War News for Saturday, May 7, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Four Americans, 13 Iraqis killed, 35 wounded in car bomb attack on security convoy in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Thirty-one Iraqis killed, 34 wounded by car bomb in Suwayrah
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis wounded in fighting between al-Sadr supporters and police in Kufa
. “Dozens of Hoosiers who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan are currently undergoing mental health treatment at the local Veterans Administration hospital. Research shows about one in six veterans of the war in Iraq have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or other emotional difficulties. The Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis does not just treat war's physical wounds.”
He’s not just the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth. He’s bat-shit crazy
One afternoon, I asked Feith what had gone wrong in Iraq.
“Your assumption is that everything went wrong,” he replied.
I hadn’t said that, but I spoke of the loss of American lives—more than fifteen hundred soldiers, most of whom died after the declared end of major combat operations. This number, I said, strikes many people as a large and terrible loss.
“Based on what?” Feith asked. “It’s a large sacrifice. It’s a serious loss. It’s an absolute disaster for the families. Nobody can possibly deny how horrible the loss is for the families involved. But this was an operation to prevent the next, as it were, 9/11, the next major attack that could kill tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Americans, and Iraq is a country of twenty-five million people and it was a major enterprise.”
Before the war, the Administration argued that the overthrow of the Baath regime would prevent a marriage of Al Qaeda terrorists to Saddam’s chemical and biological weapons. But after the fall of Saddam the United States and its coalition partners discovered that Saddam had apparently destroyed his stockpiles of unconventional weapons, and the Administration has been unable to prove a close operational relationship between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime.
I asked Feith if he would have recommended the invasion of Iraq if he knew then what he knows now.
“The main rationale was not based on intelligence,” Feith said. “It was known to anyone who read newspapers and knew history. Saddam had used nerve gas, he had invaded his neighbors more than once, he had attacked other neighbors, he was hostile to us, he supported numerous terrorist groups. It’s true that he didn’t have a link that we know of to 9/11. . . . But he did give safe haven to terrorists.”
Feith went on, “Given the ease, as everybody knows, with which one can reconstitute stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons if you have the capabilities which he had, I don’t think the rationale for the war hinged on the existence of stockpiles.” The postmortem reports of C.I.A. weapons inspectors confirm the view that Saddam remained interested in one day reconstituting his weapons-of-mass-destruction programs, Feith said, and went on, “There’s a certain revisionism in people looking back and identifying the main intelligence error”—the assumption of stockpiles—“and then saying that our entire policy was built on that error.” The case against Iraq, he argues today, was only partly about W.M.D.s.
(Thanks to alert reader go long into the day
.“Fort Wayne resident Haider Al-jayashy carries a picture of his niece Wagdan Natham Al-jayashy with him most everywhere he goes. But he doesn’t have to look at it to be reminded of the little girl’s severe burns. He also knows the wounds are forever engraved in Wagdan’s mind. But with help from friends and strangers in the Fort Wayne area, as well as Shriners Hospitals for Children, Tower Bank and others, Al-jayashy has set out to find a way to ease the Iraqi girl’s physical scars and pain. For two years, Wagdan’s mother and father tried unsuccessfully to get surgical treatment for Wagdan, first in Iraq, then in Germany. This week, good news came via the Shriners Burns Hospital in Cincinnati, which is now processing the paperwork necessary to pave the way for the 8-year-old to come to the United States for treatment.” (Thanks to alert reader Susan
Stirring up the Sunnis
. “Watching nearby, an out-of-work Ramadi policeman chafed at the sight of outside Iraqi forces. ‘Ramadi people need to be at the checkpoint,’ he said. ‘We need to control the city, not have someone from the south come do it.’ But Ramadi has no functioning local security force. Fearful of or complicit with insurgents, it disbanded before January's national elections and now consists of a handful of traffic officers. As a result, hundreds of predominantly Shiite forces -- including ad hoc militia groups such as the Defenders of Baghdad -- are flowing into Ramadi as part of the latest strategy by Iraq's central government and the U.S. military to stem insurgent violence here. Outside troops have been dispatched to trouble spots throughout Iraq in a bid to keep a lid on violence in areas where insurgent death threats have rendered the local police ineffective. As a short-term counterinsurgency strategy, such forces have several advantages. First, they and their families are less subject to intimidation than when the forces are in their own area. Also, as Iraqis, they are far more familiar with the territory and less likely to be viewed as occupiers than are U.S. troops. Yet by pitting Iraqis from different religious sects, ethnic groups and tribes against each other, the strategy also aggravates the underlying fault lines of Iraqi society, heightening the prospect of civil strife, U.S. military analysts said.”
Many say the story was not newsworthy -- just a blip in the war, an isolated bit of horseplay by a handful of rogue soldiers.
"It wasn't really torture."
"It was justified."
"It wasn't anything like the other side's beheadings."
"It's being overblown by opponents of Bush's re-election campaign."
America -- a nation desensitized to torture? Unthinkable, but that's where this country is being led.
One year after the surfacing of those awful images, the face of Abu Ghraib has been successfully contained to that of a poorly trained, learning-disabled young soldier who never had any business handling prisoners of war.
The issue of culpability will never be addressed until we get to the people who put her there.
: “How much deception and coverup will the administration commit to protect its claim that invading Iraq has made Americans and the world safer? Add to the numbers game the whitewashing of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. It is clear that high officials such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, knew about and advocated interrogation measures equivalent to torture. Yet Army investigations cleared the command structure except for the scapegoat, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski — now Col. Karpinski — and put blame only on low-level soldiers such as Lynndie England.”
So yes, I forgive the men who killed my son.
And I forgive George Bush, who stabilized Iraq, so they could enter and do their killing. And I forgive him for listening to the legal advice of Alberto Gonzales, who redefined torture. And forgiving Donald Rumsfeld the wink and the nod that torture is okay, on down the chain of command, until it reached the Abu Ghraib prison, and where it motivated retaliation against my son Nick.
And yes, I forgive Alberto Gonzales and Donald Rumsfeld, too.
Let me tell you what forgiveness does not mean to me.
It does not mean that I am not angry with all of those people that I just mentioned, who I hold responsible for my son's death. I am angry at their actions, but not at them as human beings. And I suppose I will always be angry at their actions.
It does not mean that I do not wish for those responsible to feel and express their condition, their . . . heart sorrow, over what they have done. And for them to be open to reconciliation.
That I want more than anything short of having my son back, and I always will.
And it does not mean that I do not still seek justice.
Local story: California
soldier wounded in Iraq.