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
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
Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents killed and 57 suspects detained by
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.
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.
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.
One place where
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
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
Syrian cooperation: Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to
Why? The ambassador says that while
That's not likely to happen.
Guard and Reserve casualties: The National Guard and Reserves are suffering a strikingly higher share of
Reservists have accounted for one-quarter of all
The trend accelerated this year. For the first nine months of 2005 reservists accounted for 36 percent of
The Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve accounted for more than half of all
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
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
Dr Reid said troop numbers in
Your Tax Dollars At Work
Exploitation: Contractors working for the
Running out of cash: On paper, the Iraqi Army barracks was a gleaming example of the future
But when the $10 million project in southern
The reason for scaling back the barracks? The
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
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
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
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
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
The WaPost ex-ombudsman:
Blowback: The wider consequences of the
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 -
If the present trend continues, the
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
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
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
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
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.
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
They were widely heard in
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.