Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Iraq's Air Forceless, Iran's Abu Ghraib

Maureen Dowd
Kathleen Parker
Michael Lewis

“If Sarah Palin looked like Golda Meir, would we even be talking about her today?” - Mike Murphy

“They cannot turn this nation into a prison of 70 million people,” - Mir Moussavi

While Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been touring Iraq, it looks like the Iraqi military decided to show their mettle by attacking the People's Mujahadeen, an exile refugee camp composed of Iranian fighters who are opposed to the clerical government and have been fighting against it since 1979. It looks like they blew it and had to have riot police step in to help them, not very impressive for the dumbass in the government who ordered the raid. According to al Jazeera: "A raid by Iraqi troops on a camp housing members of an exiled Iranian opposition group has left four people dead and more than 400 wounded.

The Iraqi army had stormed Camp Ashraf to the north of Baghdad on Tuesday, but were forced to call in riot police to quell the violence when residents tried to resist. Iraq's defence ministry said the offensive against the People's Mujahedeen base was justified under a security agreement signed by Baghdad and Washington in November.

"It's our territory and it's our right to enter, to impose Iraqi law on everybody," General Mohammed Askari, the defence ministry spokesman told Al-Arabiya television.

The offensive followed a declaration by the People's Mujahedeen that it was ready to return to Iran if the authorities there would guarantee its members would not be abused."

It was also revealed that Iraq doesn't have any fighter jets in it's air force and, well, they really don't have an air force beyond a few helicopters and transport planes... Probably as part of a 9/11 paranoia, we haven't trained any fighter pilots in all of the time we have been there. The Iraqi military asked for some jets while Mr Gates was there giving press conferences in the 115% heat, according to the NY Times: "The commander, Gen. Ray Odierno, in comments to reporters traveling here with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, did not directly say that American planes and pilots might effectively have to serve as an Iraqi air force until the Iraqis were ready to defend their country’s airspace on their own. But he said that a United States Air Force team was expected soon in Iraq to assess what the United States could, and should, do.

Iraqis have already asked the United States for new F-16 fighter jets, but General Odierno said it would be impossible to build and deliver them by the end of 2011, even if the Iraqis were able to afford them.
Asked if the Iraqis would be in a position to fly their own defensive air patrols at the end of 2011, when a United States agreement with Iraq calls for all American troops to be out of the country, General Odierno replied, “Right now, no.” Yep, be careful what you wish for, why does Iraq needs fighter jets to strafe and bomb Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds, targeted by whomever happens to be in control at the time. Perhaps they might fly over and visit Israel? Or another Iraq/Iranian war? Just a really bad idea... While we're at it, why don't we also provide Somalia with some fighter jets...

Boy, the fun never ends in Iran, where, according to the NY Times: "The accounts of prison abuse in Iran’s postelection crackdown — relayed by relatives and on opposition Web sites — have set off growing outrage among Iranians, including some prominent conservatives. More bruised corpses have been returned to families in recent days, and some hospital officials have told human rights workers that they have seen evidence that well over 100 protesters have died since the vote.

On Tuesday, the government released 140 prisoners in one of several conciliatory gestures aimed at deflecting further criticism. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a letter urging the head of the judiciary to show “Islamic mercy” to the detainees, and on Monday Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, personally intervened and closed an especially notorious detention center.

The head of Iran’s Supreme Administrative Court, Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, said more prisoners would be released by the end of the week. He added that a “serious judicial inquiry” was being conducted into the deaths that have occurred in prisons since the June 12 election." It's interesting that they are having these debates over torture in prison, the parallel is America's reaction to Abu Ghraib; both countries believe that they are more humane than what is being revealed and try to take tiny steps to correct the situations. You would never find this kind of debate in other Middle eastern countries, like the ones we sent prisoners to because we knew they would be tortured during interrogations, like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.

If Iran can get rid of their fanatics in government and replace them with secular moderates, they could actually have a positive influence on the whole region. If we can get rid of the old racist white men in our Congress, we, too, could have a more positive influence, proving that we have a lot in common with whom we perceive as our enemies...

late night jokes:

"Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin resigned yesterday, and during her speech, she was heckled. Apparently, it was just someone in Russia yelling, 'Keep it down over there!'" --Conan O'Brien

"To ease tensions, President Obama has invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and the police officer who arrested him to join him for a beer at the White House. And if that works out, Obama's going to have Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu over for Jaegerbombs." --Conan O'Brien

"President Obama is hosting a delegation of 150 Chinese officials in Washington. Among the questions the Chinese have for the U.S.: 'What's your military policy? What is your stance on global warming? And where's our money?'" --Conan O'Brien

"Oh, now here is the big fun over the weekend. Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, stepped down. It was a moving day for Sarah Palin. She went out on her porch and waved goodbye to Russia." --David Letterman

"And I thought this was only to be expected. Sarah Palin took a swipe at certain people in the media. Gosh, I wonder who she had in mind." --David Letterman

"You know what they're saying, that President Obama is trying to do too much too soon. You have heard that criticism? They criticized him for trying to do too much too soon and the fact that he wears baggie jeans. No wonder his poll numbers are going down." --David Letterman

"But it's too much too soon. Just kind of the opposite of President Bush, too little too late." --David Letterman

"Yesterday, the 'Thrilla from Wasilla' officially passed the reins of power to her lieutenant governor at a picnic in Fairbanks [on screen: Palin explaining that she's leaving office to avoid a 'lame duck' session]. So that's the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom! Pit bulls don't quit and then try to pretend like their quitting is not really quitting because they are quitting!" --Jon Stewart

"By the way, when you have 15 months to go in your first term in office, I don't think that's lame duck status. I think it's just -- you're bored." --Jon Stewart

"Here is another thing you rarely see from pit bulls. Pit bulls almost never invoke our troops' ultimate sacrifice in order to silence critics [on screen: more from Palin's farewell speech. Palin: 'How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin' things up?']. Did I just get in trouble? Why do I think that Palin's concern for media accuracy is in reference to the Sarah Palin $150,000 wardrobe story and not the Iraq WMD story? 'Cause only one of those stories really has any bearing on American troops." --Jon Stewart

[On screen: more Palin, saying, 'Hollywood needs to know we eat, therefore we hunt']. Yeah, Hollywood! All you hypocrites at home, happy to eat your frozen wolf patties without wondering where they come from. Well, guess what? They're shot from airplanes for you!" --Jon Stewart

"It's a poignant evening. Yesterday, Sarah Palin stepped down as Alaska's governor. Yeah, I know. I know. The nation mourned the Alaskan way -- by committing manslaughter in the lower 48 and then fleeing to the Yukon." -Stephen Colbert

"At first, folks, I was devastated. And then I saw the bright side. Sarah Palin is free! She can finally spread her wings and fly! In a helicopter, to shoot wolves." -Stephen Colbert

"Palin resigned a year-and-a-half before her term ends because she didn't want Alaska to have a lame-duck governor. Now, she has a book deal presumed to be worth millions. And I cannot wait to read it. I believe on the tenth page, she decides since the book is going to end anyway, to leave the last two hundred pages blank." -Stephen Colbert

"The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would tax Botox. When Botox users heard this, they were horrified. Well, I think they were horrified. It's difficult to tell." --Craig Ferguson

"Over the weekend, the President of France fainted while jogging. First of all, what kind of president of France is jogging? He should be smoking!" --Craig Ferguson

"He's all right now. But for a couple of minutes, he was so woozy he mistook his wife for his mistress." --Craig Ferguson

"Yesterday, Sarah Palin gave her last speech before resigning as governor of Alaska. It was a very fiery speech. She was mad. I mean, she blasted the media, Hollywood, two bears and a moose." --Jimmy Fallon

"Have you guys heard about this? Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard professor who was arrested while trying to get into his own house? Well, to smooth things over, President Obama has invited Gates and the cop, Sergeant Crowley, to the White House for a beer. How cool is that? Obama is handling the situation like two of his bros got in a fight over a girl or something. They'll come over. One beer will lead to two. Two will lead to nine. Next thing you know, everyone will forget they were ever mad at each other. They'll start doing Jaeger shots out of Betsy Ross' thimble. They'll make prank phone calls on the Red Phone. Crowley will pass out. They'll put his hand in warm water and giggle. Then they'll all wake up in the morning with matching tattoos of 'Twilight' star Robert Pattinson. It's such a great idea." --Jimmy Fallon

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