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Jan 17th, 2009

The One Big Thing George W. Bush Did Right

Ron Edmonds / AP

By Robert Creamer
The Huffington Post
Jan. 15, 2009


History will record that George W. Bush made one critically important contribution to our country — and to the entire world. He and his administration provided unquestionable proof of the bankruptcy of radical-conservative ideology, and set the stage for a qualitatively different progressive era in American politics. …

By actually putting into practice the Neo-Conservative theories of pre-emptive war and unilateralism, George W. Bush demonstrated their failure more persuasively than could the most articulate progressive critic. …

[The inauguration of Barack Obama will raise the curtain on a new progressive era, heralding a transformational period American history (paraphrased).]

As for Bush, he will be remembered as the man who set the stage. He has played the Hoover to Obama’s Roosevelt, the James Buchanan to Obama’s Lincoln. …


Guards Said to Throw Party for Shoe-Thrower

Image: Iraqi throws shoe at President Bush
Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi throws a shoe at President George W. Bush during a new conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2008. (Photo credit: Evan Vucci / AP)

Jan. 16, 2009

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi journalist jailed since throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush got a visit from his brother Friday and a birthday party from his guards as he turned 30.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who has gained cult status for his bizarre protest, is in good shape but has been denied access to his lawyer, relatives said. … Thousands demonstrated for al-Zeidi’s release and hailed his gesture. …

“Yesterday was his birthday and some patriotic officers there organized a party for him and brought birthday cake,” [his brother] Dhargham al-Zeidi said.

The case became a focus for Iraqis and others in the Muslim world who resent the U.S. invasion and occupation. …

Charges could be reduced

Al-Zeidi had been due to face a trial in December on a charge of assaulting a foreign leader, which his defense team said carried a maximum sentence of 15 years. But an appellate court is considering a motion to reduce the charges to simply insulting Bush.

Defense lawyer Dhia al-Saadi said it was a matter of freedom of expression. …

Al-Zeidi’s act of defiance transformed the obscure reporter from an employee of a minor TV station into a national hero to many Iraqis fed up with the nearly six-year U.S. presence here. …

Al-Zeidi stood by his attack on Bush. He stressed that he meant no offense to the Iraqi prime minister but didn’t want to miss his chance to send Bush a message, the brother said. …

“So for him it does not matter for how long he would be imprisoned,” his brother said, “because the important thing is that he restored the honor of the Iraqi people.”


Related reports on this site

Iraq’s ex-speaker praises ‘brave’ shoe-hurler (Dec. 24, 2008; scroll down)

Brother: Torture drove shoe-hurler to apologize (Dec. 22, 2008)

Iraqi shoe-hurler asks for pardon (Dec. 19, 2008; scroll down)

Bush shoe-hurler sparks chaos in Iraq’s parliament (Dec. 17, 2008)

In Middle East, Arabs hail shoe-hurling journalist (Dec. 16, 2008)

Bush on farewell visit to Iraq dodges flying shoes (Dec. 15, 2008)


1/19/09 Update

Iraqi shoe-thrower seeks Swiss asylum

Debate arises over Iraqi shoe thrower’s future


8/29/09 Update

Iraqi shoe-thrower to be released early


Shiite Party Pushes for Self-Ruled Southern Iraq

Move would open the door to domination by Shiite-led Iran

Imaage: Campaign posters for the upcoming provincial election in Basra
Campaign posters for the upcoming provincial election in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo credit: Nabil al-Jurani / AP)

Jan. 16, 2009

NAJAF, Iraq — The country’s biggest Shiite party is hoping for a big win in elections across the oil-rich south to jump-start its campaign for a self-ruled region — a move that would transform Iraq and, critics say, give Iran its biggest prize since the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

To reach that goal, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council needs to win control of Najaf — which it wants as a future capital of an autonomous southern Iraq — when voters across the country choose members of ruling provincial councils Jan. 31.

But the Supreme Council faces strong opposition from other Shiite groups, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa party and followers of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Those groups fear regional self-rule, modeled after the Kurdish autonomous area in the north, would weaken Iraq, open the door to expanded Iranian influence and threaten the existence of the Iraqi state. …

The Supreme Council hopes to establish a self-ruled region encompassing all nine provinces south of Baghdad, but officials say they would settle for less if they don’t win everywhere. …

With the self-ruled Kurdish region already in a bitter quarrel with al-Maliki over the extent of one another’s powers, critics say another autonomous region in the south could lead to the breakup of Iraq along religious lines and open the door to domination by Shiite-led Iran.

The Supreme Council was founded in Iran in 1982 by Iraqi Shiites who fled Saddam’s rule. Its armed wing fought alongside the Iranians during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, and its leaders returned home after the fall of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime.

The proposed region in southern Iraq poses a dilemma for the United States, which for years counted on the Supreme Council as a partner in Iraq despite its close ties to Iran. U.S. officials have also encouraged Iraqis to consider giving more power to their provinces to prevent the rise of a new strongman after Saddam’s regime was toppled in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. …


Related report

Gunmen kill election candidate in Iraq


1/19/09 Update

The political dance in Iraq’s south

Al-Sadr’s followers eye comeback in Jan. 31 vote

Image: Poster of Muqtada al-Sadr
Muqtada al-Sadr


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Jan. 16, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

MOSUL – Gunmen burst into a house and opened fire in Mosul, 290 miles north of Baghdad, killing one woman and wounding two other people, police said.

JBELA – Gunmen killed Haythem al-Hasnowi, a candidate in Iraq’s provincial election, when they opened fire on his convoy near the town of Jbela, 40 miles south of Baghdad, police said.

ISHAQI – A roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded another five when it struck their vehicle in Ishaqi, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – A Katyusha rocket wounded a civilian when it landed near the local government headquarters in Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Iraqi police found the body of a Christian man with gunshot wounds to the head in northern Mosul, on Thursday, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb wounded an Iraqi soldier on Thursday, when it struck an army patrol in northern Mosul, police said.

MUSSAYAB – Iraqi police found the body of a policeman in Mussayab, 40 miles south of Baghdad, on Thursday, police said.

KIRKUK – Iraqi police found the bodies of three men bearing signs of torture and gunshot wounds in northwestern Kirkuk on Thursday, police said.



Suicide Blast Kills U.S. Soldier

Jan. 17, 2009

KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide car bomb attack Saturday on a heavily guarded road between the German Embassy and a U.S. military base in the Afghan capital killed one U.S. service member and four Afghan civilians, officials said.

A separate suicide bomber attacked a convoy of NATO and Afghan police in eastern Afghanistan later in the day, killing one civilian, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks and said German military personnel in Kabul and other foreign troops in the east were the targets.

U.S. military spokesman Col. Jerry OHara said one U.S. service member died from wounds received in the 9:45 a.m. attack on a busy Kabul street. The blast also wounded six American forces and one U.S. civilian, he said. …

Firefighters and soldiers doused burning vehicles in the street near the base with water. Afghan security personnel and U.S. soldiers carried a U.S. service member out of a window near the blast.

Four Afghan civilians died in the blast and at least 19 wounded were being treated at two hospitals, the interior minister said. …

The German Embassy shares a small, two-lane road with Camp Eggers, a U.S. base that serves as the headquarters for soldiers training Afghan police and army personnel. Dozens of armed Afghan security personnel guard the street, and blast walls of concrete and sand-filled mesh-wire boxes line the road. …

2 Responses to “What George W. Bush Did Right”
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