Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The spin, the disapeared, the stalemate

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would perhaps have taken issue with Doug Maughan's defence of Tony Blair, but they can’t because they are dead, killed in Mr Blair's illegal war.
The children they left behind, all those whose homes were bombed to rubble, the soldiers who were sent to war on a lie, some returning mentally and physically scarred, and the many who came home in coffins, may also have disagreed with Mr Maughan.
The weapons of mass destruction, the excuse used by Mr Blair to justify his side-stepping of the United Nations, and leading the UK into a totally unnecessary war, did not turn up in Iraq, but anyone wishing to find any need go no further than the Clyde.
Mr Maughan, on no evidence that I can see, trots out the latest excuse used by Mr Blair and his supporters that Saddam would have developed them anyway.
Seven years on, death and destruction continue to haunt Iraq, and nowhere more so than in the city of Fallujah, where babies continue to be born with serious heart problems, horrific physical deformities, and with mental abnormalities.
For the mothers of Fallujah who have given birth to babies with two heads, or with no heads at all, it is impossible to imagine that they will ever recover from the horrors of Mr Blair’s unjustifiable war.

The above is Ruth Marr's letter to Scotland's Herald -- one of three letter writers calling out the spin the paper pushed. Nearly every outlet is pushing spin these days or just falling silent regarding the ongoing war in Iraq. A friend just called about a laughable regional peace group which has a write-up in a California paper and, in it, they're praising Barack for "ending" (their term) the Iraq War. What a bunch of simps, fools, whores and liars. But it makes real easy for those of us who do care about peace to cross them off future donation lists. Let 'em whore for the Democratic Party and also compete with the Democratic Party for donations. That should ensure that their little faux activism comes to end real soon. The Iraq War has not ended and while you expect that crap from politicians, supposed peace and anti-war activists are supposed to stick to reality. Ibrahim Saleh (Asia Times) notes the realities for many Iraqis: anguish over the family members they've lost. An Iraqi woman can't find her son who disappears. She spends years attempting to find out if he's behing held by Americans or Iraqis, she searches prison records. At one point, she sees her son on TV, in the midst of a report on Iraqi prisons, she can see him in the background. But she can never locate him to this day. That's the 'improved' Iraq. And the woman's son disappeared after Nouri became prime minister. Has remained disappeared throughout Nouri's reign.

Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) reports

"We gave our votes to Maliki and he stole them and gave them to the criminals," declared one opponent of [Moqtada al-]Sadr's inclusion in the government, while others said it was Maliki's historical rivalry with Sadr that had convinced them to support him in the first place.

The alliance could also have consequences overseas, some warn. Though the Maliki-Sadr alliance was the favorite choice for Iran, most of Iraq’s Sunni neighbors are likely to be concerned by the new alliance and its pledges to give the Shi’ite clergy virtual power to issue laws by edict. Sadr’s historical opposition to the US occupation is also certain to become an issue somewhere down the road, particularly as the Obama Administration mulls keeping troops in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline.

The political stalemate. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted last month, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 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. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and five days and counting.

The stalemate's not over, no government's been formed and no one can say they know what's going to happen right now or next (unless they're claiming the gift of prophecy). But should Nouri remain prime minister, has anyone stopped to think how embarrassing it is for him? I know the State Dept hasn't because I had a back-and-forth with a friend at State over this yesterday. The March 7th elections may -- MAY -- result in Nouri remaining prime minister. May. After over seven months of struggling. What does that say about Nouri and his true popularity among Iraqis? It's really an indictment of him though you can be sure people will try to spin it otherwise. But if he remains prime minister, the point of the stalemate will have been to maintain the status quo. Seven months and counting would not have been spent to set up a new govenrment, they would have been spent with Nouri fighting tooth and nail to hold on to the post he got in 2006. No, you can't sell that as 'progess' with a straight face.

Phil Sands (National Newspaper) reports
on the meet-up between Syria's President Bashar Assad and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Damascus yesterday where the two publicly "expressed concern [. . .] over Iraq's extended political crisis" and they warned against a government that excluded Iraq's Sunnis. They also bonded over mutual dislike for the Kurdish rebel group PKK.

At Firedoglake, Teddy Partridge reports on how a DCCC fundraiser denied Iraq War veteran and one-time Democratic Congressional Candidate Anthony Woods' admission, returning his $5,000 fee to the event. Why was he blocked from attending? Because he's gay and apparently Barack can't be at an event with gay people. The homophobic president of the United States and his team feared Anthony might dare to ask about Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- the policy Barack pledged to overturn as a candidate but now states demands and requires multiple surveys and studies before it might get addressed.

Hopefully this will bite Barack in his cushy ass. Though I read about it in Partridge's report, I already had five voice mails on this topic from friends asking that I not donate at present in a show of solidarity because if any of our money is 'bad,' all of our money is bad. No problem, I'm not donating. They never should have treated anyone with such disrespect. And if the DCCC thinks they're going to get away with it while begging for money, lots of luck to them.

We're winding down but let's note this on Justin Raimondo:

I’ll be speaking at California Lutheran University’s Lundring Events Center with Reason magazine senior editor Brian Doherty, author of Radicals for Capitalism, a delightfully comprehensive history of the modern libertarian movement on October 26 from 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m. The forum, with the topic “Anti-Interventionism: The Left and Right Wing Traditions,” is being hosted by the Steven and Susan Woskow Trust and co-sponsored by Students for Liberty, the World Can’t Wait, Ventura County Libertarian Party, Center for Equality & Justice, and Antiwar.com. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited so please RSVP to secure your seat: Steven Woskow at 805-306-1860.

I was asked about noting that in an e-mail to the public account and the reason we've noted that (at least three times now) is that campuses need to hear speakers talking about the wars and Justin won't whore it or pretty it up, he'll give a honest accounting. For me, I was helping a friend out (in February 2003) when she'd agreed to speak on several campuses but then had an offer that would take her to several larger ones and couldn't do both, so I agreed to fill in for her at the smaller ones. It just snow balled from there and I got lucky. I'm tired of it -- because I've done it too long, not because it's not rewarding, just because I'm ready to be home -- but I know how few people do speak on these issues. In 2004, there was a big increase and in 2005 it was probably the largest. Looking back, the bulk of 2006 campus speakers on the wars were really just turn-out-the-vote for Democats speakers. And it was downhill after that. 2009 was interesting, especially at the start, because no one must question the Christ-child -- I questioned. Now there are no limitations and students are as eager as they were in the early days of the war. So it's a great time and I think Justin would be a great speaker (I also plug him on campuses -- more than I do here).

And we're closing with the opening to Justin Raimondo's "Obama vs. the Left" (Antiwar.com):

It’s amazing, really, how much of a pass the left is giving President Obama as he sells out every single major platform plank that got them pumped up to begin with. Aside from his sellout on the domestic policy front, which I’ll leave to others to cavil about, on the civil liberties and foreign policy front he’s certainly taken a hard right turn. The promised reversal of Bush era civil liberties violations has itself been reversed; the pledge to get out of Iraq before 2012 turned out to be a shell game, and with the Justice Department going after antiwar activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, and North Carolina – on charges of providing material aid to terrorists – the sting of the administration’s slap to its former supporters on the left must be smarting something fierce.

Yet none of this has registered anywhere but in the precincts of the far left: “progressives” and their limousine liberal buddies have pretty much remained silent, or at least not made all that much of a fuss while the President rides roughshod over the sweet promise of “change.” Indeed, the only change we’ve seen is in the public persona of the Dear Leader and his minions, who have gone overboard recently in making their rejection of the left quite explicit.

While Robert Gibbs was still White House press secretary, he made a point of denouncing the “professional left,” which supposedly won’t be satisfied until we’ve “eliminated the Pentagon.” Anybody who thinks Obama bears the slightest resemblance to Bush “ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs cranked. The real slap in the face, however, came when the administration publicly floated the idea of replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton.

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