Saturday, July 18, 2009

The empty bread basket

First up, community business. Ann's started her own site, Ann's Mega Dub. She came up with the title to nod to her husband's site (and he helped some on the title). I did add it to the links last night but I'd already finished filling in for Elaine when Ann called and said she was going to start it. Ann filled in for Ruth for the month of June and just finished filling in for Mike last night.

Yesterday the US military announced 3 deaths. Today the Dept of Defense released the following:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died July16 in Basra of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using indirect fire.

Killed were:

Spc. Daniel P. Drevnick, 22, of Woodbury, Minn.;

Spc. James D. Wertish, 20, of Olivia, Minn.; and

Spc. Carlos E. Wilcox IV, 27, of Cottage Grove, Minn.

All three soldiers were assigned to the 34th Military Police Company, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, Stillwater, Minn.

For more information on these soldiers, media may contact the Minnesota Army National Guard Public Affairs Office at 651-282-4410.

Hank Long (Woodbury Bulletin) quotes Minnesota National Guard Adjudant General Larry Shellito declaring, "We mourn the loss of these three soldiers; they were truly part of our National Guard family. We will never forget the dedication, loyalty and bravery shown by these soldiers for the United States of America and the state of Minnesota. I ask that you keep these soldiers, their families and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers now and forever."
City Basra police chief Maj Gen Adil Daham, AP states that a supect has been arrested in the attack.

Meanwhile Mike Tharp explores the dwindling farming in Iraq in "Once World's bread basket, Iraq now a farming basket case" (McClatchy Newspapers) and we'll note this section:

Just ask Naji Habeeb, 85. His family has been growing rice in this village 135 miles southeast of Baghdad for generations. Thin green shoots stick out of the flat paddies, shin-deep in brown water.
The Iraqi government, he claims, still owes him half of what he's due from last year's crop. He turned it in months ago and still hasn't been paid. "Shall I suck my fingers and eat like a baby?" he shouted. "The Ministry (of Agriculture) will never know my family is hungry!"
Habeeb's family members have farmed the 538-square-foot plot next to a branch of the Euphrates River the same way for centuries. Except today they till with tractors, run water pumps with gasoline and spread artificial fertilizer. They plant seedlings by hand in June and July, irrigate and keep bugs and disease away in the summer heat, harvest by hand in October.

Some may not remember this, maybe they didn't screeching e-mails from the spokespeople a paper quoted, but the US military, years ago, was pimping the "We are teaching Iraqis how to farm! They will have date farms! They will have . . ." They have nothing and the point back then made here was that your problems were irrigation and pollution, that the irrigation and the rivers needed to be addressed. We didn't touch on the issue of damns, my mistake. But the military talking point was that Iraq would be a breadbasket again and it would be thanks to the US military and blah, blah, blah. To the one who wrote repeatedly (because apparently that's what you do when you serve in the spin wing of the military), I'm still not eating my words. How 'bout you?

What's going on currently was all completely predictable and we noted what was happening and what would happen. This isn't the worst of it, this isn't the bottom. And it's amazing that approximately three years ago the US military lied big time and the New York Times was happy to run with it. They didn't do journalism, journalism would have been questioning those laughable assertions. And all this time later, they still avoid returning to that article, they still avoid going after that spin that they swallowed and repeated -- repeated and presented as fact when it never was.

We'll note this from Sherwood Ross' "BUSH, CHENEY, TOLD LAWYERS TO GIVE THEM CRIMINAL ADVICE" (Veterans Today):

Torture instigators George Bush and Dick Cheney should not be allowed to evade prosecution on grounds they acted in good faith on their lawyers’ advice because they told their lawyers what advice to give. "Could Al Capone or ‘Lucky’ Luciana receive immunity for acting in accordance with the advice of counsel when they told counsel what to advise?" asks Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.
"(Vice-President) Cheney and (President) Bush knew that they were ordering violations of law," Velvel points out. "The fact that they were doing so, and were well aware they were doing so, was one of the reasons why they, like a significant number of CIA officials who knew the same, demanded that lawyers produce legal cover for them in the form of Office of Legal Counsel memos authored by the likes of (John) Yoo and (Steven) Bradbury."
Lower level CIA and military personnel that did not read the supposedly exculpatory memos, Velvel said, also cannot claim reliance on legal counsel because "they had to know that torture was forbidden no matter what some lawyers said. You could not grow up in America and not know this" any more than a person could claim murder was lawful because some lawyer told him so, Velvel writes.
"People who grew up in America cannot realistically claim that they thought it was lawful to beat people mercilessly, to smash their heads against walls, to kill about one hundred of them apparently, to hang them from ceiling hooks, to make them freeze, to deny them sleep for weeks on end, and so forth," Velvel writes in an essay in his new book "America 2008" from Doukathsan Press.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Cedric's Big Mix
1 hour ago

The Daily Jot
1 hour ago

Mikey Likes It!
Mike's back Monday
20 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Ann starts a site, Cronkite passes away, and . . .
21 hours ago

Ann's Mega Dub
21 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
Analyzing the circus
22 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
gordo's got more problems
22 hours ago

Lie Face Melissa Harris Lacewell
22 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
Fries in the Kitchen
22 hours ago

Ruth's Report
What do you mean 'us,' Missy Comley Beattie?
22 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Melissa Harris Lacewell is an idiot
22 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
'Poor' Sharon Smith
22 hours ago

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends