Today the US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died Friday in a non-combat related incident, which is currently under investigation."
A6 of this morning's New York Times contains Daniel B. Schneider and Damien Cave's "Security Council Approves a Broader U.N. Mandate in Iraq to Seek Reconciliation" and Cave's covering Iraq violence from yesterday:
9 corpses discovered in Diyala, 11 in Mosul and 6 in Baghdad
3 police officers kidnapped in Mosul and executed
On the UN aspect, skip the Times (or the International Herald Tribune where a version of the story credited to Schneider with an end credit to Cave also runs) and check out Matthew Rothschild 's "The U.N. Mirage in Iraq" (The Progressive) on how you're looking at, best case, 30 UN workers going to Iraq:
The Secretary-General is supposed to involve himself in regional dialogue, as well, though it’s difficult to imagine how he’ll be able to succeed there, as Bush and Cheney are threatening to attack Iran virtually every day now.
It's also difficult to imagine how the U.N. will be able to help the security situation any. The response by Britain's U.N. ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, was laughable. He said he hopes "the U.N. will soon be able to redeploy a contingent to Basra, where its expertise would be helpful in delivering capacity building in Iraq's southeast."
In today's violence, Hamid Ahmed's "Iraq Militants Target Sunni Sheik's Home" (AP) notes the following:
Militants bombed the house of a prominent anti-al-Qaida Sunni cleric, seriously wounding him and killing three of his relatives in what appeared to be an increased campaign against Sunnis who have turned against the terror network.
The attack, which was followed by a fierce firefight, came after Sheik Wathiq al-Obeidi called on residents in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Azamiyah to rise up against foreign fighters, a reference to al-Qaida in Iraq, which recently has seen a surge in opposition from fellow Sunnis.
Ahmed also notes 4 corpses "found chopped into pieces in Dujail" and a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed one life.
Also in violence today, Middle East News (via Monsters & Critics) reports a US air attack has killed 8 electricity workers with two more wounded -- "the workers were installing electricity wires and cables in a power station when their vehicle was hit by a US rocket."
On the issue of those serving in the US who are non-citizens or have family members who are non-citizens, we'll note this from Juliana Barbassa's "Troops Worry Relatives Could Be Deported" (AP):
About 35,000 legal immigrants without citizenship are now serving in the military, and nearly 34,000 other service members have taken the citizenship oath since 2001. That means when immigrant soldiers ship off to Iraq, they may carry with them a worry their American-born counterparts are less likely to share: that their family members might be deported while they are away.
"Every base has immigration problems," said Margaret Stock, an Army reservist and immigration attorney teaching at United States Military Academy at West Point. "The government they're fighting for is the same government that's trying to deport their families."
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Eduardo Gonzalez is a citizen whose wife entered the country illegally from Guatemala when she was 5 years old. Now a young adult, she is in deportation proceedings.
"If I'm willing to die for the United States, why can't I just be allowed to be with my family?" Gonzalez asked.
Those wondering about the lack of Iraq stories in various papers -- Baghdad was placed under curfew (that's just been lifted). That explains some of the dip in quantity. (With regards to the New York Times, people are especially paying attention due to the paper's size reduction.)
Carl notes Margaret Kimberley's "'Terror War' Terrorizes Spineless Democrats" (Black Agenda Report):
When a cowardly congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 last fall, many were quick say that in the House of Representatives at least, Democrats never had any realistic hope of stopping it. This anti-constitutional atrocity rolled the cause of human rights back some 800 years, legalizing secret imprisonment, torture, and evidence obtained by torture. It made possible life imprisonment with neither accusation nor trial, and absolved from prosecution all the recently active kidnappers and torturers on US government payrolls and contracts along with those who gave them orders.
But last fall's good news, supposedly, was that the Republican congress was certain to be replaced in a matter of weeks by clear Democratic majorities in the House and Senate who'd stand up to the president, end the war, indict even impeach some of the malefactors, and begin to undo some of the damage inflicted by the most lawless presidential administration in the nation's history. It hasn't happened that way.
Instead, Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have ruled impeachment of Bush, Cheney or Gonzalez off the table. Congressional Democrats have increased the Pentagon's budget by $100 billion over Bush's request. They continued construction of an 80 acre embassy and the largest military bases in the world in Iraq. The end of 2007, a full year of Democratic control of the nation's purse will see more US forces and mercenaries in Iraq than at the beginning of the year. Only last week Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama declared himself ready to take up the "White Man's Burden" and invade Pakistan. Democrats are scrambling to re-brand the fictitious "global war on terror" as their own, and to outdo Republicans at threatening the peace abroad and scaring citizens at home.
Last week both houses of Congress, including dozens of Democrats approved legislation granting the feds the absolute power to intercept phone, fax and email traffic of anyone, anywhere in the world without the bother of explanations to any judge or competent authority whatsoever. House Democratic leaders denounced it, but didn't stop it. Senate Democratic leaders, including presidential candidates Clinton, Obama, Dodd and Biden if they mentioned it at all, decried the bill. But true to form, none stepped forward to lead a filibuster that might have stopped it.
With Congressional poll numbers nearly as low and the president's the gap between Democratic office holders and Democratic voters has never been wider. At the same time, corporate donations to Democratic candidates are higher than ever. These are two sides of the same coin. The Democratic establishment's uncritical embrace of the so-called "global war on terror" is exposing for all to see the widening fissure between the two Democratic parties --- the Democratic party of voters who are called out once every year or two, and the permanent Democratic party of consultants, pundits, lobbyists and wealthy campaign contributors.
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