Saturday, April 24, 2010

If only the war ended as easily as the coverage of it did


Contact: Deborah Forter, 617-983-0710,
Nancy Lessin,


Family Members of Fallen Soldiers and Families of Troops Currently Deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan Available for Interview

Nationwide -- With the war in Iraq entering its 8th year, members of Military Families Speak Out, the largest organization of military families to speak out against a war in this country's history, are calling on Senators and Representatives to take immediate action to cut off funding for the war and bring our troops home now.

"With great sadness my family and I mark the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is also now 6 years since we last saw my son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, a Pennsylvania National Guard soldier, alive. On April 26, 2004 he died in an explosion while looking for the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. We are but one of the over 5,000 American families who mourn the loss of their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan; physical and spiritual casualties affect thousands more - and yet the wars that kill our young and drain our treasure do not create peace. It is long past time to bring our troops home, and find real solutions for Peace." said Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, whose son was the first Pennsylvania guardsman lost in the war in Iraq.

Maggie Pondolfino, a Military Families Speak Out member from Washington, DC, whose son currently serves in the Army, said "Two years ago, I welcomed my son home from an extended tour in Iraq. While I'm profoundly grateful that he survived the surge of 2007, 53 others in his brigade were not so fortunate. Now my son is deployed again - this time to Afghanistan. As we face the beginning of the 8th year of war in Iraq and more troops to be sent to Afghanistan, we need to face our collective duty to demand an end to these wars and to bring our troops home now. There is no military solution to these conflicts and no life worth losing to these wars."

"After witnessing and personally experiencing the loss that war brings and the cost to our nation in terms of the killing and maiming of our next generation of leaders, I'm always amazed that Americans allow open warfare to continu.," said Jane Bright, the mother of Army Sgt. Evan Ashcraft, an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division who was killed in Iraq on July 24, 2003. "The U.S. is currently engaged in 3 wars, yet the American masses go about their business as if destruction of other countries is part of the American landscape. My question to the American people: when will America step up and bring this warfare to an end, and when will you grow tired of seeing a few grow rich from the suffering of so many?"

Military Families Speak Out members will be participating in events in Washington, D.C. and around the country to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the war in Iraq and call for all troops to be brought home now and given the care they need when they get home.

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW: In Washington, D.C. on March 20 at 11:15 a.m.: There will be a contingent of members of Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families Speak Out (MFSO's national chapter of families whose loved ones died as a result of the wars), Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace assembling at the Veterans Administration Building at 810 Vermont Avenue, NW - they will go on to be the lead contingent in the march against the wars.

ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY: Members of Military Families Speak Out will also be participating in events around the country. To arrange for an interview contact Deborah Forter at or Military Families Speak Out, 617-983-0710 or Nancy Lessin at 617-320-5301 or

Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) is a national organization of over 4,000 families who are opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have loved ones in the military. Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO) is a national chapter of Military Families Speak Out, with families whose loved ones died as a result of these wars.

For more information about Military Families Speak Out, please visit:; for more information about Gold Star Families Speak Out, please see

The above is "Seven Years Into The War In Iraq, Military Families Say: 'Bring Them Home Now!'" and that's worth noting at any time, especially in a week that has seen the deaths of 3 service members in Iraq announced. In addition, today CNN reports, "A U.S. Department of Defense employee has died in Iraq of unknown causes, the U.S. military reported Saturday." It's a week that saw Nouri lie and lie and lie and reality provide the correction Nouri's unable to, culminating with Friday's bombings which claimed at least 8 lives in one Anbar Province city and 56 to 69 in Baghdad (depending upon who does the counting). The Iraq War, like the shell game the Democrats and Republicans play in DC, never ends and the only real winner is the con artist. I wonder how many people are even aware how close to the 4,400 mark (for the number of US service members killed in the Iraq War -- not counting those who come home and take their own lives due to the wounds they carry inside) we actually are now?

So many seem to stupidly believe the Iraq War is over. Yesterday, Iraq was in and out of the news cycle. It should have dominated the news cycle. It should have been the big story. Now, the day after, and very few outlets report on it. In fact, I'm not really finding any reports that we didn't highlight in yesterday's snapshot already from the big news outlets. And, of course, 'independent' media has other things to do: Barack can't spit polish it himself, can he? That would just be masturbation and it's so much better when he can be given a hand job, right? Hence the boys and girls at The Nation magazine.

At, Jason Ditz doesn't play the quiet game:

The attacks were the third major spate of bombings in Baghdad this month alone, but also stand as the deadliest yet of 2010. Year over year death tolls have been on the rise over the past several months, and are only getting worse since the disputed March 7 election.

So far no one has claimed credit for the blasts but the government was quick to blame al-Qaeda, speculating that it was revenge for the killings of leaders announced earlier this week.

Yesterday, it was reported that Moqtada al-Sadr was reactiving the Mahdi Army. AFP reports today:

The Iraqi government said on Saturday that an offer by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to help boost security at strategic sites was unnecessary, in the wake of anti-Shiite attacks in Baghdad.
"I don't think we are lacking men in the security forces, what we are lacking is intelligence," the prime minister's spokesman, Ali al-Mussawi, told AFP.

Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports
today that al-Sadr issued a statement today clarifying that they had not been recalled and that they would be only if the government or 'government' out of Baghdad wanted it to be so.

What could get the West interested in Iraq again? Maybe some civilian kidnappings. So if you're stupid enough to travel there for 'pleasure,' don't be surprised if you're kidnapped. With that in mind, this is from Alice Fordham's "Iraq tour promises view of a bejewelled past -- despite razor-wire" (Times of London)

If your criteria for a holiday are sun and sand then why not take your next break in Dhi Qar, southern Iraq? If you overlook the miles of razor-wire, barren rubbish-strewn wastelands and occasional explosions -- usually, though not always, controlled blasts from the nearby Imam Ali airbase -- it is an interesting part of the world.
Terre Entière, a French tour company, has decided that holidaymakers are ready to look beyond the disadvantages of the province’s capital, Nasiriyah, famous mostly for the fighting after the 2003 invasion, and spend ten days at a hotel, touring the sights of ancient Mesopotamia.

In some of today's violence, Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Baghdad today which resulted in on police officer being wounded. Reuters adds 3 Baghdad bombings claimed 3 lives and left nine people wounded, 1 Sahwa member was shot dead in Baquba, 1 man was shot outside his home in Mosul, 1 taxi driver was shot dead in Mosul and, in a third shooting, 1 person was shot dead and a police officer wounded.

And that's going to be it. I'm on wireless and we're dropping in and out with the signal (which seems to be based on the flow of traffic on the street, I kid you not) so as soon as we're reconnected this is going up as is.

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