Thursday, April 07, 2011

The shocking news from Iraq

Jennifer Epstein (POLITICO) reports, "Some U.S. troops may stay in Iraq past their planned pullout at the end of the year if the Iraqi government wants them, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday in Baghdad, as he also detailed what a government shutdown might mean for members of the armed forces." Robert Burns (AP) quotes Gates stating, "So if folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we're going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning. I think there is interest in having a continuing presence. The politics are such that we'll just have to wait and see because the initiative ultimately has to come from the Iraqis."



But the SOFA!!!!

Remember it ends the Iraq War!!!!

If it ends the Iraq War, then there's no way that the administration could consider keeping US troops in Iraq past 2011. But, reality, the SOFA never meant that.

I know, I know. A lot of liars told you otherwise. "Liars"? When it was explained to them and they dismissed it, they're liars.

So that's Raed Jarrar, Leila Fadel and so many others. In fact, little known story, last spring when The NewsHour was taking questions about Iraq, the one they discussed the most but I don't believe that they included was from a viewer who asked -- at a time when Joe Biden was making it clear US troops might stay beyond 2011 -- how that could be because The NewsHour had told viewers the SOFA meant that the war ended in 2011.

That's not what it means. It's a contract covering up to three years. It can be extended, it can be replaced or it can be followed as written. But it never meant that US soldiers had to leave Iraq. And all the liars who told you that need to start taking accountability. It's a long, long list. The number of people who told you the truth -- especially back in November 2008 -- is a much, much shorter list. In fact, that list can be counted on one hand.

At some point, if accountability is taken, TV news outlets need to be asked if part of the reason that they pimped the lie was it allowed them to justify killing their Baghdad coverage (thereby saving costs)?

In other words, the lie benefitted a lot of people. It didn't benefit the Iraqi people. It didn't benefit US service members. But it benefited the bottom line and cost cutting measures and, of course, the then-newbie president Barack Obama. Again, a lot of people need to take accountability.

And though they well know who they are, don't hold your breath waiting for them to step forward on their own.

Tomorrow morning is the last time we note the following. Reminder: 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

If it should be extended, well note it some more. Otherwise, tomorrow morning is the last time. The clock is ticking. If you or someone you know qualifies, please pursue it. The Salem-News profiles the "Most Famous Woman in Afghanistan" Malalai Joya with an article (text) and video. The Obama administration attempted to prevent her from entering the country recently.

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