Thursday, December 29, 2005

The US Military inteactions with Iraqi kids

Military's interaction with foreign kids will be long remembered
published 12/28/05

This is a story about children in foreign lands and how Americans interact with them. The first part is from ABC News.

A little boy was brought to the station where the paramedics were working in a remote valley in Kashmir. He was lifeless in his father’s arms, and the paramedics from New York City could not even find a vein to start an IV due to his dehydration.

They started an IV into his shin, while the child showed no indication that anyone had touched him. A half hour later, the child was crying and protesting the strange men speaking a strange tongue who were sticking needles into his arm. As he tried to escape the strange (heat-retaining) blankets to get to his father, these same strange men would not let him. But he could clearly see his father, who had a smile on his face as he cried tears of joy. His son was clearly going to live.

Now that child did not understand the situation he was in, but it is clear that when he grows up, his father will see to it that he knows what happened.

He will know who exactly saved his life after he got sick with double pneumonia and became severely dehydrated. The father had already lost his wife and daughter to the earthquake, and his joy at seeing his son survive was very obvious and heart warming.

Another story involving children and American men came from the pages of the Asheville Citizen-Times, a story about U.S. troops interacting with Iraqi children. That article stated: “Soldiers generally believe the presence of children lowers the chance of enemy attack.” To believe such a thing, and to then go to where children are, would indicate that the soldiers are willing to use the children as human shields. I sincerely hope this is wrong.

Children are generally delightful, and I am sure that is true no matter what part of the world they come from. In the article called “Winning Small Hearts and Minds in Iraq” the soldiers were giving candy and toys to the children in Iraq. At first, the children reacted with fear to their presence, which in light of the fact that they are in a war zone, would be the normal and expected response. They soon warmed up to the men, and it appears all had a good time.

However, it was not prudent on the part of the soldiers to reduce the children’s fear of getting close to U.S. troops. It puts them at risk, since there are 80 to 100 attacks per day against U.S. troops in Iraq. (This is the overwhelming majority of attacks, by the way, even though we hear more about the attacks against civilians, which result in a higher death toll.) One teacher at this school stated very plainly: her primary concern was the sewers. It matters not if the children get candy and trinkets if they get sick from the unclean water and lack of sanitation.

The soldiers and their families gathered the toys and the candies that were handed out that day. I applaud them for trying to brighten the children’s lives. However, I do not feel it is prudent or safe (at this time) for them to personally hand out these items or interact with the children. They could certainly place the items in boxes with a note saying they are from the Americans, and drop the boxes off with the teachers.

I have heard many painful stories of children around U.S. troops who have fallen victim to the violence overwhelming Iraq at this time. The fact that they are near U.S. troops marks them as targets for the terrorists. Recently there was a report of a terrorist bombing directed toward U.S. troops handing out toys to children in a hospital in central Iraq.

We must do everything possible to keep these children alive and provide them with a future. I would like to see our U.S. Congress, particularly Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., who serves on the U.S. Armed Services Committee, redirect our troops’ efforts in Iraq. The troops should focus on providing security, clean water, sewers, electricity and medical services in Iraq, all of which are in dire need of improvement.

They can collect and distribute toys and candy for children, but their interaction with the children should be limited to providing direct medical care only in the event of an emergency. Playing with the children, and interacting with the children, will have to wait until the day when peace comes to Iraq.

And when these children grow up, their parents will see to it that they understand and remember what happened when they were too young to understand.

Link to publication.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

About Zarqawi's letters

Isn't it rather odd that the US military in Iraq can intercept a letter reportedly to Zarqawi, yet they cannot find Zarqawi himself?

And isn't this the third or fourth letter intercepted? How come they seem to mirror Mr. Bush's ominous talking points about Iraq?

What ever happened to that Pentagon "Office of Strategic Influence" anyway? Well, here's what Mr. Rumsfeld had to say about it:

"And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And 'oh my goodness gracious isn't that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.' I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have."

Indeed, I think he has.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Concerning Zarqawi's letters (letter to the editor)

Isn't it rather odd that the US military in Iraq can intercept a letter reportedly to Zarqawi, yet they cannot find Zarqawi himself?

And isn't this the third or fourth letter intercepted? How come they seem to mirror Mr. Bush's ominous talking points about Iraq?

What ever happened to that Pentagon "Office of Strategic Influence" anyway? Well, here's what Mr. Rumsfeld had to say about it:

"And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And 'oh my goodness gracious isn't that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.' I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have."

Indeed, I think he has.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Letter to Christian Science Monitor

John Hughes claims in his article that "...people must decide whether Bush, in the face of all this opinion, was lying and really knew Hussein did not have these weapons, or whether he believed, on the basis of overwhelming opinion at the time (which ultimately proved to be wrong), that the threat was real."

It certainly was a popular position at the time (and now) that "overwhelming opinion" said that Iraq had WMDs, but this most certainly not the case outside the USA, then or now.

I work as a pediatric audiologist in North Carolina, and I used my six year old notebook computer and an AOL connection to determine that there were no nuclear WMDs in Iraq by October 2002. Furthermore, if there were chemical or biological weapons there (which was plausible) there was certainly no means for Saddam to deliver them to the USA, hence no threat. I reached these conclusions by reading widely from around the world, and researching available evidence.

If I could do this, so could the White House and the US Congress. My conclusion is that they are either liars or amazingly gullible fools.

Here is some memorable evidence I uncovered:

Rice and Powell both publicly stated in early 2001 that Saddam was contained and not a threat.

Many on the UN Security Council did not believe that Iraq was a threat.

There had been no WMDs uncovered in Iraq since 1991.

All prior WMDs uncovered in Iraq were done so with the assistance of Iraqi weapons and intelligence experts.

In 1998, the UN weapons inspectors left because Clinton was going to start bombing Iraq, not because Saddam kicked them out. The UN weapons inspections had been compromised by political agendas back here in the USA which Clinton signed on to.

There was no concrete evidence that Saddam had restarted his nuclear weapons program since 1998, and there was no nuclear weapons program in 1998.

There were credible former UN weapons inspectors (notable Ritter) claiming that Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

A working connection between Saddam and bin Laden defied common sense.

After October 2002, more evidence emerged:

UN weapons inspectors numbered in the hundreds were on the ground and were finding nothing of significance.

With the exception of Kuwait and Israel, Iraq's neighboring countries did not feel Iraq was a threat and did not want a war started there in Iraq. If Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and several other middle eastern countries did not feel a threat, how could there possibly be a threat to the USA or Europe? Again, it defied common sense.

Powell's presentation at the UN was based on circumstantial evidence. Almost no one at the UN bought it. Many sources outside the USA discredited what he had to say immediately afterwards. This mainly went unreported in the US media.

Saddam publicly stated on British TV that he had no WMDs and no connections to bin Laden. He said if he did have a connection, he would be proud to announce it. This went unreported in the US media.

Tens of millions of people around the world demonstrated against this war, which was unprecedented in history. With a few minor exceptions, this was mainly ignored in the US media. I saw no real attempt to have a discussion with these protestors as to why they were objecting to this war. There was no real attempt to bring in dissenting voices of some authority into the mainstream of discussion. Rather, they were often ridiculed and dismissed, both in the media and by US officials.

With these above mentioned events going on in the world, it was clear to me that mainstream media in the USA, particularly television, was not to be trusted.

There was growing and growing evidence in 2003 that there were no WMDs in Iraq. After the war started, I remember sending an emotional letter to one of my Senators, John Edwards, saying "I hope you find those WMDs in Iraq so you can justify this illegal and immoral war."

I knew he would not. I knew the nuclear WMDs were not there, and quite likely there were no biological or chemical ones either. I predicted, and I sincerely hope I am someday proven wrong, that Iraq would melt down into a civil war that will spread to a regional war engulfing the entire middle east. I would be very happy to be wrong about something concerning this war. I do not buy that "everyone thought" that Iraq had WMDs because that is simply not true, particularly in the world at large. I do not believe that this administration and the prior US Congress could not figure this out. If that premise is true, then they are fools. And if they did figure it out, then they are tools (liars).

Fools or tools.... you pick. Either way, we need to get them out of office and elect people who are both intelligent and honest. I do hope you publish this to counter the prevailing position that "overwhelming opinion" around the world said that Iraq had WMDs. That was delusional then, and now.

They did not publish my letter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Information on Progressive Democrats of America

How is PDA Different From DFA (Democracy For America), MoveOn, Progressive Majority, etc?

This question is asked so many times that we thought we’d give you some talking points to help answer the question.

PDA is the only group that coordinates with progressive leaders on the hill. By organizing on a Congressional District model, PDA serves as the grassroots base for the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

PDA is the only group organizing progressives within the DNC.

PDA is the only group that works through our inside/outside strategy to move social movements into the political process of the Democratic Party.

PDA works on state party reform by supporting progressive activists to gain voice and vote within their state party structure and by embracing the Progressive Caucus model within the Democratic Party’s State Committee.

PDA is accountable to no one except the grassroots who support us. We rely on donations from grassroots “Sustainers” to support our work. Please go here to contribute.

More information on Progressive Democrats of America here.

PDA is not a click-and-join organization. We are about feet on the street and heat in the street.

“Who is left to open the eyes of the country – to tell Americans what is happening? There is no one left, none but all of us.” Bill Moyers 10/1/05

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bush makes some comments

From Bush's comments on 12/19/05

BUSH: "If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone."

I recommend we stop provoking them and NOT leave them alone. Talk to them, study them, try to understand what they are about and try to anticipate what they might try next. As soon as they commit a crime, arrest them, try them, and if guilty, lock them up for life. Conspiracy to commit murder is a crime.

BUSH: "September the 11th, 2001 required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them."

This ignores the reality that you and former US officials, had been provoking them for decades.

BUSH: "My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them."

No, you create terrorists by killing and harming innocents. You invite terrorism by ignoring this reality and showing the world you do not care.

BUSH (referring to terrorists): "fear the rise of a democratic Iraq."

So how come they called a truce for the election?

BUSH: "I see the consequences when I talk to parents who miss a child so much -- but tell me he loved being a soldier, he believed in his mission, and, Mr. President, finish the job."

I want to see you publicly encourage your daughters to serve in Iraq.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

What the MNF publications said

MNF Iraq Operations from their publication

Summary October 22-28, 2005

Combined operations: 220
IEDs found and cleared: 144
Anti-Iraqi forces detained: 485
Foreign fighters captured or killed: 29
Weapons caches found and cleared: 53

From Iraq Coalition Casualties website, same dates.

US and Coalition Fatalities: 17 (Fatalities from IEDs: 8)
Iraqis civilians killed: 168
Iraqi police and military killed: 191

I feel this rather shows that they are losing a lot to IEDs, in spite of the number found. It shows that most of the forces fighting them are Iraqis, not foreigners. It also shows that the Iraqi police and military, and the Iraqi civilians, are taking a much, much higher toll than the US forces.

As always, the civilians and native populations pay a heavier price for war.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Department of Peace meeting

Here in western North Carolina, we had our first meeting to promote the Department of Peace in the USA on October 29, 2005. The department would be a cabinet level position, and have equal footing with other cabinet level positions in the President’s cabinet. It is now in the proposal stage, and I think it will take a long time to make it a reality. The purpose of such a department would be to provide the President with verified recommendations on how a specific policy either decreases or increases the prospect of domestic and international peace. Another purpose would be to provide the President with recommendations regarding the social and financial impacts of domestic and international policies. This department would work on both international and domestic causes of violence and how to address these. Our American society often feels it needs to control violent people with violence, when another more human and compassionate response would work better. Of course, this will take a long while to get this Department of Peace established, and it will have no impact on a man like Mr. Bush.

More information can be found at The Peace Alliance.

People came to our meeting from GA, VI, NC, SC, TN. There were military people present also. Lynn McMullen was our speaker for this meeting/workshop. A women shared the story of explaining war to a very young child, who said: "Why are they so mad they would kill people they don't know?"

A musician at this workshop wrote this song:

Give peace a voice; let our hearts be heard,
Sounding our choice to love and preserve,
Give peace a voice, uniting nations of the world.
by Shawn Galloway

I have neglected this blog for almost two months, and that is somewhat due to the blogging I have been doing on Today In Iraq. I generally post there on Friday and Saturdays, but I fill in on other days. I will try to up date this blog at least every weekend.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Today's toll.............

From Reuters AlertNet on 11-02-05

Car bomb in central Iraq killed at least 23 people.

Earlier, roadside bombs and shootings killed at least 12 people.

US forces did an air strike in Ramadi, killed 35 people.

Two roadside bombs in Baghdad killed 5 civilians and 5 Iraqi soldiers.

Iraqi policeman shot in Baghdad.

Iraqi soldier killed by a bomb in Falluja.

Two insurgents killed by US forces.

At least 6 insurgents killed in safe houses in Qusayba by US bombs.

Doctors in Qusayba say 15 Iraqi civilians were killed in these US air strikes.

So, what's the total?
90 Iraqi civilians.
7 Iraqi police and soldiers
8 insurgents

and 4 US troops.

So, Iraqis are dying at 26 times the rate of US troops.

What an evil tragedy the US government has started here.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What the Senators are saying


Sen. Robert Byrd (D‑WV)
The American people seek an end, they seek an end, they want an end to this ongoing bloody war in Iraq, not new conflicts in neighboring countries.
Senate floor statement ‑ October 25, 2005

Sen. Dick Durbin (D‑IL)
Each step the Iraqis take toward the successful establishment of self‑governance should bring our troops a step closer to home . . . The choice we face in Iraq is not a choice between resolve or retreat. The men and women in our military and their loved ones deserve a clear path to stability in Iraq so they can come home as soon as humanly possible.
Senate floor statement ‑ October 25, 2005

Sen. Russell Feingold (D‑WI)
As my colleagues may know, I have suggested a target date of December 31, 2006, the end of next year, for the completion of our military mission. Today, I want to talk a little bit about why a flexible timetable for withdrawal will help make the U.S. stronger and our enemies weaker . . . But with the words of Republicans like Melvin Laird and military leaders like General Casey, more and more people understand that having a flexible timetable will strengthen our national security. This is not a timetable where the objective is troop withdrawal, the objective is to focus on our national security needs and the timetable is one step towards that goal. A timetable is not about domestic politics‑‑it's about undercutting insurgency recruiting and unity, encouraging more Iraqi ownership and responsibility, and creating space for other important U.S. national security efforts.
Senate floor statement ‑ October 25, 2005

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Asked how the Mr. Bush could revive the plan [to revamp Social Security], Iowa’s Sen. Charles Grassley replied: “Get the troops out of Iraq and get New Orleans rebuilt.”
Wall Street Journal - October 20, 2005

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D‑MA)
Instead of covering up mistakes in Iraq, it is time for the President to admit them, to adopt an effective strategy to end this war and begin to bring our troops home, and to stop ignoring the very real priorities facing the Nation and the many many challenges facing us at home and abroad.
Senate floor statement ‑ October 25, 2005

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
The way forward in Iraq is not to pull out precipitously or merely promise to stay “as long as it takes.” To undermine the insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks. At the first benchmark, the completion of the December elections, we can start the process of reducing our forces by withdrawing 20,000 troops over the course of the holidays . . . It will be hard for this Administration, but it is essential to acknowledge that the insurgency will not be defeated unless our troop levels are drawn down, starting immediately after successful elections in December. The draw down of troops should be tied not to an arbitrary timetable, but to a specific timetable for transfer of political and security responsibility to Iraqis and realignment of our troop deployment. That timetable must be real and strict. The goal should be to withdraw the bulk of American combat forces by the end of next year.
Speech at Georgetown University - October 26, 2005

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D‑VT)
Without answers‑‑real answers, honest answers‑‑to these questions, I will not support the open‑ended deployment of our troops in a war that was based on falsehood and justified with hubris . . . Once a new Iraqi government is in place, I believe the President should consult with Congress on a flexible plan that includes pulling our troops back from the densely populated areas where they are suffering the worst casualties and to bring them home.
Senate floor statement ‑ October 25, 2005

Sen. Carl Levin (D‑MI)
MR. RUSSERT: There are now about 150,000 Americans on the ground in Iraq. Knowing what you know about the situation in Iraq and knowing what you know about American politics, how many Americans do you believe will be in Iraq come November of 2006 when the mid‑term congressional elections take place?

SEN. LEVIN: Less than we have there now. For one of two reasons. Either because the Iraqis will put their own house in order, both politically and security‑wise, or they won't. Either way, there is going to be fewer troops there because if the Iraqis can handle the situation, that obviously will lead to fewer troops. But if they refuse to put their political pieces together, if they don't make those compromises, it seems to me it's obvious that we're going to have to consider that timetable for reduction and withdrawal . . . I would think that we'll have at least a third of our troops out by a year from now. That is my guess either way.
Meet the Press - October 16, 2004

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D‑MD)
We need to see faster progress on all these things. When these things happen, we can begin to withdraw our troops in stages and bring them home. Our military men and women have sacrificed in Iraq. They honored our country by volunteering to serve. We must honor them with an effective plan to finish their work, and bring our troops home . . . we need a workable plan to drawdown our troops.
Senate floor statement ‑ October 25, 2005

Sen. Ken Salazar (R-CO)
"It's important that we push for a successful strategy in Iraq and, for me, that's defined by taking the baton of protecting the government and handing it to Iraqi security forces so we can begin to withdraw our troops," Salazar said . . .We've been told that we've trained (250,000) Iraqi soldiers and we've spent $300 billion on the war, so I do believe you'll see us begin withdrawing our forces next year."
The Pueblo Chieftain - Thursday October 27, 2005

Rep. Jim McGovern (D‑MA)
I will be introducing legislation to end U.S. military operations in Iraq, and I invite you to join me as an original cosponsor of this bill. Quite simply, this bill would end all funding for the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq. Department of Defense funds could be provided for te safe and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.
Dear Colleague letter - October 26, 2005

Rep. Brad Miller (D‑NC)
There is no better way to persuade the Iraqi people that we really intend to withdrew than to begin withdrawing. The Price‑Miller resolution calls for a partial withdrawal as soon as possible.
House floor statement - October 25, 2005

Rep. David Price (D‑NC)
I rise in support of the Price‑Miller resolution, which we have introduced today, to require the President to submit to Congress a plan for the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq in the wake of the October 15 constitutional referendum, beginning with an initial drawdown. This is not a requirement I propose lightly . . . But we must end the occupation, and the approval of the Constitution offers us an opportunity to begin that process. It is an opportunity we must seize . . . Our resolution draws in concept and content on one introduced in the Senate by Mr. Feingold on June 14. It updates that resolution by taking explicit account of the constitutional referendum and proposing an initial immediate drawdown of troops.
House floor statement - October 25, 2005

Rep. Ike Skelton (D‑MO)
In a letter to the President, Congressman Ike Skelton (D‑MO) suggests a formula to guide the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq which would provide the American and Iraqi people with a measurable sense of progress in the region. Skelton proposes that for every three Iraqi security force combat brigades rated "Level 1" (or fully capable), an American brigade or unit of similar size, type, and mission should be strategically redeployed from Iraq. This would establish a clear link between the development of Iraqi security forces and the redeployment of American forces, demonstrating progress in a way that both the American and the Iraqi people can plainly see.
Press statement - October 24, 2005

Rep. Maxine Waters (D‑CA)
Mr. Speaker, it is time to bring our soldiers home. It is time for Republicans and Democrats alike to understand that we do not need to lose another American soldier in Iraq.
House floor statement - October 26, 2005

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D‑CA)
It is time to return Iraq to the Iraqi people and the troops safely home to their families.
House floor statement - October 26, 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

One down, 10,000 more to go....

One criminal arrested today. Now, we just need to arrest the other 10,000 criminals that start this optional evil war for bogus reasons..... which is a nice way of saying LIES.

I hope I can have a "Judith Miller goes to jail for the RIGHT reasons" party one day.

Media coverage of the vigil

Last night I was interviewed on WLOS TV. I said that things were getting worse and worse in Iraq, in spite of our military's best efforts (okay, I am giving them the benefit of a doubt, which some of them DO NOT deserve, but some do- I wanted to reach the Americans who are not convinced that the US military needs to leave Iraq).

I said that life for Iraqis is getting more and more treacherous.

I heard it was replayed this morning. It was great to hear the newscaster say "Not one more Death! Not one more Dollar!" was our slogan for last night's vigil. That came from the American Friends Service Committee. It is important to get on TV, since that is where a huge number of Americans get their "news" (which is why they don't know anything).

On Friday, I will be blogging on Today in Iraq ( Please read about the bell-ringing action under PEACE ACTION.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Vigil for 2000 US Troops Died in Iraq

We had a good turnout (132 people) and good press representation. We placed candle luminaries around the fountain, and people held candles as they talked and socialized. We observed a minute of silence in rememberance of the deceased, and one of our Vets for Peace got up and spoke to the crowd about her feelings concerning the 2,000 US troops that have died. She spoke of her sorrow at that fact, and she spoke to the underlying falsehoods that were the foundation of this war. She was very moving.

It was a bit cold in Asheville, and a bit windy, but the candles did stay lit for over an hour and a half. We did have the local TV and newspaper show up and interview people.

The reason I hosted this vigil and did the press contacts was to try to keep this issue in front of the American people, and hopefully, to convince them that this war is wrong and we need to get out of Iraq.... for the sake of the Iraqi people.

I realize that the Iraqis have suffered far, far worse than what the US troops and their families have suffered.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Not One More Death!

Tomorrow, October 26, 2005 is the day that people across America will hold vigils to honor the 2,000 US troops that have died in Iraq. In Asheville, this event will be at Pack Square at 6:30 PM. It will be a candlelight prayer vigil, and I am requesting that people bring candles (and something for them to drip into) and signs - but signs without politicians names on them.

This is also a rememberance of all the tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of innocent Iraqi civilians who have lost their lives due to this war. This is by far the greater tragedy.

In the interests of increasing awareness among Americans, the following organzations are focusing on the American losses:

American Friends Service Committee
United for Peace and Justice
True Majority
Democracy for America
and MoveOn.Org

If you cannot join a vigil tomorrow night at 6:30 PM, please say a prayer for peace in this world. Please say a prayer that our politicians will find a way to solve problems without resorting to war.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Blogging on Today In Iraq

Today was my first post for the blog "Today in Iraq".

This is a blog that is a list of important news items for Iraq and for US/UK troops.

You can find it at:

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Iraqi Deaths

I gathered the following information for the Iraq Coalition Casualties website. They collect stories that report on Iraqi Civilian deaths, and then total them each month. Here’s what they have for six months of this year.

Civilians Police/Military
January N/A 109
February N/A 103
March 240 200
April 302 199
May 572 259
June 477 296
July 518 304
August 1,524 282
September 640 233

TOTALS 4,273 1,885

However, Robert Fisk reported on Democracy Now that there was 1,100 bodies brought to the Baghdad morgue in July for autopsies. Those would only include people who died a violent death. The exact number of Iraqi casualties from this war and occupation is unknown, and apparently, the US/UK forces there will make no attempt to find out. This speaks volumes to me about how much they care about Iraqis, and how much they are really interested in “freedom and democracy” for the Iraqis. I think they are bringing a lot of the Iraqis the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death.

Reuters reports this week: More than 4,300 Iraqis, nearly 70 percent of them civilians, were killed by insurgents in the first nine months of this year, an Interior Ministry official said on Saturday. That would mean there was a heck of a lot of Iraqis killed by coalition troops, if this is accurate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Warrant for the arrest of Three GIs

Spanish Judge Issues Warrant for Three GIs

From The Associated Press

Wednesday 19 October 2005

Madrid, Spain - A judge has issued an international arrest warrant for three U.S. soldiers whose tank fired on a Baghdad hotel during the Iraq war, killing a Spanish journalist and a Ukrainian cameraman, a court official said Wednesday.In light of the fact that the US miltary did little investigation of civilian deaths in Iraq (as was normally the case), this judge in Spain deciced to issue warrents and pursue the investigation that way.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What Bush said in March 2003

A group called Supaclean took the CSNY song “OHIO” and built on it, back in early 2004. They included, towards the end of the song, a recording of what Bush had to say to the Iraqi people before our troops went in there.

Bush: “All Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells.”

Here’s the song

But, when Bush says “your fate will depend on your actions” I think of the baby in the following story. This baby had the good sense to be thrown clear of the building she was in when a bomb hit (this building was her home) but the rest of her family did not have that good sense. The baby landed in a puddle in a neighbor’s yard and was found the next day. Wounded, but she survived. The rest of her immediate family was killed. I guess, in Bush world, they did not take the right actions, which in this case would mean not sleeping in your own home. The family was killed by US ‘smart’ bombs, done to get Saddam early on in the war. The family never talked to Saddam or had him in their home. Smart bombs, dumb warmonger politicians.

That baby’s story is here.

Below are more personal stories of what happened in Iraq just after the US military arrived. Seems like some more people didn’t take the right “actions”:

Their stories are here.

The song OHIO by Supaclean ends with:

“for the dead, for the dying,
for the Jews that been tricked,
by a Rove, Wolf, Collin, Connie, Bush and a dick.”

Of course, we all know that the oil ministry and oil wells were well protected from the rampant looting done across Iraq just after the invasion. Has anyone determined where those looters came from? Did they even catch one of them and ask?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Anti-war video worth watching

From my friend, Debra, who also sent this quote:

"You're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it." Robin Williams

Saturday, October 08, 2005

What is terrorism?

Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. - US Federal Bureau of Investigation

So, I would say the US government is using the US military for terrorism.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Biohazard Sensors Triggered

The WaPo wrote up a story on how the biohazard sensors were triggered on the day of the huge anti-war protest in DC on September 24th. The tularemia bacteria was found in small amounts at all six sensors in DC, including the Lincoln Memorial and Judiciary Square. The health officials did not think it was enough to be a hazard, but they are warning all hospitals in the USA.

Symptoms are fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough. It is treated with antibiotics.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lobbying the Hill

Lobbying the Hill

This lobby day was on September 26, 2005. On that day, UFPJ and PDA organized to send people to talk to their Senators and Representatives. These organizations reported that over 1000 people lobbied over 300 members of congress from 40 states. And they did see results! I recommend checking Progressive Democrats of America website to see what the after effects really were from this action. One of them was Brad Miler (NC -13) decided to co-sponsor the No Permanent Bases in Iraq bill.

Anyway, I want to say a word about lobbying in DC. If you are a US citizen and you can talk, then you can do this. You will most likely talk to a Senator's or Representative's aide, however, they will relay your message to your elected official. And sometimes, you will meet face to face with your elected official, as in the elevator (see my blog from January 2005) or in the hallway (see my blog from June 2005). When you walk into the Senate office buildings (or Representatives) you will go through a metal detector and your purse or bags go through a scanner. I recommend not wearing protest shirts or carrying signs or wearing metal. It is perfectly acceptable to bring in stacks and stacks of papers.

We met with the aides of Senator Burr at 9 AM. I, and some others from our congressional district, had to leave early for our appointment with Representative Taylor. In the meeting with Burr, we had one general spokesperson who went through the list of bills that UFPJ and PDA is currently interested in, to see where the Senator stands on these, and to let Mr. Burr know that we support these various measures. Everyone introduced themselves in this meeting, and a couple who was with us talked about torture issues and how our country needs to stop that from happening any more.

We met with Representative Taylor's aide at 10 AM. His name was Adam Shepard. We talked with him about 50 minutes, and it was pretty much back and forth exchange of ideas. Adam said that Mr. Taylor does not think the Downing Street Memos are worth paying attention to, since he thinks they are fake and non-starters. Taylor supports the war in Iraq and he has a son who has served in the Green Zone over there. Adam did not know how Taylor would stand on No Permanent Bases in Iraq (update: Taylor will not co-sign this bill.) and he did not know how Taylor would stand on the "opt-out" issues on the No Child Left Behind and military recruitment bill (update: Taylor does not support overturning this.) Adam said that Taylor supports the war, thinks we have to stay there until the job is done and is not overly concerned with financing the war.

There were seven of us at this meeting, and it was a congenial exchange of ideas, although it turned out that Taylor does not support any of our positions. A couple who was with us talked about the torture issues, and I have heard that they have talked to Adam again since then. I have also contacted Adam since this meeting.

We then went to a lobbying meeting with the aides to Senator Dole. There were 19 people at this meeting and it lasted 45 minutes. We had a man there who's step-son is serving in Fallujah right now, and he was a powerful speaker. We did not have a single spokesperson this time, everyone just jumped in when they felt like it, and this seemed much more dynamic. The only area of agreement that we seemed to have with them was that our National Guard is overextended. They claimed there will be some troop withdrawal next spring.

There were a few further things I did on this date. I went to each and every US Senators office and dropped off a flyer that I had prepared. This flyer was on Ali Nasir Jabur, and it was an appeal to help this child who lost his whole family. You can read the original story about Ali at

My friend, Lena, went to a panel on torture, and she did not repeat to me what that was about, but she said it was horrible. This was a panel on torture being done by Americans around the world, and many victims spoke.

As I was walking the halls of the office buildings of the Senators, I met Max Cleland, a former Senator from Georgia. He once wrote me a letter that showed a great deal of heart, and that really touched me. So, I went up to him and thanked him, and told him what a great job I think he did while he was in the Senate. He kissed my hand, which was sweet.

Anyone can go lobby, and indeed, it is your responsibility as an American to get involved with your government and let them know what you think and feel - even if they do not agree.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

More Notes on PDA conference

Date was September 26, 2005 in Washington, DC.

***Building PDA at the Precinct, City and National Level

PDA would like to have chapters in all congressional districts.

Michael – (coordinator for MD) says that everyone has unique skills and we need all of them. Also said that everyone wants their issue at the head of the list but we need to work together so we don’t fall into disorganization (right wing counts on us being disorganized) and to make sure that we are driving the agenda, not being driven by someone else’s agenda. He also says we need to connect with those people who are sitting at home disconnected.

Marcy Winegrad (head of Los Angeles Chapter) lobbied Democratic congressional reps who still vote to fund war. She stressed being connected to other groups, she helped get anti-war resolution passed in LA, and had teach in on Downing Street Memos. They fight the governor via coalition. They have website, listserve, steering committee. Also working on DU issues and having soldiers tested.

Mervis Reissig – a pissed off grandmother from CA. She recommends precinct walking and she works through Democratic party. She says to wear PDA stickers at Democratic meetings and hand out flyers at these events. Pay attention to those who seem particularly interested and go back and ask them to get involved on precinct level. Many people are reluctant to knock on strangers doors – so only send them to Democratic doors and think of it as a way to build contact and community. Says you can get list of who is registered absentee voter and then find out if they voted or not. Registrar can give you lists of voters and party affiliation.

Laura Bonham (UT) spoke about spokespersons on PDA board and has an interim body working on PDA bylaws. Right now, about 20 states without spokespersons on council at this time. Goal: will have elected representatives from all regions and states, for the grassroots and by the grassroots.

Daneil Lewkowicz (national coordinator of campus PDAs) says goal is to unite students under progressive banner. He came to realize that diversity was common to his childhood, but not his university life. He talked about 9/11 and the effects on our nation and how it affected him – he went from wanting to be a doctor to wanting to “heal the world” and became a student activist. Said he had a poster in school that said WAKE UP AMERICA that talked about neo-con agenda. He said what passes as youth culture is really mass marketing to make youths consumers, which makes them complacent and docile. He said that we are more disconnected from our own culture than from any culture before now. We pledge allegiance to logos rather than to self. Said we cannot buy culture, we create culture. The National Organization of Progressive College Students is sister organization to PDA, they lobby for students and for change in America. I think this young man was one of the most impressive speakers.

Gerry Straatemeir (AZ) said that progressives went outside the Democratic Party and the Democrats shifted to center and right. They called their groups COUNCILS instead of caucus and aligned with many groups that were a single-issue group, and they were then able to put these issues before the legislative. He stressed getting involved on a precinct, county, district, and state levels in the Democratic Party and we must become part of them and change them.
Patrick Carano (OH) says PDA made connection to grassroots like no one else has – would like to see 5 sustainers (to PDA) in each chapter. PDA led the fight to have Ohio election results reviewed and documented.

***Building the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party
Joel Segal: now seeing action via organizational skills of PDA, which was not happening two years ago. He talked about taking power: where you don’t have to be a white millionaire male to run for office.

Steve Cobble (senior PDA Political Advisor) says we need to take street heat into suite heat. He listed PDA influence:
Downing Street Memos
Stood with Cindy Sheehan before she was popular
Anti war momentum
Worked on “Homeward Bound” legislation
Ohio vote recount
He says we need to get anti-war candidates in primaries and get secretary of states elected who are progressives.

Kevin Spidel (PDA Political Director) – Peloski (minority leader) put forth bill saying no funding for Iraq war until there is a ‘success’ strategy, meaning that troops come home. Stressed need to do partisan work and endorsement of candidates, and that we need to make sure PDA knows what grassroots wants. Who is a PDA candidate? Has to be endorsed by local PDA. What is a progressive candidate? Opponent of CAFTA, believes in fair trade and peace candidate. He made list of Democrats who voted for Bush agenda regularly. Believes we need to bring up “allies” who have trainings for candidates.

Bill Goold – director of Congressional Progressive Caucus for last three months (first director). He says grassroots will transform party, and that PDA has been invaluable in Progressive Caucus program and that we need a super majority to have a really progressive congress.

Greg Moore – from Rainbow/PUSH said that too many people he helped get into power became career politicians. The lines in New Orleans reminded him of the lines in Ohio elections and lines back in 1963 and 1965. He said these folks were not served by their government. He said we have to create a desire (mission) for those people to vote for us. He felt budget would be next big issue for US congress and that every African American and African American minister or church leader is looking at the problem of poverty in this country since Katrina.

Joel Segal (moderator) talked about unity and raising funds to fight right wing machine. He felt we needed one mass-based progressive organization.

Jay Winter said he is a member of the human family and he is also a Native American. He talked about the Houma tribe, which is 15,000 strong, but 7,000 are missing since Katrina. No one knows where they are now. He said information is at about their loss. Some of his points were:
· Must promote world peace
· Must accept no monies from corporate or special interests
· Verified voting
· Accountability and transparency of public and private sectors
· Right for every person to clean air, food, water, clothing, shelter, education and health care
He said the nation is dying and we have fools in office who only think of personal gain. There are two candidates he supports: Joe LaMonte (OK) and Chuck Vienesa (PA). He said that if we don’t learn to live together as men then we shall all perish as fools.

***Building PDA Media Response
Anne Singer, Moderator, says not so easy to pigeon hole media, they are complex and we should be prepared to be surprised.

· Jeff Cohen – says media are STRICT corporate entities. The top is overpaid and they don’t offend anyone in political or corporate power. They are paranoid and afraid of being the only one asking a certain question. There is the fear of being labeled “liberal” and they are very political over what they can say and do. He says there are three strands to media: Opening up (good guy/bad guy), Spreading suspicion, and Spreading alternative media.

· Suzanna Sunovich – press secretary for Woolsley. She follows local and national news cycle to get Woolsley inserted in stories and to get her message out.

· Wm. Rivers Pitt ( writes PDA blog and some stories on blogs bubble up into the mainstream. Emails:,, and He wants every PDA caucus to be “point person” for the blog to update them about what they are doing, where they need help, issues that need action, and candidates you can support.

· David Swanson has made many websites for progressives (, Kucinich, AFL-CIO, ACORN) and has many ideas for websites. PDA has done press releases and has materials and posters. Make sure no one goes to rally without PDA shirt, and says to negotiate with reporters to make them commit to naming PDA ahead of time. He says it is virtually impossible to get coverage in the mainstream media, and recommends holding media coverage accountable. Creating own media is important too. Some PDA chapters have websites of variable quality ( and are websites for progressive groups). He says never lie or exaggerate, make yourself available, never worry about pleasing reporter or caring about them. Never work with a reporter who already has planned what he or she wants you to say. More suggestions on

· Some discussion on public access TV, and how to get programs into the community. Some suggestions are to get activists on your show, contact local TV writer to cover show, work on marketing and tell guests to let people know about show. Telecommunications act puts public access TV in jeopoardy.

· PDA media action and reform. They will develop part of website to address pending and possible legislation on the media.

· Someone brought up the fact that you can lease TV time for little money.

· Deep Dish TV does shows on regular basis that can be downloaded on Link TV.

· Suzanne talked about ways to get TV message out.

· Finally, someone reported on her efforts to get train delay in NYC and efforts to get to Saturday’s rally in the NYT and WaPo. Persistence paid off in this example.

***Final Session
A call for sustainers – and PDA endorsed two candidates Tony ??? and Steve Young. PDA passed resolution about Katrina:
· Respect for the culture in the area and region and evacuees must fully participate in reconstruction
· Current labor laws, environmental laws and civil rights laws must be respected
· Native Americans must participate also

There was some discussion of tomorrow’s lobby events. Then they closed with saying that Cindy is birthing her son’s spirit into the world now.

John Boniface talked about the Ohio recount and the Downing Street Memo. He says democracy is worth fighting for, but there still is no meaningful recount in Ohio.

It was a long day, but well worth going to PDA conferences to see and hear what is going on.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Progressive Democrats of America Conference

(It has taken me awhile to get this written up, but I wanted to share what went on at this conference on September 25, 2005. This will be in two parts.)

Interfaith Gathering

Let everyone need their vine and victory
live in peace and unafraid
and into plowshares beat their sword
nations shall learn war no more

Gonna lay down my shield and sword
down by the riverside, down by the riverside,
gonna lay down my shield and sword
and study war no more


Rev. Yearwood pointed out that David took on a lion and bear before taking on Goliath. He said now is the time for revolution, and it is TIME TO SHUT THE DAMN THING DOWN.

Barbara Lee voted against the violence of war every single time, filed resolution of inquiry on Resolution #197 which is No Permanent Military Bases in Iraq. After we bring the troops home we have to continue to work on justice after we get troops out - we didn't do that after Vietnam. No mention of what we should do for the Iraqis.

Spoke of plan to eradicate poverty by 2010 (lots of cheering, couldn't hear). Spoke of keeping the STREET HEAT ON and continue to work for peace and justice.

Jeff Cohen: quoted some Repubs comments on Bosnia and Kosovo War and had people guess who said them. He spoke about two fighting bases in 1)fear and 2)battle for free speech, justice and democracy.

Wm. Rivers Pitt: said the minority has become the majority. Pointed out that Katrina has exposed the economic apartheid of the country. He said we should impeach the bastards and that "we are going to be that change".

Speaker for John Conyers (Bert Garskof?) said that since PDA launched campaign to reform Democratic Party we have had effect. He talked about election fraud in Ohio and Downing Street Memo. He said the last thing the world needs is Republican-lite party, and then he talked about how we are reaching out. He talked about the issues of Iraq, Katrina, racial apartheid, election fraud, Patriot Act and poverty as major issues facing our country that PDA is addressing. He said that it has always been an aroused citizenry who put the country back on course and make Washington do the right thing. Idea for bumper sticker: "In 06, elect a congress that will impeach"

Tim Carpenter- founded PDA, and he never wavered around being against war and occupation of Iraq. He introduced Lynn Woolsey. She said members of Congress are conduits for what Americans wants. She mentioned John Conyers for President and the crowd was on it's feet. She mentioned how major media didn't cover the march the day before. This is her platform:
1. economic opportunity for all, health care, fair trade, work organization, strong social security
2. civil rights - get rid of Patriot Act, protect all kinds of Americans
3. global peace and security
4. break up corporate media

She spoke about bringing the troops home and ending the despicable war in Iraq. We must deal with mentally wounded from war and not turn our backs on our troops (like we did in Vietnam). She said we occupy moral high ground and political high ground because we are right. PDA gave her award for backbone campaign. Woolsey said to make sure your members of congress know where you stand - this is what makes it possible for her to do what she does.

Medea Benjamin: gave a welcome to Greens and independents to PDA conference. She called for the repeal of tax cuts to the rich and to stop the elimination of the estate tax. She recommended that we tax corporations and stop war. She recommended that we pursue our security by the following steps: 1) find out what really happened on 9/11 2) bring them to justice and 3) invest in our structures and our communities. She recommended that the ICC have trials on TV for OBL, Saddam and Bush (crowd went wild).

Cindy Sheeham: standing ovation
She says she doesn't know anything about politics - all she knows is what comes from her heart - but when she says "congress" she does not include the ones who did the right thing. She means the ones who illegally gave Bush the right to start the war.



We introduced ourselves and figured out that 7 were from Florida, 2 from Georgia, 2 from South Carolina, 5 from North Carolina and one from Virginia (he was there because he was with his dad). We discussed the handout from PDA, in particular the HJ, H.Con.Res. and H. R. on page 18 of the handout. Some did not know what those initials stood for.

HJ Res 55 - Withdrawal of US Armed Forces from Iraq
H.Con.Res. 197 - House Continuing Resolution - No Permanent Bases in Iraq
H.R. - House of Representative 551 - Student Privacy Protection Act of 2005

We discussed the purpose of doing congressional office visits, and whether we will have an impact or not. Stated that we need to say what we think, and point out Rep. Jones (NC) and how he changed his position. A participant said that she would recommend starting with how you are alike (with congress person) and bring up the commonality with them, to set a basis of interaction that is not totally confrontational.

There was an announcement from someone stopping by about writing follow up letters to Congress. Then Michael Geeney stopped in and spoke about how PDA would like a form filled out for each group (each congressional office visit). Delegate one person from group to write form and get together afterwards to get a consensus of what the group thinks about the visit on the form.

After the interruptions, we went back to discussion about the visits. Another participant stated how she starts with a presentation of an aspect of war they cannot argue with - the suffering of innocent civilians. This is a basis for commonality. There was further discussion on finding a place to come from to approach legislators. One shared about how her faith drives her politics, and that politics does not drive her faith. Some shared that it is time to tell Kerry - if you don't do this, we will come after you.

Then we went into a BREAKOUT by state - I was at NORTH CAROLINA:

We spent some time covering our history and involvement with PDA. One person belongs to Buncombe County PDA, and two people there were on Progressive Democrats of NC Political Action Committee Board. One person was from Wake County PDA and they had a pot luck on a Saturday evening and about 50 people attended. The rest (two) were not part of any formal group in North Carolina. We discussed times and strategies for our office visits.

The schedule was 9 AM for Senator Burr, 10 AM for Representative Taylor, 10 AM for Representative Price, and Noon for Senator Dole. There were more scheduled, but I did not get the times. We agreed to meet at 11:30 outside Dole's office to discuss and get consensus on the visit to Burr's office. Everyone wanted to be in on Dole and Burr visits.

(Note: This was helpful, in my opinion, to get more familiar with the congressional office visits, and to get to know people's names. I recommend doing this whenever you have a office visits planned.)

I will have a follow up report on those lobby visits later.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Speech in Oklahoma

Defeat the War Demagogues, Right and Left

So the question is what do we, the majority, do? I can tell you right now from some experience in Washington that we have no influence on the Republican Party. We have some, but not decisive influence, on the Democratic Party. The only way to get these United States to cease and desist, in the specific instance of getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the more general but certainly no less important task of getting out of this militaristic, imperialistic, moralistic rut in which we are stuck, is to use our organizational skills and, most importantly, our votes, to make our influence in the Democratic Party decisive. The only way that this can be done is to unmask and get rid of those Democrats who persist in betraying us.

In 2004, it turned out that “Bush Lite” candidate Kerry was an ill-chosen alternative. In the congressional election next year and in the 2008 presidential election no candidate, Democrat or Republican who does not acknowledge both the folly, the unconstitutionality, and—most important—the immorality of the war in Iraq deserves any measure of your support.

Let them know it.

By: David MacMichael, US Marine Captain (ret. w/disability from Korea), Professor of History (University of Oregon), senior estimates officer (CIA), now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Galloway and Camilo Mejia

The evening of the march, I went to First Congregation Church to hear George Galloway speak about the evil of this war. Galloway is full of spit and vinegar and it is refreshing to hear him speak the truth. There had several other speakers from the Arab-American League who were worthwhile listening to, also. They talked about the racism in our society and how things have been for them. They talked about the war and how they oppose it.

Camilo Mejia is the young man who was serving in the US military in Iraq back in 2004. He went home on leave, and decided not to return to Iraq. He felt it was immoral and illegal what the US military was doing over there. Camilo spent about 9 months in the military brig for taking this stand. I have always thought he was a remarkable person, and that he has a deep understanding of what this war is really about. He is also very humble. In his speech tonight, he said that we should all be grateful to the resistance in Iraq, since they are resisting for all of us. He seemed to convey the idea that this violent resistance is responsible for stopping the continuation of the war into other countries that Bush or Cheney may want to invade. I found his speech somewhat upsetting, since he seemed to be in favor of violence, as long as it was coming from the Iraqi resistance.

I believe, as did Martin Luther King, Junior, that violence begets violence. I believe violence is self-defeating, and this seems very evident to me in the ongoing events in Iraq. I believe this violence in Iraq will tear the country apart. Therefore, I only support the non-violent resistance to the American occupation of Iraq. It is harder, and very dangerous, to practice non-violent resistance against a violent force. But ultimately, I feel it is the only route to finding a peaceful solution. It seems that using violence to stop violence may be justified or explainable, however, after the violence is over the seeds for the next violent confrontation have been sown.

I wish Camilo Mejia saw it the way I see it.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Peace Rally and March

I woke up on Saturday morning (on the train) when I heard Cecil's voice saying: "sounds like a Rovian plot". That immediately got my attention, since one never knows what Rove might do. Turns out, Rebecca called him and told him about the power being out at the Amtrak stations in NY and Boston and Philadelphia. We were riding on Amtrak at the time, but we had no problems. I did not sleep well on the train, but Cecil and David said it was okay.

We got to Union Station about 10 AM and I decided to carry my bag and my backpack to the protest area. I intended to leave it with NC Peace and Justice, since they were going to have a tent there, while I marched. Cecil and I could not find the tent, and when I finally got a hold of Andrew on my new cell phone, he said they had ditched that plan to have a tent.

So, I had brought WNC Peace Coalition banner, my "I Want Peace" flag and all my stuff I needed for the weekend with me, and I felt I could not just leave them and go walk in the march. I set up shop in a tent with Code Pink and Progressive Democrats of America.

There were a lot of people there. I heard some of the speeches from ANSWER stage, and I walked around a bit looking at all the tables of groups working for peace and justice and political change. It did seem the rally was more of an anti-Bush rally than an anti-war rally.

Here are some signs I saw:

Make levees, not war

War is terrorism

Bush lied, thousands died

Cheney: evil, crazy or just plain mean?

Pink Slip Bush: Fire the Liar

War is not the Answer

The only politicians who came to this event were Representatives Woolsey, Conyers, McKinney. No Senators were there. Cindy Sheehan spoke, as did Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton. People came from all over the USA, and I met several from other countries. I would think there were about 300,000 people there.

The parade route was rather long, and the parade started at 1 PM, and was still not finished when I left at 5:30 PM. I didn't walk it though, due to my excess baggage (which I should have put into a locker at Union Station). I really liked all the drumming in the parade.

Later that night, someone told me that her group went past the small group of pro-war demonstrators and they said nothing to them. They made the sign "shame, shame" with their fingers though, and the pro-war group went nuts.

Here's some chants from Code Pink:

Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown and Root, Go to Iraq and loot, loot, loot.

Or…We're hear to say: Get out of Iraq. And to Halliburton: No more contracts.

Or…How many contacts? Way too many And for Halliburton, not another penny.

We chased Dick Cheney around the streets shouting: You can run but you can't hide, We can see your greedy side.

It was great being with so many people who are also trying to stop this evil war.

We watched the news that night, and not much was said about the 200-300,000 who showed up to march and protest. Our corporate media is useless.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Off to DC Again!

Tonight, I leave for DC. Tomorrow I rally and march, Sunday is a Progressive Democrats meeting and Monday is another lobby day. I will present all 100 US Senators with a paper and picture about Ali Nabis Jabur and his tragic story (I blogged about that last month). I will be recording what the Senators (and more likely, their staff) have to say in response.

I hope all goes well in DC and I hope we wake a few people up.

Bad winds blowing

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Rita and Katrina.

Last night, at a Progressive Democratic meeting, we heard how the leadership in the NC Democratic party explain why leading Democrats are still supporting the position that the US armed forces should stay in Iraq. The leading argument is that "if we leave, civil war will break out and things will get much worse for the Iraqi people". Well, this flies in the face of the fact that things are consistently getting worse in Iraq. Actually, much, much worse.

I read extensively on Iraq and what is happening there. This does not make me an expert, but it does make me well-informed. I know enough to draw certain conclusions, and while I am not immune to drawing the wrong conclusions, it makes it very unlikely.

I started paying attention to Iraq when I first sniffed the Bush administrations' intentions of going to war in a country that was not in civil war and had not attacked or threatened another country in 12 years. Furthermore, there was a history of gross civil rights abuses in Iraq, but that history was at least 12 years prior. (Actually, it looks like a lot of the claims we were lead to believe about Saddam were overblown and the worst of his abuses and killings happened with US administration support. I can send you photos of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand.) And, if human rights abuses were a good reason for invasion, they we would have invaded Sudan or DR Congo, where millions have been killed in the last few years.

I wrote several impassioned letters to Mr. Edwards (Democratic Senator from NC who voted for this war) to inform him of what I saw and what I knew before this war started. He aided the starting of this war, and he enabled the Bush administration to do what they have done. I remember writing shortly after the war started "I HOPE YOU FIND THOSE WMDS TO JUSTIFY THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL WAR". I knew, of course, that they would not.

When Kerry was running for President, neither he nor Edwards condemned this war or called for it to end. Instead, they claimed they could do war better. I don't know how anyone can win elections by claiming to do crimes better, and I knew they would lose. It is the last time I will vote for Edwards for any federal office.


In this past week, we have seen the"liberated" (Iraqi police) pick up the "liberators" (British troops) because they were undercover and shot an Iraqi policeman. These arrested men were broken out of jail by British troops buy demolishing the jail. The MOD in Britain said they "knocked down a wall". That is a lie, and I know because I read and look at lots of photos from Iraq. The Iraqi think the car the British undercover troops were in were full of explosives, and they think that the Brits and Americans are behind a lot of the car bombings in Iraq. There is no clear evidence of explosives in the car. However, the British troops did not allow the Iraqis to examine the car after they took it away from the original police who made the arrests. The arresting police claim they saw explosives in the car. This incident certainly undermines any idea of "Iraqi sovereignty".

This past week, there are reports of $1 billion gone missing from the prior "transitional" Iraqi government.

This past week, we have had two reports of "terrorists" using children as human shields in two areas of Iraq: Baghdad and Mosul. In both cases, the DOD came out with the report that these "terrorists" were carrying children in their arms and the US military shot the "terrorists" and accidentally killed the children, because they did not see the children. So, we are supposed to believe that two identical incidents happen for the same reasons in two different parts of the country on the same day. And furthermore, we are supposed to believe that the US troops can see well enough to identify a "terrorist" by face recognition or because the "terrorist" is carrying a long distance weapon of some sort, but the US troops cannot see well enough to determine they had a child in their arms. I find that implausible.

Today, there is a report that US troops stormed the house of the deputy mayor of Dhuluiyah (a town in Iraq) and took him into the street and shot him in the head. The US troops also killed a couple of police in that town in the same manner. That sounds like an implausible report also, but I will not write it off just yet. I will wait to see what other stories or pictures or reports come out of Iraq to support or refute this statement. I certainly will not take the DOD as the last or final word on the subject.

I read about the Abu Ghraib torture (and many others) for a full 8 months before the photos came out. Torture is still going on, and most Americans would have never believed that our troops would engage in gay S& M pornography if those photos had not come out. The Pentagon is preventing the release of more photos and videos. Those videos reported contain film of young Iraqi boys being raped in front of their mothers. There is just no way you will ever convince me that the entire "chain of command" in these incidents is not culpable. And I will never be convinced they did not happen. Yes, some US troops are raping children in front of their mothers.

And it is getting clearer and clearer that the US forces over there do not know who is friend and who is foe.

And I would like to share a statement made on a website comment section that I regularly read. This is directed towards a guy who is a supporter of Bush and his war on Iraq, but keep in mind that it also apply to those who did not support the invasion, but support the continuation of hostilities. Every word of it rings true to me. I substituted his name for "Bush and war supporter" to make it easier to read.

Quote:"People like him are enablers of what happened to Falluja. They rationalize it. They make such things thinkable, and hence doable, and hence actually done. (Bush and war supporter) is parroting the civilized discourse of Wolfowitz, Feith, etc. That discourse led to dogs eating corpses, to the stench from the rotting flesh of hundreds of innocent victims who got in the way of the Administration's cockeyed objectives; and I'd like it if all those who argue like the (Bush and war supporter) had to have their unprotected noses thrust into those putrid mounds of the dead their arguments inevitably necessitate. That, rather than the arguments on our side, would be much more effective in ending such evil.

Yes, if every pro-Bush, pro-war American (Susan's note: that would include Kerry and Edwards and Clinton) had to personally clean up what they wrought in Falluja, and what they wrought in Mosul, Tel Affar, Ramadi, Samarra, Baghdad, al-Qaim, etc; if they had to pick up the body parts left from the wedding parties of Afghanistan and Iraq obliterated by American bombs, then we might get somewhere. But I've become cynical of civilized discourse with apologists for American empire. It's the deja vu, you see...Twenty years ago, people like the (war supporter) were defending the Reagan regime's Central America policy, its support for Jonas Savimbi, its support for Saddam Hussein....So yes, I think they need to be dragged through the city of Falluja to see what their rationalizations enabled. (NB--I said I would like to see them spat at, not torn limb from limb, and their ideological justifications and excuses treated with utter and thoroughly merited scorn by the mothers and brothers and grandfathers and children and husbands who had to gather up the fruits of the (Bush and war supporter's) myth in their bloodsoaked blankets and sheets.)

Those rationalizations are driven by an ideology---the ideology Bush supporters exemplifies so well--of American smugness and self-deluded assumptions of moral nobility that, I've become convinced after living for 17 years in the USA, is in fact morally intolerable in something quite akin to the way fascist ideology is intolerable, and should have been treated as such in the 1930s (but unfortunately wasn't).You see, it's not American neo-Nazi skinheads who presided over the killing fields of Vietnam, or Central America, or Iraq. No, it's the leaders who propagate mythic thinking--polite, civilized, decent, American small "c" conservatives, Republicans and Democrats alike, flag-waving soccer moms, teary-eyed veterans, small town editorialists, middle America. That's who enabled the illegal bombing of Cambodia, who discussed at the local diner whether napalm was justified or not (after a naked girl was shown running away from a napalm attack), and who are still defending the Iraq policy at the water cooler...

The (Bush and war supporters) of this country need to be much more ferociously exposed to the horrors of what their lazy, complacent thinking has wrought, and made to feel the full force of not just the hatred much of the world feels for America, but how well merited it is. (Bush and war supporter)-style thinking is a psychological defense mechanism---systematic denial---against the latter. As such, it needs to be ripped, not respected.The trouble is that (supporting Bush and war) enables the US to commit monstrosity after moral monstrosity with a 'good conscience', and despite appearances, it's immune (by design, like all psychological defense mechanisms) to rational persuasion.No, you have to drag these folks through the byways of Central America, Vietnam, Iraq, etc and thrust their faces in the gore, make them pick up the limbs and torsos of children, and subject them to the rage of their victims' parents.They need to be shocked into understanding the truth about these things, because the schoolbook/media version of reality systematically masks that truth, thus facilitating repetition after repetition of mass slaughter by the good ol' USA.

The myth that (Bush and war supporters) operates with needs to be smashed in much the same way that the Nazi myth needed to be smashed. Neither is amenable to rational argument, because the accepted categories in which polite discussion takes place simply serve to protect the myth, by suggesting that it deserves a hearing and should be accorded a modicum of intellectual respectability.

I don't believe it should.

You see, I've heard much smarter people than (Bush and war supporter) politely discuss and defend the myth--for example, inside the US embassy in San Salvador, 15 years ago. This after more than 10 years of funding for the murderous El Salvadoran military, a few months after they had murdered six Jesuit priests (and their housekeeper, and her daughter), and after tens of thousands of death-squad victims among the Salvadoran poor; but there they were--Ivy League, super-articulate professional defenders of the myth, and professional enablers of the slaughterhouse they effectively ruled over. ($4 billion for the likes of Colonel Elena Fuentes? School of the Americas? Oh yes, all very civilized, very polite, very rational).

I'm sorry, but I've no patience for that kind of civilized discussion. I came to the conclusion on my visits to Central America 15 years ago that it's like sitting down to tea with von Ribbentrop while the Wehrmacht marches into the Sudetenland, Austria, Poland and France. America has bombed or invaded Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq and supported death-squad activity in other places just in my lifetime. The death toll (that perpetrated by America, and by the German Nazis) in both cases is in the millions.

What's going on in Iraq is a large-scale atrocity committed by America. That is the essential truth that all the (Bush supporter's) witterings are designed to block out.You don't discuss that politely with those who would rationalize and defend it. You treat them with scorn and contempt, rather like LBJ and Nixon were treated by the anti-war movement. You win, not by according their arguments respect and a fair hearing, but by getting more and more people comfortable with ridiculing them, by a steady drumbeat of scorn and mockery, and by making them sense just how despised and despicable they've become."

The above was written on the comment section of Today In Iraq by someone named stunster.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Lockheed Martin advertises on CNN

Well, they used to, anyway. I have not watched in a while. But why would they advertise on CNN? How many CNN viewers are buying nuclear weapons or stealth attack fighters? The answer is: NO ONE! The advertising dollars are just a form of “kickback” to CNN. The advertisements are made to portray Lockheed Martin as *True Patriots Who Protect America*. (like heck they do!)

Lockheed Martin had $20.7 billion in contracts in 2004 with the Pentagon. Lockheed Martin made $2.16 million in campaign contributions in 2004 (guess who to?), which is another form of “kickback”. All of this is legal, of course. Lockheed Martin made the F-117 stealth attack fighters that did SHOCK AND AWE in March of 2003 in Baghdad. CNN did not show the results of those bombing runs, and of course, neither did the other “news” stations. One of those bombing runs, meant to get Saddam, instead killed an entire family with the exception on the baby. The baby girl was thrown clear of the bombed home and into a neighbor’s puddle, where she was found the next morning. She was injured, but she survived. I heard this story from Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell. They are Quakers who were living in Baghdad at the time. They visited the extended family and heard the story. The family that was bombed out of existence using Lockheed Martin’s jets had never spoken to Saddam. This story never made it into the corporate news media.

Lockheed Martin also makes Patriot missiles. They have contracts with the Department of Homeland Security. One of these is a $591 million Air Force contract to provide classified and unclassified information technology services to Defense Department users. (Hey, maybe for a couple of million more, they could monitor the Weather Channel for those Homeland Insecurity guys?)

A former lobbyist for Lockheed Martin is Philip Perry as General Counsul for the Department of Homeland Insecurity. Perry is married to one of Cheney’s daughters (that would be the one that is straight). The CEO of Lockheed Martin is Robert Stevens and the corporate headquarters is at 6801 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda MD, 20817.

Nice little system: The politicians make war, Lockheed Martin makes a bundle, they give kickbacks to the politicians in the form of campaign contributions (plus the politicians can buy stock and make a bundle themselves), and then Lockheed Martin buys advertising on CNN (and probably FAUX and MSNBC too). Now, we couldn’t have a good news story on the aftereffects of a bombing run and then follow up with a Patriotic Commercial with the same Lockheed Martin stealth attack fighters that dropped the bombs, could we? How would that look? So, CNN knows the rules and they don’t show those pictures of dead Iraqis from US bombs. And the politicians and their aides are adamant that we only use “smart bombs” and that we “really care” about civilian casualties and we try to minimize that. Of course, if that were true, then the military would collect and publish data to prove it.

But they don’t.

So, everyone gets rich at Lockheed Martin, the US Senate, the White House, and CNN. And how they can look in the mirror without throwing up is beyond me.

The information for this piece came from watching CNN and an article by Frida Berrigan in The Nonviolent Activist, a magazine of the War Resisters League.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

News Items of Note

Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday offered sympathy to the families of fallen soldiers who face 'irreplaceable' losses but insisted the Iraq war was worth fighting despite growing American unease. Cheney spoke in Springfield, Missouri, the day after supporters of anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan held a series of candlelight vigils around the country to call attention to her demands for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The vice president did not mention Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed in combat in Iraq, but in an address to veterans he spoke at length about the difficulties faced by families like Sheehan's. Cheney speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, June 13, 2005. (Chris Kleponis/Reuters)

So how come he didn’t publicly encourage his children to serve? None of them are in the military, just like their father wasn’t in the military. The entire family has no idea what serving in the armed forces is like, and no idea of what an ‘irreplaceable’ loss really is.

Barbara Bush just before the start of the war on Iraq:
“Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?’

This past April, the UN eliminated the job of its top investigator on human rights in Afghanistan after he criticized violations by US forces in that country. His name was Cherif Bassiouni. He criticized the US for detaining prisoners without trial and from barring almost all human rights monitors from visiting the prisons. He also noted that US troops were breaking into homes with no legal authority, engaging in torture. The UN eliminated this position under pressure from the USA.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush said.....

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely.

**And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.**

And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.

from July 14, 2003. Amazingly enough, the US press let him get away with saying this.

Three babies died of dehydration at a major landmark in a major US city. Weather was sunny and dry, there was no foreign or terrorist attack going on.... but I have heard rumors that some criminals were firing on the US National Guard. That never stopped them in Iraq or Afghanistan, did it?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Homeland Insecurity

Today is the fourth anniversary of the terrorists attack on NYC and DC. As soon as the second plane hit, I knew this country would go to war against somebody - not at all sure who that "somebody" was. Today, we know it is Osama Bin Laden and his al Qaeda gang. Yes, the very same folks who we supported, trained and armed in Afghanistan - when they were fighting the Russians. That was evil for the USA to support them, because what they were doing was evil. Bin Laden thinks that his group "bled" Russia to an early demise, and a lot of kooks here in the USA like to think that Reagan did it (single-handedly!). The fact is: Russia went broke. Today, the USA is going broke, but I digress.

This morning was a beautiful Sunday morning here in the mountains, and it was wonderful sitting in church by the open door and looking out at all the green, all the trees. But before heading there, I listened to the news on the radio.

First, we still have not found Bin Laden.

Second, the number of terrorists attacks by al Qaeda has hit record levels. It is way up over pre-9/11 levels. This would indicate that we are losing our "war on terror".

Third, some American fools think we are winning against al Qaeda because we have (mostly) chased them out of Afghanistan. These fools have never heard of a guerilla war, I guess.

Fourth, Senator Lieberman thinks that Chertoff has done a great job at Homeland Security. This is in spite of the fact that Chertoff knew NOTHING about thousands of Americans stuck at the New Orleans convention center with no food, no water, no sanitation, no shelter and no help. Amazingly enough, Chertoff did not know about this situation even though it had been on CNN/MSNBC/FAUX news for over a day. Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins are the ones in charge of oversight of Homeland Security, and they are CLUELESS. I am calling them tomorrow.

Fifth, the US Congress has just added the "nuclear option" to our pre-emptive war policy. That means that this government decided it is okay to drop nukes on countries that have WMDs. Apparently, not having found those imaginary WMDs in Iraq does not even give these fools some pause.

Sixth, Bush and the Pentagon goons will have their "Freedom Walk"today were they once again tie 9/11 to the war on Iraq. Hey, they never DIRECTLY make that statement, they just imply it in a million different ways. And a lot of American fools believe it. Also, this "Walk" has very tight security. On the public streets of America's capitol, you are not allowed in without a prior reservation.

All of this underlines a comment made in an article by Anthony Gregory: "Nothing is better for government growth than it's own failures to fulfill it's supposed duties."

And, true to form, Lieberman and Collins think we need to spend more money on Homeland Security.

I believe the fiasco shown us down in New Orleans underlines one thing: if something happens, we are on our own. If our local or state government cannot help us, we are out of luck. Our federal government, with all it's resources, will not be there to help us out. As Mr. Broussard said: "Nobody's coming." (By the way, the nursing home were his co-worker's mother drowned FIVE DAYS AFTER THE STORM HIT has been evacuated. The US government would not allow pictures by the press. I am so damn sick of the US press censoring things and protecting the criminals running this country into the ground - or swamp, as the case may be. There were 32 elderly dead people taken from that nursing home today. May they rest in peace. Imagine what they were thinking as they called and called and called and called for help - and no help came.)

Another lesson from today is: we never can know how things will turn out. And that things will change, and change again. This is, of course, part of the process of life..... but this morning, I just feel a great deal of dread for where this country is headed and for the damage that we may do to other countries and peoples on the way to where we are headed. People fret about the gas costing over $3 a gallon: I think this is laughable. If only our problems were so small!

I'm worried these Washington nutcakes will ruin our country and nuke the world in the process.

I'm worried 32 elderly people drowning in their nursing home after making phone calls for FOUR DAYS IN A ROW will end up look like nothing. Actually, when you think about it, it is nothing much compaired to what we have done in foreign countries, like Iraq.

Today at church, I spoke of Ali Nasir Jabur. I told his story and told how I am bringing 100 sheets of paper with me to the US Senate on 9/26/05 to give to each and every Senator. These papers have the story of Ali on them, to ask for help for Ali, and to let them know of his plight. May his family rest in peace, and I pray Ali is surviving in spite of his horrific losses.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Another Letter

This letter to the editor was written by Adrianna Stansbury, and it appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times recently.

“I’m almost 12 years old and I live in the Montford area of Asheville. I’m half Polish and I spent this summer in Poland with my grandma. When I sat down to watch the news with
her, I saw horrible pictures and footage of Iraq that made me want to turn away. A child crying for it’s mother and then being run over by a tank. People screeching as they look at
their bloody wounds. The footage was so direct that my 6-year-old sister wasn’t allowed to watch it. The news doesn’t show anything like that here. I guess we are all like 6-year-olds here. Why can’t Americans be shown what our nation is really doing?” Adrianna Stansbury, Asheville

This is one child who will never be fooled by CNN, MSNBC or FAUX news. And the reason that Americans cannot be shown what our nation is really doing is because they would immediately demand a stop to it all. And that would mean there are no more war
profits for the Cheney administration, and no control of the area and resources (oil) for the Cheney administration.

To the Iraqi people: some of us know the truth, in spite of our corporate media and their attempts to cheerlead the current Cheney administration - we know the truth. So does Adrianna.

And while there are too few of us to make a difference at this time, I have hope that one day the rest of America will wake up. Just like they are waking up to how well our federal government will assist and rescue us in case of a major disaster when local and state government agencies were overwhelmed.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Barbara Bush has her say

Barbara Bush:
Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from
New Orleans -

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

One has to wonder why someone like Barbara Bush (mother of the President) are even allowed in the United States.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The true face of the US Government

If you have high speed internet, watch this clip from Meet the Press of an interview with Mr. Broussard of Louisiana:

Friday, September 02, 2005

Quotes for our times

From one of the 7/7/05 bombers in London:
"Until we feel security, you will be our target. Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight."

I think we can assume that those bombings were a response to the war on Iraq, and mistreatment of Muslims -which we should stop anyway, just because it is illegal and immoral and unchristian. Never mind that it is stupid beyond belief.

Chertoff in New Orleans in September 2005:
"We will not tolerate lawlessness, or violence, or interference with the evacuation. I'm satisfied that we have ... more than enough forces there and on the way."

They, of course, have nowhere near the needed resources or planning available. Chertoff is in charge of Homeland Security, which means we have no security.

Bush in July 2003:
"There are some who, uh, feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco in September 2005:
"These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so, and I expect they will," she said.

This was when she ordered the 'shoot to kill' policy for looters, some of whom are desperate because they have been without food and water for days, some of whom are crazy from stress, and some of whom are drug addicts. Bring 'em on, indeed.

Bush in August 2005:
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Well, as a matter of fact, just about everybody who worked in New Orleans on disaster preparation did anticipate exact that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today--my own government."

How the US government handles humanitarian crisis

Overwhelming force to shock and awe had been available to military plans with ample reserve. But the world's sole superpower pleads powerlessness to protect civilians and national properties and treasures under its coercive military control. Despite total US control of Iraqi airspace, there is no around-the-clock airlift of humanitarian supplies as in the Berlin blockade, notwithstanding that the toppling of Saddam's statue in central Baghdad by a handful was eagerly compared with the fall of the Berlin Wall by the US media. Apparently, Arabs don't need food and water as much as Europeans do. The US military can summon hundred of cruise missiles and precision bombs to target Saddam on a few minutes' notice, yet this superpower that spends more on its military than all the world's other nations combined cannot provide law and order and basic sustenance for the people it has just conquered. This is a superpower only of destruction, and a paper tiger when it comes to humanitarian rescue.

The above was written in April, 2003. Most of it applies to how the US federal government has handled the disaster in New Orleans. It is no surprise to me that they have messed this up beyond belief, what really puzzles me is why Americans voted them back into office.

I have been so distressed today from the ongoing crisis in New Orleans and the ongoing crisis in Iraq. I feel like beating my head against a wall and scream HOW CAN AMERICANS BE SO STUPID?

The deaths in the stampede were mainly due to the very high level of stress and fear in the Iraqi people, caused by the optional war for imaginary weapons.

The deaths in New Orleans are caused by a hurricane and a generous helping of human stupidity. Stupid to build a city below sea level and then not keep the levees repaired. Stupid not to evacuate the people, which means going in there with a bus and getting people on the bus. Stupid not to plan for such an emergency by FEMA and local government and federal government. Stupid to send 20,000+ stressed out poor people to all live and sleep together at the Superdome or the Astrodome. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

In Havana, they evacuate all the people in a target area and take them, by bus, to schools in safe areas. In Havana, they are way smarter than the Americans.

God help the poor people in New Orleans and in Iraq.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bad Water Rising / Bad Wind Blowing

Here are some of my sources for information on Iraq:

US casualties and some news stories:

Daily blog of news stories from all over, along with a lively comment section that often catches errors in those news sources:

Another one:

Click on news, or editorials/opinions for various opinions:

List of news stories here, and I always look at the photo slideshow. The photos often tell something the corporate press is overlooking:

The photos are often hard to look at. Imagine how hard it would be to live it. Keep in mind that no news source is infallible, the good ones however do self-correct. Juan Cole is very knowledgeable on the Middle East (Informed Comment blog) but he often jumps to the wrong conclusion.... like saying the death of the innocent guy (shot by police on the London subway) was the fault of the terrorists. He said this the day he was killed, and a couple of weeks later, the truth started coming out - and that innocent death is the rest of police bungling, if not outright testosterone poisoning.

And I also like to read Iraqi bloggers. Sunshine is one of my favorite bloggers, and she is a 13-year-old girl in Mosul. I also like Faiza’s writings and I am happy to say she is a friend of mine. Faiza writes the blog “A Family in Baghdad.” She and her family have moved to Amman, because of the danger. She has two sons who write blogs also. There are about 150 Iraqi bloggers now, with many different opinions (the pro-war ones are much more respectful of Cindy Sheehan than the pro-war crowd in the USA). I cannot read all the Iraqi bloggers any more.

Here’s an example of a news story from Iraq:

More Univ. professors killed By Mohammed Salah
Azzaman, August 28, 2005

Unidentified gunmen have gunned down three university professors, all of them from the University of Mustansiriya in Baghdad. The incident, which took place at main entrance to the campus, takes the number of professors murdered since the U.S.-led invasion of the country to 58. “Unidentified people shot and killed Dr. Zaki al-Ani from the College of Arts and Dr. Hashem Abdulamir from the College of Education,” a university source told the newspaper on condition of anonymity. The third professor, Dr. Sameer Yalda of the College of Economics and Administration, was kidnapped as he left the university and his body was found dumped on a main street in Baghdad. The incentives behind the killings are now known. And the police have not yet solved the mystery behind any of the previous 55 murders of Iraqi university professors. As a result, Iraqi professionals are leaving in droves. Statistics by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research show that more professors have left the country since the U.S. invasion than under the reign of former leader Saddam Hussein.

Without a question, this murder of these three professors did happen, since it is widely reported. It is also widely reported that professors are leaving Iraq in significant numbers. So, it is safe to say that the conclusions reached in this article are correct. How very sad.

The tragedy unfolding in the southern USA is also very, very sad. I would like to recommend that Americans call their local blood bank and see if they need more blood. I have heard they are low, and this is something no other country can do for us.

I wish that we had such extensive, heart-wrenching coverage of the reality of what is going on Iraq, particularly with the US bombing. First, it would inspire Americans to open their wallets to help Iraqis (directly, not via the US government corruption programs) and they would insist on an end to war. It amazes me that there are Americans who feel we cannot leave Iraq because the Iraqis could be worse off. This invasion and occupation has devastated that country and by every available measure, the Iraqis are worse off now than they were three years ago.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we started using our heads to create and protect and conserve – instead of destroy?
Imagine if we really protected and respected the environment, and respected and protected each other…….