Saturday, March 29, 2014

Only US officials who travel to Israel can talk Iraq?

Let's start with the violence.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri's continued assault on Anbar has resulted in more deaths as he has continued to shell residential neighborhoods in Falluja.  Tonight, that means 6 civilians -- "including a child" -- are dead and twenty-one people ("including 4 women and 3 children") are injured.  These are War Crimes but the White House doesn't seem to care.

Does anyone?

How many civilians does Nouri get to kill before people get outraged?

This is from the BBC's "Pol Pot: Life of a tyrant:"

Pol Pot's death in April 1998 heralded the end of the brutal career of a man responsible for overseeing one of the worst genocides of the 20th century.
Between 1975 and 1979 his regime claimed the lives of more than 1m people - through execution, starvation and disease - as the Khmer Rouge tried to turn Cambodia back to the middle ages.

For many survivors of that era, the joy of his demise will only be tempered with the regret that he was not called to account for his crimes against humanity.

So how many people did Pol Pot have to kill before it was acceptable to call him a tyrant?

With Nouri, just since the end of December and just in the city of Falluja, he's killed 400 civilians.

At what point does the press find its comfort level with calling him a tyrant?

The Economist has no problem doing so.  It deserves applause for that.  It's a shame so many others have been so reticent.

In other violence,  National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 people were shot dead in Ramadi, 1 person was shot dead in Maalmeen and one person was left injured, 1 man was shot dead in al-Hay al-Senaay, an al-Maghrib roadside bombing left four people injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing left two people injured, a Zauwbaa Village suicide car bomber took his own life and the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers (four mroe were left injured)Joint Operations Command announced they killed 7 suspects in Falluja, 1 Shabak was shot dead in eastern Mosul, and 1 corpse ("gunshots on the head and chest") was discovered dumped "on the edge of the Euphrates River in Haditha."

The month is winding down.  Through Friday, Iraq Body Count counts 917 violent deaths so far this month.

It's a shame there's not an Iraq Media Count to note how little coverage any of this ever gets in the US.

Take a proposed law.  March 8, 2014, International Women's Day, Iraqi women protested in Baghdad against Nouri al-Maliki's proposed bill which would allow father's to marry off daughters as young as nine-years-old, strip away the need for consent to sex,  and would strip custodial rights from mothers.  But it's like pulling teeth to get the US media to cover it.  At Truth Dig, Liesl Bradner writes:

Iraq has recently put forth a controversial draft law that would allow men to marry girls as young as 9 years old and force their wives to have sex without consent. Women would also not be able to leave the house without their husband’s permission.
Approved by the Justice Ministry Cabinet in February, the Jaafari Personal Status Law, named after Jaafar al-Sadiq, a Shiite imam, has yet to be approved by Iraq’s parliament. Analysts say it’s unlikely to make it through before the April 30 parliamentary elections.

By the way, Perez Hilton covered it. I asked a friend if she could please find a way to work it into her outlet (not a news outlet) and she did.  Her doing so really helped start the US conversation.  Perez is a gossip site and I don't have time in my life for that so I didn't know he'd covered it but my friend asked if I'd work in a link for Perez as well (which I've now just done). And good for Perez for covering it as well.

Iraq, the topic US leaders and officials won't speak of.  At least, not on US soil.  Apparently, if you're going to Israel, you speak about Iraq.  Gen Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is headed to Israel (fifth trip since he became Chair of the Joint Chiefs) and the Pentagon notes:

Millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war are straining resources in Jordan and Turkey and there is the threat that the conflict could spill over Syria’s borders. Insurgents continue attacks in Iraq. Egypt – the largest Arab nation – is going through its own political transition. Iran is negotiating over its nuclear program while continuing to support terror groups including Hezbollah that threaten Israel.

So if you're a US official going to Israel, you can talk about Iraq.  And if you're a former US official you can talk about Iraq.  Or around it as former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates demonstrates.  Roy Wenzl (Wichita Eagle) speaks with Gates:

One casualty: Alex Funcheon from Bel Aire, a 21-year-old Army sergeant killed in April 2007 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
Six weeks after he died, his parents, Bob and Karen Funcheon, climbed the steps of Air Force One during a visit to Wichita by President George W. Bush. They asked Bush whether he was going to make the soldiers’ deaths mean something.
Over this past weekend, the Funcheons passed along a question they hoped Gates could answer this week – the same question they posed to Bush seven years ago: Given that the purpose of the wars “was to make the world a safer place,” Bob Funcheon wrote in an e-mail, and given that “terrorism is essentially the same ... can you tell us it was worth it?”
The short answer, Gates said, is yes. The Afghan army, created and armed by the U.S., is fighting hard, holding territory, holding the Taliban down. Iraq has the chance to become a stable democracy someday.

Read more here:
That's the short answer?  Because it seems to me like a non-answer.

Alex Funcheon was killed in Iraq and Gates is talking about the Afghan army?

He has a 'longer' answer and that's no major terrorist attack in the US.

That's even more of a non-answer.  Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11.

In real news, NINA notes the Iraqi Parliament is attempting to shut down the Justice and Accountability Commission (which needs to happen).  Iraqiya MP Lega Wardi points out voting is going to be very difficult for Anbar in the expected parliamentary elections (April 30th) since Anbar residents have been displaced.

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, Cindy Sheehan, Susan's On the Edge, Jody Watley, Jake Tapper, the ACLU, Pacifica Evening News and --  updated:

  • Etc.
    14 hours ago

    The e-mail address for this site is

    turth dig