DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, June 27, 2006
: Suspected insurgents lie face down on the ground with their hands bound behind their back after they were arrested during a raid in a village near Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, June 26, 2006. (Stringer/Reuters)
Bring 'em on
: A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 3 a.m. today as result of injuries suffered from a bomb explosion while on a dismounted combat patrol south of Baghdad. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province today. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: A Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province Monday. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Cpl. Paul N. King, 23, of Tyngsboro, Mass. King died June 25 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Ayer, Mass. (DefenseLink)
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A car bomb in a market in Baghdad's southern district of Doura killed three people and wounded 10.
A professor at a technology university in Baghdad was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in the upscale neighbourhood of Mansour.
Police found the bullet-riddled bodies of five men, including three who were handcuffed, in two areas of Baghdad.
Three policemen were killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in southeastern Baghdad.
The bodies of a police officer and two civilians, one of them female, were discovered in Karbala.
Police sources said all three bore evidence of torture.
A local general inspector for the Ministry of Interior was wounded with his bodyguard when gunmen opened fire at his car in Najaf
, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad. The driver was killed, police added.
One Iraqi police officer was injured today when an IED blew up at an intersection near his patrol in Baqouba.
"Insurgents" detonated an IED in a residential area of Baqouba injuring three civilians.
A Sunni mosque and three houses in the village of Khairnabat near Baquba were burned down.
10 people, most of them traders in the city market, were shot dead by gunmen in a spate of attacks in Baquba.
(Update) The body count for yesterday's booby-trapped bike attack in northern Baqouba reached 18 deaths and 23 injuries including women and children.
Tallil air base:
(Near) A light-armored vehicle of the Ground Self-Defense Force overturned near the Tallil air base in southern Iraq, injuring three GSDF soldiers (Japanese) in an apparent accident
, Defense Agency officials in Tokyo said Monday evening.
A suicide car bomb hit a gas station in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing at least three people and wounding 17.
Fifteen cars also were burned in the explosion.
(Near) An Iraqi army officer and two soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb went off beside their patrol near Kirkuk
, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed an off duty soldier while he was driving his car in Kirkuk.
Three Iraqi policemen from a unit assigned to protect oil facilities in northern Iraq were injured on Tuesday.
A security source said the three men were injured when a bomb exploded as their patrol passed by in an area north of Kirkuk.
One of Kirkuk's village chiefs was assassinated in his car by unidentified gunmen.
A police commander was killed in front of his house by armed men in Mosul.
More than 450 Iraqi detainees were released on Tuesday from Abu Ghraib prison as part of a national reconciliation plan
aimed at curbing sectarian violence in the war-torn country, a Justice Ministry spokesman said.
Iraqi PM’s plan for reconciliation criticised from both Sunnis and Shi'ites in government
, a day after parliament accepted a compromise strategy that is short on crucial detail.
Iraq's most senior Sunni Arab politician, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, complained that the plan set no withdrawal date for U.S. occupying forces. He also said Shi'ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was wrong to rule out peace negotiations with hardline followers of Sunni former leader Saddam Hussein.
"Leaving the issue of a timetable (for U.S. withdrawal) vague," Hashemi told Reuters, "is telling the resistance: 'continue your fighting to liberate Iraq'."
In another camp, an aide to fiery Shi'ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr said the 24-point plan presented to parliament on Sunday did not go far enough to punish Saddam's Baathist supporters and should also include provisions to ensure the release of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia leaders from jail.
Sahib al-Amery told reporters in Najaf that Sadr's movement, accused by Sunnis of attacks on them, welcomed the plan but said its proposals to soften measures barring Baathists from office must be scrapped in favor of tougher sanctions on them.
Iraq Sunni Arab group endorses PM's national reconciliation plan
: Sunni cleric Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie offered the support of his Sunni Endowment, the state agency responsible for Sunni mosques and shrines. But he urged the government to move quickly to fill in the details of the plan and said it should include the disbanding of armed militias, as well as the release of all prisoners who have not been convicted.
"We bless this initiative," he said. "We see a glimpse of hope out of this plan, but at the same time we are noticing that some people are pushing the armed groups to attack some areas in Baghdad, spreading terror and chaos in the city in order to make this plan a failure."
>>COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
SCOTT RITTER: THE MYTH OF IRAQ SOVEREIGNTY
Imagine the president of the United States flying to Russia, China, England, France or just about any other nation on the planet, landing at an airport on supposedly sovereign territory, being driven under heavy U.S. military protection to the U.S. Embassy, and then with some five minutes notification, summoning the highest elected official of that nation to the U.S. Embassy for a meeting. It would never happen, unless of course the nation in question is Iraq, where Iraqi sovereignty continues to be hyped as a reality when in fact it is as fictitious as any fairy tale ever penned by the Brothers Grimm. For all of the talk of a free Iraq, the fact is Iraq remains very much an occupied nation where the United States (and its ever decreasing "coalition of the willing") gets to call all the shots.
Iraqi military policy is made by the United States. Its borders are controlled by the United States. Its economy is controlled largely by the United States. In fact, there simply isn't a single major indicator of actual sovereignty in Iraq today that can be said to be free of overwhelming American control. Iraqi ministers continue to be shot at by coalition forces, and Iraqi police are powerless to investigate criminal activities carried out by American troops (or their mercenary counterparts, the so-called "Private Military Contractors"). The reality of this myth is that the timeline for the departure of American troops from Iraq is being debated (and decided) in Washington, D.C., not Baghdad. Of course, as with everything in Iraq, the final vote will be made by the people of Iraq. But these votes will be cast in bullets, not ballots, and will bring with them not only the departure of American troops from Iraq, but also the demise of any Iraqi government foolish enough to align itself with a nation that violates international law by planning and waging an illegal war of aggression, and continues to conduct an increasingly brutal (and equally illegitimate) occupation.
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UNION ACTIVITY EFFECTIVELY ILLEGAL IN IRAQ
The Iraqi Ministerial Council approved decree 8750 in August 2005 (probably not published in the official gazette till September) promising "a new paper on how trade unions should function, operate and organise," dissolving one government committee and replacing it with a new ministerial committee that includes the minister for National Security, to be in charge of Labour and Social Rights, and stating that the new committee would control all trade union funds. Using wording rivalling the deviousness of the Saddam regime's 1987 anti-trade union law, decree 8750 does not ban trade unions. In 2004 US administrator Paul Bremer issued a notorious directive, still in effect, reviving Saddam's 1987 anti-union decree, which also did not ban trade unions as such, but merely deemed all workers in the state sector to be civil servants. Civil servants were of course banned from joining trade unions.
Similarly, decree 8750 is worded such that it effectively makes all union activity illegal. The decree states that the new ministerial committee "must take control of all monies belonging to the trade unions and prevent them from dispensing any such monies." How trade unions can function legally when it is illegal to dispense a penny on their activities, only Owen Tudor knows.
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COLUMBINE COUNTRY SOUNDS OFF
And surprise! They want to behead reporters and left-wing congressmen!
The Denver Post
go too far in publishing a letter to the editor today that advocates the beheading of editors, commentators, and politicians who have criticized the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? And how many other papers publish such sentiments?
According to Editorial Page Editor Jon Wolman, publishing such a letter is not out of bounds. [...]
The letter was written, ironically, by a resident of Littleton, Colo., site of the bloody Columbine High School shootings in 1999. It appeared to be in reaction to coverage of the recent kidnapping and murder of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
"Why have those who have continually howled at our treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo met the recent kidnapping and sadistic and brutal murders of our two young soldiers with deafening silence?" the letter began. "Where is your outrage now?" It then stated that the U.S. "should" behead 100 prisoners in retaliation, as well as " editors, commentators, college professors and left-wing congressmen who would suddenly break their silence to come out in support of these enemy jihadists. We need to stop listening to these sanctimonious hypocrites who apply the rules of war only to our side."
Jeebus. No wonder that place spawned what it did.
BANGING OUR HEAD AGAINST THE SAME WALL, BUT FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE
The New York Times
this evening reports on the U.S. military's latest attempt to retake control of Ramadi, the Iraqi provincial capital in the heart of guerrilla territory. See if you can spot the flaw in this strategy:
Instead of leaving after the shooting stops - as the Americans have been forced to do in other Iraqi cities - the Americans plan to leave behind garrisons of American and Iraqi troops at various points throughout the city. For the first time, they say, they believe they have the manpower to make the strategy work. The combat outpost the Americans and Iraqis started building on Monday morning was the fifth one to go up this month on the southern edge of the city.
Central to the strategy, American commanders say, is the decision to commit significant numbers of Iraqi troops who can hold the neighborhoods after the Americans do most of the work of pacification. . . .
The challenges of doing even that became evident as the operation unfolded Monday. American soldiers - trained, disciplined, with overwhelming firepower - outnumbered their Iraqi counterparts. Officers here said there were about 250 American soldiers involved in the operation, and about 145 Iraqis.
Lt. Col. Raad Niaf Haroosh, the Iraqi battalion commander, said the 145 soldiers represented a fraction of the battalion's usual numbers. He said as many as 500 of his fellow soldiers - most of them Sunni Muslims from Al Jabouri tribe - stayed behind in Mosul rather than fight in Ramadi.
Okay, so only about 25% of the Iraqi battalion showed up in the first place to watch the Americans do the heavy shooting lifting. How many of those 145 will stick around once it becomes time for them to "hold the neighborhood" alone against insurgents?
Whenever it is that the U.S. troops step back, this supposedly different approach is going to look a lot like more of the same.
THE IRAQ VICHY
There is an interesting historical parallel between the Nazi occupation of France and the American occupation of Iraq. The Vichy government was installed by an occupation just as the Iraq government was. Hitler did not call for any elections in France because at that time election fraud had not become a science. Unlike Hitler: Bush who had stolen two elections in the United States did not fear the electoral process. The Iraqis who turned out to vote did not even know who they were voting for. The Vichy government in France initiated a civil war just as the faux Iraq government has. This is why Iraqis are killing Iraqis. The idea that civil war in Iraq is caused by religious differences between the Sunni and the Shiites is false propaganda used to justify continuing the American occupation. The Iraqi girl blogger said: "Just go and take your Chalabi's and traitors with you."
There are other similarities that have the stink of fascism. There is no difference at all between Hitler's "blitzkrieg" on Poland or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and what Bush proudly named "shock and awe". They were all unprovoked attacks on unprepared civilian populations by war criminals. The deliberate use of torture and "rendition" and the atrocities of killing women and children all fit the fascist plan. The open violation of human rights by the holding of 300 prisoners on Guantanamo just off the coast of Florida without a trial should horrify any decent American. The clear statement by General Miller after being sent to Iraq that he was going to "Gitmoize the Iraqi prisons would have had him sitting in the dock at the Nuremberg trials.
Why are Americans tolerating this abomination? Are they like the Germans who claimed they did not know about the gas ovens? Why are American Jews accepting another holocaust for their cousins the Arabs? Have they forgotten the lesson of Germany and Pastor Neimoller who said, "When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned, when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions, and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions, and I was not concerned. When Hitler attacked me and the Protestant Church--there was nobody left to be concerned."
LIVING IN A GREEN-ZONE WORLD
Once upon a time, this administration's top officials and associated neocons dreamed of shock-and-awing the Middle East into the shape they wanted, settling into Iraq for the long haul, dominating the planet in geopolitical and energy terms, ensuring that no nation or bloc of nations would ever again challenge the U.S. and, in the bargain, installing the Republicans as the dominant domestic party for at least a generation. Now, forced to hitch their fates to the President's disastrous war, they simply hope to squeak through the mid-term elections and, two years later, hand ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan off to another president. Joshua Marshall of the Talking Points Memo website recently described the President as "like an owner of a business that's slowly going under? And he won't just liquidate and save what he can, because then he'd have to come to grips with the fact that he's failed. So his policy is denial and slow failure. Here of course the analogy to President Bush is rather precise since he only has to hold out until 2009 when he can give the problem to someone else, just as he did in his past life with other businesses he drove into the ground."
In fact, whether it works or not, Rove's political gamble is breathtakingly bold in its simplicity. He's throwing the dice on a single proposition: That, in the end, Americans will prefer the illusion of living in a Green-Zone world all the way and so will swallow the Green-Zone fictions that go with it.
Let's consider, then, a few small pieces of the Green-Zone world our President has created:
George in the Green Zone: On his Potemkin travels, the President has long taken a portable Green Zone with him. On the campaign trail, he almost never met an audience that hadn't been carefully vetted and so seldom found himself face to face with a questioner who wasn't beyond friendly, outright obsequious, or absolutely fawningly admiring. Put another way, with rare exceptions, his world is regularly cleared of reality as he approaches. On his foreign travels, this happens with clocklike regularity. Major metropolises are simply shut down or cleared of humanity, so that, like the USS Abraham Lincoln for his infamous "Mission Accomplished" tailhook landing, they become but movie sets on which he can tell his Green-Zone stories about how the world works without fear of complaint or contradiction.
Last week, George and his entourage landed in Vienna for a brief yearly confab with European Union leaders on a continent that views him with ever increasing alarm and hostility. According to the latest Pew poll, for instance, two-thirds of Austrians now have a negative view of the U.S. (even though Desperate Housewives
is the TV hit of the year there). "A Harris Interactive/Financial Times survey released Monday found that 36 percent of Europeans view the United States as the world's greatest threat to 'global stability.' By comparison, 30 percent of those polled named Iran as the biggest threat, while 18 percent named China." When a European reporter actually confronted Bush with this at a press conference, it angered the President greatly and he responded not only with irritation, but with a Green Zone-style description of our American world: "We're a transparent democracy," he insisted. "People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active." (…)
Two weeks earlier, the President made his secret escape from Washington and flew into Baghdad international airport wearing 25 pounds of body armor, helicoptered into the capital's heavily fortified American-controlled Green Zone, met with the new Iraqi prime minister (on five-minute's notice -- lest word get out and something terrible happen), dramatically looked him "in the eyes," and a few hours later left the U.S. version of "Iraq" for the administration's stage-set version of Washington to offer the American people yet another round of Green-Zone tales of turning tides, progress, and future Iraqi successes.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Bring 'em on
: It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two British soldiers in Afghanistan. During a planned operation in the Sangin valley, northern Helmand province, in the early morning of 27 June (at around midnight Afghan time) a UK patrol came under attack. One further soldier was seriously wounded. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening. (UK MoD)
This Sunday's sacred ritual of Mass, bagels and tea with the Grumpy Old Men's Club was rudely disrupted by the headline of the day's Washington Post
: "U.S. Airstrikes Rise In Afghanistan as Fighting Intensifies." Great, I thought; it's probably cheaper than funding a recruiting campaign for the Taliban and lots more effective at creating new guerrillas. (...)
Aaugh! The last time a nation's civilian and military leadership was this incapable of learning from experience was under the Ching Dynasty.
Perhaps it's time to offer a short refresher course in Guerrilla War 101:
• Air power works against you, not for you. It kills lots of people who weren't your enemy, recruiting their relatives, friends and fellow tribesmen to become your enemies. In this kind of war, bombers are as useful as 42 cm. siege mortars.
• Big, noisy, offensives, launched with lots of warning, achieve nothing. The enemy just goes to ground while you pass on through, and he's still there when you leave. Big Pushes are the opposite of the "ink blot" strategy, which is the only thing that works, when anything can.
• Putting the Big Push together with lots of bombing in Afghanistan's Pashtun country means we end up fighting most if not all of the Pashtun. In Afghan wars, the Pashtun always win in the end.
• Quisling governments fail because they cannot achieve legitimacy.
• You need closure, but your guerilla enemy doesn't. He not only can fight until Doomsday, he intends to do just that-if not you, then someone else.
• The bigger the operations you have to undertake, the more surely your enemy is winning.
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THE SUM OF HUMANKIND'S WORST ATTRIBUTES
War is comprised of roughly equal parts racism, fervent nationalism, propaganda and lies, herd mentality, religion, and the private ownership of materials and labor. War is the sum of humankind's worst attributes, bought and paid for in blood.
As terrible as war is, perhaps it exacts its greatest toll on the combatants themselves-the soldiers. Acting in the belief that they are spreading light into the darkness of the world they are, in fact, doing exactly the opposite. They are stamping out the light of understanding, rationality, and hope. The soldier thus becomes the horrible thing they are vainly trying to destroy. All of this is possible because they have blindly followed men without hearts and conscience, men devoid of souls, who have misled them into the burning depths of hell from which there is no way out.
This is the sad reality we are witnessing in Iraq and the 135 nations where our armed forces are stationed, carrying out the sociopathic agenda of global domination and empire. Those whose minds are not truly their own are susceptible to control by the psychopaths who would use them for evil, just as soldiers have traditionally been the pawns of kings and emperors through the ages.
The lies espoused by our so called leaders do not matter on the battlefield. They do not matter when the bodies come home in oversized cardboard boxes, hauled by fork lifts to airport curbs and deposited at the feet of grief-stricken families like a commodity. In a sense, that is what they are. This is war's assembly line, where the bodies are packaged and sent home like a parcel, with the flag as a corporate logo printed on a box with the stamp "Made in America"; where lives are converted into cash for the global elite, a gift from the Plutocracy.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war." --USMC General Smedley Butler, 1933