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Polls, Red Coats, Abuse, and Censorship
From a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll:
But while they acknowledge benefits from dumping Saddam a year ago, Iraqis no longer see the presence of the American-led military as a plus. Asked whether they view the U.S.-led coalition as "liberators" or "occupiers," 71% of all respondents say "occupiers." [...]

Sabah Yeldo, a Christian who owns a liquor store across town, says American failures have left the capital with higher crime and less-reliable services, including electricity. That is "making everybody look back and seriously consider having Saddam back again instead of the Americans."

News from Iraq is starting to remind me of the American Revolution—only this time, we're the folks in the red coats, extracting resources from an occupied colony. We don't like to think of ourselves this way.

Does this sound familiar?

Twenty-one days before—on the night of March 5, 1770—five men had been shot to death in Boston town by British soldiers. Precipitating the event known as the Boston Massacre was a mob of men and boys taunting a sentry standing guard at the city's customs house. When other British soldiers came to the sentry's support, a free-for-all ensued and shots were fired into the crowd. [...]

The presence of British troops in Boston had long been a sore point among Boston's radical politicians. Paul Revere wasted no time in capitalizing on the Massacre to highlight British tyranny and stir up anti-British sentiment among his fellow colonists.

Of course, we're trying to instill a democratic government in Iraq. That's the point, after all, right? But it looks like we may have to partition Iraq and settle for a Shiite theocracy and Sunni anarchy, with (hopefully!) the Kurdish third becoming a true democracy.

And our committment to instilling democratic values is undermined by the fact that we are sexually abusing Iraqi prisoners:

Graphic photographs showing the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a US-run prison outside Baghdad emerged yesterday from a military inquiry which has left six soldiers facing a possible court martial and a general under investigation. [...]

A military report into the Abu Ghraib case—parts of which were made available to the Guardian—makes it clear that private contractors were supervising interrogations in the prison, which was notorious for torture and executions under Saddam Hussein.

The firms involved are CACI International Inc and the Titan Corporation. Both of these are big "Homeland Security" contractors, which should scare you to death. From Supreme Court oral argument in the Padilla case on Wednesday:
[Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader] Ginsburg asks [Deputy Solicitor General Paul] Clement [representing the president today] for some limiting principle on executive powers in wartime. "Supposing the executive says mild torture will help?" Clement responds with the only credible answer he can give: "Just because executive authority in wartime can be abused doesn't justify limiting it."
For a sobering look at the self-censorship of our media, compare the British paper The Guardian's coverage of the torture of Iraqi prisoners with CNN's coverage. The NY Times and LA Times buried the story inside and did not run photos, and although the NY Times story is fairly complete, it waits until the 13th paragraph to reveal how shocking this abuse really is:
In one photograph obtained by the program, naked Iraq prisoners are stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English. In another, a prisoner stands on a box, his head covered, wires attached to his body. The program said that according to the United States Army, he had been told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted. Other photographs show male prisoners positioned to simulate sex with each other.

"The pictures show Americans, men and women, in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners," states a transcript of the program's script, made available Wednesday night. "And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing or giving the camera a thumbs-up."

The CBS News program said the Army also had photographs showing a detainee with wires attached to his genitals and another showing a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. The program also reported that the Army's investigation of the case included a statement from an Iraqi detainee who charges that a translator hired to work at the prison raped a male juvenile prisoner.

Also this week, 7 ABC affiliates have been told not to air Nightline's tribute to our fallen soldiers. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, owners of the stations involved, claims that the tribute "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."

The show, titled "The Fallen," will air at 11:35 p.m. Friday. In it, newsman Ted Koppel will read the names of the U.S. troops killed in action while their pictures are shown to viewers. [...]

ABC said that on the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks it aired the names and pictures of all those who died on that day.

[...] According to campaign finance records, four of Sinclair's top executives each have given the maximum campaign contribution of $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

The executives have not given any donations to the campaign of Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, the records showed.

Some more follow-the-money details from DailyKos [which also brought my attention to some of the other stories mentioned in this entry].

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So what do we do? Should we pull out of Iraq? That's what my favorite presidential candidate, the Libertarian party nominee Aaron Russo, suggests. Kucinich says something similar:

It was wrong to go in, it is wrong to stay in. We need to get the UN involved and bring in UN peacekeepers. We need to turn over to the UN control of the oil to be handled on behalf of the Iraqi people until the Iraqi people are self-governing, control of the contracts so there will be no more Halliburton sweetheart deals, no more privatization of Iraq, and no trying to run the government of Iraq by remote control. We need to help rebuild Iraq to the extent that we destroyed it, pay reparations to the families of innocent civilians and noncombatants who have lost their lives, help to rebuild Iraq, help to pay for a UN peacekeeping mission, and BRING OUR TROOPS HOME.

Oh, and I agree with both :-D I really wish Kucinich was the Democratic candidate, then I might have voted democratic, even though he's kind of anti-libertarian in economic issues. At least he's fighting for accuracy in voting so we could vote him out of office next time around if he sucks. Neither Kerry nor Bush seem to care about election security.

I do like Kucinich. And I don't think he's dropped out of the running for Dem nominee yet --- maybe lightning will strike at the convention this summer.

I talked to Kerry's people on Monday. Kerry is concerned about election issues (what Dem wouldn't after Gore-v-Bush) but is cautious and "doesn't want to turn it into an election issue". He has a campaign committee on election issues and they are setting up lawyers committees in FL (and possibly elsewhere) to observe the election, bone up on election law ahead of time, etc. He doesn't seem to get that, with touchscreen machines, there *is no recount*. His solution seems to be observers and lawyers.

VerifiedVoting.org is pressing him, though. Kennedy has been Kerry's mouthpiece in the past, and I talked to Kennedy's staff on Tuesday. Perhaps we'll get Kennedy to sponsor and clear the way, and then Kerry will sign on. Lobbying is hard work!

I almost promised Kerry's staffer that I would vote for Kerry and not Nader if he sponsored HR2239. =) I bit my tongue in time, though.

UN is making is best effort to contain peace, but UN is not so powerful, nations can clearly pass over the UN organization making them apart without hearing what they propose. Its true we need to help Iraq to supperate itself and its people, and stop fighting. The war doesnt lead us to nothing only to destruction.

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