Friday, November 10, 2006

Ehren Watada and another issue that matters to the community

The stage is set for Honolulu-born Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada to be judged on his challenge to the legality of the war in Iraq.
Fort Lewis, Wash., commander Lt. Gen. James Dubik recommended yesterday that the Army proceed with a general court-martial against Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq in June.
"This just reinforces my honest belief that from the very beginning my actions were right, according to conscience, and most importantly, by duty to the American people," Watada told reporters in Honolulu yesterday from Fort Lewis during a telephone news conference organized by his attorney, Eric Seitz.
"I feel the referral of the charges was not unexpected," Watada said, adding, "and at this time, I'm moving forward as I always have with resilience and fortitude to face the challenges ahead."
Watada, 28, said he is encouraged by the national support he has received and pointed to Tuesday's election results as a sign of the times.
"I think as the recent elections show more and more Americans are opening their eyes, but we aren't there yet," he said. "It is my hope that actions such as my own continue to call for the truth behind the fundamental illegality and immorality of those who perpetrated this war."
Watada and his attorney had been in negotiations with the Army since an Article 32 hearing on Aug. 17 to avert a trial, but talks broke down earlier this week, leading to Dubik's recommendation for general court-martial proceedings.
Seitz said Watada was willing to accept dismissal from the service and four months' incarceration, but the Army held firm on one-year confinement.

The above, noted by Joan, is from Rod Ohira's "Watada's case going to trial" (Honolulu Advertiser). There are links to other coverage in yesterday's "And the war drags on . . ."
Ehren Watada was the first commissioned officer to refuse to publicly deploy in the illegal war. To date, the only major left (or 'left') publication that's printed an article about this is LeftTurn.
Now the New York Times did an article, one, but our print independent media just couldn't be bothered.

Possibly if they spent less time in/with incestual cross-pollinating (no, the lesson of Lee Siegel was not learned), they could devote attention to this? Or possibly, some independent outlets have been waiting for the story to come to them? Congrats East Coast, today Bob Watada does just that:

Nov 10, Early PM, New York City, NY., Press Conference
Location: UN, 777 United Nations Plaza, First Avenue and E. 44th Street
Sponsors: Veterans For Peace Chapters 138 & 34
Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,
George McAnanama,

Nov 10, 7:30PM, New York City, NY.
Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church -- West End Avenue and West 86th Streets,
Sponsors: Veterans For Peace Chapters 138 & 34
Contacts: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,

New York is only one of the stops on his tour, a full schedule can be found here. I don't know what's sadder about The Nation right now: (a) the fact that they want to jaw bone about the war after exit polls find it was one of the deciding factors in the election (jaw bone now but go through the print editions in search of articles related to Iraq only if you want to be disappointed) or (b) the 'event' last night which could have been better received had they featured Nation staff as opposed to passing a person who is on the masthead of another publication off as one of their own. And the person in question is infamous for the early 2005 non-thought piece advocating the continuation of the illegal war.

The editorial, "Democrats and the War," included this: "There can no longer be any doubt: The American war in Iraq -- an unprovoked, unnecessary, unlawful invasion that has turned into a colonial-style occupation -- is a moral and political catastrophe. It has also become the single greatest threat to America's national security.... The Nation will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the American war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign." That position is called into question when someone who is on staff of another publication, and advocated the continuation of the illegal war when the 'left' wanted to turn their back on the issue of Iraq after the 2004 election, is presented as Nation staff.

Like most in America, we ignore the crap-style publication that the non-Nation writer works for. When Christopher Hitchens has a piece in The Nation, we don't make a big deal of it. We don't note it, don't refer to it and don't even question it. Though he's broken politically with the magazine, he does have a history with the magazine and if they want to run something by him, so be it. It's another thing altogether to bring on a writer who does not have a history like that with the magazine. And, for the crap-style magazine, it's rather sad that in twenty minutes of radio time the writer needed to pass themselves off as being associated with The Nation and never plugged the crap-style that pays the bill and puts them on the masthead. (But it's also rather sad to come on a program with a known topic and beg off a question with the lame, "I just woke up" excuse. If it's too much for you to think in the morning, spare listeners the torture of having to listen. -- Zach and Megan, I did read your e-mails on that.)

Most in this community dumped crap-style as soon as the writer in question came on board due the war issue. (Non-thought pieces on entertainment that got the facts wrong didn't help either. Nor, for one couple in the community, did an early version of Lee Siegel like behavior on the crap-style's blog. And no, that's not a full of list of the problems with that writer. I'm biting my tongue on several things including one that enraged the community, rightly so, some time ago.) But, as Natalie noted in an e-mail this morning, "I will not support any writer who does not make a speedy end to the American war in Iraq a major issue of his or her writing." Yes, she's using the The Nation's editorial and questioning why they're promoting crap-style writer?

It's a really good question. And the Lee Siegel lesson should have been learned by The Nation. Long before he humiliated himself publicly, he was able to write for The New Republic(an) and offering the same lame critiques in The Nation. From "4 Books, Many Minutes" (Third Estate Sunday Review), Decemeber 18, 2005:

Jess: A broader examination that goes beyond an individual or a party and deals with the press itself. Both the mainstream and a rag like The New Republic that wants to claim it's of the left. My parents are longterm subscribers of The Nation but they are very offended that New Republic writers are popping up. My mother says they're seriously questioning whether they will renew because she knows the comment Maria posted elsewhere about how C******* P***** won praise in The Nation and she read that and wondered about it, read the issue. Now that she knows that the writer of that piece works for The New Republic, she's started looking at other bylines. The New Republic is not a left magazine and The Nation shouldn't be propping it up.

C.I.: Just to clarify, the review, by Lee Siegel, I believe, was not praising P*****'s new book. It was, however, in panning the new book, offering kind words for the infamous book that deserves no praise and received none from The Nation in real time. Considering that Susan Faludi is listed on the masthead, that Gloria Steinem appears in ads for the magazine and that Katha Pollitt, among many other feminists, has been attacked by P******, I found Seigel's evaluation of the infamous book revisionist and insulting. They've added Dave Zirin to their online edition and hopefully they'll be addressing the issue of reviewers but I agree with your mother, Jess, The New Republic does not belong in The Nation. The magazines are too different, their readership is too different -- for one thing, The Nation has a readership -- and when you invite those people over, you end up with reviews that are offensive.

There was no reason for praise for P***** to ever appear in The Nation, certainly not for the laughable book that reactionaires got behind. But that's what cross-pollunation allowed to happen.

Pointing to the November 2005 editorial ("There can no longer be any doubt: The American war in Iraq -- an unprovoked, unnecessary, unlawful invasion that has turned into a colonial-style occupation -- is a moral and political catastrophe. It has also become the single greatest threat to America's national security.... The Nation will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the American war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign."), Natalie, rightly, observes that a magazine's "support" can be defined as whom they choose to run. There's no reason to add crap-style writer to The Nation. And if they're going to promote wobbly-on-Iraq crap-style as being part of the magazine, they really don't have any reason to criticize the Democratic Party for their own wobbly members.

We mentioned crap-style in the dictated portion of yesterday's last entry and that's mainly because I was eager to get to the Zinn & Arnove reading/performance. If I'd been sitting at a computer, I would've have grasped the entry would result in e-mails and it has. For a number of reasons (some listed above) that writer is a joke (at best). This community has no use for that writer. We've said about as much as I intend to say here. If someone else, Mike for instance, wants to weigh in with their thoughts, that's their right and they have my full support.
(Members grasp the full meaning of that sentence.) But there are enough well known problems with that writer. They are not and will not be promoted here. That includes if Laura Flanders does a three hour broadcast with the writer. Among the reasons for that is that this community "will not support" writers who not only don't call for "a speedy end" to the illegal war but also argue that the US needs to 'stay the course.' It wasn't just the Bully Boy promoting that nonsense.

If I'd been thinking (instead of rushing) while dictating the entry yesterday, I would've avoided the topic. But I have read the e-mails and we have addressed it.

Ending the war matters and we won't dilute our position or play patty-cakes and nice-nice with 'lefties' who want to argue for continued 'intervention.'

The e-mail address for this site is

ehren watada
bob watada