Sunday, October 18, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

Alsumaria reports that US-installed thug of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki spent yesterday bloviating and puffing his chest about how the 'evil-doers' would be brought to 'justice' as he appeared at Baghdad's Al Rashid Hotel to grand stand on the two month anniversary of Black Wednesday or Bloody Wednesday or Gory Wednesday. That was August 19th and yesterday was August 17th but apparently a photo-op was needed for Nouri. Try to remember a two-month 'anniversary' 9-11 photo-op by Bully Boy Bush. There wasn't one. But Nouri's damn determined to milk Black Wednesday for all it's worth (and needed a domestic photo op before he heads for DC later this week to meet with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden). As he grand stands on a pile of corpses, remember the US installed him in 2006 and US forces have been trapped in Iraq attempting to prop up the exile's illegitimate regime.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was the same as tonight? 4349. Stephen Perez is one of the 4349, he died while serving in Iraq on April 13, 2006. Saturday St. Anthony Catholic High School held a ceremony honoring Perez and retiring his Yellow Jacket football jersey number 87. Nancy Preyor-Johnson (San Antonio Express-News) reports the jersey was given to his family on the field before the start of the homecoming game and that a scholarship in Stephen Perez name has been started:

Perez's mother, Diana Perez, said she planned to add his retired jerseys to her collection of memorabilia -- photos, knickknacks and military honors such as a Purple Heart -- that fill her office.
"I call it my comfort room," she said. "It's the memories that have helped me get through each day."

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left three more injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded two people, a Baghdad car bombing which claimed 5 lives and left fifteen people injured, a Mosul car bombing which left four people injured and a Babil bombing which claimed 1 life and left seven people injured. Reuters notes a Baghdad motorcycle bombing which claimed 3 lives and left fourteen injured, a Haswa roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left nine people wounded and, dropping back to yesterday, notes a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured three.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province clash in which the Iraqi military shot and wounded two Iraqi border guards. Reuters drops back to yesterday to note an attack on a Mosul police checkpoint in which 1 child was killed and five people were left injured.

Violence continued but those waiting for news of the draft election law waited in vain. The law was supposed to be passed no later than last Thursday. A hallmark of the Nouri 'government,' the deadline was not met thereby throwing the idea that elections might be held in January into question. Alsumaria reports Iraqi MP Yunadim Kanna is asking that "effective representation of Christians in Parliament" be guaranteed. For those who have forgotten, behind closed doors, the law on the quotas for Iraqi Christians was rewritten immediately prior to the January 2009 provincial elections in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces. This was done behind closed doors and revealed after the fact when it was too late to change it back. Expect more 'surprises' if and when the law passes. Patrick Martin (Globe & Mail) reports on his encounter in Iraq with a Sunni:

As the former diplomat and I walked the final 200 meters or so to the walled home where he was staying, he told me he had heard that there was a conspiracy being planned by the leaders of the Shia community to convulse the country in a new civil war. "They work for Iran," he said.
"You Westerners are always lecturing us about democracy, as if it's some magic cure," he chided me.
"Well look what it's brought us: hundreds of political parties and rampant corruption."
"The politicians lie to the people just to get elected, especially Hakim," he said, referring to Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the country's largest Shia religious party.
"God help us," he said. "What this country needs is another dictator.
That's the only way to keep those people in line."

Meanwhile Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports some Iraqis will be able to vote for Mustafa Kamal Shibeeb who is currently on the run from murder charges:

Already, police commandos have tried to grab him twice, only to be blocked by an Iraqi army unit, with tacit support from U.S. forces.
Shibeeb's story reveals the volatility of today's Iraq, where Sunni-Shiite tensions are just one of the conflicts at play. His vulnerability illustrates how the Iraqi government and security forces remain subject to competing political and tribal pressures, and score-settling, that risk igniting new violence.
If Shibeeb is jailed, it could leave a power vacuum in Dora, a region of sprawling urban neighborhoods and pristine farmland that served as a launching pad for suicide attacks into Baghdad before Shibeeb asserted control.
His incarceration also could be seized upon as further indication of the limits of reconciliation in Iraq, where Sunni former military commanders and insurgents are viewed with suspicion and sometimes targeted because of old grudges or political rivalries.

Tell us again about progress in Iraq -- you know, the story that starts with, "Once upon a
time . . ."

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statment of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: Responsible Withdrawal
TV: Piss Queens
TV: The Homophobic Show
Whatever happened to the facts?
Simon Assaf's 'Violence continues in Iraq'
Over 1,164 US troops may have been exposed to Sodium Diochromate

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes "Military father who snubbed Tony Blair speaks out: 'Let's stop the bloody wars'" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Peter Brierley, whose son Shaun was killed in Iraq in 2003, made headlines last week by accusing Tony Blair of having blood on his hands at an Iraq war commemoration service. Peter spoke to Siân Ruddick about his opposition to the “war on terror”
What do you think about the war in Afghanistan?
At first I felt hypocritical condemning the war in Afghanistan. One of the reasons I was opposed to the Iraq war was that it was illegal, but Afghanistan was sanctioned by the United Nations.
But I realised that there was no difference between the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
You just have to look at the situation in Afghanistan – there is no clear plan and soldiers are dying every day.
We could be there for ten or 100 years and it’ll be the same story. More lads will be killed and no one will be able to say we “won”.
Before your son died, how did you see the war in Iraq?
I believed we were under threat and we had to go to war to defend ourselves. I believed what the government said about weapons of mass destruction.
I changed my mind when Shaun died. I started to campaign, really to keep Shaun’s name going so that he didn’t just become a number.
I remember standing in Leeds, arguing with people on the Stop the War Coalition stall.
I believed what Tony Blair told us and so did Shaun. Shaun died believing he was protecting his country.
What do you think about the reasons our government has given for the war?
I don’t think that terrorism is the true reason we’re there. Some may emanate from the region but most is the result of a backlash against the invasion.
It was never as clear-cut as George Bush and Tony Blair said it was after 9/11.
Many people have been drawn into the resistance from other countries, including Britain, as a reaction to the war.
Do you see yourself as part of the anti-war movement?
I do now, yes. In the beginning I was campaigning on my own for the release of the legal advice that Blair used to justify the war to parliament.
When it was leaked I went on Channel 4 News and I said that we needed an inquiry.
That same day I got a call from the Stop the War Coalition, which was starting legal action against the government.
A few days after that I went and handed in a petition with others from Military Families Against the War.
I’ve been on quite a few demos now.
What do you want to say to the government?
My message to the government is: this is an unfair, unjust war. Bring the troops home now.
Who gave it permission to go and invade another country?
People have different ways of life and we can’t say to them, “Live by our laws.”
The only thing we’ve taught people in Afghanistan is how to fix votes, as happened in the recent elections.
Why is it important to support the march on 24 October to bring the troops home?
The government will see the troops out of Afghanistan demonstration in London on 24 October and take notice. I believe marching makes a difference.
I started campaigning for two reasons – to keep Shaun’s name alive and to get an inquiry.
I believe I have done the first one. And it took six and a half years to get an inquiry but we got it.
By being on the streets we get closer to the point of bringing the troops home.
Everyone should bring one or two other people – people who have never been on a demonstration before, who aren’t activists.
There are people everywhere who watch the demonstrations on TV but don’t come out.
I used to be the person who sat in the chair. I didn’t know who to contact to get involved but I’d watch the protests and think, “I want to be part of that.”
It took my son’s death to push me into doing something.
Demonstrate to show the government that we are strong.
Afghanistan: bring the troops home, assemble 12 noon, Saturday 24 October, Hyde Park, London: March to Trafalgar Square.
© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.
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