Monday, February 08, 2010

A march, a War Criminal and more

On Feb. 1 President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve a record $708 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2011. The budget calls for a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon's base budget to $549 billion, plus $159 billion to fund the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But citizens aren't sitting by while the Pentagon's budget balloons. On March 20, just after the seventh anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, protestors will march on Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.
On Friday evening, March 19, at least 55 Hoosiers and Kentucky residents will board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for the second peace march since President Obama was elected. Participants will demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sponsored by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) coalition and more than 1,000 other organizations and individuals, the march has as its rallying cries, "No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti," "No War or Sanctions Against Iran" and "No War for Empire Anywhere."
Instead of war, the protestors will demand funding for jobs, free and universal health care, decent schools and affordable housing.

The above is from Linda Greene's "D.C. march will protest Obama's wars" (Bloomington Alternative) and for those needing a visual . . .


That is March 20th and it is fastly approaching. And that's a strong and important action. For a worthless one, read Eric Gebert's bad letter where he thinks he's going to have any impact at all by insulting people he disagrees with as "uneducated." The stupidst person in the country right now? Eric Gebert for writing a letter to an editor that accomplishes nothing but sending the message that the left would rather toss governing in the backseat because it's far more important to feel superior. That crap needs to stop. (It's the MSNBC effect and it's destroying the country.)

While Eric Gebert makes like Dana Carvey's Church Lady doing the superiority dance, the Daily Herald notes, "More than 3,000 soldiers in the National Guard's 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment will be dispatched overseas, affecting 45 cities from east to west Tennessee." WDAM reports there was a send-off ceremony at Camp Shelby on Friday and that the 278 lost 14 members on their earlier Iraq deployment. The Iraq War has not ended despite claims from idiots like Juan Cole. Saturday's news included the League of Righteous announcing that they had kidnapped 60-year-old American citizen Issa T. Salomi. Washington Post's Ernesto Londono and Leila Fadel (via Hindustan Times) observe, "The case marks the first reported kidnapping of an American citizen in Iraq in more than 18 months." Scott Fontaine (News Tribune) reports:

But a group of 19 service members and civilians – including soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord -- has the job of finding and recovering Issa T. Salomi and other service members and contractors missing throughout Iraq. Salomi’s kidnapping by an Iranian-backed group called the League of the Righteous was confirmed by the Pentagon on Saturday. He was last seen in Baghdad on Jan. 23.
[. . .]
"The search never stops," Lt. Col. Patrick Wright, the outgoing director of the U.S. Forces-Iraq personnel recovery division, said during an interview last month from Baghdad's Al Faw Palace, the headquarters of the American military in Iraq. "If someone's missing, someone’s looking for them."
Twenty-one people, including Salomi, are on the list of the missing throughout Iraq. The search is continuing for 18 of them. The others are in Iranian custody -- their families say the three were hiking in northern Iraq.

Steven D. Green

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. September 4, 2009, Green was sentenced to five consencutive life sentences.

During the trial, I repeatedly called out the defense here. It was a lousy defense. (Green is a War Criminal, that's not in dispute. I'm referring, however, to the lousy defense his attorney's 'provided.') When I'd do that, here, the drive-by e-mails would flood in boo-hooing the poor public defenders. When I'd raise it with journalists I knew covering the case, they'd insist that what I thought should be raised in court didn't happen. How did they know? Osmosis apparently. May 16th, I got tired of all the crap and all the deception and wrote the following:

I believe there are nine women on the jury. Green's male defense seems to think they turn Green's mother into an utter bitch and he avoids the death penalty. His mother can't both be guilty of never being around and also the fall guy for everything that happens in day to day life. That's a point that a male defense team may miss. But they're at serious risk of alienating the jury as they go on and on about how Green's mother wasn't there, she kept an unclean house, she did this, she did that.
Doug put Danielle in the hospital, the jury's been told in passing, more than once with his 'discipline.' The jury needs to be walked through what Doug did to Steven and the defense has refused to do that. A witness says Doug was physically and verablly abusive to Steven D. Green and it's time to move on to the next topic. No.
The jury needs to hear what happened, what was done. The jury needs to know -- and so far doesn't -- that Steven D. Green was badly hurt by Doug Green but when it was him hurt, there was no desire to take him to the hospital. When it was the sister who was hurt, we better go to the hospital now!
What happened in Iraq didn't create Steven D. Green. Iraq allowed his impulses to run free. But he was created in the United States. He was turned into a sociopath in this country.
I'm trying to be careful in my words here because I can't figure out whether the defense is refusing to use something they know or if they don't know. If they don't know they've done a lousy job getting to know the client they're representing. Green's story is still not being told.

Green was an abused child and that included sexual abuse. Whether the defense attorneys were prevented from using that (by Green) or not, I have no idea. But they did a damn lousy job and for those who had to first read it in a newspaper or hear it on TV to know it was reality, Jim Frederick (Time magazine) reports:

She called him "demon spawn," and constantly compared him unfavorably to his brother, Doug, who was three years older. Working nights at a bar, she largely let her children fend for themselves. Doug was, not surprisingly, unable to cope with the responsibility of being a surrogate parent from as young as age seven or eight. He subjected Steven and their little sister to frequent, brutal beatings. He decided to join the Army in early 2005, not just as a way out of his rut, but as a way to participate in what he saw as the latest flare-up of a centuries-long struggle between Western civilization and Eastern barbarism. "This is almost like a race war, like a cultural war," he said about 9/11, the March 2004 Spanish subway bombings and the now lengthening conflict in Iraq. "And anyone who is my age who is not going to go fight in it is a coward. They can say it's about this or that, but it's really about religion. It's about not even which culture is going to rule the Middle East, but which culture is going to rule the West. I felt like Islam is, was, and always will be like fascism."

Again, he was created in the US. What took place in Iraq, those War Crimes, were not surprising or unexpected. Jim Frederick's book about the War Crimes and the trial is entitled Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death and it hits bookstores tomorrow (link goes to Amazon, for those who would like to order online -- currently sale price of $17.16 for hard cover). Elizabeth Bumiller (New York Times) reports on Iraq War veteran Brian Turner and his volume of poetry entitled Here, Bullet. Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) covers female veterans issues here.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Stuffed Shirt" went up yesterday. We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "Basketball humor column" (Scoop):

In a wide-ranging interview, President B. Rack O’Bomber today faulted Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas for bringing an unloaded pistol into his team’s locker room.
A Supreme Court ruling makes it a criminal offense to carry an unloaded weapon in Washington, D.C., but permits the carrying of loaded ones.
“That damn fool, Arenas,” O’Bomber said, “could have avoided the whole problem if only, like so much of the rest of Washington, he had loaded the pistols before he had taken them out of his house. Hasn’t he ever heard of the Supreme Court?” Arenas compounded his woes by later pointing his finger at Wizards teammates in Cleveland and saying, “Bang.”
O’Bomber told interviewer Lawrence Velvel that the basketball players’ union had once defended as “peaceful protest” Golden State Warriors player Latrell Sprewell’s attempt to choke his coach P.J. Carlesimo, “but the union will not touch Arenas’ case with a fork because his guns were unloaded.”
“It is far worse to have unloaded guns than to choke your coach,” President O’Bomber said, “since what kind of a protest is it to have unloaded guns? Or to simply get on your knees, point your fingers and say ‘Bang’? Nobody pays attention to that kind of so-called protest.”
“The only kind of protest people understand is the kind we are using in Iraq and Afghanistan, when we are using loaded guns that go bang,” O’Bomber explained. He added, “The CIA, however, completely missed this sure-fire sign that the whole Arenas deal was a put-up job manufactured by the Stern Gang in its battle with the UrGUN for control of American basketball.” (David Stern is Commissioner of the NBA.)

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