Both Hurricane Katrina and Cindy Sheehan's 'Camp Casey' protest outside of George W. Bush's Crawford, TX pretend-ranch took place 10 years ago this week. On today's BradCast, we commemorate both with some personal remembrances from our live on-air coverage of both events at the time.
First, where we are today: As Dubya came out from years of (justifiable) hiding today to speak at a rebuilt school in New Orleans, journalist Colleen Kimmett joins us to discuss the successes and failures of the privatized charter school system that was allowed to take over in New Orleans following the Katrina disaster.
Then we dig deep into the audio archives to revisit some of our on-the-ground, round-the-clock radio coverage of Sheehan's historic anti-war protest in August of 2005 --- including the remarkable on-air moment on Sunday evening, August 28, 2005 when we first received the jaw-dropping National Weather Service bulletin warning of Katrina coming ashore.
Both landmark national events intertwined on our radio coverage from 10 years ago, and, as we discuss on today's program, marked a key turning point for our nation, our wars, and the entire Bush Presidency.
Finally, our latest Green News Report looks back at Katrina's devastation, looks forward to NASA's new warning that at least 3 feet of sea level rise is now "locked in," and the new report from Citigroup finding that moving to renewable clean energy will actually be less expensive than sticking with our current fossil fuel status quo...
[Photo above of Jeff Keys, Cindy Sheehan and Joan Baez courtesy of "Alaska Gyrl" Kim Terpening, who happened to be on air with us in Crawford as the NWS bulletin came across the wires. And here are some of those photos I mentioned on the show today of Karl Rove happily glad-handing the pro-Bush, anti-Sheehan demonstrators in Crawford at the very same moment that Katrina was drowning New Orleans.]
Also, too, see @NTXProgressive's fantastic Storify, which includes a bunch of great photos (including one of us) from the time capsule, documenting moments from 'Camp Casey' in Crawford --- and even as Katrina rolled ashore...
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PLUS: A flashback to my interview with then 25-year old paralyzed Iraq War veteran turned anti-war activist Tomas Young at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX in August of 2005. It was Young's first national interview proceeding his story being told on CBS 60 Minutes in 2006 and in Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's documentary Body of War in 2007. During the interview, Young (who had driven 13 hours from Kansas City on his honeymoon, despite unceasing pain) describes the tragic story of how he was wounded during a rescue mission in an unarmored truck in Sadr City; how and when he turned against Bush's war; we joke about BBQ in Missouri and more; and then hatch a (successful) plot to bring his story to national attention.
I am incredibly saddened to learn, on Veterans' Day of all days, of the death of Tomas Young, a 34-year old Iraq War veteran turned unapologetic peace activist, paralyzed from the chest down, whose heart-breaking story I played a small role in helping to bring to the national stage back during the extraordinary summer of 2005...
NOTE FROM BRAD: On August 28, 2005, I was the first in the national media to interview U.S. Army Specialist Tomas Young at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX. He and his then wife Brie had come down from Kansas City on their honeymoon to support Cindy Sheehan, the "Gold Star Mom" who was famously demanding a meeting with George W. Bush. Tomas' unarmored vehicle had been ambushed in Sadr City, Iraq on the same day that Sheehan's son Casey was killed in the same city. The attack left Tomas paralyzed from the chest down.
Since Bush had refused to meet with Sheehan --- claiming he had already met with her some months earlier, prior to proclaiming those who had died in Iraq had done so for a "noble cause" which he refused to define --- Tomas wanted to find out if he might be able to meet with Bush himself to ask what the "noble cause" was. We came up with the idea to paint a sign to help the media notice his plight. Some of the other veterans who were there as well helped to create the sign and it was, indeed, picked up by AP at the time.
Some years later, Tomas' story would be told on 60 Minutes, and then in a heart-wrenching 2007 documentary film, Body of War, by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro. (My interview on the ground at "Camp Casey" with Tomas and Brie is seen briefly in both. The full audio of my interview with them is posted in full at the bottom of this article, after Tomas' letter.)
He and Brie have since divorced and Tomas remarried last year. Now, ten years this week after the launch of the War on Iraq, what was left of Tomas' body is failing and, as Chris Hedges recently reported, he has decided to let himself die. Now in hospice care, Tomas, who was 25 when we met and is now just 33-years old, plans to end his long fight. He says he will remove his own feeding tube sometime after his first anniversary with his new wife Claudia in April and before the second birthday of his niece in June.
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young
I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all-the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans-my fellow veterans-whose future you stole...
Today marks the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina slamming into the Gulf Coast at New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 29th, 2005. What the Category 3 hurricane did not destroy, the man-made disaster finished off, drowning much of the beloved city, killing over 1800 people, and displacing over a million more, many permanently.
There are many ways to look at what happened five years ago today and in the horrifying days and weeks that followed. There are successes and plenty of failures to document for history. There are surely lessons to be learned, but have we even come close to learning the most important one?...
They're adding a new show in the 4p-7p PT slot, and we'd be delighted to do what we do here every day --- take names, kick asses, make you laugh, report what nobody else does and much more! --- on the worldwide airwaves every day Monday through Friday!
I'm told by a little birdie that, in this election, "stacking the deck" is encouraged. Seriously, I'm told you guys can make it happen, if you're loud enough,. So do what ya gotta do! Go vote now! Spread the word. Then go vote again!
Longtime BRAD BLOG readers might recall Brad Friedman's live audio interview [mp3] (and part 2) with Army Specialist Tomas Young from on the ground at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, Texas, during the Summer 2005. Young was paralyzed from the chest down when he was shot in Sadr City, Iraq on April 4, 2004. Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was killed in the same city on the same day.
And now documentarian Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue are bringing Tomas Young's story to the masses in the soon to be released documentary, "Body of War." On Friday the filmmakers appeared on Bill Moyers Journal to discuss the movie. The segment began, however, by showing about 14 minutes of excerpts from the movie which can be seen in two parts below. Note that Brad is briefly seen and heard in footage taken from his interview of Young at "Camp Casey."
We're launching into the second week of Brad's week-and-a-half long Guest Hosting stint on the Peter B. Collins Show! Listen in today from 3p-6p PT (6p-9p ET), where we'll be continuing our live broadcasts from facilities of Pacifica's Houston station, KPFT.
HOUR 1: Eric Boehlert on the attempted Rupert Murdoch buyout of Wall Street Journal and Matthew Rothschild on Bush's troubling new Executive Orders...
HOUR 2: Bob Fertik of Democrats.com updates us with the latest on the 1,000,000 impeachment signatures dropped off today at John Conyers office, in place of David Swanson who was arrested there today with Cindy Sheehan and others. And, in the first half of our Election Integrity Hour today (which started early), John Washburn gives us inside details on his Exclusive today on the apparent ballot box stuffing and forgeries in Milwaukee's 2004 Presidential Election...
HOUR 3: John Gideon on the failure of Sequoia Printers in New Jersey, and Tom Courbat checks in from Riverside County, CA for the second part of our split EI Hour today, followed by journalist Eric Benders LIVE from Iraq...and not from the green zone!
A former Los Angles newscaster turned progressive talk radio host, Bree Walker, will be purchasing Cindy Sheehan's 5-acre property near the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
Walker, currently a resident of San Diego, was previously a television news anchor in Los Angles and New York. She confirmed the news to us moments ago, in an exclusive interview, that she intends to keep the property "as a ground for freedom and peace" and is considering erecting a memorial there for troops killed in Iraq. She hopes to create a meditation garden on the grounds and to keep it open to the public.
"I'm cashing out my capitalist corporate stocks and buying into a legacy of peace," she told The BRAD BLOG moments ago. Sheehan will be selling the property for the same price she purchased it for so as not to be seen as profiting from the sale, Walker explained.
We're told that tonight's 60 Minutes features a segment with Mike Wallace on "Wounds of War" featuring soldiers injured in Iraq. (60 Minutes' website now has coverage of the segment, with a video link, but it's not the complete segment apparently.)
The segment, third on tonight's broadcast, features an interview with Tomas Young, whose story we first highlighted during our special "Operation Noble Cause" radio broadcasts on The BRAD SHOW from on the ground at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX, last summer. Apparently footage of me interviewing Young is a quick part of the segment.
Army Specialist Young was paralyzed from the waist down --- on the same day and in the same city as Cindy Sheehan's son, Casey --- while riding in a canvas-covered truck through Sadr City during the uprising there.
Young is seen in the photo at right at Camp Casey with his new wife, Bree, requesting a meeting with Bush. They had come to Crawford on their honeymoon. Bush had refused a meeting with Sheehan at the time on the grounds that he'd already met with her. As far as we know, Bush has still never met with Young, who wanted to ask him why he was refusing to support Stem Cell research so that he might someday be able to walk again.
UPDATE: Have now seen the segment, and it was interesting. We'll try to get it up here. One thing I didn't know until tonight was that Tomas' brother is still serving in Iraq. So for those who suggest that what Young is doing --- in speaking out against the war --- is harming our troops...well...he made clear on 60 Minutes that's the last thing he'd want to do with a brother still serving there!
FURTHER UPDATE: Here's the segment! Courtesy of the invaluable David Edwards!
U.S. Army Specialist Tomas Young has some questions for George W. Bush. He's never met with the Commander-in-Chief who sent him into Sadr City, Iraq in a canvass covered truck during a massive uprising in that city on April 4, 2004. The same city on the same day that Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was killed.
Tomas was lucky. He was only paralyzed from the chest down. Amongst other things he'd like to ask of Bush, is why he won't allow funding for stem cell research which might eventually restore the spine that he lost in Bush's War. A spine, as Tomas explained to us yesterday on The BRAD SHOW, which apparently Bush has never had.
Tomas and his new wife Bree (also pictured), came to Crawford from Kansas City on their honeymoon to "stand" in support of Cindy Sheehan.
We now have our interview with Tomas up in the BRAD SHOW "Operation Noble Cause" Archives shortly, with much more news, sound and the stories of the people of Camp Casey on today's LIVE BRAD SHOW from Camp Casey beginning at HIGH NOON in Crawford (1p ET, 12p CT, 11a MT, 10a). We are hoping to feature several Bush supporters on today's show!
We have now broadcast 42 hours of LIVE coverage from on the ground in Crawford, Texas in the last seven days, simulcast over at least 7 different radio networks at various times, including Air America for several hours on Saturday. All hosted by your friendly citizen blogger, Brad Friedman. We are the only broadcast "organization" to feature such live daily coverage!
Your DONATIONS continue to be greatly needed and very much appreciated in order to help make all of this possible!
The MP3 archives of last Saturday night's BRAD SHOW are now up and well worth listening to (sez me) in case you happened to have missed any of our four jam-packed hours o' delicious radio goodness!
Last week's show featured, amongst other things...
Iraq War vet Paul Rieckhoff of OpTruth.org explaining how the Bush Administration is failing to support the troops.
A segment with David Dixon of the Handicapped Adults of Volusia County which details the $1 million that Diebold seems to have used to pay off the National Federation of the Blind and the $26,000 they seem to have given to the NFB's Jim Dickson to support their paperless touchscreen voting machines all across the country.
Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY on the alleged photos and videos of torture and rape of women and children at Abu Ghraib and/or Gitmo that the Administration is doing everything they can to keep you from seeing.
Former CIA officer --- and Republican! --- Jim Marcinkowski on the White House's unprecedented National Security breach in outting a covert CIA NOC (and he takes a much deserved shot at Ann Coulter in the bargain!)
Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was so on fire after her DSM Town Hall in Los Angles that we even ended up exchanging love vows
Shaping up to be a great show so far! Check out our currently scheduled guests...
Retired 27-year CIA Analyst, RAY MCGOVERN on the CIA, intelligence matters, the Downing Street Minutes (he's testifying next week at the just-announced U.S. House Judiciary hearings), and working for Presidents from Kennedy to Reagan to Bush Sr.
Tune in via www.BradShow.com this Saturday Night! Join us right here at BRAD BLOG for a LIVE Open Thread during the show! And feel free to DONATE to help keep us up and on the air! I can use all the help I can get!