That's David Rogers of Politico. And Barack has continued both illegal war and spent a fortune doing so in the process. And now we're supposed to be thrilled because the debt ceiling can be raised?
Stop the wars. Stop the corporate bailouts. And start working for the American people who are sick and tired of seeing all of our money wasted on one military 'adventure' after another.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday December 10, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Nouri finds a new group to scapegoat for violence in Iraq, Nouri orders residents of Camp Ashraf 'relocated,' big oil circles Baghdad, as does Defense Secretary Robert Gates on layover, and more.
Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD -- A Multi-National Division–Baghdad Soldier died, Dec. 10, of non-combat related injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/. The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4368.
Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul roadside bombing injured two Iraqi soldiers. Reuters notes another Mosul roadside bombing which injured one person, a third Mosul roadside bombing which left five people wounded (two were police officers) and a fourth Mosul roadside bombing which injured three bodyguards for police Brig Gen Majed al-Bayati.
Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the Baghdad assassination of 1 sheik.
Meanwhile, this afternoon Iraqi journalist Riyadh Mohammed (New York Times' At War Blog) explained, "Since the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, I had kept a list of ever relative or friend killed in violence. As of late 2006, I counted 124 deaths. Suddenly I stopped. No. 125 was my father. My father had told me a few weeks prior to his tragic death that his phone book was filled with telephone numbers of killed and missing people. He was soon to join my list."
As the violence continues in Iraq and people are wounded and dying, it's not all about oil, Ayla Jean Yackley (Reuters) helpfully explains, it's about the "drilling rigs" which will need "thousands of tonnes of cement and steel, many miles of pipeline and tens of thousands of trained and qualified workers." PFC Energy's Raad Alkadiri crows, "Iraq will place a massive call on the service sector. It will start to be a black hole, sucking a lot of the sector in from the region and beyond." Hassan Hafidh and Guy Chazan (Wall St. Journal) report on the running of the bores, foreign oil execs who "are flocking to Iraq" in the hopes of landing some of the winning bids in the Friday and Saturday rounds of bidding. Remember, if you're going to Baghdad Green Zone, be sure to wear the blood of many dead, if you're going to Baghdad Green Zone . . . Sinan Salaheddin and Brian Murphy (AP) report 15 fields are up for bid and 44 companies are competing to be the big winner (the people of Iraq have already been cast as the big losers in the continued filming of The Theft Of Iraqi Oil). Reuter's Simon Webb has apparently been hired to do the soundtrack and performs a modified Elvis classic "It's now or never . . for Big Oil in Iraq." During a spoken rap at the bridge, Webb explains, "It is one of the largest auctions ever held, with around the same reserves on offer as all the oil in OPEC-member Libya." The Iraq War, the illegal war, is big business. Iran's Press TV today reports on the $2.4 billion, BILLION, weapons deal Iraq entered into with the Ukraine. If you're missing the point, Bellamny Pailthorp (KPLU -- link has audio and text) quotes Iraq Ambassador to the US sami Sumaida'ie in Seattle declaring, "Iraq is open for business." On the visit, Chris Grygiel (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) adds: "The purpose of Samir Sumaida'ie's two-day visit to the region was to meet with Boeing, Microsoft and others as Iraq continues to rebuild after the Saddam Hussein regime was toppled and the United States scales back its military presence in the country."
Scaling back the military presence? Before the tag sale? Not hardly. In fact, some might consider the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, landing in Baghdad today increasing the US military presence. Kevin Baron (Stars and Stripes) reports Gates met with President Jalal Talabani. Remember the supposed 'improved' 'security' in Iraq? Even now, nearly seven years after the Iraq War started (March, 2003), Robert Gates still has to sneak into the country on what Baron terms an "unannounced stop". Iran's Press TV terms it "a surprise visit" which sort of makes you picture Gates arriving with a bag of presents. Gates may have wante to be in and out on the same day; however, Nouri put him off and now Gates has a layover as he waits for Nouri to find the time to meet with him. Elisabeth Bumiller and Marc Santora (New York Times) explain, "American defense officials insisted that Mr. Maliki had not rebuffed the defense secretary, but it was not until late Thursday, hours after Mr. Gates landed in Baghdad, that they said that Mr. Maliki had agreed to see him on Friday morning. Mr. Gates' aides scrambled to rearrange his schedule." CNN adds that Gates "called off a planned news briefing as a result" of the postponement.
Nouri was busy with a number of things today including facing Parliament. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) quotes Nouri insisting: "It is hard for us to appoint the chief of intelligence since each political bloc demands that this man should be from their blocs." Al Jazeera quotes from this melodramatic Nouri moment: "All of the recent crime is because of political and sectarian differences. I call on parliament to issue a decision to purify the security services from anyone who belongs to any political party, including my party." BBC News explains that quotes from Nouri "were relayed to reporters after the closed door-meeting on Thursday." Which only makes it more confusing because Nouri's talking out of every side of his mouth. Tuesday he did what he always does, insist it's former Ba'athists in Syria. David Kenner (Foreign Policy) notes Nouri did that in August and October as well (on "Bloody Wednesday" and "Bloody Sunday") and that, "Maliki raised eyebrows for previously pointing the finger at Syria, when the released evidence looked less than definitive. However, the fact that he is repeating his claims now shows he has on intention of backing down -- and is an important data point on where Iraq will stand on intra-Arab disputes in the future. Saudi Arabia, for example, has remained intensely skeptical of the Shia-dominated government, and has so far refused to send an ambassador to Baghdad." Meanwhile Lara Jakes (AP) explores Rabiya, on the border Iraq and Syira share, and finds little to support a claims of Syrian foreign fighters or Ba'athists entering from Syira and "Iraqi and American security forces alike [. . .] say they've neither seen nore heard of Baathists illegally crossing the border in recent months." In Syria, Andrew England (Financial Times of London) speaks with former Ba'athists, "Syria has rejected all those claims. Mr [Abdul Nasser al-] Jenabi, who represents a Sunni insurgent group aligned with Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a Baathist who served as deputy head of Saddam Hussein's Revolutionary Command Council, said his group did not target Iraqis and had no role in the bombings. He said that he and others like him in Syria were involved in media relations and political issues. Some observers also say Mr Maliki may have decided to point the finger of blame because of the damage the attacks have caused to his own credibility."
Credibility? Nouri? Tuesday, Dar Al Hayat reported (translation is mine and my Arabic is very poor) that there is a possiblity Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") will stop receiving payment from the Iraqi government at the end of December and that this comes as Sahwas continue to be targeted (gives an example of recent violence that claimed 6 lives). The article notes that the Sahwa were supposed to have been incorporated into Iraqi jobs by the end of this year "according to an agreement between US forces and the Iraqi government". A Sahwa leader (from western Baghdad), Naji, speaks of concerns about a security vacuum should Sahwa be taken off the payrolls and he notes the possiblity that they could return to their older ways (the US military paid them off originally so they would stop attacking US military personnel and equipment) -- he terms this "a big problem." He speaks of announcements by the National Reconciliation Commission (a body in Parliament headed by Zuhair al-Jalabi) that they will be closing out the Sahwa at the end of the year. A Diyala Province Sahwa leader, Sheikh Hussam, issued a call on the Iraqi government to live up to the promises it made to Sahwa and refers to the need for the government to compensate the families and children of Sahwa who have been killed. Again, that's my translation and it's very poor.
Nouri's credibility? Today wasn't all melodrama, Nouri also played bully. Iran's Al-Alam News reports that he stated (at his website) that the Mujahedin-e Khlaq Organization (MKO -- also known as the MEK) would be "quarantined in a far-fetched region south of Iraq before leaving the country." The residents of Camp Ashraf are Iranian dissidents who were welcomed into Iraq by Saddam Hussein. When the US invaded in 2003, they took over the protection of Camp Ashraf. An agreement was reached between Nouri and the previous administration at the end of last year whereby Nouri promised not to attack or harm the residents. Nouri never lived up to that promise and -- pay attention, KRG -- the US didn't do a damn thing. Not a damn thing. [Pay attention, KRG? The KRG's been promised a lengthy list of items by the Obama administration. A great many of those things will require the consent of Nouri or the next prime minister. And if they don't consent? The US government doesn't exactly have a record they can point to.] July 28th, Nouri ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf, at least 11 residents were killed. Nouri's announcement today of moving them (possibly as soon as next Tuesday) is certainly beneficial . . . for him. Sarah Cosgrove (Edgware Times) reports British "MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum have welcomed a Spanish court's deicison to investigate claims Iraqi troops killed refugees at Camp Ashraf." Since the attack, Nouri's barred most journalists and aid organizations from visiting Camp Ashraf. Now, as Spain's going to investigate, he wants to ship all the residents to "a far-fetched region"? The Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance on Iran states Nouri is taking orders from Iran and:
The Iranian Resistance denounced remarks by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, concerning "Transfer of Camp Ashraf residents to Nuqrat al-Salman" which was described by him as a "step towards expelling them (from Iraq)," as unlawful and disgraceful kowtowing to orders of the religious fascism ruling Iran in the midst of nationwide uprising in Iran. The Iranian regime has set the suppression of Ashraf residents in Iraq as a precondition to its support for al-Maliki in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq.
Simultaneous with the nationwide uprising during the past few days that people have been chanting "Down with Khamenei" and "Down with the principle of velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of clergy)" that has sounded the death knell of the regime;
While the international community has condemned suppression of uprising in the strongest terms and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed that "The suppression of protests is escalating, it is much more serious," and has been "calling for respect for the right to protest that is also a fundamental freedom," and Amnesty International described "Human rights violations in Iran are now as bad as at any time in the past 20 years";
Turning to London where the Iraq Inquiry continues. John Chilcot is the chair of the five member commission -- six if you count Margaret Aldred. Mark Tran (Guardian) gives an overview of the commission. Today's witness was M16 head John Sawyers (link has video and transcript) which is England's Secret Intelligence Service. Sawyers is the third head of M16 since the start of the Iraq War. Before the war broke out Richard Dearlove headed M16. In 2004, he was replaced by John Scarlett (who offered testimony yesterday) and Sawyers took over in 2009. Prior to that he held many jobs but the one pertaining to Iraq would be the UK Special Representative in Baghdad (2003). Prior to that -- we're including this because a friend in England's telling me that several press accounts are getting it wrong -- prior to be the UK Special Representative in Baghdad, he was the British Ambassador to Cairo and held that position from 2001 until 2003. There appears to be some confusion about when he was an advisor to Tony Blair (his title was "Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister) that was 1999 to 2001 and not, as some are reporting, from 2001 to 2003). We'll pick up with Sawyers complaint today about the US military:
Yes, General Mike Jackson, who was then the newly appointed chief of general staff, visited Baghdad in my first few days there and and I talked with a small company of paras who were there to help protect our -- I think they were a platoon actually to protect our embassy, which was outside the Green Zone, and in discussion it became clear that part of the problem was the posture of the US army. They were in their tanks, in their Darth Vader kit, with wraparound sunglasses and helmets and flack jackets and everything else, and there was no real rapport between the US army and the ordinary citizens of the capital, and Mike Jackson -- and I have to say I have some sympathy with this -- thought there was a case of bringing a large contingent of paras, not just the 20 or so in the platoon, but a battlion of paras up to work with the Americans to demonstrate a different way of the army deploying in urban areas, and this was all part of what we had learnt in other places, in Northern Ireleand and so on. I reported this as one option backt o London, after I discussed it with Mike, but it was clearly a military matter -- Mike Jackson. There were differences of views between the Chiefs of Staff on this.
He had strong criticism for ORHA (Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance -- later becomes the CPA in Baghdad -- Coalition Provisional Authority) as well:
But ORHA, as an organisation, did not have a clear strategy and was not well managed or coordinated and didn't have very many resources. Living conditions were pretty appalling. I had certainly not experienced the sorts of conditions that we had to live under, the heat. For the first time in my life I was sleeping in a dormitory with a lot of other people. There were no doors to the bathrooms. There was itnermittent water and electricity. It was pretty grim. So the US civilians were unable to [get] their own act together, let alone the act for the rest of Iraq.
Sawyers also spoke of problems the British were having in 2003, including in getting reliable information back to London (he did not feel the media reports were reliable -- he didn't say whether they were overly bleak or overly optimistic in his opinion). This led Committee Member Roderic Lyne to raise the point Hilary Synnott did earlier this week, about having no equipment to communicate with London on and the US military giving him a computer and his using Yahoo to send messages. Sawyers said that when the British embassy staff finally arrived in May, "they then had access to Foreign Office communications. But it didn't last very long because the place where the embassy was located, which was outside the Green Zone, was very soon determined to be unsafe for us to occupy." The illegal war never should have been started. After it was, more bad decisions were made (that's what happens when you build onto an illegal framework). Two of the most cited poor decisions are the de-Ba'athification program and the disbanding of the Iraqi military. On the first, the de-Ba'athification referred to removing Ba'athists from various positions. The Ba'ath Party was Saddam Hussein's political party. He was overthrown (and executed). A purge of all Ba'athists followed. This caused huge problems and, despite repeated promises from Nouri, it has still not been addressed and continues to fester in Iraq. No de-de-Ba'athification program has been implemented. The issue of de-Ba'athifcation was touched on at length today.
Committee Member Roderic Lyne: You arrived on 8 May, [head of CPA, the US' L. Paul] Bremer on the 12th, and within Bremer's first two weeks he had promulgated two extremely important decisions on de-Ba'athification and on dissolving the former Iraqi army. Can we look at those two decisions? To what extent were they Bremer's decisions or -- how had they been pre-cooked in Washington? I see you have got the Rand Report there, and the Rand Report suggests there had been a certain interagnecy process in Washington leading to these decisions, albeit Rand is quite critical of that process. And, very importantly for us, was the United Kingdom consulted about these crucial decisions? Was the Prime Minister consulted? Were you consulted? It is pretty late in the day be then for you to have changed them. Can you take us through that story.
John Sawyers: Can I separate them and deal with de-Ba'athification first.
Committee Member Roderic Lyne: Yes.
John Sawyers: When I arrived in Baghdad on 8 May, one of the problems that ORHA were facing was that they had been undiscriminating in their Iraqi partners. They had taken, as their partners, the most senior figures in the military, in -- not in the military, sorry, in the ministries, in the police, in institutions like Baghdad University, who happened to be there. And in several of these instances, Baghdad University was one, the trade ministry was another, the health ministry, the foreign ministry, the Baghdad police -- the working level were in uproar because they were being obliged to work for the same Ba'athist masters who had tyrannised them under the Saddam regime, and tehy were refusing to cooperate on that basis. So I said, in my first significant report back to London, which I sent on the Sunday night, the day before Bremer came back, that there were a number of big issues that needed to be addressed. I listed five and one of those five was we needed a policy on which Ba'athists should be allowed to stay in their jobs and which should not. And there was already a debate going on among Iraqi political leaders about where the line should be drawn. So I flagged it up on the Sunday evening in my first report, which arrived on desks on Monday morning, on 11 May. When Bremer arrived late that evening, he and I had a first discussion, and one of the first things he said to me was that he needed to give clarity on de-Ba'athification. And he had some clear ideas on this and he would want to discuss it. So I reported again early the following monring that this was high on the Bremer's mind and I needed a steer as to what our policy was. I felt that there was, indeed, an important need for a policy on de-Ba'athifciation and that, of the various options that were being considered, some I felt, were more far-reaching than was necessary but I wasn't an expert on the Iraqi Ba'ath Party and I needed some guidance on this. I received some guidance the following day, which was helpful, and I used that as the basis for my discussion with Bremer -- I can't remember if it was the Wednesday or the Thursday that week but we had a meeting of -- Bremer and myself and our political teams, where this was discussed, and there was very strong support among the Iraqi political parties for quite a far-reaching de-Ba'athification policy. At the meeting itself, I had concerted beforehand with Ryan Crocker, who was the senior American political adviser, and I said to him that my guidance was that we should limit the scope of de-Ba'athification to the top three levels of the Ba'ath Party, which included about 5,000 people, and that we thought going to the fourth level was a step too far, and it would involve another 25,000 or so Iraqis, which wasn't necessary. And I thought Crocker was broadly sympathetic to that approach but at the meeting itself Bremer set out a strong case for including all four levels, ie the top 30,000 Ba'athists should be removed from their jobs, but there should be a policy in place for exemptions. I argued the alternative. Actually, unhelpfully, from my point of view, Ryan Crocker came in in strong support of the Bremer proposal, and I think he probably smelled the coffee and realised that this was a policy that had actually already been decided in Washington and there was no point getting on the wrong side of it. I was not aware of that at that stage and, in fact, it was only when I subsequently read the very thorough account by the Rand Corporation of these issues that I realised there had been an extensive exchange in -- between agencies in Washington.
Commitee Member Roderic Lyne: Just to pause on that, this crucial decision, not just to take the top 5,000, which probably was not a matter of argument, but to add 25,000, sweeping up a lot of professionals, teachers, doctors people like that, who had been obliged to become members of the Ba'ath parties, had been stiched up between agencies in Washington but without any consultation with the number 1 coalition partner, Britain, who were going to be vitally affected by that?
John Sawyer: I cannot vouch for that because I wasn't in London, I wasn't involved in those exchanges.
Commitee Member Roderic Lyne: But you would have been aware of if we'd been (inaudible), somebody would have told you.
John Sawyers: When I was doing my calls in London on the previous week, this was not an issue that had been raised with me. So I don't know in the embassy in Washington or people in Whitehall were plugged into the debate. I would just say, though, Sir Roderic, that we do need to keep this in context, that a lot of parallels are drawn about Iraq in 2003 with Germany in 1945, and I have to say that was the intellectual mindset that Bremer brought with him, there was a parallel with the reconstruction of Germany in 1945. In 1945, the Allies excluded 2.5 per cent of the German population from jobs because of their links with the Naxi party. What Bremer was proposing was excluding 0.1 per cent of the Iraqi population, ie 25 times fewer, proportionately, than was the case in Germany. And in that context he was looking for a policy of -- a scope for giving exemptions.
Now let's skip way ahead. They weren't listening to the British. Who was the US listening to on this decision? Sawyers said, "Why London wasn't involved in it you will have to ask others because I wasn't in London at the time. But it had clearly been thought through in Washington and they were, to some extent, under the influence of people like Ahmed Chalabi, who took a very hard line on this issue."
Sawyers testified that, as with the de-Ba'athification program, Bremer told him at their first meeting that he wanted to disband the Iraq army and that DC had agreed to this and issued "a decree". Sawyers stated, "This, again, was a new issue for me."
The Inquiry does not hear from any witness tomorrow. They resume public testimony on Monday with five witnesses scheduled, Lt Gen John Kiszely, Lt Gen Robin Brims, Lt Gen Jonathon Riley and Gen Peter Wall. Independent journalist John Pilger weighs in on the Inquiry with "Normalising the Crime of the Century" (Information Clearing House):
More than anyone, it was Sir Jeremy who tried every trick to find a UN cover for the bloodbath to come. Indeed, this was his boast to the Chilcot enquiry on 27 November, where he described the invasion as "legal but of questionable legitimacy". How clever. In the picture he wore a smirk.
Under international law, "questionable legitimacy" does not exist. An attack on a sovereign state is a crime. This was made clear by Britain's chief law officer, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, before his arm was twisted, and by the Foreign Office's own legal advisers and subsequently by the secretary-general of the United Nations. The invasion is the crime of the 21st century. During 17 years of assault on a defenceless civilian population, veiled with weasel monikers like "sanctions" and "no fly zones" and "building democracy", more people have died in Iraq than during the peak years of the slave trade. Set that against Sir Jeremy's skin-saving revisionism about American "noises" that were "decidedly unhelpful to what I was trying to do [at the UN] in New York". Moreover, "I myself warned the Foreign Office … that I might have to consider my own position ...".
It wasn't me, guv.
The purpose of the Chilcot inquiry is to normalise an epic crime by providing enough of a theatre of guilt to satisfy the media so that the only issue that matters, that of prosecution, is never raised. When he appears in January, Blair will play this part to odious perfection, dutifully absorbing the hisses and boos. All "inquiries" into state crimes are neutered in this way. In 1996, Lord Justice Scott's arms-to-Iraq report obfuscated the crimes his investigations and voluminous evidence had revealed.
TV notes. Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings), NOW on PBS asks: "Why are we sending thousands of military personnel to Guam?"
Over the next five years, as many as 30,000 servicemembers and their families will descend on the small island of Guam, nearly tripling its presence there. It's part of a larger agreement that the U.S. signed with Japan to realign American forces in the Pacific, but how will this multi-billion dollar move impact the lives and lifestyle of Guam's nearly 180,000 residents? On Friday, December 11 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW on PBS travels to the U.S. territory of Guam to find out whether their environment and infrastructure can support such a large
and quick infusion of people, and why the buildup is vital to our national security.
This Sunday the History Channel airs The People Speak, Anthony Arnove notes it's "the long awaited documentary film inspired by Howard Zinn's books A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People's History of the United States." It airs Sunday, December 13th at 8:00pm EST and 7:00 Central (8:00pm Pacific as well):
Using dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans, the documentary feature film THE PEOPLE SPEAK gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history, forging a nation from the bottom up with their insistence on equality and justice.
Narrated by acclaimed historian Howard Zinn and based on his best-selling books, A People's History of the United States and, with Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People's History, THE PEOPLE SPEAK illustrates the relevance of these passionate historical moments to our society today and reminds us never to take liberty for granted.
THE PEOPLE SPEAK is produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn, co-directed by Moore, Arnove and Zinn, and features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson, Christina Kirk, Danny Glover, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Harris Yulin, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Josh Brolin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Lupe Fiasco, Marisa Tomei, Martín Espada, Matt Damon, Michael Ealy, Mike O'Malley, Morgan Freeman, Q'orianka Kilcher, Reg E. Cathey, Rich Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, Staceyann Chin, and Viggo Mortensen.
And finishing up TV notes, Monday December 14th, ABC airs Jennifer Hudson: I'll Be Home for Christmas (8:00 to 9:00 pm EST, first hour of prime time). Academy Award and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson's guest for her special is Michael Buble.
In other news, Princess Tiny Meat had another big day. Mr. Vanity accepted the Nobel 'Peace' Prize while most Americans were asleep. They missed nothing but the continued display of Barry O's enormous ego. In an attempt to sound humble, he declared, "I have no doubt that there are others who may be more deserving." Apparently, he didn't study English in this country. "I have no doubt" "there may be" do not go together. The wording is, "I have no doubt that there are other who are more deserving." When he says that "there may be"? That indicates doubt. As per usual, Barry O's ego trumped grammar. See who catches it and watch how many look the other way. Last night, Cedric's "He's not winning them over" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THE REVIEWS WERE BRUTAL!" (joint-post for Cedric and Wally) and Ann's "Didn't they have diplomacy and manners in Chicago?" addressed the topic of Barry O's latest award. And earlier this week, World Can't Wait noted "Barack Obama Deserves the Nobel War = Peace Prize!:"
The U.S. organization "The World Can't Wait," having organized weeks of protest against President Barack Obama's escalation of troops to Afghanistan, announced today that it accepts the wisdom of the Nobel Committee's choice of Obama as winner of its most famous prize. We find no irony in December 10 being International Human Rights Day.
We hope the Nobel Committee is satisfied that Barack Obama's increase of US troops to occupy Afghanistan is enough to merit the prize. The speech he delivered at West Point on December 1 echoed 8 successful years of George Bush justifications, and Obama's commitment to "win" certainly should have removed any reservation that he deserves the prize.
His speech rested on the notion that war brings peace, that the military is an instrument of peace. Strange because though basic training teaches many, many things, conflict resolution really isn't one of them.