Wednesday, February 11, 2009

al-Maliki and the Baathists

March 12, I'll attend a board hearing in St. Louis, Missouri, to determine what the nature of my discharge from the Individual Ready Reserve will be. The Army has alleged "misconduct" and they're shooting for a "general discharge," but I'm pushing for "honorable," as my refusal to deploy was not an act of misconduct.
I will attend this hearing in uniform as ordered, but only for the purpose of these administrative proceeding. I'm not contesting the fact that I did
not report as ordered to deploy to Iraq. However, I intend to paint a clear picture of my convictions to the military, and I seek to corroborate them with first hand accounts of occupation.
No person is bound to act against the dictates of conscience, let alone their understanding of the law. I know the occupation of Iraq and further, the Global War on Terror, to be an illegitimate and ultimately murderous campaign waged for economic gain, fueled by misinformation and greed. I know it to be in violation of not only international law, but the U.S. Constitution. Far more importantly, it is against the dictates of my own conscience, and never again will I compromise my humanity to support or ignore the crimes of my government.
I will be working closely with Iraq Veterans Against the War to plan what we hope will reflect a Winter Soldier event in the form of our members testifying under oath to the military about their experiences in the Global War on Terror.
I seek only truth to be heard and considered by the military. If reconciliation is possible, I seek that, as well.
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We are continuing to gather funds needed to cover travel expenses and accommodation for those who will be testifying. I hope anywhere from 15 to 30 veterans, military family members, Iraqi civilians and constitutional experts will appear before my board. Please consider making a donation to my defense campaign either through my website,, or through

The above is from Matthis Chiroux' "I Have a Date With the Army!" (World Can't Wait) and that event is next month. Yesterday, US war resister Cliff Cornell turned himself in at Fort Stewart. Lyndell Nelson (WSAV) reports:

When asked if he would do it all over again, Cornell said, "Yeah, because I am not over there taking part in this illegal war, I'm not over there killing innocent people or taking part in the torturing that is going on."
The warrant for Cornell's arrest was desertion, but there is no word on whether charges will be pressed. A spokesperson for Fort Stewart says Cornell has been assigned to the first brigade combat team and his commander will decide what the next step will be.

The Fayetteville Observer is among those running the updated article by Russ Bynum (AP):

Cornell's lawyer, James Branum of Lawton, Okla., said Cornell was assigned to a unit after meeting with military police, but it was still unclear if the Army would hold him in pretrial confinement. "He was visibly shaking when they came to pick him up," Branum said.

Meanwhile the Asbury Park Press is having an online discussion. About? From their introduction:

After enlisting in the Army and completing intensive training, Pfc. Daniel Marble of Seaside Heights returned home in August 2006 for a two-week break and then went AWOL for two years. He was arrested Jan. 23 on a warrant issued by the Army. Three days later, he received a fax that stated he would be processed out of the military if he returned to Fort Knox, Ky., the following day. But instead, he was told to report to Fort Bragg, N.C., where he turned himself in Thursday. He could be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, but he says he does not want to go because he is against killing. "I am simply not capable of taking a life," said Marble. "I don't want to kill someone and live with that for the rest of my life." He is now waiting to learn his fate.

Again, the discussion is ongoing online.

In Iraq today, Reuters reports a Baghdad car bombing that has claimed 5 lives and left twenty people injured. Xinhua reports a Mosul 'suicide' car bombing that has claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier with five additional people left wounded and a police source tells Xinhua, "A suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a joint U.S. and Iraqi Army patrol in the Hadbaa neighborhood in northern Mosul." Yesterday 1 Iraqi Christian woman and five police officers ("at least") were shot dead in Mosul. Marc Santora and Alan Cowell (New York Times) report that in the New York Times in their article on Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Iraq. The reporters laughably assert puppet Nouri al-Maliki is attempting to go from client-state to equal partner with the US and doing so by insulting US vice president Joe Biden. Hilarious. One's reminded of Senator Barbara Boxer pointing out the US reception in Iraq versus the Iranian reception and her correcting US Ambassador Ryan Crocker when he attempted to claim otherwise. The reporters strive for stand-up with this one-liner: "Mr. Maliki also contended Tuesday that his government had fixed the missteps of the Americans after the invasion, like the American decision to dismantle the pre-war Iraqi Army."

The Baathists? What has al-Maliki done? Not a damn thing. The White House benchmarks were signed off on by al-Maliki personally. He has had over two years to do something. One of them was about the Baathists. Paul Bremer (with the White House signing off -- including Colin Powell who now loves to whisper to reporters that it was all Bremer) disbanded the Iraqi military and did so as part of his Baathist purge. There was no reason for that and it was a mistake. It has been seen as a mistake by most for many years now. One of the benchmarks was to fix Bremer's de-Baathification policy (which would be de-de-Baathification). Though al-Maliki finally got around to pointing at a law, it's never been implemented and it had no checks or balances. And when rumors surfaced at the start of the week that al-Maliki was in talks with former Baathists to bring them into the government, what did he say? (This was specifically Baath officials from Saddam's regime who are now exiles -- and, no, no domestic outlet bothered to report on these rumors or al-Maliki's on-the-record response.) al-Maliki stated it wasn't true and it couldn't be true because the Iraqi Constitution would have to be changed first.

The Iraqi Constitution would have to be changed first? And he wants to claim he's fixed US mistakes? The puppet was installed by the US. The puppet sits on billions while Iraqis suffer. Biting the hand that's fed him is never a trait to strive for.

For those who missed the reports, here's one example. Ma'ad Fayad's "Iraqi Dawa Party Official: No dialogue with Armed Groups" (Asharq Alawsat) and al-Ibadi is Haydar al-Ibadi who is spokesperson for Dawa (Nouri's party):

Al-Ibadi categorically denied that any official in the state spoke to Baathist leaders whether inside Iraq or abroad. He explained: "The Iraqi constitution does not allow this. Besides, the public' general mood does not support the Baath Party because it committed a lot of crimes during and after the rule of the [former] regime."
He added: "The Baathists have committed a lot of crimes and killed a large number of Iraqis since 2003 to date. It is they who allowed the Al-Qaeda Organization to enter the country and who were involved in the killing of hundreds of Iraqis." He asked: "So, how can such a party rejoin the political process?"
However, Al-Ibadi noted: "There are Baathists who returned to their jobs and who live a normal life without any problems. But they did so as Iraqis, not as members of the Baath Party, which is known for being a conspiratorial military party that does not believe in democracy and does not allow the establishment of a democratic rule."
He added: "Permission for the return of the Baath Party to political action needs a constitutional amendment, and I very much rule out the possibility of such a move."

Iraq's Foreign Ministry notes Sarkozy's visit:

President Nicolas Sarkozy, accompanied by Foreign Minister Mr. Bernard Kouchner arrived on 10/2/2009 to Baghdad .

The French guest was received with of an official welcoming ceremony at the Peace Palace by His Excellency President Jalal Talabani. Official talks between the two sides were held attended by members of the Presidency and the Foreign Minister. The talks focused on ways to develop relations between Iraq and France in the fields of reconstruction, energy and defense, then the two presidents held a press conference to explain the positive results of talks.

During his brief first visit, the French president met with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and held detailed discussions on the mechanics of activating the diplomatic presence, and the opening of French consulates in Arbil and Basra, and commercial and military missions, as well as cooperation in energy, investment and strengthening defense cooperation.

It was decided that the French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister would visit with a delegation of French businessmen to Baghdad in the coming months. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and several advisers of the Prime Minister. In conclusion a press conference between the French President and Iraqi Prime Minister was held .

Joy notes Christine Smith's "Welcome to Obama's 'New Era of Peace'" (Information Clearing House):

So much for the peace activists who supported Obama - how deluded could they be? To have expected (or "hoped") for anything different was a daydream.
Just like any warmonger, just like Bush, Obama put to use the same old policy of attacking and rationalizing the killing of Pakistanis. The death count as yet being reported is 22 (see ABC news & Press TV.)
What a start to Obama's idea of an American "role in ushering in a new era of peace" which he spoke of in his inaugural address. Sadly, it is only the beginning of what will be continual bloodshed by the U.S. government under Obama's presidency.
[. . .]
Keep in mind, Obama didn't keep it hidden that he would continue such policies, no indeed. I highly recommend the following "St. Pete for Peace" webpage with its list of Obama quotations and positions.
Though the world can expect no change, we as Americans can expect more retributive and vindictive anger waged against us, not for our way of life, but for our way of imposing our will upon others. Obama, like past presidents, will make sure he keeps those "wars" going, with the missile attacks on Pakistan an ominous sign of what is to come.

Back to Iraq, Ken Silverstein (Harper's) steers people to Eli Lake's Washington Times report that Iraq is on another shopping spree buying US tanks, planes and helicopters with some "equipment . . . not to be delivered until 2012" when the US will allegedly be out of Iraq (the US won't be) according to the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. I haven't read Lake's report but the arrival dates are not surprising and press conferences in the Green Zone throughout 2008 repeatedly noted that Iraq's military -- air division -- wouldn't be ready to solo in 2012.

In more news of military hardware, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notes this M-NF annoucement:

Jan. 25 marked the transfer of the 4,000th armored M1114 Humvee to the Government of Iraq. This milestone is part of a program to produce Mission Capable Complete Humvees for issue to Iraqi Security Forces and to provide on-the-job training to Iraqi mechanics.

The program is based here at Camp Taji and managed by Multi-National Security Transition Command -- Iraq logistics personnel with augmentation from Army Materiel Command, Tank and Automotive Command in conjunction with Multi-National Corps -- Iraq and other coalition partners who are providing M1114s for the program.

and this one:

The Iraqi Army (IA) received thousands of armored humvees from the U.S. military as part of an ongoing effort to enhance the IA’s combat effectiveness.

Administered by Multi-National Security Transition Command -- Iraq, the program is a joint-effort between the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force with the intent to turn over 8,500 of the vehicles to the Iraqis by July 2009.

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