Something’s Happened


It’s not just Cindy Sheehan.

Something has happened in the country in the last few weeks.

Suddenly the deaths of Americans in Iraq are being recognized and talked about.

You could tell here in Philadelphia when the local TV news programs featured lengthy stories on the funeral plans of the half dozen National Guard troops who were killed recently.

You could tell too by a new attitude among the local reporters themselves.

All four of the broadcast network affiliates, including the local Fox station, sent reporters out to cover the August 17 candlelight vigil in support of Sheehan. All chose to send their crews to a church in Philadelphia’s integrated Germantown section, where a Methodist church had announced a vigil as part of the MoveOn/True Majority-organized nationwide event.

Hosting that gathering was Celeste Zappala, who lost a foster son in Iraq in April, 2004 (the same month Sheehan’s son Casey was killed), and who is a co-founder with Sheehan of Gold Star Mothers.

When the reporters from the network affiliates interviewed her, and heard her speak movingly about the losses being suffered because of a war based upon lies for which so many reasons have been given and then debunked or rejected, there were tears in some of their eyes.

There were no hard-edged, cynical questions about motives or politics.

Something has happened.

The stories that ran late that evening, juxtaposed appropriately next to reports on the funerals and on the latest devastating bombing of a bus depot and a hospital in Baghdad that killed 43, were sober and respectful. No references to “’60s graybeards.” No effort to scare up some small bunch of counterdemonstrators for “balance.”

The national media may still be more timid about stories critical of the administration. The N.Y. Times buried its story on the nationwide vigil on an inside page, as did the Philadelphia Inquirer locally, leaving it to USA Today to give the story the page one prominence it deserved based upon simple news value.

That was why the local coverage was so important all around the country. Closer to the ground, away from the self-important editors of the national media, who seem to have trouble realizing they aren’t part of the government, editors and reporters are picking up the groundswell of opposition to the war that is building with every new coffin unloaded at Ft. Dix.

You could see it in the street-hardened white Philly cop who, as he drove slowly down the cobblestoned Germantown Avenue pathway between the two rows of hundreds of candle-holding vigil-goers, made a peace sign with his fingers.

Something has happened.

N.Y. Times columnist Frank Rich may have jumped the gun and oversimplified when he wrote last week that someone needs to tell the president the war is over. It’s certainly far from over. But its days are clearly numbered.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com


















More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them
Louis Proyect
The Intellectual Development of Karl Marx
Tom Clifford
How China Sees the World
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson – Negin Owliaei
Who’s Burning the Amazon?
Yasin Khan
Rideshare Drivers are Employees, Not Contractors
Ralph Nader
Big Business Lies Taught a Watchful Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Sacking of John Bolton
Andrea Maki
Wild Love Preserve Founder: Our Path Forward
Jeremy Kuzmarov
The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care?
Tim Davis – Stan Grier
Protect the Sacred Grizzly Bear, Follow Those Who Know Grandmother Earth
Clark T. Scott
Super-Delegated and Relegated
Jim Britell
Lessons From America’s Greatest Grassroots Campaigns 
Howie Hawkins
Workers Need More Rights and Economic Democracy
Ramzy Baroud
‘Justice is Indivisible’: Screams of Israa Ghrayeb Should Be Our Wake-up Call
Jill Richardson
It’s Not About Your Straws and Your Light Bulbs