Saturday, September 30, 2006

Darrell Anderson, Iraq, Jim McGreevey

Saturday and Rebecca, Elaine and I are all blogging today. Despite the plan to knock out quick posts last night. That's because last night's group was just too good. It ended around eleven-thirty but people hung around talking and it was probably after one before it was really over. There's just so much to talk about. I don't believe the nonsense that people don't care about Iraq and what happens because I see too many people who do and there was so much to discuss last night.

See the painting of Darrell Anderson? He comes back today. From Canada. Be sure to talk about that today. We were talking about it last night and how important it is for everyone to know about this, to talk about this and to get the word out on it. His actions matter. Make sure you do your part to get the word out on war resisters.

You can read more about him in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You" and at Courage to Resist. Maybe on Monday this will get some attention? I didn't see much on Anderson this week (and what I did see, I'd usually see in C.I.'s snapshots). It's up to us to create excitement and get the word out. Don't let him down.

Briefly, when I defended Jim McGreevey awhile back, I got some e-mails on that. Some were people going, "What are you gay?" No, but I can relate to his story and I think most guys can if they think about it. It's got a sexuality element, absolutely. But it's also got the fact that guys are conditioned to play certain roles by society. And guys should be able to relate to that aspect. It's easier for those of us my age compared to his age but it still exists.

McGreevey was raised in a time when gay was considered a mental illness and worse. So he covered up/denied his sexuality. That explains why it was hard for him and others his age (though not all) to admit they were gay to themselves. But there's another issue too and that's the issue of 'manhood' and what we're told we have to do and what we have to be. I think all guys should be able to relate to that. (I also think it's not hard to relate to the other aspect as well, the sexuality, unless you're someone who doesn't think about sex or someone who gets the heebies jeebies about sex.)

But Leigh Ann had a point in an e-mail she wrote and I passed it on to Nina to get her thoughts just for private. She agrees with Leigh Ann and said I could note it here. Leigh Ann thinks that I relate to McGreevey because he was married (twice) and engaged in relationships on the side. She's drawing a comparison between his actions and the fact that I'm not with Elaine and arguing that I wanted to be with Elaine while I was dating Nina.

That was Nina's concern while we were dating and that is what Nina believes. So Leigh Ann and Nina may be right but I don't think so. I didn't even think about Elaine in that way while I was with Nina because I had no reason to. But if it turns out that they're both right and I'm wrong, cool, that's one more way that McGreevey's story is relatable.

Jim McGreevey isn't an alien. There was a friend of C.I.'s who's a journalist and told me that my thing was kind of reflected in the people that show up for book signings and that the journalist was surprised by that. People shouldn't be surprised by it. This idea that he's "just gay" is an easy cop out. Who he sleeps with matters to him and needs to be noted because no one should have to hide their sexuality. It's part of who he is and part of his story. But there are other parts of his story too and they go beyond gay.

I keep saying that guys should be able to relate (and they should be) but it should be the same for a lot of women, they're not living in a world without societal pressure or in a world that doesn't try to dictate the roles they play.

I don't want to suggest that his being gay doesn't matter because I've said stuff like that before myself. And I really think, looking back, that those kind of statements aren't helpful. "It doesn't matter that he's gay." Yes, it does. It matters the same way anyone's relationships matter. It's who he is and I think about those kind of statements and about my high school teammate who came out after we all graduated and wonder if those kind of statements (I'm sure I made them around him when I didn't know he was gay) made it worse?

"It doesn't matter that he's gay." Yes, it does and saying otherwise could sound like you're saying, "Talk about something else." McGreevey's gay and that's part of his story and hopefully people will relate or be interested in that part because it's different from their own life. But it's one part of the story and another part is the fact that he played a role he was expected to play and that's something that a lot of people should be able to relate to.

I only know about him through the Oprah episode and the news when he came out. I did get his book but haven't had time to read it yet. (I've got stuff to read for classes and other things right now so I'm hoping to read it when we get the Thanksgiving break.) So I can't vouch for his life story in terms of everything he ever did. But he seems to me like a pretty cool guy and I think he's done something brave which is another way people should be able to relate him.

Nina really doesn't want to be talked about here and doesn't want our breakup talked about. But she did agree with Leigh Ann's e-mail (and I figured she would) so thanks to her for letting me talk about it here.

Four things real quick. Betty's "Islam and the Dope (Thomas Friedman)" is her latest chapter, C.I. filled in at Kat's site last night with "Iraq and students (C.I.)," Wally's "THIS JUST IN! INTERN SCANDAL!" & Cedric's "Foley Speaks about the Intern scandal (humor)" joint-post is a must read.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot :"

Friday, September 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the British military officers say out-of-Iraq, Medea Benjamin asks are you willing to "Give Peace a Vote"?,
is the US military writing off Al-Anbar Province, and tomorrow war resister Darrell Anderson is set to return to the United States.
CBC reports that, after eighteen months in Canada, war resister Darrell Anderson is readying for his journey home with his wife, Gail Greer, stating, "He needs to be home. This is not his home." [Note: CBC continues to list his wife as "Gail Green." US news outlets, other Canadian outlets and her film credits list her as "Gail Greer." If Gail Greer is not the correct name, we'll note that in a future snapshot.] Darrell Anderson was wounded by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the US military and, as Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and others during this illegal war, head to Canada. Once there, he applied for legal status but, as with other war resisters, the government did not grant asylum. (This in marked contrast to Canada's actions during the Vietnam era.) Anita Anderson, his mother, tells CBC "there is no front line" in Iraq and that soldiers "are not supposed to be fighting this fight of war." If not arrested Saturday when he returns, Darrell Anderson intends to drive to Fort Knox where he will turn himself in. Information on Darrell Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Meanwhile, in England,
Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports: "Senior military officers have been pressing the government to withdraw British troops from Iraq and concentrate on what they now regard as a more worthwhile and winnable battleground in Afghanistan. They believe there is a limit to wath British soldiers can achieve in southern Iraq and that it is time the Iraqis took responsiblity for their own security, defence sources say." The report comes as Bonnie Malkin (Guardian of London) notes that "former foreign secretary Jack Straw has described the situation in Iraq as 'dire,' blaming mistakes made by the US for the escalating crisis." Straw has words of praise for former US Secreatry of State Colin Powell which is only a surprise to those who never noticed their mutual admiration society until today. The report that military officials want British troops out of Iraq (and into Afghanistan) has already led to a denial from Defence Secretary Des Browne who, AFP reports, denied the report on BBC radio.
While the truth battles spin, Mark Malloch Brown, deputy secretary general of the United Nations makes a call of his own.
Paul Vallely (Independent of London) reports
Malloch Brown has stated that it was Tony Blair's Iraq policy that "fatally undermined his position as Prime Minister and forced him to step down" and Vallely also quotes an unnamed "UN source" who declares of Blair, "But Iraq has finished him. Mr. Blair seems not to appreciate just how disliked and distrusted he is in other nations."
In the United States,
Reuters reports: "The U.S. Congress on Friday moved to block the Bush adminstration from building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq or controlling the country's oil sector, as it approved $70 billion for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) noted Wednesday when reporting on recent polling of Iraqis, ". . . the Program on Itnerantional Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found . . . 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends to keep permanent military bases in the country." Noting the polling, Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "The writing is on the wall -- and on page after page of report after report. All leading to the same inescapable conclusion. Iraq has made us less safe; it's time to bring our troops home." What will it take for that? Not buying into the fear mania, which is a topic Huffington addressed with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA, The Morning Show[and is also the topic of On Becoming Fearless, Huffington's new book]. [Remember that KPFA broadcasts are archived and you can listen to them, free of charge, 24/7.]
The US Congress' decision comes as
Robert Burns (AP) reports Army Col. Sean B. Macfarland ("commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division" in Iraq) stated that the resistance in Al-Anbar Province will not be defeated by American forces and will "probably" continue "until after U.S. troops leave the country". Most recent actions in Al-Anbar have revolved around Ramadi which is being carved up into a series of Green Zones (to little effect). [Currently at Alive in Baghdad, there is a video report on a man who was "Falsely Arrested and Abused In Ramadi.]
In the most noted violence in Iraq today, Kadhim Abdel has been shot dead.
CNN reports that "the brother-in-law of Judge Mohammad Orabi Majeed Al-Khalefa, was driving in Ghazaliya on Friday with his son aged 10 and another 10-year-old boy when their car was attacked. Both boys were wounded." The Australian combines AP and Reuters to note: "It was not immediately clear whether they were targeted because they were related to judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who took over the Saddam trial last week, or if it was another of the sectarian attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad." (That statement is actually all AP.)
AP reports that a police officer died ("and two civilians injured") from a bombing in downtown Baghdad; while two Iraqi soldiers lost their lives in Anah from a roadside bomb (with two more wounded).
AFP reports that two police officers were shot dead in Dura. CNN reports that four people were shot dead in Balad.
AP reports that eight corpses were discovered in Iraq, three were discovered in Baquba and that two corpses "were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah". AFP reports that two corpses were discovered in Kut. (The Times of London ups the Baghdad corpse count to ten.)
In peace news,
BuzzFlash declares the Dixie Chicks this weeks Wings of Justice winners for using their voices to speak truth to power. In 2003, the Chicks were savaged by some (and Diane Sawyer attempted a public shaming). They didn't back down and, to quote a song off their new, best selling CD, they're "not ready to make nice." [Click here for Kat's review of the CD.] The Dixie Chicks stood strong and a lot of people stood with them. There's a lesson in that.
CODEPINK is celebrating it's fourth anniversary on Sunday and Andrea Lewis spoke with Medea Benjamin about that today on KPFA's The Morning Show today. Addressing the organization's latest action -- Give Peace a Vote! -- Benjamin noted that: "We have November elections coming up and then we have presidential elections coming up and unfortunately If we don't translate the silent majority voice that's against this war into a voter bloc, we're going to be faced with another opportunity to vote for two major parties giving us war candidates. So Give Peace a Vote!is a way to say, 'I will not vote for anybody that does not call for an end to this war and no more wars of aggression.'"
Speaking with Kris Welch today on
KPFA's Living Room, Daniel Ellsberg noted the upcoming World Can't Wait protest (October 5th -- day of mass resistance), his being named as the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the importance of speaking out.
As noted by
James Glanz (New York Times) and Gritte Witte (Washington Post) this morning, American contractor Parsons has a 1/14 success rate for their construction projects in Iraq --- actually less than 1 in 14 because, as Witte notes, ""The one project reviewed by auditors that was being constructed correctly, a prison, was taken away from Parsons before its completion because of escalating costs." With that in mind, pay attention to Janis Karpinski (writing for The Huffington Post): "Our silence will beget more of the same and worse. We must find courage. We must stand up. One of the ways to do this is by screening and sharing a new documentary I appeared in called Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers -- which calls for a stop to the shameful war profiteering this administration has allowed to occur. We must speak up. We must because we are Americans and we know better than this. We can move beyond the shame only when we stop this from getting worse and participate in making it better."
Finally, next week, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, hits the road again to raise awareness on his son -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, Ehren Watada awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .). Here are Bob Watada's speaking engagements for Monday through Friday of next week:
Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur 3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:
Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) 1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:
Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus Contact:
Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research 6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063
Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally (March starts at noon at pershing S1) Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm. Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:
Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:
Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331 Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email
On a non-Iraq note, Lynda pointed out that a link was wrong this morning (and yesterday) so I'll note it here (it's corrected on the main site, but not on the mirror site)from
Ms.: "Before the new Ms. comes out on October 10, we're doing a last push to get signatures on our "We Had Abortions" petition. With our right to choose in danger, we at Ms. think it's important for us to take a stand now for abortion rights. We'd love to have your help!"