Saturday, August 26, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2006
“We're not leaving, so long as I'm the President.” – George W. Bush, Press Conference, August 21, 2006
Gunmen shot dead the Shiite owner of a bakery and a policemen in separate incidents Saturday in western
Gunmen in the town of
Five civilians were killed and 11 others wounded in the detonation of an explosive device near a football field on Friday night in the town of
Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on two sisters walking in
Gunmen killed three civilians in
Insurgents killed the owner of an ice factory on Friday in the small town of
An explosive device targeting an Iraqi army patrol was detonated in the town of
Four Kurdish civilians were killed in a drive -by shooting as they were travelling southwest of
The unidentified corpses of six persons shot to death were found around the city of
Gunmen killed a university student and wounded his brother and sister in their home in
Gunmen killed a policeman in
Gunmen in Tikrit stormed a bakery on Friday and killed three Shi'ite workers and wounded two, police said. (Probably an update to the killing of two bakers reported in yesterday’s post. -m)
A little known Iraqi Islamist militant group said on Saturday it had kidnapped a Turkish man working for a Turkish firm and posted footage of what appeared to be a plea by the hostage. The man spoke in Turkish in the footage posted on a Web site often used by militants. He appeared with his hands shackled in front of a black banner carrying the name of the group, the Brigades of the Lions of Righteousness and the phrase: "God is Great, there is no god but Allah."
Big tribal meeting, the happy version: The leaders of
Amid scenes of celebration at a
Reading the charter, Sheikh Faal Namah said he and his colleagues vowed "to preserve our country, stop bloodletting and displacement among Iraqi people and halt the activities of takfiris (violent Sunni insurgents)".
The accord will be seen as a boost for
Note these other reports don’t mention any celebrations: Meanwhile,
"These tribes have to play a significant role in fighting terrorists, saboteurs and infiltrators," he told the leaders, most of them wearing checkered headscarfs. Others wore suits or loose Kurdish trousers.
"Yes to unity, yes to
Possibly there could be some glitches: The government hopes tribal leaders can exercise influence over their tribes, but it is unclear how effective they can be among Iraqis increasingly turning to religious leaders for guidance.
One Sunni tribal leader set out a list of demands, including a five-year delay in implementing federalism under the constitution, the disbandment of a committee that has purged thousands of mostly Sunni members of the former ruling party from state institutions, and the disarming of militias.
Some Genuinely Good News
Victim released: A Sunni Arab lawmaker was released on Saturday nearly two months after her kidnapping sparked a political furore in
A member of her Iraqi Islamic Party said Taiseer Najah al- Mashhadani was freed after her captors made contact with Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.
Fewer deaths: The death toll among National Guard and Reserve troops in
Thus far in August, five members of the Guard and Reserve have died in
The number of Guard and Reserve deaths for the year totals 54, down more than 70 percent from the 189 recorded at this point last year. In the comparable period in 2004, the death toll was 92, according to Defense Department casualty records.
The death count for all
The main reason for the decline in reservist deaths is that fewer are being sent to
I know zig posted this story yesterday but I just love the opening line: Iraqis looted a military base vacated by British troops and stripped it of virtually everything removable on Friday, an indication of possible future trouble for U.S.-led coalition forces hoping to hand over security gradually to the Iraqi government.
Men, some with their faces covered, ripped corrugated metal from roofs, carried off metal pipes and backed trucks into building entrances to load them with wooden planks. Many also took away doors and window frames from Camp Abu Naji.
"The British forces left Abu Naji and the locals started looting everything," 1st Lt. Rifaat Taha Yaseen of the Iraqi Army's 10th Division told Associated Press Television News. "They took everything from the buildings."
Possible future trouble. Damn, that’s good. - m
Too dangerous for archaeology: Iraq's most prominent archaeologist has resigned and fled the country, saying the dire security situation, an acute shortage of funds, and the interference of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had made his position intolerable.
Donny George, who was president of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, achieved international recognition for his efforts to track down and recover the priceless antiquities looted from
But this week he revealed that he had resigned and was in hiding with his family in the Syrian capital
News From The
Self review: The Army is reviewing casualty reports on American soldiers killed in
The review covers hundreds of casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom, the campaign in
In coming weeks, the Army will issue a directive formalizing the review, according to the military officials. One spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because officers at the highest levels of the Army are still making minor changes. The other described the initiative in memos obtained by The Associated Press.
Going after the bedwetter vote: In the thick of an election campaign, President Bush has revived and retooled his argument that the
"We leave before the mission is done, the terrorists will follow us here," Bush warned at a news conference this week.
Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., locked in a tight Philadelphia-area re-election race, went a step further. "We either fight them there, or we fight them in the supermarkets and streets here," he said Wednesday in an interview with CNN.
Bush is not on the ballot this midterm election year. But control of the GOP-led Congress is. So the elections could determine the fate of what's left of Bush's second-term agenda.
The fight-them-there theme has been part of Bush's national security stump speech since 2003. But the "follow us here" part is a relatively new twist.
You just can’t blame the media enough for the mess we’re in: During his August 21 press conference, George W. Bush responded to a question about the Iraq War by saying that "sometimes I'm happy" about the conflict. But many readers and TV viewers never heard the remark, since journalists edited the statement to save Bush any possible embarrassment. Bush's unedited comment was as follows:
Q: But are you frustrated, sir? BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I'm happy. This is -- but war is not a time of joy. These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times, and they're difficult times, and they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that. Viewers of CBS Evening News (8/21/06) saw a carefully edited version of that response—one better suited to presenting Bush as serious and concerned with the effects of the war. Reporter Bill Plante previewed the answer by saying that Bush "conceded that daily reports of death and destruction take a toll, both on the nation and on him." The edited quote that followed:
“Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated, rarely surprised. These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times, and they're difficult times. And they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.” CBS was not alone in massaging Bush's response—many outlets excised Bush's "happy" remark, or found other ways to clean up Bush's performance. NBC Nightly News (8/21/06) worked around Bush's awkward answer; reporter Kelly O'Donnell noted that Bush "offered an unusual glimpse into his thinking," but then proceeded to edit the comments to Bush's advantage:
BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised.
O'DONNELL: ...and acknowledged
So instead of airing Bush's "happy" remark, NBC's reporter stressed the fact that Bush was serious about
Promoting American values: Lawyers for Murat Kurnaz, a German native released Thursday after spending more than four years locked up at
Bernhard Docke, an attorney representing Kurnaz, a 24-year-old Turkish citizen who was born and raised in
Defense Department officials said they agreed to free Kurnaz on the condition that
Declassified records in his case made public last year show that he was kept behind bars and designated an enemy combatant even though U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement officials had largely concluded that there was no information tying him to al-Qaeda or terrorist activities.
Blackwater: A North Carolina-based security contractor lost a federal appeal Thursday in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the families of four men killed and publicly mutilated in
The decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., means that after a year and a half of motions and appeals, the lawsuit can move forward in Wake County Superior Court and that Blackwater Security Consulting will likely have to give up records and oral depositions about the incident, said Marc Miles, an attorney for the families.
The families had long sought these things, saying that the company has told them almost nothing about how their relatives were killed.
Custer Battles: They say that
Why will the mammoth fraudsters go free? Because of the iron illogic behind the decision. Although the CPA was created, funded, staffed and directly controlled by the
Profiles in Courage
Lieutenant Ehren Watada: We have all seen this war tear apart our country over the past three years. It seems as though nothing we've done, from vigils to protests to letters to Congress, have had any effect in persuading the powers that be...It is time for change and the change starts with all of usThe idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.
Now it is not an easy task for the soldier. For he or she must be aware that they are being used for ill-gain. They must hold themselves responsible for individual action. They must remember duty to the Constitution and the people supersedes the ideologies of their leadership. The soldier must be willing to face ostracism by their peers, worry over the survival of their families, and of course the loss of personal freedom. They must know that resisting an authoritarian government at home is equally important to fighting a foreign aggressor on the battlefield. Finally, those wearing the uniform must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that by refusing immoral and illegal orders they will be supported by the people not with mere words but by action.
The American soldier must rise above the socialization that tells them authority should always be obeyed without question. Rank should be respected but never blindly followed. Awareness of the history of atrocities and destruction committed in the name of
The oath we take swears allegiance not to one man but to a document of principles and laws designed to protect the people. Enlisting in the military does not relinquish one's right to seek the truth--neither does it excuse one from rational thought nor the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. 'I was only following orders' is never an excuse.
Hildi Halley: I just got off the phone with Hildi Halley, a woman from
But Halley has just given me a much more detailed account of her meeting with Bush. She told me that she went much farther in her criticism of the President, telling him directly that he was "responsible" for the deaths of American soldiers and that as a "Christian man," he should recognize that he's "made a mistake" and that it was his "responsibility to end this." She recounted to me that she was "very direct," telling Bush: "As President, you're here to serve the people. And the people are not being served with this war."
Maj. Gen. John Batiste (Ret.): Donald Rumsfeld is still at the helm of the Department of Defense, which is absolutely outrageous. He served up our great military a huge bowl of chicken feces, and ever since then, our military and our country have been trying to turn this bowl into chicken salad. And it’s not working.
An Excellent Idea
From someone who should know: A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at
Ferenccz said that after
Fubar: One way to think of the
Palestinian territories: Hamas-led government.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, et al: Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants.
Nevermind the bubbling-below-the-surface trouble in the former
Glenn Greenwald: When speaking about Iraq at his Press Conference this week, the President seemed to make rather clear that he believes Congress has no role to play in decisions concerning when wars begin and end:
”And any sign that says we're going to leave before the job is done simply emboldens terrorists and creates a certain amount of doubt for people so they won't take the risk necessary to help a civil society evolve in the country.”
”This is a campaign -- I'm sure they're watching the campaign carefully. There are a lot of good, decent people saying, get out now; vote for me, I will do everything I can to, I guess, cut off money is what they'll try to do to get our troops out. It's a big mistake. It would be wrong, in my judgment, for us to leave before the mission is complete in
That is very deliberate wording; he went out of his way to point out that the only thing Congress could do to "try" to compel a withdrawal of troops is to cut off funding. The President clearly has been involved in discussions where it was told to him that he does not need Congressional authorization to fight wars and that Congress cannot force him to end a war by voting, for instance, to revoke the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force in
Brian Cooney: "Freedom" has been the slogan of George W. Bush's presidency. In his second inaugural address (2005) he used the words "free," "freedom" or "liberty" 49 times in a 21-minute speech. The invasion of
About 42,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since we "freed" their country.
Shia welcomed the religious freedom that followed the downfall of Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime. But now attendance at both Shia and Sunni mosques has declined drastically because mosques are under constant attack from sectarian forces.
Our freedom crusade has had drastic and bloody consequences for
So what does "freedom" mean?
Howard LaFranchi: Even before this summer's war between
But as the
One of those consequences, they add, is that with
"There was a time when we really led, when we weren't the last ones to the table but were the ones setting the table," says Jon Alterman, a former State Department policy-planning staff member now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in
"Now instead of the leading force, we seem to be leading less - and the world and the
Joe Conason: If the neoconservatives were not so adept at claiming the patriotic high ground for themselves -- and convincing the nation that they are interested only in advancing the security of America and Israel and the cause of democracy -- it might be time to start asking which of them are actually agents of Iran. The question is pertinent because "objectively," as they like to say, neoconservative policy has resulted in enormous profit to the Iranian mullahs, at grave cost to the
The most obvious example, of course, is the American invasion and occupation of
Katha Pollit: What's wrong with "Islamo-fascism"? For starters, it's a terrible historical analogy. Italian Fascism, German Nazism and other European fascist movements of the 1920s and '30s were nationalist and secular, closely allied with international capital and aimed at creating powerful, up-to-date, all-encompassing states. Some of the trappings might have been anti-modernist--Mussolini looked back to ancient
Andrew Greeley: Back in 2004 during the ill-fated Kerry campaign, the senator from
He did not go further with this scheme, however, probably because his handlers thought that the Republicans would accuse him of being soft on terror and that such a campaign stance would be grist for Karl Rove's mill. Perhaps that was the right decision because the public had yet to turn against President Bush as it has in the last eight months.
When the English cops broke up the plan to destroy American jets with liquid bombs a few days ago, the White House celebrated the impact of close cooperation among police forces in
In fact, the President's oft-repeated insistence that the war in Iraq is the central front in the war on terror is just one more of the many White House lies, though one might argue that the President is not smart enough to perceive that the work of the English police had nothing to do with the war in Iraq (save perhaps that the crazies who wanted to blow up the planes to punish the United States for invading Iraq) and therefore was not lying.
Similarly his repeated insistence that the terrorists want to take away our freedom is, on the face of it, false. They don't give a hoot about our freedom. They care only about punishing us. If we have lost some freedom in the last several years, it is the President who has taken it away from us by his claim to have unlimited powers.
Will Bunch: To give Bush a little credit, in this case at least one of his guests was a woman whose husband died in
But we're still troubled by something he told her:
One anti-war widow said she used the opportunity to voice her objections to Bush's policies.
"I said it's time to stop the bleeding," said Hildi Halley, whose husband, Army National Guard Capt. Patrick Damon, died June 15 in
She said Bush responding by saying "there was no point in us having a philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of the war."
Why not? Seriously. Who better to have "a philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of the war" than the one person who, unlike the rest of us mere mortals, can start a war and send off men and women to wage it, to kill or be killed, with a single phone call?
And who better to have that discussion with, than the wife of a man who paid the ultimate price for that presidential order?
People often say that Bush is "sincere" in his religious beliefs, but we'd say more accurately that Bush is sincere in believing that he acts as a man of faith. But how can he reconcile some of the decisions that he has made in the Oval Office with true Christian teachings?
Yes, that's a philosophical discussion. And with the world teetering on the brink, we couldn't think of a better time to have it.
U.S. Army Pfc. William E. Thorne of
He suffered fatal injuries after an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations.
Thorne was 26 years old.
- Marine Staff Sgt. Gordon G. Solomon, 35,
- Army Spc. Thomas Barbieri, 24, Gaithersburg, Md.; died Wednesday south of Baghdad from small-arms fire; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
- Marine Lance Cpl. James Hirlston, 21, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; died Wednesday in Anbar province; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
- Marine Staff Sgt. Dwayne E. Williams, 28, Baltimore; died Thursday in Anbar province; assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
- Army Sgt. Marquees A. Quick, 28,
Cemetery officials expect about 300 people to attend today's military funeral for Capt. John J. McKenna IV, a state trooper and Marine who was killed in
McKenna is to be buried with full military honors at 4 p.m. in
The 30-year-old Marine was killed in action Aug. 16 near Fallujah while conducting combat operations as a platoon commander with Albany-based Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Division.
Lance Cpl. Michael Glover, 28, a University at