The Livingston County Republican Party is making a pitch for more free front-page publicity by collecting donated items to “ship to troops originally from Livingston County” in a token show of supporting the troops. It’s a great gesture, but if you really want to show your support for the troops get them out of the middle of a deadly civil war where whet they are targets and are fighting and dying for a success that cannot even be defined.
You will recall last December that the majority party in the county anted up a whopping $500 for Toys-For-Tots from the $42 million it spent trying to buy the governorship, and it earned them a front-page story from the so-called “liberal media.” I’m sure that’s what’s behind this effort.
A better way to show support for the troops is to support the "Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act" that will be debated tonight in the U.S. Senate. The bill has already been approved by the House, and it requires President Bush to begin troop withdrawal within 120 days, with most coming home by April 2008.
The Republicans have threatened to filibuster it to block a vote, but Senate Majority Henry Senator Reid is calling their bluff and forcing them to stay in session all night long in an old fashioned filibuster. To support the first real filibuster and all-night session in more than two years, peace supporters we'll be holding a citizen's response—a counter- filibuster—all over the country, including in nearby Milford. It will be held at 6 p.m. at 213 W Huron street, just a block west of Main Street, and it is hosted by Laural Tondreau.
This is a war based on handpicked evidence to mislead the American people. It has killed more than 4,000 U.S. service members and wounded, some horribly, more than 25,000 service members. No one really knows how many Iraqi civilians have died since the conflict began, but estimates put them in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. The United Nations estimates that 35,000 civilians were killed in Iraq during 2006 alone. According to the Center for American Progress, the Middle East is facing its largest refugee crisis in a generation. More than 2 million Iraqis have fled Iraq and another 2 million are internally displaced.
Sectarian violence and civil war between Sunnis and Shi'a is rising. Shi’a militias and death squads are fighting Sunni extremists. The fighting has led to ethnic cleansing, the displacement of civilians on both sides, and infiltration of government security forces. Sectarian violence has remained constant despite the “surge.”
Instead of addressing this and bring the troops home, supporting them when they actually come home or even changing the failed polices that have caused this mess, we get public relations efforts from the Republicans. There is a backdoor draft with troops being involuntary extended, individuals being involuntarily recalled to active duty and multiple tours, but still all we get from the GOP is a PR effort.
I’m not really sure what the troops need. After the efforts of anti-war protestors brought to light the fact troops were sent to war without the proper equipment that oversight has been addressed, for the most part. I don’t know if troops still need lip balm, baby wipes or AA batteries. This looks exactly like the list provided by Family Readiness for the 1462nd Transportation Company in Howell when it deployed some three years ago when the conflict first began. But I urge everyone to donate the requested items even if it is a PR effort by the LIVCO reopubs.
Donations can be dropped off at the GOP’s booth at the Grandstand at the Fowlerville Fair - off Grand River Avenue in Handy Township just west of downtown Fowlerville -
during regular fair hours. Items requested include new or used DVDs (action or comedy), books, lip balm, baby wipes, AA batteries, gum, sports magazines, hard candy, Gatorade (powder form is best), cards or card games, facial cleansing cloths, cough drops and pump lotion. Items that cannot be shipped include bug spray and aerosol sprays. The donation and shipments to the troops are part of an increased community outreach program developed by Livingston County GOP Chairman Alan Filip. If you have any questions, call Filip at (810) 656-5099 or community outreach coordinator Debi Drick at (517) 819-1988.