Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Other Items (John Edwards chats with Gordo)

The Canada Free Press is a right wing rag that exists to popularize conservative talking points. Little Artie Weinreb shows up today up in arms over the issue of war resisters -- he's been there before -- and he's got a real hard time with the basics. No link, we don't link to trash, but his title explains what's got him unhinged: "Canada readies to give U.S. deserters refuge." Artie's foaming at the mouth so that facts don't matter. So he tosses out that Jeremy Hinzman served in Afhganistan, so he can't be a CO! Actually he can be . . . even if he served in Afghanistan. But, for the record, Hinzman served in a non-combat role and that was due to his beliefs about war.

The fact that Artie's launching a pre-emptive strike on a potential vote in Canada's Parliament (he says this month but most say the earliest a vote could come would be February) can be seen as good thing in that it demonstrates Artie thinks there's a good chance it will pass. But that's only if people make their voices heard. The Canadian Parliament has the power to let war resisters stay in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26.

In the New York Times this morning, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher contribute "Bomber Kills 30 in Baghdad's Worst Attack in Months:"

Thirty people were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber strode into a gathering of mourners at a home in eastern Baghdad and detonated an explosives-packed vest, the Interior Ministry said. It was the most brazen and deadly attack in the capital in months.
The force of the blast scattered severed arms and legs about the site of the attack, a house where scores of friends and relatives had gathered to pay tribute to a man killed three days earlier by a car bomb in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad.
One survivor ran in the street outside screaming and crying that five of her sons had been killed. Then she collapsed, said a car salesman who works nearby.

The article's also interesting in that, elsewhere, on other violence, it presents as fact the statements of an Iraqi. Understand that months prior that wouldn't happen in the Times unless he was in the puppet government but, before you think that's a good thing, note that he's a US collaborator ("Awakening" council) and think about how many Iraqis have been ignored or presented as questionable by the paper when their own eye witness remarks did get included. But when you're a collaborator and you say "al Qaeda," the Times rushes you into print -- never bother noting that it's in the "Awakening" councils' interests to see al Qaeda in Mesopotamia everywhere because that's what gets them the US monies.

Lloyd notes Joshua Partlow and Zaid Sabah's "Suicide Blast at Baghdad Funeral of Bomb Victim Kills Dozen" (Washington Post):

By the time he reached the front gate of his neighbor's house, just minutes after the blast, Adil Ahmed saw flames leaping off the funeral tent. The guests' cars parked outside were blasted and burned. Some of the mourners were screaming with grief and rage, and many others were scattered on the ground, dead or dying. The chemistry professor recalled bending down to one man who had saliva running down his chin. He pumped his chest and breathed into his mouth, again and again, in a vain attempt to save him.
He ran to other, less seriously injured men, and helped drag or carry them to cars waiting to rush them to the hospital. He noticed that some of the dead were still sitting upright in the burning tent on their plastic chairs. After an hour of this, his clothes were messy with blood.
"I failed," Ahmed said. "I couldn't help them."

On the front page of the New York Times, War Pornographer Michael Gordon offers "Edwards Calls for Quick Pullout Of Troops Training Iraqi Forces." The Times also offers a full transcript of the interview online -- or at least a full transcript of John Edwards' responses, they note they've edited Gordo for "clarity" and "brevity" (something that wasn't a concern during the lead up to the illegal war). Read the article and the transcript and wonder at Gordo's take (it's the paper's as well) which is to repeatedly cite the military brass as if they and not the people of the country (I mean the US, but you can toss in Iraqis as well -- both want the US out of Iraq) have the final say in a democracy.

From the transcript, Edwards speaking:

Now I would add that there are people who have proposed--I think Governor Vilsack did it, I think at some point Governor Richardson did it--an immediate and total withdrawal. I don't support that. I think that does not allow adequate time for serious political progress to be made.

It's a point Gordo misses telling readers in his article. (For the record, Bill Richardson's plan is workable.) From elsewhere in the transcript:

Q. Do you think we have a moral responsibility at this juncture to safeguard the Iraqi population? The Iraqis did not ask us to invade.
A. That's right.
Q. It was a decision that the Bush administration made. You were among those who voted to authorize the use of military force
A. I voted for it.
Q. We took down their governing structures and dismantled their army. We made a number of mistakes
A. There is no doubt about that.
Q. Over the past year we certainly had some success in dampening the violence and reducing civilian casualties. Do we at this juncture a moral responsibility to safeguard the interests of the Iraqi population? Or, is it your sense that we have done everything for them, that it is really up to them?

Gordo's "The Iraqis did not ask us to invade" is a cute little remark, don't you think? He remembers the Iraqis as a tool of guilt (such a yenta) but somehow the fact that poll after poll shows Iraqis want US troops out isn't worthy of a mention? Well, he couldn't push for the illegal war as hard if he had to note that the Iraqis he pretends to care about (or cares about only in some image he has of them as helpless infants) if he also had to note that the people want all foreign forces out of their country.

Gordo's also spinning that "dampening the violence" crap. Twice Edwards will state in the interview that Baghdad's become Shi'ite majority and segregated.

Now let's be fair to Gordo and note this question which may need to be asked (see explanation after):

Q. You would be president a little more than year from now. It is not clear exactly what Iraq would look like at that point in time. Under what circumstances would you reassess your plan to rapidly withdraw from Iraq? If there was political movement on the part of the Iraqi leadership and they were beginning to reconcile, and if they said they still needed American forces there to secure the country, would you reassess your views? If the field commanders, none of whom are calling for this kind of rapid reduction at this point in time, if they came to you and said that they needed to keep American forces there longer would you reassess your view?

It's a valid question . . . provided the same type of questions are asked by the paper of War Hawks running for president and they aren't. A War Hawk who pledges to continue the illegal war in one form or another is never told that the future is uncertain and asked what specifics would cause them to withdraw?

Note that, throughout the interview, Gordo's obsessed with "commanders" (Elizabeth Edwards was present so, if only for her sake, let's all hope Gordo kept his hand out of his pants).

Gordo, The Man Who Hated Women, makes a bit of a to-do near the final section of his article (and he's already made a to-do over it in the first section of his article):

As the interview drew to a close, Mrs. Edwards politely chided this reporter for failing to ask about Mr. Edwards's plan to train some Iraqi forces outside Iraq, which she stressed was an important feature of the plan, "it's the one thing you forgot," she said.

Here's the transcript:

Elizabeth Edwards: My only criticism is that you did not talk about training outside of Iraq, the training of security forces.
Q. Basically what you seem to be implying is that we are out of the training business for training the Iraqi soldiers.
Mr. Edwards: Oh No. I think we can do training outside of Iraq.
Q. Well, go ahead. So your point is that you would continue it outside.
Mrs. Edwards: You're looking at me. It's the one thing you forgot.

Why was Gordo, after John Edwards had began speaking, looking to Elizabeth Edwards to answer the question and does anyone else feel that, if she had, Gordo would be going to town on her? (Those are the only remarks by Elizabeth Edwards in the transcript, for anyone wondering.) After her second (and final) statement of, "You're looking at me. It's the one thing you forgot," Gordo responds, "Well, you're the one who made the point. It's not in the White Book; I looked." Did Gordo listen? John Edwards had repeately raised that point throughout the interview (and Gordo had ignored following it up).

On training forces outside Iraq, as Gordo damn well knows, Iraqi police were being trained in Jordan and it wasn't costly. The White House ended that arrangement in 2006 (in part to deliver more funds to private contractors). Elizabeth Edwards is correct that he avoided asking about that issue and his claim that it's not in "the White Book" (I haven't read it, it may or may not be) is besides the point when John Edwards has cited the point throughout the interview and Gordo has ignored it.

Ignoring reality, Gordo gets this on the front page of the paper:

Elizabeth Edwards, his wife and political partner, who listened in on the interview from a seat across the aisle, intervened at the end of the session to underscore that Mr. Edwards did not intend to stop all training and was prepared to train Iraqi forces outside of the country. Mr. Edwards continued the them while acknowledging that the benefits of such training would be limited.

From the transcript, here's what follows Elizabeth Edwards' 'intervening':

Mr. Edwards: I have talked about this in the past. I think we can do some ongoing training outside of Iraq. I think the problem of doing the training inside of Iraq is the troop level that is required.
Q. What you can do outside Iraq is limited.
Mr. Edwards: Of course, it is limited.
Q. You have to take the forces there away from the fight, and you can't do unit training. There's not very much you can do outside Iraq but you can do some.
A. You can do some. You can do some.

John Edwards is acknowledging that there are limitations or Gordo is badgering him and Edwards is being polite? ("You can do some. You can do some." is the end of the transcript.)

The article's of interest chiefly because it tells readers that on Sunday, Edwards planned remarks at campaign stops were (like every other presidential contender) about 'Saint' Bhutto:

Iraq was not part of his prepared remarks, save for a denuciation of greedy military contractors. But Mr. Edwards outlined his plan to remove American troops from Iraq during a question-and-answer session with voters.

What does that say? It says that despite the lies of Big Media, Iraq is still an issue to voters.

John Edwards' position as captured by the transcript (read it yourself) appears to be: if elected to be president, he would seek out advice from Gordo's beloved (or belusted over) commanders but that's not the last say in a democracy. Not stated, but should be, is that commanders are in no place to talk about predictions of political gains in Iraq. Commanders are trained to oversee combat. They are not a peace building body. And if Gordo could get his hands out of his pants long enough to wipe the drool from his mouth, he might grasp that. Too much emphasis has been placed on the projections of commanders who are not trained to make projections and who have a vested interest in making them (they don't want withdrawal and they fret over how a withdrawal on their 'watch' will look).

Gordo is far from the only one enshrining military brass (the Dems put up an Abu Ghraib torture chief in 2007 as their radio 'responder' to the Bully Boy) but Gordo's supposed to be part of the press. Granted, it's the same press that Diane Sawyer is supposed to be a part of and she repeatedly attempted to shame the Dixie Chicks -- who are not in the military -- in 2003 with talk of 'commander-in-chief' (a president of the United States is commander-in-chief of the military, he is not commander-in-chief of the citizens). But both parties have rushed to play hide-behind-the-generals. In doing so, they've come dangerously close to endorsing a military junta (which Pakistan -- so much in the news these days -- has and which the US is allegedly opposed to -- remember their current 'ruler' is a military general).

Gordo's seen a 'turned corner' coming in Iraq over and over (it's never arrived) and that has to do with his embedded (mentally) nature because that's the same hogwash the military brass (which doesn't want to admit that there's no 'win' in Iraq) has been tossing out. Gordo's citing a military report that it will take X number of months for the Iraqi military to be ready (it's interesting that he fails to note the same report suggested scrapping the Iraqi police force due to the nature of those recruited). These 'predictions' have been going on and on from the military brass (and from Gordo) since the start of the illegal war.

Is the US supposed to remain in Iraq -- against the will of the Iraqi people and the people of the US -- until finally someone gets promoted to military leadership who has the guts to say the illegal war is lost? Or are political leaders in a democracy supposed to make judgements based on something more than the desires of the brass?

John Edwards from the transcript:

When I thought about this policy and when I think about the issue of Iraq and when I am asked about it, I think about every man and woman I have met, every family member I have met, who are putting their lives on the line and put their lives on the line in serving this country in Iraq and they deserve a Command in Chief who respects them, that cares about what they are doing, and who will do everything in his power to maximize the chances of success. I believe that this maximizes the chances of success. Because if you look at the underlying foundation for this entire problem that exists in Iraq now, it is not military. The problem is political, and unless and until they make some political progress nothing is going to change.
[. . .]
My own judgment is, let's assume for a minute that come January 2009 we still have a significant troop presence in Iraq, which I think is likely. If that is the case then I think another nine to ten months of American troop involvement and expenditure of taxpayer money with an intense effort to resolve the political conflict and intense diplomacy, then at that point America has done what it can do.

None of this entry is intended as an endorsement or non-endorsement of John Edwards. When Gordo (and a writing partner) sat down with Obama, you saw people rush to say, "Obama is for troops out!" But that was Gordo's write up. He played dumb in the write up. In the transcript, it was clear that Obama wasn't calling for that. Why did Gordo attempt to market it otherwise? Obama's a War Hawk supported by the likes of War Hawks Sammy Power and Sarah Sewer. (As well as by the allged 'independent' media.) Gordo lies when it's useful to him and an Obama presidency is useful to him because the illegal war would likely continue through 2013 if Obama were elected. Edwards and Clinton, in the same 'debate,' also refused to pledge that troops would be out of Iraq by 2013 if elected. Edwards is now explaining where he stands on Iraq. Use the links -- and put more emphasis on the transcript unless you just enjoy Gordo's creativity. The only worth of the article is two-part: You'll see that Iraq remains an issue, when citizens are allowed to weigh in; and Gordo really hates that a woman pointed out one of his flaws (no doubt Elizabeth Edwards could have pointed out many more -- most people could).

For any who don't grasp Gordo's hatred of women and attempt to play to the fears of sexists, let's note Elizabeth Edwards speaks twice -- and it's at the end of a long interview. She makes three statements in total. First, "My only criticism is that you did not talk about training outside of Iraq, the training of security forces." One sentence. And then, when John Edwards is speaking but Gordo's staring at her, she states, " You're looking at me. It's the one thing you forgot." Two sentences. Those three brief sentences were enough to warrant drawing attention to it on the front page in a full paragraph and returning to the topic on A12 for another paragraph. The transcript runs for six pages online (unless you choose the "single page" option) so three sentences really seem to stir Gordo's ire.

Violence continues in Iraq. Peter Graff (Reuters) reports:

A female suicide bomber killed 10 people in Iraq on Wednesday, the latest in a string of suicide bombings that has seen a major strike nearly every day of the past week despite an overall decline in violence.
The woman blew herself up with an explosive vest at a checkpoint of neighborhood patrol volunteers in Baquba, capital of the restive Diyala province. Twenty-eight people were wounded including some women, police said.

The targets appear to have been US collaborators. The e-mail address for this site is