Saturday, February 05, 2011

His friends





Cache Valley Daily reports 33 members of Utah's National Guard are deploying to the ongoing war in Iraq while Ray Arzate (CBS Atlanta) reports on a send-off ceremony for 60 members of Georgia's National Guard yesterday as they prepare to deploy to Iraq. Iraq Veterans Against the War's Geoff Millard is going back to Iraq and hopefully he'll be invited to discuss that on a radio program we can link to. He discusses the demilitarized IVAW Super Bowl with Dave Zirin on Zirin's Edge of Sports radio program (last weekly broadcast for January). I don't care for Zirin but I can link to his show without any self-hatred. The same is not true for a program that IVAW friends asked me to link to. A) I know Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan and I'm offended with any show that attempts to use Michael or his illness to press their own political agenda. I find that grossly offensive. If you have a guess as to how someone catches Parkinson, find a way to discuss it without insulting someone suffering from the disease. 2) I do not call for an end to sexist skin mags. I believe in free speech which does include the right to publish many things offensive. However, I also believe that the left needs to have some standards. If you would not publish in a racist magazine (and no one on the left should), you should not publish in a sexist magazine. (To be clear, we're not referring to Playboy or Penthouse but to the gutter trash that demonizes women's bodies and encourages mutiliation of women's bodies -- and I'm not referring to mutilation via implants.) I'm not in the mood to link to interviews with 'authors' who publish in those magazines or hear their 'jokes' about how, sadly, their articles in those sexist and dehumanizing magazines do not also feature the pictures found in the rest of the magazine. (Yes, I suffered through some of that damn program.) I'm not interested in hearing how a piece of trash is wonderful because he supports the First Amendment. Bob Barr made the last ten years about supporting the First Amenmdent (I'm not calling Barr a piece of trash) and I've yet to hear these same lefty sources take to praising Barr. The host of that program is a frightmare and that's why he's no longer on radio. For those and so many more reasons, and my inability to join in the trashing and dehumanizing of my own gender, I cannot and will not link to or transcribe that interview. (I also didn't hear Geoff's remarks or any of his segment, I gave the broadcast to the count of three -- the host and the first guest -- and then said, "No way.") Geoff's returning to Iraq and that's an important story but I would not link to praise or excuses for racism or praise or excuses for homophobia and I will not link to praise or excuses for sexism. Again, I don't care for Dave Zirin -- to put it mildly -- but can link to his program (Edge of Sports) with no self loathing. I cannot do the same with regards to the other audio program.
I have promised to promote this upcoming Iraq Veterans Against the War event:

February 25, 2011 9:30 - 10:30 am
Busboys & Poets, Langston room
14th & V st NW Washington DC
This report back will be to answer questions from media and the peace movement about the recent trip back to Iraq by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The war is not over but it is not the same as it was in years past. What is the humanitarian situation in Iraq?
How can we do reparations and reconciliation work?
Speakers are all returning from this delegation and include:
Geoff Millard (IVAW) Hart Viges (IVAW) Haider Al-Saedy (Iraqi Health Now)
Richard Rowely (
Big Noise Films)
And I would argue the commentary above does more to do that than would a transcript from the audio program in question. Hart Viges shares his thoughts on the upcoming visit here (it's two paragraphs or we'd excerpt from it). Let's stay on the topic of veterans, Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reports that many veterans who mistakenly put their trust in "special government-backed mortgages," such as DoD's Homeowner's Assistance Program, have seen their homes taken away from them in foreclosures. In related news, Rick Maze (Army Times) reports that the US Labor Department released unemployment figures today and the unemployment "rate for veterans climbed to 9.9 percent, up from 8.3 percent the previous month. For Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans, the unemployment rate for January was 15.2 percent. This is a sharp increase from 9.4 percent in November and 11.7 percent in December, a clear trend of worsening job market for younger veterans, many of them combat veterans."
And there are more veterans from the wars each day because they are ongoing wars as noted in yesterday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. The hearing was covered in yesterday's snapshot, Kat covered it in "John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Webb," Wally covered it at Rebecca's site with "It's a bi-partisan hole (Wally)" and Ava covered it at Trina's site with "In appreciation of Lindsey Graham (Ava)." John T. Bennett (The Hill) reports on the hearing and the rush by so many to continue the US 'mission.' Let's get honest about what took place yesterday, a lot of people not wanting to be responsible if the civilian mishaps that might take place. Anna Mulrine (Christian Science Monitor) adds, "At the same time, in the face of ongoing instability on the ground, officials offered one of the first hints that the American military could stay in Iraq beyond this year. US troops must pull out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011 under the current security agreement." Jason Ditz ( points out, "Which goes against the official position of the administration, that every last soldier will be out of Iraq by the end of December as per the Status of Forces Agreement. Given the Obama Administration's penchant for false promises and abortive "ends" to the Iraq War, it's perhaps no surprise that even the SOFA deadline is at risk."

Don't want the mishaps (read "deaths" and "injuries")? Get the US out of Iraq. It's not that damn difficult. But, as Wally noted, the Iraq War is a bi-partisan hole that both are eager to dig. Bennett tells you that John Kerry (never trust a man who choses his career over a sick wife -- as we should have all learned from the John and Elizabeth Edwards saga) wants to start "a stand-alone funding bill to pay for civilian-led Iraq functions." Really? So off the books again, supplementals. Exactly what John Kerry and others condemned Bush for.

Apparently, for Democrats in Congress, the real problem from 2001 through 2008 with the wars wasn't the wars but that their fellow wasn't the one making the calls. Today they rush to continue the wars -- overtly (hopes of an extension of the SOFA or a new treaty that will allow US forces, under the Defense Dept, to remain on Iraqi soil) or covertly (transferring the forces over to the State Dept -- a word trickery allowed in the agreements). The Iraq War never should have started but Bush knew the minor objection from Democrats in Congress would vanish the minute troops were on the ground and that the bulk of them would refuse to oppose funding his illegal war out of fear that they would be demonized if something went wrong. It's Barack's war now and he too knows the score. He insists US forces are staying, one way or the other, and despite the Great Recession the US is still experiencing, he's confident that Congress will waste billions on continuing the war out of fear that, if they don't, they will be blamed for any attacks. "THE US EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD WAS INVADED TODAY AND UNKNOWN ASSAILANTS -- THOUGHT TO BE LINKED TO AL QAEDA IN MESOPOTAMIA -- QUICKLY SHOT AND BEHEADED EMBASSY STAFF!" The Congress fears that such an attack -- or one on any scale -- would lead to them being blamed because they didn't provide enough tax payer money to the continued war.
The way to avoid such an attack, or any at all, is to demand that the US leaves Iraq. But that requires bravery and you don't find a great deal of that from career politicians. So the State Dept will most likely get every cent that Barack wants it to have barring riots in US streets.
We're spending $2 billion a year now on State Department operations in Iraq alone, and we intend to spend $1 billion a year on construction for some years to come. That's some withdrawal! I know that when Sen. Barack Obama asked to be entrusted with the presidency by repeatedly saying, "I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home," he only said "troops." But I can't believe that the voters who heard him anticipated leaving thousands of Americans and spending billions of dollars in Iraq for many years.
If members of Congress are looking for ways to cut a trillion-dollar deficit, they might look at our construction and employment and nation-building plans in Iraq.
And instead of aiding state and local communities, to continue the Iraq War, the State Dept is looking to rob state and local communities. Because the US tax payer hasn't given enough to the illegal war, the US State Dept now wants to raid local and state police forces. Yesterday, they posted the following:

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs met last week with local and state law enforcement offices, as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, to discuss opportunities available within the Iraq Police Development Program beginning this fall. The bureau is seeking to recruit both active and retired U.S. law enforcement officers as the U.S. Department of State builds a team of senior level and expert advisors to serve one-year missions in Iraq.

Beginning October 1, 2011, U.S. Department of State, through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, will assume full responsibility for the development of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior's police and border forces while continuing strong support of professional development in the corrections and justice sectors. Under Department of State leadership, the Police Development Program will partner with the Government of Iraq in developing management, leadership and technical skills to support the rule of law and maintain Iraq's internal security.

Experienced U.S. police officers have the opportunity to contribute to this large, post-conflict police development mission, partnering with Iraqi ministers, commanders, and police chiefs who will have impact on the future of the Iraqi police service. Through the Police Development Program, the Department of State is contributing to the broader goal of promoting security, stability, and respect for the rule of law in Iraq.

While appearing before Congress currently (via Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey) to ask for the biggest budget in State Dept history, they now also want to poach trained police officers which will add to the costs for states and municipalities who will have to hire and train new officers instead of retaining current ones.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Bombings, polio, war, it's Iraq"
"State Dept wants to raid your community's resources"
"I Hate The War"
"Baked Onions in the Kitchen"
"In appreciation of Lindsey Graham (Ava)"
"How very, very sad"
"More appalling numbers from NPR's programming"
"america the beautiful and perfect"
"It's a bi-partisan hole (Wally)"
"So thankful Bill Moyers is off PBS"
"The net"
"Alicia Shephard: Waste of NPR money"
"John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Webb"
"The Patriot Act (look away from Egypt, if you can!)"
"Who's Matthew Rothschild kidding?"
"The Cape"
"The Quotable Bully Mama"
"The beggar media"
"Realities you're missing"
"The Bride of Frankenstein and Street"
"Ted Glick's shocker"

No comments: