As Americans finally begin to grasp the magnitude of the Iraq catastrophe, Bush's popularity hits a new low.
By Juan Cole, www.salon.com
Mar. 01, 2006 | The catastrophe in Iraq, the scope of which is now apparent to even the most disengaged observer, and his mishandling of the Dubai port issue have sent President George W. Bush's public approval ratings to the lowest of his presidency. According to a Reuters poll, only 34 percent of Americans believe he is doing a good job overall. Only 30 percent, less than a third, think he is managing the Iraq situation well. A remarkable 72 percent of American troops polled in Iraq think the U.S. should leave Iraq within the next year. Nor is there any hope for Bush on the horizon. The bloody events in Iraq have undermined American authority in that country and in the Middle East more generally. The Shiite clergy of Iran and Iraq have bolstered their own authority at Bush's expense. This development has already severely limited his scope of action in Iran, and will doubtless have many other negative consequences in the months and years ahead.
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
We've decided to hold a month of Monday gatherings at our local federal building focused on the costs of the war - we started today and had an excellent turnout - about 30 people from noon-1 in bitter cold temperatures, media coverage from 2 radio stations, newspaper, and a TV station and a couple of student reporters. We also got good pre-event coverage in the paper and one radio station. Today's event focused on teh "human cost of war" - civilian and military deaths and we gave out armbands for people to wear (black w/death toll in red). Next week is the "local cost of the war" - impact of budget cuts, etc., following week is "moral costs of the war" - torture and prisoner abuse. We have props and signs each week and plan to culminate with a large demonstration and direct action on monday, March 20. We hope to use the armbands and regular gathering time to build up participation for the 20th.
By Carl Sheeler
I'm one of the first people to argue for a strong national defense and military. But, I'm noticing a trend. Maybe it is not really a new trend, but I hope others are noticing it too. I'd like to think the media is doing some investigative journalism to keep our government honest.
When we hear about bombings in Iraq, do we think of bombs exploding in some place in Iraq or do we think about people (mostly civilians) having their limbs ripped off or beyond recognition? Is it okay if we don't witness the gore? Is it justified because we're doing our part for their Democracy"? These are people like you and me - aren't they? Was their crime being born into the wrong country or nationality? When do we stop and sniff the napalm?
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig.com
Do you buy Dubai? That's this season's big hit, a zany farce with pompous officials in the Bush administration and their hysterical courtiers in the mass media asserting positions that are patently absurd but hilarious to watch. Audiences are eating it up.
Great fun - but not for everyone. Feel the pain over at Fox television. How do you go on stoking xenophobic hysteria against the Arabs when the Golden Boy in the White House has turned over management of American ports to an emir who once backed the Taliban? OK, so now he's a good guy, responding to Daddy Bush's charity pitch by throwing $100 million to Katrina victims, and before that another million into the Bush presidential library. But how do you sell that to a Fox television audience brainwashed to believe that Saddam Hussein is indistinguishable from Osama bin Laden because they both speak Arabic?
By Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor
Government report says poor planning left Iraq without enough skilled workers to rebuild efficiently.
A report from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) says that poor postwar planning for Iraq by the Bush administration meant that there were not enough skilled workers available to properly rebuild Iraq's economy and public works.
United Nations - U.S. opposition to a draft resolution on a new U.N. Human Rights Council led to a delay of a General Assembly vote this week and intense consultations on Tuesday on whether to reopen the text.
Jan Eliasson, president of the 191-member General Assembly, who drew up the resolution, said a majority of U.N. members supported the draft and warned new talks might endanger the entire effort.
By Ellen Knickmeyer, Washington Post
Sunnis force evictions as Iraq tensions grow.
Baghdad - Salim Rashid, 34, a Shiite laborer in an overwhelmingly Sunni Arab village 20 miles north of Baghdad, received his eviction notice Friday from a man at the door with a rocket launcher.
"It's 6 p.m.," Rashid recounted the masked man saying then, as retaliatory violence between Shiites and Sunnis exploded across wide swaths of central Iraq. "We want you out of here by 8 p.m. tomorrow. If we find you here, we will kill you."
By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | www.truthout.org
The White House confirmed Tuesday that it recently turned over to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald 250 pages of emails from the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney related to covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence. The emails were not submitted three years ago when then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales ordered White House staffers to turn over all documents that contained any reference to Valerie and Joseph Wilson.
By DEMOCRACY NOW!
The U.S. government has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought
by an Egyptian man who spent several months in U.S. detention even though he
had been cleared of terror charges. Ehab Elmaghraby was one of over 100
Muslim men rounded up and detained after the 9/11 attacks. According to a
lawsuit, he was repeatedly beaten and abused by prison guards. We go to
Egypt to speak with Elmaghraby and we are joined by two of his attorneys.
Iraqi Women Make Rare Trip to the US for International Women's Day
Will speak with members of Congress, meet with Cindy Sheehan, and deliver an urgent call for peace to the UN and White House
Two delegation members whose families were killed by US troops were denied visas.
New York, NY – Seven Iraqi women will converge in New York on Sunday, March 5th to begin a speaking tour to educate Americans about the reality in Iraq and meet with UN and US officials to call for a peace plan to end the escalating spiral of violence. The delegation is a diverse group, including Shia, Sunni and Kurdish women - some secular, some religious. All have paid a very high price for the war and occupation of their country, and want to tell their stories to the American people. Unfortunately, two Iraqi women whose families were killed by US troops were denied visas to enter the US as part of the delegation.
By Scott Ritter, Seattle Times
As the United States and Iraq approach the third anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it might do all Americans well to take some time out and reflect on how we got where we are, as well as where we are going in Iraq and the Middle East as a whole.
Gone forever is any talk of song and flowers, economic recoveries paid for by Iraqi oil, or a blooming democracy in the cradle of civilization. The state of affairs between the Bush administration and the newly elected government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari is strained, to say the least, with the United States threatening to cut off aid to Iraq, and Iraq telling the United States to "butt out."
March 19th will mark the third anniversary of a war that never should have happened -- a war based on lies that continue to devastate the lives of thousands, both in Iraq and the United States.
Three Years Too Many: March 13 – 22: is a week of local actions taking place throughout the US to end the war and bring the troops home now.
The Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice will be sponsoring the following events locally as part of this national effort coordinated by United for Peace and Justice.
Washington, DC - Last night, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), during a speech on the Floor of the House of Representatives, called the war in Iraq a civil war. The text of the speech is below.
Congresswoman Waters is the Founder and Chair of the 71 member 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus. The Caucus was formed in June 2005 to pressure the Administration into concluding the war in Iraq as soon as possible.
Check out the news from impeachment efforts in Nebraska, including a report on Dick Cheney's birthday bash.
From Erik K. Gustafson, Executive Director, Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC)
Some more unconventional wisdom from some reliable sources. Note the consensus that appears to be emerging about how last year’s accelerated political timetable has contributed to an escalation of the conflict (something that Laith Kubba and many other leading Iraqi authorities warned Washington about last year).
By Stacy Bannerman, Member, Military Families Speak Out
Thursday March 2, 2006, 12:00-1:00
Institute For Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C.
When the War Came Home is a personal and controversial narrative from Stacy Bannerman, the peace-activist wife of an Army National Guard reservist called to Iraq. The book chronicles a journey that began when Bannerman’s husband Lorin, a 43-year-old Sergeant First Class, was called to active duty as an Infantry Mortar Platoon Sergeant in October 2003. Bannerman describes the countdown to her husband’s deployment, recalling the emotional tumult of this period and during Lorin’s time in Iraq.
By Edward Epstein, Charlie Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco's supervisors jumped into national politics Tuesday, passing a resolution asking the city's Democratic congressional delegation to seek the impeachment of President Bush for failing to perform his duties by leading the country into war in Iraq, eroding civil liberties and engaging in other activities the board sees as transgressions.
ALLEN in New Hampshire: Sen. George Allen is expected to visit the
state during the month of March. [UnionLeader.com, 1/26/06]
BUSH: President Bush will push job training by religious charities and
host a one-day summit in March with corporate leaders and foundations
executives to encourage them to give more money to churches and
religious charities. [Bloomberg, 1/3/05]
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Up, up and away. By Melissa McEwan, http://www.alternet.org
The Moderate Voice's Joe Gandelman points to an article in The Washington Times' Insight Magazine suggesting Cheney will retire after the midterm elections. Notes Joe:
This story qualifies as a classic message-sender/trial balloon story.
Clearly, some faction within the White House is trying to send out a message to Cheney (Time to think about packing your bags and PLEASE take that shotgun with you when you go) or to Republicans (We may be going down in the polls so low now that weeds are starting to grow around us but if we Dump Dick we can reinvigorate the White House AND get a fresh-face in place who will then have a good chance to win in 2008).
By Evan Derkacz, http://www.alternet.org
Just as Iraq sees its bloodiest week in over two years -- as the number of American dead approaches 2300 -- "the anti-war movement," as Pitchfork's Kati Llewellyn put it, "just got a whole lot cooler."
Chris Wangro's March 20th benefit concert, "Bring 'Em Home Now," features R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, Peaches, Devendra Banhart, Bright Eyes, Rufus Wainwright, Chuck D, and Fischerspooner. The program also features a speech by Cindy Sheehan and a Margaret Cho fix.
Statement of Tia Steele, Gold Star Families Speak Out
Testimony provided to: House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs
March 1, 2006
Lance Corporal David Michael Branning was killed in action in Fallujah, Iraq on November 12, 2004. He was killed when he and his buddy, Lance Corporal Brian Medina, were ordered to kick in the door of a private home in that city. I imagine that in the last minutes of their lives, they must have known that there might be people in that dwelling - people who were defending their home. These defenders fired on David and Brian. David was shot in the throat and the bullet exited his head; he died virtually instantly. Brian bled to death within minutes. David was 21 years old; Brian was 20.
Statement of Stacy Bannerman, Advisory Board Member, Military Families Speak Out
Testimony provided to: House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs.
March 1, 2006
I am the wife of a National Guard soldier who served twelve months in Iraq. I am also a member of Military Families Speak Out, an organization of more than 3,000 military families opposed to the war in Iraq. I am joined by Tia Steele, Gold Star Families Speak Out, Liz Frederick, Military Families Speak Out, and Garett Reppenhagen, Iraq Veterans Against the War. We are the military families and personnel who pay the price of war.
Statement of Elizabeth Frederick, Military Families Speak Out
Testimony provided to: House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs
March 1, 2006
In May of 2004, my partner informed me his National Guard division was being mobilized to deploy to Iraq. Eight months later, his division finally deployed. I say finally because his date of deployment kept changing. They were initially scheduled to leave in October, and for whatever reason, the date kept being pushed back. While I enjoyed having him home for a longer period of time, it was mentally taxing to constantly be saying a final goodbye, only to repeat the process again month after month.
Written Testimony of Garett Reppenhagen
Returned Iraq War Veteran; Member of Iraq Veterans Against the War
Submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs
Date of Hearing: March 1, 2006 at 10:00 A.M.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony on issues concerning military quality of life and Veterans affairs. I joined the Army in August of 2001 and became a Cavalry/Scout at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. I was indoctrinated into a military that I was proud of and had the courage to serve because I trusted that the government of the United States would use me in responsibly and necessary manner.
MADRE, An International Women’s Human Rights Organization
Contact: Irene Schneeweis, Media Coordinator
(212) 627-0444; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MADRE Calls for Immediate End to US Occupation of Iraq
February 27, 2006—New York—In light of last week’s upsurge in sectarian violence in Iraq, MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, released a statement today calling for an immediate end to the US occupation and for the deployment of a UN-led peacekeeping force in place of US-led occupation forces. The statement reads:
By Matt Spetalnick, Jackson News--Tribune, MS
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush President George W. Bush, hit by polls showing America‘s support for the Iraq war at an all-time low, denied on Tuesday Iraq was sliding into civil war, despite the worst sectarian strife since a U.S.-led invasion.
The decline in Bush‘s public approval ratings came as he told Iraqis they faced a choice between "chaos or unity" amid violence that has dented U.S. hopes for the stability needed to pave the way for a U.S. troop withdrawal.
By STEVEN R. HURST, Santa Maria Times
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunnis and Shiites traded bombings and mortar fire against mainly religious targets in Baghdad well into the night Tuesday, killing at least 68 people a day after authorities lifted a curfew that had briefly calmed a series of sectarian reprisal attacks.
At least six of Tuesday's attacks hit clearly religious targets, concluding with a car bombing after sundown at the Shiite Abdel Hadi Chalabi mosque in the Hurriyah neighborhood that killed 23 and wounded 55. A separate suicide bombing killed 23 people at an east Baghdad gas station, where people had lined up to buy kerosine.
By Terri Judd and Colin Brown, The Independent, UK
Grieving relatives of servicemen killed in Iraq will march to Tony Blair's doorstep today to ask why the Prime Minister repeatedly refuses to meet them face to face to defend his policies on the war.
Their move comes in the aftermath of two more deaths of British servicemen in Iraq, bringing the UK death toll to 103, and as the number of mothers, fathers and wives of dead servicemen campaigning against the war continues to grow. In the past months, the families have asked for meetings, but their requests have been turned down.
As two more British soldiers die in Iraq, The Independent publishes an open letter from bereaved relatives to the Prime Minister
By The Independemt, UK
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the undersigned, have each known the pain of losing someone very close to us in the war in Iraq. All of them, Mr Blair, were proud to serve their country, and always knew and accepted that their duty could take them into danger. They always had faith, though, that no British prime minister would ever commit them to fight in an unjustified war.