Posts Tagged Iraq
Dylan Ratigan Show (MSNBC) January 17, 2012
The media gauntlet against 3rd party candidates is nearly impenetrable. Of the many independent and 3rd party candidates who run for President every year, I remember only Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and maybe whats-his-name-Forbes getting ANY media coverage.
As the current two-party political system begins to deteriorate and things like Occupy Wall Street go from full media blackout to 24/7 coverage, it should surprise no one that Rocky’s bid for US President IS getting significant media attention.
Rocky will accept the nomination of the Justice Party for U.S. President at the Olpin Theater on the U of U campus today at 1:00pm. (Google Map)
Come see the Justice Party born here in your own back yard. Someday you’ll be able to say you were there.
If you can’t make it (on such short notice), please show some love with small donation.
Olpin Theatre (Google Map)
Oplin Union Building
200 South Central Campus Drive
SLC, Utah 84112
During a surprise visit to Iraq today, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that Britain will cease all military operations by May 31, 2009, and that all British troops and equipment will be out of the country in approximately two months after that. That will leave the United States as the only remaining foreign military presence in the country
The British withdrawal of its 4,100 troops had been anticipated. The war, which has killed at least 178 British troops, has been unpopular in Britain and became a liability to the governing Labor Party under Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair. When Brown became prime minister in 2007, he made clear that he planned to reduce greatly the British presence in Iraq.
Five Blackwater Worldwide guards will surrender to FBI agents in Salt Lake City today for charges related to the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians including children in 2007. The five were indicted by a federal grand jury last week. Also this morning, CBS reports that the trial may take place in Salt Lake.
Reported on CBS.
(AP) The five Blackwater Worldwide guards indicted for a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting are all decorated military veterans who have served in some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots.
According to lawyers for the guards, the men are: Donald Ball, a former Marine from Valley City, Utah; Dustin Heard, a former Marine from Knoxville, Tenn.; Evan Liberty, a former Marine from Rochester, N.H.; Nick Slatten, a former Army sergeant from Sparta, Tenn.; and Paul Slough, an Army veteran from Keller, Texas. [snip]
Following the shooting, Blackwater became the subject of congressional hearings in Washington and insurgent propaganda videos in Iraq.
An Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said Baghdad welcomed any attempt to “hold the criminals accountable for their crime.”
Is this any way to support our troops?
The SL Trib has an article about the toxic conditions caused by the burn pit at Balad Air Base in Iraq. It’s a familiar theme to read about a high rate of illnesses among soldiers returning from war zones. Some of these issues have been blamed on exposure to such things as depleted uranium. Who knows what soldiers are being exposed to in Balad. Apparently, the military knows, but won’t reveal the information as it could “damage national security”.
Military officials insist there’s no problem.
But veterans’ advocates are calling for full transparency about the health risks faced by service members who have been stationed at the largest U.S. air base in Iraq, where one inspector called an open-air burn pit “the worst environmental site I have ever personally visited.” . .
. . . the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine is refusing to make the document public, saying that the information it contains “would damage our national security.”[snip]
. . .burn pits are used to get rid of garbage — including weapons, chemicals, plastics, and even amputated limbs. [snip]
. . . a memo penned by Hill Air Force Base officer Darrin Curtis, who served in Balad in 2006 and 2007 and called the burn pit — and it’s distinctive black smoke plume — an “acute health hazard.” In his memo, Curtis cited the 2006 site assessment, including the quote from the unidentified inspector.
According to the memo, that inspector claimed he had never seen anything worse than the situation in Balad, in a decade of reviewing toxic waste issues.
Now that report has been classified. And Col. Thomas Logan, who commands the center, refuses to say why. Logan declined to be interviewed by The Salt Lake Tribune. A spokeswoman only repeated that information in the report could damage national security if it were made public.
According to the Curtis memo, that [exposure] might include dozens of toxins, including arsenic, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. [snip]
Troy Whittaker, president of the Utah Society for Respiratory Care, said the toxins listed in the Curtis memo might have a “broad range of effects,” including respiratory hyperactivity, cancer, liver disease and pulmonary fibrosis. “
I apologize for excerpting so much from the article. There is just so much that needs to be said about this. Author Karen Kwiatkowski writes about the. . .
larger toxicity problem created by the American government in both Iraq and Afghanistan. [snip] Balad . . . produces, among other things, 250 tons of waste per day. That’s over 90,000 tons of waste per year. . . Today, three “green” incinerators exist at Balad. But to date, the majority of waste is still burned in the open pit. It’s only news today because some apparently unpatriotic American servicemen have been complaining about possible health effects of living downwind from the burn plume.
Just Google the Balad Air Base burn pit to find a great deal more about this problem at Balad.
We Utahns, home of downwinders, are well aware of our government’s willingness to lie while putting people’s health at risk. American soldiers deserve to know the truth. As do the Iraqi people living near Balad as well.
Iraq’s cabinet approved a pact on Sunday that will let U.S. troops stay in the country until 2011, setting a final date to end a military presence that began with the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.c
It puts a closing date on a war that has been one of the defining political issues in the United States, the Middle East and around the globe for much of the past decade.
“The total withdrawal will be completed by December 31, 2011. This is not governed by circumstances on the ground. This date is specific and final,” cabinet spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said of the pact, supported by 27 of 28 cabinet members.
This is just the agreement. Actually extricating ourselves from that damaged country without leaving behind more chaos will be one of the greatest challenges our new president will face. But we can all be grateful, the target date has been set, and everything we do now is to work towards that withdrawal.
Here’s a little recap you can send around to your Republican friends who are hearing what they want to hear from the media.
After five years, 4,000+ US dead , 40,000+ US casualties, and at least 500,000 Iraqi dead and countless wounded â€“ not to mention several million displaced â€“ the current situation is described below the fold. Each individual story is well known, and well documented, but the cumulative implication seems to have escaped the various experts and talking heads.
- The US cannot defend the Green Zone which holds the headquarters for both the US military and diplomatic efforts and the Iraqi government(such as it is). http://www.salon.com/…
- The US has not secured the road from the airport to the Green Zone.
- Large sections of Baghdad are in the control of a the Mahdi army who are well armed and organize enemies of the US presence in Iraq. http://www.guardian.co.uk/…
- The US cannot defend the Iraqi oil infrastructure on which the entire economic future of the country relies. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/…
- The US does not control the border between Iran and Iraq despite repeatedly claiming that Iran is smuggling weapons and soldiers into the country. http://washingtontimes.com/…
- Neither the US nor the Iraqi government has any control whatsoever of the heavily populated and oil rich southern region of Iraq. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…
- Sunni tribal leaders, armed in part by the US, control the sparsely populated western regions of the country but are not coherent political force. http://ca.reuters.com/…
- Northern Iraq is controlled by the Kurds who are currently fighting a border war with Turkey. This region is almost entirely autonomous and is currently acting to take control of the oil region centered on Kirkuk. http://news.bbc.co.uk/…
- Long delayed votes on Kirkuk and regional councils will either be suspended or result in the Kurds taking Kirkuk and Al Sadrâ€™s people dominating the regional governments of much of the country. Kurdish incorporation of Kirkuk is stated by Turkey to be an automatic trigger for a Turkish invasion. http://www.turkishweekly.net/…
- Most Iraqis lack water, electricity, hospitals, schools, jobs, and hope for a better future. http://www.icrc.org/…
After all the death, destruction, displacement, and human suffering these are the incontrovertible facts. I’ve used sources from all over the world, and poitical spectrum, because I hope to demonstrate that there is little debate about what is in fact going on. The only confusion, somehow, seems to be what it all means. Perhaps when things go this wrong, it is hard to escape the size of the catastrophe. The current fighting only underlines what has been clearly the case for several the years. The US is not only not winning, it has long since lost the capacity to control the course of events in Iraq. While there are a great many complexities in Iraq, the list above makes it quite clear that the US invasion is now a complete and utter failure.