Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Agustin Aguayo, Ehren Watada, real heroes

Tuesday! Guess what I'm listening to right now? David Rovics' Halliburton Massacre. I felt like crap when I got home today and went to bed. I was under the blankets and was so cold. When I woke up, I thought to check the vent. My sister's room is right next to mine and, since I wasn't here this weekend, she'd come in closed the vent to make more heat go to her room. But I was thinking, "The heater's on, I'm under blankets and I still feel like I'm freezing! I must be getting a cold."

The plus there was that Ma made me some soup. I slept right through dinner. I think I was too focused on a speech I had to give for class today. I went to bed about eleven last night to get up early but I didn't mean two o'clock. I woke up a little before two o'clock and could not get back to sleep. After an hour of laying there and sleep not arriving, I turned on a light to read a bit thinking that would make me tired. It didn't. Next thing I knew I was finally yawning at four-thirty in the morning, an hour before I planned to get up. So I went ahead and stayed up because if I'd gone to sleep then, I would have slept for hours and missed everything.

Oh, and get this, there's this guy in one of my classes. He's got pink eye. Everyone's saying that: "Dude, you've got pink eye." And not only has he not had it looked at (or is on he putting in drops or any medicine), he's on the front row so the handouts were starting with him. I didn't touch 'em. I told Tony, "Don't even pass that crud to me."

My eyes were watering all through class. My second oldest brother used to get pink eye all the time. So much that Ma just kept the prescription eye drops in the fridge. And I would catch it all the time from him no matter how many times he washed his hands and tried not to touch anything the rest of us would when he had pink eye. He would get this mild little case and me, I'd wake up the next morning with my eyes stuck together from all the pink eye crud that seeps out while you sleep. I hated that and getting a wet wash cloth just to get them to really open. So if I'm around anyone with pink eye, my eyes start watering today because I am a BIG BABY on that.

So it was a really long day and then the pink eye stuff. I really am mad at that guy. I'll be honest. He could go to the clinic and get something. He's got enough money (I'm guessing by the car he drives) to go to his own docotr, but even if he didn't, he could go to the clinic. But there he was this afternoon laughing about how everyone had been telling him all day that he had pink eye and laughing about it. Tony goes he has science lab right after the guy and the techs didn't think it was funny and were having to clean all the microscopes before his lab could start. He was just this big carrier monkey going all over campus spreading pink eye. Don't think that's too cool.

No what else isn't cool? The US military charging Agustin Aguayo with desertion when they could have just charged him with being AWOL since he wasn't even gone for a full month and he turned himself in. They really want to screw with him. I think it's too send a message and that's so others won't say no to the war and also because they're pissed that he sued the Army.
Desertion's supposed to be harder to prove in the military court than just being AWOL but they just want to throw the book at him. It's discussed in the snapshot so be sure to read through the end. And I was rolling over C.I.'s comments about Bully Boy's dance. :D

Now I've got a highlight by Stan Goff. Ma wrote about him recently and I agree with everything she said. I also admire him because he doesn't try to hide who he is. I'm talking about being a socialist. I've never been scared of socialists because my grandfather is one. And I bet there are a lot more of them but they tend to get covered without the press noting it. I don't think there's anything wrong with socialism and my grandfather always tells me, he's going to show me how the Democrats are a waste of time. Lately, I've been joking back, that I think the Democrats are helping him out with that. :D So this is from Stan Goff's "Petraeus! Is Baghdad Burning?:"

The United States makes up about 5 percent of the Earth’s population, but as an aggregate we burn more than 25 percent of its fossil energy. That’s roughly true of all three main forms of fossil energy--oil, natural gas and coal.
The coal we get mainly by having West Virginians surrender their mountains, where coal operators now lop the tops off those mountains to get at the seams of coal and dump the rubble into nearby watercourses. That's what we do for most of our electricity. Canada sells us most of the natural gas we use ... nearly 90 percent in fact.
The catch for the U.S. is that, as we shall see, the Iraqi leaders who support the hydrocarbon law have no legitimacy upon which to establish stability, and the leaders who have the popular legitimacy to establish stability support neither the occupation nor the hydrocarbon law.
When the situation is looked at in this way, we can bypass all the chatter from government and media mystigogues about regional stability for the sake of the people, democracy, terrorism, et cetera. These rhetorical smoke screens are concealing two inescapable facts: (1) The U.S. has lost the Iraq war and (2) the best retrenchment position possible now is to salvage the draft hydrocarbon law.
The Shiite "Government"
This explains, to a large degree, why the U.S. is harassing Iranian diplomats, even as it courts Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), as Dawa Party leader and putative Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s replacement. Hakim, after all, is practically an Iranian citizen. Why would the Bush administration court the most pro-Iranian leader among the diverse Shiite factions as successor in the event that Maliki fails to live up to U.S. expectations? Hakim has been a consistent and strong supporter of the hydrocarbon law.
The Shiite leader who has most vehemently opposed this law, and the U.S. occupation, has been Muqtada al-Sadr. The press has frequently portrayed Sadr as pro-Iranian, and nothing could be further from the truth. The SCIRI has been most aggressive in the demand to divide Iraq into a very loose federation and transform southeastern Iraq into an Iranian rump state. Sadr has called for Iraqi unification, left the door open to Sunnis for an anti-occupation alliance, denounced the hydrocarbon law, and modeled his political and military leadership on Hezbollah.
Here is where we come to the nub of The Surge, and why it is probably the political death knell of Nouri al-Maliki. The principle aim of The Surge is to break the power of Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr not only has the seats in the Potemkin parliament of Iraq that put Maliki (a leader in a relatively small Shiite party, the Dawa) into power against the SCIRI (the largest parliamentary faction); he commands the ferocious loyalty of two and a half million people and has an 80,000-strong militia concentrated a stone’s throw from the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad. Baghdad has about 6 million people; New York City has 8 million, just by way of comparison. The population of Sadr City, the "neighborhood" under the leadership of Sadr, is approximately that of Brooklyn.
To realize this helps in understanding the considerations that go into planning a military operation. We need some kind of comparative scale to really comprehend the dangerous lunacy of The Surge.
There is, in reality, no such thing as an Iraqi government now. There is this formation inside the Green Zone. Maliki cannot leave the Green Zone without an escort of armored vehicles and attack helicopters. If anyone can explain how this constitutes governance, I'm all ears.

I like Goff's writing a lot. He's probably a lot younger than my grandfather but he reminds me of him in his writing because he's just not in the mood to frill it up or slap some lipstick on it, he just tells it like it is.

I got a letter about Appeal for Redress. Am I noting it? I don't think any of us are. Just in noting C.I.'s snapshots, we've all noted that petition probably 60 or more times. After one of the signers felt the need to trash Ehren Watada and after Katrina vanden Heuvel decided it was the 'acceptable' was to resist (she's written of it twice at The Nation -- she's written of resisters to the war never, NEVER, NEVER!), I think we're all done with that. You want to call Ehren Watada a coward because you're some modern-day e-activist who signed an online petition? Well go fot it, but you're MoveOn.org 'activism' doesn't impress me. I think the feeling here is that it was a worthy tool but once Katrina vanden Heuvel and The Nation started pushing it and started stripping it of it's history and it's power to white wash it and make it 'acceptable,' we weren't too high on it. After we all realized that one of the signers who was doing publicity for it was trashing Ehren Watada, we were all done with it.

If you missed that, The Nation made it a cover story. A kind of vague, watery cover story that denied the realities of the petition and the realities of the people who started it. But, in a story written by Marc Cooper, they managed to work in a slam against Watada where the publicity tool called Watada a coward. (Online activism is the real bravery?) C.I. had told us all that there was an article coming out on it and said, "You do not want to link to it. Do not link to it." I mean it was like that, C.I. was very clear about it and repeated it very slowly to make sure we were all on the same page. The article came out and I didn't even read it. If C.I. tells me it's going to piss me off, I'm busy already, I've got enough to do and C.I., unlike The Nation, is always 100% straight with me. So I just ignored the article. I noticed at The Common Ills that C.I. was being vocal about it not being linked to. And then Ruth did her report where she noted that it called Ehren Watada a coward.

She quoted it and noted that was crap. I never doubted C.I. that it was something I didn't want to link to. So I wasn't surprised when Ruth did her report (she didn't link to it and noted that The Common Ills' policy is "We don't link to trash") and I saw that the article had included that swipe at Ehren Watada. The guy said it but there was no reason to include it. But when The Nation can't and won't support war resisters it seems obvious to me that a decision was made that including the quote would further the magazine's apparent goal to marginalize war resisters. The Nation's a fucking joke now. It's all about Vote! and sign petitions! So it's no surprise that they would get behind this petition while ignoring war resisters. People like Aguayo and Watada and Kyle Snyder are real heroes even if The Nation doesn't appear to think so. They've stood up at personal risk and they deserve to be noted and covered.

If C.I. notes it for some reason in a snapshot, I'll include it when I copy and paste but otherwise you won't read about it here. It was just symbolic. It wasn't going to accomplish anything and has about the same weight as a CNN poll. It was a for show symbolic effort. To me, it's the cowardly way to cover the war when you don't also cover war resisters. And notice, after all their statements about presenting it on MLK day, they didn't. :D

I mean, how stupid was the person who thought that up, "We'll turn it on MLK day!" They said that. I was going to write about that and how it was significant after they were on Law and Disorder, or one guy was, talking about the petition and I called C.I. to find out what MLK's Vietnam speech was ("Beyond Vietnam") and C.I. told me the title and asked why I wanted to know. I go, "Because the guy was on Law and Disorder and he's turning the petition in on MLK day. On MLK day, they're turning it into Congress." I couldn't shut up about it and was so excited. When I got done, C.I. goes, "Mike, I don't think you should write about that. You can note that there plan is to do that, but don't write stuff of your own about it." I go, "Why not?" And C.I. goes, "Mike, Congress isn't in session on MLK day. It's a federal holiday. They'll be in DC to turn in a petition and no Congress member's going to be there to accept it."

I was all, "You should point that out!" And C.I. said no and said "I keep hoping they'll grasp that soon." But when Katrina vanden Heuvel, WHO WILL NOT WRITE ONE WORD ABOUT WAR RESISTERS, decided to blog on it again and I believe she included, again, that it would be turned in on MLK day, C.I. made that the last time the petition was noted and C.I. also pointed out that it wouldn't be turned in on MLK day. So today, it got turned in.

Woop-de-damn-do. It's nothing but a symbolic move. It's a poll. Woo-hoo. That'll end the war.
I would still be linking to it but when that hack had the gall to trash Ehren Watada and compare his signing a petition to bravery while calling Ehren Watada a coward and when The Nation decided that was the quote to go with, I was done with the petition.

Military Families Speak Out support it, Iraq War Veterans Against the War do, Veterans for Peace does as well. I like those three groups but I don't like the way Katrina vanden Heuvel and The Nation got onboard this minor action and used it to club Ehren Watada.

I hate The Nation right now. They're cowards for not covering war resisters. They're cowards for the way they covered the petition. All sorts of people worked on that petition, but to read that laughable article, it was just a bunch of apathetic military members. That's a nice little fantasy. But The Nation wasn't interested in reporting, they were interested in marketying, so I'm done with linking to that petition. I like the Jonathan guy and he's a very political guy. But when one of the signers slammed Ehren and The Nation couldn't wait to get that into print (while lying about the people doing the petition), I was done with that shit.

Again, my grandfather isn't ashamed to be a socialist. I'm not ashamed of him being a socialist. And if I become one, I won't be ashamed to say I am one. I'd never present myself as someone who was apathetic either. That should be pretty clear to everyone. (Yes, Elaine was talking about this last week.) I should add because I know Elaine bit the tongue, that this isn't 'red baiting.' Socialists aren't communists and there's nothing wrong with socialists. There is something wrong with covering them and trying to act like they aren't socialists. They're the ones turning it into a dirty word by acting like it needs to be hidden -- "they" is The Nation. They did the same thing in a story where they cited Carl Webb who is also a proud socialist. But you wouldn't know that to have read about him in The Nation. It's like the word "socialist" is so dirty it cannot be mentioned.

One time, we were also listening to Laura Flanders' show while working on The Third Estate Sunday Review and Flanders said she didn't want to see anyone calling Bernie "an independent" or putting an "I" next to his name because the Senate just got there first socialist. We were all like, "Yeah!" and then C.I. popped our bubble by noting that unless it's someone like John Nichols writing the piece, The Nation calls Bernie an "independent" and not a "socialist." The magazine treats it like it's a dirty word. I don't. My grandfather's a proud socialist and he's a good man. He believes in things that really matter. I've got an uncle as well who's one. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed. But some people at The Nation must be.

Turning socialists into "apathetic" or "independent" people must take a lot of work which probably explains why they refuse to cover war resisters. (When Carl Webb got quoted and noted, they didn't even note he was a war resister. He was just some guy who suddenly got involved in things because of Hurricane Katrina. It's called LYING.)

So these days, The Nation can join the New York Times in kissing my Irish-American ass.
And twice on Sundays! :D

Hey, maybe they think Abeer was a socialist and that's why they can't cover her gang rape and murder by US soldiers!

So let's talk about The Third Estate Sunday Review:

A Note to Our Readers -- this is where Jim talks about the edition. I always love Jim's notes.

Editorial: The unmentionable -- I'm finishing David Lindorff and Barbara Olshanksy's book on impeachment and when I'm done, we're discussing it at The Third Estate Sunday Review. We were tossing around topics for the editorial and Ty noted how impeachment was a big topic this time last year in The Nation, Harper's, The Progressive, etc. But now? No one mentions it. What was all that, just talk? Nancy Pelosi taking it off the table doesn't mean we have to.

TV: Ugly Betty, Beautiful TV -- Tony's mother loves this show, three of my sisters love this show. My brother-in-law loves this show. Reading Ava and C.I.'s review, I realize I gotta at least try this show out. I may try to catch it this Thursday. There's a new actress joining the show that night.

Escalation: The non-plan -- This was a really long piece but an important one and I think it pulls together all these sources to explain why Bully Boy's non-plan is a joke.

Abeer and Ehren -- Ava and C.I. both said, "Hey, we've got to note these two developments." Dona said, let's do them together as a short feature.

The Little Boy Who Cried WMD -- the Bully Boy. Who lied.

File it under "Thank God she was born in 1925!"' -- is Barbara Bush just the meanest person in the world? Everyone at the service for Gerald Ford looks upset, Republican or Democrat and there's Big Babs grinning like she's just won American Idiol. What an idiot.

Bacon -- I like this poem.

MyTV's Fascist House -- I love the collages. I helped with the text (as did Betty, Cedric, Elaine, Wally and Rebecca) but the collage itself was done by Kat, Jim, Dona, Ava, Jess, Ty and C.I.

Highlights -- Betty, Wally, Cedric, Rebecca, Kat, Elaine and me picked and wrote this.

Note -- Rebecca and C.I. were working real hard on Isaiah's latest comic and an earlier one which were both a series of panels -- working to make them as large as possible. Most of the time Isaiah doesn't get photo shopped but to make sure the words were visible, they worked real hard to make sure it was.

Be sure to check out Elaine's site, Like Maria Said Paz, for her thoughts. She said she was doing a light post tonight but she's always worth reading. (And I thought that long before we started seeing each other.) Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the United Nations issues a report that seems to go unread (or maybe the news industry has decided, yet again, to ignore Iraqi women?) , US war resister Agustin Aguayo has been charged by the US military, Bully Boy explains to 60 Minutes that the ten words last week were meaningless, the US military announces the death of four US soldiers, and the New York Times is going to have actually report on the chaos and violence in tomorrow's paper because with over 100 dead in Baghdad alone today even the desperate to sell the war Timid can't look the other way.

Starting with war resistance within the military, US war resister Agustin Aguayo, a medic with the US army, gave his reasons for refusing to redeploy to Iraq for a second tour in a statement to the US Court of Appeals in DC which was preparing to hear his appeal to be designated a conscientious objector:

With or without non-combatant status I will not deploy to Iraq. I have been to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and I know what to expect. I know what will be expected of me. And because of this first-hand knowledge, I simply cannot take part in this deployment. Some people might think that a fear of death is the reason for refusing to deploy. But that is incorrect. I have to be true to myself and do what is right. Even though I deployed as a non-combatant in 2004-05 I still carry guilt from my participation. While there as a non-combatant, I was still required to do guard-duty, although I chose to carry only an unloaded gun. While there as a non-combatant, I was still required to patch-up, treat, and help countless soldiers for "sick-call" in order to facilitate their prompt return to combatant duties. While there as a non-combatant, I was asked to drive soldiers around on patrols, patrols which could have been deadly to Americans and Iraqis alike. I regret involvement in those activities, because ultimately I was contributing to the war mission and enabling others to do what I oppose. By doing guard duty, appearing to be armed, even without bullets, I gave the false impression that I would kill if need be. I am not willing to live a lie to satisfy any deployment operation. By helping countless soldiers for "sick-call" as well as driving soldiers around on patrols I helped them get physically better and be able to go out and do the very thing I am against -- kill. This is something my conscience will not allow me to do. Although I myself did not pull the trigger, I now realize that what I did as a non-combatant nonetheless supported and enabled these missions. I cannot carry that burden on my conscience. When you know better you do better.

Aguayo self-checked out of the US military on September 2nd and
turned himself at Fort Irwin on September 26. Aguayo has argued that his Last Friday, Kevin Dougherty (Stars & Stripes) reported that the US military has charged Aguayo with desertion and missing movement and that conviction on both charges "could receive a maximum prison term of seven years". The charge of desertion is interesting in that (a) Aguayo turned himself in, (b) he was gone less than 30 days, and (c) the US Court of Appeals was set to hear his case. Also of interest is that, though no date's been set for the trial/court-martial, the military's decided to announce charges when his claim for c.o. status still awaits a ruling from the US Court of Appeals.

Turning to other war resistance news,
Iraq Veterans Against the War started Camp Resistance to show their support for Ehren Watada who faces a court-martial February 5, 2007. damon reports that they intend to stay "outside the gates of Fort Lewis and on the streets across the nation" in order "to make an impression large enough to influence the outcome of the trial". What do they need? They need:

financial support for getting
IVAW members here at Fort Lewis, particularly on the day of the trial. Also, we envision Camp Resistance FOBs (Forward Operating Base) starting all over the country; in front of recruiter's offices, military bases, etcetera. When we got kicked out of our campsite, we came to the realization that Camp Resistance is not a physical place, but a place within our hearts and minds. If your heart is filled with resistance to this illegal war and Love for LT, you can start a daily vigil in your local area or join us here at Fort Lewis.

They also need attention -- make sure your friends know and start demanding that media, big and small (also known as Useless & Useless) cover Camp Resistance.

Agustin Aguayo and Ehren Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Meanwhile Bully Boy does his War Dance In The Pants and claims, that as "The Destroyer," this dance is tyrant's choice. Appearing Sunday on
CBS' 60 Minutes (pre-taped, Bully Boy doesn't do live well), Bully Boy again attempted to pump his ten word teeny, tiny, little culpa into a thing of significance. Scott Pelley asked Bully Boy about the ten words -- the 'mistakes were made' shrug that the press thought was just AMAZING all last week. ["Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."] It wasn't. And for the fools who didn't grasp it in real time, Bully Boy demonstrated in Sunday night's broadcast.

PELLEY: You mention mistakes having been made in your speech. What mistakes are you talking about?

BUSH: You know, we've been through this before. Abu Ghraib was a mistake. Using bad language like, you know, "bring them on" was a mistake. I think history is gonna look back and see a lot of ways we could have done things better. No question about it.
PELLEY: The troop levels . . .
BUSH: Could have been a mistake.
PELLEY: Could have been a mistake?
BUSH: Yeah. [General] John Abizaid, one of the planners, said in front of Congress, you know, he thought we might have needed more troops. My focus is on how to succeed. And the reason I brought up the mistakes is, one, that's the job of the commander-in-chief, and, two, I don't want people blaming our military. We got a bunch of good military people out there doing what we've asked them to do. And the temptation is gonna find scapegoats. Well, if the people want a scapegoat, they got one right here in me 'cause it's my decisions.

A scapegoat is someone wrongly blamed. Before anyone points to the obvious (Bully Boy has had a highly abusive relationship with the English language), let's note that you don't go to the well on the Bible as often as the Bully Boy has publicly without being expected to know the story Aaron. Bully Boy knows full well what a scapegoat is and, Sunday on 60 Minutes, he was revealing the obvious, his ten words were sop tossed out and not heartfelt. But thank you, US press, for wasting nearly a week promoting it as ground-breaking news. It's not as though anything better couldn't have been covered in that time, is it?

In the same
60 Minutes interview, Bully Boy rejected the notion that he might "owe the Iraqi people an apology" for not doing "a better job in providing security after the invasion" with "Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant."

Shh, don't wake the tyrant. In the real world the
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq has released a report and, yes, it declares that 34,452 Iraqis died in 2006 with 36,685 wounded. The report also states that: "Armed operations by MNF-I continued to restrict the enjoyment of human rights and to cause severe suffering to the local population" -- MNF being the US led 'coalition'.

The tyrant thinks he 'liberated' does he? The UN report also covers the realities for Iraqi women -- new realities, post-invasion realities, brought to them by Bully Boy Inc. That includes vanishing rights, women's rights are disappearing and they "are reportedly living with heightened levels of threats to their lives and physical integrity, and forced to conform to strict, abritrarily imposed morality codes" which allows them new 'role' -- unclaimed corpse. Women are kidnapped and abused, sexually and then murdered, their corpses don't get buried by the families because to note that is your daughter, your sister, etc. would be to risk family shame. Those women who have been 'liberated' to mass sexual assault and abuse but aren't murdered? Well they have the option of 'honour killings' which, the UN report tells us, led to, in the first months of 2006, 239 women attempting to kill themselves -- burning yourself to death may be among the most popular 'roles' for Iraqi women in the public sphere. Thanks, Tyrant Bush.

Turning to today's violence which claimed over 100 lives in the capital alone.


CNN reports a coordinated attack on the Mustansiriya University involving two bombs (bomb vest and car bomb) with one "at the back entrance of the school" and the other at the "main gate under a pedestrian bridge where students and employees get public transit." Claudia Parsons and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) note that at least 65 are dead and "many of them young women students". CNN notes that the count rose to 70 dead and at least 169 were wounded.

Also in Baghdad,
Reuters notes a roadside bomb and a motorcycle bomb claimed the lives of at least 15 and left at least 70 wounded in an attack "near a Sunni mosque"; another roadside bomb claimed four lives and left ten more wounded in an attack on a police patrol, while a "bomb inside a car" left six dead and at least 11 wounded in the Sadr City section of Baghdad.

Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports five mortars left 10 people wounded in west Baghdad and notes that bomb that exploded inside a car in the Sadr City section of Baghdad "exploded inside a KIA minibus".


Reuters notes a person shot dead in Hawija and three were shot down in Mosul. CNN reports that "gunmen on motorcycles opend fire on a maketplace in the Mehdi Army-controlled Bunouk area of eastern Baghdad and killed 12 civilians. Seven others were wounded."


BBC reports that 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that two corpses were discovered in Diwaniya.

Not covered in the above is the fact that the slaughter of Haifa Street (a residential street -- or residential before the slaughter began) continues.
Nancy A. Youssef and Zaineb Obeid (McClatchy Newspapers) report: "Eight days after a joint U.S.-Iraqi offensive began to take control of the Haifa Street area in central Baghdad, residents said they had no water and no electricity and that people seeking food had been shot at random. They said they could see American soldiers nearby, but that the Americans were making no effort to intervene."

In addition, Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "according to a medical source from karbala health directorate, the directorate yesterday received 80 anonymous bodies from Baghdad morgue with the help of sadr office. those bodies were found 3 months ago in Baghdad and were not be able to be recognized by their families. usually after 3 month of the bodies being at Baghdad morgue if nobody claim them are sent to karbala grave yard to be buried but now the period have been lessen to one month only. this grave yard in karbala is called the anonymous grave yard. also today 85 anonymous bodies were received from Baghdad morgue to be buried at karbala anonymous grave yard."

Meanwhile the
US military announces: "Four Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division were killed Monday as a result of an improvised explosive device while conducting operations in Ninewa province, Iraq."

Addressing the escalation, Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) observes that the escalation is Bully Boy's plan and the US, not Iraqis, are in charge:

Initial reports from the US powers running the war explain that the first neighborhoods to be attacked will be primarily Sunni in makeup. Once these neighborhoods are pacified--gunships attack, soldiers come in, the men rounded up and the areas locked down and fenced in, the remaining residents will be issued identification cards which will most likely include retina scans and will be limited in their travels outside of the region assigned to them by the US command. The plan then apparently calls for a similar effort in the Shia areas of Baghdad, including the area known as Sadr City. This is when the Green Zone regime of al-Maliki will be challenged. Will he give in to US demands and support the almost certainly bloody raids into this part of the city? Will he accept the US plan to turn the Shia regions of Baghdad into the equivalent of the Vietnam war's strategic hamlets? Since it is quite unlikely that Muqtada al-Sadr or his followers will, if al-Maliki were to do so, he would most certainly lose the support of this important bloc of Iraqis. If he opposes US attacks and lockdowns of Shia areas of the city, then he would most likely lose his job.
The scenarios outlined above do enough to prove that it is Washington that really runs the war in Iraq. The major difference between the situation before Mr. Bush's speech and now is that the post-speech plan strips away even the pretense that the Iraqi Green Zone government is in control. What this means on the ground is that the US command will no longer even pretend to ask the Green Zone government for permission to conduct its activities. This change was graphically illustrated almost immediately after Mr. Bush's speech when US troops raided the Iranian diplomatic mission in Irbil and hijacked six Iranian consular officials. No Iraqis even knew about this raid until after the fact. In fact, the Kurdish military units guarding the region almost killed some US troops trying to enter the region because they were unaware of their intentions. We will surely see more examples like this in the coming weeks and months.

Turning to financial news, Sunday,
Stephen Foley (Independent of London) reported the GOP donor Bearing Point was having problems which included "falling more than a year behind in reporting its own financial results, prompting legal actions from its creditors and shareholders". Who is Bearing Point? A company that the US administration has been very happy to give contracts (and tax dollars) to for their work on Iraq ("on" being key). On Sunday's The KPFA Evening News, Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) noted that among the contracts Bearing Point currently has one for privatizing Iraq and one of their own employees sitting on Iraq's Oil Ministry. Juhasz explained:

Bearing Point has played the role on the ground in Iraq as the company tasked with the job of making sure that Iraqi's new oil law is passed. So essentially there's been a Bearing Point employee who's had no other job but to make sure that Iraq passes an oil law that supports the Bush administration's agenda for Iraq which is to get Iraq's oil as privatized as possible and into US corporate hands. And that has been Bearing Point's job and it seems that BP has done that job quite well. Bearing Point has essentially been the workhorse on the ground and also the constant threat the constant presence of the Bush administration on the ground in Iraq, doing nothing but focusing on getting this law completed and potentially passed in Iraq. [. . .] The Bechtels and the Halliburtons and the oil companises, Chevron, Exxon , Connoco, and Marathon. Those companies have all been beneficiaries of policies that Bearing Point helped develop and Bearing Point was developing policies that simply, again, serviced the Bush administration's interests. It's definitely just a tool of the administration whereas the other companises definitely had their own agendas that the administration in some ways was a tool servicing their interests like, in particular, the oil companies.