Thursday, April 03, 2008

Other Items

A lawyer for an American army deserter says the United States gives its soldiers no legal way to object to the war in Iraq.
As a result, the lawyer told Federal Court Wednesday, it's wrong to assume Joshua Key can expect to be treated fairly in the U.S. for his refusal to fight a war he considers unjust. The 29-year-old Key wants the court to send his case back to Canada's refugee board, which has rejected his asylum claim.

The above is from the Canadian Press' "U.S. allows no legal objection to Iraq war, deserter argues in court" and you can pair it with the brief in the Edmonton Sun, "Deserter appeals denial of asylum:"

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.
"There is no possibility whatsoever in the U.S. that anyone can raise the issue of an illegal war," House told Justice Robert Barnes.
House also maintained the board was wrong to exclude evidence about the international legitimacy of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "If the war is illegal, every act of violence is unjustified," he said.
Key served as a combat engineer for eight months in Iraq 2003, where he says he was involved in, or witnessed soldiers committing savage acts against civilians.

What can be done? The Canadian parliament is scheduled to debate a measure this month on granting safe harbor status to US war resisters. 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.

If you read yesterday's snapshot, you're aware a major hearing took place yesterday in the US Senate. If you read the bulk of today's papers, you may not be. Joe Biden chairs the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and yesterday they devoted the entire day to the Iraq War. The New York Times somehow misses an all day Senate hearing.

Maryland's WMTD offers this on their own Senator Ben Cardin: "Cardin told a Foreign Relations committee that it's imperative to change the course of action overseas." Sylvia A. Smith (Fort Wayne's Journal-Gazette) offers more in "Lugar, Voinovich push war timetable:"

A group of retired generals said a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq – with an announced timetable -- would probably prod Iraq to make the kind of decisions necessary for the country to stand on its own.
In a morning-long hearing called by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the former military leaders and a foreign policy expert bemoaned the consequences of the Bush administration's Iraq policies.
A bipartisan group of the committee members agreed with the assessment.
"We face limits imposed by the strains on our volunteer armed forces, the economic costs of the war, competing foreign policy priorities and political divisions in our own country," Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said.
A week before the top U.S. military official in Iraq is expected to report on the troop surge and tell Congress he wants to stop troop withdrawals and keep 140,000 troops in Iraq, members of the Foreign Relations Committee said they were frustrated at the fallout from the war.
"We have no credibility in Iraq among the factions. We have no credibility in the region. We have no credibility with our allies and our antagonists anywhere in the world," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., chairman of the committee.

Maureen Groppe (Indianapolis Star) reported
on what was expected before the hearings took place:

Despite security progress in Iraq, the fundamental questions about U.S. involvement there haven't changed, Sen. Richard Lugar said today.
In remarks he planned to deliver at a congressional hearing on the effects of the military surge, Lugar said it remains to be seen if Iraqis will put aside sectarian, tribal and political agendas to share power.
"Even if most Iraqis do want to live in a unified Iraq," Lugar asks, "how does this theoretical bloc acquire the political power and courage needed to stare down militia leaders, sectarian strong men, and criminal gangs who frequently have employed violence for their own tribal and personal ends?"

Aamer Madhani (Baltimore Sun) also reported
on the hearings before they started yesterday:

On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will kick off a series of hearings on the surge that will be capped by testimony from Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, and Crocker, the U.S. envoy, early next week. It seems certain that the Iraqi army performance in Basra will figure prominently in lawmakers' questions.
"Here Maliki says he is going down and he is going to take out all these malcontents as well as take out Sadr and his Mahdi Army, and it looks to me like, at least on the surface, that Sadr is the winner here," Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the foreign relations panel, told reporters. "He lives to fight another day. Is that a defining moment? Is that a good definition of where we should be?"

Apparently, All Things Media Big and Small needs to protect the American people from knowing that a Senate committee seriously probed withdrawal (even with the inclusion of crazy Stephen Biddle among the 'witnesses'). As Ruth noted last night, the same media avoided Tuesday's Congressional hearing where it was revealed that 12 months was not long enough for service members to reset before being redeployed. It's amazing the garbage they have time to waste with -- especially Panhandle Media -- while denying the public actual news. Were you among those offended by Jeremiah Wright's multitude of statements? You're the same as MLK's killer! Mike covers the crackpot (a Panhandle Media 'star,' naturally) who made that insane remark. Tomorrow is the anniversary of MLK's assassination. Yesterday, the Hillary Clinton campaign posted "Hillary Clinton Unveils Video Tribute to the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Remembrance of the 40th Anniversary of His Death --
Invites Supporters to Submit Testimonials

Today, Senator Hillary Clinton released a video tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s untimely death.

"Dr. King challenged all of us to stay awake during the great civil rights revolution that was sweeping our country. Today, in 2008, there is still a need for us to remain awake, stay focused and work together to address the challenges we face," said Hillary.

The assassination of Dr. King is an unforgettable moment in the history of our country. It touched the lives of all of us and forever changed America’s path. Dr. King’s work did not end with his death and has instead continues to flourish in communities and neighborhoods across the country. It is possible to see Dr. King’s work and his legacy every day in our society.

Helping each other and giving back to our communities are the best ways to keep alive the legacy of Dr. King.

To view the video, click here:

A full transcript of the video is below.

Americans all across our great country and people around the world have been inspired to achieve great things because of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - because of his teachings and because of his life. On April 4th, we observe the 40th anniversary of his death, and it is important that we take a moment to reflect on his legacy.

I remember so well the great privilege I had as a young girl to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in Chicago. He called his sermon that evening 'Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.' Dr. King challenged all of us there, as he did throughout his life, to stay awake during the great civil rights revolution that was sweeping our country.

Today, in 2008, though the revolution may not be as obvious or vivid as it was when I was a young girl listening to Dr. King, there is still a powerful need for all of us to remain awake, to stay focused and work together to address the challenges we face.

We’re a nation at war, our economy is in crisis, while the government bails out Wall Street firms, millions of citizens are struggling - they might face the prospect of losing their homes, or be one of the tens of millions don’t even have health care that is affordable and available. Wages haven’t kept up with prices at the gas pump, and the war in Iraq continues to claim the lives of our brave men and women in uniform.

Well, I’m running for president because I still remember Dr. King’s challenge. He asked us what we would say when we appear before the throne of judgment and are asked, 'What did you do for others?' Dr. King said that no matter what our answer might be, God would say, 'Well, that is not enough.' There is always more to be done.

On this solemn occasion, my thoughts and prayers are with Dr. King’s family and of course I remember so well the loss of Coretta who was his partner in every way. And I also think of the families of so many other Americans that have given their lives in the pursuit of equality, freedom and justice.

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?

What does Dr. King’s legacy mean to you? I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences about Dr. King on my website at

Standing up for others has been my life’s work. I hope you will join me in honoring Dr. King¹s legacy and continuing his work to make our country a land of equality, justice and opportunity for all.

On the political race, be sure to read Cedric and Wally's hilarious post on how Bambi goes after someone who beats him at bowling. And it wasn't enough for Robert Kuttner that Amy Goodman allowed him to attack Paul Krugman on her biased program with no rebuttal, he now wants to rewrite history and claim he agree with Krugman on that. Rebecca has the details on that. And Marcia shares her thoughts on 'justice' for Jake Kovco here.