Sunday, May 01, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Today the Defense Dept issued the following, " The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Pfc. Robert M. Friese, 21, of Chesterfield, Mich., died April 29 in Al Qadisiyah province, Iraq, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. For more information, the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9993 or 254-449-4023." Meanwhile Jennifer Bellamy (WLTX in Columbia, South Carolina -- link has text and video) reports on the send-off ceremony for members of South Carolina's National Guard (specifically Apache Helicopter Battalion) who are leaving for Fort Hood (Texas) for additional training and then deploying to Iraq. Friends and family said their goodbyes to soldiers like Sgt Steven Hughes who stated, "I've been out here for a year and a half so I think I'll be all right, but leaving the family and everything's gonna be the hardest thing." Bellamy notes, "Once in there, they'll work to support US operations for about a year through Operation New Dawn." They'll be in Iraq for about a year. Do the math. All troops leaving December 31st?

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 4450. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD still lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4453. (Count was last updated by DoD on Friday.) In other violence, Reuters reports an attack on a Ramadi checkpoint in which 2 police officers were killed, a Kirkuk attack in which "Kurdish intelligence officer, Lieutenant Colonel Naswad Talabani" was shot dead, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured four people, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured seven people, a Taji roadside bombing which injured four people, a Tarmiya roadside bombing which injured two people and 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul.

Today was May Day, International Labor Day, and Aswat al-Iraq reports the Communist Party held a demonstration in Baghdad's Liberation Square which was attended by "hundreds of workers" and that they "carried placards, demanding their legitimate rights, the abolishment of the expression 'employees' for workers and the issuance of laws that organize their work and vocational life." Tuesday will be World Press Freedom Day and Aswat al-Iraq notes:

Iraqi journalists will celebrate Tuesday the world press freedom day in a jubilant gala, Chairman of Iraqi Journalists Syndicate (IJS) Mu'ayad al-Lami said on Sunday.

"Iraqi journalists killed in Iraq will be commemorated on this day that is considered an occasion for solidarity with world journalists detained around the world", Lami said in statements to Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

At OpEd News, Sandy Shanks observes:

Pardon me; it is way past time to leave. There comes a point where enough is enough. While Congress and the President are debating endlessly over raising the debt limit on our huge national debt, they are ignoring two elephants in the Oval Office, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While they quibble into infinity on that issue, Americans, having endured nearly eight years of war under Mr. Bush and over two years of war under Mr. Obama and weary of war, have decided on the overlying issues, two needless and costly wars. Poll after poll has indicated the American people's decision. They want out of the Iraq and Afghanistan and demur on further engagements in the Middle East, a land distant from ours, culturally and politically. Americans can see this clearly, but not American leaders.
Americans are also weary of the sanctimonious and ubiquitous ceremonies and endless emails regally our troops. Americans love our troops, and we do not need endless reminders. What we do need is American leadership that recognizes that devotion to our beloved troops and gets them to hell out of harm's way. The abject futility of their brave efforts combined with the dismal performance of their leadership will now be illustrated.

New content at Third:

Kat's "Kat's Korner: You're no Emmett Till" went up today. Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes this from Great Britian's Socialist Worker:

How can 'Arab Spring' win fundamental change?

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It looked like the rulers across the Middle East and North Africa might fall like nine-pins in January and February.

Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak were brought down by struggles.

Yet the revolutions that came after these have not followed the same pattern.

In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi managed to hold onto enough of the security forces to retaliate against the revolutionaries.

Now, with Nato’s involvement, the aspirations of those who initially took to the streets in their millions may not be fulfilled—even if Gaddafi is forced out.

Elsewhere, we have seen historic mass protests, but increasingly they are being met with extreme violence from the state.

The ruling classes and their imperialist allies have regrouped and developed strategies to try to crush, absorb or divert the movements that threaten their power.

The struggles from below are still changing the face of societies. They cannot easily be contained.

They have the potential to bring down murderous regimes—whether in Syria, Yemen or Bahrain.

But victory is not inevitable. The core of the potential power of ordinary people is their collective strength. We saw that in Tunisia and Egypt.

The organised working class was central to the victory over Ben Ali—and it was mass strikes of millions of workers that finished Mubarak.

When Egyptian workers talk about getting rid of all the “little Mubaraks”, they mean uprooting the tentacles of the regime from every state structure and workplace.

The cameras may have left, demonstrators in Tahrir Square may only gather on Fridays—but the process of revolution in the most important country in the region has not halted.

This deepening of the process of revolution throughout the region is key to the future of “the Arab Spring”.

The following should be read alongside this article:

People will defy the Syrian crackdown

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