Sid's Fishbowl
A proud member of the reality-based community (aquatic division)
Saturday, December 30, 2006

I hate it when history repeats itself. As commenter Jerry notes at Yglesias' site, the surge in Iraq is right on schedule: 

1959 760
1960 900
1961 3205
1962 11300
1963 16300
1964 23300
1965 184300
1966 385300
1967 485600
1968 536100
1969 475200
1970 334600
1971 156800
1972 24200
1973 50


Saturday, December 09, 2006

 This is a remarkable, heartbreaking essay from Meteor Blades at the Daily Kos. The following is a brief excerpt. The whole thing is much longer and demands reading and forwarding.

I don’t know anything about the psychology of numbers. Specifically, the magnetism round numbers seem to have for us, specifically round numbers ending in zeroes. It’s an attraction that can’t be denied. Such a number is closing in on us right now. It could arrive before the New Year. A number that will receive – no matter how transient and meaningless it actually is – extensive blog and megamedia attention. 3000. The horrible tally of U.S. troops dead in Iraq.

Let me tell you about two young men. Their résumés are short. They died young.

Lance Corporal Darwin Judge

Darwin Judge was a recently deployed 19-year-old when he was killed. Born and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, he was active in his church and Boy Scouts, pitched for his All-Star team in Little League games, got his first newspaper route at age 8. At 16, he went to work at a grocer’s. Summers he baled hay. He loved riding his motorcycle and woodworking, at which he excelled. He made a grandfather clock for his mother. He signed up for the Marines his senior year in high school, completed basic training after graduating and was shipped overseas. Two weeks after being assigned to his detachment he was killed.

Corporal Charles McMahon

Charles McMahon was not quite 22 when he was killed. He grew up in Woburn, Massachusetts. As a kid he earned pocket money mowing lawns and delivering papers. He and a good friend practically lived at the local Boys Club, shooting pool, playing ping pong, but most of all learning how to swim and dive. McMahon spent so much time swimming that when he was old enough, the club hired him to teach other kids. It’s said he was good with them. The club’s director, a former Marine, drew McMahon’s avid attention with his stories of the Corps. At 19, McMahon joined, assigned at first to the Military Police. After a year and a half, he signed up for a special course of intense security training. Two weeks after being assigned to his detachment, he was killed.

If you’re thinking of looking for Charles McMahon or Darwin Judge listed at the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count Web site, forget it. You won’t find them counted on the site’s map either.

Neither were they among those whose names some compatriots and I read aloud on a corner near a Southern California shopping center nearly six months ago.

Because these brave men weren’t killed in Iraq. They were two of the last Americans killed in Vietnam 31 years ago.

The last two to die, not for a mistake, as Senator Kerry would have it, but for a pack of lies. Lies long since exposed, yet repeated even today by imperialist ideologues whose spilling of other people’s blood and spending of other people’s treasure is the highest form of patriotism. From their perspective, you’re either with them or you’re a naïf afloat in a tooth-and-claw world you’re too innocent and uninformed to comprehend.

This week, as I awaited and then read the "bipartisan" Baker-Hamilton Commission’s belated assessment and mostly obsolete-on-arrival recommendations for unfubaring what that man in the White House and his pals have done, I thought a lot about McMahon and Judge, men I never knew. I also thought about Manny Miller, my high school friend, killed in Vietnam in 1965, aged 19, months before American fatalities reached 3000 there.

Mostly, however, I thought about who will be the last Americans to die in this latest war built on a pack of lies, lies exposed yet still repeated by that man in the White House, his pals and their stinking coterie of embedded pundits.

OK, go read the rest: Last to Die for Bush's and His Pals' @#&*%$#^ Lies

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Prof. Froomkin provides the Shorter Iraq Study Group Report:

GW Bush has gotten us into a mess that neither he nor we know how to get out of.

It would be funny if it weren't so true.