Monthly Archives: September 2007

GOP Senators Seek Iraq War End As Bush Leaves

A group of Republican senators, several of whom are facing tough re-election campaigns next year, are proposing legislation which would end American combat operations and shift US responsibilities in Iraq to training a new Iraqi army. The shift would occur fifteen months from now to coincide with the departure of Bush from the presidency. Senator Voinovich is introducing the legislation together with Senators Alexander, Coleman and Dole who face serious fights to gain re-election to the Senate. Democrats have basically described the proposal as a nonstarter.

A tragedy of the Republican party is the failure to serve the best interests of the American people instead of the best interests of George Bush and his election campaigns. Now, those who refused to stand up for the nation may have to stand down as senators.

Bush Accepts Ethnic Cleansing As Iraq Solution

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told Der Spiegel that President Bush’s famous surge
is nothing more than a disguise to engage in an ethnic cleansing operation. “We have Balkanized Iraq” by building walls to separate Sunni from Shiite and Kurds from both of them. Hersh argues America under Bush deals with enemies by “Hitlerizing” them so Saddam Hussein who headed a nondescript army or Ahmadinejad who has scant control over Iranian armed forces are portrayed as capable of engaging in military operations akin to that of Adolf Hitler. The Nazi dictator controlled the most powerful army in the world which possessed the best tanks and a strong airforce. Two inept leaders whose armed forces could barely defeat a minor nation are being depicted by Bush as capable of damaging the interests of America.

Hersh casts blame on the American media for allowing Bush to sell them his pipe dreams and fail to do serious investigative studies of such things as the WMD. In particular, he things the New York Times failed to do their job. “They missed the biggest story of the time and they are going to have to live with it.” Hersh is doubtful if America has learned anything from the Iraq fiasco. “I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.”

Turkey and Iraq Near Agreement On Hot Pursuit

The last thing Iraq needs is another conflict, and there is a possibility of one arising unless Iraq can finalize an agreement with Turkey over the issue of allow Turkey to pursue members of the Kurdistan Workers party who are raiding into Turkey. Iraq wants to delineate conditions under which Turkey can pursue fleeing Kurds into Kurdistan, but Turkey claims the UN already allows a nation to invade another if it is engaged in an act of self defense. Meanwhile, the parliament of Kurdistan is furious over the Maliki government entering into such arrangements concerning a Kurdish issue.

Each passing day raise the issue of whether or not three nations should be carved out of the existing Iraq nation. The Kurds regard themselves as Kurds, not Iraqis and regard fellow Kurds living in Turkey to be their compatriots. There simply is no winner in this complex situation.

Musharraf Submits Papers To Run For President

President Musharraf submitted necessary papers in order to run again for the nation’s highest office although there is strong opposition to this goal. Roads leading into the capital city of Islamabad were blocked, most probably to prevent a demonstration by Pakistani lawyers against Musharraf’s effort to run for president. Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhey summoned police in an effort to know why the roads were blocked and why lawyers were not being able to demonstrate. He also ordered the release of over 200 political opponents of Musharraf. Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister, remained silent on the Musharraf move, most probably because she has come to an agreement with him that once he is elected he will allow how to circumvent the law which prevents anyone from being prime minister for more than two terms.

The good news out of Pakistan is that the nation has a healthy and determined judiciary system which is upholding the law. The bad news is Musharraf refuses to allow civilian leadership to once again be in control of the nation.

Military Panel Acquits Soldier Of Killing Unarmed Iraqis

A military panel acquitted Spc. Jorge Sandoval on charges he killed two unarmed Iraqis, but convicted him of planting evidence on the dead bodies in an attempt to cover up the shooting. Sandoval’s lawyer claimed he was only guilty of misplacing government property by planting the detonation wire on the bodies. It is clear both men were unarmed and had their hands in the air after they accidentally stumbled on a secret sniper hideout. Spc. Alexnader Forbes who was with Sandoval said they were told by Sgt. Michael Hensley the suspects were “our guy.” In May, Sgt. Hensley was involved in a case in which Sgt. Vela killed an unarmed Iraqi who had his hands in the air.

This is a sickening episode in the history of the American military. How can one be “aquitted” of murder but found guilty of misplacing government property by planting evidence to cover up a murder! If one is covering up an action doesn’t that indicate one knows there has been a mistake? It is these type of killings which enable insurgents to gain popular support within the Iraqi population. By the way, there is no mention of any officers being around during these incidents. Why?

Thai Muslim Rebellion Continues

The southern Thailand Muslim insurgency continues with killing a Thai general during an attack on trucks carrying teachers to school. The Muslim insurgents have targeted schools and teachers in their campaign to achieve an independent state in southern Thailand. A Thai officer noted: “The insurgents can still getaway with these attacks because they are supported by the people in the area.” There have been more than 6,000 examples of violent action since the rebellion began on January 1, 2004 and at least 2,500 people have been killed.

Thailand is mainly a Buddhist nation, but its southern half contains a large Muslim minority which believes itself blocked out from power. Southern Thailand is also among the poorest regions of the nation. The Thai government is making traditional mistakes in responding to insurgents by resorting to military action rather than political and economic efforts.

Russian Journalists Fight For Freedom Of The Press

Russian journalists in the Saratov region sent an open letter to President Putin urging him to protect freedom of the press which is under assault by the president’s political party, United Russia. A local paper reported that State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin accidentally had shot a woman with a speargun and was immediately charged with libel by state prosecutors. This incident comes after a paper printed a satirical cartoon of Putin and faces the prospect of not being able to publish any longer. The reporters believe United Russia is engaged in a full scale effort to crush freedom of the press in Russia and will not allow any criticism, however minor, to be printed in newspapers.

Russia is facing a crisis regarding freedom of speech and the press. Continued economic progress had made the average Russian less interested in their basic right of free speech. Putin employs subtle methods of silencing opposition to his rule.

Myanmar Troops Occupy Buddhist Monasteries

Myanmar troops swept into Buddhist monasteries, sealed off areas by locking gates, and placing barbed wire around many religious centers in their efforts to halt further protests against the military junta which controls Burma. There are reports at least ten people are dead although exiled Burmese believe the figure might be much higher. Southeastern Asian diplomats have urged the Burmese military to compromise and avoid bloodshed, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Asian observors witnessed hundreds of people beaten with batons, herded onto trucks and arrested where they most probably face further beating and torture in prisons.

Southeast Asian diplomats expect that once the monks are contained in the monasteries, the military junta will turn its attention toward protestors who were shouting, “give us freedom.” Unfortunately, in the absence of pressure or actions from the outside world, those who shouted will face brutality and torture.

Six Party Talks On North Korea Moving Forward

The Six Party group working to ensure North Korea halts its nuclear weapon program is making progress. The United States has finally halted its rhetoric of anger toward North Korea and agreed to focus on solving problems instead of worsening them. Chinese delegate Wu Dawei noted “we are faced with a new season of harvest” by working together in a problem resolution manner. Christopher Hill, representing the United States, says he will shortly present a new plan leading toward denuclearization of North Korea.

The apparent success of ending North Korea’s nuclear weapon program is an example of focusing on solving a problem rather than playing to the crowd with wild rhetoric. It is unfortunate that President Bush doesn’t use this approach in dealing with Iran.

Lebanon Paper Blasts Hamas Inaction On Rocket Attacks

In a blistering editorial, the Lebanon Daily Star, criticized rocket attacks on Israel at a time when the people of Gaza lack jobs and depend on UN food supplies. “..to make matters worse, the continuation of rocket strikes into Israel produces a steady stream of violent responses from the Jewish state that often claims the lives of the innocent. The editor notes the overwhelming majority of rockets cause scant damage and can hardly be construed as a form of resistance. “Their only function is to provide a regular pretext for Israeli attacks that have killed hundreds of Gazans…By allowing the rockets to keep flying, Hamas is allowing an irresponsible few to endanger and possibly destroy the dreams that so many have waited so long to realize.”

I agree with the Lebanon Daily Star. There is no evidence rockets are any form of “resistance.” Only one, which fell literally be accident, into an Israel army camp, caused any damage. Palestinians need peace, not war. Hamas would do more for peace by reaching out to form alliances with Israel peace groups than by allowing rockets and refusing to accept the existence of a Jewish state.