Tuesday, February 10, 2004

War News for February 10, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Car bomb kills 50 Iraqis at Iskandaryah police station. Bring ‘em on: Attempted rocket attack reported near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi bodyguards wounded in assassination attempt against pro-US tribal leaders near Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: One Fijian security contractor killed, another wounded in mortar attack at Baghdad airport. Bring ‘em on: Attempted pipeline sabotage reported near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi policemen assassinated in two attacks in Baghdad. Two US soldiers killed, five wounded in munitions accident near Mosul. Attacks against coalition military averaged 22 per day with three daily attacks against Iraqi police during the past week. Iraqis angry about US hostage policy. “’If they are dealing in the same methods that Saddam used to use, what have they come here for?’ the 35-year-old asked.” Good question. Over to you, Don Rumsfeld. Returning refugees cause ethnic friction in Kirkuk. “U.S.-led forces are trying to keep Kurds who lost their homes in Saddam's campaign of ethnic cleansing from coming back too quickly, hoping to avert humanitarian and political problems. Kirkuk, which sits on some of the world's largest oil reserves, is considered a difficult case in the political tangle of the new Iraq. Its inhabitants are made up of Kurds, Turkomen, Arabs and Christians. Rivalry among the three Muslim ethnic groups has led to bloodshed in recent months.” Analysis: “Generations of colonialism followed by Saddam Hussein's rule drove fissures through Iraqi society that are now widening as politicians and clerics appeal to religion and ethnicity in advancing their demands. In the angry clamoring of Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and of Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds in the north, many Iraqis, foreign diplomats and allied military officers say they discern the first smoke of broad communal strife.” From “embeds” to targets. “This latest report is not the first in which the military has ducked accountability in attacks on journalists covering Iraq. The Pentagon has yet to release a full report into its investigation of the shelling of a Baghdad hotel last April, in which two journalists were killed. And when a Reuters cameraman, Mazen Dana, was shot dead last August while filming near Baghdad, the military's subsequent conclusion was that the ‘regrettable’ shooting was ‘within the rules of engagement,’ but to date the details of the investigation remain secret.” The police chief in Fallujah. Regular readers may remember that the previous CPA-appointed mayor of Fallujah was arrested on corruption charges in November. This article includes this embarrassing revelation about the assistant mayor appointed by the CPA: “Worse, the mayor's chief assistant was accused last summer of calling in a mortar strike on his own city hall to scare off a visiting civilian delegation from the Baghdad-based Coalition Provisional Authority. No one was injured, but the assistant was arrested.” Actually, if the assistant mayor was calling insurgent mortar strikes I doubt if the intent was merely to “scare off” visitors. L. Paul Bremer sure knows how to pick the winners. Halliburton hires for Iraq contract positions. “The civilian wartime duty, hazardous and uncomfortable, offers a hard-to-find opportunity for blue-collar workers such as Hoehne: a paycheck of $80,000 to $100,000 and a chance to feel they are serving their country.” Halliburton subsidiary takes over Army postal operations in Baghdad. Let's see, Halliburton replaces a soldier making $20,000 with a civilian contractor making, say $60,000, add in profit for Halliburton, contractor support costs, transportation, and Dick Cheney's cut of this action and the question becomes just how is this particular contract in the taxpayers' best interest? Army Corps of Engineers changes its story on Halliburton's no-bid contract. "Faced with price-gouging allegations involving Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Army Corps of Engineers now acknowledges it alone awarded Halliburton new business in Iraq after initially suggesting experts from other U.S. agencies played an important role. The Army Corps of Engineers told The Associated Press that the Corps -- not an evaluation team cited on its Internet site -- chose Halliburton for a contract worth up to $1.2 billion. The Corps is refusing to release records showing on what merits it made the decision." Lieutenant AWOL knew he was peddling lies about WMD. "What that comparison showed is that while the top-secret version delivered to Bush, his top lieutenants and Congress was heavily qualified with caveats about some of its most important conclusions about Iraq's illicit weapons programs, those caveats were omitted from the public version." Whopper of the Day: Bushies say exporting jobs is good for the US economy. Commentary Opinion: The real voice of America. Canadian newspaper columnist gets letters. “I've received a huge e-mail response from around the globe in reply to my last Sunday Sun column. In it, I contended that George Bush's fabricated war against Iraq was a far worse crime than Watergate, and said the president and his men were either liars or unbelievably inept…Typically, half of my e-mail from Americans is hate mail of the vilest and most loutish kind from Bush-adoring rustics, neo-conservatives, and enraged religious militants. Last week, the vast majority was effusively supportive. In recent months, bitter resentment boiling up across the U.S., and surging public anger over Iraq, have become evident. More and more Americans believe they were lied to, misled and/or defrauded by the Bush administration over Iraq - which one witty reader calls ‘Mess-Opotamia.’” Opinion: Perle, Frum and PNAC. “Time could he running out for the ‘endless war’ brigade. Their loud-mouthed paranoia has ill-served the Bush administration. When push comes to shove, the American people may yet surprise us all... and pleasantly so.” Opinion: "The Bush administration is trying to evade accountability for its belligerent interpretation of the intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction that led us to war in Iraq last year. As citizens, we should not permit this to happen, despite the willingness of the major media to play along." Opinion: CPA bungling makes Iraqis demand direct elections. "Following liberation, many Iraqis, especially the oppressed Shiite and Kurdish populations, felt that at long last the country was coming back to them ­ that it was no longer Saddam Hussein’s Iraq but theirs. They were excited that a new chapter had opened and that a new Iraq was in the making, one that wouldn’t marginalize them. But ominously, a series of meetings on Iraq’s future was then held behind closed doors, and the people had only a distant vision of these, provided only by Arab satellite television stations. What Iraqis saw chilled them: American and selected Iraqi participants parading in and out of these meetings, occasionally issuing only the most general and noncommittal statements to the media. The rebuilding of the new Iraqi state still has not taken the shape of a real national project. So far, political parties recognized by the US have been scrambling to grab as large a slice of the pie as possible…Worse, some of them have a stronger commitment to Iraq’s neighbors ­ their old allies in the pre-war world of exile politics ­ than they have to building a healthy state." Editorial: "The polls suggest Bush has struck out three times with these ever shifting rationales. More Americans now mistrust him than trust him. Prime Minister Paul Martin must keep this flailing in mind, if Bush proposes to use force against other threats 'before they become imminent.' Americans were sent to war on false pretences. Allies don't have to oblige." Editorial: "The interview barely had begun when President Bush pitched his basic message: 'I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind. ... The American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is. And I see dangers that exist, and it's important for us to deal with them.' In fact, the president saw dangers that did not exist, and he dragged America into a war because of that mistake. He has tried so many times to justify it that each new remark takes the nation further from the truth." Editorial: Lieutenant AWOL's circular logic. "Sadly, George W. Bush's performance during a 'Meet the Press' interview on Sunday was lackluster across the board. By now, Americans are familiar with a kind of contagious unease they sometimes feel, watching the president fumble for answers. What was downright unnerving this time, however, was the president's failure to betray even a whisker of the possibility that he has learned something from the collapse of prewar intelligence on Iraq." Casualty Reports Local story: Wisconsin soldier wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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