Molly Ivins / The Star-Telegram – 2007-01-31 22:40:17
It’s Up to You and Me, Bubba: Stop This War, Now!
Molly Ivins / Star-Telegram
(January 3, 2007) — The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck—so it’s up to us. You and me, Bubba.
I don’t know why Bush is just standing there like a frozen rabbit, but it’s time we found out. The fact is we have to do something about it. This country is being torn apart by an evil and unnecessary war, and it has to be stopped now.
This war is being prosecuted in our names, with our money, with our blood, against our will. Polls consistently show that less than 30 percent of the people want to maintain current troop levels. It is obscene and wrong for the president to go against the people in this fashion. And it’s doubly wrong for him to send 20,0000 more soldiers into this hellhole, as he reportedly will announce next week.
What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn’t supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?
It’s a monstrous idea to put people in prison and keep them there. Since 1215, civil authorities have been obligated to tell people with what they are charged if they’re arrested. This administration has done away with rights first enshrined in the Magna Carta nearly 800 years ago, and we’ve let them do it.
This will be a regular feature of mine, like an old-fashioned newspaper campaign. Every column, I’ll write about this war until we find some way to end it. STOP IT NOW. BAM! Every day, we will review some factor we should have gotten right.
So let’s take a step back and note, for example, that before the war one of the architects of the entire policy, Paul Wolfowitz, testified to Congress that Iraq had no history of ethnic strife.
Sectarian and ethnic strife is a part of the region. And the region is full of examples of Western colonial powers trying to occupy countries, take their resources and take over the administration of their people—and failing.
The sectarian bloodbath we see daily completely refutes Wolfowitz. And now Bush has given him the World Bank to run. Wonder what he’ll do there.
And let’s keep in mind that when the Army arrived in Baghdad, we, the television viewers, watched footage of a bunch of enraged and joyous Iraqis pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein, their repulsive dictator, in Firdos Square. Only one thing was wrong. The event was staged. Taking down the statue was instigated by a Marine colonel, and a PSYOP (psychological operations) unit made it appear to be a spontaneous show of Iraqi joy.
When we later saw the whole square, only 30 to 40 people were there—U.S. military people, press and some Iraqis. And a U.S. tank pulled the statue down with a cable. We, the television viewers, saw the square being presented as though the people of Iraq had gone into a frenzy and spontaneously pulled down the statue. Fake images and claims have been a part of this fiasco from the beginning.
We need to cut through all the smoke and mirrors and come up with an exit strategy, forthwith. The Democrats have yet to offer a cohesive plan to get us out of this mess. Of course, it’s not their fault—but the fact is we need leaders who are grown-ups and who are willing to try to fix it. Bush has ignored the actual grown-ups from the Iraq Study Group and the generals and all the other experts, who are nearly unanimous that more troops will not help.
So, as I said, it’s up to you and me, Bubba. We need to make sure that the new Congress curbs executive power, which has been so misused, and asserts its own power to make this situation change. Now.
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Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate
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Columnist Molly Ivins Dies
John Moritz / Star-Telegram
AUSTIN (January 31, 2007) — Molly Ivins, whose biting columns mixed liberal populism with an irreverent Texas wit, died at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at her home in Austin after an up- and-down battle with breast cancer she had waged for seven years. She was 62.
Ms. Ivins, the Star-Telegram’s political columnist for nine years ending in 2001, had written for the New York Times, the Dallas Times-Herald and Time magazine and had long been a sought-after pundit on the television talk-show circuit to provide a Texas slant on issues ranging from President Bush’s pedigree to the culture wars rooted in the 1960s.
“She was magical in her writing,” said Mike Blackman, a former Star-Telegram executive editor who hired Ms. Ivins at the newspaper’s Austin bureau in 1992, a few months after the Times-Herald ceased publication. “She could turn a phrase in such a way that a pretty hard- hitting point didn’t hurt so bad.”
A California native who moved to Houston as a young child with her family, Ms. Ivins was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Two years later after enduring a radical mastectomy and rounds of chemotherapy, Ms. Ivins was given a 70 percent chance of remaining cancer-free for five years. At the time, she said she liked the odds.
But the cancer recurred in 2003, and again last year. In recent weeks, she had suspended her twice-weekly syndicated column, allowing guest writers to use the space while she underwent further treatment. She made a brief return to writing in mid-January, urging readers to resist President Bush’s plan to increase the number of US troops deployed to Iraq. She likened her call to an old-fashioned “newspaper crusade.”
“We are the people who run this country,” Ms Ivins said in the column published in the Jan. 14 edition of the Star-Telegram. “We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war.
“Raise hell,” she continued. “Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and are trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush’s proposed surge.”
She ended the piece by endorsing the peace march in Washington scheduled for Saturday. 01-27 “We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, “Stop it, now!’ ” she wrote.
The Spice of Texas
Born Mary Tyler Ivins on Aug. 30, 1944, in Monterey, Calif., Ms. Ivins was raised in the upscale River Oaks section of Houston. She earned her journalism degree at elite Smith College in Massachusetts in 1965. From there she ventured to Minnesota, taking a job as a police reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune.
Growing weary of the winters in the Upper Great Lakes and missing the spice of Texas food and its politics, Ms. Ivins moved to Austin to become co-editor of the Texas Observer, long considered the state’s liberal conscience.
Nadine Eckhardt, the former wife of the late Texas novelist Billy Lee Bramer and who later married former US Rep. Bob Eckhardt of Houston, said Ivins soon made herself a fixture in the Austin political and cocktail party scene in the early 1970s.
“That’s where she became the Molly Ivins as we’ve come to know her,” said Eckhardt, an Ivins friend for nearly four decades. “The Observer had such wonderful writers doing such wonderful stories at the time, and Molly was always right in the middle of everything.”
Her writing flair caught the attention of the New York Times, which hired her to cover city hall, then later moved her to the statehouse bureau in Albany. Later, she was assigned to the Times’ Rocky Mountain bureau in Denver.
Even though she wrote the Times’ obituary for Elvis Presley in 1977, Ms. Ivins said later that she and the sometimes stodgy Times proved to be a mismatch. In a 2002 interview with the Star-Telegram, Ms. Ivins recalled that she would write about something that “squawked like a $2 fiddle” only to have a Times editor rewrite it to say “as an inexpensive instrument.” Ms Ivins said she would mention a “beer belly” and The Times would substitute “a protuberant abdomen.”
So Ms. Ivins returned to Austin in 1982 to become a columnist for the Dallas Times-Herald and reconnecting with such political figures as Ann Richards, who would later become governor, and Bob Bullock, then the hard- drinking state comptroller who later wielded great power as lieutenant governor.
The column provided Ms. Ivins the freedom to express her views with the colorful language that would become her trademark. She called such figures as Ross Perot, former US Sen. John Tower and ex-Gov. Bill Clements “runts with attitudes.” As a candidate for governor, George W. Bush became “Shrub,” a nicknamed she never tired of using.
Surprised became “womperjawed.” A visibly angry person would “throw a wall-eyed fit.”
Ms. Ivins, who was single and had no children, told readers about her first bout with cancer in a matter-of-fact afterword in an otherwise ordinary column.
“I have contracted an outstanding case of breast cancer, from which I fully intend to recover,” she wrote on Dec. 14, 1999. “I don’t need get-well cards, but I would like the beloved women readers to do something for me: Go. Get. The. Damn. Mammogram. Done.”
Ms. Ivins authored three books and co-authored a fourth. She was a three-time finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and had served on Amnesty International’s Journalism Network, but the iconoclastic writer often said that her two highest honors were being banned from the conservative campus of Texas A&M University and having the Minneapolis police name their mascot pig after her when she covered the department as a reporter during one of her first jobs in the newspaper business.
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