Damien Cave's "U.S. Hits Qaeda Post in Iraq Used to Attack Helicopter" is buried on page A10 of today's New York Times. We went over the events yesterday (which aren't the focus, the death of "suspected insurgents" -- as told by the US military -- is with myths of "precision-guided bombs." We're done with that. The front page, no link, contains Dan Barry's supposed look at a female who is shipping over to Iraq but it's a bit too cute for words and one wonders if, were Barry writing about a male, he'd feel the need to tell us what the guy wore to his prom "just ten months" ago? I seriously doubt it. But he can't get his mind off the fashion and treats her like an oddity, a fish out of water.
A15 offers Michael Luo's "Antiwar Caucus Wants to Be Heard Now"
About a dozen members of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus gathered on a sunny day last summer on the terrace outside the Capitol for a news conference. The only problem: no reporters showed up.
The members of the group, made up entirely of House Democrats, cracked jokes among themselves before heading back inside, chalking it up as another failed attempt to get noticed.
"I had 30 press conferences where no one showed up," said Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who leads the 75-member caucus in the House.
Now, with a change in power in Congress and a new military strategy to increase the number of American troops in Iraq, the members of the group -- most of them liberals -- are suddenly much in demand, finding themselves at the center of the debate over the war.
Yet even with a majority of Americans opposing the war, the caucus is struggling to overcome its fringe image and is becoming increasingly frustrated by what its members say is the Democratic leadership's unwillingness to heed their calls for decisive action to the end the war.
It's a rare thing when Maxine Waters gets quoted in the New York Times. Later on Barbara Lee is quoted ("There's a distinction between cutting off funding and using the funding to begin a speedy and secure withdrawalwithin a specific timeframe.") as Is Jerry Nadler ("Nothing is going to happen unless we use the power of the purse. It's time to draw a line in the sand.").
While the Times of New York demonstrates increasingly less interest in covering Iraq (I'm not commenting on Cave's article, I am commenting on the fact that it's the only article filed from Iraq), the Times of Los Angeles finds quite a lot to write about. We'll note Tina Susman and Raheem Salman's "Sadr disavows a planned U.S.-Iraqi crackdown:"
Days before U.S. and Iraqi troops are expected to establish a permanent presence in the Shiite stronghold named for his father, the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr stepped up his rhetoric against the plan Saturday.
Sadr, in a statement issued by associates, did not threaten force against the troops, but he rejected U.S. and Iraqi officials' statements in the last week that negotiations had cleared the way for the establishment of the joint security station in Sadr City.
Sadr's words carry huge weight in Sadr City, a teeming poverty-stricken area in northeast Baghdad, and his opposition to the presence of American soldiers could throw a wrench into plans to set up the station.
Just hours before Sadr's office issued its statement, dozens of civic leaders in Sadr City met to discuss the security plan. They said they would cooperate with it but also issued a written statement urging U.S. troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible. Failing that, they said, U.S. forces should "come into Islam and declare publicly taking Islam as their religion."
Their mixed signals reflect the delicacy of the situation as U.S. and Iraqi officials prepare to bring to Sadr City their security crackdown, seen as a last-ditch effort to quell Baghdad's sectarian warfare. On one hand, residents there crave safety and protection from attacks by Sunni Muslim insurgents. On the other hand, most are ideologically opposed to what they consider foreign invaders and say Sadr's Al Mahdi militia and Iraq's Shiite Muslim-led security forces should oversee security.
(On the above, Kirk Semple's just filed at the New York Times online about "hundreds" of Iraqi soldiers and US service members entering Sadr City.)
And we'll note Susman solo with "Iraq violence takes toll on aid groups: There are fewer than 10 organizations active in the country, but the number may fall after the killing of a worker:"
First it was the curfew. Then the checkpoints and the car bombs. Later, it was the Iraqis' fear of being seen entering a compound occupied by foreigners.
Eventually, for the U.S. nonprofit organization training Iraqi healthcare workers, the risks outweighed the returns. Iraqis couldn't come to them. Americans couldn't go to the Iraqis.
So to avoid working in Baghdad, RTI International moved classes to Jordan and Egypt, flying trainees back and forth.
RTI trained hundreds of Iraqis, who in turn trained thousands more when they returned to Iraq. But the hurdles they encountered along the way are typical of the challenges facing the handful of international aid and development organizations still working in Iraq.
Most groups pulled out after the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. Fewer than 10 remain, a minuscule number given the level of need, say those in the aid community.
And there are concerns that the number could shrink further after the killing in January of an American woman working for the National Democratic Institute, a Washington-based group that since 2003 has been helping Iraqis build their new government.
The attack was a stark reminder of the perils of aid work in Iraq, be it building sewer systems, teaching fair polling practices or tending to people displaced by sectarian violence.
Joan notes Jim Borg's "Watada's attorney likes the spotlight" (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) on Ehren Watada's civilian attorney Eric Seitz:
Students filled the jury box, judge's bench and witness stand of the Moot Court Room at the University of Hawaii's Richardson School of Law.
Still more students occupied the first three rows of the gallery, with professors, practicing lawyers and members of the public seated behind them and spilling out the door.
All came to hear Eric Seitz defend the views of a soldier who refused to go to Iraq.
A longtime Honolulu litigator and defense lawyer, Seitz can be counted on for zeal as well as insight. And so the audience was not disappointed Tuesday as Seitz leveled a blistering broadside against President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld.
"Treaties, when they are properly adopted by this country, become part and parcel of American law," Seitz argued. "The president cannot select which treaties he is going to implement and ignore others. And his selective enforcement of the provisions of the law ... frankly, in my view, should subject him to a war crimes trial -- and, in fact, to the ultimate punishment which the statute requires, which is death.
"And if you want to quote me, you can say that," Seitz pressed. "I am more than happy to see President Bush and Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld tried for war crimes. And I would be the first one to stand up and clap if they were punished as a consequence."
As the attorney for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a Hawaii-born soldier assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash., Seitz has found a bully pulpit for his disgust at the war and the administration. But the high-profile case, which resulted in a mistrial last month, fits lock step with Seitz's long march to defend little guys against the government.
New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:
Last Senator Standing
The Nation Stats
AlterPunk needs a Net Nanny
The Nation magazine goes in search of America's youth
Quick news catch up
War resister Agustin Aguayo to be court-martialed Tuesday
TV: In Case of Emergency, Laugh!
Editorial: The wrath of the jealous 'Big Boys'
And, to set up Isaiah's comic for any who've not followed the Bully Boy's latest actions, after touring the Gulf Coast region destroyed by Hurricane Katrina to spread the pain, he also visited Alabama to speak about their recent hurricane. I'm not sure whether he's auditioning for The Weather Channel or if it's just that the Bully Boy Express, unlike the Red Cross, pulls into town several weeks, months, years after it should arrive?
Lastly, please check out Margie Burns' entry on uranium (and if someone will remind me, we'll excerpt from it later today, I'm in a hurry this morning).
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