Friday, December 02, 2005

WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY DECEMBER 2, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Ten US Marines killed, and 11 wounded by roadside bomb near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Operation Shank under way in Ramadi. 300 Marines and 200 Iraqi troops are taking part. Meanwhile, Shi’ites and Sunni Muslims in Baghdad pray and demonstrate together carrying posters of their missing sons. Some held pictures of Sunni clerics who have been killed since the US invasion in 2003. Bring ‘em on: University professor at the College of Medicine, Nahrain University, killed in Iraq. Iraqi police arrested 14 gunmen and seized weapons cache in Karbala province. Iraqi security forces arrested a government project’s director for financing terrorists in al Qaem. Bring ‘em on: Gunmen dressed in Iraqi army uniforms killed two brothers who serve on Iraq’s electoral board, killing one and wounding the other, in Baquba. Bring ‘em on: US soldiers find weapons caches, terrorists on island in the Euphrates river. Bring ‘em on: A blindfolded Iraqi man was shown being shot dead in a video posted on the Internet on Thursday and an Iraqi insurgent group said it killed him for spying on clerics and taking Iraqis to torture centers. Bring ‘em on: Unidentified men assassinated the imam of a Shi’ite mosque near Baquba. They were wearing Iraqi army uniforms. Bring ‘em on: US soldier died from gunshot wound in Taji (north of Baghdad) on Wednesday. This follows the death of two soldiers from IEDs in the same town on Tuesday. Bring ‘em on: US Marine killed in action by small arms fire in Fallujah on Wednesday. This is the second Marine killed in Fallujah that day (separate incidents). Another US Marine was killed by IED attack near Fallujah on Monday, and a fourth was killed on Wednesday in a non-hostile vehicle accident near Fallujah. (These last two incidents have “Camp Taqaddum” listed at the place of death, which is the US bases on the edges of Fallujah.) Bring ‘em on: US Marine dies in non-hostile vehicle accident near al Taqaddum. Bring ‘em on: Gunman wounded an adviser to Iraq’s interior minister and killed one of his bodyguards in Baghdad. REPORTS NEWS: Kurdish Oil Deal Shocks Iraq’s Political Leaders A controversial oil exploration deal between Iraq's autonomy-minded Kurds and a Norwegian company got underway this week without the approval of the central government here, raising a potentially explosive issue at a time of heightened ethnic and sectarian tensions.The Kurdistan Democratic Party, which controls a portion of the semiautonomous Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, last year quietly signed a deal with Norway's DNO to drill for oil near the border city of Zakho. Iraqi and company officials describe the agreement as the first involving new exploration in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. INSIDE IRAQ: Fewer suicide bombings in Iraq in November. Suicide bombings fell in November to their lowest level in seven months, the American military said Thursday, citing the success of U.S.-Iraqi military operations against insurgent and foreign fighter sanctuaries near the Syrian border. But the trend in Iraq has not resulted in less bloodshed: 85 U.S. troops died during the month, one of the highest tolls since the invasion "In the month of November: only 23 suicide attacks - the lowest we've seen in the last seven months, the direct result of the effectiveness of our operations," Lynch said. Car bombings - parked along streets and highways and detonated remotely - have declined from 130 in February to 68 in November, Lynch said. However, suicide attacks have not consistently decreased over the past year. After more than 70 such attacks in May, the number fell in August by nearly half and then climbed to over 50 two months later. And despite the decline over the past month, there has been no letup in the relentless toll of American deaths at a time of growing discontent in the United States over the Iraq war. There also has been no decline over the past six months in the Iraqi death toll from suicide attacks, according to an Associated Press tally. In November, at least 290 Iraqis were killed in such attacks, more than double the figure from the previous month. The count shows the Iraqi toll ranging from at least 69 deaths in August to at least 356 in September. November's suicide attacks included near-simultaneous bombings at two Shiite mosques in Khanaqin, killing 76; a car bombing at a Shiite funeral north of the capital, killing 36; and a car bombing near a hospital in Mahmoudiya, killing 30. INSIDE IRAQ: Death or Democracy: Iraqis Offered Unsubtle Choice. The advertisements on Iraqi television offer a rose-tinted, none-too-subtle view of what parliamentary elections this month could mean for the future of the country. A boy is shown looking out the window of a bus carrying him away from bombs and chaos. A man shackled to a wall is set free when "the hammer of democracy" smashes his manacles. The point is clear: Iraqis face a choice between the violence of the past and a democratic, if uncertain, future. But with just two weeks to go before the milestone Dec. 15 elections, the tide of violence is swelling as insurgents try to disrupt the vote. The daily list of bombings and killings, allegations of officially sanctioned torture and growing fears of a full-blown civil war belie the black-and-white choice between chaos and peace as depicted on national television. REPORT: Complexity of Iraq Insurgency Helps it to Survive. Here is a small sampling of the insurgent groups that have claimed responsibility for attacks on Americans and Iraqis in the last few months: Supporters of the Sunni People. The Men's Faith Brigade. The Islamic Anger. Al Baraa bin Malik Suicide Brigade. The Tawid Lions of Abdullah ibn al Zobeir. While some of them, like the Suicide Brigade, claim an affiliation with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and Al Qaeda claims them, others say they have acted alone or under the guidance of another group. Iraqi and American officials in Iraq say the single most important fact about the insurgency is that it consists not of a few groups but of dozens, possibly as many as 100. And it is not, as often depicted, a coherent organization whose members dutifully carry out orders from above but a far-flung collection of smaller groups that often act on their own or come together for a single attack, the officials say. Each is believed to have its own leader and is free to act on its own. Highly visible groups like Al Qaeda, Ansar al Sunna and the Victorious Army Group appear to act as fronts, the Iraqis and the Americans say, providing money, general direction and expertise to the smaller groups, but often taking responsibility for their attacks by broadcasting them across the globe. "The leaders usually don't have anything to do with details," said Abdul Kareem al-Eniezi, the Iraqi minister for national security. "Sometimes they will give the smaller groups a target, or a type of target. The groups aren't connected to each other. They are not that organized." Some experts and officials say there are important exceptions: that Al Qaeda's leaders, for instance, are deeply involved in spectacular suicide bombings, the majority of which are still believed to be carried out by foreigners. They also say some of the smaller groups that claim responsibility for attacks may be largely fictional, made up of ragtag groups of fighters hoping to make themselves seem more formidable and numerous than they really are. But whatever the appearances, American and Iraqi officials agree on the essential structure of the Iraqi insurgency: it is horizontal as opposed to hierarchical, and ad hoc as opposed to unified. They say this central characteristic, similar to that of terrorist organizations in Europe and Asia, is what is making the Iraqi insurgency so difficult to destroy. Attack any single part of it, and the rest carries on largely untouched. It cannot be decapitated, because the insurgency, for the most part, has no head. Only recently, American and Iraqi experts say, have they begun to grasp the new organizational structure that, among other things, is making the insurgency so difficult to stop. "There is no center of gravity, no leadership, no hierarchy; they are more a constellation than an organization," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corporation. "They have adopted a structure that assures their longevity." The complex nature of the insurgency was illustrated on Oct. 24, when three suicide bombers, one driving a cement mixer full of TNT, staged a coordinated attack on the Palestine and Sheraton Hotels in central Baghdad. The attack was one of the most sophisticated yet, with the first explosion ripping open a breach in the hotels' barriers. That allowed the cement mixer to come within a few yards of the Sheraton before being hung up in barbed wire. An American solider opened fire on the driver of the truck, and the bomb was apparently detonated by remote control. Twelve people died, and American and Iraqis agreed later that the attack had come very close to bringing both towers down. Within 24 hours, Al Qaeda, in an Internet posting viewed round the world, boasted of its role in attacking the "crusaders and their midgets." THE TRAGEDY OF IRAQ: Where People Cannot Afford Their Country. Despite the allocation of billions of dollars of U.S. government money for "reconstruction", Iraqis are struggling to exist amidst soaring prices, unemployment, a devastated infrastructure, and cuts in services. Iraqis received a monthly food ration during the Oil for Food programme which was set up to provide relief during the sanctions against Iraq up to the invasion in 2003. The head of each family was allotted monthly food coupons for commodities like sugar, rice, tea, detergents, cooking oil, beans and baby milk. But the U.S.-backed governments, starting with the Iraqi Governing Council, have failed to consistently deliver the monthly food basket on time, amidst an unemployment rate estimated at close to 70 percent.Abu Ali, 66, worked until recently as a distributor of the monthly food ration. "The Ministry of Trade used to give us sugar for the people," he said. "But not any more. This means we have to buy it from the market at twice the price just to achieve the same quantity. What will poor people do now to get their sugar?" Abu Mushtaq, a 40 year-old father of five lacks the money to buyproducts in the market, even after receiving 120,000 Iraqi Dinars (roughly 85 dollars) monthly from the government to offset the shortfall in the food ration. "Everything has gone up in price so many times," Abu Mushtaq told IPS. FORGERY IN THE LEAD UP TO WAR: A blogger is trying to track down the origin of the Niger forgery documents that helped start this war. (a) This series has established without a doubt that the FBI's shutdown of the Niger forgeries inquiry without holding anyone at SISMI accountable (let alone holding individuals in the Bush administration accountable - see below), was a scandalous whitewash. (b) The CIA's mysterious lack of interest in examining the Niger dossier once they received it in Oct 2002 takes on greater meaning considering that anyone who compared the contents of the dossier to the CIA reports from late 2001/early 2002 would have immediately noticed something as obvious as a contradiction between the names Nassirou Sabo and Allele Elhadj Habibou. Even my preliminary analysis of the CIA's behavior from at least early October 2002 was strongly suggestive that the CIA likely knew a lot more about the nature/contents of the forged Niger documents prior to the Bush 2003 SOTU than they let on to the SSCI. (c) The CIA's unexplained altering of the alleged year when the Niger Court was supposed to have ratified the alleged uranium sales agreement requires an investigation. (d) As the U.K. magazine Private Eye reported last week, it appears that when the U.S. finally passed on the Niger dossier to the IAEA in response to the IAEA's request for proof for the uranium from Niger (Africa) claim, the U.S. withheld the one document from the Niger dossier that an INR analyst had determined to be an obvious forgery. The question of whether this was done deliberately (to preserve the CIA's untenable cover story on their supposed lack of knowledge of the forged nature of the dossier) more than deserves an investigation. REPORT: US Defends Use of Phosphorus Amo (from Iran Broadcasting). "A bullet goes through skin even faster than white phosphorus does," General Peter Pace, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said at a Pentagon press conference. He claimed white phosphorus was mainly used to mark targets for air strikes and to create smoke screens for moving forces around a battlefield unseen. "White phosphorus is a legitimate tool of the military," he said. "It is not a chemical weapon. It is an incendiary. And it is well within the law of war to use those weapons as they're being used, for marking and for screening," he said. An account of the battle for Fallujah published in a US army journal in April said white phosphorus also was used to flush insurgents out of trench lines in what were described as "shake and bake" missions. (Do the Iranians know that the US military called white phosphorus a chemical weapon in 1991 when they said they suspected Saddam of using it? – Susan) INSIDE IRAQ: All Tomorrow’s Parties. In the run-up to the Iraq conflict, Salam Pax captured a global following with his web diary from Baghdad. He is writing a weekly diary for Guardian Unlimited as Iraqis prepare to go the polls for the third time in 11 months. I got my copy of the Electoral Committee’s guide to the December elections today, on glossy mauve paper. Not my colour. I wouldn’t be caught dead with it in public - but since it’s an election guide, I decided it’s a patriotic duty to tolerate mauve just for today. On the front cover, it says in bold letters: “Because it’s important … choose wisely.” On the back, it has a six-step guide on how to make that wise choice. Yay and hurrah for six-step guides. One: Think. What do you want? Oh shucks! And I was hoping I could pull this one off without having to think. THE WAR AT HOME: US House Minority Leader Back Quick Iraq Pullout. I will be supporting the Murtha resolution," Pelosi said of his plan calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq at the earliest practicable date, which he said should be about six months THE WAR AT HOME: White House Wants Answers on Planted Iraq Stories. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, was asked during a briefing in Baghdad whether paying off Iraqi news organizations to run pro-American stories undermines the credibility of the U.S. military and of the new Iraqi media. "And what Zarqawi's doing continuously is lying to the Iraqi people, lying to the international community, conducting these kidnappings, these beheadings, these explosions so that he gets international coverage to look like he has more capability than he truly has," Lynch said. "We don't lie. We don't need to lie. We do empower our operational commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public, but everything we do is based on fact not based on fiction," Lynch said. The Pentagon closed its Office of Strategic Influence in 2002 after reports that it planned to plant false news stories with foreign media outlets. (Rumsfeld later admitted that they were still doing this, but they changed the name. – Susan) The Bush administration also has tried to influence domestic media, including having federal agencies distribute video packages to U.S. TV stations that could be broadcast as news stories and paying commentator Armstrong Williams to tout Bush education policies in TV appearances and in his column. THE WAR AT HOME: War Profiteer Knows How to Party THE WAR AT HOME: Pundits Say Public is Wrong About Iraq. For media elite, why US went to war is a meaningless debate. As the Washington Post's David Broder argued on NBC's Meet the Press (11/27/05), there's no point in raising such questions: "This whole debate about whether there was just a mistake or misrepresentation or so on is, I think, from the public point of view largely irrelevant. The public's moved past that. The public wants to know what we're going to do next in Iraq." (The 44 percent of the public that wants to see a withdrawal from Iraq, according to a October 30-November 2 ABC-Washington Post poll, is out of luck, however; Broder added that Rep. John Murtha's advocacy of withdrawing U.S. troops "certainly crystalized the debate about the possibility of an immediate withdrawal, but that was very quickly rejected.") While elite journalists argue that public debate is somehow incapable of tackling more than one important question at a time, their real concern may be that a robust discussion of pre-war intelligence could very well leave all sides--Republicans, Democrats and the mainstream media as well--looking culpable for the Iraq War. REPORT: Army Officer Charged in Iraq Investigation. A United States Army officer was charged yesterday with smuggling hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen cash from Iraq and using some of it to buy machine guns, grenade launchers and other illegal arms that were later found in a garage in North Carolina. He is the third person to be arrested in a widening investigation by a special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. REPORT: US Downplays Iraqi Rebel Attack on US-Iraqi Base. (General Lynch again) Residents of Ramadi said that rebels fired mortars and rockets at the base and then roamed briefly through the streets, posting al-Qaeda leaflets. Al-Qaeda issued an unverifiable Internet statement saying its fighters "were able to control a big part of the city of Ramadi after launching a new blessed conquest." US military officials in Baghdad dismissed such reports as "spurious," maintaining that there was little more than a single rocket attack on a checkpoint at 9:30 am local time. "So the idea that there is this massive uprising in insurgents in Ramadi to have retaken control of the town is incorrect," said coalition forces spokesman Major General Rick Lynch. FILM: Kevin Sites reports on Saddam’s torture rooms at the Red Security Museum, in northern Iraq. Other film clips on life in Iraq today. FILM WE WILL NEVER SEE IN THE USA: Journalist wins foreign press award for his film on the US assault on Fallujah and his expose on the ensuing mass civilian casualties. COMMENTARY OPINION: Freedom? What Freedom? (An article written by Monica Benderman, wife of Kevin Benderman who is currently serving a 15 month sentence as a Prisoner of Conscience for being a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq. If you follow this link and then look at the end of the article, you can find more links to their homepage. I have heard that the Benderman’s are in danger of losing their home, so financial support would be welcomed. - Susan) Freedom? What freedom? We have freely built an arsenal to surround ourselves with. Every weapon man could imagine – closing the doors on our freedoms. War is the total loss of freedom. War confines, war dictates, war destroys. War demands that one control another – and yet no one is in control. Freedom means controlling oneself so that no one else can control you. Freedom does not mean imposing your “rightness” on another. Freedom is respect – respect that has been earned because we know the value of that freedom – hard earned, not by killing others. Freedom is earned by staying committed to a standard, a set of principles. Freedom means that no one, regardless of what they do, will allow us to fall from the standard of integrity that we have chosen for ourselves. Moral Courage. OPINION: US Occupation Comparable to Hussein Regime. Amazingly, in Bush's Iraq, just as in Hussein's, you're a victim or a victimizer -- often both. The grim ironies of this Darwinist nightmare are everywhere. For example, while the military is defending the use of white phosphorus on the battlefield -- "shake and bake" in U.S. military slang -- by citing chemical weapons restriction loopholes, it can't look good to the world that one of the human-rights crimes Hussein himself is charged with is -- you guessed it -- shelling Kurdish rebels and civilians with chemical weapons in 1991. When presented with such consensus depictions of Iraq as it is, not as our cloistered and purposely ignorant president believes it to be, those who still defend the occupation make two main claims: This is all just the birthing pains of a democracy, and the civil war will get worse if we leave. I don't agree with either prediction; the U.S. presence fuels both the Sunni insurgency and Shiite radicalism. The argument, however, should be moot anyway, because both the Iraqi and American publics have clearly signaled they want us to get out, starting now. OPINION: More Myths and Lies About American Withdrawal from Iraq. U.S. Congressmen have been on the radio saying we just cannot give the Iraqis a timetable by which we plan to withdraw from Iraq, because it would embolden the insurgents. Duh... Did it ever occur to these deep thinkers in Congress that torturing Iraqis emboldens the insurgents? Did it ever occur to these Congressmen that detaining Iraqis by the tens of thousands, while breaking in their doors in the middle of the night and pointing rifles in the faces of frightened women and babies might embolden insurgents? Did it ever occur to our esteemed representatives in Washington that poisoning Iraq with depleted uranium, laying waste to Fallujah and other cities, bombing urban targets from the air with 500 pound bombs to kill individual humans (even combatants), destroying the country's infrastructure, bringing in thousands of laborers from around the world to work while Iraqis remain unemployed except in dangerous policing jobs, lighting up civilian vehicles with machine gun fire, segregating the alleged "democratic" government from the people by a secure American-dominated "Green Zone", ghost-writing a constitution, defining "victory" as the killing of all the remaining complaining victims of occupation, and similar acts would embolden the insurgents? The American government and military invaded Iraq with total disdain for the Iraqi people and total insensitivity to their suffering, which America has caused for years now. All the Iraqis have done is share the pain with their "hosts". The occupation will ultimately end and it will end because a timetable was set. The myths and lies of withdrawal will be exposed and set aside as surely as the Euphrates River flows through that once enchanted land. OPINION: Murtha predicts most US troops will leave Iraq within a year. Murtha predicted most troops will be out of Iraq within a year, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Thursday. "I predict he'll make it look like we're staying the course," Murtha said, referring to Bush. "Staying the course is not a policy." Murtha, 73, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, expressed pessimism about Iraq's stability and said the Iraqis know who the insurgents are, but don't always share that information with U.S. troops. He said a civil war is likely because of ongoing factionalism among Sunni Arabs, and Kurds and Shiites. He also said he was wrong to vote to support the war. OPINION: Death Mask: The Deliberate Disintegration of Iraq. The recent revelations about the virulent spread of death squads ravaging Iraq have only confirmed for many people the lethal incompetence of the Bush Regime, whose brutal bungling appears to have unleashed the demon of sectarian strife in the conquered land. The general reaction, even among some war supporters, has been bitter derision: "Jeez, these bozos couldn't boil an egg without causing collateral damage." But what if the truth is even more sinister? What if this murderous chaos is not the fruit of rank incompetence but instead the desired product of carefully crafted, efficiently managed White House policy? Earlier this year, one enterprising Knight-Ridder reporter, Yasser Salihee, actually found several eyewitnesses willing to testify to the involvement of the U.S.-backed commandos in 12 such murders. The offer was shrugged off by the Interior Ministry's spokesman – an American "adviser" and veteran bones-maker from the Colombian ops. In the end, it didn't matter; Salihee was shot dead by a U.S. sniper at a checkpoint a few days afterwards. The Bushists are happy to make common cause with thugs and zealots in order to prevent the establishment of a strong national government that might balk at the ongoing "privatizations" that have continued apace behind the smokescreen of violence, and the planned opening of Iraq's oil reserves to select foreign investors – a potential transfer of some $200 billion of Iraqi people's wealth into the hands of a few Bush cronies, the Independent reports. There's nothing new in this; Bush is simply following a well-thumbed playbook. For example, in 1953 the CIA bankrolled Islamic fundamentalists and secular goon squads to destabilize the democratic government of Iran – which selfishly wanted to control its own oil – and pave the way for the puppet Shah, as the agency's own histories recount. In 1971, CIA officials admitted carrying out more than 21,000 "extra-judicial killings" in its "Phoenix" counter-insurgency operation in Vietnam. (The true number of victims is certainly much higher.) In 1979, the CIA began sponsoring the most violent Islamic extremist groups in Afghanistan – supplying money, arms, even jihad primers for schoolchildren – to destabilize the secular, Soviet-allied government and provoke the Kremlin into a costly intervention, as Robert Dreyfus details in his new book, Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. Later, Saudi magnate Osama bin Laden – whose family firm helped kick-start George W. Bush's business career – joined the operation, and his men were sent to America for "anti-Soviet" terrorist training, as Greg Palast reports. And of course, these examples only scratch the scorched-earth surface of America's double-dealings in this deathly shadow world. OPINION: Why did you want to bomb me, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair? Al-Jazeera's offices in Kabul and Baghdad were bombed; we were told at the time that both bombings were mistakes. We pushed for an official investigation, but thus far have received neither the findings of any investigation nor any official apology. The al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj was arrested in Afghanistan and has for the past four years been detained in Guantánamo. We have repeatedly asked for an explanation, but none has been given to us. We believe that all this harassment has been a worthwhile price for our professional commitment to reporting the truth. However, the story in the Daily Mirror, which published a leaked document it claimed was a transcript of a meeting in April 2004 between George Bush and Tony Blair, points to a level of threat to our very existence that had never occurred to us or to our viewers before. If it is true that Bush had indeed thought of bombing the al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha, this will undoubtedly constitute a watershed in the relationship between government authorities and the free media. I decided, in view of the great shock and bewilderment felt by many people around the world, to travel to London to look for the truth behind a press report whose reverberations across the Middle East - where reform and democracy have been promised - are far from over. STUPID: California Homicides Dwarf Iraq Deaths. According to the report "Crime in California 2004," compiled by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, there were 2,394 reported homicides in the Golden State last year. That compares with 905 deaths of coalition forces in Iraq, chiefly Americans and Brits, during the same time period. (Population of US/UK troops in Iraq is less than 200,000 at any point in time. Population of California is greater than 30,000,000. If the death rate of US/UK troops in Iraq were comparable to the homicide rate in California, then about 16 troops would have died in Iraq last year. I wonder when they might notice that the population of California is a tad higher than the population of US and British forces in Iraq. There is so much American stupidity it scares me. – Susan) MORE AMERICAN STUPIDITY: Reality tells us that to create peace it often takes actions that aren't necessarily peaceful. This is exactly what the United States is doing in Iraq today. If treacherous behavior is taking place somewhere, it's up to the rest of the world to police such activities. (She is talking about Iraqis committing treacherous behavior, not Americans here. – Susan) Fortunately -- for the overall political and military well being of the United States especially -- the war will continue. And while war may seem like an odd way to produce harmony, the most important factor hidden beneath this war is eventual peace in Iraq. (Guess what the motto is for this little newspaper? “We Inform. You Decide.” No joking. – Susan) POEM: Left my minarets of war-torn memories to crumble into oblivion- My faith in humankind disemboweled. You are the truth – if it ever existed, Belief, when it is all I know. I know you now like I know God. For you are the entity they forbade, the remnants of the game they played, the devastated I – (for my beloved Iraq) Zaineb Alani, 39 years old, an Iraqi living in the US who survived two wars growing up, the ‘war of attrition’ with Iran, and the first Gulf war. OPINION: What To Do About Iraq. Apologize. Uh, this means you George W. Get on TV, without a script, and say you're sorry. Tell the world you were dead wrong to invade Iraq. Tell the truth, for once, about why you did it. Only the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth can regain the trust of the Muslim world. Get down on your knees if that's what it takes. Apologize like the end of Terrorism depends on your apology...because it does. If, and only if, the above steps are taken can we hope for reconciliation with the Muslim world and an end to Terrorism. Anything less and we're doomed to the perpetual state of war that Bush & Cheney hope & pray for. FILM: “Homecoming” In an election year, dead veterans of the current conflict crawl out of their graves and stagger single-mindedly to voting booths so they can eject the president who sent them to fight a war sold on "horseshit and elbow grease." The dizzying high point of Showtime's new Masters of Horror series, the hour-long Homecoming (which premieres December 2) is easily one of the most important political films of the Bush II era. With its only slightly caricatured right-wingers, the film nails the casual fraudulence and contortionist rhetoric that are the signatures of the Bush-Cheney administration. Its dutiful hero, presidential consultant David Murch (Jon Tenney), reports to a Karl Rove–like guru named Kurt Rand (Robert Picardo). Murch's glib, duplicitous condescension is apparently what triggers the zombie uprising: Confronting an angry mother of a dead soldier on a news talk show, he tells this Cindy Sheehan figure, "If I had one wish . . . I would wish for your son to come back," so he could assure the country of the importance of the war. The boy does return, along with legions of fallen combatants, and they all beg to differ. Tonight on Showtime at 10 PM. OPINION: The Mess We’ve Made in Iraq. Don't just give aid and comfort to the Shiites under the guise of a fictitious democracy. Every ounce of aid we give to the current Iraqi government is aid we give to just the Shiites, because they are not going to share it with the Sunnis in the name of good sportsmanship. Besides which, when will all the arms and training we're giving to this Shiite army turn around and be used against us? The minute the Iraqi Shiites sign a deal with the Iranian Shiites. We're raising an army against us. This is a terrible idea. (And an idea the US government has implemented again and again. – Susan) PEACE ACTION: Win Without War, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America and others are calling for a national call in day on the Iraq War. They are asking everyone to call their Representative and Senators and ask for an immediate withdrawal form Iraq. They feel that this is the time to continue the pressure on our elected officials. Phone numbers are 888-818-6641 or 888-355-3588. The White House comment line is 202-456-1111. CASUALTY REPORTS Local Story: Funeral services Saturday for soldier killed in Iraq (Iowa) Local Story: Family Holds Memorial service for Hoosier Killed in Iraq Local Story: Hereford (Maryland) Grad Dies in Iraq QUOTE OF THE DAY: The chain reaction of evil--wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. – Martin Luther King, Jr.


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