Monday, March 17, 2008

Worms in Iraqi water

Iraq's most prominent clerics have ruled that using a water pump on one's own pipes is akin to stealing resources from a neighbor, so what does a person do when it takes half an hour to fill a cooking pot with water from the tap?
Iraqis pray for forgiveness, then pump away.
To them, the real crime is that five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they still swelter in the summer and freeze in the winter because of a lack of electricity. Government rations are inevitably late, incomplete or expired. Garbage piles up for days, sometimes weeks, emanating toxic fumes.
The list goes on: black-market fuel, phone bills for land lines that haven't worked in years, education and health-care systems degraded by the flight of thousands of Iraq's best teachers and doctors.
When the Iraqi government announced that 2008 would be "the year of services," workaday Iraqis had their doubts.

The above is from Hannah Allem's "5 years after Iraq's 'liberation,' there are worms in the water" (McClatchy Newspapers) which is about realities today. At the New York Times Gordo's raving about his insider interviews and access. No link to trash. The thrust is that L. Paul Bremer issued a decree that disbanded the Iraqi military (true) and that this was something Bremer came up with on his own. Collie Powell declares that he was out of the country and called Condi Rice about it to object and Rice explained that it had already been done. The big villian of the piece is Bremer and Bully Boy is painted as someone who was apparently in a daze. (Maybe he was thinking of My Pet Goat?) How true is it? Who knows? It's Gordo and the ship is sinking so the rats are bailing.

If Powell knew it was a mistake (as he insists to Gordo), then Colin Powell should have something in real time -- even as an anomyous source. That's the least he should have done. Anyone with real courage would have stepped down and gone public.

Again, the ship is sinking and since Bully Boy won't be working anywhere, they'll finger him as out of it (which is believable) and make Bremer the fall guy. While Bremer wins nothing but boos and hisses here, it is equally true that anyone -- not just Bully Boy -- could have objected. (That includes but is not limited to Rice.)

The whole thing reads like a they-didn't-want-to. It reads like a re-write because the ship is sinking and they don't want the blame. Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al have no excuses and they own the blame.

Meanwhile, in England, Gordon Brown makes like Nancy Sinatra and sings "You Only Live Twice." Polly notes this from In The News:

An independent public inquiry into the Iraq war will take place, Gordon Brown has confirmed.
The prime minister made the concession in a letter to Fabian Society general secretary Sunder Katwala.
The fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq takes place this Thursday and Mr Katwala had used the impending milestone to call for an "independent public inquiry" into its intelligence failures, the war itself and the ensuing struggle for security.
Mr Brown's reply stated "there will come a time when it is appropriate to hold an inquiry" but added "we believe that is not now".

You only live twice, Gordo Brown, only live twice. It's not the right time "now," he says. Five years into the illegal war is still not the time to explore the lies that started it. By the way, in terms of US politics, isn't it cute how all the outlets writing their boo-hoos on Samantha Power last week never noted the fact that along with insulting Hillary, along with revealing that Bambi's 'pledge' to pull out all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of entering the White House wasn't a binding promise from Bambi, they ignored the fact that Power -- foreing policy 'genius' -- also managed to insult Gordon Brown while in England? What a mind. What a gift to any US administration she would have been. (That was sarcasm.)

The Northeastern News offers the editorial "Commentary: End Iraq War Now:"

During the Vietnam War, the ratio of US soldiers wounded to killed was close to 2.6. However, in the Iraq War the ratio is almost 18, the highest of any US war. While hundreds of thousands of veterans return home with both physical and mental disabilities, funding for social services for veterans has been continually cut year after year. This is the reality of war, quite different from what the politicians and their media pundits describe.
This past weekend, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), a newly formed organization of veterans who have served since September 11, held its historic Winter Soldier hearings. The event was comprised of four days worth of testimony from veterans, civilians and journalists who told of their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. One veteran, John Turner, began his testimony by ripping off his service medals and throwing them into the crowd. He later said, "I'm sorry for the hate and destruction I've inflicted upon innocent people" and "until people hear about what is happening in this war, it will continue." The hearings left viewers without any doubt of what the real face of occupation looks like. To watch segments of the testimony, you can visit

Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldiers Investigation concluded Sunday; however, you can catch archives of the testimony at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday.

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