Winning hearts and minds in Iraq. Iraqis condemn American demands, reports the Washington Post. Iraqi politicians are denouncing Bush’s “demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely. Top Iraqi officials are calling for a radical reduction of the U.S. military’s role here after the U.N. mandate authorizing its presence expires at the end of this year.”
“The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,” said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament’s foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “If we can’t reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, ‘Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don’t need you here anymore.‘ “
Elsewhere in Iraq, the BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions. “A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.” Using “US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding. A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations. The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies. While Presdient George W Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.”
Winning hearts and minds in Pakistan. The Washington Post reports that Pakistan is blaming the U.S. for killing 11 soldiers.
At least 11 Pakistani soldiers and 10 other people were killed in northwest Pakistan in a border clash that erupted during a military operation led by U.S.-supported Afghan forces, Pakistani military officials said Wednesday.
The Pakistani army blamed the troop deaths on a U.S. airstrike and condemned an attack it said “had hit at the very basis of cooperation” in the countries’ joint battle against terrorism.
The army statement called the airstrike “unprovoked and cowardly” and said that Pakistan’s army maintained “the right to protect our citizens and soldiers against aggression.”
Meanwhile the LA Times reports Michael Mullen says action unlikely against militants in Pakistan. “Any future terrorist attack on the United States probably would originate in Pakistan’s western tribal regions, where Al Qaeda leaders have set up their most secure haven since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the top U.S. military officer said Tuesday. But Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said action to forcibly disrupt the militants’ planning effort is unlikely for now.”
Whoops! It looks like Adm. Mullen spoke a day too soon. Good thing we’re pissing of the Pakistanis and occupying Iraq.
Four at Four continues winning hearts and minds of American rockers and championing democracy around the world. Plus a bonus story about gardening to mitigate rising food costs.