I'm going to start by noting that I did blog before C.I. posted the entry this morning, I blogged by many hours before. I called C.I. to find out exactly who Whine On was (though I had my suspicions) and wasn't surprised to learn the name. I have a practice, I have a life, what I do online (true of everyone with a site in this community), is done for free. If some little Whine On who is paid for a living to write wants to call me out, that probably wouldn't be too difficult. But if he wants to call out C.I., he's kidding himself. Forget the columns C.I. does for Polly's Brew and the gina & krista round-robin, forgetting everything but The Common Ills, few are going to be able to hold a candle to C.I. because few have even attempted to note war resisters within the military.
If you missed C.I.'s entry, it's "NYT: Attempting to calm things in print." As someone who is usually at C.I.'s on Thanksgiving, my guess is there were probably a little under 100 people over for Thanksgiving. In addition to dinner guests, for the holidays, C.I. usually has house guests. I'm not talking about Jess, Ava, Dona, Jim and Ty who now live there. Christmas will mean even more guests. The day Whine On can entertain ten, let alone the number of people C.I. does, then he can complain. But, most importantly, C.I. continued to post. There were three entries yesterday and today and two on each day were done by C.I. I checked to see what Whine On's output was during this period and wasn't surprised to learn that it was zero.
Apparently, Whine On's 'contribution' has been to write nasty e-mails?
While Whine On wastes everyone's time, others have something worth saying.
Unless I'm mistaken, none of our 'brave' voices in 'independent media' have bothered to weigh in on Abeer, not even in light of the court confession last week. "Justice for Abeer and her family?" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) dealt with something serious and something worthy of commenting on. (The illustration is from that article.)
As usual 'brave' voices were nowhere to be found. Imagine what Vietnam would have been like if when war crimes were confessed to, they hadn't been reported? That's the world we live in today. Whine On should look to what value he thinks he brings to the table? I think most people will pass over his offerings. No one should ignore the latest Ruth's Report, a must read. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.
"Stop the War Now! Build a Fire on Main Street" (Ron Jacobs, CounterPunch):
A little more than thirty-seven years (November 14-15, 1969), the streets of Washington , DC and San Francisco, CA were filled with a million protesters against the US war in Vietnam. These protests, known as the National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, had been preceded by a national Moratorium Against the War on October 15 the same year. The politics of the protesters ran from pacifists to liberals to hardcore anti-imperialist radicals bent on revolution. According to permanent war architect and advisor Henry Kissinger, the sight of so many protesters in the streets of DC caused the Nixon White House to reconsider its pending decision to nuke Hanoi, Vietnam. Furthermore, the pitched battles between police and some ten to twenty thousand protesters intent on storming the South Vietnamese Embassy on November 14th, 1969 and the Justice Department building the following day led Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell to compare the scene to Russia's October revolution. While Mr. Mitchell was obviously exaggerating the situation, the comment itself is an indication of the level of paranoia then present among the rulers in Washington.
Another indication of the rulers' fears was also taking place in Chicago that fall. this was the conspiracy trial of the Chicago 8. Without going into too much history, let it suffice to say that this trial was an attempt by the State to destroy the antiwar and Black liberation movements in the United States. While this trial did not reach its intended goal in the courtroom--indeed, the men were not convicted of the conspiracy charges although they did get convicted for a number of other political crimes--the repression that the trial was a part of did temporarily diminish the numbers involved in those movements.
I mention this historical moment not because I believe that the US antiwar movement against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are operating from a similar position of strength-- indeed, today's movement is far from that. Sure, we've elected Democrats in an election that most everyone from Nancy Pelosi to General Abizaid believes was a statement against those wars, and we could even convince ourselves that it was pressure begun by certain elements among the antiwar voices that caused the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. But, that's about it. Once again, if we look back to Fall 1969, we discover that Richard Nixon dismissed General Hershey, the head of the Selective Service in September 1969 in an attempt to make it appear that he was listening to his critics. Meanwhile, here in 2006, incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Charles Rangel has stated that he will reintroduce his bill that would restart the military draft. (Of course, he says he is doing this to prevent other wars from starting using a circular reasoning that if the rich have to send their kids to war, they won't be as gung-ho about starting them. This rationale has been proven wrong in the past, since it tends to be working class soldiers that end up fighting while the rest end up elsewhere.) The war continues, much as the Vietnam war did after the aforementioned protests. In fact, George Bush recently commented during his visit to Vietnam that the basic mistake made by the United States during its murderous campaign in Vietnam was that it quit before victory was achieved.
I think Charlie Rangel is off his rocker. He talks of how there will be ways to avoid anyone getting out of the draft. Yeah, well there are supposed to be no loopholes in the tax code either, but many wealthy people are able to find them each year. That's the reality and it always will be. Laws effect people differently, are enforced differently, based upon how much you have in the bank. That's reality. As someone who grew up not having to worry about money, I am quite aware that I had breaks others did not.
If Rangel's draft was voted into law, you can be sure that should the son or daughter of X faces military deployment, money would grease hands to allow the child to 'serve' in another way. Money might not have to grease palms, there's also the notion of taking care of their own -- that is what kept Bully Boy out of Vietnam.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, over 200 die in Baghdad on Thursday, war resister John A. Rogowskyj Jr. finds that the US military feels no obligation to follow even their own written policy, Bully Boy's meet up in Jordan comes under attack, and is Nouri al-Maliki on the way out?
Starting with resistance within the US military. Conscientious objector John A. Rogowskyj Jr. was deployed to Iraq at the start of this month. The twenty-two-year-old Marine was deployed, as the Associated Press notes, after a Marine captain recommended he be discharged, after a major said he couldn't serve in compbat duty in June, because a D.V. Odell Jr. ("commander of the Fourth Marine Division") doesn't seem to grasp what a c.o. is the policy that the US military has on them. The AP notes that Odell, a major general, found Rogowskyj to be "theologically confused and [he] does not reflect any officially recognized faith group."
Take that, America's forefathers. The slow witted Odell Junior might also make some time to check out "Selective Service System: Fast Facts" which notes: "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man's reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest." By the military's own guidelines, Odell Junior's statements are not only insulting but ignorant. "May be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Rogowskyj was deployed as a result of Odell Junior's failure to grasp the policies the military has set in place. There ought to be disciplinary actions for Odell (busted back down to a New Orleans post?). More likely, everyone will play stupid (well the tone is set from the Oval Office).
Edward Colimore (Philadelphia Inquirer) reports that Rogowskyj declares in the court papers: "I see now that I must separate from the military with all due haste, or suffer without the forgiveness of grace, for defying the truth that I see plainly before me, that violence as a means or end cannot be tolerated."
To repeat for the slow witted Odell Junior, who not only fails to grasp the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution but also fails to grasp official military policy, Rogowkyj need not belong to any church or faith, need not subscribe to Odell Junior's notions of 'old time religion,' in order to be granted c.o. status.
Rogowskyj signed up for the reserves in 2002 thinking he would be helping stateside during national emergencies.
In Iraq, yesterday the violence prompted ABC to break in to their daytime lineup with a breaking news announcement by Elizabeth Vargas on what is being called the most deadly attack in Iraq since the illegal war began. For which ABC got the usual number of complaints, though nothing like the concerned and outraged comments they received in 2003 when they broke in to announce that Bully Boy was carrying a fake turkey around a base in Iraq.
Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that 144 people were killed. That number is incorrect today and was wrong yesterday as well when AFP reported that 152 were already dead. Today, All Headline News reports that the death toll is now 202, that at least 250 more are injured with doctors not expecting all to live and that "Officials said that the death toll could rise, as body parts and bodies are dispersed throughout the city and could not be counted." The BBC reports that "at least three" car bombs were used in the cooridnated attacks on Thursday followed by mortar rounds and quotes photo journalist Kareem al-Rubaie on witnessing the violence, "I saw a car from a wedding party, covered in ribbons and flowers. It was burning. There were pools of blood on the street and children dead on the ground." Reuters places the number of bombs at six. CNN reported Thursday: "Thursday's attacks, launched within the course of half an hour, were part of a spasm of violence that shook two Baghdad bastions of support for anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- the Sadr City slum in the Iraqi capital's northeast and the Health Ministry compound, controlled by the cleric's political movement."
The BBC reports that Baghdad is now under curfew and the Baghdad Airport has been closed. Reuters states that all vehicle traffic is banned in Baghdad for Saturday as well. AFP adds that the airport in Basra has been closed as well as well as "its southern seaports."
The 202 dead and counting from Thursday's attack surpasses the previous reported most violent day in Iraq. The BBC notes September 14, 2005 as a day when there were 182 reported deaths in Baghdad.
As if the violence on Thursday wasn't bad enough, rumors floated that Dick Cheney was in Iraq on Thursday. CBS and AP report that the White House denies those rumors. Current rumor is that Cheney was supposed to be in Baghdad and the press would be alerted after landing; however, the violence on Thursday resulted in the trip being cancelled.
Press reports continue to caution that Iraq might be on the brink of civil war which leaves one wondering how they might have reported Sherman's March to the Sea?The violence and chaos continued today.
CBS and AP report that a mortar attack was launched at the Association of Muslim Scholars in Baghdad leaving four guards injured. This is seen as a retaliation for Thursday's attack as are the multiple attacks, noted by Al Jazeera, in the Hurriay district of Baghdad that targeted "four Sunni Mosques with rocket-propelled grenades" and claimed the lives of at least thirty. Reuters reports one dead and two wounded from mortar attacks in Diwaniya and the bombing of "an office of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's . . . in . . . Baquba". CNN reports that a man set off a bomb "strapped to his body" and one in his car in a parking lot in Tal Afar and killed at least 22 people while wounding 30 more.
Reuters reports that at least two funeral goers are wounded in Baghdad after a US helicopter fired on a funeral.
Reuters reports that thirty corpses were discovered in Baghdad while three were discovered in Mosul. Reporting on Wednesday's UN report, Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) noted that, in the September and October period studied by the UN, "Sixty-five percent of all deaths in Baghdad were categorized as unindentified corpses, the signature of militias, who kidnap, kill and throw away bodies at a rate that now outstrips the slaughter inflicted by suicide bombers."They do so even when the capitol is under 'curfew' (and the never ending 'crackdown').
In addition, AP reports: "Militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by, and seven Sunni mosques came under attack as Shiites took revenge for the slaughter of 215 people in the Sadr City slum."
The BBC reports the death of a British solider in Basra and notes that 126 British soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The British military announces: "The soldier sustained gunshot wounds during the operation and was evacuated to a nearby military hospital. Despite the best possible medical care, the soldier later died from his injuries. The soldier was a member of the Parachute Regiment, on secondment to Headquarters Multinational Division South East, Iraq."
Thursday's attacks and today's is having ripple effects in Iraq that go beyond bombs and bullets.
Tuesday, Charles Wolfson (CBS) reported on next week's planned meet up in Jordan between Bully Boy and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki. The meet up was quickly announced following the announcement of al-Maliki going to Tehran for a Saturday meeting with the presidents of Iran and Syria. The meet up with the Bully Boy is now in question.
CNN reports that, today, "Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc threatened to withdraw support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki should he meet President Bush as planned next week" and quotes spokesperson Salih al-Aleiki stating: "We announce that if the security situation and the basic services do not improve, and if the prime minister goes ahead and meets with the criminal Bush in Amman, then we will suspend our memberships with the Iraqi parliament and the government." As Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) notes, it's not an idle threat: "The United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite political parties, won 128 of the 275 seats in the Iraqi parliament in December's elections." Should the al-Sadr block withdraw their support, the United Iraqi Alliance would fall from a 128 member bloc to a 98 member one. That's on the condition that all 98 remain behind al-Maliki -- should he find new support his bloc could increase. The second largest bloc, with 53 members, is the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan which successfully backed (with US support) Jalal Talabani for president of Iraq.
The above follows on the heels of Tom Hayden's report (for Common Dreams) that the US is putting out feelers for new governing officials in Iraq which could include the disposing of al-Maliki.
john rogowskyj jr.
the new york times