Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, August 16, 2011.  Chaos and violence continue, Public Vagrants Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta team up to beg for tax payer money, Iraq finally gets a Minister of Defense . . . sort-of, a War Criminal has his appeal denied, the media shuts out Ron Paul and much more.
One of the insitutional 'victims' of the Iraq War has been the US State Dept.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and various supporters are lamenting in public but not for what's been done to the State Dept, not for how it's been harmed, just to try to squeeze a few bucks out of the system.  It's very disgusting, it's very tacky.  But that's hallmark of Barack's administration, now isn't?  Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports late today, "With insurgent violence continuing in the country and all U.S. combat forces still scheduled to leave by the end of the year, State has taken over a $230 million Army contact with L-3 Communications to allow intelligence services to continue through the end of May 2012, five months after military personnel are expected to leave." 
Ooh this could get messy
But you don't seem to mind
Ooh don't go telling everybody
And overlook this supposed crime
-- "Hands Clean," written by Alanis Morissette, first appears on her Under Rug Swept
State will now be over military intelligence.  Jane Harman, Anne The Pig Face Marie Slaughter and all the others don't give a damn about what that means.  Rightly or wrongly, in other countries the US State Dept is often seen as a cover for CIA operatives.  That belief has justified a great deal of violence against the US State Dept over the years.  Now idiots and lunkheads have decided to spray paint a big bulls eye on the back of all State Dept employees.  Thank you, Barak Obama.
Michele Kelemen (NPR's All Things Considered) reports that Hillary went to the National Defense University with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta so both could whine in public like little beggars. Hillary and Robert Gates (former Secretary of Defense) pulled that little stunt before too. Under the Bush administration, State was sidelined and its influence was chipped away at to build up Defense.  State will not be restored to its proper position by playing hand maiden to the Defense Dept nor by taking on Defense tasks and roles.  If State is to be restored to its previous position -- a supposed goal of Hillary's -- this is not how you make it happen.  Hillary and Leon wanted to boo-hoo from the script which says, "We'll say it's making us look bad internationally! This inability of Congress to come to terms on economic matters!"  No, it make it appear you don't know your damn place or  your damn role. 
Jane Harman is now a private citizen and she can self-embarrass all she wants -- we've all seen the hair, right? Panetta and Clinton are not private citizens.  (A) If their concerns were real, airing them in public doesn't help the situation.  (B) Their concerns aren't real (or they wouldn't be airing them) but an attempt to manipulate the American people.  Hillary's remarks are laughable, she's become the Beggar Woman of DC or possibly the capitol's Little Match Girl, "Spare change for coffee? I've almost got bus fair, could I get a dollar?"
"We have an opportunity," she declared today, "right now in the Middle East and North Africa that I'm not sure we are going to be able to meet, because we don't have the resources to invest in the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia, to help the transition in Libya, to see what happens in Syria and so much else."  It doesn't cost a dime to "see what happens" anywhere as a spectator.  The US "opportunity" in Libya does not appear to be the "opportunity" the people of Libya want as evidenced by the fact that the little CIA-staged and backed uprising that was going to last a few weeks is now over five months old.  Most of all, don't talk about opportunities for the State Dept -- which is supposed to be about diplomacy -- when what you're doing is trying to sell a military budget for the State Dept in Iraq.  Fortunately Barack Obama doesn't have the votes necessary in the Senate or House still.  That's what this is all about.
Plan B to continue the Iraq War.  Though it's been discussed publicly, the press has largely ignored it.  Should the White House and Nouri be unable to come to an agreement to keep US forces on the ground in Iraq beyond December 31, 2011, troops and contractors get moved from the umbrella of Defense to the umbrella of State and the switch puts them under the Strategic Framework Agreement which makes it 'legal' and means it requires no additional agreements or treaties.  It's the militarization of diplomacy and the brain child of Samantha Power who discovered and promoted the loophole in the transition period between the 2008 election and Barack being sworn in January 2009.
Someone needs to remind Leon Panetta that the rate of military suicide, the rate of military sexual assault and so much more that Robert Gates was always 'working on' never improved under Gates and if he's got time to plead for State Dept money, he damn well better have solved the many problems of the Defense Dept.  If not, he needs to sit his ass down and get to work doing the damn job he said he wanted.  If Congress had any real desire for progress on those issues, they'd start setting deadlines for these jabbering figureheads, such as, "We want to see a 10% reduction in military suicides in six months, a 25% reduction in a year.  We expect you to meet that reduction or to teder your resignation, Mr. Panetta."
Robert Burns (AP) interviewed Hillary and Leon today and writes in his report:
Clinton said Americans should understand that in addition to preserving military strength, it is in the nation's security interests to maintain the State Department's role in diplomacy and development. She suggested that the political stalemate over spending cuts has put that in jeopardy.
Appointed officials should understand their role.  You're a public servant, save the lectures and especially the fear tactics.  Learn your place and learn it damn quick.  If you want to preserve "diplomacy" you don't militarize it.  We're not stupid children, we're the citizens of the United States and you are and will remain answerable to us while you are our public servants.  Quit your bitching, quit your whining and get to work.  Your break's over.  You want Americans to make do with so much less while still wanting your inflated budget.  No, not going to happen.  Get to work,shut your mouths, stop your scare tactics.  You're not appointed to offer a running commentary on Congress.  If you have time to do that, you need to tender your resignation because you clearly are MISUSING GOVERMENT RESOURCES.  You do understand that's a crime, right?  So just stop your whining, do your damn job and stop trying to scare the American people.
Let's stay with 'withdrawal' and move over to the White House's preferred plan: A new agreement with Iraq that keeps US forces on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011. Press TV (link has text and video) spoke with Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation's Sabah Jawad about the US government's efforts to continue to occupy Iraq:
Press TV: Every time there is talk of Americans leaving Iraq, we are witnessed to a new wave of violence, do you see any links here?

Jawad: Yes, I mean it is definitely there is a link that makes Americans desperate to stay in Iraq, and especially since the expiry of their stay in Iraq is fast approaching, through the end of the year, and they want to stay and they want to put pressure on the Iraqi government and the Iraqi government they can't decide it because of the political process and possibly have completing statements by governments and participants of the political process regarding the stay of the American troops. Most of them actually support the extension of troops particularly the Kurdish parties and some other parties and the government and we see now these atrocities that they are committing and ongoing actually as we approach the final few weeks of the deadline and this is very clearly the policy of United States.  They want to show that the Iraqi forces, security forces are not capable of maintaining law and order. Therefore they need the American presence there. They're proposing that the 20,000 American troops remain in Iraq and this is on top of the 16,000 stuff, and the biggest embassy in the world in Baghdad, and also for the foreseeable future there would be in control of the Iraqi air space. They will be based in seven to nine military bases which are near airports in Iraq.  Therefore they will call the shots regarding the air space as well. They don't want to leave, particularly at this moment; they see a lot of popular uprisings against Arab regimes. They want to be there to keep an eye on the situation and so on. So they are desperate not to leave but the Iraqi people are determined actually, they have a popular resentment against the Americans, and I just remind you that one foreman at defense secretary in United States has said that the Iraqi people hate us and they could read the situation very proper. The Iraqi people hate the occupations and they will not stay silent until the last American soldiers leave Iraq.

Press TV: Why is it that the US wants to stay in Iraq despite, as you mentioned as well, the growing opposition from the people of Iraq themselves?

Jawad: Well, America as you know it's facing a huge crisis political and military crisis and financial crisis in the United States. They want to remain in Iraq because they invested millions and billions of dollars to prolong the occupation to maintain the occupation and to support their so called moderate regime in the Arab world they don't want to sacrifice that. In fact one of the closest which has been exposed as one of the negotiating points with the Iraqi government are the military bases they are going to have in Iraq beyond 2011.  There will be seven or nine huge military bases between 40 and 275 acres each and these they will rent from the Iraqi government with the sum of less than one dollar a year and that would show they actually want the Iraqi government to pay for the continuous occupation of their land, before the Americans used to pay for their forces to stay in Iraq.
Al Sabaah speaks with an unnamed Iraqi government source who feels that there will be "long negotiations" and that then Iraq will keep the US military in Iraq as "trainers." MP Zuhair Araji goes on the record for the paper and states his belief that Iraq needs "trainers" and that this "need must be recognized" and states that Iraq lacks experience with protecting and patrolling the airspace, with radar equpiment and that the Iraqi Navy also needs addition help. He calls 20,000 US forces remaining too many and unreasonable. While so many US outlets ignore what's taking place (now publicly taking place), the Philadelphia Inquirer runs Patrick Kestra's "Iraq war hasn't faded as an issue for everyone:"
When was the last time you spared a thought -- any thought, good or ill --  for the war in Iraq?
It isn't actually over, the war, though it is easy to forget that, given the paucity of U.S. news coverage. Insurgents struck three Iraqi cities only yesterday, killing at least 60 in what analysts think was an attempt to ratchet up the terror level as the U.S. and Iraqi governments discuss a continued American presence in the country past 2011.
That's right: Odds are that U.S. troops will still be in Iraq in 2012, two years after the ballyhooed 2010 withdrawal of the last combat brigade.
And yet, for most of us, the Iraq war is so 2004.

The Voice of Russia (link is audio) offers an analysis from a retired Lt Gen of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Services.
Lt Gen Gennady Yevstafyev: Sunnis want Americans to get out completely because they could recover their influence in the country.  Shiah groups, including the group of the present Prime Minister Maliki, are so dependent on the American military presence that they would be very much interested to retain it as long as possible. Each side is trying to play its strong card and I am afraid the card which is played involves all this explosions.
Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "What's needed is for Maliki and his allies to find a political answer to the still significant numbers of Iraqis who feel the country's current order is hostile to them. That's an answer that Iraq – and the US, with spending of nearly $800 billion the conflict so far and the loss of more than 4,000 soldiers' lives – has been groping toward for almost a decade now."  From Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others:

Awareness of the suffering that accumulates in a select number of wars happening elsewhere is something constructed. Principally in the form that is registered by cameras, it flares up, is shared by many people, and fades from view.
Yesterday Iraq was slammed by bombings. It was violence on a massive scale and it might seem that, in the days that followed, little else out of Iraq could appall. That would be a mistaken belief as Hamid Ahmed (AP) proves with his report of armed assailants storming a Sunni mosque in Youssifiyah late yesterday "during evening prayers," grabbing seven people and dragging them out of the mosque only to murder them "execution-style." All seven assassinated were men and Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq"). Michale S. Schmidt (New York Times) recounts the assault, "Around 8 p.m., gunmen dressed in military uniforms stormed into a mosque in the city of Yusufiya, just south of Baghdad. The gunmen read off the names of seven people who had been loyal to the United States and joined the Awakening movement, took them outside the mosque and executed them. After the execution, the gunmen told the people gathered in the mosque that they were from Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and then left." Annie Gowen and Asaad Majeed (Washington Post) differ on the last sentence and offer instead, "The assailants left a note saying the killings were carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni extremist group affiliated with al-Qaeda."

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, a church in Kirkuk was bombed, no houses of worship were shown any respect. Alsumaria TV notes, "Kirkuk police imposed intensified security measures around churches in Iraq on account of targeting Saint Ephrem's Church in central the city on Monday. A security source told Alsumarianews that the intensified measures were taken on account of information warning of armed groups' attacks against Kirkuk's churches especially that three churches were targeted in the last two weeks."

Aswat al-Iraq speaks
with MP Younadim Kanna who states, "The weakness of the security bodies, especially the intelligence ones, and the postponement of the settlement of the dossier of the Security Cabinet Ministers, had been one of the main reasons for the security violation that took place on Monday." John Pontifex with Aid to the Church in Need explains:

ANOTHER church in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk has been bombed bringing the tally to three within less than two weeks.
Nobody was hurt in the explosion which took place today (Monday, 15 August 2011) at 1.30am local time.
Parish priest Father Gewargis Elias was lucky to escape with his life when security staff spotted a vehicle carrying suspicious devices and ordered him out of St Ephrem's Syrian Orthodox Church just minutes before the blast.
Reporting the incident, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: "Today they attacked the church. Who knows if tomorrow they will attack the clergy or the people?"
The archbishop was speaking after St Ephrem's became the third church in Kirkuk to be attacked so far this month.
Almost exactly two weeks earlier, again early in the morning, car bombs exploded at Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church and the nearby Evangelical church.
At least 13 people in homes close to Holy Family Church were injured -- mostly slightly.

Al Rafidayn counts 307 "killed and wounded." That manner of counting is common in Iraq and seems to treat both the dead and wounded seriously as opposed to US accounts which often -- intentionally or not -- send a message of 'only wounded' in the coverage. Michael S. Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi's report carried by the Boston Globe opens with, "Insurgents across Iraq launched their most significant and wide-ranging attacks in months yesterday, killing 89 people and wounding at least 315 in the most violent day in Iraq this year." In his own paper (New York Times), that fact is relegated to paragraph three.

With violence on the rise and Iraq seeing its worst day of violence, Nouri al-Maliki is desperate to change the narrative.  AFP reports today that his 'media advisor' Ali Mussawi declared today tha Nouri had just "appointed Saadun al-Dulaimi as interim minister of defence."  Because during all this violence, Iraq has had no Minister of Defense.  Nouri was supposed to name one and Parliament approve one.  He never did.  He was also supposed to name a Minister of National Security and a Minister of Interior.  Those are the three security ministries.  But Nouri never has named them. He gave the posts to himself instead.  And he's done a bang-up job . . . if increased violence was the goal. 
Whether or not Nouri can make some interim Minister of Defense or not is debatable.  Nothing in the Constitution allows for it.  With Parliament pushing back on his attempt to fire the Minister of Electricity (they maintained that such a firing would be their job, not Nouri's), it will be interesting to see if they pursue this.  As the hot months began in 2010, Nouri did fire the Minister of Electricity and decree that the Minister of Oil would fill both posts; however, not Parliament wasn't meeting. They are now and make take on Nouri's move.  Per the Constitution, Nouri can only nominate.  The Parliament can confirm or deny any nominee.
The spokesperson lies that Iraqiya submitted no suggestions to Nouri.  Attempts to blame Iraqiya for Nouri's inability to govern are rather weak but, in fact, Iraqiya did float a name for that post: Tareq al-Hashemi.  Someone who should be easily confirmable since he's currently the vice president of Iraq.  Though al-Hashemi was receptive to the idea and made noises about stepping down as v.p. if he became Minister of Defense, State of Law wouldn't have him in the post and the idea was killed.
Legal or not, Nouri's appointment is hardly one that will inspire confidence that Iraq is now on focus in terms of Defense.  AFP explains Saadun al-Dulaimi will serve in his new 'interim' post and may or may not remain in his current post Minister of Culture.
Reuters notes today's violence includes a Mosul roadside bombing which injured two Iraqi soldiers, a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed the life of 1 police officer with three more injured and, dropping back to Monday night, a Mussayab mortar attack injured eight police officers.
A number of Iraqi 'leaders'are breathing a little easier today. That's because the issue of dual nationalities was raised in Parliament and, Al Mada reports, efforts to decree that you could not serve in the Iraqi government if you held dual citizenship were rejected by the political blocs with the Sadr bloc leading the way. Presumably an admission that Moqtada al-Sadr now holds both Iraqi and Iranian citizenship. Were the murder charges -- still on record -- ever pushed and the arrest warrant -- which still exists -- ever exercised, Moqtada would have more security in Iran from Iraq if he held Iranian citizenship. It's one thing to ask a country to extradite a non-citizen but there are many more extradition barriers when a country is asked to turn over one of their own. If Moqtada does indeed hold dual citizenship (there's no proof that he does but the Sadr bloc leading the objection on this issue raises suspicions), he would not be the only Iraqi political figure who does. Most outlandish in the 2010 elections may have been the American citizen who ran for office. Ayad Allawi, Nouri al-Maliki, Ahmed Chalabi and many of the other one-time exiles who returned to Iraq after the US-invasionin 2003 hold dual citizenship -- or more than just Iraqi citizenship. (Chalabi's rumored to hold more than just "dual" citizenship.)

While the leaders can all agree they don't want to give up their pledged loyalties to other countries, they can't come together on the national council. That's a security body. It does not exist. The US pushed for its creation. Why? It was to be a consolation prize for Ayad Allawi. His Iraqiya won the March 7, 2010 elections but the US was never going to allow him to be prime minister. Nouri had already given his promise to keep US forces in Iraq beyond 2011 and he was the US puppet the White House wanted to keep. That's why they threw up road blocks when the UN delicately and gingerly proposed the creation of a temporary body to oversee Iraq. In February 2010, Parliament was dead. Nouri as prime minister was dead. Jalal Talabani and the two vice presidents were dead. All of them saw their terms expire. A caretaking government was the answer. But a caretaking government would not have allowed Nouri the opportunities to influence the election both before and after the voting and a caretaking government (temporary) would not allow Nouri to hold Iraq hostage for nine months until everyone agreed he could remain as prime minister.

Iraqiya won the election. The US came up with -- and Vice President Joe Biden promoted -- the national council. It doesn't exist in the Constitution and it would require Parliament passing laws and the Nouri-controlled Supreme Court might still render a decision saying it was illegal.

But in the early days of November, the political blocs met in the KRG and signed off on the Erbil Agreement which allowed Nouri to become prime minister-designate and called for the creation of the national council. Nouri was named prime minister-designate (but not officially by Jalal Talabani who wanted to screw with the Constitution and give Nouri additional time to form a Cabinet -- once the president names you prime minister-designate, per the Constitution, the clock begins ticking and you have 30 days to form a Cabinet; failure to do so means someone else will be named prime minister-designate). Nouri immediately trashed the Erbil Agreement. Jalal Talabani hosted a series of house parties this summer and one last month found the parties all agreeing to return to the Erbil Agreement.

No sooner was this announced -- and while Jalal was still taking public bows -- then State of Law (Nouri's political slate) began lodging objections in Parliament to the national council. Al Mada reports that while KRG President Massoud Barzani is praising the prospect of a national council, State of Law is launching accusations that Ayad Allawi wants it to create a "private government" within Iraq.
Turning to the US, convicted War Criminal Steven D. Green is back in the news. Green was convicted  May 7, 2009 of the gang-rape of 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, her murder, the murder of her five-year-old sister and the murders of both of her parents.  The War Crimes took place in Iraq where Green was serving with the US military.  Green was the ringleader and part of the plan was to blame the War Crimes on 'insurgents.' By the time the War Crimes were discovered, Green had already been discharged.  The War Criminal was sentenced to life in prison only after the civilian jury appeared split on whether or not to sentence him to the death penalty.  Many would breathe a sigh of relief that they didn't receive the death penalty, especially when they couldn't refute the rape or murder charges due to eye witness testimony from other participants.  Green even admitted to them in his statements asking for a lesser sentence as he whimpered at the mercy of the court:
What I am about to say is completely my own. No one told me what to say. No one wrote this for me. Not my lawyers, not the government, not anybody.
My feelings of remorse are directed solely towards the victims, and towards the family of the victims, who I do not deny are victims themselves.
I am truly sorry for what I did in Iraq and I am sorry for the pain my actions, and the actions of my co-defendants, have caused you and your family. I imagine it is a pain that I cannot fully comprehend or appreciate. I helped to destroy a family and end the lives of four of my fellow human beings, and I wish that I could take it back, but I cannot. And, as inadequate as this apology is, it is all I can give you.
I know you wish I was dead, and I do not hold that against you. If I was in your place, I am convinced beyond any doubt that I would feel the same way. And, if I thought it would change anything, or if it would bring these people back to life, I would do everything I could to make them execute me. I also know that you think I am evil, and I understand that as well, and even though I do not think that you want to hear this, I have to tell you that despite the evil that I have done, I am not an evil person.                 
Before I was in the Army, I never thought I would kill anyone, and even after I was in the Army, but before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying that I lost my mind. At some point while I was in Iraq, I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women, and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human. When that happened, any natural, learned, or religious morality, that normally would have stopped this, was gone.        
But I see now that I was wrong, and that Iraqis are human beings, and that despite differences of race, religion, culture, and language, they are still human. And that at their core, they have the same feelings, emotions, and needs as Americans. It was wrong to kill Iraqis, just like it was wrong to kill Americans, just like it is wrong to kill anyone, and I am very sorry.          
Most of all I am sorry for the deceased, but aside from them, I am the most sorry for the boys whose family are gone. I know what we did left a hole in their lives, and scars on their minds, and that there is no making up for that. I only hope for them that they can somehow, and I don't know how, move forward, and have a good future despite the nightmare in their past that I helped create. They have my apologies and my prayers, as meaningless as they must seem.       
The Government is not going to execute me, as I am sure you wish they would, but there is really no chance that I will step foot outside of prison for as long as I live. I know that if I live one more year or fifty more years that they will be years that Fahkriya, Kassem, Abeer, and Hadeel won't have not matter where I am. And even though I did not learn their names until long after their deaths, they are never far from my mind. But in the end, whether in one year or fifty, I will die, and when I die I will be in God's hands. In the Kingdom of God where there will be justice, and whatever I deserve, I will get. On the day of judgment, God will repay everyone according to his works, and affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil. I know that I have done evil, and I fear that the wrath of the Lord will come upon me on that day. But, I hope that you and your family at least can find some comfort in God's justice.                     
I see now that war is intrinsically evil, because killing is intrinsically evil. And, I am sorry I ever had anything to do with either.           
And, I cannot say this enough times, whether or not you can ever forgive me, and I don't see how you could, I am and will always be sorry for what I did.

He was allegedly sorry for raping a young girl, for murdering her, for murdering her five-year-old sister and for murdering the girls' parents.  But not so sorry that he thought he deserved a prison sentence.  As he read his little please-have-mercy-and-give-me-a-brief-prison-sentence plea,  Abeer's family wasn't buying his little act.  Renee Murphy reported on the events in the court room for WHAS11:
Renee Murphy: I mean, they came face to face with the killer. Once again, the only thing different about this time was that they were able to speak with him and they had an exchange of dialogue and the family is here from Iraq and they got to ask Steven Green all the questions they wanted answered. They looked each other in the eye. Green appeared calm and casual in court. The victims' family, though, outraged, emotional and distraught. Now cameras were not allowed in the courtroom so we can't show video of today's hearing but here's an account of what happened. [Video begins] This is a cousin of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by Steven Green. He and other family members in this SUV were able to confront Green in federal court this morning. Their words were stinging and came from sheer grief. Former Fort Campbell soldier Steven Green was convicted of killing an Iraqi mother, father and their young daughter. He then raped their 14-year-old daughter, shot her in the head and set her body on fire. Today the victim's family was able to give an impact statement at the federal court house the young sons of the victims asked Green why he killed their father. an aunt told the court that "wounds are still eating at our heart" and probably the most compelling statements were from the girls' grandmother who sobbed from the stand and demanded an explanation from Green. Green apologized to the family saying that he did evil things but he is not an evil person. He says that he was drunk the night of the crimes in 2006 and he was following the orders of his commanding officers. In his statement, Green said if it would bring these people back to life I would do everything I could to make them execute me. His statement goes on to say, "Before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying I lost my mind. I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human." Green didn't act alone. His codefendants were court-martialed and received lesser sentences. Green will be formally sentenced to life in prison in September. [End of videotape.] The answers that Green gave were not good enough for some of the family members. at one point today, the grandmother of the young girls who were killed left the podium and started walking towards Green as he sat at the defendant's table shouting "Why!" She was forcibly then escorted to the back of the court room by US Marshalls. She then fell to the ground and buried her face in her hands and began to cry again. The family pleaded with the court for the death sentence for Green. but you can see Green's entire statement to the court on our website whas11.com and coming up tonight at six o'clock, we're going to hear from Green's attorneys.
Repeating, he could have been sentenced to death.  The jury split on that.  Instead, he got a prison sentence.  Demonstrating that he was not at all remorseful for the rape or murders, he immediately began preparing an appeal.  Today AFP reports that War Criminal Steven Dale Green's appeal has been denied.  AP quotes from Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr.'s opinion, "Green's claim that the district court lacked jurisdiction over him fails because his discharge from the Army was valid."  Let's hope War Criminal Green thinks about his actions before his next appeal.  He stalked a young girl prior to breaking into her home to rape her and to kill her, to kill her sisters and to kill her parents.  He murdered four people.  He raped 14-year-old Abeer.  Nothing, not his his courtroom demeanor, not his statements in court or to the press have conveyed remorse or even basic awareness of his crimes and how awful they were.
Turning to campaigns, the Ames Iowa Straw Poll (Republican poll determining momentary attitudes towards would be candidates a year before the presidential election) was Saturday, Michele Bachmann came in first, Ron Paul second.  Ron Paul is the only declared candidate at present of any party who is calling for an end to the wars.  Ava and I tackled PBS' obsession with the poll Sunday. Both Mark Shields and Gwen Ifill included Ron Paul in their gas baggery (20 minutes and 50 seconds on Friday's show about a poll that hadn't even been taken -- the poll would be Saturday).  As Ava and I noted of the Ron Paul inclusion, "For those who mistake that as progress, let's note reality. Judy Woodruff interviewed Ron Paul for The NewsHour last month. For over a week, that interview was the most popular feature at The NewsHour website each day. They have never seen numbers like that before. So, yes, they will give Ron Paul his token mention now."  Other outlets, as Adam Kokesh documented on Adam vs The Man last night, did not feel the need to include Paul.  Part of Adam's segment included a small clip from CNN's Reliable Sources.

Roger Simon: He lost to Michele Bachman by 9/10s of 1 percentage point.  In a straw poll that doesn't -- isn't supposed to pick winners but is supposed to tell us which way he wind is blowing, that's a good as a win.  So we had a tie for first.  But where is he on the morning shows this morning?  Where are all the stories analyzing what it means that Ron Paul essentially tied for first place at Ames?
Howard Kurtz: And what the reason that he's essentially being ignored is?
Roger Simon: The media doesn't believe that Ron Paul has a hoot in hell's chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, winning the Republican nomination or winning the presidency, so we're going to ignore him.
To stream the full segment of CNN's Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz, click here.  Monday, Roger Simon explored the topic further in his POLITICO column noting, "Bachmann appeared on five Sunday shows following Ames. Paul appeared on none. POLITICO's Kasie Hunt was one of the few reporters to do a separate story on Paul's showing at the straw poll, but to most of the media he remained an exotic, unworthy of attention."  Keach Hagey (POLITICO) quoted Ron Paul's campaign manager Jesse Benton stating, "We were turned down by all the Sunday talk shows, including 'Fox News Sunday,' which promised us an interview. And we were turned down by all the shows today."  (For any wondering, Adam's commentary isn't included because much of it depends upon what was flashed onscreen behind him while he spoke.  So I'd have to do a transcript and explain what was going on.  If you can stream it, click here.)