An Army officer who has made national headlines for refusing to serve in Iraq will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13 at the Coupeville Recreation Hall.
First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, stationed at Fort Lewis, became the Army's first commissioned officer to publicly refuse orders to fight in Iraq on the grounds that the war is illegal.
Coupeville Peace and Reconciliation is sponsoring the event. Watada will speak in Bremerton on Saturday following the appearance.
The 28-year-old Watada announced his decision to not obey orders in a June 7 video press conference. He said in the press conference that his participation in the war would make him "party to war crimes."
Watada has maintained that the war is illegal and that an order to take part in an illegal war is unlawful in itself.
The officer did not apply for a conscientious objector discharge because he is not opposed to all wars. Requests by Watada to be sent to Afghanistan have been denied. He now faces a court martial on Feb. 5 and up to four years in prison for conduct unbecoming an officer, referring to his public decrying of the war.
The above is from Paul Boring's "Army refusenik appears in Coupeville" (Washington's Whidbey News Times). Turning to Sabrina Tavernise and John F. Burns' "Promising Troops Where They Aren’t Really Wanted" in this morning's New York Times:
As President Bush challenges public opinion at home by committing more American troops, he is confronted by a paradox: an Iraqi government that does not really want them.
The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has not publicly opposed the American troop increase, but aides to Mr. Maliki have been saying for weeks that the government is wary of the proposal. They fear that an increased American troop presence, particularly in Baghdad, will be accompanied by a more assertive American role that will conflict with the Shiite government's haste to cut back on American authority and run the war the way it wants. American troops, Shiite leaders say, should stay out of Shiite neighborhoods and focus on fighting Sunni insurgents.
"The government believes there is no need for extra troops from the American side," Haidar al-Abadi, a Parliament member and close associate of Mr. Maliki, said Wednesday. "The existing troops can do the job."
While Tavernise and Burns bring some reality to the Times, the Bobble Headed Pundit teams up with her deserving soul mate to put forth the laughable notion that now the gloves are off and no more diplomacy with Iran -- Bobble Head, when was there diplomacy? As laughable as that is, it pales in comparison to Michael Gordon's latest "War Pornograpy" (which should be labeled as such but instead the paper dubs it "Military Analysis"), "Bid to Secure Baghdad Relies on Troops and Iraqi Leaders:"
With his new plan to secure Iraq, President Bush is in effect betting that Iraqi leaders are committed to building a multisectarian state, and his strategy will stand or fall on that assumption.
With only one free hand, Gordo might not seem to have the time to peer into Bully Boy's soul but when all other beat-off fantasies fly out the window . . .
His 'plan' is not new and look for John McCain to criticize it . . . in 2008 when McCain will probably argue that 20,000 wasn't enough. It's the same old, same old from the Bully Boy. And it has nothing to do with 'multisectarian state' -- keep spinning the lies, Gordo. Such as with this:
Critics of the troop-increase plan have complained that 17,500 more troops are too few to control a capital of six million people.
Oh, is that what "critics" have said? It helps if you only surround yourself with other filth that frequents the same War Porn clubs. No, some critics have said it was too small of an increase (we noted that in the previous entry) and some critics have said that it makes no difference (will make no difference) and will only inflame tensions further and some critics have said (rightly) that the war is lost -- and Gordo, those opinions represents officers serving.
Across the Atlantic, Bully Boy's longtime poodle is unable to provide assistance. Paul Majendie and Adrian Croft (Reuters) report:
Britain, in contrast to the United States, said on Thursday it would not send more troops to Iraq and would press ahead with plans to scale back its presence in the key southern city of Basra.
"It is not our intention to send more troops at the present time," Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett told reporters.
Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament on Wednesday that British operations aimed at preparing the handover of security in Basra to Iraqi authorities could be complete in a few weeks.
Blair's popularity has slumped over his decision to back President George W. Bush in Iraq. Blair is set to step down later this year after a decade in power. In defiance of U.S. public opinion, Bush said on Wednesday night that he is sending 21,500 extra troops to Iraq which he believes are needed to help "break the cycle of violence".
Beckett said Bush's plan showed the determination of the U.S. and Iraqi governments to deal with the security situation.
"We are under way with a process of handover as the security situation on the ground improves," she said. "We will make our ... decisions depending on the progress of those events."
But British opposition politicians criticised the U.S. plan.
"You should never reinforce failure," Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell told Sky News. Conservative foreign affairs spokesman William Hague warned that sending more U.S. troops to Baghdad could fuel insurgency.
"We would like to have seen a package ... giving greater importance to accelerating the training and equipping of the Iraqi army ... (and) an emphasis on the urgent need to find a way of re-starting the Middle East Peace Process," he said.
And Lloyd highlights Joshua Partlow's "12 Die in Attack on Shiite Pilgrims in West: More Than 70 People Slain or Found Dead in Baghdad; Two Added to U.S. Toll" (Washington Post):
Two busloads of Shiite Muslims returning from their holy pilgrimage to Mecca were gunned down Wednesday while passing through a predominantly Sunni Muslim swath of western Iraq, news services reported.
The attack on the convoy of pilgrims, who were returning to their homes in southern Iraq from the hajj in Saudi Arabia, killed 12 people and wounded 18, Iraqi state television said. Insurgents have frequently targeted travelers on the highways through the barren desert of western Iraq.
In Iraq's capital, 11 people were killed by bombings in the areas of Palestine Street, Waziriya and New Baghdad, among others, and police patrols found 60 bodies west of the Tigris River, according to Brig. Sadoun Abdul Karim of the Interior Ministry.
The U.S. military announced the deaths of two U.S. servicemen -- a soldier assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and a soldier with the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division -- who were involved in operations in Anbar province on Tuesday.
That's the reality on the ground and nothing Bully Boy stated in his speech gave the impression he grasped the above even slightly.
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