Tuesday, July 26, 2011


New Sabah reports that the US Defense Dept and White House want to know "immediately" whether or not US troops are wanted in Iraq beyond 2011 and quickly emphasizes statements by Gen Ray Odierno and the State Dept's Alan Stevens. Al Sabah reports that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met with US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey. A source close to Talabani tells the paper that political blocs have prevented the discussion thus far of extending the US presence in Iraq. It's also noted that Nouri's official spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh has stated he sees a chance that US combat troops will remain in Iraq.

The issue was supposed to have been addressed yesterday after Talabani and the blocs failed to address it this weekend. But Al Sabah notes that did not take place at the meeting and that not only could they not reach an agreement on extending (or not) the US military presence in Iraq, they also could not work out an agreement regarding whether the political blocs could return to the Erbil Agreement. The Erbil Agreement ended Political Stalemate I (March 7, 2010 through November of 2010 when the Erbil Agreement allows them to move forward). Political Stalemate II begins in December 2010 when, after becoming prime minister-designate, Nouri begins disregarding the Erbil Agreement.

Political Stalemate I was Nouri's refusal to accept the results of the election (Iraqiya beat Nouris State Of Law) and Nouri using his post as prime minister to ensure there would be no progress. Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that Iraqiya floating the threat of early elections has State of Law in a tizzy and they're rushing to insist such statements are the equivalents of bombs (making Iraqiya terrorists). Nouri really needs to curb State of Law. That crap will play with his partisans but it just demonstrates to the world what a little trashy thug he truly is.

Iraq's Parliament is back in session. Over the phone, I'm told approximately 225 of the 325 members are said to be present today. Remember last week when we did the heads up about State of Law pushing to do away with the Electoral Commission this week? Dar Addustour reports the Electoral Commission is on Thursday's Parlimentary agenda.

From yesterday's snapshot:

Staying on Iraq and the US, Sam Stein (Huffington Post) foolishly insists, "In the end, the debt ceiling could come down to a simple accounting question. Should the money saved from drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan count as part of a deficit reduction package?" At least he wasn't stupid enough to say "ending." Lori Montgomery (Washington Post) notes this is seen "as a budget gimmick." But that's what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to do. John Eggerton (Broadcasting & Cable) explains, "Reid gets $1 trillion of his total savings by winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Judson Berger (Fox News) notes that this "might not satisfy ratings agencies" but that it is something "that has been used by both parties." And while he means they've both attempted to include this as a saving, more to the point they've both been stupid. Reality comes via Kristina Peterson (Dow Jones): "One caveat in this case is the unpredictability of war -- new developments in Afghanistan, for instance, could scuttle the intended timetable to withdraw troops." Did that thought really not occur to anyone else? Was Peterson alone at the grown ups table?

Set a place at the table for Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy) who notes of the CBO estimates Harry Reid's claiming will not be needed:

In other words, the CBO number, which puts the cost of the wars at $1.7 trillion over the next ten years, was the projection if the U.S. kept the current number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2020. However, nobody ever thought that was the plan. The CBO was required to do the math that way, as they do with all such projections.
The reality is that it is impossible to estimate the costs of the wars, because fundamental questions about U.S. policy toward both countries remain unanswered. For example, will the Afghanistan drawdown be complete by 2014, and what will be the pace of the drawdown? Will all U.S. troops be out of Iraq by the end of the year?
The CBO also put out numbers for war costs that assumed a gradual drawdown of troops. In fact, they put out two numbers, based on two different possible policy options. If U.S. policymakers decided to drawdown to 45,000 troops in both countries by 2015, the CBO projected that the cost of the wars would be $624 billion over 10 years. A steeper drawdown to 30,000 troops by 2013 would make the projection $422 billion over the next decade.

Isaiah has a new comic (on last night's speeches) that goes up after this. We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "AS THE U.S. EMPIRE SPREADS ABROAD IT BECOMES A POLICE STATE AT HOME" (Centre for Global Research):

As America's empire spreads abroad, it becomes ever more the police state at home. The methods used for the suppression of foreigners by military force and violence are eventually mirrored in the “homeland.”
In an article last September 25th titled “It Is Official: the US Is A Police State,” author Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Treasury Secretary during the Reagan years, wrote, “'Violent extremism' is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning's FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with 'the material support of terrorism'...”
The FBI raids at home are reminiscent of U.S. military raids overseas. In Iraq, for instance, labor union offices were raided and rifled and labor leaders imprisoned by the Occupation forces. Their “crime” was to oppose sweetheart contract deals with private oil firms.
The vast U.S. prison system, which houses 2.4 million Americans, may be compared with the Gulag the U.S. has built abroad. America today is the World's Jailer. As Allan Uthman reported on AlterNet, in 2006 the Bush regime began building “detention centers” to warehouse inmates for unspecified “new programs” when the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million. What we do abroad, we do at home.
Adopting police state tactics on Americans the U.S. Empire first used on subjects abroad has a long history. When Filipinos rebelled against U.S. rule after their country was “liberated” from Spain, captured resistance fighters were subjected to water torture. Twenty years later, imprisoned American pacifists who opposed the Wilson administration's entry into World War One were hung by their hands, and had running hoses shoved in their faces.
In its editorial of July 25th, The Nation magazine denounces America's use of “secret armies, covert operations...offshore torture centers, out-of-control armed corporations, runaway military spending, wars by fleets of robots, wars by assassination---and all the other features of the imperial presidency...”
The magazine has long sought to end these practices. It's still a great idea but now it's a tad late. The Reactionary Elite that runs America is powerful. Congress rubber-stamps President Obama's five wars of aggression abroad and enacts laws at home that scorch individual liberty. The result is the emergent police state.

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