Thursday, August 09, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

The pretexts for starting the wars on Vietnam and Iraq preceded the pretexts for continuing them. While antiwar activism took hold and public opinion shifted against the war effort, the Congress lagged way behind. Today, the need for a cutoff of war funding remains unfulfilled. To watch rarely seen footage of Wayne Morse and Barbara Lee is to see a standard of decency that few of our purported representatives in Congress are meeting.
There’s no point in waiting for members of Congress to be heroic. When we're blessed with the living examples of a few genuine visionaries in office, they should inspire us to realize our own possibilities. Ultimately, our own actions -- and inaction -- are at issue.
"Incontestably, alas," James Baldwin wrote a few years after the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., while the war in Vietnam still raged, "most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet, every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they've become. This is not very different from the act of faith demanded by all those marches and petitions while Martin was still alive. One could scarcely be deluded by Americans anymore, one scarcely dared expect anything from the great, vast, blank generality; and yet one was compelled to demand of Americans -- and for their sakes, after all -- a generosity, a clarity, and a nobility which they did not dream of demanding of themselves.... Perhaps, however, the moral of the story (and the hope of the world) lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself."

The above, noted by Mia, is from Norman Solomon's "Let Us Now Praise an Infamous Woman -- and Our Own Possibilities" (CounterPunch). Cindy Sheehan officially announced her candidacy for the House seat from California's 8th Congressional District today (Rebecca noted it here). Bully Boy pinned the problems in Iraq on Iran. A helicopter had a 'forced landing' which is a really sweet way of saying 'crash' for any helicopter forced down in Iraq. NYU's Michael Oppenheimer is even more openly arguing that a dictator be installed in Iraq. The deaths continue to mount . . .

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, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3662. Tonight? 3684. British deaths since the start of the illegal war now stand at 168. Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports:

Two more British soldiers were killed in southern Iraq yesterday, raising the death toll in the UK's least successful military campaign since Suez in 1956. In both cases the British casualties were low but British forces wholly failed to achieve their objectives.
Two Irish Guardsman were killed and two were seriously wounded in the early hours of yesterday when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb near the Rumaila oilfields west of Basra. The deaths bring to 168 the number of British personnel who have died in Iraq since the invasion in 2003.
British losses have increased as they prepare to abandon their last base in Basra city and retreat to their frequently attacked air base on the outskirts of the city. Here the contingent of 5,500 troops has been hit by mortars and rockets more than 600 times in the past four months.

We've added Just Foreign Policy's counter to the site (to the left, always to the left) and it currently reads 1,000,985 Iraqi deaths due to the invasion. The dying goes on and on.

The lies go on and on. And when they're not called out, we're not stopping the illegal war, we're allowing it to continue.

Eddie e-mailed to note (language warning) Rob Nelson (Dallas Observer) and his "hideous" review of the hideous No End In Sight. Eddie's right, it is hideous. Possibly a critic who can't get through his opening sentence without using the f-word has problems that go beyond judgement? Nelson cites "the early title card" in the bad movie: "It is a story in which many people tried to save a nation." That alone should tell people this is a film that's selling the illegal war. No one in the US administration was attempting to "save" Iraq. Nelson feels it is a documentary about "the ultimate failure" and, like the dopey Council for Foreign Relations director, the "ultimate failure" is not an illegal war itself. The issues of how the illegal war came to be are not explored or questioned. Nelson manages to notice that the film "scarcely acknowledges the fraudulent justification and fundamental immorality of the Iraq invasion" so how does he end up praising it?

Because he's not very bright. He writes: "For those of us who've opposed the war for years, the movie is at once intensely frightening and, it must be admitted, disturbingly reassuring." Reassuring? Well glad Nelson got his jollies. But the reality is, and Nelson might try reading his own review because the points are there to note what an awful piece of propaganda the film is, No End In Sight exists for one reason and one reason only: Illegal war is okay but next time it needs to be planned better.

The title may be more telling than the reviewer, "No End In Sight" -- translation, get used to it and let's hunker down for better planned illegal wars next time!

Eddie mentioned that the Council for Foreign Relations got no mention in the review. Maybe Nelson's never heard of them? You can't be very bright when you praise a film that endorses illegal wars. Going back to Amy Goodman's point (made while the War Liars were moving forward but the illegal war hadn't started), if it's not the time to talk about the war itself before it starts or when it's going on, when is the time? After, when it's over?

No End In Sight doesn't want to address the reality. It wants to offer showy footage (that cost a fortune) that misleads audiences into thinking that they're seeing a film that's about the illegal war. But a film about the illegal war is one that requires addressing that aspect. Instead, the film offers highlights. It is as much a lie as The Deer Hunter was and exists for the exact same reason. (Maybe rumors will abound in a few years that the director of No End In Sight has gone the pre-op route as well?)

We're at a point where we can call out the mainstream media; however, the power of film being what it is, some get confused and think they're watching an indictment of illegal war. They aren't seeing that. They're seeng (and many will unknowingly internalize) an argument for illegal war when it's better planned. "No End In Sight when the peace movement gets behind crap" covers this and we noted in that, if you're looking for a real look at the issues underlying illegal wars and the lies that get countries into them, see Norman Solomon's War Made Easy. But strangely, I've not seen the peace crowd that put me on their foward when they were praising No End Sight do an e-mail on Solomon's film. Maybe because it's not got the rah-rah they need, the rah-rah they're addicted to? Solomon's film is a powerful one. If you've been tricked into seeing No End In Sight, you can wash that filth away with War Made Easy.

A friend called and I'm too tired to include something they noted. The program (at their network) will be noted in the snapshot tomorrow. I mention that because it has to do with the topic we're going out on. Pru notes "Iraq occupation uses Saddam's law to ban oil union" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The pro-US Iraqi government has outlawed the country’s oil workers' union under a law passed during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The order comes as opposition is mounting to a proposed oil law that would hand over the country’s natural resource to foreign companies.
The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) has spearheaded opposition to the proposed law.
Earlier this year the government issued arrest warrants against Hassan Jumaa and other leaders of the IFOU after they organised successful strikes in the south of the country.
The latest attacks come after the government froze the assets and bank accounts of the oil union.
According to a statement from the Nafatna campaign (Arabic for "our oil") the ban is “a pre-emptive measure to weaken the union’s successful campaign against the proposed oil law, which was instigated and is being imposed on Iraq by the occupation government”.
The ministry of oil issued a directive on 18 July declaring that the union "no longer has legal status" under decree 150 -- issued at the height of the Iraq-Iran war in 1987.
"Popular opposition is such that the government has failed to meet several deadlines laid down for it by the George Bush administration and US Congress to enact the law," the Nafatna statement said.
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