Sunday, December 06, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

So Sunday night the Parliament passes (another) election measure which still has to go before the presidency council (like the last one) and will become law only if it is not vetoed. The development has various news outlets in a tizzy and filing like crazy. Of the Western outlets, Warren P. Strobel and Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) do the best job. They not only provide the details of what happened just before midnight, they provide the details of what happened before and they explain, "While agreements have been reached in the past only to fall apart, there were high hopes that this one would stick. Hashimi withdrew his veto threat early Monday morning." It's not predicting, it's reporting. Ned Parker and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) quote Tariq al-Hashimi (Iraq's Sunni vice president) stating on satellite TV, "All of our demands have been achieved. The displaced people have been treated fairly, the value of people inside and outside Iraq are the same. I am happy because of this accomplishment and I consider it a historic day in building the modern Iraq."

If true and if there are no other objections and the law passed the presidency council, that will mean al-Hashimi had a 'victory.' Why is that important? Iraq's still in a Constitutional crisis and that should bother the US government tremendously. But reporters? The news is always about conflict. Turmoil always qualifies as news. So it was rather amazing since al-Hashimi's veto to see so many Western outlets do so many attack pieces on al-Hashimi. The initial response to his veto by Parliament was to strip a number of seats away from Sunnis. And this led to not just opinion commentary that al-Hashimi had 'lost,' but also to so-called reporting. And this 'reporting' included a lot of scolding and calling him out. Now there's nothing final at this moment. Everything's still an if. Which is why this paragraph starts with "If true . . .," but a lot of so-called news outlets were attacking him in reporting and were saying he had "lost" when nothing was permanent or decided.

What was that? It wasn't reporting. And reporters, real ones, should have been thrilled with the Constitutional crisis because it gave them something to report on (it continues to). But there was a lot of anger in so-called objective reports and a lot of attacks on al-Hashimi. Some news outlets might need to go back and review their so-called reporting because it wasn't reporting.

Parker and Salman note that the Kurdish Regional Government extracted a promise from the US that a census would take place in the coming year. Presumably, the promise had some form of 'teeth' to it since the US has long promised that the Constitutionally mandated census would take place and yet, year after year, it has not. The KRG is aware of that and presumably would not fall for yet another round of pretty words. If that is indeed the case, one wonders how the press will report on this issue since Barack and Bully Boy Boy Bush both asserted Iraq was a soveriegn nation -- that was the whole point of ending the UN mandate (it truly was -- as a soveriegn nation, Iraq could start the tag sales on their assets that they couldn't while under UN supervision). If Iraq's a soveriegn nation and since Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister,
has been the road block to a census since 2006, what did the US government promise the KRG this time that convinced them? The tensions between Baghdad and the KRG aren't exactly secret nor is the tremendous ill will towards Nouri from the KRG a secret. So if he's the roadblock and he's hoping to be the prime minister (elected by Parliament) again after the elections, what did the US promise the KRG, how did they convince the KRG that it would be different in 2010 then it has been in the last three years?

That's a question reporters should be asking. For additional coverage of the measure Parliament passed tonight, see CNN, and Al Jazeera. [There are many other articles on the developments. Those four are the only Western ones I feel are worth highlighting.] And for those who need the insta-take: As reported tonight, the new measure means more seats for Sunnis and for Kurds and for ethnic minorities. Which would appear to mean the Shi'ites had to give up seats. I haven't read the measure. Whether or not any of the people talking to the outlets has is debatable. When al-Hashimi first threatened a veto, he was just learning of what was actually in the law and it had already passed Parliament at that point.

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 4367. Tonight it remains 4367. Turning to some of the violence reported today . . .


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad sticky bombing which wounded one person, a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded four people (two were police officers), a Mosul roadside bombing which wounded one person and a Kirkuk roadside bombing which wounded two police officers. Reuters notes a Mussayab roadside bombing which claimed 2 lives and left four more people injured, a Rashad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa and left three more injured and, dropping back to Saturday, they note a Baghdad roadside bombing which left five Iraqi service members injured.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 police officers shot dead at a Baghdad police checkpoint and 1 Iraqi solider shot dead in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 1 ex-police officer shot dead in Mosul yesterday.

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
Truest statement of week III
A note to our readers
Editorial: War Paint and Soft Feathers
TV: Oh what a difference a name change makes
Book: The Battle of Seattle
Wanted by the FBI: Diane Rehm and Barbara Slavin
Liar Supreme: Greg Mitchell
Civil Rights Era Cold Cases

Isaiah actually was going to take the night off because he didn't think he had an idea for a comic. He called ten minutes ago to say he's got one so it will go up shortly after this entry posts. Pru highlights "Does war make Britain safer from terrorism?" (Great Britian's Socialist Worker):

“A more stable and secure Afghanistan and Pakistan will help ensure a safer Britain.”
This is the mantra of Gordon Brown as he tries to bolster support for the Afghan war and justify sending more troops this week.
But we have already seen this is a false logic.
The US-led “war on terror” has made the world a more dangerous place—with imperialist armies ever more entrenched in conflicts abroad, instability shaking the Middle East, and the “blowback” of an increased threat of terror attacks in the West.
British and US foreign policy—the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, airstrikes on Pakistan, the use of torture and secret rendition, the horrors of Guantanamo Bay—have created a well of anger and bitterness that make the US and Britain much more of a target.
The only route to a safer Britain is to bring the troops home and put an end to the wars and human rights abuses that give rise to terrorism.
© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.
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Along with Ernesto Londono's article, we'll note other topics tomorrow morning. The e-mail address for this site is

mcclatchy newspapers
warren p. strobel
mohammed al dulaimy