Saturday, February 2, 2008

Learning and Teaching

What have we learned and what will we teach the next generation about torture, lying, stealing, and war crimes?

Here is a recent Alternet piece by Andy Worthington about Jose Padilla, an American Citizen whom our President unilaterally designated an “enemy combatant”. Padilla was held in the brig for over three and a half years without charge or trial and was tortured by way of prolonged sensory deprivation and solitary confinement. Another bit about torture here: Democracy Now’s exclusive coverage of a Yemeni man and victim of the CIA rendition program who was kidnapped, held in secret jails, and tortured. Yes. We. Do. Torture.

From an AP piece by Douglas K. Daniel: "It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

We’ve heard our Congress members talk about how important it is for the Iraqi government to meet certain “benchmarks”, which includes passing an oil law that was created under Washington’s guidance. It seems the U.S.-influenced oil law is quite unpopular in Iraq. Iraqi Oil Union leaders say it gives control of the oil fields to foreign (read U.S. and British) corporations. David Bacon from the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a great piece last summer on this subject. The U.K.’s Global Policy website has a large collection of articles about Iraq, several related to the problems associated with the unfair oil law. Most importantly, check out what Iraqis have to say. Here is a half-hour youtube video recorded last July of Hassan Jumaa, President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions speaking out. Here is an Iraqi Oil Union website.

War Crimes.
A comprehensive report on war crimes we’ve committed against the people of Iraq prepared by Consumers For Peace with the advice of noted Human Rights Lawyer Karen Parker and endorsed by Historian Howard Zinn, Colonel Ann Wright, a 29-year Army Veteran and U.S. Diplomat who resigned in protest of the Iraq War, Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who spent more than eight months reporting from U.S. occupied Iraq, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices For Creative Non-Violence and three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee who has visited Iraq twenty-eight times in the past fifteen years, and others.

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