Sunday, August 29, 2004

War News for August 29, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqi policemen killed by insurgents at checkpoint near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Seven Iraqis killed in continued fighting in Sadr City. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, two wounded in Beiji mortar attack. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen wounded in friendly-fire incident near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents killed, 32 Iraqis wounded in two US convoy ambushes near Tall Afar. Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents wounded in attack on US observation post near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: More air strikes, ground fighting reported near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline ablaze near Basra. Meanwhile, back in Al-Anbar province. “Both of the cities, Falluja and Ramadi, and much of Anbar Province, are now controlled by fundamentalist militias, with American troops confined mainly to heavily protected forts on the desert's edge. What little influence the Americans have is asserted through wary forays in armored vehicles, and by laser-guided bombs that obliterate enemy safe houses identified by scouts who penetrate militant ranks. Even bombing raids appear to strengthen the fundamentalists, who blame the Americans for scores of civilian deaths. American efforts to build a government structure around former Baath Party stalwarts - officials of Saddam Hussein's army, police force and bureaucracy who were willing to work with the United States - have collapsed. Instead, the former Hussein loyalists, under threat of beheadings, kidnappings and humiliation, have mostly resigned or defected to the fundamentalists, or been killed. Enforcers for the old government, including former Republican Guard officers, have put themselves in the service of fundamentalist clerics they once tortured at Abu Ghraib.” Supply lines. “Recently, Halliburton's convoys have been taking hits every day on some routes. The truckers endure sniper fire, car bombs, roadside explosions and rocket-propelled grenades. Iraqi insurgents mount ambushes to pick off trucks from behind. They throw bricks and drop 8-foot-long steel pipes from overpasses into the cabs. In the most horrific incident, in April, insurgents blocked a convoy near the Abu Ghraib prison. Four Halliburton truckers were killed, two remain missing, and another, Thomas Hamill, escaped from his captors. For an insurgency vastly outmatched by the U.S. military in firepower, shutting down supply lines has become an efficient alternative to direct confrontation.” Chickenhawks. More blowback. “Michael Howard issued a blistering rebuff to George W Bush yesterday after the President barred the Tory leader from the White House as punishment for his attacks on Tony Blair over the Iraq War. In a furious phone call earlier this year, Karl Rove, Mr Bush's closest adviser, told Mr Howard's aides: ‘You can forget about meeting the President. Don't bother coming. You are not meeting him.’” How do you measure this kind of loss? “The most difficult miles of Rosanna Powers' life are bringing her from Florida to the small Washington state farming community of Mansfield, Douglas County, for her brother's funeral tomorrow. Then she will fly back across the country to help bury her fiancé the next day. Both were U.S. Marines killed last week — one day apart — in Iraq.” Commentary Editorial: “President Bush could have avoided walking into the unfamiliar terrain by not going to war against a much smaller and weaker nation, in the first place. It's not known whether he will ever realise this simple point, but what he should be able to discern without any difficulty is that his war on terrorism has been far from successful. He may have diagnosed the disease, or even rightly worked out the remedy, but he applied it on the wrong target. Honestly speaking, he miscalculated everything right from the impact of the war on terrorism to the prolonged and stubborn resistance that his troops are facing. The war has done very little to dampen the enthusiasm of terrorists. Rather, it has worked as a stimulant to the elements that are vehemently opposed to the US presence in the Middle East and its rather one-sided drubbing of a nation that was never known as a breeding ground for terrorism.” Opinion: “We were to believe that young reservists from trailer parks, with minimal education and little military training, developed techniques of torture on their own and even turned them into games. It was a few renegades who decided to turn attack dogs loose on Iraqi teenagers to see how fast they would lose control of their bowels. There were plenty of pictures of fall guys who were unsympathetic characters with unappealing biographies. It would have been the perfect casting call for blame, if it wasn't quite so perfect. Last week, two investigative reports on the prison came out — one from a panel chaired by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger and another from three Army generals — and both reached the conclusion that the fault for the abuses goes much higher into the chain of command. The Schlesinger report traces it all the way to Washington.” Casualty Reports Local story: Indiana soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Oregon Guardsman wounded in Iraq. Rant of the Day I ain’t believin’ this item appeared on today’s WaPo editorial page.
“ONLY A FEW years ago, it seemed the slightest suggestion of malfeasance by a presidential administration -- allegations of tampering with a minor administrative office, say, or indications that a cabinet secretary might have understated the amount of money given to a former girlfriend -- could trigger a formidable response from the other two branches of government: grand juries, special prosecutors, endless congressional hearings, even impeachment proceedings. Some of that auditing, especially during the Clinton administration, went too far. Yet now the country faces a frightening inversion of the problem. Though there is strong evidence of faulty and even criminal behavior by senior military commanders and members of President Bush's cabinet in the handling of foreign detainees, neither Congress nor the justice system is taking adequate steps to hold those officials accountable.”
I ain’t believing it because WaPo should have run it in the goddam obituaries, announcing WaPo’s demise as a functioning member of the Fourth Estate. I’ve got a couple of hot news flashes for you folks on the editorial board. First, Dewey took Manila. I figured you hadn’t heard about it since you damn sure haven’t heard Republicans control Congress, Republicans control the Executive branch, Republicans control the Federal judiciary, and Republicans control the Justice Department. Do you think Republicans are going to hold other Republicans accountable for criminal behavior? Did the Reichstag hold Werner von Blomberg and Heinrich Himmler accountable for the murders of Ernst Roehm and Gregor Strasser? We’re living in a one-Party state, and you’re acting like you’re the editorial board of the Volkischer Beobachter. You people had no problem printing every rumor, calumny and innuendo generated by the fabled GOP slime machine during the Clinton administration and dutifully transcribed by your stenographer pool, and now you’re going to come whining to me that the country faces a lack of government accountability? Do your jobs, and put pressure on these assholes. You want to see some accountability? Stop serving as a GOP mouthpiece and start printing some criticism outside the “he said/he said” context. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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