Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, October 10, 2006.  Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military tries to spin again,  at least 33 deaths are reported in Iraq (44 counting corpses discovered Tuesday), Bob Watada continues speaking out to raise awareness on his son and what does 'meeting the goal' mean when the qualifications continue to be gutted and ignored?
As noted yesterday, war resister Ricky Clousing will face a military trial Thursday.  Prior to that, at ten a.m., he will speak at a press conference (223 Hillside Avenue, Fayettevill, North Carolina) and there will also be a noon rally in downtown Fayetteville to show support for Clousing. 
As Clousing stands up against an illegal war, the US military spins.  Thom Shanker (New York Times) noted what the US Pentagon was about to announce -- all divisions of the military allegedly "reached their targets for recruits in 2006."  Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports: "The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties. . . . According to statistics obtained by The Associated Press, 3.8 percent of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels" and "About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving."  Not quite the rosy picture we're all supposed to believe.
But then, as Michael Bronner (Vanity Fair) reported in 2005, the story of Tim Queen wasn't a rosy picture either.  Queen suffered from "twitches" in his left arm and wanted to be a Marine: "Tim told me he talked to recruiters about all of his medical issues that first day.  They told him not to worry, he said, that they'd seen this kind of thing before; no problem, he'd get in."  And he did, he got waived through two physicals, he got put on a bus to go to basic and there, he got humilitated by drill instructors asking questions like: "Was the doctor drunk or stoned when he gave you the test?"  Queen wasn't qualified but a quota had to be made so a 19-year-old with health problems gets lied to in order to "get those numbers" and he's the one humiliated and embarrassed . . . for believing his recruiter.  As the sherrif of the county Tim Queen grew up in told Bronner, "I'm slow to anger, but I was very upset. . . I mean, Tim cannot stand still.  If they're missing things like this, what other kinds of emotional or psychological things are they missing?"  That's Tim Queen.  He just wanted to enlist.  Not to get out of jail or sentencing or because his urine came up "hot."  Just a young person who got used by someone so they could make their quota.  The case of Steven D. Green demonstrates the dangers to others that arise from the lowered standards that have been at play since the beginning of the illegal war.
In other spin news, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, held another press conference.  You'd do well, if you intend to read about it, to do so here at the US military's site.  That'll put you wise to how little reporting is coming out of the Green Zone when you see it pop up in tomorrow's papers.  Little Willie talks up the 4-point 'peace' plan.  Will anyone ever insist that the "four points" be addressed?  Or will everyone pretend the 'security councils' are all four points?  Probably the latter since the 'peace plan' didn't think up the 'security councils' (they were already in existance).
Leaving the world of spin for reality, AP reports that over 300,000 Iraqis are displaced within Iraq.  This is not a figure on those who have left the country, this is the number of those who have left one part of Iraq to go to another for safety.  AP notes: "The flight is solidifying the sectarian divide in this country of around 30 million people."  (The CIA's most current estimate is a little over 26 million.)
CNN reports that a car bomb and a roadside bomb killed eleven people in Baghdad today.  That was in the Doura district of Baghdad and Reuters notes another bombing in western Baghdad that wounded three and a bombing in northern Baghdad that left two police officers wounded -- as well as roadside bombs in near Hilla (one dead), in Mahaweel (wounded one person), and Mosul (wounded five).  AFP reports two police officers "were killed in an explosion . . . between Mussayab and Jurf al-Sakhr" and a bus driver died in a roadside bombing that "targeted two buses carrying coffings through Latifyah".  That's 15 dead from bombings reported thus far.

AFP notes a police officer was killed in Amara.  A police captain was shot dead in Mosul, Reuters reports and also quotes an Iraqi police source who states that
"[t]welve people were killed in different districts of Baquba."  In a later update, Reuters noted that a bodyguard was killed in Balad in an an attack on "a senior Iraqi army officer" and  three people were shot dead in Ishaqi.  That's 18 for a total of 33 reported thus far.

The BBC notes that through Tuesday morning in Baghdad, sixty corpses were discovered.  CNN notes: "In the first 10 days of October, Iraqi police have discovered 250 bodies in the capital."  Reuters reports that four copses were discovered "near Falluja."  In an update, Reuters noted four corpses were discovered in Tal Afar and three in Mosul.  Adding the eleven discovered after sun up to the 33 above, that's 44 deaths reported thus far today.
Yesterday we noted a mass kidnapping of eleven soldiers in Baghdad (Sadr City section).  Today, Reuters notes that this wasn't the only mass kidnapping on Monday:
"Gunmen in several cars kidnapped at least 11 worshippers on Monday as they were leaving a Sunni mosque in central Baghdad, police said.  The Sunni Muslim Scholars Association put the figure at six."  For more on the Iraqi soldiers kidnapped, see Amit R. Paley's (Washington Post) report.
In peace news, yesterday, KPFA's Flashpoints took a look at the  World Can't Wait demonstrations and featured speeches by Alice Walker and others.  Meanwhile, Historians Against the War are calling for a nationwide teach in from October 17th to November 7th.  The group notes: "The tragedies now unfolding in Iraq and across the Middle East underscore our responsibility as educators and citizens to enhance public knowledge, to stimulate thoughtful inquiry, and to end the American occupation of Iraq" and ask that: "If you are interested in/can help organize a teach-in at your school, please send us an email ASAP to teachin@historiansagainstwar.org."
And Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. 
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes.  Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:
Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach
Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm.  First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email: mclaren@charter.net
Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: watada@san.rr.com for San Diego events.
Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach
Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego
A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found  here.  More information on Ehren Watada can be found at  ThankYouLt.org. and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com

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