Monday, July 20, 2009

US military sitting ducks, 6 Iraqi police officers killed

The tip was as alarming as it was unusual. A Sunni insurgent cell was planning a mortar attack on a large U.S. base adjacent to Baghdad's airport.
A credible informant told U.S. intelligence officials Tuesday morning that several mortars launching from nearby Amiriyah, a quiet neighborhood that had not been a staging ground for rocket or mortar attacks since 2007, would rain down shells on the base that night.
Over the next few days, Capt. Dustin Navarro and his Iraqi army counterpart wrangled over the appropriate response. They met, argued, sparred and compromised. In the end, two things became evident: First, Iraqi and American commanders have markedly different notions of what U.S. troops in Baghdad are entitled to do to protect themselves under a security agreement that went into effect July 1 and that sharply limits U.S. activity in Iraqi cities.

The above is from Ernesto Londono's "U.S. Troops in Iraq Find Little Leeway" (Washington Post) which examines the US role as babysitters and sitting ducks, as targets and and lightening rods. Read it and wonder how anyone can justify the continuation of the US presence in Iraq? All US troops need to be out of Iraq and out of Iraq right now. It may take a Somolia type incident for that realization to really hit home. If such an incident takes place, there will be little of the deference (wrongly) shown to the current administration in the US. If that happens, Barack will have to explain just what the hell is doing? It's something a real peace movement would have forced him to explain months ago -- around the time he dropped his "one brigade out a month" claim.

We don't have a peace movement in this country currently (maybe it can be rebuilt) just like we don't have independent media. We do have Panhandle Media and, if you doubt that, catch the first half of Democracy Now! today where Queen of all Beggars Amy Goodman is joined by fellow street 'reporters' Robert Parry and Danny Schechter. Listen to the whines and roll your eyes, listen to the self-pity and laugh. Robert Parry, who utilized non-stop sexism throughout 2008, insists, "We have to build something different." Yes, WE do. Something without your sexist garbage. Something without your dated, fumbling approach that is not worth supporting with time or money. What's your excuse? You've always got an excuse. People aren't giving you enough money! Whine, whine, whine. You've been around for over a decade and what the hell have you accomplished online, what can you point to? How pathetic. And no, we don't care if you go under. You have earned your reputation as sexist supreme and we're not supporting you. Danny Schechter. No one breaks my heart as much as Danny.

He knows sexism is wrong. He refused to call out in 2008. He had a million different excuses for staying silent. At one point, he was maintaining privately that Hillary made an issue out of being a woman so certain 'critiques' were okay but, at the same time, he was maintaining that Hillary didn't call out the sexism and that's why others stayed silent. It's funny how in both 'rationales,' the source of the attacks is blamed. You get that, right? In the first one, it's her fault for allegedly making an issue out of being a woman. (She didn't do that. Others -- people on the left who loathed her -- did that throughout 2007 and it was repeated over and over and accepted as fact.) In the second one, the silence on the sexist attacks are her fault as well because she didn't do this or she didn't do that.

She was attacked and it's all her fault? That's a new media we need to support?

We need to support a new media that's nothing but a Democratic Party organ?

Robert Parry and Danny both spent this year being just that. (Danny's shown more independence in the last few weeks.) An independent media should not be taking sides in an election and it certainly should not be rendering Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney's presidential runs invisible. Every time Parry or Danny wrote of Obama's campaign (which was basically every time they wrote), they should have also been covering Ralph and Cynthia's. They didn't.

Because covering those campaigns required more work than thumbing through the New York Times that day and keeping a half-eye on MSNBC. it required a little work. And the ones who want money now, don't understand why people are sick of it?

An independent media is not an arm of the Democratic Party. An independent media does not take partisan sides. It can be left, absolutely. But left does not mean Democratic cheerleader. And that's all our so-called 'alternative' media is today with very few exceptions.

Lastly, on Sunday nights, the hour 60 Minutes airs in? That's prime time. It's considered prime time, it has been considered prime time for decades. So if CBS shelved 60 Minutes last night to air a tribute to Walter Cronkite (I have no idea when it aired, I don't sit in front of the TV), they did present a prime time special on Cronkite. As for the claim regarding the burial of Cronkite's remarks on Vietnam, Ava and I caught Meet The Press Sunday morning. That's the last TV program I've watched and, on that broadcast, in their tiny minute devoted to Cronkite, the Vietnam moment was noted. I have no idea what other programs noted or didn't note but a program that doesn't know what prime time is really isn't a program whose media 'critique' I put a great deal of trust in.

To Saturday's entry, add this from Muhanad Mohammed (Reuters): "Cameras on air balloons monitored the site, the surveillance provided by the U.S. military at Iraq's request. " And thank you to a friend at CNN for passing that along, I had missed it.

Last week say 3 US soldiers killed by mortars targeting a US base. Among the claims surfacing since then is that the suspect is backed by Iran. Iran's Press TV counters:

Political insiders say reports that an Iranian-backed militant has been arrested in Iraq are designed to divert attention from the US role in regional violence.
An Iraqi police official told the Associated Press on Sunday that a member of an Iranian-backed militia has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist attack that killed three US soldiers on Thursday,.
An informed source speaking on conditions of anonymity said Monday that suchlike reports are circulated by US intelligence agencies and the powerful remnants of the Ba'ath Party in a bid to portray Iran as the enemy and influence Iraqi people against their better judgment.

Violence continues in Iraq. Reuters reports multiple shootings and two bombings: a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed the life of 1 police officer, a Ramadi car bombing which claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi police officers with a third injured and three bystanders also wounded, 1 police officer shot dead in east Mosul, 1 police officer shot dead in southwest Mosul and 1 off-duty police officer shot dead in central Mosul. Six Iraqi police officers killed in today's violence.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barry and TOTUS" went up last night.

The e-mail address for this site is

the washington post
ernesto londono