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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

War News for Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bring ‘em on: One US soldier, three Iraqi soldiers and three Iraqi civilians killed in suicide bombing near an entrance to the Green Zone. Four police officers wounded in suicide car bombing aimed at a police station that left the twisted wreckage of the vehicle and the bomber's body lying on the pavement near a billboard advertising the constitution with the slogan, "Iraq: A Promising Future." Four policemen killed in shootings in Baghdad. Four Iraqi soldiers killed in two separate roadside bombings in Kirkuk. Two Sunni Arab political leaders, an Iraqi soldier and an Iraqi policeman killed in separate drive-by shootings in Mosul. One Iraqi policeman killed in a roadside bomb blast in Fallujah.

Bring ‘em on: “Dozens” killed and wounded in a suicide car bombing directed at an Iraqi army convoy in Baghdad’s Amiriyah district, initial reports put the death toll at 25.

Bring ‘em on: Thirty Iraqis killed and 45 wounded in a suicide car bombing in a crowded open market in Tal Afar. All the victims appeared to be civilians.

Bring ‘em on: Fifteen Iraqis killed and 29 wounded in a series of attacks that included two car bombs, three roadside bombs, five drive-by shootings and a mortar attack on a used-clothes market in Baghdad on Tuesday. It is unclear how many of these attacks are included in some of the other reports in this section today. Eight Iraqi soldiers and one civilian killed and 12 soldiers wounded in a car bomb attack on an Iraqi army checkpoint in western Baghdad. Two police officers and their driver shot to death in Kirkuk.

Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents killed and 57 suspects detained by U.S. forces in south Baghdad. Three bodies in civilian clothes with multiple gunshot wounds found Monday in al-Tarisha village near Samarra. One police lieutenant killed Monday when a roadside bomb exploded near his house in Tikrit.

Bring ‘em on: Convoy of cars carrying members of an Arab League delegation attacked by gunmen in Bahgdad. This report states there were no injuries – another said that one policeman was wounded.

Iraqi Politics

Last minute changes: With U.S. mediation, Iraqi Shiite Muslim and Kurdish officials negotiated with Sunni Muslim leaders Sunday over possible last-minute additions to the country’s proposed constitution, trying to win Sunni support ahead of next weekend’s crucial referendum. But the sides remained far apart over basic issues — including the federalism Shiites and Kurds insist on but Sunnis fear will lead to the country’s eventual break-up. And copies of the constitution were already being passed out to the public.

Lockdown: Iraq announced a curfew, weapons ban, border closings and other security measures Saturday to clamp down ahead of next weekend's key constitutional referendum and prevent insurgent attacks. Sunni Arabs geared up their campaign to defeat the measure at the polls.

On Thursday — two days ahead of the vote — a nationwide nighttime curfew will begin and nobody will be able to carry weapons in public, even if they are licensed, Jabr said. On Friday evening, police will bar travel between provinces. International borders, airports and ports also will be closed, but Jabr did not say when that step would begin.

Basra: International ports of Iraq's second largest city of Basra would be closed as of Wednesday and till further notice, an official at Basra Airport told KUNA Tuesday. On the same issue, a spokesman for the borders and ports forces stated that the authorities have decided to close all the land, maritime and air ports of Basra with all border states for four days starting Wednesday.

One place where Iraq is ahead of the US: Iraq has issued arrest warrants against the defense minister and 27 other officials from the U.S.-backed government of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi over the alleged disappearance or misappropriation of $1 billion in military procurement funds, officials said Monday.

Those accused include four other ministers from Allawi's government, which was replaced by an elected Cabinet led by Shiite parties in April, said Ali al-Lami of Iraq's Integrity Commission. Many of the officials are believed to have left Iraq, including Hazem Shaalan, the former defense minister who moved to Jordan shortly after the new government was installed.

Besides Shaalan, warrants were issued against Allawi's labor, transportation, electricity and housing ministers, as well as 23 former Defense Ministry officials, said al-Lami, who heads Iraq's De-Baathification Commission, part of the Commission of Public Integrity.

Syrian cooperation: Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to Washington, told NEWSWEEK that Damascus ended all security and intelligence cooperation with America several months ago, and it has not resumed.

Why? The ambassador says that while Damascus is still detaining jihadists on its own, it got "fed up" with the Bush administration's public al-Assad bashing, even after Washington had privately lauded Syria for handing over Saddam's half brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan, earlier in the year. Moustapha also confirmed an account from a U.S. intel official who said Damascus was angered when Washington exposed one of its operatives. "We are willing to re-engage the moment you want—but on one condition," Moustapha says. "You have to acknowledge that we are helping."

That's not likely to happen.

Recruitment Woes

Guard and Reserve casualties: The National Guard and Reserves are suffering a strikingly higher share of U.S. casualties in Iraq, their portion of total American military deaths nearly doubling since last year.

Reservists have accounted for one-quarter of all U.S. deaths since the Iraq war began, but the proportion has grown over time. It was 10 percent for the five weeks it took to topple Baghdad in the spring of 2003, and 20 percent for 2004 as a whole.

The trend accelerated this year. For the first nine months of 2005 reservists accounted for 36 percent of U.S. deaths, and for August and September it was 56 percent, according to Pentagon figures.

The Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve accounted for more than half of all U.S. deaths in August and in September -- the first time that has happened in consecutive months. The only other month in which it even approached 50 percent was June 2004.

Surprise: Brian Shepard thought he had the perfect plan: a special program, offered by a Marine Corps recruiter last spring, that would let him finish four years of college before he faced active duty.

Instead, the 18-year-old was notified last week -- less than one month into his freshman year at New Hampshire Technical Institute -- that his Marine Reserve unit will be sent to Iraq early next year, a development that Shepard said his recruiter never told him was possible.

Grasping at straws: The Army National Guard has been hoping to bend young Americans' ears to a recruiting pitch by giving them something else to listen to first.

The Guard has been targeting 18-to-25-year-olds in online ads that promise three free iTunes music downloads to anyone who agrees to be contacted by a military recruiter.

Groundpounders: In an effort to augment a U.S. Army strained for manpower, the Air Force has begun assigning thousands of ground personnel in combat roles to support Army operations.

The Los Angeles Times reports that some of the new roles for airmen include acting as interrogators, prison sentries and gunners on supply trucks.

In all, some 3,000 Air Force personnel are being assigned these new roles, and some are being deployed for as long as 12 months rather than four.

Air Force officials told the Times they expect to deploy another 1,000 ground personnel in combat- and combat-support roles over the next few years, but they don't plan to make these jobs "core competencies" within the Air Force.

The U.S. Navy is also undertaking non-traditional roles. The paper said by summer the Navy expects to have retrained 3,000 to 4,000 sailors as prison guards, cargo handlers and for other jobs that have traditionally fallen to the Army.

This won’t help: British troop numbers in Iraq will be cut next month, John Reid, the Defence Secretary, announced yesterday, but he rejected calls to set a timetable for withdrawal.

Dr Reid said troop numbers in Iraq would fall by 500 after routine changes in deployments next month, leaving 8,000 British soldiers in the country.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Exploitation: Contractors working for the United States, including KBR, a Houston-based subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., have brought tens of thousands of workers into Iraq from impoverished countries such as Nepal, the Philippines and Bangladesh to do menial jobs, from cooking and serving food to cleaning toilets. In relying on a workforce of third-country nationals, however, the U.S. has embraced a system of labor migration rife with abuse, corruption and exploitation, according to dozens of contractors, migrant workers, labor officials and advocates interviewed in four countries.

Running out of cash: On paper, the Iraqi Army barracks was a gleaming example of the future Iraq. The plans called for a two-story, air-conditioned barracks housing 850 soldiers, a movie theater, classrooms, basketball courts, a shooting range, even an officer's club.

But when the $10 million project in southern Iraq is finished this month, it will fall far short of those ambitious plans. The theater, classrooms, officer's club, basketball courts and shooting range have all been scrapped. The barracks will be one story instead of two.

The reason for scaling back the barracks? The U.S. government is running out of money. The higher than expected cost of protecting workers against insurgent attacks — about 25 cents of every reconstruction dollar now pays for security — has sent the cost of projects skyward.

The result: Some projects have been eliminated and others cut back.

$6 billion a month: The Bush administration is spending about $7 billion a month to wage the war on terror, and costs could total $570 billion by the end of 2010, assuming troops are gradually brought home, a congressional report estimates. The paper by the Congressional Research Service underscores how the price tag has been gradually rising for the war in Iraq. A year ago, the Pentagon was calculating its average monthly costs in that conflict at below $5 billion — an amount the research service says has now grown close to $6 billion.

When The People Lead The Leaders Will Follow

Good for Feingold but god this is a no-brainer: Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold has latched his political future to the third rail of American foreign policy. This summer, he proposed a date for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq: Dec. 31, 2006. The date raises a specter that no one in Washington -- and especially no Democrat -- has been willing to broach: that the American people should begin to prepare for a political failure in Iraq, at least a failure by President Bush's standard of establishing, before the troops leave, a fully functional, democratic Iraqi state.

Commentary

Open government: Secrecy has been perhaps the most consistent trait of the George W. Bush presidency. Whether it involves refusing to provide the names of oil executives who advised Vice President Dick Cheney on energy policy, prohibiting photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, or forbidding the release of files pertaining to Chief Justice John Roberts's tenure in the Justice Department, President Bush seems determined to control what the public is permitted to know. And he has been spectacularly effective, making Richard Nixon look almost transparent.

But perhaps the most egregious example occurred on Nov. 1, 2001, when President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, under which a former president's private papers can be released only with the approval of both that former president (or his heirs) and the current one.

Before that executive order, the National Archives had controlled the release of documents under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which stipulated that all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office.

Now, however, Mr. Bush can prevent the public from knowing not only what he did in office, but what Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did in the name of democracy. (Although Mr. Reagan's term ended more than 12 years before the executive order, the Bush administration had filed paperwork in early 2001 to stop the clock, and thus his papers fall under it.)

Another little secret: President Bush's principal adviser Karl Rove is to be questioned again over the improper naming of a CIA official. Mohamed ElBaradei, accused by the American right of being insufficiently aggressive, wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his stalwart work at the helm of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Pentagon official Larry Franklin pleads guilty to passing on classified information to Israel. Just a normal week in politics. But there is a thread linking these events and it is Iraq.

Politicians tell us they acted in good faith on the road to war, and maybe they did, but that leaves a prickly question: who was so keen to prove that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat that they forged documents purporting to show that he was trying to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger to develop nuclear weapons? The forgery was revealed to the Security Council by ElBaradei. That was not an intelligence error. It was a straightforward lie, an invention intended to mislead public opinion and help start a war.

The WaPost ex-ombudsman: Iraq, he observed, "has proved impossible for me, along with many readers, to put aside and move away from. I keep coming back to it, in part, because readers keep coming back to it but also because I cannot think of a story in the past 40 years that offers more warning signs for journalism and for the role of the press in our democracy. And it's not just the press for whom Iraq should loom large. It is also Congress, the Cabinet, the civil service, the intelligence community and the military leadership. "There is no bigger story than war. And a war whose major premise -- the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction -- turned out to be unsupported is an even bigger story. That the administration presented this threat to the public with such a strong, yet false, sense of certainty -- including the imagery of mushroom clouds -- is an even more important lesson for all of us about big but not well-examined decisions. ... "Since the war began, many other questions have been raised about other prewar assessments. But the key question for journalists is how the process of vetting the main prewar rationale for sending Americans into a war took place, or failed to take place.

Blowback: The wider consequences of the Iraq conflict are unfolding, but not in the way that the United States and its allies had expected. While stability, security and consolidated democracy continue to elude the Iraqis, an alarming outcome looming on the horizon is the sharpening of the historical division between the two main sects of Islam in the region: Sunnis and Shiites.

The traditional power equation in the Gulf is rapidly shifting in favor of Shiite Islam, which has a majority of followers in only three Middle Eastern countries - Iraq, Bahrain and Iran - and whose leadership is claimed by Iran. This has deeply concerned the regional Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, which champions the cause of Sunni Islam that is dominant in most Muslim countries.

If the present trend continues, the Iraq conflict could cause wider sectarian hostilities across the Muslim world, with a devastating impact on the region and beyond.

The Tinkerbell strategy: We've lost track of the number of times President George W. Bush has told Americans to ignore their own eyes and ears and pretend everything is going just fine in Iraq. On Thursday, when Bush added a ringing endorsement of his own policy to his speech on terrorism, it was that same old formula: the wrong questions, the wrong answers and no new direction.

Bush suggested that people who doubted that nation-building was going well were just confusing healthy disagreement with dangerous division. "We've heard it suggested that Iraq's democracy must be on shaky ground because Iraqis are arguing with one another," he scoffed.

What he failed to acknowledge was that the Iraqi power groups seem prepared to go through the motions of democracy only as long as their side wins.

Incomprehension: As the president struggles this week to make a case for staying the course in the Iraq quagmire, he is, remarkably, selling a warmed-over version of the misguided take on terrorism that he peddled before this disastrous mission was launched.

Apparently working under the assumption that no one has been paying attention over the past two and a half years, Bush delivered a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy Thursday in which he dismissed calls for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. "Some observers also claim that America would be better off by cutting our losses and leaving Iraq now," the president argued, before concluding, "It's a dangerous illusion refuted with a simple question: Would the United States and other free nations be more safe or less safe with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people and its resources?"

That's a scary scenario.

Unfortunately, it is one that the president created. And it is one that the president still fails to fully comprehend.

Al Qaeda is nothing without us: On the internal and external fronts, Muslims have played a fundamental role in isolating Al Qaeda and have contributed significantly to the multiple wars being waged against the militant network. Of all these struggles, bin Laden and his transnationalist cohorts have lost the war of ideas -- the struggle for Muslim minds. That was a critical achievement overlooked by American commentators and policymakers, who tuned their attention to Al Qaeda and like-minded militants and overlooked the fault lines among jihadis and the vast societal opposition to global jihad.

Had they tuned in closely to the internal struggles roiling Muslim lands, they would have had second thoughts about the military expansion of the so-called "war on terror" and would have realized that Al Qaeda is a tiny fringe organization with no viable entrenched constituency. Had they listened carefully to the multiple critiques of Al Qaeda by Muslim scholars and opinion makers, they would have had answers to their often-asked question: where are the Muslim moderates?

Had they observed the words and deeds of former jihadis and Islamists, they would have known that the jihadist movement has been torn apart and that Al Qaeda does not speak for or represent religious nationalists -- or Muslim public opinion; American commentators and policymakers would also have realized that the internal defeat of Al Qaeda on its home front -- the Muslim world -- was and is the most effective way to hammer a deadly nail into its coffin.

The United States and the international community could have found intelligent means to nourish and support the internal forces that were opposed to militant ideologies like the bin Laden network. The way to go was not to declare a worldwide war against a nonconventional paramilitary foe with a tiny or no social base of support and try to settle scores with old regional dictators. That is exactly what bin Laden and his senior associates had hoped the United States would do -- lash out militarily against the ummah.

As Seif al-Adal, Al Qaeda's overall military commander recently put it, "The Americans took the bait and fell into our trap."

Dashed hopes and broken dreams: Three years ago Kanan Makiya and Rend Rahim were among the most persuasive advocates of a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Both liberal Iraqi intellectuals and eloquent English speakers, they made the case that Saddam Hussein's removal was a cause to be embraced on moral and human rights grounds, and that its result could be the replacement of the Arab world's most brutal dictatorship by its first genuine democracy.

They were widely heard in Washington. Once, over dinner, I watched as they argued passionately to a senior administration official -- one of the architects of the then-approaching war -- that the Bush administration should stop focusing on Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction and openly justify intervention on grounds of democracy and human rights. The official was clearly moved, but demurred. Iraq's WMD, he replied, was the single motivating factor that united the administration's own factions and constituencies.

I found the two compelling. They reminded me of Central European dissidents, such as Adam Michnik and Vaclav Havel, who challenged Soviet totalitarianism on the same grounds -- and who, that fall of 2002, also chose to endorse intervention in Iraq. We all knew Iraq would be different and more difficult than Poland or Czechoslovakia. But Makiya and Rahim, among other liberal Iraqis, nurtured the dream that there, too, a democracy could arise out of the rubble of dictatorship.

That's why it was so sobering to encounter Makiya and Rahim again last week -- and to hear them speak with brutal honesty about their "dashed hopes and broken dreams," as Makiya put it. The occasion was a conference on Iraq sponsored by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which did so much to lay the intellectual groundwork for the war. A similar AEI conference three years ago this month resounded with upbeat predictions about the democratic, federal and liberal Iraq that could follow Saddam Hussein. This one, led off by Makiya and Rahim, sounded a lot like its funeral.

Fear is power: Nowadays, we don't even expect to have a day without fear. In stark contrast to the elation felt during our "Power of Pride" pro-war frenzy, Americans now think in terms of how much terror we should be feeling.

When we see "Terror Level: Elevated" or "Terror Level: High" scrolling ominously beneath every newscast, we're reminded that we are not safe. We automatically translate the levels into color codes and feel the appropriate anxiety: Orange! Red! Help! 911!

Of course, it doesn't stop there. News anchors talk about our non-safety every chance they get. "You could be next" stories are a classic ratings ploy; fear glues viewers to newscasts when they'd rather be watching Seinfeld.

Bush's popularity ratings have taken a dramatic nosedive; observers have tracked the link between bad news for the White House (the latest targeting Bush's closest adviser, Karl Rove) and highly publicized but bogus terrorist threats. On the other hand, many critics believe that Bush's promotion of war and his brazen support of torture have made a world of enemies for Americans, both domestic and foreign, thus putting us genuinely at risk.

Only the most faithful Bushians believe these threats have nothing to do with Bush's sagging ratings or blowback from his violent foreign policies.

Desperation: On the very day that New York City received "credible" (then "doubtful") information that 19 operatives had been dispatched to bomb the subways, President Bush gave a speech to remind America that the "war on terror" was on the front burner. Channeling elder statesman David Letterman, Bush claimed that 10 serious terrorist plots had been derailed since 9/11.

Bush was hoping to deliver us from our dangerous preoccupation with Rove's troubles, DeLay's indictment, Frist's SEC problems, the fallout from Katrina, his holy-shit-I've-even-lost-the-evangelicals 37-percent approval rating, and the $3 gallon of gas. You know, to focus on the real threat (Ter'r), and thus, his argument went, to remain in Iraq.

Or, from The New York Times:

“A senior White House official said Thursday evening that the president's 40-minute speech arose from Mr. Bush's desire to remind Americans, after "a lot of distractions" in recent months, that the country was still under threat, and had no choice but to remain in Iraq so Al Qaeda did not use it as a base to train for attacks on the United States and its allies.”

In other words, Bush is asking America to continue to Fight the Enemy -- though now it's an enemy created by failed policy. He's even exhumed Osama bin Laden again, calculating, apparently, that he has more to gain by invoking the bogeyman than he has to lose reminding the public he hasn't caught him after four years and billions down the drain. Talk about desperation.

Fear is corrosive: The idea of a whole society working together to imagine a better world, and then turning imagination into reality, has been off the American radar screen for some six decades now (except for a brief ray of light in the 1960s). When it seems safer to allow no significant change at all, politics naturally becomes an exercise in circling the wagons and hunkering down for an endless siege. The September 11 attack and the Bush-orchestrated response ensured that the United States would continue to be a hunkered-down national insecurity state (and now a homeland insecurity state) well into the 21st century. All of us, supporters and critics alike, have absorbed this lesson. When we criticize Bush because he has failed to keep us safe, we score valuable political points. But we pay a price for those points, because we reinforce the basic premises of the national insecurity state - that danger is everywhere and can never be eliminated; that all systemic change is dangerous; and that our best hope lies in a government strong enough and pugnacious enough to prevent significant change and so protect us from fear's worst effects. The urge to be safe, to keep fear at bay, is certainly natural and understandable. But after more than half a century in a state of heightened national insecurity, Americans have largely forgotten the other side of the human coin: the urge to be daring, to take chances that can lead to positive change. Insecurity is now in the national bloodstream. That's why anti-Bush campaigns that evoke fear can be so successful. To be successful in the longer term, though, we have to constrict that sense of insecurity, to return it to the more modest place where it belongs, until actual security comes into sight. Otherwise, no matter how much anti-Bush campaigns weaken the president, they end up reinforcing the pervasive insecurity that has been the key to his political success. They make it more likely that the public will want future leaders in the Bush mold, who demand "peace through strength". No flip-flops need apply.

A conservative’s suggestion: Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike have made it clear that they are going to ignore demonstrations and public opinion. The print and TV media have made it clear that there will be no reporting that will hold the Bush administration accountable for its deceit and delusion.

There still is a way to bring reality to the Bush administration. The public has the Internet. Is the antiwar movement well enough organized to collect via the Internet signatures on petitions for impeachment, perhaps one petition for each state? Millions of signatures would embarrass Bush before the world and embarrass our elected Representatives for their failure to act.

If no one in Congress acted on the petitions, all the rhetoric about war for democracy would fall flat. It would be obvious that there is no democracy in America.

If the cloak of democracy is stripped away, Bush's "wars for democracy" begin to look like the foreign adventures of a megalomaniac. Remove Bush's rhetorical cover, and tolerance at home and abroad for Bush's war would evaporate. If Bush persisted, he would become a pariah.

Americans may feel that they cannot undercut a president at war, in which case Americans will become an embattled people consumed by decades of conflict. Americans can boot out Bush or pay dearly in blood and money.

Out of step: Some people get it. Some don't. Senator John McCain, one of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq, has sponsored a legislative amendment that would prohibit the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in the custody of the U.S. military. Last week the Senate approved the amendment by the overwhelming vote of 90 to 9.

This was not a matter of Democrats vs. Republicans, or left against right. Joining Senator McCain in his push for clear and unequivocal language banning the abusive treatment of prisoners were Senator John Warner of Virginia, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former military lawyer who is also a Republican and an influential member of the committee. Both are hawks on the war.

Also lining up in support were more than two dozen retired senior military officers, including two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell and John Shalikashvili.

So who would you expect to remain out of step with this important march toward sanity, the rule of law and the continuation of a longstanding American commitment to humane values?

Did you say President Bush? Well, that would be correct.

Sexual misconduct: The Rumsfeld Pentagon has developed destruction of the character of those who get in its way to an art form. Those viewed as troublesome become the target of a special investigation. Wiretaps are applied to their telephones and their emails are read. An evidentiary case is built and humiliating leaks to the press occur. Let’s stop for a moment and ask: when the persons in question are two-, three- and four-star generals, at what level must this be authorized? In fact, the targets have included two-, three- and four-star generals, and the authority or impetus for such action has almost certainly come from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The charges brought have tended to fall into two baskets: charges of petty dereliction and sexual misconduct. In the former case, we have seen charges that officers kept classified documents on their laptop computers – when the documents turned out not to be classified; and we have seen charges of petty errors and oversights in contract administration. (Conversely, serious cases of contract misadministration involving billions of dollars and Halliburton are resolved by persecuting the whistleblower.) But the favored technique clearly lies in bringing charges of improper sexual conduct, invariably involving consensual sexual relations. These charges are easily brought. The number of eunuchs and sexual abstainers among the uniformed military is low and sociological research has long shown that the vast majority of the population has sexual relations outside of wedlock at some point. That means that these charges can be brought against virtually anyone. If the rules were enforced uniformly and aggressively, we would not be able to maintain a volunteer army. But the current highly selective application may achieve the same result. Two important bar organizations have already looked at the situation and concluded that the application of sexual misconduct rules by the uniformed services suggests highly uneven application. Both urged reforms. The Pentagon refuses to budge. The tool is too powerful, and too readily abused. Therein lies its attraction.

Moral illegitimacy: Whether prisoners are being beaten, humiliated, starved to death or simply held without charges the facts remain the same. The policy originated at the highest levels of government and will only be strengthened by Bush’s veto. The administration is claiming the absolute authority to operate beyond the law and with complete impunity. Torture is the widow that allows us to see beyond the public relations smokescreen into the fetid cesspool of administration thinking. The Bush regime is divorced from any sense of decency or moral compunction. Nothing they say can be trusted. They have generated an ethos of cruelty and vindictiveness that now pervades the myriad offices of government and the defense establishment. The very principles upon which American life depends, and which are laid out in the founding documents, are threatened by their conduct. Bush’s veto tells us that the administration will not operate within the law or comply with the will of the American people. It shows us that the government now functions beyond its popular mandate and without a shred of moral legitimacy. Bush and his lieutenants are unworthy of high-office and must be removed before it is too late.

Casualty Reports

Local story: Monroe, MI, soldier killed by gunfire in western Iraq.

Local story: Knoxville, TN, soldier killed by gunfire in Haqlaniyah.


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