Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When is a Holocaust Not a Holocaust?

"ICH" - -- Although the "surge" has failed as policy, it appears to be succeeding as propaganda. It seems to be the only thing that supporters of the war have to point to, and so they point, and they point, and they point. Allow me to point out that while there has been a reduction in violence in Iraq -- now down to a level that virtually any other society in the world would find horrible and intolerable, including Iraqi society before the US invasion and occupation -- we must keep in mind that thanks to this lovely little war more than half the population of Iraq is either dead, crippled, traumatized, confined in overflowing American and Iraqi prisons, internally displaced, or in foreign exile.

Thus, the number of people available for being killers or victims is markedly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in the country (another good indication of progress, n'est-ce pas?). Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down; and the powerful movement of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has had a cease-fire in effect for many months, unconnected to the surge. On top of all this, US soldiers, in the face of numerous "improvised explosive devices" on the roads, have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like ... well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down. Remember that insurgent attacks on American forces is how the Iraqi violence all began in the first place.

Just imagine -- If the entire Iraqi population over the age of 10 is killed, disabled, imprisoned or forced into exile there will probably be no violence at all. Now that would really be victory.

No American should be allowed to forget that Iraqi society has been destroyed. The people of that unhappy land have lost everything -- their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their health care, their legal system, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their security, their past, their present, their future, their lives. But they do have their surge.

Negroponte on surprise Iraq visit
Oct 4 2008
The US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has arrived on a surprise visit to Iraq, the US Embassy in Baghdad said.

He will meet senior Iraqi officials to discuss political, security, and economic progress in the country. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) will also be high on the agenda, as it has run into problems and Negroponte has long held the reputation of being America's diplomatic strong-arm man.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani just back from Washington has said that the US is threatening to seize Iraqi assets and oil money if an arrangement is not worked out on SOFA that is to Washington's liking.

It should be remembered that Negroponte was the point man for American state terrorist activities in Central America when the US was destabilizing Nicaragua, overseeing the bloody suppression of opposition to its rightist allies in El Salvador and militarizing Honduras where he was the US ambassador in the 1980s.


Iraqi funds bargaining chip for SOFA?

BAGHDAD, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Iranian state-run media reported Friday Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said U.S.seize Iraqi funds if a long-term security deal failed. officials threatened to

The Iranian Press TV pointed to statements in the Iraqi media that said Talabani, a Kurd, expressed concern over threats from Washington regarding the security deal set to replace the expiring U.N. mandate for Iraq.

"Washington threatened to use any means to seize Iraqi assets if we do not support the security pact," Talabani was quoted as saying.

Talabani said earlier this week Baghdad would prefer to sign the deal with Washington while U.S. President George Bush was still in office, but said several issues, including the activity of U.S. forces and immunity for foreign contractors, still were in the negotiating stages.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi satellite channel al-Sumaria reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had told his Iraqi counterpart Tehran was ready to talk with Washington without condition regarding the security situation in the region.

A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is an agreement between a country and a foreign nation stationing military forces in that country.

The SOFA is intended to clarify the terms under which the foreign military is allowed to operate. Typically, purely military issues such as the locations of bases and access to facilities are covered by separate agreements. The SOFA is more concerned with the legal issues associated with military individuals and property. This may include issues like entry and exit into the country, tax liabilities, postal services, or employment terms for host-country nationals, but the most contentious issues are civil and criminal jurisdiction over the bases. For civil matters, SOFAs provide for how civil damages caused by the forces will be determined and paid. Criminal issues vary, but the typical provision in U.S. SOFAs is that U.S. courts will have jurisdiction over crimes committed either by a servicemember against another servicemember or by a servicemember as part of his or her military duty, but the host nation retains jurisdiction over other crimes.