Friday, March 17, 2006

Dead Skunk Friday: All the Bad News That's Fit to Print

Another funky Friday, as chronicled in today's New York Times.

Violence in Iraq: It's Not Just for Sunnis and Shiites Anymore

It seems that all is not peace, love and understanding in the northern Kurdish region. NYT's Robert Worth reports on civil unrest in Halbaja:
For nearly two decades, Kurds have gathered peacefully in this mountainous corner of northern Iraq to commemorate one of the blackest days in their history. It was here that Saddam Hussein's government launched a poison gas attack that killed more than 5,000 people on March 16, 1988.

So it came as a shock when hundreds of stone-throwing protesters took to the streets here Thursday on the anniversary, beating back government guards to storm and destroy a museum dedicated to the memory of the Halabja attack.

The violence, pitting furious local residents against a much smaller force of armed security men, was the most serious popular challenge to the political parties that have ruled Iraqi Kurdistan for the past 15 years.

It sounds like things are getting serious over there.

Iraq, Iran, I Waffle…

Last week, Secretary of State Condi Rice declared that the United States faces "no greater challenge" than Iran. Yesterday, the United States and Iran agreed to hold direct talks on ways to stop the sectarian violence in Iraq.

But don't get the idea things between America and Iran have gone lovey-dovey all of a sudden. "This isn't a negotiation of some kind," said Rice, indicating that the talks on Iraq would have no bearing on U.S. attitudes on Iran's nuclear program.

Sure. The next thing you know, Iran will be part of the "coalition of the willing." Do you think that will get them off the "axis of evil" list?

Coalition of the Not So Willing

Steven Weisman says that high profile Republicans are expressing concerns that the Bush administration is promoting democracy around the world at the "expense of protecting other American interests." Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Henry Kissinger, and Brent Scowcroft "are alarmed at the costs of military operations and of nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan." They're also concerned over the electoral victories that Hamas and other radical groups have gained in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Put It on Our Tab

Carl Hulse tells of the Senate approving a $2.8 trillion federal budget, and voting to increase the debt ceiling to $9 trillion to avert a government default.

Across the hall, the House approved $92 billion in war and Katrina recovery spending.

As of this morning, the national debt is $ 8.274 trillion.


If you're looking for someone to blame for all this bad news, blame the Times for reporting it. You won't be the only one who does.

And Now: the Good News

On MSNBC General Peter Chiaralli said Operation Swarmer was aimed to strike at the heart of the Iraqi insurgency effort. MSNBC also said the military reported that there was no resistance to the operation. U.S. and Iraqi forces captured 40 suspected insurgents, but later released 10 of them.

Something sounds fishy about this story. But don't climb all over MSNBC about it. They're just passing along what the military told them.

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