…allegedly "hacked" software, in the case of the CIA, is now being used to guide killer drones to their targets, according to IISI’s legal pleadings, despite the fact that the modified software doesn’t function properly… –CIA Drone-Code Scandal Now Has A Big Blue Hue
One soldier, the first since the symbolic withdrawal, lost his or her life during a rocket attack today in Basra.
For many Americans the withdrawal of the last “combat troops” from Iraq three days ago marked a psychological end to the war. Lost in the self-congratulatory reportage, however, were the approximately 52,000 servicemembers who remain behind in various functions, some of them as dangerous as traditional “combat.” One soldier, the first since the symbolic withdrawal, lost his or her life during a presumed “hostile” rocket attack today in Basra. More deaths will follow until the last servicemember is gone…if that ever actually occurs.
I would not count on it happening anytime soon though. On the heels of this tragic news, Gen. Ray Odierno, who is the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, admitted that “combat troops” could return if the Iraqi security forces completely fail at their job. Part of that success unfortunately rests on a government that has been unable to seat a new premier thanks to political chicanery from the sitting prime minister. It has been five months and hundreds of civilian deaths since Iraqis tried to elect a new leader and little has changed. Much like little has changed for the American troops who are still stationed in Iraq and still hoping they make it home alive.
Wikipedia as Democratic mouthpiece? The user-written and -edited site has been accused of left-leaning judgments on the part of its dominant editors, but not necessarily of hewing to any party line. But now, one must wonder: Wikipedia trumpets the White House talking point that today, August 19, 2010, was the “end” of the Iraq War.
The reason this can’t be considered the typical imperial stenography we’re all used to from the likes of CNN — they’ll report the truth as handed down to them from whoever is in power — is that, in fact, the war is not over by any meaningful metric. If they were simply going on authority-declared technicalities, Wikipedia would have listed the war as over on the “Mission Accomplished” day of May 1, 2003. After all, Iraq’s army had been defeated and “major” combat operations after that date had officially ended. One wonders what the effective nuking of Fallujah would be considered.
Almost immediately, some discussion was sparked by users. “This is a scam. The US is not the sole participant,” said one. Not only that, the US is still itself very much a participant, as 50,000 combat troops will simply be redefined, as Bush did with “operations,” as “transitional” troops. See how easy? Voila! But that’s not all. The State Dept., as we have been reporting for several months, plans its own 50,000-strong auxiliary force. We do need to protect our diplomats, naturally, and there will be ever so many of them!
I won’t restate the details of the true fact that the Iraq War, whatever the politicians want to call it, is not over — Jason Ditz spelled it out just fine today. But be sure, as over 100 Iraqis just this week would tell you if they had not been blown to bits, this war is still on and the US military is in it up to its neck. No matter what the Obamadrones at Wikipedia want to think.
Chicago’s South Side is indulging itself in a bit of nostalgia for the ’80s and ’90s. Michelle Obama’s hood is overrun with gang-related murders; deaths are at the same rate as US soldiers dying in both major theaters of the US’ “War on Terror.” Government must do something, declares two Illinois state senators who represent parts of the city. I know — a good old fashioned military occupation, like what worked so well in our wars and Kent State and whatnot.
“John Fritchley and LaShawn Ford, Democrats who represent the north and west sides of the city, said troops were needed to ‘stabilize communities’ in Chicago just as they had done in Iraq and Afghanistan,” explains the Telegraph.
These men are talking about the “surge,” or what those of us against the war labeled “escalation.” Iraq was in the throes of vicious violence that was killing over a thousand civilians (and who knows how many others who were labeled militants for intermittent or single acts of resistance) per month. The Bush Administration decided sending many tens of thousands more hastily trained troops into the mix would be a great idea, ignoring the fact that much of the violence was likely due to the presence of foreign troops. The troops were sent >> fast-forward >> violence is down in Iraq! The surge worked!
What’s missing in that fast-forward blip is what really happened in 2007. Many — most? –Americans can’t usually be bothered with the truth, especially when it’s all long and stuff. Recap:
1) Sadr ordered his men to stand down, apparently sickened by the recent violence between his followers, and other Shi’ites and the government.
2) The Awakening (Sahwa) councils, Sunni groups who were revolting against al-Qaeda-in-Iraq’s senseless slaughters, began receiving large sums of money from the US to only fight AQI, and not US troops as well, as they had been doing. The verdict is yet out on what happens when the money stops and Maliki, or whoever is in power, decides to turn on this now-well-trained movement.
3) This is the big one: the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad was essentially complete. No more violence was necessary for many partisan sectarians. Juan Cole did some extra parsing of this in 2008.
All of these pointy complicated facts were mushed into a smooth ball for easier digestion — our Glorious Soldiers had won the day. If you disagree you’re a commie or a terrorist symp who hates America. This actually succeeded in convincing some antiwar types, if I recall.
Candidate Obama, however, seemed not to be fooled. Then, when it was no longer politically tenable, he changed his mind. We now know this is Obama’s typical flip-flopping treachery, but this was one of his first major public instances. And now he’s got his own surge.
For their parts, reports the Chicago Tribune, the mayor and the governor oppose adding another layer of force to Chicago’s already well-armored police.
“You have to look at long-term solutions. You canâ€™t just put something temporary in there,” said Mayor Richard Daley. “People have to get involved in their community, family by family and block by block.”
Chicago police are trained in the state and federal constitutions, says Mark Donahue, president of the city’s police union.
“With the guard coming in, itâ€™s making a statement that your constitutional rights will be diminished,” Donahue said. “They donâ€™t have the training that Chicago police officers do.”
The governor can send the Guard troops in, but in this case will only do so at Daley’s request.
So should we add PTSD-affected soldiers to the ranks of possibly also-traumatized police on the admittedly well-armed but nonetheless civilian streets of Chi-town? That’s a surge I don’t see working well. But maybe when the violence ends once everyone kills each other, they’ll proclaim another “mission accomplished.”
If troops end up occupying our cities, it will be thanks to simplistic lies told by men with authoritarian minds. We can blame President Barack Obama for backing up Bush’s surge fairy tales and painting military intervention a panacea for all threats, foreign and domestic. It’s now okay for Americans across the political spectrum to trust guns and bombs as an organizing principle of civilization.
Among the six U.S. servicemember deaths so far reported in June, one soldier has become the 5,000th casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the six U.S. servicemember deaths so far reported in June, one soldier has become the 5,000th casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Icasualties.org the wars have cost at least 4,308 lives in Iraq and 695 in Afghanistan. The official count from the Department of Defense, however, has the total number of deaths at 4,996 in both military campaigns. The D.O.D. figures often lag slightly behind those reported in the mass media.
These figures include both combat and non-combat deaths, as well as those servicemembers killed outside the main theaters of action. In some cases, however, a servicemember who may have died months or years later of wounds received during service might not be included in official figures.
Military Families Speak Out noted the milestone in a press release published today. The antiwar group, which was formed by military families in 2002, asked President Obama to swiftly end the wars, as promised during last yearâ€™s presidential campaign. However, as the U.S. Congress returned from a weeklong Memorial Day break yesterday, the lawmakersâ€™ main war concern was not ending either campaign, but in finalizing a new war funding bill for the president to sign.
President Obama originally asked for $84.3-billion to continue the wars. Both chambers then added their own items, bringing the final tally for the House to $96.7-billion and the Senateâ€™s to $91.3-billion in additional funding.
A US patrol attempts to enter an Iraqi university campus, but is stopped at the gates by campus officials.
Six months ago if we saw this as a lead in to a story, there was a good bet the rest of it would involve the university president being marched out into the streets in chains and follow-up stories desperately trying to link him to some militant faction or another.
But with a little over a month left before the UN mandate expires, and the Status of Forces Agreement set to severely curtail the authority of US forces on Iraqi soil, things turned out a little different. After being told they could only enter unarmed, out of uniform and then only after they make a proper appointment, they turned around and left, no incident.
Asking permission is likely as novel a strategy for the military, used to getting its own way in Iraq on all things, as the notion of getting search warrants before entering peoples’ homes, but with the days of unchecked authority and arbitrary detentions seemingly over its something they’re going to have to get used to. So is hearing “no” when it asks for access.