the friday chatty post

i read c.i.'s entry this morning and called to kid 'you have sympathy pains!' (c.i. wrote 'my stomach is killing me' this morning.) my stomach was weird for the bulk of the day. just normal pregnancy stuff (believe me, flyboy was on the phone to the doctor immediately) and getting used to further stages of the pregnancy. but i was so tired today.

t had visited and i am so glad my friends get along with each other because she ended up talking to ruth after i nodded off in the middle of the conversation. even with that unexpected nap, i was still tired this evening. as soon as mike and elaine arrived, i apologized to them and explained i needed to take a nap. they were very nice about it and said they'd take 1 as well. so we were all snoozing this evening and only recently woke up. flyboy's fixing something in the kitchen that ruth's taught him and it smells very good.

i wonder how much of the sleepy comes from being housebound? i know that the body goes through changes and when you're pregnant as late in the game as i am, that's probably more so - or feels it because you don't have that youth ability to bounce back from everything. but i mention that because although the 2 weeks i'm on right now were a mutual decision between the doctor and myself, i'm thinking of extending it a bit.

that's partly due to betty's phone call last night. the gang is going to d.c. for the big demonstrations on the 27th. i was supposed to go before i found out i was pregnant. obviously, i won't be going now. (that's not, for any 1 passing by, to suggest that pregnant women do not belong at demonstrations. they do. that is to note that i have a history of miscarriages and i have had to slow everything down considerably for this pregnancy.) so betty called and let it slip that she would be visiting that weekend. that was such wonderful news.

i knew something was up. because i kept hearing from every 1 that i was going to have fun that weekend without them. betty wanted this noted, so let me note it, c.i.'s taken care of the ticket. when it was time to book, c.i. called betty and asked if she and her kids would prefer to go to d.c. or come out here to visit me? betty said she'd love to visit me but couldn't afford it and c.i. said 'i was calling to discuss money.' so betty and her kids will be out here that weekend.

it will be fun for me but i'm not sure how much fun for them. betty and i'll just talk and hang out and we'll have a blast but i was concerned about her kids being bored but she said they'd never been on a ferry and were excited about that and flyboy will take them for fun stuff along the beach so there should be enough, even with big, immobile me around, to make it so that they're not thinking, 'can we go home yet?'

i love betty and am so excited about seeing her. i warned her that i was now a red head. t did that earlier this week. i hated my hair and was begging her to cut it all off. i've never had short hair and she wisely talked me out of it. instead she brought some henna products with her that are natural and used them to turn my blonde hair red. i love it.

and am so glad she didn't let me talk her into cutting it off. but being here day after day, i needed some sort of change and going red perked me up. flyboy says he likes it and i hope that's true but, honestly, i don't care. i just needed to do something that was a change for me.

so why the decision then to stay housebound a bit longer? as i start feeling the changes going on with my body, i get a little nervous and start realizing how much i'm like a 'system' right now.

i love c.i. but that's not me. i do not get things accomplished regardless. c.i. really was in pain in this morning and still went ahead and made a speaking engagment. i would've cancelled, even before my pregnancy. i mean, i stub my toe and it's a major trauma where i have to stop to care for the boo-boo. so i think i'll probably extend it through the month, staying around the house. i know it may not be necessary and that the critical mark has been passed. everything's going well and no 1 needs to worry. but i just want to take it slow this month and get used to what's going on inside my body.

flyboy's taken a leave of absence from work. (i could suggest that he quit right now and he would agree because i can get anything right now; however, i'm trying to avoid using my 'powers' for my personal gain.) i was talking about this with ruth and she said it was understandable and talked about how in her 1st pregnancy she started grasping all these vulnerabilities as she was in the 1/2 way mark. she made me feel that what i was thinking was normal - hopefully, it is but if not, i don't give a damn. to steal from kat, it is what it is.

as soon as ruth learned i was pregnant, she started coming out here and it's been wonderful but when we were discussing this, i told her she didn't have to come out every day, monday through friday. but she swears (she lies good) that she and her grandson are enjoying it so they're going to continue through the end of the month. it's been a big help - she has everything so organized - but it's also been great to know, each morning, that she would be coming.

she can make me laugh. flyboy tries and often suceeds but, for instance, this morning, when i was going on about my stomach, she just looked at me and asked, 'did you think it wasn't going to expand?' just the way she said it made me stop whining and start laughing. i'm now preparing myself for major back pain later in the pregnancy because i'm sure i'm going to end up bigger than a house. and spending the day eating peter pan crunchy, from the jar, probably didn't help any. but the 2nd i woke up friday morning, i was just craving peanut butter and ended up eating it, off and on, throughout the day.

peanut butter and pickles have been the 2 big things this week. i have gone through 3 jars of vlasic kosher dill spears this week. in fact, the 3rd 1, which only has 3 pickels left in it, is by my bed. i have kept the pickles on the little end table next to the bed because i will wake up in the middle of the night just in need of a pickle. if i get out of bed, i'll wake flyboy and if i wake him, he'll say he would have gotten them for me so it's just made more sense to keep a jar on the end table by me so i can just reach for 1 when i wake up in the middle of the night.

so that's the exiting days and nights of rebecca. now let's turn to this by lisa farnio and medea benjamin, 'peace is possible in iraq' (common dreams):

What would it take to create peace in Iraq? On August 2, 2006, a delegation of American citizens--including YES! board member Dal LaMagna and Code Pink cofounders Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, and Gael Murphy--met with fifteen Iraqis in Amman, Jordan to find out. The American activists spent two days listening to a variety of Iraqi citizens, including five Iraqi parliamentarians from the major Shi'a, Sunni, and secular parties, as well as Iraqi intellectuals, torture victims, professionals, and religious leaders.
The American Delegation summarized the views of this diverse group of Iraqis in the Iraq Reconciliation Plan, a concrete plan for ending the violence in Iraq. The plan's ten points are items identified by the Iraqis themselves as essential to restoring peace.
YES! Magazine Associate Editor Lisa Farino spoke with Medea Benjamin about this initial meeting. Medea Benjamin is cofounder of Global Exchange and Code Pink. This interview is the first part of a three-part series about practical strategies for creating peace in Iraq. Sign up for our newsletter to hear about the next installment.
Lisa: What were some of the main things you learned from the Iraqis during these discussions?
Medea: We learned that there were major differences among the different groups but also some major commonalities. The biggest commonality is that they were all anxious to find a way for the U.S. troops to leave. Some of them said they should have been gone yesterday and tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough, and some thought that their departure had to be part of a slower, broader peace process so that things would not get worse. It was very interesting for me to learn that some Iraqis felt that the presence of the US troops was the only ace they had to negotiate with the United States for things like money for rebuilding their country because as soon as the troops left, they felt the U.S. would wash its hands of its financial responsibilities. And so they wanted the troops to stay while an agreement was worked out with the United States around its obligations. So there was a variety of opinions about when and how U.S. troops should leave, but all Iraqis we met with not only wanted all the foreign troops to leave but also wanted a fixed timetable for that process to happen.
They also told us that many Iraqis have been working seriously on a peace and reconciliation process since November, 2005, when they had their first reconciliation meeting in Cairo. This was underreported in the U.S. press, but it's very important to understand that the Iraqis are not sitting around waiting for the U.S. to end the violence. They are meeting intensely to come up with their own peace plan. But a precondition of that peace plan is setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. In the U.S., we are hearing a lot of blame being put on the Iraqis themselves-- "they're not stepping forward to fix their own country", "we're doing our part but they're not doing theirs." That is just such garbage. Iraqis have been actively trying to stop the sectarian violence and end the occupation, but their efforts are being thwarted by the Bush administration.

i'd love to tell you i read yes! all the time. i really only read the magazine when c.i. passes it on (in fact, i believe there's a copy in this week's care package that arrived in thursday's mail.) so, if you're like me, let's all make a point to pick up the magazine because that summit in jordan did matter. even if our better known left media couldn't be bothered to cover it (then or now).

that's going to be it for me except for 1 thing. liang e-mailed wondering about the nursery? we'd just done the redecorating, just finished it, when i found out i was pregnant so, no, we don't have a full nursery yet. my mother and my mother-in-law have been buying things for it and flyboy thinks betty's boys might have fun helping him put together a crib so that'll happen on the 27th. but, no, it's not up and running yet. we're still trying to figure out if we want to know ahead of time the gender. i think i'll last about a month more on that (as soon as i think 'no,' my second thought is 'yes, i want to know!') so we'll probably start doing more once we know. also, by then, i'll probably be more than ready to get out - which means we can get it painted as a nursery. my mother-in-law found these wonderful blue and red curtains that we'll be using (boy or girl) because they're so wonderful. my mother's found a wonderful lamp. they've both brought over some nice artwork to hang in the room. when i start going out in february, i'll probably start shopping.

here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, January 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; after the Bully Boy's Wednesday speech offering no 'benchmarks,' US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reveleals the 'plan' also offers no timetable; Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn talk the importance of withdrawal and combat the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk; US war resister Ehren Watada prepares for a public speech this weekend; and Antoni Juhasz addresses what an escalation means for US troops.
Today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis spoke with Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn about Iraq and comparisons to Bully Boy's dreamed of escalation in Iraq to Vietnam. Zinn felt it was very important to note that the Iraqi people do not want US forces in their country. On the 'new' 'plan' and it's talk up as well as the way Iraq is addressed, Howard Zinn pointed out:

When they talk about making a difference, they keep using the words 'victory' and 'success' and how do we 'win'? It seems to me this is missing a very, very critical point, Iraq is not our country to 'win' -- to be successful in, to be victorious in. We simply don't belong there. And Bush's 'surge' is exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Well Anthony's book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal lays out the argument for the simple statement that I'm making now, that instead of surging in Iraq, we should be withdrawing as fast as we can from Iraq. And not only that, we should be questioning the larger principle involved and that is should the United States be sending troops anywhere in the world -- whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else -- should we think we could solve any problems with military solutions? And, in fact, is this the motive of the administration to solve problems for the people of these other countries? Iraqis don't want us in Iraq, that's clear. The American people don't want us in Iraq. Even the Iraqi government, which was really put in in a kind of fake election with American control excercise, even the Iraqi government is very embarrassed by the idea of having more American troops in Iraq. So what Bush is proposing is a violation not only of self-determination of Iraqis and the will of the American people and world opinion, it's a continution of the whole idea of US military dominace in the world which we should do everything we can to bring to an end.

Andrea Lewis asked about the statements that if the US pulls out it will lead to chaos in Iraq.

Anthony Arnove: I think we have to acknowledge that people who raise that point raise it two different ways. The cynical group of people who make that argument, pundits, politicans, to say we can never pull out, to justify the US remaining as an occupying power in Iraq for years to come, to justify setting up military bases, permanent bases, in Iraq, to justify the role that the United States wants to play in Iraq projecting its power in the entire Middle East and globally, as Howard mentioned. But then there's also decent people who have a concern for the consequences of the Iraqi people. And I think we have to acknowledge their fears and their concerns for what would happen to Iraq? And we're not saying abandon the Iraqi people -- "This is some kind of isolationist position, we don't care what happens to them." We're saying the opposite. Our point is that every day that the United States continues in Iraq as an unwanted, foreign, occupying power, it makes the situation worse for ordinary Iraqis. It's not ending sectarian conflict in Iraq, it's actually fueling sectarian conflict. It's not ending violence, it's actually fueling violence. The United States occupation is the greatest source of instability in the country. And after every benchmark that we've been told would change the situation there --elections, the constitution, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the execution of Saddam Hussein -- things just get worse. Iraq right now is the world's largest refugee crises in the world. Inflation has skyrocketed, unemployment has skyrocketed, there's less electricty, less safe drinking water, less security for Iraqis which is why poll after poll shows that that they say their life is getting worse and they want the United States to leave and so if we claim that we're bringing democracy well democracy would dictate that we let the Iraqi people determine their own future. But we should support them. We should pay reperations. We owe them a tremends debt, not just for the harm caused by the occupation, but all of the years before that the United States imposed sanctions on the country and, before that, supported Saddam Hussein as he carried out his worst crimes.

Zinn discussed how the same arguments for the US remaining in Iraq were the ones his book Vietnam: The Logic for Withdrawal were "greeted with the same claims that are made today" -- e.g. chaos, violence, civil war in Vietnam. "The truth is that we were creating the chaos," observed Zinn. Anthony Arnove's book, Iraq: The Logic for Withdrawal, has just been released in paperback and he will be appearing on the following dates:

January 17, 7 pm,
New York, NY (with Michael Schwartz)
16 Beaver
January 20, 7 pm,
Chicago, IL (with Jeff Engelhardt)
University of Illinois-Chicago
Contact: Adam Turl, 773-567-0936,
January 27, 5 pm,
Washington, DC (with Kelly Dougherty)
Busboys and Poets
February 1, 7:30 pm,
Pasadena, CA
Voices of a People's History of the United States
with Mark Ruffalo, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Benjamin Bratt, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, and Alfre Woodard.
All Saints Episcopal Church

Appearing as part of a panel discussion yesterday on Kris Welch's program,
KPFA's Living Room , Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) noted two points regarding the US troops in Iraq. First, she noted, "On this issue of the troops increase . . . Bush wanted significantly more troops but the military said we don't have anywhere to get them for you, there aren't anymore troops. So the troops that are the addition of the 20,000 is simply going to be extending the tours of troops that are there speeding up the redeployment of troops that have already served. We have to be really clear about who the soldiers are that are part of this increase."
She then spoke of what their role would be and what is wanted from Iraq.

Antonia Juhasz: This is . . . the critical moment to make our demands very, very clear to the Democrats and one of those demands has to explicity be that this is a war for oil that cannot be allowed to continue and that what the administration is hoping for is that it will suceed in its economic transformation of Iraq which at this point has nearly reached fruition -- which is a new law developed way before the war in the US State Department, then pushed by US corporations, pushed by the successive appointed governments of Iraq by the US government following the invasion -- for a new law that is now, the al-Maliki govenrmenet has now said that it will put this new law forward to the Iraqi parliament that creates an unprecedented oil victory in Iraq. So what it does is give the government of Iraq nominal control and ownership of their oil but every function of the oil industry would then be privatized and turned over to foreign companies and the foreign companies would get a form of contract called a Production Sharing Agreement which is not used anywhere in the Middle East not used anywhere in oil rich countries in fact that gives first 30 years, 30 year contract, and then according to the UK Independent, that the intial contract would give 75% of initial profits to the private companies leaving only 25% for the Iraqis. [. . .] Iraq can best be understood as a pimple of oil that has yet to be plucked. It has certainly the second largest oil reserves in the world possibly larger. It has 80 known oil fields but only 17 have even begun to be developed. It is those undeveloped oil fields which are all completely within the realm of the new law and then the debate, that the president mentioned in his speech, is over a constitutional amendment to address the existing fields, which are now divided between the Shia and the Kurds in the north and the south, and to bring the control of the existing fields back into the central gover of al-Maliki. And what I believe is that the Bush administration is going to hold onto the occupation and make it larger and make it as big as he can until the law passes and US companies sign contracts and then they have to get work. And they need a security force to do that and that is our troops.

While Juhasz addressed the realities of US troops in Iraq, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, testifying before the US Senate Armed Service Committee, revealed a reality of his own.
BBC reports that Gates, speaking of Bully Boy's new 'plan' for Iraq, stated that there was no timetable for the puppet government to achieve any of the non-defined benchmarks. Susan Cornwell and Kristin Roberts (Reuters) observe that Gates threw out the usual sop of troop withdrawal on the conditional 'if' (always the same 'if' -- if a corner is turned and it never is) and they write that "Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who heads a House panel overseeing defense spending, said he would try to attach restrictions to a $100 billion 'emergency' request for new war money that Bush will request in February. Those restrictions could include a prohibition on spending money for the additional troops, Murtha said. They could also include immediately closing Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and the Guantanamo Bay detention center at a U.S. base in Cuba."
Yesterday, US military forces stormed an Iranian diplomatic consulate and arrested six diplomatic staff. The Kurdish government in northern Iraq responded by insisting that diplomatic staff be released immediately (Iran has long had a consulate in Iraq's Kurdish territory). KUNA reports that the US, via White House flack Tony Snow, continues to dismiss concerns and attempt to downgrade a recognized diplomatic headquarters while the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari, continues to state that it was a consulate and that, in addition, "U.S. forces tried to seize more people at the airport in Irbil, 220 miles north of Baghdad, prompting a confrontation with Kurdish troops guarding the facility that was resolved without casualties. " The BBC notes that the consulate has been "operating for years" and the Mikhail Kamyin ("Russing foreign ministry spokesman") declared, "It is absolutely unacceptable for troops to storm the consular offices of a foreign state on the territory of another state . . . It is also not clear how this fits in with American statements that Washington respects the sovereignty of Iraq."
In other Iraq news . . .
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, near Baquba, a mortar attack killed "one primary school teacher and one student," while a child was killed in Muqdadiyah by an IED and, in Baquba, an Iraqi soldier was killed by a bomb and three more wounded.
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that in the Diyala Province, "American forces killed a woman and a child and injured another woman with another child (all from the same family)" while 4 Shi'ites were shot dead "near ARAB SHOKA area near hibhib area in khalis town" as well as their driver.
Reuters notes that 10 corpses were discovered in Baghdad, seven in Mosul, three in Basmaia.
Turning to news of war resistance,
Ehren Watada became the first officer (June 2006) to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and now faces a February 5th court-martial. He is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington at 1:00 pm. Also tomorrow, there will be a benefit performance for him Corvallis, OR when Crooked Kate and the Childers-Carson Duo take the stage of the Sunnyside-Up (116 N.W. Third St.) at six pm. In addition, later this month A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College to address the illegality of the war. In addition, Iraq Veterans Against the War are staging Camp Resistance in support of Watada. Writing at the blog they've set up for Camp Resistance, dockyne reports:

www.kboo.fm The oldest public radio station in the states hosted IVAW Deployed and had Darrell [Anderson] and Dennis [Kyne] on Friday morning for one hour and a half. Discussing Darrell's experience in this illegal war and his 18 months in exile to Canada, as well as the fact that thousands of other soldiers are refusing to deploy to this illegal war. Hosted by Ani and Melody on their weekly progam (7:30-9 am) Absolutly revolting.
This interview was in depth...it covered the draft, the anti war movement, depleted uranium and allowed multiple callers to learn about the Gulf War, which the VA handbook of benefits states began on 2 Aug 1990 and will end on a date to be determined by congress. When will they end it? We discussed the court martials of
Suzanne Swift and Ehren Watada...and the support from Portland, Oregon is massive. Darrell stated, "this is the most radical community I have been too."

Dennis Kyne, writing at U.N. Observer, gives the details on Camp Resistance:

Please support this move....as troops are gathering to support Ehren Watada in his stand against the lies that have gained our nation nothing more than death and despise. Purple Heart, 'Winner' Darrell Anderson returned from 18 months in hiding when he heard that Lt. Watada had refused to deploy. Darrell Anderson would have deployed to his third tour had he not gone north. Anderson asked me to get on the (
http://www.ivawdeployed.org ) with him and get to Fort Lewis to open up Camp RESISTANCE!!!
We are here, in the mud. It is not warm here
...nor dry
.....however, you should stand with us
....in support of a man who stands up against the military mahine and a nation of millions who don't have the foggiest notion that our troops do not want to serve in this war. Lt. Watada is speaking for thousands of enlisted soldiers like Darrell Anderson and myself, a fifteen year veteran of the Army. Watada is a true leader.....leading and doing
....he knows he should never ask enlisted soldiers to do things he would never do
....that is part of the requirement. NEVER ask nor order your troops to do things that you wouldn't do. There are more violators of this rule in the military now, than ever (or at least in my 15 years.) Lt. Watada is not one of them
...and with that, the soldiers, who have always followed good leaders
....will follow Lt. Watada.. Mike, Damon, Ethan and I, slept on the rig last night
...it was night one of Camp RESISTANCE!!!There is a RESISTANCE!!! going on. Thousands of troops are refusing to deploy
....please let everyone know we are here
.....working from the wi fi hot spot, let them know they should stand here too. If not for a month as we will, than for a day or even an hour. We are at off ramp 119, gates of Fort Lewis.
We are meeting up at the gates of Fort lewis to support the Lt. Why? We have had enough
...we want the war to stop....we want the government to stop using the troops as pawns in their game. If you know of a veteran who is opposed to this war, please help them get here....if you are ok with the weather, please get here also.
I, personally, will always think it an honor and a privilege to have served the United States people
...I know Ehren does too. It is with that same pride and honor that I, personally, ask you to do something for this man

....who has, without question stood, with more integrity in his little pinky, than most of these Generals have in their entire skin. I am honored to know his family, they are a wonderful display of family values

...something we don't see a lot of.

To support him

.... (
http://www.thankyoult.org ) you will find the news to follow the days up to the trial......

John Powell writes to the Capital Times to weigh in on the argument that Watada signed a contract and any responsibilities he had for war ended right there: "Perhaps Piek has never served in the military, but I remember the oath I took when I was inducted into the Army as a lowly buck private in 1968. The oath for soldiers is virtually the same as the oath taken by the president of the United States and every other official of every level of government in the country: an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. There is nothing in that oath about obeying orders. In fact, the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice make it clear that a soldier's duty is to disobey illegal orders. Watada alleges that the Iraq war is unconstitutional and therefore illegal, and that he is duty-bound to refuse to serve in it. This should be the issue - not whether he refused to obey orders (clearly he did), but whether those orders were legal."
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson (noted abovein the Camp Resistance post), Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Finally, on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein provided military families with the opportunity to weigh in on Bully Boy's announced intent to escalate. This included a couple with five children and grandchildren serving in the military who ask that people write Congress and say "no" to the escalation. In addition to utilizing either previous link for an archived broadcast, Rebecca wrote about the broadcast yesterday.


dennis bernstein speaks with military families on flashpoints

you have to read kat's latest review 'Kat's Korner: Carly Simon, Into the Real' and you really do need to get carly simon's into white. i just love that cd.

on KPFA's Flashpoints tonight, dennis bernstein's addressing the lies of bully boy's speech yesterday where bully boy claimed that a 'win' will come by sending 20,000+ more u.s. troops to iraq. nancy lessing of military families speak out was 1 of the guests. right now he's speaking to a couple who have children or grandchildren.

'we need to bring him and his administration up on criminal charges and send them off to prison and we need to do it immediately.' the congress 'needs to stand up right now, not 100 days from now' and cut the funds for the war. 'the military has enough funds in their coffers that they can bring the troops home safely and that's just what they need to do'. that's the father, both of those statements. they have a son in mosul, they've broken up his squad and sent it to baghdad

phil is the name of the husband, linda is the name of the wife. linda noted that they have a son who is supposed to get out of the military this summer but they're afraid that he's going to be stop-lossed. in all, they have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren in the military (including 1 granddaughter they can't get in touch with and are worried about) and linda pointed out that with those 5 family members, her family has given 87 months and she wonders how any 1 can ask that of any family?

linda: 'i would tell him the truth about what he has done, the lies he has told . . . i'd show him pictures, i'd show him pictures ... i get so angry just thinking about it, so many things i would say to him but i can't repeat it here.'

phil: 'even a face to face with that man, he is so stubborn and arrogant and pigheaded i don't know anything i could tell him that he hasn't heard already.'

phil wants people to write all the democrats in congress and tell them to cut off funds for the war. 'if they sit on their hands and do nothing, they have bought this war,' phil says.

there's been some good music tonight (there ususally is - but i actually know the music tonight) - neil young's 'after the garden' and the byrds' 'turn, turn, turn.'

anne roesler was on, she's a member of military families speak out. (i'm sorry, i don't know how to spell linda and phil's last name - it sounded like 'weitz' but i'm not sure. some people i know of through c.i. - either via commentary at the common ills or through conversations with c.i.) anne spoke about how she watched the speech because she feels you have to know what the bully boy's going to pull next. she talked about how it was 'the same old same old' and how his 'i've made mistakes' moments was like a man who beats and batters a woman and then issues an apology and goes right back to his criminal behavior.

juan jose gutierrez is on and discussing his nephew carlos was killed ('blown to smithereens') while he was training iraqis to take over security as well as immigration rights ('2 in 3 latino voters voted for the democratic party') and the concerns that 'bi-partisanship' is going to lead democrats to cave.

picking up on yesterday's topic, this is from paul craig roberts' 'Carter's Inconvenient Truths' (counterpunch):

Jimmy Carter, probably the most decent man to occupy the White House, received a lot of grief during his term in office, most of it undeserved. His latest book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid has brought him even more grief, none of it deserved.
My own appreciation of Jimmy Carter is new found. It began with his previous book, Our Endangered Values, in which Carter criticized the direction in which George W. Bush was taking America with his assaults on the Constitution and international law. His latest book, currently a best seller, shows that Carter has the courage to match his decency and commitment to peace in the Middle East.
A case can be made that while other US presidents focused on the Soviet or communist threat, Carter perceived that the greater threat to world peace and US interests was in the Middle East. With America's backing Israel was a rising military power whose policies and existence were viewed as a threat by Arab countries. After Israel's military successes and Carter's success in arranging peace between Egypt and Israel, new Arab-Israeli tensions arose from Israel's refusal to leave occupied Palestine and return to its own borders.
Over time the occupied lands have been appropriated by Israeli settlements and now by a massive wall and special roads on which no Palestinian can travel. Palestinian villages have been cut off from water, from their fields and groves, from schools and hospitals, and from one another. Essentially, what was once Palestine has become isolated ghettos in which the Palestinian inhabitants cannot enter or depart without Israeli permission.
Israel's policy is to turn Palestinians into refugees and to incorporate the West Bank into Israel. Slowly over time the policy has been implemented in the name of fighting terrorism and protecting Israel. Had Israel tried to achieve this all at once, opposition would have been great and the crime too large for the world to accept. Today Israel's gradual destruction of Palestine has become part of the fabric of everyday affairs.
Many people, including intelligent Israelis, believe that peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved through military coercion and that peace requires Israel to abandon its policy of stealing Palestine from Palestinians. Jimmy Carter, whose long involvement with the issue makes him very knowledgeable and credible, is one of these people.
The reason that Israel has been able to appropriate Palestine unto itself with American aid and support is that Israel controls the explanation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At least 90% of Americans, if they know anything at all of the issue, know only the Israeli propaganda line. Israel has been able to control the explanation, because the powerful Israel Lobby brands every critic of Israeli policy as an anti-semite who favors a second holocaust of the Jews.
In Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter takes the risk of speaking truth to propaganda. Predictably, the Israel Lobby and its shills ranging from the "conservative" National Review to "liberal" media and commentators have attempted to banish Carter by labeling him an "anti-semite."

i'm winding down now but i hope you read c.i.'s first thing this morning. i loved the title! it so captured the bully boy (and i love the doors as well), 'The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on.' now here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, January 11, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq though it gets little attention, Bully Boy eats up more time with his dismal performance (continued dismal performance), Ehren Watada prepares to speak this weekend in what may be his final speech before the February 5th court-martial, Condi Rice challenges Bully Boy for American Most In Denial, and the world says no to Bully Boy's plans for escalation (more US troops being sent to Iraq).

Starting with Bully Boy's Cop Rock-like bust in primetime yesterday. Saying exactly the same thing, in the same way he always had, Bully Boy had nothing to offer Iraq, the United States or the world. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said the fact that just because they didn't act properly in the past doesn't mean that they won't act properly in the future. She was speaking of Iraqis but she could apply it to the 'logic' of the the administration.

That was what Bully Boy's speech last night was built upon. Two months from the four-year anniversary of the start of the illegal war, he wants to say, as he did last night, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" -- what does that even mean? That's ownership? That's nothing. There are no efforts at responsibility or accountability. As with the 'government' of Nouri al-Maliki, there are no results -- only Bully Boy's had nearly four years.

With those ten words ("Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me"), he wants yet another blank check to continue the same illegal war that is already lost. There were no benchmarks in Bully Boy's speech. But another thing still missing is a definition of 'success.'

There is no 'win' to be had in Iraq but what is the mission? What mission is reason to continue the illegal war? There is none, none explained to the people. The administration wants . . . 'democracy building' -- at the point of a gun? The administration wants . . . a peace keeping mission? Whose being protected, what is the goal and airy terms like 'democracy' or 'liberation' demonstrate that there is still no plan, there is nothing that a military can achieve, and that the illegal war has no defense.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Rice rejected the notion of troops being placed on the Iraqi borders -- "I don't think you want to depend on boots on the grounds to defend those borders." So what are they doing? Today, she can't articulate it and the Bully Boy can't. And when you grasp that 3019 US troops have died, the fact that they seem to think ten little words grant them a "fresh start" in an illegal war is not just surprising, it's appalling.

US Senator
Russ Feingold stated, of Bully Boy's Primetime Bust, "the president ignored the recommendations of members of both parties, military leaders, foreign policy experts, and the will of the American people by announcing that he intends to escalate our involvement in Iraq by sending more troops there. Congress must bring an end to what has been one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation. The President continues to deny the devastating impact that keeping our brave troops in Iraq is having on our national security. The American people have rejected the Administration's Iraq-centric foreign policy. It is time to bring our troops out of Iraq and refocus on defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten this country."

US Senator
Chuck Hagel stated, "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam if it's carried out. . . . I will resist it."

Surveying opinion in the Middle East,
Maggie Michael (AP) reports that the speech has resulted in "strong skepticism across the Mideast, where many predicted that even with more soldiers, America would fail to break the cycle of violence" and quotes Areeb el-Rentawi, Al-Quds Center for Political Studies (Amman, Jordan), stating that the Bully Boy "didn't answer the main question: What if al-Maliki falied in meeting the new plan? Al-Maliki's government is part of the problem, not the solution."

Speaking with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, from Najaf,
Sami Rasouli compared Bully Boy's escalation to current conditions in Iraq, "Actually, Amy, for the last four days, I couldn't get a shower -- because there is no electricity, there is no heating, so water's so cold in this harsh winter in Iraq -- because Iraq has a continental climate that's very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. So, as I speak to you, I really stink -- and, as the increasing prices in the economy that's collapsing stink and the Iraq government policy stinks, even the American policy, that so-called surge in Iraq, stinks too because, as you know, and Iraqis know and the others, that the occupation is a form of war. So any escalation in this type of war, the resistance is going to escalate too."

Similar sentiments are
voiced by Lara Logan (CBS News): "Iraqis have been talking about nothing else all day, and most of the people we've spoken to say they do not want more U.S. troops here. They don't believe this is going to help."

And the puppet government?
Sabrina Tavernise and John F. Burns (New York Times) report that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki and aides are "wary" and "fear that an increased American troop presence, particularly in Baghdad, will be accompanied by a more assertive American role that will conflict with the Shiite government's haste to cut back on American authority and run the war the way it wants."

The American people?
Jon Cohen (Washington Post) reports on a joint poll by the Post and ABC on the proposed escalation which found that "61 percent oppose the force increase, with 52 'strongly' opposing the build-up. Thirty-six percent support the additional troops; only one-quarter of the public is strongly supportive." CBS and AP report on a CBS News poll which found 53% of those polled do not favor the escalation, only 37% favored it -- echoing the Post-ABC News poll. Most interesting was this finding from CBS's poll: "68 percent of Americans -- the same number as before the speech -- said they were uneasy about the president's ability to make decisions about Iraq."

David Olive (Toronto Star) sees the illegal war as a "Pandora's Box" that Bully Boy now wants to treat like a hot potato "in order that his successor as president -- and not Bush -- wears the stigma of defeat in Iraq."

Guy Dinmore (Financial Times of London) observes the speech dismissed advice regarding diplomacy, dubs it a "hardline speech" and quotes Cliff Kupchan, Eurasis Group, stating, "Bush is tapping anti-Iranian senteiment in Congress and the American public to bolster his case." Speaking with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Michael Klare (Hampshire College's Professor of Peace and World Security Studies) detected in the speech the adminstration's arguing expanding the war beyond Iraq into neighboring countries: "This was not a message about Iraq. This was a message about preparing the American people for a wider war in the region." Also taking part in that discussion, Natalie Goldring (Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies) stated,
"We can't win in Iraq. I don't think it's possible. President Bush, to my mind, is increasingly isolated in painting this picture of an Iraq that is somehow a democratic presence and a peaceful Middle East is miraculously transformed by the American presence. In reality our presence there is making things worse. The Iraqis are in fact worse off if you look at things like their energy production and other key measures of whether people are comfortable in their homes. They're worse off than they were under Saddam which is a really scary prospect. So I don't think we can win. We do need to get out."

United for Peace & Justice's Leslie Cagan echoed Professor Goldring's thoughts on Democracy Now! today where she stated, "This war has to end. It never should have started. It was a war totally based on lies. It has to end. It has to end now." Cagan noted actions taking place around the country today and also noted that "in just a few weeks, on Saturday January 27th, people from every corner of the country are gathering here in Washington, where I am right now, to march around the Capitol, to deliver our message: it is time to end the war. The people spoke. The voters of this country had their opportunity in November to make their voices heard. Now we're saying to Congress, 'You need to act on the will of the people of this country.' So on Saturday January 27th, people will be getting on buses and trains and carpools and every other manner of transportation and gathering here in Washington on the Mall between 3rd Street and 7th Street at 11:00 am in the morning and delivering this message. And on top of that, we're asking people to stay here in Washington for a few more days to do a massive lobby day on Monday the 29th". Information on the actions this month on the 27th and 29th as well as today can be found by clicking here.

Thulasi Srikanthan (Toronto Star) reports the only real 'surge' and it's in Canada as War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky notes the "surge in the number of calls from American troops during the past week" which has resulted in the War Resisters Support Campaign requesting "help in housing soldiers fleeing the U.S." The War Resisters Support Campaign helps American troops who are seeking asylum in Canada. In other news of war resistance, Paul Boring (Whidbey News Times) reports US war resister Ehren Watada will be speaking this Saturday (January 13th) at 1:00 pm at the Coupeville Recreation Hall (901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington).

In June of last year,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He faces a court-martial on Feburary 5th. Camp Resistance is set up outside Fort Lewis where Watada is serving and it's a project of Iraq Veterans Against the War (each day they gather at off I-5, exit 119 in Dupont, Washington). Damon Murphy notes that today: "We were approached by a Sgt. of the Dupont Police Department. He brought news that the property owner wanted us off of his land; the reason given was due to a misunderstanding about the amount of time we'd be there. The impression was that we'd be there for the two or three days surrounding Lt. Ehren Watada's Court Martial Pre-Trial; the reality, is that IVAW is deployed. When you're deployed you’re stuck. When you’re deployed, all you have is what is next to you: people, tools for your survival, and the mission at hand. Our mission at hand, regardless of where it takes place, is standing in solidarity with Lt. Ehren Watada as he awaits his pending Court Martial, twenty-seven days from now."

Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In "Oh, Condi" news -- the Senate testimony today . . . Rice noted that Sadr's bloc "pulled out and the government didn't collapse"; however, she fails to note how little got accomplished or the attempts to woo the bloc back. She boasted that, "We know why sectarian violence didn't come down" -- apparently now that Negroponte's under her, he's spilled all the beans on the death squads. She declared, "We're not going to stay married to a plan that isn't working." But failed to ask the important question:
Should This Marriage Be Saved? She refused to be pinned down on 'specifics' but did note, "The oil law is important." (Well, they did name a tanker after her.) (Here's an AP article -- my remarks are based on watching it on TV.)

In Iraq today? Apparently building on Bully Boy's belicose speech, an Iranian consular office was targeted by the US military.
Reuters reports that "US forces stormed an Iranian consular office in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil and arrested five people, including diplomates and staff". The Australian notes that the US military has confirmed six arrests "but did not confirm if any were Iranians". The Cihan News Agency notes that "US soldiers seized computers and official documents" and reports five arrests following the US military "forcing open the outer gate" to the building. Xinhua reports: "The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad sent a letter to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Thursday morning to protest against 'the U.S. illegal move' and call on the Iraqi government to help secure immediate release of the five people". BBC notes: "Reports say the Iranian consulate there was set up last year under an agreement with the Kurdish regional government to facilitate cross-border visits."
And it was six. The
US military released a statement saying they "took six individuals into custody". KUNA reports: "The Presidency and government of Iraq's Kurdistan Thursday demanded the Multi-National Force (MNF) to release Iranian consulate staff members who were detained earlier today."


Reuters reports a mortar attack Wednesday in Mosul on a "Sunni Arab girls' school" that left nine wounded ("included four students and three other children"). The US military press release on that was apparently written by a PIG hence the term "housewives" -- it notes that four high school girls were injured, three children and two adult women (that, in a throwback, they term "housewives").

DPA reports three dead and 31 wounded from a truck bomb in Samaraa and that "[a]mong the dead was Asaad Yassin, president of the municipal council of Samaraa".




What? You think anyone's reporting on Iraqis today? Seriously,
CBS and AP note that an oil pipeline was attacked "in northern Iraq" because, apparently, they keep the eye on the prize -- if oil is "the prize" -- but forget about it. Don't think that means Iraqis aren't dying today -- they are. But even the bit that usually gets reported is being ignored today.

Jennie Matthew (AFP) notes that "walls" are the latest US 'answer' (and even mentions Israel while failing to note the illegality of that) because if Haidtha residents won't welcome foreign fighters, wall 'em off! Such passes for 'answers' in the illegal war. This as there's also a new 'plan' for Baghdad -- and "Truth" would be so pleased -- she might even want to grab credit. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that "gated communities" are coming to Baghdad "forcibly". Such are the plans -- the sort of laughable crap you'd expect to see stereotyped to some elderly, dottering fool convinced the world was out to get them -- which would be a perfect transition for Bully Boy's speech today; however, I think Wally and Cedric are covering that.

Finally, in Australia,
ABC reports that John Howard, prime minister, is standing hip to hip with the Bully Boy but there are no plans for Australia to send in more forces and reports that "Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd mainstains that Mr Howard shares responsibility for the failures in Iraq and . . . [that] Mr Bush's statement has confirmed the coalition is losing the war, not winning it." Again, Howard's hip to hip with Bully Boy does not translate as more Australian troops being sent to Iraq. The Times of London quotes Howard declaring, "There is no direct implication for Australian forces in Iraq. We have an appropriately sized force and one that can be maintained." For the record the number of Australian forces in Iraq is 450.


norman finkelstein v. gil troy (democracy now)

okay, bully boy's done with his speech. we're listening to larry bensky's special coverage of it. let me note elaine's 'How The Nation isn't cutting it' - read it. it's wonderful.

now let me finally talk about a segment on democracy now monday, the debate between norman finkelstein v. gil troy. i called c.i. monday morning and the 1st question, c.i. listens, was if gil troy was overweight? c.i. said he seemed short of breath. (yes, he was overweight. c.i. listens, i watch it on tv.)

norman finkelstein, if you read my site, know is a smart man (also a hot 1). he did a fine job making his points. where i had a problem was with gil troy who lied repeatedly.

how did he get away with it? well he didn't address israel most of the time. instead he addressed south africa and he got away with the looniest remarks.

to clarify, apartheid was not a system where 'blacks' and 'whites' were divided (with african-blacks suffering). apartheid set the white race ahead of blacks, mixed and native people ('indians' was the term used when it was created - and it was created a year earlier than the date gil troy gave). in addition to that, apartheid as a legal system derived from the earlier colonial system which gil troy also didn't know.

jimmy carter has used 'apartheid' in the title of his book and gil troy attempted to discredit the points carter makes by distorting apartheid so it does matter. he built a large chunk of his argument on south africa's apartheid system and he should have known what he was talking about.

especially since he seemed laughable and attempting to outrage people by saying 'it's not fair to those who suffered under apartheid in south africa to call it apartheid.' that's not a direct quote but he made that point repeatedly.

he was trying to turn it into a 'jimmy carter's insulted those who suffered under apartheid.' that's not what carter does and gil troy damn well knows that as sure as he knows where to find the cheapest buffet in any town he visits.

what was insulting was hearing gil troy lie about apartheid.

since he's outraged by the term, let me use it: israel has practiced apartheid and is attempting to do it even more.

palestinians, he claimed, were just blood thirsty people wanting to kill-kill-kill.

like those native to south africa, palestinians were in what is now israel before israel was created. they lost territory immediately and that has only continued. the 1968 war had israel stealing land and that land has never been returned despite the seizure being in violation of international law and condemned around the world.

the latest development is the wall and as norman finkelstein spoke quite well on this. he noted that this is nothing but walling in palestians. that's all it is. they haven't chosen the borders, the borders are forced on them and they are denied access, by how they are drawn up, to the resources of the area. (and of course the wack-job mode of the israeli government knocked out the electricity plant this summer and it's still not repaired.)

think of the wall not as a security measure (though gil troy believes it is - i didn't think he was lying there, he truly believes it is for security) but as walling in palestinians into areas that become holding pens, areas they have no control over entering or exiting.

it is very clearly an apartheid system and, as norman pointed out, that term is used fairly common. even if it's a shock to gil troy.

that's it for me tonight. bully boy's lies have pissed me off.

i see kat's already posted on that and i think she captured the lies and the reaction most will have to them (most who've paid attention) beautifully.

finally, here's c.i.'s ' Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, January 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with the discovery of over 70 corpses reported, Bully Boy goes primetime (you bought a flat screen for that?), the US military announces the deaths of three more US troops, US war resisters get attention (no, not from The Nation), and BuzzFlash interviews activist and author Antonia Juhasz.

Starting with the speech to get it out of the way. Later today (9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm Central and 6:00 pm PST), Bully Boy will be making a speech where he will announce his intent to send more US troops into his illegal war despite having declared, on May 1, 2003, "
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Three years and eight months later, Bully Boy now wants to send more troops to Iraq. As Danny Schechter (News Dissector) wrote, "Today is the day when the Bush Administration takes its next big shot like some schoolyard bully determined that his way is the only way."

3018 US troops have died in Iraq and Bully Boy now wants to send more troops. Michael Abramowitz, Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported today that when Bully Boy met with Nouri al-Maliki (finally) in Jordan, "Maliki did not ask for more American troops as part of a new Baghdad security plan he presented to Bush, U.S. officials said. Maliki's idea was to lower the U.S. profile, not raise it." But now Bully Boy wants to send more US troops.

Iraqis want foreign troops out of their country, as polls have consistently demonstrated, and
The Lancet study estimated over 655,000 Iraqis have lost their lives during the illegal war. Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops.

Democracy Now! today, one Iraqi, Abu Haider, voiced his opinion, "All the stances of America are indications of negative positions towards society and its citizens.Their decisions and credibility are negative. They damaged this country. They said that they are here to spread freedom and democracy in Iraqi society but they did nothing but bring terrorism.” Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops. Abu Haider lives in Baghdad where most of the escalated troops will go (some, about a fifth, will also go to Al-Anbar Province).

The BBC World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds notes how the 'fresh start' (that's what the US administration is calling it) "has echoes of Vietnam in the belief that another push will get the job done" and notes five specific echoes -- "the realisation in Washington that it is not winning"; "trying to hand over responsibility to the local government in the midst of battle, not after it"; "belief by the US administration that more troops are an important part of the answer"; "opposite belief by others that the enterprise cannot work and that disengagement must be sought"; and ""in Vietnam too the president consulted and outside group -- they were called the Wise Men and, like the Iraq Study group, they too urged a policy designed to lead to withdrawal."

Speaking yesterday on
The KPFA Evening News, Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights and co-host of WBAI's Law and Disorder) declared, "Basically we can look at this in a few ways. One is you [Congress] can cut off the funding and that they have a constitutional right to do. Secondly, they could pass a resolution under the war powers resolution that repeals the authorization to use force in Iraq I think [Ted] Kennedy's argument is something. There better argument in Congress is to say 'We repeal the Iraq War Resolution' -- that would take away the president's authority. So Congress has remedies here. The question is are the Democrats going to be willing to stand up and take them or are they just going to talk? Kennedy, obviously, is going to do more than talk."

Ratner was referring to US Senator Edward Kennedy's speech to the National Press Club yesterday (see
yesterday's snapshot) where Kennedy called the illegal war in Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam" and spoke of "introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan." The speech can be found in full in Kate Phillip's blog post at the New York Times and Kathy Kiely's USA Today report on the speech contains links to the audio and video of it.

What Micheal Ratner was referring when he noted a second option the US Congress had is something that another Michael apparently slept through (
Michael Gordon of the New York Times), the reaction to Tricky Dick's announcement that he would bomb Cambodia led to a Senate vote to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which was followed by House of Representatives doing the same.

As Kennedy and other grown ups, including US House Rep. and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, attempt to address Bully Boy's non-stop, illegal war of choice,
Ron Elving (NPR) observes that: "Anti-war activists have gained ground -- both at the polls and in the polls -- over the past two months. A new Democratic majority is in place in Congress and surveys find well over half the public now wants to get the United States out of Iraq. Not one American in five supports the idea of sending more troops to fight there. Yet, before this month is over, opponents of the war will get a double does of disappointment" -- the first being Bully Boy's speech today and the second being, according to Elving, will be "the Democrats, empowered as the majority in House and Senate by dint of those November elections, will not be able to stop the greater troop committment."

Tom Hayden (Common Dreams) observes: "If and when the 20,000 Americans plunge into Baghdad neighborhoods, there will be dramatic television coverage of soldiers at risk. It is possible, though far from easy, to 'stabilize' a Baghdad neighborhood for several months or one year, carrying the surge into the next presidential cycle. The strategy fits the polling data showing only 21 percent of Americans favor immediate withdrawal, while the moderate middle might be open to an undefined new strategy if convinced it will shorten the war and bring the troops home. More likely, the ranks of the peace movement are likely to swell with people angry over the perceived betrayal by Bush of the November voter mandate. A failure by majority Democrats to prevent the escalation will convince more people to take to the streets or look to 2008 for a fix."


America Says NO Surge! President Bush is expected to give his "new direction in Iraq" speech this Wednesday, January 10th -- he wants to increase the number of troops on the ground in Iraq. We have to make it clear that Americans do NOT want more troops in Iraq and we have to act fast! True Majority has created a coalition called AMERICA SAYS NO. We will take to the streets together after Bush makes his expected call for escalation in Iraq. We need to stop this "surge" with a stronger surge of protest. Can you join an event this week and help stop the surge? Click here to find an event near you and if you can't find one create your own. Read our latest action alert for more details.

Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) speaks with US soldiers who, don't tell Bully Boy, don't see escalation as an answer in Iraq. Those who would like to listen to the Bully Boy's speech tonight or, at least, to hear an intelligent discussion of it, KPFA and WBAI will be carrying it live with Larry Bensky offering analysis and discussion with various guests which you can listen to online (free of charge, no quiz to take or membership to apply for). For those looking for something else to listen to . . .

In fact, the dispassionate tone of the "debate" about Iraq in The New York Times and on every television screen seems psychotically remote from the reality of what will happen if war actually occurs. We are talking about raining death down on human beings, about thousands and thousands of howling wounded human beings, dismembered corpses in pools of blood. Is this one of the "lessons of Vietnam" that people have learned--that the immorality of this unspeakable murdering must never be mentioned? That the discussion of murder must never mention murder, and that even the critics of murder must always criticize it because it turns out not to be in our own best interest? Must these critics always say that the murders would come at too high a price for us, would be too expensive, would unbalance the budget, hurt the economy, cause us to stint on domestic priorities; that it would lose us our friends, that it would create new enemies? Can we never say that this butchering of human beings is horrifying and wrong?

That is from
Wallace Shawn's Fragments from a Diary (written in 2003) and was among the pieces performed on WBAI's Theater Special: THAW ON THE AIR which broadcast Monday night and which is now in the WBAI archives (for a limited time) -- Jonah tells us it's filed under "Home Fries," Monday, January 8th, 9:00 pm. Those interested in the broadcast but unable to listen can check out Rebecca's report on it.

Turning to news of war resistance,
Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes of Ivan Brobeck. Yes, Ivan Brobeck -- the war resister independent media forgot. Or those who keep up. The Full Brobeck is a term the community uses to note what passes for coverage of war resisters in independent media -- so named when only KPFA's Flashpoints covered Brobeck when he returned to the US from Canada to turn himself on election day (November 6, 2006 -- day before the election -- is when the interview conducted by Nora Barrows-Friedman aired). Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes: "Lance Corporal Ivan Brobeck, Sergeant Ricky Clousing, Sergeant Kevin Benderman, Sergeant Camilo Mejia: each a veteran of the Iraq war, and each charged with desertion. Mr. Benderman, Mr. Mejia and Mr. Clousing were convicted, sentenced and have completed prison time. Mr. Brobeck is currently serving an 8-month sentence. Yet with government studies indicating that thousands of soldiers have deserted during the Iraq war, why are only a few charged, while so many others are basically ignored? This is not a new phenomenon. As communication has improved over the two centuries of America's life, the ability for war resisters to reach a wider audience has greatly increased. The four brave men listed above demonstrated their courage first on the battlefield. They then not only further showed their bravery by leaving the U.S. military -- a tremendously brave act in and of itself -- they went the additional step of speaking out publicly against the war. This, it seems, is what brought down the wrath of the U.S. government upon them."

In Peggy Got A Message For Me, From Jesus news: Wonderful article but can someone get it to The Nation -- with sections highlighted? ("Peggy Get . . ." line from Tori Amos' "Cooling" off To Venus And Back.)
Elaine will be addressing that topic this evening at Like Maria Said Paz. That topic? The Nation's refusal to cover war resisters.

William Hughes (San Francisco Indymedia) reports that, in a recent speech, Daniel Ellsberg opposed the escalation option (that Bully Boy will be pimping in the Big Speech), opposed expanding the war and "lauded Lt. Ehren Watada for his principled stand against the Iraqi war." Ehren Watada is the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, a pre-trial hearing began which preceeds the planned February 5th court-martial. John Catalinotto (Workers World) reports that Camp Resistance is across from Fort Lewis (where Watada is stationed) and "plans to stay until the end of Lt. Watada's court-martial" while there will be "nationally coordinated demonstrations for Feb. 5, the day his court-martial is scheduled to open."

Information about Camp Resistance can be found in The Nation. Did you laugh at that idea? Me too. Seriously, information about Camp Resistance can be found at
Iraq Veterans Against the War which has a page for it and other actions entitled Iraq Veterans Against The War Deployed with photos and blog posts.

Watada and Brobeck are a part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next week (MLK day). [Yes, that is a federal holiday and, yes, Congress won't be in session.]

And remember that
Lisa Brobeck is requesting people write her husband, war resister Ivan Brobeck, "so he is constantly reminded that he is not alone during this time in the brig and that he is supported in his brave and courages stand." The address:

LCPL Ivan S. Brobeck
MCB Quantico Brig
3247 Elrod Avenue
Quantico, Virginia 22134

In Iraq today -- all was calm and peaceful -- or to judge by the US media it was. In
reality . . .


Reuters notes a car bombing in Mahmudiya that took one life and wounded three other people; a bombing in Tal Afar that killed the bomber, 4 other people and left 11 wounded; near Tal Afar, a bombing "killed a child and wounded three policemen and one civilian"; and a bombing in Kirkuk wounded three people. Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports four "wounded in two roadside bomb attacks" in Baghdad, "one of which also ruptured a water pipeline supplying the impoverished Shiite slum district of Sadr City." Mohhamed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the bomb that ruptured the water pipeline was on Al Kanat Street and that "the pipe was destroyed which led to the cut of the water supply to sadr city."


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports: "Nine Iraqi Shiites coming home from Mecca after the annual hajj pilgrimage have been shot dead in cold blood by gunmen" amd also notes that "a woman and a male nurse" were shot dead in Mosul.


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) notes that 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that 8 corpses were discovered in Mosul, 4 in Mahaweel, 4 corpses were discovered in Qaim, and 1 in Iskandariya. (That's a total of 77 corpses discovered today.)

Today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained from a gunshot wound while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." And they announced: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

Ross Bynum (AP) reports that the Army's 3rd Infantry Division is preparing for their third deployment to Iraq in four years: "The 3rd Infantry, which has about 19,000 troops, is the first Army division to be tapped for a third deployment to the war. Barely a year has passed since its soldiers returned from their last yearlong rotation."

And the slaughter of Haifa Street continues (see
yesterday's snapshot). Leila Fadel and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) note that "residents from the predominantly Sunni Muslim area and Sunni leaders said the American forces had been duped by Iraq's Shiite-dominated security forces into participating in a plan to drive Sunnis from the area." CBS and AP note that "Haifa Street is a broad, two-lane thoroughfare that stretches northwest from the Green Zone through the heart of Baghdad along the Tigris river. Apartment buildings of up to ten sotries high line the street, with retail space on the ground level." AFP notes that, today, "troops were out in force on the streets and most residents stayed indoors" and, most importantly, that the assault took place approximately one mile from the Green Zone. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes Haifa Street "is virtually adjacent to the heavily fortified Green Zone".

Turning to the US,
BuzzFlash interviews Antonia Juhasz (author of THE BU$H AGENDA which they are offering as a premium) on the topic of the illegal war:

BuzzFlash: You're saying that the war in Iraq was as much economic invasion as it was a militarily one.
Antonia Juhasz: Yes, the two most important chapters of my book cover the economic invasion of Iraq and the Middle East trade area and point to what I think are the heart of the problems. The Bush Administration is pushing aggressively forward on rewriting Iraq's oil infrastructure to allow greater control and access to U.S. corporations for its oil under the ground, for exploration and production. I believe that's what's keeping the Bush Administration in Iraq and pointed towards having the United States military remain in Iraq.
Iraq isn't the end. One month after the invasion, the Bush Administration announced plans to expand the Middle East as a free trade area. That free trade pact is moving along quickly, with individual countries making deals with the U.S. out of fear of economic or military retribution. Included in those agreements are increased access to those countries' oil.
The Democratic Congress is going to have to be forced to address these free trade agendas, both in Iraq and across the Middle East, and to reject them. The occupation of Iraq has to end, but not just the military occupation, also the corporate occupation. The United States cannot use the stick of the war to press its own economic agenda across the Middle East. The results will be just as devastating to the rest of the Middle East as they have been in Iraq, and, of course, reverberate back to the United States.

A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College in Tacoma, Washington and Antonia Juhasz will be among those participating.
Others include Ann Wright, Denis Halliday, Daniel Ellsberg, Nadia McCaffrey, Darrell Anderson.

Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) take a look at the attacks on media (government attacks) in Iraq noting that the "press freedom index of the watchdog Reporters Without Borders" is lower now than it was before the start of the illegal war, the banning of journalists, the expelling of outlets (such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya) and being targeted "for reproting the growing resistance to the occupation."