Sunday, August 28, 2005

Some Voices from Tennessee

August 28, 2005
In War Debate, Parents of Fallen Are United Only in Grief By ABBY GOODNOUGH

David Clemons seethes when he sees Cindy Sheehan on television, standing among small white crosses in an antiwar encampment named for her dead son.

To Mr. Clemons, her protest is a crushing insult to his own son, who was also killed while fighting in Iraq.

"The lady is not honoring her son's sacrifice, because we don't have a draft, and he went and signed his name on the dotted line," said Mr. Clemons, of Winchester, Tenn., whose son, Nathan, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb on June 14. "She'd better not be presenting herself as the voice of all the fallen."

Andre Lieurance, a retired naval officer whose son, Victoir, 34, was killed by a bomb just last week, said he found Ms. Sheehan so stirring that he might join her vigil at Camp Casey.

"I just want some answers about why we're over there," said Mr. Lieurance, of Knoxville, Tenn. "I don't even see the purpose anymore. It's frustrating, and I'm angry."

Though Ms. Sheehan has so far failed to persuade President Bush to meet with her in Texas, she is being closely watched by a small group of Americans who can relate to her pain, regardless of whether they agree with her. Even Mr. Bush was forced to react to her campaign when he said last week that she "doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families" of soldiers that he had met and that withdrawing from Iraq, as Ms. Sheehan has demanded, would weaken the United States.

The competing messages have raised debate among parents of the war dead, who appear as divided as the rest of the nation in their opinions of Ms. Sheehan and her quest. In interviews last week with several dozen parents of troops killed in Iraq, some said she had moved them to speak out, whether for the war or against it, while others said that her vivid protest had dashed what little peace they had found since their children died.

Most said they were trying to get on quietly with their lives, expressing their grief more subtly than Ms. Sheehan yet battling the same demons they recognize in her.

"I wouldn't have the energy to protest like her," said Patricia Marsh of Omaha, whose daughter, Tricia Jameson, 34, a medic in the Army National Guard, died on July 14 when a bomb exploded near her ambulance. "Grieving wipes you out, it takes your life away. But even if I had the energy and I was against the war, I would think I was dishonoring what my daughter gave her life for. She believed she was doing a good thing."

Even if they empathized with Ms. Sheehan, many parents said they thought the troops should remain in Iraq for now and pointed out that her son, like their children, had chosen to serve in the military. Michael Mazzarella, whose son, Anthony, 22, died on July 5, said he still admired Anthony's decision to enlist as a way to escape small-town life.

"He lived life for the moment and really didn't think about the consequences of what tomorrow might bring," Mr. Mazzarella, of Blue Springs, Mo., said. "Looking back, I don't believe that was a bad thing."

Michael Kilpela of Fowlerville, Mich., said he would like to ask Mr. Bush when he planned to withdraw the troops. But Mr. Kipela stifles the urge out of loyalty to his son, Andrew, 22, who died in June. "For me to have any negative feelings about the war would be a dishonor to my son," he said.

But other parents said they felt it was within their rights to speak up and that Ms. Sheehan's protest had emboldened them; a few expressed an anger toward the president as intense as hers, often voicing it only at the end of a conversation.

"I got cards from all kinds of politicians," said Bonnie Bolinger of Troy, N.Y., whose son, Eric Wayne Morris, 31, died in a roadside bombing in April. "I even got one from Hillary Clinton, but Mr. Bush doesn't have the time to recognize those men who died for their country."

Lawrence Tremblay of New Windsor, N.Y., said, "The quiet Americans, and there are a lot of us, need to start standing up and tell our government, 'Do this thing right.' " His youngest son, Joseph, 23, was killed by a roadside bomb in April.

Mr. Tremblay said that he began seeing a therapist after his son's death, and that the therapist had asked, "Who are you mad at?"

"A lot of people get mad at the military," he said. "A lot of people get mad at God. A lot of people get mad at everybody. I looked at her and said, 'I am not really mad at anybody.' Then a minute went by and I said, 'You know something, I am mad at somebody: George Bush. Because he lied. That's why I am mad.' "

Just as incensed, though, are parents like Gary Qualls, whose son, Louis, 20, died in Falluja last November. Mr. Qualls set up camp near Ms. Sheehan as a counterprotest.

"It didn't take me long to figure out right and wrong and what it was I believe in," said Mr. Qualls, who lives less than an hour away from Crawford in Temple, Tex. He said he was most upset that war critics were invoking his son's death, along with the 1,867 others confirmed as of Friday, as a reason for the war to end.

But even Mr. Qualls said he also felt a degree of compassion for Ms. Sheehan, who returned to Crawford on Thursday after visiting her ailing mother in California to find that her gathering had grown in her absence, with a second encampment opening a few miles away. Compared with several hundred crosses set down at "Camp Casey," Mr. Qualls had a little more than a dozen at his encampment late last week.

"I know she's hurt inside," Mr. Qualls said of Ms. Sheehan. "I know she has feelings. I have a loss myself. But truly, I think she is suffering some kind of identity crisis."

Hundreds of protesters on both sides descended on Crawford yesterday for what became the most openly hostile exchange between the two sides since Ms. Sheehan arrived in early August. The pro-war rally was as much an anti-Sheehan rally with demonstrators carrying signs that said "Bin Laden says keep up the good work Cindy" and "You are aiding terrorism."

Dwight Tipton of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., said that Ms. Sheehan's form of grieving was not constructive and that she should do something closer to home. He worked to get the names of newly fallen soldiers like his son, John, 32, added to a local war memorial. Ronald Wood Sr., of Caññon City, Colo., found solace releasing a rehabilitated golden eagle in memory of his son and namesake, thinking, he said, of an Indian belief that "when you release an eagle feather into the wind it brings your prayers to God."

Marny Fasnacht of Janesville, Minn., pores over letters in which her son, Michael, 25, killed in June, wrote proudly of the war and his role in it - consoling evidence, she said, that his death served a purpose.

"I read that she questioned whether her son died for a noble cause, and I totally disagree with her on that," Mrs. Fasnacht said of Ms. Sheehan. "Her son died for the most noble cause: human rights."

Mr. Tipton, who served in Vietnam, said he felt no need to burden Mr. Bush with his grief.

"The man's got more important things to do than take care of me," said Mr. Tipton, whose son died in May 2004. Last fall, he said, when Mr. Bush's motorcade swung through his Florida town during a campaign trip, "I stood on the side of the road when he passed and I just waved at him."

Mr. Tipton learned stoicism long ago, he said, when he came home from laying land mines and blowing up bridges in Vietnam and averted a nervous breakdown by telling himself, "It's already done and nobody can fix it, so why worry about it?"

"You have to accept it and go on with your life, and that's what she's failing to realize," he said of Ms. Sheehan. "I've accepted that my boy's gone and there's nothing I can do about it. Causing traffic jams in front of the president's ranch is not going to get that young lad back. Heck, if it were going to get him back, I'd be out there with her."

Raymond Hull of Uniontown, Pa., said he saw Ms. Sheehan's efforts as more than a futile effort to bring back her son. "I think slowly, over time, people come to see exactly what's going on thanks to people like Cindy Sheehan," said Mr. Hull, whose son, Eric, 23, died in August 2003. "She might bring people to an awareness as to what is going on and the fact that the Bush administration only talks to anyone on their own terms."

Mrs. Marsh, who believes that Ms. Sheehan's protest will not significantly deepen antiwar sentiment, said she would continue supporting the war because her daughter, who died just three weeks into her tour of duty, had. While she talked, an Army major arrived at her house with two boxes of her daughter's possessions: socks, shoes, blankets, sheets, towels and eyeglasses that the mother had helped pack.

"You have to support the war," Mrs. Marsh said, "because you're an American."

Reporting for this article was contributed by Terry Aguayo from Miami; Maureen Balleza from Houston; Gary Gately from Baltimore; Anne E. Kornblut from Crawford, Tex.; Melissa Sanford from Salt Lake City; and Christine Jordan Sexton from Tallahassee, Fla.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Wonder who can see the 'empty' words and who can see the words from the heart? Can you?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Thor god of thunder, small but could hold a heavy hammer, with a heart of gold and a will of iron the youth sage turned anger into his tool of justice. I named my dog Thor, thirteen years ago, today he was ‘put down’. After many fruitless attempts of medication supplements the age, the heat and some ignorance of the severity of his condition he woke this morning not able to move. Not able to stand, with all his senses, my dog was paralyzed probable cause mosquitoes and heart worm. Thor was a natural hero, a German Shepard who knew the dangers of deep waters, but was never taught, he just knew. He was full of love, and duty. He loved his brothers and sisters of another species, cats. Now he is with his dog brother Scruffy, his poodle brother who was ran over by a red neck who I am sure was encouraged that a dead poodle would make statement during the elections of 2004. Scruffy welcomed his bigger brother with bounces and yelps of joy, even tears. Both had tears, just as mine have ran a river of his passing today. Thor a gentle wolf I called him, was a very good dog. He knew what love was, he gave love thru his good nature. He was born to do water rescue, no one was in danger of going too deep when he was near the water, not even his little brother Scruffy. Today I know I do not have to worry about my dog being took care of he is now without that need. But I worry about another, one I love and may loose, but unlike the loose of Thor this would be of all my own doing.
My family slowly falls away from me thru death, thru life’s changes they part. Thru independence they may fly with grace I hope, with some nudges and not pushes or they tumble. The souls of my friends and loved ones resides in beast, human and animal. The beast of some are illustrated with sharp teeth, hair, tails and claws and others better hidden away only to surface to respond to pain, hurt or just from hate, the human kind.
My dog was family like many who love their pets I could not watch him suffer, nor could I just leave him to suffer without a care. Thru being selfless for others I neglected the one most important than myself, an angel who’s wings held me with so much love. Wide open waiting to hold me again with feathered cradle, the thunder and pain of Thor ever breaking thru the peaceful scents of jasmine that linger in a green and pink cloud. The guilt would stain the soft comforting love with blame and fault. Golden quails I grow for flight, let’s do this right, flooded with emotion. Pressures beyond reason from every direction, I escape to the green thicket with mossy beds. The forest holds me cold, embraced me with hard barked limbs, shield me from the dew with its leaves, I wandered there searching for the right answer.
Releasing me from obligations is not escaping, rather accepting more. This I must do, this love can not be lost, I must give this love back with more. Not with hast, not for fun but for all the reasons that glide with the wings of love. Conception we gave this entity love that only we can share, nature pits us against the winds and contentions only greats my journeys attempts. My love has the will to live, but only in truth the answer was. Truth lifts our wings, we spiral in flight thru the clouds gathered atop snow covered peaks. For there our heaven is made, and there to embracing angel wings I must proceed. Time lays await to ambush me tomorrow, time is the thief.

Love provides.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

I often Wonder how Republicans think, they do not, they just talk

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Check your district for importance of Iraq War as an election issue, let us just hope this interactive map stays updated and online thru to the elections in one year, one more year.

Wonder Woes

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ice Picks

At the above site is found an article regarding relaxation of rules concerning checking passengers at airports, a situation arising after Homeland Security became an installation. The 7th paragraph regarding what items have been taken off the list of "disallowed" items is the reason for my comments. Please read the news article before continuing.

Being almost 65 years old, I know about ice picks! Today I wonder why they would be carried on an airplane for we do not have need of chipping ice in this modern time. Do we? Maybe there are still places where these passengers are traveling to that have the need to chip ice.

If I let my mind wander, all I can come up with is at one time we did have a need for them - to chip ice!

In the 1940s we had an icebox - a very stylish wooden 'appliance', a golden varnished finish outside and lined with metal, to hold ice, a BIG block of ice, very clear ice that you could see through and even read a page of print or stare into another's face through, and make faces at each other, which we did just for the joy we got from simple things in life.

Harmon Ice and Coal Co. made delivery of ice, house to house, a couple times weekly. We could order our block of ice by the pound - however many pounds needed to tide us over until the next delivery. I can recall we usually bought a 50# block.

As a young wild child of nature, any thing out of the ordinary day was an exciting adventure. Being on the low end of economic status, we were thrilled with small pleasures.

Probably all those who lived in town at this time had real refrigerators but we did not and neither did any of our neighbors. We must have been "po folks", although I did not realize this until just a few short years ago. We even had neighbors who must have been more poor than we, for some would come to "borrow" some of our ice.

Nevertheless, we were very happy and enthused with our lives, such as they were with its simplicity. On "Ice Day", we children got very excited, for when Mr. Brinkley drove up and stopped we were all waiting by the side of the road, jumping up and down, chattering and laughing and all those things that little kids do when in "high alert happy status". We would excitedly watch him measure off the exact amount we ordered and he would cut that amount off a huge, very huge, block of the most beautiful clear ice you can ever imagine. He used a big ice pick to cut off our purchase, too big and dangerous for me to ever want to get close to.

With the cutting, lots of small chips fell to the floor of his truck. Then the real fun began, for he allowed us to pick up these smaller pieces to carry away and suck on. Oh, what an exquisite gift we were given on those Ice Delivery Days. Mr. Brinkley was an angel in disquise, no doubt about it!

Of course, we tried to get the biggest pieces possible, so that they would last longer. What with the broiling sunshine they didn't last long enough to suit us though and we were not allowed to wantonly chip at the main block in our icebox for it had to last until the next delivery day so as to keep whatever bits of butter or milk that were being kept cold would stay in this condition until all used up. But there were occasions we did slip and steal off the block when no one was in the kitchen.

I can remember crunching and sucking on this gifted small chunk of ice and drips of cold water rolling down and dropping off my elbow - cold as ice, it was! I recall even rubbing this piece of ice on the top of my feet, arms, face, all over to cool me down. My feet got extremely hot running around barefooted during the summer months and this ice was such a relief on them. I do recall shaking the excess water off the ice after doing this to get rid of any dirt and germs attached to it before popping it back to my mouth. My heavens, how I'm still kicking today I wonder!

Mr. Brinkley would latch onto our big purchase with what he called ice tongs ( another very big, dangerous implement to my young innocent eyes) up to the house, into the kitchen and place it in our ice box, then turn to my grandmother, collecting the coins due him.

The ice was cheap at today's monetary standard rates, for it was much under $1 for that big block. In fact, I don't recall ever actually seeing a paper dollar bill until much time later in my childhood. I was amazed at this item also - I didn't feel it was worth as much as silver coins, the "Real Money".

For a couple of days this big block delighted us every time we would look at it, but gradually it started losing its pristine square shape and the corners began to round off. Chipping some off with the Ice Pick made it lose its clean stark lines too, of course. After a few days, it had melted down to just a small hunk. Usually it was gone before delivery day came around and as such we had no perishable food stored in the Ice Box.

Those were the days of simplicity, happiness and delight with being alive. ah, the glory of being a child.

Now today we have to contend with rules that make me wonder where we are at and where we are heading. Rules against carrying nail clippers, and cigaret lighters, safety razors and such on board a plane. Rules against ice picks being brought aboard. Now today that one rule has changed- you may legally take your ice pick on board to fly wherever you may be going. Let's just hope the passenger who carries his ice pick is actually heading for a big block of ice to chip away at it to his heart's content.

Enjoy your day today. Go to the 'fridge and take out an ice cube and suck on it, enjoying the pleasre of it dripping off your elbows! Of course it won't be the crystal clear piece I enjoyed in days of yore, unless it is made with clean pure water.

All the "purifying" additives such as chlorine and flouride, to name just a couple in our tap water today, help to make the ice cloudy white. Try using spring water and see the beautiful difference some time. It even tastes better.

Enjoy life but watch what planes you get on, for today its legal to carry on your own personal Ice Pick. You can also take your own Bow and Arrows if you like! I sometimes wonder about the ones who make the rules! Do you ever?


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Monday, August 08, 2005

Crime and corruption : the BAE Systems �60M Saudi slush fund

Crime and corruption : the BAE Systems �60M Saudi slush fund

Criminal investments of your own 401K funds by Halliburton et al in known terrorist states, and using these forgien investing practices to avoid paying taxes. Learn the difference in stock market returns and individual investor returns, but you think your on your way to being rich, don't let that stop you from learning, more. Are you blinded by patriotism? Listen, read learn about the truths of war. You can talk to me anytime, just place a comment in reply or email me I will be glad to link you up. Old news turns to history, as history unfolds will you know the real history you lived and 'they' died for?
Will you know where your retirement money's growing up, and how it effects others lives? Will you ever take responsiblity or will you play the blame god game?

Consider these words from Galloway, think and give them consideration and wonder what if....

Straight-shootin' George Galloway

by Mike Whitney 08/06/05

"ICH" -- -- "I am utterly against the punishing of innocent people for the crimes of the guilty, whether it is done on the underground of London or the streets of Falluja by George Bush's air force". George Galloway MP

George Galloway is quite a guy.

His trip to the Middle East is causing a ruckus back in London, where his criticism of Bush and Blair is appearing like a spread-sheet on the front-page of the tabloids.

Congrats, George; those two deserve a good lambasting.

Yesterday he fired-off another barrage, landing a direct hit on Prime Minister Milquetoast and his Texas-twin. He said, "There's far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London."

Ka-boom! Right on target.

Galloway was stellar; praising the Iraqi resistance as "martyrs" and telling them that they "are not just defending Iraq, but defending the whole world against American hegemony."


Galloway's comments drew attention to the young men who are swarming to Iraq to fight what he calls the "foreign invaders". They're normally disparaged by the pro-war crowd in the press like Tom Friedman who calls them a "jihadist death-cult"

What rubbish. Friedman should skip the name-calling and try to figure out who these guys really are. Men don't simply throw away their lives for no reason. It is the injustice of the American occupation that has the swollen the ranks of the Iraqi resistance.

Galloway knows that and so does Friedman when he's not shoveling manure into the "paper of record".

Imagine, for a moment, that the US was invaded by an army from Saudi Arabia for the transparent purpose of securing America's great natural wealth. And, imagine that tens of thousands of American people were killed in that invasion, entire cities were leveled as reprisal for resisting, and scores of Americans were tortured and humiliated in the most despicable manner.

What type of man would risk his own life to travel to the United States to fight for the liberation of the American people from Saudi oppression?

A terrorist or a martyr?

Forget the media hype about suicide bombers targeting innocent Iraqis. Communiqués from the resistance have repeatedly refuted those claims saying they do not attack Iraqi civilians, only the occupiers and their collaborators in the Iraqi security services.

Who're we going to believe; the Pentagon?

Galloway nailed it when he said, "These poor Iraqis, ragged people with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest most basic weapons-are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day which has made the country ungovernable." Game; Set; Match.

Galloway can expect to be roundly throttled for his remarks, but the truth is out and can't be undone. The Iraqi resistance is the frontlines in the war against American global domination. They're doing the fighting in the trenches while Americans continue to stumble around in their perpetual state of amnesia.

Can't Americans see their civil liberties being methodically savaged by Bush's rubber-stamp Congress? Will it take a decree of martial law to wake them up to this "gathering threat" emerging from the Bush White House? We should applaud Galloway's willingness to state the obvious; that the men who have taken up arms in Iraq are engaged in a life-or-death struggle against a neo-liberal cancer that is menacing the entire world. Those who doubt what I say should consider Blair's news conference yesterday, where he rattled-off a whole new list of repressive measures to be directed at Muslims.

Mimicking his Crawford mentor, Blair has decided that he has the right to unilaterally make law from his perch at 10 Downing St. without the consent of Parliament. The fatuous PM now claims the power to close down mosques, deport, clerics and shut down web sites where the views don't meet the dubious standards of the state. Additionally, Israeli trained police-units have been deployed on London's streets with orders to "shoot to kill" terror suspects (or fleeing Brazilians) if there is a perceived risk to public safety.

Who gave this unctuous, lying politician the right to declare martial law on Muslims?

Who gave this foppish phony the license to issue Nazi-type edicts that eviscerate basic civil liberties?

The British people would be foolish to let the wildly-unpopular Blair get away with this monumental power-grab.

85% of the British people already agree that the London bombings were the direct result of Blair's involvement in Iraq. Similarly, every terrorist-expert on the planet; including analysts at M15, the CIA, and the Israeli Mossad, have supported that very same conclusion. So, why should the victims of Blair's bungled aggression be the same one's who are collectively punished?

It's Blair who should be manacled and led away to the stocks, not the Muslims who already are suffering the blowback from his apocryphal war on terror.

No one in their right mind believes that Blair conjured up these new restrictions. His job is to simply recite his lines for the teleprompter and make sure his eye-shadow and silk-shirt are in order.

It's the big-money elites behind Blair that have their sights on personal liberty, just as they do in America and Australia. (Australia's Howard is trying to enact similar legislation right now) These are the 3 stooges of the international corporate-banking cabal; the tawdry courtesans of the global parasite-class.

Just listen to Zbigniew Brzezinski, founder of the Trilateral Commission, former board-member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Co-Chair of the Bush National Security Task Force, and all-around foot-soldier for American elites. Brzezinski is comfortably lodged at the very center of an elite cadre of nutcases who have been pushing for the New World Order (One world government) for over 20 years. His comments reflect the prevailing views of the main actors in the Bush-Blair-Howard governments.

"It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." ("The Grand Chessboard; p.35)

"Too democratic"? "Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization."? Brzezinski hates democracy every bit as much as the men who back Blair. They've concluded that they can pretty well dispose of personal liberty in a few years by taking advantage terrorist attacks, exploiting public hysteria, and crafting a media narrative that supports the crushing of individual freedom. That's why we should take these new anti-Islam laws for what they really are; a forerunner to the repressive measures that will be applied to everyone without discrimination in the very near future.

Can anyone seriously doubt this after seeing the pattern of the last 5 years?

That's why we need guys like Galloway who'll stand up and take a few hardy swings at the scoundrels in power. His words put a little steel in everyone's spine; and we're going to need it, too. There's plenty of bad road ahead.

Listen to a mother, listen to veterens for peace in Crawford right now, this very day this sad day when you really do not know how many american soldiers, american sons and daughters have lost their lives, for what, your retirement?

"I'm angry. I want the troops home," Cindy Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., who staged a protest that she vowed on Sunday to continue until she can personally ask Bush: "Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?"

A Day in the Bar Ditch of Democracy USA

By Greg Moses

Submitted to Portside

"I'm back here where I met you, in the tent!" says
53-year-old Vietnam Veteran Michael Young, speaking by
cell phone Saturday evening, with lots of commotion in
the background to back him up. Yes, he went to
Crawford like he said, and here's what he reports:

"Well, I got up around 7:30. Was already running a
little late, because I didn't get home until midnight.
I put on a pot of coffee and then got in such a hurry
that I forgot it. Didn't take any of it with me. And I
got here (at the tent) just as people were organizing
to go to Crawford."

There was a little preliminary controversy before the
caravan left, says Young, as Veterans for Peace
negotiated some turf issues with Cindy Sheehan, the
mother of Iraq war casualty Casey Sheehan and moral
leader of the trip to confront the President about his
war in Iraq. In the end, it was decided that the
Crawford trip would be a mutual action, since VFP had
already planned a trip to the Western White House as
part of its annual convention being held under and
near the big tent.

With preliminary issues settled, 70 people hit the
southbound highway out of Dallas, some riding in the
Veterans for Peace Impeachment Bus, the rest in about
15 cars following behind. Young caught a ride in a
Prius driven by VietNam Veteran Ken Ashe of North

"No, we hadn't met before the trip, this was the first
time, but we're brothers now," Young assures me. Ashe
made two tours to the VietNam war as a medic. "He's
got my information, I've got his information, and we
plan on meeting up again."

When they finally pulled off the highway into
Crawford, the caravan stopped at the Crawford Peace
House to freshen up with water and watermelon. They
did a little protesting near the street there.

"One old hillibilly with two goats in the back of his
truck told us to go home," says Young with a chuckle,
"but that was the only negative thing." So the posse
remounted and took off on the five-to-six-mile journey
to Crawford Ranch, where the President of the USA--in
an eerie replay of 2001-- is on extended summer

"The cops made us stop the vehicles about a half mile
or quarter mile from the gate. It was about 100
degrees out there. But they made us walk the rest of
the way. And they wouldn't let us walk on the road."

"You have to see that road," says Young. "There is no
traffic on that road at all, yet they made us walk in
the bar ditch beside the road, which was full of
weeds. Real hard ground." After a while the cops
stopped them. "They were looking for an excuse to stop
us," says Young. "They said we were walking in the
road against orders."

"We protested loud and proud," recalls Young. "And we
meant everything we said. That went on for about 30-45
minutes. We even told the police to get out their
history books and read about Hitler so they could
understand their role in history, standing here
protecting a war criminal. We were being brutally
honest from our point of view. And there was lots of
press there at the time."

"Cindy got right in their face, too," says Young. "She
said look, this is a public roadway. How can you
prevent me from walking on a public roadway?"

"At that point I got right behind her," says Young.
"If she was going to jail, I was going to jail. If
they wanted confrontation, I was going to back her up.
I had made my mind up about that." But there was no
confrontation, no arrest.

"Far as you could see there were armed Secret Service,
armed Sheriff's deputies, armed cops up and down the
road eyeing us," says Young. "We didn't carry any
backpacks or anything so they could see we were
unarmed. They made us stand there, off the pavement in
that heat. All the time we were there, I think I saw
one car pass." Then the press left the scene.

"Once the press left, there was not much point
standing there," says Young, so the protesters peeled
away. I tell Young about internet information that
Sheehan plans to return until she sees the President,
and caravans are reported to be coming from San Diego
and Louisiana. "A lot of people just showed up out of
nowhere," says Young. "I yelled 'til I was hoarse."

"I gave Cindy a big hug and told her I loved her. Even
if Cindy had found the President, she wouldn't have
found what she wants," says Young. "Cindy wants her
son back. That's just the plain truth. I feel for her.
And I was there to back her up."

"Here we were on this little road that nobody was
using but we couldn't walk on it," says Young. It's
like you can hear him shaking his head. Send a man off
to war to defend his country's freedoms, and 35 years
later this is what he sees.

"But I'll tell you we did ourselves proud out there.
We didn't take no guff and we talked to the cops. They
said they were just acting professionally, just doing
their job. And we told them that's what Hitler's
people said."

"Once you've been to war and you're a vet," says
Young, "and if you're sworn to uphold the Constitution
and protect it from enemies BOTH foreign and
domestic--that never leaves. I fought in an illegal
war. These young guys in Iraq are fighting in an
illegal war. If I can save one life I'll do whatever
it takes." In the bar ditch outside the President's
Crawford Ranch, Young is fighting a better war than he
fought in VietNam.

"This is a war for our country," says Young. "They are
taking our country away from us and turning it into a
fascist state. What has Bush done for the people?
Everything he's done has been for the corporations."
He talks about news reports of record earnings at
Halliburton and jobs going overseas.

"Here's what they need," says Young. "They need a
state of constant war. They need an ignorant
population to fight it. They need people to provide
the services and materials for war. And they need an
ignorant population to do that work. But it will
definitely be a country of rich and poor if this is
not stopped."

"I don't know if I can stop it," says Young. "But I'll
be doing it until the day I die. And the VietNam vets?
I'll tell you for sure, we're not going to back down.
They can't do anymore to us."

Greg Moses is editor of PeaceFile and author of
Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and
the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at


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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yeah Where Is the Hirsch Report? - Global Public Media

Where Is the Hirsch Report? - Global Public Media

Half a year after its release, the Hirsch report is nowhere to be found. For several months it was archived, in PDF format, on a high school web site (, Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, Calif.). On July 7 the report disappeared from that site. The Atlantic Council ( is considering publishing the Hirsch report; however there is no projected date of release. When contacted, Dr. Hirsch replied that the document is "a public report, paid for and released by DOE NETL, and that it therefore could be reposted at will."-By Richard Heinberg

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