Monday, December 15, 2008

Shinseki the 'dove' and trouble for al-Maliki?

From this impromptu exchange, a legend has grown: Shinseki was a stalwart opponent of the "Rumsfeld" war plan. He voiced those concerns and, after being "snubbed" by Pentagon officials (Los Angeles Times), was forced from office (CBS radio affiliate WTOP-Washington).
Here are some facts: First, Shinseki, as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supported the war plan. The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks, and his planning staff presented their approach to the Joint Chiefs and their staffs during the development of the plan. There was ample opportunity for the chiefs to express concerns and propose alternatives. There is no record of Shinseki having objected.
Shinseki also met with the commander in chief himself to discuss the plan. On at least one occasion at the White House, President Bush asked each member of the Joint Chiefs, including Shinseki, whether he believed the Iraq war plan was adequate to the objectives. Each said it was.
Further, Shinseki was not forced from office. He retired on time in June 2003, with the full honors due a retiring chief of staff of the U.S. Army. Much has been made of the fact that the secretary of defense did not attend Shinseki's retirement. The retiree determines who is included in the ceremony. The secretary, when included, is there by invitation. For whatever reason, and with an explanation neither required nor sought, Shinseki did not ask the secretary to speak or to attend.

The above is from Lawrence Di Rita's "Gen. Shinseki's Silence" a column in today's Washington Post. Di Rita is a Heritage Foundation member and you can find out more about him at Source Watch. And while it certainly is in the interest of the MSM to present Shinseki as a dove (they're repackaging the illegal war, in case you haven't noticed), you need to ask why the strongest criticism mounted against Shinseki comes from the right? (You know the answer, Panhandle Media handles Barack with baby wipes at all times.) Click here for Source Watch on Shinseki.

The last entry noted Steven Lee Myers and Alissa J. Rubin's "Iraqi Journalist Hurls Shoes at Bush and Denounces Him on TV as a 'Dog'" (New York Times) pertaining to the flying shoes; however, at the end of their article, they also offer the following regarding puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki:

Although a majority in the Iraqi Parliament approved the agreement, on the street, Iraqis have mixed views. Many distrust any pact made with an occupying power, and while Mr. Bush is appreciated for having overthrown Mr. Hussein, he is widely blamed for the violence that raged in the years after the war, which prompted more than a million Iraqis to flee and killed tens of thousands of civilians.
Still, Mr. Bush's stalwart support for Mr. Maliki -- after an initial period when the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, expressed doubts about him -- has been a bulwark against domestic political forces who sought to topple him.
With the American president's term ending, Iraqi politicians from parties other than Mr. Maliki's have been discussing whether to force the prime minister out with a no-confidence vote. This is not the first time his ouster has been discussed, but with American power in Iraq on the wane and troop numbers beginning to decline in earnest, it seems a more serious threat.

Meanwhile the religious persecution continues in northern Iraq. China's Xinhau reports 7 Yazidis (all of the same family) were killed "in a village west of Mosul . . . around midnight when gunmen believed to be affiliated to al-Qaida militant stormed a house belong to a family from Yazidi sect in the al-Shimal village near the town of Sinjar, some 180 km west of Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity." BBC explains that Yazidis are believed to amount to 500,000 worldwide and: "The Yazidis are an ancient, religious sect and there have been a number of attacks on them in Iraq in the past. In August 2007, some 400 people were killed in the Sinjar area in multiple bomb blasts targeting Yazidis." In addition, AP reports 1 Baghdad "suicide truck" bombing that resulted in the deaths of 5 people (plus the bomber) with a police source stating the five killed were police officers and that thirteen more were wounded; and they report 1 "female sucide bomber" in Baghdad who took her own life and that of 1 "Awakening" Council member ("Ahmed Khamees, the local commander of the Sons of Iraq volunteer force in Tarmiya") at the door to his home. Reuters places the truck bomber on the "western outskirts of Baghdad" and states 9 were killed and thirty-one wounded ("police said") and they note 1 woman shot dead in Mosul.

Brandon notes this from Paul Street's "The 'Wait 'Til He Gets In' Delusion" (Dissident Voice):

Five weeks away from Obama's inauguration, some progressives are disturbed to learn that his corporate-imperial cabinet picks epitomize what former Clinton administration official and Kissinger Associates Managing Director David J. Rothkopf calls "the violin model: Hold power with the left hand, and play the music with your right" (NYT, November 22, 2008, A1). It bothers a growing number of Obama's liberal backers to learn that, as Wall Street Journal editorial board member Matthew Kaminski notes, "the Obama camp says the future president, who won running from the left, intends to govern from the center" (WSJ, December 6/7, 2008, A8).
"This Wasn't Quite the Change We Pictured," whines the title of a recent Washington Post editorial by leading left-liberal writer David Corn.2
It's long past time for Corn and other "concerned" and "disappointed" Obama liberals to trade in their rose-colored campaign glasses for the demystifying shades donned by the ideology-decoding rebels in John Carpenter's classic left science fiction movie "They Live." The balmy feel-good people's rhetoric of the electoral contest has faded as always before the big chill of corporate-imperial governance.
A little more due diligence research on their candidate’s longstanding centrist history and how well it matches the narrow parameters imposed by the American political tradition and party system might have prevented some of the current left and liberal "honeymoaning" (Alexander Cockburn's useful term3) about Obama. For all his claims to be a noble and "pragmatic" reformer "above the fray" of America's imperial plutocracy and "ideological" politics, Obama is no special exception to -- and is in many ways an epitome of -- what Christopher Hitchens called (in his 1999 study of the Bill and Hillary Clinton phenomenon) "the essence of American politics. This essence, when distilled," Hitchens explained, "consists of the manipulation of populism by elitism." Christopher Hitchens, No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family (New York: Verso, 2000), pp. 17-18.
It’s nothing new. Relying heavily on candidates’ repeated promise to restore “hope” to a populace disillusioned by corporate control, corruption, and inequality -- a standard claim of non-incumbent Democratic presidential candidates -- this dark essence of United States political culture goes back further than the corporate-neoliberal era into which Obama came of political age. It is arguably as old the Republic itself, always torn by the rift between democratic promise and authoritarian realities of concentrated wealth and power.

Paul Street's most recent book is Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics.
And this isn't Iraq related but it's Arundhati Roy so we will note it (a visitor e-mailed the highlight to the public account). From "The Monster in the Mirror" (Guardian of London via Information Clearing House):

We've forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching "India's 9/11." And like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we're expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it's all been said and done before.
As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn't act fast to arrest the "bad guys," he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on "terrorist camps" in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India's 9/11.
But November isn't September, 2008 isn't 2001, Pakistan isn't Afghanistan, and India isn't America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.
It's odd how, in the last week of November, thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India's richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara – one of Kashmir's most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur, and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary people have been killed and wounded. If the police are right about the people they have arrested as suspects, both Hindu and Muslim, all are Indian nationals, which obviously indicates that something's going very badly wrong in this country.

And Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Political Relations" went up last night.

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