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What's the Best Way to 'Support Our Troops'?


Published on Monday, August 15, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
By Danny Schechter

New York, August 14: When John and Yoko sang, "war is over," they added, "if you want it." It was a plea for peace, a call to "stop all the fighting." It was written in l972. That war did not end for three more years, and only then, when the Vietnamese gave the U.S. and its allies the boot.
Frank Rich wrote eloquently in Sunday's New York Times that this war, the one in Iraq, is also over,

"Like the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?"

Rich offers an optimistic scenario even as he does not go the next step and appeal as John and Yoko did on the public to act. Perhaps he doesn't think it necessary, concluding. "The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there."

Not so fast.

His write-on prognosis and analysis might be emotionally heartening but this Administration is not on the verge of giving up or withdrawing the US military. Despite Gold Star Mom Cindy Sheehan's most valiant efforts and the fall off of public support, and even the voices of Generals and Republicans who finally recognize the war is unwinnable, the blood letting will continue--partially in the name of "supporting our troops," who two years on still don't even have adequate body armor.

There's a lot more dying to come because decisions in Washington are made on the basis of ideology, not rationality. Just as the Administration is mobilizing new "public diplomacy" projects to win over Muslims overseas, it is, legal or not. escalating a hearts and minds propaganda effort right here in the USA,

Out in Brookhaven, Long Island, signs saying "Support Our Troops" line old Country Road. In Washington, the Defense Department is planning to stage a freedom march of its own on September llth led by none other than that militant freedom fighter DefSec Donald Rumsfeld. He will be leading a government supported national walk not far from where Dr. King led the March on Washingon in 1963, and just a few weeks before anti-war activists converge on Washington for their fall offensive.

It is all part of a new Defense Department plan to goose public support called "America Supports You" which spotlights what Americans are doing all across the land to back the military and encourages others to join. It is a successor program to an earlier official project "Send Your Thanks to the US Military" campaign that began in May 2002. There is a gaggle of websites backing this effort including: www.americasupportsyou.mil/, anyservicemember.navy.mil, www.adoptaplatoon.org/, www.anysoldier.com/

What is also offensive is that the once liberal Washington Post whose own ombudsman admitted that his newspaper had "underreported and downplayed anti-war protests" in Washington in the run-up to the war is, as a company, endorsing the official mobilization. (The Post also gave $125,000 to help fund the Bush inaugural galas last January.) Shouldn't our media be investigating this taxpayer-supported Nuremberg on the Mall and not embracing it? How much tax payer money and how many DOD employees have been assigned to win the war on the home front?

"Support our troops" is a stealth and deceptive slogan. It's the slogan du jour of demagogues and those that deny that it's the duty of Americans to question their government especially when it is lying to them. It's a way of depoliticizing the war and personalizing a crusade. The Defense Department, military recruiters, veterans groups and right-wing media outlets use this patriotically correct mantra shamelessly in a change the subject maneuver for sympathy, and to bait critics and bolster misguided patriotism.

Who among us is not saddened when American soldiers die or by underreported accounts of the mounting wounded in Veterans hospitals and the walking wounded starting to turn up in our streets from this war like they did after the Vietnam War?

Veteran John Crawford writes in the Times: "One of my buddies got locked up in an institution by the police for being a danger to himself. Another woke up in the hospital with no memory of the beating he received from those same police - not for being a danger to himself, but to everyone else. One guy got a brain infection and wakes up every morning expecting to be in Iraq. Two more are in Afghanistan, having re-upped rather than deal with being home. Five more went back to Baghdad as private security guards. Their consensus on how it is a second time around: still hot and nasty….

"War stories end when the battle is over or when the soldier comes home. That's one way to tell it's a story. In real life, there are no moments amid smoldering hilltops for tranquil introspection. When the war is over, you pick up your gear, walk down the hill and back into the world, where people smile, congratulate you, and secretly hope you won't be a burden on society now that you've done the dirty work they shun."

But don't just feel sorry for these soldiers who, unlike their Vietnam War counterparts, volunteered, and in some cases, are living on bases in imported luxury compared to the Iraqis they are ostensibly there to defend.

All Iraq veterans should be shown the Winter Soldier film, just released after 34 years in the wilderness in which the soldiers we supported then (including a younger and less politically circumspect John Kerry) confess in graphic detail to the crimes they committed in another unjust war. Few then wanted to really hear what they went through and in some cases are still going through. Thus, it was not surprising when a global World Tribunal on Iraq, well covered internationally, received no attention in the US media.

The poet Mike Sharpe, in a new book "Thou Shall Not Kill (Unless Otherwise Instructed)" (North Castle Books) supports our soldiers with an elegy for those killed in Iraq. He lists a few of their names and writes

"Let us make another wall."

"We need a wall where we can go and contemplate what we have done. Go to this wall to read the names. Leave Space on the Wall."

What's the best way to support the troops: keep them there or bring them home? We all have to decide--and take a stand.

News Dissector Danny Schechter is "blogger-in-chief" of Mediachannel.org. His forthcoming book "When News Lies" (SelectBooks) challenges media coverage of the war, and includes his film WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) See: wmdthefilm.com. Comments to Dissector@mediachannel.org

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AOL Poll # 2 Today - How's He Doing: rate
the president's overall performance (NON AOL MEMBERS CAN VOTE I BELIEVE) :

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050815090909990001&ncid...

How would you rate Bush's handling of the war in Iraq?
Poor 62%
Good 16%
Excellent 13%
Fair 9%
Total Votes: 43,673
Note on Poll Results

How would you rate Bush's handling of domestic affairs?
Poor 58%
Good 15%
Excellent 14%
Fair 13%
Total Votes: 43,465
Note on Poll Results

How would you rate Bush's overall job performance?
Poor 59%
Good 15%
Excellent 14%
Fair 11%
Total Votes: 39,709
Note on Poll Results

In which direction do you predict Bush's approval rating will move?
Down 62%
Up 24%
It'll stay about where it is now 14%
Total Votes: 40,376
Note on Poll Results

http://www.thesoapboxroadshow.com

or just one of those internet things-which are useless

Yeah - it's totally "unscientific" - all it means is that around 200,000 people got to a computer, found the article on AOL, and voted on the four questions. And most of those 200,000 - around 70% don't think that Bush is doing a very good job.

You gotta scientific poll you want to post?

How would you rate Bush's handling of the war in Iraq?
Poor 61%
Good 16%
Excellent 13%
Fair 9%
Total Votes: 204,888
Note on Poll Results

In which direction do you predict Bush's approval rating will move?
Down 62%
Up 24%
It'll stay about where it is now 14%
Total Votes: 189,192
Note on Poll Results

and they're more meaningful as a measure of the general public's opinion

POST ONE.....

Very simple - get them out of that Iraqi meat grinder - BRING THEM HOME!!!!

I'm sick of this country. I'm moving to Canada. Good Luck!

So, I posted here a bit ago, and it never showed up. I guess we support censorship too. It doesn't make a bit of difference which side we're on. Like I said, I'm moving to Canada. There is nothing in America left for me.

Bye,
Perry Jordan

I'm sure you'll be entirely welcome in Canada, Perry, but please don't base any such major decision on the posting delay problem here. It's due to overloaded site servers, not censorship -- an annoyance at times, but no devious plots that I've noticed. :-)

Please note that it can take up to 15 minutes for your posts to show up, due to the heavy traffic we are experiencing. We do not censor or moderate posts (as you can see from some of the more inflamatory ones). Please be patient; we're working our servers pretty hard.

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0614-27.htm

Published on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 by Foreign Policy in Focus
How the World Can Help Americans Halt Bush Administration War Crimes
by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith

On May 17 a legal summons was delivered to U.S. and UK embassies in capitals around the world—including Istanbul, Tokyo, Lisbon, and Brussels—on behalf of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI). The summons requested the attendance of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to defend charges that they are in “violation of common values of humanity, international treaties, and international law

http://commondreams.org/views05/0614-27.htm www.

How the World Can Help Americans Halt Bush Administration War Crimes
by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith

On May 17 a legal summons was delivered to U.S. and UK embassies in capitals around the world—including Istanbul, Tokyo, Lisbon, and Brussels—on behalf of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI). The summons requested the attendance of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to defend charges that they are in “violation of common values of humanity, international treaties, and international law

Yeah - it's totally "unscientific" - all it means is that around 200,000 managed to get to a computer, find the article on AOL and vote on those questions. And in the eyes of most of those 200,000 Bush Magnus is doing an awful job.

You gotta "scientific" poll you want to post?

How would you rate Bush's handling of the war in Iraq?
Poor 61%
Good 16%
Excellent 13%
Fair 9%
Total Votes: 201,474
Note on Poll Results

In which direction do you predict Bush's approval rating will move?
Down 62%
Up 24%
It'll stay about where it is now 14%
Total Votes: 189,192
Note on Poll Results

Perhaps the most troubling thing to me is that while everyone is saying Support Out Troops and putting cute little stickers on their cars, no one seems to be noticing that we are NOT supporting the troops after they get back home. The Veterans' Administration has been cut down to a minimum and troops coming back home are more and more ending up on the street, jobless, homeless and hopeless.

Why is this? I have a theory: the government knows it will go broke if it tries to take of these people. The military has been spreading depleted uranium (DU) weaponry around Iraq and other places since Gulf War I, and now half of the troops from that first war are chronically ill. In Gulf War I, DU weapons weren't used nearly as much as in this war (by a factor of 10!), and it was mostly in the desert back then, while it's been mostly in urban areas this time. If you want to support the troops, do not forget them once they're home, not to mention the poor Iraqis that have to continue to live in that poisonous environment. This is a clandestine nuclear war, and almost no one seems to know it yet ("embedded" reporters are prohibited from talking about DU). I hope that will change, and the human race will get rid of these atrocious weapons.

And I hope we will all support the people our government has knowingly disabled...and make the military STOP IT ALREADY!!! Are they trying to eliminate human life altogether? Where the hell is their humanity?

I spent 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry and I'll tell you something almost nobody knows. NOBODY SUPPORTS THE INFANTRY until they're in deep sh--. The "troops" which really means the infantry, never get enough men, enough equipment, enough ammo, enough chow, enough sleep. The infantry don't even get paid like everybody else. The bonuses all go to the other Military Occupational Specialties.

When I was in I remember shouting "bang, bang, bang" because we didn't have any blank ammo to train with. I even remember sitting in the barracks wondering if we were going to be paid on payday. And this was during the Reagan Administration! And everyone know he was the Military's best friend-friend of the military contractors that is. They got paid. We didn't even get toilet paper issued to us.

And when I went in they couldn't get native born Americans to serve. They had to take Haitans. And it's never stopped. Now foreign nationals are inducted into our Armed Forces (probably as thankless Grunts). They fight. They die. And then they get, maybe, the American citizenship they were promised. How many of our American war dead aren't even American citizens I wonder.

Just look at where you buy those silly yellow, cammo, redwhiteblue, on and on and on car magnets. The GAS STATION! That about says it all for me. Now, if these Support the Troops folk really meant it; either the troops would be home now or they would stop buying magnets, stop belly-aching about taxes, stop carping about any of the number things that are always more important than actually being an infantryman. They'd give the money they didn't spend on little magnets to some decent medical facility, the VA even, so these poor slobs who did the dirty work could actually have a hope of some adequate medical care when they get shipped back after they've been used up. Semper Fi, to you and your little magnets.

Simply put... if Bush meets with Cindy, then he obligates himself to set time aside to speak with EVERY single American citizen who would like to have a personal one-on-one conversation with him.

that's not true, he dosn't obligate himself to anything... that' just a cop-out

No more so than it obligates him to meet with his money machines. He only meets with the big donors. He can't be bothered with anyone else. He only holds town hall meetings with people that praise his agenda. We need stem cell research so he can grow a spine.

Most transparent (P)resident in history.

Maybe war wouldn't be so much fun then would it? Flight suit time and all that.

What a bunch of baloni, as he barely meets with anybody yet makes plenty of time for golf, baseball and other aspects of his vacation.

He's just flat out afraid to meet with them, who should be numbering in the thousands soon.

THE WAR IS ON

""A small bus in an airport which is used by the multinational observation force in Sinai exploded on Monday and initial reports indicated there were dead and injured, an Egyptian security source said. "A microbus inside the airport exploded," the security official in North Sinai said. He said he did not know the reason for the blast. The source said the blast occurred at an airport at El Gorah, a camp in the North of Sinai which is used by Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). The MFO was set up to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. An MFO official had no immediate comment. Egypt's Interior Ministry also had no immediate comment."

Russian Intelligence further reports that the American CIA jetliner, and which had just landed from its flight from Turkey, was transporting 3 high ranking terrorists believed associated with Israel and responsible for the terrorist’s attacks upon the United States on September 11, 2001.

These terrorists were captured by combined operations of both American CIA agents and Turkish Security Forces and to which Israel had attempted to stop, and as we can read as reported by the Turkish Weekly News Service in their article titled "A ‘Strange’ Al Qaeda Leader: “I Don’t Pray, I Drink Alcohol’" and which says;

"Luai Sakra, one of the 5 most important key figures in Al Qaeda, was captured last week by Turkish Police. Israel police was almost spoiling all operation, Turkish officials say. Sakra, who has been interrogated in Istanbul Police Department Anti Terror Office for 4 days has made many interesting confessions. He noted that he knew Muhammad Ata, planner of the attacks on the WTI and Pentagon. Sakra claimed that he has organized terrorist activities for Jihad but he said that he drinks alcohol and does not pray.

Remarkable anecdotes have emerged between Sakra and the police during his interrogation. The Security Directorate officials told Sakra that he might perform his religious practices to have a better dialogue with him and to gain his confidence. "I do not pray. I also drink alcohol," Sakra told officials. Sakra also confessed that he knew the London attack before the assaults happened.

Sakra however claims that he knew nothing about the Egypt bombings. Luai Sakra, who is said to be one of the 5 most important members of Al Qaeda, said that he had no connection with the attacks in Sharm Al Sheikh, where 88 people were killed. Turkey on the other hand is not happy with the Israeli terrorism warnings before the operation. Turkish officials argue that Israel used the secret intelligence Turkey provided to warn the public. “However, it may had spoiled all the operation, and all the militants might escape

Bring them home now. Impeach the president and all officeholders who favor war. Close down all corporations that make their profits by manufacturing instruments of death.

Now that wasnt very well thought out was it? If we close down all defense industry, we will have no weapons. If we have no weapons, we cannot defend ourselves. If we cannot defend ourselves we are at the mercy of any country that wants us to do their bidding.

In fact, the Pentagon needs to put even more money towards funding the development of unmanned combat vehicles. If you dont have any boots on the ground (or in the air for that matter) then there is less to worry about.

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