Monday, October 16, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Monday, October 16, 2006.  Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Lynndie England speaks, Iraq's health care system continues to 'collapse,' Iraqi school children offer their opinions, Bully Boy makes another pledge that others will have to back up and, related note, two more US troops die in Iraq as CNN reports that the death count for 'coalition' forces has reached 3,000.
Starting with some of the reported violence in the continued chaos that is the illegal war.
Ibon Villelabetia (Reuters) reports that tweny people died in Baghdad as a result of two car bombings.  CBS and AP note two more bombs, in Baghdad, that took the life of one police officer. Reuters reports three roadside bombs left three dead in Baghdad, while two security guards were wounded elsewhere (in Basra by "rocket-propelled grenades" and in Najaf by a roadside bomb). AFP reports a car bomb in Suweira left 15 dead and 35 wounded.
AFP reports that four people were shot dead in Khalis "near a bus terminal".  Al Jazeera reports that Emad al-Farron ("brother of Munqith al-Faroon, the chief prosecutor in the genocide trial of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein") was shot dead in Baghdad.  CNN reports that three poeple were shot dead in Muqdadiya.  Reuters reports that a police officer was shot dead in Madaen and "two bodyguards of former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari" were shot dead in Khalis.
Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Mosul.  Al Jazeera notes that three corpses were discovered in Baquba. CNN reports that 26 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.
As CNN noted, the death toll for those serving in the 'coalition' has now hit the 3,000 mark and that includes: "119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Holland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lativa, Romania, Salvador, Slovakia, and Thailand."  US?  Busy day for the US military as they issued three statements on deaths (all were announced today): two soldiers died Sunday in Salah Ad Din Province, two others also died Sunday in Kirkuk, and one died in Baghdad Sunday night.  The toll for the month of October (US military fatalities) now stands at 58 with 2771 being the total since the start of the illegal war.
As the Anchorage Daily News notes five soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team have died "since the unit's deployment was extended in August".  AP reports that the fifth to die was Nicholas Sowinksi, a twenty-five year old from Tempe arizona who died Wednesday.  As the AP notes: "Member of the Fort Wainwright-based brigade were told just days before they were preparing to return to Alaska that their one-year tour in Iraq would be extended.  Some soldiers had already returned to Alaska and were sent back to Iraq." They died, to be clear, after they were backdoor drafted by completing their tour only to learn, at the last minute, that their tour was being extended.  Also on the topic of Alaska, Charlie LeDuff (New York Times) reports on the burial of Billy Brown of North Slope, Alaska.  Brown died during "training maneuvers at Camp Shelby in Missippi" so will not be included in the count of those who have died in Iraq -- he was fifty-four-years-old.
Despite all the above, Bully Boy apparently woke up this morning feeling groovy and wanted to share that "No April rain, No flowers bloom, No wedding Saturday within the month of June, But what it is, Is something true, Made up of these three words that I must say to you, I just called to say I love you . . ."  And who better to share that with than the puppet of the occupation?  Daniela Deane (Washington Post) reports that Bully Boy called Nouri al-Maliki who'd heard rumors that he might be ditched in two months ("I put out for you!") and that Bully Boy explained he had no intention of leaving (while he leered at Iran and gave North Korea the once over).  Deane reports the news came from Miss Rona -- Tony Snow who gushed over the call at today's press briefing.
Snow Job plays yenta while Rick Jervis (USA Today) reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki "will not force militias to disarm until later this year" and that he explained the importance of patience from "his expansive, marble-and-gold-trimmed residence, a former palace of deposed leader Saddam Hussein located inside the tightly guarded Green Zone." 
Outside the safety of the Green Zone, Charles J. Hanley (AP) reports, the reality is that "reconstruction funds are drying up and they're [contractors] are pulling out" despite the fact that "[f]ewer than half the electricity and oil projects planned have been completed".
On the same issue, David Wilson (CounterPunch) reports that that a little under a third of all Iraqis "live on less than $1 per day," that "[m]ore than 500,000 residents of Baghdad can only get water for a few hours a day due to leaking pipes and the inability of the city's water purifying plant to meet demand," "Iraq's power generation and supply grid is in a state of collapse," that a quarter of all Iraqi doctors have left the country since 2003, and that doctors practice at the risk of death squads, US snipers and more.  [On the topic of fleeing, Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that the continued fighting in Balad, which has claimed at least 91 lives since Friday, has led "Sunni Muslims" to flee "across the Tigris River today."]
Reconstruction isn't the only thing being cancelled.  Michael Howard (Guardian of London) reports that the Iraqi reconciliation converence that was to have been held this coming Saturday has been cancelled and that "emergency reasons" are cited.  If that seems strangely familiar, drop back to June 14th when the Arab League conference was yet again postponed because of 'instability.'  The so-called 'crackdown' in Baghdad was about to start back then.  It's been ongoing ever since with no real results.
Though the reconcialition conference is once again shoved back, Stephen Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that a group calling itself the Mutayibeen Coalition is calling "for the creation of a separate Sunni Islamic state in the country."
As the illegal war continues, Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report on the mood in Iraq among school children in Khaldiya.  One tells them, "Americans are bad.  They killed my family" and another states, "God will send all Americans to hellfire." 
Mike noted Pacifica's new program Informed Dissent which is a thirty minute, weekly program covering the national election.  The September 23rd broadcast focused on the Iraq war and featured many discussions and reports. On the war, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK) declared, "This issue is effecting every other" and listed concrete examples of what isn't being funded as the illegal war is.  Evans also noted that, "It's baffling to look at the Democratic Party and see how spineless and lacking in leadership they are."  Informed Dissent airs once a week, a half-hour show, looking at the 2006 US elections, hosted by Mitch Jeserich and featuring contributions from many Pacifica broadcasters.
On the topic of elections, Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) explains why No-Momentum may overtake Ned Lamont and urges Lamont to free himself of his handlers and find his own voice.
Tara McKelvey reports on Lynndie England who (a) has learned, via her lawyer, to say "I heard . . ." when speaking of incidents to avoid further charges, (b) is an animal lover who enjoyed, in Iraq, the corpses of goats and cats being used for 'fun,' (c) has not placed Charles Graner on the birth certificate or asked for a blood test because she does not want him to have any legal rights to her two-year-old son Carter.  Janis Karpinsky offers that England chose to go along with Graner in abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib (as directed from above) because: "In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector -- a senior male, let's say, who's sitting in a vehicle with her.  She says, 'I'm really afraid.'  And he says, 'Don't worry.'  A closeness develops.  It's intentional on his part.  And naive on hers.  Graner is a big, hunky guy.  He can probably put his arms around England and still touch his shoulders.  Does she feel safe with him?  Yes.  And all she has to do is be sexually wild with him."  McKelvey reports that for . . .  Marie Claire.  Let's repeat that, McKelvey reported it for Marie Claire.  Translation, where is independent media?  Good for Marie Claire, but where is independent media?
In peace news, Ehren Watada is the first US military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is completing his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son:

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
Teresa Watanabe (Los Angeles Times) reports Bob Watada explaining that his son "heard the father of an injured soldier lament on a radio show: 'Why can't anyone stand up and stop all of this?'" and decided he had to stand up.
More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and more information on him and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
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