BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O RETURNED TO D.C. FROM HIS LATEST ENDLESS VACATION JUST AS HIS MENTOR AS WELL AS HIS COMPETITOR IN THE SEXISM OLYMPICS LEFT THE ADMINISTRATION TO RETURN TO HARVARD
THE APPARENT MESSAGE IN ALL OF THIS?
WHITE GUYS WITH FAT ASSES HAVE "INNATE DIFFERENCES
" WHICH MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO HANDLE POLITICS. THEY'RE ALSO MORE PRONE TO EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS, THEREBY EXPLAINING SUMMERS TEARFUL GOOD-BYES TO SOME WHITE HOUSE STAFF. THE REALITY THAT WHITE GUYS WITH FAT ASSES ARE INDEED INFERIOR AND UNABLE TO DO THE COMPLEX REASONING
REQUIRED OF POLITICS HAS SENT A CHILL THROUGH TUBBY WHITE HOUSE PLUS-SIZE SPOKESMODEL ROBERT GIBBS WHO INSISTS THAT, FAT OR NOT, HE WILL IMPLODE THE STEREOTYPE OR MAYBE JUST THE PORCELAIN TOILET BOWLS IN THE WHITE HOUSES.FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Opening with this bit of perspective from from Richard Cohen's "A stranger's wars
" in today's Washington Post:
Little wars tend to metastasize. They are nourished by chaos. Government employees in Nevada direct drones to kill insurgents in Afghanistan. The repercussions can be felt years later. We kill coldly, for reasons of policy - omitting, for reasons of taste, that line from Mafia movies: Nothing personal. But revenge comes back hot and furious. It's personal, and we no longer remember why.
The Great Afghanistan Reassessment has come and gone and, outside of certain circles, no one much paid attention. In this respect, the United States has become like Rome or the British Empire, able to fight nonessential wars with a professional military in places like Iraq. Ultimately, this will drain us financially and, in a sense, spiritually as well. "War is too important to be left to the generals," the wise saying goes. Too horrible, too.
War was a radio topic today, specifically one form of warfare. US drone attacks took place in a variety of countries including Iraq under Bully Boy Bush but, as Anthony Fest (New KPFA Morning Show) noted today
, they have increased under Barack Obama. Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan
's Toby Blome took part in a discussion with today's hosts Anthony Fest and Adrienne Lauby (the program is now one hour, has a rotating set of hosts and airs from 8:00 am to 9:00 am PST -- those who start listening five to eight minutes late miss out on Aileen Alfandary's daily snit fit passed off as news -- see Ruth's entry from last night). Excerpt:
Anthony Fest: Let's start with you, Toby. Now remote controlled, pilotless war planes are a relatively new weapon but bombers and tanks and artillery have been killing people for decades. Is there something especially insidious about drones?
Toby Blome: Well there's many things that are insidious and distrubing to us. One is that the drones which are actually designed to drop missiles, which is a percentage of the total drones, are controlled from thousands of miles away. Often times, as far away as the desert of Nevada. And the pilot -- they call them "pilots," but they never leave the ground. They're behind computer terminals and the distance between the people being killed and the people doing the killing is very disturbing to many of us.
Anthony Fest: And, Cindy, do you have anything to add?
Cindy Sheehan: Well, of course, because we're against drones doesn't mean that we're for hand-to-hand combat or dropping bombs from airplanes. But the thing is also about, especially the drone bombings in Pakistan, is that, many times, they're being controlled by the CIA which is also collaborating many times with the government or the military of Pakistan which is leading to the total destabilization of that country that is a nuclear power and, you know, it's about the-the total division between what is happening in reality when somebody sits in a bunker thousands of miles away, it dehumanizes that person. And I've heard from -- [about] the person who is dropping the bombs, controlling the drones, dropping the bombs -- I've heard from chaplain's on Air Force Bases that the pilots are having some really, you know, they're having difficulty with dropping bombs on people during the day and going at home at night and trying to lead a normal life. So also we can attach drone bombings specifically to Obama because this is January 4th and there's already been four drone attacks in Pakistan. There was a 118 last year. In five years of the program during the Bush administration, there were a total of 52. So this is something that we can highlight that is increasingly worse than under the Bush administration. And they're being used to as these proxy weaopns in a war against Pakistan that hasn't been declared yet. So we have extreme difficulty with this type of warfare.
Anthony Fest: And, Toby, when did CODEPINK begin this campaign against drone warfare?
Toby Blome: Well we got involved -- We kind of followed in the footsteps of Kathy Kelly and the Voices for the Creative Nonviolence. She and some others in Nevada organized one of the first protests at Creech Air Force Base. Creech Air Force Base is an hour north of Las Vegas and that was in 2009 -- April -- when 14 peace activists were arrested by crossing into the base on Creech and we followed in July  to bring some more resistance to drone warfare. And we've now had four trips down to Creech Air Force Base from the Bay Area. We're now beginning protests at Beale Air Force Base where they control the global hoc -- one of the key reconnaissance drones. That it's controlled from the United States.
Adrienne Lauby: So I think one of the reasons people started to use drones, the military, is the idea that then it's safe for the operator. And, of course, it reminds me of video games. So don't you see these operators -- I guess my assumption is the operator's sitting there playing a video game and pretty divorced from the actual consequences. Now, Cindy, I'd like to know more what it's really like for them?
Cindy Sheehan: For the people who are operating it?
Adrienne Lauby: That's right.
Cindy Sheehan: You know, like I said, the only reports I have are really from some chaplains who are saying that the people are being conflicted about it. But the thing is we know from war, from the beginning of time, that the men and women who have been asked to pay the highest prices, whether killing other people, being injured, they're the ones who come back with -- also wounded mentally and emotionally. So the people who are sitting in the bunker thousands of miles away controlling them aren't free from any kind of effects. But I get this all the time. People will e-mail me and say, "Cindy, you know maybe if they had been using drones in Iraq on April 4, 2004 in Baghdad, your son might be alive." Well you know that's true but as as much as I love my son and miss him, and am so, you know, angry about these wars, there are innocent people that are involved. And these drones, they just announced a new one yesterday called the Gorgon Stare, it's going to have multiple cameras. But these drones that they're using now for intelligence have a very narrow -- what they call a "straw vision" -- that just shows a narrow area. But when you drop a Hellfire Missile on an area, that Hellfire Missile does not distinguish between innocent civilians and so-called militants. And another thing with these so-called militants, they have not been tried in a court of law for whatever and we know that the prisons like Abu Ghraib and Bagram are filled with people who were sold to the US for a bounty based on faulty intelligence. And these wars are so-called based on faulty intelligence. So we don't know if the intelligence that the people who are pressing the buttons are getting are anywhere near complete or if they're just acting out a vendetta by somebody in the Pakistani military or the CIA or the US government. So these programs are basically executing people who haven't had their say in a court of law.
Anthony Fest: Do we know who actually gives the final orders to fire those missiles? Is it an Air Force Officer there or is it CIA?
Cindy Sheehan: I think it's a combination of military and intelligence but we know that 72 hours after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, he gave the order for his first drone strike that killed about three dozen people. So I think it's a combination of, you know, the military working with the CIA working with -- not just the government of Pakistan but the government of Afghanistan -- but it could be just executing political rivals or political enemies.
I have no idea the chain-of-command on drone attacks. northsunm32 (All Voices) covered
them briefly in May, an Afghanistan one that even NATO admitted was wrong, and stated that NATO commanders were judged to be at fault, "Letters of reprimand were sent to four senior and two junior officers in Afghanistan." Also in May of last year, Bill Van Auken (WSWS) covered
the topic and noted the Los Angeles Times report that the CIA in Pakistan had been given the power -- by Barack -- to conduct "indiscriminate drone missile strikes" and
"Only a combatant --a lawful combatant --may carry out the use of killing with combat drones," Mary Ellen O'Connell, a professor from the University of Notre Dame law school, testified at the April 28 hearing held by the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
"The CIA and civilian contractors have no right to do so," she continued. "They do not wear uniforms, and they are not in the chain of command. And most importantly, they are not trained in the law of armed conflict."
David Glazier, a professor from Loyola law school in Los Angeles, California, concurred with this opinion, stating that CIA personnel are "clearly not lawful combatants, [and] if you are not a privileged combatant, you simply don't have immunity from domestic law for participating in hostilities."
He went on to warn that "any CIA personnel who participate in this armed conflict run the risk of being prosecuted under the national laws of the places where [the combat actions] take place." CIA operatives involved in the drone program, he said, could be found guilty of war crimes.
The Defense Dept's Deployment Health Clinical Center notes
, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, especially when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. People with PTSD also experience emotional numbness and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger. Feelings of intense guilt are also comon. Physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal distress, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, or discomfort in other parts of the body are common in people with PTSD." Lark Turner (Daily Northwestern) reports
on Iraq War veteran Cpl Justin Owen who was buried last Thursday. The 24-year-old veteran's Christmas Day death has been ruled a suicide and his father, Tom Owen, believes his son suffered from PTSD. Along with his father, his survivors include his mother Rebecca Owen and brothers Nicholas and Thomas Owen
. Nick Castele (North By Northwestern) notes
that he was a graduate stuent who "graduated cum laude from Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication" and that the family has started a memorial scholarship in Justin's name (details at link and also in this Alex Katz article
). Greenwood Today reports
on Iraq War veteran Staff Sgt Matthew Scruggs who is a student at Lander University and attempting to treat his PTSD via prescription drugs and sessions at the VA. He speaks of how the PTSD added stress to his marriage and how his and Ashley Scruggs' religious faith helped there. Also helping may be that his support network includes his father who also served in the Iraq War (Sgt 1st Class Frederick Scruggs) and he has a brother, a sister and a brother-in-law in the military as well.
Ann J. Curley (CNN) notes
a new study published in the JAMA Archives of General Psychiatry which advocates for PTSD screening and found an increase likelihood of longer-term health problems among those veterans suffering from PTSD. Todd Neale (MedPage Today) adds
, "Post traumatic stress disorder -- but not a history of concussion -- strongly predicted postconcussive symptoms and poorer psychosocial outcomes in soldiers returning from a long deployment to Iraq, researchers found." Randy Dotinga (HealthDay) explains
, "Melissa A. Polusny, of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System and the University of Minnesota Medical School, and colleagues surveyed 953 National Guard soldiers who were deployed to combat. They answered questions in Iraq a month before returning home and then a year later. [. . .] The survey found that 7.6 percent of the soldiers were considered to probably have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in the first survey. A year later, the number had risen to 18.2 percent."
Paul Purpura (Times-Picayune) reports
an estimated 115 members of Louisiana's National Guard will be deploying to Iraq and a send-off ceremony took place yesterday in Baton Rouge. Rebeka Allen (Advocate) adds
that Capt John Carmouche got married last March right before he deployed to Iraq and got back in December only to now prepare for Capt Tonya Carmouche (his wife) to deploy as part of the estimated 115 Army National Guard members headed to Iraq. Hatzel Vela (ABC 15) reports
36 members of the Arizona's National Guard are heading to Fort Hood, Texas tomorrow "for two months of training" before deploying to Iraq. The Iraq War has not ended.
Press TV notes
, "Six mortar shells were fired on Monday at the US base north of Hillah, the capital of Babil province, Aswat al-Iraq news agency quoted a police source in the al-Mahawil district." Al Jazeerah notes
Aswat al-Iraq also reported a US military vehicle was hit by explosives "in west of Diwaniya" yesterday and that "American forces cordon off the whole region, preventing vehicles coming from Najaf to enter the province for hours." This follows the death of 2 US soldiers on Sunday.
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