War stories your grandfather never told you

Expanded from the 1-12-2003 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

As a wise man once said, the truth is the first casualty of any war. Sadly, several big lies from past bloodbaths refuse to die. Like vampires, they keep coming back from mass graves to infect us once again.

BIG LIE NO. 1 — War is good for a sluggish economy. As economist Pierre A. Rinfret pointed out in his famous 1966 Look Magazine article, war is the worst thing you can do to your economy. Consider the manufacture of a tractor and a tank. One is an investment which will produce a return to your economy for decades to come. After the initial manufacturing, at least the part still done in the U.S., the tank will be drain.

BIG LIE NO. 2 — Saddam tried to kill my daddy. Bill Clinton so believed the story of an Iraqi plot to assassinate former President Bush in 1993 that he bombed Iraq. Turned out the report was bogus. The major media have forgotten all about it and the White House has gotten away with murder, repeating it again and again.

BIG LIE NO. 3 — Saddam gassed the Kurds
. The infamous 1988 incident in question is highly questionable. During the buildup to the Gulf War, the San Francisco Chronicle reported expert analysis that the dead bodies shown as victims could not have died of such a cause. The story did not fly nationally. It was not cool to criticize the war effort. For more than a decade, the media have continued to report the misinformation, helped along by both the Clinton and Bush regimes.

BIG LIE NO. 4 — Saddam's soldiers bayoneted babies in their cribs in Kuwait City during the 1990 invasion. Not only a lie, but a recycled falsehood from WWI. I was told the original story by Prof. Jose C. Canales at Fresno State back in the 1960s and pointed out the similarity in 1990. Thanks to bogus congressional testimony from a perjured witness who turned out to be a member of the Kuwaiti royal family, the lie went worldwide and congress voted for war. Alas, a recent HBO special repeated the baby killing fiction as fact, just in time for Gulf War II.

MLK DAY PEACE RALLY. As I noted several weeks ago, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Rally for Peace will happen this Saturday, January 18, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. at Manzanita Bowl on the UNR campus. The event is part of a nationwide campaign this week to demonstrate public opposition to the further adventures of Dubya and his Howling Chickenhawks. If you won't be in northern Nevada, go to to find an event near you. And spread the word.

The president has put out a request for feedback. Call the White House Opinion Line at 202-456-1111 and have your say.

DEMOLITIONCRAT DERBY. Still smarting from their narrow losses to Repulslicans, local Democrats will hold a summit on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at their HQ, 300 S. Wells Ave., Suite 5. I love it. When the GOP gets whipped, they send out alarmist fundraising letters. When the Donkey Party gets its collective hide tanned and nailed to the barn door, they go into group therapy. More soon. [[EDITOR'S NOTE— The event has been moved to Saturday, Feb. 8, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Same place.]]

CHARTER CABLE UPDATE. The City of Reno's new Citizens Cable Compliance Committee will meet at 4;00 p.m. this Wednesday, Jan. 15, in room 212C at Reno City Hall. Like the inaugural meeting in December, this one will not be cablecast but future meetings will be.

The council chose a good cross-section of people with diverse skills from among 27 applicants, some of whom were ineligible because they live outside the Reno city limits. Nonetheless, I hope they remain involved in the issue and will ask them to do so as a commitee member.

Washoe County has a cable consumer panel and it's now high time for Sparks to start one. Several good people are waiting to apply. Reno and the county are now in the process of reviewing Charter's performance as part of renewing the company's franchise. Sparks will go through the process in a couple of years.
There's need for oversight in every town.

Last week, I went to Charter's south Reno HQ. After five months of trying, I finally got someone to listen and received a whopping $7.76 credit for outages. At the window next to me stood a gentleman also airing a gripe. Tired of paying for channels not available when he wanted to watch, he ordered major cutbacks in his service. I introduced myself.

He said he didn't think the Reno panel could help him, as he lives in the county. I told him that if he would contact me, I'd give him the particulars about Washoe County's panel.

I am making it my business to establish coordination between officialdom, consumers and advisory bodies. It's time for Sparks to get into the act.

THE AGENDA. Wednesday, the panel will hear from Liz Teixeira, Assistant to the City Manager of Carson City, regarding the role and responsibilities of the capital city's cable oversight committee. We will also hear from Fred Fichman, Executive Director of The Media Center which runs Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT). Marsha Berkbigler, Charter Communications Director of Governmental Relations, will provide an update about ongoing upgrades and construction of the area cable system. We will also discuss establishing a complaint process.

Of course, you are invited. If you can't make, send me your comments. Keep an eye on for updates.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


Copyright © 2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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