Thursday, September 03, 2009

US military announces the deaths of 2 US soldiers

Today the US military issued the following announcement: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -- Two Multi-National Division - North Soldiers were killed and five wounded in a vehicle rollover accident in the Diyala province of northern Iraq Sept. 2. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the website no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." ICCC is currently down but the announcement should bring the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4338. (It was 4336 on Sunday.)

As noted in the previous entry, AP's Kim Gamel files an in-depth report on Camp Ashraf and, in it, quotes an anonymous "senior US military official" stating, "We could not become decisively engaged with a situation that really is up to the sovereign Iraqi government to settle in a peaceful manner as they have assured us that they would do. Even in a situation that allowed engagement, we didn't have nearly the amount of forces present to jump in the middle of this fray."

So why is the US military still in Iraq? Why is a long 'withdrawal' of "combat" troops planned when that will only create more moments where the US military can't step forward and watches as an assault takes place. Which is one of the scenarios then-Senator Joe Biden tossed out during an April 2008 Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing he chaired. Another was that the US military remaining on the ground in Iraq would be utilized to prop up Nouri's government and attack Iraqi civilians. So why is the US not leaving immediately and quickly? Exactly how long will thug of the occupation Nouri be humored?

Before he'd been so funny
Imagining the best
That he'd escape recrimination
For abandoning the nest
He'd been joking and stoned
While he was entertaining me
But then turned and was stunned
By her panic and her misery

And I was in the get-away car
Giving him a chance, to get away
Get away, get away

And how the valley smoked
As he crossed Route 25
With his cymbals and his shattered crown
Leaving all alone
His eyes fixed on the ground
And he didn't need turn around so strong
Was the message
And he fell into the shallow sky
And was swallowed

Well they bellowed and they hollered
And they threw each other down
Down in this valley
This cruel and lovely valley
Well it should have been an alley
In some low down part of town
-- "Memorial Day," written by Carly Simon from 1979's Spy.

Spy features the classic "Never Been Gone" and it is among the songs she's redone for Never Been Gone, Carly's latest (and mainly acoustic) album which will be released October 27th. (The album also contains two new compositions.)

Oliver August (Times of London) reports on the 'plan' to withdraw US "combat" troops from Iraq and he paints it as incredible difficult, "a logistics feat," when it is no such thing. There were more US service members in Vietnam in 1972 than are in Iraq now and George McGovern ran for the presidency with a plan to withdraw all in six weeks. It was possible.

When tensions at home required Georgia (country, not US state) to withdraw their military at the start of 2008, they did so quickly demonstrating that the US could, in fact, do a complete and full withdrawal in six weeks.

Anyone who tells you it's not possible is either uninformed or a liar. As commander in chief, all Barack has to do is give the order and the US military would make it happen. "A more difficult task is the removal of 100,000 vehicles, including tanks," August writes. But then goes on to note: "After six years of heavy use, much of the US military’s equipment is in a bad state. Bases are littered with broken air-conditioners, leaking generators and discarded barbecues."

Exactly. The bulk of the machinery does not need to be brought back and, check out the military's wishlist, you'll see that a large number of things being brought back are due to be replaced shortly.

Give it to Iraq. Give it to Kuwait. Over half the equipment and machinery can easily be transported out of Iraq (with all US troops, ALL) in six weeks. A little over third of the equipment and machinery does not need to be brought back. Which really means that the inventory would have to be reviewed and some choices to do a FULL withdrawal in six weeks.

Barack's not doing a withdrawal. He's removing "combat" troopos. We've long noted that more than 50,000 US troops would remain in Iraq -- we've noted that since the election. And that's because, as repeatedly pointed out, that's what the White House has been saying privately. Oliver August doesn't address the fact that the press began whispering in sotto voice in the last 13 or so days that, golly, 75,000 US troops may remain in Iraq. (After the 'withdrawal' of 'combat' troops.)

"I'm standing on the banks of the Tigris River where the water is so low the banks are cracked and dry," declares NPR's Deborah Amos (Morning Edition). "There's been a two year drought decades of war and mismangement. But Iraq once had the most fertile lands in the region. The Tigris is a reminder that's there's an environmental disaster."

It's an important report at any time but it's especially important at a time when Nouri's created an international incident with the Syrian government. Nouri's attempting to force them to hand over to guests in their country, former Ba'athists. And since the law isn't on Nouri's side, he's resorted to bluster. As the tensions have risen, Turkey was presented as a broker in the dispute.

A broker?

Iraq and Syria will listen to Turkey why?

As Deborah Amos pointed out, Iraq's suffering from a drought. Turkey has water. Some say it has water as a result of damns. Some in Iraq say that.

Ivan Watson and Yesim Comert (CNN) report ministers of the three countries met in Anakara today and the topic was water: "Baghdad and Damascus want Turkey, where the source of the Tigris and Euphrates is located, to increase the flow of water passing through its network of dams." Ibon Villelabeitia and Diana Abdallah (Reuters) report, "Turkey has failed to meet a pledge to release more water down the Euphrates and Tigris rivers to Iraq, an Iraqi minister said on Thursday, and called for a coordinated water policy in the region."

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