Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Other Items

Eli [Israel]: The Iraqis don't want us in their country or in their neighborhoods, and we're not respecting them as people. We're going into neighborhoods where no one wants to kill us, and six months later, everybody does. And there are reasons for that.
It has to do with our fundamental perspective on the war, the way we maintain a stranglehold on the country, and the way we impose our "assistance" on Iraqis against their will.
A lot of what we are doing is counterproductive and destructive to them as a society. It's not just disrespectful. It's destroying lives because our interests--not their interests--are our primary concern.
I don't say that because I think it may be true, I say it because I know it to be true. I've seen it with my own eyes. And I have evidence, which I'm forbidden from being able to tell you, to back this up.
If we try to define "terrorists" in the way that they want us to define terrorists, we'll never really have any clearly defined enemy. "Insurgents," "al Qaeda"--these are terms that they use freely to define anyone that they want to.
Most of the insurgents and militants are the equivalent of an armed neighborhood watch. They’re doing no different than you and I would probably be doing if tanks were rolling through our city, if people were kicking in our doors without probable cause, if our little sisters were getting killed "by accident."
This isn't the war we're being told it is. Once we realize that, it changes everything.
A lot of people say that the war in Iraq is about oil. I think that's a side issue. I personally, through my experience, have come to the conclusion that it’s about control.
You rob somebody’s home, and you can say that you’re mainly interested in jewelry, but someone robbing a home will probably take anything of value. What we’re doing in the Middle East is about control--militarily, politically, environmentally and in every other way possible forcing our will on another people.
WHAT EFFECT do you think the surge is having?
Eli: Militarily, you can't fight "terrorism" by browbeating "terrorists." You can't terrify terrorists into not attacking you.
And let's throw out the word "terrorists." You can't browbeat people into not attacking you. Believe it or not, most people want to live in peace. Believe it or not, most Palestinians and Israelis want to live in peace.
I've changed my perspective on the world in so many ways because of what's going on in Iraq. To think that they would continue this situation forever without us doing the things we're doing is ridiculous.
We're creating people to attack us tomorrow. The doors that are getting kicked in, the people who are being harassed, the children who are crying, the women who are seeing their houses torn apart in front of them, the men who are being shot while defending their own families, the neighbors who are being interrogated with Tasers to turn in their neighbors--all of those people are going to hate us for what we’re doing.
When are we going to accept responsibility?

The above is from Brian Lenzo and Kyle Brown's "Resistance in the ranks" (US Socialist Worker) which is a roundtable with Eli Israel, Camilo Mejia and Phil Aliff. Marcia noted the above and selected Eli Israel's remarks "because we've probably heard less from him than the others." Eli Israel is the first war resister to publicly refuse to serve in the illegal war while stationed in Iraq.

The big robbery isn't the only event taking place in Iraq today. Reuters also reports a roadside bombing in Hawija that left three injured, a Rasheed mortar attack that claimed 1 life and left a child injured, an Iskandariya mortar attack the left four wounded, a police officer shot dead in Hilla and a corpse discovered in Mahaweel while two were discovered in Muwailha. And AP reports, "Gunmen ambushed an Iraqi police checkpoint south of Mosul early Wednesday, killing six policemen and wounding four, police said."

But let's drop back to NBC's Today because Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice did manage to crack a smile.

She controlled the interview completely, cutting off the questions repeatedly with comments such as this, "Meredith, Meredith, you asked me a question." But Condi cracked a smile when Meredith asked her to hold on and followed that nervously with, "Let me see, I'm missing my place." Remember, it's not national television, it's an audition apparently.

Staying on Today, if Barack Obama wants to be president, a handler might want to advise him to stop tilting his head downward when he's listening -- it makes him look like he's pouting. Math might also be something his handlers could help him with because, despite his claim to David Gregory that, "This has now been five years," the illegal war doesn't hit the five year mark until March of 2008. Obama revealed that he would keep troops in Iraq even if elected president, for "security" reasons, you understand. They'd be smaller in number, but they would be there.

As offensive as that is (especially from the alleged "anti-war" Senator), it really cut off his previous statements (at the knees) that Bully Boy was out of touch with the American people who want US troops out of Iraq and the Iraq War ended. That is true, that is what the polls show. But when you then go on to reveal that you'll also ignore the people, maybe you really should find another way to critique the Bully Boy?

Meredith also offered what is the new 'link.' Bully Boy falsely linked 9-11 to Iraq -- with so much help from the press -- and to get another war going, another link is needed. Fortunately Meredith provided it today on Today: "You can't talk about what's happening in Iraq and what will happen without talking about Iran." You can't, Meredith, or you yourself can't?

Then Matt Lauer (who hopes everyone doesn't notice his vanity led to more hair 'work' -- remember when he was comfortable with going bald) did what he always does -- nothing. He said his lines. Then tossed. To Andrea Mitchell who was brought on last week as an expert on Hillary Clinton's marriage and the benefits of it. (As opposed to maintaining a network career via marriage? Is Mitchell really one to critique any woman on potential benefits from their marriage?) This time Mitchell was hailed as a "foreign policy" expert. Have so many hats ever sat on what looks like a bad wig?

Andrea got quickly to the point, "Some have called him [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] a madman." It was cute listening to Andrea sell the next war. In fact, if we wanted to use her approach, we could do it like this. "She denies she's a lesbian but many found her late marriage to Alan Greenspan more than a little questionable." That's how Andrea gets in the disproven rumors. She announces "He denies" and then goes on to repeat what is false. (So for any gasping, the example is false. Mitchell is not a lesbian.) She starts her sentence (that she knows is false) with "He denies" and then has the luxury of, for instance, tying him to the embassy seizure in Tehran (during the Carter administration) that he was not involved with. For those who can only get excited about media criticism when it's Bash the Bitch, please note Mitchell did on television what Judith Miller did on the pages of the New York Times in the lead up to the Iraq War. (Mitchell wasn't the only one and there were far more men pushing it than women -- not surprising due to the fact that males are overrepresented in the press and women are underrepresented.) But there you go, there's Andrea Mitchell gearing up to sell another illegal war. The men were left off scott free and Miller's moved on to the Hoover Institute, so alleged media critics might want to obsess over Andrea (while, naturally, giving all males a pass). That's how a Judith Miller gets drummed out and a Brian Williams moves from cable to network news anchor.

All of this is presented very newsy (a step up from last week), then the half hour's over and it's time to go to town, Trash Town. Matty demonstrates why he should still be doing those laughable soft interviews on Dateline as he turns to the 'important' topic of a missing White child. But Who The Hell Cares Where In The World Is Matt Lauer, so a lot of time is spent instead on the NYC set where they tackle the oh-so serious issue of Rosie O'Donnell.

If they applied half the energy and effort they did on Rosie to the White House, Today might actually qualify for news. Rosie O'Donnell has a book coming out (O'Donnell was not on the show) and in it, she makes the obvious point that Barabara Walters needs to consider moving on. We can get to the reasons Rosie's right in a moment but first let's note the segment. Meredith 'explains' "now she's taking on her old boss Barbara Walters" -- which would also be Meredith's old boss. This was tied, via video clips of Rosie and little gossip writers who couldn't get real careers so they write for tabloids, to past moments. Those are the 'trusted experts' Today goes to?

When they want to smear Rosie as crazy, yes, it is. They bring up her comments about Bill O'Reilly which aren't that out of the norm. They bring up (without context) her on air disagreement with the blond trash on The View who's driven down ratings. (The context, trash lapped it up as Rosie was smeared. While claiming to be Rosie's friend, while planning a trip to Rosie's Florida home. I don't know anyone that wouldn't have called that crap out. They might have done so off air but The View isn't a news program. And Trash was again trying to act concerned -- apparently that she might have to shell out a few bucks for lodging on her Florida trip?) Then it was time to bring out Donald. And pretend that the NBC asset (crashing in the ratings) hadn't taken part in the exchange of insults.

Quoting the passage that Walters it twice as old as Rosie (from Rosie's upcoming book) and that "at some point it becomes necessary to step back," John Larson plays dumb and says that "is unclear."

It's very clear. Walters is too old. Too old for a number of reasons. ABC did not use her to fill in as anchor of their evening news before handing it over to Charlie Gibson. There's a reason for that. Walters stopped being the queen of ABC long before Diane Sawyer arrived at the network. She had a huge challenge/check in the early 90s that everyone in the industry knows about when her primetime dominance was challenged by another. Though other specials didn't follow, it brought home that her ratings weren't what they were. She's been moved out of 20/20. The only thing she has is The View and she maintains she wanted Rosie on the show. She wasn't able to do that. Her power at ABC is weak. Instead of pushing to see how much power she has or doesn't have still, she went along with ABC.

The View is just a daytime chat show. It's not news. That Walters can't even fight to keep a host goes a long way towards explaining why she should step down.

She refused to challenge because she's afraid of losing her only real outlet today. (Had she tried to challenge ABC, she probably would have won. They can't manufacture a View copy without upsetting viewers and there's not much else they can program in that slot.)

At this point, she maintains her own little spot and ABC can push her around. They could demand cuts in production and salary at this point and she probably wouldn't fight back unless she sensed she was being phased further out.

After the segment of trash, everyone continued to play dumb. Meredith's response? "Ouch." (Ouch for poor Walters.) After saying she had no other comment, Meredith then had to add Walters was "definitely as good as she's ever been." Left unsaid was that Rosie pumped up the ratings and gave the show new life . . . and, of course, that Rosie did that as Meredith's replacement.

If you thought it couldn't get worse . . . David Gregory all but pulled down his pants and crawled over Laura Ingram's lap (that name's not spelled correctly and I don't care) for a public spanking as he allowed her to trash Today repeatedly on air and seemed to grasp that was happening only after a severe whipping. By then, Laura -- claiming she deplores trash on TV -- had already introduced the topic of "group sex" to Today's first hour. Hopefully, David had a cigarette after. (Laura did thank him for the nice note he'd written her.)

Brian Williams interviews Petraeus tonight on Nightly News. It'll be interesting to see whether he does an amazing job or not. If not, will all the gas bags who trash Katie Couric repeatedly stop long enough to call him out? Magic 8 Ball says "It is highly unlikely."

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