On Thursday, April 29, 2010, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D – Ohio), moderated an educational briefing on the U. S. agenda in the Middle East, its consequences and development of a strategy/plan to withdraw. Panelists included Chris Hedges, Jeremy Scahill, David Swanson, Ann Wright. Portions of their comments are below. – DF
Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, and Princeton University. He left the Times after being issued a formal reprimand for denouncing the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. He has written nine books, including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” and “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”
Jeremy Scahill is the author of the international best-seller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” He is a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine and a correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now! He is currently a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill has won numerous awards for his reporting, including the prestigious George Polk Award, which he won twice. While a correspondent for Democracy Now!, Scahill reported extensively from Iraq through both the Clinton and Bush administrations. He has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS’s The NewsHour, Bill Moyers Journal and is a frequent guest on other radio and TV programs nationwide.
Ann Wright spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. In 1987, she joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, the largest evacuation since Saigon. She was on the first State Department team to go to Afghanistan and helped reopen the Embassy there in December 2001. On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Wright cabled a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich country would be a disaster. She is a member of Veterans for Peace and is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”
- video coming shortly-
David Swanson is the author of “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org, and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace, and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee. AfterDowningStreet was named Most Valuable Progressive by the Nation Magazine in 2005, 2006, and 2007.