Throughout Iraq, legislators, armed factions and former members of Saddam Hussein's regime were electioneering Tuesday — some with bombs, others through vitriolic audio messages — in an effort to bolster themselves for the scheduled fall provincial elections
The government hasn't set an election date, but Iraqis of all persuasions think that the process could reshape the political landscape. Nearly every interest group has begun positioning itself.
In one day:
*A key former member of Saddam's regime who's eluded capture purportedly released an audio message for the first time, demanding that his followers not be ignored.
*Suspected members of the group al Qaida in Iraq set off two explosions targeting Iraqi army recruits in an effort to remind voters that their elected government can't protect them and they should therefore abandon the process.
*In parliament, Kurdish legislators walked out of a session after rival sects suggested that a key northern province shouldn't vote this fall.
The above is from Nancy A. Youssef and Sahar Issa's "In a day of jockeying, Saddam's VP issues a call to arms" (McClatchy Newspapers) regarding yesterday's events. Campbell Robertson picks up on the Kurdish issue in "Kurds Protest Iraqi Election Law" (New York Times):
The walkout by roughly a fifth of Parliament’s 275 members delayed voting on the bill, which governs provincial council elections scheduled to take place across Iraq this fall.
The dispute could yet be resolved quickly, but it introduced more uncertainty into preparations for the nationwide elections. Parliament will meet again on Thursday to discuss the bill, several members said, and talks are continuing in small meetings.
The walkout underscores the political power struggle among the Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen populations in the oil-rich northern province of Tamim and its ethnically mixed capital, Kirkuk.
Richard A. Oppel Jr. covers the bombing in "Suicide Bombers Kill 35 Iraqi Recruits" (New York Times):
He glimpsed a hospital orderly, who grasped a human head.
"Who knows whose head this is?" the orderly asked.
Mr. Hamid had already lost his father to an insurgent’s bullet, and his home to an insurgent's bomb. On Tuesday morning, Mr. Hamid, a 26-year-old father of three, drove to an Iraqi Army recruiting center in Baquba.
He arrived just as the two suicide bombers blew themselves up, sending iron ball bearings tearing through scores of young recruits like Mr. Hamid, killing 33 people and wounding 69. It was the bloodiest attack in three months in Diyala, perhaps the most dangerous province in Iraq, and it seemed calculated to intimidate Iraqi soldiers preparing to begin the fourth major offensive since last year to drive Sunni Arab guerrillas from the province's lush palm groves.
The fireball "ate everything," Mr. Hamid said, as he moaned from the pain of shrapnel in his chest. "I have lost everything and my life is nothing, and that’s what made me go to join the army to earn a living for my family, who would otherwise starve in the land of oil and thieves."
For all the statistics showing improved security in Iraq, many parts of the country remain astoundingly violent, places where bullet-ridden bodies turn up every day and bombs destroy lives and families in an instant.
Over at the Los Angeles Times' bad political blog this morning, Andy Malcom posts "Obama website's opposition to successful surge gets deleted:"
A funny thing happened over on the Barack Obama campaign website in the last few days.
The parts that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared. John McCain and Obama have been going at it heavily in recent days over the benefits of the surge.
Andy even posts a video so he probably assumes he did his job. It's never that simple. What's the word for what Andy's failing to supply? "Perspective." In the courts, someone would be arguing "goes to pattern." Barack's campaign websites do, after all, have a funny way of disappearing Iraq. Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon noted that years ago. Some might argue that it's not fair to expect Andy to know of other outlets. ("Informed" apparently no longer being a journalistic requirement.) Really? When a former president talks about it a political reporter doesn't have to be aware of it? Especially when the former president is attacked with slurs for speaking the truth?
From the January 10th snapshot:
"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' "
"First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way.""Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break.
"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"
"Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.
"So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there. "
That's Bill Clinton from one of the key moments of the primary campaign. "*" refers to the fact that it was 2003 and not 2004. If you remember how that unfolded it -- if you don't, pay attention, it's a standard Barack trick -- the 'reply' from the Obama campaign was to falsely scream "racism". That's how they operate. St. Bambi gets criticized and they scream "racism!" with the hopes that everyone will immediately agree and the criticism will be ignored. They're trying that with The New Yorker currently, to avoid anyone noting the article running inside the magazine. No matter how many times surrogates like Clyburn and the non-Democrat sobbed in public, embarrassing themselves since they are (supposed to be) grown ups, that Barack wasn't a fairy tale, they never changed the reality of the statement. (All they did was come off like Peter Pan trying to save Tinkerbell. Clap your hands if you believe -- or if you just want to stop Clyburn's sobbing.)
The link under the vanishing website goes to Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon's "In Search of the Real Barack Obama: Can a Black Senate Candidate Resist the DLC?" (Black Agenda Report):
Somebody else's brand of politics appears to have intruded on Obama's campaign. For a while the whole speech could be found on Obama's campaign web site, a key statement of principle for a serious US Senate candidate in an election season when the President's party threatens the world with permanent war and pre-emptive invasion, and cows US citizens with fear mongering, color coded alerts, secret detentions and the abrogation of constitutional liberties. Although Obama may have appeared at meetings of other citizens opposed to the war or let them use his name, no further public statements from the candidate on these important issues have appeared.
Then, a few weeks ago, Barack Obama's heartfelt statement of principled opposition to lawless militarism and the rule of fear was stricken without explanation from his campaign web site, and replaced with mild expressions of "anxiety":
But I think [people are] all astonished, I think, in many quarters, about, for example, the recent Bush budget and the prospect that, for example, veterans benefits might be cut. And so there's discussion about that, I think, among both supporters and those who are opposed to the war. What kind of world are we building?
And I think that's - the anxiety is about the international prospects and how we potentially reconstruct Iraq. And the costs there, then, tie in very directly with concerns about how we're handling our problems at home.
His passion evaporated, a leading black candidate for the US Senate mouths bland generalities on war, peace and the US role in the world. Barack Obama, professor of constitutional law, is mum on the Patriot Act, silent about increased surveillance of US citizens, secret searches, and detentions without trial. His campaign literature and speeches ignore Patriot Act 2, which would detain US citizens without trial, strip them of their nationality and deport them to - wherever, citizens of no nation.
For a black candidate who is utterly reliant upon a fired up base among African American and progressive voters, who must distinguish himself from a crowded Democratic field, this is strange behavior, indeed. Polls show Blacks have consistently opposed administration war policies by at least two to one, as does the white progressive "base" of the party. Yet Obama appears determined to contain, rather than amplify, these voices.
[. . .]
In a June 13 letter to The Black Commentator, the Black candidate for U.S. Senate defended his civil liberties, anti-war, and social welfare legislative record, and requested "that folks take the time to find out what my views are before they start questioning my passion for justice or the integrity of my campaign effort."
Specifically, State Senator Obama maintains that an October 2002 anti-war speech was removed from his campaign web site because "the speech was dated once the formal phase of the war was over, and my staff's desire to continually provide fresh news clips." The speech was returned to the site following Associate Editor Bruce A. Dixon’s June 5 commentary, "In Search of the Real Barack Obama: Can a Black Senate candidate resist the DLC?" in which Mr. Dixon remarked, "Somebody else's brand of politics appears to have intruded on Obama's campaign."
As Apollonia 6 once sange, "It's looking dirty, I guess he's up to his old tricks."
But heaven forbid anyone note that reality.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
nancy a. youssef
the los angeles times
richard a. oppel jr.
the new york times