Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Other Items

Those who oppose letting U.S. war resisters stay in Canada often argue that these soldiers chose to enlist, unlike their comrades who were drafted during the Vietnam era. The picture is much more complex than that.
Between 1965 and 1973, more than 50,000 draft-age Americans came to Canada, in opposition to the Vietnam War. Many were soldiers who enlisted voluntarily, before they had the chance to be drafted, but quickly became opposed to the war after hearing from returning soldiers about what was really happening in Vietnam.
Today, U.S. soldiers are once again coming to Canada, in opposition to another U.S.-led war. Many of them are Iraq war veterans -- men and women who served, were sometimes injured, saw their comrades killed and faced multiple deployments.
Upon their return to the U.S., a growing number have decided not to fight. Some go AWOL in the U.S.; others seek refuge in Canada.
Almost five years after the invasion, the whole world can see that the Iraq war is a disaster and now knows it was based on lies. U.S. soldiers who decide to no longer participate are indeed making a choice -- the right one.
Anyone who refuses to fight in an illegal and immoral war, whether in Vietnam or Iraq, should be welcomed to Canada as heroes, rather than jailed in the U.S. as criminals. It's time we let the resisters stay.
James Clark, Toronto

Clark is the first of three responding to Joanne Fisher's nonsense (noted in yesterday's snapshot) in the Toronto Star. And Vietnam war resister Richard van Abbe writes to the Toronto Star to share his experience and offer his take on Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey:

Perhaps it's true that Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey do not meet the stringent criteria to be considered refugees. And so what if they joined the military voluntarily? Surely they joined to help defend their country from attack -- not to fulfill the ambitions of an incompetent president in an invasion condemned around the world.
In refusing further participation in this murderous fiasco, these two young men exemplify the humanity for which Canada is renowned. The government has the option of permitting them and others like them to stay on compassionate grounds, and it should do so without delay.

A soldier who said he was arrested at a veterans hospital where he was seeking mental help has been released from jail and is back at Fort Campbell, where his wife says he is being treated for post-traumatic stress problems.
Spc. Justin Faulkner, 22, of Stanton in eastern Kentucky, returned to his unit Tuesday, Brandy Faulkner said. She said she talked to him on the phone and that officers in his 101st Airborne Division combat engineer outfit welcomed him back.
“He’s back on base, they're treating him with respect and getting him the help he needs,” Brandy Faulkner said.
Faulkner, an Iraq war veteran, is scheduled to return to Iraq soon with the 101st, but his wife said he isn’t well enough to go.
"When you see someone go from being normal to walking and talking in his sleep, who can’t even drive on the highway without flinching from something like a potato chip bag on the side of the road, something is wrong," she said.

Returning to yesterday's helicopter crash, the UK's Ministry of Defence released the following:

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two military personnel near Baghdad, Iraq last night, Tuesday 20 November 2007.
The two personnel were killed when the RAF Puma helicopter they were travelling in crashed. Their next of kin have been informed.
Two other personnel were seriously injured, but are now recovering in hospital.

Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) notes that this brings to 173 the number of British troops killed in the illegal war. Was it the same crash as the helicopter crash announced by the US military yesterday? The US military announced 2 dead and 12 wounded.

The British military has not released the names of the dead the US military has announced: " An explosively-formed penetrator detonated near a combat patrol in eastern Baghdad, killing one Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier and wounding three others Nov. 20. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed. The patrol was returning to base after conducting an escort mission at the time of the attack."

On the targeting of officials, CNN notes the death of Moussa Jaafar yesterday:

At least seven people were killed in and around the Iraqi capital Tuesday, including two coalition service members and the director of the Iraq Geological Survey.
[. . .]
Earlier, Moussa Jaafar, the survey director, was in a car driving through a Shiite neighborhood in northwestern Baghdad when gunmen opened fire on his car, an Interior Ministry official said.
Jaafar and another passenger were killed, and the driver was wounded, the ministry official said.
The Iraq Geological Survey is part of the country's Department of Agriculture and is charged with surveying, studying and assessing Iraq's terrain.

And a friend asks if we would note Kevin Hassett's "Iraq Movie 'Curse' Is a Myth Worthy of Hollywood:" (Bloomberg):

It might be interesting and noteworthy if movies about Iraq were suffering at the box office. The problem is they aren't. The data suggest that these movies do just about as well, on average, as other films.
I base this conclusion on information gathered from The Numbers, a Web site that offers an assortment of movie data, including ratings, genre, tickets sold and budgets.
Deceptive Numbers
There, I was able to obtain data on 2,138 movies released in the U.S. from Jan. 1, 2004, to Oct. 26, 2007. Of those, 17 dealt directly with the war or issues relating to it, such as torture and the treatment of prisoners, according to the Internet Movie Database. Some of these titles include "Fahrenheit 9/11," "In the Valley of Elah" and "Rendition."
The top-line numbers suggest there is something to the hypothesis about an "Iraq curse" at the cinema. During this period, the average number of tickets sold for each movie was about 2.52 million, generating average inflation-adjusted revenue per film of $16.5 million. For "Iraq"' movies, average ticket sales were 2.24 million tickets, generating inflation- adjusted revenue of $14.7 million.
The top-line numbers, however, aren't the whole story. Iraq movies differed from typical films in that they were much more likely to have an "R" rating or to be unrated. Only three of the 17 films had a rating of "PG-13" or lower.

Hassett debunks the myth very well. For the record, he is AEI and works for the John McCain presidential campaign. It was noted and excerpted because a friend asked (begged) for it to be.

The above is a still from Brian De Palma's Redacted which is playing in many locations already and opens in the following today:

San Diego, CA: Hillcrest Cinemas
Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre
Minneapolis, MN: Lagoon Cinema
Seattle, WA: Metro Cinemas

Amazing film, must-see film. Some won't like it, but they have problems with something other than what's on screen (that "something other" they have problems with is reality).

Lastly, Eddie highlights Robert Parry's "Bush's Plame-gate Cover-up" (Consortium News):

In early fall 2003, George W. Bush joined in what appears to have been a criminal cover-up to conceal the role of his White House in exposing the classified identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.
That is the logical conclusion one would draw from a new statement by then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan when it is put into a mosaic with previously known evidence.
McClellan says President Bush was one of five high-ranking officials who caused McClellan to lie to the public in clearing Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis Libby of any responsibility for the leak of Plame’s employment as an undercover intelligence officer.

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