Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Iraq: New Tourism Destination

Iraq has apparently become the chic travel destination for our national Congress.

The waiting list is long, because so many lawmakers have decided they need a guided tour in order to be able to make up their minds about national policy concerning Iraq; just like all our famous leaders before them. Everyone knows how much travel-time Congress put in during World War II.

Let's face it: These congressional representatives want the thrill of living on the edge with none of the consequences that our troops face on the ground. They want a taxpayer all-expenses-paid vacation, in which they'll stay in an elegant hotel in a neighboring country, and then be shipped in for a quick tour before they're whisked away to safety again. And, this is supposed to teach them...what?

Meanwhile, British troops are languishing in Iranian prisons while the Iranians trumpet defiance across the waters, beating their chests loudly. Although surely someone is doing something, it's apparently not enough.


Ed Abbey said...

This reminds me of a question that has long nagged me. Who pays for these trips?

I know we all do eventually but does the home state of the representative pick up the tab or does the government budget for this?

Hans said...

I believe it's the military that pays for these junkets. Marketing cost. Unfettered access to the people that pay the bills.

Matt said...

I want to go to Lebanon.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I want to go to Israel and see where all those US tax dollars goes!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, actually, although I don't approve, US donations to Africa outstrip Europe by 15 to 1. We are not a stingy nation, despite what is often alleged. After all, we don't have to send aid anywhere. And, startlingly enough, we often send aid to countries that spit in our face and vote against us in the U.N... yet, we continue to throw money at them. Additionally, although we may give more money to Israel than to other countries, most of the Arab nation has built empires based on the oil that we buy from them. The Arabs aren't hurting. If we'd truly wronged them by, say, giving Saudi Arabia to the Jewish nation and exiling the Sauds to, say, Alabama (what could be worse?) then it would be more unfair. But the truth is, the Arab nation, as a whole, has faired very well financially through the Americans both in aid and in trade.

Matt, I hear it's beautiful this time of year.

Hans, too true. I'm betting you're correct about the funding for the trips.

Ed, sadly, it's probably the military. I haven't had time to research that, however.

United We Lay said...

Publicity is one thing, but I'm for anything that gets the Congrss into Iraq to see what's actually going on there. Of course, that will probably be shielded from them, but at least thy're there. I don't know what we can do to make this country see what's really going on there.

Hans said...

From the St. Pete Times last week.

FYI, my email

Mr. Althouse said...

I think these trips by members of congress to Iraq are for one purpose and one purpose only: To show their constituents that they are doing something, that they are informed by first hand experience and that they know what they are doing. Of course when it comes to the House, they're alway running for re-election. It's simply politics - there are lots of dangerous places to visit on the tax-payer's dime.

As far as Iran is concerned - the British troops are not in any danger and are probably being treated pretty well. The last time this happened, there was considerable media attention about how Iran DARE capture and imprison British troops but almost none about how Great Britain apologized for encroaching on Iranian territory - thus admitting error.

Iran is no threat to the U.S. Even if the intelligence is true (and there is ample reason to suspect it) they are years away from having any realistic nuclear capability. Although the current president is a loose canon, he has no real authority to unilaterally do anything. He has a hostile parliment (not unlike our current head-of-state) and a religious hierarchy that trumps any real executive power his position might afford him.

I think that it was a stupid move on the part of Iran, whether or not the British troops were in Iranian territorial waters. Bush is looking for any excuse to distract attention from his current blunders - what better way of diverting attention than another war?


The Lazy Iguana said...

I do not think the British are being treated badly in Iran. I see this as similar to the "US spy plane in China" incident. Our guys were never in a jail, they were in apartments. Granted they could not leave - but they were not in a 8x10 cell behind bars. It was more about China getting to paw through the spy plane than the guys.

Oh yea our guys were guests in China for around 2 weeks if I remember correctly. No threats of war were made. It was all very diplomatic. Of course we could not have declared war on China because they own far too much stuff here. Without cheap crap from China our economy would collapse.

Iran will let the British go. If Iran is smart they are treating the men in full accordance to the Geneva Convention - even if the USA has decided that it does not apply anymore and that would give Iran a hell of an excuse to violate it themselves. But I doubt the British get their assault boats back. Those are pretty nice boats. Iran can send one to China and then China can produce them all day and night.

I do not get the endless tours in Iraq. Soldiers who return to the USA and start talking about what is really going on ALL say that they are ordered to not say anything bad. So what can you really learn if all the people to talk to are ordered to read from a script? Or if you never leave the green zone?

Meow said...

Just dropping by to say hi, Saur. Hope all is well in your world, and that you are having a great week.
take care, Meow

Cranky Yankee said...

Did anybody catch that mook John McCain telling right wing reprobate Bill Bennett that it is safe to walk around Baghdad now and that General Petraeus rides around in an unarmored HMMV.

The CNN guy in Baghdad just about pissed himself laughing and said that he asked the military if the General rides around in an unarmored HMMV and they emphatically said no and in fact his security while traveling includes multiple armored HMMVs, several helicopter, unmanned drones and snipers.

McCain has lost all relevance.

The Lazy Iguana said...

That old man should have taken the hint in 2000 when the party smeared his service to the Nation, and went with the other guy whose major contribution was.....uhhhhh..... well anyway I am sure he did something - other than skipping out of the National Guard.

Poor McCain. He just does not get it. He keeps shilling for a party that laughs at him.