LEFT OF DAYTON

VA Debated PR Plan on Vets’ Suicides/By Jason Leopold

April 22, 2008
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Senior officials at the Veterans Administration debated internally how to downplay evidence of a stunning number of suicides and suicide attempts among veterans who were treated or had sought help at VA hospitals around the country, according to newly disclosed internal VA e-mails.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Ira Katz, the VA’s mental health director, and Ev Chasen, the agency’s chief communications director, exchanged e-mails discussing P.R. strategy for handling this troubling news, according to evidence made public Monday in a federal court case in Northern California.

The exchange came in the context of how to handle inquiries from CBS News, which was reporting on the surge of suicides among U.S. veterans – reaching an average of 18 per day – with part of that rise attributed to soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (more…)

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Unraveling Iraq:12 Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask about Iraq/By Tom Engelhardt

April 21, 2008
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12 Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask about Iraq

By Tom Engelhardt

Can there be any question that, since the invasion of 2003, Iraq has been unraveling? And here’s the curious thing: Despite a lack of decent information and analysis on crucial aspects of the Iraqi catastrophe, despite the way much of the Iraq story fell off newspaper front pages and out of the TV news in the last year, despite so many reports on the “success” of the President’s surge strategy, Americans sense this perfectly well. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 56% of Americans “say the United States should withdraw its military forces to avoid further casualties” and this has, as the Post notes, been a majority position since January 2007, the month that the surge was first announced. Imagine what might happen if the American public knew more about the actual state of affairs in Iraq — and of thinking in Washington. So, here, in an attempt to unravel the situation in ever-unraveling Iraq are twelve answers to questions which should be asked far more often in this country:

1. Yes, the war has morphed into the U.S. military’s worst Iraq nightmare: Few now remember, but before George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, top administration and Pentagon officials had a single overriding nightmare — not chemical, but urban, warfare. Saddam Hussein, they feared, would lure American forces into “Fortress Baghdad,” as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld labeled it. There, they would find themselves fighting block by block, especially in the warren of streets that make up the Iraqi capital’s poorest districts. (more…)


“BODY OF WAR”, PHIL DONAHUE DOCUMENTARY, COMING TO NEON MOVIES, DAYTON, MAY 30

April 10, 2008
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Phil Donahue’s new documentary, “Body of War”, will be

at the NEON MOVIES downtown Dayton beginning on May

30 for an Open Run.  Check www.NeonMovies.com for

dates and times.

The interview linked below is with the

wheelchair-bound protagonist in the film, Tomas Young,

member of Iraq Vets Against the War.

VIDEO | Interview With Tomas Young of Film “Body of War”


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040808A.shtml


Truthout’s Geoffrey Millard interviews Tomas Young, Iraq veteran and subject of the new film “Body of War.” Young discusses the extreme difficulties of his injury and having incurred them in a war he feels was not worth fighting. Accompanying the interview is a review of the film by Camilla Herrera of Greenwich Time.


GEORGE BUSH VISITS THE AF MUSEUM, AND GETS AWAY WITH IT…Nixon didn’t!

April 2, 2008
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DEDICATION OF THE AIR FORCE MUSEUM, SEPTEMBER 3, 1971

ANTI WAR GROUPS SPOIL THE PARTY, PART 1.

The deja vu was almost too much for me on Thursday as I, and other anti war/anti-bush activists stood outside the gates to the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB. Riverside police patrolled incessantly up and down Harshman as we stood shivering in a light rain, holding our signs, waiting for the the Decider to show up. Nothing like Sept 3, 1971.

What’s that date got to do with anything? It was the dedication of the Air Force {war} Museum and Tricky Dick, otherwise known as President Richard Nixon [war criminal] was on board and, unlike Thursday, hundreds of protesters showed up to [un]welcome him to Dayton and before the day was done 154 of them had been arrested . Scooped up indiscriminately off the streets, packed into semi trailers & buses without even a nod to formal arrest procedures, some driven off the Air Base and held without charges for hours… the whole scene was one of mass chaos, the kind of action one would expect to occur in some South American dictatorship. But it was happening right here in Fairborn, Ohio.

What, you say you never heard about this?

Not surprising at all. The sanitized version of the dedication enshrined at the Museum bears NO resemblance to what actually occurred that day. It has always really bugged me ever since that this history got re-written and super sanitized. Thirty seven years later events still stands out in my memory.

The rows upon rows of Ohio Highway Patrol and County Sheriff’s cars lined up in a field next to AFLC headquarters. The Base side of Route 444 sealed off with barbed wire fencing and concertina wire, stretching from the old Museum at gate 1-c near Fairborn all the way to AFLC hdqts and beyond. The AF Security trucks stationed all along the way, Cops standing at the ready with their M-16 unslung. The helicopters whirling overhead, and, everywhere you looked there were hundreds [thousands??] of people. Loud slogan chanting people, people with anti-war signs marching down the highway to the new Museum site. Vietnam vets carrying a symbolic coffin and engaging bystanders with guerrilla street theater.

By August of 1971 major events associated with the war had brought anti war fervor in the Miami valley to a new pitch.

  • In March Lt Wm Calley was convicted for the MY LAI massacre.
  • In April Vietnam Veterans Against the War held Operation Dewey Canyon in Washington DC, an event that culminates with the Vets symbolically returning their combat medals in a ceremony on the steps to the US Capitol.
  • A major demonstration the following week saw hundred of thousands of antiwar protesters in DC and in San Francisco as well as other cities.
  • In May it was MayDay’s in Washington, with thousands of well organized activists in running street conflict with authorities, trying to shut down the government, resulting in the arrests of thousands more.
  • In June Daniel Elsberg got the Pentagon Papers published in the NY Times and Washington Post, resulting in charges of treason by the Nixon administration.
  • And American deaths surpassed 45,000 while the Senate passed a “non-binding” resolution urging withdrawal of American forces by years end.

Same Museum, different war, very different response.

Aware that dedication of the new AF Museum was going to be a major event, a loose coalition of local anti-war groups had begun planning efforts to stage a demonstration at the Museum’s dedication early in the summer. News that Nixon was going to be the keynote speaker galvanized anti war force and raised the energy to a higher level: we were determined to spoil the party. And we did.

The anti-war demonstration at the dedication of the AF Museum involved not just Daytonian’s, but engaged people from all over the region. There were people from Cincinnati, Columbus and other parts of Ohio. There were, especially, students from Antioch College. The Yellow Springs students were also equipped with a radio station, WYSO-fm. And the campus was already awash with anti-war activities. Confronting Nixon fit right in to what was already in motion on campus.

{As I am writing this it’s impossible not to think about that role vis a vis the current crisis gripping Antioch. Without belaboring a point, it IS relevant, AND critical, to a “free” society that intellectual freedom is a cornerstone principle. Students have historically been at the forefront of social change, and when an atmosphere exist that not only encourages but nurtures intellectual freedom amazing can things happen. And did. That’s what I remember.}

An excerpt from the Yellow Springs News notes

In 1971, when President Richard Nixon appeared at the Air Force Museum’s opening, a number of people from Antioch and Yellow Springs who tried to attend were detained by authorities. A group of Yellow Springs residents and Antioch students and workers also demonstrated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on April 20, 1972. Many local residents subsequently lent money to cover the bail of the 154 who were arrested there.

[The next installment of this post will add more details about the arrests that took place and the controversy that was created as a result. Links to a NY Time article and the YS News are given below. There is also a link to the text of Nixon’s speech. I encourage others who were at the demo to please, send me your commentary, pictures or printed material, your memories of what happened at the base that day to help memorialize a very important event in Miami Valley anti-war history. Perhaps we can even get the AF Museum to acknowledge the REAL history of the dedication!!]

http://www.ysnews.com/stories/2003/october/history.html

ny-times-af-museum-article.pdf

Nixon’s speech: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=3135


Soldiers Testify at Second Winter Soldier:Veterans from Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Describe Systematic Brutality

March 20, 2008
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By Spencer Ackerman

March 17, 2008The Washington Independent http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/soldiers-testify-at

Out of context, the picture seemed ordinary, open to interpretation. It showed the butt end of five or six rifles, sloppily stacked in a pile inside an armored vehicle. In context, it documented a cover-up of accidental-or even intentional-shootings of Iraq in on combatants by U.S. Marines in Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2005 and 2006.

At least three Marines who served in Anbar during that period said that their platoons carried “drop weapons”or tools that Iraqis were not permitted to possess to plant on the bodies of Iraqi noncombatant corpses incase of a wrongful killing.

They did so with the approval of their chain of command. “It was encouraged, almost with a wink and anudge, to carry drop weapons and shovels with us,” said Jason Washborn, a Marine corporal who served three tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. “In case we accidentally did shoot a civilian, so we could toss weapon on the body to make [him] look like an insurgent. I was told that if [the Iraqis] carried a shovel, or if they dig anywhere, especially near roads], then we could shoot them [on suspicion of planting roadside bombs]. So we actually carried tools in our vehicles.” (more…)


Iraq War Veterans Answer One Last Call of Duty

March 5, 2008
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The call of duty has brought them together again, for one more vital mission. Their hair is a little longer, their faces are a little scruffier and their military garbs are a little more disheveled.

But when the signal is given shortly before 10 a.m. today at the Constitution Center, 20 members of the Philadelphia chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War will march once more.

They’ll trek along Kelly Drive, past the Art Museum and Boathouse Row, across the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and continue out west until they meet about 90 other veterans at Valley Forge on Sunday afternoon.

Along the way, they hope to dispel a few myths about the Iraq war and give regular people an idea of the grim reality that their fellow soldiers still face overseas. (more…)


Iraqi Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier video

February 22, 2008
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wintersoldierheader_iraqisoldierssitting.jpg

From March 14th to 16th KPFA [http://kpfa.org/] will suspend regular programming to broadcast the historic Winter Soldier hearings in Washington, DC. The three day live broadcast will be co-hosted by Aaron Glantz and former Army medic and KPFA Morning Show host Aimee Allison. A live web-stream of the broadcast will be available through this site.

[livevideo id=F7791AA15724466EA04EEFF0D82F1144/530489/winter-soldier-iraq-afghani.aspx]

Link to The Iraq War Comes Home… Iraq Veterans Against the War(IVAW)

http://www.livevideo.com/video/genefire/A650BDFA404D44F39D335170314874F5/the-iraq-war-comes-home-ira.aspx


A VIDEO BY SALLY ANTHONY “SO LONG”:the anguish of today

February 2, 2008
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DAVID ESRATI FOR CONGRESS [OH-3]

February 2, 2008
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David Esrati for Congress OH-3

Here’s my endorsement in the race to beat Mike Turner in the fall, and it’s NOT the Democratic Party’s choice of Jane whatshername. There is good reason for that. Ms Jane appears to be mostly fluff with very little substance. Her “website” is basically an online billboard with no substantive information about her positions on anything. She got her butt whupped by Turner in ’04, 63% to 37%. And, despite her proclamations, she was NOT unanimously endorsed by the Montgomery Count Dem’s…I know, I was there for the vote.

Compare this with David Esrati, who for the last three years has been posting his thoughts about “change” and how to achieve it for the 3rd District at Esrati.com. On subjects ranging from the recent interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve Board to giving computer laptops to students in Dayton Public Schools as a way to enhance the educational process, Esrati has articulated a vision that one can look at, ponder and discuss. Where has Jane been for the last 4 years? There’s no evidence of her presence on the local political scene, whereas David Esrati has been in the thick of it the whole time.

We need a voice in the Democratic Congress that is not beholden to the same old power elites that have controlled the levers of power for far too long, both here in the Miami Valley and in Washington. A boldness of vision and a dedication to Real Reform are hallmarks of David Esrati’s campaign for Congress. Honest to a fault!
Visit Esrati.com for more information. Check out his videos on Youtube. Support real change. Support David Esrati for Congress!


THURSDAY POLITICS;IRAQ, AL GORE,MORMONISM & A “WINTER SOLDIER” INVESTIGATION

December 13, 2007
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It’s another cold day in December

Will Iraq’s Great Awakening Lead to a Nightmare?

Washington Dispatch: U.S. casualties are down in Iraq. But a retired Army Colonel argues that the surge and American payoffs to Sunni tribal leaders may eventually backfire—producing more instability and possibly a regional war.

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2007/12/iraq-surge-great-awakening-anbar.html?src=email&link=hed_20071212_ts2_Iraq%27s%20Not-So-Great%20Awakening

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Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize By Al Gore December 10, 2007

http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2007/121207b.html

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IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR PLANNING IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN WINTER SOLDIER INVESTIGATION
http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier

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Huffington Post: Lawrence O’Donnell was Right About Mormonism

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-j-davis/lawrence-odonnell-was-ri_b_76475.html



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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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