Sunday, September 20, 2009

Editorial: The walk-away from Iraq wasn't Pamplona

Last week, Cindy Sheehan, on Cindy's Soapbox, spoke with Dahr Jamail. There were statements by Dahr worth highlighting but they were rendered useless when he declared of Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier in March 2008, "It was a really shocking conference to be a part of and be there and was a very, very difficult weekend but a very necessary one and so it was all over the alternative media of course -- Pacifica outlets, some satellite stations, Democracy Now!, etc., Laura Flanders, but of course no big shocker corporate media in large part basically censored it."

All over alternative media?

Tell that lie to someone else. We were calling out the silence in real time.

On the morning of the last day of Winter Soldier, we observed in our editorial:

Before we get to the coverage, where's the attention to the action? CODEPINK does not promote it on their front page, nor Gold Star Families For Peace, nor A.N.S.W.E.R., nor the CCCO . . . Getting the idea of how hard the 'peace' movement's been working or, in this case, not? Speaking to Aimee Allison and Aaron Glantz on Friday (Allison and Glantz are anchoring the radio coverage of the event), the Center For Media and Democracy's John Stauber (who wrote about the action last week) noted that "the big Democratic Party alligned so-called anti-war groups like MoveOn and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, groups that have budgets in the tens of millions of dollars have been completely silent. These groups could have led the way in publicizing Winter Soldier, but they're not." No they aren't.

And Dahr wants to rewrite history?

Not on our watch.

Sell that s**t to someone else. First of all, it's dishonest. Second of all, you've knocked on the wrong door.

In real time, Ava and C.I. were working on Panhandle Media to get coverage. They were extracting promises of coverage. Those promises got blown off. In addition, Pacifica Radio outlets didn't all carry the coverage. WBAI only aired Friday's hearings. Some day we'll tell the full story about the network pitch meeting on Saturday that ended when the news producer turned on WBAI to see if the hearings had any merit . . . only to hear music programming because WBAI, broadcasting from the US' media center of NYC, elected to skip Winter Soldier.

Some day we'll tell all the stories including who promised to cover Winter Soldier and then 'forgot.' It's a long list.

But we called it out. Reader Susan e-mailed Thursday to say it was "really time for a 'I Told You So' editorial." Susan shared that at Common Dreams in 2008, she left a comment on an article ("a badly written one but the topic was worthy") noting that the news (Iraq related) should be on Democracy Now! and a host of other outlets but that it wasn't. Though some agreed with Susan, the bad writer of the article posted a comment insisting that Common Dreams was all that was needed. (One outlet is, apparently, all you need.) Susan was addressing the silence on Iraq from beggar media in 2008 (as were we) and an author of an article wanted to argue with her that coverage wasn't important and didn't need to be widespread.

Why was that? The Iraq War was a private conversation?

We called out the silence and we've done that from the start. We've done that because we knew where this was heading. And it's where we are now where people treat the Iraq War as if it ended. It didn't end. Barack didn't end it. He didn't even propose a new plan for it, he simply adopted George W. Bush's plan.

And you can't hear that today and people wrongly grade him high on the Iraq War (his highest score) because they don't know the truth.

Why don't they know the truth?

Because they aren't told it.

The silence on Iraq was already noticeable in March of 2008. Those who refused to call it out then? They're responsible for the even larger silence today. Those who want to rewrite history? We're not in the damn mood.

We've focused on Iraq every week. We've never gone on 'holiday' from it. We, for instance, didn't drop Iraq in August 2006 to become "Lebanon Dispatches." Others did. CODESTINK did. And, in the process, ensured that a 14-year-old girl who was gang-raped and murdered never got the attention her case needed. The Article 32 hearing for the soliders still in the military took place in August 2006. But CODESTINK, the "women"'s group, was too concerned with Lebanon to even issue an action alert on Abeer.

People like Dahr Jamail seem to think the distancing from the Iraq War was like the running of the bulls in Pamplona and it happened instantly and immediately. The reality is that, if you paid attention, you saw a slow walk away from the Iraq War.
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