Friday, January 04, 2008

Other Items

You write that you’ve been back to Iraq. How often do you go?
Not as often as I would like. I have my immediate family there, and my husband’s [family] too. But there have been cases where people are kidnapped immediately upon stepping into the Iraqi airport. Each political party has its own militias. The airport is under the control of one militia. So it’s getting more and more difficult, if not impossible.
How’s your family doing?
They are carrying on, like my husband’s family who lives in a part of Baghdad that the Americans built a wall around.
This is the justification for it: “We are protecting people from the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and we don’t want them to be randomly killed.” But at the same time there are air strikes that kill people randomly, so the justification doesn’t make sense except to separate and segregate people into smaller and smaller communities, which will make it easier for the occupiers to control them.
We are talking about Baghdad. There are also cities like Fallujah, Anbar and Samarra in the north, where walls are built to stop the coming and going of the people.
And it is not just the walls. The U.S. military was digging trenches around Al Hilla, the ancient city of Babylon, destroying an archaeological site to fill sandbags.
American archaeologists did fantastic work highlighting this issue. The problem was that once they left, the damage had already been done.

The above is from Sanhita SinhaRoy interview with Haifa Zangana, "Resister in Exile: Haifa Zangana survived Saddam, and urges Iraqi women to survive the occupation" (In These Times). Zangana is the author of City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman’s Account of War and Resistance, just out from Seven Stories Press.

Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, they've dropped out. We'll note this from William Smith's "Biden touts exit strategy for Iraq" (The Hawk Eye) from when Biden was still a candidate:

"We're hemorrhaging blood and treasure in Iraq," Biden said. "We spent another $125 billion this year on the war. My entire health-care plan, insuring every single American is covered, costs less than a $100 billion."
Biden said the cost of the war must be measured in more than dollars. It must be measured in human life.
"We have accumulated a sacred debt. We have more amputees in this war than any war since the Civil War," he said.
Not only do the high number of non-fatal causalities wound families, but Biden also pointed out that caring for the wounded over the coming decades will cost the country even more money.
"In our war, Vietnam or Korea, 60 percent of the kids coming home were dead," he said.

Two other candidates appear tonight on PBS' Bill Moyers Journal:

Thousands of media outlets descended on Iowa, erecting a powerful wall of TV cameras and reporters between the voters and candidates. This week on Bill Moyers Journal in two interviews, Bill Moyers talks with Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, candidates with an inside view of the process who know well the power of the press to set expectations and transform the agenda. Also on the program, leading expert on media and elections Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, examines the campaigns and coverage in Iowa and looks at the media's power to benefit some candidates and disadvantage others.

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