Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OK, enough being nice, back to complaints

Ok, ok, enough nice stuff. I do like reading all of the three things that people are posting as opposed to complaints and sarcasm, but there is only so much I can ignore.

Did you notice the upper right corner? The ‘official’ Iraqi death toll is over 655,000? That’s the number of people that have died that would not have if we weren’t there. It includes civilians ‘accidentally’ killed in action, bad guys, people killed by the death squads, people that died from lack of medical care because we destroyed all the hospitals, people that died from disease because they no longer have electricity or clean water, basically the number of people that died because of us. Over and above those that would have died anyway, or been part of Hussein’s plans. For some reason I find that a pretty disgusting figure.

But our government feels it’s OK, people are better off with the democracy that we provided. All of the friends and relatives and family members of those that died, I imagine, probably are saying that it was all worth it. They are more than happy to offer their loved ones, and to put up with only two hours of electricity a day (if they get that), no clean water, bombs in the marketplace, food shortages, fear of soldiers knocking down your door looking for insurgents, possibilities of being kidnapped and killed while walking down the street and whatever else they are presented with. Because they have democracy it is all worthwhile.

It’s evident in recent polls, where somewhere around 65% of the Iraqi population want the US to pull out immediately. That means that over thirty percent of the country wants us there! Yes, reason to stay the course. After all, we have to stay until we achieve ‘victory’. I’ve never heard the current definition of victory, but somehow in my mind it doesn’t fit with the above number.

And the number of US troops killed or wounded? I watch the pictures and names going by in silence every night on the PBS NewsHour. Letters to the editor in our RJ compare the deaths to soldiers killed in World War II. It’s much lower, so we should have no complaints. I’m trying to remember my history, but didn’t we have a reason for entering WW2? Something like other countries asking for help, and a little thing called Pearl Harbor? Don’t tell me the World Trade Center stuff is comparable, that might be a good reason for going into Afghanistan, but do not try to convince me that Iraq was behind it.

So our headlines are filled with stories about congressmen and pages, bribes and kickbacks, other stories that indicate that we are tired of seeing stories about Iraq and just want to forget about it. There are now only a few dozen reporters imbedded in Iraq, down from hundreds when this started. News stories are shifted to inside pages if printed at all. Photos of the coffins coming back are not permitted, We are told to trust our leaders, and stay the course. What freekin’ course? The one the Titanic took through the icebergs?

And I too ignore it. I bypass the stories of death, how October is the month with the highest number of US deaths in a long time. The stories of mass murders, and people disappearing. Why? Because I too feel powerless. What can I do? Nothing but complain, and complain to people that have no power to do anything either. (I’m assuming that W doesn’t read this blog; he hasn’t left any comments).

Sorry I’m not posting as much. Hours at work have become strange again. Management actually wants me to do work! Imagine that! And hourly phone calls at 1am and 2am and 3am – just far enough apart for me to almost be fully asleep – do not lead to productive days. Besides coming in at 4 to help with problems yesterday. OK, enough excuses.

And now for something completely different.

There, does that take your mind off of things? It does for me.

I was taking my lunchtime walk (yes, I’d rather walk than write, sorry) listening to my Ipod and imagining some local sightings. Imagine hitting your favorite place for Karaoke, the guy up before you doing a fairly nice job on If I Every Lose my Faith in You, and on your turn you get Every Breath You Take. Looking out as you sing you think that last guy looked pretty good, in fact, yes, he did look a lot like Sting. Could you keep singing? OK, Sting hasn’t done it here in Vegas but a while back Bono from U2 showed up for Karaoke. (and I’ve got Sting on my Ipod, not U2). Usher has been showing up for pick up basketball games at a local health club. Celine Dion takes her kid to the supermarket for shopping sessions. Liza Minelli wandered the Fashion Show mall last week. Not to mention who you might be sitting next to at one of the Casino restaurants, or just who is that person at the next blackjack table? Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong riding bikes around Red Rock? Didn’t seem to happen very often in San Diego. We did bump into Russell Crowe sitting at an outdoor restaurant there, but that was a while back. I know, doesn’t happen very often, but something to think about while walking. Wish I did know Sting, to take him out to sing up in Minnesota or someplace. They closed down the Strip a few months ago for Jerry Lewis to conduct the LV Symphony for a piece shown during his telethon.

The town is getting ready for the next marathon – haven’t seen the route for this year, but last year it was just a block from our house. I have a hard enough time walking, but it might be nice to run down the Strip, between all the casino lights. Last year the marathon started before sunrise, going up the strip, turning west and winding in a big circle to end up back at Mandalay Bay. I think it’s December 10 this year.

OK, enough, back to work.

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