Thursday, May 17, 2007

Other Items

"I joined in '03," 'cause I was broke, I needed money, but I was a young American kid, I wanted to fight in a war. I joined up. [A] month out of training I arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, January '04. Saddam's been captured. And I get there and the guys I'm serving with have been there for six months already; they were there in '03. And I go, "Well, you know what, I think it's come out that, you know, these people had nothing to do with 9/11, there was no Iraqi on those planes. We can see around here there's no Al Qaida, there's no terrorist syndicates in Baghdad, or Iraq. Saddam had stamped 'em out." And I asked my buddies, "Well, you know, we're here to find 'weapons of mass destruction'." And they laughed at me. And I said, "Well, you know, we're here to 'help the people.'" And they laughed at me. And I said, "What's our mission? What's our goal?"...They're like, "All we're trying to do is make it home alive..." [Darrell] Anderson describes the escalation of violence against unarmed civilians: "In April, they told us, "In a crowded area, if one person shoots at you, kill everybody." Anderson explains the rationale from the officers, "They [members of the crowd of people] are letting them [the person or persons firing at the U.S. military] attack you. They're no longer innocent if they're there at the time of the crime..."

The above is from Yorevrah's "KILL EVERYBODY: American soldier exposes US policy in Iraq" ( noted by DK and US war resister Darrell Anderson is the person speaking above. Antother war resister, Agustin Aguayo, is interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now! today. Also on the topic of war resisters, Francis A. Boyle contributes "Harvard's Kangaroo Law School" (Dissident Voice) which notes the realities of court-martials for war resisters and military 'justice' in general. On that note, let's turn to the New York Times where Joey Heatherton (aka Paul von Zielbauer) covers the conclusion of testimony in the case of Randy Stone charged with derliction of duty (and disobey an order but PvZ could never find that charge) in "Lawyers on Haditha Panel Peer Into Fog of War." For clarity, we'll help with the quoted excerpt:

1) In fact, the seven-day hearing opened a rare public window onto a debate about how the Marine Corps is fighting in Iraq against a ruthless insurgency that uses civilians as cover.

2) In fact, the seven-day hearing opened a rare public window onto a debate about how the Marine Corps disregards the laws of conflict taught in the United States.

As it appears in the Times today:

In fact, the seven-day hearing opened a rare public window onto a debate about how the Marine Coprs is fighting in Iraq against a ruthless insurgency that uses civilians as cover and disregards the laws of conflict taught in the United States.

It's confusing, but give PvZ credit for raising the issue of war crimes. He cites the questions of "presiding officer, Maj. Thomas McCann" which get right to that issue ("At what point do we have to scratch our heads that we killed a lot more civilians than enemy?") and "Capt. Jeffrey S. Dinsmore" ("The reality is then and the reality is now, you let loose marines in a T.I.C. against a hostile situation, taking small-arms fire . . . they don't have the training nor do they have the presence of mind to differentiate between civilians and insurgents. It stinks."). Kirk Semple's "Street Battles in Iraqi Cities Point to Dire Security Status" covers the violence yesterday (Amy Goodman notes that at least 88 Iraqis died yesterday.)

And then there's . . . Maude? No, John F. Burns whose "With Hussein Gone, Other Iraqi Trials Lose Impact" reads like a resignation letter. I guess the thrill of the kill didn't quite pay off for Burnsie. Now he's just bored.

Yesterday's Feingold-Reid measure would not have ended the illegal war but, via AP, let's note the ones who couldn't even bring themselves to vote in favor of cutting off a fraction of monies by March of next year:

Democrats No
Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Bingaman, N.M.; Carper, Del.; Casey, Pa.; Conrad, N.D.; Dorgan, N.D.; Landrieu, La.; Levin, Mich.; Lincoln, Ark.; McCaskill, Mo.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Pryor, Ark.; Reed, R.I.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Salazar, Colo.; Tester, Mont.; Webb, Va.
Democrats Not Voting
Brown, Ohio; Johnson, S.D.
[. . .]
Republicans No
Alexander, Tenn.; Allard, Colo.; Bennett, Utah; Bond, Mo.; Brownback, Kan.; Bunning, Ky.; Burr, N.C.; Chambliss, Ga.; Coburn, Okla.; Cochran, Miss.; Coleman, Minn.; Collins, Maine; Corker, Tenn.; Cornyn, Texas; Craig, Idaho; Crapo, Idaho; DeMint, S.C.; Domenici, N.M.; Ensign, Nev.; Enzi, Wyo.; Graham, S.C.; Grassley, Iowa; Gregg, N.H.; Hagel, Neb.; Hatch, Utah; Hutchison, Texas; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Kyl, Ariz.; Lott, Miss.; Lugar, Ind.; Martinez, Fla.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski, Alaska; Roberts, Kan.; Sessions, Ala.; Shelby, Ala.; Smith, Ore.; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Stevens, Alaska; Sununu, N.H.; Thomas, Wyo.; Thune, S.D.; Vitter, La.; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.
[. . .]
Republicans Not Voting
Dole, N.C.; McCain, Ariz.
[. . .]
Others No
Lieberman, Conn.

John McCain sure misses a lot of votes.

On the subject of the 3 missing US soldiers, Tina Susman and Julian E. Barnes' "U.S. says it has suspects in Iraq ambush" (Los Angeles Times) raises issues Damien Cave can't:

Evidence indicated that the attackers used grenades and other hand-held explosives, and converged from several directions, he said.
Drag marks leading to tire tracks showed that the missing men were pulled from the area to vehicles about 45 feet away.
The military is trying to determine whether the two Humvees were sufficient to guarantee the troops' protection and whether the patrol had taken necessary precautions. Those precautions would include not being positioned at a spot previously used by U.S. troops, Lynch said.

Note the detail "pulled from the area to vehicles about 45 away" and again wonder why the US military asserts that other troops were less than half a mile away and they missed that, missed it all, and took 30 minutes (originally an hour) to get there -- think also about the drone before it fades from the official story. It's not adding up and that's why some rank & file serving in Iraq are outraged and feel that the ones attacked on Saturday were left as sitting ducks.

Those interested in a discussion on reporting from Iraq can click here to watch PBS' NOW for an interview they did with Brian Palmer (free lance journalist -- text and photos -- whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Newsday, US News & World Reports, etc.) This ---

It's PBS. Fridays in many markets but check your local listing for when your PBS is airing it. For many, this Friday, NOW will address the issue of cars and gas mileage. When KPFA and Democracy Now! were addressing the (intentional) demise of the electric car, there was strong interest in the topic so if you're interested, NOW's Jonathan Silvers addresses the issue of why Big Auto doesn't work to improve fuel efficiency. The show will begin broadcasting in most markets on Friday. It is closed captioned. In terms of the website, they've had transcripts in the past for some segments and not for others. They will have additional content online. PBS' mandate is to serve all the public and I wish I could tell community members who are unable to listen online (either due to computer issues or due to disabilities) what would be up and what wouldn't. If you can listen to things online, NOW has already posted an interview with a soldier regarding the military's decision to crack down on blogging. It should be noted that the war on the press (ongoing) in Iraq is allegedly directed by the Iraqis, but this nonsense of restricting access -- refusing to allow photographs and interviews in a public space -- isn't all that different from the attempts by the US government to stop blogging, YouTubing, et al.

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