Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Youth is the first victim of war"

Late posting. Mike and I were on the phone forever and I took a break to call Rebecca, then called Mike back. He's very upset about something and he'll probably write about it tomorrow. I think most of the community is aware of it because I've even got e-mails on it in my inbox. My feelings? When someone can learn the difference between free speech and military recruiters on campus, I may worry about what they think. However, until they can grasp the very clear difference between the two, I won't reward their attention-seeking behaviors.

"Report: Cheney Withheld News of Whittington's Heart Condition" (Democracy Now!):
Cheney is again being accused of withholding information on Whittington's condition. Over the weekend, the White House waited at least 19 hours before announcing the shooting. Today, the New York Times is reporting Cheney was informed of Whittington's heart condition when he arrived at the White House Tuesday morning. But according to senior administration officials, Cheney did not pass the information on to President Bush's aides, including White House Press secretary Scott McLellan. At a press conference later in the day, McLellan did not mention Whittington's heart problems and even joked he was wearing an orange tie so he could be clearly visible in front of Cheney.

Let's break it down. A shooting. Accident or not, it's news. When the shooter is the vice-president, it's international news. When the method sought by the administration is to avoid answering the questions, it's news. You may not like it, but it is news.

Cheney shot a man. It's news. Questions need to be answered.

"5 'Raging Grannies' Arrested at Anti-War Protest Near DC" (Democracy Now!):
And just outside of Washington, DC, five women with the anti-war group the Raging Grannies were arrested Tuesday at a protest outside a military recruitment office. The women were arrested after announcing they intended to enlist. They chanted: "if someone must die in Iraq, let it be the old." They were later released without charge. The protest was one of several held across the country Tuesday, including in Florida, California, and New York.

People are still protesting. You won't read about it in the New York Times but the summer of protest drew a lot of attention and we'll only get more active. There's a lot of work to be done if we're going to bring the troops home and I applaud Raging Grannies for their efforts.

Due to the attention-seeking behavior of someone, I've spent most of the night on the phone with Mike and am pretty much wiped out. But something that I hope you're all interested in follows.

"Kevin Benderman Parole Request" (Kevin Benderman, Kevin Benderman Defense Committee):
I am respectfully requesting early release, by way of parole or reduction of sentence to time served.
In a different type of service, I have given 10 years to the U.S. Army, always placing the Army's needs before my own. Until my tour of duty in Iraq, I enjoyed my responsibilities as an NCO, and thought myself reasonably good at them. However, when I realized I could no longer perform those duties, I applied for conscientious objector status. Both CO status, and the procedure for obtaining it, are expressly recognized by Army regulations.
Even without acting on my CO application, my command made the decision to prosecute me for desertion and missing movement. As I understand the law and practice concerning CO applications; until my application was decided, I should have been assigned no duties which set me up for charges--whether desertion, missing movement, or anything else.
Laying the CO regulations to one side, however, I did not desert my unit or miss the movements of my unit--the two charges brought against me. Why not? Because CSM Samuel L. Coston released me on 7 January 2005 at 1800 hours, at the conclusion of a meeting between us. CSM Coston had ordered me to report to him, for the purpose of discussing my reasons for applying for conscientious objector status. During that interview, CSM Coston ordered me to complete my conscientious objector application! CSM Coston's order, to complete my conscientious objector application, was fully consistent with Army regulations, as both he and I understood them; namely, that my status with the Army was "on hold," until that application had been acted upon. Yet, charges against me were commenced before my CO application had been acted upon.
A belated denial of my CO application, based upon claimed "insincerity," was supposed to justify this illegal prosecution. Of course, it didn't, but merely gave me the opportunity to prove my sincerity the old fashioned way--by going to prison, rather than continuing my military service, and winding up in the same compromising situation I'd found myself previously in Iraq. Simply put, the only reason I'm in jail is because I wouldn't return to Iraq. Based upon my actual experience in Iraq, I applied for a CO exemption from my remaining service obligation.

That's an excerpt. Use the link to read it in full. But how long is Kevin Benderman going to be locked away? Are you okay with it? I doubt it. I know I'm not. Benderman didn't kill or injure a prisoner but there are people walking around who've served less time than he's being punished with -- punished for having a conscience.

Peace quote, in honor of the Raging Grannies who show us all how important it is to take stands and participate in the world around us.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace.It takes 20 years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only 20 seconds of war to destroy him.
King Baudouin I, King of Belgium