PRESIDENT OF VICE, DICK CHENEY, SAT DOWN WITH THESE REPORTERS TODAY FOR AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
FOCUSING ON THE IRAQ WAR, WE ASKED HIM HOW THE PROMISED CAKEWALK HAD NOW ENTERED IT'S FIFTH YEAR.
OLD DIRTY BASTARD RESPONDED, "SOME DEMOCRATIC LEADERS SEEM TO BELIEVE THAT BLIND OPPOSITION TO THE NEW STRATEGY IN IRAQ IS GOOD POLITICS."
WE PRESSED ON. WITH 3,330 AMERICANS KILLED WHILE SERVING IN THE MILITARY IN IRAQ, SERVING IN THE ILLEGAL WAR, HOW CAN YOU PRETEND THE U.S. ISN'T LOSING?
FLUTTERING A HAND, THE DICKSTER WHEEZED, "IT IS CYNICAL TO DECLARE THAT THE WAR IS LOST BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE IT GIVES YOU POLITICAL ADVANTAGE."
MAYBE LIKE A SELF-PROCLAIMED "ANTI-WAR" MATH PROFESSOR, THE DICKSTER BELIEVES PEOPLE DON'T NEED TO BE TOLD HOW MANY AMERICANS HAVE DIED IN IRAQ?
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resisters. The AP reported on Kevin Benderman's appearance at the Atlanta Film Festival Sunday "for the world premiere of the documentary Soldiers of Conscience. The film, which later will be presented in film festivals in Seattle and Massachusetts, is about Benderman and other U.S. soldiers whose experiences in Iraq prompted them to seek out conscientious objector status." The documentary is directed by Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg of Luna Productions in Berkeley. Peter Coyote narrates the documentary which features, among others Camilo Mejia, Aidan Delgado, and Joshua Casteel. Benderman tells AP, "If there's anything I can get across to soldiers, it's that I'm not against them. But I am against the war." AP reports that Kevin and Monica Benderman are focusing "on 'Benderman's Bridge, Inc.,' a project to help troops returning from Iraq adjust to civilian life through job training and peer counseling."
Another war resister is Joshua Key who tells his story in the new book The Deserter's Tale which has gotten a lot of attention. Al Cardwell, in a letter to the Sonoma Index-Tribune, writes:
It was reported in the news that President Bush was horrified when he learned of the shooting on the Virginia Tech campus that took 32 lives. Why the horror, George?
Under you "democracy at the end of a gun" - guidance, massacres like that have been occuring daily for the past five years in Iraq.
I just started reading a new book, The Deserter's Tale by Joshua Key, the story of an American soldier who walked away from the war in Iraq. Key enlisted in the Army in 2002 and went to Iraq with the 3rd Armed Calvary Regiment. In the book, Key relates that the war he found himself participating in was not the campaign against terrorists he had expected.
Instead, he saw Iraqi citizens beaten, shot and killed or maimed for little or no provocation. Nearly every other night, he participated in destructive raids on homes he was told were harboring terrorists and never finding evidence of terrorist activity. When he returned home on leave, Key knew he coud never return to Iraq, so he went into hiding and eventually sought asylum in Canada. (A total of 3,196 active-duty soldiers deserted from the United States Army in 2006.)
Support our troops - bring them home now. And impeach the pompous, irresponsible, fascist-minded simpleton in the White House!
Kevin Benderman and Joshua Key are part of a movement of war resistance within the military that also includes Ehren Watada, Dean Walcott, Camilo Mejia, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
While Benderman and others are war resisters, Natalie Storey (The New Mexican) reports on Steve Martinez who is self-checked out of the US army five months ago following the birth of his newborn daughter. Despite attempts by Paul von Zeilbauer (New York Times) to sell the myth that those self-checking out all suffer from PTSD and are not opposed to the illegal war, Martinez doesn't suffer from PTSD. Storey reports, "Tod Ensign, the director of Citizen Soldier, a New York-based group that works for the rights of soldiers and veterans, said Martinez faces three possibilities. His unit might allow him to rejoin if he goes through retraining or agrees to be deployed. He could face administrative punishment like loss of pay or rank. Or, in the worst-case scenario, Martinez could face a court-martial and, after a trial, be sentenced to time in a military prison. What happens to Martinez is largely up to his commander, Ensign said."
And what happens to Iraqis? It happens largely out of the media eye. John Stauber (Center for Media and Democracy) appeared today on KPFA's The Morning Show where he spoke with Andrea Lewis on a variety of topics. One of which was coverage of deaths. Stauber states, "And the best study on how many people have been killed in the Iraq war since the US, uh, unecessarily, uh, you know, illegally, immorally launched it four years ago if over a half a million Iraqis have died, over 500,000 Iraqis have died. You don't hear the media mentioning that either except, if they do, they'll say, of course, the Pentagon and uh the president of the United States dispute that figure.' But that's the best figure we've got."
The count Stauber's referring to was published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, and it found that over 655,000 Iraqis had died since the start of the illegal war. Celeste Biever (New Scientist) spoke with Gilbert Burnham who headed the team conducting the study and Burnham states: "Our intentions were not political. Our centre is for refugee and disaster studies and this is simply the kind of thing we do. Other counts, such as the Iraq Body Count, which consists of volunteer academics and activists based in the UK and the US, rely on reports of deaths in the English-language press, but the press is in the business of producing news, not statistics. The IBS uses news reports mainly written in English, by people who can't leave a very narrow area of Baghdad, while violence is worse in the Al Anbar and Diyala provinces. Mortuaries provide figures but a lot of bodies don't make it there. Also press accounts and mortuary numbers record violent deaths, but people die in a war from many cases."
As Stauber noted, big media either ignores the study or it presents qualifiers. Peter Hart (CounterSpin) rightly noted that a poll that found few Americans knew the number of Iraqis who had died was a reflection on the media and what they cover, not on Americans. Of course, for every Peter Hart or CounterSpin, you can count on those 'helpful' types to take to the airwaves to piss on the peace movement (and "piss on" is the only term for it) via a program that once a year decides to make Iraq the topic and declare that it's the fault of the "anti-war" movement that Americans do not know how many Iraqis have died. [Note: The unnamed guest is not John Stauber, nor is the program The Morning Show.]
Most of us were unaware that the peace movement, or anti-war (men just need that "war" in there apparently) owned one of the big three networks! They must since most Americans continue to get the bulk of their news from television airwaves and since the guest pinned the public's lack of knowledge of how many Iraqis had died not on the media but on the "anti-war" movement.
Possibly, it's time to step away from the public stage when you say (as the guest did) of US troop fatalities, "This is known so well that actually people don't need to be told how many American soldiers have died. Right now it is 3280-something." Actually, the day that aired (the assumption being that is live), the 3,300 benchmark had been passed the day before. Pompous guests don't always know what they're talking about, do they?
But let's be really clear, when you say people don't need to be told how many ___ have died -- Americans, Iraqis, whatever -- you need to consider if Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling and it's time to take your ass off the stage.
The program that made time for it's yearly check in on Iraq -- a program which airs over 100 hours each year? Book better guests. And when one wants to piss on the peace movement and the American people, possibly he shouldn't cite a study (The Lancet) and note that it found "was 650,000 people" when it found over 655,000. An attentive host could have corrected the guest. But a (male) host who wants to discuss the illegal war and do so with two guests might be asked why both guests are male to begin with? Are there no female math professors to book? I mean when math professor is the credential, it's seems really strange that the gates were yet again closed on women.
While the math professor didn't think it was important to note or talk about the US service members who had died, Mary Pitt (ICH) wonders: "Who grieves for them? While we have lost a hundred children in that conflagration for every student who fell prey to the mad gunner, the nation mourns only those who were presumably safe from harm while those who fell in service to our country are hidden from our sight and rarely mentioned by name unless they qualify as 'heroes.' They fly home under cover of night and then are treated as baggage on commecrial flights until they are taken to their home town. Their family, friends, and neighbors turn out for their funeral with none taking notice except, perhaps, Rev. Fred Phelps and his little band of ghouls. The funeral over, the families go home to deal with their own desolation as they reflect on the life that was lost and the hopes and dreams that will never come to fruition. They will forever wonder why." And find the deaths of their loved ones dismissed by a pompous "anti-war" math professor (whose field should require he know numbers but -- as witnessed by his bungling of The Lancet study numbers -- apparently doesn't).
Monday on WBAI's Law and Disorder, co-host Michael Smith asked co-host Michael Ratner what it was like to be returning to the United States right now from Germany and France and Ratner responded, "First thing you read, 157 people were killed in Iraq. This is after the so-called escalation -- 'surge' as they call it. Things certainly don't seem to be getting better and, in fact, I think what we may see happening in Iraq is something like the Tet Offensive at some point that will eventually drive the United States out militarily and that just the American people will finally say 'We've had it.' We see the Democrats screwing around a timetable in their legislation but not linking that really to any funding, just putting it in Bush claiming to veto it and realize that people are being slaughtered every day in Iraq."
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