The demonstrators came in response to calls by Muqtada al Sadr, the influential Shiite cleric who's long decried the U.S. military's occupation, but there were also Sunni Muslims in the crowd.
Draped in Iraqi flags and chanting, protesters packed Baghdad's Firdous Square, where six years ago a crowd cheered the destruction of a statue of Saddam.
"No, no to America," demonstrators repeated Thursday. "No, no to arrogance."
Well McClatchy covered it. That's from the opening of Corinne Reilly and Sahar Issa's "Celebrating freedom: Thousands of Iraqis rally against U.S." (McClatchy Newspapers). Who else? In terms of non-televised US outlets, doesn't seem to be anyone except Jane Arraf. (Click here for yesterday's snapshot and the ones quoted on the rally are pretty much it even this morning.) From Arraf's "On anniversary of Saddam's fall, Iraqi protesters vent against US" (Christian Science Monitor):
"God unite us, return our riches, free the prisoners from the prisons, return sovereignty to our country ... free our country from the occupier, and prevent the occupier from stealing our oil," read Sadr's message.
He ended by asking demonstrators to shake hands with each other and the Iraqi police who helped protect them. Sadr organization guards were in charge of security at the demonstration with Iraqi police ringing the outside and Iraqi soldiers nearby.
As the rain stopped and the demonstrators flooded into the streets, hundreds lined up to shake hands and kiss the police officers on both cheeks – the traditional Arab greeting.
"The media says the Sadr movement is the enemy of the Iraqi security forces – that we attack the police and the Army – but we are brothers," says Ahmed al-Musawi, a student at the Medical Institute.
Policeman Ali Falah Ali stood in the square six years ago – a high school student at the time – when US forces put a noose around the statue of Saddam. He says he believes the growing number of Iraqi security forces can now take care of their own country.
"God willing, with the number of troops here, either this year or by next year, day after day the situation will improve," he says.
A huge protest against the US occupation and the US news outlets (print) aren't interested? Hmm. It would appear they're interested in damn little. And sidebar, there's something very disturbing about a 'reporter' for 'independent' media who rushes to DC to cover Barack's propaganda arm (to fawn over it) but can't take his lazy ass to DC to cover Congress. That's a point that became noticeable when he was waxing on about the propaganda arm (the equivalent of Hitler Youth) and decided to rush to DC. But never, ever, has he felt the need to take his lazy ass to DC before, for no Congressional hearing, for nothing. And Congressional hearings are not being covered. When they are, it's the Washington Post, AP or Reuters. And the situation's even worse for state legislatures as Jennifer Dorroh outlines here and American Journalism Review also crunches the numbers to find out how many are covering the legislature in your state. I'm going to get e-mails regarding that. I was asked to note both links (by friends) and I do so gladly. I will get e-mails because people I don't know e-mailing the public account have asked for things all week. Are they Iraq related? No. So that means I'll fit them in if I think they're worth it. When are they not worth it?
Example: You are a woman writing online. You have a 'feminist' gathering. You have never once, NEVER, defended one woman from a sexist attack in ALL your writing online, you have never called out any of the sexists attacking women, you've never done a damn thing. (Excuse me, you care about 'social justice' which to you means you get all upset when a man is in trouble. A woman's killed or raped and you don't give a damn but a man gets arrested and you're on it for weeks and weeks and weeks.) Why the hell would I bother noting your garbage?
I am a feminist, I've been a feminist forever. Why in the world would I sully myself and feminism by promoting your 'feminist' conference? Why? What should I write? "Join a bunch of uptight White girls who want to tongue bathe men and since they're relegated to the sidelines and not allowed to go to the big meetings, they've created their own and are calling it a 'feminist' gathering." I'm also a Democrat. If you're party is, for example, Candida, a third party (I've made that party up), and it has a women's division and that division called out sexism at one point during 2008 and I was highlighting it and exploring it and you weren't, where the hell do you get off thinking you're a feminist? We might note you for other things but considering your attacks on Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin and your silence on the efforts to render Cynthia McKinney invisible, I don't know where you get off calling yourself a feminist but I'm not interested in promoting your 'feminist' conference.
So what does the New York Times cover this morning? "Obama Seeks Quick Approval of More Money for Overseas Military Opeations" by Carl Hulse. More money? [C.I. note, Added: Link to Hulse's article and corrected "morning" to "money" in question prior to this bracketed comment.] What a tepid headline. Julian E. Barner's article is entitled "Obama requests $83.4 billion more for war spending" (Los Angeles Times), Brian Faler and Tony Capaccio's article is entitled "Obama Requests $83.4 Billion for Iraq, Afghanistan, Foreign Aid" (Bloomberg News), Deidra Walsh's CNN report is entitled "Obama wants another $83 billion for Iraq, Afghanistan," etc. Julian E. Barnes observes:
The budget request, to cover operations for the remainder of 2009, comes on top of $67.2 billion approved last fall as a down payment for the year. However, the annual total, about $150 billion, is lower than the amount spent in 2008, after the conclusion of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq.
Obama has criticized the use of such emergency funding measures, called supplemental appropriations, to pay for the war. The president's first budget, for 2010, will move more of the wars' costs into the main Pentagon spending plan.
Carolyn Lochhead's "Rep. Woolsey blasts Obama's war-funding request" (San Francisco Chronicle):
[US House Rep Lynn] Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, had said in an earlier interview that she can't support raising troop levels. She came out Thursday with this statement:
"As proposed, this funding will do two things - it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011 and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely.
"I cannot support either of these scenarios. Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts."
And as usual, the greed allows the White House to toss in a lot of pork. None of this is needed or necessary and it has damn little to do with Iraq or Afghanistan. Refer to Mary Beth Sheridan and Scott Wilson's "More Funds Sought for Iraq and Afghanistan" (Washington Post):
Nearly $76 billion of the request would go to the Defense Department, while about $7 billion would be sent to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
While most of the emergency funding is designated for military equipment and operations, the request also includes $1.6 billion for economic help and a "surge" of diplomatic and civilian personnel for Afghanistan, part of Obama's recently announced strategy for tackling the conflict there. The White House also asked for $1.4 billion for economic assistance and more diplomats and development experts for Pakistan.
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