Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The fallen and the failed state

Yesterday the Defense Dept issued the following:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.
Sgt. Steven L. Talamantez, 34, of Laredo, Texas, died July 10, in Al Amarah, Iraq, of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
For more information, the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9398/9400 or 254-449-1824.

Andrew Kreighbaum (Laredo Morning Times) reports his survivors include his wife Sandra, a son and his mother and that Steven Talamantez was on his second deployment to Iraq. He is the 18th US soldier to die in the Iraq War in the last six weeks.

All this time later, no one can honestly say why the US went into Iraq -- US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta tried repeating a lie yesterday and was called out for it -- and no one can honestly point to any progress in Iraq either.

David Ali (Al Mada) has reported for months now on the protests in Baghdad. Today he reports on how the protests have been suppressed, how activists have been targeted by the goverment and more. Ali reports one activist was threatened not to show for last Friday's protest with talk of how his bones would be broken and he would be tortured. Government sources say thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki intends to use the tribal support councils to tear down the protests. In addition, his forces continue to raid the homes of activists and those believed to be peaceful activists in an attempt to intimidate them despite Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documenting a great deal of the abuses going on. Intelligence agents are being dispatched to cafes and other public gathering places to spy on activists.

The following community websites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

And we'll close with this from Franklin Lamb's "France says NATO bombing has failed" (Information Clearing House):

One of the jokes heard at this week’s massive pro-government Friday post prayer rally at Green Square (in most of the other Arab countries Friday’s are days of rage against the government du jour but in Libya Friday prayers are followed by massive pro-Qadaffi rallies attended two weeks ago by close to 65% of Tripoli’s population) is about how each morning Libya’s leader, following early morning Fajr prayers dons his formal uniform, complete with those huge epaulets, and salutes the small NATO flag he tapes to his bathroom mirror as he moves from place to place dodging NATO drones and assassins.

“Our leader does this”, one young lady informed me first with a wide smile and then growing serious, “because the NATO bombing of Libyan civilians, which the US/NATO axis claims Qaddafi is doing, has caused his popularity to skyrocket among our proud and nationalist tribal people. I am one example of this. Yes, of course we can use some new blood and long overdue reform in our government. Which country cannot? But first we must defeat the NATO invaders and then we can sort out our problems among our tribes including the so-called “NATO Rebels.”

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (3/31/11) the alliance has conducted nearly 15,000 sorties, including close to 6000 bombing missions according to NATO’s media office in Naples, Italy (oup.media@gmail.com). The most recent attacks reported on 7/9/11 included 112 sorties and 48 bomb/missile attacks, and that is about average.

The two most active Embassies’ in Libya these days are the Russian and the Chinese. On 2/25/11, according to the Bulgarian Embassy staff, which was falsely rumored to be currently handing US consular services whereas appears no one is doing here in Libya), the US Embassy essentially ordered all EU and NATO Embassies to pack up and join their chartered plane and boats. Libyan officials tell visitors that they were shocked by the fast exodus. “They did not even say goodbye. Suddenly they were on their way to the airport,” one Foreign Ministry advised during a meeting last week.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends