Sunday, December 16, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

In the months before the invasion of Iraq, I marched in every antiwar parade in New York City. I believed the reports of the weapons inspectors that Saddam Hussein no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction. I looked on in disbelief as liberal newspapers, like the New York Times, published front-page articles about "mushroom clouds." And I watched as our mainstream media flooded their newsrooms and our living rooms with pundits who spoke Bush propaganda.
I tried to talk my nephew out of joining the military. His father, my brother Mark, was devastated when Chase signed. Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley deployed in March of 2005 and was killed in August, two months before he was to return home. My brother and I often talk about how war would have changed him. My mother and I talk about how this war has changed our family.
Meanwhile, our troops continue to die on the battlefield and at home where so many commit suicide because of what they've been asked to do and what they've seen. The Iraqi-civilian death count must be well over a million. There seems to be no end in sight.

The above, noted by Mia, is from Missy Comley Beattie's "Resistance Amid the Ruins" (CounterPunch). Missy Comley Beattie goes on to sketch out how we are being betrayed and we are. Friday, the Democratically controlled Congress -- despite claims that they wouldn't give a penny without withdrawal measures being included in the legislation -- went and ahead and gave Bully Boy the funds he wanted for his illegal war. And, no, there were no toothless provisions on withdrawal. Since last Sunday, seven more US service members have been announced dead, a little over 3,000 Iraqis have been estimated dead and not a damn thing changed by electing Democrats in November 2006, by giving them control of both houses of Congress.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3886. Tonight? 3893 announced. 1,129,698 was the number of Iraqis killed in the illegal war last Sunday. Tonight? Just Foreign Policy lists 1,132,766.

Friday, Military Families Speak Out issued a press release that a vistor notes today, "Once Again, Military Families Urge Congress to Stop Funding Military Occupation of Iraq: As Budget Deal Approaches, Families of Severicemen and Wome Voice Disapproval of 'Spineless' Congress." It's in PDF format so click here if you would like to read it in full, here's an excerpt:

WASHINGTON - December 14 -- Just before Congress recesses for the year, and days before funding for the federal government is set to run out, Congress is on the verge of making a deal that will involve funding a limited number of domestic issues in exchange for the inclusion of funds President Bush has been seeking to continue the war in Iraq.
Members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are outraged with those in Congress who profess to be against the war in Iraq, yet help broker and support a budget deal that continues to fund it.
"Congress will once again be complicit in permitting an illegal and immoral war to continue unchecked. They continue to buy this war, and now they own it lock stock and barrel," said Nancy Lessin, co-founder of MFSO. She added, "Military and Gold Star families who have been speaking out against the war in Iraq are not fooled by Members of Congress who plan to vote against the budget package they have just brokered or allowed to happen. They continue to betray our troops, their families and this nation by facilitating the funding of a war based on lies."
Dena Ciferri, a member of MFSO whose husband is currently serving in Iraq added, "My husband is in Iraq fighting a war that should not be happening. Military families are reminding Congress that this is not a shell game they are playing. Providing President Bush with funds to continue the war in Iraq allows the continued deaths and maiming of our loved ones and the Iraqi people. Military families across the country, including other base wives like myself, know that real support for our troops means providing all funds necessary to bring them home quickly and safely, and take care of veterans and their families."

Friday, Congress did authorize more funding for the illegal war, without even their toothless benchmarks attached. It had already passed in the House. It passed in the Senate Friday on a vote 90 in favor and 3 against. The three against were Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders and Robert Byrd. Seven did not vote and they were Barbara Boxer and Daniel Inouye as well as five senators who are running for their parties' presidential nomination: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John McCain and Barack Obama. (We covered this in "Editorial: We keep giving them money, they keep funding the illegal war.") In addition, Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "A Bully Boy and Pelosi Christmas" covers this as well:


It's a Merry Christmas for Bully Boy and Pelosi, for the White House and Congress, it's not a merry time for Iraqis, for those serving in Iraq or for the American people.

As Military Families Speak Out has prominently displayed on their home page: Funding the War Is Killing the Troops.

And killing the Iraqi people.

Let's look at Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reporting on some of Saturday's violence: a Baghdad bombing claimed 2 lives (with 2 police officers wounded), a Baghdad police officer was shot dead, a Baghdad bombing killed "2 members of Adhemiyah Sahwa" (ten more wounded), five people were wounded in two attacks (wounded by gunfire), a Baghdad car bombing claimed 1 life (three more people wounded), 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad, 4 corpses were discovered in Hidid, a Muqdadiyah bombing left three people wounded and "Karbala police spokesman Rahman Al Mshawi said that two children were killed and two others were wounded in a cluster bomb that was left over from the 2003 invasion. The incident took place in a soccer field in Al Ghadeer neighborhood south Karbala today afternoon."



Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing left four people wounded, a Baquba car bombing that left three people wounded and a Karbalal roadside bombing that wounded "one officer and a soldier".


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Al Baaj checkpoint was the site of a battle leaving 1 guard dead and three more wounded with "three attackers" also killed in the battle, a battle at the Zaghaniyah police station in which 3 police officers and 1 fighter for the other side lost their lives and in the latest (known) attack on an official, the governor of Babil was targeted for assassination in Babil (he "survived").


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In addition, Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person is dead and five more wounded in Erbil as a result of "Turkish warplanes" attacking villages.

What!!!! Weren't we all told that conflict between Turkey and nothern Iraq had vanished? The conflict didn't vanish, just the coverage. Ali al Basri and Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) report that "Turkish military planes hit Kurdish border towns in a three-hour attack aimed at the Kurdistan Workers Party, a violent separatist movement that seeks to establish a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey. One woman was killed, a local mayor said, and hundreds of families fled their homes." And Reuters is reporting that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit ("head of Turkey's military General Staff") states the bombings took place with US approval, "America last night opened Iraqi airspace to us. By opening Iraqi airspace to us last night America gave its approval to the operation." The US currently denies that they gave their approval. Sherko Raouf (Reuters) notes that while denying granting approval, "The United States said only that it had been informed in advance of the operation."

In other Iraq news, Peter Beaumont (UK Observer) notes:

After four years, eight months and 11 days, after the deaths of unknown thousands of Iraqis, after 174 British fallen, and billions expended on reconstruction and the cost of a military mission, today the British mission in Iraq takes a large step towards being wound up.
In a ceremony that will begin with a few verses from the Koran and end with an exchange of flags, handshakes and a few cans of fizzy drink, the British army will formally hand over control of security in Basra Province to the soldiers of the Iraqi Army's 14th Division.

Aref Mohammed and Mussab Al-Khairalla (Reuters) report that the handover did take place, "effectively marking the end of nearly five years of British control of southern Iraq." What does it mean? Pru gets the last highlight, "British bogged down in Basra" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

"Home by Christmas" was how Gordon Brown's announcement of troop withdrawal was spun following his visit to Iraq.
In fact he simply re-stated that the number of British troops in Iraq is to be reduced next spring from 4,500 to 2,500.
In the meantime the troops will remain hunkered down at Basra airport, unable to police the city. The official line is that "they won't be patrolling but they will be available".
They will, however, maintain their presence on the Iraq-Iran border as part of George Bush's continuing threat of an attack on Iran.
Brown claimed the troop reductions would be possible because British troops will hand over policing of the city to the Iraqi army.
But neither the British army nor the Iraqi army are in a position to control Basra, as real control of the city remains in the hands of the Shia militias.
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