Friday, December 10, 2010

Limited voices, limited citizenship

Question: In 2007, you served as executive producer on the documentary “Body of War,” about a U.S. veteran of the Iraq War who becomes paralyzed from a bullet to his spine. The U.S. is leaving Iraq but there are some 300,000 troops in Afghanistan. Do you think the human cost of war in Afghanistan becoming too high?

Phil Donahue: I believe one more death in Afghanistan or Iraq is morally indefensible. We went to the moon, we surely can get out of Iraq responsibly. When we finally leave, every American should watch as our thousands of troops board transport planes for their trip home. As the planes take off every American should ask themselves, are we safer, was it worth it? Then we should resolve never to let this happen again.

The above is from an excerpt posted by Jay Kernis of "an upcoming edition of Parker Spitzer" (CNN's newest prime time show). There are actually two excerpts, a transcript (the above is pulled from that) and a video where Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker discuss the media's support/cheerleading of the Iraq War with Phil Donahue and how he was removed from the air in 2003 due to MSNBC fears that he would serve as more than a war drum pounder on his talk show.

The Iraq War has not ended. Though many have lost their lives serving in it. That includes non-US citizens. Rick Maze (Army Times) reports that the Dream Act was blocked by the Senate yesterday, proposed legislation which included a provision that "would apply to high school graduates who illegally entered the U.S. at a young age, stayed at least five years and have no serious criminal record. Those who serve at least two years in the military or spend two years in college or vocational school could then apply for permanent residency -- which critics said would reward those who illegally enter the country."

Matt Millham (Stars and Stripes) reported four years ago on the widow of an Iraq War veteran. Sgt David Jimenez Almazan's wife Salina Jimenez was presented with "a naturalization certificate" for her husband who had died August 27, 2006 from a roadside bombing in Iraq. At that point, David Jimenez was one of over "22,500 servicemembers [. . .] naturalized since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003" -- some who received citizenship while they were alive, others who received it after dying while serving in the US military. There are many stories throughout the Iraq War, like Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reporting in July 2007, of oath of citizenship ceremonies in Iraq. Hennessy-Fixke reported on one in Baghdad in which 161 members of the US military were granted citizenship. These ceremonies take place regularly. November 11th, the US military had a naturalization ceremony in Baghdad for about 50 people serving in the US military. Again, this has happened over and over throughout the long war so the objection in the Senate must be to formally making it law since the practice is already being carried out by the US military?

The Iraq War continues and it may or may not end in 2011. The SOFA doesn't mean it ends and if you're that stupid you must be one of the faux 'peace' 'activists' from Wisconsin writing bad columns for OpEdNews. That and really, really stupid. What does it take? You've got Ryan Crocker, former US Ambassador to Iraq, on the ground when the SOFA was rammed through the Iraqi Parliament telling you troops could remaing past 2011, you've got Joe Biden (Vice President) declaring that on PBS, you've got Philip J. Crowley (State Dept spokesperson) and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates telling you publicly last month that the US is open to that 'new' government out of Baghdad requesting that US troops stay beyond 2011 but still the idiots thrive in what laughable passes for 'media' in the US. Kevin Baron (Stars and Stripes) notes some realities:

Several factors could affect whether the U.S. military really goes to zero (outside of any Iraqi choices). The U.S. remains focused on building up Iraqi Security Forces — especially training their trainers — while providing cover for counterterrorism and civilian transition operations. But there is a $1 billion difference between the White House’s request for ISF funds and what Congress is considering passing. Buchanan said any undercutting, if adopted, would affect the ISF’s ability to train and defend themselves and purchase and maintain equipment.

With so much left to do, from police training to private security firms, one State Department official told the Senate last month it would be “at least five more years” before Iraq is self-reliant, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Yes, there is always the back up plan of militarizing diplomacy. But let's keep pretending there's not a chance in hell that the Iraq War doesn't end at the end of 2011 because maintaining those nightly wet dreams where you call out "Barack!" are so much more important than the lives of any Iraqis or any US service members sent into the war. (That was sarcasm. We have to label it for the simple-minded.)

The following community sites -- plus Military Families Speak Out, War News Radio, ACLU and -- updated last night:

And we'll close with this from Andy Worthington's "Wikileaks: Bush and Obama Pressured Spain, Germany, not to Investigate U.S. Torture" (World Can't Wait):

In the relatively small number of US diplomatic cables released to date by WikiLeaks, from its cache of 251,287 documents, the most disturbing revelations concerning the “War on Terror” deal with the pressure that the Bush administration exerted on Germany in 2007, regarding the planned prosecution of thirteen CIA agents involved in the rendition and torture of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen seized as a result of mistaken identity, and the pressure that the Obama administration exerted on the Spanish government in 2009, to derail a criminal investigation into the role played by six senior Bush administration lawyers in establishing the policies that governed the interrogation — and torture — of prisoners seized in the “War on Terror.”

Neither of these developments had been reported prior to the release of the cables by WikiLeaks, and they are therefore extremely significant in establishing how long Bush administration officials were involved in fending off torture investigations overseas, and how eagerly Obama administration officials took up this role.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends