Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Other Items

Phil McDowell enlisted in the American military after 9/11, hoping to defend his country against future terrorist attacks. He said he believed when his government claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was plotting to attack his country, but later lost faith in the campaign.
"I signed up to defend my country," McDowell told CTV Toronto on Tuesday. "I didn't sign up to take part in wars of aggression."
McDowell served a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, and was then discharged from the army. But not long after, he was told he would have to rejoin the army and be sent back to Iraq. This time, he didn't want to go.
"I said 'this can't be right, I don't want to have anything to do with this,'" McDowell said. "They said, 'well, you don't have a choice, you're going back whether you like it or not.'"

The above is from CTV News' "U.S. soldiers seeking refugee status in Canada" and that we're linking to. However, it shares a common thread with today's editorial in The Calgary Herald which were not linking to ("No safe haven for U.S. deserters") and both pieces indicate how very sad it must be -- and how the Canadian education system really isn't all that -- to live in a country and not know it's own recent history. In fairness, it should be noted the journalism is the ultimate general studies major but reality is that history and other subjects are blown off in journalism degree plans because it is (wrongly) expected that, having been trained on how to obtain information, journalists will know how to obtain solid information. Both outlets prove that is not the case.

Pierre Trudeau's "open-door policy" was not just for those drafted. The issue is confusing because too many blowhards from a past era, thinking they're helping someone but really just careening down memory lane one more boring time, feel the need to talk about "the draft, man" and how it was in their day (the bulk of which used college deferrments to avoid the draft and were in no danger of being drafted, but since they aren't able to offer horror stories of "Nam," they go with horror stories of physicals). Trudeau's policy applied to those dodging the draft as well as to deserters. Gerald Ford's limited and laughable policies (and this is the man who gave Tricky Dick the blanket pardon, remember) was open to both. Jimmy Carter's later policy was just open to those who avoided the draft.

CTV gets their facts wrong. The Calgary Herald bases an entire embarrassing editorial on not knowing history that less than forty years old, Canada's own history. How sad it must be for those listing journalism as their occupation in Canada today. And maybe "cherry-pick" should be banned at The Calagry Herald from this day foward since they contributed an editorial that only underscored how historically ignorant everyone on the editorial board is?

And as if to prove the point, Mark Shields shows up in The Toronto Star today to pretend that the non-existant draft is the issue. Link provided for laughs.

If all the 'brave' men of the gas bag set could buy a clue, England hasn't drafted either. Read Bridget Fox' "The public is still angry about Iraq" (Guardian of London) and ask is that really why the illegal war has continued? The death toll for the UK stands at 175 over five years. No, the war dragging on has nothing to do with a draft or not. But listen to all the blowhards take up YET MORE time with that nonsense. From Fox' column:

Gordon Brown, uncontested as Labour leader, was supposed to bring calm, restore stability and optimism, and unite his party and the country. Instead this week we've have stormy weather over post offices, embryology and Iraq.
It's disappointing but not surprising that a Tory attempt to force the government to hold an Iraq inquiry sooner rather than later was voted down in the Commons last night. Backbench Labour MPs may talk up their regrets about the war, but they show the same misguided loyalty to the government that led us into the war in the first place.
Five years ago I was one of the millions who marched against the Iraq war. More than four years ago Lib Dems launched the call for an inquiry. We're still waiting.
The cost of the war continues to grow: thousands of lives and some £6.5bn of expenditure, which could have been spent not only on better conditions for the forces, but on hospitals, homes and schools, as I and young people from Islington demonstrate in this picture.

If you're not clear, all countries participating in the invasion of Iraq have elected to fight a full-scale war not just on the cheap but also on the 'small.' Which is why the US military deploys and re-deploy the same forces over and over.

AP reports a US air strike today in Tikrit resulted in at least 7 perople being killed ("included a local judge"), nine more injured, two homes demolished and three vehicles destroyed. Meanwhile, as the fighting continues, IRIN reports that Basra's curfew and fighting has created yet another problem: access to drinking water. IRIN quotes Mahdi al-Tamimi ("head of the city's Human Rights office") explaining, "The most pressing need is drinking water, as Basra residents depend on bottled mineral water because they do not drink tap water - first because of contamination and second because of its high salinity."

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