Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 9th anniversary came and went

The ninth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War was Monday and any hope that the country would offer any real reflection probably vanished as quickly as Barack Obama tried to turn it into a fund raising action. Can't offer ugly realities if it might go against Barack's talking point of the day. That surely goes a long way towards explaining how The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, Democracy Now! and Uprising (among others) collectively turned their back on Iraq. All of them have seen major drop offs in their audience. They'd like to pretend it's because a Democrat's in office. They're fond of claiming they do better when a Republican is in the White House -- they love to give lip service to that but they never want to examine the reality of it. Very few adults want to spend money or time on fan clubs. When the Republicans are in the White House, the rags and programs criticize and call for solutions, when Democrats are in office, they spend all their time making excuses and ginning up phony scandals and faux outrage.

Their dishonesty is on clear display; however, the rags and the programs were losing readers and listeners before 2008. That happened as they did their rush away from Iraq. It's probably difficult to understand the bailing on Iraq if you see them as 'independent.' They're not. They're house organs for the Democratic Party.

As usual, no one whores quite like John Nichols who, in 2006, made himself not just a joke but publishing pariah. Few respectable publishing houses will ever consider publishing an advocacy book by Nichols again after the New Press published his 2006 call for impeachment and saw him briefly promote it. For example, when Camp Casey moved to DC in September 2006 and became Camp Democracy for a month, Nichols stopped by to promote his then upcoming book and talk about impeachment. October 1st saw the publication of The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism.

Things looked fine and dandy, even as CBS started promoting an interview with Nancy Pelosi. When it aired, on 60 Minutes, October 22nd, Nancy announced that if Democrats won a house or not (they'd win control of both houses of Congress in the November mid-terms), impeachment of Bully Boy Bush was off the table. As RJ Schinner noted the next day at World Can't Wait:

Hoping that the Democrats takeover Congress Nov. 7th and proceed to impeach Bush? According to Nancy Pelosi, who will become Speaker of the House if the Democrats win a majority, impeachment is not going to happen.
Pelosi told CBS's 60 Minutes Sunday night that, "impeachment is off the table". When asked about this declaration, she went on to assure that "yes it is a pledge", and even called impeachment "a waste of time".
The 60 Minutes segment also showed just what the Democrats' 2006 agenda is, where crucial issues like the right to abortion and gay rights are also "off the table" and the Democrats refuse to put up any real fight against the Bush agenda. 60 Minutes described how "at the urging of her colleagues, [Pelosi] has downplayed her pro-abortion rights, anti-gun positions since becoming leader, instead promoting more centrist issues like raising the minimum wage and energy independence." And when asked about gay marriage, Pelosi said "Well, that's an issue that is not an issue that we're fighting about here."

Impeachment may have been off the table but the New Press (and many small independent book stores) still had books to sale and found that they'd do so without Mr. Nichols. Though John was supposed to be exploring the subject of impeachment in multiple columns, once Nancy said it was off the table, Nichols kept it off his.

In that sorry, tawdry tale, you see someone betray both their own interests and the country's best interest to do the bidding of the Democratic Party. And amplify that by a million to have Nichols and all of his cohorts and they're rush to ignore Iraq.

Which starts as the Democrats take control of both houses of Congress in January 2007. The Iraq War was not over but their interest in it is. By 2008, that was very obvious.


Community wide, we covered Winter Soldier:

"I Hate The War," "Iraq snapshot," "Jason Hurd (IVAW's Winter Soldiers Investigation),"
"IVAW's Clifton Hicks," "Kelly Dougherty at Winter Soldiers Investigation," "Corporal Eric Estenzo testifies at Winter Soldiers...," "Steve Mortillo at Winter Soldiers Investigation,"
"adrienne kinne reveals the v.a. system," "Nachos in the Kitchen (and Adam Kokesh),"
"Tantrum in the Oval Office" & " THIS JUST IN! INTERVIEW IN THE OVAL OFFICE!" (joint-post), "Katrina vanden Heuvel avoids Winter Soldier," "Saturday's Winter Soldier Investigation," "Truest Statement of the Week," "Editorial: Are you ready to listen," "TV: Nothing-ness," "Veterans Healthcare," "Roundtable," "Negative Critisicm of Winter Soldiers Investigation," "And the war drags on . . .," "Iraq snapshot," "Dahlai Wasfi: Rock Star," "Garret Reppenhagen at Winter Soldier," "Jesse Hamilton Winter Soldier," "IVAW, silence, Hillary," "CounterPunch never heard of IVAW?," "Common Dreams doesn't include Winter Soldier," "Iraq snapshot," "Jesse Hamilton Winter Soldier Investigation," "Iraq snapshot," "The Peter Pans of Panhandle Media refused to cover Winter Soldiers," "Jesse Hamilton, Hillary, Barack," "Video, Hillary's Iraq speech," "Jesse Hamilton Winter Soldier," "Iraq snapshot" and "Ron Cantu at Winter Soldier."

Panhandle Media? No, not really.

If you go to Amy Goodman's Winter Soldier page you'll find her trashing the media for not covering it and the Washington Post for covering it with an "article in the local section." She'll never note that The Progressive didn't cover it, that In These Times didn't cover it, that . . . Go down the list.

Chris Hayes wrote it up for The Nation and kept a promise in doing so which is why I try to avoid saying anything negative about Chris. (And Of all the people who promised they would cover it, only Chris kept his promise. If you think I'm being hard on some of the outlets named here, let me point that they gave their word they would cover it and then they didn't.

Another cute little lie is the claim that Pacifica Radio suspended programming to broadcast Winter Soldier.


I don't care what Crapapedia told you, that's a lie. KPFA did the coverage for a Pacifica Radio special but KPFA was the only one that carried the full proceedings (excepting Thursday night which no radio station carried live). Friday, KPFA, KPFT, KPFK and WBAI broadcast the proceedings -- mostly. By 4:00 pm EST, some were getting itchy and had other things to do. Saturday rolled around and KPFT and WBAI both had other things to do. Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster) had died in February 2006, two years and one month prior, but it was more important to WBAI that Lewis' old program be re-aired and that Winter Soldier be ignored. Though the weekends for WBAI and KPFT are really nothing but bad music specials (deejays spin records), they felt that was more important than covering Winter Soldier live. (That's part of the reason WBAI ended up having a management shake up shortly afterwards.)

There is not independent media, there is Panhandle Media.

So it was no real surprise that they walked away from Iraq. And with no 'counter-culture' media pushing stories on Iraq, it was even easier for Big Media to walk away. Which is how you ended up with the US network correspondents withdrawing from Iraq before Barack was even sworn in.

So hopes of even a moment of national reflection were false hopes. At Huffington Post UK, Reyhana Patel took the time yesterday:

We are all partly responsible for this.
I'm in no way excluding myself. I cannot say that I did enough. I don't even remember attending a protest. I sat at home and probably ranted to my friends and family about how I did not agree with war.
We can all learn from this mistake. We can start taking an active role in ensuring that those who made the decision to enter Iraq face the consequences of their action. We can lobby, sign petitions, join anti-war groups and most importantly never let it happen again under our names.
President Obama claimed that America and its allies can now leave Iraq with its head held high. But this is far from the case. How can you leave a country where you created violence and poverty with your head held high?
All I can do now is tell the Iraqi people how sorry I am. Sorry, I wasn't there to help prevent such a catastrophe and make a promise to be active to never allow something like this to happen again under my name.

Stephen M. Walt, realizing perhaps that the anniversary was Monday, declares this the month of the invasion to offer a long, rambling piece that reads really well if you're really dumb. Doubt it? In his Boy's Life tale, Bully Boy Bush is solely responsible and Barack descends from the heavens to save the world. He offers that fantasy while insisting that claiming Barack 'lost' the war is a false narrative and "The danger of this false narrative is obvious: If Americans come to see the war as a success -- which it clearly wasn't -- they may continue to listen to the advice of its advocates and be more inclined to repeat similar mistakes in the future." Little boy, take your hands out of your pants and grasp that Barack is the one who used the Iraq War as a campaign fundraiser the day before you wrote your ramble. Barack calls it a success. This isn't right-wingers or neo-cons or war supporters hailing the Iraq War as a success, it's Barack Obama.

If and when Walt ever grows up, he may be worth reading. Jules Witcover (Chicago Tribune) shows more maturity:

Guided by American military counsel of what it would take, Obama has finally removed all of what have been defined as U.S. combat forces from Iraq, and is inching toward doing the same in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Nevertheless, many American military and ancillary civilian employees will remain for who knows how long, ostensibly to train and advise the indigenous regimes in both places.
If this not nation building, what is it? Whatever the name, the American people have emphatically declared in various opinion polls that they're fed up with it and want it to end.

This could have been a week for that sort of a conversation. But that passed on by as well. Six billion dollars we're allowing the State Dept to waste in Iraq each year -- and they don't even send us a post card -- and the nation's supposedly hugely in debt and we're about to see several domestic programs slashed.

The following community sites -- plus the World Can't Wait -- updated last night and this morning:

Next entry will be partially dicated (I've got the first third done, rest will be dicated) and if I'm not at the following event (due to a hearing), Wally will be and we'll note it in the snapshot today via his coverage. The event? Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office noted yesterday:
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: Senator Murry to Question Army's Top Brass on their Handling of the Mental Wounds of War
At Hearing of Defense Appropriations Subcommitte, Veterans Chairman Murray will press Army Secretary and Chief of Staff on troubled PTSD unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and whether similar problems exist at other bases
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will question Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno on recent shortcomings in the Army's efforts to properly diagnose and treat the invisible wounds of war. Specifically, Murray will discuss the forensic psyhciatry unit at Madigan Army medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord that is under investigation for taking the cost of PTSD into consideration when making diagnosing decisions. The Army is currently reevaluating nearly 300 service members and veterans who have had their PTSD diagnoses changed by that unit since 2007.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT: Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

When: TOMORROW -- Wednesday, March 21, 2012
10:30 AM EST/ 7:30 AM PST -- Hearing start time
Where Dirkensen 192

Matt McAlvanah

Communications Director

U.S. Senator Patty Murray

202-224-2834 - press office

202--224-0228 - direct

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