Monday, November 13, 2006

NYT: "Iraqi Prime Minister Promises Government Shake-Up" (Semple)

The father of an Army lieutenant who faces a military trial for refusing to go to Iraq yesterday asked local residents to support his son's legal defense.
Bob Watada of Honolulu told his son's story to about 100 people at the headquarters of the Fellowship of Reconciliation on North Broadway in Upper Nyack.
First Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, in June refused orders to deploy to Iraq with his Stryker Unit, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, out of Fort Lewis, Wash.
Watada, who has said he believes the war in Iraq is illegal, has since been charged with missing troop movement and conduct unbecoming an officer, as well as contempt toward officials for comments he made about President Bush.
Fort Lewis commander Lt. Gen. James Dubik on Thursday recommended that the Army proceed with a general court-martial against Watada on the charges of missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer.
If convicted of all charges, Watada could serve six years in prison and be dismissed from military service.
Bob Watada said his son told him that "if this war could stop one day sooner because of what he did, it'd be worth the sacrifice."

The above, noted by Jonah, is from Alice Gomstyn's "Father of Lt. Ehren Watada speaks in Upper Nyack" (The Journal News). The speaking tour continues through the 17th and a full schedule can be found here. Upcoming dates include:

Nov 13 , TBA, Ann Arbor, MI,
"The Ground Truth" and Bob Watada,
Location: University of Michigan, Angel Hall, Auditorium B,Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works,
Contact: Phillis Engelbert, work - 734-761-5922, home - 734-662-0818, cell- 734-660-489,

Nov 14, TBA St. Louis, Mo.
Location: Friends Meeting House, 1001 Park Avenue
Sponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, 314-754-2651
Contact: Chuc Smith, 314-721-1814, vfpch61@riseup.netiraq

In this morning's New York Times, Kirk Semple's "Iraqi Prime Minister Promises Government Shake-Up" attempts to address the (long promised) shakeup of the puppet's cabinet

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday that he was planning a major shake-up of his cabinet, apparently to redress his six-month-old government's failure to curb widespread corruption, reduce sectarian violence and improve public services.
Speaking to a closed session of Parliament, Mr. Maliki suggested that some of his ministers were incompetent but said he had been forced to accept his cabinet under pressure from the country's major political blocs, according to several legislators. The prime minister asked for more independence in choosing new cabinet members.

He wants more independence? The puppet wants more independence . . . from Iraqis. He certainly had independence when he failed to meet the Constitutional deadline to put together a cabinet which should have meant he wasn't prime minister. Having already ignored the Constitution, he now wants more waivers?

From the article:

Several months ago, Mr. Maliki expressed his intention to replace several of his 36 ministers, but Sunday’s announcement suggested far more sweeping changes that, according to some legislators, could involve more than half of the cabinet.

al-Maliki states that some posts were filled with names handed to him right before he made the announcement. Though he apparently didn't say by whom they were presented, he's all but singing "I'm Your Puppet."

While he was announcing how ineffecutal he's been from day one, Iraq was again seeing chaos and violence. Martha notes Sudarsan Raghavan's "Blasts Kill Dozens of Iraqi Police Recruits" (Washington Post):

Two suicide bombers detonated explosives Sunday as a crowd of men gathered in front of a police recruiting center in central Baghdad, killing at least 35 people and wounding 56 in one of the deadliest suicide attacks in Iraq this year.
The blasts, coming hours before Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced plans for a major cabinet shake-up, delivered the latest blow to U.S. and Iraqi efforts to strengthen the country's fledgling security forces. Such efforts are a key element of the U.S. strategy to draw down troop strength and contain the sectarian violence that is pushing the country toward civil war.

At Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital, young men with bandaged limbs lay in small beds, writhing in pain. Some said they had come from as far away as the southern city of Basra to join the police force because they were unemployed and needed to feed their families.
"We were all sitting down waiting for instructions from the loudspeaker. Suddenly, there was a huge amount of fire and dust," said Ali Mutashir, 35, limping slowly across the cream-colored floor, his tan shirt splattered with dried blood. "We fled toward a side street. Then came another blast of fire. It threw me against a wall."

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