Thursday, November 09, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, November 9, 2006 Welcome to the new Iraq. The subtitle says: Baghdad: Zawra satellite channel has stopped broadcasting by order of the government. SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Seven civilians were killed and 27 wounded when a suicide car bomber blew himself up near Mishin trade complex in the Riyadh area of southeast Baghdad, a medic at Baghdad's Ibn Nafis hospital said. A security source said that first a mortar fell on the complex, and when people gathered near the site a car bomber then approached and detonated his vehicle. A bomb exploded in the Suq Haraj market in central Baghdad's Bab al-Sharqi area, killing three and wounding 19. A car bomb in the Faraj market at Baghdad's northeastern Qahira neighbourhood killed three and wounded 12.
The nearby College of Fine Arts was also targeted with a car bomb that killed two civilians and wounded three others.
A roadside bomb targetting an Iraqi army patrol killed a soldier and wounded four civilian pedestrians on Baghdad's Palestine Street. A dozen mortars slammed into Baghdad's northern Sunni district of Adhamiyah overnight. The rain of mortars, which went on into the early hours, filled the night air with the sound of explosions, but according to authorities they did not cause any casualties. In a statement overnight, the prime minister's office ascribed the mortar fire to insurgents attacking the northern parts of the city.
A steady barrage of mortar fire since overnight continued well into the day crashing on Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in the capital. Late-night attacks filled the night with flashes, smoke and the sound of explosions followed by gunfire. On Thursday more mortars were fired by rival groups, with nine rounds hitting the Sunni Adhamiyah district, killing three and wounding 11. Three hitt the Shiite Kadhimiyah district, wounding 15.
Gunmen killed a police lieutenant colonel in Sadoun street in central Baghdad. A roadside bomb wounded three people in southern Baghdad. A car bomb blew up wounding two policemen while they were trying to dismantle it in the eastern Zayouna district of the capital. A roadside bomb wounded four people in the New Baghdad district of the capital. The bodies of five laborers were found in the southern Doura district of Baghdad. They were abducted in the morning at a site where they usually gathered waiting to be hired.
Police in Baghdad found 29 bodies around the capital in the last 24 hours with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.
A car bomb killed six people and wounded 28 in Karada in central Baghdad. A roadside bomb killed two people and wounded 26 others in central Baghdad. A roadside bomb targeted a police commando patrol near a petrol station in central Baghdad and four people were wounded. Baiji: A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol and killed a policeman and wounded three others on Wednesday in Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad. Baqubah: A total of eight people were killed in different parts of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad. Amarra: A civilian was killed and another three wounded when a bomb exploded near their car northeast of the southern city of Amara. Latifiya: The bodies of four people were found, bound and gagged, in the town of Latifiya, in an area dubbed "The Triangle of Death" south of Baghdad. Kut: A roadside bomb targeting a police rapid reaction force wounded four of them on Wednesday in Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Suweira: Police recovered four bodies, three of them in police uniforms, from the Tigris river near the town of Suweira, south of Baghdad. Tikrit: Gunmen killed a police officer on Wednesday in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad. Mosul: A total of six people were shot dead, including a police officer, in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. Tal Afar: A rocket landed in a residential district and killed two policemen and wounded four civilians in the town of Tal Afar, 420 km (260 miles) north of Baghdad. A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed four people, including a policeman, and wounded eight others, including a policeman, in Tal Afar. Muqdadiyah: Assailants stormed a primary school as classes were starting in Muqdadiyah, north of Baghdad, killing a policeman, a guard and a student. >> NEWS 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. The health minister, a senior Shiite official linked to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, also said the United States should hand Iraqis full control of its army and police force. Doing so, he said, would allow the Iraqi government to bring the violence under control within six months. "The army of America didn't do its job ... they tie the hands of my government," al-Shemari said. "They should hand us the power, we are a sovereign country," he said, adding that as a first step, U.S. soldiers should leave Iraq's cities. The man who runs Baghdad's main morgue said Thursday that it received approximately 1,600 bodies in October. Dr. Abdul-Razzaq al-Obaidi said that figure did not include victims of sectarian violence who are taken to Baghdad's many hospitals and whose deaths are not officially added to the death totals. Iraqi security forces continue to be targeted by snipers, car bombs and kidnappers, with 39 policemen killed and 170 wounded from Nov. 3 to Nov. 9, Brig. Abdel-Karim Khalaf told reporters. The U.S. military released details late Wednesday of two previously unreported operations conducted over recent days, including a 90-minute firefight in northern Baghdad on Sunday in which 38 suspected Iraqi insurgents were killed and nine wounded. In a separate report, the military said heavily armed insurgents ambushed a joint Iraqi-U.S. patrol on Tuesday near the northern town of Dugmat. U.S. forces responded with ground troops and airstrikes, killing eight fighters, it said. One U.S. soldier was killed and three wounded in the action, it said, casualties already reported and included in the monthly tally. SUNNIS THREATEN TO PULL OUT OF IRAQ GOVT, TAKE UP ARMS The main Sunni Arab bloc in Iraq's parliament threatened today to pull out of the unity government and take up arms if the Shiite-dominated government continued to ignore its calls for the dismantling of militias. Salim Abdallah, spokesman for the National Concord Front, a bloc of three Sunni parties holding 44 seats in parliament, told Agence France-Presse his group had delivered a message to the government two weeks ago about dissolving the militias. 'If they do not respond to this request, we may abandon the political process and have no other choice but to take up arms,' he said. read in full...
Arab Links: Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, another Sunni party in parliament, the Iraqi People's Congress, in a written statement, threatened to withdraw completely from the political process, citing two days of unprecented attacks on Sunni locations, including a number of mosques which are named, during the last two days, adding that it would be impossible to move such large numbers of attackers from one neighborhood to another, during a curfew, without the connivance of the government.
>> REPORTS 1,500 BAATHISTS KILLED IN SOUTH Assassinating former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party is going on unabated particularly in southern Iraq, according to an independent group monitoring human rights in Iraq. "The number of Baathists killed since the start of 2006 has reached 1,556 people and none of the cases has been investigated," the group, Freedom Monitoring Commission, said in a statement faxed to Azzaman. It said the killings took place in southern Iraq, and particularly in the cities of Nasiriya, Diwaniya, Amara, Basra, Samawa, Kut, Hilla, Karbala, Najafa and Hindiya. There were more than one million full-fledged members of the Baath party and millions supporters. read in full... JUBA THE BAGHDAD SNIPER ECLIPSES SADDAM'S CALL FOR RECONCILIATION A chastened Saddam Hussein pleaded yesterday for reconciliation in Iraq as he appeared in court two days after he was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. Saddam, recalling that both Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad had forgiven their foes, said: "I call on Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds to forgive, reconcile and shake hands." But his words are unlikely to impress rebel groups who, more confident than ever, have released a slew of videos touting a sniper named Juba, celebrating his murders of US soldiers and boasting of the production of a new surface-to-surface missile. (...) In a 28-minute video, the Islamic Army in Iraq, made up mainly of veterans from Saddam's security apparatus, celebrated the exploits of "Juba the Baghdad sniper". Juba, whose name is taken from an African death dance, is shown marking off his kills on a wall before he lays down his sniper rifle. He then writes an ode to Allah (God) and calls on Iraqis to fight the crusaders and Jews. Between interviews with a man, whose face is wrapped in a checkered keffiyeh, identified as the commander of the group's sniper brigade, the footage shows about two dozen US soldiers being picked off by a sniper. In each incident, the soldier is marked by a red scope. Then the viewer hears a shell burst, sees a bit of smoke and the spray of blood. The soldier falls, people run in panic and the words flash in red and yellow "Juba the Baghdad sniper." The video then cuts back to the commander. With a sniper rifle propped behind him, he brags that the rebels weren't great fighters but they became skilled over time. "Day by day, the Mujahidin started to gain experience from the battles." He claims that his group has trained an elite brigade of snipers and perfected techniques to strike US forces. His sharpshooters learned their trade from a book, called The Ultimate Sniper by a retired US Marine sniper, named Major John Plaster. "The idea of filming the operations is very important because the scenes that show the falling soldiers when hit have more impact on the enemy than any other weapon." (…) One resident [of western Baghdad's Sunni neighbourhood, Amariyah], who watched it said: "I'm really proud of it. It's a well-made movie. It is a perfect work. This is the best way to get the Americans out." read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Patrick Cockburn: THERE SHOULD BE NO DOUBT ABOUT THE EXTENT OF THE US FAILURE IN IRAQ The following is an excerpt from Patrick Cockburn's new book, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso, 2006). The US failure in Iraq has been even more damaging than Vietnam because the opponent was punier and the original ambitions were greater. The belief that the US could act alone, almost without allies, was quickly shown to be wholly false. By the summer of 2004 the US military had only islands of control. The failure was all the worse because it was self-inflicted, like the British invasion of Egypt to overthrow Nasser in 1956. But by the time of the Suez crisis the British empire was already on its deathbed. The disaster only represented a final nail in its coffin. Perhaps the better analogy is the Boer War, at the height of the British imperial power, when the inability of its forces to defeat a few thousand Boer farmers damagingly exposed both Britain's real lack of military strength and its diplomatic isolation. (...) There should be no doubt about the extent of the US failure. General William Odom, the former head of the National Security Agency, the largest US intelligence agency, called it "the greatest strategic disaster in American history." (...) It was the overwhelming unpopularity of the occupation among the five million Sunni Arabs in Iraq which led to the speedy start of guerilla warfare. The Shia leaders were also hostile to the occupation but were not going to oppose it in arms if they could take power through the elections. But neither Sunni nor Shia were ever going to provide reliable allies for the US. All of this became evident during the first year of the war. (...) It was not only the poor -- the vast majority of Iraqis -- who were alienated. One friend, a highly educated businessman, described listening to a US officer solemnly lecturing half a dozen Iraqis with PhDs and the command of several languages on the future of their country. One place where the US might have hoped for a sympathetic hearing was among the brokers on the Baghdad stock exchange. But in 2003 control of the exchange was given to a 24-year-old American whose main credential for the job was his family's contributions to the Republican Party. He allegedly failed to renew the lease on a building housing the exchange, which consequently stayed shut for a year. After six months the brokers' frustrated fury at the US occupation made them sound more like Islamic militants from Fallujah than the highly conservative businessmen they were. read in full... Bill Maher: ROASTING New Rule: Now that we've sent "stay the course" down the memory hole, where Big Brother erases things, we've also got to retire: "The world is safer with Saddam Hussein out of power." "Don't you want America to win?" and "Wouldn't you torture someone if they knew where to find an atomic time bomb?" One: The world isn't safer with Saddam out of power. The only people who are safer are the dead. A number which has, admittedly, increased. Saddam didn't have weapons, that he wouldn't give to Al-Qaeda, whose guts he hated. He might have changed his mind, built weapons he didn't have, and given them to people he hated, but then, so could Dairy Queen. Two: Don't I want America to win? Are we talking about a war between Sunnis and Shiites, or the Winter Olympics? I thought we wanted democracy to win. 103 Americans died in Iraq last month. Was that winning? Would 1000 be a blow out? Also, didn't we already win? I remember reading about it on an aircraft carrier. Three: The atomic time bomb that justifies torture. The Constitution specifically says you can't torture people, and we can assume they meant: Even if you really, really want to. Because you wouldn't make a rule against something people didn't want to do. The Eighth Amendment protects terrorists. The same way the First Amendment protects Dixie Chicks. The Framers thought protecting people from the government was more important than anything - even than protecting them from a mythical bomb. You can disagree, but that's not what our Constitution says. Beyond the fact that it's, like, "illegal," the next problem with the pro-torture argument is that no one - in human history -- has ever been seconds away from defusing an atomic time bomb. You're not thinking of life on earth. You're thinking of "Goldfinger." You can't make a reasoned argument against a law based on the most outlandish possible hypothetical counter-example you just pulled out of your ass. This is called the Fallacy of Accident. A twist on the old dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid. Like I have to tell you. link The Left Coaster: MCGOVERN AND POLK IRAQI WITHDRAWAL PLAN George McGovern and James R. Polk have the cover story in the latest Harper's (not yet available online), outlining their plan for total immediate withdrawal from Iraq [A Blueprint For Leaving Iraq Now], with no US forces in the country by December 31, 2007. Greatly simplified the plan has these major elements: . Acceptance of loss and total knowledge that US presence in Iraq harms and puts US interests under serious regression. . Creation of a middle-eastern/Muslim multinational force to provide security upon leaving. . Abandonment of all US equipment in the theatre upon leaving. . Widespread reparation and damage awards to Iraqis. . All multinational oil contracts be declared null and void, Iraqi oil reserves completely and formally handed over to the Iraqi government. Cursory analysis of the plan reveals the following weaknesses: . No political strategy/messaging for the opposition party taking responsibility for leaving as being labeled as cowards, yellow runners, appeasers, and losers. . No media strategy to nullify the widespread propaganda segments of the US journalism corps. . Under-appreciation of the task of explaining failure and abandonment of equipment to the American people. . Total omission of Kurd, Sunni, and Shia ethnic, religious, cultural and geographical elements that make Iraqi cohesion extremely unlikely. McGovern and Polk blithely assume Iraq will remain viably whole upon leaving, while that is an extremely unlikely scenario with extreme repercussions. . Total omission for US political responsibility and possible prosecution of war crimes. read in full... A Tiny Revolution: TIME TO PROVE DICK CHENEY RIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE Rumsfeld out. Let's now remember this section from Bob Woodward's book State of Denial:
[Andrew] Card kept pushing, at one point raising the possibility of change at the Pentagon with Vice President Cheney. No, Cheney said, he was predisposed to recommend that the president keep Rumsfeld right where he was. Card was not surprised. In private conversations with Bush, Cheney said Rumsfeld's departure, no matter how it might be spun, would be seen only as an expression of doubt and hesitation on the war. It would give the war critics great heart and momentum, he confided to an aide, and soon they would be after him and then the president. He virtually insisted that Rumsfeld stay.
link Arab Links: THE TWO PARTS OF THE US IRAQ ADVENTURE In a lengthy opinion piece in Al-Quds al-Arabi, Islamic historian Bashir Nafie divides the US adventure in Iraq into two main parts: The first was the attack on the Sunna by Shiite groups under the protection and sponsorship of the Americans, and the second, now beginning, the fear-mongering, as he sees it, about a Sunni-backlash threat. His main point is that the "common consciousness" of the Sunni community as a whole, is nationalist and not sectarian. The Baath party had substantial Shiite participation. A lot of problems that the Americans painted in Sunni-Shiite sectarian colors were fundamentally political and not religious-sectarian. There was never chronic Shiite-Sunni violence until the Americans arrived and triggered it. It is true that some Sunni individuals have fallen into the trap of revenge. But by and large, the Sunni community has been responsible, and will continue to be so. The US justification of troop-presence based on guarding against a Sunni backlash is as divisive and spurious, he says, as was the original decision to help Shiite groups go after the resistance. read in full... Arab Links: NEWS FOR KIDS! Remember Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri ? Vaguely ? A Saddam crony, with his likeness on one of those most-wanted playing cards, he was captured on September 5 2004. But it wasn't him! Then to top that, he died on November 11, 2005. But not really! The reports of these events were what they call in the business ...actually I'm not sure what they call these reports. There is probably a technical name. They are reports of what should have happened. The news agencies that reported these events only meant that he should have been captured and he deserved to die. You have to know how to read these things. Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri was back in the news yesterday. AP said four unnamed people told its reporter that al-Duri had issued a secret order to the armed Baathist resistance groups to lay down their arms following the Saddam death-sentence. Actually, he didn't. But he should have. That was all they meant. You have to know how to read these things. You have to understand context and mood. What the AP reported was a collection of three very gratifying events following the sentence of death by hanging for Saddam. First, Saddam told everyone to shake hands. Actually he told the Arabs and the Kurds to shake hands, no mention of anyone with Persian blood like a lot of Shiites in the south, but you know, he should have, he probably meant to. Next was the al-Duri story, which as you can see fits right in with the new softer mood. And finally, the AP reporter noted the announcement on Monday of a "major concession to insurgents and the Sunni community..." Whereas the de-Baathification program had put 30,000 government and quasi-government workers on the street in 2003, this was now going to be scaled back so that all but 1500 of them could return to work or at least get a retirement pension. Maybe. (…) When the AP talked about a "major concession to insurgents and the Sunni community", they did not really mean such a thing occurred, only that it should occur. They suggest you might like to imagine it happening. Just like the capture, death, and then the surrender yesterday of Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri. link Arab Links: BAATH RESISTANCE VIEWS FOR THE POST-SADDAM PERIOD Al-Quds al-Arabi publishes the full text of the Baath party statement on the sentencing of Saddam Hussein, and there are a couple of important points about resistance strategy, in addition to the two points highlighted by Al-Hayat and summarized in the prior post. (...) The argument goes like this: The Americans condemned Saddam to death just before their occupation project fails completely, because they know that with Saddam at the head of the government, restoration of security, stability and services would be a matter of hours, not of years. And one result of that would be that Iraq would again have a voice in the affairs of the region, stronger in fact that before. And for that reason the Americans are against a rapid restoration of stability, favoring rather the creation of "an Iraq free but weak, susceptible to external pressure and to the dictation of conditions, incapable of responding or warding off the return of American colonialism via the window of governmental weakness, after having been expelled by the door of armed resistance. The American plan now, having become convinced that the coming freedom is a certainty (meaning: US forces will be expelled by force), is to agree to the establishment of a national government, but a weak one, and one lacking the polarizing element necessary to unify attitudes, and take the required bold and historic decisions necessitated by the absense of Saddam..." In other words, the US on the verge of being expelled will be too weak to partition the country, so the next best thing will be make sure that the government is a weak one. (As an assessment of American strategy, this is worth noting quite apart from question whether the net effect of executing Saddam would actually be to make an eventual government stronger or weaker). In the second series of points, relating to future actions, there is an interesting combination of traditional nationalist positions with a more global view. For instance, point number two of the second list is a call for "complete and unconditional withdrawal" of the US troops. But then point number three warns that if Saddam is executed, the hardliners will have the upper hand in the councils of the resistance, and that means switching to a strategy of attrition against US and actually barring the troops from leaving. Here the focus shifts from merely freeing Iraq, to bringing down the American empire by bleeding them in Iraq. This is a view much closer to the global near-enemy/far-enemy long-term analysis of AlQaeda than to traditional national resistance. read in full...
The second point: If Saddam is in fact executed, then "America should know that there will be absolutely no further negotiations and no new contacts," and that the party will "concentrate its efforts on the support and victory of the policy-line within the party that says that the job of the resistance is the destruction of the American empire on Iraqi soil, by not permitting the American forces to withdraw, and by continuing [America's] economic and human attrition leading to destruction and collapse within America." (...) In a seemingly unrelated development, the UK newspaper The Independent reports this morning that US ambassador Khalilzad will be leaving his post in a few months, citing a senior US administration official. Included in this report is the following observation: "While willing to open talks with some Sunni insurgent groups Mr Khalilzad found the most powerful ones wanted to expel the US, not negotiate." In other words, the sequence of events was apparently this: Khalilzad supports talks with "some" resistance groups (but this would naturally have been opposed by the Cheney faction and others); Saddam is sentenced to hang two days before the Congressional elections in order to give the Republicans a bounce in the polls, but reducing the "some" willing to engage in talks to probably close to zero; Khalilzad resigns. The conclusion seems inescapable: Recently there have been two US policies, not one, but now there is only one again. The root cause of the silence of Western media on this whole issue is the following: It isn't permissible to talk about the Iraqi "resistance", it is one of those words we don't use. Hence the initial contacts weren't reported, and now, with superb timing, the question of contacts and negotiations doesn't matter anyway.
Bob Gates by kos Brilliant. Bush's penchant for bringing out the most corrupt of retreads of past Republican administrations continues. "Robert M. Gates was the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director for intelligence (DDI) from 1982 to 1986. He was confirmed as the CIA's deputy director of central intelligence (DDCI) in April of 1986 and became acting director of central intelligence in December of that same year. Owing to his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities." This is who Bush has nominated for Secretary of Defense
His main qualification seems to be that he's one of daddy's men, as they begin the last ditch effort to save him from his biggest fuck up ever. link Left I on the News: CHAVEZ JOINS THE CALL: RESIGN. NOW. I've said for a long time, and reiterated just recently, that calls for the Secretary of Defense to resign without calling for the Commander-in-Chief to resign, particularly one who calls himself "Commander-in-Chief" more often than any President since George Washington, don't make any sense. Someone else agrees with me:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez applauded the resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and suggested President George W. Bush should quit as well. "Heads are beginning to roll," Chavez said during a news conference Wednesday. "It was about time he resigned. The president should resign now."
Out Now! U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan! Israel out of Palestine! Bush and Cheney out of office! Resign! Now! link Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey: SADDAM WINS MID-TERMS IN USA Bush condemned to failure due to his disastrous policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. The "War without Success" policy pleases nobody, except the clique of elitist corporative crypto-fascists which gravitate around the White House, turning multi-millionaires into multi-billionaires at the expense of the North American people and the hundreds of thousands of civilians slaughtered by the Bush regime. After six years of manipulating fear and his people, not even the death sentence against Saddam Hussein ("An immediate threat to the USA and her allies") and his Weapons of Mass Destruction ("We know where they are") could save Bush - since yet another cassette from bin Laden ("We are going to hunt him down and capture him") would have been more than suspicious. The truth is that the North American people have voted with a high turnout in favour of the law and in favour of international norms, and against policies of murder, torture, wars without casus belli and six years later, the penny has finally dropped - what makes the world much less safe is a blind, arrogant, bull in the china shop policy, which was only to be expected from a man so obviously intellectually challenged as George W. Bush and from a team which oozes overdoses of corporate greed. (…) The citizens of the United States of América have finally joined the international community, agreeing clearly that the World would be a far better place without the likes of George W. Bush and his odious, criminal and murderous regime. Time for regime change. (In the sidewings, the laugh of Saddam Hussein, who while moribund, imprisoned and without any power, after having signed 148 death warrants against Bush's 152, can even so continue to defeat his foe). read in full... Tom Engelhardt: PLEBISCITE ON AN OUTLAW EMPIRE The wave -- and make no mistake, it's a global one -- has just crashed on our shores, soaking our imperial masters. It's a sight for sore eyes. It's been a long time since we've seen an election like midterm 2006. After all, it's a truism of our politics that Americans are almost never driven to the polls by foreign-policy issues, no less by a single one that dominates everything else, no less by a catastrophic war (and the presidential approval ratings that go with it). This strange phenomenon has been building since the moment, in May 2003, that George W. Bush stood under that White-House-prepared "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared "major combat operations have ended." That "Top Gun" stunt -- when a cocky President helped pilot an S-3B Viking sub reconnaissance Naval jet onto a carrier deck and emerged into the golden glow of "magic hour light" (as his handlers then called it) -- was meant to give him the necessary victory photos to launch his 2004 presidential reelection campaign. As it turned out, that moment was but the first "milestone" on the path to Iraqi, and finally electoral, hell. Within mere months, those photos would prove useless for anyone but liberal bloggers. By now, they seem like artifacts from another age. On the way to the present "precipice" (or are we already over the edge?), there have been other memorable "milestones" -- from the President's July 2003 petulant "bring 'em on" taunt to Iraq's then forming insurgency to the Vice President's June 2005 "last throes" gaffe. All such statements have, by now, turned to dust in American mouths. In the context of the history of great imperial powers, how remarkably quickly this has happened. An American President, ruling the last superpower on this or any other planet, and his party have been driven willy-nilly into global and domestic retreat a mere three-plus years after launching the invasion of their dreams, the one that was meant to start them on the path to controlling the planet -- and by one of the more ragtag minority rebellions imaginable. I'm speaking here, of course, of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, of perhaps 15,000 relatively lightly armed rebels whose main weapons have been the roadside bomb and the sniper's bullet. What a grim, bizarre spectacle it's been. read in full... Roads to Iraq: THANK YOU FOR BRINGING RUMSFELD DOWN Thanks to the Iraqi resistance who deserves all the credits for bringing this criminal down. Thank you US citizens who voted this vampire off. link >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: NATO launched airstrikes as clashes in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar killed 28 suspected Taliban militants. Chris Floyd: ELECTION 2006: BEEN DOWN SO LONG IT LOOKS LIKE UP TO ME Ordinarily, the elevation of a gaggle of corporate bagmen, spine-free time-servers and craven accomplices of tyranny and aggression to the control of Congress would not be a cause for rejoicing. With a few notable exceptions, the Democratic Party has displayed nothing but cowardice and cluelessness over the past five years, betraying the interests of the American people at every single gut-check point in the long march to the self-proclaimed "Unitary Executive" dictatorship of George W. Bush. Whenever it really counted - Supreme Court nominations, tax cuts for the rich, the class-warfare nuclear bomb of the Bankruptcy Bill, the appointment of sleazy, third-rate officials such as torture-enabler and Constitution-gutter Alberto Gonzales to high office, and of course, the eager goose-stepping into the war crime of Iraq (which was, let us remember, approved by a Democratic-controlled Senate) - the Democrats folded, would not even go down fighting. (...) And yet, and yet...this is indeed a time - a brief, brief time - for celebration. For the fact remains that the Republican Congress is - as Matt Taibbi has detailed so forcefully - the worst in American history: corrupt, incompetent, dysfunctional, lazy, and ignorant almost beyond measuring. As often mentioned here, they are the very picture of the Roman Senate described by Tiberius, after they'd voted him yet another grovelling set of honors and powers: "Men fit to be slaves." The damage they have done to the nation, and the world, as the bootlicking handmaidens of George W. Bush and his militarist mafia is incalculable, and will go on producing foul repercussions for years, perhaps generations. And so it is meet indeed that we praise the parting of these wretched fools from their dominance of the legislature. And even though Democratic control of one or both houses of Congress will certainly not usher in a new Golden Age of enlightened and noble governance, it would be churlish and wilfully perverse not to acknowledge that genuine benefits will accrue from the change. (...) Also remember that the worst depredations of the first Bush Administration, the Reagan Administration and the Nixon Administration were all carried out with strong Democratic majorities in Congress (except for a brief period of Republican Senate control in the Reagan years). Even in "normal" times (if we have ever known such a thing), even with the opposition party in control of Congress, there is virtually no end to the mischief that the executive branch can get up to. Nixon and Reagan waged whole covert wars, killing hundreds of thousands of people, without the approval or input of Congress. If anyone thinks the horrors of the Bush Imperium are somehow at an end - or will even be seriously impaired - by the results of yesterday's election, they have a harsh and bitter awakening to come. But still - the political situation we have today is better than what we had the day before. In a period of such deep crisis in the life of the Republic, and (to draw on Noam Chomsky) in a system of power so massive and far-reaching, even a small change can mean very real benefits to a good many people. (And to many good people.) And in any case, we should raise a glass to the American people for standing up - amidst the hailstorm of lies and bullshit thrown at them - and giving George W. Bush a resounding slap in the face. Long may he stew in this great and well-deserved humiliation. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Where is the electricity to watch the changes in the American government?" -- Saadoun Jasim, 30, in the southern holy Shi'ite city of Najaf


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?