Sunday, December 10, 2006

And the war drags on . . .

Here's comes Rep Silvestre Reyes of Texas, handpicked by Nancy Pelosi to head the House Intelligence Committee and he's calling for 20,000 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. Reyes says they're needed to crush the Shi'a and Sunni militias. Didn't I tell to you right here, after the Nov 7 "peace moment" the polls, that the Democrats would fall into line behind Senator John McCain? The minute Jack Murtha made his run for House Majority leader the liberal establishment began to take a stand against all seditious talk of "immediate redeployment". You can scarcely open up the New York Times without tripping over a piece by Michael Gordon reporting yet another thoughtful military man--he put up General Zinni in this capacity last week--saying that the prudent short-term course would be to send more troops to Iraq.
Contrast this with the angry floor speech
Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, the potato king of Pendleton, who said straighforwardly on Thursday night that he'd had it with the president that the US should "cut and run, cut and walk or whatever ... "
You want more evidence of Democratic spinelessness? How about the confirmation of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense by the U.S. Senate, 95 to 2. Not a single Democrat voted against this slippery survivor of the Iran-contra scandal, who spent the early part of his intelligence career at the CIA and NSC, inflating the Soviet threat and leaking fictions about the KGB plot to kill the pope to neocon fantasists like Clare Sterling. The two No votes came from Santorum of Pennsylvania and Bunning of Kentucky. Some of the Democrats voting Aye this time voted No on Gates when he was up for confirmation as Bush Sr's CIA chief back in 1991.

The above, noted by Mia, is from Alexander Cockburn's "Liberal Consensus for More Troops in Iraq" (CounterPunch). The column addresses other topics as well including the death of Kirkpatrick. On that note, Pinochet is dead and the world can rejoice. He got away with murder (literally) but he didn't get peace. He didn't get to spend those last years in peace. He was unable to travel freely (out of fear of arrest and facing charges). So when you think of Bully Boy and all the lies and all the deaths, think of Pinochet and hope Bully Boy too travels that path. Impeachement would be better (and needs to happen) but if the spineless can't or won't, people have a way of rendering a verdict and a verdict will be rendered on the Bully Boy. The mainstream can try to spit polish him (and will) the way they do Henry Kissinger but Kissinger can't travel freely either and it's not over. Like Pinochet, he may get the very public humiliation he deserves. Gareth notes The Guardian's "Victims of a brutal regime:"

• A total of 3,197 people were tortured, murdered and then disappeared under Pinochet's brutal 17-year regime
• Inside the infamous torture centres, victims were subjected to violent and continuous beatings, often to the point of death, before doctors revived them to prolong their suffering
• Prisoners were tied up and "walled in" tiny cubicles where they were denied food, water and clothing; others were tied to a metal rack known as "the grill" where they were subjected to electric shocks to all parts of the body, including their genitals and their mouths

Reality has a way of bringing even the highest flying War Hawks back down to earth. If Bully Boy escapes impeachment, he will still have to live with the court of public opinion, humiliated for the rest of his life.

And that applies to those around him as well. His ill repute will stick to them as well and they might have to start to worry about actual problems as opposed to inventing phoney ones. That's the topic of Keesha's highlight, Cindy Sheehan's "A Woman’s Worst Nightmare" (Common Dreams):

On Friday, December 8th, after 4 and ½ long days, the jury in the trial of the "Pink 4," which includes me, Medea Benjamin, Gold Star Aunty Missy Beattie and Reverend Patty Ackerman, finally received our case for deliberation at about 2:30 PM. The judge summoned us back into the courtroom at 6:15 PM and we were excited for the verdict, only to learn that the jury had not yet reached their verdict and we would be staying in NYC until at least Monday when the jury would continue its deliberations on the 5 counts for each of us.
While we were awaiting our fates, we four dangerous peace women, found a copy of the New York Post which seems to me like a glorified National Enquirer. I was leafing through the rag when I saw a big picture of Laura and George. Laura was wearing one of the ugliest dresses I have every seen, and there, inset above the picture of the First Lady and her offensive husband, were photos of three other women wearing the same dress as Laura! Perusing the article I discovered that going to a party and having even one woman wearing the same dress as yourself is bad enough, but going to a party (especially in ones own home) and discovering three other women wearing your same dress is "a woman's worst nightmare!"
To begin with, I would think that someone married to GW would have enough problems to worry about and even more horrendous nightmares then sharing a hideous dress with someone else. Being the wife of the world's number one terrorist would give me pause. However, I just want to let the New York Post, Laura and the three other women who are in the one-half of one percentile of the country who are in George's "base" that are able to own an 8400.00 Oscar de la Renta, that showing up at a party with 3 women wearing the same dress is not a "woman's worst nightmare," and even though it has never (and will never) happen to me and I have never walked in their Prada slippers, had a polo pony go lame or known such humiliation, I suspect that I am, and will be living, a "woman's worst nightmare."
Yes Laura, et al, there are worse things than what happened at the White House Christmas party this past week. Ask the 25 American mothers who learned that their sons were killed this past week for your husband's lies and to put obscenely expensive and over the top (not to mention, unflattering) clothes on your backs. Ask the people who are being slaughtered in Iraq and can't even go buy groceries or attend services in their local places of worship without fearing being blown to a million tiny pieces bombs. Ask the prisoners who have been tortured at such gulags as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Ask the millions of people who go to bed hungry or cold in our very own country every night while you are horrified that someone else found your dreadful dress appealing enough to plunk down over eight grand.

As Sheehan notes, there are real tragedies, real nightmares. On that note . . .

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the American military fatality count in Iraq stood at 2900 -- and received very little attention. (The US military, at the end of last week, said 'woopsie!' and announced that they'd released two deaths as four -- two deaths were announced twice.) Today? 2929. 29 more deaths since last Sunday. 39 for the month and where's the coverage?

If you're among those complaining about a waste of time 'article,' we saw it. We'll address it next week at The Third Estate Sunday Review. It was one of several pieces that was a possibility but there wasn't time for. But isn't it interesting there's time to weigh in on that (and promote it on air -- extensive, was that the laughable term used?) but there's no time to cover the peace movement, there's no time to cover Iraq. (Well maybe Mike's site hasn't coined another phrase that can be quickly purloined?)

They've got time for everything but the war. They're not the only ones. Brenda noted they and another hadn't written one word on Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Missy Comley Beattie and Patti Ackerman's trial. Maybe they're scared to call out John Kerry's sister? I'm not. Useless idiots need to be called out. She hopped onto the witness stand (and was combative -- though the Times couldn't tell you about that) bragging of her actions. I, personally, had assumed John Bolton was responsible for the disgraceful treatment the women received. But Peggy Kerry testified (bragged?) it was all her. So some are probably staring down at their desks right now and hoping they won't be called on. They should be called out for their silence. We've covered it here several times, it's the topic of Isaiah's latest comic and it's the topic of The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Peggy Kerry the War Moron" and from that:

Now there's a good chance that the jury could go another way. They could ignore the facts and realities and punish the innocent. (Maybe they want to play the 2000 Supreme Court?) Because that is a possiblity, if you're in the NYC area Monday morning, 100 Centre Street, the fourth floor, is where you want to be.
Medea Benjamin explained the events of March 6th as follows: "We were a peaceful group of women who simply wanted to give our petition to a representative of the US Mission headed by John Bolton, But in classic Bolton-style diplomacy, instead of taking our petition and thanking us for our efforts, the UN Mission called the police to arrest us. It’s outrageous."

It is outrageous. And it's outrageous that so many have failed to even note what's going on. But if they couldn't fawn over the elected 'rock stars,' what would they have left to do? Another thing they couldn't note (and this is a long list with many disappointments on it) was even mention Courage to Resist or the three days of action that started Friday and continued through today to show support for war resisters. After this sort of thing continues and continues to go unnoticed you realize that they're not interested in stopping the illegal war. In their prolonged silence, they demonstrate that independent media is not, in and of itself, any sort of answer. (Now maybe if some claiming independence were truly independent and not interested in farming themselves out as a house organ to a political party . . .) So, yet again, the mainstream media is where many are left to go for information that many in the 'independent' media refuse coverage on. This is from Cecilia M. Vega's "Troops opposed to Iraq war get show of support Rallies in S.F., nationwide hear those who went AWOL speak on refusal to return to combat" (San Francisco Chronicle):

On the night before Darrell Anderson was supposed to return to Iraq for his second tour of duty, he got in a car and drove to Canada.
The Army specialist decided he could not go back to the place where he had shot at Iraqi civilians, been wounded by a roadside bomb, and watched other soldiers die.
So he went absent without leave.
"I'd spend three years in prison rather than go back to Iraq," Anderson, 24, said Saturday.
Instead he spent nearly two years in Canada before returning home to Kentucky and turning himself in to the military, where he faced years in prison but ultimately served only three days in confinement.
With both a Purple Heart and a less-than-honorable discharge to his name, Anderson has joined a growing effort within the anti-war movement to make heroes of Iraq war deserters who went absent without leave.
The military considers them criminals, and many Americans call them traitors. But during an anti-war event Saturday in San Francisco, Anderson and others like him got a standing ovation.
"Action is the only thing that's going to stop this war," Anderson told a crowd of about 75 people at the War Memorial Veterans Building.

Cowards and fools offer gas baggery (and call it 'independent'). I'm thinking of someone who's dead right now. No, not from a battle field. But he stood up for war resisters during Vietnam and opened his checkbook and wallet. His grandchildren? Apparently they never grasped the importance of it. I'm thinking of one grandchild in particular who is in a position in independent media to make a difference but seems to think that that we all need some sort of psuedo-Return-to-Love dispatches from the Democratic Party. (Did someone say, "Ouch"? Too bad. Be glad I'm biting my tongue. But don't think for a moment you're doing anything your grandfather would be proud of.)

In this morning's "Shiites Rout Sunni Families in Mixed Area of Baghdad" (New York Times), John F. Burns noted over one-hundred Sunni families fleeing a section of Baghdad when a Shi'ite militia began an attack. The chaos and violence continued today and here's some of it that Reuters has noted: 60 corpses discovered in Baghdad plus three headless corpses found in the capital as well (40 discovered Saturday -- so over 100 corpses found in the capital yesterday and today), at least nine shot dead in Baghdad, two dead from mortar rounds in Baghdad, a young boy (15) shot dead in Kirkuk, a college student killed in Ramadi, two children shot dead in an attack on a family (that left four other membes wounded) "near Baghdad," and "Gunmen killed army Colonel Yaarub Khazaal, a security guard for Ahmed Chalabi, head of the deBaathification committee, in the western Yarmouk district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said." That's only some of the reported violence. But by all means, gas bag away on elections and the 'silver lining' to be found in the James Baker Circle Jerk. It won't end the war, but maybe when all the hot air leaves your body, you'll have exhausted yourself so that other topics can get attention?

Laura Bush's "worst nightmare" is only one example of a screwed up sense of priorities and, sadly, many on the left and 'left' suffer from similar 'nightmares.' I'm sick of the James Baker Circle Jerk but Russ Feingold comes out strong against it and both Jill and Charlie noted it in e-mails. From "Editorial: Feingold's skepticism" (The Capital Times):

The Iraq Study Group report was greeted with a proper measure of skepticism by U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who has been right from the start about the ill-thought-out invasion and occupation of Iraq.
"I'm not buying the Washington embrace of this thing. ... It's time for us to have a clear plan to disengage in Iraq. This doesn't do it," declared Feingold, who notes that the report "leaves the strong possibility of an open-ended commitment."
While too many other members of Congress - including members of the Wisconsin delegation who should know better - have tried to find something to like in the report, Feingold has been blunt in his dismissal of it.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," Feingold, who in 2002 voted against authorizing Bush to attack Iraq, correctly characterized the report from the group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton as "a classic Washington compromise."

Cockburn (top of this entry) notes Feingold's not running for president and be sure to check out his observation of what that says re: Iraq.

While the lie is that students are 'apethetic,' the reality is that they aren't and that's true across the globe. Last highlight, Pru notes Colin Smith's "Student Respect national conference" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Over 100 delegates gathered on Sunday of last week at the first full Student Respect national conference.
In addition to hearing George Galloway MP, Respect councillor Rania Khan, Lindsey German and others, delegates had a chance to debate and discuss some of the finer political and strategic points in the workshops.
Those on Latin America, Palestine, climate change and Islamophobia were particularly well attended.
The discussions in the workshops will form the basis of Student Respect's campaigning on these issues. Delegates elected a 12 person national committee which will oversee the national running of Student Respect.
The conference itself provided an excellent place for Student Respect members and supporters to come together, before heading back to their campuses to continue to build the alternative on the ground and in the student unions and NUS.
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Lastly, new content did go up at The Third Estate Sunday Review today:

A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: Peggy Kerry the War Moron
TV: Stand Back, Standoff
The end?
Bully Boy amused by the Beltway Babies
Alice in Pressland
Baby Cheney-Poe, the facts of life
Laura Flanders spoke with Yanar Mohammed and Carol...
Bully Boy Jokes
So what's going on this edition?

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