Thursday, November 29, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

It's pretty hard finding the perfect gift sometimes—maybe we can help. In return, your donation will help fund our work supporting the troops who refuse to fight. Listed donations include all shipping, handling, and taxes. All apparel is U.S. made, "sweatshop free" and union printed. We'll make sure to ship items within a couple of days so that you have your gifts in plenty of time for the holidays.
1. Courage to Resist Hoodie
Heavy weight and warm. Sizes small to XXL. (view) $50
2. "Peace-star" Cap
Not sure what size hoodie or shirt to get? These are adjustable, sueded, and cool. (view) $25
3. Courage to Resist Shirt
Available in basic and women's fitted styles, from extra small to 3XL. (view) $25
4. Army of None Book
Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World by Courage to Resist organizer David Solnit and Gulf War objector Aimee Allison. $20
5. Sir! No Sir! DVD
New Special Director's Edition with over 100 min. of new bonus material! $30
6. Breaking Ranks DVD
New doc about four U.S. soldiers seeking sanctuary in Canada. If your thinking about using this for a house party, check out our "Dear Canada" organizer box. $30
7. The Sutras of Abu Ghraib Book
Notes from a conscientious objector in Iraq (hardcover) by Aidan Delgado. Democracy Now's Amy Goodman notes, "His description of how he was transformed by the horrors of Iraq is unforgettable." $25
8. Arlington West DVD
Documentary features 101 interviews, with soldiers and Marines en route to and returning from the war in Iraq, plus military families, and more. $20
9. Road from Ar Ramadi Book:The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejía (hardcover).
The NY Times' Bob Herbert notes, "The issues [Mejía] has raised deserve a close reading by the nation as a whole." $25
10. Make a Donation as a Gift
Not sure what to get? Consider giving a gift donation on behalf of a like-minded special someone. We'll be happy to send them a card letting them know of your generosity. Just include the gift recipient's name and address in the "Comments & Notes" field.

The above is from Courage to Resist and Mike noted it (he'll be running it at his site tomorrow but only saw it after he posted tonight.). If you have gifts to buy, the list above provides you with a number of choices. You won't have to battle in line at a store. If you're not comfortable ordering online or if you are someone who needs to do check or money order, the physical address is Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, CA 94610. If you're thinking about it and decide, a few days on down the line, "I will order something" you don't have to remember this entry. Their website has a link for ordering items (I believe it's called "store") and it will also include the physical address for anyone who would rather utilize the mail system.

If you have a gift or gifts to buy, note that your purchase (or donation -- step 10) is helping an organization that hasn't stood on the sidelines waiting to do what might be popular, or an organization that's afraid to use the term "war resisters." Courage to Resist has been working very hard to get the truth out and to support war resisters. If there's a war resister that's gone public this year, you should be able to find out about them at the website. They cover war resisters when so many just ignore. If you don't have the money, you don't have it and there's no reason to feel guilty. But if you do, please consider Courage to Resist. I don't wear "hoodies" (I'm way too old -- or think I am, you may be older and able to carry it off) but Jess and Jim both have Courage to Resist hoodies and we all have the baseball caps. No complaints on either item. They're made with quality and hold up. The books we've noted in book discussions and are all recommended. I don't know if we've done anything on the Ground Truth but it is a strong documentary and the Arlington West DVD is also very strong. (We've praised Sir! No Sir! repeatedly -- so that should be a known at this point.) Most of all, the organization is dedicated to ending the illegal war and how many can you say that about these days?

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 3874. Tonight? 3880 with 36 for the month announced thus far. Just Foreign Policy's total for the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war stood at 1,118,625. Tonight? 1,122,406.

In the snapshot today, Kevin Rudd's cabinet is mentioned and the hope was to have time to note the developments (or non-developments) regarding puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet. But al-Maliki made big statements in April of 2006 about that cabinet being put together and about to be announced. Over and over. Missed deadlines for that announcement and then, finally, as May was winding down, announced his cabinet. He doesn't have a full cabinet currently and attempted to fill two spots today but, Reuters reports, was "thwarted" by memebers of Iraq's Parliament who boycotted today's session. Noureddin al-Hayyali is quoted stating, "These two ministerial nominations were imposed without political consensus and consulting other parliament blocs." They also note some members "boycotted the session over rules that would allow the two candidates to be approved by less than half the 275-member parliament." Those 'rules' are not rules. The rules are written into the Constitution. The 'rules' Reuters refers to were a move by al-Maliki to circumvent a process he knew he would most likely lose.

That's something to remember amidst as the waves of Operation Happy Talk come crashing into the shore. The escalation is ending as it was always known it would and, during that time, al-Maliki's precarious 'leadership' became even more iffy. What has been accomplished? Nothing. A lot of money tossed around to militias/thugs. Buying off support from this faction (armed faction) or that. A lot of Iraqis dead, a lot of foreign troops dead. And the escalation ends (as it was known it would) and al-Maliki's got nothing. He doesn't even have a full cabinet. He did when the escalation started.

Nothing was accomplished but people lost lives to prop up the puppet who doesn't have popluar support in Iraq. What was the point of the escalation?

It wasn't a 'plan,' it wasn't a new 'strategy'. It was more of the same. And things are no better than they were before. Nor will they be.

Some outlets may rush out their end of the month stories tomorrow, some may wait until Sunday. But notice what gets left out. Did you see paper's covering (today) the female bomber yesterday that wounded 7 US service members and five Iraqi civilians? The US military issued an announcement on that. It's in the snapshot for Wednesday. (Wrongly under "shootings," but it's in there.) Why wasn't it a big story in the morning papers Thursday?

The PEJ study (also covered in Wednesday's snapshot) should have led to many op-eds, many roundtables. Instead it's been greeted with silence. (The New York Times covered it by burying it in the business section.) It's real easy to sell 'improvements!' when you ignore reality.

Or maybe you just sell the myth of the 'great return' that wasn't. Or maybe you ignore the attacks on Iraqi officials. On those two topics, the New York Times gets credit for Alissa J. Rubin's article on the attacks and for Damien Cave's article on the myth of the returns. And that may be the saddest thing about the last few weeks. Without taking anything away from Rubin or Cave (both deserve praise for those articles), how sad is it that the Times -- which continues to sell the illegal war -- did some of the better reporting on Iraq? Ali al-Fadhily (at IPS) did (and does) some strong reporting. But is that really all there is? Those three? Rubin's article will probably be a footnote in many books years from now and Cave's will probably get a little more attention but, for the mainstream, that may be it in terms of anything produced in the last few weeks (from Iraq) that will live past the daily cycle (other than in terms of negative criticism). Independent media can point to IPS. And? Okay, shoe string budgets (although The Nation brags about making a profit -- too bad the money didn't go to hiring some stringers in Iraq), what about discussions of Iraq? List your own favorites. It will no doubt be a very small list.

And that's how the failure of the escalation gets sold as a 'success.'

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