Thursday, June 21, 2007

Other Items

People these days throw the word 'hero' around without a second thought. Devin Hester opens the Super Bowl with kickoff-return TD -- He's a hero! Bob Barker retires after 35 years of hosting the Price is Right -- What a hero! Kobayashi eats a whole lot of hot dogs -- Hero! Hero! Hero!
But I'd like to pay respect to a hero whose contributions go unsung: Sgt. Adam Kokesh, a Marine who strives to protect veterans' right of dissent.
Kokesh gained national media attention after participating in an Iraq Veterans Against the War demonstration in Washington, D.C., at which he wore parts of his uniform. For his actions, he received a warning from an investigating attorney of the Individual Ready Reserve (a pool of honorably discharged active duty personnel from which the military can re-draft for another tour in Iraq) of his "offense" for wearing military uniforms in a political demonstration which may cause an unfavorable view of the military, the Associated Press reported. Adam replied with the traditional boisterous style worthy of the Marine Corps and told the officer to go and ____ himself.
Anyone can purchase a military uniform off the Internet and conduct a demonstration. However, it seemed befitting to the U.S. government to silence the only voices who have true credibility and who have actually seen the war first-hand.
So while certain political figures may openly mock a mother of a deceased soldier, they now cower behind the uniform code of military justice to quell the seeds of dissent of a decorated Iraqi war veteran to avoid a PR backlash.

The above is from Nigel Yin's "The rights of a war vet" (The Daily Egyptian)and let's get something really clear, students are apathetic, they aren't silent. But one of the publications pushing that nonsense, a publication happy to pick an "essay of the year" pushing that trash, has never written about Adam Kokesh. So who's apathetic? Students like Yin or an alleged political weekly for the left (The Nation) that can't be bothered?

Why are Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) and Joel Bleifuss (In These Times) able to cover Iraq Veterans Against the War, war resisters, etc. (both are monthly magazines) when the weekly (or 'weekly') refuses to? And why do people continue to stand for this nonsense?

Especially with The New Republic(an) attempting to right/re-invent itself, you'd think The Nation might be a little worried that their nonsense isn't cutting it. It's not cutting it. Wow! An issue on Cuba! Oh wow! There's health care! There's the green issue! There's the book issue! Always the non-stop political campaign coverage. And what's missing?

To read the print edition of The Nation is still to have little idea that the US is engaged in an war that passed the four year mark. And I'll revist this topic tonight, and note Lucy's highlight, but I need to wrap this up (I'm dictating this) so we'll note the illegal war didn't stop just because, as the leadership changed, the magazine lost interest.

Today the US military announced: "Four Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in a western Baghdad neighborhood June 20. One other Soldier was wounded in the attack." And they announced: "Five Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers, three Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi interpreter were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a Coalition vehicle during combat operations in a northeastern section of Baghdad June 21." And they announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed June 20 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." Now those 11 deaths may not be as fun to write about as American Idol or your daughter's sweet sixteen (you don't think it's your sweet sixteen, do you?) but it happened and it continues to happen. 3545 is the current total for the number of US service members killed in Iraq with 68 being this month's total thus far. And if, for instance, you're writing at an alleged political magazine and think anyone in the world needs to read one damn word about your daughter's sweet sixteen you should realize that the 'milestone' is nothing compared to what many families are dealing with as they see loved ones return wounded from Iraq or return dead.

No one needs it. They don't need to read about a wealthy sixteen-year-old and the planning involved in her 'big day' party. And the thing is, most grown ups grasp that which is why it's all the more noticeable when one doesn't and feels that's actually something worth writing on as the head of an alleged political magazine, at the alleged political magazine's website.

On the dying, Lloyd notes John Ward Anderson and Howard Schneider's "At Least 14 U.S Soldiers Die in Attacks in Iraq" (Washington Post):

Fourteen U.S. soldiers have died in scattered attacks in Iraq over the last two days, including five killed Thursday by a roadside bomb in a northeastern Baghdad neighborhood, the military said in a series of statements.With a major U.S. effort to oust insurgents underway in Diyala province north of the Iraqi capital, a series of five attacks elsewhere claimed the lives of American soldiers on patrol in Baghdad, in the restive Al Anbar province, and southwest of the capital.

Note that the above article is not in print. It's online and it will be rewritten throughout the day and may end up with another writer or set of writers.

In yesterday's snapshot, we noted Yaderlin Hiraldo. If you've missed the war on immigrants that the White House has declared (with a lot of assistance from Congress), you can see the demented missionary zeal on display here. Yaderlin is the wife of Alex Jimenez. She is threatened by the government with possible deportation despite having married an American citizen. She is threatened by the government with possible deportation despite the fact that her husband is a soldier who is stationed in Iraq. She is threatened by the government with possible deportation despite the fact that, since May 12th, her husband has been missing and is assumed captured. She is threatened by the government with possible deportation despite the fact that the most recent word/rumor on her husband was a video posted online by people boasting they had killed her husband.

Despite all of the above and more, she's required the help in warding off the government. AP reports today:

On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry urged officials not to deport the soldier's wife.
The deportation case was closed in May 2006, and there are no plans to reopen it, said Jamie Zuieback, a DHS spokeswoman.
''There is no move to deport her,'' Zuieback said. ''We, like all Americans, hope for Specialist Jimenez's safe return.''

Mike's father notes Maria Cramer's "Senators aid wife of missing soldier" (Boston Globe):

Yaderlin Hiraldo and Army Specialist Alex R. Jimenez met in a small village in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. But the couple fell in love in the United States, after she arrived illegally in 2001.
They married in 2004 and Jimenez, a US citizen who lived in the Dominican Republic as a boy and later moved to New York, tried to obtain permanent legal status for his bride. When federal immigration officials learned she entered the country illegally, however, they started deportation proceedings.
In May 2006, she received a reprieve -- US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to halt the proceedings after her husband had been sent to Iraq. Last month, Jimenez and two other soldiers were abducted by Sunni insurgents. One of the men was found dead, and the insurgent group claimed to have killed Jimenez and the third soldier. The two have not been found, though their Army IDs were discovered last week.

On this topic, Micah notes Jose Martinez and Richard Sisk's "Feds: Wife of missing Iraq hero won't be deported" (New York Daily News):

The wife of the hero Queens soldier still missing in action in Iraq no longer faces deportation, a U.S. Homeland Security Department spokeswoman said late yesterday.
The potential move had set off a firestorm of outrage from elected officials yesterday -- both locally and nationwide.

And Rebecca wrote about this last night so check that out as well. Martha noted John Ward Anderson and Dahlia Faroog's "24 Emaciated Boys Found At Baghdad Orphanage" (Washington Post):

Abeer Mahdi al-Chalabi, head of the orphanage section of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, denied in a telephone interview that the children had been badly treated and said they were not orphans but were "special needs" children.
"Some of those children were seriously physically and mentally ill. Some of them eat everything that comes their way, and because it was after midnight, we can't leave them moving freely. The workers tied them up for the children's benefit," she said.

That woman is full of it. In Tuesday's snapshot, the following appeared:

Yesterday a Baghdad orphanage made news. The orphanage was supposed to be serving children with special needs but instead has abused the children. Interviewed by CBS News Lara Logan, Staff Sgt. Mitchell Gibson explained that, in looking over a wall in central Baghdad, US soldiers saw "multiple bodies laying on the floor of the facility. They thought they were all dead, so they threw a basketball (to) try and get some attention, and actually one of the kids lifted up their head, tilted it over and just looked and then went back down. And they said, 'oh, they're alive' and so they went into the building." BBC reports that there were 24 boys "starved and neglected . . . some near death . . . left naked".

Visitors repeatedly e-mailed to complain about the visuals of the boys at the links. (We're not going to give "Warning, this may upset you." The illegal war is upsetting. If you use a link on a story about abuse in an orphanage, grow up, visuals will upset you.) At least the visitors complaining grasped how offensive what was done to the boys was. For that liar to claim that any of that abuse took place to 'help' or 'protect' is nonsense. For photos, click here. For streaming video of Lara Logan's CBS News report, click here. And, text, Logan writes about it here. And to be clear, the boys were not only tied up -- and tied up naked -- not only starved for food and had bruises, indentions from being tied up, etc., the boys were all alone. No adults were there with them on that patio. Just the boys. All alone. Tied up naked.

Jess: This from Lara Logan's write up that Eli would like added:

That did not appear to bother the adults living there, including two women employed to work at the orphanage. They are both seen in two of the photographs, and this is perhaps one of the most curious things of all: they didn't mind having their picture taken with these starving boys in the background. Looking at their faces, one even smiling for the camera, I can only imagine they thought this was absolutely normal. Or that these special needs boys, who could not talk or communicate properly, were not human to them.
They must have seen them as non-human to treat them this way: to see them growing weaker and sicker every day and do nothing to help them; to stand by while their lives slipped away into the filth and heat and misery of neglect. They had to be non-human in their eyes, for who would treat a human that badly?

Jess: Back to C.I.

In this morning's New York Times, War Pornographer Michael Gordon teams up with Alissa J. Rubin for "Heavy Fighting as U.S. Troops Squeeze Insurgents in Iraq City." The match up manages to tone Gordo down somewhat but maybe that's just Gordo's own sense of come-down? "The American effort got off to a slow start . . ." Poor baby. Rubin notes 8 Christian college students (and an instructor) kidnapped in Mosul everything else (including loss of a tank being more important than loss of lives -- American or Iraqis) is pure Gordo.

In yesterday's snapshot, we noted "Iraq in figures" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker). The Socialist Worker is kind enough to allow reprints in full; however, there's not room for that in the snapshot. But we'll note it today. "Iraq in figures:"

* 2.2million Iraqis have fled their country, and approximately 1.9 million have been displaced internally.
* 50,000 Iraqis are forced to flee their homes each month.

* 100 civilians were killed every day from February to May this year. The number of attacks on both US forces and Iraqis have risen to an average of over 1,000 a week.

* 200,000 Iraqi children are refugees in Jordanian. But only...

* 20,000 Iraqi children are able to attend Jordanian schools.

* 43 percent of Iraqi refugee children in Jordan witnessed violence in Iraq, and 39 percent said they lost someone close to them through violence.

* 54 percent of the Iraqi population are estimated to live on less than 50 pence a day, while a further

* 15 percent live in "extreme poverty". Only 32 percent of Iraqis have access to clean drinking water. Severe malnutrition doubled between 2003 and 2005.
* 8,000 Iraqis have been held in prison for longer than a year, while 1,300 have been detained for more than two years. Amnesty International comments that in aggregate "tens of thousands of internees" have been held in arbitrary and extrajudicial detention.
* 20,000 Iraqis are being held in prisons and detention centres, leading to abusive over crowding.
In April 2007, Iraqi inspectors found 827 prisoners jammed into the Mahmudiya facility built for 300, and in the Muthana air base they found 272 in a jail intended for 75.
* 327 "air missions" by the US Air Force were reported in just one week in March 2007.

* 2,000 Iraqi doctors were killed and about 12,000 left the country between March 2003 and March 2007.

Figures from UNHCR, United Nations, World Vision, Brookings Institution and Global Poverty Forum reports.

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