Monday, August 03, 2009

The Iraq War has not ended

Well Barack Obama was sworn in as the president of the US and the Iraq War ended and . . . what's that? It didn't.

No, it didn't. The coverage of it ended, the protests against it ended, but the illegal war continues to drag on. Last month the DoD announced: "Spc. Herberth A. Berrios-Campos, 21, of Bealeton, Va., died July 24 in Salman Pak, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation." Catherine Cheney (Washington Post) reports on Berrios-Campos and notes the 21-year-old's survivors include his parents Jose Campos and Armida Carballo.

In addition, troops continue deploying to Iraq. Michael Tsai (Honolulu Advertiser) informs that "For the past two days, a hundred personnel from the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command-599th Transportation Group, Fleet Industrial Support Center-Pearl Harbor, U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai'i, Director of Logistics have been working day and night to load 90 helicopters and approximately 900 pieces of equipment onto a transport ship for the brigade's departure to Iraq on Tuesday." Sarah M. Rivette (Watertown Daily Times) adds that "the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade and 10th Sustainment Brigade have been increasing operations in a new support role for U.S. and Iraqi forces. The Sustainment Brigade, operating out of Multinational Division-Baghdad, soon will begin providing logistical support for an additional 20,000 troops stationed in one-third of Iraq. An additional 800 soldiers will fall under the unit's command before the brigade returns to Fort Drum in October." Judy Sinolis (Richmond's CBS 6) explains, "Virginia Beach based National Guard Military Police Unit will" deploy approximately 150 soldiers to Iraq.

That's a lot of troops heading to Iraq -- for a supposedly 'over' war. Scott Fontaine (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) explains approximately "75 members of Fort Lewis' 602nd Forward Support Company" are receiving welding courses in prep for their deployment to Iraq. Writing for the Albany Democrat-Herald, US Spc Cory Grogan reports:

Soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard's 2-218 Field Artillery's First Platoon, 2nd Squad, were reminded that Iraq is still a combat zone when they were struck by two separate improvised explosive devices last week.
The squad is with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which includes the Oregon National Guard's 1-82nd Calvary from Lebanon.
The soldiers have been in Iraq for about two weeks, and were conducting their first and second missions in a seven-vehicle convoy when the blast occurred. They were en route to meet the vehicles they were going to escort. No one was seriously injured.

In the face of reality, McClatchy's Mike Tharp goes nutty penning such high-lairous statements as this (for the Merced Sun-Star): "One important measuring stick, especially if you live in Iraq, is the level of violence. It's been falling for almost two years. Each week, 60 to 80 Iraqis are killed and a couple hundred wounded, but U.S. KIA/WIA have dropped to their lowest point since the 2003 U.S. invasion. (In June more Iraqi civilians were killed than in any month over the past year.) The drop-off in dead and maimed has continued after the historic pullback of U.S. combat forces from major Iraqi cities on June 30. That bodes well for Iraqis and Americans alike, if it can be sustained. The violence metric -- another military term of art -- suggests that the insurgency which brought Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006-2007 is losing." What historic pullback, Mikey? Hmmm. US troops continue to patrol Mosul. US bases in cities meant some pull outs really didn't happen. Were you stoned, Mikey? Did you take a few tokes before you wrote that? Claiming that violence is this or that is really hilarious. Let's visit the real world and drop back to the July 24th snapshot:

Meanwhile John Hacker (Carthage Press) speaks with Isaac "Jerry" Conway who explains "his grandson, U.S. Army Spec. David Conway II, was injured in the Iraqi city of Sharqat when an improvised explosive device exploded near him while he was leaving a meeting with local officials. Also injured were six other American soldiers and two Iraqi civilians working with the soldiers." Conway says the incident took place July 12th.

Help me out, Mike Tharp, McClatchy covered that July 12th assault when? Let me answer: Never. No major US paper has covered it -- or any broadcast or cable network. How does an assault which results in seven wounded US soldiers not make the news? Because the reporters are gone or in Iraq but in hiding. "Look over there! Write about that!" Mike Tharp doesn't know what the hell is going on in Iraq and the proof is in the fact that he's overseeing McClatchy's reporting from Iraq and no one wrote that story. Not one person. July 12th, in the period he's 'writing on' for his bad column.

Staying with McClatchy columns, Joe Galloway covers the memo by Col Timothy Reese, something Tharp forgot to write about and forgot to assign to the Iraqi reporters and never mentioned. Galloway observes:

At this point, the colonel declares, it is time for us to declare victory and go home before things get a whole lot worse.
The Pentagon, predictably, dismisses the Reese memo as one man's personal view and one that is already outdated. Things between the American and Iraqi forces and governments are much better now than they were on June 30.
Uh-huh. Sure they are.
We have suggested a speedup in our Iraq withdrawal several times before in this column. Doubtless we will do so many more times in the future.
Our combat troops have now withdrawn to the huge central bases where life is much better and the work less of a life-and-death matter.
Why do we need our troops sitting there for another two years at such a phenomenal cost, when their hosts, the Iraqi people, don't want them there anymore?
We have other, more pressing issues to deal with at home and abroad. It is going to take time to reset our Army and rebuild and refurbish or replace hundreds of billions of dollars worth of equipment chewed up or used up in six-plus years of war in Iraq.

If you're late to this story, NPR offered a really bad 'report' on it over the weekend. Despite the fact that this was news on Thursday and on the front page of the New York Times Friday morning, NPR didn't treat it as news until Sunday. Where does the McMoney go?

HDS Greenway explores the memo in "Let Iraqis go their own way" (Global Post):

This is the unending dilemma of colonial powers that see the need to withdraw but don’t want to leave too much of a mess behind. At what point to you take your hand off the bicycle and let your dependencies peddle on their own?
President Richard Nixon hoped to build up the forces of the Republic of South Vietnam so that American forces could comfortably withdraw. Some people spoke of a decent interval, a time of quiet and stability before the whole house of cards collapsed.
Revisionists say that we had basically won the Vietnam War by 1974, and if we had only stayed on to advise and provide air power and ammunition we might not have lost. That ignores the fact that the North Vietnamese always had the capability to lick their wounds and come back again in their struggle to unite their country. The timing was always up to the enemy. It also ignores the fact that, in democracies, citizens grow weary of colonial wars that last too long and cost too much.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Full On Federline" went up last night. The e-mail address for this site is