Overnight fighting between American forces and members of the Mahdi Army militia in the Sadr City area of Baghdad killed 2 of the militia’s fighters and wounded 18 people, an Interior Ministry official said.
On Monday, Mohamed Salman, an envoy from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, visited the families of the those killed in the fighting and the wounded civilians at Imam Ali hospital, and gave them cash payments, said a statement from Mr. Maliki’s office.
The visit by a high-level Maliki aid and the payments to families of the dead and wounded underscored the political power of Moktada al-Sadr, the powerful Shiite cleric whose influence helped propel Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, into office.
That's Paul von Zielbaurer above, grabbing the brush to help whitewash with his "Soldier Who Testified on Killings Says He Feared for His Life" in this morning's New York Times. Offering a bit more detail (and some members may be confused, stay with us, I fully grasp that it's doubtful anyone bothered to discuss this yesterday) is Martha's highlight, Andy Mosher's
"U.S.-Backed Operation Targets Shiite Slum: Iraqi Premier Issues Apology, Saying Excessive Measures Were Used in Sadr City Raid" (Washington Post):
But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sharply criticized the operation, saying that it could hinder his efforts at national reconciliation. Maliki, who has been working with U.S. commanders on a new program to crack down on violence in Baghdad, appeared on local television Monday and said he was "very angered and pained."
"This operation used weapons that are unreasonable to detain someone -- like using planes," Maliki said.
He apologized to the Iraqi people for the operation, saying, "This won't happen again."
Residents of a nearby neighborhood said the fighting began about 1 a.m. and lasted about two hours. A police source told the Reuters news agency that two people were killed and 18 wounded in the clash; the U.S. military reported only that one soldier was wounded.
An attack so bad that even Nouri al-Maliki has to object. Will it be noted? Probably not. Mosher notes Reuters. It was the wire services yesterday, not the US government, providing the information that three (including a three-year-old baby) Iraqis died in yesterday's "insurgent" attack. The US military issued more of their rah-rah, upbeat nonsense. It took reporters to uncover that three civilians had died.
You don't get that from von Zielbaurer. He's too busy playing his own version of Huck and Tom with Aunt Polly's fence. He starts the whitewash, doesn't really finish it because there are adventures to be had and no one's holding his feet to the fire. He seems to grasp that he can write whatever he wants, leave out key details, it doesn't matter because the world's attention is elsewhere (day after day).
And you don't get reality on the front page. I'm sure it's just happen-stance that Damien Cave's article (FRONT PAGE ARTICLE) on cell phones was shopped around last week. I know a variety of people who turned it down because they are in the journalism business and don't see their job as promoting Happy Talk that the US military is trying to get out.
I'm sure it's pure happen-stance that Cave just happened to decide to write about the same topic that the hacks from Centcom were pushing over and over last week.
Just like I'm sure that the New York Times feels this is front page news based on the merits of the "story." After all, In Style shouldn't be the only one covering "trends," right?
Back in the real world, Keesha notes Cindy Sheehan's "Heart Connects" (Common Dreams):
A year ago today, about 100 of us marched down Prairie Chapel Road in the awful Texas heat into history. Today, with very short notice, dozens of us marched down the same road, with the same results: no meeting with the cowardly cowboy wanna-be in chief.
Since we began Camp Casey last August, I have traveled thousands of miles all over the world. I have been to 11 countries and over one half of our states. I have met with heads of states and other parliamentarians and I have given hundreds of speeches and marched with hundreds of thousands of peaceniks all over the world. I have received keys to cities, awards, Congressional Commendations, and a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I capped off my year with a visit to Amman, Jordan the other day to meet with elected officials from Iraq and some human rights' activists who told us about their country and their demands for peace.
Every single Iraqi that we met with has been dreadfully affected by the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. One Sheik that we met with had his door broken down and he was beaten and dragged off to prison while the soldiers abused his wife. All of this while his teen-age son watched. The Sheik was tortured extensively and has still not recovered from his injuries. I apologized to him on behalf of human beings who abhor torture and abuse by one human to another and he told us a harrowing story: his son's dream is to buy a high powered rifle and shoot every American he can before he is killed. After speaking to us, he is sure that he can talk his son out of it, because he will assure him that there are Americans who care. I think if my son saw his dad being tortured and his mom sexually abused by an occupying force, he would probably have the same reaction. After meeting with the Iraqis and talking to other people from the Middle East, trust me, we are not winning hearts and minds!
When I was heading to the Queen Alia airport in Amman for my 20 hour trip home to Crawford, Texas, I rode in Abu Salem's taxi. Abu Salem (Father of Abu) is a Palestinian who has been in Amman for over 20 years. He is also a human rights' activist. Abu Salem's people in Palestine have been oppressed by Israel for decades and his family was fortunate enough to be able to flee to Jordan where over one million Palestinians are now living. Abu Salem had tears in his eyes when he told me that he missed Palestine. It is his home, after all. I understand. I miss my home, too.
[. . .]
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Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc Casey Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is currently on day 34 of the Troops Home Fast. Cindy and other activists began their month long vigil in Crawford, Texas at Camp Casey 3.
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