Friday, September 29, 2006

Iraq and students (C.I.)

C.I. here, filling in for Kat today. I will try to grab Fridays while she's in Ireland. So the schedule should be, Mondays Betty, Wednesdays or Thursdays Ruth (she'll cover KPFA's Guns and Butter) and I'll try to grab Fridays. Others may grab a day from time to time (or do something here on one of the days already taken).

For those wondering, Kat's reviews that were nearly complete were on Ani DiFranco's Reprieve and David Rovics' Haliburton Board Room Massacre. She thinks her stay in Ireland may be six weeks. If that's the case, she hopes to finish the reviews (and would then dictate them -- she didn't take a computer with her -- over the phone). If it helps her focus on those, that's fine. However, I've told her no one expects her to deal with an impending death and turn out a review.

Tomorrow's the day Darrell Anderson's scheduled to cross the border back into the US (from Canada). Anderson served one tour in Iraq, was injured by a roadside bomb and awarded the Purple Heart. Facing a second deployment, he elected to self-check out of the military and go to Canada in January 2005. For a variety of reasons, including the failure of the Canadian government to grant asylum to war resisters (which they did during Vietnam) and the fact that he has health problems (PST), Anderson's made the decision to return to the United States. Please try to talk about him and raise awareness for him. Anita Anderson has stated she intends to be outside Fort Knox protesting so that her son is not railroaded or forgotten. By raising awareness on Darrell Anderson, you're helping him, you're helping her and you're helping the war resistance.

Today on KPFA's The Morning Show (link in the snapshot below), Medea Benjamin noted that she was often tired (but still out there) and she could understand others who've been protesting the war being tired as well. That's certainly a factor. But it's also true, and Kat's written about this here as she and I have been speaking to students over the summer, that there are people eager to join in but unsure of how to protest?

If you're a veteran of protests, you may have no way to relate to that. It may be such a part of your life that you can't even remember the first steps now. But you've got students today who have grown up in an environment that (a) praised the war and offered little dissent, (b) grasped on some level (often before their parents) that there was a huge gulf between stated intents of the US government and what was going on in Iraq, (c) have a media that fails them. When the center passes for the left (which it does, as Jeff Cohen points out wonderfully in his new book My Misadventures in Corporate Media) there are no narratives of activism. (In fact, on the thankfully cancelled Crossfire, the laughable Paul Begala responded to concerns and protests over obesity caused by fast food, by practically wrapping his body around a bucket of KFC and chowing down.) The center tells you to vote and that's the height of activism for that crowd.

There are many students who are active. They're active on many issues. But those students are often the ones organizing for speakers to come in. More often, the students I speak to are made up of people who want to get involved and, honestly, they usually have ideas, they just need to be told they're ideas are valid. The groups I speak to are usually in a social science group (one that I used to belong to when I was a student) so they're aware but they don't find a great deal of modeling. (I also speak to students in classes taught by friends.) The voices are far less hesitant than back in 2003. What is more likely today, in my experiences, is that they're needing validation. They're not getting that from the media.

Medea Benjamin spoke of how CODEPINK has about 250 chapters across the country now and that's wonderful. But what CODEPINK or other activist organizations can do is limited by money. If you come to Kat's site regularly, it may be hard to grasp that CODEPINK is not known by all. But there are many organizations that, if you've been active against the war, that some may have never heard of. That's true if it's a small college, a big college, a four-year university or a junior college. They can talk candidates and politicians (of the two major parties), but you'd be surprised how often organizations are less well known. (The Nation, last year, started working towards an on campus presence. I haven't read any articles on that in the magazine, but, hopefully, their actions continue.)

So what do we do? Because it is up to us. We have to be the media. We have to raise the issues and provide resources. If there's an organization you support, make sure those around you know about it.

I have a lot of fun talking with students. I don't find them apathetic or lazy. It irritates me when I read one of those op-eds slamming them. I don't know who they're talking about. In my own area, students are very active (they're in an area where activism has a long history and examples are known from years ago, from a few years ago, from last month). But across the country (I've not gone to Alaska, I've been fortunate to visit the other 49 states repeatedly over the last three years), there are students who care.

A story I hear at campus after campus is that in a class (usually Western Civ), they're told they have to follow the news and they're often encouraged to follow a paper. (Wall St. Journal is heavily pushed on campuses. So much so, that I began to wonder if the paper offers a kickback for subscriptions signed up). If they're following (as encouraged) the big paper in their state or Wall St. Journal or the New York Times, they're not getting much coverage of activism. Maybe an op-ed but they're not hearing about activism.

They have wonderful ideas and they really just need those validated because the media doesn't do that for them. If you're a student and you're reading Kat's site, you're probably aware of what's out there. But don't assume everyone's got the same knowledge base you do on activism because that's not the case. This goes beyond students. I focus on students because a friend was scheduled to speak and I agreed to fill in when something came up. It is a lot of fun because I'm not going in with a speech and then walking out the door. They don't need speeches, not prepared ones. They need a conversation and my favorite moments are usually when they're doing all the discussion and I can just listen. I do have speech if it's a more reserved group but it's rare that it doesn't turn into a discussion (I think I've finished a speech once -- I always say, "Stop me if something comes up that you want to ask or you want to talk about).

On a slow month, I'm meeting with six groups. There aren't many slow months. And having gone to campuses for three years, it really does piss me off when I hear someone say that students don't care or that they're lazy. They're not. Nor do they need someone to present them with a plan. They do need someone to listen to them. The media's refused to. It's probably a lot easier just to write a "What's Wrong With Kids Today" column -- those things have been written since the invention of colums, I'm sure.

To apply it to people who don't know students, you need to get the word out in your own circles. Your family and friends need to know what's out there. If it's a magazine or program or organization (or all and more), they need to be aware of it. You need to create the excitement on it because, more often than not, no one else is going to. And I think we're writing about this at The Third Estate Sunday Review this week (or that's planned) so let me stop here.

This was today's "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the British military officers say out-of-Iraq, Medea Benjamin asks are you willing to "Give Peace a Vote"?,
is the US military writing off Al-Anbar Province, and tomorrow war resister Darrell Anderson is set to return to the United States.

Canada's CBC reports that, after eighteen months in Canada, war resister Darrell Anderson is readying for his journey home with his wife, Gail Greer, stating, "He needs to be home. This is not his home." [Note: CBC continues to list his wife as "Gail Green." US news outlets, other Candian outlets and her film credits list her as "Gail Greer." If Gail Greer is not the correct name, we'll note that in a future snapshot.] Darrell Anderson was wounded by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the US military and, as Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and others during this illegal war, head to Canada. Once there, he applied for legal status but, as with other war resisters, the government did not grant asylum. (This in marked contrast to Canada's actions during the Vietnam era.) Anita Anderson, his mother, tells CBC "there is no front line" in Iraq and that soldiers "are not supposed to be fighting this fight of war." If not arrested Saturday when he returns, Darrell Anderson intends to drive to Fort Knox where he will turn himself in. Information on Darrell Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Meanwhile, in England, Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports: "Senior military officers have been pressing the government to withdraw British troops from Iraq and concentrate on what they now regard as a more worthwhile and winnable battleground in Afghanistan. They believe there is a limit to wath British soldiers can achieve in southern Iraq and that it is time the Iraqis took responsiblity for their own security, defence sources say." The report comes as Bonnie Malkin (Guardian of London) notes that "former foreign secretary Jack Straw has described the situation in Iraq as 'dire,' blaming mistakes made by the US for the escalating crisis." Straw has words of praise for former US Secreatry of State Colin Powell which is only a surprise to those who never noticed their mutual admiration society until today. The report that military officials want British troops out of Iraq (and into Afghanistan) has already led to a denial from Defence Secretary Des Browne who, AFP reports, denied the report on BBC radio.

While the truth battles spin, Mark Malloch Brown, deputy secretary general of the United Nations makes a call of his own. Paul Vallely (Independent of London) reports
Malloch Brown has stated that it was Tony Blair's Iraq policy that "fatally undermined his position as Prime Minister and forced him to step down" and Vallely also quotes an unnamed "UN source" who declares of Blair, "But Iraq has finished him. Mr. Blair seems not to appreciate just how disliked and distrusted he is in other nations."

In the United States, Reuters reports: "The U.S. Congress on Friday moved to block the Bush adminstration from building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq or controlling the country's oil sector, as it approved $70 billion for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) noted Wednesday when reporting on recent polling of Iraqis, ". . . the Program on Itnerantional Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found . . . 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends to keep permanent military bases in the country." Noting the polling, Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "The writing is on the wall -- and on page after page of report after report. All leading to the same inescapable conclusion. Iraq has made us less safe; it's time to bring our troops home." What will it take for that? Not buying into the fear mania, which is a topic Huffington addressed with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA, The Morning Show [and is also the topic of On Becoming Fearless, Huffington's new book]. [Remember that KPFA broadcasts are archived and you can listen to them, free of charge, 24/7.]

The US Congress' decision comes as Robert Burns (AP) reports Army Col. Sean B. Macfarland ("commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division" in Iraq) stated that the resistance in Al-Anbar Province will not be defeated by American forces and will "probably" continue "until after U.S. troops leave the country". Most recent actions in Al-Anbar have revolved around Ramadi which is being carved up into a series of Green Zones (to little effect). [Currently at Alive in Baghdad, there is a video report on a man who was "Falsely Arrested and Abused In Ramadi.]

In the most noted violence in Iraq today, Kadhim Abdel has been shot dead. CNN reports that "the brother-in-law of Judge Mohammad Orabi Majeed Al-Khalefa, was driving in Ghazaliya on Friday with his son aged 10 and another 10-year-old boy when their car was attacked. Both boys were wounded." The Australian combines AP and Reuters to note: "It was not immediately clear whether they were targeted because they were related to judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who took over the Saddam trial last week, or if it was another of the sectarian attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad." (That statement is actually all AP.)


AP reports that a police officer died ("and two civilians injured") from a bombing in downtown Baghdad; while two Iraqi soldiers lost their lives in Anah from a roadside bomb (with two more wounded).


AFP reports that two police officers were shot dead in Dura. CNN reports that four people were shot dead in Balad.


AP reports that eight corpses were discovered in Iraq, three were discovered in Baquba and that two corpses "were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah". AFP reports that two corpses were discovered in Kut. (The Times of London ups the Baghdad corpse count to ten.)

In peace news, BuzzFlash declares the Dixie Chicks this weeks Wings of Justice winners for using their voices to speak truth to power. In 2003, the Chicks were savaged by some (and Diane Sawyer attempted a public shaming). They didn't back down and, to quote a song off their new, best selling CD, they're "not ready to make nice." [Click here for Kat's review of the CD.] The Dixie Chicks stood strong and a lot of people stood with them. There's a lesson in that.

CODEPINK is celebrating it's fourth anniversary on Sunday and Andrea Lewis spoke with Medea Benjamin about that today on KPFA's The Morning Show today. Addressing the organization's latest action -- Give Peace a Vote! -- Benjamin noted that: "We have November elections coming up and then we have presidential elections coming up and unfortunately If we don't translate the silent majority voice that's against this war into a voter bloc, we're going to be faced with another opportunity to vote for two major parties giving us war candidates. So Give Peace a Vote!is a way to say, 'I will not vote for anybody that does not call for an end to this war and no more wars of aggression.'"

Speaking with Kris Welch today on KPFA's Living Room, Daniel Ellsberg noted the upcoming World Can't Wait protest (October 5th -- day of mass resistance), his being named as the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the importance of speaking out.

As noted by James Glanz (New York Times) and Gritte Witte (Washington Post) this morning, American contractor Parsons has a 1/14 success rate for their construction projects in Iraq --- actually less than 1 in 14 because, as Witte notes, "The one project reviewed by auditors that was being constructed correctly, a prison, was taken away from Parsons before its completion because of escalating costs." With that in mind, pay attention to Janis Karpinski (writing for The Huffington Post): "Our silence will beget more of the same and worse. We must find courage. We must stand up. One of the ways to do this is by screening and sharing a new documentary I appeared in called Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers -- which calls for a stop to the shameful war profiteering this administration has allowed to occur. We must speak up. We must because we are Americans and we know better than this. We can move beyond the shame only when we stop this from getting worse and participate in making it better."

Finally, next week, Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, hits the road again to raise awareness on his son -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, Ehren Watada awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .). Here are Bob Watada's speaking engagements for Monday through Friday of next week:

Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur
3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood
Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:

Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:
Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus

Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally(March starts at noon at pershing S1)
Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

On a non-Iraq note, Lynda pointed out that a link was wrong this morning (and yesterday) so I'll note it here (it's corrected on the main site, but not on the mirror site) from Ms.: Before the new Ms. comes out on October 10, we're doing a last push to get signatures on our "We Had Abortions" petition. With our right to choose in danger, we at Ms. think it's important for us to take a stand now for abortion rights. We'd love to have your help!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Keith Harmon Snow was the guest on today's Guns and Butter (Ruth)

Ruth with you tonight (tonight my time) and I need to thank community member Dallas who usually helps with the links for my reports (along with C.I.) and is on the phone with me tonight talking me through links. As Betty noted here yesterday, Kat's left for Ireland due to a family illness. For those asking, there is no time line right now. It is a serious illness and, short of a miracle, there won't be a happy outcome.

When Kat and I spoke on Monday, she asked me to make that point clearly because she was afraid Betty, due to her positive and caring nature, would word it in such a way that people might fill her e-mails while she was gone with messages of hope. The family member is very old and at the end of life. (Which, I believe, was behind Kat's choice for the title of her last post.)

Death is a part of life, which does not make it any easier. But her point, as I understood it, was not wanting to face e-mails of hope on the topic when she returned. I can put myself in her shoes and think of my parents or my husband's death. Especially with my husband's death, I bumped into someone neither of us had been close to at the grocery store on my first official visit out of the house after he died. The woman asked me how I was doing and I answered briefly. Then she asked how my husband was? She had no idea. Someone else was left to explain because I turned and walked out of the store, to my car, drove back home and did not leave the house for another week.

I see that I have already gone beyond the three paragraphs that Kat asked to set as a limit. She does not want anyone spending "all their time" attempting to fill in while she is gone. But she knows I can be wordy so I will go ahead and note today's Guns and Butter which is hosted by Bonnie Faulkner and airs on KPFA. While more information can be found at the show's website, I believe that KPFA has the archived broadcast up sooner. If you missed it, the program already should be in the KPFA archives.

Today, Ms. Faulkner spoke with the journalist Keith Harmon Snow about the situation in Darfur. The community will enjoy this broadcast because it continues Ms. Faulkner's efforts to go beyond the obvious story. Mr. Harmon Snow is a journalist who has appeared prior on the program when they broadcast a forum discussion on the topic of Darfur. His perspective is a left perspective; however, it is not one that I have heard outside of Ms. Faulkner's show and that does bother me.

It makes me wonder if, a hundred years from now, books will be written about how people were fooled into calling for action in an area where the violence was fueled by the desires of big business to have "action" there for their own interests? As Ms. Faulkner remains the only host I am aware of to explore this topic from outside what Mike has called The Sammy Powers Movement and The Modern Day Carrie Nations, I do have to wonder why other programs continue to act as those there is only one "answer."

The answer itself bothers me. If you are new to the topic, the answer is supposed to be that we all beg the Bully Boy to "take action." The same Bully Boy who took "action" in Iraq and Afghanistan which, as even mainstream reporting notes, created nothing but tragic messes.

Mr. Harmon Snow rightly noted the factions fueling this "movement" from within the United States as well as the business interests that are involved. He made the point that the leaders of the "movement" were able to get an audience with the Bully Boy on the eve of their March protest. The point is that Bully Boy is eager for this "action." In Congress there are efforts to provide funds for the "action." Mr. Harmon Snow is one of the voices attempting to ask that people take the time to examine the issue. I do not feel the issue has been examined on most programs. All appear to operate from the assumption that two "lefties" must be right. At least one of them advocated for war with Iraq on "humanitarian grounds." People should be asking questions but the independent media seems unable or unwilling to do that. Instead, as Mr. Harmon Snow noted, we get an English professor making every increasing claims that are not proven.

The same independent media that wanted to burn Judith Miller at the stake now wants to advocte, for "humanitarian reasons," that military action in Sudan. Many months ago, The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Darfur" and "Head on Home (a musical in four scenes)" addressed this nonsense. I do feel it is nonsense. If all the claims being made by those advocating for action, which I seriously doubt, how the answer could come via the Bully Boy still should raise serious questions. More recently, The Third Estate Sunday Review offered "The Tears" which quoted from a colum by Jonathan Steele entitled, "Sorry George Clooney, but the last thing Darfur needs is western troops." Mr. Steele writes for The Guardian of London and, strangely enough, on other topics, he has frequently been a guest on independent media programs in this country. On this topic, Mr. Steele's opinions are apparently not to be sought.
Anyone eager to hear another argument on the conflict should listen to the latest weekly installment of Guns and Butter. I will be noting the program here each week while Kat is in Ireland and my plan is to do so on the day the program airs. If I am not able to do that, I will note it on Thursdays, the day after it airs.

Kat asked that anytime I fill in here, I note the snapshot. The only problem with that is my copy and paste talents. So bear with me as I attempt to figure that out. Like every member of the community, I appreciate the snapshots and appreciate that, within the community, they have maintained a focus on Iraq at a time when media ("big and small," to use C.I.'s phrase) has largely turned its back on Iraq. Here is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2006. Chaos and violence contine in Iraq with CBS calling it a "blood soaked morning in Iraq", a war resister turns himself in, Basra operations appear aptly dubbed as England lives out a fable, Bully Boy flashes the public but refuses to reveal all, Bill Clinton provides a cringe-worthy flashback in England, and the US military learns that just because they say so doesn't make it true.

Starting with the "blood soaked" day in Iraq where the violence and chaos continue.


Reuters reports that two roadside bombs in Baghdad took the life of one and left three wounded; while three police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in Mussayab; four were killed by a roadside bomb in Baquba; and mortar rounds in Rashad killed two Iraqi soldiers and left three wounded. CBS and AP report that a police officer was killed in Baghdad by "a bomb hidden in his car". AFP reports that the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, William Caldwell IV, has stated that "this week's suicide attacks were at the highest leavel of any given week" apparently too busy checking the Eva Gabor wig catalogue to register the news reported earlier this month that so-called suicide bombers are not limited to people intentionally exploding bombs. (As reported earlier, those that have been classified as such also include unknowing persons who die when the bombs are exploded by remote control.)


Reuters reports that today's attack in Baghdad ("near a Sunni mosque" resulted in ten civilians being shot dead. CBS and AP report that two people were shot dead in Baghdad and an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Karma. CBS and AP also report that, on Tuesday, two Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Baghdad. Also shot dead on Tuesday, Reuters reports, was "Nima al-Yaseen, the sister of Shi'ite MP Ligaa al-Yaseen."


CNN reports that 17 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and that, since Sunday, 77 corpses have been found in the capital. CBS and AP note that nine corpses "were pulled out of the Tigris river" showing the now common signs of torture and, in addition, they report "the bodies of 23 men were found dumped in the streets" of Baghdad today..
In one of the day's most controversial events, the US military continues to maintain one point of view and everyone else another.

As the
US military tells it: "Coalition forces killed four suspected terrorists and wounded two others during a raid the morning of Sept. 27 targeting a terrorist tied to extremist leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq in Iraq’s Diyalah and Salah ah Din provinces.
As Coalition forces approached the objective, they received sporadic small arms fire from throughout the neighborhood and sustained small arms fire from the objective building. Coalition forces, through their Iraqi interpreters, announced they were in the area, whereupon the shooting ceased from most locations except the target building. Coalition forces killed two terrorists during this engagement. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire from the target building, they also engaged the building with Coalition aircraft." Apparently the statement was written by an old Sonny & Cher fan who wanted to update an early 70s song to "Mama was a Jidhast Terrorist And Papa Used to Follow All Her Plans."

On a less musical note,
Reuters reported: "A U.S. raid and air strike killed eight people, including seven members of one family, and wounded two others in the town of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military and police said. The U.S. said the four men in the family of seven were suspected militants with links to al Qaeda." And Aileen Alfandary, KPFA's The Morning Show, noted that among those killed in the airstrike was a pregnant woman. Though initially weighting their report heavy on the official US military version, the AP now reports that family members "disputed the U.S. account"; that they "cried and consoled on another as the bodies of the women were taken away"; that Manal Jassim ("who lost her parents and other relatives in the attack") states: "This is an ungly criminal act by the U.S. solderis against Iraqi citizens"; and that the Association of Muslim Scholars call the air strike a "terrorist massacre."

In news of more successful propaganda efforts,
AP reports that the spin-meisters of the American-based Lincoln Group have been awarded a US government contract worth approximately $6.2 million after their bang up job planting 'Happy Talk' in Iraqi outlets (which, despite the continued focus on print was not limited to print and included radio and TV). In addition to continuing to play the mouth of Mary Sunshine of the illegal war (William Caldwell IV apparently having his hands full playing the Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone), the $6.2 million also covers their "monitoring" of US domestic news outlets inclduing the New York Times. (Apparently in order to crown the new Dexter Filkins -- Sabrina Tavernise appears to be in the lead as the new go-to-guy for the US military when suggesting/planting stories.)

In military news,
AP reports on British troops in Basra and notes that their efforts are part of "the security drive . . . dubbed 'Operation Sinbad'.'' Those with longer memories than the AP my find that amusing for a number of reasons. Literally speaking, Sinbad hails from the epic The Book of One Thousand and One Nights -- a variety of epic tales with one told each night by Scheherazade, to her husband, King Shahryar, to stall her planned execution and allow her to live for another day. Is England attempting to suggest that all the troops are doing is forestalling and, in the end, will have to plead for mercy? A question worth asking because, though the AP sidesteps this, England first began "Operation Sinbad" in Basra on April 6th -- April 6, 2003. A smashing success, to be sure, just like Amara.

Meanwhile, on
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari spoke with Carl Conetta about the "General's revolt" and the growing resistance among top military brass to the 'leadership' provided by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The issues of concern for the military were the readyness of equipment and US forces both of which, it was argued, are in need of upgrading. The discussion addressed the further lowering of the bar for recruits in an effort to meet targets. Also in news of generals, today's AP report that two generals suffered from food poisioning after dining in DC last week: Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Gen. John Abizaid -- the latter of which had to be hospitalized for three nights at Walter Reed Medical Center.

In peace news,
AP reports that war resister Agustin Aguayo turned himself at Fort Irwin last night. Aguayo self-checked out of the US military, from a Gernany base, on September 2nd after learning he would redeployed to Iraq (even if getting him there required hancuffing him). Adrienne Ziegler (Desert Dispatch) reports his self-checkout came as he was waiting for word on his appeal to be designated conscientious objector status and that his wife, Helga Aguayo, stated, "The greatest lesson he could teach (our daughters) is to stand up for what you believe in, and if you don't, you hurt the people around you. . . . If my husband can inspire one person to become a conscientious objector, then all this hassle was worth it." Like war resister Mark Wilkerson, there is no word on what, if any, charges Aguayo will face. War resister Ricky Clousing, who also self-checked out, has been informed he has been charged with desertion. (A technical charge that may not be levied against Aguayo who was gone for less than thirty days.) More information on Aguayo can be found at his official website.

his own web site, Mark Wilkerson recommends the film Jarhead and writes, "Speaking from my own experience in Iraq: Every day in Iraq was an inner struggle to keep from going crazy and just blasting away into the crowds that gathered around our trucks. I had to make a conscious effort to stay in focus and not use my MK-19 or SAW machine gun to level a whole city block."

Meanwhile, war resister Darrell Anderson intends to return from Canada to the United States on Saturday. If not arrested at the border, Anderson will then turn himself in at Fort Knox. The Purple Heart awarded Anderson was injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Baghdad and, facing a second deployment to Iraq, elected to self-check out in January 2005 and go to Canada. More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist and that includes information on Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.

Peace resister Bully Boy has his own problems as his efforts to clamp down on discussions of the effects that the (illegal) war in Iraq had on safety for the United States and the world proved unsuccessful. After releasing pre-selected pages (approximately three pages) of the approximately thirty page April NIE assessment,
AP reports that White House Fluffer Tony Snow Job dismissed cries to release the full report under the pretext that doing so would reveal the identities of intel agents and assests whom, apparently, embedded messages within the report such as, "Hi, I'm Jody. For a good time, call me at . . . " AP notes: "In the bleak National Intelligence Estimate, the government's top analysts concluded Iraq has become a 'cause celebre' for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach. If the trend continues, the analysts found, the risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow." AP also reports the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined US Congress member Jane Harmon's request that the White House release another intel report that is apparently lying in wait to be sprung on the American public after the November elections.

While Bully Boy continues to insist that the US is "safer but not safe" and the "democracy" is taking root in Iraq, both
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) have noted the reality of polls demonstrating that Iraqis overwhelmingly want the US out of Iraq. Look for a third Post, the New York Post, to attempt spin control -- possibly by claiming that the representative pool naturally favored "jihadists."

The results are not surpising (nor new, they reflect ongoing polling since the war started) and
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on how neighborhoods of Bahgdad are turned into guarded barricades and quotes one resident, Ibrahim Abdul Sattar, as declaring, "We have been living together for 30 years. We've never had such tensions like this before. We are fearing for our future."

Obviously the so-called 'safer but not safe' effect hasn't reached Baghdad (despite the three-month-old 'crackdown'). The polls of Iraqis follow CNN's most recent polling of Americans (see "
Poll: Terrorism, Iraq very important to midterm voters") which found that, as with their polling in August, 59% of Americans oppose the Iraq war and, if you rank all those describing the issue as important to them (includes anti-war and pro-war and the categories about to be lumped together are "extremely important," "very important" and "moderately important") 96% of those polled ranked the Iraq war as important. If only the media shared the same view.

Finally, Bill Clinton went to England to prop up Tony Blair and, no doubt rankled many, with his effusive praise of Tony Blair ("
a stunning success") which may have many recalling that it was Clinton, not Reagan or Poppy Bush, that worked to rehabilitate the justly tarnished image of Richard Nixon. Republican presidents couldn't have done that because Tricky Dick was, rightly, radioactive, so they had to steer clear. It takes a village . . . healer? Though far more popular than the Bully Boy (but then who isn't?) in England, Bill Clinton's remarks ("ringing praise" exclaims Australia's Daily Telegraph) attempting to prop up the increasingly unpopular Blair and to promote prime minister wanna-be Gordon Brown ("brilliant ecnomic leadership") may not carry weight with British voters and, especially the citing of Brown, may lead to the already shaky Labour support growing even shakier.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Betty with a note

Betty here, filling in. If Kat seemed down last night, she was. That was due to the fact that a member of her family is very ill and she learned of it Monday when she returned home. She called me last night and the gang saw her off this morning at the airplane. She'll be in Ireland for a time unknown at present.

While she's gone, a number of us will be filling in. Ruth will cover Guns and Butter
here for Kat each week. C.I. is going to try and grab Fridays here. I'll grab at least one day as well, Mondays if that's okay with everyone. Everyone is already stretched to the limit currently and Kat told everyone they didn't have to worry. When we were on the phone last night, she told me everyone had ignored that and asked for the password (which I did as well). I'll probably do three paragraphs or so when I write. Ruth plans to stick to that as well. There probably won't be lengthy entries but there will be something and, cross your fingers for luck, entries regularly.

At a minimum, there will be three entries a week but we're hoping to hit five from time to time. If there's any word, we'll attempt to pass it on here. Kat has no idea how long she'll be in Ireland and she told me she may work on two reviews she had planned but not completed. If so, she'll either dictate them to me or to C.I. and they will go up at The Common Ills. I told her I didn't think that was very likely but she spoke of it as something to do to get her mind off of other things. I imagine she's going to be very worn out and have little time for much more than sitting in silence when she finds herself with what passes for quiet time. But that's my guess.

So that's it from me tonight. She did ask that I be sure to include the snapshot anytime I blogged here and I'm happy to. So here's C.I.'s latest "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, War Hawk Tony Blair flutters his wing as he prepares his long descent into oscurity, a war resister learns religion's talked big in the US but the talk's not backed up (which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone as Bully Boy's own church calls for withdrawal and he ignored the call), Bully Boy says "Read my briefs" and only Peggy Noons and Chris Matthews tremble with desire, Ehren Watada's father prepares for a second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son (begins in October)

Starting in Washington, DC. As
Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reported, John D. Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence and Latin America "fun" boy, declared in a speech Monday night: Yes, the war in Iraq is fueling "a new generation of jihadist leaders and operatives" but SFW. Negroponte is under the impression that 'terrorism' can be defeated and that will send a message. To whom? Dead Iraqis caught in the crossfire? If so, his 80s role in Honduras should have been seriously explored (it wasn't). Negroponte seems to believe that Iraq will be the horse's head left in the bed to send a message. Such a belief demonstrates either an eagerness to lie or no political concept of the roots of terrorism.

It's as delusional and disingenuous as Bully Boy's 'Read my briefs.' Skipping past the skid marks, of course.
AP reports that Bully Boy's decided to release the NIE, saying, "You read it for yourself." The April NIE, composed by US intel agencies, found that the Iraq war (as Negroponte noted in last night's speech) was fueling terrorism. (See yesterday's snapshot.) But Americans can't read it for themselves because this assessment will not be available in full. Instead, Bully Boy seems to see the assessment as flatware and himself as Harpo Marx in Animal Crackers -- shake him and bit will drop out with each shake. Bully Boy wants to make his point by . . . selectively releasing portions of the report. Maybe Pat Roberts taught him that trick? (AFP cites an unnamed source who states the report argues against withdrawal from Iraq. No doubt that will be among the bits and pieces served up to the people.)

Bully Boy calls the talk to the press of the report "political" (so far so good) and then goes on to insist it's done to influence the November elections. Which either means he feels the need to wrap a lie around the few bits of truth he can manage or else Dick Cheney didn't explain it to him in full Sunday. As
Dan Froomking (Washington Post) notes: "President Bush's all-important terror-fighting credentials are taking a bruising this week."

In England, Tony Blair also takes a beating as he prepares phase one of his farewell tour meant to polish his image. Even with
Helene Mulhooland (The Guardian) providing the biggest waxing on (she speaks to Labour delegates to get their thoughts -- and low and behold, they all sing Tones' praises) her paper's done for anyone other than Joe Lieberman, the polish isn't taking. As Steve McGookin (Financial Times via Forbes) notes, the rocky relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair is public and can't be papered over. And all the gossip over whether or not Cherie Booth (Tony Blair's wife) accused a TV-screen displayed Gordon Brown of lying can't paper over the news that Ahmad al-Matairi, as reported by the BBC, is stating that in 2003 he was beaten in Basra by British troop with "insult kicks" delivered with such relish it was "like it was Christmas" for British soldiers. The BBC reports that, prior to the beating, al-Matairi had been a big supporter of the invasion, that British troops stole money from his safe, and that he is among nine Iraqis telling of hoodings and beatings. This is the case in which Donald Payne has already pleaded guilty to war crimes -- the other six defendents maintain their innocence.

How badly are things going for the dwindling coalition? The
US military's most recent press release exclaims "Iraq's president says country's forces ready, willing to help secure Baghdad." The exclamation point is, obviously implied. Dated today and gushing over remarks made by Jalal Talabani on Sunday, not a ray of realism will penetrate this wave of Operation Happy Talk. Were it to, a ray of realism might note that the so-called 'crackdown' started in June (14th or 15th depending upon your time zone and your reporting) and that the calander shows the current month to be September. A ray of realism might wonder why, only three months later, the president of Iraq is claiming now-readyness? But no time for thought, the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk got lost in the NIE talk and the Happy Talkers are ready to try it out one more time.

Especially in light of
their buried news, the death of two more US soldiers, in Baghdad, today. Look for Sabrina Tavernise to turn in a forty-paragraph report to the New York Times tomorrow that notes the deaths in the final paragraph with two sentences. Their deaths bring the total American military deaths to 2705.

And in other violence in Iraq.


Reuters notes that two Iraqi police officers are dead and American troops wounded from a car bomb in Jurf al-Sakhar; one police officer dead from a car bomb in Kirkuk; five dead from a roadside bomb in Mahmudiya; in Kirkuk a car bomb took the life of one person; a roadside bomb in Latifiya killed one employee of Iraq's Finance Ministry and left five wounded; and mortar rounds resulted in the death of a child and five people wounded in Mahmudiya. CNN notes the Community Party was the target of a car bombing in Baghdad and four people were killed (at least 18 were wounded). Also in Baghdad, Reuters notes three dead, 21 wounded from "a car bomb and a roadside bomb exploded in quick succession"; and four police officers wounded by "[a] bomb attached to a booby-trapped body". On the first incident noted by Reuters, AFP reports it differently and cites "the prime minister's office" as the source -- according to them, the police station was destroyed by "mortars and a car bomb" and "killed three officers and wounded several more, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a statement, which described the attack as having taken place in the previous 24 hours." AFP also notes "in Diyalah province, a roadside bomb blew up an ambulance rushing to the hospital killing the driver and the medic inside on the way to the provincial capital of Baquba."


Peter Graff (Reuters) reports that three people were killed in an attack in southern Baghdad. CNN notes: "Gunmen also attacked the convoy of a Baghdad district mayor traveling from the capital to Diyala, killing three bodyguards." Reuters reports four people were shot dead in Baquba,


CNN notes that two corpses were discovered in Baghdad -- "raising the number of bodies recovered in the capital since Sunday to 62." Reuters raises the total corpses discovered in Baghdad today to five and notes that fifteen were discovered in Baghdad on Monday while, in Diwaniya and Baiji a corpse was discovered in each (the corpse of an Iraqi soldier and an unidentified corpse) and in Mahmudiya, twelve corpses were discovered..Of the soldier discovered in Diwaniyah, AFP notes that "A week earlier two other members of his unit were also found dead " Finally, AP raises the total corpses found in Baghdad to thirteen.

In peace news, Agustin Aguayo self-checked out of the US military on September 2nd.
KPFA reports that he is planning to turn himself in today. Courage to Resist, sent out an e-mail alert on Aguayo (noted here) at the start of the month. Mima Mohammed (Los Angelse Times) report, based on an interview with his wife Helga Aguayo, remains the definitive press coverage. (For those not registered at LAT, click here.) Those wishing to see video footage of Agustin Aguayo explaining his case can click here for his official site. Aguayo explains in his own words (text here) Aguayo was largely a non-public war resister due to the fact that he attempted (for years) to go through channels. His C.O. status was denied and he wasn't given a chance for appeal. While serving in Iraq, due to his religious beliefs (the grounds for his C.O. application), he refused to load his gun. In 2005, he and his wife switched the battle to the US civil courts. Aguayo self-checked out when his unit, then in Germany, was preparing for redeployment to Iraq. Kevin Dougherty (Stars and Stripes) reports that Aguayo singed up after repeated conversations with a California military recruiter convinced him he convinced that "a health care specialist" could serve the country (US) and the military, that it was only once Aguayo deployed to Iraq that he began to rethink his decision.

For nearly three years now, Aguayo has stood by that decision. Rejecting the idea that he could sign up (under a repeated snow job from a recruiter) and, once in Iraq, realize the mistake of his decision rejects the basic principle of many popular faiths practiced in America which are based upon the idea of awakening. If the military or the civilian courts are going to argue that one's religious status is a fixed state, they're going to be going against the teachings of a great many churches within the US. Aguayo's case can be summed up as someone coming from a religious environment, confronted with a real world reality that is not the one sold to him, deciding to respond to it with the teachings he was raised on. This really is a freedom of religion case and many religious parents in the US would reject the notion, should their children offer it to them, that once they realized that a party (or an event) contained actions that they were raised to object to, they (the children) had to shut up and go along because they'd already agreed to attend the event.

Let's use a broad example so that we can cover as many US religions as possible. If Aguayo went to a party and the party turned out to be an orgy, his parents wouldn't accept the excuse that he had to participate because he'd agreed to attend. It would be acknowledged that attending was a mistake but, once seeing with his own eyes what was going on, they'd expect him to observe the religious teachings he'd been brought up with.

Aguayo went to an environment expecting one thing and was confronted with another. When confronted with the reality, he processed his decision through his religious teachings. That's really what's at the heart of his objection. (And hopefully others will make the case because I prefer not to talk of religion or make cases based upon religion here -- there's no way to do that and discuss Aguayo's case which is why religion is being addressed here now).

Most religions praciticed in the US, depend upon the concept of testing. It's there in the narratives, it's in the teachings. Certainly, those believing in a literal rapture, believe that Christ/Lord/God/Jesus/Jehovah* will test followers and their salvation will be based upon how they respond to that test. The claim that Aguayo signed up so therefore, religious objections should have prevented him from signing up, negates all the teachings on testing.

[*The list isn't disrespectful or sarcastic. Any visitor who feels it is would do better looking beyond his/her own religion before writing an e-mail on how offended they are by the categorization.]

Far from undermining Aguayo's arguments, his experiences actual reinforce what many US religions teach. This is a freedom of religion issue and if the military is going to rule upon who is or who isn't a believer, someone might need to speak of them of what is considered "God's role" and what is considered "human's role." Once the case made it into the civilian courts, a judge should have immediately grasped the central issues of the case and moved to release Aguayo from his military service. The whole point of religious teachings, regardless of the religion, are to prepare the person for handling new situations. When Aguayo found himself in a new situation, the religious beliefs he was raised with became the principles for his actions and are the reason that he sought out additional religious instructions. (And note, the warning signs were going off for Aguayo's during training which is when he first attempted to file for C.O. status.)

We don't talk religion here. Too many members are of differening beliefs (including non-believers). All opinions are respected. There's no way to speak of what's at the heart of Aguayo's case without noting religion and belief so we've addressed it. (And that puts us one up on the military and the courts.)

Aguayo's story isn't that different from another war resister's, Hart Viges. As
John M. Crisp (The Argus) reports, Viges enlisted (on September 12, 2001) eager to serve and then he spent "11 1/2 months" in Iraq. Returning to the US, he began examining his beliefs, saw The Passion of the Christ, and came to conclusion that war was wrong. This processing, presented with a test & reaching a conclusion based upon your religious teachings, is the narrative of many religions in the US and the military may not like that, they may see it as a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the military is part of the US government and the government is supposed to allow for freedom of religion.

Meanwhile, Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is gearing up to go back out on the road in October. Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, he awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .).

Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur
3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood
Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:

Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:

Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus

Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:

Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502

Sun 10/8 6:00-8:00 pm An Evening of Discussion and Learning hosted by Rev. Phyllis Tyler
11326 CherryLee Dr., El Monte (Rev. Tyler is Senior Pastor of Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church in Alhambra) Co-sponsored by NCRR and the National Japanese American United Methodist Church Caucus
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484 email:

Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

All of that can be found online but, WARNING, PDF format. For those who can view PDF, click
here. Again, the speaking tour, Bob Watada's second, begins in October.
More information on Ehren Watada can be found at
Courage to Resist and

In other peace news,
Shepherd Bliss (Augusta Free Press) reviews Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, a new collection edited by Maxine Hong Kingston. Those who read Hong Kingston's The Fifth Book of Peace are familiar with the workshops she has been doing with veterans (it's in the section "EARTH" which begins, in text, on page 241). Bliss, who contributed to the collection, concludes: "Veterans, and other Americans, have a lot to grieve about these days. Doing such grief work can be instrumental to the creation of a lasting peace."

Monday, September 25, 2006

That's just the way it is

Where did the weekend go? Blink and you missed it. Thank you to everyone for their kind words on my last review ("Kat's Korner: 'Mommy, May I Pet With Danger?'") but as to when the next one's coming . . . Right now, I have no idea. I just want to sleep for one week. I haven't even listened to the messages on the machine or checked the (snail) mail. The rest of the gang ended up stuck at the airpot when we landed. I split with permission, came back here and showered. (Permission from the gang. As soon as we were walking through the airport C.I. was swamped with one call after another and they ended up camped out there while C.I. worked on the snapshot. Which has a ton of information.)

So what do I have to say tonight? Really, not much. I can tell you to go check out The Third Estate Sunday Review. We all worked hard on that and I'm pleased with. Think you may be as well. I'm staring at the screen trying to figure out what to write. Between the word on
The Third Estate Sunday Review and everything else, I feel talked out.

I can talk about that. That was a topic we discussed this weekend. I don't think C.I. really gets it. That's not an insult. It's just we were all talking about that moment when you choke, when nothing will come. C.I. has that feelings, everyone does; however, the waters are always tappable for C.I. "And the war drags on . . ." was the perfect example. We had finished dinner and gone back to the place we were staying. The whole way, we were discussing this subject and C.I. offered as an example, "I don't think I have anything to write tonight." Then, you read "And the war drags on . . ." and it's like, "Okay, you have those feelings but they're just feelings." Meaning, if I choke, I choke. I have nothing to say. The same is not true of C.I. But I've choked tonight and that's just the way it is.

So read C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, September 25, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military fatality count crosses another marker with little attention, Iran continues to be the focus for Bully Boy's continued war lust, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gets a blistering critique, the 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division learns that promises of returning home are meaningless as their tour of duty in Iraq gets an extension, war resister Darrell Anderson continues to prepare for his return to the United States, in England Tony Blair comes under criticism from both a would-be-prime-minister and his sister-in-law, and the much trumpeted digital images of of Australian troops playing "cowboy" do not include photos or footage of Jake Kovco.
After being awarded the Purple Heart and returning from Iraq, Darrell Anderson was informed he was being redeployed to Iraq. Anderson elected to self-check out from the military in January 2005 and went to Canada. Earlier this month Anita Anderson confirmed to the press that her son was considering returning to the United States. Darrell Anderson was on a delayed honeymoon with
Gail Greer (whom he met when she was part of a team making a documentary on war resisters). (The documentary was Albert Nerenberg's Escape to Canada.)
Anderson spoke with Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) for an article published Saturday where he confirmed that he was returning to the United States at the end of this month (Saturday), explained his reasons for the decision and stated, "I decided that I've got to go back and get this over with once and for all, instead of living in limbo up here forever." Today, Natalie Pona (Toronto Sun) reports that Anderson has again stressed that his decision does not mean the end of his war resistance and that Anderson explained, "To go back and do my prison sentence would just give me freedom. I just want to get in my uniform, go to trial and stand there and tell them I won't participate in their war." Anderson will hold a press conference when at the border and, if not immediately arrested once returning to the US, he will next go to Fort Knox to turn himself in. More information, on Anderson and other war resisters, can be found at Courage to Resist. For the context of Anderson's decision, see Ruth's Report and for the need to speak out see The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You." Anita Anderson has stated she intends to be outside Fort Knox demonstrating her support for her son's stance. As Troy Garity notes in David Zieger's documentary Sir! No Sir!, ". . . in the summer of 68 as thousands of supporters protested the jailing of the Presido 27, the G.I. movement had arrived." Those who learned of Camilo Mejia's brave stand, or Aidan Delgado, or Pablo Paredes, or any other war resisters after the fact can make a difference now by showing their support for Darrell Anderson as well as Ehren Watada, the first comission officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq who awaits the military's decision on their next course of action as the Article 32 finding of his case winds its way through the military structure. Ricky Clousing who turned himself in at the start of last month has been charged with desertion and there's no word yet on any charges against Mark Wilkerson who turned himself in at the end of last month. Both war resisters elected to self-check out of the military.
On Sunday,
Mark Mazzetti (New York Times) reported on the National Intelligence Estimate entitled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States ("represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government") which, Mazzetti reports, "asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe" and "cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology." Safer but not safe, once claimed the Bully Boy. As Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported, "The NIE . . . coincides with public statements by senior intelligence officials describing a different kind of conflict than the one outlined by President Bush in a series of recent speeches marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks." CBS' Bill Plante summarized the points of the NIE as follows:
*The U.S. presence in Iraq is providing new recruits for militant Islam.
*The movement has spread and is now "self-generating."
*While inspired by al Qaeda, the radical movement is no longer directly tied to Osama bin Laden.
*Because of the Internet, the radical Islamist movement is more connected and no longer isolated.
The reporting on the NIE follows a number of recent reports including Harper's magazine and IPS's reports from last week. For Harper's,
Ken Silverstein interviewed, former CIA veteran (15 years) and former head of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh who noted that Iraq war has resulted in the loss of "a generation of good will in the Muslim world" and stated, "There's a civil war in Iraq and our presence is contributing to the violence. We've become a lightening rod -- we're not restricting the violence, we're contributing to it. Iraq has galvanized jihadists; our presence is what is attracting them. We need to get out of there." Noting that interview, Jim Lobe (IPS) also connected Nakhleh's statements to Paul Pillar's Foreign Affairs (periodical of the Council on Foreign Relations) essay at the start of this year following Pillar's retirement from the CIA in 2005. Lobe notes that Pillar addressed the issue of "the [intelligence] communiy had warned policymakers before the Iraq invasion that the war and occupation would 'boost political Islam and increase sympathy for terrorists' objectives' and that a 'deeply divided Iraqi society' would likely erupt into 'violent conflict' unless the occupation authority 'established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam (Hussein).'"Obviously, that did not happen.
Meanwhile Australia's
ABC reports the NIE's impact in Australia which has led the Federal Opposition demanding that John Howard (the country's prime minister) "come clean about the effects of the war in Iraq" and "Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, . . . [saying] Mr. Howard should release the Australian intelligence agencies' findings about the war. 'Let's have some honesty in the debate,' he [Rudd] said."
This as, in England, the would-be-prime-minister Gordon Brown, dubbed the second most powerful man in British government -- Chancellor of the Exchequer, Labour party and wanna-be-prime minister in waiting, makes noises of his own.
AFX News reports that Brown stated today that"while there must be scope for emergency action, it is in my view right that in future, a parliament, not the executive, makes the final decisions on matters as important as peace and war." On Sunday, as reported by Great Britain's Socialist Worker, Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, was among over 60,000 participating Saturday in the Time to Go Rally in Manchester and that Booth was chanting, "Yo Blair -- it's time to go, Blair." (*The report was written by Anindya Bhattacharyya.) And today, AFP reports, the White House via mouthpiece Tony Snow finally admitted that the Iraq war "fuel[s] the spread of jihadism".
And the chaos and violence continues in Iraq.
AP reports that a bombing in Ramadi claimed the lives of seven police officers and left seven more wounded. Reuters reports three police officers dead (and ten wounded) in Jurf al-Sakhar after an attack involving "[m]ortar rounds and a suicide truck bomber"; while in Yathrib a man is dead and his daughter wounded after "[a] mortar round landed near" his home.
AP reports that an attack on a police station in Musayyib left one police officer dead and six more wounded. Reuters notes a translator for the US military was shot dead in Najaf on Sunday; that an Iraqi soldier died today from gun shot wounds received Sunday in Balad.
Reuters reports that nine severed heads were discovered this weekend in Baiji and an additional one today -- "the decapitatated head of a police lieutenant, Sameer Hazim" while, near Baiji, an Iraqi soldier's corpse was discovered Sunday.
Today, the
US military has announced the death of another US soldier who was today "near Mosul" and died later from his wounds. This follows Sunday's passing the 2700 mark for US troops killed in Iraq and the Army's claim (see above) that they are underfunded. Reuters reports that the 147,000 American troops in Iraq are seen by the military as insufficient and that, in addition to extending tours of duty, "The Army also is considering accelerating the deployments for some brigades in a move to try to stop sectarian violence among Sunnis and Shi'ites in Baghdad, the newspaper [Washington Times] reported, citing Pentagon officials."
Extending tours of duty? No, not the 172 Stryker Brigade. They were already extended when they should have been returning home in August.
AP reports that the 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division "will be kept in place for several weeks beyond their scheduled departure," that the families were notified of this today, and that the Brigade is comprised of an estimated 4,000 soldiers who are currently serving "in the vinicinty of Ramadi".
The extension comes as US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld faces a new round of criticism for his handling of his official responsibilities.
AP reports that, in "a hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Major General John R. S. Batiste stated "I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth [regarding Iraq] for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq" and that Major General Paul Eaton declared Rumsfeld to be "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically," therefore, "Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinary bad decision-making." Safer but not safe, claims the Bully Boy. Reuters reports that Batiste declared in the hearing today, "America [is] arguably less safe now than it was on September 11, 2001" as a result of the Iraq war. William Branigin (Washington Post) reports that Batiste and Eaton were joined by "retired Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes" in calling for Rumsfeld's resignation and that all three served in Iraq and quotes Hammes stating, "While asking major sacrifices, to include the ultimate sacrifice, from those Americans who are serving in Iraq, we are not even asking our fellow citizens to pay for the war. Instead we are charging it to our children and grandchildren."
Greg Zoroya (USA Today) reports that living wills are a new issue of concern to the US Army as "[a] growing number of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe brain damage" -- an estimated "250 troops who returned from war with head wounds that left them -- at least initially -- comatose or unable to care for themselves or respond to people. Brain injuries, most from roadside bombs, are the signature wound of the Iraq war."
Apparently the Bully Boy's Blood Lust cannot be satisfied because war with Iran appears to be next on the agenda.
Norman Solomon (Common Dreams) examines how the media is covering (covering up?) the probably attack. And on Sunday, Ray McGovern spoke in San Francisco. Robert B. Livingston (San Francisco Bay Area Media) reports that McGovern stated his belief in Bully Boy launching a strike (bombing) on Iran before the November elections and why: "McGovern described an administration desperate to protect itself from justice. If Democrats win a majority in Congress impeachment proceedings against the president, for example, could actually proceed (irrespective of Rep. Nancy Pelosi's vow that impeachment is "off the table"). McGovern cited Bush's low popularity poll ratings as a major concern to those advising Bush, and alluded to how the administration hasn't hesitated to use other crises as a convenient way to capitalize on American's propensity to stand behind their government. " Noting the actions of Cindy Sheehan, CODEPINK and others, McGovern stated, "Women in this country have all the guts. We don't need good girls like Nancy Pelosi. We need strong women like Cindy Sheehan."
Last week,
CODEPINK and NOW co-sponsored a Women's Day of Peace in Washington, DC atCamp Democracy. Feminist Wire Daily reports that Olga Vives, vice-president of NOW, addressed the issue of what's beeing cut (domestic programs for women and children) to pay for this war and NOW president Kim Gandy's remarks that "The violence in Iraq has already cost too many lives. Service members and civilians are dying every day in a conflict initiated by George W. Bush. Women must now come together and work toward ending the violence -- a goal that the US government seems incapable of accomplishing."
On the issue Olga Vives was addressing, the costs of the war are estimated to currently be $317, 400,000,000. A running counter can be found at
Tom Hayden's website. The counter is a feature provided by the National Priorities Project and, on their site, US citizens can look at how the cost of the illegal war impacts their own areas as well as see how the cost short changes various programs. The costs continue to rise. As Peter Spiegel reports (Los Angeles Times) the US Army's General Peter J. Schoomaker made the decision to ignore the August 15th deadline for presenting the Army's 2008 budget plan to the Pentagon "after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding. The decision . . . is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officals."
In Australia, news of the digital images of Australian soldiers handling their fire arms in a manner that wasn't seen as professional came as the inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco was winding down. The press was full of speculation that images of Jake Kovco were among the images shocking that nation -- discovered images which were certainly timed well. In the hearing, there was talk of Jake Kovco being a "cowboy" and playing with his gun. The talk had no supporting evidence and the witnesses (including one of Kovco's former roommates) spoke of "hearing" of their claims, not seeing it themselves. Whom did they hear it from? No names were given and the inquiry was apparently comfortable with that. As the issue of digital images showing Australian troops possibly mishandling fire arms continues to be reported by the Australian press, Jake Kovco's name comes up repeatedly. However,
The West Australian reports Jake Kovco will not among those pictured because "[t]he internet images relate to the period 2003-05, long before Pte Kovco's unit was in that theatre".
In legal news,
Reuters reports that three of the "Pendleton Eight" will face murder charges with the possiblity of, if found guilty, facing the death penalty for the April 26 death, in Hamdania,of Hashim Ibrahim Awad who was allegedly taken from his home, shot dead and a weapon placed near his body after. The three looking at the prospect of the death penalty if found guilty are John Jodka, Marshall Magincalda and Jerry Shumate. Meanwhile, CBS reports that footage believed to show the deaths of US soldiers Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker had been posted online by a group claiming to be The Mujahedeen Shura Council and that a subtitle in the video footage reads: "The two soldiers belong to the same brigade of the soldier who raped our sister in Mahmoudiya." That is in reference to Abeer Qassim al-Janabi (who CBS names, unlike the New York Times) who was raped and killed -- also killed were her parents Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen and her five-year-old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza -- on March12, 2006 in the town of Mahmoudiyah. On the rapes and deaths, CBS notes: "The U.S military has charged four soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division -- Spc. James P. Barker, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard -- in the March 12 alleged rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe is accused of failing to report the attack but is not alleged to have been a direct participant. A fifth suspect, Pfc. Steven D. Green, was discharged from the army because of a 'personality disorder' before the allegations became known. He has pleaded not guilty to rape and murder charges and is being held in a civilian court in the United States."
In US election news,
Dave Collins (AP) reports that War Hawk Down Joe Lieberman, who had earlier made concilatory noises to war critics, is back in Hawk drag and denouncing Democratic candidate for US Senate out of Conn. Ned Lamont's endorsement of a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq is "doomed to fail" (apparently like Lieberman's own bid for the Democratic nomination this go round) and would "weaken our security" (meaning that he's so busy thinking up smears, he's missed Sunday and Mondays newspapers -- see above for the NIE report). This comes as Joshua Frank (CounterPunch) reports that War Hawk Up Maria Cantwell has a campaign staff doing strange things including, reportedly, attempting to bribe Green opponent (and anti-war candidate) Aaron Dixon if he would bow out of the race. Frank reports: "As Dixon tells it, 'Mark [Wilson] called and basically told me that a lot of people have a lot of money within the Cantwell campaign, and he said that they could put on a fundraiser for Central House that would "blow my mind". He called a week later and basically told me the same thing. I didn't bite, ending this war is too important'."
Cindy Sheehan (at BuzzFlash) notes that Bully Boy stated on air to Wolf Blitzer: "Yes, you see - you see it on TV, and that's the power of an enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. But there's also an unbelievable will and resiliency by the Iraqi people.... Admittedly, it seems like a decade ago. I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is - my point is, there's a strong will for democracy." Of that idiotic statement, Sheehan writes: "That is 125 commas.With 2701 of our children killed and over 20,000 injured, I would have to type 182 lines filled with commas. Then, if we take in to account the low figure of 100,000 innocent Iraqis killed, I would need pages of commas."