Weekend Reading

*I am not able to make it to DC for the Winter Soldier conference next month, but those of you who live there need to check it out.

The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.

When: Thursday March 13 to Sunday March 16

For those interested in watching or organizing around the proceedings at Winter Soldier, there will be a number of ways to watch and listen to the event. Find out how to watch.

Here in Burlington, they had a version of it at University of Vermont. It included testimony from five soldiers who served in Iraq; they spoke openly about the war crimes they and others committed, how their commanders ignored international law and shot civilians out of frustration, and about the need for direct action to help end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the troops apologized for his role in the war crimes, saying that he had been turned into a "monster" and lamenting that he could not go back in time "and change what I have done."

The event in DC will be much larger in scale, with testimony from hundreds of soldiers from both wars and also from Iraqis.

*On a similar note, my former colleague Eyal Press has an article at The Nation about Israeli vets speaking out about the crimes commited against the Palestinian people. Several children have been killed this week from Israeli strikes in Gaza, and based on statements from Ehud Barak it seems the violence will only escalate.

* First Newsweek, now the front page of the Times. The Clinton camp's sinister accusation that Obama is disloyal to Israel has, if nothing else, penetrated the media.

*Being from Boston, and having written, blogged and worked for the Boston Globe in several capacities, I am sad to see the Globe will be getting hit with another round of buyouts. This is the third time such buyouts have occurred since 2005. It happened in 05, 07 and now again in 08. They also cut all their foreign bureaus last year -- a sad and increasing trend in the industry. Adam Reilly notes that this will mean the Globe will have around 75 less journalists working in the newsroom than they did in 2004. The Globe is owned by The New York Times Co., which is also cutting around 100 newsroom position. Until now, the Times has avoided the cuts that the companies other assets have had to deal with.

This brings up the larger questions about the future of the newspaper -- especially major dailies in the metro area. Because internet advertising has not kept up with the losses on the print end, and because newspapers are run, for the most part, by profit-driven Corporations that are not worried about journalism or democracy, papers are reeling and there is less money going into investigative journalism. This is only going to get worse

But some out there have made suggestions on how to fix this. John Nichols in "Newspapers ... and After" talks about the non-profit model used by the St. Petersburg Times and a few other ideas in The Nation.

Above all, the debate about the future of newspapers should not be ceded to the investment-driven corporations that have failed so miserably to maintain media that sustain both themselves and democracy. Americans who recognize that newspapers remain, at least for the time being, essential generators of journalism, and that the serious-minded gathering and analysis of news is still necessary for an informed and engaged citizenry, must join reporters and editors in the struggle to assure that even if newspapers do not survive forever, journalism will.
Robert Kuttner have also written about this issue in depth in an excellent article.