Friday, October 28, 2005

"Peace is the work of justice indirectly . . ."

Mike and I will be doing the same items from Democracy Now! so be sure to check out his commentary at Mikey Likes It!

Almost 70% of Iraq Deaths Under Age of 30 (Democracy Now!)
MTV has compiled some new statistics on the 2,000 US troops killed in Iraq. Nearly a third were between the ages of 20 and 22, with the highest fatality rate--about 12 percent--being among 21-year-olds. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. casualties are under the age of 30. Forty percent left behind spouses and 30 percent were survived by children.

Mike and I both thought this was important because when you're dealing with numbers, 2,000 in this case, it's easy to see it in the abstract. It can be very weightless. Hopefully the most basic statistic from above, 70% of troops who've died in Iraq are under 30, will have some sort of connection with people. We always send the youth off to wars.

With this war, why were the lives given (given by the Bully Boy)? No WMDs. In fact, any claim they made ahead of the invasion has been proven false.

Padilla Files New Appeal to Supreme Court (Democracy Now!)
Lawyers for Brooklyn-born Jose Padilla--the man accused of plotting to set off a dirty bomb inside the United States--have asked the US Supreme Court to limit the government's power to hold him and other U.S. terror suspects indefinitely and without charges. Padilla, who is a US citizen, has been held for over three years in solitary conferment on a Navy brig. No charges have ever been filed against him and he has never appeared before a judge. Justices refused on a 5-4 vote last year to review Padilla's rights, ruling that he contested his detention in the wrong court. One of Padilla's attorneys, Donna Newman, said the new case asks when and for how long the government can jail people in military prisons. She said the Bush administration's position "is not only can we do it, we can do it forever. In my opinion, that's very problematic and something we should all be very concerned about," she said. Justices will not decide until late this year whether to hear Padilla's appeal.

C.I.'s written some strong commentaries on Padilla and here's a brief one:

I'll add that Jose Padilla is an American citizen. He hasn't been given a trial after three years. We know that. We all know that (in this country). We can pretend we don't and we act like it's not happening but it is happening and, from Mackay's reporting, we know that some of the torture has been used to attempt to get information on Padilla. If after three years they've got no information that allows them to feel they have a winnable case, the government appears to have no case. Padilla should have been granted a trial years ago. The continued refusal to allow him to stand to trial is a shame on the country (United States).

I took a thirty minute break to find that and ended up reading through The Common Ills. C.I. is a best friend of mine and has been for years, but I really do love The Common Ills for far more than friendship. I was laughing at "the Dylan meter" and nodding along with social commentary.

I also read Beth's column and I had e-mails on that so let me make my only comments here. First, Beth wrote a wonderful column. It's funny and Beth has such a great voice. If you're not getting the gina & krista round-robin, you are missing a great deal and among the things you are missing is Beth's weekly ombudsman column. She's always funny and never afraid to admit she's frazzled by some of the e-mails or topics.

It was noted in Beth's column that Ava, C.I. and myself felt that the issue was the event and not the person and there was an e-mail that came in here saying that felt like a prepared comment that Ava, C.I. and myself had worked out ahead of time.

There was no working out ahead of time. The first I knew of Beth's column was when I returned Beth's call. I was between sessions and trying to make sense of an insurance form that my office doesn't usually deal with so I wasn't going to have a lot of time on the phone and told Beth that upfront. But that was the first call I had about Beth's column and it came from Beth. The second call on Beth's column was at the end of the day when Beth wanted to check my comments with her. She told me she'd be summarizing me since my remarks were brief unless there was a quote I wanted include. I told her a summary was fine.

While we were on the phone, and members can e-mail Beth about this and she'll back me up, she did not tell me, "Ava and C.I. said a similar thing." Ava and C.I. are very good friends and they work very well together on joint entries at The Common Ills or on their TV reviews at The Third Estate Sunday Review. They can, and often do, finish each other's sentences. (Check the roundtables at The Third Estate Sunday Review. They are always on the same page.) I doubt that Ava and C.I. prepared a joint statement. (I'll ask and if the answer is yes, I'll note it here Monday. Otherwise, my assumption is correct.) They don't have to, they're on the same page. That's why Ava was chosen to take over at The Common Ills if C.I. ever has to step down due to health reasons.

So that's why they were on the same page. As for me, I've known C.I. for years and years and years. We agree on a number of things and we've always stressed (check with Rebecca) the concept of it's the issue, not the person.

It wasn't a prepared statement. It didn't have to be. The three of us shared the same mindset on that.

The other issue that came up was where I declined to comment. I just finished reading Beth's column again and I'm only seeing that with regards to the issue of naming. I may be missing something. If it does pop up elsewhere, it's probably due to the fact that if I didn't catch everything, I wasn't going to comment.

Let's say that Dona and Jim were arguing over what the best jelly or jam was and I came in late as Dona was insisting strawberry and Jim was insisting plum. If I asked, "What happened? How did this topic come up?" and was told Mike had asked Cedric about it, that might be true. But I didn't hear Mike ask Cedric about it, I heard Dona and Jim arguing over it. So I wouldn't feel comfortable offering, "The whole thing started when Mike asked Cedric . . ."

Last weekend was a nightmare with regards to calls being disconnected and posts being lost. However, it was also a relief in that "the creep" (I think Beth coined that name for him) wasn't brought up. No one went there and so the problems were mechanical ones and not differences of opinion between us. That was a big relief because if it had degraded into one long rap session about "the creep," I think a lot of people would've felt that, since the topic had been gone over and gone over already, the weekend had been a waste of time.

Instead, it was a productive one. I cannot believe the time and care that was given to "Watchdog Daily." That is a first rate piece and if I didn't grasp that from reading it (I do), the feedback from friends would have sent the message home. There's hope right now that we'll have a piece like that (at least one) this weekend.

And if you've read "Watchdog Daily" already and need some fresh laughs, check out Betty's
"Thomas Friedman, Living on the Five Finger Discount" (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man) and be prepared to laugh.

"In the Name of Justice" (Monica Benderman, CounterPunch):
Kevin Benderman sits in jail. An injustice. He did not want to go. He did not take his stand, break a law and dare the courts to put him in jail with a stiff sentence. Kevin Benderman put his principles on the line and dared to trust that his rights would be respected as the constitution he fought to defend demands.
Kevin Benderman did everything he could to demonstrate to the military, and to the world, that he did not want to go to jail, by consistently performing his required duties without letting the challenge he faced keep him from his responsibilities
Why would anyone want to go to jail? Why would anyone challenge the legal system to put them in jail? Kevin Benderman followed the rules and filed an application to be recognized as a Conscientious Objector to war. The military command broke the rules. They did not follow their own procedures, and through their failing of the law, Kevin Benderman is the one serving time. The legal system of our country failed and did not uphold our constitution.
Days and nights are spent working diligently on a plan of action for ensuring due process in Kevin's case. As he sits in abhorrent conditions, knowing in his heart that he has made the right choice and taken his stand with integrity, many good people work hard to find a way to bring his case to public awareness, and to show the world that justice has not been served.
Kevin is not alone. There are many, not all soldiers, who are wrongfully imprisoned for standing for their beliefs with integrity. They did not choose jail, they trusted that their ethical stand would be respected and treated with dignity by the legal system. They followed the rules, did things the right way and were persecuted for it.

Here's our closer.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.
Thomas Aquinas