Teach-in on the War in Iraq -- FIU April 5th.
Join the many FIU organizations that oppose the war; come hear professors, students, and veterans speak out against the war in Iraq. There will be workshops to explain how this war affects us in all facets of life including women’s rights, healthcare, military recruitment of students, economics, and others. APRIL 5th ALL DAY from 12 PM -- 8 PM FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAMPUS ROOM GC (GRAHAM CENTER) ROOM: 140..... SEE YOU THERE!!!
Bill asked if we could open with this item. It's Sonja Swanson's "Teach-in on the War in Iraq -- Florida International University April 5th" (Miami Indymedia). We can and will. Students have been making themselves heard all week. In the United States and in France, they've shown that they aren't the apethetic crowd the media portrays them as. Cokie Roberts is probably shocked and we'll use Pinata Roberts to note a non-Iraq war related story.
Because it takes a nation of gas bags to provide you with National (Not Really) Public Radio, Juan Williams did the Cokie duties this week. From Media Matter's "PR's Williams on immigration protesters: 'These kids don't know anything':"
Apparently ignoring the admonishment of NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams roundly dismissed student protestors in Los Angeles, who were among the hundreds of thousands of protesters in cities nationwide demonstrating against legislation set to impose harsher penalties on illegal immigrants, saying on the March 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
WILLIAMS: These kids don't know anything. ...
They don't know anything? Well good Lord, get them in front of an NPR microphone immediately! They've already met the basic requirement for all on air NPR "talent."
Juan knows nothing (and never has). That's why he uses the term "illegal." It's not p.c. to call them "undocumented." It is the correct legal term and Juan might want to sit down with Totes (Nina Totenberg) if he's so unaware of the legal correctly term. NPR might want to insist that Juan sit down with Totenberg and possibly sit in on some sort of awareness gathering since he also mocks the students for being "poor" (among other things). Now we all know NPR is flying high on the McMoney windfall. But the way they're spending it, they're going to be begging for donations more so than ever in a few year's time. Let's hope that not only the Latino community but everyone remembers that Juan made fun of students, explained they know nothing (apparently because they are "poor") and generally made a real ass out of himself.
I've been waiting for the consensus of the community. But this has made too angry to continue to wait in silence.
Juan Williams has so grossly overstepped the bounds of reporting that I'll speak for me on this and say NPR will never get another cent from me, never another call, letter or personal appeal to an elected official. They won't discipline Juan Williams for his vile remarks. Real discipline would mean saying, "You're fired." Play discipline would mean saying "You are no longer going on any program to play expert." They won't do either. What he stated was so grossly offensive that it's truly an "Only on Fox" moment; however, he doesn't make the bulk of his money from Fox. NPR, PBS, that's his bread and butter. (And the way he's packed on the pounds in the last decade he should be on a bread butter diet.)
He makes a (false) comparison to the civil rights era. So let's follow that up. Would he be allowed to go on TV and get away with saying, of African-American children, that they don't know anything, that they're poor, etc.? Not today he wouldn't. But somehow he thinks it's okay for him to do so with regards to Latinos.
He gets away with everything, so does Mara Liar-Liasson. He got away with comparing David Letterman on air to John Wayne Gacy (Gacy -- the serial killer). But hey, Dvorkin looked the other way and never commented when, in the midst of the 2004 presidential election, NPR brought on the husband of one Dick Cheney's employees to critique John Kerry. NPR never told listeners about that connection. They presented him as a disinterested commentator. When called on it, they still ignored it. There is nothing public about NPR. And watch and see, the most Williams will get for his highly offensive remarks is a mild dressing down. He'll still be on Fox gassing up the place with his hot air. He'll probably keep his head low for a few months (the way Mara did after she accused Congressmen of being "a disgrace" -- outstanding liarism, Mara) and that's the most that will happen. Were NPR truly public radio, he'd be shown the door (as he should be).
Now would Juan be able to say what he said on Fox "under his own byline" as the NPR guidelines demand? No, he wouldn't. If he did say that in one of their pre-recorded bits, it would be edited out and not make the air. This made the air. This is shameful and it's embarrasing. So NPR's perfectly happy allowing their liarists to go on Fox and practice liarism and they expect that listeners will just have to accept them on NPR because, after all as Cokie proves, inability to do the job properly has never resulted in on air "talent" losing a job.
Enjoy the Krock money while it lasts. My guess is Renee Montange will soon find out that there's far worse 'sacrifices' than having to sleep in a sleazy motel. (With all the sleaze in the NPR recording studios, you'd think she'd be right at home. Ha-ha-ha, back to you Steve. You are listening to NPR made possible by a grant from Wal-Mart . . .)
It's Thursday, it's indymedia roundup. The focus? Iraq. Helen notes (it's in PDF format) Rachel Greg and Sosmo Garvin's "Too many and Counting" (graphics by Don Button and David Jayne, Boulder Weekly). If you're able to view (and want to), it's two pages of facts and graphs. According to their graphs, the largest number of American troop fatalities have been under twenty-two years-old. They also note that the average monthly (monetary) cost of the war (figures from The Institute for Policy Studies) is $5.6 billion. (A half a million more per month than Vietnam cost when the figures are adjusted for inflation.) Per person, the running total (National Priorites Project) is $984 and the total US monetary cost (same source) is $246,236,390,000.
I'll note, cost for lying a nation into war: Impeachment.
In the meantime Iraqis and troops pay the cost. (As do their friends and families. As do the countries involved. We're all effected by this illegal war of choice.) Last Thursday, the American troops fatality count in Iraq stood at 2320. Currently? 2327. Seven more. Is it worth that to you? Should we have Bully Boy on TV doing "charity" commercials? "For the cost of one life a day, the United States can continue to fight my illegal war . . ."
They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)
It drags on and it drags on. We passed the three year mark. We're now into the fourth year. And Bully Boy says it's for "future presidents" (real ones, presumably) to decide when it all ends. Really? Is that how it works in a democracy? We vote and that's it. We vote and we have no say until the next election?
That's not how it works in a democracy. We can demand action. We can hold our elected officials responsible at the polls absolutely. But we don't need to wait for an election to make our voices heard. That's what the protests are about, that's what speaking out is about, that's what contacting your officials is about, that's what saying "no" is about. The power of "no" is not to be underestimated.
Bully Boy lied a nation into war with the help of the mainstream media. And on that, we've got two highlights. Carl notes George E. Curry's "The Media's War of Words" (The Chicago Defender):
As the U.S. begins Year 4 of its occupation of Iraq, the media cannot look at its behavior over the past three years and declare victory. In fact, when it comes to telling the truth, many journalists and commentators have surrendered without putting up a fight.
A compilation of the media's greatest hits or, biggest flops has been assembled by the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and can be found online at [FAIR]. From the outset of the war, the public's watchdogs have been serving as the Bush administration's lapdogs.
Fox News Channel Brit Hume is one of Bush's leading cheerleaders
The majority of the American media who were in a position to comment upon the progress of the war in the early going, and even after that, we got it wrong, Humes said in a speech in Richmond, Va. They didn't get it just a little wrong. They got it completely wrong. [Richmond Times Dispatch 4/25/04]
Fellow conservative Charles Krauthammer, a columnist for the Washington Post, sounds a similar alarm.
The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington. [Inside Washington 4/19/03]
One of the newspapers read by Upper Westside liberals in New York was not to be outdone by its Washington competitor. Times reporter David Carr said: Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right. [4/16/03]
The direct link to that piece is "'The Final Word Is Hooray!' Remembering the Iraq War's Pollyanna pundits" and Rebecca noted it in her "Never Cheerlead An Illegal War" post. We'll note the first verse of the lyrics (to Bachrach and Davis' "Never Fall In Love Again") that Rebecca wrote for that post:
what do you get when you cheerlead an illegal war?
bit of reality to burst your bubble.
that's what you get for all your trouble
mara liasson, never cheerlead a war again.
The professional liarist Mara Liasson. Like a bad case of Herpes, she just doesn't go away, does she?
Mia notes Omar Barghouti's "When is Killing Arab Civilians Considered a Massacre?" (CounterPunch) for some perspective on the cost for Iraqis (among others -- the article focuses on more than Iraq) and the way the media (and the west) avoid dealing with it:
Recent reports from Iraq indicate beyond doubt that the U.S. occupation army has embarked on a new "tactic" from its menu of atrocities, in an attempt to counter the burgeoning Iraqi resistance attacks against its soldiers. "Old-style" massacres of Iraqis have become so commonplace lately that even Iraqi "allies" of the U.S. were forced to unreservedly condemn them.
Among Western governments, alas, silence prevails. After all, the massacre victims are only Arabs. Not only is there an alarming apathy towards the horrifying spread of this phenomenon, but there is also a despicable aversion to calling it by its name. At the same time, many in the West go up in arms condemning the "massacre" of seals, whales, dolphins or a few white men anywhere around the world.
"Modern" massacres, that is the indiscriminate bombing -- which last year included the use of phosphorus -- of Iraqi civilian neighborhoods in "unruly" cities like Falluja and Qa'im, have always been a standard U.S. and British tactic. But those "clean," remotely-executed and hi-tech acts of state terrorism were always easier for the world's only empire and its lackeys to defend and present as "precision" targeting of "the enemy," especially to a pathetically obedient media. The direct, messy murder of civilians, particularly by tying their hands and shooting them in the head, execution style, has not been as common, although it was practiced in several reported incidents in Iraq since the invasion. Now it is being reported more often, but in language that in effect, if not always by intention, leads to sanitizing it, even to normalizing it as a nasty, yet unavoidable, part of "war." If this evasion from using the term massacre is not deliberate, it can only reflect a deep-seated racism among western journalists who cannot use the same ethical or professional standards in reporting the killings of Arab civilians that they normally use when dealing with "white" victims in comparable situations.
Santaization comes in many forms. For instance, how did the press report on the New York Times front page (though not as prominent as other stories on the front page that day) report that Bully Boy wanted war (despite what he told the people), that he and Blair didn't believe that there were WMDs (ditto and British members -- and Europeans -- are quite aware that the same roll out of lies that went on in the United States went on in England via Blair) and that the idea of using a disguised plane to provoke a first action from Saddam Hussein (to which we would then "bravely" respond) was tossed around?
West notes Media Matter's "Media ignored, underreported NY Times disclosure of explosive Bush-Blair memo" (and West noted the prior MM item as well):
In light of these statements, the January 31 memo -- and the Times' verification of it -- is obviously significant. Nonetheless, numerous news outlets have failed to cover the story at all, or in some cases failed to cover it adequately. Fox News has ignored it entirely. A Media Matters for America survey of Fox's full March 27 coverage (6 a.m.-11 p.m. ET) and partial March 28 coverage (6 a.m.-noon ET) failed to turn up a single mention of the memo.
Similarly, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today all declined to run articles on the memo in their March 28 editions. Both the Associated Press and Reuters have failed to report on the story thus far. By contrast, United Press International ran two articles on March 27 -- one on the memo and one on the White House's reaction to the Times piece.
The major networks covered the Times' disclosure of the memo, but their reports varied greatly in the degree to which they conveyed its significance. On the March 27 edition of the CBS Evening News, for instance, anchor Russ Mitchell asked CBS' chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan about the document after her report on recent sectarian violence in Iraq. Logan noted that, according to the document, Blair and Bush believed that there was "unlikely to be warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups in Iraq." But even though the Evening News noted the document in this context, the newscast failed to report the other aspect of the memo: that it contradicted Bush's public claims that he wanted to resolve the Iraq issue diplomatically. Earlier in the day, however, CBS Morning News anchor Susan McGinnis noted the Times' disclosure of the memo and described Bush as "reportedly determined to invade Iraq no matter what the outcome of diplomatic efforts."
On the March 23 edition of ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Elizabeth Vargas simply reported that the memo "paints President Bush as eager to provoke Saddam Hussein into war." While she referred to Bush and Blair's discussion of ways to prompt an attack from Hussein and their reported lack of concern about sectarian violence following the Iraq invasion, Vargas made no mention of the document's broader relevance.
By contrast, that morning on ABC's Good Morning America, host Robin Roberts briefly mentioned the memo in her rundown of the day's news and noted that it portrayed Bush as "bent on invading Iraq no matter what." Similarly, on the March 27 edition of NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced a report on the story as follows: "In the weeks before the invasion of Iraq, as President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said they were pursuing all options for avoiding a war, a leaked British memo strongly suggests something very different was going on behind closed doors." In the subsequent report, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted that Bush and Blair "were officially on a diplomatic track, but a secret memo now reveals they were determined to go to war six weeks before invading Iraq."
Two things. First Micah's comments (which he asked me to summarize -- if I get it wrong, let me know). Direct quote: "The Village Voice is dead." Summary, the Times story this week, not noted by The Village Voice. The Voice falls silent. More puff pieces. James Ridgeway writes of Josh Bolton. Puff pieces of the "Things that make you go hmmm . . ." nature (semi-direct quote). Since the paper was purchased by the syndicate, the life's gone out of it. Summary statement: It's now a lifestyle weekly, not a news weekly. Not surprisng considering what passes for news in some of the other papers the same corp owns.
Micah's feelings are echoed by other members. That's one of the reasons for last Thursday's entry. (The commentary about news and "news" weeklies that just waste everyone's time.) Other than what's gone up here (and possibly a few suggested highlights that didn't make the cut), I haven't read the weekly in years. I do know that members feel that it's gone downhill and I do know that for Micah (who loved that paper) to say it's dead is pretty damning criticism.
Second. I will hear from friends in the mainstream media if I don't note the following. Do not read it as a defense of the mainstream media, do not read it as "We need to just stop holding them accountable!" or any other nonsense. This is their view (and during the Alito hearings, we had two reporters participating in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin who made this point). That's why some don't feel they can go out on limb.
Let's pretend Don van Natta, Jr. is a member of the community. (He's not, he wrote the Times' story so we're using him.) DvNJ would go all out to break the story and that might entail selling his editor and higher ups on the story. (Especially at the Timid.) He sells them on it. The story's printed. And the rest of the press yawns and averts its eyes.
Now that's bad enough in real life if something like that happens to any one of us among our friends. But the press is perceived power. Right away the perception is lowered. Add to that it's not a scoop, an important story, unless the rest of the media agrees. (History can alter that, as has been the case for Robert Parry -- fortunately still alive, luckily for us -- and Gary Webb -- not so fortunate.) It's not just egg on your face. Not for that profession.
What does the press do? Reports. What does it do (on TV, radio and print) , report mainly on what others are reporting. If you broke the story and it doesn't have traction, you didn't do anything. (In the eyes of the press.) And you have risked lowering both your own perceived power and that of the organization you are working for.
That's not a defense. That's not a justification. That's not to say don't criticize. Or that you need to watch your words. That is, however, the way a number of them feel. Judge had a great column in the roundrobin last month and he noted that he'd asked that I note it here (by summarzing it). I said to take it to the round-robin because, friend or not, it's not this site's function to present the Republican point of view (and when I attempted to write it up, that's how it felt). In his column, he explained his perceptions of the Clinton era and why he and some others were genuinely outraged. If I'd done that, I know it would have read as a defense (and I did try twice to write an entry on that before giving up.) We don't make a point to note Republican points of view. We're a site for the left. (With Judge as one of our token Republican members -- he'll laugh when he reads that and not take offense, we've been friends long enough to kid.) However, we do note the mainstream media and we do have members who are a part of it. For that reason, and the nature of the item itself, I thought we should note their take. I am not endorsing their take, I'm not dismissing their take. I'm saying it's their take. They'll need to live with it and we'll need to do what we do.
The peace march that was largely ignored? Francisco's request for coverage resulted in members trying very hard to locate coverage. We have two items on it tonight. First up, Belinda notes Gustavo Arellano's "Peace And Video Games: A visit to an Army recruiting station" (Orange County Weekly):
The blips and flashes of a PlayStation greeted Fernando Suárez del Solar as he entered the Santa Ana Army Career Center on March 15. He cradled a picture of his son Jésus, a Marine lance corporal who died in Iraq in 2003 after stepping on an undetonated cluster bomb dropped by American forces.
About 30 other people squeezed into the tiny recruiting center after Suárez. The office was sparsely decorated. Posters lined the walls. Venetian blinds hung limply. There was a table and a cabinet. An American flag. A rack of pamphlets in English and Spanish stood next to the entrance. And to the side of the rack was a couch and a television topped with toy tanks. A tall, goateed teen sat on a couch, eyes fixed on the television as he thumbed his way through a video combat game.
Suárez and his supporters visited the Career Center two days into their Latino Moratorium March, a trek for peace that started in Tijuana and ends March 27 in San Francisco. Suárez has two simple goals: he wants military recruiters to stop lying to Latino kids about the Iraq War, and he wants Latino parents to understand exactly what’s in store for the average grunt who ships off to Iraq.
Brandon found a March 21st article by Minnie Bruce Pratt. From "'Walking to New Orleans' to show solidarity" (Workers World):
Some marching were neither veterans nor survivors but had either been born in the South or lived there at some time--people who identified their home towns as Jackson, Miss.; Carbondale, Ala.; Macon, Ga.; Memphis, Tenn.; Baltimore; Orlando, Fla.; Houston, Texas; and other deep and border Southern towns—as well as at least 16 states outside the South.
Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in the current Iraq war and drew national attention to the opposition of military families to the war by camping out at President George Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, participated on the march.
Stephen Funk, the gay Filipino Marine who was the first Iraq war resister, marched, as did conscientious objector Sgt. Camilo Mejía. Both Funk and Mejía emphasized the intertwining of injustice--in the hypocritical discrimination of a U.S. "don't ask, don't tell" military that recruits lesbian and gay people as cannon fodder while denying their very identity--and in the fate of Latin@ soldiers driven to enlistment by the poverty draft and immigrants who join the armed services in desperation to get citizenship for themselves and their families.
Note that the article also includes audio links. The peace march took part in that event and, for listeners of RadioNation with Laura Flanders on March 18th, that's where Camilo Mejia was speaking from.
Need more activism? Brady steers us to a report on war resister Ben Griffin. From Alistair Highet's "Observer: Vietnam All Over Again" (Hartford Advocate):
As was reported worldwide, but very poorly here, Griffin was an exemplary soldier with eight years experience with the Parachute Regiment and the SAS, having served in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Macedonia. The 28-year-old told a military review board that he refused to go back to Iraq and fight because U.S. troops treated all Iraqis as "untermenschen," the term that Nazis used to describe the races they thought were inferior. Griffin went on to say that the American military's "gung-ho and trigger-happy mentality" meant that it was impossible for the coalition forces to ever win the trust of Iraqis. "I did not join the British army to conduct American foreign policy," he said.
Apparently, Griffin expected to be court-martialed. Instead, he was discharged from the army, and described by the tribunal hearing his case as a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions."
Let me spell out what this means explicitly. This means that the British army is basically saying, "We agree with this guy, this war is being conducted badly, and we shouldn't have to fight it alongside the Americans."
Though it is unclear what "illegal" acts Griffin is referring to, there are have been several recent reports of atrocities committed by U.S. troops. I refer you to the full account of one in Time magazine's article, "One Morning in Haditha," filed on March 19, in which eyewitnesses claim that U.S. Marines, upset after a colleague was killed by a roadside bomb, ran into a series of houses killing 23 people, 15 of whom were clearly civilians, including women. Nine-year-old Eman Waleed told Time that the Marines entered her living room while her family was still in their nightclothes. "I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest then in the head. Then they killed my granny." Initially, the U.S. military claimed the civilians were killed by a roadside bomb until confronted with Time's information, which included testimony from doctors who saw the bodies in the hospital and confirmed that the civilians were "shot in the chest and the head from close range."
Sunday, Miranda noted one of our permalinks War Resisters Support Campaign and how it contained bios of some war resisters who'd gone to Canada. One of which was Ryan Johnson. Gareth was paying attention, Miranda. Gareth notes that he was going to send this in just for the topic but he's highlighted Ryan Johnson so we can all "get a closer look." From Duncan Campbell's "Soldiers flee to Canada to avoid Iraq duty" (The Guardian of London):
Ryan Johnson, 22, from near Fresno in California, was due to be deployed with his unit to Iraq in January last year but crossed the Canadian border in June and is seeking asylum. "I had spoken to many soldiers who had been in Iraq and who told me about innocent civilians being killed and about bombing civilian neighbourhoods," he told the Guardian.
"It's been really great since I've been here. Generally, people have been really hospitable and understanding, although there have been a few who have been for the war." He is now unable to return to the US. "I don't have a problem with that. I'm in Canada and that's that."
Mr Johnson said it was unclear exactly how many US soldiers were in Canada but he thought 400 was a "realistic figure". He had been on speaking tours across the country as part of a war resisters' movement and had come across other servicemen living underground.
Jeffry House, a Toronto lawyer who represents many of the men, said that an increasing number were seeking asylum. "There are a fair number without status and a fair number on student visas," he said, and under UN guidelines on refugee status they were entitled to seek asylum.
Also paying attention was Zach who found an article about Brandon Hughey and Dan Felushka and we're going to focus on Felushka for this entry (we'll note Hughey Sunday -- I'm not familiar with Felushka and don't believe we've ever noted him before). From Oakland and San Francisco's NBC 11, here's "U.S. Soldiers Head North To Seek Asylum: Canada Gave Asylum To Vietnam War Defectors:"
Dan Felushka joined the Marines because he wanted to be trained by the best, and he believed in the mission.
"We were training for war and we were trained to respond to 9/11," Felushka said. "I was gung-ho for it. Totally into it, into the idea of responding to an attack made against Americans that made sense."
Felushka was based out of Camp Pendleton. He says boot camp was one of the best experiences of his life.
"I loved boot camp," he said. "It was hard. I learned to push myself hard. I liked the training. I met cool guys who I got really close to really fast."
[. . .]
It's similar to how Hughey feels.
"I'm not going to give the ultimate sacrifice or shoot at somebody else or cause grief in their family for the rest if their lives for a cause my government can't even justify," he said. "For me, personally, I couldn't deal with that."
Felushka ultimately left his Southern California Marine troop for similar reasons.
"I wasn't prepared to be put in that situation by the government, having to participate in acts of violence against people without just cause," he said. "They just flat out weren't able to convince me it was justified."
Felushka says leaving was one of the most important decisions of his life.
"The only inalienable right that I have as a human being, regardless of your country of birth, is my right to choose between right and wrong," he said. "It leaves me here with my conscience intact to deal with the rest of my life."
"Is it indymedia?" wondered Zach in his e-mail. "It's a local station and not an NBC report as far as I know. That's independent. But in the end, all that matters is that while so many aren't telling these stories, this station did." I couldn't agree more.
Jeremy Hinzman and people with stories like his and completely different from his, all our a part of the social fabric ripped by this illegal war. Norman Solomon was a guest on KPFA's The Morning Show and Ruth and I spoke about his appearance ("Friday Ms. Lewis interviewed Norman Solomon" which Ruth noted here). A caller wondered about purchasing. She was of the opinion that this was one way for her to make herself heard -- avoid purchasing anything beyond the necessities. Solomon's response was a wise one (no surprise there), everyone needs to do something to say no to this war and if this was her way of saying "no" then she should pursue it.
People are saying "no" to the war. Thanks to Francisco and Miranda, the community really searched for stories (members always do, but they really put in time this week) that told the stories (stories -- plural) of this war. The stories are out there but they aren't often covered. (Of course Democracy Now! always does a wonderful job of covering them. I say that partly because it is, of course, true and partly because I was really hoping to have time to note something from an interview Amy Goodman did this week. There's not time. And, warning, don't expect much from tomorrow morning's entry/entries, I'm wiped out.) These are stories. Media Matters covers the media coverage. That is their designated role. They do a wonderful job of it. But it does sometimes seem, as Joan put it, as though everyone was covering the same story and "huge numbers goes untold." Francisco asked for coverage of the peace march and members had to look high and low for something that didn't get a great deal of attention. Members found coverage. (We'll continue to note any other coverage members find -- non-attack coverage. Rob found a hideous article and noted it not for it to be highlighted but just to pass on how intense the hatred towards those who speak out is. I'd argue that a graduate student of fifty is either someone who's still learning -- good for him -- or someone who flounders through life as poorly as he writes.) Miranda found one way to put a face on some of the war resisters and it did register. From the west coast to England, Gareth heard and he remembered.
The movement, like the war, has many faces, many stories. We can't control what others do (certainly not the mainstream media), but I'm really impressed with the efforts members put in. Not just the ones who found highlights. I'm impressed with members like Joey and Kansas and Rachel who wrote in to say they hadn't found anything but they were still looking and would advise that if I was looking skip this or skip that because it had nothing. These were long lists of sources they had checked. (Which underscored how little is being told about this war and this movement.) Those are three names that stand out. They weren't the only ones to write in like that. (I'm tired and my apologies for not being able to recall everyone by name on this.)
There are many ways to say "no" and people are making their protests heard. I say all that both because I am so impressed with the community's hard work on this and also because it leads into the additional lyric for this week. (Remember that the next round of voting for songs goes up in the gina & krista round-robin for the second Friday of April.) Say "no"?
It's always the old to lead us to the war
It's always the young to fall
Now look at all we've won with the sabre and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all
For I stole California from the Mexican land
Fought in the bloody Civil War
Yes I even killed my brother
And so many others
And I ain't marchin' anymore
-- "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" (written and recorded by Phil Ochs on the album of the same name)
Remember the resolutions towns in Vermont passed to impeach the Bully Boy? Wendy notes an article on one person and one area involved. From Kathyrn Casa's "Impeach! The shot heard 'round the world" (Vermont Guardian):
As patriots go, Dan DeWalt looks the part. With his ponytail and winter beard, a pair of breeches and a musket would put him right into character in 1775.
But it was no act earlier this month when DeWalt fired the opening salvo of his revolution. Only this time, the shot heard 'round the world came not from a rebel in Massachusetts but from a selectman in Vermont. And rather than start a shooting war, it was meant to put a stop to one.
DeWalt, 49, is as mystified as anybody at his international star status as the author of a town meeting resolution, which Newfane voters passed 121-29, calling for the impeachment of Pres. George Bush, in part because he "used falsehoods to lead our nation to war unsupported by international law."
Other cities and towns have passed similar measures, including San Francisco. Newfane was the first of five Vermont towns to do so -- Brattleboro was expected to take it up at representative town meeting on Saturday. At least six Vermont Democratic County Committees have also voted in favor of impeachment proceedings.
But it has been DeWalt -- a carpenter and musician with no television, who reads history books, trolls international shortwave radio broadcasts for news, and until this month had never seen film footage from 9/11 -- who has captured international attention from of the likes of The Economist, the U.K. Guardian and The Toronto Star.
The story of his challenge to Bush has been posted on websites in Australia, South Africa, the Basque region of Spain, and covered throughout the United States, from The Dallas Morning News to CNN and USA Today. By the time the Vermont Guardian caught up with him, he been interviewed 25 times. Reuters had just left and The Boston Globe's photographer was on the way up.
He has also been lambasted and lampooned. The conservative Washington Times saw fit to report his annual income, his marital status, and even his choice of footwear (Birkenstocks). The Associated Press story was posted on "The Terrorism Knowledge Base," a self-proclaimed "comprehensive databank of global terrorist incidents and organizations."
No sooner did the Newfane news hit the wire than reactions started pouring in. Accustomed to companionable leaf-peepers and endorphin-jazzed skiers, postcard-perfect Newfane was suddenly in the midst of political controversy.
Lenore Salzbrunn, the president of the Newfane Business Association who at town meeting had tearfully defended the president, later fretted about tourism cancellations and told a reporter: "We need to stop adding to the negative news about Vermont."
Portland writes, "This is a small item but I would like it included in the indymedia roundup both since it's indymedia and also because Russ Feingold is the only Democrat I will support for President. If he loses the nomination, I'm not sure how I'll vote. I'll probably look into the Green Party and weigh my decision." From "News" (Eugene Weekly):
FEINGOLD FOR PRESIDENT?
The March 18 demonstration against the Iraq War held in Eugene also marked the kick-off of a Feingold for President campaign in the Northwest.
Among the signs carried by supporters of Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush were: "Russ as President is Fein(gold) With Me," "Reform Elections with Feingold," and "Back Feingold for President to End War."
Russ Feingold, a senator from Wisconsin, is being compared to Oregon's Sen. Wayne Morse of the 1950s and '60s. Morse was one of only two senators who voted against President Lyndon Johnson's Gulf of Tonkin proposal that turned Vietnam into full-scale war.
"For a thinking electorate," says John Saemann of Eugene, "Feingold is our only alternative. Too many Democrats have chosen the coward's way, supporting Bush's war. Even our Sen. Ron Wyden, who as a college student was a driver for Morse, trashed Morse's principles when he refused to support the Feingold resolution to censure Bush."
For information on the local campaign, contact Saemann at 687-7112 or George Beres at 344-0282.
Noted and included. Remember members can do endorsements. You can write a statement to share like Portland has, or you can just note that you support the candidate of your highlight and we'll note it here. Pru gets the final highlight, Alex Callinicos' "Bush: telling tales from Tal Afar" (Great Britain's The Socialist Worker):
The rescue of Norman Kember and his fellow hostages in Baghdad is a tiny glimmer of light in an Iraqi picture that remains uniformly grim. John Reid's gung-ho remarks on his recent visit to Iraq simply provided further evidence of the defence secretary’s very troubled relationship to reality.
He’s not the only one, of course. George Bush greeted the third anniversary of the outbreak of the war by desperately pointing to what he presented as a US success in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. "The example of Tal Afar," he told an audience in Cleveland, Ohio, last week, "gives me confidence in our strategy."
Coincidentally the Washington Post has reported in depth on the city as part of a series of very interesting reports on the war in Iraq. Tal Afar, 40 miles east of Mosul, has been a major base of operations for the resistance.
Last summer the US Third Armoured Cavalry Regiment was assigned responsibility for the city. By the time it left in February, attacks had fallen, according to US military intelligence, from six to one a day.
The Third Armoured Cavalry used a combination of building a wall around the city, flooding it with patrols, methodical intelligence work, developing links with the local population, and working closely with Iraqi forces.
But when the Post checked up on Tal Afar after Bush's speech it found that US control had weakened again. Guerrillas were slipping back into the city, sectarian killings and kidnappings were on the increase, and US troops were concentrating on protecting themselves.
This is a typical picture of the Iraqi war. The occupation forces can stem the tide in a problem area by concentrating elite troops there, but, once they relax the effort because of demands elsewhere, their successes are quickly washed away.
The Post's original report on Tal Afar pointed out, "The biggest problem US troops face in Iraq is Baghdad, a city about 30 times the size of Tal Afar. With the current number of American troops in Iraq, it would be impossible to copy the approach used here, with outposts every few blocks.
"'Baghdad is a much tougher nut to crack than this,' said Major Jack McLaughlin... Standing in the castle overlooking the city, he said, 'It's a matter of scale -- you'd need a huge number of troops to replicate what we've done here'."
This was, of course, US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld's original folly -- the idea that Iraq could be conquered and held by a small hi?tech force.
Another in-depth Post piece reports, "The biggest difference in Baghdad from two or three years ago is the nearly total absence of US troops on its streets. In a major gamble, the city largely has been turned over to Iraqi police and army troops. If those Iraqi forces falter, leaving a vacuum, US pressure elsewhere could push the insurgency into the capital."
There are other dangers with this policy of "Iraqisation", which is, according to the defence analyst Stephen Biddle, "the main component of the current US military strategy". Writing in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, he argues that this "throws gasoline on the fire. Iraq's Sunnis perceive the 'national' army and police as a Shia-Kurdish militia on steroids...
"And the more threatened the Sunnis feel, the more likely they are to fight back even harder. The bigger, stronger, better trained, and better armed the Iraqi forces become, the worse the communal tensions that underlie the whole conflict will get."
In fact, of course, what "underlies the whole conflict" is the US conquest of Iraq. It is the occupation forces who reacted to the developing resistance to the occupation by stoking up "communal tensions" among Sunni and Shia Arabs and Kurds.
There is massive evidence, accepted even by the US army, that the Iraqi interior ministry is running sectarian death squads. The authors of Iraq’s suffering are the occupiers and their creatures.
© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.
Tomorrow morning (which is already today for many people, not just European members but also east coast members), the gina & krista round-robin goes out. If you want a sneak peak, read Elaine's "Peace comes from being able to contribute the best we have" which also contains news of Polly's newsletter. (And I'm so tired, I mispelled "contains" four times before I got it right. Seriously, do not expect much tomorrow morning.) For commentary on another one of Bully Boy's wars, read Cedric's "Afghanistan the forgotten 'liberation'" which also includes his opinion of Katrina vanden Heuvel's recent column. Lastly, but not leastly, thank you (big time) to Kat because without her "Kat's Korner: Etta James Takes It All The Way" we would have gone three nights in a row without any evening posts. I'm sorry about the lack of evening posts. (It's so late, we may not even be able to consider this one.) I'm usually better at balancing activism and other responsibilities but when I speak to college students or high school students, I do ask them to think about what they can do. And often it comes down to trade offs. "If you will do this . . ." The demonizing of immigrants has meant that markers were called in. (That's not a complaint. I'm glad to do it. And if someone's calling in a marker, it means they've already done something I've asked of them.) But it's been a crazy week. I have no idea what Ava and I will review on Sunday because I haven't seen any TV. The DN! entries have all been dictated and, on that, I'm sorry, I knew it was indymedia roundup, I knew in some way it was Thursday, but I wasn't connecting it to the new edition of The Black Commentator. We'll grab Margaret Kimberly's latest tomorrow (and thanks to those who e-mailed to remind me.) Thank you also to Ava and Jess because they went through the e-mails and created a folder just for indymedia roundup suggested highlights to make it easier to do tonight's entry. (They've also handled the majority of the e-mail duties.) Walter, if you're reading this before you check your e-mail, your highlight came through with only a name (Bill Anderson) and a title -- the rest fof your e-mail is a maze of numbers and letters. If you'll note your highlight again or just where you found it, we'll highlight it. The title alone makes it sound like something the community would be interested in. By the way, I'm not sure if a member mentioned a showing (I belive Friday night) of Sir, No, Sir in an e-mail or if this came up in a conversation I had this week. (I'm about to fall over.) If there's a showing of it and you were trying to get it highlighted, please put "Sir, No, Sir" in your e-mail title and we'll note it by the DN! entry tomorrow if not before.
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com.
and the war drags on
george e. curry
minnie bruce pratt
radionation with laura flanders
war resisters support campaign
the socialist worker
sex and politics and screeds and attitude
like maria said paz
the third estate sunday review
cedrics big mix
the morning show
ruths public radio report
i aint marchin anymore