Saturday, May 23, 2009

The 4300 mark

The 4300 mark has been reached. Today the US military announced: "CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- A Multi-National Corps - Iraq Soldier died in a non-combat related incident in Baghdad Province, May 22. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." The 4300 mark.

Democrats control both houses of the Congress and the White House and still the war drags on. It won't end this year. It won't end next. Barack lies that it will end at the end of 2011. He knows differently and, as a candidate, said so. Not while speaking to the throngs of worshippers. But when going off to speak with reporters. Yes, he made clear over and over, if things on the ground in Iraq got worse once a draw down was started, he would, as president, send more troops back in.

He left that out of his stadium appearances and he leaves it out of his speeches today. But it is what happens. Right now he and Nouri are both trying to bluff their public. Barry's got a lot more distasteful programs on the way (though one friend in the White House insists that "America really wants this" -- uh-huh) and he can't get honest about Iraq. Nouri's got to keep up the lie until January because that's when Iraq's national elections are now scheduled. They're barrelling down the narrow, dirt road at midnight with the headlights off. The world's just a hostage along for the ride.

The Wall St. Journal's Yochi J. Dreazen and August Cole report:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged the nation's future Army officers to question authority, challenge conventional wisdom and work to avoid the dangerous "groupthink" that often takes root in military circles.
In a commencement speech Saturday to a packed football stadium at this storied military academy, Mr. Gates told hundreds of West Point graduates that the Army's traditional consensus-driven culture was ill-suited to the complex challenges of modern warfare in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The defense chief encouraged the cadets, who will soon be commissioned into the Army, to tell higher-ranking officers what they needed to hear, as opposed to what they wanted to hear.

They should avoid "groupthink" and that includes membership in the Cult of St. Barack.

Abed Falah al-Sudani

The photo is of Iraq's Minister of Trade Abed Falah al-Sudani and Jack Dolan and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) report that he is expected to be out of office shortly:

All of Baghdad seemed to watch last weekend when Sudany appeared on state TV to answer questions about his two brothers allegedly skimming millions from a national food program as ordinary Iraqis went without staples such as rice, wheat and cooking oil.
Sudany also struggled to answer charges that when government investigators arrived at the Trade Ministry, his guards had fired into the air, allowing his brothers to escape out a back door, and about why an inspector general was transferred to Beijing after he asked about shipments of spoiled food.
Some Iraqis saw the public interrogation as a hopeful sign for their country's nascent democracy, a rare case of the powerful being held accountable to voters. Others considered it parliamentary propaganda, convinced that politicians had found a scapegoat for the sake of appearance.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack on the Green Zone, a Baghdad roadside bombing which damaged a US military Hummer, a Mosul roadside bombing which injured Lt Gen Taha Mahmoud, a second Mosul roadside bombing which injured three police officers and a Diyala Province roadside bombing which claimed 2 lives. Reuters notes an "overnight" rocket attack on the Green Zone which claimed the life of 1 "civilian working for the U.S. Department of Defense". KUNA adds that 4 police officers were killed in a Mosul bombing with three wounded.


Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 6-year-old son of a Sahwa ("Awakening," "Sons Of Iraq") leader was shot dead in Diyala Province. KUNA reports 1 police officer dead from "armed attacks in eastern Mosul" and another injured.


Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Salahuddin Province. Reuters notes 1 corpse "of a U.S. civilian found in the Green Zone on Friday".

Ernesto Londono and Steve Fainaru (Washington Post) identify the corpse found as Jim Kitterman who had been "president of Janus Construction" and they note, "Another American working for a contractor was killed Friday in a suspected rocket attack near the U.S. Embassy, U.S. officials said. It appeared to be the first fatal rocket attack in the Green Zone in more than a year. "

Finally from Mark Kukis' "How the Economy Could Crush Iraq's Hopes" (Time magazine):

The worsening revenue picture for the Iraqi government apparently stirred talk among leadership in Baghdad of allowing the export of oil from Kurdish northern Iraq. Kurdistan, as the semi-autonomous region is known, has long sought to export its significant oil reserves. But the central government in Baghdad has always objected to any such move, insisting that Baghdad control the country's oil exports and its revenues. The dispute has proven to be one of the most intractable impasses in Iraqi politics. Early reports of a possible deal buoyed hopes for a breakthrough, but so far no agreement has emerged, and the Iraqi government in Baghdad still officially considers any oil exports from Kurdish territory illegal.
Other sources of revenue have gone dry or are about to. Foreign investors have been slow to spend in Iraq because of the violence and huge uncertainty surrounding the security situation following the U.S. drawdown going forward this summer. U.S. reconstruction funds are dwindling as American troops move to go. And Iraq at present cannot sell government bonds on the international market without risking them becoming entangled in a myriad of reparations lawsuits related to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1991.

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sahar issa

the washington post
ernesto londono