Sunday, January 18, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

No, Barack Obama is not "our new commander in chief" and ABC 'News' needs to stop advertising that claim. It only reminds everyone of what a FOOL Diane Sawyer made of herself when she tried to publicly and repeatedly shame the Dixie Chicks in 2003. A president -- any president -- is not "our commander in chief." The Constitution -- try learning it ABC 'News' -- is very clear that the president is "commander in chief" of the military. There is NO commander in chief of the American people. It is not a minor point.

Barack is the Bully Boy, the new face of empire and let's stop kidding that a damn thing's changing. The ABC commercial makes very clear that this is nothing but more corporate lies to allow the abuses of empire to continue. Their desire to revist one of their mistakes that recieved the most vocal criticism this decade should cause a shudder across the country. It's a telling move. Barack Obama is the Corporatist War Hawk that corporate brought you and bought you.

Quoting the US Constitution that ABC 'News' is ignorant of, Article II, Sec. 2: " The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; . . ."

How do we end up in wars? Via the glorification of them, via the buildup of them. By ignoring that the military is civilian controlled. By blurring the lines between what a military can do in the United States and what it can do a junta. ABC 'News' thinks the American people are idiots who don't know their own country's Constitution or don't give a damn because it's a 'Democrat' in office. Remember, it took a Democrat (Jimmy Carter) to bring back registration for the draft. The empire is bi-partisan. It always has been.

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 4224 and tonight? 4228. Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of wounds suffered following an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad Jan. 18 at approximately 11 a.m." McClatchy's Hussein Kadhim notes that three people were also injured in that roadside bombing. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,307,319 . . . same as last week and the same as the week before. No, Iraqis not have stopped dying just because JFP has forgotten to keep track. And it is this repeated inconsistency that guarantees the MSM will never use JFP as a measure when reporting.

Today's deaths included Hassan Zaidan al-Luhaibi. Jonny Dymond (BBC) reports that a Mosul suicide bombing claimed the life of the "vice- president of the Sunni National Dialogue bloc" who "was leading his party's campaign for provincial elections to be held at the end of this month." In addition, Hussein Kadhim notes that al-Luhaibi's "son Falah is a parliament member".

This is a pattern and it is one that the United Nations warned about -- an increase in violence in the leadup to provincial elections (scheduled for January 31st and set to take place in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces). From Friday's snapshot:

Yesterday's snapshot noted: "Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roasdie bombing that wounded two people, a second one that wounded four and a third one that targeted Ahmed Taieb Murad and claimed the life of Murad's bodyguard Reuters identifies the Education Minister targeted in the Baghdad roadside bombing as Abd Thiab al-Ajili." The Education Minister's name is also spelled Abed Theyab in some press coverage. Mohammed Abbas and Matthew Jones (Reuters) report that provincial candidate Haythem al-Hasnowi (of the Dawa Party) was shot dead during an attack on his convoy outside of Baghdad. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the attack took place in Ajrash and left four members of al-Hasnowi's security staff wounded. Issa also notes that last night in Salahuddin Province, provincial election candidate "Hussein al Shatb survived an assassination attempt by gunmen". This month began with the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Iraq Staffan de Mistura condemning the assassination of provincial candidate Mowaffaq al-Hamdani who was murdered in Mosul on the last day of 2008. Provincial elections are scheduled for January 31st in fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces. The United Nations have been warning since November that the lead up to provincial elections would likely lead to an increase in violence. November 10th, UN spokesperson Michele Montas handled the press briefing and noted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had declared that the upcoming provinicial electiions increased the "potential for election-related violence and instability."

Ernesto Londono and Zaid Sabah (Washington Post) provide this perspective:

The attack occurred amid bitter competition between Sunni Arabs and Kurds for control of Nineveh province, one of four that includes areas claimed by both Arabs and Kurds. The outcome of the elections scheduled for Jan. 31 is expected to influence the fight over the disputed areas. Because Sunnis boycotted the 2005 elections in Iraq, it is widely expected that Kurds will lose ground in Nineveh and other provinces with large Sunni Arab populations.

In today's New York Times, Timothy Williams and Mudhafer al-Husaini report on puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki's latest efforts to swing the elections: ordering that Abdul Haneen al-Amara step down as the Wasit Province's chief of police to be replaced with al-Maliki's hand picked successor:

"The appointment came 13 days before the elections, and that sounds odd," said Naseer al-Haddad, a provincial council member from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a Shiite coalition and rival of Mr. Maliki's Dawa Party. "It also happened without consulting the provincial council and even occurred on a holiday Friday," a day off for most Iraqis, he said.
Sayyd Sattar al-Masqsusi, another member of the Wasit provincial council representing the secular Iraqiya Party, said the police chief's replacement occurred at a particularly delicate time. "It's really not good to replace him at this time," Mr. Masqsusi said. "We called the minister of the interior himself and he didn't know about the replacement, and was as surprised as we are. Only God and Maliki know the reasons behind the change at this time."

In other reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left two people injured, another that left two civilians injured, another that left eight civilians wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that left two people injured, a Basra sticky bombing that wounded one person and, dropping back to Saturday, a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded two Iraqi service members. McClatchy's Laith Hammoudi reported Saturday a a Baghdad sticky bombing that claimed 1 life and left another person wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that left three people wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that wounded one person, another Kirkuk roadside bombing which also resulted in one person wounded and a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded one person.


Saturday McClatchy's Laith Hammoudi reported 2 "members of the Iraqi army" were shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes 1 police officer also shot dead on Saturday.

The Boston Globe today notes this in a roundup: "The Christian owner of a car repair shop was killed execution-style in Mosul, police said yesterday, raising concern about attacks against the religious minority in the northern Iraqi city. The body of the 36-year-old man, shot in the head, was found Thursday. The slaying followed a pattern of violence that sent thousands of Christians fleeing from their homes in Mosul in the fall."

And in Iraq related news in the US, Jon Nielsen (Dallas Morning News) reports:

A soldier scheduled to return to Iraq from a 30-day leave Monday is recovering in a Dallas hospital after his throat was cut from ear to ear.
Spc. Ramiro Campozano, 37, and his ex-wife, Twanna Hall, 30, were drinking in her Chevrolet Tahoe in a vacant lot near a nightclub when Campozano became ill and stepped out the passenger door to vomit. The two were among many in the lot in the 5000 block of Colonial Avenue about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Dallas police aren’t sure how Campozano was cut. Police said they have no suspects and no leads. Detectives were waiting to interview him once he got out of surgery late Sunday.

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: A little perspective, please
TV: Tragedies in real time
Naomi Wolf: The Feminist Myth (Ava and C.I.)
We always knew he was a drama queen
Bye, bye Dickster
Crack a window, it's CODESTINK (Ava and C.I.)
Susan Lindauer

Jonah notes Bart Jones' "WHAT OBAMA FACES: NOW,THE HARD PART" (Newsday):

As a candidate, Obama pledged to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. With about 140,000 troops there now, the exit will have to be fairly swift if Obama hopes to keep his word.
Polls show the American public is generally exasperated with the war and its mounting costs - both financial and human. The United States has spent about $10 billion a month on the war, and some experts predict the ultimate cost will surpass $1 trillion and perhaps even reach $3 trillion. Meanwhile,more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers have died in the conflict, along with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis.
Still, the question remains of what will happen to Iraq when the Americans leave. Many predict a power vacuum that could open the door to radical, anti-American extremists.
But Obama has said his focus will be on Afghanistan. He has pledged to nearly double the number of U.S. troops there, adding 30,000 to the current 31,000. Critics worry Obama could wade into another quagmire.

Jonah points out that Jones represents "a lot of Americans who honestly believe that Barack promised to withdraw all US troops from Iraq. A shame they couldn't pay attention when it mattered." Exactly. Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: » Break Britain’s links with Israel
Occupation at London School of Economics over Gaza online only
by Vlad Unkovski-Korica and Siân Ruddick
Over 40 pro Palestine students occupied a lecture theatre at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Thursday afternoon to demand that the university releases a statement condemning the attack on Gaza and stops investing in arms companies that supply the Israeli military.
Around 30 students held the occupation over night and have a rolling program of postering, leafleting and speakers throughout the day to publicise the occupation across campus and encourage people to join it.
Students entered the Old Theatre and sat down on the stage after the Students' Union passed a motion in support of their demands. A lecture continued as scheduled with the students on the stage.
The group wants the LSE director to issue a statement condemning the Israeli violence in Gaza. The group is also demanding that LSE divests from arms firm BAE Systems, an arms company who supply the Israeli military.
"The fact that LSE invests in BAE Systems means that it is directly profiting from the collective punishment of the Gazan people. Our university will remain tainted for as long as it is funded by unlawful military aggression. The LSE must divest from BAE and other arms companies immediately.” A student said.
The LSE also invests in arms companies Boeing, Rolls Royce and BHP Billiton, a firm that supplies nuclear material for warheads.
The students have also issued several demands related to providing material support for Palestinian students including providing five fully paid scholarships for Palestinian students, books and computers for Palestinian universities and facilitation for fund raising activities.
Over 250 students and academics wrote to Director Howard Davies at the beginning of the year demanding a statement and other demands similar to those being demanded by the occupation. Davies agreed to waiver application fees for students affected by the crisis but refused to issue a condemnatory statement, pledge further material assistance or support divestment from arms firms.
Davies claimed that the School does not take positions on "political issues". This is in stark contrast to an overtly political statement issued by the Davies in May 2007 condemning a UCU (University and College Union) resolution concerning the Israeli Occupation, and previous condemnations by LSE of South African Apartheid and the Tiananmen Square massacre in the 1980s.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Break Britain’s links with Israel» Massive protests in solidarity with Gaza» Photos of protest for Gaza on 10 January 2009» Evidence is mounting of Israel’s atrocities» Israeli commander gives candid account of killing» United mass protests in Turkey shake up the region» Medics struggle to get into Gaza» Scottish MSPs offer support» Soas student occupation declares victory as university concedes demands
Go to the LSE Solidarity with Gaza website for more details and updates »
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