Sunday, October 22, 2006

NYT: "Precarious Cease-Fire in Amara Holds" (John F. Burns)

The New York Times front pages two stories on Iraq and, wouldn't you know it, the most important one is inside. John F. Burns' "Precarious Cease-Fire in Amara Holds" addresses the issues of what happened and what happened after. The article notes:

Government officials said Saturday that Mr. Sadr played a crucial role in claming Friday's violence and that Mr. Sadr's representatives in the city were cooperating in talks aimed at avoiding a resumption.
[. . .]
The Amara upheaval erupted less than 48 hours after Mr. Maliki flew to Najaf from Baghdad to see Mr. Sadr and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric, and urged both men to rein in the Mahdi Army, which American commanders have identified as having been responsible for much of the sectarian killing in recent months.

Burns also gives the rundown of other events in Iraq on Saturday. I believe we caught most of that yesterday (but I'm tired). One thing we didn't catch was this:

The American military command said that three marines were killed on Saturday in Anbar Province, bringing up to 78 the number of Americans who have died in October. The toll for the first three weeks of the month, if sustained at similar levels for the last 10 days, would make October the third worst month of the war for American troops.

(The other two? April 2004 and November 2004. Falluja.)

On the front page, David S. Cloud's "U.S. To Hand Iraq A New Timetable On Security Role" tells readers that a timetable is being put together by the administration, that a "senior Pentagon official involved in drafting the blueprint said that Iraqi officials were being consulted as the plan evolved and would be invited to sign off on the milestones before the end of the year," and that (here's where all hopes get dashed) the "plan is being formulated by General George W. Casey Jr. and Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad, the top military and civilian officials in Iraq, as well as by Pentagon officials." Apparently God was too busy guiding Donald Rumsfeld to offer a hand. (That's a joke about Casey's remarks last week regarind Rumsfeld's heavenly guidance. Oh for the days when the only schilling involving "heavenly" and Rumsfeld were Midget's drools over his body.)

Which leaves us with the old War Pornographer himself, Michael Gordon, who gets front paged for offering the obvious in "On Baghdad Streets, a Police Partnership Falters." Remember the days when Scott Shane showed up in the Saturday editions to mop up after everyone else's mistakes? Well even the mighty forearms of Shane, with even the biggest of mops, couldn't clean up after Gordo. Gordo's so busy minimizing, he can't report. Uniforms make him War Porny and he gets all weak headed which is why he pens: "On Thursday, the American command acknowledged that the Baghdad security plan had yet to stem the escalating bloodshed in the city." No, on Thursday, Little Willie Caldwell IV stated that the crackdown hadn't worked and that violence had gotten worse under it. In much of the rest of the 'report,' Gordo reveals himself to be a size queen. (You know how the War Pornographers love their stats.) A truly brave article would note the realities of the Iraqi military (Gordo still can't bring himself to report on them the way he has been doing on the police). This isn't a truly brave article, it's an outline for the chapter of his next book which will probably sell about as well as his last book. (Translation, not very well.)

Ruth may have a report today and she may not. She attempted one yesterday while listening to RadioNation with Laura Flanders (remember Tariq Ali and Christian Parenti are scheduled to be guests on today's show). As she's been substituting for Kat on Wednesdays, she's been teaching herself about posting in Blogger/Blogspot. So she wrote her post in that. She must have gotten into it a little bit before Flanders came on because we started the edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review right when Flanders was doing her opening and we couldn't get in. (It would be four hours before we could.) She was typing up and thought all was well. Then she went to post and lost the whole thing. I know how frustrating that it is. She hopes to do one today but she does have plans (and she does have a life) so I told her it's not a big deal if there's not time. We do have a comic from Isaiah going up after this posts.

From "Cory Kahaney & Maureen Langan (Ms. Foundation event) and Bob Watada's speaking tour" (The Third Estate Sunday Review -- features are going up right now):

First up, at the Ms. Foundation event Monday, October 23rd, two of GreenStone Media's The Radio Ritas will be performing: Maureen Langan and Cory Kahaney. If you've heard them (and the third Rita Nelsie Spencer), you know that's going to be a treat (and a worthy cause). We don't believe the newly started GreenStone Media has an NYC outlet yet so it's also a chance for New Yorkers (and surrounding areas) to hear what they're missing out on right now. (You can listen online at GreenStone Media.) The event is at Carolines (Broadway at 50th or 1626 Broadway Between 49th and 50th Streets ) and Maureen Langan and Cory Kahaney are scheduled to take the stage at 5:30 p.m. We're sure the event and the performance are "Don't miss."
We'll miss because we're not in the NY area. And it will be our loss. The five who relocated to CA -- Jim, Dona, Jess, Ty and Ava -- note, "Oh sure, after we've moved!" Jim wants to emphasize Corey Kahaney because that's his favorite Rita -- we suspect he's got a bit of a radio crush but he swears she's "just too damn funny." So check it out and you can decide whether Jim needs to get honest (he is, after all, involved with Dona) or if Kahaney and Langan are really "too damn funny."
If they don't do it for you (Jim suggest some people don't have a sense of humor), note that this 17th annunal event will also feature comedic performances from Michele Balan, Roz G, Judy Gold (who the core six have seen live and swear is hilarious), Dana Goldberg and Laurie Kilmartin. [We've only seen Gold live. We're sure the others are funny as well.] Great event, great cause. Suzanne Whang will host and Gloria Steinem, Sara K. Gould and Caroline Hirsh are scheduled as presenters. That's this Monday, the 23rd.

And Martha notes Ellen Knickmeyer's "Mortar Attack Kills 32 In Mostly Shiite Iraqi City" (Washington Post):

Mortar rounds fired by suspected Sunni Arab insurgents rained on a market crowded with shoppers Saturday, killing 32 Iraqis in a predominantly Shiite city south of Baghdad, hospital officials said.
Three Marines were killed in attacks in the western province of Anbar, making October the deadliest month for U.S. forces in a year. Seventy-eight American troops have died this month in Iraq, the highest monthly toll since 84 U.S. troops were killed in November 2005.

The deaths are part of rising violence that has pushed attacks on Iraqi civilians and troops to wartime highs. The U.S. military said this week that attacks on American forces had increased 22 percent this month.
The attack on the market in Mahmudiyah, about 15 miles south of Baghdad, came days before the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The market was crowded with families buying food for the holiday, said Farhan Ali, a member of Mahmudiyah's City Council.

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