Tuesday, November 15, 2005
War News for Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi forces arrested 371 suspected terrorists on Saturday in Baquba, including the town's mayor, the deputy chairman of the city council, the deputy chief of the appeals court and several police officers.
Bring ‘em on:
Update to above story: The U.S. command said Tuesday that three U.S. Marines have died in combat while trying to clear the town of
Bring ‘em on: Seven policemen killed in
Bring ‘em on: In other violence, Jassem al-Fhidawi, a professor of Arabic literature, was shot dead outside Baghdad's Mustansiriyah University, a day after another professor and his driver were also killed there. Six civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb in the capital's eastern district of Zayunah.
Bring ‘em on: Three insurgents and a policeman were killed during clashes in
Bring ‘em on: At least three people killed and 12 others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in a busy commercial street in eastern
British withdrawal yes?: British troops could leave
But he warned an immediate withdrawal of multinational forces rather than a gradual one would be a "catastrophe" for
"Within one year....Iraqi troops will be ready to replace British forces in the south," he said.
Or no?: Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied reports that British soldiers will start withdrawing from
However, Defence Secretary John Reid has hinted the handover to Iraqi forces - followed by the gradual withdrawal of
Mr Blair also said he had not expected the "ferocity" with which elements in the
International suicide bombings: Top Iraqi defense officials on Sunday accused
"We do not have the least doubt that nine out of 10 of the suicide bombers who carry out suicide bombing operations among Iraqi citizens . . . are Arabs who have crossed the border with Syria," the Iraqi national security adviser, Mowaffak Rubaie, told journalists in Cairo, the Reuters news service reported.
The charges came as
Motive: An Iraqi woman who dramatically confessed on Jordanian television to her role in the deadly multiple bombings on
Saddam trial: Some 1,100 Iraqi lawyers have withdrawn from Saddam Hussein's defense team, citing insufficient protection following the slayings of two peers representing co-defendants of the ousted Iraqi leader.
However, the head of the investigative judges in Saddam's dozen cases, Raid Juhi, said Sunday the withdrawal of the defense team "will not affect the work of the court and it will continue its legal measures."
Asylum: In another setback to the Saddam Hussein case, a defense lawyer who was wounded in an ambush that killed one of his colleagues said Tuesday he had fled
Visitors: In the last week, four top international figures have made unannounced but highly publicized visits to
Their aircraft landed at
They did not see the slums of
With at least one car bomb and several improvised explosive devices detonating every day in
Protest: Hundreds of Sunni Arabs marched Monday through the streets of Baqouba, 55 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of
Members of the crowd carried banners denouncing the arrests of Sunni Arabs and chanted, ``No to
Prison raid: About 100 U.S. and Iraqi troops raided an Interior Ministry administrative and detention facility Sunday night, at least in part to check on the welfare of prisoners held inside.
The ministry compound was a center for police officers affiliated with the Badr Brigade, a Shiite Muslim militia, according to an Iraqi politician who lives nearby and to the police source, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
Falah Nakib, the politician, said police guards at the site told
Thank goodness the Americans are there to protect them from abuse: A day after a
Brig. Gen. Carl Horst, who commanded the troops on the Sunday night raid, said "we're going to hit every single one of them, every single one of them."
Rewriting the past: President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the
"They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now," Bush charged.
Bush went on the attack after Democrats accused the president of manipulating and withholding some pre-war intelligence and misleading Americans about the rationale for war.
"Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past," Bush said. "They're playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible."
This 36-page report goes into great detail about outright false and deceptive public statements by Bush (55 misleading statements), Vice President Dick Cheney (51), former Secretary of State Colin Powell (50), former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (29) and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (52) on the subject. These 237 misleading statements were made in a variety of forums (53 interviews, 40 speeches, 26 news conferences and briefings, four written statements and articles and two appearances before Congress) beginning at least a year before the war began, and their frequency peaked at key decision-making points.
Here’s the full report – warning, pdf.
And here’s a searchable database of the same information.
More lies: The defenders of the Bush Iraq policy rolled out a new talking point this morning on the Sunday talk shows. That is: the Bush administration wasn’t the only one to get the pre-war intelligence wrong — rather, this was a global failure of intelligence.
What the right wants you to believe is that because these intelligence agencies may have believed Saddam had WMD, they also believed that the intelligence rose to the necessary level of justifying military force to invade
Easily demonstrated lies: In his speech today, President Bush claimed that members of Congress who voted for the 2002
Nevermind that much of the intelligence offered to the public and to Congress was inaccurate and misleading, or that according to the
FACT — Dissent From White House Claims on
FACT — Sen. Kerrey: Bush “Has Much More Access” to Intel Than Congress
FACT — Rockefeller: PDBs, CIA Intel Withheld From Senate
FACT — War Supporter Ken Pollack: White House Engaged in “Creative Omission” of
FACT — White House Had Exclusive Access to “Unique” Intel Sources
Good timing: At a time when the Bush administration is furiously parrying a new round of accusations that it exaggerated the threat from Saddam Hussein in leading the
There on Monday was Ahmad Chalabi, who as a leader of Iraqi exiles before the war funneled what proved to be inaccurate information about Saddam's weapons programs to the
The timing of the visit by Chalabi, now a deputy prime minister of
But it’s a nice fit: Chalabi’s group, in particularly, had to do with, remember, the [intelligence claims over] mobile biological weapons laboratories and restarting the nuclear program. So he certainly has a key role in this. He is not exactly getting the full red carpet state dinner treatment here. They spirited him in to talk to the Vice President today without allowing any photos, any public coverage of it, wouldn’t even allow him to go to a stake-out afterwards. So, they are giving him some of that treatment, but they also don’t want it to be observed. You’re not going to get that photo of the handshake.
200 cross-party signatures. Heh.: MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister’s pre-war conduct.
A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parliament in making his case for war against
The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government’s defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week – where 49 Labour MPs rebelled – has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.
Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.
It’s not whether you arbitrarily detain, it’s who you arbitrarily detain: The United States has called on
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the call at a summit of foreign ministers in
President George W Bush earlier called on
More Miserable Failure
But at least Saddam can’t nuke us now...er, or then, either, but, you know...whatever: The U.S. government is still failing to adequately protect nuclear weapons from terrorists and its handling of terrorism suspects is undermining attempts to improve
Systematic erosion: On Veterans Day, as our nation remains at war in
Federal funding for veterans programs over the years has not even kept pace with inflation, let alone the increased demands on the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care and other earned benefits. The administration claims to have provided record increases for veterans, yet thousands of them have been denied access to VA health care. Because of budget shortfalls, VA facilities in every region of the country have exhausted reserve funds to meet critical needs. Many have stopped hiring doctors and nurses, while still others have cut back or even eliminated medical services. It is a clear indication that the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country are not a national priority.
But inadequate funding for medical care isn't the only thing veterans are concerned about.
In recent years we have witnessed a systematic erosion of veterans benefits even while our nation is engaged in a war that is adding to the ranks of sick and disabled veterans who will need the VA for decades to come.
Torture, American Style
Meeting the organ failure standard: CIA interrogators apparently tried to cover up the death of an Iraqi "ghost detainee" who died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib prison, a
The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time magazine reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.
The details about his death emerge as
Learned it from the Reds: How did American interrogation tactics after 9/11 come to include abuse rising to the level of torture? Much has been said about the illegality of these tactics, but the strategic error that led to their adoption has been overlooked.
The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.
The Pinochet precedent: These are early days in understanding the precise relationship between the administration's policy on detainee interrogations, the legal advice and the allegations of abuse at
There is a need for a full and independent investigation. There is an urgent need to bring into law Sen. John McCain's sensible and welcome proposal to explicitly ban abusive treatment and give effect to the
In the meantime, the Pinochet and Altstotter cases and the torture convention should serve as a salutary reminder of the growing reach of international criminal law.
The possibility cannot be excluded that the Pinochet precedent will come back to haunt Addington, Yoo and others in the Bush administration. International law is not just for other people in other countries. Ignoring it will not be cost-free, including worries about foreign travel, as former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori learned last week when he was taken into custody in
Abu Ghraib, the gift that keeps on giving: Although Mr Cheney has not had the guts to make his case in public, the argument that torture is sometimes justified is not a negligible one. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, presumed to be in one of the CIA's “black prisons”, is thought to have information about al-Qaeda's future plans. Surely it is vital to extract that information, no matter how? Some people think there should be a system of “torture warrants” for special cases. But where exactly should the line be drawn? And are the gains really so dramatic that it is worth breaking the taboo against civilised democracies condoning torture? For instance, Mr McCain argues that torture is nearly always useless as an interrogation technique, since under it people will say anything to their tormentors.
If the pragmatic gains in terms of information yielded are dubious, the loss to
Mr Bush would rightly point out that anti-Americanism is to blame for some of the opprobrium heaped on his country. But why encourage it so cavalierly and in such an unAmerican way? Nearly two years after Abu Ghraib, the world is still waiting for a clear statement of
John McCain: Obviously, to defeat our enemies we need intelligence, but intelligence that is reliable. We should not torture or treat inhumanely terrorists we have captured. The abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear—whether it is true or false—if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered.
Our commitment to basic humanitarian values affects—in part—the willingness of other nations to do the same. Mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops who might someday be held captive. While some enemies, and Al Qaeda surely, will never be bound by the principle of reciprocity, we should have concern for those Americans captured by more traditional enemies, if not in this war then in the next. Until about 1970,
This ludicrous moment: If it weren't tragic it would be a New Yorker cartoon. The president of the
The vice president, not satisfied that the C.I.A. had already been implicated in four detainee deaths, was busy lobbying Congress to give the agency a green light to commit torture in the future. Dana Priest of The Washington Post, having first uncovered secret C.I.A. prisons two years ago, was uncovering new "black sites" in
So when you watch the president stand there with a straight face and say, "We do not torture" - a full year and a half after the first photos from Abu Ghraib - you have to wonder how we arrived at this ludicrous moment. The answer is not complicated. When people in power get away with telling bigger and bigger lies, they naturally think they can keep getting away with it. And for a long time, Mr. Bush and his cronies did. Not anymore.
Incoherent and pointless: Is Bush really against torture? He is threatening to use his first veto if the House accepts a bill that would formally outlaw "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment" of prisoners. The legislation passed the Senate 90-9.
And Vice President Dick Cheney has been lobbying fiercely behind the scenes to carve out a specific exemption for the CIA if the legislation does move forward. Presumably the administration could then claim that the
As you may have noticed by now, none of this makes any sense. And not only is it incoherent, it is worse than pointless. It puts the military at odds with its own proud traditions and sets up captured Americans for the same kind of treatment. The abuses have made our country a stink in the world.
And all that so as to claim a right to practices that long experience has shown to be not just usually futile but often worse than useless. Torture is rarely productive and often misleading; prisoners make up tales to stop the torment.
On parallel tracks, Congress is moving toward renewing the Patriot Act and, far from scraping the civil liberty abuses licensed in the panicky and overwrought original, is tempted to add new ones, such as placing some FBI demands for personal data beyond judicial review. And if the Supreme Court approves, the administration is poised to start cranking detainees through newly gimmicked military tribunals that look likely to be only a step up, if that, from drumhead justice.
In the name of protecting us, this administration is abandoning our historic values, cramping our personal freedoms, violating our privacy, making a mockery of justice and asserting a right for the president, as commander in chief, to ignore
Who is to protect us from our protectors?
P.M. Carpenter: Given her boss’s tumbling approval rating, the true aim of Rice’s visit was, of course, domestic politics. She wanted to counteract “criticism at home that the Bush administration lacked a plan for success in
Redefine the mission? The one we had been assured was already accomplished, way back when? Or this mission, the one to build more “postwar” cooperation, the one that’s not new at all, the one that’s been regularly mismanaged since we accomplished the first mission?
Minus a minor tactical shift here and a subtle strategic move there, the only redefining taking place is in the administration’s propaganda. We are, in reality, staying the same old course.
William Rivers Pitt: The old chestnut has been hauled out in public again: if you do not support the war, if you do not support Bush, you are betraying our troops and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It's an oldie but a goodie. It is worthwhile, in the face of this resurgent nonsense, to take a long, hard look at what "aid and comfort" really is.
George W. Bush's decision to invade and occupy Iraq - and it was his decision, as he made clear when he said it was "perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war" in his ham-fisted Veterans Day speech last week - has done more to increase the fortunes of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden than any war critic ever could.
The invasion and occupation of
The invasion and occupation of
The decision to allow the torture of detainees in
Local story: Lance Cpl. Scott Zubowski was a patriot who wanted to be a soldier since he was a child, so he joined the Marines after graduating from
Scott Zubowski’s mother, Barb Weitzel of
“I knew it would be bad,” Weitzel said.
But she had two sons serving in
“I said, ‘Which one?’”
Local story: Two
The soldiers were identified as Cpl. Donald E. Fisher II, 21, of
Both were assigned to the 40th Transportation Company, a unit under the 593rd Corps Support Group at
Local story: A 21-year-old Army corporal who grew up in
Cpl. Donald E. Fisher II, one of two soldiers who died in the crash in
"We're talking about a kid who - as a kid - cried because someone stole the flag off our flagpole," Donald Fisher said of his son. "He was very committed."
Local story: A
Sgt. Tyrone L. Chisholm, 27, of
Local story: Staff Sgt. Stephen Sullivan Sutherland was killed Saturday in
He was on patrol in a Stryker armored vehicle when it was hit by a roadside bomb.
Sutherland grew up in West Deptford and graduated from
He joined the Army nine years ago.
Local story: Funeral services are set for today for the 94th
Captain Tyler Swisher was killed by a roadside bomb last month.
Local story: Leah Freeman says her husband's death in
Local story: Funeral services were held Monday in New Salem for an Army soldier who was killed in
Local story: They came to Punchbowl to honor Staff Sgt. Daniel Tsue, who was killed in
Among Tsue's mourners were Navy, Marine, Air Force and police bomb disposal experts who attended the 20-minute burial service yesterday at the
A letter: Officially, Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35, of
In a letter printed by the Air Force Press Network, Dr. (Maj.) Mark Rasnake, the intensive care unit director at the Balad hospital where the victims were initially sent, wrote this about Al Cashe four days after the explosion:
"I met a hero last night. I did not realize it at the time, but he is the closest thing to a hero that I likely will ever meet. This is a place where the word 'hero' is tossed around day in and day out, so much so that you sometimes lose sight of its true meaning. His story reminded me of it.
"He was commanding a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that struck a roadside bomb, catching fire. The loading ramp jammed, trapping eight inside. The crew was forced to escape through a much smaller hatch in the top of the vehicle. All but one made it out. The medic was left behind, apparently unable to get out. Without concern for his own life, my hero went back into the burning vehicle to retrieve his friend.
"Six of his buddies came to us with severe burns. He came to us with burns over most of his body, the most severely injured of the group.
"The surgeons worked for hours on his wounds and we worked for hours in the intensive care unit to stabilize him for transport. In the end, damage to his lungs made him too sick to be safely transported by plane to our hospital in
"The ventilators we use for transport simply could not deliver the amount of oxygen he needed. If he stayed here in
"Knowing this, our air evac team loaded him into the plane for the six-hour flight to
Cashe did make it to
More Links For Them As Wants ‘Em
It's Your War Now - The nation's newspapers helped President Bush sell the war in