Saturday, July 30, 2005


Today I read that al Sadr has collected signatures from over 1 million Iraqi citizens saying they want the US forces to leave now. Some of those Iraqis actually left their thumbprint in blood. I guess this was to insure that someone down the road can verify them through their DNA, and thereby make sure that all the signatures are from separate individuals. No, actually, I think they did it to make a statement.

The majority of Iraqis want us out of there, no matter what the so-called "Truth Tour" says.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


From my op-ed:

“Sen. Levin pointed out that not meeting timetables in Iraq's political processes could have negative repercussions for U.S. troops. He suggested that consequences be lined up for the Iraqis for not getting things done on time.”

I did not put into my op-ed that Senator Collins stated the same ideas and sentiments. And, it looks like Rumsfeld took that to the Iraqis.

From a NY Times article today:
“Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld urged Iraqi political leaders today to settle their differences and agree on a new constitution quickly,”

“Mr. Rumsfeld laid out a remarkably blunt prescription for what Iraqi leaders must do in the coming weeks and months to ensure that a stable, secure and popularly elected government survives,”

“We don't want any delays," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "They're simply going to have to make the compromises necessary and get on with it." He added, "That's what politics is about."

Now, here’s were it gets interesting… or is that confusing? Rumsfeld is also apposed to any FOREIGN interference in Iraq! Yes, he truly feels that way, without noticing that the US government is directly interfering in Iraq! Well, maybe he considers Iraq to be the 51st state, I don’t know. But here is what he said:

From the NY Times article:
(Iraqi politicians are) ….”to exert more influence with Syria and Iran to force them to end support for the insurgency here.”

and from The Telegraph (UK):
"Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, has urged Iraqi leaders to resist interference by the country's neighbours Iran and Syria. Washington has accused Syria of allowing militants to enter Iraq, and says Iran is trying to gain political influence in Baghdad."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

US Congress Dog and Pony Show

The following is my op-ed published in the local paper last week. They picked the title.

Congress holds dog and pony shows on Iraq war while Americans keep dying
July 20, 2005

Last month, while in Washington, D.C., I sat through a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting. It struck me as a dog and pony show, with pointless political posturing by nearly all the senators. It seemed they were mainly concerned with declining public support for the ongoing war in Iraq and what impact that might have on their future reelection prospects. There was considerably less concern expressed for the U.S. troops in Iraq, and I heard no concern whatsoever expressed about the welfare of the Iraqi people.

In front of the senators were Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gens. George Casey, John Abizaid and Richard Myers. Casey said that the insurgents in Iraq would be defeated when they see the political process as more viable. Several of the generals did express that they thought the insurgency was getting stronger, but that we are making progress and victory is certain. They commented on how pulling out of Iraq would plunge the country into chaos. From my perspective, chaos seems to be the ongoing state of Iraq since 2003.

Sen. Levin pointed out that not meeting timetables in Iraq's political processes could have negative repercussions for U.S. troops. He suggested that consequences be lined up for the Iraqis for not getting things done on time. I hope those Iraqis realize that they not only have to "do" democracy the way the senator wants, they had better be prompt about it too.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., ripped into Rumsfeld, reminding him of his many mistakes. This really struck me as useless, although it had some entertainment value. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., mostly followed Kennedy's example and sharply criticized Rumsfeld.

I do appreciate Byrd saying that not enough questions were asked before the war, and that Americans have not heard enough of the truth.

One of the generals claimed that terrorists want chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and that they will not hesitate to use them against us. I think it is odd that we know so much about the terrorists, except who they are, where they are, what they have planned, when they will attack, how they will attack and why they are interested in killing us. This general also stated that our enemies want people to believe that we don't respect Iraqis and that we are there to steal their resources. I would say that showing a total lack of concern for the suffering we've caused them does show disrespect. And I do not believe we are there to bring "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqi people any more than we are there to secure the invisible weapons of mass destruction.

Sen. McCain asked about how many Iraqi troops were ready, without anyone mentioning that a good number of the Iraqi troops are actually insurgents. He went on to say that the generals and Rumsfeld gave him hope and confidence. So, starting an optional war for bogus reasons and then totally bungling the aftermath inspires hope and confidence. Well, I guess you go to war with the politicians you have.

The military guys presented data on how they started paying Iraqis for "tips" this past April to catch the insurgents and terrorists, causing the number of tips to go up significantly. The number of attacks has also gone up significantly. They did not comment on (nor were they asked) how many of these tips were actually helpful. The day after this meeting, I read an Iraqi blogger's report that people are given money for tips even if the tips are useless.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole commented on the "Terrorism in the Hands of Justice" TV program in Iraq. This program shows men confessing to terrorist acts after they have clearly been beaten. There is no evidence, no judge, no jury and no trial, just tortured confessions, which are probably bogus. Dole also commented on the reconstruction in Iraq and how the good news isn't getting out. (And here's why, Sen. Dole: because the death rate keeps going up and up and up).

There were no calls to withdraw from Iraq, nor where there calls to increase U.S. troop numbers. This Senate dog and pony show was a sequel to the "Everyone but ME is responsible for this mess" positioning which followed the "How could we know that he got rid of the weapons of mass destruction?" posturing, which came after the "Let's vote for optional war! It's patriotic!" game.

Meanwhile, on the day of this dog and pony show, eight U.S. troops were killed. More than 700 Iraqi civilians, army and police were killed in the month of June alone, and life in most of Iraq has been turned into a living hell. It seems to me that the senators have their priorities, and a lot of their information, wrong.

Susan Oehler has lived in Asheville for the past eight years. She is an audiologist with more than 22 years experience. She is also a member of the WNC Peace Coalition.

And the link to the op-ed:

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Khalid is free!

I have been so worried about Khalid and his mother, Faiza. I just read that Khalid is now out of jail on his brother's blog Raed in the Middle.

I am so grateful. The Jarrars are good people who do not believe in violence and do not support lies - no matter who tells them.

I am so happy. I hope Khalid and Faiza get back to Amman soon and blog all about their experiences.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Today, the Iraqi people stood in silence in remembrance of the victims of last week's car bombs. Today, they stood in silence to take a stand against terrorists, against violence.

Today, I suspect some London punks set out to scare the local population. They succeeded.

Today, I made copies of Helena's excellent handout (adapted for our use) of the danger of nuclear bombs. I can't help thinking the real danger though, far and away, is the nuclear materials and nuclear waste being transported on our highways. All it would take is a truck accident to have a nuclear disaster. Today, people are worried about terrorists (the non-state kind) getting their hands on a nuclear bomb. I would say that is unlikely. Think truck accidents.

Today, NPR went on and on about baseball and steroids. It seems they are going down the same road as the network and cable TV "news" - which is, telling us stories about junk that is not significant and will not impact on our lives. Filling our heads with garbage, while we ignore the important issues.

I worship in silence, and believe that the wisdom of the world and it's strength, comes from silence. I think the word of God comes through the silence, and all each of us needs to do is listen for it. Today, I stood in silence with the Iraqi people, and held them in the light.

Today, I wait in hopeful silence for news about Khalid and his mother, Faiza.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Indeed, what difference does it make?

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy? Gandhi

And Mr. Aaron Brown: Please go to Iraq and show them how to make lemonade out of the bombs we sent them.

And somebody explain to idiots at CNN that you can't deliver democracy to people via bullets and bombs before they help start another war.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Emailing with Martha

This is an email exchange between me and Martha Zoller, of the Truth Tour to Iraq.

I wish you would talk to ordinary Iraqis and find out what they think, and how their life is going. Sticking to the Green Zone leaves a very incomplete picture.

We will do that but it's one step at a time. We did talk to ordinary Iraqis and overwhelmingly they want the soldiers to stay and with the bombings being targeted on civilians--it is driving them to the coalition even more strongly. It is a start, I wouldn't expect to get the whole picture in a week, but you have to start somewhere. The goal of the trip was to talk to soldiers. The next trip will be to go to outlying areas and then back to the cities. One step at a time. Thanks for taking the time to write. Martha

First you said you will do that (talk to ordinary Iraqis) then you said you did do that??? ..... I'm confused. thanks.

We will do more of that is what I meant-- A little jet lagged, please forgive me--we plugged a three week trip into 4 days. Martha

Oh, I wish you could have stayed longer. thanks.

So, she spent 4 days in the Green Zone, the goal was to talk to soldiers, and she intends to talk to ordinary Iraqis more next time. In spite of those limitations, she makes the claim that ordinary Iraqis (who are in the Green Zone, and who, I would suppose, speak English) want US troops to stay and the bombings targeting the civilians are driving them to the coalition even more strongly.

Well, here's her contact information, in case anyone's interested:

> MARTHA HAS A NEW DIRECT LINE-- 770 531 6504> > Reply to this email via or > These are my only two email addresses.> > You can listen to The Martha Zoller Show streaming live on> or and on> > > Martha> WDUN AM 550's> The Martha Zoller Show> Fox 5 Atlanta's The Georgia Gang> 770 532 9921> 1102 Thompson Bridge Road> Gainesville, GA 30501>

I did maintain a polite tone with her (and maybe I will get some more responses from her?!) but I think if I listened to her show, I'd probably lose it. And now you know that email to me is fair game!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Please come to Washington, DC

An adaption on the lyrics of a song called "Chicago" written many years ago by Graham Nash.

"So your brother's bound and gagged
And they've chained him to a chair
Won't you please come to the Senate just to sing
In a land that's known as Freedom
How can such a thing be fair?
Won't you please come to Washington for the help that we can bring

We can change the world
Rearrange the world
It's dying - to get better
Politicians get yourselves lost
We are sick of you here

Won't you please come to Washington for a ride
Don't ask them to help you'Cause they'll turn a deaf ear
Won't you please come to Washington or else join the other side

We can change the world
Rearrange the world
It's dying - if you believe in justice
It's dying - and if you believe in freedom
It's dying - let a man live his own life
It's dying - wars and occupations
Who needs them, open up the door

Somehow Iraqis must be free
I hope the day comes soon
Won't you please come to Washington, show your face
From the bottom of the ocean
To the mountains of the moon
Won't you please come to Washington, no one else can take your place

We can change the world............

Well, what we really need to change is in Washington DC. United for Peace and Justice is having a march and rally on September 24, 2005. This will be followed by a day of interfaith services and training for lobbying. And this will be followed by a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. We need millions to show up.

More information at:

Please come to Washington, no one else can take your place.

Interior Minister Soulagh

Faiza is in Baghdad (reportedly) and she said she will go and talk with the Interior Minister about Khalid's detention. Today, I read this on the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

07/16/05 M&C: Iraq foils assassination attempt
An independent Iraqi newspaper Saturday said Iraq`s Interior Minister Bayan Soulagh escaped an assassination attempt. The attacker, dressed in an Iraqi police uniform, had sneaked into the Convention Center, located in the high security Green Zone.

What a horrible, horrible mess the Bush administration has created.

Faiza goes to Baghdad

Faiza has gone to Baghdad to try to talk to the Interior Minister about Khalid's being in the jail of the secret police (under the CIA, apparently). She asks for our prayers.

I think this is going to turn out okay, once the authorities (is that what they are? I don't know.) figure out that Khalid and his family is against all violence.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Silence speaks volumes and Khalid is detained

Today, the British people observed a couple of minutes of silence in memory of the victims of last weeks' terrorist bombings. I am very impressed that the whole country took part in this display of solidarity in the face of fear and violence. It shows amazing strength. In the Quaker faith, the silence of the meeting is where we connect with the voice and messages of God. May they find comfort in their faith. Their silence spoke volumes about faith and goodness.

And today, I got the awful news that Khalid Jarrar has gone missing. His brother reports that he was detained by the Mukhabarat, a secret service agency run in Iraq by the CIA. Per Raed Jarrar, this was the best outcome they could have hoped for: other alternatives were much more gruesome. I cannot imagine what they detained Khalid for, but Raed says it has to do with his writings or his blog. I met up with Khalid's mother last month in Washington, DC. Her blog is called "A Family in Baghdad". Most of the family is now in Amman, since Baghdad is so dangerous. Khalid went back to Baghdad because the family home was broken into - and his hard drive on his computer stolen. It looks like the Mukhabarat took it.

I have not heard much on the Mukhabarat, but I found this article today:

Amidst Doubts, CIA Hangs on to Control of Iraqi Intelligence Service By Hannah Allam and Warren P. Strobel Knight Ridder May 8, 2005 The CIA has so far refused to hand over control of Iraq's intelligence service to the newly elected Iraqi government in a turf war that exposes serious doubts the Bush administration has over the ability of Iraqi leaders to fight the insurgency and worries about the new government's close ties to Iran. The director of Iraq's secret police, a general who took part in a failed coup attempt against Saddam Hussein, was handpicked and funded by the U.S. government, and he still reports directly to the CIA, Iraqi politicians and intelligence officials in Baghdad said last week. Immediately after the elections in January, several Iraqi officials said, U.S. forces stashed the sensitive national intelligence archives of the past year inside American headquarters in Baghdad in order to keep them off-limits to the new government.

The full article is here was on the Iraq Coalition Casualties page.
I am hopeful that this will turn out okay, but I cannot imagine what the CIA is doing with Khalid or his computer or his blog. I sure hope they are reading my blog... and all my emails. Maybe they will learn something.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Another "key operative" of Zarqawi caught!

He sure does have a lot of "aides" and "operatives" in his staff.

And one has to wonder when our US media is going to learn anything. Someone in the Canadian press got it though: Haroon Siddiqui wrote an article for the Toronto Star titled "Bush's war on terror is a colossal failure". Not only is it (will be proved to be) a failure, it is highly immoral, illegal and oh-so-breathtakingly-stupid.

I heard a great song today by Pete Seeger titled "garbage". Here's one verse:

"Getting home and taking off his shoes he settles with the evening news
While the kids do homework with the TV in one ear
While Superman for thousandth's time sell talking dolls and conquers crime
(They) dutifully learn the date of birth of Paul Revere
In the paper there's a piece about the mayor's middle name
(And) he gets it done in time to watch the all-star bingo game

Oh, Garbage
We're filling up our minds with garbage
What will we do when there's nothing left to read
And there's nothing left to need, there's nothing left to watch, there's nothing left to touch, there's nothing left to walk upon and nothing left to ponder on, nothing left to see and nothing left to be - but garbage"

Well, that about sums up the state of corporate TV news in the USA.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Summertime Rain and Christine Kane

Tonight, I decided to take a break from work and activism and go see Christine Kane in concert. I was hoping she would sing "I'm a Southern Girl Now" but she didn't. She is terrific to listen to, and she is a great performer. She also writes great stuff, and the lyrics to the last song she sang is printed below. She addressed this song to a local environmental group, after someone said to her that they wonder what good they are doing with their activism. They are not seeing results. Of course, those of us in the Peace Movement feel the same way a good deal of the time.

When we left, the heavens opened up and lots of rain (from Hurricane Dennis) came down. Some beautiful lightening in the distance. Big puddles everywhere, the air smelling sweet and soft, and the rain and air so warm that it does not matter that one gets all wet. The wonderful gift of rain and summertime warmth was with me tonight. I love a rainy night.

Tonight, I passed up going to a town hall meeting with US Representative Charles Taylor (R- NC). It turns out I missed something. I just heard that he said "we have got to go and fight for the oil" and they got it on video! I wish I had taken my Iraqi Civilian Casualties display boards down there and then confronted him with the "fight for oil" in the face of the deaths of so many innocents. I am hoping they can get this video clip on the web soon. I will post a link if they can.

The last song Christine Kane did was called "The Good You Do" and here are the lyrics:

You say that in times like these
You're driven down to your knees
Looking around grieving what peace there was
You promised yourself you would
Work for a world of good
Look at you now, wondering what good it does

No lost hope, no violent point of view
Can erase all of the good you do

There's nothing as dark as night
But nothing so strong as light
Here is the choice: to let it burn out or bright
In a world where the fear and force
Have buried the silent source
Can you deny the need for a light like yours?

No fast pace, no jaded attitude
Can erase all of the good you do

If someone has left his wrath
On everything in his path
Taking the wealth and leaving his trash behind
Will you be peace or pride?
Can you at last decide?
There's no one to fight - we are the same inside
So go home and get some rest
There's many more miles and tests
All about love - what if it comes to be all that we have left?

No dark place, no debt, and no abuse
Can erase all of the good you do

(You can look Christine Kane up on the web and listen to her songs. Let's hope all the work we do has a great deal of good coming from them and brings good into our hearts and lives. Thank you Christine for such a lovely song. The Quakers believe there is the light of God in all people, and that we can connect more deeply with God by meeting for silent worship. In silence, we can hear the essence of God's light speak to us in our lives and in the world. We regularly strive to stay connected to the silent source of God. Do not let fear and violence bury your "silent source".)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bombs on Thursday

On Thursday, there were 21 people killed in Iraq from mortars, bombs, bullets. This is from Iraq Coalition Casualties site, and I doubt it is a complete listing of all press articles about Iraq. I doubt that all the violence in Iraq makes it into the press.

And on Thursday, over 50 people were killed by bombs in London's subway and a bus.

Last week, we know that US bombs killed 17 civilians in Afghanistan.

I would say we are not winning our *war* on terror here. I would say it is getting worse. Violence begets violence, as always. It does seem to me that if war solved problems, we would have solved a few by now. Instead, it seems war leads to severe problems for civilians and lays the conditions for the next war.

Also, when I woke up on Thursday, I thought I heard NPR say that there were six bombings in London. Today I learned there were four bombs that went off and two found unexploded. This has struck me as very odd. Why were they reporting six bombs having gone off, when it was only four? How long did it take to find the unexploded bombs? Who found them? I sure hope they find whoever did this horrible crime.

And I hope they find out who had done all the bombings in Iraq (well, we know who dropped the air bombs already) and bring them to justice.

My heart goes out to all the innocent victims of violence.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Judith Miller goes to jail for the wrong reasons!

Time for a party. Judith Miller went to jail for the wrong reasons, so to celebrate that, I am having a party on Saturday, July 9, at 6 PM. We can all sit around and talk about why Judith Miller should have been sent to jail instead of why she was sent to jail. I hope being in jail gives her time to think about all the people who are suffering in Iraq because of her war-mongering, but I doubt she will give it any thought.

Current History of Iraq

Below is a link to a website that has a list of the acts of violence in Iraq for the last two years (since Mr. Bush said "Bring 'em on!") Please take a look at it:

Friday, July 01, 2005

Visiting Senator's offices again

Today, I joined up with a women named Laura, who I met at the UFPJ meeting. She was from Texas, so we were going to go and visit her Senators, and stop in at Senator Reid's office and Senator Lautenberg's office. We went into the Russell Senate Office Building, and we were stopped because of my display boards. The officer there said we had to go to Special Events and get a special permit to get in. Since it was lunch time, and we had no appointments to talk to any Senators, I felt that this was going nowhere.

Odd, since I got in okay just two days before. Today, they were telling me that this was a protest. I tried to tell them it was just information. I did have on a tee shirt that said "Democracy is best taught by example, not by war" and I guess that could be considered a protest shirt.

I am now in Front Royal at a cafe. I am headed to the mountains and back to sweet home Asheville.

Meeting with UFPJ

Today, United for Peace with Justice had an organizational meeting. I have to admit I went brain-dead after five hours of the meeting, but it was very exciting to see and meet and talk to so many people who are involved in the peace movement here in the USA. There were four people from North Carolina, so that was really cool. One was a women that none of us knew, but the other three women did know each other from prior political/peace work.

There were 34 people present at this meeting, but a few more came in later. Some of the groups represented were PDA, DowningStreetMemo, Tax Resistors, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Code Pink, 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Historians against the War, WNC Peace Coalition, and probably a few more that I missed. There was talk about stopping the funding for the war, the Out of Iraq Caucus, the Abercreombie-Jones bill, the Iraq Policy Working Group (by EPIC, funded by FCNL and others), the Downing Street Memo, and talk about legislative goals. There was also talk on opening an office for UFPJ in the DC area.

Bill Goold came and spoke to the group and also stayed to listen to what we were talking about and what goals and plans we were making. Bill is working with the Progressive Caucus, and I think he is a lobbyist for them, but I'm not totally clear on that.

There was a lot of talk on the upcoming events in September to be held here in DC. This is a huge undertaking, and a lot of logistics work will have to be done by the DC folks to make this happen. There will be a march on Washington on September 24th to end the war on Iraq. There will be an interfaith service and grassroots training on September 25th for all the peace activists. And there will be a day of visiting congress members on September 26th to educate them about war and peace issues. That last one is on a Monday, so this will be a full weekend. There is more information at

Some other goals proposed by this group:
*get all eight Downing Street Memos out to legislative aids
*establish a working relationship with the Out Of Iraq Caucus
*identify which congressional districts to target for lobbying and education
*organize legislation alerts network
*develop material for handouts on the congressional visits on Sept 26th.

The above is just a brief summary, but more information will be forthcoming. I hope you will consider going to DC in September to support this effort.