Wednesday on KPFA's Guns and Butter, Bonnie Faulkner interviewed Sander Hicks. Hicks was a little too "on" for my tastes. (Such as telling Bonnie to play the audio clip. In it, he's interviewing a man who says the State Dept. told him before 9-11 that airplanes would attack the World Trade Towers. Even there, I had a problem with Hicks. The man's telling a story and Hicks, from his remarks to Bonnie, believed the guy. So why does he say something, when the interview should continue, like "Gotta go, talk to you later" and end the interview with the man?)
I think that's just his style: hyper. That's fine but with concerns about Rebecca this week, I was exhausted by Wednesday. (She's fine.) He was just a little too hyper for my tastes. Ruth and I have talked about one guest who has been way to hyper (on two other shows) recently and how, when you're like that, you tend to turn off the audience. Twice, this guest has basically sneered at the interviewer (two different ones). We both like the guest but wish someone would lay off the coffee or go to a quiet place before the interviews. You're not helping your case or issue when you're trying to lead the interview.
Sander Hicks probably knows a great deal but it would have been nice if he could have tried to be less in control of the interview. Bonnie started out like Bonnie. Then, and this may have been only my judgement, she got a little slower as if she was trying to provide the calm that would influence Hicks. It didn't happen.
He jumped from topic to topic within answers and Bonnie would have to do the "set up" all over about which book they were speaking of at that moment. I could follow the interview thanks to her work but she was like an interpreter and I'd hear Hicks giving an answer and have to throw in the towel on what he was talking about until she gave the interpretation.
If you missed it, it is worth listening to. But I'm warning you right now, if you get lost in the middle of his answers, just accept that. Wait for Bonnie to point out which of the books they're speaking of. His own book, Big Wedding, I think, is a very brief book. I read it a few months ago in the bookstore. Just sitting on the floor in front of the bookcase. I felt if there was anything in there that really grabbed me, I'd buy it. I read until the last page and didn't feel the need to purchase it. He thinks, from his comments, that he's got new information but I didn't really see that developed a great deal. If you're new, he has new information. If you've followed the various questions and theories, I think you may feel you read a lot of the book already in Vanity Fair. By another writer. That's not saying he's copying anyone just that it was new to me. The audio clip he wanted Bonnie to play, if he'd continued that interview, he might have had something.
If a State Department official, being warned by an informant about an attack, responded, "Yeah, we know about the plan to use planes," that would be worthy of an entire book. Maybe the problem is he was trying to cover so much and did so in so little space?
They discussed the 60 Minutes interview (done by Lesley Stahl) that attacked the late James Hatfield as opposed to exploring the issues Hatfield raised in his book about Bully Boy. Maybe he was afraid something similar would happen with Bonnie?
I have a hard time buying that because a) it's not her style and b) there are so few who cover this topic that he should have known her reputation. If he'd calmed down, even a little, Bonnie would have been able to bring out what was needed in what he knew. Instead, he was jumping here, there and everywhere. I think I once heard Janeane Garofalo interview him on The Majority Report. If he was like that then, I'm not remembering it.
I wanted to really enjoy the interview and maybe it was my mood? That could be. At another time, I might be saying, "This guest is brilliant!" But I don't think so. Bonnie does careful interviews and doesn't attack guests. (When one interview subject kept getting Colleen Rowley's name wrong, Bonnie brought it up nicely in a way that didn't cause the subject to be embarrassed.) He should have let her do the interview. I don't think he did. I think he tried, repeatedly, to turn it into monologues. I also felt, maybe just me, he was kind of rude to Bonnie.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Elsewhere some merely strike poses.
In the United States, the Senate has said "NO!" to US forces leaving Iraq by July 2007. As the so-called coalition continues to break apart with other nations deciding to pull their troops out of Iraq, one might think the issue would garner a serious debate. Always one to posture, John McCain (Senator from Arizona) declared: "The United States, with our Iraqi partners, has the responsibility to see this through" apparently auditioning for the role of passenger on the Titanic. Russ Feingold (Senator from Wisconsin) stated: "It is time to tell the Iraqis that we have done what we can do militarily." Instead of addressing that reality, most preferred to posture; however, 13 senators did vote in favor of the proposal John Kerry and Feingold were supporting (troops out by July 2007). The other (weaker and, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, "nonbinding") proposal much supported by Democratic Party hacks such as DiFi and Harry Reid? It lost in a 60-39 vote. In Vienna, the Bully Boy faced questions about Iraq. "What's past is past," declared the Bully Boy on the issue of Iraq. What's past? How about what's passed? The 2500 mark for American military fatalities. As Amy Goodman noted today on Democracy Now!, 2512 is the current fatality count.
While the United States Congress can't say "Withdrawal" and the Bully Boy can't even toss out a phrase correctly (it is: "What's done is done."), it's not suprising that it has become increasing harder for US military recruiters to meet the needed recruitment numbers. As the UK's Daily Mail notes, the U.S. Army's decision to raise the maximum age for recruitment, to forty-two, is the second time this year that the military has raised the age. In January, the maxium age was raised from 35 years-old to 40. Why the Army? As Reuters notes: "More than three years into the war, the Army continues to provide the bulk of U.S. ground forces in Iraq." Which is why military recruiters, when not stalking school campuses, attempt to recruit at NASCAR events.
Speaking to Fluxview, for their AWOL in Canada series, Christopher Mogwai noted that, "In the Vietnam era they didn't kick you out for drugs, now they do" so some choose any number of means to leave the service. Fluxview also interviews war resistors Darrell Anderson and Ryan Johnson.
Noting the charging of "eight US troops with kidnapping and murdering a handicapped Iraqi civilian," Demetri Sevastolulo and Neil Buckley (Financial Times of London) note that the speaker of the Iraqi parliment is asking "the US to investigate the killings of 'many innocent people' by American forces." According to CNN, Masmoud al-Mashhadani is specifically calling for "an investigation . . . into this week's U.S. bombing of a poultry farm in northern Iraq." This is the incident Amy Goodman noted yesterday where a human rights worker states that "two of the dead were young boys aged ten and twelve." As Al Jazeera noted: "The Association of Muslim Scholars said US warplanes bombed a house and a poultry farm in al-Bushahin village in northeast Baquba, then dropped soldiers to kill the survivors of the attack."
In Baghdad today, CNN notes a car bomb went off by a movie theater and two people were killed, five wounded. Reuters notes a motorcycle bombing, in Baghdad, which resulted in two dead and eight injured.
In Baquba, Reuters reports that Raad al-Mowla was wounded in a roadside bomb (al-Mowla is the governor of the Diyala province). The Associated Press notes a bomb in Jibla that resulted in the death of an unidentified civilian and an "Iraqi army solider." As Amy Goodman noted this morning, "at least fifty of the more than eighty [kidnapped] workers have been released or freed."
Reuters notes the discovery of 14 corpses of electricity plant workers who were "abducted and killed June 12". Associated Press notes that six corpses ("bullet-riddled bodies") were found in Kut. In Najaf, a police officer was shot dead, Reuters notes, and, in Dhuluiya, an Iraqi soldier was shot dead.
Like the US Congress, John Howard (prime minister of Australia) plays baby Bully Boy and speaks of how things might get even riskier for Australians stationed in Iraq, Australia's ABC reports Labor leader Kim Beazley's response in Parliment: "Iraq is a quagmire and staying htere is not in our national interest. Make no mistake about it, we are opposed to the war in Iraq, we want these troops in Al Muthanna province home now."
While Japan used the Iraq government's decision to take over responsiblity for the Al Muthanna province as a sign to withdraw troops, Howard has decided to move Australian troops to other areas in Iraq. Though of little concern to the mainstream US press, the shooting by Australian security guards yesterday of three Iraqi bodyguards (one dead, two wounded) for Iraq Trade Minister Abdel Falah al-Sudany has resulted in an expression of regret from the Australian Defense Force and, today, has led al-Sudany to issue a statement that he "demands an apology and payment of compsenation." Reuters notes: "The incident could potentially embarrass Australia, which has been trying to imrpove trade ties with Iraq after Iraq suspended dealings with Australia's monopoly wheat exporter AWB over a kickbacks scandal."Besides trade deals being put at risk (remember, it's the markets), Labor and Green reps in Australia says that the incident is another reason Australia needs to withdraw troops from Iraq. Kim Bezley stated, "The point is this: we shouldn't be there." Bob Brown, Greens leader, stated: "It should send a signal to this Prime Minister, who just does not seem to connect that we should be bringing the troops home. They shouldn't have been there, they should be brought home."
Speaking to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on Democracy Now! today, Italian journalist Giulana Sgrena discussed the details of her kidnapping in Iraq as well as the details of the rescue that went wrong when US troops fired on her vehicle as it was enroute to the airport. During the interview, Sgrena stated: "So there are many things that we don't know and we would like to know. I don't want to accuse Mario Lozano to know who was in the car and to shoot because he knew that there, there were agents and me. But we want the prosecution just to know, to have more information of what happened, because we gave the information to the commander, the Italian one that was in touch with the American one in the airport, that we were on this road to the airport. And we know that they were monitoring the telephone that we used in the car, the Americans, and they were monitoring the mobile telephone on the satellite." Remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! PSYCHIC CASEY SAYS 'HONEY, THEY SHRUNK THE ARMY!'" as well as Cedric's "WBAI's Law and Disorder covered Mumia Abu-Jamal and David Gilbert," Elaine's "A number of topics," C.I.'s "NYT: Zernike takes her cab (and readers) for another ride, Burns plays Court TV" and "Other Items (Giuliana Sgrena on Democracy Now! today)", and Mike's "Rush post."