|Camp Iraqi Freedom, with especially low rates for qualifying refugees.
Iraq in flight: “Out of the population of 26 million, 1.6 million Iraqis have fled the country and a further 1.5 million are displaced within Iraq, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Jordan alone there are 500,000 Iraqi refugees and a further 450,000 in Syria. In Syria alone they are arriving at the rate of 40,000 a month,” the UK Independent reports. “It is one of the largest long-term population movements in the Middle East since Israel expelled Palestinians in the 1940s. Few of the Iraqis taking flight now show any desire to return to their homes. The numbers compelled to take to the roads have risen dramatically this year with 365,000 new refugees since the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samara in February.”
Pat Tillman’s brother Kevin blasts Bush and the Iraq war: “Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes,” he writes at Thruthdig. “Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground. Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started. Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated. Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated. Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated. Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated. Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe. Somehow torture is tolerated. Somehow lying is tolerated. Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world. Somehow a narrative is more important than reality. Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.” See the full piece…
Tony Blair gives Iraq 12 months for hand-over: “Amid mounting international concern over escalating violence, Mr Blair is expected to use today's Downing Street talks with Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Saleh, to discuss plans for an exit strategy for British troops, with some ministers openly contemplating withdrawal inside a year,” the Guardian reports. “In an attempt to demonstrate that the British army will not be bogged down in Iraq indefinitely, the defence secretary, Des Browne, said yesterday he expected that Iraq's security forces would have the capacity within a year to take over from British forces, a point also pushed home by the Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells. Mr Howells said: "I would have thought that certainly in a year or so there will be adequately trained Iraqi soldiers and security forces - policemen and women and so on - in order to do the job." But the BBC reports that Blair is denying the deadline.
Why Israel should grab Hamas’ truce offer: Rami Khoury in the Beirut Daily Star: “One of the endlessly fascinating and frustrating aspects of the convergence of American politics with Middle Eastern realities is evident again this season: the application of special rules of conduct to Israel that are not applied to the United States itself. One of the most common themes heard in discussions of US policy in the Middle East these days is that Washington should be speaking to the key players in the region - like Syria, Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah - instead of boycotting them.” See the full column…
Michael Kinsley on Bush as a bozo—and the journalism that enables him: “No Times reporter would ever dare write that President Bush is a bozo, anyway. What he or she would write is that according to a Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, President Bush is a bozo. Or that according to sources deep within the administration, who spoke only on the condition that they not be identified, President Bush is a bozo. And that turns the contention back into a fact - I mean, it's a fact that the guy did say it - so it may still appear unmolested by a lot of graphic semaphores. And think again: "President Bush is a bozo" actually is a fact, or a factual contention, once we agree on a definition of "bozo," which isn't hard if we are honest. You know what it means. One of the people best able to judge whether Bush is a bozo is the journalist who has been watching his every remark and gesture. Yet the reporter's views on the subject are supposed to be banned from the very newspaper that has paid him or her to acquire them. Either that or he or she must wear a yellow armband reading "opinion" in order to warn readers away. This exercise by the nation's most distinguished newspaper rests on the dubious double premise that opinions are inherently bad - dangerous, irresponsible, unpatriotic - but that their dire effects can be neutralised by simply labelling them as opinions.” See the full column…
Hungary, 1956, fifty years later: “For the West, the Uprising was a brutal lesson in hypocrisy. Nato leaders had trumpeted their commitment to fighting Soviet domination and broadcasts had urged on brave democrats beyond the Iron Curtain. But when the final, tearful plea for help came from Budapest in television appeals that were quickly cut short, the West did nothing. Preoccupied with British and French adventurism in Suez, Nato had to admit to a pragmatism that may have avoided a greater conflagration but which underlined the realities of power,” the UK Times writes. “The greatest casualty of Hungary, however, was the global appeal of communism. Communist parties whose credibility and membership had thrived on the defeat of the Nazis and the postwar social revolution were thrown into turmoil. The idealistic Left denounced Moscow loyalists and cynical fellow-travellers, who tried to justify the brutality as the “necessary” response to counter-revolution. The small British Communist Party lost a quarter of its membership, and some of the great names of the Left were for ever tarnished because of their refusal to denounce the Soviet repression.”