That same storm still hovers over the capital. It coats parked cars in a tan frosting. It seeps under windowsills and doorways. It grits the teeth and stings the eyes. It clogs rifles and etches scrimshaw across sniper scopes.
And it kills people.
Three in Diyala Province this week, where 800 others were hospitalized with breathing and related ailments. Dr. Jeleel al Shammeri, head of the health department in Karkh in west Baghdad, said 13 major hospitals and 84 clinics had received several thousand patients over the last two days, many of them children. Dr. Ali Bustan, head of the health department in Rusafa in eastern Baghdad, said ERs had taken in 800 to 900 patients since Saturday night. "Thank God, we have not run out of medication," he said.
Sandstorms pose diplomatic as well as medical and weather problems. Baghdad negotiators are locked in a battle with Istanbul over how much water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers -- which start in Turkey -- its neighbor is willing to release to the southwest for Iraqi farms and factories. A lack of irrigation water has caused thousands of acres of agricultural land to dry up. Just this week, the government signed an agreement with an Iranian delegation to limit such "desertification."
The above is from Mike Tharp's "Sandstorms plague Iraq and are getting worse" (McClatchy Newspapers) and Muhanad Mohammed, Hadi Abbas, Michael Christie and Tim Pearce (Reuters) cover the topic noting that the sandstoms are sending Iraqis to hospitals with 300 admitted to Ibn al-Nafees in Baghdad for "breathing difficulties on Sunday." Kadhm al-Attabi (DPA) describes, "Great walls of sand, driven by scorching hot winds". You know what might have made a difference? If at any time during this six-year-plus illegal war, the water problems had been addressed. But they never were.
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 4316 and tonight? 4321.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Baghdad car bombing which left thee people wounded, a Baghdad hand bombing (bomb thrown by hand) which claimed the life of 1 police officer, a second Baghdad hand bombing which injured two police officers, a third Baghdad hand bombing which claimed the life of 1 police officer and left six people wounded, a Diyala Povince sticky bombing which claimed 1 life and left two people injured, a Baquba store bombing ("sells entertainment CDs) which wounded six people "and completely destroyed the shop" and a
Diyala Province roadside bombing which injured three members of the Iraqi army. Reuters notes 5 grenade attacks in Mosul which resulted in the death of 1 police officer and at least sixteen people being injured.
Reuters notes 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul. Dropping back to Saturday, AFP reports 4 people were shot dead in Kirkuk yesterday.
Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Kirkuk on Saturday.
In the face of the continued deaths, Colin Powell made a fool of himself -- as is to be expected. On CNN's State of the Union today, Collie The Blot Powell, who lied to the United Nations in an attempt to make the case for illegal war, declared the mistake about the Iraq War was . . . not doing an escalation ("surge") sooner.
Colin Powell is so full of crap. I know that Barry O fanatics rejoiced and embraced him when he endorsed their fellow but he's full of s**t and he always has been. His military career is a joke and disgusting going as far back to Vietnam when he was covering up realities there. He lied the nation into illegal war and he's never apologized for it. He did fret a bit over his blot for a little while. Now instead of hanging his head in shame, fueled by the Cult of St. Barack, he's attempting a comeback. Someone needs to explain to the liar that no one gives a damn what he says out of the beltway and that the American people no longer trust his lying ass. If he had any sense of honor, he'd lock himself in a hotel room and swallow a huge number of pills hoping that his own death could somehow atone for the deaths of Iraqis and US service members -- all brought by his damn lies.
The New York Times. Which is honestly why I'm doing this so late. I was not in the mood to take the paper out of it's blue plastic baggie. Sheryl Gay Stolberg has an article in it that we noted yesterday ["Online at the New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg covers some of today's events . . . "] so we'll note instead that, online at the paper's Caucus, she writes today about Biden's trip to Iraq:
Mr. Biden, who has taken on the new role of unofficial envoy to Iraq, arrived in Baghdad Thursday night and spent Friday and Saturday there meeting with American and Iraqi officials, including the country's two vice presidents, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament and Prime Minister Kamal al-Maliki. He has said this will be the first of several trips intended to strengthen ties between Washington and Baghdad.
The vice president said the Iraqis' worries surprised him; going in to the trip, he said, "I didn't believe there was a concern that they thought that maybe they would not be on the front burner." He said they were "pleased that the president took this inside the White House" and asked him to "sort of honcho this."
Marc Santora offers "An Iraqi Reaps Profits From the War" in the paper today about Araz M. Mohsin who cleaned up pretty in the illegal war and just threw a $50,000 party at Baghdad's "exclusive Hunting Club". Santora notes "no suggestion that he did anything illegal" but even if he won those overpriced contracts legitimately (one example: the US paid him, a translator, $80,000 to haul gravel to a US base), let's not pretend he didn't have to 'grease wheels' to do business in Iraq and I'm not referring to foreigners, I'm talking about paying off militias, etc. He was also a collaborator who snitched out other Iraqis to get in good with the US.
At the BBC, Kim Ghattas examines the state of Iraq and Greg Jaffe (Washington Post) does the same. An e-mail to the public account maintains Jaffee is attempting to sell the Iraq War. As Tom Petty once sang, "You believe what you want to believe." I think both are describing realities and while those realities can be used to argue for a stronger US presence, those realities can also be used to argue for an immediate and full withdrawal and it's the collapse of the peace movement that's prevented that from being addressed. US troops are at greater risk now than they ever were and that will be true in a slow trickle out of Iraq. If Iraq's in charge, let it be in charge and pull US troops out because they really are sitting ducks and as al-Maliki shows them continued public disdain, he only encourages that same attitude. (That's not my arguing that US troops were beloved by Iraqis. They weren't. But there's a difference in disliking or hating them and having the puppet heading you government show visible disdain and contempt for them.) And "collapse of the peace movment" is, of course, the fact that fakes and frauds rode in as 'leaders' when they never wanted to end a war, they just wanted to elect a Democrat.
Zach notes Cindy Sheehan's "Happy Co-Dependence Day" (Information Clearing House):
I just returned home from a 28 day, 18-city (multiple event) trip from California to New Hampshire and back where I talked about the need for us to recognize the fact that we cannot, must not, place false hopes in any politician. Yet, even people who know that the Dalai Bama is not what the gurus on Madison Avenue sold to us don’t think that they have any power.
"We need a leader, we need a leader," a Russian woman cried to me during a talk I gave in Philly last week. We "consumers" (remember when we used to be “citizens?”) here in America have been sold another bill of goods: that one person cannot make a difference so why should we even try? We want "leaders" to do all the work and take all of the heat so we don’t have to. That is an absolute myth. If you can fog a mirror, you can make a relevant and profound difference. If you sit around waiting for a politician to lead you to a better life, you will sit around forever.
I just had a heartbreaking conversation with a veteran who struggles on a daily basis with suicide issues. He wants to hang on so he can tell his story of betrayal and to try to stop what happened to him from happening to others. He has been so thoroughly traumatized by this Empire that he must make a daily choice to either work to make things better or to physically or mentally check out. Unfortunately, this story is not rare, so I ask myself, why are people so mesmerized by a system that is so harmful to 98% of the people of this country, and by extension, the world?
We are Co-Dependent with a Robber Class that expects us to keep it in the style to which it has been accustomed and unfortunately we are accustomed to doing so. When AIG needs billions of dollars in bailouts, it gets all the money that is asks for with no strings attached. Does that money ever trickle down to us in the steroidal capitalism of Obamanomics? Heck no…my state needs a bailout of 24 billion to save tens of thousands of jobs and public services. When the Governator asks DC for the money, he is told: “No, if we bailed out your state, we would have to bail out all the states!” So what? Bailout all the states; save jobs and services and fix the economy from the ground up, instead of supporting a cancerous capitalism that sucks the life out of the Robbed Class.
Zach writes that he enjoyed Cindy's column but found what she was "describing across America to be really depressing and sad." It is and it's why those of us who don't confine our 'mingling' to a Nation cruise have been outraged for some time at the lies and hype from the likes of Naomi Klein and others. And let's repeat one damn more time, Naomi just didn't lie for Barry O, she lied to The Progressive after, inventing this scene she supposedly observed. All that invented scene was about was Naomi's own guilt. So in other words, Afghans and Iraqis suffer because Naomi's plauged by White guilt? Well, Naomi, do our country a favor and get to work on Canada, your home country. Stay the hell out of America's domestic politics because you have revealed yourself to be a liar of epic proportions and we don't need you, in fact, we don't have the luxury of listening to your garbage because we're too busy repairing the damage you and your ilk caused. (And that includes Naomi's ridiculous performance in Chicago.) It doesn't depress me, it makes me very angry.
And look how little Naomi's done for the war resisters in Canada. If people had done so little for her own father, the spoiled brat wouldn't have the life she has today. She never would have had the luxury of being a mall rat. When your own father self-checked out of the military and went to Canada (during Vietnam) and was granted citizenship, you owe it to the current generation to be out in front leading on the issue. But Naomi has her 'performance art' pieces to do. She has so much to do. None of it's had a damn thing to do with the Iraq War (or that Afghanistan one and Canada has troops in Afghanistan) for some time. The general thinking is that Naomi's embarrassed of her father. Is she? I don't know. I don't care. I just know she's ineffectual and she's someone who benefitted from the work of a lot of people yet today can't do a damn thing but self-promote and lie.
Pay it forward is obviously a foreign concept to Naomi Klein but what else would you expect from a mall rat except "gimmie, gimmie"?
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Pru notes "Iraq occupation is not over" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):
Iraqis greeted the withdrawal of US troops from their cities this week by dancing in the streets.
They hope that the “drawdown” of combat troops will mean an end to the violence that follows US patrols, and an end to the shootings at checkpoints.
But the withdrawal does not mark the end of the occupation.Under the Status of Forces Agreement signed by the Iraqi government last year, occupation forces will simply redeploy to large bases on the outskirts of urban areas.
US soldiers will still conduct raids, seize suspects and “support” Iraqi security forces – only now they will require Iraqi government permission first.
Under the agreement all US troops should leave the country by 2011. Yet US secretary of state Robert Gates admitted that he expects tens of thousands of troops to remain.
A provision in the agreement allows troops to re-enter the country if it is “threatened by insurrection”.
The US wants to stabilise Iraq in order to shift troops to Afghanistan. The military hope that by lowering the profile of the occupation it can claim that the country has regained its sovereignty.
But the move simply embeds the occupation.
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and the war drags on
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