Parliament's passage of the law came so late that the election cannot be held as had been planned on Jan. 16, said U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, and will probably be moved to Jan. 23. But that is within the January deadline mandated by Iraq's Constitution, and Hill said the short delay would make no difference to the U.S. military's plans to bring all combat troops home by the end of August.
The above is from Liz Sly's "Iraq parliament passes election law" (Los Angeles Times) and Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) covers it here, Ernesto Londono and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) here and none of the reports or 'reports' are anything to be proud of. The reporters spit out what Chris Hill, the US Ambassador to Iraq, told them as opposed to seeking out comment from the electoral commission or the UN. But taking the cake for supreme idiots are the New York Times' Timothy Williams and Sa'ad Izzi who furiously scribble: "American military commanders have said they intend to begin a rapid withdrawal of the 120,000 American troops still in Iraq after the election." Withdrawal? Such good spinners, improving upon what the White House itself has called a draw-down. And note the 120,000 figure. The GAO gives a figure last Monday, the only official figure and the press works overtime to ignore it.
Read any of the above, grasp all repeat Chris Hill's statements as fact and grasp that nothing's changed: We have the same compliant and unquestioning press that marched (yes, marched) the country into the illegal war on Iraq. This morning, AP's reporting the electoral commission is stating the election will be held January 21st. In the snapshot later today, we'll go into all of this and how the elections are now illegitimate. Perspective absent in the US reports can be found in Ranj Alaaldin's latest column for the Guardian:
For the first time since 2005, elections will be held in Kirkuk just like in any other governorate, a victory for the Kurds who vehemently fought against giving the governorate any special status. There will therefore be no guaranteed seats for Arabs and Turkomen. Although the votes could be subject to a special review if it is determined that there was more than a 5% increase in the voter register from 2004 to 2009 (non-Kurds contend the demographic makeup of the area has been altered), the Kurds managed to win the right to have the same arrangement for other governorates deemed to have been subjected to demographic alterations.
President Obama may hail the new law and the elections as an important "milestone" but it is important to maintain perspective, and history should teach him to use the word warily. The Iraqi parliament still remains incapable of solving the main issues despite the countless milestones we have had in the past, and even in this instance it took pressure from external forces including the Americans, British and Turks before the election law was passed. America's scheduled withdrawal is therefore by no means a certainty.
Furthermore, it is difficult to dismiss the problems the "special review" mechanism might bring about in a place as sensitive and hotly disputed as Kirkuk, which could have its future status influenced to some degree by the outcome of the elections. The Kirkuk issue continues to be recklessly kicked down the road only for it to later explode into a violent and irreparable conflict.
Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph of London) adds, "Yet it is doubtful that Iraq's notoriously fractious parliament would have stepped back from disaster unless it had not been bludgeoned into submission by direct pressure from the United States."
Last night on 60 Minutes (CBS), Andy Rooney's commentary was calling for a "No War Day" (link has text and video).
Meanwhile MidHudsonNews is reporting that that Iraq War veteran Nathanel Bodon, currently stationed in Baghdad, will be discharged for the 'crime' of being gay: "The Army found out about Bodon when a fellow soldier found his blog with a picture of him kissing a former boyfriend and tipped off the Army brass." Bodon's quoted stating, "I think it's discriminatory and my personal life as far as my sexuality has no bearing on who I am as a soldier, so it shouldn't even be an issue."
Funniest e-mail this morning comes from a whiner -- guess which one -- who tells me "Keep on, keeping on." Yes, loser, I always have, unlike you. You whored it for Barack and it's over for you. Kiss my ass, kiss up to me, I don't give a damn. You're firmly in the past and you've guaranteed that. And, guess what, as I called you out last night, I will continue to do so -- just as I've done for nearly two years now. It will never end. Grasp that. As Stevie Nicks wrote and sang, "I will follow you down 'till the sound of my voice will haunt you" (Fleetwood Mac's "Silver Springs"). (The word choice will be a clue to members, for visitors who like to play parlor games, your hint is it's one of the men called out last night. Reason for his fan letter this morning? Not being called out, he's been called out here and at Third repeatedly. What has him fretting is that I might out the cut-out -- which would link back to his own 'radical' -- not really radical -- sixties days when he himself was an asset. As Elaine and I have noted many times online, one of the first things we did post Watergate was a freedom of information requestion on our FBI files. Between our memories and my legendary journals, it wasn't difficult to figure out who could have leaked what -- usually false -- information on us. We were able to match up all the government snitches and spies and maybe when we wind down online, Elaine and I will offer a page or two or three of that to help tell the truth about the left and those who only played 'left'?)
Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "That Barack" went up last night. Zach recommends the videos Information Clearing House has posted of Michael Parenti speaking about empire.
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