"THEY TALK ABOUT ME LIKE A DOG!" HUFFED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O TODAY.
THE SOON TO BE DEPARTING RAHM EMANUEL CHUCKLED AND CALLED OUT, "MAYBE A DOG WITHOUT PAPERS! REMEMBER, BARRY O, YOUR PARENTS WEREN'T MARRIED IN THIS COUNTRY. IN KENYA, YOU CAN HAVE MULTIPLE WIVES, BUT IN THE U.S. ONLY 1 AT A TIME SO YOUR PARENTS WEREN'T LEGALLY MARRIED SINCE THE U.S. DOESN'T RECONGIZE BIGAMY AND --"
"I GET THE PICTURE," HISSED BARRY O.
"THE WORLD IS SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME," BARRY O DECLARED TURNING HIS ATTENTION TO THESE REPORTERS. "DON'T THEY KNOW HOW AMAZING I AM? HOW GOOD LOOKING? HOW SMART? HOW SEXY? THE WHOLE WORLD IS SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME! ME!"
WHEN IT WAS NOTED THAT POLITICS WASN'T A BEAUTY PAGEANT, BARRY O SEIZED UPON THAT, "SO TRUE! SO TRUE! AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S WRONG WITH POLITICS IN THIS COUNTRY! RAHM! RAHM! TELL THE CONGRESS TO PASS A LAW THAT, STARTING NEXT WEEK, ALL POLITICIANS MUST WEAR BATHING SUITS! THAT'LL SHOW US WHO THE REAL DOGS ARE."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Two American soldiers were killed and nine injured Tuesday when a man wearing an Iraqi army uniform opened fire on them inside an Iraqi commando compound in the province of Salahuddin, highlighting the continued danger to U.S. troops in Iraq despite the formal end of combat operations announced by President Obamalas week." BBC News adds, "The US military says they were shot by a gunman dressed in Iraqi army uniform near the town of Tuz Khormato, 210km (130 miles) north of Baghdad." Barack declared "combat operations" over last Tuesday. Apparently not everyone got the memo . . . or else Barack was wrong. Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) observes: "But Tuesday's attack -- like a sophisticated assault on Iraqi facilities in central Baghdad on Sunday that American soldiers helped repel -- underscored what U.S. military commanders on the ground in Iraq have been saying for weeks: A change of mission doesn't mean the threats are over for the estimated 50,000 U.S. soldiers that remain in the country." Sunday attack in Baghdad?
Leila Fadel and Jinana Hussein (Washington Post) reported, "Just five days after the United States declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq, U.S. soldiers opened fire Sunday morning on suicide bombers who snuck into an Iraqi army base in Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said." Steven Lee Myers and Duraid Adnan (New York Times) observed, "Insurgents mounted a coordinated attack on one of the main military commands in Baghdad on Sunday, briefly drawing fire from American soldiers, an event that underscored the ambiguity of the American military's role in Iraq." NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Sunday had Lester Holt anchoring and he noted, "Oversees now to Iraq and another suicide bombing. This one targeting one of the main Iraqi military commands in Baghdad. Twelve people were killed and thirty-six wounded when terrorists detonated a van filled with explosives, then stormed the base. American soldiers returned fire, helping to repel the attack." On The KPFA Evening News Sunday, David Landau explained:
In the Middle East today, American soldiers helped Iraqi troops battle insurgents in downtown Baghdad earlier today, repelling a major attack in the capital five days after President Obama had declared an end to US combat operations there. At least 18 people were killed and 39 injured when a group of suicide bombers and gunmen attempted to storm the army's east Baghdad headquarters located in a former ministry of defense building in a busy market district along the Tigris River. No Americans were among the casualties, according to a US military spokesman, but US soldiers did join in the fighting alongside Iraqis to repel the assailants, two of whom managed to enter the army compound. The US military also dispatched helicopters, bomb disposal experts, unmanned aerial drones and other unspecified intelligence, surveillance and reconassiance assistance to the scene of the downtown battle, the US military spokesman said. According to an Iraqi official, speaking anonymously, the Iraqi security forces had requested American help in the battle and US soldiers shot 2 snipers who had taken up position in nearby buildings. It was the first significant attack in Baghdad since President Obama's address to the nation on Tuesday in which he told Americans that US combat operations were over and said it was time to "turn the page" on Iraq.
Two correspondents for the New York Times -- Anthony Shadid and Michael R. Gordon -- were on PRI's The Takeaway Monday addressing the attack.
John Hockenberry: It's safe to say it's a new dawn in Iraq but it's partly cloudly.
Celeste Headless: That's -- that's a pretty good weather forecast. Accurate but not pretty.
John Hockenberry: Exactly. The lack of clarity over what the "new dawn" and the end of combat operations in Iraq actually means for US forces was demonstrated over the weekend. And, you know, less than a week after combat operations ended, US forces were reportedly called in to repel a coordinated attack on an Iraqi military. No American casualties there -- or at least none killed. But in the bombing and the shooting that came after at least 12 Iraqis were killed and more than 20 were wounded. Iraqi forces were also involved in this firefight as well. Iraqi Defense Spokesperson Maj - Gen Mohammed al-Askari denied though that US troops had been involved.
Maj - Gen Mohammed al-Askari: [Translated by PRI] This is not true. We didn't call the American troops. The Iraqi troops did it, foiling the attackers. And we wouldn't use American troops in this kind of operation. I don't think only six attackers represents a threat to Iraqi national security. I'm in direct contact with the operation room and the Defense Minister and we never used the Americans in this incident.
John Hockenberry: But a US military spokesman, Lt Col Eric Bloom, said the Iraqi military had requested help from helicopters, drones and explosive experts. The details in this incident? Well we're going to go to two reporters with our partner the New York Times: Anthony Shadid, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times based in Baghdad -- we welcome him back -- he won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting this year and in 2004 for his coverage of the Iraq War and he joins us from Baghdad and Michael Gordon, New York Times military correspondent and author of The Generals of War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf and Cobra II. He joins us from northern Virginia. Anthony, since there's a delay on your line, let me just start with you. What are the details and the truth as we know it about this incident that took place over the weekend?
Anthony Shadid: You might be able to reconcile those two accounts, actually. I don't think the Americans were called in to the base, they were actually already in the base as part of what they consider these partnership programs. And American soldiers were there. Now what role they exactly played is still a little unclear. The way the American military portrays it, they did what they call suppressive fire. But the actual raid on where these two insurgents were holed up, that was done by Iraqi troops. Now when you look at this raid itself, the general, the Iraqi general may have been dismissive of six people posing a challenge, but we have to consider that this is one of the division commands in Baghdad and an operation of just six men managed to breach the security and actually enter the base -- only two of them managed to get inside. I think it is a blow in some ways to the perceived Iraqi security forces that the insurgents were able to pull off this attack. It lasted a few hours, it was a very loud scene, as-as you reported there were American helicopters involved along with drones. It's something that's going to be remembered here for a little while, I think.
John Hockenberry: Anthony Shadid, foreign correspondent for the New York Times reporting from Baghdad. Michael Gordon, in a situation where combat operations are said to have ended, what are we to -- How are we to characterize this incident? Is this purely defensive combat? There's going to be a lot of this over the next year or so, right?
Michael R. Gordon: Well I was just in Baghdad last week with Vice President [Joe] Biden and I've been at that particular base that was attacked. I was embedded there in '08. I think it's not the case that combat operations have truly ended. The way I put it is: The combat phase is over but the fighting goes on. When you read the fine print of what the administration is talking about, it's clear that offensive American combat operations in partnership with Iraqi forces will continue in the realm of Special Operations. It's called "partnered counter-terrorism" but what it means is Special Operation Forces will hunt for al Qaeda -- Iraqi and American. And also American conventional forces retain the right to defend themselves either with the Iraqis or without them.
Liz Sly and Riyadh Mohammed (Los Angeles Times) added, "An official with the Interior Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Iraqi security forces requested American help to defeat the insurgents, and that it was U.S. soldiers who shot two snipers who had taken up position in nearby buildings." As Hurriyet noted, Barack's claim of the end of combat operations "should be taken with a grain of salt". "American soldiers were rushing to the aid of the Iraqi army," In an intro to her slide show at wowOwow, Julie Dermansky observes, "On August 31, 2010, Obama declared it is "time to turn the page" on Iraq, yet he didn't declare the war is over. The page may be turned but the story is not over. A visit to Arlington West illustrates the open book as more casualties are added to the records, and more markers are added in the sand." The slide show is on the crosses put up for the fallen at Arlington West. Over the weekend, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board opined, "Claiming credit for the end of the combat mission means Obama will own whatever happens after the war he was so virulently against as a U.S. senator and a campaigner for the White House. He won't be able to point a finger at the war's architect, former President George W. Bush, any longer." Atul Aneja (The Hindu) points out:
Under cover of darkness, hundreds of armoured vehicles rumbled across the Iraqi border into Kuwait, marking the much-touted withdrawal of American combat forces. Dominant sections of the international media interpreted the August 19 pullout as a political statement -- the fulfilment of a commitment by President Barack Obama to bring home troops entrapped by the Bush administration in the Iraqi military quagmire. In short, the American public was made to believe that the pullout by the fourth Stryker Brigade was leading to the end of the U.S. occupation. On August 31, Mr. Obama formally declared in a televised address that all American combat operations in Iraq had ceased. The spin-doctors in the American establishment and their willing accomplices in the media have indeed done a marvellous job. An extraordinary task -- of dressing up a new phase of Iraqi occupation as the beginning of its end -- has been accomplished.
However, many questions arise in the wake of the withdrawal. How should the pullout be interpreted, if not as the occupation entering its terminal phase? What are the facts on the ground, and what prospects do they hold for the future of Iraqis?
There are three significant markers that the Iraqi occupation is not ending and is being merely repackaged. First, the suggestion that the U.S. combat operations are ending is just not true. The nomenclature, however, has changed significantly. Instead of being called "combat operations," the act of chasing militants, joint raids by U.S. Special Forces and their Iraqi counterparts on militant strongholds, and other offensive military tasks will henceforth be called "stability operations."
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