NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Joel has released a new pop single, the
anti-war "Christmas in Fallujah." Just don't expect to hear his voice
At 58, Joel felt he was too old to sing the song, which
was inspired by letters the Piano Man received from soldiers in Iraq.
So he gave it to Cass Dillon, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from Long
"I thought it should be somebody young, about a soldier's
age," Joel said in a statement on his Web site. "I wanted to help
somebody else's career. I've had plenty of hits. I've had plenty of
airplay. I've had my time in the sun. I think it's time for somebody
else, maybe, to benefit from my own experience."
Dillon said he was thrilled to be asked.
someone of that stature, with that history of great songs behind him
with such a huge catalog asks you to sing something he's written,
there's nothing you can do but be completely honored to perform,"
Dillon said in a statement.
"Christmas in Fallujah" went on sale
Tuesday on Apple Inc.'s iTunes. Net proceeds will be donated to Homes
for Our Troops, which builds homes for severely wounded veterans of
Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the many things I am thankful for is the fact that I am not a member of the U.S. armed forces, where they arrest you in the middle of the night in VA hospitals for seeking psychiatric treatment and then demand that you give your enlistment bonus back when you are maimed in Iraq and unable to finish your tour of duty.
If the Bush administration keeps treating our military men and women this way, pretty soon the U.S. armed forces will go the way of U.S. health care and the American dollar.
I really don't know what to say about these pictures. Something flippant would feel obscenely disrespectful. A political rant would feel beside the point. I do think that every American needs to look at these, long and hard, difficult though it is, and draw their own conclusions. Attention must be paid.
About 10 Morton West High School students suspended over an anti-war
protest at the school last week returned to the Berwyn school today to
demand they be allowed back in classes.
The kids were accompanied by about 20 parents and anti-war activists at a press conference in front of Morton West. About
25 students were suspended and face expulsions after staging a protest
against the Iraq war in the school cafeteria last Thursday.
Given the prevailing views and values of our culture, and of the
political class and most of the media, what these high school students
were trying to do is insubordination. This kind of insubordination is just about our only hope at this point. The U.S. has unleashed a genocide in Iraq.
Just how often do you see that particular, monstrously criminal fact
discussed by anyone, anywhere -- including on many blogs? And how many
people, aside from these students and a few of us nutjobs, promote peace? Not many at all, especially since the ruling class now prepares for the next phase of the neverending war.
This kind of demonstration would be a lot more common if we had a no-exceptions draft.
As it is, though, "we" are not fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq; only "they" are. "They," for the most part, are other people's children, kids who go to other schools. The students who organized and attended this demonstration probably aren't at risk of heading off for a holiday in sunny Fallujah anytime soon; rather, they are people who see that there should be no difference between "they" and "we." If some 18 year olds are dying in Mr. Bush's war, then all 18 year olds should be involved.
It's only too predictable, then, that the school's reaction to this expression of generational solidarity should be to try to divide the demonstrators by handing out unequal punishments to those involved:
[S]tudents who play varsity athletics or have higher grade-point averages
were given less stringent penalties for the demonstration last Thursday.
Sure: let's make sure the lower social orders--the cannon fodder, as it were--are severely punished for demonstrating for peace, while those woolly-headed liberal elites just get a slap on the wrist. That'll ensure that the Millennium Generation never unites to oppose the wars they're being killed in.
Before we all start celebrating the peace and stability that now supposedly reign in Iraq, it's worth noting that when last week's casualty figures are added in, 2007 is already the deadliest year for American troops in Iraq.
"It was a guy trying to get his green card essentially, in Germany, and
playing the system for what it was worth," says Drumheller. "It just
shows ... the law of unintended consequences," he tells Simon.
Like John Cole, I'm glad that "only" 27 American soldiers and "only" 800 (or 1448, depending on whom you believe) Iraqi civilians were killed in Iraq last month--and I hope that means we can bring the troops home now.
I still see no signs, however, that the army and government of Iraq have become more capable of controlling the situation there. Americans, not Iraqis, are responsible for the relative improvement of the security environment in that country. Things will get very ugly very fast when we leave.
Maybe that's what Bush & Co. wanted all along. It's the most compelling argument they've got now for occupying the country indefinitely.
WASHINGTON - The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards
immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's deadly
shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned. * * * Three senior law enforcement officials said all the Blackwater
bodyguards involved — both in the vehicle convoy and in at least two
helicopters above — were given the legal protections as investigators
from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security sought to find out what
happened. The bureau is an arm of the State Department.
'Cause those 17 people who were killed were just, you know, A-rabs.
Thought experiment for you: suppose there had been a similar incident in New Orleans after Katrina where Blackwater mercenaries shot 17 Americans. Can you imagine what would happen if the government announced that it was giving all the Blackwater folks immunity from prosecution in such a case?
This isn't just immunity. It's impunity.
UPDATE: I'm stupid. When I wrote this yesterday, it never occurred to me to question the notion that the State Department had the power to confer legal immunity:
The State Department investigators from the agency’s investigative arm,
the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offered the immunity grants even
though they did not have the authority to do so, the officials said.
Prosecutors at the Justice Department, who do have such authority, had
no advance knowledge of the arrangement, they added.
Considering that the Justice Department is currently being run by political temps, it's doubtful that it will firmly repudiate the State Department's attempted usurpation of its prosecutorial discretion, much less commence an obstruction of justice investigation targeting State Department personnel.
These issues should be taken up with AG-Designate Mulkasey before a vote is taken to confirm him. I'd ask him questions like, Does the State Department have the legal authority to confer immunity on suspects in criminal investigations? Has a government official who without such authority tells a suspect he has immunity broken the law? Can a suspect who makes statements to investigators while he believes he is operating under a grant of immunity fairly be prosecuted at all?
“You don't have money to fund the war or children,'' he said. "But
you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get
enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their
heads blown off for the president's amusement."
Go Pete! And don't you dare apologize. About time someone used plain language to describe the Republican agenda.