Sunday, November 12, 2006

NYT: "Sectarian Rifts Foretells Pitfalls of Iraqi Troops' Taking Control" (Oppel)

The illustration is to "Go down, Dexy" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). It's got nothing to do with today's New York Times but we'll be noting the features at The Third Estate Sunday Review and Isaiah's off today. He's stock piling because he'll be contributing twice a month to Francisco, Maria and Miguel's newsletter (still unnamed) that will start the first week of December. (He may also be saying that to be kind. After the hassles with posting at Third today, I'll gladly accept any excuse not to post here.)

Regarding The Third Estate Sunday Review, they have switched to Beta (we haven't here -- we will have to because Blogger/Blogspot wants every site switched to Beta). Due to the problems the Beta switch is prompting, I'm stating right now, morning entries on Sunday are now iffy until we can figure out how to handle the new batch of problems. Today, we're making up for the missed post. Not again. If there's a problem and there's no morning entry this month, anything that would have been it will now be included in the evening entry, not recieving an entry of it's own.

There were some problems that were specific to this week's edition. For instance, Ava and I reviewed Saturday Night Live, which aired late last night and that required basically writing something instantly. We prefer to have the time to watch something, toss it around and make a few calls. That's usually spaced over several days on a good week. We had to do all of that quickly last night. We made notes while we watched the broadcast that aired (it's not "Live" on the West coast) and then started figuring out what we had while making calls for a half-hour to anyone we could get ahold of. (We woke up one friend who was forgiving.) It seems like it is longer than what we usually write (but I don't know that true, I just know it felt that way). We were so unsure of it, we floated it past Dona before anyone else. She said there was one point that we needed to go back and develop, which we did.

While we were doing that, things were supposed to be posting but, when we finished our review, we found out about all the problems with Beta. Which includes Rebecca not being able to use Hello to mail the illustrations to her site (which is why they were here this morning). It was a nightmare and not again. So while we try to figure ou how to work things in Beta, morning posts on Sunday are iffy. If there's time, it will go up, if there's not, it won't and it won't go up later. If something is worth noting it will go into the "And the war drags on" evening post.

So the New York Times today. Richard A. Oppel Jr. explores handovers to Shi'ites in Iraq, largely via an interview with American army Col. Brian D. Jones. The piece is entitled "Sectarian Rifts Foretells Pitfalls Of Iraqi Troops' Taking Control." The focus is Diyala Province and what Jones reveals is that Iraqi Brig. Gen. Shakir Hulail Hussein al-Kaabi, a Shi'ite, who wanted all Sunni politicians on a list (supposedly composed in Baghdad by Shi'ite leaders). The issue is whether or not Shi'ites are attempting to purge Sunnis from Dilyala Province. Are they? One source doesn't reveal that. But it does suggest that is the case.

James Glanz, David Johnston and Thom Shanker's "Democrats Aim To Save Irquiry On Work in Iraq" is about the GOP move last month to end the Office of Special Inspector General on reconstruction in Iraq. Attempts to overturn that legislation (which no one would claim responsiblity for -- it just 'popped' in there somehow) are said to start this week and will include support from Susan Collins (Republican, Maine -- who was vocal in real time decrying the manuever when it was revealed) will introduce legislation in the Senate with Russ Feingold and Joe Lieberman.

Michael Luo's "U.S. Officers Reward for Help in Finding Missing Soldier" is about Ahmed Kousay al-Taie who was kidnapped while visiting his Iraqi wife outside the Green Zone -- the military is offering a $50,000 reward for him. We're apparently no longer attempting to figure out when he married her. Latest talk was before he was stationed in Iraq -- apparently he was jetting back and forth? And no one's bringing up the issue of whether the US military knew of the marriage which is an issue. Had they known, he might not have been kidnapped. (When he originally was noted as missing, it was stated repeatedly that he had left the Green Zone without permission.) In terms of fairness, the others serving aren't getting to drop in on their families. If the marriage was known, al-Taie would have been stationed elsewhere.

Other issues include who in the wife's family knew what he did because military honor doesn't include passing yourself off as something you're not (a reporter in this case) for personal reasons. That wasn't part of his assigned mission. Some of the grumbling over the search was due to the fact that troops were risking their lives, it was also due to the fact that they, unlike him, weren't able to dart over and see their families. It wasn't fair to others serving and the fairness issue is one reason that they're all forbidden from the sort of arrangement he had.

That's not to say he deserved to be kidnapped, that is to say the press has really dropped the ball on the issues involved.

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: Now what?
TV: Saturday Night Dead
The Full Brobeck
Remember Ehren Watada?
You gotta' stay loose, limber and prepared
Go down, Dexy
Junior campaigned in strange places
10 CDs we listened to during the writing of this e...
Just FYI

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