Sunday, June 18, 2006

"We Were All Wrong!" Not so fast Pt. II

May 21st, we offered "'We Were All Wrong!' Not so fast." We provided ten voices that spoke out against the war in real time to dispute the mainstream media's comical notion that "everyone was wrong." The ones who were wrong are the ones who were on the air over and over -- the ones who are still on the air. It wasn't bad intell that drove the nation into an illegal war. And the media silence wasn't because no one was speaking out.

This will be an ongoing feature until we get at least fifty. This month, we offer the following ten. Two names were submitted by readers that we felt were worth inclusion. (We felt a third name was as well but we'll pick him up next time. We're not linking to the site that post his work today. We'll explain why next week -- but the easiest answer is we don't have one set of principals that matters some of the time.)

1) Norman Solomon. Right about the illegal war from the start, right about it now. Often a lonely voice but a needed one. We think he should sing two lines from Stevie Nicks' "Two Kinds of Love" to everyone (including us): "Who in the world do you think that you are fooling?/ Well I've already done everything that you are doing." That includes speaking out against war on Iraq before Bully Boy sent the troops in. (We reviewed Solomon's most recent book here.)

2 - 4) Michael Ratner, Jennie Green and Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights and authors of Against War With Iraq: An Anti-War Primer. In fact, you put the entire Center for Constitutional Rights on the list, the organization itself came out against the illegal war before the illegal invasion.

5) Ruth Rosen. Rosen contributes to She's also a Senior Fellow at the Longview Institute. C.I. said "Ruth Rosen" when we were coming up with this list and, honestly, a few of us said, "Who?" It's an interesting story when you consider that Rosen was a columnist at a newspaper (was) and that Ann Coulter remains one in many papers. Rosen wrote an article on Curves (opinion: an idiotic, right-wing response to the Workout -- run by a man, naturally). Rosen confirmed the facts in her article with a publicist for Curves (on the record). Curves denied it and threatened suit. The paper, The San Francisco Chronicle, issued a correction (not noting that Rosen's assertions had been confirmed by a publicist). (The publicist wasn't the 'regular' publicist and somehow, not via any journalistic reasoning, that was supposed to make a difference.) When Rosen explained it to readers who e-mailed with questions about the article and the correction, she was accused of "disloyalty" and she lost her job. Prior to her departure from the paper, Rosen had been one of the few columnists regularly recording the peace movement in a daily paper. Confirming your facts about a company with the company's publicist would cover most reporters' asses. That it didn't cover Rosen's suggests that this had more to do with her politics and less to do with the Curves issue. If only she'd written as a right-winger, she could have poured hate into column after column because those columnists write fact-free but hate-heavy and never suffer. (Ask William Safire. Or maybe he has proof of the many charges that he leveled against Hillary Clinton during the nineties?)

6) Nicholas Kristof wrongly slammed her a "Bush hater," but would he give her credit for being right about the illegal war? The one and only Molly Ivins -- proof for those attempting to use just their red and blue crayons that something other than Bully Boy can emerge from the state of Texas. Kristof was working a grudge and it's one that fits nicely into the paper's own where the thinking seems to be (like many a first husband who realized too late that he lost the best thing he had): "Why can't she just disappear?" How good is she? So good that when the Lisper got slammed by Rebecca for his last non-inclusive list, he made a point to sprinkle in a token of women -- Ivins was one of the small number to make his list of women who should be writing for Time magazine. We picture the lisper rushing to think of women, some women, any women! -- after Rebecca's post. But he didn't think too good, did he? Ivins already write a newspaper column, she writes a monthly column in The Progressive and she contributes regularly to TruthDig. (This entry will have links to the last two sites after Monday afternoon and not before.) Is she the hardest working columnist in print? She just may be. She's also the author of several books (collections of her previously published writing as well as, with Lou Dubose, Bushwhacked). All that work didn't fry her brain -- she knew the war would go badly before it began.

7) Alexander Cockburn. Is he fearless or is that just his writing persona? CounterPunch (the magazine he created with and runs with Jeffery St. Clair) doesn't court respectibility. That may be the biggest reason we admire it so much. There's no egg head doing butt smooches to The New York Times ("I just read this amazing article in . . .") or NPR ("I was listening yesterday, as I dropped the kids off at school before heading to my yoga class . . ."). There's no attempt to play. Or to kiss up to Democrats ("appeal to their better nature!" say those who've written far too little on the war and far too much tracing every nook and cranny of a 'progressive,' White Male governor who isn't all that progressive). He can go over like acid (we meant battery, but on second thought . . .) or like a glass of ice water on a sweltering day. He may be an ink blot -- what you think of him may reveal more about you than it does about his writing. But his voice is always his voice. And he's not afraid to roar to bring attention to the silences. Right about the war before the war, right about it now. And not afraid to take names and print some ass on on those playing (including Toad! We love any one who calls out Toad!).

8) Anthony Arnove. "Where are the voices for tomorrow?" is a cry we often here. "The ones who will carry on the movement?" We can easily point to Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein and, yes, Anthony Arnove. (We could easily point to more but we've got Dona screaming at us: "Has anyone looked at the time?) He's collaborated on books with Howard Zinn and he's a writer worth noting in his own right. Like Klein, he's faced down Prissy and won. The sole author of
IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal (which we noted here), he's one to read and one to look to.

9) One of the voices you could count on decade after decade was Tariq Ali and that didn't change when the war drums started booming. We weren't surprised when he wiped the floor with Hitchens. And if there's a curse to being Tariq Ali it may be the fact that, in those situations, we long ago stopped doubting and started expecting (oh, if only Kissinger could take back that December 1965 day). (Jess insists it be noted: He knew John Lennon. Not of, knew. An amazing, ongoing life.)

10) John R. MacArthur. Since 1983, he's been the president and publisher of Harper's Magazine. Iraq? He's been exposing Bush lies on Iraq since H.W. was in the White House -- most famously by outing the refugee nurse who had worked in a hospital in Iraq where babies were being tossed out of incubators -- living, breathing babies. It must be true! She testified to Congress about it! Nayirah was her name . . . or "name." In reality, she wasn't a nurse. In reality, Nayirah wasn't her name. Her name was Nijirah al-Sabah and she played a p.r. creation (courtesy of Hill & Knowlton) -- one that gave false testimony in Congress on Iraq -- testimony played up big to get us into the first Gulf War. She was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States. MacArthur outed her in an op-ed that ran in The New York Times. MacArthur is also the author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War -- an excellent book that, surprisingly or not so surprisingly, no publisher rushed into re-release before the current invasion or since. MacArthur's written of the tragedy of this illegal war (many times). His critiques have remained strong. And he was noting the cowardice of the Dems on the war back in 2002.

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