Sunday, August 05, 2007

Who Guessed Weapons Would Come Up Missing?

Weapons missing? Yep-that's right! According to a report by the Washington Post today, the Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report. Honestly, I really can't even begin to be surprised. Oh, yes, the report goes on, to say that there are fears now that these weapons might possibly be in the dangerous, destructive hands of the very same insurgents that the US troops are fighting!

How dare those Iraqi insurgents! Every good American knows that you aren't supposed to actually USE the weapons a country gives you, especially not towards them. And, ESPECIALLY not when you are at war with them! And, every good Iraqi knows that YOU DON'T GIVE WEAPONS TO COUNTRIES YOU ARE AT WAR WITH! Especially when you are in their country, meddling in their business!

Although, all this is just speculation. No one can really say for sure where almost 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols went off to, they are just missing, according to the Government Accountability Office (we have one of those?). What else does the GAO have to say? Well, they need to put the blame on someone. According to the GAO, weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.

If I were over in Iraq, I think I would have some kind of problem letting Gen. Petraeus run things. If he was in charge of security training, why are almost 190,000 weapons MIA? Oh, and that is up from only 14,000 last year.

Controls have been tightened since 2005, because of previous errors and unaccountability, but it seems serial numbers are too much for the Pentagon to handle. Without tracking which serial numbers were given to whom, it is nearly impossible for the US military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.

I can only guess what kinds of unaccountability's, inconsistencies, errors, miscalculations and other misc. happenings are going on with the security back in the homeland. On second thought, I'll just leave it to Bush.

Examining "Pro-Life" Propaganda

Planned Parenthood is opening a new full service health center in Aurora, Illinois. Joseph Scheidler, the head of a group called the Pro-Life Action League, sent out this truly disturbing fundraising letter, which outlines their crusade against the Aurora clinic.

In the letter, Scheidler refers to Planned Parenthood as an "abortion mill" and a "killing chamber." He makes no mention of the numerous other health services that Planned Parenthood provides to women and girls. He describes plans to try to convince contractors not to work on the building. He brags about his son taking photos of the contractors' vehicles. He writes about hiring lawyers to try to find a zoning ordinance or other flimsy excuse to keep the clinic from opening. He also writes about his other expenses:

"Bills from my printer alone are staggering. We have to print literally tons of leaflets, brochures and pamhlets to get the word out about abortion. Of course, it's all worth it, because we're saving babies with those pieces of paper."

But is "saving babies" really the PLAL's goal? Or is their goal to terrorize women, threaten healthcare providers, and enforce their personal views on morality?

The next section of Scheidler's letter mentions "sidewalk counseling" - in other words, protesting. Screaming at and threatening clinic personnel and customers. Waving gruesome banners and trying to frighten women with threats of eternal damnation and sometimes, physical violence. He even has a name for volunteers who try to protect these women from their "counseling": deathscorts.

This is what the "pro-life" movement is. Threats. Intimidation. Manipulation. Moral superiority. They offer no practical solutions for preventing abortions, only ways to make it harder for women in a desperate situation to receive the medical care that they need.

Planned Parenthood is doing more to prevent abortions than any so-called "pro-life" group. Planned Parenthood educates the public about sexuality and pregnancy and STI prevention. Planned Parenthood distributes birth control. Planned Parenthood prevents unwanted pregnancies. Fewer unwanted pregnancies means fewer abortions. Yes, they provide abortions, but they are first and foremost an organization dedicated to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.

People genuinely interested in preventing abortion should be interested in preventing the causes of abortion. But most prominent "pro-life" organizations are actually opposed to comprehensive sex education and birth control. I've been reading How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex by Christina Page, which has shocking details about this phenomenon. I think it's one of the most important books you could ever read, no matter how you personally feel about abortion.

To help Planned Parenthood continue to fight for reproductive choice and women's autonomy, you can donate locally or nationally. Scheidler can probably get a lot of donations by claiming that he's trying to "save babies." Planned Parenthood has the truth on their side, but unfortunately, the truth isn't always what makes people get out their checkbooks.