REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (
PEACE to ALL!
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (
A mother kisses the face of her dead son in the morgue of the local hospital in the northeastern town of
Sunday, November 23rd – At least 11 Iraqis were killed and another 37 injured in
Monday, November 24th – At least 34 Iraqis were killed and another 31 wounded across
Tuesday, November 25th – At least 6 Iraqis were killed, 10 more wounded, and 3 US military personnel died in
Wednesday, November 26th – At least 35 Iraqis were killed and 24 were wounded in violence across
Thursday, November 27th – At least 8 Iraqis were killed and 43 more were wounded in
Friday, November 28th – At least 21 Iraqis were killed and 58 more were wounded across the country on Friday, while thousands of Sadr supporters protested the passage of the US-Iraqi SOFA agreement in
Saturday, November 29th – At least 44 Iraqis were killed and 32 more wounded across the country on Saturday. In addition, a rocket attack in
Palestinians mourn over the body of Mohamed al-Kurd, 62, a father of an Arab family who was recently evicted from their house in east
After finishing my post on my experiences on Saturday, I went to a workshop on “Depleted Uranium Weapons: Why Not Believe the Pentagon?”. The speaker (who’s name I did not catch) said that there are over 700 tons of depleted uranium in the
He talked about the experimentation in the 1940’s on US troops with exposure to nuclear radiation. He said that starting in 1984, DU was used as a counter balance weight on planes. The problem is when they crash and catch fire, the burning DU causes irradiation of internal tissues. He also talked about how the EU has demanded a stop to DU weapons, but NATO just says it is not a problem. Underestimating the health effects of radiation from exploded DU has been consistent with NATO. Cancer usually occurs 20 to 30 years after exposure. Over a half million people in the
Later that evening, Rachel, Oliver, Tim and I went to see the movie “Soldiers of Conscience”. This is a powerful movie, showing how four soldiers/Marines who were sent to
Sunday morning started early – we were one of the first cars in the parking lot. I’m not sure why Rachel wanted to get there so early, but it did give us time to connect with Claire and transfer her luggage to my car. There were some speakers and music at the beginning of the day, and this included guidelines on non-violence and prayer readings. Father Roy Bourgeois, a founder of SOA Watch, also spoke for a brief spell.
And then there was a solemn procession with the white crosses. The reason for the SOA Watch started with the killing of six Jesuit priests in 1989 in El Salvador. And there are many other victims, and they try to make sure that ALL the victims are remembered. Since it was Christians that were mainly killed, there are crosses, reflecting the fact that most of the violence was directed against Christians. The roots of the violence also came from a nation – the
The reading of a name was followed by the entire crowd singing “presente” after each name. This was beautiful, and took about two hours. As this event was going on, people walked with their crosses and put them on the fence, in one fashion or another. I put mine in the farthest left reaches of the fence. I think some people walked in the slow procession the entire time, but I went up a driveway and took some photos, and later sat down on a chair. It was a draining experience. It is something to hear all those names – and I wish we could do something like this for the victims of
This was followed by the Puppetista Pageant, and then musical acts. I walked back to my car to put away some books I had purchased, and I left my camera and coat there. As I was walking back, I saw a large group of young adults walking down the street, outside the protest area and headed towards
I walked with them. It was really, really fun because this was spontaneous and totally a surprise to the police there. Helicopters had hovered overhead nearly all day long, and they followed this march into the streets too. The protesters blocked most of the traffic on one side of the road (a six lane road) and all the walkers were busy shouting chants like “hey hay, ho, ho, the SOA has got to go”. This is the first time ever that the protest left the designated area, and there were thousands of protesters on the street. I dropped out fairly early, and walked back to my car. I did see about seven police cars on a side road. They were clearly thrown for a loop! I wish I had my camera at that point to take pictures, but I didn’t. Anyway, the group walked down a long block of Victory Drive, turned right on a side street, and the turned again on a side street that brought them back to the rally area. This was the best part of the weekend for me – because we took back the streets, if only for a few minutes. Considering where this country is headed, I am beginning to think that we will have to have many mass protests in the streets, and occupations of our cities, in order to turn things around. I am proud to say "I went with the kids". I know they were young adults, but once you pass fifty, they somehow become "kids".
I am proud to say "I went with the kids". I know they were young adults, but once you pass fifty, they somehow become "kids".
Here is one of many songs to close the SOA:
Now is the time for us to raise our voice;
Hasn’t there been enough that’s been destroyed?
Now is the time for us to use our hands;
So we can spred the truth throughout the land.
And another one:
No mas, no more, shout the hills of
Echo the voices of the world, we cry out “NO MAS! NO MORE!”
No mas, no more, we must stop the dirty wars,
Companeros, companeras, we cry out “NO MAS! NO MORE!”
This post is dedicated to those who died or suffered from the SOA, and all those who crossed into
Yesterday, I arrived in
The first event we attended was “Respect Democracy: How your tax dollars buy Latin American elections.” I don’t think this was part of the program, but a women named Maria Guardado got up and spoke about her time being tortured, raped and kidnapped. I didn’t take notes, so I cannot fill you in on the details, but I can tell you that it was difficult to hear her story….. and I have no doubt she was speaking the truth.
The session was about the Respect for Democracy Campaign. They spoke about the taxpayer funded ‘National Endowment for Democracy’ and how this organization is NOT promoting democracy, but instead promoting corporate interests in other countries. They manipulate elections around the world in ways that would be quite illegal here in the
One example of what they have done is the election in
Whenever and wherever people say NO to corporate privatization of natural resources and public services, whenever and wherever people demand fair wages and economic opportunities versus mega-profits for the few, the US government steps in to try and manipulate the electoral process. Whether by funding campaigns, buying votes, making threats, or even sponsoring coup d’etats, the goal is the same: where there’s a conflict, make sure corporate greed trumps human needs.They are asking for the National Endowment for Democracy to be shut down. And, really, even if it was a good thing (which it is not), why are we spending our tax dollars on elections in other countries? That is just stupid. The Respect for Democracy Campaign is a project of the
This was followed by a movie on Don White. Now, I had not heard of Don White, and I clearly missed something by not knowing him personally. He died earlier this year, and he was clearly quite the activist and funny as can be. The movie was called “Don White in His Own Words”. I recommend watching that if you have chance.
Saturday morning started with a large Plenary Session, with speakers, singers, musicians. They had everyone who had crossed the line and gone to prison stand up, and they had all the first-timers to the SOA Watch raise their hands. It was a good sized crowd, and this was held in the
This was followed by the Rally at the Gates of Fort Benning. More good music, more speeches and motivational talks, more stories of horror that came directly from the US Government’s policies. I left the rally early to share my day with you, so thank you for reading! I am leaving shortly to go to a workshop on depleted uranium, and later tonight will see a film called “Soldiers of Conscience”.
I want to dedicate this blog post to Ruth, an
(AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)I would bet that the names are not written in Arabic, since the US soldiers likely cannot read Arabic. That means that the names have been translated to English, and since there are sounds in Arabic that are not present in English, there could be several different translations.
But here's the question to ponder: At what price virtuosity? In World War I and World War II, the Germans were the best soldiers because they had trained and fought the most, because their societies were geared, mentally and in most other ways, for war, because they celebrated and valued feats of arms above all other contributions one could make to society and culture.
Being "the best soldiers" meant that senior German leaders -- whether the Kaiser, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, that Teutonic titan of World War I, or Hitler -- always expected them to prevail. The mentality was: "We're number one. How can we possibly lose unless we quit -- or those [fill in your civilian quislings of choice] stab us in the back?"
If this mentality sounds increasingly familiar, it's because it's the one we ourselves have internalized in these last years. German warfighters and their leaders knew no limitations until it was too late for them to recover from ceaseless combat, imperial overstretch, and economic collapse.
military, and by extension American culture, is caught in a similar bind. After all, if we truly believe ours to be "the world's best military" (and, judging by how often the claim is repeated in the echo chamber of our media, we evidently do), how can we possibly be losing in Iraq or Afghanistan? U.S.
Of course, we are losing in
But like the Germans, I often think that Americans will not turn their backs on war-making unless one of two things happens: war comes to our front porches, or we go broke. Of course, if war comes to us, we will likely end up broke anyway.
I am headed to Fort Benning this weekend, to join the protest of the School of the Americas.
Photo: Activists of
I suppose this is a joke, but I don't find it funny. The US has shipped hundreds of people places where they were tortured - often by Americans. This is shameful.I sent my response to the Asheville office. Heard nothing back.
An Iraqi family sits in the courtyard of their farm as
And, just a few days before the election, Obama had this to say on MSNBC:
Interview on Oct 30, 2008
MADDOW: I have a national security question for you about
. You have argued, as had John McCain argued and now the Bush administration agrees that we need more troops in Afghanistan . Why do more troops in Afghanistan equal a higher likelihood of success? What's the exit strategy for Afghanistan ? How long are we going to be there? Afghanistan
OBAMA: Well, unfortunately, I think
's going to be tough. I don't think there is a quick fix to what's happening there. Because we have a combination of a government that is not seen as fully legitimate all throughout Afghanistan . It's not particularly capable in terms of delivering services right now. You've got a very powerful narco-terrorism, or intersection of narco-trafficking with terrorism. Just the terrain is terrible for trying to move out the Taliban and al Qaeda. And then you've got Afghanistan , and a border that is porous and very difficult. So, it's not going to be easy, but here's what I know. That we can't allow bin Laden and al Qaeda to establish safe havens where they are plotting to kill Americans and train troops. There's no dispute that that's taking place right now. And so, we've got to make Pakistan stable enough and focused enough on controlling its own borders, that we're not seeing the Taliban and al Qaeda return. In the meantime, I think the most important thing that we're going to have to do in addition to adding more troops, providing alternatives to farmers for the poppy trade. Making sure that services are actually being delivered to the Afghan people. Afghanistan
The most important thing we're going to have to do with respect to
Afghanistan, is actually deal with . And we've got work with the newly elected government there in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you. We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan Pakistanand Indiaand try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on , but on the situation with those militants. And, we've got to say to the Pakistani people, we're not just going to fund a dictator in order for us to feel comfortable with who we're dealing with. We're going to respect democracy. But, we do have expectations in terms of being a partner in its terrorism. India
MADDOW: But, you don't think of having a larger military footprint interferes their ability to do that stuff? To work with Pakistani government, to work with the Afghan government.
OBAMA: Oh, look. I mean, we're part of a coalition force that right now is under-manned. I mean, we have -- up until fairly recently, had one quarter of the troops in
Afghanistanthat we had in . And so, we're not looking to duplicate 150,000 troops in Iraq . But, on the other hand, if we've only got 30,000, or 35,000, on a huge terrain and we're asking people to do a lot, I don't want a situation in which our troops continue to be under stop loss, or they are on the kinds of rotations that they've been under. Or, they don't have the basic support services that will allow them to consolidate any gains that they make. Right now, it's just a little too scattershot an operation for them to secure and then build in these areas. And that's something that I think we can improve on. But, military power alone is not sufficient. It's necessary, but not sufficient. Afghanistan
Well, at least he recognizes that the military alone is not sufficient, and that we need to deliver services (not sure what that means exactly) to the Afghani people. The comment about not funding a dictator in
It is bad enough they started up a war in
And meanwhile, here is a quote I found recently:
An interviewer for the French publication, Le Nouvel Observateur, asked Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Adviser under Carter) in a 1998 interview whether he regretted "having given arms and advice to future terrorists," and Brzezinski replied: "Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? ... What is most important to the history of the world? ... Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation ofBrzezinski is an adviser to Obama. And, of course, those “stirred-up Muslims” went on to become al Qaeda and attacked the
Central Europeand the end of the Cold War?"
Well, maybe the upcoming depression will stop all our warmongering. Maybe if Americans get hungry, they will demand an end to spending all this money on war making that leads nowhere, but kills a lot of innocent foreign brown people.
Photo: Pakistani peace activists hold candles as they protest against the
War is not the answer.
They passed out 1.2 million papers, drove them to prearranged pickup locations, and thousands of volunteers passed them out at subways and on the street. Articles in the paper covered the ending of wars, the establishment of national health care, the end of corporate lobbying, and a maximum wage for CEOs. They post dated the paper for July 4, 2009 and included a speech by President Obama saying "Yes, we REALLY can". Even the ads are great – one is Exxon promoting their new energy policies, with the line 'Peace can also be lucrative'.
One sad story they included was this:
Last to Die
Two proportional monuments — one to the Iraqi dead, 300 feet high, and one to the American dead, 15 feet high — are unveiled in Baghdad, and a five-year-old boy whose lifespan coincided with that of the Iraq War is remembered. By J. FINISTERRA, PAGE A5
Another good one was this:
Evangelicals Open Homes to Refugees
Up to a million Iraqi exiles — nearly half of the total — will find sanctuary in Christian homes across the
, vows the National Association of Evangelicals. Other denominations are expected to follow. By W. WILBERFORCE, Page A7 U.S.
Imagine! Christians actually acting like Christians!
They had a special corrections section with this announcement:
Portraits of Grief
From September 14 to December 31, 2001, the New York Times published "Portraits of Grief," daily obituaries of the victims of the September 11 attacks. We are proud of this coverage, which won several awards. Tomorrow, the Times begins part two of the series with obituaries of the civilians and soldiers killed between 2001 and today in
Afghanistanand . Two soldiers, and one hundred civilians, will be very briefly memorialized each day, adding a full fold-out page to each edition. The series will continue for thirty years. (Estimates of the number of Iraqis who have died violent deaths since the 2003 invasion vary from 100,000 to well over one million. The Times apologizes for consistently using only the low end of this spectrum of estimates.) Iraq
And they had Tomas FRIED MAN pen a special column for his termination at the paper. Here's a clip:
The sudden outbreak of peace in
has made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write. I know, you're thinking I'm going too far. I haven't always been wrong about everything. I recently made some sense on global warming and what we needed to do about it, for instance. But to have been so completely and fundamentally wrong about so huge a disaster as what we have done to Iraq — and ourselves — is outrageous enough to prove that people like me have no business posing as wise men, and, more importantly, that The New York Times has no business continuing to provide me with a national platform. In any case, I have made a decision: as of today, I will no longer write in this or any other newspaper. I will immediately desist from writing any more books about how it's time for everyone to climb on board the globalization high-speed monorail to the future. I will keep my opinions to myself. Iraq
…… To err is human, but to print, reprint, and re-reprint error- mad humans like me is a criminally moronic editorial policy.
The Yes Men are fantastic! I love this action!
"aftermath of two suicide car bombings, the third suicide bomber attacks seconds later. 41 killed, 100 or more injured. Video was recorded from a cell phone..."
This headline says it all:
Yes, yet another mass grave from the Bush-era in
"It is the latest in a series of mass graves of the new
And here is another report of 20 bodies found in an abandoned house that has been declared a mass grave near Tal Afar. It mentions yet another mass grave that had 34 bodies near the town of
We were told that Saddam put 300,000 to 400,000 people in mass graves during his rule over
But what the
But one thing is for sure – the
Here's a video of one of
The war (and occupation) goes on forever and the horror never ends.
For example, the International Committee of the Red Cross said “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) describes the condition of
And last week, a main water pipeline in
About 20% of Iraqi children are not in school. Instead, they are begging on the streets or working at a menial job.
And for the Iraqis who are refugees in other countries, Refugee International has recently said this:
“Two million Iraqi refugees are increasingly desperate and few of them are willing to return home. Although the United Nations and donor governments have dramatically increased their response to Iraqi refugees’ needs, these efforts must be expanded as refugees are increasingly vulnerable due to depleting assets and rising costs.
And I am still collecting pictures of Iraqis from news sources and saving them to a blog called ‘Faces of Grief’. Lately, the amount of photos coming from
After few minutes another explosion happened, with tears on my brother's check he looked at me and said " you are a liar you said there won't be explosions any more" I couldn't answer, but I hugged him..
There were a lot of noise and shouts in the neighborhood, not everyone was lucky like my family and I, people died and others injured, one of my neighbors who is a new bride was injured badly in her face and neck, why should such a beautiful young lady live with scars in her face?? Oh god, your mercy, when will we have a peaceful life? I want to stop worrying and start living .. I missed school for one day, I stayed to help fixing the house, my brother went to grandpa while he was talking the man who'll make new windows for us and said "TELL HIM TO BRING BETTER WINDOWS THIS TIME SO THAT WHEN EXPLOSIONS HAPPEN NEXT TIME THEY DON'T BRAKE ,OK?
Here is one Iraqi’s opinion on what happened to his country, called
And here is a clip from a commentary on what
Once upon time we were the cradle of civilizations. For many ages we were the rulers of empires.
Once upon time we lived together under occupations, through wars and starvation.
Once upon time we used to travel to countries and our passports were not rejected.
Once upon time our identity was Iraqi, now it became sect or ethnicity.
We were Iraqis once… and have a country.
Without saying so explicitly, the Republicans leave the impression thatAnd here is another clip, from an article called “Devastation in
is now a nearly pacific place. But let's look at the actual statistics for September — as compiled for the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index. Last month, 98 Iraqi policemen were killed. On about two days out of every three, a bomb killed two or more people. Over all, those bombings killed 164 people and wounded 366 others. These and other attacks killed 500 Iraqi civilians, about 17 a day. ….. About 19,000 Iraqis remain in American military prisons. Almost 3 million Iraqis driven from their homes still are not willing or able to return. Even now, almost five years after the invasion, Iraq residents get just over 11 hours of electricity each day, compared to 20 hours before the war. At the same time, no one is kidnapping foreigners any longer. Helicopters aren't being shot down. Attacks on oil pipelines have virtually ceased. As for the carnage, while the violence remains frighteningly high, in January of 2007 there were at least two bombings every day, and more than 3,700 Iraqi civilians died. Baghdad
that has emerged from the American invasion and occupation is now a thoroughly wrecked land, housing a largely dysfunctional society. More than a million Iraqis may have died; millions have fled their homes; many millions of others have been scarred by war, insurgency and counterinsurgency operations, extreme sectarian violence, and soaring levels of common criminality. Education and medical systems have essentially collapsed and, even today, with every kind of violence in decline, Iraq remains one of the most dangerous societies on earth. Iraq
An in depth report on the current conditions in
….what was once the most advanced Middle Eastern society – economically, socially, and technologically – has become an economic basket case, rivaling the most desperate countries in the world. Only the (as yet unfulfilled) promise of oil riches, which probably cannot be effectively accessed or used until US forces withdraw from the country, provides a glimmer of hope that Iraq will someday lift itself out of the abyss into which the US invasion pushed it.And here is another headline to sum up one consequence of our actions:
This was also posted on Daily Kos on 11-9-08 (and pretty much ignored).
This was also posted on Daily Kos on 11-9-08 (and pretty much ignored).
(AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)