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Friday, November 11, 2005

WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY NOVEMBER 11, 2005 VETERANS DAY IN THE USA ALTHOUGH we think President Bush dragged America into the needless Iraq war on false premises, the young U.S. soldiers being sent into deadly combat deserve respect and honor from all Americans. They volunteered to serve their country, and are doing so bravely. Service members bear the burden of every war. The whole country recognizes their gift to fellow citizens. That’s why today is set aside as a memorial for those who served. Bring ‘em on: Gunmen open fire on guards outside Baghdad hotel, five wounded. Three Iraqi policemen killed and two wounded when gunmen open fire at a checkpoint in Baquba. One insurgent killed and an Iraqi policeman wounded in Ghazaliya district of western Baghdad. One Iraqi policeman killed and three wounded by roadside bomb in Qamishli. Three Iraqi policemen wounded when bomb goes off near their patron in central Baghdad. Seven insurgents killed and five captured during raid in Baghdad. Iraqi and US forces discovered two bodies with gunshot wounds in Ghazaliya district of Baghdad on Thursday. Three Iraqi women and one US soldier wounded by car bomb in east Baghdad on Thursday. Unconfirmed report that two more US soldiers killed in IED attack on a military fuel convoy between Mosul and Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: US Marine died from IED wounds. Incident happened near Karabilah. Bring ‘em on: Two US Soldiers died from small arms fire near al Khalidiyah. Bring ‘em on: Yesterday, 4 reported killed by car bomb in Tikrit, now up to 10 killed. Iraqi Islamic Party (one of the main Sunni political parties) said a roadside bomb in Basra wounded one official and his bodyguard. (My compilation: Total security incidents for November 10 in Iraq would be 1 kidnapping, 69 civilians and police killed and 74 injured. That is just what is reported to Reuters that I found. In comparison, the July Bombings in London killed 52 people, and yesterday’s bombings in Amman killed 59.) Bring ‘em on: UPDATE: 40 killed by suicide bomber in restaurant in Baghdad on Wednesday. Victims were police and Iraqi army. The bombings came just before British Foreign Secretary Straw arrived in Baghdad for a meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to discuss the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. "This is a very exciting time to visit Iraq: Once more, the country's people will have the chance to decide who will govern them, and I am pleased to see that all of the different communities in the country are taking part," Straw said. In another sign of the country's sectarian and criminal violence, Iraqi soldiers found the decomposing bodies of 27 people near Jassan, a town close to the border with Iran, Col. Ali Mahmoud said. They were not immediately identified, but the area is a known dumping ground for such groups of bodies, which turn up with regularity in Iraq. Officials suspect death squads from the Shiite majority; the Sunni minority and criminal gangs are responsible for the killings. At least 566 bodies have been found since Iraq's interim government was formed April 28th, 2005. There were 204 of them in Baghdad, according to an Associated Press count. The identities of many are never determined, but 116 are known to be Sunni Arabs, 43 Shiites and one Kurd. Some are likely victims of crimes, including kidnappings, which are rampant in some cities and as dangerous to Iraqis as political violence. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a senior U.S. military officer in Iraq, told reporters Thursday that U.S. and Iraqi troops in Husaybah killed 37 insurgents, arrested 165 suspected insurgents and found 28 weapons caches. "We have indeed seen a reduction in the number of suicide attacks in Baghdad," Lynch said, adding that he believed the operation along the Syrian border was an important factor. (Yes, this was really all in one story. I’m guessing Lynch and Straw are not looking at Today In Iraq.) Bring ‘em on: Another suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a queue at an army recruiting centre at Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, killing 10 and injuring 21 more. The men were former members of the army who had been dismissed under the 'de-Baathification' programme instituted by the US authorities, but had since then been asked to rejoin in an attempt to bolster the Iraqi forces in the face of unrelenting insurgency. Bring ‘em on: US Soldier Killed by Car Bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Cent Com says they raided three suspected terrorist safe houses to capture or kill members of a suspected Al Qaeda in Iraq suicide bomber cell operating in the Baghdad area. The safe house was suspected to be an operational base for a suicide bomber cell with an alleged foreign fighter who was to carry out an attack in the near future. During the raid, Coalition forces killed seven terrorists and detained five. The terrorists were armed with rocket propelled grenades, machine guns, and explosives. One of the armed terrorists killed in the raid was also wearing a suicide bomber vest. Bring ‘em on: McCain Urges Changes in Bush’s Iraq Strategy. Sen. John McCain, a major backer of the Iraq war, said on Thursday the Bush administration must make broad changes in its strategy to confront the insurgency in Iraq, and commit more troops and resources to the effort. In his speech to the American Enterprise Institute, he also praised the resolve of Bush, whose poll ratings have plummeted partly on discontent over the Iraq war. A senior member of the Armed Services Committee, McCain said the administration must take a new approach in Iraq that he said would require more U.S. troops and would "take time, probably years, and mean more American casualties." (It will mean more dead Iraqis, too. -Susan) Bring ‘em on: Further Update: 42 Killed at Iraq restaurant and army recruiting center. (Different reports give different numbers on the casualties.) Bring ‘em on: Police arrest a brother of Iraq’s parliamentary speaker on suspicion of running an insurgent cell. Al Qaeda in Iraq said the Baghdad bombing was in part in retaliation for operations like the U.S.-led Operation Steel Curtain in and around the town of Qusayba, during which the military said it killed 37 insurgents. Bring ‘em on: McCain Says Send 10,000 More Troops to Iraq, increasing troops levels to 165,000. Bring ‘em on: Gunmen Fire on Oman Embassy in Baghdad, Killing 2. Bring ‘em on: Strykers Make a Difference In Mosul (If my memory is correct, the original US troops in the area in 2003 felt exactly the same way.) Bring ‘em on: US-Iraqi Troops Start New Offensive In Western Iraqi Town. "Iraqi army soldiers and US forces have begun clear-and-hold operations in the city of Karabilah near Husaybah town, close to the Syrian border," the US military said in a statement. The offensive is the continuation of Operation Steel Curtain, which was staged by the US-Iraqi forces in Husaybah, as intelligence services said some insurgents, driven out of Husaybah, fled to nearby Karabilah. On Tuesday night, the US military announced the end of Operation Steel Curtain in Husaybah, but said that the Iraqi forces were preparing for a permanent security presence in the area to prevent insurgent re-entry. REPORTS THE WAR SPREADS: Al Qaeda Says Jordan Hotel Bombers Were Iraqis. Al-Qaeda said Friday that four Iraqis, including a woman, carried out the suicide bombings against luxury hotels in the Jordanian capital that devastated one of Washington's staunchest Middle East allies. "The group charged with planning, preparing and implementing (the attacks) was made up of three men: commanders Abu Khabib, Abu Muaz and Abu Omaira. Their fourth was the venerable sister Om Omaira," the group said in a statement whose authenticity could not be verified. MORE: Three Iraqi Oil Officials Killed In Amman’s Attacks. INSIDE IRAQ: Al Sadr Militia Taking Law Into Own Hands. Militiamen loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have increasingly adopted a policing role in recent months. In both Baghdad and Al-Basrah, al-Sadr's Imam Al-Mahdi Army has claimed to have fought alongside police forces against terrorists, and has carried out its own operations to free hostages from terrorist safe houses. In other towns like Samawah, Al-Najaf, and Al-Kufah, al-Sadr militiamen have clashed with police, and the militia also continues to engage U.S. and U.K. troops in combat, going so far as to kidnap two undercover British soldiers in Al-Basrah in September. INSIDE IRAQ: Former Baath Party Member Sets Up Party To Contest General Elections. A former leader of the Baath party, who Saddam Hussein had jailed for three years, has established a new party and intends to contest the forthcoming elections. INSIDE IRAQ: The new police leader in Mosul has vowed to return law and order to the restive city. He replaces Lt. Gen. Ahmad Khalaf al-Jibouri whose dismissal led supporters to take to streets and threaten to occupy Mosul. INSIDE IRAQ: Rice Urges Iraqis to Bridge Differences. (They are, they are. And, they are often using the very method championed by Cheney & company: violence and more violence. - Susan) INSIDE IRAQ: Iraqis Seek Normalcy Amid Chaos INSIDE IRAQ: The Battle To Rebuild. The threat of a roadside bomb seems to reinforce the memories I have of the city, and so do the many shattered facades of buildings neither demolished nor rebuilt an entire year later. Yet while many signs of the battle's ferocity remain, I also notice something else: the streets are filled with people. Shops are open, some operating out of buildings with just three walls or partial roofs. Cars and trucks travel the road alongside children coming from school. There is here a sense of normalcy as well. Meanwhile back at the school, Hamid is saying he's gotten a lot of promises of support from government leaders, tribal leaders and coalition forces, but so far little has materialized. He says he is more optimistic with Walton, the first Marine representative even to come and see his school. "Anyone that's been over here at least once," Walton says, "realizes that the way out is not by shooting a rifle. You have to build your way out. We have to help build institutions. We have to help build communities. It's the only way." INSIDE IRAQ: A Name That Lives In Infamy. The destruction of Falluja was an act of barbarism that ranks alongside My Lai, Guernica, and Halabja. One year ago this week, US-led occupying forces launched a devastating assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja. OUTSIDE IRAQ: Jordan Closes Border with Iraq. OUTSIDE IRAQ: Top Two Contenders for New Iraq Government Visit US. Mahdi was able to more quietly focus on issues at the heart of Iraq's future, such as the prospect of permanent U.S. military bases and the need for Shiites and Sunnis to form their own regions -- or perhaps one region together -- in Iraq. Mahdi met almost three times as long with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as did Chalabi, U.S. officials noted. UNBELIEVABLE: Chalabi Plans to Visit US Soldiers At Walter Reed. THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: The Media Are Minimizing US and British War Crimes in Iraq The reporting of the Iraqi death toll - both in its scale and account of who is doing the killing - is profoundly dishonest. We were told that the Iraqis don't count. Before the invasion began, the head of US central command, General Thomas Franks, boasted that "we don't do body counts". His claim was repeated by Donald Rumsfeld in November 2003 ("We don't do body counts on other people") and the Pentagon last January ("The only thing we keep track of is casualties for US troops and civilians"). But it's not true. Almost every week the Pentagon claims to have killed 50 or 70 or 100 insurgents in its latest assault on the latest stronghold of the ubiquitous monster Zarqawi. In May the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that his soldiers had killed 250 of Zarqawi's "closest lieutenants" (or so 500 of his best friends had told him). But last week, the Pentagon did something new. Buried in its latest security report to Congress is a bar chart labeled "average daily casualties - Iraqi and coalition. 1 Jan 04-16 Sep 05". The claim that it kept no track of Iraqi deaths was false. THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: Baghdad’s Mortuary Reels Under the Weight of Killings. The bodies are arriving at the mortuary in Baghdad in such large numbers that the orderlies have run out of places to store them properly. They are forced to leave them in piles in the overloaded freezer compartments or send them for burial in anonymous graves. Last month there were 972 corpses received, almost all victims of violent death. The vast majority were brought in with bullet holes. Many had their hands bound and faces mutilated. THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: $5,000 For Loss of Wife and Son: How US Prices Death. Hameed Hassan sat in the remains of his car, next to his dead wife, and watched his four-year-old son begin to bleed to death. The family had been on the way to buy clothes in Rawah's small market when the American soldiers opened fire. A helicopter gunship joined in the attack, cutting the car and two of its occupants to pieces. "They started shooting straight away," he said, "I saw no signal, no warning, just the bullets hitting my car. The helicopter joined in. I saw my wife was killed." The soldiers drove off, leaving the family in the street. The US military has not apologised for the incident. But it has agreed to pay compensation for the killings, an acceptance that innocent lives were lost. Under the US "consequence management" system, there is a maximum payout of $2,500 per claim. A dead wife and a dead son are equivalent to two claims; meaning Hassan is in line to receive a total of $5,000 in cash. Sergeant Jeffery Mubarak, a 37-year-old veteran of four US wars, is one of the soldiers processing compensation in Rawah. "Do I think we're paying the man enough money," he said, "No, I don't. But I just work here. I don't set the rates.” THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: Thousands of sites in Iraq contaminated with hazardous waste: UN. GENEVA — Decades of war and the absence of environmental management have left thousands of industrial and military sites contaminated with hazardous waste in Iraq, posing health risks to the population, a U.N. report said Thursday. An estimated $40 million is needed to identify and clean up contaminated sites in Iraq, including $22 million for the construction of a hazardous waste disposal facility, and to enact environmental legislation, according to the U.N. Environment Program report. THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: Falluja-The Day After” Falluja-The day After” shows the total devastation of the Iraqi town, the corpses of the victims, the mass graves, the exhumation of many corpses by local rescue teams in order to try to recognize some of the victims. The last corpse shown in this video belongs to a 14 year old girl. THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: General Prosecutor in Al Musel Demands for Prosecuting the commanders of the Wolf Brigade. Al Musel – Nainawa's general prosecutor has demanded for taking action against the Iraqi security authorities, "which executed illegal operations of detention and investigation and has published confessions of detainees, under torture, in the press, without referring to the general prosecution in the province." He pointed out, "The marks of torture were clear on the faces of those who confessed on TV screens after they were detained by the Wolf Brigade, under the interior ministry." “The confessions that were screened on TV are suspicious” (thanks to JSNarins for the link) THE SHAME OF AMERICA: More on torture issues: Rumsfeld Can Authorize Exceptions to New “Humane” Interrogation Directive (And when torture is uncovered, oh excuse me, it’s ABUSE if the US does it..….if abuse is uncovered, then Rumsfeld can blame in on a few bad apples. - Susan.) THE SHAME OF AMERICA: Do Not Serve In This War. The documented evidence that has been compiled by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Red Cross and myriad other eyewitness reports proves beyond a doubt that the United States is deliberately involved in the most heinous acts of prisoner abuse and torture. The regime of torture continues because the military provides a shield that keeps the public from intervening. THE SHAME OF AMERICA: The Senate today passed Graham’s amendment, 49 to 42, barring detainees at Guantanamo and others declared by the Executive Branch to be enemy combatants from seeking judicial review of the legality of their detentions. This would effectively end all litigation brought on behalf of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, as well as any future litigation on behalf of those imprisoned at the CIA secret detention camps. This bill is intended to have retroactive application. THE SHAME OF AMERICA: The Quiet Oil-for-Food Scandal. The small group of conservative writers who I've dubbed the "scandal pimps" have been less enthusiastic about the release of this report than they've been about those that preceded it. The day after the release, the Wall Street Journal editorialized that the report didn't really add anything new, it just filled in some details. What they characterized as "details" were actually the names of over 2,000 companies that paid bribes to the Hussein regime for a shot at buying Iraq's oil, selling spare parts for its oil infrastructure or providing humanitarian goods for a population starving under the U.S./ U.K.-led sanctions regime. THE SHAME OF AMERICA: Field Artillery Magazine that Shows US Forces Used White Phosphorus in Fallujah. THE WAR AT HOME: How The US Helped Create Zarqawi And The Terror Financing Network. On Democracy Now! program on Thursday, November 10, 2005 THE WAR AT HOME: US Denies Using “Napalm” on Civilians. THE US military in Iraq denies a report shown on Italian state television saying US forces used incendiary white phosphorus against civilians in an offensive on the Iraqi town of Fallujah last November. It confirmed, however, US forces had dropped MK 77 firebombs, which a documentary on Italian state-run broadcaster RAI compared to napalm, against military targets in Iraq in March and April 2003. The documentary showed images of bodies recovered after the November offensive by US troops on the town of Fallujah, which it said proved the use of white phosphorus against men, women and children who were burned to the bone. THE WAR AT HOME: Foreign policy 'spurs Muslim extremism' The group of Muslim advisers hand-picked by the government in the wake of the July 7 bombings has attacked Tony Blair's anti-terrorism plan, just hours after the 90-day detention rule was defeated in parliament. In a report released today, the Islamic experts said the new measures risked alienating law-abiding Muslims and driving fanatics underground. They concluded that British foreign policy was a "key contributory factor" in spurring UK Muslims to extremism. Downing Street has repeatedly denied that the Iraq war has caused terrorism at home. THE WAR AT HOME: Ahmad Chalabi’s American Tour. He’s back, and he’s not sorry. THE WAR AT HOME: Bush Aide Fires Back at Critics on Justification for War in Iraq. Some of the critics today," Hadley added, "believed themselves in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, they stated that belief, and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people. For those critics to ignore their own past statements exposes the hollowness of their current attacks." "The administration's judgment on the threat posed by Iraq, he said, "represented the collective view of the intelligence community" and was "shared by Republicans and Democrats alike." (So how come no one has been fired? Is it okay to mess up on intelligence so badly that a war is started? No one was fired for the intelligence failure known as 9/11 either. Why is that?-Susan) UPCOMING WARS: Please Do Not Support Us in Condemning Assad, Mr. Bush. Please, really, don’t. You’re Not Helping. It is better for us that you call for inactivity. UPCOMING WARS: Syria: New Syrian Leadership Probably Wouldn’t Benefit US, Report Says. Within the same article: “The United States and France, who are coordinating diplomacy, say their aim is to change Syria's actions, not its regime.” And “Within the Bush administration, there's a vigorous debate over how far to go in pushing for regime change in Syria.” Also, "The Syrian government needs to make a strategic decision to fundamentally change its behavior," Rice said at the U.N. Security Council late last month. (I can think of another government who need to change their behavior. -Susan) POSITION PAPER: Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a US Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq from the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College. (Paper is 68 pages long, so I have not read all of it. -Susan) SAD: Thieves Prey on Soldiers Wives (Fort Campbell) GOOD NEWS: National Airline Plans Flights to London, Athens (SUPPOSED) GOOD NEWS: Soldier Says There’s Much Good in Iraq War. Cordell said he would like to see more than just the violence that happens in Iraq on the news. For example, his Army unit handed out school supplies to kids and spent time taking pictures and hanging out with the young people of this country. They also helped train the Iraqi soldiers, teaching them the basics that one day will allow our troops to come home. COMMENTARY OPINION: Let’s Play Let’s Investigate: CIA wants to investigate who leaked the secret US gulags in Europe to the press, and so does Senate. Neither wants to investigate the prisons themselves, or detainee abuses. Senator Lott says the Senators themselves leaked on the secret gulags in Europe. Can we call this “Let’s investigate ourselves?” OPINION: Letter to the Editor in The Guardian Hypocrisy in Iraq The hypocrisy of our government knows no bounds (Saddam's legal team stops work after lawyer is shot dead, November 10). It claims to have no responsibility for the protection of the defence lawyers "because sovereignty has been handed to the Iraqi government". This despite widespread criticism about the nature of the political show trial. On the other hand, we blatantly and publicly disregard Iraqi sovereignty and do so in a way guaranteed to humiliate Iraqis. In particular, we were at pains to ensure the Coalition Provisional Authority provided complete immunity for our armed forces (and contractors) to continue after the "handover". And when we decided to invade the police station in Basra and kill innocent civilians, we were not too concerned about the fragility of Iraqi sovereignty and how this raid might be perceived by Iraqis. Iraqi sovereignty appears to be a convenience to enable the UK to do what it pleases in Iraq without facing the consequences. Phil Shiner, Public Interest Lawyers, Birmingham OPINION: MARKETING THE WAR. Ah. I see that Norman Podhoretz has an essay in Commentary purporting to show that Bush didn’t lie about Iraqi WMD before the war. His basic premise is that lots of people — including some liberals — believed that Iraq had WMD, so obviously the president did nothing wrong. (That’s the “we all beez stoooped now argument.” But, not all of us were. - Susan) Fair enough. Lots of people did believe that Iraq had WMD before the war. The problem Podhoretz doesn't bother wrestling with, however, is that after the war concluded we discovered that there were also a fair number of people who had been skeptical about Iraqi WMD. INR, for example, thought the African uranium was bogus. DIA thought our prime witness for Iraqi-al-Qaeda WMD collaboration was lying. The Air Force found the evidence on drones to be laughable. DOE didn't believe in the aluminum tubes. None of these dissents was acknowledged by the Bush administration. Nor does Podhoretz apply himself to the entire period before the war. He stops his investigation at the end of 2002. But that's not when we went to war. We went to war in March 2003, and by that time UN inspectors had been combing Iraq for months with the help of U.S. intelligence. They found nothing, and an increasing chorus of informed minds was starting to wonder if perhaps there was nothing there. In response, President Bush and his supporters merely amped up their certainty that Saddam was hiding something. And of course there's the nukes. As Podhoretz surely knows, the evidence for an Iraqi nuclear program was always weak, and once the inspections started the evidence rapidly fell to zero. That kind of thing is just too hard to hide. The warnings of mushroom clouds, however, continued unabated. Unless you think that going to war is no more serious than planning a marketing campaign for a new brand of toothpaste, all of this contrary evidence should have been publicized and acknowledged along with all the evidence that went in the other direction. It wasn't. Given this, the fact that so many people believed that Saddam had an active WMD program simply doesn't perform the analytic heavy lifting that Podhoretz thinks it does. In any case, if it's really true that the Bush administration did nothing to spin, exaggerate, or lie about WMD before the war, why are war supporters so relentlessly trying to suppress any congressional investigation into this? You'd think they'd welcome it instead. For a bunch of innocent bystanders, they sure are acting awfully guilty. By Kevin Drum in The Washington Monthly. (Yes, if the Cheney administration were truly misled about the evidence of WMDs in Iraq, they would be yelling for an investigation into who got it so wrong. And, they would fire the people who did get it so wrong for them. This would have already happened. Same is true if they cared about our nation’s security. -Susan) OPINION: Tony Karon comments: "Normally, when a terror attack in one state is deemed to have originated with a group operating from another state, the victimized government quickly directs furious complaints, missiles or what-have-you at the capital of the state in which the perpetrators have found sanctuary. In other words, it's a basic principle of the relations between sovereign nation states that each takes responsibility for their domain, and can be held responsible for aggression that originates there. So, what do we make of the fact that terrorism is now being exported from the new Iraq? Dare we call it a failing state? The worst fears of the Arab regimes -- and some Western intel agencies too -- that the Iraq created by the U.S. invasion and occupation would become an incubator of terrorism that will afflict the region (and possibly beyond) in the same way that the Afghan anti-Soviet jihad did, appear to be confirmed by the Amman attacks." OPINION: Women and Children Suffer as US Pursues Offensive. If the U.S., as the mightiest military power the world has ever known, cannot stop infiltration by foreign fighters, it is beyond the power of the hapless Iraqis living in border villages to do so. If these fighters and their supporters can fiercely resist massive and disproportionate U.S. firepower, no one on earth should expect Iraqi women and children to take up arms and flush them out. U.S. military officials only speak of the damage they inflict on insurgents and broadly deny Iraqi reports of civilian casualties. But Iraqi medics and Red Crescent officials available on the ground dispute U.S. claims and speak of scores of civilians killed and thousands of families fleeing these areas. Killing and displacing civilians for the presence of rebels with the ability to fiercely resist U.S. military machine is tantamount to a crime against humanity. Iraqi civilians should not be punished because of U.S. troops’ failure to crush the resistance. There is no justification for the atrocities Iraqi civilians suffer at the hands of U.S. and Iraqi troops during these operations. OPINION: The Reconstruction of Iraq. If you have been keeping up with the news you have heard the president say we will withdraw from Iraq when the Iraqi security forces are strong enough to take over the security of this country. Najaf is the first province in Iraq to be given security control and is the model for all of Iraq to follow. This could not have been accomplished by the Iraqis without hard work and assistance from Task Force 198 with its exceptional soldiers and officers from Mississippi. OPINION: Avoiding the Big Questions in Iraq. It’s time that we start to seriously address how to pull out of this hopeless mess of a war. Supporters of the war complain that the news media fail to report all the good news about Iraq. But Fox News didn't report much good news from London when terrorists set off bombs in the subway last summer, killing 52 people. Iraq suffers the equivalent of a London subway bombing every day. Inviting Iraqis to express their sentiments in a genuine referendum, rather than a mere poll, would clarify the issue once and for all, not to mention giving the United States vital information about the value of our mission in Iraq. Of course, there's always the possibility that the Bush administration will find that neither Americans nor Iraqis support its policy there. But now is no time for it to give up on democracy. (This is an idea I totally support. -Susan) OPINION: At 22, A Guilty Bystander to a War. “Instead of working through these strange post-diploma days, contemplating the prickly questions of what direction to set out into the world, how to transition into a 9-to-5 routine, etc., they fought and died in a war because their president told them to do so. I suppose the least I could do is notice.” OPINION: Cheney and the Con Man. Ahmed Chalabi probably deserves some credit for sheer nerve. But the Bush administration deserves no credit whatsoever for maintaining a relationship with the Iraqi con man that is characterized by sheer disregard for the law and for national security. But it is pretty clear that official Washington has backed off from serious efforts to hold Chalabi accountable. I ndeed, even as evidence of the Iraqi's alarming lies and dangerous disloyalty to his Washington paymasters mounted, the Bush administration remained allied with Chalabi, who now serves as Iraq's deputy prime minister - thanks to his alliance with Iranian-tied Shiite parties operating in Iraq. And he has returned to Washington this week as an honored guest of the Bush administration. He will meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Treasury Secretary John Snow and, perhaps, his old mentor, Cheney. Chalabi, who should be under arrest, is instead getting the royal treatment. Why? Because in the Washington of George Bush and Dick Cheney, the rule remains: once a crony, always a crony - no matter how much damage you do the United States. OPINION: Methodist Bishops Repent Iraq War “Complicity” Ninety-five bishops from President Bush's church said Thursday they repent their "complicity" in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq. "In the face of the United States administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent," said a statement of conscience signed by more than half of the 164 retired and active United Methodist bishops worldwide. (From Faux News, no less.) PEACE ACTION: Wage Peace Movie PEACE ACTION: Not One More Death! Not One More Dollar! Sign the pledge. PEACE ACTION: Iraq Veterans Against the War PEACE ACTION: Veterans Speak Out Against War Today “Any time you have an event like this (Veteran’s Day), there is a call to action,” Schwartz said. “The war in Iraq is an unnecessary war, and the truth to that is the best way to honor our soldiers.” CASUALTY REPORTS Local Story: Father reflects on year since son killed in Iraq as Marines pay tribute. Local Story: NC Soldier, 3 Others, Killed by Bomb in Iraq Local Story: Flags to be lowered to honor Cedar Springs soldier Local Story: Mississippi Guardman Killed in Iraq Laid to Rest Local Story: Veterans Day Funeral Set for Colorado Soldier Killed in Iraq Local Story: 103 West Virginians Wounded in War QUOTE OF THE DAY: Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder! Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings! Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction! - Helen Keller

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