LOOKING SLIGHTLY MORE DRUNK THAN DEAN MARTIN AT A ROAST AND OFFERING FAR LESS CHARM, BULLY BOY OFFERED A LAUGH GETTER TO THE COUNTRY TONIGHT IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.
BULLY BOY: "AMERICA MUST NOT FAIL IN IRAQ."
HAVING STARTED AN ILLEGAL AND UNNECESSARY WAR ALL ON HIS OWN, BULLY BOY NOW WANTS TO DRAG THE ENTIRE COUNTRY DOWN WITH HIM.
THAT STATEMENT AND ALL STATEMENTS CAME OFF AS PLEADING AND WHINING FROM THE IMPOTENT BULLY BOY WHO APPEARED TO BE BOTH DRUNK AND DRUGGED.
IN NEWS OF IMPOTENCE, ARMY LT. GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS, IN THE MIDST OF ATTEMPTING TO WIN SENATE CONFIRMATION TO BECOME THE NEW COMMANDER OF IRAQ, STOPPED THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS TODAY TO TAPE AN ENDORSEMENT FOR VIAGRA.
LOOKING INTO THE CAMERA, PETRAEUS INTONED, "HARD IS NOT HOPELESS."
REPORTEDLY, PETRAEUS NEXT INTEND TO PLUG ANAL PROBES.
In June Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Today, he spoke to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about what he's facing ins February 5th court-martial at Fort Lewis. Watada explained the process by which he came to his decision: assigned to Iraq, he began doing the research required of him. (Yesterday on WBAI's Law and Disorder, Carolyn Ho walked people through her son's awakening. In addition to archived broadcasts at either link, Rebecca's written of the speech at her site.) His research provided him with information and, from that infomation, he was left the reality that the war was illegal and immoral. At which point he had to decide what to do and he tried to handle the matter privately but the military repeatedly refused to do so. Only after months of that did Watada go public. In his August Article 32 hearing (similar to a grand jury), his attornies (a military attorney and a civilian attorney) were allowed to present a defense. 'Judge' Head has disallowed that for the court-martial scheduled to be held at Fort Lewis on February 5th.
Amy Goodman asked, in light of that ruling, "what is heard in the court, that you just refused to show up?" Watada answered, "Correct. It will simply be. It will be a non-trial. It will not be a fair trial or a show of justice, in any sense. I think that they will simply say, 'Was he ordered to go? Yes. Did he go? No. Well, hes guilty.' And that also goes for the conduct unbecoming charges: 'Did he make those statements? Can we verify that? Yes? Okay, hes guilty.' And then it will be pretty much a disciplinary hearing -- in terms of how much punishment should we give this lieutenant." There will be strong defense offered despite the fact that Watada faces up to six years in prison if convicted of all charges. Now the military has a roll of who made the deployment and who didn't and they have transcripts and audio and video of Watada's statment. If he's not allowed to explain his reasons, it's a matter of "yes" and "no." That's really not a defense and "Judge" Head really isn't a judge. (That's me, not Watada for any 'researches' for the prosecution.)
Watada declared that "there's tremendous support out there. I think it's unfortunate that we haven't been able to get into the national media as much as we wanted to. And therefore, the more east you go, the less people know about the case. And I think, just looking at how much support I've received in Washington state and back home in my home state, in Hawaii, there are a lot of people who are coming out. And not just people on one spectrum of the political ideology, but people from the mainstream. They are all coming out -- the unions, the interfaith groups, the students, universities. They are all coming out to support. And I think that's just a testament to how people feel about the war and the policies of this administration."
There is a lot of support. There is, however, very little coverage in media big or small. There are exceptions and it's usually the same group we've learned to look for coverage of what matters. Yesterday on Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Evening News, Martha Baskin reported on the Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq held in Tacoma, Washington last Satruday and Sunday noting that while a 'judge' had "ruled that" Watada "could not raise the legality of the war in his defense" the hearing did just that attracting experts from legal and military fields, "military families and veterans". Richard Falk was heard, in the report, testifying that, "It is our role as citizens to protect those who are brave enough . . . who refuse to participate in an illegal war."
Another issue in the court-martial of Ehren Watada is whether or not journalists should participate in the proceedings as witnesses for the prosecution. Emily Howard spoke with journalists Sarah Olson and Norman Solomon yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints. Olson will not discuss her "legal strategy." She has stated, on air, to Laura Flanders she wouldn't testify and she has played mum on that with others. However, as noted on Sunday, she has not stated that she supported Watada 100%, she has just stated that as a journalist it is her job to cover the news and her sources are sources and neither an endorsement or a rebuke.
Speaking with Howard yesterday, Olson made her strongest case yet.
She did that by first starting with Ehren Watada who is facing the court-martial and whose stand is what the military is interested in and wants to punish. ("The crux of this trial," as Howard pointed out.) Having established Watada's stand, Olson then connected it to other war resisters who had come forward by name (and noted that Flashpoints interviewed Ivan Brobeck -- they were the only outlet to do so when he returned to the US from Canada to turn himself on election day in November with an open letter to the Bully Boy). Why does whether she testifies or not in the court-martial matter?
As Olson and Solomon outlined it (very clearly) who are war resisters going to talk to? If they're under the impression that any reporter they tell their stories to will then be called before a court to testify against them, that will produce a chilling effect on free speech and prevent a free press from the ability to keep citizens informed. That is the purpose of the free press, as veteran DC journalist Helen Thomas noted on yesterday's Democracy Now!, not providing with you commercials of products that will 'enhance' your life, informing citizens so that they can make their decisions and contribute within a democracy.
Norman Solomon noted that the Pentagon is "worried about people not only thinking for themselves but speaking up" so it is "trying to intimidate" people into silence and that this is "a contradicition between the myth of the military defending our 'freedoms'" and trying to supress freedoms.
Olson, who faces six month in jail and/or a fine if she refuses to testify, declared, "When you look at the number of people who are taking steps to actively express their opposition to this war I think that is has become it has grown to a point it's not something that can be ignored or . . . can or should be ignored. And I think it's very important as journalists . . . that we are able to cover this perspective and this growing number of active dutry Iraq war vetrns and soldiers who are in opposition to this war. It's becoming more and more relevant as the days go by."
Olson is correct -- Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Robin Long, Ryan Johnson, Chris Teske, Tim Richard and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
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