Bush Gives Kiss of Death to Abu Risha

Bush, in all his brilliant fucking wisdom, trumpeted dubious success in Al-Anbar through corruption and short-term goals. He flew out to Al-Asad, the main hub airbase in the western Sunni Al-Anbar province and met Petraeus and shook hands with Abdel Sattar Abu Risha, a sheik who strong-armed Sunni tribes and made a sweet deal with the US to be the “leader” of the anti-Al-Qaeda movement. Word is that he was ultra-corrupt and was envied by other Sunnis who felt like he acted like he spoke for them when he didn’t. There is surely truth to the fact that the Sunnis want Al-Qaeda out, but do you really think they are pally pals with the US all the sudden?

A week after shaking the dude’s hand and praising the job out west, Bush causes Abu Risha to be targeted. Then he gets blown up by a roadside bomb on his way back home. Wow, thanks man. Thanks for getting me killed.

Bush is so desperate for good news out of Iraq that the White House has built up this Al-Anbar peace deal to epic proportions. Just the sort of target that an insurgent or terrorist would want to attack directly with all efforts. It’s definitely a propaganda war and Bush made it too easy for them.

Bush just doesn’t get it, and nothing will change till he leaves office, at the very least. I like recent references to him as Captain Ahab, which sort of gives him too much credit (as Ahab was kind of a cool guy), but ultimately sort of fits him pretty damn well.

Two Op-Ed Soldiers Die in Iraq

The story makes me so fucking pissed off. These seven soldiers from the 82nd Airborne, which is made up of generally hard-charging passionate soldiers, wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes about how much of a longshot success in Iraq is. They get criticized as not knowing what they’re talking about (boots on the ground only appeals when it supports your opinion) or not seeing the big picture (because counter-insurgency has nothing to do with ground conditions?).

So two of the guys die in a “vehicle accident” somehow. We lost a guy to a vehicular accident in our unit, and it has actually happened a lot in Iraq, but one of the guys’ moms is skeptical about what happened and wants the details.

I see this turning into another Pat Tillman event.

But here’s some details about what one of the guys was like, from a CBS News report. It really makes me sad, and furious, because these guys are the kinds of Americans who I think made this country great:

“Mora grew up in Texas City, about 40 miles south of Houston. A high school soccer player and car aficionado, Mora also taught Sunday school at St. Mary of the Miraculous Medal church.

He enlisted after 9-11, driven by a need to act, said his mother. Within three years, he was a sergeant.

But Mora, a permanent legal resident, longed to join the Special Forces, which requires citizenship. He received his citizenship papers two weeks ago and was waiting to be sworn in when his deployment ended in November.

“My son gave his life for this country. He was proud of this country, even though he was not an American yet,” said Capetillo. “I want people to know that we Hispanics love this country, too.”

Despite his patriotism, Capetillo said Mora seemed to grow disturbed by the poverty and pain afflicting the country’s children. He often asked his family to send cookies and candies for the children, said his mother, a beautician.

In April, Mora came home on a two-week leave. His ears were injured by a roadside bomb and a friend lost his arm. In August, another friend died in Mora’s arms.

That death seemed to leave a grim imprint, Capetillo said.”

And the other dude:

“Gray’s relatives said the soldier felt so strongly about the Army that he reenlisted two or three years ago, despite the war. He loved being in uniform, they said, noting that writing the op-ed piece must have been a difficult decision.

“I thought it was pretty brave of them to do that,” said Marge Griebel, who is married to Gray’s grandfather. “It is good that some of us people back here can hear some of those things. They must have put a lot of thought and time into that letter before they put it out.”

Griebel called Gray a hero and said the family was grief-stricken.

“It was something they knew could happen, but they just kept praying that it won’t,” she said.

Gray, who went by the name Tell, wrote on his MySpace page that he would like to meet past leaders, including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

“I have so many questions for those leaders in our time of need,” Gray wrote.”

It is very unsettling to me that the good people in this country are struggling to keep things together, and are paying the price for it, while many others profit off of the conflicts and uncertainty being sewn. At some point, you’re going to run out of good people who are willing to care and who are willing to step up and be leaders. At some point, the fabric unravels completely and all you’re left with are cronies, strongmen, and sycophants in control.