Tuesday, July 03, 2007

2 Marines announced dead in Iraq

Today, the US military announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 1 in a non-hostile related accident while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." The two deaths bring the ICCC total number of US service members killed in the illegal war to 3586.

In a sign of improved coverage of Iraq, the shooting down of a US helicopter (both pilots were rescued) on Monday is presented as such (click here for CBS and AP's report) as opposed to the nonsese of 'hard landings,' et al. that was the hallmark of the 2006 and early 2007 coverage. As was revealed in the British inquest last month, as early as May 2006, helicopters have been shot down even though spinners and flack preferred to pretend otherwise. When that happens it misrepresents what's actually going on in Iraq and, if someone dies in the crash, it means that a family has to grieve twice -- once when they're told the lie and later on (usually when the press has moved on to another topic -- the whole point of spinning to begin with) when the truth emerges. One of the signs of improved coverage in 2007 is that the US military can no longer get away with the nonsense of "hard landings" and (hopefully) no longer get away with the lie that 'they' don't have the capabilities to shoot down helicopters. ("They" being the catch all for 'insurgents,' resistance, et al.)

Iraq Veterans Against the War are winding down their summer base tour. Taylor Harwin's
"Antiwar Veterans’ Bus Tour Stops in Norfolk" (Port Folio Weekly) reports on the tour:

The IVAW members shared stories about their time in Iraq--they called them "testimonies to incompetence"--and helped clarify how, when and why a soldier can exercise his right to dissent.
The last time the antiwar movement made national news was in late May, when Cindy Sheehan officially ended her nationwide protest of the war. Former Marine Corps Sergeant
Adam Kokesh, who was at the barbecue, has picked up where she left off. Kokesh came under a Marine Corps investigation this spring for wearing his uniform, minus all insignia, during a street theater protest in Washington D.C. He was patrolling the capital as if it were Iraq, barking commands and interrogating "hostiles." The Marine Corps tried to downgrade his discharge status from "honorable" to "other than honorable" after his story appeared in the news, but Kokesh and his attorney successfully argued that as an inactive soldier, he had the same rights as a civilian to protest the war.
Kokesh rode the Yellow Rose bus across the country to his hearing and attracted national media attention along the way. Jim Goodnow, the owner and driver of the 1985 Silver Eagle bus, had it decked out with the message "Don’t Attack Iran: Impeach Bush". Goodnow spearheaded another bus tour in 1974 with the message "Impeach Nixon." When the group of protesters made it to Kansas City for Kokesh’s hearing, they were violently criticized by locals, who were silenced when someone said "that bus is filled with war veterans."

Iraq Veterans Against the War's summer base tour continues -- and though small media went AWOL on the topic, big media covered it and a documentary is being made for Showtime -- and their next stop is a fundraiser in Philadelphia on July 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. They continue speaking their truth and they're not going to be silenced or make themselves useless.

Martha notes Joshual Partlow and Debbi Wilgoren's "5 U.S. Troops Killed in Attacks in Iraq" (Washington Post) emphasizing Sunday's attempt to knock out another bridge -- like the helicopter crashes, the bridge bombing coverage can be seen as a marked improvement in Iraq coverage:

Four U.S. soldiers and a Marine were killed in three separate attacks on Sunday, officials said, and a bridge over the Euphrates River was destroyed by a truck bomb in the latest in a series of attacks targeting Iraq's bridge network.
Two of the soldiers and the Marine were killed while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, the U.S. military said in a statement issued Monday. One soldier was shot to death while on patrol in the southern part of Baghdad, and another soldier was shot after a improvised explosive device went off in the western part of the capital. Two Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the latter incident, U.S. military officials said.

[. . .]
After the explosion Sunday, cars were still able to travel on what is one of the major thoroughfares through Anbar to Iraq's border with Jordan.

In this morning's New York Times, we'll note this from Stephen Farrell's "3rd American Soldier Charged in Murder of an Iraqi Civilian:"

The soldier, Sgt. Evan Vela, of Phoenix, Idaho, served in the headquarters unit of the First Battalion, 501st Infantry, of the 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. That is the same unit as Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley and Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., who were charged last week with killing three Iraqis and placing weapons near their bodies to make it seem as though they were combatants.
Sergeant Vela is charged with one count of premeditated murder, and also of placing a weapon with the body, obstruction of justice and making a false statement, according to a statement by the military.

Let me wake up fully before having to even look at Gordo's war porn this morning. (It will be in the next morning entry.)

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