Norman Soloman writes about Cindy Sheehan’s Moral Alternative to Bush and Dean:

In , after many years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg wrote: “In that time, I have seen it first as a problem; then as a stalemate; then as a crime.”

…the US war effort in Iraq is not a quagmire. It is what Daniel Ellsberg came to realize the Vietnam War was: “a crime.”

Cindy Sheehan — and many other people who have joined her outside the presidential gates in Crawford, and millions of other Americans — understand that. And they’re willing to say so. They have rejected not only the rabid militarism of the Bush administration but also the hollowed-out pseudo-strategic abdication of moral responsibility so well articulated by Howard Dean.

…Bush got his scripted syntax inverted when he made the mistake of saying something that rang true: “Obviously, the conditions on the ground depend upon our capacity to bring troops home.”

While Bush sees the war as a problem and Dean bemoans it as a stalemate, Sheehan refuses to evade the truth that it is a crime. And the analysis that came from Daniel Ellsberg in , while the Vietnam War continued, offers vital clarity today: “Each of these perspectives called for a different mode of personal commitment: a problem, to help solve it; a stalemate, to help extricate ourselves with grace; a crime, to expose and resist it, to try to stop it immediately, to seek moral and political change.”

Meanwhile, the right-wing is blowing its top. Rush Limbaugh:

Have you heard about the guy that’s a neighbor down there firing off a shotgun in the air? He says, “Yeah, well, dove season is coming up.” But stop and think about this, what’s the peace symbol? The dove. So I think this guy is pretty clever. I love this guy. I think this guy is clever as he can be. Dove season is coming up, and you got a whole bunch of doves down there with Cindy Sheehan.

And the hawk attack blogs are making a big deal about Sheehan’s tax resistance vow (Cindy Sheehan Confesses to Being a Tax Cheat!) while the peacenik world is more-or-less ignoring it.

Although the Sheehan vigil is the top story on SmirkingChimp.com, a blog that collects articles from the anti-Dubya press, I checked through the eleven front-page articles on the subject and not a one mentioned Ms Sheehan’s declaration of tax resistance. I have yet to see any suggestions or musings that maybe her supporters might want to sign on to that protest.

I’ve got to suspect that this is a case of “we support you Cindy — as long as we can do it without having to do more than express our opinion!”


Thanks to Claire Wolfe for plugging The Picket Line in her recent post about “Living with one’s convictions.” She was inspired to write that entry by what she’d read here about the American slave-holders who emancpiated their slaves when liberty-loving slave-owner Thomas Jefferson said it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, and about the tax resisting renegade lawyer J. Tony Serra.

I’ll add another story that’s sure to inspire:

“I wanted to see how far they’d go to get another soldier,” says [David] McSwane, a reporter for the Westwind at Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colo. So he set up a sting investigation, posing as a high school dropout with a marijuana habit and went down to his local Colorado Army recruitment station to enlist.

McSwane, 17, knew he would have to document his conversations with the recruiters, so he taped the telephone conversations, enlisted his sister to pose as a proud sibling so she could photograph parts of the process, and asked a friend to operate a video camera across from a local head shop.

But how did McSwane get an recruiter to visit a head shop with him? Simple. The honor student, pretending to have a ganja habit he couldn’t kick, went there to score a detoxifying kit the Army office claimed had helped two previous recruits pass drug tests, according to a taped phone conversation broadcast on local TV. McSwane told his recruiter he didn’t know what the detox formula looked like, so the man agreed to go to the store with him.

Aside from his drug problem, McSwane said he had no high school diploma — which at that time was true, as he graduated about two months later — and that he had dropped out of high school. No problem, the recruiters told him. There are Web sites where anyone can order a diploma from a school they make up. “It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School or whatever you choose,” one recruiter can be heard saying on one of the taped exchanges.

…Within a few days the boy’s sting had made national headlines, and the U.S. Army froze recruiting operations nationwide for a day. (His two would-be recruiters were suspended.)

“It’s been kind of cool to see a reaction from the Pentagon on a story done in a high school paper,” the teen reporter says.


Iraq is like… well it’s like the world’s biggest slush fund, except it’s on fire.

Iraqi investigators have uncovered widespread fraud and waste in more than $1 billion worth of weapons deals arranged by middlemen who reneged or took huge kickbacks on contracts to arm Iraq’s fledgling military…

Knight Ridder reported last month that $300 million in defense funds had been lost. But the report indicates that the audit board uncovered a much larger scandal, with losses likely to exceed $500 million, that’s roiling the ministry as it struggles to build up its armed forces.…

The audit board’s investigators looked at 89 contracts of and discovered a pattern of deception and sloppiness that squandered more than half the Defense Ministry’s annual budget aimed at standing up a self-sufficient force, according to a copy of the 33-page report.…

“There’s no rebuilding, no weapons, nothing,” said retired Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul Aziz al-Yaseri, who worked in the Defense Ministry at the height of the alleged corruption. “There are no real contracts, even. They just signed papers and took the money.”

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