Thursday, March 01, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

There is no ethnic group in the United States that has a greater interest in immediate withdrawal from Iraq and impeachment of George Bush, than African Americans. And, based on voting patterns, there is no doubt that more Blacks than anyone else would favor impeachment and immediate Iraq withdrawal, if asked. Nevertheless, most whites and far too many Blacks would fail to list impeachment and Iraq withdrawal as critical Black issues -- right up there with Katrina and the bread-and-butter issues of jobs, housing, health care, and education.
The imperative to "ghettoize" Black issues derives from two, parallel sources. Whites generally tend to claim all issues as their own, by default, unless dramatically and indisputably linked to African Americans -- such as the emptying out of Black New Orleans. Among a certain proportion of Blacks, a lingering Jim Crow-era mentality continues to confine their political vision to issues directly related to racial segregation and specific Black problems of upward mobility. Thus, in such afflicted and conflicted Black minds, the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency rates higher on the Black issues scale than immediate withdrawal from Iraq or impeachment of the current thief in the White House. Barack Obama, of course, shows no interest in either impeaching George Bush or getting out of Iraq any time soon.

Yet, if the Iraq war is allowed to continue, none of the economic issues on the Black political agenda -- the rebuilding of the cities, massive job creation and training, a thorough overhaul of education, truly universal national health care -- none of these goals can even begin to be achieved, because the national treasury will have already been stolen.

The above, noted by Kendrick, is from Glen Ford's "The Black Stake in Iraq Withdrawal and Bush Impeachment" (Black Agenda Report) which you can read (in full, that's an excerpt above) online or listen to online. In adiditon, as Black Agenda Radio, it is broadcast over the airwaves. A visitor e-mailed wanting to know why we didn't do more to highlight his favorite candidate in the Democratic primary (that's really not underway, but whatever)? We're not a horserace site. But his candidate is Hillary Clinton so I'll toss this out to him a tip and a question:

1) Bob Somerby's following the press coverage of Hillary Clinton (and others) at The Daily Howler.

2) Katha Pollitt took CODEPINK to task for bird dogging Hillary (wrongly, I believe). Will she now devote a column to why The Nation has been running a poll asking readers to pick Hillary's most negative quality? There's been no poll of any other candidate thus far. "What's Hillary Clinton's greatest weakness as a presidential candidate?" That's the question and before some idiot wants to pipe up that the sixth and final choice is 'positive' ("She has no significant negatives: This woman is going to win."), they need to take a methodology class to grasp the importance of placement of potential responses.

Mia notes Tina Richards' "Demoralizing the Troops?" (CounterPunch):

When I told him why I was in D.C. and not Missouri, he hung his head low and shook it back and forth. He told me of the year before when he was in Iraq. He told me about a buddy who was injured in an explosion. His friend was from Michigan and had dreamed of being a policeman, like his dad, his whole life. Just before his dad had died of cancer, he had left him a knife. Not an expensive knife, but one with great sentimental value. As his fellow soldier was being evacuated, he asked him to hold on to the knife. "You never know what's going to happen." He wanted it safe. He promised to return it to his brother-in-arms. . . .
He kept his promise. When they met up, his friend couldn't move his arm from the battle injury. He couldn't become a cop either. "Now he's a security guard, making $10 an hour and has to pay for his own car and gas."
The VA only gave him 10% disability, $200 a month. "What kind of life is that?" the soldier asked me.
Demoralized? You bet. Not from photos on the Washington Post or Democrats and Republicans arguing about what direction to take. But from one soldier seeing how a fellow brother-in-arms is being treated by their own government after they honorable serve, risking life and limb, doing everything asked of them. Promises broken.

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, AP's number for the US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3150. Tonight? 3163 is the AP count. That doesn't include Friday's announcement from the US military (it's Friday in Iraq): "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed Wednesday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

Meanwhile, Congress decides non-action is action. (Not unlike passing off a standard report on a NYT columnist speaking as 'student activism.' Yes, I read all the e-mails about it and, no, we won't link to the nonsense that The Nation is attempting to pass off as "student activism." They have disgraced themselves even further -- and who would have bet that was possible? FYI, that was only one article passing itself off as representing student activism -- it stands out -- but others are being noted in the e-mails.)

Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessing appeared on KPFA's Flashpoints tonight and spoke with Dennis Bernstein: "There is no military solution, there is no good outcome from the US military occupation continuing, it's only going to make more deaths. So we're at that moment where we're at that moment again where, I think, the majority of people at all levels of this country understand that there is no military solution and yet we have Congress not doing what it needs to do -- which is to cut the funds for continuing the war and bring the troops home. So we as military families and together with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War will continue to be building the movement. And I've said it before on this program and I'll say it again, we do understand that it's never been a politician that's ended a war it's always been a social movement and so our goal is to build our movement as strong as it needs to be to get Congress to do what it needs to do."

Lessing also noted an open letter to Congress released today:

We are asking that, as leaders in Congress, you exercise leadership. Your voice is needed now more than ever. Tell the American people the truth about President Bush's funding request. President Bush is not asking for more funds for the troops. He is asking for more funds to continue a war that should never have happened, a war that is killing so many U.S. service members and leaving even more physically and psychologically damaged on a daily basis. This is a war that has killed untold numbers of Iraqis, is draining our national treasure and cultivating a growing hatred against our nation.
Hope, a rare commodity for us these days, is even harder to find within the current morass of non-binding resolutions and rhetorical statements in Congress about preventing "surges" and changing strategies. Hope is hard to find when we see so many in Congress adopting the morally indefensible stand of opposing escalation of this war, while poised to support its continuation.
It is not too late for you to do the right thing. We ask you to exercise your leadership, stand up and call for the de-funding of the Iraq War. Stand strong when you explain that de-funding the war is not de-funding or abandoning our troops. Let the American people know what we as military families and Veterans know -- that de-funding the war will not leave our trooops without equipment or supplies. Stand strong when you explain that there are sufficient funds available to bring our troop shome quickly and safely, and that if more funds are ever needed, Congress has the ability to re-program monies from the Department of Defense budget to use for this purpose. Stand strong and fight to bring our troops home.
Stop telling us that you don't have the votes and work to secure them. That is what leaders do.
Right now, it seems that you cannot see the political upside of doing what we and the majority of people in this country are calling on you to do. It is important that you understand the political downside of allowing this war to continue. If you provide further funding for the war in Iraq, it will no longer be President Bush's war. You will be co-owners. You will share responsibility for the continued chaos and loss of life in Iraq. You will have lost the opportunity to provide leadership when it is sorely needed. You will have given license to more years of a failed policy and countless deaths.

Singers include:
Kelly Dougherty, Co-founder and Executive Director, Iraq Veterans Against the War; US Army National Guard, 1996-2004; Veteran, Operating Iraqi Freedom
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson, Co-founders, Military Families Speak Out; parents of a Marine who served in Iraq in spring, 2003
Michael McPhearson, Executive Director, Veterans For Peace; Gulf War Veteran, US Army Captain 1981-1992; member of Military Families Speak Out
Elliot DS Adams, President, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veteran, Spec-4, Army, infantry, paratrooper, 1966-1968

The link? It's PDF format, so those who have problems with that format have been warned, those who would like to read the letter in full (in PDF format) can click here. Members who get the gina & krista round-robin in their inboxes on Fridays should know that Gina and Krista have typed the letter up in full so you can wait if PDF format is a problem.

Kyle Snyder is the topic of my column in the round-robin but Vince has a highlight on that so we'll note it. This is the opening to Sara Newman's "U.S. military deserter arrested in Nelson:
Former soldier seeking asylum in Canada had planned to get married on Saturday
" (Canada's Globe & Mail):

An American military deserter seeking asylum in Canada was arrested by city police three days before his planned wedding.
Wearing nothing but a tuque and a robe over his boxer shorts, Kyle Snyder was picked up by police officers acting on a detention order issued by the Canada Border Services Agency.
"We got an order for detention which was our authority to hold that subject until he was dealt with by CBSA," said Police Chief Dan Maluta, adding that the order was issued Feb. 23.
"This fellow was picked up on Friday and he went before an immigration hearing and was released," Chief Maluta said. "I understand he's got a hearing down the road."

I don't have much left to say tonight on this subject (and told Gina to feel free to clean up my language in the column) but I think one question that needs to be asked is how many laws is this administration going to break or allow to be broken? The army decided to play Billy Bad Ass and go after Kyle again. It's amazing they have so much time on their hands considering the mess in Iraq, the mess at Walter Reed, the huge problems with recruitment (where the answer appears to be: Lower the target numbers again!), and much more. In fact, last Friday, they refused to give an attempted rapist jail time when he tried to force himself on a woman serving under him but they've got time for conspiring to break international laws? How proud they must be of themselves.

End Zone has a good highlight but the link's running through the entire highlight and the next. I'll write about it for Polly's Brew (Sunday). It's just not working in this entry. (End Zone copied the link correctly. I even went to the site, Asia Times, and grabbed the link myself hoping that would take care of the problem but it didn't.) (I also probably lack patience tonight, the continued harassment of Kyle Snyder really ticks me off. Lied to him to get him to sign up, lied to him while his then partner lost their child because the military wouldn't cover her medical, lied to him the whole time he served, lied to him when they worked out an agreement for him to turn himself in, they really must be proud of themselves.)

As a number of you noted in e-mails (a) that magazine didn't really want story suggestions -- though they said they did and (b) probably was never going to run anything on a war resister to begin with. Their loss, Jessica Hegdahl wrote a really strong column (much stronger than anything they highlighted -- including Tommy drops out of the race! How that crap qualified for student activism is anyone's guess.) They seem to enjoy being a silly, little magazine more and more. There was a thing on this in today's snapshot originally but I thought it was a topic we should tackle on Sunday (and also had wasted 20 minutes trying to pull that together). So if you wrote in today about it, and many of you did, your e-mails weren't ignored.

An e-mail that came into the public account that almost got ignored, just got remembered. This is from the Green Party of Sufflock and they've always got something interesting going on, the latest is a concert:

For Immediate Release: March 1, 2007
Press Contacts:
Kimberly Wilder, Green Party of Suffolk, Press Secretary
(631) 422-4702
Roger Snyder, Green Party of Suffolk, Chair
(631) 351-5763

Come raise funds and raise the roof, with local music group,
"Blacklisted and the Banned."
The Green Party of Suffolk will be holding its 3rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser on Friday, March 16th from 7pm to 10pm at the Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main Street, Setauket. (Main Street is north of 25A and 6/10th of a mile west of Nichols Road)
The evening will include a performance by the music group "Blacklisted and the Banned." There will also be a potluck dinner, an art auction, and the award ceremony for the Green Party of Suffolk's "Bring Home Our Troops" poster contest.
Vegetarian and vegan dishes will be served. Admission is $15 (with a dish) and $20 (without a dish). Children are welcome. There will be a silent auction of work by local artists, including photographer Robert A. Kelly and painter Ron Thomson.
Blacklisted & The Banned will perform their unique style of original, political music. Blacklisted features local musicians Sonny Meadows, Bob Westcott, Jon Foreman, Bob Campbell and Robert Langley. The Banned has a new CD out: "I Never Thought I'd Miss Richard Nixon." You can purchase the CD at
The Green Party is an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. The Green Party's values can be described by the four pillars of: Nonviolence; Grassroots Democracy; Ecological Wisdom; and Social and Economic Justice.
Donations and/or requests for advance tickets can be sent to: Green Party of Suffolk,
14 Robin Drive, Huntington, NY 11743. Please note that political donations are not tax-deductible. For more information call Roger at (631) 351-5763 or go to
Green Party of Suffolk:
Information on Blacklisted and the Banned:
Setuaket Neighborhood House:
Gallery of artist Robert A. Kelly:
Sample of Ron Thomson's work

Two thing, Ron Thomson's link was done by me because it's too long to be listed out to the side (it would throw off the entry which would push the permalinks -- on the left -- down to the bottom of the page you're looking at until this entry was no longer one of the most recent five). Second, CD Baby is the outlet Dallas used to purchase Lizzie West's CD and he does highly recommend CD Baby.

And Billie notes the final highlight, Cindy Sheehan's "Open Letter to the Wife of The 'President' of the United States" (BuzzFlash):

Dear Laura,
It has been quite awhile since I have written to you "mother to mother." A lot of water has gone under that proverbial bridge, huh? Remember, I wrote to you in August 2005, urging you then to assert any influence that you may have over your husband to help us bring America's sons and daughters home from Iraq. Many women at Camp Casey and around the world also wrote to you and those letters were delivered to your ranch on a very hot August day. You didn't answer me then, and judging by past unanswered letters to your husband and his mother, you probably won't answer me now. I have to try anyway.
Laura, I saw a clip of your
interview with Wolf Blitzer, when you said that, "of course the war is wearing" on you. Laura, Laura. Laura, how do you think I and hundreds of thousands of women all around the world feel?
After spending most of my days working to end the war so no other mother around the world has to experience what I have had to, I lie awake most of the nights in physical and emotional pain, missing my son Casey so desperately. While the war is "wearing" on you, at least you have both of your children still alive and you are able to hold them when they are home, or call them when they are away. I would gladly give everything I have owned or will ever own just to catch a glimpse of my son one more time to erase the memory of seeing him lying in his coffin that was provided to him criminally and unjustly by your husband.
Laura, I am writing this to you from Istanbul, Turkey. Since I first camped down the road from your ranch, I have traveled the world. Unlike your husband, and oftentimes yourself, I do not have to travel the streets of this world in armored vehicles with anti-aircraft guns on their roofs. I am welcomed and loved in these countries, but you know who isn't: your husband.
I resent the fact that your husband has made the USA a detested laughing stock all over the world. The rest of the entire world thinks that we Americans are simple and we approve of what your husband and the rest of his criminal regime is doing. The people I meet with tell me that my visits give them hope that a better America is possible.

The e-mail address for this site is

and the war drags on