Monday, February 12, 2007

Anthony Arnove, Patrick Cockburn, Isaiah

To the left is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Go Flush Yourself" which features Ehren Watada and, presiding over the court-martial, Lt. Col. John Head better known as Judget Toilet. Sunny gave me the low down on the trip today during lunch and it sounds like it was very exciting. I wish I could've joined everyone but I'm so glad she (and her fiance) got to go. This was important and she enjoyed showing her support for Watada and hanging out with everyone. She also enjoyed speaking but still doesn't believe that she was that good at. She spoke twice. Cedric, Wally, C.I. , Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava, Mike and Kat all told me Sunny did an amazing job and I'm sure she did.

I'll post another comic by Isaiah tomorrow. Rebecca and I both worked on it Saturday in Photoshop. I have no idea why the color shows up green where it should be yellow. The scan he e-mailed is fine. It's something to do with Flickr. He's also going to attempt different types of paper. (The one I'm highlighting today was drawn on onion skin.) Flickr is the program the photos/images, et al are posted on.

"A Conversation with Anthony Arnove: 'You Can't Oppose the War and Fund the War'" (Kevin Zeese, CounterPunch):
KZ: You point to five ingredients that led to the end of the Vietnam War:
1. Mass resistance of the Vietnamese people.2. Resistance of US soldiers and veterans.3. Domestic opposition to the war at home.4. International opposition to the war around the world.5. The growing economic consequences of the war undermining the US economy
Do you see those same ingredients being required and/or sufficient to ending the Iraq occupation? How do they apply to the current war?
AA: None of these elements alone ended the Vietnam War or are sufficient today to end this one, but all of these dynamics already have effected the course of this war and could lead to U.S. withdrawal.
To take them in turn, it is clear that a majority of Iraqis oppose the occupation and want to see U.S. troops leave. Attacks on U.S. troops are increasing rather than decreasing, and the resistance in Iraq, far from being only Sunni or foreign-led is widespread and popular. Clear majorities of Shias, as well as Sunnis, want an end to foreign occupation.
Today, we see U.S. soldiers speaking out against this war and organizing against it far earlier than we did during the Vietnam War. Conscientious objectors and war resisters such as Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, and Ehren Watada, veterans groups such as IVAW, military families organizing against the war, and counter-recruitment groups have begun to have a real impact. The military is falling short of its recruitment goals. A Zogby poll last year showed that 72 percent of U.S. active duty troops in Iraq wanted to lave Iraq by the end of 2006 year, and 29 percent wanted to leave immediately, which is remarkable. Instead, we see 21,500 more troops being sent and people's tours of duty being extended to their third, fourth, or even fifth deployment. In effect, reservists are being subjected to a backdoor draft. (For more on the Vietnam era soldiers' revolt, there are two invaluable resources, the new documentary "
Sir! No Sir!" -- -- and the recently updated edition of David Cortright's Soldiers in Revolt.)
Meanwhile, at home, public opinion has turned solidly against the war, again at an earlier stage than happened during the Vietnam War. The U.S. every day is growing more isolated in its continued occupation, with a number of countries voting out prowar governments and the partners of the so-called Coalition of the Willing dwindling. The costs of the war have mounted to the point that some economic elites and also military planners are speaking out about the harm the occupation is causing to perceived U.S. economic and military interests. This opens cracks that the antiwar movement needs to use to raise issues that the corporate establishment media otherwise would ignore.
Much more needs to be done, however, to raise the costs of this war. Much more is at stake for the United States in Iraq today than was at stake in Vietnam. Iraq is far more strategic a prize. Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves and in a region with the majority of oil and natural gas reserves, as well as access to crucial trade routes. Iraqi crude is also of very high quality, is easy to extract, and is exceptionally profitable -- at a time when each barrel of oil is getting more costly and difficult to extract from the earth than the ones before.
If the United States were defeated in Iraq, it would be a major reversal, and would affect Washington's ability to intervene economically, politically, and militarily in the affairs of other countries around the world. So we will have to do much more than we have done to mobilize opposition at home, to encourage and support soldiers who are speaking out, to disrupt recruitment for the military, to confront the warmongers and the media that have protected them from full scrutiny, to pressure the Congress to cut off funding for the war, and to make connections between the war with other social struggles in this country, of working and poor people, of immigrants, of people concerned about civil liberties, and other people fighting attacks on their communities. So much is at stake, not just for the people of Iraq, but for people in this country -- and throughout the world.

Anthony Arnove is the author of IRAQ: The Logic for Withdrawal. He's actually written other books as well and I think he's on the board of ISR (which I intend to add to my blogroll tonight but I'm tired so it may be tomorrow). He's an important voice worth listening to (and then some) and if "BE HONEST" knew his work, she might have been less likely to play school marm on a topic she so obviously knows nothing about. Community members sent C.I. a plethora of highlights from CounterPunch and Arnove (and Missy Comley Beattie) got highlighted. I enjoy the writing of both but C.I.'s not going to pass up on Arnove and Comley Beattie is a trusted voice to the community. So those two got highlighted and the rest were distributed to us based on our interests. (I am a big supporter of Patrick Cockburn's work. He was slid over and I'll be noting one of those two pieces tonight.)

Arnove is a voice calling for withdrawal and, despite what "BE HONEST" thinks, he is one of many calling for withdrawal that doesn't think withdrawal means instant peace in Iraq. As he has long pointed out, the US is breeding the resistance. Until the US withdraws, they fuel the violence. When they withdraw, he has been very upfront about this, things will be rocky but the Iraqis will have to determine their way -- not a way imposed upon them, which isn't democracy.

I hope you've read his book (I know most community members have, it ranked in the top ten picks for 2006). But he is a strong voice for withdrawal and he has not sugar coated what will happen after. In the snapshot (it'll be at the end), C.I. notes Arnove's comments on Antonia Juhasz and Naomi Klein and those are two voices who also don't pretend that daisies and group hugs will be the order of the day in Iraq immediately following withdrawal. I have no idea where "BE HONEST" got her information (possibly from the magazine she writes for which does a half-assed -- and that's being generous -- job coverirng Iraq).

"An Interview with Patrick Cockburn: Bush Surge Means More Horrors in Iraq" (Lee Sustar, CounterPunch):
THE MASSACRE of 260 people near Najaf in southern Iraq on January 29 was first portrayed as a highly successful U.S.-Iraqi joint military action. But growing numbers of reporters in Iraq have uncovered evidence contradicting the official story--that the attack was on a breakaway Shiite sect allegedly bent on attacking mainstream Shias during a religious pilgrimage.
Instead, it appears that the majority of those killed were members of the al-Hawatim tribe based in the area, who happened to be in the way of a police crackdown on the religious sect. Most of the dead were victims of U.S. air strikes called in by Iraqi government forces.
PATRICK COCKBURN is the Iraq correspondent for Britain's Independent newspaper, a contributor to CounterPunch and author of
The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq, which is a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award as the best nonfiction book of 2006. He was the first Western journalists to investigate and challenge the official story over the killings in Najaf.
* * *
THE U.S. media account of the massacre in Iraq increasingly diverges from the account given by you and some others on the ground in Iraq. What happened?
THE GOVERNOR of Najaf, who's a leader of SCIRI--the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq--originally said that the battle was with members of a religious sect about to attack Shias.
But he recently gave an interview to the news agency of his own party--a pretty obscure outfit--saying that the authorities had moved against this religious "cult" to enforce a court order of two weeks earlier. This is completely different from everything he said previously.
My suspicion is that they had planned a quite minor police action against this group outside Najaf, who they didn't like for religious reasons.
They chose an incredibly bad moment, before the Shia ritual of Ashura, when the roads are filled with pilgrims walking on foot. There were various other people in the area--notably the al-Hawatim tribe, who had 200 people caught up in the fighting, and a lot of them were killed.
What I also find pretty disgusting about all this is that nobody seems to
ask--even supposing the official story were true--why it was necessary to kill 260 people from the air.
Secondly, the people who were doing the killing--the U.S. Air Force--don't seem to know who they were dropping bombs on. They haven't said anything, so it's unclear.
Yes, there was a religious group there. But nobody from this religious group planned to do anything. What the authorities in Najaf were saying originally was that this group was planning a great raid on Najaf and was going to kill all the religious leaders and so forth. But now they seem to have retreated from that, and they admit that it was they themselves who took the initiative.

Patrick Cockburn is also the uncle of Laura Flanders and the brother of Alexander Cockburn (I'l excerpt Alexander Cockburn tomorrow). He is an unembedded reporter and there are not many of those who cover Iraq for English publications (English writing? English written publications?). There are a number of unembeddeds who cover it for Middle Eastern publications and for Asian publications.

He has covered it from the start and has seen the situation on the ground go to pieces with each month, with each day. He's spoken of how he has to zip in and out these days because it is so unsafe. When he goes to the scene of violence, he gets his information, his quotes and gets out because it's too dangerous. He is not a Green Zoner living on crumbs handed him by stringers while he rewrites wire reports and round sthem out with the crumbs -- the way a number in a villa do unless they have a military escort (apparently the bodyguards with black T-shirts and guns aren't enough for safety). (If that seems rude, the reality is that many American journalists chose not to venture out when Iraq was much safer -- or safer than it is today.)

The Najaf slaughter is something he, Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily have reported on but you haven't heard much about it at the New York Times. It was a slaughter. C.I. sent out an e-mail to everyone doing sites saying "I'm calling it a slaughter and when the snapshots start up" (the e-mail went out on Sunday, the snapshots run Monday through Friday) "I'm calling it that in there as well. If you're uncomfortable with that, feel free to pull it but, do yourself a favor and do not accept the version of events that are coming out because they're wrong." All I needed was "I'm calling it a slaughter" (I would assume that's true of everyone, but that's all I needed).
But, unlike the community, the mainstream press ran with the 'cult' story and there's really been no correction to that even though that cover story long ago fell apart.

I think Alexader Cockburn's piece I'm excerpting from tomorrow singles out Marc Santora. Santora actually did do a piece where he noted how little was known (but showed deferrence to "officials"). He did not, however, follow up on that. So if you read the Times and nothing else, you have no idea, to this day, the reality of what happened. If you read the Cockburns (Alexender and Patrick -- and it's pronounced "Co-burn"), Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily, you know the reality.

That's an important point to me and the reason why is that if you're informed or trying to be, you may not grasp the huge gulf between yourself and others who just follow the mainstream. It's why, this gulf, that Congress can waste everyone's time with symbolic actions. The Democrats weren't handed control to take symbolic actions, they were handed control of Congress to take action.

So, when you read something by those four or other strong writers trying to get the truth out, I hope you're sharing it with friends. The sooner people wake up to the realites, the number cheering symbolic actions will weaken.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, February 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the US military has a show & tell; Kelly Dougherty shares what she saw during the court-martial of
Ehren Watada last week; in Baghdad, nearly 100 are reported dead and nearly 200 are reported wounded in an attack utilizing multiple bombs;

Starting with
Ehren Watada. In June 2006, Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, Watada faced a court-martial that lasted from Monday through Friday. Kelly Dougherty (Iraq Veteranst Against the War) reports what she observed noting that the prosecutions witnesses' testimony backed up Watada:

What actually happened, though, was that Lt. Watada's two commanders each testified that Lt. Watada's unit was not negatively impacted by his public statements and that Lt Watada's unit was not negatively impacted by his public statements and that Lt Watada was never ordered not to go public with his opposition to the war. Furthermore, all three men testified that if an officer is given an order he believes to be illegal, in this case participating in the occupation of Iraq, he is obligated to refuse it. Even if the order is found to be legal, all men agreed that they would not expect an officer to act in a manner that violates his conscience.

On Judge Toilet (aka Lt. Col. John Head) and his "Winken, Blinken, and Nod" to the prosecution as Toilet began floating the idea of a mistrail,
Dougherty recalls:

It appeared to me, though, that Judge Head really wanted the prosecution to agree with him that the stipulation Lt. Watada signed was indeed a guilty confession and therefore he did not need to testify at all. When the prosecution agreed with the defense, the judge gave them a 15 minute recess to think things over. Afterwards, when the prosecution still agreed that Lt Watada had not made a confession and should take the stand, the judge gave them another recess. He said he'd give them 40 minutes, but if they needed more time to just let him know. Judge Head also made it clear that if the prosecution did not return with the answer he wanted, he would declare a mistrial. From a layperson's point of view, it seemed like the judge waas to prosecute the government's case himself. After the repeated recesses, the judge did declare a mistrial, Lt Watada never testified, and the case was rescheduled for March 19, or the fourth anniversary of the war. That was a surprise ending that none of us attending the court martial expected.

Ruth's Report and The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: The court-martial is over" addressed the mistrial and what it means for Ehren Watada.

Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Currently facing a court-martial (March 6th) is
Agustin Aguayo who self-checked out of the military in September of last year and returned less than thirty days later (September 2nd through September 26th) but is being charged with desertion. Stars and Stripes reported last week that Aguayo's is prepared "to plead guilty to being absent without leave, but not to a more serious charge of desertion" and notes that "Desertion charges are typically not filed unless a servicemember has been AWOL for more than 30 days, though there are provisions for the more serious charge during times of war, officials have said." As the military moves to court-martial him (in Germany) a civilian court still hasn't weighed in. On November 21, 2006, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC heard Aguayo's appeal and they have yet to issue a ruling on the validity of his being denied c.o. status. Aaron Glantz noted (November 20, 2006 broadcast of The KPFA Evening News) that Aguayo's case is the first of it's kind hear in "a federal court since 1971". If the prosecution sticks with the desertion charge and if Aguayo is found guilty, he could face as many as seven years behind bars.
Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, has not only spoken out for her husband but for other war resisters as well. Most recently,
Jason Farbman and Sam Bernstein (Socialist Worker) reported on Helga Aguayo addressing Watada supporters in Tacoma the day before Watada's court-martial began: "All war resisters should be supported. They will ultimately bring an end to the war." Jeff Paterson reported that she was there with their two children and her mother-in-law. Someone who knows something about marriage to a war resister was honored at the Grammys yesterday with a lifetime achievement award, Joan Baez. From 1968 to 1973, Baez was married to David Harris who was convicted of draft refusal and impisoned from 1969 to 1971. During that time, along with speaking out and activism, Baez wrote "A Song for David" (One Day at a Time):

And the stars in your sky
Are the stars in mine
And both prisoners
Of this life are we.
Through the same troubled waters
We carry our time,
You and the convicts and me.
That's a good thing to know
On the outside or in,
To answer not where
But just who I am.
Because the stars in your sky
Are the stars in mine
And both prisoners
Of this life are we.

Another woman who knows about marriage to a war resister is Brandi Key, the wife of Joshua Key. Joshua Key's book
The Deserter's Tale documents his time serving in Iraq, what he witnessed and why he decided to self-check out. Nathan Whitlock (Toronto Star) reviews the book: "In 2003, Key spent seven months in Iraq, raiding the houses of Iraqi families, driving in heavily armed motorcades through hostile neighbourhoods, fighting an enemy that could attack and disappear at will, and watching with growing despair as his fellow soldiers, his army and, by extension, his country, abandoned all moral legitimacy. At the end of that seven months, Key walked away, going AWOL and going underground with his young family before eventually crossing the border into Canada in search of a new life. . . . The turning point for Key comes when he arrives at the scene of a supposed firefight, only to discover a group of U.S. soldiers kicking around the heads of Iraqi men like soccer balls. [Joshua Key:] 'We had become a force for evil, and I could not escape the fact that I was part of the machine'."

And the machine grinds on.

In Iraq? Well just Sunday the US military flacks and leadership were yet again bragging -- they'd begun their sweep, this version of the crackdown was going to do the trick. They spun and they spun and
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Damien Cave (New York Times) showed up in print with talk of "large-scale sweeps expected in eastern Baghdad". Someone forgot to tell central Baghdad. Devika Bhat (Times of London) reports that "two busy market areas in central Baghdad" wre the target of a bombing attack today. Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports mulitple explosions. Al Jazeera notes: "A column of smoke hundreds of feet wide billowed into the air above the market near the east bank of the Tigris river and near the central bank building." AFP reports: "The blasts were timed to mark the end of a national 15-minute silence called by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on the first anniversary of the demolition of a Shiite shrine by Sunni bombers that unleased a wave of sectarian attacks."
CNN says it was "[f]ive explosions". Bushra Juih (AP) notes three car bombs and a bombing detonaed by a man wearing it ("explosives-filled vest) which, combined, resulted in massive destruction, "[s]hops and stalls were obliterated," "debris and clothing mannequins were scattered in pools of blood on the floor of the warehouse-type building while men piled up plastic chairs". CBS and AP note Lara Logan, CBS News, "reports the parking structure was still ablaze nearly three hours after the initial explosion, and she says the death toll is likely to continue rising." CBS and AP also note "conflicting accounts about whether one or two car bombs were involved" and "a bomb hidden in a bag". BBC puts the number at three (two car bombs and a parcel bomb). Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) quotes eye witness Wathiq Ibrahim: "I saw three bodies shredded apart. Paramedics were picking up body pieces and human flesh from the pools of blood on the ground and placing them in small plastic bags. The smoke turned the place dark." CNN puts the toll thus far at 90 dead and 190 wounded.

Other bombings?

Reuters notes a bombing in nothern Baghdad that left two dead and five wounded. CNN notes four dead as a result of a car bomb in Mandali.


Reuters reports that the body guard of "an Interior Ministry employee" was shot dead in Baghdad and another was wounded and that "a primary school guard in Central Kut" was shot dead. CNN notes a person shot dead and two more wounded when their car was attacked in Muqdadiya.


Reuters reports 32 discovered in "scattered" in Baghdad, the corpse of a police officer ("bearing signs of torture") discovered in Falahiya, three corpses discovered in Mosul.

The above comes as the
Red Cross Federation has issued an appeal: "In order to bring emergency relief goods to 50,00 socially vunlerable families (some 300,000 people), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal for 10.3 million Swiss francs (USD 8.3 million/6.4 million pounds). These funds are also meant to cover the health needs of 150,000 people for 12 months. 'This appeal is also meant to help the Iraqi Red Crescent continue to provide vital assistance in emergency relief and health care to the most vulnerable groups of the population throughout the country,' underlines Ahmed Gizo, Head of the Middle East/ North African Department at the Federation Secretariat in Genevea. 'They are the only ones who can still do this and it is essential they pursue this mission.' Electricity shortages, insufficient clean water, a deteriorating health service and soaring inflation (more than 76% in August 2006) have worsened already difficult living conditions. According to the UN, more than 630,000 people have been displaced since February 2006. In this context of violence and insecurity, the need for non-food items has become almost as important as food. This appeal will finance the delivery of items including clothing and cloth, blankets, kitchen utensils, stoves, jerricans, mattresses and tends to families considered socially vulnerable, because they do not have an income provider, or shelter or have very little income. Appeal funds will also be used to train more than 2,000 IRCS staff and volunteers as well as 46,000 school children in first aid, and will support four rounds of national polio immunization campaigns for 100,00 children under five years old."

Anthony Arnove (author of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) noted to Kevin Zeese (CounterPunch), "Iraqis are far more likely to die violently in Iraq today than they were under the dictatorship" and, keep in the mind the appeal of the Red Cross Federation and what that money would be going for (money the US government should be providing), "In terms of how things will be once the U.S. withdraws, each day longer the United States stays, the possibilities of a livable outcome diminish. Which is why, in addition to pushing for immediate withdrawal, we also need to call on the United States and its allies to pay reparations to the Iraqi people (not just for the destruction caused by the most recent illegal invasion and occupation but before that the devastating sanctions, the toxic legacy and destruction of the 1991 Gulf War, and all the years that the U.S. armed and supported Saddam Huessein as he carried out his worst crimes). They can do a far better job rebuilding their country than the corporate looters and thugs of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater can." The Red Cross and Red Crescent are attempting to provide aid, the question is why the United States isn't?

noted Antonia Juhasz's work on the economic war on Iraq and Arnove replied: "The economic take-over of Iraq absolutely should be reversed. Antonia Juhasz is right, as Naomi Klein, who has also written very powerfully on this topic. Klein writes: 'The United States, having broken Iraq, is not in the process of fixing it. It is merely continuing to break the country and its people by other means, using not only F-16s and Bradleys, but now the less flashy weaponry' of economic strangulation. We need to call for an end to military and ecnomic occupation, as well as the removal of U.S. military bases."

Meanwhile, today, the
US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Corps-Iraq, died February 11, 2007 in a non-combat related incident" and they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died when insurgentstargeted a security patrol in a western segment of the Iraqi capital Feb. 11. While conducting a cordon and search operation, the patrol came under enemysmall arms fire. One Soldier was killed and another was wounded in the attack."

The question of the day: Have you enlisted in the whisper campaign? Serial war whisperer and pathetic war pornographer Michael Gordon is back -- and apparently he's stolen his former co-writer Judith Miller's wardrobe.
As noted Saturday: "Looking at today's New York Times, Michael R. Gordon shows up in drag. It's a wig with pixie bangs and you keep waiting for him to (falsely) snarl, 'I was proved f**king right.' The propaganda is entitled "Deadliest Bomb In Iraq Is Made By Iran, U.S. Says." He's jetted over to DC, the byline tells you. And he barely stumbled across the runway in high heels before anonymice descended upon him with breathy whispers. They offer him "details" and we're all supposed to buy in.That requires forgetting previous 'scoops' like September 8, 2002's 'U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts.' He co-wrote that planted story with the help of Judith Miller. How freeing it must be (like ditching a girdle?) to get the byline all to himself. The war pornography of Michael Gordon tells us one thing today -- the blood letting in Iraq is no longer enough to get his war-on up (what ever is?) and now he's signed on to sell the American people a war with Iran."

Where stenography and pornography mix, there is Michael Gordon -- and where there is Michael Gordon there is a (false) story the administration wants told. Saturday, on
RadioNation with Laura Flanders jokingly wondered if Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller could be the same person?

As the disbelief and ridicule piled on and realizing that Gordo's leaky war-on might not be the best way to frighten the public (can you be frightened while laughing?), the US military held a super-secret, fudge brownie meeting with reporters on Sunday. The reporters were not allowed to identify anyone -- though all the unnamed are on the government payroll and supposedly working for the US tax payer. They skipped the coldcuts and instead made the spread all about E.F.P.s (explosively formed penetrators") and insisted that the devices were from Iran.

Tina Susman and Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) note there were "two tables laden with what they said were uniquely Iranian military hardware and weapons fragments." James Glanz (New York Times) reports: "The officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter affecting the security of American and Iraqi troops." Best non-answer? One of those participating couldn't have if it was required that reporters identify government employees making claims that could lead to a war. Glanz noted the "evidence" was known of "as early as 2004" Susman and Daragahi report: "The officials said each piece of the displayed hardware could be traced to Iran, though to the untrained eye, there were no obvious Iranian markings other than that on dynamite. Some of the munitions bore Western lettering." Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes the response from the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad: "We deny such charges. We ask those who are claiming such evidence: Show the documents in public. We cannot compensate for the American failure and fiasco in Iraq. It is not our policy to be involved in any hostile operations against coalition forces here" and that Labeed M. Abbawi (deputy foreign minister in Iraq) echoed that: "If they have anything really conclusive, then they should come out and say it openly, then we will pick it up from there and use diplomatic channels".

In the US Congress, the House of Representatives have begun a non-binding resolution. The first half is the generic statement. The gums (no teeth) is in the second part: "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007 to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq." Of the resolution,
Susan Cornwell (Reuters) reports that "the House is expected to vote on [it] Friday".

Finally, at yesterday's Grammys, the Dixie Chicks received five awards. Next month would be the four year anniversary of the attack on the Chicks that began when Natalie Maines spoke a little truth Bully Boy and his bully posse couldn't handle. Radio programmers pulled the group's songs, hate mail and death threats in, the right-wing phone banked to create an impression that the Dixie Chicks stood alone. As
Geoff Boucher (Los Angeles Times) notes, their performance of "Not Ready To Make Nice" was introduced by Joan Baez who hailed them as "three brave women." They won for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Album, Album of the Year and Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire were supposed to be "dead" career wise after the bullies came running. Just one more plan the right-wing couldn't pull off.