Friday, February 16, 2007

Cher, Ron Jacobs

Way late and getting started and blame it on Mike. Blame it on Cher.

Rebecca, Flyboy, Mike and I were discussing music and Mike and Flyboy started going to what C.I. has dubbed "Crapapedia" trying to trip Rebecca and I up (Rebecca's easier to trip up -- as she readily admits). So they are quizzing us about various singers and groups and at one point, they think they have the perfect question -- when did Cher's first compilation album come out. I tell them. "Wrong!" I'm told. They show me Crapapedia's discography which lists the first compilation as 1974 and it's called Greatest Hits. I say, "That's not it." They scroll all over and say, "Yes, it is." So I grab the cell and call C.I. "What was Cher's first compilation album called?" C.I. says, "Cher." (Which is what I had said.) I say, "Hold on" and tell Flyboy and Mike who want to argue with me. C.I. hears and says, "Am I being questioned about music? I damn well know this answer." Some don't know how to "Believe." C.I. ended up going to the vinyl, pulling down the album, scanning the front, back and inside and e-mailing it. "Cher, two vinyl disc released by United Artist covering her solo recordings in the 1960s."

Only after they saw they cover did they "Believe." C.I. asked where they got the idea that it was that 1974 album and I said, "Crapapedia." C.I.: "Figures."

So, FYI, "You Better Sit Down Kids," Crapapedia is often very, very wrong. In their discography of "every album" released, they don't even have this compilation listed.
It was a double disc, vinyl album set (and C.I. says the back cover reads -- tiny writing, I can't read it in the scan "ALSO AVAILABLE ON UNITED ARTISTS STEREO-TAPE") and just because Crapapedia doesn't know about it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Mike's reading the song titles off the scan. I'll add my comments to them.

Side One
"All I Really Want To Do" -- This was Cher's first solo hit. She and the Byrds had both covered the song and were both on the charts (the Byrds were following up "Mr. Tamborine Man) and she ended up charting higher.
"The Bells of Rhymney"
"Girl Don't Come"
"Come And Stay With Me"
"Blowin' In The Wind" -- She covered a lot of Dylan.
"Needles And Pins" -- Sonny Bono wrote this song. It's been covered many times but I don't think most people ever realize he wrote this.

Side Two
"Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" -- This was one of her biggest solo hits of the 60s. On her Cher album of the 1980s, she re-recorded this with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in a harder version.
"Elusive Butterfly"
"Where Do You Go" -- Where do you go? I don't know. Where do you go? -- I believe that's the chorus. It's been years since I heard that songs. On her solo albums, she was always a little less 'bright' than with Sonny ("bright" meaning happy).
"Until It's Time For You To Go"
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow"

Side Three
"Alfie" -- I believe Cher was the first to record this and she recorded it for the film.
"Homeward Bound" -- I can still hear her cover of this in my head.
"Catch The Wind"
"Reason To Believe" -- One of my favorite songs of this period. I enjoy almost all versions. (Almost all, I loathed Rod Stewart's version. I did enjoy Wilson Phillips' version, however.)
"A House Is Not A Home"
"You Don't Have To Say You Love Me"

Side Four
"You Better Sit Down Kids" -- The divorce song. In this song, Cher sings in the voice of a father, explaining that, "You Better Sit Down Kids," Mommy and Daddy are splitting up. This has an interesting fade.
"There But For Fortune" -- Phil Ochs and Dylan, recorded by Cher. Solo she was usually more dark.
"Do You Believe In Magic"
"Mama (When My Dollies Have Babies)" -- It seemed like Cher, solo, in the 60s was always getting pregnant -- long before "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves" ("Six weeks later, I'm a girl in trouble and I haven't seen him for awhile, I haven't seen him, for awhile . . .")
"The Click Song"

Then we endeded up picking our favorite Cher songs. For Rebecca's it's "Heart of Stone" (off the album of the same title). Mike went with "If I Could Turn Back Time" which surprised me because he's a bit young to know that but apparently the video popped up (he remembered her walking around the ship in fishnets stockings) repeatedly over the years. Flyboy chose "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves." I chose "We All Sleep Alone." I really do enjoy that song and I also remember C.I. saying, "It's going to be a hit." It was. "I Found Someone" came out before and I never really cared for that. But "We All Sleep Alone" seemed the perfect Cher song to me the moment I heard of the "Sooner or later, we all sleep alone" tag and when.

If I were to pick an album, I'd probably go with It's A Man's World because it's got a great scope musically. "Angles Running" is probably my favorite song (even though I generally call it "I Know A Good Thing When I See It" because that line repeats in the song more often). "Paradise Is Here" was done wonderfully by Tina Turner and Cher's version stands up on this CD -- a real accomplishment. "I'm Blown Away" is a song I knew first by Joan Baez (off an album I feel like no one's ever heard of) and I think Cher did strong job with that as well. Ditto "Walking In Memphis." "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" maybe a new song for this album or a cover of an old one (I'd never heard it before this album) but the way it's produced, it sounds like a classic 60s song.

Vocally, it shows off the dips that Cher does so well. Karen Carpenter, and I wasn't a huge Carpenters fan, had a way of dipping as well so that you really waited for that moment (similar to Bing Crosby). She's also singing a bit higher and more relaxed on this album. Don't get me wrong, I loved the power ballads in real time (on the treadmill or stepper, usually, while I listened to them). But after "We All Sleep Alone," "If I Could Turn Back Time," et al, I really did think it was smart to move to something different. (That said, when I heard "Don't Come Cryin' To Me" on If I Could Turn Back Time Cher's Greatest Hits, I did immediately think, "Why didn't they release this?")

Before Cher they were trying to stump us on others and made the mistake, at one point, of going to Sheena Easton. Rebecca loved Easton for the first album and then later on. I didn't dislike Easton, I was just never that into her music. ("101," written by Prince, was probably my favorite of all her singles.)

So that's pretty much how we spent the evening. That and eating but Rebecca's probably writing about that.

"Marching on the Pentagon" (Ron Jacobs, CounterPunch):
History tells us that that march in 1967 made a bit of a difference, if not to the warmakers, at least to the war protesters. One could easily argue that the October 1967 March on the Pentagon was a quantum leap forward for that movement. The publicity it garnered created a situation that pushed the numbers and the credibility of the movement into the mainstream of US society. If one wants to read about that march, they should read Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night. This book is not only some of the best reportage of the 1960s, it is some of the best reportage ever. In my mind, there are three or four journalistic scrolls that encompass the essence of the 1960s: Mailer's
Armies of the Night, Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972, and Raymond Mungo's Famous Long Ago. These books stand out not only because they describe essential events, personalities and consciousnesses of that period of time, but because they extract the intrinsic properties of the period's' zeitgeist.
But, let's get back to the Pentagon. For those unfamiliar with the 1967 march, let me provide a few fundamentals. The march was originally called by the New Mobe (New Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam), a loose coalition of 150 groups ranging from pacifists to socialists. The March was sure to become something more when David Dellinger, Mobe co-ordinator and radical pacifist, asked future Yippie Jerry Rubin to be project director. From there, it became something more. Rubin, originally a relatively straight New Leftist influenced by the Berkley-San Francisco counterculture picked up on an idea being spread by folks like Beat poet and leader of the iconoclastic New York rock band the Fugs Ed Sanders, included in the permit request a request to surround the Pentagon. The reason for this was because, according to various legends of the occult, the ultimate demon--the demon of war--lived inside a Pentagon and the only way to exorcise that demon was by completing a circle around the pentagon the demon was enclosed. Only then would the demon be released and leave the earth. Whether one believes this or not, it is interesting to note that the government refused to grant a permit to encircle the Pentagon.
All that being as it is, my intention here is not history, but to encourage those opposed to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the looming war in Iran) to attend the March on the Pentagon this March 17, 2007. Sure, there are other protests planned around the country that day, but this march on the Pentagon is the most important of them all. Without going into the petty squabbles (and genuine ideological differences) between the two organizations calling for the March 17th protests (ANSWER and UFPJ), let it suffice to say that the ultimate symbol of Washington's warmaking power must be confronted by as many people as possible. After all, who cares who gets the permits, which is really the primary function of these topdown coalitions?

What day is March 17th? A Saturday. (I did check.) I'm not sure if we're planning, as a group, to participate in that. If not, that's not because it's not worthy. I know that bumps right into the trip we're all taking. I'll ask tomorrow night when we're all working on the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. I support the march, I just don't know the schedule Dona's worked out for us (when we're all going to Texas to speak). I also don't want to call C.I. and bring it up because if this isn't already penciled in, C.I.'s going to groan. (After four weeks on the road, I really think it would be more than a groan.) But I do think we were talking about some United For Peace & Justice action and Jacobs mentions this is A.N.S.W.E.R. and UFPJ, so this may be it.

Thank you to Kat for her kind words about Wednesday's post and I enjoyed her discussion of Spin's ideas of how to "save" music.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, February 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq (despite the capital crackdown), the House acts 'symoblically,' Ralph Nader explains the importance of making demands, and The Russians Are Snickering!

Starting with news of war resisters. In June 0f 2006,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, he faced a court-martial at Fort Lewis in Washington.

On Monday, the court-martial of Ehren Watada began with jury selection for the military panel (seven officers were selected) who would, as Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) pointed out, "determine whether Watada spends up to four years in prison in one of the most high-profile cases to be tried at Fort Lewis." Watada was facing up to four years in prison and Lt. Col. John Head (aka Judge Toilet) refused to allow him to argue the reasons why he refused to deploy. This is why Norman Solomon (CounterPunch) called the proceedings "a kangaroo court-martial." . On Tuesday, the prosectution presented their case. Aaron Glantz discussed the day's events with Sandra Lupien on The KPFA Evening News noting: "The prosecution had 3 witnesses. It did not go as well as the prosecution would have liked. Lt. Col Bruce Antonia, who was the prosecution's star witness, as Lt. Watada's commander, said that nothing tangibly bad happened from Lt. Watada's refusal to go to" Iraq and "[a]nother thing that did not go well for the prosecution today was that their own witnesses clearly showed that Lt. Watada tried other methods of expressing . . . [his opposition] to the Iraq war, internally within the military, before coming forward to speak to the public." Also noting the prosecution's poor performance on Tuesday (when they rested their case), was civil rights attorney Bill Simpich who told Geoffrey Millard (Truthout): "The prosecution asked too many questions. By the time it was over, the prosecution witness had become a defense witness because the field was open. The defense was able to ask nuanced questions, it told the story clearly to the jury." On Wednesday, Judge Toilet began talking mistrial and, due to the lousy performance by the prosecution, it was seen as an attempt at a "do over" even before he called the mistrial.

That was last week and, since then, many legal experts have weighed in to offer that, as Watada's civilian attorney Eric Seitz has stated, Watada can't be retried without double-jeopardy entering into the picture.
John Catalinotto (Socialist Worker) observes: "Watada's military defense lawyer -- appointed by the Army -- Capt. Mark Kim, said that he agreed with Seitz's interpretation of military law." Geov Parrish (Eat The State) offers that Watada may have won not just the round but the battle: "How did this happen? It happened because one young officer stuck to his principles, even under enormous pressure, and the Army didn't know how to react. Its handling of the case has allowed Ehren Watada -- young, photogenic, articulate, and deeply moral -- to become a folk hero within the antiwar movement, so much so that even his (supportive) parents have become minor celebrities in their own rights. US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich issued a statement last week: "The court improperly denied Lt. Watada's right to a dfense by blocking him from explaining why he believes the war in Iraq is illegal. Procedural decisions by the court have effectively denied Lt. Watada the right to engage in a protected activity -- freedom of speech. This [the declaration of a mistrial] is a significant ruling which empowers people to speak out against this unjust war."

Jim Cohen (Pepperdine University's The Graphic) ties recent news on the US administration's lies into the Watada story: "A recent report from the Pentagon has concluded that the former policy chief from the Pentagon, Douglas J. Feith, took 'inappropriate' actions by advancing unsubstantiated evidence to bolster the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq. Watada's justification of abstention to fight in Iraq has, in fact, been substantiated. This new information will hopefully give Watada the peace of mind by knowing he was right for following his former commander's advice to study everything, our government's arguments for going to war in Iraq as well as the purpose of the mission. By failing to do this kind of hard work, the commander in chief has left the troops without a mission caught in the middle of a civil sectarian war."

Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, 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, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard 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.

Dave Ward (The Gazette) profiles Tim Richard, a war resister from Iowa who now attends the University of Western Ontario, who tells Ward: "I joined the army with the idea that I would be defending America. But Iraq has nothing to do with defending America. . . . I did have to pay some personal prices. My marriage broke up over it. Not to mention [I lost] what I had identified myself as, which was a U.S. soldier, a very patriotic American. At the same time, I did what I felt was the right thing to do -- which was not to participate in something I knew to be wrong. So I don't regret doing that."

Meanwhile Lance Hering's parents have
been interviewed by Jodi Brooks for Boulder's CBS affiliate (CBS4). Hering, a marine who served in Iraq, was on leave and back in the United States when he disappeared on an August 29th hike. Hering, whose rank is Lance Cpl., has no made press statements but the friend he was hiking with has maintained they staged/arranged Hering's disappearance so that he would not have to return to Iraq. That is what his friend, Steve Powers, has told the press. Hering has not spoken to the press. He may or may not be a war resister. His parents, Lloyd and Ellyne Hering, tell Brooks that Lance's disappearance has led them to begin "talking about the war. Lloyd said he and Ellyne realized that supporting the troops meant stopping the war. Lloyd and Ellyne have traveled to Washington, D.C. twice to urge Congress to stop funding the war. Ellyne writes postcards as part of a nationwide campaign to stop special appropriations for Iraq." Lloyd Hering tells Brooks: "We're here to help him whenever he decides to come back. He'll get legal help, financial help, counseling help, and all the love that we can provide anytime he comes back."

Also in the United States, the House of Representatives passed their nonbinding resolution opposing Bully Boy's planned escalation of US troops in Iraq. As noted by Kris Welch in the middle of
KPFA's Living Room, the vote was 246 in favor of the resolution and 182 against. Nicholas Johnston (Bloomberg News) puts it this way: "The House of Representatives renounced President George W. Bush's latest strategy to resolve the four-year war in Iraq, passing a nonbinding resolution that disapproves of his decision to send about 21,000 more U.S. troops to the conflict. The vote may be the strongest rebuke of a president during wartime since Congress in 1970 rescinded the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that authorized military action in Southeast Asia." Susan Cornwell (Reuters) notes the measure was "symoblic but politically potent". M.E. Sprengelmeyer (Rocky Mountain News) offers excerpts (text) of statements made during the days of deliberation by Colorado Representatives and KPFA has exceprts (audio) of Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, John Conyers, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Thompson, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, Ellen Tauscher. As CNN notes, the Senate now prepares to vote on the resolution tomorrow (yes, that is Saturday, yes they will be in session).

US Rep Dennis Kucinch noted that the measure "is a nonbinding resolution. The war, however, is binding. The real -- and Constitutional -- power of Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, is to cut off fund for an immoral and illegal war. Money is there right now to bring our troops home, and bringing our brave troops home is part of a plan that involves enlisting the support of the United Nations to mobilize international peacekeepers so our men and women can come home. I have a 12-point plan which I have circulated among Members of Congress as to how we can get out of Iraq. The American people will not tolerate nonbinding resolutions as being an excuse for strong and substantive action to end the war as quickly as possible." Meanwhile Reps Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters issued their statement on the measure yesterday as well (Roll Call via Truthout): "Contrary to Republican claims that Democrats have no alternative plan for Iraq, there are in fact several on the table. Our own comprehensive bill, the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Resotration Act, would complete a fully funded military withdrawal from Iraq within six months while ensuring that our troops and contractors leave safely and accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces. In addition, our bill would remove the specter of an endless occupation by preventing the establishment of permanent military bases and reiterate our commitment, at the invitation of the Iraqi government, to working with the international community to assist Iraq in its reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. We also would stand ready, if asked by the Iraqis, to participate in an international stabilization force."

US Rep Maxine Waters is
BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice honoree for the week and among the examples cited is this statement Waters made on the House floor: "The citizens of this country are sick and tired of this war. It is not enough to talk the talk. You have got to walk the walk. They know the difference between nuancing and posturing, and they want action.
. . . They will know whether or not we mean business if we are prepared to stop funding this war."

Matthew Schofield (McClatchy Newspapers) surveys Soviet veterans of the Afghanistan war and learns "many soldiers who fought there believe they're seeing history repeat itself. The United States -- then the force behind the Afghan resistance -- now appears trapped in a similar downward spiral in Iraq, besieged by a collection of forces not unlike those it trained and equipped to crippled the Soviets two decades ago." This as AP notes that Philip H. Bloom "whose companies made more than $8 million in Iraq reconstruction money through a gifts-for contracts scheme was sentenced Friday to nearly four years in prison." And as the AP reports that "three top auditors overseeing work in Iraq told a House committee their review of $57 billion in Iraq contracts found that Defense and State department officials condoned or allowed repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for shoddy work or work never done. . . Of the $10 billion in overpriced contracts or undocumented costs, more than $2,7 billion were charged by Halliburton Co., the oil-field services company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney."

Would you rather have health insurance
you can actually aford, or bomb Iraq?
Would you rather have enough inspectors
to keep your kids from getting poisoned
by bad hamburgers, or bomb Iraq?
Would you rather breate clean air
and drink water free from pesticides
and upriver sh*t, or bomb Iraq?
-- "Choices," by Marge Piercy, Poets Against The War, p. 179

Stephany Kerns (Military Families Speak Out, mother of Nickolas Schiavoni who was killed November 15, 2005 in Iraq) writes: "Every time I hear George Bush talk about his determination to make those tax cuts of his permanent it makes me so upset. In reality, he is setting up this scenario: military families grandchildren will be part of the population that pays for this war. If these tax cuts are made permanent, it won't be George Bush or Dick Cheney's grandchildren that pay for it. It will be your grandchildren and my grandchildren who pay. Yes, my grandchildren, who lost their father in this war, will pay for the war that killed their Dad." Grandparents are in other binds as well. Donna St. George (Washington Post) reports on children being raised by grandparents when their parent dies in Iraq and finds that it's not at all uncommon for the $100,000 benefit to either be held (until the child turns 18) or to go elsewhere (such as the husband of Hannah McKinney who got her $400,000 life insurance but is not taking care of her son -- her parents Barbie and Matt Heavrin are.) The stories are all too common and the lack of foresight and compassion on the part of the US administration (can't have it all when you're rushing into an illegal war) is echoed in the (mis)treatment of veterans. Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports on the lack of a support system, the lack of money and the lack of oversight in the supposed 'care' for returning veterans.

In Iraq? It's Friday. There's never a great deal of reporting coming out of Iraq about Iraqis. Officials? Maybe on a day where they issue non-stop statements.


Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Kirkuk that killed one person and left three more wounded. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an IED killed one Iraqi soldier and left another wounded in Baghdad.


Reuters notes the discovery of eleven corpses in Baghdad and four in Mosul.

Kim Gamel (AP) reports that Iraqi Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi claims the "only 10 bodies" (eleven) demonstrates "a big reduction in terror and killing operations in Baghdad" because the average is 40 or 50 corpses and that his remarks were echoed by US Major General Joseph Fil. Really? I suppose some will buy it, some idiots.

But the reality is the figures come from Iraqi officials and US officials. Which may be why many have ignored noting the deaths in the past few days. So citing a decrease in figures you largely control the release of really proves nothing. That also explains why the shooting deaths the press is reporting today are from Thursday. (As
AFP notes, they previously tried to pitch five corpses as success.) It'll be interesting to see if "___ died February 16th" announcements are released tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday by the US military.

Ned Parker and Michael Evans (Times of London) paint a more accurate picture of the latest 'extreme crackdown' in Baghdad noting that both it "and Basra ground to a halt yesterday" which is why the crackdown -- ongoing since June in Baghdad -- has never been a 'strategy' or a 'plan.' It's a holding move and every few weeks, the US administration and the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, increase it even more.

Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) offers four points to end the illegal war and occupation and we'll focus on the first: "Stop funding a sectarian Baghdad regime based on lethal militias. . . . . The coalition is carrying out ethnic cleansing in the name of security. Baghdad, once a mixed city of five million people, is dominated by a huge Shi'a majority." [Hayden recommends the creation of a transitional regime.]

CODEPINK, Ralph Nader, the Green Party and other activists are forming Pelosi Watch "to get Pelosi to take the lead in efforts to defund the war and get all U.S. troops out of the Middle East."

Nader spoke with Kris Welch today on
KPFA's Living Room and noted of the two party system that encourages cowardice, "We've got to really ask ourselves, 'What's our breaking point?' . . . [when you make no demands] You just say, 'You've got my vote, take it and run with it.' If you don't make demands . . . the corporate interests are pulling in the other directions 24 hours a day. which is why both parties get worse when you engage in least worst voting without putting demands on the least worst candidate." He also noted that, "The Democrats have become very good in the last 20 years at electing very bad Republicans."

Finally, as
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "College and high school students across the nation walked out class Thursday in a national student strike against the Iraq war. In California, an estimated 1,000 students at UC Santa Barbara blocked traffic on a freeway. Up to 3,000 students turned out for an anti-war rally at UC Berkeley. And at least four hundred rallied at Columbia University here in New York. More than a dozen other schools took part around the country."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Added: I was on the phone talking to Mike and then ended up remembering I hadn't posted Isaiah's comic. Since I'm not blogging on Thursday (due to my Thursday night group), I'm coming back in and posting it at the top. It's "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Bully Boy & the Showboat Express'." By the way, thank you to Mike for the flowers (and the candy).


I really hate The Nation. Each time I think I can't hate them more, they prove me wrong. Currently, the writer who was so rude on air to Antonia Juahsz (who does know what she's talking about -- must be a threating position to The Nation), is trying to go pop-cult and tosses in a movie to demonstrate how Bully Boy and Dick Cheney's war is going over the cliff. Now Butch & Sundance jump to their deaths in a freeze frame but The Nation, a magazine that publishes slightly over four men for ever one woman, wants to run with Thelma & Lousie.

Thelma & Lousie has nothing to do with Iraq, obviously. More importantly, there death is a libeartion so that inane analogy is false.

Thelma & Lousie is a cultural touchstone for many women (and I would imagine some men). It has strong performances by women and an Oscar winning screenplay by an incredible strong woman. So I don't think it's too much to ask that The Nation continues their sexist crap by ignoring all things women instead of besmirching a film that their sexist little thimbles of mind can't grasp. Someone explain to them that they aren't Maureen Dowd and they'll never write like her so maybe they should develop their own voices? But I know they need to stop sliming Thelma & Louise.

Now I remember the film when it was playing on the big screen and I remember how so many men "just didn't get it" in real time. Obviously the writer is one more man who didn't. He needs to find something else to write about -- or use that time telling a woman she's talking about something unimportant -- such as when he dismissed Juhasz' concern over the privatization of Iraq.

I really admire C.I. for sticking to war resisters. If you know C.I., you know that's not surprising. But if you follow a lot of the "Iraq" coverage, you're quite aware that all the political types (regardless of where they fall on the spectrum) tend to toss out three sentences on Iraq and rush on over to address Iran.

That's a new virgin to them. They don't have the guts or the strength to follow up on Iraq. But Iran's there new virgin and they'll pretend they're addressing Iraq when they're not.

The potential for fresh destruction excites them while they've grown bored with the daily destructions that are the realities of Iraq.

Bully Boy may allow up to 7,000 Iraiq refugees into the US and that's supposed to be wonderful? Do people realize how many refugees Bully Boy's war has created? Do they realize that this is a crisis and 7,000 doesn't even help one-tenth of the refugees. Do they realize, as they try to play like they're talking about Iraq, that the International Red Cross Federation issued a call for donations this week because they need it to deal with the refugee situation within Iraq or that something as basic as polio shots are going to be provided by the Red Cross when the US could and should be providing that?

Now let's talk reality for a minute, polio's no longer a big concern in the US and that's due to the shots program. But you want to bring polio back as a world concern, make charities beg for money as opposed to demanding that governments live up to their responsibilities. Though there was no attempt to live up to the reconstruction obligation, it is honestly shocking that the US government won't do a damn thing about the immunizations.

For that matter, it's appalling that potable water is still a rare thing in Iraq.

Do you know about the children in Baghdad who live on the streets? Orphans or presumed orphans who steal to survive? Do you wonder what happens to them in the latest crackdown?

Or do you just make dopey movie comparisons and rush to discuss Iran?

Where the hell are the adults?

They're not in Congress, not in large numbers. Are they in our media, big or small? It's hard to detect them as they start rubbing their thighs in excitement over Iran. Chris Hedges' books on war are as applicable to the left as the right and, remember, he is on the left. He's describing the process he himself went through.

Iraq was already in a sorry state. It had lived under a decade of sanctions. The money the US grabbed during that period is gone -- with no way of anyone explaining where it went. Bully Boy tore up the place with his illegal war and that's really not a big concern to supposed adults in the media. They can't be bothered with it. They appear to bored to even discuss a day's violence.

I think too much has been made of student apathy and far too little of media apathy -- big and small.

All week, I'd been planning to excerpt from Alexander Cockburn's "Will They Nuke Iran?" (CounterPunch) but I'm not going to. It's a strong article and he's covered Iraq enough that he doesn't have to worry that addressing Iran makes it look as they he can't cover Iraq. But I think there's more than enough online about Iran. I think the threat is real, the threat that Bully Boy will start another war. But I also think that what's going on in Iraq is also very real and it is being ignored.

Read C.I.'s snapshot and register that Bully Boy's biggest ally has made a "mistake" as the United Kingdom has sent people under eighteen to Iraq to fight that illegal war. Realize as well that Canada is a joke. Not only did they go along with Bully Boy's illegal rendentions, they continue to refuse to grant asylum to war resisters in need. Grasp how supposed civilized countries have not only been silent, they've been eager to throw away their humanity.

Maybe the silence so many of them have had on Ehren Watada goes to that -- he's standing up against crimes of humanity and, in doing so, reminds them that the Bully Boy didn't lead us away from basic decency over their huge outcrys -- just over their gentle scolds.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, February 14, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Baghad's under more 'extreme' crackdown and nothing's changed; Bully Boy says "Who needs proofs?"; the US military announces more deaths; and who is getting into the US military?

Starting with news of war resistance and staring with
Ehren Watada. Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq in June. Last week, he became the first officer to be court-martialed for refusing to deploy in the illegal war. The court-martial ended in a mistrial. Many rush to weigh in and while we disagree with the right, we can respect their passion. It's the useless we have no respect for. Meet Kati Irons.

Apparently upset that she can't bore everyone with her thoughts on Battlestar Galatica one more time, Irons hems and haws and throws some stones. For instance, she doesn't care for Sean Penn's speech in Tacoma. Now in a very small setting, she's quite happy to stay silent even while she is disturbed by a conversation - dumb ass and a coward. Congratulations, Kati! And congratulations on being offensive to everyone: "Under present circumstances, to have one child in the military may be considered a source of pride, but four seems like carelessness," Irons offers. Insulting everyone doesn't mean you're "telling it like it is" -- it just means you're an idiot. (Irons scractched down a few thoughts for Blogcritics -- we don't link to trash.)

Fortunately, not all are useless idiots. As
Paul Guggenheimer (Sioux City Journal) notes,
"If there is one story that strikes at the heart of the immorality and unethical nature of the war in Iraq, it is the story of U.S. Army 1st Lt.
Ehren Watada'." As Mike Davis (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reminds: "He has refused to serve on the ground that the war is 'immoral and unlawful . . . and would compel complicity in war crimes'." Jason Farbman and Sam Bernstein (Socialist Worker) report on the double jeopardy issue that Judge Toilet's (aka Lt. Col. John Head) decision to call a mistrial (over the objection of the defense) is only one issue that may prevent a retrial: "If the court-martial does resume March 19, Watada's lawyers will object and appeal, possibly pushing the trial back to May. But in the meantime, Watada will have served out his remaining time in the Army. His lawyers are now saying they think he could walk away a free man."

Dan Carptener (The Indianapolis Star) reports on Carolyn Ho ( Ehren Watada''s mother) whose "voice was cracking from overuse and a lingering cold as the soldier's mother recounted the story, having spent the past six months traveling the country on his behalf" who spoke of the change she'd seen since her son went public in June: "In the early days one individual wrote me that I was a terrible mother and he was going to send me a one-way ticket to France. Since that time we've had an overwhelmingly positive response. It's a telling commentary on how people feel about this war."

Talking about the war and the mistrial, David Mitchell spoke yesterday at the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Upper Nyack.
Akiko Matsuda's (The Journal News) reports: "Mitchell gave his own analysis, saying the judge manipulated the trial because as it proceeded, Watada's good standing as a soldier became apparent. Mitchell also thought the judge was afraid of the impact on the other soldiers should Watada be acquitted. Mitchell said that at one point in the trial, a female officer told the judge she was impressed by Watada's action because he stood by what he believed in."

Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, 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, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey 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.

Patrick Hart, noted above, is a war resister who went to Canadal.
The Buffalo News reports that "Hart was a dealt a setback when the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board denied his claim of refugee status" and that his next step is to "appeal the decision to the Canadian Federal Court." In July, Patrick, Jill and Rian Hart appeared before Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board to make their appeal. Peter Koch (Art Voice) noted in July that "everyonw who has received a decision has been denied." The denial was a denial to Patrick Hart and it was also a denial to Jill Hart and to their son Rian. These are people who are attempting to start a life in a Canada. The Harts, like Joshua and Brandi Key, have uprooted their families and moved to Canada not as a stop-over, but as a final destination. During Vietnam, Canada was welcoming of war resisters. Today, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada makes laughable their claim to be the "largest independent administrative tribunal" as they show no independence and make the same 'finding' repeatedly, over and over with no indication of indepence, no indication of thought, but strong indications that they are afraid to take a stand. Since none of the war resisters can be called a "security risk" or seen as having violated human or internatioinal rights, committed a serious crime or been involved in organized crime, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has made a loud, repeated joke of itself and done so while the world was watching.

Meanwhile, England is in violation of UN protocol,
Robert Stansfield and Maggie Barry (The Daily Mirror) report, since they've been sending service members under the age of 18 to fight in Iraq and, while Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram can claim that was a mistake, it was also illegal. Stansfield and Barry speak with one who was under 18, "Chris," and he explained why he decided to self-check out and joined over 1,000 British soldiers who have done just that since the start of the illegal war as well as sharing his opinions of the illegal war: "I think they should just take everyone out of Iraq. If the Americans want to stay then just let them but they should take our troops out. It's not worth being in there. It's not worth getting killed for."

Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics by Howard Zinn and David Barsamian, pp. 118-119:

David Barsamian: You're 1967 book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was reissued by South End Press. I was reading some of the exchanges in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that you reproduce there. And although there are no such hearings going on now, it almost replicates a lot of the media commentary about how we cannot just quit and run from Iraq, that our prestige would suffer, we would lose credibility. What do these things mean? What is prestige? What is credibility?

Howard Zinn: That's an interesting point because those statements are made again and again, from war to war to war, that we must continue doing this because if we don't continue doing this, we will lose standing, lose prestige, that other countries in this, we will lose standing, lose prestige, that other countries in the world will lose respect for us. I think what they really mean is that other countries will stop fearing us. The truth is that the United States in general does not get the respect of other countries in the world, but it instills fear in other countries, fear that they will lose economic benefits given to them by the United States. As a result, some of them go along. But, of course, those words prestige and fear need to be examined to see what they mean because if you looked at them in moral terms, you would ask, What presitge adheres to a government that conducts an immoral war? What respect does the United States get from the rest of the world when it engages in such a war? What's interesting in this case, and I think this is really unprecedented in the case of Iraq, is that on the eve of the war the world as a whole rose up everywhere and protested agains the U.S. entrance into the war, making it claer that by going into the war the United States was losing the respect, losing whatever prestige it had in the world.

Something to remember as the
US House of Represenatives debates the nonbinding resolution. The vote is expected Friday, it is expected to pass in the House, it is nonbinding. KPFA has posted online various statements during the House Debate for those who can listen online. AFP notes: "Democrats won control of Congress in November elections marked by voter anger at the war." Now Vermont's legislature passed a symoblic measure calling for withdrawal, as Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, but that's what is within their power. The US Congress has the power to do more (as Bully Boy knows, read on). As Vermont state rep Michael Fisher explained to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) the resolution passed both state houses (House and Senate) -- Michael Fisher: "Sometimes states have to step up and lead, when Congress is not doing enough and this was a time when Vermonters were able to speak up and say clearly that it was time to take some real leadership and to end this war. . . . The resolution . . . calls for the immediate and orderly . . . withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq."

In the capital of Iraq, the never ending crackdown goes on and the latest additions include, the
BBC reports, the suspension of permitted weapons "to all but Iraqi and US forces and registered security firms" (registered security firms would be mercenaries), the ongoing curfew was "extended by an hour," and "[i]ncreased stop and search powers in the capital." Reuters notes that Samawa is also under curfew (9:00 pm to 6:00 pm).


Reuters reports a car bombing in Baghdad ('near a hospital") which killed four and left ten more wounded, a roadside Baghdad bomb that killed one person and left three more wounded, another car bombing in Baghdad ("in a market in the southern Bayaa district") claimed two lives and left seven wounded, a mortar attack in Baghdad killed one and wounded at least 16 more, another roadside bombing in Baghdad ("in the western Yarmouk district") killed one person, and a Mosul car bombing killed three and left 20 wounded. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports* an IED explosion in Baghdad that wounded two civilians and a mortar attack on a Shi'ite mosque in eastern Baghdad that wounded two people.


Reuters reports a man ("former police captain") was shot dead in front of his home in Diwaniya and three Iraqi soldiers were shot (wounded not dead) in Baghdad. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports* "three passengers in" a vehicle in west Baghdad were injured when their car was attacked with gunfire and: "Around 10:00 a.m. an Iraqi university student was killed said Haider Hamid, a student of a technical college in Basra, today. A British military convoy randomly opened fire after an IED exploded targeting the convoy near the college (10 miles west of Basra) on the road leading to Zubair town. The random shooting killed the student Ahmed Fahmi, a second year student of the electricity department, Hamid said."


Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that five corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("bullet riddeled").

[*Note Mohammed al Dulaimy's report is of today's violence -- the date in the headline is incorrect -- check the posted date and you can click
here for the actual roundup of February 6, 2007 to see that the date in the headline is incorrect. Ali Faddam covered the roundup on February 6th.]

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died Tuesday in a non-combated related incident which is currently under investigation." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died when insurgents targeted a combat patrol north of the Iraqi capital Feb. 13."

Question of the day,
per CBS News: "Where Is Muqtada Al-Sadr?" Answer -- no one knows despite US officials claiming otherwise.

Claims were all Bully Boy had to offer when he held yet another dog & pony show (if dogs and ponies are this ugly).
CBS and AP report that he's okay with the US Congress wasting time on non-binding resolutions but it's another story if they use their Congressional power to cut the funds for the illegal war. Bully Boy also continued to insist that Iran is supplying Iraq (sometimes it's Sunnis, sometimes it's Shias, it always changes -- that's what happens with lies) with weapons but he had nothing to offer but his word. His word is worth even less than Michael R. Gordon's -- if that's possible. As Lebanon's Daily Star reports, Bully Boy "does not know whethere the weapons were 'ordered from the top echelons of government'" which did not stop him from adding, "But my point is what's worse? Them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening?"

Finally, who is the US military signing up these days?
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted that waivers for recruits with criminal records were up 65%." Lizette Alvarez (New York Times) reports this increase has come in the last three years, that "[t]he number of waivers for felony convictions also increased, to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006, from 8 percent," and that "[t]he Defense Department has also expanded its applicant pool by accepting soldiers with criminal backgrounds and medical problems like asthma, high blood pressure and attention deficit disorder". These facts, by the way, were the ones John Kerry could have made on October 31, 2006. Instead, he backed down, buckled and took himself out of the presidential race on November 1, 2006.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

John R. MacArthur, Student strike against the war

On Democracy Now! today, John R. MacArthur was a guest (on "New York Times Trumpets Pentagon's Claims Over Iran Sending Bombs to Iraq") and he made solid points as he generally does. He also posed a question:

So, what’s interesting about Michael Gordon is that when he did the reporting on the phony aluminum tube story with Judith Miller four years ago, he somehow escaped unharmed and is now thriving. He has a book out, as you saw, and he’s doing very well, and he's going around acting like he’s an expert on Iraq, when, in fact, he’s still playing the role of conduit for the official line, the Army line or the government line, depending on who he’s talking to on what day.

How did Michael R. Gordon escape? I believe C.I.'s charted that for some time. There are a number of reasons why he got off.

1) Bash the bitch.

As C.I.'s noted, this popular American past time allowed the focus to be solely on Judith Miller. She wasn't the only one lying in print or on air. Michael Gordon co-wrote her infamous aluminum tubes 'scoop' and he walked while she was nailed. Don't think for a moment it wasn't bash the bitch. Somewhere (with Beta I can't search the way I used to -- with The Common Ills going to beta) C.I. made the point that the game is why Janet Jackson got demonized for the torn top. If you remember, Jackson didn't tear her own shirt off. Justin Timberlake took part in that. But bash the bitch allows it to still be talked of with Jackson being taken to task and Timberlake getting a pass. Bash the bitch is most obvious whenever a man and a woman do the same thing and everyone focuses on the woman's actions. It's not criticizing women, bash the bitch is about a double standard where it's so 'fun' to go after women that the men are given a pass and ignored.

2) The Judith Miller saga has been rewritten.

Some of the earliest and strongest critques of her 'reporting' in the lead up to the war came from socialist publications. There's this notion that media critics were weighing in real time and a lot of them were not (mainstream media critics). Once the criticism started to build and pressure built, some people began to pay attention. But even so, let's remember, C.I.'s pointed this out, well after the war started, CJR (in their magazine) was referring to Miller as a credible reporter. CJR is Columbia Journalism Review and it's supposed to be a media watchdog.

When Miller finally began to get criticism from the watchdogs of mainstream media, most were barking extra loudly to catch up. By the time Miller's being asked to name her sources, she's a 'name' and a lot of people rush to play catch up. (We've seen something similar with regards to 2006 when, for the longest time, C.I. was the only one noting the trash Gordo was putting into print. There's probably confusion over his work now among some. As if the story Saturday was the first problem Gordo's had since Miller left the paper.) So a lot of people who weren't paying attention in real time suddenly rush to play catch up.

It's also true that a lot of lazy 'media critics' went around in 2006 name checking her and her 2002 and 2003 work which did give the implication that (a) she acted alone and (b) the biggest problems at the paper were gone. It was lazy and dishonest (and C.I. called it out in real time). Sometimes they had a new (but tired) book to plug, but there they were in 2006, brought on to discuss Iraq, and having very little to say about Iraq in 2006 (realities or press reports) and thinking they could turn the entire segment into "Judith Miller."

I'll leave it at that. There are other reasons, but those are the two biggest ones. I'll also note that Dexter Filkins was given a pass by our 'brave' watchdogs and, as C.I.'s pointed out for nearly three years now (longer in person, but I'm speaking of at The Common Ills), "If the Judith Millers got us over there, if, it's the Dexter Filkins that have kept us over there." That refers to his lies about the slaughter of Falluja (for which he won an award), that includes giving speeches while in the US about how Iraq had gone to hell (I'm not talking about the one in August, C.I.'s noted those speeches which were given on campuses) while still churning out his rah-rah press. By not admitting the truth in print, even after he was doing so on campuses across the country, by going back after that, back to Iraq, and still turning out his nonsense, he and people like him prolonged the war.

I think that's a really important point because Judith Miller's gone from the New York Times. Gordo's still there (Dexy's "honored" and now only does so from time to time). If The Lies of Judy were the only problem, America would have demanded a withdrawal years ago. Where were the media critics on Dexter Filkins?

"NYT: The soft porn of dizy Dexy" remains one of my favorites (it's very funny). But let's leave his bad reporting that the media critics didn't want to touch (they protect their own -- Judith Miller was hated, another reason she became the focus). Let's note three public details. 1) There was a complaint to the Guild resulting from Dexy's behavior in the Green Zone (which was a wee bit 'exotic' if the complaint was valid). 2) A mainstream reporter who was in Iraq came back and told the tale of how Dexy was all excited because he had an interview with the resistance. He mentioned it to the US military who gave him a dirty look and he cancelled the interview. (Think about that -- not only did he let his strings be pulled but he's telling the US military his plans for the day?) 3) Thomas E. Ricks, in the Washington Post, revealed that when the military had spin to sell, Dexy was there go to guy.

Any of the three should have resulted in people looking at his work, in media critics paying attention to it. Instead, they all took a pass.

Now the lies of Dexy (and others) helped many Americans believe the war was going well. You can't cover Iraq and the press and just focus on Miller. Her kind got the US over there, the Dexys kept the US there by lying to the American people and presenting these stories (if they weren't embed stories, they were heavily dependent upon stringers because the reporters largely stay in the Green Zone for their own safety -- a point everyone should have made clear but that didn't happen in the New York Times until 2006).

So all of that goes to answering MacArthur's question and until people take the above seriously, forget about stopping illegal wars. There will always be tricks, lies and stunts to get a nation into an illegal war. It's the lies, once the war starts, that will determine how long the people are fooled and Dexy stands high on the list of liars.

"Gordo's war-on, still dripping" contains C.I.'s critique of Saturday's story but C.I. didn't just wake up Saturday and start calling Gordo out. Nor did C.I. just note one pre-invasion problems with Gordo's 'reports'.

Please read Kat's "The Grammys" and Jenny e-mailed about Rebecca's "chomsky, robert parry, flashpoints, dixie chicks" wondering if I took the course Rebecca was writing about? No. We were both begged to (Rebecca really had a supreme crush on the guy she mentions) but I stuck to a schedule. C.I.'s attitude was always, "I'm paying for college, I'll take whatever I want." (A good attitude to have.) I heard about the excercise they did in that class in real time but had honestly forgotten about it until Rebecca wrote about last night. (It was many, many years ago.) I think she made wonderful points in her post. (If you haven't read it, she ties in the class excercise into the relationship, in Congress, of Democrats and Republicans.)

"Why We Are Striking" (Columbia Coalition Against the War, CounterPunch):
We, the Columbia Coalition Against the War, are staging a strike followed by a teach-in on February 15th, 2007. We are inviting the entire Columbia community, including students, faculty, staff, and the administration, to join us in publicly and actively opposing the unjust War in Iraq.
We call upon the people of this country-especially our generation-to shoulder the responsibility of bringing an immediate end to this war.
This unjust war began without provocation and continues despite the opposition of the vast majority of American and Iraqi people. This war, criminal in its violation of the Geneva Conventions, has resulted in a catastrophic loss of life-3,300 coalition troops and over 655,000 of our Iraqi brothers and sisters. In the name of this war, and the "war on terror," there has been a broad assault on our civil liberties including the violation of habeas corpus, condoning of torture, and rampant racism against Arabs and Muslims. This war has made the world less safe, and less free.
We strongly encourage the students of Columbia to walk out of classes in opposition to this war. We call on the faculty and administration to set aside business as usual, join our strike, and issue statements of support. Columbia, as a global university, has a responsibility to take a proactive stance against this illegal war.

C.I. passed that on and didn't have time for it in the snapshot. Let's recap the previous three weeks of the C.I. schedule (and Ava and Jess have been on all three as well): DC, Texas, Tacoma. This was supposed to be the relax week. But Monday afternoon, that changed (as it usually does) and now C.I.'s back out on the road again. Dona and Jim are on this trip as well and one of the things they are talking about is the student strike. I admire the dedication but I hope next week is a stay-at-home week without any travel.

I will be going on the (planned) Texas trip. (The trip after DC wasn't planned ahead of time. It was spur of the moment due to the fact that Billie and other Texas members where in DC and their stories had made Ava and Jess curious about Texas.) I need that kind of notice (it's next month) to be able to clear my appointment schedule. I know we'll be going to the Dallas-Fort Worth area (members from that area breathe a sigh of relief that I termed it properly). I also know we'll be doing East Texas. I think Houston and Austin are also on the agenda. I mention that because Eddie e-mailed wondering if I was a part of the trip (I believe everyone doing a site is) and if there were any firm plans? I think the plans are being firmed up by Dona in terms of where on what day. She's offered to handle that so I'm sure it will go very smoothly (she's very efficient). Mike's really looking forward to it (I am as well, but he's really excited about it). Rebecca will be there for at least part of it unless there's an issue with travel. What she and Flyboy are planning to do is to drive. They have a number of friends in states in between so they're planning it as a two or three week trip. Her doctor has already signed off on it. So, barring any problems, she will be there as well.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
February 13, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; will it expand into Iran?; a new poll finds most Americans aren't please with Bully Boy but Congress shouldn't breathe easy, and a war resister prepares for a court-martial next week.

Starting with news of war resistance,
on August 31st of last year, at Camp Casey III, Mark Wilkerson turned himself in. Wilkerson had served in Iraq, applied for conscientious objector status, had the status denied and told that he could not appeal the decision until after he had served his second deployment in Iraq. While on leave before his second deployment, Wilkerson decided to self-check out of the military. He was gone for approximately a year and a half and then, on August 31st, held a press conference with Cindy Sheehan and others standing with him to announce he was turning himself in. Ryan (Indybay IMC) reports that Wilkerson will be court-martialed at Fort Hood (Texas) on February 22nd. Dick Foster (Rocky Mountain News) reports: "As part of his plea agreement with the Army, Wilkerson will serve not more than 10 months in prison. But he also faces a possible dishonorable or bad conduct discharge and a felony conviction on his record." Reflecting on his time serving in Iraq, Wilkerson wrote (last October): "Before I deployed to Iraq during OIF1, I was full of optimism for what we could do to help the people of Iraq. One of our missions, after all, was to 'win the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people.' And in this reagard, we have failed miserably. In the year I was in Iraq, I saw kids waving American flags in the first month. Then they threw rocks. Then they planeted IEDs. Then they blew themselves and others up in city squares full of people. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why this has happened is the way the American troops have treated the Iraqi people as a whole. From random raids of whole city blocks, to checkpoints that interrupted the daily lives of the Iraqis, to incidents of torture and even massacres, a majority of Iraqis now feel as that the American soliders, once hailed as heroes and saviors, are now seen as conquerors. Civil was has erupted in the streets, and Americans are caught in the crossfire."

Turning to the topic of
Ehren Watada whose court-martial at Fort Lewis last week ended with a mistrial, Ann Wright (retired col., retired State Dept., writing at Truthout) notes: "The US Army prosecution called only three witnesses to meet its burden of providing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Lieutenant Watada had failed to deploy to Iraq and had committed conduct 'unbecoming an officer' for public statements about the war on Iraq he made in June and August 2006. Ironically, in my opinion, the testimony of the prosecution witnesses underscored Lieutenant Watada's professionalism, dedication to duty and respect for the chain of command as he attempted to resolve his ethical and moral concerns about the war. In effect, prosecution witnesses undercut the prosecution's own case against Watada before the jury panel of seven US Army officers." The prosecution bungled their case. Instead of allowing it to continue and risk the military losing, Judge Toilet (Lt. Col. John Head) declared a mistrial. Wright concludes: "As an old soldier with nearly three decades of service, I suggest that the 'good order and discipline' of the Army has not been negatively affected by Lieutenant Watada's actions. Until his unit deployed to Iraq on June 22, Watada had not disobeyed an order from his command. He did not go AWOL. After he was charged, he worked professionally and diligently everyday while awaiting his court-martial. I urge the Army to let the lieutenant, who has acted in good faith, with courtesy and respect for the military and responsibility for his oath to the military and to the country, resign." The Journal News reports that Vietnam war resister David Mitchell (Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice) will speak Tuesday night at 7:00 pm about what he observed while attending Watada's court-martial last week. The location for the speech is the Fellowship of Reconciliation at 521 North Broadway in Upper Nyack.

Watada and Wilkerson are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, 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, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey 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.


CBS and AP report: "A suicide truck bomber blew himself up near a college and a ration office in a mainly Shiite area of the capital Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, officials said, a day after car bombs devastated a Baghdad marketplace." Reuters reports the count of those dead rose to 18 and that 40 are wounded. CNN reports a car bombinb ("outside a bakery in southereatern Baghdad") that left four dead.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that 28 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that three corpses were found in Mahmudiya.

And today, the
US military announced: "A soldier assigned to Multi-National Force-West was killed Sunday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

Meanwhile the crackdown gets a curfew -- another curfew. David Chazan, reporting for
BBC News, noted the latest curfew announcement from Iraqi Lt. Gen Abboud Gambar: "A curfew on people and vehicles will be imposed at a day to be announced soon around Baghdad security zone. This curfew will be effective from 20:00 to 06:00 local time." Chazan: "The curfews have been tried before and they haven't freed the capital from sectarian violence. This time the borders with Iran and Syria will be closed for at least three days."

Turning to the subject of Iran,
Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported that "Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that he has no information indicating Iran's government is directly the supply of lethat weapons to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq" -- Pace: "We know that the explosively formed projecticles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows abou this. It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

Various people in the administration and
war pornographer Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times are pushing a link that has not been established as existing. Dennis Bernstein discussed this with Robert Parry and Larry Everest on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday. Parry: "One has to remember some of the ludicrous stories that Judy Miller of the New York Times published -- including some on the front page of the New York Times which were, in retrospect, laughable. But they're not laughable because they led to the death of so many people." Parry also noted some of the phoney claims used to market the illegal war on Iraq such as: "remember he was going to spray us, he was supposed to have these model planes that were going to fly over the United States spraying us with poisonous gasses." Everest and Parry discussed the likelihood that Bully Boy will attempt to strike Iran, possibly in April, possibly by forcing them to make the first move or possibly after Israel initiates an attack.

John R. MacArthur (Harper's magazine) spoke with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! today noting the 'repoting' on Iran: "And the most damning ommission in the story, if you want to talk about overall perspective, is complete lack of perspective on who's fighting whom, who's shooting at whom in Iraq? Does the Iranian government really have an interest in destabilizing what's now a Shi'ite dominated government? Doesn't make any sense -- if it does make sense to the administration, that the Iranians want to destabilize a Shi'ite-dominated government, when they're a Shi'ite rule nation, then they should explain it. But there's no logic to it, and there's just this massive ommission."

Susan Page (USA Today) reports on the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll which found "six in 10 oppose President Bush's plan to use more troops" in Iraq and that "Seven of 10 say their representative's vote on the war will affect their vote in the next congressional election; more than four in 10 call it a major factor." Where is the New York Times poll on this topic? While other outlets have been providing their polling results for over two months now, the paper of record has been strangely silent.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Anthony Arnove, Patrick Cockburn, Isaiah

To the left is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Go Flush Yourself" which features Ehren Watada and, presiding over the court-martial, Lt. Col. John Head better known as Judget Toilet. Sunny gave me the low down on the trip today during lunch and it sounds like it was very exciting. I wish I could've joined everyone but I'm so glad she (and her fiance) got to go. This was important and she enjoyed showing her support for Watada and hanging out with everyone. She also enjoyed speaking but still doesn't believe that she was that good at. She spoke twice. Cedric, Wally, C.I. , Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava, Mike and Kat all told me Sunny did an amazing job and I'm sure she did.

I'll post another comic by Isaiah tomorrow. Rebecca and I both worked on it Saturday in Photoshop. I have no idea why the color shows up green where it should be yellow. The scan he e-mailed is fine. It's something to do with Flickr. He's also going to attempt different types of paper. (The one I'm highlighting today was drawn on onion skin.) Flickr is the program the photos/images, et al are posted on.

"A Conversation with Anthony Arnove: 'You Can't Oppose the War and Fund the War'" (Kevin Zeese, CounterPunch):
KZ: You point to five ingredients that led to the end of the Vietnam War:
1. Mass resistance of the Vietnamese people.2. Resistance of US soldiers and veterans.3. Domestic opposition to the war at home.4. International opposition to the war around the world.5. The growing economic consequences of the war undermining the US economy
Do you see those same ingredients being required and/or sufficient to ending the Iraq occupation? How do they apply to the current war?
AA: None of these elements alone ended the Vietnam War or are sufficient today to end this one, but all of these dynamics already have effected the course of this war and could lead to U.S. withdrawal.
To take them in turn, it is clear that a majority of Iraqis oppose the occupation and want to see U.S. troops leave. Attacks on U.S. troops are increasing rather than decreasing, and the resistance in Iraq, far from being only Sunni or foreign-led is widespread and popular. Clear majorities of Shias, as well as Sunnis, want an end to foreign occupation.
Today, we see U.S. soldiers speaking out against this war and organizing against it far earlier than we did during the Vietnam War. Conscientious objectors and war resisters such as Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, and Ehren Watada, veterans groups such as IVAW, military families organizing against the war, and counter-recruitment groups have begun to have a real impact. The military is falling short of its recruitment goals. A Zogby poll last year showed that 72 percent of U.S. active duty troops in Iraq wanted to lave Iraq by the end of 2006 year, and 29 percent wanted to leave immediately, which is remarkable. Instead, we see 21,500 more troops being sent and people's tours of duty being extended to their third, fourth, or even fifth deployment. In effect, reservists are being subjected to a backdoor draft. (For more on the Vietnam era soldiers' revolt, there are two invaluable resources, the new documentary "
Sir! No Sir!" -- -- and the recently updated edition of David Cortright's Soldiers in Revolt.)
Meanwhile, at home, public opinion has turned solidly against the war, again at an earlier stage than happened during the Vietnam War. The U.S. every day is growing more isolated in its continued occupation, with a number of countries voting out prowar governments and the partners of the so-called Coalition of the Willing dwindling. The costs of the war have mounted to the point that some economic elites and also military planners are speaking out about the harm the occupation is causing to perceived U.S. economic and military interests. This opens cracks that the antiwar movement needs to use to raise issues that the corporate establishment media otherwise would ignore.
Much more needs to be done, however, to raise the costs of this war. Much more is at stake for the United States in Iraq today than was at stake in Vietnam. Iraq is far more strategic a prize. Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves and in a region with the majority of oil and natural gas reserves, as well as access to crucial trade routes. Iraqi crude is also of very high quality, is easy to extract, and is exceptionally profitable -- at a time when each barrel of oil is getting more costly and difficult to extract from the earth than the ones before.
If the United States were defeated in Iraq, it would be a major reversal, and would affect Washington's ability to intervene economically, politically, and militarily in the affairs of other countries around the world. So we will have to do much more than we have done to mobilize opposition at home, to encourage and support soldiers who are speaking out, to disrupt recruitment for the military, to confront the warmongers and the media that have protected them from full scrutiny, to pressure the Congress to cut off funding for the war, and to make connections between the war with other social struggles in this country, of working and poor people, of immigrants, of people concerned about civil liberties, and other people fighting attacks on their communities. So much is at stake, not just for the people of Iraq, but for people in this country -- and throughout the world.

Anthony Arnove is the author of IRAQ: The Logic for Withdrawal. He's actually written other books as well and I think he's on the board of ISR (which I intend to add to my blogroll tonight but I'm tired so it may be tomorrow). He's an important voice worth listening to (and then some) and if "BE HONEST" knew his work, she might have been less likely to play school marm on a topic she so obviously knows nothing about. Community members sent C.I. a plethora of highlights from CounterPunch and Arnove (and Missy Comley Beattie) got highlighted. I enjoy the writing of both but C.I.'s not going to pass up on Arnove and Comley Beattie is a trusted voice to the community. So those two got highlighted and the rest were distributed to us based on our interests. (I am a big supporter of Patrick Cockburn's work. He was slid over and I'll be noting one of those two pieces tonight.)

Arnove is a voice calling for withdrawal and, despite what "BE HONEST" thinks, he is one of many calling for withdrawal that doesn't think withdrawal means instant peace in Iraq. As he has long pointed out, the US is breeding the resistance. Until the US withdraws, they fuel the violence. When they withdraw, he has been very upfront about this, things will be rocky but the Iraqis will have to determine their way -- not a way imposed upon them, which isn't democracy.

I hope you've read his book (I know most community members have, it ranked in the top ten picks for 2006). But he is a strong voice for withdrawal and he has not sugar coated what will happen after. In the snapshot (it'll be at the end), C.I. notes Arnove's comments on Antonia Juhasz and Naomi Klein and those are two voices who also don't pretend that daisies and group hugs will be the order of the day in Iraq immediately following withdrawal. I have no idea where "BE HONEST" got her information (possibly from the magazine she writes for which does a half-assed -- and that's being generous -- job coverirng Iraq).

"An Interview with Patrick Cockburn: Bush Surge Means More Horrors in Iraq" (Lee Sustar, CounterPunch):
THE MASSACRE of 260 people near Najaf in southern Iraq on January 29 was first portrayed as a highly successful U.S.-Iraqi joint military action. But growing numbers of reporters in Iraq have uncovered evidence contradicting the official story--that the attack was on a breakaway Shiite sect allegedly bent on attacking mainstream Shias during a religious pilgrimage.
Instead, it appears that the majority of those killed were members of the al-Hawatim tribe based in the area, who happened to be in the way of a police crackdown on the religious sect. Most of the dead were victims of U.S. air strikes called in by Iraqi government forces.
PATRICK COCKBURN is the Iraq correspondent for Britain's Independent newspaper, a contributor to CounterPunch and author of
The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq, which is a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award as the best nonfiction book of 2006. He was the first Western journalists to investigate and challenge the official story over the killings in Najaf.
* * *
THE U.S. media account of the massacre in Iraq increasingly diverges from the account given by you and some others on the ground in Iraq. What happened?
THE GOVERNOR of Najaf, who's a leader of SCIRI--the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq--originally said that the battle was with members of a religious sect about to attack Shias.
But he recently gave an interview to the news agency of his own party--a pretty obscure outfit--saying that the authorities had moved against this religious "cult" to enforce a court order of two weeks earlier. This is completely different from everything he said previously.
My suspicion is that they had planned a quite minor police action against this group outside Najaf, who they didn't like for religious reasons.
They chose an incredibly bad moment, before the Shia ritual of Ashura, when the roads are filled with pilgrims walking on foot. There were various other people in the area--notably the al-Hawatim tribe, who had 200 people caught up in the fighting, and a lot of them were killed.
What I also find pretty disgusting about all this is that nobody seems to
ask--even supposing the official story were true--why it was necessary to kill 260 people from the air.
Secondly, the people who were doing the killing--the U.S. Air Force--don't seem to know who they were dropping bombs on. They haven't said anything, so it's unclear.
Yes, there was a religious group there. But nobody from this religious group planned to do anything. What the authorities in Najaf were saying originally was that this group was planning a great raid on Najaf and was going to kill all the religious leaders and so forth. But now they seem to have retreated from that, and they admit that it was they themselves who took the initiative.

Patrick Cockburn is also the uncle of Laura Flanders and the brother of Alexander Cockburn (I'l excerpt Alexander Cockburn tomorrow). He is an unembedded reporter and there are not many of those who cover Iraq for English publications (English writing? English written publications?). There are a number of unembeddeds who cover it for Middle Eastern publications and for Asian publications.

He has covered it from the start and has seen the situation on the ground go to pieces with each month, with each day. He's spoken of how he has to zip in and out these days because it is so unsafe. When he goes to the scene of violence, he gets his information, his quotes and gets out because it's too dangerous. He is not a Green Zoner living on crumbs handed him by stringers while he rewrites wire reports and round sthem out with the crumbs -- the way a number in a villa do unless they have a military escort (apparently the bodyguards with black T-shirts and guns aren't enough for safety). (If that seems rude, the reality is that many American journalists chose not to venture out when Iraq was much safer -- or safer than it is today.)

The Najaf slaughter is something he, Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily have reported on but you haven't heard much about it at the New York Times. It was a slaughter. C.I. sent out an e-mail to everyone doing sites saying "I'm calling it a slaughter and when the snapshots start up" (the e-mail went out on Sunday, the snapshots run Monday through Friday) "I'm calling it that in there as well. If you're uncomfortable with that, feel free to pull it but, do yourself a favor and do not accept the version of events that are coming out because they're wrong." All I needed was "I'm calling it a slaughter" (I would assume that's true of everyone, but that's all I needed).
But, unlike the community, the mainstream press ran with the 'cult' story and there's really been no correction to that even though that cover story long ago fell apart.

I think Alexader Cockburn's piece I'm excerpting from tomorrow singles out Marc Santora. Santora actually did do a piece where he noted how little was known (but showed deferrence to "officials"). He did not, however, follow up on that. So if you read the Times and nothing else, you have no idea, to this day, the reality of what happened. If you read the Cockburns (Alexender and Patrick -- and it's pronounced "Co-burn"), Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily, you know the reality.

That's an important point to me and the reason why is that if you're informed or trying to be, you may not grasp the huge gulf between yourself and others who just follow the mainstream. It's why, this gulf, that Congress can waste everyone's time with symbolic actions. The Democrats weren't handed control to take symbolic actions, they were handed control of Congress to take action.

So, when you read something by those four or other strong writers trying to get the truth out, I hope you're sharing it with friends. The sooner people wake up to the realites, the number cheering symbolic actions will weaken.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, February 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the US military has a show & tell; Kelly Dougherty shares what she saw during the court-martial of
Ehren Watada last week; in Baghdad, nearly 100 are reported dead and nearly 200 are reported wounded in an attack utilizing multiple bombs;

Starting with
Ehren Watada. In June 2006, Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, Watada faced a court-martial that lasted from Monday through Friday. Kelly Dougherty (Iraq Veteranst Against the War) reports what she observed noting that the prosecutions witnesses' testimony backed up Watada:

What actually happened, though, was that Lt. Watada's two commanders each testified that Lt. Watada's unit was not negatively impacted by his public statements and that Lt Watada's unit was not negatively impacted by his public statements and that Lt Watada was never ordered not to go public with his opposition to the war. Furthermore, all three men testified that if an officer is given an order he believes to be illegal, in this case participating in the occupation of Iraq, he is obligated to refuse it. Even if the order is found to be legal, all men agreed that they would not expect an officer to act in a manner that violates his conscience.

On Judge Toilet (aka Lt. Col. John Head) and his "Winken, Blinken, and Nod" to the prosecution as Toilet began floating the idea of a mistrail,
Dougherty recalls:

It appeared to me, though, that Judge Head really wanted the prosecution to agree with him that the stipulation Lt. Watada signed was indeed a guilty confession and therefore he did not need to testify at all. When the prosecution agreed with the defense, the judge gave them a 15 minute recess to think things over. Afterwards, when the prosecution still agreed that Lt Watada had not made a confession and should take the stand, the judge gave them another recess. He said he'd give them 40 minutes, but if they needed more time to just let him know. Judge Head also made it clear that if the prosecution did not return with the answer he wanted, he would declare a mistrial. From a layperson's point of view, it seemed like the judge waas to prosecute the government's case himself. After the repeated recesses, the judge did declare a mistrial, Lt Watada never testified, and the case was rescheduled for March 19, or the fourth anniversary of the war. That was a surprise ending that none of us attending the court martial expected.

Ruth's Report and The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: The court-martial is over" addressed the mistrial and what it means for Ehren Watada.

Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, 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, Matt Lowell 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.

Currently facing a court-martial (March 6th) is
Agustin Aguayo who self-checked out of the military in September of last year and returned less than thirty days later (September 2nd through September 26th) but is being charged with desertion. Stars and Stripes reported last week that Aguayo's is prepared "to plead guilty to being absent without leave, but not to a more serious charge of desertion" and notes that "Desertion charges are typically not filed unless a servicemember has been AWOL for more than 30 days, though there are provisions for the more serious charge during times of war, officials have said." As the military moves to court-martial him (in Germany) a civilian court still hasn't weighed in. On November 21, 2006, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC heard Aguayo's appeal and they have yet to issue a ruling on the validity of his being denied c.o. status. Aaron Glantz noted (November 20, 2006 broadcast of The KPFA Evening News) that Aguayo's case is the first of it's kind hear in "a federal court since 1971". If the prosecution sticks with the desertion charge and if Aguayo is found guilty, he could face as many as seven years behind bars.
Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, has not only spoken out for her husband but for other war resisters as well. Most recently,
Jason Farbman and Sam Bernstein (Socialist Worker) reported on Helga Aguayo addressing Watada supporters in Tacoma the day before Watada's court-martial began: "All war resisters should be supported. They will ultimately bring an end to the war." Jeff Paterson reported that she was there with their two children and her mother-in-law. Someone who knows something about marriage to a war resister was honored at the Grammys yesterday with a lifetime achievement award, Joan Baez. From 1968 to 1973, Baez was married to David Harris who was convicted of draft refusal and impisoned from 1969 to 1971. During that time, along with speaking out and activism, Baez wrote "A Song for David" (One Day at a Time):

And the stars in your sky
Are the stars in mine
And both prisoners
Of this life are we.
Through the same troubled waters
We carry our time,
You and the convicts and me.
That's a good thing to know
On the outside or in,
To answer not where
But just who I am.
Because the stars in your sky
Are the stars in mine
And both prisoners
Of this life are we.

Another woman who knows about marriage to a war resister is Brandi Key, the wife of Joshua Key. Joshua Key's book
The Deserter's Tale documents his time serving in Iraq, what he witnessed and why he decided to self-check out. Nathan Whitlock (Toronto Star) reviews the book: "In 2003, Key spent seven months in Iraq, raiding the houses of Iraqi families, driving in heavily armed motorcades through hostile neighbourhoods, fighting an enemy that could attack and disappear at will, and watching with growing despair as his fellow soldiers, his army and, by extension, his country, abandoned all moral legitimacy. At the end of that seven months, Key walked away, going AWOL and going underground with his young family before eventually crossing the border into Canada in search of a new life. . . . The turning point for Key comes when he arrives at the scene of a supposed firefight, only to discover a group of U.S. soldiers kicking around the heads of Iraqi men like soccer balls. [Joshua Key:] 'We had become a force for evil, and I could not escape the fact that I was part of the machine'."

And the machine grinds on.

In Iraq? Well just Sunday the US military flacks and leadership were yet again bragging -- they'd begun their sweep, this version of the crackdown was going to do the trick. They spun and they spun and
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Damien Cave (New York Times) showed up in print with talk of "large-scale sweeps expected in eastern Baghdad". Someone forgot to tell central Baghdad. Devika Bhat (Times of London) reports that "two busy market areas in central Baghdad" wre the target of a bombing attack today. Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports mulitple explosions. Al Jazeera notes: "A column of smoke hundreds of feet wide billowed into the air above the market near the east bank of the Tigris river and near the central bank building." AFP reports: "The blasts were timed to mark the end of a national 15-minute silence called by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on the first anniversary of the demolition of a Shiite shrine by Sunni bombers that unleased a wave of sectarian attacks."
CNN says it was "[f]ive explosions". Bushra Juih (AP) notes three car bombs and a bombing detonaed by a man wearing it ("explosives-filled vest) which, combined, resulted in massive destruction, "[s]hops and stalls were obliterated," "debris and clothing mannequins were scattered in pools of blood on the floor of the warehouse-type building while men piled up plastic chairs". CBS and AP note Lara Logan, CBS News, "reports the parking structure was still ablaze nearly three hours after the initial explosion, and she says the death toll is likely to continue rising." CBS and AP also note "conflicting accounts about whether one or two car bombs were involved" and "a bomb hidden in a bag". BBC puts the number at three (two car bombs and a parcel bomb). Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) quotes eye witness Wathiq Ibrahim: "I saw three bodies shredded apart. Paramedics were picking up body pieces and human flesh from the pools of blood on the ground and placing them in small plastic bags. The smoke turned the place dark." CNN puts the toll thus far at 90 dead and 190 wounded.

Other bombings?

Reuters notes a bombing in nothern Baghdad that left two dead and five wounded. CNN notes four dead as a result of a car bomb in Mandali.


Reuters reports that the body guard of "an Interior Ministry employee" was shot dead in Baghdad and another was wounded and that "a primary school guard in Central Kut" was shot dead. CNN notes a person shot dead and two more wounded when their car was attacked in Muqdadiya.


Reuters reports 32 discovered in "scattered" in Baghdad, the corpse of a police officer ("bearing signs of torture") discovered in Falahiya, three corpses discovered in Mosul.

The above comes as the
Red Cross Federation has issued an appeal: "In order to bring emergency relief goods to 50,00 socially vunlerable families (some 300,000 people), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal for 10.3 million Swiss francs (USD 8.3 million/6.4 million pounds). These funds are also meant to cover the health needs of 150,000 people for 12 months. 'This appeal is also meant to help the Iraqi Red Crescent continue to provide vital assistance in emergency relief and health care to the most vulnerable groups of the population throughout the country,' underlines Ahmed Gizo, Head of the Middle East/ North African Department at the Federation Secretariat in Genevea. 'They are the only ones who can still do this and it is essential they pursue this mission.' Electricity shortages, insufficient clean water, a deteriorating health service and soaring inflation (more than 76% in August 2006) have worsened already difficult living conditions. According to the UN, more than 630,000 people have been displaced since February 2006. In this context of violence and insecurity, the need for non-food items has become almost as important as food. This appeal will finance the delivery of items including clothing and cloth, blankets, kitchen utensils, stoves, jerricans, mattresses and tends to families considered socially vulnerable, because they do not have an income provider, or shelter or have very little income. Appeal funds will also be used to train more than 2,000 IRCS staff and volunteers as well as 46,000 school children in first aid, and will support four rounds of national polio immunization campaigns for 100,00 children under five years old."

Anthony Arnove (author of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) noted to Kevin Zeese (CounterPunch), "Iraqis are far more likely to die violently in Iraq today than they were under the dictatorship" and, keep in the mind the appeal of the Red Cross Federation and what that money would be going for (money the US government should be providing), "In terms of how things will be once the U.S. withdraws, each day longer the United States stays, the possibilities of a livable outcome diminish. Which is why, in addition to pushing for immediate withdrawal, we also need to call on the United States and its allies to pay reparations to the Iraqi people (not just for the destruction caused by the most recent illegal invasion and occupation but before that the devastating sanctions, the toxic legacy and destruction of the 1991 Gulf War, and all the years that the U.S. armed and supported Saddam Huessein as he carried out his worst crimes). They can do a far better job rebuilding their country than the corporate looters and thugs of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater can." The Red Cross and Red Crescent are attempting to provide aid, the question is why the United States isn't?

noted Antonia Juhasz's work on the economic war on Iraq and Arnove replied: "The economic take-over of Iraq absolutely should be reversed. Antonia Juhasz is right, as Naomi Klein, who has also written very powerfully on this topic. Klein writes: 'The United States, having broken Iraq, is not in the process of fixing it. It is merely continuing to break the country and its people by other means, using not only F-16s and Bradleys, but now the less flashy weaponry' of economic strangulation. We need to call for an end to military and ecnomic occupation, as well as the removal of U.S. military bases."

Meanwhile, today, the
US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Corps-Iraq, died February 11, 2007 in a non-combat related incident" and they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died when insurgentstargeted a security patrol in a western segment of the Iraqi capital Feb. 11. While conducting a cordon and search operation, the patrol came under enemysmall arms fire. One Soldier was killed and another was wounded in the attack."

The question of the day: Have you enlisted in the whisper campaign? Serial war whisperer and pathetic war pornographer Michael Gordon is back -- and apparently he's stolen his former co-writer Judith Miller's wardrobe.
As noted Saturday: "Looking at today's New York Times, Michael R. Gordon shows up in drag. It's a wig with pixie bangs and you keep waiting for him to (falsely) snarl, 'I was proved f**king right.' The propaganda is entitled "Deadliest Bomb In Iraq Is Made By Iran, U.S. Says." He's jetted over to DC, the byline tells you. And he barely stumbled across the runway in high heels before anonymice descended upon him with breathy whispers. They offer him "details" and we're all supposed to buy in.That requires forgetting previous 'scoops' like September 8, 2002's 'U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts.' He co-wrote that planted story with the help of Judith Miller. How freeing it must be (like ditching a girdle?) to get the byline all to himself. The war pornography of Michael Gordon tells us one thing today -- the blood letting in Iraq is no longer enough to get his war-on up (what ever is?) and now he's signed on to sell the American people a war with Iran."

Where stenography and pornography mix, there is Michael Gordon -- and where there is Michael Gordon there is a (false) story the administration wants told. Saturday, on
RadioNation with Laura Flanders jokingly wondered if Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller could be the same person?

As the disbelief and ridicule piled on and realizing that Gordo's leaky war-on might not be the best way to frighten the public (can you be frightened while laughing?), the US military held a super-secret, fudge brownie meeting with reporters on Sunday. The reporters were not allowed to identify anyone -- though all the unnamed are on the government payroll and supposedly working for the US tax payer. They skipped the coldcuts and instead made the spread all about E.F.P.s (explosively formed penetrators") and insisted that the devices were from Iran.

Tina Susman and Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) note there were "two tables laden with what they said were uniquely Iranian military hardware and weapons fragments." James Glanz (New York Times) reports: "The officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter affecting the security of American and Iraqi troops." Best non-answer? One of those participating couldn't have if it was required that reporters identify government employees making claims that could lead to a war. Glanz noted the "evidence" was known of "as early as 2004" Susman and Daragahi report: "The officials said each piece of the displayed hardware could be traced to Iran, though to the untrained eye, there were no obvious Iranian markings other than that on dynamite. Some of the munitions bore Western lettering." Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes the response from the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad: "We deny such charges. We ask those who are claiming such evidence: Show the documents in public. We cannot compensate for the American failure and fiasco in Iraq. It is not our policy to be involved in any hostile operations against coalition forces here" and that Labeed M. Abbawi (deputy foreign minister in Iraq) echoed that: "If they have anything really conclusive, then they should come out and say it openly, then we will pick it up from there and use diplomatic channels".

In the US Congress, the House of Representatives have begun a non-binding resolution. The first half is the generic statement. The gums (no teeth) is in the second part: "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007 to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq." Of the resolution,
Susan Cornwell (Reuters) reports that "the House is expected to vote on [it] Friday".

Finally, at yesterday's Grammys, the Dixie Chicks received five awards. Next month would be the four year anniversary of the attack on the Chicks that began when Natalie Maines spoke a little truth Bully Boy and his bully posse couldn't handle. Radio programmers pulled the group's songs, hate mail and death threats in, the right-wing phone banked to create an impression that the Dixie Chicks stood alone. As
Geoff Boucher (Los Angeles Times) notes, their performance of "Not Ready To Make Nice" was introduced by Joan Baez who hailed them as "three brave women." They won for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Album, Album of the Year and Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire were supposed to be "dead" career wise after the bullies came running. Just one more plan the right-wing couldn't pull off.