Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Kenan Engin wonders "Are the Yanks going home?" (Hurriyet Daily News) and concludes, "There are two main questions that need to be answered: will the Iraqi political parties manage to make a decision by August, which allows U.S. troops to stay? Secondly, will Obama modify his policy after his withdrawal promise in 2008, if Iraq requests it? If the answer is yes, this would mean that all the debates about exit of the troop are falsehood. This would lead the Iraqi street to the conclusion: 'The Yanks aren't going home' as Simon Tisdall from the Guardian has said, after all." On the issue of withdrawal, Robert Naiman (Just Foreign Policy) has a ridiculous column at Huffington Post. It regards the debate over the money and he misunderstands Harry Reid's proposal. That's fine, many are failing to understand Reid's 'savings' but like most of the left in California, I got used to the fact that Barbara Lee wouldn't do a damn thing to end the wars in 2008 when she began attacking fellow members of Congress she'd once been close to. For reasons which include her own 'mythical' childhood (such a creative writer in her autobiography), she hopped on board the Barack train early and she's never shown any strength since. She's a joke and an embarrassment who would be voted out of office if she hadn't turned her district into a dutchy. She likes to rumble but she doesn't do a damn thing. If you doubt it, look at her Afghanistan War promises in 2009 and note she never followed up on those either. She's unable and unwilling to stand up to Barack. And her 'leadership' of the Black Caucus has pretty much destroyed it as a body (she is the reason the Caucus was unable to put together a stance against the Libyan War -- and notice, she also ran from Dennis Kucinich's impeachment talk). Anything Barbara Lee proposes is a stop-gap measure to buy time for Barack. She's disgraced herself and it's not surprising that Naiman would promote her -- Just Foreign Policy's has that little counter, remember? The one we walked away from because they kept 'forgetting' to update it. (It suposedly tracks the deaths of Iraqis.) No surprise, since Barack was sworn in, Iraqis have really stopped dying. At least if you believe the Just Foreign Policy counter.

Hemin Baban Rahim (Rudaw) reports on the issue of withdrawal:

In an interview with Rudaw, Dr. Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish member of the Iraqi Parliament, said the planned US troop withdrawal has turned political but that US troops are needed in Iraq’s disputed territories.
“Iraqi security officials have to present their own report about their ability to maintain Iraq’s security,” Othman said. “But right now they do not play any role and instead it is politicians who make decisions for them, which is really bad.”
Kurdish politicians in Erbil and Baghdad advocate for extending the US troop presence in Iraq. Othman, however, said it is a national issue and if Baghdad decides the US military must leave there is nothing the Kurds can do about it.

Dar Addustour reports Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, has announced house party at Jalal's for toorrow -- another meet up of the political blocs. Jalal's again announcing big things, BIG, will take place at the meeting. Al Rafidayn continues with Jala's boasting noting that Erbil will be addressed, the presence of US troops will be addressed . . . You get the feeling that, were they still alive, Jalal and his supporters would be insisting Katharine Hepburn would be arriving for dinner with Greta Garbo in tow.

Already, The Party of the Century has hit a snag with Aswat al-Iraq and Al Sabaah noting Saturday as the big day. Aswat al-Iraq notes the delay is said to be to other pressing issues.

In other news, Aswat al-Iraq reports:

A Legislature of Iraq’s al-Ahrar (Liberals) Bloc has charged the government of Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, with “failure to face violations by the U.S. forces in southern Iraq’s Missan Province.”
Legislature Amir al-Kinany was quoted to have told al-Hayat newspaper on Wednesday that “Maliki’s government was implementing hostile operations against the Shiite Sadrist Trend,” charging the government “with being disable to stop the violations by the occupation forces in Missan Province.”

Dar Addustour notes these issues are supposed to be addressed by Parliament today.

In other news, since the middle of July the Iranian military has been shelling northern Iraq and possibly entering the area. Radio Zamaneh notes the protest that took place yesterday against Iran's actions, "A group of Iraqi Kurdish activists and citizens demonstrated today in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government, to decry Iran’s artillery attacks in the Iran-Iraq border region. A Radio Zamaneh correspondent reports that the demonstration was organized by the Iran Ist [Stop Iran] Campaign, an umbrella group of various civil organizations in Arbil. The demonstration began at the governor’s buildings and ended at the Iranian consulate."

Turning to Iraq's First Lady Moqtada al-Sadr, Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports:

In an illustration of its growing muscle in Iraq as U.S. influence wanes, anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr's movement has won pardons for at least 50 prisoners jailed for crimes including murder, kidnapping and attacks on U.S. troops.
The amnesties come at a time when U.S. forces remaining in Iraq have faced an increased number of attacks, many by Shiite Muslim militias associated with the Sadr movement. And they have angered some senior Iraqi officials, who charge that the law is being applied selectively and bent to fit a hidden political agenda.

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES Contact: Murray Press Office

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 (202) 224-2834

The Senate Veterans Committee meets this morning. Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Committee and her office notes:

VETERANS: Chairman Murray to Examine the Human and Financial Costs of War for the Newest Generation of Veterans

Hearing will shine a light on the often overlooked long-term costs we owe veterans and their families and how in the current budget climate we must protect and plan for this lifetime of care

(Washington, D.C.) –Tomorrow, July 27th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing to examine the real human and financial costs of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how as a nation we need to plan to keep our promise to these veterans for the rest of their lives.

The hearing will feature the views of budget experts from the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office on the long-term costs associated with providing mental and physical health care, supporting caregivers, maintaining prosthetics, and providing benefits. Crystal Nicely, the wife of Marine Corporal Todd Nicely, a quadruple amputee veteran of the War in Afghanistan, will also testify about the lifetime of support her and her husband will require and about the red tape she has already faced in her daily struggle to provide Todd with the care he needs.

WHO: Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray

Crystal Nicely, Wife of Injured Veteran, Marine Corporal Todd Nicely

Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Heidi Golding, Principal Analyst, National Security Division, Congressional Budget Office

James Hosek, PhD, Senior Economist, RAND Corporation

Lorelei St. James, Director, Physical Infrastructure, Government Accountability Office

WHAT: Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing: Examining the Lifetime Costs of Care for the Newest Generation of Veterans

WHEN: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
10:00 AM EST/7:00 AM PST

WHERE: Dirksen 562 (NOTE this hearing will not be held in the normal Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing room)




Matt McAlvanah

Communications Director

U.S. Senator Patty Murray

202-224-2834 - press office

202--224-0228 - direct

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