Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Other Items

Bombs and mortar shells killed more than 37 people in Baghdad on Monday, as U.S. officials said that the command structure for the new security crackdown in the capital was ready.
In the deadliest attack, a small truck rigged with explosives was detonated near a gas station in the Bayya neighborhood, killing 15 people and wounding 58, according to Col. Fakher Hussein of the Interior Ministry. A car bomb that exploded in an industrial area of central Baghdad took the lives of 13 people, he said.
The U.S. and Iraqi militaries have for months been preparing a massive security initiative aimed at quelling the daily killing in the capital. A spokeswoman for the U.S. military, Lt. Col. Josslyn Aberle, said Monday that the command structure and choice of personnel to head the effort have now been established.
Iraqi forces in the capital will be led by Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, a former naval commander in the military of deposed president Saddam Hussein. Gambar was taken prisoner by U.S. forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The above is from Joshua Partlow's "Security Crackdown In Capital Takes Shape As Attacks Kill Dozens" (Washington Post) and Martha noted it. So the 'crackdown' goes on and wrong and on and wrong. In June, it'll be the one year mark since the 'crackdown' started. They increase the numbers, the violence goes up and it's supposed to be shocking -- as though the foreign occupation causing the tensions and hostilities is something news -- as though polling hasn't consistently demonstrated that Iraqis feel the foreign troops are the problem.

In the New York Times this morning, James Glanz' "Iranian Diplomat Kidnapped in Baghdad by Iraqis With Official ID" notes that some have gotten the idea that it's okay to attack Iranian diplomatic staff:

An Iranian diplomat was abducted Sunday evening when his convoy was stopped by men with official Defense Ministry identification in the Karrada neighborhood here, senior Iraqi and American officials said Monday.
Iraqi security forces captured several suspects after pursuing their vehicles through the streets of Baghdad, two of the Iraqi officials said.
The vehicle with the diplomat was not caught, though.

Now is this modeling behavior? Is behavior exhibited by US troops (in their storming of the consulate in northern Iraq in January where they arrested six Iranians) being modeled? Bad behavior? Or just following orders?

Bad behavior brings us to Lloyd's highlight -- some might even call it criminal behavior. Paul Bremer -- famous for Bremer Walls surrounding the Green Zone encampment, for fleeing Baghdad like a thief in the night, for the Bremer "laws" in violation of international guidelines for what can and cannot be done by an occupying power -- goes before the House today. From
Rajiv Chandrasekaran's "Back on Capitol Hill, Bremer Is Facing a Cooler Reception"

The last time L. Paul Bremer testified before Congress, he was lauded as an American hero. Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) congratulated Bremer, who was leading the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq, for a "tremendous success." Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) commended his "energy and focus." Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) praised his "brilliant analysis."
When Bremer returns to Capitol Hill today to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he will receive a far less effusive reception than he did in September 2003. The now-ruling Democrats plan to pounce on him for disbanding Iraq's army, firing many members of the Baath Party, hiring GOP loyalists and not fully accounting for the spending of billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenue.
Fellow Republicans have pointed questions for the first time in public as well.
"Had Bremer made better decisions, we would be in a very different place today," said Rep. Christopher Shays (Conn.).
"Some of the key mistakes in Iraq occurred on his watch," said Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.). "I think there will be a tendency among Republicans to look very carefully and say, 'Who is this man . . . who made decisions that we're still paying for today?' "

"'I'm safe and free,' I said. 'And I'm coming home'," is how Bremer's self-serving book ended. Hopefully, he'll feel a little less safe if he (finally) faces some accountability for his own illegal actions in an illegal war.

Bremer served willingly (and gladly) in the destruction of Iraq.

Turning to the topic of Ehren Watada, who had the courage and strength of character to say "no" to the illegal war. The Watada photo is available for public use at this page of the ThankYouLt. site. The photo is of Ehren Watada and his father Bob Watada.

In this morning's New York Times, William Yardley's "Trial Starts For Officer Who Refused To Go To Iraq" which covers :

The case has become a rallying point for antiwar groups, and scores of Lieutenant Watada's supporters waves signs on Monday at a highway overpass outside Fort Lewis.

His prospects appear uncertain. The judge, Lt. Col. John Head, reinforced on Monday an earlier ruling that Lieutenant Watada could not base his defense on his contention that the war is illegal.

Lieutenant Watada has pleaded not guilty but he has not disputed that he missed the deployment or that he commented against the war.

"From what I understand, that under military law those in the military are allowed to refuse -- in fact, have the right to refuse unlawful orders -- a duty to refuse," Lieutenant Watada said last month at a forum featuring war opponents, according to a transcript distributed on Monday by Zoltan Grossman, a professor at Evergreen State College who helped organize the forum.

Yardley's referring to Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq. Among those giving testimony ("video" next to their name means you can watch the testimony, there is also audio and text available):

* Daniel Ellsberg Military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War;

* Denis Halliday Former UN Assistant Secretary-General, coordinated Iraq humanitarian aid;

* Richard Falk Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University;

* Antonia Juhasz Policy-analyst and author on U.S. economic policies in Iraq;

* John Burroughs Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy Executive Director;

* Benjamin G. Davis Assoc. Prof. of Law, University of Toledo; expert on law of war;

* Francis Boyle Professor of international law at Univ. of Illinois (video).

* Marjorie Cohn National Lawyers' Guild President; Thomas Jefferson law school (video)

Marjorie Cohn was among the witnesses Eric Seitz attempted to call yesterday but JUDGE TOILET refused.

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