Sunday, November 18, 2007

The news out of Iraq today

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the refugee appeals of two U.S. Army deserters should come as no surprise.
Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey do not qualify as refugees under the United Nations definition used here. They are not fleeing political persecution; they do not face torture. They are merely trying to escape what they – and most Canadians – see as an unjust Iraq war.
This does not mean that the pair should be sent home to face court martial. Quite the reverse. If Canada's federal government had the inclination to face down Washington just a bit, both men – who almost certainly qualify for permanent resident status –would be welcomed, not as refugees but as landed immigrants. That's how Canada treated U.S. draft dodgers and deserters from the Vietnam War. And it worked out fine.

The above, noted by Vic, is from Thomas Walkom's "Harper's 'selective' morals bad news for deserters" (Toronto Star). Meanwhile, in today's New York Times, Fernanda Santos files another report on Iraq War veteran Brad Gaskins. From "Sergeant Fled Army, but Not the War in His Head:"

The psychotherapist remembers the strapping young soldier, slouched in a chair in her office one morning last month, asking if God could be punishing him because he had once thought it would be exciting to fight in a war.
By then, the soldier, Sgt. Brad Gaskins, had been absent without leave for 14 months from his post at Fort Drum in northern New York State, waging a lonely battle against an enemy inside his head -- memories of death and destruction that he said had besieged him since February 2006, when he returned from a second tour of combat in Iraq.
"I asked Sergeant Gaskins whether he thought about death," the psychotherapist, Rosemary Masters, said in an interview on Thursday. "He said that death seemed like a good alternative to the way he was existing."
On Tuesday, Sergeant Gaskins, 25, traveled almost 300 miles from his home here to the
Different Drummer Internet Cafe near Fort Drum. He planned to surrender to military authorities, and his lawyer had notified commanders at the base. But before he could turn himself in, two officials from Fort Drum, accompanied by a pair of police officers from Watertown, showed up at the cafe and placed him under arrest.

While we're noting locations, Mark Wilcox went public, with Cindy Sheehan at his side, at Camp Casey in the summer of 2006 before turning himself in.

In a correction to a note (by me) in the gina & krista round-robin, Isaiah will have a comic today. Isaiah, Ruth and Kat will all be contributing here over the Thanksgiving holiday and they were all supposed to take the weekend off. Isaiah ended up doing a comic. It is a political one but, as he states, it's not a humorous one. He's asked that it run tonight which will happen.

Content up at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: The state of resistance
TV: I want my ... I want my Zen TV (or not)
Rolling Stone needs a Weather Person
Bad now, bad before
Dear Sasha
Programming Guide
In light of the Canadian Supreme Court's refusal t...
"Fred Kaplan falls off his pony" (C.I.)

Meanwhile, INN is reporting:

One of Australia’s top defence experts says the United States-led coalition cannot win the conflicts in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
Professor Hugh White, the head of Canberra’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, has told the ABC’s Correspondents Report the coalition will eventually abandon Afghanistan.
He says the US cannot succeed in Iraq, but has no escape from the tragedy its invasion has created in the strategically important Gulf region.
"I think they’re very different situations," he said.

This as the largely unreported targeting of Iraqi officials continues. (Alissa J. Rubin of the New York Times has reported on this trend.) China's Xinhau reports:

A roadside car bombing attempting on Iraq's vice finance minister killed five civilians on Sunday in Baghdad.
The attack occurred at about 5:00 p.m.(1400 GMT) in the al-Aljediroya district of central Baghdad, a police source said on condition of anonymity.
The explosion was apparently targeting the convey of Iraq's vice finance minister, the source said without identifying the official. Iraq has two vice finance ministers.
Five civilians were killed and nine were injured, the police source said, saying that one of the vice minister's bodyguards was also injured.

The report notes it is the second attack on officials with the Finance Ministry in two weeks.

In other news of deaths, Maher Nazeh and Ross Colvin (Reuters) report that despite the US military's continued denial that their air strike on Tuesday night took out members of the Awakening Council (a collaborator with the US military), "an American militray official" has confirmed to them that this did indeed happen and states, "There was some confusion and we were not able to turn off the attack quickly enough." This as Reuters reports: "An Iraqi provincial governor accused U.S. troops of opening fire on civilian cars south of Baghdad on Sunday, wounding six people, and threatened to suspend ties with U.S. officials over the "brutal" attack."

And while many outlets (including the New York Times) repeat the myths of decreasing bombings, Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports:

At least 17 people were killed by explosions in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities on Sunday, Iraqi police and officials said.
Nine people were killed and at least 20 others were also wounded in one of the worst attacks in the Iraqi capital in several weeks, which police said targeted Iraqi Finance Ministry adviser Salman al-Mugotar.

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