Friday, March 25, 2011

A Talabani speaks

"It's troops may be reduced, but it must always be there, in its spirit, in its partnership, and in its support for those repressed." Who said that?

Adam Playford (Palm Beach Post) reports Qubad Talabani did in Florida yesterday at the World Affairs Council of the Floria Palm Beaches. Talabani is the US representative for the Kurdistan Regional Government. He's also the son of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. "Reduced" is an interesting word choice, isn't it? Contrast it with, for example, "gone." "It's troops may be gone, but it must always be . . ." But "reduced" is what Talabani chose.

Meanwhile UPI notes UNICEF's report on Iraq's water issue which includes that at least 1 million Iraqi children get their water from 'open source' and that "water-borne illnesses like diarrhea are the second-largest killer of Iraqi children." Iraq lacks a needed supply of potable water. This is due to the fact that in his five years and counting as prime minister, Nouri has failed to fix the infrastructure so Iraq's water contains sewage and otehr items. The recommendation each summer -- as the yearly cholera outbreak approaches -- is that Iraqis boil their water before drinking. Which is possible for some. It's not, of course, possible for Iraqi orphans living on the streets. A real answer would be for Nouri to spend some of those billions on rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure but you can't prepare for a palatial, post-prime minister life and also ensure that Iraqis' basic needs are met, apparently.

The resource wars are supposedly coming, across the globe. Supposedly? I'm not doubting that resources are scarce, I'm just not big on predictions from supposed experts. In Iraq, water is a major issue that's only become more of one in recent months.

They share a border with many countries. Iran has been a problem with regards to water. There have been accusastions that Iran is building dams to prevent the flow of water. More seriously in the immediate term, the water is becoming too salty for consumption because water flowing into Iraq through Iran has too much saline in it. Not only does that make for problems with drinking water, it can be very bad for fertile land which might otherwise be productive and help Iraq restart their agriculture sector -- Iraq was the bread basket of the Middle East -- the Iraq War changed that as it did so many things. Within Iraq, a new move may heighten tensions. AFP reports that the Kurdistan Regional Government is constructing 11 damns with plans for an additional 28 to be built. AFP notes that "rainfall is now 60 percent below average" and that accusations were already flying in Kirkuk that farmers were being denied needed water due to Kurdistan dams.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

Through April 7th, we're going to try to note this at least once each day, if you served in the US military and you were stop-lossed, you are owed additional money. That money needs to be claimed. DoD announces the date to file for that additional payment has been extended:

The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to April 8, 2011, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned under the program guidelines.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama Friday, providing funding for federal government operations through April 8, 2011.
Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay was established to compensate for the hardships military members encountered when their service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss Authority between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.
When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible for this benefit. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts to reach them and remind them to apply. Outreach efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue through April 8, 2011.
To apply for more information, or to gather more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends