Minnesota Liberal

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Haven't I Heard This Before?

The whole Chalabi mess is really starting to blow up. But now that we have proof he is a crook and a liar... let's take a look at what was being written back in 2001.

Excerpts are taken from:

The New York Times December 3, 2001 Monday Late Edition - Final
Section A; Column 3; Foreign Desk; Pg. 9
Calls for New Push Into Iraq Gain Power in Washington

In September, the secretary of defense's office of protocol invited Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi who heads the London-based Iraqi National Congress, and Khidhir Hamza, a former director of Iraq's nuclear weapons program, to brief the policy group.

"Rumsfeld was in and out of the meetings and he offered a general statement of support for us," said Francis Brooke, the Washington adviser to the exiles who also attended the meeting. "He said, 'We're with you. Don't worry.' He and Ahmed are good friends."

Neither Secretary Powell nor George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, who have grave reservations about Mr. Chalabi's leadership, knew that the Iraqis were there, senior administration officials said. "It's outrageous that these guys were there," said one senior administration official. "They could end up influencing policy."

If there were concerns being raised about his credibility and leadership back in 2001, why did it take so long for our government to throw him out on his ass when the intelligence he provided us was proven faulty. Not only did they keep him around, but they were paying him $340,000 a month to tell us lies.

Now that Bush and company are cutting ties to him... maybe he will spill the beans on all their dirty secrets. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo is already reporting that he has a stash of dirty info on the bunch.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Mother Scorned

A few days ago, Atrios posted a letter to the editor that nearly had me in tears. Read it yourself.

Letter to the Editor
by Sharon Underwood, Sunday, April 30, 2000
from the Valley News (White River Junction, VT/Hanover, NH)

As the mother of a gay son, I've seen firsthand how cruel and misguided people can be.

Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough from you good people.

I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won't get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don't know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for "true Vermonters."

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their lives so that the "homosexual agenda "could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks: "What ever happened to the idea of striving...to be better human beings than we are?"

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?

I had planned on posting this letter here, but had almost forgotten about it... until my friend Lisa e-mailed the letter to me saying I should post it. Thanks Lisa. Too bad this isn't in every major newspaper around the country.

Reading this really makes me think about the struggle many have with their friends and family members because of their sexuality.

It has been quite a long road with my own mother. For a long time she was ashamed. Of me. Of my relationship with my partner. Of her "bad parenting." That I, her son, would be "damned to hell." That I would not be providing her the life she dreamed of having (her son getting married to a beautiful woman and having a big beautiful wedding, building a big beautiful home, and creating for her two beautiful grandchildren, etc).

But as time has gone on... she has realized that I am not the "evil" her church made me out to be. That I am a person deserving of love and happiness. And what brought on this radical change? It was losing me. When she had to chose between having a son or having her hate... she started making the right decisions. And that gives me hope.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A Queer Idea of Success

Andrew Sullivan has once again shown how clueless he really is. His June 1st posting entitled "Just a Question" is a very poor attempt to justify the war in Iraq.
If someone had said in February 2003, that by June 2004, Saddam Hussein would have been removed from power and captured; that a diverse new government, including Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, would be installed; that elections would be scheduled for January 2005; and that the liberation of a devastated country of 25 million in which everyone owns an AK-47 had been accomplished with an army of around 140,000 with a total casualty rate (including accidents and friendly fire) of around 800; that no oil fields had been set aflame; no WMDs had been used; no mass refugee crises had emerged; and no civil war had broken out... well, I think you would come to the conclusion that the war had been an extraordinary success. And you'd be right. Yes, there are enormous challenges; and yes, so much more could have been achieved without incompetence, infighting and occasional inhumanity. But it's worth acknowledging that, with a little perspective, our current gloom is over-blown. Stocks in Iraq have been way over-sold. I even regret some minor sells myself. Now watch the media do all it can to accentuate the negative.

Well Andrew, here is my retort. If someone had said that no WMD stockpiles would be found; that any Al-Qaeda/Iraq connections would be proven false; that Ahmed Chalabi would be completely discredited and exposed as having leaked US intelligence to Iran; that Iraq prisoners would be tortured and murdered by US soldiers; that thousands of innocent people would be killed; that Al-Qaeda would become larger and stronger than ever; that the United States would lose it's credibility in the eyes of most of the world; would you say that the war in Iraq has been an incredible success. NO! While there may be positive elements... this war has been a disaster for our country. There is no spin that can change that.

The logic for Sullivan's arguement is akin to: "Global Warming is good because I don't have to shovel the snow out of my driveway as much." or "Murder is alright because it helps control the human population."

Is this their basis for the war now... let's just look at the good and ignore the bad? Apparently these people don't care what the means(murder, destruction, dishonesty, etc) as long as the outcome satisfies their ideology.

And while it is fine for Sullivan to examine positive news coming from Iraq, it is not okay to use it as justification. Everything is NOT coming up roses. Mr. Sullivan is stuck in his world of wishful thinking.

Sullivan's next posting should sound something like: "The GLBT community should vote for Bush because he has never proposed a law that would have us put to death."