by Peter Freyne
*Check afternoon update below, filed after Gov. Jim Douglas' weekly press conference.*
I’m an early riser and today I woke up curious about Chicago, my old stomping grounds of the late 1960s and 1970s. So I looked for a Chicago radio station and caught "The Voice of Chicago," WGN, first.
And they have on live-from-Baghdad Brigadier Gen. Michael Walsh. Michael’s the new guy running the Army Corps of Engineers over there in suicide-bomber land.
“High in the 70s,” said Gen. Walsh (on the right during the recent change of command), “sunny, and we’re taking it to em!”
Hip, hip, hooray, eh?
“It’s an extremely complex environment,” said the man in charge of rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure to the point we can get the hell out. And to rebuild Iraq, Walsh said the U.S. contracts with Iraqi contractors and subcontractors. You didn't think we'd send in Mexican aliens, did you? From the Foster Farm in Middlebury?
Problem is, the Iraqi subcontractors, said Gen. Walsh, “get infiltrated by the bad guys.”
What’s the mood of the Iraqi people?
“One of anticipation,” answered Walsh. “Everyone’s concerned with the new operations.”
One problem is, he said, we haven’t been able to restore the oil pipelines sufficiently. Walsh said we’re currently pumping 2.5 million barrels, but have yet to hit the 3 million barrel-a-day target.
In Iraq, fuel oil is burned to make electricity, said Walsh. But the oil refineries where the fuel oil is produced, he explained, need electricity to operate and sometimes it runs short.
Kind of a Catch 22, eh?
“We’re rebuilding the infrastructure of an entire country,” said Gen. Walsh. “It’ll take a long time, until 2013,” he said, before Iraq’s electric grid is operating properly.
What a fricken mess!
At least he didn’t sugarcoat it, this Walsh guy, did he?
Now can someone explain to me why no congressional leader or leaders can stand up and take the steering wheel away from the incompetent madman sleeping in the White House?
Someone, please, before America and the freedom its people hold dear is no more.
MORE, MORE MORE!!!
Thursday Afternoon Updated:
I carried the "Bagdhad" theme all the way to the Guv's ceremonial office at the Statehouse in Montpelier for his 11 a.m. Thursday "official" weekly presser.
The rest of the capitol press corps was in a ditherover inside-baseball budget issues, particularly one regarding about $3.4million going into the "new" Catamount Health Plan or not going into the Catamount Health Plan.
Besides, most Vermonters haven't a clue as to what the hell the Catamount Plan is.
My mind was on the war with no end in sight - George "WMD" Bush's War in Iraq. And I knew Gov. Jim Douglas just spent two nights sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House with his lovely wife.
George W. Bush's White House.
I also was well aware that at least 70 percent of Vermonters currently oppose the Bush Administration's disastrous, corrupt and anti-American Iraq War Policy.
If Vermont ran the country, we would not be there.
I knew that our congressional delegation (Patrick Leahy, Jim Jeffords and Bernie Sanders), was against it from the very beginning (2002), when such courageous, patriotic oppositon was not fashionable.
That Vermont's congressional delegation continues to oppose the bankrupt Bush War Policy (Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch).
That Kevin Sheehan, 36, of Milton, a project manager in the local construction trade, a husband and dad and a very decent guy I'd see now and again at a certain downtown watering-hole, should still be with his family and friends. Kevin, a sergeant in the Vermont National Guard, was killed in an ambush May 25, 2004. More than 20 other Vermonters have been killed there with him, too. For what, Mr. President?
So, I had to ask Governor Jim, given the fact 70 percent of his constituents oppose the Iraq War, didn't he say anything to Mr. Bush about it?
Governor Jim: "We did talk about the War in Iraq among other subjects. He understands how I feel."
Press: "And what does that mean?"
Governor Jim: "I’m not going to get into the details."
Press: “No, don’t get into the details, but so we understand and everyone in the room understands, how do you feel?”
Governor Jim: “Well, I’ve expressed many times from this microphone, I..."
Press: “But it changes, so I just wondered how you feel now.”
Press: "What should be the objective of our policy?"
Governor Jim: “Well, to find a way to get to, ah, to, to, to get to an exit strategy.”
Press: “I just want to be clear about what the governor of Vermont said to the president of the United States.”
Governor Jim: “Well, I’m not going to be too clear.”
Press: “You can be as foggy as you want.”
Governor Jim: “Thank you.”
Press: “You said he understands that you are not persuaded that this 'Surge' will lead to an exit strategy and that that ought to be the goal here.”
Governor Jim: “Right.”
Press: "But does the President of the United States understand that the people of Vermont oppose this war, are upset that lies were used to get us into it, and are upset we’ve lost more people per-capita in this war than any state in the country. Does he understand that?”
Governor Jim: “Oh, I think he’s well tuned in to public opinion all across the country.”
Press: “That people are opposed to it?”
Governor Jim: “Oh, yeah.”
Press: “Where does he think this war is going to go, Governor? There’s no end in sight.”
Governor Jim: “Well, I don’t know where it’s going to go. He’s very firm in his conviction. I think we’ve seen that and he has a view that’s different from a lot of other Americans. He certainly is firm in his convictions.”
Well, what did you really expect him to say?