Sunday, October 25, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

As police picked over the rubble, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki toured the site where more than 130 people were killed in the worst terrorist attack in the country in two years.
The sound of the second blast was captured by a mobile phone video camera being used to survey the aftermath of the first. Targeted was the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice, just a few hundred metres from the fortified green zone in Baghdad. Since US troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the beginning of June, local forces' security measures have been under pressure. Another bombing in late August targeted government ministries. This time the blasts were more deadly, seemingly timed for the start of the working week.

The above is from Shane McLeod's report for The World Today (link has text and audio, Austraila's ABC) and, yes, violence is getting attention for Iraq. Today's bombings, like Bloody Wednesday in August, set a new record for the last two years. (101 was the death toll for Bloody Wednesday.) In what followed some usual and telling actions took place. But the main point is probably that after six years and counting, where's that so-called 'progress'? You have to drop back to 2006 to find a bombing with a higher death toll. That's progress?

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 4349. Tonight? 4351.

Today Reuters reported on Saturday violence such as 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Mosul and a drive-by Mosul shooting which claimed the life of 1 civilian.

And surely there were many incidents of violence taking place across Iraq; however, the Baghdad bombings have sucked up all the attention.

The US State Dept released the following statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

I want to personally express my heartfelt condolences to the victims of today's savage attacks in Baghdad and for the tragic loss of so many Iraqi lives. I strongly condemn the bombings at the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and the headquarters of the Baghdad Provincial Administration.
These despicable terrorist attacks seek to undermine the impressive progress that Iraq has made towards stability and self-reliance. They will not succeed. They will not deter Iraqis from administering justice based on the rule of law and carrying out their legitimate responsibilities in governing Baghdad.
We stand by all Iraqis, at this crucial time leading up to national elections, and we pledge to join them in working together to combat all forms of violence and attempts at intimidation. Those responsible for such horrific acts must be pursued and brought to justice in accordance with Iraqi law.
We will continue to support the people and government of Iraq in fighting terrorism. We mourn the senseless loss of life and extend our condolences to the victims' families, friends, and community.

BBC News adds:

US President Barack Obama has led international condemnation of Sunday's double suicide bomb attack in Baghdad that killed at least 132 people.
Mr Obama branded the attacks - the worst in more than two years in Iraq - "hateful and destructive".

What a load of s**t. The bombings are not terrorism. Calling the bombings 'terrorism' is a tactic of the US government to cast an air of legitimacy to the Baghdad government they installed -- a government of exiles and CIA assets, a government that is non-reflective of the Iraqi people and doesn't bother to pretend to represent them unless on the campaign trail.

The Iraqi people have elected no goverment, they have not been allowed to choose democracy if that was even the system they would elect to choose. Their country has been bombed and raided non-stop over the last years.

The bombings are not representive of the Iraqi people -- they are representative of some Iraqi people and that's more anyone can say for the so-called Iraqi government out of Baghdad.

The US government lies to provide even more cover for the government they installed. You'll note when the genocide took place from 2006 to 2007, no one called that "genocide" -- no one in the US government. They won't even call it genocide, they refer to it as a 'civil war.' As if arming and funding one side and allowing them to go after another is a civil war with two equal sides.

The bombings were not an act of terrorism, they were the latest in a series of attacks and counter-attacks in an ongoing war, the illegal Iraq War. When US planes were dropping bombs on Baghdad, no one in the US government called that "terrorism" -- they insisted it was "war." So were today's bombings. But the White House is desperate to control the language and the message.

In part because they're responsible for these bombings. The US government is responsible and not just because it started an illegal war but also because they've lied repeatedly (Barack lied all last week and is hoping his statements from last week aren't splashed across the front pages of newspapers and also that people don't grasp who was in Baghdad last week and who wasn't -- Nouri wasn't the only one checking out last week). There's a lot of embarrassment and a lot of blame that the White House is attempting to escape and, truth is, with a diffident and lackadaisical press, they'll probably escape scott free.

Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) notes that the charge of "al Qaeda in Iraq" is already been made. Mohammed al Dulaimy and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers -- link has text and video) add, "Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, released a statement blaming elements of Saddam Hussein's predominantly Sunni Baath Party and militants from al Qaida in Iraq for the attack. As of late Sunday, no group had claimed responsibility." Yes, Maliki couldn't wait to start (yet again) blaming former Ba'athists. The attacks were discussed on The World Today (link has text and audio):

ELEANOR HALL: Given the number of people killed though in these two recent attacks and the outrage from the public that we are already hearing, I mean what is this attack and the August one likely to mean for the elections in January?

SAM PARKER: Well, clearly it undercuts Prime Minister Maliki's main narrative which is Iraq was chaos and he brought it back from the brink. It definitely hurts him and certainly if you look at what has followed the August bombings there has been a lot of that, a lot of finger pointing and a lot of people saying your claims are bogus. That Iraq is just as unsafe as it has always been and that generally is not true.I mean, yes you can point to these like high-profile mass casualty attacks and as tragic as they are, overall death counts in Iraq are still, even despite these attacks, are still much lower than they have been at any period except for right after the invasions. So for the entire war, we are still at the lowest points and so these large scale attacks largely had propaganda value to them.

The Los Angeles Times and the Guardian put the death toll at 147 with the latter also offering 700 as the minimum number of people injured in the bombings. Ned Parker and Caesar Ahmed (Los Angeles Times) provide these details:

At the Mansour Melia hotel, parking attendant Zaid Haidar was puffing on a Galois cigarette when the first explosion sent glass and debris raining down. He started to bleed from cuts on his arms, hands and back. Nonetheless, he ran out and rushed toward the Justice Ministry, where there were dead all around, but the statue of Faisal was intact.
"Nobody knew what was going on. I forgot about the blood from my hands and legs, especially after I saw four dead women on the ground. They had on head scarves and looked like civil servants," he said.
He also passed four lifeless Iraqi soldiers in a car.

Xinhua adds, "Xinhua correspondent at the scene said that he saw ponds of blood and parts of human bodies scattered close to the blast site near the Mansour Hotel where the wreckage of dozens of civilian cars could be seen near the site." Martin Chulov (Guardian) offers, "Witnesses described body parts sprawled across the area. Mohammed Falah, was caught in the blast: 'There was a woman's leg next to me. I picked it up and gave it to the ambulance'."

As the US government attempts to provide cover for their installed thug Nouri and as Nouri does the usual "It is a team of Baathists and al Qaeda!" nonsense, the reality is, it's all on Nouri. Liz Sly and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) explain, "It is Maliki who stands to lose the most from a security breakdown, because he is campaigning on his record as the leader who helped restore a good measure of security after the sectarian warfare that raged after the U.S.-led invasion. Overall, violence is down 90% since the peak in 2006, U.S. commanders say." Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) adds, "The attacks came at a precarious moment in Iraqi politics. Parliament has yet to agree on legislation to organize the planned Jan. 16 vote, despite warnings by the United States and the United Nations that time will probably run out by next weekend. Critics have also complained that some of the key officials charged with security -- Maliki and Interior Minister Jawad Bolani -- are more engaged in the election than in running the country."

New content from Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: When all the lies are exposed
TV: Hank Tanks
The Carly Roundtable
The Idiot Barack (Ava and C.I.)
The gas bag journals
You can judge a book by its cover

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru highlights the following from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: » End the nightmare of the Afghan war
online only
Soldier breaks ranks to lead thousands in London march against Afghan war
by Siân Ruddick
Thousands of people poured onto the streets of London today to protest against the continuing war in Afghanistan. Countless Afghans have lost their lives and 222 British soldiers have now died in the conflict.
Members of Military Families Against the War led the march. Serving British soldier Joe Glenton broke Queen’s orders by marching and ran the risk of being arrested by doing so but he was not deterred.
Joe addressed the crowd, which had marched by Hyde Park to a rally in Trafalgar Square. Joe said, “I believe great wrongs have been perpetrated in Afghanistan. I could not in good conscience be part of them.
“I’m bound to try to stop them. The conflict is neither legal nor justifiable.”
The demonstration saw many Stop the War groups from around the country mobilise experienced and new activists. The march saw university and college students making up a significant proportion of the demonstration.
Shanika is a 16-year old college student from north London. She told Socialist Worker, “I’ve never been on a demonstration against the war before but some of my friends have. The government has lied to people and carries on lying every day while we’re still killing people there.”
The vibrant demonstrations saw loud chanting, music and stunts drawing media and passer-by attention on the way.
The demonstration is part of a national campaign by the Stop the War Coalition to bring all British troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
End the nightmare of the Afghan war» Anger at war grows among soldiers» Video of soldier Joe Glenton addressing the London Stop the War demo
For more information go to »
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mohammed al dulaimy
the los angeles times
ned parker
the wall street journal
gina chon

liz sly