Monday, March 08, 2004

War News for March 8, 2004 Bring ‘em on: “Green Zone” again under fire in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Baghdad police station mortared; two Iraqi policemen, three civilians wounded. Bring 'em on: Local councilman assassinated in Mosul. Bring 'em on: Insurgents attempt to assassinate police chief in Khaldiyah. CENTCOM reports one US soldier died from a non-combat-related medical condition. Report from Baghdad. “Iraq is a country filled with anger, and poor planning by U.S. leaders has put American troops in a bad spot, a correspondent for Time magazine told high school students here Wednesday. ‘It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before,’ Phil Zabriskie told the students. ‘It is easily the most unpleasant place I’ve been. There is anger everywhere.’ Rummy gets control of Iraqi reconstruction budget. “After a power struggle with the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon has won control over most of an $18.4 billion aid package for Iraq, and rebuilding delayed for a month will start this week, U.S. officials in Baghdad said Sunday.” (Second item in this news round-up.) Ahmad Chalabi and Lieutenant AWOL’s rush to war. “The alternative intelligence, marshalled to make the case for war, came overwhelmingly from Chalabi's INC and their carefully coached ‘sources’. Among the INC allegations that have not been borne out were that Hussein had built mobile biological weapons facilities, that he was rapidly rebuilding his nuclear weapons programme and that he had trained Muslim warriors at a camp south of Baghdad. Now defence officials acknowledge that the defectors' tales were ‘shaky’ at best…To give wider credibility to this dubious narrative, Chalabi planted stories in mainstream newspapers such as the New York Times, stories that were then quoted as independent corroborative evidence by administration officials.” British occupation policy appears more effective than Bremer’s. “US soldiers' heavy-handed methods in Fallujah, Ramadi and other Sunni cities has fueled support for the insurgency in those areas. Tribal leaders have been subjected to humiliating arrests in front of their tribesmen, hooded and handcuffed. US troops also were accused of putting their boots on the back of men's heads as they lay face down.” Italian pilots face charges for refusing to fly in Iraq. Commentary Opinion: "Twice Murtha, in the House, voted to back invasions of Iraq by a president named Bush. Today, recently back from a return inspection visit there, Murtha is upset and angry about Iraq, its future and the well-being of this nation’s military men and women their civilian leadership have stationed there." Analysis: It was very easy for the lone superstar to start a war. But what followed from that war proved largely beyond anyone's control. Bush is hoping to stem the tide of deleterious spillover effects from his decision to invade Iraq for his prospects of reelection. But the Middle East has proven through centuries that it operates purely on the basis of its own logic, or, as some say, the lack thereof. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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