Sunday, August 30, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

It's difficult to figure out what's sadder: An article in today's New York Times or something at the Chicago Tribune? Let's start with the latter.

Chicago Tribune
As if the Tribune Newspapers don't have enough problems. Paul Richter and Julian E. Barnes' article was apparently too much garbage even for the person paid to write the headlines -- which would explain how he or she wrote "President Barack Obama sees 1-year deadline to make gains in Iraq" without, apparently, ever having read the article. It's not about Iraq. It was never about Iraq, as Francine might put it on American Dad (see "Stan Knows Best" from season one). The article's about Afghanistan.

If that's embarrassing, check out the New York Times today where James Dao's "American Antiwar Movement Plans an Autumn Campaign Against Policies on Afghanistan" appears. What a load of garbage, what a load of losers and what a load of liars.

Robert Greenwald? When Farrah was alive, I held my tongue out of respect for her. She's now passed away so let's get real. Robert Greenwald and his bad straight-to-video presentations (don't call them "movies" and certainly don't call them "documentaries") do not exist to end any war. They exist to elect Dems and they exist to let someone hobby at a career. Robert was in the top 100 of TV movie directors -- a genre that died around the time basic cable began making their own movies. The only thing worse than being only moderately successful at something must be being moderately successful at a genre which has died. While he has no where else to go, the peace movement certainly doesn't need to continue to support his hobbies. Get a real job, Robert, not a make-work project.

Robert is not a 'filmmaker' by any means, but he's certainly not an 'independent' one. He works in coordination with the Democratic Party -- your first clue many, many years ago should have been when the 'anti-war' director was suddenly making a 'film' about Wal-Mart. Where did that come from? He's bossed and bought.

Oh, look, there's little Jon Soltz of VoteVets. VoteVets was NEVER about ending any war. It's a Democratic Party front group -- a fact too many of its members learned the hard way. There's a famous walkaway from that group but many more have left it with less attention. (That's not an insult to the walkaway. What he did was brave and I applaud him for it. He went public with the fact that the group wasn't about ending the Iraq War a few years back.) VoteVets is a PAC, it's not a part of a peace movement and if the New York Times gave a damn about honesty -- let alone the peace movement -- an editor would have combed through this article and asked, "How is this person part of the peace movement?" (With the exceptions of Nancy Lessing, Perry O'Brien and Michael Eisenscher, none are.)

Oh, look, there's Tom Andrews of "Win Without War." They're such a joke even Tom Hayden's called them out. Grasp that. The old whore himself, Tom Hayden, has ridiculed Win Without War. Again, they're not about ending the Iraq War. They won't be about ending the Afghanistan War. Former Congressional member Tom Andrews "is Senior Advisor to the National Democratic Insitute for International Affairs" and you may be thinking, "Well what's that?" All you need to know is the chair is Madeline Albright. Mad Maddy Albright. War Monger surpreme. No, a true 'anti-war' voice is not in bed with Mad Maddy.

There's I-Need-Attention Benjamin. Anyone got a pie handy? Has there ever been a bigger cry baby than Medea Benjamin? The woman who resorts to one attention seeking action after another, the shameless self-promoter gets a pie tossed at her and she tries to turn into a federal crime. What a sad, sad whore. Medea was a 'media star' back before beauty was required. Part of her vanishing act has to do with the sad reality that no one wants to open a paper and be greeted with that. As the 'peace movement' has become 'professionalized' there's no place left for Medea. She'll continue to play tag along for Jodie who will continue to use her as her own personal (quoting a former CODESTINK donor) Mr. Belvedere. Myself, I tend to picture her as Patsy Kelly to Jodie's Tallulah Bankhead -- and laugh when I think of the 'massages' Patsy claimed to have given Tallulah. Get to work, Medea, your mistress need not wait.

(Especially when Jodie continues to have a cash crisis after all her work on electing Barry O. And after all that, darn shame Jodie's not welcome at the White House. Well, no, it's not. It's a wonderful thing. Thank you to all who made it possible. And don't fret, Jodie, you can 'earn' money again, the same way you once did. Of course, with your looks having faded and the years having piled up, you'll probably have to attempt gold digging in Palm Beach, but it's not like you could ever answer "yes" when Sheena Easton sang, "Do you do it for love?" -- now is it? Put on some Kanye, and get packing, Jodie.)

I-Need-Attention's babbling away about "progressives" -- completely unaware how Real Media is laughing everytime that word comes up because, it took time and documentation, but they are now aware that the 'leaders' using that phrase are in the political closet. Medea, you made someone laugh just by opening your mouth! What a typical day for you.

United for Pathetic and Juvenile really thinks it has a 'comeback'. They think screaming "Off with her head!" and ditching Leslie Cagan (political closet case who became too well known to Real Media as a Communist -- part of the reason she was eased on down the road) means they can launch a fresh start of trickery. It's not that easy. UFPJ has the worst reputation on campuses. They've earned that reputation. As part of their continued efforts to stretch the illegal wars through election cycles, UFPJ is calling for 'regional' protests and attempting to dilute national protests.

National actions in October? You won't find out about those in James Dao's article. From World Can't Wait:

Monday October 5, in Washington DC. Protest at the White House against Obama's Wars, on the anniversary of the US attack on Afghanistan, in coalition with National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) and Witness Against Torture, Activist Response Team & Veterans for Peace.

Tuesday October 6.
We Are Not Your Soldiers! A day of resisting recruitment in high schools, nationwide with programs & protests. In support of these actions, we urge people to hold war protests on October 6 at recruiting stations, or city centers.

Saturday, Sunday October 10/11:
Equality March in Washington DC. World Can't Wait will be present to support the just demand for marriage equality for gay & lesbian partners and for the repeal of the "Defense of Marriage Act."

Saturday, October 17: Local Protests to
End the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars and Occupations.

James Dao deserves an award for humor writing if only due to this passage: "And some groups, including, have yet to take a clear position on Afghanistan beyond warning that war drains resources from domestic programs." Hey, Dao, when you're reporting on the anti-war movement, don't include a group which, eight years after the start of the Afghanistan War, can't figure out their position on the war. WalkOn,

Robert Greenwald whines, "We lost funding from liberals who didn't want to criticize Obama." As if. You whored it and we're tired of paying whores. We didn't even get good sex, now did we? We closed our checkbooks to you for the same reason that we won't support Robert Parry or any of the other faux 'reporters,' you're nothing but whores. You support a whore for too long, suddenly they're Vicki Morgan and you're Alfred Bloomingdale and the only way out is death or palimony. It's just not worth it.

They lost their funding because they couldn't stop whoring for Barack. They still do it today. They haven't taken a position against Barack. That's ridiculous. If they took such a position, money would come pouring in. But they're incapable of standing on their own so they continue to hope the Democratic Party will toss some morsels their way. And they will. The Democratic Party will string them along but those of us who used to write large individual checks? We checked out. We don't waste our money on liars. As a friend (film producer) who called tonight about the article said, "I wouldn't trust any of these people even to clean my pool." Absolutely not. You'd be afraid they'd move themselves into the cabana and refuse to leave. Thank you to a friend (film actor with stand-up roots) who helped me riff on the tired and uglies taken on above. They're not about ending the Iraq War. They're not even interested in it anymore. They proved it by refusing to even promote Cindy Sheehan's action on Martha's Vineyard. (For any wondering, James Dao doesn't speak to Cindy for the article. Again, it's the faux 'movement' that gets covered and don't assume the New York Times did that by accident.)

The Iraq War has not ended. Barack is the lazy ass husband who says he'll take the trash out. Now you can be a stupid idiot and assume that because he said so, even though you can see the trash still in the kitchen wastebasket, it must be outside and your must be delusional. Or you can grasp that Barack's a lazy ass who makes a lot of promises but, if you want anyting done, you're damn well going to have to do it yourself. 10 months was the promise in Houston, Texas that Barack made in February 2008. We're in the ninth month of his presidency. You seeing all troops -- even just 'combat' troops -- out of Iraq yet? No.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4334 and tonight? 4336. Violence continued today.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack which claimed 1 life and left five wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured three people and a Baghdad suicide car bomber who took his/her own life and the life of 1 civilian with twelve people left injured.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 man shot dead as he played soccer in Baghdad, 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul, 1 soldier injured in a Mosul shooting and 1 Electric Ministry employee shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes a civilian was wounded in a Mosul shooting.

As noted yesterday, Earl Werner and Taylor Marks are the two most recent US service members killed in Iraq (they were killed Friday). Mark Bowder (The Columbian) reports of Earl Werner:

Werner is survived by his wife of two years, Casey, and son, Justin, 19. They live near Amboy just inside Cowlitz County.
"This was the second tour of his marriage, so they didn't have a heck of a lot of time together," said Eunice Royer of Vancouver, Casey Werner's grandmother. "It's just so sad for us to see that Casey has to go through this."
"The military was one thing that was very important to his life," said Duane Royer of Vancouver, Werner's father-in-law. "He had such a great caring for the other people he worked with in the National Guard. He felt very responsible for them. That was a driving force of him wanting to do it again. He wanted to take care of people."
When not on active duty, Werner worked as a truck driver. He'd driven long-haul trucks, heavy equipment and gravel trucks.
"He was a very talented young man who knew how to do his job," said Duane Royer. He said that when a landslide blocked a road near Amboy, Werner rounded up equipment to clear the road and deliver gravel for his neighbors.

Peter Ames Carlin (The Oregonian) reports of Taylor Marks:

Back in Monmouth, Marks' friends and family spent Saturday mourning his loss and recalling a young man whose intelligence and sensitivity were offset by a sense of adventure.
"He was always ready to laugh; he always reached out for something bigger, more fun and more entertaining," his mother said.
Bruning noticed the same trait the day he visited Central High School to give some of his wife's students a tutorial on ballroom dancing. Most of the kids were too self-conscious to embrace the task. Marks dived in happily.
"He was absolutely willing to try new things, and I could see he was exceptionally intelligent," Bruning recalled. When the older man told him about his group's weekend expeditions as volunteer military targets, the high schooler asked to be included.
Marks became a regular and spent free hours with a friend building simulated explosive devices with the same triggers as the real ones currently being used by Iraqi insurgents. These projects grew out of childhood fascinations for science fiction ("Star Wars" was a particular favorite) and all things that seemed complicated or confusing, recalled his father, Morey Marks.
"He loved high-tech things. Was it possible to build an invisibility suit? He was fascinated by all that," Morey Marks said.

Rod Nordland (New York Times) files an opinion piece (in the Week In Review section) which can be boiled down to this sentence: "Americans find this hard to understand about the Iraq war, that their trillion-dollar enterprise in Iraq has made Iraqis and particularly the Iraqi military not only deeply dependent on Ameirca, but also deeply conflicted, even resentful about that dependency." The only criticism I'll offer of his piece is don't use "their" and then switch to "we" to refer to the same grouping. I'm surprised no editor caught that but they all seem to be sleeping on the job, now don't they? Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports on Fort Irwin, where some US troops stop before deploying to Iraq and utilize the mock Iraq setting to prepare for their deployment. It's all very Dennis Hopper The Last Movie. At the paper's blog, Liz Sly reports on Saturday's Najaf funeral:

Abdelaziz Hakim, who died Wednesday of lung cancer in Iran, leaves his party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, in a weakened state. The party was trounced in provincial elections in January, and has watched as Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and his party have eclipsed SIIC in popularity, with successes on the security front. Maliki was chosen for his post in 2006 largely because he was seen as someone who posed no threat to rival parties.
Hakim, carried in a plain wooden coffin, was buried in a public square next to his late brother Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Hakim, whom he had succeeded as leader of the Council in 2003 after his sibling’s assassination in a deadly car bombing.
At the public ceremony, Hussein Hakim, a member of an affiliated charitable group, the Mihrab Matryr Foundation, read passages from Hakim’s will, anointing Ammar Hakim, 38, as the Supreme Council's new chief.
“I have bestowed the struggler Ammar Al-Hakim to be my [successor] after my death,” Hussein Hakim said, quoting from Abdelaziz Hakim’s will.
“Coming from my personal detailed knowledge of him, he [Ammar] is trusted and he has the experience and capability to continue the path, take full responsibility and continue the path of struggle. He is keen to serve Iraq, paying attention to the Iraqi people and not forgetting the grave sacrifices made.”

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Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes Matthew Cookson's "Battle over trial of British mercenary in Iraq" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The case of Daniel Fitzsimons, a former British soldier facing the death penalty in Iraq, reveals a lot about the chaotic hell in which that country is mired.
Fitzsimons was in the Parachute Regiment, before spending a number of years working for the mercenary groups that have proliferated in the “new Iraq”.
The occupation has left a terrible legacy. Up to a million Iraqis have died, while Baghdad has become divided on sectarian lines.
The city has not been properly rebuilt since the “shock and awe” bombing that marked the 2003 invasion. It still lacks consistent power, infrastructure and jobs.
Despite the trumpeting of an end to hostilities, many Western companies rely on mercenaries for their “security”.
Fitzsimons is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. His father and step-mother said, “He is extremely poorly. He patently should not have been allowed to go to Iraq.”
US troops arrested him after the fatal shootings of Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare, two of his fellow ArmorGroup employees, inside Baghdad’s Green Zone on 9 August. An Iraqi worker was also wounded in the incident.
The Green Zone is the heavily guarded area of closed-off streets where occupation authorities live and work – trying to avoid the violence that Iraqis face every day.
Barrister Nick Wrack and case worker John Tipple went to Iraq last week to represent Fitzsimons. They narrowly escaped when bomb attacks in central Baghdad killed 95 people and injured over 500 on Wednesday of last week.
They are demanding that Fitzsimons is returned to Britain to face trial, as they believe that he cannot expect a fair trial in Iraq.
Fitzsimons blacked out before the killings and cannot remember what happened. He received a heavy beating between blacking out and being arrested.
He is now sharing a cell with 11 other people and faces trial under Iraqi law, which would mean that he could face the death penalty if found guilty.
John Tipple told Socialist Worker, “There is no way that a fair trial can take place in Iraq.
“We fear that Daniel will be scapegoated for the decision made by Tony Blair to make Britain a key part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“Daniel spent eight years in the Parachute Regiment. He was diagnosed with adjustment disorder after seeing horrors in Bosnia and Kosovo.
“After he left the army he had a few brushes with the law, and his situation began to deteriorate when he became a private security contractor.
“The British government has abandoned its duty of care towards soldiers. When they return from war zones, often brutalised by their experiences, they are left to their own devices.
“That is why there are a disproportionate number of soldiers in the prison system, with mental health problems or homeless. They are victims of war as well as the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.
“We spoke to a number of Iraqis about the situation. The US and the multinationals still run the place. There is bewilderment and anger among the people as corruption is everywhere.
“Because of the lack of security there is little freedom of movement. High unemployment is driving people to crime and violence.
“I had never seen anything like the aftermath of the bomb attack. The crater was huge and the damage incredible.
“There are walls dividing the city and major checkpoints everywhere you go, and still people got a bomb into the heart of the capital.”
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Mercenaries in Iraq: big profits for private forces
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