I lost my entire post. I'm ticked off.
The Nation feels that they can LIE to their readers. No real surprise, I suppose.
But they're running the latest trash from Gary Younge. Gary Younge supports Obama and wants to lie about feminists. First off, Gary Younge, no feminist can support HOMOPHOBIA which Barack Obama used in South Carolina while THE NATION STAYED SILENT.
The whole magazine refused to call it out. Even self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders.
Second of all, Gary Younge, why does anyone GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU THINK?
Are you a member of the Democratic Party? No, you are a Communist who likes to hide that fact. Are you able to vote in the election? No, you are a citizen of the United Kingdom.
SO WHY DON'T YOU BUTT THE HELL OUT OF AMERICAN ELECTIONS?
Now if The Nation couldn't push Communists as Democrats, they wouldn't be able to pimp Bambi because a good portion of their writers would be let go.
Gary Younge comes from England which really doesn't have the sizeable Black population the United States does. So maybe, as an 'exotic,' he doesn't get what racism is and isn't.
Let this African-American lesbian set his RED ASS straight.
Geraldine Ferraro pointing out that the press is treating Bambi special due to his bi-racial nature in a way that no woman running for president -- of any race -- would receive.
Geraldine Ferraro was not being racist.
Did she say that "the color of Obama's skin makes him uniquely qualified for president and even reach out to the moderate Islam world"? No, that was Obama supporter and US Senator John Kerry yesterday. You can find that at No Quarter. I read it earlier today and I can't pull up the site. When I try, my screen freezes and I have to shut down the computer.
SusanUnPC has a whole post there where she quotes Bambi talking about how HE IS GETTING good press because of his race (perceived race). I was planning on linking to this post there and that post there but I can't pull up the site. Back to Kerry.
Guess what, reaching out to Islam isn't the most important thing in the US. There's an economy, STUPID. There's a war and considering that Bambi made war noises AGAIN to Iran, I would be careful about assuming anything. I would be even more careful about assuming accuracy in anything John Kerry says since he is the 2004 LOSER who refused to fight for the presidency. John Kerry seems to think America loves him when, in fact, most see him as a COWARD for refusing to fight for Ohio.
John Kerry is from a state that Hillary won. But Kerry can't stop humping Obama's leg. It's disgusting.
But it was disgusting that we had four more years of the Bully Boy because John Kerry was such a LOSER that he wouldn't fight.
After LYING on the campaign trail and saying that every vote should count. And what was with that ridiculous outfit when he was wind surfing? There's nothing wrong with wind surfing but that outfit was laughable. Did he think we wanted to see all that?
Maybe some women did. I'm a lesbian, maybe I'm missing the attraction. But I can't imagine anyone was saying, "I want to see John Kerry with his junk compressed!"
Back to Bambi's free-ride from the press until now. This is from FAIR's Extra! and specifically from Peter Hart's article outlining the press love for Bambi and these are just some examples Hart documented:
*An October 27, 2006 Washington Post column by conservative Charles Krauthammer that states, "Like many Americans, I long to see an African-American ascend to the presidency. It would be an event of profound significance, a great milestone . . ."
* Conservative Roger Simon appearing on Meet The Press February 11, 2007 and declaring, "If America actually nominates him and then votes for him for president and elects him, this will be a sign that we are a good and decent country that has healed its racial wounds."
* A January 18, 2007 editorial in the Washington Post: "The excitement about Mr. Obama speaks in part to Americans' desire to believe, whether true or not, that this country has come to a point when it can rise above its ugly history of racism; and in part to the desire to believe that, if it could just overcome the divisions that foul modern politics, the nation could get unstuck on many fronts."
Now what has The Nation freaking out is reality. This is from Charles Babington's "Obama's Minister's Remarks Won't Fade:"
WASHINGTON (AP) — Even if Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides do not mention Barack Obama's fiery-tongued spiritual mentor, don't expect the Illinois senator's well-publicized speech Tuesday to make the controversy disappear, political strategists said this week.
Reporters, talk-show hosts and others will keep asking about Obama's close and long-standing relationship to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose most bombastic comments came to dominate the Democratic presidential contest recently, the strategists predicted in interviews. In video clips playing on Internet sites, Wright can be heard arguing that HIV-AIDS was a U.S. government plot to wipe out "people of color," and that God should "damn" the United States for its racist policies.
Should Obama become the Democratic nominee, conservative activists are virtually certain to remind voters of Obama's ties to Wright, perhaps by using the videos in TV ads, several strategists said.
The press is only now getting it. C.I. outlined it yesterday. And the day before. And C.I. has no interest in writing about religion. This was an issue in the community and C.I. had to write about it. Check out the last link of the two and you can tell C.I. does not want to write about it. But C.I. got it and got it why? Because C.I. listened to people, C.I. heard them. The Nation thinks if they keep screaming "The sky is green!" everyone will believe that eventually. No. What's happening is Bambi is cratering. His pastor of 20 years, who married him, who baptized his daughters, who 'blessed' his mansion, who was his mentor and on his campaign staff damned the United States and Bambi didn't leave the church, didn't cut the man out of his life.
It is OFFENSIVE.
It is NOT GOING AWAY.
The Nation can continue to smear Hillary. They've done that non-stop since 2006. But they can not make this go away. It will never go away. If every candidate died and Bambi was installed by default, it wouldn't go away.
A person who wants to be president of the United States does not associate with someone who damns the United States. Jeremiah Wright was a pastor, "damning" from a pastor is not the same as you or me sayining "Damn!" People get that, they are offended by it and he is dropping in the polls. He will continue to drop because it is so OFFENSIVE.
The Nation can lie and smear but they can't take back what happened. And the fact that they don't grasp that demonstrates how little they know about religion and how little they care about it.
This is Hillary's "Hillary's Remarks at the 'Solutions for America' Event in Detroit, MI:"
Thank you very, very much. Wow. I am thrilled to be here. It is great being here at AFSCME Council 25. I want to thank President Al Garrett for inviting us to his house and have this opportunity to be with you. I want to also thank Javier for his wonderful comments. I love seeing the way so many young people are intensely involved in this campaign and we want to keep it that way, including the young people right here in Michigan. I want to recognize just a few other people that I am pleased to be here with: Jim Blanchard, former Governor of Michigan, along with his wife Janet. Jewel Ware, who has done a wonderful job as the chair of the Wayne County Commission. I know her husband is here, and I am grateful Jewel’s support. David Hecker, president of the Michigan AFT, Ron Duncan of RWDSU. I know that Debbie Stabenow your fabulous Senator was here earlier and her husband Tom Athans is here. I am thrilled to be with you in Michigan once again, because Michigan is a Bellwether state, it is a diverse state, it's a proud union state, and is a critical state for Democrats to win in November. I am here for one simple reason - to make sure Michigan votes are counted and your voices are heard in this election.
I know that Governor Granholm couldn't here because she was long scheduled to be in Western Michigan, where she is working to help create jobs and grow the economy. But I want to applaud her for her energy, her creativity, her tenacity and dedication in tackling the problems that Michigan faces. Let's give Governor Granholm a big round of applause. I know Michigan, probably more than any other state, deserves a president who understands the challenges of a struggling economy, unfair trade policies, the loss of manufacturing jobs, the deterioration of health care coverage, and all of the other challenges from rising gas process to rising college costs. You deserve a president who will be your partner and that is what I intend to be if given the chance to serve.
This has been an incredible primary season so far. There's been more passion and enthusiasm than anyone could have ever predicted. Democrats across the country are turning out in record numbers to have their say in this historic election. Here in Michigan, 600,000 people turned out on a cold and snowy day in January to cast your votes and you made it abundantly clear that you wanted your voices to be heard and your votes to be counted. In Florida, 1.7 million people did exactly the same. Now, these nearly 2.5 million Americans are in danger of being shut out of our democratic process. I think that is wrong and, frankly, it is un-American, and we cannot let that continue. My very first job in politics was working for the Democratic National Committee, going door-to-door, registering voters in Texas in 1972. I threw myself in to that hard work because I believed then, as I believe now, that every American has a right to be part of our great democracy.
Every voice should have the chance to be heard and every vote counted. This goes way beyond this election and it goes way beyond who's running, because no matter where you were born, or how much money you were born into, no matter where you worship or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth. For me, it has been a long struggle to get to the point where barriers were knocked down and doors opened and we still haven't completed that journey.
But it is the vote that has given voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. It is through that vote that women, African American, Latinos and so many others have claimed their rights as full and equal citizens. We have made our laws more just and our society more fair. Each vote is a declaration of our dreams for our children and a reflection of our prayers for our nation's future. That is why generations of brave men and women marched and protested, risked and gave their lives for this right.
It is because of them that both Senator Obama and I stand before you as candidates for the Democratic nomination. It is because of all those who came before that we are both in this race today. We should carry on that legacy by saying clearly that we will protect and cherish the right to vote for all people.
I've always stood up for voting rights. I'm proud of the legislation I've sponsored in the Senate to assure that every eligible voter can count and every vote is counted and I will always defend your right to vote, no matter whom you choose to vote for in the end, it is not about that at all. Because I believe that Michigan's families are just as important as the families of any other state. The father in Detroit wants the same opportunities for his children as the father in Des Moines, and he deserves the same voice in the future. The mother in Lansing needs access to health care just as much as the mother in Los Angeles, and she deserves the same voice and how we will provide quality, affordable health care to everyone. The families in the U.P. need good paying jobs that stay right here in America just as much as the families in Central PA, and they deserve the same voice in trying to get that done. The soldiers from across this great state need a Commander-in-Chief who will end the war in Iraq and bring them home.
They certainly deserve the same voice in choosing that person. That’s why I’ve been saying for some time that the people of Michigan and Florida must have a voice in selecting our nominee for president. I have called repeatedly for an agreement that would seat Michigan delegates at our national convention, because I believe your voices and your votes should count. When others made the decision to remove their names from the ballot, I didn't, because I believe your voices and your votes should count. That's why I’ve been saying we need to either count the votes that have already been cast in Michigan and Florida or have new, full, and fair elections so that we can have your voices and your votes counted.
Senator Obama speaks passionately on the campaign trail about empowering the American people. Today, I'm urging him to match those words with action, to make sure the people of Michigan and Florida have a voice and a vote in this election. I have accepted the plan for a new vote in Michigan, proposed in draft legislation and approved by the Democratic National Committee. In fact, the DNC put out a statement earlier this morning making clear that the proposal fits within the DNC rules. It is fully within the party's rules. I call on Senator Obama to do the same.
This is a crucial test. Does he mean what he says or not? I am pleased and grateful that on this issue, the people of Michigan have had such outstanding advocates in their Democratic leaders, and there are so many, including the Governor and Senator Stabenow and members of the legislature. But I especially want to thank four who have really been at the forefront: Senator Carl Levin, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Debbie Dingell and Ron Gettelfinger of the UAW.
People in Michigan and particularly Democrats in Michigan know that Michigan matters, both in the primary and in the general election. The road to a Democratic White House goes through Michigan and Florida. If Democrats send the message that we don't care about your vote, I'm sure John McCain and the Republicans would be happy to have them. In fact, the Republicans will argue that Michigan and Florida voters shouldn't trust the Democrats to look out for them when we won't even listen to you. Ignoring Michigan and Florida would be a grave mistake. We won't be able to end the war in Iraq, we won’t achieve universal health care, we won't end the housing crisis and get the economy moving again unless we win in Michigan and Florida in November.
For me, it's really very simple. We need your voices and you have a right to your vote. I am proud to stand with the people of Michigan in this cause and I hope that Senator Obama will join me, because when we look at the stakes of this election, they could not be higher. The next president of the United States will inherit a huge mess from George W. Bush and we're going to have to do a lot of cleaning up. I can just imagine what it will be like to try to undo the damage that we will inherit plus taking on the neglected agenda that the votes sand families of Michigan and American are waiting to have addressed.
I’ve been criss-crossing our country, saying very clearly that I offer solutions, 21st century solutions about how we're going to get the economy moving again and creating good jobs with particular emphasis on a state like Michigan that deserves even more attention from the next president because you’ve been neglected and you’ve been ignored and your needs have been denied.
It was amazing to me that the big three auto companies in the UAW had to beg for years just to have a meeting with the president. I met with them more than the president met with them, and what we were waiting for was just a smidgen of presidential leadership - we didn't ask for a lot. A little would have been welcome. Some idea that, you know what, the auto industry and our big three manufacturers and the hard-working members of the UAW deserve some help as we make this transition into a higher gas mileage economy, as we look for ways to support innovation from hybrid cars to more flexible fuel. That's all they were looking for, a partner who would be with them in this fight to save American jobs, to make sure that we retained leadership globally as we navigated through a much more challenging economy. But it didn't happen.
So we're going to really have to go into high gear starting in January 2009 because we’re going to have to make up for all the lost time and the lost opportunities. We have big challenges - how are we going to create new jobs? How are we going to get the tax codes to quit rewarding businesses for exporting jobs out of Michigan to foreign countries? How are we going to make that tax code fair and quit yielding a lower tax rate to some Wall Street money manager who makes 50 million dollars? Then what is paid by nurse, a teacher or a truck driver making $50,000 right here in Detroit or elsewhere across Michigan? And what are we going to do to finally tackle our energy dependence? We can't live with $112 a barrel, oil and gas moving up to $4 a gallon. The average American is going to just be bewildered and distressed trying to figure out how to cover all the expenses because the price of everything is going up, but wages are not going up. People are not being rewarded for working harder, doing more, and more, and more. How many of you know someone with two, and even three, jobs that don’t pay what used to be paid in the job they used to have before it was exported or done away with?
And we cannot continue the moral outrage and the economic calamity of having a health care system that doesn't cover everyone and continues to cost more and more and more every single year. We've got to move for universal health care and we’ve got to do it quickly because we can't be globally competitive and expect to have our individual businesses bear all these costs. And we're sure going to have to deal with our education system, with more opportunities for children in the pre-school years so that they're better prepared to go to school, with universal pre-kindergarten and more Head Start and early childhood development. And I will end the unfunded mandate known as No Child Left Behind, which hasn't worked and is not working. And we will make college affordable again for young people from middle class and working families.
There's so much to be done here at home and, of course, around the world we have to restore America's leadership and our moral authority and that means we've got to begin ending the war in Iraq. And I have been outlining this week, as we mark the fifth anniversary of George Bush's preemptive war that he waged, I have been outlining plans as to what we can and must do to begin bringing our sons and daughters home. I am convinced that we can start within 60 days and do it in a responsible and careful manner, recognizing that the Iraqi government has to take responsibility for its own future, that we have given them the precious gift of freedom and it is up to them to decide whether or not they will use it. But we cannot win their civil war. There is no military solution.
And as we bring our troops home we must take care of them. Our veterans deserve our greatest efforts to fulfill our obligations to them. Get the healthcare and the other services that they have so richly earned and we've got to have a 21st century GI Bill of Rights for these young men and women so they can go to school or start a business or buy a home.
So there's a lot of work ahead but I am confident and optimistic that we can do this work together. And I know that the next president of the United States is going to have to have a united country with everyone once again believing that our best days are ahead, and working to achieve big goals again like universal healthcare and energy independence and so much more. Well, I sure want Michigan and Florida to be right in the forefront of helping to make the choice as to who will walk into that Oval Office next January.
Thank you all very, very much.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, March 20, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, which outlets are covering Winter Soldier and more.
Starting with war resistance. Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports on a CO testifying at Winter Soldier:
"The problem that we face in Iraq is that policy makers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don't abide by the rule of law, we don't respect internationl treaties," argued U.S. Army Sgt. Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector. "So when that atmosphere exists, it lends itself to criminal activity." Laituri told OneWorld that precedent of lawlessness makes itself felt in the rules of engagement handed down by commanders to soldiers on the front lines. For example, when he was stationed in Samarra, he said, one of his fellow soldiers shot an unarmed man while he walkded down the street.
The problem is that that soldier was not committing a crime as you might call it, because the rules of engagement were very clear that no one was supposed to be walking down the street," Laituri said. "But I have a problem with that. You can't tell a family to leave everything they know so you can bomb the [expletive] out of their house or their city. So while he definitely has protection under the law, I don't think that legitimates that type of violence."
We'll come back to Winter Soldier in a moment but it concluded on Sunday and also over the weekend, protests against the war took place in Canada. Jenny Yuen (Toronto Sun) reports that among those taking part was war resister Linjamin Mull who was among at least 500 protesting in Toronto.
War resisters in Canada were dealt a setback in November the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Today, Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Tofirstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. That is the sort of thing that should receive attention but instead it's ignored. We will note war resisters in Canada tomorrow. There is not time today, my apologies.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
FAIR asks why Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Investigation isn't news in the US and it's a question worth asking but that requires more honesty and facts than FAIR is providing. They give two shout-outs to Democracy Now! which is about one too many. Fact check FAIR in this statement: "While the tetimony of soldiers who had served multiple tours of duty was broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!, Free Speech TV and the Real News network, the major broadcast networks and PBS instead . . . " Free Speech TV and Real News Network broadcast the hearings in real time. Democracy Now! did not. Where in that sentence -- or anywhere else in their action alert -- is there any acknowledgement that KPFA broadcast the hearings live, that the stream was available at Pacifica's homepage, at The War Comes Home, at KPFK? Where in that action alert do Aaron Glantz and Aimee Allison receive any credit for anchoring the live coverage?
We've noted that Christopher Hayes did two blog posts at The Nation -- the first noting that the hearings were streaming live and the second noting Camilo Mejia. That's not included. More importantly the wasteland that is Panhandle Media gets a walk. The Progressive did nothing on them (it's finally published it's written ahead of time story today and we're not linking to that crap -- community wide, we're not linking to that crap), Mother Jones couldn't be found either. In These Times' article that ran AFTER we linked to but it needs to be noted they were among the ones contacted AHEAD of time to ask if they'd be covering Winter Soldier and, of course, they had something else to do. As did Mother Jones and assorted others in Panhandle Media who elected to blow off Winter Soldier.
Before we go futher, if you missed Winter Soldier you can stream online at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage. That's credit FAIR forgot to give. Anthony Swofford (Slate) attended the hearings and his article was published Monday. He quotes Jose Vasquez, who oversaw the verification process for witnesses taking part in the panels, stating, "We were willing at least to take testimony from anybody, whether or not they were a member. They didn't even have to agree with our points of unity. If you had a story to tell about Iraq and you were able to prove your service, then we would give you a venue to spread that word." He focuses on the the first Rules of Engagement panel on Friday and notes Jon Turner provided video clips during his testimony:
He then played a few videos he'd made while in Iraq. The first video he played was of his executive officer, after having called in a 500-pound bomb, saying, "I think I just killed half the population of northern Ramadi. F**k the red tape."
Then he played video of a missile attack on a Ministry of Health building. He spoke about the standard procedure of a "weapon drop": When mistakes are made, you drop a weapon on the innocent dead man so it appears he was a combatant. He showed photos of a man's brain. "This wasn't my kill, it was my friend's," he stated.
When the next image of a corpse appeared on the big screens in the hall, he continued, "On April 18, 2006, I had my first confirmed kill. Ahh. This man was innocent. I don't know his name. I call him the Fat Man. He was walking back to his house, and I shot him in front of his friend and father. The first round didn't kill him after I hit him up here in his neck area. So I looked at my friend who I was on post with and said, 'Well, can't let that happen.' So I took another shot and took him out." It took seven members of the Fat Man's family to move his body.
Linda Milazzo (OpEdNews) notes the blackout from big broadcast and observes, "Had Winter Soldier been televised, viewers would have seen the anguish of young Americans who saw and committed acts that torment them every day. The public would have heard stories of returning veterans abandoned by their government and by their V.A. (Veterans' Administration). The public would have seen the agony of parents whose 23 year old son hung himself in their closet due to untreated PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). If Winter soldier had been televised, The People could no longer accpe the deceptions of those who had alterted the facts. The people would have received the knowledge they need to motivate them to act -- to stop the atrocities -- to end the war -- NOW!" OpEdNews, FYI, may have been the only website of its kind (Truthout, BuzzFlash, et al) to actually COVER Winter Soldier. Throughout the hearings, various contributors to OpEdNews were filing stories. By the way, here's a folder The Real News Network has created for its Winter Soldier coverage. Celeste De Vore (Boise State's Arbiter) observes, "Many people may not even know this is happening; the event has been completely ignored by the corporate media. I suppose I can understand why: If America really took hold of the message portrayed by these brave veterans and soldiers (a message of betrayal, brutality, dismay and disillusionment) its citizens couldn't stand in silent ignorance anymore. We would demand an end to the Iraq occupation now." Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) reports on the hearings and we'll note this section on Bryan Casler:
Bryan Casler was a Marine who, in the course of his four years of action-duty service, was deployed first to Iraq, then to Afghanistan, and then again to Iraq. His testimony captured the indifference of the U.S. military for the well-being of Iraqis, as well as U.S. soldiers.
"During my first deployment, I was deployed to Kuwait in support of the invasion of Iraq," said Casler. "This was in 2003. Our unit was responsible for guarding Gen. Tommy Franks. While stationed in Kuwait, we received alerts for incoming missiles or possible gas attacks.
"As a Marine, being with the general, you feel like you're going to get the most current information, and you're going to be protected because you are going to be up to date and around these other important people.
"It was very disheartening to see the generals running out of their tents, putting on their gas masks, and I look over to our commander and say, 'Shouldn't we put on our gas masks?' He said, 'We'll wait. The siren hasn't been sounded yet.'
"And several minutes later, maybe five or 10 minutes, they would come running back out because they had forgotten to sound the siren for the rest of the base. As Marines, we knew our place. We were at the bottom of the food chain. We are the ones that get forgotten about."
Casler went on to explain that his unit had no clearly defined mission except to keep moving forward. In such circumstances, he said, the first instinct of every Marine is to rely on the tactical training that is drilled into recruits from the start of basic training, which is to use lethal force to repel attacks and destroy the enemy.
"When you mission is not defined, you are going to use . . . those skills that you have to handle hostile people -- not friendly people, not people that are looking for your help or looking for a hand," said Casler. "All you have is hammers, and everything you find is nails. And you are going to crush it. You are going to crush every nail that you find. We are crushing the Iraqi people with the training we're given."
Michael Kramer (Workers World) offers testimony and backround and we'll highlight this section:
While most of the panelists were IVAW members, expert witnesses also testified. Iraqi civilians, including refugees, described their experiences with the occupation through detailed interviews that had been video recorded in Iraq, Jordan and Syria. IVAW Advisory Board member Dr. Dahlia Wasfi raised the occupation of PalestineIVAW is a growing organization with over 800 members. The leadership is diverse: the chair of its Board of Directors was born in Nicaragua and the co-chair is African-American. The treasurer and executive director are women. The group is LGBT-friendly. Most members come from the enlisted ranks and are under 30 years old. They are from both urban and rural areas. Many were on track to be career noncommissioned officers--the foundation of any military organization. Their membership in IVAW is a major defeat for the U.S. imperialist war machine.
Kat wrote about Dahlai Wasfi's testimony on Monday. Tim Wheeler and Joel Wendland (People's Weekly World) provide a cross-section report and we'l lfocus on this section:
Marine Lars Ekstrom said he suffered an emotional breakdown from brutal "hazing" during his tour in Iraq. It included ordering him to do pushups and then to crawl with his face pressed against the ground causing cuts, a bloody nose, and sand filling his eyelids. "I was more afraid of my own unit than I was of the enemy," he said. He finally accepted "administrative separation" from his unit.
Marine Matt Howard said the Marine Corps "bases itself on subjugation and abuse" of lower-ranking enlisted personnel. "I was beaten and then I was kicked out of my platoon for being beaten," he said.
Many of the casualties in Iraq "are from friendly fire," he said.
Howard was the at the front in Kuwait the day the invasion began in March 2003. The first Abrams M-1 tank to cross into Iraq was destroyed by a U.S. helicopter gunship firing rockets armed with depleted uranium, he said. Luckily, the American soldiers escaped. "Why are we using these weapons?" he demanded. "We're poisoning the soldiers. We're poisoning Iraq. We're poisonin the world. Depleted uranium is the Agent Orange of the Iraq war."
Matt Howard's who we're focusing on today. "The Marine Corps bases itself on dehumanization and subjegation and abuse of its lower enlisted in order for it to function," Howard stated early on. He testified on Sunday's The Breakdown of the Military panel and noted being beaten during bootcamp "and ended up being kicked out of my platoon." He noted being on the border between Iraq and Kuwait before the invasion officially started and learning that Captain Banning of Alpha Company a helffire missile was launched into a tank.
Matt Howard: Contained in that Hellfire Missile was depleted uranium. Contained in the armor of the M1A1 tank was depleted uranium. Maximum exposure time for depleted uranium or when you're most susceptible to exposure is directly after impact. You should not be in the vincity of a vehicle that was just hit by friendly fire. I certainly don't have a science background. I won't get into the issue of depleted uranium too much, I expect you to do that and do the research. But I can speak briefly to the fact that this is the Agent Orange of this occupation. This weapon has no purpose in Iraq. Granted this was during the initial invasion so I can maybe understand its deployment but let's be clear here depleted uranium is an anti-armor weapon. The Iraqis do not have armor. They don't have tanks. They don't have bombers. Why are we using this? And, again, I urge you to do the research yourself. I can quickly say that we're using this because it's a way to get rid of atomic waste. We do not know what to do with that. We are posioning our soldiers. We are posioning the people of Iraq. But make no mistake, we are posioning the world. I can test every single person in this room and I can find depleted uranium in your hair. I was tested myself personally. in Australia. I had begged the VA for testing. I received this letter recently: "Dear Mr. Howard, I checked with the provider who has been with the VA and many branches of the services and he does not know of any depleted uranium testing. I have put in a request for your dental visit but it will be most likely only cover an evaluation for mouth-jaw pain due to grinding teeth for PTSD. For routine cleaning, we would need a letter from your command stating you were due for routine dental work prior to leaving the service." The VA has continually denied my requests to be tested for depleted uranium. This letter clearly shows they're saying a test doesn't even exist. And I will say for the record a test does exist. It's the wrong test. It's an urinalysis used to detect exposure, immediate exposure. The problem with depleted uranimum is that these particles dig deep within your body and you will not find them in your urine after a couple of days. You need a very expensive test, one that the VA is certainly not willing to pay for. But I would also like to point out that the VA does recognize the danger of depleted uranium. While they might not want to test for it, or talk about it, or give us any briefings on it beforehand. I specifically remember still holding this round . . . When we were issued tank rounds in Kuwait, most of the tankers had never seen this weapon. They don't use it, at least the Marines don't use it, in training. Probably because they don't just have the money for it compared to the other branches. But we finally got to Kuwait and we're being issued this ammunition, I just so clearly remember these Marines coming up and saying, "Hey, Howard, will you take my picture, will you take my picture?" They wanted the picture of them holding the Black Widow because this is the first time they ever got to actually have their hands on it. And this was a depleted uranium sable round that went in the tank. That round on impact aerosols and vaporizes and these particles go up in the air. And that's why I was saying I can test every single one of you for depleted uranium and find it in your hair. These particles blow up into the atmosphere and they are disseminated all around the entire globe. They have found depleted uranium on the skin of NASA vehicles in space. We are changing the entire genome of our planet -- human beings, cats and dogs, plants. We're changing the genetic makeup of our planet by using these munitions in Iraq and Afhganistan. And as I said, the VA does recognize the danger albeit in a different way. I'm holding here is a depleted uranium questionnaire that I had dowload from the VA. I certainly never saw this in Iraq. And it says: "Did you enter an Abrams battle tank to retrieve sensitive items immediately after it was struck by friendly fire?" Why do they ask that question? Because they know how dangerous a situation that is. And my best friend, Lance Cpl. Greg ____ did exactly that he entered an Abrams battle tank to retrieve sensitive items immediately after it was struck by friendly fire. And those sensitive items did not need to be retrieved. The tank was already destroyed. In fact there were live rounds still on that tank. My command that ordered him to retrieve those sensitive items put his life at risk -- those rounds could have cooked off. And not only that, they weren't that sensitive to begin with. Another Hellfire could have been launched into that tank and we could have moved on. Instead he was ordered to stay on that tank for an extended period of time and was exposed to depleted uranium in the process.
Greg's last name given sounds likes Stroll but I'm not sure I transcribed that correctly so there's ____ instead.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad rocket attack that left two people wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack wounded two police officers, Nineveh Province car bombing wounded two police officers and a Mosul roadside bombing wounded two police officers.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi soldier was shot and wounded in Kirkuk today by unknown assailants. Reuters notes 2 police officers shot dead in Mosul.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Raad Shallal and his driver were kidnapped yesterday and are being held for a $250,000 ransom while today Khalid al-Seyid was kidnapped in Kirkuk as was the owner of a story in Kirkuk.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 1 corpse discovered in Sulaimaniyah Province.
Meanwhile Marcus Baram (ABC News) reports on Ryan D. Maseth who died January 2nd of this year while serving in Iraq as a result of electrocution in the base shower due to "an improperly grounded electric water pump [which] short-circuited and flowed through the pipes. Since the coiled hose was touching his arm, he was hit with an electrical jolt and went into cardiac arrest and died." He was at least the 12th US service member to die "in Iraq due to accidental electrocution". Guess who had that contract? KBR.
With over four milliion Iraqi refugees (internal and external), the International Rescue Committee issues a report entitled "Five Years Later, A Hidden Crisis." In the (PDF format warning] report, they make four recommendations. 1) Displaced Iraqis need more aid delivered more effectively and efficiently. 2) Calls for the international community to work on the problem. 3) The US must lead on admitting Iraqi refugees. 4) Hold a talk with Ban Ki-moon chairing. It really is that superficial and that disappointing. On step 3, for example, they note that 12,000 is the number of Iraqis the White House has promised to allow into the US in this year (fiscal year). They said it needs to be "more". While that may be true (I wouldn't argue with that) it also needs to be at least 12,000. The US is not on track to admit 12,000 currently and the fiscal year started October 1st -- not January 1st. Last year (last fiscal year), the US government did not meet the total they pledged and this year is already on track to be a repeat. Yes, more would be nice but how about we point out the reality that even the number the White House has promised to admit isn't happening?
In a community-wide correction, Barack Obama's maternal grandmother -- the one he chose to shame in his speech Tuesday -- is alive and our apologies. With wife number two or three of his father is paraded around on TV as his paternal grandmother (his father and his paternal grandfather had multiple wives), one would assume his maternal grandmother must be dead. But that's not the case. Taylor Marsh (TaylorMarsh.com) reports Bambi can't stop shaming the woman and that he's now called her "a typical white person". This is the grandmother he painted as a racist in his speech (though that 'creative tale' doesn't go with what he wrote in his book if anyone in the press wants to check that out).
For those worrying about a US war with Iran, William M. Arkin (Washington Post) offers a score card:When it comes to making sense on Iran, Hillary Clinton wins hands down over Barack Obama, John McCain and George Bush. In his zeal to describe the mess created by the war in Iraq, Obama falls into the trap of lumping Iran in with our "enemies." McCain is even more offensive, borrowing from the president's always-change-the-justification playbook to argue that the Iraq war is ultimately about Iran. And President Bush is more confused than ever, fretting about emboldening Iran if we leave Iraq, but oblivious to how invading and occupying Iraq may have had the same effect. [. . .] We throw the word "enemy" around way too much these days. Is that what Obama thinks Iran is? The same country he has pledged to negotiate with? In his five-year anniversary speech about Iraq yesterday, Obama said Iran "poses the greatest challenge to American interests in the Middle East in a generation, continuing its nuclear program and threatening our ally, Israel." It is time to present Iran "with a clear choice," Obama said, to abandon its nuclear program, its support for terrorism and its threats to Israel. "Make no mistake," Obama bellowed about Iran, "if and when we ever have to use military force against any country, we must exert the power of American diplomacy first." Gee, I'm no Republican and have no confidence in the Bush administration. But that sounds like current White House policy.
iraq veterans against the war
linjamin mulljenny yuen
aimeee allisondavid solnit
william m. arkinthe washington postmichael kramer