Monday, June 12, 2006

A difference of opinion

Monday. Will it be better than last week for Blogger/Blogspot? Who knows? But I'd like to start of by noting Kat's "Kat's Korner: Kites are something." The Free Design was a group I'd never heard of until Kat mentioned she'd be reviewing it. So I went out and got Kites Are Fun.
It's not a bad CD but I couldn't figure out what it reminded of until her review "Kat's Korner: Kites are something"went up. It really does sound like those soundtrack hits from films of the late '60s. You can see the boy and the girl, at the end of the movie, running on the beach. When she said that, I pictured white sands, winter time, they're wearing heavy jackets and running away from the camera, getting smaller and smaller . . .

It's a great review. Now I'll move on to the news but please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"Bush Considers Keeping 50,000 Troops In Iraq Indefinitely" (Democracy Now!):
In other news on Iraq, President Bush is planning to meet today at Camp David with top military and civilian advisers today to discuss the future role of the United States in Iraq. This comes as the New York Times reports that the Bush administration is considering keeping at least 50,000 troops in Iraq for years to come, possibly for decades -- just as it has in Korea.

You think Bully Boy will end the occupation on his own? Forget it. It's going to take pressure and the pressure has to be consistent and coming from a large (huge) number of people. That's the only thing that will end the illegal war.

"GOP Lawmakers OK Permanent Military Bases in Iraq" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers appear to be giving the Pentagon the go-ahead to build permanent military bases in Iraq. Last week lawmakers quietly removed a provision that would have blocked the military from establishing permanent bases in Iraq. Congresswoman Barbara Lee criticized the move. She said "The perception that the U.S. intends to occupy Iraq indefinitely is fueling the insurgency and making our troops more vulnerable."

Why does Barbara Lee tend to stand alone? That's not meant in a "What's wrong with Barbara Lee!" sense. I think she's one of the few members of Congress (in either house) who consistently does her job. If there were more willing to do their job then we might not be in this illegal war. It's also true that Bully Boy got protection (and continues to receive it) from not just Republicans but Democrats as well. C.I. told me, I believe this was in April, about Nancy Pelosi being confronted with the permanent bases in a townhall. She tried to act dense and unaware. Then she attempted to weasel around the term "permanent" as though, were it not to last for centuries and centuries (if not the end of time) the bases couldn't be called permanent.

"Three Guantanamo Detainees Commit Suicide" (Democracy Now!):
The International Committee of the Red Cross has announced it is sending a team to investigate conditions at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay following the suicide of three detainees on Saturday. The military reported the men hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes. They are the first reported deaths at Guantanamo. There had been 41 previous suicide attempts as well as widespread hunger strikes. Two of the men were Saudis, one was from Yemen. They had been held at the prison for up to four years and never charged with a crime. One of the men -- 21-year-old Yassar Talal al-Zahrani -- was first detained when he was a juvenile. One of the other men who committed suicide was due to be released - but did not know it.

Saturday, while we were working on the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review, Dona asked for an item we could do a short piece on. We ended with the AP story about this and it ended up becoming the editorial: "Editorial: Administration attacks the American Way of Life."

Which reminds me, a statement was made on Democracy Now! today that I want to comment on. It came in "Dr. Robert Jay Lifton: American Psychological Association Should 'Prohibit Any Involvement' of Psychologists in Interrogations" -- which I recommend everyone listen, watch or read the transcript of:

Robert Jay Lifton: That's not a role for psychologists. With psychiatrists, it's clearer by tradition because psychiatrists are physicians, and we take an oath that we do no harm, and for that reason, psychiatrists could mobilize a lot of sentiment about that and the American Psychiatric Association has taken a very good position forbidding psychiatrists to be involved in any interrogations. With psychologists, the situation is less clear because there isn't any parallel oath, but there should be a parallel ethics which say that psychologists are meant to heal and not to break down, and therefore any consulting or involvement in interrogations with interrogators on the part of psychologists should be prohibited by the American Psychological association.

He's referring to the Hippocratic Oath. I don't know anyone that swears that oath in the original form (which is sworn to the god Apollo and others). Over time various oaths have been added/created. The original is not used in this country by many if any, for obvious religious reasons. Imagine a highly religous parent having paid for a child's education attending a graduation ceremony, seeing their child rise and swear an oath to Apollo, Aesculapius, Hygeia,
Panacea "and all the gods and goddesses" and you'll grasp one reason it wouldn't play. Again, other oaths have come over the years. But the majority of graduation ceremonies dropped the oath decades ago.

The Hippocratic Oath is a cornerstone of healing. I won't say "a cornerstone of medicine" because what was practiced when the oath was originally thought up wouldn't strike anyone as medicine today. Nor would many women want a doctor who had sworn to it (it's anti-choice in it's original form -- one attempted revival last decade of the oath was started by religious fundamentalists who played pick & choose so that they could grab the anti-choice element while denying other elements including the swearing to pagan gods).

The fact that most people in the United States are treated by someone who never took the Hippocratic Oath is not a cause for worry because it is viewed as a fundamental part of healing (in the "first do no harm" concept). When Dr. Lifton graduated with his license, he may very well have sworn some oath (though I'd be surprised if it was the original text of the Hippocratic Oath) but, for decades now, it has been dropped in ceremonies yet the concept ("first do no harm") remains a cornerstone of every healthcare field. It is accepted that the premise covers nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, medical doctors, on up and down the list involving anyone who is responsible for health care. Dr. Lifton may (or may not) see psychology as a non-medical science (due to its roots and how it is practiced -- that would be another post and a lengthy one). Regardless of how he sees it, only a handful of medical doctors, if any, take an oath today. Those who do, do not take the Hippocratic Oath in it's known form. (I won't call it the 'original form' for a number of reasons and, again, that would be another post.)

The fact that someone does not swear to the Hippocratic Oath does not mean it is not in play. It is supposed to apply in the health care field and it a fundamental building block for the field.

Dr. Lipton may or may not see psychology as medicine. Those critical of psychiatry might point out that is was often highly sexist (pathologizing the female gender), rooted in quack surgeries (lobotomies, for instance) and more apt to attempt to prescribe away a problem rather than address it.

Regardless of what view Dr. Lipton does or does not hold of psychology, I do recommend the segment (and the writings of Dr. Lipton).

"Dr. Robert Jay Lifton: American Psychological Association Should 'Prohibit Any Involvement' of Psychologists in Interrogations" (Democracy Now!):
AMY GOODMAN: And then a media, in this country, that will not allow one to be talked about by talking about the other. When you talk about them being perpetrators, they say, "How dare you? They're victims."
ROBERT JAY LIFTON: That's right. The truth is to say both, and one can bring great sympathy to Americans put into that situation. On the other hand, one has to -- anybody has to assume responsibility for what he or she does in that situation. And that's the complicated balance that we need ethically. When I worked with anti-war veterans, it was interesting that in the [unintelligible], they insisted upon taking some responsibility for what happened. But they also said, "it's not just our responsibility, it's the whole damn society for sending us there."

On that, we are in agreement. On the issue of psychology, we are not and I'm guessing most psychologists would disagree (and most would make it a larger issue than I have here).

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: James Yee, Joshusa Denbeaux, Robert Jay Lifton," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue as the
BBC notes Bully Boy is at Camp David for a two-day retreat to explore the issue of Iraq today -- almost three years and three months after the illegal invasion was launched and eight US military fatatlies shy (official count) of 2,500 and after 17,869 US troops have been wounded. The BBC reports that Bully Boy's "talks are being held in a rare mood of optimism."
Not everyone is so optomistic as Reuters notes in "
Arab leaders reluctant to enthuse about new Iraq" noting various voices including Mohamed Lakeb who declares, "As long as the new Iraqi government is linked to the Americans it will have little chance to restore security and hope among its people. I understand that withdrawing now is problematic, but staying there will worsen the situation."
An example of that may be a US air raid in Baquba on Monday which,
AFP notes, the US military claims targeted terrorists. The US military claims they killed seven terrorists plus two children.The reality locals say is quite different. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, local residents are accusing the military of targeting civilians. Mohammed Abbas sketched it out to the AFP as follows: a local guard saw what he believed were 'insurgents' but "they turned out to be US troops on foot patrol." Shahin Abdullah backed that up noting that the local residents were used to the US military in "tanks and vehicles" but not on foot. After the locals mistook the US military for 'insurgents,' the US military apparently made the same mistake and called in air strikes. Locals gathered around the remains from the strike and, as the AP notes, one man "held up the charred body of a toddler whose head had been blown in half" from the US air strike. Reuters noted that "women wept and wailed." The "terrorist cell," according to locals, was actually a family of nine -- two adults and seven children.
Speaking to C.S. Soong today on
KPFA's Against the Grain, Aaron Glantz, journalist and author of How America Lost Iraq, on the subject of the cycle of violence, discussed how common place the violence is, "You pick up the phone now, you call someone in Iraq and they have a story like this that happened in their neighborhood." Glantz noted that unlike at the start of the war, "you don't have to do any digging" because the violence is so common place, the story comes to you.
Such as the bombs exploding throughout Iraq.
Reuters notes the death in Tal Afar of at least six people and forty-wounded as a result of a car bomb. The Associated Press notes one in Baghdad that killed six and wounded at least ten. Gulf News notes that it wasn't one bomb, but three -- and that it is the victims were "workers to Iraq's industry ministry" and not, as reported, workers in the oil industry. A second bomb in Baghdad killed at least five and wounded at least thirteen. Reuters notes the death of one and the wounding of two in Kirkuk from a roadside bomb. In addition, RTE reports the death of four from mortar attacks in Baghdad.
Reuters reports nine were found ("including a 10-year-old boy") in Suwayra as well as one in Baiji.
Also today,
the second wave of people were released from prisons (under the orders of Nouri al-Maliki) and al Qaeda announced over the internet that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would be the designated replacement for Zarqawi.