Thursday, September 27, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

I agree with Ken Silverstein--the note published yesterday by Spain's El País of a conversation which occurred between President Bush and then-Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is a major further breakthrough in understanding the attitude of President Bush in the weeks just preceding the invasion of Iraq. The document is not quite as damning at the Downing Street papers, but it does tend to reinforce the major thrust of the British notes on Bush's pre-invasion rants.
It is to be stressed that, as was the case with the British documents, this note is particularly credible in that it was recorded by a close ally which was publicly committed to supporting, and did support, Bush in his drive against Iraq.
What emerges is a president full of swagger noting how he will use the great resources of the United States to press other nations (specifically here: members of the Security Council) into line in upcoming votes. He is also resolved to proceed with the invasion no matter what the Security Council does, and no matter what Saddam does. He feigns certitude about his conclusions on Saddam’s involvement with WMD programs--though we now know that the intelligence community had come to discount the supposed evidence for Saddam’s pursuit of WMDs at the time. His convictions are delusional, or they are mere pretense.

The above is from Scott Horton's "The Bush-Aznar Conversation" (Harper's magazine) and Veronica noted it. It really is amazing that so little has been made of the news since it yet again confirms the illegal war was a done deal. Of course the press always covered it such, covered the impending war as a natural end point. So maybe the occasional expressed surprise -- in retrospect -- wasn't all that surprising? And maybe, as with the Downing Street Memos, the lethargic reaction of many in the press comes from the fact that although these events were never presented in the lead up, they were well known in real time?

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 3792. Tonight? 3801. Just Foreign Policy's total for the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war stood at 1,060,494. Tonight? 1,068,035.

So on Tuesday, the 3800 mark was reached and it came and went (passed) with no serious attention from All Things Media Big and Small. There were, you understand, other things to cover.

I picked the morning paper off the floor
It was full of other people's little wars
Wouldn't they like their peace?
Don't we get bored?

The above is from Joni Mitchell's "The Three Great Stimulants" (Dog Eat Dog) and Julia noted it writing, "As I thought about what I got this week from independent media instead of coverage of Iraq, that's what came to mind. Bolivia, Burma, and elsewhere I thought I should be comforted by the fact that the US is experiencing a time of peace but then I remembered what independent media forgot, we aren't at peace."

No, but damned if All Things Media Big and Small seem to think it's news as usual. Maybe, like Pig, they think Iraq isn't important, a potential war possibly in the offing is far more important than an actual war, an illegal war, destroying so many lives each day it is allowed to drag on. Jonas e-mailed to say, "Pig sounds like Robert McNamara still caught up in 'the fog of war'." Doesn't he, though?

Keesha was on fire in the roundtable tonight (check inboxes tomorrow for the gina & krista round-robin) and wasn't done when the roundtable concluded. She wanted it noted here that, "Not only is peace a feminist issue but no woman who praises a twice-busted online predator should be allowed to self-describe as feminism. The term should not be allowed to be perverted in that manner." She's referring to Pig and Katha Pollitt.

Melanie e-mailed to note that she's decided who she's supporting in the Democratic primary and wanted to highlight this mailing from the Bill Richardson campaign:

Last night, in the MSNBC debate, Tim Russert asked this simple question: if you were President, would you pledge to have all the troops out of Iraq by 2013?
Hillary Clinton said no. Barack Obama said no. And John Edwards said no. Then, all three refused to pledge to remove all of our troops and end the war. All three made it clear they would be willing to leave troops in Iraq for at least another 5 years. That's another 5 years of American soldiers dying.
I am the only major candidate in this race who is committed to getting every soldier out of Iraq STARTING IMMEDIATELY, and getting them all out safely and quickly within a year. No ifs, ands, or buts.
You can't have it both ways. If you leave troops in place, you aren't ending the war -- you're leaving American men and women in harm's way.
84% of Democrats want to end the war now, and bring every soldier home. Congress is out of touch with America -- and so are the other candidates.
They change the mission and leave troops in Iraq. I end the war and get all the troops out. It is a simple question: do you want a candidate that will end the war?
Please stand with me, and help me get our message out by making a contribution now. We are in the majority -- and we must be heard!

Some members are going to support other candidates -- including non-Democratic ones. If you've made up your mind to support a presidential candidate (or later on a candidate for another race), you can note in one of the community newsletters or you can note it here. Here, you can do that with something you write yourself or you can just copy and paste a press release and note you're supporting the candidate and it will be included. If there is a donation line in the press release or e-mail, it will be included but this site is not raising money for any candidate and the only candidate I will endorse for the 2008 elections is Cindy Sheehan. (Who is running for the US House of Representatives to represent California's eighth district.) Had she not entered the race, I wouldn't do any endorsement at all. Somewhere at The Third Estate Sunday Review, I'm quoted as saying (when she made public that if Pelosi didn't put impeachment back on the table, she would run) that it would be a travesty not to speak up to endorse Sheehan. The Peace Mom has worked her butt off to make sure that others don't experience the tragedy her family did. I don't know any community member in the Bay Area who doesn't feel the same but if they didn't, that would be their business. This community doesn't exist to tell you who to vote for.

Melanie wrote that she knows various members have already declared their support for other candidates and she felt going with an e-mail would be easier than writing something that would piss other members off. That may be true but no one should get pissed off that their candidate isn't supported by every community member. The polls Gina and Krista have been doing for their round-robin indicate most US members aren't leaning towards one candidate in the Democratic field, 13% have decided they will vote Green regardless of who the nominee is (that figure has been consistent since July and the only increase has been in the percentage stating that they are likely to vote Green). Richardson does have support/interest in the community. The only reason a member might need to feel as nervous as Melanie stated she did would be if she or he was coming out for Barack Obama whom no one in the community is for. But if Melanie or another member decided they wanted to endorse Obama, that would be their business. Those who would like to share their choices are welcome to do so. All community newsletters have a standing policy to include any endorsements from members so if you decide you're not comfortable with it being up here, feel free to utilize any or all newsletters. That includes Polly's Brew and Polly asked me to state that she's happy to do a Q&A with any member who is uncomfortable with writing up something. Polly's English, she's not going to be voting in the US 2008 elections, so she has nothing vested in any candidate. She says she can do a Q&A by phone, by instant message or by e-mail.

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