A wonderful comic and Isaiah asked me to remind everyone (C.I. was supposed to note this but 'forgot') that he's using C.I.'s idea from "And the war drags on . . ." (not last night, but the Sunday before last).
"The Casey Sheehan 'End to War' Bill by Cindy Sheehan"(Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):
My son, Casey, joined the military in 2000, shortly before his 21st birthday, to help pay for college. He had already completed everything he could take at the local JC and was eager to move on—but he had a fulltime job, and even though we (his dad and I) helped out as much as we could, Casey also had three younger siblings and our family was firmly ensconced in the working-class.
Well, 16 months after he enlisted was September 11, 2001—and no matter what really happened that day—I had a horrible sense of foreboding that it would lead to my son’s early death—and no matter how much I prayed, or cajoled him not to go, or worried—my worst fears were realized and Casey was killed just hours after arriving in Iraq on April 04, 2004.
There is no forced military conscription in the US today, but many will tell you that since forced conscription ended in 1973, there has been a “poverty draft.” The poverty draft has only become more successful as the economy is tanking and our young people are finding less and less opportunity for work, or, as in Casey’s case, to be able to afford college.
I have been finding it extremely difficult to find recruitment stats—I went to the DoD (Department of Defense) website and, although, the site claims the stats are published every month around the 10th, there are no such stats available for June or July. I did see many “The DoD identifies Army (Marine) Casualties—five just for today.
I found a story that was published in the Boston Globe from March of 2009 that states beginning in October of 2008, the military was exceeding their recruitment goals each month, mainly due to two factors: the economy and confidence in Obama’s lies about Iraq.
So the beat goes on just like it always has: Poor people dying in rich men’s wars—but now instead of being drafted, our kids are willingly joining to kill or be killed for a paycheck.
Draft seems to be in the air these days. A number of newer community members have been e-mailing to ask if Charlie Rangel's proposal of a draft would end the wars. C.I. was hoping to tackle the draft issue in today's snapshot as a result of those e-mails; however, when they spoke to a group of advance placement high schoolers today and the draft was a big issue to these young adults, C.I. decided to make it a major section of the snapshot. I love what she wrote.
She's covering how the draft and a standing army do not prevent wars, they actually allow for them. Cindy's tackling the poverty draft that does exist today and also proposing (use the link) a way we could end that.
"Of stupidity and NPR (Ava and C.I.)" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Terry has wasted the past 12 months asking a King of Queens' actor to describe a lap dance he got, a prostitute to detail the perverse habits of her clients and much, much more. In 1987, if you were placing a bet on who would be embarrassing herself in 2010 in yet another desperate attempt at seeming relevant by coming on smutty, most people would have put their money on Madonna, not Terry Gross.
But it is Terry Gross who works the smut factor. It is Terry Gross who repeatedly, in her old age, attempts to be shocking and apparently can't help but be one-sided. MPR dropped Terry's show due to the emerging pattern. They are the first we're aware of to drop her this year, they are not the only NPR station considering dropping her.
Ava and C.I. were amazing with that piece. I will be highlighting another section of it tomorrow but I just might highlight portions of it all week long. It's really an epic and they've done such an amazing job. If I wrote like that, this journal would be full of posts that you just had to read. Instead, I can refer you to the greats. So if you have not already read their NPR piece, hurry on over to Third and do so.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, July 19, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, Sahwa is targeted and suffers multiple losses, violence continues today and claims the 1st British life in over a year, the political stalemate continues, Syria hosts Iraqi politicians and a Turkish diplomat, say no to return of the draft and more.
Long targeted, Sunday saw Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") slammed with two suicide bombings. Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reported, "Two suicide bombings targeting members of local guard forces killed at least 48 people Sunday and heightened concern about the future of the groups as the number of U.S. troops in the country is reduced." Ned Parker and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) added, "The two bombers blew themselves up as Awakening movement fighters approached to question the pair, who were standing outside the Iraqi army base in Radwaniya, witnesses and security officials said. At least 42 people were killed in the attack southwest of Baghdad that officials said was carried out by two mentally disabled men. Farther west, Awakening members were assaulted by a gunman who opened fire on their headquarters in the town of Qaim near the Syrian border. After being wounded, the gunman detonated explosives strapped to his body, killing four of the Awakening members, security officials said." Sahwa, "Awakenings" and "Sons Of Iraq" are some of the names. Who are they? BBC News offers a fact sheet here. Please note, despite what the BBC says, Sahwa were apparently not all Sunnis. According to Gen David Petraeus when he testified before Congress in April 2008, there were some Shi'ites as well. For example, from the April 8, 2008 snapshot:
The most dramatic moment came as committee chair Carl Levin was questioning Petraeus and a man in the gallery began exclaiming "Bring them home!" repeatedly. (He did so at least 16 times before he was escor[t]ed out). The most hilarious moment was hearing Petraeus explain that it's tough in the school yard and America needs to fork over their lunch money in Iraq to avoid getting beat up. In his opening remarks, Petraues explained of the "Awakening" Council (aka "Sons of Iraq," et al) that it was a good thing "there are now over 91,000 Sons of Iraq -- Shia as well as Sunni -- under contract to help Coalition and Iraqi Forces protect their neighborhoods and secure infrastructure and roads. These volunteers have contributed significantly in various areas, and the savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence -- not to mention the priceless lives saved -- have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts." Again, the US must fork over their lunch money, apparently, to avoid being beat up.
How much lunch money is the US forking over? Members of the "Awakening" Council are paid, by the US, a minimum of $300 a month (US dollars). By Petraeus' figures that mean the US is paying $27,300,000 a month. $27 million a month is going to the "Awakening" Councils who, Petraeus brags, have led to "savings in vehicles not lost". Again, in this morning's hearings, the top commander in Iraq explained that the US strategy is forking over the lunch money to school yard bullies. What a pride moment for the country.Crocker's entire testimony can be boiled down to a statement he made in his opening statements, "What has been achieved is substantial, but it is also reversible." Which would translate in the real world as nothing has really changed. During questioning from Senator Jack Reed, Crocker would rush to shore up the "Awakening" Council members as well. He would say there were about 90,000 of them and, pay attention, the transitioning of them is delayed due to "illliteracy and physical disabilities."
We can go over that repeatedly. Petraeus appeared several times before Congress that week, we attended the hearings and reported on all of them. Petraeus did not fumble, did not stumble when making the assertion that Shia were also part of the Sahwa. Not only did no member of ever Congress ever question him on it, but over two years later the press never has either. Since he was testifying before Congress and since no one has ever questioned his assertion (made more than once in the April hearings), we'll assume he was telling the truth.
From that day's snapshot we'll note Senator Barbara Boxer as well to provide more information on Sahwa:
She wanted to know about the training, all the training, that had gone on and then on again. "We've done a lot for the Iraqis just in terms of the numbers themselves," Boxer declared. "I'll tell you what concerns me and most of my constituents, you said -- many times -- the gains in Iraq are fragile and reversable. . . . So my constituents and I believe that" after all the deaths, all the money, "you have to wonder why the best that you can say is that the gains are fragile and reversable." Noting the lack of military success and Hagel's points, Boxer pointed out that nothing was being done diplomatically "and I listened carefully to Senator Hagel and Ambassador Crocker -- from the answer you gave him, I don't get the" feeling that the White House has given anything, it's still "the status quo. She then turned to the issue of monies and the militias, "You are asking us for millions more to pay off the militias and, by the way, I have an article here that says Maliki recently told a London paper that he was concerned about half of them" and wouldn't put them into the forces because he doubts their loyalty. She noted that $182 million a year was being paid, $18 million a month, to these "Awakening" Council members and "why don't you ask the Iraqis to pay the entire cost of that progam" because as Senator Lugar pointed out, "It could be an opportunity" for the Iraqi government "to turn it into something more long term." This is a point, she declared, that she intends to bring up when it's time to vote on the next spending supplamental. Crocker tried to split hairs.
Boxer: I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . I'm just asking you why we would object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?
Crocker declared that he'd take that point back to Iraq when he returned.
Despite repeated announcements by the US government -- which the press dutifuly repeated without verifying -- the US government continued payment of some Sahwa well into 2010. These days, most wait and wait for Nouri to pay them. Most complain that the payments are two or three months behind. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "For about a year, U.S. commanders have assured the Sons of Iraq that they'd get permanent jobs in the Iraqi security forces and other government ministries. Those jobs have not materialized." The bombing which claimed the most lives was in Radwaniya and the Daily Mail reports, "At least a dozen men, dressed in military-style uniforms were seen laying in pools of blood in front of a blast wall shortly after the blast. There were conflicting reports as to how many of the dead were Iraqi soldiers and whether any of the civilian accountants handing out money were among them." At that bombing was Uday Khamis who is quoted by the Sun, "There were more than 150 people sitting on the ground. When the explosion took place I ran, thinking that I was a dead man." Tim Arango (New York Times) quotes Sahwa leader Sheik Ali Hatem al-Suleiman stating, "I'm blaming the security forces. From the beginning, I said that politicians are responsible because they don't care about the Awakening as a national project, and the evils of the security violations reflect negatively on the officials." Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) notes that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is blamed by both Sahwa and Iraqi officials. al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (a homegrown strand and not connected to the 9-11 attacks -- for anyone late to the party) was the topic on the most recent Inside Iraq (Al Jazeera, began airing Friday) which found host Jasim Azawi joined by Raanan Gissin (former senior adviser to Ariel Sharon) and Adel Bari Atwan (editor-in-chief of al-Quds al-Arabi).
Jasim Azawi: Adel Bari Atwan, you are considered an expert on al Qaeda. You have written a book on the organization, you interviewed Osama bin Laden, you went to the caves of Afghanistan, you write constantly about al Qaeda and you have followed the rise and fall of al Qaeda in Iraq. Is that terrorist organization dead in Iraq or is it still a lethal force?
Adel Bari Atwan: Actually before we discuss that, we have to dig deeper and look at the situation from a different angle. The most important question is: Who brought al Qaeda to Iraq? We know that during Saddam Hussein's regime, al Qaeda non-existed. I believe al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden are extremely grateful to the Israelis an the friends, the American neoconservative, who actually create the best atmosphere for al Qaeda to actually come to Iraq and to start its campaign. It is actually bombing and killing in Iraq -- whether against American troops or Iraqi people. So I think al Qaeda very, very happy that the Americans created a failed state for them and actually created a sectarian division among the Iraqis themselves -- divided Iraq between Sunni and Shi'ite -- and this is the best environment for al Qaeda to actually expand and to flourish and to be an extremely important figure in the Iraqi politics. Whether al Qaeda is dead or alive in Iraq? I believe al Qaeda is still in Iraq and I believe it will emerge again. It is true, it is not as strong as it used to be in 2006 and 2007. But we know that al Qaeda is supposed to be finished completely in Afghanistan after the bombing of Tora Bora and Qandahar and Kabul in 2001. And look at the situation now: al Qaeda is stronger and Taliban is stronger.
Raanan Gissin, the man does not mince words. He is going for the jugular. He immediately went with an accusing finger: The Israelis and the neocons are behind all of this. You brought it into Iraq.
Raanan Gissin: Well thank you. Well first of all, I want to thank Adel Bari for this credit -- crediting Israel with being the mastermind behind all events in the world, pulling all the strings. We don't have that power and that strength. Look, al Qaeda is really a by-product of, I would say, internal divisions in the Arab world, in the Muslim world. al Qaeda succeeds and strives in places like Iraq, like Afghanistan and Pakistan where there is civil strife, where there is people who are diseffected, disillusioned and an al Qaeda is able to recruit them and gain their support. If it's a fight between Sunni and Shi'ites or if it's a fight between tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, al Qaeda makes its headways. al Qaeda also makes it headways in places where there's no central regime, or central government, that it's able to impose its rule on the country-side and on places where there is tribal strife. For example, in Africa. In Somalia, in Nigeria. Look what happened in Uganda today. Countries where there is no regime. I would say that the original purpose, the strategic goal of al Qaeda to attack the West is not succeeding. Right now al Qaeda is a major threat torwards Arab regimes, not towards the West.
Adel Bari Atwan: Now this is, this is completely misleading Mr. Gissin. al Qaeda was not a tool in Iraq. Iraq was a stable country. Iraq used to have institutions, used to have army, used to have power, it was the mos secular country in the whole of the MidEast. Who spawned this? The neoconservatives. Most of them are Israeli allies and they decided to destroyed this county and to give or to send invitation for al Qaeda to set up bases there. So we can [. . .] say Iraq now is a failed state simply because of the American intervention, because of the Israeli intervention and [al Qaeda in] Iraq and Afghanistan also stronger because of the American mistakes and the Israeli mistakes. That's the reality in our part of the world. We cannot say al Qaeda is simply because of division. Who created these divisions in the Arab world? Who created the atmosphere for al Qaeda and other organizations to actually expand and to emerge? It is the Israeli-American alliance which destroyed the whole Middle East and now actually creating a huge instability all over the world.
Suicide bombings slammed Iraq yesterday and they continue today. Xiong Tong (Xinhua) reports a Mosul car bomber has taken his/her own life and left at least five wounded in an attack near a bridge. Though some may forget, bridge attacks were highly popular in Iraq during the 2005-2007 period popularly known as the "civil war." Was it way of 'herding' for future attacks? Reuters reports the car "plowed into a convoy carrying employees of a British company" and left 4 of them dead while the wounded five were Iraqis. BBC News confirms -- via the UK Foreign Office -- that one British citizen died but can't confirm that there were any other deaths. Martin Chulov (Guardian) adds, "It is the first British fatality in Iraq in more than 12 months. Since the British Army withdrew from its garrison near the southern city of Basra in April last year, contractors - once regular targets of insurgent bombs - have been attacked far less frequently. Around 100 British officers remain in Iraq, helping to train the Iraqi Navy in the southern port of Umm Qasr." Xiong Tong (Xinhua) explains, "Iraqi security forces sealed off the scene and blocked all the roads leading to the area, the source added." Citing "Iraqi security officials," Reuters declares 4 foreigners killed in the blast and five Iraqis wounded. In other violence, Reuters notes 2 Baghdad roadside bombing left five people injured in an apparent attack on an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture, a third Baghdad roadsie bombing left three people injured and, dropping back to Sunday for all that follows, a Mosul attack in which 1 man was shot, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured two people and 1 civilian shot dead in Kirkuk. The Hindu notes a Mosul bombing which claimed the lives of 3 police officers and left a fourth wounded and another which wounded four Kurdish peshmerga. Reuters adds a Falluja sticky bombing claimed the life of another Sahwa today, that 1 person was shot dead in Kirkuk by a motorcyle assailant (earlier one was shot dead from a passing car) and that a Baquba car bombing has claimed at least 4 lives with fifteen injured.
Some argue that the violence is increasing and doing so due to the fact that Iraq is in the midst of a political stalemate. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and five days and, in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. Today makes it four months and eleven days without any government being established. Michael Christie and Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) tackle the subject today and their observations include:
Politicians say fiery anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr might withdraw his veto of Maliki if he agrees to terms, such as the release of detained Sadrists, lifting death sentences and a generous sprinkling of cabinet posts and government jobs.
But mutual suspicions run deep and the hurdles to a final deal remain formidable. The odds are probably still no better than even on Maliki keeping his job. His State of Law coalition came second with 89 seats in the election to 91 won by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya, while the Shi'ite-led Iraqi National Alliance (INA) won around 70 seats.
Not asked in the article is why is Moqtada al-Sadr building a 'nest egg'? Reportedly, he's raking in big bucks from oil companies wanting to drill in southern Iraq. Why would he do that, if the rumors are true? He's made ripping up the oil contracts an issue with his followers, decried the occupational government that's made these deals with foreign companies and now, reportedly, he's taking money from these companies to guarantee their safety? If true, it's very curious. If true, it could also hurt his standing among his followers.
Saturday Xinhua reported that Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr visited Syria and, following a meeting with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Al-Assad declared "his country's full support to the formation of the Iraqi national unity government as soon as possible". Today in Syria, al-Sadr met with Allawi. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) dubs it al-Sadr's "first direct public foray into the country's protracted political impasse" and makes the call that meeting with Allawi "was clearly intended to increase pressure on Mr. Maliki to step aside." Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reports on Allawi's camp which makes the same call Myers does, "An aide to Allawi said he could become prime minister if he secured the support of Sadr and the two main Kurdish blocs. Allawi has good ties with key Arab rulers and the United States, and has been trying to exploit discord between Iraq's main Shi'ite factions over Maliki's attempt to win a second term." Al Jazeera adds: "[. . .] Sadr told reporters that Allawi's bloc was 'ready to make concessions to put an end to Iraq's political crisis. [. . .] If there were past differences, I am forgetting them so that the political process proceeds. I don't back specific names, but programmes and mechanisms to arrive at the next prime minister." If anything comes of it, it will play good for Bashar al-Assad who will look like someone able to assist with resolutions and Syria is apparently the place to be currently for discussions on the topic of Iraq's government -- AFP notes, "Yesterday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu flew into Damascus and held talks with Assad, agreeing on the need 'to speed up the formation of a government' in Iraq, their two countries' common neighbour, [Syrian news agency] Sana said."
Turning to the US, KSBW reports that Iraq War veteran Tremayne Wilson created some form of disturbance today in Sacremento and was in "a standoff with police." If he's a struggling veteran (he may or may not be -- he might have just had a bad day), it's one more indication that the VA leadership needs to get serious about helping veterans.
I did not mean to shout, just drive
Just get us out, dead or alive
The road's too long to mention
Lord, it's something to see
Laid down by the Good Intentions Paving Company
All the way to think we've been playing at, darling
I can see that you're wearing your staying-hat, darling
For the time being, all is well
Won't you love me a spell?
This is blindness, beyond all conceiving
While behind us, the road is leaving
And leaving, and falling back
Like a rope gone slack
-- "Good Intentions Paving Co." written by Joanna Newsom, from her album Have One On Me (which Kat reviewed here)
Blindness beyond all conceiving describes support for returning to a draft in the US. US House Rep Charlie Rangel has proposed reinstating the draft several times since the start of the Iraq War, most recently he began proposing it last month. In a July 15th press release, Rangel explained his position, "What troubles me most about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the total indifference to the suffering and loss of life among our brave young soldiers on the battlefield. The reason is that so few families have a stake in the war which is being fought by other people's children. The test for Congress, particularly for those members who support the war, is to require all who enjoy the benefits of our democracy to contribute to the defense of the country. All of America's children should share the risk of being placed in harm's way. In other words, if you support the war, you should support a compulsary military draft."
We disagree with the return of the draft and have covered that repeatedly over the years. But Rangel's proposal raises the issue for those newer to the story. Rangel believes sincerely that the draft would drive home the costs of war. We'll note his sincerity and then dismiss the entire idea. The burden would not be "shared" and it never has been. If you doubt that, let's go to Jessica Lange at the September 2005 DC peace rally (Democracy Now!, link has video, audio and text):
And who are these men? Who are these men? Let's talk for a minute about these masters of war, these same men that are sending our sons and our daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers to fight an undeclared and unconstitutional and unwinnable war for them. Let's talk about their service records. Karl Rove did not serve. Paul Wolfowitz did not serve. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Newt Gingrich did not serve. Jeb Bush did not serve. The list goes on and on. And we know George W. did not really serve.
The draft would bring shared sacrifice? When has that ever happened? Ava and I noted the above quote in a piece for Third about, among other things, radio host Nicole Sandler advocating for the return of the draft to Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan (Cindy is opposed to the idea). It was amazing to hear Sandler go on and on about how the wars are wrong and must be stopped and . . . her answer . . . was to return the draft. Sandler's answer wasn't to call out Barack Obama, the War Hawk overseeing the wars. That was too much for her. But, hey, start drafting Americans, she's all on board for that.
There are a ton of myths about the draft. Reality on the draft, the peace movement of the 'sixties' was successful in overturning the draft. It's one of the great successes and a success that the War Hawks immediately began chipping away at. It was Peanut Head Jimmy Carter -- our man of 'peace' -- who returned registration for the draft. In fact, Ronald Reagan's appeal to some young voters had to do with his 1980 campaign promise to repeal the registration. Only the very young ever believed Reagan on that because -- press lapping at his crotch aside -- he never could deliver a line worth s**t. (If you doubt that, check out any speech or his ghastly performance in Bette Davis' Dark Victory.) Carter brought back registration for the draft and Reagan lied that he'd stop it. Except for Emilio Estevez, I'm finding it hard to think of anyone who ever spoke out against that nonsense with any passion or elequence. Certainly politicians of either side of the War Party didn't speak out against it. Since Peanut Head brought back registration, the Oval Office has been occupied by 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats and none of them have bothered to stop the registration.
Though the elimination of the draft was a victory of the peace movement, the draft did not spur the peace movement. This is a lie that a number of crazies and lazies repeat. The crazies because, well, they're crazy. The lazies because, look at Tom Hayden, they're lazy. Real work has always frightened Tom-Tom which is why he dropped the Iraq War like a hot potato when he realized he'd wrung it of all the p.r. value he could. For those who don't want to do the work, the draft becomes the EZ Bake answer. It's what you can hide behind in good times and bad -- as 2003 to the present indicates -- it's what you can bemoan, "Oh, if only we had the draft, if only we had it, oh, we'd have people in the streets, oh, if only."
The draft, we're lied to, would force a shared sacrifice. But everyone didn't get drafted, did they? Oops. Well then, when you don't have war stories, do like the idiot Tom Hayden and fall back on draft physical 'war stories.' The peace movement, Tom-Tom wanted you to know, was fueled by those invasive physicals. In the July 5, 2007 snapshot, we were noting how stupidity was contagious and Tom's latest starry-eyed groupie Richard C. Paddock (Los Angeles Times) needed to learn to think before penning that, "In the 1960s, the possibility of being drafted at the age of 18 -- before they could even vote in those days -- compelled students to decide where they stood on Vietnam." The sixties? No quotes? When were the biggest rallies and marches against the war? In the early 1970s. Facts is hard when you're spoonfed by Tom Hayden. And, as we noted, "students" weren't at risk of being drafted. First of all, there was a student deferrment (ask Dick Cheney or Tom Hayden). Second, female students -- females period -- were not drafted. So this nonsense EZ Bake 'answer' was never based on reality. Women made up easily half of the peace movement in the 'sixties' and were never at risk of a draft. Junior high kids protested the war and sixth to eighth graders boys weren't at risk of being drafted for many, many years. As Rebecca noted of Tom and Paddock's insane claims, "but we did make up easily half of the peace movement, women did. and this nonsense that a draft was what caused campus action because 'students' were afraid of being drafted or because 'students' had to go through an invasive medical visit (the military's physical) is crap. that's not reality. and don't talk to me about an invasive medical visit if you haven't ever had to pull up your legs and use those damn stirrups." Amen.
There are so many myths and lies about the draft. There are people who think, for example, the draft started after WWII (we were speaking to a group this morning and this came up). No. December 6, 1941 is when Pearl Harbor (base in Hawaii) is bombed by Japanese planes. December 7, 1941 is when the US enters World War II. We're dropping back to the opening of Abbott & Costello's Buck Privates, released January 31, 1941 (months before the US entered the war) which opens with a newsreel.
News Announcer: September 14, 1940. Congress passes the first peace time Selective Service Training Act in the history of the nation. President Roosevelt signs the Draft Bill, and effical step in national defense. Impressive ceremony. Secretary of War [Henry L.] Stimson is blindfolded, draws the first number from 9000 sealed capsules.
Over a year prior to the US entering WWII, the draft was passed, signed by FDR and it began. "Secretary of War" is what the Secretary of Defense post used to be named and what it should still be named. The draft has never ended a war but the draft and standing armies may have allowed for wars. Certainly that was the case in 1940. Stimson was a Republican. FDR brought him to the administration because he was going to put the US into WWII (with or without Pearl Harbor). Stimson had been Secretary of War once before -- during WWI. He was brought back July 10, 1940 to prepare for war with Germany.
The draft didn't stop WWII. The draft didn't stop the Korean War. During Vietnam, a large number of factors -- societal, cultural, demographic and movement-building ones -- helped create resistance to the war as did the very nature of the conflict which was based on lies and which depended upon daily lies to keep that war going. Insulting women of all ages who were never at risk of being drafted, insulting the men over the draft age or ineligble for the draft due to any number of reasons (and there were many disabled activists in the peace movement), and insulting young children in junior high who were at no immediate risk of a draft by claiming that their motivation was due to the fact that they might be drafted is insane. It's also, in terms of the women, sexist. But we're used to Tom's sexism. It got him kicked out of the Red Family, after all. In his vanity monument Reunions (a 507-page autobigoraphy -- that's basically 100 pages for each decade of his largely dull life -- though had he owned up to the extramarital activities he was carrying on as he wrote it, he might have spiced things up a bit), he glosses over his expulsion. His ego prevented him -- as we all remember -- from joining another commune. He had to 'start' one of his own (women did the work). Accused of manipulating people (a charge that floats through all of Tom-Tom's life) and of using the group as a springboard for his own publicity (a charge he leaves out of his book -- one of many), Tom in print declares that the collective had turned "into a cult." He never confronted his sexism, he never owned up to his opportunism. The fact that all these years later, he would strip women of their credit in the peace movement by insisting that 'students fear of being drafted' fueled the peace movement is an ugly but natural outcome in the ugly life of Tom Hayden. Pockmarks of the soul, indeed. There is no sincerity to Tom Hayden at all as the Tom Hayden Workout/Cashout made clear: Marry a famous and wealthy woman, use all of her money and fame to run for public office, cheat on her, chip away at her self-esteem daily, insult her looks, tell her she's getting old, cheat on her some more, attack her daughter (who caught on to you long before her mother did), poll to see if your wife is a liability to your political ambitions, when she finds out about the poll, demand alimony and a property settlement through various forms of veiled blackmail. The cool-down, of course, is retire to obscurity. In contrast to Hayden, Charlie Rangel is sincere; however, he is mistaken that a draft would bring the costs home. The same types of people who eluded the draft during Vietnam would elude it today. And since sexism runs through the fables of the 'sixties,' let's note that Matthew Rothschild's guest on this week's Progressive Radio is Susan Douglas who critiques media for In These Times and has a new book entitled Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism's Work Is Done.
We'll close with the following from A.N.S.W.E.R.:
Statement from Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition
Badly losing the war in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus has decided to promote a violent civil war in Afghan villages.
That is the true intent of the new so-called Local Defense Initiatives that Petraeus forced down the throat of Afghanistan's puppet president Hamid Karzai. The new plan is a variant of the Community Defense Initiative that Gen. Stanley McChrystal tried to impose on Afghanistan after Obama selected him to lead the expanded war effort in 2009.
The Petraeus strategy calls for putting 10,000 job-hungry Afghan villagers on the Pentagon payroll. They will be given money and guns so that they can form militias and shoot and kill other members of their village who are asserted to be either pro-Taliban or opposed to the U.S./NATO occupation.
The new strategy further underscores the criminal role of the Pentagon generals. Petraeus is consciously fomenting civil war and ethnic rivalry just as he did in Iraq. Gen. James Mattis, Petraeus' new boss at Central Command, when speaking to a crowd in San Diego in 2005 about his experience in Afghanistan, said "it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot 'em."
President Obama and his military team recognize that it is less damaging at home, where there is almost no support for this endless occupation, to foment civil war in Afghanistan and pay desperate Afghans to slaughter each other as a means of reducing U.S. casualties.
U.S. taxpayers who are experiencing devastating cuts in state and local budgets, layoffs of municipal workers, soaring tuition hikes in public colleges—all because of budget shortfalls—will see billions of their tax dollars go to fund the occupation of Afghanistan and pay the salaries of poor Afghans so that they can shoot other poor Afghans. This is a classic divide-and-conquer tactic used historically by all colonial powers to break up a united resistance by the people whose lands they occupy.
The Obama administration and its generals are borrowing a page from Nixon and Kissinger's murderous "Vietnamization" plan, which became the announced policy in 1969. Since there was a rising tide of anti-war sentiment at home, Nixon and the Pentagon wanted the Vietnamese to kill each other in greater numbers as a way of diminishing U.S. war dead.
Millions of Vietnamese died during the war, as did 58,000 U.S. service members. The U.S. strategy succeeded in creating an ocean of human suffering, but it failed to alter the outcome. The Vietnamese, like the Afghan people, were unwilling to live under foreign occupation.
ANSWER Coalition organizers and volunteers have in recent months been working around the country to support the growing numbers of soldiers, marines, veterans and military families who are speaking out against the war in Afghanistan. We are reaching more and more active duty service members and recently returned veterans who know that this colonial-type war is based on lies by the politicians and the Pentagon Brass. The ANSWER Coalition affiliate March Forward! is reaching out to soldiers, marines and veterans.
the washington post
the los angeles times
mohammed al dulaimy
the daily mail
the new york times
have one on me
steven lee myers
the third estate sunday review