Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Other Items

Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers recruited from volatile Anbar Province in the west unleashed a rowdy and angry protest during their army graduation ceremony on Sunday, an episode replayed frequently Monday on Arab satellite television.
After learning during the ceremony that they would be stationed away from their hometowns, the soldiers reacted with fury, with dozens stripping off their new uniform shirts. The new soldiers said they had been promised that they would serve only in their hometowns.
"When we enlisted we were told the men from Falluja would go to Falluja, the men from Husayba would go to Husayba, and the men from Qaim would go to Qaim," one new soldier said, in coverage of the event broadcast by Al Arabiya network. All are cities in Anbar.

The above is by Richard A. Oppel and Khalid W. Hassan. Sometimes reporters for the New York Times flat out lie (see previous entry). Sometimes editors make them rewrite until reality and print are distant relations. And sometimes a headline writer comes along to weaken reality. This morning Oppel and Hassan really make an effort to report. They're undermined by the headline writer who tags the article "Iraqi Recruits Reportedly Balk at Postings Away From Home." Oh that they could have been so skeptical when tagging the articles by Judith Miller, Michael Gordon and others.

Martha notes Nelson Hernandez's "Iraqis Begin Duty With Refusal: Some Sunni Soldiers Say They Won't Serve Outside Home Areas" (Washington Post):

The graduation of nearly 1,000 new Iraqi army soldiers in restive Anbar province took a disorderly turn Sunday when dozens of the men declared that they would refuse to serve outside their home areas, according to U.S. and Iraqi military authorities.
The graduation ceremony at Camp Habbaniyah, a base about 45 miles west of Baghdad, had been going well. The 978 soldiers, most of them Sunni Muslims, had just finished nearly five weeks of military training and were parading before a review stand to the sounds of martial music. They took an oath of service while U.S. and Iraqi officials delivered speeches hailing the event as an important step toward the formation of a national army.

[. . .]
The protest was triggered by an announcement that the new soldiers, all residents of Anbar province -- widely considered the heartland of Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgent movement -- would be required to serve outside their home towns and outside the province as well.

We're walking through quickly, Blogger is having problems (again) so this will need to be cross posted, so try to keep up. Here's what the reality is. They need people to sign up. People want to stay in the areas. They lies and tell those signing up, "Sure." But they can't allow that. Because these forces will be used to put down the people. It's a lot easier to attack strangers than to attack your neighbors, your friends and family.

It's not about benefitting Iraq, it's about having a force that the US can use at will.

Four headlines from yesterday's Democracy Now! Headlines:

Army Officer to Face Criminal Charges for Abu Ghraib Prisoner Abuse
The Army has announced for the first time that an officer will face criminal charges in connection to the prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The Army is accusing Lt. Colonel Steven Jordan of oppressing Iraqi detainees by subjecting them to forced nudity and intimidation by military dogs. Jordan headed the interrogation center at the prison. He reportedly attempted to hide the abuse of Iraqi detainees by building a plywood wall inside the prison to prevent Iraqi police officers from seeing what was taking place. He is also accused of repeatedly lying to investigators. Former Justice Department attorney Marty Lederman says the charges against Jordan might prove that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized criminal conduct. In a December 2002 memo Rumsfeld authorized interrogators at Guantanamo to do what Jordan is accused of -- the use of forced nudity and dogs to scare and intimidate detainees.

Prostitution Allegations Surface in Cunnigham Case
In Washington, the FBI has launched an investigation into whether a defense contractor bribed former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham with prostitutes in order to win political favors. Cunningham resigned last November after admitting to accepting $2.4 million in bribes. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. The defense contractor Brent Wilkes is now being accused of giving Cunningham -- and possibly other lawmakers -- free prostitutes, free limo rides and free stays in rented rooms at the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels.

Report: Cost Of Iraq War To Pass Cost of Vietnam
And the cost of the war keeps rising. The Independent of London reports the war is set to become more expensive in real terms than Vietnam. The U.S. is now spending about $6 billion a month in Iraq. Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates the ultimate cost of the war could top two trillion dollars.

Report: Bush Claims Authority To Disobey Over 750 Laws
A major investigation by the Boston Globe has revealed President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office. In each case the president has issued a so-called "signing statement" that asserts that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. According to the Globe, Bush has issued a signing statement to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed. Bush has said he can ignore Congress' ban on torture as well as Congressional oversight of the Patriot Act. Bush has also said he can ignore laws forbidding US troops from engaging in combat in Colombia and any attempt by Congress to oversee what happens in military prisons such as Abu Ghraib. NYU law professor David Golove has warned that Bush's actions threaten to overturn the existing structures of constitutional law. Golove said that having a president who ignores the court, backed by a Congress that is unwilling to challenge him can make the Constitution simply ''disappear."

They were selected by Brady, Lewis, Marci and Liang. I'm rushing this morning and my apologies. I hadn't expected that Blogger would once again be nonfuctional. I know people are hesitant about the site being moved but if I made a decision today, we'd be pulling it. This nonsense never ends. I had intended to post last night but then the whole mess in Bakersfield came up (their attempt at a protest was stopped by the bullying -- putting it mildly -- of police officers) and it ended up being more than a day thing. I'm sorry that the morning has turned out to be one where Blogger/Blogspot screws up but that's beyond my control. Hopefully, members remember to go to the backup site. But the screw ups mean barebones entries this morning. My apologies.

Remember that Democracy Now! will bring you reality on the protests yesterday so listen, watch or read (transcripts).

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

Jess note: Reindexing for C.I. now that Blogger's working. See from the e-mails some knew to check the back up site and some didn't. Be sure to check out Rebecca's "stephen colbert spits on women (past and present) and the web and e&p don't see the problem."