Saturday, September 30, 2006

Darrell Anderson, Iraq, Jim McGreevey

Saturday and Rebecca, Elaine and I are all blogging today. Despite the plan to knock out quick posts last night. That's because last night's group was just too good. It ended around eleven-thirty but people hung around talking and it was probably after one before it was really over. There's just so much to talk about. I don't believe the nonsense that people don't care about Iraq and what happens because I see too many people who do and there was so much to discuss last night.

See the painting of Darrell Anderson? He comes back today. From Canada. Be sure to talk about that today. We were talking about it last night and how important it is for everyone to know about this, to talk about this and to get the word out on it. His actions matter. Make sure you do your part to get the word out on war resisters.

You can read more about him in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You" and at Courage to Resist. Maybe on Monday this will get some attention? I didn't see much on Anderson this week (and what I did see, I'd usually see in C.I.'s snapshots). It's up to us to create excitement and get the word out. Don't let him down.

Briefly, when I defended Jim McGreevey awhile back, I got some e-mails on that. Some were people going, "What are you gay?" No, but I can relate to his story and I think most guys can if they think about it. It's got a sexuality element, absolutely. But it's also got the fact that guys are conditioned to play certain roles by society. And guys should be able to relate to that aspect. It's easier for those of us my age compared to his age but it still exists.

McGreevey was raised in a time when gay was considered a mental illness and worse. So he covered up/denied his sexuality. That explains why it was hard for him and others his age (though not all) to admit they were gay to themselves. But there's another issue too and that's the issue of 'manhood' and what we're told we have to do and what we have to be. I think all guys should be able to relate to that. (I also think it's not hard to relate to the other aspect as well, the sexuality, unless you're someone who doesn't think about sex or someone who gets the heebies jeebies about sex.)

But Leigh Ann had a point in an e-mail she wrote and I passed it on to Nina to get her thoughts just for private. She agrees with Leigh Ann and said I could note it here. Leigh Ann thinks that I relate to McGreevey because he was married (twice) and engaged in relationships on the side. She's drawing a comparison between his actions and the fact that I'm not with Elaine and arguing that I wanted to be with Elaine while I was dating Nina.

That was Nina's concern while we were dating and that is what Nina believes. So Leigh Ann and Nina may be right but I don't think so. I didn't even think about Elaine in that way while I was with Nina because I had no reason to. But if it turns out that they're both right and I'm wrong, cool, that's one more way that McGreevey's story is relatable.

Jim McGreevey isn't an alien. There was a friend of C.I.'s who's a journalist and told me that my thing was kind of reflected in the people that show up for book signings and that the journalist was surprised by that. People shouldn't be surprised by it. This idea that he's "just gay" is an easy cop out. Who he sleeps with matters to him and needs to be noted because no one should have to hide their sexuality. It's part of who he is and part of his story. But there are other parts of his story too and they go beyond gay.

I keep saying that guys should be able to relate (and they should be) but it should be the same for a lot of women, they're not living in a world without societal pressure or in a world that doesn't try to dictate the roles they play.

I don't want to suggest that his being gay doesn't matter because I've said stuff like that before myself. And I really think, looking back, that those kind of statements aren't helpful. "It doesn't matter that he's gay." Yes, it does. It matters the same way anyone's relationships matter. It's who he is and I think about those kind of statements and about my high school teammate who came out after we all graduated and wonder if those kind of statements (I'm sure I made them around him when I didn't know he was gay) made it worse?

"It doesn't matter that he's gay." Yes, it does and saying otherwise could sound like you're saying, "Talk about something else." McGreevey's gay and that's part of his story and hopefully people will relate or be interested in that part because it's different from their own life. But it's one part of the story and another part is the fact that he played a role he was expected to play and that's something that a lot of people should be able to relate to.

I only know about him through the Oprah episode and the news when he came out. I did get his book but haven't had time to read it yet. (I've got stuff to read for classes and other things right now so I'm hoping to read it when we get the Thanksgiving break.) So I can't vouch for his life story in terms of everything he ever did. But he seems to me like a pretty cool guy and I think he's done something brave which is another way people should be able to relate him.

Nina really doesn't want to be talked about here and doesn't want our breakup talked about. But she did agree with Leigh Ann's e-mail (and I figured she would) so thanks to her for letting me talk about it here.

Four things real quick. Betty's "Islam and the Dope (Thomas Friedman)" is her latest chapter, C.I. filled in at Kat's site last night with "Iraq and students (C.I.)," Wally's "THIS JUST IN! INTERN SCANDAL!" & Cedric's "Foley Speaks about the Intern scandal (humor)" joint-post is a must read.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot :"

Friday, September 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the British military officers say out-of-Iraq, Medea Benjamin asks are you willing to "Give Peace a Vote"?,
is the US military writing off Al-Anbar Province, and tomorrow war resister Darrell Anderson is set to return to the United States.
CBC reports that, after eighteen months in Canada, war resister Darrell Anderson is readying for his journey home with his wife, Gail Greer, stating, "He needs to be home. This is not his home." [Note: CBC continues to list his wife as "Gail Green." US news outlets, other Canadian outlets and her film credits list her as "Gail Greer." If Gail Greer is not the correct name, we'll note that in a future snapshot.] Darrell Anderson was wounded by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the US military and, as Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and others during this illegal war, head to Canada. Once there, he applied for legal status but, as with other war resisters, the government did not grant asylum. (This in marked contrast to Canada's actions during the Vietnam era.) Anita Anderson, his mother, tells CBC "there is no front line" in Iraq and that soldiers "are not supposed to be fighting this fight of war." If not arrested Saturday when he returns, Darrell Anderson intends to drive to Fort Knox where he will turn himself in. Information on Darrell Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Meanwhile, in England,
Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports: "Senior military officers have been pressing the government to withdraw British troops from Iraq and concentrate on what they now regard as a more worthwhile and winnable battleground in Afghanistan. They believe there is a limit to wath British soldiers can achieve in southern Iraq and that it is time the Iraqis took responsiblity for their own security, defence sources say." The report comes as Bonnie Malkin (Guardian of London) notes that "former foreign secretary Jack Straw has described the situation in Iraq as 'dire,' blaming mistakes made by the US for the escalating crisis." Straw has words of praise for former US Secreatry of State Colin Powell which is only a surprise to those who never noticed their mutual admiration society until today. The report that military officials want British troops out of Iraq (and into Afghanistan) has already led to a denial from Defence Secretary Des Browne who, AFP reports, denied the report on BBC radio.
While the truth battles spin, Mark Malloch Brown, deputy secretary general of the United Nations makes a call of his own.
Paul Vallely (Independent of London) reports
Malloch Brown has stated that it was Tony Blair's Iraq policy that "fatally undermined his position as Prime Minister and forced him to step down" and Vallely also quotes an unnamed "UN source" who declares of Blair, "But Iraq has finished him. Mr. Blair seems not to appreciate just how disliked and distrusted he is in other nations."
In the United States,
Reuters reports: "The U.S. Congress on Friday moved to block the Bush adminstration from building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq or controlling the country's oil sector, as it approved $70 billion for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) noted Wednesday when reporting on recent polling of Iraqis, ". . . the Program on Itnerantional Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found . . . 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends to keep permanent military bases in the country." Noting the polling, Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "The writing is on the wall -- and on page after page of report after report. All leading to the same inescapable conclusion. Iraq has made us less safe; it's time to bring our troops home." What will it take for that? Not buying into the fear mania, which is a topic Huffington addressed with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA, The Morning Show[and is also the topic of On Becoming Fearless, Huffington's new book]. [Remember that KPFA broadcasts are archived and you can listen to them, free of charge, 24/7.]
The US Congress' decision comes as
Robert Burns (AP) reports Army Col. Sean B. Macfarland ("commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division" in Iraq) stated that the resistance in Al-Anbar Province will not be defeated by American forces and will "probably" continue "until after U.S. troops leave the country". Most recent actions in Al-Anbar have revolved around Ramadi which is being carved up into a series of Green Zones (to little effect). [Currently at Alive in Baghdad, there is a video report on a man who was "Falsely Arrested and Abused In Ramadi.]
In the most noted violence in Iraq today, Kadhim Abdel has been shot dead.
CNN reports that "the brother-in-law of Judge Mohammad Orabi Majeed Al-Khalefa, was driving in Ghazaliya on Friday with his son aged 10 and another 10-year-old boy when their car was attacked. Both boys were wounded." The Australian combines AP and Reuters to note: "It was not immediately clear whether they were targeted because they were related to judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who took over the Saddam trial last week, or if it was another of the sectarian attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad." (That statement is actually all AP.)
AP reports that a police officer died ("and two civilians injured") from a bombing in downtown Baghdad; while two Iraqi soldiers lost their lives in Anah from a roadside bomb (with two more wounded).
AFP reports that two police officers were shot dead in Dura. CNN reports that four people were shot dead in Balad.
AP reports that eight corpses were discovered in Iraq, three were discovered in Baquba and that two corpses "were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah". AFP reports that two corpses were discovered in Kut. (The Times of London ups the Baghdad corpse count to ten.)
In peace news,
BuzzFlash declares the Dixie Chicks this weeks Wings of Justice winners for using their voices to speak truth to power. In 2003, the Chicks were savaged by some (and Diane Sawyer attempted a public shaming). They didn't back down and, to quote a song off their new, best selling CD, they're "not ready to make nice." [Click here for Kat's review of the CD.] The Dixie Chicks stood strong and a lot of people stood with them. There's a lesson in that.
CODEPINK is celebrating it's fourth anniversary on Sunday and Andrea Lewis spoke with Medea Benjamin about that today on KPFA's The Morning Show today. Addressing the organization's latest action -- Give Peace a Vote! -- Benjamin noted that: "We have November elections coming up and then we have presidential elections coming up and unfortunately If we don't translate the silent majority voice that's against this war into a voter bloc, we're going to be faced with another opportunity to vote for two major parties giving us war candidates. So Give Peace a Vote!is a way to say, 'I will not vote for anybody that does not call for an end to this war and no more wars of aggression.'"
Speaking with Kris Welch today on
KPFA's Living Room, Daniel Ellsberg noted the upcoming World Can't Wait protest (October 5th -- day of mass resistance), his being named as the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the importance of speaking out.
As noted by
James Glanz (New York Times) and Gritte Witte (Washington Post) this morning, American contractor Parsons has a 1/14 success rate for their construction projects in Iraq --- actually less than 1 in 14 because, as Witte notes, ""The one project reviewed by auditors that was being constructed correctly, a prison, was taken away from Parsons before its completion because of escalating costs." With that in mind, pay attention to Janis Karpinski (writing for The Huffington Post): "Our silence will beget more of the same and worse. We must find courage. We must stand up. One of the ways to do this is by screening and sharing a new documentary I appeared in called Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers -- which calls for a stop to the shameful war profiteering this administration has allowed to occur. We must speak up. We must because we are Americans and we know better than this. We can move beyond the shame only when we stop this from getting worse and participate in making it better."
Finally, next week, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, hits the road again to raise awareness on his son -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, Ehren Watada awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .). Here are Bob Watada's speaking engagements for Monday through Friday of next week:
Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur 3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:
Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) 1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:
Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus Contact:
Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research 6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063
Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally (March starts at noon at pershing S1) Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm. Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:
Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:
Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331 Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email
On a non-Iraq note, Lynda pointed out that a link was wrong this morning (and yesterday) so I'll note it here (it's corrected on the main site, but not on the mirror site)from
Ms.: "Before the new Ms. comes out on October 10, we're doing a last push to get signatures on our "We Had Abortions" petition. With our right to choose in danger, we at Ms. think it's important for us to take a stand now for abortion rights. We'd love to have your help!"

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Thursday and I'm starting slow tonight. I went with my best bud (Tony) to get something to eat tonight because he wanted to talk. We had Chinese. The sweet & sour shrimp is what I had and it was good but I got back here and all I want to do is sleep. I must have eaten too much or something. I called Rebecca and she said, "Go to sleep." But I'm planning on a quick blog tomorrow and don't want to do two in a row.

I'll start out talking The Third Estate Sunday Review and see how I feel after.

Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You -- this wasn't planned to be the top piece, the note was. But they all liked how this worked out by accident and I do too. Darrell Anderson, war resister, returns to the United States Saturday. You need to show him your support. I'll be noting this editorial here tomorrow.

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim offers his take on things (with others shouting stuff out).

TV: Heroic Would Be Pasdar in a Loin Cloth -- Ava and C.I. reviewing NBC's Heroes. I saw that show this week. They didn't realize it hadn't aired. Both apologized for "spoilers." I don't think they spoiled anything but they do feel bad that they reviewed something that hadn't aired. They're tossing ideas around for this Sunday and I think they've got their title. If you're one of their hundreds, thousands of fans, you know they don't play water cooler critics. They're going to take on this season's most sacred cow so look for that Sunday. In the meantime, this is really funny review and, since I saw this show Tuesday, I'll go ahead and recommend it too. This could be a pretty good show. If I have time, I'm going to try to catch it next week.

Talk -- This has cool art. I like it. We were all at a big table doing the artwork and stuff for this edition and this got sat down on the floor, which was where Betty's kids were spread out doing their coloring and stuff. Her youngest son was using a marker. He thought this was a drawing he could color. And he thought that because we did set things down on the floor for them to color if we weren't using them. But this got put down there by mistake. And he grabbed his blue marker and added color. Betty looked like she was going to cry when she saw what was happening but no one was upset. C.I. told Betty's son it did need color (it was just black and white before) and added some oil paints or water colors, I'm not sure which. But it turned out better with color and no one was made at Betty or her son. The point of the story is that you need to talk about the war and be your own media. My favorite part, C.I. came up with it, was a joke that C.I. shot off just being silly but Jim's dad insisted it was too funny not to be left in. With a lot of pressure from Jim's dad, it stayed in. I won't spoil it by telling it here but read the article.

Dick & Bully Boy hiding behind others as usual -- I love the Cheney art work! :D Bully Boy went AWOL and never got punished. Guess it's who you know.

Bully Boy cloud -- This artwork. I liked it in color better. There were all these reds and oranges and stuff. But it's cool in black & white too. The point is Bully Boy projects and the mushroom cloud is him.

The Tears -- The Sammy Powers are on the march, fooling a nation. Did you notice that with all the build up to this "big" protest they couldn't even get 40,000 to show? Still got the front page of the New York Times, though, didn't they? That's what happens when you "rebel" with the Bully Boy. Right-wing movement trying to ensare the left and still not getting traction, after all that teary talk and all that press exposure. Amy Goodman even had them on twice, didn't she. She hasn't had on Jonathan Steele of The Guardian of London to talk about it, has she? Probably because his column pointed out how dangerous our Modern Day Carrie Nations are. (Thanks to Ruth for the shout out when she subbed for Kat yesterday.) I've got a new nickname for them but I'm saving that for the next feature at Third.

MyTV's Fascist House -- Kat came up with the idea of a collage awhile back. That's how this started and Jim's surprised that people enjoy it. I'm not. I think it's funny and visual.

Shades Include Green (Party) -- Green Party are people too. :D Seriously, I'm not a Green but I do think they are a good party and that they have strong ideas. This piece is about how they've been largely ignored this year. There's this flawed logic and I heard it on the radio today. But let's say the Dems need to pick up three seats in November. If they pick up two and a Green one wins, they still get control of Congress. The point is to take those seats away from Republicans. So it's a real shame that the Green Party has been so overlooked this year. Howie Hawkins is in the NY Senate race against Hillary. He's the Green candidate. If you don't want to vote for a War Hawk, you can vote for Hawkins.

GreenStone Media -- this is about a new media project.

About the Times Select . . . -- NYT the big silly, the big bore.

Nye-Nye Takes a Fall -- the Joe Lieberman of the commentary set takes a fall. :D

Let me depress the hell out of you by noting Ron Jacobs' "The Generals, the Democrats and Iraq:"

Recently on CNN, Michael Ware reported from Iraq that US commanders have been privately telling him that they need "at least three times as many troops as they currently have there now, be that Iraqi and American or, even better, just three times as many as American troops." Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, three retired generals told a Democratic Policy Committee that the military itself needs more members. Indeed, General Eaton was quoted in Army Times as saying in a prepared statement that "The war on terror demands we mobilize the country and significantly increase the size of our ground forces."
Of course, the general didn't say how he expected the army to do that, although he mentioned that he thought at least 60, 000 troops would be needed, at least for a start. If I were one of those in the US who are looking to the Democrats to get them out of the bloody mess created since 2001, I would be pretty nervous that these men (and not policy makers opposed to the war) are speaking to the Democrats' policy committee.
History tells us that generals that want to expand the military are not interested in ending any war. Does the name William Westmoreland mean anything to these folks? It was his philosophy that the war in Vietnam could be won if there were just enough troops there. He thought this when there were 50,000. he thought it when there were 200,000. He even thought it when there were 500,000. And he was wrong.
The generals and the politicians that support them operate from a fundamentally incorrect premise. They do not think that their mission is itself impossible and wrong, only that Washington doesn't have enough men on the ground. Although it is remotely possible that a force twice the size of the original invasion force might have achieved the US goal of an Iraq completely controlled by Washington in 2003, the events on the ground since then render any assessment that still believes such a goal to be possible foolish and wrong.

Are you depressed? You should be. The war's not ending. Not just because the Sammy Powers Movement tries to give the Bully Boy cover, but also because most Dems don't have the guts to speak out. (Ted Kennedy has, Russ Feingold has.) Did you notice how disgusting Nancy Pelosi was last week? Attacking Chavez for critiquing Bully Boy? That was a really low moment. When asked her opinion, all she had to say was, "In America, everyone has free speech." Or something similar. Instead, she wanted to play more-patriotic-than-thou and ended up looking like a tool. Someday I may become a Green. If I do, it won't be because I jump parties, it'll be because I was pushed by the cowards and backstabbers that too often seem to make up our "leadership."

Okay, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which is more ogranized than anything I could do tonight:

Thursday, September 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the media gloms on a recording as thought it's December 1, 1982 and the recording is Thriller; war resister Darrell Anderson gears up for his return to the United States stating, "It will be the freest time in my life, because I'm standing up for what I believe in"; polling of Iraqis continues to demonstrate opposition to the US presence in Iraq; disputes continue over yesterday's US airstrike and what appears to be an airstrike today raises additional questions.
Starting with peace news, Darrell Anderson has been in Canada since January 2005. Anderson was awarded a Purple Heart on his first deployment to Iraq where he was injured by a roadside bomb. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson chose to self-check out of the US military and go to Canada. Anderson is due to return to the US on Saturday.
Diana Swain interviewed Anderson for Canada's CBC today.
Anderson states: "I just broke down one day and couldn't stop crying, and I couldn't go to work and just realized I was done here and I had to go and make a stance in the US because there's way more support and the movement's way bigger down there than it is here."
A text version (not a transcript) notes that: "While Canada provided him an escape from serving in a war he'd come to resent, he says the time has been arduous. His refugee bids have failed so he can't work here legally and he can't get health care."
Anderson has spoken about PST and other difficulties resulting from the roadside bomb. The
text story also notes: "Anderson is scheduled to appear before military officials for a court martial on Tuesday." If that's true, that's the first anyone's reported of it. Anderson's plan is to drive into the US Saturday and, if not arrested at the border, to turn himself in at Fort Knox on Tuesday. Before being court-martialed, Anderson would first have to face an Article 32 hearing -- think back to Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing in August and also the comments by Watada's attorney Eric Seitz when the military attempted to sneak a charge in post-Article 32 (to William Cole, The Honolu Advertiser): "If they go ahead and add this charge without reconvening an Article 32 and we get to trial, we're going to move to dismiss it because it wasn't presented at the Article 32, and my belief is a military judge is probably going to dismiss it."
On the subject of Watada,
David Howard (Online Journal) writes: "1st. Lt. Ehren Watada is facing an eight-year term in military prison for just doing his duty: serving our country and protecting the Constitution. The charges are conduct unbecoming an officer, missing movement, and contempt toward President Bush. But they boil down to the 'crimes' of thinking, speaking and following his conscience. . . . This impending trial will be a test of our president's authority to wage preemptive war. Lt. Watada argues, on our behalf, that President Bush has abused his authority; President Bush argues that Watada is contemptuous for saying so." More information on war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Meanwhile, a
US ordered airstrike on Wednesday in Baquba continues to be disputed by eye witnesses and the US military. The US military initially trumpted the airstrike as an attack on 'insurgents' and issued the usual press releases. Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported today that: "Relatives said the eight people killed were from the same family and had no ties to terrorism. Associated Press Television News quoted the homeowner's daughter, Manal Jassim, as saying: "They were all innocent people. We were sleeping when they entered our house at dawn. I found my father, mother, aunt and sister-in-law lying dead. We were an 11-membe family. Eight were killed." Doug Smith (LA Times) reports that an investigation is planned and Enaam Jassim Mohammed (who lost "her parents, brother and pregnant sister-in-law" in the attacks) stated, "The Americans were yelling at the rest of the family. Then the Americans opened fire at my father, my mother and the rest. . . . I was trying to wake up my brother's wife, who was pregnant, hitting her on her face to wake up. But I discovered that she was killed after seeing the blood over the floor and her body." Smith also notes: "Another witness, interviewed on Iraqi television, said the troops shot first and continued to fire inside the house."
The strike comes at a time when polls continue to demonstrate that Iraqis favor a US withdrawal.
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) earlier noted the polling and today Barry Schweid (AP) notes a poll by the International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland which found "four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents"; "three-fourths say they think the United States plans to keep military bases in Iraq permanently"; and "About 61 percent approved of the attacks -- up from 47 percent in January" -- attacks on US forces. Meanwhile, Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports that the US military "wants to hire a private firm to conduct polling and focus groups in Iraq". Apparently, when unhappy with polling results (including those of the State Department -- use Paley link), the answer is to hire a polling outfit yourself.
Events such as Wednesday's airstrike can be seen as driving the "negatives" and today's reported airstrike won't aid anyone either.
Reuters reports the US military is claiming no knowledge of what appears to be an airstrike in Ramadi on a car carrying five people all of whom were killed. Reuters notes that the dead includes "two men, two children and a woman" and reminds: "The death of women and children in military operations is a common cause of resentment among Iraqis against U.S. forces."
The violence continues today in Iraq.
AFP notes of the US military claims of success with the "house to house sweeps" of the so-called 'crackdown' that's been ongoing in Baghdad since mid-June: "However, there are indications armed groups are returning to these neighborhoods and perpetrating new violence once US troops have moved on, sometimes acting with the complicity of elements in the Iraqi security forces."
atrick Quinn (AP) reports a car bomb in Baghdad took five lives and left at least 34 wounded when "it exploded near a restaurant in central Baghdad". Also in Baghdad, Reuters reports four police officers wounded by "[a] car bomb targeting a police patrol"; while a roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol killed one person; two people died and 25 were wounded when a car bomber attacked "an Iraqi army headquarters"; two other bombs (one car, one roadside) left five people wounded; and mortar rounds wounded three. Quinn (AP) notes that mortar wounds also claimed the life of a child in Baghdad. The capital -- three months after the 'crackdown' began. Outside of Baghdad, Reuters notes a car bomber in Kirkuk killed a police officer; while two police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in Mosul; one police officer was wounded by a roadside bomb "near Kirkuk"; and a person was wounded in Numaniya following the explosion of "[a] bomb planted inside the house of a" police officer.
Patrick Quinn (AP) reports: "Gunmen killed seven people, including five policemen and a woman, in different locations in the province of Diyala just north of Baghdad, police said." Reuters notes a man was shot dead in Balad and one in Mosul.
CNN reports that 60 corpses were found "around" Baghdad today and that the latest discoveries are "pushing the number of bodies discovered so far this week to 122. Most of the bodies had their hands tied and gunshot wounds to the head, Iraqi emergency police said." Reuters notes a corpse was discovered in Mosul and one in Balad.
BBC is reporting that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (alleged "leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq") has issued a tape recording via websites that calls "for [the] kidnapping of Westerners." CNN notes that the tape is unconfirmed. CBS and AP note that the taped message asserts "more than 4,000 foreigners" have died in Iraq fighting occupation troops and that the "holy month should be turned into what he calls a 'month of holy war.'" The message is in Arabic. CBS and AP credit "translator Khaled Wassef, whose job entails the constant monitoring of a plethora of Web sites where militants frequently post text, audio and video detailing their global operations" and note that Wassef feels the figure cited (4,000) is more for "symbolism than . . . quantity." Patrick Quinn (AP) reports that the recording "also called for explosive experts and nuclear scientists to join his group's holy war".
In finanical news,
CBS and AP note "a secret U.S. Audit" report by Stuart W. Bowen (Special Inspector General) that says the Iraq oil industry has "lost $16 billion" in the last two years due to "attacks, criminals and bad equipment".
Returning to peace news, the
AP reports that "five adults and two juveniles" were arrested following "a seven-hour sit-in at [US House] Rep. Steve Chabort's hometown office" in Cincinnati, Ohio. The sit-in was to advocate that Chabot sign on to the Declaration of Peace. Republican Chabot chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee and backed the House bill making it illegal for any non-parent adult to take a minor across state lines to secure an abortion. His most famous statements regarding the war in Iraq may be his suggestion that the French needed history lessons for opposing the war. Monday, at US Senator Rick Santorum's Philadelphia office, fourteen people were arrested for civil disobedience. As Haider Rizvi (IPS) has reported these and other actions "continue to take place in dozens of cities across the United States this week as part of a nationwide campaign aiming to force the administration of President George W. Bush and Congress to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq."
Next Thursday, October 5th,
World Can't Wait is calling for a day of mass resistance.
Benjamin Rosen explains "people will walk out of school, take off work, gather in town squares and MARCH in cities across the country, declaring their intention [to] bring the Bush program to a halt."
While people get active, DC freezes. As
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "With just a few days remaining before Congress adjourns for the midterm election, Washington, DC has turned into the fear capital of America. It's an all-out Fear Face-Off, pitting the GOP's fear of reality against the Democrats' fear of perception, with control of Congress riding on the outcome."

Let me do one more thing. This is from Media Matters' "NBC, AP uncritically reported Snow's claim that the NIE is 'a snapshot':"

In reporting on the Bush administration's reaction to the recently declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that the Iraq war has stoked terrorism worldwide, the Associated Press and NBC's Nightly News uncritically reported White House press secretary Tony Snow's dismissal of the NIE's findings, claiming that "it's a snapshot ... of what's going on in the region." In fact, work on the NIE reportedly began in 2004, and, as CBS national security correspondent David Martin reported on September 27, the NIE "is really a forecast" that "analyzes the nature of the threat terrorist groups will pose during the next five years."

They've made their comments and did so pretty clear so let me talk about something else. "It's a snapshot"? Maybe Tony Snow got it confused with C.I.'s work? :D Seriously, Jess told me if the military (not the troops, higher up) whine in one more e-mail to the public account of The Common Ills, he's going to demand C.I. put it in entry. You'd think, with a war they want going to hell, they'd have a little more to do than whine to C.I. But no. Big whiny babies. Or maybe they're just smart? Never underestimate the power of the "Iraq snapshot." It has a big audience outside the community.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

America Blames Bully Boy

So it's Wednesday and we're all working on ideas of how we can move the Sunday edition along quickly. I'm tossing out that those who post on Friday due so briefly. Not to turn around and post at length on Saturday, but just make the end of the week post something a little easier so that we're all rested and ready. Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And Beau e-mailed about yesterday's post to say he loves the Barenaked Ladies and Are We is the best CD they've put out yet so be sure to give that a listen.

This is Media Matter's "Will the media report Gallup poll showing more Americans blame Bush than Clinton for failure to capture bin Laden?" and there's one more paragraph that I'm not excerpting so use the link if you're interested:

A new Gallup poll, conducted September 21-24 and released on September 27, found that a majority of respondents -- 53 percent -- blamed President Bush for "the fact that Osama bin Laden was not captured," while only 36 percent blamed former President Bill Clinton. Since Clinton's contentious September 25 interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, during which Clinton stridently defended his efforts to capture or kill the terrorist leader and criticized the Bush administration for doing "nothing" in the months preceding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media have extensively covered the interview itself, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's misleading claims made in rebuttal, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) response to Rice.

I try just to do to portions to keep that fair use principle but I don't know how to do the above unless I summarize it and I think they've laid it out pretty clear and if anyone's confused, their links in the paragraph above should clear things up. And from the team that set you straight yesterday about who offered protection to the country and who didn't, comes Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY PLAYS GYPSY ROSE LEE!" and Cedric's "Bully Boy's bump and grind (humor)" about Bully Boy and the NIE. I think it's really funny and think it's true too. Bully Boy thinks he can trick us by showing bits and pieces. Show it all, tough guy, show it all.

This has been noted three times by C.I. (including in the snapshot I'll put at the end) but Tom Hayden's Irish-American and I am too so let me note his "One Hundred Iraqi MPs Try to Force a US Withdrawal Plan:"

While the current buzz in Washington is about partitioning Iraq into ethnic enclaves, completely ignored is the fact that most Iraqis, and perhaps a majority of the Iraqi parliament, wants America to set an immediate deadline for military withdrawal. The American people deserve to know the choices, and we don't.
On the one hand, Sen. Joseph Biden and former Ambassador Peter Galbraith are drawing attention to their proposal to carve up Iraq. They claim that sectarian civil war already is a reality, that the US should redeploy forces to pro-US Kurdistan and support de facto autonomy for proposed Shiite regions in the south and Sunnis in the western provinces.
The practical problems with partition are enormous. For one, the Shiite ruling bloc supported, funded and armed by the US are expected to share oil revenues and political power with their enemies, the Sunni Arabs. Second, coerced ethnic cleansing would be necessary [under another name]. There are one million Sunnis in the Shiite city of Basra who would have to move somewhere. Baghdad, once a multi-ethnic city of six million, would have to be uprooted into separate zones. More important, the US military and their Iraqi allies would have to win the war against the present insurgency which violently resists partition.
There is no doubt Iraqis are divided along ethnic lines as a direct outcome of the 2003 American invasion. But that is like using forced confessions in a trial. What do the Iraqis really want?
Reliable surveys show that the percentage of Iraqis favoring a withdrawal timeline has risen from thirty percent in February 2004 to 76 percent in February 2005 to 87 percent earlier this year. [NYT, Mar. 19, 2006] of 70 to 82 percent, Moreover, 47 percent of all Iraqis, including 88 percent of Sunnis and 41 percent of Shiites, approved attacks on American forces in a January 2006 survey. [Knight Ridder, Jan. 30, 06, posted on] Only the pro-Western Kurdish minority want the US troops to stay. Perhaps in response to this overwhelming popular sentiment, large numbers of elected Iraqi parliamentarians have been trying to force the US pullout by legislation.

You should know that because it's not just Americans that want the troops home, it's the Iraqis too. The war needs to end and we need to demand that it ends. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, September 17, 2006. Chaos and violence contine in Iraq with CBS calling it a "blood soaked morning in Iraq", a war resister turns himself in, Basra operations appear aptly dubbed as England lives out a fable, Bully Boy flashes the public but refuses to reveal all, Bill Clinton provides a cringe-worthy flashback in England, and the US military learns that just because they say so doesn't make it true.
Starting with the "blood soaked" day in Iraq where the violence and chaos continue.
Reuters reports that two roadside bombs in Baghdad took the life of one and left three wounded; while three police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in Mussayab; four were killed by a roadside bomb in Baquba; and mortar rounds in Rashad killed two Iraqi soldiers and left three wounded. CBS and AP report that a police officer was killed in Baghdad by "a bomb hidden in his car". AFP reports that the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, William Caldwell IV, has stated that "this week's suicide attacks were at the highest leavel of any given week" apparently too busy checking the Eva Gabor wig catalogue to register the news reported earlier this month that so-called suicide bombers are not limited to people intentionally exploding bombs. (As reported earlier, those that have been classified as such also include unknowing persons who die when the bombs are exploded by remote control.)
Reuters reports that today's attack in Baghdad ("near a Sunni mosque" resulted in ten civilians being shot dead. CBS and AP report that two people were shot dead in Baghdad and an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Karma. CBS and AP also report that, on Tuesday, two Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Baghdad. Also shot dead on Tuesday, Reuters reports, was "Nima al-Yaseen, the sister of Shi'ite MP Ligaa al-Yaseen."
CNN reports that 17 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and that, since Sunday, 77 corpses have been found in the capital. CBS and AP note that nine corpses "were pulled out of the Tigris river" showing the now common signs of torture and, in addition, they report "the bodies of 23 men were found dumped in the streets" of Baghdad today..
In one of the day's most controversial events, the US military continues to maintain one point of view and everyone else another.
As the
US military tells it: "Coalition forces killed four suspected terrorists and wounded two others during a raid the morning of Sept. 27 targeting a terrorist tied to extremist leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq in Iraq's Diyalah and Salah ah Din provinces.
As Coalition forces approached the objective, they received sporadic small arms fire from throughout the neighborhood and sustained small arms fire from the objective building. Coalition forces, through their Iraqi interpreters, announced they were in the area, whereupon the shooting ceased from most locations except the target building. Coalition forces killed two terrorists during this engagement. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire from the target building, they also engaged the building with Coalition aircraft." Apparently the statement was written by an old Sonny & Cher fan who wanted to update an early 70s song to "Mama was a Jihadist Terrorist And Papa Used to Follow All Her Plans."
On a less musical note,
Reuters reported: "A U.S. raid and air strike killed eight people, including seven members of one family, and wounded two others in the town of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military and police said. The U.S. said the four men in the family of seven were suspected militants with links to al Qaeda." And Aileen Alfandary, KPFA's The Morning Show, noted that among those killed in the airstrike was a pregnant woman. Though initially weighting their report heavy on the official US military version, the AP now reports that family members "disputed the U.S. account"; that they "cried and consoled on another as the bodies of the women were taken away"; that Manal Jassim ("who lost her parents and other relatives in the attack") states: "This is an ungly criminal act by the U.S. solderis against Iraqi citizens"; and that the Association of Muslim Scholars call the air strike a "terrorist massacre."
In news of more successful propaganda efforts,
AP reports that the spin-meisters of the American-based Lincoln Group have been awarded a US government contract worth approximately $6.2 million after their bang up job planting 'Happy Talk' in Iraqi outlets (which, despite the continued focus on print was not limited to print and included radio and TV). In addition to continuing to play the mouth of Mary Sunshine of the illegal war (William Caldwell IV apparently having his hands full playing the Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone), the $6.2 million also covers their "monitoring" of US domestic news outlets inclduing the New York Times. (Apparently in order to crown the new Dexter Filkins -- Sabrina Tavernise appears to be in the lead as the new go-to-guy for the US military when suggesting/planting stories.)
In military news,
AP reports on British troops in Basra and notes that their efforts are part of "the security drive . . . dubbed 'Operation Sinbad'.'' Those with longer memories than the AP my find that amusing for a number of reasons. Literally speaking, Sinbad hails from the epic The Book of One Thousand and One Nights -- a variety of epic tales with one told each night by Scheherazade, to her husband, King Shahryar, to stall her planned execution and allow her to live for another day. Is England attempting to suggest that all the troops are doing is forestalling and, in the end, will have to plead for mercy? A question worth asking because, though the AP sidesteps this, England first began "Operation Sinbad" in Basra on April 6th -- April 6, 2003. A smashing success, to be sure, just like Amara.
Meanwhile, on
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari spoke with Carl Conetta about the "General's revolt" and the growing resistance among top military brass to the 'leadership' provided by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The issues of concern for the military were the readyness of equipment and US forces both of which, it was argued, are in need of upgrading. The discussion addressed the further lowering of the bar for recruits in an effort to meet targets. Also in news of generals, today's AP report that two generals suffered from food poisioning after dining in DC last week: Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Gen. John Abizaid -- the latter of which had to be hospitalized for three nights at Walter Reed Medical Center.
In peace news,
AP reports that war resister Agustin Aguayo turned himself at Fort Irwin last night. Aguayo self-checked out of the US military, from a Gernany base, on September 2nd after learning he would redeployed to Iraq (even if getting him there required hancuffing him). Adrienne Ziegler (Desert Dispatch) reports his self-checkout came as he was waiting for word on his appeal to be designated conscientious objector status and that his wife, Helga Aguayo, stated, "The greatest lesson he could teach (our daughters) is to stand up for what you believe in, and if you don't, you hurt the people around you. . . . If my husband can inspire one person to become a conscientious objector, then all this hassle was worth it." Like war resister Mark Wilkerson, there is no word on what, if any, charges Aguayo will face. War resister Ricky Clousing, who also self-checked out, has been informed he has been charged with desertion. (A technical charge that may not be levied against Aguayo who was gone for less than thirty days.) More information on Aguayo can be found at his official website.
his own web site, Mark Wilkerson recommends the film Jarhead and writes, "Speaking from my own experience in Iraq: Every day in Iraq was an inner struggle to keep from going crazy and just blasting away into the crowds that gathered around our trucks. I had to make a conscious effort to stay in focus and not use my MK-19 or SAW machine gun to level a whole city block."
Meanwhile, war resister Darrell Anderson intends to return from Canada to the United States on Saturday. If not arrested at the border, Anderson will then turn himself in at Fort Knox. The Purple Heart awarded Anderson was injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Baghdad and, facing a second deployment to Iraq, elected to self-check out in January 2005 and go to Canada. More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist and that includes information on Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Peace resister Bully Boy has his own problems as his efforts to clamp down on discussions of the effects that the (illegal) war in Iraq had on safety for the United States and the world proved unsuccessful. After releasing pre-selected pages (approximately three pages) of the approximately thirty page April NIE assessment,
AP reports that White House Fluffer Tony Snow Job dismissed cries to release the full report under the pretext that doing so would reveal the identities of intel agents and assests whom, apparently, embedded messages within the report such as, "Hi, I'm Jody. For a good time, call me at . . . " AP notes: "In the bleak National Intelligence Estimate, the government's top analysts concluded Iraq has become a 'cause celebre' for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach. If the trend continues, the analysts found, the risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow." AP also reports the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined US Congress member Jane Harmon's request that the White House release another intel report that is apparently lying in wait to be sprung on the American public after the November elections.
While Bully Boy continues to insist that the US is "safer but not safe" and the "democracy" is taking root in Iraq, both
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) have noted the reality of polls demonstrating that Iraqis overwhelmingly want the US out of Iraq. Look for a third Post, the New York Post, to attempt spin control -- possibly by claiming that the representative pool naturally favored "jihadists."
The results are not surpising (nor new, they reflect ongoing polling since the war started) and
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on how neighborhoods of Bahgdad are turned into guarded barricades and quotes one resident, Ibrahim Abdul Sattar, as declaring, "We have been living together for 30 years. We've never had such tensions like this before. We are fearing for our future."
Obviously the so-called 'safer but not safe' effect hasn't reached Baghdad (despite the three-month-old 'crackdown'). The polls of Iraqis follow CNN's most recent polling of Americans (see "
Poll: Terrorism, Iraq very important to midterm voters") which found that, as with their polling in August, 59% of Americans oppose the Iraq war and, if you rank all those describing the issue as important to them (includes anti-war and pro-war and the categories about to be lumped together are "extremely important," "very important" and "moderately important") 96% of those polled ranked the Iraq war as important. If only the media shared the same view.
Finally, Bill Clinton went to England to prop up Tony Blair and, no doubt rankled many, with his effusive praise of Tony Blair ("
a stunning success") which may have many recalling that it was Clinton, not Reagan or Poppy Bush, that worked to rehabilitate the justly tarnished image of Richard Nixon. Republican presidents couldn't have done that because Tricky Dick was, rightly, radioactive, so they had to steer clear. It takes a village . . . healer? Though far more popular than the Bully Boy (but then who isn't?) in England, Bill Clinton's remarks ("ringing praise" exclaims Australia's Daily Telegraph) attempting to prop up the increasingly unpopular Blair and to promote prime minister wanna-be Gordon Brown ("brilliant ecnomic leadership") may not carry weight with British voters and, especially the citing of Brown, may lead to the already shaky Labour support growing even shakier.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Barenaked Ladies, Iraq and more

Kat's got an illness in the family and has to take care of that. Betty subbed for her tonight and explained it. I'm hoping to do something too. Tonight, I took Elaine out. All on what's in my wallet which meant "cheap date." :D Seriously. That's cool. She pointed out that she has inherited money as well as money from her full time practice. And that's true, no question. And we can go "dutch" or whatever but I wanted to just treat her to what I could afford. I talked to C.I. about it while we were in DC and was told not to mention it to her or she'd say no; just surprise her by showing up at her door after she got off work and she'd feel bad because of the drive and that would end any disputing; and that there was a small family owned place a few blocks from her that she loved and that had reasonable prices. I wanted to get flowers too and C.I. said get one and only one because she knows I'm just a college student and part-time worker so anything more would not make her feel good but feel guilty. C.I. also told me a romantic place we could go after (and it was) and suggested I take a jam box because Elaine loves music even more than me. Which I did. (If you're a visitor, Elaine and C.I. met right before college, went to college together and have been friends for years. Rebecca had some ideas but kept saying, "Wait that's me! I don't know that Elaine would like that." :D)

When I started thinking that, I was full of what would be "our song" and had all these choices. When we were getting ready to leave from DC Monday, I ran them by C.I. and was asked, "Do you even know Elaine?" :D My choices were a little too not Elaine's style. She's really not into a lot of stuff you'd expect, or I'd expect. She's into stuff like Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Michael Franti and stuff. She's got some favorite female singers but she's not listening to, like Jewel or anything. C.I. had already passed out Barenaked Ladies Are Me this weekend and suggested I take that and Franti "and maybe Carly". I haven't had time to listen to Are Me and Elaine hasn't had time so we ended up listening to that. And I think "Easy" is our song. Hold on and I'll pull out the booklet. This was written by Page and Robertson. I really don't know this group. I know the name and all but I've never paid attention to them before. It's a pretty cool CD. You should check it out, you might find a song you can make "our song" too. But it's not a lot of love songs only in case anyone's wondering. If that's what it was, Elaine probably would have rolled her eyes. :D

She's not planning on blogging at her site (Like Maria Said Paz) about this and that's cool. She's not comfortable talking about her personal life online. Ava isn't either so Jess avoids mentioning that they're a couple when we do roundtables and stuff at The Third Estate Sunday Review and all. But I did check with Elaine and make sure she was okay with me talking about it here. She said she was.

So it was a pretty cool evening. She was going I was going to be tired and stuff from work, class and then our evening and I was all, "If you're asking me to stay over . . ." :D Which she wasn't. :D I've got work and class tomorrow. But she was convinced I was going to fall asleep on the way home so we ended up talking the whole way home on our cell phones.

If you missed the news, I heard it on the radio while I was driving to Elaine's this evening, Condi Rice is saying that Bully Boy & Co. did a great job fighting terrorism and that it was the Clinton administration that failed. Which would make since if 9-11 happened weeks after Bully Boy was sworn in instead of like eight months after. Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CONDI PUTS ASIDE HER READING AGAIN!" and Cedric's "Super Freaking Don't Leave Time for Much Else (humor)" does a great job addressing that. So check those out. Eddie wanted me to note something from a site and sent me several items. (Community members will know why Eddie wanted something noted.) I'll go with this thing by Brent Budowsky's "Bombshell: Bush Will Request More Troops For Iraq, While NIE Says Iraq Makes Terrorism Worse:"

Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate should call for open public hearings and if necessary a secret session of the Congress to address urgent issues of concern to our troops, military families, military communities, security moms and all Americans concerned about our security.
In the closing days of the 2006 campaign the failures of the Bush Administration in the Iraq War will come to center stage as the dangers and future of the policy raise grave questions.
Earlier this week it was learned that American force structures have been so destabilized by the commitment to Iraq, and readiness of U.S. forces reduced to such drastic levels that after the election new troop requests for Iraq are inevitable.
Even General Abizaid hinted that after the election there will almost certainly have to be new forces committed to Iraq.

Now the snapshot's got a lot in it so be sure to read C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, War Hawk Tony Blair flutters his wing as he prepares his long descent into oscurity, a war resister learns religion's talked big in the US but the talk's not backed up (which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone as Bully Boy's own church calls for withdrawal and he ignored the call), Bully Boy says "Read my briefs" and only Peggy Noons and Chris Matthews tremble with desire, Ehren Watada's father prepares for a second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son (begins in October)

Starting in Washington, DC. As
Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reported, John D. Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence and Latin America "fun" boy, declared in a speech Monday night: Yes, the war in Iraq is fueling "a new generation of jihadist leaders and operatives" but SFW. Negroponte is under the impression that 'terrorism' can be defeated and that will send a message. To whom? Dead Iraqis caught in the crossfire? If so, his 80s role in Honduras should have been seriously explored (it wasn't). Negroponte seems to believe that Iraq will be the horse's head left in the bed to send a message. Such a belief demonstrates either an eagerness to lie or no political concept of the roots of terrorism.

It's as delusional and disingenuous as Bully Boy's 'Read my briefs.' Skipping past the skid marks, of course.
AP reports that Bully Boy's decided to release the NIE, saying, "You read it for yourself." The April NIE, composed by US intel agencies, found that the Iraq war (as Negroponte noted in last night's speech) was fueling terrorism. (See yesterday's snapshot.) But Americans can't read it for themselves because this assessment will not be available in full. Instead, Bully Boy seems to see the assessment as flatware and himself as Harpo Marx in Animal Crackers -- shake him and bit will drop out with each shake. Bully Boy wants to make his point by . . . selectively releasing portions of the report. Maybe Pat Roberts taught him that trick? (AFP cites an unnamed source who states the report argues against withdrawal from Iraq. No doubt that will be among the bits and pieces served up to the people.)

Bully Boy calls the talk to the press of the report "political" (so far so good) and then goes on to insist it's done to influence the November elections. Which either means he feels the need to wrap a lie around the few bits of truth he can manage or else Dick Cheney didn't explain it to him in full Sunday. As
Dan Froomking (Washington Post) notes: "President Bush's all-important terror-fighting credentials are taking a bruising this week."

In England, Tony Blair also takes a beating as he prepares phase one of his farewell tour meant to polish his image. Even with
Helene Mulhooland (The Guardian) providing the biggest waxing on (she speaks to Labour delegates to get their thoughts -- and low and behold, they all sing Tones' praises) her paper's done for anyone other than Joe Lieberman, the polish isn't taking. As Steve McGookin (Financial Times via Forbes) notes, the rocky relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair is public and can't be papered over. And all the gossip over whether or not Cherie Booth (Tony Blair's wife) accused a TV-screen displayed Gordon Brown of lying can't paper over the news that Ahmad al-Matairi, as reported by the BBC, is stating that in 2003 he was beaten in Basra by British troop with "insult kicks" delivered with such relish it was "like it was Christmas" for British soldiers. The BBC reports that, prior to the beating, al-Matairi had been a big supporter of the invasion, that British troops stole money from his safe, and that he is among nine Iraqis telling of hoodings and beatings. This is the case in which Donald Payne has already pleaded guilty to war crimes -- the other six defendents maintain their innocence.

How badly are things going for the dwindling coalition? The
US military's most recent press release exclaims "Iraq's president says country's forces ready, willing to help secure Baghdad." The exclamation point is, obviously implied. Dated today and gushing over remarks made by Jalal Talabani on Sunday, not a ray of realism will penetrate this wave of Operation Happy Talk. Were it to, a ray of realism might note that the so-called 'crackdown' started in June (14th or 15th depending upon your time zone and your reporting) and that the calander shows the current month to be September. A ray of realism might wonder why, only three months later, the president of Iraq is claiming now-readyness? But no time for thought, the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk got lost in the NIE talk and the Happy Talkers are ready to try it out one more time.

Especially in light of
their buried news, the death of two more US soldiers, in Baghdad, today. Look for Sabrina Tavernise to turn in a forty-paragraph report to the New York Times tomorrow that notes the deaths in the final paragraph with two sentences. Their deaths bring the total American military deaths to 2705.

And in other violence in Iraq.


Reuters notes that two Iraqi police officers are dead and American troops wounded from a car bomb in Jurf al-Sakhar; one police officer dead from a car bomb in Kirkuk; five dead from a roadside bomb in Mahmudiya; in Kirkuk a car bomb took the life of one person; a roadside bomb in Latifiya killed one employee of Iraq's Finance Ministry and left five wounded; and mortar rounds resulted in the death of a child and five people wounded in Mahmudiya. CNN notes the Community Party was the target of a car bombing in Baghdad and four people were killed (at least 18 were wounded). Also in Baghdad, Reuters notes three dead, 21 wounded from "a car bomb and a roadside bomb exploded in quick succession"; and four police officers wounded by "[a] bomb attached to a booby-trapped body". On the first incident noted by Reuters, AFP reports it differently and cites "the prime minister's office" as the source -- according to them, the police station was destroyed by "mortars and a car bomb" and "killed three officers and wounded several more, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a statement, which described the attack as having taken place in the previous 24 hours." AFP also notes "in Diyalah province, a roadside bomb blew up an ambulance rushing to the hospital killing the driver and the medic inside on the way to the provincial capital of Baquba."


Peter Graff (Reuters) reports that three people were killed in an attack in southern Baghdad. CNN notes: "Gunmen also attacked the convoy of a Baghdad district mayor traveling from the capital to Diyala, killing three bodyguards." Reuters reports four people were shot dead in Baquba,


CNN notes that two corpses were discovered in Baghdad -- "raising the number of bodies recovered in the capital since Sunday to 62." Reuters raises the total corpses discovered in Baghdad today to five and notes that fifteen were discovered in Baghdad on Monday while, in Diwaniya and Baiji a corpse was discovered in each (the corpse of an Iraqi soldier and an unidentified corpse) and in Mahmudiya, twelve corpses were discovered..Of the soldier discovered in Diwaniyah, AFP notes that "A week earlier two other members of his unit were also found dead " Finally, AP raises the total corpses found in Baghdad to thirteen.

In peace news, Agustin Aguayo self-checked out of the US military on September 2nd.
KPFA reports that he is planning to turn himself in today. Courage to Resist, sent out an e-mail alert on Aguayo (noted here) at the start of the month. Mima Mohammed (Los Angelse Times) report, based on an interview with his wife Helga Aguayo, remains the definitive press coverage. (For those not registered at LAT, click here.) Those wishing to see video footage of Agustin Aguayo explaining his case can click here for his official site. Aguayo explains in his own words (text here) Aguayo was largely a non-public war resister due to the fact that he attempted (for years) to go through channels. His C.O. status was denied and he wasn't given a chance for appeal. While serving in Iraq, due to his religious beliefs (the grounds for his C.O. application), he refused to load his gun. In 2005, he and his wife switched the battle to the US civil courts. Aguayo self-checked out when his unit, then in Germany, was preparing for redeployment to Iraq. Kevin Dougherty (Stars and Stripes) reports that Aguayo singed up after repeated conversations with a California military recruiter convinced him he convinced that "a health care specialist" could serve the country (US) and the military, that it was only once Aguayo deployed to Iraq that he began to rethink his decision.

For nearly three years now, Aguayo has stood by that decision. Rejecting the idea that he could sign up (under a repeated snow job from a recruiter) and, once in Iraq, realize the mistake of his decision rejects the basic principle of many popular faiths practiced in America which are based upon the idea of awakening. If the military or the civilian courts are going to argue that one's religious status is a fixed state, they're going to be going against the teachings of a great many churches within the US. Aguayo's case can be summed up as someone coming from a religious environment, confronted with a real world reality that is not the one sold to him, deciding to respond to it with the teachings he was raised on. This really is a freedom of religion case and many religious parents in the US would reject the notion, should their children offer it to them, that once they realized that a party (or an event) contained actions that they were raised to object to, they (the children) had to shut up and go along because they'd already agreed to attend the event.

Let's use a broad example so that we can cover as many US religions as possible. If Aguayo went to a party and the party turned out to be an orgy, his parents wouldn't accept the excuse that he had to participate because he'd agreed to attend. It would be acknowledged that attending was a mistake but, once seeing with his own eyes what was going on, they'd expect him to observe the religious teachings he'd been brought up with.

Aguayo went to an environment expecting one thing and was confronted with another. When confronted with the reality, he processed his decision through his religious teachings. That's really what's at the heart of his objection. (And hopefully others will make the case because I prefer not to talk of religion or make cases based upon religion here -- there's no way to do that and discuss Aguayo's case which is why religion is being addressed here now).

Most religions praciticed in the US, depend upon the concept of testing. It's there in the narratives, it's in the teachings. Certainly, those believing in a literal rapture, believe that Christ/Lord/God/Jesus/Jehovah* will test followers and their salvation will be based upon how they respond to that test. The claim that Aguayo signed up so therefore, religious objections should have prevented him from signing up, negates all the teachings on testing.

[*The list isn't disrespectful or sarcastic. Any visitor who feels it is would do better looking beyond his/her own religion before writing an e-mail on how offended they are by the categorization.]

Far from undermining Aguayo's arguments, his experiences actual reinforce what many US religions teach. This is a freedom of religion issue and if the military is going to rule upon who is or who isn't a believer, someone might need to speak of them of what is considered "God's role" and what is considered "human's role." Once the case made it into the civilian courts, a judge should have immediately grasped the central issues of the case and moved to release Aguayo from his military service. The whole point of religious teachings, regardless of the religion, are to prepare the person for handling new situations. When Aguayo found himself in a new situation, the religious beliefs he was raised with became the principles for his actions and are the reason that he sought out additional religious instructions. (And note, the warning signs were going off for Aguayo's during training which is when he first attempted to file for C.O. status.)

We don't talk religion here. Too many members are of differening beliefs (including non-believers). All opinions are respected. There's no way to speak of what's at the heart of Aguayo's case without noting religion and belief so we've addressed it. (And that puts us one up on the military and the courts.)

Aguayo's story isn't that different from another war resister's, Hart Viges. As
John M. Crisp (The Argus) reports, Viges enlisted (on September 12, 2001) eager to serve and then he spent "11 1/2 months" in Iraq. Returning to the US, he began examining his beliefs, saw The Passion of the Christ, and came to conclusion that war was wrong. This processing, presented with a test & reaching a conclusion based upon your religious teachings, is the narrative of many religions in the US and the military may not like that, they may see it as a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the military is part of the US government and the government is supposed to allow for freedom of religion.

Meanwhile, Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is gearing up to go back out on the road in October. Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, he awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .).

Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur
3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood
Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:

Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:

Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus

Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:

Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502

Sun 10/8 6:00-8:00 pm An Evening of Discussion and Learning hosted by Rev. Phyllis Tyler
11326 CherryLee Dr., El Monte (Rev. Tyler is Senior Pastor of Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church in Alhambra) Co-sponsored by NCRR and the National Japanese American United Methodist Church Caucus
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484 email:

Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

All of that can be found online but, WARNING, PDF format. For those who can view PDF, click
here. Again, the speaking tour, Bob Watada's second, begins in October.
More information on Ehren Watada can be found at
Courage to Resist and

In other peace news,
Shepherd Bliss (Augusta Free Press) reviews Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, a new collection edited by Maxine Hong Kingston. Those who read Hong Kingston's The Fifth Book of Peace are familiar with the workshops she has been doing with veterans (it's in the section "EARTH" which begins, in text, on page 241). Bliss, who contributed to the collection, concludes: "Veterans, and other Americans, have a lot to grieve about these days. Doing such grief work can be instrumental to the creation of a lasting peace."