IRAQ

Excerpted from today’s THE HILL . . .

How to win the Iraq war
By Brent Budowsky

Success can still be achieved in Iraq along historic precedents of Ireland, South Africa and El Salvador when armed combatants ended their wars and joined the political process.

The current escalation is doomed because it encourages the dominant party to sectarian war . . . using American troops to achieve military victory in their war against Sunnis. . . .

There are two wars in Iraq, both of which can be won, through completely different tactics.

There is a war against al Qaeda that must be won through military victory, uniting America with patriotic Iraqis of all factions who oppose occupation by America, Iran or al Qaeda.

There is a war pitting Shi’ites against Sunnis for dominance in post-occupation Iraq. The escalation places America on the side of Iraqi Shi’ites and Iran. It destroys the one hope for victory through a political solution similar to El Salvador, Ireland and South Africa. . . .

We can only win military victory in the first war, against al Qaeda, by achieving political victory that ends the second war, among Iraqis.

While we urgently want a political solution, the Iraqi parliament wants a two-month vacation to avoid it.

While we urgently want an Iraqi government for all Iraqis, Maliki removes Iraqi generals seeking reconciliation because he wants military victory over the Sunnis, and will fight to the last American to achieve it. . . .

Will Maliki and his allies agree to Iraqi power-sharing that is genuinely pluralistic, tolerant and fair?

If not, Americans should not die for a sectarian cause serving Iranian interests.

If they will, it happened in El Salvador, South Africa and Ireland and can happen in Iraq with demonstrable progress within 90 days. . . .

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He is a contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog.

HATE

As noted a couple of weeks ago, the House voted extended the federal hate crimes statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

David D’Italiano: ‘I’m with the conservatives on this one; there is no need for extra laws, so adding yet another extra law really is a bad thing to do. [Why ‘bad?’ Why not, at worst, unnecessary? – A.T.] None of these laws will stop any violence; if someone isn’t put off by the laws against beating someone up or killing them, they won’t be put off by this, either; all it is is an extra ‘revenge’ law to whack the perp with later and I’d rather our justice system not be about that.’

☞ It’s not an extra law, really, it’s fixing the one glaring omission in the existing law, to send an important signal: hate crimes against sexual minorities are repugnant, too.

If every ethnicity were covered except Italians, would David feel the same way? Especially if Italians were routinely beat up or murdered simply because they were perceived to be Italian? (David’s last name, though I’ve changed it, is Italian.)

Or what if he heard an announcement at an airport – ‘Flight 552 will begin boarding shortly; Italians shall be subject to death.’ Now that would be peculiar (read on) . . . although, to be clear, it would not be covered by the federal hate crimes statute. Only if the passengers in the waiting room, incited by the announcement, perceived David to be Italian (whether he was or not) and beat or killed him before boarding their flight would the law kick in.

FROM A LAW PROFESSOR IN FORT LAUDERDALE

Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 18:33:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [TheDolphinDemocrats] Thanks

Waymon and I are sorry that we could not come to today’s meeting, but we are leaving for Washington DC for his sister’s wedding. We both wanted to express our appreciation for all of the hard work that Ken Keechl did for us over the past weekend. Without his hard work behind the scenes, we would not have had the result that we got. It was not until he was involved did the airport take the situation seriously. For those who did not follow the story (or only read the slanted story in the Sun-Sentinel), here is what happened:

On Tuesday morning while Waymon and I were waiting for our luggage, we heard a weird announcement come over the airport’s PA system. It said that “a man who lies with another man as he would a woman shall be subject to death.” Upon hearing this twice, we looked for security or a phone, but could not find either one. We went home, and I called the airport when I woke up that morning. After talking with several different people, I finally was able to talk to the manager of the airport. He seemed disinterested, and just closed by saying that he was “sorry for the inconvenience.” I waited one day to see if he would follow up on the complaint.

On Wednesday, after not hearing anything from the airport manager, I emailed Ken [a county commissioner] and contacted NBC6. NBC6 did a story and Ken started working his political magic. The next day, I received phone calls from airport officials and the sheriff’s department telling me that they were both doing investigations. On Friday morning, I received a call from the mayor who said that he was holding a press conference to apologize to us. On Sunday, I received a call from the police that they were able to locate the person who made the announcement and that he confessed. Ken contacted me as well.

Throughout the interviews, we could not say enough about how much Ken did to move things along. He was constantly checking in with us and making sure that the investigation was continuing. Having Ken immediately push this forward resulted in exactly what we wanted all along – to make sure the person who made this announcement was fired. Waymon and I can’t thank him enough.

We have learned many lessons over the past week. First, we realized how important it was to have an openly gay official who could help us. He immediately understood the issue and pushed it when others were not so understanding. Second, we learned how people still blame the victim for these types of events. I have been asked what we were doing to get attention (getting our luggage, by the way). Others quickly questioned our credibility (like I would make this up and possibly lose my license as a lawyer). Some of the media focus was on the Bible, claiming that the main source of our complaint was hearing a Bible verse (see the Sun-Sentinel’s headline this past week). Third, we realized how we need to become more active in our community, so you will be seeing more of us here at Dolphin Dems meetings.

The biggest lesson, however, was that we still have so much work to do as a community. The level of hatred that has now been directed towards us this week has been amazing and eye-opening. Just yesterday, a older woman approached Waymon at the grocery story and asked if he had been on TV this week. He said that he had, and she responded by saying: “You faggots deserve what that guy said.” Earlier today, Waymon left the gym and found a piece of paper on his windshield that said “FAG!” Through email and comments to articles online, we have been called every imaginable derogatory name for gay men. Some even said that we must have been having sex in the bathroom and we just heard God talking to us out of guilt. We have kept almost one hundred pages of comments that have circulated about us and the incident. The majority of them have been hate-filled and even scary. We are actually a bit scared and are taking security precautions, simply because we spoke out about hearing the words “subject to death” on the PA system of an international airport. As I have said several times this week, if the words preceding “subject to death” were “Americans”, “Christians”, or “Muslims” instead of referring to gays, homeland security would have been involved! All of these threats and hateful words we have heard this week just prove that we, along with Ken, took the right steps in pushing this important issue.

I would like to close again by thanking Ken and all of the officials that stepped up and helped solve this matter.

Waymon Hudson &
Anthony S. Niedwiecki

Ass’t Prof. of Law
Director of LSV Program
Shepard Broad Law Center
Nova Southeastern Univ.

Tomorrow (I hope): ‘The Pinchot Retirement Program’

 

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