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by WALTER BRASCH
We know the names of every one of the 4,479 Americans who were killed and the 32,200 who were wounded, both civilian and military, between March 20, 2003 and Oct. 21, 2011, the day President Barack Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, declared the last American soldier would leave Iraq before the end of the year.
We know Second Lieutenant Therrel Shane Childers was the first American soldier killed by hostile fire in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On March 21, 2003, less than a day after the U.S.-led invasion, Childers was shot in the stomach by hostile forces while leading a Marine platoon to secure an oil field in southern Iraq. His father, Joseph, told NPR that it was his dream to lead Marines into combat.
By Mike Ferner
America’s war in Iraq is over. The last U.S. troops will leave by year’s end, “with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.” So sayeth President Obama.
A “sham of a mockery of a sham,” is what Groucho would call Obama’s announcement and he would be right.
For several reasons Mr. Marx would be much closer to the truth than Mr. Obama.
http://www.accuracy.org * email@example.com AP reports today: "On his flight to Indonesia on Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that negotiations with Iraq on future training possibilities will begin later. "If such talks are held, they likely would start either when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visits Washington in December or after the end of the year, according to a senior U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions. "The officer spoke Sunday on condition that he not be identified because the issue of possible future U.S. training is highly sensitive." RAED JARRAR, Jarrar is an Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst based in Washington, D.C. He said today: "The Iraq war is not over yet. Shortly after President Obama's announcement that the U.S. is going to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta started talking about planned negotiations with the Iraqi government on a new role for troops inside the country. Most of Iraq's politicians believe the Pentagon is trying one last attempt to keep trainers by sending them under the NATO umbrella. The Iraqi government signed a training agreement with NATO in 2009, but did not send it to the parliament for ratification until earlier this month, a day after the immunity talks with the U.S. collapsed. The agreement, which grants NATO trainers some level of immunity, will be debated in the Iraqi parliament after the recess that ends on November 20th. It is not likely the Parliament will pass the agreement. "But even if the Pentagon's attempt fails, the U.S. is planning to leave up to 16,000 State Department personnel in Iraq after the end of this year. This number includes 8,000 armed mercenaries and 4,500 so-called 'general life support' contractors who provide food and medical services, operate the aviation equipment, etc. This huge presence will be distributed over several sites around the country: The massive U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone, two consulates in Basra and Erbil, two support sites in Iraqi airports, three police-training facilities, and one diplomatic presence office in Kirkuk. A report by the Office of Inspector General in 2009 recommended downsizing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The OIG report, number ISP-I-09-30A, described the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as 'overstaffed,' and confirmed it should be able to carry out all of its responsibilities with 'significantly fewer staff and in a much reduced footprint.' The report claimed that there is a 'clear consensus from the top to the bottom of the Embassy' that the time has come for a 'significant rightsizing,' and it recommended that 'the rightsizing process has to begin immediately.' "The plan to leave 16,000 personnel in Iraq, the size of an Army division, contradicts the OIG's recommendations and puts the future of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship in jeopardy. The U.S. intervention in Iraq started more than 20 years ago, and it will not be over from an Iraqi perspective until the U.S. downsizes its massive footprint in Iraq." Background: "Occupying Iraq, State Department-Style" http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175401/tomgram%3A_peter_van_buren,_how_not_to_withdraw_from_iraq
Switching Focus from Iraq to Iran
By Ray McGovern
Introductory Note:There I go again — reading the Washington Post before breakfast.
“Clinton cautions Iran on U.S. resolve in Iraq” headlines an article by N.S. Aizenman on who said what on Sunday’s talk shows yesterday.
Aizenman points out that the guests were “pressed by multiple interviewers on … whether the [U.S. troop] withdrawal would open Iraq to greater influence from Iran.” (No coincidence: talking points courtesy of the White House, no doubt.)
Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blindsided by the question? Hardly. She probably drafted it. In any case, she was well prepared to lead the chorus well into its rehearsals to blame Iran, when Iraq falls apart.
The occupation of Freedom Plaza is organizing events every day, including protest actions, lectures, workshops, and dance parties.
To join in, just show up.
To follow along, just visit http://october2011.org
Here's one not to miss:
Monday October 24:
Tribute to the Iraqi people--with free food, live music and discussion!!!
Where: Freedom Plaza, 13th and Pennsylvania, NW, Washington DC
When: 7pm, Monday, October 24
What: Free dinner
A discussion of what is happening in Iraq and what the withdrawal of US troops means--led by a panel of Iraqis
Live music by a visiting boys band of Iraqi-Americans (UNT1) !!!
Come join us in paying tribute to the Iraqi people and saying no to the occupation of other countries.
Plus ça change…; Iraq Done, Now On to Iran
Ray McGovern, October 22, 2011
Editor Note (Consortiumnews.com): One not-so-funny fact about Washington is that nearly all the news media stars who fell for neoconservative falsehoods about Iraq are still around to fall for new ones on Iran, even some like Richard Cohen who briefly regretted his earlier gullibility, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Paul R. Pillar, my former colleague in the CIA’s analytical division, has raised a warning flag, cautioning that the same imaginative neocon composers who came up with the various refrains on why we needed to attack Iraq are now providing similar background music for a strike on Iran.
He is right. And as one of my Russian professors used to say, “This is nothing to laugh!”
Under the influence of U.S. military propaganda, Western accounts of occupation and resistance in Iraq have tended to characterize the occupation forces and their Kurdish and formerly exiled Iraqi allies as representing legitimate authority, stability and security in Iraq, and popular resistance forces as "insurgents" or "terrorists". An ever-changing official narrative in which US forces must be held blameless for the violence of the invasion and occupation has required the demonization of the Iraqi Resistance and fueled an endless quest for the roots of violence in caricatures of Iraqi history that have gained wide acceptance in Western popular culture.
By David Swanson, RootsAction.org
I just got an email from Huffington Post telling me that Obama was keeping his campaign promise to get U.S. troops out of Iraq. Not quite. Here's a video of Obama's promise.
In that 15-second video he says: "I will promise you this: that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."
Here's the Huffington Post:
October 21, 2011 - Ottawa: Hundreds of protestors have asked the Canadian authorities to arrest former US President George W Bush for war crimes after he reached a Surrey hotel on Thursday.
Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton were among the keynote speakers attending the annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel. Human-rights groups, including Amnesty International were demanding the arrest of Bush.
Gail Davidson of the Lawyers against the War expressed outrage over the federal government for ignoring its responsibility in not arresting Bush.
Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq
Recent reports have drawn attention to increases in congenital birth anomalies and cancer in Fallujah Iraq blamed on teratogenic, genetic and genomic stress thought to result from depleted Uranium contamination following the battles in the town in 2004. Contamination of the parents of the children and of the environment by Uranium and other elements was investigated using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Hair samples from 25 fathers and mothers of children diagnosed with congenital anomalies were analysed for Uranium and 51 other elements. Mean ages of the parents was: fathers 29.6 (SD 6.2); mothers: 27.3 (SD 6.8). For a sub-group of 6 women, long locks of hair were analysed for Uranium along the length of the hair to obtain information about historic exposures. Samples of soil and water were also analysed and Uranium isotope ratios determined.
Levels of Ca, Mg, Co, Fe, Mn, V, Zn, Sr, Al, Ba, Bi, Ga, Pb, Hg, Pd and U (for mothers only) were significantly higher than published mean levels in an uncontaminated population in Sweden. In high excess were Ca, Mg, Sr, Al, Bi and Hg. Of these only Hg can be considered as a possible cause of congenital anomaly. Mean levels for Uranium were 0.16 ppm (SD: 0.11) range 0.02 to 0.4, higher in mothers (0.18 ppm SD 0.09) than fathers (0.11 ppm; SD 0.13). The highly unusual non-normal Fallujah distribution mean was significantly higher than literature results for a control population Southern Israel (0.062 ppm) and a non-parametric test (Mann Whitney-Wilcoxon) gave p = 0.016 for this comparison of the distribution. Mean levels in Fallujah were also much higher than the mean of measurements reported from Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Slovenia (0.04 ppm SD 0.02). Soil samples show low concentrations with a mean of 0.76 ppm (SD 0.42) and range 0.1-1.5 ppm; (N = 18). However it may be consistent with levels in drinking water (2.28 μgL-1) which had similar levels to water from wells (2.72 μgL-1) and the river Euphrates (2.24 μgL-1). In a separate study of a sub group of mothers with long hair to investigate historic Uranium excretion the results suggested that levels were much higher in the past. Uranium traces detected in the soil samples and the hair showed slightly enriched isotopic signatures for hair U238/U235 = (135.16 SD 1.45) compared with the natural ratio of 137.88. Soil sample Uranium isotope ratios were determined after extraction and concentration of the Uranium by ion exchange. Results showed statistically significant presence of enriched Uranium with a mean of 129 with SD5.9 (for this determination, the natural Uranium 95% CI was 132.1 < Ratio < 144.1).
Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields
By Gareth Porter, IPS
By Dave Lindorff
While this statement by Occupy Wall Street is a powerful list of grievances against capitalism, it fails to even once mention the word "war." This is a significant failing, and cannot have been an oversight. The activists in Liberty Park and in cities across the country, if they want to make this a mass movement to confront the corporate domination of American politics and society, must be willing to confront head on the reality that the corporate elite have made the U.S. into the world's greatest war-monger. It is not just "colonialism," an outmoded term, that is the problem. It is a vast web of imperialism, imposed by a war machine that is bigger and costlier than all the rest of the world's armies combined, and it is the single biggest reason that this country is descending into a state of social and economic decay and decline.
Oct 04, 2011 - Iraqi law should not govern a lawsuit brought by the mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier electrocuted in a barracks shower at an Army base in Iraq, a federal judge has ruled.
Lawyers for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. had asked U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to apply Iraqi law to the ongoing lawsuit in the January 2008 death of Pittsburgh-area Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth. But Fischer agreed with lawyers for the soldier's parents who argued that United States law should hold sway because the base was under American control - and could provide for punitive damages and other advantages to the plaintiffs not recognized by Iraqi law.
This week marks the beginning of what is supposed to be the final 100 days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. But if U.S. troops are to leave Iraq at the end of this year as promised – repeatedly – it will take grassroots pressure to counter the growing “occupy-Iraq-forever” chorus in Washington.
Despite the fact that there is a Bush-era agreement with the Iraqi government to leave, despite the fact that the majority of Iraqis and Americans don’t support a continued U.S. presence, and despite the fact that Congress is supposedly in an all-out austerity mode, strong forces – including generals, war profiteers and hawks in both parties – are pushing President Obama to violate the agreement negotiated by his predecessor and keep a significant number of troops in Iraq past the December 31, 2011 deadline.
It’s true there has already been a major withdrawal of U.S. troops, from a high of 170,000 in 2007 to about 45,000 troops today (with most of the troops being sent over to occupy Afghanistan instead). That number, however, doesn’t tell the whole picture. As the New York Times notes, “Even as the military reduces its troop strength in Iraq, the C.I.A. will continue to have a major presence in the country, as will security contractors working for the State Department,” the latter to defend a U.S. embassy that's bigger than the Vatican.
Back in 2007, candidate Obama pledged that the first thing he’d do as president would be to withdraw our troops from Iraq. “I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank,” the future president declared. So far, the only thing many Americans can take to the bank, however, is evidence their home was fraudulently foreclosed upon.
Green light on extension of US presence in Iraq is near, despite Iraqi Parliament and previous agreements
To comply with current law, the US has three months to completely withdraw from Iraq. But on Tuesday Iraq’s foreign minister said he believes there will soon be a final agreement on keeping thousands of US “trainers” in Iraq past the December deadline outlined in the Status of Forces Agreement.
“We’re looking for October for these talks to move forward,” Iraq’s foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari told Associated Press. The expected green light for a remaining American presence would be the culmination of months of heavy pressure on the Iraqi leadership from an insistent Obama administration.
“I think we will get an agreement on training,” Zebari said. ”How many trainers will remain in Iraq is not that important,” he said. “It’s the commitment that is very important.”
The Obama administration is considering 3,000 to 5,000 troops for an Iraqi training mission, but would it be implemented alongside an expanded diplomatic mission in Iraq, as well as a significant amount of military contractors.
At a minimum, the diplomatic and contractor presence would number over 17,000 and according to the most recent Quarterly Report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq, the Department of State “will assume primary responsibility for a planned $6.8 billion operation” carried out “from 11 locations around Iraq, including three consulates and the world’s largest embassy.”
The final decision is likely to be made by US and Iraqi officials, without the approval or consultation of the Iraqi Parliament, with some calling the Maliki government dictatorial. Shiite leaders in Iraq have vehemently rejected a US presence past December and the cleric Moqtadr al Sadr has promised to treat remaining troops as “invaders.”
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to urge you to honor our nation’s commitments and bring all of our troops home from Iraq by December 31, 2011.
In 2008 the U.S. and Iraqi governments entered into a Status of Forces Agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of this year. As President you reaffirmed your commitment to this agreement in your speech at Camp Lejeune on February 27, 2009 declaring: “I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home with the honor that they have earned.” Americans and Iraqis overwhelmingly support this plan.
We are deeply troubled by recent reports that indicate your Administration is making plans to leave thousands of U.S. troops deployed in Iraq indefinitely. We are also troubled by the extraordinary buildup of private military contractors and untold numbers of intelligence operatives in Iraq. This level of continued U.S. operations in Iraq is unsustainable and unwise particularly in light of the challenges facing our nation. Mr. President the future of Iraq depends upon the Iraqi people, not the U.S. military.
Mr. President, we have lost too many American lives and wasted too many American resources in Iraq. Now is the time to bring all of our brave men and women in uniform home, as promised.
American Friends Service Committee
Center for International Policy
Council for a Livable World
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Just Foreign Policy
Military Families Speak Out
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Peace Action West
The Shalom Center
United for Peace and Justice
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
U.S. Labor Against the War
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
"How many PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team] staff members does it take to screw in a light bulb? One to hire a contractor who fails to complete the job and two to write the press release in the dark."
A FOB is a Forward Operating Base, and the Fobbits who live in them have their own brand of sad SNAFU humor, enough to fill many volumes and constituting, in my opinion, the silver lining of our wars. The above bit is taken from Peter Van Buren's new book "We Meant Well." The author has been in the U.S. Foreign Service for 23 years, working in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the U.K., Hong Kong, and -- from 2009 to 2010 -- in Iraq. The book is about Iraq.
Of the 70 who've signed this letter to the Super Congress there might be two or three I'd trust to fight for it as far as I could throw them, but it is an accomplishment these days to speak any bit of humane truth aloud. So read this letter and go forth and speak likewise.
Published: September 20
In arguing for a large force of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after December [ “3,000 Isn’t Enough,” Sunday Opinions, Sept. 18], Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) claim, “Whether the United States has 3,000 troops or a larger force in Iraq will make no meaningful difference to our budgetary situation .” They also state that “no fewer than 10,000 and as many as 25,000 troops will be required .”
According to the Congressional Research Service, it currently costs an average of $802,000 to keep one U.S. soldier in Iraq for one year. At that rate, to keep 10,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq from 2012 to 2021 would cost $80 billion; to keep 25,000 soldiers there would cost $200 billion. This $200 billion represents one-sixth of the $1.2 trillion target of the debt reduction “supercommittee.” It is also more than the government would save over 10 years if it were to cut the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security and raise the Medicare retirement age to 67, as earlier discussed by President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner.
Robert Naiman, Washington
The writer is policy director for Just Foreign Policy.
By Michael Munk
By Charles M. Young
September 16, 2011 - The 9/11 industry harvested its biggest riches on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the yet-to-be fully documented coordinated attacks on the United States of America which produced the era of awe and shock, bull-dozed all international norms, and initiated two great wars of the twenty-first century.
From Letters to the Editor in todays Wash Post: We should all thank former Bush administration adviser Meghan O’Sullivan for the honesty in her September 11 Outlook commentary, “We shouldn’t pull out of Iraq, for their sake and ours,” in which she argued that the “most compelling” reason for maintaining the U.S. occupation of Iraq is to secure that nation’s oil. (Read full article: http://tinyurl.com/3f9mypg) I am among millions of Americans who have argued for years that oil was at the heart of our war with Iraq, even though many of us were labeled conspiracy theorists for doing so — even within this very newspaper. While we Americans may love our oil, the public has never supported the idea that our soldiers should kill and die for it, that we should be invaders and occupiers to secure it and that we should spend hundreds of billions of tax dollars to go after it. Had this argument been so clearly made at the start of the war, few Americans would have supported the invasion of Iraq. We should now view Ms. O’Sullivan’s honest articulation that this is a war for oil as one of the best reasons yet offered to bring it to an immediate end. Antonia Juhasz, San Francisco The writer is a member of the National Advisory Committee of Iraq Veterans Against the War. www.washingtonpost.com/todays_paper?dt=2011-09-15&bk=A&pg=16