Thursday, September 14, 2006

Other Items

Judith Miller's former partner in 101 Ways to Grudge F**k the UN is back in print today with "Most Mideast Leaders Are Angry About U.S. in Iraq, Annan Says ." It's the sort of non-reporting Warren Hoge's able to do with Miller or on his own. Here's a sample (hold your noses):

Taking issue with Mr. Annan’s comments, Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said at his daily briefing: "If you take a look at what's gone on in the region, you have attempts to establish democracies in Lebanon, you have an attempt to establish a democracy in the Palestinian areas, you have democracies now up and gaining their footing in Afghanistan and Iraq. And those are developments that are positive. ["]

As noted in yesterday's snapshot:

Kahmenei's opinions are hardly surprising and, Nick Wadhams (AP) reports, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, declared today "that most leaders in the Middle East believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath" is "a real disaster". Annan: "Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them. They believe it has destabilized the region."

Somehow, to Hoge, covering Annan's annoucement means returning to the nonsense he plugged (solo and with Miller) earlier which is why he trots out Norm Coleman. There is, however, no need to discuss the realities of either Iraq or Afghanistan or even allude to them. He just has to quote Tony Snow Job's laughable claims of "democracies" in Iraq and Afghanistan and then, for 'balance,' he needs to toss in Republican Coleman. Hoge's unable to address Annan's statements so, instead, he just offers Republican spin. It's a sick little world that Hoge lives in where a UN statement needs "balance" from a GOP White House spinmeister and propping up by Norm Coleman's baseless charges. (For any who wonder, no Hoge felt no need to seek out any Democratic response but then he wouldn't be Warren Hoge if he had, would he?)

Will you be dining in Baghdad anytime soon (outside the Green Zone -- maybe you're tired of the Chinese food)? If so, Paul von Zielbauer has the hook up for you. And if that seems sarcastic, it is. When you write sentences like "But even bombs cannot stop the rotisserie chickens" you earn the sarcasm. And von Zielbauer writes that and more in what could have been a strong look at life on the ground ("Amid the Chaos of Baghdad, an Oasis for Defiant Diners"). In the meantime, they continue to miss (or avoid) a story that would be very easy to write. Why is that? (Check out The Third Estate Sunday Review this Sunday for that story. And someone explain to von Zielbauer that, while Nora Ephron's op-ed yesterday was funny and amusing, he's no Nora Eprhon.)

KeShawn notes Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Pointing the Way" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

Last night's primary contests had some highs and lows. [Check out John Nichols's dispatches on the web and in the magazine to get a better sense of what we can take away from September 12th.] But there's one victory in Maryland I'd like to single out for celebration. Last night, Jamie Raskin--Democratic candidate for Maryland's State Senate--won a resounding primary victory in a tough race against a longtime incumbent. He is now virtually assured of winning in November.
Jamie--who ran a smart and creative race, with national support--is a professor of Constitutional Law at American University and a valued contributor to The Nation.
I believe there are four issues in this election year: The Constitution--DEFEND IT; The War --END IT; National Health Care --PASS IT ; Corporate Power--CURB IT. If you believe, as I do, that this nation faces these (and other) critical issues, and that we must confront them with intelligence, sanity, decency--and passion....then all of us won with Jamie's win.

And Molly notes Paul Rockwell's "A Travesty of Justice: Stop The Court-Martial of Lt. Watada" (Common Dreams):

Someone should file a suit against the U.S. Army for plagiarizing George Orwell's novel, 1984.
Orwellian irony hangs over the pending court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. The Army is seeking to imprison the Hawaiian soldier of conscience, not for lying, but for telling the truth; not for violating the law, but for upholding it. Watada refuses to carry out illegal orders, to participate in crimes against peace.
Recently the Army charged Watada with "missing movement," use of "contemptuous words for the President," and “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." It's true Watada openly denounced the invasion of Iraq. He claimed in public what most of the world already knows--that President Bush manufactured the case for war, that he lied to our troops. That's not really news. But Watada believes that no American soldier should take a life, or give up a life, for a lie. There are many kinds of betrayal in human affairs--theft, adultery, embezzlement. But in the affairs of state, there is no greater disloyalty than to send young men and women to their death on the basis of fraud.
The U.S. Army is putting the wrong person on trial.
In a world of logic and common sense, the truth of a claim is a legitimate defense against the charge of libel.
Not in Orwell's Army, where lying for the President has become a patriotic duty. Just quoting the Geneva Conventions about collective reprisals or the use of indiscriminate weapons can get you busted.
And to date the Army has yet to court-martial a single commander, or any high level personnel (of which there were many), involved in the torture system at Abu Ghraib. This is the same Army that court-martialed Camilo Mejia for disassociating himself from the degradation at Abu Ghraib. Even before the scandal broke, Mejia filed written complaints, protested atrocities that he witnessed, only to be imprisoned for nine months for speaking truth to power.
The court-martial of Watada is simply the Army's latest Catch-22. And the ethos of contempt for international law, combined with the punishment of those who show respect for it, are two phases of one policy that is destroying the morale of American troops.

As always, more information on Ehren Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and And remember that among the scheduled events today for Camp Democracy
in DC is an evening presentation by Danny Schechter and a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions.

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