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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Wooden Memorials

The Greeks used to make their war memorials out of wood so that the remembrance of emnity should last for only a generation or two.

They understood that a twist of fate can humble the arrogant, and that humane treatment of the defeated leads to healing.

Do monuments to past wars lead to future wars?

It's interesting to note that the "greatest generation" was the demographic segment least taken in by the drumbeat for war, and now their experiences during WWII are used as a backdrop to strenghthen national resolve in this current misguided debacle. I fully expect a presidental address prior to the election in front of the new WWII memorial. Their sacrifice is used to cast an air of legitimacy to Bush's crusade.

Here's Wilfred Owen's War Memorial, and mine. The ironic title, translated to English from Latin means "Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country". He wrote it from a foxhole during WWI.

Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
and towards our distant flares began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick boys!--An ecstacy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea,I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Fightin' Terra With Terra

"America's Finest News Source",The Onion, employs the world's finest investigatory journalists. No other news source comes closer to capturing the philosophy undergirding the Administration's war strategy:

In a response to recent acts of extreme violence against Americans in Iraq and mounting criticism of U.S. military policy at home, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced the government's new strategy of fighting terror with terror Monday.

"Look, in order to catch a rat, you gotta think like one," Rumsfeld said in a grainy and degraded videotape message filmed at an unknown location and released to CNN Monday. "We've been pussy-footing around the war on terrorism for years. All that time, the answer was right in front of us: In order to wipe out terror around the globe, once and for all, we've gotta beat them at their own game."

Read the "Real News"

Is it just me, or is this satire practically identical to what you'd read in your local newspaper?

Bush claimed he was a "uniter and not a divider"...He may not have united the people of America, but satire and major news outlets are now joined at the hip.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Australian Enabler

An A to Z list of prominent Repulicans are now conceding that Iraq is completely screwed, but there's always someone that is willing to tell people what they want to hear. "Denial" has been transplanted, and the new Cleopatra is Australian (sorry for the shameless pun).

Australian pundit Chrenkoff presents the ever-dwindling mass of true believers with a masterpiece of sophistry that claims to present the "good news" about Iraq. The reason that I mention this is that his posting is one of the most cited on Blogdex, so he must be acquiring some influence among the credulous.

If you read his blog without taking a critical look at the link articles themselves, it's a compelling case, but the dates on the articles tell a different tale: Dec. 5th, Dec.5th, Dec.5th, Dec.9th, March 25th, 2003...Chrenkoff unintentionally makes the point that you'd have to have been comatose for the last several months in order to think that things are going well in Iraq.

Read Chrenkoff's Odious Sophistry:


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Don't Worry, It's Only A Training Bazooka!

A military rocket launcher was found Tuesday near a rail-transit station, but the FBI said it looks to be a less-powerful model commonly used to train soldiers and would be unable to bring down an aircraft or destroy a train.
The M136 AT4 launcher is used by the Army to destroy light tanks. It will be examined further to be sure it is only a training model, said FBI spokesman Steve Lazarus.
"If it is indeed a training device, it's something you can buy at any gun store," he said.


Wow, that's reassuring. It's good to know that you can buy a training bazooka capable of taking out light tanks at any gun store, Mr. Lazarus.

I think that's what our founding fathers had in mind when they crafted the second amendment--every man's right to have a training bazooka. They'll get mine when they pry it outta my cold, dead hands.

Of course, if they criminalize bazookas, only criminals will have bazookas.

I wonder if I can get a concealed carry permit?

Here's the working title for John Lott's next book: "more Bazookas, Less Crime"

Ten Mistakes

In the president’s last SOTU address, the president hemmed and hawed when asked what mistakes he had made in Iraq. With a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face, the president responded that he “couldn’t think of any”, and seemed taken off guard by this unscripted question.

Two days later retired general Anthony Zinni answered the question, and left the world contemplating how things might have turned out had he listened to Zinni, Schwartzkopf, Shinseki, Powell, and others who expressed reservations about the proposed course of action…

General Anthony Zinni on what mistakes were made:

I think that will be the first mistake that will be recorded in history, the belief that containment as a
policy doesn't work. The second mistake I think history will record is that the strategy was flawed.
The third mistake, I think was one we repeated from Vietnam, we had to create a false rationale for
going in to get public support. We failed in number four, to internationalize the effort. I think the fifth
mistake was that we underestimated the task. The sixth mistake, and maybe the biggest one, was
propping up and trusting the exiles, the infamous "Gucci Guerillas" from London. The seventh problem
has been the lack of planning. The eighth problem was the insufficiency of military forces on the ground.
The ninth problem has been the ad hoc organization we threw in there. And that ad hoc organization has
failed, leading to the tenth mistake, and that's a series of bad decisions on the ground.

James Carville on the 2000 election…

Back in 2000 a Republican friend warned me that if I voted for Al Gore and he won, the stock market would tank, we'd lose millions of jobs, and our military would be totally overstretched. You know what? I did vote for Gore, he did win, and I'll be damned if all those things didn't come true!
James Carville--Fighting Back

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Shameless Fun With Photoshop Contest

I'm inspired by the following series of photshop images entitled "Why you should never post your photo on the internet".
Go to the link and have a laugh.


I'm willing to put together a "Korean Gift Pack" with a retail value of 10 dollars for the best photoshopped image sent to me prior to June 6th. This must be your own original work. The champ will be posted on this blog.

The Military Doesn't Want You To Die For Your Country

They want you to kill for it. At present, they want you to kill Iraqis that had no connection to Al Quaeda, have no weapons of mass destuction, and no torturing, despotic leadership--unless you count Rumsfeld, that is. That's a tall order.

As General George S. Patton once remarked:

Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying
for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. ...

I wonder how well Armed Forces recruiting would do if they mentioned that dehumanization and unquestioning obedience are two obligations of soldiers. Perhaps that's "Warfare for Dummies", but heroism, money for college, and honor show up far more often in recruiting brochures.

Former Marine Scott Gelindez writes about the reaction to Abu Graib through the lens of his experiences in El Salvador and Honduras on William Rivers Pitt's website:

Drill Sergeant: "El Salvador!"
Troops: "Kill!"...
Drill Sergeant: "El Salvador!"
Troops: "Kill!" "When the coffee beans come creeping all around in El Salvador"

On our way to the mess hall morning, noon and night we sang that cadence in 1983. The U.S. military was preparing us to kill Salvadorans. They wanted us to think of them as less than human. One of the goals of military training is to prepare you to kill; another is to prepare you to follow orders. The combination of de-humanizing the enemy and becoming subservient to the chain of command leaves many soldiers capable of torture.

There was a time, in our nation's history, when young men joined the military to stand up to tyranny--not to become part of it.


Saturday, May 15, 2004

Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month For March

One of my favorites. If you're in Minnesota this August, I know where we can find 'em.

May's Fungus of the Month
Poem of the Day

Buck up. Life is resilient.

Root Cellar by Theodore Roethke

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!--
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

Africa: Who Knows? Who Cares?

At present, there are an estimated 42,000 refugees in Northern and Southern Nigeria fleeing from ethno-religious mob violence.

You would think the international community would've learned something from what happened in Rwanda.

You would think that the horrific news coming out of Nigeria would make all the newspapers, but there's no mention of it in the Google headlines or in any American newspaper.

About a week ago, an estimated 400 Muslims were murdered in riots in Plateau State, and yesterday, an estimated 600 were killed in the northern city of Kano.

Nigeria is the largest and richest nation in West Africa, and widespread unrest there would have worldwide implications.

How can people come to care about what's happening if the papers don't report it?
Nigeria Article from The Independent

Shiver Me Timbers!

Reuters reports:

Greenpeace, charged with the obscure crime of "sailor mongering" that was last prosecuted 114 years ago, goes on trial on Monday in the first U.S. criminal prosecution of an advocacy group for civil disobedience.

The environmental group is accused of sailor mongering because it boarded a freighter in April 2002 that was carrying illegally felled Amazon mahogany to Miami. It says the prosecution is revenge for its criticism of the environmental policies of President Bush, whom it calls the "Toxic Texan."

Sailor mongering was rife in the 19th century when brothels sent prostitutes laden with booze onto ships as they made their way to harbor. The idea was to get the sailors so drunk they could be whisked to shore and held in bondage, and a law was passed against it in 1872. It has only been used in a court of law twice, the last time in 1890.

Greenpeace says the decision by the U.S. Attorney's Office to prosecute the organization rather than just the activists who boarded the APL Jade freighter is a sea change in policy, and a conviction would throttle free speech everywhere.

Reuters Headline

Monday, May 10, 2004

"Friends" vs. Friends

The Nielsen ratings for the friends finale were far lower than had been anticipated. Many have speculated that the excessive buildup to the actual episode turned everybody off.

My own theory is that people realize that they will see their "Friends" in syndicated reruns for the next thirty years. It's hard to miss something you'll be seeing for the rest of your life.

In all likelihood, our relationships with Ross, Monica, Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe will last longer than our relationships with any five friends in real life.

Perhaps it's time to ask ourselves if we have five friendships that will outlast "Friends" syndication.


Sunday, May 09, 2004

The Ugly Canadian

If you're planning to travel in Asia, and you intend to conteract the image of the "ugly American" with your shining example of cultural sensitivity, open-mindedness, and proper behavior, forget about it.

You're doomed to failure.

The reason is "the ugly Canadian"...I'm not saying that all Canadians are boorish nuckle-draggers--some of them are, but no more than in any other country.

They're on to you...To the rest of the world, the only Canadian asshole is an American pretending to be a Canadian by sewing a maple leaf on his backpack.

Any white-skinned jerk getting in a barfight, talking loudly in a quiet subway, or turning up his nose at the locals is assumed to be from the United States.

The world is done kissing your ass abroad. Take the maple leaf off your backpack and deal with it.

Scream 'Til Daddy Stops the Car

Right wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh excuse the abuse in Iraq in much the same way they excused the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam. Back then, they would argue that a sensationalist, activist media was working against the war effort by projecting gruesome images into the homes of Mr.& Mrs. Middle America.

Investigative journalist Jeff Cohen, writing for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (F.A.I.R.) shoots this fallacy out of the water. He writes:

It wasn't the mainstream media that turned the public against the war. Quite the contrary: it was the public -- especially the ever-growing anti-war movement fortified by Vietnam veterans who spoke out against the war -- that prodded mainstream media toward more skeptical coverage.

In February 1968, the Boston Globe surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading U.S. dailies with a combined circulation of 22 million and found that not one advocated withdrawal from Vietnam. But that was the position of millions of Americans who'd educated themselves about the war -- not through the nightly news or Time magazine -- but via alternative media or attending protests or talking to returning vets. Campus teach-ins on Vietnam began in 1965.

Read Mr. Cohen's Excellent Article.

Who can forget the way the press operated as unoffical cheerleaders for the war at its inception? Now, after thousands of innocent lives have been lost, they're starting to get a little backbone. Why? Because we forced them to!

If we want the country to move in the right direction, it starts with us. The media will cover Michael Jackson or Bennifer, or some kid trapped in a well--anything except what really matters. Corporate media consolidation makes the tendency even more pronounced in our time.

If we want better coverage of what's going on, we have to fight for it. Get in touch with your inner child--not the sensitive one--the brat that screams until daddy stops the car at the DQ.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Rudderless Ships Inc.

The government has turned over all military operations to a private contractor: Rudderless Ships Inc.: A wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton.

A few days ago, President Bush denied knowledge of the Iraqi prisoner atrocities:

White House aides said President Bush [related, bio] let Rumsfeld know yesterday he was not pleased with the way he was informed about the unfolding controversy. In particular, they said, Bush was unhappy he was not told about incriminating pictures before they were shown on television or about a 2-month-old Pentagon report on the abuses before it turned up in the news.


Yesterday, it was reported that Rumsfeld was heading to capitol hill to explain why congress wasn't told:

Congress demanded he appear before the hearing to answer when he knew about the crisis, how high up it goes, and why Congress was not told.


Today, I read that Rumsfeld had told everone about the investigation...

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress on Friday that the U.S. military had "told everyone in the world" in January it was investigating alleged abuses of prisoners in Iraq.


Rumsfeld claims he told everyone in the world--with the exception of the Armed Services Committee and President Bush. These omissions require a radical redefinition of the term "everyone in the world".

The conclusion is troubling. Either we have a rudderless ship, or we have leadership that condones torture and prevaricates at every turn.

Greenwashing Inc.

Other than perhaps Meg Ryan, no one gets more lip service than Mother Nature.

Dow Chemical,for example, portrays itself as a responsible steward of the environment. They realize that, as long as they're making highly visible token efforts, the vast amount of damage their products do to our environment will go unnoticed. Those associated with conservation issues refer to this p.r. tactic as "greenwashing".

Consider the folllowing example from today's Washington Post:

Plastic debris dumped in the ocean over decades is breaking into microscopic particles that are cropping up everywhere from beaches to deep ocean sediment, according to a study being published today by a group of British scientists. Widespread littering has led to a steady accumulation of plastic fragments at sea, according to Richard Thompson, a professor at the University of Plymouth."It's a cause for concern rather than alarm," Thompson said in a telephone interview yesterday. "There's lots and lots of microscopic bits of plastic. It appears quite ubiquitous. It's likely to be a global problem," he said.

...Tony Kingsbury, a member of the plastics group at Dow Chemical Co., said his group is working with organizations such as the Ocean Conservancy to curb the kind of littering that clutters the world's oceans.

"We've got to get people educated," said Kingsbury, whose group recently distributed a couple million bags to aid refuse-collection efforts. "Things just don't end up in the ocean."

You can't make this stuff up. Dow's solution for the fact that our oceans are polluted with plastic? More Plastic! Millions of plastic bags to help clean up the mess. Never mind the fact that plastic bags are much worse for the marine environment than coke bottles.

This is a picture illustrating the way in which a plastic bag suffocates a coral reef.

This picture shows a sea turtle simultaneously choking on a plastic bag and wearing one.

May I Suggest A New Corporate Slogan?

Dow Chemical: Pretending To Care While Making Things Infinitely Worse


What can you do to make a difference? There are some commonsense approaches, such as those advocated by various environmental groups:

Green Community "Help the Oceans"

The first question voters need to ask themselves is "Does Bush give a rat's ass about the environment?" The answer, according to every environmental group from the stodgy centrist Sierra Club to Greenpeace is a resounding NO.
A good first step would be voting all anti-environmental politicians out of office. The League of Conservation Voters publishes an annual environmental scorecard:

League of Conservation Voters Scorecard

The meticulously calculated results paint a pretty clear picture. With possible exception of Jim Ramstad and John McCain, the Democratic party trounces Republicans when it comes to environmental issues. For example in Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman scores 21% on his voting record, while Senator Dayton scores 79%. Congressman Gil Gutneckt (R) votes gree 5% of the time while Martin Sabo (D) votes green 97% of the time.

Kiss off, Dow. Reduce, re-use, recylce, and vote 'em out.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Misspeaking Misspeakers and the Misspoken Misspeaks They Misspoke

After reading the following on David Brock's excellent new site "Media Matters", it occurred to me that Chavez's comments represented a larger trend.

Appearing on Al Franken's radio show on May 4, FOX News contributor Linda Chavez admitted that she "misspoke" when she denied having called Senator John Kerry a "communist apologist." Chavez denied having called Kerry a "communist apologist" during an interview on FOX & Friends on May 2, just four days after her nationally syndicated column calling Senator John Kerry a "communist apologist" appeared in newspapers and on The Heritage Foundation's website Chavez appeared on The O'Franken Factor in response to a May 3 Media Matters for America report titled "FOX's Chavez called Kerry a 'communist apologist' -- and then lied about it."

Chavez quickly sought to turn her own admission into yet another attack on Kerry and on former President Bill Clinton. Then she denounced liberal "name-calling" ...


A Dogpile search (right column) confirmed my suspicion: just as "red is the new black" in the fashion world, "misspoke" is the new "lied" in the neocon lexicon.

Cheney + "Misspoke": 77 hits

ex: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons," Cheney said March 16 on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Since making the allegation, the administration has turned up no nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, nor has it been able to produce any hard evidence that Saddam even reconstituted a nuclear weapons program.

"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert gave Cheney a chance to clarify his prewar statement in a return appearance on his show Sunday.

"'Reconstituted nuclear weapons.' You misspoke?" Russert asked.

"Yeah, I did misspeak .... We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon," said Cheney, known for his careful choice of words.


Wolfowitz + Misspoke: 114 hits

ex: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, testifying Thursday before a congressional committee, drastically underestimated the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq since the war began.

"It's approximately 500, of which -- I can get the exact numbers -- approximately 350 are combat deaths," said Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the war.

According to the Pentagon, 724 U.S. troops had died in Iraq as of Thursday morning. Of those, 522 were combat deaths. That figure does not include U.S. civilian casualties.

"He misspoke," Wolfowitz spokesman Charley Cooper said later. "We're correcting the record."


Bush + "Misspoke": 100 hits

ex:President Bush on Wednesday defended his use of prewar intelligence on Iraq, saying he is "absolutely confident" in his actions despite the discovery that one claim he made about Saddam Hussein's weapons pursuits was based on false information.

Democrats have argued that the White House's acknowledgment that Bush misspoke earlier this year when he said Saddam tried to buy uranium in Africa justifies a broad review of how the administration used prewar intelligence on Iraq.



Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Worldwide Blowback

The latest news from my former home, Jos, Nigeria, is not good:

Over 350 persons are feared killed in the fresh ethno-religious violence which erupted in Yelwa town of Shendam local government area of Plateau State. Similarly, over 250 women and children have allegedly been abducted to unknown destinations between Garkawa and Tunkus in Mikag local government area of the state.


Ethno-religious violence is a term tailor-made for Nigeria. An intense rivalry between Christians and Muslims is superimposed upon the matrix of the ethnic hostilities inherent in the structure of the Nigerian state. When you add corruption, exploitive multinationals, and black gold to the mix, it looks like a catastrophe in the making.

I vividly remember the early morning cacophanies of Jos, the capitol of Plateau State. At around 6 a.m. I would arise to the sound of the call to prayer blaring from speakers outside the mosque. The charasmatic Christians would respond by singing hymns and prostheletizing through their own loudspeakers across the street. Each week it got worse; it was like the arms race in decibel form...Perhaps this is where the violence originates.

In my experience, Nigeria is a country full of deferred dreams; the people have sagged against a heavy load of poverty and oppression, and the situation could very likely explode in the near future.

Since the Biafran War of 1967-1970 in which an estimated 100,000 soldiers and 2 million civilians died, Nigeria's three largest ethic groups have, for the most part, kept the lid on ethnic and religious violence. With 450 reported deaths in the last week in the ethnically-diverse Plateau State, we should be concerned.

What's the solution? I don't know, but I'm afraid the us-against-them attitude of U.S. foreign policy is exacerbating tensions between Muslims and Christians elsewhere in the world.

Call it worldwide blowback.

A group of 53 former U.S. Officials sent a strongly-worded letter conveying similar sentiments to the President about his Middle East policy...

You have placed US diplomats, civilians and military doing their jobs overseas in an untenable and even dangerous position.

Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial assassinations, Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in occupied territories, and now your endorsement of Sharon's unilateral plan are costing our country its credibility, prestige and friends.

It is not too late to reassert American principles of justice and fairness in our relations with all the peoples of the Middle East.

Support negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, with the United States serving as a truly honest broker.

A return to the time-honored American tradition of fairness will reverse the present tide of ill will in Europe and the Middle East - even in Iraq.

Unless we're willing to fight a ethno-religious WWIII, we must adopt a more subtle, nuanced approach to foreign policy--something only one candidate for president this fall seems capable of.



Monday, May 03, 2004

Remember When...

"Budget official sharply cuts cost estimate of Iraq war"
Originally appeared Tuesday, December 31, 2002
in the New York Times

" The administration's top budget official estimated Monday that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion, a figure that is well below earlier estimates from White House officials..."

Currently, the conservative Congressional Budget projection is 110,000,000 and counting (see the righthand column). Unlike the first Gulf War, we're paying the brunt of the tab rather than the Kuwaitis, Saudis, and Japanese.
The Neoconservative hawks driving policy in the United States today were wildly off the mark, their rosy fantasies have given way to grim reality.

I guess they see the world through blood-coloured glasses.

Mitch Daniels The Budget Buffoon

Sunday, May 02, 2004

I Support The Whistleblowers and Conscientious Objectors

In the coming days, the unspeakable torture that took place in Abu Ghaib prison will be portrayed as an isolated incident. Today, the president responded that he "didn't like it one bit", and that those responsible will be held accountable. "That's not the way America does business", he says.

Actually, Mr. President, that's exactly the way America does business. Torture is a matter of top-down policy in the United States. These actions are the product of a misguided, amoral "might makes right" philosophy, and it's done more to discredit our country than anything else in my lifetime. Publicly, you condemned it, but for years, policy has condoned it. from the School of the Americas to the Sands of Egypt, when people think of America, they don't think of freedom anymore, they think of torture, CIA sponsored coups and occupation.

According to Amnesty International, “From September 1991 to December 1993 the U.S. Commerce Department had issued over 350 export licenses worth more than $27 million for saps (bludgeons), thumb-cuffs,thumb-screws,leg-irons,shackles and handcuffs, specially designed implements of torture, straight jackets, plastic handcuffs, and police helmets and shields"

Why do we send them all this great stuff? Well, first of all, it's good business, and secondly, that's what it means to be our allies in the "War on Terror"--you do the torturing for us!

The Guardian reports:

The US has been secretly sending prisoners suspected of al-Qaida connections to countries where torture during interrogation is legal, according to US diplomatic and intelligence sources. Prisoners moved to such countries as Egypt and Jordan can be subjected to torture and threats to their families to extract information sought by the US in the wake of the September 11 attacks.


Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker writes the most popular article in the blogosphere today:

"...The abuses became public because of the outrage of Specialist Joseph M. Darby, an M.P. whose role emerged during the Article 32 hearing against Chip Frederick. A government witness, Special Agent Scott Bobeck, who is a member of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an abridged transcript made available to me, “The investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of naked detainees.” Bobeck said that Darby had “initially put an anonymous letter under our door, then he later came forward and gave a sworn statement. He felt very bad about it and thought it was very wrong.”

Thank you, Specialist Darby, for having the courage to stand up for what's right.


Carlos Mejia is a conscientious objector national guardsman currently facing hard time in Florida...

"I'm prepared to go to prison," Mejia said just before he turned himself into his unit in suburban Miami. "This is an oil-driven war, and I don't think any soldier signs up to fight for oil."

Mejia, a student at University of Miami when he was called to active duty, said he was particularly upset over an incident in which he and others were ambushed and innocent civilians were hit in the ensuing gunfire.

He applied for conscientious objector status and turned himself in to his suburban Miami armory last month, but the Army is pressing on with the desertion charge because he was missing for five months".


Thank you, Mr. Mejia, for listening to your conscience, rather that the clucking of the chickehawks.

The "my country, right or wrong folks", will undoubtedly consider these men turncoats and cowards, but to me, they're heroes standing up for higher principles than reflexive nationalism.

Father Andrew Greeley Speaks...

The war is a stupid, unjust and criminal war. It is a quagmire from which no immediate escape seems possible. Many more Americans are going to die so that American ''democracy and freedom'' can be imposed on the Iraqis -- whether they want them or not. Many more Iraqis will die, too. Americans who support the war share in its criminality.

Why isn't Father Greeley acting like a proper Christian minister? Doesn't he realize that God told the president to go to war?
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