Saturday, December 18, 2010
All you folks think you run my life
Say I should be willing to compromise
I say all you demons go back to hell
I'll save my soul save myself
-- "Crossroads," written by Tracy Chapman, first appears on her album of the same name
Instead of repeatedly pining for a hero to emerge and pinning all their hopes on some man -- it's always a man for that group of lefties (though they work overtime to build up Elizabeth Warren to prove they're not sexists) -- they might try less jerking off and more activism. Then again, no one should be robbed of their sole talent so maybe they should just continue as is.
In May of 2005, Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) reported:
Lawyers acting for anti-war groups yesterday presented the international criminal court with evidence which, they say, shows that the government acted unlawfully by participating in the US-led invasion of Iraq.
They say that British forces acted out of all proportion to the official war aim - ridding Iraq of its banned weapons programme but not regime change.
They also argue that British troops acted, and were ordered to act, beyond the bounds of military necessity. British soldiers acted unlawfully by detaining and, they allege, mistreating Iraqi civilians, and by targeting cluster munitions on urban areas.
The attorneys were correct to file, they have to pursue any and all potential avenues. But the open letter referred to earlier? It emerges in July of 2008. Long after people should have noticed -- five years after Luis Moreno-Ocampo took over as the prosecutor for the ICC -- that he wasn't doing a damn thing and didn't plan on it.
For public consumption, he often talked a good game. For example, in March 2007 (four years after the start of the illegal war), Gethin Chamberlain (Telegraph of London) reported:
Tony Blair faces the prospect of an International Criminal Court investigation for alleged coalition war crimes in Iraq.
The court's chief prosecutor told The Sunday Telegraph that he would be willing to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued. Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations said that his country was actively considering signing up.
Afua Hirsch (Guardian) reports today on a WikiLeaks released US State Dept cable which fouces on Luis Moreno-Ocampo and was written in 2003 and concludes, "Privately, Ocampo has said that he wishes to dsipose of Iraq issues (ie Not to investigate them.)" He played a good performance on the world state, he just never meant it and a lot of time was wasted drooling over the notion that this man was going to save us all. That sort of thinking is not only futile in and of itself, it prevents real actions from taking place as everyone dreams that some man is going to be their winning lotto ticket.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo was never going to end the Iraq War, punish the aggressors responsible for it or do a damn thing on the issue. By the time the open letter was circulating, 2008, that was very obvious. The US State Dept cable indicates that it was obvious to the US government in 2003. (Title refers to Tina Turner's hit from the Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome film "We Don't Need Another Hero.")
In other news, Ned Parker and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) report three Sunni politicians who were banned when they attempted to run in the March elections have been 'unbanned.' Liz Sly and Aaron C. Davis (Washington Post) report that, "Iraq's main Sunni bloc said Saturday that it will definitely participate in the next Iraqi government, after parliament implemented one of its key conditions and cleared the way for Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to announce at least a partial cabinet in the coming week." That doesn't mean things have been solved with this issue (let alone others) or that this is the end of the story on this issue. Rawya Rageh (Al Jazeera) points out, "We understand that his [al-Maliki's] longstanding rival, the former prime minister Iyad Allawi, had said on Friday he's agreed to be part of the government, on condition that actually they become real partners. It seems that all the main hurdles for now have been overcome but you never know, in Iraqi politics everything can change in the 11th hour." Jack Healy (New York Times) covers the story better than many but this passage appears to have a problem:
It also clears the way for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to name his cabinet, potentially ending nine months of feuding and political drift that has followed inconclusive national elections in March.
Mr. Maliki's allies said he could announce a new government as early as Monday, five days before he is required to do so under a constitutionally mandated deadline.
That's not how Nouri himself interpreted Article 76 in 2006. Why the hell would we change the interpretation now?
Here's Article 76 from the Iraqi Constitution (PDF format warning, click here):
First: The President of the Republic shall charge the nominee of the largest
Council of Representatives bloc with the formation of the Council of Ministers
within fifteen days from the date of the election of the President of the Republic.
Second: The Prime Minister-designate shall undertake the naming of the members
of his Council of Ministers within a period not to exceed thirty days from the date
of his designation.
Third: If the Prime Minister-designate fails to form the Council of Ministers
during the period specified in clause “Second,” the President of the Republic shall
charge a new nominee for the post of Prime Minister within fifteen days.
Fourth: The Prime Minister-designate shall present the names of his members of
the Council of Ministers and the ministerial program to the Council of
Representatives. He is deemed to have gained its confidence upon the approval,
by an absolute majority of the Council of Representatives, of the individual
Ministers and the ministerial program.
Fifth: The President of the Republic shall charge another nominee to form the
Council of Ministers within fifteen days in case the Council of Ministers did not
win the vote of confidence.
These are five steps and they're all under the 30 day clause. The fifteen days is repeating and the third and fifth clause. Not only that section Article 61, Section 8, subsection D on the withdrawal of consent by the Council of Ministers touches on similar issues.
In 2006, Nouri didn't interpret it to mean that 30 days to form a government meant you had 30 days to find nominees and then you had additional time to get them voted on. That's an intriguing, novel and new interpretation of Article 76 -- one that would appear to exist today solely because Nouri can't meet the deadline. Forming a government means having ministers and a program -- not a nominated program and some people the prime minister-designate really hopes the Parliament will approve. Clock should be ticking for Nouri, instead efforts are made to provide him with additional time.
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "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. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a National Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now nine months, nine days and counting. Thursday November 25th, Nouri was finally 'officially' named prime minister-designate. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) explained, "In 30 days, he is to present his cabinet to parliament or lose the nomination." Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) added, "Even if Mr. Maliki meets the 30-day deadline in late December -- which is not a certainty, given the chronic disregard for legal deadlines in Iraqi politics -- the country will have spent more than nine months under a caretaker government without a functioning legislature. Many of Iraq's most critical needs -- from basic services to investment -- have remained unaddressed throughout the impasse." Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) offered, "He has an extremely difficult task ahed of him, these next 30 days are going to be a very tough sell for all of these parties that all want something very important in this government. It took a record eight months to actually come up with this coalition, but now what al-Maliki has to do is put all those people in the competing positions that backed him into slots in the government and he has a month to day that from today."
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NOW thanks all of the senators who voted to recognize the right of lesbians and gay men to serve openly in the military, especially those who for years have taken a lead role in the struggle. We also recognize the courage of the Republican senators who broke ranks to end the filibuster and move to a vote on this historic legislation.
NOW has long been concerned about the disproportionate impact of Don't Ask Don't Tell on women. According to the Service Women's Action Network, sexual harassment of military women frequently takes the form of lesbian baiting. An indication of the lopsided impact of the policy is that, in 2008, 34 percent of service members discharged were women even though women constitute only 15 percent of military personnel.
Military leaders have endorsed repeal and are confident that the troops and their families are ready, and that repeal will not negatively affect military readiness, unit cohesion, unit effectiveness, or retention. The public is also ready. Numerous polls show a majority of Republicans, Independents, Democrats, conservatives, moderates, liberals and frequent church goers support ending Don't Ask Don't Tell.
The president is expected to sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk. NOW urges military leaders to move forward rapidly to certify and implement its provisions as soon as the bill becomes law. Lesbian and gay service members should not have to wait a single unnecessary day to have the same right as heterosexuals to serve openly in the military.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki w. 202-628-8669, ext. 116, c. 202-595-4473
NOW released the above today. As Marcia pointed out last night, one of the real heroes on this in the Congress was Joe Lieberman. That was obivous by December 2nd. You can see that day's snapshot for coverage of Lieberman at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell review the Pentagon conducted. And Ava covered the hearing at Trina's site with "Senators Scott Brown and Roland Burris (Ava)," Wally covered it at Rebecca's site with "Senate Armed Services Committee" and Kat covered it at her own site with "Where I find time to praise Ben Nelson." From Joe Lieberman's office, we'll note:
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Senate, by a vote of 65-31, today passed legislation that will repeal the discriminatory policy barring homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the lead sponsor of the “’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Act of 2010,” issued the following statement:
“Repealing ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ is the right thing to do whether you're liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, or independent. It is the right thing to do for our military and the right thing to do for our country. The sixty-five Senators who voted to correct this injustice showed that we’re still able to come together in a bipartisan way to fight for America’s best interests.”
In the House, Patrick Murphy deserves credit for his efforts to strip the repeal out of the Defense Authorization (it never should have been there -- for those who weren't following, blame that on Barney Frank who repeatedly lied including insisting it would be in the authorization proposed in the fall of 2009) this month. Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) has a roundup of reactions here. It's a victory for those serving. A victory for LGBT rights? In the abstract. In the concrete? Read the bill that passed:
H.R.2965 -- Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (Engrossed Amendment House - EAH)
HR 2965 EAH
In the House of Representatives, U. S.,
December 15, 2010.
Resolved, That the House agree to the amendment of the Senate to the bill (H.R. 2965) entitled 'An Act to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program, and for other purposes.', with the following
HOUSE AMENDMENT TO SENATE AMENDMENT:
In lieu of the matter proposed to be inserted by the amendment of the Senate, insert the following:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010'.
SEC. 2. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE POLICY CONCERNING HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE ARMED FORCES.
(a) Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654-
(1) IN GENERAL- On March 2, 2010, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum directing the Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654 (section 654 of title 10, United States Code).
(2) OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REVIEW- The Terms of Reference accompanying the Secretary's memorandum established the following objectives and scope of the ordered review:
(A) Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.
(B) Determine leadership, guidance, and training on standards of conduct and new policies.
(C) Determine appropriate changes to existing policies and regulations, including but not limited to issues regarding personnel management, leadership and training, facilities, investigations, and benefits.
(D) Recommend appropriate changes (if any) to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
(E) Monitor and evaluate existing legislative proposals to repeal 10 U.S.C. 654 and proposals that may be introduced in the Congress during the period of the review.
(F) Assure appropriate ways to monitor the workforce climate and military effectiveness that support successful follow-through on implementation.
(G) Evaluate the issues raised in ongoing litigation involving 10 U.S.C. 654.
(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (f) shall take effect 60 days after the date on which the last of the following occurs:
(1) The Secretary of Defense has received the report required by the memorandum of the Secretary referred to in subsection (a).
(2) The President transmits to the congressional defense committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating each of the following:
(A) That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report's proposed plan of action.
(B) That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f).
(C) That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations pursuant to the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f) is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.
(c) No Immediate Effect on Current Policy- Section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect until such time that all of the requirements and certifications required by subsection (b) are met. If these requirements and certifications are not met, section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect.
(d) Benefits- Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to require the furnishing of benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of `marriage' and `spouse' and referred to as the 'Defense of Marriage Act').
(e) No Private Cause of Action- Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to create a private cause of action.
(f) Treatment of 1993 Policy-
(1) TITLE 10- Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), chapter 37 of title 10, United States Code, is amended--
(A) by striking section 654; and
(B) in the table of sections at the beginning of such chapter, by striking the item relating to section 654.
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), section 571 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (10 U.S.C. 654 note) is amended by striking subsections (b), (c), and (d).
HOUSE AMENDMENT TO SENATE AMENDMENT
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed. That's a good thing. But don't confuse that with the Congress putting some on the books that prevents discrimination based upon sexual orientation because that didn't happen. All they did was wipe the books clean. And, under Barack, that may mean gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military but it's a short-term fix if and when a Republican gets into office and decides to change it. How can that happen?
After 50 years of gays and lesbians serving openly, it would require a major witch hunt and/or scare. But two or six years from now? It wouldn't be too hard to create some 'studies' that 'find' the military was harmed and to get the talking points in order. I'm not saying that'll happen but I am saying that's why in cases where we DO NOT want discrimination, we outlaw discrimination.
The Congress didn't outlaw it. All they did was remove Don't Ask, Don't Tell from the books. (In fact, section 2's subsections "d" and "e" spit on equality, or are we not supposed to notice that?)
The following community sites -- and Liberal Oasis, Antiwar.com, Washington Week, CCR and FSRN -- updated last night and today:
Grandmothers Against the War's Joan Wile is the author of Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace. She took part in an NYC action on Thursday:
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Friday, December 17, 2010