Sunday, November 20, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

A network reports that Iraq's Parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security states the purpose of the three-day visit by a US delegation to Iraq (visit started Friday) was to continue negotiations on the issue of immunity for US troops after the 'withdrawal'. It's noted that they met with Nouri al-Malik, prime minister and thug of the occupation, and that Nouri discussed with the Americans the desire to keep US trainers and the issue of immunity. An unnamed source under Nouri states that Baghdad and DDC are working on a final version of trainers and once they agree to a number they will address immunity. Strong reporting but, sadly, the network is Al Baghdadia. Why sadly? It's Arabic. So most Americans won't see the report and, should they stumble across it, wouldn't be able to read it. A separate report, citing MP Rafi Abd al-Jabbar and Abdul Salam al-Maliki, offers that the number of trainers has to come first because, otherwise, the immunity issue will derail it. Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) notes that the Sadrist bloc is stating that the US is engaged in a conspiracy to cause havoc in Iraq in the new year. Related, Al Rafidayn reports Adnan al-Asadi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of the Interior, states that there will be a huge gap in Iraq's security capabilities should the US leave at the end of the year and he places special emphasis on Diyalal Province, Anbar Province, Nineveh Province and Salahuddin Province as areas of potential unrest.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4485. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4486.


In today's reported violence, Reuters notes 1 person was shot dead in Mosul and another injured, a Baquba sticky bombing left 1 Sahwa dead and a Kirkuk sticky bombing killed 1 person.

Today Iraq shut off all of their airports to Turkish flights in retaliation for Turkey having already done the same to them. Mohammed Tawfeeq and Ivan Watson (CNN) report that Iraq's willing to reverse its decision if Turkey is but that Turkey states that Iraq owes them $3 million. Today's Zaman adds, "Turkey may seize planes owned by the Iraqi government as soon as they land in a Turkish airport due to the State Oil Marketing Corporation's (SOMO) failure to repay its nearly $3 million debt to Turkish businesses, Turkish diplomatic sources have told Today's Zaman."

New content at Third:

And Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Pan Am: Freedom, fun and Cold War intrigue

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A new series shows the lives of 1960s air stewardesses Picture: BBC/2011 Sony Pictures Television

A new series shows the lives of 1960s air stewardesses Picture: BBC/2011 Sony Pictures Television

by Sarah Ensor

The new series Pan Am opens in 1963 when airlines catered exclusively for the rich.

At the time the airline Pan Am projected itself as the ultimate method of stylish, modern transatlantic travel—epitomised by the happy, unposed smile of a stewardess on the cover of Life Magazine.

The pilots were young and handsome and the stewardesses head-turningly glamorous.

But what the airline also represented was a way out of stifling social convention.

For some of the stewardesses it was an escape from their mothers’ role as wives.

These young women were middle class, highly educated, and often multilingual.

Some of the characters in the new drama see the job as a way to find a husband, but most just want to travel and be free.

The airline treats them with ferocious sexism. They have their fingernails checked and their weight too.

They’re meant to be physically attractive but not sexual, so part of their uniform is a girdle—that ridiculous elasticated corset that “preserved a woman’s modesty” by flattening her buttocks.

My mother, a stewardess in the 1950s, tells me the quickest way to lose your reputation and job was to go without a girdle. Presumably because it meant you could, at any moment, nip out for sex.


For all the glamour, the stewardesses spend hours on their feet serving passengers and pilots, and cleaning up.

But when they’re abroad they get to stay in smart hotels. They have their own friends and money.

The first episode is quite rushed, and the last 30 seconds are ludicrous.

But if it seems over the top—with a runaway bride, sisterly rivalry, lovers who turn out to be married, spies and the Bay of Pigs—it did mostly happen.

Behind the image of president John F Kennedy and first lady Jackie, symbols of America’s bright future, was the Cold War.

When the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs failed, it was Pan Am who flew in a year later to collect the ransomed prisoners.

Christina Ricci’s character, Maggie, knows her Hegel from her Marx. She can’t help remarking on who was invading whom.

These women’s experience of oppression is the counterbalance to Pan Am’s stratospheric ambition of the 1960s—when they started a waiting list for future flights to the moon.

The programme is mostly well acted, although the makers could credit the audience with more imagination. We don’t need a flashback for every reminiscence.

But as my mum could testify, from the freedom and foreign travel to the very few passengers who tipped the crew generously, being a stewardess really could be fun.

It looks like this series could be too.

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