Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Laura Flanders & Stanley Aronowitz (Law and Disorder)

Hump day, hump day, why can't you be pump day? :D It's Wednesday and 91 US service members have been killed so far this month in the illegal war. I got a disc in the mail and I'm going with the first half. Sorry to Wally and Cedric, my title of this post is going long.

WBAI's Law and Disorder (other stations too, but I think it airs first each week on WBAI) this week had a segment on Agent Orange that I might talk about tomorrow but (and I might not) tonight I'm going to focus on the first half. This was a debate between Laura Flanders and Stanley Aronowitz. Kat wrote about it yesterday in "Law and Disorder: Laura Flanders, Stanley Aronowitz" and I love what she wrote. I disagree with some of it. (I called her and she said, "That's cool." But I went back to listen to the first segment over after I called her which is why I'm really not interested in talking about the second half which I haven't heard as much of.)

Kat points out that it was more of a discussion between Flanders and Aronowitz and I'd agree with that. But there was a debate. Between Aronowitz and the moderator who was flat out rude. "Stanley, Stanley . . ." he says at one point with so much superiority and listen to the questions he ask Flanders and then the ones he asks Aronowitz.

Wally and I didn't go see it. We were talking about it but wiped out (a) from the weekend in Chicago for the Socialist Forum and (b) wiped out from cleaning up my kid sister's mess from her wild weekend alone. I'm glad we didn't go because I would have been booing the moderator. (His name is not mentioned because chicken sh*ts who work Darrell Anderson's name into an article in May, quote Anderson and don't have the guts to note that Anderson is a war resister don't get promoted at my site.) I really would have been booing that jerk. He was so confrontational with Stanley. He was supposed to be the moderator and that doesn't mean "favor one side over the other." He was just a real ass.

Kat and I have talked a lot about Stanley's idea for a left newspaper (we both love that idea). She notes that Stanley appears to be getting at things like that in his answers, the need for it. I agree with that. But I also think Stanley's talking theoretical and Laura Flanders is offering concrete examples of things happening on the ground.

The only thing I strongly disagreed with Flanders on was Iraq Veterans Against the War which is one of the most dedicated and hard working organizations around. I think they do real work (unlike a lot of others on the left). But Flanders brought up that she felt they should be leading the marches. I don't. We've dealt with this at Third. They should be up front and certainly in leadership roles. But I don't believe we play hide behind the vets.

That's for the right. Bully Boy did that to sell a war. Iraq Veterans Against the War have earned a place on the stage and a place at the front but not as the only ones in the front. The peace movement needs to be diverse and speak to all and, I think C.I. pointed this out at Third, if we do that, what we're saying is that with the next illegal war, we'll have to wait until vets start coming back to make any real attempts to halt the illegal war. There's no question that the people of IVAW should be at the front, but they shouldn't be the only ones. We need students, we need older people, we need to make sure the diversity of the peace movement is present.

There's also the fact that, no matter where they are or what order they speak in, Iraq Veterans Against the War get through to people. So I'm not really nervous that they're going to get lost. They stand out because they are not afraid to speak the truth.

But is this movement just to stop the war in Iraq? If so, let's turn it over IVAW (who I think would do a better job leading than any other group currently). But if this is about building a movement that can call out illegal wars, I don't know that we turn everything over to one group (any group) and if it's IVAW, the worry is that if we enter an illegal war with North Korea, we'll have to wait for US vets to start returning from that war in order to get traction.

Vietnam vets who spoke out then deserve a place now. And with the next war, IVAW will too. But if we're rushing to hide behind IVAW then what do we do with the next war?

I don't like the idea of rushing to hide behind anyone. I think the ones up front should be the strongest voices and most inspiring and, on that alone, IVAW has a right to be up front because they really are the main source of life today (too many other organizations seem to be focused on lobbying Congress these days as opposed to getting the message out). I'm all for, for instance, Kelly Dougherty and Garrett and Adam being upfront because they've earned it. But, if they're still alive during the next war and as active, I'm all for them being upfront then too. And there are people like Ron Kovack (spelling?) from Vietnam that are just amazing today and should be up front. But the danger is we just end up waiting (next time) for vets to return and do the speaking for us. That's not democracy and it just prolongs a war.

I'm not big on NOW these days and, having endorsed Hillary Clinton, pull their position at any march or demonstration. Give it to others. That's fine with me. But there are people who do amazing work and they need to be heard. I just don't believe we hide behind anyone.

Look at Cindy Sheehan. A lot of people hid behind her. She became the big target and that, and the lack of support from people who think "Vote Democrat!" is the ultimate answer, and IVAW is carrying on but a lot of groups aren't. We don't need just one person or one group of people out front. There's a vet that's already burned out. (Wally called that a few months back.) It's a lot of work to be up front. Cindy and one vet have burned out. We shouldn't hide behind people. And we shouldn't be silent when someone like Cindy is attacked.

The war's not going to end by anyone group, it's going to take all of us. So I disagreed with Laura Flanders on that. (And her wording, this was a small point of a larger point, might have been rushed. She might not disagree with the points I'm making. She might, however, disagree. That's fine. It's how I feel and it's not changing.)

Flanders was pointing to actions on the ground, to concrete things. Stanley wasn't talking about that. Stanley was talking about the death of socialism and the need for new theories. It's like that Carly Simon song my folks love (I love it too), "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." That's from "Let The River Run." That's what Stanley was about.

Laura was about, look at what people are accomplishing! And she's right, they are accomplishing. But he was getting at the need for theories and frameworks (not framinings -- he's not a hula hoop kind of guy). Laura Flanders was talking about how people were doing work with little or no support and that is happening. But Stanley's point seemed to me to be that was like a car that had run out of gas and, yeah, it's great that people are able to keep going, push it to a gas station, but where's the thing that they're going to fill up on?

He talked about how when Karl Marx wrote, he was writing about things that hadn't happened, he was dreaming. Stupid moderator started harping on how there is optimism in the real world today. No sh*t, dumb ass. That wasn't Stanley's point (and maybe if the moderator would have let Stanley speak . . .) Yeah, there is optimism, there is hope. Hope that we can stop this or stop that. But where's the framework, where's the theory?

I didn't think Laura Flanders came off like a cheerleader for the Democratic Party or even a cheerleader for the people doing things around the country. She noted those and usually because she was asked about it. Those are important things (and you should read her book Blue Grit). And they give us all hope in dark times. But, to me, that's hope that we will survive and, to me, Stanley's points were that we need more than that. We need something larger than what we're being provided and individual battles may train us and all but we really need to have a larger theory. That's what his newspaper idea is about. It's what Laura Flanders did with her show when it was live. She would make the connections. Sometimes her callers would, but if they didn't, she would. She could relate Hurricane Katrina and Iraq and whatever scandal the administration was facing at that week. She could pull it all together and I think she's got a framework (I don't know what it is) and that's why she can do that. But Stanley's point is that we need to be getting a framework out there. (Again, she did when her show was live.)

It's easy to go "I'm for social justice." Or "I'm for peace and justice." And some people do that. But what does that really mean? The fact that Our Modern Day Carrie Nations have gotten so far with their push for war on Darfur demonstrates to me that a framework is sorely needed.

I don't know that Marxism or socialism is dead. Stanley's a smarter guy then I am so I'll take his word for it. But what's the unifying theory and don't give me buzz words. Don't say "social justice" because those crazy Carrie Nations use those same buzz words to scream for war on Darfur.

Okay, C.I.'s got Iraq addressed in the snapshot so I think that's going to be it for me except for a few links. Disgusted with 'news' yet? If not read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! JUNK NEWS DOMINATES!" and Cedric's "More Blonde Woman "News" to Distract the US " about how one junk news topic replaces another. Oh good!. Elaine's "Spying, Marjorie Cohn." She types much faster than me (your dog types faster than me) and I knew what she was covering tonight and wanted to give her a shout out. (I give her multiple shout outs in private! :D) And like she says, you should also read Kat's "Ford and CIA discuss Jane Fonda, Kissinger tries to cover his own War Criminal ass" and Rebecca's "gonzales & other scandals" and make sure you read C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy" from last year.

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Turkey makes noises about an armed mission into northern Iraq, the US military announces another death, Falluja remains under siege, a paper editorializes in favor of Adam Kokesh, Gordon Brown is a 'new man' acting just like the last one, and more.

Starting with war resistance,
Ehren Watada has provided a spark fueling actions in Washington. Watada is the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006) and the first to be court-martialed for it (a kangaroo hearing that ended in a mistrial back in February). Linda Averill (ZNet) observes that Watada's "defiance, amplified by an effective defense effort, inspired many anti-war activists, including Gibbs" referring to Molly Gibbs who attempted to get Congressional attention for Watada but only "got the runaround" from Senator Patty Murray and decided, "I'm done dealing with my congressional representatives. It is in our hands. We have to do something." Which for Gibbs including counter-recruitment at high schools and joining with others in SDS, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace and United for Peace of Pierce County in actions like shutting down ports which, Averill observes, take those participating "from demonstrators and lobbyists into direct actors against the war masters, blocking streets and facing arrest as needed." And, in Hawaii, Watada is hailed as a hero at a "War and Peace Art Exhibit." Gary T. Kubota (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports the Maui event brought over "100 artists and writers" to 1134 Makawao Ave (exhibit closes Saturday -- may move to "galleries in California, Oregon and Arizona") and included a piece by Tom Seweel involved the "scanned . . . faces of more than 3,00 American soldiers who have died in Iraq into the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag." Along with adult artists, the exhibit in Maui (closes Saturday, repeating) also included artwork done by children. Watada inspires as do others standing up.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Iraq Veterans Against the War have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to force them to stop speaking out. The three targeted are Liam Madden, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh. Bob Audette (Brattleboro Reformer) speaks with Madden who explains he will not enter agree to any deals to end the matter -- deals offered by the military brass -- until the note in writing "that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate." Madden also discussed the strong reception to Iraq Veterans Against the War's summer base tour which goes to Camp Lejune in Jacksonville, NC tonight at 7:00 pm and follows with: Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina on June 18th 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. And Kokesh is the subject of an editorial from the Charleston Gazette which basically states that the brass needs to back off and cites
VFW head Gary Kupius' statements echoing that ("These Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles. I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it.") before concluding: "Kokesh and Kurpius both merit praise for defending free speech as guaranteed in America's Bill of Rights."

In Iraq,
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Governmental and political parties' sources in Khalis disputed a U.S. military statement that was issued a few days ago; the statement said that a U.S. helicopter killed 17 terrorists but these sources say these men were protecting their own town from terrorist attacks. They said that Abbas Muthafar Hashim, Shakir Adnan, Ali Jawad, Jassim Jaleel, Abbas Jaleel, Kamal Hadi, Jamal Hassan and Mohammed Abdul Kareem were killed and 8 others were injured. They noted that the killed were members of what is called the popular committees that protect the area from the terrorists attacks, as they said." The US military press release on that incident was issued Friday, June 22nd and noted that those killed were "17 al-Qaeda gunmen" and that they US forces "observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village. The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using." Obviously the people of town differ with the US military on the dead and, since they knew the dead and didn't just observe them from the air, one would assume a follow up by the military is in order. Those very likely wrongful deaths make the news as Molly Hennesy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports this from today, "Witnesses said U.S. troops opened fire on civilians in the sprawling Sadr City neighborhood of the capital after a passerby fired a revolver into the air to settle a family dispute. The ensuing gunfire left two men dead and three injured, witnesses said. A spokesman for the U.S. said he had not received reports of soldiers firing at civilians."

Meanwhile the tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq continue.
Al Jazeera reports that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit declared today, "I have said [in April] that we need a cross-border operation and that this would bring benefits. I repeat this view now." "BBC correspondents say attacks in Turkey by rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have increased recently, sometimes carried out by rebels based across the border in northern Iraq," notes the BBC as well as the fact that Buyukanit's statements may also have Parliamentary intent (attempting to prove the controlling party -- AK party -- is "weak on terrorism") right before the elections scheduled for the fourth week next month. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports that Turkey is shelling villages in Iraq currently as "part of an effort by Turkey to create a de facto 10-mile buffer zone inside Iraq and stop terrorists of the Kurdish independence movement, PKK, infiltrating its borders from their mountain training camps. Turkey has mobilised more than 20,000 of its soldiers in an operation to stop the PKK using Iraq as a staging post for a new campaign of violence. Yesterday Turkish newspapers sounded an alarm over the terrorist group after it staged an Iraqi-style suicide truck bomb attack on Turkish troops for the first time." Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which generally announces every visit in Iraq or abroad with a dignitary, carries no annoucement of this meeting. The alleged statements come at a time when the US is not seen positively around the world. Alan Fram (AP) reports that an international poll ("46 nations plus the Palestinian territories") found that "wide-ranging majorities think the U.S. does not consider their intersts when formulating policy; worry that U.S. customs are hurting their countries; and think the U.S. contributes to the gap between rich and poor nations", that even the 'coalition' partner England has gone from "75 percent favorable" opinion "in 2002 to 51 percent now".

In news of other neighboring countries,
Al Jazeera reports that during a visit to Iran by Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared, "The main elements of insecurity in Iraq which are behind the current atrocities are the US and the Zionist regime intelligence services and some accompanying nations."

Meanwhile in the US,
Bill Schneider (CNN) reports on CNN's latest polling which has found
54% "of Americans do not believe U.S. action is morally justified," support for the illegal war has now fallen to an "all-time low of 30 percent," 69% "of Americans believe the war is going badly" and that Republicans are among those (obviously, when approximately 70% of Americans are against the illegal war) and 42% of them "support some form of troop withdrawal."
CBS, MTV News and the New York Times did a joint poll of young adults (17 y.o. to 29 y.o.) on their attitudes today. In the Times write up, Adam Nagourney was doing his usual spin but the real news (unreported by the Times) was that 58% of young people say that the US should have "stayed out" of Iraq and 72% say that the illegal war is going badly (34% "somewhat badly" plus 38% "very badly").

In Iraq, Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' al-Hashimi is Iraq's Culture Minister.
Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) notes the arrest warrant issued yesterday for al-Hashimi resulted in a raid on the minister's home and that some Sunnis are seeing the efforts against al-Hashimi as "a trumped-up attempt to discredit a Sunni leader." John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) reports, "A statement by Hashimi's party, the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni bloc in parliament, said two gunment involved in the attack had been tortured into falsely implicating Hashimi. The minister, in a telephone interview with the al-Jazeera satellite television network, said the case was 'fabricated' to damage his party and 'to run us out of the country'." AP notes the incident in question took place Feburary 8, 2005 and was an "ambush against then-parliamentary candidate Mithal al-Alusi, according to governmental spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. Al-Alusi escaped unharmed but two of his sons were killed." Al Jazeera quotes Mithal Allusi stating, "He is on the run now and hiding in one of the houses of an Iraqi official in the Green Zone." Ned Parker and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) observe that Mithal al-Alusi is yet another exile who came back to Iraq after the US invaded -- could we poll on how many holding powerful positions in the puppet government actually never went into exile -- and "Returning to Baghdad from exile in Germany he headed a committee that purged thousands of Iraqis from government jobs because of their membership in Iraq's ousted ruling party. He allied himself with Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, the kingmakers in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed the lives of 3 people and left ten more wounded, a Baghdad car bombing "targeting an Iraqi police checkpoint on the western side of Al Jadiriyah Bridge" which left 1 police officer dead and 3 more wounded as well as 3 civilians wounded, a Diyala attack using gunfire and a mortars with the mortar attack resulting in 5 deaths and fifteen being wounded. Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports a Samarra roadside bombing that killed "four Iraqi police commandos" and wounded three more. Reuters reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 7 lives.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the combined mortar and gunfire attack in the Diyala province resulted in 14 Iraqis being shot dead (thirteen more wounded), an attack on a Kirkuk police station that left 4 police officers dead, an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in the Salaheddin province, two men were shot dead in Basra, a police officer was shot dead in Al Zubair and "Men in Iraq Ministry of Interior commandos uniforms executed a 60 year-old-man in front of his grocery shop in Mariam makret in central Samara this afternoon." Reuters notes that "two members of the Assyrian's Beth-Nahrain Association Union" were shot dead in Mosul.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 21corpses discovered in the capital today, while in Tikrit the detached head of someone "wearing an Iraqi military hat" was discovered in a bus station, and 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk.

Today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed June 26 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war to 3568 since the start of the illegal war (ICCC). The monthly total thus far is 91 which puts June (so far) behind May (126) and April (104) but ahead of March, February and Januray. The total thus far also makes June 2006 the most deadly June for US service members since the war began. In June of 2003, 30 US service members were announced dead, in June of 2004 42 were announced, in June of 2005 78 were announced dead, and in June of 2006 61 were announced dead (ICCC).

Yesterday, Ellen Massey (IPS) article on Iraqi women was noted but the link was included.
Click here to read Massey's article. Today Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports on the two month seige of Falluja (attacked in April of 2004 and destroyed in November of 2004) noting that "Cars have not been permitted to move on the streets of Fallujah for nearly a month now. A ban was also enforced on bicycles, but residents were later granted permission to use them" which prompts a school teacher named Ala to say (this is sarcasm for any who miss it), "Thank God and President Bush for this great favour. We are the only city in the liberated world with the blessing now of having bicycles moving freely in the streets." al-Fadhily notes that aid is being prevented (by the US military) from reaching the city and that "[m]edical services are inaccessible".

Finally, the poodle is no longer prime minister.
In England, Gordon Brown has succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister. As Chris Bambery (Socialist Worker) observes, don't throw the confetti just yet: "Yet in accepting the leadership, Brown made clear his devotion to Blair's policies -- in particular to the 'strong relationship' with the US, and to Britain continuing to play a central role in the global 'war on terror'. The closest he came to acknowledging the failure of the war was when he said that Iraq had 'been a divisive issue for our party and our country' and that his government would 'learn lessons that needed to be learned'. But he then concluded that the war had been 'necessary'." For corporate economic enrichment?