Monday, May 12, 2008


Today (PDF format warning) the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed after being struck by an improvised explosive device during a route clearance patrol at approximately 9:20 p.m. May 11 in northwest Baghdad. The Soldier was quickly transported to the medical facility where he later died of his wounds." 4076 is currently the number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.

Rosalin Ryan (Guardian of London) writes about revelations in an upcoming book -- from "Blair revealed loss of baby to avert Iraq panic:"

Cherie Blair has revealed that her husband and former prime minister decided to make a public announcement about her miscarriage to avoid public panic over invasion of Iraq.
Writing in her autobiography, Speaking For Myself, Blair describes how her husband and his press chief, Alastair Campbell, decided to tell the press that she had lost the baby she was carrying almost immediately.
In 2002 the Blairs were due to take a holiday to France and the prime minister feared that any delay or cancellation without explanation could trigger false speculation that an invasion of Iraq was imminent.

I believe the lyrical moment that fits here is:

You come on like a prince
You've got everyone convinced
That you're a prince of a man
But I'm the one who knows you
Baby, I'm the one you show that you
Don't give a damn
-- "Can't Give It Up," lyrics by Carly Simon, music by Andy Goldmark, off Simon's Spoiled Girl CD

From Robert Winnett's "Cheire Blair reveals how Tony used miscarriage for Iraq spin" (Telegraph of London):

Mrs Blair telephoned her husband to tell him what had happened. She was then shocked to be called back by both Mr Blair and Mr Campbell saying that the press announcement was to be made for political reasons.
At the time, the couple were due to be travelling to France on holiday and Downing Street aides were concerned that any unexplained delay in leaving the country may be interpreted as signalling an early invasion of Iraq.
"I couldn’t believe it," she said. "There was I was bleeding, and they were talking about what was going to be the line to the press. I put down the receiver and lay there staring at the ceiling as pain began to grip."

The Hindu News adds:

Cherie also writes that Gordon Brown was one of the handful of people her husband insisted on telling about her pregnancy. "You have to understand Cherie. Its a very sensitive topic for him. The whole issue of my being a family man is very sensitive to him," the former premier reasoned when she asked what possible business it could be of Brown, who was the Chancellor of Exchequer in his cabinet.

The Times of London has the serialization rights to Booth's book and "Miscarriage: ‘I'm afraid the baby's dead, Mrs Blair'" is the excerpt everyone's talking about. From that:

He said he'd come up to London straight away, after explaining things to my mum and the kids. Twenty minutes later he called back. The kids were OK, and he hoped I understood, but he had to tell Alastair. Ah, yes. Alastair. I lay there just waiting. Then the phone again: this time the two of them on the line. There were implications in not going on holiday, they said. It was known that we were going to France. It was all to do with Iraq. There had been talk that we might be sending troops in. If we didn't go on holiday, the concern was that it would send out the wrong messages. They had decided that the best thing was to tell the press that I'd had a miscarriage.
I couldn't believe it. There I was, bleeding, and they were talking about what was going to be the line to the press. I put down the receiver and lay there staring at the ceiling, as pain began to grip.
Finally Susan Rankin rang. I should get to the hospital as soon as possible - Chelsea and Westminster, where I'd had Leo.
When I began to come round from the anaesthetic and was being wheeled out of the operating theatre, who should I see but Gary, one of the detectives. He was looking so distressed that I burst into tears, sobbing and saying, “But I really want my husband”. In fact Tony was there, but because of the security issues it was Gary whom I saw first.
As for Tony, his main emotion appeared to be relief. “You know you felt there was something not quite right, Cherie,” he said. “So it's probably all for the best.” I realise now that he was simply trying to make me feel better; it just came out a bit oddly.

Oddly? Not at all, if your first name is Rosemary and his is Guy. Woodhouse.

In the US, Maddy Sauer reports on Jamie Leigh Jones in "Halliburton Rape Claim Goes to Court" (ABC News):

A Houston woman who says she was gang raped by co-workers at a Halliburton/KBR camp in Baghdad won a major court battle late Friday when a Texas judge ordered that she can bring her case to court instead of forcing her into secretive arbitration proceedings with Halliburton and KBR.
[. . .]
Jones says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.
Jones returned from Iraq following her alleged rape in 2005. She was the subject of an
exclusive ABC News report in December, which led to Congressional hearings.

Marcus notes Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Celebrating Mother’s Day" (

Mother's Day Celebration: Today Hillary and Chelsea celebrate Mother's Day in Grafton, WV, where the holiday originated 100 years ago.A Mother's Day Wish: In a new video, Chelsea shares some of her fondest memories of her mother, and asks mothers across the country to share their mother’s day wishes with her. Watch here.
Why I Support Hillary: This Mother's Day, the deputy campaign counsel blogs, "It is because of my daughters that I understand what is at stake in this election, and why it is urgent and necessary that we choose for our country the leadership that we deserve...As a mother, what I wish most for my daughters is a bright future. For that, their country needs to get back on course." Read more.
Automatic Delegate Watch: Massachusetts delegate Arthur Powell yesterday announced his support for Hillary.If You Read One Thing Today: In a Charleston Gazette op-ed today, Hillary writes, "For the past seven years, I know so many of you have felt invisible to our president -- holding your breath at the gas pump and the grocery checkout line; wondering what you'll do when health insurance disappears when a job does; seeing your loved ones who served our country in war ill-served when they return home. I am running for president to stand for you and fight for your dreams and your future." Read more.
"The Vote of a Lifetime" "To [Florence Steen], a woman born seven months before her gender won the right to vote in August 1920, seeing Clinton's name on a presidential ballot and marking her vote nearby was a dream realized …'She was very alert, very serious in studying the ballot,' [her daughter, Kathy] Kraus said. 'And when she marked it, she just kept circling and circling that mark with her pencil.'" Read more.
In Case You Missed It: Only one thing matters; winning the Presidency in November. Hillary Clinton has proven she is by far the strongest candidate and most likely to achieve that victory. How can she convince the Democratic Party delegates? Read more.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary will attend events in Montgomery, Clear Fork, Logan, and Fairmont, West Virginia.

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