Monday, January 09, 2006


President Bush says those who criticize "staying the course" are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2000
troops... FROM THIS SITE

After making such an absurd statement President Bush must be pleased with the latest news out of Iraq, the fact that 17 more victims can be added to those he is honoring by "staying the course". At the beginning of this new year, I had wondered just how many more sons, daughter, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers etc. would become a part of the George W Bush honor roll. To my sadness, the list is bulging like a fat cat at a cheese and mouse banquet. When will enough be
enough? Never for Bush, he is the compulsive gambler who just knows the
next deal will be his winner... on and on until all his assets are gone.
The "compulsive gambler" analogy is not a good metaphor for what Bush is
doing because he isn't gambling with his own capital, he is gambling with
ours and not just our hard earned cash he is recklessly wagering our
blood and guts. I don't usually include a breaking news item in my
posts but this weekend's BLACKHAWK DOWN article really hit me with a thud. HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE? This rhetorical question in our collective-unconscience is forever examined by all who think and care about our fellow human being. HOW MANY MORE...? Thinkingblue



Go to Original

Iraq (CNN) -- Twelve Americans were killed when a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq early Sunday, the military said.

The helicopter, which was carrying a crew of four and eight passengers, was flying along with another aircraft between bases in the north of the country, according to news releases from the U.S. military.

Rescuers searched for about 12 hours, finding the crash site about noon (4 a.m. ET), some 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) east of Tal Afar. A military release described the area as sparsely populated. (Watch deadly days in Iraq -- 1:35)

The military didn't say whether any of the 12 dead were civilians.

Tal Afar is just miles from the Syrian border and has been a hotbed of insurgent activity and raids by Iraqi and coalition forces.

According to The Associated Press, 23 helicopters have crashed in Iraq since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Last January, a transport helicopter crashed in bad weather, killing 31 U.S. troops in the deadliest such incident.

The military also announced the deaths of five U.S. Marines in three different Iraqi towns Saturday and Sunday.

Insurgents in Falluja killed three Marines during separate gunbattles Sunday. Falluja is about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Baghdad in restive Anbar province.

On Saturday, roadside bombs killed two Marines, one near al-Karma and another near Ferris. Both towns are near Falluja.

Since the war began, 2,198 U.S. service members serving in Iraq have died. That total does not include victims of the Black Hawk crash.

Suicide bomb wounds 13

At least 13 people, including six Iraqi police commandos, were wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded Saturday as a police commando patrol was passing by, police said.

The bomb went off in southeast Baghdad's al-Jadida neighborhood, authorities said, about 10:15 a.m. ( 2:15 a.m. ET).

On Friday, military officials revealed that 11 U.S. troops -- eight soldiers and three Marines -- were among about 140 people killed in attacks across Iraq on Thursday, the deadliest day in Iraq in nearly four months.

A U.S. soldier and a U.S. Marine were killed in a suicide bombing that targeted an Iraqi police recruitment center in Ramadi, the military said Friday. Both were assigned to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Their deaths bring the number of people killed in the Ramadi attack to at least 82, along with about 70 wounded. (More on what happened)

In addition, two U.S. Marines were killed by small arms fire in separate attacks during combat operations in Falluja, the military said. The Marines were assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Also, a roadside bomb killed two Task Force Baghdad soldiers on patrol in the Baghdad area of operations, the military said Friday. That incident was under investigation.

And five other Task Force Baghdad soldiers died in a separate roadside bombing near Baghdad.

The names of the soldiers and Marines were withheld pending notification of relatives.

Thursday's violence also included a suicide bomb attack in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, where 45 people were killed and 82 wounded, police and hospital officials said. The attacker detonated his explosives near two Shiite shrines, the Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas.

Karbala, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, has been relatively free of violence for the past year.

Asked if the attacks were a sign that the December elections had failed to diminish the insurgency in Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace said the opposite was true.

Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that with each of the country's three elections, voter turnout increased, indicating that "the terrorists failed at each of their primary missions of
stopping the vote."

"What's clear to me is that each of the elections has been a major blow to al Qaeda," Pace said at a Pentagon news conference Thursday. "I think what you're seeing now is a continuing attempt to disrupt the proper formation of the Iraqi government, and I'm confident they will fail."


After the War
by Howard Zinn

The war against Iraq, the assault on its people, the occupation of its cities, will come to an end, sooner or later. The process has already begun. The first signs of mutiny are appearing in Congress. The first editorials calling for withdrawal from Iraq are beginning to appear in the press. The anti-war movement has been growing, slowly but persistently, all over the country.

Public opinion polls now show the country decisively against the war and the Bush Administration. The harsh realities have become visible. The troops will have to come home.

And while we work with increased determination to make this happen, should we not think beyond this war? Should we begin to think, even before this shameful war is over, about ending our addiction to massive violence and instead using the enormous wealth of our country for human needs? That is, should we begin to speak about ending war—not just this war or that war, but war itself? Perhaps the time has come to bring an end to war, and turn the human race onto a path of health and healing.

A group of internationally known figures, celebrated both for their talent and their dedication to human rights (Gino Strada, Paul Farmer, Kurt Vonnegut, Nadine Gordimer, Eduardo Galeano, and others), will soon launch a worldwide campaign to enlist tens of millions of people in a movement for the renunciation of war, hoping to reach the point where governments, facing popular resistance, will find it difficult or impossible to wage war.

There is a persistent argument against such a possibility, which I have heard from people on all parts of the political spectrum: We will never do away with war because it comes out of human nature. The most compelling counter to that claim is in history: We don’t find people spontaneously rushing to make war on others. What we find, rather, is that governments must make the most strenuous efforts to mobilize populations for war. They must entice soldiers with promises of money, education, must hold out to young people whose chances in life look very poor that here is an opportunity to attain respect and status. And if those enticements don’t work, governments must use coercion: They must conscript young people, force them into military service, threaten them with prison if they do not comply.

Furthermore, the government must persuade young people and their families that though the soldier may die, though he or she may lose arms or legs, or become blind, that it is all for a noble cause, for God, for country.

When you look at the endless series of wars of this century you do not find a public demanding war, but rather resisting it, until citizens are bombarded with exhortations that appeal, not to a killer instinct, but to a desire to do good, to spread democracy or liberty or overthrow a tyrant.

Woodrow Wilson found a citizenry so reluctant to enter the First World War that he had to pummel the nation with propaganda and imprison dissenters in order to get the country to join the butchery going on in Europe.

In the Second World War, there was indeed a strong moral imperative, which still resonates among most people in this country and which maintains the reputation of World War II as “the good war.” There was a need to defeat the monstrosity of fascism. It was that belief that drove me to enlist in the Air Force and fly bombing missions over Europe.

Only after the war did I begin to question the purity of the moral crusade. Dropping bombs from five miles high, I had seen no human beings, heard no screams, seen no children dismembered. But now I had to think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the firebombings of Tokyo and Dresden, the deaths of 600,000 civilians in Japan, and a similar number in Germany.

I came to a conclusion about the psychology of myself and other warriors: Once we decided, at the start, that our side was the good side and the other side was evil, once we had made that simple and simplistic calculation, we did not have to think anymore. Then we could commit unspeakable crimes and it was all right.

I began to think about the motives of the Western powers and Stalinist Russia and wondered if they cared as much about fascism as about retaining their own empires, their own power, and if that was why they had military priorities higher than bombing the rail lines leading to Auschwitz. Six million Jews were killed in the death camps (allowed to be killed?). Only 60,000 were saved by the war—1 percent.

A gunner on another crew, a reader of history with whom I had become friends, said to me one day: “You know this is an imperialist war. The fascists are evil. But our side is not much better.” I could not accept his statement at the time, but it stuck with me.

War, I decided, creates, insidiously, a common morality for all sides. It poisons everyone who is engaged in it, however different they are in many ways, turns them into killers and torturers, as we are seeing now. It pretends to be concerned with toppling tyrants, and may in fact do so, but the people it kills are the victims of the tyrants. It appears to cleanse the world of evil, but that does not last, because its very nature spawns more evil. Wars, like violence in general, I concluded, is a drug. It gives a quick high, the thrill of victory, but that wears off and then comes despair.

I acknowledge the possibility of humanitarian intervention to prevent atrocities, as in Rwanda. But war, defined as the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people, must be resisted.

Whatever can be said about World War II, understanding its complexity, the situations that followed—Korea, Vietnam—were so far from the kind of threat that Germany and Japan had posed to the world that those wars could be justified only by drawing on the glow of “the good war.” A hysteria about communism led to McCarthyism at home and military interventions in Asia and Latin America—overt and covert—justified by a “Soviet threat” that was exaggerated just enough to mobilize the people for war.

Vietnam, however, proved to be a sobering experience, in which the American public, over a period of several years, began to see through the lies that had been told to justify all that bloodshed. The United States was forced to withdraw from Vietnam, and the world didn’t come to an end. One half of one tiny country in Southeast Asia was now joined to its communist other half, and 58,000 American lives and millions of Vietnamese lives had been expended to prevent that. A majority of Americans had come to oppose that war, which had provoked the largest anti-war movement in the nation’s history.

The war in Vietnam ended with a public fed up with war. I believe that the American people, once the fog of propaganda had dissipated, had come back to a more natural state. Public opinion polls showed that people in the United States were opposed to send troops anywhere in the world, for any reason.

The Establishment was alarmed. The government set out deliberately to overcome what it called “the Vietnam syndrome.” Opposition to military interventions abroad was a sickness, to be cured. And so they would wean the American public away from its unhealthy attitude, by tighter control of information, by avoiding a draft, and by engaging in short, swift wars over weak opponents (Grenada, Panama, Iraq), which didn’t give the public time to develop an anti-war movement.

I would argue that the end of the Vietnam War enabled the people of the United States to shake the “war syndrome,” a disease not natural to the human body. But they could be infected once again, and September 11 gave the government that opportunity. Terrorism became the justification for war, but war is itself terrorism, breeding rage and hate, as we are seeing now.

The war in Iraq has revealed the hypocrisy of the “war on terrorism.” And the government of the United States, indeed governments everywhere, are becoming exposed as untrustworthy: that is, not to be entrusted with the safety of human beings, or the safety of the planet, or the guarding of its air, its water, its natural wealth, or the curing of poverty and disease, or coping with the alarming growth of natural disasters that plague so many of the six billion people on Earth.

I don’t believe that our government will be able to do once more what it did after Vietnam—prepare the population for still another plunge into violence and dishonor. It seems to me that when the war in Iraq ends, and the war syndrome heals, that there will be a great opportunity to make that healing permanent.
My hope is that the memory of death and disgrace will be so intense that the people of the United States will be able to listen to a message that the rest of the world, sobered by wars without end, can also understand: that war itself is the enemy of the human race.

Governments will resist this message. But their power is dependent on the obedience of the citizenry. When that is withdrawn, governments are helpless. We have seen this again and again in history.

The abolition of war has become not only desirable but absolutely necessary if the planet is to be saved. It is an idea whose time has come.
Howard Zinn is the co-author, with Anthony Arnove, of “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.”



from this blog skippy the bush kangaroo

blitzer bitch-slapped crooks and liars has the video, atrios has the transcript: people powered howard forced the truth down wolf "how's my beard" blizter's throat today on cnn. the money quote:

blitzer: should democrats who took money from jack abramoff, who has now pleaded guilty to bribery charges, among other charges, a republican lobbyist in washington, should the democrat who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?

dean: there are no democrats who took money from jack abramoff, not one, not one single democrat. every person named in this scandal is a republican. every person under investigation is a republican. every person indicted is a republican. this is a republican finance scandal. there is no evidence that jack abramoff ever gave any democrat any money. and we've looked through all of those fec reports to make sure that's true.

blitzer: but through various abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of democrats did take money that presumably originated with jack abramoff.

dean: that's not true either. there's no evidence for that either. there is no evidence...

blitzer: what about senator byron dorgan?

dean: senator byron dorgan and some others took money from indian tribes. they're not agents of jack abramoff. there's no evidence that i've seen that jack abramoff directed any contributions to democrats. i know the republican national committee would like to get the democrats involved in this. they're scared. they should be scared. they haven't told the truth. they have misled the american people. and now it appears they're stealing from indian tribes. the democrats are not involved in this.

(long, awkward pause, filled with wolfie sighing in defeat) blitzer: unfortunately mr. chairman, we got to leave it right there.

who needs body armor when you've got faith?

both bob geiger and sisyphus shrugged discuss the nytimes article about the secret pentagon report which found that 80% of the soldiers killed in iraq might have survived if they were properly equipped for battle (read: had good body armor).


Take Action!
The weblog TVNewser recently reported that CNN has hired radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett as a political analyst to replace outgoing conservative columnist Robert D. Novak. According to the report, which CNN would not confirm,
Bennett is scheduled to go on air early this year. CNN is reportedly hiring Bennett despite his controversial September 28, 2005, comment on his radio show that "it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime ... you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime
rate would go down."

Bennett has defended his statement with falsehoods. CNN reported on the controversy surrounding Bennett's inflammatory remarks, and Media Matters for America has documented other examples of Bennett advancing conservative misinformation in the national media.

In December, we asked for your help in urging CNN not to renew Novak's contract. Novak's contract was not renewed, and CNN could have found another commentator to fill the vacancy -- one who does not have a history of advancing conservative misinformation. But they didn't. We
need you to ask CNN to justify why they hired someone who has such a strong track record of conservative misinformation and inflammatory comments.
Take Action!
Click here to contact CNN and ask them why Bennett's conservative misinformation has earned him a place on a major cable news outlet.

Holy Crap, say it isn't so... Are we talking about the same Bill Bennett BIGOT, who condemned anyone with serious moral failings, only to come-out of his gambling closet a few weeks later smelling of cigars and dirty money? Are you people CRAZY? Oh, that's right, not crazy just one of the Bush Cronies... Well there's another CNN show I won't watch... soon I'll just chalk up your station as just another one sided faux reporting network... say hello to your sister station FOX for me, and Goodbye! Thinkingblue




For whom the bell tolls a poem
(No man is an island) by John Donne
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


Warning very Graphic


CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use
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