Monday, February 16, 2004

War News for February 16, 2004. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded by roadside bomb ambush in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed, four wounded by roadside bomb in Baquba. Bring ‘em on: One US civilian missionary killed, three wounded in ambush near Mahmudiyah. Bring 'em on: Bomb at Shi'ite neighborhood school in Baghdad kills two Iraqis, wounds three. Fixing what’s broke in Iraq. First, you gotta change the dim bulb in the White House. Former UN Humanitarian Coodinator for Iraq says US policy in Iraq provoked insurgency. “While it may have started with ‘a few loyalists’, the discontent has gained more ground, he explains, when the people saw there was no promise of normalcy – ‘no electricity, no water supply, no allowing their children to go to school’.” Aftermath of Fallujah insurgent raid. “In Fallujah yesterday, little effort was being made to recapture the escaped prisoners. Instead, Iraqi security men were in a state of heightened alert after threats of an imminent car-bomb attack. ‘This is a terrible job to have,’ said Mohammed Abbas, 22, a local policeman. ‘Fallujah is too dangerous for the Americans to patrol in, so they've left it to us to get shot at and killed.’” Baghdad fashion maven and incompetent administrator L. Paul Bremer admits he doesn’t have a clue. “Mr Bremer insisted that Mr Bush's deadline to hand over power still stood, though he could not say how an interim government would be chosen. He said the Americans were waiting for the recommendations of an UN mission recently sent to find a way out of the impasse, under Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat. Mr Bremer said: ‘We're waiting to see what he [Mr Brahimi] says when he issues his report, hopefully in the next week or 10 days.’ He said the eventual solution ‘may be different from the caucus plan.’” L. Paul Bremer blames “foreign fighters” for Fallujah raid. Bremer can’t seem to comprehend that these insurgents are pissed off former members of the Iraqi Army that he and Wolfie disbanded despite the advice of professional officers, State Department area experts and even members of the Iraqi Governing Council. If you want to fix “what’s broke in Iraq,” start by throwing this ridiculous little peacock in fake combat boots back to his perch at the Heritage Foundation. Growing signs of impending civil war in Iraq. Analysis: Applying conservative crackpot economic theory to Iraq. “If prospects are as dismal as my analysis suggests, international contributions to the US-driven reconstruction effort is likely to be little more than money flushed down the drain. This does not mean that the world should abandon Iraq. But the international community should direct its money and other resources to humanitarian causes, such as hospitals and schools, rather than backing American designs.” Neo-cons plan to avert civil war by ethnic cleansing. “The Kurdish issue could explode soon in Kirkuk, an oil-rich city that is home to a volatile mix of Kurds, Turkmen and Sunni Arabs. The Kurds want to ensure that the population of Kirkuk has a Kurdish majority – in hopes of adding the city to any Kurdish zone of autonomy. They want to move out Sunnis who were forcibly settled there by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s in an attempt to “Arabize” the region. This Kirkuk relocation scheme is backed by senior Pentagon officials, who think it would defuse tensions. But Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief, is said to be wary, arguing that Kirkuk is too risky a place to begin any nationwide policy of relocation.” (Emphasis added.) Great idea, Rummy! That's how Milosevic kept things from getting out of hand in Yugoslavia. I hear he's relaxing in Holland after that smashing policy success. The Despot of Messpot threatens to veto Iraqi constitution if Iraqis want to include Islamic law. "Asked what would happen if Iraqi leaders wanted to write into the constitution that Islamic sharia law is the principal basis of the law, Bremer suggested he would wield his veto. 'Our position is clear. It can't be law until I sign it.'" IGC member wants new Iraqi government to try Saddam Hussein, who may soon receive a visit from the Red Cross. Iraqis arrested for smuggling suspected uranium near Mosul. The $600.00 Elections. " With a knack for improvisation and little help from Baghdad, Bradley, the political adviser for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Nasiriyah, has carried out what may stand as one of the most ambitious democratic experiments in Iraq's history, a project that goes to the heart of the debate about how Iraq's next government should be chosen…With about a month of planning -- at a cost of about $600 each -- Bradley organized back-to-back elections this past week in Chebayish and Fuhud, towns of dirt roads, stagnant puddles and cinder-block huts that border the resurrected marshes Hussein sought to drain in the 1990s. Banners in Fuhud that called voting 'a moral, religious and national duty' competed with Hussein-era slogans still painted on walls of the one-story girls' school. 'Down with the Jews,' one intoned." Reading this article makes me realize how badly Bremer has mismanaged the entire post-war administration of Iraq, and also makes me wonder what the United States could have accomplished with General Garner's original State Department team (which was replaced by Bremer's outfit after some palace intrigue by Rummy.) Garner's team was composed of professionals like Bradley and based its post-war planning on the US State Department's Future of Iraq Project. In contrast, Bremer's crew based their post-war plans on fantasies hatched at the Heritage Foundation, and his "team" consists of conservative ideologues, Bush business cronies and 90-day ticket-punchers. A few months ago I posted a column by Joe Galloway describing the interview process Doug Feith used to select senior CPA administrators. Candidates were questioned about their views on abortion and personal faith, but no weight was given to a candidate's ability to speak Arabic or regional knowledge. Commentary Opinion: "What kind of idiots do these people take us for? Having failed to find the weapons of mass destruction they allegedly invaded Iraq for, having failed to be greeted with open arms by grateful Iraqis, and having arrested only a handful of foreigners among the thousands of suspects they have rounded up since the resistance movement started blowing up American soldiers and local collaborators, do they really think that they can persuade us that this 'foreign terrorist' -- they have just raised the price on his head from $5 million to $10 million -- is the source of all their troubles in Iraq?" Casualty Reports Local story: California Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Rhode Island missionary killed in Iraq. Awards and Decorations Local story: Pennsylvania soldier decorated for valor. Local story: Washington State soldier decorated for valor. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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