Friday, January 14, 2011

Continued presence, fey protest

Again, we open with Aaron C. Davis' "U.S. plans for presence in Iraq after pullout" (Washington Post):

Instead, planning is underway to turn over to the State Department some of the most prominent symbols of the U.S. role in the war - including several major bases and a significant portion of the Green Zone.
The department would use the bases to house a force of private security contractors and support staff that it expects to triple in size, to between 7,000 and 8,000, U.S. officials said.
Ongoing negotiations between the United States and Iraq will determine the number of contractors and bases, as well as the number of uniformed military personnel the United States hopes to keep here to continue training Iraqi security forces, the officials said.

Meanwhile Khaled Farhan, Khalid al-Ansary, Michael Christie and Tim Pearce (Reuters) report that approximately 2,000 followers of Moqtada al-Sadr marched through Kufa protesting that Joe Biden had visited and, P.S., they don't want him coming back. Of course the protest might not be so damn laughable if they'd managed to stage it while Joe Biden was actually in Iraq. In what should be a show of strength or at least moderate influence, the Sadr movement looks incredibly sad as their protest takes place after Biden leaves. So much for the talk of 'powerful' Moqtada and his 'powerful' movement.

Meanwhile Alsumaria TV notes that Adm Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has stated that Iraq's challenges are now political. And Kelly McEvers (NPR's Morning Edition) examines splits in Iraq via poultry.

We'll close with this from Chris Floyd's "Hellfire on Earth" (World Can't Wait):

As President Barack Obama consoled the nation Wednesday with talk of "rain puddles in heaven," his agents were murdering four more people in his illegal war in Pakistan. The incongruity was excruciating; you could almost feel your neck snapping from the moral whiplash induced by the contrast between word and deed.

But of course this contrast remained totally obscured. Instead, the media was saturated with bipartisan praise for Obama's heavenly puddles and "transcendent" rhetoric about "aligning our actions with our values" and measuring our lives by "how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of others better." Naturally, in the midst of so much self-congratulatory afflatus, there was not much room for a short story from the Associated Press noting that Wednesday saw yet another attack by American drone missiles on a remote village in Pakistan.
Yet even this report was itself drenched in the mindset of righteous murder that lurked behind the treacly tropes that Obama was delivering to a rapturous crowd. You can see it in the language of the very first paragraph:

Suspected U.S. unmanned aircraft fired four missiles at a house in a militant-infested area of northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least four people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

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