The New York Times editorializes today in a pompous and uninformed manner. Sunnis, they tell you, are responsible for the latest waves of attacks in Iraq. Really? That's cute. Especially if you've followed military press briefings in the last three weeks and especially if you grasp that northern Iraq is not the sole location of violence. But the paper wasn't all that concerned with a recent shelling, now were they? The rush to blame the Sunni's isn't all that different from what happened following the end of July bankrobbery. It was Sunnis!!!! Except . . . it turned out it wasn't. It was Shi'ites. Bodyguards for Iraq's Shi'ite vice president, in fact. Instead of pretending to be able to peer into hearts and minds or playing Miss Marple, the paper would be better served addressing what is -- addressing what is in the illegal war they helped sell -- the same illegal war they are reselling. The paper pretends to be concerned about the average Iraqi:
There is still no law guaranteeing that Iraq's oil revenue will be shared equitably among Shiites, Sunnis (whose areas have the least oil) and Kurds. Washington seems reconciled to more delay. That is a dangerous course. It must press Mr. Maliki and the Parliament to complete action on this legislation this year.
There is a law letting former Baath Party members reclaim jobs or pensions they lost after the American invasion. But it has not been carried out. This affects the Sunni professional class, since party membership was required for professional advancement. Mr. Maliki should order all government institutions -- Iraq's main employer by far -- to end this discriminatory treatment.
Many of the nearly 100,000 members of the Sunni Awakening Councils -- the former insurgents who decided with American encouragement and support to come in from the cold -- still have not gotten the pay and jobs in the security forces or civil service they were promised. Wooing the Awakening members helped choke off an incipient civil war. Not delivering on these promises could restart one.
Where do they start? With the oil. They're not concerned with the distribution, they want the other part of the oil law pushed through, the guarantee of the theft of Iraqi oil. It's cute the way they reveal themselves, isn't it? As for the Ba'athist law. Under Paul Bremer, Ba'athist were driven out and demonized in a process dubbed "de-Ba'athification." So de-de-Ba'athification has been needed for some time. Nouri was supposed to have addressed this. Addressed it and implemented it. That's part of the 2007 White House benchmarks -- benchmarks that Nouri signed off on. The law the paper trumpets today? It hasn't been implemented. But guess what? As anyone's who has paid a damn bit of attention the benchmarks damn well knows, it doesn't matter if it is implemented. As it exists now, it's a bunch of words with no measuring device to determine whether or not it actually is bringing Ba'athist back into the process via job hires, etc. The law is empty words. If the paper hadn't been so worried about pushing the theft of Iraqi oil, they might have grasped that.
Staying with opinion writing, Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift offer "We won. Now let's just leave" (Pocono Record):
It may be a career-ender for Col. Timothy R. Reese, whose memo saying it's time to withdraw from Iraq was leaked to The New York Times. Reese is a senior adviser to the Baghdad command, and he argues that American troops have done all they can in Iraq, that it's time to declare victory and leave. He says the Iraqi army isn't getting any better by having U.S. troops there, and all that lies ahead are diminishing returns.
Reese has been assailed as a troublemaker with critics noting that his views appeared on the Internet before they made it to the vaunted Times. Setting aside his methodology and whether he violated military protocol, he is correct in advocating the withdrawal of all U.S. military troops by August of 2010, more than a year earlier than the administration's goal.
Clift will be on NPR this morning and we'll note that at the end of the entry. Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) reports that Brig Gen Peter Bayer Jr. has "condemned Reese as 'uninformed' and insisted the memo just amounted to 'one officer's view, written fairly early after June 30, who has a limited viewpoint'." Meanwhile Susanne M. Schafer (AP) reports on "irregular warfare" -- where airplanes will "buzz" targets and then bomb and they quote Air Force Lt. Gen. Gilmary Hostage (who is charge of the Air Force operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan) stating, "The first thing we do is fly over head, and the bad guys know airpower is in place and oftentimes that's enough. That ends the fight, they vamoose. The A-10 has a very distinct sound. The cannon on an A-10 is horrifically capable and our adversaries know it. When they hear the sound of an A-10, they scatter."
Turning to Iraq's border issues. October 26, 2008, the US made the border issues more difficult. That's when US forces crossed into Syria and conducted a raid. US helicopters dropped the US service members into Syria and at least 8 Syrian civilians were killed in the assault.
The fallout was not pretty.
Then-White House spokesperson Dana Perino was tasked with saying nothing repeatedly and here are some of the her remarks the Monday after the assault:
"The United States government has not commented on reports about that and I'm not able to here either."
*"I can't comment on it at all, no."
*"I'm not going to comment in any way on this; I'm not able to comment on that."
*"I'm not going to comment on the reports about this, no, I'm not. Anybody else?"
*"I'm not going to comment on it at all. This could be a really short briefing."
*"I don't know. I don't know."
*"Jim, all I can tell you is that I am not able to comment on reports about this reported incident and I'm not going to do so. You can come up here and try to beat it out of me, but I will not be commenting on this in any way, shape or form today."
*"I don't believe anybody is commenting on this at all."
*"To give you an answer to that would be commenting in some way on it and I'm not going to it."
"*I understand the reports are serious but it's not something I'm going to comment on in any way."
Yesterday, George Baghdadi (CBS News) reported on an attempted thaw in relations as Maj Gen Michael Moeller led a US delegation to Damascus for talks. We didn't note that yesterday although a CBS friend asked that we do. We didn't have room and I wasn't going to make it for a piece that refers to "Syria's state-run media" but fails to note the recent complicated history between the US and Syria. Translation, no mention of the well covered raid in October 2008? No need for me to rush to hand out a link. State-run media? Well self-censorsing US media really has no right to finger point, now does it? See the Telegraph of London, Tony Perry (Babylon and Beyond, Los Angeles Times), Ellen Knickmeyer and Ernesto Londono (Washington Post), CNN, and Borzou Daragahi and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times), and Martin Sieff (UPI) for some real time reporting on the raid. When one country raids another, it's news.
Adam Kokesh is running for the US Congress, from the third Congressional district in New Mexico. Here he offers (video link) his objections to **the Federal Reserve **. [C.I. note, corrected to Federal Reserve from ObamaCare.] (Francisco noted that and notes "this is not a left view but people need to pay attention to these objections, they are geunine and not trumped up." Francisco is in the third district and is planning to vote for Adam. He'll be writing about the topic this Sunday in El Spirito.) Adam also notes (link has text and video):
While I am inclined to thank Keith Olbermann (it happens on rare occasions!) for his recent segment on Countdown exposing the crimes of Erik Prince's Xe (formerly Blackwater) and all of the ways in which they are making things difficult for the troops in Iraq, I am much more inclined to point out his glaring hypocrisy. He has always been keen to hold accountable the proponents of an unconstitutional foreign policy and spared no breath to underscore the personal culpability of "Mr. Bush." Now that it's Obama who is employing people responsible for murder, excessive use of force, illegal drug use, and child prostitution in Iraq, he gets no mention. Obama gets a pass for his crimes. This just goes to show the moral baselessness of the “progressive philosophy,” if you could pin Olbermann down on exactly what that is any easier than you could catch a leprechaun.
For more information on Adam Kokesh's campaign, click here.
NOW on PBS rebroadcasts a show from March of this year on what happens to your health care if you lose your job? You can go on COBRA . . . if you can afford it. (A community member writes in today's gina & krista round-robin about paying approximately $250 a month and now, to get COBRA, she'll have to pay over $750 a month -- and you have to decide in the very brief window of time.) The program examines Las Vegas where "the only public hospital" closed the doors on "cancer patients and pregnant women". On Washington Week, Gwen sits around the table with Michael Duffy (Time magazine), Janet Hook (Los Angeles Times), James Kitfield (National Journal) and Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News). Bonnie Erbe and her guestsEleanor Holmes Norton, Melinda Henneberger, Leslie Sanchez and Sabrina Schaeffer explore population growth on this week's edition of PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, all four PBS shows begin airing tonight on many PBS stations. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
Coming Up On 60 Minutes
The former pro quarterback speaks in his first interview since he admitted to participating in the illegal dogfighting that resulted in a prison sentence and his suspension from the NFL. James Brown is the correspondent. | Watch Video
America's New Air Force
Increasingly, the U.S. military is relying on un-manned, often armed aircraft to track and destroy the enemy - sometimes controlled from bases thousands of miles away from the battlefront. Lara Logan reports. | Watch Video
The British rock group that has taken its place among the most popular bands in the world gives 60 Minutes a rare look inside its world that includes a candid interview with frontman Chris Martin. Steve Kroft reports. | Watch Video
60 Minutes Sunday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
NPR's The Diane Rehm Show features their news roundup discussions today, the show begins broadcasting on most NPR stations and streaming live online at 10:00 a.m. EST. The first hour is the domestic hour and joining Diane are Jackie Calmes (New York Times), Eleanor Clift (Newsweek) and Matthew Continetti (Weekly Standard). The second hour is the international hour and joining Diane for that news discussion are Abderrahim Foukara (Aljazeera), Elise Labott (CNN) and Waren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers).
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