Democracy Now! April 1, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 1, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hour 1: Thousands of students protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court calling to preserve affirmative action; Democrats accuse House Republicans of slashing $15 billion in veterans benefits in favor of tax cuts for the rich: We look at the new House budget; Fragging returns to the frontlines: A U.S. Army Sgt. kills two fellow soldiers in grenade attack in first fragging case since Vietnam Hour 2: US troops shoot and kill at least 7 Iraqis including women and children: We go to Baghdad for a report from unembedded journalist May Ying Welsh; Rumsfeld ignored advice on top Pentagon generals on Iraq: Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the war, Richard Perle s resignation, Gen. Barry McCaffrey & more; Don't mess with my soldiers. Don t mess with them because they are trained like dogs to kill. And they will kill you if you try again : U.S. military detains and beats foreign journalists in Iraq. We ll talk to Israeli reporter Dan Scemama

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:10-8:11 One Minute Music Break 8:11-8:15: Thousands of students from across the country are in Washington today where the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases. Students from more than 200 colleges and universities are expected at today's pro-affirmative action rally organized by students at Howard University. More than six dozen buses have come from Detroit and Ann Arbor alone. It is expected to be one of the largest civil rights rallies since the 1960s. And the case before the court is among the most-watched and most-hyped cases in recent history. * Andrea Van Dorn, Howard student organizer speaking to us from in front of the Supreme Court 8:15-8:30: The vote got little attention. The date was March 20, the invasion of Iraq had just begun. So you might have missed what happened that day in Congress. On a near strict party line, the House of Representatives passed a draft budget for next year. Contained in it are $1.4 trillion in tax cuts. And it has caused a quiet storm of controversy especially among veterans groups which charge the Republican leadership is cutting the Veterans Affair budget by $15 billion. On the floor of Congress, Democrat Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts said: Last night, President Bush officially created a whole new group of 250,000 war veterans yet he does not even have enough money in his budget to take care of this country's obligations to veterans of the first Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or World War II. Never before has a President cut taxes in the face of war. According to The New York Times, the Civil War gave birth to an estate tax and World War II expanded the income tax. But during the war in Iraq the Bush administration plans to cut taxes by a total of nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years. This tax cut for the rich is a fiscal MOAB [Mother of All Bombs], pointed right at the heart of the Federal budget. Meanwhile the House Republican leadership countered that Veterans Affairs will not see a budget cut but an increase of $4 billion next year. * Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) * Susan Edgerton, Democratic Staff Director of the House Veterans Affairs Committee * Ashley Decker, sophomore at University of Pittsburg at Johnstown. Ashley wrote an article published last Friday at called Support the Warrior Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits, Her dad, a Vietnam veteran is 100% disabled. Links: 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:35 Veterans Benefit 8:35-8:58: Fragging. It is a term that has seldom been heard in a generation. It means to wound or kill a fellow soldier by throwing a grenade or similar explosive at the victim During the Vietnam War there were hundreds of so-called fragging incidences. Last week the term re-entered the headlines when U.S. Army Sgt. Asan Akbar was detained on charges that he threw grenades into tents where his colleagues slept, killing a captain instantly and injuring 15 other members of the 101st Airborne Division, one of whom later died. * Imam Abdul Karim Hasan, is the imam of the Los Angeles mosque where Asan Akbar worshipped as a teenager. * Luke Hiken, who is on the steering committee of Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. He has studied "fragging" cases extensively. * Earl Ofari Hutchinson, author and columnist. He is the author of nine books including "The Crisis in Black and Black. He recently wrote the Army 'Fragging'- Racial Tension Back in Spotlight Link: - 8:46 One Minute Music Break 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 US troops shoot and kill at least 7 Iraqis including women and children: We go to Baghdad for a report from unembedded journalist May Ying Welsh US troops shot and killed at least 7 Iraqi civilians yesterday, including women and young children, at an intersection near Karbala. Officers from the Army s 3rd infantry division say a van packed with 15 civilians approached the intersection. The Washington Post reports Captain Ronny Johnson repeatedly ordered his troops to fire warning shots. When they failed to take action, he yelled at them to stop the van. The troops responded by firing several high explosive rounds into the passenger cabin of the van. According to the Washington Post, ten innocent people, including women and five children who appeared to be under 5 years old, were killed on the spot. 26-year-old Army medic Sgt. Mario Manzano said: "It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen, and I hope I never see it again." He said one of the wounded women sat in the vehicle holding the mangled bodies of two of her children. He said she didn't want to get out of the car. Hours later, US Marines killed another Iraqi civilian at another roadblock. The Pentagon issued a statement contradicting the Post s account. The Pentagon claims troops fired on the van after the driver ignored shouted orders and warning shots. And the Pentagon says seven people were killed (not ten). * May Ying Welsh, independent journalist in Baghdad 9:20-9:40 Rumsfeld ignored advice on top Pentagon generals on Iraq: Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the war, Richard Perle s resignation, Gen. Barry McCaffrey & more This from the New York Times today: Long-simmering tensions between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army commanders have erupted in a series of complaints from officers on the Iraqi battlefield that the Pentagon has not sent enough troops to wage the war as they want to fight it. Raw nerves were obvious as officers compared Rumsfeld to Robert McNamara, an architect of the Vietnam War who failed to grasp the political and military realities of Vietnam. One colonel, who spoke on the condition that his name be withheld, was among the officers criticizing decisions to limit initial deployments of troops to the region. "He wanted to fight this war on the cheap," the colonel said. "He got what he wanted." A major story in this week s New Yorker by Seymour Hersh broke open this major rift. We are joined by him now to about Rumsfeld, the war, the resignation of Richard Perle and the questionable history of former General and current NBC/MSNBC commentator Barry McCaffrey. * Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter with The New Yorker. His latest piece is titled Offense and Defense: The Battle Between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon. Link: Offense and Defense: The Battle Between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon - 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 Hersh cont d 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58: The international press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres has accused US and British coalition forces in Iraq of displaying "contempt" for journalists covering the conflict who are not embedded with troops. The criticism comes after a group of four "unilateral" or roving reporters revealed how they were arrested by US military police as they slept near an American unit 100 miles south of Baghdad and held overnight. They described their ordeal as "the worst 48 hours in our lives". "Many journalists have come under fire, others have been detained and questioned for several hours and some have been mistreated, beaten and humiliated by coalition forces," said the RSF secretary general, Robert Menard. The four journalists - Israeli Dan Scemama and Boaz Bismuth and Portugese Luis Castro and Victor Silva - entered Iraq in a jeep and followed a US convoy but were not officially attached to the troops. US military police seized the journalists outside their base and detained them even though they were carrying international press cards. The group claimed they were mistreated and denied contact with their families. * Dan Scemama, Israeli s Channel One political correspondent who was detained and expelled by the U.S. military * Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of Target Iraq" with Reese Erlich 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
April 1, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
April 1, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 1, 2003
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