Friday, January 27, 2006

Back to the Future! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


It has been known for several days that the CIA claimed they may have killed Al Quaeda’s number two leader in a bombing raid in a remote northern region of Pakistan. I am listening to “Hardball” with Chris Mathews questioning a Bush Administration official about the 17 civilians, including women and children, killed in the action.

The Administration official quickly launched into a spin that they did "get" one of Al Quaeda’s top leaders, a man who was their expert on poisons and chemicals. Since the U.S. depends on DNA analysis to really confirm who died—and since DNA tests, at best, take a week or two—it occurred to me--- how did the official have proof of this? It is a question that didn’t occur to Chris Mathews.

The official added in a quick perfunctory fashion that "of course there was some collateral damage." The unspoken implication was that the "collateral damage" was worth the "getting" of the Al Quaeda "leader".

Collateral damage is a euphemism for non-combatants killed. Please scroll down and take a look at the first two photographs you see. Those two children are "collateral damage". The next time you hear someone speak of "collateral damage"----picture those two children. When you imagine Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld referring to "collateral damage"in their strategy discussions----picture those two children.

Funny—we don’t hear over the national media, "A mine collapsed in Virginia, today, and of course there was some collateral damage."

Euphemisms are novocaine for the conscience—administered by the Bush Administration and the mainstream media–-when it comes to the Iraq War.

Bill Sanders

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

King Bush at work Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Collateral damage Posted by Picasa

Collateral Damage Posted by Picasa

One of 2,345 Posted by Picasa

One of 2,345 Posted by Picasa

Orphaned when U.S. troops shot her parents Posted by Picasa

Catch 22 and The Hidden Face of War

In Joseph Heller’s World War II satire, Catch 22, his main character is John Yossarian, a B-25 bombardier stationed on an island off the coast of Italy. Yossarian is obsessed with the idea that the Germans are trying to kill him directly, by attacking his plane and his superiors are trying to kill him indirectly by increasing the number of missions required for discharge. He tries to claim insanity for a discharge but can’t because of an Army Air Force rule "Catch 22". It goes like this:

* One may only be excused from flying bombing mission on the grounds of insanity;
* One must assert one’s insanity to be excused on this basis;
* One who requests to be excused is presumably in fear of his life. This is taken to be proof of his sanity, and he is obligated to continue flying;
* One who is truly insane would not make the request. He would continue flying missions even though as an insane person he could be excused by simply asking.

That circular logic is a conundrum posited at the heart of every speech or comment made by President Bush in defense of his Iraq war. It goes this way:

* Criticism of my war in Iraq undermines our troops;
* Undermining our troops is unpatriotic;
* Only those who are unpatriotic would undermine our troops in time or war;
* Therefore criticism of my Iraq war is unpatriotic.

The other Catch 22 bolsters Bush’s sanitized war. It goes like this:

* Publishing photos of the war dead shows a lack of respect for the families.
* Showing lack of respect for families divides America
* A divided America cannot win the war on terrorism
* Therefore those who publish photos of the war dead support terrorism

Meanwhile bodies continue to pile up behind the sanitizing veil of media timidity and the Bush Administration sloganeering. While General Tommy Franks said, "We do not do body counts", the current conservative estimate is over 31,000 Iraqi dead. We specifically know that as of this posting 2,345 Americans have given their lives for Bush’s war. Yet we most Americans have not seen the hidden face of this war.

A recent Los Angeles Times article reported, "To measure how American publications have depicted the war in pictures, The Times reviewed six months of coverage from Iraq. The period from Sept.1 of last year until Feb. 28 of this year included the U.S. assault on Fallouja and the escalating insurgent attacks before January's election.

Despite the considerable bloodshed during that half-year, readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Washington Post did not see a single picture of a dead serviceman. The Seattle Times ran a photo three days before Christmas of the covered body of a soldier killed in the mess hall bombing. Neither Time nor Newsweek, the weekly news magazines, showed any U.S. battlefield dead during that time.

" There can be horrible images, but war is horrible and we need to understand that," said Chris Hondros, a veteran war photographer whose pictures are distributed by the Getty Images agency. "I think if we are going to start a war, we ought to be willing to show the consequences of that war."

Given the present mind-set in the mainstream media and in Washington, I would not hold my breath. For those who want a serious look at the face of war try:

Bill Sanders

Monday, January 09, 2006

"This man and two little boys popped up from nowhere," says Haeberle. "The GIs I was with opened up, then moved in close to finish them." Posted by Picasa

Haeberle foundthe bodies above on a road leading from the village"Most were women and babies." Posted by Picasa


On March 16, 1968, approximately 80 unarmed civilians were taken from the village of My Lai, Vietnam and huddled into the plaza. Lt. William Calley of Charlie Company told one of his soldiers, "You know what I want you to do with them." When Calley returned minutes later and found the Vietnamese still gathered in the plaza, he said to Meadlo, " Haven’t you got rid of them yet? I want them dead. Waste them." Meadlo and Calley began firing into the group from a distance of ten to fifteen feet. It was part of the massacre of an estimated 500 civilians that day.

Look at the above photographs. Examine them carefully. You will see that they are old men, women and babies. It is not the type of pictures we see coming from the American media in Iraq today. Indeed, we are not allowed to see the flag draped coffins of our war dead being unloaded at Dover Air Base. If President Bush had his way, National Public Television would not be able to list the names in role call fashion as they have been doing.

Vietnam and Iraq have many common aspects but public exposure is not one of them. The Bush administration, with the shameful cooperation of America’s mainstream media have, for the most part, hidden that face of war behind a veil of jingoism and a meticulous weave of deceptions,lies and secrecy.

A recent AP story told of the death of Hugh Thompson, a former helicopter pilot in Vietnam who was honored in 1998 for his courage in rescuing a number of Vietnamese civilians from that massacre at My Lai. It motivated me to go through my old files on Vietnam and revisit my notes on my time there. I was drawing and reporting from Vietnam and left the country just prior to the Tet Offensive in 1968.

The deja vu is stunning. Vietnam and Iraq are blood brothers at their core.

The U.S. crept into the war in Vietnam on the tunnel vision of its leadership. After the French occupation ended with a humiliating defeat at Dien Bien Phu in May of 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower ( a supporter of French) lobbied to delay a free election in Vietnam out of fear that the expatriate Ho Chi Minh would win. John Kennedy bought into the "communism domino" theory and sent 16,000 troops as U.S. "advisors" to prop up the South Vietnam dictator Ngo Dinh Diem.However, it was the testosterone of Lyndon Johnson that sent over 200,000 troops to Vietnam.

George W. Bush took us to war more directly—using the terrorists attack of 9/11, supplemented by lies, deceptions, and the gutlessness of congressional democrats.

The embedding of the media, dictatorial secrecy and Bush’s imperial presidency—i.e. he is not only above the law (domestic spying), he IS the law (enemy combatant declarations)—have kept Americans from getting an unsanitized look at his war.

Unlike the America of the 60s we do not see beyond the looped yellow ribbons that proclaim the euphemisms "support out troops" and "God bless America". We are not exposed to photographs of the torn and mutilated men, women and children who are victims of our bombs and the terrorist violence that has followed us into Iraq. Our only discomfort is the American body count that the Bush administration is forced to disclose. They do not keep a count of Iraqi bodies except for those victims of Saddam Hussein.

The run up to the Vietnam war was a precursor to Iraq. Does this sound familiar?:

*"We are there (Vietnam) because the people of South Vietnam have the right to remain non-Communist."

* "...if they are allowed to go Communist, all of Southeast Asia will fall like dominoes."

* "First, because a friendly nation has asked us to help against communist aggression. Second, our own security is tied to the peace of Asia."

In 1971, Daniel Elsberg photo copied a secret study of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war, called the Pentagon Papers, and gave it to 17 newspapers. The Nixon administration asked the courts for a restraining order arguing that its publication would put our national security at risk and jeopardize our future as a free society.

The court rejected that argument and America got an unvarnished look at the truth underlying our involvement in Vietnam—a striking parallel to Iraq.

President Johnson deceived Congress with a disputed North Vietnam attack on a U.S. Destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify authorization of escalating the war. The U.S. tactical decisions were based on colossal misjudgments. Johnson lied about battle field requests for more troops as did Secretary of Defense McNamara.

Moreover, as the Johnson Administration was publicly putting on a positive we-will-win spin--–they were privately admitting to possible settlements that included a pullout leaving a status quo and a compromise that would result in a unified Vietnam under Ho Chi Mi.

It is unfortunate that we don’t have a Pentagon Papers type leak today, that would shine some convincing light on the truth behind the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld propaganda. It is even more unfortunate that we don’t have a national media willing to get out of bed with the Administration and show us the real face of war. Bill Sanders

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Getting rid of the evidence! Posted by Picasa

Abramoff & traditional values! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Run for the hills! Posted by Picasa