"Iraq VP Calls For Withdrawal Timetable Ahead of Bush-Blair Meeting" (Democracy Now):
In Iraq, a top leader has renewed calls for President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to set a timetable for the withdrawal of occupying troops.
Iraqi Vice President Tareq Al Hashemi: "Two days ago we spoke with Tony Blair about this issue and the fact that it is necessary that the U.S. and British administration should put a timetable for its troops withdrawal from Iraq. We have discussed this thoroughly and I convinced him of the necessity of announcing a timetable for the withdrawal of the occupying troops and told him frankly that Iraqis have a right to know when the last British or American soldier will leave Iraq." Bush and Blair have long rejected setting withdrawal timetables and vowed to withdraw troops at their own discretion. The two leaders will meet today in Washington with Iraq expected to top the agenda.
Contacted the reference librarian/researcher (reference to Elaine's "Long but is there a topic?") and asked about something I'd read but couldn't remember where? C.I. was kind enough to tell me the book, author and page number. It's pages 224-225 from Normal Solomon's War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death:
In effect, the war had to go on because the war had to go on -- widely promoted as the least bad option, in contrast to the taboo of withdrawal. Meanwhile, a prerequisite for any Baghdad government to exist would be that it sufficiently satisifed the administration in Washington.
[. . .]
Pretense and realism were at war. Washington was preparing to hand over power to Iraqis while steadfastly refusing to do so; putting an Iraqi "face" on authority in Iraq while retaining ultimate authority in Iraq; striving for Iraqis to take up the burden of their country's national security while insisting that military control must remain in Uncle Sam's hands.
To some readers, the headline across the top of USA Today's front page on day in June 2004 must have been reassuring: "New Leader Asks U.S. to Stay." The banner headline was a classic of occupation puppetry and media gimmickry. Iraq's "new leader" Iyad Allawi -- selected and installed as prime minister by the U.S. government -- had shown distinct reliablity over the years. The USA Today story made only fleeting reference to Allawi's longtime U.S. entanglement, indentifying him as "a Shiite close to the CIA." The contradiction did not seem to trouble American media outlets, though they sometimes openly fretted that Iraqis might not be so accepting. Allawi "is the secretary general of the Iraqi National Accord, an exile group that has received funds from the Central Intelligence Agency," the New York Times reported. "His ties with the CIA and his closeness to the United States could become an issue in a country where public opinion has grown almost universally hostile to the Americans." A separate Times article noted that Allawi "lived abroad for 30 years and is not well known in Iraq." All in all, by Washington's lights, the man was eminently qualified to be Iraq's "new leader." And his superb judgement was immediately apparent: New leader asks U.S. to stay!
If you're not familiar with the book, it's one I recommend and we discussed it back in August "1 Book, 10 Minutes" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). It's an antidote not only to this adminstration's spin but to the lies that get us into war (by any adminstration) and keep us there.
"Senate Expected To Vote On Immigration Bill" (Democracy Now):
The Senate has agreed to end debate on a controversial immigration bill, setting the stage for a vote likely to come today. The bill would heighten enforcement measures, establish a temporary guest worker program, punish employers who hire undocumented immigrants and open a route to citizenship for at least some undocumented immigrants. If passed, the Senate bill would have to be reconciled with the Sensenbrenner bill passed by the House in December. That bill focuses strictly on enforcement and would consider undocumented immigrants to be felons. It would also make it a crime for priests, nuns, health care workers and other social workers to offer help to undocumented immigrants.
Big business always protects big business and with all the loybbing of Congress, it works for big business. Which is why immigrants got screwed over and will continue to be screwed over. C.I.'s covered how the New York Times has lied over and over about the Senate bill but there's a new liar in town and his name is David Espo who has obviously learned from the Times how to 'shape' opinion by playing the bill as opposed by racists and supported by do gooders.
Yesterday Mike wrote "Michael Hayden, FCC and spying, and more" and he covered Darfur great but I got an e-mail about it asking why he was saying it was harder to open our borders than to send force. Well the item above demonstrates the border issue. It's also true that we're dealing with Black people and you might want to send in some bullets and soldiers to fix the issue because anything's better than having one of us move next door to you, right?
It was the same thing with the Jewish race. 'Decent people' fretted what an influx of 'those people' might do to a nation's character and over six million Jews (as well as gypsies, gays and lesbians and others) would die in the Holocaust.
Sending force as opposed to welcoming the victims in Darfur into this country is the equivalent of sending a pie to someone's house because you don't want to actually invite them over to dinner. It's racism and xenophobia. We're willing to make sure they stay, just not willing to make them really safe.
Did you make a point to listen to KPFA's The Morning Show today? Robert Jensen was on addressing the issue of race and he brought up a point about how you hear people bemoan the underpriviliged but what about examing the realities of the overpriviliged? Were it not for economic class and skin color, do you think Bully Boy would be in the White House? He was a bad student and a bad businessman. They (Jensen and co-hosts Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari) addressed affirmative action and a number of other things. (They also played some of Tim Wise's speech. Jensen had nice words for Wise.)
Go to Mikey Likes It! for Mike's take on the two headlines. I'm going to try to post tomorrow -- Wally and I have talked about doing a joint post again. Be sure to check out Wally's
"THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY AND BLAIR HAVE BEEN WHERE?"
Forgot to put in C.I.'s "Iraq Snapshot:"
As Amy Goodman noted, Tareq Al Hashemi, vice president of Iraq, has called for "a timetable for the withdrawal of occupying troops" from Iraq. As Al Jazeera notes, Al Hashemi does not favor the notion of a set of conditions that would result in withdrawal of all foreign troops (US, British, et al) but instead favors a fixed date. The Irish Examiner reports that as Tony Blair and Bully Boy meet in DC, "the White House" has declared it "premature to talk about troop withdrawals."
This as Free Speech Radio News reports the Inspector General of Iraq's Oil Ministry has noted "that one billion dollars of Iraq's oil is being illegally smuggled out of the country every month." On the topic of the Oil Ministry, Steve Negus reports that Hussein al-Shahristani, exile installed as oil minister, has declared "the central government should handle all contracts related to petroleum exploration and production, putting him on a potential collision course with the autonomous Kurdish region which has recently begun to develop its own oil resources." What Kurds may read as a power grab occurs as the occupied nation is still without a minister of interior or defense.
In England, Matthew Tempest reports for the Guardian that "attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, has been forced into disclosing further information relating to his decision that an ivasion of Iraq would be lawful." Goldsmith issues one ruling and then another (that was already known), the report traces the change of opinion to March 13th and he would inform Blair of the change in opinion (that the illegal invasion would suddenly be legal). March 17, 2003 was then the UN failed to endorse the Bully Boy's war lust, March 20th would see the start of the illegal invasion.
A battle in Baghdad (yes, in Baghdad) resulted in at least three people dead from
"[t]he ambush of Brig Gen. Khalil al-Abadi, head of the Defense Ministry logistics office" reports the Associated Press. Reuters notes several bombings taking place in Iraq -- one "planted inside a building wounded 13 people," another wounded two police officers in New Baghdad, and another injured two police officers on "patrol in northeastern Baghdad." Reuters also notes that four corpses were discovered throughout Baghdad ("torture . . . gunshot wounds in their heads").
The AFP reports that two more corpses were discovered in Baquba while Reuters notes an additional three ("bullet gunshot wounds") near Tikrit and that, in Balad, "U.S. forces handed over five decomposed bodies to the hospital." The AFP reports that a judge (Walid Ahmed) has been kidnapped while "traveling on a highway between Saddam's hometown of Tikrit and the city of Samarra." Reuters notes that Ali Hisham and his son were kidnapped not far from Kirkuk (Hisham is "head of the Turkmen Front party in town of Tuz Khurmato"). A "nine-year-old girl" died in Kirkuk from a roadside bomb, the AFP notes. Meanwhile the BBC reports that, James Cook has been determined to be not guilty ("by a jury panel of seven senior officers in Cochester") in the death of Ahmed Jabber Kareem -- three remain on trial. In the United States, Robert Burns reports that Gen. Michael W. Hagee is headed for Iraq as a result of concerns over "two recent cases of alleged killings of civilians in Iraq."
Finally, Reuters notes the Norwegian Refugee Council's report on Iraq:
Sectarian displacements received much attention in the mainstream world media in April 2006, yet equally large-scale population displacements caused by multiple military operations across the country have been largely unreported. Several hundred thousand people were displaced by military operations during 2005.