‘An Iraqi Vision’ — Obama on the Euphrates

July 21, 2008

This sad, ugly Wide World of War on Terror has gone from real bad to a mounting realization of a coming catastrophic turn for the worse, even as Barack Obama trips through Afghanistan and Iraq, gaining seemingly popular support, as US warfare tactics cause more and more civilian deaths.

After all this at the pad of Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s:

  • In Baghdad, a red carpet with yellow trim was unfurled at 1:50 p.m. outside Maliki’s residence, located in a part of the residential compound of former president Saddam Hussein that was dubbed “Little Venice” because of its lush gardens and abundant canals, complete with paddling ducks.

Maliki’s shitstorm Saturday that Democrat presidential hopeful Obama had the plan for getting the US military out of the country, and even despite a kind of non-step-back step back Sunday on his comments, continued today.
From the Washington Post:

  • Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama conferred with senior Iraqi leaders, U.S. officials and military commanders Monday, as a spokesman for the Iraqi government declared that it would like U.S. combat forces to complete their withdrawal in 2010.
    The comments by spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh mark the second time in recent days that a senior Iraqi has endorsed a timetable for U.S. withdrawal that is roughly similar to the one advocated by Obama. Dabbagh suggested a combat force pull-out could be completed by the end of 2010, which would be about seven months longer than Obama’s 16-month formulation.
    Dabbagh made the statement following Obama’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has faced pressure from the White House in recent days to clarify published comments that he supported Obama’s 16-month plan.
    Dabbagh declared that his government was working “on a real timetable which Iraqis set” and the 2010 deadline was “an Iraqi vision.”
    “We can’t give any schedules or dates, but the Iraqi government sees the suitable date for withdrawal of the U.S. forces is by the end of 2010,” Dabbagh told reporters.

Of course, Decider George’s White House had to respond:

  • “We don’t think that talking about specific negotiating tactics or your negotiating position in the press is the best way to negotiate a deal,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, suggesting that Dabbagh was reponding to domestic pressure.

Dana, old gal, we’re not talking about “a deal,” but about the Iraqis giving your asshole of a boss the classic middle finger.
The Iraqis want the US military out and apparently the only way to do it is to perform a sort of speed-up-the-process act by bringing US politics into the picture.
Decider George, Jackboot John McCain, the Republican Party — all in one hellva mess.
And it couldn’t happen to a nicer-bunch-of-assholes.

The problem now is both conflicts — the fatal, dangerous and dumb-ass invasion of Iraq, and the original terror-war in Afghanistan — are going tube city mainly because of the collateral damage to civilians.
In Afghanistan, it’s the war from the air.
From the Air Force Times:

  • Air Force and allied warplanes are dropping a record number of bombs on Afghanistan targets.
    For the first half of 2008, aircraft dropped 1,853 bombs — more than they released during all of 2006 and more than half of 2007’s total — 3,572 bombs.

    Information from the Air Force shows that in June warplanes released 646 bombs — the second-highest monthly total for Afghanistan or Iraq. The record was set in August 2007, when 670 bombs fell on Afghanistan.
    As high as those numbers are, they may understate the intensity of the combat.
    The statistics do not include cannon rounds shot by fighters or AC-130 gunships, Hellfire and other small rockets launched by warplanes, and assaults by helicopters.
    In close-quarter firefights where friendly soldiers could be wounded if bombs are used, cannon fire and missiles are often the preferred alternative.
    Inside Afghanistan at Bagram Airfield, the Air Force keeps a squadron each of A-10 Thunderbolts and F-15E Strike Eagles. From outside of Afghanistan, the Air Force launches B-1B Lancers.
    Also flying over Afghanistan are remote-controlled MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, both able to attack targets, and AC-130 gunships.
    Foreign warplanes dropping bombs include French Mirage 2000 fighters and British Royal Air Force Harriers, typically flying out of Kandahar Airfield.
    For Air Force jets, the preferred bombs are laser-guided bombs and satellite-controlled Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
    The most frequently used bombs are the 500- and 2,000-pound satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions and 500-pound laser-guided Paveway bombs.
    Unguided bombs sometimes are used, typically when the target is a safe distance from coalition troops and civilians.

And with all that killing pieces of metal flying and bombing and scattering all over the place, a lot of regular-kind-of-people are going to get killed.

  • U.S.-led troops and Afghan forces killed nine Afghan police Sunday, calling in air strikes and fighting on the ground for four hours after both sides mistook the other for militants, Afghan officials said.
    In a separate incident, NATO said it accidentally killed at least four Afghan civilians Saturday night.
    A NATO soldier also was killed in the east.
    The two cases of accidental killings could further undercut popular support for the government and foreign forces operating here.
    President Hamid Karzai has pleaded with the U.S. and other nations fighting resurgent militants to avoid civilian casualties.
    In the western province of Farah near the Iranian border, a convoy of foreign forces showed up in Anar Dara district and clashed with Afghan police, killing nine of them, said provincial Deputy Governor Younus Rasuli.

    In eastern Paktika province, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said it killed at least four civilians Saturday night when its troops fired two mortar rounds that landed nearly half a mile short of their target.
    NATO said it was investigating whether three other civilians also were killed in the Barmal district.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Iraq:

  • The US military said it shot two armed men and later found out they were both related to the governor.
    Governor Hamad al-Qaisi’s brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Saad al-Qaisi, said American troops stormed a family house in the town of Beiji, where the governor’s son Hussam and his cousin were staying.
    “They shot dead Hussam and wounded three others. This is barbaric and inhuman,” he said.

    A statement from the US military said its forces had wounded and captured an al-Qaeda financer in the house.
    “As they entered the target building, coalition forces encountered two armed men. Perceiving hostile intent … they shot and killed the men. It was subsequently determined that the two … were related to the governor,” the statement said.
    Local officials said Governor al-Qaisi had cut short a visit to Turkey because of the shooting.

As the US crawls out of Iraq, troops will be slowly be transferred to Afghanistan, but it may be too little too late.

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