Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ruth's Report

Ruth: For all the anti-war talk that you hear from time to time, "time to time" being key, after awhile you grasp that it is really just talk for some. Any who doubted that saw it play out live this week as our "big" small media took a pass on covering war resister Darrell Anderson or World Can't Wait rallies. Mr. Anderson returned from Canada, turned himself at Fort Knox and has already been released by the military. He was either the subject of blink-and-you-miss-it coverage or not covered at all.

I visited the websites of various magazines at the start of the week but had to stop doing that since I had little interest in following every breaking detail of Who Dropped His Pants but I did notice that one took a moment to weigh in on the very controversial issue of school violence and decide that, yes, they were against it. Such passes for "brave" stands these days.

I also read and heard, on radio programs, a great deal about horse race handicapping this past week and, sadly, I did not once listen to or read Cokie Roberts. If two words are needed for this past week, they are "dumbed down." So mid-week, I was on the phone with my granddaughter Tracey and C.I. and we were discussing what we wished independent media would provide us with. Chief among our topics was a focus on Iraq.

I hear a lot that Afghanistan is the "forgotten war." What does that make Iraq? The "sidebar war"? Where went independent media? Did they all grow weary? Did they all grow bored? Did they think the war would end in a matter of weeks and, when that did not happen, take their marbles and go home?

Tracey mentioned arts coverage and noted that she had read no review of Sir! No Sir! in either The Nation or The Progressive nor seen an interview with the director David Zeiger. She wondered why that was? For those who have not heard of Zeiger's film, Sir! No Sir! explores war resistance in the Vientam era. An amazing film that brings to life the period and rescues forgotten history might strike you or me as something worth covering but, despite winning the Best Documentary at the Hamptons International Film Festival and at the Los Angeles Film Festival as well as being a nominee for the Independent Spirit Award, Sir! No Sir! takes a back seat to any and everything in the world of arts.

But then resistance appears to take a back seat to everything. Peace takes a back seat to everything. We can get coverage of a Congressional report or the statement of an elected official, we just cannot expect it on the peace movement. As someone who protested Vietnam, I am fully aware that Congress did not wake up one day and, out of the goodness of their hearts, decide they were opposed to the war. The fact that the war was immoral and illegal was not the driving factor. What did move them to oppose the war was the fact that people were opposed to it, that the numbers continued to grow, that, in some opinion polls, the number against the war had reached seventy-percent. When a war is opposed by over two-thirds of the people, even hesitant, timid leaders must attempt to respond in some manner.

As the three of us spoke on the phone, my own suggestion was an interview with Camilo Mejia who was among the first to resist the war, checking out of the military in October 2003 after seeing war crimes in Iraq. The interview I visualized contained questions like these:

1) When you made the decision to leave the military, did you ever imagine that so many others would do the same?

2) You were the first to make the case in a military court that the war was illegal and to participate in it would make you a party to war crimes. That argument continues to echo, in Pablo Paredes case and, most recently, in
Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing. The argument reflected your statements before your own trial but, at any point prior to your hearing, did anyone attempt to persuade you to 'soften' your argument or go for something more 'acceptable'?

3) A common narrative we hear from war resisters once they go public is how they had to educate themselves. How aware were you of G.I. resistance during Vietnam prior to going to Iraq?

4) As the public face of war resistance so early, what advice would you to give to others coming forward now?

5) With regards to ending the illegal war, what gives you hope today and what concerns you?

Those are among the questions I would enjoy seeing a magazine or radio interview ask. I would love to see or read a roundtable involving war resisters. I would enjoy a discussion of members of the peace movement. Those are only some of the ways the Iraq war could be covered but currently is not.

Though independent media may feel that they have exhausted the topic, that is not the case. This morning I found two pieces that reminded me that with or without independent coverage, the war drags on: Josh White's "Picking Up the Pieces of Slain Troops' Lives" (Washington Post) and C.I.'s "Jake Kovco" [filling in for Kat at Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)]. I would suggest that you read both and judge your own response to it. If your response is a shrug of indifference then I would assume you are pleased with what currently passes for coverage in our independent media. I am not.

[Ruth wanted it noted that Laura Flanders had a powerful opening to Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders where Flanders noted some of the dead. She toyed with rewriting her report but, to avoid the "Where is Ruth?" e-mails, asked that a note be added. If you missed Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, the segment may be included in the one hour version of Saturday and Sunday's shows that goes up midweek here and that you can now hear Wednesdays at noon Pacific time on San Francisco's KALW. Those who have trouble listening to the feedburner one hour version can listen online Wednesdays at KALW.]

RadioNation with Laura Flanders (Sun) Gore Vidal & Nomi Prins; today Ronnie Khalil, Bob Moser, Aron Kader, Keith Crane

RadioNation with Laura Flanders begins airing live in mere minutes (broadcasts 7:00 pm to 10 pm EST on Air America Radio, XM satellite radio and online). Gore Vidal is among Sunday's guests, here's the announced line up:

This weekend on RadioNation, no more distractions! The 109th Congress' problems are much bigger than sex scandals! With just five weeks to go before mid-term elections, we focus on the Congress' faults and look at what regime change at home could mean. Reports from the Nation's
BOB MOSER and blogger KEITH CRANE on the Senate races in Connecticut and Virginia. Then, comic relief from ARON KADER on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and RONNIE KHALIL on the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival.

We leave the gutter of GOP morality and ethics to talk about their economic policies. NOMI PRINS reports on the ways that conservatives are picking your pocket and making you poorer. And profilic man of letters GORE VIDAL joins us to talk about the worst White House ever, stolen elections and other low marks that set our political era apart.

RadioNation with Laura Flanders -- Saturday's show begins in mere minutes. The e-mail address for this site is

Darrell Anderson will not be charged

With live blues onstage, and a history that reaches back to the Vietnam War, Grossman's Tavern has always been a gathering spot for American soldiers trying to escape a foreign conflict -- and this week, three more recent young deserters sidled up to the bar on Spadina Avenue.
One of them was Justin Colby, 23, who has spent the past year hiding out in Canada after fleeing the U.S. Army on the eve of his second deployment to Iraq. "It's an illegal war," he said. "I want no part of it."
This week, Mr. Colby and his fellow deserters had something new to talk about -- the surrender of their friend Darrell Anderson, who left Toronto on Tuesday and gave himself up to U.S. military officials at Fort Knox in Kentucky. In the American deserter community, Mr. Anderson's return is big news, with implications that are both personal and political. His fellow deserters miss his friendship, and they are watching his case with keen interest -- to them, Mr. Anderson is testing the conditions for re-entry.
Ryan Johnson, 23, who came to Canada last June after walking away from his unit in Fort Irwin, Calif., said he was surprised at Mr. Anderson's decision to return. "It was a risky thing to do," Mr. Johnson said. "I hope it works out for him."

The above is from Peter Cheney's "Looking toward home, nervously" (Candada's Globe & Mail) and it also contains quotes from war resister Corey Glass. More information on those who've gone to Canada and publicy declared their status can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Darrell Anderson has been released from military custody. Jim Warren who broke the story (and scooped the AP -- one of the few to cover it yesterday -- by three hours) offers more today in "Deserter will not be charged, lawyer says" (Lexington Herald-Leader):

Anita Anderson said by cell phone that she picked up her son at the military post shortly before noon yesterday, and that they were on their way to a Tennessee treatment facility where Darrell Anderson could stay for a few weeks or months. She said he had been "treated very very well" while in Army custody.
Darrell Anderson's attorney, Jim Fennerty, said the Army had decided not to court-martial his client and had elected to give him an "other-than-honorable" discharge instead -- even though Anderson deserted to Canada and publicly criticized U.S. policy in Iraq. Fennerty said Anderson expects to get his discharge papers by mail within a few days, but he had no other immediate details.
As a deserter, Anderson could have received a variety of punishments ranging from a dishonorable discharge to months or years in prison. At least one soldier who refused to go when his unit shipped out for Iraq last year was sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Calls to various public affairs numbers at Fort Knox yesterday went unanswered. But Fennerty suggested that the Army might have decided not to put Anderson in front of a court-martial because the case would have generated too much news coverage.
"I think one reason is that he's been to Iraq, while some of the others who have spoken out have never been to Iraq," Fennerty said. "The Army would have looked pretty bad court- martialing a guy who has been to Iraq and been wounded."

They would look bad and they'd also be raising attention to an issue they don't want attention to go to. It's why a finding was made in Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing but there's been no announcement of any decision made with regards to how to proceed. There's too many going public and, with the American public against the war, they have to move carefully to avoid it being grasped how many serving are against the war as well. They've tried to avoid criticism of the illegal war from the start by hiding behind the troops and, for too long, many Americans were willing to stay silent as well. When it was obvious (to all but the still deluded) that no WMDs were to be found in Iraq, when even Bully Boy had to acknowledge there was no link to 9-11 and Iraq, there wasn't much left to go with in order to silence valid criticism of the illegal war so the idea that there may be others about to come forward (there are) and that too much attention to the case of a troops refusing to serve in the illegal war might peel away the little support the illegal war still has scares the hell out of them.

They can, and did, charge Suzanne Swift last week. They could do that because she's not a war resister. Her refusal to return to Iraq is based on the abuse and harrassment she received over there. They're fully aware that their whitewash investigation (which did find one claim valid and, if you read closely, didn't attempt to determine the other claims) and the he-said/she-said nature of her objection muddy up the issues in many people's minds. There are those who will never be Swift and weren't going to before she ever went public. There are those who just don't want to contemplate that what happened to her could happen in the military (they're the ones who've been in denial of exposures for years now). Swift's case is a sexual harrassment in the work place case. The fact that it happened while serving doesn't mean that those who hide behind the military will look closely at it now. Instead, they'll refuse to consider it and dismiss it.

Darrell Anderson, who objects to the illegal war, is a different story. From Camilo Mejia on down the list, his resistance is a growing story. And his return followed months of attention (too little attention, I'd argue) given to Watada, Mark Wilkerson and Ricky Clousing. As those like Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb and Aidan Delgado continued to speak out and raise awareness, Watada, Wilkerson and Clousing were isolated individuals but part of a movement.

Had Jeremy Hinzman returned instead of Anderson, the decision likely would have been different. For one thing, mainstream press in this country have attempted to paint Hinzman as angry (and run photos where news people acted like paparazzi shouting insults to get a glaring photo -- this most famoulsy took place when he was out riding his bicycle). For another, Anderson had a Purple Heart and, though the 2004 GOP convention demonstrated that the radical-right may throw a bumper sticker on their cars but they really don't care or operate by the slogan (I'm referring to the band-aids with purple hearts colored on), they know the Purple Heart status would be a divisive issue to many (including those serving) if they attempted to prosecute.

Now Anderson going to a clinic where they treat PTS and that's another issue that they'd prefer not be raised -- both the amount of people returning from Iraq suffering PTS and the failure of the military to address that (even after the murders profiled in Vanity Fair some time ago).

His return also benefitted him because, though it was unlikely the Canadian government would grant him asylum (they've thus far refused to grant any resister asylum), as someone who married a Canadian citizen (Gail Greer), Anderson would have received some protection and legal recogition had he chosen to stay in Canada.

Darrell Anderson's story matters beyond just Darrell Anderson. Those making the call on what to do after he turned himself in at Fort Knox grasped that, even if independent media didn't. With the exception of Aaron Glantz, you didn't see much committment to this story. You never read, hear or saw a story in the time leading up to his announced return or following it about how Anderson is part of a movement of resistance. And that makes it more difficult for the next person. What you did see was a lot of follow big media (and big media isn't interested in covering Anderson or any other war resister) but we saw that take place all summer long as well. When independent media refuses to seriously address the stories that big media won't cover by devoting air time or print space to them, independent media is just as much a part of the problem as big media.

We started with war resistance today because it does matter. And noting it does matter (and does a make a difference).

In today's New York Times, Carolyn Marshall's "Corpsman Who Failed To Halt Killing of Iraqi Receives Prison Sentence" (A9) covers Melson J. Bacos who pledged guilty to kidnapping and consipracy yesterday before going on to testify against the seven others making up the Pendleton Eight. Marshall, who could never write Abeer's name, can provide the victim in this case, Hashim Ibrahim Awad. The other seven accused are John J. Jodka III, Jerry E. Shumate Jr., Robert B. Pennington, Tyler A. Jackon, Lawrence G. Hutchins III, Trent D. Thomas and Marshall L. Magincalda and they still face charges of "premeditated murder, kidnapping, conspiracy and making false statements." From the article:

Court documents read into the record Friday recounted how the men stole a shovel and AK-47 to plant near the body, and later shot rounds in the air to create bullet casings that would suggest a gunfight.

Though not as bad as her Abeer reporting (or as laughable as Ben Stein's July piece on the case -- and he still gets endorsement contracts?), it's a superficial article that offers nothing the AP and others didn't cover yesterday. (If she was in the court-room, there appears to be group-think going on since the 'money quote' was in all of yesterday's stories as well.)

John O'Neil's piece on A5 can't be called reporting. It's entitled "U.S. General Says 4,000 Iraqi Policemen Have Died in 2 Years." Joseph Peterson holds a press conference and O'Neil jots it down. It's a fan club bulletin. How wonderful it must be for Peterson's ego to have his every word noted, but don't kid that it's reporting. Words like "emphasized," "cited," "said," "said," litter the write up. Peterson pointed to the mass kindapping (Sunday) from the food factory so that makes the story (not making the story, though reported by the mainstream, is the fact that an eye witness noted vehichles and uniforms used in Monday's mass kidnapping from the computer stores -- but apparently the general didn't talk about that).

There's no effort to note how many were shot dead last week (O'Neil could just focus on Mosul to tease out a tidbit that would make this more than a stenographer taking dictation). There's no attempt to note the corruption that's been reported in the police force, the fact that some police officers probably belong to the resistance (the Times prefers "insurgency"), there's nothing here but what the general said (plus one paragraph at the end noting some of the reported deaths yesterday in Iraq). Can you tease out a press conference to 15 paragraphs and pass them off as "news"? It happens today. And that fault goes beyond O'Neil, goes on up the chain. There doesn't have to be an effort to disprove the general claims. Again, focusing on Mosul, O'Neil could have easily demonstrated the claims noting just the police officers shot dead (and he could have just focused on this week if this was the rush job it reads like).

But what makes it into the paper today under his byline isn't news. It's a fan club bulletin that only needs, "For those who weren't able to catch Joe yesterday in person, I've made a point to jot down everything he said!" This isn't an issue of 'balance' (though there are members of the Iraqi parliament who refute some of the general's claims -- refute publicly), it's the issue that you can't write up what one person said at a press conference and pass it off as news. (It's a feature and they could run it in the Arts section or on Sunday in This Week.)

Something as simple as what follows would make O'Neil's story something more than a fan club bulletin:

On Thursday, a police officer was shot dead in Falluja, two were shot dead on Wednesday in Baquba, a drive-by in Mosul claimed the life of one police officer on Monday -- a day that also saw two police officers shot dead and three wounded in Kut al-Hay. These deaths and injuries are among the more than 4,000 Iraq police officers killed and 8,000 injured that Major General Joseph Peterson spoke of yesterday.

Taking down dictation and then typing it up doesn't make for news and it's not O'Neil's fault alone, someone should have caught that as the story moved up the chain.

Trina just called and said she was sorry she was so late in posting. Trina's latest is up at Trina's Kitchen. But this entry going up late because a section I was writing ended up with input from Ty, then Dona, then Jess. At that point, it seemed something better to note at The Third Estate Sunday Review. (Where it will be noted.) Trina hasn't delayed this entry from posting.

But in addition to Trina, 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
and Wally of The Daily Jot

In addition, while Kat is in Ireland, people are guest posting at her site Kat's Korner (of The Common Ils). Betty did Monday, Ruth did Wednesday and I did last night.

Closing with Iraq, Thursday in "NYT: The war is lost but Gordie's hot for 'doggie style'," Michael Gordon's "Military Hones A New Strategy On Insurgency" was noted and the entry concluded with this:

The war is lost. The 'plan' is a joke. Maybe after Gordo comes down from his sexual high, he'll grasp that and also grasp that Tal Afar doesn't make for a good example?

If Gordo still hasn't grasped the latter, possibly this will help him, "Bomber attacks 'model' Iraqi city" (BBC):

A suicide attacker using a bomb-laden lorry has killed 14 people at an Iraqi army checkpoint in the city of Tal Afar, a medical source told the BBC.
Four soldiers and 10 civilians died in the blast in the northern city which US President George W Bush held up as a model in a speech in March.
The renewed violence comes as it appears the US may be considering a major change in policy on Iraq.
Reports of a change came after a visit to Iraq by a senior Republican senator.

The report also notes that Kirkuk is under lockdown and that a waterless moat,"15km (eight miles) long and two metres deep [,] has been dug around part of the city in a bid to control access. " The report also notes this from "Larry Diamond, a former adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad" on a possible troop withdrawal (which he feels could "shock" the Iraqi puppet government into action) and quotes him stating, "There's no prospect that Iraq in the near term is going to become a reliable and democratic ally of the West."

Ruth is planning a report for this weekend. The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, October 06, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Friday, October 6, 2006.  Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, war resister Darrell Anderson is headed home (he returned to the United States, turned himself in at Fort Knox on Tuesday, now he's headed home), World Can't Wait staged protests across the United States on Thursday, the Danish military suffers a fatality in Iraq, the US military notes a death toll on Iraqi police officers but continues to look the other way with regards to violence toward Iraqi women, and Bob Watada, father of war resisterer Ehren Watada, continues his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son.
Starting with war resister Darrell Anderson.  In April of 2004, Anderson was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq and awarded a Purple Heart.  Returning to the US and learning he would be redeployed to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the military in January 2005 and move to Canada.  Anderson spoke out publicly against the war while in Canada, attempted to win refugee status (something the Canadian government has refused all war resisters), met Gail Greer, married her in February 2006 but decided to return to the United States.  On Saturday, he crossed the Peace Bridge back into the US and, on Tuesday, he turned himself in at Fort Knox.  Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) reports that Jim Fennerty, Anderson's attorney, states Darrell Anderson "was released from Fort Knox this morning and is on his way home".  AP reports that Anderson "is expected to be discharged without a court-martial".
While some resist war, US Secretary of State Condi Rice incites it.  Rice was in Baghdad on Thursday where -- as Robin Wright (Washington Post), Philp Shenon (New York Times) and CBS and AP  reported -- her plane had to circle the airport for approximately forty minutes due to mortar and rocket attacks.  Not aimed at her, mind you, such is the state of Baghdad that Rice's unnannounced visit didn't effect what's become life as usual. From there, on Friday, Condi headed  to the Kurdish region, which is oil rich, and, as AFP reports, made noises about sharing the wealth with Massud Barzani (regional president).  She was so busy that the meeting in London among "world powers" had to be delayed two hours, Thomas Wagner (AP) reports which left "leaders little time to reach a consensus and making it unlikely."  If the decision on sanctions has been delayed, a detour's been created in Bully Boy's march to war on Iran meaning, possibly, citizens around the world should pray that Condi has many more unexpected layovers. (Update on this by Sophie Walker of Reuters.)
As Wright (Washington Post) noted, Rice's visit began as the Kurdish parliamentarian Mohammed Ridah Sinkawi was assassinated.  As Shenon (New York Times) noted, the visit with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani took place "in the dark" after "the lights went out . . . It was a reminder of the city's erratic -- and sometimes nonexistant -- electrical service."  Along with electrical problems, Rice visit occurred as Xinhua reported that: "Toxic water in the Tigris river killed thousands of fish and birds in Iraq's Salahudin province . . .  The provincial water directorate, which produces drinking water for people in this area, ordered all its projects to suspend working and wait for the tests' results".  Three years after the illegal war began and they can't even keep the lights on the fortified Green Zone of Baghdad, nor can they address the issue of the Tigris which provides "drinking water supplies for millions of Iraqis."
Today, CNN reports Joseph Paterson ("commander in charge of police training in Iraq") announced that "Since September 2004 . . . about 4,000 [police] officers have been killed and 8,000 injured".  And of course, as AFP reported earlier, between 800 and 1,200 police officers are being retrained after they were thought to be complicit in the mass kindappings from earlier this week. What the US military refuses to talk about is women in Iraq.  Nabeel Ziriqi (Al Jazeera) reported earlier this week: "A recent spike in attacks on women has forced many in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul to retreat into their homes or resort to armed escort by relatives and tribal guards.  In recent weeks, Mosul residents have witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of female corpses found throughout the city. Alaa al-Badrani said her friend, a school principal, was kidnapped from her home in the Bakr district of the city by an armed gang."
Bahrain News Agency reports that a roadside bomb targeted "a US military patrol . . . passing by in Husaiba to the est of the Iraqi city of Ramadhi."  No word on any casualities or fatalities.  AFP reports mortar rounds wounded seven in Baghdad.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports a "double bombing" that first "set the generator ablaze, then when firefighters and others rushed in, the second went off" resulting in one death and four injured.
KUNA reports that Denmark's 500 troops serving in Iraq are now 499 as a soldier, injured in an "armed confrontation" in southern Iraq, died as he was being transported to a hospital.
Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports seven corpses discovered "floating in the area of Suwayrah". AFP reports that Baghdad police discovered 35 corpses in the capital in the last 24 hours.
This comes as the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Malki's little examined 4-part 'peace' plan continues to be hailed by an unquestioning press.  One not hailing it is Firas Al-Atraqchi (Al-Ahram Weekly) who notes of the first plank -- 'security committees': "The committees would monitor whether police and the Iraqi army effectively pursue militia fighters after an attack.  But the plan falls far short of any significant effort to curb violence because it does not address the disarming of militias, which Maliki had promised in late May, and focuses entirely on Baghdad.  The rest of the country, it seems, can go to hell."
Meanwhile IRIN reports a slight improvement for the life of prisoners in Iraqi prisons just as AP reports that: "Guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as common practice, a U.S. Marine sergeant said in a sworn statement".  (If you're confused as to the connection between Guantanamo and Iraq, on today's KPFA's Living Room, Kris Welch presented some recorded footage of Janis Karpinski explaining the efforts to "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib.)
In legal news, AP reports that the trial of Pendleton Eight, accused of shooting an unarmed Iraqi dead after dragging from his Hamdaniya home, included testimony today from one of the eight, Melson J. Bacos, who testified "he saw two Marines fire at least 10 rounds into 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad".  AP reports that Bacos, a medic, "pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy charges" in the death of Awad.
Reuters reports that Bacos tetified Lawrence Hutchins III had devised a plan for another Iraqi (one who had been in and out of Abu Ghraib) but, when unable to locate that man, they went after Hashim Ibrahim Awad who happened to live next door to the Iraqi Hutchins had intended they kidnap and kill.
Meanwhile, in London, AFP reports that an inquest into the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd heard testimony from Nicholas Walshe who stated Lloyd "was shot in the head by US troops as he was driven away from a gunfight". As the BBC noted, March 23, 2003, Terry Lloyd "has not been seen since he and three colleagues came under fire as [they] were on the road to the city of Basra." The Guardian of London reports that, in addition, a British solider testified "he saw a US tank open fire on the ITN team's vehicles" and that this was "the first public acknowledgement that British forces witnessed the events of March 22, 2003, in which Mr. Lloyd and his interpreter Huseein Osman died and his French cameraman Fred Nerac went missing near Basra in southern Iraq." 
Frederic Nerac remains missing and Reporters Without Borders notes that "British defence ministry opened an investigation in June 2003 into their [Nerac and Hussein Osman] disappearance at the insistence of Nerac's wife Fabienne and press freedom organisations including Reporters Without Borders."
Will Dunham (Reuters) reports that "signs of wear and tear on the U.S. military" has resulted from Iraq and Afghanistan and that "Many troops are facing second and third long combat tours and less time between overseas deployments."  Or none at all.  A point Laurie Loving makes very clear on page 2 of The Nation's October 16, 2006 issue. Loving, a member of Military Families Speak Out, opens her letter with the following: "My son is in the 172nd Stryker Brigade (Army).  It recently had its one-year deployment to Iraq extended while in the midst of deploying back to the United States.  He is one of the 400 soldiers who had made it back to Fairbanks, Alaska.  A few days later he was informed that he was going to be sent back to Iraq.  His brigade has been sent to Baghdad to save the occupation."
In US congressional news, John Nolen (CBS) covers Republican Senator John Warner's reaction to this week's visit to Iraq: "In two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control . . . I think it's the responsibility of our government, internally to determine: Is there a change in course that we should take?  And I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time."  This as AFP reports on Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's trip to Vietnam which found him drawing some comparisons to Iraq and Vietnam and declaring "War should always be a last resort."  Reporting on the other side of the aisle, Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) notes that Democratic "U.S. House Reps. Neil Abercrombie and John Murtha say President Bush will have to mobilize all members of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve -- including 3,000 Hawaii citizen soldiers -- for an indefinite period.  There are not enough active-duty military to handle the current level of violence in Iraq, the two Democrats said yesterday.  That would affect Army National Guard units like Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team, which currently is not supposed to be mobilized for six years since returning from Iraq this year."
In peace news, across the United States people participated in demonstrations, rallies and marches as part of the World Can't Wait actions.  Whethere the turnout was ten people or in the hundreds, all demonstrations made a difference, had an impact and was made up of people willing to stand up.  We're going to note some of the events, not all.  Over 200 locations took part and what follows is a sample of some events reported by the press.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that an estimated 40 people turned out in Reno, carrying signs that read "Vote for change," "I believe in our Constitution, why doesn't Bush?," "Where is the plan?" and U.S. Out of Iraq."  Adam Leech (Portsmouth Herald) reports that at least fifty turned out in Portsmouth, Maine and he quotes Vietnam vet Brian Vawter saying, "I think we're all pretty fed up with what's going on iwth the decline of our rights and the direction this country is going.  People have a need to express themselves directly because their view isn't being expressed by either partly in Washington right now."  Sam Shawver (Marietta Times) reports that ten people turned out in Marietta, Ohio and quotes two: James Gawthrop stating, "I just learned about a few days ago, but my hands were shaking over the 'torture bill' Congress passed last Thursday.  Now the Bush administration can detain anybody suspected of being a terrorist indefinitely.  They can use secret evidence to hold you.  They can even use torture"; and Janie Poe who wore a CODEPINK t-shirt to the demonstration stating, "I've been talking with many young people, and I'm impressed.  Listen to young people.  They're very concerned about their future, and they're very informed."  [Poe urged people to support Amnesty USA and speak out against torture.] In the previous, that's a hundred people who stood up (more if press estimates are off).
In Florida, John Simpson (Bradenton Herald) reports that 150 people turned out in Sarasota to demonstrate and quotes Naomi Nye: "People are fed up.  The tide is definitely turning."  Simpson also notes 82-year-old Sara Dick who stated, "We're in even more danger (now).  In some areas, there are more rights, but we're always slipping and sliding backwards."  Christian Hill (The Olympian) reports that an estimated 300 people gathered in Olympia, Washington and quotes college student Brandon Franz stating, "The people of America are supposed to have the voice in what's done, not the ruling elite" and Kirsten Anderson who states, "I'm doing this for my grandchildren.  I'm a little old to have it be for me, and it's the ones comping up that I care about.  It's their country, too, especially now."  Summer Banks (Yale Daily News) reports that an estimated 60 people participated near campus and notes one was "[l]ocal resident and self-proclaimed Republican housewife Monica McGovern" who stated, "I am calling for Bush to step down or for Congress to impeach him.  I would like to see him indicted for war crimes."  Beth Freed (Dallas Morning News) reports that an estimated forty people participated in Lewisville, Texas resulting in "slowed southbound traffic on Interstate 35E . . . . Many commuters honked in support of the peace demonstrators outside the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, while others slowed to express their disagreement" and quotes Nikki Henderson stating, "We as Americans should not tolerate decisions like last week's legislation.  It allows Bush to interpret the Geneva Conventions on his own."
Big or small turnouts, people stood up.  They stopped their normal day to speak out. 
Louis Medina (The Bakersfield California) reports an estimated seventy-five activists were particiapting by the end of the events and quotes college student Araceli Aguilar stating, "I came here to protest the Bush administration.  I don't agree with what they're doing.  I don't agree with the war, which they said is over, yet we still have our troops there and they're dying."  Melissa Nix (The Free Lance Star) reports that, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, an estimated two dozen students of the University of Mary Washington participated and quotes college student Jason Walsh who held 268 pages listing the names of American troops who had died in Iraq, "That's a small book.  It's a waste, because no one's going to read it.  No one cares about these soldiers except their families."  OregonLive reports that a little less than 400 people participated in Portland's march.   In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lubna Takruri (AP) reports that "dozens" turned out and the mayor, David Coss, spoke to the group.
A mayor, students, retired people, those who work in the home, those who work outside it (and those working outside frequently also work inside), a wide range of people took part.  Patrick Flanigan (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) reports that an estimated "150 people gathered in downtown Rochester [New York] on Thursday to protest President Bush's handling of the war on terror and the mounting death toll in Iraq" and quotes Donna Mummery: "Our country is about to embark on a very dangerous course.  By taking to the streets on a work day, you are saying enough is enough."  Also in New York, Alice Hunt (Poughkeepsie Journal) reports that activists gathered in New Paltz and quotes Josh Schulman stating, "Our first step is to initiate that dialogue and permeat the mass media with the message Bush does not speak for many Americans."  While in NYC, Chelsea Cooley (Washington Square News) reports: "Hundreds of protesters packed the streets yesterday, marching 33 blocks from the United Nations building at First Avenue and 47th Street to Union Square, chanting their message: 'Drive out the Bush regime!'"
In one of the largest reported turnouts, Emma Graves Fitzsimmons, Brendan McCarthy and Rudy Bush (Chicago Tribune) report that an estimated 1,500 people turned out in Chicago and quotes college student Rebecca Miller on skipping class to attend, "It's just one class.  I can always make up the homework.  This is more important." and Thyandrea Adams who shut down her business to be present, "I told them not to come into work today.  This is a day that's important.  It was worth it to show support from our community."  In Seattle, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports "several hundreds" turned out and Barber quotes Patricia Thompson who brought "her 82-year-old father" because, "He is horrified at the mess they made of Iraq.  Weapons of mass destruction was a snow job.  We never finished in Afghanistan.  It's an absolute shambles of incompetency and profiteering." 
In San Francisco, Dennis Bernstein and Nora Barrows Friedman covered the event for
KPFA's Flashpoints on Thursday (broadcast archived -- if you can listen online, you can hear it for free), Charles Slay (San Francisco Indybay Media) has created a photo essay, and John Koopman, Patrick Hoge and Marisa Lagos (San Francisco Chronicle) report on the "hundres" (it was well over a thousand) and notes 17-year-old Jessica Cussins, among the many who left campuses to attend, stating, "I felt that this was more useful.  I wanted to be part of it.  I think what we're doing (in Iraq) is wrong."  Alice Walker is quoted stating: "I just want the children to know that some of the elders are with them, and that we're very happy they are speaking out and saving their own lives by resisting the Bush regime."  [You can also check out Mike's "Blue Angels buzzing rally and power cut (San Francisco)" which relays Jess reporting via cellphone.]
Ehren Watada was not in Salem, Oregon yesterday but he was remembered.  Tim King (Salem-News) reports that among those participating in their local World Can't Wait demonstrations ("between 75 and 100") was Reed Elder who urged that everyone check out Ehren Watada's website and that other "soldiers who also don't agree withe the direction of the nation" should be speaking out.
Bob Watada, Ehren's father, is now on his second speaking tour to raise awareness of his son who is the first US officer to publicly refuse to serve in the illegal war.  Some of the upcoming events include:
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:
Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:
Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach
Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm.  First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:
A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found  here.  More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
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NYT: Rice's plane circles Baghdad, unable to land (Philp Shenon)

Wearing a helmet and a flak jacket and flanked by machine-gun-toting bodyguards to defend against insurgents, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came here Thursday, insisting that there were new signs of progress in Iraq and that the Bush administration had never sugarcoated its news about the American occupation.

The above is from Philip Shenon's "Rice, in Baghdad, Insists That Iraqis Are 'Making Progress'" in this morning's New York Times and why is it always important to mainstream reporters to note what Condi Rice is wearing? Fortunately, the article goes beyond the "fashion" report so many Rice filings are:

Yet signs of progress were not much in evidence in the first hours of her visit.
It began inauspiciously when the military transport plane that brought her to Baghdad was forced to circle the city for about 40 minutes because of what a State Department spokesman later said was either mortar fire or rockets at the airport.
On Thursday evening, during her meeting with President Jalal Talabani, the lights went out, forcing Ms. Rice to continue the discussion in the dark. It was a reminder of the city's erratic -- and sometimes nonexistent -- electrical service.
She arrived in the midst of an especially bloody few days for American troops. At least 21 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq since Saturday, most in Baghdad. Two car bombings in the city on Thursday left at least four Iraqi civilians dead.
The extraordinary security precautions for Ms. Rice’s trip here -- her first to Iraq in six months, her fifth as secretary of state -- were evidence of continuing turmoil in Iraq three years after the American ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Shenon notes that after finally landing, military helicopters whisked Rice to "to the heavily fortified American-controlled Green Zone, bypassing the dangerous, explosives-strewn airport highway into the city." Three years after the beginning of the illegal war, four years this coming March. The realities of Iraq include that Rice's plane can't land for forty minutes and when it does, she must avoid the highway others travel.

Martha notes Robin Wright's "Rice Pushes Iraqis to Defuse Violence" (Washington Post):

During the dinner, Iraq's parliamentary speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, suggested to Rice that U.S. troops reoccupy Baghdad, where the government's new security plan has made limited progress, according to both Iraqi and U.S. participants. Mashhadani, the leading Sunni Arab in government, until recently had denounced the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq.
[. . .]
In a reflection of the deteriorating security situation here, Rice's plane was forced to circle Baghdad for nearly an hour before landing because of a mortar attack near the airport.
Violence continued to rage across Iraq, with at least 35 people killed or found dead in separate incidents across the country, police said.

The U.S. military announced that two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 were killed in combat Wednesday in Anbar province, the volatile Sunni insurgent stronghold. And a Kurdish member of parliament, Mohammed Ridah Sinkawi, was assassinated by militia members in northeast Baghdad on Thursday night, according to Mohammed Abu Bakr, another Kurdish legislator.

No 'liberation' in sight. Just continued chaos and violence and it's not getting any better, not even with Condi rushing over to strong arm the puppet government. The 'crackdown' provided additional violence, not security. The puppet's four-part 'peace' plan is so embarrassing that reporters avoid noting the third plank (the death of press freedom) and try to rush in to credit him for 'security councils' which, in fact, were already established by local communities before he decided to 'think up' the idea.

Things just continue to get worse and, on that note, Lloyd highlights Sudarsan Raghavan's "Another Freedom Cut Short" (Washington Post):

The cleric's young men fanned out across the neighborhood, moving from shop to shop, posting the new religious decrees.
Printed neatly on white-and-green fliers, the edicts banned vices like "music-filled parties and all kinds of singing." They proscribed celebratory gunfire at weddings and "the gathering of young men" in front of markets and girls' schools. Also forbidden were the "selling of liquor and narcotic drugs" and "wearing improper Western clothes."

But at the bottom of the list of prohibitions was a single command. Scrawled in green ink, it read simply: "Cut hair."
"I feel powerless," lamented Moataz Hussein, 22, a wiry, soft-voiced teacher seated in a hair salon on the main road of the Tobji neighborhood on Sunday. His long, stylish black hair was now a recent memory. "They are controlling my life."
Amid the sectarian strife plaguing Baghdad, a wave of religious fundamentalism is curbing personal freedoms and reshaping the daily lives of Iraqis who have long enjoyed one of the most liberal lifestyles in the Arab world. The measures speak to a central question dangling over the future of Iraq: Can it remain a secular nation at a time when religion is exerting a powerful influence on every aspect of life, from politics to the mundane elements of society?

And it's that kind of reality that leads to the reaction noted by David S. Cloud's "Senator Says U.S. Should Rethink Iraq Strategy" (New York Times):

The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee warned Thursday that the situation in Iraq was "drifting sideways" and said that the United States should consider a "change of course" if violence did not diminish soon.
The chairman, Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, expressed particular concern that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had not moved decisively against sectarian militias.
"In two or three months if this thing hasn't come to fruition and this level of violence is not under control, I think it's a responsibility of our government to determine: Is there a change of course we should take?" Senator Warner said.
He did not specify what shift might be necessary in Iraq, but he said that the American military had done what it could to stabilize Iraq and that no policy options should be taken "off the table." He was speaking at a Capitol Hill news conference after returning from a Middle East trip that included a one-day visit to Baghdad.
His comments underscored the growing misgivings of even senior Republicans about the situation in Iraq. They also appeared to be a warning to the Bush administration that it might have to consider different approaches after the November midterm elections.

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World Can't Wait link-fest

Hundreds of people called the Bush administration's policies a crime and held up yellow police tape in front of the White House on Thursday amid a nationwide day of protest against the president.
The 500 demonstrators were among many who gathered for similar events in more than 200 cities to protest Bush on issues ranging from global warming to the war in Iraq.
"We are turning the corner in bringing forward a mass movement of resistance to drive out the Bush regime," said organizer Travis Morales with the activist group World Can't Wait.

The above is from Lubna Takruri's "Thousands nationwide protest Bush" (AP via Sierra Times) and this is a link-fest to note some of the World Can't Wait events across the country from yesterday. The AP story is running all over the world so we started with that. From Tan Vinh's "Administration foes step out statewide" (Seattle Times):

Scores of anti-war activists, environmentalists and high-school students marched from the University of Washington campus to Capitol Hill and then to downtown Seattle Thursday, berating President Bush for everything from his management of the Iraq war to the handling of Hurricane Katrina.
Across the state, more than 250 related demonstrations were held, including rallies in Bellingham, Everett, Tacoma, Olympia, Wenatchee and Spokane, said organizers of the National Day of Mass Resistance. They said protests also were held as far away as Switzerland and Nepal.
In Seattle, police arrested three protesters for investigation of obstruction, resisting arrest and assault in connection with "some kind of altercation with officers at the scene," said police spokeswoman Debra Brown. Officers said one man carried a rifle wrapped in a blanket to a rally at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.
Overall, authorities called the rallies peaceful. Demonstrators did cause traffic congestion around 4 p.m. at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, where the protest was to end at midnight with a sit-in.

At San Francisco Bay Indymedia, Charles Slay's "World Can't Wait March and Rally" is a photo essay. Not all participants are pictured. For instance, the Blue Angels apparently wanted to register their opposition to the administration by buzzing the rally in F-16s. Moving on to Alice Hunt's "Peace activists hold anti-Bush festival" (Poughkeepsie Journal):

Political activists, peace advocates and curious community members gathered at the "Sick-Of-Bush" festival Thursday in New Paltz's Hasbrouck Park.
The goal was to get people talking, said Josh Schulman, one of the organizers and co-chairman of the Kingston chapter of World Can't Wait, a national organization whose motto is "drive out the Bush regime."
Activities included music, poetry readings, speeches, a "kvetching parade" and teach-ins.
Organized by local chapters of World Can't Wait, the festival was one of more than 200 held in communities nationwide.
New Paltz residents Ellen Pitt and Julie Tresco thumbed through a pile of petitions and informational pamphlets on a table at the festival.

From John Simpson's "Protestors ready for Cheney" (Bradenton Herald):

About 150 anti-Iraq war and anti-George Bush demonstrators rallied in Sarasota on Thursday. Some of them said they'll be back today with the same disapproving message for visiting Vice President Dick Cheney.
The demonstrators, from Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Sarasota and Port Charlotte, joined others rallying Thursday in more than 200 cities. The protests were coordinated by World Can't Wait, an organization seeking to drive Bush from office.
At 10:30 a.m. today, Naomi Nye, who organized a Sarasota chapter of World Can't Wait group three weeks ago, and other protesters plan to line up along U.S. 41 to greet Cheney as he arrives in support of congressional candidate Vern Buchanan.
Nye's group will assemble at the Municipal Auditorium along U.S. 41 between 10th Street and Boulevard of the Arts.
Call Thursday's rally a warmup.
"We didn't plan it that way," protester Julia Aires said laughing. "But it just kinda' dropped in our laps. We want to send a message - not just to Cheney - but to our fellow citizens to empower them and tell them to stand up. We want the country and the planet to go in a different direction."
Earlier this week, Sally Tibbetts, communications director for the Buchanan campaign, said Buchanan supports the president in the war in Iraq and called it a key element of the war on terror.
Stretching from Bayfront Drive to U.S. 41, the demonstrators Thursday brandished their banners, signs and flags in an effort "to get the wheels rolling to oust the Bush administration," Nye said. Later about 60 people marched down Main Street and were greeted with waves from business owners and honking horns from passers-by.
"People are fed up. The tide is definitely turning," Nye said.
Others agreed, like Sarah Dick, 82, but she said much of the American public today prefers to be uninvolved.

Hopefully you weren't "uninvolved" yesterday. People in Chicago took to the streets -- Emma Graves Fitzsimmons, Brendan McCarthy and Rudy Bush's "1,500 join Bush protest in Loop" (Chicago Tribune):

Many of the protesters marching through downtown Thursday against the Bush administration were veteran activists, but the demonstration was a first for Gina Latinovich.After learning of the event from a leaflet at a farmers market, the housewife from River Forest and her 11-year-old daughter attended their first protest together.
"I've been feeling hopeless about the war and global warming, and I realized I couldn't wait anymore," said Latinovich, 49.
Police estimated that about 1,500 people attended Chicago's march from Grant Park to Federal Plaza Thursday afternoon during a day of national protests in more than 100 cities called "World Can't Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime."
Although the protesters had a shared distaste for the Bush administration, the name of the march held a different meaning for each one. Latinovich said it meant criminal investigations into Bush policies such as the Iraq war, wiretapping and the use of torture. For others, it meant everything from impeachment to the Democrats winning November congressional elections.
Rebecca Miller, a freshman at Columbia College, missed her afternoon cultural anthropology class to attend the rally because she said she feared the Iraq war was only breeding more terrorism. She said she hoped young people would vote to push the Republicans out of Congress to put a check on the president.
"It's just one class. I can always make up the homework," Miller, 18, said as the march left Grant Park. "This is more important."

And in New York, they made themselves heard. From Chelsea Cooley's "Students join anti-Bush march at U.N." (NY's Washington Square News):

Hundreds of protesters packed the streets yesterday, marching 33 blocks from the United Nations building at First Avenue and 47th Street to Union Square, chanting their message: "Drive out the Bush regime!"
Police barriers lined the entire path, preventing the protesters -- including many NYU students -- from overtaking the streets and sidewalks. Throughout the ranks, signs read "Bush Is a War Criminal" and "Torture Is Evil." Children, college students, adults and elderly people all participated in the demonstration sponsored by the World Can't Wait organization, a group dedicated to driving out the Bush administration.
Actor Mark Ruffalo, who also participated in the event, said students should act out against Bush because "it's their world being destroyed."
Many activists who did not participate in the march downtown were present for events at the U.N. plaza beforehand. At noon, masses of curious onlookers congregated to listen to songs and speeches condemning President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Protesters who took the mic at the plaza discussed topics including the 16 activists who were arrested for civil disobedience during Bush’s speech at the same location on Sept. 19.

And will close with Mike Barber's "Hundreds protest 'Bush Regime'" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) because Seattle's media covered this and Barber's name should be one we remember from his coverage of war resisters Ehren Watada and Ricky Clousing:

One was Linda Boyd, a Clyde Hill mom and housewife. Another was Linda Strader, a West Seattle real estate agent. Patricia Thompson, a Seattle legal assistant, turned out with her law firm.
They were among several hundred protesters who rallied all day in Seattle against President Bush on Thursday, one of about 200 coordinated demonstrations nationwide organized by World Can't Wait -- Drive Out the Bush Regime. The day began at the University of Washington, moved to 11th Avenue and Olive Way on Capitol Hill and eventually to an all-night rally in front of the federal building downtown.
[. . .]
Asked what motivated them to protest, nearly everyone in attendance cited a litany of reasoned, passionate concerns -- the conduct of the war in Iraq, domestic spying, erosion of civil liberties and the botched federal response to Hurricane Katrina. They said Bush's recent signing of a bill authorizing tough detainee interrogation amounts to legalizing torture.
"I'm probably the only Realtor out here," Strader, 53, said of the first demonstration she has attended in her life. "I just decided today to put my convictions where my mouth is."
Having grown up an "Army brat," Strader said she has sympathy for troops she thinks are being misused by being ordered to fight in Iraq. She also said she is "mad and scared that someone could come into my home due to my convictions," referring to her fears of domestic spying and that the Constitution has been eroded during the Bush administration.

Across the country, demonstrations and rallies went on yesterday. In case they aren't noted (and they probably won't be), we did a link-fest to note some of them.

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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.

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