Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! on The Colbert Report almost discusses her new book Static in the segment with Stephen Colbert, but she was able to talk about Iraq war veteran Sgt Marshall Thompson's ongoing "A Soldier's Peace" anti-war awareness project in Utah. Thank mediagrrl9 for getting this video online so fast. She literally uploaded it while I was searching for it.
Bohemian Garden Rhapsody?
I never owned a Pacer wagon, but I did feel like Wayne and Garth for a few minutes when I nearly banged my forehead into my keyboard during the climax of the classic song by Queen and the anti-war protest presentation in this unusually crafted video. Warning: watch this video in sobriety -- Dick Cheney appears in it. I take no repsonsibility for your night terrors otherwise.
Sgt Marshall Thompson just spent the last year in Iraq as a reporter for the Army Public Affairs Office at Camp Anaconda, the largest base over there. Now, he's spending the next month going on a 500-mile long walk across Utah to raise some awareness for peace.
As a military journalist, he obviously couldn't get much past the official censors for the newspaper, but he did talk to thousands of soldiers in his time in Iraq. He says they aren't stupid -- they know what is going on -- even if no one is officially admitting it.
Thompson's campaign to walk across Utah is drawing some local news attention. He was also featured last week on Democracy Now! where I heard about his efforts. I hope you can take a minute to check out his DN!interview with Amy Goodman and check out his website, "A Soldier's Peace." You can follow his daily route and even donate some support.
Get the word out. This guy's story should be on CNN, instead of the Mcpropaganda mind-numbing stuff they normally broadcast. Call your local news. Ask them why they haven't talked about it. Go on. Dial the number. You can do it.
There are three powerful groups that support the Bush administration and would happily cheerlead the insanity of going to war with Iran. The first is the obvious political power that the Israeli lobbyists have on our politicians and the so-called "Israel-firsters" embedded inside our departments of State and Defense that enable this neocon agenda.
The second group is the Saudi lobby. On a theological basis, fundamentalist Wahabbi Sunni Muslims don't care very much for their fundamentalist Shi'ite Muslim cousins across the Persian Gulf. On a strategic and economic basis, the Saudis would benefit hugely from the resulting chaos in the oil market.
The third group that would cheerlead more war is the fundamentalist evangelical Christian lobby here in the United States. It's clear from the messages coming from many of these organizations that they believe in a clash of civilizations in the broader Middle East is not only desired, but mandated by Biblical prophecy.
Christians United For Israel
It is nearly impossible to even discuss the access and influence that Israel has on the United States government. When professors Mearsheimer and Walt simply asked the obvious question in their recent essay, "The Israel Lobby," they were smeared and called anti-Semetic.
Mearsheimer and Walt include Evangelical Christians in their framing of what constitutes the Israel lobby, but I have chosen to identify them as a seperate influence in my own analysis. It's not that I disagree with the professors for their inclusion -- groups like CUFI are militant and frankly, dangerous -- but I seperate them because as a group, Christians are not all irrational end-timers and are generally more concerned with domestic social policy, rather than U.S. foreign policy. The militant support for Israel are shades of gray that vary from church to church even among the fundamentalist Christian adherents.
Americans should be made aware of the power and influence all of these groups wield, though. While the Saudis influence the Bush administration primarily through energy sector lobbys, Israel lobbies through defense contractors and religious groups. They all operate much like huge corporate and defense lobbyist organizations with retired government and military personnel on their boards. They have nearly unlimited money for media campaigns and political donations for their candidates. This keeps the American public's perceptions about the Middle East in a well-maintained media bubble.
We Don't Speak To Evil
The history of diplomacy between the United States and Iran has been non-existent during the lives of many young Americans and certainly spanning the careers of many people within the U.S. government for about the last 30 years. Despite this, many Americans would be very surprised to know that Iran supported the United States after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. You have to step outside the U.S. media bubble to hear this, though. Free your mind, Neo.
Not only did the Iranian people support the U.S. after 9/11, holding mass candle-lit vigils and moments of sympathetic silence for the victims, the Iranian government even materially supported our military efforts in Afghanistan. If you wish to understand the recent history of US-Iran relationships and interactions, listen to this BBC radio 4 presentation with Gordon Corera, "Mixed Messages." Spend a half-hour to understand what is happening in the U.S. now, fomented by hardcore neocons in the Bush administration. It's clear that all the talking points by neocons now were created by the actions of those same warmongers over the last five years.
Connect The Dots
A number of seemingly unconnected data sets seems to point to an imminent war with Iran. While I feel like Mel Gibson's character in the "Conspiracy Theory" movie pointing out these things, I urge you to check the very public events that are happening now. It's not some secret. It's happening in front of your face, even if your local TV news or favorite McCableNews channel is not reporting on it.
The Bush administration, on its own, has made public statements for regime change in Iran since the infamous "Axis of Evil" declaration, and most recently to the world leaders in the speech given to the United Nations by George Bush.
The Congress has been generating reports to justify an attack on Iran. WMD and Terrorist Support. Although reports are authored by neocons, ex-staffer of John Bolton, they influence Congress. Even if the IAEA disputes the findings of the neocons Congressional work, the reponse is to then dismiss the U.N. and its agencies. Democrats will not stop a war with Iran.
Bush is selling the War on Terror to our domestic military organizations. View WH video of his 09/29 address to the Retired Officers Association gathering.
The president sells the happiness of the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq on the radio. Listen to the propaganda here. Go on listen. Bush's neocon logic is Benny Hill funny, if he wasn't drinking his own kool-aid.
I call this section The Blurring because the Bush administration has repeatedly blurred any discussion of specifics, like how to solve specific problems in Afghanistan or Iraq with their multi-trillion dollar agenda on the so-called broader Middle East and their War on Terror. It should come as no shock to anyone when Bush refers to the death and destruction in Iraq by saying, "I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma ..."
The troubling history of politically driven and Rovian foreign policies have one common denominator. Some events are orchestrated to keep and maintain political power in the U.S, not to react to any reality of threat to National Security.
Karl Rove promised his GOP supporters an October Surprise for election victory. Was he teasing his loyal Republicon serfs with some new war with Iran? There does seem to be a disconnected callousness with these meglomaniacs that points toward a plan that Americans will stop complaining about Iraq, if we are engaged in a larger war, the next war, with Iran.
On Thursday, October 5th, people all over the United States, in big cities and small towns, are staging a mass protest against the Bush administration. It's likely there is already some chapter near you with which you can join up. Find a local chapter near you, or simply start your own.
Call your friends and neighbors. Meet up somewhere publicly.
Call your fellow classmates. Skip school for peace.
Call your friends from church. Pray publicly for peace.
Talk to your co-workers. Take a sick day off work.
Call your boss on Thursday morning:
Yeah. What's up, Joe?
I can't come into work today. I'm really sick.
Really? What's wrong?
I'm sick of the Bush administration starting new wars before they finish the last one.
In some of my previous blog entries about Iraq, you may have heard me complain about a number of things. After spending some time researching things, I'll post those entries with links to Congressional reports, or interview transcripts, or links to audio, and video, and other websites saying the same thing. I do that because I want to cite some reference for my outrage. I don't want people thinking that I'm just making this stuff up.
I've come to realize that many people don't have the same passion about our society, politics, or goverment institutions. It's hardwork trying to understand and find clues to why the world is all fucked up. It's likely most people simply don't have the time to read anything, either. I try to stay focussed and on topic. I'm getting better at writing shorter sentences, too.
About a week ago, I spent several hours trying to understand the testimony of Stuart Bowen, the Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) at some Congressional hearing. I pawed through hundreds of pages of related PDFs trying to understand the data. To add insult to injury, one of his PDF reports had all the fucking spreadsheet pages sidewise -- reading that for an hour gave me headache and a sore neck.
My specific research on that day was to try to figure out why Iraq was a total clusterfuck. Now, after watching the testimony of retired U.S. Marine Colonel Hammes, an expert on counter-insurgency, I have a better idea of how and why things went wrong in Iraq. That's a first step to moving forward.
The basic concept that the Bush administration outlined in their "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" isn't really flawed. The problem is that theyre not doing it, or doing it half-assed, or they may have waited too long and now the problem is 100x worse to solve. "Clear-Hold-Build" is a decent strategy for counter-insurgency.
I urge everyone to read the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq report. It's only 38 pages. It has a pretty red-white-and-blue title page. It's more than 500 pages shorter than the 9/11 Commission report. We all want victory in Iraq. We all support the troops and want to bring them home.
There are several things that the current administration has done in the past and is still doing that actually makes them defeat their own plan. The "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" report was developed by the National Security Council and published November 30th, 2005.
Hello?! Why didn't we have this fucking plan implemented from the get-go? It's not like the PNAC neocons hadn't been drooling over the broader Middle East since Reagan was in office. It's not like the Bush/Cheney administraton didn't discuss the Iraq invasion during the first week they were in office, in January of 2001.
Not only that, but try to go to White House web site and conveniently find this report now. The fact that is was only an after-thought to invading Iraq, and the fact that it hasn't even been a year and you have to search the White House website for this report now, and the fact that the White House message has switched from Victory in Iraq back to War on Terror for the upcoming elections, speaks far louder than any Lincoln Group or Karl Rove propaganda.
Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld also come from the far-right wing ideology that government should be privatized. Not a small goverment, abolish the DEA, Libertarian model -- a fat cat, big government, corrupt corporate model. Even hardcore Libertarians believe that government, not corporations, should provide for the national defense.
The video clip above is a 5-6 minute interview between MSNBC's Keith Obermann and documentary film director Robert Greenwald. His film, "Iraq For Sale" seems to detail an extraordinary basic problem with operations in Iraq. By the way, when I was researching defense contract spreadsheets from SIGIR, I was struck by the corruption, but I was just amazed at the volume of contracts. I think it was about 8500 seperate contracts.
We know that the current fearmongering campaign is political. This election season spurred on the immigration idiocy and more 9/11 speeches. I'm surprised the terror alert level hasn't yet been raised, but then we still have a month to go ...
If you wish to explore the political cronyism of BushWorld in Iraq angle -- or "Good Job, Brownie" -- which is only one-step seperated from the corporate ties, then get a copy of Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran's new book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone"