Sunday, April 01, 2007

I'm of two minds now. I wanted to post that it's spring, the crack of bats is in the air (well, ok, the "tink" of those freaking aluminum bats) etc. But all I can think of is lynchings.

Now, undoubtedly someone is going to take me to task for using the word "lynch", just as someone got taken to task the other week for suggesting that the NBA needs to "crack the whip" on a particularly thuggish player (and in the NBA "thuggish" takes on serious relative meaning). Apparently "crack the whip" takes on racist overtones when the subject of your diatribe happens to be black. Well, one of the three people I believe have been politically "lynched" happens to be black, one is of Hispanic descent and one is white. And all were unfairly "lynched" for purely political reasons.

First there was Lieutenant Colonel Allen West. Col. West received intelligence that his men were going to come under ambush that night, and an Iraqi was being held who had first hand knowledge of the ambush. The Iraqi was questioned, no answers were forthcoming and in a last ditch effort
to protect his men, Col. West finally fired his sidearm in a threatening manner after which the Iraqi spilled the beans. The mission was carried off with no loss of US personnel. But, Boo, hoo, he hurt the terrorist's feelings. 

Lt. Colonel West was drummed out of the Army. Apparently someone forgot that we're engaged in a war. A war that actually started a long time ago, but that we finally awakened to when a small number of fanatics gutted airline stewardesses with boxcutters and goaded airline captains into opening their flight decks by soaking the passenger spaces with the blood of stewardesses and ultimately flew aircraft into office towers. 

Col. West did what he deemed he had to do to protect his troops and got hanged out to dry for it. That's sad.

Number Two lynching was Marine Lieutenant Ilario Pantano. Lt. Pantano was involved in a shooting and left a sign saying to the effect "US Marines, no better friend, no worse enemy".

A little bit of history:  Pantano enlisted in the Marines and served in the first Gulf war. Following that he went to college and ended up making six figures as a Wall Street trader. He also became a movie producer and married a woman who was a model. So far a perfect life. In the wake of 9/11 he made the decision to return to the Marines and serve his country. That's not a decision lightly taken. Would that all of us have the testicles that Ilario Pantano possesses.

But Lt. Pantano was involved in a shootout attended by a Marine who had an axe to grind. Yes, Lt. Pantano left the sign in the wake of the firefight. But there's no law against that, it's the sort of thing that warriors do, and there's some truth to it:  No better friend, no worse enemy.

This sort of stuff happens in war (Remember the airplanes and skyscrapers thing? We're at war, and we didn't declare it).

As it turned out, the Marine who testified against Pantano had a serious record of being a jerk. In fact, he had been denied a promotion by Pantano. So it's not hard to imagine he had a hardon with Pantano. Well, as it turned out, Pantano was found innocent, but his career was so trashed by the incident that he left the Marines forever. Good going guys. Keep up the "good" work. Trash a few more of your best and see what it gets you.

The latest, so far, political lynching has been "Scooter" Libby. The entire case defies logic. Supposedly he "outed" Valery Plame. Well, in the first case, Plame was never a covert officer, which makes it impossible to "out" her. Covert officers are protected, obviously. But a non-covert officer has no such protection. Unlike James Bond and "M", we know the identity of the head of the CIA, DIA, etc. They're in the intel community, but they're not covert, ergo we know their names. The same goes for anyone who works for a three-letter agency--as long as you're not covert...Valery Plame drove a desk in the CIA. She was not a covert operative. So "outing" her is a non issue from Day One. Hell, she posed for magazine covers. She's not covert, period. So she can't be "outed", period.

And then there's proving a negative. College logic courses teach you that you can't prove a negative. In other words, you can't prove that Libby didn't not remember. Hell, the Clintons spent eight years (and counting) not remembering things and now we're going to send Libby to jail? Talk about a lynching.


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