Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Iraq roundtable

Jim: Roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.  You are reading a rush transcript.

iraqwarhelper Jim (Con't): This is the Iraq War roundtable.

Jim: First topic, a record number of complaints came in. Ty?

Ty: 152. And they were about something C.I. wrote. Last month, the Iraq War hit the 18 year mark and C.I. wrote "Et tu, ANTIWAR.COM?" The complaint was that we didn't repost it here in full. Lisa probably spoke for all 152 e-mailing who stated this was an important topic, C.I. did actual reporting and it should have gone up here.

Dona: Lisa, I agree with you 100% and with the other 151 e-mailing. At one point, we had spoken of the need to repost. We put that on hold by accident. We were rushing to get an edition up and just forgot. We are reposting it in full this edition.

Jess: Let's talk about the specifics of the piece before we get to it. The Iraq War started in Iraq in 2003 on March 19th or March 20th depending upon your time zone. C.I. waited until the 20th to write the piece she wrote. That was more than fair. And the findings were deplorable. Everyone was too busy -- often with fluff -- to cover it. COUNTERPUNCH was one of the few outlets to note it.

Marcia:The failures included ANTIWAR.COM which is supposed to be covering the wars. They didn't just not do a piece noting the anniversary, they didn't do anything.

C.I.: As she does every day, Margaret Griffis covered the violence.

Marcia: Okay. So they did that. But nothing else and nothing to note the 18th anniversary and Margaret's piece was buried under "Middle East." On the 18th anniversary of the Iraq War, ANTIWAR.COM couldn't even be bothered to note the ongoing Iraq War.

Mike: That just blew my mind. When I read C.I.s piece the day it went up, I couldn't believe it. All I can say is, if Justin Raimondo was still alive, that wouldn't have happened. They've struggled a little much of late and I think they're losing their way. I also wondered about Jason Ditz who wasn't posting anything for a while and who I thought might have left. But they need to get it together. They also need to bring Kelley B. Vlahos back as a columnist. I really cannot believe how small the number of women who write for ANTIWAR.COM is.

Rebecca: Credit to Kelley who did Tweet about it and also wrote a major piece on Iraq at the end of the year that wasn't just a tired rehash of what happened in the first two years of the Iraq War.

Elaine: After which, the bulk of outlets stopped paying attention.

Cedric: This does not excuse THE NATION and the rest ignoring the Iraq War but it is true that it can be hard to write about. C.I. finds a great way to cover it every day. Maybe she'll focus on corruption or climate change or take on this issue or that issue. She manages to find a way to do it every day so I don't have a lot of sympathy but those who can't cover it regularly may feel that way. But, again, no excuse for not covering it on the 18th anniversary.

Ann: The only one who really deserted the Iraq War was the press. Unlike War Resisters, the press has no excuse.

Betty: Especially after so many of them used their power as members of the press to sell the Iraq War.

Marcia: There's a special place in hell for Amy Goodman. She didn't cover the anniversary on her hideous DEMOCRACY NOW! -- not on the 19th of March, not on the 20th.

Isaiah: It's not even the war and peace report anymore. She dropped that in the opening of the show. Fake ass.

Marcia: The original gansta fake ass. Made all that money and got all that media attention claiming to be against the Iraq War. Fake ass trash.

Mike: Amy Goodman is the faux left template for fake assery.

Marcia: Amen.

Stan: I've got a question for C.I. What's it like to cover the Iraq War over and over, daily, for 18 years. Is it depressing? Do you feel like you have PTS?

C.I.: Last one first. No, no Post-Traumatic Syndrome. That's for the people sent over there -- including journalists -- and for the Iraqis living through it. But, yes, it does wear on the soul. Especially when you're watching so many people ignore it -- so many people in the US. Australia and the UK do not ignore the Iraq War. It's a thing specific to the media in the US -- panhandle media and corporate media. It can be very depressing to notice how many people have walked away. When I walk away, and the day will come, it will because I am quitting online -- or I died. I used to hope that I could stay long enough in covering it. Maybe I've reached long enough? As long as I'm doing THE COMMON ILLS, I'll be covering it.

Cedric: Stan had a good question and I'm going to press our luck and ask another of C.I. What's it like doing this every day? Do you know ahead of time what you'll be covering?

C.I.: No. I sometimes plan to cover something and that's when something else pops up. It never works out. It used to be extremely stressful in that I didn't know if I could do it or do it daily. Generally, I'm looking at the news that morning and trying to figure out what's a big story and often what's an important story that the western media isn't covering.

Elaine: Like the recent attacks in the Kurdistan section on LGBTQs.

C.I.: Correct.

Marcia: At first, I was amazed how even the US LGBTQ media was ignoring the attacks in the Kurdistan. But then I remembered how, back when LGBTQs were being targeted across Iraq, with some thugs super-gluing anuses to kill the, I remembered how everyone ignored it in the US. Then finally we got coverage from a LGBTQ weekly in the US -- that paraphrased and out right cribbed/stole from THE COMMON ILLS --

Dona: I was embarrassed for them. C.I. had a typo in that snapshot -- they're dictated -- and even the typos was wrongly included.

Marcia: Right. But then it broke the dam in the US and others began covering it slowly. I'm hoping that will happen soon.

Trina: Can I talk about the way C.I. covered it Sunday night? "" was a new way to cover Iraq. And she's right, she points out that it's Ramadan time and that this is important to people. It's practicing your faith. And she would never, even during COVID, advocate for people to set aside their faith, however, the US press did. They did it when it came to Catholics and I am a Catholic. It was highly offensive, the coverage from THE WASHINGTON POST and others, saying that Pope Francis shouldn't visit because of COVID. It was very offensive and deeply disrespectful.

Kat: I didn't think I was going to talk during this but I guess I better to have Trina's back. I honestly didn't care one way or another until my grandmother expressed how outraged she was by the way the US press was disrespecting the faith. I'm Catholic but I don't think I can get too disappointed in the press anymore. I mean people are dead because of the way they helped start the Iraq War. But the more I thought about it, the more I got where my grandmother was coming from. She grew up in Ireland, her faith is very important to her and, yes, the corporate media was highly disrespectful to the Pope and to the faith.

Ruth: I am Jewish but I was kind of stunned by the way the press, the US press, tried to bully the Pope. I agree it was disrespectful. I do not believe I have ever seen anything like it. I was glad that C.I. called it out and not just Sunday night but when it was going on. That is one of the hallmarks of C.I.'s writing, she is always attempting to see everyone's side and try to speak for those under attack

Betty: And the faith thing, Agustin Aguayo. He was a War Resister of the Iraq War. He had served one tour and then was going back and realized he couldn't. C.I. made a very strong argument for Agustin. The military said he had to go and he couldn't claim religious anything because he'd gone once. C.I. argued that the government was arguing faith was static and that many a religious person could and would argue that an event in their life deepened their faith. Two weeks after she made that remark, I heard it on the700 CLUB. My sister called me telling me they'd just mentioned Agustin on the show and spoken about it and he was the only War Resister that they ever noted.

Ava: They got the argument here. Someone e-mailed that snapshot to them with an impassioned message. They e-mailed the site to state that they had covered it. And that really is the point. Use anything on THE CVOMMON ILLS if you want if you're covering an issue that matters.

Ty: Alana e-mails wondering whether C.I. is aware that _____ regularly prints her writing as a column.

C.I.: Pull the name. It's an Iraqi newspaper and, yes, I am aware. The first time I saw it, I was reading along and thinking these are some good arguments And then there was a turn of phrase and I realized it was me.

Ty: She says they run it in Arabic.

C.I.: They do. And that's fine and I have no problem with it. I said pull the name due to the Iraqi government which regularly attacks journalists. I highlight Arabic publications more in the community newsletter as a result. I don't want to do anything to put anyone in trouble in Iraq. That they republish our stuff could lead to attacks on them.

Wally: US troops need to leave Iraq. Iraq needs to rule itself -- without US and Iran installed leaders that the US military props up. Nothing good is happening. I want to read this in from PRESS TV:


The US military has used dozens of tanker trucks to smuggle crude oil from the Jazira region in the Arab country’s northeastern province of Hasakah to western Iraq as Washington is pushing to further plunder energy resources in the conflict-stricken Arab state.
Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources in the town of al-Swaidah who demanded anonymity, reported that a convoy of 41 tankers filled with crude oil and several canvas-covered trucks entered the Iraqi territory after rumbling through al-Waleed border crossing on Monday.
American troops and military equipment have been stationed in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon alleging that the troops deployment is meant to protect the oilfields in the area against sporadic Daesh attacks and prevent the energy reserves from falling into the hands of the Takfiri terrorists.

Wally (Con't): How does that help the Iraqi people? Whether it's true or false, it's out there and how does that help US troops and their safety or win over hearts and minds?

Elaine: Great questions. And there has never been a plan for ending the war. Over and over, journalist Thomas E. Ricks used to ask, "How does this end?" The US government still can't define what's needed to leave Iraq. All these years later.

Rebecca: Which might be one of the many reasons the US military is still stuck there.

Jim: Good points. This is a rush transcript.





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