BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
THE SECOND MRS. ALBERTO GONZALES, REBECCA, IS BEING CREDITED WITH CONVINCING HER CRIMINAL HUSBAND TO RESIGN. THE LATEST PLOT TWIST ADDS MORE INTRIGUE TO THE WOULD BE JACKIE COLLINS' SUMMER POT BOILER ATTORNEY GENERAL WIVES AS IT COMES AT A TIME THAT JANET ASHCROFT IS GETTING INK FOR HER RESPONSE TO ALBERTO GONZALES, THEN WHITE HOUSE MOUTHPIECE, AND ANDREW CARD VISITING HER HUSBAND JOHN IN THE HOSPITAL WHILE HE WAS RECOVERING FROM SURGERY AS THEY TRIED TO STRONG HIM INTO APPROVING THE BULLY BOY'S ILLEGAL SPYING PROGRAM. AFTER HER HUSBAND TOLD THEM OFF, JANET ASHCROFT STUCK HER TONGUE OUT AT THE DEPARTING GONZALES AND CARD.
WHEN WORD REACHED FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH, SHE REPORTEDLY DECLARED, "ALL THE OTHER WIVES GET THE BEST MOMENTS." THEN, GRABBING A SIX-PACK OF LONE STAR BEER, SHE RETIRED FOR THE EVENING.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
"I remember one time we were driving around the city setting up checkpoints and we heard a huge explosion," remembers war resister Agustin Aguayo. "So we went to see what was happening and a vehicle of Iraqi police had been hit and my unit stayed back and I could see wounded people in the distance and we just stayed back. And I could see wounded people in the distance and we just stayed back and that seemed weird to me. A company commander was in charge of that convoy and I couldn't understand why we just stood there. So I couldn't understand why we couldn't just randomly." Aguayo went to Iraq as a medic and he's sharing the story with Aaron Glantz on The War Comes Home. The War Comes Home is a podcast that some Pacifica stations may carry as well. In addition to audio, as noted on the permalinks to the left, it also provides text. Jeff Key is another war resister Glantz speaks with. He served in Iraq and was released from the military after coming out as gay on CNN in March 2004. Glantz spoke of Key's stories on KPFK's Uprising yesterday and about The War Comes Home itself as he did on WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio today. The War Comes Home is a project Glantz will be writing, producing and narrating. It will cover a variety of issues facing service members. Today he spoke with Deepa Fernandes (Wakupcall Radio) about the large number of homeless veterans including Iraq veteran Michael Hall and how the homeless from this illegal war are already different -- Glantz explained, "What really concerns homeless advocates is that after the vets came back from Vietnam, it was nine or ten years before you start to see homeless Vietnam veterans but now we're seeing that already with the Iraq War."
Deepa Fernandes: Aaron, you've been busy because when one looks at this website, there are so many stories gathered. What links them all?
Aaron Glantz: Well what links them all is that each and every one of these stories on warcomeshome.org is about the impact going over to Iraq and really serving in this dreadful occupation has on the human soldier. . . . With each personal story, we have a fact that goes with them. And the one that just kind of sticks with me is on the story of Specialist Patrick Resta we have this fact that Walter Reed Medical Center did a study and found that 95 percent of soldiers deployed to Iraq had seen dead bodies, 95 percent had been shot at, 89 percent had been ambushed or attacked and 69 percent had seen an injured woman or child and felt they could not provide assistance. I mean, these are not things that you just walk away from when you come back to the United States. They're things that you know haunt you for the rest of your life even if you're lucky enough to have come home and not had a serious physical injury inflicted on you.
Speaking with Thenmozhi Soundararajan on yesterday's Uprising (Sonali Kolhatkar is on maternity leave), Aaron Glantz explained The War Comes Home, "What we want to do is we want to put the stories of the people who have seen the Iraq War first-hand and come back to this country, put their real life stories up on the internet and so that people can pass them around and share them." Of course, stories are online at Iraq Veterans Against the War and War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist among other places. And certainly, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) could (and time permitting surely would) assemble a special folder of their extensive and ongoing coverage of the illegal war which includes many service members sharing their stories and many Iraqis sharing their stories as well as many peace activists sharing. In the hard push for the site (as Rachel, Micah and Jonah noted of today's WBAI interview) Glantz is actually turning people off as he erects a barrier between the listeners on one side and himself and service members (he says "soldiers") on the other (translated as "Only we get it, man").
The reality is that this is really a pathetic project. I don't mean in terms of Glantz, I do mean in terms of Pacifica Radio. The illegal war hits the five year mark in March and this is all Pacifica has to show for it? (Democracy Now! is an independent program carried on Pacifica, it is not a Pacifica program.) It's not even a program, it's "spots" or "carts" that stations can insert or not for a few minutes. All this time later and no program addressing the Iraq War. In terms of the project itself, it has its own problems. For starters, it currently has 10 profiles/stories up at the website. Look closely for any female veterans -- but look in vain. It's equally true that when Pacifica Radio elects to finally offer 'spots,' they go with the easiest thing out there: the treatment of the returning. That's the example Glantz gives in both interviews and it's what's represented at the website. It's a bit sad to hear him say these stories are beginning to get attention . . . seven months after Dana Priest and Anne Hull (Washington Post) launched their much discussed series. If the comeback is, "Oh, I meant independent media," it's equally true that Mother Jones has been an early leader on the stories of the wounded with one of the strongest photo essays. It's difficult to promote but the promotion would go down easier if Glantz appeared aware of what was already out there. Of course the story that needs to be covered -- the one that's actually not being told -- is the hunting down of war resisters in this country and outside of it. So the indifference expressed in e-mails yesterday (after the KPFK interview) and today (after the WBAI interview) isn't surprising.
And let's face it, you're dealing with a community who, unlike KPFA, didn't drop the Iraq War last summer and, unlike KPFA, doesn't get mixed up on Falluja and assume, wrongly, that November 2004 was something to be excited about. This feels like sop tossed out to listeners. Glantz is involved (and steering) so hopefully it will be something worth following. Those who've already checked it out and expressed their dismay might give it a month or two and then try again. But there's no question that the promotion has been a big mistake starting with the wall Glantz elected to erect between listeners (listeners one would assume the spots will need) on one side and himself and "soldiers" on the other. It's equally true that those who have waited and waited in vain for KPFA to create the program they owed listeners (one covering the Iraq War and only the Iraq War) are going to be more than disappointed with the easy scope (as it's being promoted by Glantz) of this project. We already linked to it (on the permalinks) before Glantz was promoting it. If it has anything worth noting, we'll note it in a snapshot. One thing that needs to be noted is that it does feature audio and transcript.
Possibly it will feature coverage of war resisters but, as Zach points out, search in vain, even in the Aguayo story, for that term. Zach: "I was going to say 'So timid it's NPR and PBS-like' but the reality is NOW with David Brancaccio profiled war resisters Agustin Aguayo and James Burmeister last month." The War Comes Home really is timid. It's the sort of coverage to reach what, when I was a teenager, we would have seen as the blue-hair set who went to the matinees of The Odd Couple once a week to see something 'shocking'. Yes, that was a long time ago. Which makes The War Comes Home all the sadder especially when it's 'borrowing' a title that means so much more (even in this illegal war). It's non-thinking coverage that reduces it all to, "Look what they've done to our boys!" Empahsis on "our" and "boys." Rachel called it "an embarrassment to free speech radio" and I was wondering about that but now that I'm dictating this and thinking about it, she's 100% right.
"War bad because of what it do to our boys." That's the "simplistic" message Glantz is putting out in the promotion and in the spots currently. (KPFA's very lucky Pauline Kael doesn't have a modern-day equivalent today.) If they can get those robo-fighters out of the planning stages, imagine how many more people can be killed around the world and, judging by projects like The War Comes Home, there will not be anything to object to because none of "our boys" are being injured or killed. It's a candle-light, silent vigil by the likes of WalkOn.org which really calls into question whom Pacifica thinks their listening audience is? This is the sort of thing that would have fit in nicely back in the days of Baby Cries A Lot's radio show when he would start blubbering about his (adult) kids (who are not in the military) and how the US has to, has to, has to stay in Iraq. It's "anti-war" on that terrain. In the real world it's "The Stateside Minute!" covering stories that most of already well know. (As do listeners of Pacifica Radio.)
It's about as 'political' as William Wyler's The Best Years Of Our Lives and let's not kid that that's going to end the illegal war. Maybe it will improve as it goes along. Maybe it will speak with Eli Israel (the first known service member to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq while stationed there)? Maybe it will explore command rape or some other topics the mainstream isn't already covering? And, let's be honest, women are the one being shut out of the discussion. Yes, Laura Flanders rightly noted that in terms of being invited to comment, but I'm talking about what I'm hearing from female veterans. They feel there was a 'flurry' of interest following the disgraceful treatment of Suzanne Swift and that interest then moved on. Certainly, the fact that The War Comes Home can post ten profile stories and not a one of them be about a woman backs their feelings up.
Though nothing at The War Comes Home yet indicates it, 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, Jeff Key, 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. The G.I. Rights Hotline link has been included in the snapshots forever now, but please note that this is a new website. The new website is still being upgarded (but working) and with the new website comes a new phone number (877) 4474487 which is "GI RGHTS" the name but missing the second "I". To make sure everyone's aware that there is a new number and a new (toll free) number, we'll included this notice in the snapshot all week. Again, The G.I. Rights Hotline is a new and improved (and new and improving) website that will begin replacing the old site.
Staying on the issue of veterans, Adam Kokesh (Sgt. Kogkesh Goes to Washington) notes that A.N.S.W.E.R. will be holding a "September 15th march from the White House to the Capital to demand an end to the occupation of Iraq. . . . followed by a week of direct action, will mark a turning point for the entire anti-war movement and possibly for the course of American Democracy. The theme of this 'protest' is 'Protesting is not enough. Come for the rally, stay for a week of direct action.' The day after the march will be a training day, followed by National Truth In Recuriting Day, Congressional Challenge Day, a day of Pentagon outreach, Veterans' Lobbying Day, and the Iraq Moratorium. There will be anumber of direct actions to participate in for those who are willing to work to bring our government back in line with the will of the people." Also noting those actions is Cindy Sheehan (writing at Common Dreams): "Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), who are leading the September 15th march, are calling for a "die-in" to end the march and begin the rally. The vets, unlike the chicken-hawk neocons, have actually served in war, particularly the one that Mr. [Willie] Kristol imagines is such a success. IVAW is asking activists to represent a killed service-member and at an appropriate time lie down. Taps will be played and also a simulated 21-gun salute. It sounds respectful to me, being the mom of one of the soldiers, and I will proudly, yet sorrowfully, be lying down for my son that day." John Nichols has a written a piece on Sheehan's campaign -- she's running for the US Congress from California's eighth district -- and when it shows up somewhere other than The Nation, we'll link to it. What we will do is note CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin (at Common Dreams) explaining some realities regarding US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reaction to protests and hunger strikes: "It is a tactic that was successful with Senator Dianne Feinstein. After six days of having campers outside her home, Feinstein came out to have a cordial half-hour discussion with the fasters and promised a longer meeting. Not Pelosi. During the two-week campout and hunger strike, Pelosi's only interaction with the activists was her hostility toward them. Arriving home late one evening, hunger striker Toby Blome asked 'Why won't you meet with us?' 'I'll never meet with you,' the Speaker screamed. 'Get away fro my house.' When Blome asked her about the homes of all the Iraqis whose privacy we invade, Pelosi snapped and called her 'a nut'." For more on Pelosi, see "Getting to know . . . Pelosi" (The Third Estate Sunday Review).
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