DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, April 28, 2006
: U.S. occupation recruiting drive in high gear; Recruiting for the armed resistance that is - An Iraqi girl sits in her mother's arms while male family members are searched by a U.S. Marine at a checkpoint in Karmah April 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)
Bring ‘em on
: U.S. soldier killed in roadside bombing north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Friday, as April became the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq this year. The U.S. soldier died about 7:15 p.m. Thursday when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, the military said. That brought the American death toll for the month to at least 67, according to an Associated Press count.
April's death toll is the highest monthly figure so far this year. Last month, 31 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq, the lowest monthly toll since February 2004. At least 2,397 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to the AP count.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Two mortars or rockets fired Friday at the Green Zone.
One landed inside but failed to detonate, and the other exploded nearby on the other side of the Tigris River, the U.S. military said. No casualties were immediately reported.
Roadside bomb goes off close to Iraqi special forces patrol, killing one soldier and wounding three others.
Police said the attack took place in al-Amil neighbourhood of western Baghdad.
Corpses of two middle-aged Iraqi men found in a neighborhood of western Baghdad.
The men were handcuffed, blindfolded and bullet-ridden.
Update from 4-27-06
US military says 21 rebels were killed and another 43 captured in the last 24 hours in the eastern province of Diyala
, of which Baquba is the capital, after a series of attacks on military and police checkpoints. the brutal attacks that left 16 people dead, including six Iraqi soldiers.
In Baqouba, Iraqi police were fighting insurgents in the streets Friday
, and witnesses saw at least two wounded police officers being carried to police vehicles for evacuation. Iraqi soldiers also patrolled the city, which was closed to pedestrians and traffic by a curfew.
In a rebel attack in Fallujah, two policemen were killed by a roadside bomb against their patrol.
Three policemen were killed when roadside bomb hits their patrol near a bridge in Falluja.
Iraqi armed forces conducted an operation in Najaf on Tuesday aimed at capturing a suspected insurgent bomb maker
. Iraqi forces came under attack near the suspect's hideout and returned fire and killed the insurgent. Three suspected individuals were detained following the operation, but were later released.
Civilian who had been kidnapped in Samaraa was rescued when US soldiers apprehended the assailant.
The kidnap victim was found bound in the car trunk and the assailant was arrested.
Iraqi forces perched on rooftops in Ramadi exchanged sporadic fire with insurgents in a residential district where guerillas have been active.
One Iraqi soldier was killed, the troops said.
ivilian wounded when roadside bomb targeting police convoy explodes on a road 5 km (3 miles) south of Kirkuk.
Today in Afghanistan:
Senior Afghan police official narrowly escapes assassination attempt
but his two guards were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in southern Afghanistan.
U.S. says killed Samarra al-Qaida in Iraq® franchiser and two other insurgents in raid north of Baghdad
: Just outside Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, U.S. forces raided a house where Hamid al-Takhi, the local al-Qaida in Iraq leader, and the two other insurgents were hiding, the military said in a statement. Al-Takhi, known as the "emir" of Samarra, was gunned down while fleeing the house, and the other two militants were killed while trying to defend it with grenades, the U.S. military said. After they were killed, the U.S. troops found a car parked nearby containing a grenade launcher, rockets, AK-47s, grenades and a shotgun, the U.S. military said.
Saddam turns 69, spent his third birthday in a row behind bars
: His birthday attracted little of the frenzy the date once engendered when it was celebrated as a national holiday during his 24 years of strong-armed rule from 1979 to 2003.
Even in his hometown of Tikrit, Saddam's birthday passed unnoticed, although a few dozen posters bearing his portrait were seen in the majority Sunni city of Samarra, north of Baghdad. Although it is generally accepted that Saddam killed tens of thousands of his own citizens, some residents expressed their nostalgia for his brutal, but more stable rule.
"The occupiers and their agents among the new leaders are responsible for more massacres in this country than Saddam Hussein," said an elderly Samarra resident, who asked not to be named. "He is better than the politicians of today, who have brought the country neither safety nor stability," added a merchant, who also requested anonymity.
American soldiers should be gone from Iraq by the middle of 2008
, Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said on Friday. In an interview, Rubaie said he expected current U.S. troops of roughly 133,000 to be cut to less than 100,000 by the end of this year and an "overwhelming majority" of U.S. forces should go home by the end of 2007 under a U.S.-Iraqi "roadmap" that calls for progressively handing over security to Iraqi forces.
"We have a road map, a condition-based agreement where, by the end of this year, the number of Coalition forces probably will be less than 100,000. By the end of next year the overwhelming majority of Coalition forces would have left the country and probably by middle of 2008 there will be no foreign soldiers in the country," he told Reuters.
Rubaie, an official of the outgoing government, made his bullish assessment after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Baghdad to show America's support for Prime Minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki.
Iraqi VP warns U.S. against attacking Iran
: Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Shi'ite member of the three-man Presidency Council, was asked about speculation U.S. forces might strike to prevent Iran developing nuclear technology:
"We will not allow anyone to attack anyone," he said after a meeting in the holy city of Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, Iraq's senior Shi'ite cleric. "We think that the use of force is not appropriate for solving any problem."
The leaders of Iraq's Shi'ite majority, including Mahdi's SCIRI party, have close ties to their fellow Shi'ite Islamists ruling neighbouring Iran, where many of them sought refuge from the Sunni-dominated administration of Saddam Hussein.
Another leading Iraqi Shi'ite politician, cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr, recently pledged the support of his Mehdi Army fighters to Iran if U.S. forces attacked.
Iraqi VP says 100,000 families -- perhaps some half a million people -- are living as refugees because of violence wracking the country
: Adel Abdul Mahdi gave no source for his estimate, which is much higher than the 11,000 families -- or about 60,000 people -- which the Displacement and Migration Ministry said two weeks ago had fled their homes since late February.
Iraq's oil production has slipped further and further since the U.S.-led invasion
:, to an average of 2 million barrels a day. It has never regained even the reduced production levels that prevailed in the 1990s, when Iraq was under tough U.N. sanctions.
Iraq's oil could be providing relief to world markets, strained by high demand from China, the nuclear-related showdown with Iran and unrest near Nigeria's oil fields. Instead, it's not even covering its own needs.
Stunning poll results
: A CNN/Gallup/USAToday poll in March had 39% of people still believing that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. This is better than the numbers of the highly indoctrinated U.S. military, where a Zogby poll in February showed 85% believing that the primary reason for the Iraq invasion was "payback for 9/11," but it's still stunning.
The most stunning recent result I've seen, though, from the same poll, is that, when asked if Iraq was better off or worse off than before the invasion, 19% answered "much better off," 48% "somewhat better," 18% "somewhat worse," and 12% "much worse." In other words, 67% said Iraq was better off and 30% worse off.
This is true despite reports that infant mortality and child malnutrition have doubled, despite a sensational rise in violence and in the likelihood of violent death, and despite that fact that by the most basic index of all, gross mortality, Iraq was worse off afterward to the tune of 100,000 deaths in the first 18 months and by now most likely well over 200,000.
Pentagon Bills Injured Soldiers $1.2 Million
: After suffering paralysis, brain damage, lost limbs and other wounds in war, nearly 900 soldiers have been saddled with $1.2 million in government debt because of the military's "complex, cumbersome" pay system, congressional investigators said Thursday.
The report from the Government Accountability Office said another 400 who died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had $300,000 in debt but that the Defense Department did not pursue reimbursement from the estates of those who were killed in combat.
"We found that hundreds of separated battle-injured soldiers were pursued for collection of military debts incurred through no fault of their own," said the report. It said that included seeking reimbursement for errors in pay or for equipment left on the battlefield.
The problem became known months ago as soldiers began to complain and lawmakers asked for the report. The Pentagon said it had been working to resolve it.
"It's unconscionable," Ryan Kelly, 25, a retired staff sergeant who lost a leg to a roadside bomb, told the Washington Post
. He said he spent more than a year trying to fend off a debt of $2,231. "It's sad that we'd let that happen," Kelly said.
Kelly told the Post
that in 2004, months after learning to walk on a prosthesis, he opened his mailbox to find a letter saying he was in debt to the government — and in jeopardy of referral to a collection agency. "It hits you in the gut," he said. "It's like, 'Thanks for your service, and now you owe us.' "
An Iraqi professor tells of life under occupation
: Sinan Abdul-Aziz, Professor of Arabic literature, Kirkuk University
"Deteriorating security means Iraqi academics are an easy target for abduction and assassination; a total of 190 professors have been killed under the occupation. You might be killed in an explosion on the street. Many professors can't afford private cars; they ride on the bus, which makes their death more likely. Not that I'd personally want the attention or misunderstanding incumbent on having a bodyguard. We work to build the students' confidence in us, but since we've grown to fear them sometimes, they too fear us. That said, both parties have resumed the work they do together -- teaching and learning. Iraqi minds are specifically targeted; it's a particularly dangerous dimension of the occupation which the killing of nuclear scientist Mohamed Al-Ardramali in Abu Ghraib prison during the first few months of occupation revealed. They want a backward Iraq to suit Zionist plans.
Neo-conservatives in Washington are already admitting that what is happening in Iraq serves Israeli, better than American, interests. So we were right to point to Zionism. Students attacked a colleague of mine; another, Abdul-Razaq Al-Naas, was assassinated. I've received threats since. If not for the absurd situation in which the occupation has placed us, with the vaguest promise of an elected government working towards security and stability, no student would dare hit a teacher. And what's even more of a joke: the government requests that we should protect ourselves. Hundreds of qualified Iraqis have fled their homelands.
Many universities are without staff, and campus has turned into a kind of investigative court or interrogation chamber, in which teachers have no right to question or punish students, especially when they belong to a party, much less criticise a political organisation. I hardly know any more where the threat is coming from, whose protection to seek. True, our financial situation has improved a lot; but give me the choice of salary or security, and I'll take the latter. Before the occupation, only one person and his family posed threats; now everyone is a threat, everyone capable of liquidating you at a blink. I don't understand how killing came to be so easy."
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Weird?: Iraq must make progress to keep US troops
: These two [Condi and Rummy] sneaked inside Iraq under the cover of darkness just like thieves and thieves they are.
A translation of they said after meeting Al-Maliki
He is focused = he is ready to do what we dictate
Donald Rumsfield hurried to say:
We refuse to give a time table of withdrawal from Iraq.
The reality is they think they are doing Iraq a favor by staying there, read what these few idiot senators are saying:
"Iraq must make progress to keep US troops"
A bipartisan group of senators pushed a resolution on Tuesday calling on President George W Bush to tell Iraqi leaders they must meet their own deadlines to form a government as a condition for keeping US forces there.
Irony above irony, Iraq must make progress or (and here comes the threat) the troops will leave.
You know this American myth, US politician keep saying;
The US will never negotiate with terrorists.
Talabani said today
American negotiated with the resistance in his presence.
Car salesman Abu Mohammed will sell a customer anything they want
, including a range of bullet-proof cars costing up to $340,000.
"There is a possibility some people buy these cars with violent intent, but we can't go around checking after them," he says.
"Our job is to sell cars and make money.
"I can get anything you can think of, even an American Humvee if the price is right."
View from Russia: We are now witnessing the demise of America
: For decades, America successfully marketed its 'values' throughout the world (accompanied often by hefty cash subsidies for corrupt, subservient regimes). The aims of the American ideology were no less ambitious than those of Soviet communism, and the Americans were victorious over the Soviets, for a couple of years anyway.
But after the collapse of the Soyuz, the shallowness of American values became evident throughout the world. It turns out now that American-style Brown'n'Root democracy does not, in fact, suit Iraq, a land long plagued by European colonialism and internal division. It is now clear that America never intended to export its American-style democracy to totalitarian regimes in Israel, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. American democracy is a sham, all double-talk, just like the Soviets' spin on the fraternal brotherhood of nations.
Democracy for several generations now has not existed in America. The large corporations continue to increase their power, irregardless of the red or blue façade of the regime. The moral pedigree of a Clinton is as nasty as that of a Bush. As identified by a recent controversial study ignored by the American media, it is, indeed, a cabal of pro-Israeli groups which controls America's purse-strings and foreign policy.
America is dying. I assure those Americans who still feel secure about a regular pay check, their job perks, vacations, company cars and cell phones, annual bonuses, benefits, government entitlements, U.S. dollar-based investments and accounts, etc etc., that their lifestyle is crumbling. There is no longer any right or logic in America's prosperity. What gives Americans the right to consume the bulk of the world's energy resources? By what right does an American drive a hummer while much of the rest of the world walks, rides bicycles, and commutes by public transportation? No longer can America's traditional rights be excused. Those rights are mostly derived from a narrow, archaic Anglo-Saxon tradition: the 'right' to carry (and use/abuse) firearms and the 'right' to exploit land and natural resources for personal benefit. The American Middle Class has outlived its period of historical relevance and soon will be replaced, by Hispanics, India's Indians, and Chinese. Those groups have no qualms about bearing and rearing children.
It is the twenty-first century. America is rat-infested history. America will fall, overrun by fatwah-inspired Muslims; wild, dispossessed, self-identified Apache or Aztec guerillas; looting, reparations-deluded African-Americans; indignant Eskimos; flaming cross-dressers and advocates of every sort of politically correct nonsense. History doesn't last forever, and anyway, America had a couple of good centuries before it turned to cr*p.
It's Official: I Now Pity George Bush
: Before you start firing off rude, biting comments hoping to make me cry, just put yourself in his shoes for a minute. He's broken the United States of America. He was given the most powerful nation the world has ever known and driven it right into the ground. I mean, how would you feel?
Especially if you came from a high-achieving family. Like most guys he tried to follow in the footsteps of his dad. But what if your dad was a decorated WW II fighter pilot, college baseball star, Ambassador to the U.N., C.I.A. Director and President of the United-States? You might not even try to amount to anything for, say, the first forty-seven-years of your life.
But you watch your little brother Jeb get the good grades and the praise from the 'rents. You can't just sit back and watch him rise and rise without making one last stab at success. Like two kids playing Risk, you divide up the nation. You run for governor in Texas, little Jeb takes Florida.
This time your the one who wins. Jeb has to try again.
Now everything's changed. You're on your way to showing that hardass dad of yours that he was wrong about you all these years. And by the way, he might have been a great war hero but he was only a mediocre President. You'll get to the White House and laugh last and so loud they'll hear you all the way back in Midland.
No mediocre Presidency for this son. No. You're swinging for the fence.
And it sort of works for a while. Big ideas and big opportunities. Your advisors assure you that you can play war and cakewalk to a win. Then it goes bad. And worse. The damn war never ends. Poll numbers crater. Nobody's comparing you to Lincoln or Roosevelt. Now they're comparing you to Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon Valdez.
First veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas calls you the "Worst President in American History." You laugh it off. She's an old crank anyway. Then professor Sean Wilentz writes a cover story for Rolling Stone calling you, again, the worst President ever. Not only that, but 81% of his fellow history professors have already declared your reign a failure. It's finally starting to sink in that Iraq is officially a defeat, the strongest military in the world dispirited and on its way to breaking, you've run up more debt than a drunken sailor before payday, your seemingly bulletproof political party looks headed back out of favor, Latin America is slipping out of your nation's sphere of influence for the first time in over a century, North Korea has acquired The Bomb. All on your watch.
What does he say to his mom and dad when they come over for dinner? Oops?
I can't help feeling sorry for him. I'm a Democrat. I always root for the underdog.
Rocking out to the sound of impeachment
: With Neil Young and Pearl Jam releasing devastating anti-Bush albums in the coming weeks, it looks like rock has rejuvenated its protest past.
Young's album, which you can listen to streamed live on his site
or no doubt find bootlegs of on the blogs, is scheduled to be released on May 9.
The centerpiece of the album -- the song that we'll hopefully hear blasting on the radio from now until the time George Bush leaves office -- is titled in the most straightforward manner, "Let's Impeach the President." The lyrics of that song, reprinted in full below, first appeared on Fox News -- a smart move, considering that that media outlet and its audience are likely going to be the last ones on the planet to agree that impeaching George Bush is a good idea.
The lyrics to "Living with War":
Let's impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door
He's the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war
Let's impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones
What if Al Qaida blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government's protection
Or was someone just not home that day?
Let's impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected
Thank god he's cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There's lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean
But perhaps Young won't be the only one pumping out straight up, in-your-face dissent on the mass music level. Pearl Jam will release a self-titled album on May 2 that has every sign of being a direct attack on the state of American politics.
Lead singer Eddie Vedder recently told the press, "It's just not the time to be cryptic. I mean, our tax dollars for this (Iraq) war are being funneled through huge corporations -- one of which Dick Cheney used to be head of (Halliburton) -- and there's an even greater disparity between rich or poor in this country. It offends me on a really deep level." Pearl Jam's tour starts on May 9. Hopefully, by the end of this summer, all of us will have rocked out to the sound of impeachment.
There is the question of why so many generals (not all of them retired) want Rummy gone
: That varies general to general, but when Rumsfeld’s defenders argue that some of his critics are dinosaurs who resent “Transformation” because it disrupts business as usual, they have a point. As anyone who has dealt with the higher ranks of the U.S. military knows, they put the La Brea tar pits in the shade as a dinosaur graveyard. As wedded to old ways of doing things – Second Generation war to be specific – as any other group of senior Gosplan apparatchiki, they hate any hint of change. Years ago, when an unconventional Air Force Chief of Staff had me give my Fourth Generations of Modern War talk to the Air Force’s “Corona” gathering of three- and four-stars, I felt like Milton Friedman speaking to the Brezhnev Politburo.
But here too the story is not so simple. While Rumsfeldian “Transformation” represents change, it represents change in the wrong direction. Instead of attempting to move from the Second Generation to the Third (much less the Fourth), Transformation retains the Second Generation’s conception of war as putting firepower on targets while trying to replace people with technology. Its summa is the Death Star, where men and women in spiffy uniforms sit in air-conditioned comfort zapping enemies like bugs. It is a vision of future war that appeals to technocrats and lines industry pockets, but has no connection to reality. The combination of this vision of war with an equally unrealistic vision of strategic objectives has given us the defeat in Iraq. Again, Rumsfeld lies at the heart of both. But, again, his removal and replacement contain no promise of improvement in either.
Killing fields: Genocide in Iraq
: Pol Pot imposed a revolutionary ideology on Cambodia so radical and rigid that if the countenance of a terrorized Cambodian, indoctrinated through coercion, betrayed even a hint of skepticism, that person would be summarily executed. President George W. Bush seems to have virtually achieved this kind of control in America without the threat of force as evidenced by the meekness of the media, the Democratic pseudo-opposition and the hesitant moderates within the Republican Party. Not only is Congress unwilling to investigate possible impeachment charges, they refuse to even censure him despite all the lies, cover-ups and illegal activities, not to mention war crimes. The accusation that Bush has violated the UN Charter, Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Use of Some Conventional Weapons and the Convention on Torture is paradoxically inadequate to describe the severity of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by this president. By adding to the war crimes committed by his father, the former President George H. Bush, and President Clinton, President George W. Bush has reached the apogee of war crimes, namely genocide.
The accusation that President W. Bush has committed genocide is based on Article 3 section b and e of the Convention on Genocide which assigns guilt to persons who engage in a “Conspiracy to commit genocide” and to those who bear “Complicity in Genocide”. President W. Bush has violated Article 2 section a, b, c of the genocide act which states that “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group such as:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
The most devastating instrument of genocide inflicted on the Iraqi people was the implementation of sanctions which were initiated under the authority of Security Council Resolution 661, approved on August 6 1990, mandating a mandatory and complete embargo on all trade with Iraq. A Security Council Sanctions Committee was created with one representative from each country on the Council, each of whom had a veto. The Americans and British exploited their veto to impose harsh conditions on the people of Iraq by prohibiting parts to repair water treatment plants, medicines, incubators, cardiac equipment, syringes, catheters, chlorine, radiology and laboratory equipment, incubators and sterilization equipment.
The most nefarious consequence of the sanctions was a severe shortage of clean water and destruction of the sewage system resulting in high levels of cholera, typhoid, dysentery and diarrhea. According to UNICEF, “Safe drinking water is a nation-wide problem and cases of diarrhea have increased from an average of 3.8 episodes per child/year in 1990 to nearly 15 episodes per by 1996. During the same period, typhoid fever increased from 2,240 to over 27,000 cases.” Tuberculosis rates tripled from 46.1 per 100,000 people in 1989 to an estimated 131.6 per 100,000 people in 2000. UNICEF estimates 4,000 excess child deaths every month above the 1989 pre-sanctions rate. In total, the sanctions were responsible for the deaths of over one million people, half of whom were children.
Although the sanctions were intended to force Saddam Hussein to destroy his weapons of mass destruction, in practice they became a weapon to starve the people of Iraq and deny them access to proper medical care in the hope that they would overthrow Saddam Hussein. The sanctions were responsible for “killing members of the group”, “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group [Iraqis]”, and “inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its [Iraqis] physical destruction in whole or in part.”
On top of the sanctions, unleashing the fury of the American war machine on the hapless people of Iraq on January 16 1991, will be recorded as one of the great evil deeds in history. Flying at a safe Nintendo altitude of 40,000 feet, American bombers spewed 80 million tons of explosives over a 42 day period effectively bombing Iraq into the pre-industrial age. Targets included water treatment plants, chlorine plants, communication facilities, electrical generators, industrial plants, irrigation systems, farm silos, hospitals, schools, mosques, densely populated cities and the famous baby milk factory. The U.S. used fuel-air explosives, napalm and cluster bombs all of which had been defined as illegal in international law because of their inability to distinguish between military and civilian targets. Estimates of the number of people killed range from 100,000 to 200,000. This bombing campaign clearly inflicted on Iraqis “conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part.”
President Bush Sr., President Clinton and President Bush Jr. sustained the bombing of Iraq until 2003 under the guise of a humanitarian campaign to protect groups at risk from Saddam Hussein. During that twelve year period, three to four bombing sorties a week wreaked havoc in the two no-fly zones established by the British and Americans. According to the Pentagon, 280,000 sorties were flown between 1991 and 2000 and from 1998 to 2002, the United States dropped 780 tons of bombs during 24,000 combat missions. The UN reported in 1999 that U.S. and British air raids flattened an agricultural school, damaged dozens of schools and hospitals and destroyed water supplies for 300,000 people in Baghdad.
Without clean water, water treatment facilities, medicine, medical equipment and sufficient food, it became increasingly difficult to sustain life. Bombing in the no-fly zones further damaged the infrastructure of Iraq and further inflicted “conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part.”
President George W. Bush perpetuated the sanctions and bombings in the no-fly zones undermining even further the ability of the Iraqi people to survive. In addition, he declared war on Iraq in 2003 followed by a military occupation resulting in instability and insecurity. An insurgency consisting mostly of Sunni Muslims adopting terrorist methods of warfare engaged with messianic fervor in a clandestine killing spree of Americans. American forces armed and trained mostly Shiite Muslims in order to ultimately transfer responsibility for peace and order to Iraqis. The country degenerated into sectarian violence expelling any vestiges of stability and security. Between the insurgent-phobic trigger fingers of American troops, American-trained militias, insurgent groups and revenge-seeking citizens there is barely a square foot of safe ground on which to stand. As of April 13, 2006, the war and military occupation have resulted in the death of between 34,139 and 38,280 Iraqis according to Iraq Body Count.
As a result, “Three years after the invasion , Iraq remains a living nightmare for many Iraqis. Up to half of Iraq’s labor force is unemployed; more than 60% of the population depend on government rations to survive; over 20% live below the poverty line; and more than 400,000 children are suffering from malnutrition. This, on top of all the destruction, death and disorder.” (Herbert Docena, ZNet) The World Health Organization reports that “The military conflict of March/April 2003 with the following looting and civil unrest led to a further disruption of water treatment and supply plants, of sanitation facilities and power production plants and to the destruction of the remaining medical equipment in health facilities. Continuing widespread insecurity and lawlessness constrain the access to health facilities with the exacerbation of fighting in different areas of the country causing a large number of casualties.”
Although the genocide began with the former President Bush and continued with President Clinton, President George W. Bush was complicit in the genocide by destroying the infrastructure even further, by persevering with the sanctions, by continuing with the no-fly zone bombing, by heavy bombing after declaring war and by destabilizing the country during the military occupation.
The question “in total or in part” is a no-brainer because the extent of harm caused to the Iraqis meets the criteria in the Genocide Convention given that the entire country was subject to the devastation inflicted by the Americans. The question of intent can be separated into two questions. Whether the extent of the damage was intended is not disputable. It would have been a simple exercise to predict the outcome of the targeting and sanctions. Destroying people’s access to clean water leads to death and disease. Bombing people’s homes and markets leads to deaths. The more difficult question about the intention to destroy “in whole or part” the Iraqi nation” is irrelevant because any reasonable and rational person could have predicted that outcome. The fact that President Bush is neither reasonable nor rational does not excuse his crime of genocide.
In addition to his complicity in the genocide, President Bush is guilty of a conspiracy to bomb and impose sanctions on Iraq. Conspiracy can mean to “act in agreement and in secret towards a deceitful or illegal purpose.” When George W. Bush occupied the White House and continued the policies pertaining to Iraq of his father and President Clinton, he endorsed the policies of his two predecessors. That makes him a co-conspirator in genocide.
Compared to the damage caused by the Hutus in Rwanda and the Serbs in Bosnia both of which are considered to be genocide by the International Criminal Court, the acts of President Bush constitute no lesser a crime. Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator, resigned his post in 1998 describing U.S. and British policy as “genocidal.” Hans von Sponeck who succeeded Halliday resigned in 2000 asking “How long should the civilian population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done.” Two days later, Jutta Burghardt who headed the World Food Programme in Iraq, also resigned believing that the harm inflicted on the Iraqi people is intolerable.
Genocide is substantially different than other international crimes in its diabolical barbarity and is described in UN Resolution 96 (1946) as a crime that “shocks the conscience of mankind” and one that results in “great losses to humanity”. Escaping prosecution for violating the Geneva Convention and UN charter will not only be a travesty of justice but will distort the historical record omitting one the most important aspects of President George W. Bush’s presidency. Escaping prosecution for genocide will be the ultimate injustice and will open a yawning chasm between the historical record and the truth.
Once again: conventional "wisdom" on Iran
: Before dinner I was listening to a discussion on NPR (radio) about Iran. The moderator noted that they made sure to have "both sides" of the debate they were having. What were those "both sides"? One was "it is inevitable that Iran will get nuclear weapons," and the other was "no, we can still prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons." The idea that Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program, and doesn't want nuclear weapons, simply wasn't on the table.
I know I've said this before, but I'm afraid I'll have to keep writing about it because it is clearly the issue of the moment, and the powers that be are sparing no effort to convince the American people of the "danger" from Iran. As with the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, their lies must be exposed continuously, because they aren't going to stop telling them.
”The atomic bomb is no longer important or effective”
: Interview with Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and head of the Supreme National Security Council,
Why don't you want to have an atomic bomb?
We don't think it's legitimate in Islam. When the leader of the revolution says that possessing nuclear weapons is haram (forbidden) then we cannot have them. This also includes weapons of mass destruction. We witnessed the effect of WMDs when the Americans and Europeans provided Saddam with them and he used them, in places like Halabja. I was there when he attacked and I can't wipe the images from my mind. Everything and everyone -- children, men, women and animals were exterminated. We know what WMDs do. But this is something that Bush and Rice do not understand.
Our influence in Islamic countries does not depend on the possession of an atomic bomb. If we have influence in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine it is not because of nuclear weapons but because of what we represent morally. Take Pakistan for example. It has an atomic bomb, how does that make it influential? But again, Bush thinks only of bombs.
But you are surrounded by five nuclear states.
Look, the US has a vast nuclear arsenal but that hasn't stopped it sinking in the Iraq swamp and is totally incapable of doing anything about it. The atomic bomb is no longer important or effective.
But the bomb is a deterrent. Israel is a deterring power because of the bomb.
If that is the case why did it evacuate south Lebanon? The notion of deterrence was applicable during the cold war. We have entered a new era, with new characteristics. (…)
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is said to be involved inside Iraq. How far is Iran implicated in Iraq?
We don't need to intervene in Iraq. And if we were indeed involved then rest assured the Americans would have publicised whatever evidence they have. Besides, why should we intervene? Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is our friend. [Kurdish leader] Masoud Barzani is our friend. [Iraq's Grand] Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari and Moqtada Al-Sadr -- they are all our friends.
Will Iran consider signing an agreement not to attack its Gulf neighbours?
When have we ever attacked a neighbouring country in the last 150 years? When did we ever disturb them? We were the ones who were attacked by Saddam and they backed him.
A recent report published in The New Yorker magazine claimed there are US intelligence units operating inside Iran. Is this true?
Yes. These groups are everywhere around us. They are in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
How seriously do you take media speculation about US military confrontation with Iran?
It is easier said than done and the threats illustrate the impotence [of the Americans] rather than their strength. The problem is America's behaviour in the region. The French philosopher René Decartes said I think therefore I am. For the Americans it is I cause damage therefore I am. To prove that they exist they damage. However, I don't think they will make this dangerous mistake. Iran is a difficult target. Iraq was an easy target. Saddam was weak because of the war he launched on us followed by his invasion of Kuwait. He didn't enjoy any legitimacy nor was he acceptable to Shias or Sunnis. And all neighbouring countries were against him.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "One of the issues of sovereignty for any country is the ability to control their own airspace. We will probably be helping the Iraqis with that problem for a very long time". --- Brig Gen Frank Gorenc, Balad air base commander