Tuesday, May 04, 2004

"In the Name of Womanhood and Humanity..."
On the radical, anti-war origins of Mother's Day
by Geov Parrish

The radical origins of Mother's Day -- as a powerful feminist call against war, penned in the wake of the U.S. Civil War in 1870 -- are fully compatible with the universal notion of honoring mothers. Women, even more so now, are the primary sufferers of warfare.

In the name of womanhood, I once again post a list of female political bloggers. Hats off to the ladies of Blogdom.

Anne Zook, Mahablog-Barbara O'Brien, Bittershack-Brooke Biggs, Nitpicker-CJ Finis, The Duchess (Charlene), Cyndy Roy, Different Strings-Kryselda Jarnsaxa, Ana Marie (Wonkette), Laura Poyneer aka al-muhajabah, Madelein Begun Kane, Marla Caldwell, Echidne, Iddybud-Jude Nagurney Camwell, Lis Riba, Laura Gjovaag, Maru Soze, Natalie Davis, Shari, PG, Alasablog, Crescat Sententia, Eve Tushnet , Suburban Guerrilla, Collective Sigh, Elayne Riggs, Blog or Not, Amy Sullivan, World O'Crap, Just a Bump in the Beltway (Melanie), Wampum (Mary Beth Williams), Assymetrical Information(Jane Galt), Respectful of Otters (Rivka), Ruminate This (Lisa English), Julia, Avedon Carol, Making Light (Teresa Nielsen Hayden), Rebecca's Pocket, Breaching the Web, Ladida, Xeney, Fusion Reaction, Parenthetically Speaking, Divinest Sense, Girlhacker, Backup Brain (Dori's half) , Megnut, Netwoman, 12 Frogs, Burningbird, ValueJudgment (J's half) , Yourish, Veralynne-ACT, Sisyphus Shrugged

Blog on, sweet sisters..blog on.

Yahoo News/AP- 47,000 More GIs Tapped for Year in Iraq

NYT- Paul Krugman on armed civilians working for the Iraqi occupation

You may ask whether our leaders' drive to privatize reflects a sincere conservative ideology, or a desire to enrich their friends. Probably both. But before Iraq, privatization that rewarded campaign contributors was a politically smart move, even if it was a net loss for the taxpayers.

In Iraq, however, reality does matter. And thanks to the ideologues who dictated our policy over the past year, reality looks pretty grim.

Yahoo News/AP- Senators Call for Rumsfeld to Explain Torture Situation in Open Hearing

AP photo
How much longer will Bush blame a few for this institutionalized nightmare?

Yahoo/AP- (So they knew?) U.S. military did a "top-level review" last fall of how its detention centers in Iraq were run

Drudge Report- Iraqi cameraman recounts ordeal in US detention

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"I'm not going to address the "torture word."

--Donald Rumsfeld in his press conference today, insisting that "abuse" and "torture" are two different words.

**Well, the man isn't lying...they are two different words, technically. "Equivocating" and "prevaricating" are two different words as well. **
Bush campaign tactics skewed by torture photos

Rogder Payne raises a most-interesting political theory about Bush's public reticence and his most recent 'softness' on condemnation re: the torture photos. [The AP said he'd been mum all this past weekend]:

Why the silence?

I have a theory.

These photos completely screw up the "attack Kerry" plan. Remember what Karen Hughes said just last weekend (on CNN) about John Kerry's old testimony that US soldiers committed war crimes in Vietnam?

"I remember watching Senator Kerry, back when he was against the war, when he came home, and I was very troubled by the kind of allegations that he hurled against his fellow veterans, saying that they were guilty of all kinds of atrocities," said Hughes, the daughter of a retired Army officer who served in three wars, including Vietnam.

"As someone whose father was over there fighting, I don't appreciate that. I resent that. I know my father was not guilty of any atrocities, and I really find that that's an irresponsible kind of charge to make."The White House spin doctors must be hard at work trying to get out of this dilemma.

Condemn the troops in Iraq?

Or, condemn the guy who used to condemn the troops in Vietnam?

Touche, Rodger.

ABC's Political Note asks a refreshing rhetorical question:

Goodness -- where does a working journalist go to have an original thought these days?

*The blogdom is full of them.

Media-ocrity: Heavenly crapper paper and the lame church of the Wal-Mart faithful who love using it, unimaginative names for soda knock-offs, honcho-big-ass TVs, Van Halen (need I say more?) I smiled when I read this:

Bloomberg and the AP report on his speech at a Wal-Mart distribution center in Arkansas. LINK and LINK

The Note had an insider's view on the Vice President's trip to the Wal-Mart plant on Monday, witnessing along with him the thousands of gallons of Dr. Thunder, piles of Sanyo 27" flat screens, and mountains of Angel Soft bathroom tissue that served as a backdrop for his remarks to the extremely enthusiastic Wal-Mart employees.

The visit was a quick one to say the least as the Vice President was literally on the ground in Arkansas for about two hours and then back to D.C. Accompanied by Mrs. Cheney, the Vice President chatted with several of the workers at the distribution center, and the two of them were introduced to the Wal-Mart faithful to the tune of Van Halen's "Right Now," a copy of which could very well have been found somewhere in the shelves of the 1.2 million square-foot facility.
Georgia close to brink of civil war? Will the U.S. become embroiled?

TBILISI, Georgia - The Georgian government on Monday warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in its Adzharia province after the defiant region's leader ordered the destruction of bridges connecting it with the rest of the country.

This reminded me of a question I'd asked last December:

Will social progress be cast aside for Western gain in the Caucasus region?
When will ordinary Russians and citizens of the Caucasus become terrorists and active
enemies of the American state?

Let's watch as history unfolds before our very eyes.--

The U.S. has wanted Turkey to be a helpful negotiator on the Adzharia (Ajaria) issue. According to a recent L.A. Times story, Adzharia is made up of indigenous people who are "predominantly Muslim; a legacy of several centuries under the Ottoman Empire." The Times alleges Adzharia is a "crisis-in-waiting'.

Quoting the L.A. Times:

....Bringing Adzharia under Tbilisi's control won't be easy because their leader Abashidze has independent economic resources, an extensive patronage network and connections to Russia, which maintains a military base at Batumi. The quasi-independence of Adzharia gives Russia a foothold in Georgia, which controls the road and rail links to Armenia, a key Russian ally and host to Russian military bases. Not surprisingly, Moscow insists that Tbilisi must agree not to forcibly annex these regions before a deal can be reached on the bases.

Russia is bound and determined to keep Georgia in her "orbit".

We all know the US-Turkish relations deteriorated after the Turkish Parliament dashed American hopes of deploying forces to Iraq from southeastern Turkey in March, 2003. This raises questions about the health of the two countries' strategic partnership. Given our shaky relations with Turkey, can we depend upon them to be a good-faith negotiator for peace (in Georgia) on our behalf? Let's hope G.W. Bush hasn't alienated them to the point of no return. We need to use ask Turkey to help us protect our Georgia's pipe-line.

From Pravda:

....Under the Kars Treaty, Turkey and Russia can send troops to Adzharia and Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan's enclave on Armenian territory) in the event of third countries' military invasion of these regions. Unal Cevikoz, Turkey's ambassador to Azerbaijan, also recalled the treaty on March 17, 2004. Mr. Cevikoz said the treaty continued to be in force. Experts believe Georgia's sending troops to Adzharia may trigger a prolonged armed and political conflict, which will also involve Turkey, Russia and, possibly, the USA.

Are we ready to rumble in Adzharia?
Guardian Comment: The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US personnel shows that outsourcing military jobs has gone too far

....playing a role in this deeply disturbing episode - in which Iraqi prisoners were beaten, raped and forced to perform simulated sexual acts - were private contractors, hired to serve as interrogators....While the military has established structures to investigate, prosecute and punish soldiers who commit crimes, the legal status of contractors in war zones is murky. Soldiers are accountable to the military code of justice wherever they are located, but contractors are civilians - not part of the chain of command.............. To pay contractors more than our soldiers, and to give them a legal free pass on top of that is unconscionable. [LINK]

See Billmon's "An Iraq Prison Diary" for a new twist on the story, unheard in the mainstream. It involves a certain web-diary.

Sy Hersh's article, TORTURE AT ABU GHRAIB, is here.
Juan Cole: The U.S. Has Lost the Battle of the Photographs

At TomDispatch, Juan Cole offers this piece about the war of the images in Iraq and at home..and how the Bush administration is dealing with it all.

Don't miss Juan Cole's website for up-to-date information and relevant, educated opinion on the Iraq war.

Recent stories by Professor Cole:

Chalabi Gave Sensitive Information to Iran

Al-Dhari: It would be Yet another Piece of Stupidity for the US to go after Muqtada


Related article from Salon.com:
How Ahmed Chalabi conned the neocons
The hawks who launched the Iraq war believed the deal-making exile when he promised to build a secular democracy with close ties to Israel. Now the Israel deal is dead, he's cozying up to Iran -- and his patrons look like they're on the way out. A Salon exclusive.