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UPDATE: From a Friend of the Castle, in Iraq, who has spent a lot of time out-and-about on his current tour (the comments are worth reading, too):  "As a show of honor to the Iraqis who stood forth to vote, we began the morning with a playing of the Iraqi national anthem in the TOC. No Iraqis were there to know, but it was for them all the same. All of us know many Iraqis, work with them, eat with them in their homes."

The legs strengthen, the spine stiffens, wounds are healing; they are learning to stand on their own... and on the shoulders of those who gave their blood, sweat and tears for two countries.

Here at home we keep holding our breath, praying the gifts are put to good use. 

The pictures say it all:  Iraqi soliders assisting elderly voters, residents greeting American soldiers with respect and smiles on their way to polling places guarded and facilitated by Iraqis, the confidence and pride on the faces of Iraqi police and soldiers... 

One step closer...

Congratulations, Iraq

We are all human, and we are not perfect.  But we can all learn and grow and improve if we choose.  May we have all made the right choices, and may they be as proud to be Iraqi as so many of us are to be American today. 


No provincial elections will be held in Kirkuk.

The Sunni Kurds allied with the Shia Arabs are afraid that the secular Turkomans allied with the Sunni Arabs will garner more seats in the council and shift the balance of power over the oilfields towards Baghdad -- so they all agreed to hammer out new legislation addressing each faction's concerns and *then* hold the elections..

Three years ago, they would have started killing each other in the streets. Today, they're working together and talking things out.

And the dirtbag Old Ba'athists are fit to be tied over it...
That is awesome, BillT.  :)
Getting awfully *formal* since you got posting privileges, ain'tcha?

*ducking under poncho for the inevitable pthbbbbbt :P *

I've had posting privileges for almost a year.  *rolls eyes*

Bill's your name, isn't it?  Would you rather I called you Cutie Pie?  :D
No, he secretly prefers Sugar Buttons, despite the protests.

Obama thanks the UN for the elections in Iraq.

Jim B thanks Obama for NOTHING.

Jim, I had noticed that in reading news about the elecition, and I figured that the news stories had just left off that part.  It did occur ot me that it was surprising that hte only response from the WH was an official statement.  Kinda low-key, but I figured i just hadn't looked hard enough for his congratulations/thanks to the U.S. military as well...

Did a search this morning for the following words: iraq provicincial elections obama.

Closest thing I could find to Obama's acknowledgement of U.S. involvement was his stated appreciation for the "technical assistance" the U.S. provided to the Iraqi election commissions.

I understand that the goal is always to put the IRAQI military front and center, but it truly couldn't have hurt to say something like, "I am proud of the work of our mlitary men and women who have help bring the Iraqis to this day, one step closer to our leaving a stable and successful Iraq when we withdraw."  We'd all know it was a bunch of BS, not reflective of his real attitude, but there are times when a public lie in politics is better than a silent truth.

But no...

I have trouble sharing my thoughts about this without resorting to swearing and ad hominem.  I am so angry.

And to be honest, this was politically stupid on the part of the administration.  FOr whatever reasons, there are many people in the military who believe that Obama doesn't like them, doesn't appreciate them, and even wants to undermine them.  So, what does an administration who needs to improve its relationship with the military do?  Announce a 10% DoD budget cut on the day of a huge marker of progress in one theatre of war, and then refuse to acknowledge DoD involvement in make that huge marker happen.


I'm headed off to wash my mind out with soap for the words I've been thinking...
So, what does an administration who needs to improve its relationship with the military do?

Unless it believes it needs to improve its relationship or actually wants to improve its relationship -- nothing...

They seem to think they do, since Michelle Obama's cause is "helping military families..."
The Obie campaign billed her cause as helping all the *starving* military families who were forced to live in squalor under the G.W. Bush regime.

Which is one of the reasons you got that phone call a couple of weeks ago.
You trying to get me upset, again?  :P

(and for the record: As I said at the time, I do not believe the "starving" line came from the top.  It was simply the interpretation of a local volunteer who was obviously rather ignorant).
Okay, *maybe* an exaggeration for the sake of emphasis.



Snark me with my *formal* tag, and then ask if *moi* am trying to get *vous* upset?

Zut alors! Fermez la porte! Qui a libéré les chiens? Nev-aire, ma petite chou!
FBL - There are no starving military families...  In fact, during the recently departed administration, there was a new allowance added to make sure GI families did not get poor enough for food stamps.  In short, if they otherwise qualified, based on locale, number of dependents and pay grade, they received an allowance that put them back over the poverty line. 
I remember when I was stationed at Hahn AB, FRG in the 70s, the dollar started falling against the DM and we had it tight paying for groceries, heating oil and gas to get to work.  Of course, that was during the Carter error.  In the end of the Carter administration, we got a huge catch up raise, after the administration figured out that folks were leaving faster than they were coming in.
The military is a microcosm of the society from which it is recruited (of course the worse of the crazies are screened out), therefore, many of the current force bought in to the same microwave, instant gratification philosophy that has caused the current economic mess.  However, I don't think they did with the same stampede for the cliff that their civilian peers did due to the military's efforts to keep GIs fiscally responsible.
BillT - are you speaking French?  I would have thought by now you would have some Arabic to add to our cultural exchanges e.g. mafi mushkala... (be advised that all translation of Arabic to Roman script is purely phonics; there are no hard fast rules for letter to letter translation...
Oldloadr, maybe you weren't around for the brouhaha over that phonecall to which Bill is referring, so I'll try to explain:  I got a phonecall a few weeks ago from a local political volunteer wanting info on how she could organize a food drive for "starving military families."  I know there are no "starving" military families today (with the rare exception of unique situations with a number of factors, none of which are lack of salary or other compensation.).  Unfortunately, some people in certain circles continue to see the military and military families as a collection of victims.  I accused Bill of trying to upset me again by reminding me of that.

(Hope that didn't come off as pedantic.  I just wanted to be sure my comments are clearly understood since we've got politics and my association with several nonprofits intersecting a bit, here).
FBL - The confusion is entirely my fault, as I was around for that conversation (since I am even 2 more time zones away than BillT, it is often too late for me to add to the discourse as it occurs).  I was merely trying to give you ammo to use when you next contact some wayward soul who portends to be soooooo concerned about the plight of our warrior caste.  Also, I don't think I was clear in saying that even in the worse of the Carter years, many of us stood our ground and did our jobs because we understood that the military life is a calling, not a gravy train.
I know your understand.  As I said above, I'm just trying to add to your fact based argument when you come up against those who pretend to care about us, when in reality, they are trying to find another victim group to feed upon.
No worries, Oldloadr.  I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.  :)

Good amunition.  Thanks for the reminder--I'd forgotten about that recent increase...
FBL -  Ammo is what I do (along with some other stuff) hehehe... ;)
Look, as far as this administration is concerned, militaries exist to impersonally bomb people who don't look like them, and then occasionally jump out of those airplanes to rape the survivors.  Let's not kid ourselves here, whether or not they're saying "nice" or "mean" things, or nothing at all.  When they push for actually spending money on buying one single piece of equipment to let the DoD do its job, then I'll believe otherwise.  Until then, I think we should just EXPECT this.
Well upfront let me say congratulations most especially to the Iraqi people who have put up with the crap for these years and in their tenacity brought hope to their country.  Congratulations too, to the American and Coalition forces who worked long and hard under difficult political conditions to correct the mistakes made earlier and give those people the opportunity to take their freedom.

The problem is Obama's type of government prefers the Pity doctrine.  Pity the military rather than respect them.  In fact, pity many different groups.  We already saw a raw version of that with the bible clinging small town boomstick wagging no hopers he let slip before he was elected.  Praising the pitied is rarely done and usually only in a condescending manner.

The other issue does make sense though.  Even if Obama behaved in a manner that was supportive of the military, the attitudes are set in stone and he would not win votes.  Therefore he is not bothering to try.  As well if the best decision is really to cut DoD funding then cut it, pandering for military votes would be poor presidential behaviour anyway.  *If* cutting DoD funding is the best decision.  However the silence on the military's effort's being central to this election sucess is inexcusable and bad presendential behaviour no matter what angle you choose.  I do think the Iraqis and UN who apparently helped should get good praise in balance with their overall work.  I would not heap too much on the UN there but we do need to encourage something out of them.

Mind you, my personal choice is to reincarnate the UN though it's probably too late for that and Obama is definitely not the type to do so.

Here at home we keep holding our breath, praying the gifts are put to good use.

I too hope and look forward to their positive involement.

BillT - are you speaking French? I would have thought by now you would have some Arabic to add to our cultural exchanges

Be daxewe, min nanusim Ezani -- min enusim kem Kurmanji, supas.

Unfortunately you only know some kurdish?