Thursday, July 06, 2006

NYT: Dragging the war out

Today, Lt. Ehren Watada was formally charged with three articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: missing movement (Article 87), two counts of contempt towards officials (Article 88) -- specifically President G. W. Bush, and three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman (Article 133). If convicted of all six charges by a general court-martial, Lt. Watada could be sentenced to over seven years in a military prison.
Lt. Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz, said this morning: "We expected the missing movement charge, but we are somewhat astounded by the contempt and conduct unbecoming charges. These additional charges open up the substance of Lt. Watada's statements for review and raise important First Amendment issues. We are delighted that the Army has given us the opportunity to litigate these questions." Most previous prosecutions of Article 88 took place during the Civil War and World War I, and the last known prosecution was in 1965 (Howe vs. U.S.). Lt. Howe was protesting the Vietnam War.
Even before Lt. Watada refused to ship out to Iraq on June 22, the Army was focusing their investigation on his speech. The formal charges confirm that the Army’s primary objective is silencing Lt. Watada's dissent.
Emergency response support events tomorrow
Friends and Family of Lt. Watada is encouraging supporters that have the ability to hold a vigil, or other support activity in their community tomorrow to do so.
Supporters in Washington State’s Puget Sound area will gather tomorrow, July 6, at 5pm over Interstate 5 on the Exit 119 overpass (adjacent to the entrance to Ft. Lewis

International day of action; Mass mobilization at Ft. Lewis
Friends and Family of Lt. Watada is calling for an international mobilization of support the day before Lt. Watada is scheduled to be court marshaled -- possibly sometime in September.
We are asking groups to begin planning demonstrations, rallies, marches, vigils and/or educational events at appropriate sites in your community (federal buildings, military recruiting centers, highly visible intersections, etc.).
Groups and individuals in the Pacific Northwest, and friends that can travel, are asked to converge at Fort Lewis (south of Seattle/Tacoma, north of Olympia) for the actual court martial and a series of educational events and actions prior.
Illegal war and occupation education and action campaign
We are asking supporters to make a concerted effort in the coming months to educate their groups, networks and community about Lt. Watada's stand and about the illegality of the war and occupation of Iraq.
This could include articles in newsletters, on websites, letters to the editor, guest editorials, teach-ins, video screenings, etc.
We will send out updates and post information on the website with education ideas, resources (videos, ideas for teach-ins, down-loadable educational materials, etc), and more in coming days and weeks.

Goals for the Lt. Watada support campaign
These are the goals that are guiding the support campaign for Lt. Ehren Watada.
1) No punishment for Lt. Watada.
2) Build mass public support for Lt Watada and others who uphold international, military, and US law by refusing to participate in illegal war and occupation.
3) De-legitimize the illegal Iraq war and occupation.
4) Create a social, political and economic cost to prosecuting illegal war and occupation refusers and to continuing the illegal Iraq war and occupation.
Friends and Family of Lt. Watada

The above is from an e-mail sent out by Courage to Resist. I know no one thought it was from the New York Timid. For the record, the New York Timid has never written an article about Ehren Watada. That's zero. Never. They've carried (online) two Associated Press articles and one Reuters. But that's it. Watada doesn't qualify as news that's fit to print.

There was a potential highlight e-mailed by a member and the title sounded promising. Even used the word Timid but I read it and thought about it (and thought about what Kat wrote yesterday at Rebecca's site) and though I'm glad an author was writing about it, I just felt it was so 2003. Judith Miller. The scapegoat of us all.

If Judith Miller's yarns helped get us into war, so what? I mean if that's all you have to offer, in 2006, maybe you need a long nap or a vacation?

Forget the war for just a second, did the Timid cover the fact that the warrantless NSA spying on Americans (illegal) didn't, as Bully Boy has LIED, begin as a response to 9-11? Did the Timid tell you this week that the program was implemented in February of 2001? (No one could have guessed, Condi?) There is so much that Timid doesn't cover. Ehren Watada's story is a perfect example. They haven't even farmed the topic out to Monica Davey (not intended as an insult to Davey) for one of those "Find two families for the war for every war resistor you write about" pieces. He was charged yesterday. I heard about it in the car on the KPFA Evening News. I just didn't read about it this morning in an article by the Times. But then I've never read about it by a Times' reporter.

Why do you think that is?

But let's instead focus on the reporter that's been gone from the paper for some time, Judith Miller. That's how it works. Judith Miller sold us into war! It's funny that Michael R. Gordon and others who shared a byline never come up in these pieces where a writer, all these months later, wants to drag out Miller yet again.

Maybe it's because she's a woman, maybe it's because she was once seen (years ago, before going to the Times) as "left"?

Whatever the reason, her title was never "Editor" or "Executive-editor" or "Publisher." And her byline wasn't a solo byline on every piece. But it's 'safe' to criticize Miller. That's not really true. "Criticize" implies that there's some thought going on and Miller's name is tossed out the way a really bad comic tosses out a dirty word with no reasoning behind it just to get that easy laugh. So Miller becomes the fall guy for every piece she co-wrote, for every piece she wrote or co-wrote that made it into print and, apparently, for pieces she had no hand in writing (such as the FALSE claim that Saddam Hussein was running terrorist training camps in Iraq that taught how to hijack a plane -- an article that never got a correction from the paper and one that didn't have Miller's name on it or any, as far as we know, input from Miller).

She's the f-word for lazy comics three years later.

"Judy Miller!"

And the crowd's supposed to clutch their sides and laugh.

John F. Burns, a once respected international reporter, can boast that he tailors his coverage to "Americans who pay taxes" and no one in this country bats an eye. (That does explain why the Times does so poorly overseas and why, despite wanting to switch titles, the International Herald Tribune had to remain that and not become the New York Times European edition -- or whatever they were pushing. International audiences aren't impressed with the New York Times' international coverage. It's only in this country that it gets such a huge pass.)

If Judith Miller single handedly sold a nation into war (apparently she also wrote Bully Boy's speeches and controlled every network and cable outlet), who keeps us over there? Dexter Filkins for one. Dexy lies daily. Maybe in 2009, we'll deal with that? Maybe in 2009, we'll address it?

All I know is Judith Miller wasn't present in Falluja in November of 2004. Dexy was. Why are all the 'brave' voices still comfortable at this late date in tossing out "Judith Miller" when they can't cough up two words: Dexter Filkins?

Kat offered that Dexter Filkins is in place now to whitewash the slaughter in Ramadi because he wasn't called to the carpet for his 'award winning' garbage about Falluja. I'm going to agree with that 100%. Now when reporters, not columnists, complain to me about Filkins writing (in person), I know there's little they can do. They're reporters. They're busy covering things. But when op-ed writers trot out Judith Miller, yet again, in 2006 and they haven't said one word about Dexter Filkins, that's really embarrassing. And actually, it's beyond embarrassing, as Kat pointed out, it's enabling.

So Judith Miller got us into war? Well what about those lefties who avoid calling out Dexter Filkins? What about those brave boys and girls who give him a pass week after week? I wasn't doing this site when I started hearing from mainstream reporters about all the problems with Dexter Filkins. I'm having a hard time believing that others haven't heard the same stories.

That he reportedly dropped an interview (with the resistance) because a general frowned a little when Dexy was reviewing his upcoming story. (Why was he even discussing it with the US military? Are they his editors?) Look at all the rumors that have piled up since then and he still gets a pass. His antics are rather well known (in print and in person) so it's rather sad that in 2006, "Judith Miller" is the punch line. Maybe it's that the sick joke that is Dexy Filkins is so vile that no one dare repeat it in what passes for polite company?

Well go for the vapors because we don't play here. Miller's gone from the Times. It's 2006 and Judith Miller really hasn't been the issue since Iraq was illegally invaded. The Go-Go Boys of the Green Zone are the issue. So maybe it's past time some people got serious about addressing that?

Kirk Semple in today's Times offers up "Iraqi Says Immunity for Soldiers Fosters Crime:"

General Caldwell, insisting that the military had not tried to conceal any such cases, said military officials had issued news releases every time an Iraqi civilian had been wounded or killed by American forces. In the Mahmudiya case, the Iraqi police reported the suspected rape and killings as insurgent activity, said Maj. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman for the American command. So the military did not put out a news release about the killings.

Semple leaves out the fact that those news releases usually use the terms "insurgents" or "suspected insurgents." When I see those releases, while compiling the snapshot, I don't include that crap. It's amazing how many people do. A few will note something to the effect of "US military says . . ." or something similar. But most just run with it (the way the Timid does). No questions asked. And you wonder why the war drags on?

Maybe because of ___ like this (quoting Semple's article again):

In Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, American troops, with support from Iraqi soldiers, searched the general hospital, a seven-story building that American officials said was being used as a redoubt for insurgents and a command center for attacks. The troops found bomb-making material, according to a military news release.

As I've noted before, I've never built a bomb, I wouldn't know how. But one would guess that, in a hospital, you could find any number of things to build a bomb or "cocktail" with. But there's Semple repeating what the "news" release said. (It's not a "news" release, it's a press release and if Kirk Semple can't tell the difference he doesn't need to be a reporter.)

He can cough up the spin, with no proof offered to him, he just can't tell you that the US military violated Article 18 of the Geneva Conventions.

No articles on Ehren Watada, scrubbing the reality and running with press releases that they dub "news." And someone wants to write about Judith Miller?

The war drags on as long as we let it. There are a lot of enablers right now, intentional enablers or not.

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