Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another US service member announced dead

The number of US service members who have died due to the Iraq War now stands at 4380. DoD issued the following yesterday: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. William C. Spencer, 40, of Tacoma, Wash., died Feb. 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds sustained Feb. 20 while supporting combat operations at Combat Outpost Marez, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, Olympia, Wash. For more information, media may contact the Washington National Guard public affairs office at 253-512-8481." The Washington Governor's office issued the following:

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire today issued the following statement on the loss of Sergeant William Spencer of Tacoma, who died from non-combat related injuries while serving in Iraq:
"I stand with all Washingtonians today as we mourn the loss of Sergeant William Spencer. Sergeant Spencer was a proud member of the 81st -- and chose to stay in Iraq with the Mississippi Army National Guard when his unit came home. He is a true hero who sacrificed his life to protect our freedoms, and provide a better life for those living in the Middle East.
"I extend my deepest condolences to Sergeant Spencer's friends, family and loved ones. My family will certainly keep them in our thoughts and prayers."

Meanwhile Al Arabiya News Channel reports tribal chief Thaher Zhihud al-Zhaheri's son Ahmed was shot dead by the US military today and that the chief's wife, Sabiha Nahath Saud, was shot and injured by the US military. Local witnesses dispute the US military's account of it being a tragic accident but the news channel forgets to ask why the US military was doing patrols in Kaanan by themselves. Didn't last June 30th end all of that? No, it didn't. But the lie is still pimped that it did.

In other reported violence, Reuters notes 1 Imam was shot dead in Baghdad yesterday and that a home bombing took place in Qaim targeting a member of the State of Law party (Burkan Abdul Razaq) who was not harmed.

Marie Colvin (Times of London) reports on Monday's al-Kaabi attack in which a family was muredered including Ahmed who was eight years old and "found hanging from a ceiling fan, blood dripping from slashed wrists tied behind his back." His sister Rafel had her throat slit, their father Hussein al-Kaabi was shot dead, their mother Widad was shot and knifed (she had been pregnant) and their four siblings were also killed.

On the subject of violence, James Denselow (Guardian) weighs in:

While much has been made of the significant improvement in security in the country, it is worth taking a moment to remember how dangerous Iraq really is. Nearly seven years after the toppling of Saddam it is only the multiple bombings such as the targeting of government ministries and Shia pilgrimages that break into the international media; the constant daily stories of death and destruction are largely unnoticed outside the country.
Indeed, although much of the western media has largely abandoned covering Iraq, McClatchy news publishes an important daily report of violence from police, military and medical sources. But even this fails to tally the actual daily violence, much of which goes unreported. Still, a typical report from last Monday shows, in Baghdad alone, terrifying levels of violence with several bombings, minibuses raked by gunfire, a family of eight massacred in their home, a policeman killed by a sniper and a university lecturer gunned down on the street.

To correct an error in the above excerpt, McClatchy does not publish a daily report of violence. It used to. It may resume doing so after the elections. But Feburary was the death of that daily violence report. I believe Laith Hammoudi published one on Monday. I believe that was the last one for the week. They have been moving their location this month and that may be part of the reason but for February, they produced no daily violence report. They sometimes had a weekly or a little more than that but they did not have a daily report. In fact, let's just cut and paste links to the entire February output:

Recent Daily Violence Headlines

27 days in the month thus far, five days of reported violence. No, it's not been a daily report.

Yesterday's snapshot noted some of the press attention Andrew Rawnsley's new book The End of the Party was receiving in England. Today Toby Helm (Guardian) reports:

Rawnsley's explosive account is in The End of the Party, which is published on Monday , extracts from which appear in tomorrow's Observer. It lays bare, for the first time, how Blair was haunted and tormented by the deepening chaos and bloodshed in Iraq at the same time as being worn down by the constant psychological warfare being waged by Brown, his next-door neighbour in Downing Street, who was increasingly desperate to take his job.

If true, good. He should have been haunted. Not only should he have been haunted by his actions, he should continue to be haunted. Until the day he dies, he should be plagued with guilt and remorse over his lies and the deaths that resulted from them. He should never have a moment's peace.

Iraq's elections are about to start and one political party vying for votes is the Ahrar Party which released the following:

Watch Ahrar Party Leader Ayad Jamal Aldin on Al Rasheed tonight

After yesterday's poll from Baghdadiya TV which placed Ahrar Party in fourth place, Ayad Jamal Aldin will continue to cement Ahrar's electoral credentials tonight in an interview with Al Rasheed.

He will use a prime time interview at 7:00pm AST to take questions on Ahrar's comprehensive plans to deliver water, jobs, electricity and security under the next Iraqi parliament.

Speaking from Baghdad, where he has been addressing a group of Iraq's leading academics, Jamal Aldin said, "The people want change - real change. The corrupters and outside agents can use all the tricks they like, we are strong enough to prevail. One group has the power in Iraq right now, and that is the Iraqi people. We are calling for the Iraqi people to implement this change by demonstrating bravery at the polling booths on March 7."

For further information, contact:

Ahrar Media Bureau
Tel: +964 (0)790 157 4478 / +964 (0)790 157 4479 / +964 (0)771 275 2942

About Ayad Jamal Aldin:

Ayad Jamal Aldin is a cleric, best known for his consistent campaigning for a new, secular Iraq. He first rose to prominence at the Nasiriyah conference in March 2003, shortly before the fall of Saddam, where he called for a state free of religion, the turban and other theological symbols. In 2005, he was elected as one of the 25 MPs on the Iraqi National List, but withdrew in 2009 after becoming disenchanted with Iyad Allawi's overtures to Iran. He wants complete independence from Iranian interference in Iraq. He now leads the Ahrar party for the 2010 election to the Council of Representatives, to clean up corruption and create a strong, secure and liberated Iraq for the future.

The following community sites updated last night:

Quickly. Yesterday's snapshot had a lengthy note at the end. And I meant that no apology was necessary. Brief background, Salem-News has an article (no link, I don't have time) about questions being raised re: 9-11. On Thursday morning, I noted that and noted we'd include it in the snapshot. I forgot when trying to whittle down the snapshot (the one I dictated was too large and we had to whittle it down). The position at this site has been (and remains) 9-11 is not our issue or focus. If it someone's, that's fine and great and more power to you. But we're focused on Iraq. That's always been the motto and it's the motto community wide. We've never ridiculed citizens who search for the truth. But a large number of e-mails came in after I forgot Thursday to include a link to the piece (I'm not referring to Mia who e-mailed just to remind me that I forgot to link). I said in the note in Friday's snapshot that no apology was necessary and that I knew this is a heated topic. If you're a visitor or a drive-by who let me have it on Thursday because the link wasn't in Thursday's snapshot, let it go. It didn't destroy me, it didn't hurt my feelings. I knew it wasn't about me. It's a heated issue and my part of the blame was forgetting to include it in Thursday's snapshot. There's no need for any apologies. My feelings are not hurt and were not hurt. If you're confused regarding our stand on this issue, by all means e-mail and tell me you're confused and I need to explain it better. But I don't need any apologies and I didn't take anything personally. So let's please just table the apology e-mails because they are not needed. I've started the next entry but some of it will be dictated, I've got to head out the door right now.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends