Monday, September 24, 2007

Puppet tries to make noises of bravery

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday that the shooting of Iraqi civilians last week by Blackwater USA, a private American security company, amounted to a challenge to the nation’s sovereignty, and he added that his government was working jointly with the United States to bring those responsible to justice.

The above is from Alissa J. Rubin and Andrew E. Kramer's "Iraqi Premier Says Blackwater Shootings Challenge His Nation’s Sovereignty" in this morning's New York Times. Give Rubin and Kramer credit for, later in the article, noting "at least 11" died in the Sunday slaughter. When Tavernise and Glanz repeatedly worked this story (including yesterday), they repeatedly stuck with "at least 8". (11 is a favorite with the Western press.) The puppet has no power and the US didn't even let him pretend. He's been called into check. Blackwater will continue to operate in Iraq and the US led white wash investigation won't change that.

We don't note many editorials but we've got two this morning. I'm noting this from the San Francisco Chronicle's "Out of Iraq - who will lead?" published yesterday:

While the politicians posture, the American people have arrived at a clear consensus that it's time to leave Iraq. A new national survey by the Pew Research Center found that 54 percent of Americans want U.S. forces brought home "as soon as possible." Only 39 percent believed the United States should remain in Iraq until the situation is stable.
Significantly, these numbers remained stable even after the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, each of whom tried to make the case that the U.S. military was making progress. The survey showed that many Americans believed Petraeus - the poll showed an uptick in optimism about whether the U.S. was making gains - but no change in their bottom-line conclusion that it's time to go.
Rep. George Miller, a Martinez Democrat, had an interesting observation about Iraq during a meeting with our editorial board on Friday. He said the "national decision has been made" to leave Iraq. The delay, he suggested, is waiting for enough powers that be in Washington to reach "their political comfort zone."

Brenda notes this from the Chicago Sun-Times' editorial, published today, entitled "Free speech 101 has a right to its 'Petraeus/Betray Us' ad, senators:"

Eli Pariser, executive director of, refused to apologize for the ad, promising MoveOn would keep up the attack on Republicans for opposing troop reductions and other changes in Iraq. Pariser says if people had pushed the Bush administration harder for reasons when the United States invaded Iraq, we might not be in the mess we're in today.
In sticking to his guns, Pariser showed more gumption than Barack Obama. The Illinois senator and presidential candidate opposed the resolution but when it came time to vote, took a walk "to protest against this empty politics." He called the vote "a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq." By not voting, however, he indulged in empty politics himself, disappointing supporters who look to him to be more decisive.

Meanwhile Kim Sengupta's "How Iraq's war has turned friendship between families into sectarian hatred" (Independent of London) examines more 'progress' in the illegal war:

They are two Iraqi families, one Shia, the other Sunni, who once lived in what were called "mixed" neighbourhoods. Now they are among the 2 million internal refugees in the country, a vast and desperate pool of the dispossessed whose numbers have risen massively along with US troop "surge" operations.
The forced migration, called "a human tragedy unprecedented in the country's history" in the latest Iraqi Red Crescent report, has uprooted communities from homes they have occupied for decades. In Baghdad, the focus of US military action, there are a million displaced people in a population of four million.
Another two million people, according to UN estimates, have fled abroad. Amnesty International, in a report released today, identifies Britain as forcibly returning more Iraqi refugees than any other country in Europe.
But it is the internal diaspora that is causing acute problems in this fractured society, with numbers rising by 71 per cent in just one month, according to the Red Crescent. The Independent has spoken to two families, the al-Rawis and the al-Amirys, who had been forced to flee their homes. In both cases the horrors they endured have turned tolerance and friendship across the religious divide into sectarian anger and hatred.

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andrew e. kramer