Thursday, September 23, 2010

Still deploying to Iraq

A career diplomat representing the government of the United States learns to adapt. Administrations come and go. Policies change and evolve. The question is: Even when you disagree with some of the particulars, can you in good conscience support the direction and impact of your country's foreign policy?
For Army Col. (Ret.) Ann Wright, the moment of truth came in March 2003, just days ahead of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Wright, an Arkansas native, served 13 years on active duty, followed by 16 years in the reserves during which time she worked with the State Department in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nicaragua and elsewhere. When she submitted her letter of resignation to then Secretary of State Colin Powell, Wright was the deputy head of mission at the U.S. embassy in Mongolia.

The above is from Mark Hare's "Retired Army officer speaks out against war" (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) about Ann Wright who is wrapping up her Voices of Conscience Tour Upstate NY. Her remaining appearances on this swing of the tour are:

Thursday, September 23
12:00 PM Interview (live) with Bob Smith on WXXI 1370 AM Connection
Rochester, NY

2:00 PM Interfaith Center, 11 Franklin Street (adjacent to the SUNY Geneseo campus), Geneseo, NY
"What are we doing in Iraq and Afghanistan? How does it affect Iraqi, Afghan, and U.S. women?"

7:00 PM Campus Center Bamboo Room, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY
"Gaza Flotilla Survivor Tells Her Story"

Friday, September 24
12:30-1:20 PM Medaille Hall, Nazareth College, 4245 East Ave., Rochester, NY
"Costs of War"

7:00 PM First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd. S., Rochester, NY
"Afghanistan: The Need to Dissent"

Saturday, September 25
Syracuse Peace Council Birthday Dinner
St. Lucy's Auditorium, 425 Gifford Street, Syracuse, NY -across from the Church
6:00 PM - doors open
6:30 PM - Dinner is served (featuring vegetarian cuisine and local foods, see for cost)
7:30 PM - Program featuring Ann Wright, "Rejecting the War Machine: From Afghanistan to Activist"

Sunday, September 26
2:00 PM ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, NY
Book signing and talk at Robert Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell the Truth" Exhibit

The talks are free and open to the public. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Each talk will be followed by a book sale and signing: Dissent: Voices of Conscience, Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq.
Colonel Ann Wright (Ret.)

Meanwhile the Iraq War continues. Lauren King (Virginian-Pilot) reports, "About 400 soldiers have received a mobilization order for active duty in Iraq, according to a statement from the Virginia National Guard." They'll go to Fort Hood in Texas next year (February) for training before deploying to Iraq. Julie Sullivan (Oregonian) reports, "Just weeks after President Obama declared an end to combat, the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry headquartered in La Grande mobilized Tuesday for Iraq. Their mission has a new name: Operation New Dawn, but an old and dangerous undertaking: guarding convoys and U.S. bases, supporting the Iraqi army and police. More than 500 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers heading to Iraq have a clear mission, so does the governor."

The Iraq War continues and moves towards outsourcing to do off-the-books-combat with, Barack hopes, the end-result being that Americans will no longer care and instead happily embrace the myth that the war is over. Federal News Radio reports new estimates show a 40% jump "from 2008 to the second quarter of 2010" in the deathhs of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan with more dying in both countries this year than US service members.

The following community sites -- plus -- updated last night:

And Ruth's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" which isn't showing up on the list for some reason.

Someone asked (e-mail) if we could highlight Chris Floyd? Not today. Not this column. As a general rule, there are two kinds of American journalists who leave America. There's the kind that goes elsewhere and attempts to illuminate another culture. Then there's the kind that goes elsewhere but remains focused on the US but from afar and they don't develop a sense of 'detachment,' they develop a sense of contempt for the American people. That's fine if that's the road Chris Floyd wants to travel down but we don't blame any people for their government and we don't make a point to attack the people to feel better about ourselves and our political/sexual frustrations. I'm not interested in it and it's really disgusting and uninspiring. I have no idea what such a writer ever thinks they will accomplish because writing such pieces closes you off to a large segment of society and presumably Chris Floyd is attempting to reach as many people as possible. I didn't find Le Misanthrope all that amusing as written by Moliere, I certainly didn't find a column attacking all of human kind amusing (and, like Hannah Arendt, 'ccllective guilt' strikes me as a cop out).

In the US, the Democratic Policy Committee has a number of new videos and we'll note this one from Senator Robert Menendez:

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends