Friday, June 04, 2010

Perceived? Really?

With growing concern about the plight of Christians in their native land, local Iraqi Americans met this week with the highest-ranking State Department official in charge of Iraq policy when he made a three-day stop in Detroit.
But Michael Corbin, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, faced an angry crowd that shouted him down during one of his meetings with Chaldeans, illustrating the frustrations many have about the perceived erosion of Christianity in Iraq and Chaldean refugees facing deportation.

The above is from Niraj Warikoo's "U.S. official: Iraq works to protect the churches" (Detroit Free Press) and it's hard to know who to be more disgusted at, the serial liar Michael Corbin or Niraj Warikoo? "Perceived erosion of Christianity in Iraq"? Really? And to try to pull that crap in Detroit? With all the Iraqis that have been resettled there since the start of the illegal war, Michigan's really not the place to attempt to 'soften' (rewrite) history. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Refugees International -- those are just some of the organizations that have documented the reality of the erosion of Christianity in Iraq. The United Nations has documented it. And Warikoo wants to put it in terms of "perceived"?

Perceived? Last month's attack on college students attacked which grouping? Iraqi Christians. The religious structure/body (to refer to building and who is housed there) just outside Mosul recently targeted with bombings? That was a convent. The last 12 months have seen attacks outside and/or near mosques. But there's been bombings of Christian churches during the same period. Bombings of. Not near or outside. The nonsense from Michael Corbin is the usual crap we could have gotten from the State Dept under Bush (and did -- and got it from Corbin). Is the Iraqi government committed to stopping the attacks on Iraqi Christians? (Or is that "perceived attacks on Iraqi Christians"?) Based on what?

Based on the same meaningless statements Nouri and his officials have been making since 2006? Based on the success Nouri and his officials have had prosecuting attacks on Iraqi Christians? Certainly not on that one because no one gets prosecuted for that. But after four years of gum flapping and never any action, Corbin wants to site the gum flapping.

This piece is an insult and what may be the most insulting of all is that Corbin was there to meet with the Iraqi exile community in that area -- predominantly Iraqi Christians. And yet Warikoo's Q&A with Corbin features a lot of b.s. and only one question (the first) about Iraqi Christians. Corbin was there why? Yeah, Iraqi Christians. So let's waste everyone's time by asking questions like: Do you think the Iraq War was worth it? You really think career State Dept -- and lower level flunky at that -- is going to give you an answer worth printing? And you really think when someone's booed loudly by a crowd, you don't follow up on that by asking one question after another on the topic that got the official booed?

And then there's BNO News at WireUpdate which allegedly is concerned about PTSD but writes the following: "Fallen American soldiers who have died in military service, including over 4,000 in Iraq and 1,000 in Afghanistan, were remembered this past Memorial Day, which marked the final day of Mental Health Month."

Days before Memorial Day, the 1000 mark was reached in Afghanistan. So that didn't require any real research for a piece written this week. "Over 4,000"? That's acceptable? How much over 4,000 is acceptable?

A politician giving a speech might get away with it. Someone writing an article? It really shouldn't be more than twenty. How much over 4,000 was the death toll in Iraq when Memorial Day rolled around?


"Over 4,000"? 4,400 requires more precision than that. That's one-tenth of the figure they used. That's two high of a percentage to reduce to "over 4,000." It's sloppy and indicates that anything else in the article should be greeted with the same skepticism.

In other news, WEAU (link has text and video) reports that Iraq War veteran Shane Nault's parents are charged with taking his money and misusing it (including allegedly gambling away $53,000). KARE11 adds:

A criminal complaint says the Naults used large amounts of money set aside for Shane to gamble, buy a truck, and travel. That money came from government checks, military pay grants, insurance policies and funds raised through benefits and donations for Shane.
Forensic accountants found a number of additional accounts set up by Lori and Michael Nault, allegedly to divert and hide money. They also uncovered large ATM withdrawl receipts and copies of checks written at casinos in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and West Virginia.

Shane Nault was serving in Iraq when his Humveee was hit by an IED. He continued serving and another IED (May 2007) left him further wounded (the first IED reduced his hearing by 60%). Shane Nault had shrapnel in his brain. He suffered multiple injuries as a result.

If the allegations are true, it's especially disgusting when you consider that both parents played a role in public -- which led to donations for Shane. Here's Shane's mother from a post at Remind:

I am the mother of a hero. My son, Sgt Shane Nault, was injured when his humvee hit an IED while in Baghdad. This happened on 05/08/2007. Shane had shrapnel that entered through his left temple and exited above his right eye. Every bone in his face was shattered like crushed corn flakes, except for his lower jaw. He lost brain matter, had severe frontal lobe damage and extensive left brain damage. Remarkably he survived and was flown to Germany for more care. They removed the shattered part of his skull and stabilized him for the trip back to the States. He arrived on 05/10/2007. During the flight Shane suffered a massive stroke that destroyed the rest of the left side of his brain. We met him when he arrived at the national naval medical center in Bethesda, MD and could barely recognize him. Remarkably he survived all of this trauma. Shane is now blind, does not speak, is paralyzed on the right side, and has severe cognitive disabilities, but by the grace of god he is still with us. He shows us what miracles are about every day. We treasure every moment we have with him. The worst thing we have experienced through this whole thing is the financial situation. My husband and I have had to leave our jobs to care for our son, or he would have to be put into a nursing home. We have no means of compensation for caring for him. Something is wrong with this picture. The government will pay a nursing home to care for our son but they will not supplement us in any way. The hardship is incredible, but don't get me wrong we would do nothing different.
Please work for the families also who are caring for this "heroes". There are so many young men and women coming home with TBIs, mild and severe, and we need to help all involved in their care.
Bob Woodruff has brought to light many of the changes that need to be made and we are so grateful for that. If you would like to read about my son please go to God bless - Lori Nault (mom of Sgt. Shane Nault)

It would be wonderful if the whole thing ended up being some horrible misunderstanding but no one should hold their breath on that happening.

The following community websites updated last night:

We'll close with this from Andy Worthington's "Torture and the 'Black Prison', or What Obama is Doing at Bagram (Part One)" (World Can't Wait):

For eight and a half years, the US prison at Bagram airbase has been the site of a disturbing number of experiments in detention and interrogation, where murders have taken place, the Geneva Conventions have been shredded and the encroachment of the US courts -- unlike at Guantanamo -- has been thoroughly resisted.
In the last few months, there have been a few improvements -- hearings, releases, even the promise of imminent trials -- but behind this veneer of respectability, the US government’s unilateral reworking of the Geneva Conventions continues unabated, and evidence has recently surfaced of a secret prison within Bagram, where a torture program that could have been lifted straight from the Bush administration’s rule book is still underway.

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