Today is our 1,784th day in Iraq.
We'll start today as we always do, with the latest casualty figures in the warron terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:
Since war began (3/19/03): 3945
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3806
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3484
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3087
Since Election (1/31/05): 2507
Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 482
We find this morning's Cost of War
passing through: $491, 762, 500, 000.00
And now on to Super Tuesday.
Does your state vote today? If it does, did you?
Going into today's contest, I find myself in an unusual position. I'm still undecided. Despite everything, it turns out that those early primaries have retained their undue influence, and once again the rest of the country gets what these little, white, rural states have chosen for us.
As for me, once again I have the unpalatable choice of voting against
someone. No knock on those of you that support her, but I said from the very beggining, 'I oppose anyone named Bush or Clinton winning the nomination; It's time for new blood.' As the candidates have fallen by the roadside, those that many of us could vote for
have been left behind.
Hilary has been called 'the best Republican candidate' and I think a lot of us fear that she would maintain the status quo and not really change anything. As for Obama, Papa TriSec points out that he is not beholden to special interests...yet. But when they come calling with their money, that's when we could have the possibility of change, if he's strong enough to act on it.
In the end....we can go and vote and do our civic duty and hope like hell that the machine doesn't eat our votes.
In keeping with the election, we'll take a look at one more candidate's position on the Iraq war. We've seen the two Democratic front runners in recent weeks, so for comparison we'll look at the former governor of this Commonwealth today, Mitt Romney.
Confronting Radical Jihad
Jihadism – violent, radical, fundamental Islam – is this century’s nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century’s nightmares: fascism and Soviet communism. Many still fail to comprehend the extent of the threat posed by radical Islam, specifically by those extremists who promote violent Jihad against the United States and the universal values Americans espouse. Yet, the consequences of ignoring this threat – such as a radicalized Islamic actor possessing nuclear weapons – are simply unacceptable.
CHALLENGE: Jihadism – violent, radical, fundamental Islam – is this century's nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century’s nightmares: fascism and Soviet communism. Many still fail to comprehend the extent of the threat posed by radical Islam, specifically by those extremists who promote violent Jihad against the United States and the universal values Americans espouse. Yet the Jihad has been with us for some time.
Radical Islam has one goal: to replace all modern Islamic states with a worldwide caliphate while destroying the United States and converting all nonbelievers, forcibly if necessary, to a fundamentalist form of Islam.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "Today, we face a new generation of challenges, globally and here at home.We will do as Americans have always done: we will rise to the occasion.We have all that we need.We have technology, technology that would have been beyond the imagination of our grandparents.We have national wealth. And most important, we have the heart and passion of the American people - always the greatest source of our strength as a nation." (Governor Mitt Romney, Remarks At The George Herbert Walker Bush Presidential Library, 4/10/07)
To meet today's challenges, we must mobilize and integrate all elements of national power in unstable areas where traditional civilian agencies cannot operate effectively and traditional military power alone cannot succeed.
Create A Special Partnership Force (SPF). The SPF will integrate all elements of national power under a new force with leadership drawn from a core group of our Army Special Forces trained to work with civilian governments and intelligence personnel to form a new capability that is:
* Focused on locally-targeted efforts to win support in the community while identifying, isolating and eliminating terrorist elements.
* Highly integrated and able to mobilize all elements of national power, including humanitarian and development assistance and rule of law capacity building.
* Closely coordinated in partnership with local governments.
* Intelligence driven.
* Agile and flexible in its operations.
* A sustainable effort in contested areas and sanctuaries of Jihadist groups.
Launch A New Type Of Marshall Plan Unifying Nonmilitary Sources Of Power To Support Moderate Muslims. As President, Governor Romney will call together our Middle East allies and the major nations of the developed world to establish a "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity."
This Partnership will assemble the resources of all developed nations to assure that threatened Islamic states have public schools, micro-credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic health care, and competitive economic policies. Resources would be drawn from public and private institutions, and from volunteers and NGOs.
Strengthen Global Alliances. The failure of efforts such as the United Nations Human Rights Council has given multilateralism a bad name. America’s strength is amplified when it is combined with the strength of other nations.
Remember, this is what we're up against. Did I mention that you should get out and vote today?
Lastly, we veer into the personal.
Today is February 5. An ordinary day for many, but it is a date of some significance for me and my oldest friends. Back in High School, we had our own 'club' of sorts, and we tried hard to run it democratically, with elected leaders, representative government, the whole works. Well, in the winter of 1981, the group fell under despotic rule. At the time, we always sat at the same table in the cafeteria, but one day a small band of us ventured to "the other side" and hatched a plan to overthrow the despot. On Friday, February 5th, we presented the charges and literally physically removed the 'president' from the clubhouse, and went on to resurrect what we could of our little club.
Perhaps insignificant High School memories....but it is where my handle comes from. I signed the articles of overthrow as the "Tribunal Secretary", hence TriSec
. As the years passed, most of my friends moved away or lost contact...I'm still in touch with two from those days, curiously enough the despotic ruler we overthrew, and the leader of the uprising. This whole period of my life has tempered a lot of mannerisms and thoughts...so you probably can understand why I'm here now.