Saturday, January 13, 2007

E-mails, peace, moments, Iraq

I have certainly complained about the Cindy Brady of the faux left's e-mailing but I want to take a moment to note that I also get some of the best e-mails. Friday at work (it's now past midnight, so officially Saturday), Sunny told me I really needed to check my e-mail account today. She prints up various e-mails for me. (That's not part of her job duties but she swears she really enjoys reading the e-mails.) So I usually read her prints outs during lunch but there were seven she didn't print up that she said I really needed to read.

I only just did, starting an hour ago. I have replied to each of the seven and just want to note here that they really meant something to me and were a pleasure to read. There are people who take the war very seriously and have paid various costs for trying to end it. I salute and applaud them.

To note other news, Sunny asked that I pass on that she's got a summer wedding coming up. I told her she should do a guest-blog here to discuss that because I know readers enjoyed her guest stint here. But let me note that she's very excited about her wedding. They've been seeing each other eight months and living together for the bulk of that so they've got a strong sense of one another and I wish them all the best. (Sunny's not planning on leaving. I'm wishing them the best because they're announcing their plan to marry to their parents tonight. Last night. It's after midnight, so they've already told their families.)

On the topic of e-mails, I should also note that a number have come in on "How The Nation isn't cutting it." I'm glad it was so postively received but there was a concern expressed in several that I feel like I should address. A number of e-mails wondered, while agreeing with the commentary about The Nation, whether C.I. and I were in strong disagreement over this topic? I don't think we have any disagreement about it. C.I. would prefer not to criticize Katrina vanden Heuvel in a negative manner due to having known and liked her grandfather. On that, I was under the impression it had been discussed at the site. I knew it had been in a roundtable but didn't realize that was at a roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin. Rebecca pointed that out and I was mortified. I included that information thinking (a) I do, fair of unfairly, base my expectations on something beyond the woman herself. Her grandfather was an amazing man. Since I was criticizing her leadership of the magazine, I felt it was important to disclose that. C.I. knew him as well. So for disclosure reasons, it seemed the time to note that he was always interested in (and donating to) causes. If I'd realized that C.I. had kept that 'in the community' by addressing it at the round-robin, I wouldn't have noted that C.I. also knew the man.

C.I. wasn't upset about that. I was in a session when Rebecca passed that on, about it being in the round-robin, to Sunny. When I came out, Sunny mentioned it to me and my first comment was, "Get C.I. on the phone." When we spoke, I was apologizing because I wouldn't want someone posting details about my life that I hadn't shared myself. C.I. just laughed and said not to worry about.

Other than that, I had no worries about the post because that didn't just pop into my head. It was based on what's been on going for some time. I'm sure nothing in it was a surprise to C.I. because we've discussed those topics quite often. I don't know that C.I. read it (and didn't ask) because it was expecting Katrina vanden Heuvel to be accountable and was naming her. C.I. would prefer to name her only if it's something positive. But for those who worried that it might cause some problem, it didn't. C.I. linked to it. (Twice, I believe.) When Rebecca had a serious problem with something vanden Heuvel had written, C.I. cross-posted it at The Common Ills. C.I.'s not interested in being gatekeeper but is also not interested in personally writing anything that's negative about vanden Heuvel. Mike's noted at his site that last Sunday's editorial ("Editorial: Ehren Watada stands and independent media heads for the bathrooms") took forever to write and noted that one of the problems was that a post criticized at the end was written by Katrina vanden Heuvel. C.I.'s attitude was "The Nation" covered it. There was no need to name her, she is the magazine.

My comments about her not getting a pass because she's a woman is also a topic I've long discussed with C.I. who really has to feel someone's gone beyond the point of no return to start criticizing them at The Common Ills. For instance, "Truth" was boring the hell out of the community for some time and also ticking many members off. It was only when she voiced support for curbs on reproductive rights that C.I. weighed in. C.I. is loathe to crticize a woman and that's wonderful and I have so much respect for that. I share it to a degree. But, like C.I., I have my point where someone's crossed the line far enough that I will speak out and speak up.
So for the ones who wondered if there was some problem resulting from my post (the ones who didn't write in, Sunny responded for me to everyone who wrote in Thursday), there wasn't.

I do support that attitude but, and this is true of C.I. and I would assume everyone who feels the same, at some point it needs calling out. For all of us, the point will be different. But it's there and when it's reached, you either continue to bite your tongue or you speak out.

(I did however wonder, when C.I. noted the stomach pains on Friday morning, if I'd caused stress.)

This is an e-mail from Declaration of Peace that Mike and I are both posting:

Defund the War and Declare Peace!
Nationwide Nonviolent Civil DisobedienceTo End the Deepening U.S. Quagmire in Iraq
"There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging, the fire truck goes right through that red light ... Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the violence in Iraq escalates,
The Declaration of Peace is organizing nonviolent civil disobedience -- and other forms of powerful and dramatic peacemaking -- to urge the nation and its leaders to end the U.S. quagmire there. We invite people everywhere to respond to this growing emergency by participating in this campaign of conscience and nonviolent action to defund the war, to support the troops by bringing them home, and to launch a comprehensive Peace process. (See the full text of the Declaration of Peace Call for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at: )
Between now and mid-March -- the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq --
The Declaration of Peace will organize visits to Congressional offices, phone and email campaigns, rallies and vigils, town hall meetings, and media outreach to call on all U.S. policymakers to take these steps for Peace. If the Bush Administration and the new Congress fail to carry out its clear mandate for peace, we will be led by conscience to respond to this growing emergency with dramatic and creative forms of peaceful resistance -- including nonviolent civil disobedience -- across the country, March 16-19, 2007.
We invite you and your organization to organize a peaceful and powerful civil disobedience witness in mid-March.
Please let us know what you are planning by emailing:
Next Steps
In preparing for the March 16-19 Actions, The Declaration of Peace is organizing:
• A National Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Organizing Conference Call on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Please join us to learn more, to share plans, and to offer one another support.

If you want to join the conference call, contact us at:
• A National Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Organizing Meeting onSunday, January 28, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, for those attending United for Peace and Justice's March on Washington and Lobby Day (January 27-29). Location: Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland Let us know if you will be attending:
• A National Week of Nonviolent Action Training: February 17-25, 2007. Contact us to organize a Nonviolence Training session:
For more information about this Campaign, visit:

Okay, earlier this week, I noted the protests at Congressional offices. If that wasn't your thing, there's something above that you can do. If that's not your thing, then you need figure out what is because you need to be making your voice heard. The war will keep dragging on until the leaders grasp that the American people will not stand for it.

That's true of any issue and one of the few positives about the Vietnam era is that we were active as a people on the issue of the war, to be sure, but on others as well. That's how Nixon was forced to resign, that's why we ended up with a more open government.

If I can share anything to anyone younger it would be: That time, that post-period when the war ends, you'll be encouraged to go home and live in a daze. You'll be lulled into a false sense of security, a feeling that "We did it, we ended the war, Congress knows they have to listen to the people." They don't "know" that. They have to be reminded of it constantly. Kat and I have talked about this and how, on a smaller scale, you can see it in the early half of the 90s, another moment for change. Those moments are precious and people need to seize them.

I do think we are encouraged by the media and by society at large not to be involved, not to care. Kat's got a theory about how grunge was co-opted into psuedo grunge and how it was co-opted into meaninglessness. I agree with her points, but it's her theory, so I give her credit for it. But that moment, when change seemed so possible -- healthcare, gay rights, etc. -- passed very quickly. I think my generation saw Nixon resign, the war finally end (after he was out of office), Congressional investigations and all these signs that the system was alive and well and motivated to speak to the general welfare. Then, at the end of 1980, Ronald Reagan would be elected and a wholesale assault on everything that had been accomplished would begin -- would begin openly.

If the period after we end the war echoes earlier periods, we'll see 'jokes' about people who were involved. Songs, movies, standup, where that's mocked and we're all encouraged to return to being consumers. Passive consumers, at that. I don't know that you can fight that response or overcome it. It may just be the natural swing of the pendulum. However, the time after will be wide open and since a backlash is entirely positive, people should be making brave demands. Not asking for band aids, but asking for real progress. It's a moment and you can make the most of it or you can do nothing with it. So just keep that in mind.

When you read the snapshot below, keep in mind that Anthony Arnove is beginning a book tour (the dates are listed). That's a voice you should be embracing. Howard Zinn is one of my favorites (he's quoted in the snapshot) and I think that's true of many people my age on the left. Anthony Arnove, whose age I don't know, is a voice that I've discovered during this war. Like Naomi Klein, his is a name to answer when people wonder where the brave truth tellers of today are? If there are more than the usual number of typos in my post, forgive me. The hour is late. I hope everyone already read "Kat's Korner: Carly Simon, Into the Real," by the way. That and Lizzie West's I Pledge Allegiance To Myself are the two CDs I'm listening to the most these days. (Carly Simon's Into White, being the other one.)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, January 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; after the Bully Boy's Wednesday speech offering no 'benchmarks,' US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reveleals the 'plan' also offers no timetable;
Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn talk the importance of withdrawal and combat the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk; US war resister Ehren Watada prepares for a public speech this weekend; and Antoni Juhasz addresses what an escalation means for US troops.
Today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis spoke with Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn about Iraq and comparisons to Bully Boy's dreamed of escalation in Iraq to Vietnam. Zinn felt it was very important to note that the Iraqi people do not want US forces in their country. On the 'new' 'plan' and it's talk up as well as the way Iraq is addressed, Howard Zinn pointed out:

When they talk about making a difference, they keep using the words 'victory' and 'success' and how do we 'win'? It seems to me this is missing a very, very critical point, Iraq is not our country to 'win' -- to be successful in, to be victorious in. We simply don't belong there. And Bush's 'surge' is exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Well Anthony's book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal lays out the argument for the simple statement that I'm making now, that instead of surging in Iraq, we should be withdrawing as fast as we can from Iraq. And not only that, we should be questioning the larger principle involved and that is should the United States be sending troops anywhere in the world -- whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else -- should we think we could solve any problems with military solutions? And, in fact, is this the motive of the administration to solve problems for the people of these other countries? Iraqis don't want us in Iraq, that's clear. The American people don't want us in Iraq. Even the Iraqi government, which was really put in in a kind of fake election with American control excercise, even the Iraqi government is very embarrassed by the idea of having more American troops in Iraq. So what Bush is proposing is a violation not only of self-determination of Iraqis and the will of the American people and world opinion, it's a continution of the whole idea of US military dominace in the world which we should do everything we can to bring to an end.

Andrea Lewis asked about the statements that if the US pulls out it will lead to chaos in Iraq.

Anthony Arnove: I think we have to acknowledge that people who raise that point raise it two different ways. The cynical group of people who make that argument, pundits, politicans, to say we can never pull out, to justify the US remaining as an occupying power in Iraq for years to come, to justify setting up military bases, permanent bases, in Iraq, to justify the role that the United States wants to play in Iraq projecting its power in the entire Middle East and globally, as Howard mentioned. But then there's also decent people who have a concern for the consequences of the Iraqi people. And I think we have to acknowledge their fears and their concerns for what would happen to Iraq? And we're not saying abandon the Iraqi people -- "This is some kind of isolationist position, we don't care what happens to them." We're saying the opposite. Our point is that every day that the United States continues in Iraq as an unwanted, foreign, occupying power, it makes the situation worse for ordinary Iraqis. It's not ending sectarian conflict in Iraq, it's actually fueling sectarian conflict. It's not ending violence, it's actually fueling violence. The United States occupation is the greatest source of instability in the country. And after every benchmark that we've been told would change the situation there --elections, the constitution, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the execution of Saddam Hussein -- things just get worse. Iraq right now is the world's largest refugee crises in the world. Inflation has skyrocketed, unemployment has skyrocketed, there's less electricty, less safe drinking water, less security for Iraqis which is why poll after poll shows that that they say their life is getting worse and they want the United States to leave and so if we claim that we're bringing democracy well democracy would dictate that we let the Iraqi people determine their own future. But we should support them. We should pay reperations. We owe them a tremends debt, not just for the harm caused by the occupation, but all of the years before that the United States imposed sanctions on the country and, before that, supported Saddam Hussein as he carried out his worst crimes.

Zinn discussed how the same arguments for the US remaining in Iraq were the ones his book Vietnam: The Logic for Withdrawal were "greeted with the same claims that are made today" -- e.g. chaos, violence, civil war in Vietnam. "The truth is that we were creating the chaos," observed Zinn. Anthony Arnove's book, Iraq: The Logic for Withdrawal, has just been released in paperback and he will be appearing on the following dates:

January 17, 7 pm,
New York, NY (with Michael Schwartz)
16 Beaver
January 20, 7 pm,
Chicago, IL (with Jeff Engelhardt)
University of Illinois-Chicago
Contact: Adam Turl, 773-567-0936,
January 27, 5 pm,
Washington, DC (with Kelly Dougherty)
Busboys and Poets
February 1, 7:30 pm,
Pasadena, CA
Voices of a People's History of the United States
with Mark Ruffalo, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Benjamin Bratt, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, and Alfre Woodard.
All Saints Episcopal Church

Appearing as part of a panel discussion yesterday on Kris Welch's program,
KPFA's Living Room , Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) noted two points regarding the US troops in Iraq. First, she noted, "On this issue of the troops increase . . . Bush wanted significantly more troops but the military said we don't have anywhere to get them for you, there aren't anymore troops. So the troops that are the addition of the 20,000 is simply going to be extending the tours of troops that are there speeding up the redeployment of troops that have already served. We have to be really clear about who the soldiers are that are part of this increase."
She then spoke of what their role would be and what is wanted from Iraq.

Antonia Juhasz: This is . . . the critical moment to make our demands very, very clear to the Democrats and one of those demands has to explicity be that this is a war for oil that cannot be allowed to continue and that what the administration is hoping for is that it will suceed in its economic transformation of Iraq which at this point has nearly reached fruition -- which is a new law developed way before the war in the US State Department, then pushed by US corporations, pushed by the successive appointed governments of Iraq by the US government following the invasion -- for a new law that is now, the al-Maliki govenrmenet has now said that it will put this new law forward to the Iraqi parliament that creates an unprecedented oil victory in Iraq. So what it does is give the government of Iraq nominal control and ownership of their oil but every function of the oil industry would then be privatized and turned over to foreign companies and the foreign companies would get a form of contract called a Production Sharing Agreement which is not used anywhere in the Middle East not used anywhere in oil rich countries in fact that gives first 30 years, 30 year contract, and then according to the UK Independent, that the intial contract would give 75% of initial profits to the private companies leaving only 25% for the Iraqis. [. . .] Iraq can best be understood as a pimple of oil that has yet to be plucked. It has certainly the second largest oil reserves in the world possibly larger. It has 80 known oil fields but only 17 have even begun to be developed. It is those undeveloped oil fields which are all completely within the realm of the new law and then the debate, that the president mentioned in his speech, is over a constitutional amendment to address the existing fields, which are now divided between the Shia and the Kurds in the north and the south, and to bring the control of the existing fields back into the central gover of al-Maliki. And what I believe is that the Bush administration is going to hold onto the occupation and make it larger and make it as big as he can until the law passes and US companies sign contracts and then they have to get work. And they need a security force to do that and that is our troops.

While Juhasz addressed the realities of US troops in Iraq, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, testifying before the US Senate Armed Service Committee, revealed a reality of his own.
BBC reports that Gates, speaking of Bully Boy's new 'plan' for Iraq, stated that there was no timetable for the puppet government to achieve any of the non-defined benchmarks. Susan Cornwell and Kristin Roberts (Reuters) observe that Gates threw out the usual sop of troop withdrawal on the conditional 'if' (always the same 'if' -- if a corner is turned and it never is) and they write that "Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who heads a House panel overseeing defense spending, said he would try to attach restrictions to a $100 billion 'emergency' request for new war money that Bush will request in February. Those restrictions could include a prohibition on spending money for the additional troops, Murtha said. They could also include immediately closing Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and the Guantanamo Bay detention center at a U.S. base in Cuba."
Yesterday, US military forces stormed an Iranian diplomatic consulate and arrested six diplomatic staff. The Kurdish government in northern Iraq responded by insisting that diplomatic staff be released immediately (Iran has long had a consulate in Iraq's Kurdish territory). KUNA reports that the US, via White House flack Tony Snow, continues to dismiss concerns and attempt to downgrade a recognized diplomatic headquarters while the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari, continues to state that it was a consulate and that, in addition, "U.S. forces tried to seize more people at the airport in Irbil, 220 miles north of Baghdad, prompting a confrontation with Kurdish troops guarding the facility that was resolved without casualties. " The BBC notes that the consulate has been "operating for years" and the Mikhail Kamyin ("Russing foreign ministry spokesman") declared, "It is absolutely unacceptable for troops to storm the consular offices of a foreign state on the territory of another state . . . It is also not clear how this fits in with American statements that Washington respects the sovereignty of Iraq."
In other Iraq news . . .
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, near Baquba, a mortar attack killed "one primary school teacher and one student," while a child was killed in Muqdadiyah by an IED and, in Baquba, an Iraqi soldier was killed by a bomb and three more wounded.
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that in the Diyala Province, "American forces killed a woman and a child and injured another woman with another child (all from the same family)" while 4 Shi'ites were shot dead "near ARAB SHOKA area near hibhib area in khalis town" as well as their driver.
Reuters notes that 10 corpses were discovered in Baghdad, seven in Mosul, three in Basmaia.
Turning to news of war resistance,
Ehren Watada became the first officer (June 2006) to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and now faces a February 5th court-martial. He is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington at 1:00 pm. Also tomorrow, there will be a benefit performance for him Corvallis, OR when Crooked Kate and the Childers-Carson Duo take the stage of the Sunnyside-Up (116 N.W. Third St.) at six pm. In addition, later this month A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College to address the illegality of the war. In addition, Iraq Veterans Against the War are staging Camp Resistance in support of Watada. Writing at the blog they've set up for Camp Resistance, dockyne reports: The oldest public radio station in the states hosted IVAW Deployed and had Darrell [Anderson] and Dennis [Kyne] on Friday morning for one hour and a half. Discussing Darrell's experience in this illegal war and his 18 months in exile to Canada, as well as the fact that thousands of other soldiers are refusing to deploy to this illegal war. Hosted by Ani and Melody on their weekly progam (7:30-9 am) Absolutly revolting.
This interview was in covered the draft, the anti war movement, depleted uranium and allowed multiple callers to learn about the Gulf War, which the VA handbook of benefits states began on 2 Aug 1990 and will end on a date to be determined by congress. When will they end it? We discussed the court martials of
Suzanne Swift and Ehren Watada...and the support from Portland, Oregon is massive. Darrell stated, "this is the most radical community I have been too."

Dennis Kyne, writing at U.N. Observer, gives the details on Camp Resistance:

Please support this troops are gathering to support Ehren Watada in his stand against the lies that have gained our nation nothing more than death and despise. Purple Heart, 'Winner' Darrell Anderson returned from 18 months in hiding when he heard that Lt. Watada had refused to deploy. Darrell Anderson would have deployed to his third tour had he not gone north. Anderson asked me to get on the ( ) with him and get to Fort Lewis to open up Camp RESISTANCE!!!
We are here, in the mud. It is not warm here
...nor dry
.....however, you should stand with us support of a man who stands up against the military mahine and a nation of millions who don't have the foggiest notion that our troops do not want to serve in this war. Lt. Watada is speaking for thousands of enlisted soldiers like Darrell Anderson and myself, a fifteen year veteran of the Army. Watada is a true leader.....leading and doing
....he knows he should never ask enlisted soldiers to do things he would never do ....that is part of the requirement. NEVER ask nor order your troops to do things that you wouldn't do. There are more violators of this rule in the military now, than ever (or at least in my 15 years.) Lt. Watada is not one of them
...and with that, the soldiers, who have always followed good leaders
....will follow Lt. Watada.. Mike, Damon, Ethan and I, slept on the rig last night was night one of Camp RESISTANCE!!!There is a RESISTANCE!!! going on. Thousands of troops are refusing to deploy
....please let everyone know we are here
.....working from the wi fi hot spot, let them know they should stand here too. If not for a month as we will, than for a day or even an hour. We are at off ramp 119, gates of Fort Lewis.
We are meeting up at the gates of Fort lewis to support the Lt. Why? We have had enough
...we want the war to stop....we want the government to stop using the troops as pawns in their game. If you know of a veteran who is opposed to this war, please help them get here....if you are ok with the weather, please get here also.
I, personally, will always think it an honor and a privilege to have served the United States people
...I know Ehren does too. It is with that same pride and honor that I, personally, ask you to do something for this man
....who has, without question stood, with more integrity in his little pinky, than most of these Generals have in their entire skin. I am honored to know his family, they are a wonderful display of family values
...something we don't see a lot of.
To support him
.... ( ) you will find the news to follow the days up to the trial......

John Powell writes to the Capital Times to weigh in on the argument that Watada signed a contract and any responsibilities he had for war ended right there: "Perhaps Piek has never served in the military, but I remember the oath I took when I was inducted into the Army as a lowly buck private in 1968. The oath for soldiers is virtually the same as the oath taken by the president of the United States and every other official of every level of government in the country: an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. There is nothing in that oath about obeying orders. In fact, the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice make it clear that a soldier's duty is to disobey illegal orders. Watada alleges that the Iraq war is unconstitutional and therefore illegal, and that he is duty-bound to refuse to serve in it. This should be the issue - not whether he refused to obey orders (clearly he did), but whether those orders were legal."
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson (noted abovein the Camp Resistance post), Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Finally, on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein provided military families with the opportunity to weigh in on Bully Boy's announced intent to escalate. This included a couple with five children and grandchildren serving in the military who ask that people write Congress and say "no" to the escalation. In addition to utilizing either previous link for an archived broadcast, Rebecca wrote about the broadcast yesterday.

ehren watada

living room

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How The Nation isn't cutting it

Okay, we're diving in right in tonight because I saw something online at lunch, actually, Sunny showed it to me, and I phoned C.I. to ask, "What is this nonsense?"

It's "Surge Homeward" by Katrina vanden Heuvel from her Editor's Cut blog at The Nation. Follow along, kids, and let's see what we learn. She's addressing escalation which is a worthy topic so, so far, so good.

That takes about a paragraph and then she's providing examples.

First up, John Murtha. Let me repeat, John Murtha, the Democrat Congress member. Apparently the magazine's decided they like Murtha again . . . after attacking him throughout November when he was about to be made House Majority Leader, second in charge after Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. In fact, Murtha was Pelosi's pick. But, as you probably remember, a character assassination was launched on Murtha and the House Majority Leader is a wishy-washy, spineless War cheerleader. So forgive me, after all the slam pieces on Murtha, for not being thrilled that in January, when it's no help to him at all, the editor (and publisher) of one of the magazines that especially went out of their way to attack him, now wants to give him a "shout out."

Where was The Nation when Murtha (and, in fact, the nation) needed them? Oh, that's right, they were sharpening their knives and driving them through his back.

Then it's time for shout outs to James McGovern and Dennis Kucinich. Enjoy that while you can because if 2003-2004 was any indication, 2007 is the only time Kucinich's presidential campaign will get any attention.

Then, another paragraph means another shout out. Ted Kennedy. Russ Feingold. Someone read their morning paper.

Here's where I really get ticked off. It's time for a shout out and she goes with the petition Appel for Redress. The Nation also ran a cover story on the petition. Petitions are apparently easier to cover than war resisters. This would have been the time, this post, for vanden Heuvel to mention a war resister, any war resister. But, like the magazine she steers, she can't bring herself to do so.

Now The Nation did run a sidebar, not an article, finally, in 2007, on Ehren Watada. But before you got to that page, you came across the magazine's first mention of Watada, where he was called a coward. Who is the coward? I think it's a magazine called The Nation.

Then it's time for her to pretend like she was around during Vietnam by shout-out to George McGovern. Then a paragraph on Win Without War, then on a group of organizations -- don't look for CODEPINK, remember the magazine elected to lecture/hector them and, of course, Katha Pollitt played dumb for a column as well when she pretended not to grasp why CODEPINK would birddog Hillary Clinton. (She played dumb, as Trina noted, when she decided to respond to a letter calling her out on that as well.) CODEPINK appears to have rubbed The Nation the wrong way because while the magazine was happy to give Hillary Clinton a pass on the war, CODEPINK wasn't. Other organizations get listed.

But the embarrassing silence on war resisters is what ticked me off.

I told C.I., who likes Katrina vanden Heuvel, that I wasn't going to be silent on this. (To C.I.'s credit, a heads up was noted in the snapshot today.) I'm tired of this nonsense.

This is exactly why I never give money to independent media. Being a 'trust fund baby,' I'm happy to open my checkbook for any charity I believe in but I don't support independent media (other than pledges for radio) and it is because I've lived long enough to see them repeatedly betray their audience over and over.

(The exception to that rule is if C.I. were to ask me to donate. In which case, my response would be, "How much and who do I make it out to?" That's due to the fact that we both donate to organizations that the other believes in and have for years.)

Now in 2004, I thought maybe the pattern was being broken. A war was raging but Naomi Klein's hard hitting pieces (on James Baker and on Mad Maddie Albright) ran in the paper. Klein was gone for most, if not all, of 2006 (she was finishing her book). In addition, Katha Pollitt, who is generaly a highly observant writer, was gone for a good chunk of the year (also working on her book). What did we see?

There's this idea that The Nation shouldn't be criticized because a woman is now in charge. (Katrina vanden Heuvel is not the first woman to run the magazine.) I agree with that if I'm seeing some effort to give women a chance but, as anyone who paid attention in 2006 noticed, women were hardly ever in the magazine. Possibly there were none willing to play party hacks who churned out one bad piece of journalism after another on how 'neat' whatever Democratic flavor of the month was?

My point here is that if vanden Heuvel expected leeway, she needed to do something to earn it. She didn't. With Pollitt and Klein on leave, women all but vanished from the magazine. At the same time, a whole crop of young males (White) popped up in the pages, issue after issue.

I think a magazine reflects the editor and/or publisher. In the case of The Nation, that would be Katrina vanden Heuvel. What do we have to show for it?

No woman columnist has been added -- not even while Klein and Pollitt were on leave. No effort appears to have been made (if it was, it was a failure because it produced no results) to give women an equal footing in terms of pieces assigned and/or published. So I don't buy the idea that because she's a woman, I need to give her a pass.

She's been in charge for some time now. I'm not going to even try to remember the announcement because she was in charge before the announcement (and when ___ slid over to CJR, that should have been noted immediately and not popping up to the magazine and CJR's embarrassment at right-wing blogs). She's had more than enough time to put her stamp on the magazine.

Either she's unable to do so or the magazine as it exists today is her vision of a weekly. (Or sometime weekly.) In which case, let me say loudly, her work doesn't cut it. Her limited vision doesn't cut it. The shameful silence on war resisters (which even people with the magazine complain about) doesn't cut it.

The mainstreaming of the magazine doesn't cut it. That includes the topics covered in articles and the way subjects are mainstreamed (some are made more liberal, more often they're made out to be far less liberal and come off like they just woke up the day before the interview and had a hint of liberalism in them). (I am biting my tongue on that but I'll assume many will get the point rather loudly.)

Like Rebecca, I think the "Sweet Victories" posts have been one embarrassment after another. That would be true regardless of who wrote them (or co-wrote them) but when it's coming from the editor and publisher, let me be clear on this, Marianne Williamson has that market covered. Others would be well advised to leave the 'Return to Love' pieces to her.

'Inspirational' is better left to a children's magazine and not a political weekly.

While the nation has fallen appart, vanden Heuvel has panned for fool's gold finding one reason to take comfort after another. Less reassurance of victories and hard hitting coverage of realities is what I expect from a political magazine and the editor of one.

I have had it with the magazine's silence on war resisters. The refusal to cover them, the refusal to take a stand. That's coming straight from the top and I will call Katrina vanden Heuvel out on it.

I will do because it's embarrassing and it's shameful. I will also do so because I knew her grandfather and he did give a damn about war resisters. I do not know the adult vanden Heuvel and only encountered the tot a few times. I wasn't impressed nor, I'm sure, was the tot impressed with me.

But when she became editor and then editor and publisher, I had some modest hopes for the magazine. They haven't been met. The magazine is an embarrassment that can't stop sniffing the crotches of any Democrat in office while ignoring serious problems in the country and in the world. The Nation should be leading and it's not even following. That's a huge embarrassment for everyone on the left and it's time the editor was called out on that.

The grandfather? Anytime C.I. and I encountered him, his first question was always what "cause" were we working on and he wasn't just interested in conversation, he would also donate money. While it's not her job to live up to her grandfather's view of the world, the fact that the magazine has so little of a view of the world (beyond vote! sign a petition!) is especially sad.

I'm not a huge fan of David Corn's but he does try to seriously address the war and I do read his columns. I read Katha Pollitt's and I can think of only two, out of years of reading, where I disagreed strongly with her. Patricia J. Williams is always worth reading. Otherwise?

Well, the magazine has what it bills as a "peace columnist" but he doesn't cover the peace movement. He doesn't cover demonstrations or oganizations. When Pollitt and Klein were both on leave, it would have been the perfect time to bring in a peace columnist who covered the peace movement. That didn't happen.

Time and again what needs to happen doesn't happen. Whether it's the rape and murder of Abeer or any other story that requires a strong response from the left, The Nation is silent. Lynne Stewart could have been hanged and I doubt seriously she would have gotten anymore than the very mild attention her case received (and received only at the start). A community member wrote a letter to The Nation that I doubt they'll publish. (It ran in the gina & krista round-robin and I will post it here if it doesn't show up in the magazine.) But it pefectly captured the abdication that has been The Nation.

So am I wrong? As C.I. would say, "I'd love to be proved wrong." I'd loveto have Sunny tell me tomorrow at work that she surfed the site and Katrina vanden Heuvel (finally) weighed in on war resisters. But throughout 2006 it hasn't happened and 2007 may have provided Watada as a sidebar but, before you could turn to that page, you first had to read that he was a coward. That's not cutting it. Until it does, I will call out the magazine and I will call out Katrina vanden Heuvel.

I've omitted any mention of Alexander Cockburn here because, as a CounterPunch reader, I see him as more of a part of that publication. When I was on the phone with C.I., the snapshot was being worked on and C.I. told me about the Ivan Brobeck article. As we both know, and I'll assume anyone reading does, CounterPunch has regularly covered war resisters, it's found time for the peace movement. Alexander Cockburn may have a column in The Nation but he's all CounterPunch in my mind. (Which I obviously find to be a superior magazine.)

The silence from The Nation, the wasting everyone's time, is hurting the movement. If Katrina vanden Heuvel wanted to turn the magazine into American Progress with a slight edge, congratulations to her because she has succeeded.

As bad as I can remember The Nation being over the years, I don't think it's ever been this bad. (A sentiment Ruth agrees with me on.) It's not cutting it and I'm not going to be silent or avoid calling out those responsible.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, January 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with the discovery of over 70 corpses reported, Bully Boy goes primetime (you bought a flat screen for that?), the US military announces the deaths of three more US troops, US war resisters get attention (no, not from The Nation), and
BuzzFlash interviews activist and author Antonia Juhasz.

Starting with the speech to get it out of the way. Later today (9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm Central and 6:00 pm PST), Bully Boy will be making a speech where he will announce his intent to send more US troops into his illegal war despite having declared, on May 1, 2003, "
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Three years and eight months later, Bully Boy now wants to send more troops to Iraq. As Danny Schechter (News Dissector) wrote, "Today is the day when the Bush Administration takes its next big shot like some schoolyard bully determined that his way is the only way."

3018 US troops have died in Iraq and Bully Boy now wants to send more troops. Michael Abramowitz, Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported today that when Bully Boy met with Nouri al-Maliki (finally) in Jordan, "Maliki did not ask for more American troops as part of a new Baghdad security plan he presented to Bush, U.S. officials said. Maliki's idea was to lower the U.S. profile, not raise it." But now Bully Boy wants to send more US troops.

Iraqis want foreign troops out of their country, as polls have consistently demonstrated, and
The Lancet study estimated over 655,000 Iraqis have lost their lives during the illegal war. Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops.

Democracy Now! today, one Iraqi, Abu Haider, voiced his opinion, "All the stances of America are indications of negative positions towards society and its citizens.Their decisions and credibility are negative. They damaged this country. They said that they are here to spread freedom and democracy in Iraqi society but they did nothing but bring terrorism.” Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops. Abu Haider lives in Baghdad where most of the escalated troops will go (some, about a fifth, will also go to Al-Anbar Province).

The BBC World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds notes how the 'fresh start' (that's what the US administration is calling it) "has echoes of Vietnam in the belief that another push will get the job done" and notes five specific echoes -- "the realisation in Washington that it is not winning"; "trying to hand over responsibility to the local government in the midst of battle, not after it"; "belief by the US administration that more troops are an important part of the answer"; "opposite belief by others that the enterprise cannot work and that disengagement must be sought"; and ""in Vietnam too the president consulted and outside group -- they were called the Wise Men and, like the Iraq Study group, they too urged a policy designed to lead to withdrawal."

Speaking yesterday on
The KPFA Evening News, Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights and co-host of WBAI's Law and Disorder) declared, "Basically we can look at this in a few ways. One is you [Congress] can cut off the funding and that they have a constitutional right to do. Secondly, they could pass a resolution under the war powers resolution that repeals the authorization to use force in Iraq I think [Ted] Kennedy's argument is something. There better argument in Congress is to say 'We repeal the Iraq War Resolution' -- that would take away the president's authority. So Congress has remedies here. The question is are the Democrats going to be willing to stand up and take them or are they just going to talk? Kennedy, obviously, is going to do more than talk."

Ratner was referring to US Senator Edward Kennedy's speech to the National Press Club yesterday (see
yesterday's snapshot) where Kennedy called the illegal war in Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam" and spoke of "introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan." The speech can be found in full in Kate Phillip's blog post at the New York Times and Kathy Kiely's USA Today report on the speech contains links to the audio and video of it.

What Micheal Ratner was referring when he noted a second option the US Congress had is something that another Michael apparently slept through (
Michael Gordon of the New York Times), the reaction to Tricky Dick's announcement that he would bomb Cambodia led to a Senate vote to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which was followed by House of Representatives doing the same.

As Kennedy and other grown ups, including US House Rep. and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, attempt to address Bully Boy's non-stop, illegal war of choice,
Ron Elving (NPR) observes that: "Anti-war activists have gained ground -- both at the polls and in the polls -- over the past two months. A new Democratic majority is in place in Congress and surveys find well over half the public now wants to get the United States out of Iraq. Not one American in five supports the idea of sending more troops to fight there. Yet, before this month is over, opponents of the war will get a double does of disappointment" -- the first being Bully Boy's speech today and the second being, according to Elving, will be "the Democrats, empowered as the majority in House and Senate by dint of those November elections, will not be able to stop the greater troop committment."

Tom Hayden (Common Dreams) observes: "If and when the 20,000 Americans plunge into Baghdad neighborhoods, there will be dramatic television coverage of soldiers at risk. It is possible, though far from easy, to 'stabilize' a Baghdad neighborhood for several months or one year, carrying the surge into the next presidential cycle. The strategy fits the polling data showing only 21 percent of Americans favor immediate withdrawal, while the moderate middle might be open to an undefined new strategy if convinced it will shorten the war and bring the troops home. More likely, the ranks of the peace movement are likely to swell with people angry over the perceived betrayal by Bush of the November voter mandate. A failure by majority Democrats to prevent the escalation will convince more people to take to the streets or look to 2008 for a fix."


America Says NO Surge! President Bush is expected to give his "new direction in Iraq" speech this Wednesday, January 10th -- he wants to increase the number of troops on the ground in Iraq. We have to make it clear that Americans do NOT want more troops in Iraq and we have to act fast! True Majority has created a coalition called AMERICA SAYS NO. We will take to the streets together after Bush makes his expected call for escalation in Iraq. We need to stop this "surge" with a stronger surge of protest. Can you join an event this week and help stop the surge? Click here to find an event near you and if you can't find one create your own. Read our latest action alert for more details.

Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) speaks with US soldiers who, don't tell Bully Boy, don't see escalation as an answer in Iraq. Those who would like to listen to the Bully Boy's speech tonight or, at least, to hear an intelligent discussion of it, KPFA and WBAI will be carrying it live with Larry Bensky offering analysis and discussion with various guests which you can listen to online (free of charge, no quiz to take or membership to apply for). For those looking for something else to listen to . . .

In fact, the dispassionate tone of the "debate" about Iraq in The New York Times and on every television screen seems psychotically remote from the reality of what will happen if war actually occurs. We are talking about raining death down on human beings, about thousands and thousands of howling wounded human beings, dismembered corpses in pools of blood. Is this one of the "lessons of Vietnam" that people have learned--that the immorality of this unspeakable murdering must never be mentioned? That the discussion of murder must never mention murder, and that even the critics of murder must always criticize it because it turns out not to be in our own best interest? Must these critics always say that the murders would come at too high a price for us, would be too expensive, would unbalance the budget, hurt the economy, cause us to stint on domestic priorities; that it would lose us our friends, that it would create new enemies? Can we never say that this butchering of human beings is horrifying and wrong?

That is from
Wallace Shawn's Fragments from a Diary (written in 2003) and was among the pieces performed on WBAI's Theater Special: THAW ON THE AIR which broadcast Monday night and which is now in the WBAI archives (for a limited time) -- Jonah tells us it's filed under "Home Fries," Monday, January 8th, 9:00 pm. Those interested in the broadcast but unable to listen can check out Rebecca's report on it.

Turning to news of war resistance,
Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes of Ivan Brobeck. Yes, Ivan Brobeck -- the war resister independent media forgot. Or those who keep up. The Full Brobeck is a term the community uses to note what passes for coverage of war resisters in independent media -- so named when only KPFA's Flashpoints covered Brobeck when he returned to the US from Canada to turn himself on election day (November 6, 2006 -- day before the election -- is when the interview conducted by Nora Barrows-Friedman aired). Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes: "Lance Corporal Ivan Brobeck, Sergeant Ricky Clousing, Sergeant Kevin Benderman, Sergeant Camilo Mejia: each a veteran of the Iraq war, and each charged with desertion. Mr. Benderman, Mr. Mejia and Mr. Clousing were convicted, sentenced and have completed prison time. Mr. Brobeck is currently serving an 8-month sentence. Yet with government studies indicating that thousands of soldiers have deserted during the Iraq war, why are only a few charged, while so many others are basically ignored? This is not a new phenomenon. As communication has improved over the two centuries of America's life, the ability for war resisters to reach a wider audience has greatly increased. The four brave men listed above demonstrated their courage first on the battlefield. They then not only further showed their bravery by leaving the U.S. military -- a tremendously brave act in and of itself -- they went the additional step of speaking out publicly against the war. This, it seems, is what brought down the wrath of the U.S. government upon them."

In Peggy Got A Message For Me, From Jesus news: Wonderful article but can someone get it to The Nation -- with sections highlighted? ("Peggy Get . . ." line from Tori Amos' "Cooling" off To Venus And Back.)
Elaine will be addressing that topic this evening at Like Maria Said Paz. That topic? The Nation's refusal to cover war resisters.

William Hughes (San Francisco Indymedia) reports that, in a recent speech, Daniel Ellsberg opposed the escalation option (that Bully Boy will be pimping in the Big Speech), opposed expanding the war and "lauded Lt. Ehren Watada for his principled stand against the Iraqi war." Ehren Watada is the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, a pre-trial hearing began which preceeds the planned February 5th court-martial. John Catalinotto (Workers World) reports that Camp Resistance is across from Fort Lewis (where Watada is stationed) and "plans to stay until the end of Lt. Watada's court-martial" while there will be "nationally coordinated demonstrations for Feb. 5, the day his court-martial is scheduled to open."

Information about Camp Resistance can be found in The Nation. Did you laugh at that idea? Me too. Seriously, information about Camp Resistance can be found at
Iraq Veterans Against the War which has a page for it and other actions entitled Iraq Veterans Against The War Deployed with photos and blog posts.

Watada and Brobeck are a part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next week (MLK day). [Yes, that is a federal holiday and, yes, Congress won't be in session.]

And remember that
Lisa Brobeck is requesting people write her husband, war resister Ivan Brobeck, "so he is constantly reminded that he is not alone during this time in the brig and that he is supported in his brave and courages stand." The address:

LCPL Ivan S. Brobeck
MCB Quantico Brig
3247 Elrod Avenue
Quantico, Virginia 22134

In Iraq today -- all was calm and peaceful -- or to judge by the US media it was. In
reality . . .


Reuters notes a car bombing in Mahmudiya that took one life and wounded three other people; a bombing in Tal Afar that killed the bomber, 4 other people and left 11 wounded; near Tal Afar, a bombing "killed a child and wounded three policemen and one civilian"; and a bombing in Kirkuk wounded three people. Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports four "wounded in two roadside bomb attacks" in Baghdad, "one of which also ruptured a water pipeline supplying the impoverished Shiite slum district of Sadr City." Mohhamed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the bomb that ruptured the water pipeline was on Al Kanat Street and that "the pipe was destroyed which led to the cut of the water supply to sadr city."


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports: "Nine Iraqi Shiites coming home from Mecca after the annual hajj pilgrimage have been shot dead in cold blood by gunmen" amd also notes that "a woman and a male nurse" were shot dead in Mosul.


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) notes that 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that 8 corpses were discovered in Mosul, 4 in Mahaweel, 4 corpses were discovered in Qaim, and 1 in Iskandariya. (That's a total of 77 corpses discovered today.)

Today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained from a gunshot wound while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." And they announced: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

Ross Bynum (AP) reports that the Army's 3rd Infantry Division is preparing for their third deployment to Iraq in four years: "The 3rd Infantry, which has about 19,000 troops, is the first Army division to be tapped for a third deployment to the war. Barely a year has passed since its soldiers returned from their last yearlong rotation."

And the slaughter of Haifa Street continues (see
yesterday's snapshot). Leila Fadel and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) note that "residents from the predominantly Sunni Muslim area and Sunni leaders said the American forces had been duped by Iraq's Shiite-dominated security forces into participating in a plan to drive Sunnis from the area." CBS and AP note that "Haifa Street is a broad, two-lane thoroughfare that stretches northwest from the Green Zone through the heart of Baghdad along the Tigris river. Apartment buildings of up to ten sotries high line the street, with retail space on the ground level." AFP notes that, today, "troops were out in force on the streets and most residents stayed indoors" and, most importantly, that the assault took place approximately one mile from the Green Zone. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes Haifa Street "is virtually adjacent to the heavily fortified Green Zone".

Turning to the US,
BuzzFlash interviews Antonia Juhasz (author of THE BU$H AGENDA which they are offering as a premium) on the topic of the illegal war:

BuzzFlash: You're saying that the war in Iraq was as much economic invasion as it was a militarily one.
Antonia Juhasz: Yes, the two most important chapters of my book cover the economic invasion of Iraq and the Middle East trade area and point to what I think are the heart of the problems. The Bush Administration is pushing aggressively forward on rewriting Iraq's oil infrastructure to allow greater control and access to U.S. corporations for its oil under the ground, for exploration and production. I believe that's what's keeping the Bush Administration in Iraq and pointed towards having the United States military remain in Iraq.
Iraq isn't the end. One month after the invasion, the Bush Administration announced plans to expand the Middle East as a free trade area. That free trade pact is moving along quickly, with individual countries making deals with the U.S. out of fear of economic or military retribution. Included in those agreements are increased access to those countries' oil.
The Democratic Congress is going to have to be forced to address these free trade agendas, both in Iraq and across the Middle East, and to reject them. The occupation of Iraq has to end, but not just the military occupation, also the corporate occupation. The United States cannot use the stick of the war to press its own economic agenda across the Middle East. The results will be just as devastating to the rest of the Middle East as they have been in Iraq, and, of course, reverberate back to the United States.

A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College in Tacoma, Washington and Antonia Juhasz will be among those participating.
Others include Ann Wright, Denis Halliday, Daniel Ellsberg, Nadia McCaffrey, Darrell Anderson.

Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) take a look at the attacks on media (government attacks) in Iraq noting that the "press freedom index of the watchdog Reporters Without Borders" is lower now than it was before the start of the illegal war, the banning of journalists, the expelling of outlets (such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya) and being targeted "for reproting the growing resistance to the occupation."

ehren watada

the kpfa evening news

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A professional ass e-mailed Rebecca

I want to note Rebecca's "thaw on war (theater special - wbai) & law & disorder on guantanamo" which is a must read and I also want to give some background on it. An ass in the media e-mailed Rebecca this weekend stating that her post Friday ("chatty city") wasn't serious. Wasn't serious? Unlike the ass, my friend is not paid to write. Unlike the ass, my friend has been confined to her house for four weeks due to her history of miscarriages. Unlike the ass, Rebecca's outlet for her writing is a blog.

Anyone in the community knows that C.I. does the bulk of the heavy lifting on Iraq (and check out today's snapshot if you ever doubt that). Rebecca's writing has earned her a following and, as we all pointed out to her on Saturday night, her readers and the community do care about her pregnancy. I'm sorry that a male ass thinks his career is so wonderful that he can trash a woman for expressing her happiness over the fact that her current pregnancy has progressed further than any she's had before. I'm really sorry for his wife, especially, as well as his children.

Rebecca labeled that post "chatty city" for a reason. Possibly the headline sailed over the ass' head? Friday was a time of relief for her because she had passed the critical three weeks point. She was the most relaxed I'd seen her since she found out she was pregnant and that an ass can't grasp that is hardly surprising but that he feels the need to share his opinion with her is rather sad.

Despite the claims of an ass, "chatty city" didn't just "go on about your pregnancy." Rebecca discussed the visits from friends in the past week that had meant something to her -- and possibly, if the ass is ever house bound, he'll cry and cry that no one feels the need to visit him.
In addition, she wrote about music and, specifically, addressed Carly Simon's role in the music canon as a woman who didn't deny her experiences as a woman. (Possibly, the realization that the male wasn't, in fact, 'universal' was the thing that offended the ass so.)

I did not, as Rebecca suspects, write a more low key post last night to make sure her post was stand out (I was honestly very tired and just focused on music) but, like Rebecca, I'm not paid for this site. I will, and do, write about whatever I want. Possibly we should all post a "No Asses Allowed" sign on our websites?

Had such an e-mail came into me, I would've published it here so that everyone could appreciate what an ass professional writers can be. However, I was mentioned in it and I will note, for the ass, you do not know anything about my past personal life. You do not know whether or not I have children. I'm not even sure I've ever blogged about my marital history, so you might want to grasp that before you decide to make assumptions about me (or C.I.) and my personal life. While Rebecca enjoys discussing her personal life (and always has), I've always been more reserved. When C.I. heard the section where the writer condensed our own lives into his mistaken assumptions, C.I.'s response was, "It's nice to know that he's spent so many hours contemplating our lives." C.I.'s always been able to look upon the press with bemused detachment. But, should the ass care to share his opinions with me, they will be posted so that everyone can enjoy his incredible ass-ness.

Should the above be read by the ass and strike him as (his favorite, and reflex, term) "shrill," let me just add that telling a woman with a history of miscarriages that her pregnancy is "boring" and she's "blown any credibility" by writing about it strikes me as "uninformed," "cruel" and outright hostile to women.

My advice to Rebecca was that she should make Monday's post all about her pregnancy. She had already planned to write about the broadcast Monday night and ended up grabbing another program as well. If the ass thinks he had an impact, he's mistaken and Rebecca intends to write "light posts" on Fridays. That's with or without the permission of a professional ass.

"It's Time for an American Surge To Stop the Bush War in Iraq" (Tom Andrews, Common Dreams):
Defying the vast majority of the American public and top military leaders, the president of the United States is about to announce an escalation of his failed war in Iraq.
It appears to many that it comes down to the president’s not wanting the failure of the Iraq war to occur on his watch, that the images of Americans being evacuated from the Green Zone be reserved for his successor in the White House. Without the character and fortitude to accept a difficult reality, the president has decided to prolong the agony with the commitment of additional US troops. This would mean that thousands more of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis will die for a failed policy, a character flaw and a cynical political calculation.
What is astonishing is that the president might actually get away with it. Some in Congress, like Senators McCain and Graham, have launched a vigorous public campaign to support the president’s escalation. Others, like Senator Biden, believe that there is nothing that Congress can do about it.
That leaves a fed up American public, who issued a mandate in November for political leaders to start bringing our troops home, with only one option -- hit the streets. We can begin this week 24 hours after the president announces his escalation.
The Win Without War Coalition,, and allied groups opposed to the war are urging Americans to flock to their town squares, churches, synagogues, neighborhood centers and parks 24 hours after the president announces his escalation of the war. They can sign up and learn more by going to the web site hosted by Win Without War member True Majority. Those gathered will pause to recognize soldiers from their state who have lost their lives in Iraq. They will take a group photo of themselves and their answer to the president’s escalation of the war with a simple and clear message: “NO!” The photos will be sent to their local newspaper and to campaign web site: where participants will be able to watch the response come in from neighborhoods throughout the country. Many will make a short video -- "Why We Are Saying NO in 30 Seconds" and upload it on the web site and YouTube.
This will mark the beginning of a series of public actions against the war including a march in the nation’s capitol on January 27 organized by United for Peace and Justice and a national "Meet Up With Members" in the district offices of Representatives and Senators during the first Congressional District Work period of the new Congress.
Voters took to the polls in November to demand that the government start bringing our troops home.

As I said yesterday, if the idea isn't for you, you better think of something that does because it is beyond time for the illegal war to be stopped. The people have to be the ones to end it. Politicians only fear one thing -- angry voters.

Today's snapshot, especially the first part on Watada, reminds of the way, back in college, C.I. could stride in front of a class or crowd and have them laughing while on their feet demanding change. It's a gift and I may write more about the snapshot tomorrow.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, January 9, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, more legal news for US soldiers, a newspaper attempts to 'whip' a war resister 'into line,' US Senator Ted Kennedy stands loudly against more troops giving their lives in Bully Boy's illegal war, a slaughter takes place on a residential street in Baghdad and the US press rushes to 'report' from one side, a UNICEF worker is shot dead, and Bully Boy wants a 'fresh start' after promoting, selling and starting an illegal war nearly four years ago.
Starting with US war resister
Ehren Watada who, in June 2006, became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the illegal war. Last Thursday, at the Fort Lewis Army, a military pretrial, presided over by Lt. Col. John Head, heard arguments to outline the scope of the scheduled February 5th court-martial.
Today, the supposedly educated (if not enlightened)
members of The Seattle Times editorial board issued their own journalistic ruling -- one that they apparently hammered out with bully clubs. Representing the finest of mob mentalities, if not journalism or democracy, The Seattle Times argues that Ehren Watada should be convicted on both counts (missing deployment and conduct unbecoming an officer) because . . . well the system just won't survive otherwise. Having killed the invidual to "save" what they see as a weak and dottering system (otherwise Watada wouldn't have to be convicted -- if they had any faith in the strength and resiliency of the American system, the Nervous Nels wouldn't have argued for his conviction for the good of the system), they embrace a long history of knuckle draggers who chose expediency over true democracy because there's nothing like a moral imperative to have the most closed minded reaching for the white sheets and rope.
For the system to struggle on, the editorial board argues, the individual must be stamped out and the accusers of Socrates couldn't have said it better in ancient times. If they've learned anything from their (limited) education, the only evidence is that, while calling for a judicial death, they stop short of imprisoment because they fear a martyr who could galvanize a public. So, by their rudimentary and flawed logic,
Ehren Watada must be found guilty to give pause to any other service member that might follow in his footsteps thereby defending the "good Nazi" argument overruled in the Nuremberg Trials which found that following orders was not a valid excuse and that each soldier is an individual agent responsible for his or her own actions.
The Seattle Times sees service members as worker bees and one wonders how far they'd be willing to carry out their flawed logic. Were it The Berlin Times in the immediate aftermath of WWII would they editorialize in favor of Nazis sending Jews, gypsies and gays to the gas chambers? Doubtful because the only basis for their stand today is that the individual must be stamped out at all costs due to the board's own deluded belief in the weakness of the American system. (Possibly they'd term it "the American experiment"?). In an apparent correction to Max Weber (and a dismissal of Robert K. Merton's work on Universalism), the editorial board argues that the state must not only use military might as they see fit but also narrowly define "justice" when it suits their own purposes.
In a decade of journalistic cowardice, the editorial echoes many of the themes that saw the punishment of those journalists who, in real time, called out the Bully Boy for his Bunny-Fu-Fu hop around the continental United States on September 11th for what it was (cowardice), and saw a rush to pass off press releases as investigative journalism. The system will survive, it always does, it's modern day journalism that has decayed.
In the real world, where a spine is required to stand erect,
Ehren Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military and The Seattle Times hoped for guilty verdict hasn't stopped the movement which includes people such as Watada, Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next week (MLK day).
Bernard Weiner (New Zeland's Scoop) notes, "The refusal of Lieutenant Ehren Watada to return to Iraq is just the tip of the iceberg of resistance inside the officer corps, and among the rank-and-file troops as well: Hundreds of on-duty soldiers have signed a petition calling for "redress," urging the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq."
As Bully Boy prepares for his US primetime address tomorrow (which, as
Cedric and Wally point out, shouldn't startel viewers usually tuned in at that hour to The Biggest Loser, Criminal Minds and Lost), a new poll on escalation (sending more US troops to Iraq) is out. CBS helpfully (that's sarcasm) leads with a 48% to 45% split (48% opposed to sending more US troops into Iraq for the "short term') and then gets around to noting the obvious, "A majority -- 59 percent -- would prefer to see troop levels either reduced (30 percent) or brought to zero with a full withdrawal (29 percent)." Though Michael R. Gordon and others in the mainstream media can wax it on about the escalation, where are the articles (or editiorials) reflecting the American people's majority belief that it's time to bring troops home?
same poll finds the American people better able to articulate the current state of the illegal war -- 71% believe the war is "going badly" and 72% disapprove of Bully Boy's " handling of the war."
Proving that the escalation is not just pie-in-the-sky dreaming from a cracked mind,
Estes Thompson (AP) reports the an unnamed US Defense Department official has confirmed the escalation noting that "3,500 soliders of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division" who are waiting in Kuwait "will be the first to move into Iraq" and that "[u]p to 20,000" other "troops will be put on alert and be prepared to deploy under the" Bully Boy's "plan" while March should see "about 17,400 Marines from Camp Lejeune are expected to be in Iraq as well." Ewen MacAskill (Guardian of London) reports: "As part of what could be Mr Bush's last Iraq gamble, the White House is trying to present the revised policy as a fresh start." In American society, convicts are supposed to get a fresh start . . . of course, that's generally after they've served time.
Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that the escalation would require overturning policies and utilizing the National Guard for "lengthy second tours in Iraq" which may prove"controversial among state governors, who share authority over the Guard, and could heighten concerns in Congress over the war and Bush's plans for a troop increase."
And where is the US Congress?
Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) reminded today: "By law, Congress can limit the nature of troop deployments, cap the size of military deployments and cut financing for existing or prospective deployments." Following Speaker of the House of Representative's Nancy Pelosi's lead on Sunday, others are beginning to issue stronger statements. (Others, of course, do not include Joe Biden.) Kate Phillips (New York Times) blogs that US Senator Edward Kennedy spoke this afternoon at the National Press Club where he termed the illegal war "George Bush's Vietnam." CBS and AP note that Kennedy announced he was "introducing a bill to block Mr. Bush from sending additional troops to Iraq without the consent of Congress." Susan Cornwell (Reuters) highlights this section of Kennedy's speech: "My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the president's plan." CNN reports that Kennedy sees the legislation as Congressional attempt "to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq."
From Kennedy's speech (posted in full by Phillips):

As the election in November made clear, the vast majority of Americans oppose the war in Iraq, and an even greater number oppose sending even more troops to Iraq today.
Families like the Harts and all Americans deserve a voice in that profound decision. Our Constitution gives them that right. The President is Commander-in-Chief, but in our democracy he is still accountable to the people. Our system of checks and balances gives Congress -- as the elected representatives of the people -- a central role in decisions on war and peace.
Today, therefore, I am introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan.
My proposal is a straightforward exercise of the power granted to Congress by Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. There can be no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to decide whether to fund military action. And Congress can demand a justification from the President for such action before it appropriates the funds to carry it out.
This bill will give all Americans -- from Maine to Florida to California to Alaska and Hawaii -- an opportunity to hold the President accountable for his actions.

The speech comes as
Richard Borreca (Honlulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the incoming chairof the US House's Armed Service Committee, Neil Abercrombie, stated, ""We are not going to fund any surges. We are not going to support expanding this war." In the interview, Abercrombie voices strong criticsm of US Secretary of State Condi Rice and says of the expected testimony before the Armed Service Committee of US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, "My question for Gates? What do they propose to do now? That was not obvious four years ago, and what will they propose that is different from the wrong path they have been following all these years?" Appears not everyone is willing to act as though the illegal war wasn't devised by the Bully Boy and a 'fresh start' occurs just because the Bully Boy says so.
In Iraq?
Reuters reports: "A house in the volatile Shi'ite district of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad was blown up and local residents said it was caused by a U.S. air strike. Doctors showed journalists the bodies of two men, a woman and two children they said died in the house. The U.S. military had no immediate comment." Reuters also notes a mortar attack in Mahmudiya that took one life and left three other family members wounded. AP reports two roadside bombs in Baghdad, one wounded a police officer, the other "wounded an 8-year-old girl."
UNICEF notes the shooting death of one of their own, Janan Jabero ("a 52-year-old Iraqi national") who was killed as he was driving through Baghdad and leaves behind two children and a wife -- "Roger Wright, UNICEF Representative for Iraq, says: 'Janan Jabero was a brilliant engineer and had been a key part of UNICEF's school rehabilitation programme in Iraq since 1999. His death has cost Iraq's children a staunch advocate and we deeply mourn his loss'."
Reuters notes 40 corpses discovered in Baghdad and six in Mosul.
In "Who new Baghdad was a seaside port?" news (it isn't), today a plane crashed at Baghdad International and the
AP states that the 35 who died on board ("29 Turks, . . . on American, three from Oldova and on each from Russia and Ukraine") died, quoting "a Foreign Ministry official," due to "heavy fog." Remember that when flying into Phoenix. (Well maybe the 'fog' derived from the much talked of plans to encircle Baghdad with a 'moat' for 'security' reasons.)
In "I can't believe it's butter" news, Haifa Street, a residential street in Baghdad (though
AP prefers "combat zone" which distinguishes it from any other street in Baghdad how?), was the site of a major assault. CBS and AP quote Iraqi government flack Ali al-Dabbagh stating, "God willing, Haifa Street will never threaten the Iraqi people again" to which the world responds, "They read Gone With The Wind in Baghdad?" Though translanted in many languages (including 24 times in Spanish, 19 times in Chinese) there's no record of it being translated into Arabic so let's help Ali al-Dabbagh by responding with the most famous line, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." CBS News' Lara Logan notes that, despite today's full out assault, "What is particularly interesting about this is that for two years the U.S. military has held the street up as a part of their success in Baghdad. There was much violence along Haifa Street two years ago, and a deal was made between the Iraqis and insurgents living there to keep everything quiet as long as they didn't attack in that area. That deal now seems to be off." That is interesting, equally interesting is how CBS, CNN and everyone rushes in to prop up the joint-organization as an Iraqi call as if we're supposed to all believe now that the occupying force (US) doesn't call the shots. Equally interesting is the lack of skepticism and the (over) reliance upon what military flacks say occurred. Apparently, were the press not spoonfed, it would starve. CNN doesn't even present the qualifier "suspected" before using the catch-all "insurgents" (50 Iraqis died, at least 50, in the blood bath -- war planes, tanks, guns). Oh well, as Eason Jordan demonstrated some time ago, truth is something you tell only after a despot falls. (See Bonnie M. Anderson's News Flash.)
Turning to legal news,
Reuters reports that Juston Graber has pleaded guilty to "aaggravated assault with a dangerous weapon" (and only to that charge) for his actions in the May 9, 2006 murders of three Iraqis near Tikrit and will now be expected to testify against the other three US soldiers (Raymond Girouard, William Hunsaker and Corey Clagett) whom military prosecutors say released Iraqis they had apprehended with the intent to then kill the three Iraqis with the cover of 'they were trying to escape.'
Ryan Lenz (AP) reports the latest on the rape of fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, the murder of her, her five-year-old sister, and both of her parents on March 12, 2006 by US soldiers. (James Barker has confessed to his crimes and will be testifying against others 'alleged' to have been involved.) Lenz reports that three months prior to the crimes, "homicidal ideations" were detected in Green by the Army Combat Stress Team ("Dec. 21, 2005") and they were . . . 'treated' with "several small doses of Seroquel -- a drug to regulate his mood" while he was instructed "to get some sleep" which obviously was a modern medicine at its finest (that was sarcasm). Lenz notes that, "If the charges are true . . . the attack would be among the most horrific instances of criminal behavoir by American troops in the nearly four-year-old war. It also would represent a worst-case scenario for the military's much-criticized practice of keeping mentally and emotionally unfit personnel in the killing fields of Iraq." But why stop there? Green, who will be tried in a civilian court because he'd already been discharged by the military when the realities came to light, was recruited despite having no high school degree and despite going from jail to the military -- he signed a "'moral' character waiver" which allowed him to enlist despite a reported history of prior drug and alcohol related offenses.
Lenz recounts the basics that emerged during the Article 32 hearings and James P. Barker's court hearing where he admitted his own crimes:

The plot to rape and kill was hatched as the soldiers hit golf balls at a checkpoint. They had seen the older daughter on patrols in the area. After drinking whiskey bought from Iraqi policemen, they masked their faces and crept through backyards in afternoon daylight to get to the family's home.
They knew the family kept a gun in one bedroom for protection.Once in the house, Green herded the father, mother and 5-year-old daughter to another room, closed the door and shot them dead. Green had blood on his clothes and boots when he returned.
Green and at least two others took turns raping the other daughter before killing her with the family's AK-47. They set her body on fire with kerosene dumped from a lamp in the kitchen in an effort to hide evidence.

Recounted primarily because independent media has been too busy to report it.
In news from Iraq,
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) report on a ten-year-old boy, Yassir, playing with a toy gun becoming the target of US troops who pursued the child back to his house "and smashed almost everything in it" and quote a witness who stated that this came "after beating Yassir and his uncle hard, and they spoke the nastiest words." Hearts and minds and war crimes apparently.