Tuesday, February 12, 2008

THIS JUST IN! BAMBI TRIES TO FORM AN OPINION!

 
BAMBI WAS NOT A HAPPY CAMPER.  NOT BY A LONG SHOT.
 
THESE REPORTERS WERE SUMMONED EARLIER TODAY BY THE WOULD BE PRINCE OF THE PTOMIAC WHO WANTED US TO ANSWER "JUST ONE DARN QUESTION, WHO IS THIS JOE WILSON AND WHY IS HE SAYING STUFF ABOUT ME?"
 
 
WE EXPLAINED TO BAMBI THAT WILSON WAS SAYING HE WAS NEITHER STRONG ENOUGH NOR DECISIVE ENOUGH TO WHICH BAMBI REPLIED, "I DON'T THINK THAT'S TRUE.  YOU DON'T THINK THAT'S TRUE, DO YOU?  MAYBE IT IS TRUE?  OH, I HOPE IT'S NOT TRUE.  COULD IT BE TRUE?"
 
 
Starting with war resisters.  Linchpin's "US AWOL's in Canada -- Let them stay" (Anarkismo) provides the background on war resisters in Canada:
 
Hear any of the Toronto based war resisters speak at a public meeting and patterns become clear in their experiences. Kim Rivera, a red head in her early twenties, served in an Artillery unit in Baghdad, that shipped out first in August 2006. Tales of gore, IED's and guts quickly changed her mind about the mission. The dehumanisation of Iraqi workers forced to etch out employment inside forward operation bases added to it.

Another of the Toronto based war resisters is Phil McDowell. He joined straight after the September 11th attacks during his senior year majoring in IT. He was discharged in June 2006, some months later while traveling, he got notice he was being stop lossed back to Fort Hood, Texas for yet another deployment to Iraq.

The Stop Loss policy is designed to offset the ebb and flow of recruiting patterns. It allows the military to forcibly re-enlist soldiers or involuntarily extend their tour of duty in a war zone -- it's a virulent source of antagonism for soldiers.
 
Canada's Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals on the issue of safe harbor status and the country's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters may 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 (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (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.
 
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, 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, 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).
 
 

 
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

 
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."  As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers.
 
As Steve Lannon (McClatchy Newspapers) explains today, "Violence is increasing In Iraq . . . Car bombs in Baghdad on Monday killed at least 11 people and injured a prominent leader of one of the country's most influential American-allied tribal militias.  The Ministry of Electricity announced that power to much of the nations, already anemic, is likely to lag in coming days because insurgents had blown up transmission facilities and natural gas pipelines that fuel generators."  And on the 12th day of the month, there have been 16 US service members announced dead thus far this month.  The stated purpose of the escalation, stated by the White House, was to allow 'breathing space' for the puppet government in Baghdad to reach benchmarks -- those would be benchmarks that they failed to reach in 2007, White House defined benchmarks. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who earlier was seen as in a battle with other members of the cabinet over his insistence that the drawdown start and proceed smoothly so that the approximately 30,000 US troops sent over to Iraq as part of the escaltion return as they were supposed to, has now declared that a 'pause' can be taken in the drawdown -- indicating that he either had a mysterious change of heart or he is not calling the shots for the department he heads.  Thom Shanker (New York Times) observes that Gates' turnabout "was something of a surprise," that he was once "seen as a potential counterpoint to General Petraeus's calls for caution about withdrawing troops" and notes Gates previous public statements about the drawdown (which he then favored).  Anna Mulrine (US News and World Reports) opines, "Gates's statement yesterday make it clear that the pause will likely last for some months and become the operative word in Iraq -- and it may become as overused as the now-familiar term surge."  This as Richard Cowan (Reuters) reveals Gordon England, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense, informed the Senate Budget Committee today that in addition to the $70 billion planned for funding the illegal war in 2009, the White House will be asking "Congress for more money".
 
AFP addresses the realities of what's been accomplished during the escalation (nothing): "The reconciliation program was supposed to hang on three main pieces of legislation: a relaxation of the law to bar former Baathists from public office, a provincial election law and a law to distribute oil revenue.  Of the three, only one has been passed."  That would be the de-de-Baathification program.  At the start of the month, Amit R. Paley and Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) reported on the passage/approval of that law while Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported on the criticism coming from CIA asset and Iraqi exile  Ahmed Chalabi that the result of passage would be "all former Baathists now serving in the security services would lose their jobs, a total of 7,000 people" and, of the Iraqi Parliament, "People should pay attention to what they are discussing and voting on."  One of three and the one is a nightmare (as all will no doubt be -- illegal occupations do not make for pleasant dreams).  Working from agency reports, The Daily Star reports Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the Iraqi Parliament's Speaker of the House, revealed that the country's treasury had thrown away $3 million by still not approving the 2008 budget and "threatened Tuesday to disband the legislature" which is permitted by the Constitution provided the move has the support of at least a third of the Parliamentay members (which he says it does) and this action "would further undermine Premier Nuri al-Maliki's shaky government, which is currently limping along with nearly half of the 40 government departments without ministers."  Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) maintains that an "absolute majority" of Parliament must favor dissolution for the body to be dissolved and quotes a member of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc, Bahaa al-Araji, stating, "The crisis of conficence in parliament has grown.  I think we should admit the failure of the (political process), dissolve parliament and hold new elections."
 


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1 comment:

Mattie said...

That's funny. Work in a positive word for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney if you can soon.