Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hint, hint

On the cover of the November 28, 2005 issue, The Nation front paged their editorial "Democrats and the War" (the cover caption reads: "There can no longer be any doubt: The American war in Iraq -- an unprovoked, unnecessary, unlawful invasion that has turned into a colonial-style occupation -- is a moral and political catastrophe. It has also become the single greatest threat to America's national security.... The Nation will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the American war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign.") A brave cover. 2005.

The three covers to the side are from the injustice that preceeded and followed Hurricane Katrina (using Judith N. Shklar's defintion, the hurricane itself was a tragedy, the reality before and after was an injustice). The first is the January 2, 2006 issue which contains three articles on Katrina (Ari Kelman, Susan Straight and Billy Sothern). The second is the April 10, 2006 issue which contains two articles on Katrina (Mike Davis and Seth Tobocman). The third cover is the September 18, 2006 issue which contains four article (Adolph Reed Jr., Michael Tisserand, Chris Kromm and Gary Young) and an editorial.

Three covers in nine months? Well it was an injustice. It's worth covering. But where is Iraq? "Who Is Killing New Orleans?"? How about: "Who Is Killing Ramadi?"

In the most recent Katrina cover issue, Gary Younge writes "New Orleans Forsaken." We think Iraq's been forsaken.

We think the peace movement's been largely ignored (don't offer that campus 'activism' issue to any of us, we'll hold our noses and wave you away). We're glad Tom Hayden wrote of the trip to Jordan to meet with Iraqis (including parliamentarians) but that was a "web exclusive." As the weekly political magazine with the largest circulation (of any on the political spectrum), we wonder if readers of the print edition might have benefitted from hearing of that trip?

RadioNation with Laura Flanders is partnered with the magazine and certainly Flanders has done her share this summer (as has Matthew Rothschild with Progressive Radio). But that's audio. Any of Flanders' opening monlogues from the first segments of the show could have been transcribed and, featured online or in print, would have helped Iraq stay in the public eye.

But that didn't happen (either the transcribing of Flanders' passionate, factual speeches or the keeping Iraq in the public eye). What did happen was that a great deal transpired this summer.

Camp Casey III opened and closed and good thing for the Associated Press because otherwise there wouldn't have been significant national coverage. Ehren Watada was the subject of an article when he first publicly refused to deploy to Iraq (becoming the first officer to publicly refuse). His Article 32 hearing, heard testiomony Thursday August 17th? Not mentioned. Considering that Ann Wright, Denis Halliday and Francis A. Boyle testified, we'd assume at least one of them would have something to write about it. Possibly Bob Watada and Carolyn Ho (Ehren Watada's parents) also have some thoughts they'd like to share with Nation readers? Mark Wilkerson and Ricky Clousing have gone from AWOL to turning themselves in. Anita Anderson says Darrell Anderson is turning himself in at the end of the month. (Anita Anderson is Darrell Anderson's mother.) War resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are awaiting word on their appeals (to stay in Canada and not be forced to return to the United States). Camp Democracy is ongoing. International Peace Day is September 21st. CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast action continues and continues to grow. It passed the two-month point last week. Military Familes Speak Out conducted Operation House Call. The World Can't Wait has been active (and has an October 5th action of mass resistance coming up). That's just some of what's been going on in North America.

In Iraq? Iraq's fallen to pieces. Nancy A. Youssef broke the news that the US military was keeping a body count in June (in "U.S.: Civilian deaths feeding insurgency" -- the topic was also covered in Aaron Glantz' "Pentagon: Tell Us How Many Civilians You've Killed" or Juliana Lara Resende's "50,000 Dead, But Who's Counting?"). The US military fatality count passed the 2600 mark in August. (And are nearing the 2700 mark now -- 2667 currently.) (Again, thanks to AP for being one of the few outlets to note the 2600 passage.) The Senate Intel Report demonstrates lies before the war, immediately after and as recently as August 21st of this year. The US troop level has not gone down but has risen (with over 140,000 US troops now in Iraq). Troops whose tour of duty was supposed to be ending got extended. (Military Families Speak Out was quite vocal on this.) The 'crackdown' has been a joke and if the security of Baghdad is important, we'd argue that the parliament didn't need to take the month of August off. There has been no winning of hearts and minds (in fact Falluja was again bullied last week: Reuters reports the US is clashing with people in Falluja and "U.S. troops used loudspeakers to demand people turn in 'insurgents' or face a 'large military operation'." ) The morgues are overflowing and new ones being built. The UN estimated 100 Iraqis are dying a day. The Pentagon recently stated 800 are dying a week. The 'brain drain' continues. The suffering continues and, yes, the war drags on.

But the coverage?

If we were making a list of independent media outlets that forgot Iraq this summer, The Nation wouldn't be at the top of our lists or even in the top ten. It has been far less silent than many other outlets. (Who, frankly, make themselves look ridiculous when they, for instance, criticize what the mainstream chooses to cover after ignoring Iraq all summer long.) But we're focusing on The Nation for four reasons.

First, we all subscribe or purchase the magazine.

Second, it is the weekly political magazine with the highest circulation (left, right, center or somewhere in between, none have a higher circulation than The Nation).

Third, to no one's surprise except our independent media 'brave' voices, Bully Boy is attempting to turn the conversation away from Iraq because he knows his party can't win in November on Iraq. This is apparently some surprise to those deciding what gets covered in independent media, but it's not a surprise to any thinking person. The polling all summer long has consistently noted the Bully Boy's weakness on Iraq and the continued increase in those opposed to the war. So Bully Boy can consider himself blessed that independent media was so eager to drop the coverage of Iraq.

Fourth? "There can no longer be any doubt: The American war in Iraq -- an unprovoked, unnecessary, unlawful invasion that has turned into a colonial style occupation -- is a marl and political catastrophe. It has also become the singel greatest threat to America's national security." Who wrote that? The editors of The Nation. So let's see some action. Let's see some coverage that makes the cover. It is wonderful that Ms. magazine devote their winter 2006 issue to the war. But where's The Nation? Food's an important issue (the focus of a recent edition). So is Iraq. The war hasn't stopped, so why did the coverage? (We're speaking of independent media as a whole -- The Nation did cover war related issues this summer.)

As the largest weekly, the magazine has influence and power. As Betty said two weeks ago of the food issue, "I think it's great that The Nation devoted an issue to it -- and look forward to an issue devoted to Iraq, hint, hint . . ."
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