Media Watch World: Bin Laden Threatens, Solidarity Call for Feminists, More Robert Fisk, McCain Showing His Age, Bush, Taslima, Iraq Numbers and more
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An Open Letter to All Feminists: Support Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Women.
By Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira
As feminists and people of conscience, we call for solidarity with Palestinian women in Gaza suffering due to the escalating military attacks that Israel turned into an open war on civilians. This war has targeted women and children, and all those who live under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, and are also denied the right to freedom of movement, health, and education.
We stand in solidarity with Iraqi women whose daughters, sisters, brothers, or sons have been abused, tortured, and raped in U.S. prisons such as Abu Ghraib. Women in Iraq continue to live under a U.S. occupation that has devastated families and homes, and are experiencing a rise in religious extremism and restrictions on their freedom that were unheard of before the U.S. invasion, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," in 2003.
At this moment in Afghanistan, women are living with the return of the Taliban and other misogynistic groups such as the Northern Alliance, a U.S. ally, and with the violence of continuing U.S. and NATO attacks on civilians, despite the U.S. war to "liberate" Afghan women in 2001.
Robert Fisk:"And I will hazard a terrible guess: that we have lost Afghanistan as surely as we have lost Iraq and as surely as we are going to "lose" Pakistan. It is our presence, our power, our arrogance, our refusal to learn from history and our terror – yes, our terror – of Islam that is leading us into the abyss."
America's massive military prestige has been irreparably diminished. And if there are, as I now calculate, 22 times as many Western troops in the Muslim world as there were at the time of the 11th and 12th century Crusades, we must ask what we are doing. Are we there for oil? For democracy? For Israel? For fear of weapons of mass destruction? Or for fear of Islam?
We blithely connect Afghanistan to Iraq. If only Washington had not become distracted by Iraq, so the narrative now goes, the Taliban could not have re-established themselves. But al-Qa'ida and the nebulous Osama bin Laden were not distracted. Which is why they expanded their operations into Iraq and then used this experience to assault the West in Afghanistan with the hitherto – in Afghanistan – unheard of suicide bomber.
And until we learn to leave these Muslim peoples alone, our catastrophe in the Middle East will only become graver. There is no connection between Islam and "terror". But there is a connection between our occupation of Muslim lands and "terror". It's not too complicated an equation. And we don't need a public inquiry to get it right.
Better technology — such as video conferencing — can help fight climate change and reduce carbon emissions, according to former U.S. vice-president and environmental crusader Al Gore.
The Nobel Prize winner, who was also awarded an Oscar in 2007 for his environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth, told an audience at the VoiceCon telecommunications summit in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday that businesses can improve their efficiency — and thus profitability — if they adopt new technology.
Penis Cancer: My Very Private Hell - By Simon Usborne
'Cancer patients are often quite gung-ho," says John D Edwards at his studio in the Foundry, a converted biscuit factory in Poplar, east London, "but I could shut them up in seconds." Reliving his brush with death a decade ago, the celebrated painter tells how, in a bid to boost morale, patients on his cancer ward would gather to talk about their illnesses.
"There were awful cases -- people with eyes missing, huge growths or bits chopped off," he recalls, "but none of them seemed fazed. Then I introduced myself. They said, 'so, what have you got?' 'Oh, er, men's cancer,' I replied. 'Prostate?' 'No.' 'Testicular?' 'No.' They dug a bit more until I just came out and said it. 'I've got penile cancer, OK -- cancer of the penis!' You could have heard a pin drop."
Raúl Castro’s China strategy —Jorge Castañeda
In 1953, Fidel Castro, in what is probably the best-known speech in Latin American political history, proclaimed in court that history would absolve him. In fact, history will judge him, and his nearly 50 years in power, only when the results are in: when the initial achievements in health and education and combating inequality are evaluated according to international standards and with the transparency to which the rest of the region’s countries are subject.
Only then we will know if the trade-off at least made sense, even if for many it was unacceptable: authentic social justice and progress in exchange for authoritarian rule, international ostracism, and a cultural desert.
McCain Repeats Iran-Al Qaeda Gaffe Yet Again
For the third time in two days, the Arizona Republican has pushed the definitively false statement that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda was getting assistance from Iran, even though he was publicly ridiculed for the same false assertion on Tuesday.
This time, in a statement from his campaign honoring the fifth year anniversary of the war, McCain wrote:
"Today in Iraq, America and our allies stand on the precipice of winning a major victory against radical Islamic extremism. The security gains over the past year have been dramatic and undeniable. Al Qaeda and Shia extremists -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated."
On Tuesday, the senator, appearing in Israel, made a nearly identical assertion that al-Qaeda was leaving Iraq to retool and regroup in Iran.
Conyers: Impeachment If Bush Invades Iran
Speaking on Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers said that serious legal challenges to the Bush administration would not be off the table both before the president left office and after.
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said he would pursue articles of impeachment for the president should he pursue war in Iran without Congress' approval.
"If Bush goes into Iran, he should be impeached," said Conyers. "And we've sent him a letter to that affect."
Iraq Casualties, Iraq Costs, Iraq Numbers
The Cost to Our Forces in Iraq
3,990: American troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the war. [icasualties.org, 3/17/08]
29,395: Number of U.S. service members that have been wounded in hostile action since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq. [AP, 3/11/08]
60,000: Number of troops that have been subjected to controversial stop-loss measures--meaning those who have completed service commitments but are forbidden to leave the military until their units return from war. [US News and World Report, 2/25/08]
The Cost to Our Military Readiness
88: Percent of current and former U.S. military officers surveyed in a recent independent study who believe that the demands of the war in Iraq have "stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin" [Foreign Policy/Center for New American Security, 2/19/08]
94: Percent of Army recruits who had high school diplomas in Fiscal Year 2003 [Larry Korb, The Guardian, 10/12/07]
79: Percent of Army recruits who had high school diplomas in Fiscal Year 2007 [Larry Korb, The Guardian, 10/12/07]
Taslima has carried out her threat and left India. Her final destination is unclear. Read more about it here.