Monday, October 02, 2006

Other Items

Reuters reports that a British soldier was killed Sunday (death was announced today and brings the total number of British soldiers killed in Iraq to 119). The US military reports three American troops were killed Sunday (deaths announced today and brings the total number of American troops killed in Iraq to 2718). Martha notes Amit R. Paley and K.I. Ibrahim's "Sadr Political Bloc Calls for Overhaul of Iraqi Cabinet" (Washington Post):

The political bloc of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demanded a shake-up of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet on Sunday, the latest challenge to the country's increasingly beleaguered unity government.
"Some of those who are in this government have direct or indirect relationships with terrorists," said Bahaa al-Araji, a senior legislator with Sadr's Shiite Muslim party. "The democracy that the occupation brought to Iraq is being exploited by the Sunni insurgents and the terrorists to kill our sons and our men."

Sabrina Tavernise, covering the same issues in the New York Times, offers this curious paragraph:

At the time, the thinking was to include all of Iraq's groups, particularly the minority Sunni Arabs who dominated the government of Saddam Hussein, in order to drain support for the insurgency. But now, five months after the government was formed, the violence has only worsened, with death squads carrying out sectarian killings that are changing the texture of neighborhoods.

If you can figure what Tavernise is suggesting (that excluding Sunnis would have resulted in less violence?), good for you. But, worded carefully, a "left" voice (not in the Times or the Post and not considered mainstream) is the topic of a number of e-mails as I figured would be the case. Briefly, one of ____'s parents asked that ___ not be noted, so ____'s not going to be noted here. Why ___'s being noted elsewhere is an issue to take up there. ___'s an embarrassment to everyone who knows ____ and when you look at Christopher Hitchens today and wonder how he got established as a "left" voice once upon a time, what you're seeing today (the slow unraveling of a not so great mind) with regards to someone else is what the left witnessed in the 90s with Hitchens. If it requires noting, we'll take it to the round-robin. What you really should be asking is why others are giving ____ an outlet? There's certainly enough in the public record that questioned the notion that ____ was any kind of a writer and that ___'s outlook was in any shape or form "left." I can't comment here. It was a personal request and I agreed to honor it.

Speaking for me, not summarizing the phone call, sometimes people's actions are embarrassing to a family (we've all been there) and sometimes it's better to just to ignore it. Since we don't promote ___ or cite's ___'s work, we have no reason to comment on it. That's what we'll stick to regarding ____ with one exception (which I noted on the phone). If you're seriously offended by ___'s writing (I don't blame you), you should take it up with the sites offering ___ as a left voice.

Instead, focus on Eddie's highlight, Danny Schechter's dissection of propaganda posing as a documentary:

Massachusetts still celebrates its war against a foreign occupation which I why I was surprised that the Festival screened, and made a big deal, about the a film called THE WAR TAPES shot in part by the neighboring New Hampshire National Guard honoring the men from "live free or die" state who were "deployed" to occupy Iraq on behalf of the Bush agenda.
All of them, in the end, support the war--and two re-upped and may be back in Iraq sooner rather than later. Why no one connected the subject of this film to our own past that surrounded us just out the door surprised me.
The film has been seen in 80 cities so far and has won awards because it ostensibly gives us an up close and personal view of the war through the eyes of the soldiers--three soldiers actually--who were part of a much larger team who documented their experience with 600 hours of material shot on small cameras working with a small team of filmmakers stateside led by a cocky Deborah Scranton who worked with an old friend of mine, the skillful Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame.
Audiences have been mesmerized by the reality-based, gritty verite picture the film paints of the terror and anguish of the soldiers. It shows the reality of the war in a way that the TV reports rarely do. It ostensibly does what great documentaries are supposed to do--tell emotionally rich stories and this one did that--with footage of the wives, girlfriends and family members the soldiers left behind and then returned to as traumatized and combat "changed" people. Those of us of the Vietnam "era" saw that then when some the boys came marching home, often as a mentally depleted generation.
Many reviewers saw WAR TAPES as an anti-war film because it shows the stupidity of the parts of the US war and the role of rip off contractors like Halliburton. The soldiers chosen are empathetic characters. There is action, pathos, pain.
But in the end, I HATED this movie because it is pro-war propaganda conveying attitudes like, "our safety comes first," "nuke them," "they have a right to their own civil war," "fighting a war for oil is a good thing" etc. etc. While some expressed doubts and bitched like every soldier always has, no perspective, no context, no explanation, or background was added to give the film more depth or dimension.
As a result in the end it is PROPAGANDA posing as a truth telling independent documentary. Its clear why the Military encouraged and allowed it. No dummies they!

That's one of two "real story" efforts that are actually propaganda and fooling many as they make the documenatary film circuit.

Ehren Watada's father Bob Watada is back on the road again trying to raise awareness of his son's refusal to deploy to Iraq and fight in an illegal war. Today's event is later this morning:

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