Tuesday, June 14, 2005
War News for Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Bring ‘em on: At least 22 people killed and 80 wounded in suicide bomb attack in
Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers killed in roadside bombing near Ramadi. Eleven employees of American-Iraqi Solutions Group killed Sunday when one of its five-vehicle supply convoys was ambushed east of Ramadi by up to 20 heavily armed gunmen firing from an overpass. Seven badly decomposed bodies, including one Iraqi and six believed to be "Asians," were brought to Yarmouk hospital after being killed in a convoy ambush several days ago. Most had been shot in the face.
Bring ‘em on: Bodies of 17 Iraqi civilians, believed to be people who worked for foreign contractors, found in a desert in Habbaniya in Anbar province. Last Friday at least 17 bodies in civilian clothes were found outside of Qaim. In addition, three bodies were found Sunday under a bridge in northwest Baghdad, three bodies were found Sunday in southeast Baghdad's al-Baladiyat neighborhood , and another three men were found last Saturday shot to death in Baghdad’s Dora district. It is difficult to tell whether any of these discoveries are the same as some previously reported in earlier posts but my impression is that they aren’t.
Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqis, including two children, killed and seven wounded in a car bomb attack north of Baghdad. This may be the same attack as the one in Kanaan mentioned in the first entry above.
Vehicle accident: One US Marine killed and three critically injured in Humvee rollover in
Negotiating with terrorists:
Negotiations have just begun between
Kurd threats: Kurdish officials have threatened to withdraw from the Iraqi government if it does not amend its political program, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.
The London-based al-Hayat daily quoted Kurdish parliament members as saying they may pull out of the government if Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's unilateral decisions continued.
But the once-powerful community, at its lowest point since the U.S.-led invasion and ouster of Saddam Hussein, refuses to accept second-class status and believes it still has trump cards to play - chief among them: withholding approval of a new constitution in a fall referendum.
Under the provisional law now in force, Sunni Arabs can reject the draft constitution in October by voting against it in three of the four provinces where they have a majority. Such a move would force the dissolution of parliament and new elections held, throwing the entire political process a year behind schedule - as envisioned by
``If we don't like it in October, we shall vote against it and return the entire political process to point zero,'' said senior Sunni Arab politician and lawmaker Meshaan al-Jiburi.
Saddam: The tribunal that will put Saddam Hussein on trial released a video Monday showing the 68-year-old former dictator — looking drawn and tired but dressed in a pinstriped suit — being questioned about the killings of at least 50 Iraqis in a Shiite town.
The Iraqi Special Tribunal trying Saddam likely issued the new video to show that it is in control of the proceedings and to counter widespread beliefs that it was being directed by Shiites and Kurds who dominate the government and the 275-member National Assembly.
Life Under Occupation
TB on the rise: Iraqi doctors say they are concerned over an increase in Tuberculosis (TB) cases in the southeastern city of
The disease, which has been under control in the area for more than 50 years, has been rising steadily since the conflict in 2003.
A survey on living conditions, released by the UN and the Iraqi government in May, stressed that standards had seriously deteriorated over the past two years with poor access to clean water and adequate healthcare.
Contractors kill 12 Iraqi civilians a week!:
The move may be supported by the
Soldiers have for some time been angered by the salaries earned by the estimated 20,000 armed contractors working in
They are even more unpopular with Iraqis. Interior ministry officials say at least 12 Iraqi civilians are killed by contractors every week in the capital.
"Enough is enough," said an official at the interior ministry. "We are looking at ways to tighten weapons licenses, and to punish the worst cases. The culture of impunity must stop."
Transit point: "There is no drug problem in
Iraqi government officials and a U.N. agency that monitors drug trafficking disagree. Hamid Ghodse, president of the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board, said that since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,
US Military Affairs
The draft: The United States would "have to face" a painful dilemma on restoring the military draft as rising casualties saw the number of volunteers dry up, a senator warned today.
Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the prediction after new data released by the Pentagon showed the US Army failing to meet its recruitment targets for four straight months.
"We're going to have to face that question," he said on NBC's Meet the Press TV show when asked if it was realistic to expect restoration of the draft.
"The truth of the matter is, it is going to become a subject, if, in fact, there's a 40 per cent shortfall in recruitment. It's just a reality," he said.
The comment came after the Department of Defence announced the army had missed its recruiting goal for May by 1661 recruits, or 25 per cent. Similar losses have been reported by army officials every month since February.
Experts said even that figure was misleading because the army has quietly lowered its May recruitment target from 8050 to 6700 people.
Why is a Democrat bringing this up? This is the result of a Republican president’s decisions approved by a Republican congress. Let them talk about how we need to bring back the draft!
And they can start it with these guys: They are young and bright and ardently right. They tack Ronald Reagan calendars on their cubicle walls and devote brown bag lunches to the free market theories of Friedrich von Hayek. They come from 51 colleges and 28 states, calling for low taxes, strong defense and dorm rooms with a view.
The summer interns of the Heritage Foundation have arrived, forming an elite corps inside the capital's premier conservative research group. The 64 interns are each paid a 10-week stipend of $2,500, and about half are housed in a subsidized dorm at the group's headquarters, complete with a fitness room.
Unusual in its size (and in its walk-in closets), the program, on which Heritage spends $570,000 a year, is both a coveted spot on the young conservative circuit and an example of the care the movement takes to cultivate its young.
Go look at the smug faces of these little shitweasels. Their brothers and sisters are dying in Bush’s war and these pissants’ priorities are to find a job where they don’t have to make coffee. I'll bet every single one of them thinks George Bush is god and not a one of them has the sac to put his ass on the line for his beliefs. These are the leaders of tomorrow? Our nation is doomed.
Like a bad penny: The body counts are back. For the first time since
"Marines Kill 100 Fighters in Sanctuary Near Syria" was a front page headline in the Washington Post last month. The body count, coming from a Marine spokesman, was carried in other major papers that day. What was striking about the factoid, besides the elegantly even number, was that it showed how the U.S. military has increasingly released body counts in reports depicting successful operations in Iraq -- despite decrees from the highest levels of the Pentagon, throughout the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, that "we don't do body counts."
Your Tax Dollars At Work
“Indications of fraud”: There is no centralized procedure for monitoring scores of contracting firms rebuilding
Instead, most contracts are monitored by the individual agencies that award them. The Army Corps of Engineers, for example, which issues the bulk of reconstruction work, has its own inspectors and quality assurance monitors. The U.S. Defense Contract Management Agency provides oversight on behalf of the Army for troop support contracts -- private firms that do everything from serving meals to washing combat fatigues.
Last month, investigators said incompetence and "indications of fraud" was responsible for nearly $100 million in cash not being accounted for by the CPA. That amount included more than $7 million that simply vanished, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, appointed in January 2004 to serve as a
The Pentagon versus big finance? My world is shook to the core!: Besieged financial services giant American International Group Inc. repeatedly has sought to derail an effort by the Pentagon that could save taxpayers millions of dollars on reconstruction work in war zones like
The Tide Is Slowly Turning
Patience drops: Nearly six in 10 Americans say the
Patience for the war has dropped sharply as optimism about the Iraqi elections in January has ebbed and violence against
The souring of public opinion presents challenges for the president, who has vowed to stay the course until democracy is established and Iraqi forces can ensure security. He hasn't suggested sending more
"We have reached a tipping point," says Ronald Spector, a military historian at
Bush says screw you: The White House rejected the idea Monday that the
"The president has answered that question (about a timetable). We'll leave when we complete the mission. We are not going to stay a day longer than is necessary," McClellan said.
But even Republicans are starting to wake up: A new Gallup Poll shows that nearly six in 10 Americans say the
Some members of Bush's Republican Party are now joining in to call for a deadline to withdraw troops from
That duck is starting to limp: Faced with plummeting public support for the war in
A bipartisan group of House members is drafting a resolution that calls on the administration to present a strategy for getting the
The House International Relations Committee on Thursday approved a similar proposal, 32 to 9, with strong bipartisan support. Sponsored by Representative Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat who voted to authorize force in
More paper trail: Think Progress has posted the full text of six British background papers, about which they say: “When reading them, keep in mind that these Papers were written approximately a full year before the invasion of
Son of Downing Street: Just as the
Seven more memos: It started during British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election campaign last month, when details leaked about a top-secret memo, written in July 2002 — eight months before the
Just last week, President Bush and Blair vigorously denied that war was inevitable.
“No, the facts were not being fixed, in any shape or form at all,” said Blair at a White House news conference with the president on June 7.
But now, war critics have come up with seven more memos, verified by NBC News.
Briefing paper of July 21: It is a safe bet that the British seemed a bunch of nervous Nellies in the eyes of the hard-nosed "neoconservatives" running our policy toward
The briefing paper of July 21, 2002, offers this clear picture of what the British see as the
The worms begin to turn: A number of citizen groups and Democratic politicians are launching an initiative to investigate information contained in newly unearthed British memos on the war in
Representative John Conyers, along with 89 members of Congress, have openly asked the administration to address claims it cooked the books to justify the war. On Thursday, June 16, Conyers and other Democrats will hold "Memogate hearings" in
But it goes back even further: Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking
"He was thinking about invading
And finally, the I word: Wisconsin Democrats are calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Loyalists at this weekend's state party convention in
The resolution contends that the administration "lied or misled" the United Nations, Congress, and the American public about the justification for the war. It cites the so-called "
Damn straight: It really could not be put much more clearly than this. A group within the executive branch had decided that war was the only option, and they then set out to rig the evidence in order to deceive Congress, the American people, and the world. Remember that even as late as early March 2003, Bush was telling us, "I've not made up our mind about military action [sic]." Such a deception would almost certainly constitute a "high crime and misdemeanor" under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, making it an impeachable offense.
Even though impeachment is unlikely given the Republican majority in Congress and the weak-kneed record of the Democrats, the public should continue raising the possibility. We as Americans must not consider how politically viable our demands are before making them, as that would make us little more than politicians. Sometimes, it is more important to be right and just than to state a popular opinion or executable solution.
If the liars and criminals who started this war get away without punishment, the legal ramifications will influence every prospective military adventure in the coming decades. One more signal will be sent that our executive branch can act with complete impunity, even at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. Instead, let us send a message of outrage, let us stand up and say that Americans are tired of being force-fed official fabrications. The first step is contacting your representatives and the media, and urging them to support the current attempts to uncover the truth.
Have you signed the letter? If you have, good work. If you haven’t, SIGN THE GODDAM LETTER please. We need a million signatures and we are going to get them. Thank you.
Big Dick: Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday he doesn't believe revelations about the treatment of prisoners at the
Cheney did not mention the article in this week's issue of Time magazine based on an 84-page logbook of the interrogation and treatment of Mohammed al-Qahtani, a
Time's article, authenticated by Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita, outlines al-Qahtani's treatment, which included being refused a bathroom break and forced to urinate in his pants, having a female guard straddle him, being forced to wear pictures of scantily clad women around his neck and being forced to bark and act like a dog.
But the vice president defended the treatment of Guantanamo's detainees, saying they have been treated "in a human fashion" but do not "qualify" for treatment under the Geneva Conventions "because they are unlawful combatants (who) have not operated in accordance with the laws of war: they haven't worn a uniform, they target civilians."
"In spite of that they are still treated with respect and dignity," he said.
Respect and dignity: Extracts from an interrogation log,
13 December 2002, 1115: Interrogators began telling detainee how ungrateful and grumpy he was. In order to escalate the detainee's emotions, a mask was made from an MRE box with a smily face on it and placed on the detainee's head for a few moments. A latex glove was inflated and labeled the "sissy slap" glove. The glove was touched to the detainee's face periodically after explaining the terminology to him. The mask was placed back on the detainee's head. While wearing the mask, the team began dance instruction with the detainee. The detainee became agitated and began shouting.
20 December 2002, 1115: Detainee offered water—refused. Corpsman changed ankle bandages to prevent chafing. Interrogater began by reminding the detainee about the lessons in respect and how the detainee had disrespected the interrogators. Told detainee that a dog is held in higher esteem because dogs know right from wrong and know how to protect innocent people from bad people. Began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog. Detainee became very agitated.
Stealing our freedoms in secrecy: A closed-door vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week to expand law enforcement powers under the USA Patriot Act is prompting sharp criticism from some conservative leaders who are otherwise among the most vocal allies of President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress. The conservative leaders — who have formed a coalition with critics on the left, including the American Civil Liberties Union — vowed to press their concerns in coming days with public statements, rallies and radio advertisements in key congressional districts.
The conservatives, including former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and political activists who have been long-standing critics of the anti-terrorism law, lashed out with particular force last week against the White House, members of Congress and Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales. They said they had expected a more open review of the Patriot Act in which lawmakers considered some limits in order to safeguard civil liberties.
"It is a slap in the face to the Constitution," said Barr, who leads a bipartisan coalition calling for limits on the act.
And they expect us to trust them: Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI learned that 18 Middle Eastern men had obtained licenses in
Deeply concerned about another terrorist attack, prosecutors filed fraud charges against the men on Sept. 24, 2001. The next day, then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft appeared before Congress. Invoking the threat of attacks with poisons from crop-dusting aircraft or other hazardous materials, he said some of the defendants "may have links to the hijackers."
Within two days, the FBI was backing off that allegation. Two months later, prosecutors in
Robert Cindrich, a former
Yet the case still makes up the largest single portion of the government's list of terrorism prosecutions.
An open letter to the troops: You do not have to follow illegal orders EVER, under any circumstances, and you ARE bound by International Law. You should also be bound by what you know is right, by your sense of plain common decency.
One of the ways they will get you to do things that you will not want to live with for the rest of your lives is to impose that group-think on you. If one of us is guilty, we are all guilty. And “what happens in
And I’m telling you that you do not owe them or anyone else that kind of loyalty.
Take a little break to laugh at an idiot: For a fun example of a Bush dupe struggling to come to terms with Bush incompetence, go check out this Jim Hoagland column. Here are a couple representative sentences:
Yes, much of the criticism of President Bush comes from partisans with their own axes to grind, and from those who opposed the
But the White House is too quick to find comfort in the ignorant partisanship of some foes and the partisan ignorance of others -- and in the reality that patience is required in all wars and particularly in one as amorphous and demanding as this struggle has become.
My emphasis. What a douchebag.
Comment: The war has taken a dangerous turn - not in
According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll, for the first time since the war began a majority of the American public doesn't believe the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime has made the
If we learned anything from
In both cases, the American people were had.
Opinion: With the war in
The Army, frantically searching for solutions, is offering enlistments as short as 15 months and considering bonuses worth up to $40,000. But it may be facing a problem too difficult for any amount of money to overcome. Americans are catching on to the hideousness and apparent futility of the war in
Analysis: The Bush administration's confused and confusing foreign policy seems hard to decipher—especially regarding headline-grabbing reports on Abu Ghraib prison and the
Some op-eds on the right argue that abuses did not take place there and that, if they did, they were minor and undertaken by isolated individuals, a few rotten apples. Left-leaning pundits blame what they consider horrors on Mr. Bush and the Pentagon. These interpretations, while on the surface dissimilar, share one central false assumption: that the president and his closest aides are embarrassed by Abu Ghraib and
The fact of the matter, however, is that the administration, in its usual unsubtle way of dealing with foreigners, does want the outside world to be aware of what happens if you're "against us": you end up in prison or a detainee camp. Gruesome disclosures about Abu Ghraib and
Comment: In evaluating the case for impeaching George W. Bush over the Iraq War, his deceptions about weapons of mass destruction most readily come to mind, but there is also the incompetence of his military strategy, especially Bush’s refusal to recognize how such a complex project might go terribly wrong.
Rather than look at the military prospects realistically, Bush and his advisers pursued a consistent policy of wishful thinking, deceiving the American public about the war’s cost in both money and blood, and ultimately deluding even themselves.
From the expected flower-strewn Iraq welcome in March 2003 to the cheery predictions after the Shiite election win in January 2005, the war has suffered from a macabre “Peter Pan” syndrome, that happy thoughts and some pixie dust of propaganda could lift the U.S. to victory – when instead it has sent tens of thousands of people to unnecessary deaths, including almost 1,700 American soldiers.
Reality was banished not only from the pre-war WMD justifications, it’s been barred from mid-war assessments, too. But the hard truth – recognized from the start by many military experts – was that
As for the practicality of Bush’s impeachment over the
Comment: What we're talking about here is 1,700 dead Americans – based on a lie.
What we're talking about here is Lou Allen of
All dead – based on a lie,
What I can't understand – what's making my head pop off – is that so many Americans are indifferent to this kind of news. Is it because Americans expect presidents to lie, so it's not news when they do (unless it involves sex)?
Is it because this is simply confirmation of what we sort of knew all along anyway and – so what – we got Saddam (even though Osama is still at large)?
Is it because no one really cares what happens to our troops – even those of you with those stupid, yellow "Support Our Troops" magnets on your cars? Tell me, what have you done to support our troops other than put a stupid, yellow magnet on your car?
If you really want to support our troops, I have a suggestion: Demand a confession from George Bush.
Local story: Two Mississippi National Guardsmen killed in roadside bombing in
Local story: Funeral scheduled for
Local story: Antigo, WI, Marine died from wounds received June 8 in Al Anbar province.