Wednesday, June 14, 2006

War Hawks in America, War Cheerleaders in the Green Zone

Still got her war on. (Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts from January.)

Portland highlights the Associated Press' "AWOL soldier returns to Fort Lewis" on Suzanne Swift (see yesterday's entry if you're asking "Who?"):

Swift's mother, Sara Rich, said her daughter was packed and ready to leave. But just days before the redeployment she had her car keys in hand and broke down.
"She turned to me in the kitchen and said, 'I can't go back there.' I said, 'Good, don't do it,' " Rich said.
Swift could not be reached for comment. But her mother said her daughter told her she had profound doubts about the war, after seeing it firsthand.
Rich said her daughter said she thought the war lacked purpose and that no one had benefited from it. And Swift wrote her mother from Iraq about being repeatedly sexually harassed.
[. . .]
According to the Pentagon, the number of soldiers absent without leave is less than 1 percent of the total. In 2005, 2,011 soldiers were reported AWOL, down from 4,483 in 2002, the spokesman said.
Larry Hildes, a Bellingham, attorney representing Swift is part of a National Lawyers Guild task force on military law, said those figures don't add up. He said there are hundreds of lawyers around the nation representing deserting soldiers. He said he has handled a dozen such cases since the Iraq war began.
A national hotline dealing with rights of servicepeople gets a minimum of 2,000 calls a month, Hildes said, mostly from soldiers who don't want to return to war.

File it under another report the New York Times refuses to file. They're much more willing to play fan club for Bully Boy. A lot get the duties today but Dexter Filkins and John F. Burns, to no one's surprise, I'm sure, take the top dishonors with "Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq to Press Leadership." Bully Boy plays his tired line of looking into someone's eyes (Putin last time,
Nouri al-Maliki this time) and Dexy and Burnsie are seeping all over the page.

They wax on hard and heavy about the 'bravery' involved in taking a helicopter from the airport to the palace (yes, "palace"). "He's a Green Zoner just like us!" They say using one hand to high-five one another while the other hand does God knows what.

Proving that their brains are as damp as their drawers, they refer to the trip as a "rebuttal" by Bully Boy to his critics. A "rebuttal"? Is this an "answer," an "argument" (legal or otherwise), "proof"? Don't they have dictionaries in the Green Zone?

This is a rebuttal only for the war cheerleaders in the press that go a little limp if they have nothing to cheer on. Bully Boy held a photo-op that was consistent with every other war action he's made. That's not a "rebuttal." A rebuttal might be an attempt to explain to Cindy Sheehan what "noble cause" her son died for. This was a photo op. Nothing more, nothing less.

Grown men raving over photo-ops are "hacks," nothing more, nothing less. But better to go to a staged event than to cover the realities of Iraq. "Oh that's so cruel! They could be hurt or killed!" someone whines. Who's fault is that? Dexy and Burnsie have been in the Green Zone for how long now? Who forced them to lie for three years as Iraq spun out of control? They have only themselves to blame. Reporters who lied about the reality on the ground in Iraq (for years now!) have only themselves to blame. Had they told their readers early on "I am in the Green Zone and can't leave because it's not safe to" then reality might have sunk in a long time ago. At first, they were fat and comfy in the Green Zone, sure that the other areas would fall into place. Now they're prisoners of the Green Zone and they have only themselves to blame for that.

They drool over the "morale boost" the photo-op provided. But they don't appear to have spoken to anyone (certainly no one enlisted). It's feel-good propaganda aimed at their own self-justifications and fantasies. Wet dreaming on the front page should be outlawed (but then they might have to get real jobs).

The realities of Ramadi aren't addressed, the "crackdown" in Baghdad will be something to cheer -- the fact that nothing's changed (lives have already been taken this morning by yet another bombing), will have to wait for another day, another year. (Probably another reporter.)

As the current edition of Extra! notes (page 5, "Soundbites") in "Scandalously Obvious," Dexy Filkins wants to criticize Paul Bremer (who deserves a lot of criticism) "for keeping silent." (His words. Dexy's lambasting someone else for their silence. Consider it the laugh of the day.) As the piece notes:

But Bremer and Sanchez worked for an administration that presumably wanted them to keep such criticisms in-house; be keeping quiet, they were arguably just doing their jobs. Filkins, on the other hand, is employed by a newspaper supposedly dedicated to printing the truth; if it was "scandalously obvious" to "nearly anyone" that the occupation was understaffed, why did he need Bremer's help to make that clear to his readers?

That's in the June 2006 issue of Extra! which doesn't have anything up at the site yet. (And yes, we've noted it before -- the day Dexy's book review ran, Ruth's noted CounterSpin's coverage of it and Danny Schechter also noted it in real time as well. No links because I'm running behind. Do a google search.)

On WBAI today, Micah notes (time given is EST):

5:00-6:00 pm: Exploration
Dr. Michio Kaku talks with Prof. Richard Heinberg, author of Powerdown, who paints the worst case scenario if oil runs out and the greenhouse effect kicks in: nations will collapse and chaos will reign. Plus, details on the US Army Corps of Engineers and more on global warming.

And Kat passes on the reminder that Guns and Butter airs on KPFA today at one p.m. Pacific.
Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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