Thank General Clark for His Straight Talk, Tell Him To Not Back

Sunday, on Face the Nation, General Wesley Clark spoke honestly and bluntly about what it takes to be Commander in Chief.  In doing so, while he said Senator John McCain’s service made him a hero to millions, including Clark himself, that experience does not trump the poor judgment that Senator McCain has shown on some of the most important issues in recent years.

What General Clark said was right, but the right-wing has been in an uproar. And even CNN accused Clark of “swift-boating” McCain. We need to fight back.


Let’s show General Clark that we have his back, and will not stand for any attempts to shut down this important debate.

Published in: on July 1, 2008 at 7:45 am  Comments (14)  

Official Urged Fewer Diagnoses of PTSD

A psychologist who helps lead the post-traumatic stress disorder program at a medical facility for veterans in Texas told staff members to refrain from diagnosing PTSD because so many veterans were seeking government disability payments for the condition.

“Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I’d like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out,” Norma Perez wrote in a March 20 e-mail to mental-health specialists and social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Tex. Instead, she recommended that they “consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder.”

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mr. President, the war isn’t about you — or golf

Olbermann: Bush’s claim he gave up game to honor dead GIs is ludicrous

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein

Watch the short film

Fast Facts, Shocks and their Aftermath from the Shock Doctrine Short Film
Chile, 1973

* 50,000 tortured
* 80,000 imprisoned
* Public spending cut by 50%
* Incomes for the rich up 83%
* 45% of population in poverty

Wars – Falklands War, 1982

* 910 people die
* Thatcher’s popularity doubles
* She privatizes gas, steel, airlines, telephones
* She declares war on unions
* Thousands are injured
* Unemployment triples
* Number of poor increases by 100%


* China 1989 – hundreds killed
* Thousands jailed and tortured
* China becomes sweatshop to the world
* China embraces “free market” capitalism
* Factory wages: $1/day

Russia, 1993

* Yeltsin attacks parliament
* Hundreds killed
* Parliament burned
* Opposition arrested
* 72 million impoverished
* 17 new billionaires created

Terrorist Attacks – New York, 2001

* Attacks launch “War on Terror.” It is privatized.
* US spy agencies outsource 70% of their budgets
* Pentagon increases budget for contractors by $137 billion/year
* Department of Homeland Security spends $130 billion on private contractors

Invasions – Iraq, 2003

* The most privatized war in modern history
* US decrees 200 state companies will be privatized
* Hundreds of thousands killed
* 4 million displaced

Natural Disasters – Sri Lanka, 2004

* 35,000 dead
* Coastline handed over to hotels and industry
* Nearly 1 million displaced
* Fishing people forbidden to rebuild homes by the sea

Published in: on March 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm  Comments (1)  

U.S. Soldier Killed Herself in Iraq — After Objecting to Torture

Looking back at all of the sad, tragic and unnecessary deaths in Iraq that I have written about in the past five years, it is hard to identify one that stands out. But one death does still haunt me, above all others.

Alyssa Peterson was one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq — and she died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation methods used on prisoners. A cover-up, naturally, followed.

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

No, Mr. President, there’s nothing romantic about being sent on an important mission and not being given the tools to accomplish it.

WASHINGTON – Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) expressed shock that the President believes the war is “romantic” and “exciting.”

“I didn’t feel like there was anything romantic in not seeing my daughter grow up, in watching Afghan children starve to death, in explaining repeated deployment extensions to my soldiers, in explaining to Afghans that we were there to keep them safe – while knowing that we would never have enough troops to actually do so. No, Mr. President, there’s nothing romantic about being sent on an important mission and not being given the tools to accomplish it.”


Published in: on March 15, 2008 at 12:57 am  Comments (1)  

Isn’t it romantic? Getting your legs blown off by an IED?

Afghanistan Envy

Bush’s romantic notions about serving on the front lines.

Published in: on March 15, 2008 at 12:53 am  Comments (1)  

Neo-cons spoiling for another fight

Few events have so encapsulated the Funhouse Mirror aspect of
American political debate as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York.
According to the Chicken Little Brigade in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, the bearded little fellow in the bad suit is only the latest in a succession of freedom-hating madmen bent upon destroying what the old Superman comics called “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

Published in: on October 4, 2007 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Forgetting Gandhi

For an America trapped in George W. Bush’s endless “war on terror,” the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the great disciple of non-violence, might sound simultaneously jarring and alluring. In this essay on the anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, writer Pablo Ouziel recalls Gandhi’s enduring message about the evils of violence.

Published in: on October 2, 2007 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ray McGovern: Do We Have The Courage To Stop War With Iran?

Why do I feel like the proverbial skunk at a Labor Day picnic? Sorry; but I thought you might want to know that this time next year, there will probably be more skunks than we can handle. I fear our country is likely to be at war with Iran — and with the thousands of real terrorists Iran can field around the globe.

Published in: on August 31, 2007 at 8:52 pm  Comments (1)  

No End in Sight

Remember the scene in “A Clockwork Orange” where Alex has his eyes clamped open and is forced to watch a movie? I imagine a similar experience for the architects of our catastrophe in Iraq. I would like them to see “No End in Sight,” the story of how we were led into that war, and more than 3,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of other lives were destroyed.

Roger Ebert

Published in: on August 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm  Comments (1)  

Remembering Mahad

We lost a courageous colleague yesterday in Mogadishu, Somalia. Mahad Elmi was a 30-year-old radio journalist who had become an invaluable freelancer for McClatchy’s Africa bureau over the past year.

Published in: on August 12, 2007 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

NGOs Report Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq

Monday July 30, 2007 By THOMAS WAGNER

LONDON (AP) –About 8 million Iraqis – nearly a third of the population – need immediate emergency aid because of the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, relief agencies said Monday.

Published in: on July 30, 2007 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

As Bad As Bush

The Iraq fiasco provides few opportunities for mirth. But one is watching Fred Hiatt, czar of the Washington Post editorial page, try to kick up enough dust to wriggle out of his own position on the war.

By Josh Marshall

Published in: on July 27, 2007 at 11:36 am  Comments (1)  

Misperceptions of the ‘War’ in Iraq

An NBC News correspondent—with longtime experience in Iraq—describes many other visions of the war now being fought.

The war in Iraq is not what it seems. In fact, there is no “war” in Iraq—there are many wars, some centuries old, playing out on this ancient land. But this is not what Americans are often led to believe. The perception portrayed by the White House and Iraqi government in Baghdad—and commonly reflected in the news media—is that the violence in Iraq is a fundamental struggle between two opposing teams: Freedom Lovers and Freedom Haters.

[T]his [is a] Manichaean and simplistic view of the fighting here [. . .]
[T]he reality is there are many wars within the war.

[Thx Larry M]

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kit Bond and the credibility of war supporters

Glenn Greenwald
Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri, one of George Bush’s most blindly loyal Senatorial servants, wrote a letter yesterday to the New York Times which contained a startling admission tossed in as a throwaway line:

It is clear that if we abandon Iraq as some want us to do right now, Al Qaeda will establish a safe haven there. This would give terrorists the resources of the petroleum-rich country to finance their operations, significantly increasing the threat of future attacks on the United States. While I agree that we had the wrong plan for three years, we now have the right one, and the right man to lead it. The proper conclusion to be drawn from the N.I.E. findings is that Congress and the American people must remain vigilant and committed to the war on terror and its central front in Iraq.


Published in: on July 23, 2007 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Way to Go in Iraq

By Peter Galbraith [This essay appears in the August 16th, 2007 issue of the New York Review of Books ]

On May 30, the Coalition held a ceremony in the Kurdistan town of Erbil to mark its handover of security in Iraq’s three Kurdish provinces from the Coalition to the Iraqi government. General Benjamin Mixon, the U.S. commander for northern Iraq, praised the Iraqi government for overseeing all aspects of the handover. And he drew attention to the “benchmark” now achieved: with the handover, he said, Iraqis now controlled security in seven of Iraq’s eighteen provinces.

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

You Really Can Get Anything on Ebay!

US army officer puts ‘war solution’ on eBay

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 12:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

· Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out
· President ‘not prepared to leave conflict unresolved’

Published in: on July 16, 2007 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Are we Already at War with Iran?

Have US-enabled Kurds killed 200 Iranian Troops?

by Juan Cole

Published in: on July 15, 2007 at 6:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Illegalities of the Iraq War

America Leads the Way


Published in: on July 15, 2007 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Occupation of Iraq is Not Ours to Choose

Attacking Iraq was a war crime, and to sit back now and debate how much control we are entitled to is disgusting. With typical U.S arrogance, our Congress, and the White House, now debate if, how, and when, to leave Iraq, and also about how many troops we should leave for a “training force,” if we are to leave troops there.

by Ward Reilly

Published in: on July 14, 2007 at 10:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reservist fighting his fifth war call-up

Erik Botta believes he’s done right by his country. Days after Sept. 11, as a young Army reservist, he volunteered to go to war. He was soon in Afghanistan. The next year, he was sent out again, this time to Iraq, part of a Special Operations team. In the next two years, he was sent to Iraq again. And again. He thought he was done. But now, the Army wants Sgt. Botta one more time.

Published in: on July 14, 2007 at 12:49 am  Leave a Comment  

In Baghdad, even babies quickly learn to duck snipers

Nawal Na’eem Karim was surprised this week to hear her toddler tell her, “Talaq inana! Talaq inana!” — “Bullets here! Bullets here!” He was warning her to step cautiously past the windows. Their house is in a kill zone. At 18 months, her baby already had learned counterinsurgency survival. He still wears a diaper.

Published in: on July 12, 2007 at 9:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Sins of Statecraft: The War on Terror Exposed :: Theories on Militarism and Prospects for Transformation

by Brian Bogart

“…1979, the year that international terrorism found a new incarnation through consolidation of converging interests and the “war on terror” was conceived. (Its conception was necessarily followed by a process of maturation: first applied to the Cold War and in rhetoric within limited theaters, such as the Palestine-Israel situation; second in the post-Cold War formulation of a “war on terror” plan during the 1990s; and third in its implementation after 9-11.)”

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

The War Comes Home

Iraq war veterans feel they are being cast aside.

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Carnage from the Air and the Washington Consensus

“Accidents” of War

The Time Has Come for an Honest Discussion of Air Power
By Tom Engelhardt

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scores Still Jailed in Secret after Fleeing Somali War

Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers, Sat, Jul. 07, 2007
At least 76 people who were captured while fleeing the war in Somalia in January are still being held in Ethiopia under a program of secret prisoner renditions backed by the United States, Kenya and Somalia, human rights activists said Friday.

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

How the U.S. Media Loved the War

Anti-war optimists cite the Iraq War skepticism in today’s U.S. news media as a sign George W. Bush’s militarist policies are in trouble. But what does it say about these Big Media journalists that they would go with the pro-Bush flow until the public-opinion tide turned? In this essay, media critic Norman Solomon offers a looks back.

Published in: on July 8, 2007 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

State of exception: Bush’s war on the rule of law

Scott Horton

At its finest moments the Republican Party has been a vocal and unsparing advocate for human rights. “Though force can protect in emergency,” insisted Dwight D. Eisenhower, the party’s great warrior-president, “only justice, fairness, consideration, and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.” But under the current administration, those designated as enemies have no rights, neither under the laws of war nor under any notion of criminal justice. A radical rupture has occurred; American legal tradition has been swept aside and, with it, long-established precedents for dealing with adversaries in wartime—even those accused of heinous crimes.

Published in: on July 4, 2007 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

They Don’t Come Back the Same

The Mind of the Returning Iraq War Veteran

“They fly the flag when you attack: when you come home they turn their backs.”

~Iraq Veterans Against the War cadence

Published in: on July 4, 2007 at 1:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Fortunate Son

Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life

July 2, 2007, 9:47 pm

By Brian Turner

In my first post for Home Fires, I began by dumping out my old Army duffel bags and going through my gear while cleaning out the garage. Each week I’ve been surprised and amazed to read the posts by the other soldier-writers here — Sandi, Michael, Lee and Jeffrey. I’ve been surprised by my own words and experiences, too. (Believe me, driving to Vegas was a shocker!) And now that a month has passed, I find that in an odd way I’ve come full circle.

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 7:50 pm  Comments (1)  

Your Mama Wore Combat Boots

Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life

July 1, 2007, 9:40 pm

By Sandi Austin

That comment usually followed a different gut-wrenching remark bashing someone else’s mother. Three weeks ago the little pink plus symbol appeared on my home pregnancy test. In eight months I will be that “mama” who wore combat boots.

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 7:46 pm  Comments (1)  


The world that Bob made
The new US secretary of defense travels the American world, to Kabul and Baghdad in particular, where he frets about Tehran – only to find himself confronting the consequences of the misdeeds of his younger self. In the first two parts of this three-part series, Roger Morris covered the world and spy agency that “made Bob”. Now, he turns to the world that Bob made. It’s a tale of terror bombs and secret plots, of internecine warfare within the CIA and in the Hindu Kush.
Part 1: The tortured world of US intelligence
Part 2: Great games and famous victories

Published in: on June 27, 2007 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

GOP Support for Iraq War Slips

Wednesday June 27, 2007 By ANNE FLAHERTY

Republican support for the Iraq war is slipping by the day.

“We must not abandon our mission, but we must begin a transition where the Iraqi government and its neighbors play a larger role in stabilizing Iraq,” Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, wrote in a letter to Bush.

Published in: on June 27, 2007 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Culture of Atrocity

Victims victimizing

All troops, when they occupy and battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are swiftly placed in what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton terms “atrocity-producing situations.”

by Chris Hedges

War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians. This bitter knowledge of betrayal is seeping into the ranks of the American military. It is bringing us a new wave of enraged and disenfranchised veterans who will never again trust the country that sent them to war.

[Thx BXC]

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Iraqi orphans moved to better facilities

14yearold.jpgMuhannad, a fourteen-year-old orphan, sits inside his bed after he was transferred to “Dar al-Hanan” orphanage for girls. Muhannad was discovered in a room at a grisly state-run orphanage for boys last week following a military raid at an area northwest of Baghdad.(AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 11:41 pm  Comments (1)  

‘50,000 Iraqi refugees’ forced into prostitution

Women and girls, many alarmingly young, who fled the chaos at home are being further betrayed after reaching ‘safety’ in Syria

It’s Monday night in a dingy club on the outskirts of the Syrian capital. Two dozen girls are moving half-heartedly on the dance floor, lit up by flashing disco lights. They are dessed in tight jeans, low-cut tops and knee-high boots, but the girls’ make-up can’t disguise the fact that most are in their mid-teens. It’s a strange sight in a conservative Muslim country, but this is the sex business, and it’s booming as a result of the war in Iraq.

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  


Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life
June 22, 2007, 5:19 pm
By Sandi Austin

I’m sitting on a curb along the edge of the parking lot next to the gym with two duffle bags, a ruck sack, the M249 and a 9mm strapped to my leg. It is hard to believe that all of my personal possessions for the next year can be hand carried.
— Journal Entry, November 11, 2003

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 11:01 pm  Comments (1)  

One Year Later: My Real Father’s Day

Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life
June 20, 2007, 6:58 pm
By Lee Kelley

I have never cried much. In fact, I could probably count on one hand how many times I had really cried, as an adult, up until the time I came home from Iraq. During my tour, I couldn’t even shed a tear at my mom’s memorial service. I felt cold and numb because of everything going on around me. Not callous, just gifted at compartmentalizing emotions. I’ve cried more in the last year than I have in a lifetime. But here’s the catch. They have all been tears of joy, in moments where I am simply overwhelmed and feel so very lucky to be home with my kids.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 10:56 pm  Comments (1)  

The All-Day Night Patrol

Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life
by Michael Jernigan

While I was home convalescing in St. Pete, with my new dome, I did not do much of anything. I was still having serious problems with my sleeping and was going out to the local bars drinking excessively. My family would invite me and my wife out for family time and were told that I was not interested. My wife never even asked me if I wanted to go to any of these family functions. She seems to have been trying to separate me from my family.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 10:51 pm  Comments (1)  

US Is Fighting A Contractor War

No matter how hard it surges, America’s military can’t over come the handicaps of war on the cheap — including an overabundance of private contractors.

Iraq may be the most privatized war in U.S. history.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 1:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Iraq Deaths Don’t Mean Failure, Pace Says

The recent rise in U.S. troop deaths in Iraq is the “wrong metric” to use in assessing the effectiveness of the new security strategy for Baghdad, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday.

Published in: on June 22, 2007 at 11:13 am  Comments (1)  

Mutating Into What We Hate

Published on Thursday, May 6, 2004 by the Baltimore Sun
People fighting a war dehumanize the enemy.

And truly, dehumanizing others in one’s mind dehumanizes oneself in reality.

Published in: on June 22, 2007 at 12:52 am  Leave a Comment  

A Student, a Teacher and a Glimpse of War

And yet — how can you walk away from a human being who will surely die if you do so?

Nicholas Kristof

Published in: on June 21, 2007 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

100 Killed In 3 Days In Afghanistan

Afghan Officials Say Casualties Include Civilians, Police, Militants; 7 Kids Killed By U.S. Air Strike

Published in: on June 18, 2007 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dinner With a Warlord

Gen. Laurent Nkunda

June 18, 2007


One hint that this would be an unusual interview came when the warlord walked in wearing a button reading “Rebels For Christ.”

Published in: on June 18, 2007 at 9:11 pm  Comments (1)  

Turning On the Faucet of Emotion

Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life
June 15, 2007, 10:29 pm

By Sandi Austin

Here I stand, weighted down in the sand again, about to enter another foreign territory. I’m marching into a world I have never seen, a world where I am the intruder.

(To read the rest, you’ll need access.)

Published in: on June 16, 2007 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  


June 14, 2007, 6:18 pm

Home Fires: Five Iraq War Veterans on Their Return to American Life

By Lee Kelley

Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look at the sun through a glass bottle full of apple juice. Close your eyes and spin around 20 times. Stand up too fast. Get married. Read powerful literature. Have a child. Travel. Any of these things can and will change your perspective.

(To read the rest, you’ll need access.)

Published in: on June 16, 2007 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Africa’s World War

I’m taking the two winners of the “Win-a-Trip contest” to the Great Lakes region, where at least five million people have died in what is sometimes called the continent’s first world war.

Nicholas Kristof


How to access the article
Wondering why you can’t just read it here?

Published in: on June 14, 2007 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment