Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yes, the military tries to hunt down those who go AWOL and desert

Cleland, who was defeated for the Senate in 2002 by Republican Saxby Chambliss, said Bush has a "credibility gap'' just as political leaders during the Vietnam era did, and is ``trying to sell the American people a bill of goods on the Iraq war.''
"I've seen this movie before. I know how it ends,'' Cleland, who lost both legs and his right arm in a grenade explosion in 1968, said. "I know all the PR in the world didn't change the truth on the ground in Vietnam and won't change the truth on the ground today in Iraq.''

The above is from Molly Peterson's "Former Senator Cleland Disputes Bush's Vietnam Analogy on Iraq" (Bloomberg News). Since Max Cleland was giving the Democratic radio address, look for a number of the silent to suddenly come forward next week with "I've been thinking about Bully Boy's revisionist history and . . ." pieces. But when it mattered (and before permission was granted from a Party), they were nowhere to be found.

The list of those who addressed it in real time is a small one: Matthew Rothschild, Rosa Brooks, Robert Parry, Democracy Now!, CounterPunch, OpEdNews . . .

We've noted here (many times) that when this illegal war ends, it's important not to forget what happened and it's important not to allow the right-wing to rewrite it. We've noted that a large number of the left and 'left' allowed the right-wing to do just that with Vietnam. If you're too young to remember (or have lived through) that time, you saw an echo of it this week as so many 'brave voices' avoided even commenting on the lies Bully Boy spouted about Vietnam.

You saw a conservative hack appear on Hardball saying he was Generation X (he's kind of old for Gen X -- way too old to have been in a mosh pit in the early 90s, but whatever) and they were so tired of hearing about Vietnam (the same week, FYI, that Common Dreams decided to run one of his pieces -- apparently they're not familiar with the body of his work or his attacks on Democrats in Congress as he rushed to defend -- repeatedly -- Alberto Gonzales' actions).

I'll be kind and not name the most cowardly of all (most cowardly of all in my opinion) which, in their new print edition, has an essay by Noam Chomsky which they could have posted online but didn't. Chomsky was addressing Iraq and Vietnam. The issue's been out for several weeks and if they were all too cowardly to weigh in on the lies Bully Boy repeated this week, they could have addressed the topic just by posting Chomsky's essay. They didn't.

Brenda and Marshall caught cowardice as well. They noted websites that usually promote PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio each week but took a pass this week. Their e-mails were so strong that I suggested they write something together on it. They have done that and it will run in El Spirito Sunday so check your inboxes. NOW with David Brancaccio notified about the show to the usual suspects on Wednesday. I didn't see the e-mail that came in here Wednesday and would have missed it if a friend at PBS hadn't called to curse me out. (Seriously.) Thursday night, he wanted to know why, when NOW with David Brancaccio, was addressing a topic that we say matters, I hadn't even noted it. The answer is that I've tried to work the public account by myself largely and let everyone else work the members account (due to you know who and his threats). So I was (and am) way behind in the public account. I hadn't seen the e-mail. But I said we'd note it Thursday night and in every entry that went up Friday. If you missed it, NOW with David Brancaccio should be up online now (and if it hasn't aired yet on your local PBS station, make a point to check it out).

It's really not that surprising because in Sunday's 'debate' on ABC, Democratic candidates who are media favorites backed away from the illegal war and a lot of 'independent' outlets aren't really independent, they take their cues from the Democratic Party.

So despite the fact that the illegal war is so unpopular with Americans, the 'indepenents' found something else to talk about . . . repeatedly.

The same way they've written their (rare) articles about AWOL and desertions and repeated the lies that the US military isn't interested in those who check out, that the US military has better things to do. LIE. They have investigative units paid to troll the net for info. They make calls. They do everything but the job itself. Maybe they fear they'd be shouted down or grasp that the US military really can't be seen picking up people and hauling them off. (Police actions by the US military in the US are still off limits. Though they apparently believe Canada's a free zone for them.) So they do their hunting and then call the police and, for example, this summer say, "Search these parents' home in Colorado" (Lance Hering's parents).

Thursday, Democracy Now! addressed the realities with Camilo Mejia:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And in terms of the growth of that resistance movement over the last couple of years -- obviously since you were one of the first -- how do you see that developing?

CAMILO MEJIA: I think we’ve come a long way from the time when I resisted the war. Like Amy said, I was the first public combat veteran to refuse to redeploy to Iraq. Back then, when I went public with my refusal to go back to the war, we had approximately twenty-two cases of desertion in the military. And then, by the time I got out of jail, that number was 5,500. Today, it’s over 10,000 people within the military who are refusing to go to the war in Iraq since the war started. And just to put it in perspective, that’s almost like saying like the 101st Airborne Division was wiped out by desertion or AWOL, basically people not wanting to fight the war.

AMY GOODMAN: How many?

CAMILO MEJIA: Over 10,000 people. So that's the equivalent to an Army division.

AMY GOODMAN: The Pentagon is not talking about this.

CAMILO MEJIA: No, they're not talking about it, but USA Today reported last year, I believe, early last year, 8,000 people, and it's probably a lot more, when you talk to organizations like the GI Rights Hotline, who, you know, get a number of calls from people trying to find out information about discharges and about what happens once they go AWOL, what happens once they resist to go back to the war. And their numbers are, you know, an indication that the actual number is much higher.
Also, we have some new developments in the war. We had -- a long time ago, we all heard about the company of truck drivers who refused to go out on what they considered to be a suicide mission. We also have the case of a soldier called Eli Israel, who refused to go out on combat missions while being in Iraq and was threatened by the military with court-martial. He finally got a summarized court-martial, and he’s back in the States. But this level of resistance not just, you know, coming from people who have served in Iraq and have come back and refused to go back, but now we have people on the ground in Iraq who are refusing to go out on combat missions, which I think is pretty significant.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And one of the things, it seems to me, that has happened, talking to quite a few veterans who have returned maybe or on leave, that those who go AWOL, it’s not as if the military publicizes it or actively goes after them, unless they become public, like in your case, right?

CAMILO MEJIA: Exactly, although that also has changed. We have cases of people who have not yet gone public and yet had been seized in their home. For instance, we have the case of Suzanne Swift, who was, you know, apprehended by police without even a search warrant at her mother's house, and she had not gone public at that time. And she had refused to go back to the war, because she had been subject to military sexual assault and command rape from her leadership and being forced to go back to the war with the same unit and with the same people who had attacked her.

Today, Mark Boshnack' "Man, 22, arrested as AWOL" (The Daily Star) reports Ronald R. Roach Jr. was arrested Friday morning in New York and cites BCI Inv. Kevin More:

State police were looking for Roach for two days after receiving a request from the Army to locate him, More said.
[. . . ]
More said he received assistance from troopers and Otsego deputies in searching the house, finding Roach hiding on a shelf near the ceiling. Roach's wife was home at the time, but she has not been charged, More said.
Army spokeswoman Gini Sinclair said that Roach was with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Calvary, out of Fort Hood, Texas. He went AWOL on July 25, she said.

Names are not just entered into a database that later allows routine traffic stops to ferret out those who go AWOL and desert. That is a lie, it's a known lie and has been for some time.

Bonnie was the first to note Margaret Kimberley's "White Man’s Love" (Black Agenda Report):

Politicians and pundits are outdoing themselves displaying creepy, cult-like admiration for the white Republican men running for president. The old narrative recently brought out of the closet says that only big, manly white men should run America. Former Senator turned actor Fred Thompson has not officially declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination, but the man-crushes have been flying in his direction at a fast and furious pace.
"We need a president of the United States after the 2008 election who will rise above the partisan challenges ... That person is 6 foot 6. He has a commanding voice. He has a commanding presence. He makes people feel secure. He makes us feel confident."
So says Republican Congressman
Zack Wamp. He thinks we need a big white man in charge.
When President Bush landed a plane on the deck of the USS Lincoln to proclaim "
Mission Accomplished," MSNBC's Chris Matthews could barely contain himself. "We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical...." Matthews is so in love with his fellow white guys that he even likes the way they smell:
"Can you smell the English leather on this guy (Thompson), the Aqua Velva, the sort of mature man's shaving cream, or whatever, you know, after he shaved? Do you smell that sort of -- a little bit of cigar smoke?"

Chris Matthews either needs to leave his wife or stop sniffing men. The e-mail address for this site is