Sunday, September 03, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2006
"Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?" – Donald H. Rumsfeld, August 29, 2006
Adolf Hitler greets Neville Chamberlain upon the British Prime Minister's arrival in
Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld in
Several mortars fell on a residential area of al-Maamel in the capital's eastern outskirts Saturday night. Six people, including two children, were killed, and 15 were wounded.
On Sunday morning, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol in eastern
The Shiite holy shrine of Imam Ibrahim Sameen, located near the Iranian border near Khanaqin, 200 kilometres north-east of
Sistani gives up: The most influential moderate Shia leader in
Aides say Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is angry and disappointed that Shias are ignoring his calls for calm and are switching their allegiance in their thousands to more militant groups which promise protection from Sunni violence and revenge for attacks.
"I will not be a political leader any more," he told aides. "I am only happy to receive questions about religious matters."
It is a devastating blow to the remaining hopes for a peaceful solution in
The cleric is regarded as the most important Shia religious leader in
However, the extent to which he has become marginalised was demonstrated last week when fighting broke out in Diwaniya between Iraqi soldiers and al-Sadr's Mehdi army. With dozens dead, al-Sistani's appeals for calm were ignored. Instead, the provincial governor had to travel to Najaf to see al-Sadr, who ended the fighting with one telephone call.
This is seriously bad news. Why is it I can only find the story in a British paper?-m
This does not bode well either: A coalition of 300 Iraqi tribal leaders on Saturday demanded the release of Saddam Hussein so he could reclaim the presidency and also called for armed resistance against U.S.-led coalition forces.
The clan chieftains, who were mostly Sunni Arabs and included the head of the 1.5 million-member al-Obeidi tribe, said they planned to hold rallies in Sunni cities throughout the country to insist that Hussein be freed and that the charges against him and his co-defendants be dropped.
Hussein is currently being tried on charges of genocide and other alleged crimes arising from the Iraqi government's killing and forced relocation of ethnic Kurds in 1988, and he is awaiting a verdict in a trial that concluded in late July stemming from mass killings of Shiites in 1982. During Hussein's dictatorship, positions of power in the military and the ruling Baath Party were held overwhelmingly by Sunni Arabs.
"If the demand is not carried out, we will lead a general, sweeping and popular uprising," said Sheik Wassfy al-Assy, brother of the chief of the Obeidi tribe, which served as host for the meeting of the clan leaders on Monday in Ramal. "As for whether (Hussein) will be reinstated in his post as president after his release, that will be up to him." The leaders announced their demands on Saturday.
Couldn’t find this one in a
Muqtada al-Sadr: This past week's intense clashes between the Iraqi army and a Shiite militia are part of a strategy to whittle away the power of a radical cleric. But the high-risk gambit could trigger more fighting across the Shiite south -- at a time when the cleric's stronghold in the capital is virtually off-limits.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has promised to disband militias, including the Mahdi Army of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, as a way to curb the sectarian violence propelling
But a full-scale assault by either American or Iraqi forces on Mr. Sadr's stronghold of
With Sadr City thus out of play for the time being, the U.S. military and its partners have been going after Mr. Sadr's forces outside the capital, arresting a Mahdi commander in Basra and raiding militia offices in other cities to cut into his power base. […]
Such confrontations test the loyalty of
But military moves are all the more risky because of the intense rivalry within various Shiite parties and militias -- all competing for power. Diwaniyah, for example, is controlled by a rival Shiite party, leading Sadr aides to blame local officials from the other party of essentially using the national army to deal with their rivals.
The fighting in Diwaniyah thus points to one of the most serious problems facing
Civil war in Baghdad: Four years ago, this was a city where people mixed freely — where, in most parts of town, no one cared if a neighborhood was Sunni or Shiite. Loyalty to Saddam Hussein was more important than religious identity.
But now a battle for
Out of that violence, a new but not better city is emerging. Many Iraqis fear that the result will be a Sunni west and a Shiite east, with the broad
Internal refugees: With sectarian violence boiling over in much of
The influx of Arabs has made many Kurds nervous, and regional leaders are debating whether to corral the Arabs into separate housing estates or camps.
“For the Kurdish people, it’s a sensitive issue,” said Asos Hardi, the editor of Awene, a newspaper that has run editorials in favor of segregating the Arab migrants. “Of course, everybody supports those people who have left their lands and their homes because of violence, but we don’t want it at the expense of giving up our land or changing the demographics of our land.”
But some are choosing Iraqi Kurdistan even over sectarian enclaves in
Arabs moving to
Kurdish autonomy: The president of
The order was issued on Thursday by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, head of the autonomous government of Kurdistan in northern
"According to this resolution, all government sites that used to raise the Baathist flag must lower it and hoist the flag of
They finally got a number two: Iraqi authorities say they have arrested Al Qaeda in
National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie says the man was arrested a few days ago in the raid north of Baquba.
The man has been named as Hamed Juma Faris al-Saedi, also known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana.
Mr Rubaie says no civilians were harmed in the raid.
"After his arrest, he gave critical and important information and we ended up killing 11 militants of the second tier and nine of the lower tier," he said.
As they stand up, we’ll…no, wait a minute…: The United States and Iraq were at odds on Saturday over the transfer of operational control of Iraq's military to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government, forcing a delay of a handover ceremony.
Saturday's ceremony to transfer control of
``There is a disagreement on the wording of the document that outlines the new relationship between Coalition Forces and Iraqis,''
``It is embarrassing, but it was decided it was better not to sign the document,'' he said, adding that objections to the wording had been raised by Maliki's government.
More on the Pentagon report: Iraqi casualties soared by more than 50 percent in recent months, the product of spiraling sectarian clashes and a Sunni-based insurgency that remains “potent and viable,” the Pentagon said in its latest comprehensive assessment of security in Iraq.
During the period from the establishment of the new Iraqi government on May 20 until Aug. 11, the average number of weekly attacks jumped to almost 800. That was a substantial increase from earlier this year and almost double the number of the first part of 2004.
As a consequence, Iraqi casualties increased 51 percent over the last reporting period. The document notes that, based on initial reports, Iraqi casualties among civilians and security forces reached nearly 120 a day, up from about 80 a day in the pervious reporting period from mid-February to mid-May. About two years ago they were running about 30 a day.
“Although the overall number of attacks increased in all categories, the proportion of those attacks directed against civilians increased substantially,” the Pentagon noted. “Death squads and terrorists are locked in mutually reinforcing cycles of sectarian strife, with Sunni and Shia extremists each portraying themselves as the defenders of their respective sectarian groups.”
The Pentagon report, titled “Measuring Security and Stability in
I know dancewater and I both posted on this report already but it’s a significant document and I wanted to make sure there was a link to the full document, so here it is. (Warning, .pdf) -m
Remembrances: Necklaces with pendants in the shape of
Roba al-Asaly, fingering the sliver of gold on her necklace, explains that it reminds her of a place "that's not there anymore".
They are seen on the streets and on television. Anchorwomen wear them while reading the news on Al-Iraqiya and Al-Sharqiya, Iraqi TV stations that are secular and more tolerant of women's jewellery.
"I hold on to it with my hand as if I'm holding on to the country I once knew," said al-Asaly, a 26-year-old Shia Muslim accountant.
"A place where people were not identified by their sect, a place where bombs didn't go off every other minute."
Zombie domino theory: President Bush’s newest effort to rebuild eroding support for the war in
It is a striking change of tone for a president who prides himself on optimism and has usually maintained that demeanor, at least in public, while his aides cast critics as defeatists.
But in his speech on Thursday in Salt Lake City — the first in a series to commemorate the Sept. 11 anniversary — he picked up on an approach that Gen. John P. Abizaid, Vice President Dick Cheney and others have refined in the past few months: a warning that defeat in Iraq will only move the battle elsewhere, threatening allies in the Middle East and eventually, Mr. Bush insisted, Americans “in the streets of our own cities.”
“We can allow the
It is reminiscent of — updated for a different war, and a different time — President Lyndon B. Johnson’s adoption of the “domino theory,” in which South Vietnam’s fall could lead to Communism’s spread through Southeast Asia and beyond. In the case of
Setting the stage for October Surprise, 2006 Model: Top U.S. officials have made strong charges in recent weeks that
Most experts on
Ironically, most of that aid appears to go to the same Shiite parties in
Nevertheless, the anti-Iran rhetoric from
It might be too late even for that: A series of polls taken over the last few weeks of August show that support for the war in
A new Associated Press/Ipsos poll that surveyed the country, and more specifically residents of
Any Democrat that falls for this needs to be dumped post haste: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reached out to Democrats late Friday, opening up the door for them to retract their stinging indictment of him as Pentagon chief.
In a letter to Congress's top Democrats, Rumsfeld said recent remarks he made during a speech in
"I know you agree that with
During his speech before thousands of veterans Tuesday, Rumsfeld said the world faces "a new type of fascism" and warned against repeating the pre-World War II mistake of appeasement. He alluded to critics of the Bush administration's war policies in terms associated with the failure to stop Nazism in the 1930s, "a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among the Western democracies."
Without explicitly citing Bush critics at home or abroad, he said "it is apparent that many have still not learned history's lessons." Aides to Rumsfeld said later he was not accusing the administration's critics of trying to appease the terrorists but was cautioning against a repeat of errors made in earlier eras.
Book review: In his State of the Union address earlier this year, U.S. President George W. Bush had an answer for those critical of his performance in managing the war in
"Hindsight is not wisdom and second-guessing is not strategy," he said, before insisting for the umpteenth time that
Drawing attention away from past blunders may be the only coherent strategy the president has when it comes to the war in
"Insurgency, civil war, Iranian strategic triumph, the breakup of
"It isn't that (Bush) failed to consider SOME possible adverse consequences of the war, but rather that he missed ALL of them ... The Bush administration's grand ambitions for Iraq were undone by arrogance, ignorance and political cowardice."
A. Alexander: "I know some have suggested that by liberating
Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay: Five years ago, the
Howard Zinn: Beyond the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time inevitably results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a ``war on terrorism" is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.
The repeated excuse, given by both Pentagon spokespersons and Israeli officials, for dropping bombs where ordinary people live is that terrorists hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in
This is a false distinction, quickly refuted with a bit of thought. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a ``suspected terrorist" is inside (note the frequent use of the word suspected as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is ``inevitable."
So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in ``accidental" events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.
William Arkin: If I were the conspiratorial type, I'd say Rumsfeld was a particular menace to
And this might even be worth speculating about were it the case that Rumsfeld reflected the views of those in the military leadership, or were it the case that Rumsfeld could actually engineer such a coup.
But alas, the secretary would get the intelligence wrong, employ too few troops and send tank columns on thunder runs through
"Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that
This has got an easy answer: World troubles? Rumsfeld is the source of troubles much closer to home.
Frank Rich: What made Mr. Rumsfeld’s speech noteworthy wasn’t its toxic effort to impugn the patriotism of administration critics by conflating dissent on
Here’s how brazen Mr. Rumsfeld was when he invoked Hitler’s appeasers to score his cheap points: Since Hitler was photographed warmly shaking Neville Chamberlain’s hand at Munich in 1938, the only image that comes close to matching it in epochal obsequiousness is the December 1983 photograph of Mr. Rumsfeld himself in Baghdad, warmly shaking the hand of Saddam Hussein in full fascist regalia. Is the defense secretary so self-deluded that he thought no one would remember a picture so easily Googled on the Web? Or worse, is he just too shameless to care?
Mr. Rumsfeld didn’t go to
According to declassified State Department memos detailing Mr. Rumsfeld’s
In his speech last week, Mr. Rumsfeld paraphrased Winston Churchill: Appeasing tyrants is “a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.” He can quote Churchill all he wants, but if he wants to self-righteously use that argument to smear others, the record shows that Mr. Rumsfeld cozied up to the crocodile of
Rami G. Khouri: The president's speech Thursday night was most compelling for its capacity to say nothing new—nothing that he has not said repeatedly in the past three years—while adding new layers of misinterpretation and diversionary confusion that he sells to the American public on the basis of emotionalism, patriotism and nostalgia. His main thesis sums up his shameful misanalysis: "The war we fight today is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century.''
Really? The decisive ideological struggle of the 21st Century is launched by a small band of criminal deviants like Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri from caves in
I can think of a lot more credible candidates for this century's decisive ideological struggle, including fighting poverty, expanding equitable global trading patterns, promoting good governance and the rule of law around the world, giving ordinary people everywhere a sense of being treated with dignity and justice, safeguarding the global environment and a few others.
Bush is wrong about the real threat from terror and has been wrong since he first had to deal with the impact of 9/11: It is neither a global ideological movement, nor does it plan to take the battle to the streets of
New York Times: In the first of a series of speeches on Iraq last week President Bush described what he said would be the "absolutely disastrous" consequences if the United States withdrew its troops before "Iraq can defend itself": "We would be handing Iraq over to our own worst enemies," he said, "Saddam's former henchmen, armed groups with ties to Iran and al-Qaeda terrorists from all over the world who would suddenly have a base of operations far more valuable than Afghanistan under the Taliban."
The president is right that a precipitate withdrawal from
In short, the situation in
Joshua Holland: "Seriousness" has become the word of the day for the Islamophobic set.
According to some of our more serious hawks, anyone who doesn't buy that the liberal democracies of the West are engaged in a death-match with hordes of dusky Muslim fanatics is "unserious" about
It's the latest in a series of attempts to forestall any meaningful discussion of the causes of violent Islamist ideologies, much less how the
Unfortunately, all too many otherwise sane people seem to accept the terms.
But it's hard to imagine anything more profoundly unserious than taking a dozen complex conflicts that originated in a dozen countries, stripping them of all historical and political context and lumping them together in an amorphous blob called the "Clash of Civilizations." But that's exactly what we're talking about.
Helen Thomas: The war and the
That's why it's time for the Democratic candidates to call for an immediate withdrawal of
We don't need more phony timetables to prolong the agony. We need a quick exit from a bad show.
It's distressing that The Washington Post has found that most Democrats in competitive congressional races are resisting pressure to call for a speedy pullout. Those spineless Democrats are apparently frightened by the prospect that the Bush administration would use the "cut-and-run" fear card against them.
Where is the opposition in the opposition party?
Elliott Denniston: So why is it that even a minority of voters still approve of President Bush? (Many fewer "approve of" Congress.) Are they single-issue voters so obsessed with abortion or gun control, for example, that they dismiss all the rest of the government's vast work as irrelevant?
Are they so focused on the war that their whole political outlook is, "It would be unpatriotic to say that our troops cannot bring stability to
Or are they Republicans because they have always been Republicans, so they simply cannot say, "My vote was a mistake?" Or, perhaps most dangerously, does their information come solely from biased and often erroneous sources such as FoxNews and Rush Limbaugh?
They resemble an audience that keeps watching a mediocre magician's act, mesmerized long after the mechanics of the sleight-of-hand have been revealed. They need to realize that it's not magic; it's fraud.
David Rossie: Recently, the Marine Corps announced that it is going to begin recalling 2,500 inactive reservists for duty in
That's great. Men and women who have already put their lives on the line two or more times are going to be asked to do it again, because crazy Don Rumsfeld ignored real military men such as Marine General Anthony Zinni and Army General Eric Shinseki when they warned him he was going into Iraq with too few soldiers and too little equipment.
Four years later and the troops continue to pay the price of that blunder, with no end in sight and little or nothing they can do about it. Unless they revive Nancy Reagan's solution to the drug problem: Just say no!
Albor Ruiz: It is unfortunate that 38 young New Yorkers have already been killed in the
And now that, in full electoral mode, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are again trying to put the blindfold back over the eyes of Americans, only God knows how many more will be lost.
That is why a three-part series by Eva Sanchis, a reporter for the Spanish-language daily El Diario-La Prensa, published last month, is so important.
Sanchis shines a powerful light on the disproportionate contribution in blood and guts of immigrant and minority communities to this senseless war. According to her second article, dated Aug. 29, of the 38 New Yorkers killed, 21 were Hispanic, eight black, four Asian and five white.
"The impact of the war on minority communities has been brutal," Sanchis said. The figures "confirm that minorities are making a greater sacrifice."
A large number of the dead are immigrants, although the rabid anti-immigration crowd conveniently ignores this fact. Directly related to this tragic toll are Sanchis' findings about how intense recruitment efforts are in minority communities.
"An analysis of the location of the Armed Forces' 26 recruitment centers in the city, listed in their Web page, show that most are located in the poorest neighborhoods."
Gregory Djerejian: Regardless, and analyses of political leader's rhetorical tactics aside, what is quite clear is that as election season kicks into gear, Bush has instructed his two old attack dogs (Rumsfeld and Cheney) to go out, dish some dirt, and play hardball. But this is not devilishly effective Lee Atwater style fare, delivered with calculated punch and resulting in tangible electoral advantage. Rather, it smells like damaged goods, smacks of desperation, and is nakedly divisive fare despite disingenuously masquerading as a call for unity.
Indeed, as the failure of the Bush Administration's war strategy becomes more and more evident to all but the most hardened denialists, as their desperation and incompetence becomes more evident to the American public, as their Middle East policy increasingly lies in tatters, and as they continue to erroneously attempt to conjoin things like the London terror plot with Iraq, without admitting the need for urgent re-appraisal of our overall strategy in the war on terror (they are incapable and/or too exhausted to make significant course corrections)--the rhetoric is beginning to border on dangerously reckless, and I trust the American people to reject this growing demagogy, and vote the Democrats in in November (at least in the House). I take no particular joy in this, as I think the Democrats have distinguished themselves by what I've called their ferocious lameness too often, but I cannot support a party that continues to allow a man this discredited a platform to propagate such gross dissembling, not to mention continues to allow him to prosecute a war where he has failed so dismally to achieve our nation's most basic strategic objectives.
To be sure, Bush will doubtless give a more centrist, 'statesmanlike' speech in the next days. But let us not be fooled. Bush has proven an incompetent, and he has two reckless, even dangerous men advising him in Rumsfeld and Cheney who, rather than disappearing into the early retirement both so richly deserve, are instead being given free rein to engage in the quite disgusting revisionism, cheap historical hyperbole, and demagoguery we've witnessed with the American Legion speech. Bush supports them in this, and so is totally complicit. Enough is enough. The only message these arrogant, discredited men will understand is a blistering one of rejection sent through the ballot-box. Let's try to give it to them, big time, as they say.
The 28-year-old was serving in
DoD Casualty Release
David J. Almazan, 27, of Van Nuys; sergeant, Army. Almazan was killed Aug. 27 when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee in
Darry Benson, 46, of
Marine Cpl. Jordan C. Pierson, 21, of
On Friday, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Cliff Golla -- the only son of Polish immigrants -- died near Habbaniyah in central
Sgt. Jeffrey S. Brown came home to
Brown's mother and father are no exception.
Their son was one of two soldiers killed Aug. 8 when their helicopter, assigned to the 82nd Medical Company at