I'm listening to KPFK (we're listening by phone to take up only one stream in case others are trying to listen as well). Cindy Sheehan laid it out perfectly as to why she's running against Nancy Pelosi. Ann Wright was equally amazing and, unless I'm mistaken, I believe two community members called in to the show. (I'm not familiar with the show, first time listening, I'll include the title of it when they repeat it.) (I am familiar with community members' voices who've taken part in the roundtables for the gina & krista round-robin.)
Michael is the host's first name. I'm hoping the names given again.
So Cindy Sheehan is running and why shouldn't she? Democrats made one promise after another during their 2006 Vote For Us campaign. Sorry, but I don't see the point in voting for someone who keeps telling me that they'll do something but never does. To me, this is like sticking with a cheating husband who keeps promising that's over but you keep catching him.
Michael Slate. I think that's the host's name. I'll check with C.I. when the show's over. This was an interesting program and the host was as important to that as were the guests. Radio Active is the name of the program.
So Cindy Sheehan got banned awhile back at an alleged left site that was never left. It was always about building a business -- a Republican who decided he could make bucks as a Democrat and felt fine tossing around racism and sexism -- objecting to sexually objectifying women resulted in the little runt cracking "women's studies major" in that high squeek that's become a popular staple for impersonators at various DC parties -- as C.I. long ago noted, that crowd isn't "crashing any gates," they're just scrubbing the toilets. That's really all they are: toilet scrubbers.
I never make the mistake of thinking if I didn't have huge money to give and hadn't given it in the past, the Democrats would give a damn about me.
The toilet scrubbers don't have a lot of money, so they need to bundle the hard earned cash of the people and claim credit for that. They enter through the back door, they are the "help," and they scrub the toilets while wishing they were insiders.
They aren't and they never will be. It's the same mistake they make when they think reporters are "stars" or "independent agents." You own the paper (or network) or you're just working for them. Mike (Mikey Likes It!) wrote in Polly's Brew about a number of things this weekend including a friend of C.I.'s who is a publisher and tied his wagon to Jimmy Carter, throwing all of his weight behind Carter, believing all the lies he was told and then, when Carter took office, he found out that he too was disposable.
Politicians use to get elected, they work through people like tissues. I'm not going to pretend I'm so jaded that John Conyers sicking the cops on activists practicing civil disobedience didn't shock me. But there's really no difference he should be any different. You might hope he would be, you might wish he'd remember the struggle, but the reality is that he's been in power too long to remember much of anything. I remember Adam Clayton Powell discussing all of this after he was run out of Congress. I was much younger then. I asked C.I. after if Powell wasn't being too negative and C.I. (who has had family in Congress) assured me Powell was biting his tongue.
In college, tight circle that this insulated life is, C.I.'s parents had known mine and I can remember their attitudes that we couldn't move Congress. They knew from the inside but we did move Congress, we did force change, we did end an illegal war. It can happen again.
It won't happen from the likes of Patricia J. Williams raving over Barack Obama who is craven and disgusting. It won't happen from others acting as cheerleaders worshipping from the outside. As Adam Clayton Powell said all those years ago, Congress has to be made to work. True then and true now.
Cindy Sheehan's attempting to make them work. But watch and see how the knives get drawn for her. I saw this insipid whine (by a former New Republic[an]er) at The Huffington Post today slamming Ralph Nader for taking the election from Al Gore. As someone who donated a great deal to the Gore 2000 campaign, I've never felt the need to whine Nader stole anything. I will gladly charge the Bully Boy and his James Baker led crew with theft and disenfranchisement.
I don't claim to understand sports. But I'm not aware of anyone whining, "We would have the championship if that other team . . ." I'm aware of blaming the ref for calls.
I agree with C.I. that it's very disappointing Arianna Huffington allows that nonsense to be posted at her site. I remember her running a strong campaign for governor and I remember the push to get her out of it. I remember websites slamming her at the time. It's really sad to realize she'll condone these kind of attacks on others.
But prepare for the attacks on Cindy Sheehan to only increase. She's challenging the system and a lot of little Don't-Rock-the-Boaters are going to get upset. Ironically, some of them will later write about how unfair gerry mandered districts are. They will say every race should be up for grabs. But when there's a reality that Cindy can upset an incumbent, they'll attack. Cindy Sheehan has name recognition and these days, in the safe-safe-beyond-safe districts, that's really one of the few ways you can get a serious challenge.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, July 24, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, a US service member announces he is not going to Iraq, the DNC makes a mockery of a 'debate' without any need of YouTube 'gadgets,' the US military announces more deaths (late Monday -- and deaths that could have been announced no later than Sunday), the New York Times tries to sell the illegal war again, Cindy Sheehan declares a Congressional run, and more.
Starting with war resistance. Memphis Vets Against the War (Chapter 149 of Iraq Veternas Against the War) note (at Memphis Flyer) "soldiers of conscience, who dared to speak openly about the immorality and illegality of the war, [who] have been court-martialed and imprsioned. Their cases, dating back to 2004, raise serious doubts about the capacity of our soldiers to receive justice in our military courts. Five months prior to Abu Ghraib scandal, a soft-spoken Army soldier named Camilo Mejia was visibly upset by the atrocities he observed during his tour of duty in Iraq. Repelled by the slaughter of civilians and the needless deaths of American GIs (all reported in Mejia's riveting combat memoir, The Road to Ar Ramadi, 2007), Camilo gathered up his courage and made formal complaints to his superiors. Commanders refused to listen and questioned his patriotism. Eventually Mejia was sentenced to a year in prison for speaking out, for telling the truth. His trial, like subsequent trials of war resisters, was a travesty of justice. Judge Col. Gary Smith ruled that evidence of the illegality of the war was inadmissible in court, that international law is irrelevant, that a soldier's only duty to follow orders, regardless of their legality. It is a sad day in military jurisprudence when a soldier of conscience is court-martialed, not for lying, but for telling the truth . . . Our military system is passing through a profound moral and legal crisis." IVAW's Adam Kokesh posts an e-mail from Robert Weiss who has filed for conscientious objector status and "informed my chain of command that the only way I will go to Iraq is if they tranquilize me, cuff me, and throw me on a plane. That being the case I won't perform any duties or wear a uniform anyways. I don't plan on letting the situation progress that far. I am hopeful that I will be placed on rear detachment until the decision on my application comes in. When it becomes apparent that they won't do this I will simply refuse to follow any orders given to me or wear a uniform. This will surely result in some jail time but that doesn't deter me one bit. It makes more sense to me to resist the military now rather than in Iraq where the situation would be much more difficult."
Agustin Aguayo was in Germany (as Weiss is now) when he was told he would be handcuffed/chained and put on a plane to Iraq. That prompted his self-checkout. Aguayo is telling his story publicly and The Acorn reports that Aguayo will speak this Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Grant Brimhall, Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. James Rd., that the event is "free and open to the public" and more information is available by calling (805) 375-9939. War resister Pablo Paredes will also be at the event.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
Turning to news of activism, bravery and disappointment. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported today that DC was the location, specifically John Conyers' office, for a rather surprising development, "45 protesters calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney were arrested Monday at the U.S. Capitol. The arrests occurred after the demonstrators refused to leave the office and hallway of Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. The arrested included Cindy Sheehan and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. They were urging Conyers -- the chair of the House Judiciary -- to introduce articles of impeachment." In addition, they were delivering a petition, with over one million signatures, calling for impeachment. As Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) noted last night, "That's really sad. John Conyers, who knows all about civil disobedience, sicks the cops on civil disobedience. Oh how the mighty have fallen." Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) shares that sentiment noting, "The arrest of impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from his office was a betrayal of people who were doing the very thing that had allowed Conyers to make his way into Congress in the first place: sitting in to insist on action on their demands for justice. It was, after all, sit-ins that helped lead to the Voting Rights Act which allowed African American candidates like Conyers to finally win seats in the US Congress. It's ironic that Rep. Conyers, speaking in 2005 on Democracy Now! following Rosa Parks' death at the age of 92, said her passing 'is probably the end of an era.' Certainly, with his request to have Capitol Police officers enter his office (the very office where Parks once had worked as a staff member!) to cuff and arrest peaceful protesters who were trying to defend the Constitution, he has made that point far more clearly than he could have expressed it in mere words."
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) was among those arrested and he notes that John Conyers' office is under a lot of pressure or feels that way: "The staffer was annoyed and complained to his colleague 'It's bad enough they shut the office down with phone calls'." Oh, those pesky citizens, foolishy thinking they have a voice in democracy! Don't they know the John Conyers staff doesn't need their input! Democracy in the Conyers office translates as "We give you what we want, be happy!" Now here's John Conyers singing with backing assitance from his staffers (and a down dirty rap by Nancy Pelosi): "Don't protest . . . be happy. Ain't got no guts . . . ain't got no spine. Ain't gonna help you . . . just get mine. But don't protest . . . be happy."
As Lindorff notes, Swanson has detailed the Two Faces of John Conyers -- says one thing when before crowds, says another when back on the hill. Swanson reveals today that Conyers "said, if he were to do that [move forward with impeachment] Fox News would go after him and accuse him of being partisan. I kid you not. The Democratic Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is basing his decisions on whether a Republican cable TV station would approve. As Cindy Sheehan told me outside the jail last night: 'If I based my decisions on Fox, I would never do anything'." (As noted Sunday, "Politicians crave their good publicity and when the media tilts to the right, they grasp which way to lean to get valentines. . . . Politicians aren't naturally brave -- it's difficult to win a popularity contest/election on bravery".) Lindorff notes that Iraq Veterans Against the War's Rev. Lennox Yearwood was arrested (really, shame on Conyers -- he's now having the clergy arrested) while Nadir (Distorted Soul via AfterDowningStreet) noted that -- in the worst tradition of The Nation magazine -- John Conyers' staff played dumb, "They asked why this action was directed at him, and not at other congress members. It was explained that protests were also being held in DC and at district offices all over the country. Conyers was being targeted because as Judiciary Chair, he has the power to put H. Res. 333 on the Judiciary Committee agenda." Cindy Sheehan (AfterDowningStreet) reminds, of Conyers, "A year ago he introduced HR635 to impeach George Bush while he was Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and not even chairman. He wrote the book on impeachment called: The Constitution in Crisis and he readily admits that BushCo have committed impeachable offenses. It's about partisan politics, pure and simple. The Congressman claims that there is absolutley no way that impeachment can go forward and when I was nearing the end of my hope I cried out: 'So, if the people's house won't help us then we the people have no recourse against the executive branch.' To which he replied: 'Yes you do, vote the enablers out in '08.' Firstly, Congressman Conyers told us to put Democrats back in [power in] Congress to end the war and impeach BushCo. We did that and instead of ending the war, they gave George Bush more money to wage it and to conduct his deadly and tragic surge." CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin (Common Dreams) observes, "The arrest of impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from Conyers' office today is proof of the bankruptcy of the two-party system. It is shameful that Conyers and Pelosi are putting their perceived interest of their party above the Constitution, which clearly makes impeachment the remedy for dealing with presidential 'high crimes and misdemeanors'. With the Democratic leadership refusing to rein in an administration run amok, it is crystal clear that we, the people, must uphold the Constitution. People's power, like the kind in evidence today in the normally solemn halls of Congress, is our only hope."
Impeachment is widely supported in the few national polls that survey on it and muncipalities across the nation have passed resolutions in support of it. Robert Parry (Consortium News) observed, "If some historic challenge is not made to the extraordinary assertions of power by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the United States might lose its status as a democratic Republic based on a Constitution that adheres to the twin principles that no one is above the law and everyone is endowed with 'inalienable rights.' . . . Even if impeachment didn't reach the ultimate goal of removing Bush and Cheney, it would put down a marker of congressional resistance to executive abuses. The public would get the point, too. The current Democratic strategy of fighting and losing legislative battles over symbolic resolutions of disapproval or meaningless votes of no confidence only invites the consolidation of the Bush-Cheney vision of an all-powerful presidency." [Parry's latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush has just been released. Also Rev. Yearwood is the chair of the Hip Hop Caucus in addition to being a member of IVAW.] >
Ray McGovern (writing at Consortium News) reveals that during the meeting with Conyers yesterday, he, Sheehan and Yearwood were informed by the Rep that what was needed was a "Town Hall meeting in Detroit so we can talk about impeachment" but, as McGovern points out, that already happened: "On May 29, 2007, Col. Ann Wright and I were among those who flew to Detroit for a highly advertised Town Hall meeting on impeachment, because we were assured that John Conyers would be there. The Town Hall/panel discussion was arranged by the Michigan chapter of the National Lawyers Guild less than two weeks after the Detroit City Council passed a resolution, cosponsored by Conyers' wife Monica Conyers -- calling for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. We had hoped that Monica's clear vision and courage must be contagious. I had to remind the congressman that he did not show up for the Town Hall." And while Conyers can't remember which events took place and which did not, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) sounds the alarms about Bully Boy's latest power grabs including the July 17th Executive Order that allows "the Secretary of the Treasury . . . to freeze the assets of any person opposing Bush's Iraq policy" which can be seen to include actions such as a rally calling for the end of the illegal war, throwing "a pie in the face of legislator," arranging for "an Iraqi oil worker" to speak, etc. Rothschild concludes of the Bully Boy, "He's got our democracy by the throat, and he keeps squeezing it. And still the Democratic leadership in the House won't wave their hands for impeachment? We have a renegade in the Oval Office. He is suberting our Constitution. And the only remedy is impeachment. We must apply that remedy before it's too late." [Rothschild's new book is You Have No Rights: Stories of America In An Age of Repression (The New Press, $16.99). Rothschild has concluded one leg of his book tour and will begin a second leg next month: August 14th 7:00 pm, San Luis Obispo Public Library, 995 Palm St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; August 15th 7:00 pm, Borders Books, 900 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 and August 16th 7:00 pm, Book Soup, 8818 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069.]
Returning to Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan, she has now declared her run in the 2008 elections: "It is also with a heavy heart that I announce my candidacy against Nancy Pelosi in California's 8th. If anybody would dare think that I am not serious, I would hope that they would look back at the last three years of my life and everything that I have sacrificed to restore our nation to one that obeys the rule of law and can be looked up to with respect once again in the international community and not as the hated laughingstock on the block. I am committed to challenging a two party system that has kept us in a state of constant warfare for the last 60 years and has become more and more beholden to special interests and has forgotten the faces of the people whom it represents." Today, at 4:00 pm PST, 6:00 Central and 7:00 EST, Cindy Sheehan will be on KPFK discussing her meeting with Conyers and her decision to run. (Those who see the heads up too late should remember they can utilize the KPFK archives.)
Larry Pinkney (The Black Commentator) may make the case best of the current self-created swamp the US finds itself in (domestically) listing various lies and concluding, "Thus is should come as no surprise that even as America sinks deeper into the self-created bloody quagmire of Iraq, its President, Vice President, the entire US Senate, and a sizeable portion of the US House of Representatives are selectively ignoring the lies which led to the American invasion and occupation of Iraq in the first place. Now these same elements are clamoring for war with Iran while blaming that nation for the deaths of US troops who were themselves taken into Iraq under the patent 'weapons of mass destruction' lie. This insanity will stop only when the people of the United States bring it to an end. The politicians, be they Democrats or Republicans will never end this insanity as they and their corporate bosses are irretrievably intertwined in this symbiotic cycle of insanity."
The insanity largely continued in yesterday's 'debate' (the hyped YouTube debate -- so hyped, so trendy, that even Pat Robertson had to file a YouTube story yesterday on The 700 Club before his sit-down chat with Prince of Darkness Robert Novack). The DNC planned 'debate' brought together candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination . . . at the Citadel in yet another cowardly attempt to hide behind the military. As bad as it is that Democrats sought to represent the people by appearing at a military venue, there's also the fact that the college was originally created, as their own press release notes, "to educate young men whose duty was to protect the city of Charleston from the threat of a slave rebellion." In all the rah-rah, that's not being noted and it should be noted loudly before the next 'debate' includes the donning of white sheets. In a non-ironic moment, the issue of reparations for slavery was raised and, as Jens Manuel Krogstad (Waterloo Ceder Falls Courier) notes, Barack Obama felt it was more important to fund "struggling schools" -- as if that has anything to do with reparations or as if it's an either/or issue -- either we fund schools or we address reparations.
A lot of hot air (possibly no more than usual) filled the auditorium. Two speaking to realities were Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. US House Rep Kucinich declared, "I introduced a plan four years ago, Anderson [Cooper], that was a full plan to remove our troops. I'm the only one on this stage -- excuse me -- who not only voted against this war, but voted against funding the war. It is not credible to say you oppose the war from the start when you voted to fund it 100 percent of the time, 70 percent, 5 percent of the time. Let's get real about this war. Let's get those troops home and let's take a stand and do it now. Send a message to Congress now. We cannot wait until the next president takes office." It's cute the way commentators see that line in relation to US Senator Hillary and former US Senator John Edwards while ignoring the very obvious point that it applies firmly and completely to US Senator Barack Obama. Former US Senator Gravel stated, "Our soldiers died in Vietnam in vain. You can now, John, go to Hanoi and get a Baskin-robbins ice cream cone. That's what you can do. And now we have most favored nation trade. What did all these people die for? What are they dying for right now in Iraq every single day? Let me tell you: There's only one thing worse than a soldier dying in vain; it's more soldiers dying in vain."
As Democracy Now! noted, Senator Joe Biden declared (in what should be front page news everywhere) that he's been "inside the Green Zone, where I've been seven times and shot at." Biden was shot at inside the Green Zone? That should be front page news. And reporters should be attempting to verify the veracity of that astounding claim. Obama played the weasel he's so good at. Just as he was telling would-be donors in 2004 that he wasn't for withdrawal, his comments in the 'debate' should have also been shocking: "The time for us to ask how we were going to get out of Iraq was before we went in, and that is something that too many of us failed to do. We failed to do it. And I do think that that is something that both Republicans and Democrats have to take responsiblity for." But Obama was taking on responsibilty. He went on to talk about future wars (no surprise to anyone paying attention the war imagery he incorporated into speeches in 2004) and avoided the real issue of withdrawal. In fact, his statements noted above can be seen as a refusal to call for complete withdrawal. He's fond of harping on the fact that he was against the war before it began, he's less prone to point out that he publicly came out against withdrawal repeatedly in 2004.
Former Governor Bill Richardson's website notes Richardon's statement in the 'debate', "This is what I stand for: I believe we should bring all of the troops home in six months with no residual forces" and proclaims, "The Governor was frustrated by the lack of time devoted to exploring the candidate's positions on the Iraq War, and other critical topics. 'If we had more time we could have had a real discussion so people could see my plan is clearly different than the other candidates'."
Meanwhile a citizen named Pat weighs in at Hillary Clinton's website, "During last nights debate it came out that the Iraqi Parlement is going to take a '3 week' vacation 'now', while the country is in the middle of a war. Not to mention the U.S. troops dieing on 'their' streets daily. Now tell me does this make any sence? I suggest we 'all' immediately call/write/or e-mail the President protesting such action. This is outrageous! Also I would like to hear Hillary's response to this situation. Thank you. Pat." Pat seems unaware that while US service members have been dying and while the US has been "in the middle of a war" for over four years now, the US Congress has regularly gone on vacation (declared vacations) -- they took a recess for the 4th, will do so for Labor Day, did so for Memorial Day, etc. Did it make sense? In Baghdad today the high was predicted to be 117 degrees farenheit (that's why so many Iraqis in the summer sleep on the roofs when possible). The temperature is the reason for the planned, announced break. Possibly Pat is comfortable debating in 117 degrees temperatures but that's not really Pat's call to make for others. The White House has made noises of complaint as have some Republicans. The first willing to forgo their own scheduled vacation will probably be taken somewhat serious but, as it is, the Iraqi Parliament already gave up the month of July (part of the two-month vacation). Pat may not be aware of it but the US Congress is scheduled to begin it's own vacation next month -- August 3rd to September 4th. The US Congress really isn't in any position to finger point at the Iraqi Parliament over the issue of vacations.
The biggest whiners in the US about the Iraqi Parliament going on vacation are those who fret over the fact that US imposed benchmarks aren't being met, such as passage of US drafted legislation which would permit the theft of Iraqi oil. The Green Party of the US has "declared their support for the tens of thousands of Iraqis, including labor unions, who are protesting the Iraqi oil law 'benchmark' that the Bush Administration and supporters are seeking to impose as a condition for reconstruction aid. On July 16, Iraqis took to the streets of Basra in a demonstration organized by the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions against the proposed law, which would place 2/3 of Iraqi oil under foreign control, granting 30-year contracts to US and UK energy corporations for 'development' of Iraq's oil resources."
At The Notion, Ari Berman takes on the New York Times for their . . . headline. Yesterday, Wally addressed the realities here, Cedric here and we did so this morning here. Berman's late to the party and only semi-dressed. The headline in question is to Megan Thee's "Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows" and the headline is the least of the problems. Thee repeatedly compares the latest CBS-New York Times poll to the previous one. Anyone paying attention would immediately grasp the earlier poll had 1554 respondents while this one has 889. They would also grasp why this was -- when you poll on the weekend, you get a lower number of respondents and you also tend to get a more sedentary grouping. Seizing a statistical anomaly, Thee sells the myth that there is a rise in support for the illegal invasion. A poll is useless on its own. Where it is reliable is when it finds trends over times. Running with an anomaly as news is not only ignorant, it's unprofessional. When CBS News noted the joint poll yesterday, they didn't run with the anomaly (the difference between professionals and idiots?). They noted the trends and what the Times runs with is billed (near the end of CBS' report) as "slightly" not trumpeted as "Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Polls Shows!" Megan Thee and the New York Times are pushing nonsense and calling out the headline hardly cuts it (as "real time" criticism or otherwise). The trends? Bully Boy's at 25% approval for Iraq, Congress is at 26% approval overall, 63% say that there should be no funding without a timetable for withdrawal, etc.
Staying with polling news Jon Cohen and Dan Balz (Washington Post) report on the Washington Post-ABC News poll (1,125 respondents) which finds low marks for the Bully Boy and for Congress but the public citing a preference for "the Democratic-controlled Congress [to] make decisions about a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces" (6/10s state Congress has final say).
Today on KPFK's Uprising, Rahul Mahajan delivered a commentary on the United States lousy practice of accepting refugees from Iraq and the historical practice of 'rewarding': "But the US record of dealing decently with its allies and collaborators is a remarkabley poor one. In Iraq, the United States three times abandoned the Kurds to their fate -- in 1974, 1991, and 1996. The first time around, Henry Kissinger, explaining the abandonment to Congress, explained superciliously that 'covert action should not be confused with missionary work.' The second time was part of one of the worst crimes of the United States in the post-Vietnam era -- when the sainted George Bush Sr. called on the Iraqi people to rise upagainst Saddam, then panicked when they did and helped Saddam in brutally suppressing them. The third time, in what some have called the 'Bay of Camels,' a sudden invasion of northern Iraq (nominally part of the same country, but under autonomous administration since the Gulf War) caught the CIA completely unprepared and resulted in the slaughter of thousands of locals with whom they had been working, most of whom they made no effort to remove from harm's way." In addition to audio being available at the KPFA archives, Rahul Mahajan's commentary can also be read at his website Empire Notes. (Sonali Kohatkar also interviewed journalist David Enders about a number of topics including his decision to become an embedded reporter on his recent trip to Iraq.)
On Sunday, Spence S. Hsu (Washington Post) reported Ryan Crocker was requesting that the US government "take the unusual step of granting immigrant visas to all Iraqis employed by the U.S. government in Iraq because of growing concern that they will quit and flee the country if they cannot be assured eventual safe passage to the United States" and reveals that despite public promises/goals of admitting 7,000 by September, since last October, only 133 have been admitted. Today, Helene Cooper (New York Times) reported that the administration is "trying to help." One would hope so, Crocker is the US ambassador to Iraq.
In Baghdad today, Iran and the US met. As Mohammed al Dulaimy and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) reportedyesterday, Iraqis weren't immediately included in the talks taking place in their own capital and directly impacting their country: "some Iraqi officials had complained that they were being sidelined; another example of overlapping forces at play in Iraq. It was later agreed that Iraqi officials would observe the talks, though U.S.-Iranian interests would take center stage." CBS and AP report that the meeting led to an agreement "to set up a security subcommittee to carry foward talks on restoring stability in Iraq" according to Ryan Crocker. CBS News' Pamela Falk states that "the point of the talks is broader, and that is to open channels of communication". Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports that accusations were exchanged while puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, pleaded for both sides to be sincere and keep Iraq's best interests in mind. This as War Pornographer Michael Gordon (New York Times) salivates over the US military's Joint Campaign Plan which plans for the next two years of illegal war in Iraq. Robert Burns and Pauline Jelinek (AP) report that the plan sees 2009 as when "local authorities" will be "enforcing security" and yet "leaves open the question of how many US troops will still be needed". Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reported on the Green Zone "embassy" the US is building ("nearly $600-million cost") which truly serves notice that the US isn't planning on leaving. (And demonstrates the centrist and creepy Council for Foreign Relations can also be offensive as Stephen Biddle spits out a little about Native Americans and no one's supposed to notice.)
In Iraq today . . .
The bombing causing the most fatalities took place in Hilla today. The Telegraph of London reports that the bombing took place "opposite a children's hospital . . . setting cars ablaze in a street packed with shoppers and people on their way to work." CBS and AP note that "Eassam Rashid, 32, was selling vegetables at his stall when the blast sent shrapnel over his head." AFX notes that at least 24 people were killed in the blast while approximately 66 are listed as wounded and Lt. Eid al-Shammari declaring, "Most of the wounded were women and children, and the blast destroyed 15 vehicles and about 20 nearby shops." Al Jazeera reports the death toll rose to 26.
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that there are 27 dead and 68 wounded and also notes a Baghdad roadside bombing that left 2 Iraqi soldiers wounded, a mortar attack on the Green Zone, a Baghdad roadside bombing that killed one police officer (three more wounded), a Basra mortar attack (on a hospital) claimed 3 lives (fourteen wounded), a mortar attack in Diyala that claimed 1 life and injured the man's wife.
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Gunmen killed Brigadier General Kamal Tahir in Al Kadhmiya. Tahir is an officer of the Iraqi minister of defense and a member of Kadhemiya city council, Iraq police said." Reuters reports, "Gunmen seriously wounded a police colonel and his son and blew up three houses in Dhuluiya" and that "a civil servant" was shot dead in Kirkuk.
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that 18 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. The total number of US service members killed in the illegal war has now reached 3637 since the start of the illegal war (ICCC). Since yesterday's snapshot, the US military announced: "A 13th SC(E) Soldier was killed July 21 as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee while conducting a combat logistics patrol south of Samarra, Iraq." And they announced: "A Task Force Marne Soldier died of wounds sustained after an improvised explosive device attack July 22."
Finally, last week in Iraq Peter McFerran was killed. The BBC reports that his father, professor Robert McFeran who served in the Royal Air Force for 10 years, is now calling "on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to start withdrawing British troops."
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