FRESH OFF HER ATTEMPTED SMACKDOWN OF ALEXENDAR COCKBURN, THE "PREPOSTEROUS" PHYLLIS BENNIS FOUND HERSELF UNDER CRITICISM LAST WEEK FOR CO-AUTHORING AN ALLEGED "PEOPLE'S REPORT" ON IRAQ THAT USED AN UNDERCOUNT OF THE NUMBER OF IRAQIS WHO HAD LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE U.S.' ILLEGAL WAR. BENNIS FELT THE 'SAFE' (IF NOT 'SMART') THING TO DO WAS TO USE A LOWER FIGURE FROM A STUDY THAT ENDED 14 MONTHS AGO AND ASSUMED NO ONE HAD NOTICED THAT SHE REPEATEDLY UNDERCOUNTS THE NUMBER OF IRAQIS WHO HAVE DIED.
AS SHE PAINTS HERSELF AS THE JUDITH MILLER OF THE LEFT (LIKE MILLER'S CO-WRITER MICHAEL GORDON, BENNIS' CO-AUTHOR ERIC LEAVER IS LARGELY UNKNOWN) THERE SEEMS NO END TO WHICH SHE WON'T GO TO DISGRACE HERSELF.
APPEARING FRIDAY ON THE ALLEGED NEWS ANALYSIS PROGRAM COUNTERSPIN, BENNIS AVOIDED COMPLETELY THE NUMBER OF IRAQIS WHO HAD DIED IN THE ILLEGAL WAR AND 'MEDIA ANALYSTS' JANINE JACKSON AND STEVE RENDALL DIDN'T RAISE THE ISSUE EITHER. SHE DID RAISE THE ISSUE THAT THE U.S. MILITARY WAS TRACKING THE NUMBER OF DEAD DESPITE "A GENERAL'S" CLAIM AT THE START OF THE ILLEGAL WAR THAT "WE DON'T DO BODY COUNTS." (RENDALL WOKE FROM HIS SLEEP LONG ENOUGH TO HELP BENNIS OUT BY PROVIDING THE NAME "TOMMY FRANKS.")
IN A MOMENT OF WHAT CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS "JAW DROPPING STUPIDITY," BENNIS DECLARED OF THE BODY COUNTS NOW REFERENCED BY THE U.S. MILITARY, "NOW APPARENTLY THEY'RE MAKING BODY COUNTS. SO NOBODY HAS ASKED THEM, 'EXCUSE ME, GENERAL, WHEN DID YOU START DOING BODY COUNTS? FROM THE BEGINNING YOU TOLD US "WE DON'T DO BODY COUNTS." WHEN DID THAT BEGIN? WHEN DO THESE FIGURES START FROM?'"
LIKE MOST OF ALL THINGS MEDIA BIG AND SMALL, BENNIS AND COUNTERSPIN TOOK SUMMER 2006 OFF FROM THE TOPIC OF IRAQ IN ORDER TO DO THEIR PART TO MAKE "2006: THE YEAR OF LIVING DUMBLY." HAD "ANALYST" BENNIS DONE HER WORK THEN OR SINCE, SHE WOULD BE AWARE THAT THE QUESTION SHE MAINTAINS WAS NEVER ASKED OR ANSWERED WAS ASKED, WAS ANSWERED IN JUNE OF 2006 WHEN NANCY A. YOUSSEF WROTE OF THE BODY COUNT AND REPORTED THAT THE U.S. MILITARY STATED THEY HAD BEGUN COUNTING THE BODIES IN JULY 2005.
"FACTS IS HARD!!!" WHINED A SPOKESPERSON AT I.P.S. -- BENNIS' THINK TANK -- WHEN THESE REPORTERS PHONED. "FACTS IS HARD!!!!"
SINCE TWO 'MEDIA ANALYSTS' WERE PRESENT FOR BENNIS' PREPOSTEROUS REMARKS AND FAILED TO CORRECT HER, THESE REPORTERS PHONED THE OFFICES OF FAIR. A MAN WHO REFUSED TO IDENTIFY HIMSELF SAID HE COULDN'T PROVIDE A COMMENT TO A PHONE QUERY "BUT IF YOU'LL WRITE IT DOWN AND SEND IT TO ME, I WILL BE HAPPY TO PASS IT ALONG TO THE NATION MAGAZINE." WHEN THESE REPORTERS REFUSED AND EXPLAINED WHY, HE OFFERED TO SEND US PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE FROM OTHER REPORTERS. WE SUGGESTED HE WORK WITH HOMELAND SECURITY AND NOT THE PRESS IN THE FUTURE.
BENNIS, IN AN APPARENT EFFORT TO BOLSTER HER PEACE CREDENTIALS, SHOWED UP FOR A WALKON.ORG SILENT, CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL CHANTING, "ONE SIDE'S RIGHT, ONE SIDE'S WRONG! WE'RE ON THE SIDE OF THE VIET CONG!" WHEN THE COUPLE NEAREST BENNIS COMPLAINED TO THE MANAGEMENT OF TRADER VIC'S THAT BENNIS WAS DISRUPTING THEIR CANDLE LIGHT DINNER, BENNIS WAS ESCORTED TO THE DOOR PROTESTING, "WELL IT LOOKS POLITICAL! IT LOOKS JUST LIKE A WALKON.ORG ACTION!"
Starting with war resistance. Nation contributor Ian Williams explores the topic of war resistance and, to no surprise, does so elsewhere. Williams (OpEdNews) addresses both the contemporary history of this illegal war as well as exploring the resistance during the Vietnam era. With war resister Pablo Paredes, Williams explores the issue of the numbers and the US military's refusal to release a full count as well as the fact that though the system is supposed to list a service member as AWOL automatically after 30 days, that is still not the case. (Which goes to the system problems and also benefits the US military by allowing for an undercount.) Williams speaks with war resister Camilo Mejia (now the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War) about Mejia's continued efforts to get his conviction overturned. (Mejia tells his story in which was released in May of this year. Briefly, Mejia had completed his contract with the US military. He was 'stop-lossed' and his contract was extended; however, Mejia was not a US citizen and the military's stop-loss/backdoor draft could not be used on non-citizens. The US military knew this and, in fact, confirmed to Mejia that he should be discharged immediately. He was not discharged.) Williams also speaks to war resister Kyle Snyder who, after serving in Iraq, self-checked out and went to Canada. Snyder explains his decision, "I saw a lot of things that were changing my mind about this war. I made a conscious choice that I couldn't live with myself if I stayed in Iraq. I felt it was evil, the things that were happening. We were not doing anything positive for the Iraqi people." Williams covers Snyder's attempt to return to the US and turn himself in at Fort Knox in October of last year and, when the US military screwed him over again, Snyder once again checking out. Snyder is back in Canada, married to a Canadian citizen (despite the attempts of the US military to prevent the marriage by having him arrested on his wedding day) and out of the reach of the US military. Snyder is not the only war resister in Canada are attempting to remain in Canada via being official recognized as refugees and granted. (Snyder's marriage should mean he is at no risk of being deported.) Williams explores the case of Jeremy Hinzman who, along with Brandon Hughey, became the first war resisters to go public about moving to Canada during this illegal war. Hinzman explains his decision to resist the Iraq War, "It was an illegal war. We did the right thing by deciding to fight it. Canada refused to fight in the war. To me that said they thought the war was illegal and immoral. When we came here, we knew that the chances were we may not be able to go back to America." Hinzman and Hughey have appealed their case to Canada's Supreme Court and a decision is expected to be handed down this month.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Derek Hess, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
In the United States, Alan Greenspan has a new book coming out. As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes, the book is receiving attention for contents such as, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Greenspan was the chair of the US Federal Reserve until recently. He is also married to Andrea Mitchell of the network NBC which explains why the Today show (NBC) pimped his book like crazy this morning. Following an overly long soft and gauzy profile, Greenspan sat down across from Matt Lauer for an interview that consisted primarily of Lauer attempting to "emote" and suggesting Lauer needs his hearing -- if not his meds -- checked. In what passes for "news" on NBC, Lauer felt the need to raise the issue of the elderly Greenspan in a bathtub taking a bath. To make sure the point got across, Lauer then had to belabor it by insisting he did not want a mental image of that. Obviously Lauer did need such an image because he immediately brought up Andrea Mitchell being in the bathtub with Greenspan while still insisting he didn't want a mental image of that. When not wallowing in his own filth (or blaming the victims of the housing scandal), Lauer asked Greenspan about the Iraq statement or led him through what someone felt Greenspan needed to say. Lauer insisted Greenspan wasn't saying the illegal war was based on lies and Greenspan quickly agreed. In a court of law, it would have been termed "leading the witness." When Greenspan mentioned that he felt stability in the region was important, Lauer seized on that, cut off the discussion and stated it was about "stability." Prior to that, Lauer had led Greenspan to agree that the price of oil per barrell could be even higher were it not for the illegal war. Putting aside Lauer's need to shout loudly and emote as well as the fact that future Today show guests should be warned Lauer wants to dominate all interviews and guest should just say "yes" or "no" while Lauer tells them what they mean to say, the issue of "stability" is worth exploring -- so naturally Lauer didn't do that. "Stability" for who? "Stability" how? "Stability" defined?
Greenspan is an economist -- a bad one, but an economist none the less. What was the region being stabilized for? The answer can be found in Naomi Klein's new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explains the book as Klein's argument that, "The history of the contemporary free market was written in shocks. Some of the most infamous human rights violations of the past thirty-five years, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free-market reforms." Today Amy Goodman interviewed Klein:
AMY GOODMAN: It's very good to have you with us. Why don't you start off by talking about exactly what you consider to be the shock doctrine?
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, the shock doctrine, like all doctrines, is a philosophy of power. It's a philosophy about how to achieve your political and economic goals. And this is a philosophy that holds that the best way, the best time, to push through radical free-market ideas is in the aftermath of a major shock. Now, that shock could be an economic meltdown. It could be a natural disaster. It could be a terrorist attack. It could be a war. But the idea, as you just saw in the film, is that these crises, these disasters, these shocks soften up whole societies. They discombobulate them. People lose their bearings. And a window opens up, just like the window in the interrogation chamber. And in that window, you can push through what economists call "economic shock therapy." That's sort of extreme country makeovers. It's everything all at once. It's not, you know, one reform here, one reform there, but the kind of radical change that we saw in Russia in the 1990s, that Paul Bremer tried to push through in Iraq after the invasion. So that's the shock doctrine.
And it's not claiming that right-wingers in a contemporary age are the only people who have ever exploited crisis, because this idea of exploiting a crisis is not unique to this particular ideology. Fascists have done it. State communists have done it. But this is an attempt to better understand the ideology that we live with, the dominant ideology of our time, which is unfettered market economics.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
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