Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

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Bill to restore the draft in the US + the DC peace rally

“Surge” or “Involuntary” Military Conscription: The Neo-Conservative Architects of Military Escalation
by Michel Chossudovsky | | January 26, 2007

Was it a coincidence? The Bill to restore the Draft (Universal National Service Act of 2007 (HR.393)) was introduced in the House of Representatives on exactly the same day as President Bush’s announcement regarding the “Surge”, in which he confirmed, in a nationally televised address, that he was going to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.

Read rest of article here

Meanwhile, the BBC reports ‘Mass US protest against Iraq war’ below. It’ll be interesting to see how the event plays out on the rest of the media. And why do some sections of the MSM, as the BBC does, use Fonda as a focal point — are they attempting to use her Hanoi Jane image to subtly discredit this important event (by mentioning her “controversial” visit to Vietnam way back when)? Its not as if there weren’t plenty of other actors from Poli-wood there. Any support is welcome, but there are any number of good activists and people to focus upon, for heaven’s sake.

Jane Fonda at the rally

Jane Fonda: “I’m so sad that we still have to do this”

Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Washington to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The rally comes days before Congress is to discuss President George W Bush’s new strategy for Iraq – including the despatch of 21,500 additional troops.

The protesters, chanting “Bring the troops home”, were joined by Vietnam War-era protester, actress Jane Fonda.

Violence continued in Iraq on Saturday, with at least 15 killed in a suicide bomb attack in a Baghdad market.

The BBC’s James Coomarasamy in Washington says this anti-war rally at the foot of the US Capitol was a marked shift away from the White House and on to Congress.

The protesters want Congress, now run by the Democrats, to block funding for the president’s new strategy, our correspondent says.


Jane Fonda, the Hollywood actress who angered many Americans by visiting Hanoi in 1972 during the Vietnam War, told the crowd: “I haven’t spoken at an anti-war rally for 34 years. But silence is no longer an option.”

Our fellow Americans are dying as we stand here today

Sean Penn, actor

She added: “I’m so sad that we still have to do this, that we did not learn the lessons from the Vietnam War.”

Fonda was joined by fellow actors Sean Penn and Tim Robbins.

Robbins said: “What we need is courage, courage and conviction and we need people to represent the voice of the American people, a very clear voice last November, a voice that said: ‘We’re done with this war’.”

The Democrats took control of both Houses in November’s mid-term election, sparking Mr Bush’s decision to form a new strategy for Iraq.

But our correspondent says Congress has so far balked at using the power of funding and only a handful of staunch anti-war Congressmen were present at the rally.

Man with child in Baghdad hospital

A man brings a child to hospital after Saturday’s Baghdad bombing

Although nearly all Democrats and a growing numbers of Republicans oppose the president’s plans, he says, senators have not been able to agree yet on a single non-binding resolution expressing their concerns.

At the rally a coffin covered with a US flag and a pair of military boots was put on display.

Organisers also filled a large bin with tags bearing the names of Iraqis who have died.

More than a dozen veterans, anti-war activists, religious heads and actors addressed the crowd.

A small counter-protest held up a Fonda doll with the sign “Jane Fonda American Traitor”.

Mr Bush reportedly reaffirmed his commitment to the troop increase in a phone call with Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki on Saturday.

White House national security adviser spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: “Americans want to see a conclusion to the war in Iraq and the new strategy is designed to do just that.”

Violence continued in Iraq on Saturday:

  • At least 15 people were killed and 55 injured when twin suicide car bomb attacks struck a market in the mainly Shia New Baghdad district
  • Iraqi police said eight computer firm employees were kidnapped by men in police uniforms in central Baghdad
  • The US military said it had killed 14 suspected insurgents during an air strike on a building used as a hideout south of Baquba
  • The US military announced the death of seven more soldiers. Three were killed by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad on Saturday, two by roadside bombs in Diyala province on Friday and two by a bomb in east Baghdad on Thursday.

Also on Saturday, Russia said it planned to question the US on its increasing military presence in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he would seek an explanation during a visit to Washington next week.

He also said it was his “deep conviction that Iran and Syria should not be isolated and must be involved in the settlement process”.

2 comments on “Bill to restore the draft in the US + the DC peace rally

  1. The Fanonite
    29 January, 2007

    I must say that I share MSM’s disdain for Fonda. In 1982 she joined hubby Tom Hayden to visit Beirut to cheer on Ariel Sharon as he went about massacring nearly 20,000 people. While Hayden has since apologized, I haven’t heard similar words of regret from Hanoi Jane (if I’m not mistaken, she has recanted her Vietnam past) for her trip of shame.

  2. peoplesgeography
    29 January, 2007

    Many thanks for the link, Ed, and I didn’t know that about Fonda. I was disconcerted to see the MSM feature Fonda but of course she is reviled among the right-wing for different reasons.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"