Sunday, December 04, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

As the US military's reposition continues, Mohamad Ali Harissi (AFP) is reporting that convoys headed through the south towards Kuwait have paid protection. US Col Douglas Crissman explains the US is paying over 20 tribal sheikhs for protection.

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 4486. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4486.


In today's reported violence, Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left three more injured (but the Ministry of the Interior says 4 soldiers died and two injured), another Baghad roadside bombing left five people injured, a Kirkuk home bombing claimed the lives of 2 men and left one woman injured, a police officer was shot dead in Mosul and, dropping back to Saturday night for the rest, a Mosul funeral home was attacked resulting in the death of 1 man and one woman and child was injured while one of the assailants killed 1 police officer as they assailants escaped, and lastly a Baghdad attack on Iraqi General Ali Fadhil left him injured and his wife dead.

US Vice President Joe Biden visited Iraq last week. Patrick Martin (WSWS) offers this analysis:

The discussions conducted between Biden and Iraqi officials focused in large measure on ways and means of maintaining a prominent role for the US military in Iraq, under the guise of “training” Iraqi forces. Whether this takes the form of US military “trainers” rotating in and out of the country or Iraqi forces receiving training from US forces stationed in neighboring countries, where the American military presence is to be increased, appears not to have been resolved.
Biden himself personifies the right-wing, pro-war stance taken by the congressional Democrats. He voted for the war resolution in October 2002 and, in his capacity as the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, backed the war and offered his own strategic advice—including a notorious proposal for the de facto partition of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines, which foreshadowed the policy actually employed by the US military in fomenting civil war.
The congressional Democrats shifted to a supposed “anti-war” stance only in order to co-opt and derail the mass popular opposition to the war, which propelled them to a congressional majority in 2006 and gave Obama victory in the 2008 presidential campaign. Once in office, however, Obama continued the Bush policy in Iraq, kept Bush’s defense secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon, and escalated Bush’s other war in Afghanistan.

Biden's visit in Iraq found him meeting with the US 'friends' the Kurds. 'Friends' worded that way because Dar Addustour reports that when Biden went on to Turkey, the American delegation told the Turkish government they would not support Kirkuk becoming part of the Kurdistan Regional Government. True? Why not. When has a White House never told everyone what they wanted to hear? But who did they tell the truth to: the Turks or the Kurds? This is one more reason the KRG needs to stop doing the bidding of the US government (which includes lobbying for 12,000 troops as trainers in January). The KRG has done the bidding of the Bush White House and now the Barack White House and they've really gotten nothing for it. They've been repeatedly undercut in every negotiation.

Meanwhile as Nouri continues to make the laughable assertion that he was the target of the bombing of Parliament on Monday, Al Mada reports that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc steps forward to issue a statement asking that the attack be seen as an attack on Iraq's political process and to not exploit the attack by using it to create further divisions between the political blocs.

New content at Third:

No new comic from Isaiah who has a cold like so many of the rest of us. I will be doing entries tomorrow but if I wake up feeling just like this, I'm liable to roll back over and go right back to sleep. Sorry. That's your heads up. (And, no, this isn't much. Go read Third. We worked hard on that and I'm wiped out.) Pru notes "Disgrace as Ed Miliband crosses pickets" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Ed Miliband should have been on the picket lines on Wednesday with striking public sector workers. But instead he was crossing them.

The Labour leader entered parliament past striking workers.

Miliband has long proclaimed his opposition to strikes and his opinion that they are always a “sign of failure”.

But such talk is an insult to millions of workers who have supported and voted Labour and expect it to be on their side.

Miliband was forced to shift on strike day itself.

He would not condemn “the dinner ladies, nurses, teachers who have made the decision to go on strike”, he said.

“I am afraid the government has got to accept responsibility that it is their failure that has led to the strikes today.”

Workers taking action against the Tories’ attacks expressed outrage at Labour’s attitude. Adam Jenkins is a park ranger for Bromley council and Unite branch secretary.

He told Socialist Worker, “These Tories want to go back to the Thatcher years, but Labour is useless as well. We give Labour our money, it’s their life blood. Labour should be here supporting us today.”

A minority of left wing Labour MPs and councillors did make a principled stand and declare their support for the strikers. But the leadership has made its position clear.

If striking workers are looking for solidarity then they won’t find it from the likes of Miliband.

The following should be read alongside this article:

Millions go to war on the Tories

George Osborne: more misery to come

Desperate David Cameron tries to whitewash huge action

International trade unionists show their support

Daily Mail solidarity with strikers

The strike in figures

Teachers: ‘We’re proud to picket for pensions for all’

PCS build solid, determined pickets

Health workers: this is a fight to save the NHS

United strike sees big pickets shut down council services

The numbers on the main demos on 30 November

Tories fear us getting a taste for our strength

In their own words

‘The unions are a movement again... we can bring the tories down’

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