A question for uncritical war supporters

Just, in general. Merely a quick observation.

Now, let’s say, oh, I don’t know, that as part of supplying arms to folks theoretically aligned with us over in Afghanistan we let this sort of thing happen:

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.

In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.

Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.

This week, after repeated inquiries about AEY’s performance by The Times, the Army suspended the company from any future federal contracting, citing shipments of Chinese ammunition and claiming that Mr. Diveroli misled the Army by saying the munitions were Hungarian.

And you can read all sorts of details from there.

Now, there’s plenty to be said about how perfection is impossible and all that. That something as involved and as large as the military might involve waste and corruption is not exactly a new scenario. So it’s not a question of this having occurred, that’s no surprise.

However, this was reported via an outlet of that dreaded mass media, the one that a lot of people have taken more than a few pot shots at over the moons, and sometimes quite justifiably — thus my link in the previous post to this one to the tale of a guy who, rather like our non-hero in this piece, came from Florida, dreamed big and apparently thought the law was for others. In James Sabiatino’s case, a lot of hip-hop names were pissed off and the LA Times look like goofs.

In this case, though, the goofs appear to be the Army and the government and…are people dead because of this? Is trust now eroded? A hoped for mission not coming off quite as planned? (Of course, I could apply that to the last couple of days in Iraq too, but that’s for another time.)

Ask yourself a bit — isn’t this a matter of national security and international peace, as the current administration has so often claimed? Therefore, theoretically, this kind of stuff should be looked into with an eagle eye at all times — it couldn’t take the prompting of the outside press to expose an error, or even a potential disaster, like this, could it?

No?

To those who seem to think that the NY Times, or any other mass media outlet, consists solely of supposed traitors rather than, say, humans, flawed like the rest of us, who sometimes make mistakes and other time hit bullseyes: Going to blame the messenger again this time? Going to ask yourself what else is being missed? Going to ask for some actual accountability down the line on this and other matters no matter who is in the White House or who oversees the military, in the executive branch, in the legislative?

Or would it always be the case that because the ‘right’ people are in charge, everything’s being handled just fine, while the ‘wrong’ people would clearly let everything go to hell?

Just curious. Thinking out loud. A minor point, an obvious point, but one to note.

Meantime, you can always check out this dude’s Myspace page, for now at least:

MY FAVORITE MOVIES ARE: HEAT,,BLOW,SCARFACE, FACE OFF, THE ROCK,GOFATHER, SCHINDLERS LIST,AMERICAN BEUTY ETC…..

Indeed. The world ain’t yours, pal.

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“I hate this road”

Amid all the endless folderol involving Scott Beauchamp — which, like so much else about Iraq, has turned into a convenient ax-to-grind for whoever is doing the grinding — are stories like this one, on the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, in today’s Washington Post, which feature quotes from more than a few people, all of whom are on the record, and all of whom are hardly pleased with the situation there:

Asked if the American endeavor here was worth their sacrifice — 20 soldiers from the battalion have been killed in Baghdad — Alarcon said no: “I don’t think this place is worth another soldier’s life.”

“It’s just a slow, somewhat government-supported sectarian cleansing,” said Maj. Eric Timmerman, the battalion’s operations officer.

…in one instance about two months ago, the American soldiers heard that the Wolf Brigade planned to help resettle more than 100 Shiite families in abandoned houses in the neighborhood. When platoon leader Lt. Brian Bifulco arrived on the scene, he noticed that “abandoned houses to them meant houses that had Sunnis in them.”

“What we later found out is they weren’t really moving anyone in, it was a cover for the INP to go in and evict what Sunni families were left there,” recalled Bifulco, 23, a West Point graduate from Huntsville, Ala. “We showed up, and there were a bunch of Sunni families just wandering around the streets with their bags, taking up refuge in a couple Sunni mosques in the area.”

Lt. Col. George A. Glaze, the battalion commander, says his soldiers are playing the role of a bouncer caught between brawling customers. Alone, they can restrain the fighters, keep them off balance, but they cannot stop the melee until the house lights come on — that is, until the Iraqi government steps in.

“They’re either going to turn the lights on or we’re all going to realize they’ve moved the switch,” he said.

“I’m frustrated. After 14 months, I’ve got a lot of thoughts in my head. Do they fundamentally get giving up individual rights and power for the greater good?” Glaze said. “I’m going to leave here being skeptical of everything.”

“This is a dangerous place,” said Capt. Lee Showman, 28, a senior officer in the battalion. “People are killed here every day, and you don’t hear about it. People are kidnapped here every day, and you don’t hear about it.”

The American people don’t fully realize what’s going on, said Staff Sgt. Richard McClary, 27, a section leader from Buffalo.

“They just know back there what the higher-ups here tell them. But the higher-ups don’t go anywhere, and actually they only go to the safe places, places with a little bit of gunfire,” he said. “They don’t ever [expletive] see what we see on the ground.”

Clearly un-American traitors all, of course, especially when Frederick Kagan says it’s all going so well. (Keep an eye on both him on Iraq and Larry Kudlow elsewhere on the economy — both of them are whistling past the graveyard so loudly they’re growing a bit deaf, and given how there’s little for me to do as a voter on the political front next year, all I can do is wait for the crackups and breakdowns.)