Friday, November 10, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, November 10, 2006 Rumsfeld And Saddam Agree They've Both Had A Crappy Week... And Yet, For Some of Us, the Best Week in Six Years Bring 'em on: Two 89th Military Police Brigade Soldiers were killed and one Soldier was wounded Thursday after their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device at 12:48 p.m. Thursday in west Baghdad. (MNF- Iraq) Brig 'em on: One Soldier assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) was killed and another wounded Nov. 10 during a combat logistics patrol when their truck was hit by an improvised explosive device west of Hadithah. (MNF- Iraq) Bring 'em on: One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Thursday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province. (MNF- Iraq) OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Gunmen abducted a police lieutenant colonel in northern Baghdad. Dinwaniya: Gunmen killed a former Baath Party member in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad. Yusufiya: Gunmen in four cars broke into two houses and abducted and killed 14 people in Kwerisha village, near the town of Yusufiya 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad. The bodies were found dumped in a field. Mosul: Police fished the body of a woman, bearing signs of torture and bullet wounds, from Tigris river in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. Kirkuk: A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol, wounding two soldiers in northern city of Kirkuk. Tal Afar: At least six Iraqi soldiers were killed and 10 wounded when a suicide bomber drove his explosives-rigged car into an army checkpoint in the northern city of Tal Afar on Friday, the military said. The unit's commander, Col. Abdul-Karim Jassim, was among those killed in the 2:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) attack, while eight civilians were also injured, army spokesman Brig. Najim Abdullah said. >> NEWS Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed in a new audio tape to be winning the war faster than expected in Iraq, saying it had mobilized 12,000 fighters. The group also said it welcomed the Republican electoral defeat that led to the departure of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and it added that its fighters would not rest until they had blown up the White House. Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also urged the U.S. to stay in Iraq so his group would have more opportunities to kill American troops. "The al-Qaida army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God's sake," a man introduced as al-Muhajir said in an audio tape made available on militant Web sites. "We will not rest from our Jihad until we are under the olive trees of Rumieh and we have blown up the filthiest house - which is called the White House," al-Muhajir said. (...) The speaker praised the outcome of Tuesday's elections in which Democrats swept to power in the House and the Senate, in large part due to U.S. voter dissatisfaction over the handling of the war in Iraq. "The American people have put their feet on the right path by ... realizing their president's betrayal in supporting Israel," the terror leader said. "So they voted for something reasonable in the last elections." Describing President Bush as "the most stupid president" in U.S. history, al-Masri reached out to the Muslim world and said his group was winning the war in Iraq faster than expected due to U.S. policies.
He urged Bush not to withdraw U.S. forces so al-Qaida could have more opportunities to fight U.S. soldiers. "We haven't had enough of your blood yet," he told the U.S. The speaker also referred to Rumsfeld's resignation and called on "the lame duck (Bush) not to hurry up in escaping the same way the defense minister did." "They are getting ready to leave, because they are no longer capable of staying," the al-Qaida leader said, referring to U.S. forces.
Bush and his national security team will meet Monday with members of a blue-ribbon commission trying to devise a new course for the unpopular war in Iraq. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, is expected to report its recommendations before the end of the year. Members of the group will have a joint conference at the White House with Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. >> REPORTS Roads to Iraq: IRAQ DEVELOPMENT: 10 NOV 2006 Kuwaiti newspaper Alwatan revealed that:
Senior American military men asked their politicians to give the green light to launch a sweeping assault against all armed militias.
That's explains this Al-Hayat report today saying:
Iraqi officials avoiding the use of the the word "Militia" in their statements about daily attacks.
Recently, Iraqi government uses the word "terrorists" and "Ba'athists" in every attack happened, doesn't matter on a Shiite district or Sunni one [Iraqi government using a new tactic: Don't mention the Militias, so the Americans don't hear about them, kind of hide their heads in the sand]. Asharqalawsat give one example of the chaos in western policy with Iraq, Hadi Al-Amri the, leader of "Badr Brigade" terrorist organization was invited to London: In his interview with the newspaper he said:
There are 33 terrorist Militias in Iraq, there are 33 Ministry and every Ministry has a Militia of there own
Ironically Al-Amri is also; Chairman of Defense and Security Committee in the Iraqi Parliament. I can't say it better than on the comments at the bottom of the article: It seems that the Defense and Security Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, is the Committee of coordination with the Militias to operate freely and openly in broad daylight as long as it is chaired by the leader of the Badr Brigade. link Roads to Iraq: IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, HEART-ATTACK BECUASE OF RUMSFELD BAD NEWS Aliraqnews reported the following:
Muwaffaq Rubaie transferred to the American hospital at the airport yesterday after he heard the news of the fall of the Rumsfeld. Rubaie was at the Conference Palace for a meeting with Iraqia satellite channel, he fall on the ground after a heart-attack before the eyes of the staff at the building when he heard the news about Rumsfeld, he was transported immediately to the American military hospital by a US convoy.
P.S Rubaie is Iraqi National Security Advisor and one of two "VIP" in Iraq, the other one is; Al-Shahwani, both don't follow the Iraqi government rules, they follow US instructions. link The Independent: BRITISH OFFICIALS REPEATEDLY CONVEYED TO AMERICANS THAT OVERTHROWING SADDAM WOULD CAUSE CHAOS A former diplomat has revealed that the British mission to the United Nations opposed the policy of regime change in Iraq but was ordered by London to change its position in the lead-up to war. The disclosure was made to MPs yesterday by Carne Ross, a member of the mission who resigned in protest at the Iraq war. He told the Foreign Affairs Committee that the US government was repeatedly warned by British diplomats that Iraq would fall apart if Saddam Hussein was toppled. But from mid-2002 instructions were received to change that view to fall in with the Bush administration. Speaking in public for the first time since he left the diplomatic service two years ago, Mr Ross also confirmed suspicions that the Prime Minister made up his mind months before the Iraq invasion in March 2003 that the war was going to happen and British troops would take part. Mr Ross said when he was serving in the embassy in Afghanistan, as early as April 2002, British officials there knew troops were being held back in readiness for the Iraq invasion. He claimed that when official documents from the Foreign Office are made public, they will prove that the view of British officials, repeatedly conveyed to the Americans, was that overthrowing Saddam Hussein would cause chaos. read in full New Statesman: IRAQ: THE NEW COVER-UP A secret first full draft of the Iraq WMD dossier, which shows how Tony Blair persuaded parliament of the case for war, is being concealed by the government. This draft was not written by the intelligence services, as Whitehall claims, but by a Foreign Office spin-doctor. Our political editor, Martin Bright reports The government is withholding a secret draft of the Iraq WMD dossier that was never disclosed to the Hutton inquiry, the New Statesman can reveal. In a development that will stoke demands for a full parliamentary inquiry into the events that led up to the war, we can confirm that the draft was written not by the intelligence services, which had responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in the dossier, but by a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office press officer, whose name has previously featured only on the fringes of the controversy over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. It raises the possibility that the dossier originated with the government's spin machine rather than the intelligence services. This secret draft may even turn out to be the foundation of the government's ill-fated presentation of the threat from Saddam's WMD, which Tony Blair used to persuade parliament of the case for war. The existence of the secret draft has been confirmed by the Foreign Office, but it has refused to release it despite repeated freedom of information requests. read in full… BRussells Tribunal: FIERCE FIGHTING IN THE BESIEGED DISTRICT Adhamiya, the northern and oldest district of Baghdad, has been exposed to daily shelling and militias' raids for few months now. While the citizens heroically defended their families and houses, the Iraqi security forces were practically putting the area under continuous siege. But in the last 3 days, and despite the curfew, Adhamiya was shelled continuously with rockets, mortars, and militias raids with the government and the security forces doing nothing about it, apart from covering it. Today the area was bombed by 23 mortars, killing at least 8 and injuring tens while the fighting is going on in many parts of it. Adhamiya citizens called upon the government to take an active attitude towards the massacres committed there by the armed militias on daily level, according to Al-Sharqiya satellite TV in Baghdad. People from the area talk about continuous ambulances, firemen cars movement and calls from the Numan hospital to donate blood, which means that the fighting is very fierce. On Sunday morning, four- wheel propelled vehicles attacked Antar square in the middle of Adhamiya, and was strongly confronted, the same in Alcamp area where groups of Al-Mahdi army attacked, but there were no immediate numbers of casualties. Citizens and armed resistance are protecting the streets now. 30 of the National Guards and the Interior Ministry Commandos' vehicles entered the area Sunday , and began shooting at the at the people and the shops, accompanied by 120 mm mortar shelling, while the American helicopters were roaming the sky. Eye witnesses say that they were strongly confronted but there are no numbers mentioned of the casualties again. Yesterday night the American troops toured the district streets, telling the civilians to inform about the snipers for "good money rewards". Last Saturday night, 4 November, Adhamiya was shelled again by mortars which killed and injured several civilians, but no number was given due to the curfew. Abu Hanifa mosque was attacked Saturday by mortars, which fell on the surrounding graveyard. Fighting was going on in Street 20, Rass Al-Hawash, Omar bin Abdul Aziz street. link >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Iraqi Letters: US MIDTERMS AND RUMMY AND IRAQ I wasn't particularly jubilant earlier today! I didn't even follow the election results as closely as I should have: Bush was adamant to 'stay the course', the Democrats did not have a clear policy on Iraq. Some of them were even advocating the break-up of the country - a recipe for disaster... But less than an hour ago this evening, and for the first time in more than a year, I listened carefully to what George Bush, the de-facto President of Iraq, had to say! It brought an unfamiliar warmth to my old heart to see that man, who brought so much death and destruction to my country, broken. He couldn't hide that. It was written all over him! Another of the President's Men going down? Rummy, who had the President's full confidence? Arrogant, murderous, contemptuous Rummy? I am not a Democrat. But those two items made my day. Can an Iraqi hope now? Perhaps a little. Time for accountability? Dare we hope? Perhaps too soon for that. The beginning of the end of a mad era? Perhaps too soon for that too. To Americans I say: to see the man who has done so much damage to your country in that position in that press conference... I only have one word: Congratulations! Your democracy may have many illnesses; you have a long way yet to go... but tonight many of you have shown the rest of the world that It and you are not dead yet. In parting, I would just like to quote an American friend who wrote to me earlier today: " There's hope at this juncture, for a sane approach to assisting you Iraqi's with the hideous mess we created for you. We aren't all crazy over here ... There are huge numbers of intelligent (non-hawk-whack-jobs) who agonize over what we've done to you." No analysis this time! That is good enough for me... for now! link Arab Links: EIGHT WORDS TO CHANGE IN THE "CHANGE IN POLICY" Following the Democratic gains in Congress, there will be talk of a "change in policy" for the Bush administration, but if the owner/operators of the smoke machine have their way, there won't be any discussion what the strategy has been up to now, thus ensuring that any "changes" will be of the cliche-ridden, half-baked variety. The strategy up to now has been highly aggressive demonization of any group associated with national resistance to foreign occupation. From the Cheney stump-speech: "This is not an enemy that can be ignored, or negotiated with, or appeased". In this view, there is no functional difference between national resistance and AlQaeda. This is becoming self-fulfilling, and people should be worried about that. What to change in the "change in policy"? Eight words: National resistance to foreign occupation can be legitimate. read in full... Arab Links: "SADDAM'S OPPRESSION WAS POLITICAL, IT IS THE AMERICANS WHO ARE PUSHING SECTARIANISM" Reuters in Arabic published an interesting analytical piece following the Saddam sentencing announcement, by Saad al-Qarsh or Qarash, citing Mideast analysts in support of the idea that judgment is part of a strategy by certain Iraqi and non-Iraqi forces to build sectarianism into Iraqi government and society, for their own ends. Saddam's oppression, according to this view, was not sectarian but rather political, his motivation being preservation of his regime by eliminating threats from whatever group. His targets included Sunni as well as Shiite groups. It is the current US policy to do precisely what they illogically accuse Saddam of having done, namely weaken the nation by fomenting sectarianism. And the Saddam sentencing is part of that US-led strategy. link Empires Fall: WHAT RUMSFELD WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR He's accomplished a great deal during his short time in office. These banal desk-murderers are just too boring to really remember for very long. He's like a Rotary Club assistant treasurer or something. But he'll be remembered for this:
As we know, There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know There are known unknowns. That is to say We know there are some things We do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, The ones we don't know We don't know.
link Mickey Z.: MYTH OF THE BRAVE SOLDIER In a recent correspondence, Adam Engel wrote: "One of the greatest myths about America is that it's the 'home of the brave.' Once, perhaps, prior to 1492. Now, it's most likely the greatest collection of cowards in the Milky Way Galaxy." Engel specifically mentioned our lack of response to losing habeas corpus and to being both "subject to eternal imprisonment for liberating animals from vivisection labs" and "complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghanis, South and Central Americans, Haitians etc. etc. etc." He could've also included our acquiescence in a frighteningly broad range of areas, e.g. access to health care, tolerance for voting irregularities, directly funding the Israeli war machine, and stomaching the groupthink behind saluting a flag. Americans talk the talk but when ordered to remove their shoes before going through airport security, it's "yes sir" all the way. For the purposes of this article I'd like to highlight another area in which American bravery is lacking...an area I have touched on before: supporting the troops. As John Kerry's recent episode demonstrated, one cannot appear to criticize the men and women in uniform without paying a high price. There are many who identify themselves as "anti-war" who will vigorously defend the troops. Even when faced with documented evidence of criminality, Americans still cannot summon the bravery to condemn the military. The excuse-making typically touches on these two areas: 1. They were just following orders 2. Those who enlist do so for economic reasons The first line of defense-whether Americans truly buy that line or not-is a flawed argument. Principle I of the Nuremberg Tribunal (1950) states: "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment." Principle IV adds: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him." And please don't get me started on the Geneva Conventions. As for excuse #2, a recent New York Times editorial put that myth to rest. Authors Tim Kane and Mackenzie Eaglen "analyzed demographic data on every single enlistee, not just a sample, and found that in terms of education, last year's recruits were just as qualified as those of any recent year, and maybe the best ever. Over all, wartime recruits since 1999 are in many respects comparable to the youth population on the whole, except that they are on average a bit wealthier, much more likely to have graduated from high school and more rural than their civilian peers." They also found that youths "from wealthy American ZIP codes are volunteering in ever higher numbers" while "enlistees from the poorest fifth of American neighborhoods fell nearly a full percentage point over the last two years, to 13.7 percent. In 1999, that number was exactly 18 percent." Are some of the American soldiers in Iraq there primarily for economic reasons? Sure. Did others sign up for a chance to shoot some towel heads? Probably. So, after factoring out these two relatively small groups and rejecting the immoral "only following orders" defense, the question remains: Exactly how are the men and women fighting in Iraq immune from any and all blame? link Robert Dreyfuss: THE IRAQ MANDATE In the face of an electoral sandstorm of Biblical proportions, how long can Bush and Cheney continue to do "what we're doing"? Let's look at five forces arrayed against them: the Democrats, the Republicans, the military, the U.S. bureaucracy and the Iraqi resistance. First, the Democrats. It would appear, from their initial post-election reactions, that some Democrats get it. "We cannot continue down this catastrophic path," said Nancy Pelosi, who will be speaker of the House. "And so we say to the president, 'Mr. President, we need a new direction in Iraq. Let us work together to find a solution to the war in Iraq.'" But the Democrats have shown themselves to be lily-livered vacillators on Iraq: most of them voted for the war (and for the Patriot Act), and their ranks are shot though with pro-war right-wingers, not to mention the revived neocon Joe Lieberman. But, if they intend to retain or expand their solid majority in the House and their potential razor-thin, but all-important majority in the Senate in 2008 without incurring the wrath of the American majority opposed to the war, the Democrats can't blow it. That will mean that they must become a resonant echo chamber for the anti-war voice of the American voter, who will demand nothing less. The Democrats must thunder from the pulpit, threatening to rain down hellfire, hail and brimstone on Republicans who want to stay the course - while scrutinizing every Pentagon budget request and holding investigative hearings into war crimes, abuses, cost overruns and mismanagement. Expect every general who's ever called for Donald Rumsfeld's scalp to headline a House or Senate hearing. And just wait 'til the new leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees get their hands on those long-suppressed files on the lies that got us into war in 2003. Second, the Republicans. On the eve of the election, Senator Joe Biden, the Democrat from Delaware, said that a dozen Republican senators had approached him to say that it was time to change course in Iraq. In fact, most mainstream Republicans had long ago written off the 2006 elections, but they are in full panic mode about 2008. If the war in Iraq is still raging in the summer of 2008 and the GOP runs a pro-war candidate (think John McCain), the party will suffer yet another landslide loss. That's precisely why Representative Frank Wolf and Senator John Warner, both Republicans from Virginia, created the Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James Baker. The ISG report is expected in January, and it's likely to call for what amounts to a withdrawal from Iraq. Expect Republicans to nod their heads sagely and praise Baker's wisdom. Even more than the Democrats, it will be Republicans - contemplating the end of their political lives two years from now - who will demand an end to the war. Third, the military. If the 2006 election is the first time that a war has ever been rejected by voters, the revolt of the generals is an unprecedented mutiny by flag officers against the commander-in-chief and the secretary of defense. The military, it should be noted, was mostly against the war in Iraq in 2002-2003, and its opposition has only grown as the war became a charnel house. Not only generals, but the staid Army Times has called for Rummy's head. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who channels the Joint Chiefs of Staff and who has called for an immediate pullout from Iraq, plans to challenge pro-war Representative Steny Hoyer for the top Democratic post in the House. Strained to the breaking point, forced to recruit from the bottom of the barrel, the U.S. armed forces will continue to fight Bush's war - but its leaders will make it unmistakably clear that they do not want to. Fourth, the U.S. bureaucracy. The State Department and the U.S. intelligence community, in particular, were mostly bitterly opposed to the war in Iraq from the outset, too. Expect both to feel vindicated and empowered. The State Department can begin maneuvering to mend fences with our allies, to convince Russia and China that we no longer intend to push them out of the Persian Gulf, to open lines of communication with Syria and Iran. And the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community can mobilize its resources to provide ever-more convincing rationales why the Iraq war can't be won. First up: the soon-to-be-released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, the first one produced since 2002. That's being overseen by Thomas Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research who is now stationed at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Next up: the ouster of neocon Zalmay Khalilzad, the manipulative pro-consul in Baghdad, and his replacement by Ryan Crocker, a long-time Arabist who recently served as U.S. ambassador to Syria. And finally, the Iraqi resistance. Without the emergence of the nationalist resistance in Iraq in the fall of 2003, there would have been no war, no antiwar movement and no landslide of 2006. Should Democrats, Republicans, generals or bureaucrats get cold feet about leaving Iraq, they'd better realize: Iraq's insurgency isn't going away until the last American soldier leaves Iraq. Is this enough to shatter the stone Sphinx and get President Bush to leave Iraq? read in full… Left I on the News: COUNTING THE IRAQI DEAD - AGAIN The latest entry in the "how many Iraqis are dead" sweepstakes:
Iraq's health minister said about 150,000 have been killed by insurgents since the war started, giving the government's first overall casualty estimate. Iraq's Health Minister Ali al-Shemari said about 150,000 Iraqis have been killed by insurgents since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion. For every person killed about three have been wounded in violence since the war started in March 2003, al-Shemari told reporters during a visit to Vienna. He did not explain how he arrived at the figure, which is three times most other estimates.
Count the errors. First of all, "150,000 killed" is not a "casualty estimate," it's a "fatality estimate." Second, an estimate of the number of Iraqis killed by one source ("insurgents") can hardly be considered an "overall casualty estimate." Surely even the health minister wouldn't claim that no Iraqis have been killed by the Americans or by the Iraqi government forces, would he? Third, the all-inclusive, yet unexplained term "insurgents." Does that estimate include Iraqis killed by sectarian militias and death squads? Fourth, do the health minister's "Iraqis" include all Iraqis, or just those designated as "civilians"? The article (and the health minister?) doesn't say. Finally, the claim that this number is "three times most other estimates." Actually I'm not aware of any other "estimates." Iraq Body Count counts (not "estimates") the number of civilian dead reported in English-language media. That's an undercount of the total number of dead (and doesn't even include non-civilians), but not an "estimate." The Johns Hopkins study, which is not mentioned in the AP article at all, was a scientific study which produced a scientifically valid number with error bars, not an "estimate." As for other numbers which get cited in the press, like that of George Bush, those can't even be considered a "guesstimate," much less an "estimate." Two things we know for sure. The U.S. government and the media will keep spinning the numbers to keep them as low as possible, and whatever the correct number, there are one hell of a lot of Iraqis (and others) dead who would be alive today were it not for U.S. imperialism. link Trita Parsi: IRAN THE KEY IN US CHANGE ON IRAQ With the Democrats taking control of the US Congress and Donald Rumsfeld being replaced as defense secretary by Robert Gates, Washington has new avenues to resolve its many problems with Iran. The key to the elections - and to Iran - is Iraq. In light of the soon-to-be published Iraq Study Group (ISG) report, it is increasingly clear that headway can be made neither on Iraq nor on the nuclear standoff with Iran unless the two are linked. The victory of the Democrats by taking both the House of Representatives and the Senate and the firing of Rumsfeld have shifted the balance between the pragmatists and the neo-conservatives in the administration of President George W Bush. Rumsfeld was closely allied with Vice President Dick Cheney in opposing every effort to open up diplomatic channels to Tehran. (...) On the other hand, Washington's efforts to put a halt to Iran's nuclear program have run into a dead end. Washington has reduced US-Iran relations to a zero-sum game about enrichment. Either Iran has enrichment, or it doesn't. The Bush administration has not permitted any middle ground to exist in hopes that it could completely deprive Iran of all nuclear know-how. But in this game of winner takes all, Iran has so far been winning. Washington has not even been able to get the UN Security Council to pass a resolution imposing travel restrictions on Iranian officials involved in Tehran's nuclear program. Much indicates that the only way out of this dead end is to do what Bush and Rumsfeld have refused to do all along: link Iranian cooperation in Iraq to Washington's willingness to find a compromise on the nuclear issue, where enrichment will be seen as a continuous rather than a binary variable. The White House refused such linkages in the past, since it sought complete victories. Now, creating linkages is necessary to avoid complete defeats in both Iraq and in Iran. read in full… Henry C K Liu: REGIME-CHANGE BLOWBACK The US mid-term elections of 2006 were a classic example of political "blowback", a term the Central Intelligence Agency invented for internal analysis. It refers to the unintended consequences of covert operations. The public is generally unaware that the headlines of violence by terrorist groups or drug lords or rogue states are blowbacks from previous US policies. "Blowback" first appeared in a March 1954 report, since declassified, relating to the 1953 covert operation to subject the nationalist government of democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran to regime change. By installing Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as shah to replace Mossadegh, the US condemned the Iranian people to a quarter-century of tyranny and repression that eventually strengthened extremist Islamic fundamentalism and gave birth to theocratic revolution led by ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979. The misguided US policy elicited a tidal wave of anti-US sentiments across the Islamic world that set the stage for the Iranian student occupation of the US Embassy. The crisis destroyed president Jimmy Carter's chance for a second term and turned US domestic politics sharply to the extreme right, along a belligerent path that eventually led to a blowback in the form of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In reaction, the US adopted a foreign policy of "regime change", with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as opening salvos in President George W Bush's "war on terrorism". The disastrous war to force a regime change in Iraq in turn produced a regime change in Washington on the second Tuesday of November in 2006. read in full… Rupert Cornwell: THE VERDICT ON PERHAPS THE WORST PRESIDENCY IN US HISTORY A precious and long-lost commodity has returned to American politics this morning. It is called reality. For the past two years, we have been inhabiting a dream world, conjured up by the witchdoctors in the White House, and sustained by their Republican stooges who ruled Capitol Hill. George W Bush continued to wage his misbegotten war, vowing to "stay the course" (or whatever was the formulation of the hour). In Congress his pliant troops used their majority to suspend the legislature's constitutional duty to call the administration to account, flouting the system of checks and balances on which American democracy depends. Wilfully divorced from reality, a desperately unpopular president continued to govern by pandering to his conservative base. (…) Hubris has been followed by nemesis. In retrospect, the highwater mark of that hubris came a couple of weeks before Bush won re-election in November 2004 - when Karl Rove was marshalling the forces of Christian conservatives to defeat John Kerry, and when Bush loved to brag how he never looked at a newspaper. (…) Rove's aura of invincibility and omniscience has been shattered. For his boss, yesterday must have been the most dispiriting morning of his life, as he woke to contemplate the transformed political landscape. The old Bush presidency, of self-certainty and swagger ("In Texas, we call it walking") is dead and buried. What remains is a rump for which the term "lame duck" is probably an understatement. This proud and unbending man, who never admits to the smallest mistake, now faces two years in which he must make compromises with a hostile Congress, if he is to achieve anything at all. Above all, he must somehow find an orderly way out of his war. His options are dreadful. He threw a bone to critics by at last sacking Donald Rumsfeld, the day-to-day manager of the Iraq mess, whose relationship with reality had been as tenuous as that of his boss. But that is also tantamount to an admission that the war was wrong. No less important, it also mean confirmation hearings for Rumsfeld's replacement - hearings that may well turn into the Congressional inquisition on the war, its prosecution and the intelligence fiasco that preceded it, that the White House has fought tooth and nail to avoid. (…) Paradoxically, Bush's strongest tactical card over Iraq is the sheer magnitude of the disaster he has created. Bush is correct to say Democrats have no viable alternative, for a simple reason. There simply isn't one. But that leaves the ball in Bush's court - and alas, "discernable reality" also points towards some form of accommodation with Iran. Win or lose the elections, Iran was already potentially an even thornier problem than Iraq for his remaining time in office. Their loss makes even less likely the use of the military option by a president approved of by only 35 per cent of his countrymen. Among Tuesday night's winners may be counted not only the Democrats but also Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. read in full… >> BEYOND IRAQ Ted Rall: THE NIGHTMARE IS NOT OVER Now the dark men who engineered America's post-9/11 police state have watched the public reject their policies. The incoming Democratic majority Congress will be able to hold hearings and launch investigations that could lead to their indictments and removal from office. John Dingell, the liberal incoming chairman of the Commerce Committee did nothing to dissuade GOP fears of "a blizzard of subpoenas": "As the Lord High Executioner said in 'The Mikado,'" Dingell recently joked, "I have a little list." A year of crisis commences. As ugly secrets surface, Bushists will turn desperate. Democracy has failed their grand schemes; token resignations like Rumsfeld's come too little, too late. Only tyranny can save their skins. Will the beleaguered neocons led by Cheney and Bush, cornered like rats, unleash their brand-new police state on their political opponents? Or will they tough it out and suck up the fines and prison sentences to come? The next year or two could go either way. The nightmare is not over. read in full… QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Remain steadfast in the battlefield, you coward" -- Abu Ayyub al-Masri of “Al-Qaeda in Iraq”, addressing Bush after the Rumsfeld resignation (a good contender for today's quote would be "Paradoxically, Bush's strongest tactical card over Iraq is the sheer magnitude of the disaster he has created" from the Rupert Cornwell article above -- zig)


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