Things were somewhat brighter on the political front, where Iraqi politicians said Shiite and Kurdish leaders had put to rest, for now, their differences with the speaker of Parliament, a firebrand Sunni Arab, after weeks of pressuring him to step down.
The speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, reached an understanding with the Shiite and Kurdish leaders after meeting with several of them, the politicians said in interviews. "The whole issue has been settled," said Hassan al-Shammari, a member of the main Shiite bloc in Parliament. He declined to give details.
The position of speaker of Parliament is the third highest-ranking job in the Iraqi government, and an ouster of Mr. Mashhadani would have been the biggest shake-up in Iraqi politics since the government was installed in late May.
[. . .]
American officials have expressed displeasure with the speaker, who earlier this summer called the American occupation "the work of butchers" and suggested that statues be built for insurgents who kill American soldiers.
The above is from Edward Wong's "Car Bomb and Rockets Kill 43 in Baghdad’s Shiite Strongholds" in this morning's New York Times. Ignore the count in the headline. It's higher since this story was filed. Remember August 15th? If not click here. al-Mashhadani was out, out, out! That was the gas baggery in the days following. He was painted as so saddened, so beaten, that his father must field his calls. The reality was that he was in Jordan working on a trade agreement. The reality is that the meeting is thought to have been promising. The reality is that he has support in Jordan currently. (Quick, Condi, get to work destroying that.) His political death didn't happen and the obits were written prematurely.
It's these sort of guestimates (which many US agencies are famous/infamous for getting so wrong) that often creates new conflicts. Just something to think about today.
Remember the body count? Martha notes a story and the count's risen since the story she's highlighting was filed. From Amit R. Paley's "Blasts Kill at Least 66 in Baghdad: 255 Wounded in Closely Timed Explosions in Shiite Muslim Area" (Washington Post):
A string of closely timed explosions killed at least 66 people and wounded 255 in a Shiite Muslim area of Baghdad on Thursday night, one of the deadliest attacks in the capital in months despite the launch of a new security plan to stanch the sectarian carnage.
The blasts flattened a multistory apartment building, buried women and children under mounds of rubble and sent terrified shoppers fleeing out of a major bazaar, authorities and witnesses said. The booming explosions rang out within minutes of each other around 6:30 p.m. in the city's New Baghdad district, but it was not immediately clear what caused them.
Witnesses and police said some combination of rockets, mortars and car bombs caused the bloodshed. Gen. Jassem Khider of the Interior Ministry said that six rockets in the Nuairiya section of New Baghdad killed 48 people and injured 160, primarily women and children, and that 18 were killed and 92 injured by three rocket attacks on multifamily homes in the Baladiyat neighborhood.
Somebody call a spinmeister! Can we get William Caldwell IV out here again? Can he swear this was simply a gas explosion? Reality, like the oval office occupant, can be quite ugly.
Here's the update to that (also by Paley and also from the Post):
A string of closely timed explosions killed at least 72 people and wounded 236 in a Shiite Muslim area of Baghdad on Thursday night, one of the deadliest attacks in the capital in months despite the launch of a new security plan to stanch the sectarian carnage.
The blasts flattened a multistory apartment building, buried women and children under mounds of rubble and sent terrified shoppers fleeing out of a major bazaar, authorities and witnesses said. The death toll included 16 children, an Iraqi police official said Friday.
The booming explosions rang out within minutes of each other around 6:30 p.m. in the city's New Baghdad district. Interior ministry officials said Friday that they believed the blasts were caused by 12 to 18 rockets and a new type of highly flammable explosive. It was not clear whether the attack included car bombs and mortars as well.
The blasts struck the Nuairiya and Baladiyat neighborhoods. One senior Interior Ministry official said the attackers had rented homes in the heavily populated neighborhoods, planted large amounts of explosives within the buildings and then detonated them.
What the Bully Boy won't admit is that it's the occupation that breeds the violence. March 2003, September 2006. American troops still on the ground, still occupying the country. Instead, he has to lie and try to scare (see previous entry).
The reality is 65 announced American military fatalities for the month of August so far. (Yes, the month ended but the government has a way of letting them trickle out after the next month begins. It was 64 less than seven or six hours ago when the "And the war drags on . . ." entry was being done.)
More reality via Vic's highlight, Anna Piekarski's "Former U.S. soldier seeks refugee status" (Toronto Star) on war resister Corey Glass:
He said the images he saw were terrifying, although he declined to describe what he saw. Even after deserting, he said he would not reveal classified information.
He told his superiors he wanted to be sent home, but they told him he was just under stress. He was given two weeks of leave and sent back to the U.S. After spending five months in Iraq, he knew he couldn't go back for the remainder of his 18-month tour. So he disappeared.
He hid for seven months, often sleeping on friends' couches or camping.
When he heard about other deserters in Canada, he contacted the War Resisters Support Campaign office in Toronto.
The war resisters' website lists nine other men who have fled to Canada, including Jeremy Hinzman, whose request for refugee status was turned down by the Immigration and Refugee Board. His case is now before the Federal Court of Appeal.
That's reality as surely as the continued violence is. Bully Boy has no way to address reality. He has only hot air, scare tactics and bullying. Meanwhile, Iraqis, Americans, British, et al die in the illegal war that needs to come to an end.
Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" (Lennon & McCartney, from Abbey Road):
Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye
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