Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Isaiah, Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Turner, Chris Cornell

Isaiah's latest comic is to the left and that was in my lost post last night so I want to make sure I note it today. Just last week, I was noting how much I enjoy Isaiah's comics that parody or touch on films. Then the one to the left went up Sunday. He's playing on Home Alone and Bully Boy's "Vietnam!" is a result of Bully Boy using the comparison himself. I like the look on Bully Boy's face as he yells. The "Alone" refers to the ever shrinking 'coalition of the willing.'

Sunny loved this as well and Monday at the office, the first thing she said is, "You have to put it up at your site!" I started out last night's lost entry with it. Hopefully, there will be more luck tonight. For those who wonder, this is from Blogger Status:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Tomorrow we will have an outage of 60 minutes from 2p to 3p (Pacific Time) as we perform some hardware repairs.
Posted by Pal at
15:39 PDT
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Wow. Ok. So it hasn’t been Blogger’s weekend. Blogger was down for a little over three hours this evening, due to the near-simultaneous failure of a critical component and its backup. This outage also impacted the loading of many Blog*Spot blogs, which rely on Blogger for a CSS file.We apologize profusely for this outage. Blogger should be working as normal now. The new version of Blogger in beta was not affected.
Posted by Pete at
20:23 PDT

Apparently the repairs today were to fix Saturday's problems which still existed. In their Saturday note they write: "Blogger was down for a littl over three hours this evening . . ." It was at least four hours. We were attempting to work on The Third Estate Sunday Review and it put the whole edition behind. Ruth logged in (to The Common Ills) just as RadioNation with Laura Flanders was coming on. She worked on her report, was pleased with and went to post. This was during Blogger/Blogspot's downtime and she lost her entire report. Last night she published her latest Ruth's Report so be sure to read that. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. I have two highlights for tonight. Also Betty did her usual Monday substitution last night so please read "Betty filling in for Kat."

Returning to the topic of Iraq and Vietnam now with the next excerpt.

"Is It Vietnam Yet?" (Cindy Sheehan, Truthout):
In 2000 dollars, the Congressional hacks of the War Machine splurged 161 billions of our dollars in the 14 years that Vietnam dragged disastrously on. However, that is a paltry sum. So far, in 2006 dollars, Congress has deliriously wasted almost 340 billions of dollars! The War Machine is busy laundering the blood out of their money before they make a deposit in the National Bank of Lost Hopes and Dreams.
The other similarities to Vietnam prove the old adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In 1967, Robert McNamara, JFK's and LBJ's Secretary of War and prime architect of the Vietnam mistake, left his post as primary civilian death deliverer to become president of the World Bank. Similarly, assistant Secretary of War and prime architect, cheerleader, and liar of the Iraqi mistake Paul Wolfowitz left his post in the War Department for the apparent next logical step of president of the World Bank. Evidently, it is not only in BushCo that one's penchant for butchery is rewarded handsomely!
Across the country, our fellow Americans despair that "young people" aren't involved in the anti-war movement, or there isn't as much activism as there was during the Vietnam years. Historically, the anti-war movement is much more active and relevant in this conflict than in the same time period during Vietnam. There were enormous demonstrations before the invasion of Iraq, because millions of people around the world did not want to be witnesses to another bloody struggle and did not want killing waged in their names. I, myself, have been involved in enormous demonstrations just in the last year. As the news coverage on the ground in Iraq vastly differs from the news coverage in Vietnam (I remember the daily dosage of nightly news regarding Vietnam - with uncensored footage), so does the coverage of the anti-war movement, which is terribly underreported.
Recently, Congressmembers from California wrote a letter to Rumbo to request that the Pentagon remove embedded reporters from CNN out of Iraq because, surprisingly, CNN showed some ghastly footage of Iraqi snipers targeting US troops. No one wants to see death as it happens (unless it's fictional), and increasingly, Americans are realizing that just because we are not shown the shocking images does not mean that they are not happening. We are beginning to come out of the media-induced coma and contradict BushCo's perception that Iraq is a hotbed of happiness and democracy. No, we the people are realizing that the criminals who put our young people in an avoidable situation are the ones to blame, and the shocking images will stop when our troops are brought home!
In Vietnam, we saw a Lieutenant convicted and later pardonned for war crimes in the horrors of My Lai. In Iraq, we have seen a few privates and specialists be similarly prosecuted for such horrors as Abu Ghraib. After Vietnam, Nixon, Johnson, McNamara, Kissinger, etc. should have been prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. We all know what happened to each of them. Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize, McNamara went on to the World Bank and the presidents retired in infamy to their estates to a cozy lifetime with their families. Did any of them have regrets, nightmares or feelings of abject guilt? Probably not, but we do know for certain that none of them went to prison. For this quagmire of Iraq, we the people must make sure that BushCo cannot retire to their ranches (in Crawford or Paraguay) or estates to live lives of relative ease. They must be prosecuted and imprisoned for the murders that their policies and greed have caused. Wars for profit will not end until those responsible for causing them are forced to face their mistakes and pay for them.
During the '60s we were told to be afraid, very afraid, of the Commun"ists." Now we are being bombarded daily with convenient and politically expedient warnings of the Terror"ists." In 1968, a small majority of the electorate chose to believe Nixon and his "secret plan" to exit Vietnam: a plan which killed almost 50 thousand more American soldiers before he was done and untold millions of Vietnamese. Now, we are supposed to believe known and proven liars about their "timetable" for eventual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. How many more of our human treasure (Iraqi, American, Muslim, Christian, Brown, Black and White) will be wasted before our elected officials decide to pull the plug on this one? Do not vote out of fear next month. Vote with your courage for candidates who are loudly anti-war and pro-accountability.

As "A Note to Our Readers" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) stated two Sundays ago, and it's been stated before, no one owns your vote. It is your vote and you need to determine how to use it. If a candidate is not speaking to you then she or he doesn't deserve your vote. Your vote is your business. You need to own it. As Cindy Sheehan says: "Do not vote out of fear next month."

"Why War Fails" (Howard Zinn, Common Dreams):
I suggest there is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks are not only morally reprehensible but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.
In the three years of the Iraq War, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, the United States has failed utterly in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. American soldiers and civilians, fearful of going into the neighborhoods of Baghdad, are huddled inside the Green Zone, where the largest embassy in the world is being built, covering 104 acres and closed off from the world outside its walls.
I remember John Hersey's novel The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people, and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. George Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier, and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be an embodiment of the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine equally impotent.
The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel. Indeed, it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas, or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.
That failure of massive force goes so deep into history that Israeli leaders must have been extraordinarily obtuse, or blindly fanatic, to miss it. The memory is not lost to Professor Ze'ev Maoz at Tel Aviv University, writing recently in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz about a previous Israeli invasion of Lebanon: "Approximately 14,000 civilians were killed between June and September of 1982, according to a conservative estimate." The result, aside from the physical and human devastation, was the rise of Hezbollah, whose rockets provoked another desperate exercise of massive force.
The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations. Even though the United States dropped more bombs in the Vietnam War than in all of World War II, it was still forced to withdraw. The Soviet Union, trying for a decade to conquer Afghanistan, in a war that caused a million deaths, became bogged down and also finally withdrew.
Even the supposed triumphs of great military powers turn out to be elusive. After attacking and invading Afghanistan, President Bush boasted that the Taliban were defeated. But five years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country. Last May, there were riots in Kabul, after a runaway American military truck killed five Afghans. When U.S. soldiers fired into the crowd, four more people were killed.
After the brief, apparently victorious war against Iraq in 1991, George Bush Sr. declared (in a moment of rare eloquence): "The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula." Those sands are bloody once more.
The same George Bush presided over the military attack on Panama in 1989, which killed thousands and destroyed entire neighborhoods, justified by the "war on drugs." Another victory, but in a few years, the drug trade in Panama was thriving as before.

I love Howard Zinn. If we had three Howard Zinns in Congress, the nation would be on stronger ground. I'll add that The War Lover was made into a film starring Steve McQueen. I actually had a larger point to make with this but Mike just phoned saying "Turn on the TV!!!!" He's really excited about the new James Bond film Casino Royale (and wrote about it last night in "Iraq, Kyle Snyder, James Baker and more") so I watched the commercial. Judi Dench is in the commercial so who knows how good the film will be?

That's not an insult to Dench. She tends to improve anything she's in. But Pierce Brosnan's films started off promising and then disinegrated. Dench was in all of them and the best part of each. My point is the commercial for the new film relies heavily on Dench and I doubt anyone's wondering whether she will be good in the movie. It's a known that she will be. It's also a known that her part will be small. So it makes for a good commercial but I'd say the jury's still out on the film.

A few years ago there was talk of shaking up the franchise. Rupert Everrett was mentioned as a possible Bond and as a gay Bond. There was also talk of possibly making the next Bond a woman. That would have been interesting. I have nothing against the actor playing the new Bond but my guess is we'll all know in the first five minutes whether he'll be able to cut it or not.

Chris Cornell is doing the theme and I'm honestly more interested in that right now. I was a big fan of Soundgarden up through SuperUnknown. Then they followed that up with something that sounded to me like rehashed Bad Finger or some other generic 70s band and, of course, then they broke up. Cornell sings with Audioslave which I enjoy but wish they didn't sound so much like Rage Against the Machine (which is where most members of the band came from). I really loved Rage but I don't want Rage fronted by Cornell. The next two albums improved and I thought Revelations (their most recent one) showed a unqiue sound and not just the promise that had been hinted on previously. The Bond song is called "You Know My Name" and I'm hopeful on it but wish they'd brought back Tina Turner. I can hear Cornell hollering "You Know My Name" in my head but I think Tina could have given it more shading. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong.

SuperUnknown remains one of my most played CDs from the 90s. "Fell on Black Days" is honestly a track I missed on initial listen and I have no idea how that happened. I was discussing it over the phone with C.I. shortly after it came out and was told, "Put the phone down and listen to that track." I did and it blew my away. I was more focused on "Spoonman" and "4th of July" and "Fell on Black Days" had sailed right over me originally.

Since I mentioned Tina Turner, let me join Kat in complaining (I think she wrote about this, I know we talked about it) that Tina's latest collection of hits yet again ignored "One of the Living." I loved that song and think that was it for Tina and rock. Up to that song, she was able to straddle both. When people think of Tina today, I wonder if they remember it or "It's Only Love" with Bryan Adams. They were as important to making the 80s image as songs that appeared on her own albums. Private Dancer I loved from the start. The follow up? I had that on cassette when it came out and couldn't stand the first side. I would rewind side two and listen to that over. But "Two People" sounded like a musical rewrite of "What's Love Got To Do With It" (and not a good rewrite), "What You See Is What You Get" had energy but bordered on Juice Newton territory (think Newton's "Queen of Hearts"), and I loathed "Typical Male." That really did it for Tina. I don't think you can sing a love song to a lawyer in the 80s and have people flocking to hear it. It was also very bad musically. Tina sang it nicely but there was no reason to even record it unless someone was afraid of "Strong Tina." In fact, the entire follow up album sounded as though it was made by people afraid of "Strong Tina." Break Every Rule was the name of the follow up. I had to go look on my CD shelves.

I could actually write an entire post on Tina Turner. I really am a huge fan. If she hit the road again, I would have to see her. I think she's incredible. I'm less than thrilled with the majority of the songs she recorded after Private Dancer. I think she's consistently sung the material better than it warrented.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, October 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces the deaths of more US troops today, a US soldier is missing in Baghdad,
CNN becomes the first news outlet to call the 2,800 marker, the people of England, Iraq and the United States do not support the illegal war and 65 active duty US soldiers call for an end to the war.
In England,
Julian Glover, Richard Norton-Taylor and Patrick Wintour (Guardian of London) report on a Guardian/ICM poll which found: "A clear majority of voters want British troops to be pulled out of Iraq by the end of this year, regardless of the consequences for the country" and that the breakdown is only 30% stand with the soon to be bailing ship Tony Blair's position of "as long as is considered necessary" while "61% of voters say they want British troops to leave this year, even if they have not completed their mission and Washington wants them to stay." The results are an increse of ten percent of respondents saying it's time to leave since the poll was last done in September 2005. In addition, Reuters notes, of the poll, that "72 percent felt the Iraq war was 'unwinnable.'"
On the other side of the Atlantic ocean,
CNN reports on a new poll by to determine American attitudes about the war which has found that only "[o]ne in five Americans believes the United States is winning the war in Iraq," that 64% of respondent opposed the illegal war, and thtat 57% of respondeds "want the United States to announce it will pull all troops out by a certain date."
Both polls reflect continued trends in their countries (as backed up by polling for the last year). In addition, as Amy Goodman noted at the top of today's
Democracy Now! and Aileen Alfandary noted on today's KPFA's The Morning Show, 65 active duty service members have contacted Congress. Goodman: "For the first time since the invasion, a group of 65 active duty service members are formally asking Congress to end the U.S. occupation and bring the troops home." The topic was raised Monday in the White House press briefing and White House flack Tony Snow job dismissed it:

Q Tony, quick -- there's 65 active duty troops that are coming out with a letter today, saying they think the occupation should end, and they're saying that -- this is part of the military whistle blower. Any reaction to that?

MR. SNOW: Well, number one, it's a Fenton Communications job, which means clearly it's got a political edge to it. But number two it's not unusual for soldiers in a time of war to have some misgivings. I believe at least two of them have served in Iraq proper, active duty. We don't know how many have actually served --

Q I think the majority of them have.

MR. SNOW: But let's say they all did. You also have more than -- you have several hundred thousand who served in Iraq. You have reenlistment rates that have exceeded goals in all the military. You've had a number of people serving multiple tours of duty. And it appears that there's considerable --

Q They don't have much choice.

MR. SNOW: Well, no, I mean they do have choice. If you've got a chance to sign up or not sign up, and you decide that you're going to sign up again and go serve in Iraq, it means it means something to you. And so I believe that there is also -- you get 65 guys who are, unfortunately -- no, not unfortunately -- 65 people who are going to be able to get more press than the hundreds of thousands who have come back and said they're proud of their service.

"Hundreds of thousands who have come back"? Does Snow Job know how many have served in Iraq and returned? His comments do not indicate that he does.
In Iraq, polling has consistently found that the majority wants all foreign troops out and the most recent poll to back that up was conducted by the US State Department.
Katherine Shrader (AP) noted that the polling focused on "Iraqi youth" and found the majority opinion to be that "security would improve and violence decrease if U.S.-led forces left immediately," that "strong majorities" expressed opposition to the option that they might join the either the Iraq military or the Iraq police and that "nine out of 10 young Iraqi Arabas said they see the U.S. and allied forces in Iraq as an occupying force."
The perception is not going away and certain events add to it.
Reuters reports: "U.S. troops pulled over a fire truck and killed four Iraqi firefighters in a case of mistaken identity on Monday after a report that a fire truck had been hijacked in western Falluja, the military said. The firefighters, whom U.S. troops first believed were armed insurgents, were responding to a call." Al Jazeera reports that the "killings happened . . . when the unarmed firefighters got out of their vehicle and were fired upon by US soldiers."
Reuters notes two Iraqi soldiers died and another was wounded in Kirkuk by a roadisde bomb while two other roadside bombs left five people wounded. CNN reports: "Five Iraqis also were killed in three incidents Tuesday in the capital. A bomb exploded in a parked car near a Shiite mosque in northwestern Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 12 others, Baghdad emergency police said. An Iraqi civilian was killed and seven others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in a central Baghdad market."
Al Jazeera reports that Ala Ghleim was shot dead in Amara as was Hussein Salah in another attack (a home invasion) which also "left two of his brothers wounded." Both of the men who were killed were police officers. Later, Al Jazeera updated the number of police officers shot dead in Amara to four. CNN notes two people were shot dead in Baghdad and seven more wounded.
CNN notes eight corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("riddled with bullters").
Meanwhile an American soldier is missing.
Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reported that he "went missing in Baghdad on Monday night" according to the US military and that a search was ongoing. Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) noted that "residents said American forces had sealed the central Karrada district and were conducting door-to-door searches, according to the Associated Press." AFP reports the soldier is "an American of Iraqi descent" and that Al-Forat television network was searched in addition to "neighbouring houses". Al Jazeera reports: "On Tuesday, the US military said that the soldier, a linguist assigned to a reconstruction team, was handcuffed and forced into a vehicle" and that he had left the Green Zone to visit "a relative's house in Baghdad outside the Green Zone." The US military's press release summarizes the events as follows: "It is believed that the Soldier left the IZ to visit with family. He was reportedly at a relative's house at the time of the abduction when three cars pulled up to the residence. The men, who were described to have dark colored rags over their noses and mouths, handcuffed the Soldier and forced him into one of the vehicles. The Soldier's relative, who claimed to be at the residence when the abduction occurred, was reported contacted by the kidnappers using the Soldier's cell phone. After being notified of the telephonic contact, MND-B leaders immediately took decisive actions to locate the Soldier."
Since the US military is now claiming all the above was known Monday night, one may wonder why they didn't bother to inform the press. They had stated that the name was not being released until the soldier's family could be contacted -- are we to believe the relative in Baghdad did not contact them? Are we also to believe that there was some 'value' in not identifying the soldier as an American of Iraqi descent which would have allowed the number fearing that it was a Baghdad soldier they knew or were related to be narrowed considerably?
Turning to US military fatalities, as noted at the top,
CNN was the first news organization to note that the number of US military fatalities had hit the 2800 mark.
Iraq Coalition Casualties currently puts the fatality count at
2803. Depending on the time zone of the intended audience for the report, three to four US troops have been announced dead today. The US military has released two press releases on Tuesday declaring deaths: a sailor was killed in Al-Anabar Province Monday, and two Marines were killed in Al-Anbar Province on Monday as well. Some reports count a release that went out late Monday noting the Sunday death of a US soldier in Baghdad from an IED.
In peace news, last week war resister Corey Glass spoke publicly about his decision to self-check out of the US military and relocate to Canada. The
CBC reports that Glass noted that early on, "[Army officials] stopped by my parents' place to try to find me. Somehow they must have gotten hold of my stuff that I'd left [behind] and started calling numbers they found." Glass was speaking at the Tilley Hall Auditorium at the University of New Brunswick. IMC Maritimes notes that "Glass joined the National Guard in Indiana in 2002, thinking he would be doing things like filling sand bags to stop a flood on American soil. Instead, he was sent to Iraq, and discovered he couldn't fight a war he didn't believe in. When he was given a two-week leave to return home, he deserted. After seven months in hiding, he fled to Tornoto where he is seeking refugee status." Glass has stated (in September): "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would."
Also in peace news, peace activist
Cindy Sheehan will be speaking at the University of Iowa (Macbride Auditorium, 7:30 pm) while Sunday, Michael Yoder (The Intelligencer Journal) reports, Ray McGovern spoke at the Lancaster Church of the Brethren in Penn. noting, of Iraq, : "We need to call lies 'lies'."
Turning to the land of fiction and myth. The US administration continues to be jaw-dropping amazing in the worst way possible. After
hair splitting over the definition of milestone and hair splitting over the defenition of deadline, the administration, as reported by Jim Rutenberg and David S. Cloud (New York Times), has decided one thing they will drop is the phrase "stay the course." The dropping should not be read as a sign of embracing reality, just dropping a slogan that's no longer marketing well. Proving that they hold reality at arms length, Mark Tran (Guardian of London) reports that the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad (who did such a bang-up job with Afghanistan!) says the 'success' is still within reach in Iraq. As Sam Knight (Times of London) notes, "benchmarks," not deadlines, are the buzz of the day. Appearing with Khalilzad was George Casey ("top US general") and Paul Reynolds (BBC) notes that they are both "predicting an improvement in Iraq in 12-18 months". Reynolds observes: "The problem for General Casey is that he has said all this before. In July 2005 he predicted major troop withdrawals by this summer, only to have to accept today that he had to reverse that trend when summer came because the Iraqis could not cope with the surge of sectarian violence in Baghdad. He even said today that he would ask for more troops if necessary."
On Kahlilzad,
AFP reminds: "In July of this year Khalilzad had said that the 'next six months will be critical for Iraq'". Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) wants you not to be fooled should a man in a Jack Murtha mask come to your door on Halloween because it's really Joe Lieberman: "Lieberman has been trying out his costume on the campaign trail in Connecticut, desperately trying to trick voters into thinking that he's against the war so he treat himself to their support. . . . Lieberman clearly hopes that by paying lip service to being against the war he can confuse voters into forgetting that he was a lead sponsor of the resolution authorizing the war, has been a bellicose backer of the president's failed policy ever since -- repeatedly voting against efforts to change course in Iraq -- and continues to attack Ned Lamont for working to end the war."
While the people can see reality (note the polling at the top), leadership refuses to. Tony Blair makes the illegal war a point of "
nerve." John Howard, prime minister of Australia, says to depart would mean "no hope of demomcracy." This despite the rumors that Howard has no intention of 'staying the course' and would turn over leadership to Peter Costello if his party wins in the upcoming elections. Elections? The Labor Party is arguing for pulling Australian troops out of Iraq. Australia's ABC reports Robert McLelland ('defence spokesman") stating: "There's every indication that the presence of Western troops is actually something that inflames the violence itself. It's just not working -- there has to be alternative solutions."
Now that McLelland has transitioned us back into reality,
David Goldstein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on a recent study of Vet Centers in the US: "The report last week from the Democratic staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said demand had risen for outreach and other services at nearly a third of the centers because of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan." The report, entitled "House Veterans' Committe Report Concludes VA Counseling Center Services At-Risk," is available online.
Finally, in other reality news,
Philip Webster (Times of London) reports that Margaret Beckett (Britain's Foreign Secretary) "acknowledged the limitations to what could be achieved by coalition forces. She also accepted that the invasion might come to be judged as a foreign policy disaster for Britain."