Friday, October 09, 2009

New York Times tries to bury the war they started

jason carrera

That's Iraq War veteran Jason Carrera pictured above. You may remember him from last month when police were in a 'standoff' with Carrera. As Reed Parker (WIBC), the Indianapolis Star and WRTV 'report,' he won't be charged. 'Report'? What appears to have happened is no standoff. What appears to have happened is Carrera was asleep on the couch for the entire 'standoff.' It appears his roommate called the police when there was no reason to. Left out of the 'reports' is why Carrera won't be charged and what appears to be the reality is that he used no weapon in the standoff and threatened no one (including himself). He simply slept on his couch. It appears the 'danger' may have been inflated in a call to the police. If that's the case, Carrera is owed the right to have the record corrected.

Speaking of trashy 'reporting,' let's turn to the New York Times where one of those rare 'reports' from Iraq is filed prompting readers to groan and wonder why they ever miss the Iraq 'reporting' from the paper. Marc Santora (New York Times) opens with:

There is no more visible sign that America is putting the Iraq war behind it than the colossal operation to get its stuff out: 20,000 soldiers, nearly a sixth of the force here, assigned to a logistical effort aimed at dismantling some 300 bases and shipping out 1.5 million pieces of equipment, from tanks to coffee makers.

Is America putting Iraq behind it? That's not *only* factually incorrect, it's also highly insulting. Did we not hear yesterday from Russell Powell, an Iraq War veteran, explaining to the Senate about how exposure to Sodium Dichromate in Iraq has seriously destroyed his health? Is Russell Powell "putting the Iraq war behind" him?

No, the New York Times wants to put the war behind it.

Why? Because they sold the illegal war. Little liars -- and it went far beyond Judith Miller who, for the record, was woefully misguided but did not lie because she honestly thought there were WMDs in Iraq and that's why she commandeered that squadron while in Iraq to 'discover' the non-existent WMDs -- sold that illegal war. And it wasn't just the Times but it was the Times which never got accountable for their actions. There was the mini-culpa, the meaningless tiny item that might as well have been a blind item for all the weight it carried. And the promise of a later investigation into their errors. Where's that later coverage? Oh, right, they never did it.

The New York Times would love to put the Iraq War behind it. First of all, it damanged their reputation in ways Jayson Blair can only dream of. Second of all, they can't sell a new war -- and, make no mistake, the New York Times always sells wars -- effectively while the Iraq War is still on people's minds. Look at the pushback the current administration is experiencing on their desire for war with Iran. What keeps getting brought up? Iraq. The lies that led to that war. So, yeah, the paper wants to put the Iraq War behind it. And the media at large does.

But shame on all of them for pimping that when you have people suffering (including Iraqis but as John F-ing Burns explained so long ago, the paper's only concerned with Americans) and so many dead. Shame on them. It's not just that they lied to sell an illegal war, it's that they never owned the consequences of their decision to do so, let alone taken accountability.

Marc Santora and the New York Times want to put the Iraq War behind them. How sweet for them. In the real world? William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) notes that an estimated 4,300 members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Schofield Barracks has received orders to deploy to Iraq "in the summer of 2010." Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) adds, "They are part of the three brigades and one armored cavalry regiment with 15,000 soldiers that the Pentagon said will be sent to Iraq next year." But don't worry, Marc Santora and the New York Times have put Iraq 'behind' them.

Many Iraqi and American families don't have luxury of putting that (ongoing) illegal war behind them; however, the Times has never been known for having a sense of perspective.

With Aimee Allison, David Solnit authored the seminal Army Of None -- a must read and, sadly, one of the few books of this era you can say that about. (It's a wonderful book.) David Solnit has a request with regards to books and Courage to Resist, so listen to the author:

We need your $ and they will be amazing events. If we are ever going to fight our way out of imperial wars, corporate capitalism, and climate chaos we are going to have to support the 2 1/2 million armed soldiers and their tens of million of family members n the US being part of the solution, as with getting out of Viet Nam. Courage to Resist exists for this purpose.

First Sunday Oct 18th with US Army Colonel Ann Wright, who publicly resigned to protest the 2003 Iraq War and now has a book about others who also spoke out, and leading journalist who just came out with an amazing book on GI resistance. I have a new book I put together with my sister and with contributions from my Direct Action Network co-organizers from a decade ago; The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle (AK Press, Nov 2009) will be out just before the ten year anniversary, and bizarrely the next meeting in Geneva of the WTO-- to the day: Nov 30! Courage co-organizers put me in the event, so I'll give a book preview with strategy lessons for toppling corporate power and it's ugly wars and global warming.

The following Sunday My sister Rebecca will talk from her amazing new book, joining Gulf War 1 resister Aimee Allison and leading Int'l law expert Prof Majorie Cohn, who will explain the clear legal reasons why we need to rebel.

Hope to see you at both and please invite your friends and comrades!

hope and resistance, David

Book release benefit events for Courage to Resist, Oct. 18 & 25, 7pm, Oakland
First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St (@27th St-Across from Whole Foods), Oakland

First Congregational Church


Sunday, October 18, 7 pm - more info
Ann Wright, US Army Colonel (retired) and former US diplomat. Dissent: Voices of Conscience—Gov't Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq
Dahr Jamail, author and journalist. The Will to Resist—Soldiers who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan
David Solnit, author and organizer. The Battle of the Story of the "Battle of Seattle" (Ak Press, Nov 2009)

Sunday, October 25, 7 pm - more info
Prof. Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild. Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent
Rebecca Solnit, award winning author/writer/essayist.A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster
Aimee Allison, author/public affairs/TV host. Co-host of The Morning Show on Pacifica station KPFA

This event is a benefit for Courage to Resist in support of military war resisters. Endorsed and supported by Veterans for Peace SF Bay Area Chapter, Iraq Veterans Against the War (SF Bay Area), BAY-Peace, Asian Americans for Peace and Justice, CodePink, War Resisters League-West, United for Peace and Justice - SF Bay Area, and American Friends Service Committee - SF.

Events graphic & events PDF leaflet. Many of these great books are available from our orders page.

Free event, $5 donation suggested. Wheelchair accessible. Book signing will be held.

For more information, contact 510-488-3559.

Senator Daniel Akaka is the Chair of the Senate's Veterans Affairs Committee and we'll note his opening statement in full from yesterday's hearing while NYT attempts to air brush out the Iraq War:

Today, we will focus on how the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense respond to in service exposures to environmental hazards. As the Committee charged with oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs, we must be certain that VA is providing appropriate health care and compensation to those who are harmed by exposures while serving in the military. In order for VA to do that, the Department of Defense must first determine who was exposed, what they were exposed to, and the health consequences of such exposure, and then share that information with VA.

Given that any claimed exposures from a servicemember or a veteran would, by definition, have occurred in service, DOD has the responsibility for answering questions about who was exposed and about what they were exposed to.

Two of the matters we will look at today relate to claimed exposure of members of the armed forces during the current conflicts. The other two involve claimed exposures in the past, and relate not only to members of the armed forces, but also to family members. These are very different issues, and as such require different approaches.

On the question of who might have been exposed in connection with the present conflicts, current DOD records should be available to answer that question. If they are not, then the Committee must know why not? For the earlier exposures, DOD must pull together records to provide some estimation of potentially exposed populations.

Once DOD has indentified those at risk of exposure and helped develop information on the elements of the exposure, the next challenge is to evaluate the potential consequences of the exposure. That facet of the effort must rely on independent scientific reviews and analysis – all done with transparency.

On the overall issue of providing information on exposures, I believe that it is vital that DOD commit to ensuring that, going forward, no one will leave active duty without both a comprehensive physical that might identify any health concerns related to possible in service exposures and a detailed record of where the individual was stationed, with specific reference to any known exposures to environmental hazards. Far too much time and energy is expended trying to recreate information on where individuals were located during their time on active duty.

VA’s role is to merge the information regarding potential exposure and the scientific analysis so as to craft an appropriate response. This effort must be carried out giving the benefit of the doubt to the veterans concerned. In some cases, there has been an absence of reliable information on exposures, including health consequences. In other cases, it is not possible to achieve consensus on the science.

It is when the information is not clear cut that VA is presented with the greatest challenge and also when the Congress is most often engaged. At that juncture, the resolution is less often guided by a data-driven understanding and more by policy considerations.

One note of clarification -- when I make reference to DOD's roles in dealing with exposure issues, I want to be clear that this Committee is not charged with direct oversight of DOD. That responsibility falls to the Armed Services Committee. However, this Committee does share with the Armed Services Committee responsibility for oversight where the roles of DOD and VA intersect. Issues relating to claimed in service exposure are one such instance of overlap. Also, I note that six members of this Committee, including Senator Burr and me, sit on the Armed Services Committee, so, as a practical matter, when we come upon matters clearly under the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee, we can take those matters to that Committee.

One thing is clear. Those harmed by an in service exposure to environmental hazards should receive a timely and appropriate response from the government, including access to needed health care and compensation. At the same time, a key element in making such an appropriate response is determining who is at risk from a possible exposure and who is not. It is my experience that, at least in the first instance, Congress is not the ideal forum for seeking to resolve complex, often emotional issues, related to potential exposure to hazardous substances during military service, and it is for that reason that we must be sure that both DOD and VA are working effectively on such issues, both separately and in cooperation and coordination.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends