Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, March 30, 2011.  Chaos and violence continue, a hostage situation took place in Iraq yesterday with well over 50 dead and which broadcast network news told you about (yes, it is a trick question), Samantha Power flutters in on her War Hawk wings, Tom Hayden finds his voice, and more.
Yesterday evening in the US, viewers of Al Jazeera English got many reports but let's zoom in on just one.
Shiulie Ghosh: To Iraq now where at least 55 people have been killed in Saddam Hussein's former home city, the provincial government headquarters in Tikrit was stormed by gunmen wearing military uniforms.  Three council leaders were shot in the head.  They included an outspoken critic of al Qaeda in Iraq.  Journalists and government workers also died.  The five hour long hostage seige ended when attackers blew themselves up after government forces moved in.  Our Baghdad correspondent Rawya Rageh has more.
Rawya Rageh: The brazen and highly sophisticated hostage situation in Tikrit ended in a rather unfortunate manner.  None of the hostages escaped alive. All of them were killed.  Some in a rather horrific manner, we were told, including the three council men who were shot at point blank range and their bodies set on fire after they were killed.  The assailants, all of them were also killed in the gun battle, some of them blew themselves up, they were wearing suicide vests and they detonated themselves before security forces were able to apprehend them which is why it's difficult to determine exactly how many there were though estimates say between eight and twelve attackers. There was no claim of responsibility so far.  Authorities saying the attack clearly however bearing the hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq.  Authorities have been unable to establish any communication with the hostage takers. The attack comes as Iraq remains mired in political uncertainty months after the Iraqi politicians managed to finally form a cabinet..  The government, the country, remains without a Minister of Defense and [a Minister of] Interior.  The attack a grim reminder of times Iraqis had hoped they had put behind them.
Shiulie Ghosh: Laith Kubba is Director of Middle East and North Africa programs at the National Endowment for Democracy. He says he expects more attacks but Iraqis will have to take over security from the US.
Laith Kubba: There has been an improvement in security in Iraq but not the point that they can prevent such an action.  I think more importantly that the group behind it is very closely linked to al Qaeda.  They rely on these suicide fighters and I think this is not the first time and it will not be the last time.  I think there has been maybe one case a week ago, similarly, they attacked a military checkpoint. So I would not be surprised if more of these incidents would happen in the near future. [. . .]
What of Americans interested in the news who don't have Al Jazeera on their TVs?  Presumably if you watch one of the big three commercial network's evening news, you are at least semi-interested in the news, right?  The few viewers CBS Evening News has left aren't actually sitting through the whole show just for those crappy last five minutes of pure fluff are they? 
If they are, they got what they wanted yesterday.  But Erica Hill (filling in for Katie Couric) didn't have time for Iraq.  Flip over to NBC Nightly News and there was a lot less fluff than what you got on CBS and ABC -- and a consistent newscast (I am not a Brian Williams groupie but he and his team do know how to do a cohesive news cast and the same cannot be said for CBS and ABC).  By expanding that first segment, CBS has been better able to handle transitions but Diane Sawyer cares about as much for transitions as she does for full sentences -- in other words, not at all.  It's a jerky, where-are-we style of viewing.  All three anchors interviewed US President Barack Obama (who had something on his right sock in all three interviews -- you'd think one of them would have pulled him aside and pointed it out) which was fluff in and of itself.  And although Diane may have said Barack Obama has to deal with Iraq (in a long laundry list she ticked off) each day but apparently she and the anchors didn't -- as all three made clear.  And word to Diane, years have passed but don't think your royal interview when you were with another network is forgotten -- or rather what happened offscreen.  So next time you want to fluff, don't go with one of England's princes, it only reminds everyone in the know of that sad moment.
"Wait!"  I hear you crying.  "A hostage situation in Iraq with well over 50 dead!  I'm sure PBS covered it on their award winning and hard hitting Newshour!"  What PBS do you get at your home?  Not even during the 'news wrap' -- when headlines are read -- did the assault get covered. Again, Diane was making such a big deal about all the things on Barack's plate and maybe it seems to big to her because she does so damn little.  But Americans, we know about the toast a British prince may give his brother, don't we feel smarter?  And we know about "twin talk" and wasn't that informative -- and scientific.  So scientific that their 'scientist' wasn't in the studio.  They had to resort to Skype to find a 'scientist' who could fit their story's angle.
They laughed.  They laughed about the silly of princes and twins on ABC and, over at CBS, they worked in Neal Sedaka (a reference to his "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" -- which they were too stupid to play on air -- it would have given the lifeless and still born segment something memorable) and 'hard hitting' questions about romances ending like "how did that feel?"  all in their effort to 'break the news' that break ups, gosh, hurt.  Who knew?  America, stop breaking up!  It hurts!  Sure it looks sexy and exciting and fun but it hurts!   That's what all those Eat-Alone specials don't tell you and our culture so obsessed with everyone never marrying . . .  Oh wait, that's not our culture.  Our culture attempts to dictate that we all make like we're boarding Noah's Arc.  And even in our couple-obsessed culture, that segment didn't qualify as news.
People died.  But Diane was busy telling her Harry from her Willie and couldn't be bothered.  Mohammed Tawfeeq, Yousuf Basil and Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) remember journalist Sabah al-Bazee who died in Iraq yesterday.
Jomana remembers a trip to a U.S. military base in Tikrit in 2008, where she met up with Sabah.
Because this was in his province, Sabah displayed the renowned Iraqi hospitality.
After lunch, he grabbed some fruit and put it in Jomana's bag. She did not find it until hours later, when she got back to Baghdad.
Like most Iraqis we know and we work with, Sabah has hesitated for years about leaving Iraq to escape the threats and the violence - because he loved his country.
But a few weeks ago, Sabah asked Mohammed for his help and finally applied for asylum in the U.S., saying:
"I don't want to live in Iraq least not in the next five years... It is going to be very difficult."
They noted he had freelanced for CNN since 2006. Chris Cheesman (Amateur Photographer) notes that the 30-year-old who "died after suffering shrapnel wounds" was also a freelancer for Reuters beginning in 2004. Cheesman notes this online portfolio of some of Sabah al-Bazee's work. His death was first noted by Al Arabiya TV -- where he also worked -- and then picked up by AFP.  The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement yesterday which mention that he left behind "his wife and three children" and quoted CPJ's Middle East and North African program coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem stating, "We extend our deepest condolences to Sabah al-Bazi's family and his colleagues.  We urge Iraqi authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice."   Peter Graff (Reuters) has a piece remembering Sabah al-Bazee which also includes several photos al-Bazee took for Reuters:

Like many of our Iraqi colleagues, he was young. Just 23 or so when he started taking pictures of war for a living. He had boundless energy, constantly pestering our reporters, photographers and cameramen for tips at how to hone his skills. How do you square that boisterousness with the bone-chilling images he photographed over the seven years he worked for us?
"Sabah was an enthusiast, always on the phone, keen to get the news and to tell it," writes Alastair Macdonald, Baghdad bureau chief from 2005-07. "He had an energy and courage that meant he thought nothing of driving the 100 dangerous miles between Tikrit and Baghdad at any hour to deliver video and pictures. I recall that his work rate could sometimes exhaust colleagues, and yet Sabah never seemed to stop smiling."

He was killed in Tikrit yesterday when unknown assailants (wearing Iraqi security forces uniforms) attacked the provincial government building. Tim Arango (New York Times) reports, "The assault turned into a hostage standoff that lasted for hours on Tuesday afternoon, until Iraqi security forces retook the building in the early evening using grenades and small arms fire, with American warplanes overhead, according to a witness. The American military did not participate in the retaking of the building but observed from nearby, according to a military spokesman." Ben Lando (Wall St. Journal) quotes US military spokesperson Col Barry Johnson stating, "Our assistance has been limited to providing aerial surveillance of the scene and keeping our soldiers on site to receive further requests for assistance if needed." Meanwhile on the ground, Mohanned Saif and Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) report, "Over several hours, the attackers went room to room, tossing grenades down hallways and through doorways and killing local politicians and government workers with shots to the head, according to Iraqi security forces and two witnesses who escaped by jumping out of a second-floor window." Dar Addustour notes the death of al-Bazi (their spelling) but also notes that "a number of other journalists from local TV channels were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) explains at least one other journalist died (unnamed) and includes this: "Al-Bazi was a freelancer who worked with Reuters, CNN and Al-Arabiya, according to his cousin Mahmoud Salih, also a freelance journalist. Salih -- who said al-Bazi died in the car bombing -- told CNN his cousin contacted him 30 minutes before he died, asking him whether he wanted to film ammunition seized by security forces."  Reporters Without Borders notes al-Bazi's death and that Al Fayhaa camera operator Saad Khaled was wounded and identifies the other journalist killed as Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad:

It is not clear exactly how Abdelwahad, who worked for Ayn (Eye Media Agency), died. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory quoted Ayn as saying he was in permanent contact with the agency while in the building. "We lost contact at the moment of the assault by the security forces. We later learned that he was dead."

"We firmly condemn this indiscriminate slaughter in an operation deliberately targeting a public building," Reporters Without Borders said. "We offer our condolences to the families of all the victims of this act of terrorism, including the two journalists. We urge the authorities to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice."

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory paid tribute to Al-Bazi's professional dedication and personal qualities. Aged 30, he was married and the father of three children. Abdelwahad, 39, had worked for Ayn for two years.

The Journalistic Freedom Observatory notes the deaths of al-Bazi and Muammar Khudair Abdul Wahid and that al-Bazi was a JFO associate since 2006.  JFO's Director Ziad Ajili notes that al-Bazi was always professional and did his work for variou soutlets while also volunteering with JFO.  JFO expresses it sorrow and condolences to the families of the two journalists and calls for prosecution of those involved in the latest killing which bring to 256 the number of journalists -- Iraqi and foreign -- killed since the start of the Iraq War in March 2003.
Hisham Rikabi (Al Mada) reports that yesterday evening the Director of Health in the province stated that "most of the bodies that have arrived at hospitals recently were charred and the majority of those killed were Iraqi forces who stormed the building to free the hostages." Al Rafidayn also notes the "charred bodies" (citing Tikrit General Hospital sources) and reports 65 people died (citing Iraqi security sources) and "approximately one hundred others were wounded."
To the evening news on ABC, NBC, CBS and The NewsHour (and remember the last one has an hour and not a half hour and is also 'commerical free') none of the above was news.  Don't think that message isn't being received.  March 22nd DoD issued the following: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Cpl. Brandon S. Hocking, 24, of Seattle, Wash., died March 21 in As Samawah, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. For more information, the media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at 912-435-9879 or after 4 p.m. call 912-767-8666." Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported, "He died just 10 days before his scheduled return home" and speaks with his sister Brianna and his grandmother Delores Pitts who says Hocking "enjoyed fixing up old cars, sketching and playing the acoustic and electric guitar." Washington Governor Chris Gregoire's office ordere flags to be flown at half-staff yesterday "in memory of U.S. Army Corporal Brandon S. Hocking of Seattle."  Brandon Hocking's family spoke to Eric Wilkinson (KING 5 News) yesterday.  His father Kevin Hocking said, "We were counting down the days not only for him to bet back but for him to be moved up here for his family to be around him."  He worries that Iraq has become the forgotten war and stated, "I don't want him forgot. I don't want any of them to be forgot."  Again, the message is being received.  The US media's careless and cruel withdrawal from Iraq, it's refusal to cover the ongoing Iraq War is registering.  Don't whine about it when polling finds the media's image at an all time low just be glad that those aren't open-ended surveys because the language I hear from military families about the US media's withdrawl is (rightly) blistering.
The NewsHour now tries to play catch up by speaking with Jane Arraf about the attack. 
Al Rafiayn reports that women are being targeted in Mosul an the targeting includes everything from so-called 'honor' killings, to accusations of collaboration with secrity services, to accusations that they walk the wrong way. Remember Monday's snapshot when we called out Tim Arango (New York Times) for repeating unverified (an malicious) gossip in his 'report' about the six women who were killed in Mosul (one man was also killed but Arango apparently had no gossip on him)? Al Rafidayn explains the six women lived with their grandfather and that an Iraqi military officer has been arrested (not convicte, arrested, he was in a relationship with one of the six women killed). The paper explains that the six women were "the grandmother, her daughter and the daughter of her daughter and the other three were sisters."
Yesterday Tareq al-Hashimi, Iraq's Sunni vice president, was explaining how he and Shi'ite vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi remain the vice presidents of Iraq having promised Iraqi President Jalal Talabani they would stay in their positions (on December 26th)until new vice presidents were secured. At that time, it was expected that the two would be picked and that a third person would join them, possibly a fourth. The idea of a fourth was shot down and now the idea of a third seems iffy as well. Today Ali Hussein (Al Mada) offers a piece calling al-Hashimi out (insisting al-Hashimi either believes Iraqis are crazy or al-Hashimi himself is crazy, plagued with hallucinations and delusions while he plays in the political arena like a buffoon in a comedy). Hussein begins winding down his essay stating that it is ridiculous for al-Hashemi to claim that the survival of Iraq and its stability depends upon al-Hashemi remaining vice president. Another Al Mada piece argues that the "conterversial" issue of vice presidents (said to be "controversial" to Parliament) needs to be addressed and notes an editorial expressing shock that al-Hashemi is traveling to foreign countries and presenting himself as a vice president of Iraq. It's called "impersonation" and the Constitution and various laws are noted which require anyone guilty of impersonation be imprisoned (for no more than ten years). At the heart of the conflict is al-Hashemi and Adel Abdul Mahdi's 'arrangement' with Talabani which is not thought to be legal meaning Iraq has no vice presidents currently (if you agree that the deal is not legal, I haven't read the laws cited -- according to the Iraqi Constitution only, which I have read, there's nothing in it that allows Talabani or any president to extend the terms of vice presidents).
Moving over to Europe, Andre Shepard is a US war resister in Germany. After serving in Iraq, he self-checked out of the military. Russia Today interviewed him for a segment they aired last Friday:
Andre Shepherd: The American cuisine.  For example, Outback Steakhouse was really good for me. A personal favorite was the roller coasters.  I can't find any place in Germany that even comes close to that.
Ekaterina Gracheva: But for Andre Shepherd, his life has become one giant roller coaster. Four years ago he deserted the US army, cutting off the way to his native Cleveland forever.  His mom cried with pride when he volunteered for the army, but after a six month tour of duty in Iraq, Andre walked off a US base in Germany and never returned.
Andre Shepherd: Anything that anyone could possibly imagine in terms of War Crimes that were committed throughout world history, the American forces have done this and are continuing to do this on a daily basis. The soldiers were being attacked from somewhere but they didn't know where, so they just shot off randomly in different direction.
Ekaterina Gracheva: After hiding out for more than a year, Andre Shepherd surfaced.  He married a German, secured himself support from a number of human rights organizations and is now officially seeking asylum.  Tucked away on the border of Germany and Austria, Lake Chiemsee has long been popular with holiday makers but now the idyllic spot may go down in history as the home of the first US Iraq War veteran granted political asylum.  To become this first is not going to be easy though.  Germany is the main staging post for the US military with around 60,000 US troops stationed there.  Each year, some of those soldiers go AWOL and get picked up by the police.
Jacqueline Edith: The pressure is very high on Germany and Andre often said in his speeches he's so sorry about that, you know, putting so much pressure on the German government.  Also he really loves this country so much.
Ekaterina Gracheva:  Andre will argue in court that the war in Iraq was a complete fraud but lawyers say he has little chance of winning this legal war with the US.
Douglas McNabb: It's particularly uh more difficult if it's a war such as the war in Afganistan, for example, or the Iraqi War where it was not a popular war.  And if we just started having droves of soldiers deciding on their own that they were no longer going to be a member of the United States military apparatus, we'd have a problem.  And so, uh,  there are very harsh penalities, up to life, and including the possibility of death.
Ekaterina Gracheva: Mainstream media in the so-called coaltion countries are not in a hurry to give Andre a say either.
Andre Shepherd: The major corporations, like the BBC, CNN, what would happen is that if I would say anything that was controversial or would go against the government line, it would be completely censored. 
Ekaterina Gracheva: Andre says he's ready for the battle of his life, claiming there was no justification for the war in Iraq.  But he admits he is on a slippery slope.
You can refer to the April 20, 2009 snapshot for a transcript of an interview he did with BBC World Service.
Samantha Power should never have left Europe.  But Ireland's gain is America's loss.  The War Hawk has landed . . . and taken a big dump on the pages of The New York Review of Books.  A surprise only to those who didn't know NYRB founder Jason Epstein is married to Judith Miller of faux reporting fame.  Not a historian and not old enough to have lived through an era she wants to write about, Power gets as creative as she did as a 'reporter' (see the work of Keith Harmon Snow and check out the work Edward S. Herman did documenting the Cruise Missile Left for more on A Problem From Hell Samantha Power).  At NYRB, she flutters her War Hawk wings and tells you Dems are viewed as "weak" on national security.  Which she somehow defines as aggressive wars of choice.  She's a complete idiot and, like most idiots, the harms she does will last forever.  Reading her nonsense, you can hear her advocating, "Libya! War on Libya!  It will get you re-elected!!!!!"  She's such a dumb ass. 
Doubt it?
She writes, "This faith in Republican toughness has had profound electoral consequences.  Since 1968, with the single exception of the election of George W. Bush in 2000, Americans have chosen Republican presidents in times of perceived danger and Democrats in times of relative calm."  What?
Okay, who did they choose in 2008?  Sammy's man: Barack Obama.  Now he acts like a Republican but he did lead the Democratic Party's presidential ticket.  And in 2008, the US was in two wars: Afghanistan and Iraq.  That's "relative calm"?  (What was her relationship to the IRA?  Club mascot?)
None of her examples make sense.  The 1976 election was going to go to the Democratic Party.  That was a given.  Gerald Ford being the Republican nominee did not help his ticket (due to his being Nixon's vice president) but due to Watergate, 1976 was the Demcoratic Party's race to lose and it doesn't fit her "calm" nonsense.  Even from someone as stupid as she is, that's pretty dumb.  Internationally are we forgetting all that happened?  Doemstically?  How about for starters the conviction of Patty Hearst for armed robbery as part of the terrorist group Symbionese Liberation Army.  You've got the IRA bombing England, you've got riots in Soweto, you've got a dam collapsing in Idaho, the mafia killing journalist Don Bolles, US Ambassador Francis E. Meloy was murdered in Syria that year (three years after US Ambassador Cleo Noel was murdered in Sudan), in July hijackers are holding 103 hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, Son of Sam serial killer gets started in California, Legionellosis (two strands, the most well known is referred to as Legionnaires' disease) has its first outbreak (Pennsylvania), there was the Gang of Four in China, the Thammasat University massacre in Bangkok and so much more.  And back then, Samantha, when you weren't in the United States, the network evening news actually had reporters in these countries covering these events.
1976 was a national security years as much as any other.  But it doesn't fit Samantha Power's little narrative.  One thing she likes to leave out of her own narrative is that she championed the Iraq War in real time.  She tries to pretend that's not the case but it is.  In her essay, she writes of the war she once was a cheerleader for (not head cheerleader, head cheerleader has to be pretty):
Further, with al-Qaeda on the run, the administration spent 2002 mobilizing support for its March 2003 invasion of Iraq, which required it to divert precious units from eastern Afghanistan. According to many observers, this allowed the Taliban and the al-Qaeda leadership to snatch survival from the jaws of defeat. Violence has spread to once-peaceful pockets of territory, and the number of suicide attacks has increased from two in 2003 to 137 in 2007. In June 2008, forty-six American and allied forces died in Afghanistan, more than during any other month since the war began nearly seven years ago, and more than the thirty-one Americans who died in Iraq that month.
As for Iraq, the war has taken the lives of more than four thousand American soldiers, created another front for US forces in combating al-Qaeda, and eroded US army readiness to such an extent that US commanders concede that the army is at its "breaking point." Since 2001, Congress has appropriated about $640 billion for the "Global War on Terror," most of this for operations in Iraq. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published in June found that the United States still lacked a strategy for meeting its goals in Iraq. The GAO found that violence had diminished somewhat; but according to the Pentagon, the number of Iraqi units capable of carrying out operations without US assistance continued to hover around 10 percent.
While the Iraqi authorities passed legislation readmitting some lower- level Baathists to the parliament, legislation was stalled on oil-sharing and the holding of provincial elections. Between 2005 and 2007, the GAO report found, the Iraq government spent less than a quarter of the $27 billion it budgeted for its own reconstruction efforts. And when it came to essential services, water supplies had improved, but electricity shortages persisted, meeting only about half of Iraqi demand by early May 2008. Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank found in 2007 that the Iraq war had brought about a 600 percent increase in the average number of annual jihadist terrorist attacks throughout the world. Even if one didn't count attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the incidence of terrorism increased 35 percent worldwide.
Now supposedly she's writing about national security but she cites a number of things that we could see, at best, as 'influencers.'  Here's one she leaves out: Abu Ghraib.  Here's another: Dead Iraqis.  All of those words above and, true to her War Hawk self, she still forgets the dead victims. 
And it's the dead that will always tell on her.  It's the dead that will haunt her in the same way it does Henry Kissinger.  It's the dead she will have to take accountability for -- especially those who died via counter-insurgency because she's a counter-insurgency cover girl -- having gone so far as to blurb the US military's counter-insurgency manual.  Samantha and her gal pals Monty McFate and Sarah Sewall have gotten huge passes because many of the left in front of microphones and working for magazines are too damn stupid to know what's what and another portion is too scared to tell you.  This piece by Ava and I has resulted in non-stop pleas -- organized according to two who participated in 2007, by Sewall and Power, -- that the article be deleted.  Not one round of please, but continuously, four years later and still going.  It starts up each semester.  Why?  Because it's one of the few pieces that provides the context for those three and what they're up to.  It's a far cry from Davey D. on air at KPFA talking to Rosa Clemente about how great and peaceful Samantha Power is.  (At what point do Davey and Rosa plan to apologize for that disgraceful moment?)  Tom Hayden called out Sewall in 2007 but then refused to do so again.  Today he finds his voice at The Nation (though he's still fawning over Power in parts -- she's a lousy writer, she has no style unless you consider The Perils of Pauline to be complex and not just more episodic trash to divert attention):
I remember wondering why, like the U2's Bono, another Irish human rights activist, Power has been less preoccupied by the human rights abuses inflicted by the British during the 30-year war in the northern part of her own country. If she wasn't willing to take sides at home, so to speak, why was it easier to take sides in civil wars abroad? Wasn't the creation of a "more perfect union" at home the foundation of any intelligent foreign policy abroad? A note from her promised more discussion on that, too.
[. . .]
The last I remember speaking to her, Power had gone from supporting Gen. Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign to volunteering in the Washington office of a new US Senator, Barack Obama. According to her account, she
bonded with Obama in a three-hour policy conversation, worked in Obama's office in 2005-6, and became a close collaborator. As Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope "Samantha Power deserves special mention for her extraordinary generosity; despite being in the middle of writing her own book, she combed over each chapter as if it were hers, providing me with a steady flow of useful comments even as she cheered me up whenever my spirits or energy were flagging."
[. . .]
But the agenda of the humanitarian hawks seemed off the radar as the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan deepened. Bringing human rights and democracy to the Middle East with bombs and bayonets was increasingly seen as a delusional folly. Foreign policy realism, not human rights, ascended in mainstream thinking. Power gained prominence as a national security strategist nonetheless, writing a comprehensive 2007 New York Times review of current books on military doctrine. While carefully separating herself from President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq, she endorsed the Army and Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual associated with Gen. David Petraeus and co-produced with Power's close colleague Sarah Sewall at the Harvard Center for Human Rights. Power believed that counterinsurgency provided greater protection for civilians, despite mounting evidence of Iraq's secret prisons, torture chambers, thousands of civilian casualties, and top-secret assassination operations carried out by Lt. General Stanley McChrystal in 2006, described in Bob Woodward's The War Within. Liberal interventionists cringed at the outcome in Iraq, but Power apparently thought the counterinsurgency doctrine was a step towards greater emphasis on human rights.  
Good for you, Tom Hayden, maybe you have something still worth saying after all. 
Samantha Power's essay exists to justify war, specifically to justify Barack's war actions.  The Libyan War is an illegal war.  The US was not attacked.  We are not allowed (legally) to go to war with a country to take out a leader we don't like just because we don't like them.  (For example, Hugo Chavez didn't try to invade the US when Bush occupied the White House.)  This is not a 'protect people' mission.  You don't carpet bomb from the sky when you're trying to protect civilians.  This is an illegal war of choice and Power's been pushing for it for weeks.  Tom forgets that Power also pushed for US forces to go into Sudan.  She wasn't so much silent in the Bush years as she was silenced because nobody listened to her -- except Barack Obama.  And that's why it's so appalling that so many on the left stayed silent about the people Barack had behind him.  (If you've forgotten how many lied and whored, please reflect on that time period via "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally.")
Reminder: If you served in the US military and you were stop-lossed, you are owed additional money. That money needs to be claimed. DoD announces the date to file for that additional payment has been extended:

The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to April 8, 2011, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned under the program guidelines.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama Friday, providing funding for federal government operations through April 8, 2011.
Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay was established to compensate for the hardships military members encountered when their service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss Authority between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.
When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible for this benefit. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts to reach them and remind them to apply. Outreach efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue through April 8, 2011.
To apply for more information, or to gather more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to