We tip our hat this week to Army Lt. Ehren Watada and the dozens of uniformed military men and women like him who have declared themselves conscientious objectors to the Iraq war.
You can see a list of many of those who have refused to deploy to Iraq here.
Watada's case is of particular importance, however: Not only was he the first uniformed officer to resist his deployment, but his legal struggle is shaping up as an indictment of the war itself. His lawyers argued before a military judge this week that they should be allowed to present evidence that the war is illegal--because it violates U.N. guidelines. Read about this landmark legal fight here.
The above, noted by Cindy, is from Truthdig's "Truthdiggers of the Week: The Conscientious Objectors" and it's an excerpt. Cindy just e-mailed the highlight and wondered if it was too late to go in this morning? I'd already started with the Times, but it's better to start with what's important so I've reworked this entry. And applause to Truthdig for recognizing Ehren Watada and other war resisters. (And thanks to Cindy for noting it.) Ruth's going to be covering Ehren Watada in her report (which should go up today but will go up no later than Sunday) so I'll just note that his pre-trial hearing heard testimony on Thursday, the judge appears to be leaning towards not allowing Ehren Watada to mount a strong defense (despite the fact that, if court-martialed and found guilty of all charges, he would be facing six years in prison) but has noted that the charge based on his statements (the "conduct unbecoming an officer") appears to leave open the avenue to exploring Ehren Watada's reasons ("motive") for his actions. The judge is expected to issue an opinion next week and the court-martial is scheduled to begin February 5th.
Now for the New York Times. Today's paper features not one but two "Man in the News." Help me out here, does the Times ever offer "Woman in the News"? Was Nancy Pelosi, for instance, greeted with a "Woman in the News" 'analysis' for becoming the first woman to lead the House of Representatives?
I'm not remembering it and "Man in the News" seems a bit 20th century (if not 19th) but it does allow them to get all dry mouthed over officials. (Scott Shane over Ryan Crocker, Helene Cooper over Zalmay Take Me Away.) After returning home last night, I was sorting the recycelables and came across the final Sunday Times magazine for 2006. We'll be picking that up at The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow but let's note that their idea of 'inclusive' is far from 'inclusive' and while it shouldn't fall only on the shoulders of women and persons of color to note that, that those who fall into that category at the paper have allowed their co-workers to present a very distorted, very White, very male, view of the world. "I just work there" doesn't cut it after a period of time and I think we've reached that point.
Now let's delve into the latest from war pornographer Michael Gordon. In "A New Commander, in Step With the White House on Iraq" he strokes his war-on yet again:
Before the selection of General Petraeus, there was some doubt about whether the top Iraq commander would be an enthusiastic executor of the new strategy President Bush is preparing to unveil next week -- one that could send 20,000 new troops to Iraq. Now, the White House will have an articulate officer to champion and shape that strategy, an important asset for an administration that has decided to buck the tide of public opinion by deepening the American military involvement in Iraq. While some Democratic lawmakers have insisted that any increase be limited to a few months, neither the While House nor General Petraeus would support such a deadline.
"While some Democratic lawmakers have insisted that any increase be limited to a few months" others have insisted that it not occur at all. A point Gordo can't grasp because he types with one hand and has the other shoved down the front of his pants. You never hear about those others in any porn Gordo pecks out with his free hand, he's too dizzy from the war and stroking it the way he does his weak member.
Also left out of the equation is whether Americans will have "an important asset" because you can write like the US version of Pravada and note the citizens' concerns; however, you can dismiss them as intellecutally dazed and confused:
To many civilians, the military seems monolithic. But in fact, there has been a lively debate behind the scenes about the best way to achieve the United States' objectives in Iraq -- or at least to preserve a measure of stability as sectarian passions threaten to engulf the country.
Gordo's so full of it. There is no stated objective and only a stupid jerk off would argue that there was. Gordo, tell us what the United States' objectives in Iraq currently are. You don't even have to go over the ever changing (ever disproved) earlier objectives, just tell the readers what the current objectives are because the fact of the matter is that they are undefined.
His garbage stinks up the paper and, hopefully, years from now an executive-editor of the paper will have to issue a (weak ass) apology that the paper ever printed his nonsense while Gordo is in some clinic seeking a cure for war/sex addiction.
We could go through the entire article noting how removed from reality it is but I don't look at porn in my personal life and I've had enough of it today from the paper. (For those confused by the title, the paper is delivered, to subscribers, in a blue plastic bag. Michael Gordon should be delivered in a brown wrapper.)
In the real world, Lloyd wonders if the shuffling of the deck indicates the US government is siding with Shi'ites (as attacks on Sunnis, especially the murder of six people in the attack on the NDF this week seem to indicate). He steers us to Joshua Partlow's "Iraqi Politicians Divided Over U.S. Envoy: Khalilzad's Expected Departure Pleases Shiites, Worries Sunnis" (Washington Post):
The news of the expected departure of U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad split Iraqi politicians along sectarian lines, with members of the ruling Shiite alliance voicing eagerness for him to leave and minority Sunnis expressing concern at the loss of an ally.
Members of the U.S.-backed government in Iraq have grown increasingly frustrated with what they see as Khalilzad's efforts to reach out to Sunni groups, and many argue that the U.S. military confronts Shiite militias more aggressively than it does Sunni insurgents.
For strong criticism of the New York Times, please read Matthew Rothschild's "A Journalistic Bias Toward Acquiescence" (This Just In, The Progressive). He's addressing how the paper sells war, here's a taste:
There's a sick collusion going on in Washington.
And I'm not talking about the corporate lobbyists and the elected officials who represent them.
No, I’m talking about centrist Democrats and the hack journalists who cover them.
You could see this collusion in a so-called "News Analysis" piece by Carl Hulse of The New York Times of January 5.
The headline was a big clue: "For Democrats, a Choice: Forward or Reverse?"
Let's see now. What's got a more positive connotation?
It's not reverse.
Turning to radio. Rachel notes there's nothing on The Next Hour in the e-mail sent out this week. (Before e-mails come in on why it's not noted.) But in addition to CAT RADIO CAFE it notes a Monday evening broadcast that I think many will be interested in (and I'm betting Rebecca will blog on -- probably Tuesday due to the broadcast hour). Both programs are broadcast on WBAI (over the airwaves in the NYC area and online everywhere), the times given are EST:
Monday, January 8, 2-3pm
CAT RADIO CAFE
Curator Sabine Rewald on "Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the1920's," now showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; actress Kate Lardner on her book "Shut Up He Explained: The Memoir of a Blacklisted Kid"; and muses of the revolution Rick Burkhardt and Andy Gricevich, aka The Prince Myshkins. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.
Monday, January 8, 9-11pm
THEATER SPECIAL: THAW ON THE AIR
Member theater companies of THAW (Theatres Against War) perform an evening of dramatic readings curated by Cynthia Croot.
Janet Coleman always does interviews worth hearing (and isn't afraid to tell a guest, "Don't go there" in nicer terms -- I'm thinking specifically of a 2005 interview where a guest attempted to introduce a propaganda element about the war and Coleman corrected it on air -- rightly corrected it) but, I want to note, Kate Lardner's book was a very strong, moving read and if you read it, you'll want to hear the interview. If you didn't read it, the interview should have searching out the book. Also, pay attention to the Monday special program, I think a lot of members will be interested in that.
RadioNation with Laura Flanders? Saturday offers up Leslie Cagan of United for Peace & Justice as well as Laurie Arbeiter and Caroline Parker ("of ‘The Critical Voice’, an affinity group of Artists against the War") and Raed Jarrar who was one of the few covering the attack on the NDF this week. Sunday's show offers:
SARA RICH, the mother of SPC SUZANNE SWIFT who was finally released from her 30-day sentence of military confinement this week. On our media roundtable, independent journalist SARAH OLSON, who will also tell us why she objects to testifying against Lieutenant Ehren Watada, whose court martial is in pre-hearings and JOANNE LEVINE, Executive Producer of Programming in the Americas at Al-Jazeera. In our final hour JOHN DEAN, the former White House Counsel, and author of several books, including, "The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court;" on late Judge William Rehnquist’s dark secrets, which were revealed this week when the FBI opened his files.
Both broadcasts air live from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST and can be heard online, on XM radio or on Air America Radio.
And the following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:
Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot:
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen
Kendrick picked the highlight from Margaret Kimberley's latest, "Saddam Takes The Fall" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report). For any visitor who is thinking of e-mailing a complaint of, "I have noted Saddam stories repeatedly since (last Saturday, two months ago, three months ago, a year ago . . .), we're not interested. However, we do try to highlight each of Kimberley's Freedom Rider's columns and this being her topic, she gets to circumvent the rule. Here's the excerpt Kendrick picked:
If there was justice in the world Saddam would not have gone to the gallows alone. His fair weather friend Rummy should have joined him. He was recently fired from his Defense Secretary post, but he isn’t in danger from a hangman’s noose. Too bad. He has just as much blood on his hands as Saddam.A civilized nation would never have had anything to do with Saddam Hussein. Saddam’s rise to power came about only with American support. Saddam knew the secret to being on Uncle Sam’s evil but useful list. He was willing to kill anyone America didn’t like. In 1959 Iraqi prime minister Abdel Qassim was targeted for death by Saddam and a group of incompetent would be assassins.
The assassination plot failed, but Saddam's new friends in the CIA helped him escape Iraq and make his way to Syria, Lebanon and finally Egypt. He was able to stop running because he knew the words that were magic to Washington’s ears. He promised to help kill communists in the Iraqi government. In 1963 the Baath party, with the help of the CIA, killed Qassim. The rest is Saddam’s history.
Rumsfeld and his former bosses are war criminals too and they know it. That is why the current Bush administration removed over 8,000 pages from a United Nations report that documented Americas involvement in Saddam’s weapons program.
"The missing pages implicated twenty-four U.S.-based corporations and the successive Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. administration in connection with the illegal supplying of Saddam Hussein government with myriad weapons of mass destruction and the training to use them."
Saddam is like thousands of common criminals sitting in jail. They hang out with a bad crowd but end up taking the fall while their accomplices go free. The evil dictator turned out to be no more savvy than the average stupid crook.
It is ironic that the list of evildoers always includes former U.S. allies who have fallen out of favor. Evil dictators beware. It is wisest to do your dictating without the support of an American president. Remember Saddam before signing on to any Faustian bargains.
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