Not Going Home

See if you can spot the imperial/Freudian slip-

Mike Tharp | McClatchy Newspapers BAGHDAD — The last American patrol in Baghdad? The 75-minute hike was walked Saturday night in the northwest sector of the capital. Armored and armed, 10 U.S. soldiers, two Iraqi national police officers and two interpreters moved past the Sadamiya shrine, one of the holiest spots in Islam, and on to the Tigris River. It may well have been the last patrol before the deadline for U.S. combat forces to withdraw from major American cities.

Or maybe not.

The patrol from Camp Justice came from the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, based in Fort Riley, Kan. It included the two Iraqi policemen as a sign that they and the Iraqi army will now assume the main security role in Iraq.

But the Status of Forces Agreement setting the June 30 deadline leaves a lot of discretionary decisions to the Americans. Lieut. Col. Drake Johnson, 39, a liaison officer with the Iraqi police, could have termed the patrol a “force protection” mission, not a “combined patrol.” In that case, only Americans would’ve been walking the route.

That’s one reason on Tuesday, when Iraqis wake up, they will still see U.S. soldiers and Marines on patrol and in convoys. That’s why some Iraqis — like the one who yelled at the patrol, “Hey, it’s too bad you guys will be leaving soon!” — may be disappointed with the profile, the footprint, that the Americans will still display in Iraq.
<…>
But at least in some cases, the pullback won’t be far over the horizon. The 2nd Brigade, for instance, has relocated its forces only five to seven miles from their original bases, back to Camp Victory in southwest Baghdad. Other U.S. units across Iraq will indeed disappear from urban landscapes, settling in giant forward operating bases.

And if Iraqi forces get in trouble, all they have to do is ask. The American’s quick reaction forces are poised to provide many kinds of help, from bomb-sniffing dogs to unmanned aircraft surveillance to helicopter gunships.

No Change

Bogged down over the release of detainee abuse photos, a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was on track Friday for passage in Congress after a late-night intervention by President Barack Obama.

Negotiations between the Senate and the House of Representatives had been at a deadlock Thursday after the Senate introduced a measure banning public release of the controversial images allegedly showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of US military personnel.

But in a letter to the negotiators, Obama made a last-minute guarantee that he “will continue to take every legal and administrative remedy available to me to ensure the DoD (Department of Defense) detainee photographs are not released.”

Covering up torture- Check.

Continual funding of wars of aggression- Check.

Awareness that imperialism negates democracy- um…

Posted in Imperialism. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Surely There Should Be A Court Jester Too?

(AFP) – A US “taster” tested the food being dished up to President Barack Obama at a dinner in a French restaurant, a waiter said Sunday. “They have someone who tastes the dishes,” said waiter Gabriel de Carvalho from the “La Fontaine de Mars” restaurant where Obama and his family turned up for dinner on Saturday night. “It wasn’t very pleasant for the cooks at first, but the person was very nice and was relaxed, so it all went well,” he said on the Itele news channel. Asked by AFP to comment, the restaurant confirmed the report.

Taking Obama’s Pulse

Posted in Media. Tags: , . 4 Comments »

Christianists in Afghanistan- ‘we hunt people for Jesus’

Also note Bagram is home to a huge prison and CIA torture centre, what would Jesus do? (ht2 Mahatma X Files)

Al Jazeera-Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai said there must be a “serious investigation” after military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were filmed discussing how to distribute copies of the Bible printed in the country’s main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, tells soldiers that, as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility “to be witnesses for him”.

“The special forces guys – they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down,” he says.

“Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That’s what we do, that’s our business.”

It is not clear if the presence of the bibles and practice of calling on soldiers to be “witnesses” for Jesus continues, but they were filmed a year ago despite regulations by the US military’s Central Command that expressly forbid “proselytising of any religion, faith or practice”.

But in another piece of footage, the chaplains appear to understand their actions were in breach of a regulation known as General Order Number One.
“Do we know what it means to proselytise?” Captain Emmit Furner, a military chaplain, says to the gathering.

“It is General Order Number One,” an unidentified soldier replies.

But Watt says “you can’t proselytise, but you can give gifts”.

The footage also suggests US soldiers gave out bibles in Iraq.

In an address at Bagram, Watt is recorded as saying: “I bought a carpet and then I gave the guy a Bible after I conducted my business.

“… the expressions that I got from the people in Iraq [were] just phenomenal, they were hungry for the word.”

Ross Begins His ‘Diplomacy’

The U.S. State Department said Monday it will send its special Persian Gulf envoy to the region as part of continued diplomatic efforts to steer Iran away from its suspected quest for nuclear weapons. It will be the first trip to the region for Dennis Ross since he was named to the position in late February.

The State Department said Ross will begin his trip Tuesday and will visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. He will be accompanied by the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, and National Security Council official Puneet Talwar.

Old Rossy, that paragon of independent balanced diplomacy…

Ross got his start in high-level policy-making working under Paul Wolfowitz in the Pentagon during the Carter administration. Wolfowitz — who is better known for his role pushing the Iraq War after the 11 September attacks and for his controversial tenure as World Bank head — tasked Ross with helping draft a study assessing threats to US interests in the Persian Gulf. The 1979 study, titled the “Limited Contingency Study,” concluded that aside from the Soviet Union, a key threat to the region’s oil fields was Iraq.

Ross also helped produce the 2008 report “Meeting the Challenge: US Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development,” which was published by a study group convened by the Bipartisan Policy Centre, a group led by several former legislators.

The lead drafter of the report was AEI’s Michael Rubin, an outspoken proponent of US military intervention in the Middle East. Other participants included hawkish arms control analyst Henry Sokolski; Michael Makovsky, a former aide to Douglas Feith; Stephen Rademaker, who worked under former UN Ambassador John Bolton in the State Department; and the neoconservative Hudson Institute director, Kenneth Weinstein.

Calling the report a “roadmap to war,” Inter Press Service’s Jim Lobe writes, “In other words, if Tehran is not eventually prepared to permanently abandon its enrichment of uranium on its own soil — a position that is certain to be rejected by Iran ab initio — war becomes inevitable, and all intermediate steps, even including direct talks if the new president chooses to pursue them, will amount to going through the motions … What is a top Obama adviser [Dennis Ross] doing signing on to it?”

Philip Weiss: -Back in 1991 Ross was the main Middle East negotiator for George Bush when Bush tried to serve the American interest in the Middle East by putting a stop to the illegal settlements in the West Bank by placing conditions on loan guarantees the Israelis had sought from the U.S. to build housing for Russian immigrants. The Israelis assured Bush through Ross that they would accept the restrictions. Ross vouched for Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to George Bush. Then Shamir continued building settlements, making Bush look like a fool. Ross was in the middle. He indicates in his book on the “peace process,” The Missing Peace, that George Bush felt that Ross had misled him. You might think that a president who feels misled by an aide would fire the aide. You’d be wrong.

Bush needed Ross more than Ross needed Bush. In fact, the following year, 1992, Ross was out there campaigning for Bush in the Jewish community, telling them that it was Bush’s “achievement” that the settlements had continued (Clayton Swisher reports in The Truth About Camp David). Bill Clinton also assured the Jewish community about the settlements in that election. Where is the American interest???

Also more at Rightweb

Posted in conservatives. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Ross Begins His ‘Diplomacy’

Everything To Play For

Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

I love how it is so gently, sadly, teary eyed supportive of capitalism ‘a bit more supportive’. Their poor breaking hearts! Bless ’em.

Well shitbag Neoliberals, say hello to the younger generation, they have paid for your crimes and want actual change, not just campaign slogans. Game on!

(ht2 James @ Mahatma X Files)