Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Hate The War

Twenty-three mostly low-ranking police and security officials were detained this week as part of an investigation into attempts to revive Saddam Hussein's banned Baath Party, government officials said Thursday.
Some news reports said the officers were trying to organize a coup to unseat Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, but National Police Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf dismissed that as an "unreal" possibility. He said Maliki has direct role in security, and it would be difficult for an officer to stage a coup.
"The situation on the ground won't allow them to make it," Khalaf told Iraqi television. "The coup is unreal because the officers are from low ranks and traffic police. They have no power . . . No unit can move from place to place without the order of Maliki."
The officers are alleged to have been affiliated with the Awda Party, which shares the principles of Saddam's Baath Party as well as some members. The Baath party, which had been run largely by Iraqi Sunnis, is outlawed, and its highest-ranking officials are barred from holding government jobs.

The above is from Hussein Kadhim's "Iraqi government plays down arrests of 23 police officers" (McClatchy Newspapers) and it will probably be noted tomorrow as well but Kadhim, Sarah Issa, Laith Hammoudi and Mohammed Al Dulaimy really are the heart of McClatchy's Baghdad division and when one of them earns a solo byline on a lengthy article we should make a point to note it.

A friend with the Feminist Majority Foundation was unhappy that Feminist Wire didn't get a mention in today's snapshot. They were, I was informed on the phone, doing their job and if I can call them out, I should be willing to note them.

First, if they did their job, I'd be happy to note them. My problem with Feminist Wire is that they have not done their job. But fine, I said on the phone, e-mail it to me and I'll happily note it. With Feminist Wire, I'm not carrying any grudges and will be thrilled to say, "Good for them."

And I would have been . I had planned to do so.

And then I opened the e-mail.

"Feminist and LGBT Leaders Voice Outrage Over Rick Warren Selection" is the title and I'm even tossing in a link. But praise it?

Oh, hell no.

The first paragraph starts off semi-strong:

Feminist and LGBT activists expressed outrage following Wednesday's announcement that Reverend Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of California's Saddleback Church, will deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony on January 20th.

Announcement? Try dropping the passive voice and calling out the person responsible: Barack Obama. A stronger sentence would be: "Feminist and LGBT activists expressed outrage following Wednesday's announcement that Barack Obama had invited Reverend Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of California's Saddleback Churck, to deliver the inovacation at the inauguration ceremony on Januray 20th."

But that's fine. It doesn't have to mean they're yet again giving Barack a pass and make it appear things just happen and not as if he is in any way ever responsible for the decisions he makes. It could just be rushed writing.

Paragraphs two and three are embarrassments and insults.

Paragraph two quotes from a letter to Barack from HRC's Joe Solmonese. And to be clear, "Joe" is a man. It's not "Jo" like Little Women. You may be thinking, "Well, sure they could have found a lesbian to quote but . . ." If that's what you're thinking, stop. That's not my problem with the item.

Paragraph three moves on to Ellie Smeal. It involves Warren's statements against abortion and opens claiming Ellie's "expressed feminist concern". Really?

By focusing on abortion?

If you're a drive-by, you may be confused and may be thinking, "That C.I. is anti-choice." I'm not. I'm 100% pro-choice. I'm 100% pro-abortion. I believe every woman has a right to make the decision for herself and I extend those rights to any woman who is pregnant. I don't care if she's 51 or 13. It is her body and it is her choice. I do not support parental notification.

So what's my issue with the brief from Feminist Wire?

I believe it's the point Ava and I have tried to give voice to repeatedly because we have yet to speak to a women's group in 2008 where the issue wasn't raised by at least once woman. And when the one woman raises it, others agree. Some grasp the offense for the first time.

Way back in the fall of 2007, Barack was putting homophobes on stage in South Carolina. And no one really wanted to call it out outside of the HRC and some other LGBT groups. Good for those that called it out and I'm in no way attempting to insult them.

But my concern is with feminism. And my concern then was the silence on Barack's use of homophobia (silence that continued in the general election campaign when Barack put a homophobe on his swing-state 'values' tour).

See, here's the reality. Outside of the thankfully dead Ego Of Us All, second-wave feminists knew lesbians were a part of the feminist movement. Certainly those feminists that were lesbians knew it, but we all knew it. We all knew it and we were all proud of it. We were an inclusive movement. And in standing together, we were strong.

So 2008 wasn't very pretty for feminist leadership and you can go talk with any women's group around the country and, as you explore 2008's events, at some point one woman will bring up the homophobia used by Team Obama. And when she does, the reaction is either others agreeing and saying they noticed it as well or others apologizing and saying they're sorry because until right now they really hadn't confronted it or know about it.

That's a real indictment of 'leadership.' Leadership should have been calling out the homophobia. Leadership should have been demanding that homophobia have no role in a campaign. But they didn't do a damn thing, not one damn thing.

And now Feminist Wire does a brief that sets up the equation as: LGBT/feminists call out Rick Warren. Note the "/" which means "or" (though the New York Times never grasps that when they cover their own polls "New York Times/CBS News poll"). Note that a man is brought in to call out the homophobia and then Ellie Smeal shows up to address a "feminist concern."

Excuse the hell out of me, how many times is Smeal going to present that way. Homophobia is a feminist concern. The entire brief is "/" where on one side you have gay issues and on the other you have feminist issues.

That s**t needs to stop and it needs to stop right now.

It's been insulting to many women. Certainly to lesbians but what Smeal and others don't seem to grasp is that grassroots feminists aren't drawing the divisions that she and Feminist Wire are. In fact, there's a real movement towards the kind of resistance and fire that dominated the start of second-wave feminism.

We don't need this crap from leadership. At a time when the grassroots has come together and is standing together, we don't need Ellie showing up -- or any 'leader' -- attempting to tell us that the feminist concern is abortion and, over there where that guy is talking about homophobia, that's the gay issue.

I was more than happy to note Feminist Wire and planned (until I read the e-mail) to make this entry about how they stood up and did the right thing. I'd have no problem with doing that tomorrow. But I'm not going to tolerate these self-defeating divisions that say, "Gay women, that's you're gay issue. It's not your feminist issue and we don't want to hear it." That's the message the brief sends. Is it intended? I spent months arguing it wasn't at the start of the year. I'm tired of defending that crap. There's no excuse for it. There was never any excuse for it. And it needs to stop and maybe part of the transfer of leadership will involve some out of the closet lesbians (they seem to exist everywhere but in the pages of Ms. magazine) to be invited up to the podium. I find it appalling that in the seventies this movement's leaders were more aware than they are today. But in the seventies, we took pride in honesty and didn't see ourselves as suck-ups to DC power. We made demands, we didn't beg on our knees. For all the talk of how we allegedly grow more radical with age nothing in the movement's tired and aged 'leadership' indicates that to be true.

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 4209. Which is the number it remains this week. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,297,997 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war, the same as the number they gave last week.

The e-mail address for this site is

mcclatchy newspapers