Friday, December 29, 2006

Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, Arianna Huffington, escalation

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and four other protesters remained in the McLennan County Jail Friday.
McLennan County sheriff’s deputies and Department of Public Safety troopers arrested the five protesters Thursday at a barricade near Crawford as President Bush met with top advisers to discuss Iraq war strategy at his Central Texas ranch.
They were charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

That's from KWTX's "Sheehan, Other Protesters Remain Jailed" and C.I. slid that over to me in an e-mail. Elaine and I are at Rebecca's and we were listening to the same song over and over during the car ride -- Melanie's "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)." I really do like that song and when it was over the first time, Elaine hit the button to make it play again and then I did it and we just ended up singing along the whole way. That's a really cool song with some really cool lyrics so check it out if you don't know it.

And we got some cool tunes going right now -- Flyboy's filled the CD player with various CDs. The one that's playing right now is Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation. I think my favorite songs on that CD are "Lather" and "Triad." Flyboy was being top secret about the music he was putting in so I can't wait to find out what else he's going to put in. I'm on Rebecca's laptop and Elaine's on her own and we're all just camped out on the floor in the living room. Ruth bought these really big pillows and gave them to Rebecca today because she knew Rebecca was getting tired of laying in bed and laying on the couch.

We've got a lot of snack foods and there are candles so Elaine's yawning but that's also because she's got a cold and Flyboy and Rebecca insisted she take some cold medicine. They were trying to figure out how much she should take because the little plastic cup wasn't with the bottle and they don't have the spoonful amount on the label. I think they overguessed.

Turning to bad music, Britney Spears! Kat sent me this for a laugh. It did make me laugh. I'll share it so others can laugh too:

The most popular Britney Spears fan Web site is closing after its owner declared the controversial pop star is "done."
Ruben Garay, who has hosted since October 2000, yesterday announced the site will no longer exist after January 31 because the singer is "losing her identity and credibility with fans and industry people."

As Bob Dylan should sing, "It's all over now, Britney Spears." :D She's just another trashy Republican the world got tired of.

Here's Arianna Huffington addressing the troop escalation with "White House Pushes for Troop Surge, Best Advice of Generals Be Damned:"

Here comes the surge. Reports this week indicate the Pentagon is preparing to send 3,500 troops to Kuwait to await deployment to Iraq, the next step down a disastrous path of escalation.
Before the escalation becomes inevitable, it must be made clear that this reckless strategy is being dictated by the White House and not by the military commanders who are being poked, prodded, pushed --
and bribed -- into backing it.
Again and again and again, President Bush has insisted that he's running the war by listening to his generals, and that he doesn't "make decisions based upon politics about how to win a war," choosing to "trust our commanders on the ground to give the best advice about how to achieve victory." As he put it in the run-up to the midterm elections: "I believe that you empower your generals to make the decisions -- the recommendations on what we do to win."
But that's clearly not what's happening.
For months, those commanders, Gen. Abizaid and Gen. Casey, have been unwavering in their opposition to sending more troops to Iraq, arguing that it would
increase Iraqi dependency on Washington, lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents, attract more foreign jihadists to Iraq, increase the impression of an American occupation, and, in the evocative words of a senior military official, "be like throwing kerosene on a fire."

I think Bully Boy's going to escalate. I think come the second week of January, or maybe the third, he'll make his announcement. I think it's a huge mistake and can't imagine most Americans seeing it any other way especially now that we're about to hit the 3,000 US troop death in Iraq.

What kind of a government do we have when the people want out of Iraq but the elected officials won't listen to the people?

How's that make you feel? Probably makes you feel as lousy as you feel about the fact that the 'cakewalk' will have cost 3,000 US troops lives, over 655,000 Iraqi lives, and much more. And for what? Bully Boy got the illegal war that shined his phoney image enough to carry him into office for 2004 and the country got screwed over.

2007 can be about reclaiming the country for the people but that won't happen by getting all moist (and soft in the head) over a bunch of cowards in Congress. Leave the fan club bulletins to The Nation and instead start demanding your elected officials represent you. We hired 'em, we can fire 'em and we should if they can't get off their butts and get troops out of Iraq quickly.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, December 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Decemeber is now the deadliest month this year for US troops,
Ehren Watada finally appears in print in The Nation, is Sabrina Tavernise angling to be the new joke of the New York Times, and the US military reveals how little heart and compassion they have as they move to court-martial a soldier suffering from PTSD -- one they did nothing to help.
Starting with fatality news. Today the
US military announced: "Three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Thursday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Watch for the New York Times to ignore that or Little Man Marcs to report "One marine died" if the pattern this month holds true. The Times can't say they weren't warned when they decided to ignore fatalities and minimize the few that they covered but readers of the paper who depend on it to provide reality (no chuckles) may end up shocked when they discover that today December became the deadliest month for US troops. The three deaths up the total for the month to 107. Prior to this announcement, October had been the deadliest month with 106.
Some outlets report 105 and that has to do with the fact that the US military tends to hold the deaths a bit, and has the since the start of the war, waiting for those first of the month look back press accounts to be published and then noting a death or two afterwards.
106 is the number ICCC uses, 106 is the one we'll go with here. 107 is now the total number of US troops who have died in Iraq this month. The total number of US troops who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 2996 -- four shy of the 3,000 mark.
US troops have not been the only military fatalities and England's
Ministry of Defense notes:"It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a UK serviceman was killed yesterday, Thursday 28 December 2006, in Basrah, southern Iraq. The soldier, from 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City when the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle he was travelling in was targeted by a roadside bomb. He was very seriously injured and airlifted to the Field Hospital at Shaibah Logistics Base, but unfortunately died later as a result of his injuries." That death brought the total number of British troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 127.
Turning to the issue of war resistance and starting with The Nation magazine. On page 14 of the January 8/15 2007 issue (a double issue) Marc Cooper has an article entitled "Lt. Ehren Watada: Resister." The Nation makes the article
availble online to subscribrs only for whatever reasons but seems unaware that they've published it for all (subscribers and non-subscribers) on Yahoo -- click here. Cooper describes Ehren Watada as "the lighning rod case of resistance" (Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq); and notes the speech he gave in August at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle (click here for text at CounterPunch and here at Truthout which offers both text and video of the speech) where Watada declared, "The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."; and notes that, in January, "a 'Citizen's Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq,' featuring Daniel Ellsberg and Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk will be convened in Tacoma, Washinginton, in support of Watada".
January 4th is the date scheduled for the military's pre-trial hearing and Feb. 5th is when the court-martial is scheduled to begin. The US military is attempting to force journalists to testify at the pre-trial hearing (see
yesterday's snapshot).
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing (who was released from the military brig on Satuday) Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
Resistance takes many forms in the peace movement. As noted in yesterday's snapshot,
Cindy Sheehan was arrested in Crawford, Texas outside Bully Boy's ranchette along with four other activists. Sheehan called the action a "peace surge" to combat Bully Boy's notions of escalating the number of US troops in Iraq. The AP reports that Sheehan's attorney Robert Gottlieb believes the arrest will have no impact on the conditional verdict the judge issued this month in Manhattan. The Smoking Gun reports that, were Sheehan convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in prison and the maximum fine is $2,000.
In another mother for peace news,
Theresa Hogue (Corvallis Gazette-Times) reported last week on Michelle Darr, a mother of six, who was arrested December 12th for attempting to get US Senator Gordon Smith to sign the Declaration of Peace (her third arrest this year for attempting to lobby Smith, she was arrested twice in September) and will face a tril in January. Darr told Hogue, "What they (her children) see me doing is as important as what they don't see me doing. If Im not using my voice and efforts in the cause of the common good, how can I expect them to take initiative when the need arises? I don’t want them to ever think oppression and genocide are acceptable, or that war is a way to solve problems."
Along with courageous acts of resistance like Sheehan's and Darr's, demonstrations will take part around the United States to note the 3,000 mark for US fatalities in Iraq.
United for Peace and Justice notes:
Another Grim Milestone -- 3,000 Deaths Too Many
More than 2,990 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. By the time you read this, the death toll may have reached 3,000. We must bear witness to this tragic milestone, even though many people are already beginning their celebrations of the new year. And when we do take action on this occasion, we must remind others that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, women and men have also died in this outrageous war and occupation. Our call to end this war and to bring all the troops home now must be heard in every corner of the country! The killing must stop. Click here for some suggested ways to bear witness.
Military Families Speak Out notes:
MILITARY FAMILIES MOURN 3,000TH TROOP DEATH, PARTICIPATE IN NATIONWIDE VIGILS AND CALL ON CONGRESS TO END THE IRAQ WAR Family Members of Fallen Soldiers and Families of Troops Currently Deployed in Iraq Available for Interview Dec 29, 06 On the eve of the 3,000th troop death, the next horrific milestone in the Iraq war, Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), an organization of over 3,100 military families opposed to the war in Iraq, calls on the 110th Congress to honor the fallen and prevent further deaths by taking action to end the Iraq war. read more »
3000 Deaths Too Many As Bush considers sending thousands of additional troops to Iraq to control the violence, our troop death toll nears the 3,000 mark. It is crucial that we commemorate this grim milestone in Bush's disastrous war by pressuring Congress to bring the troops home NOW, and to stop this insanity NOW! Click here for CODEPINK suggested actions you can take.
Also refer to
World Can't Wait's Protests & Vigils Planned the Day After the Number of US Troops Killed in Iraq Reaches 3,000
As the press continues to note that Bully Boy is seriously considering escalating the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq, Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) note: "Two attempts last summer to stabilize Baghdad by sending in more troops failed. The increased U.S. presence led to a brief drop in violence, but as soon as the troops left the neighborhoods where they'd deployed, the violence skyrocketed." That was the crackdown that cracked up and accomplished nothing. It began in June and by August, the US military was noting that, in July, attacks on US forces were up (double the January amount) and bombing attacks on civilians were up 10%. And last week Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the US Pentagon's findings "that the violence in Iraq soared this fall to its highest level on record" and this during the continued increase of US troops in Iraq. But like a greedy tele-evangilist, Bully Boy can just cry out, "Send more! Send more!"
CNN reports a bomber "waited near the house of Sheik Kadhim Hameed Qassim" in northern Bagdad and then detonated the bomb "when the clearic, his security and family members arrived after Friday prayers" leaving the Shi'ite cleric dead and also killing "his brother and severn others" and leaving 15 wounded.
Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Jurf al-Sakhar and seven more wounded.AFP reports a police officer and "a bystander" were shot dead in Hindiya while, in Mussayib, a police officer was shot dead and five more wounded. KUNA reports four Iraqi soldiers were shot dead "southwest of Kirkuk" and a fifth Iraqi soldier was injured while, in nothern Iraq, "two employees who . . . worked for the Petroleum State Company" were shot dead.
KUNA reports that the corpse of a kidnapped police officer was discovered in Kirkuk.
AFP reports on the increasing demise of communal baths in Baghdad from violence and financial costs: "In its glory days when Iraq was one of the most developed Arab countries in the Middle East, the hammam used to employ 16 people. Today only four permanent staff remains on the payroll as massive inflation takes hold." and quotes the owner of the bathhouse explaining, "The electricity is often down. Gas for heating has become too expensive. We pay 20,000 dinars ($14) for a bottle compared to 1,000 just two or three years ago. How do you expect me to carry on? There are days when it costs me more to open than doing nothing. I love my profession but it's disappearing."
In I-Schilled-for-the-U.S.-military-and-all-I-got-was-a-red-face news,
Sabrina Tavernise's 'scoop' in the New York Times had holes blown through it earlier this week and has now fallen apart completely. The US military announced (to her and James Glanz of the New York Times) that they had been holding Iranian 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' since the 12th of December. In the latest development to rip the story of Iranian 'terrorists' to shreds, the BBC reports that the two diplomats who were held by US forces but in the country of Iraq at the invitation of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, were released. On the detention of the two diplomats, AFP quotes the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hasan Kazemi Qomi, stating: "Fortunately with the effort exerted by the Iraqi officials, the US forces who firstly denied their arrest were obliged to admit it and under pressure from the Iraqi government to release them. The arrest of these diplomats was carried out contrary to international laws and the Geneva convention."
In the US, the
AP reports: "Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, 24, of Mont Alto, died Wednesday afternoon at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas" after being injured in November 13th bombing in Ramadi and quotes his grandfather, Edward Shaffer, stating that "All they could do was try to keep him comfortable. They couldn't do any more for him." 24 year-old Shaffer is among many troops who die from physical injuries recieved in Iraq but, due to dying after they are shipped out of Iraq, do not get included in the official body count.
Another war related death not included in the count is
covered by Megan Greenwell (Washington Post), 29-year-old James E. Dean, who had served in Afghanistan and recently recieved orders to deploy to Iraq, barricaded himself in his father's house on Christmas day, and was killed in an exchange with police officers.
NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported that the US army's crappy record on addressing PTSD within the ranks just got worse: the army is moving to court-martial Tyler Jennings who suffers from PTSD and was diagnosed with "Crying spells... hopelessness... helplessness... worthlessness" five months ago and received no assistance.

ehren watada

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday breeze post

Thursday! Almost the weekend! :D Almost New Year's Eve in fact! I'd told Tony the title of C.I.'s year-in-review just to get him off my back (he's been looking forward to this since at least November) and that only made him more impatient. "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)" went up this morning and prepare to laugh and yell "YES!" as you read it. Tony said it was more than worth the wait.

I love it and figured C.I. was working in Cedric's point that got left out of a piece at The Third Estate Sunday Review. C.I. didn't want to look at that before it posted and Dona and Jim were editing it to get it to a readable size. After it posted, it turned out that Cedric's point got pulled. Jim and Dona had to edit out a lot and they couldn't get that point to work in the final draft so it got ditched. C.I. was mad about that (not at Dona and Jim -- this was more about "If I'd read over the thing before it posted, I could've found a way to transistion to Cedric's point"). So I was expecting Cedric's point to in there but I saw Ma got worked in as well. She was surprised about that. I called C.I. to pass on that and C.I. was going, "I really wanted to work in everyone but I'm just so sick right now." I knew that and wasn't expecting anyone but Cedric to be linked in it. But that's C.I. always looking at what could have been done. I asked, cause C.I. sounded so sick, "How are you going to do 'And the war drags on' tonight?" C.I. said, "I'm dreading that."

Here's Bart Jansen's "Ex-Maine Lawmaker Plans Anti-War Offensive:"

Tom Andrews, the former Maine congressman who used his position as national director of Win Without War to argue against invading Iraq, is now urging the Democratically controlled Congress to bring the troops home.
"The disaster in Iraq is the result of the lethal combination of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence of the administration," said Andrews, who served on the House Armed Services Committee during his two terms representing the state's 1st Congressional District. "It is dangerous and short-sighted to keep our troops in the crossfire."
Andrews, 53, spent years organizing opposition to the war through Win Without War, a coalition of about 40 groups ranging from Families USA to the Sierra Club to Veterans for Peace. The Nov. 7 election results created a climate for change, he said, and his coalition plans a major lobbying effort in Congress next month.
"The election was clearly about Iraq," he said. "Voters were demanding change."

Makes you wish some of the strong leaders outside Congress were in, doesn't it? None of that weak, 'bi-partisan' b.s., none of that cautious talk, just the war needs to end. The Democratic leadership in Congress not only doesn't seem to want to lead, they don't seem to know how.

This is an editorial from The Boston Globe called "No Mercenaries in US Uniforms:"

WHEN ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF General Peter Schoonmaker testified before Congress earlier this month that the Army was near the breaking point because of extended overseas deployments, he expressed one of the few opinions that congressional Democrats and the White House agree on. The Defense Department needs more Army and Marine personnel, whether or not President Bush decides to send more troops to Iraq.
But the Army and Marines should not resort to one proposal that
Bryan Bender's report in Tuesday's Globe said the Pentagon is considering for expanding their numbers: the establishment of recruiting stations in foreign countries.
[. . .]
Doubtless, Army and Marine recruiters in economically stagnant parts of the world could fill their quotas quickly with young people eager for the training, wages, and open door to US citizenship that enlistment would offer. Defenders of the proposal, which was made legal by a recent change in US law, say that the inducement of the citizenship benefit would make such foreign recruits close cousins of US-resident legal immigrants who currently sign up to serve.
But for many of the foreigners, the military's paycheck would be of greater interest than the eventual assumption of residence and citizenship in a country thousands of miles from their homes and families. The word for these troops is mercenaries.

When no one wants to fight an illegal war, what's left to do but sign up mercenaries?

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

Thursday, December 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with 41 corpses discovered just in the capital, Bully Boy continues to string along the world as he hints at a 'new' 'plan,' the 3,000 mark for US troops killed in Iraq hovers ever closer, Cindy Sheehan continues speaking out and is arrested in Crawford, Texas, and US war resister Ricky Clousing speaks about his decision to stand up against the war and the 73 days he spent in military prison.
Starting with peace news. "I feel like I chose the path that was meant for me." That's
Ricky Clousing speaking to Steve Maynard (Washington's The News Tribune) about his decision to say no to the illegal war. Maynard interviewed Clousing in his mother and step-father's home in Washington and the 73 days he spent in a military brig after his court-martial, his plans for the future (long range, college -- "I've always wanted to be a teacher") and his decision to say "no" to the illegal war: "I don't regret my decision to go AWOL in any way. I served my country better by saying 'no' to being in uniform."
Reflecting on the year,
Mark Schneider (The Palestine Chronicle) finds reasons for hope in a number of things including war resisters like Clousing:

Closer to home, cheers of love out to the thousands of U.S. soldiers who have gone AWOL instead of violating their conscience to involve themselves in the U.S. genocide of Iraq. Many have rightly fled to Canada, some have faced court-martial and years in prison in the U.S. The first officer to refuse orders is Lt. Ehren Watada, whose mom, Carolyn Ho, this month has been on a speaking tour talking about parents have a duty to prevent their children from participating in illegal wars.For years I've had this dream of getting hundreds of U.S. moms and dads taking flights into Amman and Baghdad and then dramatically going to find and retrieve (yanking them by their ears?) their soldier-children. What shame that would bring the U.S.! Cindy Sheehan and Fernando Suarez del Solar are vestiges of such a drama.
During a speech at the August, 2006 Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle, Watada cracked emotion stating, "to stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."The most powerful element of the anti-war movement against U.S. genocide in Vietnam were the returning Vets, resisters and deserters who used their privileged positions to take radical positions and action. Though I have a separate post with a quick run-down of the best movies I saw this year, this is a good segue to
Sir No Sir, a new film documentary (that has been released for rental), about those Vietnam Vets who resisted. In their promotional material, the filmmakers, thank them, have made the obvious links between then and now go to their website and click on the "Punk Ass Crusade" link).
This film will leave you teared up and inspired.
And, if you're in the Phoenix area, you can see
Sir! No Sir! this Saturday. Mike Millard (The Phoenix News) reports that David Zeiger's documentary will be shown at the First Annual Peace on Earth Event in Jamaica Plain at 6:00 pm (85 Seaverns St.) and will be followed by a discussion with Halsey Bernard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Joe Bangert who served in Vietnam. The event is co-sponsored by Military Families Speak Out and People United for Peace with a two dollar admission fee.
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) reports that the US military continues to attempt to force reporters to be witnesses for the prosecution in the January 4th pre-trial hearing of US war resister Ehren Watada (to be followed by his Feb. 5th court-martial) and quotes independent journalists Sarah Olson ("It's my job to report the news, not to participate in a government prosecution. Testifying against my source would turn the press into an investigative tool of the government and chill dissenting voices in the United States.") and Dahr Jamail ("I don't believe that reporters should be put in the position of having to participate in a prosecution. This is particularly poignant in this case, where journalists would be used to build a case against free speech for military personnel.").
Clousing and Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
War resistance and the peace movement are the only things that will end the illegal war. This morning, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 27. " And the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital Dec. 27." Since then, the US military has announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 was killed in action while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar Province December 27." And they have announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier north of the Iraqi capital Dec. 28." The total number of US military deaths in Iraq for the month of December thus far now stands at 102 -- only four less than the month with the highest count this year (October, with 106). The death brings the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 2991 -- nine short of 3,000. [AFP notes: "medical advances mean the number is a lot lower than would have been expected." Which also means a rise in the number of seriously injured.]
Carey Gillam (Reuters) reports that "some 140 demonstrations in 37 states are planned to mark the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq, a milestone that is likely only days away" and quotes Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessin: "This horrific and tragic milestone allows us to remind this country of the daily unending human toll of a war that didn't have to happen."As the 3,000 mark edges ever closer, Bully Boy continues to contemplate escalation as a 'new' 'plan' to 'win' the unwinnable war and says he is making "good progress" (he grades on a curve).CNN reports that Cindy Sheehan has once again stood up to the Bully Boy and his war machine and been arrested in Crawford, Texas (along with four other activists) for doing so. On the possible escalation, AP reports: "Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say a surge in troop levels some people are calling for is a bad idea."
CNN reports two people dead and 19 wounded from a car bomb in Mosul that apparently targeted "an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul". The Canadian Press reportsa bombing in Baghdad this morning using two bombs ("opposite a park in the South Gate area") that claimed 9 lives and left 43 more wounded, 12 more killed and 26 wounded by a bombing "near al-Sha'ab stadium in Eastern Baghdad" and a bombing in western Baghdad that killed two people and left four more wounded. Meanwhile Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Hawija that left 3 police officers wounded.
Reuters reports one police officer shot dead in Kirkuk and another wounded, two Iraqi soldiers shot dead in Tikrit and another wounded and a police officer shot dead in Baquba with two more wounded.
Reuters notes 49 corpses discovered in Baghdad and three in Mosul.
On Cindy Sheehan's arrest,
AP notes that she and four others "lay or sat" on a road near Bully Boy's ranchette in Crawford, TX for 20 minutes before they were arrested and that they were part of a "peace surge" to refute Bully Boy's talk of an escalation in the number of US troops in Iraq. (The 3,5000 who will go to Kuwait in January will be used as a reserve to deploy as needed.) Waco's KWTX reports: " The five were taken to the Crawford Police Department and a van was dispatched to transport them to the McLennan County Jail. They were charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway, which is a Class B misdemeanor. The protesters told a News Ten crew as they were led into the police department they didn’t know why they had been taken into custody. In the video KWTX posts, Cindy Sheehan states, "They should have arrested George Bush, not us."

ricky clousing
ehren watada

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Big grab bag post

Wednesday! Almost New Year's Eve. Ma said, "You better note that!" Was she talking about New Year's Eve? No, she was talking about the trashing of GreenStone Media on Democracy Now! today. Ma read C.I.'s "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today" and
said she could tell C.I. was furious (I could too) and that I needed to recommend everybody reads "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today." You should read it. There's no excuse for the trashing that took place on Democracy Now! And note Micah's comment! :D I cracked up at that because he's right -- Victor Navasky sounds like an old, dottering fool as he drones on and stumbles around. Elaine's writing about Navasky tonight so be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz.

I'm not done with my family yet! Dad wants it noted that he agrees with Micah, Rachel, Zach and Jonah that you can't discuss Gerald Ford without noting the "laughable Warren Commission" that Ford sat on. But then, if you noted that, Victor Navasky probably wouldn't appear on the program because The Nation has made their existance in the last century all about propping up the Warren Commission Report. I thought it was kind of sad that he was even on because he was a BAD GUEST and because Amy Goodman was just awarded $100,000 in part from The Nation so it looks bad to book guests that you recieve LARGE MONEY from.

But then, I think it looks bad that Katrina vanden Heuvel, as editor and publisher of The Nation, publishes her husband's work in the magazine. It's sort of like Clarence Thomas saying, "I've got something else to do so my wife's going to hear oral arguments. Later!" There need to be boundaries (but Rebecca's mother-in-law was pointing out Christmas eve that KvH has always had issues with boundaries so go know).

I need to note some more stuff. Check out Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2006 in music" which is really a treat to read. I loved that. And Martha and Shirley have written about the community's top ten picks of books for the year in "2006 in books (Martha & Shirley)" (they even quote me! :D).
Cedric's "Bully Boy's new record" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY BIGGEST THREAT TO AMERICANS!" is funny but true, so check it out. And for more funny, check out Betty's "The Double-Wide Friedman." Tony keeps asking me where C.I.'s year-in-review is?

C.I. started it on Monday, Monday night. It will go up this week. But C.I.'s been sick with the flu since Friday, had a house full of guests for the holiday and just hasn't had the time. Kat said when everyone left on Tuesday, C.I.'s plan was just to go straight bed and this was like at four in the afternoon. Which, as Jim points out, makes it all the more amazing that C.I. steered the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Ava helped but she says, "Mike, you know you guys had already started before I got to C.I.'s." Not only did Ava and C.I. handle the edition (with C.I. as the lead) but they got the edition completed and posted six hours earlier than usual. This was done with a six hour break for everyone to go get some sleep. I was freaking out thinking it would be way behind but C.I. was like, "It's taken care of, people need to get the rest they need." (Ava told me she and C.I. were working during the time the rest of us were sleeping.)

So here's the content that went up on Sunday with my comments:

Highlights -- when we all got back from our long rest break, C.I. said, "I'm going to hand highlights over to you because you have been picking them for the last few weeks and it makes things move faster." "You" is me, Rebecca, Kat, Elaine, Wally and Betty.

Applause to Amy Goodman -- this was a short item and a visual. There wasn't time for visuals so C.I. had grabbed this and a thing in Rolling Stone.

Applause to Rolling Stone -- Standing ovation for Rolling Stone. I didn't know they'd put Ehren Watada on their honor roll. Good for them. As soon as C.I. sent the image to Rebecca, I was all over her shoulder trying to read it. She had a real problem with this image because the color was off and there were all these orange splotches on Ehren Watada's face. She was able to get rid of them.

A Note to Our Readers -- Ava and C.I. do the note. I think they did a pretty good job but wish they'd made more out of the fact that for the FIRST TIME, the edition was posting at 7:00 a.m. EST and was done posting by 7:30 EST. They worked their butts off and managed to do something that Jim says has not been done "but two times before" and the site started in January 2005!

Editorial: 2007? -- What's the new year going to be? That's up to you. We had no editorial for the edition. Ava and C.I. came up with this and weren't sure how it would play. When they told us it, Betty spoke for everyone when she said, "Not only is it good, it's something that needs to be said." I agree. I also love Isaiah's comics that illustrate 2005 and 2006. C.I. really was worried about the visuals because there wasn't time for painting and it was just C.I., Kat and Ava that could work on the paintings.

TV: Looking forward . . . by looking backward? -- My oldest sister loves the illustration! Ava and C.I. called a friend who collects Charlie's Angels memorbilia (did I spell that right?) to get an illustration. I think the review is really good but my oldest sister says it's the best one they did in 2006.

Roundtable -- After we did highlights, we went right into this. Betty's son, her youngest son, had just woken up crying and Ava said, "Look, we'll wait." Betty said, go ahead and she'd put the phone down and jump in when she had her son back to sleep. Betty was really aware that we were moving fast and she was probably the first to point out that we were going to be done earlier than ever before. I think Ava did a really good job anchoring the roundtable. I wish Ava and C.I. had spoken more but they were taking notes. Rebecca was still waking up and after it was over, she noted "I was just Ruth's cheerleader but that's a good role to play." :D It is a good role to play.

Mr. Tony's appointment -- Kat, Ava and C.I. did this illustration quickly with ink and toothpicks. They used ink hoping it would dry quickly. It didn't so C.I. "cooked" it -- seriously. Rebecca was asking where the illustration was and C.I. goes, "It's in the oven." :D This is a nice feature and it's noting developments that most of the so-called news sites didn't. Check it out.

The story of 2006 -- when Betty pointed out for the second time how ahead of schedule we were, the idea was tossed out that we needed to do something on war resisters. So this feature got done pretty quickly. I think it turned out really well and war resisters ARE the story of 2006.

The Nation's Slap In The Face to women -- C.I. hadn't planned on us covering this and was really glad that the rest of us (Wally, Rebecca, Cedric and me) had covered it at our sites. Then C.I. read the book review (at the insistence of a feminist friend) and saw a point that needed to be addressed (it's the same rejection of the importance of women's rights that went on before 9-11 with regards to Afghanistan). I really love this feature. Ava and me edited this one. And C.I. thinks I was overlooked. I wasn't. I pulled the link to me. I thought Rebecca, Wally and Cedric did a better job and while me and Ava were editing the piece, I pulled the link to me. C.I. called me Monday and apologized for me not getting linked on Sunday and said, "I've just added you to it." That was nice but I told C.I. I had pulled it. I felt bad that C.I. had to go back in and add that but I wasn't surprised C.I. thought I had been forgotten. (C.I. had a huge fever during the edition and I'm surprised anything's remembered about that edition.) This is the sort of feature you'll only find at The Third Estate Sunday Review or community sites because everyone else looks the other way when The Nation trashes women or ignores war resisters.

The One about Keefer Madness and CJR -- C.I. read an e-mail to us from a reader of The Third Estate Sunday Review. That's how the writing for this edition started. C.I. said there were some ideas but before getting to them, let me read this e-mail. We were all agreed that we needed to write about it and I really love this feature too.

The Nation Stats -- I think it was at the start of this month or the end of last that a group of women, friends of C.I., asked if C.I. had noticed how few women were getting published by The Nation. C.I. hadn't but looked into it. We all saw the statistics on that and agreed that we'd start following this. Since The Nation's published their first 2007 issue, it seemed like a good time to start tracking this. The plan is for this to be a weekly feature so everyone can see if The Nation improves or stays the same (stays the same means printing very little women).

TV: Victoria's Real Secret -- This is just hilarious. Ava and C.I. had agreed to do two TV reviews for the edition because the core six wasn't sure who was going to be working on it. Then it ended up all falling on C.I. I wrote about this Friday. I called Ava on Friday and she said she could also take part in a roundtable. Then she ended up deciding at the last minute that she'd fly back (from NY) to California because (a) she didn't want all the burden to fall on C.I. and (b) she was already tired of NY. (She has family on both coasts.) Her cousin was actually flying out Saturday and Ava caught a ride on his plane.

So that's The Third Estate Sunday Review's latest edition and didn't they do a great job. (I helped so I'm part of "they" but I'd feel that way even if I hadn't.)

Did you know Bully Boy has a fan club? It's called the "mainstream press." And little Debbie Riechmann sleeps with a photo of Bully Boy under her pillow judging by her latest nonsense.

Let's examine some of the crap from "Bush Deciding Iraq Policy at Texas Ranch:"

*With each passing day that he gathers advice, Bush is creating more than a new way forward.

"New way forward" is the White House talking point.

*Saddled with a reputation for stubbornness, Bush has gone the other direction. He has made a visible effort to seek advice - from the military, diplomats, academics, retired generals, a special study commission, Iraqi officials, Republican leaders, even Democrats he once ridiculed.

He has gone what direction? How does Debs know who he is listening to? And what indication has been given that he's listening to anyone?

*"The president wants to make sure the consequences of crafting a new way forward in Iraq are thought through and due consideration is given to the outcome of any new action that would be taken,'' deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said Tuesday in Crawford, where Bush is spending the week.

It's really important that flacks stick together which is why flack Debs quotes flack Scotts.

*No decisions have been made about possibly increasing U.S. troops in Iraq, but senior defense officials say Gates has signed orders that will send the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade to Kuwait shortly after the new year. That could be part of a short-term surge of troops to Iraq to quell ongoing violence.

Debs' your 'scoop' above, as C.I. notes in this afternoon's snapshot, was announced at the Defense Department's website.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths of US troops while they call up 3,500 more troops, a British general calls for more war money while lowering expectations, England and the United States face strong backlashes in Iraq and the puppet of the occupation proves unpopular.
As December has become the second deadliest month in 2006 it's easy to see who covers the fatalities (Washington Post -- usually
Nancy Trejos) and who doesn't (New York Times). Today the US military announced: "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died as a result of non-combat related injuries on Logistics Support Area Anaconda Dec 23." And they also announced: "A second Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of injuries received when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." And they announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." ICCC lists the total for the month of December thus far at 94. October is the month with the highest US fatalities in 2006 (thus far): 106. The total number of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 2983, 17 away from the 3,000 mark.
Meanwhile the
US Defense Department reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hasapproved John Abizaid's request and 3,500 troops of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team were informed today that at the start of next month they will deploy to Kuwait to replace the 15h MEU who moved to al-Anbar Province last month.
The call up means that 3,500 troops have had to head to Fort Bragg and cut short the holidays. In Iraq, the holiday reflected the illegal war.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that, for little girls, crying dolls were the most popular gift and, for little boys, tanks and guns because, as Ahmed Ghazi told the reporters, "Children try to imitate what they see out of their windows." Jamil and Al-Fadhily write:

Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressingtheir repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
"Looking around, they only see gatherings of mourning ladies who lost their beloved ones," said Khalil. "Our job of comforting these little girls and remedying the damage within them is next to impossible."
[. . .]
"The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," Maruan Abdullah, spokesman for the Association of Psychologists of Iraq told reporters at the launch of a study in February this year.

Meanwhile, Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that Major General Richard Shirreff ("commander of British troops in southern Iraq") is stating that the British Army is underfunded and lowering expectations for 'democracy' and/or 'liberation' in Iraq -- Shirref stated: "When I set up, came up here and initiated the operations we have been conducting, I was looking for a 100% solution. But this is Iraq, this is Arabia and this is reality, so a 60% solution is good enough for me." This as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that Monday's raid and destruction, by British forces, on a police station in Basra is resulting in a backlash: " Several local leaders, including the head of the city council and a Basra police commander, have condemned Monday's raid. Mohammed al-Ibadi, provincial council chairman, said the council had decided to cut off ties with British forces pending an explanation of why they destroyed an 'Iraq government building flying the Iraqi flag' and removed detainees he described as suspected terrorists'."
This as the US faces their own backlash over a death in Najaf. Earlier today, Reuters reported that,
despite earlier denails by the US military, a US soldier was the one who shot an official of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports: "Thousands of supporters of anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through the holy Iraqi city of Najaf in an angry funeral procession after a senior Sadr aide was killed by a U.S. soldier on Wednesday. Chanting 'No to America' and carrying placards decrying U.S. occupation, mourners, including black-robed clerics, carried the coffin of Saheb al-Amiri through the streets." Supporters maintain that Saheb al-Amiri was shot dead "in front of his wife and children" and that he was a charity lawyer, not a 'terrorist.' The attack on the member of al-Sadr's bloc follows last week's (unsuccessful) efforts by the US to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr as outlined by Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) Friday.
While England and the United States face backlashes,
Reuters reports that a bomb has killed two Latvian soldiers and left three more wounded. In other violence today . . .
BBC reports a car bombing in east Baghdad that has claimed 8 lives and left 10 more wounded. The Press Association reports that seven British troops were wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Baghdad that left five people wounded and a roadisde bomb in Suwayra that killed three Iraqi soldiers.
Reuters notes an attack on "a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Higher Education" that left two wounded.
In peace news, Dana Hull (San Jose Mercury News) reports that Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Patrick Ryan McCaffrey who was killed in Iraq by Iraqi security forces he was training, is planning to build a retreat for returning troops -- Nadia McCaffrey: "Patrick isn't dead. His spirit is very much alive, in me and all around us. The rest of my life is going to be dedicated to peace and justice, and to helping the veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.''
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that the support for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continues to nose dive among Iraqis (some polls noting 90% of Iraqis are displeased with al-Maliki's 'governing') and notes that Tariq al-Hashimi ("leader of the Islamic Party") feels that many have been shut out in al-Maliki's so-called unity coalition while Dr. Salih al-Mutlaq tells the reporters, "This government will definitely lead the country into a disaster."

the washington post
nancy trejos

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

ABC wins an award

That's Isaiah's "Condi Rice for LIAR-ALL Bully Products" -- Condi thinks the illegal war was worth the monetary and human costs -- so I guess she'll gladly testify before Joe Biden's committee next month, right? Since she believes that, no one will have to strong arm her the way they did to get her to testify before the 9-11 Committee.

If she does testify, she needs to be put under oath. When anyone testifies to Congress, they should be put under oath.

I hope everybody who celebrated Christmas had a great one. Elaine and I are both doing quick posts tonight. Rebecca called to say there was a snapshot up and we decided we'd post that and also offer a little bit more -- not much.

Media Matters has picked ABC as the "Misinformer of the Year:"

In October 24 appearances on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes, ABC News political director Mark Halperin claimed that the "old media" -- broadcast news outlets and major newspapers -- were "biased against conservatives; there's no doubt about it." He stated, "I think we've got a chance in these last two weeks [before the then-upcoming midterm elections] to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances. We're going to try to do better." But if "try[ing] to do better" to not appear "biased against conservatives" meant offering viewers conservative misinformation, Halperin shouldn't have worried; a review of dozens of items by Media Matters for America identifying and correcting conservative misinformation from ABC suggests that Halperin's network was "try[ing] to do better" throughout 2006.
This year saw ABC air The Path to 9/11, a two-part miniseries that placed the blame for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Clinton administration and whitewashed some of the Bush administration's failures leading up to the attacks. Additionally, the network's news coverage frequently reported Republican spin as fact, passed on falsehoods propagated by conservatives, and missed numerous opportunities to challenge or question the administration's actions during solo interviews with Bush and key members of his administration.
These examples, and many more, earned ABC the distinction of being named Media Matters' Misinformer of the Year for 2006. The selection of an entire network for the honor represents a change from previous years, when individual media figures -- Fox News'
Bill O'Reilly in 2004 and MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2005 -- received the award. But a look at some of its most flagrant examples of conservative misinformation confirms that ABC won the Misinformer of the Year the old-fashioned way: The network earned it.

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the 3,000 mark for US troops killed in Iraq looms ever closer, Bully Boy continues to remain inactive and mum on what's next in his illegal war, a US war resister returns home and another gets some of the attention his stance warrants (no surprise, it doesn't come from independent media print division).
Starting with US military fatalities, there was no link between Iraq and 9-11. Now the number of US troops killed in Iraq tops the number of people killed on September 11, 2001.
AFP reports their count of US troops who have died in Iraq is 2975 which "is two more than the 2,973 people killed on September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda hijackers seized four airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvanian field. . . . The landmark American death toll, emerging over the Christmas holiday season, represents another political blow for Bush, who earlier this month was forced to admit for the first time that the US was not winning in Iraq."
CBS and AP note: "CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports that December is already the second deadliest month of 2006 for U.S. forces in Iraq. The depressing question now, Pinkston says, is whether the final figure will exceed October's of 106" and "Another sobering statistic; Iraqi officials report that 12,000 national police officers have been killed since the invasion in 2003, says Pinkston."
noted this morning:

The US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And finally (thus far) today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing three Soldiers northwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26."

Since then, the US military has announced: "One Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed and two others injured when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." This brings the total number of US troops killed in Iraq for the month thus far to 90 and the total since the start of the illegal war to 2979 -- 21 away from the 3,000 mark.
In the face of this, all Bully Boy has to offer is the so-called 'surge' option which failed miserably in the continued 'crackdown' of Baghdad -- failed in June, failed in July, failed in August, failed in September, failed in October (when even the Pentagon had to note the all time rise in the number of attacks), failed in November and is failing in December.
AP reports that US Senator Joseph Biden is against the 'surge' option calling it "the absolute wrong strategy," noting he will fight efforts to implement it and that he continues to advocate "a drawdown of U.S. forces and finding a political settlement among the various ethnic factions there." CNN reports that Biden, who is expected to chair the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate next month, has asked US Secretary of State Condi "to testify during three weeks of hearings in January about the Iraq war" that would begin January 9th and would also seek testimony from "former secretaries of state, academics, Iraq Study Group members and other witnesses from outside the administration as the committee examines various approaches to the war."
BBC reports 15 dead and 35 wounded in a bombing of a Sunni mosque today (northern Baghdad) which was preceeded by an earlier attack, using multiple bombs, in southwest Baghdad that "was severe, even by Iraqi standards, the BBC's Peter Greste reports from Baghdad" that claimed at least 15 lives and left at least 60 wounded. Christopher Torchia (AP) reports that the number of people killed in the latter attack rose to 25 and also notes an eastern Baghdad bombing that killed four police officers. AFP reports a roadside bomb killed three Iraqi children ("under the age of 12") and left eight more wounded when they were attempting to go to school.Shootings?
Reuters notes two police officers were injured in a drive-by shooting near Kirkuk.
Lauren Frayer (AP) reports: "Police found 49 bodies bearing signs of torture dumped across the country, mostly in Baghdad." Reuters notes six corpses were found in Baquba.
In peace news, US war resister
Ricky Clousing was released from the brig at Camp Lejeune on Saturday where he had been sentenced for three months following an October court-martial. Clousing self-checked out of the military in June 2005 and, on August 11, 2006, announced that he was turning himself in. Cheryl Johnston Sadgrove (The News & Observer) reports that Clousing and some supporters first gathered Saturday at Raleigh's Vietnam Veterans Memorial before heading to the Quaker meeting house and meeting up with about 36 more people where Clousing spoke about his decision to refuse to participate in the illegal war and life in military prison: "I had a bed and food and shelter. To me -- it was a time out. I took that time to read and think about what I want to do after that." The Associated Press reports that Clousing stated, "It feels good, but it feels surreal because I don't have to deal with the military anymore. . . . My decision was never personal to my command. I had to honor my own personal convictions. I'm excited to finally be finished with the military. I've gotten the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and the system I fell under." Kelley Chambers (Jacksonville's The Daily News) quotes Veterans for Peace's Dave Taylor, “(Clousing) said to me, “I was willing to do my duty but I’m not going back to that war because I think it’s wrong,’” said Taylor. “I can’t not back him up because of that.”
Another US war resister,
Ehren Watada, has been the topic of year end media attention (no, not from independent media). Rolling Stone picked Watada for their 2006 Honor Roll noting:

Watada, who enlisted in 2003, was praised by his superiors as an "exemplary" officer. But when he refused to ship out to Iraq, he not only became the first commissioned officer to do so -- he even rejected a desk job. "My participation would make me a party to war crimes," declared Watada, who calls the war a "horrible breach of American law." He now faces court-martial and eight years in the brig.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin picked him for their "10 Who Made a Difference" series and Robert Shikina observed: "Watada brought his case to the public's attention, appearing at anti-war demonstrations -- he spoke to a crowd of more than 300 recently in Honolulu -- and speaking to the media to defend his beliefs. The army initiated a court-martial against Watada for missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer for statemens he made about the war. A charge of contempt toward a government official for statements he made about President Bush was later dropped. Watada has criticized the government of committing lies to drag the U.S. into war in Iraq for the benefit of large corporations. He said he is defending the U.S. Constitution."
Phil Tajitsu Nash (Asian Week) picked Watada as one of the "Real People of the Year" noting:"When it was more damaging to his career to do so, however, Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada did not flinch when he publicly stated he believes the Iraq war is illegal, and publicly refused orders to deploy to Iraq to lead his troops later that month. He now faces possible court martial and prison time for his position, but refuses to back down. 'It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order -- including the order to go to war,' he said. 'The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes'."
Clousing and Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Joel Wendland (Political Affairs) reviews Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to the War in Iraq which examines the resistance and a large number of the resisters (including Joshua Key, Darrell Anderson, Jeremy Hinzman, Ryan Johnson and others). Wendland notes: "While this military-based movement falls numerically short of such opposition during the Vietnam War (approximately 170,000 draftees refused to fight by registering as conscientious objectors), today's numbers are still significant within the context of a so-called volunteer army. Indeed, many war resisters have been denied conscientious objector status and subsequently punished for their refusal to participate in what they consider an immoral or illegal war."
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month. Information on past and present war resistance can also be found in David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! which tells the story of war resistance during the Vietnam era and, in the new director's edition, also includes bonus material on Camilo Mejia's court-martial, interviews with Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda about today's war resistance, and more. The director's cut is availabe for $23.95 and the original version is currently available for $12.95.
CNN reports on the Iranians arrested in Baghdad (that the US government and the New York Times -- they still are seperate entities, right? -- has spun as 'terrorists' who entered the country to add to the chaos and violence) noting that Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani states they were in the country at his invitation and Iran's Foreign Ministry has stated "this action is not justifiable by any international rules or regulations and will have unpleasant consequences."

ricky clousing

ehren watada