Friday, February 04, 2011

Bombings, polio, war, it's Iraq

Today Iraq is slammed with bombings again. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes a Ramadi suicide bombing last night in which the death toll has risen to 5 police officers. Tawfeeq has already updated that to note 9 now dead and twenty-three injured. Alsumaria TV counts 3 Ramadi bombings. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) observes of Ramadi's Anbar Province, "The vast desert area has been relatively calm for more than three years after Sunni tribes and anti-U.S. insurgent groups turned to cooperate with the U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces against al-Qaida network in Iraq."

In addition, Reuters notes "an Anbar University professor and cleric who criticised al Qaeda during prayers last week" saw his Falluja home blown up today and two of his children left injured, a Trikirt bombing of a police officer's home injured him and his teenage son and 1 police officer was shot dead in Falluja. In equally disturbing news, Basra has the polio virus. Al Mada reports that two children have polio, confirmed by the Ministry of Health. No word on whether immunizations are being planned or what efforts will be taken to contain the outbreak. There are entire generations that may not get how serious that is. Others will note the migration in and out of Iraq (not just Iraqis and that includes US citizens) and will remember that the polio vaccine stopped being dispensed in many countries when it was assumed the world had conquered it. Any who remember or studied the previous polio outbreak, however, will find the news very disturbing.

Alsumaria TV reports two developments, Nouri al-Maliki has reportedly given Parliament the names to fill three vacant posts in Cabinet (which would leave 7 still needing to be filled for those keeping track). Which three? Minister of Electricity, Trade and the State Ministry for Women Affairs. In addition, Nouri appears to have been check-mated/bluffed by Parliament: "Al Maliki and Parliament Speaker Ousama Al Nujaifi agreed in their meeting on Thursday to have the Supreme Court clarify its ruling to place independent bodies under ministerial and not parliamentary control, the source told Alsumaria News. The clarification should be made through an announcement that confirms the independence of these bodies, the source noted according to Al Maliki and Al Nujaifi."

We're dropping back to yesterday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. This was covered in yesterday's snapshot, Kat covered it in "John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Webb," Wally covered it at Rebecca's site with "It's a bi-partisan hole (Wally)" and Ava covered it at Trina's site with "In appreciation of Lindsey Graham (Ava)." John T. Bennett (The Hill) reports on the hearing and the rush by so many to continue the US 'mission.' Let's get honest about what took place yesterday, a lot of people not wanting to be responsible if the civilian mishaps that might take place.

Don't want the mishaps (read "deaths" and "injuries")? Get the US out of Iraq. It's not that damn difficult. But, as Wally noted, the Iraq War is a bi-partisan hole that both are eager to dig. Bennett tells you that John Kerry (never trust a man who choses his career over a sick wife -- as we should have all learned from the John and Elizabeth Edwards saga) wants to start "a stand-alone funding bill to pay for civilian-led Iraq functions." Really? So off the books again, supplementals. Exactly what John Kerry and others condemned Bush for.

Apparently, for Democrats in Congress, the real problem from 2001 through 2008 with the wars wasn't the wars but that their fellow wasn't the one making the calls. The Democratic Party is disgusting. I was -- as Wally notes -- on the phone yesterday with a friend who opened their home to a Barbara Boxer fundraiser last year to help Boxer get elected and would not have done that had they known that Boxer would be a War Hawk. But she signed off on the Senate Foreign Relations report (see yesterday's snapshot) which proposes continued war (including keeping the US military in Iraq overtly -- a new agreement -- and covertly -- under the State Dept). Yes, Babsie loves to grand stand. I didn't give a dime to her campaign this time around because she went on Diane Rehm's show in the fall of 2009 and a caller asked about US forces staying beyond 2011 as Nouri al-Maliki had stated. Babsie exploded at the caller (she did that at a lot of callers on that broadcast -- she was hawking her latest badly co-written book) that these rumors that get into the press and blah blah blah and make it over here and . . . Nouri al-Maliki, only weeks before, had made that statement (about extending the SOFA), in DC, on an official visit and it was reported by many outlets including McClatchy. But the SENATOR had no clue. Which shows you just how little she pays attention to Iraq. And the SENATOR was attacking callers. Which shows you just how little she cares about We the People.

In the House, Barbara Lee's a joke. From day one, after whoring to get Barack elected, Lee wants to pretend like, "I'm giving Barack X months and then I'm getting serious!" Funny how the date keeps changing. (Not unlike the way Lee's 'history' keeps changing the older she gets and it was downright laughable in that book she put her name to.) Don't remember Barbara Lee curbing herself for Bush. Don't remember her being careful in word choice when the ongoing wars were being led by him.

They're not going to do a damn thing because (a) they don't want to and (b) the people aren't forcing them to. In forty years, what's going on in Egypt will have happened in Iraq (maybe many times over the next forty years) and suddenly Americans will call out what was done today. But right now? I'm not blaming the people. I'm blaming the Danny Schechters, Amy Goodmans, Naomi Kleins and other War Profiteers who made their money via books and films on the Iraq War and, having made their money, quickly moved on to other things despite the fact that the wars didn't end.

The people who used to demand "OUT OF IRAQ NOW" have spent two years pretending that a potential exit was a firm date. Look at that idiot Raed Jarrar who wanted to lecture me about the SOFA. The idiot who doesn't even understand the US Constitution wanted to lecture me on the SOFA and tell me how wrong I was.

Yesterday and Tuesday, Senate Committees dicussed possiblities including extending the SOFA. No, Raed, the SOFA never meant that the Iraq War had to end at the end of 2011. Your a stupid fool who should have taken accountability long ago. Instead, you spent the last two years attacking people like me who refused to lie and whore just because a Democrat was in the White House.

Bennet (The Hill) notes that among the senators on the Committee yesterday, Lindsey Graham feels the US military should remain. That's correct and you can see Ava's report for the full transcript of that exchange. You can also see, as Ava notes, that he pinned the witnesses down and was the only one to do so. If the military switches from DoD control to State Dept control (because the SOFA is not extended or replaced with another treaty), what will they have, what will they do? But Graham was far from the only one expressing that. Jim Webb expressed outright surprise that there was a chance that no US forces under DoD control would be left in Iraq after December of this year. Suprise and dismay.

In the previous entry, Micah made several points (included at the end) and I think he's right because people still aren't prepared for what may happen re: Iraq. They're still lying at outlets like The Progressive and The Nation and Democracy Now. People have no idea what's coming. And that's helped along by the unhealthy fetish that is the Eygpt story. Did you wake up this morning in Egypt?


Do you have family there?


Then it's a story you should follow as you should many other international stories. It is not the story of the US goverment. It may be the story of past US governments with a bit of today thrown in. But right now, wars are going on. Right now, how to continue the US military presence in Iraq is being addressed. And who the hell is paying attention?

I objected to the Iraq War because it was an illegal war based on lies. It being continued by a Democrat did not redeem it or make it a 'noble' or 'better' war. The Iraq War should never have started. We can't turn back the clock but we damn well should be making it clear that it shouldn't contine even one more day. We've failed at that because we've refused to get honest. We've allowed 'left' 'leaders' with their own hidden interests to hijack the peace movement, we've allowed politicians elected on the promise of ending the wars to get away with breaking those promises. We've failed mainly because we don't know what's going on with regards to Iraq and Afghanistan.

But I betcha a large number of lefties can tell me what happened in Egypt yesterday. It's the equivalent of a soap opera, Egypt as Erica Kane.

I was going to make some more points and, honestly, rip apart a friend who's coverage of the hearing is off the mark in two serious spots. But I won't mention him and certainly won't attack him this morning because, right or wrong, he covered the hearing. Right or wrong, he was present in his own life. Looking around this morning, not a lot of people can say that.

Thanks to Micah for his e-mail. I've avoided the subject but the hysteria and craze has gone on more than long enough. It's a hulu hoop now, it's no longer a story.

I'm not in the mood to promote PBS or NPR this morning. If The Diane Rehm Show remembers Iraq today (they ignored it last week to make it all about Egypt -- a topic they'd spent an hour on the day prior), we'll note it in the snapshot today. I will note CBS' 60 Minutes:

"60 Minutes" Presents: Gotti
John Gotti, Jr. talks to Steve Kroft in his first extended TV interview about growing up with the infamous father whom he strove to please by living a life of crime but whom he eventually betrayed by leaving that life. | Watch Video

Sunday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

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