DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, May 17, 2006
: U.S. Marines ride in the open back of a humvee during a patrol in Fallujah, May 1, 2006 [on the third anniversary of 'Mission Accomplished']
(AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)
Three men standing at a meeting point for people looking for day-to-day work in west Baghdad died when gunmen opened fire.
Two guards were wounded in a bomb blast at the Al-Kindi hospital in east Baghdad.
Eight bodies found with gun shot wounds in different parts of Baghdad.
Two civilians injured after a roadside bombing of a police patrol in east Baghdad.
A Sudanese driver for an Arab diplomat in Baghdad has died after being shot as he tried to stop gunmen kidnapping the envoy.
Diplomat Naji al-Noaimi of the United Arab Emirates was still missing after being snatched following a short drive from the embassy to visit a colleague on Tuesday evening.
Four people wounded when a roadside bomb went off in eastern Baghdad.
Two policemen wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a police check point in eastern Baghdad.
Four civilians killed when two roadside bombs went off in quick succession in central Baghdad.
The body of a general director in the Finance Ministry was found in the morgue after he was kidnapped earlier in the week.
Gunmen killed one man and wounded another in a gun attack on a bakery.
"Insurgents" then killed three policemen and wounded five others in a subsequent bombing of the same site.
An explosive device blew up while a patrol vehicle was passing by Al-Malemeen area, killing an Iraqi officer was killed and injuring two others.
Gunmen kidnapped a tribal leader after storming into his house in Kerbala.
An Iraqi soldier was killed and three others wounded on the Tikrit-Kirkuk road, when an explosive device blew up as a military convoy was passing by.
Four employees of an oil company that had been kidnapped yesterday were released.
Police found the body of a woman who was shot dead near Kirkuk.
THE "TROUBLES" IN BASRA
Video: Pro-Sistani demonstrators stage protest against Basra governor
Summary: Iraqi Shiites protested the Governor of Basra, in Basra, on Wednesday. Governor Muhammad al-Vaili, had previously claimed that representatives of the Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, were "inciting people to revolt." Protesters were also backed by a number of Iraqi policemen.
Video: Basra residents threaten more attacks on British troops
Summary: Following two weeks of attacks on British troops and rising tension in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, residents told IHA on Monday that they supported insurgent attacks to drive foreign troops out of Iraq.Government of Iraq's Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces of shelling an area inside northern Iraq.
Iraq PM plans to unveil cabinet Saturday
Bush hits new low in polls
: Bush holds a 33 percent approval rating, the lowest of any US president in 25 years ABC News and the Washington Post have been publishing such polls.
Some 65 percent of those polled disapprove of Bush's performance, the highest level in those 25 years, the two news organizations said. The reason is the US war in Iraq, ABC said.
An average of 70 civilians are killed in Baghdad every day.
Every month, the mortuary receives more than 1,500 bodies, not including the bodies of people killed in the north and south of the country.
One person is being assassinated in Basra every hour
, according to an Iraqi Defence Ministry official. And a quarter of all Iraqi children suffer from malnutrition, a survey of 20,000 households by the Iraqi government and Unicef says.
52 American women have died in Iraq from hostile fire, and 378 have been wounded in action.
NOTES FROM A LOST WAR
A few miles west of Baghdad, a brand-new water truck backed gingerly off a flatbed truck and down a makeshift dirt ramp, completing its 7,000-mile journey from a factory in Texas to a government ministry in Iraq.
Considering the enormous effort the United States had made to get it to its destination, there was not much celebration among the small crowd of Iraqis who looked on as the truck was driven away. Nor was there any particular joy among the guards and drivers who had delivered the truck. (…)
After setting his gun trucks into defensive positions, Jones walked over to the manager's small office, dropped a bulky envelope on his desk and handed him the paperwork to sign for shipment No. 10,687.
"There are the keys for the trucks," Jones said.
Outside, Truck 103 was being unloaded. There was no ramp to back the trucks off the flatbeds, so an Iraqi bulldozer operator made one out of dirt. After several minutes of work, they had one that was sturdy enough for the truck to slowly back down to the ground. Mission accomplished. A little piece of America had been delivered to Iraq.
Jones walked back to his gun trucks, waiting for the rest of the cargo to be unloaded. It was slow work; more than an hour and a half passed. Iraqis from town came and went. The men of Team 7 relaxed and chatted.
It was at this moment that the men with guns chose to strike.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
A WORD FROM THE ISLAMIC ARMY
Call them terrorists, call them resistance fighters. A significant member of one such group spoke to IPS about why he joined.
Abu Ayoub, a 35-year-old living in Baghdad, is a member of the Islamic Army. He spoke to IPS in the Adhamiya neighbourhood..
"When the occupation forces entered Baghdad, they killed my brother in front of my eyes. He was wounded and bleeding but the occupation forces didn't allow me to save him. When I tried to save him they began shooting at me and after a few minutes my brother died. After that I swore to fight them to the death." (…)
After his brother was killed, friends just came up to support him in his resistance fight, he said. "At first I was fighting in a small group, because we didn't trust many people to join with us. But now, after three years fighting, we became part of Islamic Army. Now everything has become organised, we make good plans before any attack." (…)
When asked why he was fighting the U.S. forces, he said: "I want you to ask this question to the U.S. forces, not to me. They came from the other side of the world and crossed the ocean to occupy my country. Bush and Blair lied to all the world when they spoke about weapons of mass destruction. All the world knew very well their governments were lying, but no country said 'no'. Most of the world supported them to occupy my country." (…)
There will be no civil war in Iraq if the occupation retreats, Abu Ayoub says. "We will control Iraq and push out all the militias and Iraqi politicians who came on American tanks. Then we will find many honest Iraqi politicians to lead Iraq. But for now you can see how the Iraqi people are between two hammers, the occupation and the militia - or even the Iraqi government, because they support them."
read in full...
CONDOLEEZZA RICE AT BOSTON COLLEGE? I QUIT
Dear Father Leahy,
I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.
I am doing so -- after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret -- as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.
Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice's actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.
But I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar.
read in full…
SMOKE ALARM: YET MORE EVIDENCE FOR WAR CRIMES
Here's yet another smoking gun revealing the fireless smoke of lies that the Bush Regime spread across the land to justify its outright war of aggression in Iraq. How many more times do we have to be shown glaring evidence that the war was a con job from the word go, that lies were told - deliberate lies, knowing lies, lies now soaked with innocent blood - by leaders who drape themselves in Christian piety, before this crime is at last called by its rightful name, and the long-dormant, hard-rusted machinery of justice begins to move against these death-dealing hypocrites?
Excerpts from AP: A year after Bush administration claims about Iraqi "bioweapons trailers" were discredited by American experts, U.S. officials were still suppressing the findings, says a senior member of the CIA-led Iraq inspection team.
At one point, former U.N. arms inspector Rod Barton says, a CIA officer told him it was "politically not possible" to report that the White House claims were untrue. In the end, Barton says, he felt "complicit in deceit."
.... Much sought after for his expertise, Barton served on the U.N. Iraq arms inspection teams of 1991-98 and 2002-03. After the U.S. invasion, he was an aide to chief U.S. inspector Charles Duelfer.
The Washington Post
reported last month that a U.S. fact-finding mission confidentially advised Washington on May 27, 2003, that two truck trailers found in Iraq were not mobile units for manufacturing bioweapons, as had been suspected. Two days later, President Bush still asserted the trailers were bioweapons labs, and other administration officials repeated that line for months afterward.
read in full...
It seems to have gone out of style for the moment, but during those early, urgent days of the War on Terror, many right-wingers enjoyed using this George Orwell quote: "Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other." Thus, people opposed to the Iraq war, for example, were objectively pro-Saddam.
A thought occurs to me, though. These right-wingers obviously have no sympathy for communism -- in fact, this whole terrorism thing is basically a consolation prize for them now that their treasured communist enemy is no longer a major threat (even China is not usually considered a threat qua communist). Interestingly, though, in World War II, if the pacifists were objectively pro-fascist, then the Allies were objectively pro-Stalinist. Our hagiographic accounts of World War II (surely what these right-wingers were trying to invoke with the Orwell quote) would have the Allies on the side of freedom and democracy -- yet they allied themselves with what would be considered the foremost enemy of freedom and democracy for the next several decades.
So what can we say that the current crop of Orwellians were disavowing? Is Andrew Sullivan objectively pro-death squad? Is Donald Rumsfeld objectively pro-insurgency? Or is the whole administration objectively pro-bin Laden, objectively pro-al Qaeda, since they hampered the effort to track down the real perpetrators of 9/11 in favor of their idiotic Iraq adventure? Maybe they're even pro-9/11 attacks, since they viewed those attacks as an opportunity to sell the Iraq War.
read in full...
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE
America erupts because... the Bush administration has been secretly trying to build a database of every single phone call in the country, and it probably already includes your calls. (...)
Although it will clearly require regime change, civil liberties now being lost in this country can be restored. The lives of the nearly 3,000 people who died when Bush ignored warnings about 9-11 cannot be restored. They aren't coming back. Neither are over 2,400 American soldiers. Neither are all those people who drowned during and after Katrina, many of whom are still "missing" and whose bodies will never be found.
But even the cost of this cabal in American lives is a drop in the bucket compared to what they are willing to spill in other peoples' blood -- societies whose members, it ought to go without saying (but can't), value life just as much as you or I. The lives of over 200,000 Iraqis, lost in a war launched illegally and sold by lies, can never be restored. Millions of Afghans narrowly avoided the same fate. And now these zealots are seriously considering nuking Iran, an action which could not only directly result in untold additional numbers of deaths, but which would spark a conflagration that would make Iraq's dead look like loners.
So: why do we care about someone knowing who we called, but not about the obliteration of whole cities or countries? Don't we need a little, like, perspective here? Aren't we talking not about not just criminal actions and civil liberty violations here, but war crimes?
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
WAR ON IRAN: 4TH "SUPREME INT'L CRIME" IN SEVEN YEARS
With the United States having initiated wars in violation of the UN Charter, and hence engaged in the "supreme international crime," against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq in 1999, 2001, and 2003, one might have expected that its commencement of a fourth aggression only a few years later against Iran would arouse the UN, EU, other international institutions and NGOs, and even the supposedly moral and independent Free Press, to serious protest and counter-action, including referral to the UN Security Council under Chapter VII's "threat of peace" articles and support of possible diplomatic and economic sanctions.
This has not happened, and in fact the Bush administration has successfully mobilized the UN, whose "primary responsibility" is the "maintenance of international peace and security," and the EU, as well as the Free Press, to facilitate its fourth attack.
read in full...
VENEZUELA WEIGHS SELLING U.S. JETS TO IRAN
Venezuela's defense minister said Tuesday that there are no immediate plans to sell U.S.-made fighter jets despite a dispute over replacement parts _ backing away from one general's statement that the planes could go to Iran.
Defense Minister Adm. Orlando Maniglia said a sale of the 21 F-16s wasn't in the works and President Hugo Chavez "has not given any order" as to what to do with the aircraft.
Gen. Alberto Muller, an adviser to Chavez, said earlier he had recommended to the defense ministry that Venezuela consider selling its F-16s after the U.S. announced a ban on arms sales to the South American country.
Muller said he thought it worthwhile to consider "the feasibility of a negotiation with Iran for the sale of those planes."
read in full…
THE BUBBLE MACHINE
Now I'm getting really depressed. I'm constantly reminded that this is not a B movie I'm watching; this is actually happening in real time, in real life. All of this mayhem and slaughter could end tomorrow if the "leaders" of the "civilized" world faced the fact that they have two choices: They can stop it all now, or they can wait for it to get worse.
Says William Clark, "one of the dirty little secrets of today's international order is that the rest of the globe could topple the United States from its hegemonic status whenever they so choose with a concerted abandonment of the dollar standard. This is America's preeminent, inescapable Achilles Heel."
The choice is obvious: waiting till later is inevitably the worst choice.
The irony is that the Islamic banking system and their thoughts about money and business seem, from what little I know about them, quite egalitarian - far more evolved and sophisticated than that of the West - yet they are seen to be the villains by US workers -- 80% of the US population -- who could benefit from Islamic thinking, but prefer to stay under the jackboots of American oppression, with wages declining for the past 35 years. You really gotta applaud the US worker at least for their remarkable ability to look DOWN on Muslims from their vantage point in the gutter.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "And so while the mad men decide whether to nuke or not to nuke [Iran], patting their Little Boys and Fat Men, let us heed the words of Edward Abbey who once wrote, 'While you can. While it`s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for awhile and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space'. May we always have our 'sweet and lucid' air. -- from Of Little Boys and Fat Men by Anwaar Hussain