Saturday, January 13, 2007

Declaration of Peace, Danny Schechter

Saturday morning! :D I'm late because as soon as we got to Rebecca's, she was tired and planning to take a nap and that sounded like a great idea to everyone. Classes started up this week. I'm hoping for an easier go of it this semester. (Grades turned out GREAT but it was a killer semester.) But that's just whining.

Serious issues are things like the war and Rebecca's pregnancy. I passed on my thoughts to her tonight (and remember, she's fine with me writing about her pregnancy here) which is that as much as she kept telling everyone not to worry and saying she wasn't worried, she was. Now that she's passed the critical three weeks and things are going well, I think she's really absorbing it. I don't mean she didn't realize she wasn't pregnant before now. I'm just saying she doesn't need to worry that this will be another miscarriage. So now she's in a phase where she gets to think about her pregnancy and the child she's going to have without worrying.

It helps that all the tests show she's carrying a healthy baby. We were talking about that tonight. I'm really happy for her and for Flyboy. They're going to do one of those birthing classes. Tony had asked me how she was doing on Tuesday and I know a lot of people do wonder and do care so she looks good. She's tired a lot. She thinks that might come in part from the fact that she's been in the house since learning the news. We're going to have lunch outside on their patio/deck tomorrow. She does that but that's really been pretty much it because she was on bedrest and other stuff in those three critical weeks.

I think one of the reasons she's so tired is because she's relaxing. She looked fine and all earlier but, looking back, I can tell she was nervous and afraid that something would happen. So she's probably been a lot more tense than she let on and now that everything's going well, she can relax.

Here's an e-mail that Leigh Ann forwarded to me and asked me to note. I'm going to but I also passed it over to Elaine and she's noting it too.

Defund the War and Declare Peace!
Nationwide Nonviolent Civil DisobedienceTo End the Deepening U.S. Quagmire in Iraq
"There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging, the fire truck goes right through that red light ... Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the violence in Iraq escalates,
The Declaration of Peace is organizing nonviolent civil disobedience -- and other forms of powerful and dramatic peacemaking -- to urge the nation and its leaders to end the U.S. quagmire there. We invite people everywhere to respond to this growing emergency by participating in this campaign of conscience and nonviolent action to defund the war, to support the troops by bringing them home, and to launch a comprehensive Peace process. (See the full text of the Declaration of Peace Call for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at: )
Between now and mid-March -- the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq --
The Declaration of Peace will organize visits to Congressional offices, phone and email campaigns, rallies and vigils, town hall meetings, and media outreach to call on all U.S. policymakers to take these steps for Peace. If the Bush Administration and the new Congress fail to carry out its clear mandate for peace, we will be led by conscience to respond to this growing emergency with dramatic and creative forms of peaceful resistance -- including nonviolent civil disobedience -- across the country, March 16-19, 2007.
We invite you and your organization to organize a peaceful and powerful civil disobedience witness in mid-March.
Please let us know what you are planning by emailing:
Next Steps
In preparing for the March 16-19 Actions, The Declaration of Peace is organizing:
• A National Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Organizing Conference Call on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Please join us to learn more, to share plans, and to offer one another support. If you want to join the conference call, contact us at:
• A National Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Organizing Meeting onSunday, January 28, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, for those attending United for Peace and Justice's March on Washington and Lobby Day (January 27-29). Location: Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland Let us know if you will be attending:
• A National Week of Nonviolent Action Training: February 17-25, 2007. Contact us to organize a Nonviolence Training session:
For more information about this Campaign, visit:

That's pretty important. So are the activities taking place on the 27th this month. Here's another thing that's important, Danny Schechter's "Beyond the Call to Surge, the Need to Purge Our Media:"

In the aftermath of President Bush's prime-time war cry for escalation from the White House Library, the network newscasters were skeptical about his chances for success but seemed to be impressed by his willingness to stand up for what they think he believes, like some lone but gutsy hero on the prairie.
Much of the commentary deals with him as the beleaguered leader standing strong against public opinion but doing what he feels he had to do. The subtext was you just have to admire that man This is the very positioning his image managers cultivated.
The focus was on one man speaking to one camera, standing alone in a library, a White House room you had a sense with which he was unfamiliar, speaking to the teleprompter, reading someone else's words with as much well-practiced conviction as he could muster. The tone was reasonable because of his many claims of having listened to advice from his team and even his critics.
There was no analysis of who wrote the speech or the attitudes of his many Generals and advisors who disagreed with its thrust. There was no reminder that the Iraqi military actually opposed it. He positively cited the Iraq Survey Group whose recommendations he had actually rejected, as in, "in keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units - and partner a Coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division." He dropped Joe Lieberman's name, a democrat rejected by the Democratic base who is now aligned with Republican John McCain.
The chutzpah (and cynicism) dripped from one sentence to the next.
For the newscasters, this war debate is now only between the Congress and the White House. PBS ran the Democratic response by Senator Charles Durbin who explained why his plan can't work and won't work. No one else did. Most of the networks offered only one side as usual.
As for the public and the anti-war movement they were briefly heard chanting slogans outside the White House but not seen on CBS. The anti-war activists are always marginalized in the debate.
The substance of the speech--its assumptions, claims and policy direction was not subjected to any scrutiny. There was no analysis of likely consequences especially the threats to attack Syria and Iran. In short, there was no reporting. How is this possible on an event that had been hyped for a week and whose key tenets were well known BEFORE it was delivered?

That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and it's got a lot of stuff in it like Antonia Juhasz, Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove and more:

Friday, January 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; after the Bully Boy's Wednesday speech offering no 'benchmarks,' US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reveleals the 'plan' also offers no timetable; Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn talk the importance of withdrawal and combat the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk; US war resister Ehren Watada prepares for a public speech this weekend; and Antoni Juhasz addresses what an escalation means for US troops.
Today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis spoke with Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn about Iraq and comparisons to Bully Boy's dreamed of escalation in Iraq to Vietnam. Zinn felt it was very important to note that the Iraqi people do not want US forces in their country. On the 'new' 'plan' and it's talk up as well as the way Iraq is addressed, Howard Zinn pointed out:

When they talk about making a difference, they keep using the words 'victory' and 'success' and how do we 'win'? It seems to me this is missing a very, very critical point, Iraq is not our country to 'win' -- to be successful in, to be victorious in. We simply don't belong there. And Bush's 'surge' is exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Well Anthony's book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal lays out the argument for the simple statement that I'm making now, that instead of surging in Iraq, we should be withdrawing as fast as we can from Iraq. And not only that, we should be questioning the larger principle involved and that is should the United States be sending troops anywhere in the world -- whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else -- should we think we could solve any problems with military solutions? And, in fact, is this the motive of the administration to solve problems for the people of these other countries? Iraqis don't want us in Iraq, that's clear. The American people don't want us in Iraq. Even the Iraqi government, which was really put in in a kind of fake election with American control excercise, even the Iraqi government is very embarrassed by the idea of having more American troops in Iraq. So what Bush is proposing is a violation not only of self-determination of Iraqis and the will of the American people and world opinion, it's a continution of the whole idea of US military dominace in the world which we should do everything we can to bring to an end.

Andrea Lewis asked about the statements that if the US pulls out it will lead to chaos in Iraq.

Anthony Arnove: I think we have to acknowledge that people who raise that point raise it two different ways. The cynical group of people who make that argument, pundits, politicans, to say we can never pull out, to justify the US remaining as an occupying power in Iraq for years to come, to justify setting up military bases, permanent bases, in Iraq, to justify the role that the United States wants to play in Iraq projecting its power in the entire Middle East and globally, as Howard mentioned. But then there's also decent people who have a concern for the consequences of the Iraqi people. And I think we have to acknowledge their fears and their concerns for what would happen to Iraq? And we're not saying abandon the Iraqi people -- "This is some kind of isolationist position, we don't care what happens to them." We're saying the opposite. Our point is that every day that the United States continues in Iraq as an unwanted, foreign, occupying power, it makes the situation worse for ordinary Iraqis. It's not ending sectarian conflict in Iraq, it's actually fueling sectarian conflict. It's not ending violence, it's actually fueling violence. The United States occupation is the greatest source of instability in the country. And after every benchmark that we've been told would change the situation there --elections, the constitution, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the execution of Saddam Hussein -- things just get worse. Iraq right now is the world's largest refugee crises in the world. Inflation has skyrocketed, unemployment has skyrocketed, there's less electricty, less safe drinking water, less security for Iraqis which is why poll after poll shows that that they say their life is getting worse and they want the United States to leave and so if we claim that we're bringing democracy well democracy would dictate that we let the Iraqi people determine their own future. But we should support them. We should pay reperations. We owe them a tremends debt, not just for the harm caused by the occupation, but all of the years before that the United States imposed sanctions on the country and, before that, supported Saddam Hussein as he carried out his worst crimes.
Zinn discussed how the same arguments for the US remaining in Iraq were the ones his book Vietnam: The Logic for Withdrawal were "greeted with the same claims that are made today" -- e.g. chaos, violence, civil war in Vietnam. "The truth is that we were creating the chaos," observed Zinn. Anthony Arnove's book, Iraq: The Logic for Withdrawal, has just been released in paperback and he will be appearing on the following dates:

January 17, 7 pm,
New York, NY (with Michael Schwartz)
16 Beaver
January 20, 7 pm,
Chicago, IL (with Jeff Engelhardt)
University of Illinois-Chicago
Contact: Adam Turl, 773-567-0936,
January 27, 5 pm,
Washington, DC (with Kelly Dougherty)
Busboys and Poets
February 1, 7:30 pm,
Pasadena, CA
Voices of a People's History of the United States
with Mark Ruffalo, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Benjamin Bratt, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, and Alfre Woodard.
All Saints Episcopal Church

Appearing as part of a panel discussion yesterday on Kris Welch's program,
KPFA's Living Room , Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) noted two points regarding the US troops in Iraq. First, she noted, "On this issue of the troops increase . . . Bush wanted significantly more troops but the military said we don't have anywhere to get them for you, there aren't anymore troops. So the troops that are the addition of the 20,000 is simply going to be extending the tours of troops that are there speeding up the redeployment of troops that have already served. We have to be really clear about who the soldiers are that are part of this increase."
She then spoke of what their role would be and what is wanted from Iraq.

Antonia Juhasz: This is . . . the critical moment to make our demands very, very clear to the Democrats and one of those demands has to explicity be that this is a war for oil that cannot be allowed to continue and that what the administration is hoping for is that it will suceed in its economic transformation of Iraq which at this point has nearly reached fruition -- which is a new law developed way before the war in the US State Department, then pushed by US corporations, pushed by the successive appointed governments of Iraq by the US government following the invasion -- for a new law that is now, the al-Maliki govenrmenet has now said that it will put this new law forward to the Iraqi parliament that creates an unprecedented oil victory in Iraq. So what it does is give the government of Iraq nominal control and ownership of their oil but every function of the oil industry would then be privatized and turned over to foreign companies and the foreign companies would get a form of contract called a Production Sharing Agreement which is not used anywhere in the Middle East not used anywhere in oil rich countries in fact that gives first 30 years, 30 year contract, and then according to the UK Independent, that the intial contract would give 75% of initial profits to the private companies leaving only 25% for the Iraqis. [. . .] Iraq can best be understood as a pimple of oil that has yet to be plucked. It has certainly the second largest oil reserves in the world possibly larger. It has 80 known oil fields but only 17 have even begun to be developed. It is those undeveloped oil fields which are all completely within the realm of the new law and then the debate, that the president mentioned in his speech, is over a constitutional amendment to address the existing fields, which are now divided between the Shia and the Kurds in the north and the south, and to bring the control of the existing fields back into the central gover of al-Maliki. And what I believe is that the Bush administration is going to hold onto the occupation and make it larger and make it as big as he can until the law passes and US companies sign contracts and then they have to get work. And they need a security force to do that and that is our troops.

While Juhasz addressed the realities of US troops in Iraq, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, testifying before the US Senate Armed Service Committee, revealed a reality of his own.
BBC reports that Gates, speaking of Bully Boy's new 'plan' for Iraq, stated that there was no timetable for the puppet government to achieve any of the non-defined benchmarks. Susan Cornwell and Kristin Roberts (Reuters) observe that Gates threw out the usual sop of troop withdrawal on the conditional 'if' (always the same 'if' -- if a corner is turned and it never is) and they write that "Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who heads a House panel overseeing defense spending, said he would try to attach restrictions to a $100 billion 'emergency' request for new war money that Bush will request in February. Those restrictions could include a prohibition on spending money for the additional troops, Murtha said. They could also include immediately closing Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and the Guantanamo Bay detention center at a U.S. base in Cuba."
Yesterday, US military forces stormed an Iranian diplomatic consulate and arrested six diplomatic staff. The Kurdish government in northern Iraq responded by insisting that diplomatic staff be released immediately (Iran has long had a consulate in Iraq's Kurdish territory). KUNA reports that the US, via White House flack Tony Snow, continues to dismiss concerns and attempt to downgrade a recognized diplomatic headquarters while the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari, continues to state that it was a consulate and that, in addition, "U.S. forces tried to seize more people at the airport in Irbil, 220 miles north of Baghdad, prompting a confrontation with Kurdish troops guarding the facility that was resolved without casualties. " The BBC notes that the consulate has been "operating for years" and the Mikhail Kamyin ("Russing foreign ministry spokesman") declared, "It is absolutely unacceptable for troops to storm the consular offices of a foreign state on the territory of another state . . . It is also not clear how this fits in with American statements that Washington respects the sovereignty of Iraq."
In other Iraq news . . .
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, near Baquba, a mortar attack killed "one primary school teacher and one student," while a child was killed in Muqdadiyah by an IED and, in Baquba, an Iraqi soldier was killed by a bomb and three more wounded.
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that in the Diyala Province, "American forces killed a woman and a child and injured another woman with another child (all from the same family)" while 4 Shi'ites were shot dead "near ARAB SHOKA area near hibhib area in khalis town" as well as their driver.
Reuters notes that 10 corpses were discovered in Baghdad, seven in Mosul, three in Basmaia.
Turning to news of war resistance,
Ehren Watada became the first officer (June 2006) to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and now faces a February 5th court-martial. He is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington at 1:00 pm. Also tomorrow, there will be a benefit performance for him Corvallis, OR when Crooked Kate and the Childers-Carson Duo take the stage of the Sunnyside-Up (116 N.W. Third St.) at six pm. In addition, later this month A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College to address the illegality of the war. In addition, Iraq Veterans Against the War are staging Camp Resistance in support of Watada. Writing at the blog they've set up for Camp Resistance, dockyne reports: The oldest public radio station in the states hosted IVAW Deployed and had Darrell [Anderson] and Dennis [Kyne] on Friday morning for one hour and a half. Discussing Darrell's experience in this illegal war and his 18 months in exile to Canada, as well as the fact that thousands of other soldiers are refusing to deploy to this illegal war. Hosted by Ani and Melody on their weekly progam (7:30-9 am) Absolutly revolting.
This interview was in covered the draft, the anti war movement, depleted uranium and allowed multiple callers to learn about the Gulf War, which the VA handbook of benefits states began on 2 Aug 1990 and will end on a date to be determined by congress. When will they end it? We discussed the court martials of
Suzanne Swift and Ehren Watada...and the support from Portland, Oregon is massive. Darrell stated, "this is the most radical community I have been too."

Dennis Kyne, writing at U.N. Observer, gives the details on Camp Resistance:

Please support this troops are gathering to support Ehren Watada in his stand against the lies that have gained our nation nothing more than death and despise. Purple Heart, 'Winner' Darrell Anderson returned from 18 months in hiding when he heard that Lt. Watada had refused to deploy. Darrell Anderson would have deployed to his third tour had he not gone north. Anderson asked me to get on the ( ) with him and get to Fort Lewis to open up Camp RESISTANCE!!!
We are here, in the mud. It is not warm here
...nor dry
.....however, you should stand with us support of a man who stands up against the military mahine and a nation of millions who don't have the foggiest notion that our troops do not want to serve in this war. Lt. Watada is speaking for thousands of enlisted soldiers like Darrell Anderson and myself, a fifteen year veteran of the Army. Watada is a true leader.....leading and doing
....he knows he should never ask enlisted soldiers to do things he would never do
....that is part of the requirement. NEVER ask nor order your troops to do things that you wouldn't do. There are more violators of this rule in the military now, than ever (or at least in my 15 years.) Lt. Watada is not one of them
...and with that, the soldiers, who have always followed good leaders
....will follow Lt. Watada.. Mike, Damon, Ethan and I, slept on the rig last night was night one of Camp RESISTANCE!!!There is a RESISTANCE!!! going on. Thousands of troops are refusing to deploy
....please let everyone know we are here
.....working from the wi fi hot spot, let them know they should stand here too. If not for a month as we will, than for a day or even an hour. We are at off ramp 119, gates of Fort Lewis.
We are meeting up at the gates of Fort lewis to support the Lt. Why? We have had enough
...we want the war to stop....we want the government to stop using the troops as pawns in their game. If you know of a veteran who is opposed to this war, please help them get here....if you are ok with the weather, please get here also.
I, personally, will always think it an honor and a privilege to have served the United States people
...I know Ehren does too. It is with that same pride and honor that I, personally, ask you to do something for this man
....who has, without question stood, with more integrity in his little pinky, than most of these Generals have in their entire skin. I am honored to know his family, they are a wonderful display of family values
...something we don't see a lot of.
To support him
.... ( ) you will find the news to follow the days up to the trial......

John Powell writes to the Capital Times to weigh in on the argument that Watada signed a contract and any responsibilities he had for war ended right there: "Perhaps Piek has never served in the military, but I remember the oath I took when I was inducted into the Army as a lowly buck private in 1968. The oath for soldiers is virtually the same as the oath taken by the president of the United States and every other official of every level of government in the country: an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. There is nothing in that oath about obeying orders. In fact, the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice make it clear that a soldier's duty is to disobey illegal orders. Watada alleges that the Iraq war is unconstitutional and therefore illegal, and that he is duty-bound to refuse to serve in it. This should be the issue - not whether he refused to obey orders (clearly he did), but whether those orders were legal."
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson (noted abovein the Camp Resistance post), Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Finally, on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein provided military families with the opportunity to weigh in on Bully Boy's announced intent to escalate. This included a couple with five children and grandchildren serving in the military who ask that people write Congress and say "no" to the escalation. In addition to utilizing either previous link for an archived broadcast, Rebecca wrote about the broadcast yesterday.

ehren watada

living room

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Carly Simon, Sunsara Taylor, Robert Fisk

Thursday! One day until the weekend! :D And Kat's latest CD review is up,
"Kat's Korner: Carly Simon, Into the Real" and it's about Carly Simon's Into White. My folks love this album. I like it but they're just living on it. :D It really is a good CD. You should check it out.

I'll tell my favorite song on the CD, "Scarborough Fair." I like Simon & Garfunkel's version of that too. After that, probably either "Love Of My Life" or "Quiet Evening" but "Blackbird" is pretty cool too.

So Bully Boy wants to escalate. Did you listen to the speech? I did but I had to keep walking away from the computer. I can only take him in short bursts. Anything more and I'm just too angry. It's one thing when he was lying and most people believed him but it's even worse now that we know he's a liar and he knows we know he's a liar. It's like it's not even lying to him anymore, just a game, and he laughs because his lies are so obvious but he knows the press won't call him out. They'll just say that he said ____ and he said ____ and they'll act like we don't know that there was no connection between 9-11 and Iraq -- or that even he had to admit that. It's just embarrassing.

It's like all this rage is boiling for impeachment and each day he just gives us more reasons but the media's intent on looking the other way thinking that by ignoring it they can channel us.

He needs to be impeached and you should read this, Sunsara Taylor's "The Democrats' First Day:"

As the Call for the World Can't Wait states, "The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come."
This was not changed or even challenged in the 2006 elections. A sobering sign of the political climate is that even with a Democratic majority, even John Conyers -- one of the most liberal members of Congress who has done as much to expose the impeachable offenses of George Bush as almost anyone and who has worked with World Can't Wait-Drive Out the Bush Regime -- has come out and argued against impeachment, insisting it is unrealistic because it would require bipartisan support.
What this is really saying is that the only people who can set political terms in this country are George Bush's neo-cons and Christian fascists and that everyone else has to find their place within these terms. But this must not be accepted.
Just as it did during Nixon's day, it will take political struggle breaking free of these terms and coming up from below to create a situation where those in power are compelled to change their position and impeachment is put back on the table and carried out or some other means is found to politically drive out this regime. If we fail, everything that Bush has done will remain legitimate, no matter who becomes the next president and the people of the world and future generations will judge us harshly.

He needs to be impeached. He needs to be impeached for what he's done and to make sure that no one else can get away with it in the future. If he's not impeached, everyone who comes after will know they can do what he did and not have to answer for it.

He's made a mockery of the judicial system, he's wrongly imprisoned people in Guantanamo for years, he's spied on our phone calls, e-mails and probably regular mails and he's started an illegal war and started it with lies. If he's not impeached, it says to everyone who comes after, "Screw us, we're a doormat and laws don't matter." He needs to be impeached so that a strong message is sent.

If he'd already been impeached, he wouldn't be escalating right now. Each day he's not impeached, the more damage he can do. On the escalation, here's Robert Fisk's "Bush's New Strategy -- The March of Folly:"

There will be timetables, deadlines, benchmarks, goals for both America and its Iraqi satraps. But the war against terror can still be won. We shall prevail. Victory or death. And it shall be death.
President Bush's announcement early this morning tolled every bell. A billion dollars of extra aid for Iraq, a diary of future success as the Shia powers of Iraq ­ still to be referred to as the "democratically elected government" ­ march in lockstep with America's best men and women to restore order and strike fear into the hearts of al-Qa'ida. It will take time ­ oh, yes, it will take years, at least three in the words of Washington's top commander in the field, General Raymond Odierno this week ­ but the mission will be accomplished.
Mission accomplished. Wasn't that the refrain almost four years ago, on that lonely aircraft carrier off California, Bush striding the deck in his flying suit? And only a few months later, the President had a message for Osama bin Laden and the insurgents of Iraq. "Bring 'em on!" he shouted. And on they came. Few paid attention late last year when the Islamist leadership of this most ferocious of Arab rebellions proclaimed Bush a war criminal but asked him not to withdraw his troops. "We haven't yet killed enough of them," their videotaped statement announced.
Well, they will have their chance now. How ironic that it was the ghastly Saddam, dignified amid his lynch mob, who dared on the scaffold to tell the truth which Bush and Blair would not utter: that Iraq has become "hell" .
It is de rigueur, these days, to recall Vietnam, the false victories, the body counts, the torture and the murders ­ but history is littered with powerful men who thought they could batter their way to victory against the odds. Napoleon comes to mind; not the emperor who retreated from Moscow, but the man who believed the wild guerrilleros of French-occupied Spain could be liquidated. He tortured them, he executed them, he propped up a local Spanish administration of what we would now call Quislings, al-Malikis to a man. He rightly accused his enemies ­ Moore and Wellington ­ of supporting the insurgents. And when faced with defeat, Napoleon took the personal decision "to relaunch the machine" and advanced to recapture Madrid, just as Bush intends to recapture Baghdad. Of course, it ended in disaster. And George Bush is no Napoleon Bonaparte.

Now here's where it stands right now from Rupert Cornwell's "Congress savages plan to send extra troops to Iraq:"

Top Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill savaged Condoleezza Rice on President Bush's plans to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraq - the opening skirmish in what bodes to be the fiercest struggle over war powers between Congress and the White House since Vietnam.
The decision to expand the US force was a "tragic mistake," Joe Biden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, as he opened proceedings yesterday, while Ms Rice warned of the disastrous consequences of an American failure in Iraq.
But Mr Biden was positively gentle in comparison to his Republican colleague Chuck Hagel, who vowed to "resist" the President's latest plan - "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in the country since Vietnam".
As Ms Rice listened stony-faced, a smattering of applause broke out in the public gallery - a tiny testament to the unease among ordinary Americans at a war that has now lasted longer than US involvement in the Second World War.
The independent-minded Mr Hagel - a possible contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination - has often criticised Mr Bush's handling of Iraq, but never as harshly. More important, he is the most outspoken among sceptics from the President's own party in the Senate, where perhaps no more than a dozen of the 49 Republicans wholeheartedly support the new strategy. By common consent of US commentators yesterday, Mr Bush has taken an enormous political gamble with his decision to send what amounts to six combat brigades to Baghdad and al-Anbar province, stronghold of the Sunni insurgency - risking an escalation in American and Iraqi casualties, with no guarantee of success, either in the short or long term.

So is Congress finally going to have the guts to stand up to Bully Boy? They're all talking big right now, regardless of party, but they've talked big before and then rolled over. So is that going to happen again?

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

Thursday, January 11, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq though it gets little attention, Bully Boy eats up more time with his dismal performance (continued dismal performance), Ehren Watada prepares to speak this weekend in what may be his final speech before the February 5th court-martial, Condi Rice challenges Bully Boy for American Most In Denial, and the world says no to Bully Boy's plans for escalation (more US troops being sent to Iraq).

Starting with Bully Boy's Cop Rock-like bust in primetime yesterday. Saying exactly the same thing, in the same way he always had, Bully Boy had nothing to offer Iraq, the United States or the world. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said the fact that just because they didn't act properly in the past doesn't mean that they won't act properly in the future. She was speaking of Iraqis but she could apply it to the 'logic' of the the administration.

That was what Bully Boy's speech last night was built upon. Two months from the four-year anniversary of the start of the illegal war, he wants to say, as he did last night, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" -- what does that even mean? That's ownership? That's nothing. There are no efforts at responsibility or accountability. As with the 'government' of Nouri al-Maliki, there are no results -- only Bully Boy's had nearly four years.

With those ten words ("Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me"), he wants yet another blank check to continue the same illegal war that is already lost. There were no benchmarks in Bully Boy's speech. But another thing still missing is a definition of 'success.'

There is no 'win' to be had in Iraq but what is the mission? What mission is reason to continue the illegal war? There is none, none explained to the people. The administration wants . . . 'democracy building' -- at the point of a gun? The administration wants . . . a peace keeping mission? Whose being protected, what is the goal and airy terms like 'democracy' or 'liberation' demonstrate that there is still no plan, there is nothing that a military can achieve, and that the illegal war has no defense.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Rice rejected the notion of troops being placed on the Iraqi borders -- "I don't think you want to depend on boots on the grounds to defend those borders." So what are they doing? Today, she can't articulate it and the Bully Boy can't. And when you grasp that 3019 US troops have died, the fact that they seem to think ten little words grant them a "fresh start" in an illegal war is not just surprising, it's appalling.

US Senator
Russ Feingold stated, of Bully Boy's Primetime Bust, "the president ignored the recommendations of members of both parties, military leaders, foreign policy experts, and the will of the American people by announcing that he intends to escalate our involvement in Iraq by sending more troops there. Congress must bring an end to what has been one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation. The President continues to deny the devastating impact that keeping our brave troops in Iraq is having on our national security. The American people have rejected the Administration's Iraq-centric foreign policy. It is time to bring our troops out of Iraq and refocus on defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten this country."

US Senator
Chuck Hagel stated, "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam if it's carried out. . . . I will resist it."

Surveying opinion in the Middle East,
Maggie Michael (AP) reports that the speech has resulted in "strong skepticism across the Mideast, where many predicted that even with more soldiers, America would fail to break the cycle of violence" and quotes Areeb el-Rentawi, Al-Quds Center for Political Studies (Amman, Jordan), stating that the Bully Boy "didn't answer the main question: What if al-Maliki falied in meeting the new plan? Al-Maliki's government is part of the problem, not the solution."

Speaking with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, from Najaf,
Sami Rasouli compared Bully Boy's escalation to current conditions in Iraq, "Actually, Amy, for the last four days, I couldn't get a shower -- because there is no electricity, there is no heating, so water's so cold in this harsh winter in Iraq -- because Iraq has a continental climate that's very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. So, as I speak to you, I really stink -- and, as the increasing prices in the economy that's collapsing stink and the Iraq government policy stinks, even the American policy, that so-called surge in Iraq, stinks too because, as you know, and Iraqis know and the others, that the occupation is a form of war. So any escalation in this type of war, the resistance is going to escalate too."

Similar sentiments are
voiced by Lara Logan (CBS News): "Iraqis have been talking about nothing else all day, and most of the people we've spoken to say they do not want more U.S. troops here. They don't believe this is going to help."

And the puppet government?
Sabrina Tavernise and John F. Burns (New York Times) report that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki and aides are "wary" and "fear that an increased American troop presence, particularly in Baghdad, will be accompanied by a more assertive American role that will conflict with the Shiite government's haste to cut back on American authority and run the war the way it wants."

The American people?
Jon Cohen (Washington Post) reports on a joint poll by the Post and ABC on the proposed escalation which found that "61 percent oppose the force increase, with 52 'strongly' opposing the build-up. Thirty-six percent support the additional troops; only one-quarter of the public is strongly supportive." CBS and AP report on a CBS News poll which found 53% of those polled do not favor the escalation, only 37% favored it -- echoing the Post-ABC News poll. Most interesting was this finding from CBS's poll: "68 percent of Americans -- the same number as before the speech -- said they were uneasy about the president's ability to make decisions about Iraq."

David Olive (Toronto Star) sees the illegal war as a "Pandora's Box" that Bully Boy now wants to treat like a hot potato "in order that his successor as president -- and not Bush -- wears the stigma of defeat in Iraq."

Guy Dinmore (Financial Times of London) observes the speech dismissed advice regarding diplomacy, dubs it a "hardline speech" and quotes Cliff Kupchan, Eurasis Group, stating, "Bush is tapping anti-Iranian senteiment in Congress and the American public to bolster his case." Speaking with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Michael Klare (Hampshire College's Professor of Peace and World Security Studies) detected in the speech the adminstration's arguing expanding the war beyond Iraq into neighboring countries: "This was not a message about Iraq. This was a message about preparing the American people for a wider war in the region." Also taking part in that discussion, Natalie Goldring (Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies) stated,
"We can't win in Iraq. I don't think it's possible. President Bush, to my mind, is increasingly isolated in painting this picture of an Iraq that is somehow a democratic presence and a peaceful Middle East is miraculously transformed by the American presence. In reality our presence there is making things worse. The Iraqis are in fact worse off if you look at things like their energy production and other key measures of whether people are comfortable in their homes. They're worse off than they were under Saddam which is a really scary prospect. So I don't think we can win. We do need to get out."

United for Peace & Justice's Leslie Cagan echoed Professor Goldring's thoughts on Democracy Now! today where she stated, "This war has to end. It never should have started. It was a war totally based on lies. It has to end. It has to end now." Cagan noted actions taking place around the country today and also noted that "in just a few weeks, on Saturday January 27th, people from every corner of the country are gathering here in Washington, where I am right now, to march around the Capitol, to deliver our message: it is time to end the war. The people spoke. The voters of this country had their opportunity in November to make their voices heard. Now we're saying to Congress, 'You need to act on the will of the people of this country.' So on Saturday January 27th, people will be getting on buses and trains and carpools and every other manner of transportation and gathering here in Washington on the Mall between 3rd Street and 7th Street at 11:00 am in the morning and delivering this message. And on top of that, we're asking people to stay here in Washington for a few more days to do a massive lobby day on Monday the 29th". Information on the actions this month on the 27th and 29th as well as today can be found by clicking here.

Thulasi Srikanthan (Toronto Star) reports the only real 'surge' and it's in Canada as War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky notes the "surge in the number of calls from American troops during the past week" which has resulted in the War Resisters Support Campaign requesting "help in housing soldiers fleeing the U.S." The War Resisters Support Campaign helps American troops who are seeking asylum in Canada. In other news of war resistance, Paul Boring (Whidbey News Times) reports US war resister Ehren Watada will be speaking this Saturday (January 13th) at 1:00 pm at the Coupeville Recreation Hall (901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington).

In June of last year,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He faces a court-martial on Feburary 5th. Camp Resistance is set up outside Fort Lewis where Watada is serving and it's a project of Iraq Veterans Against the War (each day they gather at off I-5, exit 119 in Dupont, Washington). Damon Murphy notes that today: "We were approached by a Sgt. of the Dupont Police Department. He brought news that the property owner wanted us off of his land; the reason given was due to a misunderstanding about the amount of time we'd be there. The impression was that we'd be there for the two or three days surrounding Lt. Ehren Watada's Court Martial Pre-Trial; the reality, is that IVAW is deployed. When you're deployed you’re stuck. When you’re deployed, all you have is what is next to you: people, tools for your survival, and the mission at hand. Our mission at hand, regardless of where it takes place, is standing in solidarity with Lt. Ehren Watada as he awaits his pending Court Martial, twenty-seven days from now."

Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In "Oh, Condi" news -- the Senate testimony today . . . Rice noted that Sadr's bloc "pulled out and the government didn't collapse"; however, she fails to note how little got accomplished or the attempts to woo the bloc back. She boasted that, "We know why sectarian violence didn't come down" -- apparently now that Negroponte's under her, he's spilled all the beans on the death squads. She declared, "We're not going to stay married to a plan that isn't working." But failed to ask the important question:
Should This Marriage Be Saved? She refused to be pinned down on 'specifics' but did note, "The oil law is important." (Well, they did name a tanker after her.) (Here's an AP article -- my remarks are based on watching it on TV.)

In Iraq today? Apparently building on Bully Boy's belicose speech, an Iranian consular office was targeted by the US military.
Reuters reports that "US forces stormed an Iranian consular office in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil and arrested five people, including diplomates and staff". The Australian notes that the US military has confirmed six arrests "but did not confirm if any were Iranians". The Cihan News Agency notes that "US soldiers seized computers and official documents" and reports five arrests following the US military "forcing open the outer gate" to the building. Xinhua reports: "The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad sent a letter to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Thursday morning to protest against 'the U.S. illegal move' and call on the Iraqi government to help secure immediate release of the five people". BBC notes: "Reports say the Iranian consulate there was set up last year under an agreement with the Kurdish regional government to facilitate cross-border visits."
And it was six. The
US military released a statement saying they "took six individuals into custody". KUNA reports: "The Presidency and government of Iraq's Kurdistan Thursday demanded the Multi-National Force (MNF) to release Iranian consulate staff members who were detained earlier today."


Reuters reports a mortar attack Wednesday in Mosul on a "Sunni Arab girls' school" that left nine wounded ("included four students and three other children"). The US military press release on that was apparently written by a PIG hence the term "housewives" -- it notes that four high school girls were injured, three children and two adult women (that, in a throwback, they term "housewives").

DPA reports three dead and 31 wounded from a truck bomb in Samaraa and that "[a]mong the dead was Asaad Yassin, president of the municipal council of Samaraa".




What? You think anyone's reporting on Iraqis today? Seriously,
CBS and AP note that an oil pipeline was attacked "in northern Iraq" because, apparently, they keep the eye on the prize -- if oil is "the prize" -- but forget about it. Don't think that means Iraqis aren't dying today -- they are. But even the bit that usually gets reported is being ignored today.

Jennie Matthew (AFP) notes that "walls" are the latest US 'answer' (and even mentions Israel while failing to note the illegality of that) because if Haidtha residents won't welcome foreign fighters, wall 'em off! Such passes for 'answers' in the illegal war. This as there's also a new 'plan' for Baghdad -- and "Truth" would be so pleased -- she might even want to grab credit. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that "gated communities" are coming to Baghdad "forcibly". Such are the plans -- the sort of laughable crap you'd expect to see stereotyped to some elderly, dottering fool convinced the world was out to get them -- which would be a perfect transition for Bully Boy's speech today; however, I think Wally and Cedric are covering that.

Finally, in Australia,
ABC reports that John Howard, prime minister, is standing hip to hip with the Bully Boy but there are no plans for Australia to send in more forces and reports that "Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd mainstains that Mr Howard shares responsibility for the failures in Iraq and . . . [that] Mr Bush's statement has confirmed the coalition is losing the war, not winning it." Again, Howard's hip to hip with Bully Boy does not translate as more Australian troops being sent to Iraq. The Times of London quotes Howard declaring, "There is no direct implication for Australian forces in Iraq. We have an appropriately sized force and one that can be maintained." For the record the number of Australian forces in Iraq is 450.

ehren watada

amy goodmandemocracy now

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Iraq, Ann Wright, Ron Jacobs, United for Peace & Justice

Hump day, hump day. Elaine's got a post tonight that you've got to read. She types faster than I do (so do most people :D) so I told her to call back when she posts so I can include a link to it here. She's calling out The Nation for it's cowardice on war resisters.

I found something by Ann Wright on the escalation. This is from her "A History of 'Surges':"

A look at US history in Vietnam sheds light on the potential for extraordinarily large increases in US military troop strength in a short time, unless there is a huge, vocal, visible outcry from us, the citizens, and from the Congress.
In early 1964, the US had 16,000 military personnel in South Vietnam who were advisers to the South Vietnamese military. On July 27, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson ordered 5,000 additional military advisers to South Vietnam, bringing the total US troop level to 21,000.
A week later, on August 4, the USS Maddox, a US Navy destroyer, was conducting an electronic intelligence-gathering mission four miles off the North Vietnamese coast when it was allegedly attacked by three torpedo boats of the North Vietnamese navy. President Johnson decided that the attack could not go unanswered and ordered retaliatory strikes against North Vietnamese ports and oil facilities.
On the basis of the administration's assertions that the attacks were "unprovoked aggression" on the part of North Vietnam, on August 7, 1964, the US Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the president broad powers to conduct military operations without an actual declaration of war. The resolution passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and was opposed in the Senate by only two members. Tragically, neither Congress nor the American people learned that the incident was fabricated by the Johnson administration until the publication of the Pentagon Papers five years later, in 1969.
In March 1965, 3,500 US Marines "surged" to be the first US combat troops in South Vietnam, adding to the 25,000 US military advisers already there. In May 1965, the 173d Airborne Brigade "surged" to become the first US Army ground unit committed to the conflict in South Vietnam.
Seven months later, by November 1965, US military forces had "surged" to over 120,000. On November 27, Pentagon officials recommended that to defeat North Vietnamese troops and National Liberation Forces (NLF), US troop levels in South Vietnam would have to "surge" from 120,000 to 400,000.

I really like Ann Wright. I think she's a strong leader and someone who is willing to step up and call what's what. There are a number of strong people like that but she's someone I really do like because when it's an issue that matters, it seems like she's there fighting. They keep arresting her and she keeps coming back. She's a real leader. She retired from the State Department and, before that, she was a Colonel in the Army. I bet she was speaking out even then. If not, she's more than made up for it with her actions since Bully Boy decided to start an illegal war.

About the escalation. People, some, act like the 3000 plus US troops killed is no big deal. Those people usually don't care at all about the 655,000 plus Iraqis killed. But one reason Bully Boy's been able to keep the numbers smaller than during Vietnam is because there are less troops in Iraq. Like right now, you've got less than 140,000. If he starts escalating, you better be prepared for the count to climb higher. It's already too many and anyone who thinks otherwise is pretty sick. It's time to stop the escalation and to bring the troops home. If you agree, you can check this out at United for Peace & Justice:


Hard to believe, but in a primetime televised speech on Wednesday evening, President Bush will announce his plans to send more troops into Iraq.
We need to act quickly and in large numbers to oppose this escalation.
United for Peace and Justice has joined an effort initiated by Win Without War and True Majority to encourage as many local actions in communities all around the country this Thursday, the day after Bush announces his plans. We need to be visible and vocal. Our message must be heard by the White House and by the Congress. NO more troops, end this war now!
Take a moment right now to find out what's already planned in your area.
Read More »

On the Bully Boy and the war, this is Ron Jacobs' "Trying To Create The Next World War:"

There's a document hanging around that's probably been George Bush's favorite reading material for the past few weeks. It's written by Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and is titled Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq. From all indications, this document is the blueprint for Mr. Bush's upcoming speech on Iraq. Operating on the belief that victory is still possible if only the US sends enough troops into Baghdad and other trouble spots in Iraq, Mr. Kagan's powerpoint presentation notes that as of December 2006, there were 52,500 US combat troops (Marines and infantry) in the country, of which 17, 500 were in Baghdad. Kagan continues by calling for a series of incremental increases in US combat troops through September 20007, when he hopes to see a total of 84, 000 combat troops wearing US uniforms in the war. If one projects the proportionate number of logistical forces that accompany this number of troops (at current levels it is approximately 1.6 logistical troops to every combat soldier--52,500 combat out of 140,000 total troops), that means there will be around 224,000 US troops in Iraq in the fall of 2007.
Leaving aside the question of how the White House and its warmongering generals plan to find all these soldiers and Marines, this means only one thing. The White House and its supporters have no intention of leaving Iraq until they control it--Green Zone, Al-Anbar and oil derrick. Ignoring the demands of the antiwar movement (which is not unusual), the advice of more seasoned empire builders like James Baker and his posse, and the desires of the majority of the people in the United States (not to mention the world), the policymakers whose policies got us into Iraq in the first place still have the only two ears Mr. Bush owns. This is to say the least, a dangerous fact.
The document notes that his group's call to change the Pentagon's focus from training Iraqi soldiers to securing the Iraqi population and containing the rising violence (by increasing the violence) is certain to invigorate the Iraqi resistance in all its forms--Sunni, Shia, tribal and otherwise, yet the only answer the document provides to this fact is that the US troops must be more aggressive and not only attack but hold areas where their attacks succeed. According to Kagan, up to now "securing the population has never been the primary mission of the U.S. military effort in Iraq, and now it must become the first priority." Of course, this will mean more casualties, a fact Kagan dismisses in a manner that proves once again how little the warmakers care about those who fight the war. Yes, he states, there will be more casualties, but a "short-term increase in casualties is not a sign of failure." In fact, his view of the situation believes that "long term casualties over a nine month period will decrease as the population is secured." In other words, if the war goes on long enough the number of dead won't seem like that much when you average them out. Unmentioned in this discourse is that this is the same nonsense Bush and his minions have been telling us since 2003. Furthermore, and with less excuse, it is the same nonsense that the Congress has been accepting as accurate each and every time the war funding comes up for their vote.

Okay, Bully Boy's on. I want to hear his latest lies. Elaine's "How The Nation isn't cutting it" just went up. (She just called. )

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with the discovery of over 70 corpses reported, Bully Boy goes primetime (you bought a flat screen for that?), the US military announces the deaths of three more US troops, US war resisters get attention (no, not from The Nation), and BuzzFlash interviews activist and author Antonia Juhasz.

Starting with the speech to get it out of the way. Later today (9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm Central and 6:00 pm PST), Bully Boy will be making a speech where he will announce his intent to send more US troops into his illegal war despite having declared, on May 1, 2003, "
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Three years and eight months later, Bully Boy now wants to send more troops to Iraq. As Danny Schechter (News Dissector) wrote, "Today is the day when the Bush Administration takes its next big shot like some schoolyard bully determined that his way is the only way."

3018 US troops have died in Iraq and Bully Boy now wants to send more troops. Michael Abramowitz, Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported today that when Bully Boy met with Nouri al-Maliki (finally) in Jordan, "Maliki did not ask for more American troops as part of a new Baghdad security plan he presented to Bush, U.S. officials said. Maliki's idea was to lower the U.S. profile, not raise it." But now Bully Boy wants to send more US troops.

Iraqis want foreign troops out of their country, as polls have consistently demonstrated, and
The Lancet study estimated over 655,000 Iraqis have lost their lives during the illegal war. Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops.

Democracy Now! today, one Iraqi, Abu Haider, voiced his opinion, "All the stances of America are indications of negative positions towards society and its citizens.Their decisions and credibility are negative. They damaged this country. They said that they are here to spread freedom and democracy in Iraqi society but they did nothing but bring terrorism.” Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops. Abu Haider lives in Baghdad where most of the escalated troops will go (some, about a fifth, will also go to Al-Anbar Province).

The BBC World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds notes how the 'fresh start' (that's what the US administration is calling it) "has echoes of Vietnam in the belief that another push will get the job done" and notes five specific echoes -- "the realisation in Washington that it is not winning"; "trying to hand over responsibility to the local government in the midst of battle, not after it"; "belief by the US administration that more troops are an important part of the answer"; "opposite belief by others that the enterprise cannot work and that disengagement must be sought"; and ""in Vietnam too the president consulted and outside group -- they were called the Wise Men and, like the Iraq Study group, they too urged a policy designed to lead to withdrawal."

Speaking yesterday on
The KPFA Evening News, Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights and co-host of WBAI's Law and Disorder) declared, "Basically we can look at this in a few ways. One is you [Congress] can cut off the funding and that they have a constitutional right to do. Secondly, they could pass a resolution under the war powers resolution that repeals the authorization to use force in Iraq I think [Ted] Kennedy's argument is something. There better argument in Congress is to say 'We repeal the Iraq War Resolution' -- that would take away the president's authority. So Congress has remedies here. The question is are the Democrats going to be willing to stand up and take them or are they just going to talk? Kennedy, obviously, is going to do more than talk."

Ratner was referring to US Senator Edward Kennedy's speech to the National Press Club yesterday (see
yesterday's snapshot) where Kennedy called the illegal war in Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam" and spoke of "introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan." The speech can be found in full in Kate Phillip's blog post at the New York Times and Kathy Kiely's USA Today report on the speech contains links to the audio and video of it.

What Micheal Ratner was referring when he noted a second option the US Congress had is something that another Michael apparently slept through (
Michael Gordon of the New York Times), the reaction to Tricky Dick's announcement that he would bomb Cambodia led to a Senate vote to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which was followed by House of Representatives doing the same.

As Kennedy and other grown ups, including US House Rep. and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, attempt to address Bully Boy's non-stop, illegal war of choice,
Ron Elving (NPR) observes that: "Anti-war activists have gained ground -- both at the polls and in the polls -- over the past two months. A new Democratic majority is in place in Congress and surveys find well over half the public now wants to get the United States out of Iraq. Not one American in five supports the idea of sending more troops to fight there. Yet, before this month is over, opponents of the war will get a double does of disappointment" -- the first being Bully Boy's speech today and the second being, according to Elving, will be "the Democrats, empowered as the majority in House and Senate by dint of those November elections, will not be able to stop the greater troop committment."

Tom Hayden (Common Dreams) observes: "If and when the 20,000 Americans plunge into Baghdad neighborhoods, there will be dramatic television coverage of soldiers at risk. It is possible, though far from easy, to 'stabilize' a Baghdad neighborhood for several months or one year, carrying the surge into the next presidential cycle. The strategy fits the polling data showing only 21 percent of Americans favor immediate withdrawal, while the moderate middle might be open to an undefined new strategy if convinced it will shorten the war and bring the troops home. More likely, the ranks of the peace movement are likely to swell with people angry over the perceived betrayal by Bush of the November voter mandate. A failure by majority Democrats to prevent the escalation will convince more people to take to the streets or look to 2008 for a fix."


America Says NO Surge! President Bush is expected to give his "new direction in Iraq" speech this Wednesday, January 10th -- he wants to increase the number of troops on the ground in Iraq. We have to make it clear that Americans do NOT want more troops in Iraq and we have to act fast! True Majority has created a coalition called AMERICA SAYS NO. We will take to the streets together after Bush makes his expected call for escalation in Iraq. We need to stop this "surge" with a stronger surge of protest. Can you join an event this week and help stop the surge? Click here to find an event near you and if you can't find one create your own. Read our latest action alert for more details.

Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) speaks with US soldiers who, don't tell Bully Boy, don't see escalation as an answer in Iraq. Those who would like to listen to the Bully Boy's speech tonight or, at least, to hear an intelligent discussion of it, KPFA and WBAI will be carrying it live with Larry Bensky offering analysis and discussion with various guests which you can listen to online (free of charge, no quiz to take or membership to apply for). For those looking for something else to listen to . . .

In fact, the dispassionate tone of the "debate" about Iraq in The New York Times and on every television screen seems psychotically remote from the reality of what will happen if war actually occurs. We are talking about raining death down on human beings, about thousands and thousands of howling wounded human beings, dismembered corpses in pools of blood. Is this one of the "lessons of Vietnam" that people have learned--that the immorality of this unspeakable murdering must never be mentioned? That the discussion of murder must never mention murder, and that even the critics of murder must always criticize it because it turns out not to be in our own best interest? Must these critics always say that the murders would come at too high a price for us, would be too expensive, would unbalance the budget, hurt the economy, cause us to stint on domestic priorities; that it would lose us our friends, that it would create new enemies? Can we never say that this butchering of human beings is horrifying and wrong?

That is from
Wallace Shawn's Fragments from a Diary (written in 2003) and was among the pieces performed on WBAI's Theater Special: THAW ON THE AIR which broadcast Monday night and which is now in the WBAI archives (for a limited time) -- Jonah tells us it's filed under "Home Fries," Monday, January 8th, 9:00 pm. Those interested in the broadcast but unable to listen can check out Rebecca's report on it.

Turning to news of war resistance,
Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes of Ivan Brobeck. Yes, Ivan Brobeck -- the war resister independent media forgot. Or those who keep up. The Full Brobeck is a term the community uses to note what passes for coverage of war resisters in independent media -- so named when only KPFA's Flashpoints covered Brobeck when he returned to the US from Canada to turn himself on election day (November 6, 2006 -- day before the election -- is when the interview conducted by Nora Barrows-Friedman aired). Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes: "Lance Corporal Ivan Brobeck, Sergeant Ricky Clousing, Sergeant Kevin Benderman, Sergeant Camilo Mejia: each a veteran of the Iraq war, and each charged with desertion. Mr. Benderman, Mr. Mejia and Mr. Clousing were convicted, sentenced and have completed prison time. Mr. Brobeck is currently serving an 8-month sentence. Yet with government studies indicating that thousands of soldiers have deserted during the Iraq war, why are only a few charged, while so many others are basically ignored? This is not a new phenomenon. As communication has improved over the two centuries of America's life, the ability for war resisters to reach a wider audience has greatly increased. The four brave men listed above demonstrated their courage first on the battlefield. They then not only further showed their bravery by leaving the U.S. military -- a tremendously brave act in and of itself -- they went the additional step of speaking out publicly against the war. This, it seems, is what brought down the wrath of the U.S. government upon them."

In Peggy Got A Message For Me, From Jesus news: Wonderful article but can someone get it to The Nation -- with sections highlighted? ("Peggy Get . . ." line from Tori Amos' "Cooling" off To Venus And Back.)
Elaine will be addressing that topic this evening at Like Maria Said Paz. That topic? The Nation's refusal to cover war resisters.

William Hughes (San Francisco Indymedia) reports that, in a recent speech, Daniel Ellsberg opposed the escalation option (that Bully Boy will be pimping in the Big Speech), opposed expanding the war and "lauded Lt. Ehren Watada for his principled stand against the Iraqi war." Ehren Watada is the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, a pre-trial hearing began which preceeds the planned February 5th court-martial. John Catalinotto (Workers World) reports that Camp Resistance is across from Fort Lewis (where Watada is stationed) and "plans to stay until the end of Lt. Watada's court-martial" while there will be "nationally coordinated demonstrations for Feb. 5, the day his court-martial is scheduled to open."

Information about Camp Resistance can be found in The Nation. Did you laugh at that idea? Me too. Seriously, information about Camp Resistance can be found at
Iraq Veterans Against the War which has a page for it and other actions entitled Iraq Veterans Against The War Deployed with photos and blog posts.

Watada and Brobeck are a part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next week (MLK day). [Yes, that is a federal holiday and, yes, Congress won't be in session.]

And remember that
Lisa Brobeck is requesting people write her husband, war resister Ivan Brobeck, "so he is constantly reminded that he is not alone during this time in the brig and that he is supported in his brave and courages stand." The address:

LCPL Ivan S. Brobeck
MCB Quantico Brig
3247 Elrod Avenue
Quantico, Virginia 22134

In Iraq today -- all was calm and peaceful -- or to judge by the US media it was. In
reality . . .


Reuters notes a car bombing in Mahmudiya that took one life and wounded three other people; a bombing in Tal Afar that killed the bomber, 4 other people and left 11 wounded; near Tal Afar, a bombing "killed a child and wounded three policemen and one civilian"; and a bombing in Kirkuk wounded three people. Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports four "wounded in two roadside bomb attacks" in Baghdad, "one of which also ruptured a water pipeline supplying the impoverished Shiite slum district of Sadr City." Mohhamed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the bomb that ruptured the water pipeline was on Al Kanat Street and that "the pipe was destroyed which led to the cut of the water supply to sadr city."


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports: "Nine Iraqi Shiites coming home from Mecca after the annual hajj pilgrimage have been shot dead in cold blood by gunmen" amd also notes that "a woman and a male nurse" were shot dead in Mosul.


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) notes that 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that 8 corpses were discovered in Mosul, 4 in Mahaweel, 4 corpses were discovered in Qaim, and 1 in Iskandariya. (That's a total of 77 corpses discovered today.)

Today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained from a gunshot wound while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." And they announced: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

Ross Bynum (AP) reports that the Army's 3rd Infantry Division is preparing for their third deployment to Iraq in four years: "The 3rd Infantry, which has about 19,000 troops, is the first Army division to be tapped for a third deployment to the war. Barely a year has passed since its soldiers returned from their last yearlong rotation."

And the slaughter of Haifa Street continues (see
yesterday's snapshot). Leila Fadel and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) note that "residents from the predominantly Sunni Muslim area and Sunni leaders said the American forces had been duped by Iraq's Shiite-dominated security forces into participating in a plan to drive Sunnis from the area." CBS and AP note that "Haifa Street is a broad, two-lane thoroughfare that stretches northwest from the Green Zone through the heart of Baghdad along the Tigris river. Apartment buildings of up to ten sotries high line the street, with retail space on the ground level." AFP notes that, today, "troops were out in force on the streets and most residents stayed indoors" and, most importantly, that the assault took place approximately one mile from the Green Zone. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes Haifa Street "is virtually adjacent to the heavily fortified Green Zone".

Turning to the US,
BuzzFlash interviews Antonia Juhasz (author of THE BU$H AGENDA which they are offering as a premium) on the topic of the illegal war:

BuzzFlash: You're saying that the war in Iraq was as much economic invasion as it was a militarily one.
Antonia Juhasz: Yes, the two most important chapters of my book cover the economic invasion of Iraq and the Middle East trade area and point to what I think are the heart of the problems. The Bush Administration is pushing aggressively forward on rewriting Iraq's oil infrastructure to allow greater control and access to U.S. corporations for its oil under the ground, for exploration and production. I believe that's what's keeping the Bush Administration in Iraq and pointed towards having the United States military remain in Iraq.
Iraq isn't the end. One month after the invasion, the Bush Administration announced plans to expand the Middle East as a free trade area. That free trade pact is moving along quickly, with individual countries making deals with the U.S. out of fear of economic or military retribution. Included in those agreements are increased access to those countries' oil.
The Democratic Congress is going to have to be forced to address these free trade agendas, both in Iraq and across the Middle East, and to reject them. The occupation of Iraq has to end, but not just the military occupation, also the corporate occupation. The United States cannot use the stick of the war to press its own economic agenda across the Middle East. The results will be just as devastating to the rest of the Middle East as they have been in Iraq, and, of course, reverberate back to the United States.

A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College in Tacoma, Washington and Antonia Juhasz will be among those participating. Others include Ann Wright, Denis Halliday, Daniel Ellsberg, Nadia McCaffrey, Darrell Anderson.

Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) take a look at the attacks on media (government attacks) in Iraq noting that the "press freedom index of the watchdog Reporters Without Borders" is lower now than it was before the start of the illegal war, the banning of journalists, the expelling of outlets (such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya) and being targeted "for reproting the growing resistance to the occupation."

ehren watada

the kpfa evening news