Saturday, February 23, 2008

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Turkish troops clashed with Kurdish militants in the snowy mountains of northern Iraq on Friday after staging an invasion, the most serious offensive in years in Turkey's conflict with anti-government rebels.
Iraq's government reacted angrily, demanding the troops' withdrawal and accusing Turkey of destroying five bridges in violation of its pledge to target only rebel bases. The White House confirmed that it knew in advance of the invasion.

The above is from Tina Susman and Yesim Comert's "Turkey invades Kurdish Iraq in battle with rebels" (Los Angeles Times). Elsewhere in the article they note that yesterday's cart bombing in Baghdad has led to a ban on animal carts. They've banned the animal carts, they've banned people on the street (specifically those accused of being beggars or mentally disturbed) and now it's the animal carts. At McClatchy, Yasseen Taha and Leila Fadel's "Iraqi Kurds ready to confront Turkish troops" offer:

How many Turkish troops had entered Iraq was uncertain. American military officials in Baghdad estimated the number at 1,000, but Kurdish rebels said the incursion involved 10,000 troops.
Commanders of two Kurdish militia organizations confirmed that they'd been ordered to move north in force and that their men were armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, PKC machine guns, which can be used as light anti-aircraft weapons, and assault rifles.But the militia didn't intervene in fighting between the Turks and rebels from the Kurdistan Worker's Party, commonly known as the PKK.
Still, the makeup of the forces suggested that Kurdish Regional President Massoud Barzani probably approved the deployment: More than 4,000 of the Kurdish forces belong to the Zeravany, the military wing of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party. The remaining 2,000 are members of Iraqi Kurdistan's peshmerga militia, the regional government's armed force.Barzani has been a frequent critic of the United States and Iraq's central government for their cooperation with Turkey in targeting the PKK, which is widely popular in Iraq's Kurdish region, but which the United States considers a terrorist organization. A confrontation between Turkish forces and the Kurdish militia would be a major escalation in the standoff over PKK attacks in Turkey, which have killed hundreds of Turkish civilians and soldiers in recent years.

Sabrina Tavernise and Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) offer this:

Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, called the operation an "escalation" and said the Iraqi government had protested to Turkey and asked it "to withdraw Turkish troops from Iraqi territory." Mr. Zebari said five bridges were destroyed in the operation, despite Turkey's assurances that no civilian infrastructure would be touched.
Reports of the numbers of troops varied. Mr. Zebari said he believed that only a few hundred soldiers had crossed the border, while Turkish television reported that the number was about 10,000. According to Reuters, several Iraqi officials and a source with American-led forces in Iraq said only a few hundred troops were involved.

What's missing above? Hoshyar Zebari has opposed all of Turkey's actions. He is also a Kurd.

At the Puffin Cultural Forum in New Jersey, a multi-media event. From Kevin Coyne's "Poet-Soldiers Lend Voices on Iraq War:"

"In the distance, chopper noise, to the west upwind, the whop-whop-whop approaching like swarms of dragonflies, banking nose up," read Dayl S. Wise, who served in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1970, and who has compiled a book of poems by himself and other veterans, "Post-Traumatic Press 2007." "Are you here to bring us life or death?"
The room was hung with an installation called "Blankets of Sorrow" by Diane Efsic -- long, vertical chains of the joss paper that is burned at traditional Chinese funerals, squares of gold or silver foil set on white, almost 4,000 of them. On each was written the name of an American who died in Iraq.
"Right over there," said John Fenton, pointing toward the paper with the name of his son, Marine Sgt. Matthew J. Fenton, who died at 24 after a suicide bomber attacked his convoy outside Falluja in April of 2006. "One piece of shrapnel and his brain was destroyed."

Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC action:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible. The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won't be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Ruth's Report;

Closing with Margaret Kimberley's "Bush Wins in 2008" (Black Agenda Report):

Neither Clinton nor Obama has pledged to end these travesties of justice and violations of international law. Both speak only vaguely of closing Guantanamo. Clinton goes out slightly further on the limb, saying she would determine on a case by case basis whether the federal courts or court martials should be used to try prisoners. Not surprisingly, Obama won't go that far. "I think it's important to be careful about commenting on specific cases pending before the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay." In other words, Obama will continue the Bush policy of violating the Geneva conventions regarding treatment of prisoners. Bush still wins.
George W. Bush is an intellectual mediocrity who was never legitimately elected president in the first place. He now faces Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and has an abysmal approval rating. It never seems to matter. Bush is clearly the most successful president in modern history.
Where has he failed? He wanted to win by hook or crook, and he stole an election. He then perfected the art of electoral theft to insure more Republican victories. He wanted to loot the treasury for the benefit of corporations and wealthy individuals and he has. He wanted to invade Iraq, steal its resources and make it a cash cow for corporations and he did just that. He wanted to expand his power to conduct surveillance on anyone and he did. He declares that the president is above the law and can do anything he wants, including hold citizens indefinitely without trial. He has done that as well.If anyone needed further proof that the evil Bush legacy will outlive his term, look no further than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As if Americans don't have enough reason to be embarrassed, Scalia left the country and spewed his evil thoughts on foreign soil. In a BBC interview he told the world that America will keep torturing, executing and violating international law.

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