Thursday, November 08, 2007

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Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Center Soldier was killed as a result of wounds suffered when the dismounted patrol the Soldier was part of encountered an improvised  explosive device south of Baghdad Nov. 7."  ICCC's current total for the number of US service members killed in Iraq is 3858 -- which doesn't include the four deaths that took place after leaving Iraq (because the Defense Department doesn't include the deaths in their count) but the four died of physical wounds received while in Iraq (Jack D. Richards, Gerald J. Cassidy, John "Bill" Smith, Raymond A. Salerno III). For those wanting to track the deaths for 2007, one of the easiest ways is to remember that the 3000 mark was crossed with an death announcement on New Year's Eve.
That was a Sunday.  The illustration above was for the Sunday morning "Editorial: The 3,000 mark looms" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) when the count stood at 2,999.  (Bully Boy is attempting to run from the American death toll he is responsible for in the illustration.)
Another marker to note is January 4, 2007.  In November 2006, voters returned power of both houses of Congress to the Democrats and did so because they wanted the illegal war to end.  On January 4th, the 110th Congress was sworn in.  On that day, 3006 deaths had been announced.  Since the Democratically-controlled Congress was sworn in, 852 deaths have been announced.
The November 2006 election was about the war.  A lot of people try to distract -- usually for their own pathetic interests -- and pretend the election was about something else.  It wasn't.  The polls showed the voters saw it as about Iraq and the politicians certainly knew what it was about.  For those who doubt it, from Marc Sandalow's "Pelosi's Countdown: She ticks off a list of changes, including a new Iraq strategy" (San Francisco Chronicle) which ran November 5, 2006 -- two days before election day:
Yet during the interview, she asserted that discontent over the war is the No. 1 issue driving the election.
"This election is about Iraq," said Pelosi, a consistent war opponent who has said her failure to prevent the United States from going to war in 2003 is her greatest disappointment in public life.
"If indeed it turns out the way that people expect it to turn out, the American people will have spoken, and they will have rejected the course of action the president is on." 
If they win, Democrats will immediately reach out to Bush to find a bipartisan way to begin redeploying toops "outside of Iraq," Pelosi said.  They will also apply pressure to disarm the militias, amend the Iraqi constitution and engage in diplomacy in the region.
"A Democratic victory would be in furtherance of reaching that goal.  Absent a Democratic victory, we'll be there for the next 10 years," Pelosi said.
852 deaths announced since she was sworn in as Speaker of the House.  If Pelosi's "failure to prevent the United States from going to war in 2003 is her greatest disappointment in public life," where does her refusal to end the illegal war since becoming Speaker of the House fall?  Bryan notes Cindy Sheehan's "Traitors?" (The Progressive):
Today, November 6th, Dennis Kucinich exercised a Congressional privilege and introduced his bill, H Res 333 on the House floor to impeach Vice-Criminal Richard V. Cheney.  Some people question the timing of introducing the resolution today.  Was it just motivated by the proximity to the Iowa Caucuses?  Is Dennis actually concerned with our Constitution and preventing a seeming impending attacks on Iran?  Either way, a resolution to impeach any, or all, of BushCo has been long overdue and was supported by many of the progressive base which is clamoring for peace and accountability.
As soon as the resoultion was introduced, House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D-Md) made a motion to "table" or kill the resolution.  The vote to do so was supposed to last for fifteen minutes, but lasted for over an hour as the vote, which was at first 2 to 1 to kill the resolution, started tipping the other direction as repugs started to switch their votes from the "yea" to the "nay" column (not because they are finally growing some true patriotism, but because they almost always cynically use political manipulation).  From the first, the Democrats overwhelmingly voted to kill the resolution, following their treasonous leadership who are boldly asserting that parts of our Constitution dealing with impeachment; spying on Americans without warrants; and incarcerting Americans without due process or torturing human beings are no longer valid.  BushCo and Pelosi/Hoyer's Congress, Inc have rewritten the Constitution with the blood of almost 4,000 Americans and over one million innocent Iraqis.
And staying with the blood of Iraqis, Lloyd notes Steve Fainaru's "How Blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards" (Washington Post):
Last Feb. 7, a sniper employed by Blackwater USA, the private security company, opened fire from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry.  The bullet tore through the head of a 23-year-old guard for the state-funded Iraqi Media Network, who was standing on a balcony across an open traffic circle.  Another guard rushed to his colleague's side and was fatally shot in the neck.  A third guard was found dead more than an hour later on the same balcony.
Eight people who responded to the shootings -- including media network and Justice Ministry guards and an Iraqi army commander -- and five network officials in the compound said none of the slain guards had fired on the Justice Ministry, where a U.S. diplomat was in a meeting.  An Iraqi police report described the shootings as "an act of terrorism" and said Blackwater "caused the incident."  The media network concluded that the guards were killed "without any provocation." 
The U.S. government reached a different conclusion. Based on information from the Blackwater guards, who said they were fired upon, the State Department determined that the security team's actions "fell within approved rules governing the use of force," according to an official from the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Neither U.S. Embassy officials nor Blackwater representatives interviewed witnesses or returned to the network, less than a quarter-mile from Baghdad's Green Zone, to investigate.
The incident shows how American officials responsible for overseeing the security company conducted only a cursory investigation when Blackwater guards opened fire. The shooting occurred more than seven months before the Sept. 16 incident in which Blackwater guards killed 17 civilians at another Baghdad traffic circle.
In the first entry this morning, Amy Goodman's noted on recruiting.  Eddie pulled up "Pentagon Mulls Easing Recruitment Standards" from yesterday's Democracy Now! headlines:
Meanwhile the Associated Press is reporting the Pentagon is secretly reviewing plans to ease enlistment standards to make up for a recruiting shortfall. The number of recruits seeking waivers for criminal behavior rose three percent last year to nearly one-fifth of all prospective servicemembers. Two-thirds of the waivers were approved.
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