Tag Archive: Iraq War

Why Does Gannett Hate America?

I don’t remember what show it was, but on the first anniversary one of the television magazines ran the pictures of all the war dead and they were called traitors, America haters, etc.

Now Gannett has published a list of the Iraq war dead from NJ (also after the jump). Where are the “patriots” now to blast this media outlet for merely presenting facts?

It’s positive that that kind of abuse and flag-waving is over, but for all that the discourse has changed we’re still in this war and people are still dying.

LoBiondo’s Credible Challenger

One notable news story that happened during the Andrews announcement and subsequent Lautenberg-Andrews fallout was that a somewhat unknown, but possibly formidable, opponent emerged at the last moment for Frank LoBiondo in NJ-02. David Kurkowski, a Cape May councilman, has made a late bid for LoBiondo’s congressional seat, and Democrats are clearing the slate for him to go mano-a-mano with the person who once pledged a six-term limit, then reneged. Kurkowsi has deep roots in Cape May, judging from his resume, his company, and his personal webpage, and he credits his environmental and preservation efforts as councilman as some of his best accomplishments:

In Cape May, Kurkowski has been a strong supporter of saving the historic Beach Theatre, refurbishing the Washington Street Mall, building a new convention center and getting wireless Internet.

In his first comments to the Press of Atlantic City, Kurkowski lays out a general strategy for the November election:

“I’m committed to peace and prosperity. I believe the wartime economy has had a tragic effect on our country. I lay a lot of blame on LoBiondo and his support of Bush and the war. I will be attacking him on many issues,”

This will work if voters pay close attention to LoBiondo’s actual stand and record on Iraq, stem cell research, and immigration – and if independent publications like Blue Jersey pick up the slack and force the press and papers to cover LoBiondo’s problematic record, as with what happened, for example when Blue Jersey began covering LoBiondo’s role in the Deepwater scandal in 2006.

Cumberland County, and other NJ-02 counties such as Atlantic Co., have cleared their party lines for Kurkowski, and CC Chair Lou Magazzu, who once ran unsuccessfully against LoBiondo, seems to be an unofficial advisor to Kurkowski. The two other candidates, Viola Thomas-Hughes, who ran a spirited, but resource-deficient, campaign in 2006, and another candidate, Bridgeton schoolteacher Celeste Riley, have both apparently cleared the way for Kurkowski.

Campaigns play revisionism game on Iraq

The Lautenberg campaign issued a statement today blasting Rob Andrews for telling the Philadelphia Inquirer that “Frank Lautenberg has the same record I do.”

“The record is he was asked the question, and he said he would have voted for it,” Andrews said, referring to Lautenberg’s 2002 campaign against Republican Doug Forrester.

No objective analysis of the facts could possibly arrive at the conclusion that their records are the same. Andrews helped draft and sell the resolution supporting military force against Iraq. Lautenberg wasn’t in office at the time, though he did state his support for the resolution. Andrews voted in favor of continued funding for the war until 2005, but Lautenberg voted against it as early as October, 2003.

Andrews told the Inquirer that his opposition to the war “began in the summer of 2004 when he spoke to the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce,” but the Lautenberg campaign points out that as late as November, 2005, Andrews told Gannet News that “[The Iraq War] removed a risk the country could not afford to bear.  The fact of the matter is Saddam had the capability to produce biological and chemical weapons. Waiting would not have worked.”

Lautenberg rightly disagreed with Andrews’ characterization.

Lautenberg said yesterday that there are “enormous differences” between their records on the war.

As a candidate in 2002 without access to the intelligence that members of Congress have, Lautenberg said, “I saw the stories in the news and thought it might be a good idea to get rid of Saddam.”

Once inside the Senate in 2003, “I voted against funding, and Rob Andrews led the parade for this. He helped write the legislation. He was the one who sent the troops into Iraq. He was the one who supported the president’s initiatives.”

It’s true that he has voted against the war every chance he’s had, but Lautenberg’s support for the war wasn’t limited to his statements while campaigning in November, 2002. Having access to whatever information Members of Congress have access to didn’t lead him to immediately change his mind.

In fact five months after the election and three months after joining the Senate, Lautenberg was still touting his support for the war [April 8, 2003 press conference] (emphasis added):

Certainly, we didn’t ask Saddam Hussein to continue with his — with the president’s request for volunteering the information that they had there. Instead, we trotted out the Army, the Navy, the Marines and everybody to make sure that we shut down the possibility that one day, one day that Saddam Hussein and Iraq might come and threaten our people and our safety. And I approved of the president’s action in this case.

Undoubtedly, Senator Lautenberg has a much stronger, longer and vocal record of opposing this misguided war, while Congressman Andrews was an architect of the legislation and helped lend “bipartisan” credibility to the effort. Lautenberg’s campaign is right to object that their records are nowhere close to “the same”, but both campaigns are going to develop a credibility problem if they don’t stick to the facts and treat the voters with a little more respect.

Andrews questions Ambassador Crocker

Rep Rob Andrews questioned Ambassador Ryan Crocker this morning on the lack of progress in Iraq:

“Perhaps the most important thing, which is the money…the hydrocarbon law has not been passed. I’m not meaning to say here that doing all those things since September is a mark of abject failure, but my goodness….not doing them since April of 2003 sure looks that way.” […]

“It is now five years…why should the American people wait five more minutes for that to happen?”

How many more FU’s, LoBiondo?

This just came into my inbox:

msnbc.com: BREAKING NEWS: 2 U.S. soldiers killed, 17 people hurt in attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone [link]

In July, 2007, this is what Rep Frank LoBiondo said about progress in Iraq:

As the interim report to Congress reflects, the Iraqi government is failing to meet reasonable benchmarks and expectations to govern its own country. I am extremely disturbed and increasingly impatient that the political will of the Iraqi Prime Minister and his government does not match the military will and unwavering dedication of our servicemen and women. If the Iraqi government continues to fail to make measurable progress, our military involvement and any future mission in Iraq must be carefully re-examined.

It’s been almost two Friedman Units (FU) since LoBiondo made those remarks (strangely, the original link to them is no longer working). Can he point to “measurable progress” made by the Iraqi government? How many FU’s longer is LoBiondo willing to let our troops continue to die in Iraq before “re-examining” our military involvement in Iraq?

2002 flashback

Rep. Rob Andrews:

“I think that the report of the UN weapons inspectors was surreal. We’ve got a situation here where we know that there’s anthrax and small pox in this country. We know that the country is the size of California. We know that there is a 13 year history of the Iraqis concealing the presence of these weapons.

It still matters who the war hawks are – on April 4, 1967 and on April 4, 2008

One year to the day before Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot to death on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN., he spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at Riverside Church in NYC. The speech was called Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.

Here’s some of the text of that speech, with new pictures that give it fresh life and relevance. Forty-one years after the King assassination, we’re still waist deep in the big muddy, only this time it’s a sandtrap. It matters who got us there, and who was slow to figure out what a big mistake it was. That’s what’s on my mind as I mull over a choice between Rob Andrews and Frank Lautenberg.

Fighters for peace and justice, rejoice. It is you this magnificent man still stands beside. Here’s the full text of the speech for those remembering Martin Luther King today, on the 40th anniversary of the assassination. h/t Chip Robinson of Morris DFA/PDA.  

Fact-checking the AP

Geoff Mulvihill and Angela Delli Santi at the AP write:

Lautenberg’s campaign is already going after his [Andrews’] early support of the war in Iraq. Like many Democrats, Lautenberg also voted to authorize the action, but Andrews was an especially vocal supporter among Democrats. Like Lautenberg, he now wants to withdraw troops.

Lautenberg was not in the Senate when the vote authorizing military force against Iraq took place, so he could not have voted for it. Although he didn’t cast a vote for it, he did express strong support for the resolution while he was running for Senate in 2002.

Update: Fixed:

Lautenberg’s campaign is already going after his early support of the war in Iraq. Like many Democrats, Lautenberg initially supported the action, but Andrews was an especially vocal supporter among Democrats. Like Lautenberg, he now wants to withdraw troops.

Yes!! Princeton HS students ‘protest about a protest’ makes the Trenton Times

I’m very pleased to see that the Princeton High School students’ protest of their detention for the 5th Anniv Iraq War walkout made the Trenton Tiimes:

A handful of students yesterday skipped their assigned detentions and, instead, went to the district’s special board meeting to voice their objection to being reprimanded.

“Not all education can take place in the classroom,” said Princeton sophomore Sarita Rosenstock. “It’s important for students to exercise these rights, especially because many of us can’t even vote. We need to have our own methods of participation.”

The VP of the school board and another member echoed the ‘take the repercussions’ view, expressed in the comments of an earlier post:

Board Vice President Alan Hegedus told the students to accept their detentions with pride…  JoAnn Cunningham said she remembers the heat of protest in the 1960s, when the civil rights movement was gaining momentum and youths were speaking out against discrimination.

“Detention?” Cunningham said. “Hey, we went to jail for protesting.”

What’s she saying here?  Is she trying to push them to civil disobedience with the bravado argument?  

Princeton HS students protest detention over Iraq war walkout

On March 19th, about 100 Princeton High School students held an anti-war walkout to commemorate the 5 year anniversary of the war in Iraq. The students missed two periods of class during the hour-long rally and speak-out and for that, Principal Gary Snyder gave them each two days of detention.

Today, an expected 200-250 students will protest the punishment with a teach-in and march to the Princeton School Board meeting at 4pm where they plan to participate in the public comment period.

“This detention is unfair, because we were taking a chance to voice our opinions and educate ourselves, which we are not given the opportunity to adequately do so in school,” said Aislinn Bauer, a Princeton High School sophomore and one of the organizers of the walkout. “We’re turning this punishment into something productive.”

“What I do not understand is how we were able to miss three periods to see Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience perform and throw Mardi Gras beads at us, which had little to no educational value,” said Russell Cavallaro, a Princeton High School sophomore. “This walkout actually had educational value. Students were educated on the causes of the war, why it should never have happened, and had a chance to offer their respects to the fallen soldiers.”

Yep, Mardi Gras beads are cool in school, but those darned kids have to be kept in their place and trained to be good little mindless automatons.

Good for the students.