Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No, DC didn't condemn anything

Alsumaria TV runs a story with a headline that Washington (DC) has strongly condemned the targeting of Iraqi youth. I wish. DC hasn't said a damn word. You might think it was James Jeffrey, US Ambassador to Iraq, speaking out. You'd be wrong there too. He's not in Iraq. He's in DC. The person offering a condemnation was the Embassy spokesperson Michael W. McClellan who told Alsumaria -- in an interview -- that the US strongly condemns the violence and the targeting based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. I believe McClellan's been with the State Dept for 28 years.

Good for him. But DC hasn't condemned the actions. If DC wanted to condemn the actions, Hillary Clinton could have done so to the UN Security Council yesterday or at the UN press conference she gave, Mark Toner could have read a statement at the beginning of yesterday's press conference, etc. And of course the White House could have issued a statement via any of the many interviews Barack Obama gave yesterday -- it's more important, apparently, that he yammer on about Peyton Manning than he stick up for the targeted, Jay Carney could have delivered a statement on behalf of the White House, etc.

Any of the previous steps would have resulted in media coverage.

The administration chose not to take any of those steps. Instead, an embassy spokesperson gave an interview to a TV network most Americans have never heard of and one that broadcasts in Arabic.

That's really not condemning.

Rolling Stone magazine made more of a statement yesterday afternoon with Matthew Perpetua's "Emo Kids Targeted in Wave of Iraq Murders." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) continues interviewing Iraqi youth about the threats:

Teenager Kamel Saad told CNN he cut his hair so as not to become a potential target.
"I'm not the only one. All my friends in the school decided to change their hair style and change their clothes, too, even though we're not emo or gay," he said.
Saad said a group of men, who identified themselves as community police, entered his classroom two weeks ago and asked students to tell them about other students' suspicious behavior.
"I thought it was about terrorism, but later, when the police explained more, we realized that they were talking about emo," he said.

Laura Rozen (Yahoo's The Envoy) reports that Brett McGurk is being whispered to be the new nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq.

For those keeping track, McGurk would become the fourth US Ambassador to Iraq since Barack was sworn in. US Ambassador Ryan Crocker was already in the spot in 2009 but agreed to stay on while they scrambled to find a replacement -- that they had to scramble demonstrates how little Iraq ever really mattered. They manic depressive Christopher Hill was next. Third was the present US Ambassador James Jeffrey. For those wondering, no that is not normal. Some would even make the case that it's unacceptable and that the post needs stability not constant fluxuation.

Proving yet again that the War Hawks get rewarded for illegal war, the Council of Foreign Relations notes of their member Brett:

He served on the National Security Council staff of President George W. Bush (2005-2009), first as director for Iraq and then as special assistant to the president and senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama, as a special advisor.

And it just gets 'better':

He is a former Supreme Court law clerk, clerking for the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from 2001 to 2002, and in 2004-05 served as an attorney with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, focusing on issues of constitutional reform, elections, and government formation.

He also applauded the "surge" which, you may recall, when Barack was attempting to get the Democratic Party's presidential nomination he was against. But not so much against that today he sees it is an indication that maybe someone's judgment was misguided. And he's never really been opposed to the Iraq War so he has no problem bringing in the planners of the illegal war. Time and again, America's seen -- if they looked closely -- that Barack poses wonderfully but he's got all the depth of a glossy 8 x 10.

Al Mada notes that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is publicly insisting that the Arab Summit will take place this month. Since he's insisting that, you can take that to mean that there's some doubt within the Baghdad government.

Aqeel Abas (Al Mada) reviews and notes that Nouri al-Maliki was declaring in July 2010 (four months after his State of Law came in second to Iraqiya in the 2010 elections) that Ayad Allawi would never be prime minister. As Abas observes, Nouri appeared to claim the right to determine who his successor would be -- a right not written into the Constitution -- and Abas explores how this was part of many statements from Nouri which have run contrary to the Constitution and to democracy. It's noted that the judiciary has become less and less independent. The Erbil Agreement, Tareq al-Hashemi and more are noted.

The 2010 elections did not go Nouri's way. He should have, therefore, not been named prime minister-designate and given a chance at creating a Cabinet. He knew that but he also knew he had the White House's support (and the Iranian government's) so he refused to budget creating a stalemate, Political Stalemate I, that lasted eight months. This ended only after the blocs agreed to the US-brokered Erbil Agreement which found political blocs making very concessions. It also allowed Nouri to remain as prime minister. When he got that aspect, he refused to follow the Erbil Agreement. He refused to stand by what he had signed off on. Since last summer, the Kurds have been calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement and Iraqiya joined them. Iraq is in Political Stalemate II and has been for some time. Hurriyet Daily News reports today that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi states, "There are three options for the future [of Iraq]: Either a full partnership [will be implemented], as we agreed in Arbil, or we'll hold an early election. Thirdly, the National Alliance [could] replace Nouri al-Maliki [Iraq’s prime minister] until the next elections."

Lastly, US Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and her office notes this Wednesday hearing on the issue of homeless veterans (it should be an important hearing, the witnesses are impressive and well versed in this issue):
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
Monday, March 12, 2012

WEDNESDAY: VETERANS: Murray to Hold Hearing on Veteran Homelessness

Hearing will discuss VA's progress on 5-year plan to end homelessness among veterans

(Washington, D.C.) -- Wednesday, March 14th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing to discuss the progress the VA has made in its 5-year plan to end homelessness among veterans. During the hearing, the Committee will hear from 2 homeless female veterans, service providers, and officials from the VA.

WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee

Homeless Veterans

Marsha Four, Executive Director of Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center

Reverend Scott Rogers, Executive Director, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry

Linda Halliday, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Audits and Evaluations, Office of Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs

Pete Dougherty, Acting Executive Director, Homeless Veterans Initiatives Office

WHAT: Hearing to discuss VA's progress on its 5-year plan to end homelessness among veterans, including the unique needs of homeless women veterans

WHEN: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

10:00 AM ET

WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building
Room 418

Washington, D.C.


The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.