Saturday, February 26, 2005

War News for Saturday, February 26, 2005

There are some who, uh, feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." - George W. Bush, July 2, 2003

Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed in Al Anbar province. Two civilians killed by a roadside bomb west of Baghdad. Kidnapped female Iraqi television presenter found shot dead in Mosul. One Iraqi National Guard soldier killed and seven people injured in car bomb attack near Mussayyib. Car bomb attack near an ING convoy in Iskandariyah, no casualties reported.

So, ok, in this one story we find five people dead including an executed journalist and an American soldier, and at least seven wounded, three bombings against people – so what’s the headline? Saboteurs Strike Oil Pipeline in Iraq.

Good to see our pathetic excuse for a media has its priorities straight.

Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers killed and eight wounded in explosion in Tarmiyah. At least 15 people killed in suicide attack on police headquarters in Tikrit. Two US soldiers killed and two wounded in separate bomb attacks in Qaryat and near Samarra. Five people killed in Iskandariyah in suicide attack on the local headquarters of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution party. Two people killed and one wounded when gunmen attacked a bakery in Baghdad. Four ING soldiers killed by two bombs in Qaim. Two policemen killed and three injured in ambush of police patrol in Kirkuk.

Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, 15 wounded in clashes between US Marines and gunmen in Ramadi in fighting reported to last several hours. Two people killed in bomb blast near the headquarters of Iraq’s leading Sunni religious organization. Three Iraqi women killed by mortar rounds striking their homes near Dhuluiyah. Turkish truck driver killed by RPG. One Iraqi soldier killed, five wounded in car bombing at Mussaieb. Driver killed and a journalist seriously wounded when gunmen attacked their car. Eleven people, including four women, a policeman, and two civil servants were kidnapped in a string of abductions in the area south of Baghdad.

General lawlessness or something else?: Two Iranian border guards killed and three others injured in an ambush carried out by “bandits” on the south-western border with Iraq.

Revenge killings: Shiite Muslim assassins are killing former members of Saddam Hussein's mostly Sunni Muslim regime with impunity in a wave of violence that, combined with the ongoing Sunni insurgency, threatens to escalate into civil war.

The war between Shiite vigilantes and former Baath Party members is seldom investigated and largely overshadowed by the insurgency. The U.S. military is preoccupied with hunting down suicide bombers and foreign terrorists, and Iraq's new Shiite leaders have little interest in prosecuting those who kill their former oppressors or their enemies in the insurgency.

The killings have intensified since January's Shiite electoral victory, and U.S. and Iraqi officials worry that they could imperil progress toward a unified, democratic Iraq.

Oh look. A tunnel with a light at the end: The Iraqi interim government announced the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared terrorist group and expressed confidence Friday it was tightening the noose around his leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Word of the capture came as insurgents ambushed a U.S. patrol, killing three American soldiers and wounding nine. Friday's attack took place in Tarmiyah, about 20 miles north of the capital.

But they say fewer Americans are dying!: Nearly two years after the U.S.-led invasion, and almost a month after elections, Baghdad remains a terrifying place.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities spoke of a post-election lull, attributing a drop in attacks to ramped-up security before the Jan. 30 vote. But that's all relative.

More than 40 people were killed on election day alone, while nearly 100 died last weekend.

Although exact figures are not available, attacks against Iraqis seem to have increased steadily as militant groups vow to undermine what the government and the U.S. military see as progress.

An enabler speaks the truth, for once: South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, back from a weeklong journey overseas, offered the sobering assessment Friday that American troops will be in Iraq for years and casualties are likely for some time to come. Graham vowed to push to increase the size of the military, attracting recruits through bonuses and benefits. But, he said, there is no need for a draft.

"The Iraqi people are more empowered but the security situation is worse," he said. "We had a lot less freedom to move around. In many ways in terms of security it is not better off than all."

Spreading liberty, we are: Covered in layers of flowing black fabric that extend to the tips of her gloved hands, Jenan al-Ubaedy knows her first priority as one of some 90 women who will sit in the national assembly: implementing Islamic law.

She is quick to tick off what sharia will mean for married women. "[The husband] can beat his wife but not in a forceful way, leaving no mark. If he should leave a mark, he will pay," she says of a system she supports. "He can beat her when she is not obeying him in his rights. We want her to be educated enough that she will not force him to beat her, and if he beats her with no right, we want her to be strong enough to go to the police."

Spreading justice too: One of the four Britons released from Guantanamo Bay last month said he was tortured by the Americans at a separate holding camp and spent many hours trussed like an animal with a bag over his head.

Moazzam Begg, 37, who was released by the Metropolitan Police without charge and reunited with his wife and four children after three years' imprisonment, also accuses his American captors of beating two detainees to death at the Bagram air base near Kabul in Afghanistan. In his first interview since his release, he told Channel 4 News he "witnessed two people get beaten so badly I believe it caused their deaths".

And we’re spreading freedom of the press as well: Reporters Without Borders called today for the reopening of the enquiry into who was really responsible for the US Army's "criminal negligence" in shooting at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 and causing the death of two journalists - Ukrainian cameramen Taras Protsyuk (of Reuters news agency) and Spaniard José Couso (of the Spanish TV station Telecinco).

The call came in a report of the press freedom organisation's own in-depth investigation of the incident, which gathered evidence from journalists in the hotel at the time, from others "embedded" with US Army units and from the US military soldiers and officers directly involved.

The report said US officials at first lied about what happened and then, in an official statement four months later, exonerated the US Army from any mistake or error of judgement. The report provides only some of the truth about the incident, which needs to be further investigated to establish exactly who was responsible.

But that's not all we're spreading: It has been known for years that thousands of light and lethal shoulder-fired missiles are in black-market circulation. What is not known is exactly who has them and whether many have fallen into the hands of terrorists or criminals.

The State Department estimates that about 1 million shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles have been produced worldwide since the 1950s. The number believed to be in the hands of "nonstate actors,'' such as terrorist groups, is "in the thousands,'' the department says.

In his book "Ghost Wars,'' author Steve Coll wrote that as recently as 1996 the CIA estimated there were about 600 Stingers still unaccounted for in Afghanistan.

There also are an unknown number of SA-7 and other types of shoulder-fired missiles in the hands of insurgents in Iraq.

Iran and oil: The Iranians are about to commit an "offense" far greater than Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro of Iraq’s oil exports in the fall of 2000. Numerous articles have revealed Pentagon planning for operations against Iran as early as 2005. While the publicly stated reasons will be over Iran's nuclear ambitions, there are unspoken macroeconomic drivers explaining the Real Reasons regarding the 2nd stage of petrodollar warfare - Iran's upcoming euro-based oil Bourse. In 2005-2006, The Tehran government has a developed a plan to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades - using a euro-denominated international oil-trading mechanism. This means that without some form of US intervention, the euro is going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade. Given U.S. debt levels and the stated neoconservative project for U.S. global domination, Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on U.S. dollar supremacy in the international oil market.


Pat Buchanan: Leaders alchemize wars begun over lesser interests into epochal struggles for universal principles because only thus can they justify demands for greater sacrifices in blood and treasure. But Bush has gone Wilson one better. He is not only going to make the world safe for democracy, he is going to make the world democratic. Where Lincoln abolished slavery in the South, Bush is going to abolish tyranny from the earth: “So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

A conservative knows not whether to laugh or weep, for Mr. Bush has just asserted a right to interfere in the internal affairs of every nation on earth. Why? Because the “survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.” But this is utterly ahistorical. The world has always been afflicted with despots. Yet America has always been free. And we have remained free by following the counsel of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams and staying out of foreign quarrels and foreign wars.

So whydja endorse him, Pat? You couldn’t see this kind of crap coming? All the regular readers of this blog could.

Andrew Greeley: How long can the administration get along with its policies of spinning big lies into truth -- as it has more recently done on Social Security?

Note the three most important Cabinet positions. Rice said that it was better to find the weapons of mass destruction than to see a mushroom cloud. "Judge" Gonzales said the Geneva Convention was "quaint" and in effect legitimated the de facto policy of torture. Rumsfeld repealed the "Powell Doctrine" -- only go to war when you have the massive force necessary to win decisively and quickly. Brilliant businessman that he is (like Robert McNamara of the Vietnam era), he thought he could win with 130,000 (unlike at least 200,000 as the army chief of staff insisted) and hence made the current "insurgency" inevitable.

The presence of these three towering giants in the administration certainly confirms that the president is confident that he is "right" on Iraq and that he has a mandate from the American people and from God which confirms that he is "right."

You can still get away with the "big lie" as long as Karl Rove and his team of spinners keep providing persuasive rationalizations. The American public is still supine, uneasy about the war, but not willing yet to turn decisively against it. Will that still be the case next year when we "celebrate" the third anniversary of the war? Is the patience of the American people that long suffering? Is there no outrage left in the country?

Casualty Reports

Local story: Waterloo, IA, soldier killed north of Baghdad in explosion.

Local story: Two central Illinois soldiers killed in Iraq.

Local story: First Fort Sam Houston soldier killed in Iraq.

Local story: Corning, NY, soldier killed by small arms fire in Iraq.

Local story: Eagle Lake, TX, soldier killed in Mosul.

Local story: Benecia, CA, Marine killed in helicopter crash in Iraq.


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