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Truthdig Radio: Dennis Kucinich Battles Libya Bombing

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Posted on Mar 24, 2011
Photo illustration from an image by Colin Grey

(Page 5)

Howie Stier: This past weekend, protesters marched through the streets of Hollywood, demanding an end to the ongoing United States military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The largest such street action since the 2007 Writers Guild strike, the event drew a crowd of hundreds representing a broad array of student groups, union members, peace activists, as well as combat veterans and their families. The storied cross-street of Hollywood and Vine presented a loud and colorful display, with a dance group in peacock-plumed headdresses and Aztec regalia, vets in camouflage, bandanna-masked anarchists and, this being Los Angeles, a taco truck promoting a violent war video game rolled up, too. Medically discharged Army Sgt. Kevin Baker wears the camouflage jacket he wore through two tours of combat in Iraq, adorned with a blue combat infantryman’s badge and rows of so many decorations that he doesn’t even know what they were awarded for. His second deployment to Iraq was disillusioning, he says; he wasn’t engaging enemy forces; his soldiering was making conditions worse for the Iraqi citizenry; and when his unit responded in the aftermath of a helicopter attack against a civilian home, he became disaffected with the prosecution of the war.

Kevin Baker: All the people that I know, that I served with in the infantry, a good percentage of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to feeling guilty about what we did to the people of Iraq.

Howie Stier: What did you do to the people of Iraq?

Kevin Baker: Well, we would raid their houses, detain them. And it’s kind of hard to understand, I think. Like, how … you would kick in the door, throw a flash bang in their house. It would disorientate the family, children would be crying; you would pull their fathers and their brothers away from them, zip-cuff them, put a bag over their head, throw them inside of a vehicle at 2 in the morning and then drive away.

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Howie Stier: Tell us about that Apache helicopter strike.

Kevin Baker: So it collapsed a house, and uh, we were responsible for medevac ... medically evacuating a small child, maybe 5 or 6 years old. And we brought the child into the Stryker, and he had several sucking chest wounds. And watching the child, like, the chest rise and fall, it put it into … because I have a child, also. It put it into context, like this child … the only thing the child was guilty of is being born in Iraq. And that’s not an isolated incident as far as the entire occupation’s concerned.

Howie Stier: Did you follow up, do you know if the child survived?

Kevin Baker: Oh, he died inside the Stryker with us. And his mother actually was there, I medically evacuated his mom; she died also. They actually dropped her off the structure in the middle of MSR [Main Supply Route] Tampa. And, like, these are people that didn’t have a say whether Saddam Hussein was in power or not. They didn’t have a say about the United States intervening. Like, these are just human beings that are suffering because of the occupation. 

Howie Stier: These weren’t combatants.

Kevin Baker: No, not at all. And that’s not an isolated incident. Like, that happens every day, and something like 1.2 million Iraqis are dead. Those are lives that have been destroyed because of the …

Howie Stier: And that was the part where you realized that the war wasn’t going the way you thought it would.

Kevin Baker: Right. It was the point where I realized that, like, we’re not there to help the people of Iraq. That we didn’t do anything productive for them. Occasionally we would hand out bottles of water, but a bottle of water doesn’t replace a human life.

Howie Stier: Tim Kahlor flourishes a poster-sized photo of his son, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan, blown up multiple times in Iraq, ultimately and most seriously by an improvised explosive in the town of Hit, in Anbar province, in 2006. Kahlor rattles off a litany of injuries the Army NCO suffered returning again and again with his unit to be deployed into combat.

Tim Kahlor: Eight years later, we have a war in Afghanistan, we have a war in Iraq. And now we’re looking at Libya, probably. We’ve got to stop this current. Because we need to—not only do we need to take, bring the troops home right away. …

Howie Stier: Your son was injured in Iraq?

Tim Kahlor: Yeah, in 2006, he was, had multiple times he was blown up in a Bradley. He has a traumatic brain injury, severe post-traumatic stress disorder, nerve damage to both his arms, had three surgeries on his arms, he’s got a detached retina. …

Howie Stier: While in the field, Sgt. Kahlor faced repercussions from superiors as his father became involved in anti-war activities. Those included engaging students with the story of Ryan’s injuries when military recruiters appeared at UC San Diego, where Kahlor is on the school’s human resources staff.

Tim Kahlor: He would be pulled in by his superiors and disciplined for me speaking out against the war and his rights to get the care he needed. He told them, “As long as I … I went to war, supposedly, to fight for my rights, for our right to speak. … I went to war to make sure that people have the freedom to speak their mind and the right to speak out. And my dad has that right, and you will not take it away from my father.”

Howie Stier: Do you want to see the war come to an end?

Tim Kahlor: Yes, right away. I want them brought home right now, I want all this crap stopped, I want people home, I want them taken care of, and I want people to realize this is eight years in. And Afghanistan’s even been longer. And we can’t forget there’s people over there still serving, and there’s people coming home that need help.

Howie Stier: Do you regret your son going into combat?

Tim Kahlor: Oh, yeah. Totally. Totally. I mean, it’s been … because we … I have what they call secondary PTSD. Because I’ve lived through all the stuff with him. And I get anxious, I get angry, I chase people down; I was getting into fights with my neighbors and everything. And now I’m on two antidepressants. Because, to calm me down, for my … I’m so aggravated. I’m so upset with a system that says that these kids … you know, they make the big deal about we’re going to support our troops and everything, but when they come home, we don’t support them. It’s all in writing, it’s not in action.

Howie Stier: You have met Michelle Obama and discussed your son’s care.

Tim Kahlor: Right. I was in Denver during the Democratic convention, she came to our neighborhood park, and we found about it. We went and I met with her and I talked to her, and she said “Is he being taken care of?” Told her my whole story, and I said yeah, because I’m fighting for him to be taken care of. But there’s a ton of men and women out there that are not getting the care, because there’s people not fighting for them.

Howie Stier: Like many protesters who turned out, jazz pianist Doug Carter is struggling through the economic crisis and is angered at defense spending.

Doug Carter: I’m here to protest U.S. imperial involvement throughout the planet, basically.

Howie Stier: You’re holding a sign reading “Jobs, Not War.” How’s the economy affecting you right now?

Doug Carter: Well, I’m a musician, so there are less gigs; less people can afford taking piano lessons right now. I mean, that’s pretty specific to me. But, you know, there’s less work to go around. And the government is spending copious amounts of money to kill people overseas and further their hegemonic interests, and are unwilling to support the working people, the poor people and the middle class of this country. It’s just harder to make ends meet, harder to pay rent, harder to afford health care; I’ve been having some problems with my hands. For musicians, there’s nothing like workman’s comp; I’ve got to pay for all that myself, you know, dipping into the savings.

Howie Stier: As news broke of Tomahawk missiles slamming into targets across Libya, disabled Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the Fourth of July,” told protesters their actions would bring an end to the current and future U.S. war missions. 

Ron Kovic: Let Washington know that this movement is just beginning to grow in strength. [Cheering] That the sit-in here you see, the symbolic sit-in, the symbolic sit-in is just the beginning, and if this war continues, and if you continue to drag our sons and daughters into these senseless wars, we will fill the streets of this country, not with 2,000, not with 20,000, but 200,000,  500,000. [Cheering] A million people will be sitting in the streets of this country, and we will stop this war. 

Peter Scheer: That’s it for this week’s episode of Truthdig Radio. Check us out in a week on air or anytime online at Truthdig.com Thanks to our guests, Representative Dennis Kucinich and Ryan Quinn. Special thanks to our board-op, our engineer Stan Mizrahi, Alan Minsky, and Jonathan Nesvadba.

Robert Scheer: And on a closing note, let’s remember Elizabeth Taylor, not only a great actress, beautiful woman, but had the courage to step up on the AIDS crisis, supported AmFAR when no one else would, when President Reagan wouldn’t even mention the word. In the early ‘80s, it was Elizabeth Taylor who said no, we need money to do research on this illness, we have to bring comfort to people, and we have to educate. And so she was a great lady with a social conscience as well as a terrific, sexy actress.

Peter Scheer: For Robert Scheer, Kasia Anderson, Howie Stier, Josh Scheer and myself, thanks for listening.


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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, March 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Gulam

I have been watching this “death Rattle” for decades and every time I think that
it is finally starting to collapse from the inside out it miraculously revives itself,
but in saying that it has hinged around new War’s that the US has gotten itself
involved in, or have created to serve the purpose of an excuse to name and
blame a new enemy of the American people that has worked to unite those flag
waving loyalists in a common purpose - Kill the oppostion to American
Dominance then pick the spot most ripe to plunder where the resources or
business opportunity for the IMF/Wall Street elitist brigade can “regime change”
their way into the economic drivers seat.  This entire new wave of
Corporatocracy started in earnest with the signing of PNAC.
The Corporatocracy has been very slick in the manner that they have
conscripted the US and Israeli Military’s to fight these Corporate Battles! the
slickest part of it has been that through Mainstream media assistance, they rally
the US Tax Payer dollar to pay for these assaults on unfriendly regimes to US
and Israeli Interests, then quietly play out their strategies to break the Civilian
Populations in those country’s “will” to resist.
I do agree with you as to the most effective method to use to bring on their
demise is by patience and persistence. Alone i can do nothing more than
scream at a website, but united with like minds around the world we can,
though our united resolve, back away from them and let them destroy
themselves from within, as they are doing quite nicely on their own currently.
Not much word coming out of Israel at the moment when topics like double
standards are brought into focus… One might think there could be a good
business opportunity in Israel as a Laundry Service, though it would be a
disgusting job cleaning all the undershorts as they fill up with the events
happening all around them that are moving their enemies closer to tossing out
the old Zionist friendly despots put into power to serve US and Israeli interests
and replacing them with Representatives of the People’s will rather than the old
guards!
I’m with you and we will continue our vigilance in peace. Watch and wait - the
time will come quickly when it does come!

Report this
Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, March 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Angel Gabriel you are almost there. I agree completely and appreciate your turn
of phrase: “I’m finished with any support for Kucinich, or anyone else who
poses distractions without actions….” Yes, you do see how guys like Kucinich
and Bernie Sanders are paid well to play the role of loyal opposition. Most of the
time everybody is convinced that there really is a viable opposition, however,
every time it counts the “loyal” part rears its head. How did anyone ever take
the Democratic Party seriously after Lyndon and Hubert and all that they did?

Going all the way involves realizing that the whole democratic premise is
downright silly. Believing this Enlightenment faith means believing that Moses
should have come down off the mountain and taken a vote on what kind of
morals the community should follow. What a little play-acting stunt this whole
democracy sideshow has become, what a distraction it is now, while a very
small upper class takes even more advantage of the great herd than ever did an
official aristocracy.  When you finally get the picture, then you will join the rest
who have stepped back to watch the fall, for what can you do to better help the
poor of this earth and the environment, what more can you do to stop
militarism, the arms race, and nuclear madness than to step aside and watch
the USA crash.

According to classical Chinese thought, at a time when The Way is not being
followed by the state, the superior man hides himself so that nobody notices
him. Evil falls by itself; under most circumstances it is better to wait an
opportunity to serve the good. After the Vietnam War, the people from the
anti-war movement, whose case had been thoroughly vindicated, were not
praised and welcomed back into the fold. Those of that huge baby-boom
generation who cared about the society as a whole and not their own careers,
those who saw the truth and spoke out, they were systematically kept out of
the main corridors of power in America, and they kept themselves out of the
CIA and the military? Ask yourself what kind of person would have worked for
the CIA after the Vietnam era, after all pretence of being “one of the good guys”
was long gone?

The task now is for a new generation to drop-out from the public trough, the
money making society, to work alone out of the way in small ways to find and
preserve and continue what has been achieved out of the limelight by the
previous generation. At this point public life is poisoned, nobody with any
dignity would willingly become a public figure in America, arts and letters of the
official post-modern empire of the media are a cruel joke to anyone with any
taste and vision.  Though home life has also been badly weakened, home and
community are places where energy can be well used while we wait for this
self-enlightened secular Empire to continue its death rattle.

You said that you were tired of distractions without actions. At this point in
time almost any action that an American politician can take would be little but a
distraction. When there has been far too much doing, not-doing likely to be a
more positive move than more doing.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 28, 2011 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

“MI6 Created the Muslim Brotherhood - e.g.”

Israel created Hamas.

CIA created Al Qaeda.

Pattern here?

Report this
fearnotruth's avatar

By fearnotruth, March 28, 2011 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

RE: ...God created the islamic brotherhood. (sic)

MI6 Created the Muslim Brotherhood - e.g.

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=muslim_brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood was a participant or observer in the following events:
1954-1970: CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood Ally to Oppose Egyptian President Nasser

In 1954, Egyptian President Gamal Abddul Nasser’s nationalist policies in Egypt come to
be viewed as completely unacceptable by Britain and the US. MI6 and the CIA jointly hatch
plans for his assassination. According to Miles Copeland, a CIA operative based in Egypt,
the opposition to Nasser is driven by the commercial community—the oil companies and
the banks.

At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood’s resentment of Nasser’s secular government
also comes to a head. In one incident, Islamist militants attack pro-Nasser students at
Cairo University. Following an attempt on his own life by the Brotherhood, Nasser
responds immediately by outlawing the group, which he denounces as a tool of Britain.
The following years see a long and complex struggle pitting Nasser against the Muslim
Brotherhood, the US, and Britain.

The CIA funnels support to the Muslim Brotherhood because of “the Brotherhood’s
commendable capability to overthrow Nasser.” [BAER, 2003, PP. 99; DREYFUSS, 2005, PP.
101-108] The Islamist regime in Saudi Arabia becomes an ally of the United States in the
conflict with Nasser. They offer financial backing and sanctuary to Muslim Brotherhood
militants during Nasser’s crackdown. Nasser dies of natural causes in 1970.

[DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 90-91, 126-131, 150]
Entity Tags: UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Saudi Arabia, Central Intelligence Agency,
Gamal Abddul Nasser, Muslim Brotherhood
Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, March 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

All this while Israel continues the ethnic cleansing right under the apathetically compliant noses of the
American Tax payer!  All the while sending the tax dollars to Israel and the War suppliers to
continue this abominable policy of arming Zionist aggressors for the protection of US interests!.
I’m finished with any support for Kucinich, or anyone else who poses distractions
without actions to stop the Carnage in the Country’s the US moves to prop-up in it’s
supposed “interest”  while it goes after the ones that don’t play along with the game!
You know, the game which by now obviously means the pillaging of resources,
selling off State assets to IMF/Wall Street Elitist investors and then selling them new
infrastructure to replace the infrastructure destroyed in their
attempts to overthrow un-friendly regimes in their game of Global Monopoly.
I suppose it’s going to take Hotels & MacDonalds on every intersection flying
American and Israeli flags on every square on the Game Board before the world
can once again descend into peace… The price you pay for NWO Corporatist Capitalism eh???
Piss off Dennis and the rest of the distraction artists you work with - Your era is rapidly coming to an end and you will not be able to stop it with your liberal and Conservative accomplices!

Report this
RichZubaty's avatar

By RichZubaty, March 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

“wait till the IMF, World Bank and attendant Carpet Bagger financiers get their shops set up for wholesale asset stripping”

My my such an optimist. Mabye that’s why God created the islamic brotherhood.

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fearnotruth's avatar

By fearnotruth, March 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

RE:THIS is the kind of image America needs around the world. Not propping up
dictators. Tilling the soil for Democracy. It may not work this time. But it sure is
worth trying. Nothing else we do works.

looks good on paper… wait till the IMF, World Bank and attendant Carpet Bagger
financiers get their shops set up for wholesale asset stripping

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, March 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Dennis Kucinich

I used to respect him. He no longer has any credibility.

After his “airplane ride” and change of “heart” on health care.

Not to mention that he just stated that

“While Obama has done Impeachable actions, he should not be Impeached.”

Dennis’s job is to keep the “left” in line with words.

While his actions show otherwise.

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RichZubaty's avatar

By RichZubaty, March 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Dennis efforts to capture the FED into the Treasury Department are amazing. Bravo! Yes, our government can print its own money and issue it for worthy projects like rebuilding infrastructure without have to borrow it, with interest, from the FED. Simple common sense.

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RichZubaty's avatar

By RichZubaty, March 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

Dennis Kucinich is my hero. I volunteered for his presidential bids. But he is wrong and Obama was right to intervene in Libya. This situation is so new – real coalition partners lined up against a real murderous tyrant – that the Left doesn’t know what to make of it. To do nothing was to approve murder and approve war. To intervene was to stop murder and stop war. To do nothing was to let a murderous tyrant who sells us oil go about with business as usual. To intervene means to till the soil to allow a garden for democracy to grow, and possibly risk electing some guys who don’t like us. But already opposition leader Dr. Abdulmonem Hresha of the Islamic Brotherhood, supposedly our enemy, has said he will never forget what France, England and the USA did to free his country. THIS is the kind of image America needs around the world. Not propping up dictators. Tilling the soil for Democracy. It may not work this time. But it sure is worth trying. Nothing else we do works.

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fearnotruth's avatar

By fearnotruth, March 26, 2011 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

RE: I’m glad there is still someone in Washington with the lights on.

let’s pray no plan advances to put out those lights - Wellstoned, as it were -
nothing is off the table around which convenes the Global Finance Oligarchy

Report this

By chip, March 26, 2011 at 2:18 am Link to this comment

Hey Dennis
Don’t you remember? The Libyans were the people that shot “Doc” in “Back To The Future”.

Seriously though, How about a Kucinich/Paul or Paul/Kucinich ticket in 2012? 

If not, Kansas City would welcome you.
Dennis Moore’s wife lost over in Johnson Co, Ks.
And Emanuel Cleaver is a good guy but some mild drain bamage is apparent.

I voted for Ron Paul in the primary 2008 after the democrats shut you out of the debate.
I believe I would have stuck with him in Nov.

Thank You Dennis, I still wonder what Obama did to you on “air force one”? But I’m very glad to see the old Kucinich is back.   

Oh yeah we also got a contaminated Nuke Bomb plant here run by “Honeywell”. Our city council just voted to build them a new plant with 700 million in city bonds, six miles to the south, in a soybean field that they deemed “A Blighted Area”.
Of coarse this happened with very little media coverage.

I think we are the only city to own a Nuclear Bomb Plant.

Anyone who wants to buy a used, contaminated, nuke bomb plant can Google “Kansas City Plant” or “Bannister Federal Complex”.

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By Jack, March 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think it will be a great benefit to the world when the American economy finally bottoms out and we can finally end the blood for oil wars. Kucinich is right and once you attack a country because the side you chose is losing the war it becomes regime change regardless of how you try and dress it up with the word humanitarian.

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, March 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

The great thing about just letting economics take its course, watching the dollar go
down rapidly and even egging it along, is that it can gut that obscenely overgrown
military machine without blasting it out through war. Absolute power always has
the same effect, and the Americans are not uniquely to blame. In some ways their
rule was beneficent, like that of Duryodhana in the Mahabharata. That great Hindu
epic has a lot to say about the present situation in the world. Would it not be a
very great blessing indeed if this exaggerated gathering of weaponry and power
could be deactivated by economic collapse without putting the world through yet
another series of destructive epic battles and vast civilian death?

Report this
Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, March 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

While I admire Dennis Kucinich,  at the same time I see him as the problem. While
he is doing his damnedest to save America from itself, and making a more gallant
effort than most, would it not be the best thing for the poor of this world and for
the environment of all of the creatures of this earth if the US crashed totally right
now? What other steps than collapsing their government can Americans possibly
do that would so rapidly cut down on environmental damage, halve the production
of weapons on the planet, slow the nuclear and bioengineering madness, and stop
the constant bombing of poor people? Crashing the US economy and ultimately
strangling their military machine is the big one. Nothing else human beings on
this planet can do right now will have anything like the profound, positive impact
of simply trashing the dollar and the Zionists that control it.

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By NYCartist, March 25, 2011 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Transcript is much appreciated.  Thank you.  I am pleased to read that Kucinich is quoting Chomsky on empire and “humanitarian” wars.  I gave up on Kucinich when he said he would support “my President” last year on an issue I no longer remember.  He lost credibility with me.

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By SteveL, March 25, 2011 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R - OH) has repeatedly said the U.S. is broke.  Some how we have plenty of money to start yet another war.  Despite North Korea doing all the things we only accuse the Arab nations of doing we never seem to want to invade North Korea.  Oh well no oil, no ore, no war.

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By Flapdoodle, March 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey ML, peddle your snakeoil elsewhere. 

War is war, bombing is bombing.  There is no compelling case that the US bombing the Libyans will do sufficent good to merit murdering people and wasting US resources, and shiploads of reasons to be skeptical of anything military adventure the US proposes. 

You want to help the freedom fighters?  Go there and join up.  Otherwise, zip it.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad there is still someone in Washington with the lights on.

Report this

By M L, March 24, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Freedom fighters are a ragtag group of guys fighting with heart and courage but not sufficent weapons/resources. My heart went out to the freedom fighter carrying a plastic gun. Our US military should step up and help these men. In the past two wars ( Iraq & Afganistan) our U.S military took lives and now is the time to start saving lives. Instead of being feared for our military prowess, we should be respected for our dedication to human rights and human life. These middle eastern countries now have an opportunity to establish a new government and write a constitution. We must remember that only a few men (our founding fathers)established the United States of America,  wrote our Constitution ( laws of the land), the Declaration of independence (from the oppression of Great Britain)  and Bill of Rights (limiting government) Egypt, with so many young intelligent people can set an example and lead the way for the other countries fighting for freedom and democracy.

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