If the Bush administration does not change strategy, the elevated U.S. troop levels in Iraq will continue until this time next year, the second highest ranking American commander in Iraq said Friday.
As the White House and Congress gear up to renew the debate over U.S. strategy in Iraq next month, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno outlined current military plans, saying the first of the extra "surge" forces would begin returning home in April. The last of the units that are part of the buildup would leave next August as the U.S. force in Iraq returns to its previous level of about 132,000.
The above is from Julian E. Barnes and Carol J. Williams' "Troop buildup could last year, general says" (Los Angeles Times). Odierno held the press confrence and he has a strained relationship with the truth so take it for it's worth. In addition, the drawbacks being tossed around would leave US ground forces at approximately 140,000 which means there would be more in Iraq than pre-escalation (if a reduction comes). Also remember this myth of 'improvements' has been disproven by McClatchy Newspapers figures. (And McClatchy -- then Knight-Ridder -- got it right when the New York Times was willfully getting it so wrong.)
Speaking of the Times, remember when War Pornographer Michael Gordon's 'reported' on the prison tents? Waleed Ibrahim and Peter Graff (Reuters) offer a reality based report of "hundreds of inmates packed into tented wire-mesh cages" and this is from their article:
The U.S. military says it is now holding 23,000 Iraqis, 19,000 of them at Camp Bucca, a giant prison camp in southern Iraq. Washington says its own prisoners are covered by U.N. Security Council resolutions which allow its forces to hold them without charge as long as they are deemed a threat.
Although U.S. forces are not responsible for prisoners held by Iraqi authorities, "we encourage them to treat their prisoners with as much respect as is seen in the West," said U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver.
The Shi'ite-run Interior Ministry was criticised over the treatment of detainees in 2005 after U.S. forces said they discovered secret cells in which detainees had been tortured.
The prisoners can be held by some coverage from the UN? And the occupying power (the US) thinks they also have no responsibilities for the treatment of prisoners "held by Iraqi authorities". Well what Bully Boy hasn't rewritten, he's trashed. Apparently the new system is a form of "responsibilitization" or however he might mangle the word.
The AP reports a Baghdad mortar attack today that has thus far claimed at least seven lives including an infant and that at least four people are dead and thirty-eight wounded from ongoing bombings in Kirkuk that began Friday night.
The August 7th snapshot noted the following:
Today, Prensa Latina reports: "Sectors from the Puerto Rican society will start a campaign next week against military recruitment in schools to enter the US Army, said activists from the Independentista Party of Puerto Rico (PIP) Monday." You can't vote in the presidential elections, the US won't allow you your independence but your children can die in an illegal war started by the US."
With more on those and other efforts, Martha notes this from Paul Lewis' "Recruiting For Iraq War Undercut in Puerto Rico" (Washington Post):
The scene outside the Ramon Vila Mayo high school unfolded at schools throughout Puerto Rico this week as the academic year opened. On this island with a long tradition of military service, pro-independence advocates are tapping the territory's growing anti-Iraq war sentiment to revitalize their cause. As a result, 57 percent of Puerto Rico's 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders, or their parents, have signed forms over the past year withholding contact information from the Pentagon -- effectively barring U.S. recruiters from reaching out to an estimated 65,000 high school students.
"If the death of a Puerto Rican soldier is tragic, it's more tragic if that soldier has no say in that war," said Juan Dalmau, secretary general of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). His efforts are saving the island's children from becoming "colonial cannon meat," he said.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, all schools receiving U.S. federal funding must provide their students' names, addresses and phone numbers to the military unless the child or parents sign an opt-out form. Puerto Rico received $1.88 billion in U.S. education funds this year. For five years, PIP has issued opt-out forms to about 120,000 students in Puerto Rico and encouraged them to sign -- and independista activists expect this year to mark their most successful effort yet.
In the New York Times, Mark Lander provides comic relief by noting Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling's concern that spouses remain at the base in Germany. The punch line being, they had no concern about getting Steph Teske there when her husband Chris Teske was being stationed there. The headline writer also provides a chuckle, "At German Base, Troops and Kin Gird for New Iraq Tour." Kin? Who knew Ma and Pa Kettle were on the paper's payroll?
Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker's "White House to Offer Gradual Cuts as Iraq Plan" runs on the front page and
One administration official made it clear that the goal of the planned announcement was to counter public pressure for a more rapid reduction and to try to win support for a plan that could keep American involvement in Iraq on "a sustainable footing" as least through the end of the Bush presidency."
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "You Are Staying" below:
Rachel notes two upcoming programs on WBAI (broadcasting out of NYC and available to online listeners as well)
Sunday, August 19, 11am-noon EST
THE NEXT HOUR
Poet Hugh Seidman interviews poet Harvey Shapiro upon publication of Shapiro's "The Sights Along The Harbor: New and Collected Poems." (Re-broadcast of a program that originally aired April 16, 2006.)
Monday, August 20, 2-3pm EST
CAT RADIO CAFE
Political satirist Will Durst, just opened to rave reviews in "The All-American Sport of Bi-Partisan Bashing"; actor/musicians Preston Clark and Grant Vargas on their play "33 to Nothing," about an aging rock band; and author Leslie Garis on "House of Happy Endings," a family memoir involving her grandparents, the authors of The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift and Uncle Wiggily. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.
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