Let’s see…lots of news on Iraq and the state of politics in this country today.
— The Salt Lake Tribune is featuring an op-ed by Rep. Louise Slaughter about the sham Rubber Stamp Republican non-binding resolution that was passed on Friday solely for political purposes. Guess even the reddest of red states is getting tired of being manipulated by a Congress and a Senate leadership who put more effort into Seersucker Thursday, and a House leadership that keeps playing bait and switch with members of their own party to stifle discussion of the facts on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere than they have in honest debate on the real issues facing this nation.
— Prof. Juan Cole has a round-up of details from the ground in Iraq. Not pretty.
— The WaPo (PDF) has gotten their hands on an incredibly disturbing memo from embassy folks to the State Department back home, detailing how difficult the lives of their Iraqi embassy employees are these days. Read it, and tell me that women’s rights aren’t going backward, with safety and community and everyday life taking a backseat to more and more chaos on the ground. Heckuva job, Bushie. Warning: it’s a disturbing read. Imagine being any of these people — especially when you get to the part of the Iraqi employees asking if the US embassy is evacuated, if plans have been made to airlift them out as well. Oh yeah, I got yer non-civil war stability right here. (Note to the GOP in the House: THIS is the sort of thing that deserves some oversight and debate. Do your damn jobs, or we’ll find someone who will this fall.) (H/T to Laura Rozen and numerous readers on this one.)
— Also in the WaPo today is a portrait of fatherhood in today’s Iraq.
Abu Omar, an electrician who lives in the Baghdad neighborhood of Saydiyah — a Sunni Arab enclave where insurgents move freely — said he returns from work in the late afternoon and stays up until well past midnight hoping the explosions and firefights remain at a safe distance from his son and other family members.
"If there is any danger, I am the first to stand in the face of that danger and keep him home with me," he said. "You cannot hope for the police because sometimes they are the ones committing crimes."
His son Omar, 26, has not left the house in months, since word began to circulate that Shiite Muslim militia members, some believed to be police officers, were targeting men with his name, a common one for Sunnis. His daughter moved to Amman, Jordan, after her brother-in-law was kidnapped and the family had to pay a $30,000 ransom.
As bombings became more prevalent in his neighborhood in recent months, Abu Omar convened 10 fathers and formed a mutual-protection pact. If anyone’s home was attacked, they agreed, all would come to its defense. He has since started keeping an AK-47 assault rifle by his bed while he sleeps.
"The system works. A couple of weeks ago, someone knocked on my door after midnight. I shouted, ‘Who’s there?’ I heard a woman’s voice shout back, but I was sure it was not a woman," he said. Abu Omar called a neighbor for help. The neighbor climbed on his roof for a better view and saw a bearded man dressed in a traditional woman’s robe and head scarf, while another man waited in a nearby car. After a few warning shots, the men fled….
— No news as yet about the soldiers missing in Iraq after the ambush at the checkpoint yesterday. (See here and here for information on the ongoing search.) But Tony Snow would like us to stop talking about it because, you know, it makes people think the President is doing a crappy job in Iraq and that’s just not helpful to the…erm…President who just wants everyone to like him. Oh yeah, great booking Mr. Snow Job on all those morning shows so he could put his big foot in his mouth yet again.
— Taylor has a great discussion on why our current Administration’s policies continue to make things worse.
— More details on harsh interrogation techniques being employed.
— And this from the "coalition of the willing" front: Japan is likely pulling its troops out of Iraq as well.
— Lest everyone else forget about Afghanistan (well, lest the Bush Administration be allowed to think we have, anyway), things continue to get worse there as well.
I could keep going, but I’m giving myself a headache reading the news on this. Please feel free to share tidbits that you’ve found this morning, or that you heard on the talk shows. The sham that the House put on last week makes me more and more angry — especially given the reality in Iraq and elsewhere, and the mess the Bush Administration has made of America’s reputation and foreign policy initiatives.