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Follow-up on Resolution calling for Ending the Iraq War by Ann Arbor Democratic Party

Here’s a follow-up to Resolution calling for ending the Iraq War:

This is the text of the letter sent to Senators Levin and Stabenow and to Congressman Dingell on or about January 20 as provided to me by Susan Greenberg, Ann Arbor Democratic Party Chair [minor reformatting to fix word-wrapped lines from email–HH]:

Date: Saturday, January 20, 2007 4:04 PM -0500
From: [address removed for privacy reasons]
To: stabenow@senate.gov
Subject: Ann Arbor City Democratic Party urges end the war

Ann Arbor City Democratic Party, P.O. Box 4178, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
734/480-4986, aadems@comcast.net

January 20, 2007

The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Stabenow:

It is now time for the Iraq War to end. Despite the election results in
November 2006, the Bush administration seems hell bent on implementing the
McCain Doctrine ? a serious escalation in the number of US troops deployed
in Iraq. The American people, the people of the state of Michigan and
the people of the 15th district in Michigan support an end to this conflict
forthwith.

The Ann Arbor City Democratic Party asked me as chair to send this
letter to ask you to strongly and publicly support an end to the Iraq war. No
good can come from the continued US presence in Iraq. No good can come
from the additional loss of life an escalation in the war is likely to
cause.

Due to the malfeasance of the Bush administration, the US has no viable
option other than to as swiftly as possible end US military involvement
in this most misguided engagement.

We strongly encourage you to use all tools at your disposal to compel
the US government to end our nation’s involvement in the Iraq war.

Sincerely,

Susan Greenberg, Chair
Ann Arbor City Democratic Party

I called Senator Levin and Senator Stabenow in Washington to see if they had received, read and responded to the resolution and letter from the Ann Arbor Democratic Party organization regarding the Iraq War. Neither senator’s staff seemed to know what I was talking about.

I got a big run-around from Stabenow’s people, had to call three times and was told the first two that they were too busy to look for the resolution or tell me if Senator Stabnenow had yet seen it or replied. I had to remind them that I worked as a campaign volunteer for the Michigan Coordinated Campaign for six months last year helping to re-elect the Senator and ask if they would prefer that I table a resolution censuring her or asking for her expulsion from the party at this month’s State Convention before they suddenly found the motivation to locate the letter from Chairperson Greenberg they had had for almost two weeks.

Still waiting to hear from Justin at Levin’s office.

Dingell I know got our message because his wife Debbie was there to represent him at the meeting on Jan. 13 and endured some somewhat rough handling on his behalf. She also read a long letter from him which I’ll see if they can/will provide for posting here.

I wrote down some of the things said during the debate (paraphrased and mostly unattributed unless someone can provide me the names):

We support our young men and women in the Army and Navy.

Our children are dying.

I am losing my students to this war.

We urge that this war be ended this year.

No public involved in war wins — both sides lose.

Armies cannot establish democracies or establish societies.

We need to replace US troops with an international force.

We [Democrats] don’t want to own this war.

We ask that you rescind the Iraq War Authorization Act, PL 107-243 [that was me–moving to strike and replace language calling for immediate halt to funding–motion failed]

We ask that the United States government utilize diplomatic means to resolve international issues.

Any mother mourns the loss of her son or a daughter in war equally; wherever she lives; in Iraq or America, be it a grand palace or a hut so rude. [That is my poor paraphrase from memory from a very moving speech from former Congressman Ray Clevenger, D-Mich].

I’d also say many of us had tears in the eyes during this debate and I do now again thinking of it.

We debated passionately for two hours until we were told our room reservation was up and the University of Michigan was kicking us out. Then we voted in the affirmative, with the no votes split about equally between those who thought the resolution too strong and those who thought it too weak. My motion for unanimous consent was shouted down.

I would like to give credit to Dana Barton, Tim Colenback, Kathy Linderman; and Carlos Acevedo; who submitted the two draft resolutions we used to forge the resolution which was passed. And thanks to Susan Greenberg for getting me the copy of her letter as sent.

see also: Resolution calling for ending the Iraq War

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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3 February, 2007 Posted by | Ann Arbor, archives, Army, Congress, democratic, Dingell, funding, Iraq, letter, Levin, media, Michigan, military, Navy, news, peace, politics, protest, resolution, scanlyze, Senate, Stabenow, US Congress, US Senate, war | 1 Comment

America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

America the Beautiful
1st and 2nd verses,
Catherine Lee Bates
1913

I sang these verses in a somewhat quavery but fairly on-key voice to a high school auditorium full of people at a town meeting called by US Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich) after 9/11. One brave lady in the crowd sang with me.

One of the panelists invited by Rivers, a moderate and well-respected member of the Ann Arbor Muslim community was Rabih Haddad. Mr. Haddad was taken from his Ann Arbor home by US officials on December 14, 2001, terrorizing and traumatizing his wife and young children in the process. Haddad was then held without charges, mostly in solitary confinement, for 19 months. The ranking Democratic member (and now chair) of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-Mich), was refused admission to Haddad’s hearing in Detroit for purported reasons of national security. Following a great deal of public demonstrations, controversy, and criticism concerning the government actions, Haddad was then secretly deported. The Ann Arbor News withheld the information about his impending deportation from publication for several days at government request.

My Brother Rabih Haddad
Rabih Haddad Speaks Out

I was inspired to write this by:

I Love America by Shirley Buxton.

This is my response to Shirley:

Is this the America you love?

  • Secret trials and secret prisons?
  • Torture, rape and murder as instruments of state policy?
  • No more habeas corpus?
  • A Government which contemptuously disregards the Geneva Conventions?
  • No right to a lawyer, a trial by jury or even the right to know the charges against you?
  • A President who has utter contempt for the Constitution and the law?
  • A Nation that attacks without provocation, and lies about the putative reasons?

Shame on you, Shirley Buxton.

The patriots and ‘founding fathers’ you pretend to admire were, in fact revolutionaries who took up arms to overthrow a repressive government. That’s why we call it the American Revolutionary War! Furthermore, the original Pledge of Allegiance you quote was written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy in 1892, and did not include the words, “under God”. This phrase was added by Congress in 1954 during the height of the McCarthy repression.

Consider:

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.

–Benjamin Franklin

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.

–John Adams

Give me liberty or give me death!

–Patrick Henry

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

–Sam Adams

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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3 February, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, America, America the Beautiful, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor News, Bush, Conyers, democratic, essay, liberty, Lynn Rivers, Michigan, patriot, patriotism, peace, Pledge of Allegiance, politics, quotations, Rabih Haddad, repression, revolution, scanlyze, Shirley Buxton, US Constitution, USA | 3 Comments

Najaf: What happened to the children?

What happened to the ‘terrorist children’ captured in the Glorious Battle of Najaf? I suggest you contact your elected representatives and the responsible agencies and ask as I am. I am looking forward to a call-back from Senator Levin’s office next week.

Apparently a substantial number of those ‘hundreds’ injured, captured or killed in the day-long slaughter by US and Iraqi forces may have been non-combatants, women and children.

Stratfor provides some interesting additional information regarding the Najaf Incident and raises some pertinent questions:

Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle
January 31, 2007 03 00 GMT

…Not only is this perhaps the most bizarre incident in almost four years of incessant violence that has ravaged the country, the government’s version of what allegedly transpired raises more questions than provides answers.

  • How could a cult evolve into such a major threat without getting noticed?
  • If this was an obscure cult, why were government forces unable to deal with it on their own?
  • From where did the group acquire such a large cache of weaponry?
  • Given the deep sectarian differences, how can extremist Shia and jihadists both be part of the group?
  • Why would a Shiite religious group risk alienation by engaging in the murder of the clerical hierarchy, especially during the holy month of Muharram?

These and other such questions indicate the government is withholding a lot of information. However, Stratfor has received some information that provides insight into the circumstances leading up to the battle.

We are told the al-Hawatim tribe wanted to organize its own Karbala procession during Ashurah but that a rival group with considerable influence prevented it from doing so. A number of tribesmen were killed at a checkpoint operated by this influential group, including a senior tribal sheikh. The tribe then launched a retaliatory attack that led to the battle. The fact that a large number of those arrested are women and children [emphasis mine–HH] lends some credence to the report that the fighting was related to Ashurah ceremonies.

Stratfor apparently only provides this article to subscribers or google searchers, so google on: “Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle”.

Mike Whitney raises some more good points in Palestine Chronicle:

Mike Whitney: Whitewashing the Massacre in Najaf

The US military is now being used as an “enforcer” in tribal and clan-based disputes. This will make it even more difficult for Washington to prove that its honest broker who can reconcile the differences between the between the warring factions.

By Mike Whitney
PalestineChronicle.com

So far, there are 2 things that we can say with certainty about the massacre of 250 Iraqis outside Najaf on Monday. First, we know that there is no solid evidence to support the official version of events. And, second, we know that every media outlet in the United States slavishly provided the government’s version to their readers without fact-checking or providing eyewitness testimony.

This proves that those who argue that mainstream news is “filtered” are sadly mistaken. There is no filter between the military and media; it’s a direct channel. In fact, all of the traditional obstacles have been swept away so the fairy tales which originate at the Pentagon end up on America’s front pages with as little interference as possible.

In the present case, we were told that “hundreds of gunmen from a ‘messianic cult’ (Soldiers of Heaven) planned to disguise themselves as pilgrims and kill clerics on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar”. We are expected to believe that they put their wives and children in the line of fire so they could conceal their real intention to lay siege to the city. (AP)

This is absurd. How many men would willingly drag their families into battle? In truth, these same tribes make the pilgrimage to Najaf every year to express their devotion to Imam Hussein and to celebrate the Shiite holiday of Ashura. There was nothing out of the ordinary in their behavior.

Gulf Times says:

US military still probing cult battle

Published: Saturday, 3 February, 2007, 10:33 AM Doha Time

BAGHDAD: The US military said yesterday it was still investigating who its troops and Iraq’s security forces fought last week in clashes in which hundreds of people were killed.

The Iraqi government’s account of the battle near the holy city of Najaf has generated conspiracy theories among bloggers sceptical of its suggestion that those killed were members of a messianic Muslim cult plotting to kill top Shia clerics.

“We are investigating who we engaged there. We are not going to say anything as there is still an ongoing investigation,” US military spokesman Major Steven Lamb said, adding that this was standard practice after any major engagement.

But a week after the battle amid orchards and houses north of Najaf, mystery shrouds exactly who the fighters were and what triggered the day-long battle in which a US attack helicopter was shot down, killing its two crew.

Hundreds of people arrested in the aftermath, including women and children, are under guard. [emphasis mine–HH] Journalists were not allowed to visit the scene of the fighting until Thursday, four days after the battle, and only then accompanied by soldiers.

According to Middle East Online, almost 300 persons were taken into custody after the Najaf Incident:

Iraq lifts curfew in Najaf

Iraqi officials say nearly 2,000 civilians killed in raging sectarian conflict across Iraq in January.

By Hasan Abdul Zahra – NAJAF, Iraq

Iraqi authorities on Friday lifted a curfew imposed on Shiite Islam’s holiest city of Najaf in a bid to thwart attacks a day after 73 people died in twin suicide bombings in nearby Hilla…

On Sunday, Iraqi and US forces fought members of a Shiite sect north of Najaf, killing more than 250 “Soldiers of Heaven,” wounding more than 200 and arresting almost 300 [emphasis mine–HH].

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

3 February, 2007 Posted by | 1st Cavalry, Army, Bush, children, covert operations, intelligence, international law, Iraq, law of nations, Levin, massacre, media, memory hole, murder, Najaf, national security, peace, prisoners, repression, scanlyze, SCIRI, war, war crimes, weird | Leave a comment