Friday, February 12, 2010

The people? Since when do they talk about the people?





In one of the more suprising domestic war developments, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has called out the apathy on the part of the peace movement. WBEZ provides audio clips.
We always believe America is number one. If you start the first World War, the Second World War, then you take Korea and Vietnam and Iraq I and II and Afghanistan -- just think of all the money that we spend on wars to save the world. Today we can't save America. What is this? Why do we always have to go to war continually? Why can't we rebuild America? Why is it we have to take three hundred, four hundred billion dollars and tell people we're only going to be there for a year and we're coming home and we declare victory. What is it? What is it about America? How did we start this century of ten years of war? Ten years of war. We started it and we continue to move forward. Where are the anti-war people? "I looked down at the [. . .] center" -- where are they? Where are they? They've disappeared. What happened? I thought war was evil. Where are the people who believed in their heart against George W. Bush? 'We have to organize and walk down Michigan Avenue and Clark Street.' What happened? I thought they believed in their heart. Oh! It became a political issue. 'Barack won the election, now we go home.' What happened to America?
Cate Cahan (WBEZ) notes "that his son Patrick is being redeployed in the U.S. Army. War looms large when it looms close." Earlier this week, Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun Times) quoted Daley stating, "My son had a responsibility. He served four years in the military, and he's re-deployed. He will serve his country just like evry other son and daughter in this country does the same thing." And Spielman added, "The mayor made it clear that his son did not re-enlist, but was summoned back to active duty."
Staying with US politicians, Jake Tapper, you're sleeping on the job. Robert Gibbs pulled his usual song and dance today. Suprisingly Jake Tapper fell for it. The most recent start point is last night when US Vice President Joe Biden appeared on Larry King Live (CNN -- here for transcript). Asked by Larry about Pakistan, Biden included the following in his answer:
I am very optimistic about -- about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government. I spent -- I've been there 17 times now. I go about every two months -- three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It's impressed me. I've been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.

Andrew Malcolm (Los Angeles Times) noted (this morning, one of the first) that Biden was calling something a 'success' that may not have been what he originally advocated for with Malcolm reminding that Biden advocated for the region to split into three areas -- Sh'ite, Sunni and Kurds. In fairness to Biden (I know Joe but I'm not playing 'rescue' here), he saw it as federaslim and also he dropped this before he dropped out of the Democracy Party primary (in his bid for the presidential nomination). This came to the Senate floor and he had stated publicly before the vote that if it didn't pass, it didn't pass. When it didn't pass, he was done advocating for that plan barring some change and he's made no public statement of any change taking place. Malcolm notes Barack pushed a measure to end the Iraq War -- a meaningless measure and Barack knew it, which Malcolm leaves out -- and that Barack opposed the so-called 'surge' -- Barack opposed it so did many Democrats. Malcolm gives the surge credit for ending the genocide but the surge didn't do that -- not in any helpful way. By the time the surge starts, you already have a refugee population of 4 million and many, many dead. The surge backed up the Shi'ite government. It didn't end the genocide (popular known as a civil war). Malcolm observes, "Now, the Obama-Biden pair that opposed the Iraq war and its tactics and predicted their failure is prepared to accept credit for its success." Joe made a dumb statement. I think of the world of him and I do understand where he's coming from when he says that. I happen to disagree with the statement but it was a dumb statement just because so many would seize upon it. And should. Andrew Malcolm and others in the press aren't behaving unfairly or cruel. And they are asking about the statements.
Now let's go to Jake Tapper's take. Tapper covers what Malcolm has -- including a link to this statement from about Barack being opposed to the 'surge' (and I'm not a Barack fan, by any means, but Barack was correct in 2007 and it's too bad that, in 2008, he wasn't able to stick to that and explain why the surge was a failure when interviewed by Katie Couric). Now here's Tapper on the White House press briefing today by Robert Gibbs and community members should grasp what Tapper doesn't:
Gibbs said the achievement was "putting what was broken back together and getting our troops home, which we intend to do in August of this year."
A reporter pointed out that the Status of Forces Agreement to bring troops home was signed before the president took office.
Gibbs called that agreement "something I think that the political pressure that the president, as a then-candidate, helped to bring about."
Did you catch it because Jake Tapper didn't. And it's the sort of thing that really makes me scream but we'll be kind. Gibbs said Barack's campaign "as a then-candidate, helped to bring about" the SOFA. (So-called SOFA.) For that to be true, candidate Barack would have had to have supported the SOFA.
But Barack didn't support it. Barack opposed the Status of Forces Agreement as a senator and as a presidential candidate. So did Joe Biden. So did every, EVERY, senator on the Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee. This is public record and should be well known. Should be.
Robert Gibbs is a damn liar. Robert Gibbs damn well knows Barack opposed it and CAMPAIGNED on his opposition to it. We can go through all of this if the press can't do their own work but hopefully they'll catch their error and we can just note November 18, 2008 -- after the US presidential election -- when Barack suddenly changed his mind:
During the election, the Obama-Biden campaign website revealed their stance on the so-called SOFA in "Plan for Ending the War in Iraq:"

["] The Status-of-Forces-Agreement

Obama and Biden believe any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases. Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to Congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval--yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress. The Bush administration must submit the agreement to Congress or allow the next administration to negotiate an agreement that has bipartisan support here at home and makes absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq. ["]

Post election, was set up as the official website for the Barack-Biden transition and if you pull up "The Obama-Biden Plan," you will find:

["] The Status-of-Forces Agreement
Obama and Biden believe it is vital that a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) be reached so our troops have the legal protections and immunities they need. Any SOFA should be subject to Congressional review to ensure it has bipartisan support here at home. ["]
I like Joe so I'll stop there (and also note that Joe didn't refer to the SOFA on Larry King). But Barack opposed the SOFA -- the SOFA doesn't end the illegal war and it should have been opposed, it was another move by Bush to do an executive power-grab and render the legislative branch obsolete.
Robert Gibbs lied to the press and claimed candidate Barack allowed the SOFA to come to be. No, he didn't. He opposed the SOFA as it was rammed through by Bush (and he was right to oppose it). Only after the election did the SOFA suddenly become 'okay' with Barack. Had Barack campaigned in 2008 honestly and stated, "We want to end the war now! But I'm going to follow Bush's plan" you can rest assured that even some of his whores -- maybe even Tom Hayden -- would have either rejected him or have to learn to kiss their own asses a little deeper. Tom-Tom, of course, can toss his own salad and does so frequently. The difference between Bush's 'plan' and Barack's is why Jennifer Loven and Liz Sidoti (AP) can note Barack's "big calls for change are unfulfilled in almost every way. . . . America is still at war in Iraq. U.S. combat troops are supposed to be out by this August by the latest presidential deadline -- later than candidate Obama had planned."
Ryan Grimm made an ass out of himself on MSNBC insisting that the right-wing was being a hypocrite for refusing to give Barack credit on Iraq while insisting he was responsible for the economy, unemployment, deficits and the Big Business bail out. Ryan Grim's a damn fool and a damn liar. He works at Huffington Post which pretty much tells you all you ever need to know about his 'qualifications.' Barack is responsible for the Big Business bail out -- after the election, he strong-armed the Black Caucus into supporting it. He is president, that makes him responsible for the unemployment rate, the deficit and everything else. Sorry if that's too damn hard for little Ryan to grasp. As for Iraq? Bush implemented the 'plan' and Barack's following it. It's not a good 'plan' and if you're going to praise it, you better explain why all the sudden George W. Bush is the man to praise on Iraq? Ryan Grimm's a damn idiot -- and a smelly one at that. (Note to Arianna, speak to your people about public hygiene.)
Things are not wonderful for Iraqis. World Focus offers a video report by Charity Tooze:
Ali Katheem: All those who are hearing me, I wish you could remove me and my family from the situation. I can't sustain this and I hope this year something happens.
Charity Tooze: Ali Katheem and his family live in Syria. There one of the thousands of Iraqi families that have been displaced by violence. Ali said he would have been killed if they'd stayed in Iraq. In 2006, a milita group moved into the Katheen's neighborhood and began threatening the family.
Ali Katheem: They said you're sectarian, you're Shi'ite, you're done, you cannot live near us. This week, if you don't leave, we'll kill you.
Charity Tooze: After the initial threats Ali said gunmen began trespassing on his property. He said they heard gunshots all the time.
Ali Katheem: When this happened, I would put my children and wife in a closet and lock them in. I would sit with two machine guns on either side of me in case they came in, so they wouldn't kill my family.
Charity Tooze: When the family decided to flee to Syria, their quality of life quickly went from comfortable to poor and Ali, like all Iraqi refugees, is not legally allowed to work. This is not the first time Ali has experienced adversity. As a young man, he fought in the Iran-Iraq War. When a bomb hit him, he lost his left forearm. Yet Ali went on to become a champion. He trained as a professional runner and in 1990 was the first Iraqi to win a Gold and Silver medal in the Holland . . . [Olympic Festival].
Ali Katheem: Champion of the world. In handicap. Gold medal, 400 meter. Silver medal, 200 meter.
Charity Tooze: But now Ali feels powerless. The country receives the equivalent of 200 US dollars monthly in cash assistance from the UNHCR. Their rent alone is approximately $250. In order to make the rest of their rent, they sell half their food rations. Not only are the Katheen's living in poverty but their children continue to struggle to make sense of their past.
Daughter: Once we were traveling, someone died. Me and my mother went and saw him. He was dead in front of us, so I still remember it and I kept dreaming about it.
Charity Tooze: In addition to psychological trauma, the children have struggled with school. This year Hussein dropped out to help the family pay the rent.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Government Officials Do The Craziest Things!"
"US military announces another death"
"Hillary Is 44, the motions"
"Save the grandstanding on Hiram Monserrate"
"The Morning Show and gossip"
"Union leaders are shocked, shocked!"
"Go away, John Edwards, go away"
"Barack Bush and his Iraq 'plan'"
"In Costa Rica . . ."
"John Judis"
"Corporatist War Hawk suprises willfully blind"
"Fat Boy Robert Gibbs, Don't Ask Don't Tell"
"Green eyed monster"

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