Friday, July 22, 2005
War News for Friday, July 22, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi police officers killed and one wounded when their patrol came under fire in
Bring ‘em on: Two policemen killed and one injured when gunmen opened fire on their car in New Baghdad. One traffic policeman killed and another wounded when attacked by gunmen in the Mashtal district of Baghdad. One
Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed by IED attack near Zaidon.
Bring ‘em on: Two women, one a new bride and the other her mother, killed and two men, the groom and his brother, wounded when gunmen fired on their car in
No kidding, Chuck: During more than seven hours of testimony this week, a Senate committee heard that
From experts on the war in
They heard that the oil industry is sabotaged for profit, not just politics, and that much of the billions of dollars spent on reconstruction so far have accomplished nothing.
"Discount half of what you said, it's still damn disturbing," Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., told the witnesses.
“Partially capable”: The Iraqi government's forces are nowhere near battle ready and only a small number are capable of fighting the insurgency on their own, according to a newly declassified Pentagon document.
The assessment, provided to the Senate by General Peter Pace, the newly appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, paints a stark picture of Iraqi military readiness that contrasts with the Pentagon's upbeat official tone.
According to excerpts in US newspapers yesterday, Gen Pace said about half of
"Only a small number of Iraqi security forces are taking on the insurgents and terrorists by themselves," Gen Pace wrote.
Sunni demands: Sunni Arabs laid out the demands Thursday that they say must be met by the Iraqi government if they are to rejoin the committee drafting a permanent national constitution, warning that it would be a dire mistake to move ahead without Sunni participation. The 14 remaining Sunni Muslim Arab delegates to the constitutional committee suspended their membership Wednesday, a day after one of their number and a Sunni legal advisor to the committee were gunned down in broad daylight.
Sunni demands include the appointment of an international panel to investigate the assassination this week of Mijbil Issa, the Sunni member of the constitutional committee; the appointment of armed security guards for the Sunni members of the constitutional committee; and the retraction of statements made Wednesday by Humam Hamoodi, the Shiite chairman of the committee, who suggested that work on the charter was almost completed — even though Sunnis have yet to agree to any of the major provisions. The Iraqi government did not immediately respond to the demands.
The Indian perspective: In a candid submission made on the American soil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the 2003
Singh is perhaps the first foreign leader to criticise the
Hey Friendly Fire, Here’s One Just For You
I hope they don’t question you all the way to organ failure:
US Military And Veterans Affairs
Bush comes up short: Fellow Republicans warned House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay more than a year ago that the government would come up short — by at least $750 million — for veterans' health care. The leaders' response: Fire the messengers.
Now that the Bush administration has acknowledged a shortfall of at least $1.2 billion, embarrassed Republicans are scrambling to fill the gap. Meanwhile, Democrats portray the problem as another example of the GOP and the White House taking a shortsighted approach to the cost of wars in
New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, as chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, had told the House GOP leadership that the Veterans Affairs Department needed at least $2.5 billion more in its budget. The Senate passed a bill with that increase; the House's bill was $750 million short.
Smith and 30 other Republicans wrote to their leaders in March 2004 to make the point that lawmakers who were not the usual outspoken advocates for veterans were troubled by the move. Failure to come up with the additional $2.5 billion, they contended, could mean higher co-payments and "rationing of health care services, leading to long waiting times or other equally unacceptable reductions in services to veterans."
Still, the House ignored them.
Smith was rebuked by several Republicans for sounding the spending alarm, and House leaders yanked his chairmanship in January. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., lost his chairmanship of the VA health subcommittee, and Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., is no longer on the committee. They too had signed the letters to Hastert, R-Ill., and DeLay, R-Texas.
Fighting for recruits: Somewhere in Washington State, in a conservative town he would rather not name, is a lonely liberal man with a high-speed internet connection, a sarcastic wit, and a suggestion for how the U.S. military might fill its recruiting gaps: With pro-war College Republicans.
The man calls himself General J.C. Christian, Patriot, and he runs the online campaign "Operation Yellow Elephant," which has been exhorting young conservatives to carry their support of the
The General, as one might guess, is not having much luck. But the more he fails, the more he highlights a division between the war's political enablers and those who end up dying while fighting in support of a mission that was supposedly "accomplished" long ago. It is the same division that existed in the Vietnam era, when President Bush and other sons of privilege dodged active-duty service, a class division that allows the comfortable to pontificate on the theoretical virtues of war while those in lower tax brackets bear the brunt of its human cost.
This pisses the General off, as do Republicans in his small town who lecture him about his lack of patriotism when he voices opposition to the war. So when the General heard about the military recruiting shortfalls, his mind immediately turned to the young Republican movement: "I thought, 'Well, these people are always talking about patriotism, and always equating patriotism with support for the war, it's time that they walk the walk.'" That sentiment is summed up on his web site, operationyellowelephant.blogspot.com, with the motto: "It's their war. Why aren't they fighting it?"
Sixty percent: Many adults in
On Mar. 15, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced "a gradual reduction of the number of our soldiers in
In 2003, Berlusconi committed more than 2,000 Italian soldiers to the war in
Too bad for the majority: Italian legislators have approved a bill extending the stay of the country`s 3,000 troops in Iraq.
The BBC reported the measure allows the contingent to remain until the end of 2005. Defense Minister Antonio Martino has promised to begin a gradual withdrawal, with 300 troops coming home in September.
The bill passed the lower house and goes to the upper house of Parliament next week for a final vote.
More in three days: Every nation, even one as rich as the
"The degree to which the Bush administration is willing to invest in conventional national security spending relative to basic domestic security measures is considerable," Flynn argues in an article he wrote for Foreign Affairs magazine based on his book.
"Although the CIA has concluded that the most likely way weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would enter the
Flynn accuses the administration of a "myopic" focus on conventional military forces at the expense of domestic security. He draws this comparison: "In fiscal year 2005, Congress will give the Pentagon $7.6 billion to improve security at military bases. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security will receive just $2.6 billion to protect all the vital systems throughout the country that sustain a modern society."
Not that the Republicans will pass it: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (Dem., Calif.) today introduced - along with 26 co-sponsors - a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives which, if passed, will require the White House and the State Department to "transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq."
Grotesque: Calls for an early withdrawal from
The measure, approved 291-137, says the United States should leave Iraq only when national security and foreign policy goals related to a free and stable Iraq have been achieved.
"Calls for an early withdrawal embolden the terrorists and undermine the morale" of
"To establish such a deadline," added House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, "all but ensuring disaster, would be morally and strategically indefensible."
But Democrats said the proposal was aimed mainly at putting critics of the war, and those seeking an exit strategy, in a bad light. To suggest that "those of us who oppose this war are somehow 'emboldening terrorists' is, to say the least, grotesque," said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass.
Opposing PATRIOT: House Judiciary Democrats have prepared a 70-page dissent opposing the renewal of the U.S. Patriot and Intelligence Reform Reauthorization Act, RAW STORY has learned.
Unlike some Democratic opposition, those decrying the Patriot Act include a diverse panoply of voices: 389 communities and seven states have passed resolutions opposing parts of the PATRIOT Act, representing over 62 million people, they note.
Groups running the gamut of the political spectrum oppose certain sections of the PATRIOT Act, including the American Civil Liberties Union, American Conservative Union, American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Library Association, Gun Owners of America and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The dissent cites repeated abuse of the Act by police and law enforcement.
Among the more troubling, perhaps, for RAW STORY readers: "It has been used to unconstitutionally coerce an Internet Service Provider to divulge information about e-mail activity and web surfing on its system, and then to gag that Provider from even disclosing the abuse to the public."
Did You Know The
When Weiners attack: "Hush Bimbo" and "Sean Vanity" are the names Savage has pinned on Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. In doing so, he has sparked a war between the members of his "Savage Nation" (slogan: "Borders, language, culture") and the so-called "Bushbots," that sizable number of gullible Americans who can be convinced that whatever policy Bush adopts is a conservative policy.
"What makes Bush a conservative?" Savage asked when I got him on the phone the other day. "On the economy, Bush has got more governmental workers than anybody before him. He's ballooned the government."
As regards the so-called "war on terror," Savage points out that you can't win a war when you're afraid even to name the enemy.
"He's never mentioned Islamo fascism," said Savage.
No, he hasn't. Even the French have been more willing to defend their borders, language and culture than Bush. He's a multiculturalist and a mushy one at that. Instead of reducing the reach of Islamic fundamentalism, Bush has managed in
That's why we right-wing commentators believe the
Commentary By The Non-Insane
Editorial: The talking point for the next election: Republicans stand for Treason; Democrats stand for Reason. This was established during a Senate vote this week for an amendment to a homeland security appropriations bill that would deny access to classified material to any federal employee who discloses a covert CIA agent's identity. The bill was defeated, the vote breaking down along straight party lines, 53 to 44. The ruling party -- the Ruling Class -- has ossified, a sure sign of a government that will soon (but not soon enough!) collapse under the sheer weight of its own bullshit.
First, one undeniable fact: Karl Rove, Pres. Bush's closest advisor -- the man on whom Bush has affixed the loving nickname "Turd Blossom" -- revealed the identity of an undercover CIA agent. He did this more than two years ago. In fact, in this space on Oct. 16, 2003 ("We See Nothing"), I wrote, "Besides the Big Lie that has, as of this week, cost more than 300 American lives [in Iraq], the loss of Plame's cover may lead to as many as 70 deaths of her 'assets' around the world ... The prime suspect in this vindictive act -- a felony, perhaps treason -- is Karl Rove."
My point is not that I'm so prescient, so far ahead of the pack. Quite the contrary. That is, if a person like me, with a 9-year-old dog and a 4-year-old son competing for my attention in my cramped office picked up on this two years ago, then IT WAS KNOWN ALL OVER THE WORLD. Why all the hoo haw now? Nothing has changed in two years. Rove is no more or less guilty of treason than he was then. Somehow this heinous chapter in our nation's history was allowed to drag out and 1,500 more Americans and 100,000+ more Iraqis have died as a result of this administration's culture of lies.
I've heard the press is really pushing this story because they're angry the White House lied to them. Puh-leeeeeze. The White House press corps would wet their collective pants and melt into a giant collective puddle if Ari or Scott or Condi or Bush ever told them the truth. Had these same pencil-asses been this aggressive four or even two years ago, we'd never be in this mess now.
I think it has more to do with pack mentality, the barking dog syndrome. In Oct. 2003, I was simply a barking dog on an empty cul-de-sac. Now the dogs are out on
So, why is the Republican Party allowing itself to be dragged down with Turd Blossom? According to the Washington Post this week, "The emerging GOP strategy ... is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy."
Have you ever read a more cynical sentence in a news story than that last one?
Opinion: As I traveled in different parts of
On July 18, a Foreign Office think-tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs published a special report which argued that the wars in
On July 19, a special opinion poll commissioned by The Guardian/ICM has made this view public. 66 percent of the British public believes there was a link with
Unless you give people a political explanation for what has happened, the only other explanation is an apocalyptic one, which the prime minister duly gave - barbarians versus civilisation. Blair says this, his parrot cabinet members have been repeating it, and even Bush has picked up a few phrases.
We have to be clear. If the killing of innocent civilians in
Comment: Three years ago, I wrote an article entitled “Bush’s Grim Vision.” It began with the observation that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, “George W. Bush has put the
Since then, the dots have not only been connected, but many of the shapes have been colored in. The immediate fear and anger following the Sept. 11 attacks have given way to the grinding permanence of a never-ending state of emergency. In many ways, the reality has turned out worse than the article's expectations.
For the last two-plus years, the bloody war in
The war – and the animosities it engendered – have, in turn, added to the likelihood of terrorist attacks, like the July 7 bombings in
But now the very legal structures of the Republic are being dismantled. The principle of arbitrary rule by an autocratic leader is being openly established, through a series of unchallenged executive orders, perverse Justice Department rulings and court decisions by sycophantic judges who defer to power - not law - in their determinations. What we are witnessing is the creation of a "
George W. Bush has granted himself the power to declare anyone on earth - including any American citizen - an "enemy combatant," for any reason he sees fit. He can render them up to torture, he can imprison them for life, he can even have them killed, all without charges, with no burden of proof, no standards of evidence, no legislative oversight, no appeal, no judicial process whatsoever except those that he himself deigns to construct, with whatever limitations he cares to impose. Nor can he ever be prosecuted for any order he issues, however criminal; in the new American system laid out by Bush's legal minions, the Commander is sacrosanct, beyond the reach of any law or constitution.
This is not hyperbole. It is simply the reality of the
There has been virtually no institutional resistance to this open coup d'etat. It's now clear that the American Establishment - and a significant portion of the American people - have given up on the democratic experiment. They no longer wish to govern themselves; they want to be ruled, by "strong leaders" who will "do whatever it takes" to protect them from harm and keep them in clover. They have sold their golden birthright of American liberty for a mess of coward's pottage.