Tuesday, November 23, 2010

He doesn't like working







The US government has made quite clear it doesn't give a damn about Iraqi citizens. Feisal Amin Rasould al-Istrabadi (Today) observes, "Seven months after Iraq's national elections, the United States has publicly denied taking sides in the wrangling over who will be Prime Minister. Privately, however, the US is backing the incumbent, Mr Nouri Al Maliki. The US has applied tremendous diplomatic pressure on Iraq's Arab neighbours to get them to accept another Maliki term. Most have refused. Initially, the US backed Mr Maliki in order to keep the Sadrist bloc from gaining a share of power. However, that has now backfired, since the Sadrists are the only group other than Mr Maliki's coalition of Shia parties that supports him."
Well what about the US citizens?
Another US soldier dies in Iraq and Joe Biden's flapping his gums about what the US has to do for Iraq? In what world does that make sense?
Maybe in the same world where everything he publicly predicted about Nouri has come true but, being vice president, he has to toe the line when, if he'd stayed in the Senate, he could take credit for just how right he was about Nouri.
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the US Congress expected Iraq to be wrapped up and for the puppets to get their act together enough for the US to leave. Let's drop back to April 2, 2008 and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing, that then-Senator Joe Biden chaired, which was entitled "Iraq After The Surge." Let's zoom in on US Senator Barbara Boxer speaking to Stephen Biddle:
Barbara Boxer: Did you just say that Maliki uses the Iraqi security forces as his militia? Did you say that?
Biddle: Yes.
Barbara Boxer: If that's true and Maliki uses his military as a force to bring about peace -- that's scandalous and that we would have paid $20 million to train [it] and someone that we consider an expert says it's a militia, that's shocking.
She then attempted to question Rosen who attempted to add details. Details weren't needed and ate into the time needed for Boxer to make the case she was making. "I come out with a picture of Iraq today," she explained, "as a bloody lawless place, run by militias, a place that has undergone ethnic cleansing and the Shias won that . . . and also that the US presence there is only putting off the day when the Iraqis will find the way."
Eight months after an election and no government. Does Barbara Boxer think that's evidence of the puppets finding the way? In that hearing, she declared, "There is no good solution to this nightmare so why not just figure out a way to tell the Iraqis, 'We've spilled the blood, now it's your turn'." It's over 2 years later and still the US government isn't sending that message.
Is there any accountability at all? Does no one but US House Rep Lloyd Dogget even remember the 18 benchmarks the White House proposed and Nouri signed off on in 2007? Dropping back to the September 16, 2008 snapshot for that day's US House Committee on the Budget hearing on Iraq's Budget Surplus and this exchange is between US House Rep Lloyd Doggett and the GAO's Joseph A. Christoff:
Lloyd Dogget: All of us remember, except maybe President Bush, that in January of 2007, he selected the benchmarks, the guidelines by which to measure success, by which to measure victory in Iraq and when we sought an analysis so we would have an objective information instead of just the propaganda from the administration about whether those benchmarks had been met the Congress turned to the Government Accountability Office. And my recollection is that when you came out with your report on August the 30th of last year that you determined that . . . 11 of the 18 benchmarks that President Bush had set were not met. Is that correct?
Joseph Christoff: Based on that prior report correct.
Lloyd Doggett: Yes, sir. And you found that of the 18 benchmarks the president set himself to measure success in Iraq that only three had been met as of August 30, 2007. Now this year, a year later, you did some evaluation again. You did not evaluate every single benchmark but you really found that there had been very little progress in the year. We know that fortunately fewer Americans are being killed there. But in terms of the objective of the Bush policy in Iraq, you had a grand amount of success in that they met one more benchmark than they had the year before, isn't that correct?
Joseph Christoff: Well we didn't go through a benchmark by benchmark analysis but we did provide a report that talked about progess on the security front, the legislative front and the economic front in our June report.
Lloyd Doggett: Right and I believe you found one more benchmark met than the year before.
Joseph Christoff: Again we didn't do a benchmark by benchmark analysis, sir.
Lloyd Doggett: Well if you look at the -- it may not have been called a benchmark analysis -- but you looked at some of the same factors you had the year before. Just to begin to go through them, on the Constitutional Review Committee, you found that they'd formed the committee but the committee hadn't done anything. Right?
Joseph Christoff: And that's still true.
Lloyd Doggett: Well they hadn't met that. On enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification you found that they had enacted the legislation but they hadn't implemented and of it, right?
Joseph Christoff: That's correct.
Lloyd Doggett: Well they hadn't met the second benchmark. On the question of enacting the hydrocarbon or oil legislation, you concluded that they had not met that again this year, did you not?
Joseph Christoff: Correct, and no progess this year either.
Lloyd Doggett: On enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions -- that was the fourth benchmark President Bush had -- you found that that was only partially met. Again they passed a law to allow the provinces to act but it hadn't been implemented.
Joseph Christoff: Well on that one it will be implemented when provinces come together to form regions so that's an open --
Lloyd Doggett: Right, but we're not there yet.
Joseph Christoff: Well no provinces have voted to form regions other than the KRG originally.
Lloyd Doggett: On enacting and implementing legislation for an Independent High Electoral Commission you found only partially meeting it. Again, they passed a law but hadn't implemented it.
Joseph Christoff: The commission was established. The provincial election law -- the date was established for October 1 but the implementing laws have not been enacted.
Lloyd Doggett: Right. And they won't have the elections they've been promising us they'd have for a year in October.
Joseph Christoff: October 1, they will not meet that date.
What was the point of the benchmarks? The people were told it was to ensure progress in Iraq and that progress could be measured. Why present the benchmarks to Congress, get Nouri to sign off on them and then ignore them?
It makes no sense and it cheapens the lives lost in this illegal war.
No, we scream in cathedrals
Why can't it be so beautiful
Why does there
Gotta be a sac-sac-sacrifice
Gotta be a sac-sac-sacrifice
-- "iiiee," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her From The Choirgirl Hotel
Was Saddam Hussein a man of peace? Was he the new Ghandi? No, he wasn't. Not by any means and it's indicative of just how badly the US government screwed up everything that the exiles they have put in place, installed into power, have made things worse for Iraqis. This is the US-installed regime that's targeting Iraqi Christians. Iraqi Christians have been targeted since the start of the illegal war. The latest wave started on October 31st when assailants attacked Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad and at least 70 people died with at least another seventy wounded. Iraqis covered in the press -- in the foreign press, little coverage on this comes from the domestic press -- would state in that immediate aftermath that they were thinking of moving to Mosul but a relative or friend warned them that it wasn't safe there. Mosul was the focus of a 2008 wave of assaults on Iraqi Christians and, since the siege of the Church in Baghdad, Mosul's again become a place where Iraqi Christians are targeted. Over the weekend Sam Eyoboka (Vanguard) reported, "Peeved by the continued massacre of Christians in Iraq, the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has appealed to the United Nations, UN, to intervene and save the lives of the Christian hostages in interest of world peace. Speaking in an interview, the National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor also appealed to the Muslim fundamen-talists in that country to take advantage of the Muslim feast of Eid el Kabir to ensure that lasting peace reigns in that region." From Nigeria to Rome, Asia News noted, "Card Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI), said that the Italian Catholic Church was close to all 'those who are victims of violence'. He made the statement as he promoted a Day of Solidarity with Iraqi Christians, who are persecuted in their own country. The event includes prayers in all Italian parishes this Sunday." Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco is quoted stating, "Inviting everyone to pray for the persecuted Christians of Iraq in all the churches of our country on the occasion of the Solemnity of Christ the King is a concrete way to express our faith and show our closeness to all those who are victims of violence, like the people affected by the 31 October carnage in Baghdad's Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral." Catholic News Agency reports, "Pope Benedict XVI prayed for Christians suffering from persecution and discrimination throughout the world, especially those in Iraq, during the Angelus on Nov. 21. The Italian bishops invited the faithful to a day of prayer for the persecuted and for their persecutors after the Oct. 31 massacre of dozens of Iraqi Christians celebrating Mass in a Baghdad cathedral. Violence continues to be directed against the country's Christian minorities. The day of prayer was promoted as a sign of closeness and solidarity to Iraqi Christians and all those persecuted for their faith."

The targeting continues today. Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reports two Iraqi Christians, brothers, were at the Mosul welding shop they owned and worked at when assailants burst in and shot them dead while "an elederly Christian woman [was] strangled in her home in central Mosul." AFP identifies the two brothers as 40-year-old Waad Hanna and 43-year-old Saad Hanna. Asia News reports that "Saad dies instantly, Hanna, two hours later." Catholic Culture notes, "After months of occasional bombings, the targeted attacks on Christians have taken a more personal turn, with murderers breaking into homes and workplaces to murder the Christians they have targeted."
Internal and external refugees are created by the violence. Internal? Asia News reports that 40 Chrisian faimilies have left Baghdad for northern Iraq while Randa Habib (AFP) reports the latest wave has resulted in many Iraqi Christians seeking safety in Jordan:

On Sundays families gather at the Syriac Orthodox church in Jordan's capital Amman to pray, socialise and mull over the best ways of securing a visa to enable them emigrate to the United States, Canada, Australia or Europe.
There are always new faces in the crowd, like Suzanne Jilliani, her husband Hani Daniel and their year-old baby who fled after the October 31 attack on Baghdad's Syriac Catholic cathedral that left 46 worshippers dead.
The couple, who now live in a furnished flat provided by the Syriac church in Jordan, dream of joining Jilliani's family in the United States.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Everyone sacrifices for the exiles installed in Iraq"
"NYT helps those who help them"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"Still waiting on that 'movement' towards a government in Iraq"
"Iraq's targeted communities"

"Cry baby"

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