Sunday, December 31, 2006

The 3,000 mark has been reached

This morning's editorial ("Editorial: The 3,000 mark looms") noted the 3,000 marker looming. It has now been reached. 3,000 US troops have died in Iraq as a result of Bully Boy's illegal war. It's actually more than 3,000. Edward Shaffer is one example. He died last week, in a Texas hospital, where he'd been attempting to recover from the wounds he received in Ramadi from a roadside bomb. He didn't recover. And he and others like him aren't included in the 3,000 count. [ICCC includes Shaffer in their count. The Defense Dept. noted Schaffer's Dec. 27th death on . . . Dec. 31st.]

The Iraqi count? Well the US military keeps a count. Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) broke the news at the end of June (when it was still Knight Ridder Newspapers) that the US military had been keeping a count since July of 2005. They won't release the count to the press or the public. They can get away with that because the media doesn't press them. The mainstream doesn't and the independent media doesn't. In fact, many Americans don't even know a count is kept.

You can be sure it's an undercount. But a count is kept. US tax payer dollars pay for a count. The count doesn't qualify for "national security." But it's kept from us.

The Lancet study estimated over 655,000 Iraqis had died since the start of the illegal war. The US administration wanted to dismiss the count. That was the perfect time for the press to demand that the US government release the count they've been keeping since July of 2005. But it didn't happen.

Not much does happen.

We talk to people we know, we go around the country and speak to students, and they care. The illegal war matters to them and they want it to stop.

The media? Big or small, it doesn't seem like a pressing issue. That The Nation magazine couldn't profile one war resister in 2006 was shameful. In 2007, they finally print an article on Ehren Watada. Isn't it past time to start holding the media accountable? All of it?

That includes small media which doesn't want to address Dexter Filkins' 'reporting.' It's so funny, they want to talk about the slaughter that went on in Falluja but the man who reported it as a video game? They can't mention his name.

They can bore you repeatedly with Judith Miller. They can pretend like she was the only one. They can pretend like no one else cheerleader the war while she was doing it or since. That's not reality.

Reality is the 3,000 mark has been reached. Reality is media is doing a shit poor job covering the war. Pretending that either hasn't happened is prolonging the war.

We want to end the war. We're sick of all the nonsense. All the people too afraid to speak up. All the people too scared to use their own power. And the ones who aren't scared? We're sick of them being useless. We're sick of the traveloguing by independent media. We're sick of Iraq being sidelined repeatedly because no one can roll up their sleeves and address it. We're sick of the peace movement not being covered. We're sick of FAIR pointing out that PBS's The NewHour didn't have a peace activist as a guest in the six months FAIR studied when FAIR's own CounterSpin didn't have a peace activist on as a guest in the same six months and hasn't had one on since.

We're sick of an indepenent media that thinks it can point the finger at big media when it doesn't even try to do anything. Not booking a peace guest is an example. Not covering war resisters is another. Not having a columnist at any of the big left magazines who covers the peace movement is another. Don't call yourself a "peace columnist" if you've not covered one rally or demonstration. You can chide about a "torture election" but you just look foolish to anyone who knows your work because they know you've done nothing.

Or maybe you're the woman who slammed GreenStone Media. Democracy Now! played that horrible speech. Does that woman really think she's done anything amazing in 2006? She's started an organization that will address the economy. Oooh, we're so impressed. She didn't write about Abeer that's for damn sure. She started an organization that might promote her two books. The last one didn't sell so she needs to do something. But she can stand up at a gala and trash GreenStone Media (without knowing their purpose or what they've done) but the same day she was doing that, the news should have been that Ricky Clousing was being charged with desertion for resisting the war and not only did she not note it, none of the indy outlets did the next day (including Democracy Now!). You want to throw stones at GreenStone Media? How about doing your own job first?

There is a war going on and it's been dragging on for almost four years. Save us your dopey little humor and your other bullshit.

Get serious or accept that no one takes you seriously.

Media, big and small, demonstrated how useless they could be throughout 2006 (with few exceptions).

Matthew Rothschild and Christopher Hayes can waste everyone's time going after the 9-11 Truth Movement, but what did they write about war resisters? (It's probably a good thing the factually challenged Hayes didn't write about them. And when is The Nation GOING TO ISSUE A CORRECTION TO HAYES' FALSE CLAIM ABOUT WHAT JOHN KERRY SAID IN HIS ACCEPTANCE SPEECH AT THE 2004 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION!)

2006, for most of independent media, was one long stroke session. We're sick of it. You get serious and do your job or expect to be called out.

The 3,000 marker has been reached. If you've made a fool of youself in 2006, don't even bother trotting out the tired topic of "Judith Miller" because you're just as bad she is.

Last January, this was how Isaiah saw the year 2005.

2006, if independent media had bothered to use their power, could have been about ending the war. Didn't happen. We're tired of it. We're tired of "War Got Your Tongue?" and we're tired of people who waste everyone's time. Find a way to cover war resisters and the peace movement or quit kidding that others are apethetic. Apathy starts with yourselves.

You can't change the dismal performance of 2006. You can make a real effort to do better in 2007.
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