As the news out of Iraq continues to get worse and worse and it looks like they’re headed towards and all out civil war comes this bit from US soldiers over there:
The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"
Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."
Wow… almost three in ten soldiers want to get out of there right now. Three out of four want to get out within the next year. I’m not sure what this means politically, but it seems pretty clear that these soldiers either:
a) Don’t want to be in Iraq
b) See the future as extreme bleak
c) See this ending peacefully in a year.
Here at VFLOAB we’ll take answer B. The recent events of fighting Sunni and Shia groups only paint a bleaker picture than what was already being presented in the print media*. And the news today that over 1,000 Iraqis have died in the past week, more than what the original estimates had first ‘estimated’, goes to show that things are much worse than originally thought.
If Iraq does break out into total civil war, I think most here will agree that it will be time to bring US soldiers hope. As horrible as that sounds, to have our boys stuck in the middle would not only make things worse, but obviously make them much more vulnerable to the violence and fighting.
Of course what to do then… I’m not sure other than praying.
*(For the record, we believe that the news/video media has completely failed and fallen flat on their faces in the coverage of the Iraq conflict. The lack of video and pictures from the region is not only surprising, but shows either a total sense of laziness or lack of access to what is going on there. We realize that the war in Vietnam was fought differently than the war/conflict in Iraq, but one thing is for sure… the Vietnam war saw reporters interviewing soldiers, showing pictures of soldiers in conflict and at battle… in other words it showed the over all horrors of war. Unfortunately those same pictures haven’t been seen at all during the Iraq conflict… so much so that one has to wonder if the video media has been told to keep out or else. We already know that the White House/Department of Defense won’t let them show pictures of coffins of dead soldiers and one has to wonder how much further that ‘ban’ extends).
Moving on… Fred Hampton was given an honorary street name in Chicago on Monday which, naturally, pissed off the Chicago police. Hampton, as you may or may not know, was murdered (but since the police shot him he was killed) by the Chicago Police in December of 1969. The police had claimed that Hampton and others had fired at them first, but the follow up investigation revealed that it was the CPD that fired 98 or the 99 shots that morning (the one shot fired by Hampton and others was after the police had shot Mark Clark who was sleeping on the sofa with a shot gun. Clark, who was killed instantly, fired shot as a ‘death’ reaction/jerk).
Hampton was a member of the Black Panthers and the head of the Chicago Chapter at the time of his death (interestingly enough, U.S. House of Representative Bobby Rush was also a Black Panther and obviously not gunned down by the police). The Panthers do have a some what mixed history that was marred by some violence and advocated violence in some cases. But Hampton did a lot of good in his short life (he btw, coined the phrase, Rainbow Coalition) pushing for better housing, economic conditions, and social justice in black areas in Chicago. His murder was and continues to be a black eye, in a long list of black eyes, for the Chicago Police Department. They can cry all they want about Hampton getting a street named after him, sorry, rather an honorary street named after him, but the facts are that they shot and killed a completely harmless and sleeping Hampton.
Hampton did leave us with this great, and chilling, quote: "You can murder a liberator but you can't murder liberation.” Hampton would be murdered/killed within a year of saying that which is extremely eerie.
We would love to see five teams from the Missouri Valley Conference make the NCAA Tourney. We would rather see some of those teams than average to not very good Kentucky, Indiana, or Texas A&M teams since we see those teams all the time and they aren’t that much fun to watch or root for come March.
We could see five 20 win teams in the Missouri Valley (there are already three) which itself is unbelievable. I know they haven't played the same schedule that a Kentucky, IU, or AM has... but come on. Those three teams aren't going to win it all and would need a hell of a run to make the Sweet 16. So why not throw the Valley, which outside of the Big East, has probably had the best and most interesting conference year (notice I didn't include the Big Ten because frankly, do you even know who's a top the Big Ten? My point exactly... and it's Ohio State if you didn't know). I say give the Valley four bids, or five if someone like Bradley wins the Tourney. Watching Bradley, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Creighton, Wichita State, or Missouri State would be a lot more interesting in my book.