Tuesday! :D Man, I didn't think I was going to make it last night. As soon as I blogged, I powered down and crawled into bed.
DC was a blast but there was so much to do. Fun stuff and serious stuff. And I was wiped out when it was over. Ava and C.I. went straight from DC to speaking on campuses. I think Jess was going with them but I don't remember and forgot to ask when I was on the phone with C.I. earlier.
Law and Disorder was what I was calling C.I. about. One of the guests was irritating me and I also didn't understand what he was talking about. I called C.I. and go, "His name is Stanley something?" And C.I. goes, "Stanley Aronowitz" and gives me the Cliff's Notes version of Aronowitz and adds, "I really don't know him but I have met him and he's a nice person. Is he getting a word in because he does get nervous when he's trying to make a point and gets stepped on?" I think that was what it was.
I rewound the tape and went back to listening (it's this week's episode) and he really didn't get that many words in. I could understand him after the Cliff's Notes version and he really seemed like a nice guy but he did a little different when he was being interrupted. I thought he was kind of rude and bossy when I was listening before I called C.I. to find out who the guy was. When I listened again, he really did get cut off.
That's not normal but Dalia Hashad wasn't on and they had a guest from another segment sit in and I think they wanted to be sure he knew he could weigh in. So it just seemed to me like Stanley (and I'm just calling him that, I had to get C.I. to spell the last name over the phone) got the short end of the stick. I'm going to assume it was good natured kidding but if Stanley didn't take it that way, I would understand it.
He had several really good points but the one I enjoyed the most and agreed with the strongest was about a newspaper. He was talking about how in previous movements there was something to turn to. And he used historical examples. But today, what do we have?
And that's right but I am so glad I called C.I. because I was going to give up on the episode and I would've missed this point. Stanley goes we have The Nation "and vanden Heuvel" and that crowd just want to shore up the Democratic Party. They don't want to push for change and stuff. Is that not what we've been seeing over and over?
So Stanley is a genius in my book and I've popped out the tabs on this recording so I can keep the tape. I'm going to try to listen to it again after I read his book. I'm sure I'll understand what he's talking about better when I do.
I didn't get the newspaper stuff, really, until C.I. gave me the Cliff's Notes on what Stanley's usually interested in. Stanley was using an example of the Communist Party and how they used their newspaper. And it is true that if you don't know what's going on, everyone's kind of off in the dark. That was one of his points.
I felt bad for him, to be honest. I'm not talking about the first guest. Because after I listened again, I could see that question C.I. asked about was he nervous? The other guy wrote a book too and he got to discuss it and just go on and on. Stanley had Heidi and both Michaels to talk to and also the other guy piping in and, if he and the other guy are friends, that's fine. But if they aren't friends, that guy was kind of rude and that last comment about something like "Well, I'll read your book Stanley" was kind of smarmy.
So Stanley thinks we need to have a newspaper and I agree with that but it broke up, the conversation, into a lot of questions and other things. Heidi's question was on the point, she was asking about . . . resources are small, whether with organizations or attention, and she was wondering about funding?
He said he didn't really see funders like fundraising and more like everyone gave $10, $20, $100 or whatever. And then he got cut off. I'm not griping at the Michaels because Wally and I are like that sometimes and it's a lot of fun. But I'm beginning to wonder if others think it is?
I was listening the first time before I stopped the tape and I was thinking, "Stanley's an asshole." Then when I call C.I. and start talking about how Stanley is an asshole, C.I.'s like, no, but if he's nervous . . . And it was weird because I went back to the tape and started over with when he came in and I could see how he might be nervous. He starts off confident and ready to talk about his book. And then it becomes the guest and the Michaels laughing. And I could hear Stanley's voice rise and picture his back straightening and he really did seem nervous. If it was me, I think I'd be like, "What's going on here?" Although, honestly, I probably would've just joked back because I'm always up for silly.
But I know some people aren't and it just seemed to me like Stanley could have seen that as, "Are they making fun of me? Why did they invite me on?" He really did have some strong points to make and I hope they have him back on.
I liked the roundtable idea until I talked to C.I. It was funny and the stuff kept me interested but I really did not like Stanley. Then when I listened again, I had a different take on it and felt like all the good natured stuff (which is how I saw the first time) could go a different way if you were Stanley and taken off balance by what was going on. This is Stanley's book, Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future.
And I want to be clear that I'm always up for funnin'. I love to laugh and all. But it did feel like there was fun going on and then there was Stanley. One of the Michaels (I think it was Michael Smith) cut him off on the newspaper to ask a question and then when Stanley's going to respond says he was talking to the other author. It seemed like it was a lot of fun for the Michaels and the other guy but I didn't think so for Stanley.
I'm not ragging on the Michaels. Listening really made me wonder if I do that? I don't mean to but I will get silly and the more guys in the mix, the sillier I'll get. But I also noticed that it was Heidi ("pulling a C.I." -- that's what Elaine calls it when something's happened and it needs to be smooothed over) saying that the work Stanley was talking about was work that they'd be trying for at the National Lawyer's Guild.
It's weird to hear something that you're like 99% sure you've done over and over and get that while you and others found it funny, the person you were talking with didn't. That's fine if that's what you're going for but I'm talking about when you're not intending to do that.
It just kind of blew my mind to go back to the tape and suddenly see something else might be going on there because I really did think Stanley was a pain in the ass and then when I went back and listened all the way through, I had a completely different reaction.
And I was listening and thinking about the roundtables we do and wondering if I'd hurt someone's feelings during it while I was just playing around? I hope not but I'll ask when we're all working together this weekend. I don't think the Michaels or even the other guy were trying to be mean but I could see how someone could be thrown by that sort of thing.
The newspaper idea would be about bridging the gaps, between younger and older, and between various issues. To show the connections between issues and to get all of us, who should be in agreement, on the same page.
I really wish we did have a newspaper like that. I know a magazine seems like it would be good but I really do wish we had a newspaper. Something national that could take on the likes of the New York Times. You could look at it online or in print (Stanely made that point) and, I mean, if it's not in print you can pretty much forget about my grandfather looking at it. He'll look at the community sites because he knows all of us and stuff. But he's not surfing the net. So if you were really trying to bring everyone together to let them know what all was going on, you would have to include print. It's also true that print, if you carry it around, people will ask you about it.
Okay, I just went online to the libarary and his book is checked out but I've requested The Death and Rebirth of American Radicalism and I'll start with that one. And he has a website.
This is from Aaron Glantz' "What I Told Congress:"
Congresswoman Waters, and fellow members, a year ago I published a book called How America Lost Iraq. The book, based on my experiences as an unembedded journalist, documented how the US military went from being seen as liberators to the situation we have now -- where the vast majority of ordinary Iraqis support attacks on American soldiers in an effort to get them to leave their country.
There are four main reasons for this:
** NUMBER ONE: All the things that were broken during the initial invasion are still broken. There is no security, no ability to send children to school without fear of kidnapping. There is almost no clean water, and almost no electricity. Imagine trying to sleep without a fan during when its 120 degrees in the Summer in Baghdad. Imagine four years without reliable refrigeration. You would get grouchy.
**NUMBER TWO: The Abu Ghraib prison scandal, but not the one you saw on TV. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq is that so many people imprisoned in Abu Ghraib prison. When the scandal broke two years ago, there were more than 10,000 "security detainees" in Iraq. These are people who were not charged with any crime and had no access to a lawyer or to visits from their family. In 2004, the International Committee for the Red Cross, which has access to the prisons, estimated up to 90 percent of inmates were arrested by mistake. Even now, the US military holds an estimated 13,000 people without trial in Iraq. This is not a good way to make friends.
**NUMBER THREE: The attack on the movement of Muqtada al-Sadr. Many here may not like his anti-American rhetoric and fundamentalist ideology, but he is a man with a lot of street credibility in Iraq – his followers provide food and security to the poor. His father and uncle were both killed by Saddam Hussien. When the US military attacks a major social movement with millions of members, it inflicts many civilian casualties --- causing many people who had never picked up arms before to start to fight against our soldiers. It also causes Iraqis of all political stripes to believe the United States has no commitment to democracy -- that we only want to control their country.
**NUMBER FOUR The attack on Fallujah. The first siege in the Spring of 2004, which came after four military contractors were killed and their burning corpses hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River in the center of town. The US military didn't just take revenge on the killers, but against all the people of Fallujah. So many people were killed in the US bombardment of Fallujah that the municipal stadium had to be turned into a graveyard for the dead. And I’ve been to that stadium and I've seen the mourners and the headstones and I can tell you that many of the people buried there are innocent women, children, and the elderly.
Imagine if so many Americans were killed in Washington that RFK Stadium had to be turned into a graveyard. People here would get angry. Some would get violent.
Four things, the lack of basic services, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the attack on Muqtada al-Sadr and the attack on Fallujah.
By the middle of 2004, almost every Iraq I talked to wanted the United States military to leave their country.
Since then, the situation on the ground in Iraq has steadily gotten worse -- with Iraqis killing each other in larger numbers every year the occupation drags on.
So, if you think about it, the same non-justice policy that holds prisoners at Guantamo also held them at Abu Ghraib (and continues to hold them throughout Iraq). This is what Katha Pollitt can't get (maybe because she's too busy doing book reviews and lists?) about Iraq -- there is no "save" there -- not from the US. Now maybe if she'd focused on reality instead of worrying what CODEPINK was doing to Hillary (who deserves it and more), Pollitt could have offered something of use and value. Instead, she was just lame with her laughable "Be Honest" point. People are honest, people who pay attention. But people who pay attention know "Abeer" -- they hear the name and they know what you're talking about. People who don't, even if they're supposed to be the biggest feminist in the nation and at The Nation, doesn't think the gang rape of a 14 year old Iraqi girl by US soldiers who stalked her is worth writing about. As C.I. has pointed out, maybe the thing to do is to worry less about CODEPINK and more about the fact that women aren't getting published in the magazine you write for. (C.I. brings up the low representation of women in the snapshot.)
Wally and Cedric are trying to be sure that everyone knows about what Russ Feingold did today so they're asking all of us to post it if we post today. They only had to ask. And I like Russ Feingold, I wish that he would run for president. So this is his "Opening Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Exercising Congress's Constitutional Power to End a War:"
January 30, 2007
Listen to Senator Feingold's Opening Statement
Good morning, and welcome to this hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee entitled "Exercising Congress's Constitutional Power to End a War." We are honored to have with us this morning a distinguished panel of legal scholars to share their views on this very important and timely issue.
I thank Chairman Leahy for allowing me to chair this hearing. Let me start by making a few opening remarks, then I will recognize Senator Specter for an opening statement, and then we will turn to our witnesses.
It is often said in this era of ubiquitous public opinion polls that the only poll that really matters is the one held on election day. On November 7, 2006, we had such a poll, and all across this country, the American people expressed their opinion on the war in Iraq in the most significant and meaningful way possible -- they voted. And with those votes, they sent a clear message that they disagree with this war and they want our involvement in it to stop.
The President has chosen to ignore that message. So it is up to Congress to act.
The Constitution gives Congress the explicit power "[to] declare War," "[t]o raise and support Armies," "[t]o provide and maintain a Navy," and "[t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces." In addition, under Article I, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." These are direct quotes from the Constitution of the United States. Yet to hear some in the Administration talk, it is as if these provisions were written in invisible ink. They were not. These powers are a clear and direct statement from the founders of our republic that Congress has authority to declare, to define, and ultimately, to end a war.
Our founders wisely kept the power to fund a war separate from the power to conduct a war. In their brilliant design of our system of government, Congress got the power of the purse, and the President got the power of the sword. As James Madison wrote, "Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded."
The President has made the wrong judgment about Iraq time and again, first by taking us into war on a fraudulent basis, then by keeping our brave troops in Iraq for nearly four years, and now by proceeding despite the opposition of the Congress and the American people to put 21,500 more American troops into harm's way.
If and when Congress acts on the will of the American people by ending our involvement in the Iraq war, Congress will be performing the role assigned it by the founding fathers -- defining the nature of our military commitments and acting as a check on a President whose policies are weakening our nation.
There is little doubt that decisive action from the Congress is needed. Despite the results of the election, and two months of study and supposed consultation -- during which experts and members of Congress from across the political spectrum argued for a new policy -- the President has decided to escalate the war. When asked whether he would persist in this policy despite congressional opposition, he replied: "Frankly, that's not their responsibility."
Last week Vice President Cheney was asked whether the non-binding resolution passed by the Foreign Relations Committee that will soon be considered by the full Senate would deter the President from escalating the war. He replied: "It's not going to stop us."
In the United States of America, the people are sovereign, not the President. It is Congress' responsibility to challenge an administration that persists in a war that is misguided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration's policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying "your policy is mistaken." And we can't stand idly by and tell ourselves that it's the President's job to fix the mess he made. It's our job to fix the mess, and if we don't do so we are abdicating our responsibilities.
Tomorrow, I will introduce legislation that will prohibit the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment. By prohibiting funds after a specific deadline, Congress can force the President to bring our forces out of Iraq and out of harm's way.
This legislation will allow the President adequate time to redeploy our troops safely from Iraq, and it will make specific exceptions for a limited number of U.S. troops who must remain in Iraq to conduct targeted counter-terrorism and training missions and protect U.S. personnel. It will not hurt our troops in any way -- they will continue receiving their equipment, training and salaries. It will simply prevent the President from continuing to deploy them to Iraq. By passing this bill, we can finally focus on repairing our military and countering the full range of threats that we face around the world.
There is plenty of precedent for Congress exercising its constitutional authority to stop U.S. involvement in armed conflict.
In late December 1970, Congress prohibited the use of funds to finance the introduction of United States ground combat troops into Cambodia or to provide U.S. advisors to or for Cambodian military forces in Cambodia.
In late June 1973, Congress set a date to cut off funds for combat activities in South East Asia. The provision read, and I quote:
"None of the funds herein appropriated under this act may be expended to support directly or indirectly combat activities in or over Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam by United States forces, and after August 15, 1973, no other funds heretofore appropriated under any other act may be expended for such purpose."
More recently, President Clinton signed into law language that prohibited funding after March 31, 1994, for military operations in Somalia, with certain limited exceptions. And in 1998, Congress passed legislation including a provision that prohibited funding for Bosnia after June 30, 1998, unless the President made certain assurances.
Our witnesses today are well aware of this history, and I look forward to hearing their analysis of it as they discuss Congress's power in this area. They are legal scholars, not military or foreign policy experts. We are here to find out from them not what Congress should do, but what Congress can do. Ultimately, it rests with Congress to decide whether to use its constitutional powers to end the war.
The answer should be clear. Since the President is adamant about pursuing his failed policies in Iraq, Congress has the duty to stand up and use its power to stop him. If Congress doesn't stop this war, it's not because it doesn't have the power. It's because it doesn't have the will.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
January 30, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Bully Boy's spin on Najaf comes loose, Ehren Watada's court-martial is still scheduled for Feb. 5th but there is a new development,
and US Senator Russ Feingold maintains he is not running for president in 2008 but delivers something sharper, more focused and harder hitting than any of the declared candidates has yet to offer: "In the United Sates of America, the people are sovereign, not the Presidents. It is Congress' responsibility to challenge an administration that persists in a war that is misquided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration's policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying 'your policy is mistaken.' And we can't stand idly by and tell ourselves that it's the President's job to fix the mess he made. It's our job to fix the mess, and if we don't do so we are abdicating our responsibilities."
Last week, Ehren Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq appeared on NPR's Fresh Air with his attorney Eric Seitz where they were interviewed by NO HELP TO ANYONE Terry Gross. Gross cited the laughable Seattle Times editorial and Watada's response was:
When we join the military we don't swear an oath to a person or, especially officers, in our oath we do not swear an oath of loyalty to any one person or any group of people or even an institution. We swear an oath to protect the Constitution and also the American people as a whole and we have to follow the rule of law as it says in the Constitution and when we have . . . When I joined the military in March 2003, I believed the administration when they said there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, there were ties with Sadam to al Qaeda and 9-11. We all know those lies were false now and there have been many reports coming out of retired CIA analysts and officers saying that the intelligence was not bad it was intentionally falsified to fit the policy. When we have as I said a group of people in our government who mislead the public who mislead the other branch of government in order to justify their war that is a violation of the Constitution. And, um, I just have to say that regardless of what they convict me on, if they convict me or sentence me, I am doing what I swore an oath to do when I joined the military 3 years ago and as I said I did not realize the extent of the deception that was waged upon us that I do now.
That was the first segment of the January 25 show. The second is where she got into real trouble and there's a reason for that: Terry Gross can find a man anywhere. Her next book might need to be entitled Manhunt. It's women she can't find. And she's far from alone on that -- as of the February 5, 2007 issue of The Nation, for the magazine to offer women in equal number (equal, not more) there February 12, 2007 issue would have needed to print 37 pieces written or co-written by women and none by men. The Nation ratio by gender is basically 1 female for every 4 males. Gross specializes in her nerdy dominitrix pose on air -- full of tension and archness -- and it's a laughable bit but she's made it profitable. What she has not done (appalling when you consider that NPR broke down barriers for women -- including Gross) is do her part to offer women an equal platform. Appalling considering the history of NPR, more appalling considering the information she was seeking in the second segment of the show when she interviewed Eugene Fidell asking him questions about issues that he frequently hems and haws on. If you're asking about the Law of Land Warfare, Gross, you can go to a woman. Retired colonel Ann Wright taught that.
NPR audiences were cheated out of a full discussion about Ehren Watada because Queen Bee Gross can have countless males on her show each week (several guests each day) but somehow more than two or three women send Gross into a panic. It's harmful to all women and, in the case of Ehren Watada, it prevented Gross from being able to find the answers to her questions.
Had Ann Wright been invited into the second segment (instead of one male 'expert') she could have stated, "As part of our overal military training there is a history of service personnel being told that you do not have to follow an illegal order. It comes from the commissions that we take that we are to uphold the lawful orders of our superios. Implicit in that is that if there is an illegal order you are under no obligation to follow it." Wright served in the military, served in the US State Department and the quote is from what she testified to in the August Article 32 hearing.
Ehren Watada faces a court-martial on February 5th (and got the Diane Sawyer "Aren't you ashamed!" treatment from Gross last week). Though it never would have been the court-martial of Sarah Olson (despite where independent media put their emphasis in what passed for 'coverage'), she and Gregg Kakesako will not appear in court. All the hand wringing was for nothing. All the, "Phil, you've got to write about this! We need you!" phone calls were a waste of time. Already today Amy Goodman's interviewed Olson and no one ever needs to do so again. Goodman made the mistake of asking a very basic question -- Now that she's not going to be asked to testify, will she be covering the court-martial? It was too much for Olson -- she sputtered, she stammered, she had no answer. The parody "Run, Olson! Run!"
never looked so true.
Ehren Watada was always the defendant in his court-martial -- even if that basic point couldn't be grasped by indy pundits. The charges reduce the maxiumum number of years Watada could serve if he is punished in the court-martial -- from six years, it has now dropped to a maximum of four years in prison. Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, told AP, of the kangaro court awaiting his client: "This is not a justice proceeding but a disciplinary proceeding. Really, the only thing the Army is interested in here is what kind of punishment to mete, not whether Lieutenant Watada is guilty or innocent of the charges."
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.
On the topic of going to Canada, Patrick Malone (Canada's The London Free Press) reports
on Matt Lowell who was attempting to receive refugee status in Canada and has heard back from the Immigration and Refugee Board: "Eight pages long, it can be summed up in one word: No." The article also notes a meeting this Thursday at 7:00 pm at the Tolpuddle housing co-op, common room, 380 Adelaide St. at King Street in London (Ottawa, not England) where you can meet with Iraq war resisters and those "offering support to military resisters."
In Iraq, the big (press) issue is still what happened in Najaf.
Sam Knight (Times of London) reports an "explosion, in the town of Mandali, 60km north east of Baghdad and near the border with Iran, claimed the lives of 23 worshippers at a Shi mosque, doctors said. A further 60 people were injured when a suicide bomber detonated a belt of explosives in the midst of a crowd of around 150 people entering the Ali al-Akbar mosque". Michael Howard (Guardian of London) reports a mortar attack in Baghdad that killed "at least 17 people and injuring 72." Kim Gamel (AP) notes "a bomb in a garage can exploded as scores of Shiites - most them Kurds -- were performing rituals in Khanaqin, a majority Kurdish city also near the Iranian border. At least 13 people were killed and 39 were wounded, police Maj. Idriss Mohammed said." Reuters notes a car bomb in Mosul that killed two police officers (wounded two more) and a secon mortar attack in Baghdad left nine people wounded.
Al Jazeera reports that "four Ashura pilgrmins" were shot ded with an addition six injured in Baghdad today.
Also today the US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Multi-National Forces-West died Monday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province" and they announced: "LSA Anaconda, Iraq A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier was killed in an accident when a M-1114 HMMWV rolled over northwest of An Nasiriah Jan 29."
Meanwhile Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) further discredits Bully Boy's false assertion that the February 22nd bombing in Samarra of a Shi'ite mosque began the sectarian violence -- Fadel notes that the claim is already disputed by "U.S. diplomats, Iraqi politicians, U.S. intelligence analysts and journalists [who] had reported throughout 2005 that attacks on Sunnis by Shiite militias were rising and that the militias had infiltraded the security forces"; however, Fadel reports that Ibrahim al Jaafari (former prime minister of Iraq0 states "he told U.S. officials nearly two years ago that Shiite Muslim militas were infiltrating the country's secuirty services".
In latest lies the Bully Boy told the world, CBS and AP report that Bully Boy continues to cite the recent events in Najaf as proof of yet another turned corner: "My first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something." Marc Santora (New York Times) reported today that, contrary to the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk: "Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed . . . and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed".
In other news, does US Senator Arlen Specter watch Democracy Now!? If so he may have seen the speech US Rep Maxine Waters delivered at the rally in DC Saturday -- where she made the point that Bully Boy was not the decider. AP reports that Arlen Specter said something similar, in milder terms, today: "I would suggest respectfully to the president that is not the sole decider. The decider is a shared and joint responsiblity." Then, Specter saw his shadow and won't be spotted again until spring.
Staying on the topic of the US Congress, Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes US Rep Maxine Waters recent appearance on CNN where she outlined the plans by the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus to visit "early Democratic primary states" in order to make some Democratic presidential candidates demonstrate a spine. When asked by Wolf Blitzer if this were a reference to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, "they both have to prove themselves," was Waters' response.
Also addressing the issue of spine and justice, Anthony Arnove (author of IRAQ: The logic of Withdrawal) observes (at CounterPunch): "The other night, on 60 Minutes, President Bush said 'Everybody was wrong on weapons of mass destruction.' Yet millions of us who protested this war before it started were right, and were ignored. We did not have access to any special intelligence. We simply used our intelligence. And today we have the intelligence to know that each day we continue the occupation of Iraq, the situation gets worse. Every time we have been told 'we are turning the corner,' the situation gets worse. And we have the intelligence to know that you cannot oppose the war, as some Democrats have proclaimed, and yet fund this war. To those who say we cannot withdraw 'precipitously,' there is nothing precipitous about pulling out after four years of occuyping another country against its will. And to those who say we are abandoing the troops, the best way to support the troops is to bring them home."
Today, US Senator Russ Feingold held a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Excercising Congress's Constitutional Power to End a War" to explore the issue of what powers Congress has in ending Bully Boy's illegal war. From Feingold's opening statement:
"It is often said . . . that the only poll that really matters is the one held on election day. On November 7, 2006 we had such a poll, and all across this country, the American people expressed their opinion on the war in Iraq in the most significant and meaningful way possible -- they voted. And with those votes, they sent a clear message that they disagree with this war and they want our involvement in it to stop. The President has chosen to ignore that message. So it is up to Congress to act." Noting the words written into the US Constitution (Congress has the power to declare war, the power of the purse, etc.), Feingold then stated, "The President has made the wrong judgment about Iraq time and again, first by taking us into war on a fraudulent basis, then by keeping our brave troops in Iraq for nearly four years, and now by proceeding despite the opposition of the Congress and the American people to put 21,500 more American troops into harm's way. If and when Congress acts on the will of the American people by ending our involvement in the Iraq war, Congress will be performing the role assigned it by the founding fathers -- defining the nature of our military commitments and acting as a check on a President whose policies are weakening our nation. . . . There is little doubt that decisive action from the Congress is needed. Despite the results of the election, and two months of study and supposed consultation -- during which experts and members of Congress from across the political spectrum argued for a new policy -- the President has decided to escalate the war. When asked whether he would persist in this policy despite congressional opposition, he replied: 'Frankly, that's not their responsibility.' [. . .] It's our job to fix the mess, and if we don't do so we are abdicating our responsibilities. Tomorrow, I will introduce legislation that will prohibit the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment. By prohibiting funds after a specific deadline, Congress can force the President to bring our forces out of Iraq and out of harm's way."
On last weekends protests, rallies and marches, Danny Schechter writes at BuzzFlash to remind everyone that the numbers reported do matter as do media coverage: "Do the anti-war organizaers see this as a problem? Don't they think they should try to do something about it as a problem and protest this ritualistic treatement? Shouldn't they make the media coverage a issue? Are they only listening to themselves? I was on Air America in LA on Saturday afternoon and feisty host Bree Walker, a former TV anchor, agreed. But the anti-war movement continues to pay lipservice to this problem, perhaps for fear of 'alienating' the press." To be clear, Danny's writing of the mainstream press. I would expand that to include independent media as well (and no community member would disagree with that assertion).
Also addressing the issue of big media at BuzzFlash, Cindy Sheehan writes: "In the United States today, we have a media controlled b corporations that are, for the most part, controlled by other entities that profit off of war. NBC is owned by General Electric, a major war profiteer (which used to be a crime punishable by hanging). The corporate media has a lot at stake by keeping the wag-the-dog occupation of Iraq aloat on BushCo's failed ship of state.
Attempting to get the word out on her son Ehren Watada, Carolyn Ho is rallying for one more speaking tour. Some of her dates this week include:
Wednesday January 31 3:00 to 5:00pm
The Center for Race, Politics & Religion University of Chicago Chicago, IL
St. Xavier University 3700 West 103rd St. (103rd & Pulaski) McGuire Hall Professor Peter N. Kirstein (773) 298-3283 Kirstein@sxu.edu
Thursday February 1 10:00 to 12:00am
Emerson High School 716 East 7th Avenue Gary, Indiana Carolyn McCrady (219) 938-1302 Jim Spicer (219) 938-9615
12:30 to 2:30pm
Purdue Calumet University 2200 169th St. Hammond, Indiana Professor Kathy Tobin (219) 989-3192 firstname.lastname@example.org Classroom Office Building CLO 110
Valparaiso University U.S. Hwy 30 & Sturdy Rd Room 234 Neils Science Center Valparaiso, Indiana Libby A Hearn Partners for Peace (student group) (309) 834-2199 Libby.AHearn@valpo.edu Lorri Cornett Northwest Indiana Coalition Against the Iraq War (219) 916-0449 email@example.com
Friday February 2
Noon Purdue University Wesley Foundation 435 West State St. West Lafayette, Indiana Sheila Rosenthal (765) 404-5489Lafayette Area Peace Coalition
Finally, the lies that led to war include the false claim of 'yellowcake' in Bully Boy's 2003 State of the Union address. When it imploded on him, they attempted to attack and silence Joseph Wilson by destroying his wife Valerie Plame -- a CIA agent until those at the White House decided to blow her cover. Rory O'Connor is blogging about Scooter Libby's trial and Judith Miller was supposed to appear today.
the third estate sunday review
mikey likes it
the common ills
law and disorder
like maria said paz
the daily jot
cedrics big mix
the new york timesmarc santora