Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chris Hill the Diplomatic Failure

Is there a bigger idiot than Chris Hill? Well, there's always the one that appointed him to his current post. The outgoing US Ambassador to Iraq, Chris Hill manages to public embarrass himself yet again, this time in an interview with Steve Inskeep on today's Morning Edition (NPR).

First up, Chris Hill offers a break down of population but somehow forgets the Kurds. Don't think they aren't paying attention. Don't think it didn't register: "Did that fool just include Turkomen but forget us?" How typical, how very much like his embarrassing confirmation hearing. Hill never understood the Kurds, never understood the dispute over Kirkuk and, let's be honest, he never made the effort to.

National reconciliation? Inskeep asked him about it. Did he mention Kirkuk? There was supposed to be -- it's in the 2005 Constitution -- a referendum on Kirkuk. That's part of national reconciliation. So is the de-de-Ba'athification process.

Did Hill cover those?

No. Not at all. He went off on "identity politics" at one point. At another point, he was insisting that there was progress. Asked about the five months of political stalemate, he insisted that was "politics." Then he went on to cite 'progress,' Iraq had signed 12 oil deals. With, he went on, all the permanent members of the UN Security Council!!!!!

That's progress? That's progress to Hill who rarely left the Green Zone with one exception: He acted as tour guide from time to time for Big Oil. There's something rather disturbing about the US government whoring out the ambassador for Big Oil. But maybe the logic was: "It's not a real ambassador, it's just Chris Hill"?

Even for someone who opposed Hill's confirmation, it was appalling to hear that interview. You were stuck with the realization of just how little he cared for or thought of the Iraqi people. He never mentioned the lack of potable water, he never mentioned the electricity shortage, he never mentioned the assault on Iraqi Christians, he never mentioned anything.

Just raved over the oil contracts.

And, please note, Iraqis are listening.

Chris Hill's such a moron. The new US Ambassador to Iraq is James Jeffrey and, replacing the George W. Bush of the diplomacy set, he'll coast on the by-comparison aspect for months. (Then people will begin to dig around his past and grasp why he was actually chosen for the post.)

Iran doesn't sit on the UN Security Council but it has been strengthening it's diplomatic ties to Iraq. Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) reports, "Iran's new ambassador to Iraq promised to double trade volume and bolster economic ties between the two countries, the latest economic outreach by Tehran as its influence here grows. The move also comes amid fresh sanctions against Iran by the United Nations, the U.S. and the European Union, aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Analysts said Tehran could be redoubling efforts at building economic ties with Baghdad to help limit the impact of those measures." Iran's Press TV adds:

Hassan Danaeifar made the remarks in his first press conference at the Iranian embassy since arriving in the Iraqi capital to replace former Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Calling Iraq a niche market for Iranian goods, Danaeifar reiterated that "the sanctions will not affect economic relations between the two countries."
The new ambassador said that Iran is currently supplying 750 megawatts of power to electricity-starved Iraq daily, in addition to fuel to a number of power stations across the country. He added that two Iranian banks -- Parsian and Karafarin -- recently received preliminary approval to open branches in Iraq.

But a cloud rises over the diplomatic horizon. Tehran Times reports, "The Iranian parliament is drafting a plan to obtain war reparations from Iraq, MP Eivaz Heidarpour announced on Monday. The Iraqi government inflicted a $1 trillion loss on Iran during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, and the plan will require that the government demand compensation from Iraq through international channels, Heidarpour, who is a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told the Mehr News Agency." In other cloudy diplomatic news, Alsumaria TV reports, "Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied any dispute between Syria and Iran over the nomination of a Prime Minister in Iraq stressing that the Iraqi people will soon reach an understanding in order to establish its government without any foreign interference. Velayati denounced news saying that his country has special requests in the regard."

The following community sites -- and a few extras to include Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan and Latino USA -- have updated this morning and last night:

The Dry Land is playing in three cities currently: Los Angeles, New York and Dallas. The Ryan Piers Williams directed film stars America Ferrera, Ryan O'Nan, Wilmer Valderrama, Melissa Leo and Jason Ritter.


And it opens Friday at the following:

Scottsdale, AZ: Shea 14 Theater

Irvine, CA: Westpark 8 Cinemas

Palm Desert, CA: Cinemas Palme D’Or 7

Austin, TX: Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills 8

El Paso, TX: Cielo Vista 14

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "BIG-TIME COLLEGE FOOTBALL DEPRIVING ATHLETES OF AN EDUCATION" (Before It's News):

The transformation of varsity college football programs into unabashed commercial ventures has come at the academic expense of their players, only about half of whom are graduating. Indeed, pressures on the varsity team performers in today’s Big Time college football atmosphere have made a mockery of the “student-athlete” concept. At the University of California, Berkeley, for example, a shockingly low 53 percent of the varsity football squad players graduate. UC’s dismal success rate, like that of so many other football powerhouses, is significantly lower than that reported by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn.(NCAA) for varsity players generally in all sports, which ranges from 60 to 70 percent. That’s according to Michael Oriard, associate dean at Oregon State University and author of “Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era”(University of North Carolina Press). Oriard was a second-team All-American at Notre Dame in the Sixties, and afterwards went on to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. The BCS era referred to in the title of his book stands for the Bowl Championship Series that was created in 1998 ostensibly to determine the national champion in Division 1-A college football but which, in fact, has worked to create big paydays for the conferences that provide bowl game competitors.
“I don’t think the kind of full college educational experience that I received and that was available to my teammates around the country is available today, because it has become so much more time-consuming, so much more intense,” Oriard says. “When I was a student at Notre Dame I not only graduated and got an education but I got the best education that my institution offered me while still playing big-time college football, because it was possible to do both at the same time,” he told TV book show host Lawrence Velvel of “Books of Our Time”, which appears on Comcast. Velvel is the dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.
In his college playing days, Oriard attended classes until 3 p.m., when he would suit up and practice on the playing field until 5 p.m., take a dinner break and attend a team film meeting. By 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. he would be free to devote himself to academic pursuits. That meant going to the library until about midnight and then to bed. Today, by contrast, he says, it’s typical for football team players to have to lift weights early in the morning, squeeze in their class work by 1 p.m., then view films and practice, and then probably commit to more film viewing after practice. “The number of hours that are required has increased by at least a couple every day, if not more than that, for some players,” Oriard says.

The e-mail address for this site is