Thursday, August 31, 2006

Jet Blue and tee shirts

Raed tells his story about his shirt and not being allowed on the airplane HERE, but the short version is that he had on a shirt that said “We Will Not Be Silenced” in English and Arabic and JetBlue would not allow him on the plane without covering up the shirt, which he did.

So, I decided to write to JetBlue and let them know what I thought of their behavior and left this comment on their website:

“I think it is disgusting that you make people take off (or cover up) a tee shirt because it has Arabic writing on it! How UN-AMERICAN to not support freedom of expression! Shame on you!”

A customer service representative answered with this email:

“Thank you for giving us an opportunity to address the situation reported on and other sites. We are working with the TSA to fully understand the situation, and we have not concluded our fact-finding yet.

Our fundamental responsibility as an airline is to provide safe and secure travel for all of our customers. This requires us to be sensitive to the concerns of all of our customers, while also upholding the rights of the individual. We value diversity, among our customers as well as our crewmembers. We take our responsibility seriously, and should there be an opportunity to improve our effectiveness, we will take the appropriate action.”

I answered them again with this email:

“I am a friend of the mother of this young man who JetBlue (or TSA) made cover up his tee shirt. His mother is a wonderful person who is Iraqi, and her son is also Iraqi. What a shame to send the message that America is NOT about freedom of expression to the same people who fled Iraq because of the American invasion there actually placed them in danger (his mother is living in Jordan now). I am just sickened at where this country seems to be headed. I have always been sickened by the racism in this country, which is what is ACTUALLY behind this event. You are not providing for safe and secure travel when you suppress freedom of expression and do it because of racism. A tee shirt can hurt no one, and if I get the chance, I will purchase the same tee shirt. What I won't do is fly on a plane while the TSA and airlines are acting like such jerks.”

The customer service representative thanked me for sharing my concerns and interest in this matter and said they will issue an update when that is available. At least they are making an effort to understand what they did, or maybe they just want it to look that way. This story was on CNN and Yahoo News (Associated Press story). Raed was also on Democracy Now telling his story, and I hear he is driving cross-country to DC to go to Camp Democracy. And, since I will be at Camp Democracy next week, I probably will have the chance to meet Raed. And maybe buy a tee shirt that says I won’t be silenced.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Let's play the "Who said that?" game

I made three substitutions in the following statement, and only for geographical locations:

“We declared war on Iraq out of our sincere desire to ensure America’s self-preservation and the stabilization of the Middle East, it being from our thoughts either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.”

So, in the original statement, what was….



Middle East?????

Answers in a few days………..

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Morality in Iraq, Then and Now – in the Washington Post on August 27, 2006

In Hoagland’s opinion piece “Morality in Iraq, Then and Now” he simultaneously makes the claim that the US officials engaged in a “cover-up of Hussein’s Anfal campaign” and that the “Washington [Reagan-Bush administration] even made sure Iraq [Saddam’s government] was invited to a prestigious international conference on chemical weapons in 1988.

So, which is it? Did they engage in a cover-up or engage in promotion of Saddam’s genocide? I think the fact that US made gun ships were used in the Anfal campaign is a big clue. Plus, the solitary veto from the UN Security Council condemning Saddam for these actions – which came from the United States - might give us a clue as to what was really happening at the time.

Interestingly, Hoagland thinks that the current US war in Iraq is coming perilously close to being immoral. Imagine, the same group of people who invite Saddam’s government to a chemical weapons convention and vetoed a UN resolution condemning Saddam for his chemical attacks on the Kurds MIGHT be coming close to being immoral! Who would have thunk!

We have a Secretary of Defense who claimed, “stuff happens” when Iraqi civil society was totally falling apart and chaos was the law of the land. We had General Franks who said “we don’t do body counts” when Iraqi civilians were dying by the thousands.

And Hoagland thinks that maybe, possibly, they might be close to being immoral. I would say Hoagland has a broader definition of “immoral” than most people I know, including myself. It was abundantly clear to me before the first US troops entered Iraq that these Washington folks did not care what happened to Iraqi people now or then. I would think the comments by Rumsfeld and Franks and the lack of response from Bush would have made that clear to even the slowest among us.

I find it hard to imagine any “military occupation” against a nation that did not attack or even threaten us would ever change things for the better, but Mr. Hoagland seems to think such a thing is possible. Here’s hoping that such “military intervention” (better know to most of us as WAR) comes to improve Mr. Hoagland and the Washington Post someday soon. After all, we can’t thank our corporate media enough for the mess we are currently in, so it is the least our possibly immoral government can do for them.

Friday, August 25, 2006

More letters to the media

To ABC’s Night Line in September 2004:

Oh, Ted just made a funny! He asked, “How do we know what is going on in Iraq?”

Well, that's easy, Ted, .... go read the FOREIGN press. Maybe they could do a remedial course in journalism too.... oh, and congratulations on your propaganda award, er, I mean, your embedded award. WELL DONE! You deserve a pat on your friendly little lapdog head! Yes, our "watchdog" US media has shown the tenacity, veracity and audacity of Scooby Doo! No reason to start reporting on those who are on the receiving end of our bombs and bullets!!! No sir!!!! We can't have that, now can we? How will you win your propaganda awards???

To MSNBC in November 2004:

It has been brought to my attention that you had someone refer to the Palestian people as "filthy animals" on the Imus show on MSNBC. I just want you to know that I think such language is irresponsible, immature, prejudiced, and pure evil. It is also likly to inflame people and inspire them to think of violence as a response. Please clean up your act. All people deserve respect. Even you.

Their response:

Thank you for expressing your concerns about the comments made on "Imus in the Morning." "Imus" is produced by WFAN radio and is simulcast by MSNBC. The views expressed on the program are not those of MSNBC. Having said that, it was unfortunate that these remarks were telecast on MSNBC. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by these remarks.

(Are they ever responsible for anything? – dancewater)

Letter to Night Line in December 2004:

I am of the opinion that you should show all of war, good and bad. For example, you should have shown a shot of the man who was injured/killed in the scene you did show. And close ups of the dead people in the street of Fallujah. We saw all the horror of 9/11, didn't we? I remember bodies falling from the towers, films of the black clouds of smoke, scenes of injured and grieving people.

And I don't feel this was because we are an open society, and therefore should do this, although that is a decent argument. We need to do this to stop war. It is not workable as a long-term solution anymore. If the general American public was fully aware of what happened in Afghanistan, then the support of the Iraq war would have been less than the 70% it was at the start of this war.

We need to do this so the American public will know what the Arab public and the rest of the world knows. There is a huge disconnect between American knowledge and the knowledge of the rest of the world. How can we ever live in peace if we don't even have access to the same set of general facts?

We need to know what war is fully like, because we have the capacity (as humans) to make war that can wipe us off the planet. Hard to imagine that will happen, but who's to say what the tipping point is? Has there ever been weapons invented that were not used, no matter how horrible? Do you want your grandchildren to be safe?

I believe war is a racket: promoted by the rich (who get richer) and fought by the poor (who get dead). And today, more and more innocents are caught in the middle.

In Iraq, Americans need to see what they are doing. Today, I heard that Harrison Ford is going to star in a movie about "taking" Fallujah. Can you imagine how that will go over in the Arab world? A sanitized, heroic movie about Fallujah with no mention of civilian casualties or civilian suffering. This is ignorant, and it is evil.

We need to know fully what our government is doing and how that is perceived in the world. We need to know this so that we know "why they hate us"... and what we can do about it.

So, as far as "you don't know the half of it"....well, the press, particularly the TV press, needs to show ALL of it. If you fail to do so (and you have- you slightly less than the rest of the TV press) then you are promoting war and injustice and prejudice and ignorance in the world. Is that the kind of world you want for your grandchildren?

As for Iraq: we tried to warn you. WE would be the antiwar protestors. We knew that the US government, all on it's own, would totally fuck things up there. We knew that the Iraqi people, given a fair chance, would vote us out of their country... and failing that, use violence to get us out. Since the current US government has no intention of leaving, things will continue to get worse and worse there. The election will change nothing.

And as to the "conventional wisdom" that we cannot just up and leave, well, that is pure nonsense. The very same people who believed Powell, who thought Saddam had WMDs, who thought Saddam had something to do with al Qaeda, who thought Saddam was a threat to the USA, who thought we would be welcomed as liberators (ok, they were right about that in some small degree for a limited time).... they are the very same people who say we cannot just up and leave, because of the unrest that will be unleashed. Hey, they been wrong for so long and so often, why would they have any credibility today? They don't, trust me.

Yes, unrest will be unleashed, and the current civil war will turn into a regional war.... it will anyway (another thing WE TRIED TO TELL YOU). And the longer it takes to get the US out of there, the worse it will be. And the longer the US is in the area, the more people will be killed, simply because we have such superior firepower (alas, we do not have superior minds).

Yes, we are in deep. WE TRIED TO WARN YOU!!! But, the mainstream press and the powers in DC failed to listen. Just as you will surely fail to listen and act on the words I write here.


Letter to News Night (CNN) in April 2005:

"Were not the result of simple bad luck, or a once-in-a-lifetime 'perfect storm,' as some would have it. Rather, they were the product of poor intelligence collection, an analytical process that was driven by assumptions and inferences rather than data, inadequate validation and vetting of dubious intelligence sources, and numerous other breakdowns in the various processes that Intelligence Community professionals collectively describe as intelligence 'tradecraft.' In many ways, the Intelligence Community simply did not do the job that it exists to do."

So, they were all "dead wrong". I figured it out (well before the war started) that there were no nuclear WMDs in Iraq, and if they had any biological or chemical weapons, they could not hurt the USA. How did I do it? How am I so much more brilliant than our intelligence agencies and nearly all of US press and US Congress?

I used: common sense, an AOL internet connection and a six year old notebook computer. Oh, and I had cable TV. That was useless for keeping me informed however.

To News Night (CNN) in April 2005:

Remember when I first emailed you about Iraqi civilian casualties? Still unreported, for the most part, in our news. And how in June 2003, you claimed that people who thought WMDs were found in Iraq didn't read the newspapers or follow the news? Here it is almost two years later, and 56% of our fellow Americans think WMDs were found in Iraq. And I'll bet they believe that nonsense about bringing "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqi people. We are bringing the Iraqis the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death.

To MSNBC in April 2005:

I just watched your video on Fallujah. That was worthless.

To Fox News in April 2005:

Mr. Gibson,

There is no evidence to support your claim that Saddam was behind the Oklahoma City bombing. And, as to your statement: "Well, for one thing, I submit George W. Bush didn't ignore it after September 11, 2001. He realized then that Iraq was behind a lot of the attacks on the U.S. and it was time for it to stop." What on earth are you referring to here?

To ABC News in April 2005:

There was a story today called "Rare Look Inside Baghdad Emergency Room". This should not be rare, it should be a common, almost daily report of what is happening in the country that America is voluntarily occupying right now. Also, there should be daily questions asked of our "elected" and selected officials of "WHY ARE WE THERE?" and "HOW ARE WE IMPROVING THE SITUATION?".

Always keep in mind this fact: as long as Iraq is unstable, the US authorities can argue to keep our troops there - and the sheeple who watch TV for information will go along with it. That means that Halliburton and Bectel and god-knows-who-else can sit on a big pile of oil while OPEC produces more and more and the people in the world pay more and more for the oil. A great money making scheme, no? Think about it.

To Aaron Brown at CNN in April 2005:

Yes, I know you discount anyone ‘who wasn’t there’ but the real problem is that you also discount or ignore those WHO WERE THERE, OR WHO ARE THERE. Like, for example, Ritter. You have him on your "news" show and talk about his irrelevant arrest record instead of Iraq. Have you had Dahr Jamail on your show? He has been in Iraq for quite awhile, and is now in the USA. Funny how you discount a whole bunch of people who criticize you because "they weren't there" and purposefully ignore those "who were there".

And people who beat their kids justify it on the basis of "they needed it". You can justify any thing in the end. I'm sure your mother taught you better. (Actually, I’m not so sure.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This is Baghdad

Today, I bought a CD by Bruce Cockburn called “Life Short Call Now” and I particularly liked the song “This is Baghdad”. Lyrics are below.

Everything's broken in the birthplace of law
As Generation Two tries on his tragic flaw
America's might under desert sun
I saw her frightened eyes behind the muzzle of her gun

Uranium dust and the smell of decay
Sewage in the street where the kids run and play
Not enough morphine and not enough gauze
Firefight in darkness like snapping of jaws

This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad

You couldn't see the blast-the morning was bright-
But some radiant energy flared up into the light
Like the sky throwing its hands up in a horrified dismay
Or the souls of the dead as they sped on their way

Carbombed and carjacked and kidnapped and shot
How do you like it, this freedom we brought
We packed all the ordnance but the thing we forgot
Was a plan in case it didn't turn out quite like we thought

This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad
This is Baghdad

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A bad omen?

PHOTO: The 'corpse flower,' also called arum titan, after it blossomed for the first time since 1939 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, Friday Aug. 11, 2006. The plant's nickname comes because of a 'horrible' odor it releases for about eight hours after blooming into a giant flower 60 inches high and 44 inches wide. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

I just think this is a bad omen. Last time it bloomed was in 1939. Today, I called all three offices of Senator McCain's in Arizona. I left the message that I saw McCain on Meet the Press, and if he is so keen on killing people, could he please keep it in the family?

This flower gives me the creeps.

More letters I have written

To Senator Biden in June 2005:

Senator Biden:

Closing down Guantanamo is not enough. The US Government (starting with Bush) has to declare that NO torture will be allowed, the Geneva Convention will be followed exactly, and to prove we mean it, the US must join the ICC. Then maybe the ones who are responsible for the torture (from policy to implementation) will be punished. And a good deal of the repubs are evil, DeLay does belong in jail, and I think you owe Dean an apology.

Letter to the Washington Post in June 2005:

It was six paragraphs into the article titled "Memo: US Lacked Full Postwar Iraq Plan" before the real issue in the Downing Street Memo was raised. That issue was not postwar planning, rather it was the claim that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." This statement indicates that the Bush administration had already decided on war in Iraq, and the claims of WMDs were being generated to provide a rationale. In early 2001, both Rice and Powell said that Saddam was "contained" and "not a threat" and that they did not believe he has reinstated his WMD programs. A further report (briefing paper) on a July 2002 meeting in Britain was released today in the Times (UK). They report that "The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal." They then go on to describe how issuing an ultimatum concerning weapon inspections in Iraq may result in a rejection by Saddam, and thereby provide a legal basis for a war. That did not happen, however. Saddam did let the UN weapons inspectors into Iraq, and they (like the US inspectors after them) found nothing. Which was exactly what Rice and Powell predicted back in 2001.

To NBC in June 2005:

>REP. WELDON: “No. I call specifically for no war against Iran. The problem is not the Iranian people. It's not even the Iranian government. It Ayatollah Khomeini, his radical religious extremism. He set up a council of nine. They're the problem."

Could someone please tell the stupid Mr. Weldon and the stupid Mr. Russert that Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989? This is pathetic.

Letter to the LA Times in June 2005:

In the Editorial "Children, Candy, Death" the following statement is made: "Security forces can't stop all attacks; they depend on help from Iraqis to provide intelligence." How about we change that to apply to the recent terrorist attack in London? That would read "Security forces can't stop all attacks; they depend on help from Britons to provide intelligence." Does that make sense to you? Why is it we expect Iraqis to figure out and stop terrorists attacks in their country, yet the same standard is not applied to Britain or even the USA?

Another comment: "One day after the Baghdad tragedy, U.S. officials reported the capture of another key member of Zarqawi's group, the second arrested in a week." How many "key" members (or aides or officials) does Zarqawi have? Either he has thousands of "key" aides or he is recruiting more and more all the time.

And last: "Even those who want coalition troops to leave immediately should understand that a nation can't be built on the bones of murdered children." It seems to me that the reason that some people want coalition forces to leave is because they are seemingly inspiring more violence, and they surely are inept at stopping it.

Letter to News & Observer in June 2005:

I would tell Mr. Bush that Rumsfeld finally said something recently that is correct: "Foreigners don't defeat insurgencies." I would tell Mr. Bush that the US presence in Iraq is promoting instability and chaos and violence, and the longer we stay the worse it will get. We need to get out of Iraq now. That means you, Mr. Bush, have to give up your never-stated reasons behind the invasion of Iraq. You will not get what you want, ever.

Letter to NYT in August 2005:

Mr. Rich states "Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance." Seems to me there are a lot of fighting Iraqis right now without any American assistance. There are Shias fighting Shias and Sunnis fighting Sunnis. Is it correct to call them "troops"? I would guess that the word "resistance" would be the more appropriate word. But after months and months of hearing that this is a Sunni-vs-Shia conflict from our corporate press, it looks to me to be a pro-occupation vs anti-occupation Iraqi fight. And that is what I suspected all along - but then, I remembered that 2/3 of the original 'deck of cards' were actually Shias. I also remembered what Powell and Rice had to say about Saddam in 2001 (that he was contained and not a threat), which lead me to suspect that there were no WMDs in Iraq. When you can remember some things, the nonsense often described in our corporate press looks sillier and sillier.

Letter to the Toledo Blade in July 2005:

“While there is a growing recognition in the country that going to war was a bad decision based on nonexistent WMDs, there is also a growing resignation that the U.S. can't up and leave the chaos it unleashed. We know we have to see this nightmare through and it makes us sick.”

That is like saying we have to keep throwing gasoline on this fire until we put it out.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rice tells lies and WaPo publishes them

My letter to the Washington Post earlier this week, in response to Rice's op-ed piece:

In the op-ed "A Path to Lasting Peace", Ms. Rice says that "For the past month the United States has worked urgently to end the violence that Hezbollah and its sponsors have imposed on the people of Lebanon and Israel."

How can she claim to have been trying to end the violence while the USA has been shipping bombs to Israel? How is that working urgently to end the violence? I have seen many pictures on the internet of bomb fragments in Lebanon with English writing on them, clearly showing they were made in the USA. And I have seen many pictures of huge piles of rubble with large hand-lettered signs that say "Made in USA" on them. The people of Lebanon know the truth, and Ms. Rice's first sentence in her opinion piece is a flat-out lie. (And, there are pictures of the "Made in the USA" signs below.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another one..........

An anti-United States banner decorates the rubble of a building destroyed during the month-long Israeli offensive against Hezbollah, in the southern village of Abbassiyeh, close to the port city of Tyre, Wednesday Aug. 16, 2006. The writing in Arabic reads: 'Made in U.S.A.'. France and Turkey sent their top diplomats to Beirut on Wednesday to discuss the deployment of a 15,000-strong international force to southern Lebanon, part of which the U.N. hopes can be in place in the next two weeks. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wallace shows everyone how not to do journalism

This evening, I watched Mr. Wallace interview Mr. Ahmadinejad (President of Iran) on 60 Minutes.
It was one of the most unprofessional and disrespectful example of American journalism I have seen in quite awhile.
Wallace was feeding words and ideas to Ahmadinejad, like saying things like "you despise fill-in-the-blank" and other leading comments, instead of asking "What do you think of fill-in-the-blank". I am not a journalist, and even I could figure out that much. Wallace also badgered Ahmadinejad with statements like "why don't you just answer yes or no?" Now, can you imagine someone saying something so disrespectful to leaders of other countries? No, I cannot imagine that either. Wallace said that Iran is supplying IEDs to Iraq as though it is an established fact, and I have been following the news on Iraq closely, and it most certainly has been alleged by the Bush administration - but it is not an established fact. It appears Wallace learned nothing from all the nonsense the Bush administration said about Iraq's WMDs. Most certainly, he has not learned to investigate what the Bush administration claims.
Wallace also was disrespectful when Ahmadinejad wanted to leave. Wallace claimed that nothing could be "more important than this" when he wanted to leave the interview. I would like to see Wallace try that one on Mr. Bush. (And Mr. Wallace: there are A LOT of things more important than you!)
This whole "interview" was a terrible example of journalism and a great example of how to act like an ugly American.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Letters I have written

I was clearing out some old emails, and ran across these letters I wrote to media folks in May 2005. As you can see, I was angry. I still am.

Here’s one to the Ombudsman at WaPo in May 2005:

“It is a reminder of how powerfully the circumstances leading up to this war still reverberate within a sizable chunk of the population and why the press should not let go of any loose ends that may shed light on how this happened.”

Loose ends? Loose ends? Are you really stupid or is this just pretending? It is very clear how this war started. It started the same as all wars - LIES. And a willing whorish press who repeated those lies, so that they could keep their big fat paychecks intact and their corporate bosses happy. At least the experience of the last three years has shown me how Hitler did it. I didn't know the corporate press would pay such a large part. If I were you, I would have to throw up every time I looked in the mirror. How can you live with yourself?

Another letter to WaPo in May 2005:

How much do you want to bet the government official who told Newsweek about the abuse of the Koran in US run prisons will be identified before we find out who leaked Valerie Plame to the press and undercut our national security?

And where is the responsibility of the US officials who reviewed the article from Newsweek before it was published?

Letter to Christian Science Monitor in May 2005:

"The three elements fueling the Iraqi insurgency are the hard-core Sunni Baathists, the foreign extremists, and the Sunni fence-sitters - the last being the largest of the three and probably the ones providing the largest number of recruits right now," says Michael O'Hanlon, an expert in US military affairs at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

I find it incredulous to read a report on what constitutes the Iraqi resistance - and find no reference to the anger and rage that was surely fueled by US bombings, US checkpoint killings, US abuse and torture of detainees, and US abuse of ordinary Iraqis.

I would bet that if I came and kicked in your front door at 3 AM and scared the crap out of you and your loved ones, and trashed your house besides, you'd be ready to pick up arms against me. Why is it so hard for the US press and US public to understand that rage and anger?

And, as the theory that the Sunnis are part of the resistance because they made lots of money from the oil - how come Fallujah looked so damn poor?

Yet another letter to WaPo in May 2005:

"Or: Is the administration trying to neutralize the press so it can put out a sanitized version of the news without the annoyance of an independent reality check? How can a White House steeped in deception lecture the Fourth Estate on ethics?"

Well, they could certainly solve that problem by being transparent and honest! Ha, ha, ha.... How come your entire column on this story is what WHITE GUYS think? Can't you make friends with some people who are from different backgrounds? It is really not that hard to do. A good number of them can speak English nowadays, just to make it easier for you WHITE GUYS who can only speak one language. This story about the Koran being disrespected has "legs" because hundreds of eyeballs saw it happen, and then they went back to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Oh, by the way, ABC is doing a story on those guys who were prisoners (remember that hunger strike?) and who are now making this claim. That would be Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not our own ABC that acts like a White House stenographer (or whore?). Thank God for the foreign press.

Letter to the NYT in May 2005:

In your article, "In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths" after a vividly sickening description of a young man's beating and death, you make the statement "the Bagram file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse."

This is false. It is no long abuse when someone is killed: it is torture. And, I am certain that you would clearly see this death as death by torture if the victim was an American.

Letter to USA Today in May 2005:

Saddam created WMD ambiguity? I clearly recall seeing Saddam on Channel 4 TV (Britain) where he clearly stated he had no WMDs. There was no ambiguity in his statements. Furthermore, there was ample evidence, if one was paying attention, of another source of information: the countries surrounding Iraq. They did not see Iraq as a threat, and with the exception of Israel and Kuwait, they did not support an invasion or war.

Letter to Michigan News in May 2005:

Rachel Neuwirth's article "Nagging Questions about the war in Iraq" is full of errors. There is no evidence that any WMDs were moved to Syria. (Of course, it flies in the face of common sense for a country to move it's weapons to another country just before they are about to be involved in a war.) Saddam did not foil UN weapons inspectors, and he did not kick them out of Iraq in 1998. In 2003, Blitz said the cooperation from the Iraq authorities was very good. So, there is no reason for "opponents of the war ....(to) explain what Saddam was hiding". It is totally clear today that Saddam was hiding NOTHING. Perhaps Ms. Neuwirth could explain why the supporters of the war were so easily duped. Perhaps she could do a google search on what Powell and Rice said about Saddam and Iraq in 2001, and then explain how they could have made the claims they did in 2002 and 2003. In case she is too lazy to do some research, it is clear that what they said in 2001 was correct.

She is incorrect in saying that "opponents of the war have failed to offer their own long-term responses". We have offered them again and again, and she failed to listen again and again. She fails to note that the food-for-oil theft was also done by Americans - about 52% of it, actually. And the US administration knew it was going on all along.

She claims that Saddam sponsored WMDs in Libya, and there is no information to support that claim. She claims Iran has nukes, but that claim is unfounded. In light of her other glaring errors, no one can take these accusations seriously. Decisions should be based on the facts, which she does not have a firm grasp of. Ironic that she accuses other people of basing their decisions on politics. Pot calling the kettle black, I suspect. She is wrong on where the majority of insurgents in Iraq come from. Most are Iraqis. There are some from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, coming through Syria. There is no evidence that any insurgents are coming from Iran, which means their numbers are probably very, very low. And why would Egypt want to go to war with Iraqi insurgents? Well, they have answered that, if Ms. Neuwirth would (again) do a google search. Ms. Neuwirth cannot arrive at any intelligent decisions with her appalling lack of factual data. Even her unanswered questions are mostly nonsensical.

Letter to CNN in May 2005:

"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." Vice President Dick Cheney; assessing the strength of the insurgency on CNN's Larry King 5-30-05

That is complete nonsense.

Letter to WaPo in May 2005:

In the article "What Do the Insurgents Want?" there was a mention of those Iraqis who are involved in the violent resistance because they lost their military or government jobs, but there is no mention of those Iraqis who may have decided to join the violent resistance due to their experiences with US forces in their country. That would include those men who had their homes raided in the middle of the night. It would include those men who were sent to US prisons for abuse and torture, including sexual torture at Abu Ghraib, even though they had committed no crime. And it would include those men suffered physical harm in their contacts with US troops.

In Tal Afar this past January, a car was approaching US troops, and they felt threatened, so they fired (much like the shooting of the Italians). Both parents were killed, and the five children in the back seat were immediately orphaned. The oldest child, a girl of 14, stated months later that she would like to kill Americans with her bare hands and drink their blood. It is easy to imagine that American teenagers would feel the same way, if such had happened to them.

This is why it is important to document, and attempt to compensate, all Iraqi civilians who have lost their lives, limbs, health, home, jobs, business or sanity in this conflict. It is the only way to deflate the anger and rage. Instead of doing this, the current administration seems intent on ignoring this reality. This is a grave mistake, and does not reflect well on our morals and values.

Letter to NYT in May 2005:

In the article "100 Rebels Killed in U.S. Offensive in Western Iraq" it states that two 500 pound bombs and "510 20-millimeter cannon rounds" were dropped by the US Air Force. The Marines "fired 319 20-millimeter cannon rounds".

I would like to know how the US military came up with the "100 insurgents killed" figure. It seems to me that all that firepower, including two 500-pound bombs, will kill any thing and everything that moved within quite a radius. Therefore, the people killed could have been insurgents, or they could have been civilians. It is also reported in this article that some of the insurgents there were felt to be foreign fighters. How on earth would they know?

To The Guardian in May 2005:

I just read your article in the Guardian about the suicide bombers. Lots of people who have been abused, particularly sexually abused, become suicidal - often years or decades down the road. This would correspond to your "vale of tears" explanation, I suppose, but I think it has an added element in a society where there is a premium on modesty and controlling sexual behavior (so that it is only within heterosexual marriage). I am of the opinion that those abused and tortured in Abu Ghraib, and other American run prisons in Iraq have engendered their own suicide prone survivors. And these people would also see the Americans as infidels, and anyone who assists them as infidels. So, killing yourself (and thereby restoring your honor and gaining heaven) while taking out fellow citizens who may fall into the trap of committing evil and ruining their own souls, would have (I think) some great appeal. Just my own little hypothesis. What a horror we have created in Iraq. May God forgive us.

To Aaron Brown at CNN in May 2005:

The days will teach you what you don't know....

To Aaron Brown at CNN in May 2005:

This was a great day…masses of worshipers gathered in the mosques…Sunni and Shiaat. Dr. Ahmed Al-Kubaisi, the head of the sermon spoke, in a nice speech, asking the people to unite themselves and join ranks. He said: do not give the occupation the chance to disband you… Sunni, Shiaat, an Arab, a Kurd, or Baa’thi. After the prayer there was a protestation demonstration, in which the people said: Get out of our country before we kick you out. - written by Faiza Jarrar in April 2003.

Bush said over two years agothat "major combat operations are over". Actually, they have not started yet. Soon, they will. I guarantee you won't recognize the world in a couple of years. And think, you and CNN helped bring about all the changes you are going to see!

(The title of this email was “they’re still not making lemonade out of those bombs!” This was in response to a comment by Brown in 2003 that the Iraqi people would make lemonade out of the “lemons” we sent them. He still believed at that time that the Iraqi people were much better off without Saddam. I don’t know what he is thinking today. I don’t know if he thinks at all. He was let go from CNN in the fall of 2005.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What Bush says

One of my favorite sayings of Bush, that I feel does reflect his true position on the so-called war on terror:

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

That's right: he is thinking of ways to hurt Americans. And he has found a few, too - and used them. However, he has hurt foreigners much, much worse. Here's some of the sayings in the graphic on this post:

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just as long as I'm the dictator."

"People don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security of the United States of America."

Well, I'm worried, although I have more worry for the innocents overseas who may be subjected to Bush's immoral and criminal actions.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quotes from Information Clearing House

"I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance … and one night late it came to me this way.… We could not leave (the Philippines) to themselves--they were unfit for self-government--and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was.… There was nothing left for us to do but take them all and educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them.": President William McKinley

Our men . . . have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later. . . stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.": Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines


"The only place you and I disagree . . . is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I (in contrast) don't give a damn. I don't care.". . . "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. . . Does that bother you? I just want you to think big." : Richard Nixon to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the Watergate tapes

"This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Children being killed

PHOTO: A Relative carries the body of Rajaa Abu Shaban, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006. An Israel air strike against Islamic militants in Gaza City on Wednesday killed three people, including 5-year-old Rajaa Abu Shaban, and wounded two more, Palestinian officials and witnesses said. The Israeli army said its forces attacked a 'terrorist training camp' in Gaza, but gave no further details. (AP photo/Adel Hana)




The numbers above do not count any deaths for the month of August 2006. Here is the last entry on this website, which shows that Israeli shells and rockets are just as inaccurate as Hezbollah rockets (and the higher number of children killed by Israeli fire is due to the simple fact that they use more of them):

26 July 2006

Bara' Naser Habib, 3
El-Sha'af neighborhood of Gaza City
Killed by shrapnel to the head and body from a rocket fired by an Israeli drone.

Shahd ‘Ali ‘Oukal, 8 months
of Jabalya, Northern Gaza Strip
Killed along with her sister and mother by an Israeli shell.

Maria ‘Ali ‘Oukal, 5
of Jabalya, Northern Gaza Strip
Killed along with her sister and mother by an Israeli shell.

I condemn all the adults who helped kill these children, and all adults who support such insane and evil behavior.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Crying for the innocent children

Peace activists set up 400 candle-lit mock tombstones in Beirut's central district August 8, 2006 to protest against the rising number of civilian victims in the ongoing conflict between Hizbollah and Israel. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi (LEBANON)

Tomorrow night, in Asheville, we will also hold a candlelight vigil for the innocent victims of war. This will be at Pritchard Park at 8 PM.

At 5 PM, local college students will hold a protest against this war at Pack Square.

I read tonight someone's comments that "If Arabs laid down their weapons, then the violence would stop. If Jews laid down their weapons, they would cease to exist." I would bet everything I own that the Arabs, and in particular the Palestinians and Lebonese (including those who are not Arab) feel exactly the opposite.

They would all be wrong.

It is the continuation of the fighting and violence that will threaten all of their existance.

I am writing a blog on Middle East stories HERE.


It is the Israelis that are looking really bad in this conflict, and that is because they are the ones killing the highest numbers of innocents. If I could wave a magic wand and switch all the weapons from the Israeli forces to the Hezbollah forces, and vice-versa, then it would be the Hezbollah who were killing the most innocents.

Of course, if I had such a magic wand, I would take all the weapons away - along with the stupidity that makes people think all this violence is keeping them safe. When are they going to notice that it ISN'T WORKING?

I cry for the children.

Another Lebonese child

Injured Lebanese boy Hassan Al Raai rests in the intensive care unit of Hayat hospital in the Chiah suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday Aug. 8, 2006. Hassan was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed apartment building following an Israeli strike on the southern suburbs of Beirut shortly after nightfall Monday that killed at least 15 people, police said.(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Lebanese Child

A Lebanese morgue worker and a nurse cover the body of a dead l girl at a hospital morgue in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006, after a building collapsed in the town of Ghaziyeh following Israeli airstrikes. Israeli airstrikes hit near a funeral procession in south Lebanon on Tuesday, sending some of the 1,500 mourners running in panic and killing at least 13 people in nearby buildings, witnesses, hospital officials and the town's mayor said. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Picture of Cindy

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan (2nd R) marches with supporters to the ranch of U.S. President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas August 6, 2006. Sheehan, whose military son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, recently purchased land near President Bush's ranch and has sought to meet with Bush since starting her peace vigil last year.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This past week

Sunday: I worked on the computer reading and preparing my blog entries for two hours, then went to Bele Chere to work at the Department of Peace booth for 5 hours. Then went to the potluck at Friends Meeting for the Peace Walkers to Oak Ridge. Then went home to work on the blog entries for about 5 hours. Total = 12 hours

Monday: Paid work for 10 hours. Then went home and worked on the computer for 6 hours. Total = 16 hours

Tuesday: Paid work for 10 hours. Then went home and worked on computer for 5 hours. Total = 15 hours

Wednesday: Same as Tuesday. Total = 15 hours

Thursday: Same as Tuesday. Total = 15 hours

Friday: Paid work for 9 hours. Work on computer for 5 hours. Total = 14 hours

Saturday: Left house at 6:30 to go to Oak Ridge. Returned home at 8:30 PM. Worked on computer for 2 hours. Total = 16 hours.

I am doing way too much!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oak Ridge March

We walked from the park to the Y 12 plant. It was very hot, like in melt-your-face-off hot. Most of the locals waved, some yelled at us. Most of the police looked friendly, some did not. I went to the fence and put my card on there (tied with yarn) and then I went back to the shade. A policewomen said we had to go to the other side of the street (the sunny side) where they had the drummers and most of the marchers. I headed back to the cars that were to take us back to the original car, and now I am in air-conditioned heaven, I mean library. I am waiting for my travel mates to come back here, to head on home.

One of the things we did at the Y-12 plant was paint the outlines of people to symbolize the people who died in the nuclear bombings. This was painted on the street with cornstarch, so it is not damaging at all. I painted a baby.

Live Blogging from Oak Ridge Rally


The rally is being held at a park with a library right there, so I have gone in the library and paid $2 to use their computers to bring you live blogging from the Oak Ridge Rally for stopping the building of nuclear bombs here in the USA. This event was organized by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. More information at

We left Asheville at 7 AM this morning, and so far it is a beautiful day. The crowd here is very small right now, which is disappointing. It is still before noon, and the march to the plant does not start until 2 PM.

One of the musicians here is Guy Larry Osborne, and he did his song “Sing Peace”.

“It’s a world with so much darkness, what ever happened to ‘sweet land of liberty’?
You can have your American Empire built of war, greed, and slavery
So sing for Light, sing for Justice, sing for a world without nuclear bombs….

Sing Peace, every race and creed
Sing Peace, for all the least of these
Sing Peace, hear the mountains shout
Sing Peace, let the light of peace break out
Sing Peace, all creatures of the earth
Sing Peace, throughout the universe
Sing Peace, sing peace!

At the top of the handout for this rally is the statement “if you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention” and I think that is correct. I keep thinking of all the people in the ninth ward of New Orleans and how they were busy worrying about decorating their homes, building their communities – without thinking about the fact that they are living below sea level without adequate protection from the levees and flood walls. Today, we are sitting on a great big pile of nuclear weapons, with plans to build more, and no real protection from using those weapons. It is said that if a nuclear war starts, we would have a half billion dead in the first half hour. And they would be the lucky ones. We have got to do something to stop this madness the USA is pursuing.

Unfortunately, most of America is not paying attention. We could lose our country and our world as quickly as we lost New Orleans. There is no way we can have a nuclear war without bringing the whole planet (or at least most of it) down. There just is no way.

I heard today on the radio that saying you have “won a war” is like saying you have “won an earthquake”.

What if harm’s way is headed your way?

Here’s a quote from a song about Katrina: “today is sunny and the sea is calm, with the smell of death and everything gone”.

The USA is spending $2 BILLION on a new bomb plant here in Oak Ridge. It is for refurbishing of our existing nuclear bombs, so that they last another 100 years.

We need to create a world without nuclear bombs. We need to do this now, before it is too late.

And here is a message for a guy who calls himself ‘human’ and sometimes reads this blog: there is a band here today called HUMAN. They had jugglers there, and sometimes the jugglers would juggle together. I was so engrossed in watching that, I can’t tell you what the band named HUMAN played!

Now, it is off for some free food from “Food, Not Bombs” They are serving organic burritos and potato salad.

More later.

The Children of War

From Mark in Ireland's Blog:

For the sake of the children.

If you don’t approve of bombing kids, then don’t give the bombers money.

I consider children to be quite a blessing. I don't have any children, mainly due to the fact that I never wanted to be a single parent and I never felt a great urge to marry someone either. It has made me sad (at times) that I never had a child, but for the vast majority of my life, I am okay without having that blessing in my life.

I have worked with children for most of my career - I work to help them hear and communicate better. I spent hours today getting audiometers ready for the new school year, getting hearing aid checking kits ready for the teachers, getting FM systems checked out and charged up. FM systems are assistive listening devices. And all that was at my part-time job.

It sickens me beyond words to see children suffer from the cruelty and stupidity of adults. It angers me beyond words - that are still decent - when people plan or start wars, that always results in the children suffering the worst.

I wish I could do something to stop their pain and suffering. I wish I could stop war. Tomorrow I am going to Oak Ridge TN to protest the building of nuclear bombs. It is truly insane that we have weapons like this, and terribly frightening to think we might use them one day.

This country, and the world will pay a horrible price if we do. And the children will suffer the most of all.

*Quote of the week*

"The sickening slaughter on both sides must end now... President
Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must
stop." - Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Israeli voices for peace

From the Women in Black:

On Saturday, we held an extraordinary mass march of "Women Against War" in Tel Aviv. Women came from 17 sponsoring women’s organizations*, and we estimate about 3,000 participants (including men). It was a dramatic sight marching through the streets dressed in black as a sign of mourning for the victims on both sides. While the tabloids ignored us, Ha'aretz published a photo and detailed caption, and NRG, one of Israel's biggest news portals, told the whole story. The Arabic press gave us front-page coverage, and some of the foreign press also captured the story. This was an important action in a society in which the voices of women are always marginalized – and entirely erased during times of war. Our gratitude to the Urgent Action Fund for helping make it possible.

They give me hope in a very dark world.

VIDEO: More Time to Bomb (This was filmed before the Qana bombing.)

Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More bad news for CentCom

More information on Pakistan and India nuclear weapons:

U.S. Says It Knew of Pakistani Reactor Plan

The reactor, which reportedly will be capable of producing enough plutonium for as many as 50 bombs each year, was brought to light on Sunday by independent analysts who spotted the partially completed plant in commercial-satellite photos.

India Could Make 50 Warheads Under Nuclear Deal With Bush

Under the deal, the US will sell India nuclear fuel and technology for civilian purposes, in exchange for India putting most of its reactors under international safeguards. But a former head of Indian intelligence has said publicly the deal will allow India to produce 50 more nuclear warheads a year than it can now, by freeing up existing uranium reserves for military use.

(and a law about this deal passed the US House!! Let's hear it for the warmongerers on the Hill)

And more bad news for the US military:

US Plans $4.6 Billion in Mideast Arms Sales

he Bush administration spelled out plans on Friday to sell $4.6 billion of arms to moderate Arab states, including battle tanks worth as much as $2.9 billion to protect critical Saudi infrastructure. In the newly proposed sales to Arab states, UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter gunships worth up to $808 million would go to the United Arab Emirates, while AH-64 Apache helicopters worth as much as $400 million would go to Saudi Arabia. Bahrain would also get Black Hawk helicopters, valued at up to $252 million. Jordan would get a potential $156 million in upgrades to 1,000 of its M113A1 armored personnel carriers. Javelin anti-tank missiles valued at up to $48 million would go to Oman under the deals put forward by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which administers U.S. government-to-government arms sales. The $2.9 billion Saudi deal involves the sale of 58 older-generation U.S. M1A1 Abrams tanks that would be modernized. [And this is likely the real reason that these states have publicly supported Israel’s violence. Also, note how the USA is continuing it’s long standing tradition of arming it’s future enemies. – dancewater]

For CentCom

I just had to quote this from Billmon's blog, for those CentCom guys who might be reading:

"And this: The ultimate result, of course, is a truly insane combination of bed partners, with the Iraqi prime minister giving a stemwinder of a speech against Zionist aggression in Baghdad one day, and then flying off to Washington the next day to vow enternal vigilance against terrorism in front of the most pro-Israel body on the planet -- the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed guerrillas are killing Israeli soldiers in Lebanon while an Iranian-backed government in Iraq sends its troops out on patrols with the U.S. military, which is speeding bunker buster bombs to the Israeli military so it can go kill more Iranian-backed guerrillas."

But, not to worry: we are pretty sure those bombs we are giving to Israel are for Lebanon, not Iraq.... or Iran. I guess you CentCom guys realize that if Israel bombs Iran, the US military in Iraq is in way ddddeeeeepppp....

And, if that above was not enough to boost your morale, think about this: Pakistan is working on a production plant so that they can start producing 40 or 50 nuclear bombs a YEAR. We also sold them F-16s, well, that is BUSH DID.... and Bush is also promoting nuclear weapons in India (with some help from our congress critters). Now, I'm sure that the current dictator in Pakistan will NEVER BE REPLACED, and all his subjects who work in the nuclear weapons industry are totally loyal, so no need to worry. And besides, the next time someone whats to start a war over WMDs in another country that have never been used: well, this time we will know they REALLY EXIST!!! Hope I made your day, CentCom. [Damn, all this would be funny to me if only real people weren't getting killed !!!]