Friday, October 13, 2006

Music, Ricky Clousing and the hypocrisy of presenting sexual predators as respectable

The very kind e-mails that came in on Wednesday's post indicate to me that we all miss Kat. I miss her and her wonderful music insight and discussions. (She's in Ireland because a relative is dying.) Julie wrote a wonderful e-mail about a group we both enjoyed, Pink Floyd and wondered if I considered that "my group"? (See Wednesday's post.) Yes, I do. Friends have always enjoyed the Floyd but that's one of the groups I could carve out as my own. In fact, Rebecca ragged on me many times in college about playing Dark Side of the Moon over and over and she enjoyed the group. But I can't think of a friend who loves them as much as I do. So I've always considered them to be one of "my groups."

Kimberly had an interesting e-mail as well and wondered about "custody after a break up"? She gave examples and I think most should be able to relate to them but I'm not sure if she was giving permission for them to be shared so I'll note the times when I was stripped of custody due to a break up.

I always loved some of the Eagles songs and Desperado was my favorite of the group's albums. "Tequila Sunrise" was probably my favorite song (and probably due to memories of a good relationship). So, in the nineties, when I started seeing a man who was heavily into the Eagles -- to the point that he had every solo album every member of the band ever released -- and when we broke up, I just lost my desire to listen to the band anymore. I can hear a song on the radio and sing along but I've never played their CDs since then. It just felt like "his group" because he was so into them. There's actually another story but I can't remember the song -- a blessing.

One of my favorite songs was crafted into "our song" in one relationship. When it was over, I was so depressed because I knew I wouldn't want to listen to the song again. C.I. said, "Don't turn it into a missing tooth" -- meaning, don't keep going back over it the way you would when you were little and lost a tooth (your tongue would go to that now empty spot). C.I. said, "Don't think about it." It's worked for C.I. on that and on films. I didn't think it would work, honestly. But it was about five years ago and I honestly can't remember what song it was. I can narrow it down to five groups but I can't even remember which group it was.

I don't generally block things out, but in that instance I did and I'm glad I did so. That may be the best way to hold on to your songs after a break up.

Yesterday, there was a joint-post and I want to note that. It was Cedric's "Idiot of the week, non-governmental"; it was Wally's "THIS JUST IN! IDIOT OF THE WEEK, NON-GOVERNMENTAL DIVISION!"; it was Betty's "An award and news on Ricky Clousing found in the paper" and it was included in Mike's 'Ricky Clousing, TV raid in Baghdad kills 11 and we pick "Idiot of the Week".' The four of them worked on it with the assistance of two others: Dona and Ty. So if you missed it, please read it.

I hope you didn't miss the news of war resister Ricky Clousing who felt the war was illegal and saw too much while serving in Iraq that backed that up. In June 2005, Clousing self-checked out (went AWOL). On August 11, 2006, at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle, he announced that he was turning himself and he was not going back to Iraq.

He turned himself in. The military charged him with desertion. His court-martial was yesterday. He pleaded to a lesser charge of AWOL and now he'll be confined for three months, demoted in rank and dishonorably discharged.

It took bravery to stand against the war machined. It took something other than bravery to avoid covering it. But many ignored the story and that just disgusts me. But there are always surprises and a big one, for me, was that the New York Times did cover it. If you missed their article, please read Laurie Goodstein's "A Soldier Hoped to Do Good, but Was Changed by War."

I think it makes people look like hypocrites when they tell you, initially, that the story matters and then they drop the ball on it. But I think it's disgusting that a man who was busted for instant messaging an underage person is treated with respect. You probably think I'm speaking of Mark Foley. I'm not. I'm speaking of Amy Goodman's guest for Monday. Considering that Goodman felt the Mark Foley scandal was worth covering, it's shocking that she's happy to ignore the issue of sexual predators online when it suits her purpose. I think that's hypocrisy as well. I think it's appalling that the same people who acted scandalized that Foley was communicating with underage males for the purpose of sex are perfectly happy to present a man who was busted for doing the same thing with an FBI agent he thought was an underage female.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, October 13, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; a coroner finds US forces guilty in the death of a reporter; war resister
Ricky Clousing was court-martialed and sentenced yesterday; a British general grabs the headlines with his thoughts on Iraq; southern states in the US are polled on the war; Iraqi police continue to be an issue; and is that friendly person marching in the protest 'cool' or military intelligence?
Starting with
Ricky Clousing who faced a court-martial yesterday and was charged with desertion but pleaded to AWOL. As the AP noted last night, Clousing will be confined for three months and "receive a reduction in rank before getting a bad conduct discharge." April Johnston (Fayetteville Observer) notes that the location Clousing will be defined has yet to be determined and charts the awakening of Clousing faced with realities in Iraq and his own spiritual beliefs which led him to self-check out "for nearly 14 months" before he turned himself in. Laurie Goodstein (New York Times) covers the awakening as well and notes that the military took the case seriously: "Yet the military prosecutors made it clear on Thursday that the stakes were high. Although they did not challenge his motives, they said if one young soldier disilluioned by the reality of war could give up the uniform punishment, what of others?"
Of course the military saw that the stakes were high. Clousing is part of a movement of war resistance within the military that only continues to grow. The US military grasps that. Does independent media?
Goodstein interviews Chuck Fager of the Quaker House who took Clousing's call: "This call was unusual. . . . I don't have these kinds of probing discussions about moral and religious issues very often. . . . I said to him, you're not crazy or a heretic for having difficulty reconciling Jesus' teachings with what's going on in Iraq."
Last Friday, war resister Darrell Anderson was released by the US military and informed that he would face a dishonorable discharge.
Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo and Ehren Watada are war resisters currently awaiting word from the US military.Courage to Resist covers all public war resisters. Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and Corey Glass are among the war resisters who are attempting to be granted asylum by the Canadian government.
War resistance and other efforts to end the war come at a time when the American public has turned against the war and polls have tracked this trend for too long and it's too firm for for it to be shaken.
CounterPunch News Services reports on a new poll from the Institute for Southern Studies and the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina which finds: "56% of Southerners believe the U.S. 'should have stayed out of Iraq'"; "Southerners are skeptical about the goals of the Iraq mission"; and "62% of respondents in the South said they were 'very sad' about the course of the war". CounterPunch reports: "The results signal a shift in Southern attitudes towards Iraq. As recently as July 2005, a Pew Center poll found 53% of Southerners believed using military force against Iraq was 'the right decision,' the highest level of support in the country."
Next week, October 19th, Vietnam war resister
Dave Dellinger will speak about "Resistance to War in a Volunteer Army" at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan from seven pm to nine pm.
As the resistance grows, more voices speak out from all places and all areas.
Richard Norton-Taylor and Tania Branigan (Guardian of London) report on the surprising statements of British General Richard Dannatt who "dropped a political bombshell last night by saying that Britain must withdraw from Iraq 'soon' or risk serious consequences for Iraqi and British society. In a blistering attack on Tony Blair's foreign policy, Gen Dannatt said the continuing military presence in Iraq was jeopardising British security and interests around the world." The BBC reports: "Tony Blair has said he agrees with "every word" the new head of the British Army said on the Iraq war. But the agreement depends upon a watered-down interpretation of the remarks. Regardless of how the remarks are interpreted, Australia's ABC reports that Chatty Cathy Brendan Nelson, who holds the title of Defence Minister in Australia, doesn't care: "So long as I remain Minister, we are there to see the job through." Of course, should the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco do its job and apportion accountability (don't hold your breath), Nelson might not "remain Minister" for very long.
Last Friday, Nicholas Walshe testified at an inquest in London that he'd seen ITN reporter Terry Lloyd "shot in the head by US troops as he was driven away from a gunfight." Lloyd was killed March 22, 2003 as was Huseein Osman who was acting as interpreter. Fred Nerac, the camera operator, has never been found. CNN reports that Andrew Alker, the coroner, has ruled: "Terry Lloyd died following a gunshot wound to the head. The evidence this bullet was fired by the Americans is overwhelming."
Lynn Lloyd, wife of the late Terry Lloyd, is
quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald stating that the US military "allowed their soldiers to behave like trigger happy cowboys in an area in which there were civilians travelling." The Pentagon denies any wrongdoing took place. CNN reports that Chelsey Lloyd wants justice in the death of her father and has stated of the US military: "They did not come to this inquist to explain their actions. Let them now do so in our criminal courts where they are guaranteed to get a fair trial." The BBC reports that the killing has been called a war crime by the National Union of Journalists and notes a statement by David Mannion ("editor in chief" ITN): "I have no doubt it was the fact that the vehicle stopped to pick up survivors that prompted the Americans to fire on that vehicle. I would also like to say something that I know Terry would have wished me to say. Independent, unilateral reporting, free from official strictures, is crucial; not simply to us as journalists but to the role we play in a free and democratic society."
Terry Lloyd died in March 2003 -- one of the early fatalities. And the chaos and violence continues.
Reuters reports that a bombing of police station in Hilla resulted in six deaths and 12 wounded. A later Reuters story reports the number wounded dropped to ten -- because two more moved over to the death column for a total of eight dead. CBS and AP note that the bomb was placed "under his [police commander] desk or chair, apparently by someone who evaded security". And the US military announced today that soldier died in Iraq on Thursday from "an improvised explosive device." [The death brought the US military fatality count to 46 for the month and 2759 since the start of the illegal war.]
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that two girls and six women were shot dead in Suwayrah (while two more were kidnapped), "a father and his two sons" were shot dead by in Baquba while another two people were shot dead elsewhere in Baquba.
CNN reports that, in Dhuluiya, the corpses of 14 people kidnapped on Thursday were discovered "dumped in an orchard". Reuters notes that seven corpses ("riddled with bullets") were discovered in Balad and another two were discovered "near Garma, near Falluja".
As the violence and chaos continue in Iraq,
James Gordon Meek (New York Daily News) reports: "The Bush administration plans to shut down a highly successful Iraqi police academy in Jordan even as security in Iraq worsens, the Daily News has learned. The Jordan International Police Training Center near Amman will stop training Iraqi police recruits this year, having already graduated 40,000 cops from its eight-week course since 2004, U.S. officials confirmed." Meek notes that the Baghdad Police College "has to be rebuilt because of bungled construction." Confused? This follows Griff Witte's September reporting (Washington Post) on the issue of Parsons' "botched construction of a $75 million police academy in Baghdad so badly that human waste dripped from the ceilings" and, therefore, "posed a health risk".
This also follows
the news from last week that the Eighth Brigade of the Second Division of the Iraqi National Police was the primary suspect in a mass kidnapping leading even the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, to declare: "There was clear evidence that there was some complicity in allowing death squad elements to move freely, when in fact they were supposed to be impeding their movment. It was realized that removing them from Baghdad would, in fact, enhance security." The 'answer' then was 'retraining.' Retraining where may be the question to ask today. Of course, as James Hider (Times of London) noted last week, "US forces have been re-training the Iraqi police, but the programme has had little impact". Most recently, reporting on the mass slaying of the employees of the Baghdad TV station, both Kirk Semple and Qais Mizher (New York Times) and Ellen Knickmeyer and Naseer Nouri (Washington Post) noted that witnesses described the assailants as being clad in police uniforms and driving vehicles bearing the markings of the Iraqi police.
But not to worry.
Gerald Burke (the American "National Security Adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior") tells AFP that the ministry he advises/controls 'budgets' for deaths of police officers and, currently, they're 'budgeting' for the death of 25 Iraqis each day. Sounds like just the thing to stress at the next Jobs Fair.
In peace news,
the ACLU has released some documents. Are you now or have you ever been a peace activist? Chances are you've been spied upon during the illegal war in Iraq. The ACLU finds: "The documents show that the Pentagon was keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database" and quotes attorney Ben Wizner stating: "When information about non-violent protest activity is included in a military anti-terrorism database, all Americans should be concerned about the unchecked authority this administration has seized in the name of fighting terrorism." Those with longer memories will recall the days of spying on peace activists, feminists, civil rights workers and basically anyone else 'guilty' of 'thought crimes.' (If your memory is short, click here.)
Meanwhile, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, is nearing the end of the second speaking tour to raise awareness about his son -- Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. The upcoming dates include:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

To see the schedule in full, PDF, click
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Call on Me

Sunny printed up the e-mails and, unless I've missed one, there were no additional dates for voter registration. I had hoped to write about something tonight, an article C.I. faxed me but the article's not online and the issue of the magazine isn't out yet so I'm coming up short tonight. I read the faxed copy and passed it on to Sunny. I visited the website online, it wasn't there. I stopped at the bookstore on the way home and the issue wasn't out yet. So I'll catch it either Friday or next week.

So instead, I'll write about two questions Susan asked in her e-mail. Her first was if, like her, my favorite song changes? I think it does for a lot of people who like music. My all time favorite, even among albums, shifts from time to time depending on my mood. There are also times when I don't listen to an artist at all. Last week, I was walking in the front door and wondering what to put on? I stood looking at my CDs for about ten minutes and, during that, I realized I hadn't listened to Elvis Costello in some time.

I really enjoy Elvis Costello's music but I think I went through a period when I over did it. I was looking at my three favorite CDs by him (My Aim Is True, Brutal Youth and This Year's Model) and thinking that I should listen to one. But I just wasn't in the mood. So I think, for some of us, it does depend upon our moods and I also know, that for me, it's easy to o.d. on a favorite.

As for the second question, what do I think of the Doors? I really love the Doors. I don't usually think of them as one of "my groups." That's because I have a friend (C.I.) who loves the Doors. Do you do that? You divide up groups as your group or someone else's by who is really into them? Another examples would be the White Stripes, whom I really love. But Mike loves them like no one I know so I always think of them as his group.

The Beatles, seem like "everyone's group." On the Doors, I have all of their studio albums on CD and one live album. My personal favorite is Morrison Hotel. Of the singles, I think "Love Me Two Times" and "Riders on the Storm" would top my list of favorite songs.

Another example, besides the Doors, of someone I enjoy is Janis Joplin but I always think of her as Rebecca's favorite. Of the Janis CDs, the "one" I listen to the most is the boxed set that came out in the early nineties. My favorites Joplin song is "Call On Me." I got the boxed set for that reason. The song appears on the first Big Brother album but, at that time, that album wasn't available on CD. I'm not talking about Cheap Thrills, the album before, Big Brother and the Holding Company. It's a song that really stood out to me in the film Coming Home. When the boxed set came out, CD boxed sets were still 'exciting.' So I grabbed it at the store to look at the tracks and was thinking, "They really don't do women." They really didn't. I don't think they do women that much now. For instance, Carole King's "boxed set" collection is two discs. So I was considering purchasing it for that reason alone. I had all of the CDs (and even had Big Brother and the Holding Company on other formats). But there was the hope that if it sold, maybe other women would get boxed sets. Joan Baez got a three disc boxed set (and, recently an A&M four disc boxed set). Later Carly Simon would have a boxed set. Diana Ross got one in between (and one of the few living woman to get a four disc set and not a three) as did Barbra Streisand (ditto). Just a little flashback and nothing's really changed. Keep waiting for the Judy Collins boxed set, for instance, because it's apparently going to take a few more years. Another of my favorites, Roberta Flack? Keep waiting.

One thing that might change it is the move towards downloads but since women and racial minorities tend to get overlooked in every period, that may be a false hope. This reality is why I was considering getting the boxed set even though I had the studio albums of Janis Joplin's that were available on CD. Then I saw "Call on Me" listed on the first disc and made up my mind. For the longest time I just listened to that disc. In fact, I had a one disc Sony player at the time, I just listened to that one song for a couple of days in a row. But it is a strong boxed set and it's titled Janis if you're looking for a way to explore her work. (Essays by Ann Powers and Ellen Willis are in the booklet.)

As I said earlier, I'm coming up short tonight but please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. We're both noting the next item.

"Farmworkers’ Plight: No Fruits for Their Labor" (David Bacon, San Francisco Chronicle via Common Dreams):
Julia Preston, a New York Times reporter writing from Washington, D.C., describes pears rotting on trees in Lake County, Calif., owing to a lack of farmworkers to pick them. Growers tell her 70,000 of the state's 450,000 farmworkers are missing. America's newspaper of record is being spun by agribusiness, which wants a new bracero program, and complains of a labor shortage to get it.
Two weeks ago, in the olive groves of neighboring Tehama County, I saw hardly any fruit on the trees. Rain and cold weather this spring hurt the crop, and workers were leaving to find work elsewhere.
There are always local variations in crops, and the number of workers needed to pick them. But the Times is painting a false picture. I've spent eight months traveling through California valleys and I have yet to see rotting fruit. I have seen some pretty miserable living and working conditions for workers, though.
Californians need a reality check about farm labor.
Today, more and more agricultural workers migrate from small towns in southern Mexico and even Central America. In the grape rows and citrus orchards, you're as likely to hear Mixtec or Purepecha or Triqui -- indigenous languages that predate Columbus -- as you are to hear Spanish.
They are making California a richer place, in wealth and culture. For those who love spicy mole sauce, that's reason to celebrate. The Guelagetza festival showcases Oaxacan dances in Fresno, Santa Maria and San Diego. Families of Triqui weavers create brilliant rebozos (shawls), in the off-season winter months when there is not much work in the fields.
But the wages these families earn are barely enough to survive. As Abraham Lincoln said, "labor creates all wealth," but farmworkers get precious little of it. Twenty-five years ago, at the height of the influence of the United Farm Workers, union contracts guaranteed almost twice the minimum wage of the time. Today, the hourly wage in almost every farm job is the minimum wage -- $6.75 an hour. And taking inflation into account, the minimum wage is lower today than it was then.

Imagine that, the New York Times, reporting something other than truth. Shocking, isn't it?
No, it's not and you can read falsehoods in that paper day after day. In fact, actual news may be when the Times makes it a week without promoting a false 'trend' story. The workers are being screwed and, as usual, the paper of record doesn't care about that, they care about covering it up to sell you big business.

"Thirty Years is Enough for Hyde Amendment" (Feminist Wire Daily):
October marks the 30th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, the law that prohibits using federal funds for abortions. Passed every year since 1976, the Hyde Amendment does not allow any woman on Medicaid, in the military, or on disability insurance to receive financial assistance for an abortion, except in cases of incest or rape, according to the
National Organization for Women. While some states allow funding to be used in cases where the mother’s life would be endangered or fetal abnormalities would occur, many abide by Hyde guidelines, according to the National Abortion Federation.

Thirty years? Roe v. Wade was January 1973. From the beginning, there has been an assault on it from the right. It's interesting that the right can argue no tax payer monies will be used for it -- that's federal funds -- but my tax money goes to an illegal war. It's also interesting that Bully Boy has been able to illegally, my opinion, fund religion while he's occupied the White House. I think this will be one of the historical scandals, the funding, when people look back. Churches don't pay taxes in this country so the idea that they should get federal funding is appalling. The reason I think this will be one of the historical scandals is that they've preached "faith based" treatment for AIDS and AIDS has only gotten worse under the Bully Boy and will only continue to do so. "Faith based" is not arming children, who will have sex, with the knowledge they need. If a church wants to do that, with their own money, fine. But tax payers shouldn't foot the bill for teaching "just say no" (which never works as a policy with people growing into adulthood because part of adulthood is exploring the boundaries).

So I do believe that history will look back at the fact that we had a program in place under Bill Clinton for AIDS education and the program was obscured with "faith based" plans (that if a church wants to pay for with their own money, more power to them) and that, as a result, the crisis got worse. I don't think most people realize that and I also don't think we'll see the trend on this for five more years. It's there now but I don't think people grasp it.

I have no respect for Bono (not just because it was recently revealed that he's not paying his share of taxes in Ireland, he off-shored to avoid that). His work has been a joke. He's gotten into bed with every right winger, he's preached AIDS as a children's problem and, in the United States, we'd gotten past that. We'd gotten passed the point where only the Ryan Whites were worthy of compassion and concern. But when you get in bed with those weirdos, as Bono did, you get in bed with their shame. So his One, a huge joke, is helping to turn back the clocks.

Three good friends are actively involved in AIDS research and my comments on Bono are much milder than anything they would say. The next time he's in a "do gooder" mood (as opposed to being part of a company making games about how to attack Venezuela), he should take a moment to realize that medical treatments and solutions can't be watered down.

The snapshot is below. I won't be blogging tomorrow nigh (I do an evening group on Thursdays) but I will be thinking of Ricky Clousing and I hope that by tomorrow the media, big and small, decides to actually cover this.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, October 11, 2006. Violence and chaos continue in Iraq, Shi'ites in Parliament push to split the nation of Iraq, a new study published by the British medical journal The Lancet concludes that an estimated 655,000 Iraqis have died since the illegal war, those disputing the study will have plenty of time to gasbag since the illegal war is 'ready' to continue through 2010, but in the meantime they can dicker over the figures released by the Iraqi Health Ministry for September (2,660 Iraqis dead), and war resister Ricky Clousing stands trial in North Caroline tomorrow.
Tomorrow, at Fort Bragg, war resister
Ricky Clousing faces a military trial. Clousing self-checked out of the military in June of 2005. In August, Clousing held a press conference to announce his decision to turn himself in. At the August 11, 2006 press conference, Clousing stated:

In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Upon my return to the United States I started to ask my unit the same questions I had been asking myself. Wearing the uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down. But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality?

Clousing was charged with desertion and tomorrow, October 12th, he will face a military trial.
As Clousing's website notes: "After returning to military custody, the 82nd Airborne opened an investigation into Sgt. Clousing's allegations of systemic abuse and the misuse of power by US troops in Iraq. The Army has yet to announce the results of this investigation." Also noted is the press conference tomorrow at 10 am, the Quaker House, 223 Hillside Ave, Fayetteville, NC at which Ricky Clousing will speak. At noon, in downtown Fayetteville, there will be a rally to show support for Clousing.
While Ricky Clousing stands up, jaw boners get all nervous over
a study published in The Lancet which estimates Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the illegal war to have reached 655,000. The study, funded by MIT and the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, follows up an earlier one published in the fall of 2004 which, as Patricia Reaney (Reuters) reports, estimated 100,000 Iraqi deaths as a result of the war during the time frame of March 2003 and September 2004. The study comes a little over three full months after the US military finally admitted that they were keeping a body count of Iraqis dying from violence throughout the country. [See Nancy A. Youssef's "U.S.: Civilian deaths feeding insurgency," Aaron Glantz' "Pentagon: Tell Us How Many Civilians You've Killed" and Juliana Lara Resende's "50,000 Dead, But Who's Counting?".] [The study published in The Lancet notes: "The US Department of Defence keeps some records of Iraqi deaths, despite initially denying that they did" and credits Sabrina Tavernise, Dexter Filkins and Eric Schmitt's "U.S. Quietly Issues Estimate Of Iraqi Civilian Casualties" from October 30, 2005 in the New York Times. Youssef's article exposed the fact that the actual figures are kept and sent out to high ranking officers in Iraq for, as a general put it to Youssef, a measurement.]
Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) observe that the latest study "breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month". The study's publication comes as another estimate, from Iraq's Health Ministry, makes the news. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Lee Keath (AP) report: "More than 2,660 Iraqi civilians were killed in the capital in September amid a wave of sectarian killings and insurgent attacks, and increase of 400 over the month before". They also note that Bully Boy disputes the number in the latest study published in The Lancet.
As sillys and fools dicker, Salam Talib and Eliana Kaya (
Free Speech News, The KPFA Evening News) took a look at life on the ground in a report that aired (on both programs) yesterday and, unlike so much of the reporting from Iraq, they were actually able to speak with Iraqi women. Life on the ground in Baghdad includes outrageous prices and travel delays. One Iraqi women explained that you either wait or you take "unpaved roads". Wait? For the US military. "Today," she stated, "we've waited about 2 hours for the military to pass." In terms of prices, a woman spoke of how she has seen the prices for food rise, rise and rise. Unlike a chicken, you can get a cell phone for less than ten bucks. The price of a chicken has gone from the US equivalent of one dollar to fifteen dollars. As the report makes clear, more time is spent waiting for US military processions to move through than in the market, which, one woman explained, many tend to dart in and out of quickly due to fears of violence.
Fears of violence?
CBS and AP report that three car bombs in Baghdad wounded a total of 30 people and killed at least five. Reuters notes that a roadside bomb in Inskandariya, apparently targeting the Babil police chief, left his driver and two bodyguards wounded while a "peasant woman" was killed by a bomb on "a farm just 10 km (6 miles) southest of Kut". CNN notes a bomb "in southwestern Bagdad's Amil neighborhood" which took the lives of five and left six more wounded.
Reuters reports that, in Rasheed, three died (including two police officers) during armed "clashes"; while, in Suwayra, Raad al-Uthmani was shot dead following a home invasion by assailants; and, in Falluja, a police officer was shot dead. CBS and AP note that a police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk. CNN notes a home invasion in Baghdad ("Dora area") which killed four and wounded two more.
Reuters reports that five corpses were discoverd in Kut ("bound and blindfolded with multiple gunshot wounds, gearing signs of torture").
Meanwhile, in Baghdad, a fire in an ammunition dump that started last night was the result of mortar rounds and not an accident. Though the US military originally practiced denial,
they admitted the cause of the fire and explosions this morning. AFP reports that it "lit up the night sky and spread panic in the already shell-shocked Iraqi capital," that it continued to burn through Wednesday and noted US military flack Jonathan Withington stating that it's believed to have been the work of "civilians aligned with a militia organisation". Al Jazeera reports: "While there were no reports of US casualties, the explosions marked a rare success for mortar teams working for militia and insurgent groups, which rarely cause much damage to well-protected US facilities." CNN reports: "Militia forces fired an 82 mm mortar round on a small U.S. base in southwestern Baghdad. . . The ammunition supply center that was struck held tank, artillery and small-arms rounds. A U.S. soldier and an interpreter were wounded but later returned to duty, a military spokesman said." As Aileen Alfandary noted today (KPFA's The Morning Show) this attack in Baghad "despite an increased sweep by Iraqi and American forces" -- the 'crackdown' -- juiced up and jucied up again, ongoing since June.
The continue violence and chaos comes as
Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that US Army General Peter J. Schoomaker has stated that the military can maintain the present US troop levels in Iraq through 2010 but states he's not prediciting, "It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot." Sitting ducks, commas, the troops have been called many things. Schoomaker calls them "ammo." This as, in England, Mark Oliver (Guardian of London) discusses Tony Edwards appearance at Tuesday's Jane's defence conference and stated "that governments would either have to find more money or scale back their ambitions for what their reduced military capabilities could do." Edwards was speaking of the British military.
In Iraq, the puppet governments continue to raise eye brows.
Al Jazeera reports on Ayham al-Samarraie who was arrested "on charges of finanical and managerial corruption in August" for his actions while serving as a minister in Ayham al-Samarraie's government (the first post-invasion puppet government) but he was taken from the court and is now protected by US forces. al-Samarraie's "protection" raises serious questions about whether even the appearance of independence will be allowed for the puppet government. It also raises a serious issue of what was a US citizen doing holding government office in the supposedly independent Iraq.
In other Iraqi parliamentary news,
Reuters reports that they have just "approved a law that sets out the mechanics of forming federal regions" with the backing of "some Shi'ite majority leaders" and that the vote was "boycotted by the Accordance Front, the largest political bloc of the Sunni minority."
To "save" the country, it had to be "divided" -- after being turned to chaos by outside forces.
In peace news,
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
War resister, Ricky Clousing faces a court-martial tomorrow. We'll close with
his statement at the August 11th press conference:

First to my Family, Friends, Brothers and Sisters of the Religious Community, Members of the Press, and fellow citizens of this nation we are grateful to call home -- thank you for your support here today before I turn myself over to military custody.
My name is Ricky Clousing. I am a Sergeant in the United States Army and I have served for three years and have been absent from my unit since June 2005. Like many in uniform today, I enlisted after the events of September 11th wanting to defend the freedoms and privileges we enjoy here. After 18 months of instruction I completed my necessary training as an interrogator and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. As the invasion of Iraq unfolded I felt confused about the premise behind such an attack. But in November 2004 I deployed to Iraq in support of the first stage of elections to be held. In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Being attached to a tactical infantry unit and being exposed to the brutalities of war, I began to doubt and reconsider my beliefs. I thought about these experiences and what they meant each day I was deployed and until I was back in garrison at Fort Bragg in April of 2005. Upon my return to the United States I started to ask my unit the same questions I had been asking myself. Wearing the uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down. But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality? If those orders come unquestioned down my Chain of Command, does this exempt me from reevaluating them? My convictions, spiritually and politically, began to make me call into question my ability to perform day to day functions as a soldier. I finally concluded after much consideration that I could not train or be trained under a false pretense of fighting for freedom. At the recommendation of my unit, I sought counsel from military chaplains and counselors, and as my feelings crystallized, I realized that I could not fulfill the duties expected of me. After months of questioning, I began considering the possibility of leaving. Each day I felt haunted by my conscience which told me that my association in uniform at this time was wrong, and my involvement directly or indirectly in this organization at this time was a contradiction to my personal, moral and spiritual beliefs. I stand here before you today about to surrender myself, which was always my intention. I do not know what to expect, or the course of my future. We Americans have found ourselves in a pivotal era where we have traded humanity for patriotism. Where we have traded our civil liberties for a sense of security. I stand here before you sharing the same idea as Henry David Thoreau: as a Soldier, as an American, and as a Human Being, we mustn't lend ourselves to that same evil which we condemn. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

James Baker, the "savior"?, and voter registration deadlines

I was wiped out yesterday. As Rebecca's "bo derek (worst actress on tv), war hawks, iraq" pointed out, I'd meant to note an upcoming feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Monday, I talked to C.I. about "And the war drags on" which I thought was incredible. C.I. made an offhand remark that was very funny and should be a feature. I called Jim to talk to him about it and he agreed it was a feature so he grabbed a note pad and got C.I. and Ava to riff on the topic and there's already a rought draft for that. It's not a final draft yet and anything could happen; however, I think when we all get done with it, it'll be an enjoyable feature. So look for that this Sunday. Right now, you can read Betty's "Thomas Friedman's Bad Ideas & Blurry Boundaries." Plus, please visit Mikey Likes It!. for Mike's thoughts.

"The Return of James Baker, III" (Missy Comley Beattie, CounterPunch):
The task to clean up after Bush is tremendous. Baker is a Bush family loyalist with years of experience. In other words, he is your typical politico, reluctant to rock any boats before the vote. If he were a statesman, he'd say "troops out now." He knows that polls taken in Iraq show that most Iraqis want us out of their country and believe that violence will abate once the occupiers have left. Baker is also aware that al-Qaeda leaders regard U.S. presence in Iraq as their greatest recruitment tool. Further, Baker certainly has examined the National Intelligence Estimate report that terrorism has increased because of the invasion of Iraq. But most importantly, he sees the mounting casualties in Iraq. During the first nine days of October, the U.S. lost 33 troops. Two other coalition soldiers were killed. Hundreds of Iraqis have died this month. And there is this staggering truth: for every soldier killed, eight are wounded.
Is Baker losing sleep, asking himself as he tosses and turns, "What to do...what to do?" After all, if we continue to lose two or three young men and women a day while he protects Republicans who are on the ballot, a lot of doorbells will be ringing, followed by the military messengers' words, "We regret to inform you."

Exactly when did the left (including even non DLC Democrats) decide James Baker was a "savior"? I'm confused because, outside of lining his own pockets, I'm not recalling any great deed that James Baker has done. I'm remembering the laughable voting rights commission, I'm remembering his work during the Florida recounts and I'm remembering his client list. None of that adds up, for me, to "Praise be, here comes James Baker!"

What I've heard from him on Iraq this week is a bunch of lipstick on the pig. He's providing Bully Boy a "third way" which allows him cover. The answer is troops home now. It's three words. Possibly Baker's seeing dollar signs in Iraq and that's why he can't say them?

Troops home now.

Here are four words, while we're reciting: "Out with the Republicans."

"What Would the Suffragists Do?" (Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority):
I don't have to tell you how important the upcoming elections are to the future of this nation. With so many critical issues are at stake - peace, reproductive rights, raising the minimum wage, affirmative action, environmental protections - voters must turn out in droves!
If you aren't registered, start by
registering to vote. If you are registered, ask your friends to register. Don't miss your state's deadline - act now!
Voter registration deadlines are approaching fast and some have already passed. But if you, your friends, or family members live in ALABAMA, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, IDAHO, IOWA, KANSAS, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MINNESOTA, NEBRASKA, NEVADA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, NORTH DAKOTA, OKLAHOMA, OREGON, SOUTH DAKOTA, UTAH, VERMONT, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, or WYOMING, you still have time! Check below for specific registration deadlines in these states.
Act now! If you or your friends live in one of these states, you can
register to vote now with It's easy, quick, and an absolutely necessary step to making sure you can vote on Tuesday, November 7th.
We need your help to register and mobilize voters this November. If you are already registered to vote, take the next step by
asking your friends to register to vote.
With so much at stake, let's not let the suffragists down. As the classic feminist button says, Vote Dammit!
For Women's Lives,
Eleanor SmealPresident
P.S. Look below for important deadlines in your state:
From www.rockthevote.orgEDR = Election Day Registration

Check below for important deadlines in your state. Make sure to:
Print out your registration form at and either send it in, or register in person.
Tell your friends to register to vote.
Remind everyone how important this election is with our
Get Out HER Vote t-shirt!
Mail-In Registration Deadline (In Person Registration Deadline [if different])
Alabama received by 10/27
California received by 10/23
Colorado postmarked by 10/9 (in person 10/24)
Connecticut postmarked by 10/24
Delaware received by 10/14
Iowa received by 10/28 (in person 10/23)
Kansas received by 10/23
Maine received by 10/17 (EDR)

Maryland received by 10/17
Massachusetts received by 10/18
Minnesota received by 10/17 (EDR)
Nebraska postmarked by 10/20 (10/27)
Nevada received by 10/8 (10/17)
New Hampshire received by 10/28 (EDR)
New Jersey received by 10/17
New Mexico postmarked by 10/10 (10/13)
New York received by 10/13
North Carolina postmarked by 10/13
North Dakota received by 10/23
Oklahoma postmarked by 10/13
Oregon postmarked by 10/17
South Dakota received by 10/23
Utah postmarked by 10/8 (10/25 and 10/28)
Vermont received by 10/30
West Virginia postmarked by 10/17
Wisconsin postmarked by 10/18 (EDR)
Wyoming received by 10/9 (EDR)

That's all in the e-mail but that's not all the states. Community members will notice Texas isn't listed. I called Dallas and said the last day for registration in Texas has passed. I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't called him. If your state's not on the list, that may be why. If there's an error (I'm not suggesting there is on the Feminist Majority's part), e-mail me ( by Wednesday afternoon and I'll note your state or fix the information. Hopefully, thos who are thinking about voting will and we'll be able to clean the House and the Senate next month.

Why do we need to? I'm the last one to applaud the Democrats in office collectively on the war. But if a house changes hands, it will send a message to Democrats and Republicans who hold on to their seats (and those who aren't up for re-election). We need to send a message. We can't stay silent on the war.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, October 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military tries to spin again, at least 33 deaths are reported in Iraq (44 counting corpses discovered Tuesday), Bob Watada continues speaking out to raise awareness on his son and what does 'meeting the goal' mean when the qualifications continue to be gutted and ignored?
As noted
yesterday, war resister Ricky Clousing will face a military trial Thursday. Prior to that, at ten a.m., he will speak at a press conference (223 Hillside Avenue, Fayettevill, North Carolina) and there will also be a noon rally in downtown Fayetteville to show support for Clousing.
As Clousing stands up against an illegal war, the US military spins.
Thom Shanker (New York Times) noted what the US Pentagon was about to announce -- all divisions of the military allegedly "reached their targets for recruits in 2006." Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports: "The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties. . . . According to statistics obtained by The Associated Press, 3.8 percent of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels" and "About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving." Not quite the rosy picture we're all supposed to believe.
But then, as
Michael Bronner (Vanity Fair) reported in 2005, the story of Tim Queen wasn't a rosy picture either. Queen suffered from "twitches" in his left arm and wanted to be a Marine: "Tim told me he talked to recruiters about all of his medical issues that first day. They told him not to worry, he said, that they'd seen this kind of thing before; no problem, he'd get in." And he did, he got waived through two physicals, he got put on a bus to go to basic and there, he got humilitated by drill instructors asking questions like: "Was the doctor drunk or stoned when he gave you the test?" Queen wasn't qualified but a quota had to be made so a 19-year-old with health problems gets lied to in order to "get those numbers" and he's the one humiliated and embarrassed . . . for believing his recruiter. As the sherrif of the county Tim Queen grew up in told Bronner, "I'm slow to anger, but I was very upset. . . I mean, Tim cannot stand still. If they're missing things like this, what other kinds of emotional or psychological things are they missing?" That's Tim Queen. He just wanted to enlist. Not to get out of jail or sentencing or because his urine came up "hot." Just a young person who got used by someone so they could make their quota. The case of Steven D. Green demonstrates the dangers to others that arise from the lowered standards that have been at play since the beginning of the illegal war.
In other spin news, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, held another press conference. You'd do well, if you intend to read about it, to do so
here at the US military's site. That'll put you wise to how little reporting is coming out of the Green Zone when you see it pop up in tomorrow's papers. Little Willie talks up the 4-point 'peace' plan. Will anyone ever insist that the "four points" be addressed? Or will everyone pretend the 'security councils' are all four points? Probably the latter since the 'peace plan' didn't think up the 'security councils' (they were already in existance).
Leaving the world of spin for reality,
AP reports that over 300,000 Iraqis are displaced within Iraq. This is not a figure on those who have left the country, this is the number of those who have left one part of Iraq to go to another for safety. AP notes: "The flight is solidifying the sectarian divide in this country of around 30 million people." (The CIA's most current estimate is a little over 26 million.)
CNN reports that a car bomb and a roadside bomb killed eleven people in Baghdad today. That was in the Doura district of Baghdad and Reuters notes another bombing in western Baghdad that wounded three and a bombing in northern Baghdad that left two police officers wounded -- as well as roadside bombs in near Hilla (one dead), in Mahaweel (wounded one person), and Mosul (wounded five). AFP reports two police officers "were killed in an explosion . . . between Mussayab and Jurf al-Sakhr" and a bus driver died in a roadside bombing that "targeted two buses carrying coffings through Latifyah". That's 15 dead from bombings reported thus far.
AFP notes a police officer was killed in Amara. A police captain was shot dead in Mosul, Reuters reports and also quotes an Iraqi police source who states that "[t]welve people were killed in different districts of Baquba." In a later update, Reuters noted that a bodyguard was killed in Balad in an an attack on "a senior Iraqi army officer" and three people were shot dead in Ishaqi. That's 18 for a total of 33 reported thus far.
BBC notes that through Tuesday morning in Baghdad, sixty corpses were discovered. CNN notes: "In the first 10 days of October, Iraqi police have discovered 250 bodies in the capital." Reuters reports that four copses were discovered "near Falluja." In an update, Reuters noted four corpses were discovered in Tal Afar and three in Mosul. Adding the eleven discovered after sun up to the 33 above, that's 44 deaths reported thus far today.
Yesterday we noted a mass kidnapping of eleven soldiers in Baghdad (Sadr City section). Today, Reuters notes that this wasn't the only mass kidnapping on Monday: "Gunmen in several cars kidnapped at least 11 worshippers on Monday as they were leaving a Sunni mosque in central Baghdad, police said. The Sunni Muslim Scholars Association put the figure at six." For more on the Iraqi soldiers kidnapped, see Amit R. Paley's (Washington Post) report.
In peace news, yesterday,
KPFA's Flashpoints took a look at the World Can't Wait demonstrations and featured speeches by Alice Walker and others. Meanwhile, Historians Against the War are calling for a nationwide teach in from October 17th to November 7th. The group notes: "The tragedies now unfolding in Iraq and across the Middle East underscore our responsibility as educators and citizens to enhance public knowledge, to stimulate thoughtful inquiry, and to end the American occupation of Iraq" and ask that: "If you are interested in/can help organize a teach-in at your school, please send us an email ASAP to"
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ricky Clousing and Linda Greenhouse

I was talking to Mike and Rebecca tonight and two things we all agreed on were that we're all tired and how did C.I. write "And the war drags on"? If you haven't read it, please do. Rebecca's going to write about it tonight but we were all tired and we know C.I. was as well. To have done that after no sleep on Saturday (all night edition at The Third Estate Sunday Review) and a four hour nap on Sunday just amazes us. We were all wiped out on Sunday, including C.I., and that's just an amazingly powerful entry. For Mike's thoughts, please visit Mikey Likes It!.

I'm going to start with the snapshot because Ricky Clousing, war resister, has a hearing Thursday and I want to be sure everyone catches that. I'll have something after the snapshot, I'm not sure what, I am tired.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday October 9, 2006. Chaos and violence continue, war resister Ricky Clousing goes on trial Thursday, the Iraqi Defense Ministry wonders whether 300-plus Iraqi police officers intentionally poisoned, US casualities hit a high not seen since the slaughter of Falluja, the brother of one of Iraq's two vice-presidents is shot dead in his home, and the US military announces the deaths of three more US troops.
In June of 2005, war resister
Ricky Clousing self-checked out of the US military. On August 11th of this year, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) broke the news that 24-year-old Ricky Clousing had decied to turn himself in and noted that Clousing went AWOL from "Fort Bragg in 2005 after returning from Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division." Clousing spoke publicly about his decision to return at the Veterans for Peace conference that was being held in Seattle. The AP reported Clousing self-check out by noting: "He left a note on his door, with King's quote: 'Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But Conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right." Jane Cutter (Party for Socialism and Liberation) reported that a war resister of the current war was present to show support as Clousing made his public statement, Camilo Mejia, and that also joining them was a resister from the Vietnam era, Michael Wong. [Wong is one of the contributors to Koa Books' newly published Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston. A six paragraph sample from his "Honor's Death" can be found here.]
Clousing turned himself in at Fort Lewis (Washington) and was instructed that Fort Bragg handled the issue. On August 18th, Clousing turned himself to Fort Bragg. September 1st, the military announced, to Clousing's attorney David Miner, that Clousing had been charged with desertion the day before. Clousing's response to the news: "Since I left the army I have known that being court martialed was a possibility I could face. I am at peace with my decision. I followed my conscience and, if need be, I will fee honored to join the ranks of others who have been prosecuted for doing the same."
Now the
AP reports the hearing is set and, according to Major Tom Earnhardt, due to start Thursday. The Fayetteville Observer reports that, according to David Miner, "Clousing will plead guilty to going absent without leave. . . . Miner said he would argue for no punishment during the special court-martial scheduled for Thursday at Fort Bragg." This Thursday, before the court-martial begins*, there will be a press conference, 10 a.m., 223 Hillside Avenue, Fayetteville, NC (Quaker House) where Clousing will speak and, at noon, there will be a downtown rally. [*The hearing is being written and spoken of as a "court-martial," not as an Article 32 hearing. ] That's this Thursday and you can find out more at Ricky Clousing's website. Clousing is part of a movement of war resistance within the military and we'll return to this topic later in the snapshot.
Michael Luo (New York Times) reported on "clash" in Diwaniya this morning. Not covered were civilian casualties. AFP reports: "Medics at Diwaniyah's main hospital reported that seven civilians had been wounded during the battle, one of them critically, while sporadic firing continued around the city into Sunday afternoon. Later, US and Iraqi forces sealed off and entered the hospital, apparently hunting for wounded militiamen."
On the topic of casualities,
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported Sunday: "The number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest monthly leve in nearly two years" and that, in September, "776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq". [Casualities are wounded. Fatalities are deaths. The New York Times frequently seems lost with the terms, but to be clear, the topic being addressed is wounded.] Andrew Buscombe (Independent of London) addressed the topic today noting: "The ration of wounded to killed is 8 to 1, compared with 3 to 1 during the Vietnam War. . . . At the same time, other figures show that the number of attacks against US forces is continuing to rise. In July a total of 2,625 explosive devices were encountered by US forces -- with the devices either exploding or defused -- compared with 1,454 in January. The increase suggested that despite the killing in June of Abu Musab al Zarqawi . . ., the anti-American insurgency is intensifying."
This comes at a time that
Richard Stengel (NBC News) reports that soldiers are asking questions regarding "when" Iraqis will take over and quotes Vernon Roberson agreeing that soliders ask "Why are we here? Is this our war anymore?" Roberson: "Oh yes, all the time. I ask myself that a lot, too. We've been here for so long and we've done so much, but it's just so far we can go." As Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) have noted, Iraqis also wonder when it will end and polling found (use previous links) the majority of Iraqis want the US out now.
Meanwhile, a Sunday meal served in Iraq to Iraqi police officers has resulted in deaths and arrest.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports 350 police officers came down with food poisoning and that Jassim al-Atwan of Iraq's Environment Ministry stated eleven police officers had died. Other sources speaking to AP claim no one died. Some put the number of those poisoned at 400. AFP reports that three have died and notes no one has determined yet whether it was a deliberate incident or "whether there was something in the warter of if the food was spoiled." AP reports "the head of the mess hall" has been arrested. CBS and AP quote Brig. Qssaim al-Moussawi stating "A number of people have been arrested". AFP, in a later report, notes the following as arrrested: "a produce supplier and four cooks". At present, no one knows or no one's talking. If an intentional poisoning took place, it would mean that the Iraqi resistance was exploring new techniques and, if so, those in the Green Zone should be especially concerned. AP notes that the food was "provided by an Australian contractor."
Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that, in Baghdad, a car bomb has claimed the lives of at least 13 people and left 46 injured. Outside Baghad?
In that
'peaceful' Tal Afar (to hear the Bully Boy and Michael Gordon tell it), CBS and AP report that one police officer was killed and twelve wounded from a car bomb. AFP notes a car bombing on the border between Jordan and Iraq that has injured six border police officers (Iraqis). While Reuters reports that, "near Baquba," two police officers died and three were wounded from a roadside bombing.
BBC reports that Amer al-Hshimi, brother to Iraq's vice president Tariq al-Hashimi and a general in Iraq's army, was killed "when the gunmen stormed into the house and shot him dead. They arrived in 10 police cars, a police source said." CBS and AP note that he was "an adviser in the Defense Ministry" and that his death follows the deaths of a "sister and another brother also . . murdered in the last year." Arrived in "10 police cars"? This weekend, Richard Stengel (NBC News) reported on the discovery of a corpse in Baghdad and a "an Iraqi police lieutenant tells us he thinks fellow police did it." The murder also follows a Sunday attempt to assassinate Galli Najim who heads the political party operated by Iyad Allawi. Also shot dead today, Reuters reports, was Faleh al-Obeidi ("police Colonel") in Baquba. As Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report: "The little known city of Baquba is emerging as one of the hotbeds of resistance in Iraq, with clashes breaking out every day."
The Australian reports that 35 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today and that five more were found "floating down the Tigris" in Suwayrah. (The 35 corpses discovered in Baghdad were preceeded, on Sunday, by 51 corpses being found in the capital.)
Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that, in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, eleven people were kidnapped -- eleven Iraqi soldiers: "gunmen jumped out of two vehicles at a checkpoint in the east Baghdad district of Sadr City and abducted 11 soldiers on duty". Xinhua reports a source telling them: "Unkown gunmen in a minibus stormed the checkpoint of Hamza Square in Sadr City district and seized all the soldiers, apparently without shooting at any of them".
As the violence rages on, the "plan" in the United States was, as
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes, to get the chat & chews to focus on anything other than the Mark Foley & Pages Congressional scandal. Part of the attempts to shift the topic included getting James Baker to make a chat & chew appearance. Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported on Sunday's chat & chew visit as did David E. Sanger (New York Times) who noted that Baker did not support a "rapid withdrawal." As the GOP attempts to turn the focus back to Iraq within the US, they'll probably stay away from this reality: today, the US military announced that, on Sunday, three troops were killed in Al-Anbar Province (Reuters).
Again, war resister Ricky Clousing faces a hearing on Thursday. Clousing is a part of a movement of war resistance within the military that includes
Mark Wilkerson -- Clousing and Wilkerson acted as bookends for the month of August with their announced intentions to turn themselves in. Others include Darrell Anderson. Friday of last week, the military released Anderson who had turned himself in (Tuesday of last week) after self-checking out and going to Canada in 2005. Ehren Watada is another war resister and his father Bob Watada is on his second speaking tour to raise attention to his son's case (Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq).
Joe Lopez (World Socialist Web Site) reports that Bob Watada is speaking with Rosa Watada, Ehren's step-mother: "In her opening remarks to the Glendale meeting, Watada's stepmother Rosa said that Ehren was taking a stand for everybody, not just for himself, and that he was fighting to defend the Constitution of the United States and campaigning to bring the troops home. She described Ehren as an intelligent and principled young men who wanted to see an end to the occupation of Iraq."
Some of the dates for Bob Watada's speaking this week include:

Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

A full schedule can be found (PDF format)
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and more information on him and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

C.I. had filled me in about Linda Greenhouse last week. I'll bring you up to date. She covers the Supreme Court for the New York Times and gave a speech to alumni at the college she was graduated from (Harvard). In the speech, she discussed legal issues and gave her own opinion. For that she's being punished by the paper. That takes you up to date for the next excerpt.

"Free Linda Greenhouse! Free the Press!" (David Lindorff, Common Dreams):
What it boils down to is image over substance. The truth is that the Times knows its reporters‹and its editors and publishers--all have personal political views, often strongly held, but it doesn't want its readers to know this. It, and every news organization like it, is actually perpetrating a massive fraud on the public, pretenting that its staffmembers have no personal politics.
This is of course nonsense, and most people who give it a moment's thought know it.
So why the charade?
I would argue that most likely the real reason is fear.
Linda Greenhouse, I'm almost certain, would not have been taken to the woodshed by her bosses if she had, in her Harvard speech, decried the lack of patriotism evidenced by those who protest the war in Iraq even as our soldiers are dying there, or if she had complained of a lack of spiritual values on the part of of our governing class--in other words, if she had said exactly the opposite of that which she was criticized for saying.
Let's be honest here: it was the fact that she was criticizing the government from the left that made her a target of criticism.
And the New York Times is not alone. CNN dumped one of its best reporters, Peter Arnett, largely because he was too public in his critiques and reportorial exposés of U.S. militarism. The San Francisco Chronicle fired a columnist whose specialty was writing about technology, because he had publicly demonstrated against the Iraq War on his own time. The ranks of reporters and editors who have lost their jobs, or been shifted off of beats, because of taking political positions in their private lives that are to the left of mainstream are legion. Yet one would be hard-pressed to find reporters and editors who had lost their jobs or their beats because of expressing personal political views that are to the right--for example in support of American imperialist adventures, mindless patriotism, unfettered free market capitalism, faith-based public policy, etc.
Our corporate news media are basically afraid to be seen as institutional critics of power and the established political concensus, and yet that is precisely the role that the Constitution, in singling them out for special attention and privilege in the First Amendment, expects them to play. They cannot play the role of independent watchdog and critic if they insist on neutering their staffs. And they insult and do a disservice to their readers and viewers when they try to pretend that those staffs are devoid of political views.
Journalists, if they are doing their jobs, need to dig deeply and understand the issues and the political forces that are at work in society and in the world. In doing that--in digging for the truth--it would be incredible if they did not arrive at some personal opinions as to who was honest and well-meaning and who was dishonest and conniving. It would be incredible if they did not develop opinions as to what policies were good for society or for the world, and which were destructive.
The job of those journalists then is to present what they know with integrity and fairness. That's a tough challenge but it can be done. It won't be done, however, by reporters who are incapable of feeling, thinking for themselves, and forming their own views.
How then, is the public helped by taking those journalists who have the intelligence and good horse-sense to see or to find the truth, that they must keep that discovery to themselves? Far better, I'd say, to let reporters, on their own time, say what they think, and then let the reader or viewer make her or his own judgement as to the veracity of what those reporters tell them on the job.

So the paper can pay her to write about the law. She can publish books on the law. But in a speech on the topic, she's not allowed to comment? Lindorff's exactly right, she'd blown kisses at the administration, she wouldn't be taken to the woodshed. She's being punished, as C.I. pointed out, for having an opinion and one that's been expressed in the paper's editorials for some time now. Greenhouse is supposed to report in the pages of the paper. If she'd offered opinions that directly contradicted the editorials of the paper, they might have a point. But I don't see how they can blame her for voicing an opinion, that's presumably a learned one, when it reflects the paper's official opinions (editorials).

It's such nonsense. Judith Miller was never in trouble for expressing her opinion (the WMD reporting was not fact), nor has Michael Gordon been in trouble. Add in the point C.I. made, which is Dexter Filkins has repeatedly spoken about Iraq in a way that is not at all like what he writes in the paper. Where is Dexter Filkins' punishment?

They're targeting Greenhouse because she is respected and they fear the administration. That's all this is.

That's all for me. I wrote more than I thought would. It was a long weekend working on the edition.