Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Hate The War

The FBI just announced that it has captured the Marine who is accused of killing a pregnant colleague last year in North Carolina.
The Bureau says Cpl. Cesar Laurean was found in Mexico and is being held by the authorities there pending extradition to the United States, where he is facing state and federal charges in connection with the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach.

That's from Mike Carney's "Fugitive wanted for Marine's murder caught in Mexico" (USA Today). Maria Lauterbach told military authorities that Cesar Laurean had raped her. They didn't do anything. She was still expected to be around him. When she disappeared, he was the last one they could think of suspecting. Which is how, after the media was on the story of her disappearance, he was able to slip off base. His wife told the police that he told her Maria killed herself but that's not what her corpse indicated. In addition, he apparently tried to burn the body before burying her in his backyard. He'll have his chance to tell his side of the story now.

So Bully Boy gave his speech today. War drags on, if you missed it. The bone he tossed out was that tours of duty would be shortened from 15 months to 12. What does that mean? Not a darn thing. William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) explains the drop from 15 months to 12 will only apply to those who were deployed after August 1, 2008. So all the ones currently serving 15 months and any sent over prior to August 1st will be serving 15 months.

By the way, not today's hearings, but Wednesday's were also live blogged by Barbara Barett, Dave Montgomery and David Goldstein (McClatchy Newspapers). Lewis e-mailed to point that out. Also on Wednesday, Erich Sclichte (The Daily Collegian) reports, some members of Iraq Veterans Against the War shared their thoughts

The evening started off with film clips from "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan," an event held in Washington, D.C., last March. The footage served to set the tone as veterans discussed the ineffectiveness of U.S. forces in urban areas, racial issues, a disregard for the rules of engagement and a lack of leadership from the higher-ups in the chain of command. All of these problems would be further expounded upon by the IVAW panel from the Amherst chapter.
The IVAW panel spoke to a predictably anti-war crowd of about 80 people for more than two hours, with each veteran explaining his or her own experiences and drawing on them to show why they are now opposed to the Iraq war.
The first speaker was Adrienne Kinne, the Regional Coordinator for IVAW in New England who served actively as well as in the reserves for a decade. Kinne decried the U.S. government and military for its deceptive practices.
"It is wrong and immoral to use the tragedy of 9/11 to try to gain support in the United States to kill thousands of innocent civilians," she said. "How many Sept. 11ths is that?" Kinne went on to discuss the cost of the war at home such as the crisis in veteran health care.
She detailed how the government would not screen for certain mental illnesses in returning veterans because so many cases would be found. She claimed the government would not have the resources to treat them all.
Mike Van Valkenburg's focus was the dehumanization of the enemy seen in Iraq. He noted the prevalence of racial slurs and the overall degradation of the Iraqi people. He also recalled how he had been told by an officer, "You have to kill the women and children too, some day they may be the terrorists."

Michael LeDuc and Nathan Lusignan also spoke. If you missed Winter Soldier, archives are online at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4013. Tonight? 4032. And we're guessing there because ICCC is down. (That was the number earlier today.) Just Foreign Policy lists 1,197,469 up from 1,196,514 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the Iraq War.

Free Bilal. Pulitzer Prize winning news photographer Bilal Hussein has been imprisoned since April 12, 2006. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's "Detained Photographer: Injustice in Iraq:"

To recap: U.S. forces detain a man for 20 months without any charges. They hamstring his lawyers by not allowing them proper access to the evidence against him. When he finally gets his day in court and is exonerated, the U.S. military can still refuse to free him. How's that for justice?

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aaron glantz

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