Saturday, August 12, 2006

Democrats missing opportunity with suspected terrorist arrest

The Bush war PR flak machine was out talking down Ned Lamont as you'd expect. Dick Cheney was on cue -- telling any reporter who still listens to him that capitalist millionaire Democrats like Lamont are just what terrorists want. Right.

But I think the Republican attacks since Joe Lieberman lost are really a cover up of Bush Cheney's (and Lieberman) support for unilateral invasion, military force, and no diplomacy.

Think about it. No matter what you say about the timing- the arrests of suspected terrorists on Tuesday are how we want to fight small bands of criminals. It is a police story. (Note to London: I would say the line "suspected terrorists" means you don't blast name and address of suspects all over the world until they have been found guilty. If some official calls you suspect, they can shoot you without consequence in Iraq, but we used to have a different definition of suspect. Today suspect appears to equal guilty which appears to be a synonym for "dead".)

The story that Bush and Cheney want to cover up is complicated -- but less about Lamont's huge win. What if it gets out that the English intelligence service is how we win the fight against small groups who want to scare the bejezus out of all of us blowing up planes.

But let's see if the democrats do anything different.

The story of arrests in England is a story democrats should be trumpeting -- it is at its heart a story about investigation, research, puzzling through evidence -- police work.

And the investigators in England are what democrats should be for -- the path not chosen by the Bush Bombs Away & chuck diplomacy team.

No bombs were dropped, thousands of people didn't get killed in a unilateral invasion by our country -- the kind of results you see in England can't happen with the Bush team -- and that is why they have to go. Lieberman is the first of many who will get the boot if Democrats make it clear they are for the type of smart intelligence gathering that secured peace we saw in England.

Joe Lieberman and the Republicans are trying to bomb their way out of a police investigation.

No sign of Osama bin Laden, yet.

Tim Colman

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dust -- a poem by Dorianne Laux


Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.
Now, I remember only the flavor--
not like food, sweet or sharp.
More like a fine powder, like dust.
And I wasn't elated or frightened,
but simply rapt, aware.
That's how it is sometimes--
God comes to your window,
all bright light and black wings,
and you're just too tired to open it.

—from What We Carry by Dorianne Laux

What would Martin say?

Courage me.

''Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.''

-- quote left by American soldier who fought in Iraq-- and refuses to go back.

Story on NYT via AP

Army War Objector Plans to Go to Base

Published: August 11, 2006
Filed at 9:39 a.m. ET

SEATTLE (AP) -- Shortly after returning from Iraq last year, Army Sgt. Ricky Clousing gathered a few belongings and sneaked out of Fort Bragg, leaving only a note quoting Martin Luther King.

After six months spent seeing the ''daily physical, psychological and emotional harassment of civilians,'' he was confused and disenchanted with the United States' role in the war, the 24-year-old said.

''My experience in Iraq really made me second-guess my ability to perform as a soldier and also forced me to question my beliefs in associating myself'' with the Army, he told The Associated Press on Thursday, a day before he planned to turn himself in to Fort Lewis authorities.

Officials in Fort Bragg, N.C., did not return an AP call for comment on the case. Fort Lewis officials said they did not know about Clousing's case and could not comment.

Speaking from a friend's home in Seattle, Clousing said he won't participate in what he considers to be a ''war of aggression'' that has ''no legal basis to be fought.''

Clousing sneaked out of Fort Bragg in June 2005. Beginning last fall, his lawyers said, they contacted Fort Bragg and later Fort Lewis to try to negotiate a discharge. But neither installation claims responsibility for him, said attorney Lawrence Hildes. Finally, Clousing decided to just show up at Fort Lewis.

His planned return comes just ahead of a hearing is scheduled next week at Fort Lewis for an officer charged last month with conduct unbecoming an officer and missing troop movement after he refused to deploy to Iraq. First Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, has said that his research convinced him that the war was illegal.

Watada could face nearly eight years in prison and a dishonorable discharge if convicted, his attorney has said.

Clousing, who was trained as an interrogator with the 82nd Airborne Division, deployed to Baghdad in December 2004 and was in Mosul when he said he witnessed the killing of a young Iraqi man.

His convoy had stopped to help another unit when the man came up in a vehicle, Clousing said.

''He slowed his car down, took his hands off the steering wheel and braked immediately,'' Clousing recalled. As the man started turning the vehicle around, another soldier ''fired off four to five rounds into the side of the vehicle.''

Clousing rested his head in his hands as he described helping a medic pull the injured man from the vehicle, then watching as soldiers tried to stanch his bleeding.

''The boy, looking up at me, was literally dying in front of my eyes as I looked down at him,'' he said.

Clousing said he approached unit leaders about the shooting but was treated as an inexperienced soldier who ''needed to shut up.''

Upon returning to Fort Bragg in April 2005, Clousing said he talked with military chaplains and counselors, stressing that although he did not want to be discharged from the service, he felt he could no longer support the Iraq war.

Clousing said he's not opposed to all war and because of that chose not to apply as a conscientious objector.

''My intent was solely to learn how to come to grips with what I was a part of and what had happened and what is happening,'' he said.

He sneaked out of Fort Bragg in the middle of the night, taking books, clothes and a surfboard.

He left a note on his door, with King's quote: ''Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.''