About 20 percent of the Maryland National Guardsmen are being called up for service in Iraq. They will be part of the Bush-Cheney’s Gang’s insane “Surge” strategy in that over-four-year old, no-win, no-end conflict. We’re talking about 1,300 Army and Air National Guard from the state, whose lives will be put at risk in a war based on serial lies and which can not be won militarily.  The mobilization order means deployment by this summer.  Some of these soldiers have been there before. The people who are funding this blood bath, the U.S. Congress, don’t have to go and put themselves in the middle of a raging Civil War. I’m talking about Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), and her ilk. She voted against the war, but since then she has consistently voted to fund it to the tune of $415 billion. I say: Keep the National Guard in Maryland home, and instead, send Senator Mikulski to Iraq!
The other day, I was on the MARC Line from Washington, DC to Baltimore. The train, a double-decker type, was overbooked and passengers were forced to sit on the steps leading down to the first floor of the train. Just imagine, we’re wasting $8.4 billion a month in Iraq and yet we have to put up with an antiquated, underfund rail transportation system. A young African-American women came and sat down in front of me. It turned out that she was an officer in the U.S. Army, having served one tour of duty in Iraq. Let’s call her “Officer A.” She’s not part of the Maryland National Guard, but Officer A told me, she, too, has been called back to duty in Iraq. She complained bitterly about Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, saying how he “didn’t know what he was doing,” and how many of our troops had died and were severely injured because of his “incompetence.”
Then, Officer A talked to me about her personal ordeal. She said that as a result of her assignment in Iraq she had constant nightmares and often wakes up crying and screaming in the middle of the night. Sometimes, she said, she can’t sleep at all for as much as two days. Officer A has a young daughter, who is in grade school. When the daughter came up behind her one day in a playful manner, she freaked out and scared the devil out of her child. Now, the daughter lives with her parents, until Officer A can get herself back together. Her job in Iraq put her near the firing line and she had to deal with the seriously wounded. The images of the war, she said, are “embedded” in her head, especially seeing the men “with their limbs off.” She was once shot at in a helicopter. When she was a passenger in a humvee, a bomb went off close enough to her, that she has suffered some hearing loss. She said that most of the American people just don’t have any idea at all how “unreal” the situation is in that country. Officer A said the heat, in Iraq, is unbelievable, too, and that if the wind is blowing it’s “ten times worst.” When she jumped up to get off at her stop, (I really wanted to hug her and tell her not to go to Iraq), I shook her hand and told her, what somebody once advised me when I was visiting Belfast, in the north of Ireland, during the volatile days of the Troubles: “Keep your head down!”
If the situation in the war zone was that horrific for Officer A, what is it like for the innocent Iraqi people? Most of them don’t have the material resources to escape the hell on earth that the scheming Neocons had conspired to create for them.  The latest report shows that 655,000 have died. Does any of this bother that dubious Liberal, Sen. Mikulski? Well, I don’t think so. She is all in favor of funding the “Surge” as a way of “protecting” our troops.  So how, in God’s holy name, is Sen. Mikulski “protecting” Officer A, and her comrades in uniform?
Despite protests from Peace advocates, Mikulski has consciously chosen to enable the warmongering Bush-Cheney Gang. Her complicity in the Iraqi War is beyond dispute. In his book, “The Sorrows of Empire,” Professor Chalmers Johnson theorized that the Iraqi War was pushed by the confluence of three Special Interests, namely: “Big Oil,” the Military-Industrial Complex and the Israel Lobby. Of course, it couldn’t have happened if the Congress hadn’t played along with it. Mikulski is one of their willing accomplices.
When the Peace advocates met with Sen. Mikulski’s staff, on March 13, 2007, urging that she vote “no” to continuing the funding of the war and to bring the troops home, 3,197 Americans had died in Iraq. Since March 13th, however, 69 more troops have been killed, which brings the total to date to 3,267. All of those 69 dead are on Mikulski’s conscience. Of the 3,267 fatalities, 60 are from Maryland. One of the Peace advocates, Ms. Rebecca Hansen, pointed out how the arrogant Sen. Mikulski doesn’t “respond” to her phone calls, emails or letters with respect to the war. (5) What Ms. Hansen didn’t know is that the wily Senator only truly pays attention to the Wire Pullers, not to the genuine concerns of a good citizen like herself, who believes in our democracy.
For example, Gregory Levey, writing for Salon.com, on March 16, 2007, revealed how Sen. Mikulski, and other members of our subservient Congress, relate to the pressure from the powerful Israel Lobby. Mikulski attended the recent AIPAC conference in Washington, DC.  At the event, she admitted how she “often spoke” to Howard Kohr, the Executive Director of AIPAC, and “others in the AIPAC leadership.” She added: “They’re like DAILY PHONE CALLS.”  No wonder Ms. Hansen, a school teacher, and Maryland resident, has a tough time personally contacting Sen. Mikulski. The Senator was probably on the line with one of the boy-ohs from AIPAC, or “Big Oil,” or the Military-Industrial Complex.
Meanwhile, a new study by the National Priority Project (NPP), shows how “almost ’40 cents’ of every [federal] tax dollar is spent on past and present military spending.”  Thanks to members of the U.S. Congress, like Mikulski, the situation can only get worse in the future. When is this madness going to end? How can you have a Republic, when war and war-related spending, are its primary goals, and not the welfare of its 298 million populace? The Iraqi War has cost the citizens of Maryland $8.8 billion. 
Finally, I think the people of Maryland, and each of the other 49 states, should demand that their Governors refuse to allow the Pentagon to deploy any more of our National Guard to Iraq. This war is illegal and funding the insane “Surge,” under the circumstances, is act of gross criminal negligence. It’s time to send the warmongers to Iraq, not our sons and daughters. Start with that agent of the Bush-Cheney Gang–Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski!
. “1,300 Heading to Iraq,” by Matthew Dolan, Baltimore Sun, April 6, 2007. Despite the fact that the 1,300 combat troop call up is the “largest” from Maryland, since the historic battle of Normandy, in 1944, the Pentagon insisted that it isn’t part of the 21,500 additional troops, aka, “The Surge,” that President George Bush ordered in January, 2007. The Pentagon’s position is that they [the 1,300 Maryland National Guardsmen] are only “replacement” troops. But, its spokesman couldn’t say exactly which units that they are replacing. Isn’t that strange? The assumption should be that they are part of the “Surge,” until other verifiable evidence to the contrary is firmly established.