Tuesday, March 23, 2004

War News for March 23, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Fourteen British soldiers wounded during rioting in Basra. Bring ‘em on: Chief of police assassinated in Balad. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed, two wounded in drive-by shooting in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Rockets fired at US base near Kirkuk. Bring 'em on: Five Iraqi police trainees killed in ambush near Hilla. Bring 'em on: US troops open fire to disperse protestors in Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police station bombed near al-Hindia. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi judge assassinated near Hilla. CPA reports that during the past week, there have been an average of 21 attacks against Coalition troops and two attacks against Iraqi security forces each day. Sectarian violence escalates. “A series of attacks on Sunni and Shi'ite neighborhood mosques and religious figures this month has killed about a dozen people and prompted clerics of the two Muslim sects to publicly proclaim their solidarity. Privately, they worry that they are seeing the start of the sectarian conflict they have dreaded since the end of Saddam Hussein's iron rule.” National Guard recruiting and retention damaged by Bush’s War. “Maj. Richard Kaley, a recruiter for the Rhode Island National Guard, reports that ever since October the stream of Rhode Islanders signing up for the Guard has slowed. ‘We're about 25 percent off for the first quarter,’ he told Nightline. Almost everyone Nightline talked to agreed it was the announcement in September that guardsmen would serve a full year in Iraq that has affected both recruitment and re-enlistment.” Guarding the oil pipelines. US business association sounds off. "A US business group that monitors federal spending took out a full-page advert in The New York Times, likening President George W. Bush to a corrupt chief executive officer who has forfeited public trust. Timed to coincide with the weekend anniversary of the US-led war against Iraq, the advertisement -- paid for by Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities -- said Bush's case for invasion 'was built entirely out of falsehoods.'" Croatia abandons plans to send troops to Iraq. War story. “Just last month Turner, a 101st Airborne Division soldier, was honored with the Silver Star medal for saving at least two lives in combat. Today he is out of the Army, driving a borrowed car and sleeping at a friend's house. The smile he beamed at the medal ceremony masked months of problems he says he experienced since returning home with battle wounds: a suicide attempt, along with flashbacks and nightmares so bad he resorted to binge drinking to fall asleep.” Turner is 23 years old. Commentary Editorial: “The question that remains is not whether Clarke's allegations are accurate in every detail. His is only one side of the debate. The overriding question is whether the United States' war on terror has benefited in some measurable way from the war in Iraq. So far, the answer is no.” Analysis: “The exquisite irony of an Iraqi grand ayatollah showing a sustained commitment to elections and democratic constitution-making while the American who rules Iraq in the name of bringing freedom manoeuvres to keep US-appointed officials in power for almost another year captures the deep contradictions that have confounded this occupation.” Opinion: "The war in Iraq -- allegedly part of Bush's war against terrorism -- is inspiring more horrific acts elsewhere. The train bombings in Madrid killed 202 people; the car bombing in Baghdad earlier this week killed more civilians. The terrorist acts and the U.S. diminished credibility appear to be weakening the will of the so-called 'coalition of the willing.' Spain's newly elected President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is ready to pull Spain's 1,300 troops out of Iraq by June 30 if the United Nations is not given a bigger role." Analysis: "The INC, in the letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee from which KR drew its news outlet revelations, identified two officials, one then in the office of Vice President Cheney (John Hannah) and one in the office of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld (William Luti) to which it had fed information directly. (The names of others who served as liaisons to Chalabi and the INC will come out.) The information had bypassed established U.S. intelligence channels and reached the recipients even after the CIA and the DIA had questioned the accuracy and motives of the suppliers. Some key allegations found their way into major documents the Administration used to make the case for war. This is where the trail becomes really interesting. If more comprehensive records can be produced to document a list of individual appointments, with meeting agendas, that Chalabi and members of his organization had with the Vice President and his staff from 2001-2003, it will become even clearer how out-of-channel intelligence made its way to the war cabinet chaired by Dick Cheney. It can be presumed that they were not discussing the search for missing Iraqi antiquities." Casualty Reports Local story: California soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Indiana soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Massachusetts Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Kansas soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: Mississippi sailor wounded in Iraq. Local story: California Guardsman dies of wounds received in Iraq. Rant of the Day Back when I was a law student, I learned that the Federal criminal statutes define a conspiracy as when one or more persons intend and agree to perform criminal conduct, and any one of that group commits an overt act in pursuit of the conspiracy. With each new revelation about the inside machinations of the Bush administration, it’s becoming more and more evident that these people actively conspired to commit a criminal act. If we were talking about a bank robbery, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and their co-conspirators would either be in jail or on an FBI fugitive list. Paul O’Neill told us that the Bush administration was intent on invading and occupying Iraq from the day they moved into the White House. Now come Richard Clark’s revelations that on September 12, 2001 George W. Bush himself demanded evidence that Iraq was to blame for the previous day’s attack despite being told that the real culprit was al-Qaeda. The Bush gang didn’t see the al-Qaeda attack on New York City that destroyed the World Trade center and killed 3,000 Americans as anything except an opportunity to do what they wanted to do anyway. Kenneth Pollack said exactly that when he appeared on Frontline. "From the very first moments after Sept. 11, there was a group of people, both inside and outside the administration, who believed that the war on terrorism . . . should target Iraq first." The real significance of Clarke's book isn't that the Bush administration is a bunch of bungling, incompetent gasbags who failed to understand and respond to the threat of al-Qaeda. We knew that already. But while being a bungling, incompetent gasbag isn't illegal, criminal conspiracy most certainly is. Okay, so we have a group of people who have clearly agreed that they intend to commit a criminal act - and purposefully launching unprovoked and unjustified war is a criminal act of the first magnitude. Now, one of the conspirators must commit an overt act in pursuit of the conspiracy. Take your pick of overt acts. You could select any of the deliberately misleading utterances compiled by Rep. Waxman, including born-again George W. Bush's March 2002 statement, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out." Personally, my favorite overt act in pursuit of this criminal conspiracy was the formation of Rummy's Special Plans Unit at the Pentagon which had the specific mission to pervert the National Intelligence system to collect and publicly hype intentionally deceitful information to the American public in pursuit of the conspiracy. Among the conspirators we can't forget the moles in the media who helped bamboozle the public and who helped the Bush administration smear and shout down law-abiding Americans who tried to stop a crime in progress. I'm not talking about the craven, yellow-bellied "journalists" who were themselves intimidated. I'm talking about giving Judith Miller another opportunity to stand by her sources - in a courtroom. We don't need a commission to investigate the so-called "intelligence failures" as the Bush administration hyped an unprovoked war. We need a criminal investigation with the objective of prosecuting the conspirators who devised Bush's War and ensuring they receive the full criminal sanctions provided by the law. We need to do more than hold them accountable at the ballot box. We need to do this for a variety of reasons. First, because the bastards deserve it. Second, because we've been down this road with this gang before. Had we properly punished the Iran-Contra conspirators, the current nest of neocon-men would have thought a bit more about the consequences of their actions. Deterrence works. Finally, we need to punish these criminals because that is the only way we can hope to remove the filthy stain they have left on our collective honor. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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