Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Command of the 'ended' war handed over

Yesterday Margaret Griffis ( reported, "As the United States marks the change in mission for Iraq, one American soldier was killed in sniper fire in Tikrit. At least four Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded in unusually light violence that could be the result of a media blackout." The Iraq War didn't end last night. The Iraq War continues. It's the past, it's the present and, thanks to Barack Obama, the Iraq War is the future. And a Ghost of Iraq War past, Tony Blair, pops up.

At Iraq Inquiry Digest, Chris Ames notes this from the Telegraph of London: "Mr Blair says he was angry at being asked when giving evidence to the Iraq Inquiry led by Lord Chilcot earlier this year if he regretted anything. He writes that he took a conscious decision to give an answer that was incomplete so he would avoid a headline, 'Blair apologises for war'." Chris points out, "Blair justifies giving a public inquiry an incomplete answer because he was concerned about the headlines. Very Blair. But if you justify acting in that way for that reason, why would anyone believe anything else that you said?"

The Nation has no time for Iraq, does it? What happened to that real-time blogging it promoted? Gone when it means they might have to do something other than work themselves into a masturbatory frenzy over Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. (Laughingly, the Socialist Worker, US, offers an editorial today attacking the Democratic Party which would be fine and dandy if the publication isn't guilty of exactly what it's pointing the finger at the Democratic Party for -- allowing the right to set the agenda, wasting time responding instead of being active, etc.)

Greg Mitchell can't weigh in on Barack's speech -- though he can serve up links! And of course the thing that really obsesses him, his own personal viagra, is Glenn Beck: "Wash Post probes how Glenn Beck has gotten away with as a Mormon, leading a Christian revival -- but many Christians don't even believe Mormons are Christians. Perhaps his most of his followers are still in the dark about that -- as with so much else. " It's hard to type when you've got one hand shoved down your pants, Greg demonstrates. It's really offensive that The Nation wasted everyone's time with one column after another asserting Barack was a Christian and yet will allow an attack on a Mormon? Greg's frothing at the mouth as he types "many Christians don't even believe Mormons are Christians." You can all but hear Greg's cackle. But, when many Americans don't believe Barack is a Christian, it's time to ignore and set aside news and important issues to instead bore the tiny number of people who still read The Nation with one piece after another insisting Barack is a Christian. Hypocrisy, thy name is The Nation.

What The Nation can't and won't tell you, Jason Ditz ( does here.

The only thing of value I see in the morning papers is this from Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times):

(One soldier did ask if the end of combat operations meant the end of extra combat pay. Mr. Gates said that as far as he was concerned, combat pay still applied in Iraq, where troops are still being killed by homemade bombs, sniper fire and mortar attacks.)

As I type, US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey is introducing Joe Biden in Iraq for a speech to the troops. It's streaming live at USF/MNF and Jeffrey is stating Biden "knows what it's like to have a close family member deployed" in Iraq. Speaking at Camp Victory's Al Faw Palace, Biden declared, with no sense of irony, of the location for the speech that the US is "occupying a palace for a noble reason". Oh, Joe.

When Biden's done speechifying, Gen Ray Odierno will step down as the top US commander in Iraq and Gen Lloyd Austin will take over.

"Our remaining troops, I might add, as combat ready as any in" the US military, Biden said. He later hails Odierno as, "Not only a warrior but a diplomat." And command has just been handed over to Austin. Though why command of an 'ended' war would need to be handed over, I have no idea. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is yammering on about how Austin is taking the baton -- to an ended war? It makes no sense unless you grasp that the Iraq War did not end last night with Barack's pretty lies speech.

Today on the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show (airs on most NPR stations and begins streaming live online at 10:00 a.m. EST), Diane explores the Iraq War with her guests Phyllis Bennis, Rajiv Chandrasekaran and retired Gen James Dubik.

While The Nation can't really address Iraq, The New Republic offers Andrew J. Bacevich's "Obama Wants Us To Forget The Lessons Of Iraq:"

The Iraq war? Fuggedaboudit. “Now, it is time to turn the page.” So advises the commander-in-chief at least. “[T]he bottom line is this,” President Obama remarked last Saturday, “the war is ending.” Alas, it’s not. Instead, the conflict is simply entering a new phase. And before we hasten to turn the page—something that the great majority of Americans are keen to do—common decency demands that we reflect on all that has occurred in bringing us to this moment. Absent reflection, learning becomes an impossibility.
For those Americans still persuaded that everything changed the moment Obama entered the Oval Office, let’s provide a little context. The event that historians will enshrine as the Iraq war actually began back in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Iraq’s unloved and unlovable neighbor. Through much of the previous decade, the United States had viewed Saddam as an ally of sorts, a secular bulwark against the looming threat of Islamic radicalism then seemingly centered in Tehran. Saddam’s war of aggression against Iran, launched in 1980, did not much discomfit Washington, which offered the Iraqi dictator a helping hand when his legions faced apparent defeat.

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