Saturday, September 10, 2005

War News for Saturday, September 10, 2005 Bring 'em on: US and Iraqi forces launch major assault on Tal Afar. Bring 'em on: Green Zone mortared in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed, four wounded in Samarra raid. Bring 'em on: Five Iraqi soldiers killed by two car bombs in Tal Afar; 10 decapitated bodies found in city. Bring 'em on: Four Iraqi policemen killed by car bomb near Hilla. Bring 'em on: Shi'ite mosque bombed in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed in Baghdad ambush. Bring 'em on: Four Iraqis employed by US Army killed near Khalis. Bring 'em on: Iraqi police disarm car bomb in Basra. Bring 'em on: US troops mortared near Khalidiyah. Security contractors.
Recent shootings of Iraqi civilians, allegedly involving the legion of U.S., British and other foreign security contractors operating in the country, are drawing increasing concern from Iraqi officials and U.S. commanders who say they undermine relations between foreign military forces and Iraqi civilians. Private security companies pervade Iraq's dusty highways, their distinctive sport-utility vehicles packed with men waving rifles to clear traffic in their path. Theirs are among the most dangerous jobs in the country: escorting convoys, guarding dignitaries and protecting infrastructure from insurgent attacks. But their activities have drawn scrutiny both here and in Washington after allegations of indiscriminate shootings and other recklessness have given rise to charges of inadequate oversight. "These guys run loose in this country and do stupid stuff. There's no authority over them, so you can't come down on them hard when they escalate force," said Brig. Gen. Karl R. Horst, deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, which is responsible for security in and around Baghdad. "They shoot people, and someone else has to deal with the aftermath. It happens all over the place." No tally of such incidents has been made public, and Aegis, a British security company that helps manage contractors in Baghdad and maintains an operations center in the capital's fortified Green Zone, declined to answer questions. In the rare instances when police reports are filed, the U.S. military is often blamed for the actions of private companies, according to Adnan Asadi, the deputy interior minister responsible for overseeing security companies.
Calling Karen Hughes. "British and European diplomats walked out of a human rights conference in Malaysia yesterday, after the country's former prime minister claimed that the United States and the UK were 'terrorist' states and that air force pilots whose bombs killed Iraqi civilians were murderers. The diplomats, including Bruce Cleghorn, Britain's High Commissioner, left in protest at Mahathir Mohamad's broadside during a speech at the conference in Kuala Lumpur." More to come. "Iraq's defence minister said that following Saturday's assault on the rebel stronghold of Tal Afar government forces were ready to strike insurgents in four other northwestern towns. Saadoun Dulaimi told a news conference troops had killed 141 insurgents and captured 197, many of them Arabs from countries other than Iraq, in the past two days at Tal Afar and said the operation might last no longer than three more days. 'We received letters from other towns and cities as well,' he said, referring to communications the government said it had received from people in Tal Afar complaining of an influx of fighters, some of them foreign, into the town in recent months. 'We tell our people in Ramadi, Samarra, Rawa and Qaim that we are coming,' Dulaimi said. 'There will be no refuge for the terrorists, criminals and bloodsuckers.'" Harsh punishment. "A soldier who beat up a taxi driver has been spared a prison sentence so he can go and serve in Iraq. A judge in Carlisle told Pte Steven Harrison that even though he deserved to be locked up, the country was better served by him travelling to Basra." Commentary Editorial:
Just this week, the White House argued that the Supreme Court should not review the case of a Yemeni prisoner charged with war crimes. He admits he drove Osama bin Laden's car, but says he never attacked American troops. The administration wants to try him without judicial oversight, under ever-changing rules and without letting him see all the evidence. Even if he is acquitted, the administration says it will keep him in jail. In another case, the White House wants to deny hearings to 20 Kuwaitis arrested after 9/11 who want a chance to prove their innocence. In both cases, the administration says it needs to be able to hold on to dangerous terrorists. Of course it does, and nothing prevents it from doing that. But no amount of concern about terrorism gives it the power to detain innocent people or brutalize even those who are guilty. That is why this nation has laws, courts and judges. We can never be sure any new laws will be enforced until we know the truth about how the old ones were swept aside. That is why Mr. McCain, Mr. Graham and other Republicans who understand the importance of these issues should support an independent inquiry. Given the need to investigate the Katrina debacle, this may seem one examination too many. But healing the wounds of the prison camps is vital to American values, the country's image and the safety of its soldiers.
Capping the September 6-7 conference, which was addressed by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former North Atlantic Treaty Organization commander Wesley Clark and Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, among others political heavyweights, was the publication of a statement by the new Partnership for a Secure America, a bipartisan group of former veteran lawmakers and top national-security officials, including half a dozen secretaries of state and national security advisers, that implicitly criticized Bush's conduct on the war. Noting that "terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy", the statement stressed that success in the war will require "strong partnerships with allies based on mutual respect"; living up to traditional US principles, such as the rule of law, in conducting the war at home as well as overseas; and "breaking our over-dependence on oil". In contrast to Bush's rhetoric about "evil" and "evil-doers" as the source of Islamist terrorism, the statement also stressed that "terrorism is a political act requiring a political response", which, in addition to promoting democratic institutions in the Muslim world, should also include "addressing legitimate grievances", the existence of which the administration has been loathe to concede over the past four years. While the statement did not define what those "legitimate grievances" were, a number of speakers - some rarely heard in Washington's more exalted and politically sensitive policy circles - made clear that US policies in the Greater Middle East should be included. "They do not hate us for what we are, but for what we do," declared NAF fellow Nir Rosen, whose writings in Asia Times Online and The New Yorker magazine about his experience in insurgent-controlled Fallujah, Iraq last year won wide notice. (See Inside the Iraq resistance) "The American empire will cease to be a target when it ceases directly or indirectly to oppress weaker people or to support those who oppress them. The motives for Muslim terrorists directed against America are no secret. They are clearly stated over and over again by the most reliable sources, the perpetrators themselves ... Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Guantanamo, America's presence on holy Muslim land in the Arabian peninsula and American support for dictatorial or corrupt regimes. An American withdrawal from Iraq and an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories to the 1967 lines would do more to fight terrorism than any military action ever could. So would American empathy."
Casualty Reports Local story: California security contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: New York security contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: Texas security contractor killed in Iraq. Letter To America America’s Battered Wife Syndrome Dear America, As a friend of the family I can’t sit back and watch you do this to yourself without saying something. Consider this a long distance intervention. Your man is no good. He treats you like crap, lies to you, abuses you, bullies you, exploits you, takes your money. As a friend I want to tell you that you deserve better. You deserve a person that treats you with respect, cares about your welfare, and your children’s welfare, but that’s not George and it never will be. Do you tell yourself that he’ll stop, or that it won’t get worse? He won’t ever stop, every insult, injury and death he has caused are a line that once crossed will never be uncrossed. Forget the dream. You will never have the American dream with George. You have to forget about what might have been, what George might have been, and realise that at the end of the day you are what you do, and look at George’s track record. Notice how he’s alienated all your friends? Who can blame them, they can’t understand why you stay with him when he treats you like shit and embarrasses you in front of everybody. The more his public behaviour overshadows yours, The more doubt creeps over them, they wonder if they knew you as well as they thought they did. You seem to have changed - if you condone his behaviour- and your silence can create the impression that you do. People are more inclined to take things at face value when they feel alienated. Your friends remember the good times you had together, the heroic battles you fought together, all of the intricate interweavings between their families and yours through time and space. Do you even recognise yourself anymore America? He is a drunken, coke-addled loser and he always will be, you should kick him out of your house today before he can destroy any more members of your family, your history, your culture, before he decimates your bank account so irretrievably that China and Saudi Arabia repossess all your stuff. Via Discourse.net


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