Thursday, October 08, 2009

The decay of 'democracy' in Iraq

Weeks after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003, as parts of the capital were still smoldering, American soldiers and diplomats turned to men like Hassan Shama and Omar Rahman Rahmani in their quest to plant the seeds of representative democracy.
In Baghdad, Iraq's capital, they held impromptu neighborhood caucuses to appoint district and neighborhood advisory councils. The local government bodies were given no official charter, lawmaking power or public budget. In the years that followed, as the capital became a bloody battleground and the country descended into near-anarchy, council members were among the U.S. military's staunchest allies. They provided information about extremists, offered insight into Iraqi society and gave American-imposed security measures a veneer of Iraqi legitimacy.
As U.S. troops have sharply disengaged from Baghdad in recent months, local representatives say they are feeling powerless and abandoned. The Iraqi government has taken no steps to hold elections for the councils, and the Baghdad provincial council is culling them of members it deems unqualified or unfit for service.

The above is the opening to Ernesto Londono's "After Six Years, 'We're Worthless' -- Iraqis on U.S.-Created Local Councils Feeling Vulnerable as American Pullout Looms" (Washington Post) which is an important article but this morning we'll just note that when the US propaganda effort began crediting Nouri with the creation of these councils -- don't scoff, it happened -- that was the first sign that their fates were sealed and that was 2006. 'Nouri created them. And he has a new plan! For security! Local watches!' Those were 2006 lies that came about when the US government was so frightened by the Friday when fighters almost breeched the Green Zone. That's what led to the first of the many, many 'crackdowns.' And as the US government rushed -- daily -- to shore up the credentials of the thug they installed, they resorted to one 'reinvention' after another. When a program began in 2003 is being credited as something Nouri's creating in 2006, that was your first sign that the program was being relegated to back of the bus for Nouri.

Speaking of wasteful, the New York Times 'covers' the MEK . . . in a single paragraph. Apparently, the paper rates Timothy Williams only worthy of a brief paragraph. This is Camp Ashraf and we covered it in yesterday's snapshot but click on NYT and then click on Press TV and grasp how little attention the paper devotes to Iraq.

Catholic News Agency notes Imad Elia Abdul Karim's death (see Monday's snapshot ) following his kidnapping on Saturday. The Iraqi Christian was a nurse and the father of two and CNA quotes Archbishop Louis Sako stating, "Everyone knows that Christians are citizens of this country and this city. There is no question about their devotion to their homeland, about their sincerity."

Many Iraqi Christians have fled their homes due to persecution. Some became internal refugees, some became external. Georgetown University has issued [PDF format warning] a new report entitled "Refugee Crisis in America: Iraqis And Their Resettlement Experience." The report makes the following recommendations.

Refugee resettlement should be decoupled from U.S. anti-poverty programs and
tailored to the unique needs and experiences of refugees. Refugee assistance should be increased from eight to eighteen months, and programs designed to promote the long-term self-sufficiency and integration of refugees should be better funded. A stronger emphasis should be placed on the core barriers to self-sufficiency and integration, including lack of English language skills, lack of transportation, and lack of opportunities for education and recertification.
• Funding for employment and social services should be tailored to estimates of
incoming refugee arrivals and secondary migration, as well as the unique needs of
these particular groups. Funding should not be based on the number of past refugee arrivals.
• All actors within the USRAP must improve planning and information sharing
capabilities. Planning should anticipate and prepare for the unique needs of each
refugee group prior to arrival. In order to tailor services for refugees, actors must
take into account important information on refugees collected in the resettlement
process, such as health status and professional background.

We'll go over the report more in a snapshot today or tomorrow. This is dicated as we hurry to this morning's hearing.

Like Kat, I've been asked to note the following:

An Evening with Janis Ian

Thursday, October 22, 2009

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Click Graphic to Purchase Tickets

Back to Calendar
An Evening with Janis Ian
Thursday, October 22, 2009
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Click Graphic to Purchase Tickets

Janis Ian live is a great concert. She really delivers a show. If you've never seen her in concert, you're missing out. An e-mail asked about FTC disclosures? The FTC can't mandate anything, people are being ridiculous. But for any who wonder -- the link to Kat's post goes over this and we've gone over it before -- I'm noting that concert at the request of an old friend, a record producer in Los Angeles. I won't be at the concert (or even in the area). It's a benefit but I won't make any money off of it. Janis Ian in concert is can't miss. When you add in that it's an intimate venue and that Janis -- who tours often -- doesn't always get to make it to Dallas, Texas (some think it's been at least 15 years since she's performed there) and that it's for a wonderful cause, it's something to get the word out on. The last entry noted Aimee Mann's concerts, I know Mann. (I also know Ian, as disclosed before.) Noting her concerts doesn't bring me money or free tickets. But it does bring me joy because Aimee's become the talented artist that really emerges once every forty years. She's really something and she's currently on tour.

10/10/09 Coeur D'Alene, ID The Kroc Center
10/11/09 Boise, ID EgyptianTheatre with Fountains of Wayne
10/12/09 Salt Lake City, UT The State Room with Fountains of Wayne
10/14/09 Boulder, CO Boulder Theater with Fountains of Wayne
10/16/09 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern with Fountains of Wayne

For tix go to "Tour Dates"

The e-mail address for this site is

the washington post
ernesto londono
timothy williams
the new york times