Hope everyone got a break yesterday. Please read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HORN DOG BULLY BOY KEEPS ON TAPPING!" -- please, please and, again, please. Why? Because I'm not in a good mood with regards to one topic. You'll find no laughs here. The "left" police are out, hitting their batons against the palm of their hands. I'm not in the mood for that shit. I'll address it on the second item. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts on today's headlines.
"Deadly Anti-U.S. Riots Hit Kabul, Afghanistan" (Democracy Now!):
In Afghanistan, thousands took part Monday in the most violent anti-U.S. protests in the capital of Kabul since the fall of the Taliban. The riots were sparked by a traffic accident involving a U.S. military truck. Within hours of the crash, protests had spread throughout the city. By day's end at least 14 people died and another 100 were wounded. Police stations were set on fire. Hotels came under attack. The office of CARE International was torched to the ground. Stores were ransacked. The U.S.--backed government imposed a night-time curfew for the first time in four years. Protesters called on the U.S. to end its occupation of Afghanistan.
Ajmal Jan: "We want America out of this country! we hate America! They have no responsibility! Their army wrong and they are driving on the road killing innocent people! We want America out of this country sooner or later! We hate America!!"
Meanwhile U.S. forces killed about 50 Afghans in an air strike in the town of Helmand in Southern Afghanistan. Over 400 people have now died in the region over the past 10 days.
Has Bully Boy brought peace anywhere outside of corporate boardrooms? We all noted that yesterday -- you can read it on any of our sites or you can read "News Roundup" at The Common Ills. C.I. gets the individual link because Cedric called me to explain what happened there. The plan was for us to do it together, which we did. Those who weren't able to participate "live" were supposed to prepare their items (Wally, Mike and Jim worked on the sports item) and e-mail it (to the private account for The Common Ills) and C.I., Ava and Jess would pull it together. That didn't happen. The thing was supposed to go up at any point after midnight on Monday morning. Due to a number of problems, it ended up being put together by C.I. and Dona. The whole point, the intended reasoning behind the entry, was that everyone would work together, it would be a joint entry and we'd have something to cover headlines (since Democracy Now! was doing the special programming on Memorial Day). I noted my section at eleven my time when C.I. was working on "And the war drags on . . ." and I feel so awful because, while we were on the phone talking, I asked C.I., "Are you really going to take the day off?" That was everyone's hope. A day off, any day, would be good but especially a Monday since The Third Estate Sunday Review always means an all nighter and, for C.I., it's then do the NYT entry at The Common Ills, post Isaiah's latest comic (the publishing on that -- especially to make sure tags are read -- requires taking at least thirty minutes of time) and turn around that night and do "And the war drags on . . ." C.I. said there'd be a Democracy Now! entry at some point on Monday but, otherwise, that would be it. There were some things to do in the morning and some major housekeeping chores Monday afternoon.
I've just deleted several paragraphs on this because I called Cedric to check and he is blogging on this tonight. So read Cedric's Big Mix tonight to learn how plans can go awry.
"Military Probe: Marines Killed 24 Iraqis in Haditha Massacre" (Democracy Now!):
Military investigators have determined that U.S. Marines wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians -- including women and children -- in the city of Haditha last November. An internal investigation determined that the Marines fatally shot as many as 24 Iraqis and then tried to cover up the killings. One 10-year-old Iraqi girl said she watched Marines kill her mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, four-year-old cousin and two uncles. The incident is being compared to the massacre in My Lai during the Vietnam War. Several Marines involved in the killing are now being held in the Camp Pendleton brig in California. At least one Marine has spoken to the media about what he witnessed. Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones told the Los Angeles Times he was not involved in the killings but took photographs and helped remove the dead bodies. Briones said "They ranged from little babies to adult males and females."
Now here's what has me upset. The story above is upsetting, no question. But I'm getting tired of the "left" police. In The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: The Reailities of Occupation," our opinion was summarized which is that the Bully Boy created the environment for this to happen. That's not in question. He did so by starting and waging an illegal war, he did so by the administration's much noted "take off the kid's gloves" approach. He did it by making a mockery out of conventions and treaties the United States has signed off on (as well as laws our Congress has passed). Trace it to the top, it's Bully Boy.
However, the "left" police don't want anyone to use the term "baby killer." It's not a term I would use personally. There are many terms I don't use, but what anyone else uses is their business. But, proving that bullies abound, a blow hard has stated he will come after anyone that uses the term.
Do you realize why we're in this war? Because people let these "taste makers" set the tone. If you missed the news, it wasn't a "few" children at Guantanamo, it was "more than sixty" according to the current reports. How did that happen? By letting Bully Boy abuse the language so everyone could feel safe and comfortable about what was going on.
"Detainees" when we're talking prisoners who are held without any legal conviction and kept without any legal rights. Laura Bush shows up to tell us how bombing the hell out of Afghanistan is going to be a good thing for Afghanistan women (when Laura Bush preaches her version of 'feminism,' the nation should know to be skeptical). Bully Boy grandstanded on what was "achieved" and no one could call him out on it. Post 9/11, the rules were set -- the mainstream media would allow no dissent.
So the reality emerges (or begins to) that there's no peace in Afghanistan. First clue should have been Tony Blair's repeated 'hope' to pull British troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan this year -- a hope that's now forgotten -- because if things were hunky dory in Afghanistan, there'd be no need for Blair to send more troops in.
Falluja is the slaughter that apparently will never be addressed. Now we've got another one. Here comes the "left" police to tell people what is and isn't acceptable.
Civilians were killed. That includes children. Don't try to water down anyone's remarks. Americans should be outraged and they don't need some blow hard, who apparently didn't live through the sixties but thinks he knows all about it, telling them which words are acceptable and which ones aren't.
What happened was disgusting and people have to process it in their own way, in their own terms. Following the "left" police's orders means another clampdown on what happened just like we can't seriously address Abu Ghraib. No question, Bully Boy, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, et al are responsible for that. They created the environment for it. But it's also true that responsibility goes to the "few bad apples." This wasn't controversial last decade.
A Few Good Men dealt with a group of soldiers who were "following orders" and didn't know any better. At the end, they're punished as well as Jack Nicholson and when one of them can't understand why, the other explains that a man died due to their actions, following orders or not.
But suddenly we're so soggy minded that we're not supposed to use a term?
If someone wants to use it, they should. I personally have no reason to use it. But they killed civilians. They killed children. Trying to "frame" it into acceptable (to the "left" police) terms doesn't change what happened. It does immediately start a clampdown.
We don't need to minimize or sugar coat torture or war crimes. Those men are war criminals if the press reports are true. ("War criminals" is the term I use.) I am sorry that they were put over there, that they were put in that position to begin with, but what happened is a crime of war. I'm sick of all the blustering boys who want to line up and scream at civilians about what should be said and what shouldn't. The blustering boys so eager to line up behind the military, that they themselves are not serving in, to prove their manhood.
Being a woman, I don't have to prove "manhood." By my professional training, I know that minimizing something, even just with language, hurts everyone. Hurts the participants, hurts the victims, hurts the understanding.
If the press reports are true, they're war criminals. That means they need to be punished. To argue otherwise is to say that it's okay that Iraqi civilians died. It's saying they are the "other" and they don't really matter. It's more important, according to this logic, that we rush in to say, "Poor boys, put in that position" than it is to have justice.
Instead of fretting over the language that may or may not be used (and your mythical crap notion of the sixties), you might try seriously examining yourself and asking what is about you that makes human life worth so little that when innocent people die, you're willing to not address that, but immediately rush in to say, "Hands off my boys!"
If that's you're way of looking at it, you're enabling war crimes, you're minimizing them and you should be ashamed of yourself.
It is a shame that anyone was sent over to Iraq for an illegal war, but don't trash the ones who are attempting to do a job by saying, "Oh well, it couldn't happen to anybody." No, it couldn't. No, it didn't. While I'm sure many similar crimes have taken place, I'm equally certain that everyone serving hasn't participated in them. We know that's the case with Abu Ghraib. Those involved committed war crimes.
You can have your panic over what you think the sixties were (probably learned from a lot of really bad, revisionist films) but don't kid yourself that you're doing anything to help because all your doing is minimizing what happened. You're clamping down on the discussion before it begins saying to Americans that free speech is out the window (how very Bully Boy of you) and saying that some lives have more value than others.
You're free to do whatever you want, but don't do all that and then try to claim that you're for stopping the war because those kind of actions allow to continue. That's what the peace movement's been up against since day one -- silly little slogans that we're all supposed to nod along with as opposed to addressing reality.
"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Dahr Jamail and others on Haditha, discussion of East Timor," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue.
The Turkish Press notes that May has led to the "highest monthly death toll . . . since the US-led invasion" for England. So far, nine British troops have died this month in Iraq bringing their official total, since the beginning of the illegal invasion, to 113. This as Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and occupation puppet, is reported by Reuters to have said, "I'm giving them a final deadline to give their opinon on the candidates now."
al-Maliki was referring to his cabinet which still hasn't been fully staffed -- this depsite the May 22nd constitutional deadline having passed.
As the US moves 1,500 more troops into Iraq, the Associated Press reports on what they've dubbed the "coalition of the dwindling." William J. Kole, reporting for the AP, notes Italy's statements that all of their troops will be pulled by year's end, South Korea's intent to "withdraw about 1,000 of its 3,200 soldiers" and Denmark's decision to pull 80 of its 530 troops from Iraq. Kole also notes that rumors that Japan will pull troops by year's end and Poland's continued evaluation of whether or not to keep their 900 troops in Iraq.
In Baghdad, the Associated Press reports a mortar atatck ("fired by remote control from a cary near the Interior Ministry") resulted in the deaths of "two female employees" and wounded a police officer, "two janitors" and, from a mortar that "landed in a park," "two city workers." Reuters notes the wounding of "four policeman . . by a rocket which landed near the ministry." The BBC notes the death of a police officer, killed by a roadside bomb. Reuters notes that death and the wounding of three more police officers. Reuters reports the murder of a "preacher of a Sunni Mosque in the Shula district of the capital" Also murdered were four mechanics, reports the AFP. The BBC notes the discovery of three corpses ("blindfolded and handcuffed"). The AFP notes those three plus three more, including "the corpse of a policeman kidnapped two days earlier . . . [and] a taxi driver."
As noted by Reuters and Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show, in Hilla, a car bomb has resulted in deaths and wounded -- the current estimate is "at least 12" dead and at least "36 people . . . wounded." In Balad, Reuters notes the kidnapping of "an employee of the Oil Protection Facility."
And finally, CBS News and the Associated Press report that the corpses of two US marines who have been missing since their helicopter crashed on Saturday have been found -- one corpse was found on Monday and the other today.