Sunday, November 27, 2005

WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2005 Friendly Fire listed several articles/opinions in posts below. These are important articles, so please read them. This is aN update on what else happened in Iraq today. Bring ‘em on: Four foreign humanitarian workers kidnapped in Iraq. Bring ‘em on: Civilian attacks make Iraqi town ghostly after dark. This is Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Pro-Saddam insurgent embrace holy war, says Iraq’s national security adviser. Bring ‘em on: US Marine killed by IED in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb in Baghdad near Iraqi police patrol kills two civilians and wounds two more. One Iraqi policeman killed by roadside bomb in Mosul. Beheaded body of former Iraqi Army cook found in Hawija. Iraqi Army officer escaped an assassination attempt in Riyadh. One civilian killed and another wounded by roadside bomb in Baquba. A major crimes unit official killed by gunmen in Kerbala. Bring ‘em on: Iraq police foil plot to assassinate Saddam trial judge. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi translator working with US forces found shot in Baiji, a day after he was kidnapped in Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Seven Iraqi soldiers killed in roadside bombings in Fallujah. This followed a fierce gun battle on Saturday in the Shuhada’s district in southern Fallujah. There are reports of casualties on the US side after the exchange of gunfire following the roadside bombings. Four civilians were killed in Hit by sniper fire. The hospital in Hit reports they receive people killed or injured by snipers almost every day. Hit has been sealed off by US and Iraqi forces for several weeks. Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqis killed, 16 wounded by car bomb in northern Baghdad. Three Iraqi soldiers killed, two wounded, when their patrol came under fire in Balad. A member of Bader Organization killed by gunman while posting flyers for the election in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi smuggler killed in clash on Iran border. Bring ‘em on: Three civilians killed by suicide car bomb at gas station between Duluiya and Samarra. US Marine killed by roadside bomb in Hit. Bring ‘em on: Sixteen suspected terrorists, including one female, captured in a series of unrelated events. Iraqi police in Samarra arrested four suspected terrorists from an explosion on Saturday. In Balad, US soldiers detained a suspect at a checkpoint. US soldiers detained two suspects in Baqubah after discovering them with explosives and AK-47 rounds. Again in Baqubah, US soldiers detained nine suspected terrorists found with fuses and anti-aircraft artillery rounds. Somebody else wants to Bring ‘em on: Iraq needs a more aggressive approach to win the fight against insurgents, the head of a powerful Shiite political party said in an interview that criticized the U.S. approach as mistaken, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. "The more freedom given to Iraqis, the more chance for further progress there would be, particularly in fighting terror," said Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which holds the largest bloc of seats in Iraq's transitional government. In its Sunday editions, the newspaper said Hakim indicated during an interview last week that more weaponry with larger firepower than now provided by the United States was needed. He provided few details on the form that a more aggressive role against insurgents would take. The United States should take a tougher stand against countries that harbor insurgents and called for faster trials for people suspected of being insurgents, he said. Hakim criticized U.S. forces for "major interference, and preventing the forces of the Interior or Defense ministries from carrying out tasks they are capable of doing and also in the way they are dealing with terrorists." A prime problem, he said, "is the mistaken or wrong policies practiced by Americans." The Badr Organization, formerly known as the Badr Brigade, is the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The organization denied having any ties to a secret bunker holding 173 prisoners discovered near the Interior Ministry this month. Many Iraqis accuse Badr and other militias of infiltrating police and security services. Bring ‘em on: 8 Nabbed in Alleged Plot Vs. Saddam Judge. REPORTS NEWS: A Journey That Ended in Anguish: One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq.The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue. (This guy was investigating private security companies in Iraq.) NEWS: Iraqi Leader Hit Back at Allawi Abuse Claims. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Sunday hit back at former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi for saying human rights abuses in Iraq were as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein. "I cannot imagine that such nonsense has been said by Dr Allawi because he is very well aware that now in Iraq we are enjoying all kinds of democratic rights," Talabani told BBC World television after Allawi's comments appeared in British newspaper The Observer. "If we go back to Saddam's Iraq, we see that it was turned by Saddam into concentration camps on the ground and mass graves underground. How can one compare this new situation with that situation which was unique?" Talabani added. NEWS: Shiite Cleric Increases His Power in Iraq NEWS: Can Fallujah be rebuilt? But not all are impressed, with either the Marine efforts or lack of support from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, which has been tardy with promised compensation. "It is [going] so, so slowly, it's a big problem here because no one takes rebuilding seriously," says Obaied Ameen Ahmad, head of the Fallujah office of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. During the mid-October constitutional referendum, Fallujans turned out to vote "no" in large numbers. They plan to come out again on Dec. 15, to maximize their voice in the new government. But they don't buy the US reasons for invading Fallujah. "We as Sunnis have a different view. We have to resist occupiers wherever they are," says Sheikh Ahmed Sarhan Abd, deputy head of the Fallujah Sheikhs Council. "Fallujah is destroyed, and we had to protect our city from occupation. This is a reality." So how are Fallujans coping with the destruction of their city? "The Arab mentality of inshallah [if God wills it] allows them to accept more calamity," says Lt. Col. Carroll, from Shrewsbury, Mass. "They can deal with things that you or I would say: 'For the rest of our lives, we're going to hunt that guy to the ends of the earth.' [For them] what is done is done." (Oh, I bet! – Susan) COMMENTARY OPINION: Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt. Much more: each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe. What these revelations also tell us is that Mr. Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 Congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Mr. Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Al Qaeda collaboration. The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie? No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq. But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future. Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so. Indeed, they do so even in the same speeches in which they vehemently deny having misled us then - witness Mr. Bush's false claims about what prewar intelligence was seen by Congress and Mr. Cheney's effort last Monday to again conflate the terrorists of 9/11 with those "making a stand in Iraq." (Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for Centcom, says the Iraqi insurgency is 90 percent homegrown.) These days Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney routinely exaggerate the readiness of Iraqi troops, much as they once inflated Saddam's W.M.D.'s. "We're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," the vice president said of his critics. "We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them." But according to a Harris poll released by The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, 64 percent of Americans now believe that the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends." That's why it's Mr. Cheney's and the president's own words that are being thrown back now - not to rewrite history but to reveal it for the first time to an angry country that has learned the hard way that it can no longer afford to be without the truth. OPINION: So what have they to hide? Official Secrets, Lies, and the Truth About the Assault on Fallujah. The trial of two Whitehall wokers this week could reveal Britain’s role in one of the Iraq war’s darkest episodes. OPINION: Iraq, Lies and Foolish, Deadly Pride But of course, those options — invade ASAP or face devastating attack — were far from the only ones available. U.N. weapons inspectors were steadily confirming that Saddam's Iraq not only posed no threat to America, but was so emasculated after the first Gulf War and years of sanctions that it couldn't have attacked a Kuwaiti pajama party. Option No. 3: Let the inspections proceed, confirm that Saddam — bastard that he is — posed no threat, and go to work figuring out how to change Iraq's government without destroying a nation, killing tens of thousands of innocents and sacrificing the lives of thousands of duty-bound American soldiers. Don't believe me? Have a look at what Bush administration officials were saying before 9/11: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, on Feb. 24, 2001: "And frankly, (sanctions) have worked. (Saddam) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." Then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in July 2001: "Saddam does not control the northern part of the country. We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." So we're to believe that in two years, Saddam went from being "in a box" and unable to "build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction" (Powell, May 15, 2001) to posing an imminent threat to the United States? And that this preening secular dictator had established ties to the rigidly Islamist al-Qaida, a spurious tale the CIA knew to be false? Remember, the war was not sold to us on some idealistic notion of bringing democracy to the Arab world. OPINION: Willful Ignorance? Nice to see Joe Biden call for a timetable for getting out of Iraq. Unfortunately, he adopts the logically inconsistent proposition that our exit should be drawn out over the next two years. But given that Biden has called for sending more troops in the past, it's definitely a sign of progress. But at the same time, Joe shows how consistently ignorant our foreign policy elites are of the situation in which we find ourselves with this: First, we need to build political consensus, starting with the constitution. Sunnis must accept that they no longer rule Iraq. But unless Shiites and Kurds give them a stake in the new deal, they will continue to resist. We must help produce a constitution that will unite Iraq, not divide it. Iraq's neighbors and the international community have a huge stake in the country's future. The president should initiate a regional strategy -- as he did in Afghanistan -- to leverage the influence of neighboring countries. And he should establish a Contact Group of the world's major powers -- as we did in the Balkans -- to become the Iraqi government's primary international interlocutor. "We, we, we." No, Joe, if we initiate a regional strategy, it will lack legitimacy. The more we are seen to have produced the Iraqi constitution, the less legitimate it will be and the less likely it will be to unite anybody. OPINION: The Iraq Story: How Troops See It. (That would be US troops. -Susan) Like many soldiers and marines returning from Iraq, Mayer looks at the bleak portrayal of the war at home with perplexity - if not annoyance. It is a perception gap that has put the military and media at odds, as troops complain that the media care only about death tolls, while the media counter that their job is to look at the broader picture, not through the soda straw of troops' individual experiences. Yet as perceptions about Iraq have neared a tipping point in Congress, some soldiers and marines worry that their own stories are being lost in the cacophony of terror and fear. They acknowledge that their experience is just that - one person's experience in one corner of a war-torn country. Yet amid the terrible scenes of reckless hate and lives lost, many members of one of the hardest-hit units insist that they saw at least the spark of progress. PEACE ACTION: A table listing all the bills concerning building peace in Iraq or reducing the war society in the US House of Representatives. Lists date, title, author, and sponsors. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine alike of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all the members": Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1844.


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