Sunday, November 30, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

An NPR correspondent and three members of NPR's Iraqi staff narrowly survived an apparent assassination attempt in Baghdad on Sunday after a hidden "sticky" bomb exploded underneath their parked, armored BMW.
The car exploded in a pillar of flame and was totally destroyed. No one was injured in the attack.
The bombing took place during a brief NPR reporting trip to western Baghdad's battle-scarred Rabiye Street.

The above is from Ivan Watson's "NPR Journalists Narrowly Survive Car Bombing" (NPR) and the link has an audio report by Watson on All Things Considered as well as a video clip. Staying with the topic of the press, Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam has been a prisoner in Iraq since Sept. 1, 2008 when US and Iraqi military forces drug him from his Mahmudiyah home. He has been held a prsioner since then at Camp Cropper. Reporters Without Borders and Journalistic Freedom Observatory have been calling for his release. Reuters reports that Iraq's Central Criminal Court has ordered that Ibrahim be released because "there was no evidence against" him; however, "There was no immediate response from the U.S. military to the ruling."
Because stupid knows no political spectrum, let's move over to CODESTINK whose latest actions will find some of their new 'friends' ditching them. Reza Fiyouzat provides a strong critique of the latest 'action' in "Code Pink in Iran" (Dissident Voice):

Code Pink has gone to Iran (starting, I believe, November 22), on a friendly, people's diplomacy kind of mission. According to LA Progressive's Linda Milazzo (Nov. 24) and according to Code Pink’s blog, their entourage is having a wonderful time in Iran, being led in part by Rostam Pourzal, a lobbyist for the Iranian government (at least, that's what he should legally register as, really!). He has taken the Code Pink activists to some ministries, as well as (on the civil society side) cafes, restaurants, bazaars, and places of gathering where they have met with so many amazing women and men, all of whom were really cool, compassionate and intelligent, and above all peace-loving. People have acted generally enthusiastically toward the American people --diplomats upon learning that they, Code Pink's Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, were on a people's mission for peace. It's like, Oh my god! They want peace!
Benjamin's descriptions are at times patronizing and at times quite frustrating to read, though I should admit she sounds sincere in her intent. I do doubt their judgment though. Code Pink did support Obama, and Jodie Evans, in an interview on Air America radio program, Clout, sounded ecstatic about Obama’s election, saying, "War is over!" (Meaning it not literally, of course, but believing that with Obama as president, the whole mess will soon come to a speedy end.) As if!
Anyway, on the patronizing side … Here’s the problem: Benjamin sounds surprised to have met so many interesting, intelligent people who like and want peace!

CODESTINK just lost all their centrist buddies they cozied up to (and that Jodie threw some dimes at). They can't do a damn thing to end the illegal war but, Jodie and Medea hope, a trip to Iran will get them some headlines! The destruction of CODESTINK (friends predicted it and I was wrong and they were right) has been one long and embarrassing chapter. Medea did her part to destroy the Green Party and now she's destroying the peace movement. It's a real shame publicity stunts took priority over ending an ongoing and illegal war. It's a real shame electing Barack was seen by CODESTINK as part of a peace movement.

But the thing is you can only be a patsy once when you reach their desperation level. You'll see a number of people do a slow walk away from CODESTINK over this latest effort. The charge will be that they've lent themselves to propaganda and those who might defend them? CODESTINK burned those bridges.

They've offered what now? Four years of action to 'stop' the war on Iran. The war that never started. They've been lazy, inefficient and defocused. And there's not a lot of support for them anymore. Doubts began circling when they set themselves up as a DC lobby group. Then came their move to the center. The ones they've been courting? They'll see this trip not just as propaganda but as "enemy propaganda." It's a real shame the left wasn't good enough for CODESTINK and a real shame that the illegal war wasn't important enough for them to focus on.
In the real world, Iraqis and US service members had no choice but to focus on the illegal war:

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 4,204. And tonight? 4207 is ICCC's count. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,288,426 same as last week.

Let's turn to the treaty which is the ultimate violence. Here's Adam Ashton of McClatchy Newspapers:

Influential religious leaders across Iraq are voicing reservations about a U.S.-Iraq security agreement that allows Americans to remain in the country for another three years.
Some are cautious in their criticisms. Others -- ones who generally are tied to political parties that fought the pact -- forcefully condemn the treaty.
Their comments filtered out Saturday as Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki met with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of multinational forces in Iraq, to plan for the treaty's implementation.

And that's about all that he has to say worth quoting. He really is a disgrace. In his own paper, he can tell what the US officials are saying but writing for McClatchy he repeats the lie that the US troops will be withdrawn by the end of 2011. Modesto Bee readers should make a special point to ask him why he lied when he returns from Iraq. This is worth quoting from the Washington Post:

Sistani, the official said, considered parts of the agreement "a mystery" -- especially those pertaining to the legal jurisdiction of U.S. forces and the mechanisms to control U.S. troops' entry into and exit from Iraq.
Sistani said the pact provided "no guarantee" that Iraq would regain sovereignty and questioned whether Iraq's assets would be protected under it. He also said he fears that Iraq's government is too weak to implement the agreement and will buckle to "American pressure," the official said.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is correct that the agreement is "a mystery" -- there are two versions. He's also correct to question everything about it. Though it's not surprising that he would have serious issues after reviewing the treaty, it's amazing that the US press can continue to pretend that it promises things that are not promises.

In easily recognized violence, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy) notes 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad today. Laith Hammoudi notes 30 corpses discovered in Diyala Province yesterday and 1 in Baghdad, a Baghdad bombing that wounded four people, a Baghdad sticky bomb that wounded three, a Baghdad bombing that claimed 1 life and wounded three people, and 2 people shot dead in Mosul.

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Editorial: The Treaty
A note to our readers
TV: Rosie and Other Bombs
The E-Z Bake critics of Panhandle Media
Video On Demand?
Book discussion roundtable
Simon Assaf's "Iraq deal does not end the war"
Then and Now
Greens and Marcelo

Pru notes "Mass demonstration in Iraq" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Iraqi supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, the rebel Shia cleric, demonstrated in their tens of thousands in Baghdad on Friday of last week.
They were protesting at the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated between the US and Iraq’s government.
This sets a timetable for the withdrawal of combat troops from the country by 2012. But it also grants the US some 50 permanent military bases, control over Iraqi airspace and the right to seize any Iraqis who work against US interests. The deal will also allow the US to intervene if the Iraqi government is threatened by popular rebellion.
Protesters toppled an effigy of George Bush on a plinth that once displayed a statue of Saddam Hussein. Sadr has vowed to relaunch the armed resistance if Iraq’s parliament approves the accord.
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