The long and short of it is that, no matter what General Petraeus' assessment is next month, the United States has essentially destroyed Iraq as a country. The death knell of the occupation government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was probably sounded last week by the withdrawal of six cabinet ministers from the most important Sunni party. The government now includes only two representatives of the Sunnis, whose adherence to a unified Iraq is critical given their twofold importance for having ruled the country for the 71 years preceding the U.S. invasion and accounting for 20 percent of the population.
Iraq cannot be ruled successfully by a Shiite government; the Kurds are still in, but eyeing an increasingly independent Kurdistan. So, basically, no government.
Promised U.S. reconstruction efforts, estimated to have cost American taxpayers $40 billion so far, have turned into a trail of disappointments and broken promises. U.S. contractors and a host of U.S., Kuwaiti, Iraqi, and other subcontractors have reaped fortunes from the effort. Inspection reports spread the blame for construction failures - aside from the Iraqis themselves - among the companies, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. military.
Perhaps worst of all, apart from the thousands of Iraqi deaths (many of them unrecorded), the situation of the people is dire in humanitarian terms.
The above is from The Toledo Blade's "Iraq's demise." Today's editorial is worth reading in full. This isn't a cover-your-own ass type editorial (the way the New York Times' overly praised -- and under examined -- editorial was). It's a hard hitting editorial (which doesn't play the "We tried to give democracy but those people . . . " xeonophobia nonsense. It covers the recent report for Oxfam and more. Where it falters is in the refusal to call the war illegal and present it as a mistake. Elsewhere, it's on stronger ground and, overall, may be the strongest editorial by a domestic paper thus far.
On the subject of the New York Times, Damien Cave contributes "4 Americans Killed in Bombings in the Baghdad Area:"
Three of the Americans were killed Saturday in an attack involving several explosions on a road south of Baghdad. Witnesses said the blasts wounded several other soldiers and destroyed at least one armored vehicle.
The military said a fourth American soldier died Monday, and one was wounded, when an armor-piercing bomb exploded near their vehicle in western Baghdad.
The deaths set the pace for a higher military toll in August than in July, when 80 American service members died from hostile and nonhostile causes, said Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a Web site that tracks military deaths. July's was the lowest monthly toll since November.
British military officials announced that a British soldier had died from wounds sustained Monday during a firefight in the southern city of Basra.
It's cute the way he pretends it's perfectly natural for the US military to announce Saturday deaths on a Tuesday. As though we're back in times of yore and the US military is dependent upon some sort of pony express to get the news of deaths to MNF. It's even cuter how he references witnesses who apparently were also carried back to the Green Zone via the pony express.
Wallowing in his own perceived cuteness, he then goes on to inform that the US and England have decided the UN's 'mandate' in Iraq should be extended. They decided? Nouri al-Maliki was Turkey yesterday and is in Iran today. The last time the 'mandate' was extended the Iraqi Parliament made it very clear that they did not appreciate having any foreign country go over their heads or having al-Maliki leave them out of the loop. They stated that any extensions of that would be addressed by them. So the US and England wait until the parliament is on their vacation (the same sort that the US Congress is currently on) and they, not Iraqi's supposedly independent government, declare that the 'mandate' needs to be extended.
He's stronger when he's discussing the agreement between Turkey and Iraq which other outlets are treating as big news even though it's not. From yesterday's snapshot:
Turkish Daily News reported today that al-Maliki and Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, would sign an agreement; however, "Turkey will await implementation and wants to see concrete steps against the PKK". Selcuk Gokoluk (Reuters) reports that al-Maliki swore he would "crack down on Kurdish rebels" in northern Iraq; however, "Turkish officials said they knew Maliki had little clout in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq and that he had also been weakened both by Iraq's dire security situation and by fresh turmoil in his crumbling government in Baghdad."
In this morning's USA Today, Tom Vanden Brook reports that the Pentagon is insisting they maust have $750 million from Congress immediately and are stating that it is "to urgenly airlift needed armored vehicles to troops facing roadside bombs in Iraq". Roadside bombs in Iraq are a new thing the Pentagon just noticed?
As Cedric and Wally noted in their joint-posts Monday ("Hoyers explains the drawbacks to Congress" and "THIS JUST IN! HOYER LOVES CONGRESS, HATES VOTERS!"), Congress just allocated $459.6 billion dollars before going on their break. The $750 million wasn't included in the supplemental, it wasn't included in the $459.6 billion request. They are paying for this illegal war piece meal and grabbing a lot of 'goodies' while they refuse to use the money they are granted (the 'money' -- the debt, the US tax payers debt that will be paid off in coming generations) to fund what they claim they are doing. The $750 million should come out of the $450.6 billion and the Pentagon should give up some of their 'goodies.' (Or maybe Jack Murtha can declare the budget not fit for tax payer's eyes the way he just did with the intell budget?)
The $750 million request is part of another alleged "emergency request" by the Pentagon and the full amount they 'need' now is $12 billion. Like the announcement of the deahts, the announcement of the bills trickle out slowly.
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