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A Few Facts About the Bush White House and Iraq Troop Withdrawal

History • Views: 23,354

December 4, 2008

Fact Sheet: The Strategic Framework Agreement and the Security Agreement with Iraq

To Ensure That The Security Agreement Is Consistent With The Capacity Of Iraq’s Security Forces, The Dates Included In This Agreement Were Discussed With The Iraqis, General Petraeus, And General Odierno - They Allow For The Continued Transition Of Security Responsibilities To The Iraqis

As we further transition security responsibilities to the Iraqi Security Forces, military commanders will continue to move U.S. combat forces out of major populated areas so that they are all out by June 30, 2009.

  • The Security Agreement also sets a date of December 31, 2011, for all U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq. This date reflects the increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces as demonstrated in operations this year throughout Iraq, as well as an improved regional atmosphere towards Iraq, an expanding Iraqi economy, and an increasingly confident Iraqi government.
  • These dates therefore are based on an assessment of positive conditions on the ground and a realistic projection of when U.S. forces can reduce their presence and return home without a sacrificing the security gains made since the surge.
Graphic: The Strategic Framework Agreement and the Security Agreement with Iraq

December 8, 2008

President’s Radio Address

MP3 Audio

[…]

This withdrawal will take place in two stages: The first stage will occur next year, when Iraqi forces assume the lead for security operations in all major population centers, while U.S. combat forces move out of Iraqi cities and move into an overwatch role. After this transition has occurred, the drawdown of American forces will continue to the second stage, with all U.S. forces returning home from Iraq by the end of 2011.

[…]

Graphic: President’s Radio Address

Related:

Bush’s finest moment on Iraq: SOFA, not the surge
by Marc Lynch

Peter Beinart today bravely repeats the emerging would-be conventional wisdom. Rather than simply denounce everything Republican, he argues, Democrats should admit that the “surge” worked and — uniquely echoing a thousand recent op-eds — was President Bush’s finest moment. I have a hard time imagining anything as tedious as rehashing those tired debates from the campaign about the “surge” — perhaps we could have another round of arguments as to whether the surge brigades arriving in the spring of 2007 caused the Sunni turn against al-Qaeda in the fall of 2006? But in the interests of post-partisanship, I am willing to offer an alternative as Bush’s finest hour in Iraq: the Status of Forces Agreement.

[…]

And thus I offer Bush’s willingness to sign the SOFA mandating U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and not the surge, as his finest moment in Iraq.

Read the whole thing at Foreign Policy.

At the 9/11 Memorial

Come kids, I want to show you where your grandfather’s name is…
History • Views: 25,503

This isn’t the first time I’ve been inside the WTC since the 9/11 attacks, particularly since I’ve been taking PATH since shortly after service was restored in November 2003. But it is the first time I’ve seen the completed 9/11 Memorial in person.

The fencing surrounding the memorial was taken down over the weekend and you no longer need to get a timed pass to enter the memorial (the 9/11 Museum is a separate issue, with a $24 admission fee imposed).

So, here are a few pictures taken earlier today of the memorial.


Looking across the South Tower Reflecting Pool.


Looking North at the South Tower Reflecting Pool


Stephen Siller, whose name is memorialized in the annual Tunnel to Towers Run to raise funds for responders.


Looking across the North reflecting pool.


The names of those killed in the 1993 WTC bombing memorialized on the North Tower reflecting pool closest to where the new 1WTC stands.


Rev. Mychal F. Judge, who was honored with being declared Victim number 1 by the Medical Examiner’s office.

Looking up at 1WTC from the corner of Liberty and Greenwich.

My observations of the memorial? The enormity of the attacks is hammered home by row after row of names, of those responding to the towers and to the thousands caught inside the towers or the planes that struck them. If you focus on the sound of the waterfalls, it is a serene oasis in the heart of a busy and bustling rebirth of Lower Manhattan.

But the most moving part is what you can occasionally overhear.

“Come kids, I want to show you where your grandfather’s name is…”

Considering that so many people have never been able to bury remains of their loved ones - more than a thousand people have never been identified from the remains that have been gathered at the site, these names are a silent tribute and memorial.

Cross posted at A Blog for All

85,000 Historical Films From British Pathé on YouTube

An incredible resource
History • Views: 13,145

British Pathé has posted 85,000 (!) short historical films at YouTube. A fascinating look at the history of the 20th century through the eyes of British media, before it was called “media.”

For a relatively recent example: “Arnold Schwarzenegger Wins Mr Universe (1969),” with casually sexist narration.

YouTube

This video is two archive reels in [HD]. Mr Universe 1969 + “Show of Strength”, International Bodybuilding Contest in Cologne, Germany 1966

Arnold Schwarzenegger flexes his extraordinary muscles for the judges in these two bodybuilding tournaments, one in Cologne in 1966, and the other (the first piece of footage) in London at the Mr Universe contest in 1969.

Mr. Schwarzenegger was a completely unknown figure then. Coe Boyer can also be seen in this footage.

Demolishing the Right Wing’s “Democrats are the Party of Racism” Meme

A little history
History • Views: 17,760

This image and others like it are making the rounds within conservative and other Tea Party-affiliated social media.

Rightwing meme on race

In favor of accuracy, below is a fact-check on each of these points:

Who started the KKK?

Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate Lieutenant General and war criminal (Fort Pillow massacre). He held no political office during his lifetime, so there is no indication as to what party he belonged to.

Who supported the KKK?

Southern conservatives formerly with the Confederacy.

To make this point perfectly clear, the KKK-affiliated “White Citizens Councils” are now known as the “Council of Conservative Citizens,” and have not changed their racist views at all. Claiming they are associated at all with modern Democrats is pure fantasy.

Who created Jim Crow laws?

Southern conservatives known as “Dixiecrats”. (See “KKK” entry for further details.)

Who enforced them?

Southern governments and law enforcement under the guise of “States’ Rights” - which is still a favorite among the Tea Party Republicans.

Who arrested MLK?

Assuming this is directed toward his most famous arrest in Birmingham, Alabama in April 1963. The Commissioner of Public Safety who directed the arrest, the denial of King’s Constitutional rights during and after the arrest, as well as directing acts of violence toward African-American protestors was Eugene “Bull” Connor, a pro-segregationist “Dixiecrat” who ran for Governor several times in the 1940s-1950s. He also was responsible for the arrest of (former) progressive Democratic Vice President Henry Wallace on the charge of violating segregation laws.

Who opposed Civil Rights Legislation?
Who fought against the right of black Americans to vote?

Southern segregationist conservatives. Here’s the actual voting record, broken down by party and geographic region:

Congressional vote on Civil Rights Act - by party and region - Source: Wikipedia (click to enlarge)

As a result of this vote and the one for the Voting Rights Acts - both of which membership of the Republican Party TODAY are fighting tooth and nail to repeal - Harry Dent, Sr, Pat Buchanan and Lee Atwater orchestrated the Southern Strategy to get Southern conservatives into the fold of the Republican Party. With the election of Ronald Reagan, this takeover of the party succeeded.

A Lost World: 1960s Afghanistan, the Photos of Bill Podlich

The fragility of modernity
History • Views: 14,701
Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul (AISK). The school no longer exists, although alumni stay in touch through Facebook and hold reunions every few years at different cities around the U.S. The next reunion will be held in Boston in 2013. “AISK’s last year was 1979, so the school had a 20 year history. AISK was located on the same campus that currently houses the American University of Afghanistan (on Darul-aman Rd in west Kabul). In 1967-68, there were about 250 students attending AISK and 18 graduating seniors.” - Peg Podlich

In 1967, Dr. William Podlich took a two-year leave of absence from teaching at Arizona State University and began a stint with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to teach in the Higher Teachers College in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served as the “Expert on Principles of Education.” His wife Margaret and two daughters, Peg and Jan, came with him. Then teenagers, the Podlich sisters attended high school at the American International School of Kabul, which catered to the children of American and other foreigners living and working in the country.

Outside of higher education, Dr. Podlich was a prolific amateur photographer and he documented his family’s experience and daily life in Kabul, rendering frame after frame of a serene, idyllic Afghanistan. Only about a decade before the 1979 Soviet invasion, Dr. Podlich and his family experienced a thriving, modernizing country. These images, taken from 1967-68, show a stark contrast to the war torn scenes associated with Afghanistan today.

More: Remembering 1960s Afghanistan, the Photographs of Bill Podlich

100 Year-Old Photographic Negatives Discovered from Doomed Antarctic Expedition

History • Views: 18,786

On Ice: 100 Year-Old Negatives Discovered in Antarctic

Conservators restoring an Antarctic exploration hut recently made a remarkable discovery: a small box of 22 exposed but unprocessed photographic negatives, frozen in a solid block of ice for nearly one hundred years.

These negatives were meticulously processed and restored by a Wellington photography conservator. Antarctic Heritage Trust executive director Nigel Watson said of these never-before-seen images:

“It’s the first example that I’m aware of, of undeveloped negatives from a century ago from the Antarctic heroic era. There’s a paucity of images from that expedition.”

The team from the Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZ) discovered the box in a corner of one of the many supply depots Robert Falcon Scott established for his doomed Terre Nova Expedition to the South Pole (1910-1913). Though Scott reached the Pole, he and his party died of starvation and the extreme cold on their return trip.

Also see:
nzaht.org

About President Obama Shaking Raul Castro’s Hand…

Famous handshakes throughout history
History • Views: 24,241

Some hand shakes and other hair raising associations through the years.

Margaret Thatcher and Robert Mugabe

Continue reading…

Wingnuts and South Africa - Jerry Falwell called Desmond Tutu a “phony” in 1985 (UPDATED)

The wingnut wayback machine was as dense in 1985 as it is now
History • Views: 20,333

I mentioned in a comment to LGF Reader Randall Gross’ page on the religious right and Nelson Mandela that the late Jerry Falwell stuck his foot in his mouth big time back in 1985 when he urged Congress to block sanctions against the Apartheid regime and called Bishop Desmond Tutu a “phony.” I couldn’t find video of his comments, but this story from the Los Angeles Times archives sums up what happened very well.

Both Falwell and [Richard] Viguerie—who estimated that their lobbying drives could cost more than $1 million each—asserted that restricting U.S. economic ties to Pretoria would only backfire, hurting black workers most while destabilizing the South African government.

“We see it as a fight between communism and freedom,” Viguerie said in an interview. “The idea that this (sanctions) is about ending segregation is nonsense.”

Meanwhile, Falwell contended that Tutu, a black Anglican bishop at the center of the current South African campaign against apartheid, has been rejected as a spokesman by most blacks. Tutu—who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent opposition to apartheid and white rule—has warned that a continuation of apartheid will lead to escalating violence.

“If Bishop Tutu maintains that he speaks for the black people of South Africa, he is a phony,” Falwell declared. He said that blacks he met during his trip urged more, rather than less, American economic involvement in their country.

More: Jerry Falwell and S. Africa - Los Angeles Times

———————————————-

Falwell and Jesse Jackson debated apartheid on Nightline on September 4, 1985.

Video

It’s Ernie Pyle Day in New Mexico!

War correspondent Ernie Pyle was an adopted son of of New Mexico.
History • Views: 20,097
Ernie Pyle (center left) with a U.S. Marine patrol during the Pacific campaign in World War II. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Soldiers looked up to Ernie Pyle, who stood 5-feet-7 and may have weighed 140 pounds.

Politicians almost never complained about what he wrote. Companies wanted him to endorse their products. Readers not only trusted Pyle, they rooted for him.

An adopted son of New Mexico, Pyle was the perfect war correspondent for his time.

Armed with nothing more than a pencil and a notebook, he went into battle with soldiers during World War II. From chilling, dark combat zones, Pyle fended off fear and wrote six newspaper columns a week that were distributed by the Scripps-Howard chain.

[…]

Nobody with so much skill in covering battles did it with so much heart.

Even so, Pyle was tormented by self-doubt. He worried that redundancy was crippling his coverage. For all his star power, Pyle was unimpressed with himself.

New Mexico disagreed with that assessment.

Recognizing his prolific writing, his sacrifice and his humility, the state Legislature in 1945 approved a law designating Aug. 3 as Ernie Pyle Day in New Mexico. Aug. 3 was Pyle’s birthday, and New Mexico was the place this native of Indiana planned to live after the war.

[…]

Pyle was just 44 when he died on April 18, 1945. He looked older. Battles are not easy, not the way he covered them.

Pyle’s plan had been to return to the only home he ever owned. It was at 900 Girard Blvd. SE in Albuquerque.

That house is now a branch library. A trip there allows one to request Pyle’s wartime books. The titles include two that are especially fitting — “Brave Men” and “Last Chapter.”

Read the rest of the article here: Ernie Pyle Has a Day of Honor in New Mexico - Alamogordo Daily News

In case you’re not familiar with Ernie Pyle, here’s the Wikipedia article on him.

…He was buried with his helmet on, in a long row of graves among other soldiers, with an infantry private on one side and a combat engineer on the other. At the ten-minute service, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were all represented.[5] Americans erected a monument to him at the site. When Okinawa was returned to Japanese control after the war, the Ernie Pyle monument was one of three American memorials they allowed to remain in place….

And here are his D-Day columns, collected at the Indiana University School of Journalism’s online home for information and history about Ernie Pyle.

[…]

Now that it is over it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all. For some of our units it was easy, but in this special sector where I am now our troops faced such odds that our getting ashore was like my whipping Joe Louis down to a pulp.

In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.

Ashore, facing us, were more enemy troops than we had in our assault waves. The advantages were all theirs, the disadvantages all ours. The Germans were dug into positions that they had been working on for months, although these were not yet all complete. A one-hundred-foot bluff a couple of hundred yards back from the beach had great concrete gun emplacements built right into the hilltop. These opened to the sides instead of to the front, thus making it very hard for naval fire from the sea to reach them. They could shoot parallel with the beach and cover every foot of it for miles with artillery fire.

[…]

May he serve as an inspiration to journalists always and everywhere.

Memorial Day 2013

In Memoriam
History • Views: 24,665

While so many Americans are busy enjoying the weather, grilling and barbequing or watching major sporting events, we should remember what Memorial Day is all about.

All gave some. Some gave all.

Remember those who fought in defense of the nation and those who made the supreme sacrifice. Words cannot fully explain what these men and women have left behind - both in terms of the loss to their family and friends, and what a grateful nation has gained from defending the freedoms that many still take for granted despite being born from the blood, sweat, and tears of these men and women.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Taken 3/2005

So, while many of us sit back and enjoy the barbecues, the Indy 500, baseball, and other sporting events, take a few moments to remember all those who served and made it possible and who are no longer with us.

[Cross-posted at A Blog For All.]

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