The news Friday is that Gen. David Patraeus is saying we’ll be in Iraq for, well, around another decade:

Gen. David Petraeus told a congressional delegation visiting the Middle East that success in Iraq will require a U.S. military presence there for about a decade, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said Friday.

The commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, who will deliver a highly anticipated progress report next month, said the U.S. “will be in Iraq in some way for 9 or 10 years,” according to Schakowsky. The general also highlighted progress in Anbar province, where former Sunni insurgents have turned against Al Qaeda extremists in recent months.

Source: The Hill

What I want to know is what’s the big f***ing surprise about this? And don’t tell me, “It’s not where the real war on terror is, that’s why the surprise,” because everyone SHOULD HAVE PAID ATTENTION TO WHAT BUSH SAID ON SEPT 20 2001, which forecast exactly what he was going to do and scared the hell out of me as I stood listening to his address to the “Joint Session of Congress and the American People”.

Here’s a refresher. He said…

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.

When Bush said that it would be a lengthy campaign “unlike any other we have ever seen” I took him at his word. That he was going to launch us into an unwinnable, go-where-he-or-whomever-wants, VERY long war. I heard something down the order of at least 15 years in my brain. I was thinking, “Hell, he’s talking sci fi epic war! He’s talking sci fi epic war where from now on everything radiates from 9/11 with it as the excuse for anything and everything, where 20 years from now our children will be living 9/11 like it was their birth date and certainly their house, because it’s going to replace every wall, floor and ceiling we know with an intelligence gathering network, and everything inside and outside the US is going to be the enemy. In the name of the People and 9/11, they will make every single one of us the enemy.”

Now, General Lute is saying that reinstating the draft is on the table, but that Bush doesn’t want it. And Americablog (link above) is saying, “Just because Bush says publicly the draft isn’t necessary doesn’t mean anything. Bush lies.”

Well, in a way I hope he’s lying. Because as far as I can tell, reinstating the draft is perhaps the only thing that’s going to get us out of this mess. Why? Because I seriously believe there’s no way in hell that America’s kids will go along with it. A reinstating of the draft will get kids and their families in the streets protesting, as in the 70s, “Hell, no, we won’t go!” The government could deploy all the remaining National Guard here against the protesters and they’d still be out in the streets because they’re not going to want to come home from the desert in a body bag. And the National Guard having been treated as roughly as it has been, I wonder just how many of the National Guard deployed against protesters would join arms with them instead.

Listening to that speech on Sept 20, 2001, I literally went dizzy. I was standing in the living room of the place we were renting in Decatur, and I literally went dizzy contemplating and foreseeing everything that would happen…as it has happened since then. I thought, “Hell, and the American people are going to go for it because they’re all, even people I thought were sane, out buying flags and putting them up everywhere. They’re not listening. I don’t know why but they’re not going to be listening to what this man is saying. Lengthy war against whomever, wherever, and all of us rooming in the house that Information Gathering Jack Built. And because they’re not listening, several years from now the American People are going to be asking when is the war going to end?”

In the meanwhile, the coffers raped, we’ve got individuals responding to today’s NY searches of vehicles for dirty bombs with…

“This is fine. In fact, it’s great…They’re protecting us from all the bad things that could happen…I have no problem with it. It’s keeping us safe.”

Right. Protecting us from all the bad things that could happen. Keeping us safe. The economy is for shit for the 90 something percent of us who aren’t members of the super rich getting richer, America’s infrastructure is collapsing and no effort is being made to address the catastrophe of global warming.

A draft? Sure. As Bush says, “Bring it on!” How many kids do you know who will show up at boot camp?


Over at the Republic of Dogs the other day, Res Publica posted a sample of an Oklahoma license plate showing an eagle in front of the Twin Towers. The pissed looking eagle sports a red band at the base of its throat touting 9-11, to ensure we know what it’s mad about, and to the side there is the statement GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM. Did I mention the twin towers are blue? And the bald eagle’s head is, of course, white. So there we have something of a new flag in the making.

Inspired, I rushed to see what the red state of Georgia was offering its motorists.

There are no samples available yet but Georgia seems to be suggesting we are warring against terrorism and Iraqi freedom with its new GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM & IRAQI FREEDOM plate. Also offered is a GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM & OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM plate.

Hey, but wait. Also NEW! (in bold red letters with an exclamation mark) is a plate for Gold Star Families of individuals killed in action.

It just seemed so wrong, that bright red NEW! Like you’d get on a site selling novelty t-shirts. NEW! All cheery and welcoming. Come take this car for a spin.

The same day a friend had an upsetting encounter with a military recruiter who was insisting that her daughter had requested information. You can read about it at her blog, but I’ll note here that it seems her daughter, when in high school, had taken the ASVAB, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

In addition, the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires schools that receive federal funding to provide military recruiters with students’ names, addresses and phone numbers unless parents have opted out. Schools also must allow recruiters to have the same access to campuses that colleges have.

The military’s vocational aptitude test is not part of the No Child Left Behind requirement, and the test’s “career explorations” Web site says students who agree to take the test aren’t making any obligations.

Source: Common Dreams

It seems that not everyone is getting the news that you don’t have to take this test. In our state of Georgia, some students who refused to take it, well, they had to take it anyway.

…about half of the school’s juniors refused to even leave their regular classes to report to the testing site in the school’s cafeteria. Some of the teachers, apparently learning about this at the last minute like most everyone else, and confused as to the nature of the proceedings, insisted that their students at least go to the cafeteria even if they did not mean to cooperate with the military. Once they were there, the kids were informed that anyone who showed up in the cafeteria would be made to take the test.


Yes. Once at the cafeteria, they HAD to take the test. And the soldiers told the students that if they destroyed the tests, then they would throw out the tests also of those students who had wanted to take it. The coercion worked.

But that is a separate incident from what happened with my friend’s daughter.

What happened to my friend’s daughter? After completing the test, she was given a form to sign. She refused to sign the form. She was then later visited by a uniformed recruiter who intimidated her into signing the form. And she had no idea what was even on the form she was being bullied into signing. Perhaps it was something like this?

Principals in (district) shall protect students’ privacy by implementing “ASVAB Option 8” (keeping the test results from recruiters), informing the military before the test is given. If a school chooses this option, students who want their scores to go to the military can still permit them to go to recruiters on an individual basis. (The military provides a special permission form for such requests.) However, it doesn’t work the other way around. If a school chooses to release information to recruiters, this information will be handed over for all students, removing choice from some students.

Source: Washington Truth in Recruiting

Her daughter has been getting recruitment calls since then.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, she signed the form. Why didn’t she read it first?”

My friend’s daughter isn’t dumb. Nor is she not used to taking a stand. This same girl, when she was in middle school, following 9/11, the school began holding patriotic rallies on designated days. The students were informed that if they wore red, white and blue then they would receive extra grade points. She refused to wear the colors and thus did not receive the extra grade points. She also refused to sign a patriotic petition posted by a teacher.

I look on it as her being in an authoritarian double bind. It sounds like she wasn’t made aware of her rights in this situation. She was at school. When she refused to sign the form, the military pursued her. In uniform, they intimidated her into signing.

How many students have been thus intimidated not only into releasing their information, but eventually joining the military?

Do Army/Navy/Marine recruiters get bonuses for each person they get to enlist? I don’t know. But the National Guard does.

The Army National Guard, which has suffered a severe three-year recruiting slump, has begun to reel in soldiers in record numbers, aided in part by a new initiative that pays Guard members $2,000 for each person they enlist.

Source: Washington Post

An enlightening read on the heavy emphasis being placed on reaping high school kids and how to do it is found in the military’s School Recruiting Program Handbook at One of the more interesting portions is section 2-4 on using student influences.

Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist, however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist.

A number of helpful hints on gaining the co-operation of administrators and teachers and winning the confidence of students.

As professionalism is stressed, I guess the high school and college recruiters don’t consider coercive and intimidating tactics to be outside of bounds of creating fodder for Gold Star Family license plates…all in the interest of our war against terrorism and Operation Enduring Freedom.

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They have slumber parties??

I’d no idea that the Marines have slumber parties for potential recruits.

Settling a highly publicized case in which two military recruiters were accused of rape, the U.S. Marine Corps has agreed to pay two young women $200,000 and change its recruiting practices in Northern California. The assaults allegedly occurred in 2004, when the two women were 17-year-old high school students…one was told she had to have sex if she wanted to join the Marines…

The agreement also requires that female recruiters be available for young women, and that female supervisors must be present at any Marine-sanctioned slumber parties that include female recruits or applicants.

Maybe they pop popcorn, eat S’mores, play computer games and tell potential recruits this is just a small taste of how Service will be like a fun extended-stay summer camp away from the scrutiny of your parents.

Oh, and toss in a little rape as a recruitment incentive. “You can only come play on the battlefield if I get to rape you first!”

Do you think the Marines are still scratching their heads over how that failed to be much of a success?

P.S. I still think if you’re not old enough to drink, you’re not old enough to have a job where people try to kill you and you try to kill them.