Thursday, November 26, 2009


Since at least the time of Abraham Lincoln, presidents have sent letters of condolence to the families of service members killed in action, whether the deaths came by hostile fire or in an accident.
So after his son killed himself in Iraq in June, Gregg Keesling expected that his family would receive a letter from President Obama. What it got instead was a call from an Army official telling family members that they were not eligible because their son had committed suicide.
"We were shocked," said Mr. Keesling, 52, of Indianapolis.

That's the opening to James Dao's "Families of Military Suicides Seek White House Condolences" in today's New York Times and the subject's been noted before as have Janet and Gregg Keesling (parents of Chancellor Keesling) but Dao's got some additional information including quotes that further weaken the White House silence. Meanwhile Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) reports that "He who seeks sweet things must also endure bitterness" was performed at the Iraqi National Theater in Baghdad in what the theater company hopes will be a return of theater night life in Baghdad.

Whether that happens or not, it's difficult to call Baghdad 'safe' or even 'safer' today. If it were, wouldn't the president of the United States be spending part of his first Thanksgiving in office in Iraq? If Bush can go there, shouldn't Barack?

Speaking of war mongers (Barack and Bush), a third is suddenly concerned about press freedom. That's so damn laughable when you consider that David Kelley would be alive if Tony Blair truly believed in press freedom. Julian Borger (Guardian) reports:

The former prime minister, whose role in the Iraq war is the subject of an official public inquiry, spoke out over press freedom after a Baghdad court fined a Guardian journalist, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, for defamation after he reported criticism of the Iraqi leader, Nouri al-Maliki.
"I have been following the Ghaith Abdul-Ahad court case against
the Guardian in Iraq," Blair said in an emailed statement. "We fought for freedom in Iraq including freedom of the press. Often what the press says is harsh or unfair. But that freedom is essential and must be upheld. So while I may not always agree with what the Guardian write I do hope that when the case goes to appeal the courts will follow due process in accordance with the Iraqi constitution."
The Guardian has said it will appeal against the court verdict, which awarded 100m dinars (£52,000) to Maliki for an article in April which quoted unnamed Iraqi intelligence officials as saying that the prime minister was centralising state power in his hands.

Meanwhile, despite the title of Anthony Shadid and Nada Bakri's article, there is no agreement re: the elections currently. There is a proposal which may or may not have backing in the Parliament and which may or may not pit Sunni against Kurd. Shadid and Bakri are correct when they note:

Even with the agreement, which must now be approved by the Iraqi electoral commission, election officials said it would be almost impossible to hold the election in January as originally planned. Mid- to late February was more likely, since a major Shiite Muslim holiday will not end until Feb. 10.

And, to be clear, the two reporters did not write the headline. It can be argued their first paragraph writes the headline; however, their wording is much more cautious than what the headline blares.

The following community websites updated last night:

Cedric's Big Mix
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11 hours ago

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Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
12 hours ago

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To shop or not and the Iraq Inquiry
12 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
the sport of the shop
12 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
No to Black Friday
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And Elaine's "Comfort zone," Ruth's "Pre-shopping questions," Marcia's "To shop or not?," Trina's "Shopping kit and more ," Ann's "No to shopping (except for kids)" and Kat's "No on the shopping proposition."

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the washington post
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oh boy it never ends