Khan: 10 Years After the War in Iraq, The Anti-War Movement is Virtually Dead

Freelance Journalist Nida Khan

Freelance Journalist Nida Khan

Last week marked the official 10-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Leading up to the commemoration of this bloody and costly engagement, major networks, newspapers and online outlets acknowledged the decade milestone with extensive coverage. They parsed the many ways in which the Bush administration misled everyone and orchestrated a brazen attack on a sovereign nation. And they criticized the media’s own fallacy in helping to sell the war to the American people. But out of all of the supposed lessons learned and promises to rectify our ways going forward, it’s amazing just how little we have changed. In some sort of twisted irony, many of the most vocal opponents of the Iraq war are virtually silent at this very moment when we are actively entrenched and engaged in more areas of the world than possibly ever before. An estimated 6 million people demonstrated against the war in Iraq (according to Al Jazeera). Viewing old footage of these protests, one thing became vividly evident: 10 years later, any semblance of an anti-war movement has been all but crushed.

Michael Mooregreen-225“As Americans, now whenever we’re told anything, somebody comes on and says there’s reports that maybe this and maybe that, we have to have the most skeptical, critical eye and ear to what we’re being told,” said filmmaker Michael Moore last Tuesday on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’. Responding to reports of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, and Ahmadinejad’s potential nuclear capabilities in Iran, Moore emphatically stated that our government – ‘the real government’ as he put it (Wall St., banks, the military) – hasn’t earned a right to be trusted. He went so far as to say that unless Ahmadinejad walks in the room with a bomb in his hand and shows it to him, he won’t believe anything he’s told about Iran. Watching Moore call out our rush to judgment (and subsequent action) around the world, it became blatantly obvious how rare his dissent actually is. In all the hoopla of ‘how could we let this happen’ in regards to Iraq 10 years ago, hardly anyone had the backbone to say that we’re still falling for the same playbook today save for one Michael Moore and a few others that have just been pushed to the margins.

Regardless of what your own personal views may be on Qaddafi (Gaddafi), Ahmadinejad, Abbas or the latest ‘bad guy’ on our list, the fact remains that we are still projecting them through a specific lens that gets drummed up in our mass media without appropriate context or complete information from all angles. And what follows is our involvement in yet another foreign independent country without adequate debate back home. Just because we may now align ourselves with a few other allies when doing so, does that make our actions really any less different than what happened with Iraq? And let’s put aside the notion of dictators that
need to be toppled for a moment and examine the use of weaponry in a host of other nations. Actively utilizing the predator drone program in Somalia, Yemen,

Mali, Afghanistan, Pakistan and numerous other countries, we are still dropping bombs that undoubtedly kill innocent civilians in the process. And yet, where’s the
objection from those that demonstrated against Iraq?

Medea Benjamin

Whenever the concept of drones is addressed in our common discourse, a majority almost instantaneously defend its use because it requires less forces on the ground, and less loss of American lives. Pressing buttons, dropping bombs and watching explosions on a screen as if it were some sort of video game, the individuals operating drones in Nevada or elsewhere are not only further desensitized to the notion of taking lives, but so are the rest of us. No longer do we have to protest the lack of images of coffins with dead U.S. soldiers – we don’t even consider the use of drones an act of war. Under the same open-ended guise of ‘fighting terrorism’, the drone program is fundamentally unchecked from independent entities, and functions pretty much without accountability because it remains a covert process (though there’s talk to move it from CIA control, but we have yet to see). It wasn’t until Congressman Rand Paul’s recent filibuster of Brennan’s confirmation that many Americans likely heard about drones for the first time – and many probably still haven’t. The silence, from all sides, has been quite deafening.

Rallies and marches against the war in Vietnam played an intricate role in the larger struggle for civil rights in this country. While we may be losing less troops today of course (which is a plus), modern warfare still results in the murder of innocents. Every time a supposed target is hit by a drone, civilians – often times women and children – are killed simultaneously and many others permanently wounded. And that goes for every bomb dropped, every time, in every town, in every village, in every city, in every country. But when was the last time we saw 6 million protest that? Or even a million? For that matter, when was the last time we saw any sort of massive anti-war protest anywhere? Have we become such a complacent society that out of sight really has translated into out of mind? Or have we become neutralized because the dynamics of warfare have changed? Any which way you look at it, it’s pretty shocking.

With the exception of a few journalists like Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill that have been discussing drones at length for some time now, the vast majority of our press has been silent (minus recent Rand Paul coverage). Instead, we have media that continues to tell us that the drone program is effective in defeating terrorism and getting the bad guys. Rather than questioning a policy as journalists should do, they have been selling it for years – much in the same fashion that the Iraq war was sold to us 10 years ago. In all the focus on the anniversary of the invasion, never once did pundits and journos from either side of the aisle highlight the fact that we are repeating the same mishaps again, right now, in the present. And in discussions of the media’s complacency in selling the war, how often did we hear an acknowledgment of its current complacency in selling any of our present conflicts?

Guess people will wait to talk about today’s failures another 10 years from now.

written by Nida Khan follow her on twitter at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPqpV9olIlw

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On the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War We Recall key Anti-War Hip Hop Songs

dbanner1newparis

daveyd-raider2With the 10th anniversary of the War on Iraq upon us.. I wanted to take a look abck at antiwar songs.. Below is an article penned a few years ago for the San Jose Mercury News

Give Hip Hop Credit for Anti-War songs

by Davey D

The other night ABC News did a special report on the growing popularity of anti-war protest songs. The report focused on how all these musicians were now coming out and providing a sound track to the growing discontent many of us are having with the war in Iraq. It talked about how people are more accepting of such songs and how major record labels were loosening up in the aftermath of the Dixie Chicks who got lambasted and later boycotted for speaking out against George Bush and his policies in 2003.

The report also brought to light the impact anti-war songs had on fueling the Anti-war movement against Vietnam in the late 60s and the question was raised as to what sort of impact todays rash of songs would have.

I cant remember all the singers they profiled, but I did recall seeing country singer Merle Haggard, Rock-N-Roll icon Bruce Springstein and pop sensation Pink. What surprised me was not seeing any mention of Hip Hop especially with the exception of KRS-One, since it was artists in the rap community that up to date have released more anti-war songs and were the first to unabashedly do so right after 9-11.

The late June Jordan

The late June Jordan

If we take a short walk down memory lane, folks may recall that the day after 9-11 Bay Area Hip Hop activists from organizations like Lets Get Free, The Ella Baker Center and Minds Eye Collective put together a rally that was held in Snow Park in Oakland. Close to 500 people attended this event which focused on the loss of human life and questioned the foreign policy missteps of the Bush administration. It was at this rally that many of us heard our last poem from the late June Jordan.

We also heard an incredible song from Michael Franti & Spearhead calling for healing and peace. A couple of months later, Franti appeared on Conan O’Brian and performed the anti-war song Bomb the World to Pieces only to find that his sentiments angered producers who threatened to censor the song when the show aired. Community outrage lead to OBrian’s people eventually showing the performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA8p_BV7uD8

Early on we heard anti-war songs from acts like the Beastie Boys (World Gone Mad), Nas (Rule), Wu-Tang Affiliates Known Associates (World So Cold), Talib Kweli (the Proud), J-Live (Satisfied) and Mr Lif (home of the Brave). All in all there are more than 150 anti-war songs that have been recorded by Hip Hop artists.

Paris

Paris

The song that really made heads turn was by Bay Area artist Paris who came out of retirement and released a 6 minute missive called What Would You Do? that went into great detail about The Caryle Group, Bush’s relationship to the Bin Laden family and the hawkish action plans of the Neo-cons serving in Bushs cabinet. Paris gave the song away for free and then followed it up with an entire antiwar album called Sonic Jihad which went on to sell over 200 thousand units. Another great anti-war cut off that album was ‘Sheep to Slaughter‘.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zcxkw6ChKE0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaCPUIfr8PY

Another stand out effort came from San Francisco based Freedom Fighter records who released the first anti-war compilation featuring Bay Area artists called War Times Report From the Opposition. A year later LA based Hard Knock Records followed up with a critically acclaimed anti-war compilation called What About Us. It featured stellar songs like US History By Flipsyde

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQi4BTaYLj0

The most visible anti-war effort to date came from former San Jose resident Fredwreck who has produced tracks from everyone ranging from Eminem to Snoop Dogg and Ice Cubeto name a few. Using the name STOP Movement he gathered up a number of popular artists including Mobb Deep, WC of the Westside Connection, Daz of the Dogg Pound, RBX, Defari, Soopafly, Cypress Hill, Mack 10, KRS-One and Dilated Peoples just to name a few and released two anti-war songs called Down With Us and Dear Mr. President.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKC9-9BQO5Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiBI9TJ_iQs

Fredwreck

Fredwreck

Fredwreck like Paris gave away the songs for free and even held a press conference only to find local commercial stations would not touch the record in spite of the big name artists he had assembled. In fact sources inside one popular station in LA, KKBT, noted that their deejays were instructed not to play those songs because they were too controversial. Whats even more ironic was Fred was supposed to be profiled in the ABC story. He was flown to NY but not shown in the report that I saw.

The other irony was after ABC aired the report one of the anchors decided to comment and naively noted that she never heard any of the songs from the artists they profiled on the radio therefore they must not be hits. We could do an entire column on what goes on behind the scenes and what it really takes to get records on the commercial airwaves, but suffice to say if what happened to Fredwreck is any indication of how key power brokers at radio get down, then of course we would not hear any of these songs on radio. However, it does not mean those songs or those artists are not popular or that people are not appreciative of their songs.

A couple of other songs that got overlooked was Snoop Dogg‘s Sister and Brothers and Dilated People’s War and Channel Live‘s Mr President.  There is also a powerful more recently made song from Lowkey and Immortal Technique called Voice of the Voiceless

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZO0FXMFgRY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atovUH3dCgA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-mh-oAlr9c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w6rK4OkUhs

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

A Few Thoughts on Lance Armstrong and His Dishonesty

Lance ArmstrongA few thoughts on all the hoopla being made about Lance Armstrong and him going on Oprah for 2 and half hours to apologize for being dishonest…Some folks are angry with Lance which is understandable.. They feel betrayed. He let them down.. Many enthusiastically cheered for Armstrong as he won Tour De France after Tour De France and felt like a death-blow was delivered when he finally came clean on his dishonesty.. It’s the ultimate disappointment for fans.. Armstrong is now the poster boy for dishonesty.

It’s interesting watching all these corporations demand that Lance give them their money back because he was so dishonest. They claim they don’t wanna support someone so dishonest .. One has to wonder how many of those same companies were this outspoken, demanding their money back for dishonest politicians whose campaigns they contributed to?

It’s interesting see there are so many who are beside themselves and livid at Lance Armstrong for being dishonest but still to this day are staunchly defending and even forgiving to George W Bush and Dick Cheney for their dishonesty around the Iraq War and Weapons of Mass Destruction.  I recall when folks said Bush & Cheney should be impeached for being dishonest and many folks all over the country hit the freaking roof..Many to this day while standing on mountain tops demanding Lance be punished aren’t so vocal about punishment for Bush or Cheney and for that matter even our current president and some of the lies he’s told.. Let’s reflect on that for a minute.. Why so contradictory?

How many people are dead because of the dishonesty of those we put into office? How many billions have been squandered because of their dishonesty? Look I get it and have no defense for Lance Armstrong.. He was dishonest. However, I’m clear about this, Lance didn’t cost me Billions.. The economy ain’t messed with 23 million people unemployed because Lance was dishonest.. The Middle class isn’t shrinking because Lance Armstrong was dishonest. We want accountability from Lance but none from the people who we’ve continuously rewarded with votes, and generous campaign support who lie to us more often and in way worse insidious ways than Lance could ever.. We want Lance to sit down and confess his misdeeds to Oprah.. But when can expect Bush, Cheney or the heads Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citigroup and other big time Wall Street banks to sit down and confess? When will we push for that?

George Bush looked like he was ready to knock Kanye out when describing his reaction to West's remarks about him hating Black people

I guess the strong lesson to be learned from our kids is, its easy to be mad at Lance and get all righteous but punk down when it comes to Bush, Cheney and others… Yes I said punk down..You see the problem here is,  Bush and Cheney were never prosecuted for being dishonest and many clapped when they were given a pass…Y’all remember that? Don’t front.

When President Obama said some BS about ‘Its time for us to move forward‘ many of y’all cheered and ‘great job‘, ‘right on Mr Prez‘  ‘Hooray, we luv our President‘.. So you moved forward with Bush and Cheney being prosecuted for a long list of war crimes but your stuck on Lance.. Y’all ain’t ready to move forward on that.. You want your money back,  his trophies taken and a more sincere apology. You want him stripped of his titles, but not to keen on having Bush stripped of his Presidency and having it be deemed illegitimate. Y’all ain’t ready to move forward on that..

This all goes back to the fake ass sports writers who ‘supposedly took a stance by not electing anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame.. Many stood up and applauded. You said emphatically. “dishonesty should not be rewarded.. bravo sports writers’..  I get that?

With that being said, imagine if those media outlets those baseball writers worked for took similar stances during election season and said.. We can not reward dishonesty, hence we will not endorse a candidate for a particular offices.  The New York Times made headlines by leaving a huge chunk of the front page blank.. We said this was needed. Imagine if that same New York Times left the front page blank for lying candidates seeking endorsements?

See those news outlets can do some easy shyt and say no to Barry Bonds and we give them high fives like they actually did something great. But wont bat an eye when those same outlets take millions from lying politicians and write glowing endorsement editorials…And we wonder why our kids are cheating on tests & acting reckless-Look at the adults in their lives..Our collective stance on dishonesty is inconsistent. If your up in arms and all self-righteous about Lance Armstrong cheating, but you’re running around cheating on your spouse, tests or taxes your just as much a dishonest creep as he is!

Everyone is talking about how Lance sat down to speak to confess his misdeeds to Oprah.. When can we get Bush, Cheney to sit down and confess their misdeeds to Oprah? When can we get the heads of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citigroup and other big time Wall Street banks to sit on Oprah’s couch and confess? When will we push for that?