Friday, October 20, 2006


Friday! Friday, Friday, Friday! :D I am picturing spending my whole life being excited that it's Friday. :D Does it ever wear off? Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's take. The big news today was Amara. I was reading through C.I.'s "Other Items" and I'd had the TV on and they weren't even talking about it. But how many talked about Amara in August when the British troops packed up and got the hell out of there while claiming they weren't abandoning the base even though they were getting shelled and attacked every night? Most people weren't even paying attention to that in August, weren't even paying attention to Israel. Now they have to play catch up and they're probably lost because most reports say "The British turned the base over in August . . ." and that's just not true. Not only did they get out of there, after giving the Iraqi government 24 hours notice that they were pulling out, as soon as they were gone, people started looting the base. You can find links in "Other Items" to coverage of it in real time. Now I'm going to put up some of Kim Sengupta's "Bloody battle for Amarah a glimpse of future:"

The militia headed by the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr yesterday took over the southern Iraqi city of Amarah, recently vacated by British forces, after a day of heavy fighting which left dozens killed, almost 100 injured and widespread damage to buildings.
In what is being seen as a symbolic flexing of muscle, heavily armed Mahdi Army fighters in black uniforms stormed and took over the three main police stations and flattened them with explosives.
British troops were put on standby to move back into Amarah last night as Mr Sadr's militia battles the rival Shia Badr Brigade for the control of the south and its lucrative oil fields.
Amid conflicting reports about who exactly was controlling the capital of Maysan province two companies of the Iraqi army with British "advisers" were despatched from Basra. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nour al-Maliki, sent a high-powered delegation from Baghdad to seek talks with Mr Sadr's representatives.

That is a glimpse of the future and you have to wonder what it's going to take for people to start getting serious about troops coming home? I don't mean the ones who've been calling it for already, I mean the wishy-washy set that can't seem to figure out what they think?

Now I want to talk about a "kook" who denies racism. That's right, there's a racism denier and his name is Matthew Rothschild. From Alan Maass' "A Wake Up Call to the Passive Left:"

The protest against the anti-immigrant Minutemen at Columbia University and the national media uproar that followed highlight both the growing threat of the far right and the challenges facing those who want to confront racism.
The planned speech by Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist at Columbia was part of an effort by the racist group to gain a foothold on college campuses--and to further burnish the group's newly "respectable" image.
It wasn't a surprise that the right-wing media would turn the facts on their heads and use the protest to accuse immigrant rights supporters of violence and attacking "free speech." But unfortunately, some liberals and even radicals joined in the denunciations. Progressive magazine editor Matthew Rothschild said the Columbia protest was "a defeat for free speech worthy not of progressives, but of goons."

Seems like the goon is Matthew Rothschild and I'll just say that about it. I had seven more paragraphs but I was not even close to finished. I don't want to waste my limited time on the goony, nutty Matthew Rothschild.

Matthew Rothschild does not give a damn about young people so why should we give a damn about him? He has no young writers. He just hired a new columnist who is what? 50? 60?
I'm sick of these people who want our money but don't want to put a plate for us at the table. So I'm not going to waste my time on the Middle Aged Bore tonight.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which covers important stuff:

Friday, October 20, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; an area the British abandoned heats up; Rumsfeld's 'big fellow' vouches for his honor; Max Boot demonstrates he was cursed with not only porcine features but analytical challenges as well; Bully Boy's Iraq to Vietnam comparison continues to be discussed (and will continue); another US soldier dies today in Iraq bringing the total for the month to 75; Ramadi's parade/independence statement is echoed elsewhere in Iraq today.
Starting in Amara.
On August 24th, came news that too much violence, too many attacks, led British troops to exit Amara quickly. Spinning would continue August 25th and then it was largely forgotten. Today, actions in Amara have reminded why British troops left and left so quickly. Al Jazeera reports that "overnight clashes left 15 dead" and that the fighting continued today "after police arrested a member of cleric Maqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army on suspicion of killing a local intelligence officer in a bomb attack". Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that the town has been "seized" and that it's "one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said." CNN reports that 16 people have died and 90 wounded. They also speak with British military flack Charlie Burbridge who stated that between 200 and 300 people attacked two police stations in Amara Thursday. Christine Hauser (New York Times) reports: "The nearest British troops are now stationed more than 20 miles from the city" and that other police stations and "state facilities in Amara were attacked." On the subject of British troops, AFP reports: "A British battle group of 600 troops backed by attack jets and armoured vehicles is standing by to intervene if Iraqi forces need support" according to Charlie Burbridge (so take it for what it is worth).
Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that the militia have gain "control of entire neighborhoods" and notes theories that that a split between Maktada al-Sadr (whom some are linking the militias too) and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki could impact the "stability" of the puppet government. Meanwhile, James Hider (Times of London) notes: "As in Balad, militiamen set up roadblocks around the town and warned residents to stay indoors."
In some of the other violence today,
Reuters notes that one person died and three were wounded in Baghdad from a roadside bomb (Dora district). Also Reuters reports that one person was shot dead near Baiji and three others wounded. AFP reports that three people are dead and three wounded from an attack in Khalis.
It's Friday. News of violence trickles out slowly on a normal day. Events in Amara meant today wouldn't be a normal Friday.
In other news,
Frank Jordans (AP) reports that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that "914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003". This at the same time as Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports on the increased dangers in Iraqi hospitals both from the fact that the medical "system is breaking down" and also because of claims that "hospitals are now being used by al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia as its headquarters and hospital basements are used as prisons."
But no need to be concerned about any of the above. For one thing, Peter Pace is standing by his man.
AFP reports the US general said of Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, "He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country." God responds, "Don't blame that ___ on me!"
While Pace tells the world he's fond of his fella' Rumsfeld, Tony Blair warns the world that he's the house guest from hell.
Philip Webster (Times of London) reports that is bandying around the term "progressive withdrawal" and insisting that Iraqis won't be put out by foreign forces 'staying too long.' At three years and eight months, Blair's stayed too long at the fair and then some.
AP reports that Bully Boy's poodle-in-waiting, John Howard, declares there "is no reason to for international forces to quite Iraq". Pooh-pahhing Little Willie Caldwell's use of the term "disheartening" yesterday, Howard declared, "In any military operation, you have heartening and disheartening things". Backing him was Australia's former chief of the Defence Force, Peter Cosgrove, who doesn't believe that Vietnam and Iraq are anything alike. It helps his self-serving refusal to focus on the conflict in Indochine and the Indochina War which, for the record, wasn't the question put to Bully Boy on Wednesday. Possibly Cosgrove misunderstood the question?
For those confused, the
Khaleej Times brings you up to speed: "At last, President Bush has come to acknowledge what many in and outside US have been arguing for some time. That Iraq is increasingly looking like Vietnam. In a rare confession during his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulus, the president admitted that as in Vietnam, America faces 'a stepped-up level of violence' in Iraq. Stepped-up level of violence, Mr. President? This is an all-out and free-for-all bloody civil war, which has already claimed 655,000 Iraqi lives, as medical journal Lancet disclosed last week."
For anyone who may still be confused, from
yesterday's snapshot:
Starting with the Bully Boy. As
Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) noted, Bully Boy "drew a comparison between Iraq and the Vietnam war for the first time on Wednesday when he said Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columinst, 'could be right' in writing that the violent situation in Iraq was the 'jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive." Summarizing the interview, Ed O'Keefe (ABC) notes, "Bush said he could not imagine any circumstances under which all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of his presidency." Bully Boy doesn't seem to register of what his comparison would result in. Mark Tran (Guardian of London) walks readers through: "Mr Bush has strongly resisted comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam remains a touchy subject for America; the war deeply divided the country, ended in an ignominious retreat for the US after the loss of more than 57,000 American lives, and has become synonymous with political and military debacle. The 1968 Tet offensive was a military failure for the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, but it turned American public opinion against the war and fatally damaged President Lyndon Johnson, who abandoned his re-election campaign two months later."
The 'crackdown' cracked . . . down. Up? The measure began in mid-June was supposed to secure the capital but violence not only continued in Baghdad, it increased. As
John F. Burns (New York Times) reported, Bully Boy "is now left with only a handful of tough and politically unattractive options" as a result of the cracked-up 'crackdown.' Michael Abramowitz and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported, "Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame." Despite that, CNN reports that White House flack Tony Snow has stated, "There will be no change in strategy." Bully Boy would publicly agree later in the day. Steve Holland (Reuters) reports that Bully Boy, deluded or in denial, insists there will be no changes while Democratic House Representative John Murtha notes: "We've lost the hearts and minds of the people and we've become caught in a civil war." CBS and AP report that Bully Boy's pushing a teleconference tomorrow "with U.S. generals" to determine what to do next. (Those who remember the infamous Hurricane Katrina teleconference will rightly shudder.)
Though Max Boot hasn't lost his heart (can't lose what you don't have), he appears to be losing his grip on reality.
Speaking to Michelle Nichols (Reuters), the balding gas bag offered that American troops dying in Iraq has a less of an impact than Americans dying in the Vietnam conflict due to the fact that today "the impact here is more isolated because so many soldiers come from military communities which are clustered in a handful of states." Oh really?
American troop fatalties? Alabama: 47; Alaska: 10; Arizona: 66; Arkansas: 35; California: 284; Colorado: 34; Connecticut: 22; Delaware: 12; Florida: 117; Georgia: 83; Hawaii: 13; Idaho: 16; Illinois: 107; Indiana: 56; Iowa: 33; Kansas: 31; Kentucky: 46; Louisiana: 63; Maine: 12; Maryland: 52; Massachusetts: 45; Michigan: 97; Minnesota: 39; Mississippi: 35; Missouri: 48; Montana: 12; Nebraska: 29; Nevada: 24; New Hampshire: 14; New Jersey: 47; New Mexico: 21; New York: 132; North Carolina: 63; North Dakota: 13; Ohio: 125; Oklahoma: 47; Oregon: 46; Pennsylvania: 135; Rhode Island: 10; South Carolina: 39; South Dakota: 17; Tennessee: 58; Texas: 245; Utah: 14; Vermont: 18; Virginia: 83; Washington: 53; West Virginia: 18; Wisconsin: 60; Wyoming: 7.
A "handful of states"? Can we get some talcum powder for Max Boot? His desk jockeys have apparently left his brain chafed.
The Booty's foolish remarks come as the
US military announces another death: a US soldier died in Baghad today from an IED. This death brings the total US fatalities in Iraq for the month of October to 75 and the total of US troop fatalities since the start of the illegal war now stands at 2788.
The news of the death comes as
Hamza Hendwai (AP) reports that the parade/declaration of independence earlier this week in Ramadi have now been echoed today "in a string of towns west of Baghdad . . . . the latest parades -- including two less than a mile from U.S. military bases -- were staged in support of an announcement this week by a militant Sunni Arab group that it had created an Islamic state in six of Iraq's 18 provinces, including the capital, Baghdad."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Iraq, Media Matters, Randi Rhodes

Thursday at last! :D Lots going on. I'll start with this, Elizabeth Sullivan's "Vietnam & Iraq: Another 'Bright Shining Lie':"

The ultimate tragedy of Iraq is that it was dreamed up by a generation that lived through an earlier war constructed atop deception and denial.
The Vietnam generation should have known better.
Yet Iraq is the same "bright shining lie" told by the same sort of smart men -- and this time, smart women -- that Neil Sheehan chronicled in his devastating book about the many-tiered American deceptions that made Vietnam such a quagmire. As with Vietnam, this nation is propping up a corrupt Iraqi government and distorting outcomes by picking its own political winners and losers.
As with Vietnam, U.S. officials faced with military stalemate are grasping at straws via vain attempts to "Iraqify" a national military and police force that lacks legitimacy with most Iraqis. Why else would Iraqis be able to take over only two of the nation's 18 provinces when -- according to ground commander Gen. George Casey -- 80 percent to 90 percent of current violence is concentrated in only five?
It may not be surprising that a White House where few served in Vietnam would fail to see the Vietnam analogies, and instead cast the post-9/11 landscape as the ideological equivalent of the Cold War.

Bully Boy made the comparison yesterday. That's one reason C.I. did a night time entry yesterday ("Iraq"). C.I. said it just like when Bully Boy used "30,000" for the number of Iraqis killed. Until Bully Boy used that number, the mainstream press played vague. It was an undercount but Bully Boy used and they ran with it.

So the second Bully Boy made the comparison, suddenly the press could without being nervous or scared. That's the point C.I. was making today with this: "Whatever the reason, this comparison, or the fact that the Bully Boy made it, won't fade away."

By the way, I'm not picking on Elizabeth Sullivan. I like her column and if it's up today and in print in a newspaper, she probably wrote this before the yesterday evening's comparison was making news. But this is going to be something people talk about. That's the way the media works. Once Bully Boy says it, whatever it is, they can suddenly talk about it after most of them acted like it wasn't happening all along.

I'm going to slide it over to C.I., Sullivan's column, after I finish this and call to make sure C.I. sees it. It's really a strong column and at a time when a lot of women writing for publications want to play silent and stupid on the war, it's good to know one's not doing that. Election gas bagging is a topic some women want to offer. That'll be so important the second week of November.

Now this is from Media Matters' "O'Donnell asked congresswoman to go 'on the record' with 'promise' that Dems won't 'make the president's final two years in office a living hell':"

On the October 18 edition of MSNBC News Live, MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O'Donnell asked Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) to go "on the record" with a "promise" that Democrats "will not issue tens or hundreds of subpoenas to the White House when it comes to Katrina, Iraq, and a number of issues" that would "make the president's final two years in office a living hell." O'Donnell also baselessly suggested that such oversight would "mean that nothing gets done in Washington." Her comments were first noted by the weblog Firedoglake.
Earlier in the segment, which also included a discussion with
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), O'Donnell suggested that reviewing Democratic voting records on wiretapping and detainee abuse "helps [the White House] make a compelling argument" that "Democrats are weak when it comes [to] defense." O'Donnell made the remark while citing an article in The Washington Times in which White House senior adviser Karl Rove said that "it is useful to remind Democrats of what they said and what they do," and that "[s]omething is fundamentally flawed" in the Democrats' voting records.
This is not the first time O'Donnell has repeated Republican Party talking points unchallenged. As Media Matters for America
noted, on the August 31 edition of Hardball, O'Donnell asked Democratic strategist Bob Shrum if "part of the problem that the Democrats have is they don't have a message to respond to the president" on the Iraq war. The following day, O'Donnell asked MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan if withdrawing from Iraq would "essentially hand a victory to the terrorists," an exchange that was also noted by Media Matters.

I like Media Matters but I want to especially praise them on this. Norah O'Donnell is a GOP hack. I heard it from C.I., I've since heard it from reporters who are friends of C.I.'s. Media Matters has never been afraid to go after her. That's not always been the case online. I heard about people pointing out things, press, to sites like Media Whores Online and that 'brave' site refused to note them. Including the fact that when NBC switched her to DC, O'Donnell had a party thrown for her by someone who worked for Cheney (had just left due to pregnancy) attended by a lot of the administration. That's the thing she's still criticized for -- how does a supposedly neutral party attend a private residence to go to a party thrown for her by one of Cheney's flunkies? And where was MWO? The supposedly brave site? Looking the other way even when it was pointed out to them. You've had others look the other way and even some on the left praise her (like the online latter day ___). That's why they're a joke. Media Matters covers everything. That's why it's not a joke. Anyone who is sad that MWO is gone should take comfort in the fact that you've got people doing real work at Media Matters.

Robin D. Gill writes a really dumb letter to a Florida newspaper. Wally saw it and wanted me to include it. Why is it dumb? Gill whines that Gainseville needs an Air America "or other" station. Gill goes on to schill for Air America and comes off like an idiot as she name checks every male on staff basically as well as the margarine queen and Stephanie Miller who isn't funny as she wishes she was (which is probably why she screens her calls) and isn't a part of AAR. As Wally pointed out (unlike Gill, Wally wasn't visiting Florida, he lives there), Randi Rhodes is known throughout Florida even by people who can't pick her up over the airwaves. As most people know who don't buy the hype, she's an actual ratings hit unlike all the dopes Gill pants over. If you're going to make an argument in Florida for bringing AAR ("other" is apparently important to Gill), you name the best weekday host and you name the host who owns a home in Florida. In this case, both people are Randi Rhodes.

It's really past time that Randi Rhodes gets the credit she's earned. Baby Cries a Lot is the "face" AAR tried to sell listeners, Randi Rhodes is the face listeners chose. She's the only weekday host that's had their act together and given facts and humor. I'm to the left of her but I can listen to her and not cringe. Rachel Maddow makes too many errors and Baby Cries a Lot only knows how to whine. The non AAR people, other than Stephanie Giggles, I don't know. But of the AAR weekday staff, there's only one star and it's Randi Rhodes. Baby Cries a Lot couldn't even sell his last book. His act was tired before he moved it over to radio and now it's just embarrassing. If AAR ever wants to get out of their eternal slump, they'll stop trying to make Baby Cries a Lot a star and start getting behind the host listeners made a star from day one. Gill wrote a stupid letter. It would be like me going to Dallas and writing a letter to their paper about football mentioning the Houston Texans and the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals and never once mentioning the Dallas Cowboys. People reading my letter would think, "Screw you, idiot." That's how Wally felt about Gill's letter that couldn't

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, October 19, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone tries to spin, Bully Boy seems unaware (no surprise there) of how his comments comparing Iraq to Vietnam are being received, and Melanie McPherson faces a court-martial.
Starting with the Bully Boy. As
Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) noted, Bully Boy "drew a comparison between Iraq and the Vietnam war for the first time on Wednesday when he said Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columinst, 'could be right' in writing that the violent situation in Iraq was the 'jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive." Summarizing the interview, Ed O'Keefe (ABC) notes, "Bush said he could not imagine any circumstances under which all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of his presidency." Bully Boy doesn't seem to register of what his comparison would result in. Mark Tran (Guardian of London) walks readers through: "Mr Bush has strongly resisted comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam remains a touchy subject for America; the war deeply divided the country, ended in an ignominious retreat for the US after the loss of more than 57,000 American lives, and has become synonymous with political and military debacle. The 1968 Tet offensive was a military failure for the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, but it turned American public opinion against the war and fatally damaged President Lyndon Johnson, who abandoned his re-election campaign two months later."
As the comparison continues to be noted, the question is why Bully Boy, whose party has not just avoided the comparison but decried those making it, would offer the comparison? Possibly he was feeling nostalgic? He probably remembers those days in the trenches, in Alabama, when he self-checked out, with fondness and with US Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld speaking in Alabama, at Maxwell Air Force Base, that might have made him look back on his own 'misty, water colored memories'? Whatever the reason, this comparison, or the fact that the Bully Boy made it, won't fade away. No matter how Dana Perino and other flacks try to spin it.
It comes at a time when the US public has turned against the illegal war and when chaos and violence continue in Iraq.
BBC reports a truck bomb targeting a police stations claimed the lives of 12 people in Mosul while, in Kirkuk, a car bomb outside a bank "as soldiers gathered at the bank to collect their salaries" claimed eight lives and left 70 wounded Al Jazeera reports on the Kirkuk bombing: "A large part of the bank building, two army vehicles and several nearby shops were set on fire by the explosion." On Mosul, AFP reports that there were "a whole series of apparently coordinated attacks going off every 20 minutes Thursday, including several suicide car bombs, mortar fire and small arms attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi police," counting ten in all, that the city is now under curfew and that, in addition to those dying in the truck bombing, four more people died during the waves of attacks. Ziad al-Taei (Reuters) reports that there were six bombers and updates the death toll to "at least 20 people" (eleven killed by the truck bombing and, in addition, "[n]ine charred bodies lay on the debris-strewn streets"). Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) reports "a huge fireball" and the truck was "an oil tanker [driven] into the Abu Tammam police station".
In Baghdad, home of the fabled 'crackdown,' China's
People's Daily Online reports five dead and ten wounded in southern Baghdad as a result of three roadside bombs which are being seen as a "coordinated attack". The dead included two police officers and KUNA reports four more police officers died from "improvised explosive devices" in Kirkuk. Reuters reports that "near Mahmudiya" two people died from mortar rounds and four were left wounded while, in Mahmudiya proper, mortar rounds resulted in one family losing two members and three members being wounded.
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports four police officers were shot dead in Dora during an attack on a police station, while, in Baghdad, Bassem Kadhim ("Police Brig.") was shot dead in front of his home. Reuters notes the Baghdad shooting ("Basim Qasim" is their spelling) and slo notes that a man was shot dead in Diwaniya, "an employee in the Ministry of Higher Education" in Baghdad was shot dead. On the topic of shootings, CNN has footage to "snipers in Iraq, targeting and killing American troops, taking them down with a single bullet from a high-powered rifle." (The footage is news. I'm sure it's also violent, that's your warning.)
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that the corpses of three men and one woman were discovered in Bahgdad. Reuters notes that five corpses were found in Mahmudiya.
As all of the above goes on, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone grabs a feather boa and gets a wee bit giddier: William Caldwell IV, military spokespiece, attempts to spin.
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that Willie spoke to the press declaring: "In Baghdad, Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations in sustaining a reduction in the level of violence."
As Aileen Alfandary noted today (
KPFA's The Morning Show), some will term that an "understatement." CBS and AP report that Little Willie declared, "The violence is indeed disheartening." Apparently before tossing the feather boa around his neck.
Many reports have the, the US joining the crackdown (the thing that hasn't "met . . . overall expectations")
on August 7th. However, the 'crackdown' began in June. That's the reality. It's been juiced up, beefed up and through various versions but it's gone on since June. Little Willie will next entertain the press corps on Karaoke night by singing "What A Fool Believes."
That, all this time later, they're only now
"reviewing strategy in Baghdad" (as Ibon Villelabeitia reports for Reuters), demonstrate that they've bought their own Operation Happy Talk. Simon Hooper (CNN) notes the comments of British historian Dominic Sandbrook: "What I would imagine America will probably do is what they did before [Vietnam] which is to slowly start withdrawing its troops. George Bush already talks a lot about training up people in Iraq just like Nixon did in Vietnam. What Vietnam teaches us is that sometimes there is no easy answer, there is no strategy for success -- You can get into something and there is no way out."
Joshua Levs (CNN) notes that despite attempts at Happy Talk by the puppet of the occupation, "CNN journalists in Baghdad found these steps by al-Maliki -- like many other announced over they years -- have shown no impact." CNN also notes, of the release of Sheikh Mazen al-Saedi, that "[r]eporters wanted to know why the release occurred. One asked whether such a raid is making soldiers' jobs more difficult and whether the U.S.-led coalition can succeed if the prime minister doesn't allow arrests to be made." As noted in yesterday's snapshot, al-Saedi was taken into custody by US forces, Nouri al-Malliki decided he needed to be released and Iraq's minister of the interior drove al-Saedi back to the Sadrist office. Kirk Semple and John F. Burns (New York Times) report that this "rapid release" has "provoked a new wave of exasperation among American officials and military commanders, who have made little secret of their growing doubts about Mr. Maliki's political will or ability to stop the killings."
Turning to legal news
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports: "U.S. service members will face military trials in three separate cases for the murders of Iraqi civilians, including the gang rape and murder of a teenage girl and the killing of her family in their home in Mahmudiya, the military said on Wednesday." Roberts notes these trials include the case of "shot dead 14-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi's father, mother and six-year-old sister in Mahmudiya, near Baghdad, in March" which involves allegations of rape against Jesse Spielman and Paul Cortez while James Barker is now cooperating with the prosecutions (military as well as the federal prosecution that Steven D. Green faces because he had been discharged from the military before the charges surfaced).
In other legal news, a US soldier elected not to go to Iraq and her story is a new one for this community.
Randy Furst (Minnesota Star Tribune) reported last week on Melanie McPherson. McPherson self-checked out of the US military in July of this year and turned herself in September -- the reasons for her self-check out was that the reservists was not given training for the assignment she was facing in Iraq (MP). McPherson left a note that read: "Please fly without me. I love my country. I was hoping to use my God-given talent, not just be a bullet catcher." McPherson has posted her own statement and notes that she joined the Army Reserves (May 1999) "as a journalist." McPherson also posted a timeline which we'll note here:

August 16, 1999

Joined Army Reserves. 8-year contract; 6 years as a Reservist, 2 years as an Inactive Ready Reserve

January 2000

Reported for Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC

April 2000

Attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for Journalism at Fort Meade, MD

August 2000

Graduated AIT
Joined the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort Snelling, MN with the Mobile Public Relations Department

August/September 2000

Attended two-week ULCHI Focus Lens Annual Training in South Korea

October 1, 2001

Moved to Vermont to work with Eckerd Youth Alternatives as a counselor for youth whom commited sexual offences

Summer 2002

Attended two-week Public Affairs exercise in Germany

May 15, 2002

Changed soldier status from Army Reservist to Inactive Ready Reservist

May 15, 2002 April 1, 2006

No military involvement

April 1, 2006

Received orders dated March 28, 2006, to report to Fort Jackson, SC on May 28, 2006, for an 18-month tour with Operation Iraqi Freedom (O.I.F.)
Orders for mobilization with 131st MPAD had been cancelled a month prior on March 4, 2006
Military contract extended from original exit date of May 27, 2007, to November 23, 2007, for fulfillment of O.I.F. orders
Assigned to the 131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) out of Mobile, AL

May 28, 2006

Reported to Fort Jackson, SC
Received orders while at Fort Jackson to report to a MOPERS non-unit at Fort Meade, MD on July 8, 2006

July 8, 2006

Reported to Fort Meade, MD

July 14, 2006

Received new orders to integrate into the National Guard 34th Brigade (BDE) 1st Infantry Headquarters (IN HHC) stationed in Iraq since March 2006
Ordered to report to the CRC 875th RC at Fort Bliss, TX on July 23, 2006, for movement to Kuwait en route to joining the 34th BDE 1st IN HHC in Iraq

July 23, 2006

Reported to Fort Bliss, TX

At this point, McPherson learns from someone she trained with (who is serving in Iraq) that he was shoved into a position he wasn't trained for, so she "went to the Commander and 1st Sgt. of the CRC who are in charge of processing soldiers" commanding officer who made a phone call with Melanie McPherson present during which the Commander made statements into the phone such as "How could they put her into the position of a military police officer? It just doesn't make any sense!"

Ignored by the Commander and with "less than 24 hours away from our departure to Kuwait en route to Iraq," McPherson decided to self-check out. That's a summary. Click
here for the full statements (and scroll down). We'll close with the last paragraphs of her statement:

The command has also gone so far as to accuse me of encouraging other soldiers not to deploy. This is a very false accusation.
I respect the selfless service soldiers are willing to commit to in regards to their feelings of betterment for humanity and national safety. However, I also support soldiers who feel like they are not able to perform their assigned duties in the Army because of medical conditions, family issues, personal beliefs and legalities related to war, like Lt.
Ehren Watada's case, or circumstances such as the case of sexual harassment and assault SPC. Suzanne Swift is facing. They both have valid stances. I can also greatly relate to the prominence of sexual harassment females endure while in the service. It can run rampant. I hope she can heal and overcome such events. I, myself, have a long and documented history of severe depression since my teen years. Despite that documentation and myriad medications over time, I found that a medical discharge would be highly unlikely.
The military is not for everyone. It is difficult to predict what will take place once a person signs the dotted line. There are many unknowns until we are actually faced with them. When a situation does surface, it is very difficult to resolve without being ostracized or severely punished.
Due to my decision to take matters in my own hands by going AWOL, the CRC command recommended I face a summery court marshal. Their plans were to drop my rank from an E-4 to an E-1, take a month's pay, confine me to prison for 30 days, and then recycle me and send me over to Iraq to face the same situation I originally fled.
I decided to deny the summery court martial. I will be assigned either a general or special court martial in the coming few weeks or months for the charges of missing movement and desertion. I face several years in prison.
The decisions I have made are not only for my benefit, but also for the fair and better treatment of soldiers coming up who will face similarly difficult situations. We are regarded as the best military in the world. I believe we should make it better and safer for those that serve our nation. They absolutely deserve it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Hump Day. The weekend's getting closer. :D I want to get started on this so I can read over a paper I've got due in class tomorrow. You better get your butts over to Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts and I told her I was going to grab C.I.'s "When the 'options' grow even fewer." I heard from Jim about how Blogger/Blogspot was a pain in the ass this morning and C.I. kept losing the first entry and lost this one twice as well. ("Could not connect to Blogger" was the message during publishing.) But "When the 'options' grow even fewer" is just, it's incredible. It just lays it out there so clearly. If Elaine and I hadn't gone out last night, I probably would have watched Frontline. They had an Iraq special and I probably would have thought, "Why did Bremer disband the Iraqi military?" It was such a dumb thing to do. You leave people unemployed and you really fuel the resistance. And it's easy to look back now and say that. But look at what happened yesterday, about 3,000 Iraqi police officers got fired. Some were breaking the law and some were looking the other way. If they were breaking the law, the thing would be to toss them in jail. But that's not an option because imprisoning that many would fuel the anger and hostility even more. So, like Bremer fired the military, they got fired. And where do you think they're going to go? They're going to work for militias and the resistance. And there's nothing that can be done because the illegal war has gone on and on and there are no more options except for troops to withdraw. So read "When the 'options' grow even fewer" and that way you won't have to wait three years for Frontline to cover it. I read something like that and just really think, "Please don't end The Common Ills in November 2008." I know C.I.'s tired and understand why but I really hope we all don't shut down our sites then. I know that's like two years and a month away but I do think about it sometimes and it's depressing.

Both because of all the fun we have together and also because I really still do boot up the computer and go to The Common Ills. I'll get information, some laughs and some stuff I won't find anywhere else.

So let's move on to Stan Goff's "Reflecting on Rumsfeld:"

In August 2003, I was interviewed on CNN as "the father of a soldier." Iraq had claimed only 270 American armed forces members' lives. I called the conflict "a quagmire," bringing hoots of virtual laughter from right-wing bloggers the following day. They were still holding out for the Parisian Rose Parade promised them by Ahmed Chalabi, and I was just some malcontented geriatric hippy still mired in the linguistics of the '60s.
I don't want any last laugh. It's not funny. My son has been to Iraq four times now, and is straightaway headed to Afghanistan, where the Taliban now controls whole towns throughout the south. (Out of respect for my son's privacy and security, I do not publicly discuss our conversations about this or his opinions on the war.)
The figure 270 is now marching with terrible inexorability toward 3,000. The Iraqi deaths are now
reaching toward 700,000, a staggering number in a country of 26 million. The only redeeming feature of the whole thing seems to be the fact that the U.S. government cannot now order an attack on Iran, since the only Iraqis willing to give conditional support to the U.S. occupation are themselves Iranian allies.
Quagmire does indeed evoke Vietnam. And there are two keys ways in which Iraq is - for all its differences - exactly like Vietnam. The aristocracy of American politics cannot win militarily; and it cannot leave politically. That is not to say the U.S. literally cannot leave. It can, and should, immediately. But neither this administration nor any Democrat administration that follows has established itself politically to tell the whole truth, including the truth that there is no painless way back for Iraq ... and that
all resolutions with U.S. occupation will be infinitely worse than any resolution without U.S. occupation. The difference between the Iraq war and the one in Vietnam is that resistance to the latter increased almost at a stately pace but when it crested, that rage was white-hot. Outrage about the Iraq occupation, feverishly hot at first, now seems to have yielded to some version of compassion fatigue.
The daily drip, drip, drip of horror, including the body bags and amputations and burns and psychic dislocations, is hitting a callus on our collective consciousness. We have come to protect ourselves with numerality, that mathematical reduction of human suffering that allows us to nurture the fantasy that this brutality is not irrevocable, that we are not silent or at least acquiescent alongside these sadistic and unnecessary inflictions ... or that they are not happening to real people like us, who themselves do not want the one and only life given to each to be lived in a state of pain, terror and grief.

So if Dems take Congress, do you think Rumsfeld's going to step down? I think he might if they start doing investigations, especially into Pentagon contracts. If Lieberman loses, which I hope happens but Lamont seems to be still trying to find his footing, I could see Bully Boy making his kissing buddy Secretary of Defense or trying to. And calling that proof of bi-partisanship. I don't think Lieberman's a Democrat. He never acted like one and when he should have stepped aside he decided to run as an independent (funded by the GOP). I really hate Lieberman. I think the fact that the Democrats ran him as vice-president is one of the most embarrassing things they did in 2000 before the election. He really just needs to go to some lobbying firm already so he can continue to stab everyone in the back. Donald Rumsfeld's done an awful job but if he's fired, I hope we're all smart enough to not fall for the, "Oh, look Bully Boy's taking a look at his mistakes." It's too late for that. He should have fired Rumsfeld a long time ago, he didn't because he approved of Rumsfeld.

Okay, I need to proof read my paper so let me copy and paste C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Wednesday begins with the news of ten more US toops dying (on Tuesday) in Iraq; step back, Tricia, Bully Boy's now the Littlest Nixon; while Bully Boy gets cover the Poodle and the Puppet stumble; and the so-called coalition of the willing continues to dwindle.
Reuters reports that Slovakia will be leaving the coalition and taking all but 11 of their 110 troops with them and quotes Robert Fico (prime minister) stating, "Slovak soldiers can start packing their stuff because they have to be home in Feburary 2007".

Their eyes are all asking
Are you in, or are you out
And I think, oh man,
What is this about?
-- "In or Out" written by Ani DiFranco

Slovakia is out. The Poodle? He's trying to hang on as prime minister of England.
AFP reports that Tony Blair "admitted" that troops might be "exacerbating" the continued chaos and violence in Iraq and might act as "provocation" for other acts of violence. It has not been an easy time for the Poodle. As his leaked schedule pointed out, he was supposed to be glad handing and in the midst of a publicity blitz. Instead, questions dog him. The questions continue due to Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reporting British Brigadier Ed Butler's comments on the Afghanistan fighting in light of also declaring war in Iraq "meant British soldiers faced a much tougher task now." This follows on the heels of last weeks criticism by British General Richard Dannatt and Colin Brown (Independent of London) reporting yesterday that England's Home Secretary, John Reid, had admitted the wars were "radicalizing young Muslims." Reuters notes: "Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush are facing a barrage of criticism over Iraq as the death toll rises." Well at least they have each other (who else would have them), right? Or maybe not.
The puppet of the occupation? Is Nouri al-Maliki taking Bully Boy's promise that the US will not set a timetable for withdrawal of US forces too seriously? Probably so. The
BBC reports that al-Maliki "ordered the release of a senior figure in the orgainsation headed by radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr." AFP observes the release is "another setback for US plans," notes that Sheikh Mazen al-Saedi was not only released but also "driven to a Sadrist office by the ministry of the interior." This at the same time that nearly 3,000 Iraqi police officers have been fired for breaking the law and/or derelicition of duty and, as Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reports, on the firing of the "two most senior police commanders from their posts" following the earlier "suspension of an entire Iraqi police brigade . . . on suspicions that some members may have permitted or even participated in death squad killings".
As the puppet government's concept of '
justice' continues to be questioned, al-Maliki holds dear to Bully Boy's promise that he's not planning on pulling his government's support. The puppet would do well to grasp he's dealing with the Littlest Nixon and that it's election time in the US. Or, as Jim Lobe (IPS) puts it, "If Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki were inclined to bet his life on President George W. Bush's latest assurances that there will be no timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, he should probably give it a second thought." After all, Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reports the strangely time re-emergence in Iraq of CIA-puppet and former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, while Paul Reynolds (BBC) and Julian Borger (Guardian of London) attempt to cover the strangely leaked 'plan' coming out of the James Baker study group which boils down to (a) involve Syria and Iran or (b) redeploy US troops so they're stationed outside of Iraq but able to 'swoop in' in hit-and-run type actions. The feasibility of either option is doubtful but, if Baker sings "I will be your father figure" loud enough, the hope is that it will appear Bully Boy has a 'plan' or is being handed a 'plan.' It's the Nixon playbook and why, despite Baker's many statements that nothing would be released before the election, the 'plan' has been leaked. It's also why Baker drew attention to his study group in the first place -- certainly not the smartest thing to do if you're hoping to keep it quiet.
Violence and chaos continue in Iraq.
CBS and AP report that a roadisd bomb killed four body guards and Ali Qassim al-Tamimi ("head of intelligence for the Maysan provincial police force") as they traveled between Amarah and Basra. AFP reports the death of three Iraqi soldiers (with three more injured) -- victims of a bombing in Kirkuk. Reuters notes a car bombing in Iraq that left five wounded ("central Baghdad") while "[a] car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol in central Baghdad" left five people wounded.
AFP reports the shooting death, in Suweira, of "a guard escorting an electricity company repair team". Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad.
AFP reports that three corpses were discovered in Suweira. Reuters reports that a police officer's corpse was discovered "between Kerbala and Hilla."
CBS and AP report: "Local Sunni and Shiite leaders were meeting in an attempt to resolve the fate of more than 40 people missing since their 13-car convoy was waylaid at a checkpoint on Sunday outside Balad, where almost 100 people were killed in five days of sectarian fighting. The head of Iraq's security commission angrily accused the government of failing to resolve the crisis."
All the above as
IRIN notes that Iraqi children aren't able to attend school due to the violence: " . . . only 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students are currently attending classes. This compares to approximately 75 percent of students attending classes the previous year, according to UK-based NGO Save the Children." Also while Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that Ramadi has been 'staked': "Dozens of al Qaeda-linked gunmen took to the streets of Ramadi on Wednesday in a show of force to announce the city was joining an Islamic state comprising Iraq's mostlly Sunni Arab provinces, Islamists and witnesses said." Doesn't sound like something the Jimmy Baker Study Group planned for -- quick, someone order them some juiceboxes and fruit rollups so they can get back to 'work.' "Secession". Someone help Condi to her feet, sounds like "civil war" just became official.
Last week,
The Lancet published the study on Iraqi deaths since the start of the illegal war and arrived at the estimate that the war had cost the lives of approximately 655,000 Iraqis. Dr. Curren Warf (at Consortium News) examines the study and notes that "the media has been unable to find a scientist critical of the study, [so] they've turned to policy wonks with literally no expertise in the health scienes." Those having questions about the study or wanting to learn more can attend The Medical Consequences of the War in Iraq: Health Challenges Beyond the Battlefield this Saturday (Oct. 21st) at the Grand Ballroom, Ackerman Union, UCLA -- registration for the conference begins at 8:30 a.m.(registration is $25) and the conference will last until 5:30 p.m. Dr. Warf will be among those attending. Also noting the study, Robert Scheer (Truthdig) concludes: "The point is that it is time for the Iraqis, like the Vietnamese, to make their own history. They can hardly make a worse mess of it."
Scheer's point is dead on but maybe it's hard to recognize reality in the Green Zone?
James Hider (Times of London) provides Green Zone in a snapshot: "In the US-protected fortress, Iraq's Government huddles, riven by sectarian splits and cut off from its terrified people. Inside their bubble ministers live in comparatively luxurious compounds, each sectarian bloc divided from the next by barricades. They are hard to reach by telephone. Some spend more time outside the country than in it."
Today, the
Washington Post reported that ten US troops died in Iraq on Tuesday (US military announced the deaths on Wednesday). The deaths are 'honored' by the US Defense Dept., Heather Wokusch (GNN) reports, which "quietly announced on Monday that mandatory anthrax vaccinations would resume for military personnel and civilians deploying to 28 countries across the globe and even for some based in the U.S." Prior to the illegal war in Iraq, one of the hottest topics within the military, for many years, had been the forced anthrax vaccinations. Don't suggest Donald Rumsfeld doesn't care . . . about screwing everyone over.
Turning to peace news,
Ehren Watada's father has now done two speaking tours to raise awareness of his son's case. reported on his Monday appearance noting that: "If he [Ehren Watada[ is found guilty of all charges, he could get eight years in prison." Pam Wight (San Gabriel Tribune) reports on Bob Watada's Thursday engagement at First Friends Church and quotes Bob Watada stating: "After the Nurember trials you can't use 'I was just following orders' as an excuse anymore. He started thinking that he would be complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity for participating in an illegal and immoral war." More information on Ehren Watada and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
And we'll close with this from
Yuri Loudon (Internationalist Magazine)'s interview with Howard Zinn, Zinn explaining the illegal war: "The government set out to present false information. Colin Powell presented a detailed account of Hussein's WMDs, probably the most compact assembly of falsehoods that have ever been uttered in front of the United Nations. They then bombarded the public, aided by an uncritical press, with information that led them to believe that the United States was somehow in imminent danger and that we had to go to war. There was a barrage of information given to the public by the government, and then repeated by the press. This is clear evidence that the government cannot depend on the public's natural instinct to go to war; they have to work very, very hard; they have to propagandize and persuade them [the public] that war is necessary."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why John Kerry Will Lose the Dem Nomination in 2008

Tuesday and we got two days more before Friday rolls around. Let's kick things off with
Media Matters' "Fox's Cameron: NY Times "essentially hoping to demoralize Republicans" to reduce their turnout:"

On the October 17 edition of Fox News Live, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron asserted that an October 16 New York Times report, indicating that Republican party officials have said they "are moving to reduce financial support" for Sen. Mike DeWine's (R-OH) re-election campaign in order to "divert party money to other embattled Republican senators," demonstrates that "The New York Times and Democrats are essentially hoping to demoralize Republicans and take away the energy for the base that Republicans think will protect their majorities."

I think Media Matters should have pointed out that Candy Ass Cameron was caught bragging to Bully Boy during the 2000 campaign about the work his wife (Cameron's, I know, I was shocked too, he seems like a closeted type) was doing to get Bully Boy elected. You can see that clip in Robert Greenwald's Outfoxed.

I got an e-mail from John Kerry (everybody who signs up got it) and I was going to note it here. Then I started reading over it. Is he trying to start a project that will defend all Democrats or just the ones who served in the military? If it's just ones who were in the military, he hasn't learned a thing from 2004, sorry. They made that awful party convention all about the military. They didn't even want Hillary to speak (had to be pressured there) because they were trying to act so 'manly.' You had non-military Obama and John Edwards acting like they'd just left a platoon. It was disgusting. I know some idiots praised Obama's speech. I think he's overly praised. I think he says the most obvious thing and he is the biggest kiss ass. He was against the war when he had a real opponent and then Jack Ryan got knocked out by a sex scandal and Obama got more and more candy covered ass like.

If Kerry's trying to provide a protection team for candidates who served in the military, that's his right but I ain't gonna push it here. Piss off, as Rebecca's thinking of titling her post tonight (on another topic). I guess when you have no ideas and nothing to offer, you hide behind the military the way the Republicans try to hide behind the flag?

If you listened to the Informed Dissent from the last week of September, you heard Paul Hackett make an idiot of himself. His opinions are fine and dandy for a private citizen, not for someone who ran for Congress and tried for the Senate. His 'bond' was the corps. That's where his loyalties lie. If he were elected, he said, that would be where his loyalties were.

Well maybe he needs to run for the House in a single member district that has nothing but a military base because I don't think a member of Congress goes in with the attitude that one group of people is more important than another. I don't give a damn about his 'bond' and how it's for life and all the crap he said. Except when he wants to represent America. That's no different than voting in someone who's in the pocket of big business.

His loyalty will always be the corps. Well stay the hell out of running for public office and try learning what 'public office' means. Candy ass cry baby who forgot to play 'tough guy' when his butt got kicked out of the Dem Senate race. He was always a creep.

And John Kerry's an idiot if he wants to build his 2008 campaign around the military. He did that in 2004 and even with a record turnout, he didn't win. (I believe the election was stolen.) He won't get that in 2008 for playing from the same playbook as 2004. People were grumbling about it in 2004. They won't put up with it in 2008. He pulls that shit and Hillary will sell right by him because she'll talk about children and nobody will doubt her on children except extreme Republicans. Kerry will be trying to act macho and look ridiculous because the GOP's 2004 smear tactics won't be forgotten and Hillary will sail right past him.

And guess what? I think she would deserve to. If all he can do is flash his Vietnam military record again then just hand the nomination to Hillary, don't make us go through a primary. Give it to her. I don't like her. But you better believe if the 'boys' try to strut, they'll look like fools and Hillary's going to be going back to the issue of children. C.I. pointed that out two weeks ago and it was one of those times when I was like, "Huh?" I had to think about it. But that's exactly right.

It's her strongest image area with the widest support. No the extreme Republicans don't buy it but Democrats and independents do. And if the boys try to parade service, she's not an idiot, she'll go to what reaches beyond the VFW. And she'll wipe the floor with everyone of them.

I didn't get fully what C.I. was talking about until I saw the e-mail from Kerry's organization. I read it and was excited and then I reread it and it was like a light bulb going off. He's playing the same tired campaign that didn't pull people in. (Not wanting Bully Boy pulled them in.) And Hillary can go to the issue of children. She's believable on that.

C.I. did this perfect imitation of Hillary, in a primary debate for the Dem pres nomination, speaking after the boys tried to stud it up by saying something like, "Well, while that is important, I'm concerned with our future and our future is our children. Our children are the nation's most imporant resource and I believe we need to ensure that they are protected, that they are educated and that they are valued because we have had enough of quick fixes and it's time for this nation to look towards the future." That's something like what C.I. said. I probably screwed up the words but I was like, "Huh?" before that. And when C.I. did the imitation, I got chills and I don't like Hillary. I didn't have the guts to go, "You're right." So I'll say it here. Should be public enough. :D But C.I. was right and when I read the e-mail from John Kerry's organization the second time, I really got it.

If he can't find anything else, he's doomed. He'll be up on the stage going "Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, blah blah." And as all the boys try to stud it it'll look good. Then Hillary will come along and blow them out of the water because in the most direct way, she'll speak and come off like she's for all Americans while they're off on some macho high.

Rebecca is as anti-Hillary as I am but she was blown away when C.I. did the Hillary imitation and said, "My God, there is no stopping her." And there won't be if the guys want to play who's got the bigger dick. I'm going to title this "Why John Kerry Will Lose the Dem Nomination in 2008" because if he doesn't start making some changes he will.

As a War Hawk, she can afford to go to other issues and not worry about people calling her "soft." And like C.I. pointed out, the GOP has spent fourteen years telling America she's anything but soft so she doesn't have a fall out factor. A Republican trying to smear her as "soft" or "too feminine" is going to be going against 14 years of the image they've built up to their faithful. And Dems as a whole and swing voters, the second she goes to children, will immediately remember her work as First Lady and be thinking, "Yeah! You tell them, Hillary! Listen to those boys blustering to act macho! You're our candidate!"

So if this is what's in John Kerry's playbook, he's going to hand Hillary the nomination. By the way, if Hillary does run, we may start running photos with our commentaries at The Third Estate Sunday Review. C.I.'s got a ton of them, snapshots, not press shots (from the 1992 campaign, White House, and after). C.I.'s agreed to at least one (which is a nice photo of Hillary) provided we crop everyone else out of it. If it's not clear in here, let me repeat, I'm not for Hillary. I would really like to see John Kerry get it but he's not going to get it by replaying 2004. It'll be four years later and America will want leadership not staring in the review mirror.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US "officials" issue statements and watch how Balad gets rewritten, an estimated 3,000 Iraqi police officers are told "no job!", and Cindy Sheehan focuses on the numbers that matter (and unlike the big news orgs, doesnt' feel the need to rewrite them).
On the slaughter in Balad,
Al Jazeera magazine notes a "New York Times editorial". It's not an editorial, it's a report by Michael Luo. It's a report that the Times is now hiding online and have replaced with a new version. The original is entitled "Iraqis Ask Why U.S. Forces Didn't Intervene in Balad." That's the print headline and the headline if you use the link. But that story doesn't show up on the Middle East page of the website. Instead, a weaker version entitled "Fighting in Iraqi Town Killed Over 60, U.S. Says" with John O'Neil appearing in the byline and also in the end credit "in New York"! Because, surely, to report on Balad, you need O'Neil in New York.
The original, with only Luo in the byline, reported: "Killing also continued to besiege the capital on Monday with the discovery of at least 64 bodies across the city, and two car bomb attacks that appeared to kill 22 people." The white-washed attempt to suck up to "officials" opens with: "The American military said today that more than 60 people were killed in four days of sectarian fighting in Balad . . ."
If you find that disgusting, and you should, take comfort in the fact that there's griping at the paper about the watering down of a fairly straight-down-the-middle report. The original may disappear from the website so if you're interested in what alarms "officials," check it out now. The whitewash tries to reassamble the article but mainly demonstrates how idiotic the paper is. Well over 60 people have died in Balad from Friday to Monday and that was reported by other US outlets -- mainstream sources. [
Ellen Knickmeyer and Muhanned Saif Aldin (Washington Post) put it at 80 in their report in today's paper -- which, please note, the Post hasn't felt the need to rewrite to appease "officials."] The original article did not ignore the opinions of the military but, such is the reality of the war, "officials" need things distorted and, such is the cowardice of the paper, that "offiicals" must be appeased.
For those still attempting to follow Balad,
CBS and AP report that "sectarian fighting in Balad . . . has killed close to 100 people" since it "began Friday with the slaying of 17 Shiite Muslim workers. Revenge-seeking Shiite death squads then killed 74 Sunnis, causing people flee across the Tigris River to the nearby Sunni-dominated city of Duluiyah." This as CNN also chases down 'official' pleasure, though they claim they're not revising earlier reporting, just noting what 'officials' say and, it is true, they do include this statement: "The number of deaths vary". Reuters harkens back to their earlier days (when they fronted for the US government as revealed during Congressional hearings in the wake of Watergate) by not even attributed their lowered figures to US "officials" or US "military." Monday, before 'official' statements, Ellen Knickmeyer and Muhanned Saif Aldin (Washington Post) reported: "By Sunday afternoon, 80 bodies were stacked in the morgue of the Balad hospital". But watch as the mainstream media grabs onto "official" statement and trashes all that was previously reported. Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that "at least 91 people" have been killed since Friday in Balad. A report the Times runs online but forgets to rewrite.
Those who watch network or cable news should pay attention to see who carries water for the administration and who notes the reality that was already well established in the mainstream (US) press reports.
AFP reports that despite 'official' US claims, US forces are not in control in Balad and that, according to "Malik Laftah, the head of Balad city council," corpses are lying in the streets.
Let's note some of the reported violence but keep in mind that most outlets don't have the guts to stick with their own reporting in the face of a bold face lie from US 'officials' so who knows how the following will be rewritten?
Reuters, right now at this second because who knows how they'll cave tomorrow, reports that, in Baghdad, a car bomb killed killed two police officers and wounded nine, while a roadside bomb left five people wounded and that two different attacks with mortar rounds left a total of three people dead and and three wounded. CBS and AP report that "two Katyusha rockets" left twenty wounded in Baghdad. Al Jazeera notes a bombing in Karmah that claimed the lives of five Iraqi soldiers.
BS and AP report that, in Hillah, one man was shot dead and five were wounded when "unidnetified gunmen attacked a facility belongint to the central Euphrates electricity distribution authority". They also note a home invasion in Balad Ruz that claimed the lives of "the mother and four dault sons" and left the father wounded; a drive by shooting in Falluja two police officers were shot dead. AFP reports that four students were shot dead in Basra and, also in Basra, "gynaecologist Dr Youssra Hashem became the latest female professional to be killed amid a rise in violence against women by conservative Muslim factions". Al Jazeera reports the shooting death of "a member of the Patriot Union of Kurdistan" in Mosul."
CBS and AP report that two corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("blindfolded and bound").
Now who knows what will be asserted tomorrow because some lose spines when officials' gums start flapping. Staying on those who buckle, last week,
Richard Dannatt caused a stir with criticism of the Iraq war and the suggestion that it was time to pull troops. As Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) notes, "the new chief of the Britsh army" stated troops should leave because just being there "exacerbates the security problem." He buckled quicker than a media boardroom. Despite the fact that British soldiers strongly agreed with his statements.
Lachlan Carmichael (AFP) reports that Tony Blair "has vowed to keep British troops in Iraq until their 'job is done' as her rejected claims that their presence fueled Muslim extremism at home and abroad." The report focuses on Blair and Dannat and apparently missed Colin Brown (Independent of London) reporting that: "John Reid, the Home Secretary, conceded last night for the first time that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have played a part radicalisizing young Muslims."
AFP also reports that Bully Boy went on Bloated Men & Bleached Women (aka Fox "News") to declare his opposition to dividing the nation of Iraq into three autonomous regions. Apparently, while cooing sweet nothings to Nouri al-Maliki on Monday, Bully Boy forgot to raise that issue (last week the parliament took another step in that direction). As Simon Tisdall (Guardian of London) notes, predicting "the worst is yet to come," "One sign came last week when the Shia parliamentary majority rejected Sunni opposition and passed a law allowing partion into autonomous federal regions. It is but a small step from there to national disintergration."
A little noted "official" statement by "US army Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Martindale" is
covered by AFP, this is regarding the violence in Balad: "Marindale also, however, confirmed that two Iraqi police officers had been arrested for taking part in the massacre which triggered the orgy of violence." No, we're not returning to Balad -- the whole 'coverage' is too disgusting. But keep that in mind: two police officers were part of triggering "the orgy of violence." AFP reports that Iraq's interior ministry spokesperson (Abdel Karim Khalaf) held a press conference today to announce "that 1,228 [police officers] had been sacked for breaking the law while nearly 2,000 more were dismissed for derelection of duty."
The Interior minister is Jawad Bolani and, for those who've missed it, the militias are thought by some to have free reign via that ministry.
Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reported, Saturday, that when reminded that his ministry has been "accused of complicity in sectarian death squad killings," Bolani denied it. Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) noted that not only did Bolani deny the accusations, he "blamed the Facilities Protection Service, or FPS, a massive but unregulated government guard force . . . . Bolani and his predecssor as interior minister, Bayan Jabr, both have minimized the possibility of any police involvement in the nightly killings."
Whether the purge,
which also includes moving three police commanders to administrative jobs, is just an attempt to stop the questions from continuing to being asked or whether it's genuine, who knows? But it's worth remembering Rick Jervis (USA Today) reported Monday on how al-Maliki refused to addres disarming militas "until later this year or early next year".
While many supposedly brave press outlets fudge the numbers to please the US administration,
Cindy Sheehan (at BuzzFlash) notes some other numbers: 4, 4, 655,000 and more. The first four is "Republican Congresspeople [who] have had to resign from scandals this past year" (Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay); the second four is the number of "staff members of the corrupt adminstration [who] have resigned in disgrace this year" (Andrew Card, Scooter Libby, Susan Ralston and Snotty McClellan) while 655,000 is the estimate for the number of Iraqis who have dies since the start of the illegal war as a result of the violence. She also reminds that Gold Star Families for Peace will be holding a sit around the White House November 7th and 8th and "Also, go to Progressive Democrats of America to sign the petition to support Congressman Jim McGovern's bill, HR4232, which cuts funding for the continuing occupation. Ending the funding is what stopped Vietnam. Let's cut Iraq off before it becomes as bad as Vietnam."
Also in peace news,
Courage to Resist notes Ricky Clousing's statement to the judge in last Thursday's court-martial and sentencing: "My experiences in Iraq forced me tto reevaluate my beliefs and ethics. Ultimately, I felt like I could not serve." Clousing is a war resister and he will serve three months, be reduced in rank and then dishonorably discharged. Clousing took a brave stand and Courage to Resist notes:
Ricky is currently being held in a military brig at Camp LeJune in North Carolina and it is urgent that he receive your words of encouragement and support!
Please write to Ricky today!
More information on war resisters who have gone public can be found at
Courage to Resist.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for her thoughts even if Elaine just said, "I forgot to put that in mine." :D That's cool. We're both rushing tonight because she drove in and we're going to catch a movie or do something.