Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Funding and now news of arming as well

Let's drop back to one of the two death announcements from the US military yesterday: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed by enemy gunfire in Salah ad Din Province, Sunday."
With just that in mind, let's note this from James Glanz and Eric Schmitt's "Iraq Weapons Are a Focus of Criminal Investigations" in this morning's New York Times:

Several federal agencies are investigating a widening network of criminal cases involving the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces, according to American officials. The officials said it amounted to the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in the conflict here.
The inquiry has already led to several indictments of Americans, with more expected, the officials said. One of the investigations involves a senior American officer who worked closely with Gen. David H. Petraeus in setting up the logistics operation to supply the Iraqi forces when General Petraeus was in charge of training and equipping those forces in 2004 and 2005, American officials said Monday.
There is no indication that investigators have uncovered any wrongdoing by General Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, who through a spokesman declined comment on any legal proceedings.

Keep the above in mind as we drop back to a July 25th entry:

Billie passes on this from DFW's NBC 5, it's a video clip. You'll learn that law enforcement in North Texas has a bullet shortage -- law enforcement has a bullet shortage -- and they're being told that maybe they just shouldn't plan to buy any bullets until the illegal war is over? (Ellen Goldberg's the reporter, by the way.)

And finally team it all up with this from Candace Rondeaux' "Police Feel Wartime Pinch on Ammo" (Washington Post):

The U.S. military's soaring demand for small-arms ammunition, fueled by two wars abroad, has left domestic police agencies less able to quickly replenish their supplies, leading some to conserve rounds by cutting back on weapons training, police officials said.
To varying degrees, officials in Montgomery, Loudoun and Anne Arundel counties said, they have begun rationing or making other adjustments to accommodate delivery schedules that have changed markedly since the military campaigns began in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Before the war, lag time from order to delivery was three to four months; now it's six months to a year," said James Gutshall, property supervisor for the Loudoun Sheriff's Office. "I purchased as much as I could this year because I was worried it would be a problem."
Montgomery police began limiting the amount of ammunition available to officers on the practice range a little more than year ago, said Lucille Baur, a county police spokeswoman. The number of cases a group of officers can use in a training session has been cut from 10 to three.

The illegal war has fueled hostilities (and hatred) toward the US, it's wasted billions of dollars that everyone will be paying taxes on for years to come, it's diverted needed resources into an illegal war, it's reponsible for the deaths of one million Iraqis and over 3700 US service members, over 160 British service members and over 120 "Other" service members. It's destroyed families, schools, communities. But if the illegal war still hasn't come home for someone, they need to grasp that there own immediate communities they live in are now less safe because of the ammunition shortage. That effects training which effects street patrols. If the illegal war still hasn't registered on someone's radar, they need to start paying attention.

It's also true that if you pair the Times article with Hannah Allam's "Iraqi insurgents taking cut of U.S. rebuilding money" (McClatchy Newspapers) you have arming and funding the forces the US has labeled 'insurgents' and 'al Qaeda in Iraq' so we're back to the point from yesterday,
is the Bully Boy going to put the US on a terrorist watch list?

From the public account, we'll note David Bacon's "Bush's Immigration Clampdown" (The Nation):

OAKLAND, CA (8/23/07) - A year ago, in the middle of the nation's most bitterly fought union organizing drive, management at the Smithfield Foods pork slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, North Carolina, sent a letter to 300 workers. The company, Smithfield claimed, had been notified by the Social Security Administration that the workers' numbers didn't match the SSA database. Come up with new numbers, the company ordered, that could pass the "no-match check," or they'd be fired within two weeks.
The Smithfield plant, largest of its kind in the world, employs 5000 people, about half of them immigrants. No one can say for sure how many lacked immigration papers, but as in most meatpacking plants, many undoubtedly did. Despite their status, during the prior year those workers walked out twice to join immigrant rights marches. They even shut down production lines over the high accident rate. The fear created by the no-match check was an easy way to cut that activism short.
For the last two decades employers have threatened, and often implemented, similar terminations in workplace after workplace. At the Woodfin Suites in Emeryville, California, the hotel threatened no-match firings after workers began demanding compliance with the city's living wage law. At the Cintas Laundry chain, plant mangers fired hundreds of employees last year in no-match checks during UNITE HERE's national organizing drive. The list goes on and on.
Now the Bush administration says that vastly increased checks will become a fact of life in every U.S. workplace. On August 10, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters that SSA will soon send letters to all sizeable employers, listing all workers whose numbers don't jibe. After a ninety-day grace period, the administration will require employers to discharge those whose numbers are still in question.
The scope of Chertoff's order is staggering. About 12 million people living in the U.S. have no legal immigration status. Most of them work. In order to get hired, they have to present a Social Security number to their employer. Some use invented numbers, while others borrow existing numbers that belong to someone else. This causes no harm to others - if anything, it subsidizes the Social Security fund, since undocumented workers can't claim benefits, although they're paying deductions like everyone else.
Yet if the Chertoff regulation is implemented as announced, as many as eight or nine million people will lose their jobs at the end of this year.
Merry Christmas. You're fired.

Chertoff is the most mentioned name to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. Bacon's story obviously mattered before that development but it's even more importnat when you realize Chertoff would have even more abilities to attack immigrants if he was made Attorney General.

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