Monday, May 02, 2011

A call for new elections in Iraq

New Sabah reports Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi is in Erbil and is stating that Iraq today is in a "political crisis" due to the fact that the Erbil agreement has not been implemented. The Erbil Agreement led to the November 10th Parliament meeting at which Osama al-Nujaifi was named Speaker of Parliament and Nouri al-Maliki was named prime minister-designate (but not by Jalal Talabani so that the date could be fudged to give Nouri even more time). As part of the agreement, a national security committee was supposed to be created and Allawi was supposed to head it. That never came to pass. And, in fact, only a few hours after the session began, many members of Iraqiya walked out. State of Law MP Abbas al-Bayati says that the "threat" is no cause for alarm and accuses Iraqiya of talking "vote of no-confidence" at one point and (as Allawi did today) "new elections" at another point. Allawi notes that all primary participants signed of on the Erbil Agreement.

Parliament is debating a law regarding journalism. Suad Rashid (Al Rafidayn) reports there is disagreement as to what the proposed law would actually do and then presents a variety of voices (journalists) explaining why they support or oppose the proposed legislation. Meanwhile New Sabah notes a Parliamentary Committee has lodged an accusation that the Iraqi military is "responsible for the security violations in areas they control" surrounding the capital. The committee notes that repeatedly reports find the assailants are wearing Iraqi military uniforms and that the assailants are able to move freely throughout the areas, through checkpoints, and without arousing suspicion. Today, Al Sabaah notes, the Parliament will hear testimony from the Electoral Commission. Reportedly, State of Law has called for the questioning. This appears to be part of the ongoing attempt by Nouri al-Maliki to co-opt and control the independent Electoral Commission. Dar Addustour adds
that the director of the commission, Faraj al-Haidari, states that they have turned over to the Palriament a list of things they need to do their job.

Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "White House Correspondents Dinner" and Kat's "Kat's Korner: You're no Emmett Till" went up yesterday. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith explore the crime of human trafficking with the ACLU's Chandra Bhatnagar and guest worker Sabulal Vijayan; and, with poli sci professor John Ehrenberg, they explore class warfare and economic justice.

A number (huge number) of e-mails are coming in regarding Osama bin Laden. Ava and I (quickly) wrote "TV: Blather" last night. I'd prefer to leave it at that and if more needs to be said say it in a press critique on Sunday at Third. I'll try to gauge whether or not that's possible throughout the week. I realize the hysteria is out of control -- there are reports that outside Bully Boy Bush's home, a throng has gathered to sing his praises. (Reporters should get the city right. Bush was too cheap to buy a home in Highland Park. His home is in Dallas. Ross Perot, by contrast, lives in Highland Park. In addition, Bush bought a run down house that was never completed before they bought it. We ran the floor plan blue print here when the purchase was announced -- search "This is hell" because the entry quotes Elvis Costello's song. The floor plan -- and permits -- came via a Dallas community member.) It is crazy. It is hysteria. There is no anlaysis. That includes NPR.

During the immediate aftermath of 9-11, this same hysteria had tremendous consequences. As I've said many times since then, instead of songs about 'kicking ass,' we could have used a song like Jewel's "Hands."

You can be part of the blood lust, as many are, or you can be part of the peace. You determine that and collectively we determine our future. On this subject, we'll note David Swanson's "Killing Resolves Nothing" (War Is A Crime):

The plane I was on landed in Washington, D.C., Sunday night, and the pilot came on the intercom to tell everyone to celebrate: our government had killed Osama bin Laden. This was better than winning the Super Bowl, he said.

Set aside for a moment the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being -- which despite the pilot's prompting nobody on the plane did. In purely Realpolitik terms, killing foreign leaders whom we've previously supported has been an ongoing disaster.

Our killing of Saddam Hussein has been followed by years of war and hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths. Our attempts to kill Muammar Gadaffi have killed his children and grandchildren and will end no war if they eventually succeed. Our attempts to kill Osama bin Laden, including wars justified by that mission, have involved nearly a decade of senseless slaughter in Afghanistan and the rest of the ongoing global "generational" war that is consuming our nation.

The Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over for trial both before and after September 11, 2001. Instead our government opted for years of bloody warfare. And in the end, it was police action (investigation, a raid, and a summary execution) and not the warfare, that reportedly tracked bin Laden down in Pakistan. After capturing him, our government's representatives did not hold him for trial. They killed him and carried away his dead body.

Killing will lead only to more killing. There will be no review of bin Laden's alleged crimes, as a trial would have provided. There will be no review of earlier U.S. support for bin Laden. There will be no review of U.S. failures to prevent the September 11th attacks. Instead, there will be bitterness, hatred, and more violence, with the message being communicated to all sides that might makes right and murder is the way in which someone is, in President Obama's words, brought to justice.

Nothing is actually resolved, nothing concluded, and nothing to be celebrated in taking away life. If we want something to celebrate here, we should celebrate the end of one of the pieces of war propaganda that has driven the past decade of brutality and death. But I'm not going to celebrate that until appropriate actions follow. Nothing makes for peace like ceasing to wage war. Now would be an ideal time to give that a try.

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