Sunday, November 11, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

Lt. Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq in June 2006. He was charged with "missing troop movement" and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," and faced up to six and a half years in prison. His case has remained undecided since military Judge Lieutenant Colonel John Head declared a mistrial in Lt. Watada's February 2007 court martial, over the objection of the defense.
No court martial can now take place unless Judge Settle reverses himself, or the military successfully appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, or the U.S. Supreme Court--all of which are unlikely.
In Thursday's ruling, Judge Settle detailed numerous problems with the military's handling of the first court martial. Lt. Watada's Seattle-based civilian attorney Ken Kagan outlined the following points contained in the 33-page ruling:
1. The remedy sought by Lt Watada--a writ of habeas corpus in a pretrial setting--is rare but appropriate; 2. Lt. Watada will suffer irreparable injury if relief is denied; 3. Lt. Watada is likely to succeed on the merits; 4. Military Judge Head abused his discretion in rejecting the Stipulation of Fact; 5. Even if Judge Head did not abuse his discretion in rejecting the Stipulation of Fact, there was still a lack of "manifest necessity" for declaring the mistrial; 6. Judge Head failed to adequately consider possible alternatives; 7. The balance of potential harms weighs in Lt Watada's favor; and; 8. The public interest favors granting relief.
"This is an enormous victory, but it is not yet over," noted Kagen.
Underscoring this statement, the Army Office of the Staff Judge Advocate has since announced they plan to file additional briefs before Judge Settle issues a final ruling. "We look forward to the opportunity to further explain to the District Court judge the full extent of the protections and safeguards that are afforded to a military accused."
Never the less, this week's ruling is a major victory for Lt. Watada and all war resisters. In San Francisco's Chinatown, Asian-Pacific Islanders Resist and the Watada Support Committee called for Lt. Watada's immediate release. Courage to Resist joined San Francisco Poet Laureates Jack Hirschman and Janice Mirikitani, former S.F. criminal prosecutor David Chiu, and Reverend Norman Fong at a press conference turned celebration.

Zach notes Jeff Paterson's "'Preliminary' victory for Lt. Ehren Watada!" (Indybay Media and it's also available at Courage to Resist). Ehren Watada's victory -- and the Constitutional victory -- are huge news. Other Iraq news includes that there were at least 21 reported deaths over the weekend, since last Sunday there have been 11 reported deaths of US service members. Take a moment and ask yourself where the MSM articles are?

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 Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3849. Tonight? 3860 announced. 1,099,372 was the number of Iraqis killed in the illegal war (not a full count) last Sunday. Tonight? Just Foreign Policy lists 1,104,276.

Today the US military announced: " A Multi-National Division-North Soldier was killed as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion while conducting operations in Diyala Province, Nov. 9. Additionally, three Soldiers were wounded and evacuated to a Coalition hospital."

Let's go to some of the violence reported in Iraq over the weekend.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports another attack on officials where police Gen Brig. Wathiq al-Hamadni and the Mosul governor Dureed Kashmoola were targeted with roadside bombings (both survived) while Wajihiyah village's deputy governor was targeted and two bodyguards were wounded, also five people wounded by a grenade in Baghdad. That was today, on Saturday the outlet's Laith Hammoudi reported 1 person dead and 10 injured from a Baghdad night bombing, while three were injured in a Baghdad morning bombing, a bombing in Nineveh claimed 4 lives and left sixteen more wounded, while a Friday bombing claimed the life of Sheikh Lafta Al Obeidi, a Friday bombing outside Baquba claimed the life of 1 child with six more people ("4 children and 2 women") left wounded and a Friday mortar attack in Baladrooz claimed the lives of 3 children with five people left injured ("3 children and 2 women").


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three police officers were wounded in Baghdad by the US military firing on them. Reuters notes 1 person was shot dead Saturday in Baquba and, also on Saturday, 1 person was shot dead "in western Baghdad."


Hussein Kadhmi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 students of "the technical institute in Baquba" were kidnapped and 1 was killed after the kidnapping took place.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad. That was today, on Saturday the outlet's Laith Hammoudi reported 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Wow. One might thing a war -- an illegal war -- still dragged on. However, the MSM insists things are looking up, things are looking up, things are looking up. A friend had that jingle on her computer ("things are looking up") back in 1994. It was embarrassing to hear in 1994. It's all the more embarrassing when the MSM repeats the lie. (She, my friend, later substituted the Annie Lennonx song about "keep young and beautiful" from Diva.) That's a lot of denial.

Let's turn to some reality. I mentioned to Pru that I had one highlight I needed to note (mentioned in an e-mail early, early Saturday morning) and she suggested it take her usual spot in this Sunday entry. (It was already intended to go in but it was very nice of Pru to give her spot.) We actually have two things to include on reality. First up is Betty Wood, friend of Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side), and this is needed for reality and we're also glad to have it since so many members were outraged by you know what last week. Here is Betty Wood on Ralph Nader:

Ralph Nader is one of the most influential people of the century for a reason. He has a long history of seeing problems well before others see them. He analyzes the systemic source of the problem, finds a solution for it, and does the follow through to see a solution in place. He is frequently decades ahead of the main stream. Nader sees the larger systemic problem of the military/industrial/Congressional complex that Eisenhour warned us of and is trying to get the rest of us to see the need for the solution of this larger problem. Just playing musical chairs in the White House or Congress with the same party-with-two-names players isn't the solution. More fundamental changes are needed. One start would be for more political parties that aren't beholden to the corporations. Most of us recognise this but the Democrat apologists have a hard time breaking the cord. I hope that Mr. Scheer starts to listen and really hear what Mr. Nader is saying.

That appears in "The kind-of left embarrasses with age" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). It would have also included an excerpt but I didn't see that in time. Instead, this section of Chris Kavanagh, "Guest Editorial: Review of Nader Film a Partisan Attack" was cited in "Something to Remember." From Kavanagh:

Perhaps the most inconvenient truth---to borrow Al Gore's documentary film title --- cited by "An Unreasonable Man" is that 10 million registered Democratic Party members nationwide voted for George Bush in 2000. Meanwhile, approximately half a million Florida Democrats -- I repeat, half a million Florida Democrats! -- also voted for Bush.
Another inconvenient fact left out of Paul's review is that half a dozen other Florida third party presidential candidates -- ie SocialistWorkers Party, Reform Party, Libertarian Party,etc ---each recieved enough votes separately to tip the Florida election to Bush, roughly 500 votes.
Where is the Democratic Party's outrage at the Florida Socialist Workers Party's "spoiler" role?

This is a community for the left. It is not a community for Democrats only. Third party members, independents and Green party members are part of this community. Ralph Nader, as we've noted repeatedly here, did not steal the 2000 election (or the 2004). No one owns any vote but their own. Campaigns are where people compete votes. No votes cast are stolen unless they aren't counted by the officials. People are free to vote for whomever they feel is the best choice. We don't ridicule or mock Ralph Nader for running. (I don't think we've ever ridiculed Nader. Hopefully, we wouldn't have to. But I've thought that before of others and then they've gone and done something stupid -- like last week's attack on Nader, for example -- so let me not offer the curse of "and we wouldn't" because who knows what the future brings?) (Who knows what the future brings? The one ridiculing Nader last week certainly thought he knew the future. We don't make that claim here.) If Nader wants to run in 2008, he should. More choices are always better. It's amazing when you think of all the attacks on Nader and yet these Democratic hacks have not stepped up to the plate to defend Mike Gravel who's being excluded or Dennis Kucinich who is most likely next on the list (when Edwards and Clinton were caught on mike, they meant exclude candidates plural). We're not doing a Democratic site here. We've made that clear from the beginning. This is a site for the left.

We won't engage in any "Don't Run!" campaigns for anyone. Every one who meets the legal qualifications and wants to run, should do so. That's any political persuasion. It's really un-democratic to tell anyone they shouldn't run. If they think they should, they should go for it. Whether you support candidate X or party X, if all you have to offer is that ____ shouldn't run, then it seems to me that you don't have much of a candidate to support. If all you can offer is, "____ will hurt my candidate's choices! Don't run! Don't run!" seems like either your candidate has little to offer or you think s/he has little to offer and need to insist that the field be cleared for that reason. Since this site started, one election took place where I obviously did not like the candidate: Joe Lieberman. I wish Joe Lieberman wasn't in the Senate. We never said, after Lieberman lost the primary (and no member supported Lieberman), "Joe, don't run!" It's easy to say that if Lieberman hadn't run, Ned Lamont would be in the Senate. But the reality is Lamont's responsible for his campaign. Voters selected Lieberman over Lamont in a general election. There's never been any charges of voter fraud or rigging. Lieberman won the election. Some whine Republicans crossed over and gave Lieberman his support. Voters from Conn. made their choice. That's reality.

I wish Joe Lieberman wasn't in the Senate. I don't care for him. But he won. He won as independent. He won in an election. He didn't "steal" votes from Lamont. He fought for the votes he got. More power to him on that. I can at least admire his determination. He ran a race to win. Lamont, on the other hand, lost his message (as he gained newcomers to his campaign). He lost those votes. He stood for something in the primary and then consultants showed up in the droves to water him down for the general election. Would he have won if he'd stayed with his strong message? I think he would have but I don't know. I know watered down Lamont didn't win him the election.

Lamont lost, Lieberman won. The election was decided by the voters in the state. Those whining that Lieberman won due to Republicans crossing over need to grasp that Lieberman courted them and he won those votes. I doubt I'd agree with anything that ever came out of Joe Lieberman's mouth but he campaigned to win and he fought for his victory. Lamont backed down and confused voters as primary Lamont gave way to general election Lamont. That's no one's fault -- not even the consultants -- except Ned Lamont. Lamont didn't own any votes except his own. He was in a political race.

When Lieberman's natural party base vanished, he knew he didn't "own" any votes and went out and campaigned. That's reality. Blaming Ralph Nader for winning votes is ridiculous. Nader got votes from people who wanted to vote for him, he won those votes, he didn't steal them.

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