casual friday

sherry e-mailed me about c.i.'s entry on thursday. she brought up that she knows exactly how the tonys resulted in the new york times and wrote 'i know that because of c.i. and only c.i. so i'm wondering if that entry can be read as an f-you to fair and all the others who never give credit but love, love, love to rip off?' if i were to ask c.i. that, the response would be an eye roll; however, i agree with sherry, i think that was a f-you.

it was cute, if you saw their alert last week or the week before where they opened with 'we announced ...' but they didn't announce that. in fact they only grasped it was an online article and not 1 that ran in the paper (apparently the budget doesn't allow for a subscirption to the new york times) after the third estate sunday review made it clear.

i'm more than a little angry at fair these days. they know they did something wrong and they have refused to make the apology required. what they did was pretty disgusting and at some point it will go from private to public. i think c.i. still hopes that jess will get an apology from fair. i don't.

i think they've taken the organization far from where it started. i think they have a lot of nerve criticizing representation anywhere when the show is hosted by two males and 1 female. the female is also african-american while the men are white. each week 2 of the 3 hosts do the show so there are many weeks where you get 2 white men. when you don't get that, you get 1 woman for 1 man, 1 african-american for 1 white. and they want to call themselves fair?

i mean, come on, step out of your glass house.

sherry pointed out that their links these days and how the alleged fair doesn't really link to woman. no, they don't. but they read c.i. and learn, so maybe that helps, huh?

let me tell some c.i. stories because i'm typing with 1 hand while i nurse. i don't usually blog while i'm nursing but we're in d.c. for the big demonstration (in front of the white house tomorrow at noon is the start off if you want to show - i believe we'll be late.)

starting in college, whenever i've gotten into a disagreement with some 1 about something i supposedly said before, i'd run to c.i. if c.i. was present and ask, 'did i say that?' if it was just a day or 2 ago, c.i. would answer immediately. if it was a week, a month or a year ago, c.i. sticks the right index finger in the air and says, 'you said ... you said .... give me a minute. okay, you said' and you've got exactly what you said spitting out of that brain that we (elaine and i) call memorac after the computer in desk set. we have always said c.i. is katharine hepburn in that film.

by the way it's 'katharine hepburn'. flyboy was watching some movie recently and they had a movie theater in it. the theater had different movies and it would be on the big sign (it was obviously only a 1 screen theater) billed with the actors. they had katharine hepburn spelled 'katherine.' it's 'katharine.'

i wish i could remember the name of the movie. i can't. that's my memory. i only watched a few minutes of it. flyboy had turned the channel while i was nursing (after asking if it was okay - it was, the movie i was watching was over).

elaine will tell you everything is cross-referenced in c.i.'s head. this intricate system of memory. in college, she had to give tests (she was a psych major, of course) and she gave us both 1. i was so thrilled that i was left-brained and (i'm sure i'm simplifying left-brain) just going on and on about how special i was. then she does c.i. want to guess what c.i. was?

center. i swear. elaine talked to her professor about it and he told her that is possible but not very common. so he assigned elaine a more complex test to admister. c.i. took it - center again.
(i'm not calling c.i. 'center' politically, let me be clear.) after that test, elaine's prof wanted to test c.i. and c.i. was 'no, i'll help elaine with her class project but i'm not interested in being analyzed.' so the prof got c.i. to let elaine and the prof co-administer a test (extra credit for elaine). again, the results came back that c.i. is exactly in the center. c.i. accesses right and left brain equally.

let me just make this entire post about c.i. secrets. something happened, i don't remember what. it was years ago. but it was a tragedy and they were calling for people to donate blood. i'm always there on something like that because i have a rare blood type. i'm used to feeling special for that reason. i drag c.i. along and the nurse is going on and on about how c.i. has this rare thing that makes it possible for c.i. to donate to babies. apparently there's some difference between babies' blood. (i knew this back when it happened, it's all a blur all these years later.)
so there's another story. (and instead of feeling extremely special - the way i would have - c.i.'s reaction was, 'what if i do something at some point that changes this?' all the babies let down! i'm laughing. i don't know if c.i.'s given blood this decade, i assume it has happened. but in the late 90s, c.i. still qualified for donating to babies.)

elaine told the story about c.i.'s off the charts analytical scores on the g.r.e. (and how 1 of our professors set up an appoint - through me - with some guy for c.i. and how the guy ended up being a recruiter for the c.i.a. and how offended c.i. was - we all were offended. and we had thought that prof was cool but he was obviously a bag man for the c.i.a.)

so who was the person c.i. had to criticze (due to outrage among the community) in a negative manner that means c.i. will criticize any 1? norman solomon. c.i. thinks the world of norman solomon. after addressing a column that enraged the community, i don't think c.i. has any problem addressing anything.

i had a number of e-mails asking 'who?' older readers remembered when i noted this before.

it was after my miscarriage last year. elaine and c.i. both wanted me to stay with them. then elaine said, 'go to c.i.'s' because it made more sense. you had ava out there already so jess was as well and i believe ty had already moved in too. (dona and jim hadn't, i don't think.) so it would make more sense to be there because there were so many people there. then there's c.i.'s housekeeper who i love and who spoils me like crazy. she's run c.i.'s house forever it seems like. and she always tells me i'm too thin (so you know i love her!) and has this running memory of my favorite snacks from all the times i've been out there so she'll have them fixed without even asking and tell me i need to eat and put some meat on bones. (she laughs that i don't live out in california so i should have some meat on my bones.) so there was her. and the fact that the place is so big and the swimming pool for sure. elaine has a very nice place but she works and she's got all those patients so she said, 'if you need it, c.i. will be able to ask ava or jess to speak and stay with you.' which was true. i didn't end up needing it.

it's so different when c.i. and the gang are gone. it's much, much quieter. it's like kids coming home from school when every 1 starts getting home at the end of the day. i'd usually go swimming during the day or lay out by the pool reading and it really did help me get myself back together.

so anyway, 1 of the days (and i blogged about this before) c.i. and i were watching movies, a documentary or 2, and norman solomon comes on and i made the comment that he needed to update his hair style (which he has) and (as i wrote them) c.i. looked near tears and said, 'please don't say anything bad about norman.'

so when the community was outraged and c.i. dealt with it, that was really the last barrier crossed. and the thing is, if it's dealt with, every 1 can move on. if c.i. tries to avoid it, it festers and festers. so i don't think there's any problem with any 1 being called out. (though, yes, c.i. generally does so without naming in many cases. and you read that and you know exactly who c.i. means. so i always laugh at those.)

let me swipe links from third (i'm lazy, yes, but i just finished nursing, give me a break).

Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
and Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)

for those wondering, elaine said (when i told her i was doing a talking post) 'don't you dare write about me!' she was laughing but we had a long conversation today (lainie and me) about college days and i think she's afraid i'll share something from those days. she and c.i. are both private but c.i. really doesn't care if i write something. 'that's how you remember it, rebecca,' c.i.'s fond of saying.

i've got kat up there. why? because i'm about to talk about her. kat's a blonde this week. i'm not joking. it's a wig. they went to at least the 1st day of petraeus testimony (i think they skipped the rest - i wasn't up here then, we just got here yesterday). and they were getting in via a friend of c.i.'s. kat was telling jokes about a disguise. and finally c.i. said, 'i know a woman who does incredible make up, i'm calling her.' (she does make up for films.) so kat's been a blonde this week. kat said she had so much fun with the woman because it was like 'playing dress up when you were a girl but this woman could do anything.' kat's not bleaching her wonderful and amazing long, red hair. but she did hold onto the wig. she looks different in it and we were joking about it. she's just wearing it now for fun.

so that's a bit of stories and i'm calling it a post. if you feel cheated, at least i wasn't gas bagging like the mainstream media and pretending there's a turned corner in iraq. there isn't. i'd rather talk about things that matter than spin. wouldn't you?

1 of the many things i loved that c.i. did at the common ills this week was treat crap like crap. it was obvious petraeus was repeating just what the white house wanted and c.i. moved on to cover other things noting petraues' spin in a minimal way.

i do wonder how often people who think they are helping actually hurt?

there is no connection between 9-11 and iraq. no link. but didn't we get media coverage that juxtaposed the 2? it's easy to say, 'oh well they said there's no relationship.' great if you're watching or listening or reading closely. but if you aren't alone and people are in & out (i'm thinking of goldie who was watching a show on a library computer in study hall - on the computer - and people around her weren't listening closely and absorbed there was a link between 9-11 and iraq and goldie had to spend hours straightening them out) are they getting that?

while we were working on the edition at third last week, 9-11 came up and how would we note the anniversary? c.i. said, 'every 1 can do what they want but the common ills focuses on iraq and if we were to note 9-11 i'd worry that it could be misinterpreted as a link. our focus is iraq so we won't be noting it.' elaine agreed that was a strong point. and explained why at length. i believe we all covered other topics. and c.i. had said (which elaine loved) that when the spin got too intense, the common ills would find something else to cover. and that did happen.

the spin never outweighed reality. you never had the spin get more attention on any day than actual events in iraq or actual efforts to end the illegal war.

if you treat something like it's earth shattering by the amount of time you give to explaining how it's not important, you can undercut your point. c.i.'s always been very good about grabbing the pin and popping the hot air balloons and i think that was demonstrated amazingly well today. i had meant to write about that earlier this week but i always have something else to write about. sammy e-mailed me about it and said they were talking about it in their class (he's in 11th grade). they picked up on it because his teacher asked, 'now why is this stuff about rosie o'donnell in here?' and they all tossed out reasons. sammy finally guessed that it was to show that the media was treating iraq the same way they do everything else with gossip and surface. he got a full 10 points for that classroom discussion. he wrote 'i'm not bragging but i was proud for picking that up.' he should be proud and he's got every reason to brag. he also told me to say their teacher has 4 media things they discuss each day: abc news, the new york times, the washington post and the common ills. i think that's pretty cool. sammy, by the way, is 1 of the students who found himself blocked (by his school) from my site this year. that's why i've got the mirror site now.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

September 14, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, a Blair crony sobs in public, the reviews are in for Ugly Bully and -- no surprise -- it isn't pretty, the "die-in" is tomorrow, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Gerry Condon (Courage to Resist) reports on the status of the many women and men who have elected to self-check out of the US military and go to Canada noting, "These abesentee GI's are upholding the Nuremberg Principles, which were adopted as U.S. law after World War II. By refusing to fight in illegal wars or to commit war crimes, they are exercising their rights and responsibilites as soldiers. So far, the war resisters' refugee claims have been rejected by the political appointees on Canada's refugee boards, who say that war resisters had legal avenues in the U.S. they could have pursued. They say that prosecution for being AWOL does not amount to 'persecution.' They are reluctant to call the U.S. war 'illegal'." Condon proposes that you let Stephen Harper and Diane Finley hear from you. Harper is prime minister (clicking on his name provides his e-mail, his fax is 613-941-6900) and Finley is the Minister of Citizenship & Immigration (work phone number between eight in the morning until seven in the evening is 613-954-1064). Also at Courage to Resist, Spc. Justin Cliburn announces he will not be fighting in the illegal war, "I am done with the military. I don't know how exactly I will leave the service just yet, but I know that I will. I entered the army in an honorable fashion and I will leave it that way, but leave it I will. I leave Friday for Washington DC to take part in the September 15th protests in DC with tens of thousands of other concerned Americans, including representatives of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families, and the ANSWER Coalition. I am taking more and more responsibility within IVAW to end this war, take care of our veterans, and provide reparations for the Iraqi people and it feels right." Courage to Resist also offers the story of Derek Hess who entered the Army via a delayed entry program in 2005 and discovered in basic training that "we weren't training for any set mission in Iraq, just for survival." As he began to see the Iraq War as illegal and as a way to benefit Big Business, he applied for CO status in January of this year. No surprise, the US military do what they generally do: denied his application. With Hess informing the higher ups "that I would kill myself if I was sent to Iraq -- so there would be no way I could [be] used as a weapon of mass destruction for the US government," the military elected to give him a medical discharge ("honorable in character").

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Derek Hess, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

As Ugly Bully prepared to air last night in prime time,
Iraq Veterans Against the War were ready to respond. Both Geoff Millard and Adam Kokesh spoke out, Millard on CNN's Situation Room and Kokesh on Larry King Live (videos here at IVAW, CNN transcript for Millard's appearence here, CNN transcript for Kokesh's appearnce here). Millard spoke of what he would like to hear in Bully Boy's speech, "Well, I, of course, would like to hear him say that all U.S. forces, not just merely the ones that are being forced to leave because they don't have replacements at the end of the so-called surge, to be coming home. But that's not going to happen. As his political appointee, General Petraeus said when in front of the Congress, that he couldn't even say that this war was making us safer. It's not making us safer. It's hurting the military. It's hurting us here at home. It's not protecting America. . . . let's face it, he [Petraeus] was put into the position taht he's in as a political appointee of the Bush administration. He was put there as a political appointee to continue the occupation of Iraq. And that's really what we're talking about here too, is an occupation. Not a war like we saw in World War II . . . It's an occupation. Saddam has been out of power now for quite some time, and we're occupying a foreign country." Adam Kokesh spoke after the speech and noted, "Well he said a lot of things, but first let me just commend Bush for his service in the Air Guard and choosing to go AWOL instead of being part of the war crimes and setting an example for the growing number of soldiers who have the courage to resist the way that he did out of cowardice." In response to a question from Larry King, Kokesh replied, "Success would be giving the Iraqi people the right to self-determination and the resources that they need to create the rule of law and stability in their country. And the best thing we can do to do that is pay repatriations and remove the American troop presence that is impeding that progress. . . I feel I have a moral obligation with my voice as a veteran. We have a certain power in speaking out and a relevancy in this most pressing debate before America. And with that power comes a responsibility. And I don't think I could live with myself if I wasn't doing everything I could to bring our brothers and sisters home alive, safe as soon as possible."

So those were the realities spoken last night, now let's head to Crazy Town where a dazed and lethargic Bully Boy attempted to sell "Return On Success" as this decade's "Peace With Honor" (Tricky Dick's January 23, 1973 speech). Watching, Americans grasped Why The Caged Bird Wears An Ear Piece. But sadly, he didn't wear it last night electing instead to prove he was the best little reader in first grade. Bit . . . by . . . bit . . Peterah . . . Petraues! He knew that word and resumed reading bit . . . by . . . bit. No, he isn't the "Great Communicator." No, his reading level does not appear to be higher than elementary school. Maybe all those books the White House forever insists he is "reading" are Books on Tape? If you could follow along without falling asleep, this morning you might have
grasped what Robert Parry (Consortium News) did: "Let it be noted that the morning after George W. Bush announced an open-ended -- possibly permanent -- military occupation of Iraq the premier U.S. newspapers ran headlines about the President ordering 'troop cuts,' itself a troubling reminder of how the American people got into this mess. The New York Times' lead headline read: 'Bush Says Success Allows Gradual Troops Cuts.' The Washington Post went with: 'Bush Tells Nation He Will Begin to Roll Back "Surge".' . . . So, Americans bustling past newstands on their way to work would get the superficial impression that Bush was finally moving toward the Iraq exit door when he really was doing all he could to paint the country, and his presidential successor, into a corner." (Parry's brand new book Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush explores the media and Bully Boy and, though it should be filed under "incest" due to the nature of the relationship between the press and the Bully Boy, you can find it in the non-fiction section at bookstores and libraries and you can also order it online.) Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) added it up and found 12 references to al Qaeda and 13 to "success" but zero on "victory" and provided historical context as well, "He introduced a weak sister to 'peace with honor' that Nixon and Kissinger invoked in Vietnam. "The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success",' he said. And like Nixon and Kissinger, Bush started talking about enemy body counts. U.S. and Iraq forces, he said, 'have captured or killed an average of more than 1,500 enemy fighters per month since January.' Somehow the resort to body counts is not reassuring. Bush let on that the American military presence in Iraq will be long term. Permanent military bases, anyone?" Rothschild also observes that, though the administration maintained an illegal war with Iraq had nothing to do with oil, Bully Boy was talking about Iraqi oil last night as well. (Rothschild's just published book is You Have No Rights: Stories of America In An Age of Repression.) Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) analyzes the performance and notes a number of things but we'll zoom in here on this, "And in January, he asked Americans for 'more patience, sacrifice and resolve.' In Thursday's speech, he did the same."

Far from the lies of the Bully Buy is the distant isle of reality. Gold Star Families Speak Out Dante Zappala wasn't on TV last night. At Military Families Speak Out,
he shares what he would have discussed had he been on MSNBC's Hardball earlier this week to share his opinion of the 'progress' report: "I wanted to talk about the humanity of this war. My brother died in Iraq. He died looking for WMD. He died because this country capitulated to fear, because the people in power were hell bent on an ideology, because the principles of reason were tossed for negligent policy. The General says give us time. Where others see 12 months, or 18 months, I see bodies. I see 900, 1300 dead troops. I see tens of thousands injured, wives who will see their husbands again -- someday -- but never know them again. A million firsts will pass without wtiness. A baby's first steps, a first word, a first day of school. The consequences extend beyond this generation. The consequences are right there, in my nephew's eyes, who has the unmistakable gaze of his father."

Nancy Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) observed that talk of the 18 'benchmarks' were
"[l]argely gone" from last night's speech. Why was that? Because in the one report the White House fully controlled, even they could only disguise reality so far.
Jennifer Loven (AP) reports the White House report on 'benchmarks' was delivered to Congress today and found "that Iraqi leaders gained little new ground on key military and political goals, a discouraging assessment a day after President Bush said progress justifies keeping a large U.S. military presence there. The report underscored the difficulty of Bush's argument that continued American sacrifice was creating space for Iraqi leaders to make gains on tamping down the sectarian fighting that leaves Iraq persistently fractured and violent." BBC reveals that the report "says Iraq has performed satisfactory on nine out of 18 benchmarks -- one more than in a previous assessment in July. Among the failures, it cites militia control over security forces and not enacting laws on sharing oil revenues."

In other news out of England,
John Kampfner (New Stateman) profiles Tony Blair's ambassador to the United States, David Manning, who wants everyone to know, "You have to understand Blair the person before you get into this. A lot of what he was doing with Bush, he was doing with Clinton. Blair was very clear about the doctrine of liberal interventionism. This was not something . . . invented to justify close relations with George Bush." No, it wasn't, Blair was endorsing Bully Policies long before the Bully Boy was installed into the US White House. Manning whines that the US State Department was supposed to be in charge of reconstruction but it ended up being the Defense Department and by the time the looting in Baghdad began, "That was the moment I remember having real feelings of disquiet. Then we got very concerned when we heard the army was being disbanded and when we heard that de-Ba'athification was going ahead on the scale it was." Manning, like so many War Hawks, wants everyone to believe the illegal war was 'right' and that what resulted after the invasion began were just screw ups. A defense he might try at a War Crimes Tribunal but it probably won't go over very well there either. The destruction and tag sale on Iraq was part and parcel of the illegal war.e thought. As Naomi Klein notes in her forthcoming book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism:

If "nation creating" was going to happen in Iraq, what exactly was supposed to become of the nation that was already there? The unspoken assumption from the beginning was that much of it would have to disappear, to clear the ground for the grand experiment -- and idea that contained, at its core, the certainty of extraordinary colonialist violence.
[. . .]
The bombing badly injured Iraq, but it was the looting, unchecked by occupying troops, that did the most to erase the heart of the country that was.
[. . .]
Thanks mostly to the efforts of clerics who organized salvage missions in the midst of the looting, a portion of the artifacts has been recovered. But many Iraqis were, and still are, convinced that the memory lobotomy was intentional -- part of Washington's plans to excise the strong, rooted nation that was and replace it with their own model. "Baghdad is the mother of Arab culture," seventy-year-old Ahmed Abdullah told the Washington Post, "and they want to wipe out our culture."
As the war planners were quick to point out, the looting was done by Iraqis, not foreign troops. And it's true that Rumsfeld did not plan for Iraq to be sacked -- but he did not take measure to prevent it from happening either, or to stop it once it had begun. These were the failures that cannot be dismissed as mere oversights.
[. . .]
Some insight into why there was so little official interest in stopping the looting has since been provided by two men who played pivotal roles in the occupation -- Peter McPherson, the senior economic adviser to Paul Bremer, and John Agresto, director of higher education reconstruction for the occupation. McPherson said that when he saw Iraqis taking state property -- cars, buses, ministry equipment -- it didn't bother him. His job, as Iraq's top economic shock therapist, was to radically downsize the state and privatize its assets, which meant that the looters were really just giving him a jump-start. "I thought the privatization that occurs sort of naturally when somebody took over their state vehicle, or began to drive a truck that the state used to own, was just fine," he said. A veteran bureaucrat of the Reagan administration and a firm believer in Chicago School ecnomics, McPherson termed the pillage a form of public sector "shrinkage."
His colleague John Agresto also saw a silver lining as he watched the looting of Baghdad on TV. He envisioned his job -- "a never to be repeated adventure" -- as the remaking of Iraq's system of higher education from scratch. In that context, the stripping of the universities and the education ministry was, he explained, "the opportunity for a clean start," a chance to give Iraq's schools "the best modern equipment." If the mission was "nation creating," as so many clearly believed it to be, then everything that remained of the old country was only going to get in the way. Agresto was the former president of St. John's College in New Mexico, which specializes in a Great Books curriculum. He explained that although he knew nothing of Iraq, he had refrained from reading books about the country before making the trip so that he would arrive "with as open a mind as I could have." Like Iraq's colleges, Agresto would be a blank slate.

The Shock Doctrine is released in the United States this coming Tuesday (September 18th). The book will be launched this Monday (September 17th) in NYC at an event with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) acting as moderator at the New York Soceity for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street. Event is free and open to the public and Klein and (I assume) Goodman will be signing their books (Goodman's latest bestseller is Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back written with her brother David Goodman and now out in softcover).

Turning to Iraq,
Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) judges yesterday's assassination of Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha as "a serious blow to President Bush and the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who have both portrayed the US success in Anbar, once the heart of the Sunni rebellion against US forces, as a sign that victory was attainable across Iraq." Kim Sengupta (Independent of London) reports that Al Anbar Province is "under a state of emergency" -- that would be the 'model province' according to the White House -- and that "messages were being posted on international jihadist websites exulting at the end of 'the traitor and aposate'." But don't worry, hate is thriving from all sides. CBS and AP report that the sheik was buried today and those gathered "vowed revenge". Bully Boy hears that, grins and sighs, "Progress."

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Beiji car bombing that claimed 10 lives ("including 4 policemen") and left fifteen wounded. CBS and AP report that a US helicopter staged an assault on a mosque yesterday in Karmah and the press release brags of three 'fresh kills' that they're pretty sure were 'insurgents'.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Col. Hussein Alwan ("officer of the protection force in Salaheddin province health dept") was shot dead in Kirkuk today and that Hadla Ali Hassan is the name of the mother who was shot dead yesterday in Kirkuk (her daughter was injured). Reuters notes that 3 people were shot dead today in Suwayra and that, in Hilla, an attack on the home "of a senior army officer" resulted in 1 guard being shot dead and another injured.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports six corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that the corpses of a judge and police officer were discovered in Balad.

Today the
US military announced: "Four Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Diyala Province Friday, when an explosion occured near their vehicle."

Dave Lindorff (This Can't Be Happening!) notes the "accident" on Monday that claimed seven lives including two who were among seven active duty service members who wrote the New York Times op-ed noting the illegal war was lost and he notes, "The mother of one of the dead soldiers is demanding a full and open investigation into their bizarre deaths. Congress must join in that demand." As if to head off such a demand, the US military releases their statement today (my, what a quick investigation that was!) which is that the vehicle had an accident with no other car or person, just on it's way back to base and drove off a highway overpass, most natural thing in the world, apparently. They also state that along with the seven US service members who died, two Iraqi prisoners died as well. No word as to their alleged crimes.

Meanwhile, United for Peace & Justice picked a bad time to endorse an undercount. In their 'report' written by Phyllis Bennis and Eric Leaver, the numbers of Iraqis who have lost their lives in the illegal war range as low as (insert Iraqi Body Count figure) and as high as (insert the lower of two figures in the Lancet study last year -- a study that noted it was tracking deaths through July 2006 -- over a year ago) "over 600,000 plus." Well fate, like attempting to disappear dead Iraqis, can be ugly and today it slaps the authors and United for Peace & Justice (if not for correct body counts) in the face as
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that Britain's ORB "has conducted several surveys in Iraq, followed statements this week from the U.S. military defending itself against accusations it was trying to play down Iraqi deaths to make its strategy appear successful. The military has said civilian deaths from sectarian violence have fallen more than 55% since President Bush sent an additional 28,500 troops to Iraq this year, but it does not provide specific numbers. According to the ORB poll, a survey of 1,461 adults suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war was more than 1.2 million. [. . .] Based on Iraq's estimated number of households -- 4,050,597 -- it said the 1.2 million figure was reasonable." Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explains that, "The British agency Opinion Research Business surveyed more than fourteen hundred Iraqi adults." Alan Maass (US Socialist Worker) isn't one to play dumb or useless and his review of the realities in Iraq gets straight to the point noting in large, bold type, "More than 1 million Iraqis killed." He refutes the claims of progress with specific data throughout his report but that's all we have time to note.

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 15th (see
ANSWER for more information) mass protests will be taking place in DC and IVAW will lead a "die-in". Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explains, "The peace coalition ANSWER says more than one-thousand people will lie down to represent the Iraqis and Americans killed since the US invasion. ANSWER is predicting a turnout of more than ten thousand for a march through Washington." This will be part of a several days of action lasting from the 15th through the 18th. September 17th IVAW will kick off Truth in Recruiting. CODEPINK will be conducting a Peoples March Inside Congress (along with other groups and individuals) on September 17th. United for Peace & Justice (along with others) will begin Iraq Moratorium on September 21st and follow it every third Friday of the month as people across the country are encouraged to wear and distribute black ribbons and armbands, purchase no gas on those Fridays, conduct vigils, pickets, teach-ins and rallies, etc.

Mark Rudd and Doug Viehmeyer (Common Dreams) explain the basics of a moratorium (and it's history):

The original Vietnam Moratorium, October 15, 1969, was a decentralized anti-war demonstration in which literally millions showed their opposition to the war around the world in a vast variety of ways. There were many school walkouts and closures; local demonstrations involving thousands around the country (a quarter of a million in D.C.; 100,000 in Boston); workplace sickouts; vigils, sit-ins at draft boards and induction centers. President Nixon pretended not to notice, but there's good evidence that the outpouring of opposition to the war prevented the war planners from using nukes against the Vietnamese (see Tom Wells, The War Within). A month later, the second moratorium day brought hundreds of thousands to Washington, complete with an angry siege of the Justice Dept. that reminded Attorney General John Mitchell, watching from inside, of the storming of the Czar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, back in 1917. Nixon himself, prior to the action, commented during a press conference: Google "Vietnam Moratorium" to check out what went on.
Why now? The anti-war movement, for a variety of reasons, has hit a plateau since the war began in 2003, despite the majority sentiment in the country against the war. No strategies have emerged to grow the movement. The thinking behind the Iraq Moratorium is that the moment is right for nationally coordinated local anti-war actions which will allow people to express their anti-war sentiments wherever they are and in a variety of ways. At the same time the Moratorium gives local groups a focus. For example, a campus anti-war organization can decide to do whatever's appropriate for their school--a teach-in, a walk-out, a vigil, a film showing, a sit-in at a recruitment center. It's all good!
The growth of the anti-war movement has to be seen as our current goal, not just a means. Every action, every demonstration should be judged by one single criterion: does it bring more people? We think that the biggest stumbling block up to now has been the too widespread belief that neither individual nor collective actions have no effect. The moratorium, allowing for a variety of tactics with one single focus, coordinated nationally and possibly internationally, has a chance of bringing antiwar expression into mainstream society. Sept. 21 will be the first moratorium day, followed by succeeding moratoriums (moratoria?) each third Friday of every month. If enough people and groups catch on, the movement grows.

That article is written by two generations of
SDS, Rudd from the original and Viehmeyer from today. SDS is growing on campuses across the country and an organization to watch. (In the good way, but you can be sure the FBI is watching it as well.)

Finally, on PBS'
NOW with David Brancaccio: this week (Friday's on most PBS stations), the program expands to an hour for a special look at the Third Infantry's First Brigade which is on it's third deployment to Iraq. A preview is posted at YouTube. The earlier broadcast of interviewing the Third Infantry's First Brigade can be found here. And NOW is offering an online exclusive of interviews with members of the Third Infantry and their spouses.


phyllis bennis & eric lever ignore over 400,000 iraqi deaths

how do you write a report on iraq, an alleged report on reality, and ignore the number of iraqis dead?

ask phyllis bennis and eric lever. in fact ask united for peace & justice.

i'm not in the mood for this sh*t.

phyllis bennis has been called out before for using an undercount of the number of iraqis killed in the illegal war.

so united for peace & justice should have known to watch her figures.

they didn't.

they've issued a 'report' that tells you the 'Estimates range from 71,017-600,000+' on iraq deaths. that is not the low & the high. the high is over a million. over 655,000 was the number by the lancet study in JULY 2006.

phyllis bennis and eric lever need to get their figures right.

there's no excuse for it.

unless they're saying that 440,000 deaths of iraqis don't matter?

1,040,569 is the number for the just foreign policy tracker.

bennis and lever need to get their sh*t together. especially eric lever who had the nerve to equate howard zinn's very principaled and grounded in reality remarks with david sirota's cover for the caving democrats.

this is embarrassing. this is shameful.

over 400,000 iraqi deaths are rendered invisible by bennis and lever.

that's not right. that's disgusting.

and it's disgusting that united for peace & justice wants to put out that LIE.

it's a lie.

that's all it f**king is. united for peace & justice is losing a lot of credibilty with that crappy 'report.'

i don't know that they can afford to lose it.

i was on five campuses today with ava, cedric, c.i., dona, kat and wally. there was 1 group we spoke to where some students (always more than 1 at each gathering) brought up that bullsh*t from united for peace & justice.

kat told me it's been an issue every where the gang's spoken all week. (this was my 1st day joining them.)

again, phyllis bennis ALREADY had a reputation for ignoring iraqi deaths.

and if i wasn't aware of that (i was) before today, you better believe i heard about it from angry students. phyllis bennis needs to concern herself with getting her facts right because there's a hell of a lot of angry students and the biggest laugh getter was when a student called her 'the judy miller of the peace movement.'

i feel bad because c.i. had to write about it today in the snapshot. it's been coming up all week and c.i. had put it off and put if off hoping it was just a certain region, then that it wasn't everywhere. it is everywhere. c.i. likes phyllis bennis.

but 'like' or 'not like' doesn't matter. if you can't do your function, you get called out. that's how it is.

(and after c.i. had to address 1 person who outraged the community, c.i. can address any 1. if you don't already know who that was, i'll write about it tomorrow.)

we're tired of it. and at the last 1 today (there are others going on, wally, cedric, ava and c.i. are hitting 2 more campuses. dona's gone to the airport - with my husband - to pick up the rest of the gang) , c.i. said, 'i like phyllis bennis. i understand what you're saying. you think she's intentionally lying and doing so because she doesn't care. my own take is it's more of need not to have things thrown in her face by big media. but having said that, i'll never say it again. the peace movement is not about defending cowardly actions. i will go out on a limb defending any 1 trying to get something out. i will not defend cowardice. and i don't think you should either.'

that got a standing ovation.

c.i. followed it with, 'maybe it's time to send the message, "get real or get off the stage?"' and that also went over very well.

if united for peace & justice thinks they can tie themselves in with bennis & lever's nonsense and not have fallout, they're kidding themselves.

bennis earlier, bascially, called alexender cockburn nuts. that was brought up on every campus today as well. here's a portion of alexander cockburn's response ('Don't Carpool with Nouri al-Maliki,' counterpunch):

Phyllis Bennis talks vaguely of "searching for a clear strategy", but this vagueness is no more surprising than the self-restraint of MoveOn and Americans Against Escalation in Iowa. Bennis resides at the Institute for Policy Studies, whose principals are well aware that any-IPS related support for a strategy deemed discomfitting to the Democratic Party's efforts to capture White House in 2008 would result in having IPS's major funders yank them back into the kennel in short order.

that's certainly how it looks to me.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, September 13, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the 'model' province suffers a setback, Bully Boy is in wardrobe and makeup preparing for his live comedy bit on American television tonight, energies move towards DC for the actions including the "die in" on Saturday led by IVAW, UFPJ releases a report that doesn't please all student activists, and more.

Starting with war resisters and returning to the roundtable where
Brian Lenzo and Kyle Brown (US Socialist Worker) speak with war resister Eli Israel, war resister Camilo Mejia and Phil Aliff. Lenzo and Brown asked Mejia and Israel why they made a decision to resist?
Mejia replies, "I got tired of being afraid. I realized that with everything that happened in Iraq -- and a lot of messed-up sh*t happened, from the torture of prisoners to the killing of civilians to the unnecessary exposure of our own troops -- and the inability to stand for what I believed was the right thing to do, and being there with the political conviction that the war was wrong, freedom really has nothing to do with not being in shackles or chains but with your own ability to do what you believe in your heart to be the right thing to do. I had to overcome my fear. I knew all along what the right thing was but I hadn't had the freedom to act upon that belief. It got to the point where I could no longer conciliate my conscience with my military duty, and I decided that whenever being a good soldier and being a good human being came into conflict, the right thing to do was be a good human being."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Resistance is ongoing in the US and gearing up for Saturday, September 15th (see
ANSWER for more information) mass protests will be taking place in DC and IVAW will lead a "die-in". This will be part of a several days of action lasting from the 15th through the 18th. September 17th IVAW will kick off Truth in Recruiting. CODEPINK will be conducting a Peoples March Inside Congress (along with other groups and individuals) on September 17th. United for Peace & Justice (along with others) will begin Iraq Moratorium on September 21st and follow it every third Friday of the month as people across the country are encouraged to wear and distribute black ribbons and armbands, purchase no gas on those Fridays, conduct vigils, pickets, teach-ins and rallies, etc.

The September 15th March to Stop the War will take place in DC (meet up at noon in front of the White House) and a mood of police brutality appears to be settling over the US capital. Last week Tina Richards and Adam Kokesh took part in a peacefull press conference in Lafayette Square that police felt the need to break up. Richards and Kokesh both attempted to put up flyers for the March on fhe 15th and, for that 'crime,' were subjected to extreme force. Richards has declared, "I have been asked if knowing all that would happen, the intimidation, the injuries and pending legal costs, would I do it again. 'Yes,' I have answered. 'Any day is a good day for the first amendment'." On Monday, attempting to hear Davey Petraeus give testimony to the House, Rev. Lennox Yearwood (IVAW and Hip Hop Congress) was attacked. He spoke with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales (Democracy Now!) about what he experienced:

REV. LENNOX YEARWOOD, JR.: Well, on September 10, I went to hear the hearing,
[. . .] So I was going in, in essence, to make government more transparent. It was also critical for me as a person of color to be in the room to report back to my community. But instead, when I got there, I was waiting in line. I was standing there. I had to do a radio interview. I asked the officer, I said, "Can I step out of line for a second to do an interview?" He said, "No problem." I did my interview. I came back to the line. I got back in the line. I was waiting. And then, all of a sudden -- it was somewhat suspicious -- another officer came down, was passing out blue post-it notes. And as he was coming in the line, he actually came to me and actually Colonel Ann Wright, who was standing with me. It was amazing. The two officers who were going in to hear General Petraeus, he actually told us both, "You can't get in," and then walked past us. And so, me and Colonel Ann Wright looked at each other and said, "Why can't we get in?" He said, "You can't get in." And so, we went up forward, and we kept walking to the front of the line and said, "Why are we being denied?" "You just can't get in." And so, somebody came and passed one of the blue post-it notes to Colonel Wright and put it in her hand. And she showed it to him. "I didn't give you that." She said, "I know. Why can't we get in?" He said, "Well, OK, you can get in." And she said, "What about Reverend Yearwood?" He said, "No, he can't get in." And that's when it started. I said, "Why are you singling me out? What is going on?" It's important to know. We have this huge rally at the White House, and a march to the Capitol is coming Saturday. And I know my picture is on the flier. But regardless, I asked, "Why are you singling me out?" At that point in time, they became to be aggressive, and they got around me. And I said that -- "You're going to be arrested." I said, "What am I going to be arrested for? What have I done? I just want to go inside and hear the hearing for myself." At that point in time, one came behind me, said, "You're going to be arrested." And then somebody grabbed me on my shoulder. And I kind of turned. Amy, by the time I turned, I was on the ground. And I actually just felt myself going headfirst into the concrete. [. . .] And so, when they pulled out of -- they actually didn't pull me out. They just stopped me from getting in, and they wouldn't tell me why. They just stopped me. What was worse, when they leaped on me, started to beat me in the halls of Congress. And I say, here I am, a former officer lying in the halls of Congress, while there's another officer in the hearing lying to the Congress. And here I am just lying and being beaten. I couldn't understand.

YouTube video of the assault of Yearwood is played on Democracy Now! and will in the DN! archive even if vanishes from YouTube at some point. Yearwood being thrown to the ground and assaulted in the Capitol by the Capitol police is and should be shocking. It is also part of a rising pattern. As The Third Estate Sunday Review editorialized Sunday, "What happened to Richards, Kokesh, Thompson and the rest -- including the press -- should be seen as the seminal moment it is. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. And if you don't call this out, be prepared for the next Ohio because it will come bit by bit. Get angry. And don't use stuff the anger, let it fuel you to make demands of your elected representatives, to practice civil disobedience and to insist that the illegal war be ended and Bully Boy be impeached. If you don't know where to start, many trying to make a difference will be gathering in DC on September 15th."

Tonight Ugly Bully follows
Ugly Betty in primetime as Bully Boy -- currently at a 36% approval rating in the latest CNN poll "unchanged from an August poll and barely above where it was in January" -- attempts to resell his illegal war all over again. But there's a problem with the sales pitch. The "model province" was Al-Anbar Province (if you believed the soft and easy press -- that was never reality). And now . . . a plot twist.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Sheikh Sattar Abo Risha, the head of Anbar awakening council was killed in an IED explosion targeted his armed car near his house in Ramadi city today afternoon. Abo Risha's nephew, his aid and two of his guards were killed in the explosion." Jay Price and Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explain that the late Sheikh "lunched with President Bush during the president's brief visit to Anbar just 10 days ago" and that this "was the second assassination of Anbar tribal leaders key to the anti-al Qaida rebellion that has become the Bush administration's No. 1 example of progress in Iraq. In June, four sheiks of the Anbar Salvation Council were killed along with eight other people when a suicide bomber slipped past security at a Baghdad hotel and detonated a bomb he was wearing." The BBC summarizes their correspondent in Baghdad, Hugh Sykes, evaluation of the "severe blow" of the assassination as: "It may undermine the new movement against al-Qaeda in Iraq, he says, or it could strengthen resolve to resist the insurgents, who are regarded by an increasing number of people in Anbar as unwelcome invaders." Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) offers that "Abu Risha assumed a high profile, appearing on television as a symbol and spokesman of the movement while making public appearances in and around Ramadi, as if daring al-Qaeda to kill him. His death might deter others from taking a similarly public role. Without a charismatic spokesman willing to be the Anbar Salvation Council's public face, the movement's morale could falter." Martin Fletcher (Times of London) writes, "The Times has interviewed Sheikh Sittar twice in the past year. Urbane, chain-smoking and impeccably dressed in long white robes and headdress, he was a sheikh from central casting. . . . During the second interview, two weeks ago, as his three children played on the grass, he joked about how his grandfather had fought the British in the colonial era. When I asked how many times he had escaped assassination he laughed. 'Many times. I can't count,' he replied, as his children played on the lawn in front of him." Al Jazeera's correspondent James Bays declares, "This is a man who had a controversial past, but in recent months he has become a very prominent figure even meeting George Bush." CBS and AP note that no one has come forward to claim credit or "responsibility for the assassination" and that "[p]rivately, two U.S. officials said earlier that his assassination would be a huge setback for U.S. efforts in Iraq, because it sends a message to others who are cooperating with coalition forces or thinking about cooperating against al Qaeda." CNN notes, "It is unclear if the bomb was remotely detonated or triggered by the convoy."

In other violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 4 lives and left ten more wounded, and a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left three injured. Reuters notes a Falluja roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer (two more injured)


Reuters reports a police officer was shot dead in Mosul with four others wounded,


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday in another
softball interview conducted by Anderson Cooper (CNN) in Iraq (where are the charges that he's just in Iraq for the ratings?), Cooper counted it a success that he was able to get the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki to concede that "there is a problem in parliament, in ministries, in how ministries are selected . . . ." Coops was so thrilled about it that he forgot to point out the heads of all cabinets (ministries) were appointed by whom? al-Maliki. And as Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observed today, "The apparent collapse comes amidst a new White House effort to convince lawmakers US goals in Iraq are being achieved. Pushing through a new oil law has been high on the list." What? As James Glanz (New York Times) noted, the theft of Iraqi oil appears on hold and al-Maliki is convinced that "there is a simpler reason the Sunnis abandoned or at least held off on the deal: signing it would have given Mr. Maliki a political success that they did not want him to have." Glanz white washes the reality of the law that would provide for the theft of Iraqi oil, but that's the Times for you, right? Andy Rowell (Oil Change International) notes that "Iraq's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani" declared the proposed deal between Hunt Oil Company and the Kurdish north "illegal."

Turning to other news, Wednesday on
WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio, Sue Udry (United For Peace and Justice) spoke with Deepa Fernades about [PDF format warning] "Iraq: The People's Report" which details a number of issues including the Iraqi refugee crisis, the lack of power and potable water. Udry noted, "We're up close to half a trillion dollars -- five hundred billion dollars spent in Iraq. And the Bush administration is asking -- we're still not sure how much more he wants. But between 140 and 200 billion more. But that-that five-hundred billion could have been spent on for example, in the US could have built, over 4 million affordable housing units we could have paid 7 million public school teachers, we could have insured 272 million unisured childred."

The report has many strong points. But it's already led to complaints on campuses we've spoken at this week. The question students want to know (wording it nicely here): Is there a reason Phyllis Bennis and Eric Lever low ball the number of Iraqis who have lost their lives? "Estimates range from 71,017-600,000+" is shameful. If they're going to go with the lower estimate (Iraq Body Count) it is incumbent upon Bennis and Lever to use the correct number from the Lancet Study which WAS NOT six-hundred-thousand-plus. It was 655,000-plus. [PDF format warning] "
Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey" was written by Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy and Les Roberts. From the third paragraph of the summary: "We estimate that as of July 2006, there have been 654 965 (392979-942636) which corresponds to 2-5% of the population in the study area." The number is 654,965 and that was the number through July 2006 -- last year. In October of 2006, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) began the interview she and Juan Gonzalez conducted with Les Brown noting, "More than 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion of the country began in March of 2003. This is according to a new study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet. The studdy was conducted by researches at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad." On March 27th of this year, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, "BBC News is reporting the British government ignored the conclusions of its own experts when it dismissed a medical studdy estimating more than 650,000 Iraqis have died due to the Iraq war. The study appeared in the British medical journal the Lancet last year. Researches based their findings on interviews with a random sampling of households taken in clusters across Iraq. In newly-released memos, the chief scientific adviser at Britain's Ministry of Defence called the researcher's methods 'close to best practice' and 'robust.' Both the US and Britain publicly rejected the study and criticized its methods."

That may be understandable from government liars. It is not understandable from peace groups. What could have been a strong resource for UFPJ has instead become a source of mockery or a source of anger on several college campuses. And you know what? The students are right to be angry. Saying 600,000 is dishonest. And the number was over 600,000 in July of 2006 -- over a year ago. Things like getting the numbers wrong (intentionally) go a long way towards explaining why so many students against the illegal war are writing off the established peace movement. This is the warning and groups can heed it or they can ignore it. But stunts like that are exactly why students are washing their hands of a number of groups and see them as inherently useless. (The authors of the report should also be paying attention to the reaction. Especially Bennis because she's better known and that's not a good thing in this instance.)

1,040,369 is the current estimate of Iraqis killed during the illegal war. That number is via
Just Foreign Policy which uses the Lancet study as well as the deaths reported since then -- and notes that all deaths are not reported so the number is higher than their estimate. In September of 2007, you need to do better than offer up a number from July of 2006 (which you still get wrong) and when you don't, you better accept the questions you're inviting about exactly how much value you place on Iraqi lives because the student movement has moved beyond the nonsense that's being pushed off on them. They're not the timid crowd and they're not going to take direction from anyone but especially not from those they don't trust. Something as basic as the numbers leads to questions, not trust.

Finally, on PBS'
NOW with David Brancaccio: this week (Friday's on most PBS stations), the program expands to an hour for a special look at the Third Infantry's First Brigade which is on it's third deployment to Iraq. A preview is posted at YouTube. The earlier broadcast of interviewing the Third Infantry's First Brigade can be found here. And NOW is offering an online exclusive of interviews with members of the Third Infantry and their spouses.


obama, iraq & more

okay, obama wants us to applaud him for saying, basically: some troops out of iraq.

we went through this nonsense with the house & the senate and i'm willing to bet there will be the usual crappy party hacks stepping up to praise him. it's not worthy of praise.

he wants to keep u.s. troops in iraq for many years to come.

the other thing that stands out in the speech is that he's itching for war with iran. you sort of picture him grabbing his crotch every time the topic of iran comes up. here he is panting over iran:

Iran poses a grave challenge. It builds a nuclear program, supports terrorism, and threatens Israel with destruction. But we hear eerie echoes of the run-up to the war in Iraq in the way that the President and Vice President talk about Iran. They conflate Iran and al Qaeda, ignoring the violent schism that exists between Shiite and Sunni militants. They issue veiled threats. They suggest that the time for diplomacy and pressure is running out when we haven't even tried direct diplomacy. Well George Bush and Dick Cheney must hear--loud and clear--from the American people and the Congress: you don't have our support, and you don't have our authorization for another war. George Bush suggests that there are two choices with regard to Iran. Stay the course in Iraq or cede the region to the Iran. I reject this choice. Keeping our troops tied down in Iraq is not the way to weaken Iran--it's precisely what has strengthened it. President Ahmadinejad may talk about filling a vacuum in the region after an American drawdown, but he's badly mistaken. It's time for a new and robust American leadership. And that should begin with a new cooperative security framework with all of our friends and allies in the Persian Gulf.
Now is the time for tough and sustained diplomacy backed by real pressure. It's time to rally the region and the world to our side. And it's time to deliver a direct message to Tehran. America is a part of a community of nations. America wants peace in the region. You can give up your nuclear ambitions and support for terror and rejoin the community of nations. Or you will face further isolation, including much tighter sanctions. As we deliver this message, we will be stronger--not weaker--if we are disengaging from Iraq's civil war.

i generally cringe when any politician refers to a heavily populated area with the term 'it'. we can bomb 'it', we can destroy 'it'. it's not a place people live. it's a thing. and what's the harm in bombing a thing?

that's only 1 reason i cringe at the above.

it's cute the way bambi wants to lecture iran about 'nuclear ambitions'. does any country have more nuclear bombs than we do? i believe - though we fail in all the important measures - we're still #1 when it comes to number of nukes. and hasn't iran been working towards compliance or did i dream that up?

read that crap closely and you can hear him saying - if he gets into the white house in 2009 - 'in 2007, i said iran was a threat and now i am sending fighter planes to carpet bomb that country ...'

the 2008 election on the democratic side seems to be shaping up into a reteaming of jim carey and jeff daniels in hawk & hawker.

this next thing was illuminating. it's from the bbc reporting on the shooting deaths of police officers in mosul today:

Correspondents say the increased violence appears to be a consequence of the surge offensive launched by US-led forces in and around Baghdad earlier this year.

also from the bbc, this is about david petraeus

Senior US officials have singled out Iran for criticism, a day after giving a progress report on security in Iraq.
Gen David Petraeus, top US commander in Iraq, and US envoy to Baghdad Ryan Crocker both cited evidence of Iranian involvement in attacks on US troops.
Responding to their report, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it made clear Iraq's security had improved, but Iran was a "troublesome neighbour".

cited evidence? i heard unsubstantied claims. the same sort - and, goodness, didn't the bbc love it then - that colin powell gave to the u.n. on iraq's w.m.d.s and remember how that worked out?

switching over to reuters, i learn bully boy got a boost in popularity from the song and dance of the waltzing partners petreaus and ryan crocker: he's now up to a whopping 30%! enjoy it while he can. they did a full court press and the press was so compliant. that the best they could manage was 30% says a great deal after all the spit polishing the press gave the administration.

also from reuters, this is about obama's speech:

Obama's speech drew immediate criticism from rivals John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who questioned his lack of a firm timetable for pulling out all troops.
"Enough is enough. We don't need to 'begin' to end the war now. What we need to do now is actually end the war," said Edwards, who repeated his call for members of Congress to refuse to approve money to fight the war unless there is a timetable for troop withdrawal attached.
[. . .]
Dodd said Obama had "a gift for soaring rhetoric" but lacked specifics, and said both Obama and Clinton should refuse to back war funds without attaching a withdrawal timetable.
"I was disappointed that Senator Obama's thoughts on Iraq today didn't include a firm, enforceable deadline for redeployment, and dismayed that neither he nor Senator Clinton will give an unequivocal answer on whether they would support a measure if it didn't have such an enforceable deadline," Dodd said.

looking through the e-mails, i see 2 things. 1st complaints and i am sorry. i did forget to repost at my mirror site last night. i'll probably forget again. but i do apologize. i'll post last night's post and tonight's at the mirror site tonight and i'll fix the time so yesterday's shows up on yesterday. (blogdrive provides a calendar that you click on to get archives.) again, i am sorry. the mirror site is still new.

2nd, the guy who received my forwarded e-mail has sent me another thing. i have no idea why. it seems to me that if a personal e-mail was forwarded to you and you knew the person was bothered by that, you would either not write the person or you would say 'i had nothing to do with that' or 'i had asked for that' or something.

but i'm not highlighting anything from that man because on my end it looks like a blogger and that man thought they could have 'fun' at my expense. sorry, fellas, i'm not your party girl.

changing topics, go c.i.! i loved everything that went up today and, honestly, wasn't expecting a great deal from the snapshot because i knew today's speaking schedule. but way to kick ass. that is a kick ass snapshot.

i am so tired of these men who want to play macho b.s. and i'm not at all surprised that c.i. would (again) call it out. but that is just amazing.

there's a lefty who's written that the 'answer' (you know it isn't plural) for the peace movement is to support iraq veterans agains the war because only soldiers can end the war!

well, i do support ivaw. but i do not support the man's 'answer.' the reality is that the peace movement needs many efforts and we all need to be doing everything to end the illegal war not just grabbing a set of pom-poms and screaming, 'go ivaw!'

what has happened to the men of my generation?

they keep going after quick fixes and promising the world to the impressionable. (no, i'm not referring to their 2nd, 3rd and 4th wives!)

people should support ivaw and they should support war resisters. but that is not 'the answer'. there is no 1 answer. ending the illegal war will require multiple paths.

and the idea that only soldiers refusing to fight in an illegal war can end it not only encourages people not in the military to do nothing, it also is a falsehood.

if the service members - in all divisions - decide to stop fighting, it would be a miracle. the reality is that the number will increase but it will never be the majority. the reality is that the u.s. very likely went after a.w.o.l. service members who went to laos but we're not supposed to talk about that, are we? but if that was an 'answer' for the government during vietnam, you better believe they'd have a beefed up plan for violence the same way they do in every other regard for this illegal war.

so they'd 'thin out' the resistance that way.

we need actions across the board and we need to stop looking for a hero to save us and start saving our own asses. prince charming isn't showing up. superman's not flying in. it's time for all of us to step up to the plate. those who already have need to step up their actions.

the illegal war will continue as long as those in charge of this country think it will be 'business as usual' here. when they grasp that is not the case, when they grasp that people will march, will sit-in, will walk out, etc., when their comfort zones get far less comfy, then they will be frightened enough to start thinking about ending the illegal war.

telling people that they have no power unless they are in the military (which is what william blum's article says whether he intended it to or not) is robbing people of their power and encouraging passivity at the very time that we need action.

i love the snapshot. if you haven't read it yet, be sure to read it. here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, September 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, another big robbery takes place in Iraq, Bully Boy spends today being pampered for tomorrow's big event, Obama tries to put one over on voters, and more.

Starting with war resistance, Eli Israel is the first US service member to publicly refuse to take part in the illegal war while stationed in Iraq.
Brian Lenzo and Kyle Brown (US Socialist Worker) speak with Israel, war resister Camilo Mejia and Phil Aliff. Here, Eli Israel is discussing what he realized while in Iraq:

Militarily, you can't fight "terrorism" by browbeating "terrorists." You can't terrify terrorists into not attacking you.And let's throw out the word "terrorists." You can't browbeat people into not attacking you. Believe it or not, most people want to live in peace. Believe it or not, most Palestinians and Israelis want to live in peace. I've changed my perspective on the world in so many ways because of what's going on in Iraq. To think that they would continue this situation forever without us doing the things we're doing is ridiculous. We're creating people to attack us tomorrow. The doors that are getting kicked in, the people who are being harassed, the children who are crying, the women who are seeing their houses torn apart in front of them, the men who are being shot while defending their own families, the neighbors who are being interrogated with Tasers to turn in their neighbors--all of those people are going to hate us for what we're doing. When are we going to accept responsibility?

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher) reports that Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray are among the dead from Monday's Baghdad "vehicle accident". The two, along with five other active duty service members, wrote a New York Times column entitled "Iraq As We See It."
Dropping back to the
August 20th snapshot:

On Sunday, the New York Times ran a piece written by seven active duty service members entitled "Iraq As We See It" (
click here for Common Dreams, click here for International Herald Tribune -- available in full at both without registration) which noted "Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricty, telephone services and sanitation. 'Lucky' Iraqis live in communities barricaded with concrete walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal. In an environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. . . . In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are -- an army of occupation -- and force our withdrawal." The piece is signed by US Army specialist Buddhika Jayamaha, Sgt. Wesley D. Smith, Sgt. Jeremy Roebuck, Sgt. Omar Mora, Sgt. Edward Sandmeier, Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, Staff Sgt. and Jeremy A. Murphy.

Mitchell notes, "One of the other five authors of the Times piece, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head while the article was being written. He was expected to survive after being flown to a military hospital in the United States."

As a warm up act, Davey & the Petraeuses didn't do much to excite the crowds, not even the duet (performed with Ryan Crocker) of "Stay" ("a little bit longer . . .") did much to whet appetites for the main attraction. The reviews were hostile to brutal. The
San Jose Mercury News editorialized that Davey couldn't "conceal that the surge has failed" and "Bush has no strategy beyond his faith in Petraeus and the knowledge that, in 14 months, Iraq will become another president's burden." Newsday's James P. Pinkerton felt Davy's act was old and moldy and explained how it had been pulled from mothballs out of the Vietnam era. Stan Goff (CounterPunch) found the offstage chorus lacking and also wasn't impressed with Davey's costume: "The articulate, level-voiced General, though he only went to combat when Bush invaded Iraq, has more fruit salad on his chest than any veteran of three previous wars."
Arun Gupta (Democracy Now!) pointed out that Davey had never lived up to the earlier hype including a 2004 Newsweek cover which boasted of his abilities to train the Iraq police and military and that when he trained Shia militias (such as the Special Police Commandos) he "issued the usual denials: 'Oh, we're not giving them any weapons. This is an Iraqi initiative.' And so, now he's saying the same thing with the Sunni militias."

So Thursday night, Ugly Bully airs on ABC following
Ugly Betty as Bully Boy takes to primetime to deliver his equivalent of Tricky Dick's "Peace With Honor" speech. Though Bully Boy's speech is expected to be as out of touch and laced with lies as Nixon's January 23, 1973 speech, his speech writers are still hard at work in attempting to top the howlers Nixon lobbed such as "The important thing was not to talk about peace". A 'wisdom' Bully Boy has internalized.

In the October issue of
Vanity Fair, former New York Times reporter Todd S. Purdum offers the establishment view on the Bully Boy that's still worlds away from what he could have offered at the New York Timid. From "Inside Bush's Bunker" (page 334, article runs from 332 to 335 and 390-395):

Now, with not quite a year and a half left before Bush leaves office, we have already arrived at the beleaguered endgame of his presidency. From deep inside the fortified precints of the White House, the president projects a preternatural calm. He gives orders to nonexistent armies, which his remaining lieutenants gamely transmit: "Reform immigration!" "Overhaul the tax codes!" "Privatize Social Security!" Outside the bunker, in the country that his administration now refers to as "the homeland," there is chaos and confusion. The Democrats bridged the Ptomac after winning the elections last fall, and the Blue Army has now overrun most of political Washington. Its flag flies above the Capitol. More and more of the president's subordinates have been captured and interrogated, most notabley the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales. Others, such as Matthew Dowd, the president's former chief campaign strategist, have managed to make good their escape -- Dowd by parachuting onto the front page of the enemy New York Times with a detailed denuciation of Bush's policies. Indepenent powers that would sue for peace -- the Baker-Hamilton Commission, for example -- have been banished. Some loyalists, including presidential counselor Dan Bartlett, have simply fled to the safety of the private sector. For one reason or another, most of the commander in chief's senior advisers are now gone, replaced by callow upstarts and last-chance opportunists. The two most powerful advisers have been the president's second-in-command and his propaganda minister -- his vice president and his political strategist -- who had been at his side from the beginning and have remained close and trusted, despite the catastrophes they helped to engineer. Dick Cheney will haunt the bunker till the end, but the political strategist, Karl Rove, has quietly slipped away. The leader himself -- with his lady and his loyal dog -- soldiers on, in an atmosphere of disconnection and illusion. Lurid tabloid tales may hint at binge drinking and marital estrangement, although visitors report uniformly, and much to their surprise, that the president seems optimistic, unbowed, chipper, his gaze bright and steadfast. The tide is about to turn! We will prevail! But it is a hermetic and solidarity existence.

Also in the current issue of Vanity Fair is
Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele (Vanity Fair) report on the theft of millions in Iraq (article noted in the September 5th snapshot). The Pulitzer Prize winning correspondents discussed their article with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today. Excerpt (remember, audio, video and transcript at DN!):

AMY GOODMAN: It was kept in a vault in the Green Zone?

DONALD BARLETT: Yes, in the beginning. But then it was moved about the country in different ways. But what is striking about this is that here you have $12 billion and actually many more billions later coming through that process, but no auditing arm established to track the money. And that is just amazing.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, the irony of the Coalition Provisional Authority initials, CPA, that there was no accounting.


JAMES STEELE: No certified public accountant on duty.

DONALD BARLETT: No. And this is an interesting organization in itself, because when we traced it back, it is literally a rogue agency within this country. There is no formal document establishing it. Congress has funded it with taxpayer dollars at that time, but it was never created within the legal process of Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, explain this, Jim, because this is quite astounding. When it comes to accountability then -- where has the money gone -- and even lawsuits, the question is: who ran the Coalition Provisional Authority?

JAMES STEELE: The Coalition Provisional Authority, which created this illusion that this was this multinational force, was basically run by the Pentagon. It was a creation of the Pentagon. Most of the contracts were awarded with the approval of the Pentagon. This was totally their entity. And it became an absolutely perfect sieve for this cash, because it only existed for fourteen months, and then we turned Iraq over to the Iraqis. And during that period, because it was not a US government agency, because it was not really an entity of the UN, because it was a rogue operation, as Don has mentioned, nobody was responsible for really what happened to that money. And, in fact, some of the litigation that has come up in this country, the traditional whistleblower things, it's basically failed so far, because you're not dealing with malfeasance within a normal US government agency.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain with the lawsuit, using that as an example.

JAMES STEELE: The reason -- courts have ruled that because this is not an entity of the United States government, normal whistleblowers, people who observe wrongdoing within an agency, see theft and so forth, cannot appeal to the courts, because nobody has authorized this thing. I mean, it's a classic Catch-22 situation. I mean, you've created this thing that isn't legitimate, therefore you can't sue it. But in the meantime, it's become this wonderful repository for this incredible amount of cash.

Turning to Iraq today where,
MADRE notes, "Figures from Iraqi hospitals, morgues, and police logs show that civilian killings are double what they were this time last year. Women from MADRE's Iraqi sister organization, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), have taken on the gruesome task of visiting morgues to try to assess the number of women killed in gender-based attacks. They report that the killings of women have skyrocketed under US occupation and that the 'surge' has done nothing to diminish the trend." And where Andrew North (BBC) notes female medical student Kulsoom hasn't left her Baghdad home "in two months" due to the violence having already "missed half her classes last year because of bombs, shootings and other threats" and Kulsoom says, "Nothing has really changed." Today a large protest took place in Baghdad. AFP reports: "Hundreds of Shiites and Sunnis marched on Wednesday in protest at the building by US troops of a tall concrete wall separating their northwest Baghdad neighbourhoods, an AFP photographer said. The protesters complained that the wall would promote sectarianism and demanded its removal. Residents said that US forces last week began building the two-kilometre (1.25 mile) wall along the border of the mainly Shiite al-Shuala and adjoining Sunni-majority al-Ghazaliyah neighbourhoods without consulting them." BBC notes the banners read "No to the dividing wall" and The wall is US terrorism."


Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing claimed 2 lives and left five wounded, a Kirkuk bombing aimed at "the head's of the local council convoy of Al Haweeja province injured three of his bodyguards" Reuters notes a Rasheed mortar attack that claimed the life of 1 person and left a child injured, a Hawija roadside bombing that left three injured, and an Iskandariya mortar attack that claimed that left four people wounded.


Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Iraqi police major Khalid Jabur was shot dead in front of his home in Tirkit. AP reports, "Gunmen ambushed an Iraqi police checkpoint south of Mosul early Wednesday, killing six policemen and wounding four, police said." CBS and AP report, "Gunmen opened fire on a car in Diyala's al Salam area, killing two and wounding two others, while an hour later in another area, assailants shot into a crowd in central Muqdadiyah killing two and wounding two, police said".


Reuters notes two Baghdad robberies -- in one the robbers made off with $240,000 after stopping a minibus of bank employees and in the other the robbers wore "camouflage uniforms" when they stopped bank employees "in two vehicles" and made off with $550,000.


Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 9 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes a corpse discovered in Wahaweel and two in Muwailha.

Turning to political news, Bully Boy doesn't believe in science but he's now on record as a believer in some form of evolution. Monday, while flying to Australia,
AFP reports Bully Boy gave his complete backing to the puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki and praised al-Maliki's "evolving" abilities. Possibly, on the heels of Oprah's endorsement (of Barack Obama), Bully Boy just wanted to get in one of his own? It hasn't gone over well. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports of "dismay" in Iraq with Iraqi politicians questioning why stronger statements about the lack of progress were made by both Davey Petraeus and Ryan Crocker when they were in Iraq (The answer? Greater proximity to the White House results in tighter scripts) and Fadel quotes Mhmoud Othman ("independent Kurdish legislator") declaring, "We don't see any reconciliation," while a Shi'ite parliamentarian declares, "There are many things that the U.S. has done wrong in Iraq, and one or two years later they say, 'That was a mistake.' This is another wrong."

In US political news, Senator Barack Obama continued to his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination today.
He began it this morning on NBC's Today show where, after calling out the Bully Boy for not heeding the will of the American people (they want US troops out of Iraq), he then declared that, were he to be elected president, he would reduce the number of troops there, keeping an unspecified number stationed in Iraq for 'security.' Obama saw no inconsistency between his remarks and no doubt the press that loves him will continue refusing to call him out. Reuters, citing excerpts of a released speech, notes that Obama's afternoon strategy was to insit "that we have to begin to end this war now." Again this is the usual shell game Congressional Dems have attempted to trick the American public with. He's calling for 'combat' troops. Troops would still remain for 'security' and 'training'. It's as much as con game as Bully Boy's intended announcement tomorrow that he will 'draw down' the number of troops . . . to pre-escalation numbers (as he knew would happen before the escalation started). John McCormick (Tribune via Baltimore Sun) observes of Obama's attempts at delivering a fiery speech, "That rhetoric is similar to the position New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio have expressed for months. While Obama's speech added some new detail, it did not offer any dramatically new insights about his position on the war." Excerpts also have Obama issuing his "I was against the illegal war before it started" line while refusing to note that he was also against withdrawal in 2004 while campaigning for the Senate and that he was against withdrawal in the Senate judging by his voting record until this past summer.

Turning to peace news, William Blum becomes the latest in a long line of 'end the war' writers to attempt to Arlen Specter it.
Writing at Counterpunch, Blum has discovered the "magic bullet" and it is "American soldiers" -- that will end the illegal war! That's what ended another illegal war (Vietnam) and it will do so again today! There is something really sad about how quickly history vanishes but there's something even sadder about the constant need to disown power and instead rush off in search of a hero. (There's also something sad about using the term "soldiers" when everyone should know by now that different branches do not like being referred to as "soldiers.") What ended that earlier illegal war? Fear. Fear from the top. "The country is split," the media jaw boned. It wasn't split. The people wanted US troops out of Vietnam by an overwhelming majority. The split wasn't between the people and their alleged represenatives as well as those who stood to continue profiting from that illegal war. Troops who resistered played a key part as did other elements of society. (For resistance within the military, see the brilliant documentary Sir! No Sir!) That's where the "split" was. The comfort level of the elites was "split" out of fear that the country could fall apart if the illegal war was continued. You had protests, you had walk outs, you had civil disobedience . . . It was no longer as comfortable for them as it had been. That's what forced the end of the illegal war. And you had those things in civil society and within the military. Blum is on strong ground writing about the importance of IVAW, he's on weak ground when he tells people that's 'the answer'. Blum should know that's not reality. He left the State Dept. over Vietnam -- an action others took part in and that also sent a message. Whether it's a need to find a hero (hero worship currently seems to be plauging a number of males who took part in ending an earlier illegal war) or a desire to hype that's driving Blum, I have no idea. But there is no single-solution answer, no "magic bullet," that will end this illegal war (even impeaching the Bully Boy -- which I support -- would not end the illegal war, there are too many members of Congress interested in continuing it). And there was no single-solution that forced the government to pull US forces out of Vietnam. It was a broad based movement that required all levels of actions from all sections of society. Writing "Only those fighting the war can end it" is the height of ignorance. As hype, when the "support" 'answer' fails, a lot of young people (already leery of all the hype that's been forced down their throat by the 'anti-war' movement) are going to be even more pissed off (not at the government, at 'leaders'). As hero worship? Grow up. What is Blum, 70 now? Whatever he is, he's old enough to not still be dreaming of the Lone Ranger riding in to save the day. Instead of pointing people to turn to others for the answers, the peace movement needs to get honest about the fact that the answer to ending the illegal war is in everyone of us. It's in our taking action, it's in our taking to the streets, it's in our using our own voices. The answer is in each of us, in every element of society.

Now today, a number of women are stationed in Iraq and required to 'fight.' But let's be really honest about this masculinist b.s. these men keep pushing. It says the "men" in Iraq will save the day and all we have to do is make like Natalie Wood cheering on the drag race, like good little women waiting for the illegal war to end. As
Elaine's noted, our biggest mistake (some -- not all -- women's biggest mistake) during Vietnam appears to have been the vast amounts of time we spent getting male 'leaders' ready to speak, chasing away the fears, stroking the ego. We should have all pushed you out on stage while you were a jumble of nerves or near tears so you could have faced some reality. Maybe then you wouldn't come back all these years later promoting lies that are offensive and sexist. And then getting shocked when you're called them out on it. If you say, as one did, that it was "the draft" that motivated (college) student action during Vietnam because "we" all had to go through that invasive physical, you're being a sexist pig. "We" didn't all go through a physical. And, as Rebecca noted, don't talk invasive until you've had an exam where your feet are in stirrups. Let me join Elaine in asking what has happened to the Young Lions of those days? (Not a reference to the Young Lords.) Can any of them make a statement that doesn't rely on the inverse of the John Wayne (or is it The Deer Hunter?) movie damage they all appear to be suffering from -- apparently caught during the midst of a middle age panic? Really, boys (term used intentionally), you're embarrassing yourselves. As for Blum, someone in charge of the Washington Free Press all that time ago should be able to check their old clippings if their memory is currently failing them.

While the former Young Lions seem to be emerging from some Robert Bly workshop,
Ron Jacobs (Dissident Voice) offers a serious look about what's required to end this illegal war and others in a dialogue with Ashley Smith. They both note the importance of IVAW but they don't make the mistake of instructing, "Just support them! They are the answer!" Ashley Smith lays it out speaking of Vietnam, "We ended it through dynamic interaction between a truly mass domestic anti-war movement, a rebellion among the US troops and Veterans documented in David Cortright's brilliant book Soldiers in Revolt, and the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people. That's exactly what we must build today. We must build a grassroots and sustained anti-war movement expressed through demonstrations, sit-ins, teach-ins and many other tactics to turn majority anti-war sentiment into the social power to shut down campuses, paralyze cities in mass protests, and even organize strikes at workplaces against the war."

In other peace news, September 15th (see
ANSWER for more information) mass protests will be taking place in DC and IVAW will lead a "die-in". This will be part of a several days of action lasting from the 15th through the 18th. September 17th IVAW will kick off Truth in Recruiting. CODEPINK will be conducting a Peoples March Inside Congress (along with other groups and individuals) on September 17th. United for Peace & Justice (along with others) will begin Iraq Moratorium on September 21st and follow it every third Friday of the month as people across the country are encouraged to wear and distribute black ribbons and armbands, purchase no gas on those Fridays, conduct vigils, pickets, teach-ins and rallies, etc.

Finally, on PBS'
NOW with David Brancaccio: this week (Friday's on most PBS stations), the program expands to an hour for a special look at the Third Infantry's First Brigade which is on it's third deployment to Iraq. A preview is posted at YouTube. The earlier broadcast of interviewing the Third Infantry's First Brigade can be found here. And NOW is offering an online exclusive of interviews with members of the Third Infantry and their spouses.