BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
IF THERE IS ONE THING THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS CAN AGREE IN TO IN THESE CHARGED TIMES IT'S THAT ONE EVER WANTS TO SEE "PRESIDENT JOE LIEBERMAN."
THE INCUMBENT SENATOR WHO COULD NOT EVEN WIN HIS OWN PARTY'S PRIMARY LAST YEAR, CONTINUES TO EMBARRASS AMERICANS REGARDLESS OF PARTY IDENTIFICATION.
APPEARING YESTERDAY ON CBS' FACE THE NATION, THE SENATOR (WHO WAS ONCE KNOWN AS "LIE-BERMAN") WHO CHEERED ON THE IRAQ WAR DEMONSTRATED THAT HIS WAR LUST HAS NO BOUNDS AS HE DECLARED "I THINK WE'VE GOT TO BE PREPARED" TO STRIKE IRAN.
CLUCK-CLUCK-CLUCK, THERE'S A CHICKEN HAWK IN THE YARD.
SENATOR COWARD RECEIVED REPEATED STUDENT DEFERMENTS DURING VIETNAM ONLY TO REPLACE THEM WITH "FAMILY DEFERRMENTS." TRANSLATION, WHEN HIS COUNTRY NEEDED WAR HAWKS, LITTLE JOEY PROTECTED HIS OWN LILLY WHITE ASS BUT NOW WANTS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT "WE" NEED TO DO EVEN THOUGH, YET AGAIN, IT WON'T BE HIS FAT ASS ON THE LINE.
SENATOR COWARD DECRIES VIOLENCE IN VIDEO GAMES AND FILMS AND HIS ACTIONS HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE HE LUSTS FOR THE REAL THING. SPEAKING TO THESE REPORTERS TODAY, THE SENATOR DECLARED, "WAR IS GOOD. WAR IS FUN. FROM A DISTANCE."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. "In the current environment have you seen a lot of resistance to this war among enlisted men, among officers, among young people?" Michael Ratner asked on WBAI's Law and Disorder today (the program streams online and also airs on other radio stations across the country). "It's interesting," Tod Ensign answered, "This is a good time to talk about it. Because until about a year ago, the Pentagon was claiming that there was not an uptake, there was not an increase in desertions, for example. If you accept their figures as, you know, somewhat accurate, that seemed to be the case -- that the three years before . . . we invaded Iraq had higher desertion rates than the three years after. However, this last year, there's been a pretty substantial increase in the number of desertions and I would say it's increased by at least fifty percent. So that would suggest that, you know, soldiers, to some extent, are voting with their feet. Now, of course, the military always says, 'You know a lot of deserters are driven by family problems or financial issues or they just can't stomach the military" which of course is true, in some cases. But I do think there is an increase in the attitude among soldiers, especially guys that have already served over there that this is an endless war and there's nothing to be gained by them going back again."
And demonstrating how right Ensign is, Nancy Montgomery filed two stories on this subject yesterday for Star and Stripes. In her first article, Montgomery noted that the US army states 3,300 is the desertion figure for the last year and that "a news report in April citing Army statistics said more deserters were facing courts-martial than in previous years. But [Maj. Anne] Edgecomb said that of deserters outprocessed at Fort Knox, Ky., where many U.S. Army Europse soldiers who desert end up, 70 percent are administratively discharged."
In both articles, Montgomery notes the Military Counseling Network in Germany which notes the following conditions usually prevent criminal charges: "they must not be on a deployment list; they must not have pending actions against them under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; they have to make it back to the U.S. before 30 days, when an arrest warrant is issued; and they should turn themselves in after 30 days when they've been dropped from their unit's rolls to one of two personnel control centers, Fort Knox or Fort Sill, Okla." In both article, Montgomery reports on 23-year-old Chris Capps who made the decision to self-checkout, "flew to the States and stayed in New York City until he knew he had been dropped from his unit's rolls. After that, Capps said, his commander had no authority over him. Capps turned himself in at Fort Sill. In fewer than four days, he was out of the Army, with an other-than-honorable discharge." Capps explains to Montgomery that he didn't try for Conscientious Objector status because he isn't opposed to all wars and because he "knew a soldier in his battalion who sought and won CO status and didn't want to go through the process. 'The chain of command treated him like [crap],' Capps said." Montogmery's second article focuses more on CO status and includes Vincent La Volpa who was awarded CO status and discharged honorably "in 2005 with a Purple Heart earned during his Iraq tour" whose statements on his CO decision include: "I contemplated the cause and its value. Feeling that the means was not worth the sacrifice for the uncertain end. I felt that I had to make a decision. Am I for this or am I against it? I decided I am against it." In the second article, Montgomery notes MCN's Michael Sharp whoe explains that in 2006, they were dealing with "eight to 10 nes cases monthly" of enlisted needing advice about discharges and that has gone up to "15 to 20" a month.
Also covering the topic yesterday was Heather Wokusch (OpEdNews) who covers the cases of Kyle D. Huwer, Clifton F. Hicks and "John" (a psuedonym). John self-checked out and is back in the US avoiding his family ("avid Bush-supporters; his uncle works for a weapons manufacturer and his stepfather, for an oil company") but has some contact with his girlfriend "Sarah" who notes the difference between media in Germany and in the US, "Watching the news here [US] really makes me angry, people are so detached from reality. They increse the troop deployments from 12 to 15 months, and no one besides the military families recognizes it. They are sending back national guard people for multiple deployments, no one recognizes it. You hardly hear anything about what that puts on the families, emotionally and financially. I'm deeply mad and sad about that at the same time."
John explains to Wokusch the transformation he had while serving in Iraq and notes, "It was not what I was expecting at all. There are people in Iraq making HUGE sums of money profiting over poorly supervised and ill-run government contracts. When you hear about the cost of the war in Iraq, it's this kind of thing that's doing it, not the body armor, having to pay the soliders a couple of meager extra bucks, or armoring the humvees. It's paying KBP $90 for every time I turn in my laundry while paying poor Pakistani and Filipino workers who work long hours with no days off for years at a time (and handling thousands of bags of laundry) $15 a day." [Note: Heather Wokusch's article also contains an audio-visual stream option.]
Clifton Hicks is now discharged and some may remember his story from Peter Laufer's
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq. In the book Laufer recounts how Hicks father posted one his son's letters home (from Iraq) online and the military's response was "a Field Grade Article 15" (p. 185) which Hicks learned after his woke him up one morning kicking his cot and, pay attention easily shocked Heather Hollingsworth-types, cursing at him. "They were going to throw me in jail for treason." After he was demoted to private and fined $800, Hicks applied for CO status. Hicks told Laufer, "If I don't get it? I have other avenues of approach to get home. I've told them I am not going back to Iraq" and would rather go to prison but "[i]t won't come to that, though, because I think I'm too smart for that to happen to me. Civil disobedience is an option -- just refuse to put the uniform on. Maybe a hunger strike. There's all kinds of things you can do. It's looking like they'll approve it. But if they don't, I have Plan B, Plan C, all the way up to desertion" (p. 187). Laufer's chapter on Hicks ends with Hicks being told he will receive CO status and a discharge. [Reminder, Laufer now hosts a two hour program each Sunday morning on KPFA from 9:00 to 11:00 am PST. The program is not yet named -- though it is airing -- and Laufer's program airs in Larry Bensky's old time slot.]
The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
On today's Law and Disorder, Todd Ensign noted that Iraq Veterans Against the War has "a chapter up at Fort Drum which is where we have our coffee house [Different Drumer Cafe] and that's the first on base chapter of IVAW that I'm aware of." Dalia Hashad asked him where Fort Drum was and Ensign responded "about sixty miles straight north of Syracuse, almost to the Canadian border and most New Yorkers know it as a reserve base; however, under Reagan it was turned into an active infantry base. Now it's the most heavily deployed division in the US army. It's a very active combat infantry base."
Dalia Hashad: Can you explain for people who don't know what the coffee house is? Or how it came about?
Todd Ensign: Good question. During the Vietnam war, those of us who are older -- in the older generation recall there were over 20 coffee houses that were formed mostly by civilians initially at or near US military bases -- army and marine bases and navy and airforce too. And these were very important in building the GI movement and building the opposition to the war within the ranks. They had an enormous impact. There's a very fine documentary called Sir! No Sir! that some of your listeners have probably seen that tells that story and it's really pretty amazing to realize that those coffeehouses were often largely run and staffed by soldiers, active duty soldiers".
[Mike notes Law and Disorder each week at his site and, here, we'll also probably pick up more from the interview later in the week. Attorneys (and activists) Dalia Hashad, Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith host the one hour radio program.]
The attempts to silence Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adam Kokesh, Cloy Richards and Liam Madden (as well as others) from speaking out continues. War resister Stephen Funk (who announced his refusal to deploy to Iraq in April 2003) writes (The Huffington Post) about Kokesh and observes, "If Sgt. Kokesh wanted to play it safe, he would have waited to protest until after June 18th, when he was scheduled to be discharged from the Individual Ready Reserve. At that point he would no longer be held accountable to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But the anniversary of the war happened to fall earlier in the year, and true patriots do not wait until it is convenient or safe to act upon their beliefs. That the military would charge someone so close to discharge with misconduct for such a minor indiscretion shows how desperate they are to contain the emerging antiwar voices among their ranks as discontent with the war continues to rise." Kokesh is specifically targeted for engaging in street theater, Operation First Casualty. [Language warning] Jeff Mullins (The Brooklyn Rail) takes a look at Operation First Casualty and notes that it "is modeled after the Vietnam-era protest action Operation Rapid American Withdrawal that took place in Pennsylvania during the summer of 1970. This variation came out of a brainstorming session among the Washington D.C. chapter of IVAW earlier this year. The vets felt 'tired of just being part of other people's protest,' explained Adam Kokesh, a member of the D.C. chapter. IVAW, a national veterans organization founded in July of 2004, performed the first Operation First Casualty in D.C. this past March." Michael Borkson (Boston IMC) has posted video and photos from Liam Madden's press conference last Thursday (covered in Friday's snapshot, text can also be found in this write up we did at The Third Estate Sunday Review).
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