Thursday, January 17, 2008

Daniel Ellsberg, Col. Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan

No politician, no one in public media -- NO ONE -- speaks anything close to the facts, and so I feel both terribly grateful (while the situation is sad) that I am able to be present for meetings such as the one staged tonight by COURAGE TO RESIST. By all means, contribute to the large number of soldiers resisting service in Iraq -- As Cindy Sheehan said, moral support is great, but these guys need food: http://www.couragetoresist.org
All the people who spoke were shining examples of moral integrity, and so it was appropriate that the event was being held to introduce DISSENT: VOICES OF CONSCIENCE by Colonel Ann Wright, U.S. Army, Retired -- who went into the diplomatic services, then left the government in protest over the war in Iraq.
Jeff Paterson, with Courage to Resist, reported on his attendance, with Lori Hurlebaus, at a hearing of a committee of the Canadian House of Commons which swung closer to providing sanctuary to the many soldiers who have gone to Canada. At their website you will find the addresses for writing letters (requires 69-cent stamp), to three Canadian officials, asking "you to make a provision for sanctuary for the scores of U.S. military sevice members currently in Canada."
Daniel Ellsberg wrote the foreward to Ann Wright's book, and I assume he is one of the heroes in her book as one of the first to speak out with conscience, not bend to some blind, rote commitment to party or politics. His definition of the moral action that is required even by certain government principles that are supposed to be posted in every government office -- loyalty above person, party, etc., loyalty only to country and high moral principles -- spoke from the place from which the only hope for the country comes. He was great, urging not only that impeachment of Cheney and Bush should proceed, but reminding us that people like Pelosi are also violating the Constitution. That she and Jane Harmon knew about tortures being used and did not immediately speak out about them publicly makes them NOT voices of conscience.



Ann Wright told some of the stories of the heros described in her book. One of them was about the soldier who took the photos of the tortures of Abu Ghraib that revealed to the world what was going on there. Rumsford revealed his identity while speaking to his unit in Iraq, so much endangering the young man's life that he must now live in hiding under the Witness Protection program.
Ann Wright asked this wonderful group how many had served time in jail as acts of conscience. I felt embarrassed to be one of the few who had escaped jail, but one woman said that being in the Army for two years would do to represent my jail time. The wide variety of groups represented there -- labor, teachers, Code Pink, those working for Impeachment, etc. -- as people who served time as a result of protesting so many stupid U.S. actions over the decades -- invasions, overthrowing governments, etc. -- represented the secret and better part of U.S. history so far as I am concerned. As with other resisting veterans, Mike Wong's equivalent of "jail time" was his exile of two years when he deserted the American War in Vietnam. In groups like this, I always understand the power in an old spiritual turned protest song: This little light'll shine. Ann Wright, I saw, resisted the easy way, despair.


When sending in your contribution to Veterans Resisting the War, and those refusing to serve in this illegal war, you might also send a contribution to the Congressional Campaign of Cindy Sheehan (http://www.cindyforcongress.org/). It is so refreshing to listen to someone who doesn't mince words, unlike Pelosi, the mealy-mouth she would replace, who is part of Nob Hill society, and a party functionary.




Keep an ear open for all the politicians who speak of the U.S.A. as a Capitalist Democracy. Those are the code words that are supposed to make us salivate. What is Capitalist Democracy? Looking around, it looks like a disaster locally (except for those content to have a iPod in place of a brain as they step over the people sleeping in the streets) and internationally (where we are replacing the Nazis as symbols of sadistic and murderous arrogance). If you want to see what Capitalist Democracy is, see the documentary, OUR BRAND IS CRISIS. What would non-Capitalist Democracy look like? I think I want some of that.

4 comments:

kimy said...

sounds like an inspiring evening. I hope this is part of a book tour and they (part or all) will be heading this way!

capitalist democracy - nah, no democracy here! we have a corporate oligarchy. for those of us who vote (and as you know we have one the most dismal percentages of people who are eligible to vote actually voting) we think our vote matters, but increasingly it seems as this thought is just a great delusion.

thanks for the reporting and the wonderful pictures!!

lucky looks just like my rosie - if I sleep on my back she is on my chest, millimeters from my face - undoubtedly waiting for me to stop breathing - cats, you just have to love them!!

menshevik said...

Why is Cindy Sheehan dating Lew Rockwell, who wrote all those racist newsletters for Ron Paul?

The Blue Elephant said...

Menshevik: Wikipedia tells me (what I should know) that Menshevik means "minority" in opposition to "Bolshevik," meaning that "majority," that included Lenin, who controlled the Russian Communist system. I guess that indicates that you are a more moderate radica, bless you. Anyway, I cannot find any information that would help me corrobrate your information, not even from Ms. Sheehan's sister. Perhaps you will tell me your source -- if I am not to believe this is not just a rumor started by someone who dislikes Ms. Sheehan. In truth, I don't care who dates, or even sleeps with, whom.

The Blue Elephant said...

Menshevik: Wikipedia tells me (what I should know) that Menshevik means "minority" in opposition to "Bolshevik," meaning that "majority," that included Lenin, who controlled the Russian Communist system. I guess that indicates that you are a more moderate radical, bless you. Anyway, I cannot find any information that would help me corroborate your information, not even from Ms. Sheehan's sister. Perhaps you will tell me your source -- if I am not to believe this is not just a rumor started by someone who dislikes Ms. Sheehan. In truth, I don't care who dates, or even sleeps with, whom.