War News for Sunday, September 25, 2005
Bring 'em on: Five killed in suicide bomb attack in Hilla
Bring 'em on: Three injured in suicide bomb attack on Iraqi army convoy in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Four family members murdered by US forces whilst driving in Karbala
Bring 'em on: Ten militia men killed by US forces in Sadr City
: no All Dark
Now I know why thewiz is here: Propaganda Bullshit Artist Chrentoff has retired
Militant Judge Indeed
British forces spokesman Major Steve Melbourne said the two men had immunity from prosecution under an arrangement between the Iraqi government and coalition forces. "They have no legal basis for the issue of these warrants," he told BBC News. "What we will do is we'll continue to work closely with the Iraqis who actually have the investigation team down here in Basra now, and also with the Iraqi government. "This has started and we'll see what comes from that into the events of Monday night." However, the judge told the BBC he was not convinced the two men were British and therefore would not be immune from arrest and possible prosecution in Iraq.
: YD linked this news item yesterday in the "Bring 'em on" section; when I hit the link I read the following:
"A group of US soldiers stormed the house of Brigadier Jabar Atiyah Saud, the deputy mayor of Dhuluiyah and dragged him out of his house before they shot him several bullets in his head," a source from the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. If this is true; I cannot imagine how bad it will get in Iraq, before it gets any better, if ever. Meanwhile KUNA are confirming the story albeit with spin.
: As the largest parachute force in the free world, the 82d Airborne Division is trained to deploy anywhere, at any time, to fight upon arrival and to win
. From cook to computer operator, from infantryman or engineer, every soldier in the 82nd is airborne qualified. Almost every piece of divisional combat equipment can be dropped by parachute onto the field of battle.
The soldiers came forward because of what they described as deep frustration with the military chain of command’s failure to view the abuses as symptomatic of broader failures of leadership and respond accordingly. All three are active duty soldiers who wish to continue their military careers. A fax letter, e-mail, and repeated phone calls to the 82nd Airborne Division regarding the major allegations in the report received no response.
When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in April 2004, senior officials in the Bush administration claimed that severe prisoner abuse was committed only by a few, rogue, poorly trained reserve personnel at a single facility in Iraq. But since then, hundreds of other cases of abuse from Iraq and Afghanistan have come to light, described in U.S. government documents, reports of the International Committee of the Red Cross, media reports, legal documents filed by detainees, and from detainee accounts provided to human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch. 3 And while the military has launched investigations and prosecutions of lower-ranking personnel for detainee abuse, in most cases the military has used closed administrative hearings to hand down light administrative punishments like pay reductions and reprimands, instead of criminal prosecutions before courts-martial. The military has made no effort to conduct a broader criminal investigation focusing on how military command might have been involved in reported abuse, and the administration continues to insist that reported abuse had nothing to do with the administration’s decisions on the applicability of the Geneva Conventions or with any approved interrogation techniques.
These soldiers’ firsthand accounts provide further evidence contradicting claims that abuse of detainees by U.S. forces was isolated or spontaneous. The accounts here suggest that the mistreatment of prisoners by the U.S. military is even more widespread than has been acknowledged to date, including among troops belonging to some of the best trained, most decorated, and highly respected units in the U.S. Army. They describe in vivid terms abusive interrogation techniques ordered by Military Intelligence personnel and known to superior officers.
Opinion and Commentary
Remember how we were told that our immense experience of 'peace-keeping' in Northern Ireland had allowed us to get on better with the Iraqis in the south than our American cousins further north? I don't actually remember us doing much 'peacekeeping' in Belfast after about 1969 " the rest, I recall, was about biffing the IRA " but in any case the myth was burned out on the uniforms of British troops this week.
Indeed, much of the war in Northern Ireland appeared to revolve around the use of covert killings and SAS undercover operatives who blew away IRA men in ambushes. Which does raise the question, doesn't it, as to just what our two SAS lads were doing cruising around Basra in Arab dress with itsy-bitsy moustaches and guns? Why did no one ask? How many SAS men are in southern Iraq? Why are they there? What are their duties? What weapons do they carry? Whoops! No one asked.
What we were actually doing to 'keep the peace' in Basra was to turn a Nelsonian 'blind eye' on the abuse, murder and anarchy of Basra since 2003 (including, it turns out, quite a bit of abuse by our very own squaddies). When Christian alcohol sellers were murdered, we remained silent. When ex-Baathists were slaughtered in the streets " including women and their children, a civil war if ever there was one " our British officers somehow forgot to tell the press. Anything to keep our boys out of harm's way.
But this is what has been happening in Basra. As the locally recruited police force (paid by the occupation authorities) sucked into its ranks the riff-raff of every local militia " as it did in Sunni areas to the north " we ignored this. Even when an American reporter investigating this extraordinary phenomenon was murdered " almost certainly by these same policemen " the British remained silent. We were 'controlling' the streets. In Amara " by awful coincidence, the very same Kut al-Amara with whose name, I'm sure, my favourite prime minister will soon be ennobled " British soldiers now operate just one heavily armed convoy patrol a day. That is the extent of our 'control' over Amara. Now we are reducing our patrols in Basra. You bet we are.
Yugoslavia on Crack
Today's New York Times reported that Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war. This is not the wild ravings of a crazy man. This is a cold, honest assessment from someone who really believes he is still a friend of the United States.
Our actions are confusing the hell out of our friends. They look at Iran, who has been the largest most prolific sponsor of terrorism since 1980, expand its influence among the Iraqi shia with our help. The Iranians attacked us, Saddam didn't, yet we are helping the Iranians (at least from our friends' perspective). The Saudis (and others) scratch their heads as they watch us give the shia militia carte blanche to establish their power. The Saudis understand that the Shia are keen on solidifying their power. They wonder why we don't see this.
What the Saudis and the Kuwaitis and the Omanis and the Abu Dhabis understand is that the Sunni tribes will go to any length to defend themselves and their families from the corruption represented by Shia rule. Think for a moment what a small town in Texas, habitually under the control of Southern Baptists, would do if a group of Catholics or Hasidic Jews moved into town and took control of the political process. While an incomplete analogy, this scenario offers a taste of what is in store for Iraq.
Unlike the international intervention in Yugoslavia, there is not a firm international consensus to fight against the fragmentation of the Iraqi society. Prince Faisal, I fear, is a prophet. In the coming years the United States may face the unsavory prospect of actually having to invade Saudi Arabia to secure and protect its access to oil. In the meantime, the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking terrorism and becoming a rallying point for our enemies.
Before George Bush tries to pick the splinter out of the eyes of his father, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan, he may want to spend some time removing the huge beam lodged in his iris.
Stop this Stupid War