Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looks who's going to Iraq

Amir Jabbar doesn't know how many of his friends have been murdered since the Iraq war started six years ago. He stopped counting sometime back in 2007. The numbers just got too high, he said.
"Maybe 10. Maybe more," the 31-year-old parking lot attendant said, shrugging. "It's too many."
Most of them were blown up in bomb attacks, he explained. A few just disappeared. They've been gone so long that he figures they aren't coming back.
"In my neighborhood, Sadriyah, it was very bad," said Jabbar, who stopped to talk on a busy Baghdad street corner as he ran errands. "Maybe I know more who died than most people, but everybody knows somebody killed by the war, of course."

The above is from Corinne Reilly's "In Iraq, 'Everybody knows somebody killed by the war'" (McClatchy Newspapers) and it's a reflection piece from on the ground in Iraq. The Today Show's Ann Curry (NBC) is headed to Iraq (and Afghanistan) for a brief time. In "Events in Iraq hit close to home for Ann Curry," she shares:

Watching Iraq spiral out of control, I can't help but be haunted by a terrible day more than 10 years ago, when I answered a knock at the front door to see a man in a military uniform.
He introduced himself and did not waste time saying, "I am sorry to inform you that your brother Gordon Curry has died in the line of duty."
My chest still seizes, thinking of the pain of that news, and as I report now daily on the dying of Americans in Iraq, I shudder, knowing that knock at the door is coming for the families they leave behind.

At a time when most outlets have pulled out of Iraq, Curry's coverage is not just appreciated but also needed. She is not the only one flying the opposite way. KXLY's Dave Erickson is back in Iraq, arriving in Kuwait over the weekend. For some of his video reports from Iraq click here.

Yesterday, another bomber in Iraqi military garb took his own life. This time in Baquba. Steven Lee Myers' "Bomber Attacks G.I.'s Meeting With Baquba Officials" (New York Times) covers the bombing and notes 3 Iraqis dead, eight US soldiers injured and notes:

The Americans were attending what Iraqi officials described as a regular weekly meeting with city officials, a far more typical mission for American troops these days than direct combat with insurgents. At least 11 other Iraqis were also wounded, including police officers and civilians, according to the American military. An Iraqi police major said that casualties would have almost certainly been higher had the armored vehicles not shielded many more people.
The Americans opened fire immediately after the blast. "There was random shooting everywhere," said Hamid al-Zaidy, who was on his way to the city's electricity department when the explosion occurred. "I lay on the ground because the American forces were in a complete state."

Meanwhile Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) notes, "Several executives from well-known high tech firms are in Iraq this week as guests of the State Department, part of an effort to boost the use of online and social media in the war-torn country." CNN adds that they represent Autmattic, Twitter, "Google, AT&T, YouTube and others." This visit follows the news that Iraq's stock exchange has gone electric.

The following community sites updated last night:

Remember Matthis Chiroux faces a military body today. This is "Resistance to an Abhorrent Occupation: Press Release of Matthis Chiroux" (World Can't Wait):

(ST. LOUIS, MO) The U.S. Army will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist who last summer publicly refused activation and deployment orders to Iraq, on April 21 at 1 Reserve Way in Overland, St. Louis, MO, at 9 a.m.
Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, refused to participate in what he described as "an illegal and immoral occupation" May 15th, 2008, in Washington D.C., after nine other veterans testified to Members of the U.S. Congress about atrocities they experienced during deployments to Iraq. Chiroux also vowed to remain public in the U.S. to defend himself from any charges brought against him by the military. (see
matthisresists.us for a record of that speech and others by Chiroux)
"My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year," said Chiroux, adding, "Soldiers have a duty to adhere to the international laws of war described as supreme in Art. 6 Para. 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which we swear to abide by before the orders of any superior, including our former or current president."
Following Chiroux's refusal to deploy, the military did not contact him until after he and 10 other IVAW members marched on the final presidential debate Oct. 15, 2008, in Hempstead, N.Y. demanding to question then Senators Obama and McCain regarding their war policies and plans to care for returning veterans. After the veterans were brutalized and arrested by police, (one suffered a fractured skull and is currently suing the police for damages) the Army charged Chiroux with "misconduct" for refusing to deploy, announcing their intentions to discharge him from the reserves as a result.
"I go now to St. Louis to honor my promises and convictions," said Chiroux. "Obama or No-Bama, the military must cease prosecuting Soldiers of conscience, and we will demonstrate to them why."
Following the hearing, Chiroux and other IVAW members will testify about their military experiences which led them all to resist in different capacities the U.S.'s Overseas Contingency Operation (formerly the Global War on Terror).
For more information, see
matthisresists.us and ivaw.org.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends