The Big Judge in the sky might rule on this case.

posted by Matthew Heidt @ 17:19

*In case you missed it, this is the oft-quoted passage from President Bush 41’s 1998 memoir, A World Transformed:

Trying to eliminate Saddam…would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible…. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq…. There was no viable “exit strategy” we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations’ mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.

Yes, 9/11 changed everything. But we were planning to ‘do’ Iraq even before 9/11. The only thing we failed to plan was how to do it successfully. The consequences of this overarching misjudgment (we would be greeted with flowers) and the crucial misjudgments that followed (e.g., disbanding the Iraqi army, sending billions to Halliburton while failing to employ the Iraqi people in their own reconstruction) are weakening our country in a major way. And the tragedy is that, having begun to leap across the ravine, there is no easy solution.

 

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