Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The fallen

Saturday three US soldiers were killed, a fourth died on Monday. DoD issued the following yesterday: "The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn. They died Jan. 15 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an Iraqi soldier from the unit with which they were training shot them with small arms fire. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Killed were: Sgt. Michael P. Bartley, 23, of Barnhill, Ill.
[and] Spc. Martin J. Lamar, 43, of Sacramento, Calif. For more information on this release, media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9993." And they issued this yesterday as well: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Spc. Jose A. Torre, Jr., 21, of Garden Grove, Calif., died Jan.15 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with a rocket-propelled grenade. He was assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Ft. Riley Public Affairs office at 785-239-2022." When DoD updates the count -- today around ten a.m. EST -- the number will rise from at 4435 to 4438. They haven't yet announced Monday's death so they won't include it in their count (unless they make an announcement before they issue the count).

In other news, Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reports on an army study which appears to indicate that when service members are asked "and counsel[ed]" about about mental health issues, their chances of developing them decreases. The fact that it's one study is reason to wait for further results, the fact that it was done by the army itself is even more reason.

Journalist John Ross has passed away, In their write up, AP notes he was "the first American journalist to report on Mexico's Zapatista revolution." Fox News actually runs a longer version of AP's obituary. Frank Bardacke remembers him at CounterPunch:

The bare bones, as he would say, are remarkable enough. Born to show business Communists in New York City in 1938, he had minded Billie Holliday’s dog, sold dope to Dizzy Gillespie, and vigiled at the hour of the Rosenberg execution, all before he was sixteen years old. An aspiring beat poet, driven by D.H. Lawrence’s images of Mexico, he arrived at the Tarascan highlands of Michoacan at the age of twenty, returning to the U.S. six years later in 1964, there to be thrown in the Federal Penitentiary at San Pedro, for refusing induction into the army.
Back on the streets of San Francisco eighteen months later, he joined the Progressive Labor Movement, then a combination of old ex-CPers fleeing the debased party and young poets and artists looking for revolutionary action. For a few years he called the hip, crazy, Latino 24th and Mission his “bio-region,” as he ran from the San Francisco police and threw dead rats at slumlords during street rallies of the once powerful Mission Coalition.

Radio listeners will know John Ross from his reports on KPFA's Flashpoints Radio. A number of people have passed away in the last two years. With many, there's been a need to air brush out realities including their support for and devotion to Barack Obama. If you are, for example, the people's historians, you don't hitch your Socialist ass to a Corporatist War Hawk. That's reality. And your chroniclers can try to photo shop reality out of the picture all they want, the reality remains. John Ross never entered the temple of the Cult of St. Barack. While many on the left who pretend to give a damn about Latin America ignored Barack's remarks on the region, John Ross didn't. From his "Return of the Gunboat" (CounterPunch, July 29, 2008):

What does presumptive President Barack Obama think about all this updated gunboat diplomacy? The only clue voters have as to Obama's Latin policies was a speech he delivered months ago to win the hearts and minds of the gusano-laced Cuban American National Foundation in Miami in which platitudes were a dime a dozen - no end to the Cuban embargo, Hugo Chavez was "dangerous", Colombia's Uribe a "democratic hero." Given this repertoire it doesn't sound like much is going to change when Obama takes the helm of state. All the pieces are in place - Plan Mexico, Plan Colombia, ASPAN, SOUTHCOM, NORCOM, and NAFTA - to keep the Consensus of Washington thriving during an Obama presidency.

Unlike many pretenders, posers and cowards, John Ross was an actual truth teller. We'll close with this from his "Obama in Bedlam" (CounterPunch):

I don't buy Barack Obama as the Messiah. I didn't vote for him (I voted for another Afro-American) and I haven't filed an application to join his regime. He ran a duplicitous, multi-million dollar campaign that masqueraded as a social movement and because it was a gimmick and a shuck, will thwart and demoralize the re-creation of real social movement for years to come.The suckers packed shoulder to shoulder in Grant Park on Election Night were not a movement. 40 years ago, the Left stood in that park and were burning American flags, not waving them -- although the reasons were equally specious. Back then, it was the denial of another false Messiah's rightful place on the Democratic Party ticket. We ran a pig for president to underscore our disdain for the electoral process and when Mayor Dailey's cops kidnapped and barbecued our candidate, we turned to yet another Afro-American who was also not the Messiah. In August 1968, the Mayor of Chicago, whose son is now Barack Obama's most trusted political advisor, sent in the real pigs to beat us into the Grant Park grass like so many baby harp seals.

Now that was a social movement…

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