Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Hate The War

As noted in today's snapshot, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, chaired by Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, held a hearing featuring testimony from Iraq Veterans Against the War. "If you missed the hearing, along with being broadcast on CSPAN, it was broadcast by KPFA (click here for KPFA's archived broadcast) and at Aaron Glantz' website The War Comes Home. Earlier (in March) Iraq Veterans Against the War held their Winter Soldier Investigation and it was broadcast at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz anchoring Pacifica's live coverage. (It was also broadcast at the IVAW site.) Allison and Glantz also hosted a live report on KPFA about the lawsuit against the VA on April 22nd" (from today's snapshot).

George e-mailed about Maxine Waters? She comes in later during the hearing and she'll be noted either tomorrow or Monday. The hearing's not going to be one snapshot. But Maxine Waters was present (and she asked questions about Falluja of Adam Kokesh). Rachel notes that WBAI couldn't get it together to broadcast it in full, Micah notes that they joined it "in progress" and the on airs couldn't get it straight to do a proper introduction to the broadcast they were joining. Not surprising after the embarrassment that was their refusal to broadcast the Saturday hearings of Winter Soldier back in March. They had old, musty tunes to spin because, certainly, that will end the illegal war. Torch songs and pop songs -- decades old -- will do what hasn't been done already, apparently.

Which is actually the topic for tonight. In her opening remarks, US House Rep (and co-chair of the committee) Lynn Woolsey made a number of statements and she's dedicated to ending the illegal war (as Barbara Lee noted in her own remarks) but there was one that really needed to be addressed here. She was speaking of how the people are ahead of most members of Congress and she's correct. But it's equally true that the people are ahead of what passes for 'independent' media.

That point really came home today if you caught the latest nonsense from 'anti-war' Spency Ackerman. He's the War Hawk and War Cheerleader who was at The New Republic until he repeatedly trashed the magazine at his own website. By that time he had 'turned' on the illegal war. Had he?


He's one of the people that fit the chairs description of 'Oh, the war is wrong . . . because it wasn't better planned!' The illegal war was planned. All that's happening was predicatable ahead of time. But Spency makes a few generic 'anti-war' statements and then falls into the revisionary school of "Plan the next illegal war better!" and yet that didn't prevent The Nation from publishing him. Of course "him" helps since, in 2007, Betsy Reed was a-okay with publishing 491 men to 149 women. That was before she realized she'd need to pose as a feminist in 2008. But there was Spency. Even got a cover story. And where is he today? Today, he published his "counter-insurgency" article.

He's calling it out? No. Google and you'll see what he's doing, we don't link to trash. Those who have no desire to Google should just know that Spency's bemoaning the fact that US civilian employees in Iraq aren't doing enough "counter-insurgency" work. That should appall everyone and it should appall everyone that The Nation elected to promote him as 'anti-war' when he's not. He's not even against the Iraq War, he's one of the revisionists whining it should have had more planning. As if Bully Boy didn't intend to turn Iraq into a tag-sale for corporations.

The White House treated another country as a White Elephant Sale and did that intentionally. They're still treating it as such. Which is why you have talk of theme parks in Baghdad and the Marriott hotel chain going in there. Strange, but if Iraq is in need of hotels, it certainly seems like they could build their own. They did before the illegal war. They certainly have the money to do it -- money puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki sits on and refuses to release.

The Iraq War was planned to 'redistribue' Iraq's assets to foreigners and to provide a 'new and emerging market' for corporations. 'Freedom' didn't include self-determination or even an ownership society for Iraqis. And this isn't a reality that's just emerged. Certainly Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism documents the reality of the intensive pre-war planning that took place but before that book was published (fall 2007), Klein had already began explaining what was going on in 2004's "Baghdad Year Zero" (Harper's magazine). Only a revisionist War Hawk chooses to ignore Klein's well documented and sourced work.

And while The Nation featured dopes like Spency as voices that would 'end' the illegal war, they shut out voices concerned with actually ending the Iraq War.

The Iraq War has been nothing for the magazine but something to cluck over (after Victor leaves) and use to drive election turnout. It's not ever been about ending the illegal war. That's been obvious in the lack of coverage that led to the website removing their "Iraq War" folder from the homepage some time ago. That's been obvious in what their columnists have elected to write about. Or do you really think we need book reviews at the back of the magazine and in columns? They've never had time to argue for ending the illegal war because they've spent far too long doling out bits of clucking convinced it's the best electoral weapon that Democrats have.

And they're no different from the bulk of Panhandle Media -- they just print weekly. (Or 'weekly' since they also do the 'double issues' -- which frequently are the same size as their regular issue.) In 2006, at Third, we were noting their non-stop Hurricane Katrina stories and their lack of coverage regarding the Iraq War. This didn't just happen. It's long been a pattern for the very bad magazine.

These days, Panhandle Media really only 'covers' Iraq when they can try to slam Hillary and they're so damn stupid that facts don't even matter. (Thank you to Bonnie for sending the idiot Jar-Jar repeating Stephen Zunes loony lie that even FiP pulled down. We'll address it at Third on Sunday.) Do they think their audience is that stupid or are they that stupid?

When you're about nothing except promoting a candidate, you lie and then you lie some more. And you think you'll get away with it because you've been lying for so long. (Such as putting your name on the byline of pieces you didn't write -- another form of colonialism when you're safe in the United States and the byline is Iraq.)

But they don't care. They always have something else to cover and, if the MSM is all over Iraq, they may feel a little left out and decide to give it a second or two of attention before returning to other forms of propaganda.

They've really shown their true natures in the last years and it's not surprising that so many of them are suffering. Of course the ridiculous 'institute' that was all about elections shut down last month. Expect to see Panhandle Media struggle as well. People are tired of high horse riders who have no ethics of their own.

All three co-chairs of the committee care about ending the illegal war. But if you want to know why the Iraq War drags on, five years after (as Lee noted), it's due to the fact that it's not a pressing topic for Panhandle Media. It's something to pick up when there's nothing else to cover. And when they pick it up, they rewrite themselves on the same topics. The Nation, in particular, has become Mary Worth. The whole point of so-called 'independent' media -- and of opinion journals (which is what The Nation is) -- is to introduce concepts and ideas. But all they do is run with whatever the MSM has just reported on Iraq and call that 'their' coverage. Topics like war resisters fell off the radar long ago. (2005 for The Nation, end of 2006 for Democracy Now!) In the US, local Real Media does a better job of covering war resisters than Panhandle Media if only because they actually cover them.

So when Woolsey was talking about how far ahead of a number of members of Congress the public is and when Lee was expressing disbelief that five years and counting and the illegal war continues, a huge part of the reason the illegal war continues is the appalling performance by Panhandle Media.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4073. Tonight? 4077. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,209,263 up from 1,206,950 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the Iraq War.

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aaron glantz