Monday, October 16, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2006
"But let's remember what we've already found. Secretary Powell on February 5th talked about a mobile, biological weapons capability. That has now been found and this is a weapons laboratory trailers capable of making a lot of agent that -- dry agent, dry biological agent that can kill a lot of people. So we are finding these pieces that were described." – Condoleeza Rice, Capital Report, CNBC (6/3/2003)
Two US Marines were killed by insurgents in
The bullet-riddled bodies of 11 men were found dumped in the capital overnight, two of them found in a trash pit in
A total of 46 bodies, with gunshot wounds and bearing signs of torture, were found in
Three roadside bombs exploded, killing three civilians and wounding seven other people, including a policeman, near a bank in central
Gunmen killed Farouq Atta, an air force brigadier, and wounded two of his companions on Sunday in northern Waziriya district of Baghdad.
(Update to items posted yesterday) The death toll in a surge of sectarian killings in Balad swelled to at least 91 on Monday.
(Update to items posted yesterday) In a series of attacks on Sunday against Iraqi civilian and government targets in the northern city of
Gunmen killed the media director of the education department, Raad al-Hayali, on Sunday night in the northern city of
A roadside bomb targeted the convoy of Mohammad Daeekh, the head of the police crime department, wounding one of his bodyguards in the Shi'ite city of
At least 10 people were killed and 15 wounded on Monday when a car bomb went off in a market in the town of
Hussam Ahmed, a correspondent for the independent TV station Nahrain, was forced from his car at gunpoint Saturday, police said. The gunmen took him away in another car. There has been no communication from the kidnappers.
At the current rate of American deaths — more than 3.5 a day — October is on track to be the third deadliest month of the entire
Not boding well: Last Tuesday night in
Major gun battles were being fought in two of
The sustained attacks lasted for two hours, during which
With the IZ in blackout mode, specific troop and tanks movements were ordered, said to be a precautionary defensive measure. But there was high-level concern that the fireworks would be followed by something the
What is happening in
Deliberately targeting reporters?: Gunmen killed a radio journalist and kidnapped a television reporter, Iraqi police said Saturday, continuing a spate of attacks that has killed 14 media employees in recent weeks. Hussam Ahmed, a correspondent for the independent TV station Nahrain, was forced from his car at gunpoint Saturday, police said. The gunmen took him away in another car. There has been no communication from the kidnappers.
Police also reported that another journalist, announcer Raid Qais of Voice of Iraq radio, was shot while driving to work in the Dora neighborhood of south
Refugees: Thousands of Iraqis are fleeing the country every day, in what the UN's refugee agency describes as a steady, silent exodus.
The number of Iraqis claiming asylum in the West is growing, says the UNHCR.
The agency also says the number of internally displaced is growing, with some 365,000 Iraqis uprooted this year.
Fractures: Months of bloodshed have threatened to loosen the bonds holding together
National reconciliation postponed:
…In announcing postponement of the reconciliation conference, the Ministry of State for National Dialogue said only that the gathering, which was planned for Saturday, had been put off for "emergency reasons out of the control of the ministry." The move reflected the upheaval worsening violence has wrought on efforts to stabilize the government and curb bloodshed.
The postponement could deeply damage the al-Maliki administration, which took office just over four months ago vowing to implement a 24-point National Reconciliation plan to heal the nation's severe political wounds.
The proposal, which is being widely discussed in political and intelligence circles in
Islamic Republic: A video posted on the internet on Sunday in the name of one of
If authentic, it could indicate a shift in strategy for parts of the Sunni Arab insurgency. ”Your brothers in the Mutayibeen Coalition herald the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq,” said a spokesman, whose face was blotted out.
He said it should encompass the governates of
The Mutayibeen coalition was purportedly set up last week by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an al-Qaeda-dominated umbrella organisation, along with smaller groups and tribal leaders.
(My emphasis. Kirkuk? That would heat up the war. -m)
Saddam’s two cents: Ousted leader Saddam Hussein has urged the Iraqi people to be "just" in the insurgency against US-led troops, in a letter from his US-run prison sent through his lawyers.
"Resistance against the invaders is a right and a duty ... but I urge the brothers in the noble resistance and the great Iraqi people to be just and fair," Saddam said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to AFP by his Iraqi lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi.
"I also urge you to forgive those who lost their way ... and keep the door of forgiveness open until the last minute that precedes the hour of liberation," Saddam wrote from prison.
"Do not forget that your goal is to liberate your country from the invaders and their followers and is not a settling of accounts outside this goal," Saddam said.
"Remember that after each war there is peace, after each division there is unity," he said, adding that "victory against the occupation forces is certain"
The Human Cost
Widows: About 40 percent of the more than 3,000
Collateral damage: A missile? Mortar? Whose? It was impossible to know. The Americans were invading
And It’s 1, 2, 3, What Are We Fighting For?
For Democracy!: David Brooks has incredible access to the White House so when he said this shocker on "The Chris Matthews Show," I believed him. Bush is thinking about replacing the entire
Matthews: David, do you believe the President is looking for an out from his doctrinaire policy of staying the course?
Brooks: Not really, no I don't. I think they're looking at policy options. One of those options is trying to replace the current government which seems to be doing nothing. The second option is some sort of federation which–Joe Biden has suggested as separating
For Freedom!: The Pentagon kept tabs on nonviolent protesters of the Iraq war -- including a Broward County group that planned a protest for the annual Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show -- by collecting information and storing it in a military antiterrorism database, according to documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The documents, which the ACLU posted today at its website, http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/index.html, were obtained from the Department of Defense under the federal Freedom of Information Act, the civil-liberties group said.
For Justice!: Abdul Rahim Al Ginco thought he was saved when the
Mr. Ginco, a college student living in the
But rather than help Mr. Ginco return home, American soldiers detained him again. Nearly five years later, he remains in the
For the Rule of Law!: The U.S. Marine Corps has threatened to punish two members of the military legal team representing a terrorism suspect being held at Guantanamo Bay if they continue to speak publicly about reported prisoner abuse, a civilian lawyer from the defense team said Saturday.
The action directed at Lt. Col. Colby Vokey and Sgt. Heather Cerveny follows their report last week that
The order has heightened fears among the military defense lawyers for
To Protect the Nation from Evildoers!: When President George W. Bush starts using fifty-cent words in press conferences, one has to wonder why, and on Wednesday, during his Rose Garden appearance, he used the word “caliphate” four times. The enemy, he said—by which he clearly meant the Islamic terrorist enemy—wants to “extend the caliphate,” “establish a caliphate,” and “spread their caliphate.” Caliphate? Really? Many people live long, fruitful lives without once using the word caliphate. Almost no one, with the exception of our president and some of his advisers, uses it as a pejorative.
As NEWSWEEK reported last month, the president and the people who prep him are still clearly casting about for the right phrase to pin on
Or, on the other hand, maybe just so Bush and Blair won’t have to admit they were wrong…: In August this year the British base in the provincial capital, al-Amara, was handed over to the Iraqi army, with flag ceremonies and bands playing (and was promptly looted by local people). The hope was that this would allow 3,000 British troops to be withdrawn from theatre, but after complaints from the
In this context, the sight of British troops mending playground swings and doling out pastel-coloured satchels to primary schools in
Many of the troops on the ground in
Sounds great, John. Too bad it’s about two years too late: Democratic Sen. John Kerry, a potential White House candidate in 2008, said on Friday the Iraq war had worsened terrorism and that the Bush administration had squandered the nation's moral authority.
"They tell us we're making progress in
Profile in cynicism: MARGARET WARNER: Since you were there, another 110 or more American soldiers have died and close to 3,000 Iraqis have been killed in
JAMES BAKER: Well, because it's really important, if our report is going to mean anything, if it's going to have any chance of being embraced by opinion-makers in the
I love this crap from the guy who fixed the 2000 election. What it is, this report is going to say Junior’s approach to the war is (surprise!) a complete train wreck and something has to change. Obviously the Democrats could only benefit from this public acknowledgement that W is a miserable failure, and that, of course, is the true political motivation for withholding the report. -m
Withdrawal? Talking to
While it weighs alternatives, the 10-member commission headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III has agreed on one principle.
"It's not going to be 'stay the course,' " one participant said. "The bottom line is, [current
While a Capitol Hill sex scandal shook up Republicans and President George W. Bush's sinking popularity is weighing them down, public concern over
Disability: About one in five soldiers leaving the military have been disabled to some degree in the two conflicts. Of this group, more than 100,000 have been granted disability compensation. The numbers will increase exponentially, and taxpayers will have to start getting used to paying more as soldiers leave the service and file claims. Roughly 567,000 of the 1.5-million
Support Lt. Watada!
Profile in courage: "He's a bakatare," said George Ishihara, an 85-year-old
NY Times Editorial: When President Bush rammed the bill on military commissions through Congress, the Republicans crowed about creating a process that would be tough on terrorists but preserve essential principles of justice. “
Unfortunately, Mr. Graham was wrong. One of the many problems with the new law is that it will only make it harder than it already is to separate the real terrorists from the far larger group of inmates at Guantánamo Bay who were bit players in the Taliban or innocent bystanders. Mr. Graham and other supporters of this dreadful legislation seem to have forgotten that American justice does not merely deliver swift punishment to the guilty. It also protects the innocent.
Michael Bywater: (1) 655,000 Iraqis have died since the British/American invasion of
(2) Some 750,000 British servicemen (excluding colonials) died in the whole of World War I, a formally declared war legitimate under international law.
(3) 388,000 British servicemen and civilians (excluding colonials) died in World War II, a formally declared war legitimate under international law.
We regard World War I as an unmitigated horror. The death toll in
We regard World War 2 as exacting a terrible toll in a just cause; the fallen (we believe) surrendered, or were deprived of, their lives to preserve the freedoms we now enjoy. The death toll in
Nobody has even noticed the comparative figures. But it's all worth while. It is. Really. It's really all worth while. Really it is. It's what they would have wanted. Really. It is. It's really what they'd have wanted.
Patrick Cockburn: But the question has to be, was this civil war always inevitable? There was always going to be friction and possibly violence between the three main communities in
But the occupation of
The guerrillas in
The present slaughter in
Michael Schwartz: Recently, the New York Times broke a story suggesting that the U.S. Army and the Marines were about to turn the conceptual tide of war in
Such strategic eureka moments have been fairly common since the Bush administration invaded Iraq in March 2003, and this one -- news coverage of it died away in less than a week -- will probably drop into the dustbin of history along with other times when the tactical or strategic tide of war was supposed to change. These would include the November 2004 assault on the city of
But this plan had one ingenious section, derived from an article by four military experts published in the quasi-official Military Review and entitled "The Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency." The nine paradoxes the experts lay out are eye-catching, to say the least, and so make vivid reading; but they are more than so many titillating puzzles of counterinsurgency warfare. Each of them contains an implied criticism of American strategy in
This is a very interesting analysis of an analysis. Well worth reading in full if you care about counterinsurgency doctrine. -m
Daniel Davies: That qualitative conclusion is this: things have got worse, and they have got a lot worse, not a little bit worse. Whatever detailed criticisms one might make of the methodology of the study (and I have searched assiduously for the last two years, with the assistance of a lot of partisans of the Iraq war who have tried to pick holes in the study, and not found any), the numbers are too big. If you go out and ask 12,000 people whether a family member has died and get reports of 300 deaths from violence, then that is not consistent with there being only 60,000 deaths from violence in a country of 26 million. It is not even nearly consistent.
This is the question to always keep at the front of your mind when arguments are being slung around (and it is the general question one should always be thinking of when people talk statistics). How Would One Get This Sample, If The Facts Were Not This Way? There is really only one answer - that the study was fraudulent. It really could not have happened by chance. If a Mori poll puts the Labour party on 40% support, then we know that there is some inaccuracy in the poll, but we also know that there is basically zero chance that the true level of support is 2% or 96%, and for the Lancet survey to have delivered the results it did if the true body count is 60,000 would be about as improbable as this. Anyone who wants to dispute the important conclusion of the study has to be prepared to accuse the authors of fraud, and presumably to accept the legal consequences of doing so.
So what? This is always the other line from the people who want to ignore this study. Even if we accept that the invasion has been a disaster (in the strictest sense, the doubling of the civilian death-rate is usually taken to constitute a humanitarian crisis) for the Iraqi people, what should we do differently? The majority of the deaths by violence are a result of action by the insurgents, so we can't just pull the troops home. Isn't this kind of study just "picking over the rubble", to quote the Euston Manifesto and a distraction from the real debate about humanitarian intervention?
Well, there is something that we can do. We can ensure that the people responsible for this outrage suffer the consequences of their actions. A particularly disgusting theme of some right-wing American critics of the study as been to impugn it by talking about it being "conveniently" released before the November congressional elections. As if a war that doubled the death rate in
There has to be some accountability here. It is not good enough for the pro-intervention community to shrug their shoulders and say that the fatalities caused by the insurgents are not our fault and not part of the moral calculus. I would surely like to see the insurgents in the ICC on war crimes charges, but the
Glenn Greenwald: The single most erroneous and destructive premise among the Beltway political class -- which includes the Democratic consulting class along with their intellectual twins in the David-Broder-led punditry circles -- is that anger and passion are the enemies of successful political movements. They preach a mindset of fear and defensiveness -- never articulate a view too strenuously and never be driven by principle or passion because to do so renders one an unmoderate extremist who will alienate normal Americans.
Whatever else you might want to say about them, the Bush-led Republicans embrace their radical ideas enthusiastically and are never shy about advocating them. But the mentality of the Democratic consultancy and pundit class have, outside of that extremist GOP crevice, stripped our political system of any real conviction, passion, belief, and resolve.
Democrats so rarely mold, shape or drive public opinion because their consultants and pundits operate from the premise that passion and principle are to be avoided at all costs. Stripped to its essence, the core advice of these consultants, which most national Democrats have been embracing, is to follow, not lead. But Americans -- understandably -- want to elect leaders, not followers, and that is why nothing has been more damaging to the Democratic Party brand than the self-consciously clever, soul-less, fear-driven advice of their consultants to abandon their own beliefs.
The Democratic consultants who told Joe Sestak not to advocate troop withdraw from