Tuesday, June 21, 2005
War News for Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Two people killed in two car bombings targeting Iraqi special forces in the Rissalla neighborhood of
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen wounded in battle with gunmen who assaulted the police station in
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi army soldiers killed in suicide attack on checkpoint in
Bring ‘em on: Director general of internal security in the Shahrazouz area of Iraqi Kurdistan and two of his bodyguards killed in suicide bombing between Halabja and Suliemaniya.
Push it in here, it pops out there: Insurgents killed at least 26 people and wounded more than 80 yesterday in a complex series of attacks on Iraqi police stations and army bases across the country, while two large Marine and Iraqi army operations were in progress in the restive al-Anbar province.
The violence - including coordinated car bombs, mortars and heavy machine-gun fire - underscored the apparent strategy of insurgents in
The U.S.-led assaults so far don't appear to have seriously undermined the long-term ability of insurgents to move forces and launch attacks.
President Bush, in
''I understand how dangerous it is there,'' he said. ''I understand we've got kids in harm's way, and I worry about their families. And obviously, anytime there's a death, I grieve.''
Yeah. Obviously. You smirking piece of shit.
Far from over:
After four days of bombardment and street-to-street gunbattles, the Marines cleared Karabila -- a strategic way station near the main border crossing where the Euphrates flows in from
"That is another in a string of successful operations that continue to disrupt and interdict insurgent activity in west Anbar province," said Colonel Steve Davis, who commanded the 1,000
Battalion intelligence officer Captain Thomas Sibley pointed out, however, that any final victory was still some way off: "If this was the only thing we did, we would lose this war -- quickly. But it's not the only thing we're doing.
"Yeah, in a couple of weeks they'll be back and they'll make up for these losses. But that's fine, because we're not beating them in two weeks. We're beating them in two years."
Remember when they told us this?: This morning on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked if “the Bush administration fairly [can] be criticized for failing to level with the American people about how long and difficult this commitment will be?” Rice responded:
“[T]he administration, I think, has said to the American people that it is a generational commitment to
That’s not true. To build support for the war the administration told the American people that the conflict in
Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/16/03: “[M]y belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly. . . (in) weeks rather than months’
Donald Rumsfeld, 2/7/03: “It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
Former Budget Director Mitch Daniels, 3/28/03: “The
Yeah, I know this is old news but it dovetails so nicely with the story above. I guess CPT Sibley never got the memo though…hope he packed an extra toothbrush.
Tactics reminiscent: The public war on the Iraqi insurgency has led to an atmosphere of hidden brutalities, including abuse and torture, carried out against detainees by the nation's special security forces, according to defense lawyers, international organizations and Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights.
Up to 60% of the estimated 12,000 detainees in the country's prisons and military compounds face intimidation, beatings or torture that leads to broken bones and sometimes death, said Saad Sultan, head of a board overseeing the treatment of prisoners at the Human Rights Ministry. He added that police and security forces attached to the Interior Ministry are responsible for most abuses.
The units have used tactics reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's secret intelligence squads, according to the ministry and independent human rights groups and lawyers, who have cataloged abuses.
"We've documented a lot of torture cases," said Sultan, whose committee is pushing for wider access to Iraqi-run prisons across the nation. "There are beatings, punching, electric shocks to the body, including sensitive areas, hanging prisoners upside down and beating them and dragging them on the ground…. Many police officers come from a culture of torture from their experiences over the last 35 years. Most of them worked during Saddam's regime."
Lots of secrets: Iraqi's justice minister said today that
Justice Minister Abdel Hussein Shandal, in
"It seems there are lots of secrets they want to hide,'' he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview.
Is a United Front far away?: Iraqi lawmakers from across the political spectrum called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from their country in a letter released to the media June 19.
The move comes as U.S. President George W. Bush is under increasing domestic pressure to set a timetable for the pullout of American forces in the face of an increasing death toll at the hands of insurgents.
Eighty-two Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni Arab, Christian and communist deputies made the call in a letter sent by Falah Hassan Shanshal of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the largest group in parliament, to speaker Hajem al-Hassani.
(I know Friendly Fire posted an article on this yesterday, but I thought it was worth a second look. After all, this is Iraqi democracy in action! Does anyone know how many deputies would have to vote for a resolution calling for withdrawal for it to become law? I’m afraid my grasp of the mechanics of Iraqi government isn’t all it could be…)
Two stories in one: The new
"I will work with Iraqis to break the back of the insurgency," said Zalmay Khalilzad, who presented his credentials to President Jalal Talabani on the way to
"Foreign terrorists and hardline Baathists want
"Foreign terrorists are using Iraqis as cannon fodder."
A tribal leader in Karabilah near the border came to
"We ask (the government) to send medical relief to Qaim and Karabilah," said Osama al-Jadaan al-Sanad, head of the Karabilah tribe. "We must force US forces and the Iraqi defence and interior ministries to stop bleeding the innocent in Karabilah under the pretext that they are terrorists."
Soldiers’ perspectives: Their faces dusty and streaked with sweat, the soldiers huddle to talk through the incident, raising more questions than answers. Why had the engineers been operating in daylight, when insurgents could easily "template" their position? Why had the infantry left them vulnerable? Why hadn't they caught the sniper who killed Miller?
"What sucks the most," says Miller's platoon leader, Lt. Tom Lafave, of
Miller's squad leader, Staff Sgt. Steve "Shaggy" Hagedorn, is more blunt. "We spent three days clearing a route and I guarantee it's worse now than when we started," he says. "So everyone's asking, 'What are we doing it for?' Everyone's asking, 'Am I next?' "
Miller has made his final escape from the war, his body refrigerated and readied for the flight out. But his death will replay in the minds of his platoon mates for a very long time. The shock is compounded by the loss just weeks earlier of the platoon's commander, 2nd Lt. Richard B. Gienau, 29, of
Syrian border: Syrian President Bashar Assad is under intense pressure from
Seeking to show they are trying to guard the frontier - as Iraqi and American soldiers across the border fight yet another offensive against insurgents believed to have entered from Syria - Syrian officials gave journalists a rare peek Monday at part of the border.
The Syrians did increase their work along the border starting nine months ago, said Lyne-Pirkis. Nevertheless, the border remains "very difficult" to control, especially at night, he said.
The Syrians also need to improve patrols and get better intelligence to understand how the insurgency works, said Lyne-Pirkis, who has surveyed the entire border and went on the tour.
A Syrian border official acknowledged it is difficult to keep insurgents from crossing at night, although he said such crossings are generally prevented during the day.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the border issue, said 15 border guards had been killed either by outlaws crossing the border or by fire from
Mercenaries: ''Private Warriors" is the closest thing to must-see TV that ''Frontline" has uncorked in ages. Veteran correspondent Martin Smith, on his fourth trip to
There are as many as 100,000 civilian contractors and another 20,000 private security forces in the country who exist outside of the military chain of command and who are thus largely unaccountable to military leaders. The security cadre shows up from
More troubling are the rules the security types follow: There aren't many. ''They don't communicate in the same networks. They don't get the same intelligence information," one expert says on the program. Adds another: ''They can decide to leave when and where they want. . . . And so what you've done is put a level of uncertainty into your military operation. And military operations are not a place that you want uncertainty."
As pressure mounts on the Bush administration to withdraw troops from
''Perhaps it is part of their policy to reduce troop members and replace them with private security contractors," offers the head of one such outfit.
June 2005 and we still have equipment shortages?: Marine Corps units fighting in some of the most dangerous terrain in Iraq don't have enough weapons, communications gear, or properly outfitted vehicles, according to an investigation by the Marine Corps' inspector general provided to Congress yesterday.
The report, obtained by the Globe, says the estimated 30,000 Marines in
The Marine Corps leadership has ''understated" the amount and types of ground equipment it needs, according to the investigation, concluding that all of its fighting units in Iraq ''require ground equipment that exceeds" their current supplies, ''particularly in mobility, engineering, communications, and heavy weapons."
What the hell are they spending this money on? Obviously not the Marines: Lawmakers in the
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress has approved $350 billion, mostly for combat and reconstruction in
The amount, which includes $82 billion approved last month, is equal to the total amount in today's dollars spent on the Korean conflict from 1950-53.
Sleight of hand: By refusing to estimate the costs for the war in
But when he submitted his 2006 budget to Congress in February, it didn't contain one penny for combat in
Instead, Bush insisted it would be impossible to know how much would be needed, so instead of including anything in the regular budget, he plans to continue the tradition of coming to Congress for emergency supplemental appropriations when war funds get low.
Coincidentally, that approach has the side effect of making the federal budget deficit appear smaller than it actually is. Far smaller, considering that spending in
The Times Are Changing, Indeed They Are
If 51% is a mandate, what is 59%?: Nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war in Iraq and a growing number of them are dissatisfied with the war on terrorism, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.
Only 39 percent of those polled said they favored the war in
The survey of 1,006 adults, conducted by telephone Thursday through Sunday, had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Please support this fine citizen: Since Mike Norton, of
The letter, from Layton Assistant City Attorney Stephen Garside, said the city inspector who told Norton six months ago that his sign was OK used the wrong code section in reviewing the sign. Norton responded by telling the city to cite him, because he could find nothing in the code to indicate a violation and, he noted, the city code specifically exempts memorials. His sign is a memorial to the soldiers. Norton has obtained an attorney and is prepared to fight. "I will go to jail before I will pay a fine for displaying a sign that honors the war dead," he said.
You can contact Layton Asst. Attorney Garside at 801-336-3590 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him why Mike Norton can't honor the fallen. Perhaps Garside has a good explanation. Be respectful. (Many thanks to Buzzflash, the best source of news on the internet)
Growing a spine?: The Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, created last week, will to try to increase pressure on the Bush administration and Congress to end the
Waters said many House Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with the party’s failure to effectively challenge the Bush administration’s policies in
A true British patriot: The prime minister, Tony Blair, is today expected to make an application to avoid a court appearance after he was summonsed by the mother-in-law of a sergeant killed in
Pat Blackburn called on Mr Blair to be a witness in her case of income tax evasion after she withheld payments in protest at the war.
Mrs Blackburn has said that she has given the outstanding £15,000 she owes to "an independent stakeholder" but is refusing to hand over the money to the Inland Revenue until Mr Blair resigns or shows her evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
Dickheads: A radical Midwestern hate group plans to protest at the funerals of two local soldiers killed in action, claiming the slain heroes ``were cast into hell to join many more dishonorable Americans.
The Westboro Baptist Church, proclaiming ``thank God for IEDs'' or roadside bombs, claims the 9/11 attacks and American deaths in
``It's going to shock and enrage every person who sees it. That is our goal,'' said Margie Phelps, daughter of WBC leader Fred Phelps. The group is based in
By any metric of tactical military success, it's working, say analysts.
But if another measure of success is used - a reduction in the number and lethality of insurgent attacks - the
"We've won every fight they've given us, but there always seem to be just as many people fighting us as when we got here," says one career Marine officer, who recently finished a tour in
Editorial: The president is deluding himself if he believes the nation must stay the course. He and his administration must acknowledge what has become obvious for more than two years -- it's time to start withdrawing
It can also start shipping in food and medicine as well as engineers and construction supplies. It can throw Haliburton and the rest of the war profiteers out and give the jobs to Iraqis so they can rebuild their own country and take control of their economic destiny.
We can't do anything about what has already happened to put our nation into this mess in
What should the Democrats be doing and saying now about
First of all, we've got to support the troops that are there, their families at home, the military as an institution that's fighting the war, and our veterans. We have to do that because it's a duty for Americans, and if we're going to be the leading party in
It's been Democrats who have supported and proposed measures to make sure every vehicle has the appropriate armor, to make sure every solider has body armor and adequate ammunition and training, to make sure that our veterans and our returning soldiers can be taken care of. Democrats have a long-standing reputation for being more interested in the people than in the weapons systems.
So Democrats have to pull off being critical of the administration's
First, it's still true that the war in
The administration's overall strategy is sort of unarguable in the broadest sense. The problem is that it is not executing it well.
"Unarguable" in the sense that the
"Unarguable" in the sense that you have to create an Iraqi government that people can have confidence in, that has legitimacy. You also have to have the ability to train the Iraqi military and security forces to take over an increasing proportion of the burden. And you have to deal with
As far as creating an Iraqi government, the administration essentially did very little for more than a year. And even today, we're having a great deal of difficulty bringing that government together. Then, on the military side, we also wasted a year [before] getting serious about training the Iraqi military and security forces. And the administration hasn't ever really talked about how to deal with
So it's not that there's no way out. It's that the administration isn't doing a very good job of making a success of what it got us in to.
(This whole interview, and especially these passages, strike me as a worthy discussion topic. I admire General Clark but I’m not sure I agree with him here. I’d really appreciate it if one of these muckymucks would define for me in plain language just what ‘victory in
Opinion: "He was thinking about invading
Bush apparently accepted a view that Herskowitz, with his long experience of writing books with top Republicans, says was a common sentiment: that no president could be considered truly successful without one military "win" under his belt. Leading Republicans had long been enthralled by the effect of the minuscule Falklands War on British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's popularity, and ridiculed Democrats such as Jimmy Carter who were reluctant to use American force. Indeed, both Reagan and Bush's father successfully prosecuted limited invasions (
Herskowitz's revelations illuminate Bush's personal motivation for invading
Comment: Although official administration spokesmen have for some time been saying things like ''We have turned a corner in
In addition to the thousands of American and Iraqi casualties, one victim of this slow bleeding in
The implications for the all-volunteer military are significant. With almost every unit in the Army on the conveyor belt into and out of
Opinion: In his June 18 weekly radio address last Saturday, Bush again lied to the American people when he told them that the
Whoever the "people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens" might be, they were not Iraqis, at least not until Bush invaded their country, killed tens of thousands and maimed tens of thousands more, detained tens of thousands others, destroyed entire cities, destroyed the country's infrastructure, and created mass unemployment, poverty, pollution, and disease.
The only reason Iraqis want to harm the
If the Bush administration has its way, the Iraqi insurgents will be joined by the Iranians, Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Jordanians, and Palestinians. The "people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens" will increase exponentially.
Editorial: Another day, another round of bombings, electricity cuts, death and destruction in
Nothing, in other words, out of the ordinary. Just more evidence that the
Not surprisingly, public support for the war in
The White House response? A series of speeches starting this week intended, according to spokesman Scott McClellan, as an "update" for the American people. But far more is needed than another hopeful scenario, or a set of idealistic goals without a hard assessment of the realities on the ground and what has brought the
Opinion: President Bush planted the seeds of the destruction of his
The notion that the president led the country into war through indirection or dishonesty is not the most damaging criticism of the administration. The worst possibility is that the president and his advisers believed their own propaganda. They did not prepare the American people for an arduous struggle because they honestly didn't expect one.
How else to explain the fact that the president and his lieutenants consistently played down the costs of the endeavor, the number of troops required, the difficulties of overcoming tensions among the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds? Were they lying? The more logical explanation is that they didn't know what they were talking about.
Opinion: Though Mr. Bush doesn’t do nuance and he often fights a losing battle with syntax and pronunciation, he somehow makes it all work to potent political effect. “See, in my line of work,” he has said, “you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda . . .”
This folksy bit of arrogance helps explain his talent for communication. While FDR insisted that repetition does not transform a lie into a truth, Bush has persevered, brazened out and repeated lies that meeker men might have buckled under. He has hidden the truth in plain sight, wrapped in the cult of personality and patriotism and been rewarded for his efforts. His hand-picked audiences respond with thunderous applause. They relish the president’s jovial delivery, happy just to let the propaganda sink in and work its magic. Cares be gone. God bless
The confluence of religious fanaticism, war, fear and corporatism, have indeed proven ripe for catapulting his propaganda. The
A mother’s story: "My only child, Lt. Ken Ballard, was 26 years old when he was killed in
Opinion: Bush lied, and Americans died. And continue to die. But politically - at least so far - it has worked out well for Bush.
It was a lie of political expediency, with the war resolution carefully timed just before the 2002 elections to help the Republicans take back the Senate.
It was echoed and amplified and repeated over and over again to help him and other Republicans get elected in 2004.
It wasn't a war for oil - cheap oil was just a useful secondary benefit.
It wasn't a war against terrorism - that was just a convenient excuse.
It wasn't a war to enrich Bush's and Cheney's cronies - those were just pleasant by-products.
It wasn't a war to show Poppy Bush that Junior was more of a man than him - that was just a personal bonus for Dubya.
It was, pure and simple, well planned years in advance, a war to solidify Bush and the Republican Party's political capital.
It was a war for political power. That had to be first. Everything else - oil, profits, ongoing PATRIOT Act powers, easy manipulation of the media - all could only come if political power was seized and held through at least two decisive election cycles.
The Bush administration lied us into an invasion to get and keep political power. It's that simple.
An open letter to Fred Hiatt: Men and women of good faith cannot any longer deny that the preponderance of evidence points to one conclusion, and one conclusion only: The President of the United States and much of his cabinet are guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors against the US Congress and against its citizens, and those crimes were motivated by a deadly brew of political opportunism, and an arrogant and destructive neoconservative foreign policy.
Mr. Hiatt, you made one other assertion that has proven to be patently false. You said that Bush "...inherited a failing strategy with regard to
Here again, the facts point to a different conclusion. One of the most important implications of the Kay Report, the Senate Intelligence Committee Report, the 911 Commission’s Report, and the Duelfer Report is the clear evidence that
Which, of course, brings us to your last point – that "What Kennedy has laid out for the Democrats is a powerful critique; it is not yet a policy." Call it what you will, Mr. Hiatt – we now know that the strategy of containment and deterrence worked, just as it had in defeating the far more dangerous
And neither purple-fingered ex-post facto justifications about democratization nor any of the other 22 separate retroactive rationalizations ginned up by a White House desperate to justify breaking the law and lying to Congress and the American people undermines the case for impeachment.
It’s time, Washington Post. We all make mistakes. And it’s very hard to admit them. Particularly when papers in the Knight-Ridder chain and the Guardian got it right all along, while you and your editorial page clung to increasingly transparent lies.
But your current editorial position wouldn’t hold up against a highschool debater. Quit embarrassing yourself and insulting your reader’s intelligence.
By your own logic, the Post’s next editorial on the administration’s
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Notice To Readers: I see alert reader zig posted a bunch of interesting articles in yesterday's Comments. I didn't see them in time to incorporate them in this post, but if your eyeballs aren't already falling out, go take a look. Thanks, zig!