Sunday, November 06, 2005

WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6, 2005 Bring ‘em on: US-Iraqi Offensive Leaves Dozens of Insurgents Dead (I hope all the ‘insurgents’ were at least potty-trained.) Husaybah. Sunni tribal leader Sheik Osama Jadaan denounced the offensive, The Associated Press reported. "We call all humanitarians and those who carry peace to the world to intervene to stop the repeated bloodshed in the western parts of Iraq," Jadaan told AP. "And we say to the American occupiers to get out and leave Iraq to the Iraqis." Marine Lt. Col. Dale Alford of the 3rd Battalion said the operation was launched "to liberate the town." "We'll continue to push and liberate this city," he said. Bring ‘em on: Attack On Insurgents Tests Iraqi Soldiers. This is again talking about the town of Husaybah. Also, eleven members of a Kurdish Shiite family, including an infant, were killed when gunman sprayed their minibus. This happened north of Baghdad. An 65 year old male detainee died Saturday of natural causes at US military prison in southern Iraq. In Baghdad, a prominent Sunni politician was shot on Saturday as he was driving home. He was Fekhry al Qasiy. He was part of a group running for election in December. Bring ‘em on: •US launches savage bombing assault on al-Qa’im Saturday afternoon, striking city water supply, electricity grid and communication networks. US bombs destroy two schools, two hotels, one mosque. Heavy use of anti-personnel cluster bombs reported, at least 31 civilians dead, 44 wounded. •Al-Qa’im Resistance joins together under single command to meet impending massive American onslaught. American F-16s, F-18s blast city indiscriminately with cluster bombs, guided missiles, then US troops storm into three neighborhoods Saturday night; Resistance fortifies itself in eastern al-Qa’im. •Urgent Appeal from People of al-Qa’im for immediate intervention to save city from savage American bombing •US-installed “Iraqi Defense Minister” explicitly threatens to kill women and children if their houses harbor or aid Resistance fighters. Ad-Dulaymi: women and children in homes where Resistance fighters receive medical help or protection “will not be considered civilians.” (linked in comments section) Bring ‘em on: Three people killed in car bombing in western Baghdad. One Iraqi policeman killed by roadside bomb in Mahawil. Two people killed and one kidnapped in Balad. Bring ‘em on: House-to-house fighting reported during major US led offensive in “Operation Steel Curtain” Bring ‘em on: US Soldier killed in Al Anbar Province on November 3, 2005 from injuries sustained during combat operations. Announced by DOD on November 6, 2005. Bring ‘em on: Al Qaeda Operatives Killed in Iraq Offensive. This is again on the border with Syria. Bring ‘em on: Residents Flee on Second Day of Iraq Fight REPORTS INSIDE IRAQ: Travel in Iraq Still Risky But Improving. But the risks remain clear on a highway that passes through the empty desert in Iraq’s most dangerous province, skirting militant “hot spots” such as Ramadi. When this reporter stopped at a gas station at dusk to get fuel, an employee refused. “There is little gas left. We are saving it for the mujahadeen,” he said, referring to the insurgents. “You better leave now.” INSIDE IRAQ: Inspection of Rule-of-Law Programs, Embassy Baghdad. Rule of law includes the entire legal complex of a modern state, from a constitution and legislation to courts, judges, police, prisons, a commercial code, and anticorruption mechanisms. To successfully implement an emerging rule of law, these activities must proceed somewhat sequentially and not randomly. INSIDE IRAQ: Ten Questions and Answers with Dahr Jamail (Independent Journalist) • What does Iraq actually look like two and a half years after the U.S. invasion? Most of Iraq is a disaster and in a state of complete chaos. The security situation is more accurately described as a brutal, guerrilla war which spiraled out of control over a year ago. Attacks on US forces even now average over 70 per day, and are expected to increase in coming months. The myth that the US military has control over any portion of Iraq is just that-a myth. Even the heavily fortified "Green Zone" is mortared on a regular basis. If one wishes to fly in or out of Baghdad International Airport, get ready for a spiral descent/take off... as this has been necessary for also over a year due to the inability of the military to safeguard the area around the airport. Like in Vietnam, planes will be shot down if they don't use the spiral method of taking off/landing. The infrastructure is in shambles. For most of the western companies who were awarded the no-bid cost-plus contracts in Iraq, it's their dream contract -- guaranteed profits with no oversight. Companies like Bechtel have been paid out in full for their initial contract worth $680 million and awarded contracts totaling over $3.8 Billion, despite the fact that many of their projects in their initial contract were not even begun. Meanwhile, Iraqis suffer and die from waterborne diseases, child malnutrition is worse than during the sanctions, and there is over 70% unemployment. • What really happened in Fallujah and Ramadi? During the November, 2004 siege of Fallujah, 60% of the city was completely destroyed. Most of the rest of it had moderate to severe damage done as well. Iraqi NGO's and medical workers in and around Fallujah estimate over 4000 dead, mostly civilians. To this day, over 50,000 residents of Fallujah remain displaced. The US military used cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions, and white phosphorous (a new form of napalm) during the siege, and appear to have used forms of chemical weapons as well. I have described Fallujah as a modern day Guernica, and prefer to call it a massacre rather than a siege. Fallujah is the model of Bush Administration foreign policy. There has been next to no reconstruction completed inside the city, as was promised by occupation authorities. INSIDE IRAQ: Iraq Sunni Group Blasts Defense Minister. The Iraqi Council for National Dialogue called on the government to sack Dulaimi after he vowed that Iraqi forces will not hesitate to “demolish their houses on women’s and children’s heads, as we did before.” THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: In a Shiite City, Days of the Dead. Eid is a time for many Muslims to exchange gifts, do charitable works and visit the graves of their dead. Amid Najaf's forest of stone tombs stretching out to the horizon, the wailing was deafening Friday. Thousands of grieving relatives clutched at the sandy earth, leaned against the graves, and collapsed before pictures and epitaphs in remembrance of their loved ones. In many ways, this ancient Shiite cemetery is a map of Iraq's recent violence. There is a section for the hundreds who died in August when fears of a bombing sparked a stampede during a religious festival in Baghdad. Another area, festooned with green banners and photos of radical cleric Muqtada Sadr, is filled with the bodies of members of his Al Mahdi militia who died fighting U.S. troops last year. The cemetery also offers a grim vantage point on sectarian violence in Iraq — one area is filled with unidentified or unclaimed bodies, ripped beyond recognition by explosives in Sunni-led insurgent attacks. (How do they know they are Sunni-led attacks? Do the Sunnis claim this?) As Karkhi's body was lowered into its sandy grave, his mother, Khadija Mohammed, cried out: "You were too young! I worked so hard to raise you! You were too young!" OUTSIDE IRAQ: Chalabi, in Tehran, Meets With Iranian President Before Traveling to US Next Week. In a series of closed meetings, including one with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, Mr. Chalabi said he had spoken to the Iranians about Iranian interference in Iraq’s domestic politics, a move likely to endear him to the Bush administration. American and some Iraqi officials have long alleged that the Iranian government is deeply involved in Iraq, directly assisting Iraqi political parties and private Shiite militias. “The principal reason is to tell them about our concern about some of the activities in Iraq,” Mr. Chalabi said of the Iranians. “We feel it is very important to address some of these issues, like border security and so on.” (Brought to you by the guy who sold the Cheney administration the bill of goods on WMDs in Iraq, and cared not one whit that the WMDs were never found. He sure does get around.) OUTSIDE IRAQ: US-Backed Arab TV Network to be Investigated. Officials declined to elaborate on the precise nature of the allegations but said they involved procurement and contracting. There was also concern that viewing figures might be inflated. Media analysts said al-Hurra's programming had come to reflect the preponderance of Lebanese on the staff, rather than projecting a pan-Arab outlook. Mr Harb rejected allegations of any wrongdoing. He told the FT he expected the inspector general to look into the whole operation, including programming. He called it a general review into whether al-Hurra was fulfilling its mission. "There's a campaign against al-Hurra by some people in this city who don't like our dedication to freedom and democracy," he said. THE WAR AT HOME: Speaking Truth to the Powerful, Who Would Not Listen (Hey, I sure know what that feels like! And they still won’t listen!) PRESIDENT Bush should have listened to Brent Scowcroft. For that matter, I should have listened to Brent Scowcroft. The families of most of the more than 2,000 U.S. military personnel who have been killed in Iraq almost certainly wish that someone had listened to Brent Scowcroft THE WAR AT HOME: Italy ‘warned Saddam intelligence was bogus’ per The Guardian. Italian intelligence warned the United States about bogus information on Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions at about the time President Bush cited them as a crucial reason for invading Iraq, an Italian parliamentarian said yesterday. THE WAR AT HOME: Source of Iraq-Qaeda Link Suspected Liar: Report. A top al Qaeda operative in US custody was identified as a probable liar months before the Bush administration began using his claims as the basis of its contention that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, the New York Times reported in Sunday editions. (They are just now figuring this out? I feel like singing ‘what a fool believes, he sees’ to those folks up there in DC.) GOOD NEWS: Japan to Write Off 690 Billion Yen of Iraq’s Debts COMMENTARY NEW POST BY RIVERBEND: Read it all OPINION: The Incompetence Dodge. The liberal hawks now say the IDEA of the war wasn’t bad, just its execution. This saves face – and serves a more dangerous function. Victory, as John F. Kennedy observed, has a thousand fathers, while defeat is an orphan. Abandoning the orphan that is the Iraq War has clearly been a protracted, painful process for the liberal hawks, those intellectuals and pundits so celebrated back in 2003 for their courage in coming forward to smash liberal expectations and support the war. Long criticized by fellow liberals for failing, amid much hand-wringing and navel-gazing, to express clear regret over their original support for the war, these hawks have started to become a bit more vocal about their second thoughts. The nature of their regret, however, is noteworthy -- and has tremendous significance for the debate over U.S. foreign policy after Iraq. Most liberal hawks are willing to admit only that they made a mistake in trusting the president and his team to administer the invasion and occupation competently. (THIS ONE IS PRECIOUS-my comments in parenthesis): OPINION: Dems Who Supported Iraq Can’t Now Claim Stupidity (But what if it happens to be true?) Part of Article: “This in turn opens new vistas for two Shiite secular politicians, Ayad Allawi and Ahmed Chalabi, who will compete head-to-head for Sunni support in Baghdad province (and won’t find any) and then need to bargain for Kurdish support to form a government. (fat chance there too) Chalabi and other Shiite leaders are moving away from the Islamic bloc that won in January and dominates the current government, but which is unpopular with the Kurds. (Those Kurds had better learn to suck it up – unless they want to be independent from the rest of Iraq or something – hey, that is what they want!) Chalabi? Isn't that the aforesaid Arab con man of journalistic and political lore who tricked alert politicians such as Jay Rockefeller, and the entire CIA, into believing Saddam was moments away from blowing them to kingdom come? (I guess the republicans are stupid, too, right? And no signs of getting over it - or was it all an act? Don’t forget Chalabi’s part time honey, Judith Miller. She’s a part of this whole sicko plot too.) The same guy who provided the opportunity for shallow journalistic exposes (you did remember! But you left out FALSE from “shallow and false journalistic exposes”) and a magazine cover — on the Columbia Journalism Review of all places — that were redolent with whiffs of anti-Arab racial stereotyping that would have been denounced if other ethnic groups had been so targeted? (Well, I missed that one. Chalabi sure is ugly though. Got to wonder how well Judith Miller can see.) Yes, Chalabi is back, in Iraq and in Washington. (He’s in Iran, too.) He visits here this week at the invitation of an administration (A ship of fools, headed for the rocks.) that listened to him prewar, except of course when he opposed the occupation and other things they wanted to do, (which is to say, they listen when they wanted to, ignored when they wanted to, pretty common procedure for them) and then tried to eliminate him from Iraqi politics in Allawi's favor. (How does Allawi feel about being second fiddle? Since neither one worked out as a puppet government, who would choice #3 be? Inquiring minds want to know.) I know, the story line gets confusing, but remember we are in Valerie Plame deep-cover territory here. (Does Chalabi have something to do with outing Plame? Did Chalabi work for the CIA also? I think he did, but it has not been confirmed yet. ) (Well, I have to say, if it weren’t for the fact that real people are really dying and having their lives ruined, these folks would be pretty darn funny. If this man had a minute of humble and honest self-reflection, he would have called this article WE ALL BEEZ STOOPID NOW.) OPINION: Senator Rockefeller: “I Was Dead Flat Wrong on Iraq” statement on CNN this morning. As Kos says: Senator George Allen (R-VA) said "mistakes were made" but now we have to win in Iraq. He didn't explain how we were going to do that. **And that begs the question, how can we believe the Bush Administration is telling the truth on "how we can win in Iraq" when they can not be trusted, either because of lack of competence, if you want to be charitable, or because they are liars, part of the truth of the matter, or both, the whole truth of the matter.** You can't trust the Bush Administration to tell the truth or to do the job. It is time that all Dems understand these central facts and take their positions based on these facts. Do what Sen. Rockefeller has done, admit your mistakes, and now act accordingly. PEACE ACTION: International Peace Angels has a DVD called “Caught in the Crossfire: The Untold Story of Falluja.” The plight of the civilians is THE unreported story of the Iraq War. The refugees of Falluja risked their lives to tell their story to the world. This is an 18-minute movie that is very compelling and does show the extent of devastation in Falluja in November 2004. Donate to help the Iraq Relief Efforts to International Peace Angels. Their web address is: CASUALTY REPORTS Local Story: Army Infantryman from Beatrice Dies from Injures Sustained in Iraq Local Story: Ohio Soldier Dies in Iraq Local Story: Hero or Coward? Former soldier knows his story is divisive. He claimed he was a conscientious objector. But he was convicted of desertion, and sentenced to a year in prison. Those who disagree with Mejia often point out that he signed up - and was not drafted - to be in the military. QUOTE OF THE DAY: If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. – Mother Teresa


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