Saturday, October 21, 2006

Violence and chaos continue in Iraq, Bob Watada continues speaking out

Mortar rounds rained down on a crowded outdoor market south of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens, police said.
A bicycle rigged with a bomb tore through the market in Mahmoudiyah first, followed by at least a dozen mortars, said army Capt. Oday Abdul Ridha.

The above, noted by Lloyd, is from the AP's "Mortar Rounds Hit Iraqi Market; 18 Dead" (via Washington Post). Brad notes Sinan Salaheddin's "Iraqi Shiite Militias Clash Near Babylon" (AP via Forbes):

Rival Shiite militiamen battled near the ancient city of Babylon on Saturday until American forces and helicopters rushed to separate the combatants. Gunfights broke out in Hamza al-Gharbi, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, after a bomb exploded near the offices of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a leading Shiite political party that sponsors the Badr Brigades militia.

And the AFP reports:

Iraqi Shiite and Sunni clerics meeting in Islam's holiest city signed a text calling for a halt to sectarian bloodletting in war-torn Iraq, al-Arabiya television reported.
At the meeting, organised by the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, the clerics from the two sides of the country's religious divide signed a document stipulating that "spilling Muslim blood is forbidden".
The 10-point text, drafted by a smaller group of four clerics from two communities under OIC auspices, draws on verses of the Koran and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Followed by this:

A suicide bomber has blown himself up on a bus crowded with Baghdad holiday shoppers, killing four people only hours after Iraq's religious leaders issued a call from Mecca to end the bloodshed.
Children's clothes and toys were scattered across a bridge over the Tigris Saturday from one of Baghdad's biggest public markets, crammed with families preparing for the Eid holiday at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
"Is this the Mecca document? Killing children and those buying toys for them?" roared Abu Sajad, a stocky, white-bearded man in his 50s at the scene. "The holidays are the only days now when children are happy."

In some of the other reported violence in Iraq on Saturday, Reuters notes that two Iraqi soldiers and one police officer were shot dead in Kirkuk, three car bombs in Baghdad killed one person and inured nine and "Around 150 Gunmen loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr battled police in Suwayra, 45 km (30 miles) south of Baghdad, in clashes that left eight gunmen dead and two civilians wounded, said Police Lieutenant Ali Naamah. A spokesman for Sadr's office in Suwayra said the attack was a response to an earlier raid by U.S. military forces, backed by helicopters, on a Sadr office, that killed six people."

As noted previously, war resister Kyle Snyder is planning to return to the United States from Canada. In other news of war resisters, Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, has now done two speaking tours to raise awareness on his son -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to fight in the illegal war. He's hitting the road a third time. That's because it matters to him and, hopefully, it matters to you as well. Texas members should take note that he will be speaking in Austin and Houston. (Dallas isn't on the list yet.) Keesha notes his new speaking schedule, via Veterans for Peace:

Bob Watada Speaking Tour
Oct 26-Nov 17, 2006
Please check the schedule for locations closest to you. If you are interested in hosting Bob Watada in your city, please contact
Doug Zachary.

Oct 26, 7PM
Phoenix, AZ
Location: TBA
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 75
Contact: John Henry, 602-400-9179, 408-704-0192,
Oct 27, 7PM
Albuquerque, NM
Location: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard Dr SE
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63
Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,
Oct 28, 1 – 4:30PM
Houston, TX.
Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic Club
Location: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th StreetEntertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "
Sir, No Sir"
Oct 28, 6:15PM
Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,
(H) 832-363-1741, (C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TX
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740
Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,, (C) 512-791-9824
Heidi Turpin, (C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

Oct 30
Austin High Schools
Oct 31, 7-9PM
Norman, OK
Location: Cleveland County Fairgrounds - Lobby
615 E. Robinson
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Jeri Reed, 405-307-0352, cell 405-606-9598,
Nov 1, TBA
Miami, Florida
Democracy for America Miami Dade and the South Florida Veterans For Peace Chapter 32
Venue and time TBA
Nov 2, TBA
Cincinnati, OH
Meet Dr. Victoria (Vic) Wulsin, candidate
for congress 2nd district Ohio currently leading Jean Schmidt who
called Rep John Murtha from PA. a coward.
Sponsor: Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Venue: TBA
Nov 3, TBA
St. Paul MN.
Location: Quaker Peace Center -- 1725 Grand Avenue
Sponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 27
Contact: Barry Reisch, (H) 651-641-1087 © 612-269-8934
Nov 4, 11AM
Milwaukee, WI.
Location: Great Lakes Arlington Event
Contact: Mark Foreman, 441-760-9991,
Sponsor: VFP Chapter 102
* See the unveiling of a new "Arlington"
Nov. 5, 2PM
Boston, MA
Encuentro 5
33 Harrison Ave. 5th floor
Asian American Movement Ezine
Asian American Resource Workshop
Boston Hawaiian Club
Chinese Progressive Association
Massachusetts Global Action
New England Japanese American Citizens League
Nov 5, 7PM
Cambridge, MA.
Location: Unitarian Church, Harvard Square
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade and Chapter 45, Samantha Smith Chapter
Contact: Lee VanderLaan, 978-257-2350

Nov 6, 2-4:30PM
Boston, MA
Location: University of Massachusetts/Boston
Sponsor: The Institute for Asian American Studies
William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequence
Time: 2-4:30 pm
Nov 6, 7PM
Worcester, MA.
Location: Clark University – University Building, Lurie Room
Sponsors: Veterans For Peace Chapter 10
Contact: Bob Flanagan, 508-755-1479,

Nov 7, 4:30PM
Portland, ME
Location: Meditation Center
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Chapter 1
Contact: Doug Rawlings, 207-293-2580,,
Nov. 7, 6-9PM
Brunswick, ME
Location: Morrill Room, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street
Pot luck supper and speaking engagement
Time: 6 - 7:30pm
Nov 8, 7PM
Albany, NY
Sponsor: VFP National
Location: TBA
Contact: Elliot Adams, 518-441-2697,
Nov 9, TBA
Philadelphia, PA.
Location: Annenberg School of Communication, Penn University, Room 109
Sponsors: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Mothers
Contact: Bill Perry, 215-945-3350,

Nov 10, 7:30PM
New York City, NY
Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church
West End Avenue and West 86th Streets,
Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,
George McAnanama,

Nov 11, 11AM-5PM
New York City, NY
Veterans Day Parade
Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW
Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,

Nov 12, TBA
Long Island, NY

Nov 13, 7PM
Ann Arbor, MI “The Ground Truth” and Bob Watada
Location: TBA
Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works,
Contact: Phillis Engelbert, 734-761-5922,

Nov 14, TBA
St. Louis, Mo.
Location: Friends Meeting House
1001 Park Avenue
Sponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, 314-754-2651
Contact: Chuc Smith, 314-721-1814,
Nov. 15, TBA
Norfolk, VA
Location: Norfolk/Virginia Beach
Contact: Tom Palumbo, 757-470-9797
Nov 16, 9AM
Asheville, NC
Location: Warren Wilson College
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 99
Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, Noon
Asheville, NC
Location: TBA -- media conference
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 99
Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, 2PM
Asheville, NC
Location: Mars Hill College -- class presentation
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 99
Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, 7PM
Asheville, NC
Location: University of North Carolina -- public presentation
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 99
Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 17, 7PM
Atlanta, GA
Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, 542 Moreland Ave
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, and Atlanta WAND
Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,

Monday through Friday, in the snapshot, we will try to note the next day's events as we did with the previous speaking tours. It starts next week. If he's coming to your area, please turn out. If you see an event scheduled somewhere that you have friends or family, please contact them and let them know.

On the topic of Ehren Watada, Zach notes this letter to the LA Times:

Re "Loyal to Country or Conscience?" Oct. 16
The headline on the article about Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is confusing. I think it presents a false choice. Watada refuses to be deployed to Iraq. He sees President Bush's invasion as illegal and immoral. I agree with him. So do many of his fellow Americans. Watada is loyal both to his country and to his conscience.
Los Angeles

It's followed by a letter from someone who'd do well to read Staughton Lynd's "Soldiers of Conscience" (The Nation) or Ruth's Report (August 26th) or Ruth's Report (September 4th).

Liang notes Ben Hamamoto's "New Charges Filed Against Lt. Watada; Father Speaks in Southern California" (Nichi Bei Times) and thinks the point by Kathy Masaoka is worth noting:

"It has nothing to do with what they did in World War II," she says. It has everything to do with what is going on today.
The Sansei activist says she is proud to see an Asian American taking a strong position against the war. Watada's actions, she thinks, serve to undermine stereotypes and are positive for the community. She is pleased to see several Asian Americans prominently "taking a stand against wrongs in the world."

Liang: It's so strange that the ringleader of the attacks against Ehren is always presented as though he fought in the Korean war and then did nothing when the reality is he attacked Vietnam veterans who were opposed to the war and his history as a right-wing arm chair warrior in other regards never gets noted.

Agreed. But the difference is, we know his story. Some of the press may not. Those who do and stay silent to present him as someone who just decided that the issue of Watada meant he needed to speak out should be ashamed. If only he'd keep his long made threat to veg out in front of the TV. A threat that's been reported for what, thirty years now? But all the coverage of him (and isn't he getting a lot?) acts as though this was the thing that made him raise his voice. It has nothing to do with Watada, it has nothing to do with today. He continues to try to refight old battles and that he wants to use an Asian American to do so, while questioning Watada's loyalties may be a new low even for him.

And to be clear, I'm not objecting to his trotting out the same argument he makes every war. I am objecting to the press allowing him to dust it off and paint it as "new" and "fresh." Bufallo Ghosts, indeed.

The following have posted since yesterday morning:

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally of The Daily Jot
and Trina of Trina's Kitchen

Ruth guest blogged for Kat on Wednesday, Betty did so on Monday and I filled in last night.

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