Friday, November 03, 2006


PHOTO:Mourners near a Baghdad hospital Wednesday after an attack Tuesday on a wedding party killed the bride, the groom, 9 children and 12 others.Ali Abbas/European Pressphoto Agency

Security Incidents for November 3, 2006

Bring ‘em on:A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 10:30 a.m. today in a non-combat related incident north of Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on:Three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Nov.2 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.

Bring ‘em on:One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died from injuries sustained due to enemy action Thursday while operating in Al Anbar Province.

Bring ‘em on:Three Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers died at approximately 2:15 p.m. Thursday when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device in eastern Baghdad.


Fifty-six bullet-riddled bodies were found in Baghdad by Iraq police in the previous 24 hours, a Baghdad emergency police official said Friday morning.. Three people were killed and six more were wounded when three mortar rounds landed in a residential area in southern Baghdad's Dora district Friday morning, a Baghdad emergency police official said. More clashes erupted between Iraqi soldiers and gunmen on Haifa Street in central Baghdad Thursday evening. The official said there was no report of casualties from the hour-long clashes.

Three people were killed and six more were wounded when three mortar rounds landed in a residential area in southern Baghdad's Dora district Friday morning, a Baghdad emergency police official said.

More clashes erupted between Iraqi soldiers and gunmen on Haifa Street in central Baghdad Thursday evening. The official said there was no report of casualties from the hour-long clashes.

Three masked gunmen opened fire on a primary school in southern Baghdad, wounding the school's principal and three students, police and hospital officials said.

Gunmen attacked a bakery in west Baghdad, killing two and injuring two.

A woman was killed in southwestern Baghdad by stray gunfire, apparently from a bank guard fearful of robbers, police and hospital officials said.

Gunmen killed Resan al-Sayab, a local singer, in western Baghdad on Thursday, police said.

David Vine, 28, of Parkside Road, Seaford, was a well known figure on the Seaford football scene. He died near Baghdad on Monday morning. Known as Viney, he was an ex-paratrooper working for a private security company. He was in the middle truck of a convoy when a vehicle in the oncoming lane was hit by a roadside bomb. The lorry shot across the road and Viney died instantly in the impact.

A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol, wounding three civilians in the southern district of Dora in Baghdad, Interior Ministry sources said.

Gunmen in a car shot dead a taxi driver in the southern district of Dora in Baghdad, Interior Ministry sources said.


Gunmen shot dead a bodyguard of Shiite cleric Sadiq al-Hakim in the town of Manathira near Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution sources said.


Clashes between Iraqi police and gunmen erupted about 18 miles southeast of the capital in Madaen town, the official said. Details on casualties were not available and clashes were ongoing.


Mortar rounds hit residential neighborhoods in south Baghdad and Hillah, injuring 14.


The South African diplomatic mission in Kuwait has confirmed the death of a South African who was killed in Basra in Iraq this week, the foreign affairs department said on Friday. Morné Pieterse was killed on Monday, said spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa. He said the mission was currently in liaison with Pieterse's employers with a view to assist in returning him to South Africa. His family had been informed about his death, said Mamoepa.

Pieterse's death brings to 17 the number of South Africans confirmed killed in Iraq, with another eight reported missing and presumed dead.

Mortar fire also struck central Basra, where British and Danish officials are about to evacuate to a better-protected air base on the city's outskirts.


Gunmen killed a fuel station employee in the town of Zab, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk, police said


U.S. troops killed 13 suspected insurgents in a raid south of Baghdad early Friday, the military said. Troops were acting on intelligence reports saying a suspect with links to al-Qaida in Iraq was in the building in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, the military said. The building was surrounded and stormed after those inside did not respond to demands to surrender, the military said in a statement e-mailed to media. Five people were killed inside the building, including one man wearing a vest rigged with explosives, while eight other men who fled were gunned down by troops on the ground and planes or helicopters circling above, the report said.


Gunmen shot dead a Sunni mosque preacher in the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday evening, police said.

A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol, wounding two policemen in central Kirkuk, police said.


Two Utah soldiers were injured near Ramadi, Iraq, on Monday when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. Paul Laplant, of Ogden, and Daniel Baerga, of Bountiful, suffered minor injuries in the explosion and have returned to duty. The Utahns are part of the Idaho-based 321st Engineering Battalion. Two Idaho soldiers were injured Sunday in a similar attack, Army officials said.

UPDATE: More Security Incidents for November 3, 2006


A Greek woman kidnapped in Baghdad this week has been released unharmed, the Greek Foreign Ministry said Friday. Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said Eleni Sotiriou, a senior official in a Greek non-governmental organization, was released half an hour ago and is safe in the Greek Embassy in Baghdad. Koumoutsakos said Sotiriou was abducted Oct. 30 outside a hotel in central Baghdad. He did not say who had abducted her

Television journalist Ahmed Rasheed was killed in the Sunni district of Adamiya in Baghdad, an interior ministry source said. His brother told police his car and pistol were stolen.


Four police were killed and their car destroyed by a roadside bomb in Madaen, 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Police clashed with three gunmen at a police checkpoint, wounding two and arresting a third, in Numaniya, 120 km (72 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Two boys tending sheep were killed by a landmine and three more were wounded in Kermashia, around 110 km (75 miles) east of Kut in southern Iraq, border troops said.


Iraqi police backed by U.S. Marines arrested three bodyguards working for the mayor of Falluja and five other people after they came under attack from a government building, the U.S. military said.


REPORTS – Everyday Life in Iraq Today

Insurgents Using Children to Fight[Or, how the US policies and US forces are recruiting more and more terrorists. – dancewater]

Some children have been recruited by insurgents to fight in Iraq, according to a prominent local NGO. The Iraq Aid Association (IAA) in Baghdad, which works with children suffering psychological trauma as a result of violence, said most child insurgents harbour reasons for revenge. International law protects children from recruitment and participation in conflict. "We have heard of cases of children helping insurgents and this should have been prevented. Insurgents should be careful in putting children in such dangerous situations," an IAA spokesperson said. According to the NGO, at least 15 children have been used by insurgents and five are in therapy with the NGO for psychological problems. IAA added that there were many more cases of children participating in the insurgency, especially in the western Anbar province. Ten-year-old Mustafa Ibrahim is one such child. He said he has hated US troops since his parents were killed by them in May 2004 as they fled a battle in Fallujah city. "I do not have anyone for me in this world and I want to meet my family in heaven by revenging their death because God will compensate me for this," he said. Mustafa said he celebrated with his friends after he took part in an attack three weeks ago that led to the death of three US marines on the outskirts of the city of Ramadi. "I have been trained to be a suicide bomber but he [the insurgent trainer] wants me to wait for an opportune time to become a shahid [martyr] in a very special attack and until that happens, I have to help in attacks against the US troops who are against Islam and [who are] the killers of my parents," Mustafa said. 'Shahid' is a religious term in Islam that literally means 'witness'. It is a title that is given to a Muslim after his death if he died during fulfilment of a religious commandment, or during a war for the religion. Muhammad al-Askari, Iraqi Ministry of Defence spokesman, told IRIN he was not aware of children being used in suicide attacks against Iraqi and US troops.

Psychological Harm Means Iraqis Suffer “Double Blow”

The people of Iraq are facing a "double blow" in an epidemic of psychological damage being caused by the continuing violence, it was claimed in the British Medical Journal yesterday.The sheer numbers killed since the invasion is a pointer to the huge proportion of people who would have been exposed to severe violence, Dr Michael E Reschen wrote. Previous studies have shown that the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic event ranged from 7.5 per cent to 72 per cent, with the risk highest in those exposed to sustained combat trauma.Dr Reschen, of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, writes in the BMJ: "With over 500,000 violent deaths there will no doubt have been many more people exposed to grave violence."It therefore seems likely that the nation of Iraq may suffer a double blow, firstly by losing a sizeable proportion of its population - and the study shows that 15-45 year olds are most commonly affected - and secondly by the serious consequence of people with post-traumatic stress disorder.This may also be compounded by cultural barriers that prevent people from seeking psychological help." [Not to mention the considerable barrier of NO HELP AVAILABLE. – dancewater]Dr Reschen pointed out that while the coalition forces' medical facilities have been used to treat injured civilians in Iraq, nothing similar has been done for those suffering mental illness."We must learn the lessons of history and expedite the psychiatric help for Iraqi civilians," he added.

Violence Rips Baghdad Social Fabric

Bombers and death squads have attacked what remains of Iraq's tattered social fabric, targeting academics, athletes, police, markets, and professionals in a series of deadly attacks.At least two bombs exploded in crowded street markets, killing at least five people and wounding more than 30, an interior ministry spokesman said.American forces said they had killed a leading member of Al-Qaeda, one of the insurgent groups which has done the most to tip Iraq into bloody chaos, but the death toll was mounting despite a large-scale security operation.Attackers gunned down Jassim Mohammed al-Dahabi, the dean of Baghdad's College of Economics and Administration, along with his wife and son, in an unexplained early morning attack that was condemned by senior officials."We demand that security forces take action to protect academic and scientific insitututions and not just stand by in the face of this plot against us," the ministry of higher education said.

Witness to a Suicide Bombing

It had started out quite normally. As a Reuters reporter in Kirkuk, my home town and Iraq's northern oil capital, I had stopped by one of the main police stations to talk to a contact. Kirkuk is a violent and dangerous place, where ethnic Kurds, Arabs and Turkish-speaking Turkmen are contesting control of the oilfields. But inside the high concrete walls of the police compound I felt reasonably safe. It's like being in a fortress. As I came out of the senior officer's building clutching a press release, I began dialling the Baghdad bureau with the news. At the other end, my colleague Ahmed Rasheed could not hear me properly. The concrete barriers were disrupting the signal. I looked for a better position to try to get through again. I didn't know then but that move meant I survived what came next. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. People were coming in through the police station's security checks and going out. As I was finishing my call to Ahmed, I remember watching a policeman walking across the yard to where some other officers were standing. I looked away. Then the world collapsed. I heard a huge explosion and the ground shook beneath my feet. I fell to the ground and shattered glass fell all around me. I heard a policeman screaming. After I picked myself up, still very dazed, I went over and saw what seemed to be the remains of the bomber. It was half a torso and a pair of legs -- wearing police uniform. I smelled burnt flesh and realised the bomber had been the man I thought was a policeman walking across the yard. He had looked like an ordinary policeman. He had been calm. There had been nothing weird about him. He had passed through the security checks and the reception area. He didn't have a beard like many Islamist militants. A man carried a little girl in his arms, shouting for an ambulance. She lay still. I found out later she was dead. Two policemen were also killed in the explosion.

Depleted Uranium Risk “Ignored”

UK and US forces have continued to use depleted uranium weapons despite warnings they pose a cancer risk, a BBC investigation has found. Scientists have pointed to health statistics in Iraq, where the weapons were used in the 1991 and 2003 wars. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2001 said they posed only a small contamination risk. But a senior UN scientist said research showing how depleted uranium could cause cancer was withheld. The UK Ministry of Defence said that there was no evidence linking depleted uranium use to ill health. Depleted uranium is extremely dense and hard, and is used for armour-piercing bullets or shells. Fears over health implications led to a study by the WHO in 2001.

A Useful Map of Baghdad Neighborhoods

Iraqi Police Find 56 Bodies in Badgdad

"Up to 56 unidentified bodies have been found by our patrols in the past 24 hours, with 34 of them found in western Baghdad," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Most of the bullet-riddled bodies were bound, blindfolded and showing signs of torture, the source said. Separately, a police patrol found a severed head on the side of a road in the Sab'a al-Bur area in northern Baghdad, the source added. The almost daily gruesome body findings, assassinations and explosions in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities were seen as a major setback for the Iraqi government's efforts to stem violence and achieve national reconciliation.

Nearly 100,000 Iraqi Refugees Flee Monthly to Syria

Nearly 100,000 Iraqi refugees each month are fleeing to Syria and Jordan in a silent exodus that has turned unexpectedly into an enormous challenge for relief workers, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday. It has been impossible to obtain accurate totals on the numbers of refugees because few Iraqis are registering with UNHCR, and most are being cared for by host families or charitable organizations, chief spokesman Ron Redmond said. The U.N. agency has been counting those entering Syria in recent months, however, and has found an average of 2,000 a day leaving Iraq by that route. "This is not a situation where everyone has left en masse at once, nor are they going to refugee camps," Redmond said. "This has been largely a silent or invisible exodus." [A silent and very sad draining of the country of Iraq. – dancewater] The Jordanian government says another 1,000 a day are entering Jordan, Redmond said. "We've got a displacement crisis under way here, and the international community needs to do more to chip in to support the humanitarian needs of these people," he said. Even though many of the refugees are being cared for, there is a major impact on the Syrian and Jordanian economies because the influx has been driving up prices for housing, food and other commodities, Redmond said. So far it has been impossible to get a more precise idea of the post-invasion flight than the estimate UNHCR gave last month that 914,000 Iraqis had fled their homes since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Redmond told The Associated Press. UNHCR now estimates that 1.8 million Iraqis are living in neighboring countries and 1.6 million are "displaced" internally, but those numbers include many who fled during the 1990s, long before the invasion, Redmond said. [That would be 8 to 10% of the entire population of the country. Imagine 15 million Americans moving to Canada or Mexico, and another 12 million internally displaced. That is vastly more than from Katrina. – dancewater]

Some Palestinian Refugees Headed to Canada

A handful of Palestinian refugees from Iraq will start arriving in Canada in the next few weeks, a spokesperson for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration said. The refugees have been living in a rough camp near the Jordanian town of Ruweished since they fled Iraq during the recent fighting. Canada has agreed to accept 63 out of 150 people from the camp. Some of them fled to Jordan in 2003 as they feared the fighting and were worried that they would face discrimination after it ended. Canada's decision to accept some of the refugees still leaves more than 80 people at the camp. Some of them have relatives who have been approved to come to Canada.


The defense minister has canceled leave for all army officers, apparently fearing violence after Sunday's expected announcement of a verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein. Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi was heard issuing the order in video of a meeting Friday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and senior military and security officials, in which al-Maliki upbraided them for failing to stop the capital's unbridled violence. ''All vacations will be canceled and all those who are on vacation must return,'' al-Obeidi said, adding that reserve soldiers would be called up within 12 hours.

Kurdish Survivor Recalls Climbing From Mass Grave

The night before, guards separated men from women, children from adults before reading a list of names "like the day of judgment." As morning broke, soldiers loaded those who had been called onto windowless buses, taking them to the desert. The Kurdish detainees were tied, blindfolded and their identification papers seized. Then the guards opened fire. "All around us was dirt and smoke," the witness recalled Tuesday, testifying in the genocide trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "At first I thought I was hit but [that] I just didn't feel it." The Kurdish man, whose name was withheld by the court to protect him, took the stand in Baghdad to recount how he feigned death to escape. Thrown into a mass grave along with his cousin, he kept still among the dead and dying even as an officer came down into the trench, shooting those who were still moving. After night fell, the witness said, he was able to climb out of the pit and flee the killing fields.

REPORTS – Iraqi Politicians and Power Brokers and Militias

Iraqi Shi’ites Continue to Exert Independence and Seek Changes to UN Deal on US Troops

In a continued effort to demonstrate their independence from Washington, Iraqi Shiites are pressing a fresh set of conditions on their American supporters, asking for changes in the Iraqi government’s relationship with the United States military. In a move that seemed designed more to placate Iraq’s Shiite majority than to influence the broader management of the war, Iraqi leaders have drawn up a set of changes to a United Nations agreement that provides some of the legal basis for American troops here. The changes, if enacted, could give the Iraqi government more control over its own armed forces, something Iraqi leaders want, but were not likely to change fundamentally the way the war is directed. The United Nations agreement, which expires on Dec. 31, is not the only source of legal justification for continued presence of American troops here. Another is the Iraqi Constitution. Even if the agreement expired, the status of the American military here would not change. What is more, no single Iraqi group truly wants the Americans out. [No, only about 90% of the entire population of Iraq want them OUT. – dancewater]

Shia Leaders Fear US Favours Sunni Alliance

The growing differences between the US and the Iraqi government are rooted in the suspicion among leaders of the Shia community that the US would like to ally itself more closely with the Sunni Arabs, who have hitherto supported the insurgents. In an unprecedented show of independence by an Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki this week successfully demanded that the US abandon its siege of the great Shia bastion of Sadr City in east Baghdad. Its 2.5 million people celebrated the withdrawal of US checkpoints as an important political victory. Outside Baghdad, Shia leaders claim that US helicopter gunships have repeatedly opened fire on the Mehdi Army, the Shia militia that supports the radical nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Mehdi Army has grown in strength as sectarian warfare between Sunni and Shia escalated after the attack on the Shia shrine in Samarra, in February of this year. The US justifies its attacks on the Mehdi Army by accusing it of running death squads that kill Sunni. This is undoubtedly true, but the Mehdi Army also opposes the coalition's presence in Iraq. The Badr Organisation, the other large Shia militia, which also runs death squads, is seldom targeted by US forces. The differences between Mr Maliki and US representatives in Baghdad show that while Mr Maliki cannot survive without American support, they cannot do without him. Ironically, the US ambassador Zilmay Khalilzad spent months trying to get rid of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Mr Maliki's predecessor. [Those Bushits only favor whomever they think can help them get rich and control the world! Nothing personal about it.– dancewater]

REPORTS – US/UK/Italians in Iraq

Also Friday, U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte was in Baghdad for previously unannounced talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader's office and Iraqi state television said.

Negroponte Goes on Unannounced Visit to Iraq

U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte was in Baghdad on Friday for previously unannounced talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader's office and Iraqi state television said. The television gave no other details and U.S. Embassy officials were not immediately available for comment. Yassin Majid, the prime minister's spokesman, said the two men were in meetings in the Iraqi leader's office in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. Negroponte, whose visit was previously unannounced, had served as the American ambassador to Iraq before the current envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad. "This visit is in the framework of a continuing series of meetings between the Iraqi government and the U.S. administration," Majid said without further elaboration. The Negroponte visit comes five days after National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley paid an unannounced visit as tensions in the U.S.-Iraqi relationship came to the surface after a series of critical statements by al-Maliki. [Of course, as mere US citizens, there is no reason for us to have knowledge as to “why” our officials would be visiting a leader of a foreign country. My suspicion is a puppet problem, but who knows. Maybe the death squads need some fine tuning. – dancewater]

US General Likens Iraq to “Work of Art” in Progress

A senior U.S. general compared Iraq on Thursday to a "work of art" in progress, saying it was too soon to judge the outcome and playing down violence and friction with Iraqi leaders as "speed bumps" on the road. "A lump of clay can become a sculpture, blobs of paint become paintings which inspire," Major General William Caldwell, chief military spokesman, told his weekly Baghdad news briefing. "The final test of our efforts will not be the isolated incidents reported daily but the country that the Iraqis build." Three-and-a-half years after the U.S.-led invasion, President George W. Bush is under intense pressure over his Iraq policy ahead of next week's Congressional elections where polls show he could lose control of both houses halfway through his second term in office. Rising U.S. casualties and spiralling sectarian violence and insurgent attacks that kill hundreds of Iraqi civilians every week have sparked heated debate in the United States over whether Iraq is descending into civil war. "Every great work of art goes through messy phases while it is in transition," Caldwell said. [He is a complete idiot. – dancewater]

Former Torturer Returned to Iraq

An Army dog handler convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has returned to the country with his military police unit, a spokesman said Thursday. A military jury at Fort Meade, Md., sentenced Cardona in June to 90 days of hard labor with no prison time. He was convicted of using his dog to threaten a former Baath Party member at the prison. Cardona also was reduced in rank, given a pay cut and ordered to give up $600 a month for a year. He was sent back to his unit at Fort Bragg, where his company commander was to decide what duties to assign as hard labor, said a military lawyer after the sentencing. He was one of 11 soldiers convicted of crimes related to prisoner abuses at the prison late in 2003 and early in 2004. He was convicted of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault after he was accused of letting his shepherd dog bark inches from the face of a prisoner kneeling in front of him. …. Cardona is assigned to the 23rd Military Police Company. [This is sickening. – dancewater]

What’s This War Really All About? Answer Here.

Iraq hopes to finalise oil law by year-end. A policy committee hammering out a draft oil law for Iraq now has only one key issue left to resolve and the legislation should be enacted by year-end, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said yesterday. He also said that projections of a doubling by 2010 of Iraqi oil exports, now at 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd), and of output to 6m bpd from 2.3m bpd were "conservative figures" in his view. Oil revenues are critical to the economy of Iraq, which sits on the world's third largest crude reserves. Salih said the way they were distributed in the country would spell the difference between a united country or its violent break-up. The committee, which he expected to meet again in a couple of weeks, still had to agree on crucial provisions governing whether development contracts with oil companies could be signed at regional or national level. Salih chairs a government committee on oil and energy policy composed of key ministers which had struggled to overcome deep differences on a new law to replace provisions dating from Saddam Hussein's rule. But he said a three-day "retreat" at his residence in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone six weeks ago had overcome four of the five critical issues.

Reinforced by Bush Himself - Idiot on Idiot Interview

"I am deeply concerned about a country, the United States, leaving the Middle East. I am worried that rival forms of extremists will battle for power, obviously creating incredible damage if they do so; that they will topple modern governments, that they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West. People say, 'What do you mean by that?' I say, 'If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.[So, we are there to control the oil after all! Why am I not surprised?– dancewater] You couple that with a country that doesn't like us with a nuclear weapon and people will look back at this moment and say, 'What happened to those people in 2006?' and those are the stakes in this war we face.'" Here is Limbaugh's hard-hitting follow up: "Well, that is extremely visionary. One of the things, if I may make this personal, one of the many things I've admired about you is that you see down the road 20 or 30 years. You just illustrated that with your comment. What if down the road 20 years we look back to this time and with 20-20 hindsight realize we blew it. You're not, as far as it sounds to me, you're not going to let that happen. You're going to do whatever it takes to secure victory."[Do not click the link.It goes to Rush’s website, which is definitely bad for one’s mental health.I read it so you don’t have to. – dancewater]

Italian Troops Finish Supervising Phase in Iraq

Italian troops based in Iraq's Nassiriya have finished their supervising phase during which they looked after the assumption of security duties by Iraqi forces and will now complete their planned withdrawal, local media reported Thursday.Italy handed over responsibility for security in the Dhi Qar province to Iraqi forces in September but remained to supervise the transition and offer assistance if requested by local authorities.No such requests were made during the following month, the report said.The withdrawal of the some 1,600 remaining Italian troops is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Oh, Our Politicians Are Just F***ing Brilliant!

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said yesterday that it shut down a public Web site after complaints from U.N. weapons inspectors that the site included sensitive details about constructing nuclear and chemical weapons. The documents were collected in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion but predate the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Intelligence officials said the documents do not indicate that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when President Bush ordered U.S. troops to take over the country and depose Saddam Hussein. Chad Kolton, spokesman for John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, said the office had "suspended access" to the site pending a review of the documents. "The material currently on the Web site as well as the procedures used to post new documents will be carefully reviewed before the site becomes available again," Kolton said. The New York Times reported on its Web site last night, and in today's print edition, that the site had been shut down in response to concerns by the inspectors and other nuclear experts. Many of the documents were copies of information Iraq had repeatedly handed over to the United States and other U.N. Security Council members over more than a decade between the two wars. Negroponte's office began posting thousands of captured Iraqi documents earlier this year at the insistence of Republican lawmakers, who hoped the documents could shed light on Iraq's prewar arsenal. [And our office of national intelligence is also f***ing brilliant. – dancewater]


OPINION: Bush Has A Plan, And It Is Working

So, does the Bush administration have a plan for Iraq, and if so, is it working? The answer to both questions could well be "yes". But it's not a plan that Bush could publicly boast about, despite the fact that it’s working like a charm. …….. A strategy of fomenting chaos makes perfect sense in a twisted sort of way: a stable, autonomous Iraq means oil will be pumped, bringing down international crude prices, and that's the last thing the Bush administration's backers want. Who are the administration's backers, and who has a hotline to the presidency, via Vice President Dick Cheney? Big Oil.

OPINION: Staying the Course, Win or Lose

Here in Europe, people ask hopefully if a Democratic victory in the congressional elections will finally shift the direction of American foreign policy in a more benign direction. But congressional elections rarely affect the broad direction of American foreign policy. A notable exception was when Congress cut funding for American military operations in support of South Vietnam in 1973. Yet it's unlikely that a Democratic House would cut off funds for the war in Iraq in the next two years. [That (and impeachment) is what I am working for. – dancewater] Indeed, the preferred European scenario -- "Bush hobbled" -- is less likely than the alternative: "Bush unbound." Neither the president nor his vice president is running for office in 2008. That is what usually prevents high-stakes foreign policy moves in the last two years of a president's term. [Scary – dancewater]

….There is a deeper reason this election, and even the next presidential election, may not change U.S. foreign policy very much. Historically, and especially in the six decades since the end of World War II, there has been much more continuity than discontinuity in foreign policy. [All of this is sadly true. – dancewater]

……..This tendency toward continuity is particularly striking on the issue that most divides Americans from Europeans today: the use of military force in international affairs. Americans of both parties simply have more belief in the utility and even justice of military action than do most other peoples around the world. The German Marshall Fund commissions an annual poll that asks Europeans and Americans, among other things, whether they agree with the following statement: "Under some conditions, war is necessary to obtain justice." Europeans disagree, and by a 2 to 1 margin. But Americans overwhelmingly support the idea that war may be necessary to obtain justice. Even this year, with disapproval of the Iraq war high, 78 percent of American respondents agreed with the statement. [So, the saying ‘blood-thirsty Americans’ is mostly a true statement. And I have noticed my fellow Americans turning against the Iraq war, but it is because we are losing, not because it was an evil decision. – dancewater]

…….Even today leading Democrats who oppose the Iraq war do not oppose the idea of war itself or its utility. They're not even denouncing a defense budget approaching $500 billion per year. While Europeans mostly reject the Bush administration's phrase "the war on terror," leading Democrats embrace it and accuse the administration of not pursuing it vigorously or intelligently enough. [All sadly true. – dancewater]

In this respect, there is even less debate over the general principles of American foreign policy than during the Vietnam era. In those days, opponents of the war insisted that not just President Richard Nixon was rotten but that the "system" was rotten. They did not just reject the Vietnam War, they rejected the whole containment strategy of Dean Acheson and Harry Truman, which, they rightly claimed, helped produce the intervention in the first place. [And this is true for the policies around the “war on terror” – the policies themselves promote more and more terror. See story above about the Iraqi children who want to be suicide bombers. – dancewater] They rejected the idea that the United States could be a benevolent force in the world. [And I think the United States “could” be a benevolent force, this is not true when they use violence. – dancewater]

OPINION: Bush May Have “Lost His Mind” [He had a mind to lose? – dancewater]

Sullivan said the president was "so in denial," comparing the Rumsfeld endorsement to applauding the job FEMA's Michael Brown did on Katrina: "It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that it has been done well. It's a disaster. "For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it, I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it.....These people must be held accountable." He added that today, Richard Perle, a leading neocon and Iraq war backer, had today called the administration "dysfunctional." [I really have no sympathy or patience with these idiots who think this illegal and immoral war would have been a good idea if only it were done “competently”.That goes double for the war pushers like Perle and Sullivan and Friedman. – dancewater]

OPINION:How To Cut And Run

THE UNITED STATES upset the regional balance in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops — within six months and with no preconditions — can break the paralysis that now enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public. Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded.

Time To Take The Iraq Quiz

The Iraq War is Bad Because:

a. It is illegal, immoral, and criminal

b. It has ended up killing and maiming millions of Iraqis we promised to free

c. It has devastated a country and ignited world opinion against the United States and caused thousands of US casualties

d. It has debased our media and turned much of it into a propaganda organ

e. It was badly managed and poorly executed

If you survey world opinion, there would be a consensus on selecting A-D as a response. If you polled most Democratic politicians and mainstream journalists, you would find overwhelming support only for E—“the we screwed it up” thesis as the correct answer. What was once hailed as a heroic mission is now being dismissed as a fiasco, error and “mistake,” and to some former war boosters, even a “noble mistake.” In fact, that’s the view that seems to be framing what debate there has been on the war. It is still—AAU—All About Us. In this view, all that matters is our policy objectives but rarely our economic or geo-political agenda. Iraq as a nation, as a culture, and a people barely exists. For the most part the American debate leaves out the Iraqis except as victims or killers. The leaders that they said to have elected don’t seem to count with Washington giving them orders and pulling their strings. Prime Minister Maliki had to have a press conference to announce he works for the Iraqi People, not the Bush Administration. He knows that if he is to survive politically and personally, he has to distance himself from his wannabe benefactors. How many of us know that the Iraqi Government we trained is running death squads? How many Iraqis do we ever see, or more importantly HEAR on the air? The Democratic Party line mirrors this America First philosophy.. Never ready to challenge the deeper assumptions and interests guiding the war, most of the Democrats instead harp on the stupidity and failures of the war’s instigators and managers who are considered incompetent. According to the NY Times, The Democrats are “running to the right,” self-consciously becoming conservative and moderate candidates who posture at being tougher on national security that the Repugs. (Oddly the International Herald Tribune ran almost identical stories ten days earlier.”)

So in the same way that Fox News pushed all other news outlets to the right, the GOP has imposed its worldview on the whole political spectrum. As a result, many Dems are not challenging this distorted ideology, only the personalities identified with it. Bush’s message points, Cheney’s contentiousness, and Rumsfeld’s ravings make them a perfect foil those who say what they want to do is right—but the way they are going about its wrong. Isn’t it obvious that the responsibility for the war goes deeper and further? What about the rest of the military which went along with the “plan,” just “following orders,” knowing it was a joke? (Many of the Generals speaking out now held their fire and muzzled their doubts for years.) And what about the press that did more selling than telling about the war? The TV networks didn’t have to wait for Tom Ricks to publish his expose Fiasco to have him on the air and challenge lousy tactics and pervasive corruption. They all drank the Kool Aid. They were all complicit.

OPINION: You Get What You Paid For, and In Iraq We Paid For Death Squads

Sowhen your Republican friends mouth the standard GOP talking point that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here, ask them if this is what they had in mind. We, our Government, the Bush administration, has trained and equipped ruthless killers who are conducting genocidal atrocities against their Sunni neighbors. This is the grand strategy of to which the Republicans point so proudly. These are the tactics which our "advisors" employed to defeat the "terrorists." We bought and paid for these assassins, torturers and murderers, and now our troops are at their mercy. Our forces are enmeshed in a civil war which was the direct result of the Bush administration's policy to form, train and fund Shi'ite death squads. Ask them if they think that was such a good idea, now. Ask themif they think the price we paid was worth it.


STOP FUNDING THE WAR: Progressive Democrats of America is committed to cutting off all funding for deployment of US troops in Iraq and for the removal of all funding for the occupation of Iraq. The PDA will be collecting 100,000 signatures over the upcoming weeks so Rep. McGovern may deliver them personally to House and Senate leaders shortly after the November 2006 election.

PEACE ACTION: Take the voters’ peace pledge. "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign.”


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