Thursday, August 18, 2011

How difficult is honesty?

The Boston Globe's editorial board concludes, "Billions of dollars and thousands of lives later, the story of the war in Iraq is not yet in the history books. The war continues, and this week’s news is a reminder that the notion of mission accomplished is no better understood today than it was in 2003." And possibly this lack of clarity for the board is why they can't call for an end to the war? The lack of clarity, no doubt, also explains why they aren't able to count. 15. Not fourteen. 15 US soldiers died in the Iraq War in the month of June (they are each noted in the editorial we did at Third, use the link).

Inability to be truthful appears to be a problem for many outlets. ABC6 News notes, "159 soldiers from Minnesota are getting ready to head to 'deployment training' before being sent to Kuwait. The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry are heading overseas to help with the troop drawdown from Iraq. This group of soldiers are part of the second largest deployment of National Guard troops since World War 2." Really? For the withdrawal? The one supposed to take place December 31, 2011? Then they'd only need to deploy until then, right? Matt Peterson (Austin Daily Herald) adds, "Though Spc. Trevor Kolb of Austin has been enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard for two years, he’s going to find out a lot more this fall. Kolb, along with the second largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II, is going to Kuwait for one year." For a year? So it's not about a December withdrawal. Imagine that. In fact, it's about using Kuwait as a holding tank -- which was discussed in a 2008 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Did no one pay attention? Apparently not. Jim Troyer (Post-Bulletin) notes a send-off ceremony today for those going to Kuwait:

What: Departure ceremony for the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment.

When: 10 a.m. Thursday.

Where: Austin Training and Community Center, 800 21st St. N.E.

Why: Deployment is in support of Operation New Dawn, the drawdown phase of U. S. military operations in Iraq. Sixty of the soldiers are from the Austin unit.

Tim Black (Spiked) breaks
from the pack to offer some plain truths such as the reality that the Iraq War is lost. He also offers a look at the puppet government the US installed:

More worringly – and here we get to the nub of the matter – the Iraqi government, and its unpopular prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a man who gained just a quarter of Iraq’s parliamentary seats, now seem incapable of garnering enough popular support to cohere Iraqi society. It is more than symbolic that a blast wall separates the ministers and their residences in Baghadad’s Green Zone from those whom they supposedly represent. It marks the literal divide between Iraq’s political class – some parachuted in from outside Iraq after Saddam’s fall, others hanging over from Hussein’s ascendancy – from an embattled populace. That Iraq has also had its own ‘Days of Rage’ this spring, despite its putative democracy, is revealing. Likewise, the response, in which tens of protesters were killed and journalists beaten up, is equally as revealing as to the state of this democracy
Lacking the popular support that would legitimate his rule, Maliki seems to be hunkering down. Which is very easy for him given he directly controls key security services, including the Baghdad Operations Command, an organisation tasked with dealing with anything deemed a threat to the state. A Guardian interview with an intelligence officer in Baghdad 2009 paints an unsettling picture: ‘Maliki is running a dictatorship – everything is run by his office and advisers, he is surrounded by his party and clan members. They form a tight knot that is running Iraq now. He is not building a country, he is building a state for his own party and his own people.’ Little wonder the International Crisis Group’s assessment identified ‘the main threat to the political order’ as emanating not from ‘an organised insurgency that wishes to topple it and oust the occupiers’, but ‘from within: the fractured nature of society and the political class which in turn promotes the security forces’ fragmentation and politicisation.’ More worrying still are the reports that security forces controlled by Maliki have taken to running secret prisons.

Al Mada notes the now former-Minister of Electricity Ra'ad Shalal al-Ani maintains he is innocent of charges of fraud and of signing dummy contracts. He is claiming he was cuaght between powerful political forces. Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports Basra's head of health services is stating budgets have been slashed by the central government in Baghdad that hospitals will be severely effected and a health crisis may ensue.

We'll close with this from Debra Sweet's "Ten Years: Our message to the world" (World Can't Wait):

It's worth examining the administration's public statements, downplayed as they were, about the biggest loss of U.S. military personnel so far in Afghanistan. Their identities are being kept secret because "there is hesitancy to release the names because the majority were from secretive special operations forces."

Obama called a hasty press conference/pep talk Monday about the Wall Street crash, assuring us that “No matter what some agency may say, we've always been, and always will be a AAA country.” He went on to speak about the Saturday Chinook helicopter crash, which killed 22 Navy Seals, eight other US military personnel, and 8 Afghan soldiers:

“These men and women put their lives on the line for the values that bind us together as a nation... And some of them, like the 30 Americans who were lost this weekend, give their lives for their country."

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