Monday, March 17, 2008

Other Items

Jason Hurd, an Army veteran of the Iraq war, recalled that while serving in Iraq, he saw a speeding vehicle coming in his direction. When it did not stop after he flagged it down, he aimed his weapon and was prepared to fire. Then, a superior officer stopped the vehicle. Inside was an 80-year-old woman who Hurd said was highly respected in Iraq and whose death could have caused uproar among Iraqis. Hurd said such incidents are too often not avoided and innocent civilians in Iraq are unnecessarily killed.
Hurd and other veterans spoke at the "Winter Soldier: Iraq Afghanistan" conference held in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, an event sponsored by the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Cliffton Hicks, also an Iraq war veteran, told attendees of the panel on "Rules of Engagement" that in the course of doing their job and through human error, U.S. soldiers are creating hostility among Iraqis. He recalled that his unit once busted into the wrong home of a woman and her family.
"We busted in and took her and her children and held them at gunpoint," he said. "We destroyed the lady's house and found nothing. We were off by one house number. It was the house across the street, but we didn't go."
Hicks also spoke about a battle that left hundreds dead.
"They said 700-800 of the enemy were killed," he said. "I didn't see that. Seven hundred or 800 were killed - and I would swear under oath about this - the majority were civilians."These are not bad people," Hicks said of U.S. troops. "They are there to make things better, but you discover a lot of the people want to kill you, and they look like the people that don't want to kill you."

The above is from Fred Lucas' "Anti-War Vets Recall ''Brutal Reality'' of Iraq" (Cybercast News Service) about Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Investigation which ran from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. If you missed it, you can catch archives of the testimony at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday.

Holly Rosenkrantz (Bloomberg News) reports on the president of vice's trip to Baghdad, note he rushes quickly to the Green Zone:

Vice President Dick Cheney landed in Baghdad today on an unannounced trip for meetings with U.S. military commanders and Iraqi officials before a progress report on the war set for delivery to Congress next month.
Cheney, arriving just before the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, scheduled meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as well as Army General David Petraeus, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and other leaders. Petraeus and Crocker are scheduled to brief Congress on progress in Iraq since President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of 30,000 extra U.S. soldiers a year ago.
Cheney flew by helicopter from Baghdad International Airport to the fortified Green Zone for talks. He told reporters it was "especially significant'' that he was in Iraq five years after the March 20, 2003, invasion that toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and ended ``Saddam's tyranny.''

Especially significant? But the criminal usually returns to the scene of the crime. It's not that uncommon.

Contacts: Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928
Ed Hedemann, 718-768-7306
March 16, 2008
For Immediate Release
New York, NY - At 8 am on Wednesday, March 19, the War Resisters League along with several other organizations will stage a nonviolent blockade of the national headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., as part of a day of protests on this fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.Participants will gather at McPherson Square (15th & K Streets, NW) at 7 am before marching to the IRS (1111 Constitution Ave., NW) to initiate the blockade. While some will attempt to block access to the IRS building, other demonstrators will pass out flyers, carry signs, banners, among other props to illustrate the disparity between spending on the wars and the needs of a faltering economy.
The War Resisters League, an 85-year-old secular pacifist organization headquartered in New York City, will be joined by Code Pink, United for Peace and Justice, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Movement for a Democratic Society, the Socialist Party, and more than a dozen other organizations.
More details of this event can be found at 30 -
War Resisters League
339 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012

Reuters reports:

Pope Benedict on Monday asked Iraq's Catholics to work for peace in honour of the memory of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop who was kidnapped by gunmen and found dead last week.The death of Paulos Faraj Rahho, the archbishop of Mosul, was the most-high profile attack on Iraq's Christians since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has blamed al Qaeda.

Carolyn Kay (Make Them Accountable) notes the following press release (what I believe is Carolyn is in italics):

Peter Daou is Hillary Clinton's internet director.
When does the unity part start?
I'm writing this to a group of bloggers. Some of you are Hillary supporters, some not, some neutral.
I want to address a pervasive misconception, namely, that Senator Obama hasn't run a negative campaign against Hillary. I think it's time to put that misconception to rest.
The truth is that for months, the Obama campaign has been attacking Hillary, impugning her character and calling into question her lifetime of public service. And now the Chicago Tribune reports that Senator Obama is preparing a "full assault" on her "over ethics and transparency." To those who contend that Senator Obama is the clear frontrunner, I ask, to what end this "full assault" on Hillary?

On CNN last Tuesday, Senator Obama said, "Well, look, Wolf, I think if you watch how we have conducted our campaign, we've been very measured in terms of how we talk about Senator Clinton. ... I have been careful to say, that I think that Senator Clinton is a capable person and that should she win the nomination, obviously, I would support her. You know, I'm not sure that we have been getting that same approach from the Clinton campaign."
The facts of this election stand in stark contrast to that statement. Senator Obama and his senior campaign officials have engaged in a systematic effort to question Hillary's integrity, credibility, and character. They have portrayed her as someone who would put her personal gain ahead of the lives of our troops, someone who would say or do anything to win an election, someone who is dishonest, divisive and disingenuous. They have adopted shop-worn anti-Clinton talking points, dusted them off and unleashed a torrent of unfounded character attacks against her. Among other things, they have described Hillary - and her campaign - as:
"Too polarizing to win"
"Saying and doing whatever it takes to win"
"Attempting to deceive the American people"
"One of the most secretive politicians in America"
"Literally willing to do anything to win"
"Playing politics with war"
To top it off, they have blanketed big states with false radio ads and negative mailers -- ads and mailers that experts have debunked time and time again. They have distributed health care brochures using Republican framing. They have tried to draw a nexus between Hillary's votes and the death of her friend Benazir Bhutto. And one of Senator Obama's top advisers (who has since left the campaign) recently called Hillary "a monster."
This "full assault" on Hillary comes from the very top of the Obama campaign, not surrogates and supporters.
This "full assault" is being directed at someone I personally know to be a thoughtful, brilliant, principled, compassionate person, someone the world knows as a good Democrat, a trailblazer, a lifelong champion for children and families, a respected former first lady, a senator, a presidential candidate.
This "full assault" is targeting a staff of hundreds of hard-working, dedicated Democrats, who I've had the privilege of working with for the past 14 months.
This is a hard-fought campaign - as it should be. Like any candidate for elected office, Hillary has made clear why she thinks she would do a better job than her opponent. She has laid out comprehensive policy proposals, put forth her 35-year record of accomplishment, and spent countless days introducing herself to voters across the country. She has said that she is far better prepared to take on John McCain on national security. She has contended that she is the candidate with the experience to confront the GOP attack machine. She has argued that she is more electable. She has said that Senator Obama's words are not matched by actions. And she has challenged him to live up to core Democratic values and goals such as universal health care.
I recall indignation online at the suggestion that Senator Obama has not made the case that he is ready to be Commander in Chief -- the concern being that this would be terribly detrimental to him in a general election. As I blogged recently, and as many of you know, I spent 2004 in the Kerry-Edwards war room, and I understand full well that national security will be front and center in the general election. It's not a matter of choice. And the reality is that the public views Hillary as better prepared to take on Senator McCain when it comes to national security. Democrats must factor that in as they nominate a candidate to win in November.
If that suggestion is potentially harmful to Senator Obama in a general election, how exactly do the personal attacks against Hillary (which echo and reinforce rightwing talking points) help her in the event she wins the nomination? I recall no similar outrage at those harsh attacks on her character, many of which were directed at her when she was the clear frontrunner and seen as the likely nominee.
Both candidates are running a vigorous campaign. Both have had surrogates or supporters who have crossed the line and made offensive statements that they rejected. And these offensive statements are an unfortunate part of a long and close campaign. Those who make a habit of automatically assuming and ascribing to only one candidate the worst motives, ignoring more reasonable and benign explanations, who substitute conjecture for fact and then use those assumed `facts' as a foundation on which to pile more conjecture about only one candidate's intentions, who express anger at negative campaigning and perceived dirty tricks but focus on only one candidate's words and actions, risk losing credibility. And those who conclude from that one-sided reasoning that Hillary ought to stop seeking victory, should ask themselves if quitting in the middle of a hard-fought - and winnable - contest is a desirable attribute in a future president.
Hillary has rightfully stated that as Democrats we should be proud of our field of candidates. And it is truly inspiring to see the level of enthusiasm among voters this cycle. We should encourage as many people as possible to become part of this process and to forcefully advocate for their candidate of choice. But there is a sharp line between supporting a candidate (and excusing their faults, which all supporters do to some degree) and conducting a "full assault" on an opponent's integrity and character. The Obama campaign's unabashed attacks on Hillary's honesty and trustworthiness should give every Democrat pause.
We are all entitled to support and oppose whomever we choose, but I challenge my online friends to call this "full assault" on Hillary's character for what it is.
Lots more really good stuff at

Bambi's played dirty all along and his surrogates have been invited on to play dirty. With Melissa Harris-Lacewell who is part of his campaign, 'journalists' Amy Goodman and Charlie Rose both brought on her and allowed her to praise Bambi without ever telling their audience that Harris-Lacewell was part of Obama's campaign. That's just one of the many ways they gamed the system and they did it with help from the media or what passes for it in this country.

A new member e-mails an excerpt from a good story about IVAW; however, we do not highlight the website in question. You get on the s--t list for good when you do things like to try to spy on a young boy which, for the record, that website did. That's West who became a community member after he wrote this site, Rebecca's and two non-community sites to apologize for the fact that we might not be linked to by the website in question again. The reason? A stupid adult writer posted some praise for Michelle Malkin at a supposedly left site while ignoring real events and real news. West posted "Come out of the Republican closet already" with a ":)" and was bullied by the author of the post -- and we're not talking about a blog here, we're talking an outlet. One that raises funds offline. They bullied him, they threatened him, they told him that line was "hate speech." They began writing people who posted comments at their outlet to get dirt on him. This was just a kid. And two grown up men (one bald, so he's pretty damn old) thought this was the thing to do, this was the way to act left, this was the way to be mature? In the last threatening e-mail they sent him, he again apologized. Only this time he put the addresses of the four sites that would be banned (which included Rebecca and mine -- the other two are not sites in this community) in his 'send to' which is how Rebecca found out about it (I found out from her, I hadn't read his e-mail then). We immediately delinked. We don't link to that site. West wasn't a community member or anyone I'd ever heard from before. But I didn't and don't support that kind of behavior. They did all of this (one the writer of the blog post, the other the editor of the outlet) and that was it for them. West and his parents are now community members and as West's father will tell you, when he found out about it he was furious, when he read the e-mails that were sent out by the two adults to get dirt on his son (some of which ran in the gina & krista round-robin -- when it was noted here that we were delinking and why, two members forwarded e-mails where they were asked what did they know about West -- they knew nothing, they didn't know him -- and three non-members who saw the entry forwarded e-mails that Evan had sent them as well trying to get dirt on the kid), he was even more so and demanded an apology which was never offered and still hasn't been. They are trash. They will never be linked to, not if they were the only other site on the internet would they ever be linked to. (And Even's the first name of the writer for those late to the party. His editor was the bald man and I honestly don't remember his name. It wasn't a site I visited and, in fact, I knew it best from professional writers who were ticked off over the fact that they felt their stuff was stolen via reposting in full and because they didn't receive payment even when the same outlet syndicated the writing to alternative weeklies around the country.)

ADDED: Correction, one of the three e-mails Evan sent out to non-community members was passed on to Rebecca who wrote at length at her site about what had been done to West. Also, I should point out this was 2005 and West is now a young man and not a kid. And Taylor's e-mailed to note IVAW did a live blog of the hearings, so let me add that in as well. War Comes Home also had a live blog where listeners posted comments but IVAW's blog is done by Justin Cliburn (an IVAW member).

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