Thursday, August 02, 2007

Other Items

Today, the US military announced: "A 13th SC(E) Soldier was killed and two others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle while conducting a combat logistics patrol in the vicinity of Al Basrah, Iraq August 1." And they announced: "Two Task Force Marne Soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded in an indirect fire attack Tuesday." The latter brought to 80 the number of announced deaths in July. The former is the first death announced in August. The total of announced US military deaths in Iraq since the start of the illegal war now stands at 3660. Mike noted the count rising to 80 for July last night. To repeat, that's one death less than in February and March and there may be more announcements but find the retractions or corrections if you can. (You won't in the New York Times.) Also find anyone pointing out that adding almost 30,000 troops to reduce deaths by one is not a sign of "progress."

We had a very early speaking thing this morning and I started the entry and then dictated the rest. It's only gone up a short while ago because my friend killed himself trying to insert links. They are in a pain in the butt and I didn't mean for any past entries to be noted. If you show up late the party, you may get a brief recap but no one's going to walk you through every event that took place. I appreciate the work that went into locating the links to the entries but my own attitude is visitors who want to complain should honestly take some responsibility for not knowing about something all this time later.

I'd thought with that lengthy entry, I could postpone "Other Items" until Dona, Ava and I were done speaking. Since it took so long to post, the e-mails flooded in wondering if there were computer problems of it today was a day off. (On the latter, I wish.)

Marcia found an article but guessed it wasn't linkable. It's not for the reasons Marcia noted including the fact that The Nation's overly praised article is a bit like Dexy's "award" winning one in that it doesn't tell the full story (not limited to the fact that the article says "dozens" of photos were handed over of abuse to the magazine and the magazine obviously decided that their readers couldn't handle them and that censorship was the 'brave' thing to do). I will note that the publication was Marxist and it's distressing when even a Marxist publication rushes to prop up the timid piece by The Nation. Apparently no one will call it out. (Or note that to make it into a program, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez had to add their own taped interviews with war resisters. The article can't stand its own.) If you're wondering why it was pimped so heavy, The Nation thinks they'll get a national magazine award off it. And considering how NO ONE wants to call them out for the fact that they didn't print photos they were given, they just might. But the US government had no right (and still has no right) to shield the American people from the photos of the abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib and The Nation has no right to shield their readers from documentary proof of abuses they have. But the magazine's run by a 'celebrity' (I saw that, Lucy, and I laughed too, we may work that into something on Sunday).

We will note NOW with David Brancaccio this week (PBS stations determine the time and day programs are aired, the earliest this will air is Friday, check your local listings) features:

A strong blow to the Bush Administration's detainee policy, and the military lawyer who dealt it. On Friday, August 3 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), David Brancaccio talks with Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, whose Supreme Court victory on behalf of his client, a Guantanamo Bay detainee, successfully challenged the Bush administration's detainee policy. It also laid the foundations for the current Congressional debate over how to try those accused of terrorism. Will this development in the war on terror deliver swifter justice or false hope? The NOW website at will offer special insight into detainee treatment through the perspectives of a former prisoner and an army interrogator.

Martha notes this from Megan Greenwell's "Sunnis Quit Cabinet Posts; Bombs Kill 75 in Baghdad" (Washington Post):

Iraq's largest Sunni political group partially withdrew from the Shiite-dominated government Wednesday, the latest indication of growing Sunni frustration with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The announcement by the Iraqi Accordance Front came on an especially violent day in Baghdad, as three car bombs killed at least 75 people in the capital. Meanwhile, the
U.S. military announced the deaths of four U.S. troops, bringing the total number of Americans killed in July to 78, the lowest monthly figure since November.

I wish I'd seen that early this morning. (Martha had sent it by then.) The news analysis didn't even go over it -- in the Times, didn't go over the political situation of the puppet government. We noted that withdrawal yestereday in the snapshot but this morning I was just trying to get something together quickly (and the Washington Post isn't available where we're speaking).

Here's Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) on the withdrawal:

The pullout reduces Iraq's Shiite-dominated government to little more than caretaker status. Barring a major political realignment, it also makes it less likely that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's regime will be able to reach significant compromises on legislative benchmarks sought by the Bush administration to help quell sectarian strife.
Tawafiq member Tariq Hashimi retains his post as one of Iraq's vice presidents.The bloc's pullout cast the gravest challenge yet to Maliki's tenure as prime minister. His government has been burdened for months by talk of conspiracies, most prominently featuring former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
Scenarios included tapping Maliki's immediate predecessor, Ibrahim Jafari, also with the Shiite fundamentalist Islamic Dawa Party. Jafari recently traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan in an apparent attempt to curry favor there.
A Kurdish official told The Times last month that Jafari was now preferable to Maliki, despite the fact that Jafari had been vetoed for a second term last year after failing to win the backing of any of the main sectarian or ethnic blocs.
The prospect of Iraq's other vice president, Shiite Adel Abdul Mehdi, being tapped for Maliki's job also has surfaced. At least one plan for an alternative government to Maliki's has been submitted to the U.S. Embassy by Iraqi political leaders.

Stephen Farrell (New York Times) notes puppet of the occupation al-Maliki "reacted cautiously to the Sunni walkout". AP quotes US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the matter, "In some ways we probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation. The kinds of legislation they're talking about will establish the framework of Iraq for the future so it's almost like our constitutional convention ... And the difficulty in coming to grips with those, we may all have underestimated six or eight months ago." Or maybe it's that you can't install a puppet government? Or maybe that it's you can't force through a constitution without support and with the promises that it will be 'adapted' and never address the problems you said would be addressed? Or maybe it's that those free and full elections still haven't taken place? Or maybe it's that illegal war destroys a country but can't remake one? Only the people of a country can make their own country and they can't do so at gun point.

CBS and AP note that "at least" 142 Iraqis died yesterday.

A visitor notes Gabriele Zamparini's "Phyllis Bennis and the Post-Modern Anti-War Movement" (Dissident Voices):

It's official. Phyllis Bennis, the spokesperson of the US peace movement, stated, "the U.S. peace movement doesn't embrace the Iraqi resistance. Right."
Bennis wrote,
"I never supported Saddam Hussein, who was 'resisting' the U.S. during the sanctions years, and I didn't -- and don't -- support what is called 'the Iraqi resistance' today."
Note that "what is called." One could try stop for a second and reflect why so many people use that "what is called" when addressing what is called the anti-war movement Bennis now has become the official spokesperson for.

The visitor is wrong that "you won't link to it." The visitor is correct that I won't offer my take on Bannis' remarks. Not because I'm "afraid," as he suggest, but because I haven't read it. If it appears elsewhere, I may. But I've taken out the link to Bennis' article. You're late to the party. We don't link to that site. We have no respect for that site. Two years ago a fourteen-year-old boy was bullied and intimidated by two so-called 'professionals' at that site, writing from their e-mail accounts provided by their jobs. The kid didn't need to apologize for a joke to begin with. But he did. And that wasn't good enough for the bullies. They wanted him to grovel. They threatened him with never covering his four favorite sites (this was one, Rebecca's was another and two sites that are not community sites). He groveled. His e-mail was this long apology. For a joke that needed no apology. He replied to them and also sent to every one of the four sites. That's where we come in. We delinked from that site and will never link to it again. If it were the only site in the world, I wouldn't visit it. That was my attitude before Gina and Krista ran the full exchange of e-mails between the two assholes and the kid in the gina & krista round-robin. After that ran, Eddie and others shared their e-mails. No one knew West (the 14-year-old) and, for instance, Eddie thought it was strange that Evan was writing him to get dirt on someone he'd never heard about. But when the exchange ran and Eddie read them and realized "West" was was the one Evan had tried to pump him for information on, Eddie was among those sharing their e-mails. That's really sick. It's sick that they thought (they is Matthew and Even -- I believe Matthew is the name of the bald or balding man), they could bully a little kid because they didn't like his joke. (Their e-mails still, to this day, outrage West's parents.) It's even more sick that an allegedly left site would go around trying to get dirt on a 14-year-old kid. If they'd do all that, what wouldn't they do?

They've never apologized to West or his parents (who used to support the site). They're quite aware that everyone knows what happens. After I noted it here, without noting the site, they delinked from this site the following day. (No loss.) They're cowards, they're abusers and they aren't professional. This community was enraged by what happened to a 14-year-old kid. That site doesn't exist. We don't support those behaviors in the White House and we certainly don't support them when they're done by an allegedly 'left' website.

So I have no idea what Phyllis Bennis is writing about. If it doesn't appear elsewhere, I never will. I can live with that. We don't link to that site and I would never go to it. We've covered this in full before. You're late to the party and spilling things on the rug. Try to be a little more careful.

The article by GZ is interesting (GZ because I'm attempting to finish this, I've got about five minutes and I don't want to mispell a name here and have that seen as a slam) and raises some interesting points. I'm not offended by it. One thing I will add, to GZ's article, is that the resistance, in any form, isn't and hasn't been covered so anyone who says they don't support it needs to grasp, anyone not just Bennis, that they're weighing in on something they probably know very little about. I like Phyllis Bennis and am tempted to add an "in fairness" statement but I haven't read her piece and won't at that site, so I won't comment in any way on what's excerpted. I will say that I hope she doesn't, as another did while rushing to reject Alexander Cockburn, make comments that are demeaning to Muslim women. I don't think she would but I'm still reeling from that other nonsense which really offended some Arab feminists. (And if I hear that friends of mine once again felt insulted, I will comment on it and confine myself to that reaction only unless the article's made available elsewhere.)

That's all the time. The e-mail address for this site is