Tag Archives: Iraq

Long day

But as I head to the slumber quarters, I wonder why this is not a bigger story on the intertubes?

Last full U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq

Ask me if I’m surprised

Big headlines today about reconstruction funds gone missing in Iraq. To those of us who have read and still read the reporting and books published since 2003, this is not news. But the Pentagon just released a new report from its Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction. Of  $9.1 billion allocated between 2003 and 2007, 96% cannot be accounted for. They don’t seem to be saying outright that it’s all gone missing; they’re just saying they don’t know what it was used for.

Hey, don't look at me or my guys!! Obama, Obama, Obama. . .

The BBC story noted “The US military said the funds were not necessarily missing, but that spending records might have been archived. In a response attached to the report, it said attempting to account for the money might require “significant archival retrieval efforts”.

Well, okay then.

I’m looking at how this is being reported. Once again,The Washington Post marches to the beat of its own drummer. As in all things Iraq, it marches to the beat of the Bush administration.

A brief review of the reporting shows:

  • The Washington Post article entirely devoid of links, even to the Pentagon report. It says only $2.1 billion is unaccounted for.
  • The LA Times article with numerous links, including one to the Pentagon report. It cites $8.7 billion unaccounted for.
  • The article at Think Progress is link rich, and leads with links to a number of the Pentagon report, quotes from the relevant Pentagon report, and cites the $8.7 billion in funds not accounted for. They also bother to point out that this is 96% of the 9.1 billion original allocated, a point made by the Inspector General.

A billion dollars a day

Imagine that! Let me say it again – a billion dollars a day. That is how much your country is now spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We’ve been in Iraq for over seven years and as any reader of this blog knows, we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years. A trillion dollars is just days away. At this writing, the total is at $993 billion. (That’s $158 million for my own county. We are fewer than 300K people.)

Afghanistan is a war the American people wanted. Iraq is a war George Bush wanted. Iraq has cost us almost three times as much as Afghanistan, where we’re still engaged – and where troops numbers and fighting has escalated . Oh, it’s the 218th day of the ninth year there.

Iraq has been a disgrace for America, whatever the near term outcome. The fact of it violated everything we preach, every value we’ve ever fought for.

I got what I wanted, suckers!

Even if Iraq ended up being the ‘Paris of the Middle East’,  it wouldn’t last. Lebanon was once the “Paris of the Middle East”. Today it’s a ruin. The endless military actions and power struggles in that part of the world won’t go away because yet another country got into the fight.

In spite of what FOX News (owned by an Australian), The Weekly Standard (owned by the same Australian) or The Washington Times (owned by the Korean Blessed Father Sun Myung Moon) said in 2003, Iraq was always brought to you by Bill Kristol, The Project for A New American Century*, and all the neo-cons who hide behind the guns in young soldier’s hands.

* The PNAC was co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997, with roots in the 1992 Pentagon. PNAC’s original 25 signatories were an eclectic mix of academics and conservative politicians, several of whom have subsequently found positions in the presidential administration of George Walker Bush. PNAC is noteworthy for its focus on Iraq, a preoccupation that began before Bush became president and predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 1998, the group wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (then Senate Majority Leader) and Newt Gingrich (then Speaker of the House of Representatives), demanding a harder line against Iraq. By then, the group had grown in numbers, adding individuals such as former Reagan-era U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and long-time Washington cold warrior/pro-Likud Richard N. Perle.

Oh, and Dick Cheney was a signatory as were Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dan Quayle.

Well, a very very very good morning

Ah, that's a bit better now . . .

Medicine, it appears, works quite well. I am one, who, when sick, crawls outside and hides under a shrub to get better or die. But yesterday I observed that hiding under my shrub was not bringing any positive results.  In fact, the dreaded pink eye had invited itself into both eyes. So after two weeks of coughing till my insides hurt and sleeping in spurts of two or three hours max, I returned to the walk-in clinic. (These places have improved remarkably – terrific place).

Turns out, as the 17-year old who claimed to be the “Doctor” said, I was ‘actually quite sick’. Well. That got my attention. I returned home an hour later, burdened with seven (SEVEN!!!) various prescriptions and miles of small type to read. I am now to follow a carefully scripted five-day regiment of magical potions.

About four o’clock yesterday I began the dosing as instructed. At 11pm, I became weary, went to bed and fell asleep. At 7am, I awoke refreshed. As I said medicines indeed work. Quite well. I think I shall allow them into my life in future on an as-needed basis. Learning new tricks and all.

So being unbloggy as I briefly noted a post ago or so, was much more than not being in the mood. Now it’s time to catch up, especially as our little adventure in Afghanistan is much in the news again, and our prom date from last year, Al Quaeda in Iraq, is back in let’s-party! mood.

My morning nap (doctor’s orders! doctor’s orders!) commences shortly, but first let’s be reminded that today is the 180th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

It’s even a good morning in Las Vegas

I found last year’s Sen. John Ensign sex scandal puzzling. (We have so many of  these – sigh.) The mystery was how could Nevada elect to the US Senate a guy who was still such a Mama/Papa’s boy? He gets in trouble and turns to his parents – his parents! – to bail him out by buying off the mistress and her husband.

Now, according to LasVegasNOW.com,  the local US Attorney and the FBI are in Las Vegas, spreading subpoenas;  according to the AP, a grand jury has been convened. They’re interested in much more than the sex angle. They’re focusing on Ensign’s own ethical violations, quite a few of which appear to be illegal.

In the more consequential world, there’s a real chance that Ayad Allawi might win the election in Iraq. This would be terrific news. He’s secular and his coalition is majority secular. If he fails, if Malaki is re-elected, Iran wins. Malaki is a partisan Shia and is building a deep relationship with Shia Iran.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the story is all about drones and suicide bombs and whether the Pakistani military is serious about taking down the Taliban.

It’s yet to be seen whether this is good or bad news for our troops in Afghanistan, where it is the 160th day of the ninth year of the War. And here is a stunning picture: it’s in Afghanistan, northwest of Kabul, looking toward the ancient Silk Road. More pictures, The Year in Afghanistan, can be found here.

Another congressman doing his job

You’re doing it Rep. Grayson, you’re speaking  truth to power. I’m glad you’re from my State.

I do hear you’re not the cozy snuggly type (and I say that in the nicest way possible) but I don’t care. Go ahead and bite the neighborhood dogs for all I care. But keep doing this:

Iraq? Um, where’s that?

There’s Afghanistan. There was Iran. Pakistan was headline worthy. And now Yemen – at least every American third grader can finally find Yemen on a map. We do move on, don’t we?

I was wondering this morning if electricity in Baghdad has returned to pre-war levels yet.