Tens of thousands protest against the surge to oblivionTens of thousands of Americans have descended on Washington, DC to protest against the Iraq Aggression and President Bush's proposed troop surge to oblivion.
(The rally is being broadcast on CSPAN. By the way, if you get a chance to see a replay of Jesse Jackson's speech, DON'T! The once-capitivating speaker was reduced to rambling incoherence, him clearly just going through the motions.)
One can hope that the protests will help bring the president to his senses. Common sense dictates that if you're beating your head against a stone wall to no avail, then beating your head a little bit harder isn't going change anything. But this White House's supply of common sense was exhausted long ago.
On Friday, Pres. Bush re-iterated that when it came to military policy, "I'm the decision-maker." Whew, that's a relief. Last year, he famously declared that he was "the decider" and that had me worried. But now that he's "the decision-maker," I feel so relieved.
Ultimately, I think the main objective of the protests must be to influence the Congress, since "the decision-maker" is clearly incapable of taking sane decisions resulting from rational analysis.
Of course, how and from whom "the decision-maker" is getting his information is a key question. The Bush White House is infamously little more than an echo chamber where no one dares tell the president or vice-president anything they don't want to hear.
Even the 'liberal media' was long complicit. It was only recently that they started showing the slightest skepticism of the administration's version of the 'facts.' And even then only a very proscribed skepticism was permitted. One could question the tactics and the results, but one could never fundamentally question the wisdom of our continued presence there. Even today, the 'liberal media' censors anything that might show a true picture of what's really going on in Iraq.
For example, the supposedly anti-Bush CBS News refused to broadcast a piece by its top foreign correspondent. What was so objectionable?
The segment in question -- "Battle for Haifa Street" -- is a piece of first-rate journalism but one that appears only on the CBS News website -- and has never been broadcast. It is a gritty, realistic look at life on the very mean streets of Baghdad and includes interviews with civilians who complain that the U.S. military presence is only making their lives worse and the situation more deadly.
"They told us they would bring democracy, they promised life would be better than it was under Saddam," one told Logan. "But they brought us nothing but death and killing. They brought mass destruction to Baghdad."
And this is what is taboo in the 'liberal media': asking whether America's presence in Iraq has actually made things worse.
CBS News' lame excuse for canning the piece: there were a few bodies shown in the piece and the day's evening news' broadcast already had enough Iraq stories.
(The piece can be viewed by clicking here)
NEWSFLASH: war necessarily involves dead bodies. In fact, they are an integral part of war. If you can't handle it, don't launch one!
The Los Angeles Times reports on the American government's use of mercenaries. Some 48,000 US-sponsored mercenaries operate in Iraq.
(By contrast, Britain has about 7200 soldiers in Iraq and is expected to withdraw almost half of them by May.)
The Times noted that the mercenaries have operated with almost no oversight or effective legal constraints and are an undeclared expansion of the scope of the occupation. Many of these contractors make up to $1,000 a day, far more than active-duty soldiers. What's more, these forces are politically expedient, as contractor deaths go uncounted in the official toll.
And while anti-war sentiment is often associated with the supposedly liberal urban and suburban 'elites,' it's actually rural America that's paying the heaviest price for this catastrophic war of choice.
The heaviest price besides the Iraqis themselves, of course.