Wednesday, June 22, 2005
War News for Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi civilians killed and seven wounded in bomb attack on US armored patrol in Mosul, unclear if there were any American casualties. Several Iraqi civilians injured in car bomb attack on a security checkpoint in Ramadi. One US soldier shot dead near Ramadi. Loud explosion heard on
Bring ‘em on: Former judge and current
Foreign fighters: An NBC News analysis of hundreds of foreign fighters who died in Iraq over the last two years reveals that a majority came from the same country as most of the 9/11 hijackers — Saudi Arabia.
The NBC News analysis of Web site postings found that 55 percent of foreign insurgents came from
Are we winning yet?: Someone is lying. You decide who.
Option A: Military officials who are on the ground in
Option B: Scott McClellan, Bush and Cheney.
Good vs. evil: Leaders of
Debt forgiveness: Rice is co-chairing the conference with European and Iraqi leaders. The session of about 80 nations in
The conference is addressing three main issues: the political process, the economy and reconstruction, and security and rule of law.
The gathering is not a donors' conference, but an Iraqi government spokesman said the country will ask nations to forgive
In recent days, European Union officials have said they would push
Ahead of Wednesday's session, however, Rice suggested that real progress on debt relief would be left for a separate donor conference. That session is planned for July in
The soldier was killed in Sirnak province, a remote area bordering
Tensions have risen in the mainly Kurdish southeast amid an upsurge in violence between Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters and the Turkish military after the PKK called off its unilateral ceasefire last year.
On Tuesday, Kurdish demonstrators clashed with paramilitary police in Van province, leaving one protester dead and eight people hurt after police fired into the air, the state-run Anatolian news agency said.
The bodies of those killed in Tuesday's fighting littered a rugged Afghan mountainside. The surge in violence has raised fears that an Iraq-style quagmire is developing here, just months ahead of key legislative elections.
Two American CH-47 helicopters were hit by small arms fire. One made an emergency landing and was repaired, while the other managed to fly back to a nearby base,
He said 49 rebels had been killed, but Gen. Salim Khan, commander of about 400 Afghan policemen who took part in the fighting, said his men had recovered the bodies of 60 suspected insurgents from the battlefield on the border between the provinces of
"Their camps were decimated. Bodies lay everywhere. Heavy machine-guns and AK-47s were scattered alongside blankets, kettles and food," he said. "Some of the Taliban were also killed in caves where they were hiding and
Khan said hundreds of insurgents were in the mountains and his forces were locating them before giving the information to American officials on the ground, who called in air strikes. Many of the rebels have started to flee the area, he added.
Afghanistan, part 2: In view of the steady stream of bad news from Iraq – five dead Marines in Saturday’s paper, two more in Sunday’s and four soldiers in Monday’s, along with the Baathist element of the resistance so “weakened” it is now striking targets in Iran – it is easy to forget that we are fighting, and losing, not one Fourth Generation war but two. Five
Insurgents linked to the former Taliban regime have set off a wave of violence in Afghanistan, launching a string of almost daily bombings and assassinations that have killed dozens of U.S. and Afghan military personnel and civilians in recent weeks . . . a virtual lockdown is in effect for many of the . . . roughly 3,000 international residents of Kabul . . .
As recently as April of this year, the senior
A clear hierarchy of decision-making: What the Downing Street memo confirms for the first time is that President Bush had decided, no later than July 2002, to "remove Saddam, through military action," that war with Iraq was "inevitable"—and that what remained was simply to establish and develop the modalities of justification; that is, to come up with a means of "justifying" the war and "fixing" the "intelligence and facts...around the policy." The great value of the discussion recounted in the memo, then, is to show, for the governments of both countries, a clear hierarchy of decision-making. By July 2002 at the latest, war had been decided on; the question at issue now was how to justify it—how to "fix," as it were, what Blair will later call "the political context." Specifically, though by this point in July the President had decided to go to war, he had not yet decided to go to the United Nations and demand inspectors; indeed, as "C" points out, those on the National Security Council—the senior security officials of the US government—"had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record." This would later change, largely as a result of the political concerns of these very people gathered together at
One decision: With a small ceremony on April 26, 2003, control of Prince Sultan Air Base was handed back to the government of
The timing of the closing of PSAB seemed odd, coming just weeks after the official start of military actions in
Long before the
Published reports and official DOD statements claimed that the amazing transformation was the result of the heroic response of US servicemen to the tragedy of 9-11. A determined military had beaten indeterminate odds to transform a barren wasteland into a state of the art military base in order to "take the war to the terrorists".
The true story of the building of Al-Udeid is actually quite different. The planning for the mammoth base had in fact taken place long before Sept. 11, and actual work on the base began as early as the spring of 2001. The building of Al Udeid turns out not to be a "miracle in the desert" in response to a heinous attack, as touted by the military, but rather a required step on the path to regime change in Iraq.
Some results of the decisions: A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says
The assessment, completed last month and circulated among government agencies, was described in recent days by several Congressional and intelligence officials. The officials said it made clear that the war was likely to produce a dangerous legacy by dispersing to other countries Iraqi and foreign combatants more adept and better organized than they were before the conflict.
Congressional and intelligence officials who described the assessment called it a thorough examination that included extensive discussion of the areas that might be particularly prone to infiltration by combatants from
They said the assessment had argued that Iraq, since the American invasion of 2003, had in many ways assumed the role played by Afghanistan during the rise of Al Qaeda during the 1980's and 1990's, as a magnet and a proving ground for Islamic extremists from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries.
More results of the decisions: And remember, creating terrorists is only one way in which the war has endangered us; there is all the new hatred it has created in the Arab world; not only the undermining of our claims to morality vis-a-vis our condoning of torture; there is the destruction of our military not only by wasting all this weaponry but by making recruitment goals impossible to meet; there is the death and maiming of thousands of our soldiers; and there is the opportunity cost of spending hundreds of billions in this fantastically counterproductive fashion while allowing nuclear, chemical and port facilities to go unguarded. Twelve million people in the tri-state area could be endangered with a single strike at a nuclear facility and Bush and company are neither taking seriously the kind of investment that would need to ensure their protection nor lifting a proverbial finger to ensure that the private industrial interests that benefit financially from use do anything to ensure their security. When the attack happens, we’ll know who to blame—if we are still alive.
Clear and unequivocal lies about the decisions: “Our goal is not merely to limit
PR campaign: This week, the White House is beginning a new public relations campaign to reassure the American people about the continuing violence in
Despite President Bush's assurance yesterday that he "thinks about
The Administration's lack of leadership has led to a drop in support for President Bush's handling of the War in
Vague stirrings of accountability: There is a reason why President Bush's aides are scrambling to come up with fresh justifications for the violence in
Bush has not just had a run of lousy polling results on his presidency, leadership, credibility, and his handling of the war. The political byproducts of three years of propaganda contradicted by the hard news of ceaseless insurgency are now coming as well from a Republican Congress that is beginning to stir.
Earlier this month, with virtually no notice, the final version of the legislation sending another $85 billion to support the continued fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan contained an intriguing instruction to the administration to report on a list of ''measurable objectives" that would produce the beginning of US troop withdrawal if they are met.
The instruction was noteworthy because it came from a proposal by a Democrat, Jim Moran of
Since then, several other proposals have quietly surfaced from members of both parties, and one of them was approved on June 9 by the House's International Relations Committee, as an amendment to the annual measure authorizing the State Department's operations. Once again the author was a Democrat and onetime ''yes" vote on the 2002 bill authorizing war in Iraq -- Representative Joe Crowley of New York.
Signs of a spine: Q Is the President concerned about the recruitment being down in his home country, he can't get -- you know, some day you may give a war and no one will come? And, also, the second part of the question, is there any member of the Bush clan who is in the military service now, that you know of? MR. McCLELLAN: I'd have to go check; that's a pretty large clan, as you -- Q Would you do that? MR. McCLELLAN: -- as you referred to. In terms of -- and certainly there are members of the family that have served and served very admirably in the Armed Forces. Q I'm not talking about the past, I'm talking about now.
Excellent question: Last night on his radio show, Alan Colmes did another hour-long segment on the Downing Street Memo. His guest for the segment was Cindy Sheehan who co-founded Gold Star Families for Peace after losing a son to the war in
As happened when Sheehan was a guest in February, the callers mostly disagreed with her views but, fortunately, they were nowhere near as vicious as they were the last time. Frank from
Sheehan answered, "Too bad my son died for cowards who wouldn't fight in a war when they had a chance to fight in their war, when they did everything they could to avoid going to
From Solzhenitsyn's Gulag: The Simplest Methods which Break the Will
An excerpt on interrogation methods from Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago
Let us try to list some of the simplest methods which break the will and the character of the prisoner without leaving marks on his body Let us begin with psychological methods.....
Profit motive: A contract awarded to a Halliburton subsidiary in June 2000 while Vice President Dick Cheney was still at the helm of the firm spawned the detention centers at
The contract, which allocated funds for “emergency construction capabilities” at “worldwide locations,” authorized the Defense Department to award Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root any number of specific naval construction deals abroad.
Pegged at an “estimated maximum” of $75 million in 2000, the deal mushroomed to $136 million by 2004. Some $58 million was dedicated to detention centers at
Specific contracts for the
The original deal, signed under
In 2002, the Pentagon said that additional options might reach $300 million. Security experts believe the Bush Administration may have carved out funding from the original agreement to build other secret detention facilities sprinkled across the globe.
No investigation needed: The White House on Tuesday rejected the proposed creation of an independent commission to investigate abuses of detainees held at the
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Pentagon has launched 10 major investigations into allegations of abuse, and that system was working well.
"People are being held to account," he said. "And we think that's the way to go about this."
FBI REPORT (7/29/04): On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold...On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
Durbin asked an obvious question: If you’d read that report, would you ever have thought that it was describing American conduct? Or would you have thought what Durbin said—that it must describe an evil regime, the type we have long denounced? The answer to that is perfectly obvious—and so is the state of our fallen culture, the culture being trampled under by the Russerts, the McCains and the Wallaces.
But we’ve now reached a miraculous point in the crumbling of our discourse. We’ve reached the point where citizens are mocked by major scribes for wondering if we were lied into war—and where United States senators are told to apologize for denouncing the conduct described in that report. But then, lunacy has spread throughout our discourse over the course of the past dozen years. And your fiery “career liberals” have known to be silent. They looked away again and again. Now we see what that has bought us.
Remember: If you’re troubled to think that we may have been lied into war, that makes you a “wing nut” to today’s “mainstream” press corps. And if you think that FBI report sounds un-American, you need to apologize to the Senate! McCain, Russert, Kristol, Hume, Wallace? They’ve turned their backs on sanity itself. Everyone has to fight this spreading press culture—and you have to ask more from those who kept quiet while this culture of insanity was born.
(Link via Eschaton)
Three sources of law: At a minimum, the treatment of Mr. Kahtani was an exercise in degradation and humiliation. Such treatment is forbidden by three sources of law that the
The Geneva Conventions, which protect people captured in conflict, prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." The scope of that clause's legal obligation has been debated, but previous American governments abided by it. President Bush decided that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban members who are detained at Guantánamo.
The United Nations Convention Against Torture, also ratified by the
Finally, there is the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It makes cruelty, oppression or "maltreatment" of prisoners a crime. Armed services lawyers worried that some methods of interrogation might violate the Uniform Code and federal criminal statutes, exposing interrogators to prosecution. A Pentagon memorandum obtained by ABC News said a meeting of top military lawyers on March 8, 2003, concluded that "we need a presidential letter" approving controversial methods, to give interrogators immunity.
The idea that a president can legalize the unlawful evidently came from a series of memorandums written by Justice Department officials. They argued, among other things, that President Bush's authority as commander in chief to set interrogation methods could trump treaties and federal law.
Although President Bush decided to deny detainees at Guantánamo the protection of the Geneva Conventions, he did order that they must be treated "humanely." The Pentagon, responding to the Time magazine article on the treatment of Mr. Kahtani, said, "The Department of Defense remains committed to the unequivocal standard of humane treatment for all detainees, and Kahtani's interrogation plan was guided by that strict standard."
In the view of the administration, then, it is "humane" to give a detainee 3½ bags of I.V. fluid and then make him urinate on himself, force him to bark like a dog, or chain him to the floor for 18 hours.
If true, this is a criminal enterprise and those involved in it should be prosecuted -- starting at the top.
The White House says Taliban and jihadi fighters were "illegal combatants" deserving no mercy or legal protection. Then what of the 20,000-plus non-uniformed