BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- IOWA.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA IS DESPONDENT OVER YESTERDAY'S 'DEBATE' AT DRAKE COLLEGE BECAUSE HE FEELS HE WAS MISUNDERSTOOD.
"THEY LAUGHED AT ME!" WHIMPERED OBAMA IN A 10 MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH THESE REPORTERS TODAY.
OBAMA WAS REFERRING TO WHEN HE ATTEMPTED TO OPEN UP AND LET THE VOTERS SEE "THE REAL BARACK OBAMA."
"THAT WAS ME UP THERE," HE WHINED, "AND THEY LAUGHED AT ME."
THE SENATOR WAS REFERRING TO HIS COMMENT, "YOU KNOW, TO PREPARE FOR THIS DEBATE, I RODE IN THE BUMPER CARS AT THE STATE FAIR."
THE ONLY SLIGHTLY AMUSING LINE GARNERED MANY BELLY LAUGHS BUT IT TURNS OUT HE WAS DEADLY SERIOUS.
"I DID RIDE IN THE BUMPER CARS!" OBAMA INSISTED. "I DID! AND TO PREPARE FOR HAPPY DREAMS I ATE COTTON CANDY! WHY DO THEY LAUGH AT ME! I FEEL JUST LIKE SONNY BONO."
A SOBBING BARACK OBAMA WAS THEN SHIELDED FROM FURTHER QUESTIONS BY WAR HAWK AND OBAMA ADVISOR SAMMY POWER WHO WAS HEARD TO MUTTER,
"I WILL NEVER HAVE WORLD DOMINATION IF HE CAN'T GET HIS F**KING S**T TOGETHER!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resisters. This year has seen three war resisters publish their stories in book form. First up was Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale which was followed in May by Camilo Mejia's Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia and then, this month, Aidan Delgado's The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq. Susan L. Rife (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) reports on Delgado who will "speak at various book-related events in Florida in September and October". Delgado explains, "As a child, I always thought of myself as a writer, always wanted to be a writer. . . . I encountered a lot of writer's block. So I would write whatever section seemed the most immediate to me, then once I had a bunch of little modules or sections, I'd write them together." Delgado is a reader (which always helps when writing a book). In a book discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Mike noted that Delgado's "descriptions really make it come alive and he's a really strong writer," with Rebecca offering, "I think the book is a more 'You are there' approach than a reflection," while Cedric focused on the way Delgado captured his religious awakening in Iraq and Elaine comparing his writing style favorably to Lillian Hellman's noting, "He has a very good eye for physical detail but he also is very strong in zooming in on the telling incident." Rife writes, "The son of an American diplomat who had spent his childhood in Thailand, Senegal and Egypt, the former New College of Florida student was deployed to Iraq as a mechanic with the 320th Military Police in Nasiriyah and at the prison in Abu Ghraib. Outraged by treatment of Iraqi prisoners and prejudice against civilians, he filed for conscientious objector status." According to the Taguba Report, the US Army Criminal Investigation Command into the crimes at Abu Ghraib began in May 2003. As Delgado recounts on page 184-185, as late as January 2004, a commander was telling people to destroy evidence:
The first sergeant calls us to attention and then turns the formation over to the commander. The captain dispenses with the military formality and begins to rant at us immediately.
"I just came back from Brigade Headquarters with all the other company commanders, where General Karpinski chewed our asses about all these g**damn rumors going around! You all need to stamp this talk out! Immediately. Apparently there's word going around that some MPs were doing some things they weren't supposed to be doing and somebody took pictures of it all. You don't need to be writing about this to your families, you don't need to be telling them on the phone, and you don't need to be talking about it to each other. You better stop spreading these g**damn rumors!"
The commander pauses for a moment and then switches tactics, becoming suddenly congenial and chummy, "Look, we're all a family here. We don't air our dirty laundry in public. If we have a problem within the military, then we'll handle it internally. We don't need to let the media and the civilians into our business. If you have photos that you're not supposed to have, get rid of them. Don't talk about this to anyone, don't write about it to anyone back home. We're a family and we're going to handle this like a family. I don't want to hear any more of this kind of talk in my unit. You all just focus on going home in March, hoo-ah!"
Hoo-ah, we responded. The commander rambles on for a bit and then dismisses us. As I leave, I wonder what could have possibly gotten the entire base so worked up. There's no doubt now that everything we've heard about is true, and it must be even worse than we thought, for the commander himself to get on our backs about it. All a family? I laugh. We're only a family when the captain wants us to do his bidding or conceal some wrongdoing. The Army has tried that rhetoric before, talking about family and Army pride and everything else to try to get you to buy into what they do. When the Army talks about "handling something internally," it's only because they've done something so obviously wrong, they can't allow the rest of the country to see it. This doesn't surprise me. After all, if Americans back home saw Iraqi prisoners shot dead for throwing stones, saw the wretched conditions inside Abu, or saw the way the MPs dealt with the prisoners, what would they think of our glorious and righteous invasion? The truth about Abu Ghraib has to be concealed, has to be "kept in the family," because if the average citizen saw what we're doing to the people here, they would know in their guts that it's un-American.
Again, Delgado's The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq came out this month.
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, Jeremy Hinzman, 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, 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.
Veterans for Peace concluded their conference in St. Louis Sunday (it ran from August 15 through the 19th). It was their 22nd annual conference. They note that the "temperature was hot (100 degrees), the worshops were hot, the speakers were hot, and IVAW was hot!" Tim Townsend (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) reported on Dennis Kucinich's strong reception Friday noting that Kucinich declared "the U.S. Congress should force the Bush administration to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. But he also brought the crowd to its feet multiple times with a passionate delivery of his positions." AFP notes that Kucinich declared, "The Democratic leadership of the House and the Senate must finally live up to their responsibility and the promise they made to voters last year to end this war." This was followed with, "It doesn't take legislation, it simply requires a refusal to approve any additional funds and to use the $97 billion recently appropriated to bring our troops home as quickly as possible."
Earlier in the conference (Wednesday), Bud Deraps, WWII vet, spoke about Depleted Uranium: "We have learned that DU was first used in our 1991 Gulf War and that inhalation is the major cause of DU contamination. It has long been believed that it takes ten years or more for lung cancer to form from smoking. The NY Sun reported in an Aug. 6, 2007 article that there are increasing cancer cases being found in US troops that have served in the Gulf for as few as 2 to 3 years. For example, 40 year old Army chaplain Fran Sturart served in Iraq for a year after Mar. 2003. In Mar. 2006, she had a rare form of ovary germ cell cancer seen only before in teenage girls. Army Sgt. Lauderdale went to Kuwait in Jan. 2005. By the end of Mar. they found he had Stage 2 cell cancer of the mouth and tongue. Taken to Walter Reed on April 1, a doctor there said he had seen a 21 year old just back from Iraq with a similar cancer. Lauderdale, 59, died at Reed on July 14, 2006, a year and a half after arriving in Kuwait. Currently, the State Dept. Web says the US military cites four separate studies by NATO, the Rand Corp., the European Commission and the World Health Org - that found NO evidence of adverse health effects from Depleted Uranium! It is reported that we used over 320 tons of DU weapons in the brief Gulf War and over 2000 tons in the years 2003 and 04 alone. Massive bombings continue to this day. The Iraq environment minister confirms 350 sites DU contaminated by heavy bombing, saturating much of that destroyed nation. Frequent sand storms, helicopter take-offs and landings carry the deadly dust size ceramic particles aloft where they are being spread far and wide. Counting the Gulf and our present wars, we have had well over a million troops, contract and government workers cycle in and out of the region, many on their 4th tour, all possibly DU contaminated."
Larry Ingram (Collinsville Herald) reported last week on Roland James and Lane Anderson who made the decision to travel to the conference via bicycles and to do some from the Vietnam Veterans Against the war convention in Chicago because they trace the illegal war to the US "dependence on Persian Gulf oil". Zhanda Malone (Edwardsville Intelligencer) notes Anderson "handed out index cards" throughout the journey of "Things we can all do to prevent wars for oil" which "included drink needed liquid from the tap, not bottled water, drive and accelerate slower, walk and bike whenever possible; carpool to school and work; resist impulse buying; share, repair and care for power equipment; use manual tools; and grow food at home."
On September 15th (see ANSWER for more information) a mass protest 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. And those are only some of the upcoming actions.
On Saturday, Julian E. Barnes and Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) reported that Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno declared that Bully Boy will need to change strategy or "the elevated U.S. troop levels in Iraq will continue until this time next year". That would mean, if Odierno is correct, any departures would come in August 2008, just in time for the GOP national convention. The numbers being tossed around for drawbacks (not withdrawal) would leave approximately 140,000 US forces in Iraq which is higher than the pre-escalation total present at the start of this year. Also on Saturday, Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker (New York Times) reported on the White House's intentions regarding the September 15th reports to Congress (Petraeus and Crocker) which is to use the reports to resell the illegal war all over again and cited unnamed White House officials including one who "made it clear that the goal of the planned annoucement was to counter public pressure for a more rpaid reduction and to try to win support for a plan that could keep American involvement in Iraq on 'a sustainable footing' at least through the end of the Bush presidency." On Sunday, the BBC reported UK General Richard Dannatt declaring that "the government has overstretched our armed forces" but, for some reason. Sarah Baxter and Michael Smith (Sunday Times of London) explained that Stephen Biddle, "military advisor to President George W Bush," that the British departure from Iraq will lead to "a number of British casualties" and the reporters note this is in keeping "with British military estimates that withdrawal could cost the lives of 10 to 15 soldiers." Tim Shipman (Telegraph of London) reported that British officers are listened to far less now by "America's top commanders" and quoted one "senior US officer familiar with Gen Petraues's thinking" summarizing it: "The short version is that the Brits have lost Basra, if indeed they ever had it. Britain is in a difficult spot because of the lack of political support at home, but for a long time -- more than a year -- they have not been engaged in Basra and have tried to avoid casualties. They did not have enough troops there even before they started cutting back. The situation is beyond their control." And, along with British troops being stretched, Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reported that "the [US] Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decided to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring."
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.
Of course the Iraqis have been clear, in poll after poll, about wanting ALL foreign troops out of their country. The puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, is among the roadblocks. At Inside Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers), an Iraqi correspondent notes the puppet's claims that Iraq is now sovereign by describing Sadoon Street in Baghdad "Anyway whoever controls Sadoon Street, its not the Iraqi government which means that our Prime Minister doesn't tell the truth which means that we are not really sovereign country. When a government can't control a street, its not a government, its only a group of puppets. When a government can't provide the minimum level of security, its just a shadow, when a government take the instruction from other places than its country, its just a shadow. Its time to get rid of all the Iraqi puppets in the Green Zone and start searching for real Iraqi" leadership.
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