Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Voice of America

One of the arguments that I hear with increasing frequency these days is that we should let the voice of the American people be heard. While in principle this sounds good, in reality it is a very bad idea. If you are looking for proof, you need to look no further than the Nov 2 election (at least pending the results of independent investigations into allegations of widespread electoral fraud.)

Among the reasons why a republic is preferable, at least in theory, to direct democracy, is the premise that our elected officials are supposed to make smarter and more informed choices than the majority of the people that elect them. Our representatives are, ideally, well-educated individuals, endowed with a mixture of exceptional common sense and an uncommon ability to see beyond the present, well into the future, what's good for us and for our country. They should have great listening-skills, above-average empathy, intelligence, and creativity. They should be great problem-solvers, capable mediators, and skilled decision-makers. Unfortunately, in many cases, they are fairly short-sighted individuals, who look no further than the next election, and whose only interest often lies in the financial advancement of themselves and of a few, select cronies. The current president of the United States, being the supreme politician in the land, is the most extreme example of this type of politician.

The other and perhaps the biggest reason why a republic is preferable to direct democracy is the fact that the majority is often catastrophically wrong, and history is rife of examples of this simple but undeniable truth. In recent times, there have been a few well-publicized examples: the majority of Americans believes that there was a sure tie between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. The majority of Germans elected Hitler to power. The majority of Supreme Court Justices believed it was right to stop the Florida recount in 2000. The majority of Galileo’s colleagues believed at the time that his theories were wrong; even the Church condemned his theories as heresy. The list goes on and on. So, with an eye on current affairs, who is to say that the majority is right on the right of same‑sex couples to contract civil unions? In this case, as in the case of the criminalization of drug use, it may very well be that the majority is indeed wrong.

Now, I do not know for a fact that the majority of politicians is in favor of legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples. Nonetheless, it is unconscionable and repugnant that our elected officials refuse to take a stand on the issue, and that they have chosen to abdicate their responsibility to make a decision, good or bad, to “we the people.” Sometimes the courage to stand up for what you believe in comes at a high personal cost, and flies in the face of the majority (which, by the way, is not synonymous with reason.) God forbid that a congressman should stand up for his personal beliefs and for the conviction that what the majority sees as wrong now would lead to progress down the path of this nation! This class of spineless, selfish politicians would rather let the people decide, in the form of “ballot initiatives” (referenda, really, but most people are not even smart enough to know that,) but only on those things that involve putting their congressman’s re‑election in jeopardy.

But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that “we the people” are indeed smart enough to know: Why not give us a chance then to vote on other, more significant matters? For example, the importation of cheap, safe, and foreign (Canadian, not Sudanese) drugs? And when are we going to see a referendum on the obligation of the government to pursue corporate tax evasion, with stiff penalties for those who certify fraudulent tax returns or recommend the use of well known tax loopholes to cheat the system? When, again, will the fateful day come when people are called to express themselves on the abolition of corporate welfare? The answer, you know it, is never. In such cases, our elected officials are perfectly capable of doing the "right" thing. In the meantime, let us rejoice in the fact that we can all democratically join forces to deny same-sex couples their right to pursue their happiness, without spoiling anyone else’s, all people being created equal.

Oh, I almost forgot! When we go to the polls to ban same-sex marriages, let’s not forget to do it in the name of Christian values and morals that apply only to sexual preferences but not to trifling matters, such as when or why a president should decide to bring war and destruction to other people, for pretexts as fickle as the wind.

For all it matters, this is what’s left of the voice of America.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Speedily Gonzales

True to his word, the president has wasted no time in his intent to spend the political capital that he feels he earned on Nov 2. President Bush surprised but a few today when he announced his pick for John Ashcroft's successor as U.S. Attorney General: Alberto Gonzales.

The association between Gonzales and the president dates back to 1994. Bush, at the time governor of Texas, appointed Gonzales to a series of posts that culminated with his rise to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999. In 2001, Gonzales joined the Bush administration in Washington, where he has since acted as White House counsel, leaving a trail of controversial decisions. Who, then, is Alberto Gonzales?

While some Democrats consider him a more palatable choice than his alternatives, for his moderate positions on affirmative action and on abortion, he has raised a few eyebrows in other areas. For example, in his capacity as legal counsel for then Gov. Bush, Gonzales prepared 75 death-penalty memoranda. They displayed, in the words of Alan Berlow, a former NPR reporter with a keen interest in capital justice cases, "an extraordinarily narrow notion of clemency" (Texas Clemency Memos, July 2003.) Take the case of Terry Washington, whose death sentence was carried out at 6 p.m. on May 6, 1997. Washington was "a mentally-retarded thirty-three year-old man with the communication skills of a seven year-old." The Gonzales memo failed to mention the mental retardation, as well as the fact that Washington was one of ten children who had all been subject to physical abuse growing up. Gonzales routinely left out of his memos any extenuating circumstances that might have swayed the governor towards clemency. In a 2003 article, John Dean cites that Amnesty International had concluded that the "jurisdiction that executes more people than any other in the Western world, Texas, has turned the final safeguard of executive clemency into nothing more than an empty gesture." (White House Counsel, 2003.)

Fast forward to Gonzales's time as White House legal counsel. Remember the outcry to have Dick Cheney's energy commission meeting reports made public, in the wake of the California energy crisis? The guy who successfully argued that such White House reports were to be considered work product, therefore they could not be subpoenaed, was--you guessed it--Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales is also the author of the opinion that the president should hold the position that Geneva Conventions did not apply to prisoners captured in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those who were sent to Guantanamo, to be held indefinitely without formal charges being files and without access to legal counsel. (Many critics consider Gonzales's opinion the spark that ultimately led to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.) Gonzales had in fact crafted his opinion so as to prevent the possibility that U.S. officials could be prosecuted for war crimes (a not entirely impossible proposition, given the mishandling of prisoners of war). If you think that this is a legitimate, if repugnant, construction of international law, consider this: Secretary of State Colin Powell strongly opposed the decision, on the grounds that it would destroy the international reputation of the U.S. and that it would put U.S. troop at even higher risk (for the retaliation that might ensue).

It won’t be long before we find out whether the choice of Gonzales will lead to more controversy and further erosion of civil rights. After four year of John Ashcroft, there is a sense that anyone, just anyone, would constitute an improvement. But this is a man that President Bush likes a great deal. Given the president’s track record in his choice of collaborators, this does not bode well. In referring to Gonzales's humble origins (he was one of seven siblings and grew up in a two bedroom house in Houston), the president has said "In many ways, Al embodies the American dream." (Ponnuru, 2001.) Let's just pray that Al's American dream does not turn out into the sequel to America's nightmare.

Berlow, A. (2003.) The Texas clemency memos. The Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2003. Available at http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200307/berlow

Dean, J. W. (2003) White House counsel Alberto Gonzales's Texas execution memos: How they reflect on the president, and may affect Gonzales's Supreme Court chances. Available at http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20030620.html

Ponnuru, R. (2001) Speedy Gonzales: Bush’s fast rising counsel. National Review Online, April 30, 2001. Available at: http://www.nationalreview.com/flashback/flashback-ponnuru021103.asp

Monday, November 08, 2004

In Defense Of Political Bloggers

I wrote the letter below today, in response to an article I found on cbsnews.com, of all places.

I just finished reading 'Blogging As Typing, Not Journalism', at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/08/opinion/main654285.shtml.

Mr. Engberg, formerly a CBS news correspondent, has missed an important point in his piece: Many bloggers have come to fill the void left by traditional media organizations, which have become laughable parodies of their old selves.

Those who want to find out what is really going on in this country often have to turn to overseas media (the BBC, foreign newspapers, etc.), who have no masters (or, at least, different masters) when it comes to reporting about the affairs of this nation.

You, and all mainstream news organizations, have let people down in your pitiful and gutless coverage of presidential campaign, epitomized by Mr. Schieffer's abysmal performance as a moderator of the third presidential debate. You have exposed yourself to ridicule by following a weak and unsubstantiated (if not false) lead on what the president did or did not do in Alabama and Texas over thirty years ago, when you could have much more easily exposed the lies and the crimes that he and his administration have perpetrated on the American public in the last four years. You have another chance to redeem yourselves by investigating allegations of fraud on, before, and after the Nov. 2 election, but you will probably fail the public you are supposed to serve, once again.

News organizations that refuse to put solid journalistic reports on the air because they are afraid of hurting their masters or their shareholders (do Brown & Williamson and tortious interference ring a bell, to cite just one infamous example?) have no right to criticize bloggers for being unprofessional.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Joke's On Us

I thought I had seen it all, and heard it all, about why Republicans took Tuesday' election. I had not. It turns out that Republicans won because we liberals MAKE FUN of conservative values. As a liberal, it is therefore my duty to set the record straight. Let’s begin with a little background.

Last night I tuned in to ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’. For those of you who do not know, Bill Maher is a comedian. While he is a liberal on some issues, he swears he is not a Democrat; it just looks that way because, on Fridays, he trumps President Bush. Until 2002, he hosted a show called Politically Incorrect. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, he made an undeniably controversial remark about the hijackers and U.S. military policy. One of the panelists had called the hijackers cowards, to which he replied something like "Excuse me, but I do not think you can call people who flew themselves into a building cowards. The people who shoot missiles from a thousand miles away are the cowards.” (He was referring to the fact that the U.S. has the ability to strike targets using long range missiles.) That controversy eventually led to his discharge by ABC, who lost advertising due to Maher’s remark and feared further backlash.

Now, to the present. For the last couple of years Maher has had a show on HBO, called ‘Real Time’. Last night, the show opened with an interview with Alan Simpson, a Republican senator from Wyoming. I have not yet found a transcript of the show, so I have to trust my recollection of the dialogue. Maher first congratulated the senator on Tuesday’s results, then asked him the following question: “What is it that Democrats don't get about the red states?” (or something like it.) Here's where things started getting absurd, and a little frightening. The senator's reply was that Democrats lost the election—I kid you not—because they mock conservative values. As long as they keep doing that, he continued, they will never win an election again. The Senator recommended that, instead of making fun of people, Maher should lampoon ideas, which Maher readily countered with "sometimes ideas are the people, Senator.” From that point on the exchange got ugly, until the stunned host, after making a half-hearted attempt at patching things up, finally bid farewell to his guest.

Maher, who looked understandably rattled, was still doing his best to compose himself when he was attacked by another guest, Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan, a well-known and controversial blogger, basically reprised Simpson's line of reasoning, to which he added his own accusation: that Maher was wrong in saying that there is no place for religion in political discourse. (Maher had actually said that reason should prevail over faith.) Sullivan said that as long as liberals insist that there is no legitimate place for Christians and their values in politics, they will always lose. Hard to refute, but not what Maher had said.

Now that the dust over those arguments has settled, I ask: is it true that we liberals are guilty of denying the legitimacy of Christian principles in politics, and of denigrating conservatives and their values? Could that possibly be the reason for the tide of red states that won Bush the election? And is it right to accuse Maher of contributing, with his attitude, to Tuesday's loss?

Although there are plenty of reasons to question the soundness of the motives that led many to President Bush’s trough (I know, I know: that’s patronizing), it is not fair to assume that all liberals mock conservative values simply because liberal comedians do. That’s a comedian’s job: making fun of ideas, and—yes—people, too. Bill Maher is a comedian. Jon Stewart is also a comedian. It is no accident that Maher and Stewart have become hugely successful, particularly among liberals, over the last four years. Absurdity, righteousness, and contradiction fuel political satire, and under Bush's reign, there has been no lack of material.

During the first four years of his administration, president Bush has done much to inspire political satire. Day in, day out, the President and his staff make ridiculous and indefensible claims, only to surpass them with something even more ridiculous the next day. Want some examples? In a call to unity after winning the election, President Bush declared “I’ll reach out to anyone who shares our goals.” Reaching out to those who share your goals, quipped Jon Stewart? How grand! How about reaching out to those who don't? Or this one, which the President repeated many times during the debates and in the days leading up to the election: “Seventy-five percent of known Al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice.” 75% of known Al Qaeda leaders? Al Qaeda is not exactly an official organization (some of its leaders, according to the President, hide in caves). What if the number of known leaders is one tenth or one hundredth of all leaders? Then we would have captured only 7.5% or .75% of all leaders. Hardly a successful operation, considering the amount of resources we threw at it. Still, the President trumpets this statistic as if it had any relevance. (By the way, if our intelligence was so flawed that we were unable to prevent the most massive attack on American soil, how come it is now so good that we easily captured 75% of all known Al Qaeda leaders in 3 years? Surely, if this were true, the president would have capitalized on the opportunity.)
But my favorite, of all the absurdities to come out of the president’s mouth, was his reply to a question that came during the third presidential debate. The question was what would the president do about the minimum wage: would he raise it? The answer? "Listen, the No Child Left Behind Act is really a jobs act when you think about it.” You got it: In response to a question about minimum wage, the president could think of nothing more appropriate than to spin a school program aimed at elementary school children as a job creation program. You can see why certain comedians are thriving these days.

And so it is that in these days of newspeak and mind-boggling spin, and in spite of all the evidence that supported ousting President Bush from office, liberals are forced to defend themselves against accusations of mocking conservative values. Liberals do not mock values, conservative or otherwise, defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something (as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable.” These are things like honesty, integrity, loyalty, justice, truthfulness, etc. (Notice that, on values alone, this president is arguably an abject failure.) Liberals and conservatives share many of the same values. What separates them are beliefs, defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the "mental acceptance of a proposition, statement, or fact, held to be true on the ground of authority or evidence." In the eyes of the President, and of many who voted for him, belief in God equates to having principles and strong convictions (does that make those who do not share this belief weak, spineless, and unprincipled?) A president whose stated goal is to foster unity might want to find a reasonable balance between values, everyone’s values, and his personal beliefs. Too bad he consistently chooses beliefs over values.

Many voters on Tuesday chose beliefs over values, faith over reason, fear over hope. In so doing, they seemed determined to chop off their noses to spite our faces. Their choice seems absurd because it came despite all tangible evidence that this president is a fraud, and that he is using their beliefs to his political advantage; but while absurdity lies at the foundation of comedy, absurdity this portentous does not leave any room for mockery.

It would almost be funny, but the joke's on us.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Making Every Vote Count

Today I really wanted to take a break.

I am still digesting the results of the election, and no amount of Maalox will do. I am racking my brains (and my stomach is feeling the effects) in search of an answer. The only answer I have been able to come up with so far is one that I find entirely repugnant: If a president scorns all criticism, and repeats steadfastedly--to those who are predisposed to believe him--that God is on his side and that he has strong moral principles, he will be re-elected in spite of all contrary evidence.

I still hope that it was not the intention of 59 million Americans to re-elect this monstrous fraud of a president, and that Bush's re-election is the result of electoral shenanigans, to be unearthed by some corageous report later on. (Greg Palast, where are you?) Frighteningly enough, there are many who believe the president is doing a good job, and that he has good moral fiber. But if there was a larger number of voters who chose Kerry and a change in direction, we might never know. What if the exit polls were right, and the results have been manipulated? It wouldn't have been the first time.

This battle being over, and lost, the fight must continue. I am talking about the fight for change in this country. Number one on my agenda is true electoral reform.

It is totally absurd that different people in different parts of this country vote with different machines and different ballots, with different chances of their vote actually being counted. The presidential ballot should be the same all over the country. The machines should be the same all over the country, and they should work. (HAVA, the Help America Vote Act, still allows the use of punch card and lever machines, nor does it mandate the replacement of all obsolete machines. If you are interested in learning more about the subject, please go to http://www.votersunite.org/.) Do you know that the voting system has not been reformed because it would cost TOO MUCH to replace voting machines in every polling station? Come again? We have the money to wage the reconstruction of entire countries, after we bomb them into the stone age, but we do not have the money to replace ALL obsolete voting machines? Only this administration would have sat on the problems of the 2000 election, so things could still be up in the air by the 2004 election.

If we want to make sure that the wounds in this country do not fester, we need to build a system where people can be sure that their will is going to count. No more hanging chads, no more e-voting machines that leave no record, no more confusing ballots. That is the starting point. That is the only point of defense we have against the brother of a President influencing one election, and against the CEO of a manufacturer of voting machines (Diebold) declaring "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." (Machine Politics in the Digital Age. NY Times. Nov 9, 2003.)

You might be thinking: What does electoral reform have anything to do with preventing a president from being re-elected, when 59 million people have voted for him? Haven't the people spoken? Isn't that what democracy is about, letting people speak, and accepting the will of the majority? That is exactly the point: If you want me and the rest of the minority to accept the will of the majority, you must be able to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the results of an election are the will of the majority and not the result of manipulation by those in power.

For the sake of our democracy, we must find a way to prevent this climate of doubt and suspicion from ever occurring again on the eve and in the aftermath of an election. The only way to do that is to ensure that people know that every vote does count.

The War President

This from www.michaelmoore.com. I copied it because I am not sure that it will be up on his website for long, and I wanted to be sure that you got to see it. Go to his website to see it in full force.

Thursday, November 4th, 2004
My first thoughts after the election...

Cpl. Roberto Abad, Sgt. Michael D. Acklin II, Spc. Genaro Acosta, Pfc. Steven Acosta, Capt. James F. Adamouski, Pvt. Algernon Adams, Sgt. Brandon E. Adams, Spc. Clarence Adams III, 1st Lt. Michael R. Adams, Pfc. Michael S. Adams, Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams, Spc. Jamaal R. Addison, Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Adle, Capt. Tristan N. Aitken, Spc. Segun Frederick Akintade, Lance Cpl. Nickalous N. Aldrich, Spc. Ronald D. Allen Jr., Sgt. Glenn R. Allison, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Allred, Capt. Eric L. Allton, Cpl. Nicanor Alvarez, Cpl. Daniel R. Amaya, Pfc. John D. Amos II, Lance Cpl. Brian E. Anderson, Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr., Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael C. Anderson, Spc. Michael Andrade, Pfc, Spc. Yoe M. Aneiros, Lance Cpl. Levi T. Angell, Army Spc. Edward J. Anguiano, Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Todd Arnold, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, Spc. Richard Arriaga, Staff Sgt. Jimmy J. Arroyave, Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Sgt. Evan Asa Ashcraft, Pfc. Shawn M. Atkins, Maj. Jay Aubin, Capt. Matthew J. August, Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Fedder, Lance Cpl. Andrew Julian Aviles, Pfc. Eric A. Ayon, Sgt. 1st Class Henry A. Bacon, Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick, Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Bader, Staff Sgt. Nathan J. Bailey, Spc. Ronald W. Baker, Spc. Ryan T. Baker, Sgt. Sherwood R. Baker.
Pfc. Chad E. Bales, 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, Maj. Spc. Solomon C. Bangayan, Lt. Col. Dominic R. Baragona, Pfc. Mark A. Barbret, Pfc. Collier E. Barcus, Sgt. Michael C. Barkey, Spc. Jonathan P. Barnes, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward C. Barnhill, Lance Cpl. Aric J. Barr, Sgt. Michael Paul Barrera, Maj. Carlos Barro Ollero, Sgt. Douglas E. Bascom, Spc. Todd M. Bates, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Battles Sr., Gunnery Sgt. Ronald E. Baum, Spc. Alan N. Bean Jr., Spc. Bradley S. Beard, Spc. Beau R. Beaulieu, Capt. Ryan Beaupre, Spc. James L. Beckstrand, Sgt. Gregory A. Belanger, Cpl. Christopher Belchik, Sgt. Aubrey D. Bell, Pfc. Wilfred D. Bellard, Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia, Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett, Spc. Robert T. Benson, 1st Lt. David R. Bernstein, Spc. Joel L. Bertoldie, Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino Sr., Staff Sgt. Marvin Best, Cpl. Mark A. Bibby, Sgt. Benjamin W. Biskie, Sgt. Michael E. Bitz, Sgt. Jarrod W. Black, Chief Warrant Officer Michael T. Blaise, Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco, Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Blankenbecler, Spc. Joseph M. Blickenstaff, Spc. Nicholas H. Blodgett, Sgt. Trevor A. Blumberg, Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Bohlman, Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Bohr Jr., Lance Cpl. Todd J. Bolding, Sgt. Dennis J. Boles, Sgt. 1st Class Craig A. Boling, Petty Officer 3rd Class Doyle W. Bollinger Jr, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker.
Chief Warrant Officer Clarence E. Boone, Capt. John J. Boria, Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld, Spc. Mathew G. Boule, Staff Sgt. Elvis Bourdon, Pvt. 1st Class Samuel R. Bowen, Staff Sgt. Hesley Box Jr., Pvt. Noah L. Boye, Lance Cpl. Aaron Boyles, Spc. Edward W. Brabazon, Cpl. Travis J. Bradach-Nall, Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Bradley, Staff Sgt. Stacey C. Brandon, Spc. Artimus D. Brassfield, Pfc. Joel K. Brattain, Pfc. Jeffrey F. Braun, Chief Warrant Officer William I. Brennan, Staff Sgt. Steven H. Bridges, Spc. Kyle A. Brinlee, Staff Sgt. Cory W. Brooks, Sgt. Thomas F. Broomhead, Sgt. Andrew W. Brown, Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown, Lance Cpl. Dominic C. Brown, Cpl. Henry L. Brown, Pfc. John E. Brown, Spc. Larry K. Brown, Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II, 1st Lt. Tyler H. Brown, Spc. Philip D. Brown, Pfc. Timmy R. Brown Jr., 1st Lt. Tyler H. Brown, Cpl. Andrew D. Brownfield, Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, Lance Cpl. Cedric E. Bruns, 2nd Lt. Todd J. Bryant, Sgt. Ernest G. Bucklew, Spc. Roy Russell Buckley, Pfc. Paul J. Bueche, Lt. Col. Charles H. Buehring, Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing, Sgt. George Edward Buggs, Spc. Joshua I. Bunch, Staff Sgt. Christopher Bunda, Staff Sgt. Michael L. Burbank, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Burdick, Spc. Alan J. Burgess, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey C. Burgess, Pfc. Tamario D. Burkett, Sgt. Travis L. Burkhardt.
Pfc. David P. Burridge, Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj, Pfc. Charles E. Bush Jr., Pvt. Matthew D. Bush, Pfc. Damian S. Bushart, Sgt. Jacob L. Butler, Capt. Joshua T. Byers, Cpl. Juan C. Cabralbanuelos, Pfc. Cody S. Calavan, Sgt. Juan Calderon Jr, Sgt. Charles T. Caldwell, Spc. Nathaniel A. Caldwell, Staff Sgt. Joseph Camara, Spc. Michael C. Campbell, Sgt. Ryan M. Campbell, Spc. Marvin A. Camposiles, Spc. Isaac Campoy, Spc. Ervin Caradine Jr., Spc. Adolfo C. Carballo, Pfc. Michael M. Carey, Cpl. Richard P. Carl, Pfc. Ryan G. Carlock, Pfc. Benjamin R. Carman, Staff Sgt. Edward W. Carmen, Spc. Jocelyn L. Carrasquillo, Sgt. Frank T. Carvill, Capt. Christopher S. Cash, Spc. Ahmed A. Cason, Pfc. Jose Casanova, Lance Cpl. James A. Casper, Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, Staff Sgt. Roland L. Castro, Sgt. Sean K. Cataudella, Lance Cpl. Steven C. T. Cates, Pfc. Thomas D. Caughman, Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley, Spc. Jessica L. Cawvey, Petty Officer 3rd Class David A. Cedergren, Lance Cpl. Manuel A. Ceniceros, Cpl. Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse, Spc. James A. Chance III, Staff Sgt. William D. Chaney, Chief Warrant Officer Robert William Channell Jr., Spc. Jason K. Chappell, Pfc. Jonathan M. Cheatham, Sgt. Yohjyh L. Chen, Lance Cpl. Marcus M. Cherry, 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers, Spc. Andrew F. Chris.
Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Christensen, Spc. Brett T. Christian, Spc. Arron R. Clark, Staff Sgt. Michael J. Clark, Lance Cpl. Donald J. Cline Jr., Pfc. Christopher R. Cobb, Lance Cpl. Kyle W. Codner, 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Coffin, Pvt. Bradli N. Coleman, Cpl. Gary B. Coleman, 2nd Lt. Benjamin J. Colgan, Sgt. Russell L. Collier, Sgt. 1st Class Gary L. Collins, Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Collins, Chief Warrant Officer Lawrence S. Colton, Spc. Zeferino E. Colunga, Sgt. Robert E. Colvill, Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr., Sgt. Timothy M. Conneway, Spc. Steven D. Conover, Capt. Aaron J. Contreras, Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras, Sgt. Jason Cook, Command Sgt. Major Eric F. Cooke, Sgt. Dennis A. Corral, Chief Warrant Officer Alexander S. Coulter, 2nd Lt. Leonard M. Cowherd, Spc. Gregory A. Cox, Pfc. Ryan R. Cox, Lance Corporal Timothy R. Creager, Sgt. Michael T. Crockett, Staff Sgt. Ricky L. Crockett, Sgt. Brud J. Cronkrite, Lance Cpl. Kyle D. Crowley, Pvt. Rey D. Cuervo, Pfc. Kevin A. Cuming, Spc. Daniel Francis J. Cunningham, Staff Sgt. Darren J. Cunningham, Spc. Carl F. Curran, Cpl. Michael Edward Curtin, Staff Sgt. Christopher E. Cutchall, Pfc. Brian K. Cutter, Pfc. Anthony D. D'Agostino, Spc. Edgar P. Daclan Jr., Capt. Nathan S. Dalley, Lance Cpl. Andrew S. Dang, Spc. Danny B. Daniels II, Pvt. 1st Class Torey J. Dantzler, Pfc. Norman Darling, Capt. Eric B. Das.
Spc. Shawn M. Davies, Pvt. Brandon L. Davis, Staff Sgt. Craig Davis, Staff Sgt. Donald N. Davis, Spc. Raphael S. Davis, Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey F. Dayton, Pvt. Jason L. Deibler, Spc. Lauro G. DeLeon Jr., Sgt. Felix M. Delgreco, Sgt. Jacob H. Demand, Staff Sgt. Mike A. Dennie, Spc. Darryl T. Dent, Pfc. Ervin Dervishi, Spc. Daniel A. Desens, Pfc. Michael R. Deuel, Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch, Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher M. Dickerson, Cpl. Nicholas J. Dieruf, Spc. Jeremiah J. DiGiovanni, Spc. Jeremy M. Dimaranan, Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo, Spc. Anthony J. Dixon, Spc. Ryan E. Doltz, Sgt. Michael E. Dooley, Chief Warrant Officer Patrick D. Dorff, Petty Officer 2nd Class Trace W. Dossett, Lance Cpl. Scott E. Dougherty, 1st Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, Pfc. Stephen P. Downing II, Spc. Chad H. Drake, Pvt. Jeremy L. Drexler, Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, Staff Sgt. Joe L. Dunigan Jr., Spc. Robert L. DuSang, Spc. William D. Dusenbery, 2nd Lt. Seth J. Dvorin, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason B. Dwelley, Pfc. Sheldon R. Hawk Eagle, Staff Sgt. Richard S. Eaton Jr., Cpl. Christopher S. Ebert, Sgt. William C. Eckhart, Spc. Marshall L. Edgerton, Pfc. Shawn C. Edwards, Spc. Andrew C. Ehrlich, Sgt. Aaron C. Elandt, Spc. William R. Emanuel IV, Lance Cpl. Mark E. Engel, Spc. Peter G. Enos, Senior Airman Pedro I. Espaillat Jr.
Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, Sgt. Adam W. Estep, Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, Pfc. David Evans, Cpl. Mark A. Evnin, Pfc. Jeremy Ricardo Ewing, Sgt. Justin L. Eyerly, Pvt. Jonathan I. Falaniko, Sgt. James D. Faulkner, Pfc. Raymond J. Faulstich Jr., Capt. Brian R. Faunce, Capt. Arthur L. Felder, 2nd Lt. Paul M. Felsberg, Spc. Rian C. Ferguson, Master Sgt. Richard L. Ferguson, Master Sgt. George A. Fernandez, Staff Sgt. Clint D. Ferrin, Spc. Jon P. Fettig, Cpl. Tyler R. Fey, Sgt. Jeremy J. Fischer, Sgt. Paul F. Fisher, Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, Pfc. Jacob S. Fletcher, Spc. Thomas A. Foley III, Sgt. Timothy Folmar, Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio, Spc. Jason C. Ford, Capt. Travis A. Ford, Chief Warrant Officer Wesley C. Fortenberry, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley C. Fox, Spc. Craig S. Frank, Lance Cpl. Phillip E. Frank, Staff Sgt. Bobby C. Franklin, Pvt. Robert L. Frantz, Pvt. Benjamin L. Freeman, Sgt. David T. Friedrich, Spc. Luke P. Frist, Spc. Adam D. Froehlich, Pvt. Kurt R. Frosheiser, Pfc. Nichole M. Frye, Sgt. 1st Class Dan H. Gabrielson, Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Gadsden, Capt. Richard J. Gannon II, Spc. Tomas Garces, Lance Cpl. Derek L. Gardner, Cpl. Jose A. Garibay, Spc. Joseph M. Garmback Jr., Sgt. Landis W. Garrison, Sgt. Justin W. Garvey, Spc. Israel Garza.
1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza, Pfc. Juan Guadalupe Garza Jr, Spc. Christopher D. Gelineau, Lance Cpl. Cory Ryan Guerin, Cpl. Christopher A. Gibson, Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford, Pvt. Kyle C. Gilbert, Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell W. Gilmore, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald A. Ginther, Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, Spc. Michael T. Gleason, Cpl. Todd J. Godwin, 2nd Lt. James Michael Goins, Spc. Christopher A. Golby, Spc. David J. Goldberg, Lance Cpl. Shane L. Goldman, Cpl. Armando Ariel Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Benjamin R. Gonzalez, Cpl. Jesus A. Gonzalez, Cpl. Jorge Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Victor A. Gonzalez, Cpl. Bernard G. Gooden, Pfc. Gregory R. Goodrich, Sgt. 1st Class Richard S. Gottfried, Spc. Richard A. Goward, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey C. Graham, Sgt. Jamie A. Gray, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Gray, Sgt. Tommy L. Gray, Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray, Cpl. Jeffrey G. Green, Lt. Col. David S. Greene, Pfc. Devin J. Grella, Spc. Kyle A. Griffin, Staff Sgt. Patrick Lee Griffin Jr., Cpl. Sean R. Grilley, Pvt. Joseph R. Guerrera, Chief Warrant Officer Hans N. Gukeisen, Pfc. Christian D. Gurtner, Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, Pfc. Richard W. Hafer, Staff Sgt. Guy S. Hagy Jr., Spc. Charles G. Haight, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Halal, Pfc. Deryk L. Hallal, Pvt. Jesse M. Halling, Pfc. Andrew Halverson, Chief Warrant Officer Erik A. Halvorsen, Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, Sgt. Michael S. Hancock.
Pfc. Fernando B. Hannon, Sgt. Warren S. Hansen, Sgt. James W. Harlan, Sgt. Atanacio Haro Marin, Staff Sgt. William M. Harrell, Sgt. Foster L. Harrington, Pfc. Adam J. Harris, Sgt. Kenneth W. Harris Jr., Pfc. Torry D. Harris, Pfc. Leroy Harris-Kelly, Pfc. John D. Hart, Sgt. Nathaniel Hart, Sgt. 1st Class David A. Hartman, Sgt. Jonathan N. Hartman, Staff Sgt. Stephen C. Hattamer, Staff Sgt. Omer T. Hawkins II, Sgt. Timothy L. Hayslett, Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hazelgrove, Sgt. David M. Heath, Spc. Justin W. Hebert, Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg, Pfc. Raheen Tyson Heighter, Spc. Jeremy M. Heines, Staff Sgt. Brian R. Hellerman, Staff Sgt. Terry W. Hemingway, Cpl. Matthew C. Henderson, 1st Lt. Robert L. Henderson II, Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Hendrickson, Sgt. Jack T. Hennessy, Spc. Joshua J. Henry, Pfc. Clayton W. Henson, Spc. Armando Hernandez, Spc. Joseph F. Herndon II, Pfc. Edward J. Herrgott, Spc. Jacob B. Herring, Sgt. 1st Class Gregory B. Hicks, Spc. Christopher K. Hill, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Sgt. Keicia M. Hines, Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart, Sgt. Nicholas M. Hodson, Sgt. 1st Class James T. Hoffman, Spc. Christopher J. Holland, Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, Staff Sgt. Lincoln D. Hollinsaid, Spc. James J. Holmes, Spc. Jeremiah J. Holmes, Cpl. Terry Holmes, Airman 1st Class Antoine J. Holt, Pfc. Sean Horn, Master Sgt. Kelly L. Hornbeck.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy R. Horton, Capt. Andrew R. Houghton, Lance Cpl Gregory C. Howman, Pfc. Bert E. Hoyer, Spc. Corey A. Hubbell, Pfc. Christopher E. Hudson, 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler, Staff Sgt. Jamie L. Huggins, Spc. Eric R. Hull, Cpl Barton R. Humlhanz, Lance Cpl. Justin T. Hunt, Spc. Simeon Hunte, 1st Lt. Joshua C. Hurley, Lance Cpl. James B. Huston Jr., Lance Cpl. Seth Huston, Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings, Pfc. Ray J. Hutchinson, Pfc. Gregory P. Huxley Jr., Spc. Benjamin W. Isenberg, Spc. Craig S. Ivory, Pfc. Leslie D. Jackson, Spc. Morgen N. Jacobs, Chief Warrant Officer Scott Jamar, Cpl. Evan T. James, 2nd Lt. Luke S. James, Spc. William A. Jeffries, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert B. Jenkins, Sgt. Troy David Jenkins, Spc. Darius T. Jennings, Pfc. Ryan M. Jerabek, Sgt. Linda C. Jimenez, 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, Capt. Christopher B. Johnson, Spc. David W. Johnson, Pfc. Howard Johnson II, Spc. John P. Johnson, Pfc. Markus J. Johnson, Spc. Maurice J. Johnson, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael Vann Johnson Jr., Spc. Nathaniel H. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Paul J. Johnson, Chief Warrant Officer, Pfc. Rayshawn S. Johnson, Pvt. Devon D. Jones, Capt. Gussie M. Jones, Staff Sgt. Raymond E. Jones Jr., Spc. Rodney A. Jones, Lt. Kylan A. Jones- Huffman, Sgt. Curt E. Jordan Jr., Sgt. Jason D. Jordan.
Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Jordan, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, Spc. Spencer T. Karol, Spc. Michael G. Karr Jr., Spc. Mark J. Kasecky, 1st Lt. Jeffrey J. Kaylor, Spc. Chad L. Keith, Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, Cpl. Brian Kennedy, Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Morgan D. Kennon, 1st Lt. Christopher J. Kenny, Spc. Jonathan R. Kephart, Cpl. Dallas L. Kerns, Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson, Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan, Spc. James M. Kiehl, Pt. Jeungjin Na Kim, Staff Sgt. Kevin C. Kimmerly. Spc. Levi B. Kinchen, Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II, Pfc. David M. Kirchhoff, Staff Sgt. Charles A. Kiser, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Brian Kleiboeker, Spc. John K. Klinesmith Jr., Sgt. Floyd G. Knighten Jr., Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric L. Knott, Spc. Joshua L. Knowles, Staff Sgt. Lance J. Koenig, Cpl. Kevin T. Kolm, Pfc. Martin W. Kondor, Chief Warrant Patrick W. Kordsmeier, Capt. Edward J. Korn, Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus, Cpl. Jakub Henryk Kowalik, Sgt. Elmer C. Krause, Pvt. Dustin L. Kreider, Pfc. Bradley G. Kritzer, Capt. John F. Kurth, Sgt. 1st Class William W. Labadie Jr., Sgt. Joshua S. Ladd, Sgt. Michael V. Lalush, Lance Cpl. Alan Dinh Lam, Spc. Charles R. Lamb, Spc. James I. Lambert III, Pfc. James P. Lambert, Sgt. Jonathan W. Lambert, Capt. Andrew David Lamont, Staff Sgt. Sean G. Landrus, Gunnery Sgt. Shawn A. Lane.
Pfc. Moises A. Langhorst, Spc. Tracy L. Laramore, Spc. Scott Q. Larson Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Matthew C. Laskowski, Staff Sgt. William T. Latham, Pfc. Karina S. Lau, Cpl. Jeffrey D. Lawrence, Staff Sgt. Mark A. Lawton, Lance Cpl. Travis J. Layfield, Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma, 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc, Cpl. Bum R. Lee, Pfc. Ken W. Leisten, Staff Sgt. Jerome Lemon, Spc. Cedric L. Lennon, Pfc. Farad K. Letufuga, Spc. Justin W. Linden, Spc. Roger G. Ling, Spc. Joseph L. Lister, Staff Sgt. Nino D. Livaudais, Sgt. Dale T. Lloyd, Sgt. Daniel J. Londono, Spc. Ryan P. Long, Spc. Zachariah W. Long, Pfc. Duane E. Longstreth, Sgt. Edgar E. Lopez, Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez, Sgt. Richard M. Lord, Staff Sgt. David L. Loyd, Capt. Robert L. Lucero, Pfc. Jason C. Ludiam, Lance Cpl. Jacob R. Lugo, Pfc. Jason N. Lynch, Pfc. Christopher D. Mabry, Lance Cpl. Gregory E. MacDonald, Lance Cpl. Cesar F. Machado-Olmos, Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, Lance Cpl. Joseph B. Maglione, Spc. William J. Maher III, Staff Sgt. Toby W. Mallet, Chief Warrant Officer Ian D. Manuel, Pfc. Pablo Manzano, Pfc. Lyndon A. Marcus Jr., Staff Sgt. Paul C. Mardis Jr., Cpl. Douglas Jose Marencoreyes, Master Sgt. Jude C. Mariano, Spc. James E. Marshall, Sgt. 1st Class John W. Marshall, Pfc. Ryan A. Martin, Staff Sgt. Stephen G. Martin.
Sgt. Francisco Martinez, Pfc. Francisco A. Martinez Flores, Pfc. Jesse J. Martinez, Spc. Michael A. Martinez, Pfc. Oscar A. Martinez, Spc. Jacob D. Martir, Sgt. Arthur S. Mastrapa, Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, Spc. Clint Richard Matthews, Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, Cpl. Matthew E. Matula, Staff Sgt. Donald C. May Jr, Pfc. Joseph P. Mayek, Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr., Lance Cpl. Joseph C. MacCarthy, Pfc. Ryan M. McCauley, Cpl. Brad P. McCormick, 1st Lt. Erik. S. McCrae, Spc. Donald R. McCune, Spc. Dustin K. McGaugh, Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh, Sgt. Brian D. McGinnis, Spc. Michael A. McGlothin. Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott R. McHugh, Hospitalman Joshua McIntosh, Spc. David M. McKeever, Spc. Eric S. McKinley, Pvt. Robert L. McKinley, Staff Sgt. Don S. McMahan, Sgt. Heath A. McMillin, 1st Lt. Brian M. McPhillips, Cpl. Jesus Martin Antonio Medellin, Spc. Irving Medina, Spc. Kenneth A. Melton, Cpl. Jaygee Meluat, Petty Officer 3rd Class Fernando A. Mendezaceves, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, Staff Sgt. Eddie E. Menyweather, Spc. Gil Mercado, Spc. Michael M. Merila, Spc. Christopher A. Merville, Sgt. Daniel K. Methvin, Pfc. Jason M. Meyer, Sgt. Eliu A. Miersandoval, Spc. Michael G. Mihalakis, Pfc. Matthew G. Milczark, Cpl. Jason David Mileo, Pfc. Anthony S. Miller, Pfc. Bruce Miller Jr., Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller Jr.
Sgt. 1st Class Marvin L. Miller, Sgt. Joseph Minucci II, Sgt. First Class Troy L. Miranda, Spc. George A. Mitchell, Sgt. Keman L. Mitchell, Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell, Spc. Sean R. Mitchell, Pfc. Jesse D. Mizener, Staff Sgt. Jorge A. Molinabautista, Pfc. Anthony W. Monroe, 1st Lt. Adam G. Mooney, Lance Cpl. Jason William Moore, Pfc. Stuart W. Moore, Sgt. Travis A. Moothart, Spc. Jose L. Mora, Sgt. Melvin Y. Mora, Pfc. Michael A. Mora, Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead, Capt. Brent L. Morel, Petty Officer 3rd Class David J. Moreno, Sgt. Gerardo Moreno, Spc. Jaime Moreno, Pfc. Luis A. Moreno, Spc. Dennis B. Morgan, Staff Sgt. Richard L. Morgan Jr., Pfc. Geoffery S. Morris, Pfc. Ricky A. Morris Jr., Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Morrison, Sgt. Shawna M. Morrison, Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, Spc. Clifford L. Moxley Jr., Sgt. Cory R. Mracek, Sgt. Rodney A. Murray, Sgt. Krisna Nachampassak, Spc. Paul T. Nakamura, Spc. Nathan W. Nakis, Pvt. Kenneth A. Nalley, Chief Warrant Officer Christopher G. Nason, Maj. Kevin G. Nave, Spc. Rafael L. Navea, Spc. Charles L. Neeley, Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff II, Pfc. Gavin L. Neighbor, Spc. Joshua M. Neusche, Cpl. Dominique J. Nicolas, Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Nice, Spc. Isaac Michael Nieves, Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Nixon, Spc. Allen Nolan, Spc. Marcos O. Nolasco.
Sgt. William J. Normandy, Spc. Joseph C. Norquist, 1st Lt. Leif E. Nott, Staff Sgt. Todd E. Nunes, Spc. David T. Nutt, Cpl. Mick R. Nygardbekowsky, Spc. Donald S. Oak Jr., Pfc. Branden F. Oberleitner, Lance Cpl. Patrick T. O'Day, Spc. Charles E. Odums II, Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda, Cpl. Terry Holmes Ordonez, Cpl. Brian Oliveira, Spc. Justin B. Onwordi, Spc. Richard P. Orengo, Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski, 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, Pfc. Cody J. Orr, Staff Sgt. Billy J. Orton, Sgt. Pamela G. Osbourne, Lance Cpl. Deshon E. Otey, Pfc. Kevin C. Ott, Sgt. Michael G. Owen, Lance Cpl. David Edward Owens Jr, Sgt. Fernando Padilla- Ramirez, Pvt. Shawn D. Pahnke, Spc. Gabriel T. Palacios, Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda, 1st Lt. Joshua M. Palmer, Staff Sgt. Dale A. Panchot, Pfc. Daniel R. Parker, Pfc. James D. Parker, Pfc. Kristen Parker, Cpl. Tommy L. Parker Jr., Sgt. Harvey E. Parkerson III, Sgt. David B. Parson, Staff Sgt. Esau G. Patterson Jr., Master Sgt. William L. Payne, Sgt. Michael F. Pedersen, Staff Sgt. Abraham D. Penamedina, Spc. Brian H. Penisten, Sgt. Ross A. Pennanen, Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington, Pfc. Geoffrey Perez, Staff Sgt. Hector R. Perez, Sgt. Joel Perez, Spc. Jose A. Perez III, Pfc. Luis A. Perez, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Perez.
Spc. Wilfredo Perez Jr., Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli, Staff Sgt. David S. Perry, Pfc. Charles C. Persing, Staff Sgt. Dustin W. Peters, Spc. Alyssa R. Peterson, Staff Sgt. Brett J. Petriken, Staff Sgt. James L. Pettaway Jr., Staff Sgt. Erickson H. Petty, Pfc. Jerrick M. Petty, Lt. Col. Mark P. Phelan, Pfc. Chance R. Phelps, Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe, Sgt. Ivory L. Phipps, Capt. Pierre E. Piche, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, Capt. Dennis L. Pintor, Spc. James H. Pirtle, Pfc. Jason T. Poindexter, 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr., Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Pokorny, Spc. Justin W. Pollard, Spc. Larry E. Polley Jr., Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, Pfc. David L. Potter, Sgt. Christopher S. Potts, Spc. James E. Powell, Lance Cpl. Caleb J. Powers, Cpl. Dean P. Pratt, Pfc. James E. Prevete, Pvt. Kelley S. Prewitt, Sgt. Tyler D. Prewitt, Pfc. James W. Price, 1st Lt. Timothy E. Price, Lance Cpl. Mathew D. Puckett, Sgt. Jaror C. Puello- Coronado, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Quinn, Staff Sgt. Richard P. Ramey, Sgt. Christopher Ramirez, Spc. Eric U. Ramirez, Pfc. William C. Ramirez, Pfc. Christopher Ramos, Spc. Tamarra J. Ramos, Pfc. Brandon Ramsey, Pvt. Carson J. Ramsey, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Pfc. Cleston C. Raney, Capt. Gregory A. Ratzlaff, Spc. Rel A. Ravago IV, Spc. Omead H. Razani.
Spc. Brandon M. Read, Pfc. Christopher J. Reed, Pfc. Ryan E. Reed, Sgt. Tatjana Reed, Staff Sgt. Aaron T. Reese, Spc. Jeremy F. Regnier, Sgt. 1st Class Randall S. Rehn, Sgt. Brendon C. Reiss, Staff Sgt. George S. Rentschler, Sgt. Sean C. Reynolds, Lance Cpl. Rafael Reynosa- Suarez, Sgt. Yadir G. Reynoso, Cpl. Demetrius L. Rice, Sgt. Ariel Rico, Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen, Pfc. Diego Fernando Rincon, Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki, Sgt. Duane R. Rios, Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe, Pfc. Henry C. Risner, Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Rivera, Cpl. John T. Rivero, Spc. Frank K. Rivers Jr., Sgt. Thomas D. Robbins, Sgt. Todd J. Robbins, Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Roberts, Lance Cpl. Bob W. Roberts, Spc. Robert D. Roberts, Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Robsky, Sgt. Moses D. Rocha, Pfc. Marlin T. Rockhold, Pfc. Jose Francis Gonzalez Rodriguez, Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez, Spc. Philip G. Rogers, Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Rooney, Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker, Staff Sgt. Victor A. Rosales, Pfc. Richard H. Rosas, Sgt. Scott C. Rose, Sgt. Thomas C. Rosenbaum, Sgt. Randy S. Rosenberg, Spc. Marco D. Ross, Sgt. Lawrence A. Roukey, Capt. Alan Rowe, Spc. Brandon J. Rowe, Sgt. Roger D. Rowe, 2nd Lt. Jonathan D. Rozier, Spc. Isela Rubalcava, Pfc. Aaron J. Rusin, Sgt. John W. Russell.
1st Lt. Timothy Louis Ryan, Chief Warrant Officer Scott A. Saboe, Spc. Rasheed Sahib, Cpl. Rudy Salas, Cpl. William I. Salazar, 1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, Capt. Benjamin W. Sammis, Spc. Sonny G. Sampler, Spc. Gregory P. Sanders, Pfc. Leroy Sandoval Jr., Spc. Matthew J. Sandri, Staff Sgt. Barry Sanford, 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello, Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Pfc. Brandon R. Sapp, Staff Sgt. Cameron B. Sarno, Staff Sgt. Scott D. Sather, Lance Cpl. Jeremiah E. Savage, Capt. Robert C. Scheetz Jr., Spc. Justin B. Schmidt, Spc. Jeremiah W. Schmunk, Pfc. Sean M. Schneider, Cpl. Dustin H. Schrage, Maj. Mathew E. Schram, Lance Cpl. Brian K. Schramm, Spc. Christian C. Schulz, Master Sgt. David A. Scott, Pfc. Kerry D. Scott, Spc. Stephen M. Scott, Spc. Marc S. Seiden, Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, Pfc. Dustin M. Sekula, Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Serio, Sgt. Juan M. Serrano, Staff Sgt. Wentz Jerome Henry Shanaberger III, Spc. Jeffrey R. Shaver, Maj. Kevin M. Shea, Spc. Casey Sheehan, Sgt. Kevin F. Sheehan, Sgt. Daniel Michael Shepherd, Sgt. Alan D. Sherman, Lt. Col. Anthony L. Sherman, Pfc. Harry N. Shondee Jr., Lance Cpl. Brad S. Shuder, Capt. James A. Shull, Pfc. Kenneth L. Sickels, Lance Cpl. Dustin L. Sides, Cpl. Erik H. Silva, Pvt. Sean A. Silva, Sgt. Leonard D. Simmons.
Pfc. Charles M. Sims, Lance Cpl. John T. Sims Jr., Spc. Uday Singh, Spc. Aaron J. Sissel, Pfc. Christopher A. Sisson, Pfc. Nicholas M. Skinner, Petty Officer 3rd Class David Sisung, 1st Lt. Brian D. Slavenas, Pvt. Brandon Ulysses Sloan, Lance Cpl. Richard P. Slocum, Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum, Pfc. Corey L. Small, Sgt. Keith L. Smette, Capt. Benedict J. Smith, Sgt. Benjamin K. Smith, Pfc. Brandon C. Smith, 2nd Lt. Brian D. Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Bruce A. Smith, Cpl. Darrell L. Smith, 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith, Pfc. Jeremiah D. Smith, Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith Jr., Spc. Orenthial J. Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, Capt. Christopher F. Soelzer, Sgt. Roderic A. Solomon, Cpl. Adrian V. Soltau, Maj. Charles R. Soltes Jr., Sgt. Skipper Soram, Pfc. Armando Soriano, Cpl. Tomas Sotelo Jr., Pfc. Kenneth C. Souslin, Spc. Philip I. Spakosky, Pfc. Jason L. Sparks, Cpl. Michael R. Speer, Staff Sgt. Trevor Spink, Maj. Christopher J. Splinter, Sgt. Marvin R. Sprayberry III, Pvt. Bryan N. Spry, Sgt. Maj. Michael B. Stack, Pfc. Nathan E. Stahl, 1st Lt. Andrew K. Stern, Staff Sgt. Robert A. Stever, Maj. Gregory Stone, 2nd Lt. Matthew R. Stovall, Pfc. William R. Strange, Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie, Pfc. Brandon C. Sturdy.
Spc. William R. Sturges Jr., Spc. Paul J. Sturino, Lance Cpl. Jesus A. Suarez Del Solar, Spc. Joseph D. Suell, Spc. John R. Sullivan, Spc. Narson B. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Vincent M. Sullivan, Staff Sgt. Michael J. Sutter, Pfc. Ernest Harold Sutphin, Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, Spc. Thomas J. Sweet II, Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Swisher, Maj. Paul R. Syverson III, Sgt. Patrick S. Tainsh, Sgt. DeForest L. Talbert, Sgt. 1st Class Linda Ann Tarango-Griess, Spc. Christopher M. Taylor, Maj. Mark D. Taylor, Capt. John R. Teal, Staff Sgt. Riayan A. Tejeda, Lance Cpl. Jason Andrew Tetrault, Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux, Master Sgt. Thomas R. Thigpen Sr., Cpl. Jesse L. Thiry, Sgt. Carl Thomas, Staff Sgt. Kendall Thomas, Spc. Kyle G. Thomas, Sgt. Anthony O. Thompson, Spc. Jarrett B. Thompson, Sgt. Humberto F. Timoteo, Capt. John E. Tipton, Pfc. Joshua K. Titcomb, Spc. Brandon T. Titus, Spc. Brandon S. Tobler, Sgt. Lee D. TodacheeneCpl. John H. Todd III, Sgt. Nicholas A. Tomko, Master Sgt. Timothy Toney, Pfc. George D. Torres, Lance Cpl. Michael S. Torres, 2nd Lt. Richard Torres, Spc. Ramon Reyes Torres, Lance Cpl. Elias Torrez III, Sgt. Michael L. Tosto, Spc. Richard K. Trevithick, Pfc. Andrew L. Tuazon, Staff Sgt. Roger C. Turner Jr., Pvt. Scott M. Tyrrell, 2nd Lt. Andre D. Tyson, Spc. Eugene A. Uhl III, Lance Cpl. Drew M. Uhles.
Rick A. Ulbright, Pfc. Daniel P. Unger, Spc. Robert Oliver Unruh, 1st Sgt. Ernest E. Utt, Sgt. Michael A. Uvanni, Staff Sgt. Gary A. Vaillant, Lance Cpl. Ruben Valdez Jr., Sgt. Melissa Valles, Spc. Allen J. Vandayburg, Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip, Chief Warrant Officer Brian K. Van Dusen, Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen IV, Lance Cpl. Gary F. Van Leuven, Staff Sgt. Mark D. Vasquez, Spc. Frances M. Vega, 1st Lt. Michael W. Vega, Staff Sgt. Paul A. Velazquez, Cpl. David M. Vicente, Sgt. 1st Class Joselito O. Villanueva, Cpl. Scott M. Vincent, Staff Sgt. Kimberly A. Voelz, Staff Sgt. Michael S. Voss, Spc. Thai Vue, Lance Cpl. Michael B. Wafford, Sgt. Christopher A. Wagener, Sgt. Gregory L. Wahl, Staff Sgt. Allan K. Walker, Sgt. Jeffery C. Walker, Sgt. Donald Ralph Walters, Pvt. Jason M. Ward, Pfc. Nachez Washalanta, Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Wasser, Pvt. David L. Waters, Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, Maj. William R. Watkins III, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts, Chief Warrant Officer Aaron A. Weaver, Spc. Michael S. Weger, Staff Sgt. David J. Weisenburg, Spc. Douglas J. Weismantle, Pfc. Michael Russell Creighton Weldon, Lance Cpl. Larry L. Wells, Chief Warrant Officer Stephen M. Wells, Spc. Jeffrey M. Wershow, Spc. Christopher J. Rivera Wesley, Sgt. James G. West, 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee, Spc. Donald L. Wheeler, Sgt. Mason Douglas Whetstone, Pfc. Marquis A. Whitaker.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Dean White, Lt. Nathan D. White, Sgt. Steven W. White, Lance Cpl. William W. White, Pfc. Joey D. Whitener, Spc. Chase R. Whitman, Spc. Michael J. Wiesemann, Cpl. Joshua S. Wilfong, Sgt. Eugene Williams, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams, Spc. Michael L. Williams, Sgt. Taft V. Williams, 1st Lt. Charles L. Wilkins III, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Willoughby, Spc. Dana N. Wilson, Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Wilson, Staff Sgt. Joe N. Wilson, Lance Cpl. Lamont N. Wilson, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Wilt, 1st Lt. Ronald Winchester, Spc. Trevor A. Wine, Lance Cpl. William J. Wiscowiche, Spc. Robert A. Wise, Spc. Michelle M. Witmer, Pfc. Owen D. Witt, Spc. James R. Wolf, 2nd Lt. Jeremy L. Wolfe, Sgt. Elijah Tai Wah Wong, Sgt. Brian M. Wood, Capt. George A. Wood, Spc. Michael R. Woodliff, Spc. James C. Wright, Pfc. Jason G. Wright, 2nd Lt. John T. Wroblewski, Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Wyatt, Pfc. Stephen E. Wyatt, Sgt. Michael E. Yashinski, Sgt. Henry Ybarra III, Pfc. Rodricka A. Youmans, Sgt. Ryan C. Young, Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Zabierek, Spc. Nicholas J. Zangara, Spc. Mark Anthony Zapata, Pfc. Nicholaus E. Zimmer, Cpl. Ian T. Zook, Lance Cpl. Robert P. Zurheide Jr.

May they rest in peace.
And may they forgive us someday.
-- Michael Moore

The War President

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

On Any Given Tuesday

I will be accused of “sour grapes” syndrome. Had Kerry won, I would most likely be extolling the greatness of democracy, instead of denouncing its failure. Indeed, I would have had much more confidence in the democratic process had President Bush not gained this astonishing vote of confidence from the American people. Instead, we are left wondering what his re-election means for this country, and for the whole world.

One possible reading of last night's election results is that this country has lost its way, as well as its ability to hold people accountable for their failures. This is a very plausible explanation, which has gained much evidentiary support in recent times. Take the big Enron scandal for instance, or the collapse of MCI, Tyco, and the shady accounting practices of many of the nation's largest corporations (many more companies than have been caught red-handed use accounting techniques that approach unethical practices.) Has the punishment been proportional to the crimes committed? Hardly. Take another scandal, the energy crisis in California of a couple of years ago. Gov. Gray Davis was used as a convenient scapegoat for the criminal practices of energy wholesalers, many of whom are close friends of this administration, and for the failure of the energy market deregulation. In this sense, it should come as no surprise that this President has been re-elected in spite of always saying one thing and doing another.

This loss of accountability is a consequence of another very troubling aspect of modern democracies. Those who control the media control the thoughts and the hearts of people. There can be no healthy democracy where there is no balanced presentation of ideas and opinions. It was under Ronald Reagan that the FCC killed the Fairness Doctrine, a.k.a. the Equal Time Rule, and it is under Michael Powell, Colin Powell's son, that the FCC has weakened media ownership rules, leading to a loss in the diversity of opinions offered to the public. The playing field, which should be level, is obviously uneven when a candidate is never confronted with substantial questions, when a complacent press corps shirks its duty to defend the public from deception and from the callous and continuous misrepresentation of facts, or when media conglomerates and corporations make editorial decisions based on criteria other than journalistic integrity.

Time and time again, this administration has made it abundantly clear to journalists who practice their profession with honest curiosity that they are not welcome to press conferences, and that while their presence must be tolerated, they will be refused admission to the circle of those who can ask and be answered. The growing and incestuous relationship between news organizations and the economic and political interests that they are supposed to be objectively reporting on is perhaps the single most dispiriting aspect of our society, as it allows propaganda to flourish and accountability “to wither on the vine,” to use an expression beloved to former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

It would be wrong and self-defeating to deny that the President has undeniable appeal for a large segment of the population. President Bush has gained many followers among those who believe that there is a tie between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. He has found fertile ground among second‑amendment fanatics who believe that their ability to defend themselves against crime, terror and an intrusive government depend on re-electing to power an administration that has done more than any other in history to create crime, terror, and government intrusion in the everyday lives of citizens. He has managed to convince people that America is better served by “going it alone” and by ignoring the international community, not only in matters of national defense, but also as regards international treaties on the environment, trade, international courts, etc. He has exploited his homophobic policies to broaden his support among Evangelical Christians: the kind of Christians who take an evangelical “sanctity of life” approach on abortion but a biblical vengefulness toward people accused of murder, the kind that do not know and do not care about the Doctrine of Just War and that mourn the loss of 1,000 American lives but not the loss of 100,000+ Iraqi lives lost (I'm talking about non-combatants.) All these cohorts have certainly contributed to the President’s re-election.

There is, of course, another, more frightening scenario. Perhaps yesterday's election, as all elections in recent years, was nothing but a pageant, the greatest show on earth, produced in support of the agenda of the sponsors and of the interests that really count. Everyone else, the people standing in line at the polls, the volunteers canvassing neighborhoods in search of the votes that could break the balance of power, the cheering pro-Bush crowds and the defeated Kerry supporters: all extras, on the stage of the greatest production in American history, with a pre-arranged ending. It's not the voters that count, it's the vote counters, and the machines that voters use (e-voting machines, with no paper trail? Why, yes! Mechanical machines that leave chads hanging? Bring them on!) A preponderance of circumstantial evidence suggests it: when was the last time that the result of an election produced long-lasting, far-reaching, exhilarating changes in our lives? This is not just me "sour-graping." It is an attempt to explain why these two parties no longer care to render justice to the aspirations, the desires, and the vision of a country further and further divided.

Whatever the answer, it is astonishing that a President was able to get re-elected in spite of having demonstrably reneged on almost all of his promises and of having consistently deceived the American people on all sort of crucial matters (war, the economy, healthcare, education, etc.). But it also natural, considering how heavily stacked the odds were against his opponent, and how propaganda can crush the truth on any given Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day: America's Gift To The World

I like Paul Krugman. His “The Great Unraveling” is one of the books that best represented the myriad of reasons why this country should not vote for George W. Bush's re-election. Today, in his election day NY Times op-ed, Krugman says “this is democracy, America's great gift to the world, in action.”

On this day, it is important that U.S. citizens be excited and that they believe that Mr. Krugman’s assertion is true. The United States, the whole world, need the biggest voter turnout in recent American history. Everyone agrees that, the larger the turnout, the higher the chances for Mr. Kerry to be elected to the highest public office in the modern world. If the threat of four more years for the incumbent is averted, the world will draw a collective sigh of relief. Then, we should roll up our sleeves and do everything in our powers to try and restore a semblance of true democracy, rebuilding it from the ground up.

In the heat of the power struggle that has entangled the nation for the last few months, we seem to have forgotten that true democracy affirms every citizen's equal right to participate in the electoral process. What we have seen, particularly over the last few days, is a nation not only fiercely divided, but one ready to trample the principles on which democracy itself is founded. The problem of voters being disenfranchised, particularly among minorities, is still rampant in many states. Voting machines prone to malfunctions are being sent to select precincts in order to close the gap in favor of one of the candidates. Delivery of absentee ballots has been intentionally delayed to prevent votes from being cast or counted. Widespread voter registration fraud has been reported in many of the states perceived as key. The Republican party has been accused of planning the disruption of the voting process in predominantly black districts, by challenging voters at the polls in order to bring the process to a standstill or to chase exasperated voters away from the polling stations. True, the stakes have rarely been so high, but this is not a picture of democracy in action we should be proud of. If this situation endures, our democracy might suffer irreversible damage, and only cable news channels will have something to cheer about.

For the first time in the history of this country, international observers have been invited to monitor the presidential election. A nation that prides itself on being a beacon of democracy, for all the world to follow, should have more confidence in the transparency of its own democratic process. No matter who is elected, we should hope that the first order of business for the next administration would be a critical, independent, all-around review of the electoral system in this country, to prevent the process from being further debased in future elections. Failing to take such a step would just reinforce the view of the large number of voters who still refuse to participate, for they believe that this democracy is just a pageant: the gift of American show-business to the world.

Monday, November 01, 2004

President Pinocchio

It is hard to believe, but it is true: this election is going to be close, at least according to those shining examples of journalistic integrity: cable news media and the major networks. If this turns out to be true, I have to ask: what is it that possesses the American people to willingly support an administration that has run the country like it stole the election?

I am not from around here, so I guess I operate within a different moral and ethical framework than most Americans do, but wasn't it Bush who said that he was going to restore integrity to the White House? The closest he has come in four years to restoring integrity to the Oval Office has been the recent blanket ban on Cuban cigars (Cuban cigars being the embodiment of the worst evils: visions of Castro with visions of Clinton.) For a guy (that's what the president likes to be seen as: a regular guy) who professed to be "a uniter, not a divider," President Bush must be severely disappointed with the way things turned out over the last four years. Perhaps that's why he wants to be re-elected: to finish the uniting job he hasn't even started yet.

The best thing one can say about this president is that he is an accomplished con-man. He lied about the war (first it was a last resort, then it wasn't). He lied about Iraq's nuclear capability (he said the aluminum tubes found in Iraq were for centrifuges used to create atomic weapons; turns out they were cases for conventional missiles.) He lied about Iraq seeking uranium from Nigeria. He lied about the affiliation between the Iraqi government and Al-Qaeda. He lied about the war being over ("Major combat operations blah blah blah.") He lied about tax cuts (the majority of tax cuts went to the middle class? I guess if you count the number of refund checks, instead of the amount of money that went to the middle class, then the majority of the tax cuts went to the middle class.) He lied about the fact that his administration was not going to interfere with the right of states to govern themselves as they see fit (for example, by proposing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages he is directly meddling with state rights.) I could go on, and on, and on, but you get the point, don't you?

Finally it seems that the lies are starting to catch up with the Bush administration. People seem to be tired of all the nonsense. Over the last few days I have spoken with a number of people who will change their vote. Most of them are utterly unenthusiastic about John Kerry. So am I. But they have also become utterly disgusted with the President. This is truly an extraordinary development, because people have come to expect politicians to lie. We, as mature adults, know that we are being lied to when our elected (?) officials speak. We let politicians get away with many lies. But the lies are usually about things that are hard to prove. Case in point: "I am going to balance the budget without increasing revenues, without cutting expenditures, and without privatizing social security." (I have a similar scheme for my retirement, but I have not won yet.) We are generally too busy, too blasé, or too stupid to care, and politicians and their friends always escape with the loot. But, this time, President Pinocchio might just prove that enough is enough.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Why I, a Conservative and an Evangelical, Cannot Vote for Bush

The litmus test for most evangelicals, and for me, has historically been whether a candidate is pro-life. If a candidate is willing to do philosophical somersaults to differentiate between the kinds of life we should defend, whatever else they say is irrelevant. I believe, however, that in this election there is much more at stake. The new litmus test for Evangelicals should be gauging what a candidate says versus what he does, i.e. the fruit that a candidate produces.

Time and again, the president has said that he is pro-life. With seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices having been appointed by Republican presidents (the remaining two being moderates), George W. Bush had every opportunity to promote the overturn of Roe v. Wade, had he wished to: He did not. Now he would have us believe that by appointing 3 or 4 new justices during his second term, things will change. Why should we believe him? Actions speak louder than words: under the Bush administration, the steady trend of decreasing abortions that started and continued under the Clinton presidency, has been reversed. You can say you are pro-life, but you must be ready to back up your proclaims with adequate social policies. Also, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban was a scam. If you don’t believe me, reread the exceptions within the ban.

Christians, don’t you see that we are being taken for a ride? We are but a demographic – the most powerful one since labor unions. Do you think that it is by accident that we are being delivered a bill of goods full of catch-phrases like God, country, and babies, while the results are exactly opposite? Instead of peace, we have a war premised on greed and deceit (what allies will help us next time?) Instead of a hopeful future we have war, higher unemployment, a higher national debt, Patriot Act II (which makes some of our rights and liberties a thing of the past), no more protection of the unborn than we had under any liberal president, and bogus elections where no one can be assured that his vote will count or will not be tampered with.

For four years, we have been presented with a caricature of our faith by this president. We have been lied to. The president’s actions do speak louder than his words. Even with all of Kerry's many flaws, a candidate who is not making a mockery of the Christian faith is the lesser of two evils. With Tuesday’s vote, let’s send a powerful message to those who wish to hijack our beliefs to further their agendas: you can fool some of the people some of the time... Let’s vote Kerry. At least, unlike the president, he has not yet said that things would be easier if this were a dictatorship.

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are my wife's. I myself am a shameless liberal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

William Jefferson Clinton

     I just met Bill Clinton. You know, 'Slick Willie', as his detractors like to call him. At a book signing at the Tattered Cover, in Denver. Met is quite an overstatement. We shook hands, he thanked me, like a couple thousand others, for coming. He signed my book "Bru Cumin" (he signed my wife's "Bill Clinton", the slick womanizer.) 
     I could not help but feel a little bit for him. Once the leader of the free world, sharing his thoughts with some of the most powerful statesmen and businessmen in the world, plotting economic policy, shifting the balance of the world. Revered by many, intensely hated by a bunch of determined bigots and adversaries. Now he was signing my book, shaking my hand, looking exhausted, after three hours and over two thousand autographs. 
Even as tired as he was, he looked impressive, in a light blue shirt, tie, rolled up sleeves, like he had been hard at work (in a sense, he had been). Hair impeccably coiffed. You could truly sense the greatness that so many others before us have felt in the past. His presence did fill the room (with the help of half a dozen Secret Service agents, looking tensely at each individual as he or she approached the President.)
    When he was President, William Jefferson Clinton generated extreme reactions in other human beings. He still does. Most of the people in attendance seemed genuinely starstruck in the presence of the former President. Not everyone, though. Outside the bookstore, I spotted a nostalgic 'Slick Willie' hater. He was standing alone, on the sidewalk opposite the store entrance, with a sign that read something like this: "Don't you get it, Slick? It's about perjury!" I wanted to tell the guy to go home. After all, it's been three and a half years since Clinton left the White House. I wanted to say to the guy: "Don't you long for the days when perjury was about cigars and the betrayal of one's spouse?" 
     By now you must have figured it out. I would not go to Dubya's book-signing event. I don't like him. I would not waste my time. The contrast between him and Bill Clinton is antipodal. Bush has the shifty eyes of a crook, acts like a crook, and talks like a dyslexic crook, or one with a faulty teleprompter. He could never have been president before they invented earpieces, which make it possible for some other, better-educated crook to whisper in his ear the next crooked thing to say. Bill Clinton, on the contrary, is perfectly capable of making up a story, as he did, without anybody's assistance. And yet, that does not make a crook. Deceitful, maybe. Slick, also. But certainly human; humane, rather. Unlike Dubya, you could truly believe Bill Clinton when he said--as he did in many of his speeches--"I feel your pain." He looks solemn and compassionate at the same time. He certainly looked human, after three hours spent signing books.

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