Pill boy and his fat mouth... (updated)

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4 comments posted
it's depressing

how much success these venal people have, how much influence.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 11 March 2006 - 5:45pm
Lowest Common Denominator

They appeal to the animalistic elements in humans. They are the failed romantics, turned bitter. If humankind cannot be perfect, then in their view, it must be totally imperfect.

The cheapest kind of patriotism is what they cater to - displayed in magnetic ribbons attached to a car. Flags stuck to windows and flying from car aerials.

In the last century they called it "jingoism." It reduced all dialogue to a slogan - a jingle - that went down as easily as a hot dog whose ingredients remained unexamined - mainly smothered in relish.

Mouth-watering patriotism where none of the sloganeers ever suffers. "I support our troops," who have to go out in under-equipped vehicles, without proper body armor, so they can get blown away on-the-cheap so that Mr. Taxpayer can get a few extra dollars next week in the pay envelop.

Rush is the Right's soma. He tells us that evil liberals get what they deserve when they die, and so it makes the kids that get killed disappear into the background. If he turned his invective on them, his true message would ring out, loud and clear.

Rush is the ultimate cynic. He trades in human feelings and makes the death of people ugly by his snide reduction of human lives to causes that line his pockets.

Like the preacher who doesn't believe in God, but uses His name to line his pockets, Rush wraps himself in the flag and says opponents are unpatriotic.

It's an old ploy.

During World War One, the munition makers were dubbed "The Merchants of Death" in that they made the explosives to kill people. Rush kills people's mind - a war propheteer (sic) if there ever was one.

He gives his speeches as kids die and puts down those who want to stop the violence.

He is the worst kind of cynic and he should be ashamed of himself. The trouble is, he finds people who love the message.

What does that say of us as a people?

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 11 March 2006 - 7:52pm
I think Rush pretty much looks

like what he is... nationalism, authoritarian populism (as Frances Fox Piven had called it, tho I think we have passed that sometime ago) or a New World Fascism always need his sort. An underpinning.

I still employ "jingoism", "jingoistic", I think they fit quite well...

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 11 March 2006 - 8:14pm
Seems they were TOO Christian

EXCELLENT write up on this subject.

When every missing blonde gets around the clock coverage on Cable TV, it is odd the folks ranting about the "War on Christmas" were mute when it came to the plight of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT4) held hostage in Iraq during Christmas. It's hard to believe Cable TV executives didn't think that story would play well as a tie-in during the Christmas season.

That's one dog that didn't bark.

Although American tabloid TV was busy ignoring this story, there was plenty of international coverage. After all, these men were well known around the world for their work. Muslim and Arab media were following the story particularly closely. At one point, news of their plight was the most emailed story on Al-Jazeera's web site. Instead of citing all the different appeals, let me offer just one example of the genuine affection Muslims have for these hostages.

Muslim detainees who have themselves been held for years without charge, were calling for the Christian hostages to be shown mercy and set free.

You read that right. Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub and Hassan Almrei, who have spent years in solitary confinement in Canadian detention, issued an appeal on behalf of the hostages in general and Canadian hostage James Loney in particular. Their appeal included this line:

"It pains our heart to know that a person of this calibre is being held captive.

We care about his freedom more than we do our own."

When Muslims in cages are pleading for the release of Christians, you really have to wonder how a president who identifies himself as a born-again Christian can remain silent. The White House never issued any statements regarding CPT4 or Tom Fox during the entire time he was held hostage; not even platitudes. Even more surprising, the White House pointedly ignored CPT requests for a meeting with the president or his staff. This calculated indifference is underscored by the fact that the government still has not issued any formal statements about this tragedy. Such stony silence from a president who freely talks about the importance of "Christian values" is deafening.

That's another dog that didn't bark.

Read the whole thing... seems as though THESE Christians were actually investigating torture of Iraqis

Tom Fox, death squads & the dogs of war

Why the CPT4 went to Iraq....

According to an interview published in the Salt Lake Tribune with Tom Fox's former roommate in Iraq

"Christian Peacemaker members, including some of those who have been taken captive, had been investigating abuses at the hands of special police and military groups months before the Nov. 15 discovery of 173 detainees in the basement of an Interior Ministry building. American soldiers who liberated the prisoners said some appeared to have been tortured by their Iraqi government captors."
Saying "some appeared to have been tortured" sounds like it is unclear, or maybe an isolated incident. The BBC coverage of the atrocities in the basement of the Interior Ministry was particularly gruesome. Some of the men were killed with electric drills. In fact, there were only a handful of men who actually survived their encounter with that death squad.

I'm not using the term "death squad" loosely here. The "special police and military groups" referred to in the Tribune piece are US-trained counterinsurgency forces. They are formally called Special Police Commandos. These Special Police Commando units were created, trained and equipped by the US. These units represent the operational implementation of the so-called "Salvador Option" championed by some people in the Pentagon.

If death squad activity is why the CPT 4 were in Iraq, their captors might be interested in covering up US-trained Iraqi death squad activity than anything else. That certainly makes more sense than accepting the explanation originally floated that they were taken hostage to pressure the US to release all its prisoners. There is no way the US would even consider such a demand. Using these hostages to publicize that demand is flat out surreal. It is hard to imagine a group of hostages the US government could care about less than the CPT4.

There is no doubt some will find this possibility hard to accept. Unfortunately, there is a lot reason to believe it is true. This is not the first time an American was killed while investigating US-sponsored death squads in Iraq.

Anyone who remembers what happened the last time John Negroponte and US forces directed counterinsurgency operations know exactly what the "Salvador Option" means.

It would be bad enough if the US was merely following a warmed-over Reagan-era policy which ultimately left behind 70,000 people dead, and mass graves filled with innocent victims. Unfortunately, the trainers and people in charge of the Special Police Commandos are the same people who implemented the policy back in the Reagan era. They include the following familiar names:

James Steele, was a former Army Special Forces officer who led U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in El Salvador in the 1980s. Salvadoran paramilitary units trained by Steele's team were later accused of a pattern of atrocities. Steele left the military and eventually went to work for Enron. He then was recruited to work is magic in Iraq.

Steven Casteel, a former top DEA man who has been acting as the senior advisor in the Ministry of the Interior. Casteel was involved in the hunt for Pablo Escobar, during which the DEA collaborated with a paramilitary organization known as Los Pepes, which later transformed itself into the AUC, an umbrella organization covering all of Colombias paramilitary death squads

John Negroponte, well we all know who he is .... but did you know that he left behind a mass grave on his compound in Honduras (El Aguacate) that yielded 185 bodies? Most were poor peasants so they were never conclusively identified. However, one body was identified. It belonged to Reverend James Carney, an American Catholic Priest who was killed by a US trained and supported death squad.

This is now....

The most widely known of these Iraqi commando units is called the Wolf Brigade. The Wolf Brigade is one of several units that have been accused of targeting Palestinian refugees in Iraq, using torture to extract confessions from prisoners, and slaying Sunni clerics.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Wolf Brigade is the most feared and effective commando unit in Iraq. They also had this to say about them:

Last December (2005), the Wolf Brigade--backed up by the Iraqi army and U.S. military--achieved notoriety after launching a series of counterinsurgency operations in Mosul, a Sunni stronghold northwest of Baghdad. Their popularity was further buoyed by the success of Terrorism in the Grip of Justice, a primetime show on U.S.-funded Al Iraqiya television that features live interrogations of Iraqi insurgents by commandos. In one recent show, Abu Walid questioned around 30 shabbily dressed suspects, some clutching photos of their victims, waiting to confess their crimes.

Let's overlook the obvious parallels between this Terrorism in the Grip of Justice TV show and similar propaganda spectacles in places like the former Soviet Union, Communist China, or Orwell's 1984. Suffice to say, human-rights groups legitimately accuse creators of the counterterrorism television show of violating the Geneva Conventions by publicly humiliating detainees after extracting confessions by torture.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams were not the first people to show an interest in the topic. The allegations of torture, murder, and abuse these people were investigating happened to be the same story investigated by Steve Vincent (New York Time), Yasser Salihee (Knight Ridder) and Fakher Haider (New York Times).

All three journalists have this in common: That was the last story these journalists covered before they were killed in Iraq in 2005.

Chickens coming Home to Roost.....

Now that Tom Fox is dead the reason he went to Iraq must inevitably become a topic of discussion. By "getting in THE WAY" the CPT4 point to a morality and a responsibility for others that lays beyond the divisions of political systems and culture. Like Buddhist monks on fire they make their statement by their presence. It is time to focus worldwide attention on the Special Commando Units the CPT4 were investigating.

For months, these concerns were dismissed as conspiracy theories cooked up by the loonie left to discredit the troops. That argument doesn't hold water anymore. A couple of weeks ago The LA Times finally published the first official confirmation by the US of Death Squad activity in Iraq. According to Maj. Gen. Joseph Peterson, "We found one of the death squads. They're part of the police force." Prior to that, the Pentagon flatly denied any death squads were operating in Iraq under the aegis of the US or coalition forces. Looks like someone didn't get the memo.

Maybe it's just a coincidence that Gen. Peterson is replacing Gen. Petraeus, the man to whom Steven Casteel reported. In any event, we need to support the troops who are uncovering this atrocity. My Lai would never have come to the attention of the world except for the fact that American soldiers led by Hugh Thompson Jr. were outraged and acted according to the dictates of law and their conscience.

The fact that every one of the recent findings of death squad activity has been made by US Army troops goes a long way to reassure me that the average soldier is not part of this heinous network.

These networks are not just a threat to innocent people in Iraq. They are a threat to us right here. Supporting death squads makes a mockery of everything the vast majority of men and women serving in Iraq stand for.

There are consequences to these revelations.....

Mindful of the incendiary nature of these comments, I wish to clearly state that I believe the vast majority of Americans serving in Iraq are decent men and women trying as hard as they can to do the right thing even though they are working under terrible conditions. I believe we are obliged to honor their sacrifice and defend our values by having the courage to ask direct questions, expect honest answers, and demand accountability from policymakers.

Now that we have lost Tom Fox we must find the courage to confront the terrible truth of why he went to Iraq. We cannot dishonor his legacy and ignore the crimes being perpetrated in our name.

It seems appropriate to give Tom Fox the last word, so I close with the line from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (V.6) that motivated him to look beyond anger and fear and step into the lion's den.

postdated's picture
Posted by postdated (not verified) on 13 March 2006 - 1:12pm