Saturday, November 04, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, November 4, 2006 Photo: A U.S. armoured vehicle secures the scene of a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad November 4, 2006. REUTERS/Namir Noor-Eldeen (IRAQ) SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Four mortar rounds poured down near Iraq's most-revered Sunni shrine, the Grand Imam Abu Hanifa Mosque, in north Baghdad, killing at least five people. Baghdad police reported finding 15 bodies dumped throughout the city in the 24 hours ending at 6 p.m. Saturday.
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. 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. 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. Gunmen killed Resan al-Sayab, a local singer, in western Baghdad. David Vine, 28, of Parkside Road, Seaford, 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. Gunmen in a car shot dead a taxi driver in the southern district of Dora in Baghdad. Najaf: 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. Madaen: Clashes between Iraqi police and gunmen erupted about 18 miles southeast of the capital in Madaen town. Details on casualties were not available and clashes were ongoing. Hilla: Mortar rounds hit residential neighborhoods in south Baghdad and Hillah, injuring 14. Basra: A South African was killed in Basra in Iraq this week, the SA 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 struck central Basra, where British and Danish officials are about to evacuate to a better-protected air base on the city's outskirts. Zab: Gunmen killed a fuel station employee in the town of Zab, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk. Muqdqdiyah: 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. Kirkuk: Gunmen shot dead a Sunni mosque preacher in the northern oil city of Kirkuk. A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol, wounding two policemen in central Kirkuk. Ramadi: 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. >> NEWS 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. 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.
Iraqis are bracing themselves for a fresh wave of violence if, as expected, the High Court in Baghdad gives its verdict in the trial of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tomorrow and sentences him to death. The Defence Ministry has cancelled leave for all military officers and a curfew may be imposed on Baghdad to limit the violence. US officials are reported by some Iraqi officials to have urged privately that the verdict be announced tomorrow in order to improve the standing of President George Bush's administration in the midterm elections two days later. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 and his capture on 13 December the same year were the highpoints of the US-led invasion of Iraq. On the other hand, the passing of a death sentence on the former Iraqi leader could provoke more bloody attacks on US troops just as Americans are going to the polls. The High Court will issue a verdict in the trial of Saddam and seven co-defendants for the massacre in 1982 of 148 people in Dujail, a village north of Baghdad where there had been an attempt to kill Saddam Hussein. He is currently standing trial separately for the massacre of tens of thousands of Kurds in the 1980s.
Perle now says dysfunction within the Bush administration has turned U.S. policy there into a disaster. Richard Perle, who chaired a committee of Pentagon policy advisers early in the Bush administration, said had he seen at the start of the war in 2003 where it would go, he probably would not have advocated an invasion to depose Saddam Hussein. Perle was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. "I probably would have said, 'Let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists,'" he told Vanity Fair magazine in its upcoming January issue. (...) When asked about the Vanity Fair article and Perle's criticism, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "We appreciate the Monday-morning quarterbacking, but the president has a plan to succeed in Iraq and we are going forward with it." Other prominent conservatives criticized the administration's conduct of the war in the article, including Kenneth Adelman, who also served on the Defense Policy Board that informally advised President Bush. Adelman said he was "crushed" by the performance of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The critiques in Vanity Fair come as growing numbers of Republicans have criticized Bush's policies on Iraq. The war, unpopular with many Americans, has become a top-tier issue in next week's congressional elections. Perle said "you have to hold the president responsible" because he didn't recognize "disloyalty" by some in the administration. He said the White House's National Security Council, then run by now-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, did not serve Bush properly. A year before the war, Adelman predicted demolishing Saddam's military power and liberating Iraq would be a "cakewalk." But he told the magazine he was mistaken in his high opinion of Bush's national security . "They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era," he said. "Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional." 4 LEADING MILITARY PAPERS: 'RUMSFELD MUST GO' An editorial set to appear on Monday -- election eve -- in the four leading newspapers for the military calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The papers are the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times. They are published by the Military Times Media Group, a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc. President Bush said this week that he wanted Rumsfeld to serve out the next two years. "We say that Rumsfeld must be replaced," Alex Neill, the managing editor of the Army Times, told The Virginian-Pilot Friday night. "Given the state of affairs with Iraq and the military right now, we think it's a good time for new leadership there." The editorial was based on a decision of the publications' editorial board, Neill told the paper. The timing of the editorial was coincidental, Neill said. But he added, "President Bush came out and said that Donald Rumsfeld is in for the duration ... so it's just a timely issue for us. And our position is that it is not the best course for the military" for Rumsfeld to remain the Pentagon chief. Neill said he was uncertain how troops will react. "I think we'll hear from both sides," he said. "It will be interesting to find out if it swings significantly one way or the other." The Ross Report at the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle posted the advance text of the editorial tonight, and this was cited by MSNBC. Andrew S. Ross is executive foreign and national editor of the paper. read in full... US STOPS AUDIT OF IRAQ REBUILDING A US government agency that has exposed corruption in Iraqi reconstruction projects will close in 2007. Washington lawmakers have reacted with shock at the discovery that an obscure clause in a military spending bill will terminate the work of the auditor. The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has embarrassed the US administration with its reports on corrupt practices. Critics of the government claim this is what lies behind its sudden closure. read in full... >> REPORTS Roads to Iraq: IRAQ'S DEVELOPMENT: 03, NOV, 2006 - The relationship between the government members in Iraq is so bad that it's reaching the level of collapse, the leader of the "Sunni Accord Front" Dr. Adnan Al-Dulaimi yesterday accused Nuri al-Maliki that his government being involved directly in sectarian violence. Dulaimi said, the government does not defend the Sunnis but open the way for the militias to commit the most heinous crimes against Sunnis, but stand by and watch what is happening. - Al-Hayat reported the formation of "Information Ministry" by the so-called "Al-Qaeda" in Iraq [recently they sign their statements under the name "Iraq Islamic State". The report also talks about the establishment of "The Unified Political Command" by various armed groups to lead the negotiations with the Americans. Sources pointed out that intensive contacts in the past few days showed the need for such unified command. Saleh Al-Mtalk, said:
The formation of the Unified Political Command has become an urgent necessity dictated by the realities of the willingness of all parties to enter into negotiations on the future of Iraq».
- Quds Press went a step further and they pinpointed the date for the coming US-Iraqi resistance meeting:
The Islamic Army in Iraq had agreed to hold a meeting with American officials in the course of next week in the Jordanian capital of Amman.The sources said that the 9th of November, this date will be the second meeting between the resistance and the American forces, He stressed that the Americans must make up their minds about the continuations of these meetings by starting the implementation of the resistance demands. The sources denied reports that meetings took place between the Iraqi parliamentary delegation, and the Iraqi resistance, saying:_"because we do not recognize the government brought by the occupation, Moreover, Iraq today is not only the key players, national resistance and the occupation forces."
- Elaph reported that "1920 revolution Brigade" refused any kind of negotiations with the Americans, they attacked the people who are in contact with the US, saying:
They want to show themselves as leaders of the resistance from abroad while we are the real resistance, you are ignorants and you wants to steal the victory we are making.
[reminds me of Afghanistan, after the Russian withdraw] link DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS - AN INVESTIGATION A BBC investigation can reveal that the US and UK military have continued to use depleted uranium weapons despite warnings from scientists that it poses a potential long-term cancer risk to civilians. A former senior scientist with the United Nations has told the BBC that studies showing that it was carcinogenic were suppressed from a seminal World Health Organisation report. The US has refused to fund major research and has been criticised for failing to cooperate with UN attempts to conduct a post conflict assessment in Iraq. read in full... SNIPER ATTACKS ADDING TO PERIL OF U.S. TROOPS The bullet passed through Lance Cpl. Juan Valdez-Castillo as his Marine patrol moved down a muddy urban lane. It was a single shot. The lance corporal fell against a wall, tried to stand and fell again. Karma is a town near Falluja in the unruly province of Anbar. His squad leader, Sgt. Jesse E. Leach, faced where the shot had come from, raised his rifle and grenade launcher and quickly stepped between the sniper and the bloodied marine. He walked backward, scanning, ready to fire. Shielding the marine with his own thick body, he grabbed the corporal by a strap and dragged him across a muddy road to a line of tall reeds, where they were concealed. He put down his weapon, shouted orders and cut open the lance corporal's uniform, exposing a bubbling wound. Lance Corporal Valdez-Castillo, shot through the right arm and torso, was saved. But the patrol was temporarily stuck. The marines were engaged in the task of calling for a casualty evacuation while staring down their barrels at dozens of windows that faced them, as if waiting for a ghost's next move. This sequence on Tuesday here in Anbar Province captured in a matter of seconds an expanding threat in the war in Iraq. In recent months, military officers and enlisted marines say, the insurgents have been using snipers more frequently and with greater effect, disrupting the military's operations and fueling a climate of frustration and quiet rage. [the photo in the previous post captures this incident -- zig] read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Mike Whitney: BAGHDAD IS SURROUNDED Rumsfeld flattened Fallujah nearly 2 years ago thinking that the destruction of the city of 300,000 would "send a message" to the Sunnis; convincing them that it was useless to resist. His action, which was enthusiastically applauded by right-wing pundits and politicians in America, produced exactly the opposite response. The resistance is now stronger than ever, the attacks on American troops have increased dramatically, and al-Anbar province is no longer under U.S. control. Anyone with even a superficial understanding of psychology could have predicted the outcome, but Rumsfeld blundered on with his iron-fisted tactics regardless of the facts. Rumsfeld's over-reliance on force has spread turmoil throughout the Sunni-heartland making it virtually ungovernable. The sectarian violence is now so bad that a leaked-Pentagon report prepared by the US Central Command says the country is in a state of "chaos". This is the logical corollary of the Rumsfeld approach and it is unlikely to change. For American troops in Iraq, there is a worse scenario than chaos; that is defeat. Patrick Cockburn's 11-1-06 article "Baghdad is under Siege" in the UK Independent provides the chilling details of an armed Iraqi resistance which has now cut off supply lines to the capital and threatens to make America's ongoing occupation impossible. Cockburn says:
"Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital....The country has taken another lurch towards disintegration. Well armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement. The Sunnis insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all approaches to Baghdad."
Baghdad is surrounded and the predicament for American troops is increasingly tenuous. The battle is being lost on all fronts. So, what is Secretary Rumsfeld's response to these new and urgent developments? Rumsfeld held a press conference in which he blasted his critics for "focusing too much on the bad news coming out of Iraq" and announced the launching of a new public relations campaign which will attempt to elicit greater support for the ongoing occupation. The Pentagon plans to "develop messages" to respond to the negative news-coverage and, as Rumsfeld said, "correct the record." "Correct the record"? Is the Pentagon planning to "repackage" the war even while the Resistance is tightening its grip around the capital? What type of madness is this? read in full... NYT: AS BECHTEL GOES Bechtel, the giant engineering company, is leaving Iraq. Its mission - to rebuild power, water and sewage plants - wasn't accomplished: Baghdad received less than six hours a day of electricity last month, and much of Iraq's population lives with untreated sewage and without clean water. But Bechtel, having received $2.3 billion of taxpayers' money and having lost the lives of 52 employees, has come to the end of its last government contract. As Bechtel goes, so goes the whole reconstruction effort. Whatever our leaders may say about their determination to stay the course complete the mission, when it comes to rebuilding Iraq they've already cut and run. The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there's no more money in the pipeline. The failure of reconstruction in Iraq raises three questions. First, how much did that failure contribute to the overall failure of the war? Second, how was it that America, the great can-do nation, in this case couldn't and didn't? Finally, if we've given up on rebuilding Iraq, what are our troops dying for? read in full... Joseph L. Galloway: MALIKI FIDDLES AS IRAQ BURNS Just when it seemed that the situation in Iraq couldn't get any murkier, more muddled or more dangerous, it did. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, our "friend" or our client, if you will, has openly declared his independence from us and his dependence on his most important domestic supporter, the anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia. Maliki, it's becoming clear, is as big a part of the problem in Iraq as al-Sadr and his gang of thugs and murderers. But President Bush is, well, staying the course with Maliki with all the obstinacy that he's displayed throughout his sojourn in Iraq. The Iraqi prime minister threw the idea of benchmarks for progress toward disarming the Iraqi militias and standing up competent and capable Iraqi army and police units back in the administration's face last week. Then, this week, he ordered American troops to pull down their security checkpoints around al-Sadr's power base in Baghdad's Sadr City, home to 2 million Shiites. American troops had sealed off all the routes in and out of the neighborhood in an attempt to find an Iraqi-born American soldier who's believed to have been kidnapped by Mahdi Army militiamen. Maliki obviously is never going to have any part of disarming the Mahdi militia, the Badr Corps or any other Shiite militia, as his nation descends into civil war. He doesn't trust the Iraqi army or police any more than anyone else does. If there's going to be a fight to the finish, Maliki wants the deck stacked in favor of the Shiites. What Washington wants is irrelevant and immaterial to Maliki at this point. Benchmarking and videoconferences with President Bush and rush visits to Baghdad by national security adviser Stephen Hadley won't make any difference. (…) Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that an important benchmark-a classified briefing chart prepared each month by the intelligence section of the U.S. Central Command-shows that Iraq is steadily edging closer to chaos. (…) Contrast that with President Bush's recent declarations that although Iraq is a tough situation, we're winning and victory and glory will be ours-or his-in the end. It's also clear that our uniformed military leaders are worried that, when push comes to shove, the administration's micromanagers will try to blame them for failing to achieve that victory with too few troops and too little freedom to change a failing course. The most recent polls indicate that the number of Iraqis who want us out of there is approaching 70 percent. It may be ironic that the number of Americans who want us out of there, too, is nearing the same percentage. They want us to leave. We want us to leave. There's nothing standing in the way of satisfying both majorities except a president, a vice president and a defense secretary who are willing to fight to the last man-willing to drive our military to utter destruction-before they'll admit that they were wrong, wrong, wrong from deluded beginning to wretched end. read in full... Blogcritics: BUSH/CHENEY GOT NIAGARA FALLS OF BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS The 'government' of Iraq is not a government like we understand it. If the US pulled out today, the Iraqi 'government' would immediately flee overseas, back to where many of its members have come from - expats who returned to their home country when Saddam was overthrown. They returned after being away for 30 years, not knowing a damn thing about their country anymore, in order to batten on the largesse of the US occupation. This they know how to do - vampire fleas sucking themselves fat as hogs from our tax dollars like they're guzzling warm blood on tap. We're not just talking thousands and millions; we're talking billions as well. These guys are more corrupt than a clusterfuggian cabal of Abramoffs. They're making hay while the sun shines, because they know that once the US pulls out, they'll have to get out of Dodge pronto themselves - to escape being whacked by their own angry citizens. If you read a blog by an Iraqi like Zeyad on Healing Iraq, who appeared recently on NPR's Radio Open Source, you'd realize that Iraq is a bigger balls-up than any US media expert holed up in the Green Zone can ever know. (...) Today Iraqis are longing for the days of Saddam, when they had security. And when there was much less snuffing of the neighbors. The country is thoroughly butt-bonked, blood-assed and bum-buggered for the next 20 years. And we did it, not the Iraqis. We destroyed their institutions, and let them vote for a bunch of corrupt pols who play us for suckers and sit high and dry in the safety of the Green Zone and act like they're running the country, a country they're too afraid to travel in, unless surrounded by US Army tanks, jeeps and Humvees. What a mess. It's insoluble. Bush says we're training the Iraqis to stand up so we can stand down. Such BS. What we're actually doing is training the Shiites in the army to kill the Sunnis, and giving them the arms to do it with. That's what we're doing. We're knee-deep in a civil war, on the side of the Shiites. Is Bush telling us any of this? No. All we get from him are the usual. Lies, lies, and more lies. The man can't open his mouth and a lie falls out, which he sucked out of Karl Rove's ass the night before. It's an abdication of responsibility last seen in the governments of Caligula and Nero. Impeachment. Jeez, that's not enough. In any other epoch, there'd probably be some kind of military tribunal court-martial thing. In our country, the whole nation deserves to be court-martialed. We have completely destroyed another country. For what? Not even Bush or Cheney could tell you straight anymore, even if they wanted to. (...) And what did Bush/Cheney get besides billions for their cronies? Thousands of dead American soldiers, this October alone a total of 103 innocent young Americans sacrificed for a Bush/Cheney fiasco and another 400 wounded, the worst month ever - plus 665,000 dead Iraqis. What Bush/Cheney got was blood on their hands, buckets and rivers and Niagara Falls of it. This is what your President has done, America. This is what your country has done. Your President refuses to acknowledge any responsibility. He'll never have the guts to do it. So the question we as a nation have to ask ourselves is this: will we? read in full... Left I on the News: IRAQ IN THE NEWS Four stories in the paper today, each in its own way with some strange aspect. The biggest one is the Richard Perle story - "the intellectual godfather of the Iraq war...now believes he should not have backed the U.S.-led invasion, and...holds President Bush responsible for failing to make timely decisions to stem the rising violence." Well, his deathbed (that's not his deathbed, you understand, just the deathbed of hundreds of thousands of Iraqs and several thousand Americans and others) confession doesn't hold much water with me, and one reason to doubt its sincerity (as well as the worth of the American media) is this sentence, printed without challenge:
Perle ...is quoted in January's Vanity Fair as saying the U.S. might have been able to strip Saddam Hussein of his ability to build unconventional weapons "by means other than a direct military intervention."
The fact that Iraq had had neither "unconventional weapons" nor even unconventional weapons "programs" since the early 90's? Apparently that has escaped the attention of both Perle and the writer of this article. Story #2 is another widely publicized one - the fact that the Military Times newspapers are calling on Monday for the firing of Secretary of War Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As an aside, I note that this highlights one of the reasons I don't approve of "reason-less" absentee voting - more than 40% of the people voting in Tuesday's elections have already voted, and are thus unable to change their vote based on such late developments (not that it matters much in this case). Anyway, the strange sentence in this article is this one:
"Although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.''
Whatever happened to the idea of the "Commander-in-Chief"? It's certainly language we've heard from George Bush himself many times, not to mention the media. Isn't the "Commander-in-Chief" (a.k.a. "the decider") the one who is responsible for what happens on his watch? I know that many people, including me, think that Bush is no brainwave and is ultimately just giving the orders for decisions made by such people as Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. But Bush is the President, and ultimately it is he that gives the orders (with the exception of the events of 9/11). However much various people influence him, it is ultimately he who says "yea" or "nay" and sets events in motion. Nothing Donald Rumsfeld has done has been without George Bush's agreement, tacit or expressed. Yet the entire American ruling class treats the idea of calling for George Bush's resignation as somehow unmentionable. Others (see the upper right of this page and it's call for "Resign Now!") feel differently. Unfortunately not enough of us. The other two stories are similar. In one, we learn that "Iraq's Defense Ministry [is] bracing for possible violence" when the verdict in the Saddam Hussein trial is announced. Yes, because things have been nothing but peace and tranquility until now. And in the other, we are told that "The spate of killings in the capital [56 bodies found] appeared to mark a return of the sectarian violence that American officials said had ebbed last week." I think they left out "for an hour or two." Did anybody notice an "ebbing of violence" last week? Anybody? Without going back and checking, I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a single day when the number of dead bodies turning up in Baghdad hasn't been in the double-digits, with most days in the 40-50 range. "Ebbing of violence" my eye. As I did the other day with Major Caldwell and his "great work of art" comment, I dare the "American officials" who claim violence was "ebbing" (or the newspaper reporters and editors who print this nonsense) to go door-to-door in Baghdad, visit the families of the people who died just yesterday, and repeat that absurd claim. As with Major Caldwell, chances are they'll be dead before they reach door number two. link No Quarter: IT IS TIME FOR THIS MADNESS TO END This is like the end of one of those old Fred Astaire movies where everyone is on the stage as the curtain closes: Iraq mismanagement. The culture of corruption. The partisan president dishing his dirt. The Republican Congress trying to gut the Inspector General. The Republican candidates drenching the aiwaves with lying and smearing ads. It gets worse: the neoconservatives running for cover. The intelligence community saying the war creates more terrorists. Commanders warning of the descent to chaos. And while the carnage and corruption continue, the Vice President acts like Captain Queeg, claiming preposterously that he was always right, demanding that we stay the course with this catastrophic policy. Military Times, Marines Corps Times, Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times: they speak for the troops, they speak for the families, they speak for the commanders. It is the beginning of the end. It is time for this madness to end. read in full... Needlenose: WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE From Reuters yesterday:
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. . . . "Every great work of art goes through messy phases while it is in transition," Caldwell said.
Far be it for me to offer you artistic advice, Gen. Caldwell... but it seems to me that the painting might not be so messy if you used a little less blood, y'know? Just a thought. link Jesus' General: WILL MOQTADA AL-SADR SAVE MY GRANDMA? November 3, 2006 Moqtada al-Sadr Shi'i Warlord c/o Embassy of the Republic of Iraq Dear Mr. Sadr, I hope you can help my grandmother with a problem she has. I've already contacted my congressman, Rob Bishop, my two senators, Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett (neither of whom are homosexuals), and Our Leader, George Bush, Emperor of the United States, but they all refused to do anything to help her. So now I'm asking you, the most powerful man in the world--a leader so powerful you can command the United States military to abandon an operation to find a missing American soldier--for your assistance. Can I get you to order President Bush to give my grandmother the prescription drugs she needs to stay alive? You see, she just entered into the Medicare "donut hole," the period of time when the government no longer helps the elderly pay for their medication. She can't afford the drugs she needs unless she stops eating and moves into cardboard box down by the railroad tracks. I know President Bush would provide medication for her if you'd tell him to do it. Heck, if he'll abandon a soldier on your orders, he'll certainly do anything else you ask of him. I bet you could even get him to do some really freaky stuff involving peanut butter, corn, handcuffs, and a glow stick if you wanted him to. A lot of people would buy videotapes of something like that. You could triple the size of your militia with the money it'd generate. Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Let's get back to my grandmother. She needs your help. Can she count on you? Heterosexually yours, General JC Christian, patriot link >>BEYOND IRAQ BRITISH BELIEVE BUSH IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN KIM JONG-IL America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq. Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US. read in full... WhateverIt Is I'm Against It: MIND-BOGGLING STATEMENT OF THE DAY A spokesmodel for the Israeli military attacked Hamas for calling on women to protect besieged Hamas fighters, "knowing the IDF would not shoot at women and children". Except of course they did. With machine guns. Killing two. Wounding 17. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The American era in the Middle East, the fourth in the region's modern history, has ended." -- Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, in The New Middle East, Foreign Affairs magazine, November/December 2006


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