Monday, July 09, 2007

Iraq, Third

Monday! And I'm starting way, way late. I actually ended the fun early but checked my e-mails before posting and I think I offended someone. If it was someone at The Nation or some dumb stuff like that, I wouldn't give a damn. But I think I hurt someone feelings so I tried to explain what I was trying to say. If you're coming to my site, your most likely here for dick jokes! :D But I'm not one of the heavy lifters in the community and you know that if you come here. Some writer thinking they were so famous they couldn't be critiqued, I wouldn't give two s**ts about but this was someone I think I'm in agreement with and I think I just wrote real bad on something and it wasn't clear what I was trying to say. So I spent forever on the e-mail. Well, forever cause I'm Mr. Hunt & Peck typist.

I can stay on this all night or put the head down and get to work. (No, that wasn't a dick joke! :D) C.I. noted this today: "Meanwhile, Robert H. Reid (AP) reports on the latest 'answer' or is a 'plan' -- surely it's strategy for Iraq: citizens should begin arming themselves -- according to both Shi'ite and Sunni politicians." We didn't carry 'democracy' over to Iraq, but looks like we gave 'em the Old West as well as the Civil War. Don't bet we didn't do that intentionally. Easier to take control if we could play them off each other. So now their 'elected' officials are telling them that 'answer' is to arm themselves? Are you starting to get how really bad things are in Iraq? Despite all the Operation Happy Talk about "Anbar models" and other nonsense? How bad do things have to be for it to come to that? I mean, my senators are John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and I just can't picture them showing up on TV saying, "Americans, are yourself. It's the only way you'll be safe." Can you picture that? Maybe the NRA can open a Baghdad branch?

Here's news the press will spin as good. Reuters reports Japan is staying in Iraq for two more years. Don't you 'love' these foreign governments that 'support' the illegal war? Japan started out with 600 troops in Iraq. Now it's just got 200. And they're staying for 2 years. What do you say to that? Woop-de-damn-do? 160,000 US service members are over there. Japan's not even stationing a tenth of that.

Don't get me wrong, I think all foreign troops need to leave and that the Arab nations, with or without the UN, should be in charge of providing security. That's not me shoving it off to them, that's me saying that we wouldn't have problems with the Koran being disrespected or other things because they wouldn't have to learn the culture, they know it.

But if you are a government and you want to play like you are for the illegal war, step the hell up. Belly up to the bar, cowboy. That goes for Australia too which has something like 1,500. That's not even a tenth either. But their dumb ass John Howard was screaming today that the US can't leave. The CIA estimate for their poulation is 20 million. And I'm seeing stuff online that they crossed the 21 million marks this year. Surely they can ship over more than 1500 if they believe in the illegal war. And that 1500, they aren't all in Iraq. They're stationed 'around'. And only 500 are 'combat troops.' If they increased that by 100% they still wouldn't have half the number the US does in the country. I don't want Australians dying in the illegal war and am not calling for more to be sent over. But I am saying leaders need to quit posturing and when you only have 500 troops actually in the country (and most of those in the Green Zone, most if not all), you really need to shut up about what might happen if the US withdrawals.

Here's what could happen if John Howard wants his war and the US withdraws: He could send 159,000 troops into Iraq and have the 160,000 to replace US troops.

Truest statement of the week -- requested by readers (but we all agree).

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim's rundown of the edition.

Editorial: Meet Ross Spears -- we note Ross Spears and IVAW.

TV: Global Boring -- Jim's wrong, my reaction is not "OMG." My reaction is "OMFG." I'll do backstory on Ava and C.I.'s piece. They weren't going to watch it and getting them to sit still in front of the TV for 2 hours was a miracle! Ty's boyfriend called during this and had the NBC on and this my have been before we were watching (we were all at C.I.'s) but Linkin Park is one of Jim and Ty's groups. And Ty's boyfriend is all, "They're coming on!" And so Ty goes, okay to put this on speaker? And we're all listening and we all know the song because Jim and Ty are obsessive about Linkin Park. So we're quite when the cursing comes on to see what's happening: Bleep. Actually, they just blocked the sound, just dropped it off. No surprise. But then comes the part with the f-word that they left in. We all heard it. How the hell did NBC get away with broadcasting the f-word? I think that was before they agreed to watch for a review and I think the f-word was one reason they did watch. But what a commentary!!!! It's funny, it's got all this hard stuff in it besides the jokes and look at how long it is! We didn't realize it when Jim was reading it out loud. We were waiting for more and more and more. When he got done we were all like "Amazing" and then Jim told us how many pages it was (Ava and C.I. write their commentaries out in long hand). That was epic!

Roundtable -- I can't believe how good this. We were all tired and this was the last thing we did. We wanted it quick and it was quicker than usual but not quick. I really like this one. I think all being together made it go quick. Dona was able to point people and tell them to go to make sure everyone got a chance and all.

Got a feeling that you're playing some game with m... -- Mamas and the Papas, we love 'em. The Nation? Not so much. So The Nation screwed up our July 4ths and this edition was about taking their charges, which they never offered any proof of, and responding. In this one, The Nation tells Third that they have errors and it's not fair to not have an e-mail address or a comment option at the site when Third has errors. Now The Nation never says what the errors are but, ERROR, Third's got a posted e-mail up at the site. Maybe when Dumb Asses can't find that, they should be careful about screaming "Errors!"

A bit of free advice (vice, vice) We'll tell it t... -- In this one we walk through the history of The Nation at the site because The Nation says there's a grudge. No grudge, we just don't care for it when weak asses want to pose left.

Get on your pony and ride, Get on your pony and ri... -- Why commenting isn't allowed at Third (and, yeah, that's been repeatedly addressed at Third).

Boys & Girls . . . have a good time together -- The Nation claims we (or Ava and C.I.) go after women more than men. And that's why their coverage is so bad! The Nation's a magazine running a profit, they need to take responsibility for their own actions and sorry record of publishing women. As for who gets treated worse, women have been called out much less than men.

That's leadership on Iraq? -- The Nation thinks they do amazing coverage on Iraq. Turns out, not so much.

Those wonderful Republicans -- Why Dems shouldn't be saying, "I love Luger now!"

Highlights -- Wally, Betty, Cedric, Rebecca, Elaine and me wrote this.

What's going on? We're almost finished. Notice t... -- Problems with titles screwed up the edition. This explains it.

Here's who worked on it:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

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

Monday, July 9, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, rumors from the Green Zone indicate Nouri might be going, the body counts pile up over the weekend, Brendan Nelson will not have Bobby Gates to play with in China, Colin Powell tries a new makeover line, and more.

Starting with a weekend recap.
Saturday and Sunday's death tolls topped 100 each day, combined they reached at least 250 (that is only reported deaths and Sunday's is McClatchy Newspapers plus only one incident reported by Molly Hennesy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times). On Saturday's death toll, in the Salaheddin province where violence is common in Tirkrit, Armili had been a relatively peaceful city. That changed with an early morning truck bombing in a market. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reported that 35 houses were destroyed with residents inside many. Dean Yates (Reuters) quoted resident Jasim Ali whose wife had been at the market, "I ran to the market and saw burned cars along with dead and wounded people everywhere. I screamed until I found my wife. She was wounded in the head and hand." Today, Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) notes that the death toll from the bombing has climbed to at least 150 from that one bombing.

This weekend also saw the death toll for US service members pass the 3600 mark (a strangely under-reported benchmark).
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Ali Adeeb (New York Times) reported Sunday that the deaths of 9 US service members had been reported by the US government. (They reported that and the one hundred plus deaths of Iraqis from inside the paper, it should be noted.) ICCC puts the death toll at 3606 since the start of the illegal war and at 28 for the month thus far. Also reporting losses over the weekend was the UK military which annouced two deaths over the weekend, both in Basra. 22-year-old Chrisopher Read died Saturday when the wounds he received were not treatable. [Please note, the link goes to the UK Defence Ministry which states Read died Saturday night after receiving wounds on Saturday morning. Many press reports are stating Read died on Sunday -- not according to the UK Defence Ministry's own statement: ". . . but sadly died of his injuries during the night of Saturday 7 July."] 23-year-old Ryan Francis also died on Saturday but from a roadside bombing. Andrew Grice (Independent of London) notes that 23 year-old Edward Vakabua died Friday in Basra. The deaths brought ICCC's numbers to 159 for the British military.

On June 27th,
Gordon Brown took the office of Prime Minister. Since then, the UK has lost 6 soldiers in Iraq. His predecessor, Tony Blair, made the news as his former director of communication, Alastair Campbell, publishes a book entitled The Blair Years which reveals, among other things, that when then US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared the United States would go to illegal war with/on Iraq even if Britain wasn't joining them, Poodle Blair "went bonkers". Andrew Grice (Independent of London) observes that Campbell sees the book as a chance to have first crack at writing (rewriting) the Poodle's history and that he downplays debate about the illegal war while also, hand on heart, claiming sorrow over the death of David Kelly, the British scientist who may or may not have taken his own life but died shortly after it was revealed he was the source for the BBC reporting that the Blair government was "sexing up" intelligence, which they, indeed were. Blair also made the mushroom cloud claims and the Times of London's reporting on the Downing Street Memos revealed that the Blair government was aware the US was "fixing" intelligence to make it fit their desires for illegal war. Michael Smith (Times of London, June 12, 2005) on more DSMs -- this time a briefing paper: "Ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal. . . . The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair's inner cricle on July 23, 3003, said that since regime change was illegal it was 'necessary to create the conditions' which would make it legal. This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action."

Illegal war it what is. Many grasp that. One that does
Ehren Watada who refused to deploy to Iraq and became the first commissioned officer to do so publicly in the US. Watada took that public stand in June 2007. In February 2007 he was court-martialed. Judge Toilet, aka John Head, declared a mistrial -- over defense objection -- when the prosecution was clearly losing. (This has been addressed repeatedly at community sites. For the most recent writing on this topic, click here.) On Friday, at Fort Hood, pre-trial motions were heard. Adam Lynn (The News Tribune) reported two developments -- Judge Toilet refused the request that he "disqualify himself from the case, despite arguments from Watada's new attorneys that there is at least the appearance that Head cannot be impartial in this matter. Head then ruled that trying Watada again wouldn't violate his constitutional right not to be prosecuted twice for the same crime, also known as double jeopardy." Helen Altonn(Honolulu Star-Bulletin) spoke with Eric Seitz (Watada's civilian attorney for the first court-martial, he is now being represented by civilian attorneys James Lobsenz and Kenneth Kagan) who sees that Army Court of Appeals taking "the issue far more seriously than Judge Head is capable of doing. I would never expect Judge Head to reverse himself but would certainly expect the Appellate Court to do that. He was not the most competent udge I've met in my life." Robert Watada, Ehren's father, told Altonn that he wasn't surprised by Judge Toilet's behavior, "My own assessment is that it (the military court proceeding) was very much like a Salem witch trial. We fully expected this." Altonn notes many do not believe the court-martial (if the Appeals Court rules it can go foward) will begin as scheduled on July 23rd but will more likely be held in October. Noting the various groups and people supporting Watada, L.A. Chung (San Jose Mercury News) wrote that "what impresses me most are the membrs of the Heart Mountain draft resisters. They know all about taking an unpopular stand on principle. These are people like Mits Koshiyama in San Jose, Frank Emi and Youshi Kuromiya in Los Angeles, and others. They know the personal cost can still resonate and sting, even after 60 years. Heart Mountain, Wyo. is where so many Japanese-Americans from Santa Clara County were interned during World War II. A group called Fair Play Committe rose up in reaction to a move to draft young men from the camps to fight in the segregated -- and storied -- Army unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Branded as draft resisters and condemned by leading community organization -- the Japanese American Citizens League -- the committee persevered through their trial on principle."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, 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-one 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.

There are also Iraq veterans resisting. Leading the way is
Iraq Veterans Against the War
which just concluded a bus tour. Amy Renczkowski (Conn.'s The Day) reports on last week's stop in Groton and quotes Jimmy Massey stating, "We're going out in the communities with fliers, interacting with military members that would talk to us." Click here to read their blogging of the bus tour and click here for photos of the tour. Adam Kokesh who was, obviously, on that bus tour has also blogged about it at his site. In addition, Holiday Dmitri (Radar magazine) profiled Kokesh a few weeks ago and deserves credit for being the only member of the press thus far to cite Schacht v. US -- the Supreme Court case that is on the side of Kokesh and anyone else wearing partial or full military drag in any theaterical production including street theater. [You can also click here and read a transcript of an ass hole talking. A scared and frightened one -- so old it's now missing its prostate.] Friday, we noted Joel Bleifuss "The New Children's Crusade" (In These Times) and the article, which notes IVAW is modeled after Vietnam Veterans Against the War, will be available online Friday the 13th and is in the August issue of In These Times.

The bus tour was not
Iraq Veterans Against the War's only action for summer. Last week, as Barbara S. Miller (Raleigh Observer-Reporter) noted, IVAW's Paul Abernathy protested outside US House Rep Tim Murphy's Mount Lebanon office when Murphy refused to meet constitutent Abernathy. Among upcoming actions will be joining A.N.S.W.E.R., CODEPINK and others in DC September 15th for March on Washington. United for Peace & Justice notes that today Congress got off their . . . summer breaks and Congress resumed session. They ask you to begin calling your reps and senators (202-224-3121 is the DC Switchboard that can immediately transfer you to the DC office of your elected official) and stating:

*I know you will be faced with a number of votes on Iraq in the near future. I want you to support only measures that will bring all U.S. troops and military contractors home from Iraq immediately.
*Do not allow any troops to be left behind.
*Half-measures to bring some troops home from Iraq are not acceptable -- a long-term U.S. troop presence in Iraq will only further destabilize the country and the region.

That is not a one day action. Also note that you can call your reps local offices as well. On one day actions,
from Ms. magazine:

7/10/2007: Dallas, TX Third International Women's Peace Conference

In Iraq today,
AFP reports, it was a dog and pony show time as such non-notables as the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, his hand picked Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and others came forward to scream in alarm that if the US left (this is Hoshyar Zebari) "It might lead to civil war, partition, collapse or a regional war"! While such statements would sound better coming from nearly anyone, the speaker would still look an idiot. Civil war? Iraq has several ongoing civil wars (though the US press has done a really good job of ignoring any who weren't Sunni or Shia). Partition? Sunnis already feel kicked out of Baghdad and (rightly) fear that the theft of Iraqi oil will also leave them lagging behind on the meager oil monies that do come in. It's equally true that parts of Baghdad have already been walled off with barriers and, as Hussam Ali and Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) reported last week, a moat/trench is being dug around Karbala. Collapse? If you are a member of a puppet government installed by the US, you should worry that when the puppet master leaves you will be out of power. Lara Logan (CBS News) has already reported that a no-confidence vote will be requested July 15th in the Iraqi parliament that would be "the first step to bringing down the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) notes that Hoshyar Zebari referenced this reportedly impending vote and dismissed it.


Reuters notes 9 Iraqi soldiers dead (twenty more wounded) in a Balad roadside bombing, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life, three Baghdad roadside bombs that claimed 5 lives (twenty-five wounded).


CNN notes a Baghdad attack that claimed 4 lives (two Iraqi soldiers, two police officers)


CNN reports that the corpses of 12 people kidnapped from "a Pepsi-Cola bottling and distribution plant in Zararaniya, a suburb southeast of Baghdad" were discovered dead today.

Kristin Roberts (Reuters) observes that the US army has missed its recruiting target "for the second straight month" and allowing someone with at least a desk in the Pentagon but apparently no name plate pin the blame on parents. Last month, Lolita C. Baldor (AP) noted the numbers had "plunged" for African-Americans in all branches (including "National Guard and reserve). Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) noted last week, "The fact is, the vast majority of Black men and women have opposed Bush's Iraq war from the very beginning. THAT -- not female-headed households, not youth job prospects -- is what separates the Black community from all others, and logically accounts for the dramatic decline in Black recruitment. . . . Barack Obama -- far from opposing imperial war-making -- wants to add nearly 100,000 more troops to the mix. Let's see what Black mothers have to say about that."

Barack Obama? Turning to political news and starting in the US.
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today that Cindy Sheehan is considering running for the seat of "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if Pelosi fails to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush. Sheehan set a deadline of July 23rd -- the same day she arrives in Washington, DC from a two-week caravan starting at Sheehan's former protest site near President Bush's Crawford estate."

Meanwhile, in China,
Stan Powell (The Australian) notes Australia's Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, "went conspicuously AWOL in China on the weekend. In hiding after his spectacular 'Iraq invasion for oil' gafee last week, Brendan Nelson hunkered down in the Forbidden City for official talks with his Chinese counterparts." Brendy may continue hiding but he'll be missing one buddy. Shankar Vedantam (Washington Post) reports US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has been pulled from his trip to China and is instead working with the White House on the progress report that they are expected to deliver around July 15th. CORRECTION: GATES WAS HEADED TO CENTRAL AMERICA AND LATIN AMERICA. THAT'S WHAT GOT CANCELLED.

Turning to media news, yesterday the
New York Times editorialized (finally) that, "It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit." Robert Parry (Consortium News) addressed it and wonders why some outlets (such as his own) were able to report accurately in the lead up to the illegal war but the New York Times wasn't (this is "a deeper question, which the United States eventually must face").

Finally, former US Secretary of State, Collie Powell grabs a few more headlines. The man who sold the illegal war to the United Nations wants to tell an audience in Aspen, CO that,
according to Sarah Baxter (Times of London), he "spent 2 1/2 hours vainly trying to persuade President George W. Bush not to invade Iraq". Did he? Who knows? He changes his story repeatedly. Remember the one he put foward in 2005? From Ava and my
TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were" (The Third Estate Sunday Review, September 11, 2005) on his 20/20 sitdown with Barbara Walters:

Walters says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?"Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.Walters: How painful is it?Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?

[. . .]

There are the Rules for Powell and there are the rules for the rest of us.

Take Cindy Sheehan. She's a grieving parent and he feels sorry for her. Walters actually wakes up for this moment. And, in one of the few times prior to Powell's wife being brought on, she actually looks him in the eye while delivering her line.Walters: But if you feel the war is just -- that's a different feeling than if you feel the war is is not.Powell: Well, of course, for the person that is effected, it is. If they don't feel the war is just, they will always feel it as a deep personal loss.Unlike Powell, we'd argue that regardless of beliefs on this war, the loss is a "deep, personal loss" for most, possibly all, who've lost family members. Maybe if he sent fat-boy Michael over there, he could find out for himself what it feels like? Till then, by his remarks, he's not anyone effected. How nice that must be.But is the war just?It's not a moral issue for Powell. He's already informed Walters of that. He lied. Well if he had to lie, forget the pre-emptive war debate for a moment, if he had to lie, what does that say about the war? Seems to us that a just war wouldn't be a war that required you pulling one over on the public to get support for.

He believed the war was just, that's what he told Waters. Now he's trying to build up an image for himself as arguing for 2 and a half hours? Which is it? Most likely it was both. He probably did both half-assed. But he pulls them out now to shade them with meaning (which they don't have) based on which way the wind is blowing. On the same topic of the interview , you can also refer to Robert Parry's "
Colin Powell Being Colin Powell" (Consortium News).