Thursday, July 06, 2006

Other Items

A suicide car bomb tore through buses carrying Iranian pilgrims Thursday near a Shiite shrine in the holy Iraqi city of Kufa, killing at least 10 people and wounding 40, authorities said.
The attack occurred about 7:15 a.m. near the Maitham al-Tamar shrine and just down the street from the revered Kufa mosque in the southern city. Iraq's council of ministers issued a statement giving the casualty toll and said most of the victims were Iranian pilgrims.

From the Associated Press' "Suicide Blast Near Iraqi Mosque Kills 10" (Bushra Juhi). The war doesn't stop (it drags on) though from the way it's covered, many would be forgiven for thinking that it did. (See "NYT: Dragging the war out.")

Let's dumpster dive back to the New York Times. From David S. Cloud's "Ex-G.I. in Rape-Killing Case Left Army Under Mental Illness Rule:"

A former Army private facing charges in connection with the rape and killing of an Iraqi woman in March and the death of her family as well was allowed to leave the Army in May under guidelines that required a medical finding that he was suffering from a severe personality disorder, according to documents released by the Army on Wednesday.
The former soldier, Pfc. Steven D. Green, left the Army on May 13 under a regulation that allows the Army to honorably discharge a soldier if a psychiatric evaluation finds a personality disorder "so severe that the soldier's ability to function effectively in the military environment is significantly impaired," the Army documents said.

Oh, is that how it's going play out? The military probably won't be able to whitewash these events, there's too much anger over past whitewashes, so the problem's going to be a "personal" problem of Green's?

If Green is guilty and he does have any form of medical or social problem, he didn't accept himself. The Army was quite happy to take him. But we haven't read about that in the Times, have we? We haven't read, for instance, that the military has been so desperate for recruits that they've lowered the standards to unheard of levels. (I want to say that it's something like an 18% score that a friend in the military explained to me -- the equivalent of being mentally challenged -- gets you in today.)

If he did or does have problems, that goes to the screening process especially when the standards have been lowered so. You don't put people into combat situations that have mental issues. But that is what's being done try to meet the increasingly lowered recruitment "targets."

I'm going through the e-mail and Martha has a highlight. Before we get to that, she has some comments. "Did you read Kirk Semple's article? He talks about 'immunity' but never tells the reader what the 'immunity' is. He's too busy passing on Dexy's credited contribution of military whispers. Here's the reality." Dexy is among those noted in the end credits for Semple's article. (See "NYT: Dragging the war out.") Martha highlights Jonathan Finer and Joshua Partlow's "Iraqi Leaders Question U.S. Troops' Immunity" (Washington Post):

The dispute centers on a rule with the force of law enacted two years ago by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which governed Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Known as CPA Order 17, it stipulates that coalition forces, diplomatic personnel and contractors working for coalition forces or for diplomats "shall be immune from the Iraqi legal process." But challenges to the immunity order have gained momentum, beginning with the November killing of 24 civilians in Haditha, which came to light in March when Time magazine reported the incident.
In a rare unified stance by factional leaders, members of Iraq's Kurdish and Sunni Arab political blocs endorsed Maliki's call to revisit the immunity issue.
"In the name of immunity a lot of crimes have occurred, whether it is foreign forces or the security guards they have," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker.
Alaa Makky, an official with the Iraqi Islamic Party, the country's largest Sunni Arab political group, said his organization had long criticized the immunity policy. While U.S. forces will investigate certain "high-profile" cases, such as those in Mahmudiyah and Haditha, he said, "there are thousands of these events, really, that are vile and that never get noticed."
An Iraqi government official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named, said Maliki hoped to revise Order 17 when the U.N. resolution authorizing the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq comes up for renewal at the end of the year.

Those are among the many laws enforced upon the supposedly independent government in Iraq. By the way, Sunny is subbing for Elaine for a week (while Elaine's on vacation) and she wrote her first entry ("Substituting for Elaine") last night. Sunny's been a member of the community since at least January 2005. Make a point to read her entry. (You can write her at Elaine's address -- she's got Elaine's password -- or you can write her here and I'll forward it to her.)

Brandon notes Joe Parko's "Standing Against an Unjust War" (The Nation):

I stand here today in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first active duty commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. Lt. Watada has courageously declared that our government's war on Iraq is both illegal and immoral. Today I want to focus on just why this war is immoral. I am a Quaker from the Atlanta Friends Meeting. As you probably know, Quakers have always opposed war in any form. Because of our strong belief that there is that of God in everyone, we view war on any human being as an assault on the presence of God within us all.
Quakers question the concept of a "just" war but more traditional Christian theology takes a somewhat different approach by classifying wars into two types: just and unjust wars. First formulated by St. Augustine some 1600 years ago, the
just war theology specifies very strict principles that determine when Christians can engage in warfare.

Partoko goes on to provide his reasoning in the article. Credit The Nation with posting that yesterday (Watada was charged with three counts yesterday).

The e-mail address for this site is Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today. (We'll grab the Italian story from their headlines. The Times has a story on it today -- linking to their story after they pooh-pahhed the story repeatedly in the past doesn't strike me as "just." So we'll go with the headline from Democracy Now! instead.)
And Ruth reminds that WBAI broadcasts this week's First Voices Indigenous Radio at ten a.m. EST today.