Friday, February 29, 2008

Take Action: Israel Kills 30+ Palestinians

Photo: Palestinian relatives of Ali Dardouna, react during his funeral in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Feb. 29, 2008. Dardouna, 8, was killed in an Israeli missile strike while playing soccer with friends in the Gaza Strip Thursday, Palestinian sources said. Since Wednesday, 32 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli missile strikes, including 15 civilians, among them eight children, according to Palestinian officials. Dozens of rockets have been launched in recent days by Palestinian militants in Gaza at Israeli border towns, killing an Israeli man Wednesday, and long-range rockets struck the Israeli port city of Ashkelon Thursday evening, Israeli sources said. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

There were 32 Palestinians killed by Israeli missiles, and 1 Israeli killed by Palestinian rockets. One of the Palestinians killed was a little baby. Several more were children playing soccer. All of this is insane, and will never lead to peace. This piece came today from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

Take Action: Israel Kills 30 Palestinians with U.S. Weapons

Since Wednesday, Israel has killed at least 30 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including five children under the age of 16 playing soccer and a six month-old child (Ha'aretz).

Israel's Deputy Defense Minister threatened Palestinians with genocide, calling for an even "bigger holocaust" against residents of the Gaza Strip (Telegraph).

Israel killed almost all of these Palestinians in air strikes most likely with its arsenal of fighter jets-Boeing F-15's and Lockheed F-16's-and attack helicopters-Boeing Apaches and Cobra Bells-paid for by U.S. taxpayers through annual military aid to Israel. Almost all of Israel's air-to-surface missiles, which would have been used in these attacks, are produced by U.S. corporations such as Hughes, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin and paid for by U.S. tax dollars. The US Campaign opposes all attacks on civilians.

Is this how you want your tax dollars spent-to kill children playing soccer and to carry out threats of genocide?

President Bush has requested $2.55 billion in military aid for Israel in his proposed FY2009 budget. That's a 9% increase in military aid to Israel above and beyond actual spending in 2007. The budget request is the first installment of a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding signed between the United States and Israel in August 2007 to increase military aid by 25% over the next decade, totaling $30 billion.

The United States should be cutting off military aid to Israel for its human rights abuses and violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, not increasing it.


1. Have your organization endorse a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittees with oversight over military aid calling on them to reject Bush's budget request and cut off military aid to Israel.The letter and a current list of organizational endorsements are below.The deadline for signing this letter is March 4.To have your organization endorse the letter, click here.

2. Individuals can send a letter opposing military aid to Israel to the Members of Congress who serve on these Appropriations Subcommittees by clicking here.

3. Sign up to receive an organizing packet with postcards, petitions, and fact sheets to educate and organize people in your community to oppose military aid to Israel. To get your organizing packet, click here.

This action is supported by these national organizations:

1. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
2. Benedictines for Peace
3. Code Pink-Women for Peace
4. Council for the National Interest
5. Friends of Sabeel-North America
6. Jewish Voice for Peace
7. Peace Action
8. United for Peace and Justice
9. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

There are dozens of local organizations who support this action also. I am opposed to providing military aid to Israel, and to nearly every other government or group on the planet. I think it is just stupid. I signed the letter, and I am encouraging groups that I am involved with to sign the letter also.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our useless Congress

Well, our Congress critters are going to work on perjury charges for Roger Clemens, since they are worried to death about the fact that he might have taken drugs and/or he might have lied about it.

Who gives a rat’s ass? Don’t they have anything better to do with their time?

How about investigating all the lies that got the US military into Iraq, and then investigating why US military personnel are allowed to do the things that they are doing in these photos?

How about impeaching the war-mongerers who have killed over a million Iraqis and destroyed the lives of tens of millions (with NO END IN SIGHT, I might add)?

How about investigating all the other SERIOUS crimes that this current government and it’s agents have committed? Or are we still in the bill clinton years, where we only investigate shit that does not mean a damn thing?

These photos came from an article in Wired Magazine.

Another thing, since we are re-visiting Abu Ghraib: Joe Darby is a hero. rumsfeld, who revealed Darby’s name on purpose, it a lying sack of puke that will never be worthy of licking dog shit off of Darby’s shoes. I hope someday I can tell that to rumsfeld directly.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

For the people of Gaza

I saw this picture today on an Arab news website, Middle East Online. Obviously, these children are not terrorists or even combatants. They are too little. The caption for the photo said: ‘While on earth stop the massacre of the people of Palestine

Meanwhile, a UN report states the totally obvious:

UN report says Israeli occupation causes terror

Report: terrorists acts against Israel are inevitable consequence of Tel Aviv’s colonialism, apartheid, occupation.

Of course, sometimes terrorism comes from more than occupation and apartheid. Sometimes it comes from a military presence in a country that is against the wishes of the citizens of that country. Sometimes it comes as a reaction to violence and injustice from a more powerful group. And sometimes it comes because someone is evil, just plain evil.

And sometimes, terrorism happens because people are just bat-shit crazy. I imagine the parents of these little ones are now bat-shit crazy. There are lots of Iraqi people who now fall in that last category. The US occupation of Iraq has destroyed the place and destroyed the country and destroyed the lives of tens of millions of people. It has striped many people of hope or a reason to live. It has caused many of them to see death as a better alternative than live, and some of them think that they should take a few of the occupiers or their accomplices with them when they go. The occupation of Iraq has had a negative impact on people in the Middle East outside Iraq too.

But this is about Palestine, about Gaza. Right now, the Israeli government is trying to starve out the people in Gaza. They are denying them medicines and medical care (I heard they let 14 people out today for medical care, but this is the exception). They are denying them electricity and security. This is collective punishment, and I believe the stupid and short-sighted Israelis are seeing to it that the Palestinians are victims of the Nazi holocaust too.

Shame on all these adults who kill children! It is evil beyond belief. Remember These Children says that 119 Israeli children have been killed and 982 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000. This is a horror that must be stopped.

We cannot this occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land to continue. We cannot allow the Israelis to continue their very stupid policies. The Palestinians are stupid beyond stupid to respond to Israel’s violence with more violence. But it is clear to me that the Palestinians who are civilians and not combatants are the ones paying the highest price. This is a horror that must be stopped.

Poem: People of Palestine

Like a slave in the American south

They shall be liberated

Even if it means another civil war

Like a persecuted Jew

They shall survive the genocide

Even if takes another World War


Like beloved yet betrayed Jesus

They shall be back

Even if it would be at the end of time

Like the visionless cured by Jesus

They shall regain their sight

Even if the rest of the world remains blind


Like resurrected flesh

They shall come back to life

Even if it would be at the end of days

Like the Day of Judgement

They shall have justice

Even if it means there will be hell to raise


It matters not on whose side is the Divine

It matters not who shall inherent the heavenly kingdom

While on earth stop the massacre of the people of Palestine

Let peace and justice reign, not Lucifer’s Pandemonium


Mamoon Alabbasi is an editor for Middle East Online

Monday, February 25, 2008


Press Release: Act Against Iraq Poverty

The Baghdad section of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign is calling upon the international anti-occupation movements to mobilise in an act of unity and defiance, against the planned elimination of the Iraqi food rationing system. We are making this call, in response to the outcry by the Iraqi media, which has informed the international community, that the regime of Jalal Talabani, The Dawa Party and SCII, plan to eliminate the food rations by June of 2008, a system which was first put in place under the UN Sanctions and have since helped to save millions of Iraqi’s from starvation. Under the rule of Al Ba’ath Party, the United Nations praised the ration system as being “the world’s largest and most effective relief effort” but since the introduction of the US protected death squads in 2003, the Iraqi peoples welfare has been subjected to corruption, hatred, abuse and a deluded form of vengeance. The Iraq Solidarity Campaign has repeatedly warned both Iraqi and Western governments about the growth of poverty in Iraq (see some examples below!), along with the effects which have been brought with it, such as the increase in malnutrition, prostitution, substance abuse and people searching for food from rubbish dumps. We are asking that people consider the seriousness of these cuts and through dignified and peaceful methods mobilise human rights and political organisations, to force the regime and their allies in the fortified Green Zone to change its direction and maintain the ration service.

Sign our new International Petition!


We Support the Troops Who Oppose the War

On the weekend of 13-15 March, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will assemble history's largest gathering of US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors. They will provide first hand accounts of their experiences and reveal the truth of occupation. We support Iraq Veterans Against the War and their Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Join us in supporting the effort to reveal truth in the way that only those who lived it can.

Please go to this website to sign the petition to support IVAW.

And then there is this – Rep. Wexler confronting Attorney General Mukasey. Mukasey basically said he will not enforce ‘contempt of congress’ charges for those in the bush administration who are ordered to appear in Congress, yet the bush administration tells them not to go.

And that brings us to another petition – to impeach cheney – you can sign that one here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bearing witness

Photo: A woman stands at the entrance of her house, near a damaged vehicle, after a raid by U.S. soldiers in Baghdad's Sadr City September 11, 2007. (Kareem Raheem/Reuters)

I just finished updated the Faces of Grief blog. I am actually quite behind in that blog, and not because it takes some time to download 50 pictures, save the captions to the pictures, and then post them to the blog. I am behind because it makes me so sad, so angry and so torn with guilt. It also makes me so very tired, so very tired.

I am a taxpayer here in the US. I believe this is evil to pay taxes to this government that is so intent on killing innocent people who happen to live where the oil is. The work that I do requires either a government or non-profit to run it – I test the hearing of young children, and help them get the services that they need. There is no profit in this, and I could make twice as much money by selling hearing aids to the wealthy retirees in this area. I want to help children – other people’s children. I purposefully chose this, and keep choosing it. It is a wonderful way to earn a living. I am blessed that I had the chance to get all this education and do this work.

I am comfortable in my job, and it pays the bills. I find it very hard at times to treat some of my coworkers with respect, because they are complicit and supportive of this mass rape and murder by our US military. Some of them, however, are wonderful. Most of them are just blind, or lazy, I don’t know.

If I decided to stop paying taxes, they would just garnishee my wages and get even more money for the war machine. So, my choices are – don’t work in this field or move away to another country. I am thinking seriously about moving back to Canada.

But for now, I bear witness. The photos are horrible. They are just a small sample of what is happening in Iraq, but it is clear that a lot of the death and violence is either directly from the occupying troops, or directed at them. Here is a poem by someone else who was a witness to the horror the US has inflicted on the country of Iraq over the decades. I imagine he is as tired as I am, and every bit as angry.

I Did Not Look Away

No, I did not look away
from the things I went there to see.

In a land where hunger had become rare
until sanctions and war joined hands in prayer,
I saw women in black begging at street corners
and boys too poor for school
hawking cigarettes and kerosene
to keep their families afloat.

I saw parents rushing into hospitals
with children in their arms,
and emergency rooms flooded with patients
holding in pain on bleeding floors.

I saw ambulances on cinder blocks
rotting away in a parking lot
because ambulances are weapons of war
and can't be repaired in Iraq.

I saw oxygen tanks standing in line,
waiting for valves that never come,
and hospital hallways stripped to the bone.

Everything gone, lugged off and sold
for even the simplest supplies --
a light bulb, a pail, a bag of diapers.

I saw an infant named Amani Kasim
curled up on a filthy blanket,
her face confined to an oxygen mask,
her body shriveled and discolored
from severe malnutrition.

I saw a fourteen-year old girl named Amira
who could not stand and could not speak
and was dying from cancer.

"Two maybe three days more," the doctor said.
"We do not have the proper drugs
so we give supportive care only."
She was so thin, so weak
she could not lift her head off the pillow.
I caressed her brow and cheek
and the damp ringlets of hair
fallen about her face.

A collapsed blood bag froze above her.
Mother and grandmother softly wept
and prayed to God for mercy.

I saw other mothers tending incubators,
that didn't have thermostats
and might overheat.

I saw the blood and urine
on beds without sheets,
the nimbus of flies around bottles of formula,
the sadness in the doctors' eyes
as they told me which infants
would live or die.

No, I didn't look away.

I caressed each brow,
whispered through my touch,
"Your life is a part of me and when you go,
I shall weep."

I saw a generation of mothers
keeping watch on their children.
I heard them ask me for medicine
and felt their hands open then meet
the emptiness of mine. - George Capaccio

Friday, February 22, 2008

This war is about oil

This war is about oil.

And it always has been.

So, the protesters who said "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" were right. I seriously thought it had to be about something else. But I could not figure out what that "something" was - I knew they would not find any WMDs in Iraq and I knew that Saddam did not even make the top ten of 'bad guys running countries'. I knew they did not give a rat's ass about the Iraqi people and never would.

So, recently this came across my computer screen:

Section 1222 of HR 4986 was altered by a SIGNING statement by Mr. Bush. He has claimed that Section 1222 could inhibit his ability to defend the US Constitution, so he claims the right to ignore it. This is what Section 1222 of HR 4986 says: “No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

Somehow, not being able to control Iraq's oil or put permanent military bases in Iraq can be twisted into "inhibiting the ability to defend the US Constitution" even though bush has repeatedly violated the US Constitution.

And now we know: they went into Iraq to control the oil. Not to necessarily get the oil to the USA - this bunch would let Americans go hungry if they could make more money that way - but to CONTROL where that oil does go.

The picture above is the best anti-war picture from 2007. I am proud of those Code Pinkers!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tweedle dee, Tweedle Dumb, and Tweedle Dumber

Or, in other words, three US Senators are running for the office of president of the United States. One has been in office for three years, the other two longer. It is clear to me that Clinton would be better than McCain, and it is clear to me that Obama would be better than Clinton.

But it is also clear to me that all three of these clowns have been around to work on the problems facing our country for some time, and instead of making things better, they either made them worse or did nothing. McCain would probably be the best candidate to stop all this corruption by contractors who work for or with our military. I used to think that he would put an end to torture, but then last week he voted for water-boarding. He most certainly will continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and might start up yet more wars. (We certainly will not be invading anyone – we don’t have the troops. But we have lots and lots of bombs, and some of them are getting old.) Clinton would definitely be a better “manager” than the current criminal in office, but she has plenty of blood on her hands too. There is no way I will vote for either one of these war criminals.

And then there is Obama, or Tweedle dee. I don’t see a whole lot of improvement in his stated policies, particularly his claims to bomb Iran or send troops into Pakistan. He is not doing well recently on Israel/Palestine issues, although he has a background of exposure to Palestinian problems. I wrote to Jewish Voice for Peace and said: “The best we can hope for is that Obama wins and at his inauguration, he says that he lied about Iran and Pakistan and he remembers his dinners with Edward Said.” They wrote back: “Wouldn’t that be something!” As for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, I am not sure that he will get our troops out of either place. He does stand a chance of getting the UN and other countries to work on a diplomatic solution. Obama does have the advantage of being aware of what is happening in the world, and he is also intelligent, unlike our current criminal resident of the White House. He could not find the country Iraq on a map in 2000.

A woman recently wrote a book about how dumb Americans are. Susan Jacoby wrote “The Age of American Unreason,” and she focuses on a general hostility to knowledge. She does not limit this to age or ideology. (Although I suspect the Democrats are slightly smarter than the rank-and-file Republicans, this probably would not be true for the Republican leaders – they know what they are doing, and don’t care if it is evil!)

But as for most Americans – all I can say is, dear God they are dumb!

Here is a bit from the NYT article about this author and her book:

T. J. Jackson Lears, a cultural historian who edits the quarterly review Raritan, said, “The tendency to this sort of lamentation is perennial in American history,” adding that in periods “when political problems seem intractable or somehow frozen, there is a turn toward cultural issues.”

But now, Ms. Jacoby said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way.

Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.

I work with a college-educated woman who thinks the WMDs in Iraq were moved to Syria. She also believes every single lie told to her by our government over the last four years that I have known her. Another college-educated woman that I work with thinks Iraq is right next to Afghanistan. When I told her that Iran is in between them, she claimed that Iran is a small country, so really Iraq and Afghanistan are not far apart. She thinks Iran is a smaller country than Iraq. I tell you, I could go on and on…… most Americans are completely oblivious to what has happened to Iraqis and Afghanis, and they would tell you that things are going pretty well now. They think the refugees in other countries are returning home in mass. They are totally clueless.

That brings me back to Obama. He has been able to inspire people and give them hope, even to the point that they think he will do things that he is highly unlikely to do – like pull our troops our of Iraq; or close down Guantanamo; or restore our Constitution or Bill of Rights; or outlaw torture again. His domestic policies around health care are not so hot either. But by they time the November election rolls around; people in the US are going to need hope, because our economy will be doing very poorly.

I suppose this is the best we can do for right now. However, I sure wish we had an intelligent election cycle instead of all this nonsense. I wish we had about two dozen parties instead of just two parties with little difference between them. I deeply wish that Americans knew something about current events, geography, economics, energy, and the environment. I deeply wish they were not so very dumb.

Hey, in a letter to the editor to our local paper, someone on the forum decided to do some research on me, and found out I am connected to the Progressive Democrats, and claimed I am a “Democratic Party Operative”. So, what I wrote above is just my little part to help out the Democratic Party, HA, HA!!! Amazingly, this same guy thought that the only area where I might be qualified to offer an opinion is the field of medicine! That was funny too. I don't get into arguing with those right wing nut cases on forums much - it is like arguing with jello. And that's because they are really, really, above-average dumb.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

This is going to be the start of my listing upcoming events in Asheville that relate to the peace and social justice movements. (Also, MAIN has listings of upcoming events.)

Also, I wanted to point out this website: The local chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, called WNC PSR. They are doing things all the time, and they are a great bunch of folks. They hold their meetings on Tuesdays during the day, and I work, so I almost never get to their meetings. But I appreciate the work they do and the intelligent positions that they take. I wish I could join them more.

Another local website that I think is fantastic: the Greenville Anti-war Society. They will be holding a vigil on March 16th to remember the US deaths and Iraqi deaths from five years of war and occupation.

Before this invasion and occupation of Iraq started, I said it was illegal, immoral, and very very stupid. I was wrong on the last point - it is ASTOUNDINGLY STUPID. It is BLOW YOUR MIND STUPID.


02/19/08 WNC Peace Coalition meeting at Unitarian Universalist Church at 7 PM. Please enter from the north side, at the basement level. We will be planning for our annual Peace Rally.

02/19/08 WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility will meet at the Gathering Room of the Asheville YWCA at 185 S. French Broad Avenue. Please bring a brown bag lunch at noon, and program will start at 12:30 PM. Parking is limited. The program will focus on the DVD "Nuclear Deception" and will be followed by a business meeting. Contact Lew at or call 828-299-1242 for more information.

02/19/08 Network of Spiritual Progressives will host the movie “The Global Banquet” at 7 PM in Room 206 at the Reuter Center at UNCA. Contact Richard Fireman at for more information.

02/20/08 Dr. Dahlia Wasfi will be speaking at UNCA at 7 PM on Wednesday. She is an Iraqi-American that has visited Iraq in the last few years and still has family inside Iraq. She has spoken to the Progressive Caucus at Capitol Hill, and at many other venues. She is a dynamic speaker against the continuing occupation of Iraq. This will be at Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall, UNCA

02/22/08 Activist Movie Club in Waynesville. Movies and discussions – for more information, contact John at or call Buffy at 926-2508 after 5:30PM.

I am really looking forward to hearing Dr. Wasfi speak. She spoke to the Progressive Caucus in the US House of Representatives in 2006, and did a great job. Unfortunately, she needs to be heard by the members of the US House of Representatives who are not part of the Progressive Caucus.


Sunday, 4:30 to 5 PM All Souls Episcopal Church [Biltmore Village]
Tuesday, 4:30 to 5:30 PM Vets for Peace Vigil [Vance Monument]
Wednesday, 4:30 PM Haywood Neighbors for Peace at Waynesville Post Office
Wednesdays, 5:30 PM Votive Mass for Peace at St. Mary Episcopal Church in Asheville
Friday, 5 to 6 PM Women in Black Vigil A’ville [Vance Monument]
Friday, 12 to 12:30 PM Women in Black Vigil H’ville [Main St at Old County Court House]
Saturday, 12 to 1 PM Transylvania County Vigil for Peace [County Courthouse]
Other: Tuesday, 6 PM Run for Peace; Run for Impeachment at Vance Monument
Other: Food Not Bombs: 3:30 on Saturday at Pritchard Park. Info at 303-929-9713
Other: The Street Action Group (SAG) will hold meetings to plan actions, hold a potluck, and to work on projects every Sunday at 3 PM. Contact Kindra at for location.
Other: Asheville COP WATCH meets at 6:30 PM at St. James AME Church at 44 Hildebrand Street in Asheville on Wednesday.

LATER THIS WEEK, I will post all the March actions in the area that I know about. Some events are still being finalized, but I hope we have the details nailed down soon.

A bomb that saves lives!!

[Photo: Taken last summer by me in eastern Tennessee. Kindra is holding the "Wake The Sheeple" sign.]

On Saturday night, ABC News ran a story about A BOMB THAT SAVES LIVES! The anchor on this show said that three times before the story even started with an excited and optimistic tone in his voice. The news segment about this “new bomb” showed us how it works. They had a truck sitting in a field and the “NEW SAFE BOMB” was directed towards the truck. This particular demo bomb had no explosives, but it did hit it’s target. It put a hole in the truck. The news show talked about how light this new bomb is, and how well the guiding system for the bomb works. They did mention that it is hard to know who the “bad guys” are and that this was the hard part.







Or ……. What the hell, these people are nutcases. I think we should re-test the new BOMB THAT SAVES LIVES on the same truck, only this time with explosives intact. And then have the ABC news guys stand 50 feet away and see what happens…… and then we can know for sure that this bomb will ‘save lives’.

Here is a video on how they have been lying to us for ages, and how our politicians think it is funny to lie to us and funny to get people killed:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Counter Recruitment Action at UNCA

This video was shot by a friend of mine, and it is pretty intense. The SDS chapter at UNCA along with Iraq Veterans Against the War had a re-enactment of a home invasion in Iraq. This was posted on the local SDS page. SDS is Students for a Democratic Society. Hey, just a warning to the Repubs - these folks are headed your way for the GOP national convention.

Progressive Democrats of Buncombe Co Meeting

Meeting was on 02/12/08

We had a few announcements on upcoming events, particularly events next month around the anniversary of the end of five years of occupation in Iraq.

Connie did a presentation on homelessness in Asheville. We started by watching a bit of “When I Came Home” which is a 70 minute film on homelessness among US veterans who have served in wartime. Connie said that couples, singles, educated, non-educated are among the people who are homeless. There is also lots of mental illness and addiction. She said that without an ID, you cannot get into shelter. One shelter is the Rescue Mission, which has a 90 day course for Christians. They have 40 regular beds for these people and serve a lunch and supper. They have 30 emergency slots in their chapel. Another organization is A-HOPE, which does not have overnight beds but people can have a mailbox and have others leave phone messages there. They serve lunch and dinner. Lots of people go through here, but there is no overnight stays. They have a program called Homeward Bound. The program “Room at the Inn” is run from A-HOPE, and this is program where up to 12 women stay a week at a time in local churches. They rotate from church to church every week.

The Salvation Army serves around 60 residents. ABCCM is the veteran’s place, where several hundred stay. There is also the Women’s Shelter, which is off Merrimon Avenue. Connie reported problems with tent slashing, and there are rumors of police brutality.

We had some further discussions about the upcoming primary in May and what direction we might take from here. A couple of people felt that Jim Neal (running for US Senate) was a good candidate and that it might be worthwhile to support him. We had a short discussion on the possibility of seeking an endorsement from Progressive Democrats of America for Neal, and while members attending today supported that, we are not sure that Neal would want an endorsement.

We also discussed candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor. Dan Bassey and Pat Smathers are candidates for Lt. Governor and both are felt to be progressive candidates that are worthwhile supporting. There are also candidates for County Commissioner, with Holly Jones being a progressive that is worthy of our support. No decisions were made on what future actions the Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County might take, and our next meeting is April 8th at 7 PM at North Asheville Library.

We also have a small box of donated canned goods to contribute to Manna Food Bank. They are getting low on food supplies.

Please post any corrections in the comments.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rice tells lies to congress today

And, how do we know she is lying? Well, she claims that "she did not have intelligence that cast doubt on her claims of Iraq having WMD." Now, back in those days that they were all planning to invade Iraq, the bush administration, including rice, said that they knew that Saddam had WMDs and that they KNEW where they were - yet they would not tell the UN weapons inspectors where they were. This is simple logic - which establishes that they were lying. But here is rice lying on you tube to Rep. Wexler:

Yeap, those evil bushies killed a million people and make life absolutely HELL for tens of millions more, and while the country of Syria is doing it's best to help the Iraqis refugees who have FLOODED into their country, bush himself decided to slap some more sanctions on Syria, just because he is an evil piece of shit.

Unfortunately, I think the majority of Americans are just like bush.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Alternative Focus - Israeli soldiers speak out

From the website Information Clearing House:

A searing interview with Avichai Sharon and Noam Chayut, both veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces and members of Breaking the Silence. Sharon and Chayut served during the second intifada, an on-going bloodbath that has claimed the lives of over three thousand Palestinians and nine-hundred-fifty Israelis. After thorough introspection, these young men have chosen to speak out about their experiences as self-described “brutal occupiers of a disputed land.”
I found these two young Israeli men to be very brave and admirable. I hope they keep up this resistance work, because this kind of resistance is the only road to truth, justice and peace.

This is the program from Alternative Focus:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some Iraqi bloggers losing hope

Photo: A door riddled with bullet holes from a joint raid conducted by the Iraqi and U.S. Forces is seen as a boy walks out from a house in Baghdad's Sadr City February 7, 2008. (Kareem Raheem/Reuters)

Sunshine talks about the hard times in her city of Mosul, but she is one of the few bloggers who still seems hopeful. But as you can see, her situation is very difficult:

On Wednesday the situation was really bad, in the morning there were shooting all the time, at 4:30 pm I was combing my hair, and about to continue studying, something like an earth-quake happened, without thinking I knew it’s an explosion, I didn’t have time to run or hide, BOOOOOOOM, I felt like the blaster pushed me, I ran, and tried to avoid something but it hit me, I wasn’t sure what was it, smoke filled the rooms, I was glad to see everyone ok, I went to my room to see what has happened to it, the thing that hit me was my mug, and thank god we didn’t have many losses, I saw an orange smoke, we thought it was CL gas, so we put wet towels on our noses, grandpa and dad closed all the windows, and replaced the broken ones with cartoons ..
In the next day, my mom went to work, she said there were so many people in the hospital, and from time to time a family would go out crying loud because their wounded member died, it was a painful view..
On Thursday morning I couldn’t study well, there was a fight in the street behind our house, and I had to stay in the corridor, I was angry, and told grandma when she asked me to stay in a safe place “THE TERRORISTS ARE CHALLENGING ME, BUT I WILL STUDY NO MATTER WHAT” so I brought my books, sat on the floor, and studied , at noon, I got a phone call from my headmistress , she said Z was very badly injured, I couldn’t take it anymore, I lost my ability to tolerate, I was devastated, and I had a killing headache..

Sunshine has some even more hopeful words to say about the recent massive bombing in Mosul:

There were many terrible stories, people lost their whole family members, mothers lost their kids, etc, you most saw that in TV. But I heard stories made me feel how great people the Iraqis are.

I heard a talk show in the radio, when A man said “ I was in the hospital in the day of explosion, and I saw the ambulances bringing people injured very badly, I wanted to help but didn’t know what to do, so I took my car, went to a neighborhood and started to shout “ an explosion happened in a neighborhood, many people were injured, is there any one willing to donate with blood?” and I came to the hospital with about 25 guys”

Many people called and adopted the orphans, many people donated with money, clothes, & medicines, my mom and her friend called every dentist they knew collected money to the wounded people.

A man called the radio and his words touched my heart he said “I don’t have money to give, but I’ll work for free and re-build the destroyed houses and shops“ and he gave the reporter his number, the world needs more people like him.

Amazing words from someone living in a war zone who is only 16 years old!

Baghdad Dentist also talked about the massive bombing in Mosul, where he is currently living. He called it a disaster.

even the word disaster doesnt describe the crime happened there. as if a nuclear bomb were thrown there.the trees were 100metre away. the bricks of the buildings were everywhere.the power cables were in pieces allover the place. i couldnt distinguish the houses from each other and from the shops. a cyclon is less less destructive. i stood astonished there. i havent seen like this only when the b52 aircraft bombed one of the buildings during war in baghdad. without any exaggeration 20 houses were severly ruined up and nearly 35 affected. who was that monster who did it? he is the evil himself. the people who live in this area are poor and lovely and they can't harm a creature. one is working and doing his best to build a house and to grow his children up in a life with dignity and in a second all this just vanished so easily. after all i have seen I went back home and pain was tearing my heart.
Treasure of Baghdad watched the video released of Iraqi children being trained as ‘al qaeda’ although some of the training seems to him to be regular military training. He identifies the children and their adult trainers as being Iraqi from the accent. He thinks the trainers are former members of Iraqi’s military which was disbanded in 2003.
God! What does Iraq have anymore? The entire new generation is going down. It is impossible Iraq would improve or return to its former shape at least after having this new generation destroyed. Of course, they are destroyed! They have nothing to see except death, bombs, warplanes, helicopters, dead and wounded bodies, shootings, beheadings etc… It has been five years since the war started. It has been five years of their eight or ten years, seeing all of these things in front of their eyes. It’s been five years of complete failure of the Iraqi politicians to sit down and see how grave the danger surrounding us has become. It has been five years of concentrating on who gets more, who changes the flag, and who prays for God. It’s been five damned years and all Iraqis could see is nothing but collapse, segregation, hatred, and blast walls surrounding their once opened neighborhoods.

He concludes by saying that “And you know what? It’s not only al-Qaeda whom we should blame for that. It’s a lot of people.”

A Star from Mosul is in college in Mosul, and she reports on what is happening in her city and her life. She talks about two university professors who were killed and the massive explosion in her town. She titled her piece Dead Zone.

It is a bad dream, but that's it, it doesn't end. You just have to live through it and put all your feelings in some jar because they won't do you any good. During the exams a car bomb exploded in our street and broke some of the windows.. And during the exams, and in the midst of the mess, they decided to change the flag. And they did. And we the people didn't have a say in this.. They're just way too wise to be true.

Now it's the break.. and I hate breaks.. I'm sitting here at home waiting for the decisive battle on Mosul.. I'm waiting for them to come search the house.. and I do not feel like writing, so excuse me.

She sums it up with this sentence: “In short very little is going right, and the situation in Mosul is going from really bad to much worse.”

In Last of Iraqis blog, Mohammad says good bye to Iraq. He is 25 years old and a dentist living in Baghdad, and is planning on immigrating to Jordan. The title of his blog “Last of Iraqis” came from his belief that he might be the last Iraqi in Iraq, and his fear that Iraqis are going to be extinct. Mohammad completely rejects the new Iraqi flag, and is very distressed about what has happened to his country, and distressed that he feels forced to leave.

Nothing is like it used to be in my country….or what used to be my country…poor Iraq, everything beautiful in it was destroyed, everything was stolen, they even messed with the most important thing that identifies it, they even messed with the great and beautiful Iraqi flag, I wonder when will they change it's name claiming that it's a Baathiests name or Saddamists name!!!!
I wonder when will they have enough of messing around and destroying our country, I wonder when will those idiots who calls them selves politicians working for a new Iraq stop messing up Iraq!
They changed the flag, the great Iraqi flag the rolled the dead bodies of the brave soldier whether Shiite, Sunni or Kurds….it's the flag the covered the coffins of millions of Iraqis it's the flag that fluttered for many years in the Iraqi sky.

Neurotic Iraqi wife reports on an encounter with an acquaintance in a post called The Silently Grieving Black Veils. At first she did not recognize her, then the women took off her sunglasses and veil. Neurotica was disturbed by the change she saw in this women, and started to question why and if this total change in dress was only in Basra. This is what her acquaintance had to say:

She stopped applying her makeup, turned towards me and said in the saddest voice ever “Oh Neurotica, this is happening everywhere in Iraq, not just in Basrah or here but everywhere. We have become easy targets for those animal extremists”. The sadness in her voice slowly turned into anger. “Yes we suffered under Saddam’s regime, but atleast then, we knew who to blame. Now Neurotica, now, we don’t even know who to point the finger at? The Sadr Militias? The Badr Brigades? The Al Qaeda Wahabi extremists? Who do we blame Neurotica? Even the US forces are guilty.”

“I don’t even know if my neighbour will tell on me, or my friend. Or that old man I buy the vegetables from. Or that small boy sitting in the corner begging. I don’t know who will shoot me first. The militia? The police? The Americans? Or maybe a drug addict, or a drunk man? Who is it gonna be? If it wasn’t for my elderly parents I would have left long long time ago."

But the saddest post that I have run across recently was written by HNK. She is a young college student living in Mosul, and the younger sister to A Star From Mosul blogger. This one really broke my heart.

Ended Life, Killed Laughter

Breathless, hopeless, and fatigue
That's what I am now..

I am between the devil and the deep blew see
and between them

I am wishing I am never be...

What can you say after that? Updated information on Iraq at Iraq Today blog. Updated pictures of Iraqis at Faces of Grief blog. If you would like to help bring an Iraqi child to the US for medical treatment, please go to No More Victims website.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Further grounds for impeaching bush

This came from United for Peace and Justice - I find this 'signing statement' to be particularly horrible because bush has decided that he can ignore the will of the American and Iraqi people and build permanent bases in Iraq. Furthermore, he has decided that he (or his elite "base") can control Iraqi's oil revenues, which means that they can decided who to sell the oil to and who will profit. (See Section 1222 of this bill.) Now, back in 2002, I really thought that there had to be SOME reason other than oil behind this rush to invade and occupy Iraq, and of course, like all thinking people, I knew damn well it wasn't for some imaginary WMDs.

But now I know - their only reason for doing this was to control Iraq's oil, and to put in permanent military bases in order to control the region. And the reason they keep saying horrible (and untrue) things about Iran is that they want to control their oil ALSO. I do not think they will bomb Iran in the next few years, they are just trying to make them weaker and scare them into becoming compliant with what the multi-national corporations and elites want done, which is to hand over control of the oil in Iran.

bush really showed his true colors with this signing statement.

And to think our military's function in Iraq is to make the oil in the region safe for multi-national corporations, who will then sell it to westerns are a huge profit. It is greed that is beyond sickening.

Peace Movement: Bush's Latest Signing Statement
Is Grounds for Impeachment

New York, NY -- United for Peace and Justice, the country's largest anti-war coalition with over 1400 member groups, condemns President Bush's continued arrogant and unconstitutional use of signing statements.

On Monday, Jan. 25, 2008, President Bush released a signing statement claiming the right to violate four sections of H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which he had just signed into law. These four sections: 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, Bush announced, would be "construed" in a manner "consistent with the constitutional authority of the President."

Among the measures Bush's latest signing statement declares the right to violate are: the establishment of a commission to investigate U.S. contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan, the expansion of whistleblower protections, a requirement that U.S. intelligence agencies respond to congressional requests for documents, a ban on funding permanent bases in Iraq, and a ban on funding any actions that exercise U.S. control over Iraq's oil money.

Over the past seven years, the same language used by Bush on Monday, usually attributed to Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff David Addington, has been the precursor to numerous violations of law by his administration, including sections of law banning the use of torture and banning the use of funds to construct permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. The president has signed laws blocking funding for the construction of permanent bases in Iraq six times, but never stopped the construction.

In January 2007, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on Bush's use of signing statements at which Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Elwood claimed that the president is free to violate any laws until the Supreme Court rules otherwise. Following this hearing, the Government Accountability Office studied a small sample of Bush's signing statements and found that in a significant percentage of cases his administration was, in fact, violating the sections of law he had claimed the right to "interpret."

The U.S. Constitution requires that the president "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Article I, Section 7, says that:

"every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law."

"The rule of law established by the Constitution has been undermined in an almost unnoticed revolution," said Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ). "The Constitution allows the president to veto bills or sign and enforce them, not to rewrite them or to disobey them. The same document that gives the Congress the power to make every law, gives it the sole power to raise and spend money, and the sole power to declare war. The people's representatives in Congress are losing all of these powers through their failure to act on the remedy provided for precisely this situation: impeachment."

According to the U.S. State Department, 65% of Iraqis favor a withdrawal of U.S. troops. In fact, neither the Iraqi people nor the people of this country have ever supported a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq, and the U.S. Congress has never approved one.

"The sooner all the troops and military contractors are home," said Cagan, "the sooner rebuilding can begin for the Iraqi nation and for our democracy."

UFPJ is urging its members to speak with the media about this matter and to phone the House Judiciary Committee at 202-225-3951 to request that it begin impeachment hearings.

President Bush's latest signing statement:

Government Accountability Office Report:

Database of Bush Signing Statements:

Report on January House Judiciary Committee Hearings:

State Department Iraq Poll:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Letter to NYT in January 2008

Photo says - Iraqis killed: 4% of the population (red) Iraqi refugees: 16% of the population (yellow) and what that would translate into if it were the US population instead. For reference, Katrina resulted in 400,000 internally displaced Americans.


In the editorial “Unfinished Debate on Iraq” the NYT makes the correct claim that the war on Iraq should never have been fought. Our country should never start up a war against a country that has not attacked us. It is a violation of international law and human decency. It is beyond stupid.

However, I would challenge the claim the war “has been managed so ineptly.” It is true that Iraq is destroyed, but we are still hearing today how our president thinks the occupation of Iraq is a wonderful and successful project. He believes that history will judge it as a good thing.

I believe that all the perceived mistakes were actually done on purpose. And, the development of more civilian agencies to work in a post-conflict situation will never work unless the deciders in the Pentagon and White House allow them to implement their plans. The US State Department was shut out of Iraq from the beginning.

As to anyone who thinks we can one day “win” in Iraq, I can only repeat the words of Liam Madden, an Iraq War Veteran: “We cannot win a war crime.”

Above is what I sent to NYT. They, of course, through the whole editorial, never admit to any mistakes they made in reporting or questioning the run up to the war. They go on and on about what the candidates for the next office of US President needs to consider – and even make the claim that “The United States must be prepared to use military force to pre-empt another attack on American soil.” They have learned NOTHING. They still have no grasp, not even a rudimentary grasp, of international law, Nuremberg Principles, or just basic human decency. They fail to understand that bombing and destroying other parts of the world is EVIL.

They also failed to mention Kucinich, and his plans for getting out of Iraq and giving some restitution to that country. They did mention Ron Paul, and then made sure to note that he won’t win the Republican nomination. The NYT is pompous enough to say “But no voter should cast a ballot for a candidate who will not forswear such wars of choice.” Well, that would be Kucinich or Paul, one not mentioned by the NYT and the other dismissed.

But here’s the real kicker – they have the gall to insert this at the end: “We hope American voters have learned the lesson of 2000, when Mr. Bush escaped serious questioning on foreign affairs during the campaign. He then turned sensible policies on their head and bumbled his way into a disastrous war.”

It is the JOURNALISTS who ask questions during the campaigns – the typical VOTER does not have the chance. It was the NYT who FAILED TO ASK THE SERIOUS QUESTIONS DURING THE CAMPAIGN OF 2000, and it was them and other American journalists who discussed non-issues with Gore and Bush and made up a bunch of nonsense about both of them. It was the CORPORATE MEDIA that pushed Bush, claiming he was a regular guy who would be fun to hang out with, while they showed their dislike of Gore. Now, I could see in 2000 that Bush would be a total disaster, so how come I am so much smarter than the people working at the NYT??

Also, the recent election season has shown us how the corporate TV excludes anyone from the debates who is against war (Kucinich and Paul). The "debates" were between covert pro-war candidates and overt pro-war candidates. Therefore, the election of 2008 will likely bring us more of the same evil that we have been living with for years, if not decades.

I sent off the top part of this in the hopes that it will get into the pages of the NYT as a letter to the editor, but it was not. But hey, I can always put it on my blog.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Letters to NYT Editor from 2006

Letter to the editor at NYT


In your editorial “An Iraq Debate” the claim is made that both US generals and Iraqi officials have a desire for US troops to leave Iraq. It seems to me that this desire is not shared by the Bush administration, even though they may state otherwise. This editorial goes on to outline what needs to be done in Iraq for the US troops to leave, without taking note that they have been there over three years and have failed totally to achieve any of these goals. In fact, the situation continues to deteriorate.

It would seem that in order for the Iraqi troops to “stand up” and assume a position of being able to control their country and defend against possible aggressors, they would need an air force. I have heard nothing about providing the Iraqi military with planes and bombs to put on those planes. I have heard that Iraqi officials are talking about offering amnesty to their citizens who have fought with US troops at some point, however – which may explain the reluctance of the US military to establish an Iraqi air force.

The lack of concern exhibited by the current administration and our military towards Iraqi civilians is astonishing. They cannot be bothered to record and publish the names of the dead, if they notice that someone has been killed. If the over all goal in Iraq is to provide Iraqis with a decent life and a decent future, then evidence of working towards these goals should be evident. It is not. The lack of care in providing for their safety, comfort, welfare and well-being is easily noticeable.

In light of that fact, and in light of the fact that the situation continues to deteriorate markedly, if I were an Iraqi, I know I would want nothing more than for the US military to leave my country. This may mean further deterioration in the situation in Iraq in the short term, but it is becoming clearer every day that the situation can never improve (for the average Iraqi) if the US military is in their country and the US government is running the show.

Letter to the editor at NYT


I feel that an op-ed piece in your paper claiming that anti-war protests have gone to hundreds of US troop's funerals and protested is totally inaccurate. I am heavily involved in the anti-war movement and I have heard NOTHING about such activities. I actually cannot imagine the anti-war movement doing such a thing. The op-ed also has the claim that "hundreds have protested at military hospitals" also. I believe this is also untrue.

The only protests at military funerals that I have heard about are from the group that is glad IEDs are killing our troops because of homosexuality in the USA. They are not an anti-war group, they are the ugliest and most disrespectful PRO-WAR group around! I feel their behavior is just horrible.

Anti-war groups would never want to take joy in the killing or pain of another human being. That is clearly not the way to peace.

Please correct this before it becomes an established rumor that everyone believes.

To Letter to the editor at NYT


In the article “Oil, Politics and Bloodshed Corrupt an Iraqi City” the author states “In the shadowy world of Shiite politics, the fight is over power.” I would have to add that this was the real reason (unstated, of course) behind the US/UK invasion of Iraq – to control the area and the resources. And it should come as no surprise that local folks would also attempt to control the area and the resources, and fight with each other to do. They are just following our fine example. As Martin Luther King said, ‘violence begets violence.’

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

One Day = $720 million

This video was done by the American Friends Service Committee. This is what they have to say:
Visit to tell Congress how you want your tax dollars spent. The Iraq war has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of U.S. military personnel. It is also costing $720 Million dollars each day - dollars that could be spent in much more constructive ways. It is time to DEFUND the war and RE-FUND human needs in the U.S. and Iraq. Get more details about our Cost of War campaign and sign our petition at
And here is their video on the costs of this war:

Monday, February 04, 2008

What to do at a mass protest

Somewhere in surfing the web, I came across this article called How to Make a March/ Spectacle. It was posted on the Indymedia page from Portugal.

Here are some of the ideas that I found very entertaining - and useful:

1.Masses of flowers –a visual spectacle– especially concentraded in the front lines. Can be used to set up barricades, to present to Hell’s Angels, police, and press and spectators whenever needed or at the parade’s end. Masses of marchers can be asked to bring their own flowers. Front lines should be organized and provided with flowers in advance.

2.Front lines should be the psychologically less vulnerable groups. The Women for Peace or any other respectable organization, perhaps a line of poets and artists, mothers, families, professors. This should also be announced (publicized in advance).

3.Marchers should bring crosses, to held up in front in case of violence ; like in the movies dealing with Dracula. (This for those who use crosses or Jewish stars.)

4.Marchers who use American flags should bring those; at least one front row of American flags and myriad in the spectacle.

5.Marchers should bring harmónicas, flutes, recorders, guitars, banjos and violins. (Those who don’t use crosses or flags.) Bongos and tambourines.

6.Marchers should bring certain children’s toys (not firecrackers or baloons wich cause noise hysteria) wich can be used for distracting attackers: such as sparklers, toy rubber swords, specially the little whirling carbon Wheels wich make red-white-blue sparkles, toy soldiers.

7.In case of heavy anxiety, confusion or struggle in isolated spots marchers could be led in:
Sit Down
Mass Cleisthenics

In case of threat of attack:
marchers could intone en masse the following mantras - The lord’s Prayer, Three Blind Mice (sung), OM (AUM) long breath in unison, Star Spangled Banner, Mary Had a Little Lamb (spoken in unison)

8.More intersting Zen/ Spectacle SIGNS
As in Oakland So in Vietnam
Everybody’s Made of Meat
Nobody Wants To Get Hurt – Us Or
Everybody’s Wrong Including U.S.
Hell’s Angels Vietcong Birch Society
We Love You Too

9.Candy bars carried by marchers to offer Hell’s Angels and police.

10.Marchers encouraged to carry copies of Constitution if they have them; or can buy them.

11.Little paper halos to offer Angels , police and spectators and patriots.

12.A row of marchers with white flags and many white flags im mass.

13.Those who have movie cameras bring them and take pictures of spectacle or any action. (To combine for documentary film wich could be used in court in case of legal hassles later, and also to circulate for propaganda and profits.) Monitors who can should have cameras.

I rather like the idea of singing Three Blind Mice - but not the Star Spangled Banner. That national song of the US is very war like. Imagine singing Three Blind Mice to the police or for today's thugs at the public protests - the Gathering of Eagles (GOE). The GOE took the place of Hell's Angels, I guess. I was at a protest march in Tennessee where people thought the GOE was part of our demonstration. Carrying candy bars probably would not work with me. I would just go ahead and eat them. I don't care for the little halos either, but there are plenty of good ideas here, and more at the original source.

And here is a link to 198 methods of Nonviolent Action.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

US military in Iraq

Photo: This child was orphaned by US troops in January 2005. Her photo was seen around the world, right next to the picture of bush being re-inaugurated. Photo taken from Left I on the News blog, story about this child is here. This happened in Tal Afar, but incidents similar to this have happened all over Iraq.

This story came from a NY newspaper called the Times Union:

Chaplain's duty is parish's calling

An Army chaplain deployed to Iraq is expanding his mission beyond the spiritual needs of soldiers. His target: the children of Mosul. It's called Project Iraqi Children. The Rev. Stanley Jasiurkowski is working with his old parish, Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa in Colonie, to collect basic necessities for kids in Iraq's second-largest city.

……."It is heartbreaking when you see 5- or 6-year-old children run outside to play with their new soccer balls in the sewage and filth of the city without any shoes," Jasiurkowski wrote. "I know that there is no parent among us who would ever let their children play in such an environment at all, much less without attending to their most basic clothing and sanitary needs."

……. The destitution of Iraq's children aroused his compassion. The problems, he wrote in a recent letter to the parish, are "beyond the power of their parents to fix."

The parishioners at this church pitched in to help out. They set up a box for donations. They are holding a rummage sale to pay for shipping costs. This chaplain is right in that the problems are beyond the power of Iraqi parents to fix – but he fails to note that the problems stem from the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. These people were not that bad off under Saddam. They did not have sewage in the streets, because the sewer pipes had not been blown to hell by bomb dropped from the air. This article ends with this statement:

Jasiurkowski's message registered with parishioners like Mary Ann Willey of Colonie. She lingered after Mass Sunday with a small group of church members who sat down over coffee to discuss Project Iraqi Children. "If we can teach the children that we're ... a giving country," she said, "maybe they will think kindly of America."

I wrote a letter to the editor to this paper on December 31, 2007. They did not contact me about publishing the letter, and since they are not using it, I will publish it here on my blog.

I read the report of the good people of the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa in Colonie and their attempts to raise needed supplies for the children of Mosul, Iraq. The chaplain's letter to them told them that the problems of Mosul were "beyond the power of their parents to fix." While that is certainly true, it did not address where all those problems came from. They came from the US invasion and occupation of that country.

I was appalled to read one women's comment that "If we can teach the children that we're ... a giving country," she said, "maybe they will think kindly of America." Do you really think that a child will forget about his grandfather being shot by US troops or a lost unborn baby brother
because of shoes and soccer balls?

Do you really think that this will inspire them to "think kindly" of America? One teenaged Iraqi blogger in Mosul said recently that Iraq was no longer her country. Reading her blog, and the blog of other young Iraqis in Mosul is like reading Anne Frank in real time. One hopes the outcome is better, but that is all it is - a hope.

Children are dying from simple things like pneumonia and diarrhea and malnutrition in Mosul. They were dying from cholera this past summer. The rate of child death is much higher than it was under Saddam. I would like to suggest that the good people of the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa in Colonie ask themselves why the children of Mosul are in the condition they are in, and what they can do about those conditions beyond giving them shoes, clothes or soccer balls. I suppose if they really get into the business of why there are such poor, why the infrastructure of Mosul is in such bad shape after five years of US occupation, and why children are dying of simple diseases and lack of food, they would get the same answers that the rebel Jesus got.

It amazes me that there are Americans who think that clothes, shoes, soccer balls and other charities will cause people to think we are a kind and giving nation after we bomb country after country, kill innocent people by the hundreds of thousands, ruin the lives of millions, and never say we are sorry.

I think it is admirable that the people of this church want to help out, but they seriously need to look a lot deeper at what their country is doing, and how they are contributing to the vast destruction that the US military is ordered to visit on countries that never hurt us at all.

I think it is admirable that some people in our military want to help out, and even more admirable that they want to start up jobs programs or support Iraqi business – THAT is the true route to prosperity, but it can only happen after the US stops it’s military and political and economic interventions that do not serve the interest of the foreign country. I would also like to point out that reconstruction is the job of the STATE department, not the DEFENSE department. It is both dangerous and stupid to have the US military serve that function – dangerous to our troops and dangerous to the civilians in the countries that they occupy.

It is amazing that some of our military have figures out that there is “no military solution” and that “we can’t shoot our way out of this” and that they have stepped up (above is just one small example) to try to find economic and political solutions. And that is why things have calmed down in Iraq – they US military is paying salaries to a lot of former insurgents. And the insurgents can now feed their families again, and stopped fighting (there are other factors at work, too, but this is a major one).

Now – what happens when the US military STOPS paying them?

For the record, paying off the Iraqis not to fight (sometimes known as bribery) is way cheaper than continuing the war and occupation. However, the multi-national defense industries DON’T MAKE ANY MONEY THIS WAY, so this is not going to be a permanent plan – it totally undermines the only reason for making war in the first place.