Thursday, October 05, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, October 5, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; American fatalities for the month of October already reach the double digits; Condi makes "Janie's Got a Gun" her personal theme song; World Can't Wait mobilizes (if you're not taking part you can hear reporting on some actions on KPFA's Flashpoints today at 5:00 pm Pacific, 7:00 pm Central, 8:00 pm EST); a "self-made" begs the question of what do you do after you've blazed a trail begun with the sounds of Motor City? Cave to Bully Boy appeasers?; and the economic and human costs of the illegal war continue.

"Janie's Got a Gun" (Aerosmith), but US Secretary of State Condi Rice appears to use the club. Though bullying is a characteristic of the US administration, diplomacy is required when you're in the State Department. But the AP reports that: "Britain says top U-N allies will meet tomorrow in London to decide a next step in the nuclear stand-off with Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Britain's foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, will join high-level envoys from France, Germany, Russia and China." The so-called "nuclear stand-off" has been and remains a US led one. Gearing up for her Friday meeting, Condi first stopped off in Baghdad where, CBS and AP report, she bragged to reporters about instructing the 'leaders' of Iraq that they had "limited time" and that "They don't have time for endless debate about these issues [political differences]. They have really got to move forward." That is the US Secretary of State giving orders to the supposedly independent government of Iraq. A far cry from, as AFP notes, her previous visit April 26th when she congratulated the newly installed puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki.

Rice's blatant exposure of who pulls the puppet government's strings come at a time when the US administration unveils a 'new' 'military' plan for the war. Outsourced to 'private groups,' the supposed military 'strategy' attempts to put a kinder, gentler face on illegal war. Michael Gordon (New York Times) salivated over the 'plan' in a manner that in many areas would land him with a public obscenity charge. The 'plan' can be boiled down to a "new face for illegal war will come when US troops act like store greeters at Wal-Mart" and decries the fact that they have been holed up on bases without ever grasping the whys of that decision. Those "private groups" thinking up the 'plan' should be encouraged to enlist and and carry out their 'plan' throughout Iraq for however many days they manage to remain alive as they stand around like sitting ducks and wait for the Iraqi police forces to do anything. The plan won't address anything because, despite Andy Card's beliefs, you can't market war. It certainly doesn't address CBS and AP's report that Rice's plane was prevented from landing in Baghdad for 35 minutes due to "mortar rounds or rockets."

The amount paid to "private groups" for their 'input' is unknown; however, Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation) reports that, according to the NPP, "$378 billion has already been spent or allocated for the Iraq war. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the economic costs of war, occupation, and related expenditures may reach $2 trillion -- despite the Bush administration's promise that this conflict would cost $50 billion and its firing of its economic advisor for daring to estimate the cost between $100 to $200 billion." Meanwhile the Pentagon has earmarked $20 million of its budget for a 'victory' monument to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anne Plummer Flaherty (AP) reports a "$20 million victory party" has been earmarked out of the Pentagon's $532 billion budget for the fiscal year of 2007. This would make Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the ultimate "party girl."

The economic realities come at a time when China's Xinhua reports that thirty corpses were discovered today in Baghad while the US military announces two US troops dead in Al-Anbar Province follwoing the US military announcment of four US troops dead -- shot dead in Baghdad. This comes as the number of American troop fatalities for the month of October (this is the fifth day) reach 22. Last Thursday, the total number of US troop fatalities stood at 2710. Right now? 2738.


AFP reports a bomb in Baghdad's Tayyaran Square that wounded 20. Reuters identifies it as a roadside bomb and notes a car bomb in Baghdad also left eight wounded and two dead. Reuters also notes two police officers were wounded in Mahmudiya by a roadside bomb and that mortar rounds killed one man in Mahmudiya and injured five members of his family while mortar rounds "near Balaz Ruz" took two lives and left five wounded.


In Samawa, AFP notes that "two women and a girl from the same Shiite family" were shot dead. Reuters reports that it was a home invasion which resulted in the "shooting dead [of] three women and slitting the throat of a baby girl". In addition, Reuters notes two people shot dead in Falluja, a police officer shot dead in Baquba and four people shot dead in Ramadi.


As already noted, Xinhua reports thirty corpses found in Baghdad. Reuters reports that five corpses were discovered in Ukashat, two in Mahmudiya, one near Kirkuk.

In the United States, Jerome L. Sherman (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reports on a poll of people serving in the US military which "found that 63 percent of veterans of both conflicts describe the Army and Marine Corps as 'overextended,' while many soldiers also complained about encountering emotional and physical problems when they came back from active duty."

In peace news, World Can't Wait is ongoing (this is a dictated entry). In addition, war resistance gains attention. Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson (who turned himself in Tuesday), Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, and others serving have said no to war. Zeroing in on Agustin Aguayo and Anderson, Andrew Gumbel (LA City Beat) takes a look at war resistance, notes the risks ("going to prison, losing contact with their families, being forced back to Iraq at gunpoint") and concludes " the rumblings of discontent are unmistakable, and growing louder. Next month, the Iraq resistance movement is planning a national demonstration -- time and place still to be decided. There may be objections to the form of their protest, because of the belief that military personnel are there to serve, not ask questions. But the content is becoming ever more compelling." Meanwhile, Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) takes an in depth look at Darrell Anderson who self-checked out of the US military in January 2005 and went to Canada. Last Saturday, Anderson returned to the United States and Tuesday he turned himself in at Fort Knox. Anderson was wounded while serving in Iraq and has suffered from PTS since. Glantz notes that the American Journal of Psychiatry has "found that large numbers of returning soldiers suffer from PTSD. Those like Anderson, who suffered severe physical injuries, often developed PTSD within seven months of being hurt. Among injured soldiers, researches found that after one month, 4.2 percent had probable PTSD and 4.4 percent had depression; at 4 months, 12.2 percent had PTSD and 8.9 percent suffered from depression; at 7 months, 12 percent had PTSD and 9.3 had depression."

Turning to war resister Ehren Watada, Mary Adamski (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports: "The Interfaith Alliance of Hawaii will honor Army Lt. Ehren Watada for taking a stand against the war in Iraq by refusing to serve there with his Stryker combat unit. The organization chose the Honolulu-born artillery officer for its Flame of Hope Award to be presented Oct. 21 at its 2006 Community Awards Dinner." In June, Watada became the first US officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq. As the Ventura County Star notes, Bob Watada, Ehren Watada, will be speaking "7 p.m. Monday meeting of Ventura County Veterans for Peace and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. Admission is free. The meeting will be in the Topping Room at E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main St., Ventura. On June 22, 2005, Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the Iraq War and occupation. He has been formally charged with contempt toward President Bush, conduct unbecoming an officer and missing movement. On Aug. 24, the Army recommended a general court-martial on all charges. Last week, an additional charge was added because Watada made an August speech to the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Seattle, stating, 'To stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.' For the first time since 1965, the military is prosecuting an objector for his opinions. He faces more than eight years in prison. . . . For information on Veterans for Peace call 486-2884; on Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, 850-5849."

Other speaking dates for Bob Watada include:

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:

For a complete schedule, click here (PDF) and for more information on war resisters, visit Courage to Resist.

In news of cowardice/caving, Suzanne de Passe rose from upper-middle class African-American to become one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Early on she realized the importance of image which was among the reasons she traveled by limo even before she "made it" (the other reason -- cab drivers wouldn't stop for African-Americans at night in the sixties). Becoming Berry Gordy's girl-Friday quickly resulted into a powerful position, overseeing Diana Ross & the Supremes and grooming the Jackson Five. Throughout her tenure, she continued to rise (Academy Award nomination for co-writing the screenplay to Lady Sings the Blues, etc.) at Motown -- until Motown founder Berry Gordy sold her the company's TV and features division which she renamed de Passe Entertainment. The accomplishments and accolades continue to mount (Lonesome Dove, et al). Now Jeff Bercovici (Radar) reports that the power player takes a dive when Paul Mooney's comedy routine offends Bully Boy loyalists. The comedy routine was being taped to air on Showtime at the Apollo which de Passe Entertainment produces. The routine included jokes of Gin and Tonic (a staple of any Mooney routine, the Bully Boy's alleged heavy drinking daughters) and Mooney tells Bercovici "They wanted me out of there, the Republicans, the Time Warner people, They said I was Bush bashing, and it was hatred. I felt like I was in Iran or Cuba or somewhere." Since Showtime at the Apollo is largely geared to an audience where Bully Boy has never, over six years, managed to reach even 20% in approval ratings, the act might seem a natural for the program; however, Mooney states that power player de Passe stopped his act in the middle of taping and blamed it on "unnamed officials from Time Warner" which appears to include Richard Parsons, Time Warner chair and on the Apollo Theater Foundation's board of directors. Power player? Or the woman still best remembered for running around with a steno pad and asking (repeatedly), "What did Miss Ross want?" Mooney's routine was nothing surprising or out of charcter to anyone who knows his standup but when a power player plays lackey, censorship can occur.

The e-mail address for this site is