Monday, April 07, 2008

Other Items

In this Marine hub outside Camp Pendleton, servicemen picked up their dry cleaning, chatted among friends at restaurants and bars and lined up for buzz cuts outside old-fashioned barbershops on a sunny Sunday.

Few said they'd heard anything about the newlywed Marines who have been missing since last Monday. It is a relatively common occurrence for someone to leave without authorization, they said, and news of another case didn't affect them.

"A lot of people come out of high school, and they don't realize what they signed up for," said one Marine, who asked only to be identified by his first name, David, outside the corner Pierview Pub. "You have to know, when you sign that contract, you commit yourself. It's honor, courage, commitment."

For a week, Lance Cpl. Margaret Elizabeth McMahon, a native of Sag Harbor, and her husband, Pfc. George "Kevyn" Reid, have been missing from their bases in California. McMahon is assigned to Pendleton and Reid to nearby Miramar Marine Air Base. Both were due to be deployed to Iraq this summer. Though investigators don't know why they left, they said there are no indications of foul play.

The above is from Christine Armario's "Disappearance of Marine from LI doesn't cause stir" (Newsday) and, as noted Saturday, the police belive they are AWOL (and the families consider that -- as opposed to foul play -- good news). And yesterday Armario and Keith Herbert reported for Newsday:

Margaret McMahon, the Sag Harbor Marine missing from her California military base, was captured on videotape using a cash machine in Kansas, Escondido, Calif., police said yesterday.

After viewing McMahon, 20, on video Tuesday trying to withdraw money in Salina, Kan., police dropped their investigation, saying the evidence confirms that McMahon was outside their jurisdiction. Police said they "relinquished" the investigation to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Lance Cpl. McMahon was identified by a relative who viewed the video, in which McMahon appeared to be alone, police said. Also on Tuesday, a day after McMahon had gone missing, someone withdrew $400 from McMahon's bank account in Hazelwood, Mo.

McMahon, who family members said a day earlier had argued with her new husband, fellow Marine Pfc. George Kevlyn Reid, 22, appeared to be under "no duress" in the cash-machine video, said Escondido police Lt. Neal Griffin.

Meanwhile, North Carolina's WFMY notes:

Tuesday kicks off the two days of hearings. General David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are set to testify to give a progress report on the war.
Some democrats are skeptical the situation in Iraq is getting better.
The Al Maliki government is dysfunctional in terms of the progress they made. General Petraeus is coming to Washington this week to observe the first anniversary of a temporary surge, with no end in sight.

That's what's expected in the US. In Iraq, puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki is complaining about the US State Department deciding to renew their contract with the mercenaries of Blackwater. CNN reports on their interview with al-Maliki (link has text and video)where he "demanded al-Sadr disband his Mehdi Army and threatened to bar al-Sadr's followers from the political process if the cleric refused." Khaled Farhan (Reuters) notes that Moqtada al-Sadr's response, he "will consult senior religious leaders and disband his Mehdi Army militia if they instruct him to, a senior aide said on Monday. The surprise announcement was the first time Sadr has proposed dissolving the Mehdi Army, one of the principle actors in Iraq's five-year-old conflict and the main opponent of U.S. and Iraqi forces during a recent upsurge in fighting." Dropping back to an event noted last night ["Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Saturday the assassination of priest Yousif Adel in Baghdad and the assassination of a Ministry of Interior Affairs employee (Brig Gen Sadi Rzoqi) in Baghdad.] Iraq's Alsumaria TV reports, "The assassination of Father Youssef Adel was a multilateral message delivered from terrorists to concerned parties. This incident targets at first Iraq’s social diversity and strikes national unity and coexistence." With more on the topic, Rome's Zenit reports:

Benedict XVI said he was "profoundly saddened" by the death of Syro-Orthodox Father Youssef Adel Abudi, who was murdered in his home in Baghdad.
Father Adel was killed Saturday by a group of armed men at the entrance to his house in Karrada, an area in central Baghdad.
The Pope sent a message of condolence to Mar Saverius Jamil Hawa, the Syro-Orthodox bishop of Baghdad, to offer to Father Adel's wife and family his "deepest sympathy." The note was signed by the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
In his message the Holy Father assured the local Church of his "nearness in prayer [...], entrusting the soul of this devoted servant to the infinite mercy of God."
Benedict XVI urged prayers so "that the whole nation follow the ways of peace to build a just and tolerant society in the beloved land of Iraq."
Speculation surrounding the murder links it to Father Adel's involvement in interreligious dialogue. The priest was the director of an integrated school attended by Christians and Muslims of both sexes.

And Asia News notes:

There is a climate of "great fear" in the Iraqi Christian community in Baghdad, where the funeral was held yesterday for the Assyrian Orthodox priest, Youssef Adel, killed in cold blood last April 5 in the capital. The funeral, in the church of Saints Peter and Paul in the neighbourhood of Karrada, was celebrated by the Assyrian Orthodox archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, Saverius Jamil Hawa. Various members of the faithful and religious representatives from all the Christian denominations were present, including Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, the Assyrian Catholic bishop of the capital, the patriarch of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the apostolic nuncio in Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt.

Lastly, Kyle notes Sudarsan Raghavan's "Between Iraqi Shiites, a Deepening Animosity" (Washington Post):

As verses from the Koran floated from a loudspeaker, the Shiite militia commander's face glowered. Inside the cavernous funeral tent, a large portrait of his 16-year-old son, Mustafa, hung over the mourners. Abu Abdullah, who fought U.S. troops and Sunni insurgents for five years, never expected his son to die before him. Now, he said, his anger was directed at other Shiites.
An Iraqi soldier, he said, had shot Mustafa two days earlier as he approached a checkpoint in Sadr City, where Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army rule. Abu Abdullah blamed Sadr's Shiite rivals, who lead the Iraqi government.
"What do I feel inside me?" asked Abu Abdullah, dressed in black. "I want to do to them exactly what they did to my son, and even more."
In this volatile Shiite redoubt, animosity toward Prime Minister Nouri-al Maliki and his allies has deepened in the aftermath of Iraq's worst violence in months, threatening to escalate a conflict among Shiites that could further draw in U.S. troops.

Woops. Bonnie reminds in an e-mail to note that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Message From a Heavy Weight" went up yesterday.The e-mail address for this site is