AS BULLY BOY PREPARES TO ADDRESS THE NATION TOMORROW IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, THE POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE IS NO MORE.
EVEN 1 WHITE HOUSE INSIDER CONFESSED TO BEING NERVOUS. HE ASKED THESE REPORTERS NOT TO USE HIS REAL NAME SO WE'LL CALL HIM "ANTHONY WINTER FLAKES."
ANTHONY WINTER FLAKES TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "THE POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE IS GONE AND I'M LEFT WITH A POMPOUS A**HOLE. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SELL THAT? DID YOU SEE THE WASHINGTON POST? 60% OF AMERICANS HAVE MORE FAITH IN THE DEMOCRATS ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THE ILLEGAL WAR AND ONLY 33% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE STILL HAVE FAITH IN BULLY BOY. I FIGURE IT HAS TO BE THE ONES WHO SIGNED UP FOR THE NEW MEDICARE PLAN, GOT CAUGHT IN THE 'DOUGHNUT,' AND ARE NOW OFF THEIR MEDS. GOD BLESS THEM! I CAN'T BELIEVE I LEFT MY CUSHY CABLE POST FOR THIS HELL HOLE."
AT THIS POINT, ANTHONY WINTER FLAKES HAD TO RUSH OFF BECAUSE THE BULLY BOY WAS BELLOWING, "WHERE ARE MY PIGS IN THE BLANKET! I'S HUNGRY! MY TUM-TUM'S GROWLING."
ROLLING HIS EYES, ANTHONY WINTER FLAKES HURRIED OFF TO ASSIST THE BULLY BOY WITH HIS AFTERNOON SNACK.
Starting with US war resister Ehren Watada, On February 5th, Watada faces a court-martial. "Judge" Head has 'ruled' that Ehren Watada cannot explain the reasons he reached his decision to deploy to Iraq, he cannot explain which orders he honored in his refusal to fight in an illegal war and he cannot really present his case. Saturday and Sunday, Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq was held in Tacoma, Washington and there, in a hearing by, for and of the people, the arguments could be made and were.
Among those testifying were Ann Wright (retired from the State Department, retired US army colonel) who was asked about the duty of Ehren Watada
Ann Wright: Now that's kind of the heart of it all, isn't it? The conduct becoming an officer? The ability to think. The ability to take care of your troops, to keep them out of harm's way, to explore with your chain of command what's going on, why are you having to do certain things? Trusting in your chain of command that you're asking questions that your seniors are asking, are asking, are asking . . .
And I think what we we see in the case of Lt. Watada is that the entire chain of command has failed starting with the four-star generals that were the advisors to the Secretary of Defense and the president, with General Myers, the chief of staff, [. . .] who was such a weak chairman of the Joint Chiefs that he did not question it, he was a toady of the Bush administration.
We did have one four-star general who spoke out -- General Shinseki, chief of staff of the army -- who questioned. He actually didn't question the war, he questioned the number of troops -- how the war was going to be prosecuted. Our generals in the chain of command have not acted as they should have and it's just kind of gone all the way down. The questioning that really goes up and down in the military because there is a dynamic part of the military it's just not one monolythic group there's a lot of debate going on in the scenes and behind the scenes. [. . .]
For the Lt. to be the one that is carrying the load on questioning the war is a little unfair. There should have been people much higher up that were questioning, as they are now, the retired generals are questioning, but that's a little late. [. . .]
It's hard to question sometimes even though you know it's your responsibility and your obligation to do it. But we see here that we've got very few people in the military who are openly questioning but then you look at the polls in newspapers that are being taken of the service members in Iraq and, what is it, 75% of them say we shouldn't be there. So there is an underground movement of the military itself. They're not the ones that can stop wars from beginning but they're the ones that ultimately are the ground fodder for it and what they start saying, "It's not worth my life anymore" that's when these things will start slowing down. And then it's up to us as civilians be going to our Congress to demand that the Congress stop funding the war. If you want to support the troops bring them home, stop the funding of the war.
Amy Rolph (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that David Krieger ("chairman of the tribunal") opened Saturday's proceedings by noting, "We believe that Lt. Watada's contentions about the illegality of the war deserve a full and fair hearing." The Associated Press reported over 400 people were present on Saturday alone. Also appearing was Ehren Watada. Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reports that Watada declared "Judge" Head's decision to disallow a defense in the court-martial to be "a travesty of justice. That it is a violation of our most sacred due process, and indeed it is un-American." Rolph notes that US war resister Darrell Anderson was also among those offering testimony about what he witnessed in Iraq and the "training that dehumanizes Iraqis". Though arguments can't be made in the court-martial, they were made in in Tacoma. John Nichols (The Nation) blogs at The Notion that: "It appears that the prosecutors do not want to provide Watada with an open and fair forum in which to explain his arguments against the war." Of course, what the prosecution wants or doesn't only matters if the "Judge" rules and he did so when he released his decision on Tuesday of last week.
In a speech given at the Church Center for the UN on December 8th by Watada's mother, Carolyn Ho, (broadcast on WBAI's Law and Disorder today) she explained how her son began researching Iraq in June of 2005 (one year prior to his going public), the basic research to get to know the country he was going to be deployed to, and, as he studied and studied, he came across the shaping of intelligence, the Downing Street Memos exposing that intel was being fixed, the phoney WMDs claims . . . In January of 2006, she received a call from her son who explained that he had decided he wouldn't deploy to Iraq when the time came. On June 7, 2006, Carolyn Ho recounted, "the day before his 28th birthday, he went public and announced his decision not to deploy when the unit went to Iraq." Key point: "I don't believe that my son has committed any crime and that he should be serving any time,"
Also on Saturday, Ehren Watada spoke at the Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bremerton. David Vognar (Kitsap Sun) reports that over 70 people turned out to hear Watada explain how. in June, he came to be the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq -- Watada threw the responsibility back to the people noting, "It is the American people who have the power to end this war, but only if they have the will to do so."
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.
Saturday, Patricia Sullivan (Washington Post) reported on the January 15th death of Oliver V. Hirsh:
In 1968, Mr. Hirsch was a 22-year-old enlistee from Bethesda, stationed at Almaden Air Force Station in California, where he was a radar instructor and held the rank of sergeant. He joined eight other military men, representing the four branches of the services, who publicly refused to go to Vietnam and chained themselves to ministers at a chuch in Northern California. Their arrests for desertion were a media spectacle, with polic cutting their chains and removing them from a Communion service. The incident also served as one of the early indications that opposition to the war came not just from campuses but also from soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who were serving in the ranks.
Hirsh was among the war resisters sharing their experiences in David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! which is now available with bonus footage including Camilio Mejia, Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda discussing "the movement then and now." (Also note the DVD of the film is available free of charge to active duty and deployed soldiers.)
Yesterday was also a signifcant day for war resisters. Patrick Maloney (Canada's London Free Press) noted that Sunday was the thirty year anniversary of Jimmy Carter's pardoning of draft dodgers: "An estimated 50,000 came to Canada, of whom about half remain. Now, in a quiet echo of an earlier generation's anti-war sentiment, the War Resisters Support Campaign is noticing growing interest in Canada as a haven for U.S. soldiers destined for Iraq."
Today, Dan Balz and Jon Cohen (Washington Post) report on the latest Washington Post poll (Washington Post-ABC News) which finds "48 percent of Americans calling the war the single most important issue they want Bush and the Congress to deal with this year. No other issue rises out of the single digits. The poll also found that the public trust congressional Democrats over Bush to deal with the conflict by a margin of 60 percent to 33 percent." And symbolic measures won't build that trust for the Democratic Party, nor will doing nothing. Someone might also want to share those results with independent media -- it will no doubt be a surprise for a great many who ignored Iraq throughout 2006 -- as well as those who tried to sneak it into some fawning coverage of some politician.
"Thomas Friedman plays at being Chauncey Gardiner"
'"U.S. helicopter crash near Baghdad kills 13" (Borzou Daragahi, LA Times)'
'"U.S. helicopter crash near Baghdad kills 13" (Borzou Daragahi, LA Times)'
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