Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend in Review

There were just so many stories that broke over the weekend, I thought I'd send you a little "weekend in review" with a compilation of stories that caught my eye since Friday afternoon. BTB, I've had plenty of time on my hands as Tulsa has been essentially closed down with an ice storm this weekend. Not even sure whether I'll be able to get to work tomorrow - we are working even though it's MLK Jr. Day ;-(
Take care and stay warm - you, West Coast Wussie, you...
Faye in Icy, Frigid Tulsa, OK

Afghanistan Suffers as More Troops are Sent to Iraq...
"Already, a U.S. Army infantry battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks in order to deploy to Iraq." In a January 11 article ( reporting that "U.S. commanders [in Afghanistan] have issued a request for reinforcements against a resurgence of Taliban fighters," Stars & Stripes observed that, based on the Sun's report of a battalion move (,0,3288686.story?coll=bal-attack-headlines), "[t]he 'surge' option in Iraq also could have a direct impact on the mission in Afghanistan."

Bush Tries to Woo Conservative Republicans to the "Surge"...
"We're aware public support is dwindling, and if we're going to ask the American people to sacrifice even more, we want to have a level of comfort,'' said Putnam, who along with other Republican leaders was invited to spend part of the weekend at Camp David with Bush." [emphasis added]
Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, Florida
as quoted by LESLEY CLARK, Miami Herald, Sat. Jan. 13, 2007

Coalition Partners Look to Scale Back
Citizens in Many Nations Want Troops Home

By William J. Kole AP - Associated Press January 13, 2007
VIENNA, Austria · The Italians have left, and the Slovaks are about to. Britons want to start getting out, and so do Danes and South Koreans.President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops into Iraq has not inspired America's coalition partners to follow suit. Washington's top war partners, London and Seoul, are looking to draw down their forces, and they are not alone.U.S. forces in Iraq, which now number 132,000 and would swell to 153,500 under Bush's strategy, are supported by 15,857 mostly noncombat troops from 25 nations. reduceIn the months after the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the multinational force peaked at about 300,000 soldiers from 38 countries -- 250,000 from the United States, about 40,000 from Britain, and the rest ranging from 2,000 Australians to 70 Albanians.American forces have always shouldered most of the burden and suffered most of the casualties in Iraq.Some say there is little point in boosting forces in the largely Shiite south, where most non-U.S. coalition troops are concentrated. Yet as more countries draw down or pull out, it could create a security vacuum if radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stirs up trouble there.Italy, once the third-largest partner with 3,000 troops in southern Iraq, brought the last of its soldiers home last month.Now Britain, America's chief ally, hopes to cut its 7,000-member force in the southern city of Basra by several thousand in the first half of the year. Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing to announce a withdrawal of about 2,600 soldiers, the Financial Times reported Friday."As for the future shape in the coalition, there continue to be coalition forces operating in Iraq," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday in Washington. "The South Koreans, the Japanese, others have re-upped their forces again to continue operating in Iraq. And there is a NATO training mission for officers in Iraq. And so, I think you'll continue to see that kind of international support."Fact check: South Korea, the current No. 3 contributor, plans to halve its 2,300-member contingent in the northern city of Irbil by April, and is under pressure from parliament to devise a plan for a complete withdrawal by year's end.And Japan has not "re-upped" yet, though news reports Friday said the Japanese government was considering extending a special law that authorizes the deployment of its 600-member humanitarian mission for another year.Poland has extended the mission of its 900 troops through the end of 2007. But most of the other coalition members that have extended their commitments are small, mostly symbolic contributors. They include the Czech Republic, which has 100 military police in Iraq; Armenia, with 46 peacekeepers under Polish command; and the 40 Estonian infantry serving with U.S. forces in Baghdad.Denmark is trying to scale back its 470-troop contingent serving near the southern city of Basra. Six Danish soldiers have been killed since the 2003 deployment, and recent surveys show six in 10 Danes want out of Iraq.Ordinary citizens in Slovakia, which is bringing home its 103 soldiers early next month, know the feeling."It's an American war, and we have nothing to do with it," said Mikulas Krkolak, a bartender in Bratislava.

Here's a righteous piece on the current inhabitants of the white house and their ceaseless attempt to ignore, if not completely destroy, the Constitution. I think it's worth reading the entire piece on the air... if you feel so inclined... in any case here it is:

Editorial NYTimes
Round Up the Usual Lawyers
Published: January 13, 2007
No one who has followed President Bush’s policies on detainees should be surprised when a member of his team scorns American notions of justice. But even by that low standard, the administration’s new attack on lawyers who dare to give those prisoners the meager representation permitted them is contemptible.Speaking this week on Federal News Radio, a Web site and AM radio station offering helpful hints for bureaucrats and helpful news for the administration, Cully Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, tried to rally American corporations to stop doing business with law firms that represent inmates of the Guantánamo internment camp. It does not seem to matter to Mr. Stimson, who is a lawyer, that a great many of those detainees did not deserve imprisonment, let alone the indefinite detention to which they are subjected as “illegal enemy combatants.” And forget about the fundamental American right that everyone should have legal counsel, even the most heinous villain.In his interview, reported yesterday by The Washington Post editorial page, Mr. Stimson rattled off some of the most respected law firms in the country that, after initial hesitation, have courageously respected that right. He called it “shocking” that they were “representing detainees down there” and suggested that when corporate America got word of this dastardly behavior, “those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms.” He added: “We want to watch that play out.”When his interviewer asked who was paying these firms for the work, Mr. Stimson said, “It’s not clear, is it?” Actually, it is quite clear. Mr. Stimson surely knows that the vast majority of those cases are being handled for free by law firms that have not signed on to Mr. Bush’s post-9/11 revision of the American rules of justice. Still, he persisted, saying some lawyers were “receiving monies from who knows where.”The interview was a greatest-hits remix of Bush administration nonsense about Guantánamo, including Mr. Stimson’s message to corporate executives that lawyers “are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line in 2001.” The only terrorists at Guantánamo associated with 9/11 were transferred there recently after being held for years in secret C.I.A. prisons where no lawyer could enter.
Not only do we find Mr. Stimson’s threats appalling, we differ with him about 9/11. The tragedy and crime of that day was that thousands of innocents were slaughtered — not that it hurt some companies’ profit margins.

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