Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Barack gets graded

Hamid Ahmed (AP) reported this morning, "Two policemen opened fire on U.S. troops visiting an Iraqi police station in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, killing a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi interpreter and wounding three other Americans, officials said." Missy Ryan and Kevin Liffey (Reuters) add, "Lieutenant Colonel David Doherty, a U.S. military spokesman, said four U.S. soldiers and one interpreter were injured, and another interpreter was killed." (A US military statement can be found here on the death of the interpreter.) This brings the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4251Today's death follows yesterday's announcement of three deaths.  "Three US soldiers and their interpreter were killed in Iraq. The US military reported they died in combat in Diyala Province, north of Baghdad. For the month of February, 13 Americans have died in Iraq," Gwen Ifill informed viewers last night on The NewsHour.  In informing her viewers of that news, Gwen became the only US evening anchor on broadcast TV to bother doing so (though they all had time to bore their audiences with Slumlord Milionaire).  AP's Kim Gamel covered the news for papers because no newspaper with their own Iraq division or US staff could be bothered writing about yesterday's deaths apparently.  There are now 14 US military deaths in Iraq announced for the month thus far -- 6 of those have been announced since Saturday.  Six US military deaths in Iraq announced in four days. 
And where's the coverage?  CBS and the New York Times are hyping a poll of the great uninformed American electorate who can sob "It's not our fault!" but that excuse got old long ago.  You get the democracy you deserve and Americans chose what passes for democracy currently.  Look around, all the things so offensive under the Bully Boy are suddenly manna squeezed out of Barack's ass.  CBS breathlessly gushes, "Americans are more optimistic about the situation in Iraq than they have been since 2003 [!] . . . with 63 percent saying that things are going well for the United States in the country."  Don't wake them from their slumber, it might require helping them wipe away their drool or, worse, changing their 'nighttime sticky' sheets.  The foolish think "it is important that troops leave the country within President Obama's timeline of 16 months".  What timeline?  The one he was supposed to have begun upon being sworn in?  That was the promise.  February will be over shortly.  Still no announcement on what he 'intends' to do.  A working media would damn well be demanding answers on that issue.  But you don't get a working news media with a compliant, overstuffed, lazy ass public drugged out on (and hooked on) hopium.  It's February, he was sworn in back in January -- he might be able to make it to November without ever addressing that campaign promise that was supposed to start on day one. That would certainly allow more Americans to make fools of themselves by refusing to grasp (at this point, it's refusing, even for the uneducated) that "combat" troops does not mean all troops. Cristin Flanagan (Bloomberg News) reports on rumors that tonight, while speaking to the nation (most PBS stations will not only carry it live but also offer analysis afterwards), he will announce his 'withdrawal' plan is beginning . . . 19-months for the withdrawal of some -- not all -- troops.  Meanwhile Steven Lee Myers (New York Times' Baghdad Bureau Blog) reports that Iraqis have more questions about Barack Obama than might be known (or might be reported?): "Sheik Moyad Fadhel Hussein al-Ameri, one of three brothers who were the hosts, said he was worried.  A former mayor of Mahmudiya, he has a politician's acuity.  And with it, he has closely tracked President Barack Obama's early statements on Iraq.  'President Obama is always talking about change,' he said, dressed in traditional robes and headdress and seated in one of the plush arm chairs that ringed the long greeting hall. 'We would like to know what change'."
Those who would like to the live in the reality-based world should know that next month, many people will be standing against the war and organizations participating include The National Assembly to End the Wars, the ANSWER coalition, World Can't Wait and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Here's IVAW's announcement of the March action:   

IVAW's Afghanistan Resolution and National Mobilization March 21stAs an organization of service men and women who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, stateside, and around the world, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War have seen the impact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on the people of these occupied countries and our fellow service members and veterans, as well as the cost of the wars at home and abroad. In recognition that our struggle to withdraw troops from Iraq and demand reparations for the Iraqi people is only part of the struggle to right the wrongs being committed in our name, Iraq Veterans Against the War has voted to adopt an official resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and reparations for the Afghan people. (To read the full resolution, click here.)                                
To that end, Iraq Veterans Against the War will be joining a national coalition which is being mobilized to march on the Pentagon, March 21st, to demand the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and further our mission and goals in solidarity with the national anti-war movement. This demonstration will be the first opportunity to show President Obama and the new administration that our struggle was not only against the Bush administration - and that we will not sit around and hope that troops are removed under his rule, but that we will demand they be removed immediately.For more information on the March 21st March on the Pentagon, and additional events being organized in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orlando, to include transportation, meetings, and how you can get involved, please visit: www.pentagonmarch.org or www.answercoalition.org.
As Barack Obama's troop escalation begins in Afghanistan and talking heads debate how many more troops the US should send, the leadership of what was once the largest antiwar organization (UFPJ) in the United States rejected a call for a unified antiwar protest on March 21st, 2009. Instead, they issued a call to go to Wall Street on April 4th, 2009 and encourage the war profiteers to move "beyond a war economy," while toning down the demand to end the wars and occupations now to a demand to merely end them. Like antiwar organizer Ashley Smith told me in an email: "(That is) something Dick Cheney could support." The implication of this call by UFPJ is that now that Barack Obama and the Democrats are in power, there is no longer any need to protest against war. Not only is this incredibly naive, it is downright dangerous for the future of the world.        
As anybody who has paid the least bit of attention to the nature of the US economy over the past century, its very foundations rest on the production of war and materials for war. Also apparent to those of us who have been paying attention is that the Democrats are just as responsible for this reality as the Republicans are. Just because George Bush and his administration were personally reprehensible and their arrogance and disregard for principles most Americans hold dear was as obvious as the nose on Pinocchio's wooden face doesn't mean that the policies of the Democrats are substantially different.
Consequently, the antiwar movement would be foolish to think they have a government of allies in Washington, DC now. There may be a more personable bunch of folks ruling the country now, but the odds of those folks pulling out of Afghanistan or Iraq now instead of later without a major push from the American people insisting that they do so are about as poor as they were under the Bush administration. The time for the antiwar movement to demand that the Obama administration end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan is now, before its political ego becomes entangled in a military exercise that is ill-advised, poorly done, and just plain wrong.            
Ashley Smith, mentioned above, has covered the 'peace' movement for sometime.  Smith and Eric Ruder wrote about United for Pathetic and Juvenile decision to be inactive for the next four years in the Socialist Worker back in December.
Yesterday's snapshot noted IVAW member Suzanne Swift and there should have been a link to her website.  There wasn't, my apologies. 
28-year-old Iraq War veteran Kristoffer Walker was noted in yesterday's snapshot as well.  He is the Army Reservist who is in the news for refusing to return to Iraq.  WISC reports, "Walker said Monday night his beliefs haven't changed but he's considering all his options."  The Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board doesn't want Walker to consider his options, they just want him to go back to Iraq.  They want that so badly, that they fail at their job.  An editorial has 'weight' because it is informed.  When you don't know the basics, no one mistakes you for informed.  The editorial board hides behind the words of the publicity hack (what a proud moment, "Mom, Dad, I'm in the army!  What's that?  I fight the word war!") Nathan Banks who insists that you get 30 days and after 30 days you will be charged with desertion.  Lie, lie, lie.  Hacks are worse than recruiters.   Agustin Aguayo turned himself in after being gone less than 30 days. Agustin was still court-martialed for desertion. By contrast, many who have been court-martialed for going AWOL?  Gone over 30 days.  It is a 'rule of thumb,' it is not an actual rule.  Walker could turn himself in tomorrow and face a court-martial.  Something allegedly educated and informed people who sit on an editorial board damn well should have known before they wasted everyone's time in order to flaunt their ignorance.

No comments: