Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday saw Sahwa slammed with suicide bombings (five times fast, please)

Long targeted, Sunday saw Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") slammed with two suicide bombings which claimed at least 48 lives. Sahwa was originally on the US tax payer dime with each of the over 90,000 members making at least $300 a month. These days when they are paid by the Iraqi government, they're lucky to get $100 a month -- and lucky to get paid. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

For about a year, U.S. commanders have assured the Sons of Iraq that they'd get permanent jobs in the Iraqi security forces and other government ministries.
Those jobs have not materialized.
A report issued in June by the national reconciliation committee formed by the Iraqi government said that about 30,000 militiamen were given civilian jobs and about 9,000 - half of what was supposed to be merged with Iraqi forces - are serving in Iraq's Ministry of Interior for a three-month test period.

The bombing which claimed the most lives was in Radwaniya and the Daily Mail reports, "At least a dozen men, dressed in military-style uniforms were seen laying in pools of blood in front of a blast wall shortly after the blast. There were conflicting reports as to how many of the dead were Iraqi soldiers and whether any of the civilian accountants handing out money were among them." At that bombing was Uday Khamis who is quoted by the Sun, "There were more than 150 people sitting on the ground. When the explosion took place I ran, thinking that I was a dead man." Tim Arango (New York Times) quotes Sahwa leader Sheik Ali Hatem al-Suleiman stating, "I'm blaming the security forces. From the beginning, I said that politicians are responsible because they don't care about the Awakening as a national project, and the evils of the security violations reflect negatively on the officials."

Changing topics, Greg Jaffe (Washington Post) reports on the way suicides of active duty service members are treated by the US military:

The Pentagon doesn't tell units how to mourn soldiers who commit suicide in combat, but it makes distinctions between suicides and other war deaths. The families of those who die of combat wounds or in noncombat accidents receive condolence letters from the president. The families of suicide victims do not.
Some Army and Marine Corps brigades inscribe the names of suicide victims on unit war memorials. Many units choose not to include them.

On the subject, David Martin (CBS News) noted, "A total of 32 soldiers, both active duty and reserve, took their own lives in those 30 days. So far this year, 145 soldiers have committed suicide compared with 130 during the first six months of last year, which at the time was the worst on record." "Soldiers" because this is Army data only. They released their latest monthly data (June) last week (see Thursday's snapshot).

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Tales Of Indonesian Folklore" went up last night. Pearl Korn (Huffington Post) is attempting to raise awareness on Democratic Party Congressional Candidate Dr. David Gill:

1 - Supports a REAL national health plan (IMPROVED MEDICARE FOR ALL), delivered by single payer.

2 - Supports withdrawal from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan NOW.

3 - Supports labor and reinvigorating the union movement.

4 - Supports public funding for federal campaigns.

5 - Is pro-choice.

6 - Supports real immigration reform that does not criminalize the 12 million immigrants living here now, including a humane pathway to citizenship and working with the international community to boost the economies of these immigrants' home countries to give them more incentive to stay home - rewriting NAFTA and CAFTA would be a good place to begin in this effort.

That's not an endorsement from me because I don't vote in Illinois -- let alone in Illinois' 15th Congressional district -- and I only endorse in races I can vote in -- a practice I wish others would stick to. Gill is a PDA candidate and hopefully (for a change) this is one with actual grassroots support in the district he's running in as opposed to the usual PDA campaign where all the support comes from out of state and then after PDA stands with its thumb up its ass wondering why their candidate who had so much national support couldn't win in a Congressional district? PDA has a lousy track record and their efforts to unseat Blanche Lincoln were ridiculous as was having the only thing more useless than Howard Dean -- Howie's brother -- gab on about what their candidate meant to Arkansas voters because who but carpet-bagging Dean -- the Billy Carter of Vermont -- would know what Arkansas voters wanted? It's ridiculous. Gill's against the Iraq War and smart enough to note that it needs to end NOW -- putting him several up on recent PDA candidates -- so we'll note him and hope he's a genuine candidate. SourceWatch notes:

David Gill

David Gill (born December 25, 1959) is an American physician and politician from Illinois. A Democrat, Gill ran in 2004 for the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbant Timothy V. Johnson for Illinois's 15th Congressional District and garnered 39% of the vote. He ran against Congressman Johnson again in 2006, winning 42% of the vote.


Gill attended both undergraduate and medical school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been practicing medicine for the past 20 years. He works as a physician and the medical director of the emergency room at John Warner Hospital in Clinton, Illinois. He volunteers as a substitute teacher, at Planned Parenthood of East Central Illinois, and as a youth sports coach in Clinton. Gill also runs a men's social club at the DeWitt County Nursing Home.

David Gill has been married to his wife, Polly Wright-Gill, for 18 years. They have three children.

If Gill sounds like a candidate you're interested in or would like to know more about, click here for his campaign website.

US Senator Russ Feingold is in a tight race in Wisconsin as he runs for re-election. Like Kat, I can't figure out how that happened. But we'll be in Wisconsin in August and see if we can make sense of it then. In the meantime, his office notes the following:

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has heard from thousands of Wisconsinites at his listening sessions this year. One of the top issues at Feingold’s 2010 listening sessions has been foreign policy and national security, particularly concern about the continuing U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Those concerns have helped to shape Feingold’s work on Afghanistan, including his bill requiring the President to set a flexible timetable to draw down troops so the U.S. can focus more resources on the global threat of al Qaeda.

At Feingold’s Jackson County listening session on January 16, 2010 a Wisconsinite said "Afghanistan is an incredible quagmire. As I look at it, I don't see any way we can get out of it. I’d like to hear your views, what is a way to get out of this? It is a mess."

A constituent told Feingold at his Wood County listening session on January 26, 2010, "We were able to defeat both the Nazis and the Japanese in less time than we’ve been in Iraq and Afghanistan. We seem to be staying for who know[s] how long."

A constituent told Feingold in Polk County on April 8, 2010, "As a former army ranger and special ops officer, I maintain contact with active duty friends at the Pentagon and the CIA. Not one I speak with has anything positive to say about the outcome about our present military strategy in Afghanistan and for that matter Iraq…. This relative so-called buildup in Afghanistan, which you opposed, is one of the actions I quite admire and it took a lot of courage to do that. I’d like to know what your thoughts are and if there are any possible initiatives relative to refocusing the administration’s attention on the real source of international terrorism versus national building and the related distractions and to accomplish in some way by looking beyond pandering to the generals and looking to those who are actually engaged in combat."

After hearing these and other concerns from Wisconsinites, Feingold introduced legislation requiring the president to develop a flexible timetable to draw down U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Feingold's legislation would enhance our national security and reduce the burden on our Armed Forces and on taxpayers. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help our country shift focus and resources to a more sustainable counterterrorism strategy for the region and the world.

"At my listening sessions, Wisconsinites across the political spectrum have made clear they want to know when our military operation in Afghanistan will end," Feingold said. "Their input is a great example of how what I hear at listening sessions helps inform my work in the Senate, and why listening sessions are so valuable as I represent our state."

At listening sessions this year, Feingold met face-to-face with more than 7,500 Wisconsin residents. Feingold has now held 1,296 listening sessions during his time in the U.S. Senate. Over the course of his listening sessions, Feingold has met face-to-face with more than 69,000 Wisconsinites. At his listening sessions, Feingold makes brief remarks to begin the meeting but then turns the floor over to those in attendance to bring up and speak on any topic they choose. The meetings are open to the public and Feingold listens, takes notes and responds to each person who speaks.

"I learn more at these town meetings than I learn anywhere else and not only is it the most important part of my job, it's also my favorite part of my job," Feingold said. "It is always interesting to hear directly from the people I represent and they deserve every opportunity to let me know what they think about any issue they want. This is democracy in action and I am grateful to all those who took time out of their busy schedules to come to my meetings and let me know what’s on their minds. The feedback I receive is essential to my job as a U.S. Senator."

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