Monday, June 19, 2006

Kline: War Cheerleader, Not A Minnesota Leader

Congressman John Kline (R-MN), recently returning from a weekend visit to Iraq said he never heard a shot fired or an explosion. "You would think based on media reports that it's a raging gun battle. Obviously there is still fighting going on, but things are not nearly as bad as the media makes people believe."

Hmmm...a little 'fighting going on' with 2,500 dead and 18,ooo American troops wounded, and with Iraq's unofficial counts in the hundreds of thousands. And now the Washington Post has a cable, marked "sensitive," that shows the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painting a starkly different portrait from John Kline's visit. For Kline to continue to try and drum up popular support for this war by deceiving the American public about the "grave threat" posed by Iraq's (non-existent) WMD and then linking them to Al Qaeda ties (non-existent) is one thing but it's disgraceful, criminal and unconscionable to continue to send soldiers to kill and be killed in an unwinnable war for the sake of a politically inspired Bu$h agenda fueled by yet more deceit! Among some of the troubling reports:
  • "Personal safety depends on good relations with the 'neighborhood' governments, who barricade streets and ward off outsiders.
  • Iraqi staff at the embassy, beginning in March and picking up in May, report "pervasive" harassment from Islamist and/or militia groups. Cuts in power and rising fuel prices "have diminished the quality of life." Conditions vary but even upscale neighborhoods "have visibly deteriorated" and one of them is now described as a "ghost town."
  • Two of the three female Iraqis in the public affairs office reported stepped-up harassment since mid-May...."some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative." One of the women is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats.
  • It has also become "dangerous" for men to wear shorts in public and "they no longer allow their children to play outside in shorts." People who wear jeans in public have also come under attack.
  • Embassy employees are held in such low esteem their work must remain a secret and they live with constant fear that their cover will be blown. Since April, the "demeanor" of guards in the Green Zone has changed, becoming more "militia-like," and some are now "taunting" embassy personnel or holding up their credentials and saying loudly that they work in the embassy: "Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people."
  • "More recently, we have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames. In March, a few staff members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate."
  • The overall environment is one of "frayed social networks," with frequent actual or perceived insults. None of this is helped by lack of electricity. "One colleague told us he feels 'defeated' by circumstances, citing his example of being unable to help his two-year-old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in stifling heat," which is now reaching 115 degrees.
  • "Another employee tell us that life outside the Green Zone has become 'emotionally draining.' He lives in a mostly Shiite area and claims to attend a funeral 'every evening.'"
    Fuel lines have grown so long that one staffer spent 12 hours in line on his day off. "Employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without.....One staff member reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 24 hours of his appointment, her building had city power 24 hours a day."
  • The cable concludes that employees' "personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels, despite talk of reconciliation by officials."

A footnote in one of the 23 sections relates, "An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and their militiast are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq."

As a 25-year career Marine Corps veteran, Colonel Kline is a good soldier who only follows what the Bu$h agenda lays out, but Kline isn't a soldier on a mission anymore. Minnesotan's elected him to be a leader not a war cheerleader. We want someone who speaks power to truth instead of lies for corruption.

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