War News for Sunday, October 30, 2005
Bring 'em on: Oil executive gunned down in Kirkuk
Bring 'em on: One killed and three injured by roadside bomb in Muhmoudiyah
Bring 'em on: Advisor to Iraqi government escapes assassination attempt in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Two US soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Police colonel and his bodyguard gunned down Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Car bomb kills twenty five and injures thirty five in a village near Baqubah
Bring 'em on: US soldier killed and four wounded by a landmine in Baiji
Bring 'em on: Supporter of Cleric Sadr shot dead in Baqubah
Bring 'em on: Al Queada Lt. number ######## killed in US airstrikes in Huseiba
Bring 'em on: Seven Iraqi soldiers injured in checkpoint attack in Baqubah
Bring 'em on: Two US soldiers die in non-combat related incidents in Kuwait
Bring 'em on: Bodies of seven executed Iraqis, some policemen, discovered in Latifiyah
Bring 'em on: Iraqi family executed in Samarrah
Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed by roadside bomb in Kirkuk
: Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric is considering demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. and foreign troops after a democratically elected government takes office next year, associates of the Iranian-born cleric said. If the Americans and their coalition partners do not comply, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani would use peaceful means such as mass street protests to step up pressure for a pullout schedule, two associates of the cleric said.
Bring 'em home
: Japan and South Korea planning to reduce their military presence in Iraq.
: "Approximately 80 percent of all attacks are directed against Coalition Forces, but 80 percent of all casualties are suffered by Iraqis," the report said. It was made available on the Pentagon's Web site. The report noted that attacks by insurgents increased as expected in the runup to the referendum. Weekly attacks numbered just under 200 in the first quarter of 2004, and rose to over 650 a week as the referendum approached.
Opinion and Commentary
Today, elite journalists can't pretend to be on the outside looking in at a scandal that doesn't involve them. This scandal is about them -- it's about White House-media cronyism, about journalists on the top rung of the phone trees of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, two of the dirtiest smear artists in Washington history. It's no accident Rove and Libby didn't turn to Helen Thomas or Seymour Hersh about Joe Wilson. They turned to journalists they could count on -- at news outlets that had dutifully promoted so many pre-war lies
In the past, elite journalists were up to their neck in scandals -- but they were deft about writing themselves out of the story. That can't happen in this scandal involving the origins of the Iraq War.
It did happen in the scandal at the origins of the Vietnam War: the Tonkin Gulf hoax. In pursuit of his long-held strategy, President Johnson went on national TV in August 1964 to announce a momentous escalation of the war: air strikes against North Vietnam in response to an "unprovoked attack" on a U.S. destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin.
But there'd been no such attack on the U.S. Johnson's ploy succeeded because major news media reported official lies as absolute truth. The next day's headline in the Washington Post spoke of North Vietnam's "New Aggression." The New York Times reported of U.S. "retaliatory action" and editorialized in support of Johnson and his "somber facts."
Islam expert Guido Steinberg, who just wrote a book on new terror networks, suspects that there are hardly more than 1,000 non-Iraqi, Arabic fighters in Iraq, although Paz's estimates are slightly higher. Most are able to sneak in though the Saudi and Syrian borders and this summer, a brochure appeared on the Internet that gave tips on how to best make it to the "battlefield." For example, it suggests a person disguised as a businessman or a patient, ideally wearing jeans and listening to western music on a Walkman, would likely not be suspected of being an Islamic radical by border guards.
And even if they are responsible for the bulk of the most brutal attacks, foreign fighters are in the minority. On the other hand, it is estimated that there are several tens of thousands of Iraqis participating in the insurgency.
Most of the mujahedeen volunteers are, if one can generalize from the data from the lists, between 18 and 28 years old. Many of them are fathers; several of the older ones have already fought in Afghanistan and spent time in prison in their home countries because of extremist activities.
Four images from the Muslim Middle East: Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map"; in Jordan, network TV begins broadcasting a 29-part, Syrian-made series based on the protocols of the Elders of Zion -- a crude and notorious forged document of anti-Semitic propaganda depicting Jews as baby-killers and corruptors of the world.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, about 10 million people, more than 60percent of the electorate, vote to introduce the most liberal and democratic constitution the Arab world has ever known.
And Saddam Hussein, one of the two or three most murderous dictators of the second half of the 20th century, goes on trial in Iraq over the massacre of civilians.
Which of these events occasioned criticism and contempt from left-wing commentators throughout the West?
Naturally, the ones that herald a potentially liberal and democratic future in the Middle East.
There is much tragedy and blood still to come in Iraq, but the referendum was a historic moment.
It's amazing how a de facto alliance has developed between the Left in the West, as seen every day on our own ABC, and the Islamist murderers and terrorists of Iraq, because in the end they share the same enemy: Western power, and especially the US.
No end in sight
While the nation mourns the 2,000th U.S. combat death in Iraq, instead of looking for ways to plan an exit strategy, Congress is finalizing another payment of $50 billion to continue fighting the war.
The dynamics of the fighting between the resistance and the U.S., and the horrific human costs that are being exacted, are unlikely to change in the near term as the Bush administration remains stubbornly committed to occupying Iraq. And both parts of the administration's purported plan, democratization and putting Iraqis in charge of their own security, are failing because of the continued resistance to U.S. occupation.
It's clear that the situation is only getting worse. Instead of helping make Iraq safer and more stable, U.S. troops add to the violence. As long as U.S. troops remain in Iraq, the resistance -- and the violence -- will flourish. Suicide attack rates have doubled since 2004, the number of resistance attacks per month have doubled in 2005 and the U.S. Army National Guard has been losing more soldiers per months than at any other time during the war.
The impact on the people of Iraq has also been staggering. Over 27,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the war and at least 3,000 Iraqi soldiers have been killed so far. And Iraqis still live today without adequate supplies of water or electricity, without sewage treatment plants or access to jobs.
On top of these human costs, the financial costs are soaring as well. Before the war started, administration officials argued that the total cost would be $50 billion. But the latest spending will lift the tab to $250 billion, bringing the average yearly spending to $86 billion. This amounts to every man, woman and child in the U.S. sending the government a check for $840 to pay for the bill so far.
Congress and the Pentagon have fallen down on the job of keeping tabs on the money being spent. In late September the Government Accountability Office issued a report concluding, "neither [the Department of Defense] nor Congress ... can reliably know how much the war is costing and details on how appropriated funds are being spent." At a time where our nation is running a deficit and money is urgently needed for emergency relief and reconstruction, we cannot afford to waste funds.
Look!!! - Iraq is doing so well
An embattled President George W. Bush sought yesterday to shift the focus away from a host of domestic political crises by calling for the American people to back the struggle for democracy in Iraq.
At the end of a disastrous week for the White House, which culminated in the indictment and resignation of senior aide Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Bush and senior Republicans launched a counter-offensive in a bid to regain the political initiative.
Republican leaders and commentators hailed the fact that Bush's political guru, Karl Rove, had not been indicted in the Plamegate scandal - which concerns the leaking of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame - as a sign that the worst is over. 'The wrongdoing leads in no way beyond this one individual [Libby] and what he allegedly said to FBI investigators and the grand jury,' said William Kristol, editor of the Conservative 'bible', The Weekly Standard
At the same time Bush used his weekly radio address yesterday to hail the 'great sacrifice' of American soldiers who had died in Iraq. 'The best way to honour the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission and win the war on terror,' he said. His comments came as three more American soldiers were killed in Iraq to add to a toll that has already passed 2,000 since the invasion in 2003.
Do they want us?
The real issue now is not whether the United States leaves Iraq today, tomorrow or in next decade. It is this:
We Americans must realize that our Iraqi adventures fit a long-term pattern. We have believed far too long that people everywhere will like and accept what we, as a nation, do for and to them.
They don't, they haven't and they won't.
I am not opposed to all wars. I would have supported the Union in the Civil War. As a youngster, I supported my country against the Nazis. Later I served six years in the military and was honorably discharged.
I learned then that no sergeant and no general is entirely wise and good. I have learned that no politician and no political party is entirely wise and good. I have learned that civilian and military leaders, rather than lying directly, more often mislead the public with half-truths and "deniability."
I have learned that, concerning national and world affairs it is best to take the long view, rather than critiquing the next election or the most recent war. And I have learned that out in the real world, our American purposes do not guarantee results. This is because other people and nations have their own purposes.
A century ago, with both Republican and Democratic support, the U.S. "freed" numerous Caribbean and Pacific islands, including the Philippines, from Spain. Our leaders promised the Filipinos would welcome our rule with open arms. They didn't. Filipinos, with "insurgent" leader Aguinaldo, had been fighting for freedom against Spain. They continued fighting against us.
Some American soldiers, frustrated, and with official approval, tortured and abused prisoners.
The United States did not free the Philippines, but was increasingly vulnerable there, because an expanding Japan viewed us as intruders in Asia. The Japanese took the Philippines, after first attacking Hawaii, which we had taken from the Hawaiians
Obviously, America's leaders in 1898 did not anticipate a Pacific war 40 years later. Obviously, our 1898 purposes did not match the long-term consequences for ourselves, or for millions of others.
Four presidents led the Vietnam War, two from each party, with support from members of Congress and voters, both Republican and Democratic. The Vietnamese, who had been fighting the French, now fought us. Thousands of Americans died, as did hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. Vietnam was reunited. Our announced purposes had nothing to do with the real consequences.
We wasted lives, money and international goodwill.
In the last hundred years, we have promised that all those people would welcome our soldiers, our institutions and our trade. But "insurgents" have always appeared, and they always will. Sometimes frustrated American soldiers, trapped by the irresponsible promises of civilian and military leaders, have tortured and abused prisoners, burned villages and killed noncombatants.
Sometimes they have had approval from military and civilian leaders with "deniability." Our armies have "pacified" towns and countries - until we left.