DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, August 7, 2006
: Iraqi children walk past the bullet ridden windscreen of a vehicle, after a gunbattle, in Baghdad's Sadr City, Iraq, Monday Aug. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) (See below)
U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a suspected death squad in mostly Shi'ite east Baghdad early on Monday
, the U.S. military said, and a police source said they fought with militia there for several hours. The police source said that 18 people had been wounded and two killed in the fighting in Sadr City, a stronghold of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose supporters are part of the ruling Shi'ite coalition. One U.S. soldier was hurt in the clash.
Col. Hassan Chaloub, police chief of Sadr City, said three people were killed and 12 injured, including five children. He said three cars and three houses were destroyed.
US jet fighters bombed civilian targets in an eastern Baghdad suburb, claimed a leading Shia official Monday. According to Fattah al-Sheikh, an official in the Shia Sadr group, civilian areas of the Sadr suburb were targeted by US planes Sunday night. He denied that the Mahdi army the armed wing of the Sadr bloc, was present in the neighbourhood, adding that the leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, has urged his fighters to "(maintain) self-restraint and abort any provocative attempt by the US to target them".
A suicide truck bomber on Monday rammed into the provincial headquarters of a commando force north of Baghdad, killing at least nine soldiers and injuring 10 civilians.
The truck carrying vegetables drove through razor wire barricades around the two-story building of the Interior Ministry's police commandos in Samarra, police Capt. Laith Mohammed said. The building was virtually leveled and three houses nearby were also severely damaged, said other police officials contacted by telephone.
Bring 'em on
: Three US soldiers were killed Sunday in a roadside bombing southwest of Baghdad.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Unidentified gunmen stormed and bombed a barbershop in a southeastern Baghdad district on Monday.
The gunmen, driving past the shop in two sedans, opened fire, killing four customers and the owner.Seven people including three policemen were injured in a bomb blast and a subsequent car bomb explosion at an Internet Cafe in Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad.
(update) An Australian man has escaped death but suffered serious burns in a roadside blast in Iraq
that killed two of his colleagues. The roadside bomb exploded early on August 3, about 45km north-east of Baghdad.
A bomb and a car bomb exploded in quick succession near a commercial building on Palestine street, northeastern Baghdad, wounding three people.
The target of the bombing was unclear.
Two bombs exploded on Palestine Street, a major shopping area of Baghdad, injuring 10 people, including a senior police officer.
Two bodies, handcuffed and shot in the head, were also found in western Baghdad.
Unknown gunmen stormed an Iraqi army checkpoint near Baquba killing six Iraqi soldiers and wounding 15 others
, a source from the U.S. and Iraqi liaison office told Xinhua. He said the Iraqi soldiers seized a large quantity of weapons after they fiercely fought the attackers, who sustained casualties, before they fled the scene.
Khan Bani Saad:
A bomb targeting a police foot patrol exploded in a vegetable market killing a civilian and a policeman and wounding seven people in Khan Bani Saad near Baquba
, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed four Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint in the market area of Muqdadiya
, 90 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
Four civilians were killed and seven others critically wounded when their minibus was struck by a roadside bomb on a road near Khalis
, 80 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen opened fire on a taxi killing two policemen inside in Mosul.
Two other policemen in the taxi were injured.
Darbandikhan (near Sulaimaniyah city):
Police fired in the air to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing demonstrators in Darbandikhan in northern Iraq, injuring at least 11 people.
The protesters were demanding better living conditions such as electricity and fuel, the second such protest in two days in the area near Sulaimaniyah city.
Six people were killed and two others injured when a roadside bomb went off in Fallujah.
Although the roadside bomb was targeting a police patrol that was passing through Arba'een street in central Fallujah, the patrol was unharmed.
Three civilians were killed and 15 injured in crossfire during clashes in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, after insurgents attacked a joint US-Iraqi patrol.
HAGEL WANTS U.S. TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ WITHIN 6 MONTHS
Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel has been an outspoken Republican critic of the Bush administration's U.S. military occupation of Iraq. A year ago, Hagel told U.S. News
magazine: "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel told U.S. News.
"It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."
In June, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) voted against the Levin amendment, a "nonbinding proposal [that] did not set a withdrawal deadline, urged President Bush to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq this year." At the time, Hagel explained his vote: "We should not limit the Commander in Chief's options in Iraq. That is why I will vote against the Levin amendment."
Now, Hagel has made a new call to the Bush administration according to an article in the the Lincoln Journal Star
: "The United States needs to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within the next six months," Sen. Chuck Hagel said, rather than ratcheting up its military commitment now.
With Iraq exploding in sectarian violence and "moving closer and closer to a straight-out civil war," Hagel said, the Bush administration's decision to transfer nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad is "only going to make it worse for us."
In the end, Hagel said, "feed(ing) more American troop fodder into the fight" could result in "even a worse defeat."
Hagel is a decorated war veteran who served in Vietnam. Hagel served in Vietnam with his brother Tom in 1968. During the worst year of the war, they walked side by side as infantry squad leaders with the U.S. Army's 9th Infantry Division.
RIVERBEND'S BLOG TAKEN ON STAGE
"Is it time to wash our hands of the country and find a stable life somewhere else?"
The question in "Girl Blog from Iraq" was posted only last weekend by an anonymous young Iraqi woman whose weblog has now been adapted into a theatrical documentary at the Edinburgh Fringe arts festival.
Played by actresses of Palestinian, Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi origin, she recounts the horrors of abduction, murder and rape alongside her determined efforts to carve out a normal life amid the carnage.
"It is exciting when she posts as we know she is OK. All of a sudden you are reminded how real and immediate this all is," said Kimberly Kefgen who adapted the weblog with Loren Ingrid Noveck.
Known only as "Riverbend," the Iraqi blogger has been providing regular despatches since August 2003, writing in her first entry: "I'm female, Iraqi and 24. I survived the war. That is all you need to know. It's all that matters."
The blog was praised by the New York Times
who said her "articulate, even poetic prose packs an emotional punch while exhibiting a journalist's eye for detail."
Her online diary on www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com, which was collected together and issued by Marion Boyars Publishers, was nominated for a major literary prize in Britain.
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Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith claims Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the invasion of Iraq
: In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End,
Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
A year after his "Axis of Evil" speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq's first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.
Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, "I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!"
U.S. PLANS REMOVAL OF US. TROOPS IN EVENT OF IRAQ CIVIL WAR
The Bush administration insists Iraq is a long way from civil war, but the contingency planning has already begun inside the White House and the Pentagon. President Bush will move U.S. troops out of Iraq if the country descends into civil war, according to one senior Bush aide who declined to be named while talking about internal strategy. "If there's a full-blown civil war, the president isn't going to allow our forces to be caught in the crossfire," the aide said. "But institutionally, the government of Iraq isn't breaking down. It's still a unity government." Bush's position on a pullout of U.S. troops emerged in response to news-week's questions about Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Warner warned last week that the president might require a new vote from Congress to allow troops to stay in Iraq in what he called "all-out civil war." But the senior Bush aide said the White House would need no prompting from Congress to get troops out "if the Iraqi government broke down completely along sectarian lines."
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comment to the above report by Dude | 08.06.06 - 11:45 pm | at Information Clearinghouse:
Not sure if you guys are aware of this, but according to Islam, it's a sin for 2 Muslims to fight one another.
I find it puzzling, and fishy, that this whole Sunni and Shia thing is coming up. I would think, Sunnis and Shia.. I mean, Muslims, would rather live with each other than to live under a foreign power. Call me crazy, but they're still brothers by blood and faith - and it's so clear to me, that this "civil war" crap was being trumpetted from the start when I heard CNN, NBC, CBS, etc. describe Iraq along sectarian lines. I always refered to them as Arabs + Kurds, or simply just Muslims!
Divide and conquer, what a horrible tragedy... but it's definitely effective. :-(NO BOMBS YET FOR U.S. IN SADR CITY
"Why does he always have to choose the suckiest road?" mutters Sergeant First Class Daniel Odom, with a swear, as his shuddering Humvee follows the lead vehicle of his patrol over trash and potholes and into Sadr City, the teeming stronghold of Baghdad's Shia militias.
Above, the pitiless summer sun beats down on the imposing American jeep's armored carapace, heating the fetid air in the street to 45 degrees. Below, an odor of decay rises from the market trash and goat droppings crushed under its wheels as it negotiates the narrow alleyways.
"Damn. F*** this place!" The shout comes from above, where roof gunner Specialist Marcus Bedell has just taken a ripe tomato full in the face. He swivels his gun, remaining alert to the danger that the next attack might be more deadly; an ambush, a sniper or a suicide bomber.
Sadr City, a sprawling warren of rundown apartment blocks, is home to more than 2 million Iraqi Shias. It is also the heartland of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, whose movement's core support comes from the legions of unemployed young men in its streets and mosques.
More than two months after an elected coalition government took over in Iraq, the black-clad fighters of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia still openly carry weapons on the streets of their stronghold.
At parades over the weekend its fighters chanted "Death to America" and trampled on a dusty Stars and Stripes painted on the road. They brandished Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers and chanted their support for Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas.
Nevertheless, the militia is not in open conflict with the United States. Sadr has 30 lawmakers in parliament and two ministers in the US-backed government of national unity run by Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, a fellow Shia. His firebrand speeches keep the political temperature high, but there is no sign he is preparing a re-run of his 2004 armed revolt in Najaf.
For their part, the Americans are careful to respect Iraq's new politically correct vocabulary. The black-clad gangs who nightly kidnap Sunni civilians, torture and kill them, are not Mehdi Army. In US statements they are thugs and criminals and - the new buzz term - "death squads".
But privately, US officers admit that militias like Sadr's are very much part of the problem in Baghdad and elsewhere, and that some kind of strategy has to be found to take them out of the equation; either by disarming them or tying them into a national reconciliation initiative.
Privately also, some Mehdi militiamen expect they will come into conflict once again with US forces, some of them looking back in nostalgia to their so-called "intifada" in Najaf.
"If the American army deploys again in Sadr city, it will face attacks and we're expecting big clashes," one Sadr supporter said this week.
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AP BLOG: WHEN DIET COKE DOESN'T MAKE IT TO THE DINING FACILITY...
There was no Diet Coke today at the dining facility. For a few seconds, I was a little irritated. I try to limit my caffeine intake and keep it to one Diet Coke a day, but I do look forward to my soda with a little ice.
After a few seconds I remembered that just about all the food that is eaten on this base is driven by truck, possibly from Kuwait to the south or Turkey to the north. And those truck drivers - many from neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia or Jordan - take horrible risks driving on roads that are filled with homemade bombs set by insurgents and ambushes set up by people wanting to steal their loads.
So every time that something such as Diet Coke doesn't make it to the dining facility or the mail doesn't arrive or there's no sour cream for the baked potatoes, it could mean that a driver out on the roads of Iraq is dead.
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>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
A WAR RESISTERS INVISIBLE FENCE
Sitting at the computer, wearing my official Electronic Monitoring Ankle Bracelet is certainly better than sitting in jail...but it still does a pretty good job of reminding you you're now in the criminal class.
On August 4, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Wittenberg sentenced me for two felony convictions I got for spraypainting "Troops Out Now!" on a highway overpass on January 1 of this year. Part of the sentence includes 60 days under house arrest, tethered to the 1,050 sq. ft. of my home in Toledo like it has one of those "invisible fences" for dogs at the front and back doors. The ankle bracelet ($60.00 weekly service fee) communicates with a black box ($40.00 installation fee) tied into the phone line to a company in Indiana that monitors the whole business by computer. I wonder how many and who are my fellow "monitorees" so served by B.I. Inc., and whether I should buy some stock. Incarceration in its various forms is clearly America's growth industry.
During the jury trial July 18-19, my attorney, Terry Lodge, and I did our best to put the war on trial and the prosecutors of course did their best to narrow it to criminal vandalism - and "possession of criminal tools," of course. Below you can read the letter I wrote the judge. He read it into the record prior to pronouncing his sentence.
News coverage of the arrest, trial, conviction and sentencing generated thousands of times more discussion and debate on the war than all the times I've politely held a sign by the side of the road. A video clip of the overpass, taken by WTOL TV before the transportation department hurriedly covered the offensive slogan, ran numerous times on days of my arrest, trial, conviction and sentencing. My first public art installation - fluorescent orange oil on concrete - was seen numerous times by many thousands of viewers. Newspaper editorials, letters to the editor and news articles added significantly to the debate.
At every opportunity, when asked why I did it or why I didn't plead to misdemeanor charges, I explained politely that, "There's a war on, you know! We're complicit in war crimes; in a war of aggression; in the killing and maiming of thousands. We have to do more than write Congress. This is one more nonviolent way I can speak out against this criminal war and uphold international law."
I don't regret painting "Troops Out Now!" on that overpass, nor taking it to trial. Now's it's time to pay the price as so many good peace warriors before me have done. Compared to what hell the people in Iraq and our soldiers go through every day, and compared to the level of repression we'll experience if we don't reverse America's slide into fascism, my sentence is a minor inconvenience. Like I said, it's better than being in jail. It just makes me wonder what the penalty would have been for writing "Mike loves Sue" instead of "Troops Out Now!"?
'INDEPENDENT OF REALITY'
...are a full 50% of US respondents to a recent Harris poll, according to NewsMax.com
Do you believe in Iraqi "WMD"? Did Saddam Hussein's government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003?
Those were the questions and the result had some 'flabbergasted'.
"This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence."
Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq.
People tend to become "independent of reality" in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.
This is plainly freakin' me out:
Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) and Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra (news, bio, voting record), released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.link
>> BEYOND IRAQ
PANIC IN DETROIT
In Dearborn, Michigan, Arab demonstrators are holding up portraits of Sheik Hassan Nasralla, "chanting his name and Hezbollah," according to the Detroit Free Press
. "We find any support for murderous terrorist organizations like al-Qaida or Hezbollah very disappointing, if not disturbing," Eric Straus, chief of the counterterrorism unit at the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit, told the newspaper. "Our office's No. 1 priority is preventing another terrorist attack," reports the Associated Press.
Of course, Hezbollah is not "al-Qaeda," the infamous CIA-ISI made-to-measure terror group. Hezbollah is a legitimate resistance group, completely legal under international law, minus its stupid rocketing of Israeli settlements. But then we shouldn't expect the U.S. attorney's office to admit this. It should come as no surprise Nasralla and Hezbollah would find support in Detroit's Arab community, or for that matter among Arabs and Muslims anywhere.
Osama Siblani, publisher of The Arab American News
of Dearborn and spokesman for the Council of Arab American Organizations, basically told Straus and the feds to take a hike. "Who should they chant for? George Bush, the one who's sending Israel bombs to kill their relatives, to kill more people?" Siblani said. "If they want to prosecute us, prosecute us. Let them get their buses, line them up and haul us out." As Siblani probably knows, there are not enough buses in Detroit or for that matter the whole of Michigan to bus all the Arabs and Muslims to those brand spanking new Halliburton constructed concentration camps.
There are roughly 300,000 southeastern Michigan residents with roots in the Arab world, many of them with relatives in Lebanon. Straus and the feds will have their hands full if they believe they can stop the rising tide of anger and resentment on the part of Arabs, who witness daily the slaughter of the brothers and sisters in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.
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A HEZBOLLAH UPON ALL OF THEE!
The way Israel is conducting the war right now is the worst of both worlds: it's too bloody and not bloody enough at the same time. Give me a second to explain what I mean by that. At the moment that skinny nasal-voiced jerk Anderson Cooper is saying Israel's killed about 320 Lebanese, vs. 36 Israelis dead. Now actually that's a perfectly standard count for asymmetrical warfare; the technologically superior force usually kills about ten of the guerrillas for every one of its own losses. But in PR terms, this war has been a disaster for Israel, a can't win scenario. Just try this experiment: watch CNN with the sound off for a few minutes. Without that non-stop pro-Israel commentary, you'll see what the whole world outside the US sees: non-stop video feed of terrified Lebanese civvies fleeing in terror, crying on camera, hugging their bloodied-up kids. Then there's a shot of the IDF zooming around in their Merkavas and US-supplied SP 155mms, blasting dry hills or doing dirt donuts on some local's wrecked house. Ask yourself this question:
WHAT'S MISSING FROM THIS PICTURE?
It'll come to you after a minute: you never, ever see an armed Hezbollah fighter. They're there, all right. You better believe it. They've killed at least 20 IDF troops, and they're the real reason, the only reason, the IDF isn't invading all-out: because those Hezbollah apprentice martyrs are dug in, waiting and hoping and praying for the IDF to steam into the kill zones they've been polishing since Israel quit Lebanon in 2000.
But you never see them on TV. You think that's an accident? No, fellas, that's brains is what that is. Nasrullah may look like a fat social studies teacher who needs a shave, but you don't claw your way to the top of a bloody world like that one without brains. The men who run Hezbollah attacked because they finally figured out that they literally cannot lose. The IDF can never expel Hezbollah from South Lebanon, because it's a genuine mass movement, as committed and crazy at the roots as at the top. (As opposed to Arafat's PLO, which they could and did expel from Lebanon because it was topheavy, corrupt and cowardly.) If Israel comes down hard on the Lebanese, another generation learns to hate the Jews down south and dream of bloody revenge. If Israel holds off, then Hezbollah becomes the one victorious Arab/Muslim force in the world, darling of every little nine-year-old Jihadi in Jakarta and Khartoum. If Israel retaliates by blasting every target of value in Lebanon, every TV tower and shopping mall and freeway...well, that's the beauty of the plan: the Shia are the poorest of the poor. They don't own any of that shit anyway. They sit back and laugh watching their neighbors' stuff that they've envied all their lives get blown away -- and it's the Israelis who get the blame.
So call'em crazy if it makes you feel better, but don't call'em stupid. Better yet, get used to calling'em "Sir."
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Sometimes it sounds like bullets. It's more a game for the small kids, but the ones who throw rocks today might throw grenades tomorrow." -- Sergeant First Class Daniel Odom with the 356th Regimental Combat Team, as rocks thrown by children and teenagers batter his Humvee patrolling in Sadr City, Baghdad (see above “No Bombs Yet For U.S. In Sadr City”)