Saturday, December 10, 2011

Deep thoughts won't be found in a shallow pool

John Yemma wonders, "After Iraq: What will history say?" (Christian Science Monitor). Judging by Yemma's writing, nothing of value.

Is the status of Vietnam today to be determined by what international hotels they have? I don't think so. Nor was that tragedy sold on, "Let's make southeast Asia safe for Holiday Inns!" You can refer to Jay Austin and Carl E. Brunch's The Environmental Consequences of War: Legal, Economic, and Scientific Perspectives (Cambridge University Press) for a realistic look at the effects of the war on Vietnam.

You can't look to Yemma's own work when in search of realism on Vietnam. Long after the myth of 'spitting' was rendered false, the Christian Science Monitor printed it as fact -- August 2010, we're the ones who called them out, not FAIR or any of the supposed watchdogs. Yes, they did do a correction but it never should have made it into an article to begin with. And drop back to lies about Vietnam which should have never made it into a 1999 Jeff Jacoby Boston Globe column. What do the two have in common?

John Yemma.

He now wants to sell the Vietnam conflict as 'worth it' because some international hotels are in Vietnam. I think that would offend even the pro-Vietnam War hawks.

If Yemma's any indication, nothing of value will be said forty years from now about the Iraq War. Nothing of value to justify it and nothing of value to oppose it. It will be treated as an accessory.

There are people who aren't capable of contemplation or exploration. Yemma is one of them and it's a sad commentary about the state of the Christian Science Monitor that he's in charge of it.

Compare the drivel he writes with Bill Keller's writing. As we've noted before, Keller finds something to opine about and does so in such a way that it sparks loud debates all over the internet. Yemma just sparks a sadness, a regret over the state of one of the country's original independent paper, once capable of great journalism, now churning out what interns did at CJR Daily in 2004.

Before Yemma next attempts to strike a glancing blow for mediocrity, he might consider that Iraqis died, foreign forces died, the country was turned into a land of orphans and widows, environmental destruction will continue for years and years. Or he might consider the legal aspect.

But if he's just trying to kill five minutes worth of time, next time he should work on his grocery shopping list and not an editorial.

Suggested reading for Yemma would also include Matthew J. Nasuti's "U.S. Abandons Toxic Burn Pits as it Withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan" (Kabul Press):

U.S. service members and their Iraqi and Afghan allies have a common enemy. It is not Iran, the Taliban or al-Qaeda, but the Pentagon which operated hundreds of toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the U.S. completes its withdrawal from Iraq and begins to draw down in Afghanistan, the American military, pursuant to its “pollute and run” policy, is abandoning millions of kilograms of toxic and potentially radioactive waste. Everything is being buried and covered over, just as it did in Vietnam and in the Philippines when the U.S. withdrew from Clark Air Base and the Subic Bay naval installation. The Pentagon seems to hope that all the health problems of U.S. troops can likewise be buried and covered over.

Meanwhile Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that Iran's military commander, Brig Gen Massoud Jazayeri, is questioning the official numbers provided by the US Defense Dept on the number of service members injured and killed in Iraq stating that the official numbers of less than 5,000 dead and 11,000 wounded are incorrect. On the same story, Press TV reports:

Despite US efforts to impose an information blackout on its war casualties, the number of US troops killed and wounded in Iraq has surpassed 50,000, a senior Iranian commander says.
"Based on the existing figures and data, the American forces killed and injured in Iraq are estimated to be 50,000. However, it seems that the real statistics are much higher than this," said Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of Iran's Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Friday.
"Of course the figure 50,000 killed and wounded Americans, is notwithstanding the mercenaries of other nationalities who are in the US Army fighting against the people of Iraq," the Iranian commander added.

The Islamic Republic News Agency quotes Jazayeri stating, "Today with over 15 trillion dollars of debts, the US government has the greatest debt of a government in the world, and is therefore a bankrupt government, on the verge of collapse. But of course the psychological propagation media of the US administration and the super-capitalism camp’s media levers prevent the possibility of revealing such realities for the US public, but sooner or later the truth would be unveiled and then the world nations would be taken aback by the sudden downfall of the US Empire.”

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh -- updated last night and today:

And Kat's "Late night TV" which isn't showing up above. And we'll note this from the National Lawyers Guild (which they published Wednesday):

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced today that it will not seek another death sentence for National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Vice President Mumia Abu-Jamal. Under Pennsylvania law, Mr. Abu-Jamal will now be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

“While there is overwhelming doubt about what the state claims to be the facts in this case, even those allegations never supported a capital charge,” said Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. “That it has taken three decades to remove death from the table is astonishing.”

The National Lawyers Guild has long maintained that Mr. Abu-Jamal is entitled to a new and fair trial. Procedural irregularities plagued his case from the outset, including blatant constitutional violations, from the judge allowing the prosecution to admit evidence of his affiliation with the Black Panther Party, in violation of the Supreme Court case Dawson v. Delaware, to the use of a faulty sentencing form that misled jurors during the penalty phase, in violation of the Supreme Court case Mills v. Maryland.

A great deal of relevant evidence has never been reviewed by any court, much less presented to a jury. This evidence includes several photographs of the crime scene which impeach the testimony of a police officer who was a key eyewitness and proof that another individual was present, and fled, the scene of the shooting.

Mr. Abu-Jamal was charged at a time when, it was later revealed, there was extensive corruption within the Philadelphia Police Department. In 1995, then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham promised the city that she would dismiss any case in which there was evidence of police perjury or purposeful misreporting of facts. Given the history of police misconduct in Philadelphia when Abu-Jamal was arrested, and the specific instances of police perjury in his case, the National Lawyers Guild urges current District Attorney Seth Williams to act on his predecessor’s unfulfilled pledge.

Mr. Abu-Jamal will be formally resentenced to life without parole in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The final sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 and is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has members in every state.


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