Thursday, January 25, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

Unfortunately, the anti-war groups still seem afraid of alienating the media and so won’t bring anti-war demands and criticisms of their coverage to their doorsteps, Instead, and this is also worth considering, they are appealing to their supporters to write and call media outlets:

The above, noted by Billie, is from Danny Schechter "Your Daily Forum And More" (News Dissector). Using a highlight of Brad's, I was in the middle of this entry and junked it. It's a Third Estate Sunday Review feature (and will be noted there, I copied before junking it so we have a skeleton to build upon). But you know what? It's past time to start demanding media covers the peace movement. And, you know this is coming, I'm not even talking about big media. I'm talking about all of our 'friends' in little media who won't do a damn thing. Just like they refuse to write an editorial in support of Ehren Watada who's court-martial is February 5th. At what point do they grasp how angry people are at them? I don't think it's coming anytime soon. I think they'll have to do more bail outs (or try to, that well is drying up because of the ___ poor job they did in 2006 and little efforts to do better thus far this year) shortly. "Help us! Subscriptions are down!"

At least when they come begging, no one expects much out of them -- just for them to go on floundering -- day after day. Reporter? They can write about her. They can come out swinging for her (we'll have a feature on that at Third Sunday as well), but the war resister who is actually on trial? They just don't have a word to say, do they? So it will be interesting to see them come begging again. (Though some small media types, who have the money, might better prepare themselves for the question of, "And how much money are you putting in?" as well as the declines to donate.)

The Cowards Silence. That's the bulk of independent media today. And you may stflood the mainstream with requests and some may cover the peace movement but the fact remains that little media, especially print, won't. They're too interested in wasting everyone's time. As one independent media journalist (journalist, not play actor) said to me today, "Useless lives produce useless copy." I'd rush to copyright that but I seriously doubt it will replace, for instance, "Nobody owns The Nation" as a slogan.

Micah notes Edwin Fruit and Cecelia Moriarity's "U.S. soldier fights court-martialfor refusing to deploy to Iraq" (The Militant):

The U.S. Army will begin a court-martial February 5 against Lt. Ehren Watada for his outspoken opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Defenders of the rights of citizen-soldiers have been organizing public events in his defense. Watada, 28, faces dishonorable discharge and up to six years in military prison. He is the first commissioned officer to refuse to be deployed to Iraq. Some 340 people turned out here January 20-21 for a "Citizens Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq: The Case of Lt. Ehren Watada." It was held at Evergreen State College, which hosted the event.
Watada, who enlisted in 2003, has been stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, as part of the army’s 4,000-member Stryker Brigade. In January of last year he asked to resign his commission, writing, "It is my conclusion as an officer of the Armed Forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law." Watada's request was denied. On June 7 he publicly announced he would refuse any order to participate in the Iraq war.
The army has charged Watada with "missing movement" to Iraq and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." The latter charge is based on his public statements against the war.
On January 16, Army judge Lt. Col. John Head denied Watada's motion to defend himself on grounds that the Iraq war is illegal and that his speech against it is constitutionally protected.
Watada’s attorney, Eric Seitz, said, "The import of his ruling is that the military services may prosecute and punish everyone who merely expresses criticism or disagreement with official policy."

They're trying to shut down Watada. They're preventing him from making his argument in court. If you're against the war, chances are his argument is your argument. You may have come to the opinion that the war was illegal or immoral after him or before or at the same time, but what he's doing, very brave, is standing up.

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 Thursday, we noted AP's number for the US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3028. Currently? 3067 ("at least"). 39 more. Today the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier northwest of the Iraqi capital Jan 25." 39. Can you even tell it from the coverage? Bully Boy gave a Sate of the Union address and it was Oh-My-We-Must-Weigh-In. I mean, note it fine, but it's just a speech. ("More of the same," as Elizabeth de la Vega noted.) 30 dead. And where's the coverage?

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times was pushing the notion that corpses being found in Baghdad were on the decline. They aren't. It's just the reporting of them that is. (See the snapshots.) For the number found in Baghdad today, we'll note Laith Hammoudi's "Roundup of Violence in Iraq -- 25 January 2007" (McClatchy Newspapers):

42 anonymous bodies were found in Baghdad today.32 bodies were found in Karkh, the western part of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (5 bodies each in Kadhimiya, Baiyaa and Mamoon. 4 bodies each in Dora, Hay Al Amil and Al Khadraa. 2 bodies in Hurriya. 1 body each in Ghazaliya, Salhiya and Jeifer.) 10 bodies were found in Rosafa, the eastern part of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (3 bodies in Sadr city. 2 bodies each in Shaab, Husainiya and Baghdad Al Jadida. 1 body in Selikh.)

42. One day it was 50 (after the push from LA Times that the corpses had just dropped in numbers in Baghdad). There's always a pleasing tale to tell. Maybe you toss in "sniper alley" as a nickname for a residential area that's being slaughtered? Or maybe you just bore everyone with something that makes the progandists at least look like they're working at it.

I have no idea who the disc jockey was. We were trapped in a cab earlier today (no, not really trapped, but it felt that way) and some right-wing host was after Barbara Boxer and after this person and that, and lying about a private medical system, lying that the plan Hillary Clinton proposed way back when was socialized medicine, and lying about taxation (in this country), screeching about undocumented workers (no, he didn't use that term) taking over the country (the dee jay didn't sound Native American to me but apparently he did not descend from any immigrants) and then he got to what he really wanted to talk about. (Seriously, that was about a minute and a half, all the things listed before.) Which was?

"Our boys." And his callers echoed it. Women are being deployed right now for the escalation -- leaving children -- but he and his caller couldn't shut up about "our boys." Women have died serving over ther, but it was "our boys, our boys, our boys." He was selling the war and he had to leave out the facts to do so. The "our boys" (that he repeated over and over) finally got him to a (fractured) history of past wars and how this wasn't Vietnam, this was nothing like Vietnam, "Our boys . . . our boys . . . our boys . . ." So as he invited his listeners to whatever planet he was living on, he kept repeating that (maybe he thought he could hypnotize with that phrase) and began expanding to the "silent majority."

Tricky Dick land. The "silent majority," according to the dee jay, was for this war. And the protests this weekend didn't matter because "the silent majority has spoken for our boys." The "silent majority" can't get invited to speak to Congress, he said, the silent majority can't get invited to speak on TV, he claimed, and the pollsters even avoid calling the silent majority. Apparently, instead of a zip code, they are designated with "SILENT MAJORITY" to tip of pollsters not to call them. As he continued repeating "our boys," he explained to his listeners that the Democrats have been in power long enough (they haven't even had control of Congress for a month yet but he told his listeners they've controlled everything for years) and, for "our boys," the mythical "silent majority" was going to rise up and make themselves heard.

His callers agreed with him. He said no more than 100 people would be in DC. (I'm sure when he 'reports' the event on Monday, he'll say only that number was there.) His callers went even lower.

So why do you need to turn out this weekend? Because you need to show listeners of people like that that they are being lied to. They're being lied to and the country has turned against the war. The peace movement (certianly not the print media of small media) created the space for the shift. We need to continue to do that.

So what can you do? You're not powerless and you can make your voice heard. Around the country Saturday, there will be events. DC is only one location. If you can make DC that's wonderful. But every event is important. And if there's nothing in your area, organize your own event. That's the only thing that's going to demonstrate that we're serious about ending the war.

Clark notes Adam Schreck and Valerie Reitman's "Peace protests are on tap" (Los Angeles Times):

Emboldened by the Democratic takeover of Congress and shrinking public support for the Iraq war, antiwar groups are planning what they hope will be a massive protest Saturday on the National Mall.
Similar events are planned in dozens of cities around the United States, with some of the largest expected in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Organizers said they aim to put pressure on both the White House and Congress to end the war.
"The message will be 'Mr. President, bring our troops home,' " said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., one of several politicians, activists and actors scheduled to speak in Washington.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, director of PUSH/Rainbow Coalition, one of the rally sponsors, is also scheduled to appear on the Mall, organizers said, as are Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, a longshot candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and actors Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.
"We're predicting this will be one of the largest demonstrations since the war began," said Leslie Cagan, national coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, the umbrella group organizing the Washington protest.

Again, events will be taking place all over and you may be surprised by some of the people participating. Kyle notes Susan Paynter's "It won't be just grayheads at Saturday's peace rally" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer):

Some of those who are convinced that we can change our destructive direction again -- who believe it strongly enough to get up off their glutes to march -- are the same indefatigable souls who protested that other war, bless 'em.
But a greener crop of objectors is being watered by the blood spilled since March of '03. Along with the gray hairs, they are the organizers of Saturday's march rallied by the January 27th Coalition to Bring the Troops Home Now.
It starts at 1 p.m. at the Center for Social Justice, 2111 E. Union St., moving to the Military Recruitment Center at 2301 S. Jackson St., then to the Langston Hughes Center at 104 17th Ave. S. at 3, where speakers will include Lt.
Ehren Watada. He'll face a court-martial Feb. 5 for his refusal to deploy to Iraq based on his claim that it is an illegal war.
Teen Peace and Youth Against War and Racism will be there along with Green Party members and Iraq Veterans Against the War. So will Hagopian, a middle school teacher recently graduated from the University of Washington. And, if his last name sounds familiar, he's the son of Amy Hagopian, the former school board member and activist who fiercely pushed against the presence of military recruiters in the halls of Seattle's high schools, including Garfield, where her son graduated in '97.
"My mom is my hero," Jesse Hagopian said -- something you don't hear every day.
True story: His mom was off to try to shut down the Trident submarine installation the day she found out she was pregnant with him. Just that once, she didn't go.

That's right, Ehren Watada. Gearing up for his court-martial and he's still standing and still standing up. Jesse Hagopian had his mother to set an example. Did you? If so or if not, don't you think you need to set an example as well? Where did Ehren Watada learn about standing up? From his parents Carolyn Ho and Bob Watada. Bob Watada's participating in events. From Michael E. Ruane's "Large Rally Planned Saturday on Mall" (Washington Post):

[Leslie] Cagan, the protest organizer, said Fonda was traveling yesterday and was unavailable for an interview, but "Jane Fonda is definitely coming. She is speaking at the rally and marching in the lead contingent."
Fonda is scheduled to be joined at the rally podium by Bob Watada, 67, of Honolulu, a retired executive with the state of Hawaii whose Army officer son,
Ehren, is to be court-martialed next month for refusing to deploy to Iraq.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is wholly unwarranted," Bob Watada said in a telephone interview. "The Iraqi people have done absolutely nothing to the United States. They've done nothing to deserve the massacre and the pummeling they're getting . . . the plunder, the torture, the rape, the murder of innocent people. It's got to stop."
Watada's son, a 28-year-old Army lieutenant based at Fort Lewis, Wash., "refused to deploy to Iraq after he found out that the president had lied to the country, lied to the military, about there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," the elder Watada said.
Watada said his son refused to get on a deployment plane in June and spoke out against the war. The younger Watada has been charged with "missing a movement" and conduct unbecoming an officer, his father said.
Watada said he plans to participate fully in Saturday's rally and march. "I got my plane tickets and hotel reservations, and I'll be there," he said.

And on the DC rally and march, Sabina forwarded this e-mail from CODEPINK:

We are packing our bags, jumping onto buses and trains and planes, flinging our pink boas around our necks, ready and excited to bring our Women Say No to War campaign to the streets of Washington, DC!
Women will be a powerful force at the massive
Mandate for Peace mobilization this Saturday, January 27-before the march, too, when we will join with Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Eve Ensler, Q'orianka Kilcher, Rhea Perlman, Mimi Kennedy, Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters, and other amazing women for a colorful and rowdy Women Say Pull Out convergence. We hope you'll join us!
"I have been walking the halls of Congress this week with Iraq veterans to help get them the health care and benefits they need and deserve. And I'll be back on Saturday to join the anti-war march and encourage all Americans to come out and engage. Let's show we really care about our troops by bringing them home now and taking care of them when they get here."
-- Susan Sarandon

President Bush's State of the Union address only drives home why we need to take to the streets this Saturday. As much as he spoke of "hope and opportunity" for America's future Tuesday night, Bush is squandering our truest hopes and opportunities by funneling so much money into an unnecessary war.
This recent
graphic in the NY Times highlights how recklessly our tax dollars are being used. We are pouring $200 billion dollars into the war in Iraq, while universal health care for everyone in the country without insurance would cost just half that amount. Universal preschool would only cost our country $35 billion. Immunizing the entire world's children against diseases such as measles and diphtheria would cost $0.6 billion.
We can't let this madness continue.
Join us on January 27 to say No More Funding for War! Bring Our Troops Home Now! We will use our feet and our lungs and our signs and our outrage to let Bush and our new Congress know that we are serious about ending this war.
If you can't make it to DC, see if there is a
solidarity event being planned in your area. If not, create your own, even if that means standing alone on a street corner with a sign! In lieu of lobbying, you can call your Congressperson to demand they cut the funding for George Bush's War. Our voices are powerful, wherever we may be geographically. We know peace is the only real path to hope and opportunity for this country. Together we will make it happen.
With peace and excitement,

Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Liz, Medea, Nancy, Patricia, Rae, Samantha, and Sonia

Now some people can't make it to DC. Hopefully, you can attend an event in your area. If not, you can create one. Rebecca obviously can't travel (due to her pregnancy) so she'll have friends and family over to watch and discuss The Ground Truth. Your situation may be similar. But if you can't make it to DC, even if you're doing an event in your own area, there's one more thing you can do. I wasn't aware of this event at all until I was reading the e-mail:

Dear friends,
I just joined a global virtual peace march demanding that the new US Congress stop President Bush's escalation in Iraq and demand a real peace plan, and I thought you might be interested. Please see the email below.
Subject: Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!
This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today!
This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!
With hope,
Ricken, Paul, Tom, Rachel, Galit, Lee-Sean and the rest of the Ceasefire Campaign (now! ) Team

FYI, Rebecca couldn't log into Blogger/Blogspot. She posted at Elaine's site. Click here to read her post tonight. (She hopes to cross-post if she can ever log into her account.)

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