Wednesday, September 06, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 06, 2006
Gunmen rampaged through a Sunni Arab neighborhood in western
Eight people were killed and at least 38 wounded when a car bomb blasted a busy road in the mainly Shi'ite Qahira district of northern Baghdad at the morning rush hour, said police, who also fear a surge in violence later this week when hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites mark a religious festival.
Police found the bodies of 19 people across
Iraqi police found 15 bodies across
On the outskirts of
Two people were killed in an ambush, another five were injured when an unknown assailant opened fire on them in a village south of the city, and a policeman was wounded in a roadside bomb attack on a police patrol in Baqouba.
Mortars killed two people and wounded six when they landed on a main road in Mahmudiya.
Five suspected insurgents and a child were killed and a second child was wounded during a raid in Muqdadiyah. The raid targeted "an individual with ties to movement of terrorist finances and foreign fighters into
Gunmen killed two people from the Yezidi religious minority in the northern city of
In Ramadi, 70 miles northwest of
A car bomb killed six members of
Unmanageable: The number of killings in the Iraqi capital escalated last week despite an American-led crackdown, with morgue workers receiving as many bodies as they had during the first three weeks of August combined.
At least 334 people, including 23 women, were slain in
During the week, at least 394 other people were killed around
"We can't stop the killings and the kidnappings," said Capt. Michael Baka, from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. "All we can do is to prevent as many as we can."
In the past, Americans have turned over control of certain areas to Iraqis only to see violence flare up once they leave.
Iraqi forces "lack training and weapons," said a high-ranking Iraqi army officer, who wanted to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue. "The terrorists have more powerful weapons."
He added that the Iraqi army "can't accomplish all the missions but depends on the multinational forces to do most of the tasks."
Disagreements continued over the hand-over of
Maybe getting that second in command guy didn’t make much difference after all: An Iraqi militant group led by al Qaeda posted a Web video on Wednesday showing the killing of two Iraqi national guardsmen whom it branded collaborators with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.
The video by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group led by al Qaeda in
Their comments were barely audible, but one man could be heard saying: "I call on my brothers in the national guard to cooperate with the mujhaideen ... This is a message to my colleagues in the national guard, the collaborators."
The video, posted on an Internet site often used by militant groups, then showed the blindfolded men being killed by a single shot in the head. One of the men could be seen shaking and sobbing before the shooting.
I think they’ll need longer than that: The Iraqi parliament voted on Tuesday to extend the country's state of emergency for 30 more days.
The measure has been in place for almost two years and grants security forces greater powers. It affects the entire country apart from the autonomous Kurdish region in the north.
On the other hand, maybe not: Iraq's leaders have just months to mend their differences or see their country collapse, the speaker of parliament told wrangling deputies on Wednesday after a car bomb caused dozens of casualties in the morning rush hour.
Ethnic Kurds in the chamber demanded a new national flag to end a row over the Saddam-era version that has raised talk of Kurdish secession. But some members complained parliament's agenda, on its first full session after a summer recess, failed to address urgent issues that may affect the nation's survival.
Silencing one angry dissenter, Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani told the assembly: "Let's start talking the same language.
"We have three to four months to reconcile with each other," Mashhadani, a Sunni Arab, said of a national reconciliation aimed at averting ethnic and sectarian civil war.
"If the country doesn't survive this, it will go under."
Tensions grow with Kurds: The angry debate over a ban on
The controversy and threats of secession by Kurdish provinces in the north come even as the Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict in
Sunni Arab politician Saleh al-Mutlak, standard bearer for the pro-flag movement, described the ban as an insult to the nation's honor and a violation of the sanctity of the constitution. He called on Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, to defend the sovereignty of the country he had sworn to uphold.
Kurdish tensions could set off something bigger: Little is known about the KFF. It is thought to consist of several hundred militants who dismiss the PKK's readiness to give up the armed struggle. Turkish authorities believe the split is a sham and the two groups are linked; some analysts believe the PKK directs the KFF. Thus far, there is a key difference between the groups: while the KFF targets tourists, the PKK sticks to military targets. The PKK has condemned the KFF's attacks.
The Turkish government is convinced the militants enjoy sanctuary across the border in
The Peshmerga sympathize with
Please note that the first full story posted above says this ceremony was postponed indefinitely. I hope someone from the
"Tomorrow is gigantic,"
Iraqi Defense Minister Abdel Qader Jassim said a dispute over a text outlining the new working relationship between the
Three hundred and sixty?: Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett has visited the restive southern Iraqi city of Basra, as the military announced it was sending 360 extra troops to protect reconstruction projects.
Two British soldiers were killed just north of
"I had some good meetings with senior Iraqi politicians yesterday," she said on the second day of her visit to
"We discussed the national reconciliation programme for the whole of
British forces have overall charge of security in
What’s in a name: The country’s Sunni-Shiite bloodletting is driving many Iraqis to bury the very essence of their identity: their names.
To have to hide one’s name is considered deeply shameful. But with sectarian violence surging, Iraqis fear that the name on an identification card, passport or other document could become an instant death sentence if seen by the wrong people.
That is because some first names and tribal names indicate whether a person is Sunni or Shiite. A first name of Omar is popular among Sunnis, for example, as is Ali among Shiites.
Stories abound of Iraqi civilians being stopped at checkpoints by militiamen, insurgents or uniformed men and having their identification cards scrutinized. They are then taken away or executed on the spot if they have a suspect name or a hometown dominated by the rival sect. In
If it’s the truth it sure won’t be welcome: Bush administration policymakers and their congressional backers may get some unwelcome news from a new analysis on
The contents of the report may have been foreshadowed in a recent series of closed-door briefings given to Congress by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon's intelligence arm painted a scenario in which
And this is just the top ten: Halliburton has become synonymous with war profiteering, but there are lots of other greedy fingers in the pie. We name names on 10 of the worst.
The history of American war profiteering is rife with egregious examples of incompetence, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, bribery and misconduct. As war historian Stuart Brandes has suggested, each new war is infected with new forms of war profiteering.
What? Corporations don’t always act in the national interest? Mercy sakes!: He's tackled Wal-Mart and Fox News with his scathing documentaries. Now, filmmaker Robert Greenwald is releasing a documentary which argues that private companies helping to fight the war in
"Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers" debuts in limited release this week, and presents an assault on companies that provide the kinds of services in Iraq that the military once handled itself, such as supplying food, water and mail delivery for the reconstruction.
In the film, former KBR/Halliburton water purification specialist Ben Carter is interviewed and says when a motor went out on a truck, they would "buy a new truck … and bill the government."
Who says we haven’t taught the Iraqis anything about American government: It has been three years since the fall of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's government and Iraqis are still lacking basic facilities such as power, clean potable water and sanitation, problems some experts blame on corruption.
"Corruption has become common in
So far, some 3,500 corruption cases have been investigated by the CPI, of which 780 cases have been lodged in court but fewer than 50 have been tried, according to officials.
Department of Things We Can Be Sure Will Work Out Well
Because government is evil and privatization is always good!: For more than a year, Schulz, 59, has worked for Serco Inc., a company hired by the Army to test how well private headhunters do compared with the enlisted men and women who do the job. If the sales pitch works, the Army gets a new recruit, Serco gets paid and Schulz is rewarded. In July, he received a bonus of nearly $10,000 from Serco after signing up nine recruits, a company record that also earned him an invitation to speak to a group of military recruiters about his success.
The wars in
By turning to the private sector, advocates argue, the Army can save money and free soldiers to fight. Critics say it pushes the limit to what military jobs should be outsourced, furthering a trend that has already drawn record numbers of private contractors into roles as central as interrogating prisoners.
"The use of contractors for this sensitive purpose, dealing with the lives of young people, is troublesome," said Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has often criticized the government's reliance on contractors. "There is a notorious lack of oversight in all contracts, so why would we expect that in this very sensitive area it would be any better?"
9/11 + 5
Of course, Iraqi civilians broke this record in the first week of the war…: As the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attack on the
The announcement Sunday of four more
The 9/11 attack killed 2,973 people, including Americans and foreign nationals but excluding the terrorists. The 9/11 death toll was calculated by CNN.
Some poll results: 9/11 + 5 finds a nation badly divided as GOPers back
Five years after 9/11, the bitter division between Republicans and Democrats on key issues is as intense as ever, with the two at loggerheads over the War in
The dramatic polarization highlighted by the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks in
The Zogby America telephone poll of 1,014 likely voters conducted over Labor Day weekend finds members of the two parties diametrically opposed on key issues, while independents line up more closely to Democratic viewpoints.
In one key measurement in the survey, a 58% majority says the Iraq War has not been worth the loss of American lives, while 36% say it has. But the partisan breakdown shows a very different story. Among Republicans, 58% say the war has been worth the cost in lives, while among Democrats, just 20% hold this view—a number that improves to 28% among independents.
Also note that 65% of Republicans believe there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9-11 attacks. How in the world do you reason with people who are so impervious to reality? -m
The Joke’s On You
Wait for the punch line: Quoting repeatedly from Osama bin Laden, President Bush said Tuesday that pulling
With two months until an Election Day that hinges largely on national security, Bush laid out bin Laden's vision in detail, including new revelations from previously unreported documents. Voters were never more united behind the president than in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and his speech was designed to convince Americans that the threat has not faded five years later.
Keep reading, it’s coming: The Pakistani government and pro-Taliban militants announced that they signed a peace accord Tuesday aimed at ending five years of violent unrest in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
The agreement came as a NATO-led offensive in southern Afghanistan continued for a fourth day, with U.S. artillery and airstrikes killing 50 to 60 suspected Taliban militants Tuesday, a NATO spokesman said.
Under the peace deal, the militants are to halt attacks on Pakistani forces in the semiautonomous North Waziristan region and stop crossing into nearby eastern
The accord calls for Pakistani troops to stop their hugely unpopular military campaign in the restive Pakistani region, in which more than 350 soldiers have died, along with hundreds of militants and scores of civilians.
But the agreement, which one official said offered an "implicit amnesty" to foreign and local militants, highlights the Pakistani military's inability to crush a violent pro-Taliban insurgency on its own soil.
Here it is: Osama bin
The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the
If he is in
(Yes, I know the link doesn't work - see below. -m)
Ok, just in the hour or so since I copied the above post the link went down and now there’s a story headlined that
"If he is in
The ambassador said a Pakistani military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, had been "grossly misquoted" when he told ABC News Tuesday that bin Laden would not be taken into custody "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen." The comments were recorded in a telephone interview with ABC News.
Q. ABC News: If bin Laden or Zawahiri were there, they could stay?
A. Gen. Sultan: No one of that kind can stay. If someone is there he will have to surrender, he will have to live like a good citizen, his whereabouts, exit travel would be known to the authorities.
Q. ABC News: So, he wouldn't be taken into custody? He would stay there?
A. Gen. Sultan: No, as long as one is staying like a peaceful citizen, one would not be taken into custody. One has to stay like a peaceful citizen and not allowed to participate in any kind of terrorist activity.
General Sultan said today it was "hair splitting" to speculate whether troops would be sent in if bin Laden was found in
"If someone is found there, we will see what is to be done," General Sultan said today. "
Under the terms of the peace agreement, the Pakistani Army promised to cease action in the area and to return captured Taliban weapons and soldiers.
Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant, said "What this means is that the Taliban and al Queida leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside
General Sultan said today he "rejected" the idea that
Now Why Didn’t Saddam Think Of This?
Retroactively becoming not war criminals: The War Crimes Act was little noticed until the disclosure of Alberto Gonzales's infamous 2002 "torture memo." Gonzales, then serving as presidential counsel, advised President Bush to declare that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to people the
Noting that the statute "prohibits the commission of a 'war crime' by or against a
Unfortunately for top Bush officials, that "solid defense" was demolished this summer when the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ruled that the Geneva Conventions were indeed the law of the land.
The Court singled out
As David Cole of the Georgetown University Law Center pointed out in the August 10 issue of The New York Review of Books, the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v. Rusmfeld "suggests that President Bush has already committed a war crime, simply by establishing the [Guantánamo] military tribunals and subjecting detainees to them" because "the Court found that the tribunals violate Common Article 3--and under the War Crimes Act, any violation of Common Article 3 is a war crime." A similar argument would indicate that top
Lo and behold, the legislation the Administration has circulated on Capitol Hill would decriminalize such acts retroactively. Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, told the Associated Press on August 10, "I think what this bill can do is in effect immunize past crimes. That's why it's so dangerous." Human rights attorney Scott Horton told Democracy Now! on August 16 that one of the purposes of the proposed legislation is "to grant immunity or impunity to certain individuals. And these are mostly decision-makers within the government."
Stratfor.com analysis: Talabani, for obvious political reasons, cannot promote Kurdish independence, but he can use moves like Barzani's as a way to pressure other players into yielding some ground to the Kurds, rather than slipping into a complete state of civil war. After all, much of
Sean Gonsalves: In a report released last week titled Executive Excess 2006, researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy provide the numbers to back up what many, if not most of us, suspected, and/or expected for quite some time now. (I know I declared a cease-fire, but this is not direct
Although the report examines excessive pay among oil execs, what really caught my attention are the ridiculous salaries being paid to out-of-harms-way CEOs of military contracting companies. Since the "war on terror" began, CEOs of the top 34 military contractors are making twice as much as they made in the four years before 9/11.
In 2005, the top CEOs in the war business were "earning" 44 times more than military generals with 20 years experience, and 308 times more than Army privates.
How do the report's authors know this? They surveyed all publicly held
Conservatives and libertarians argue that CEO pay raises merely reflect rising corporate profits. "As a company's fortunes fare, so do the CEOs and other top managers and that is the way it should work in the business world," Charles Pena, director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute told the Boston Globe last week.
To his credit, Pena did acknowledge that "the vast majority of money these people make comes from taxpayer dollars," which are "issues that need to be examined." Indeed.
Karen Kwiatkowski: Using dubious information and a whole lot of propaganda, we launched the destructive power of the world's most expensive and deadliest military on extremely weak fourth rate Middle Eastern countries of narrowly perceived strategic value in the name of promoting “democracy.' If we question this situation on moral, ethical, logical (when they vote freely, aren't we the ones who get voted off the island first?), strategic or constitutional grounds, according to Rumsfeld, we are ourselves the enemies of “freedom.'
But Bush and Rumsfeld are right about one thing. They believe that if Americans think about and assess the Bush administration wars – overseas and at home on the Constitution – Americans will cease any remaining support for continued military actions in
The Bush administration fears a true American legion – that growing multitude of thinking people who love this country and hate what Bush's foreign policy and domestic abuses are doing to it. This is why Rummy needed to chide, to threaten, and to name-call in a crowd of reliable and erstwhile supporters. Even in
Last weeks' speeches indicate that Bush and Rumsfeld both know that if Americans become clear headed and logical, the Bush cabal loses and the party ends. Boldly unhampered by truth and increasingly menacing in tone, their words reveal panic and political desperation.
My prediction is neither earth-shattering nor genius. But between now and the November elections, every opportunity to cause American emotion to trump American intellect will be seized, squeezed and sustained by this administration and its handmaidens.
Philip Gailey: After Cheney and Rumsfeld finished working over the appeasers, President Bush flew to
Bush said we would be fighting terrorists "in the streets of our own cities" if we withdrew from
"The war we fight today is more than a military conflict," Bush said. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."
If Bush really believes the stakes in
With the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and a midterm election coming up, the Bush gang is still trafficking in fear, which is about all they have left. But polls show that a majority of Americans are on to their game. The public no longer believes the invasion of
Cynthia Tucker: "It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies," Mr. Rumsfeld said of the years preceding World War II. "When those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and Nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored. Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated. ...
"With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?"
That pronouncement is packed with so much nonsense that trying to defuse it would cause a minor explosion. Suffice it to say that this administration has no intention of owning up to the awful realities of its misguided invasion of
The president and his proxies, including Mr. Rumsfeld, are fanning out across the nation to try to scare the voters, once again, into voting Republican. As they've done before, they're conflating
Those tactics might not work so well this time around. It's hard to persuade voters to disregard the video footage of daily carnage in
But the White House shows few signs of acknowledging reality. Mr. Bush says we can't withdraw because the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform who have died there - more than 2,600 so far - would be in vain. More Americans must die, it seems, because so many have already died - a pernicious bit of circular reasoning.
Patrick Cockburn: Across the Middle East secularist and nationalist regimes are being discredited by the wars in
The attack by a lone gunman in
If I tried to repeat any of these journeys in
The real reason of the increasing violence in the
A St. Louis man who dedicated himself to saving lives has died while serving as a Navy corpsman assigned to a Marine detachment in
A 21-year-old Marine reservist from
The body of a Marine from
The Patriot News is reporting a 22-year-old
The Army says a