Monday, October 26, 2009

Bombings, Swine flu

The car bombs that ripped into hundreds of residents of Baghdad over the weekend are a message that if politics cannot take place within the parliament, then violence will take place on the street.
It takes a certain death toll for Iraq to make it back on to the headlines. Despite the presence of some 120,000 US troops (and 100 or so British naval trainers who were recently let back into the country) Iraq appears to be old news. In many people's minds it is yesterday's conflict; the surge was a success and the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a democratically mandated strongman who is bringing economic success to the country -- or so the narrative goes.
Yet the carnage continues. At around 10am on Sunday at the busy Baghdad intersection between the ministry of justice and the ministry of municipalities, a pair of car bombs exploded with such power and ferocity that they managed to blast away the blast walls in one of the most heavily guarded areas of the country. The toll currently stands at 155 dead and more than 500 wounded; the worst single attack in two years.

The above is from James Denselow's "Iraq bombs are an explosive message" (Guardian) and we'll go into more on that in the next entry but Denselow's not someone rushing to a 'hot' topic. He's been writing about Iraq even as everyone else walked away so I wanted to be sure he got noted individually and not in the next entry when everyone's decided they're interested in Iraq . . . interested for about ten minutes, anyway.

The bombings are not the only news out of Iraq. Jonathan Liew (Telegraph of London) reports on the Swine Flu fears/concerns that have led to thousands of school closings in Iraq:

"We took the decision to close the schools because we are afraid for the health of our students," said Raji Naeema, environmental director of Dhi Qar province.
"School bathrooms are dirty, drinking water is not clean and the classes are so crowded."
Wasit’s 980 schools and nurseries were shut for five days. However, universities in both provinces have remained open.
Isan Jaffar, the country’s health services director said that the six Baghdad schools would remain closed for one week "as a precaution".

As Bloomberg News notes, US President Barack Obama stated over the weekend that Swine Flu was "a national emergency".

Kaitlynn Perreault (Maine Campus) reports on Professor Carolyn Eisenberg (Hofstra University) presentation last Thursday, "Re-creating Post-War Germany in Iraq: A Tale of Two Occupations" and reactions to it. From Eisenberg's presentation:

The lack of legitimacy, the lack of adequate troops, corruption and the absence of social and political base for the American agenda. This experince in Iraq has been, in many respects, a much greater failure than that of Germany.
[. . .]
Even if we set aside the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the killing of those 4,000 American soldiers, the continued failure of the Iraq economy to the poverty and the lack of electricity, water and even not to mention jobs, it's important to notice that, as of now, [with] all claims of success with our American troops there that there really is no reliable indication that they will be leaving anytime soon.

How can you read the article? A friend on campus asked for the link when it was HTML and clickable as an individual story . . . for about three seconds this morning. PDF format warning, you can click here for the day's edition of the Maine Campus and scroll down for the article. If the HTML link is fixed (here), we'll use that to note it in the snapshot today.

Tara notes Caleb T. Maupin's "U.S., British heads of state charged for war crimes in Iraq" (Workers World):

In the high Spanish court called the Audiencia Nacional, charges for international crimes had already been lodged against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and other nefarious world leaders. On Oct. 6, new charges were brought charging Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Gordon Brown and Barack Obama with crimes against humanity for their responsibility for harming the people of Iraq.
The next day, Oct. 7, the Senate in Madrid voted to change the law allowing such charges to be made, but the Oct. 6 charges remain in force.
The news release issued by those bringing the charges says that they are prosecuting "19 years of intended destruction." The charges include the bombing of civilians, the starvation by sanctions that resulted in over one million deaths, as well as the invasion and occupation of the country.
The complainants seek to bring these world leaders to justice. The charges are filed on behalf of the 500,000 children who, according to the World Health Organization, died because sanctions stopped food aid and other necessities from reaching to the Iraqi people.
The case also seeks justice for the victims of the bombing campaigns that destroyed the water purification services of Iraq, as well as for the hundreds of thousands who died in the invasion and occupation beginning in 2003, when foreign troops illegally prowled through the neighborhoods, cities and countrysides of Iraq, violating the rights of this sovereign nation that refused to bow before the interests of Wall Street.
The tortures at Abu Ghraib and the approval they received from the Pentagon have also been listed among the crimes. The 2003 government of the Spanish state, led by rightist Prime Minister José Aznar, colluded with the invasion. In March 2004, a bombing in the main Atocha train station in Madrid killed over 100 people. An election held only days after the bombing removed Aznar. The new Socialist Party government removed Spanish troops from Iraq.
Many hope now that the U.S. and British leaders named in the indictment will be held accountable for their crimes. The charges have again brought before the public the extent of the imperialist crimes in Iraq, which at least in the U.S. are systematically ignored by the corporate media. For more information, see
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Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "'Feminist' Naomi Wolf speaks" went up last night.

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