Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Refugees, deaths, oil -- it's Iraq

This month I received the long-awaited phone call from the International Organization for Migration telling me that they had put me on their schedule to leave Iraq within the next few weeks.
This will be the second time I leave Iraq for a lengthy period, but this time it might be forever.
I cannot deny that I have mixed feelings about leaving my country and going to another, one completely different from my own. But I am satisfied that going into the unknown is better than staying here, as Iraq has become a guinea pig for its leaders to test which security measures will succeed in stopping the mass killings of Iraqis. This, after 400 Iraqis were killed in three high-profile bombings during the last five months of last year.

The above is from Mohammed Hussein, an Iraqi correspondent for the New York Times, posting at the paper's At War blog. The correspondent will become part of Iraq's ever growing refugee population, the largest refugee population in the world. Meanwhile, as noted in yesterday's snapshot, Saturday the USF announced the death of a US soldier in Baghdad and the Defense Dept identifed the fallen Monday as "Spc. Brushaun X. Anderson, 20, of Columbus, Ga.". Newport Television noted, "An initial press release from the Department of Defense said Spc. Anderson was attacked by an unknown assailant. A corrected release issued later omitted the reference to any assailant." The office of New York Governor David Paterson issued the following news release:


Governor David A. Paterson has directed that flags on New York State government buildings be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, January 6, in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who died in Baghdad on January 1.
Army Specialist Brushaun Anderson, a resident of Columbus, Georgia, died of wounds suffered in a non-combat related incident. Specialist Anderson was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to express my sympathy to the friends, family, and fellow soldiers of Specialist Anderson," Governor Paterson said. "While he was not a native New Yorker, we consider all members of the 10th Mountain Division to be honorary sons and daughters of the Empire State. We regret his death, but we will honor his service."
Governor Paterson has directed that flags on all State buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor and tribute to our State’s service members who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

From Brushaun Anderson's MySpace page:

The King Of Being SOL
Brushaun Allen Anderson
Brushaun Allen Anderson Male
20 years old
Fort Drum, New York
United States

Last Login: 12/28/2009
Mood: impatient Mood Image

His last login was December 28th, the 20-year-old soldier died January 1st.

But the illegal war's not a tragedy for all. After all General Dynamics found a way to profit from the tragedy and crimes. Will Daley (Bloomberg News) reports that they will make "tanks and Gulfstream business jets" for the occupied government in Iraq having been awarded a $198 million US Army contract. The Toledo Blade explains that the manufacture/construction will take place "at its Lima, Ohio plant and facilities in Scranton, Pa; Anniston, Ala., and Tallahassee, Fla."

And Hibah Yousuf and Blake Ellis (CNN Money) report, "Oil continued to rally for an eighth straight session and closed at the highest level in more than fourteen months as a pricing dispute and disruption in crude exports between Russia and Belarus worried investors. Oil for February delivery rose $2.15, or 3%, to close at $81.51 a barrel, the highest settlement since Oct. 9, 2008." And some experts predict that whatever passes for stability in Iraq could push oil prices even higher. Alsumaria TV reports that last month saw Iraq averaging "1.977 million barrels per day" which is a .075 increase.

Meanwhile Emily Charrier-Botts (Index-Tribune) reports on 22-year-old Michael Caratti who "first graced the pages of the Index-Tribune when he was just hours old" (a New Year's baby in 1988) but now is preparing to deploy to Iraq for 12 months, his second deployment to Iraq and explains, "That's why I joined. College money. It's hard to get nowdays."

The following community sites updated last night:

We'll close with this from News Dissector Danny Schechter's "Old Problems Remain In New Year: No, Virginia, The Economy Is Not Getting Better As Banks Still Rule" (ZNet):

With the public distracted by Christmas, terrorists and the fight between Fox and Time Warner over cable revenues, the government continued its bailouts in late December with billions more pumped in to mortgage giants Freddy and Fannie (even as their execs walk away with millions)
GMAC, the former GM owned lending arm, whose subprime loans sank the auto company, is receiving nearly another $4 billion from Uncle Sam to subsidize their exposuee to all the fraudulent loans on their books.
Writes Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz, "The bailout exposed deep hypocrisy all around. Those who had preached fiscal restraint when it came to small welfare programs for the poor now clamored for the world's largest welfare program. Those who had argued for free market's virtue of "transparency" ended up creating financial systems so opaque that banks could not make sense of their own balance sheets. And then the government, too, was induced to engage in decreasingly transparent forms of bailout to cover up its largesse to the banks. Those who had argued for "accountability" and "responsibility" now sought debt forgiveness for the financial sector."
Meanwhile, some economists see the health care reform as really as another way to bail out the financial system. Economist Randall Wray denounces:"Health insurance "reform" that requires everyone to turn over their pay to Wall Street. Can't afford the premiums? That is OK-Uncle Sam will kick in a few hundred billion to help out the insurers. Of course, do not expect more health care or better health outcomes because that has nothing to do with "reform" ... Wall Street's insurers... see a missed opportunity. They'll collect the extra premiums and deny the claims. This is just another bailout of the financial system, because the tens of trillions of dollars already committed are not nearly enough."
This is clearly, as has been suggested, "wealth reform" not health reform.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends