Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Give me liberty, or give me HDTV!!!

With apologies to the Firesign Theatre.

So the various big newses of the day include the Court-Martial of Lt. Ehren Watada in my home state of WA, and the Republicans killing debate on the senate floor concerning the non-binding resolution opposing the troop surge.

Sean Penn is hangin' with the protesters at Fort Lewis, about a thousand of 'em, while inside the judge basically tells the defense to f*** off with that whole Nuremberg defense. Watada (for those of you living under rocks) is a Hawaii Pacific University grad, very committed to the Army, happy to serve his country - EXCEPT - as he got closer and closer to deployment in Iraq, he had been doing his reading, like any soldier should, and he realized something: the war in Iraq could easily be treated as a War Crime under the Geneva Accords! So if he participated, the "I was only following orders" defense might not do him any good, just like it didn't do Nazi Camp Guards any good after WWII. Lt. Watada volunteered to go to Afghanistan, and the Army said no, you're bad, and arrested him on "missing a movement" and "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer" - he badmouthed the war in front of a crowd.

So, Watada kinda went the other way - he and his lawyer are simply arguing the legality of the war in the first place: how Cheney, Rumsfeld and Co. conflated intelligence to create a need for war based on a lot of fiction. If true, this would place the war squarely in the War Crimes column (which it may yet end up in) and would therefor make Lt. Watada a War Criminal were he to participate. Which would probably work as a defense, except the judge has basically said, "you can't go into that." So now, Watada is reduced to speaking in his own defense, and calling one character witness, a former commander. Watada will probably end up in the brig for some unpleasant amount of time, and be dishonorably discharged from the Army. Here's a guy, willing to go to Afghanistan to fight against the folks who most probably engineered the disaster of 9/11, being told he has to go fight in a country that presented no threat at all to the US, and we're gonna throw the book at him. Nice values.

On the other front, a story I'm of two minds about, since it's basically a story about the Unspeakable hunting the Uneatable. The House and Senate Democrats have finally put forth a Non-Binding Resolution, telling the President that they're opposed to the additional troop surge in Iraq.

Sorta like a skinny guy in bare feet, a tank top and shorts, putting up his hand and telling the bulls in Spain to "stop right there, please."

Come on. Who do you boys and girls think you're fooling? All this does is tell the President we disapprove. Do you idiots think he cares WHAT you think?

But then the Republicans go one further - they filibuster the debate. So now no one can talk about the Resolution in the Big House. The Repubs are talking about other options, but I'm not sure if they've made themselves clear yet.

So, here's where I'm a bit conflicted: we're giving the Pres a note saying bad boy, but he doesn't have to do anything about it, or even read it. And he won't, he's going forward no matter what the Senate says. But the Senate (thanks to the minority) has decided not to give him the note. And the Dems are OUTRAGED!!!

So, if the resolution doesn't make it to the Shrub's desk, nothing happens. And if it does, nothing happens. The Repubs are backing themselves into a corner, and the Dems are OUTRAGED!!!

'nuff said for one day.


Iran - 1953 Mohammad Mossadeq was the democratically elected President of Iran in 1953. He had been insisting on the nationalization of the oil fields, basically taking the oil revenue (which had been negotiated away to the British before the Iranians knew what oil could do for their economy), and giving it to the people of Iran. This infuriated the British, specifically British Petroleum (BP). They leaked false info to the CIA, telling them that Mossadeq had made overtures to the Soviet Union for military aid. The CIA engineered a coup, putting Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi back in power, and ending the development of shared oil revenues. The Shah became one of the most brutal dictators seen in the middle east. Even though the United States governments knew what his human rights record was like, we sold him advanced military armaments, culminating in a sale during the Ford administration (and deliveries that continued through the Carter administration), making Iran the largest customer for F14 fighter jets in the world (outside of the United States). He was then overthrown in the late 70s by his own foreign minister Shahpour Bakhtiar, and an exiled fundamentalist mullah, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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