Saturday, October 22, 2005

WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Former Baath Party escaped assassination attempt, his daughter killed in Diwaniya. A suicide car bomber exploded in Falluja near a US patrol. Another Iraqi killed in street fire in Diwaniya. US soldier died of non-hostile gunshot wound in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb hits Iraqi Army patrol in Falljua. Bring ‘em on: Six insurgents detained in Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers disable a booby-trapped car in Ramadi. US forces stormed residential area in Basra and detain nine suspects. Bring ‘em on: More than 4,300 Iraqis, nearly 70 percent of them civilians, were killed by insurgents in the first nine months of this year, an Interior Ministry official said on Saturday. (That was the entire article from Reuters. Figures on Iraq Coalition Casualties are much higher, but Iraqi deaths from non-insurgent sources would be included, which would indicate – if correct –that coalition forces are killing nearly as many Iraqis as the insurgents are.) Bring ‘em on: Seven killed in Iraq bloodshed. Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it killed four contractors working for US forces. Bring ‘em on: Former kidnapped journalist says Iraqi police infiltrated by militia. And Chalabi was responsible for his release from the kidnappers. Kidnappers were dressed as Iraqi police. Bring ‘em on: Two Marines killed in Amiriya, near Falluja. Bring ‘em on: US Marine killed near Haqlaniya Bring ‘em on: Two roadside bombs hit Iraqi police and kill two. Bring ‘em on: US Says Kills 20 Insurgents in Western Iraq Bring ‘em on: US troops fighting losing battle for Sunni triangle. Four contractors were killed in Duluiya on September 20, 2005 in a similar manner as four contractors in Fallujah in March 2004. Details were suppressed. Bring ‘em on: Foreign Fighters Captured in Iraq Come From 27, Mostly Arab, Lands. Add Britain, Denmark, France and Sudan to the list. Bring ‘em on: Iraq Now a Terror Training Center – Canada Spy Boss Bring ‘em on: Iraq Is Deadliest Beat For Reporters Since WWII Bring ‘em on: Staying the Course THE AFTEREFFECTS OF WAR: The Costs of War at Walter Reed ABOUT THAT VOTE: Iraq constitution result delayed. Figures from some provinces were too high or too low, prompting checks, said a senior official from the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI). ABOUT THAT VOTE: Iraq Referendum Turnout 63% The highest turnout in the 15 October referendum was recorded in the northern Kurdish province of Irbil, at 90%. The lowest was in the Sunni Arab province of al-Anbar, a hotbed of Iraq's 30-month-old anti-US violence, at 32%. But Sunni Arabs participated in much larger numbers than in January, when most of them boycotted the vote. Only 2% of al-Anbar's registered voters cast ballots in January. The official results of Saturday's referendum are expected to be announced next week, a delay caused by the need to audit results from several provinces that commission officials said showed an unexpectedly high number of yes votes. ABOUT THAT VOTE: Week Of Milestones Fails to Reassure Frustrated Iraqis "I did not vote or encourage anyone to vote because the government has given us nothing," the 47-year-old shop owner said, grimacing and waving his arms in disgust. "Where are the results?" ABOUT THAT VOTE: Iraq: Life After the Constitution by Dilip Hiro. (worth reading) ABOUT THAT VOTE: US reporter in Iraq reports on preliminary numbers from the vote in Iraq last week. “The most closely watched one, Ninevah, is rapidly turning into the Ohio of Iraq.” ABOUT THAT VOTE: No Sign of Serious Iraq Vote Violations (Yet again, corporate media has a different story than some bloggers and independent journalists.) ABOUT THAT VOTE: New Constitution May Not Halt Iraq’s Fragmentation ABOUT THAT TRIAL: The Lone Witness. The tribunal trying the former leader failed to produce what was saied to be the only witness to the charges he was being tried for. ABOUT THAT TRIAL: Halabja Survivors Feel Forgotten “I believe the world has forgotten about us," he says, with a cough. "The Americans and the British did half the job when they got rid of Saddam Hussein. We thought they would come and help us and reconstruct Halabja - especially after they used it as a symbol to justify the war." THE SHAME OF AMERICA: US Charges Three People, Three Firms in Iraq Oil Program. But mismanagement allowed Saddam to rake in more than $10 billion in oil smuggling profits, according to an inquiry that reported its findings last month. THE WAR AT HOME: RAF Officer Faces Jail For Refusing Return to Iraq. His refusal is based on the argument that the war is illegal. He is not a conscientious objector. THE WAR AT HOME: $20,000 Bonus to Official Who Agreed On Nuke Claim. Energy Department Honcho Ordered Dissenters at Iraq Pre-briefing to “shut up, sit down.” (This was posted in August, 2003.) SOMEBODY DOESN’T GET IT: Indonesian Students Challenge US Envoy. U.S. goodwill envoy Karen Hughes got an earful from a group of mostly female Indonesian Muslim students on Friday, who expressed anger at the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and attacked Washington's foreign policies. DOESN’T HAVE HER FACTS STRAIGHT EITHER: US Envoy: Saddam Gassed Hundreds of Thousands AND THESE FOLKS DON’T GET IT EITHER: Don’t Play Innocent, Democrats SOMEBODY SORTA GETS IT: Former Powell Aide Says Bush Policy Is Run by Cabal. The former aide referred to Mr. Bush as someone who "is not versed in international relations, and not too much interested in them, either." Mr. Wilkerson suggested that the dysfunction within the administration was so grave that "if something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence." (Does this mean we have to have a disaster in order to return to a government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’? I vote for a pandemic.) THIS SENATOR DOES GET IT: Feingold to Rice: Finish Mission, Bring Troops Home AND THESE CITIZENS GET IT: Three Letters to the Editor in the NYT. 1. “A full reckoning of the crimes and criminals of the Hussein regime will also absolve those who committed no crimes but who are seen as guilty by association based on ethnic or religious affiliation, and thus serve to bridge the growing gap between Iraq's constituent populations. As effective transitional justice must seek reconciliation as well as punishment, a historical truth commission is needed to help Iraq move from the crimes of its past toward a future peace.” 2. “But why stop there? How did Saddam Hussein attain and retain power? Who were his global backers?” 3. “There can be no genuine peace without justice's being seen to be done to the Western leaders who aided Saddam Hussein, stood idly by and are guilty of equally atrocious crimes.’ AND THESE TWO GUYS ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT: Seymour Hersh and Scott Ritter on Iraq, WMDs and the Role of the Clinton Administration in the 1990’s (see Our Priceless Media stories below). WAR NEWS: US May Seek Tehran’s Help on Iraq. Officials are debating direct contact with Iran in an effort to defeat insurgents and stabilize Baghdad's government, Rice tells senators. (This does not jive with the threats of aggression against Iran.) WAR NEWS: Former Minister Attempts to Limit Blair. A former Cabinet member who resigned over Britain’s participation in the Iraq war tried Friday to limit the government's power to send troops to war. But Clare Short's efforts were thwarted following a lengthy debate in the House of Commons. Her private bill failed after too few lawmakers voted for it to pass to the next stage and it ran out of parliamentary time. WAR NEWS: Top Iraqi Cleric Backs National Reconciliation WAR NEWS: Bombing of Baghdad Stature Angers Sunnis and Shi’ites. (Several Iraqi bloggers have commented on this, but this is the only news story I have seen on this incident. This has been very upsetting to Iraqis, since they feel they are losing their history with this incident. This is a big story for them.) WAR NEWS: Does Iraq Arrest Signal Syrian Turnabout? Yasser Sabawi al-Tikriti's appearance at a rally demanding the release of Saddam Hussein in the former dictator's home town Tuesday, turned into a costly mistake that Iraqi officials quickly seized on. "Basically he was found, and caught red-handed giving money to the demonstrators, who he was trying to incite to violence,'' says Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser. "We believe he was a major fundraiser and a major supporter of the terrorists." WAR NEWS: Georgia Soldier in 48th Dies in Iraq. Death was due to a “non-hostile” gunshot wound. WAR NEWS: Irish Reporter Tells of Baghdad Abduction "I had been trying without success for months and months to get an interview with Ahmad Chalabi, so I just couldn't believe it when the deputy prime minister was there to greet me," said Carroll, who had been based in Iraq since January. WAR NEWS: Iraqi Police Praised as Four Arrested Over Abduction THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: Two Years Later, US Still Can’t Keep the Lights On NEWS: US Military Interpreter Charged As Fraud. Mysterious Moroccan worked in Iraq. In an embarrassing security breach, an Arabic interpreter who handled classified material while working for the last two years with U.S. military units in Iraq has been arrested after FBI agents discovered that he had so completely fabricated his identity and background that they are still unsure of his true name and have formally charged him as "FNU LNU" (first name unknown, last name unknown). WAR NEWS: Iraqi Army “Needs Two Years To Operate On Own” –Maj. Gen. Willliam Webster NEWS: Riverbend, Blogger from Iraq, wins a literary prize of 20,000 Euros WAR NEWS: Family Questions Soldier’s Death in Iraq NEWS: Moussa Hears Sunni Arab Demands “Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa has met leaders of the Association of Muslim Scholars, who set conditions for an Iraqi reconciliation conference that the body is seeking to organise. The influential Sunni Arab religious group in Iraq said that before talks could begin, a calendar for the withdrawal of foreign forces must be established, according to a statement released after Friday's meeting.” THE SHAME OF AMERICA: VA Under Fire For Plan To Review All Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Claims. Udall said in one case, a veteran in his district committed suicide after hearing about plans for the review. Officials from New Mexico found the man, a Vietnam veteran, with information regarding the review beside his Purple Heart when he took his life. MEDIA ISSUES OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: Chris Matthew: They Led Us Into a Corrupt War. (Now he figures that out? You can watch the video here, but I don’t think you will learn anything new.) OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: Judy Miller, the Armstrong Williams of WMD A GREAT REPORT ON OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: “Sorry Judy…. Everybody Didn’t Get It Wrong on WMD” by Huffington. (Included in this story is a list of print journalists who got it right. I remember seeing Judith Miller on NEWSNIGHT with Aaron Brown in October 2003 still claiming that the WMDs might be out there somewhere, and Brown went right along with it. I guess asking questions and critical analysis, along with critical thinking, is just out of style with our “media”. And months later, Brown told me that “lots of good people got it wrong – even Clinton.” I just love that Clinton excuse.) OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: Secrets, Evasions and Classified Reports “What Miller didn’t mention in her article is that on July 18, 2003, the White House did release a more detailed version of the NIE.” (And what these authors fail to mention is how THEY GOT IT SO WRONG also. Our priceless media.) OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: FLASHBACK: CNN’s Hatchet Job on Scott Ritter (September 2002) By Monday, professional hairdo Paula Zahn told viewers Ritter had "drunk Saddam Hussein's Kool-Aid." Over on MSNBC, Curtis & Kuby co-host Curtis Sliwa compared him to "a sock puppet" who "oughta turn in his passport for an Iraqi one." But the nadir came later on CNN when makeup job Kyra Phillips interrogated him, implying that he was being paid by Iraq —and all but calling him a quisling. (Arron Brown had him on his show in January 2003 and asked him all about his dismissed arrest record, which had nothing to do with Iraq or war.) OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: FLASHBACK: Post War Iraq Hope Would Be to Withdraw Troops in 30-90 Days – Newsweek (remember their stories about the green mushroom cloud over Baghdad?) OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: In NYT Select, there is an article by Dowd that is critical of Judith Miller and her reporting. She ends with saying “But investigative reporting is not stenography.” I can remember when that pretty much summed up my opinion of the corporate press. I wrote this to NYT after the Blair affair: “The NYT philosophy is: Creative writing-bad, Stenography-good, Journalism-we don’t need no stinking journalism!” But my opinion has changed. My opinion now is much, much, much worse. And I won’t pay for the NYT unless they are publishing something I wrote. OUR PRICELESS MEDIA: Senate Commerce Committee has unanimously passed a bill that would require the government to clearly identify any packaged video news releases it issues, but not require the ID air though out the entirety of the piece. ANOTHER GREAT REPORT ON OUR PRICELESS, PRICELESS MEDIA: Rise of the “Patriotic Journalist” The rout of “skeptical” journalism was so complete – driven to the fringes of the Internet and to a few brave souls in Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau – that the “patriotic” reporters often saw no problem casting aside even the pretense of objectivity. Once the invasion began, the coverage on MSNBC, CNN and the major networks was barely discernable from the patriotic fervor on Fox. Like Fox News, MSNBC produced promotional segments, packaging heroic footage of American soldiers, often surrounded by thankful Iraqis and underscored with stirring music. Only gradually, over the past two years as Iraq’s WMD never materialized but a stubborn insurgency did, the bloody consequences of “patriotic” journalism have begun to dawn on the American people. BRITAIN’S MEDIA IS PRICELESS TOO: Media Alert: Real Men Go To Tehran Tony Blair's declaration at an October 7 press conference: "There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq." In a sane society, Blair's audacity would have been denounced far and wide. But in more than 70 mentions we saw in the British press, there were just two published letters and one editorial, in the Daily Mirror, indicating the obvious. COMMENTARY OPINION: All Iraq is Simply Waiting for US, UK to Go. Last week I returned to Iraq for the first time since the end of 2003. If the essence of “getting better” is security then things are incomparably worse. I could no longer walk the streets or visit friends. Anyone associating with foreigners risks execution. OPINION: Central Command has a piece on what the extremists say they want (These statements do not match what bin Laden said last year, however) OPINION: Name That War. The Bush administration already blithely opened a Pandora's box in Iraq. Does it really care to go two for two by ratcheting up the pressure on Assad and then attempting a military-induced regime "decapitation" in Syria? In that void, don't even think about what might emerge - not to speak of the fact that, under a banner that seems to read, "the Middle East for the Iranians," the Bush administration is clearing away all of Iran's enemies (except, of course, Israel). Those who want the United States to remain ever longer in Iraq to prevent a possibly genocidal civil war might consider whether the act of remaining - especially with the Bush administration running the show - isn't also the act of creating a civil war, whether by happenstance or by design. Start with the fact that the number of American troops in the country has actually been on the rise recently; that this administration continues to invest in gigantic, increasingly permanent bases in the country; and that it is as unwilling to write off such bases or future control over Iraqi oil as it is to agree to a congressional anti-torture resolution. Then put the sort of Iraqi Army described by Lasseter in the context of an ongoing American punitive campaign of growing brutality against the Sunni insurgency. In that war, among other things, uncontested air power is regularly unleashed against, and has already dismantled, huge swathes of a number of largely Sunni cities and towns like Fallujah and Tal Afar. This is a formula not for preventing civil war but for fomenting it. OPINION: Exit Strategy? Honor our troops – bring them home, by Rep. Woolsey OPINION: Their Only Redemption Is To Withdraw In the New Year OPINION: Why Iraq War? Neoconservatives (Not Bush) OPINION: Mr. Galloway Goes to San Francisco. Galloway later returned to the subject in the House of Commons, where he compared the military defeat of former terrorist stronghold Fallujah to the attacks on innocent civilians in London. In his interview with the Syria Times, Galloway went even further and said of so-called state terrorism, "It is exactly the same as people blowing up buses, except it's much bigger." Galloway has been an MP since 1987, but his membership in the Labor Party ended in 2003. His relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime and his reliance on Islamist rhetoric eventually became too much for them and he was expelled. (British readers: is this correct? I was under the impression that he quit over the Iraq war.) OPINION: Letter to Karen Hughes: Why Your Mission is Doomed to Fail This same simple housewife sees U.S. support for undemocratic regimes, while the U.S. government preaches freedom. This is certainly a double standard—if not out-right schizophrenia. OPINION: Citizens Need to Develop Imaginative Ideas for Iraq Exit Strategy OPINION: A Word Lost… Between Two Languages. He presents the writer as an expert on terrorism, which reminds me of all the so-called experts these days. He then says that the book answers all of the important questions like how long will the war last, and whether the US is safe domestically. The only correct answer to such questions is "nobody knows." OPINION: Rice Calls War Part of Post 9/11 Plan. "To execute our strategy we will restructure a portion of the U.S. mission in Iraq," she said. "We will embed our diplomats, police trainers and aid workers more fully on military bases, traveling with our soldiers and Marines." (This is a report on Rice’s testimony in front of the Senate. It is actually a news report, but darn if it doesn’t seem like some horrible fantasy to me.) OPINION FLASHBACK: Knock-on Effects Will Be Global If Iraq Carries on Downhill (from July, 2004 in The Straits Times) OPINION: Global Eye. Of course, we all know that the fix is in: If anyone in the White House is actually indicted and convicted for the high crime of exposing the identity of an undercover agent -- in wartime, no less -- they will certainly be pardoned when George W. Bush finally limps away from the steaming, stinking, blood-soaked ruin of his presidency. Nobody will do any hard time; in the end, the whole sick crew will simply pass through the golden revolving door into the lifetime gravy train of corporate grease and right-wing lecture-circuit glory. OPINION: The Illusion of Normality “Never in the 229 years of United States history has this government “of, by and for the people” been in greater peril. Not during the Civil War, not during the great depression, and not during the Second World War or the Cold War which followed.” OPINION: Give Credit Where It’s Due – Our Military “Some said soldiers were fighting to secure oil, although since the invasion oil prices have skyrocketed and the Iraqis' petroleum reserves have come under their own transparent control. Others alleged the real reason for military operations was Halliburton's profit or Israel's security. But what our soldiers accomplished better revealed their reasons for being there: no more no-fly zones; no more Kurdish or Shiite state massacres; no more attacks on Kuwait, Iran, Israel or Saudi Arabia; no more assassination attempts against former presidents — and now a democracy in place of a terror state.” OPINION: A History Lesson “Democracies rarely declare war to improve the world, as Rice could have explained had she had the chance. They fight to protect themselves, sometimes to fulfill treaty obligations. But once a war is underway, free peoples tend to think things over deeply. Casualties concentrate the mind. We refuse to let our soldiers die for too little. America at war has lifted its sights again and again from danger, self-interest and self-defense to a larger, nobler goal. Same story, war after war. Iraq fits perfectly. Americans who don't know history are the demagogue's natural prey. Boxer's statements assume that Americans at large know as little about history as she does.” (Article does not explain the “larger, nobler goal” of Vietnam.) OPINION: The Trials of Saddam “What will come of this trial, now adjourned until Nov. 28, remains to be seen. Even a guilty verdict and execution of the deposed president won't much help the current poisonous climate in Iraq. A live Saddam Hussein is a lot of trouble; a dead Saddam Hussein will be a martyr, at least to the Sunnis.” OPINION: Carl Levin Pushes New Plan For Iraq “noting the draft constitution Iraqis voted on last Saturday was a ‘divisive document’ that does not achieve the necessary compromises.” (I sat in a US Senate Armed Service Committee meeting and listened to Levin apply the pressure to have the Iraqis complete their constitution on time. It sounds like he does not feel at all responsible for how the Iraqi constitution turned out. Now he wants to pressure them some more.) From Rice: “The proper role for Saudi Arabia or for any other country in the region is to help (Iraqis), not critique them.” (Irony knows no bounds.) PEACE ACTION: Take the pledge. In 2006 and 2008, we can get Congress' attention by telling our elected officials to face the facts -- or go home. I pledge to only support candidates who:1. Acknowledge that the U.S. was misled into the war in Iraq2. Advocate for a responsible exit plan with a timeline3. Support our troops at home and abroad Sign HERE. PEACE ACTION: Bush Crimes Commission PEACE ACTION: Moveon.org (that means it is going to be big), United for Peace and Justice, American Friends Service Committee and Code Pink are calling for vigils to mark the death of 2,000 US Military in Iraq. Today, the count is at 1,996. Also, Cindy Sheehan is going back to Crawford for Thanksgiving. CASUALTY REPORTS Local Story: School honors Kan soldier killed in Iraq on his 22nd birthday Local Story: Marine from Cincinnati loses his life in Iraq Local Story: Georgia Soldier Dies in Iraq Local Story: Soldier from Texas killed by roadside blast Local Story: Soldier from Maryland killed in Iraq Local Story: Soldier from Texas killed in Iraq QUOTE FOR THE DAY: So there's the argument. The war was not a good idea ruined by bad implementation. It was a bad idea that's been implemented badly because it was a bad idea and there's no good way to implement a bad idea. - Matthew Yglesias Post done by Susan


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