Monday, August 28, 2006

Other Items

The director of the Baghdad Museum has resigned and moved to Syria because he felt under threat from fundamentalists with ties to the Shiite-led government, a Western diplomat said Sunday. The director, Donny George, is known as a prominent advocate for the preservation of antiquities in Iraq.

The above is from Edward Wong's "Director of Baghdad Museum Resigns, Citing Political Threat" in this morning's New York Times. But not cause for concern, boys and girls, the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, says there will be on civil war in Iraq. From his mouth to Allah's ears, apparently.

Joan notes that re-election efforts are leading Daniel Inouye have led to some craven efforts on the part of one US senator who refused to vote for the war in Iraq. An AP article has Inouye claiming that he shouldn't comment on Ehren Watada's guilt or innocence while he does just that and find that Watada should be court-martialed and that he, due to his own service, can't condone Watada's refusal to deploy. Again, that is commenting on Watada's guilt or innocence and it's craven, and it's cowardly, and it's shameful. As a US senator, who voted against the war or not, Inouye has as much responsibility for the US being in Iraq as everyone else and though he's happy to sign on to a Feingold measure or a Kerry measure, he's hardly been a leader. Now he demonstrates that not only is he not capable of leadership, he's also capable of issuing any craven statement in his bid to hold on to his seat. Joan: "Bravery comes in intermittent gasps for Daniel Inouye."

For more information on Watada, you can visit Courage to Resist and -- and at the latter, Brad notes, you can read the Article 32 report in PDF form. Those without PDF readers (Adobe), can read Denis Halliday's testimony by clicking here (The Third Estate Sunday Review) and some of Ann Wright's testimony by clicking here (Ruth's Report). Zach notes that Ehren's father Bob Watada and Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda) were on The KPFA Evening News yesterday and you can listen online to the archived broadcast. (And if I get a chance to listen to the tape early today, we'll note it in the snapshot later.)

Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. On August 17th, testimony was heard at an Article 32 hearing on charges against Watada that were issued July 5th. Late on August 24th, a military spokesperson announced that Lt. Col. Mark Keith had recommended a court-martial and that the report would be released the following day (Friday, August 25th). The recommendation is now working its way through the chain of command.

While Watada may face up to seven years in prison (seven years and 6 months is the maximum
sentence) for his brave stand, if a court-martial is held and if he is found guilty, those who are charged with killing Iraqis? Martha notes Josh White, Charles Lane and Julie Tate's "Homicide Charges Rare in Iraq War: Few Troops Tried For Killing Civilians" (Washington Post):

The majority of U.S. service members charged in the unlawful deaths of Iraqi civilians have been acquitted, found guilty of relatively minor offenses or given administrative punishments without trials, according to a Washington Post review of concluded military cases. Charges against some of the troops were dropped completely.
Though experts estimate that thousands of Iraqi civilians have died at the hands of U.S. forces, only 39 service members were formally accused in connection with the deaths of 20 Iraqis from 2003 to early this year. Twenty-six of the 39 troops were initially charged with murder, negligent homicide or manslaughter; 12 of them ultimately served prison time for any offense.
Some military officials and analysts say the small numbers reflect the caution and professionalism exercised by U.S. forces on an urban battlefield where it is often difficult to distinguish combatants from civilians. Others argue the statistics illustrate commanders' reluctance to investigate and hold troops accountable when they take the lives of civilians.
"I think there are a number of cases that never make it to the reporting stage, and in some that do make it to the reporting stage, there has been a reluctance to pursue them vigorously," said Gary D. Solis, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former Marine prosecutor. "There have been fewer prosecutions in Iraq than one might expect."

And Lyle notes that the Washington Post already has an early article on today's violence in Iraq. (Early because it may be added to when you use the link.) From Sudarsan Raghavan and Ellen Knickmeyer's "At Least 23 Dead in Iraq Violence:"

The death toll mounted in Iraq Monday as clashes between Shiite militiamen and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in a southern city killed at least 23 and injured 70 while a suicide bombing in the capital killed 15, including 8 policemen.
U.S. forces, meanwhile, have lost nine soldiers since Saturday, the military said in press releases, making it a lethal weekends for them as well.
Eight of the soldiers were killed by roadside bomb attacks and one by gunfire, according to the brief military statements.
In all, it was one of the deadliest 24 hours in Iraq in recent weeks and comes amid assertions by the Iraqi government and U.S. military that they are prevailing over extremists fueling the sectarian violence that's gripping the capital
. On Sunday, gunmen and bombers claimed at least 69 lives.

Knickmeyer and Raghavan then note al-Maliki's claims. The link goes to Knickmeyer's article already covered in the previous entry.

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