Friday, October 12, 2007

15 dead in yesterday's air strike and Dems want to complain about their base

The U.S. military acknowledged that it killed 15 civilians and wounded four others in an operation Thursday targeting alleged senior leaders of the group Al Qaeda in Iraq in a region northwest of Baghdad. The statement said 19 suspected insurgents also were killed.
The military said it acted on an intelligence report that insurgent leaders were meeting near Tharthar Lake, between Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, and sent in air and ground forces, killing four suspected militants. A second assault was launched against a site south of the lake, to which the militants were believed to have fled. The second attack killed six women and nine children, as well as 15 suspected militants, a U.S. military statement said.

The above is from Christian Berthelsen's "U.S. says 15 Iraqi civilians killed in raid" (Los Angeles Times). From yesterday's snapshot, quoting the UN report:

During the period of the report, UNAMI found that "88 civilians were reportedly killed during air strikes conducted by MNF forces. They included the following: nine civilians killed in five villages in the al-Anbakiya area near Ba'quba on 11 March; two civilians killed in Dulu'iya in Salahuddin Governorate on 15 March; 16 civilians killed in Sadr City in Baghdad on 30 March; 27 civilians killed in Khaldiya, Ramadi, on 3 April; four civilians killed in Sadr City and four others west of Taji on 26 April; three civilians killed in Basra on 30 April; seven civilians killed east of Baghdad on 5 May; one civilian killed in Sadr City on 6 May; and eight civilians killed in Basra on 26 May. On 8 May, seven children were reportedly killed when helicopters attacked an elementary school in a village in Diyala Governorate near the Iranian border. Following this incident, a spokesperson for US forces in Iraq, Lieutenant-Colonel Christoper Garver, announced that the MNF authorities were conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the children. However, the findings of such investigations are not systematically publicized. On 28 June, UNAMI wrote to the MNF Chief of Staff, seeking further information on all these recorded incidents in which civilians were said to have been killed during air strikes.

The UN report is an indictment against the illegal war and makes clear there has been no improvement, let alone no 'win'. So pay attention to this section of Joshua Partlow and Colum Lynch's "U.N. Report on Iraq Details An 'Ever-Deepening' Crisis" (Washington Post) that Martha's nothing this morning:

The first draft of the U.N. report was completed in August, but release of the final version was delayed for more than a month following a request by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, according to a confidential account by a senior U.N. official. Crocker insisted that Iraq be given time to respond to the allegations, according to the account. The United States then prepared critical assessments of the U.N. investigation that were included in the final report.
U.N. officials in Baghdad said the report was not intended to challenge the U.S. military's assertion that this year's troop escalation helped reduce violence in much of Iraq. The reporting period ended before the time in which the U.S. military has described the sharpest drops in violence. The U.N. agency said it was again unable to persuade the Iraqi government to release civilian casualty figures."

The report was ready in August. The report was held. The US demanded time to 'respond' and of course that 'response' wasn't a delaying tactic to keep the UN report under wraps until after the dog and pony show based on lies was delivered (over and over) to Congress last month. That's just mere coincidence. And the findings of the report just slipped Ryan Crocker's mind which is why he didn't mention it in his many meetings with Congress last month.

And don't count on the Democrats. David M. Herszenhorn plays enabler to the Democratic leadership with "Liberal Base Proves Trying to Democrats" (New York Times) this morning:

The tension between Democratic lawmakers and their base has been most visible on the Iraq war, where the insistence by some of the most outspoken antiwar groups on setting hard deadlines for the withdrawal of American troops has often handcuffed Senate Democrats trying to reach a bipartisan deal on legislation to change the war strategy.
To the delight of Republicans, it has also played a role in a host of other issues, including a fight over increased fuel economy standards in the energy bill, and demands for more spending on environmental programs in the farm bill.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi disappointed Democrats seeking major changes to the federal farm subsidy program -- changes that Ms. Pelosi had supported in the past. Instead she adopted a more moderate approach that made some changes but left most of the subsidies intact and that she called "a good first step."
On the energy bill, the Democrats struggled to navigate the demands of two powerful factions in their base: organized labor groups tied to the auto industry and environmental groups. Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, thwarted Ms. Pelosi's efforts to increase fuel efficiency standards.

Poor little Nancy, thwarted again. Of course, the reality is that when you're Speaker of the House and you can't control the votes of those in your own party (those under you) on any issue, you have no leadership, you have no strength and you have no guts. Pelosi is the weakest Speaker the House has seen in some time. And read the article for laughs about the pathetic Democratic 'leadership.' Read forced out of the closet Barney Frank whining. Read it all and ask yourself when was the last time you saw Republicans blaming their base for being frustrated with them?

The Republican base gets frustrated with their leadership all the time. And Republicans generally respond to that. They don't blame the base, they don't whine about the base, they don't publicly insult the base.

But, taking the lead from Pelosi, Democrats in Congress have no problem hectoring and trashing the voters who put them in power.

When you have to make non-stop excuses for your actions, then the problem is probably you and not the base. When you're so ineffectual that you continue to cite the minimum wage nonsense as your point of pride (blood money because Dems snuck it into an Iraq bill), you've got nothing to be proud of. Instead of whining at and blaming the base, Democrats in Congress need to grow up real damn quick and grasp that the 2008 elections that they feel are the end-all-be-all are not going to benefit from the repeated trashing of Democratic voters.

Most have already grasped how useless Dems have been since being given power by the voters. It's reflected in the polling consistently. Those who don't grasp it yet will as Dems in Congress continue whining.

The polling is a failing grade given to the Democratic leadership and the leadership's sorry excuses come off a lot like a child trying to justify to a parent why they couldn't get their act together and pass a class. Leadership needs to take some accountability and Pelosi especially needs to stop trashing Democratic voters publicly.

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