I this morning's New York Times, you should probably first turn to the portrait of life in Baghdad which includes a woman describing how the Bremer walls have not made her feel any safer but have made her worry about mobility and possible escape from death squads and/or bombings, or maybe you should go with the article where the paper took local water and sent it off to be tested in a lab to dtermine the safety value? Then there's the piece on the pollution in the Tigris that they covered before about four years ago but it's still worth a read. The violence round-up for Friday . . .
Oh wait, none of that appears. Not even steno notes from a military press conference.
Not one damn word appears in the paper on Iraq.
This is the second Saturday the Times has pulled this crap. Years and years from now, when someone too young to live through says, "I can't believe how long that war lasted. What was it like? Was the country up in arms?" Just reply back that the people were but the press didn't give a damn. But word it well so you don't look as foolish as ___ (see Ruth's upcoming report on that, she plans to post it here late tonight).
Two U.S. soldiers who died last month in Iraq were apparently shot to death by an Iraqi soldier during a combined U.S. and Iraqi Army operation, the U.S. military said.
"For reasons that are as yet unknown, at least one Iraqi Army soldier allegedly opened fire killing Capt. Rowdy Inman and Sgt. Benjamin Portell, both of whom were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment," the military said in a statement released Saturday.
Three other U.S. soldiers and a civilian interpreter were wounded in the attack, the military said.
You got to read it to believe it. Not for the incident. That's only uncommon if you haven't been paying attention. What you have to read-to-believe is the military's use of "alleged." It's in the excerpt and pops up again.
This is the same group that regularly labels everyone a "terrorist" or an "insurgent." A three-year-old child just killed by a bomb? Must have been a "terrorist" or a one in the making to read the military press releases and the statements to the press.
So what's going on? Did someone finally explain the law to the military's publicity hacks?
No. It's about the fact that this is someone the US military trained.
It's not a concern about fairness or the law. It's about the fact that the term they regularly employ ("terrorst") must not be applied to anyone they train.
Why is that?
"The US military is training terrorists!"
They don't want that cry or reaction getting out.
The reality is that they train deaths squads in Iraq, they arm death squads. They can (and did) brag about "the Salvador option" and no raises an eye brow because (a) most don't know their history and (b) who cares about "those" people? But use "terrorist" and the whole house of cards collapses.
Bully Boy's put forward several lies but the key ones here are probably (1) Us v. them and (2) If 'we' don't fight them over there, the 'terrorists' will follow 'us' back to the US. Because the Baghdad to Miami is one of the most frequently flown routes, you understand.
Both lies depend on (and further) the lie that "we" know best and that "we" can determine readily and easily who's who in Iraq (and, of course, the entire administration rests on those lies -- it's the same justification for illegal torture and imprisonment without the right to trial).
So when someone the US military has trained and the US tax dollars have paid could potentially be labeled a 'terrorist,' it's time to run from the label because the myths that continue to sell the illegal war (and all the programs of the White House) really need to convince people that guilt and innocence do not need to be determined by a legal body -- instead, like Bully Boy peering into Putin's eyes -- it's a snap judgement that can and should be made easily.
That may be one of the lesser explored aspects to his 'power' and 'support.' A scared people (and a willing press) inflated Bully Boy to heroic proportions, granting him abilities that -- even were he a mentally functioning adult -- no adult has. And while events have long tarnished the glow of the Bully Boy, there's a refusal on the part of some (not all) to extend that where it belongs. For instance, exposures of neglect and worse during Hurricane Katrina ended up transferred onto the person of the Bully Boy by some and weren't seen as an indictment upon his entire programs.
But all of his programs depend upon "Trust me." They were never logical, never rooted in science (hard sciences or social sciences). Every policy was a personal one and Bully Boy sold it as such. Now that he's left a filthy ring around the bathtub, some people want to see it as a momentary flaw or just a personal one but exempt the very personal policies he put into place from examination.
That's probably partly due to the fact that it's a huge indictment of the American people. Take any policy, but let's grab the targeting and rounding up of Muslims. Yes, some spoke up in real time. But "some" Americans aren't supposed to speak up when the nation is in crisis -- as we're taught the civic duty and myths of the nation, we're taught that should anything not in our country's character spring up, the nation will of course rise up and stop it.
But Muslims were rounded up. They were taken from their homes and their work (many families had no idea where their husbands, sons or fathers disappeared to) and not because they'd done anything. There was no rule of law, there was no reliance on our legal justice system that we're taught is the 'best in the world!' There was just a policy put in place by a tyrant who thought he knew best and that we-know-best attitude is all the policy ever was. Torture them for information (they were tortured, they didn't have to be sent overseas for that, they were tortured in this country as well). It's okay, "We know best." Move them repeatedly so if the families do find out where a loved one is, a trip to the prison isn't going to result in any kind of a visit because what rights should "terrorists" have. Keep them thrown off balance repeatedly (a torture in and of itself when it's planned) because they have no rights, the Bully Boy has said so, has stripped them of rights. And that's on his say so. There's no legal backing to the crap that was pulled.
Yeah, a bunch of rejects -- a number of whom were implementing the practices they grew up under in nations other than the US -- cobbled together something that might sound like a legal rationale but it had no legal standing and it wasn't based on anything other than Bully Boy's say so.
So it's really important -- and goes beyond the illegal war -- that when a 'terrorist' kills in Iraq, he or she not be someone the US has paid and trained.
When personal judgement falls into question, it raises a whole host of issues that should have been raised a long, long time ago. It questions not just the incident but the entire policies.
That's why it's so very important for the government to repeatedly put out the "few bad apples" lie on Abu Ghraib and other scandals. This isn't a reflection of a policy, you understand, it's a reflection of some deviant flaw in some underling's character.
It's all the same big lie. And it's still told today because it has to be to keep the house of cards from caving in.
Bully Boy and his flunkies are fond of saying "we know" and it can be on any number of topics from Iran to standardized testing. But the reality is they don't "know" because knowledge was never a basis. It was always about personal calls made for personal interests and they cloaked it psuedo-science and pseudo-legalities (like the declaration of the war itself). So when something comes along that questions the entire operation -- that calls into question the personal whims of all these policies -- it's time to double back and use terms like 'alleged.' We saw something similar with Abu Ghraib which the White House knew long before Sy Hersh and 60 Minutes II popularized the story (the story was out there for months before it was popularized -- out there in the public). If the incident doesn't get buried, they'll begin attempting to argue that it's an indictment of a flaw in the 'terrorist''s make up and not an indictment of the policy itself.
It's an indictment of the policy itself. Even with the US training them, they can't determine "good" or "bad." But the entire Iraq policy (including the "Awakening" Council all the way up to who gets installed into puppet leadership) is based on the belief that they can make that judgement call. Not even a "judgement call" because that implies more weight to it. On a whim -- a nation held by prisoner on a whim.
The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:
Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
and Ruth's Ruth's Report
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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