Sunday, August 01, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

Al Jazeera probably puts it best in the headline: "Iraq violence 'worst in two years'." Oh, poor little US military brass. So used to citing the ethnic cleansing ("civil war") of 2007 as the base and thereby ensuring that violence forever seemed headed down. Turns out not every news outlet will run with the US military brass' orders. There was never a reason for 2007 to be the year cited for the last three years, for it to be the benchmark. Had it been the start of the Iraq War, an argument could be made that you could say, "Violence has gone down since the start of the war." But even that would have been uninformed and, yes, ignorant if the violence this year was up from last.

But don't fret, military brass, some outlets will forever whore. Take NPR, go to their Iraq page, search for a story on the violence. You won't find one. And yet, listening to Weekend Edition this morning, many of us heard Kelly McEvers give a lengthy report that ran in the top of the hour headlines. Somehow it's no where to be found. She even noted how many US service members were announced dead in Iraq for July. But try to find her report, go ahead, try.

Violence is up. And has been inching up for some time. Since February of 2009. Bit by bit. But US outlets have a really difficult time telling you about that. Why is that? Are they serving the news consumer or are they serving the military brass?

MoveOn is currently waxing poetic about NPR. How nice of NPR to take today to yet again remind the left -- the real left, not the faux left of MoveOn -- of just how poorly they serve listeners when it comes to going up against the government.

Voice of America -- a US propaganda outlet which cannot legally broadcast in the US -- has the story of the increase in violence up at their website, but NPR doesn't. How very sad. If you're missing the numbers, check out last night's "Over 535 people killed in Iraq in the month of July." But search in vain for that story at NPR -- even though they did air it as part of their news at the top of the hour. And it's not just NPR. Sure, you can find it at the wire services (AFP, Reuters, UPI, AP). You can find CNN's wire service (which a number of papers are beginning to carry more regularly including the San Francisco Chronicle). You can find it via China's Xinhua. But where's the New York Times, where's the Washington Post, where's the Tribune papers (LA Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.), where's McClatchy, where's the Wall St. Journal, where's the Christian Science Monitor? All the US dailies that still have Iraq desks apparently went out for drinks early yesterdy and are still tying one on. Binge drinking is certainly a nicer hypothesis than a news blackout to assist the government, so let's just go with that, okay? Of the major US daily newspapers, only the Wall St. Journal (here) and the Washington Post (here and here) even bother to post wire stories on the violence at their websites (both go with AP stories).

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4413. Tonight? 4413.

And it's August. The drawdown is supposed to be completed this month. Not withdrawal, drawdown. US 'combat' forces are supposed to leave and the number of US service members is supposed to be no more than 50,000. (US contractors are already 'surging' in Iraq though no one's bothered to report on the influx in the last weeks.) And yet there's no national government in Iraq. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and five days and, in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 4 months and 25 days. Today Ernesto Londono (Washingont Post) reports that the Iraqi National Alliance has broken off talks with Nouri's State Of Law -- apparently damaging Nouri's efforts to remain a strong-man/dictator in Iraq -- and MP Bahaa al-Aaraji is quoted stating, "We found that our negotiations with State of Law weren't serious."

A number of visitors are e-mailing about an article at The Nation. We're not highlighting it. Trina called out the prick who co-wrote it months ago. We don't advance or promote liars. As for the other co-writer, I guess her Barack love-in didn't pay the rent, before they knew it, the organization funds were all spent. But they got you, Barack, they got you, War Hawk. In other words, next time don't whore out your supposed peace organization on behalf of a War Hawk. I haven't added to their crisis but I'll be damned if I'll help them out of the hole they dug for themselves. And please note, not only did they whore but they have never called Barack out. They've never done it, they won't do it. And yet they wonder why they're about to go under financially. You can't be an anti-war group that refuses to call out the person who's continuing the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and launching drone attacks on Pakistan.

There are very few who stand up for peace. Among the small select group in the US there is World Can't Wait and there is Cindy Sheehan. Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan takes on US House Rep Nancy Pelosi today. Pelosi was interviewed on This Week (ABC -- now hosted by Christiane Amanpour). From Cindy's "Metrics" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):

My son, Casey, was not a “Metric,” nor a stat that you can blink away with your plastic eyes, Nancy. He was a man that loved his family, animals, WWE, and Jesus. He served at his parish at Ft. Hood as an usher and Eucharistic Minister until your ilk shipped him off to die. I cry everyday for him, but you wouldn’t know anything about that would you, Nancy? Your children haven’t enlisted to be damaged in the wars of your class have they, Nancy? Your sons and daughters sit in their comfortable mansions far removed from your “Metrics” of war.

Queen Nancy, I received an email today from someone who was with my son when he was killed over six years ago and I can’t stop crying because pain dripped from every word. He apologized for emailing me, but he says that he can never stop thinking of Casey and that day. He didn’t want to cause me any more “pain,” but he felt like he needed to reach out before he exploded himself.

But you, Nancy--you don’t even know the kind of pain you are causing all of the “Metrics” in the world, do you? The mothers in all the parts of the world that we are bombing, or helping other people to bomb don’t even enter into your rarefied society. We wouldn’t want to spoil your dinner parties/DNC fundraisers at your estate in Sonoma County, now, would we?

You looked me right in the face in September of 2005 and with crocodile mist in your eyes (do you use Vicks Vaporub for your fake, tears like Glen Beck?) you told me that if the antiwar movement helped Democrats get elected, you would help us end the wars. You are nothing but a cold-hearted liar and I am ashamed that the first female Speaker of the House is nothing but another lying, calculating, and callous politician.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes "Leak could be explosive for imperialism" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

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In the right context, leaked documents can help end wars and bring down governments.

The revelation of 90,000 military documents that outline the reality of the war in Afghanistan (see pages 1 and 4) has been compared to the “Pentagon Papers” during the Vietnam War.

In June 1971, the New York Times newspaper started publishing a secret government history of the war in Vietnam.

The “Pentagon Papers” outlined atrocities planned by the US.

They fed into the anti-Vietnam war movement and intensified the crisis at the top of society.

The heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people became linked with the burgeoning anti-war movement in the US, which, importantly, had penetrated the army.

What became known as the Watergate scandal was part of a vast operation by US president Richard Nixon designed to attack his opponents and hold back the anti‑war movement.

The crisis over Vietnam meant there was a crisis of legitimacy for the ruling class.

Nixon responded by extending his imperial adventures—ultimately leading to his downfall.

He resigned in August 1974.

On 30 April 1975, the US finally left Vietnam. It had taken too long but the Vietnamese people and the anti-war movement had forced the US into a humiliating defeat—and brought down a president.

Afghanistan is as much a “quagmire” as Vietnam.

The documents are yet more proof that the war needs to end and, as in Vietnam, the extent and mobilisation of opposition to the war at home will be key to getting the troops out.

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