Thursday, April 03, 2008

Iraq snapshot

April 3, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, Nancy Pelosi babbles in public,  Bambi's War Hawk feathers get a little attention, curfews are not good for children and living things, and more.
Starting with war resistance.  Joshua Key is an Iraq War veteran who could not continue to take part in the illegal war.  He and his family (wife Brandi Key and their children) moved to Canada to seek asylum which was denied November 2006 by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board.  Currently he is appealing that decision before Canada's Federal Court.  Colin Perkel (Canadian Press) reports that "lawyer Jeffry House told Justice Robert Barnes the board was wrong to conclude that the U.S. allows soldiers to object legally to what their military is doing in Iraq.  In fact, House said, the United States Supreme Court has held that going to war is a high-level policy decision that cannot be litigated" and quotes him explaining, "There is no possibility whatsoever in the U.S. that anyone can raise the issue of an illegal war."  In 2005, Orlando's WESH reported (text and video) on Joshua Key and quoted Jeffry House explaining of war resisters, "They shouldn't be punished because they are making a moral choice that has a lot to be said for it. . . . These are people that to me seem so innocent of any wrongdoing that I feel like I have to go the last mile for them."  Joshua Key explains, "I went to fight for my country.  To me, the Army, they lied to me from the beginning." 
At 8:30 yesterday morning, Key attempted to receive the justice that has so far been denied to US war resisters in Canada. Peter Wilmoth (Australia's The Age) reviewed  The Deserter's Tale (written by Key and Lawrence Hill) and quoted from the text: 
I wish I could pass on my [PTSD] nightmares to him [George W. Bush].  America's sons and daughters are losing their lives because he fabricated reasons to go to war, the weapons-of-mass-destruction lie.  I deserted an injustice and leaving was the only right thing to do.  I owe one apology and one apology only, and that is to the people of Iraq. 
Brian Lynch (Vancouver's quotes Key explaining, "I went to fight for my country, and I did what I was told.  I left it only when I saw for myself that it was unjust and immoral. . . . It would've been easier just to say, 'Okay, I'll go back and do what I was doing.'  The hardest thing was to do what I did.  And I live with a clear conscience because of that." Last year, Jenny Dean (Denver Post) told the stories of several war resisters including Key:
Joshua Key was a welder and part-time pizza deliveryman in Oklahoma with a wife, two kids and a baby on the way.  "I couldn't make ends meet," he says.  
In May 2002, a recruiter in a strip mall offered a deal too good to refuse: steady pay, health insurance and, because he was a father, no combat duty.  
But by fall when Key arrived at Fort Carson, the rumors of war had begun.  He and others in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment figured if war came it would be over quickly.   
And, in fact, when Key first arrived in Iraq, there was virtually no resistance.  He says he was taught how to blow doors off houses and search for terrorists and caches of weapons.  In 200 raids, the private first class says, he never found more than the occasional rifle.  
All males over 5 feet tall were to be handcuffed and sent away for interrogation, he says.  The women and children were to be held at gunpoint, Key says. He adds that any money or valuables were fair game and admits to pocketing his share.  After all, he figured, they were the enemy.  
His uneasieness grew as the violence around him escalated.  The tipping point came one day when his unit was traveling along the Eurphrates River and happened upon the bodies of four decapitated Iraqis.  He says he was ordered to find evidence of a firefight.  He found none.    
But he says he did see a panicked American soldier screming "We (expletive) lost it here" as other soldiers kicked the heads like soccer balls.  
"I'm not going to have no part of this," he says he told his commander.  During a leave six months later, Key told his wife he wasn't going back: "I couldn't help but think we had become the terrorists.  What if it was us and someone came breaking into our homes and held guns at our children?"   
The Associated Press quotes him from outside the court yesterday explaining, "You're terrorizing the civilian population -- for what sense or for what reason, I don't know.  The innocent killings of civilians happened on a systematic basis there.  It wasn't every now and then, it was an everyday occasion."  Colin Perkel (Canadian Press) reports that "Judge Barnes said he hopes to rule before August."  Should the Federal Court not overturn the board's decision, Key's next step would be to appeal to the country's Supreme Court.  Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were the first US war resisters to appeal and, November 15, 2007, Canada's Supreme Court refused to hear their cases.
Should the Supreme Court also refuse to hear Key's the case, the best chance for Key and other US war resisters is a measure scheduled to be debated and voted by Canada's Parliament this month.  You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum. 

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).  
Turning to the United States.  Shortly the White House sends Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker off to make the rounds of Congress and attempt to launch another wave of Operation Happy Talk to convince the people of America that the illegal war must continue.  Various efforts are taking place on the part of the US Congress to avoid being caught off guard the way they were in September.  Some work, some don't.  Case in point, the press conference this morning held by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi, what was the point of the press conference?  Reading the wires may result in confusion.  Reuters reports on the conference in terms of . . . a bankruptcy bill.  At some point, her nonsense on super delegates will be picked up.  The topic was Iraq.  Pelosi stated that when they took questions but refused to stick to that topic and felt the need to embellish on other topics repeatedly.  After the other House members left, Pelosi continued to entertain questions (she even continued taking non-Iraq questions as she walked out of the room).  You either focus or you don't.  Pelosi didn't.  Pelosi gave reporters every reason to focus on something other than Iraq (not that most need a reason to do so).  She did a HORRIBLE job and, if that's the House's best effort, the American people are in a lot of trouble.
Others participating in the conference were Ike Skelton, Howard Berman and Rahm Emanuel.  Skelton, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, declared that, "It's the Iraqis that are letting themselves down.  They have had, as a result of the so-called surge, space" to move foward but they "are not stepping up to the plate as they should. The American People should understand that it's theirs [the Iraqis] to win or lose."  Berman referred to the need for the upcoming hearings to cover "broad issues about costs, readiness, the [US] role in Afghanistan" and he noted the escalation's "underlying premise" was "national reconciliation" in Iraq which hasn't taken place.  He noted the benchmarks and how nothing has really happpened there either.  Yes, a few laws have been pased, Berman noted, but they "are ambiguous and it's very unclear whether they will ever be implemented."  He cited one in particular.  The de-de-Baathifcation law.  (Paul Bremer issued the de-Baathification order so anything that remedies it is referred to here as the "de-de-Baatification law.  Berman didn't use that term.)  Berman noted it was "passed two months ago and still is not implemented."  He cited that as the sort of issues that Petraeus and Crocker needed to provide answers on as well as the "strengthening of Iran and even Iran's role" in the Basra conflict.  Repeatedly stressed (including by Pelosi) was the issue of "cost" which includes "America's security, our armed forces and, as the Speaker said, our economy."
When reporters tried to enlarge the topic early on, Pelosi was prepared and declared, "Right now our focus is on the testimony next week."  (That was in reference to an expected 'supplemental' war funding request from the White House.)  But she couldn't even maintain that focus for the brief press conference. (It lasted approximately a half-hour).  She noted the costs of the illegal war was "now in the trillions" and the White House declared, before starting the Iraq War, "that the war would probably cost about $50 billion and could probably be paid soon."  She noted hos many millions oil revenues bring to Iraq each day and stated that the US is spending "about $300 million a day in Iraq and we get no offset."
"What I hope we don't hear from General Petraeus next week," she declared, is a glorfication of what just happened in Basra . . .  because the fact is that there are many questions to arise from what happened in Basra."  She listed some including that the US reported only received notice that the assault on Basra would be taking place "twenty-four hours ahead of time".  She wondered what was worse -- that the US would only receive 24 hours notice or that US forces were then brought in?  She mentioned Moqtada al-Sadr at length and noted "al-Sadr established the terms by which he would freeze the violence from his side -- terms probably dictated by Iran and they were accepted like that (snaps fingers) by al-Maliki."
Skelton noted, "The strain is heavy.  It's not heavy just on those in uniform, but on their families as well."  He continued by declaring that Afghanistan was not the only "interest" the US had and that "you can only stretch the military so far."
Rahm Emanuel actually rescued the Q&A because Pelosi was so defocused.  He stepped up to the microphone at several points.  His strongest section was when he noted that, regardless of what happens on the ground in Iraq, the White House cries "more troops, more timeand more money" and dubbed this a "policy cul-du-sac and we just keep going round and round". 
Referencing's General Betray-Us ads in Septemeber, Pelosi was asked if she was requesting any advocacy groups sit it out on the sidelines and she responded, "I don't deter anyone's right to speak out.  I'm a big proponent of the First Amendment but I wope we [Congress] would shine a bright light of truth and mirror on what he [Petraeus] has to say."  This was her strongest section in the press conference and she used the focus (provided by Rahm Emanuel rescuing the moment, let's all be honest) to discuss what needs to be focused on in next week's testimonies.  1) How is it helping the US fight "the real war on terror in Afghanistan"?  2) "How is it impacting our readiness?" 3) "How is it impacting our economy?"  She went on to state that the Iraq War is "driving us into debt, which is driving us into recession and the American people are paying the costs."  She should have closed with her next statement, reminding the reporters that "we have a general and an ambassador -- two employees of the United States -- coming" to offer testimony.  That was the closing moment.
But Pelosi couldn't stay focused and, by this time, Rahm was gone and so were Skelton and Berman leading Pelosi, in this alleged "Let's focus on Iraq!" conference, to start rambling on about MLK, Ghandi, her recent trip to India ("which some of you may have read about") and blah, blah, blah, blah. 
Could someone inform the Speaker of the House that the Democrats in Congress are attempting to prevent another snow job by Petraeus and Crocker?  Pelosi needs to stay on topic.  No one needs to hear about her travels to India.  Or what's going on in the rotunda.  Presumably, all press present were provided with a schedule of the day's events.  The conference was about Iraq and specifically attempting to set down markers by which the American people could measure next week's testimony.  Sadly, Pelosi still wasn't done and had to then offer her opinions on the issue of super delegates -- her opinion, it should be noted, to a question NO ONE ASKED.  The topic, Pelosi apparently forgot, was Iraq and preparing for next week's testimony.  She needs to stay focused or send out surrogates in the future.
If that seems minor, it's not.  Congress is attempting to set the tone and expectations for next week's testimony.  Many members are doing their part.  No one needs Nancy Pelosi blowing off everyone's hard work because she wants to play Starlet Holds A Press Conference.  Yesterday, US Senator Joe Biden did his part as the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as the issue of withdrawal was seriously addressed and explored via multiple testimonies.  That was an all day session that broke only for lunch.  The media seems to be willfully missing that.  Possibly the same press that sold the illegal war doesn't want to discuss Congress exploring withdrawal?  Today, the committee heard testimony for their panel entitled "Iraq 2012: What Can It Look Like, How Do We Get There?"
"Before the war began," Biden explained in his opening remarks, "this committee warned that the failure to plan and define realistic objectives in Iraq would cause us to pay a heavy price. We cannot continue to make it up as we go along.  We must mark a direction on our strategic compass -- and deliberately move in that direction.  Ironically, despite all the debate in Washington and beyond about our Iraq policy, there is one premise just about everyone shares: lasting stability will come to Iraq only through a political settlement among its warring factions.  So the single most important question you would think we would be debating is this: 'What political arrangements might Iraqis agree to and what are the building blocks to achieve them?  Yet we almost never ask ourselves those questions.  Today we will."
Senator Richard Luger, the highest ranking Republican on the committee noted, "Yesterday, in two hearings, the Foreign Releations Committee examined the status of military and political efforts in Iraq.  Today, our witnesses will look beyond immediate problems to the prospects for Iraq four or five years into the future. . . .  We being this inquiry knowing that we have limited means and time to pursue an acceptable resolution in Iraq.  Testifying before us yesterday, Major General Robert Scales joined our other witnesses in underscoring the limits imposed by the strains on our armed forces." 
The sparsely attended hearing (Senator Bill Nelson was one of the few to show) may have had to do with the fact that three of the four witnesses were advocating for 'federalism.'  The panel had no real diversity of thought.  Harvard's Dr. Dawn Brancati (who supported 'federalism' from the start) would declare at the end of the hearing, "Actually I think discussion among the three of us has changed my position slightly."  So there's little point in reviewing her opening statements or anything during the hearing.  Brookings' Carlos Pascual and American University's Professor Carole O'Leary also favored 'federalism' (O'Leary would argue that using 'partion' was an obstacle).  RAND's Dr. Terrence Kelly did not offer an opinion but felt that what Iraq currently has in the political system is what it will have for some time to come because no one will want to give up powers.  Only the University of Vermont's Dr. F. Gregory Gause III would address larger issues than "wants" (on the part of the United States) and he focused on the players in the region.  He identified Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia as "the most important regional players."   He stated, "The Saudi-Iranian contest for influence is not a direct confrontation.  Iran does not pose a military threat to Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis do not see Iran as such.  While Riyadh  worries about the Iranian nuclear pogram, that is an issue for the future, not the immediate present.  President Ahmadinejad visited Saudi Arabia in 2007 and the two countries have kept lines of communication open."  In terms of Turkey and Iraq, he noted that "the Turkish perspective on Iraq, is not regional; it is domestic.  Ankara views events in Iraq through the prism of its own Kurdish issues.  It has accommodated itself since 1991 to the de facto independence of Iraqi Kurdistan.  Turkish businesses are developing substantial interests there.  However, it will not long tolerate any actions by the Iraqi Kurdish leadership which it sees as encourging Turkish Kurds to dream of independence and revolt against the Turkish government."  He listed the three most cited outcomes from a US withdrawal from Iraq.  1) Iraq violence spills over to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.  2) Civil war (high intensity) breaks out in Iraq forcing neighboring states to intervene.  3) al Qaeda would use it as a base.  "It is hardly inevitable," he explained, "that American withdrawal from Iraq would lead to any of these bad results.  On the contrary, I will make the case that an announced intention to withdrawal on a realistic timetable might -- again, I stress 'might' -- actually push regional powers to take more coopertive stances on Iraq."   On the first option, he felt Syria and Jordan would be at risk for refugees arriving and called for more international aid.  On the second, he felt that various Iraqi elements within the country would stabilize as they "tested" their won powers.  He felt that no one really wants to control Iraq.  Iran has what it wants (influence), Turkey doesn't want to "annex" the Kurdish region of Iraq (not noted but that would further extend the Kurdish region in Turkey) and "the Saudi army is hardly capable of serious cross-border operations."  On the third outcome, he stated that "making that . . . the reason to maintain our presence in Iraq gives Usama bin Laden a veto over American policy.  That cannot be a good thing."
He used "might" often.  There were no such qualifiers from O'Leary who might want to turn that psychic eye to the financial markets if she is so sure of herself.  She offered predictions (presented as fact and findings)   as to what political parties would be standing (and which wouldn't be).  When not predicting, she stressed the importance of tribal identities in Iraq and felt that tribes were the most logical unit that could explore issues such as "civil society" due to them being "the metaphor of family".  As an acedmic exercise, O'Leary's presentations would be interesting.  In terms of the topic of the hearing, O'Leary was too vested in what "should" happen ('federalism') and appeared eager to get to the issue of "How we make it happen!"
Dr. Terrence Kelly feels violence is a mainstain in Iraq for at least a generation regardless of anything else that does or does not take place. Echoing the generals at yesterday's hearing, he stated that the US is not equipped to do nation-building in Iraq.  He noted the competing narratives among the three largest groups (Shia, Sunni, Kurd) and that "Americans do not undestand Iraqi social processes well, and so have not been effective at recognizing their importance.  In many, though not all, ways, the U.S. cannot significantly influence these processes.  Nor should it try to in most cases.  The U.S.'s role in these issues are primarily to support insitutions and pressure political leaders to make needed changes."
In questioning, Kelly would return to the basics of a system such as when he noted "democracy requires a set of laws that people follow." In response to whether the current system (referred to as a 'cofederation') will exist but have "a dictator on top of it," Kelly replied that he didn't believe that was possible "because the dictator would want to have a unified government" and "I don't think that an army officer would say I want to be president of Iraq but I want the power to be in the provinces."
Biden noted the testimony of the generals on Wednesday and how the current course is not sustainable for the US military.  It was not as in-depth (or as varied -- even from the center) as yesterday's hearing but it did get the point across that the Iraq War is not achieving and that political solutions are something the Iraqis will have to decide on, not the US.
Turning to Iraq where the 'solution' is always 'crack-down' and 'curfew.'  The assault on Basra led to the expected reaction for anyone with a functioning brain but caught the puppet Nouri al-Maliki (and his handlers) by surprise.  Their response was the usual curfews.  The International Medical Corps notes:
Recent fighting and subsequent curfews in several major Iraqi cities have led to food shortages, disruption of health services, and above normal gaps in water and electricity supplies. Fighting, instability, and restriction of movements caused many people living under the curfew to feel depressed and agitated. The overall standstill of commercial life hit the poorest and most vulnerable Iraqis most.

In a rapid assessment International Medical Corps (IMC) found that living conditions of Iraqis deteriorated under the multi-day curfews in almost all aspects. In telephone interviews people were asked to comment on their economic situation and their physical and mental well-being.

"The curfews show how vulnerable Iraqis are to any further disruptions in their lives," says Agron Ferati, International Medical Corps country director in Iraq. "Over the last days we have seen how the everyday problems in the lives of ordinary Iraqis can quickly reach crisis proportions."

A large number of respondents (75%) were either unemployed or support their families as day laborers. Although most said they are used to stockpiling supplies, people with a low or irregular income said they would run out of food if the curfew would continued.    

International Medical Corps also found large gaps in the health care sector. More than half of those respondents who needed medical assistance during the curfew said they had difficulties finding help, and a quarter could not get access to a health facility at all.   

Hospitals experienced shortages in medical supplies and were short-staffed during the curfew while the caseload of patients with serious injuries increased. Medical personnel could not reach hospitals and the referral system broke down due to the overall restriction in movement.       

In response to the crisis International Medical Corps is providing assistance to 2,000 families in Sadr City, a poor district in Baghdad, where fighting was especially fierce and citizens were cut off from assistance during the curfew. IMC is distributing one month's worth of food to the families -- including rice, cooking oil, sugar, beans, and flour - and is also delivering 100,000 liters of water in Sadr City.   

To avoid further disruptions in critical care three hospitals are receiving medication and supplies from International Medical Corps that will help them to better cope during curfews and administer life-saving care to patients.        

The insecurity and resulting curfews exacerbated existing worries and led to increased tension among family members. The vast majority of people interviewed for the survey said that the situation had made them feel hopeless, restless, and worthless.      
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraq soldier and left three more wounded, two other Baghdad roadside bombings left four people wounded, a Baghdad bombing wounded a police officer, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 3 lives and left ten more people wounded, a Nineveh truck bombing claimed 7 lives and left twelve people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing wounded eight people and a US airstrike on Basra claimed 4 lives and left six people injured.  Reuters reports a Samara roadside bombing claimed the lives of 5 police officers and a clash in Hilla that ended with a US airstrike resulting in 6 deaths ("including 4 policemen") and fifteen more people left injured.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 people were shot dead in Kirkuk last night.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Meanwhile Reuters reports that Moqtada al-Sadr has announced a march against the occupation for April 9th as well as for a Baghdad "peaceful sit-in" this Friday.  In the US, justice is delayed for crafts.  Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi murdered and gang-rape was supposed to be the focus of a civilian trial starting this coming Monday. That has been delayed. March 12, 2006, US soldiers invaded Abeer's home and gang-raped her while killing both of her parents and her five-year-old sister. They then killed Abeer. While other soldiers have confessed to their part in the planning of the conspiracy and in the crimes, Steven D. Green has maintained his innocence -- despite being fingered in courtroom confessions as the ringleader. Part of the plot was to plan the crimes on Iraqi 'insurgents' and Green was discharged from the US military while these mythical 'insurgents' were still believed to be the culprits. As a result of the fact that he had been discharged, he was set to face a civilian court and that trial was finally due to start this coming Monday; however, AP reports the trial has been delayed "by three weeks to accomodate a quilt show".  Also in the US, Erika Bolstad (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that Senators Patty Murray, Lisa Murkowski, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Blanche Lincoln, Jay Rockefeller, Ron Wyden and Charles Schumer have sponsored a bill which "would require that the VA system adapt to care for the 90,000 wmen who have served in the military since 2001" and "require the Veteran Administration's mental health staff to be trained to counsel victims of sexual assault."  The bill is entitled the Women Veterans Health Improvement Act of 2008 and would "address many of the unique needs of female veterans by authorizing programs to improve care for Military Sexual Trauma (MST), increase research on the current barriers to care, and expand women veterans staff positions at the VA."
Turning to US politics, Kevin Zeese wonders "Is It Time for the Peace Movement to Start Protesting Senator Obama?" (Dissident Voice) because, frankly, he finds Bambi "has been sounding rather hawkish" lately.  Lately?  Zeese is apparently just waking up.  He notes Bambi groupie Amy Goodman's 'earth-shattering' two minutes (she cornered Bambi) that didn't turn out so well.  "First," Zeese huffs, "Obama acknowledged combat troops would be left behind as 'a strike force in the region'."  First?  Zeese, where have you been? Zeese goes on to quote Bambi saying that troops could be left in Kuwait.  This is only news, Kevin Zeese, because the Pathetic Likes of Amy Goodman have schilled for Bambi for months.  It's not news here.  From the Nov. 2nd snapshot:
Writing up a report, Gordo and Zeleny are useless but, surprisingly, they do a strong job with some of their questions. The paper should have printed up the transcript. If they had, people might be wondering about the 'anti-war' candidate. He maintains Bill Richardson is incorrect on how quickly US troops could be withdrawan from Iraq. Obama states that it would take at least 16 months which makes one wonder how long, if elected, it would take him to move into the White House? If you can grab a strainer or wade through Obama's Chicken Sop For The Soul, you grasp quickly why he refused to pledge (in September's MSNBC 'debate') that, if elected president, he would have all US troops out of Iraq by 2013: He's not talking all troops home. He tries to fudge it, he tries to hide it but it's there in the transcript. He doesn't want permanent military bases in Iraq -- he appears to want them outside of Iraq -- such as Kuwait.
There's nothing new in Goody's brief report.  That could have all been reported in real time -- back in November -- but Liars and Fluffers for Bambi didn't want people knowing that (or a great deal more).  One of the Fluffers was Tom Hayden who saw the byline of Michael Gordon and just knew it had to be true!  He failed to read the transcript and, when he finally got around to doing so, he broke . . . just like a little girl. That would be the same Tom-Tom who endorsed Bambi in the lead-up to Super Duper Tuesday and then immediately came back with "WE HAVE TO HOLD BOTH THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE!"  You do that by endorsing?  Age has not brought Tom-Tom any dignity. Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes Tom-Tom, Stab, Bill Fletcher and Danny Glover and states they contributed the "most pitiful communication"
The self-styled "progressives" attempt to upend history and fool everybody, including themselves. The four claim that current conditions can be compared to the 1930s, when "centrist leaders" were compelled by activists "to embrace visionary solutions." There's a huge problem with that reasoning, however. In the 1930s, there were already strong movements existent before Franklin Roosevelt's 1932 and 1936 runs for the presidency.  It was the movements -- many of them communist-led -- that shaped the Roosevelt campaigns and the New Deal, that in fact changed history. Today's four wishful signers insist that "even though it is candidate-centered, there is no doubt that the campaign is a social movement, one greater than the candidate himself ever imagined."    
Really? Believe that hogwash when any of the loyal Lefties demand Obama discard his plans to add 92,000 addition soldiers and Marines to the total U.S. military ranks, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and bringing with it the certainty of more wars. Never happen. The signers have already claimed the political campaign is a movement. Would they expose themselves as poseurs and fakers by making futile demands on the campaign, which is, after all, supposed to be one with the "movement?" Would they risk being told to shut up? No, it's too late for Hayden, Fletcher, Ehrenreich, and Glover to strut around as if they have options; they pissed all that away in the initial glow of Obamamania, and from now on will have to accept their status as hangers on.     
Again, if, like Zeese, Bambi's Iraq realities are emerging for you, blame it on Tom-Tom, Amy Goodman, self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders and all the others in Panhandle Media who want to be seen as "fair" but don't want to actually be fair.  Better to lie to your audience apparently. Friday Marcia covered the foursome Ford's addressing.
Andrew Stephen (New Statesman) charts one of the bigger lies (and yes, Goody repeatedly promoted it on her trashy show) and a non-stop 'strategy' by the Bambi campaign:
The genius of the Axelrod strategy thus far is that it has been directly centred on race while maintaining the appearance of the opposite, appropriating the race card as well as that of moral rectitude for Obama himself. Very early in the campaign, Obama's South Carolina press office put out a memo pronouncing routine political sniping from the Clinton camp to be racist. The memo came from a local "low-level staffer", Axelrod reassured us. In fact, it was written by Amaya Smith, a seasoned Democratic Party spokesperson and former congressional press secretary based in Washington -- and the labelling of the Clintons as racists had stuck. 
Geraldine Ferraro, the Democrats' vice-presidential candidate in 1984 and a former congresswoman, was similarly targeted. In an interview last month with a tiny Californian newspaper called the Daily Breeze, that would have passed unnoticed by at least 99.99 per cent of Americans, Ferraro casually observed that if Obama was a white man or "a woman of any colour," he would not be a presidential candidate today. Her remarks led to a national furore, but nobody pointed out that it was Obama's campaign that alerted the national media to Ferraro's words. 
"I'm always hesitant to throw around words like 'racist'," Obama said, doing just that. Ferraro, a veteran 72-year-old, riposted that "every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist". She sussed out the Axelrod strategy: to gain immunity from political attacks by immediately smearing attackers as racists. 
The kind of thing that is worrying some super-delegates, too, is that Obama is increasingly emerging as no mean fibber himself. In his latest television ad, he declares that he does not take money from oil companies. According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, however, Obama is overlooking the $213,884 he had received from the oil and gas industry up to 29 February, most of it channelled directly from the CEOs of two major oil and gas companies.
Pimping Bambi required rendering a lot of people invisible.  Such as students who support Hillary Clinton.  Law student Diana Winer Rosengard explains, "As a law student, my respect for Senator Clinton has only continued to grow.  I have spent the last two years working with victims of domestic violence, helping them obtain restraining orders and connecting them with community resources.  Thanks to Senator Clinton's unwavering support for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), federal funding is available to protect women and children who are frequently victimized by the ones they love.  VAWA helps victims at the moments when they are most vulenerable by providing resources to train police officers, covering the court costs of emergency restraining orders, and giving victims access to advocates while they work their way through the criminal justice system.  Senator Clinton's commitment to ensuring that federal funding continues means support for programs like the ones I volunteer with -- every week I get to see, first hand, the difference that Senator Clinton's work makes in the grateful faces of these women and children."
Lastly, the 40th anniversary of the assassination of MLK is tomorrow.   Hillary Clinton offers (text and video), "I believe we can honor Dr. King and all Americans -- including the women and men serving our country around the world -- by remembering his timeless challenge: What did you do for others?"

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