"Iraq Snapshot" (The Common Ills)
The Operation Happy Talk goes on.
Sean McFarland becomes the biggest doofus outside the administration by delcaring, "I think we have turned a corner her in Ramadi." MacFarland is both an Army Col. and a Happy Talker.
In news that's a little harder to Happy Talk, Antonio Castaneda (AP) reports that of the 1000 Sunni soldiers who made up the May 2006 graduating class "only about 300 of them have reported for duty".
In other news from the real world, Reuters reports that the US Congressional Budget Office predicts: "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years".
These projections come at a time when, as Martha Burk has pointed out (Ms.), the US government has cut "[d]omestic-violence prevention by $35 million, Medicaid by $17 billion over five years and child care programs by 1.03 billion over five years."
In other costs paid, Reuters reports 12 corpses were discovered in Tal Afar. CBS and the AP note a corpse ("shot in the chest . . . signs of torture") discovered in Azizyah".
As noted earlier this morning, seven people were killed ("after Friday prayers") when a Sunni mosque in Baghdad was bombed. Meanwhile Reuters reports that a mosque in Balad Ruz was hit by mortar rounds leaving at least two dead and four wounded while a car bomber in Mosul who killed himself and five others. The AFP covers a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one person dead and nine wounded.
Reuters notes that two policeman were killed by a sniper in Tal Afar while a minibus near Kut was attacked "with machine gun fire" resulting in five dead ("including a wwoman and a child"). Meanwhile, the AFP reports attacks in two cities: a car was "ambushed" in Tikrit by assailants who shot the father dead and wounded the son; and, in Mosul, two different attacks left a police officer dead as well as the bodyguard of a judge. And the Associated Press reports a drive-by in Baghdad that killed a taxi driver.
The BBC noted the death of several Iraqi soldiers (12 at that point) in Kirkuk when they were attacked with "rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns". AFX raised the number dead to 13 (citing "colonel Mahmud Abdulla").
Meanwhile, following yesterday's kidnapping attempt that left wrestling coach Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib dead, the AP reports that: "Iraq's national wrestling team [has] pulled out of a tournament in the United Arab Emirates".
In the United States, Saturday July 15th is a day of action calling for Suzanne Swift to receive an honorable discharge including a protest, "at the gates of Ft. Lewis (exit 119) beginning at 12 pm with a press converence at 3 pm" in Washington state -- while in Eugen, Oregon there will be a demonstration outside the Federal Building at noon.
In DC (and across the globe -- over 22 countries), the fast led by CODEPINK and others continues. As Thursday's The KPFA Evening News reported some Congressional members, including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Lynne Woolsey took part in a one-day fast on Thursday. Ann Wright, who ressigned from the State Department on May 19, 2003 and is taking part in the actions stated: "The only reason we fast is to force us to remember what's going on here. That innocent Iraqis are dying every day, Americans are dying every day. We need to get this war ended. So, yeah, we're going to up the ante".
Lastly, Wednesday July 19th, San Antonio, TX will be the location for a "public hearing held by the the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves" -- "in the Iberia Ballroom of the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, 112 College Street, San Antonio."
There will be two panels with the first lasting from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and focused on "roles and missions to funding requirements" and the second, lasting from 2:00 pm to 4 pm, focusing on how reserves were "involuntarily mobilized after September 11, 2001".
I started this thing a lot earlier but was wondering around checking out sites. I have to say Betty's doing a wonderful job filling in for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. I enjoy hearing her talk. She'll always apologize and say, "I'm going on too much." But she really doesn't. I think she's pretty wonderful. Tonight, among other things, she wrote about Wally. I wished I'd thought to do that because we do those joint posts pretty regularly and I should have written to explain that, if nothing else.
I think Betty's captured Wally perfectly so I won't talk about that but I will say that he usually calls up and asks if I want to post. I'm always up for it if I've got the time. (I had to turn him down once due to a church thing.) It's fun working with him. When I'm not working with him, he'll run his posts by C.I. and ask, "Where am I losing it?" He really does work on those things. They're funny and sometimes you might think, "Oh, he dashed that off." That was what he hoped to do but sometimes, he'll work on that for an hour when he's working on them by himself. Then he'll read it to a friend or go straight to C.I. and say, "Help!" C.I. will tell you he doesn't need help, but Wally's not the best judge of his humor. Fridays are usually the worst for Wally because he really would like to be done with it fairly early but on Fridays, big news tend to come later in the day.
I should add that when Wally and I are doing a joint post and have "Must credit . . ." -- that's not serious. We're making fun of Wonkette when the Cox woman was doing it. She seemed to use that all the time. She'd write about some news she'd just read at the AP or something and it would seem like she'd even tag those "Must credit Wonkette." So that's just a joke.
Something else I can add is that Wally and Mike are like C.I.'s kids. I'm serious, C.I. is very protective of them. C.I.'s protective of all of us but those two, and they know it (you can ask them), C.I. is just super protective of them. That's true of anyone who starts up a site but it's also because they are the youngest. I'll leave it at that but Mike's written about it and he knows just what I'm talking about. With the rest of us, to give an example, if someone told C.I. they didn't care for our sites, the response would be, "Well that's your problem." But if they said that about Mike or Wally, C.I. would get ticked off. "They are young college students! Who are you?" (I've actually heard C.I. say to that someone and it should be noted that C.I.'s very protective of college activists period.)
Kat's "My thoughts" is a really good post and one I strongly recommend. She spoke to me about and I believe she did that with everyone. I wish I could say I was thinking, "Hmmm. Someone's on a fast right now. Is this the best time for this?" But I didn't. She makes some strong points and her biggest point is that that's over, it can't be changed. But if something similar happens next time, maybe we could all think (me included, I don't exempt myself) is this really the best time for this?
My cousin showed up tonight with about four friends. I had just fixed a pizza (Trina gave me a recipe, seriously, I did the whole thing myself) and was thinking, "Great. One pizza, six people."
(I put out some pretzels while the pizza was cooking and also opened up a can of black eyed peas, that's really all I had in the apartment. I haven't had time for grocery shopping this week and plan to go in the morning.)
But he reads Mikey Likes It! and was thinking about Mike's group and he thought that we could do something like that. (Mike and his friends put together a group that meets every Friday night to talk about Iraq. That group started off bigger than they planned and has just gotten huge.) Great idea and my only complaint is, next time let me know ahead of time.
So we were talking about Iraq and one point we made that I want to make here is that we don't think you'd be seeing what's going on right now, with Israel bombing this and striking that, if it wasn't for the Bully Boy.
If the Bully Boy hadn't illegally invaded Iraq and started a 'pre-emptive' war, Israel wouldn't have the cover to do what it's doing. There would be a lot of outrage over it. (There is outrage but I don't think it's enough outrage myself.)
When one player in the system disregards the rules, no one else has to follow them. I think we'll see more of this. I think we already have seen it in other ways.
Take Bully Boy's so-called 'war on terror' and the way it's played out in other countries which is basically, if you're a brutal regime and you want to take out some people, you call them 'terrorists.' Maybe they're drug dealers or runners (or maybe you just say they were), well that's a 'terrorist' so kill them.
We are going to be paying for the Bully Boy's actions for years. In this country, we're going to have to deal with all the hatred he's brought on our country. But in terms of conflicts where people might have been encouraged to talk, they don't need to now. If Bully Boy can act alone and do what he wants just because he wants to, if he doesn't have to justify a war (just grab one because he wants one), then none of the other players are going to feel that they have to justify it. They can do what they want as well.
I know a lot of people worry about North Korea, but I'm more worried Israel will use a nuclear bomb. If they did, that's it. There is no hope of peace in the Middle East, in my opinion. If they use one of their nuclear weapons, there will be so much outrage (even if our journalists bend over backwards to justify it -- which is what they do with Israel in every other situation), Egypt, Jordan, you're just going to see a never ending war.
I feel sorry for the Israeli people because I can imagine how they're about to be tarred and feathered world wide for the actions of the idiot in charge of their country. I can relate to that. They've got their own Bully Boy and he's out to do as much damage as he can.
Actions have consequences but they also influence other actions and Bully Boy's war on Iraq has given every other bully the excuse they need to destroy whoever and whatever they want. (I think Michael Ratner's talked about how that would happen on Law and Disorder, to give credit. I don't mean just once. I think he's warned about it repeatedly.)
That's it for me, but be sure to read Betty's "The War Paint Council" (that's her latest Betinna chapter).
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