Archive for the 'Peace' Category

Bad Voodoo

April 3, 2008

All you need to know about what we are doing in Iraq.

Based on hand-held videos shot by National Guard troops serving their country, some of whom are on their 5th tour. Watch how tired these people are and ask yourself why we allow this to happen.

Frontline presents Bad Voodoo’s War. (To watch the video, click on the  “Watch the Full Program Online” link on the right side of the page.)

Troubled Oregon Police Officer Arrested for DUI

February 12, 2008

Officer William J. Bergin

Sandy, Oregon police officer William J. Bergin, known for his role in the notorius shooting of 27-year old Fouad Kaady, was arrested for DUI in March 2007. This front page article from the Sandy Post newspaper tells the story. Bergin remains on patrol.

[Update: This article revealed that Bergin resigned from his position with the Sandy Police on October 24, 2008. The first comment to this article pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole thing.]

[Update: Bergin was arrested on November 13, 2008 on charges of felony identity theft, first-degree official misconduct and use of an invalid license. Read the story here.]

War Costs $20,000 (So Far) for Family of 4

November 13, 2007

The Congress’ Joint Economic Committee released a report today showing that the Iraq and Afghan wars have cost $1.6 trillion, or $20,000 for a family of four. So far. Which raises this question, among others: How can Bush get away without acknowledging the war is a massive tax increase on every person in America?

[Flashback: In January 2006, Nobel winning economist Josef Stiglitz estimated the wars would cost $2 trillion. Looks like he knew what he was talking about, but he better revise his estimate for a war that apparently has no end.]

[Update: Stiglitz has a piece in Vanity Fair which further expounds on the financial emergency/crime Bush has unleashed on the US economy.]

1994: Dick Cheney Says Occupying Iraq Would Result in “Quagmire”

August 13, 2007

I just came across this 1994 video from C-SPAN in which Dick Cheney says that invading and occupying Iraq would result in “quagmire”. At the time, he was defending George Bush Sr.’s decision to leave Saddam Hussein standing after the first Iraq War in 1991.

Somewhere along the line, the story changed.

I’d like someone to ask Mr. Cheney when his attitude changed, and why…

You Will Be Thrown Out, Probably With a Severe Beating

June 20, 2007

I just heard on ABC Nightly News (I switched over from a Simpsons rerun during a commercial) that an estimated 4 million Iraqis have fled their country to escape the violence and deprivation caused by the American invasion.

(I doubt we’ll be hearing from George Bush, Condi Rice or any of the presidential candidates pumping up the fact that some Iraqi women have been forced to turn to prostitution to provide for themselves and their families.)

The ENTIRE POPULATION of Iraq was about 4 million during WWII, when American troops were “ordered to Iraq (i-RAKH) as part of the world-wide offensive to beat Hitler”.

That’s according to A Short Guide to Iraq, published by the United States War and Navy Departments in 1943 and distributed to American GIs deployed to Iraq. The document was “for use of Military Personnel only” and “not to be republished, in whole or in part, without the consent of the War Department” (now called the “Department of Defense”).

Among other things the newly deployed American GI was to ponder while being airlifted by his government from Tupelo to Baghdad:

– “American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis (as the people are called) like American soldiers or not. It may not be quite that simple. But then again it could.”

– the Guide to Iraq was provided to him “so that [he] as a human being will get the most out of an experience few Americans have been lucky enough to have”.

– “Years from now you’ll be telling your children and maybe your grandchildren stories beginning, ‘Now when I was in Baghdad…’”.

– “That tall man in the flowing robe you are going to see soon, with the whiskers and the long hair, is a first-class fighting man, highly skilled in guerilla warfare. Few fighters in any country, in fact, excell him [sic] in that kind of situation. If he is your friend, he can be a staunch and valuable ally. If he should happen to be your enemy – look out!”

– the document accuses Hitler and “his back-stabbing allies, the Japs” of trying to take control of Iraq’s oil fields. It describes the Persian Gulf as “a back door to get supplies to our Russian allies. And even more, Iraq has great military importance for its oil fields, with their pipelines to the Mediterranean Sea.”

– In fact, “these fields and pipelines are among the richest prizes Hitler would like to grab…. Guarding or defending them may be among your most important military duties, for this oil is the source of supply for the armies of the Middle East and India, and also feeds the Mediterranean fleet.”

Only after these instructions is the soldier told about the Iraqi people and customs. The GI is offered this advice:

– “Keep away from mosques.” [emphasis in original]

– “There are four towns in Iraq which are particularly sacred to the Iraqi Moslems. These are Kerbala (ker-be-LAA), Nejef (NE-jef), Kadhiman (KAA-di-MAYN) (near Baghdad), and Samarra. Unless your ordered to these towns, it is advisable to stay away from them.”

– “The Moslems will immediately dislike you and there will be trouble if you do not treat women according to their standards and customs.”

– “Moslems do not let other people see them naked. … These things may seem trivial, but they are important if you want to get along well with the Iraqis.”

– If you violate any of these rules, “You will be thrown out, probably with a severe beating.”

[Editor’s note: I guess I can stop quoting the document. It goes on for another 20 pages. It’s all extraordinarily sage advice and truisms about what an American soldier might expect in Iraq, based upon the standards and opinions of the US War Department in 1943. I haven’t really read it all the way to the end, but I haven’t come across any advice about what type of reaction a soldier might expect from Iraqis if he invaded their country with what they perceive to be a Crusader army; blew up their most revered shrines; bombed their four holiest cities (and nearly every other city); jailed and tortured the people by the tens of thousands; killed or caused to be killed 650,000 or more of their friends and loved ones; raped and murdered their mothers and sisters; and tried to seize their “richest prizes”. Above all, I have not read anything that might indicate a major change in the customs and beliefs of Iraqis over the last 64 years that would render the advice in this manual moot.]

Richard Perle Issues Tongue Twister Denial-Admission of Responsibility for Iraq

May 4, 2007

Disgraced Neocon Richard Perle on Friday accused former CIA Director George Tenet of attempting to “shift responsibility” for the Bush administration’s failure to prevent 9/11. He then admitted that “[w]e had been watching al Qaeda prepare for an attack on the US and we did nothing.”

Perle then attempted to “shift responsibility” for the chasm of Iraq onto George W. Bush and his closest advisors. Did Perle forget that he was assistant Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld and a charter member of the Project for the New American Century?!

Perle also denies telling Tenet on September 12, 2001 that “Iraq has to pay the price for what happened. They bear responsibility.”

But, on September 16, 2001, Perle, a longtime advocate of destroying Saddam Hussein, told CNN that Saddam and Osama Bin Laden were involved in the attacks and that there were ties between the two. On Friday, Perle confirmed these statements and claimed that this relationship has been proven.

According to the Vanity Fair article, Neo Culpa, a lot of Neocons are busy denying responsibility for Iraq. How can they all be innocent?

A Loud, Tuneless Warble

April 30, 2007

CNN writes about the graduation ceremony of a new class of Iraqi military recruits:

“With great pride, [the bugle player] delivers a loud, tuneless warble. It trails off in the whipping desert wind.”

Some high-ranking officials have come “to watch final training exercises for 1,500 Iraqi soldiers, who within days will be destroyed in Baghdad.”

Oh, that actually says “deployed”.

In other news from Iraq, the New York Times reports that a federal oversight agency that apparently is still doing its job found that, out of 8 Iraqi reconstruction projects examined, 7 were “no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle”. I can’t figure out if the looting was done by the Iraqis or the American contractors who got all those no-bid contracts.

By the way. The “surge” in Iraq, which Bush and Petraeus keep reminding us has not even gotten started yet, resulted in over 100 dead American soldiers (and an unknown, much larger number of Iraqi civilians) in April.

[Update: It is becoming clearer and clearer that George Dubya will forestall any pullout from Iraq during the remainder of his term. Apparently his plan is to maintain the status quo (i.e. “stay the course”) until a Democrat can be blamed for failure in Iraq. I can see the media script for this revision of history being written now. Of course, the Democrats are equally to blame for getting us mired in this international crime called the War on Iraq, but never let it be forgotten that George W. Bush was at the wheel when America was driven off the cliff.]

Whose Streets?: Portland Police Violence at First Amendment Assemblies

April 29, 2007

On Tuesday May 1, the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center and the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will release a written report titled “Whose Streets? Recommend- ations to the Portland Police Bureau for Responding to First Amendment Assemblies”. The report is accompanied by a short video I produced for the Center that richly details how badly the Portland police continue to respond to First Amendment activities on the streets and sidewalks of the city. (Warning: This video is stark.)

This project is compiled from Center files and contains video shot from 2002 to 2006 by street video activists, legal observers, corporate media and the police themselves.

I am posting the video a couple of days early because I will be volunteering with the Portland Legal Defense Network to monitor and respond to arrests or police misconduct during the May Day march Tuesday afternoon.

More on the Approaching US War on Iran

January 31, 2007

One year ago today I was writing about the death of Yippie Stew Albert and how I missed his funeral because I couldn’t remember the address of the NW Portland church it was held in. Interestingly, a year ago this month, I was also concerned about the upcoming American war on Iran. In January 2007, the neocons’ wet dream has caught up with time.

Though the US Army, Marines and National Guard are “stretched to the breaking point“, who’s rested and ready? The US Navy and Air Force. These forces may soon unleash a horrible criminal assault on Iran that threatens to ignite the world in war.

Brave New Year

December 31, 2006

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Saddam Hussein execution this weekend and have a few observations about it. First, I do not agree with the death penalty under any circumstances, even for dictators. Especially when it is so plain that the defendant was tried by a victors’ kangaroo court with no right to cross examination or true appeal.

The US media repeatedly trumpeted the “fact” that Saddam was executed by Iraqis outside the Green Zone, with NO AMERICANS PRESENT. It only took one day for me to find an article stating that the execution took place on an American military base (!), in a building which houses the site of the former regime’s military intelligence organization. Which begs the question, “How can no Americans be present when the whole thing is being conducted inside the wire of one of the occupiers’ bases??” What, were they outside the door?

The US media showed a lot of video of Iraqis celebrating the death of the dictator, but I learned today that there was a surprising LACK of celebration in the streets. In fact, according to some observers, the execution of Saddam on the holiest day of the Muslim year, the Eid al Adha, is likely to make him a martyr in the eyes of Sunnis, and possibly a prophet. The execution, carried out by the United States and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, is very likely to further inflame ethnic tensions and sectarian violence and increase Sunni attacks on their American occupiers, all so George W. Bush can get his rocks off. Read what a well-known female Baghdad blogger nicknamed Riverbend has to say about all of this.

I recall Bush talking tough about the murderers who kill their victims on camera and then post the videos online as a further act of terror. Now Bush himself is posting his own snuff films on the “Internets”. WARNING: This cellphone video of Saddam’s execution is real and WILL be disturbing to most viewers!!

Lastly, I note that the last day of 2006 also saw the 3000th officially acknowledged dead American servicemember in the Iraq occupation. How much larger is this number going to be by the last day of 2007? And after that?

[Postscript: When I first posted this article, I used a photo that I created from one frame of the “unofficial” video of Saddam’s hanging, the cellphone video that leaked onto the Worldwide Web within minutes of the execution. I decided to take the picture down because I think it might be a little too much for the casual visitor to this site to see a man swinging from the end of a hangman’s noose. I have posted the image here if you still want to look.]