We're Not In Kansas Anymore

 

Menu

 

“Biting political satire.”

The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys

The Einstein Sisters
are out to stop
the 2000 election theft!

Follow
this link
to buy
Irving Wesley Hall's new satire

 

Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more
details, click here.

Neocons
Regrouping:
On to Afghanistan

Neo-Con Ideologues Launch New Foreign Policy Group
by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe

Iraqi Civilians
Reported Killed

IraqBodyCount.org

Study by Johns Hopkins scientists
published in The Lancet
estimates Iraqi
civilian deaths
as many as 654,965.
Read about the survey.

U.S. casualties

As of July 15, 4,475 U.S. military personnel had been killed since the beginning of the Iraq war, according to published reports. According to the Pentagon's latest weekly tally, 32,153 U.S. service members have been wounded in
combat in Iraq.
In Afghanistan, 1,554 U.S. troops have died since late 2001, while 12,593 have been wounded in action. The official
Pentagon casualties update
can be found here.

Other nations

According to published reports, the British have sustained 179 deaths;
Italy, 33; Poland, 21; Ukraine, 18;
Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador five; Slovakia four; Latvia, three;
Estonia, Netherlands
and Thailand,
two each;
and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania
and South Korea
have reported
one death each.

The latest news
from antiwar.com
Click item for details


Veterans
for Peace

The US Can Quit Iraq,
or It Can Stay.
But It Can't Do Both

By Patrick Cockburn

Military Families
Speak Out
is an organization of people who are opposed to war in Iraq and who have relatives or loved ones in the military. It was formed in November of 2002 and has contacts with military families throughout the United States and in other countries. Its membership currently includes more than 2,000 military families.


Register to Vote
(Click for information on downloading the official national
mail-in form)

Perspectives
from inside Iraq

Electronic Iraq
Also, read the latest news from inside Iraq
in the Haunted Forest

Baghdad Burning:
The Riverbend Blog

"Girl Blog from Iraq... let's talk war, politics and occupation."

Raed in the Middle

Secrets in Baghdad:
Khalid's Blog

Iraq Dispatches
A blog by independent journalist Dahr Jamail in Baghdad

More news from
inside Iraq in
The Haunted Forest

Toll on Iraqi Kids

Global Medical Relief

No More Victims

Uncovered:
The whole truth about
the war
in Iraq

Uncovered: The War On Iraq

A documentary by
Robert Greenwald
that chronicles the Bush administration’s determined quest to invade Iraq following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Buy it now

More Links

Read the
Geneva Conventions
the Pentagon has thrown out the window.

Fallujah 101
A little history about the city we've destroyed in order
to "save" it.
An article by
Rashid Khalidi.

The Next Fallujah?
Déjà vu in Ramadi
by Mike Whitney

The true story
of the soldiers
who resisted the
Vietnam War

Sir! No Sir!
Buy the DVD

Anti-war
veterans links

Veterans for Peace
is a national organization founded in 1985. The organization includes men and women veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, other conflicts and peactime veterans. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.

Veterans Against
the Iraq War

"Support the Troops, Oppose the Policy"

Iraq Veterans
Against The War

Iraq Veterans Against The War is a group of veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom committed to saving lives and ending the violence in Iraq by an immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces. They believe that the governments that sponsored these wars are indebted to the men and women that were forced to fight them and must give their Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen the benefits that are owed to them upon their return home.

Citizen Soldier
is a GI/veterans' rights advocacy organization based in New York City.

Bring Them Home Now!
is a campaign of military families, veterans, active-duty personnel, reservists and others opposed to the ongoing war in Iraq and galvanized to action by George W. Bush's inane and reckless challenge to armed Iraqis resisting occupation to
"Bring 'em on!"

Veterans
for America

is a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and The Justice Project. It is an educational, humanitarian and advocacy organization addressing the causes, conduct and consequences of war.

Vietnam Veterans Against The War
“Just as 40 years ago, when our generation was sent off to war with a lie, today we’re watching our children kill and die in Iraq based on similar falsehoods. The Vietnam War produced 60,000 dead and 300,000 disabled Americans. How many of this younger generation will have to die for the Bush administration’s lies?” asks Joe Miller, a national coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Miller served on a U.S. aircraft carrier 40 years ago during the
Gulf of Tonkin.

Gulf War issues

Gulf War Veteran
Resource Pages

is a primary site
that has been a presence on the Internet since early 1994, aiding Gulf War veterans in their pursuit of the truth.

American Gulf War Veterans Association
The American Gulf War Veterans Association was established with one goal in mind: To obtain treatment for those service members and their families who experience symptoms collectively known as the "Gulf War Illness." However, there is more to this issue than meets the eye. As this investigation into causation has now progressed into the arena of possible exposure to chemical and/or biological agents, radiation poisoning due to the use of depleted uranium and most disturbingly, the use of our fighting men and women as "Guinea Pigs" in medical experimentation, the AGWVA has now added a second goal: To obtain justice and compensation for all those affected by these illnesses. Our troops returned home after serving their country with an illness that appears to be spreading into the general population, treatment is being denied and to date there are no safeguards of our blood supply. Those responsible have passed the burden of proof onto those that are suffering and least able to fight the enormous bureaucracy of governmental agencies that are more concerned with avoiding admission.

* * *

Tired of the corporate news on cable TV?
Subscribe to Dish TV for listener-supported Free Speech TV (Channel 9415) and Link TV
(Channel 9410).
You can watch Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, INN and Mosaic, a daily summary of news watched by 280 million people in 22 Arab and Islamic countries
in the Middle East.
Call Dish Network
1-800-333-3474 or go to Dishnet.com.
Free installation.
$29.99 minimum
monthly service.

 

 

Veterans Day
Letter to the Editor
in the Evening Sun,
Norwich, NY

MY TROUBLED TRIBUTE TO VETERANS
ON VETERANS DAY

The editor of the Norwich NY Evening Sun published Irving Wesley Hall's Letter to the Editor on Veterans Day 2014. Two days later the newspaper owner took the unprecedented step of apologizing to readers for printing the letter. He promised "better controls. . .and judgment. . . in the future." Read the letter and apology here:

Did you know that an American veteran commits suicide on average every 65 minutes? More Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have committed suicide than died in combat. Why?

Several of my former students were killed in Vietnam because they believed the government's lies that they were defending our freedoms. As a teacher and citizen I honored them by telling the truth about the Vietnam War and counseling draftees about their rights.

After I met vets suffering from Gulf War Illness I honored them by writing the acclaimed on-line series "Depleted Uranium for Dummies" about the hundreds of thousands of vets silently dying from the U.S.-created toxic battlefield in a war based partly on lies. Gulf War vets were grateful for my revelations. They thought they had been forgotten.

After 9/11 our soldiers destroyed Iraq and its army because they believed our government's lies that they were fighting to defend our freedoms. But in fact they were creating a perfect breeding ground for the new terrorists of ISIS. During the occupation of Iraq the U. S. spent 12 billion taxpayer dollars for our troops to train a "new" Iraqi army. That army collapsed in a few days and gave all their U. S. weapons to ISIS. Those weapons will kill some of the men and women the Obama Administration is going to deploy in a new war--if Congress approves. The troops sent so far are tasked with training a brand new Iraqi army to replace the one that deserted under fire.

Today our government claims Saudi Arabia is a major ally against ISIS. Saudi Arabians helped finance and train ISIS. Earlier they backed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabians. None was from Afghanistan or Iraq. Saudi Arabia has beheaded more than six dozen people this year under Sharia law for crimes like apostasy, sorcery and witchcraft. Now the U.S. is paying Saudi Arabia to train "moderate" troops to fight against ISIS.

Despite trillions of U. S. taxpayer dollars, 13 years of war and thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers, Afghanistan is now producing record crops of opium for heroin addicts and terrorists for the Taliban and ISIS. At the same time, the domestic "wars" on drugs and terror are the major justification for massive illegal government spying on all citizens and the militarization of our local police forces.

The government and corporate media rarely report troubling facts like these. Many of our soldiers learn the truth only after they join the service. Odds are that more disillusioned vets from this war will return with PTSD, become homeless, commit suicide.

Even from liberal audiences today I get blank stares when I assert, "Our troops are fighting for our freedoms is not a self-evident truth. Actually nowadays the opposite may be true."

Even if that is sadly true under recent administrations, it in no way dishonors the Chenango County veterans who served their country faithfully in uniform. Last week's election suggests that most Americans feel the leaders of both political parties are more concerned about defending their own freedoms and those of the rich and powerful than defending the freedoms of the rest of us who are struggling just to survive. The politicians certainly show more concern for the profits of their weapons corporations than the welfare of our veterans.

I urge you to read an article on-line by decorated Army Ranger Rory Fanning. After two tours in Afghanistan, he shows how our wars are destroying our freedoms and hence betraying our idealistic youngsters who enlist.

If you have a son or daughter in the service you owe it to them to read this brave veteran's story. Perhaps as a parent you will save a loved one's life. As a citizen you will be better informed. Perhaps in the next few days you will call your Congressperson (Richard Hanna (R) 1-202-225-3665) to demand he refuse to fund Obama's catastrophic new quagmire.

As an American that may be the best way for you to defend our freedoms and to honor our veterans on Veterans Day.

Irving Wesley Hall, Oxford

An apology to our veterans from the publisher

On Veterans Day a letter to the editor ran in The Evening Sun that was totally inappropriate to have run on that day. Veterans and their families may say it is inappropriate to have run that letter on any day but that would have denied a right to an American citizen that they fought so gallantly for. Although the timing in the placement of this letter was unintentional, The Evening Sun should have had better controls in place to insure that a letter of this type would have never appeared on, or near, this most sacred of days. A day when we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in keeping the United States of America free and the most respected country in the world. Among the rights that our men and women in the military have fought and died for was the right of “freedom of speech”. This is a right that The Evening Sun will continue to honor but one where much better judgment will be utilized in the future. I, as president of The Evening Sun offer my personal apologies to any veteran, their family members, and to anyone who was rightfully offended by the ill-timed placement of this letter.

Richard Snyder



Why Do We Keep Thanking the Troops?
from tomdispatch.com

Bring all the troops home!

No more Empire!

Call your senators
and representatives in Congress.
Follow this link for the House of Representatives
and this one for the Senate,
or call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

See our anti-recruitment and war-resistance links below.

 

Restore Habeas Corpus!

(That's the right to challenge your detainment in a court of law,
established first in the Magna Carta in 1215. Bush took it away.
Now Obama's legal team is arguing that Bush was right,
and that the U.S. can kidnap anyone anywhere in the world
for any reason, take them to the U.S. prison at Bagram Airbase
in Afghanistan and hold them there indefinitely, without
charge, without a hearing, without due process. )

Obama and habeas corpus — then and now
By Glenn Greenwald

An Emerging Progressive Consensus
on Obama's Executive Power and Secrecy Abuses

By Glenn Greenwald


 

Watch the latest video from Alternate Focus,
dedicated to offering the American public media that provides balance to existing coverage of Middle East and related issues.

 

Sowing the Seeds of Fascism in America
By Stan Goff

Author Stan Goff, a retired 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces, sounds a warning call that many of the historical precursors of fascism — white supremacy, militarization of culture, vigilantism, masculine fear of female power, xenophobia and economic destabilization — are ascendant in America today.

 

 

How many more will die?


                                                                                          Photo: U.S. Air Force/www.thememoryhole.org

Year 6: More than 4,300 troops killed

More than 32,000 U.S. troops wounded

Possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead

Millions of Iraqis driven from their homes

How many hundreds of thousands of
troops and civilians poisoned by depleted uranium?

Lyin' Dubya

Support the troops: Bring them home!
Keep the pressure on President Obama!

NYC March April 29
Anti-war marchers fill
New York's Broadway on April 29, 2007
.

March 18 Antiwar Protest
                                                                                                                                                    Fred Askew/nyc.indymedia.org
Veterans for Peace at New York City antiwar march, March 18, 2007

Click here for the latest news from Iraq.

 

Some things you can do:

Organize or join an antiwar protest.

Write your congressman and senators.

Write a letter to the editor.

Register to vote.

 

Environmental Woes

They gave us uranium and called it depleted
We woke up one morning, only to be greeted
By chemicals in rivers, and toxins secreted
Polar bears are dying, the arctic is heated
Mother earth is scorched, the rich have competed
To cut down the forest and have the job completed
Iraqis have crimes, against them committed
Their newborns have cancers that cannot be treated
                                        • • •
They gave out some stats, but hid some and cheated
When facts were presented, they had them deleted
They promised Kyoto, then promptly retreated
The rich corporations are utterly conceited
They own all the media, their facts get created
And men we elected, in congress are seated
By day, and then by night, get royally feted
Lies and fabrications are simply repeated
They will not succeed. We won’t be defeated!

— Dr. Qais Ghanem
    Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Qais Ghanem

 

   Dr. Qais Ghanem is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is an ardent supporter of human rights, the peace movement, a clean environment and universal health care for every man, woman and child everywhere.

 

Say NO to War : Counter-Recruitment Links

National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference
July 17-19, 2009
Roosevelt University, Chicago

National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth

CounterRecruiter.net

War Resisters League

Courage to Resist

GI Rights Hotline (877) 447-4487

Peace-Out

Counter-Recruitment and Alternatives to the Military Program
(American Friends Service Committee, Pasadena)

Military-Free Zone

The Coalition Against Militarism In Our Schools

Campus Antiwar Network
Campus Antiwar Network
(for a history of CAN and more links
at Traprock Peace Center, click here)

Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities

New Yorkers' Guide to Military Recruitment

United for Peace & Justice
Counter-Military Recruitment Campaign

Carolina Peace Resource Center
Counter-Recruitment Campaign

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

Students Against War

Mititary Recruiting FAQ:
A Consumer's Guide from Quaker House

Sgt. Abe, the Honest Recruiter   Meet Sgt. Abe, the Honest Recruiter

Opt-Out Form
(Download PDF)

 

Peace North (Wisconsin)

Center on Conscience and War

Student Peace Action Network

 

 

Letter to the Oneonta (N.Y.) Daily Star
March 3, 2006

Cheney No Match for Local Iraq Vet

Editor, Oneonta Daily Star:

Welcome home from Iraq, National Guard Major Matthew Tully! Local attorney Tully met recently with Vice-President Dick Cheney. Cheney is the war’s mastermind. Tully is the typical brave civilian soldier fighting it.

What a contrast!

Cheney evaded Vietnam because of “other priorities.” Tully volunteered for Iraq despite opposition to “Bush’s un-American policy of pre-emptive war.”

Tully almost died on 9/11. Commander-in-Chief Cheney was too busy watching CNN to order interception of the airliners. While Guardsman Tully secured the crash site, Cheney cooked lies for a war he’d already planned.

While Cheney whipped up anti-Muslim/Arab hysteria with phony Iraq-Al Queda links, Tully defended a patriotic Lebanese American from death threats, receiving an American-Arab Committee Anti-Discrimination award.

Tully refused payment for his work. Cheney receives a six-figure salary from Halliburton’s corrupt war contracts.

It’s little surprise that officer and gentleman Tully praised Cheney’s “concern” for our troops, despite Cheney’s anti-military record.

In 1991, Defense Secretary Cheney authorized the first use of deadly depleted uranium munitions. Result? 518,000 of 697,000 Gulf War era vets receive medical disability. Do the math. 320 tons of DU helped produce a 70 percent casualty rate in a 100-day war. 3000 tons have been used in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some troops have served three six-month tours. They’re already getting sick, dying, and producing children with horrible birth deformities.

Matt Tully described the war as “a barroom brawl. If you’re in a bar with your brother, and he gets in a fight, whether he started it or not, you help him finish it.”

Cheney started this war and plans a catastrophic nuclear war against Iran that will further poison our troops. Matt Tully’s brothers and sisters need our help. Bring them home! All sources in new series on depleted uranium, our local National Guard, and how to protect them: www.notinkansas.us.

Irving Wesley Hall
  Harpersfield, N.Y.

 

Judeo-Christians Kick The Hell Out Of Lebanon!

Israel has “one of the world’s best armies, probably the finest
fighter pilots on the planet, incredible military intelligence . . .
that could kick the hell out of Iraq all by itself. . .”

“It’d be nice to have Israel in the fight.”

Editorial, Feb. 1, 2003, The Daily Star
  Oneonta, New York (24th Congressional District)


Perhaps I’m someone who shouldn’t read my local newspaper’s editorials.

Editor Sam Pollak
Or maybe I just shouldn’t take them so seriously. But I’ll never forget my first reaction to Editor Sam Pollak’s cocky opinion piece, published a few months before Bush and Cheney’s 2003 “shock and awe” attack on Iraq.

“Is this guy a professional journalist or a schoolyard bully?” I groaned.

Blame my reaction on the circumstances.

I’d opened the morning newspaper during a break from mounting a new set of bookshelves in my library. I’d run out of space for two recently acquired collections of used books: the first on the Nazis’ seizure of power in Germany and the second on the horrors of the Holocaust.

In February 2003, like millions of informed Americans I knew that the Bush Administration was pumping us up for a catastrophic war with a batch of whoppers that shamed Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister.

And Mr. Pollak proudly identified himself as a Jewish-American.

Kicking The Hell Out Of The Viet Cong

Then again, perhaps I was suffering from the Vietnam Syndrome.

The street brawling phrase, “kick the hell out of,” took me back forty years to my first high school teaching job. Desert Sun School, perched in the mountains above Palm Springs, prided itself in placing all graduates in college. I’d been hired to fill three chairs: college counselor and senior class English and American government teacher.

Quite a responsibility for $4,000 a year plus room and board. Believe it or not, that was a respectable salary in 1965. Gas was 29 cents a gallon. The campus setting in the San Jacinto Mountains was spectacular. Desert Sun’s senior class rarely exceeded a dozen students. It’s breezy, pine-shaded classrooms resembled summer camp recreation rooms. Hollywood celebrities sent their kids. Frank Sinatra’s son had once previewed “The Man with the Golden Arm” in a darkened dormitory lounge. One of my seniors was Diane Linkletter, the daughter of a famous TV host.

Sweet spot. I planned to stay awhile.

I vowed to be a teacher whom students would never forget. I recalled the shock my own college Freshman year when I discovered that memorizing facts no longer gained brownie points. Success depended on thinking for oneself. I was as idealistic a government teacher in that little prep school as Jimmy Stewart’s senator in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Classes had yet to begin when I introduced myself in the rustic dining room to my first senior-to-be, soccer star, Jamie Ross. Unsurprisingly, I asked him about his plans after graduation.

“I’m goin’ over to ’Nam, kick the hell out of the Viet Cong, come back and go to college on the GI Bill.”

Wow! What a serious mixture of patriotism and self-interest.

As it turned out, Jamie didn’t kick the hell out of a single Viet Cong. Nor did he return from Southeast Asia in a flag draped coffin, as did a few students from my later teaching career.

After a restless night’s sleep I decided to set aside the stuffy foreign policy reader that I inherited from my predecessor. I copied a half dozen articles from my personal Berkeley library from the early ’sixties.

Fortunately the parochial headmistress had never heard of the authors, Bernard Fall, Wilfred Burchett, I. F. Stone . . . or Sun Tzu. Nor did she have a clue about their subject: the Vietnamese’s successful resistance against the World War II Japanese occupation or the Viet Minh’s awesome defeat in the ’fifties of the returning French colonialists at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu.

My enthusiasm for “college level” research won her over.

Soon the members of the class of ’66 were expostulating over the dinner table about the strategies of guerilla warfare. In the classroom they debated the State Department White Paper on Vietnam. Dorm bull sessions dissected the latest New York Times and Washington Post reports from jungle battlefields.

Faculty old-timers marveled at this senior class’s unusual interest in American Government. If memory serves me right, a weekend college-counseling seminar took me down the mountain during the year’s first visit from San Bernardino by the Marine Corps recruiter.

The headmistress listened to the exchange between the recruiter and my seniors in disbelief.

My fate was sealed.

At the end of the year I was fired for abandoning the traditional curriculum and — in the headmistress’s homey language — for “pulling the rug out from the United States.”

Ironically, 20 years too late for my teaching job, a later version of the school’s stuffy textbook offered the same conclusion about the Vietnam War that my students reached in the mid-’sixties.

The Vietnam War was a lost cause from the get go.

The world’s most powerful occupation army with the latest military technology couldn’t defeat a popular insurgency using guerrilla tactics devised by the Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, five-hundred years before the Sermon on the Mount.

Even with a half million troops, “the world’s best army” with the “finest fighter pilots on the planet” and a billion dollar military intelligence service, the United States was defeated by a peasant army of a Third World country. Yesterday’s “guerrillas” have been tagged today’s “terrorists.” Both groups consider themselves the resistance against imperialism.

The true story of the soldiers who resisted the Vietnam War

Sir! No Sir!

“Over the Rainbow” receives $2 for each DVD purchased through our site.

The Vietnam defeat brings us back to the looming defeat in Iraq and Sam Pollak's 2003 cocky editorial.

My students figured out the plot line in advance. Why couldn’t editor Pollak, an informed journalist, see it coming in Iraq or Lebanon?

The United States hasn’t been able to “kick the hell” out of Iraq’s resistance. And a reported 30,000 Israel soldiers couldn’t “kick the hell” out of a few thousand Lebanese defenders of their homeland.

In the Jerusalem Post Kenneth Besig summarized the current post-Lebanon shock of many Israelis:

“Fewer than 5,000 poorly-armed Hizbullah terrorists stood off the mighty IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] for over a month. An Islamic terrorist gang with no tanks, no artillery, no fighter jets, no attack helicopters, and just a few RPG’s and rifles held to a standstill nearly 30,000 crack IDF troops with the finest tanks, the best artillery, the fastest and most advanced fighter-jets and attack helicopters in the world. And they can still empty our northern communities with their rockets whenever they want. If that is not a victory, then the word has no meaning.”

American Counterpunch Editor Alexander Cockburn summed it up less charitably. Note well his last sentence.

“Disfigured by its ‘special relationship’ with the U.S. arms industry, of which the U.S. Congress is an integral component, the IDF has been morally corrupted by years of risk-free brutalization of unarmed Palestinians, many of them children.

“It’s one thing to level an apartment building with a missile from a plane or crush a protester with a bulldozer or lob shells at a Palestinian family having a picnic on a beach or kidnap middle-aged and democratically elected Palestinian politicians.

“It’s another to confront a foe, with modest but effectively deployed weaponry, prepared to fight back.

“Years of racism have taken their toll too. Think of Arabs as subhuman ‘terrorists’ and you end up making a lot of misjudgments, tactical and strategic.”

Kicking The Hell Out Of Lebanon

It’s been three years since President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech when he landed in his macho flyboy tights on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Three weeks have passed since Israel’s humiliating defeat by Hizbullah. The historical 2006 midterm elections are 10 weeks (and as many blogs) away.

Everyone in the world has a troublesome understanding of what it means for the United States or Israel to try to “kick the hell out of” a conventionally defenseless country. Call it a Judeo-Christian blitzkrieg.

Tourists back from Lebanon, (“the Switzerland of the Middle East”) used to rave about cosmopolitan Beirut, the peaceful little fishing villages, and the bucolic countryside in a nation where Christians, Muslims and Jews had lived peacefully together for centuries and now enjoy a European-style democracy.

No longer.

A few days before the ceasefire, Agence France Presse reported, “In Lebanon, more than 1,000 civilians — some 30 percent of them children under 12 — have been killed by Israeli attacks and nearly a million have fled their homes, sparking what relief agencies described as a humanitarian crisis.”

Later, the Los Angeles Times quoted Fadl Chalak, president of Lebanon’s Council for Development and Reconstruction, “I’ve never seen so much destruction in such a very short time.” The Times reported “nothing in three decades of war and recovery prepared him for the ferocity of Israel’s month-long bombing campaign.”

The Beirut Daily Star on Aug. 23 cited Jean Fabre, a spokesman for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). “The damage is such that the last 15 years of work on reconstruction and rehabilitation, following the previous problems that Lebanon experienced, are now annihilated.” Lebanese authorities estimated last week that direct structural damage inflicted by the offensive reached $3.6 billion, including 15,000 housing units, 80 bridges and 94 roads destroyed or damaged.

“About 35,000 homes and businesses were destroyed in the conflict, while a quarter of the country’s road bridges or overpasses were shattered, according to the UNDP’s initial estimate. U.N. agencies said it would take weeks to assess the full extent of the damage in South Lebanon and Southern Beirut.”

Veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk wrote in “A land reduced to rubble” that “These places now look like French villages did after German bombardment during the First World War . . . I am sending my dispatch to The [London] Independent from an internet café when an American nurse whom I have known for years walks up to me. ‘We have a badly burned woman in emergency and we’ve just had to tell her that her three children are dead,’ she says. And how did she take this news? ‘You can imagine. We found out she’d had her tubes tied so she can’t have any more children.’ And her husband? ‘Dead,’ the nurse replies.

In a later article, Fisk wrote, “There are few marks on the road where the missiles hit the innocents of Marjayoun. But there are the memories of what happened immediately after the Israeli airstrike on the convoy of 3,000 people after dark on 11 August: a 16-year old Christian girl screaming ‘I want my Daddy’ as her father’s mutilated body lay a few metres away from her; the town mukhtar discovering that his wife, Collette, had been decapitated by one of the Israeli missiles; the Lebanese Red Cross volunteer who went into the darkness of wartime Lebanon to give water and sandwiches to the refugees and was cut down by another missile, and whose friends could not reach him to save his life.

“There are those who break down when they recall the massacre at Joub Jannine — and there are the Israelis who gave permission to the refugees to leave Marjayoun, who specified what roads they should use, and who then attacked them with pilotless, missile-firing drone aircraf t. . .

“Who flew the drones? An Israeli soldier of the invasion force? A nameless officer in the Israel Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv? The Israelis knew a civilian convoy was on the road. Yet they sent their pilotless machines to attack it. Why?”

If the Israeli rain of death and destruction during hostilities were not horrific enough, Israel sowed dragon seeds of even greater suffering and devastation for generations to come. The IDF reportedly dropped half-ton “bunker buster” bombs laced with deadly depleted uranium, like those used in Iraq that we labeled “Dick Cheney’s Time-Release Poison,” in our four-part series on this website.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 tons of fuel oil leaked from the electric power plant bombed by Israel.

According the Aug. 23 Beirut Daily Star, “Greenpeace Lebanon revealed on Tuesday [that] exclusive underwater footage show[ed] large amounts of oil polluting the seabed off the coast of Jiyye . . . causing the most severe oil spill in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean. Environmentalists say they are concerned by the possible use of depleted uranium, air pollution caused by fires and the destruction of houses and factories as well as the long term effects of war on rural communities’ interaction with their environment.

“The most serious issue is the oil spill. According to the UN, the spill has created a toxic spray containing class 1 carcinogens that will affect the long-term health of as many as three million people who live on Lebanon’s coast   . . . All these impurities and chemicals will go into the marine life . . . They are going to go into to the food chain and they are going to build up for years and years.

“The spill has already reached Turkey and Cyprus and according to environmentalists will have a huge impact on the biodiversity of the eastern Mediterranean. Beaches that are used as nesting grounds for the endangered green turtle and spawning waters of the blue fin tuna will be affected by the spill . . .

“For five weeks the Israeli air force flew around 9000 missions . . . Many of Lebanon’s largest factories were hit resulting in large fires.

“The fuel depots at Beirut airport (which were hit at the beginning of the conflict) and the bombing of the power station, ignited fires that burned for three weeks sending plumes of smoke that could be seen from 60 kilometres away. For several days many parts of Lebanon were covered by thick clouds of smoke . . . filled with chemicals that can cause cancer, hormonal problems and respiratory difficulties . . .

According to Israel’s daily Ha’aretz, “Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes, saying it broke international law by deliberately destroying Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure . . .

“The human rights group said initial evidence, including the pattern and scope of the Israeli attacks, high number of civilian casualties, widespread damage and statements by Israeli officials ‘indicate that such destruction was deliberate and part of a military strategy, rather than ‘collateral damage.’

“The Amnesty report cited ‘the widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports,’ which, taken with statements by Israeli officials, ‘suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population in an effort to get them to turn against Hizbullah.’ ”

Deadly Gifts From The Sky

The Qatar Pennisular reported “Israel dropped cluster bombs on at least 170 villages and other places in south Lebanon during its 34-day war with Hizbullah guerrillas, a senior United Nations de-mining official said yesterday . . .

“ ‘The devices are known to have killed eight people and wounded at least 25, including several children, since a truce took hold on Aug. 14,’ said Tekimiti Gilbert, operations chief of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre in Lebanon.

“ ‘It’s a huge problem. There are obvious dangers with children, people, cars. People are tripping over these things.’ Gilbert said he had ‘no doubt’ that Israel had deliberately hit built-up areas with cluster bombs, in violation of international law which states that such munitions must not be used in areas where there are civilians.

“ ‘These cluster bombs were dropped in the middle of villages,’ ” he said. . . .

“Some are small, black and cylindrical, easy to overlook and to detonate. Others are round and can look like dusty rocks.

The London Telegraph reported, “British mine clearance experts have accused Israel of ‘carpeting’ Lebanese border villages with deadly cluster bombs, claiming that more appeared to have been used than in the American-led invasion of [much-larger] Iraq.

“There have been growing calls in recent years to outlaw the use of cluster bombs, which scatter hundreds of small ‘bomblets’ no bigger than an AA battery over a target area. Although designed to explode on impact, they often fail to do so, remaining a deadly threat to civilians who might tread on them.

“Among the victims was Ali Turkiye, 13, who was harvesting grapes in the village of Zawte when he accidentally dislodged a bomblet that had been caught in a vine. ‘It tore the top of his skull off,’ said Ali Haaj Ali, the director- general of the Najde Hospital in Nabatieh. ‘We tried to save him but we could not.’

“Yusuf Khalil, died while helping the Lebanese army to clear the munitions. ‘He was close to one of the bomblets and a frog jumped from next to the device and set it off, leaving him with fatal head injuries,’ said Mr Ali.

“‘The Israelis dropped these in the last few hours of the war when the fighting was nearly over,’ said Hussein Khatib, a family friend. ‘They were dropped at night and landed in the rooftops, on the road, everywhere. Israel and America both know that these weapons should be banned, yet they still keep using them.’”

On August 23 Ana Nogueira reported from Southern Lebanon for Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! on Free Speech TV.

“The United Nations interim force in Lebanon estimates that Israel dropped approximately 150,000 bombs . . . Many of these remain unexploded, even as villagers return home to start clearing away the rubble. The large unexploded missiles, while extremely threatening, are easier to find. It is the estimated 15,000 cluster bomb munitions, each carrying anywhere from 80 to 600 small bomblets, that pose the most immediate threat.

“Mark Garlasco is the senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch. He stated, ‘The use of submunitions here in Lebanon really is at a crisis point. We’re seeing the contamination levels far higher than many areas during the Iraq war. Interestingly, though, we’ve also seen the exact same cluster bombs used here that were used in Iraq.’

“In Nabatiya, an 11-year-old boy was killed after stepping on an unexploded bomb in front of his house. His father, running out to help him, stepped on another and died 72 hours later. Not even the hospital grounds, where many of these patients are being taken, are safe. Doctor Fouad Faha shows us around the hospital in Bint Jbeil, where we counted six visible unexploded devices, including a 500-pound missile in the backyard.

“ ‘And we have counted over 30 villages so far, where people are coming back to their homes to find unexploded ordinances in their living room, in their patios, on their rooftops, and in their cars. This is truly very dangerous, and it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions . . .’ ”

The New York Times reported on Aug. 11 that the United States provided many of the cluster bombs to the Israelis.

“During much of the 1980’s, the United States maintained a moratorium on selling cluster munitions to Israel, following disclosures that civilians in Lebanon had been killed with the weapons during [a previous] 1982 Israeli invasion. But the moratorium was lifted late in the Reagan administration, and since then, the United States has sold Israel some types of cluster munitions, the senior official said.

“The M-26 ‘is a particularly deadly weapon,’ Bonnie Docherty, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, who helped write a study of the United States’ use of the weapons in the 2003 Iraq invasion. ‘They were used widely by U.S. forces in Iraq and caused hundreds of civilian casualties.’ ”

The outrage over the use of these weapons is not limited to Lebanese.

British-Israeli historian Avi Shlaim is a professor and researcher at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Shlaim, is one of Israel’s prominent “new historians.” In an article in the Aug. 4 International Herald Tribune, Shlaim states, “No strategic gain would justify in moral terms the death and destruction that Israel has visited on its defenseless neighbor . . . Killing children is wrong. Period. A ‘war on terror’ cannot be won by a democratically elected government acting like a terrorist organization.”

“My own personal opinion is that the Iraqi people are not better off as a result of the invasion and people in America and Great Britain are not safer.”

 — Jimmy Carter

Previously quoted Fadl Chalak, president of the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction, said “You see, watching TV every day, I get so angry, I just give up,” he said. “Make no mistake. Every Arab now, every Muslim, has a little bit of Bin Laden in himself. We’re not religious fanatics . . . but we just feel we have nowhere to go.

“We get together, and one of us will raise the glass, ‘Here’s to Bin Laden.’ And everybody will raise the glass.”

Hymn-singing Condoleezza Rice justified Bush’s refusal to stop the wholesale slaughter of civilians with the ghoulish observation that the carnage reflected the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” What a Nativity message from a Christian secretary of state who never birthed a child, much less buried one.

 

August 28, 2006

Letter published in The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.

No wonder Arabs hate U.S., Israel

Editor Sam Pollak proudly identifies himself as a Jewish-American. Before the Iraq war, he wrote “(Israel has) one of the world’s best armies, probably the finest fighter pilots on the planet, incredible military intelligence . . . that could kick the hell out of Iraq all by itself . . .”

Hello? United States can’t “kick the hell” out of Iraq’s resistance. And Israel couldn’t “kick the hell” out of 3,000 Lebanese homeland defenders. All people resist military occupation.

Muslims are dancing in the streets celebrating Lebanon’s victory. Israelis blame each other for a military defeat.

No wonder Mr. Pollak says he is “confused, a little mixed up.”

The corporate media, military profiteers and Armageddon-loving televangelists suckered us again!

Pro-Israel neo-conservatives planned to conquer Iraq before 9/11. It was a pretext; oil a motive. Cheney conspired with Israel to destroy Lebanon months ago. “Kidnapped” soldiers were excuses for a “shock and awe” rehearsal against Iran.

Aggressor Israel played the victim. Mr. Pollak calls Hezbollah “monsters (representing) a sick, fundamentalist culture that approves of senseless killing while using women and children as human shields.” He’d quickly condemn such language about Israelis as anti-Semitic.

He apologized for promoting Bush’s Iraq lies. Now he should repudiate his own ethnic prejudices. Jews are not “chosen people,” Mr. Pollak. Neither are Christian Americans. Human beings are equal. Israel killed and maimed thousands of civilians for two captured soldiers. Bush killed 100,000 Iraqis unconnected to 9/11’s 3,000 victims. Muslims call this “Judeo-Christian” racism.

“That’s why “they” hate us. Israel must return all lands stolen from Arabs. American Christians, Jews and Muslims: Please help prevent another 9/11 by voting to end the Afghanistan and Iraq occupations.”


Irving Wesley Hall
Morris, N.Y.

Save The Hospital from the Iraq war
(Letter published in The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y., July 19, 2005.)

The Iraq War is closing Sidney’s Hospital. The war is robbing Charlotte Valley School. It’s forcing Fox nurses to work 16-hour days, and patients suffer. Sidney lacks $6.8 million to save its hospital and emergency room so 230 caregivers can save lives instead of losing jobs. Why?

Albany and Washington drain millions of dollars from our community in payroll deductions, squeezing our pocketbooks for local hospital and school taxes. Cities and states across America are cutting funds for children, the sick, and the elderly.

Where’s the money going?

Compare Sidney’s $6.8 million debt with $100 million Halliburton charged taxpayers for meals in Iraq it never delivered to our troops. Compare $6.8 million with $1.8 billion we paid Halliburton for work it can't even prove took place. (Google my name for sources.)

Halliburton just won another no-bid contract for $5 billion, over objections from Pentagon auditors. Is Halliburton in Iraq to serve our troops, or are our troops in Iraq to profit Halliburton? It’s hard for both Democratic and Republican voters to face the fact that our leaders have hijacked our patriotism.

We’ve got to draw the line at Sidney’s Hospital.

Iraq never had a suicide bombing until both parties sent our troops as decoys. London’s bombings show that terrorists attack countries (United States, Britain and Israel) that occupy Muslim lands or support Middle Eastern dictators. Countries that mind their own business are left alone.

The Bush administration predicts one-fourth of our loved ones in uniform will come home physically or mentally damaged. How many need Sidney’s Hospital?

“Support-our-troops” bow on your car? Walk your talk. Call or write your representatives. Demand they transfer $6.8 million from Halliburton to The Hospital this month or lose your vote.

Bring our troops home now, for their sake and ours.

Irving Wesley Hall
  Harpersfield, N.Y.

 

Return to top

 

Toto

My name is Toto.
Please click on me to go home.

 

Copyright © 2004-2005 Irving Wesley Hall