quick post

BRITISH forces were on standby last night to re-enter the southern Iraqi town of al-Amarah after Shia militiamen loyal to the fundamentalist cleric Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr stormed several police stations.
Hundreds of Iraqi Army and police reinforcements have been rushed to the volatile town of feuding tribes and smugglers on the Iranian border. British troops withdrew from al-Amarah two months ago, after a daily bombardment of mortar fire. Commanders in Basra were assembling a force to rejoin the fray if the Iraqis could not secure the town.
"We're putting together a forces package here," said Major Charlie Burbridge, the British Army spokesman in Basra. He added that at least one police station in al-Amarah had been torched and another abandoned by its occupants. The British reinforcement contingent could include as many as 500 troops.
The town's descent into anarchy is a blow to British policy in the south. After the Army's withdrawal in August, troops patrolled the Iranian border in an effort to intercept weapons smugglers. The town was deemed stable enough to be transferred to Iraqi forces, but looters stripped the camp as soon as the British left.

that's from james hider's 'Forces ready to take back town' (times of london) and it's the story of the day and the story of tomorrow. there are some reports that a truce has been worked out but i also see stories that say it's still ongoing. whether it's resolved (or what passes for 'resolved') doesn't matter. this is the reality of iraq. it's the point c.i. was making last night in 'And the war drags on.'

it's the same battle over and over because there's no objective that's 'winnable.' the whole point is to continue the war, continue the occupation and america needs to grasp that real quick. as the american fatality count for the military nears 2800 and as an estimated 655,000 iraqis have died due to the illegal war, we need to face the fact that those numbers will never go down, they will only increase. the 4th year anniversary of the war is this march and we need to figure out how many years we're going to tolerate, how many deaths?

it's a war built on lies. a war of choice.

bully boy made the decision to start this illegal war but only we can make the decision to end it. as john lennon and yoko ono pointed out in 'happy x-mas' - 'war is over if you want it.'

i was looking for something to highlight and it's not that easy tonight. for instance, there's a writer i enjoy who has a new column. i liked most of the points made in it but i'm not a 'dude.'
do they not get, men, how insulting that is? they're writing their columns and you're nodding along and then they speak to the reader with 'dudes!' and i have to wonder do they think only men read them?

men like that won't get highlighted here. to me it's a sign of low self-respect for yourself to post something like that if you're a woman.

i had to save to draft because the discussion group was starting. we're on a break, i'm on a cigarette break, so while i smoke 1, i'm logging back in and attempting to finish this and get it posted.

so quickly, this is from autralia's herald-sun's 'Operation Backward Step:'

Operation Forward Together was considered a last-ditch effort to tame Baghdad, where violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims had reached unprecedented levels.
The plan involved pulling 12,000 American soldiers from elsewhere in Iraq and teaming them with Iraqi troops to go door to door in the most troubled suburbs and root out armed groups.
The suburbs were then to be the focus of campaigns promoting economic development.
The number of US soldiers and Marines killed in Baghdad has skyrocketed, and October may become the third-deadliest month for American service members since Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled in 2003.
US officials announced the deaths of two more soldiers and a Marine yesterday, bringing the month's toll to 73.
Maj-Gen Caldwell sounded despondent as he acknowledged the toll.

if you've forgotten, the crackdown (which c.i. has rightly pointed out began in june) was supposed to be 'the answer.' turned corner and all that b.s. but it didn't do that. it only made things worse. so the question is, those still believing the hype, what are they? are they battered spouses who think, 'next time, we'll talk, i won't be hit' over and over and over?

you get burned how many times before you learn? most americans have woken up to the reality that the war is going badly but i do wonder how many get that it's over? which reminds me of something i can pad this out with.

from 'Truest statement of the week' (the third estate sunday review):

The war is lost. The 'plan' is a joke. Maybe after Gordo comes down from his sexual high, he'll grasp that and also grasp that Tal Afar doesn't make for a good example?
-- C.I. from Thursday's "NYT: The war is lost but Gordie's hot for 'doggie style'," responding to Michael Gordon's laughable "Military Hones A New Strategy On Insurgency" (New York Times) of the same day. Reality checked war pornographer Gordo on Saturday with "Bomber attacks 'model' Iraqi city."

now here's c.i.'s "Iraq Snapshot:"

Friday, October 20, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; an area the British abandoned heats up; Rumsfeld's 'big fellow' vouches for his honor; Max Boot demonstrates he was cursed with not only porcine features but analytical challenges as well; Bully Boy's Iraq to Vietnam comparison continues to be discussed (and will continue); another US soldier dies today in Iraq bringing the total for the month to 75; Ramadi's parade/independence statement is echoed elsewhere in Iraq today.

Starting in Amara.
On August 24th, came news that too much violence, too many attacks, led British troops to exit Amara quickly. Spinning would continue August 25th and then it was largely forgotten. Today, actions in Amara have reminded why British troops left and left so quickly. Al Jazeera reports that "overnight clashes left 15 dead" and that the fighting continued today "after police arrested a member of cleric Maqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army on suspicion of killing a local intelligence officer in a bomb attack". Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that the town has been "seized" and that it's "one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said." CNN reports that 16 people have died and 90 wounded. They also speak with British military flack Charlie Burbridge who stated that between 200 and 300 people attacked two police stations in Amara Thursday. Christine Hauser (New York Times) reports: "The nearest British troops are now stationed more than 20 miles from the city" and that other police stations and "state facilities in Amara were attacked." On the subject of British troops, AFP reports: "A British battle group of 600 troops backed by attack jets and armoured vehicles is standing by to intervene if Iraqi forces need support" according to Charlie Burbridge (so take it for what it is worth).

Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that the militia have gain "control of entire neighborhoods" and notes theories that that a split between Maktada al-Sadr (whom some are linking the militias too) and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki could impact the "stability" of the puppet government. Meanwhile, James Hider (Times of London) notes: "As in Balad, militiamen set up roadblocks around the town and warned residents to stay indoors."

In some of the other violence today,
Reuters notes that one person died and three were wounded in Baghdad from a roadside bomb (Dora district). Also Reuters reports that one person was shot dead near Baiji and three others wounded. AFP reports that three people are dead and three wounded from an attack in Khalis.

It's Friday. News of violence trickles out slowly on a normal day. Events in Amara meant today wouldn't be a normal Friday.

In other news,
Frank Jordans (AP) reports that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that "914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003". This at the same time as Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports on the increased dangers in Iraqi hospitals both from the fact that the medical "system is breaking down" and also because of claims that "hospitals are now being used by al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia as its headquarters and hospital basements are used as prisons."

But no need to be concerned about any of the above. For one thing, Peter Pace is standing by his man.
AFP reports the US general said of Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, "He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country." God responds, "Don't blame that ___ on me!"

While Pace tells the world he's fond of his fella' Rumsfeld, Tony Blair warns the world that he's the house guest from hell.
Philip Webster (Times of London) reports that is bandying around the term "progressive withdrawal" and insisting that Iraqis won't be put out by foreign forces 'staying too long.' At three years and eight months, Blair's stayed too long at the fair and then some.

AP reports that Bully Boy's poodle-in-waiting, John Howard, declares there "is no reason to for international forces to quite Iraq". Pooh-pahhing Little Willie Caldwell's use of the term "disheartening" yesterday, Howard declared, "In any military operation, you have heartening and disheartening things". Backing him was Australia's former chief of the Defence Force, Peter Cosgrove, who doesn't believe that Vietnam and Iraq are anything alike. It helps his self-serving refusal to focus on the conflict in Indochine and the Indochina War which, for the record, wasn't the question put to Bully Boy on Wednesday. Possibly Cosgrove misunderstood the question?

For those confused, the
Khaleej Times brings you up to speed: "At last, President Bush has come to acknowledge what many in and outside US have been arguing for some time. That Iraq is increasingly looking like Vietnam. In a rare confession during his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulus, the president admitted that as in Vietnam, America faces 'a stepped-up level of violence' in Iraq. Stepped-up level of violence, Mr. President? This is an all-out and free-for-all bloody civil war, which has already claimed 655,000 Iraqi lives, as medical journal Lancet disclosed last week."

For anyone who may still be confused, from
yesterday's snapshot:

Starting with the Bully Boy. As
Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) noted, Bully Boy "drew a comparison between Iraq and the Vietnam war for the first time on Wednesday when he said Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columinst, 'could be right' in writing that the violent situation in Iraq was the 'jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive." Summarizing the interview, Ed O'Keefe (ABC) notes, "Bush said he could not imagine any circumstances under which all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of his presidency." Bully Boy doesn't seem to register of what his comparison would result in. Mark Tran (Guardian of London) walks readers through:
"Mr Bush has strongly resisted comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam remains a touchy subject for America; the war deeply divided the country, ended in an ignominious retreat for the US after the loss of more than 57,000 American lives, and has become synonymous with political and military debacle. The 1968 Tet offensive was a military failure for the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, but it turned American public opinion against the war and fatally damaged President Lyndon Johnson, who abandoned his re-election campaign two months later."

The 'crackdown' cracked . . . down. Up? The measure began in mid-June was supposed to secure the capital but violence not only continued in Baghdad, it increased. As
John F. Burns (New York Times) reported, Bully Boy "is now left with only a handful of tough and politically unattractive options" as a result of the cracked-up 'crackdown.' Michael Abramowitz and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported, "Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame." Despite that, CNN reports that White House flack Tony Snow has stated, "There will be no change in strategy." Bully Boy would publicly agree later in the day. Steve Holland (Reuters) reports that Bully Boy, deluded or in denial, insists there will be no changes while Democratic House Representative John Murtha notes: "We've lost the hearts and minds of the people and we've become caught in a civil war." CBS and AP report that Bully Boy's pushing a teleconference tomorrow "with U.S. generals" to determine what to do next. (Those who remember the infamous Hurricane Katrina teleconference will rightly shudder.)

Though Max Boot hasn't lost his heart (can't lose what you don't have), he appears to be losing his grip on reality.
Speaking to Michelle Nichols (Reuters), the balding gas bag offered that American troops dying in Iraq has a less of an impact than Americans dying in the Vietnam conflict due to the fact that today "the impact here is more isolated because so many soldiers come from military communities which are clustered in a handful of states." Oh really?

American troop fatalties? Alabama: 47; Alaska: 10; Arizona: 66; Arkansas: 35; California: 284; Colorado: 34; Connecticut: 22; Delaware: 12; Florida: 117; Georgia: 83; Hawaii: 13; Idaho: 16; Illinois: 107; Indiana: 56; Iowa: 33; Kansas: 31; Kentucky: 46; Louisiana: 63; Maine: 12; Maryland: 52; Massachusetts: 45; Michigan: 97; Minnesota: 39; Mississippi: 35; Missouri: 48; Montana: 12; Nebraska: 29; Nevada: 24; New Hampshire: 14; New Jersey: 47; New Mexico: 21; New York: 132; North Carolina: 63; North Dakota: 13; Ohio: 125; Oklahoma: 47; Oregon: 46; Pennsylvania: 135; Rhode Island: 10; South Carolina: 39; South Dakota: 17; Tennessee: 58; Texas: 245; Utah: 14; Vermont: 18; Virginia: 83; Washington: 53; West Virginia: 18; Wisconsin: 60; Wyoming: 7.

A "handful of states"? Can we get some talcum powder for Max Boot? His desk jockeys have apparently left his brain chafed.

The Booty's foolish remarks come as the
US military announces another death: a US soldier died in Baghad today from an IED. This death brings the total US fatalities in Iraq for the month of October to 75 and the total of US troop fatalities since the start of the illegal war now stands at 2788.

The news of the death comes as
Hamza Hendwai (AP) reports that the parade/declaration of independence earlier this week in Ramadi have now been echoed today "in a string of towns west of Baghdad . . . . the latest parades -- including two less than a mile from U.S. military bases -- were staged in support of an announcement this week by a militant Sunni Arab group that it had created an Islamic state in six of Iraq's 18 provinces, including the capital, Baghdad."


bo derek's 'acting,' pete seeger, iraq

t asked me to note fashion house before anything else tonight. she thinks morgan fairchild is doing an amazing job but has decided bo derek's had a face lift because everytime she says a word with a 'p' in it, her whole face wrinkles 'like it's been stretched as tight as it can be and collapses on that letter.' she asked me what i thought?

if she did have a face lift, the doctor should have refunded her money in full.

tonight she wore those stupid granny glasses perched on the end of her nose that only make her look even older than all the wrinkles.

she really is a train wreck both in terms of 'looks' and in terms of 'acting ability.'

t says they should sell the show this way: 'if you're feeling sad or blue, watch and laugh at bo. life could be worse, you could be bo derek.'

i had forgotten, until t brought it up, that a lot of african-americans were pissed about her ripping off a hair style for 10.

bo derek's acting career is like the iraq war, it gets uglier and uglier every day and it was a crime from the start.

now i hate the term of 'year of the woman.' let me be clear on that. every 10 years or so we get a 'year of the woman.' as if every other year of the nation's 230 year history belongs to men. it's like a pat on the head if you ask me. so with that objection noted, i wanted to highlight liz marlantes' 'War, Scandal Could Make This "Year of the woman"' (abc news):

Female candidates often seen as more honest than men.
They are leading the attack on ethics issues, vowing to clean up Washington, and reaching out to erstwhile "security moms" who have turned against the war.
Women candidates - mostly Democrats - may prove the biggest beneficiaries of this year's scandal-dominated headlines and the growing voter disgust with Congress.
It may not be another "Year of the Woman" exactly, but women are poised to make the biggest gains for their gender in Washington in years.
Among the most competitive House races, at least 17 feature a female challenger, raising the possibility that the House of Representatives could see double-digit gains in the number of women members.
In the Senate, a net gain by just one female challenger would put a record number of women in that chamber, surpassing the current record of 14.
There are two nonincumbent women with good shots at winning Senate seats: Democrat Amy Klobuchar, running for an open seat in Minnesota, and Democrat Claire McCaskill, challenging GOP Sen. Jim Talent in Missouri.
Among incumbent women senators up for re-election, two - Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. - have faced significant opposition, but both women are comfortably ahead in recent polling.
On top of all that, if Democrats seize control of the House, this year would likely usher in the first female speaker in the nation's history, Rep. Nancy Pelosi - a significant milestone for women in politics.

now i'm going to post something in full. this is pete seeger's 'A special message from Pete Seeger' (working families party):

Protest music has been around for thousands of years. It just leaks out every so often and helps make history. A group of young people and not-so-young people have gotten together to sing one of my songs that I wrote around 1965 about the Vietnam War. And they've done what I did a few years ago; they're singing it about the situation in Iraq. "Bring 'em Home!" You can watch them singing and share it with your friends right here: http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/bringthemhome
What they are saying is we need to send the politicians a message in a language they understand: election day votes. Here in New York, voting on the Working Families line is the best way to tell the politicians, bring them home, bring them home. We're in a very dangerous situation.
The problems in the Middle East are not going away -- they're getting worse. Churchill said, anybody who thinks, when they get into a war, that they know what's going to happen, is fooling themselves. With all the power that the American military establishment has, they still cannot predict all the things that are going to happen.
To quote Martin Luther King, the weakness of violence is that it always creates more violence. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. That's the message at the end of the song, "the world needs teachers, books and schools . . . And learning a few universal rules." I'm glad they left that verse in. Watch the video and then pass it on: http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/bringthemhome
There's a saying from William James a young friend painted on my barn. It goes: "I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for all those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual . . . like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride."
Apply this to the current situation:
Take this and share it with your friends and family. Technology will save us if it doesn't wipe us out first. We need to spread this message. Back in the sixties, I'd go from college to college to college singing songs. That's how folk songs were shared. Sure, some person who thought it was an unpatriotic song might boo, but a few seconds later he'd be drowned out by a few thousands voices who started cheering enthusiastically. Made the poor guy start thinking. Change comes through small organizations. You divide up the jobs: Some people sing bass, some sing soprano. Some copy the sheet music, others drive and pick up those who ride the subway. You take small steps. They all add up. Take a small step today. Here's your part: Tell your family and your friends about what we can do to send a message to the politicians to bring our troops home. And then vote on election day.
The very worst thing is for people to say: "My vote doesn't count. So why bother to vote at all?" Our votes do count. And if we vote to bring the troops home, they count even more. Let's bring them home: http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/bringthemhome
In solidarity,
Pete Seeger

if you don't know pete seeger, that's really been your loss. bruce springsteen released we shall overcome: the seeger sessions earlier this year. (click for kat's review.) the cd contains songs made famous by pete seeger. you can also check out seeger's own work.

i think the statement above captures it perfectly. that's how the peace movement has grown in the last years, people talking to one another. the media hasn't been interested in it. (big or small.) it's been people getting the word out.

i think about people who've been getting the word out and am in awe of how hard they've worked. i'll use c.i. as an example, this february, c.i. will have been going around the country speaking to groups for 4 years. 4 years. there's never been a month off. the 'lightest' month has probably had 'only' 12 engagements.

t and i have teamed up to speak to young women and that's going very well. we started that at the end of the last school year, took the summer off and are back to it now. i really do believe if we were all out there raising the issue, the movement would be even larger.

i know most of you are already raising the issue with your friends and in your classes. it's having an impact and i hope you will continue to do this because we can't count on the media. right now it's interested in iraq again. who knows how long that will last?

the movement is growing and we've got to keep it growing. that's the only way to bring the troops home and end the war.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone tries to spin, Bully Boy seems unaware (no surprise there) of how his comments comparing Iraq to Vietnam are being received, and Melanie McPherson faces a court-martial.

Starting with the Bully Boy. As Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) noted, Bully Boy "drew a comparison between Iraq and the Vietnam war for the first time on Wednesday when he said Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columinst, 'could be right' in writing that the violent situation in Iraq was the 'jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive." Summarizing the interview, Ed O'Keefe (ABC) notes, "Bush said he could not imagine any circumstances under which all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of his presidency." Bully Boy doesn't seem to register of what his comparison would result in. Mark Tran (Guardian of London) walks readers through:
"Mr Bush has strongly resisted comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam remains a touchy subject for America; the war deeply divided the country, ended in an ignominious retreat for the US after the loss of more than 57,000 American lives, and has become synonymous with political and military debacle. The 1968 Tet offensive was a military failure for the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, but it turned American public opinion against the war and fatally damaged President Lyndon Johnson, who abandoned his re-election campaign two months later."

As the comparison continues to be noted, the question is why Bully Boy, whose party has not just avoided the comparison but decried those making it, would offer the comparison? Possibly he was feeling nostalgic? He probably remembers those days in the trenches, in Alabama, when he self-checked out, with fondness and with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaking in Alabama, at Maxwell Air Force Base, that might have made him look back on his own 'misty, water colored memories'? Whatever the reason, this comparison, or the fact that the Bully Boy made it, won't fade away. No matter how Dana Perino and other flacks try to spin it.

It comes at a time when the US public has turned against the illegal war and when chaos and violence continue in Iraq.


The BBC reports a truck bomb targeting a police stations claimed the lives of 12 people in Mosul while, in Kirkuk, a car bomb outside a bank "as soldiers gathered at the bank to collect their salaries" claimed eight lives and left 70 wounded Al Jazeera reports on the Kirkuk bombing: "A large part of the bank building, two army vehicles and several nearby shops were set on fire by the explosion." On Mosul, AFP reports that there were "a whole series of apparently coordinated attacks going off every 20 minutes Thursday, including several suicide car bombs, mortar fire and small arms attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi police," counting ten in all, that the city is now under curfew and that, in addition to those dying in the truck bombing, four more people died during the waves of attacks. Ziad al-Taei (Reuters) reports that there were six bombers and updates the death toll to "at least 20 people" (eleven killed by the truck bombing and, in addition, "[n]ine charred bodies lay on the debris-strewn streets"). Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) reports "a huge fireball" and the truck was "an oil tanker [driven] into the Abu Tammam police station".

In Baghdad, home of the fabled 'crackdown,' China's People's Daily Online reports five dead and ten wounded in southern Baghdad as a result of three roadside bombs which are being seen as a "coordinated attack". The dead included two police officers and KUNA reports four more police officers died from "improvised explosive devices" in Kirkuk. Reuters reports that "near Mahmudiya" two people died from mortar rounds and four were left wounded while, in Mahmudiya proper, mortar rounds resulted in one family losing two members and three members being wounded.


Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports four police officers were shot dead in Dora during an attack on a police station, while, in Baghdad, Bassem Kadhim ("Police Brig.") was shot dead in front of his home. Reuters notes the Baghdad shooting ("Basim Qasim" is their spelling) and slo notes that a man was shot dead in Diwaniya, "an employee in the Ministry of Higher Education" in Baghdad was shot dead. On the topic of shootings, CNN has footage to "snipers in Iraq, targeting and killing American troops, taking them down with a single bullet from a high-powered rifle." (The footage is news. I'm sure it's also violent, that's your warning.)


Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that the corpses of three men and one woman were discovered in Bahgdad. Reuters notes that five corpses were found in Mahmudiya.

As all of the above goes on, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone grabs a feather boa and gets a wee bit giddier: William Caldwell IV, military spokespiece, attempts to spin. Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that Willie spoke to the press declaring: "In Baghdad, Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations in sustaining a reduction in the level of violence."
As Aileen Alfandary noted today (KPFA's The Morning Show), some will term that an "understatement." CBS and AP report that Little Willie declared, "The violence is indeed disheartening." Apparently before tossing the feather boa around his neck.

Many reports have the, the US joining the crackdown (the thing that hasn't "met . . . overall expectations") on August 7th. However, the 'crackdown' began in June. That's the reality. It's been juiced up, beefed up and through various versions but it's gone on since June. Little Willie will next entertain the press corps on Karaoke night by singing "What A Fool Believes."

That, all this time later, they're only now "reviewing strategy in Baghdad" (as Ibon Villelabeitia reports for Reuters), demonstrate that they've bought their own Operation Happy Talk. Simon Hooper (CNN) notes the comments of British historian Dominic Sandbrook: "What I would imagine America will probably do is what they did before [Vietnam] which is to slowly start withdrawing its troops. George Bush already talks a lot about training up people in Iraq just like Nixon did in Vietnam. What Vietnam teaches us is that sometimes there is no easy answer, there is no strategy for success -- You can get into something and there is no way out."

Joshua Levs (CNN) notes that despite attempts at Happy Talk by the puppet of the occupation, "CNN journalists in Baghdad found these steps by al-Maliki -- like many other announced over they years -- have shown no impact." CNN also notes, of the release of Sheikh Mazen al-Saedi, that "[r]eporters wanted to know why the release occurred. One asked whether such a raid is making soldiers' jobs more difficult and whether the U.S.-led coalition can succeed if the prime minister doesn't allow arrests to be made." As noted in yesterday's snapshot, al-Saedi was taken into custody by US forces, Nouri al-Malliki decided he needed to be released and Iraq's minister of the interior drove al-Saedi back to the Sadrist office. Kirk Semple and John F. Burns (New York Times) report that this "rapid release" has "provoked a new wave of exasperation among American officials and military commanders, who have made little secret of their growing doubts about Mr. Maliki's political will or ability to stop the killings."

Turning to legal news Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports: "U.S. service members will face military trials in three separate cases for the murders of Iraqi civilians, including the gang rape and murder of a teenage girl and the killing of her family in their home in Mahmudiya, the military said on Wednesday." Roberts notes these trials include the case of "shot dead 14-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi's father, mother and six-year-old sister in Mahmudiya, near Baghdad, in March" which involves allegations of rape against Jesse Spielman and Paul Cortez while James Barker is now cooperating with the prosecutions (military as well as the federal prosecution that Steven D. Green faces because he had been discharged from the military before the charges surfaced).

In other legal news, a US soldier elected not to go to Iraq and her story is a new one for this community. Randy Furst (Minnesota Star Tribune) reported last week on Melanie McPherson. McPherson self-checked out of the US military in July of this year and turned herself in September -- the reasons for her self-check out was that the reservists was not given training for the assignment she was facing in Iraq (MP). McPherson left a note that read: "Please fly without me. I love my country. I was hoping to use my God-given talent, not just be a bullet catcher." McPherson has posted her own statement and notes that she joined the Army Reserves (May 1999) "as a journalist." McPherson also posted a timeline which we'll note here:

August 16, 1999

Joined Army Reserves. 8-year contract; 6 years as a Reservist, 2 years as an Inactive Ready Reserve

January 2000

Reported for Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC

April 2000

Attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for Journalism at Fort Meade, MD

August 2000

Graduated AIT
Joined the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort Snelling, MN with the Mobile Public Relations Department

August/September 2000

Attended two-week ULCHI Focus Lens Annual Training in South Korea

October 1, 2001

Moved to Vermont to work with Eckerd Youth Alternatives as a counselor for youth whom commited sexual offences

Summer 2002

Attended two-week Public Affairs exercise in Germany

May 15, 2002

Changed soldier status from Army Reservist to Inactive Ready Reservist

May 15, 2002 April 1, 2006

No military involvement

April 1, 2006

Received orders dated March 28, 2006, to report to Fort Jackson, SC on May 28, 2006, for an 18-month tour with Operation Iraqi Freedom (O.I.F.)
Orders for mobilization with 131st MPAD had been cancelled a month prior on March 4, 2006
Military contract extended from original exit date of May 27, 2007, to November 23, 2007, for fulfillment of O.I.F. orders
Assigned to the 131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) out of Mobile, AL

May 28, 2006

Reported to Fort Jackson, SC
Received orders while at Fort Jackson to report to a MOPERS non-unit at Fort Meade, MD on July 8, 2006

July 8, 2006

Reported to Fort Meade, MD

July 14, 2006

Received new orders to integrate into the National Guard 34th Brigade (BDE) 1st Infantry Headquarters (IN HHC) stationed in Iraq since March 2006
Ordered to report to the CRC 875th RC at Fort Bliss, TX on July 23, 2006, for movement to Kuwait en route to joining the 34th BDE 1st IN HHC in Iraq

July 23, 2006

Reported to Fort Bliss, TX

At this point, McPherson learns from someone she trained with (who is serving in Iraq) that he was shoved into a position he wasn't trained for, so she "went to the Commander and 1st Sgt. of the CRC who are in charge of processing soldiers" commanding officer who made a phone call with Melanie McPherson present during which the Commander made statements into the phone such as "How could they put her into the position of a military police officer? It just doesn't make any sense!"

Ignored by the Commander and with "less than 24 hours away from our departure to Kuwait en route to Iraq," McPherson decided to self-check out. That's a summary. Click here for the full statements (and scroll down). We'll close with the last paragraphs of her statement:

The command has also gone so far as to accuse me of encouraging other soldiers not to deploy. This is a very false accusation.
I respect the selfless service soldiers are willing to commit to in regards to their feelings of betterment for humanity and national safety. However, I also support soldiers who feel like they are not able to perform their assigned duties in the Army because of medical conditions, family issues, personal beliefs and legalities related to war, like Lt.
Ehren Watada's case, or circumstances such as the case of sexual harassment and assault SPC. Suzanne Swift is facing. They both have valid stances. I can also greatly relate to the prominence of sexual harassment females endure while in the service. It can run rampant. I hope she can heal and overcome such events. I, myself, have a long and documented history of severe depression since my teen years. Despite that documentation and myriad medications over time, I found that a medical discharge would be highly unlikely.
The military is not for everyone. It is difficult to predict what will take place once a person signs the dotted line. There are many unknowns until we are actually faced with them. When a situation does surface, it is very difficult to resolve without being ostracized or severely punished.
Due to my decision to take matters in my own hands by going AWOL, the CRC command recommended I face a summery court marshal. Their plans were to drop my rank from an E-4 to an E-1, take a month's pay, confine me to prison for 30 days, and then recycle me and send me over to Iraq to face the same situation I originally fled.
I decided to deny the summery court martial. I will be assigned either a general or special court martial in the coming few weeks or months for the charges of missing movement and desertion. I face several years in prison.
The decisions I have made are not only for my benefit, but also for the fair and better treatment of soldiers coming up who will face similarly difficult situations. We are regarded as the best military in the world. I believe we should make it better and safer for those that serve our nation. They absolutely deserve it.


short post

staring later than usual tonight for 2 reasons. i called ruth to see how the post was going ["Guns & Butter (Ruth)"] and she was just posting but having problems with blogger/blogspot so we figured that out. and then we were talking for a bit. she was tired or we'd still be talking. she was trying not to yawn and i said, 'ruth, go to sleep.' i'm going over to her house friday morning anyway so we can catch up then.

the 2nd reason was the fly boy finds the worst tv shows. and then he wants you to watch them with him. he is not a couch potato but, at least once a week, he manages to sit in front of the tv and find something hideous. then he's hollering for me to come watch. i'm going to suggest it to ava and c.i. so i'll stay silent on what it is just now. but it was hideous.

in addition to that, we really do watch fashion house to enjoy how hideous bo derek is. i'm serious, we probably watch it at least once a week. sometimes twice. that's really it for our tv watching. although i do find that i've gotten used to having it on with the sound down. (shades of college days.)

3rd reason i'm late posting. i saved to draft. after the above paragraph and fly boy and i went for a walk.

that was nice because i love fall (and i love winter).

and c.i. just called with something to pass on. this is from nancy a. youssef's '11 more U.S. troops reported killed in Iraq' (san jose mercury news):

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military announced Wednesday that 11 American troops had been killed in Iraq since Tuesday, mostly in Baghdad, the apparent result of the United States' latest attempt to quell intensifying violence in the capital.
So far, 70 American troops have been killed in Iraq this month. If the death toll continues at this rate, the monthly tally will be the highest since November 2004, when the U.S. military staged an offensive on the Iraqi city of Fallujah and the number of Americans killed during the month was 137.

this is 11 total for what the u.s. military announced for wednesday. the 10 in the snapshot i'll post below is included in the 11. there's been 1 more death announced, in baghdad. speaking of the snapshot, ramadi declared today it wasn't part of iraq. can condi rice call it 'civil war' yet?

the illegal war should never had been started (which is why they need lies to sway the public) but not only did they lie their way into war, the administration made a huge mess of everything. it's past time that troops were brought home. 70 for the month, 70 deaths. i don't know how any 1 can keep saying u.s. troops should stay. like michael franti sings 'it's time to go home.'

and i think that point is made in david lindorff's 'Even Republicans Flee Bush's Failed Middle East Policy' (counterpunch):

Well, so much for Iraqi "sovereignty." So much too for "staying the course" and for "fighting the terrorists there so we won't have to fight them here." And while we're at it, so much for all the young Americans who've tragically given their lives or their bodies and health in the interest of advancing President Bush's criminal political agenda.
We saw the true nature of Iraqi "sovereignty" when it was disclosed that a worried Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier this week made an anxious phone call to Bush to ask whether rumors he had been hearing were true that Bush was planning on replacing him. The call made it clear that Maliki knows he serves in his role solely at the pleasure of the American president. In saner, more honest times, the media would refer to such a situation as colonial, but our lapdog media just plays the game and talks about Iraq as if it were a sovereign nation.
Maliki also asked the president if it was true that the U.S. was planning on pulling the plug on the Iraq occupation. The president reportedly reassured his worried puppet that he was not going to undercut him, and was not about to withdraw US troops, but if I were Maliki, I'd heed the lesson of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, who was assured of US backing even as the CIA was making arrangements to have him assassinated and replaced by another thug.
As for "staying the course," this president who has spent the last four years accusing congressional opponents of the war and advocates of a quick withdrawal of treason and cowardice, of being "cut-and-run" Democrats, is being advised by Republican fixer James Baker that he should either cut and run, withdrawing US forces from Iraq and recognizing the obvious failure of his grand imperialist scheme, or he should invite those two Axes of Evil, Iran and Syria, to come in and pacify the place.

now even the myth of 'democracy' goes up in smoke and flames. i'm reminded of cindy sheehan's question. do you remember it? 'what noble cause?' bully boy said that the troops who had died had done so for a noble cause. casey's mother, cindy, wanted to know 'what noble cause?' it's a question more should have been asking sooner but there's no reason to not ask it now except denial.

it's past time the administration owned their illegal actions and brought the troops home.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Wednesday begins with the news of ten more US toops dying (on Tuesday) in Iraq; step back, Tricia, Bully Boy's now the Littlest Nixon; while Bully Boy gets cover the Poodle and the Puppet stumble; and the so-called coalition of the willing continues to dwindle.

Reuters reports that Slovakia will be leaving the coalition and taking all but 11 of their 110 troops with them and quotes Robert Fico (prime minister) stating, "Slovak soldiers can start packing their stuff because they have to be home in Feburary 2007".

Their eyes are all asking

Are you in, or are you out
And I think, oh man,
What is this about?--
"In or Out" written by Ani DiFranco

Slovakia is out. The Poodle? He's trying to hang on as prime minister of England.
AFP reports that Tony Blair "admitted" that troops might be "exacerbating" the continued chaos and violence in Iraq and might act as "provocation" for other acts of violence. It has not been an easy time for the Poodle. As his leaked schedule pointed out, he was supposed to be glad handing and in the midst of a publicity blitz. Instead, questions dog him. The questions continue due to Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reporting British Brigadier Ed Butler's comments on the Afghanistan fighting in light of also declaring war in Iraq "meant British soldiers faced a much tougher task now." This follows on the heels of last weeks criticism by British General Richard Dannatt and Colin Brown (Independent of London) reporting yesterday that England's Home Secretary, John Reid, had admitted the wars were "radicalizing young Muslims." Reuters notes: "Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush are facing a barrage of criticism over Iraq as the death toll rises." Well at least they have each other (who else would have them), right? Or maybe not.

The puppet of the occupation? Is Nouri al-Maliki taking Bully Boy's promise that the US will not set a timetable for withdrawal of US forces too seriously? Probably so. The
BBC reports that al-Maliki "ordered the release of a senior figure in the orgainsation headed by radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr." AFP observes the release is "another setback for US plans," notes that Sheikh Mazen al-Saedi was not only released but also "driven to a Sadrist office by the ministry of the interior." This at the same time that nearly 3,000 Iraqi police officers have been fired for breaking the law and/or derelicition of duty and, as Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reports, on the firing of the "two most senior police commanders from their posts" following the earlier "suspension of an entire Iraqi police brigade . . . on suspicions that some members may have permitted or even participated in death squad killings".

As the puppet government's concept of '
justice' continues to be questioned, al-Maliki holds dear to Bully Boy's promise that he's not planning on pulling his government's support. The puppet would do well to grasp he's dealing with the Littlest Nixon and that it's election time in the US. Or, as Jim Lobe (IPS) puts it, "If Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki were inclined to bet his life on President George W. Bush's latest assurances that there will be no timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, he should probably give it a second thought." After all, Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reports the strangely time re-emergence in Iraq of CIA-puppet and former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, while Paul Reynolds (BBC) and Julian Borger (Guardian of London) attempt to cover the strangely leaked 'plan' coming out of the James Baker study group which boils down to (a) involve Syria and Iran or (b) redeploy US troops so they're stationed outside of Iraq but able to 'swoop in' in hit-and-run type actions. The feasibility of either option is doubtful but, if Baker sings "I will be your father figure" loud enough, the hope is that it will appear Bully Boy has a 'plan' or is being handed a 'plan.' It's the Nixon playbook and why, despite Baker's many statements that nothing would be released before the election, the 'plan' has been leaked. It's also why Baker drew attention to his study group in the first place -- certainly not the smartest thing to do if you're hoping to keep it quiet.

Violence and chaos continue in Iraq.


CBS and AP report that a roadisd bomb killed four body guards and Ali Qassim al-Tamimi ("head of intelligence for the Maysan provincial police force") as they traveled between Amarah and Basra. AFP reports the death of three Iraqi soldiers (with three more injured) -- victims of a bombing in Kirkuk. Reuters notes a car bombing in Iraq that left five wounded ("central Baghdad") while "[a] car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol in central Baghdad" left five people wounded.


AFP reports the shooting death, in Suweira, of "a guard escorting an electricity company repair team". Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad.


AFP reports that three corpses were discovered in Suweira. Reuters reports that a police officer's corpse was discovered "between Kerbala and Hilla."

CBS and AP report: "Local Sunni and Shiite leaders were meeting in an attempt to resolve the fate of more than 40 people missing since their 13-car convoy was waylaid at a checkpoint on Sunday outside Balad, where almost 100 people were killed in five days of sectarian fighting. The head of Iraq's security commission angrily accused the government of failing to resolve the crisis."

All the above as
IRIN notes that Iraqi children aren't able to attend school due to the violence: " . . . only 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students are currently attending classes. This compares to approximately 75 percent of students attending classes the previous year, according to UK-based NGO Save the Children." Also while Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that Ramadi has been 'staked': "Dozens of al Qaeda-linked gunmen took to the streets of Ramadi on Wednesday in a show of force to announce the city was joining an Islamic state comprising Iraq's mostlly Sunni Arab provinces, Islamists and witnesses said." Doesn't sound like something the Jimmy Baker Study Group planned for -- quick, someone order them some juiceboxes and fruit rollups so they can get back to 'work.' "Secession". Someone help Condi to her feet, sounds like "civil war" just became official.

Last week,
The Lancet published the study on Iraqi deaths since the start of the illegal war and arrived at the estimate that the war had cost the lives of approximately 655,000 Iraqis. Dr. Curren Warf (at Consortium News) examines the study and notes that "the media has been unable to find a scientist critical of the study, [so] they've turned to policy wonks with literally no expertise in the health scienes." Those having questions about the study or wanting to learn more can attend The Medical Consequences of the War in Iraq: Health Challenges Beyond the Battlefield this Saturday (Oct. 21st) at the Grand Ballroom, Ackerman Union, UCLA -- registration for the conference begins at 8:30 a.m.(registration is $25) and the conference will last until 5:30 p.m. Dr. Warf will be among those attending. Also noting the study, Robert Scheer (Truthdig) concludes: "The point is that it is time for the Iraqis, like the Vietnamese, to make their own history. They can hardly make a worse mess of it."

Scheer's point is dead on but maybe it's hard to recognize reality in the Green Zone?
James Hider (Times of London) provides Green Zone in a snapshot: "In the US-protected fortress, Iraq's Government huddles, riven by sectarian splits and cut off from its terrified people. Inside their bubble ministers live in comparatively luxurious compounds, each sectarian bloc divided from the next by barricades. They are hard to reach by telephone. Some spend more time outside the country than in it."

Today, the
Washington Post reported that ten US troops died in Iraq on Tuesday (US military announced the deaths on Wednesday). The deaths are 'honored' by the US Defense Dept., Heather Wokusch (GNN) reports, which "quietly announced on Monday that mandatory anthrax vaccinations would resume for military personnel and civilians deploying to 28 countries across the globe and even for some based in the U.S." Prior to the illegal war in Iraq, one of the hottest topics within the military, for many years, had been the forced anthrax vaccinations. Don't suggest Donald Rumsfeld doesn't care . . . about screwing everyone over.

Turning to peace news,
Ehren Watada's father has now done two speaking tours to raise awareness of his son's case. NBCSanDiego.com reported on his Monday appearance noting that: "If he [Ehren Watada[ is found guilty of all charges, he could get eight years in prison." Pam Wight (San Gabriel Tribune) reports on Bob Watada's Thursday engagement at First Friends Church and quotes Bob Watada stating: "After the Nurember trials you can't use 'I was just following orders' as an excuse anymore. He started thinking that he would be complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity for participating in an illegal and immoral war." More information on Ehren Watada and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

And we'll close with this from
Yuri Loudon (Internationalist Magazine)'s interview with Howard Zinn, Zinn explaining the illegal war: "The government set out to present false information. Colin Powell presented a detailed account of Hussein's WMDs, probably the most compact assembly of falsehoods that have ever been uttered in front of the United Nations. They then bombarded the public, aided by an uncritical press, with information that led them to believe that the United States was somehow in imminent danger and that we had to go to war. There was a barrage of information given to the public by the government, and then repeated by the press. This is clear evidence that the government cannot depend on the public's natural instinct to go to war; they have to work very, very hard; they have to propagandize and persuade them [the public] that war is necessary."


gail collins is on her way out - good riddance

betty's 'The Queen Bee Gets Stung' took a comic look at how gail collins (out in january as the editor of the editorial and op-ed pages) has done nothing. i couldn't agree more. i laughted at the chapter, it's very funny, but i nodded in agreement as well.

mainly because of the crap that made it into this morning's paper on gail's beat. c.i.'s 'SAFIRE WANTS OUT, THE TIMES WANTS A PHOTOSTAT COPY OF SAFIRE, WHY IS THAT?' charted the nonsense of the op-ed pages sometime ago. december 2004, in fact. gail collins didn't do damn thing for women. there were 2 spots filled on the op-ed page in the last 2 years. spots she had some say in. bill keller became executive-editor of the paper and his spot had to be filled. gail collins replaced middle of the road keller with david brooks, a right leaning white male. william safire retired and he was replaced with john tierney. if you're lost, the paper replaced a center columnist and a right leaning 1 with 2 right leaning 1s. that's what the 'breakthrough lady' gail collins gave you. that's her accomplishment.

she made the op-ed pages lean more right and she made sure that they continued to be white and male.

she got applause from women when she grabbed her token spot. she didn't deserve it.

she's worthless.

she's not even a whore. a whore works.

she was a kept mistress.

she was the paper's mistress doing whatever they wanted her to do.

and when she got too long in the tooth, she found out what many a 'other woman' had found out before, you're replaceable.

gail collins has been replaced.

and the new editor of the editorial & op-ed pages starts in january.

to no 1's surprise, it's a man.

it is 2006 and gail collins had a say in replacing 2 columnists, regular 1s who appear in the paper twice a week. she could have looked around and said, 'i only have one woman' and improved that. she could have looked around and said, 'i only have 1 person of color' and improved that.

instead she offered up 2 white, male, right-wingers. and she didn't have to.

even if safire's retirement meant that she needed a right-winger, bill keller was middle-of-the-road and there was no reason to replace him with a right-winger.

now gail collins didn't fight. she didn't fight for women, she didn't fight for people of color.

she was a tepid editor. she hemmed and hawwed and went along with what others wanted.

while she had power, roughly 6 years, she could have used to have made a difference but, as she said in that laughable e-mail that circulated in 2003, she doesn't care about gender, she looks for the best writer.

well then maybe she shouldn't have whored herself out for accolades from women and women's groups about how she was a '1st'?

she was a joke, reading that e-mail was to laugh at that stupid, stupid girl. not woman, girl.

and it was no surprise to anyone who read that e-mail that she would do nothing to help women.
and she hasn't.

and now she's trying to save face by acting like she wanted out.

so she can write another bad book about 'historical women.' save it gail. and no feminists better praise her crappy writing the way some did with the last book.

she's no better than phyllis the shaf-fly. when she had power, she refused to use it.

now, to save face, she's going to try to present herself, yet again, as a feminist.

i don't think the term's elastic.

i don't care her badly written clip-job books are about. i care whether she tried to make a difference and she didn't.

she went along, she didn't make waves and the fact that she was a '1st' ended up being wasted.

another woman, 1 committed to the present, would have argued up and down that it was shameful that the paper had only 1 regular columnist of color and 1 regular columnist that was a woman.

she would have noted that white males already were over represented on the op-ed pages with frank rich, paul krugman, bill keller (then david brooks), thomas friedman, nicholas kristoff, and william safire (then john tierney).

she would have said: 'women do not make up 1/8 of the adult population so why do they make up only 1/8th of our regular columnists?'

but she kept her mouth shut like a good little girl. so it's too damn late for her to try to bore us with another bad book that she'll try to sell by claiming it's something feminists should love.

feminists are aware that there are races, not just 1 race. not just white. they are aware that there is asian-american, that there is african-american, that there is . . .

but gail collins, who'll be trying to play the feminist card to sell another bad book, couldn't be bothered with that.

she couldn't be bothered with fighting or with making a case.

she just, as betty's chapter pointed out, banked her check and let things stay as they were. actually she let them get worse because times readers ended up with an extra right-winger.

john tierney who writes like an idiot and looks like an idiot. today he flaunts his stupidity by arguing wal-mart deserves the nobel peace prize in 'Shopping for a Nobel' and he lies through his teeth to do so and omits every known fact. he claims wal-mart is good for business but fails to note that their demands are breaking vlassic pickles and have already resulted in a bicycle company shutting down. he claims that they lift workers from poverty. which is why wal-mart advised workers to get on food stamps? oh, he leaves that out. he leaves everything out.

and gail collins can tell herself whatever lie she wants but considering the sex discrimination in wages and promotions that have led to so many law suits against wal-mart, the fact that the man (1 of 2) that she ushered in wants to ignore sex based discrimination is her fault. she needs to accept it. and women don't need to cover for her.

she was a 1st? well she was a worst. that link goes to ava and c.i.'s nah-nah-nah sisterhood and that captures gail collins perfectly. she was elevated and instead of attempting to lift even 1 woman up (as a regular columnist), she was happy to reinforce the out of date stereotypes by ushering in 2 white males.

she should be ashamed of herself and, when she tries to book tour her next piece of crap, she should face tough questions about that, about how she failed women and about that laughable e-mail where she went on and on about how she didn't believe in hiring a woman to replace maurren dowd (who was on vacation). she didn't think it was important that while maureen dowd was gone (for weeks) that any woman be brought on. she didn't care about role modeling or making sure that women, especially young females, got the message that there was a place for them in writing columns. her desire was to hire the best.

and, no surprise, the best didn't include any women.

that e-mail getting circulated forced her, when thomas friedman went on vacation, to use 2 women during his lengthy vacation.

when it hit my inbox, i sent it out to every 1 in my address book and 1 woman wrote back that maybe it wasn't fair to circulate it? well it was fair. and thank god to the person who 1st was willing to circulate it.

the fact that it went around and around and around embarrassed her enough to use some women (to fill in for 1 male). and then? and then she lost interest again.

she was riding the easy high that the uninformed gave her, praising her decision as progressive when all it was was face saving.

2 columnists stepped down while she was in charge. she could have brought the op-ed pages into this century. instead she gave more of the same. a man could have done that, any man. so she doesn't deserve to be praised for being a '1st' when all she did was hold down the line, all she did was push the glass ceiling down a little further.

she's a disgrace as any sort of feminist (which only gets loosely claimed when it's time to schill for her bad books) and she's lost the right to use that term in my book.

it's not elastic. she had a chance to make a difference and instead she did what the most sexist man in the world would: hold down the line.

there was nothing brave about that, there was nothing feminist about that.

when women refuse to help other women, they stop being feminist. betty rightly writes about how it wasn't feminism, it was gail collins-ism. that's all it was.

she made no difference. she helped no 1 but herself.

so when she tries to help herself to your hard earned cash and you read some fool tell you that her book on frontier women (or whatever topic she's going to doodle about) is a purchase to make in the name of feminism, realize that she's gotten enough applause already and she never earned any of it by helping other women. she just helped herself.

if that's too difficult for you to grasp, grasp this: before the illegal war started, she turned down a column by a woman. it was against the war. well, you say, there are a lot of submissions to go through. this column? the author? alice walker.

remember that. she, who wasn't concerned about adding color or women to the op-ed pages, turned down 1 of the most noted authors in america. no surprise, it was a woman, a woman of color. alice walker is also a best seller, she's also a pulitzer prize winner. that's what gail collins did, she kept women off the op-ed pages, no matter their honors, no matter their merits.

gail collins was in it for gail collins. she demonstrated that over and over.

she can play the face saving 'i'm leaving for my book' but every 1 knows she was fired. she'll reutrn with the occasional column. she was fired. and i won't pretty it up or pretend like she made a damn bit of difference in all her years in charge. what she did do was allow the times to add 2 more white males and hide their racism and sexism behind the fact that a woman had the title of 'editor'.

she was the mistress providing the alibi.

closing with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Tuesday, October 17, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US "officials" issue statements and watch how Balad gets rewritten, an estimated 3,000 Iraqi police officers are told "no job!", and Cindy Sheehan focuses on the numbers that matter (and unlike the big news orgs, doesnt' feel the need to rewrite them).

On the slaughter in Balad, Al Jazeera magazine notes a "New York Times editorial". It's not an editorial, it's a report by Michael Luo. It's a report that the Times is now hiding online and have replaced with a new version. The original is entitled "Iraqis Ask Why U.S. Forces Didn't Intervene in Balad." That's the print headline and the headline if you use the link. But that story doesn't show up on the Middle East page of the website. Instead, a weaker version entitled "Fighting in Iraqi Town Killed Over 60, U.S. Says" with John O'Neil appearing in the byline and also in the end credit "in New York"! Because, surely, to report on Balad, you need O'Neil in New York.

The original, with only Luo in the byline, reported: "Killing also continued to besiege the capital on Monday with the discovery of at least 64 bodies across the city, and two car bomb attacks that appeared to kill 22 people." The white-washed attempt to suck up to "officials" opens with: "The American military said today that more than 60 people were killed in four days of sectarian fighting in Balad . . ."

If you find that disgusting, and you should, take comfort in the fact that there's griping at the paper about the watering down of a fairly straight-down-the-middle report. The original may disappear from the website so if you're interested in what alarms "officials," check it out now. The whitewash tries to reassamble the article but mainly demonstrates how idiotic the paper is. Well over 60 people have died in Balad from Friday to Monday and that was reported by other US outlets -- mainstream sources. [Ellen Knickmeyer and Muhanned Saif Aldin (Washington Post) put it at 80 in their report in today's paper -- which, please note, the Post hasn't felt the need to rewrite to appease "officials."] The original article did not ignore the opinions of the military but, such is the reality of the war, "officials" need things distorted and, such is the cowardice of the paper, that "offiicals" must be appeased.

For those still attempting to follow Balad, CBS and AP report that "sectarian fighting in Balad . . . has killed close to 100 people" since it "began Friday with the slaying of 17 Shiite Muslim workers. Revenge-seeking Shiite death squads then killed 74 Sunnis, causing people flee across the Tigris River to the nearby Sunni-dominated city of Duluiyah." This as CNN also chases down 'official' pleasure, though they claim they're not revising earlier reporting, just noting what 'officials' say and, it is true, they do include this statement: "The number of deaths vary". Reuters harkens back to their earlier days (when they fronted for the US government as revealed during Congressional hearings in the wake of Watergate) by not even attributed their lowered figures to US "officials" or US "military." Monday, before 'official' statements, Ellen Knickmeyer and Muhanned Saif Aldin (Washington Post) reported: "By Sunday afternoon, 80 bodies were stacked in the morgue of the Balad hospital". But watch as the mainstream media grabs onto "official" statement and trashes all that was previously reported. Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that "at least 91 people" have been killed since Friday in Balad. A report the Times runs online but forgets to rewrite.

Those who watch network or cable news should pay attention to see who carries water for the administration and who notes the reality that was already well established in the mainstream (US) press reports. AFP reports that despite 'official' US claims, US forces are not in control in Balad and that, according to "Malik Laftah, the head of Balad city council," corpses are lying in the streets.

Let's note some of the reported violence but keep in mind that most outlets don't have the guts to stick with their own reporting in the face of a bold face lie from US 'officials' so who knows how the following will be rewritten?


Reuters, right now at this second because who knows how they'll cave tomorrow, reports that, in Baghdad, a car bomb killed killed two police officers and wounded nine, while a roadside bomb left five people wounded and that two different attacks with mortar rounds left a total of three people dead and and three wounded. CBS and AP report that "two Katyusha rockets" left twenty wounded in Baghdad. Al Jazeera notes a bombing in Karmah that claimed the lives of five Iraqi soldiers.


CBS and AP report that, in Hillah, one man was shot dead and five were wounded when "unidnetified gunmen attacked a facility belongint to the central Euphrates electricity distribution authority". They also note a home invasion in Balad Ruz that claimed the lives of "the mother and four dault sons" and left the father wounded; a drive by shooting in Falluja two police officers were shot dead. AFP reports that four students were shot dead in Basra and, also in Basra, "gynaecologist Dr Youssra Hashem became the latest female professional to be killed amid a rise in violence against women by conservative Muslim factions". Al Jazeera reports the shooting death of "a member of the Patriot Union of Kurdistan" in Mosul."


CBS and AP report that two corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("blindfolded and bound").

Now who knows what will be asserted tomorrow because some lose spines when officials' gums start flapping. Staying on those who buckle, last week, Richard Dannatt caused a stir with criticism of the Iraq war and the suggestion that it was time to pull troops. As Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) notes, "the new chief of the Britsh army" stated troops should leave because just being there "exacerbates the security problem." He buckled quicker than a media boardroom. Despite the fact that British soldiers strongly agreed with his statements.

Now, Lachlan Carmichael (AFP) reports that Tony Blair "has vowed to keep British troops in Iraq until their 'job is done' as her rejected claims that their presence fueled Muslim extremism at home and abroad." The report focuses on Blair and Dannat and apparently missed Colin Brown (Independent of London) reporting that: "John Reid, the Home Secretary, conceded last night for the first time that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have played a part radicalisizing young Muslims."

AFP also reports that Bully Boy went on Bloated Men & Bleached Women (aka Fox "News") to declare his opposition to dividing the nation of Iraq into three autonomous regions. Apparently, while cooing sweet nothings to Nouri al-Maliki on Monday, Bully Boy forgot to raise that issue (last week the parliament took another step in that direction). As Simon Tisdall (Guardian of London) notes, predicting "the worst is yet to come," "One sign came last week when the Shia parliamentary majority rejected Sunni opposition and passed a law allowing partion into autonomous federal regions. It is but a small step from there to national disintergration."

A little noted "official" statement by "US army Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Martindale" is covered by AFP, this is regarding the violence in Balad: "Marindale also, however, confirmed that two Iraqi police officers had been arrested for taking part in the massacre which triggered the orgy of violence." No, we're not returning to Balad -- the whole 'coverage' is too disgusting. But keep that in mind: two police officers were part of triggering "the orgy of violence." AFP reports that Iraq's interior ministry spokesperson (Abdel Karim Khalaf) held a press conference today to announce "that 1,228 [police officers] had been sacked for breaking the law while nearly 2,000 more were dismissed for derelection of duty."

The Interior minister is Jawad Bolani and, for those who've missed it, the militias are thought by some to have free reign via that ministry. Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reported, Saturday, that when reminded that his ministry has been "accused of complicity in sectarian death squad killings," Bolani denied it. Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) noted that not only did Bolani deny the accusations, he "blamed the Facilities Protection Service, or FPS, a massive but unregulated government guard force . . . . Bolani and his predecssor as interior minister, Bayan Jabr, both have minimized the possibility of any police involvement in the nightly killings."

Whether the purge, which also includes moving three police commanders to administrative jobs, is just an attempt to stop the questions from continuing to being asked or whether it's genuine, who knows? But it's worth remembering Rick Jervis (USA Today) reported Monday on how al-Maliki refused to addres disarming militas "until later this year or early next year".

While many supposedly brave press outlets fudge the numbers to please the US administration, Cindy Sheehan (at BuzzFlash) notes some other numbers: 4, 4, 655,000 and more. The first four is "Republican Congresspeople [who] have had to resign from scandals this past year" (Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay); the second four is the number of "staff members of the corrupt adminstration [who] have resigned in disgrace this year" (Andrew Card, Scooter Libby, Susan Ralston and Snotty McClellan) while 655,000 is the estimate for the number of Iraqis who have dies since the start of the illegal war as a result of the violence. She also reminds that Gold Star Families for Peace will be holding a sit around the White House November 7th and 8th and "Also, go to Progressive Democrats of America to sign the petition to support Congressman Jim McGovern's bill, HR4232, which cuts funding for the continuing occupation. Ending the funding is what stopped Vietnam. Let's cut Iraq off before it becomes as bad as Vietnam."

Also in peace news, Courage to Resist notes Ricky Clousing's statement to the judge in last Thursday's court-martial and sentencing: "My experiences in Iraq forced me tto reevaluate my beliefs and ethics. Ultimately, I felt like I could not serve." Clousing is a war resister and he will serve three months, be reduced in rank and then dishonorably discharged. Clousing took a brave stand and Courage to Resist notes:

Ricky is currently being held in a military brig at Camp LeJune in North Carolina and it is urgent that he receive your words of encouragement and support! Please write to Ricky today!

More information on war resisters who have gone public can be found at Courage to Resist.


lynne stewart

tonight on Flashpoints, they played a speech by lynne stewart and had michael ratner and michael smith on as guests to comment on the sentencing. stewart got sentenced to 28 months, not 30 years that the feds wanted. she's not required to report to jail in the immediate future so it's being seen as some sort of victory. i disagree because there was no crime committed and hopefully she will be win on appeal. but it is true that, after being convicted, the sentencing was a victory.

she's 67 y.o. and has cancer. bully boy, alberto gonzales and john ashcroft must be so proud of themselves. they're shameful and she should have walked. let me repeat, she did not break a law. find the law passed by congress that she broke and i'd say, 'okay, well she broke a law.' she broke a guideline. i don't think you convict people of guidelines. if it matters, it's a law. congress passes laws, not the justice dept.

c.i. and i were discussing this and c.i. had a really good point. 'ignorance of the law is no excuse.' that's what you hear all the time. if you break a law and you don't know about it, oh well. but a law has clear guidelines. it says what it is and you've got an idea of the punishment.

if i want to break the speed limit, i know that i can get a ticket. if i want to kill some 1, i know that murder is punished.

how can you convict some 1 of a guideline when the punishment is so unclear?

it's not a law. it's a guideline. it was created by the executive branch which has power only to enforce, not to make, laws. but stewart herself spoke of what she expected from the guidelines, best case scenairo and worst case. if an attorney with years of practice is unclear on the punishment for breaking a guideline, how are other americans supposed to know?

there's a reason congress was given the power to make laws. they can be debated and discussed openly. that allows people to have some idea of what may be coming down the line. the executive branch couldn't get their guidelines passed as law so they created it themselves (not their job) and they weren't even clear in what would be the punishment for those who broke guidelines.

if they want to create guidlines, they don't have the right to punishment other than 'you break it we deny you access to your client.' i don't think that's right but i can see how they could argue that they have that power. but they can't create laws that allow people to go to jail. creating laws is the job of congress.

instead the executive branch created a guideline that was unclear and should have no standing in a court of law.

i had planned to write about a few things tonight but i'm just furious that lynne stewart is facing any time at all.

i'll close with c.i.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, October 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Lynndie England speaks, Iraq's health care system continues to 'collapse,' Iraqi school children offer their opinions, Bully Boy makes another pledge that others will have to back up and, related note, two more US troops die in Iraq as CNN reports that the death count for 'coalition' forces has reached 3,000.

Starting with some of the reported violence in the continued chaos that is the illegal war.


Ibon Villelabetia (Reuters) reports that tweny people died in Baghdad as a result of two car bombings. CBS and AP note two more bombs, in Baghdad, that took the life of one police officer. Reuters reports three roadside bombs left three dead in Baghdad, while two security guards were wounded elsewhere (in Basra by "rocket-propelled grenades" and in Najaf by a roadside bomb). AFP reports a car bomb in Suweira left 15 dead and 35 wounded.


AFP reports that four people were shot dead in Khalis "near a bus terminal". Al Jazeera reports that Emad al-Farron ("brother of Munqith al-Faroon, the chief prosecutor in the genocide trial of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein") was shot dead in Baghdad. CNN reports that three poeple were shot dead in Muqdadiya. Reuters reports that a police officer was shot dead in Madaen and "two bodyguards of former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari" were shot dead in Khalis.


Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Mosul. Al Jazeera notes that three corpses were discovered in Baquba. CNN reports that 26 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.

CNN noted, the death toll for those serving in the 'coalition' has now hit the 3,000 mark and that includes: "119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Holland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lativa, Romania, Salvador, Slovakia, and Thailand." US? Busy day for the US military as they issued three statements on deaths (all were announced today): two soldiers died Sunday in Salah Ad Din Province, two others also died Sunday in Kirkuk, and one died in Baghdad Sunday night. The toll for the month of October (US military fatalities) now stands at 58 with 2771 being the total since the start of the illegal war.

As the
Anchorage Daily News notes five soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team have died "since the unit's deployment was extended in August". AP reports that the fifth to die was Nicholas Sowinksi, a twenty-five year old from Tempe arizona who died Wednesday. As the AP notes: "Member of the Fort Wainwright-based brigade were told just days before they were preparing to return to Alaska that their one-year tour in Iraq would be extended. Some soldiers had already returned to Alaska and were sent back to Iraq." They died, to be clear, after they were backdoor drafted by completing their tour only to learn, at the last minute, that their tour was being extended. Also on the topic of Alaska, Charlie LeDuff (New York Times) reports on the burial of Billy Brown of North Slope, Alaska. Brown died during "training maneuvers at Camp Shelby in Missippi" so will not be included in the count of those who have died in Iraq -- he was fifty-four-years-old.

Despite all the above, Bully Boy apparently woke up this morning feeling groovy and wanted to share that "No April rain, No flowers bloom, No wedding Saturday within the month of June, But what it is, Is something true, Made up of these three words that I must say to you, I just called to say I love you . . ." And who better to share that with than the puppet of the occupation?
Daniela Deane (Washington Post) reports that Bully Boy called Nouri al-Maliki who'd heard rumors that he might be ditched in two months ("I put out for you!") and that Bully Boy explained he had no intention of leaving (while he leered at Iran and gave North Korea the once over). Deane reports the news came from Miss Rona -- Tony Snow who gushed over the call at today's press briefing.

Snow Job plays yenta while
Rick Jervis (USA Today) reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki "will not force militias to disarm until later this year" and that he explained the importance of patience from "his expansive, marble-and-gold-trimmed residence, a former palace of deposed leader Saddam Hussein located inside the tightly guarded Green Zone."

Outside the safety of the Green Zone,
Charles J. Hanley (AP) reports, the reality is that "reconstruction funds are drying up and they're [contractors] are pulling out" despite the fact that "[f]ewer than half the electricity and oil projects planned have been completed".

On the same issue,
David Wilson (CounterPunch) reports that that a little under a third of all Iraqis "live on less than $1 per day," that "[m]ore than 500,000 residents of Baghdad can only get water for a few hours a day due to leaking pipes and the inability of the city's water purifying plant to meet demand," "Iraq's power generation and supply grid is in a state of collapse," that a quarter of all Iraqi doctors have left the country since 2003, and that doctors practice at the risk of death squads, US snipers and more. [On the topic of fleeing, Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that the continued fighting in Balad, which has claimed at least 91 lives since Friday, has led "Sunni Muslims" to flee "across the Tigris River today."]

Reconstruction isn't the only thing being cancelled.
Michael Howard (Guardian of London) reports that the Iraqi reconciliation converence that was to have been held this coming Saturday has been cancelled and that "emergency reasons" are cited. If that seems strangely familiar, drop back to June 14th when the Arab League conference was yet again postponed because of 'instability.' The so-called 'crackdown' in Baghdad was about to start back then. It's been ongoing ever since with no real results.

Though the reconcialition conference is once again shoved back,
Stephen Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that a group calling itself the Mutayibeen Coalition is calling "for the creation of a separate Sunni Islamic state in the country."

As the illegal war continues,
Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report on the mood in Iraq among school children in Khaldiya. One tells them, "Americans are bad. They killed my family" and another states, "God will send all Americans to hellfire."

Mike noted Pacifica's new program Informed Dissent which is a thirty minute, weekly program covering the national election. The September 23rd broadcast focused on the Iraq war and featured many discussions and reports. On the war, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK) declared, "This issue is effecting every other" and listed concrete examples of what isn't being funded as the illegal war is. Evans also noted that, "It's baffling to look at the Democratic Party and see how spineless and lacking in leadership they are." Informed Dissent airs once a week, a half-hour show, looking at the 2006 US elections, hosted by Mitch Jeserich and featuring contributions from many Pacifica broadcasters.

On the topic of elections,
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) explains why No-Momentum may overtake Ned Lamont and urges Lamont to free himself of his handlers and find his own voice.

Tara McKelvey reports on Lynndie England who (a) has learned, via her lawyer, to say "I heard . . ." when speaking of incidents to avoid further charges, (b) is an animal lover who enjoyed, in Iraq, the corpses of goats and cats being used for 'fun,' (c) has not placed Charles Graner on the birth certificate or asked for a blood test because she does not want him to have any legal rights to her two-year-old son Carter. Janis Karpinsky offers that England chose to go along with Graner in abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib (as directed from above) because: "In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector -- a senior male, let's say, who's sitting in a vehicle with her. She says, 'I'm really afraid.' And he says, 'Don't worry.' A closeness develops. It's intentional on his part. And naive on hers. Graner is a big, hunky guy. He can probably put his arms around England and still touch his shoulders. Does she feel safe with him? Yes. And all she has to do is be sexually wild with him." McKelvey reports that for . . . Marie Claire. Let's repeat that, McKelvey reported it for Marie Claire. Translation, where is independent media? Good for Marie Claire, but where is independent media?

In peace news,
Ehren Watada is the first US military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is completing his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son:
Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San DiegoRoom 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

Teresa Watanabe (Los Angeles Times) reports Bob Watada explaining that his son "heard the father of an injured soldier lament on a radio show: 'Why can't anyone stand up and stop all of this?'" and decided he had to stand up.

More information on Ehren Watada can be found at
ThankYouLt.org and more information on him and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.