Wednesday, March 03, 2010

No, Jar-Jar, the Iraq War isn't over

Last week, Congress was denying KBR $25 million in fees and, as Press TV notes, this week they get "a massive contract for support work in Iraq [. . . .] worth $2.8 billion." Jason Ditz ( catches this important detail about the contract: "The KBR contract only covers a single base year, but includes options for up to four additional years, meaning it could keep them in Iraq through 2015. The fact that the military is keeping its options open for contractors in Iraq in 2015 is significant, as officials publicly insist all troops will be out by the end of 2011."

That's really important. So is Jackie Northam's report for Morning Edition (NPR) which we may quote from in the snapshot but will save for either Thursday night or Third -- at which point we'll pair it with the latest lunacy so many are e-mailing. It's a Jar-Jar Blinks. What an idiot. It's a Jar-Jar Blinks. Never having achieved anything in his own country (rather sad, considering his age), his pampered ass was brought to America to avoid the war in his own country. Once in America, he was an 'expert' on US politics, the US Congress and probably, knowing him, the detailed minutiae of Carrie Bradshaw's love life. But in the real world, his 'expertise' has been as lacking as everything else about his life. I don't remember if he e-mailed Ava or me bragging about the months and months he'd worked on this major bill coming out of Congress. It finally, kind-of, sort-of emerged. Not really saying what he wanted (or what his press release insisted it said it did -- which is why news outlets ignored his press release) but he wanted to pretend he'd done something, anything.

He likes to pretend a lot. It's a Jar-Jar Blinks. Some might even call it fraud though most would probably stick with the term "huckster." It's a Jar-Jar Blinks. It takes a lot of nerve, on top of all his other scams, to cloak yourself in Christianity -- when you don't believe -- by being a spokesmodel for an organization. It's a Jar-Jar Blinks.

In his latest nonsense, the whole world is against his lover Barack Obama. But Jar-Jar's just knows Barack's aim is true. It's all these other people, he insists. He really is that stupid. Or maybe just so conditioned -- from so many years under Saddam -- of loving his man, of worshiping his leader, of drooling . . .

Things are happening but Jar-Jar, for all his faux expertise, doesn't know the first damn thing about the US and probably should have stopped trying to pass himself off as an expert on the Congress or the White House several years -- and many, many mistakes -- ago. ["It's a Jar-Jar Blinks" should be sung to "It's a wild, wild west" in Sade's "Soldier of Love" which I had on the MP3 player while running earlier this morning.]

The Iraq War hasn't ended (despite Jar-Jar's claims otherwise at his website). Tyler Gamble (Louisiana's NBC 33 -- link has text and video) reports on the Camp Shelby training Louisiana National Guard members for deploying to Iraq. WIBW reports on a sned-off ceremony yesterday at Fort Riley for members of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division also deploying to Iraq. Meanwhile Jason Sandford (Asheville News) reports today on a February 24th send-off ceremony for "the 150 members of the N.C. Army National Guard's 105th Military Police Battalion" and we'll note this section:

But for Sgt. Timothy Sagoes, the goodbyes were all too familiar. The Charlotte resident was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003-04 and to Iraq in 2005-06 while serving in the Army.
Now with the National Guard unit, Sagoes said he knows what to expect. The time away is hard on his family: his wife, Lawanda; his 8-year-old son, Timothy junior; and 4-year-old daughter Jayla.
"They're a little down," he admittted, adding that he's looking forward to staying in touch with his loved ones via Skype, an Internet calling service.

Hey Jar-Jar, despite your lies otherwise, the Iraq War hasn't ended and it's certainly not ended for Timothy Sagoes or his family. But keep lying because Barack Obama is the most important thing in the world . . . to you anyway.

Daniel Bell (Rome News Tribune -- link has text and video) reports
on Spc Stacey Gonzales surprise visit to her children's school yesterday -- she has ten days of leave due to a family medical emergency, after which she's scheduled to return to Iraq.

Meanwhile Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reports that the number of US soldiers (members of the army, so "soliders" is the correct term before someone e-mails asking) who do not meet the criteria of combat fitness has increased 5% in the last three years (starting at 11% and currently at 16%). This increase is largely (70%) due to injuries from previous tours of duty. The magic words "dwell time" are the recommended treatment but the Congress has been hearing dwell time would be increased for the last four years.

James Risen (New York Times) reports on testimony by the State Dept's David Farrington regarding the investigation into Blackwater's September 2007 slaughter. Farrington's remarks are completely believable -- in part due to the fact that, in real time, people were raising alarms that this could happen. Though it shouldn't effect the decision by Judge Ricardo Urbina, it could and should lead to criminal charges filed against certain members of the State Dept and FBI participating in that 2007 'investigation.'

The following community sites updated last night:

Iraq is gearing up for elections. The Ahrar Party notes:

March 3: Exclusive Al Jazeera interview with Ayad Jamal Aldin

Ayad Jamal Aldin - leader of Ahrar (374) - will be reinforcing his party's electoral credentials in a live interview with Al Jazeera on March 3, at 16:20 AST.

"Ahrar is the only party that has a plan to bring about the change that Iraq so desperately needs, but only the voters have the power to make this happen. They alone can force the change as they alone will be in the voting booth on March 7. Be brave and vote for change. Vote for Ahrar 374," says Ayad Jamal Aldin.

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.

Pru notes Sadie Robinson's "Massive vote for strikes at the University of Sussex" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Lecturers at the University of Sussex have voted overwhelmingly for strikes to save jobs. The UCU union members’ ballot won the highest turnout ever seen at the university. Some 80.9 percent voted in the ballot with 76 percent backing strikes.

A further 82 percent voted in favour of action short of a strike. The result shows the depth of anger among workers and their determination to fight. Management wants to cut 115 jobs at the university.

The university senate is set to meet this Friday. A motion to put planned job cuts on hold will be discussed. If management refuses to back down, the UCU should waste no time in calling strike dates.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

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March 20th, marches in DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Students for a Democratic Society are an organization that will be participating and they note:

While the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is growing ever larger, the occupation of Iraq is still raging, nearing its seventh anniversary. With over 4,300 US soldiers and over 1.3 million Iraqi civilians estimated dead, something has to be done to stop this senseless slaughter.
This year Students for a Democratic Society will hold a national week of action March 15th to 20th where students will organize protests and direct actions at campuses across the country in opposition to the ongoing, brutal occupations.
The need for a vibrant anti-war movement has rarely been felt more than this very moment, while the United States drops trillions of dollars into unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, during the worst economic crisis in 80 years. Students are struggling to pay for school while tuition skyrockets, and states lose billions of dollars to two continuing occupations.
On Saturday, March 20th, SDS will participate in a massive National March & Rally in D.C. hosted by A.N.S.W.E.R. to finish the week of action with tens of thousands of people in the street!
We're calling on students and youth from across the country to join us the week of March 15-20th in demanding: Fund Education, Not Occupation!
For more information visit:

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends