So… what else is new? 26 November 2007Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
Tom Dispatch has a Dahr Jamail post up… and I must say, this I did not know:
Acts matter. Here’s how Dahr Jamail, a young mountain guide and volunteer rescue ranger in Alaska (who did freelance writing in the “off-season”) describes his rash decision, back in 2003, to cover George W. Bush’s Iraq War in person: “I decided that the one thing I could do was go to Baghdad to report on the occupation myself. I saved some money, bought a laptop, a camera, and a plane ticket, and, armed with information gleaned via some connections made over the Internet, headed for the Middle East.” That was it. The next thing he knew he was driving through the Iraqi desert from Amman, Jordan, toward Baghdad and directly into the unknown. He had few contacts; no media organization to back him; no hotel/office with private guards to return to at night; no embedded place among American forces for protection; not even, on arrival in Baghdad, any place to write for.
Damned straight acts matter, even lesser acts than those… The Jamail post is a terrible litany of our worst acts in Iraq. The ones that are known.
The several grafs that close the post:
At the time of this writing, the group Just Foreign Policy has offered an estimate of Iraqis killed since the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. Their number: 1,118,846. Consider that possibility in the context of the latest round of news from Iraq about lessening violence.
The estimate is based on figures from a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. and al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, and published in October 2006 in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, which found 655,000 Iraqis had died as a direct result of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation. The report methodology has been called “robust” and “close to best practice” by Sir Roy Anderson, the chief scientific advisor to Britain’s Ministry of Defense. Since that time, in addition to Just Foreign Policy, the British research polling agency Opinion Research Business has extrapolated a figure of 1.2 million deaths in Iraq. Based on this, veteran Australian born journalist John Pilger wrote recently,
“The scale of death caused by the British and U.S. governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.”
It is an indication of the success of an effective Pentagon “tactical perception management campaign,” of the way the Bush administration has continued to “catapult propaganda,” and of the dehumanization of Iraqis that has gone with it, that the possibility of the number of dead Iraqis being in this range has largely been dismissed (or remained generally undealt with) in the mainstream media in the United States. Add to that the refusal of the U.S. military to bring to justice those charged with some of these heinous crimes, the lack of accountability, and an establishment media which has regularly camouflaged the true nature of the occupation, and we have the perfect setting for a continuance of industrial-scale slaughter in Iraq, even while the news highlights the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and their adventures in various rehab clinics.
In what could reasonably serve as a summary of the American occupation of Iraq, the eighteenth century philosopher Voltaire wrote, “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
And we seem to insist a platoon of our very own angels (we long ago acquired Gawd as an asset) are playing the trumpets.
Elsewhere, an article in the American Conservative on where the (what else is there?) smart money is…
Blackwater insists that on Sept. 16 its guards were ambushed and were shooting in self-defense. Founder and CEO Erik Prince—the politically connected son of Edgar Prince, the late billionaire who helped build the Family Research Council—went on a media charm offensive in October, giving television interviews and inviting reporters to Blackwater’s 7,000-acre training facility in North Carolina.
“We don’t get any advantages for the lack of accountability—we just end up getting hammered on the issue,” said Doug Brooks, spokesman for the International Peace Operations Association, a trade group representing 40 companies in the private security industry. He and others say the assault on contractors is politically motivated and the stories of their abuses and excesses are greatly exaggerated.
Match it with a Bloomberg article on the money numbers for the political “Arms Race” and we are trapped forever. I don’t care how blase you are, jaded to the gills and cynical up the snout… the numbers are stunning. Media, infotainment, corps, they will never let this game (or us) go:
[T]he current election cycle will look like this: The Republican and Democratic nominees combined will spend more than $1 billion by next November; other presidential hopefuls will fork over another $400 million; congressional candidates can be counted on to spend in excess of $1.5 billion, and the various Democratic and Republican party committees will part with more money than that.
Throw in at least half a billion from so-called “independent” groups outside the campaigns and, bingo, you’ve topped $5 billion. (If billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, self-finances an independent bid, add as much as 20 percent more.)
This produces what longtime campaign reformer Fred Wertheimer calls “an arms race” in spending: “Reality disappears, paranoia reigns as you just try to top the other guy.”
The presidential primaries this time are a case study. As the leading contenders shun public money and restrictions on expenditures in each state, the lid has come off. In Iowa, the scene of the first contest, there are reports that both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama might spend as much as $15 million apiece; both camps say it depends on what the other shells out.
Overall, the Democratic presidential aspirants may spend as much as $45 million in that small state. The best estimates are that 150,000 Hawkeye state Democrats will turn out for the caucuses on the cold January night. That would amount to about $300 a vote. ::snip::
I am willing to bet that LESS THAN 150,000 chug out on a dark, cold, all too likely icy night, 2 nights after New Year’s. I mean that just sounds yummy doesn’t it?
I have been watching, along with others, the propaganda offensive from the WH and quietly fuming…. so predictable. And the Dems are all aflutter. Aflutter on how best to agree, that is……
Lenin’s Tomb sums it up very well (and with links… better than I manage!):
Watching some of the news reports is like being exposed to the Laughing Policeman for half an hour. The laughing gas is pumped into every sitting room in the land, not to reverse the polls (can’t do that), nor to get the GOP in again (have to rig the elections for that), nor even to get the flags waving again (who’s got the energy after a day of overwork?). No, it’s to soften the blow when the airstrikes hit Iran – well, we pulled Iraq back together, despite the ingratitude and itransigence of its populatio, why not Iran? In this light, it’s worth considering the laboratory of repression that is Iraq: collective punishment, mass imprisonment, sniper terrorism, the usual. To which, Iraqis respond with increasing opposition to the occupation. All sweetness and light, a joy soon to be seen in Tehran and then – ooh, Damascus, Beirut, Pyongyang, wherever the liberation train takes a stop.
We so need to be stopped in our tracks…
On the more prosaic front… WaPo pungles up, front page, a story on a McAllen TX bundler for Hillary…
McALLEN, Tex. — During the first nine months of this year, Sen. Barack Obama raised just $2,086 for his presidential campaign from people who live in and around this border town of stucco bungalows and weed-covered farm lots, and most candidates raised even less. But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has already raised more than $640,000 here, and her campaign expects to collect even more.
Clinton’s success in this unlikely setting is based almost entirely on her friendship with one man, McAllen developer Alonzo Cantu. A self-made millionaire who once picked grapes on the migratory farm labor circuit, Cantu persuaded more than 300 people in Hidalgo County, where the median household income in 2006 was $28,660, to write checks ranging from $500 to $2,300 to the senator from New York.
and oddly enough, as I cannot detach my ears and send them ahead to that horrible political swamp, South Carolina, where do I find salacious gossip, supposedly being spread by both sides… but at Harper’s…
November 8, 10:29 AM
November 7, 12:37 PM
In Huma Abedin, finally a good reason to support Clinton
Oh yes, Lott fell or moved on or wants to cash in early at the Lobbyist Trough, the bar that never closes….. after 45 + years of doing terrible damage, kinda late.
UPDATE, 5:17 pm
When I went back to Harper’s to get the Hillary So Carolina whispers reports, I noticed this new entry from Silverstein…. on Obama…. who, btw, will be on Nightline tonight. I assume when he not talking about himself, he then is talking about Hillary.
What else is new.
UPDATE, 5:41 pm
Then again in Australia, there IS something new… I had read the early reports of the win, and was delighted that Howard not only lost at the top of the ticket, he lost his seat in the down ticket as well, so to speak. First loss of the home seat for a sitting PM, since the 20s… or so I read.
I was thrilled to read Rudd plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as well. Good, we should be abandoned.
This at Asia Times has a bit more flesh on who Rudd is…
[A]lready this has been demonstrated at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in Sydney in September. As parliamentary leader of the federal Australian Labor Party, then the main opposition party, the 50-year-old Rudd joined Prime Minister John Howard in welcoming Chinese President Hu Jintao to Australia. Rudd broke into Mandarin after a brief introduction in English, upstaging Howard. Rudd later had a 30-minute meeting with Hu without resort to interpreters. And during the recent election campaign he was interviewed by Chinese television in Mandarin several times.
Appearances and style do count. While a Rudd Labor government will not depart radically from the foreign and security policies of Howard’s conservative Liberal-National Party government, the relationship with the US and the Bush administration will not be the sort of lock-step affair that characterized ties between Canberra and Washington under Howard.
Rudd will demonstrate to Asia that his government is more independent of Washington through his commitment to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Accord on reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming. Australia will remain a loyal ally of the US but Rudd should torpedo the view of some in Asia of Canberra having a subservient relationship with Washington.