Sunday, September 25, 2005
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
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
I hope all goes well in DC and I hope we wake a few people up.
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 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
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
**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
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
“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
Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from
"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
Friday, September 02, 2005
"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."
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.