Friday, June 29, 2007

Adam Kokesh (and my rambles)

Anonymous said...

You asked. IMO you should not be able to have it both ways. It's wrong to except benefits when you don't follow the rules. I'm a tax payer. I don't feel you should be given the benefits. Both of my sons are defending our freedoms. We're not free to break rules and disobey laws. Further, I feel your premise is based in selfish lies. Mostly, your words and action show disregard to those still deployed. I take this personal so I'll keep an eye on this to see what happens. It's made very clear that you are not allowed to use the uniform in this way. You decided to anyway. You owe me, my sons, and this country an apology.

President Bush owes your sons an apology. The moneyed interests and liars that are keeping us in Iraq owe this country an apology. Everyone who has remained silent and allowed this country to slide into its current state owes this country an apology. I have the utmost regard for those still deployed who do so with honorable intentions. I think the best way to support the troops is to bring them home now.

Cheryl Suellen Smith said...

I find your comment "It occurred to me how lucky America is to have not had to experience modern warfare on our own soil." shocking and frankly, incredibly naive. What is terrorism if not modern warfare?
Also, your butchering of the English language and your pedestrian writing "style" (I use the term loosely) serve as clear evidence to me that higher education is wasted on the likes of you. I would surmise that with you as their very vocal representative, you do IVAR far more harm than good.

Terrorism is terrorism. Modern warfare would be the thousands of tons of depleted uranium bombs that we have dropped in Iraq. The closest we have come is Pearl Harbor, which might fall into that category, but it was a one-day strike, and the only one the Japanese managed on our soil. Hardly would that one incident constitute a war by itself.

The above is from Adam Kokesh replying to comments at his site. I like his don't f-with me attidue. And I meant to highlight that yesterday when C.I. linked to it. And now I see something but I'll let C.I. grab that. Martha called me earlier and asked me to pass onto C.I. "Check the e-mails, you'll probably want to do an evening post." (C.I. and the gang were flying back home and should be back here -- I'm at C.I.'s -- shortly.)

But I will note that Adam's got a wonderful post about the bus tour that they are on. This is only 1 of many incidents (some great, some -- like below -- crazy) so make a point to read about it if you visit sites/use links:

For dinner we went to a Golden Corral where we had to park the bus in the Wal-Mart parking lot next door. As we were finishing up, Nate went outside to get some flyers off the bus and ran into a young former Marine who was screaming at the bus. It seemed like a PTSD moment, but this guy was seriously angry. Nate did his best to talk to him and his posse, who were lingering in the shadows a ways away. He went back into the restaurant to get everyone, and as we got back to the bus, the small crowd was still there. Jim noticed that the electrical panel on the side of the bus was cracked open, and we noticed that a few wires had been snipped. While Jim got the bus ready to roll and did a complete function check, Liam and I engaged this former Marine and got a bit of his story. He had been in Iraq and seen a number of his friends die. This was actually a bragging point for him. When he asked why we were doing this, Mike said, “So I don’t lose another friend like I did in February.” “You lost a friend? That’s great. Well I lost three!” “We don’t want to see that happen again.” He also had a leg full of shrapnel and a medical discharge. He had tried to reenlist but was denied. The bus was ready and pulled out while a few of us watched from the Bronco as the former Marine continued to cuss at it and his friends flipped it off. That night we pulled fire watch on our campsite, just to be safe.

Betty's going to try to go to the thing in her area tomorrow (Atlanta) but she wondered why they didn't go through the south. (Atlanta's really the only south part of this leg of the tour.) I'm wondering if it was incidents like above? If so, after our week in Texas in March, I'd say there are a lot of people there who would welcome them warmly and Fort Hood is in Texas. By the way, Betty's hoping to post tonight but said to go ahead and blog because she doesn't want anyone waiting for her "if it's like last weekend when it took forever for me to pull it together."

Back to Adam. If you're against the illegal war, like approximately 70% of the country is, you may hear about Adam, Liam, Cloy, Kathy, etc. and think, "Well it's good that they're speaking out and I'm proud of them for it." You may not grasp that speaking out has a way of attracting the ones who refuse to see the illegal war is wrong. Some of them are still holding onto the lie that Iraq was responsible for 9-11. Some of them believe wrongly that Iraq had WMD. Some of them just can't face the fact that the Bully Boy lied to them. C.I. tells a very funny story about how Bully Boy was giving a press conference, the day or 2 after the illegal war began, and this idiot woman was practically having an orgasm as she watched. When people turned to look at her, she started shouting, "I just love him! I just love George Bush!" I never experienced anything like that. (I believe C.I. was on the road. I know when the illegal war started -- and C.I. should tell this story online because it's an important one -- C.I. had to face two groups of college kids the night after and there was so much disappointment because they'd taken part in the big demonstration and they'd been hyped like crazy. "Go to this rally and there will be no war!" C.I. says those two groups were the hardest because the kids had been hyped and knew it, knew they were lied to, and they had little hope or faith at that moment. It was really uncomfortable so, after about a minute of it, C.I. made a joke and that lightened the mood and got everyone focused. If my memory was any better than it is, I'd repeat the joke but I'll screw it up.)

Don't you love my long winded parenthetical asides!

So that woman, that crazy woman, cheering her Bully Boy as he'd started the 'cakewalk' war that's still going all this time later, wasn't an exception. Her orgasm over seeing her Bully Boy hopefully wasn't too common. But Bully Boy was riding high. Natalie Maines, remember, got trashed during this period. Seemed like half the country loved them some Bully Boy and a large portion of the other half was scared or beaten into silence.

These days, the truth has been told. My grandmother used to always say that. (The one that lived with us after my grandfather's health problems.) She'd say, "Kaitlin, the truth will tell out." It could be on something as minor as which one of us kids swiped her candy and on something as major as racism. (As I noted in a CD review, my grandmother took racism very personally. I have no idea if she was as discriminated against when she came to this country from Ireland as she felt she was but she was 100% for civil rights and then some. It took her awhile to speak out against the illegal war but she wouldn't tolerate racism. And if some adult told a 'joke,' she would tear into them. Not take them aside. She would just call them out. I was always proud of her for that. Still am proud of her. A lot of adults would say something if a kid did it but if it was another adult, they'd usually act like they didn't hear it. She made sure everyone knew if someone thought racism was funny. And if they challenged her, she'd go off on how the same people "holding back Black people are the same ones who spat on me." She really took it personally. Good for her.)

But her point was always that we could get fooled, any of us, for a minute or two, but in the big picture, in the long view, the truth came out.

And that's what's happened with Iraq. If Bully Boy had done like his father and pulled out of Iraq after sending troops into Baghdad, there would probably be people saying it was no big deal. (The way they do about his father's war or the illegal bombings between the two wars.)

Some people point to Hurricane Katrina as an awakening but that's not reality. The American people were waking up a few months before that. It's why Camp Casey took off from the start. Iraq's the thing that has stuck to him. It's the lie, the big lie, that he can't escape. Too many people have died and along with those who knew he was lying before the illegal war began, you've got others who believed and now see the lie. Not the 30 or so percent. But you've got a lot of others who have woken up.

Adam encounters some who haven't woken up and they probably won't. At this late date, if you can't grasp that the illegal war is wrong it's because you don't want to grasp it. The truth came out. It's out there. And you have to stick your head in the sand to avoid it.

Which is probably why the kooks have the reaction to the bus tour that they do. It's not the TV that they can flip off or the newspaper they can toss in the trash. It's right there, the bus, in front of them, with "Iraq Veterans Against the War" on it. The reality they run from is staring them in the face and in their own home towns. Adam writes about honks and thumbs up too and you better believe that for people seeing it that are giving the warm response, it really means something.

I realized that in Texas that week in March when people would talk about how great it was that someone would come and talk about Iraq (and let them talk). That's why Dona went almost insane reworking the schedule after we arrived to give more time to East Texas. We probably could have spent an entire week just there. And one of the funniest/happiest things was one woman out by Big Sandy who said she honestly thought she was the only one in her area who was against the illegal war until she saw so many people there. So when that bus passes through, even if it's not stopping, you better believe that people appreciate it.

They've got their web address (Iraq Veterans Against the War) on the side of the bus and hopefully that's helping get the word out as well.

We were in another state speaking not all that long ago. We'd stopped to have lunch and were all talking about how the first thing went and what, from comments made, we needed to add to it? So we were talking at our table about Iraq and this idiot at the next table pipes up, one of the loons who love Bully Boy. Jim was there and Jim loves to argue. (He'll admit to that.) The loon was loud to begin with but he just got louder. C.I.'s got the laptop out and is trying to put in the links and also on the cell phones hunting stuff down. C.I. finally says something like, "Excuse me, we're here to have lunch. If you want to have a discussion, you're welcome to but you are not going to yell at this table." C.I. had that, I hestiate to use the word, imperial gaze that always causes people to back down. Funny story, I know I'm just running off at the mouth here, in Conn. on another trip, this White woman in her late fifties stops Jess at the airport and she's got one bag. "Young man, young man!" she hollers. She wants Jess to help her. He's not going to take a flight, we just arrived and are leaving. Two young women, African-American step up, C.I.'s on the phone talking and, I'm thinking, missing all of this, and the woman waives the two women away, dismisses them and won't even look at them. She's insisting and Jess is trying to be nice and figure out if there's time? C.I. gets off the phone and says, "There's no time for that." The woman takes an attiude and C.I. basically says (in nicer language), "You pompous fool. If you can't carry it, you shouldn't have brought it in on your own. You could have tipped anyone and they would have helped you but you were too damn cheap. Two people did offer to help you but, due to their skin color, you wrinkled your nose and didn't even say 'No, thank you.' This is your life, deal with it."

Okay, I've babbled enough for one night. Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, June 29, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Liam Madden gets some news, tensions continue between Turkey and northern Iraq, Bully Boy's lips are flapping so you know what that means and more.

Starting with
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden. Madden and two other members of IVAW, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to silence and cow them. They have been threatened with the loss of benefits (Cloy Richards is classified as 80% disabled), loss of their honorable discharges and more. Kokesh participated in street theater in DC and then found himself facing the theatrics of a kangaroo court -- proving there is no bigger drama queensthan those commanders in the marines. Kokesh recevied a general discharge from the IRR -- meaning he's twice discharged: honorably from the marines, general from the IRR -- and Richards reached an agreement where he would not wear any part of his fatigues in public (his mother, Tina Richards, now usually wears his Marine Corp boonie cover at rallies and marches). Madden was being tarred with the usual trumped up charge that fatigues are the equivalent of dress uniforms and the added bonus that his speech was "disloyal" (which may echo the questioning in Kokesh's kangaroo hearing where he was asked if he was "a card carrying member of Iraq Veterans Against the War"). Now comes the news via the AP's own Ethel Mertz (Heather Hollingsworth) that although "[a]n investigating officer had recommended in May that Liam Madden, 22, of Boston receive an other-than-honorable discharge, the worst discharge possible under non-court martial conditions" the Marines issued a press release stating "that they were dropping the case because they had 'received sufficient indictation' from Madden . . ." of something. Of what? Madden has been very clear that he'll come to terms with them provided they put in writing that he made no disloyal statements about the US. He tells Hollingsworth that he's received nothing in writing but, "I think it's a total victory. The country is on our side and it really puts the Marine Corps in a bad light if they try to intimdate".

Madden and other members of
Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently conducting a summer base tour that takes them next to the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm.

And in news of resistance within the military (IRR is a way station -- Richard, Madden and Kokesh were all discharged and the brass had no reason to screw with them), we'll turn to Eli Israel. Eleonai "Eli" Israel is stationed and Iraq and has announced he can no longer take part in the illegal war. He is also a supporter of
2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel having noted, "I am taken away by the truth and clarity that is spoken by Sen. Gravel. He has my vote. The National Initiative that he proposes is what this country needs." And: "My paychecks currently comes from the Army. I have worked with and trained with Blackwater in the past, among others. I have seen this war (and it's orchestrators) from the inside out, and I'm telling anyone who has 'ears to hear', that Mike Gravel is the only voice of reason that is speaking." Those were both noted in May. In April, he posted, "My name is Eli Israel, and yes, you probably guessed it, I'm very much Jewish. I'm also a soldier in Iraq, and I'm also a HARD CORE Mike Gravel supporter." In an update at Iraq Veterans Against the War, Eli notes, "I have been in Iraq for over a year. I have served in combat. I have been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, for my actions in Combat. I have been recommended for other medals, that I will now probably never see (nor do I want) . .. It would have been a lot 'easier' for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more week, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience". Courage to Resist has more information here.

Eli Israel is part of a movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In Iraq, where all business seems to stop anytime Moqtada al-Sadr deliberates . . .
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) report that Nouri al-Maliki is all but on his hands and knees regarding a planned al-Sadr march for next week (July 5th). Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) judged that "the march poses a test of his [al-Sadr's] popularity. A peaceful demonstration could arm him with broad political clout, which has eluded other Iraqi leaders so far, including Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. A low turnout could underscore the limites of Sadr's ability to marshal ordinary citizens." AP reported this morning that al-Sadr had called off the march and cited Sheik Asad al-Nassiri's statement: "Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to postpone the march to Samarra for several reasons, including the government's inablity to secure the route and many officials' appeals for a postponement."

When not begging al-Sadr,
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports, the puppet was attempting to sideline him via an attempted partnership with alleged moderate bloc in Parliament who would make it their business to take up the "oil revenue-sharing law". However Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' With Iraq's Culture Minister out and about, better hide those copies of Ram in the Thicket. Worse for al-Maliki, as he's attempting to realign himself, BBC reports that the Iraqi Accord Front and its six minister "will boycott government meetings because of legal steps being taken against one of its ministers." That would be al-Hashimi who, this week, suddenly became the main suspect in a 2005 assassination (he is now said to be in Jordan). Waleed Ibrahim and Alister Bull (Reuters) observe "the move is a blow to Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at a time when he is under U.S. pressure to push through laws" and that this is the second time the bloc has gone on strike this month -- last week they objected to the removal of Mahmoud al-Mashhadani who held the post of Speaker in the Parliament. In terms al-Hashimi, they further note that "there has been some confusion about the warrant. Police and court officials have not been able to confirm such a warrant has been issued for Hashemi."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 mortar attacks in Baghdad. CBS and AP report that "the British military issued a statement saying all of its bases came under attack from mortars or rockets in the past 24 hours". Reuters notes a Tikrit roadside bombing that left three wounded and a Kut roadside bombing that left a woman wounded. CBS and AP report a bombing on an oil pipeline in Haswa "spilling crude oil and sparking a huge fire".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 women ("one of them pregnant") and 1 man were shot dead in Baghdad, two police officers were wounded in Kirkuk and "A U.S. military convoy killed an Iraqi man in Al Rashad neighborhood, Iraq police said."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses were discoved in Baghdad today. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Balad and the corpse "of a university lecturer" found in Kut.

US military announced today, "Five Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a combat patrol in a southern section of Baghdad June 28. Small arms and rocket-propelled attacks followed shortly after the blast. Seven other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." The deaths bring to 3577 the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and to 100 fatalties for the month of June. June is the third deadliest month for US service members so far this year. June 2007 is also the deadliest June for service members stationed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The attack was one of the combination attacks that isn't new and has been going on for over a year. BBC notes their "Baghdad correspondent Andrew North says that incidents like Thursday's, in which insurgents first use roadside bombs to attack US troops, then exploit the confusion afterwards to fire on them, have become more common. . . . Our correspondent says this is a sign yet again of how the conflict here keeps changing, with insurgents often one step ahead."

Turning to world leaders do the craziest things . . .

As an election looms in Australia and (Australia's)
ABC News reports Labour's Kevin Rudd has declared John Howard (prime minister) will reduce the number of Australians stationed in Iraq "as an election ploy, but his overall strategy is to keep them there indefinitely." Last week, Bill Taylor's remarks, such as "The majority of Australians across the country would very much like to see us come out of that mess as soon as possible," caused a stirbecause it was seen as coming from within Howard's own party (Liberal). Ed Johnson (Bloomberg News) reports today that Alexander Downer, the country's Foreign Minister, has announced, "I made it clear that Australian troops would stay" in Iraq and dismissing Rudd's observations that any of the country's approximately 1,500 troops would be leaving Iraq.
That would be the same Alexander Downer who was in Iraq yesterday meeting with Iraq's Foreign Minister to discuss trade.
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which must be the country's equivalent of Liz Smith, announces, "Mr. Downer thanked Mister Zebari for the briefing he gave concerning the latest developments, and assured his country's obligations in supporting the new Iraq, and to develop relations between Canberra and Baghdad."

Moving from the satellite of Howard to the Bully of them all, Bully Boy gave more of the same yesterday at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.
Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) report: "Mr. Bush in effect pleaded for more time on Thursday, saying that the deployments in Iraq he ordered in his so-called troop surge have only recently been completed and were already producing positive results. . . .Even at this pre-screened location, Mr. Bush faced some skepticism from questioners in the audience, including a woman who asked him pointedly if he was indeed listening to the advice of his commanders (yes, he said) and a professor who asked if the Iraq campaign was stretching United States forces too think to cope with other challenges elsewhere (no, he said)." Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) noted that Bully Boy wants the US to support death globally and focus locally as evidenced by Bully Boy's claim that "citizens are forming neighborhood watch groups" in Baghdad is a sign of encouragement. Ricks notes, "It is not clear what the difference is between those groups and armed militias, which U.S. officials have said in the past must be disbanded or incorporated into Iraqi security forces."
Flashback to almost exactly this time last year (July 2006) when al-Maliki was claiming his 'plan' would create just that -- only, they were all created. Bully Boy's seeing 'progress' in a questionable development and one that existed before the June 2006 'crackdown' began on Baghdad.
Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) points out that Bully Boy did his usual stunt: "Facing eroding support for his Iraq policy, even among Republicans, President Bush on Thursday called al Qaida 'the main enemy' in Iraq, an assertion rejected by his administration's senior intelligence analaysts. The reference, in a major speech at the Naval War College that referred to al Qaida at least 27 times, seemed calculated to use lingering outrage over the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to bolster support for the current buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq, despite evidence that sending more troops hasn't reduced the violence or sped Iraqi government action on key issues." And despite the fact that Iraq had no connection to 9-11. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observed, "The President went on to say he views Israel as a model for what Iraq should become. Bush says Israel is able to carry out its democratic functions despite the constant threat of attacks." Along with the massive insult such statements are to the region (maybe Bully Boy feels at this late date, there are no hearts and minds left to win?), it's also true that the Israeli government is in the news today for actions/behaviors that hardly deserve copying. Donald Macintyre (Independent of London) reports how Moshe Katsav (Israel's president) "yesterday escaped jail by agreeing a plea bargain under which rape charges against him will be dropped. In return he is admitting charges of lesser sexual offences against former employees."

And turning to England, we find Blair-lite.
Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown (Independent of London) observe, "Yesterday should have been a day of political triumph for Gordon Brown. Instead events in Basra provided a brutal and intimate reminder of the scale of the challenge he faces in Iraq." Scott Kennedy, James "Jamie" Kerr and Paul Joszko, three British soldiers, were all announced dead. Andrew Pierce and David Blair (Telegraph of London) note that Jamie Kerr was "from Mr Brown's Cowdenbeath constituency" and that "Mr Brown, as a local MP, will now face the dilemma of whether to be present when the body of his constituent is flown home." Richard Beeston, Michael Evans and Melanie Reid (Times of London) quote John Paul Ward, Jamie Kerr's step-father, on the soldier's last phone call to his mother, "Jamie said being out there was not what he thought it would be. He didn't want to be there. He was more scared than anything else. He said he wanted to come home and I think being out there was a reality check for him."

For those who have forgotten, the 156 British troops who have died and the 3577 US troops who have died, the nearly one million Iraqis who have died, and others, all died because Tony Blair and Bully Boy insisted that Iraq had WMD and that we couldn't wait for a "mushroom cloud."
CBS and AP report: "The Security Council voted Friday to immediately shut down the U.N. bodies key to monitoring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs under Saddam Hussein, a decision an Iraqi diplomat said would close 'an appalling chapter' in his country's history."

Meanwhile, tensions between Turkey and the northern section of Iraq continue with
Reuters reporting that Masoud Barzani ("head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq") has declared there will be a "catastrophe" should Turkey enter into the region.