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Call This Passive?
We're Young and We Do It Our Way
By Anya Kamenetz
Sunday, August 28, 2005; Page B03
I'll never forget the first time I marched on Washington. It was an overwhelming rush to join such a huge crowd, drumming and dancing, shouting to stop the war. When we saw the small city of people-- 100,000! -- assembled on the Mall, we knew we were making history.
The date? Oct. 26, 2002. My age? 22. The war? Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As the vigil of Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan has refocused a jaded media's attention on the antiwar movement, some are asking: Why has a middle-aged mom emerged as a hero? Why not a young radical? Where is the youthful passion that fueled popular politics a generation ago?
Well, it may come as a shock to those who wear the blinders of nostalgia, but the youth movement of today is bigger than ever before. We're just having some trouble getting the world to pay attention.
Despite the familiar, unthinking smear of young people as apathetic, I and the countless others I've met and reported on over the past five years care just as much as our parents ever did. The difference is in the balance of hope and despair -- how much we believe we can truly affect a world that progressives, anyway, think is going horribly wrong.
The truth is, the 2000s so far have taught our generation that the old methods of expressing your beliefs -- activism, voting -- aren't going to work by themselves. And we're just now figuring out what to do next.
A quiet majority replaces Vietnam's "silent majority."
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, August 26, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" is an aphorism of uncertain truth everyone seems to have etched into their minds. Who can forget? From the sound of the "antiwar" tom-toms thumping across the land, forgetting the past is the one thing America doesn't have to worry about. We routinely open the sepulchers of memory, and just now it is the "ghost of Vietnam" that is strolling among us.
Gary Hart, a former Democratic senator from Colorado who ran for president twice and worked on the McGovern campaign, published an op-ed in the Washington Post this week in which he exhorted someone in his party to actively oppose Mr. Bush on the war--to "jump on the hot stove" of Iraq, notwithstanding the Democrats' searing experience with Vietnam.
Chuck Hagel, a senator from Nebraska and current presidential marathoner, is beating his singular path to the nomination by explicitly saying that as in Vietnam, we are "bogged down" in Iraq and "need to be out." Also on the yellow brick road to the presidency, Democratic senator Russ Feingold has called for withdrawal from Iraq by Dec 31, 2006
Maybe Santayana was misquoted. Maybe what he meant to say is those who remember history are condemned to repeat it. And repeat it, and repeat it.
Joan Baez, now 64, has descended from the mists to sing songs at Cindy Sheehan's Crawford ditch in Texas. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, respectively 62 and 61, have decided to cap their careers with a new song called "Sweet Neo-Con" ("It's liberty for all . . . unless you are against us, then it's prison without trial.") The ghost of Tom Hayden showed up on Bill O'Reilly this week to announce, with the confidence of experience, that "an exit strategy is an art form all in itself." And indeed some polls have dropped the war's support below 50%.
Here's a truer saying: It's déjà vu all over again.
Any politician aspiring to the presidency who gets the call wrong on the Iraq war may find himself in the ditch George McGovern dug for his party in 1972--with 37.5% of the vote. Perhaps the reason Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden aren't jumping in front of Cindy's parade is that as a matter of species survival they're required to keep an ear to the ground. And you know what, the times really have changed since Vietnam.
Richard Nixon, amid a similar low ebb of popularity with Vietnam, gave a famous speech in 1969. This was the year after the Tet offensive, which caused Walter Cronkite's famous Hagel-like throwing in of the towel. In that speech Nixon described a "great silent majority" in America. The idea, of course, was that the daily media attention commanded by the antiwar movement was missing a class of Americans who sat home seething at the behavior of the protesters.
Today, because of the Internet, no one has to seethe in silence, as wired activists in both parties proved in 2004's high-tech election, and now. But it may be that the current infatuation with anti-Bush, anti-Iraq sentiment is again missing a political current flowing beneath the surface of the news, just as the media missed the silent majority 40 years ago and the values voters in the 2004 election.
Downing Street Memos Verify Death of Journalistic Ethics
by Carmen Yarrusso
The preamble to the Code of Ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists eloquently declares: "journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues."
Mainstream media's dismal failure to enlighten the public to the dire implications of the Downing Street memos is the final nail in the coffin of journalism ethics. Our mainstream media have officially given up all pretense of "public enlightenment" or "seeking truth" (much less "providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues") and instead have effectively acknowledged being a propaganda tool of our government.
Brad Blog on Air America Saturday Night
Brad Blog: "In the spirit exemplified by the Peace House in Crawford, Texas, Saturday Night radio "competitors" Laura Flanders of Air America Radio and Brad Friedman of The BRAD SHOW via RAW RADIO are announcing an historic partnership as they simulcast their programs together this Saturday Night from on the ground in Crawford!..read on"
More from Raw Story on the joint venture.
Rallying the Troops and Avoiding Reality
By Colbert I. King
Saturday, August 27, 2005; Page A17
There is something almost surreal in the juxtaposition of President Bush's statements on Iraq and news reporting on the war. The two are simply irreconcilable.
Bush's upbeat take collides with recent news reports about events in Iraq as well as with the judgments of senior officials within his administration. If the media have got it wrong, then we deserve to get hammered. If, however, it turns out that Bush is not being straight with courageous U.S. service members and their families, then it will be the Bush presidency and his legacy that will pay dearly.
At the moment he's hitting it off in visits to military posts, where he dons his commander-in-chief hat. One Bush line always draws applause: "We will stay on the offensive. Whatever it takes, we will seek and find and destroy the terrorists, so that we do not have to face them in our own country." It went over well last year with a gathering of applauding Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne, Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group and the Night Stalkers, at Fort Campbell, Ky.
In June the president went to Fort Bragg, N.C., and in a televised address described Iraq as the latest battlefield in the war on terrorism, saying: "America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend . . . . We will stay in the fight until the fight is won."
And to cheering military families at Nampa, Idaho, this week, Bush said: "Terrorists will emerge from Iraq one of two ways: emboldened or defeated . . . . for the sake of our children and our grandchildren, the terrorists will be defeated."
Bush's portrayal of America as a nation besieged by a cruel enemy that has made Iraq the battleground is one of the reasons America's military families willingly send sons and daughters off to war. Yes, it's hard duty, but what goal is worthier than defending America? Stated that way, there's no argument, at least where I'm concerned. That was one of the reasons that I, along with many in my generation, suited up during the Cold War.
The country should be grateful to all who wear the uniform of the United States and to the families that are sacrificing to achieve Bush's stated mission to fight the terrorists over there, and "stay until the fight is won."
But what if something else is in the works? Suppose staying on the offense "until the enemy is broken," an applause line, is just that -- an applause line?
August 26, 2005
I know I have been sick this week, and sure, the fever did get pretty high there for a day or two, but does that mean that total and utter crap like this is supposed to make sense to any person who's not flatlining on the old EEG?
The President, speaking from Idaho:
"In this war, we have said farewell to some very good men and women, including 491 heroes of the National Guard and reserves," he said. "These brave men and women gave their lives for a cause that is just and necessary for the security of our country, and now we will honor their sacrifice by completing their mission."
What the heck was that? You know, if anyone in my family ever came out with a statement like that one, my father would have just assumed you fell and hit your head hard and were likely to be talking crazy talk for the next couple of minutes until the stars went away.
Not George Bush. This was a planned and scripted speech, as per usual. So let's break part of it down for just a minute.
Bike-Deep in the Big Muddy
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: August 27, 2005
W. has jumped the couch.
Not fallen off the couch, as he did when he choked on that pretzel.
According to UrbanDictionary.com, "jump the couch" has now become slang for "a defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end. Inspired by Tom Cruise's recent behavior on 'Oprah.' Also see 'jump the shark.' "
The former stateside National Guardsman who was sometimes M.I.A. jumped the shark by landing on that "Mission Accomplished" carrier. (With Tom Cruise cockiness.)
Then, as president, he jumped the couch by pedaling through the guns of August - the growing carnage and chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He did do a few minutes of work this month, calling a Shiite leader in Baghdad a few days ago to lobby him to reach a consensus with the Sunnis, so Iraq doesn't crack apart. But the Shiites and Kurds ignored the president and skewered the Sunnis.
Iraq, it turns out, is the one branch of American government that the Republicans don't control.
Radioactive Wounds of War
By Dave Lindorff
In These Times
Thursday 25 August 2005
Tests on returning troops suggest serious health consequences of depleted uranium use in Iraq.
Gerard Matthew thought he was lucky. He returned from his Iraq tour a year and a half ago alive and in one piece. But after the New York State National Guardsman got home, he learned that a bunkmate, Sgt. Ray Ramos, and a group of N.Y. Guard members from another unit had accepted an offer by the New York Daily News and reporter Juan Gonzalez to be tested for depleted uranium (DU) contamination, and had tested positive.
By Karen Houppert
12 September 2005 Issue
The US Army Recruiting Command has a motto: "First to contact, first to contract." In the school recruiting handbook the Army gives to the 7,500 recruiters it has trawling the nation these days, the motto crops up so often it serves as a stuttering paean to aggressive new tactics - tactics that target increasingly younger students.
To make sure they are the first folks to contact students about their future plans, Army recruiters are ordered to approach tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders - repeatedly. Army officials spell out the rules of engagement: Recruiters are told to dig in deep at their assigned high schools, to offer their services as assistant football coaches - or basketball coaches or track coaches or wrestling coaches or baseball coaches (interestingly, not softball coaches or volleyball coaches) - to "offer to be a chaperon [sic] or escort for homecoming activities and coronations" (though not thespian ones), to "Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month," to participate visibly in Hispanic Heritage and Black History Month activities, to "get involved with local Boy Scout troops" (Girl Scouts aren't mentioned), to "offer to be a timekeeper at football games," to "serve as test proctors," to "eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month" and to "always remember secretary's week with a card or flowers." They should befriend student leaders and school staff: "Know your student influencers," they are told. "Identify these individuals and develop them as COIs" (centers of influence). After all, "some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist." Cast a wide net, recruiters are told. Go for the Jocks, but don't ignore the Brains. "Encourage college-capable individuals to defer their college until they have served in the Army."
American Legion Press Release
HONOLULU, August 23, 2005
Article from Editor and Publisher
American Legion Declares War on Protestors -- Media Next?
America Legion's Attack on Dissidents, A Gold Star Families for Peace Member's Response
Diana Rowe Pauls
Gold Star Families For Peace
Sister of Marine KIA/Member of American Legion Auxiliary
Dear Honorable Commander Cadmus,
I learned today that the American Legion passed Resolution 3, which states: "The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life."
I would like to bring to your attention a previous position from the American Legion.
In 1999, the American Legion wrote the following letter to President Clinton:
The American Legion, a wartime veterans organization of nearly three-million members, urges the immediate withdrawal of American troops participating in "Operation Allied Force.''
The National Executive Committee of The American Legion, meeting in Indianapolis today, adopted Resolution 44, titled "The American Legion's Statement on Yugoslavia.'' This resolution was debated and adopted unanimously.
A Nurse's Perspective on Iraq
First Lutentant Rachel Grover has been serving as a nurse in Iraq since the beginning of December. On leave for two weeks Rachel is relaxing with family and friends. But she talks about how the injuries to soldiers have gone from bullet wounds to something worse.
“IED Injuries...shrapnel wounds a lot of burns and amputations stuff like that
Courage under fire
By NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
BAGHDAD - As its armored Humvees rumbled west along Route Mets in northern Baghdad, the ill-fated convoy sensed something was wrong.
"I remember we all mentioned there were no Iraqi police out. We were like, 'Oh man, that's never a good sign,'" said Daniel Barr, 33, a sergeant with New York's Fighting 69th.
"It was still an hour and a half before curfew. It seemed like the neighborhood knew something."
The soldiers were in the same meat market a week earlier, buying watermelon from a local vendor. But now it was 10:45 p.m., and the darkness was compounded by the start of a nasty sandstorm that would later shut down Baghdad.
Nobody saw the powerful platter charge hidden in a bag and tucked beside a vending stall.
No special treatment for journalists in Iraq, says US
Friday August 26, 2005
The US military has told journalists working in Iraq they will be given no special consideration after Reuters demanded an explanation for the continued detention of its cameraman in the country's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
Reuters has been denied access to Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani since he was arrested by US troops at his home in Ramadi on August 8.
Military sources told the news agency Mashhadani was a "security detainee", implying suspected links to insurgents, but have refused to give details of any suspicions or accusations.
Houston, Tx.: How would you respond to Cindy Sheehan and the other family members who believe their children have been sacrificed for a lie?
General Clark: I have the deepest sympathy and empathy with Cindy Sheehan. My son served in the Armed Forces and I worried about him every day. And, I carried a burden of guilt about his service, as I am sure most mothers and fathers do. Because, after all, we either encourage them, supported them, or sustained them in making this committment to their country. My prayers and condolences are with every family who has lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or seen him or her come home forever scarred or crippled. And I thank them for their loved ones' service and for their sacrifice. And I understand the depth of their feelings I believe, because every American trusts our leaders to use our men and women in combat only, only, only as a last resort. And in Iraq, this wasn't the case. And we will probably never learn the full array of motives that lead our nation's leaders to take us to this war. I warned at the time that it was "elective"--we didn't have to do it. There wasn't an eminent threat. So why did we? Cindy Sheehan, every mother and father of our service members, and every American has a right to know. It was a strategic blunder to go there. Now America sees it in hindsight. But those in power have responsibilities to do the right thing, and when they don't they should be held accountable. Cindy is doing everything she can to hold them accountable. President Bush should talk to her and tell her the truth.
He was having an online discussion at WaPo.
"If I only had a nickel for each time Bush mentions 9/11, I could have enough money to go after Bin Laden!
Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 00:49:08 PDT
Know how conservatives love to use those maps showing areas that voted Republicans, and those that voted Democrats?
What would they say about this map?
Update: Thanks to popular demand, the 2004 map by county:
A new Scott Bateman flash animation takes a look at Bush's February 6, 2003 speech about Iraq's WMD here.
by Timothy Garton Ash in Stanford
Thursday August 25, 2005
The US is reeling, like imperial Britain after the Boer war - but don't gloat
If you want to know what London was like in 1905, come to Washington in 2005. Imperial gravitas and massive self-importance. That sense of being the centre of the world, and of needing to know what happens in every corner of the world because you might be called on - or at least feel called upon - to intervene there. Hyperpower. Top dog. And yet, gnawing away beneath the surface, the nagging fear that your global supremacy is not half so secure as you would wish. As Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary, put it in 1902: "The weary Titan staggers under the too vast orb of his fate."
Before It's Too Late in Iraq
By Wesley K. Clark
Friday, August 26, 2005; Page A21
In the old, familiar fashion, mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq have mobilized increasing public doubts about the war. More than half the American people now believe that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. They're right. But it would also be a mistake to pull out now, or to start pulling out or to set a date certain for pulling out. Instead we need a strategy to create a stable, democratizing and peaceful state in Iraq -- a strategy the administration has failed to develop and
From the outset of the U.S. post-invasion efforts, we needed a three-pronged strategy: diplomatic, political and military. Iraq sits geographically on the fault line between Shiite and Sunni Islam; for the mission to succeed we will have to be the catalyst for regional cooperation, not regional conflict.
Unfortunately, the administration didn't see the need for a diplomatic track, and its scattershot diplomacy in the region -- threats, grandiose pronouncements and truncated communications -- has been ill-advised and counterproductive. The U.S. diplomatic failure has magnified the difficulties facing the political and military elements of strategy by contributing to the increasing infiltration of jihadists and the surprising resiliency of the insurgency.
Thursday, August 25, 2005 · Last updated 7:23 p.m. PT
Bush family hosts White House reporters
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush played host to the White House press corps Thursday night for a private off-the-record dinner at his ranch.
The casual affair of fried catfish, potato salad, coleslaw, homemade cheese and chocolate-chip cookies followed a tradition in which Bush and his wife, Laura, have the press covering his annual August vacation out to the their ranch in central Texas as a sort of thank-you.
The event was not held last year because of the busy campaign season. The invitations to the reporters were issued on the condition that they not discuss conversations at the event.
By James Maynard for SeattlePI.com:
President Bush's recent statement about needing to "stay the course" in Iraq gives pause for reflection and concern. To "stay the course" implies that there is a charted course to follow, a defined course objective, navigational tools to guide the progress and an expected time of arrival.
None of these appear to be the case in our Iraq adventure, and the president's statement rings hollow. Broader analysis may cause us to question the entire "course" laid out by a neo-conservative philosophy grounded in a belief that the United States is a divinely inspired empiric instrument for global transformation whose immediate goal is the creation of a democratic Iraq to usher in a new era of peace and freedom in the Middle East.
On the face of it, this course is not a course at all, but a naïve ephemeral projection of individuals who do not value the lessons of history and have no real understanding of the complexities of the Middle East.
The speaker of the fledgling Iraqi parliament has announced a 24-hour extension to talks over the country's new constitution on a day of renewed sectarian infighting that left at least 40 people dead.
Hajim al-Hassani declared the second extension to negotiations shortly after the midnight deadline. "We found that time was late and we saw that the matters will need another day in order to reach results that please everyone, " he said.
The chaos inside the new legislature continued against the background of another surge in violence.
This article comes from the Democracy Cell Project.
I have heard many proponents of the Iraq War, those specifically who disagreed with France's refusal to join the coalition, fling out the words, "Hey, like they've got anything to talk about. They've got the whole Oil for Food scandal." Then the same people would smirk at the idea that our soldiers are over in Iraq fighting for Iraq's oil. They say, "Blood for oil, yeh...right!"
The common theme in both appear to be the oil and the allegations of corrupt behavior to get to that oil. Can either be substantiated with solid proof? U.N. Secretary General-General Kofi Annan has praised the Oil-for-Food Programme for accomplishing one of the largest, most complex and unusual tasks ever entrusted to the Secretariat.
Here in NYC, my friend Luis wears a t-shirt that reads "We deserve the government we allow." Luis is an artist; he knows the power of truth-telling.
Last night, we sat in Central Park and saw the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company move through memory, speaking and evoking truth and hope.
The crowd was large, and the shared understanding, palpable.
One small section was about the peroneus, a muscle along the side of the leg, and the use of the "peroneus strike", a method of torture. Bill T. made the connection between joyous moving in community and abuse of each other as humans quite clear.
A Zogby poll released today finds 42% of all Americans—including 25% of Republicans—say that "if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment." According to Zogby, in Eastern and Western states supporters of impeachment outnumber opponents.
Zogby also found that Bush’s speech on Tuesday "produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%."
What's happened to you? You were often quite good when you were on the Post's White House beat...perceptive�occasionally even courageous�especially in exposing White House dishonesty. Is that why you were taken off that beat and assigned yesterday to trivialize the historic proceedings in the Capitol basement and Congressman Conyers' courage in convening them?
You used to get your facts straight, at least. It appears that in your new assignment meticulousness is not a requirement. Even your "search of the congressional record" concerning mention of the Downing Street Minutes came up short. Do you not consider Sen. Harry Reid a member of Congress?
By Paul Loeb, member of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition
It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that their 'coalition of the willing' meant the U.S., Britain, and the equivalent of a child's imaginary friends.
It's even worse that, as the Downing Street memo confirms, they had so little evidence of real threats that they knew from the start that they were going to have manufacture excuses to go to war. What's more damning still is that they effectively began this war even before the congressional vote.