Friday, June 16, 2006

"The American people are demanding answers" (Barbara Lee)

Note: I didn't proof read this at all. I had trouble getting in for hours, when I finally got in, I added one paragraph and quickly posted. I'm trying to catch the errors now.

I started this post last night and had the worst time pulling it up today. Thanks to everyone who helped for their help. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts and thank you to him and to Nina for listening at various stages to the item before the Iraq snapshot.

"Congress Debates Iraq War As US Death Toll Reaches 2500" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Thursday the US death toll in Iraq has now reached 2500. The milestone was reached on the same day the Iraq war was the subject of intense debate in both Houses of Congress. In the Senate, lawmakers voted ninety-three to six against a measure to withdraw US troops by the end of the year. The measure was introduced by Republicans who claimed to be acting upon a proposal by Senator John Kerry. Five Democrats -- Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Barbara Boxer of California, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts joined Kerry in voting for withdrawal. The House is expected to vote on its own Iraq resolution today. On Thursday, Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert urged lawmakers to support the measure.
House Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert: "They know their sacrifices on foreign shores are keeping the battle against terrorists out of our cities. They know by going in to harm's way, they are keeping Americans safe, and they know that they are helping a proud, but brutalised people to throw off tyranny and stand tall once again. They know that they are liberators, not occupiers. Our men and women in uniform know all this and they are proud of it. It's time for this House of Representatives to tell the world they we know it too - that we know our cause is right, and that we are proud of it. Stand up for freedom. Adopt this resolution."
Democrats have accused Republicans of constraining debate by focusing the measure on the so-called war on terror rather than the Iraq war. House rules also prevent Democrats from proposing amendments or alternative resolutions. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi voiced the Democrats' concerns.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "The entire country is debating the war in Iraq, except the House of Representatives. So finally this debate was going to come to the floor, and then -- a little while, within the past week, well it's going to be about this and that and other things as well because they know the case against this war is so incriminating that they really shouldn't want to bring it to the floor, so they've now expanded what the debate will be about."

Nothing but a big show. There was no concern for the Iraqis in those voting for the ridiculous declaration that we will "win!" We won't, so when they don't, will Ann Coulter be allowed to prosecute returning soldiers in a manner similar to when she screamed at the Vietnam vet that he was the reason "we" -- apparently Ann was armed in the crib, which may not be that surprising -- lost? Who knows? I found Pelosi's comment interesting. It's true, this discussion is going on all around the country. But if you read Ruth's Public Radio Report from last Saturday, you know that Ruth Conniff didn't feel it was.

I'm kind of ticked off that Ruth Conniff was linked to (by me) this week. I enjoyed the column but I was on the phone with C.I. Wednesday and I pointed out that Matthew Rothschild hadn't been linked to once this week at The Common Ills. C.I. said no links to the site were happening until next week and gave the reason (I'll explain Monday). C.I. said Rothschild or Ruth Conniff could have had a link via Common Dreams but there was no way that a link was going to that site until Monday afternoon. When I found out why, I thought, "I can't believe I linked." I called Ruth (our Ruth) to warn her. (She could link and C.I. would post it. But, like me, she wouldn't want to link this week.) I didn't know that she even would have a reason to this report but I wanted to be sure to give her a heads up so she didn't feel like an idiot (the way I do -- I take my feminism very seriously). There was a program that Ruth was going to check out but avoided as a result of the heads up from me. But I could bang my head against the wall right now (for linking).

"Iraq VP Asks Bush For Withdrawal Timetable" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, a leading Iraqi official has asked the US for a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops. The government says Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi made the request during a meeting with President Bush Tuesday. In a statement, President Jalal Talabani said he supported Hashimi's demand. The Bush administration has firmly rejected calls for a timetable for withdrawal.

While Republicans postured in the House, look at the above item one more time and say that it's not a puppet government. The vice-president wants the US to set a timetable but in the US Congress today, it was "Who cares!"

"ACLU Sues Pentagon Over Peace Activist Spying" (Democracy Now!):
The American Civil Liberties Union has launched a lawsuit demanding the Pentagon turn over information it’s collected on anti-war groups. In December, NBC News revealed the existence of a secret Pentagon database to track intelligence gathered inside the United States including information on anti-war protests and rallies. The database included information on counter-military recruiting meetings held at a Quaker House in Florida and anti-nuclear protests staged in Nebraska. The ACLU has already filed suit against the FBI for spying on peace groups.

Read C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy." I've just added it to the blogroll. (I have three pieces now that I feel are must reads and have linked to them individually. There are many others I could put up there but I think those three are must reads -- "Should this marriage be saved?" which is something Congress should have explored today instead of posturing; "Reading Press Releases Live From the Green Zone" -- which tells you all you need to know about supposedly 'brave' reporters; and now this one. Those are as important to me as Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" is to C.I. Sunny pointed out that C.I. linked to it again *Friday* morning. That was the single most linked article at The Common Ills in 2005 and I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes the most linked to in 2006. (Though Beth tells me she thinks Elizabeth Holtzman's article on impeaching Bully Boy may give it a run for the money.)

I had several questions in e-mails today. First, Democracy Now!'s "Calls Grow Within American Psychological Association for Ban on Participation in Military Interrogations: A Debate" should be listened to (or watched or read) but I would've enjoyed it more if a stronger aspect *would have been explored:* who supports using psychologists in Guantanamo. This is a leadership issue. To back up, click here for a summary of Jane Mayer's article as well as links to a two-part interview that Amy Goodman did with her. But people involved in deciding whether or not psychologists should be participating in this include . . . those who are participating in it currently. I don't know that the issue could have been brought up with the panel today but I hope it will be followed up on because that's at the heart of the resistance to do anything.

When I wrote of this at length here (Christmas Eve), I noted Jonathan H. Marks' "The Silence of the Doctors" and the key statement (by me) was this:

Marks notes that the American Psychiatric Association, Physicians for Human Rights, and Physicians for Social Responsibility have spoken out against medical professional participating in programs that aid torture; however, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have struggled (to put it mildly) to find their voice. As C.I. noted (no link because I'm rushing to finish this) at some point, Marks does as well, the American Psychological Association included on its task force to explore this issue "psychologists who work or have worked for the military -- in some cases at SERE schools."

Those already participating should not be allowed to serve on a task force that's making an ethical finding on the actions. They can be witnesses and provide testimony but there's an appearance of built in bias that should be avoided. Some would argue it is a bias. I would not shout anyone down making that point. But to get someone to admit their own bias is a difficult task, it's much easier to note the appearance of a conflict of interest and demand that they be excused from the task for that reason.

This website was provided to lobby the American Psychological Association to make a strong statement, an official position, regarding Guantanamo:

I had two e-mails regarding C.I.'s "Talking Post." Would I note Seth in the City if he blogged again? I'd like to say, "If it was something of value and I had time, yes." But the reality is probably not. There's too much bad history.

Both e-mails were from community members and they were glad C.I. wrote the entry. They also felt C.I. was "tough on him and he needed it." C.I. actually wasn't tough. That's not an insult to C.I. If you knew the full thing, you'd know why that wasn't tough. It was tough enough to get the message across but C.I. could have said a great deal more.

A lot of people felt screwed over and three examples were provided. C.I. really didn't talk about *it* from C.I.'s perspective. If that had happened, it would have been much tougher. How so?

I'll note some superficial examples and please know that if I'm noting these-- there are much stronger examples. Trina's Kitchen. That site starts up and there's no link on the blogger's blogroll for her. For several weeks. When Seth in the City went up, we all immediately linked. C.I. had to push and prod to get Trina linked. (Trina had linked to Seth in the City before she ever did her first post.) So there was a feeling of, "What's the struggle?" C.I. hates to go into the template at The Common Ills and will use any excuse to avoid doing so (I'm the same way), but if a site starts up from the community, C.I. immediately links to it and also sends out an e-mail to say, "Heads up, we all need to link . . ."

In the early days, when the blogger posted, if he posted anything, *even* three lines about how he was too busy to post and would post the next day (which never happened in most cases), everyone would link to it. It would get highlighted at The Third Estate Sunday Review by reposting. But there were sites that were noted once, if at all, at Seth in the City. I know Cedric was bothered and I know Cedric spoke to C.I. about it. Why? Cedric was working Seth in the City more than anyone except C.I. and wasn't just tossing out links, Cedric would build on something the blogger had blogged on and try to both create excitement for that site and to provide a kind of call-and-response between the two of them. If you go to *Cedric's site*, you'll see Cedric did seven links. (Rather amazing since Seth in the City never wrote more than three times a month.) Seth in the City provided zero links to Cedric in posts. Zero.

Cedric wondered what he had done to upset the blogger. Since for over six months, Cedric's name was also mispelled on the blogroll ("Cedirc's Big Mix"), he was bothered. Or take Wally who started The Daily Jot on October 15, 2005 and wasn't added to Seth in the City's blogroll until . . . November 23, 2005. That stuff adds up. Cedric, Trina, Wally. It was nothing for him to go 20 or so days without posting (again three posts in one month was considered heavy posting for that site) and he might argue, "Well, I wasn't blogging." Wrong, he blogged on November 4th, November 2nd, October 27th and October 18th. There was no reason not to add Wally to his blogroll (Wally had Seth in the City on his blogroll from day one). Me? I was in a tag once. Why? I have no idea. He never highlighted anything I wrote. But he did one post where he didn't write about me or provide a link to me but he tagged to me. I have no idea why.

I have no idea why he posted so irregularly. I think every third post was an apology for not posting (and a promise to post more). Betty posts at least once a week and she's raising three kids by herself, working full time, etc. but she can get a post up. She slaves over those and tears apart more than she ever posts. But she posts. Since he did not post daily, did not post week-daily, did not post weekly and had no sort of schedule at all, it was felt by a few that he was getting an audience, when he would post, because we all linked to him.

There were a lot of things that C.I. could have gone into (and there's much more than I've noted here) so I don't think it was C.I. being "tough" on him. I think C.I. said as little as necessary and only did that because Seth the community member finally gave permission for something to be said. *Seth the community member is not Seth in the City. For whatever reason, the blogger used "Seth" and it led to confusion for many members.*

Seth in the City came into the community, wanted to start a site, got it promoted at all the community sites and didn't do that much for the community. In April he posted four times. (At least one was "I'm too busy to post" for three lines.) Mike pointed out that he never highlighted one thing C.I. wrote that whole time. He did highlight newspaper stories, he did highlight sites outside the community.

We all note C.I. That's because C.I. posts more than any of us. That's because The Common Ills is the biggest site in the community. It helps to the community to keep it growing. (Which is why we always ignore C.I.'s request not to highlight The Common Ills.) That's because C.I. tackles strong issues when we may blow off the day (that's all of us, myself included). That's because none of us would have a site if The Common Ills hadn't come first.

What I saw was someone who wanted to be big in the blog world and was a little resentful of C.I.'s success. That really bothered a lot of people (Jim was the most vocal). There were some angry e-mails that several of us know of. (Yes, Ava and Jess work all the e-mail accounts for The Common Ills, public and private.) We took offense, everyone but C.I. who only takes offense when comments are made about someone else, at comments about the lack of e-mails *the blogger was receiving* in a competitive manner. As though the blogger was in competition with C.I.

I'm sorry, you can't come along after The Common Ills has been running for almost a year, after C.I.'s been posting three times a day minimum, and then you write three times a month or twice and expect to have C.I.'s audience. You can't expect for any reason. There was a downgrading of what C.I. does in the e-mails *the blogger sent to C.I. * and we all took offense to it. (All but C.I. but if C.I. took offense to everyone who's ever been jealous . . . I don't care for those people. I didn't care for them in college when they'd try to blame C.I. for the fact that they weren't as popular as C.I. or didn't ace the classes the way C.I. did, or whatever. If anyone ever told me that I was the reason they were having problems/failures, I would have responded, "Then don't hang around me." C.I., always the first to grab the blame, would immediately leap to the conclusion of self-blame instead of saying, "Grow up. You're responsible for your life, not me.")

Supposedly, the blogger will blog again. That was made very clear in an e-mail where C.I.'s writing was insulted, C.I.'s politics were insulted, and C.I. was insulted. If someone wrote an e-mail like that to me, it would be posted here and I would respond line by line. C.I. never even spoke of it and when it became obvious we all knew of it, C.I. said "I don't want to discuss it. End of story." That wasn't this month. That wasn't last month. That was back in April.

The two who wrote were glad that C.I. was tough. If anyone thinks C.I. was tough, they need to accept that C.I. wrote as little as possible.

That's not me slamming C.I. for doing that. That is me saying that if C.I. wanted to tear apart that blogger, it could have happened. The blogger thought he was smarter than C.I., thought he was going to demonstrate that and when it didn't happen, he got rude. Repeatedly. You don't get any of that from C.I.'s entry. What you get is: "I don't know when he's going to blog, but I'll note it if he does, if you have questions, ask him."

What C.I. did note was where people were specifically put out due to the blogger: Cedric, Dona and Mike. There is no good will there now. I've spoken to all three and I can tell you that. Dona was furious about contributions that never came or involvement that never showed up. That's why she closed the *process of turning out an edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review.* She exploded during one session when she had enough and said, "That's it, no more. Never again." People read that, without understanding who it was directed to, and some wrote her e-mails calling her a "bitch" and much worse. When C.I. found out about any of those e-mails, if they were from a community member, C.I. would write them and say, "You don't know what prompted that. It wasn't directed at the community. You need to apologize."

Those who realized something was wrong, those in the community, began noting that Cedric was never noted and that Betty was only noted once. (They, like me, were also tags in a post that never mentioned or linked to us.) It became a question of, "Is this an issue of racism?" Betty's doing a comic, online novel. She's working from an outline and it's very hard for her to work people in (especially if, like with Seth, she doesn't know them). But she worked Seth in. There was no sense of appreciation for that. (I'm a character in her novel and I appreciate that. I know she worked very hard to put me in and redid her outline as a result. My character will figure in with a plot twist coming up next month.) Whenever she can work in a party, she works in as many "characters" from community sites as she can. Ty and Jess are neighbors. Rebecca's the one Thomas Friedman drools over (or her breasts), go down the list. It's a lot of work. She links to Mike within posts. She tries very hard to never do a chapter that doesn't contain at least two links to the community.

Why? Because she knows the other sites are where the announcements go up: Betty's got a new chapter at Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man.

So this idea that everytime he wrote three or four lines, the whole community was supposed to note him did not go over well. Besides C.I., the only one who knew him was Rebecca and both knew him only slightly. (He popped up weeks before he started the site.) Rebecca was the one who felt it would go out ugly and she made a point of telling C.I. that in November with all of us present. She said she hoped she was wrong but that she felt the site would die quickly and that before it did, a lot of ugly e-mails would come in from the blogger where he blamed C.I. for everything that he didn't have: a ton of readers, a lot of posts, . . . All the things that were his fault, not C.I.'s. Rebecca called it in November and she was correct.

I've gone on too long but it was stressed to me by a number of people that I'm the only one who can write about it at length and "get away with it." C.I. won't be mad at me. I'm out of it enough that I'm not writing from one persective. Ava and Jess don't make a point to tell everyone about e-mails. In fact, they've not done so. They only did with regards to that blogger because he had already pissed off everyone at The Third Estate Sunday Review and because his e-mails were so filled with blame at C.I. -- where everything C.I. did was a personal insult to the blogger's life. It was an insult that C.I. posted regularly, it was an insult that C.I. has so many readers, it was . . .

I'm known for not caring if I'm linked to. I don't think I do anything special and only blogged to fill in for Rebecca while she was on vacation and then, started this site, because Mike spearheaded that petition drive. I don't think I offer anything wonderful or even okay here. I'm always surprised anyone bothers to read it.

But the community was very supportive when I filled in for Rebecca and I appreciated that so I'll string a few minor thoughts together four times a week. Meaning? I'm not upset that he didn't link to me. I didn't even notice. Jim was one the who pointed it out to me today. My reply was, "I don't think I've done anything worth linking to." Which isn't false modesty. I was, however, outraged when Jim told me the lack of links to The Common Ills. Call it the community flagship, call it whatever, but don't try to take a free ride on the community C.I. built.

C.I. built a community. There's not anyone blogging in this community that isn't aware of that or appreciative of it. Jim pointed out on the phone that they got 100 e-mails the day after C.I. noted the latest contents of the edition. That was Wednesday. C.I. notes and the community makes a point to go visit. They don't do that for sites outside the community. With those links, most people just read the excerpt and leave it at that. But if C.I. plugs you and you're a community site, you get 'traffic.' So to take traffic and not give anything back is just rude.

If you want to know why you don't have evening posts most evenings at The Common Ills, well, when someone whines/snarls that they had planned to blog but now they can't because C.I. covered it, C.I.'s attitude isn't, "Well write what you think, no one's stopping you." C.I.'s response is to think, "Oh my God, I'm preventing others from blogging." When there's blame offered, C.I. will go back for seconds.

That has to do with starting out with a number of . . . I'll say benefits (I'm talking off line and starting off means "from birth"). There was always a sense instilled in C.I. that you've got things that others will never have and you don't take those benefits for granted, they're a responsibility. That's why what most people (including me) would see as an attack is usually seen by C.I. as, "Okay, what have I done wrong? How can I fix this?"

In college, Rebecca and I saw it over and over. Someone would latch on and try to ease into our crowd. They's start off like C.I.'s new best friend and, within weeks, they'd be trashing C.I. They'd start it off as a joke, "I'm just being silly," and then it would become ugly. C.I. always would argue, when it was noted, that the person was just insecure and give a little space for the security, it will come. That never happened. People would turn against the person and then that was C.I.'s fault as well, in the person's mind and remarks.

It wasn't. C.I. never asked that someone be dropped from the circle, C.I. never insulted them behind their backs. C.I. would usually attempt to include them even after the rest of us had dropped them. I don't think that stems from a lack of self-worth, I think it stems from the lessons instilled that not everyone gets the same breaks.

A few years back (probably 2002 because C.I.'s sole focus has been the war since Feb. 2003 for the most part), C.I. helped a friend (I'd say "friend") with a script. It was a mess. It had no ending, it had no point. (I was present, as a house guest, for the reworking.) C.I. pulled that thing into order, taking a supporting character and making it a lead, creating plot developments, adding scenes, creating different voices for the characters, go down the list. The script was successful. Is the "friend" grateful?

No. Instead, the person showed up at Thanksgiving, while I was visiting C.I., griping about how if C.I. wasn't focusing on the war, the person wouldn't be struggling with a script. For three years now, struggling. C.I. didn't get any credit for reworking the successful script. Not a credit, not money, not even a decent "Thank you." But that person thinks he can bellow and scream (at Thanksgiving, mind you) and force C.I. into turning his bad writing into gold. (Again!) (This is not the person that C.I. helped last weekend. With the person last weekend, C.I. was a sounding board. With the cry baby, C.I. was co-writer. I was there, I heard every scene written as C.I. paced around becoming each character and giving them a voice. The 'writer' only had input by saying: "Wait! Wait, go back to that! I didn't get it down" as he scribbled down every scene C.I. created from scratch or took what was on the page and turned it completely around.)

So it was thought that only Rebecca or I could write of this because we've seen it play out so many times. Rebecca said she'd be glad to do it but she would end up with a very angry post. I'm not angry. I just don't see the need for the nonsenese the blogger pulled. He hurt a lot of feelings when he was blogging and he ended up lashing out at C.I. near the end. Outside of C.I., I don't know that anyone would link to him. He's brought that on himself.

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Rachel Meeropol and a debate on medical ethics re: Guantanamo," The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
Though it garners no mention on the front page of the New York Times today (headline or text), the Pentagon announced yesterday that
the American troop fatality count in Iraq had reached 2500. That wasn't judged to be "news." 'Officials say . . .,' however, was. Congress can take a moment to observe the milestone but the paper of record?
Bombings, kidnappings, corpses discovered -- chaos and violence continues in Iraq.
Al Jazeera reports that Hasan Eskinutlu, a Turkish technical expert, and a translator have been kidnapped by the Imam Ali Brigade "demanding the withdrawal of Ankara's ambassador from Iraq." Reuters notes that the kidnappers are also demanding "the release of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. and Iraqi jails." That kidnapping took place Thursday and was announced today. The AFP reports that today nine people were kidnapped in villages south of Baghdad by "Gunmen."
Corpses? Pakistan's
Pak Tribune notes that three corpses were discovered ("signs of torture with bullets in the head and chest").
Bombings? In Baghdad, at least eleven are dead
according to the AFP as a result of a bombing in "inside a massive Shiite mosque" which also resulted in at least 25 people wounded. Also in Baghdad, home of the 'crackdown,' "Mortar rounds," Reuters reports, claimed three lives. Xinhua notes that at least sixteen were wounded.
In Basra,
Reuters details the death of Yusif al-Hassan, a Sunni cleric and member of the Muslim Scholars Association at the hands of "[u]nknown gunmen".
Meanwhile the
AFP is reporting on rumors in the Japanese press that an annoucement is due out shortly that Japan will be withdrawing their troops from Iraq. The BBC reports assertions that the area of Muthanna will be turned over to Iraqi forces which ""British, Australian and Japanese troops [currently] control". This as China's People's Daily reports that Rodolfo Biazon, Fillipino senator, has stated that Blackwater will be able to "recruite and train people in the city [Subic] to work as mercenaries in war-torn Iraq" based on a new agreement.
BBC reports that another investigation into an incident involving the death of three Iraqis in US military custody has been launched "triggered by soldiers who raised suspiscions about the deaths" which took place in May.
Finally, as noted by Sandra Lupien on
KPFA's The Morning Show, the Republicans postured a great deal in the House this morning as they passed their resolution that troops will not be withdrawn early and that the so-called war on terror would be "won" -- John Murtha noted that those saying "Stay" weren't the ones at any risk. The Associated Press quotes Nancy Pelosi saying, "Stay the course, I don't think so Mr. President. It's time to face the facts. The war in Iraq has been a mistake. I say, a grotesque mistake." We'll close with something noted on KPFA's The Morning Show this morning and on KFPA's Evening News yesterday, Barabra Lee's statement which more than sums it all up:
The president and the Republican majority really refuse to level with the American people about when our troops are coming home, also really if they're coming home. And while we're debating this very bogus resolution, the most substantive decison on Iraq policy in very recent days was taken out by the Republican majority behind closed doors. They stripped from the war suplemental an amendment we offered to prevent the establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq. The American people don't want an open-ended war and occupation. Quietly removing a measure that was approved by both the House and the Senate is a gross abuse of the democratic process and is further evidence that the Republicans are afraid to level with the American people about their real plans for Iraq. Let me tell you, there will be a day of reckoning. The American people are demanding answers they deserve a truthful accounting of how we got into this unnecessary war, how the billions of dollars have been misspent, and when our troops are coming home. And also they really deserve to know if our troops are coming home given recent reports that the administration is considering leaving a permanent force of 50,000 troops in Iraq and indications that establishing permanent miliary bases are not off the table.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Iraqis protest, Take Back America silences protest

Please read Rebecca's "jason." Also, please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"More Than 1,000 Protest Bush in Baghdad" (Democracy Now!):
The President's visit was protested in Baghdad. Earlier today, more than one thousand people took to the streets calling on the US to withdraw from Iraq. The demonstrators waved Iraqi flags, carried signs and chanted slogans including "No, No to the occupiers."

When even Iraqis, living under an illegal occupation, have the courage to protest the Bully Boy, why can't you? The answer is you can. With less cost or risk. The only thing that keeps someone silent is themselves. Maybe it just hasn't reached your boiling point yet? If so, I'm scared to picture what your boiling point must be.

"GOP Rep: Wife in DC At "Greater Risk" Than Iraq Civilians" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, a Republican Congressmember is coming under criticism for making comments downplaying the dangers of life in Iraq. Speaking Monday on the House floor, Iowa Republican Steve King said: "My wife lives here with me, and I can tell you… she's at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C. than an average civilian in Iraq."

Well then, what's keeping you here, Steve King? And if you truly believe DC is so unsafe, what bills have you put forward to increase safety in DC? Better question, why is his wife in DC if it's so unsafe? If he cared for her safety, wouldn't he ask her to stay in Iowa? He's only been in the House a short time (elected in Nov. 2002) so it's not as though they've lived their entire adult lives there.

King's a vile little man who feels Abu Ghraib was nothing more than "hazing." Maybe he thinks that if his wife were in Iraq, she could join a sorority?

"State Department on Suicide as a 'Good P.R. Move'" (Ruth Conniff, The Progressive):
"Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good P.R. move," [Colleen] Graffy said of the deaths. Drawing on knowledge gleaned from work "on improving the United States' image abroad, especially in Islamic countries" (a detail The New York Times pulled from her State Department bio), Graffy elaborated on her remarks on the BBC show "Newshour": “It does sound like this is part of a strategy--in that they don't value their own lives, and they certainly don't value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic."
The Bush Administration hurried to distance itself from its diplomat's remarks. But why bother? When Abu Ghraib and Haditha are our calling cards in Iraq, and John Bolton, who said it wouldn't matter if the top ten floors fell off the U.N. Secretariat building in New York, is our representative to that body, what difference does it make if State Department officials start making light of deaths in U.S. custody, and referring to all of those Arab-terrorist types as an undifferentiated group of suicide-bombing fanatics? Isn't this what the war on terror is all about, anyway? Simplifying a whole mass of different peoples into one big "them" that we're fighting "over there" so we don't have to fight them here? (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia--what's the difference?)

So that's a column of Ruth Conniff's that I can agree with 100%. On the other Ruth, I did a correction for her this evening. I had no idea that C.I. wasn't allowed to read Ruth's Public Radio Report. I asked, "How was it posted?" Ruth thinks C.I. will hate it and asked that it not be read until Friday. She wondered if C.I. had held to that. I told her that I'd call. C.I. hasn't read it yet but stressed that was Ruth's space and she could write whatever she wanted?

It is. I think C.I. will love it and if you've missed it, please read it. You'll probably love it as well. (Unless you are Ruth Conniff, in which case you probably won't.) I'm sorry, the war's gone on way too long and we're the only ones who can stop it. Giving nonsense answers doesn't help anyone. ("Nonsense answers" is my word. I listened to the episode.)

We need to be serious. We can have fun, we crack wise, but we don't need to fluff. Here's a highlight about some who can't be serious. It was apparently more important to have Hillary Clinton attend their event (and grab the publicity her attendance would garner) than to address reality.

"Peace Activists at Hillary Clinton's Speech Try to Take Back 'Take Back America'" (Medea Benjamin, CounterPunch):
The Take Back America conference, an annual event held in Washington DC this year from June 12-14, is supposed to be a venue for prominent progressives to gather and debate the major issues of our day. Their aim is to "provide the nation with new vision, new ideas and new energy." But choosing New York Senator and probable presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a keynote speaker and then stifling dissent against her pro-war position hardly seems the stuff of a new vision for America.
The peace group
CODEPINK is widely known for bringing its anti-war message to the halls of power, including inside the Republican National Convention and at President Bush's Inauguration. But it has also targeted Democrats such as Hillary Clinton who support the war. "We have a campaign called Birddog Hillary," says CODEPINK's New York coordinator Nancy Kricorian. "We follow her around the entire state asking her to listen to the voices of her constituents and stop her support of Bush's 'stay the course' policy in Iraq. So far, she hasn't been listening." Fearing that CODEPINK would openly confront Clinton on her pro-war policy, the organizers of Take Back America entered into negotiations with CODEPINK a few days before the conference. "We had lengthy discussions where they pleaded with us not to protest during her keynote breakfast address," explained Gael Murphy, one of the cofounders of CODEPINK. "Instead, we were told that we could distribute flyers explaining Hillary's pro-war position to the crowd inside and outside the hotel, and we would be called on to ask her the first question after the speech. We agreed."
However, when CODEPINK showed up on Tuesday morning in advance of Clinton's speech, the security guards refused to allow them to pass out flyers, even outside the hotel. "Take Back America violated the agreement from the moment we arrived," said Ms. Murphy. "Even though we had a table inside the conference, burly security guards blocked us and informed us that it was a private event, that we were not welcome, and they escorted us out of the building. We telephoned the conference staff who then told us that we couldn't enter the hotel, couldn't leaflet the event, the hallways-anywhere. They went back on their word and tried to quash even peaceful, respectful dissent."

There's no excuse for that. The organization sold out and needs to be held accountable.

"Iraq Snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Dahr Jamail, Greg Palast, Gareth Peirce," The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
In the United States, following
the actions of the so-called Take Back America leadership to silence the activist organization CODEPINK from registering their objections to war monger Hillary Clinton, Clinton's opponent in the primary, Jonathan Tasini, has issued his own comments at The Huffington Post where he wonders: "So, the question to real progressives through the country -- and funders who enable the organizations that want to stifle debate -- is simple: how are the progressives different than Republicans and pro-war Democrats if they suppress debate about the centeral electoral issue, the Iraq war?"
Hillary Clinton, though protected, was still booed. As was
George Bush Snr. in Harrogate Friday. The protests are not going away which is why the Granny Peace Brigade was back in Times Square last Saturday and why they have "announced [that] they are taking their anti-war tour to Washington."
Something that won't be taking place in Baghdad anytime soon is
the Arab League conference which has been postponed again. The conference has been postponed, again, due to the instability in Iraq (that would be the continued chaos and violence). As Amy Goodman noted today, a recent Pew Research Center poll has found a decline in support for US Policies. As Al Jazeera has noted, the poll finds that the US involvement in Iraq "is the biggest threat to Middle East stability."
A feeling that was shared by the protestors that rallied against the Bully Boy when he visited Tuesday. As Sandra Lupien noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show today, "some 2,000 protested" chanting slogans such as "Iraq is for Iraqis!" and calling for an end to the occupation. Today, as RTE News noted, protestors also made their presence felt at the Iranian consulate in Basra. Gulf News reports that they attacked the embassy and "set fire to a reception area of the building" as a result of a broadcast on "Iranian satellite station which they said had insulted a Shiite cleric in Iraq."
Meanwhile the photo-op sucked up a great deal of news space but few found the time to note that Bully Boy managed to grab time to lean on Nouri al-Maliki, occupation puppet, about Iran. Whether 'rebels' were discussed or not, the Turkish Press reports that al-Maliki desires "a dialogue with rebel groups." Roula Khalaf (Finanical Times of London) reports that "a national reconcilliation initiative that could include a conditional amnesty offer and negotiations with some some armed insurgent groups" is being prepared.
While al-Maliki's "crackdown" takes place in Baghdad, the usual violence occurs. Ceerwan Aziz offers an eyewitness account of one bombing for Reuters:
The blast sent shrapnel flying in all directions as huge balls of flames moved skyward. People fled the scene screaming and crying. The charred body of a dead man sat upright, engulfed by huge flames. A teenage boy was also on fire. He managed to grab a rod extended to him, and was pulled out of the inferno. I counted four bodies, but couldn't tell if they were dead or seriously wounded.
The Associated Press also reports four dead from the car bomb in Baghdad. Reuters notes two other car bombs in Baghdad today (this during the "crackdown"), one that claimed the lives of at least two (wounded at least seven) and another that wounded at least one person. The AP notes that a man driving his car in Baghdad was shot and killed while a roadside bomb (not covered by Reuters) took the life of one "police commando." This during the "crackdown," when, as the AFP points out, over "50,000 Iraqi and US troops patrolled the streets of Baghdad".
Outside Baghdad, CNN reports that four were killed, in Baquba, during a gunfire attack on "electronic stores" and that a skirmish of some form occurred in Diyala with officials reporting five dead and three wounded. In Mosul, the AP notes a roadside bomb that wounded four police officers. In Najaf, Reuters notes that "a construction contractor . . . working for the Iraqi government" was killed by "gunmen."
Meanwhile the WRA (Women's Rights Association) is reporting "a massive increase in reported cases of sexual abuse in Iraq." The report has found, among other things, that "nearly 60 women have been raped in Baghdad since February, while another 80 were abused in other ways." Note, that is in Baghdad only. That is reported rapes only. And that is only since February.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guantanamo Bay, some points Aaron Glantz made on KPFA's The Morning Show

First, to a question about yesterday's post ("A difference of opinion"), Ginelle e-mailed and asked if I regretted it because "there were some harsh things in there"? No, I don't regret it at all. Psychologists were attacked. The implication, from the remarks, was that the Hippocratic Oath doesn't apply to us but those upstanding psychiatrists swear to it! Well that's not true. I'll never regret calling out a falsehood especially when I see it as an attack. I also heard from people who wrote e-mails thanking me for it. I think there were six from nurses who appreciated the fact that their profession operates under the same foundation (which it does). The oath, in any form, is rarely sworn to. In it's original form, even less so. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"U.S. Refuses to Close Guantanamo" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile the Bush administration is once again rejecting calls to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison following the suicide of three men on Saturday.
State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack: "Look, we have no desire to be the world's jailers. We look forward to the day at some point where it would close down but the fact of the matter is that right now it houses some very dangerous people who right now are not only a threat to American citizens but other people around the world."

Meanwhile in Washington, the Center for Constitutional Rights held a press conference condemning the administration's treatment of detainees at the military base.
Attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez: "It does seem that the administration will continue to try and put a spin on this when I think it's very simple and very clear what happened. We are holding human beings in indefinite detention, with complete uncertainty about their fate, under conditions that are stressful and oppressive. There is a reason why our constitution ensures the rule of habeas corpus, there is a reason why the magna carter incorporates the rights to challenge imprisonment by the king and its because that kind of detention leads to the exact results we saw this weekend, a kind of desperation and futility that would make someone rather die that continue to be held like that."

Rebecca wrote some very nice things yesterday (in "flashpoints this monday had patrick cockburn, michael ratner and more") but I don't feel passionate about Guantanamo. I feel like I'm just this woman screaming, "Why can't you SEE!" over and over. When we endorse this (through word, action, silence, non-action to oppose it), we accept it. This is so vile and disgusting. There's a test that we should all be to perform: Put yourself in their shoes.

If you weren't charged with anything but you were imprisoned, how would you feel? If you were isolated and disappeared, how would you feel? How many days, weeks, months do you think you could hang on before you lost all hope? When that point came, what would you do?
That's what the hunger strikes were about, that's what the suicides were about.

It is worth trashing our own humanity and decency to continue this immoral prison? What does that say about you if you stay silent?

Religious Leaders Call on U.S. To Abolish Torture
Twenty-seven religious leaders including megachurch pastor Rick Warren and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, have signed a statement urging the United States to "abolish torture now -- without exceptions." The group’s statement appears in a series of newspaper ads bought by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. The statement reads in part "Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation."

Bully Boy refused to meet with religious leaders before the illegal invasion. He's ignored requests and condemnations from other nations (and the European Union thinks Guantanamo needs to be closed as well). He doesn't care. That's not because he lives in a bubble, that's because he really doesn't care. Whether it's being taught at a young age that death is ignored or mocking a prisoner he executed as governor, he doesn't give a damn. It doesn't reach him on any level in his state of delusion.

We'll have the "Iraq Snapshot" in a minute but I want to note Aaron Glantz, author of How America Lost Iraq, was interviewed by Philip Malderi and Andrea Lewis on KPFA's The Morning Show today. His book is now out in paperback and he spoke of how he thought "the mood in this country has changed tremendously in the last year." He's been doing radio appearances (and I'm sure in-store ones as well) around the country. He spoke of the reaction in Boulder, CO when he was on a radio program there. The callers were not screaming, "How dare you!" They were eager to talk about the war. I think everyone is except for the elected leaders and the mainstream media.

Philip Maldari brought up a House resolution that Republicans want to push in the House. They're attempting to tie in the p.r. slogan of "support the troops" with the war and hoping to force anyone too cowardly to stand up straight into voting it. Glantz said that Democrats should stand up (it was noted that Barbara Lee was ready to and ready for a discussion of the war in Congress) and that, if they did, they would "get some points for it." That is true. Everyone outside of DC and the mainstream media would like a serious discussion of the illegal war.

He noted that Ramadi is under the radar and that we turned Falluja into "a graveyard" and "we are about to do the same thing in Ramadi." He explained that 400,000 people live in Ramadi which US forces began surrounding last week. The military has cut the water, cut the electricity, cut the phone service. "It doesn't look good" for? Obviously those living in Ramadi. But it also doesn't look for Americans and Glantz made that point very strongly. If another Falluja (or Haditha) happens, that only turns the Iraqi people against the US even more. Every slaughter, every violation may get a shrug in this country but it is noticed there. This is not a way to win "peace." Nor are the plans for Baghad (read on). What should the US do at this point? Glantz satead that "the situation if we stay is that it will continue to get worse."

"Iraq Snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
In the United States,
Suzanne Swift was arrested Sunday. Swift, 21, served one tour of duty in Iraq. The military listed her as AWOL. Sarah Rich, Swift's mother, has stated, "she went to Iraq once and she was my hero she decided not to back and she's even more my hero."
Meanwhile in Iraq, it's time for another quick photo-op as Bully Boy primps in the Green Zone. As Sandra Lupien noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Bully Boy "flew eleven hours to spend less than five hours." Lupien also noted that "Today's visit is Bush's second since the invasion" referring to his Nov. 2003 Thanksgiving visit which was "confined to the airport and limited to several hours." The visit, which is sure to provide distraction and suck up real news time, was unannounced -- with occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki being given only five minutes notice. As Aaron Glatnz declared to Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari, also on today's KPFA's The Morning Show,"It doesn't change anything."Glantz, journalist and author (How America Lost Iraq), was speaking of Zarqawi's death, but may as well have been speaking of Bully Boy's latest publicity stunt. As Glantz noted, "15,000 Iraqis in prison without charges, no electricity . . . water" -- that's reality. Andrea Lewis asked why the electricity was still now workable (over three years after the illegal invasion was launched). Glantz explained, "Your tax dollar is not going into rebuilding Iraq. It's going to the military and Haliburton . . . 100 million is going to build a new prison."
Nic Robertson took a look at the business of war. Robertson found that "private military contractors are earning billions of dollars in Iraq -- much of it from U.S. taxpayers" and that business is so good for Blackwater that it's expanded with a new headquarters in North Carolina.War's good for the financial profits of some and for Bully Boy photo ops within the safety of the Green Zone, it's not good for Iraqis or American forces. Yesterday, the official fatality count for American troops was eight away from 2,500 and today the number stands at 2,497 -- three away. The number of Iraqis?As Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) noted on yesterday's Flashpoints, no numbers, only estimates/guesses. (My own? Half a million. And Rebecca noted Cockburn's appearance here.) Deaths when covered often come with vague details. Last month, Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, thirty-five and pregnant, was killed along with Saliha Mohammed Hassan as Nabiha's brother attempted to drive her to the hospital. Reporting for IPS, Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed have found those who dispute the official press releases. A human rights investigator maintains "that both women were shot in the back of the head by U.S. snipers." Redam Nisaif Jassim, brother of Nabiha and driver of the car, states "The Americans offered me 5,000 dollars" but he declined.Not even photo-ops stop reality so the chaos and violence continued across Iraq. All the usual features of the illegal occupation were present today. Corpses discovered? In Baghdad, the Irish Examiner reports that eight corpses were found. The AFP reports: "A professor at the College of Engineering was shot dead" and that the corpse count had climbed to fourteen ("shot . . . signs of torture"). Reuters identified the professor: Muthana Harith Jassim. CNN identified him as Hani Aref Jassim.
Car bombs and roadside bombs went off throughout Iraq. In the most noted incident,
Kirkuk saw several explosions. Among the sites targeted in Kirkuk, the Associated Press notes "an insititute for the disabled." The AFP estimates the day's death toll to be "[a]t least 32 people" throughout Iraq while CBS and the AP estimate that it was "more than 50" were killed today. The Telegraph of London reports that bombings also took place "in Mosul, Tall Afar and Baghdad."
Attacks on police? Many. Two,
noted by Reuters, were in Kut where one was killed (two wounded) and in Kerbala which took the life of "a police captain and wounded 2 of his bodyguards." CNN notes one police officer killed ("five others wounded") in Baghdad.Wednesday will mark the much touted occupation puppet's attempt at a "crackdown" on Baghdad. The Associated Press reports that "tens of thousands of Iraqi and multinational forces" will be "securing roads, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes" Expect more chaos and violence for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, questions are being asked regarding
the statements of Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affiars of Ireland. As RTE News reports, Ahren has stated that the civilian aircraft "carrying a US marine who was in military custody" which landed at Shannon Aircraft did so without "the consent of the Irish Government." Questions also exist as to the identity of the US marine, why he or she was being transported through Shannen, and why he or she was in "military custody."

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.