Sunday, March 23, 2008

4,000 dead and the war drags on . . .

Four attacks were made against the Green Zone, the site of the Iraqi government and U.S. embassy, injuring at least four people, AFP said. The U.S. embassy was evacuated, with staff moving into nearby bunkers, the newswire reported, citing an unidentified embassy employee. During the second attack, eight mortar rounds fell near the embassy complex and two into a nearby residential area, according to AFP.
At least 12 soldiers died and 35 were wounded when a suicide bomber crashed a truck laden with explosives into an Iraqi army base in the northern city of Mosul, AFP said, citing a U.S. military statement. It was the deadliest attack of the day, the newswire said.

The above is from Kari Lundgren's "Iraqi Attacks Kill 54 People; Green Zone Bombed, AFP Reports" (Bloomberg News). Thus far, MNF announces, "Four Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers were killed at approximately 10 p.m. March 23 after terrorists attacked them with an improvised-explosive device in southern Baghdad while conducting a mounted vehicular patrol. One additional Soldier was injured from this attack." The 4,000 mark has been reached.

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 3988. And tonight? 4000 is the number.

The 4,000 mark has been reached. 12 US service members have been announced since last Sunday. Last week was the fifth anniversary of the illegal war and you saw how that played out. The "corporatist peace groups" are pimping "cost of war!" (Nancy Lessin is not part of a "corporatist peace group" -- we will be noting her Winter Soldier testimony in tomorrow's snapshot.) Your first clue came when Panhandle Media started pimping it. When The Nation decided to 'reflect' on Iraq and offered not one, not two, but three 'costs of war' pieces. It's not about the cost of war for those types, it's about the 2008 elections.

They weren't interested in the dead and dying, just in a way to swing the elections. Which is why all the groups that ignored Winter Soldier (CODEPINK, MoveOn) are now on board with "cost of war"!

Meanwhile, the 4,000 mark has been reached and nearly 2 million Iraqis have died since the start of the illegal war.

Panhandle media, pretending to care about ending the illegal war, offered up one column after another of 'reflection.' It's so much easier for those who don't care enough to pay attention to the Iraq War, to 'reflect.' It's so much easier to go back to 2002 or 2003 and act like they've 'covered' an ongoing, illegal war when they haven't done nothing (nod to Stevie Wonder).

You saw many of the 'peace' types not even offer a single thought on Iraq. They wrote about other things. But when they're next being interviewed, you better believe they'll hail themselves as voices calling for an end to the illegal war. It was the fifth year anniversary in the US on March 19th. (Worldwide it was the 20th for some, due to the time change.) Common Dreams is a US site. There was no reason to do anything but flood the zone with Iraq pieces. They went another way. They offered columns on Monsanto, an "Ode to Bear, Stearns," the Beijiing Olympics (Don't Watch!, they instructed) and two rejects from polite society (but cheered on by Panhandle Media) weighing in on the hula hoop of 'framing' for elections. (Yes, that hula hoop lost steam in 2004, as all hula hoops do. But until the next 'sure fire' craze -- that never works -- comes along, we're apparently stuck with it and the non-genius who created it. In ten years, people will read over that garbage and laugh at the ones promoting it.) They offered up eleven articles and Iraq wasn't even important to be the topic of all eleven on the day of the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. They really are trash but Toad's one of the people who started that site.

Now if you watched TV last week and caught Bill Moyers Journal, you saw Bill Moyers, Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue address realities about the ongoing, illegal war. They weren't dusting off old pieces from five years ago, they were discussing today's realities. In addition, Moyers ended his program with a listing of the US service members who have died. Some stood up, some couldn't be bothered. The Nation felt the anniversary of the illegal war was the perfect time to offer a non-Democrat's crack-pot ravings that there was something nefarious about Hillary Clinton -- an open Christian -- belonging to prayer group, something Clinton had disclosed in her own autobiography but crazies just knew there was something there! "There must be! There must be!" squealed Stab sounding like a crazed Doris Day singing the theme to Pillow Talk. But if you were to line up every column Stab's written in the last two years, you'd notice that she's always got something to scribble about other than the Iraq War. (And regardless of the topic, it's never worth reading.)

The Olympics this summer, Panhandle Media told you, was just as important as an ongoing illegal war. There's no perspective because Panhandle Media's only interest in the Iraq War is how they can tie it to their pet causes that so few Americans care about on their own. "We must make connections!" they cry. So they write the article we noted two Saturdays ago whose title proclaims it to be about Iraq and the fifth anniversary of the illegal war but all they do is focus on Iran. Apparently, including Iraq and the fifth anniversary in the title, tossing two shout-outs to Iraq in bulletin points, made it 'timely' and one more way to push their pet issue.

It's why they love them some Bambi. In 2002, he gave a speech (where, as Ava and I point out, he accepted the same lies the White House fed the media about WMDs but instead argued for the existing sanctions to be maintained) and he's really not concerned himself with the Iraq War in the Senate (or much of anything in the Senate) and that's their guy! He's just like them! He focuses on everything except Iraq!

Unless you have a time machine, 2002 was six years ago and there's no going back. Unless you have a time machine, 4,000 US service members and nearly 2 million Iraqis are dead and there's no going back. The illegal war needs to end and distracting people by lying for a candidate who supports counter-insurgency and mercenaries isn't ending the illegal war.

The dead are gone and the losses are real. They will only mulitply as the war drags on and lying for your candidate of choice, creating a myth around him, is not going to end the illegal war. They've never held him accountable in real time and they're not going to hold accountable anytime soon. They're just going to keep LYING and tell people if you vote for him the war ends!

No, it doesn't. People end wars. People force their countries to end wars. And all the 'peace' 'leaders' pimping Bambi aren't trying to end the illegal war.

4,000 are dead now. Maybe it'll be a headline for Panhandle Media, maybe The Nation will even note it in real time this go round. They didn't when it was the 3,000 mark. Nor did Pacifica. Everyone was off celebrating New Year's Eve and then, apparently, nursing their hangovers. When the more recent mark came, they were writing odes to St. Bhutto. They always have their pet causes that are more impotant than ending the Iraq War. They always will. But you better believe when the illegal war ends they'll be claiming credit they don't deserve. (It happened after Vietnam as well.)

4,000 are dead and that's being repeated because with Panhandle Media letting Iraq fall off the radar, many Americans don't even know the US death toll.

We'll note Just Foreign Policy lists 1,191,216 up from last week's 1,189,173. And we'll note one highlight, Pru notes "Protests are still strong five years after the invasion of Iraq" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Thousands of anti-war campaigners took part in global protests last weekend to mark the fifth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq.
The 40,000-strong London demonstration began with a rally that filled Trafalgar Square.
Lindsey German, national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, told the crowds, "Five years on, we’re still marching because they’re still occupying."
To loud cheers Tony Benn agreed, saying, "Parliament represents the past -- the streets represent the future."
In both London and Glasgow marches were buoyed with new and younger demonstrators.
Sixth form student Sameeyah came with a delegation from Greenford High School in Ealing.
She told Socialist Worker that while she had been on many anti-war demonstrations before, half of her group had never been on a march.
She said, "I told people to come because being on a demo gives you a chance to articulate your feelings about what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
"A group of us got together and decided to make our own anti-war banner, though we had to get my mum to sew it for us."
Full picture
It was also a first demo for west London law student Saima Haq. She said, "I have very strong opinions about the world but I don’t feel that I know enough -- you see snippets on the news but don't get the full picture.
"I've come here to educate myself. My family comes from Pakistan. When Benazir Bhutto was killed, it made me take stock of what is happening. It shows how the war is spreading."
Saima came with her friend Shabana who had been on the anti-war demonstration five years earlier. She said, "There is a ­campaign of hate building up against Iran.
"We have to tell the government that we marched five years ago and the same anti-war feeling is still here today."
The presence of thousands of trade unionists also boosted the marches, with many pointing to the way public services are being squeezed while there appears to be endless money for war.
"It's very important for trade unionists to be part of this ­campaign," said Paul Robertson, a Unison union shop steward in Tower Hamlets council, east London.
"Millions of workers are facing a 2 percent pay cut this year, yet we’ve just heard that the cost of the war has doubled.
"Our branch has always supported the Stop the War Coalition and this is the 12th anti-war demonstration we've been on."
Banners from teaching unions in all sectors of education were particularly well represented on the London march.
In the face of a recruitment crisis, the military has been attempting to attract students by running stalls in colleges.
Amanda Sackur, a union rep at London Metropolitan University, said, "Working people bear the brunt of the government’s war policy, and it is the poorest that are being conned into joining the army.
"The unions must be involved in the fight against the war."
Demonstrators from all backgrounds shared a common anger with Gordon Brown, who on ­taking office had attempted to put distance between himself and Tony Blair.
Dr Azzam Tamimi from the British Muslim Initiative spoke of the horrors rained down by Israel on Gaza and the people of Palestine in recent weeks.
He denounced Brown's government's complicity with Israeli war crimes.
"We were promised that Brown would be better than Blair, but he is just as cowardly."
"There is something inherently wrong with this political system and we need to change it for good."
Over 5,000 people marched through Glasgow, with a strong turn out from the trade unions, students and Scotland's Muslim community.
School student Amicima said she had joined the protest to "show support for the Palestinians, to stop these horrible massacres, and because I am concerned that the US might now attack Iran".
At the rally on Glasgow Green Kenny Ross, the regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, pointed out that the cost of war is now £3.5 billion a year.
"People like you and me are paying for that," he said. "And Gordon Brown is the man who wrote the cheques for the last five years. Public sector workers are losing their jobs and we face paltry pay rises as the cost of living spirals."
Addressing the marchers, Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon called for troops to be brought home and for those responsible for taking us to war to be brought to account.
She pointed out that something had changed since the Iraq invasion. "People across Scotland – and now the party of government in Scotland -- say no to this illegal war," she said.
Anti-war activists were cheered by an SNP motion, tabled two days earlier, which attacked the war and backed Rose Gentle, a founder of Military Families Against the War.
Chris Bambery
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Photo of the World Against War demo on 15 March in London» Video of Oliur Rahman interviewed on World Against War demo in London, 15 March» Video of John Rees addressing the World Against War demo in London, 15 March» Video of Lindsey German addressing World Against War demo in London, 15 March
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