Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All hail Sanchez -- not so fast

In the January/February 2011 edition of The Atlantic, David Freed reported that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (ret.) is calling for a "truth commission" to revisit the Bush administration's interrogation policies. He reasons that although a truth commission might not render justice (for which there is currently no political will to pursue), it might help the nation learn from it's mistakes and in so doing, prevent further (and perhaps more barbaric) transgressions in the future. "If we do not find out what happened, he is quoted as saying in May 2009, "we are doomed to repeat it."
Freed notes that the retired general's pursuit of truth and commitment to integrity has come at a price. 'The lucrative consulting jobs that have come to many of his retired peers have eluded Sanchez: not a single company doing business with the federal government has ever contacted him about full-time employment. Fellow flag officers he once considered friends have shunned him, he says, as "radioactive." ' His situation is symptomatic of a system wherein the higher one climbs in rank, the more one is expected to conform to the amoral rules that govern (or fail to govern) the conduct of the political, corporate and financial elite above.

That's from "Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (ret.) Calls for Truth Commission to Revisit Bush Interrogation Policies" (Iraq Veterans Against War) and Sanchez made that call in May 2009? In four months, it's May 2011. He's really been working hard on that one, hasn't he?

Sanchez is a liar. When did the liar want a truth commission? When facing reporters weeks after the realities were sinking in about his own involvement. When the media found another story, he dropped his 'battle' for the truth.

Weeks before Sanchez' weak and fleeting call, April 22, 2009, Chris Lombardi (Women's Voices For Change) was reporting on the eventsthat had Sanchez worried about his own image:

Five years ago, revelations of the torture of prisoners in Iraq at Abu Ghraib prison resulted in the prosecution of low-ranking members of a military police unit headed by then-Brigadier General Janis Karpinski,who was demoted to colonel for not having prevented abuse of detainees, despite evidence that such “extraordinary measures” had been sanctioned by commanders in Washington.

This week, when President Obama ordered the release of information about Bush administration policies on “enhanced interrogation” and a new Senate report outlined the history of the development those policies, both CBS’s Early Show and [. . . -- C.I. note: We're not promoting the TV show I'm excluding].

Karpinski told Howard K. Smith that she felt the report put her troops’ actions in context. “Scapegoated is the perfect word,and it’s an understatement,” said Karpinski, who has spoken freely in recent years about being a high-ranking woman and also the only general held to account after Abu Ghraib.

Col. Janis Karpinski said Tuesday that "from the beginning, I’ve been saying these soldiers did not design these techniques on their own." She added that this week’s Senate report is “black and white proof” that uniformed servicemen and women were not alone responsible for the abuses.

Many of the procedures were adopted Iraq-wide in a memo issued in September 2003 by the Iraq war commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. According to the Senate report, lawyers for U.S. Central Command raised immediate concerns that the policy violated the Geneva Conventions, which applied to Iraq. It would be a month before the policy was brought back under Geneva Convention guidelines. Despite the revision, the abuses at Abu Ghraib had already began.

Get it? His memo becomes known and he makes some sotto voiced calls for a truth commission. The press finds another story and he's not making the call anymore. The notion that these War Criminals are going to save us are not just beyond hilarious, they're warped and an indication of how unwilling we are to save ourselves. Colin The Blot Powell knowingly lied to the United Nations to make the case for illegal war. That's not in dispute unless you're at a Beltway party. FAIR and the Los Angeles Times established that many years ago. But for some idiotic reason, Collie's would be love captive Lawrence Wilkerson is treated as a trusted voice by so many fools on the left.

And it's appalling to see so many rush to embrace Wilkerson as a trusted source. Robert Parry trashed his own name in 2008 and I don't think there's any coming back from that so it's rather amazing that he can appall me at this late date but his allowing Wilkerson to be used as a trusted source at his site is disgusting. Parry, long before Bully Boy Bush took office in 2001, had already co-authored a series on Powell's lengthy War Crimes. It is the lack of the ethics that is so appalling. If you're going to call Colin Powell a War Criminal (which I believe has been established), you don't then start using his beloved servant as a trusted source -- a servant on a mission to whitewash his boss' legacy.

But it happens because people need some man to get behind instead of becoming their own leaders. You don't need Sanchez or Powell, you only need yourself and your truth.

The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Managed Labor or Human Rights" (Truthout):

A political alliance is developing between countries with a labor export policy and the corporations who use that labor in the global north. Many countries sending migrants to the developed world depend on remittances to finance social services and keep the lid on social discontent over poverty and joblessness, while continuing to make huge debt payments. Corporations using that displaced labor share a growing interest with those countries' governments in regulating the system that supplies it.

Increasingly, the mechanisms for regulating that flow of people are contract labor programs - called "guest worker" or "temporary worker" programs in the U.S., or "managed migration" in the UK and much of the EU. With or without these programs, migration to the U.S. and other industrial countries is a fact of life. But does that mean that U.S. immigration policy should be used to increase corporate profits by supplying labor to industry at a price it wants to pay?

Despite often using rhetoric that demonizes immigrants, the U.S. Congress is not debating the means for ending migration. Nothing can, short of a radical reordering of the world's economy. Nor are waves of immigration raids and deportations intended to halt it. In an economy in which immigrant labor plays a critical part, the price of stopping migration would be economic crisis. The intent of immigration policy is managing the flow of people, determining their status here in the U.S., in the interest of those who put that labor to work.

Migrants are human beings first, however, and their desire for community is as strong as the need to labor. Or as the old shop floor saying goes, "We work to live; we don't live to work." The use of neoliberal reforms and economic treaties to displace communities, to produce a global army of available and vulnerable workers, has a brutal impact on people. NAFTA and the existing and proposed free trade agreements between the U.S. and Central America, Peru, Colombia, Panama, South Korea and Jordan not only don't stop the economic transformations which uproot families and throw them into the migrant stream--they push that whole process forward.

On a world scale, the migratory flow caused by displacement is still generally self-initiated. In other words, while people may be driven by forces beyond their control, they move at their own will and discretion, trying to find survival and economic opportunity, and to reunite their families and create new communities in the countries they now call home.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends