Just read between the lines...

Red Text is the real story hiding between the lines.
Violet Text is a notable quote from a specific blogger.
Blue Text is my own personal commentary.
Gold Text is a link to the original sources.

One word of advice I would offer to everyone who reads this blog;

....Each and every day, take just a moment of your precious time to pray for Peace and Justice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Which of these three stories actually represents "PROGRESS?"

Kurds Protest Iraqi Election Law
The entire bloc of Kurdish lawmakers walked out of Iraq
’s Parliament on Tuesday to protest a proposed provincial election law, contending that part of it was unconstitutional.
The walkout by roughly a fifth of Parliament’s 275 members delayed voting on the bill, which governs provincial council elections scheduled to take place across Iraq this fall.
The dispute could yet be resolved quickly, but it introduced more uncertainty into preparations for the nationwide elections. Parliament will meet again on Thursday to discuss the bill, several members said, and talks are continuing in small meetings.
The walkout underscores the political power struggle among the Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen populations in the oil-rich northern province of Tamim and its ethnically mixed capital, Kirkuk.
The Kurds, claiming an ethnic majority in Tamim, have pushed to postpone the provincial council vote until a census is taken, a special agreement is forged or a constitutionally mandated referendum is held on whether the city should stay under Baghdad’s administration or join the Kurdish regional government.
Under the Constitution, the referendum was scheduled to take place by the end of last year, but logistics and the security situation have delayed the process. Many Arab and Turkmen lawmakers have insisted that Kirkuk vote at the time of nationwide provincial elections. The originally scheduled date of Oct. 1 for those elections appears unlikely.
The Kurdish officials who walked out on Tuesday said they had been prepared to vote on the draft election law, with the understanding that the only point open on Kirkuk was whether to delay the election.
But attached to the bill was a separate power-sharing proposal, requested by more than 100 Arab and Turkmen lawmakers, to create a provincial council in Kirkuk of 10 Kurds, 10 Arabs and 10 Turkmens, with 2 more representatives from the region’s small Christian population.
The Kurds contend that this arrangement, which had a good chance of passing, would not reflect their numbers. “If you already pick the seats before the election, why vote?” asked Mahmoud Uthman, a member of the Kurdish bloc in Parliament.
Mr. Uthman expressed confidence that an agreement would be reached but said the Kurds would not show up Thursday if the proposal was not removed.

Suicide Bombers Kill 35 Iraqi Recruits
After the explosions and fireballs consumed dozens of fellow Iraqi Army recruits in Baquba on Tuesday, a dazed Fawad Hamid found himself on a stretcher at a hospital, his chest perforated by ball bearings from explosive belts worn by the two teenage attackers. He glimpsed a hospital orderly, who grasped a human head.
“Who knows whose head this is?” the orderly asked.
Mr. Hamid had already lost his father to an insurgent’s bullet, and his home to an insurgent’s bomb. On Tuesday morning, Mr. Hamid, a 26-year-old father of three, drove to an Iraqi Army recruiting center in Baquba.
He arrived just as the two suicide bombers blew themselves up, sending iron ball bearings tearing through scores of young recruits like Mr. Hamid, killing 33 people and wounding 69. It was the bloodiest attack in three months in Diyala, perhaps the most dangerous province in Iraq, and it seemed calculated to intimidate Iraqi soldiers preparing to begin the fourth major offensive since last year to drive Sunni Arab guerrillas from the province’s lush palm groves.
The fireball “ate everything,” Mr. Hamid said, as he moaned from the pain of shrapnel in his chest. “I have lost everything and my life is nothing, and that’s what made me go to join the army to earn a living for my family, who would otherwise starve in the land of oil and thieves.”
For all the statistics showing improved security in Iraq, many parts of the country remain astoundingly violent, places where bullet-ridden bodies turn up every day and bombs destroy lives and families in an instant. Nowhere is that more true than in Diyala, where Sunni Arab extremists have found refuge in the verdant river valley northeast of the provincial capital of Baquba.
But in the aftermath of Tuesday morning’s attack, which struck more than 200 recruits at the Saad military base just east of Baquba, the wounded recruits and other survivors trained their fury at more than one culprit. The recruitment event had been advertised well in advance, but there was no security to prevent a bomber from entering the compound.
“Our sons were killed because they want us to live with integrity, and because they want to earn a living for us,” said the mother of one dead recruit. “The military killed my son! Why don’t security forces protect us? How do they let all these young men outside become easy targets for the suicide bombers?”
Abu Ahmed, the father of another victim, cried and demanded that the commanders of the base be prosecuted. “They knew the risks, but they did nothing about it,” he said. “Dozens of men are killed every day without any tough response from the government.”
Hours after the attacks, a Diyala security official admitted that the recruitment was badly planned. The commanders of the camp, the official said, “didn’t take any precautions to protect the volunteers who died in this massacre.”
That was a widely held view among recruits wounded in the attacks, which came less than a minute apart. “There was no checkpoint or any kind of security,” said Taher Ghani, wounded in his back and lower legs. “You could cross the main gate without anybody asking you where you were going.”
Mr. Ghani, who called the recruitment a “golden opportunity” to advance himself, described the aftermath: “Human flesh and blood flew in every direction in front of my eyes, and I fainted. One of my friends was killed, and the other is still missing.
“I just want to know who did this to us,” he added. “We are young and we want to live in peace, and we don’t want to steal or become criminals. We just want to live for at least for a few minutes in peace. We are fed up with life in the land of death and blood.”
One doctor at a Baquba hospital said two severed heads were found that appeared to be those of the bombers. He said wounds suffered by the recruits showed that the suicide belts “contained metal balls intended to cause serious damage and increase the casualties.” Eighteen of the wounded recruits “have serious injuries in the head and chest, with a possibility of losing some of them in the next few hours,” he said.
Iraqi officials have announced (since when did an intelligent military advertise it's war plans?) an imminent military operation in Diyala, one that may prove more difficult than other recent Iraqi campaigns. In operations in Basra, Amara and the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, the Iraqi troops faced Shiite militias, and all three operations essentially ended in truces that allowed militia fighters to melt away.
In the northern city of Mosul, United States Army Rangers and other American Special Operations forces, highly skilled in urban combat, have killed or captured scores of the city’s most tenacious guerrillas in unpublicized operations this year that have made it far easier for Iraqi troops to move through the city, which nonetheless remains dangerous and unstable. On Tuesday in Mosul, two bombings killed 12 Iraqis and wounded at least 17. (Far easier for suicide bombers to commit their terrorism?)

House Again Refers Impeachment to Committee
For the second time in as many months, the House has voted to refer a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) against President Bush to the Judiciary Committee. The vote tally to refer the single impeachment article was 238-180, with nine Republicans joining every Democrat present in favor.
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich). has said he plans to have hearings on "abuse of power" by the Bush administration, at which Kucinich would be invited to testify. But he does not plan to hold hearings on the impeachment resolution itself.