Tuesday, September 20, 2011






Sunday, a US soldier died in Iraq. The Dept of Defense hasn't identified the fallen as I dictate this but KRGV and Valley Central's Action 4 News both report it is Estevan Altamirano (citing his family) of Edcough, Texas who was a 1999 graduate of Edcouch-Elsa High School, the father of five and his survivors include his wife. According to the Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen data base, 414 other service members from Texas have died in the Iraq War (there are eight pages with 51 on each page, when you click on page eight, there is no ninth page but there is "next" which contains 6 additional service members -- 8 x 51= 408 + 6= 414 and the search criteria was "Iraq" for theater and "Texas" for state/territory.) Many of the fallen of the current wars come from rural areas and small towns. The 2010 census found the population for Edcouch to be 3,161 and 97.8 Hispanic It's in the southern county of Hildalgo .
As noted Thursday, with no release of death announcements by DoD, the Pentagon's official death count of US military personnel in the Iraq War rose by 2 this month (before Sunday's death). The Pentagon has not corrected their numbers. I asked a friend at DoD about it on Friday. The official message back today is, "The numbers are the numbers." Are they correct? "We have issued no correction." Which would mean adding one to the count, the number of US military personnel who have died in the Iraq War thus far stands at 4480. (Add 4,421 from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to 58 from "Operation New Dawn" -- new name for the Iraq War and then add 1 for Sunday's death.)
Is Tom Hadyen drunk or crazy? "You're going to laugh so hard," swore a friend (one of many women the married Tom came onto the 80s who was shot down -- as a general rule, those of us with money rejected Tom while women who thought he might be a stepping stone hopped in bed). I didn't laugh. I can't take the sounds of spit washing around in a mouth repeatedly combined with lip smacking. I'm glad Matthew Rothschild conducted the interview (for Progressive Radio) by phone because I'm sure he'd have been covered with spit otherwise. Tom goes to a subject that we are not touching here but doesn't it seem like he went there to try to ensure Barack gets re-elected? Yeah, it did. He has no shame. He will play with anything, toy with any topic, no matter how violent and what might result to get his way. It's disgusting. Barack supporters would do well to keep their distance from Tom Hayden. When not raising that, he lied and distorted -- and Matthew let him -- about the man who shot US House Rep Gabrielle Giffords. Mainly he paraded his own vanity. No one's ever been obssed with Tom (nor ever more interested in Tom than Tom himself is interested in Tom). But the moment that was saddest (I wish I could have laughed as many women did listening to the ass speak) was when he declared, "I've spent the last two years, I'm sure the White House doesn't like it, just hammering on Afghanistan, Iraq, the . . . [long list of issues] and the only thing I can see is my persistent pressure gradually turning him around." Yes, Tom, it was your persistent pressure, it was all you. (He struggles with words throughout and Matthew has to correct his terms elsewhere in the interview. Again, was he drunk?)
That would have been it on Iraq, that aside. The interview had gone on for over 24 minutes and despite Tom's claims of his persistent pressure and despite his idiotic Ending the
War in Iraq book in 2007 (pillars? I think Tom's got a penis fascination), he ran away from the Iraq War long, long ago. More frightening is that he ran away from reality as well. What planet does Tom now live on?
Tom Hayden: If he -- if he just took the 47,000 troops out of Iraq, which we're waiting on pins and needles what is he going to do? That would mean 50 billion dollars that could go straight to job creation in the US.
Matthew Rothschild: I'm willing to bet you he leaves most of those there --
Tom Hayden: No! He won't!
Matthew Rothschild: -- if he can get the Iraqi government to agree.
Tom Hayden: He won't. It'll be between 47,000 and zero. But it's an insane policy and he knows it. He -- he's not in control of the whole situation. I mean, the insanity is Bush and the American government installed a pro-Shia, a pro-Iran regime with torture chambers in Baghdad and now is being asked by Saudi Arabia to leave some troops behind, uh, to counter-balance Iran in the conflict between -- the regional conflict between Saudis -- Saudis and Sunnis. If I was a soldier, and I have a close friend who is in Iraq fighting, uh, uhm, I-I would not want to be pinned down in the crossfire between sectarian uh forces with 10,000 or 13,000 of my buddies. So that's the argument against. Save money, get the troops out, and, you know, don't go to bat for Saudi Arabia in exchange for oil, fighting against a regime that the United States installed so the-the-the issue in Iraq isn't over. The argument remains. We shall know in a month!
Oh my heavens. How he slurred his words. If he wasn't drunk, he needs to get to a doctor to check and see if he's had a slight stroke.
Tom -- whom Barack derided on the campaign trail last go round "Tom Hayden Democrats," remember? -- just knows what's in Barack's heart: "But it's an insane policy and he knows it." He then insists, "He -- he's not in control of the whole situation." Oh my goodness, the conspiracy theories never cease from this nutcase.
He is the president of the United States. Everything he's done, he's meant to do. He may not have anticipated this or that response, but he decided his own actions. I am so sick of the groupies who can't grow the hell up after all this time.
I believe when Tom was slurring "Saudis and Sunnis" what he actually meant was "Shi'ites and Sunnis." He's always been obsessed with Saudi Arabia. Not over human rights issues but over his paranoia of Arabs. (I've written before of that as has Elaine.)
But let's move to this stupidity: "I mean, the insanity is Bush and the American government installed a pro-Shia, a pro-Iran regime with torture chambers in Baghdad and now is being asked [. . .]" Tom Hayden, how drunk were you?
The Bush adminstraion installed a pro-Iranian regime, yes. They refused the choice of Iraq for prime minister and insisted upon Nouri al-Malik in April of 2006. Yes. But, Tom, what happened in 2010?
The lesson of the 2009 elections (provincial elections and I'm speaking of the ones at the start of the year so that excludes the KRG which held their provincial elections months later) was that the Iraqi people were rejecting sectarianism and embracing a national identity. Not that surprising, the sectarian divide was largely encouraged by the US -- Laura Flanders documented this repeatedly in 2004, 20005 and 2006 on her Air America Radio programs The Laura Flanders Show and Radio Nation with Laura Flanders. Many Iraqis would explain that the first thing Americans would ask them was if they were Sunni or Shia and that really wasn't their first thought. The theme of the 2009 elections was repeated when Iraqis voted in March 2010. Even after Nouri stamped his feet and got votes tossed out, even after he whined and threw a tantrum and was given votes he didn't earn to shut him up, Iraqiya still came in first. Iraqiya was the non-sectarian slate. You could be Sunni or Shi'ite or anything and be a part of Iraqiya. Well, you couldn't be Sunni in many cases and run for office. If you did, Nouri had you disqualified by insisting you were a Ba'ahtists. But Iraqiya was about a national Iraq identity. And this is what Iraqis voted for.
After the numbers were juggled for Nouri (who'd already abused his position to try to influence the outcome prior to the elections -- including kicking out popular Iraqiya candidates), the US government had a choice: They could back the Iraqi people or they could go against them.
The Iraqi people, you know, the group Tom Hayden forgot in all of his remarks about Iraq?
The US government wasn't concerned with the Iraqi people either. You had an element within the CIA -- which Leon Panetta ignored and did not advocate for -- who wanted Ayad Allawi. (Not a big surprise, Allawi was a CIA asset for many years.) You had an element of Big Oil and business that wanted Adel Abdul-Mahdi (until he resigned recently, he was Iraq's Shi'ite Vice President). A group of what we'll call 'East Coast intellectuals' who had some sway over the White House argued for Ammar al-Hakim and used as one of their talking points that his youth (he's 40-years-old) would be a plus and signifiy a fresh start in Iraq and "a new Iraq" (that's a direct quote from their talking points). (Ammar al-Hakim heads the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.) No one argued for a Kurdish prime minister. Possibly due to the fact that Jalal Talabani had already made clear he wanted to remain president of Iraq. (Talabani is a Kurd.) There were various factions within the administration.
Samantha Power in her role of foreign policy guru for Barack (she's been that since he was in the Senate) and as National Security Advisor insisted upon Nouri al-Maliki. Nouri, she pointed out, was already agreeable to extending the US military presence beyond 2011. If they brought in someone new, he might promise that he'd extend it but would he? They knew Nouri would because he had so many times before and he'd already agreed on the oil law (see theft of Iraqi oil). (I'm presenting her argument, I am not agreeing with it. I think Nouri's the king of the double cross.) Due to her position of primacy on foreign policy with Barack for so many years, she was able to overide everyone -- including Cabinet heads and Joe Biden.
It would be easy to say that the White House based their decision on self-interest. But the truth is it wasn't just Samantha Power's option that was about self-interest. All of the options were about self-interest. No one ever spoke of a strong Iraq, no one ever spoke of the Iraqi people.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"