Sunday, March 09, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

We'll get to liars like Katrina vanden Heuvel who expose themselves in public, but let's start with something else. Tony Stickley and Tammy Buckley (New Zeland's Stuff) report on an unnamed Iraqi war resister who has been allowed to stay in New Zealand after appealing a deportation order. The man is not named but it's stated that he's Shia, was raised in Baghdad and fears that returning to Iraq would mean he would be killed due to a marriage to "a Kiwi woman" and other reasons.

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 3973. And tonight? 3975 is the number. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,182,393 -- they finally update on Friday.

We'll do a run down of some of the reported violence over the weekend but first, the editorial we did ("Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia") at The Third Estate Sunday Review has resulted in a ton of e-mails from community members as well as visitors who are all noting that are allegedly "anti-war" 'voices' won't say a damn thing. If you're still thinking -- after all this time -- that Katrina vanden Heuvel gives a damn about ending the illegal war, you're kidding yourself. She is nothing but a fake and a fraud when it comes to the issue of the Iraq War. And, yes, she proves that yet again today as she rushed to expose herself in public to weigh in on Obama and Hillary with her ridiculous blog post on . . . electability. It's a nice way to avoid reality.

From Krissah Williams' "Clinton Critizes Obama Aide's Comments on Iraq" (Washington Post):

Clinton began by pointing to a BBC interview with Samantha Power, a Harvard professor and foreign policy aide to Obama who resigned this morning under pressure after telling a Scottish reporter that Clinton was a "monster." In the interview Power says Obama's pledge to withdraw all troops from Iraq in 16 months is a "best-case scenario" proposal.
"Senator Obama has made his speech opposing Iraq in 2002 and the war in the Iraq the core of his campaign, which makes these comments especially troubling. While Senator Obama campaigns on his [pledge] to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should he become president," Clinton told reporters, following a town hall meeting at the train depot. "This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another. You saw this with NAFTA as well."

[. . .]
"He's attacked me continually for having no hard exit date, and now we learned that he doesn't have one -- in fact, he doesn't have a plan at all, according to his top foreign policy adviser," Clinton said. "On the campaign trail, he says one thing while his campaign tells people abroad something else. I'm not sure what the American people should believe."

From Alec MacGillis' "Obama Team Charges 'Double Standard' on Adviser Statements" (Washington Post):

Samantha Power -- Harvard professor, author of books on the Rwandan genocide and slain UN official Sergio Vieira de Mello and resident big thinker in the Obama camp -- said in an interview with the BBC that Obama's withdrawal of troops from Iraq would inevitably depend somewhat on the circumstances he finds when he takes office. The Clinton campaign this afternoon pounced on the matter of fact remark as proof that Obama's promise to get out troops out of Iraq was disingenuous -- just an hour or two after the Clinton camp successfully demanded Power resign her campaign advisory post for another recent comment, telling the Scotsman newspaper that Clinton was behaving like a "monster."
(Whatever is it with the Obama campaign and the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth? After the recent Canadian consulate flap, the Scotsman and now BBC, one can only imagine there will be another bombshell arriving from New Zealand any day now. The Obama campaign may want to follow the lead of top Clinton aide Mandy Grunwald, who
refuses to talk to the foreign press, period.)
The BBC interview proceeded as follows:
BBC: "You said that he'll revisit it when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment isn't it?
POWER: "You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.
He will rely upon a plan, an operational plan that he pulls together, in consultation with people who are on the ground, to whom he doesn't have daily access now as a result of not being the president. So to think, I mean it would be the height of ideology, you know, to sort of say, well I said it therefore I'm going to impose it on whatever reality entreats me -
BBC:Ok, so the 16 months is negotiable?
POWER: It's the best case scenario.
BBC: It's the best case scenario.
POWER: It is -
BBC: And of course in Iraq we've never seen best case scenario.
POWER: We have never seen best case scenario
BBC: So we needn't necessarily take it seriously at all.
POWER: What we can take seriously is that he will try to get US forces out as quickly and as responsibly as possible. And that's the best case, estimate of what it would take.

Over thirty members are noting "MEMO: Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words" (

To: Interested Parties
From: The Clinton Campaign
Date: March 8, 2008
RE: Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words
Once again, it looks like Senator Obama is telling voters one thing while his campaign says those words should not to be mistaken for serious action.
After months of speeches from Senator Obama promising a hard end date to the Iraq war, his top foreign policy adviser that counseled his campaign during that period is on the record saying that Senator Obama will "not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator."
Voters already have serious questions about whether Senator Obama is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Now there are questions about whether he's serious about the Iraq plan he's discussed for the last year on the campaign trail.
Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal.
It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?
This latest incident is part of a larger pattern where Senator Obama doesn't deliver on the promises he makes on the campaign trail -- whether it's his 2004 Senate race or his 2008 White House campaign.
In 2003, Senator Obama said he was for a single payer health system, but now opposes plans that cover every American. He promised to repeal the Patriot Act, but then voted to extend it. He promised to normalize relations with Cuba, but flip-flopped when he started running for president.
In 2008, Senator Obama rails against NAFTA in Ohio while his top economic advisor assures the Canadians his rhetoric is just "political positioning." He promises to opt in to public financing if the GOP nominee does, but then breaks that pledge in real time. He promises to withdraw from Iraq within 16 months, and now his top foreign policy adviser says that he's not relying on the plan.
With a short record to run on, Senator Obama's entire campaign is based on the speeches he makes on the campaign trail. So when he and his advisers dismiss the plans he touts on the stump, it undermines his entire candidacy.
Americans have heard plenty of speeches. It's time they got serious solutions and that's what Hillary is going to deliver when she is President.

That is exactly correct. Obama, in 2007, suddenly decided he would vote against the 2002 authorization if he had been in the US Senate in 2002. Prior to that, he always stated, on the record, that he didn't know how he would vote. He has campaigned repeatedly on his newly-found 'judgement' -- stating that his 2002 speech (ignore his voting record on Iraq once he's in the Senate, apparently) showed that he had the 'judgement' to lead. He has gone across the country promising to withdraw all combat troops within sixteen months of being sworn in. In Houston Texas, he gave a speech where he cut the sixteen months down to one year. His then-advisor tells the BBC that these statements to the public are meaningless.

His dopey commerical in Texas (set to bad rock music) had him crying out "We want to end the war now!" People going to those rallies believe in him, they believe the words they are being told. And when someone campaigning for office is making public pledges that the chief foreign policy adviser reveals are meaningless, it is news.

Now the Houston line resulted in an entire column at The Nation website from Tom Hayden. But Samantha Power revealing that the whole thing is garbage results in nothing?

If you'll remember Tom Hayden and Laura Flanders both endorsed Barack Obama as Super Duper Tuesday approached (Flanders on the morning of Super Duper Tuesday) and then wanted to peddle it back after and both pen columns that it was important to hold Hillary and Barack's feet to the fire. Forget the self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders. She couldn't call out Barack's use of homophobia in South Carolina so she's never going to do anything. Why anyone should listen to her on the Democratic Party to begin with is anyone's guess. She didn't vote for Al Gore in the November 2000 election, I don't believe she voted for John Kerry in 2004. Why this woman's thoughts on who should be given the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- this woman who knows so damn little about the country she came to late in life (from England) -- is a puzzle. But she's not going to a damn thing because she's made herself useless.

Tom Hayden? If he can't call this crap out, he is useless. He knows damn well that no one at the Carr Center is interested in ending the illegal war (though they do want new wars started). He wrote that both Barack and Hillary needed to have their feet held to the fire and if he continues to be silent on this, he's the worst hypocrite in the world. And we can certainly explore here all the ways that's true. We can hop in the way-back machine and just go through history on that topic.

This is major, this is news and you're seeing the collapse of Panhandle Media over this. They love to scream at Judith Miller (who, no surprise, worked in Panhandle Media -- she used to write for The Progressive). Judith is a liar! Well, if they want to call out Miller (which is fine), it's incumbent upon them to make sure they're telling the truth. Imposing a cone of silence on what Power revealed isn't serving the public interest.

But they're not interested in serving the public interest and they're not interested in ending the illegal war. What they are interested in is trying to get Barack Obama elected and the next time they beg for money, you need to remember that. Because they never tell you, "Give us your hard earned money so we can LIE and LIE again." They claim they are in it for the truth, they claim you can't go anywhere else for the truth. But here's the truth: Barack Obama's chief advisor told the BBC that his 'pledge' was non-binding, meaningless.

You don't think the American electorate has a right to know that fact?

The left is diverse. Certainly the Democratic Party (which is only one segment of the left) is split on whom they want for president: Hillary or Barack. The fact that Matthew Rothschild, Ruth Conniff, Katrina vanden Heuvel, David Corn, John Nichols, Ari Berman & Mebler (The Airs), loony Chris Zooney, Alexander Cockburn, Tom Hayden, Amy Goodman, professor Patti Williams, Laura Flanders, Richard Kim, Gilligan (another transplant from England -- and one who can't vote so really shouldn't feel the need to butt into American elections but as long as he sides with Bambi, The Nation will keep printing his scribbles), Robert Scheer, Robert Parry, Marc Ash, and on and on it goes, all are supporting Bambi should tell you something because that doesn't happen. It is not natural, it didn't just happen, it is orchestrated and there's no denying it. Statiscally as well as historically, it does not happen. The fact that is happening goes to fact that Panhandle Media is attempt to con people. The fact that they are silent on what Power revelead goes to the fact that they aren't journalists, that they couldn't seek gainful employment in real media because they don't practice journalism.

They are practicing cheerleading. If you'll search your minds, you'll remember that Judith Miller didn't practice journalism but instead practiced cheerleading. That was what she was called out for and she deserved to be called out for it. There is no difference, in terms of journalism, in what is going on right now. Panhandle Media is refusing to tell their audience about Power's revelations to the BBC. They are no different than Judith Miller now. They cannot claim to be any different. Judith lied to protect the powerful, they're being silent to protect someone powerful that they want to see become even more powerful.

They have no standards at all. They are not journalists. And their little pitch that they give over the airwaves or in those begging mailings about how they're the only media that provides the truth and where would you be without them, they call that crap into question when they refuse to have enough integrity to tell their audience that Power said Barack's 'pledge' isn't a pledge, isn't binding and he doesn't intend to be held to it.

Jann Wenner (whom I've known for years) endorsed Bambi. Everyone who knows Jann is laughing their asses off over that one. For several reasons, but we'll just deal with one.

Years ago, hard to believe for young people today, Rolling Stone magazine actually had some influence. It had significant influence. In those days, long ago, they refused to take advertising from the US military and had some core beliefs. Jann sold those beliefs out to hop on the Jimmy Carter campaign (that's not a comment on Carter). He threw the magazine behind it and did so because he thought he was going to become a power player in DC. He opened up a DC desk and Doris' husband drank all the money Jann was throwing around to build up a DC presence for the magazine. Jimmy Carter, though happy to have the publicity the magazine gave him, wasn't interested in appointing Jann to anything (and everyone but Jann grasped that before the election -- long before the election). Jann thought he would be a power player. The same lust for that is at play in many who have shredded their own reputations to hop on the Bambi bus. Like Jann, however it turns out, when reality sets in that they are not important, they may go into a deep funk. Rolling Stone never recovered from putting a tag on their core values. Harriet managed to step in save the magazine. And it would (and does) continue to make money. But Rolling Stone is nothing these days but a magazine that sells okay. It's not an influence, it doesn't shake the culture, it doesn't set the standards and the newer audience (as a whole) has no loyalty to the magazine which is why everyone knows when Jann retires the magazine's got about five years left in it. (And it's expected to be sold off at bargain basement prices.) It's trashed its history, its destroyed its legacy.

Once upon a time, Rolling Stone was much more important to the public conversation than some mega-sites are today and more important to the public conversation than any Panhandle Media program or magazine. For those people today, the fall from grace will be quick and swift. Should Obama get the nomination and make it into the White House, America will quickly learn just how hollow Bambi's words were and realize they were hyped. The Toilet Scrubbers wanting to enter the front door of the White House will find that their entry is blocked and that they were used (as every candidate uses the press). Some will go into the funk and long haze that Jann did. Some will take their anger out on the hollow Obama immediately. There is no 'movement' behind Obama. There are a number of people who believe his pretty talk and there are huge astro-turf efforts. (On Charlie Rose last Tuesday, the commentators -- except Melissa Harris-Lacewell who said she couldn't see the speech -- everyone else with Charlie in the studio could and Harris-Lacewell was in the studio -- the commenators were shocked by how empty and hollow the speech sounded and it was noted that there were no people behind him. It's the same sort of visuals Bully Boy used in his campaign and, as with Bully Boy, without those visuals, there's no momentum.)

But even if Obama makes it into the White House (Hillary is more electable -- Katrina works hard today to pretend otherwise), these people have destroyed their reputations and they will have to pay for it. Rolling Stone had to for getting on the Carter bandwagon. (And Carter actually stood for something.) You can't pretend to be journalists and get away with this crap. The audience does catch on and they lose trust in you and they stop buying you or listening to you. You don't matter because reality found you out, reality told the truth on you. And it was truth you should have been telling all along.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Baghdad roadside bombings ("in a sequence") claimed 1 life and left another person wounded, a Tikrit roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left two more wounded and a Mosul car bombing that claimed 2 lives and left five people wounded. Reuters notes a Mahmudiya mortar attack that left a child injured, a roadside bombing "between Haidtha and Baiji" that claimed the lives of 4 people and, dropping back to Saturday, a Mussayab roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 child. Also on Saturday, Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Bquba bombing that claimed the life of 1 "40 year old mother . . . her 22 year old daughter and 10 year old son" while the father was wounded, a bombing outside of Baquba that claimed 2 lives and left six more people wounded and a Kirkuk bombing that claimed the life of 1 "Awakening" council member and left four more wounded.

Shootings and stabbings?

Reuters notes a Saturday home invasion in Iskandariya that claimed the lives of 2 people -- a father and a son and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a person was shot dead in Baquba while, in Abril, "a French journalist was wounded when intruders tried to rape her in her room in Hawran hotel. The journalist was stabbed while she was defending herself according to police."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 6 found in Diyala Province. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad on Saturday and a number of "corpses in one of the orchards" were discovered to the "north of Baquba." CNN states the number was "an estimated 100 bodies" and notes, "Thousands of people in the southern city of Basra marched on police headquarters Saturday demanding better security for their crime-ridden city. Kidnappings, murders and thefts have risen in Iraq's second largest city since British troops handed over responsibility for the province to Iraqi authorities. Shiite groups have been fighting for control of the oil-rich area."

Pru notes "Media hypocrisy over Prince Harry and Ben Griffin" (Great Britain Socialist Worker):

Two soldiers -- two very different fates. Last week saw the sickening spectacle of the mainstream media fawning over Prince Harry's Afghanistan adventure.
Contrast Harry’s treatment with that of Ben Griffin, the former SAS soldier who quit the army in disgust at the illegal operations of occupation forces in Iraq.
Griffin spoke out at a Stop the War Coalition press conference to reveal how British special forces had been handing over suspects to the US for "rendition" and subsequent torture.
Ben Griffin was served with a high court injunction on Thursday of last week banning him from speaking publicly about, or publishing material from, his time as a soldier in Iraq.
While the media uncritically serves up spin from the royal family, returning soldiers that really do have tales to tell are silenced by the force of law.
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