Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Marjorie Cohn on Iran, Third

Tuesday, Tuesday. :D I actually typed "Monday, Monday." The holiday's thrown me off. We went to Dallas Saturday intending to go to the disaster in Fort Worth. I'll talk about that some in a bit.

Bully Boy's Baby War Steps

That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Boy's Baby War Steps" from January and I wanted to pair it with something. But first, congrats to Isaiah on two years plus of cartoons. Elaine told me tonight it had been two years in May. We're all so busy and honestly don't ever notice that time's flying out the window until after it's flown. If I had known it was two years back in May, I would have offered congratulations back then. Isaiah's a really important part of the community (click here for his latest) and he's appreciated. Now in the comic above, Bully Boy's doing his Baby War Steps on Iran.

The president of the National Lawyers Guild, Marjorie Cohn, wrote a piece this weekend on "Bush Plans War on Iran:"

The Sunday Times of London is reporting that the Pentagon has plans for three days of massive air strikes against 1,200 targets in Iran. Last week, Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, told a meeting of The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal, that the military did not intend to carry out "pinprick strikes" against Iranian nuclear facilities. He said, "They're about taking out the entire Iranian military."
Bush has already set the wheels in motion. With Rovian timing, Alberto Gonzales' resignation was sandwiched between two Bush screeds - one aimed at ensuring Congress scares up $50 billion more for the occupation of Iraq, the other designed to scare us into supporting war on Iran. As Gonzales rides off into the sunset, the significant questions are who will take his place and how that choice will facilitate Bush’s occupation of Iraq and attack on Iran.
One name that's been floated for Bush’s third attorney general is Joe Lieberman, the "independent" senator from Connecticut. Lieberman, who advocates the use of military force against Iran, was the only person Bush quoted in his August 28 speech to the American Legion. Bush called Iran "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism" and pledged to "confront Tehran's murderous activities."
Gonzales greased the Bush/Cheney wheels for torturing in violation of the Geneva Conventions, illegally spying on Americans, and purging disloyal Bushies.
Similarly, Lieberman would ensure the Justice Department mounts a vigorous defense of a war of aggression against Iran. And Bush would get a two-fer: Connecticut's Republican governor would appoint a Republican to fill Lieberman's seat, returning control of the Senate to the GOP. A Republican-controlled Senate would direct the agenda, thereby furthering the Bush/Cheney plan.
Lieberman is closely affiliated with American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. "AIPAC leverages its power by an alliance with the Christian Right, which has adopted a bizarre ideology of 'Christian Zionism,'" according to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole. "It holds that the sooner the Palestinians are ethnically cleansed, the sooner Christ will come back. Without millions of these Christian Zionist allies," Cole added, "AIPAC would be much less influential and effective."
During the 2004 election, a 100% "AIPAC voting record" was Lieberman's litmus test for an acceptable presidential candidate. As the House of Representatives was on the verge of passing a resolution that would've required Bush to consult Congress before attacking Iran, the AIPAC lobby stopped it in its tracks.
Bush's WMD-hyping against Iran is déja vu in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Disaster, where he played loose and fast with the truth about Iraq's alleged WMDs. His statement that a nuclear Iran could put the region "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust" conjures up his images of a "mushroom cloud" in the hype-up to Iraq.
How inconvenient for Bush that the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) just found Iran's uranium enrichment program is operating well below capacity and is nowhere near producing significant amounts of nuclear fuel. The IAEA report says Iran "has been providing the agency with access to declared nuclear materials, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities."

S that's what Bully Boy's been working on. Okay, let's talk Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week -- we went with Breslin. That was a pretty easy choice. If you think back to the summer of 2006, you should remember that he didn't drop Iraq. It really was him and Molly Ivins calling out the rush away from Iraq by the press (big and small) and now it's just him. You notice all those loving 'tributes' to Ivins and how important she was, not one of those columnists ended up saying, "Since Molly had declared she'd make Iraq her focus in every column until the illegal war ended and she's passed away, I'm going to take up the challenge." I got to meet Molly once with C.I. by the way. Like an idiot I didn't get that "Molly" was "Molly Ivins." I thought she was a nice woman with a really sweet smile and a wild laugh and wild sense of humor. Afterward, I said to C.I. how funny I thought she was and C.I. got then that I didn't realize Molly was Molly Ivins. :D Oh well, she probably had a ton of people fussing over her, so she probably like a dumb ass like me who didn't know who she was but laughed real loud at her jokes. :D

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim breaks down the edition in his note. He does an amazing job considering they were all tossing things in suitcases and trying to get to the airport.

Editorial: Impeach -- We went with impeach this week. We could have gone with the nonsense in Fort Worth. Both are important topics. But time was limited and we agreed we could do impeach quicker.

TV: The Soggy Katrina retrospectives -- Ava and C.I. How do they do it? Seriously. I'm still freaking out over all the e-mail I got from people when another site reposted my post last week. I really do get the fact that the attention isn't just "Oh wow! I'm so wonderful!" I mean, if I were Ava and C.I., I would think that way because they just write so great. But that really freaked me out when people were writing last week that had never read my site before and thinking the post was good and also because that's not what I usually do here. So it was like, "What do I do next!!!" Do I try to do another thing like I did? I thought about that. But Ava and C.I. really have created a strong example. It's peaks and valleys. Some weeks you'll be coocking, some weeks you won't. And when there's this rush of attention, sometimes the best thing to do is to turn down the volume. I'm glad I did that because if I'd tried to copy the post and do something similar again and it didn't get the same reaction, I'd be wondering, "What did I do wrong? Am I really awful?" But you do peaks and valleys. And you just do whatever is speaking to you that week. Which is how Ava and C.I. ended up with another hard hitting one when they were hoping to take this Sunday for something light. But they were on the road all last week and kept catching the Hurricane Katrina coverage so that ended up being this week's commentary. It's hard hitting and it's funny. Speaking of anniversaries, January 2008 will be three years for them and February 2008 will be three years since they started doing the commentaries all by themselves (the first month they were all working on them -- Dona, Jim, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.). That's really amazing but so are they.

How Not To Stage A Rally -- Fort Worth. So a tiny group wanted to have speakers come in from around the country for a private party. That's really the reality. They 'planned' not at all. They drove attendance down from the start. They refused to reply to their e-mails, they blew off a local TV channel, they blew off people left and right. They tried to do an all day event (9:00 or 9:30 in the morning until 5:00 pm) on a Saturday. They should have started the rally at nine, done the march at eleven and then they would have been done as it really started getting hot. The way their website read, Texas community members were wondering if they had to be there at nine and stay all day. They told people to take the TRE and didn't give the right times. Also failed to tell people how much a ticket was or that the machines didn't give change. They picked Fort Worth even though they should have gone with Dallas. (People go to Dallas all the time and know the area. Fort Worth has a cattle auction and not a whole lot else.)
They kept insisting that you couldn't attend without tickets and that soured a lot of people as well. The whole point of a rally is to get as many people there as possible. To do that, you need to pick an easy to get to place. You need to pick a good time. You need to get the word out. And they didn't do a thing to get the word out. Except issue a press release (a day after C.I. had noted the event). There were 100s in the community going (members and their families) on Wednesday. By Thursday it was iffy. By Friday people were saying they didn't think they'd go.

A Day in Dallas and time wasted at Parkland -- Isaiah attempted to fix it. He gave the org the benefit of the doubt and said (in the gina & krista round-robin), he'd write them. He did. Three times. He gave his home phone number. He gave his work phone number. He gave his home address. He gave his work address. He explained that if he could get in to take photos (bloggers were supposedly welcome) he could get the photos on a lot of sites (listing The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review). He explained he did the comics for The Common Ills. He made it clear that if there was something he should have provided that he didn't (he really did give everything but his social security number), let him know. And he waited for the "Okay, come take photos. You're on the list." Nothing. He wrote again. Nothing. He wrote again. 5:00 pm was the deadline the community was willing to give. By 5:00 pm when nothing came, the event was dead to the community. That Isaiah had been blown off (along with a lot of other members) was the last straw. C.I. was at my place when the call came in. C.I. said, "I'm coming. See if that helps any." C.I. was dead tired. Ma had already suggest C.I. skip our Iraq study group and just go crash in a bedroom. About 70 members were back on as the word got out that C.I., Wally, Jess and Ava (who'd also decided to go) were coming. The rest of us decided to go as well. (Except Cedric who had to go to a wedding.) Everyone but Betty was at my place and she flew in (with her oldest son) to DFW from Georgia (her state). Texas members have done a lot for the community. We wanted to do something for them. So we left early (thank you to Rebecca's husband Flyboy for flying us out and for flying Elaine and me back, Rebecca too but that's his wife, he kind of had to fly her and their child back :D). Ma had already said she had a bad feeling about the whole thing (and would blog about that on Saturday morning) and C.I. agreed with her. Ma didn't go because of the bad feeling and also because she was watching my niece Saturday night. We get there and the heat!!!! Damn. What were they thinking. We're in the mini-van cabs and pull over to the side of the road. Rebecca's saying she can't take her baby (not even six months old yet) out in this heat all day so she's just going to go onto the hotel. Oh, I left out what happened right after we landed. People were upset about the heat and C.I. told Billie (who'd called) to tell everyone we'd throw a party after the rally and march. We already had rooms because C.I. doesn't like to travel without a shower. I'm serious. C.I. is like a clean freak. It doesn't matter what else happens, as long as the morning shower is done, C.I. can get through the day. And C.I. has to shower after a plane ride. So we're all headed to the hotel. Then we're on the side of the road and Rebecca's saying she's just going to stay at the hotel. And we're trying to make it to Union Stations in Dallas. And one of the drivers says we can pick up the TRE train at Parkland Hospital and we're closer to Parkland. So we end up there and Rebecca, Betty's son, Rebecca's baby and Flyboy head on to the hotel. C.I.'s going, "Why aren't we at the train stop?" And the cab driver is all, "You just walk through the hospital." C.I.'s not having any of that but Jim butts in and so the cabs take off. C.I. goes, "Fine, you're on your own." And I'm serious about that. C.I. put this large hat on and already had the sunglasses on and refused to ask to help. It was Jim that went for this nonsense, so Jim take over. That was the attitude. See Parkland is a complex (which C.I. knew -- none of us, including C.I. had been there before) and you couldn't just walk right through. Jim kept stopping at information desks (on the first floor) and everyone played dumb or was dumb. We ended up walking all over Parkland. We ended up in one of their parking garages. We entered on the Parkland level and it went down and down and we thought it would take us to an exit that would get us out of Parkland. We found the exit. Emergency Exit. We trudged back up two or so levels before we found an elevator. Riding up, there was a police officer who was doing security guard duty and Jim tried to make small talk. He was nice enough to Jim, but not really helpful. Then C.I. sighs, takes off the hat, shakes out the hair, takes off the sunglasses and the guy was all, "I know you!" He was all over himself at that point to help us. The elevator went up to the sixth floor (I think) and he took us to this enclosed bridge to show us where the TRE was and was really helpful. (After C.I. worked the magic.) We made it back to the first floor, where Jim tried to swipe one of the x-rays left out in an empty hall with no staff around. :D Then we ended up back at a desk we'd asked for help for and they'd played dumb. One of the teenagers goes, "Did you find the TRE yet?" Really snide and smart allecky. C.I. flipped her off and the teenager was too surprised by C.I. to notice the bird being flipped at her. We go out those doors and the parking valet tells us exactly how to get to the TRE. It was a nightmare. This was an hour of walking. I'm not joking. And not slow walking because we were late. Seems like the more lost we got, the faster we walked. And it was uphill and downhill and uphill and downhill. I'm talking before we were finally on our way to the TRE. We wait and wait for the TRE. Dona's complaining that she's got foot blisters. (From all the walking.) Finally, we're on the train (I'm leaving out how we waited on the side that said Fort Worth but we could have caught an earlier train, on the other side of the tracks, that was going to Fort Worth only the sign didn't say so.) The first stop (though it took forever to get there) is Union Stations. Where we'll wait for over 10 minutes. When we get there, Dona needs a smoke, so we all get off. All these people start rushing over and I know Dona thought, "I don't have that many smokes!" :D Most of the time when she's smoking in public, people will come over and try to bum a smoke. But these were members. And they were mad. They were hot, they were tired, they were upset about the ticket buying (no change) and about the wrong time being posted. I mean they were all talking at once and C.I. finally does a "time-out" signal with the hands and says to forget the rally and march, we'll just start the party. Immediately the mood changed to upbeat. So we were heading for the hotel and all riding with various members. We get there and check on Rebecca (who's supervising the conference room set up) and then head off for what we need. It really was a great party and to be last minute and have about 1600 people show up is really amazing. I don't think the rally and march even got 300 and how long had they scheduled that? We scheduled the party the second we landed at DFW and look at our crowd. Can I say, "Nah-nah-nah?" Yes, I can! :D But those 'leaders' made it real clear to everyone in Texas that they didn't want them there. They did no reach out, they did no fliers, they didn't go to colleges, they didn't do a damn thing. They would have tons of people there but they blew them off. Apologies to members who didn't get the word about the party in time. It was all spur of the moment. It was a great party though.

The GOP's new Larry Craig Diet -- Short feature! The party lasted until after midnight. We started this so late and were so tired. Dona and Jim's face was bright red from sunburn and we were really only outside walking around Parkland (several times -- from building to building -- and to the TRE) and at the train station. But when we were grabbing stuff before 3:00 pm for the party, the sun was directly overhead and just burning. We didn't know what the edition would have. (But members asked us to write about the Fort Worth nonsense.)

10 CDs -- while we were tossing out ideas, Ty reminded that e-mails keep coming in asking for a playlist.

Things to Watch -- short feature

Highlights -- Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Elaine, Wally, Cedric and me all worked on this. Poor Cedric. We were all in person except him.

Here's who worked on the edition:

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

Be sure to check out Ma's "Green Beans in the Kitchen" and here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 4, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Bully Boy takes a layover in Iraq, a lot of the press goes giddy, some in the peace movement play dumb, and more.

Starting with war resisters, but with a twist. As noted yesterday in "
The Nation ignores war resisters even as it publishes the child of one," Rebecca's "the nation magazine ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," Cedric's "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," The Third Estate Sunday Review's "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one," Trina's "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one," Betty's "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," Elaine's "The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one," Mike's "The Nation ignores war resisters while publishing the child of one" and Wally's "The Nation ignores war resisters even while publishing the child of one" (Ruth worked on the report as well) political theorist and writer Naomi Klein is the child of war resisters. Her father could not serve in an illegal war and the family went to Canada. The story isn't that uncommon in Canada (then or now) but it is worth noting at a time when some 'helpful' scolds want to insist that war resisters going to Canada today are 'destroying' their lives. Many made that claim during Vietnam, well before and well after Pierre Trudeau's 1969 decision that Canada would welcome war resisters. Klein, an internationally known author, activist and filmaker, is hardly toiling away in obscurity. Her life was not destroyed by her parents' decision. In fact, her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, comes out in the United States later this month. This is her follow up to her best selling No Logo (Fences and Windows was a collection of her previously published columns). Joshua and Brandi Key have four children (Adam, Anna, Philip and Zackary), Jeremy Hinzman and Nga Nguyen have a son (Liam), Patrick and Jill Hart have a son (Rian), Kimberly and Mario Rivera have two children and those are just some of the war resisters in Canada with children. They don't need lectures from 'well meaning' and 'helpful' types telling them it's "DOOM! DOOM! DOOM! I TELL YOU DOOM!" Reality is Naomi Klein's life was not harmed or short changed because her parents went to Canada to avoid an illegal war. It's bad enough when the BBC's War Hawk and John McCain lovin' Kathy Kay (subbing on NPR) tries that tactic with Joshua Key, it's even worse when this 'cautionary' note comes from those who are supposed to be supporting war resistance within the military.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, 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 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. The G.I. Rights Hotline link has been included in the snapshots forever now, but please note that this is a new website. The new website is still being upgarded (but working) and with the new website comes a new phone number (877) 4474487 which is "GI RGHTS" the name but missing the second "I". To make sure everyone's aware that there is a new number and a new (toll free) number, we'll included this notice in the snapshot all week. Again, The G.I. Rights Hotline is a new and improved (and new and improving) website that will begin replacing the old site.

Last Friday, Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Crus testified in the trial of Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich. While
Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) lead with the news: "A Marine squad leader executed five Iraqi men after a roadside bomb blast killed a Marine and then told squad members to falsely claim that the men were shot while running away" Paul von Zielbauer (New York Times) decided that news was so unimportant that it could be casually tossed out in the eight paragraph of his 'report' and then forgotten. Reality v. fluff? You saw the mainstream press at war with itself throughout the three day weekend.

For instance, on Sunday
James Glanz (New York Times) informed that the Iraqi death toll had falled in Baghdad. Though the Times has spent a ton of money in Iraq (villas aren't cheap -- NYT stockholders click here) they apparently do not have a single person who can take down the deaths that actually do end up reported each day. So instead of being able to speak to the paper's own figures, Glanz had to cite AP and Reuters figures. Someone should have told him about McClatchy Newspapers. On Monday, Renee Schoof (McClatchy Newspapers) would utilize those figures to note, "Statistics that McClatchy Newspapers collected in Baghdad don't show any drop in violence. Civilians deaths in the capital were about the same in July as in December, before the American troops increase began. U.S. officials in Baghdad declined to provide data to back up their claims of lower violence." Why should they when the New York Times will rush forward to stand up for the spin?

Well if the US military (and the Times -- "and" provided they are separate entities) admit that the death toll rose outside of Baghdad and McClatchy Newspapers figures show that the death toll in the capital was essentialy "the same in July as in December" where, exactly, is the 'progress'?

Those with a least a modicum of short-term memory may remember the was July was sold. For instance,
Stephen Farrell (New York Times) was trumpeting that US deaths had falled to 74. ICCC lists July's total as 79 and -- 74 or 79 -- 83 is greater and, in fact, the total number of US service members announced killed in the month of August (thus far announced). Surely, it's a huge coincidence that the same paper that trumped the 'lower' death toll for the US as proof of 'success' in July 'forgets' to note the rising death toll in August?

In fairness to the paper, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno wasn't selling this point in August
as he had done in July but, in fairness to news consumers, why the paper felt the responsibility to back up baseless claims by the US military to begin with is a question worth asking.

Also worth asking is what about the Iraqis resources in their daily lives? Are they any better off? Or are we all supposed to forget that July ended with Oxfam issuing a reported that found: "
Forty-three per cent of Iraqis suffer from 'absolute poverty'. According to some estimates, over half the population are now without work. Children are hit the hardest by the decline in living standards. Child malnutrition rates have risen from 19 per cent before the US-led invasion in 2003 to 28 per cent now."? Apparently, we are. And apparently we are being strongly encouraged to forget last week's reports of cholera outbreak in northern Iraq. Now the outbreak goes on but is it really the job of the New York Times to report reality or to prop up an illegal war? AP reports today that Jordan has "banned entry of food supplies from Iraq" as a result of the cholera outbreak in Iraq and notes that a United Nations "Development Program team recently returned from Iraq . . . [and they] blamed the inadequate water supply system and deteriorated infrastructure for the outbreak and warned the disease could spread to other cities in the northern Sulamaniyah province." On the Sulaymaniyah province, Relief Web notes, "Since 23 August 2007, a three to four fold increase of acute watery diarrhea cases were bing reported from one of the teaching hospitals of Sulaymaniyah province in Northern Iraq. Laboratory test performed on stool specimens confirmed Vibrio cholerae serogroup 01 Inaba as the causative pathogen for these reported acute watery diarrhea cases. So far between 23 August and 02 September 2007, the cumulative number of cases of acute watery diarrhoea reported from four out of the eleven districts of Sulaymaniyah province stands at 2,930 including 9 deaths with an overall case fatality rate of 2.30%." Jordan is the only country taking measures to prevent the outbreak spreading to their borders (Jordan has noted they are not closing their borders or stopping Iraqi refugees from entering). NTV MSNB reports that Turkey is so concerned that everyone "entering Turkey from its Habur border gate in southeastern township of Silopi would be scanned for cholera." Sara Flounders (Workers World) notes that 70% of Iraqis lack "access to safe drinking water and 80 percent lacks effective sanitation" and states, "The anti-war movement here must focus attention on the reports that expose the all-pervasive violence of the U.S. occupation. Otherwise the corporate media are able to put their 'spin' on who is responsible for the violence in Iraq today. Consistently they blame the Iraqi people for the unfolding horror and not the U.S. occupation army. The corporate media are currently giving extensive daily coverage to the drumbeat coming from U.S. politicians, Republican and Democrats alike, who wring their hands and describe the chaos and violence that would follow a U.S. troop withdrawal. This constantly repeated theme is woven together with coverage of seemingly senseless and sectarian attacks on civilians by 'terrorist forces.' U.S. troops are described in every news article as trying to end the 'sectarian violence' and desperately seeking to bring security and order. The media's constant focus on seeminly random violence and mayhem, allegedly committed by contending Iraqi militias, is meant to mask the total violence of occupation. It also distorts who the resistance is and what are the primary acts that resistance forces are engaged in. . . . The [centrist think tank Brookings Institute] report contains a chart showing that the vast majority of the resistance attacks are on U.S. forces and Iraqi security forces, not on civilians. According to this chart, 80 to 85 percent of the attacks target the occupation and its collaborators."

Instead of addressing those realities,
David S. Cloud and Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) today report on Bully Boy's layover in Iraq yesterday which they state "lasted eight hours." While the steno pool at the Times gets giddy that Bully Boy stated the obvious (some level of US troops may be withdrawn at some point), Martin Fletcher (Times of London) breaks down the reality: in the face of the Congressionally mandated report this month on the White House established 'benchmarks' by which to judge Iraq's 'progress,' Bully Boy needed "to show that the 'surge' is working, which is why he chose to land not in Baghdad, but in the remote air base of al-Asad in Anbar province. . . . Mr Bush's visit was also significant for where he did not go -- namely Baghdad. . . .Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, instead flew to meet Mr Bush in Anbar province". Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes the visit was six-hours and "a publicity stunt aimed at presenting an image of progress in the US military occupation and generating favorable coverage in the servile US commercial media." Ouch, cry Cloud and Myers! Martin also points out that Bully Boy "traveled in complete secrecy to a huge US base, 17 miles in circumference, manned by 10,000 troops, located in relative isolation from Iraqi population centers, near the point where the Euphrates River crosses the Syria-Iraq border. Al Asad is one of the four huge bases -- more like transplanted American cities -- which the Pentagon has built as garrison points for the indefinite stationing of American troops and warplanes. These four bases would play a critical role in any future US war in the region, particularly against Iran or Syria." Here's what had the Times steno pad so excited, Bully Boy declared, "But I want to tell you this about the decis-- about the decision, about my decision -- about troop levels -- those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground, not a nervous reaction by Wallic -- Washington politicians to poll results in the media. In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure." (Audio and video here at Democracy Now!) Thank goodness, he's not going to listen to Wallic, but who is Wallic? His imaginary friend? Ken Fireman and Nicholas Jordan (Bloomberg News) provide the context of Bully Boy's 'draw-down' talk: "Bush, for all his 'stay-the-course'' rhetoric, is constrained by a troop-rotation schedule that requires pulling out some forces early next year -- as well as the need to outline an exit strategy for Republicans eyeing the 2008 elections." It's equally true that on August 17th when Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno spoke with reporters and made it very clear that he'd always been told the escalation would end in April stating "what I'm talking about is drawing down to the pre-surge levels," "The surge we know, as it is today, goes through April of '08," etc. (For those who missed it, during the slaughter in Karbala last week, the US military stood down. That came out during Lt. Gen. James Dubik's press briefing August 29th in reply to a question by Samarra TV.) As if Bully Boy distortions and the Times running with them wasn't enough trouble, Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports the puppet of the occupation has new delusions and felt the need to claim yesterday "that his government was making progress". 'Progress?' Reuters observed, "Iraqi lawmakers reconvened on Tuesday after a month-long summer recess, under mounting pressure to get legislation passed that Washington believes will help heal deep sectarian rifts in the country. . . . Parliament has not yet passed any of the benchmark laws, including measures that would equitably share oil revenues, ease restrictions on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party holding public office, and set a date for provincial elections. . . . Parliament reconvened with 164 members and adjourned after about 90 minutes after lawmakers asked for time to read 10 bills that had been presented for their consideration, member of parliament Hussein al-Falluji told Reuters.The 10 bills did not include any of the benchmark laws."

AP reports that the Governmental Accountability Office's report has been passed to them (final draft) and it finds that the puppet government "has not met 11 of its 18 political and security goals" and that the report is "slightly more upbeat than initally planned." Last week, Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported on the draft version which found "Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress . . . The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker." That was last Thursday. By Friday, DeYoung (Washington Post) was reporting of the allegedly independent report that, "The Pentagon has disputed parts of a progress report on Iraq drafted by the Government Accountability Office, and asked that some of the assessment's failing grades on key political and security benchmarks be changed before the final report is made public next week, a Defense spokesman said yesterday." So much for an 'independent' report.

In news of other leaks,
Edmund L. Andrews (New York Times) reports that the former "top Iraq envoy" was not flying solo. Paul Bremer has provided the paper with correspondence which "shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to 'dissolve Saddam's military and intelligence structures'". Andrews writes, "In releasing the letters, Mr. Bremer said he wanted to refute the suggestion in Mr. Bush's comment that Mr. Bremer had acted to disband the army without the knowledge and concurrence of the White House." In one reply, Bully Boy lays it on thick writing, "Your leadership is apparent. You have quickly made a positive and significant impact. You have my full support and confidence."

And we know how that worked out . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad mortar attacks that wounded seven people, a Baghdad bombing ("near Zayuna Communications Centre") that claimed 1 life (five wounded), an Iraqi soldier killed by a bombing in Ishaqui (four more wounded), and a Tikreet bombing that claimed the lives of 3 people ("Chief of Police of al-Siniyah" and two of his bodyguards). Reuters notes a Baiji roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 4 Iraqi soldiers and "an Iraqi army major", a Kirkuk roadside bombing that left two Iraqi soldiers injured and a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life (five wounded).


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer shot dead in Tikreet (three more wounded) and Fadhel Mohammed al-Dulaimi shot dead in Hawija while attempting to drive home. Reuters notes a member of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan was shot dead today in Mosul (and that one was shot dead yesterday in Mosul)


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the corpse of a woman was discovered in Kirkuk "(20-25 years of age, and had been shot several times")

Staying on reality, today
KPFK's Uprising aired the latest radio commentary of Rahul Mahajan (not yet posted at his site Empire Notes) where he took on the piece of illegal war trash that is No End In Sight. "Over the weekend, I had the dubious pleasure of watching No End in Sight, a documentary about the war on iraq made by Charles Ferguson, a political scientist, former consultant for the Brookings Institute and internet millionaire. Although the film has been garnering excellent reviews, it has a must feel to it. Ferguson prides himself on the fact that this film is neither a Republican nor a Democratic one. The upshot is that it's a film about a reasonable foreign policy establishment, a reasonable invasion, and a bunch of reasonable people being sabotaged and undercut by a small handful of jackasses -- Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Bremer and the only onscreen villain -- a Washington bureaucrat named Walter Slocombe who first developed the military demobilization plan. There is no examination of the sense of the larger project, of an establishment that mostly supported the war, or even of what the real motives of the invasion might have been. George Packer and Samantha Power as outside critics are not the people to do this job . . . What the film really brings home is that the story of this war is already written and heavily promoted and, unlike the case of Vietnam, it's a script for restoring the status quo ante. It's a story told by members of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York Times journalists, Congresspeople, retired generals and mildly dissident members of the military-intelligence establishment -- a group not exactly noted for ever getting anything right. So far, the antiwar movement has not made any headway in telling its own story -- insofar as it even has one." Or as we put it last month at The Third Estate Sunday Review, "No End In Sight when the peace movement gets behind crap." And sadly, some are. Some are plugging this hideous film that avoids the issue of the illegal war to 'teach' a better illegal war, one with better planning. How stupid is the alleged peace movement? Including one 'name' who included the public e-mail address for this site to pass on, "I agrfee [sic] completely with ____. it is VERY powerful....with administration and high army officials 'playing themselves,' so to speak." No, it's not a film for the peace movement to support (and why I was placed on this forward along with a hundred others, I have no idea). To return to Naomi Klein, her "Baghdad Year Zero" (Harper's magazine) outlined (in 2004) that the chaos in Iraq wasn't an accident, it was planned by the US administration. Now either you support Klein's reporting (and Greg Palast's and Antonia Juhasz . . . ) or you support this 'filmmaker' (first time) with the Council for/of Foreign Relations and Brookings Institute to his 'credits,' this filmmaker who stated that the problem with "the war" (he doesn't call it illegal" was that there were not enough "boots on the ground" -- sell that 'surge,' Charlie, sell it! And, sadly, he'll get a lot of help from that from people -- from 'names' -- that should know better -- that should damn well know better. His fictional film (passed as a documentary) sells illegal wars by accepting them (and Charlie was for the illegal war and still is) as evidenced by public statements such as "if this had been done competently, it could have turned out much, much differently." (Those are his words when he appeared on Uprising July 31, 2007.)

In other news of get serious quick, Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas a rally was a failure. It was a failure for multiple reasons including poor planning, location choice, time (you don't do a march or rally in the mid-day Texas heat), and just about every thing else that could have been done wrong. Click
here for our report at The Third Estate Sunday Review. And here for our report on the trip to Dallas: "The party was a big success. People talked about Iraq, had some great food (and drinks -- Jim's become an expert at mixing drinks), told jokes, shared, caught up, great tunes, you name it. Did it end the illegal war? No. Neither did the crappy event in Fort Worth. But at least our spur of the moment party had attendance. Comments by members (and my own) can be found here. It was a 'leadership' failure where 'leadership' sent a message people picked up on: You aren't wanted. And so they rightly stayed away. There's a big lesson there.