Friday, June 27, 2008

'Awaken' and 'Spin'

Yesterday's violence in Iraq included the bombings in Al Anbar Province that claimed the lives of 3 US service members and left many Iraqis dead and wounded. Doug Smith and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) put the death toll at close to forty and the wounded at approximately one-hundred and they note:

The breach of security Thursday by a bomber wearing a police uniform convinced some local leaders that the transfer of authority in Anbar would be premature.
The head of the Sons of Iraq groups that helped the Marines turn the tide against the insurgency in Fallouja, one of the province's major cities, said he recommended a six-month postponement.

And Alissa J. Rubin's "3 U.S. Marines and More than 30 Iraqis Die in 2 Bomb Attacks" (New York Times) notes:

Although many of these people joined the Awakening movement and were paid by the Americans to help fight Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, few have been put on the government's payroll.
"The government didn't support the Awakening Councils enough," said Omar Abdul Sattar, a member of Parliament from Ramadi who belongs to the Iraqi Islamic Party, a leading Sunni group.
"The Awakening lacks information, political advisers, arms and security advisers," said Adnan al-Dulaimi, a leader of Tawafiq, the largest Sunni bloc in Parliament.
There are also allegations that the initial vetting process for the Awakening was flawed and that some people who still backed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia disguised their views and became part of the security forces or the Awakening groups.

By government, Rubin means the Iraqi government. The US government is still paying the thugs of the "Awakening" Council and they are doing so, as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker explained repeatedly to Congress in April, because if they didn't pay them off, the thugs would attack the US military.

Now if you think back to yesterday, you'll remember the nonsense attack on a dead priest that presented he was 'supporting' 'terrorism' by paying off thugs threatening him. Ryan Crocker told Congress April 8th: "These volunteers have contributed significantly in various areas, and the savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence -- not to mention the priceless lives saved -- have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts." Who is paying off 'terrorists'?

From the snapshot on April 8th, where Barbara Boxer breaks down the basics about the thugs in the "Awakening" Council and who is paying for them:

She then turned to the issue of monies and the militias, "You are asking us for millions more to pay off the militias and, by the way, I have an article here that says Maliki recently told a London paper that he was concerned about half of them" and wouldn't put them into the forces because he doubts their loyalty. She noted that $182 million a year was being paid, $18 million a month, to these "Awakening" Council members and "why don't you ask the Iraqis to pay the entire cost of that progam" because as Senator Lugar pointed out, "It could be an opportunity" for the Iraqi government "to turn it into something more long term." This is a point, she declared, that she intends to bring up when it's time to vote on the next spending supplamental. Crocker tried to split hairs.

Boxer: I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . I'm just asking you why we would object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?

Crocker declared that he'd take that point back to Iraq when he returned.

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports 1 "senior city appeals judge" was shot dead in Baghdad Thursday.

Terrance notes this from Team Nader:

Riding the Rails

Riding the Rails .

With the rapid expansion of federal spending responding to the perceived national security requirements after 9/11, passenger railroad supporters looked forward to a tripleheader.

First passenger railroad service would have to be upgraded and expanded to facilitate mass population evacuations from cities during attack emergencies.

Second, by embarking on a “national defense” passenger rail program, there would be less consumption of gasoline and less gridlock on congested highways.

Third, the energy efficiency of transporting people by intercity rail and commuter rail would diminish some of the buildup of greenhouse gases.

Right after 9/11, the airlines descended on Washington, D.C. and got a package of loans, guarantees and other federal assistance amounting to $15 billion.

That is continued at the link. I'm seeing it as a column and not sure about fair use, et al. So that's the opening and you can use the link to continue reading.

The e-mail address for this site is