DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, May 25, 2006
"What is your opinion about Operation Spreading Democracy?"
by the Iraqi cartoonist Khudair Al-Humairi (See below "Freedom is not…")
An Iraq Landmine Impact Survey Team Leader suffered second-degree burns from an explosion Sunday in northern Iraq.
While traveling in a taxi, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated nearby, severely injuring this team member and one of his medical colleagues. Two other unknown passengers in the taxi were killed by the blast.
Gunmen wounded an Iraqi general Thursday in southeast Baghdad.
Brig. Gen. Khalil al-Abadi, head of the Defense Ministry logistics office, was ambushed as he was driven to work in the Zafraniyah district. His driver was also wounded.
A blast killed three people in central Baghdad,
It occurred in a building on Tahrir Square, killing three and wounding 11. Police suspect the building housed a bomb-making factory.
Four bodies were discovered in Baghdad.
Three civilians were wounded when two bombs exploded on the central Tahrir Square, sending a thick white cloud drifting over the Tigris river.
At least one of the explosions took place inside a building on Tahrir Square.
On one of Baghdad's main throughways, Palestine Street, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol injured two police officers.
Two Iraqi officers were hurt in a bomb attack in the Al-Jedidah area.
Two bodies were found in Baquba.
Two Iranian truck drivers were kidnapped in the Iraqi city of Baquba.
The drivers were kidnapped in the Imam Veis region about 60 kilometers from Baquba, near the joint Iran-Iraq borders while carrying propane gas to Iraq.
U.S. forces killed three insurgents who were placing roadside bombs near Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad
, the U.S. military said.
U.S. forces handed over five decomposed bodies to the hospital in the town of Balad north of Baghdad
, doctor Firas al-Timimi said. He did not say where they were found, who they were or how they had died.
Dujail judge Walid Ahmed was traveling on a highway between Saddam's hometown of Tikrit and the city of Samarra when he was abducted from his car.
Two bombs exploded inside a Sufi religious building on Wednesday killing two of its bodyguards in Tikrit.
(near): U.S. forces and Iraqi police found three bodies with bullet gunshot wounds.
A member of the regional council of the northern Mosul province, and his driver were killed in drive-by shooting
as they were heading to the Mosul administration building.
(near): Gunmen kidnapped the head of the Turkmen Front party in the town of Tuz Khurmato, and his son near Kirkuk when they were returning from Baghdad.
The body of a nine-year-old girl was found in Al-Riyadh province in Kirkuk.
Three men were injured as a result of a hand grenade explosion.
Unidentified gunmen driving a light blue Opel Vectra with veiled plates shot an Iraqi civilian who works in a health center.
The victim was transferred to hospital by police.
A truck driver was fired at by unidentified gunmen while driving through Kirkuk-Tikrit highway.
Iraqi military troops were searching Al-Riyadh province and arrested three suspects.
Gunmen shot dead a tribal leader in Mishahda
, a town 50 km (30 miles) north of Baghdad.
Muslim Clerics Association accuses U.S. forces and Iraqi troops of killing 10 innocent civilians and detaining 40 others near the town of Yusufiya south of Baghdad.
The U.S. military and the Iraqi army on Wednesday issued separate statements on clashes in the same area, saying they had killed three and four militants respectively.
Top Marine general says he fears some Marines could become "indifferent to the loss of a human life."
His office announced that he was enroute to Iraq to reinforce the Corps' standards of behavior in combat.
"We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful," Gen. Michael W. Hagee wrote in a statement issued by his office.
His statement and the announcement of his trip to Iraq came just hours after the Marine command in Iraq disclosed a criminal investigation into allegations that an unspecified number of Marines killed an Iraqi civilian west of Baghdad on April 26. Iraqis made the charge during a meeting with Marine officers on May 1.
"Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing," Hagee wrote. "There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves."
Former commander Guantanamo urged the use of dogs to the "maximum extent possible" to control detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison
, but did not order their use in interrogations, a witness said on Thursday.
Bush, Blair unlikely to announce troop withdrawals after they meet to discuss “the way ahead in Iraq”
, the White House said.
"They're not going to race out and say, we're all coming home. You know, there aren't going to be people kissing in Times Square tomorrow. But I do think what you will have is a very forward-leaning set of discussions about how to proceed forward," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.
DHULUIYA “BESIEGED BY U.S. FORCES FROM ALL SIDES FOR FIVE DAYS NOW”
Residents of an Iraqi town north of Baghdad on Thursday accused U.S. forces of blocking traffic for the past five days and complained they were running out of food and could not go to work.
The U.S. military rejected charges that its forces were "besieging" Dhuluiya, a town of 40,000, saying an insurgent attack on an army checkpoint on the outskirts that killed five Iraqi soldiers had caused a "traffic disruption" in the area.
"There is no 'siege'," said a spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Loomis, in an e-mail response to a question. U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were patrolling Dhuluiya, 90 km (55 miles) north of the capital, and checking traffic to prevent any new attacks, he said. (…)
However, mayor Rashad Daham told Reuters that living conditions in the mainly Sunni Arab town were worsening and he and the police chief spoke of a town under "siege". The Iraqi Red Crescent society sent food aid.
"The living situation is deteriorating because of the lack of food stuffs, employees and university students cannot go to work, even the ambulances are hindered by U.S. forces," Daham said. "We ask them to lift the siege of the town because it has nothing to do with these acts," he said of Sunday's violence.
Dhuluiya police chief Mohammed Khalif Hussein said: "The town has been besieged by U.S. forces from all sides for five days now.
read in full...
In a dispatch posted at 2:05pm Makkah time Tuesday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam
reported that a mysterious car bomb exploded in the Baghdad al-Jadidah district in the eastern part of the occupied Iraqi capital.
The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam
reported eyewitnesses in Baghdad al-Jadidah as saying that an explosives-laden car that had been parked by the side of them ian road near the ad-Darwish Baking Ovens blew up damaging a number of shops and killing six local civilians and wounding seven more.
In contrast to Iraqi Resistance attacks, which have clear and defined targets - occupation troops or armed forces, officials, or collaborators with the US-installed puppet regime - there have been numerous attacks in recent days apparently targeted exclusively on civilians.
Such mysterious attacks are widely viewed as a part of an Anglo-American effort to rescue their failing fortunes in Iraq by sparking a sectarian civil war in the country enabling them to fulfill their plans of partitioning the country along ethnic and religious lines.
KHALILZAD ADMITS LOSS OF MUCH OF ANBAR PROVINCE TO RESISTANCE
And in a stark admission of the security problems Iraq faces, three years after President Bush asserted that "major combat operations" in Iraq were complete, the American ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, acknowledged that American forces do not control regions of western Iraq.
"I believe that parts of Anbar are under the control of terrorists and insurgents," Mr. Khalilzad said in an interview on CNN. Anbar Province stretches from Falluja, just west of Baghdad, all the way to the Syrian and Jordanian borders.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
MORE TRUTH SLIPS OUT
The situation is quite complicated and made more complicated by the fact that even by U.S. statistics, of the approximately 700 attacks in the month of March, which is the last month I saw numbers for, about 650 attacks were directed at the U.S. military and 30 or so were directed either at the Iraqi police or military, and only 20 were directed at civilians.
So you're talking about less than 10 percent of all the attacks are directed at anyone except the U.S.
read in full…
HOPE IS STILL THE PLAN
's Michael Hirsh is trying to figure out what the Bush administration is planning to do about Iraq. Best of luck to him. I gave up this game long ago, mainly because the administration doesn't even seem to have a plan, apart from muddling through and perpetually hoping that in six months time, things will get magically better. And that still seems to be the case:
So the very best that can be hoped for in Iraq, probably for many years to come, will be a non-bloodbath, a low-level civil war that doesn't get worse than the current cycle of insurgent killings and Shiite death-squad reprisals. This is bad, but it could be much worse. Containment, says one Army officer involved in training in Iraq, is at least "doable." He adds: "The only real question is: How do we keep Iraq from becoming a permissive environment for terrorists."
People will keep killing each other, sure, but at least it won't be some unspecified really large number of people killing each other. That's the plan. Although there still seem to be some technical problems:
The U.S. military is already gearing up for this outcome, but not for "victory" any longer. It is consolidating to several "superbases" in hopes that its continued presence will prevent Iraq from succumbing to full-flown civil war and turning into a failed state. Pentagon strategists admit they have not figured out how to move to superbases, as a way of reducing the pressure-and casualties-inflicted on the U.S. Army, while at the same time remaining embedded with Iraqi police and military units. It is a circle no one has squared.
Er, perhaps that's because it can't be done? It seems awfully hard for the military to stay out of the way and avoiding getting its soldiers killed and continue trying to influence events on the ground in Iraq. Pentagon strategists seem to agree. Really, no one seems to know what to do anymore. On the bright side, Ralph Peters says that this year more Americans will die in highway accidents than get killed in Iraq so I guess we can all clap our hands now..
read in full…
WHEN THE DOUBTS SURFACE
The poll [a recent Zogby poll showing that 72 percent of soldiers currently serving in Iraq believe the U.S. should get out within a year.]
also showed a lot of confusion as to why we are in Iraq. Forty-five percent said they did not know why and over 80 percent of those who thought they knew why said it was because of Saddam's role in 9/11 and Saddam's work with Al Qaeda. Is that kind of misinformation and lack of understanding consistent with your research?
No. The vets I interviewed knew that wasn't the case. I interviewed a medic who was still in Iraq, but the rest of my interviews were done with soldiers who had already returned home. But those who served in the beginning of the war believed at the time it was because of 9/11, weapons of mass destruction and Al-Qaeda, which is what many Americans believed. Some of the veterans I interviewed want to hold on to the idea that the war was a good thing for the Iraqis. You have to understand that for those who serve, who risked their lives and in some cases now suffer from PTSD, have lost limbs, or watch their friends being blown up, it's very hard for them to say all that they went through, all that they suffered, was because of a lie or misinformation. Many want to stay the course because to say it was mistake is too horrible a thought for them to bear. Those who serve in the military are trained to follow their leadership, if they doubt or ask too many questions it would be very difficult to maintain their focus on their mission. In war you can't sit around and have long talks with your comrades on what you think. That can get you killed. For most it's when they come home when the doubts surface.
-- Yvonne Latty is the author of In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss and the Fight to Stay Alive (2006) and We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, from World War II to the War in Iraq (2004).
read in full...
THE PROBLEM ABOUT THE WITHDRAWAL
The US and British armies in Iraq have both failed, though they could argue that the root of the failure is political rather than military. Three years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, they control extraordinarily little territory. Watching American forces in Baghdad since 2003, it always seemed to me that they floated above the Iraqi population like a film of oil on water.
Shiite animosity toward the American and British forces is now beginning to look like that of the Sunni at the beginning of the guerrilla war. In Basra, crowds spontaneously dance and cheer when a British helicopter is shot down, just as the Sunni used to celebrate the destruction of every US Humvee in Baghdad (even then Tony Blair and George Bush claimed that the insurgents were just a small group of foreign fighters and Saddam loyalists).
The problem about the withdrawal is that it may be coming too late. The White House and Downing Street never took on board the sheer unpopularity of the occupation and the extent to which it tainted the Iraqi government, soldiers and police in the eyes of ordinary Iraqis. The Iraqi Army and police are 230,000 strong, and this figure is due to rise to 320,000 men by the end of next year. But in reality the allegiance of these forces is to the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish communities, and not to the central government. The problem has always been loyalty rather than training.
read in full...
FREEDOM IS NOT...
Freedom is not worth 200,000 lives, am sorry.
Freedom is not worth having your brothers and sisters tortured and mutilated.
Freedom is not about having tens of thousands of armed units - gangs - kidnapping and murdering people and working under government supervision. A government you brought to power.
Freedom is not about having 60% unemployment and child nutrition far worse than pre-war levels.
Freedom is not about a debilitated power grid or failing phone system.
Freedom is not about Halliburton coming in and robbing both the Iraqi people and American taxpayers blind.
Freedom is not about raising the flag of reconstruction and then stealing monies from Iraq's oil money.
Freedom is not about standing idly by while the government is looted. Most of Iraq's advanced machinery is now in ... Iran.
Freedom is not about detention without charge. 35,000 Iraqis are in detention. Their families dont know where they are.
No charge. No court.
Freedom is not about the massacres in Haditha.
Freedom is not about the US humiliation of Abu Ghraib.
There were no elections in Iraq. So dont ask me. Bark all you want about it.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
IRAN OFFERED 'TO MAKE PEACE WITH ISRAEL'
Iran offered in 2003 to accept peace with Israel and cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups and to pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders, according to a secret Iranian proposal to the United States.
The two-page proposal for a broad Iran-US agreement covering all the issues separating the two countries, a copy of which was obtained by Inter Press Service (IPS), was conveyed to the US in late April or early May 2003. (…)
The two-page document contradicts the official line of the Bush administration that Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel and the sponsorship of terrorism in the region. (...)
An Iranian threat to destroy Israel has been a major propaganda theme of the Bush administration for months. On March 10, President George W Bush said, "The Iranian president has stated his desire to destroy our ally, Israel. So when you start listening to what he has said to their desire to develop a nuclear weapon, then you begin to see an issue of grave national-security concern."
But in 2003, Bush refused to allow any response to the Iranian offer to negotiate an agreement that would have accepted the existence of Israel.
read in full...
BATTLE SPREADS IN AFGHANISTAN
The bulk of the fighting in Afghanistan in the past week, which has claimed more than 300 lives among the Taliban, US-led forces, the Afghan National Army (ANA) and civilians, has taken place in the southern Pashtun heartland of the country.
However, the Taliban's spring offensive is fast turning into a massive resistance against the foreign presence all over Afghanistan, and already some influential characters are jockeying for a post-spring role.
And the indications are that the resistance could transcend a simple Taliban-led insurgency to evolve into a powerful Islamic movement.
read in full...
POLL: OVER 70 MILLION AMERICANS DISTRUST OFFICIAL EXPLANATION OF 9-11 ATTACKS.
42% believe there has been some kind of coverup; 45% believe that Congress on an international tribunal should investigate the attacks again.
An August, 2004 poll showed that nearly half of New Yorkers believed that U.S. officials consciously allowed the attacks to happen, and 2/3 of New Yorkers want a new investigation of the events.
read in full…
You probably know lots of whiny college professors and snobby Hollywood elitists and gay-married Saddam-lovers claim President Bush was lying when he said this:
...any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.
And it's true, this does look bad for the president...at first. But David Rosnick has written me to point out that when taken literally, everything Bush said was completely accurate.
Read that again carefully. Did the president say the government was GETTING a court order for a wiretap? No he didn't. He merely said the government was TALKING ABOUT getting a court order.
And that, my friends, is 100% true. My sources (i.e., David Rosnick) tell me this discussion happens constantly at the highest levels of government:
NSA AGENT: Sir, should we get a court order for this wiretap?
THE BEASTS WHO WOULD DESTROY US
America has lost its way. We are a confused nation, beset on all sides by fear and paranoia. After the orchestrated 9-11 attack on New York City and Washington D.C., and its follow-up anthrax attack on Democratic legislators, Americans of all stripes rushed en masse to George Bush's Fools' Gate to trade their morality and compassion for empty promises of security. The consequences of that Faustian trade are unbelievable. In order to be safe we signed a pact with Decider Bush to condone any atrocity he could dream up so long as it happened in other lands to other men, other women, other children. He agreed, and further decided that no law conjured up by mere man applied to him, especially the U.S. Constitution, and demanded we sacrifice our freedoms as collateral for this evil pact.
How easily we were fooled! Fat, indolent, and full of self-righteous pus, we were ripe for harvest. We are at the mercy of The Decider, who is manipulated from behind the scenes by unelected neo-Straussian thugs lusting for the matrix of a One World Order. They are joined by Christo-fascists soiling themselves at the thought of gaining dominion over the government apparatus and realizing their dream of stoning gays and liberals to death, and by rapacious corporations intent on ransacking the universe until it is stripped of all treasure and resources. Although their agendae differ, this greedy axis shares a single goal -- that of complete power and control -- an area where morality dies aborning. They also share one other critical attribute -- they are aggressively anti-American -- traitors contemptuous of representative democracy who will not rest until every last vestige of it is wiped from the face of the earth.
The war they are waging is on us.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: “Terrorism is simply the violence that you don't like.” -- Phil Rees, BBC correspondent and author of
Dining with Terrorists quoting Professor Rubinstein from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution