Sunday, October 26, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

The New York Times today offers nothing on Iraq. Apparently the illegal war ended. Good thing everything's calm and peaceful in Iraq, right?

B-b-but. Roy Gutman and Leila Fadel's "U.S. threatens to halt services to Iraq without troop accord" (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

The U.S. military has warned Iraq that it will shut down military operations and other vital services throughout the country on Jan. 1 if the Iraqi government doesn't agree to a new agreement on the status of U.S. forces or a renewed United Nations mandate for the American mission in Iraq.
Many Iraqi politicians view the move as akin to political blackmail, a top Iraqi official told McClatchy Newspapers on Sunday.
In addition to halting all military actions, U.S. forces would cease activities that support Iraq's economy, educational sector and other areas - "everything" - said Tariq al-Hashimi, the country's Sunni Muslim vice president. "I didn't know the Americans are rendering such wide-scale services."

It is blackmail. The treaty disguised as a SOFA is doing so poorly that the White House is blackmailing their puppet government. I thought the US was, officially, 'bringing democracy' to Iraq. Officially, I thought that was the position. Apparently, 'democracy' includes extortion. Self-rule? The US will 'give' that to Iraq at some point. No rush, you understand, because who knows what might happen? Just like the US, Iraq must prove it deserves to be a democracy. That's why the US declared its independence in 1776 but England didn't give the US independence until ten years later. That didn't happen? Oh, yeah. No, there's no way it makes sense. It's just blackmail from bullies. Bullies who remain safe and sheltered while US service members risk their lives in the illegal war based on lies.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4,185. And tonight? 4188 is ICCC's count. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,273,378 up from . . . Same number they gave last week. And the week before . . . Remember, they put ending the illegal war at the top of their list . . . right after the horse race. Always after the horse race. They want to do a daily counter and they can't even update it weekly or biweekly. But they want credit for 'doing something.' In the words of Stevie Wonder, you ain't done nothing.

Turning to some reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing wounded three police officers, a Baghdad 'sticky' bomb wounded four peole, three Baghdad roadside bombings this evening resulted in eleven people being wounded and a Mosul roadside bombing that left two Iraqi soldiers injured. Saturday McClatchy's Mohammed al-Dulaimy reported a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and wounded four Iraqi service members, a Baghdad 'sticky' bombing claimed 1 life and left two wounded and a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and left three more wounded.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports today that a Kirkuk Saturday shooting resulted in "an employee in the oil production company" being wounded. Reuters notes Ahmed Dwoud Marzouq ("Anbar provincial representtative of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front") was wounded in a Ramadi shooting today and a police officer was shot dead in Mosul while 3 'suspects' were shot dead by US security forces outside Kirkuk. Saturday Mohammed al-Dulaimy reported a Baghdad armed clash claimed 1 life and left five people wounded and two police officers were shot dead in Mosul.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad today. Saturday McClatchy's Mohammed al-Dulaimy reported 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

News on Iraq's Christians crisis includes the Pope speaking out publicly against the targeting of them -- the sort of comment that generally gets massive coverage. Catholic News Agency reports:

Following Mass in St Peter's Basilica that concluded the Bishops’ Synod, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday defended Christians in Iraq and India who are "victims of intolerance and violence."
Greeting the thousands of faithful present in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father noted that the synodal assembly is a clear example of ecclesial communion because the Word of God, that is the person of Christ, is the center of attention. According to the meaning of the word "church," the Pope expounded, "We experienced the joy of being gathered around the Word."
Pope Benedict reflected on the relationship the Word of God and Sacred Scripture. The Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum teaches that good biblical exegesis includes both the historical-critical method and the theological because "Sacred Scripture is the Word of God in human words." Each text must be read and interpreted remembering the "unity of Scripture, the living tradition of the Church and the light of faith." Scientific exegesis and lectio divina are both necessary and complementary to understand the spiritual meaning that "God wishes to communicate to us today."

Asia News also quotes the Pope declaring, "I am certain that the ancient and noble populations of these nations have learnt through centuries of respectful coexistence to appreciate the contribution made by the small but hard-working and skilled Christian minorities to the development of their common homeland. They do not ask for privileges; they only want to continue to live in their own country alongside with their fellow countrymen and women, as they have always done." Deborah Haynes (Times of London -- and her report is filed on Monday) reports:

The mass exodus from Mosul, which was condemned yesterday by the Pope, has eased but many families remain too traumatised to follow the lead of Abu Masarra, 39, preferring to squat in monasteries and the spare rooms of houses in towns and villages to the north and east of the city.
Questions also remained about who carried out the attacks, which left more than a dozen Christian men dead and three houses destroyed. Allegations ranged from al-Qaeda fighters, who have killed Christians in the past, to power-hungry elements linked to the northernmost Kurdish region of Iraq.
The Kurdish authorities denied any connection.
Whatever the truth, the plight of the Christians highlighted the suffering of all the minority Iraqi communities, which include the Shabaks, who practise a form of Shia Islam, and the Yazidis, another ancient sect, as they struggle to find a voice before the nationwide provincial elections to be held by January 31.

In other non-progress news, Reuters reports that US and Iraqi officials were summed by the Syrian Foriegn Ministry following an attack. Attack? The Telegraph of London reports:

In an echo of the Israeli air strikes which last year targeted a suspected Syrian nuclear facility, US military helicopters were reported to have crossed into Syria to drop troops who then executed the mission.
The state news agency Sana reported that eight civilians had been killed in the raid. "Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 16:45 local time (1345 GMT) on Sunday," it said.
"American soldiers" who had emerged from helicopters "attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths.
"The helicopters then left Syrian territory towards Iraqi territory," Sana said.

Tony Perry (Babylon and Beyond, Los Angeles Times) wonders, "Was the weekend raid a way for the U.S. to warn the insurgents, and their Syrian cohorts, that although the U.S. is retreating from the border, it is still on watch and able to strike?"

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: Ehren Watada matters and so do the facts
TV: Disturbing Behavior
Campaign Roundup (Ava and C.I.)
The stupidity of academia
Musical facts are still facts
Smoke-free (Dona)
Ralph finally gets some network news attention
The speech Barack wouldn't give

Isaiah's latest comic goes up in a moment. Turning to the US presidential race, Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate, Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Liang notes this from Team Nader:

Breaking Point: Over the Edge
Posted by Loralynne Krobetzky on Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 06:00:00 PM
"Senator Obama -- I am over the edge"

It makes me sad to watch Senator Obama evolve into a stereotypical politician, but probably that is what he has always been and I was too naïve to notice, too hopeful, waiting for the knight in shining armor. I began supporting Senator Obama's campaign a year and a half ago. I went door to door in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, put up yard signs, and made hundreds of phone calls to different states using MoveOn during the entire Primary season. I have always believed in peaceful political change from within, until the 2004 election, when I changed my opinion and concluded that we would need to tear the house down and build a new one. I had given up on politics. Then Senator Obama came into my life and once again I had hope that I was not alone, and that what is right and good could rise to the surface and this country would have the opportunity to achieve all that it is capable of achieving.But last night I spent an hour on the Nader/Gonzalez web site.
This morning I read the July 14 opinion piece in the NY Times by Senator Obama, "My Plan for Iraq,” and made the decision that the two party system cannot be fixed, and that Obama was not my last best hope. I must admit that following Senator Obama’s vote last week to reauthorize government spying, I was probably already over the edge, and then today I read in his first paragraph "We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated."
Redeployment means moving troops from one theater of war to a different theater of war. WE DO NOT NEED TO REDEPLOY - WE NEED TO BRING HOME these troops that have already served too long and too hard, too many times.
I will now hit submit and then return to the Nader site and begin to figure out how best we can move to a three party system. It is my hope that a new presence in Congress and the Senate could take control… Slow progress, but at least progress.
Bye Obama - I need to start making phone calls for Nader/Gonzalez.
--Donald Marsh Santa Fe, New Mexico
Photo above provided by Tom Diggins

If you haven't reached your breaking point, visit Send me your Breaking Point story to share at, so the growing numbers of independent voters can join our voices, and together, we can change the system.
Loralynne Krobetzky

Communications Director
Nader for President 2008

John McCain is the Republican presidential candidate and Sarah Palin is his running mate. Vernon notes this from McCain - Palin '08:

ICYMI: Green Bay Press-Gazette Endorses John McCain
"Now, another collapse, this time in the mortgage industry, has led to even greater economic uncertainty on election eve. It's no time to repeat past mistakes; this time voters must choose the candidate with the experience to lead us through the storm. The Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board endorses John McCain for president." -- Green Bay Press-Gazette

"Press-Gazette Endorses John McCain For President"
Green Bay Press-Gazette
October 24, 2008
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Eight years ago on the eve of the presidential election, the economy was reeling from the collapse of the dot-com market. A recession either loomed or had already begun. The nation's voters had a chance to choose a moderate Arizona senator as their new president, but he didn't advance past the Republican primaries.
Now, another collapse, this time in the mortgage industry, has led to even greater economic uncertainty on election eve. It's no time to repeat past mistakes; this time voters must choose the candidate with the experience to lead us through the storm.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board endorses John McCain for president.
There is nothing automatic or routine about this decision, even though this newspaper has usually picked the Republican candidate in recent decades. Our choice follows literally hours of the most heartfelt and deep discussions to accompany an endorsement in many years.

Francisco will be voting for Ralph but he wants Oklahoma members to know he supports their decision and he's following the McCain - Palin campaign closer due to them. He asks that this press release be noted:

Statement from Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) on Barack Obama's Spanish Ad
ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, U.S. Senator Mel Martinez issued the following statement on Barack Obama's new Spanish ad:

"This election is about more than beautiful words, it's about who decides how your money is spent, who chooses your doctor, and our standing around the world. John McCain is a tested leader who loves America, puts his country first, and trusts you to make the best decisions for your family. At this time of great uncertainty, Hispanics and all Americans can trust in the leadership and experience of John McCain. He, like I, has lived the American Dream and wants to bring prosperity and security to all our families."

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