Saturday, April 02, 2011

The War Hawks

"The case of Professor Juan Cole" (David North, WSWS):

Among the most striking features of the US-NATO onslaught against Libya has been the widespread support that this “war of choice” has evoked among left-liberal parties and the affluent middle-class milieu that comprise an important part of their constituency. Waving the banner of “human rights”—the most hypocritical and deceitful of all justifications for imperialist war—the liberal left embraced this war as their own. One would imagine that this was the first time in history that imperialism had proclaimed the cause of “human rights” and democracy as a cloak for its predatory interests!

The left-liberal justifications for the US-NATO bombing of Libya are thick with moral outrage against Colonel Gaddafi, but provide virtually nothing in the way of analysis of the motives and interests of the forces, within Libya and internationally, that are seeking his overthrow. The apologists argue and write as if they were members of a society of amnesiacs. There is no history. Nothing that occurred in the past is remembered. The morally-debased and genocidal record of imperialist colonialism is ignored. There is no reference in these writings to Italian colonialism’s extermination of nearly one half of the Libyan population during its occupation between 1911 and 1940. Nor do they note that the last major joint Anglo-French military action in North Africa, in October-November 1956, was the invasion of Egypt. That action, carried out in collusion with Israel, sought to overthrow the nationalist regime of another Arab colonel, Gamal Abdul Nasser, and reclaim control of the nationalized Suez Canal. Nasser was widely denounced in the British press as a “mad dog” and Prime Minister Anthony Eden plotted his assassination. The Anglo-French invasion failed because the United States, which had its own plans for the region, would not tolerate the attempt by the European imperialists to restore their colonial empires. President Eisenhower compelled the French, British and Israelis to beat a humiliating retreat.

Those who are hailing the attack on Libya as a triumph for the cause of human rights seem to have no recollection at all of the monstrous role played by the United States in attacking and subverting countries that interfered, in one way or another, with its strategic political and economic interests. It is not only the past that is forgotten (Vietnam, the savage war of the “Contras” in Nicaragua, the fomenting of civil wars in Angola and Mozambique, the overthrow and murder of Lumumba in the Congo, the longstanding support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, the invasion of Iraq); the present is all but ignored. The pro-war “left” assigns to the United States the task of removing Gaddafi for firing on his people, even as Predator drones rain missiles down upon Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing people every day.

You know who I blame?

I blame us.

The left.

We've got this sick need for a Daddy.

Or enough of us do and the rest of us either humor them or are too scared to call them out.

In the last two or so weeks, we've seen the reality about so-called Left Daddies, haven't we?

Ed Shultz, Juan Cole and many more.

Who the hell ever needed them?

They weren't about peace.

That was always obvious.

But some people have a Daddy fixation and so now we all suffer.

In the future, we need to be asking: Why are we elevating this useless jerk to a higher status than they deserve?

Ed Shultz is a Republican who soured on Bush. An anti-choicer that got elevated to the temporary status of 'press god.'

Temporary press god?

Did someone say Keith Olbermann?

The man who repeatedly called for Bush's impeachment went to the trouble, last week, of doing an online 'special comment' justifying Barack's illegal war and cautioning that, if it goes on 'too long,' he might then go to Congress for approval.

These are not people of convictions or beliefs. These are cheap little whores who stick their asses in the air in an attempt to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

In the future, we'd do well (as a left) not to elevate these worthless jerks into people worth listening to.

If you're for the Libyan War, I think you've revealed, at best, your gross stupidity.

Fortunately, this illegal war has also demonstrated the people we can count on.


"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, April 1, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Diane Rehm continues to ignore Iraq for the tenth straight week, protests continue in Iraq with at least 50 injured in the KRG, a woman attempts to set herself on fire in Baghdad, and much more.
The Great Iraq Revolution reports Iraqi security forces attempted to disperse protesters. As usual and, as usual, barbed wire is roped around to stop mobility and hinder access and the press are being harassed. Alsumaria TV reports that they were "calling for the release of detainees and urging to end unemployment and corruption in Iraq mainly in governmental institutions. Protestors urged to provide them with ration cards." Chanting and carrying banners (video here) what appeared to be thousands occupied Liberation Square. Al Mada reports that many more attempted to join the protesters but Iraqi forces surrounded the scene of the protest and blocked access. As with last Friday, those protesters who had family members imprisoned carried photos of their loved ones. They were easy to spot amongst the crowd with their photos and generally clad in black. On his album . . . Nothing Like the Sun, Sting has a song for the wives and daughters in Chile whose husbands were imprisoned, tortured and murdered under the terrorist reign of Augusto Pinochet and the song, sadly, fits so many regions including Iraq.
Why are there women here dancing on their own?
Why is there this sadness in their eyes?
Why are soldiers here
Their faces fixed like stone?
I can't see what it is that they despise
They're dancing with the missing
They're dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They're dancing with their fathers
They're dancing with their sons
They're dancing with their husbands
They dance alone
They dance alone
-- "They Dance Alone" written by Sting
Kitabat has multiple videos on their home page of today's protest in Baghdad. One woman holds photos of four missing men. She yells out for Allah to help her while others around her note that [Nouri al-] Maliki does nothing. In another video, twenty-one women dressed in black and holding photos gather together chanting while one woman wipes her tears with the back of one hand, displaying the photo of her missing family member with the other hand. A woman, Um Ahmed attempted to set herself on fire, the Great Iraqi Revolution notes. They explain she is "the mother of a detainee" and the other protesters prevented the fire and rescued her.
The two main groups behind this protest were the Youth Movement of Liberty and the Coalition of the Revolution. The Youth Monument of Liberty states, "We are not asking, we are calling for the immediate trial of all detained Iraqis who were not brought before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest because that is a violation of the Constitution's Article 19's thirteenth paragraph." That paragraph reads:
The preliminay investigative documents shall be submitted to the competent judge in a period not to exceed twenty-four hours from the time of the arrest of the accused, which may be extended only once and for the same period.
And they report protests took place in Falluja and in Sulaymaniya. Alsumaria TV notes of the Sulaimaniyah Province demonstration in Kaler (or Kellar) that eye witnesses say Kurdish security forces threw stones at members of the Change Political party. The Great Iraqi Revolution notes that the protest in Kellar "started peacefully but then the Kurdish Militias and Assayesh brought in their thugs and fighting started." AFP reports, also in Sulaimaniyah province, but in the city of Sulaimaniyah, approximately 4,000 protesters gathered and chanted slogans agains the two main Kurdih political parties -- the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party -- and that police used batons on protesters who used stones on the police resulting in 35 people being injured. MaximumEdge.com News notes, "City health official Rekard Rasheed said at least 38 of the injured were policemen in the melee of protestors demanding better government services, ending corruption and more jobs in the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq's north." Press TV reports that "at least 50 people" were injured. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) also notes "at least 50 people were wounded". Yesterday on All Things Considered (NPR), Kelly McEvers reported on the protests in northern Iraq, especially in relation to the disputed Kirkuk:
McEVERS: In recent protests that were part of a larger wave of demonstrations around Iraq and the region, intellectuals like Farouk Rafiq said the Kurdish success story is a myth.
Mr. FAROUK RAFIQ: This is a myth that there is economical opportunity. Do you know why? Because political parties, they captured the market. They have their own companies for themselves, for politicians, for those who are on the top.
McEVERS: So far, those politicians don't show any signs of relinquishing power. In fact, it's support from the Kurds that helped Iraq's incumbent prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, recently secure a second term. In exchange for this support, the federal government in Baghdad recently agreed to let Kurdistan proceed with agreements to pump and sell its own oil. Now, says analyst Jutiar Adel, the Kurdish leaders see economic growth as a way to continue asserting their autonomy.
Mr. JUTIAR ADEL: (Through translation) The economical presence, the economical strength is very important, and they want to guarantee that there is an economical power for Kurdistan.
McEVERS: That means in addition to ignoring protesters' demands for a bigger piece of the economic pie, other issues might be on the back burner, issues like who will control the area around the city of Kirkuk, where Kurds were the majority until Saddam sent Arabs to settle there.
Unidentified Man #1: (Speaking foreign language).
McEVERS: At a recent conference, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani told followers it's likely his grandson will still be fighting for Kirkuk.
For those who would like more audio of past protests in Iraq, Hamzoz has filed audio reports at Alive in Iraq on the March 11th protest in Baghdad. Rania El Gamal (Reuters) observes, "Iraq's protests have not reached the critical mass of those in Tunisia and Egypt, but Iraqis are tired of shortages of food rations, water, power and jobs, and widespread corruption, eight years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein." At the Los Angeles Times, the Carnegie Endwoment for International Peace's scholar Maria Fantappie weighs in on Iraq noting:

While the protests in Iraq may not threaten an entire leadership, they could shift the balance of power within the ruling coalition. With both promises and targeted public policies in southern Iraq, the Sadrists could infiltrate Maliki's strongholds -- especially Basra and Baghdad -- consolidate their popular support there, and increase their pull within the new government, most likely at the expense of Maliki's State of Law coalition. As a result, the Sadrists could regain politically what they lost militarily in the 2007 Battle of Basra to Maliki-affiliated armed forces and emerge as a key player in the government.
During the protests, the Sadrists lobbied for the resignation of several State of Law governors and high-ranking officials in Baghdad and Basra, accusing Maliki's administration of being lax in combating corruption. This move may turn the Sadrists from an indispensable ally for Maliki's reelection into his chief competition. Maliki already seems to be avoiding alienating the Kurds over the issue of Kirkuk, possibly to secure them as an alternative ally.
The winners of this period of social unrest will be those who heed the call of the Iraqi street, and hold the potential to respond at the local level. The Sadrists have a golden opportunity to overshadow their past as a sectarian militia and recast themselves as populist policy makers who are receptive to the people's demands. Whether they do so remains to be seen.
And whether Nouri al-Maliki and the other puppets controlling Iraq can stop torturing, remain s in doubt. Wally slid the following over from MADRE:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MADRE: Rights, Resources and Results for Women Worldwide
CONTACT: Stephanie K√ľng, MADRE (212) 627-0444, media@madre.org


Pro-Democracy Youth Activist in Iraq Tortured and Threatened

Monday, March 28, 2011 -- New York, NY -- Last week, a youth activist organizing pro-democracy protests in Iraq was kidnapped, detained and tortured. MADRE learned of the attack on Alaa Nabil from our partner organization, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Alaa Nabil and OWFI believe the men who carried out the attacks to be Iraqi security agents. Today, MADRE and OWFI sent an official letter to the Iraqi government condemning the attacks and calling for action to protect Iraqis against such human rights violations.

On March 23, Alaa Nabil was kidnapped from the area around his residence by men who transported him to an unknown location. They forced him to face a wall, and they beat, kicked and whipped him with hoses and cables on his back and his arms. Before releasing him, the men issued direct death threats against him and against his activist colleagues, saying, "We will cut your tongues, you and your organizing colleagues, Firas Ali, Suad Shwaili, and Falah Alwan, if you dare to reach Al Tahrir Square. And if you insist on continuing this work, we will shoot each one of you and throw you where your bodies cannot be found."

Yanar Mohammed, Director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, said today, "The kidnapping and torture of Alaa Nabil are a violation of his human rights and a violent attack on legitimate calls for democracy in Iraq. Through weeks of protests, I joined Alaa in our demonstrations calling for jobs, for justice and for our human rights, and I stand with him now."

Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, said today, "In organizing pro-democracy protests, Alaa Nabil exercises internationally recognized human rights that the Iraqi government is legally obligated to uphold, yet he has been tortured and his life threatened. Iraqis have joined with people across the region calling for democracy, and they have been met by repression at the hands of their government, which is heavily supported by the US. We join with our partners in Iraq in raising our voices to denounce the attacks and death threats against Alaa Nabil."

To read the letter submitted by MADRE and OWFI to Iraqi officials, click
here.

The following people are available for comment:

Yanar Mohammed, Director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), co-founded OWFI after the US invasion in 2003. She set up a series of shelters that served as an underground railroad for women escaping the violence and death threats that escalated dramatically during the occupation.

Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE, an international women's human rights organization. Yifat has worked extensively with women's human rights activists from the Middle East, Latin America and Africa to create programs in their communities to address violence against women, economic development, climate change, and armed conflict.

###

For more information about MADRE, visit our website at www.madre.org.
Meanwhile Denise Natali (Foreign Policy) also weighs in on the ongoing protests:
Nuri al-Maliki also assured that the opposition would remain localized by keeping the protestors away from each other. During the demonstrations, for instance, he controlled communication services and set up road blocks so that protestors had to walk about five kilometers to reach the central square in Baghdad. These measures may not have deterred the demonstrations, but they shifted them to outlying localities. Residents in Basra, Fallujah, and Ramadi overthrew their provincial governments and burned down public buildings. Gunmen in Tikrit attacked their local government and took hostages. In Anbar, the sheikhs seek to remove the governor, provincial council chairman and operations centers commander.
The unrest has had political fallout in Baghdad. Maliki's power base has been further undermined as Ayad Allawi and Moqtada al-Sadr have threatened to withdraw support from the government. Even some members of Maliki's State of Law party have distanced themselves from the prime minister by forming a 'White Block" in parliament and calling for Maliki's resignation if the situation does not improve in 100 days. Developing alongside these political rifts is the strengthening of the position of Ayatollah al-Sistani, who has taken credit for the non-violent nature of the demonstrations without really having been involved in them.
As expected, Maliki has responded by trying to control and appease his challengers. While clamping down on protestors, he has promised political reforms and strengthened the state's distributive function through increased allocation of revenues for public goods and services. Furthermore, he has attempted to co-opt western Sunni Arab tribes by negotiating an amnesty with the "Jihad Reform Group", an ensemble of five Iraqi resistance groups based in Syria. The tribe's perception (and distrust) of Maliki as a Shi'a with Iranian backing, as well as its lucrative trade along the border area, will hinder Maliki's effort to draw Sunni Arab tribes back into the state and to undermine Ayad Allawi's tribal support base. And even though Maliki has licensed the Sadrists' "Sit in against Occupiers" demonstration planned for April 9, he needs to assure that the event does not become violent or further erode his fragile government.
At the New York Times, the paper can't find the protests already noted today; however, they can go to town for Ahmad Chalabi. Maybe Tim Arango's attempting to show how Chalabi continues to attempt to spin. Chalabi wants to be Minister of the Interior. So many people don't want him to be. He's using unrest in Bahrain to try to make himself appear in touch with 'the people.' And insisting -- as Arango sketches out -- that a near 100% Shi'ite is a mixed turnout. Arango is incorrect when he refers to the Parliament's ten day vacation/holiday as "Parliament briefly suspended its work to protest the Bahrain's crackdown" He's incorrect because ten days is significant. The ten days off came after the body had grandstanded that they were going to put Iraq first and therefore were cancelling their April vacation. It also came when Nouri's one-hundred days 'till reform kicked off. Using a tenth of those reform days is not "briefly." The Speaker of Parliament, Osama al-Nujafi has repeatedly denied it was a vacation or holiday.
In rather striking news, Reuters reports that the number of people killed in Iraq (Iraqi "civilians, police and soldiers") "rose in March" and uses a Ministry of Health count of 136. However, that number is a huge undercount.
Let's review, March 1st 1 person was reported killed. March 2nd 5 people were reported dead and twenty-nine injured. March 3rd 11 were reported dead and twenty-six injured. March 5th 5 people were reported dead and nineteen wounded. March 6th 21 were reported dead and twenty-six wouned. March 7th 2 were reported dead, two were reported wounded. March 8th 4 dead and seven wounded. March 9th 5 were reported dead and ten wounded. March 10th 10 were reported dead and twenty-two injured. March 11th 7 dead and eleven injured. March 12th three were reported injured. March 13th 17 were reported dead and seventeen injured. March 14th 14 were reported dead and forty-two injured. March 15th 1 was reported dead and seventeen injured. March 16th 1 person was reported dead and thirty-three injured. March 17th 5 were reported dead and fourteen injured. March 18th 2 dead and one injured. March 19th 11 were reported dead and twenty-four injured. March 20th 2 were reported dead and fifteen injured. March 21st 7 were reported dead and fifteen wounded. March 22nd 4 were reported dead and thirteen injured. March 23rd 6 were reported dead and twenty-five injured. March 24th 2 were reported dead and three were reported wounded and -1 on dead because Maj Gen Ahmed Obeidi was reported dead the day before but was alive. March 25th 9 were reported dead and thirty-four injured. March 26th 3 were reported dead and five injured. March 27th 12 were reported dead and sixteen injured. March 28th 20 were reported dead and fifty-two injured. March 29th 60 were reported dead and one-hundred-and-three injured. March 31st 7 were reported dead and thrity-one injured. Check my math but that comes to 251 reported dead and 615 reported injured. Those deaths include everything but US service members. So 251. And that's an undercount. All the deaths are not reported and all deaths reported don't get noted in the snapshot.
Alsumaria TV reports the death toll given by the Ministries of Defense, Health and Interior is 247 with 370 injured. Iraq Body Count does the numbers and finds "287 CIVILIANS KILLED" in the month of March. Reuters publishing 136 is laughable. It's all the more laughable when you note this sentence from the report: "Many of the deaths in March were the result of an attack on Tuesday on the provincial council of Salahuddin in Tikrit" -- we counted 58 for that (some counts were 60 and higher but for our 251 for the month, we only counted 58). Subtract 58 from 136 and you end up with 78. Reuters, which does a daily count of violence, seriously thought only 78 people were killed on all the other days this month? Seriously?
If you think that means Iraq gets attention from the media, you don't know Diane Rehm. Each Friday, The Diane Rehm Show offers an hour of discussion on domestic news in the first hour and an hour of discussion on foreign news in the second hour. If you set aside Nadia Bilbassy's two brief sentences on February 25th ("There was demonstration in Iraq. There was two people dead in Iraq today, in Baghdad and in Basra.") as she went over demonstrations in the Middle East, current events in Iraq have not been discussed since January 21st when CNN's Elise Labott was asked about Iraq by Diane. Today continued Diane's pattern of silence.
Grasp, please, that TEN FRIDAYS IN A ROW have found Diane and her guests (or substitute host Susan Page and her guests) ignoring Iraq on the second hour of The Diane Rehm Show. Violence has increased, US service members have died in Iraq during this time. Protests have taken place. Journalists have been beaten by Nouri's security forces. This week alone provincial council offices in Tikrit were turned into a hostage scene in which US forces and Iraqi forces stormed in but didn't manage to save anyone and at least 58 people died. Nouri spent all of February denying Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) Human Rights Watch's documentation of the secret prison forces under his immediate command were in charge of. That lie would continue until March 15th -- at which point, oops-we-do-have-a-secret-prison! None of that was news to Diane and her guests. None of it merited discussion.
To listen to The Diane Rehm Show's international hour for the last ten Fridays was to think Iraq must have fallen off the face of the earth and, certainly, the war had ended. Those who sold the Iraq War probably should be working overtime to pay their debt off.
March 3, 2003, Diane could talk about the financial cost of a potential Iraq War, but not about the human costs. Gordon Adams and Loren Thompson were her guests. And Loren Thompson -- of a think tank that's really a lobbyist for the defense industry -- sure did pop up a lot as a guest on Diane's show during the lead up to the Iraq War, didn't he? Such as January 21, 2003. She'd return to "economic implications" February 3rd. Or how about the laughable January 13, 2003 episode billed as an hour on the anti-war movement but included David Corn who was Red-baiting A.N.S.W.E.R. and countless others during that time period. Corn -- opposed to the illegal war but more strongly opposed to the peace movement -- got to be a guest many times -- March 7th, for example. March 17th, she had Robert Kagan as one of her guests. Making the case for war. Somehow, Diane 'forgot' to inform her listeners that Kagan's wife was working for Dick Cheney. Conflict of interest? Not to Diane. How about February 6, 2003 when Colin Powell's lies (The Blot) to the United Nations was 'analyzed' by War Hawk Ruth Wedgwood (Johns Hopkins University, of course) and cave-boi David Corn who insisted, "I give him credit, a very good case from a p.r. aspect." "Far more concrete evidence about these deceptions," Corn insisted were provided by Powell. He couldn't call it out. He could raise a few questions but he couldn't (try "wouldn't") call it out. So you had a weak and uninformed David Corn making a weak, kind of case sort of against the war and War Hawk Ruth Wedgwood insisting that the case was made. Thanks, Dave, you really went out on a limb there, didn't you? Ruth Wedgwood can declare the case has been made and David Corn's idea of offering a 'rousing' refutation was to say, "The question still is what do you do about it?" He repeatedly accepted the premise in his own remarks. (He cited, for example, one person who questioned Powell's presentation in the Washington Post. But in his own remarks he found Powell convincing. Again, thanks, David Corn, for nothing.) Contrast Corn's weak-ass garbage with Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! of the same day Phyllis Bennis "there were no smoking guns, but a lot of smoke and mirrors." Even in headlines, the spin wasn't being accepted the way Corn did on The Diane Rehm Show (which airs several hours later than Democracy Now!). From that day's opening headline.
Amy Goodman: But much of the Powell -- much of the evidence Powell presented is impossible to verify. Powell's speech was peppered with assertions like "Our sources tell us" or "we know that . . . " Defectors and detainees were not named.
Goodman's first segment after headlines was the seventy-plus minute speech Powell gave to the United Nations. Phyllis Bennis and James Paul were the guest offering analysis. (From Iraq, Jeremy Scahill offered the response from Iraq's government.) Via telephone, As'ad Abukhalil noted that the original Arabic recordings -- which Powell was translating to the UN -- "the translations are not really that good." the original Arabic is far more general and could mean a lot of things. By contrast, for Diane and her guests, the original Arabic meant only what Powell said it did.
The Iraq War hasn't ended. And every Friday, US citizen Diane Rehm has a whole hour to discuss world events but doesn't feel that the US war in Iraq is worthy of discussion -- for ten weeks now (that includes today), she's felt that way. It's going to be fun to watch Ann monitor the show to point out Diane's huge gender imbalance among guests.
In some of today's reported violence, which Diane also couldn't be bothered with though it was all in the news cycle before her show went live, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports a Falluja suicide bombing has claimed the life of the bomber plus that of "at least three Iraqi soldiers." Bushra Juhi (AP) reports that at least six people were injured (and identifies one of the dead as "a passer-by" as well as 2 Iraqi soldiers) and that the suicide bomber passed for "a street cleaner". Reuters states all 3 dead are Iraqi military and notes one man was shot dead in Mosul and a Mosul grenade attack injured two people.
Meanwhile Al Mada reports rumors that Nouri al-Maliki is planning to alter the political scene in Iraq and create "a majority government." What is public is that Sabi al-Issawi attempted to resign as the Secretary of Baghdad but Nouri al-Maliki refused to allow it, Al Mada reports. Al Rafidayn adds this was the second time al-Issawi has attempted to resign.
Reminder: If you served in the US military and you were stop-lossed, you are owed additional money. That money needs to be claimed. DoD announces the date to file for that additional payment has been extended:

The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to April 8, 2011, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned under the program guidelines.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama Friday, providing funding for federal government operations through April 8, 2011.
Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay was established to compensate for the hardships military members encountered when their service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss Authority between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.
When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible for this benefit. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts to reach them and remind them to apply. Outreach efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue through April 8, 2011.
To apply for more information, or to gather more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Telling

"Who Are The Libyan Freedom Fighters And Their Patrons?" (Peter Dale Scott, Information Clearing House):

The initially stated aim of this bombing was to diminish Libyan civilian casualties. But many senior figures in Washington, including President Obama, have indicated that the US is gearing up for a quite different war for regime change, one that may well be protracted and could also easily expand beyond Libya.1 If it does expand, the hope for a nonviolent transition to civilian government in Tunisia and Egypt and other Middle East nations experiencing political unrest, may be lost to a hard-edged militarization of government, especially in Egypt. All of us, not just Egyptians, have a major stake in seeing that that does not happen.

The present article does not attempt to propose solutions or a course of action for the United States and its allies, or for the people of the Middle East. It attempts rather to examine the nature of the forces that have emerged in Libya over the last four decades that are presently being played out.

To this end I have begun to compile what I call my Libyan Notebook, a collection of relevant facts that underlie the present crisis. This Notebook will be judgmental, in that I am biased towards collecting facts that the US media tend to ignore, facts that are the product in many instances of investigative reporting that cuts to the heart of power relations, deep structures, and economic interests in the region including the US, Israel, and the Arab States as these have played out over the last two decades and more. But I hope that it will be usefully objective and open-ended, permitting others to draw diverse conclusions from the same set of facts.2


Who are the fighters that the US has decided to support?

You're really not allowed to ask. If you do something as innocent as cite Ted Koppell -- ask Libby Liberal -- you get accused of repeating right wing spin.

If you're not getting what a bunch of lies are spewing from the White House grasp that they didn't even bother to sell you on an enemy. Ken Dilanian (Los Angeles Times) reports:


CIA officers on the ground in Libya are coordinating with rebels and sharing intelligence, U.S. officials say, but the White House is still mulling whether to provide weapons to those trying to oust Moammar Kadafi.

"No decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. "We're not ruling it out or ruling it in."

Wow. CIA's helping them too. Thought the White House was telling us that the 'rebels' were a natural uprising of the people. But they're apparently not so natural that they can take over their own country without a lot of help from the CIA.

Telling.







"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, a hostage situation took place in Iraq yesterday with well over 50 dead and which broadcast network news told you about (yes, it is a trick question), Samantha Power flutters in on her War Hawk wings, Tom Hayden finds his voice, and more.
Yesterday evening in the US, viewers of Al Jazeera English got many reports but let's zoom in on just one.
Shiulie Ghosh: To Iraq now where at least 55 people have been killed in Saddam Hussein's former home city, the provincial government headquarters in Tikrit was stormed by gunmen wearing military uniforms. Three council leaders were shot in the head. They included an outspoken critic of al Qaeda in Iraq. Journalists and government workers also died. The five hour long hostage seige ended when attackers blew themselves up after government forces moved in. Our Baghdad correspondent Rawya Rageh has more.
Rawya Rageh: The brazen and highly sophisticated hostage situation in Tikrit ended in a rather unfortunate manner. None of the hostages escaped alive. All of them were killed. Some in a rather horrific manner, we were told, including the three council men who were shot at point blank range and their bodies set on fire after they were killed. The assailants, all of them were also killed in the gun battle, some of them blew themselves up, they were wearing suicide vests and they detonated themselves before security forces were able to apprehend them which is why it's difficult to determine exactly how many there were though estimates say between eight and twelve attackers. There was no claim of responsibility so far. Authorities saying the attack clearly however bearing the hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq. Authorities have been unable to establish any communication with the hostage takers. The attack comes as Iraq remains mired in political uncertainty months after the Iraqi politicians managed to finally form a cabinet.. The government, the country, remains without a Minister of Defense and [a Minister of] Interior. The attack a grim reminder of times Iraqis had hoped they had put behind them.
Shiulie Ghosh: Laith Kubba is Director of Middle East and North Africa programs at the National Endowment for Democracy. He says he expects more attacks but Iraqis will have to take over security from the US.
Laith Kubba: There has been an improvement in security in Iraq but not the point that they can prevent such an action. I think more importantly that the group behind it is very closely linked to al Qaeda. They rely on these suicide fighters and I think this is not the first time and it will not be the last time. I think there has been maybe one case a week ago, similarly, they attacked a military checkpoint. So I would not be surprised if more of these incidents would happen in the near future. [. . .]
What of Americans interested in the news who don't have Al Jazeera on their TVs? Presumably if you watch one of the big three commercial network's evening news, you are at least semi-interested in the news, right? The few viewers CBS Evening News has left aren't actually sitting through the whole show just for those crappy last five minutes of pure fluff are they?
If they are, they got what they wanted yesterday. But Erica Hill (filling in for Katie Couric) didn't have time for Iraq. Flip over to NBC Nightly News and there was a lot less fluff than what you got on CBS and ABC -- and a consistent newscast (I am not a Brian Williams groupie but he and his team do know how to do a cohesive news cast and the same cannot be said for CBS and ABC). By expanding that first segment, CBS has been better able to handle transitions but Diane Sawyer cares about as much for transitions as she does for full sentences -- in other words, not at all. It's a jerky, where-are-we style of viewing. All three anchors interviewed US President Barack Obama (who had something on his right sock in all three interviews -- you'd think one of them would have pulled him aside and pointed it out) which was fluff in and of itself. And although Diane may have said Barack Obama has to deal with Iraq (in a long laundry list she ticked off) each day but apparently she and the anchors didn't -- as all three made clear. And word to Diane, years have passed but don't think your royal interview when you were with another network is forgotten -- or rather what happened offscreen. So next time you want to fluff, don't go with one of England's princes, it only reminds everyone in the know of that sad moment.
"Wait!" I hear you crying. "A hostage situation in Iraq with well over 50 dead! I'm sure PBS covered it on their award winning and hard hitting Newshour!" What PBS do you get at your home? Not even during the 'news wrap' -- when headlines are read -- did the assault get covered. Again, Diane was making such a big deal about all the things on Barack's plate and maybe it seems to big to her because she does so damn little. But Americans, we know about the toast a British prince may give his brother, don't we feel smarter? And we know about "twin talk" and wasn't that informative -- and scientific. So scientific that their 'scientist' wasn't in the studio. They had to resort to Skype to find a 'scientist' who could fit their story's angle.
They laughed. They laughed about the silly of princes and twins on ABC and, over at CBS, they worked in Neal Sedaka (a reference to his "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" -- which they were too stupid to play on air -- it would have given the lifeless and still born segment something memorable) and 'hard hitting' questions about romances ending like "how did that feel?" all in their effort to 'break the news' that break ups, gosh, hurt. Who knew? America, stop breaking up! It hurts! Sure it looks sexy and exciting and fun but it hurts! That's what all those Eat-Alone specials don't tell you and our culture so obsessed with everyone never marrying . . . Oh wait, that's not our culture. Our culture attempts to dictate that we all make like we're boarding Noah's Arc. And even in our couple-obsessed culture, that segment didn't qualify as news.
People died. But Diane was busy telling her Harry from her Willie and couldn't be bothered. Mohammed Tawfeeq, Yousuf Basil and Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) remember journalist Sabah al-Bazee who died in Iraq yesterday.
Jomana remembers a trip to a U.S. military base in Tikrit in 2008, where she met up with Sabah.
Because this was in his province, Sabah displayed the renowned Iraqi hospitality.
After lunch, he grabbed some fruit and put it in Jomana's bag. She did not find it until hours later, when she got back to Baghdad.
Like most Iraqis we know and we work with, Sabah has hesitated for years about leaving Iraq to escape the threats and the violence - because he loved his country.
But a few weeks ago, Sabah asked Mohammed for his help and finally applied for asylum in the U.S., saying:
"I don't want to live in Iraq ...at least not in the next five years... It is going to be very difficult."
They noted he had freelanced for CNN since 2006. Chris Cheesman (Amateur Photographer) notes that the 30-year-old who "died after suffering shrapnel wounds" was also a freelancer for Reuters beginning in 2004. Cheesman notes this online portfolio of some of Sabah al-Bazee's work. His death was first noted by Al Arabiya TV -- where he also worked -- and then picked up by AFP. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement yesterday which mention that he left behind "his wife and three children" and quoted CPJ's Middle East and North African program coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem stating, "We extend our deepest condolences to Sabah al-Bazi's family and his colleagues. We urge Iraqi authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice." Peter Graff (Reuters) has a piece remembering Sabah al-Bazee which also includes several photos al-Bazee took for Reuters:

Like many of our Iraqi colleagues, he was young. Just 23 or so when he started taking pictures of war for a living. He had boundless energy, constantly pestering our reporters, photographers and cameramen for tips at how to hone his skills. How do you square that boisterousness with the bone-chilling images he photographed over the seven years he worked for us?
"Sabah was an enthusiast, always on the phone, keen to get the news and to tell it," writes Alastair Macdonald, Baghdad bureau chief from 2005-07. "He had an energy and courage that meant he thought nothing of driving the 100 dangerous miles between Tikrit and Baghdad at any hour to deliver video and pictures. I recall that his work rate could sometimes exhaust colleagues, and yet Sabah never seemed to stop smiling."

He was killed in Tikrit yesterday when unknown assailants (wearing Iraqi security forces uniforms) attacked the provincial government building. Tim Arango (New York Times) reports, "The assault turned into a hostage standoff that lasted for hours on Tuesday afternoon, until Iraqi security forces retook the building in the early evening using grenades and small arms fire, with American warplanes overhead, according to a witness. The American military did not participate in the retaking of the building but observed from nearby, according to a military spokesman." Ben Lando (Wall St. Journal) quotes US military spokesperson Col Barry Johnson stating, "Our assistance has been limited to providing aerial surveillance of the scene and keeping our soldiers on site to receive further requests for assistance if needed." Meanwhile on the ground, Mohanned Saif and Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) report, "Over several hours, the attackers went room to room, tossing grenades down hallways and through doorways and killing local politicians and government workers with shots to the head, according to Iraqi security forces and two witnesses who escaped by jumping out of a second-floor window." Dar Addustour notes the death of al-Bazi (their spelling) but also notes that "a number of other journalists from local TV channels were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) explains at least one other journalist died (unnamed) and includes this: "Al-Bazi was a freelancer who worked with Reuters, CNN and Al-Arabiya, according to his cousin Mahmoud Salih, also a freelance journalist. Salih -- who said al-Bazi died in the car bombing -- told CNN his cousin contacted him 30 minutes before he died, asking him whether he wanted to film ammunition seized by security forces." Reporters Without Borders notes al-Bazi's death and that Al Fayhaa camera operator Saad Khaled was wounded and identifies the other journalist killed as Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad:

It is not clear exactly how Abdelwahad, who worked for Ayn (Eye Media Agency), died. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory quoted Ayn as saying he was in permanent contact with the agency while in the building. "We lost contact at the moment of the assault by the security forces. We later learned that he was dead."

"We firmly condemn this indiscriminate slaughter in an operation deliberately targeting a public building," Reporters Without Borders said. "We offer our condolences to the families of all the victims of this act of terrorism, including the two journalists. We urge the authorities to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice."

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory paid tribute to Al-Bazi's professional dedication and personal qualities. Aged 30, he was married and the father of three children. Abdelwahad, 39, had worked for Ayn for two years.

The Journalistic Freedom Observatory notes the deaths of al-Bazi and Muammar Khudair Abdul Wahid and that al-Bazi was a JFO associate since 2006. JFO's Director Ziad Ajili notes that al-Bazi was always professional and did his work for variou soutlets while also volunteering with JFO. JFO expresses it sorrow and condolences to the families of the two journalists and calls for prosecution of those involved in the latest killing which bring to 256 the number of journalists -- Iraqi and foreign -- killed since the start of the Iraq War in March 2003.
.
Hisham Rikabi (Al Mada) reports that yesterday evening the Director of Health in the province stated that "most of the bodies that have arrived at hospitals recently were charred and the majority of those killed were Iraqi forces who stormed the building to free the hostages." Al Rafidayn also notes the "charred bodies" (citing Tikrit General Hospital sources) and reports 65 people died (citing Iraqi security sources) and "approximately one hundred others were wounded."
To the evening news on ABC, NBC, CBS and The NewsHour (and remember the last one has an hour and not a half hour and is also 'commerical free') none of the above was news. Don't think that message isn't being received. March 22nd DoD issued the following: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Cpl. Brandon S. Hocking, 24, of Seattle, Wash., died March 21 in As Samawah, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. For more information, the media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at 912-435-9879 or after 4 p.m. call 912-767-8666." Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported, "He died just 10 days before his scheduled return home" and speaks with his sister Brianna and his grandmother Delores Pitts who says Hocking "enjoyed fixing up old cars, sketching and playing the acoustic and electric guitar." Washington Governor Chris Gregoire's office ordere flags to be flown at half-staff yesterday "in memory of U.S. Army Corporal Brandon S. Hocking of Seattle." Brandon Hocking's family spoke to Eric Wilkinson (KING 5 News) yesterday. His father Kevin Hocking said, "We were counting down the days not only for him to bet back but for him to be moved up here for his family to be around him." He worries that Iraq has become the forgotten war and stated, "I don't want him forgot. I don't want any of them to be forgot." Again, the message is being received. The US media's careless and cruel withdrawal from Iraq, it's refusal to cover the ongoing Iraq War is registering. Don't whine about it when polling finds the media's image at an all time low just be glad that those aren't open-ended surveys because the language I hear from military families about the US media's withdrawl is (rightly) blistering.
The NewsHour now tries to play catch up by speaking with Jane Arraf about the attack.
Al Rafiayn reports that women are being targeted in Mosul an the targeting includes everything from so-called 'honor' killings, to accusations of collaboration with secrity services, to accusations that they walk the wrong way. Remember Monday's snapshot when we called out Tim Arango (New York Times) for repeating unverified (an malicious) gossip in his 'report' about the six women who were killed in Mosul (one man was also killed but Arango apparently had no gossip on him)? Al Rafidayn explains the six women lived with their grandfather and that an Iraqi military officer has been arrested (not convicte, arrested, he was in a relationship with one of the six women killed). The paper explains that the six women were "the grandmother, her daughter and the daughter of her daughter and the other three were sisters."
Yesterday Tareq al-Hashimi, Iraq's Sunni vice president, was explaining how he and Shi'ite vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi remain the vice presidents of Iraq having promised Iraqi President Jalal Talabani they would stay in their positions (on December 26th)until new vice presidents were secured. At that time, it was expected that the two would be picked and that a third person would join them, possibly a fourth. The idea of a fourth was shot down and now the idea of a third seems iffy as well. Today Ali Hussein (Al Mada) offers a piece calling al-Hashimi out (insisting al-Hashimi either believes Iraqis are crazy or al-Hashimi himself is crazy, plagued with hallucinations and delusions while he plays in the political arena like a buffoon in a comedy). Hussein begins winding down his essay stating that it is ridiculous for al-Hashemi to claim that the survival of Iraq and its stability depends upon al-Hashemi remaining vice president. Another Al Mada piece argues that the "conterversial" issue of vice presidents (said to be "controversial" to Parliament) needs to be addressed and notes an editorial expressing shock that al-Hashemi is traveling to foreign countries and presenting himself as a vice president of Iraq. It's called "impersonation" and the Constitution and various laws are noted which require anyone guilty of impersonation be imprisoned (for no more than ten years). At the heart of the conflict is al-Hashemi and Adel Abdul Mahdi's 'arrangement' with Talabani which is not thought to be legal meaning Iraq has no vice presidents currently (if you agree that the deal is not legal, I haven't read the laws cited -- according to the Iraqi Constitution only, which I have read, there's nothing in it that allows Talabani or any president to extend the terms of vice presidents).
Moving over to Europe, Andre Shepard is a US war resister in Germany. After serving in Iraq, he self-checked out of the military. Russia Today interviewed him for a segment they aired last Friday:
Andre Shepherd: The American cuisine. For example, Outback Steakhouse was really good for me. A personal favorite was the roller coasters. I can't find any place in Germany that even comes close to that.
Ekaterina Gracheva: But for Andre Shepherd, his life has become one giant roller coaster. Four years ago he deserted the US army, cutting off the way to his native Cleveland forever. His mom cried with pride when he volunteered for the army, but after a six month tour of duty in Iraq, Andre walked off a US base in Germany and never returned.
Andre Shepherd: Anything that anyone could possibly imagine in terms of War Crimes that were committed throughout world history, the American forces have done this and are continuing to do this on a daily basis. The soldiers were being attacked from somewhere but they didn't know where, so they just shot off randomly in different direction.
Ekaterina Gracheva: After hiding out for more than a year, Andre Shepherd surfaced. He married a German, secured himself support from a number of human rights organizations and is now officially seeking asylum. Tucked away on the border of Germany and Austria, Lake Chiemsee has long been popular with holiday makers but now the idyllic spot may go down in history as the home of the first US Iraq War veteran granted political asylum. To become this first is not going to be easy though. Germany is the main staging post for the US military with around 60,000 US troops stationed there. Each year, some of those soldiers go AWOL and get picked up by the police.
Jacqueline Edith: The pressure is very high on Germany and Andre often said in his speeches he's so sorry about that, you know, putting so much pressure on the German government. Also he really loves this country so much.
Ekaterina Gracheva: Andre will argue in court that the war in Iraq was a complete fraud but lawyers say he has little chance of winning this legal war with the US.
Douglas McNabb: It's particularly uh more difficult if it's a war such as the war in Afganistan, for example, or the Iraqi War where it was not a popular war. And if we just started having droves of soldiers deciding on their own that they were no longer going to be a member of the United States military apparatus, we'd have a problem. And so, uh, there are very harsh penalities, up to life, and including the possibility of death.
Ekaterina Gracheva: Mainstream media in the so-called coaltion countries are not in a hurry to give Andre a say either.
Andre Shepherd: The major corporations, like the BBC, CNN, what would happen is that if I would say anything that was controversial or would go against the government line, it would be completely censored.
Ekaterina Gracheva: Andre says he's ready for the battle of his life, claiming there was no justification for the war in Iraq. But he admits he is on a slippery slope.
You can refer to the April 20, 2009 snapshot for a transcript of an interview he did with BBC World Service.
Samantha Power should never have left Europe. But Ireland's gain is America's loss. The War Hawk has landed . . . and taken a big dump on the pages of The New York Review of Books. A surprise only to those who didn't know NYRB founder Jason Epstein is married to Judith Miller of faux reporting fame. Not a historian and not old enough to have lived through an era she wants to write about, Power gets as creative as she did as a 'reporter' (see the work of Keith Harmon Snow and check out the work Edward S. Herman did documenting the Cruise Missile Left for more on A Problem From Hell Samantha Power). At NYRB, she flutters her War Hawk wings and tells you Dems are viewed as "weak" on national security. Which she somehow defines as aggressive wars of choice. She's a complete idiot and, like most idiots, the harms she does will last forever. Reading her nonsense, you can hear her advocating, "Libya! War on Libya! It will get you re-elected!!!!!" She's such a dumb ass.
Doubt it?
She writes, "This faith in Republican toughness has had profound electoral consequences. Since 1968, with the single exception of the election of George W. Bush in 2000, Americans have chosen Republican presidents in times of perceived danger and Democrats in times of relative calm." What?
Okay, who did they choose in 2008? Sammy's man: Barack Obama. Now he acts like a Republican but he did lead the Democratic Party's presidential ticket. And in 2008, the US was in two wars: Afghanistan and Iraq. That's "relative calm"? (What was her relationship to the IRA? Club mascot?)
None of her examples make sense. The 1976 election was going to go to the Democratic Party. That was a given. Gerald Ford being the Republican nominee did not help his ticket (due to his being Nixon's vice president) but due to Watergate, 1976 was the Demcoratic Party's race to lose and it doesn't fit her "calm" nonsense. Even from someone as stupid as she is, that's pretty dumb. Internationally are we forgetting all that happened? Doemstically? How about for starters the conviction of Patty Hearst for armed robbery as part of the terrorist group Symbionese Liberation Army. You've got the IRA bombing England, you've got riots in Soweto, you've got a dam collapsing in Idaho, the mafia killing journalist Don Bolles, US Ambassador Francis E. Meloy was murdered in Syria that year (three years after US Ambassador Cleo Noel was murdered in Sudan), in July hijackers are holding 103 hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, Son of Sam serial killer gets started in California, Legionellosis (two strands, the most well known is referred to as Legionnaires' disease) has its first outbreak (Pennsylvania), there was the Gang of Four in China, the Thammasat University massacre in Bangkok and so much more. And back then, Samantha, when you weren't in the United States, the network evening news actually had reporters in these countries covering these events.
1976 was a national security years as much as any other. But it doesn't fit Samantha Power's little narrative. One thing she likes to leave out of her own narrative is that she championed the Iraq War in real time. She tries to pretend that's not the case but it is. In her essay, she writes of the war she once was a cheerleader for (not head cheerleader, head cheerleader has to be pretty):
Further, with al-Qaeda on the run, the administration spent 2002 mobilizing support for its March 2003 invasion of Iraq, which required it to divert precious units from eastern Afghanistan. According to many observers, this allowed the Taliban and the al-Qaeda leadership to snatch survival from the jaws of defeat. Violence has spread to once-peaceful pockets of territory, and the number of suicide attacks has increased from two in 2003 to 137 in 2007. In June 2008, forty-six American and allied forces died in Afghanistan, more than during any other month since the war began nearly seven years ago, and more than the thirty-one Americans who died in Iraq that month.
As for Iraq, the war has taken the lives of more than four thousand American soldiers, created another front for US forces in combating al-Qaeda, and eroded US army readiness to such an extent that US commanders concede that the army is at its "breaking point." Since 2001, Congress has appropriated about $640 billion for the "Global War on Terror," most of this for operations in Iraq. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published in June found that the United States still lacked a strategy for meeting its goals in Iraq. The GAO found that violence had diminished somewhat; but according to the Pentagon, the number of Iraqi units capable of carrying out operations without US assistance continued to hover around 10 percent.
While the Iraqi authorities passed legislation readmitting some lower- level Baathists to the parliament, legislation was stalled on oil-sharing and the holding of provincial elections. Between 2005 and 2007, the GAO report found, the Iraq government spent less than a quarter of the $27 billion it budgeted for its own reconstruction efforts. And when it came to essential services, water supplies had improved, but electricity shortages persisted, meeting only about half of Iraqi demand by early May 2008. Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank found in 2007 that the Iraq war had brought about a 600 percent increase in the average number of annual jihadist terrorist attacks throughout the world. Even if one didn't count attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the incidence of terrorism increased 35 percent worldwide.
Now supposedly she's writing about national security but she cites a number of things that we could see, at best, as 'influencers.' Here's one she leaves out: Abu Ghraib. Here's another: Dead Iraqis. All of those words above and, true to her War Hawk self, she still forgets the dead victims.
And it's the dead that will always tell on her. It's the dead that will haunt her in the same way it does Henry Kissinger. It's the dead she will have to take accountability for -- especially those who died via counter-insurgency because she's a counter-insurgency cover girl -- having gone so far as to blurb the US military's counter-insurgency manual. Samantha and her gal pals Monty McFate and Sarah Sewall have gotten huge passes because many of the left in front of microphones and working for magazines are too damn stupid to know what's what and another portion is too scared to tell you. This piece by Ava and I has resulted in non-stop pleas -- organized according to two who participated in 2007, by Sewall and Power, -- that the article be deleted. Not one round of please, but continuously, four years later and still going. It starts up each semester. Why? Because it's one of the few pieces that provides the context for those three and what they're up to. It's a far cry from Davey D. on air at KPFA talking to Rosa Clemente about how great and peaceful Samantha Power is. (At what point do Davey and Rosa plan to apologize for that disgraceful moment?) Tom Hayden called out Sewall in 2007 but then refused to do so again. Today he finds his voice at The Nation (though he's still fawning over Power in parts -- she's a lousy writer, she has no style unless you consider The Perils of Pauline to be complex and not just more episodic trash to divert attention):
I remember wondering why, like the U2's Bono, another Irish human rights activist, Power has been less preoccupied by the human rights abuses inflicted by the British during the 30-year war in the northern part of her own country. If she wasn't willing to take sides at home, so to speak, why was it easier to take sides in civil wars abroad? Wasn't the creation of a "more perfect union" at home the foundation of any intelligent foreign policy abroad? A note from her promised more discussion on that, too.
[. . .]
The last I remember speaking to her, Power had gone from supporting Gen. Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign to volunteering in the Washington office of a new US Senator, Barack Obama. According to her account, she
bonded with Obama in a three-hour policy conversation, worked in Obama's office in 2005-6, and became a close collaborator. As Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope "Samantha Power deserves special mention for her extraordinary generosity; despite being in the middle of writing her own book, she combed over each chapter as if it were hers, providing me with a steady flow of useful comments even as she cheered me up whenever my spirits or energy were flagging."
[. . .]
But the agenda of the humanitarian hawks seemed off the radar as the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan deepened. Bringing human rights and democracy to the Middle East with bombs and bayonets was increasingly seen as a delusional folly. Foreign policy realism, not human rights, ascended in mainstream thinking. Power gained prominence as a national security strategist nonetheless, writing a comprehensive 2007 New York Times review of current books on military doctrine. While carefully separating herself from President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq, she endorsed the Army and Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual associated with Gen. David Petraeus and co-produced with Power's close colleague Sarah Sewall at the Harvard Center for Human Rights. Power believed that counterinsurgency provided greater protection for civilians, despite mounting evidence of Iraq's secret prisons, torture chambers, thousands of civilian casualties, and top-secret assassination operations carried out by Lt. General Stanley McChrystal in 2006, described in Bob Woodward's The War Within. Liberal interventionists cringed at the outcome in Iraq, but Power apparently thought the counterinsurgency doctrine was a step towards greater emphasis on human rights.
Good for you, Tom Hayden, maybe you have something still worth saying after all.
Samantha Power's essay exists to justify war, specifically to justify Barack's war actions. The Libyan War is an illegal war. The US was not attacked. We are not allowed (legally) to go to war with a country to take out a leader we don't like just because we don't like them. (For example, Hugo Chavez didn't try to invade the US when Bush occupied the White House.) This is not a 'protect people' mission. You don't carpet bomb from the sky when you're trying to protect civilians. This is an illegal war of choice and Power's been pushing for it for weeks. Tom forgets that Power also pushed for US forces to go into Sudan. She wasn't so much silent in the Bush years as she was silenced because nobody listened to her -- except Barack Obama. And that's why it's so appalling that so many on the left stayed silent about the people Barack had behind him. (If you've forgotten how many lied and whored, please reflect on that time period via "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally.")
Reminder: If you served in the US military and you were stop-lossed, you are owed additional money. That money needs to be claimed. DoD announces the date to file for that additional payment has been extended:

The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to April 8, 2011, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned under the program guidelines.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama Friday, providing funding for federal government operations through April 8, 2011.
Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay was established to compensate for the hardships military members encountered when their service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss Authority between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.
When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible for this benefit. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts to reach them and remind them to apply. Outreach efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue through April 8, 2011.
To apply for more information, or to gather more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.