Sunday, April 03, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Dar Addustour reports that the US military announced today the (Saturday) deaths of 2 US soldiers when their Baghdad base was hit with "indirect fire" -- usually meaning mortars or rockets. The paper adds that a Babel police source reports 3 rockets hit/landed on the US military base Camp Kalsu in Iskandariya. But the war's over, Barack and his groupies insist. Guess someone just forgot to tell the one launching rockets or mortars.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4444. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD still lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4444. The count doesn't include the latest two.

Senator Lindsay Graham appeared on CBS' Face The Nation today (here for transcript, here for video). Much attention went to one section of his comments. We'll note that but we'll start with another set of his remarks, "Well, here's the back-up plan. If all military forces have withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, the State Department has come to the Congress and said we're going to need over fifty MRAPs, mine resistant vehicles. We need a fleet of helicopters and thousands of private security guards to protect us as we go to the four consulates in Iraq to do our job to help the Iraqis build a civil society out of a dictatorship. I think that is a losing formula. I do not believe the State Department should have an army, that-that that's not the way to provide security to our State Department." On that, he's correct. And militarizing diplomacy should be a non-starter for all members of Congress.

He also stated, "I think American soldiers and the Iraqi army should provide security. We're talking about helicopters, a fleet of helicopters so they can get around to the four consulates, spread throughout Iraq. We're talking about MRAPs, mine resistant vehicles bought by the State Department, a mini State Department army. We've never done that before. That will fail. I'm urging the Obama administration to work with the Maliki administration in Iraq, to make sure that we have enough troops ten to fifteen thousand beginning in 2012, to secure the gains we've achieved to make sure Iran doesn't interfere with the Iraqi sovereignty
and-- and to develop this country. We can't do it with a State Department army and I will not support that. This is a defining moment in the future of Iraq." So he's calling for the US forces to remain in Iraq under military control. Though some will be outraged (and some will pretend to be), he's not the only one to voice that. Amazingly, Bob Schieffer expresses surprise when Graham's speaking of the State Dept using contractors and US forces -- and this has been discussed at length by Congress. I know it wasn't reported at length by the media so we won't mock Bob for not knowing. But it's been addressed at length. And Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have signed off on it in a report they issued earlier this year. From the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's [PDF format warning] "IRAQ: THE TRANSITION FROM A MILITARY MISSION TO A CIVILIAN-LED EFFORT:"

But regardless of whether the U.S. military withdraws as scheduled or a small successor force is agreed upon, the State Department will take on the bulk of responsibility for their own security. Therefore, Congress must provide the financial resources necessary to complete the diplomatic mission. Consideration should be given to a multiple-year funding authorization for Iraq programs, including operational costs (differentiated from the State Department's broader operational budget), security assistance, and economic assistance programs. The price tag will not be cheap -- perhaps $25 - 30 billion over 5 years -- but would constitute a small fraction of the $750 billion the war has cost to this point.

Under either scenario, the Iraq War doesn't end. And what the White House -- and its groupies -- are counting on is that as long as it two US deaths every other month or so, you won't give a damn. If the two plans are new to you, you can start by referring to "Iraq snapshot," "In appreciation of Lindsey Graham (Ava)," "It's a bi-partisan hole (Wally),"
"John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Webb," "Iraq snapshot," "The forgotten covert wars on Latin America (Ava)," "It's a boom economy!" and "Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 bodyguard for Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council member Ali Majed (and left three other people wounded), two Ramadi roadside bombings resulted in the death of 1 police officer and fourteen more being injured, a Mosul rocket attack claimed the life of 1 woman and left six people injured, a Najaf roadside bombing injured one US service member, and, dropping back to Saturday for the next two, a Ramadi sticky bombing injured two police officers, one Iraqi soldier and one by-stander and a Kirkuk mortar attack injured two people.

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