Air Strikes Only Effective in Killing Civilians

October 31, 2007

Imagine you are a parent living in a war zone.  A happy life is hardly a reality but you are surviving by keeping your head low and cooperating with no one and everyone.  One day you venture out of your house for an hour to pick up flour for the next month.  When you return your house, and the family you left there, you find it has been completely destroyed.  Your children, your spouse, your life scattered around your land like rubble.  You, and your family, have become victims of air strikes.

Whether in Kosova in the 90’s, or Afghanistan & Iraq today – air strikes are deadly to civilians and they have devastating effects on infrastructure for years to come.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve walked, ten years after the war, through the streets in Prishtina, Kosova where bombed hospitals sit empty and unused in an area where a mammography machine would save lives from breast cancer.  I’ve lived in a house held up by makeshift beams and gutted on one side because a missal exploded 5 feet from the front door in 1999. 

This month we’ve had new insight into the multinational forces (MNF) responsibility for civilian causalities in Iraq and Afghanistan.  October was the deadliest month for civilians in Afghanistan and air strikes played a significant part.  Last Sunday 60 minutes did a report on this very issue.   They found a family who was suspected of harboring terrorists and bombed to death by multinational forces.  The family was never confronted or warned to get out.  The villagers claim those died never had anything to do with insurgents.  MNF bombed without proof – they just bombed.  President Karzai came out publicly in that program condemning air strikes.  Bush touts Afghanistan as a victory and an explanation of what we are doing in Iraq.  And yet, “while the enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, a similar number of civilians have been killed by American forces. With relatively few troops there, the U.S. and NATO rely on air power. The number of civilians killed in air strikes has doubled.”  Where is the victory in that?

In Iraq we have less information because the MNF refuse to be open about the civilian causalities.  The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq recently released a report which deals with civilian causalities.  I’ll simply quote the highlights of page 9.  “UNAMI recorded a number of incidents in which 88 civilians were reportedly killed during air strikes conducted by MNF forces.12 They included the following: nine civilians killed in five villages in the al-Anbakiya area near Ba’quba on 11 March; two civilians killed in Dulu’iya in Salahuddin Governorate on 15 March; 16 civilians killed in Sadr City in Baghdad on 30 March; 27 civilians killed in Khaldiya, Ramadi, on 3 April…..:”  the list goes on for another 30 or so lines.

If we cannot stop this war let us at least stand up for the people who suffer from it on a daily basis.  I urge you to contact your representatives and tell them to work with the UN to report these atrocities.  We must bring the crimes of this war to light.  The only weapon we have now is shame and the best way to shame our own government is to align ourselves with an international power.


Iraq Toll

October 31, 2007

Those who died in Iraq from Oct 21 to 27:

Sea Genesia Gresham  19  Lithonia GA

Sea Anamarie Camacho  20  Panama City FL

Pvt Adam Chitjian  39  Philadelphia PA

Sgt Robin Towns Sr  52  Upper Marlboro MD

Name not released

Spc David Lambert  39  Cedar Bluff VA

13 were seriously wounded and maimed.

38 were returned to occupation.

343 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.

Cf:   www.icasualties.org


Sex, god, nukes and babies

October 26, 2007

As a self identified progressive and spiritual person I find myself constantly perplexed by the contradictions I see in the Christian neoconservative movement.  I understand that because our views are different I will never fully understand their position on any issue but what has really gotten to me this week is the disconnect between their righteous indignation of sex and their tolerance of the current administration’s nuclear policy.

Let’s look at the argument for abstinence.  They say there is no such thing as safe sex but they have no trouble proclaiming the safety of new nuclear weapons.  Sex is never safe because condoms are only 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of HIV.  RRW is safe despite the 100% likelihood that testing these nuclear weapons will put more cancer causing uranium into our water shed system depleting our earth and spreading disease. 

What’s the likelihood these weapons will have to be tested?  I say the chances are as good as they are that at least 10 teenagers will engage in sex before they graduate high school; in other words, very high changes indeed.  New nuclear weapons will inevitably have to be tested because otherwise those who plan using them will have no idea how they work.  If neoconservatives believe the risk of sex with condoms is so great, how can they not see the risk in new nuclear weapons?

Of course, we know that the abstinence only program is not about disease it’s about god’s will.  God, apparently, does not think people should engage in sex unless it’s for procreation, the creation of life.  They believe the lives of people are the most important thing to protect.  They, neoconservatives, go so far as to say that a fetus is a life and must be protected by law.  This fetus, which must be protected at all cost, is most at risk from nuclear fallout and uranium seeping into the water system.  Look no further than birth defect rates in Ukraine for evidence.  Infant mortality, debilitating birth defects, and increased infertility have left this country with a declining population after the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.  Even with all the horrible things nuclear material does to babies in the womb, I never saw Jerri Fallwell at an anti-nukes rally.

Only talking about sex and babies is really missing the main point.  Nuclear weapons, whether new or old, are designed to kill people; people who, according to the faithful, were put here by a god that loves them.  Neoconservatives seem to believe that god has favorites:  fetuses, Americans, and Christians.  They will tout the importance of saving lives from abortion and then proclaim we should use our nuclear weapons to kill the brown people for having nuclear weapons (which they are not sure they have).  

Do you see the disconnect here, or am I crazy?  I work with all sorts of religious types whom I respect for their beliefs, even if I don’t hold them myself.  My mother, the priest, believes that god put us on this earth to be in community with one another and in doing so we are in community with god.  All religious fundamentalists seem to believe the opposite – their sole purpose is to break up communities by drawing arbitrary lines to suit their taste.  Life is sacred – as long as it’s a life we agree with.  God created the earth – but, it is not our responsibility to be stewards of that earth.  Science goes against gods will – unless that science enables us to kill people who do not believe the same things as us.  It’s infuriating and I challenge any fundamentalist out there to hit me back with some of your hate speech – tell me why you think war is so good and nuclear weapons are so necessary.  Then tell me why god supports you.  I’d love to demonstrate your ignorance live and in blog.


How Can We Stop this Madness

October 24, 2007

If this video tears at your insides as much as it does mine please consider taking action to stop this war.  Take part in regional demonstrations happening in areas near you on Sat., OCTOBER 27th.  Check out this website for more information.


Iraq

October 24, 2007

Those who died in Iraq from Oct 14 to 20:

Spc Jason Koutroubas 21 Dunnellon FL

Sgt Justin Monschke 28 Krum TX

Pvt Kenneth Iwasinski 22 W Springfield MA

Ltn Thomas Martin 27 Ward AR

Cpl Sarah Holmes 26 Wantage UK

Spc Michael Brown 20 Williamsburg KS

Spc Vincent Madero 22 Port Hueneme CA

Sgt Jared Fontenot 35 Fontenot LA

Spc Wayne Geiger 23 Lone Pine CA

Cpl Erik Garoutte 22 Santee CA

50 were seriously wounded and maimed.

55 were returned to kill fields.

249 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.

Cf: www.icasualties.org


Iraq Toll

October 17, 2007

Those who died in Iraq from Oct 7 to 13:

Cpl Gilberto Meza  21  Oxnard CA

Cpl Zurab Choghosvili  26  (Soviet) Georgia

Cpl Benjamin Dillon  22  Rootstown OH

Cpl Jeremy Burris  22   Tacoma WA

Frank Cady III  20  Sacramento CA

Sgt Jason Lantieri  25  Killingworth CT

Sgt Lillian Clemens  35  Lawton OK

Spc Samuel Pearson  28  Westerville OH

Sgt Eric Duckworth  26  Plano TX

Sgt Donaid Munn II  22  St Clairs Shores MI

Pvt Nathan Thacker  18  Greenbrier AR

22 were seriously wounded and maimed.

56 wounded were returned to occupation.

328 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.

Cf:  www.icasualties.org




Cheney – so far ahead of his time

October 16, 2007

Outsourcing Interrogation at Abu Ghraib?

October 16, 2007

The makers of this movie testified before Congress on the waste of taxpayer money.


You can stop War Profiteering

October 11, 2007

In 1961, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 gave a face to war profiteering with the character Milo – a mess officer during WWII. Milo secretly replaces the CO2 cartridges in the emergency life vests with certificates for shares in his company M&M Enterprises. Milo uses his private Air Force to contract missions from German forces, including one that results in the bombing of his battalion’s ship. Milo wheels and deals trading morals for money, committing treason in no uncertain terms but in the end he declares to a U.S. court that what is good for M&M is good for the country because everyone gets a share. One of the most hated characters in literature, Milo is still alive today in the minds of some CEOs. They know, in the current political and economic environment, you can make a killing during war.

We’ve heard about Blackwater. This private contracting firm is said to be responsible for the needless deaths of countless Iraqis, as well as numerous American employees who were ill-equipped to protect themselves in the field. The actions of Blackwater employees (who are mostly former U.S. Military) are so atrocious and well documented that the Iraqi government has demanded the U.S. find a new company to provide security for civilian diplomats and that Blackwater pay reparations to the families of its victims.  The U.S. Senate will vote on legislation to hold Blackwater and other private war contractors accountable for these actions.  Show your support with an email.

We’ve heard about Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s friends and colleagues who have made over 10 Billion Dollars from U.S. contracts in Iraq. Halliburton does its killing through poor workman ship and exploitation. A report by TruthOut speaks to this, “Over the last year, government auditors have issued at least nine reports criticizing Halliburton’s Iraq work, and there are multiple criminal investigations into overcharging and kickbacks involving Halliburton’s contracts. Former Halliburton employees have testified before Congress about egregious instances of over billing. Despite these concerns, the Bush Administration continues to reject the recommendations of its auditors that 15% of Halliburton’s LOGCAP reimbursements be withheld until the company can provide better substantiation for its charges.” What is particularly egregious is how the long term affects of their ignorance will not only disable Iraqi infrastructure but may hurt U.S. troops and their families for generations. Like Milo trying to serve cotton to his troops for dinner to cut costs KBR/Halliburton sees nothing wrong with allowing our troops to bath in contaminated water.

We’ve heard about these companies because their offenses have recently been covered by mainstream media (Frontline documentary series on war contractors); but, do you know how many have died because of a lawnmower company? Caterpillar, a well known construction equipment company has provided thousands of demolition machines, complete with gun turrets, to the Israeli army for the sole purpose of destroying Palestinian homes. Too many times women, children, and the elderly are bowled over inside their houses. At least 18 people, including American Rachel Corrie, have been killed by the Israeli military use of CAT bulldozers. The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is organizing a day of action on October 19th to heighten awareness of these destructive killing machines.

So many companies benefit from war: Bechtel, CACI and Titan. All of these companies have made billions on the blood of U.S. troops and Iraqi citizens. They claim their profit benefits our country as a whole. But they have no allegiance to the U.S. The only pledge these companies make is to the almighty dollar. You can do something.

Divest: Look into your portfolio and do research on the companies you invest in. Uniting as shareholders and participants in this economy we can send a strong message that we will not profit from this oil war.

Shareholder Activism: If you decide to keep stock in these profiteering companies, participate at shareholder meetings. Work with other shareholders to vote on resolutions that would require corporate compliance with international human rights standards.

Call Your Representative: Ask for more accountability for contracted work, demand we disband our private army, and push to bring justice to criminals who hide behind contracts.

Organize: The majority of Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq. How many of them know about war profiteering? Now is the time to deepen the debate around war, war profiteering is a good place to start.


3818, died in service to lies

October 10, 2007

Those who died in Iraq from Sep 30 to Oct 6:

Sgt Randel Olguin  24  Ralls TX

Spc Chirasak Vidhyarkorn  32  Queens NY

Sgt Herman Murkerson Jr  35  Adger AL

Sea Shayna Schnell  19  Tell City IN

Sgt Bartosz Orzechowski  29  Zamosc Poland

Spc Avealalo Milo  23  Hayward CA

Sgt Ricardo Rodriguez  23  Arecibo PR

Spc Vincent Kamka  23  Everett WA

Spc Jason Marchand  26  Greenwood WV

Sgt Joseph Milledge  23  Pointblank TX

Spc Rachael Hugo  24  Madison WI

23 were seriously wounded and maimed.

61 wounded were returned to kill fields.

383 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.


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