If others had outsourced our wars

Gazing at the 24/7 news from Pakistan showing the democratic disaster produced by our heralded ally in the war in terror, a thought occurs:

What would George W. Bush and Dick Cheney be saying today if they were campaigning politicians running against a President Clinton (either one of them) who had outsourced our responsibility to retaliate against Osama bin Laden for his 9/11 attacks on our homeland?

On the run

A beautiful thing about the sport of running is that it’s impossible to lie to yourself about how good or bad you are at it. By contrast, anybody can watch a tennis match or a basketball game and imagine he might take a few points off Roger Federer or score a couple of buckets on Shaquille O’Neal.

Stop cell phone use in cars

They’re out to get you, these people who talk on cell phones while driving, and it’s not just various studies that convince me every state in the union ought to pass tough laws prohibiting this selfish, reckless, life-endangering amusement. It’s the evidence of my own eyes.

Just in the past couple of weeks, I have witnessed three instances of erratic driving, taken a look at the driver and seen the person yakking away with a handheld cell phone pressed blissfully to the ear.

Hidden expenses double war’s cost

A new study by congressional Democrats says “hidden costs” have driven the price of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to about $1.5 trillion, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

That figure is nearly double the $804 billion the White House has spent or requested, according to the report by the Democratic staff of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, which examines the hidden costs of the wars, the Post said.

Drug lobbyists stall generic research

Legislation aimed at speeding the availability of cheaper generic drugs has stalled in Congress in the face of major lobbying by the drug industry.

The Senate bill would ban most settlements known as “reverse payments,” in which a brand-name company pays a generic manufacturer to delay the introduction of the generic drug. The Federal Trade Commission, which has called on Congress to take action, says such settlements could cost American consumers billions of dollars.

Listen to this man

I’ve read quite a few books about Vietnam, but the only one that I’ve read twice is “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young,” by Lt. Gen. Harold Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway.

It’s the story of the first full-scale engagement between North Vietnamese regulars and American troops, a bloody, desperate battle in the central highlands of Vietnam that began on Nov. 14, 1965. The 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary, commanded by Lt. Col. Moore, launched a helicopter-borne air assault into the remote and rugged Ia Drang Valley, employing a tactic that would become iconic for the war.

Failing the Veterans

On Nov. 3, the New York Times published a front-page photograph of soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division returning to Fort Drum, N.Y., after a 15-month tour in Iraq. Several soldiers, glad to be back on U.S. soil, were shown kissing the ground.

For some of these soldiers, their return to the United States and their family reunions were bittersweet, and Sunday’s Veterans Day celebration was virtually meaningless.

Blackwater may get a new contract

Blackwater Worldwide, the North Carolina mercenary company whose hired killers murdered Iraqi civilians without remorse or punishment, is in the running for another big contract from the Bush Administration.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Blackwater is one of five military contractors who have made the final cut for a $15 billion contract to wage war on the narcotics trade that the Bush Administration claims finances terrorism.

Critics of Blackwater’s killings at random in Iraq wonder how the firm made the cut for yet another lucrative contract and are pushing Congress for an investigation into the matter.

Some feel that Blackwater will continue to get business because CEO and owner Erik Prince is a major contributor to Bush and other Republicans and his wife has long ties to the GOP establishment.

Another murder by U.S. mercenaries

Mercenaries working for another American “security contractor” in Iraq murdered a Baghdad taxi driver Saturday, adding to the death toll compiled by hired killers working for the U.S. government in that occupied country.

Witnesses said a mercenary working for DynCorp killed the taxi driver as an American diplomatic convoy rolled past traffic on an exit ramp.

“They just killed a man and drove away,” Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told The New York Times Sunday. “We have opened an investigation, and we have contacted the company and told them about a accusations, and we are still waiting for their response.”

The blatant murder is just the latest atrocity by the out-of-control mercenaries hired by the American government to supplement U.S. troops in Iraq. The country still wants mercs working for Blackwater Worldwide, a mercenary firm with strong ties to President George W. Bush, punished and expelled from the county for the Step. 16 massacre that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead at at least 24 wounded.

Sex abuse by teachers increasing

Back in August, the rumor around Lexington, Nebraska, Middle School was that 25-year-old math teacher Kelsey Peterson had a boyfriend — a 13-year-old former student. People had complained to administrators three months earlier that Peterson spent too much time hanging out with the kids. When new complaints reached administrators linking her to the student in August, her principal gave her a verbal warning, but that was it.