Monday, November 08, 2004

War News for Monday, November 8, 2004 draft Bring ‘em on: Fallujah assault begins. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, four wounded in Baghdad convoy ambush. Bring ‘em on: One British, one South African security contractor killed by roadside bomb near Zubayr. Bring ‘em on: Thirteen Iraqis killed in firefight with British troops near Latifiyah. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police kill 25 insurgents in fierce firefight near Latifiyah. Bring ‘em on: Two British soldiers wounded by car bomb near Mahmoudiyah. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis working for US forces assassinated near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Baghdad car bomb kills one Iraqi; responding US troops ambushed, one soldier wounded. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed by car bomb on Baghdad airport road. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi contractors, one Turkish truck driver killed in separate attacks near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier wounded by car bomb ambush in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis killed 12 Iraqis and one US soldier wounded car bomb ambush near Ramadi. Anger in Baghdad. “The anger building up in Baghdad over the imminent attack on Fallujah is a warning that U.S. forces could start off more than they can handle. The sharp increase in attacks on U..S. and allied forces has been only the most violent form of rising hostility. But it is not an extremist few that are becoming more and more strongly opposed to the occupation and now a U.S. assault on Fallujah. What Iraqi people are saying could be even more worrying to the occupation forces than the attacks.” Draft. “David M. Miyasato enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1987, served three years of active duty during the first Gulf War and received an honorable discharge in 1991. He remained on inactive status for five more years, until 1996. Since then, the Kaua'i resident has married, started an auto window tinting business and this year, he and his wife had their first child. But in September, Miyasato received a letter from the Army recalling him to active duty and directing him to report to a military facility in South Carolina on Tuesday.” Commentary Editorial: “If Mr. Bush feels he now has a mandate from the voters to stay the course until he creates a stable, unified Iraq, he owes it to the Iraqi people and Americans stationed there to commit enough additional troops to make that look like a plausible possibility. Insufficient troops in the early going made it easier for looters, saboteurs and assorted armed militias to derail earlier transition plans. Too few troops now would almost certainly mean less secure elections, further damaging delays in reconstruction and even graver threats to international aid workers and Iraqi military and police recruits. And it would mean no let-up in the risks and hardships for America's overstretched forces.” Analysis: “The insurgency has clearly moved beyond the Baathists; the stakes are much higher now. Last week, a large-scale offensive against Falluja seemed imminent, with American troops moving into position. The American special-forces officer told me that he and others were hopeful that, with the election over, the White House would give its full backing for a decisive battle: ‘By being aggressive, it may be tough, bloody, and unpopular at first, but it will knock the terrorists off balance and create the space for success. The longer we wait, the more difficult, costly, and bloody it will be.’” Analysis: “In exchange for a decrease in short-run risk, the United States would undermine its capacity to promote political reform in the Arab world. By avoiding competitive elections out of fear of an Islamist victory, the United States would play into the hands of the Arab governments that use the Islamic threat to justify their authoritarianism. For the democratic parties and organizations of civil society in the Arab world, the example of noncompetitive elections in Iraq would be extremely discouraging. As for Iraqis, being called to the polls to cast a vote that does not entail a choice would be a throwback to the days of Saddam Hussein.” Rant of the Day Occasionally, I receive email from thoughtful conservatives. Almost always, they complain that I don’t report the “good news” from Iraq and that I don’t offer any solutions. I started this blog as a direct result of the American media’s complete failure to adequately cover the war outside a 24-hour news cycle. I don’t intentionally exclude “good news” stories, but the fact of the matter is that there is no good news coming from Iraq. “Good news” would be a decline in insurgent attacks, improved security, secure roads, repaired and functioning electric systems, oil pipelines and water facilities. You don’t see “good news” here because none of that is happening. I don’t offer solutions because I didn’t start this war. Like millions of other Americans, I actively opposed Bush’s War. Partisan conservatives demonized us as “unpatriotic” and “peaceniks” and "hippies" without ever listening to our message. It’s helpful to remember that every bad thing the anti-Bush War people predicted has happened, while everything the neo-conservatives promised has failed to materialize. I didn’t shit the bed so I have no obligation to clean it up or sleep in it. Thanks to 19 months of blundering by Bremer and Allawi, there are no good solutions remaining. William R. Polk, writing in a guest editorial at Informed Comment, describes probably the last viable solution to establish a stable Iraqi government and avoid a catastrophic American defeat. Since his proposal runs contrary to the impossible objectives of the neo-cons (who are still in charge of this fiasco) our “decisive” president will most likely opt to stay the course to disaster. Personally, I think Polk is an optimist. I think there has been so much hate generated by an unnecessary invasion and botched occupation that we are one stupid mistake from being driven out of Iraq by an enraged and unified population. We may have made that mistake this morning near Fallujah. Throughout this last election campaign, it was clear to any rational American citizen that the Iraq occupation is failing badly and George W. Bush simply plans to sustain current policy. Any conservative who voted for Bush isn’t looking for solutions and is content with reassuring slogans. So don’t come crying to me about “solutions.” You had your chance to help fix this mess and you blew it. And if you really, really want happy crap disguised as “good news,” go visit Chief Wiggles fantasy blog.


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