Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The war continues

If I'm going to properly confess my sins, I'll need to start at the beginning. In the beginning were the campaign promises, and let's just say that only flies and loyal partisans could stand the smell of them.
"I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank." Thus spoke candidate Obama, and he hit the same theme over and over again at countless campaign events.
When President Bush failed to pull out of Iraq, Senator Obama in 2007 said that Congress should overrule the president and end the war in order to represent the American people. Amen, brother!
What candidate Obama explained in serious interviews was a little different. He said repeatedly that he would begin a withdrawal his first month in office, pull out one to two brigades per month and be done in 16 months. That would have been back in May.

The above is from David Swanson's "I'm Sorry I Called Obama a Liar on Iraq Too Soon" (War Is A Crime) and good for Swanson for calling out the non-end of the illegal war. It's amazing, as Elaine noted last night, just how much silence there is in the face of the spin machine proclaiming 'War Is Over wink-wink.'

One of the key threads in the last three days coverage has been the absence of Iraqis from the coverage. On the networks, only NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams featured a report from Iraq and only Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) on PRI's The Takeaway yesterday and Kathleen Hennessey and Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) have noted the reactions of Iraqis to the speech to any real degree. This morning, you can add Anthony Shadid (New York Times) to the list:

"Wherever the Americans go, the situation is going to stay the same as it was," said Abdel-Karim Abdel-Jabbar, a 51-year-old resident of the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya, where insurgents overran another checkpoint last week, burning the bodies of their victims and planting the same black banner. "If anything, it's going to deteriorate.
"The peace Obama's talking about is the peace of the Green Zone," he added.

Arwa Damon (CNN -- link has text and video) reports on Mawj whose family have remained in Baghdad and who finds an escape when she plays the guitar: "When I play guitar, I feel like I am in a different world. A completely different world."

On the political front, Salam Faraj (AFP) reports that Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya is supposed to be in a better position currently as a result of the split between the Iraqi National Alliance and State of Law over Nouri's insistance that he remain prime minister. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and five days and, in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 4 months and 28 days.

We'll go out with the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. The DPC video page has new videos on energy, small business and other topics. We'll note Senator Byron Dorgan who is the chair of the DPC.

We'll close with the opening to Sherwood Ross' "Hiroshima" (LA Progressive):

I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
A graduate of Emory College, Atlanta,
Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima
I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck
Like a sheet of sunlight.
Fearing for my wife and family
I ran back into the city
Where I saw hundreds and hundreds fleeing
Every one of them hurt in some way.

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