Tuesday, November 21, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY. November 21, 2006 Photo (far left): Relatives bury Raad Hammed, age 28 in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006. Raad was taken from his home during a joint Iraqi U.S. military raid and his body was found dumped on the street two days later, relatives said. (AP Photo) Photo (left): Women grieve next to a bloodstained blanket in a room where a baby died and another relative was wounded after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Sadr city November 21, 2006. A U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Sadr City district killed at least three people on Tuesday. REUTERS/Kareem Raheem (IRAQ) (See below) U.S. and Iraqi forces raided the overwhelmingly Shiite Sadr City slum on Tuesday and detained seven militia members, including one believed to have information about an American soldier kidnapped last month, the military said. Tuesday's raid in Sadr City was the third in four days by U.S. and Iraqi forces in the slum, which is the headquarters of the Madhi Army, the Shiite militia suspected of having carried out the mass kidnapping at a Ministry of Higher Education office in Baghdad on Nov. 14. Iraqi Police Capt. Mohammed Ismail said a young boy and two other people were killed in the early morning raid and 15 people were wounded. Several houses were damaged. The U.S. military reported no coalition casualties, but said other deaths or injuries could not be determined. Cradling the child's body outside a hospital morgue, a Shiite legislator told reporters that Iraq's government should be condemned for allowing such attacks. "I am suspending my membership in parliament since it remains silent about crimes such as this against the Iraqi people," legislator Saleh Al-Ukailli told reporters outside the Imam Ali Hospital. "I will not return to parliament until the occupation troops leave the country." The body of the boy was wrapped in a bloodstained cloth, with only the face visible. Nearby, minivans left with two wooden caskets on their roofs. Al-Ukailli is one of 30 legislators in Iraq's 275-member parliament who follow Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric whose main offices are in Sadr City.
A U.S. air strike on the Baghdad Shi'ite militia stronghold of Sadr City early on Tuesday killed three people, including a baby, police and health officials said, sparking public anger.
U.S. troops blew up two cars Tuesday inside the heavily fortified Green Zone after dogs indicated explosives were inside the vehicles that were used in the motorcade of the parliament speaker, an adviser to parliament said. In what could signal a major security breach, the explosives were found and detonated near the Convention Center, where parliament meets and government officials hold news conferences, Wissam al-Zubeidi said. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: A car bomb targeting a police patrol killed a civilian and wounded six others, including two policemen. A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded nine people, including two policemen, in the eastern Camp Sara district of Baghdad. Baqubah: Ten people were killed in Baquba, the capital of Diyala, and one outside the city as gunmen carried out a series of attacks on civilians. Hibhib: Gunmen killed Ali al-Shimari, the mayor of the town of Hibhib, near Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, and wounded four of his guards. Basra: Two British military bases were reportedly struck by rockets, according to witnesses, in northern Basra, 550 kilometres south of Baghdad. Hawija: Gunmen killed a policeman on his way to work in the town of Hawija, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Mosul: Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Saleh al-Juburi of Tall Afar police was shot dead by gunmen as he was travelling in Mosul. Three civilians were shot dead in Mosul. Hilla: Seven suspected insurgents were arrested during a raid in Hilla, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, >> NEWS The Omani foreign minister accused the United States in comments published of delivering Iraq to the Islamic militants of Al-Qaeda and called for a change of strategy. "US policy in Iraq has handed the country to the Al-Qaeda network," Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat. "The root of the US predicament in Iraq ... is Al-Qaeda which has established itself there and now controls whole regions," he said. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that the United States was "trapped in Iraq," and urged Washington to carefully consider when would be the best time to pull out of the country so the withdrawal does not lead to a further deterioration of security. "The United States in a way is trapped in Iraq," Annan said. "It cannot stay and it cannot leave. There are those who maintain that its presence is a problem and there are those who say that if it leaves precipitously, the situation will get worse." Annan said the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq "should not lead to a further deterioration of the situation." The goal should be to leave when Iraqi authorities can ensure a "reasonable, secure environment," he said. Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily: SUPPORT GATHERS FOR SUNNI LEADER The arrest warrant issued last week by the Iraqi government for Sunni leader Dr. Harith al-Dhari has sent shockwaves through the government, and galvanised much of the Sunni population. Iraq's minister for the interior Jawad al-Bolani told reporters that al-Dhari was wanted for inciting terrorism and violence. At the same time, Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi said the warrant was "destructive to the national reconciliation plan." (...) The move by the Iraqi government has angered many Shias as well. The Shia movement al-Khalissiya, led by Sheikh Jawad al-Khalissi in Baghdad, has opposed the arrest warrant. The group is also opposed to the occupation, together with the AMS and other leaders who are a part of the Iraqi Foundation Conference. "It was a silly warrant that will only increase anger against a corrupt government," al-Khalissi stated on al-Sharqiya satellite channel. Al-Khalissi went on to praise Dhari for defending Iraqis regardless of their sect or religion. Other groups are also supportive of the Sunni leader. "Al-Dhari is the main Sunni figure, and his association is considered the main Sunni representative in the region," Talal Saied, a member of the Communist Party told IPS in Baghdad. (...) Harith al-Dhari's continuous opposition to the occupation has made him the enemy of the United States and its Iraqi collaborators, while earning him widespread respect from most Sunni and many Shia political and religious leaders. Former Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, who has known ties to the CIA, has also condemned the warrant against Dhari. Sheikh Ali Karbalaai, spokesman for Shia Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, severely criticised the warrant and called on the government to recognise the dangers of such acts against the solidarity and security of the Iraqi people. On the other hand, the Shia parties in power and their officials who have often been accused of being loyal to Iran have led a harsh attack on al-Dhari, and accused him of provoking sectarian problems. These groups have been supported by President Jalal Talibani and the Kurdish parties. read in full... >> REPORTS Last month Iraq's Ministry of Education released statistics which indicated that only 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students were attending classes. This is less than half the number from the previous year, which, according to the Britain-based non-governmental organisation Save the Children, was 75 percent attendance. Attendance rates for the new school year which started on Sep. 20 were at a record low, according to the ministry. According to the Ministry of Education, 2006 has been the worst year for school attendance since U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. The immediate pre-war level of attendance in 2003 was nearly 100 percent. At least 270 academics have been killed during the occupation, according to the Iraq study group Brussels Tribunal. The number of Iraqi civilians killed in October reached a new high of 3,709, the influence of armed militias is growing, and torture continues to be rampant despite the Government's commitment to address human rights abuses, according to the latest United Nations rights report on the strife-torn country. "Hundreds of bodies continued to appear in different areas of Baghdad handcuffed, blindfolded and bearing signs of torture and execution-style killing," the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) human rights report for September and October says. "Many witnesses reported that perpetrators wear militia attire and even police or army uniforms." The report paints a grim picture virtually across the board, from attacks on journalists, judges and lawyers and the worsening situation of women to displacement, violence against religious minorities and the targeting of schools. Based on figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry, hospitals throughout the country and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, 7,054 civilians were killed over the two-month period, including 351 women and 110 children. October's figure was nearly 120 more than July's total of 3,590, which UNAMI had termed unprecedented. NEW POLL: VAST MAJORITY OF IRAQIS WANT U.S. TO GO HOME A new survey by WorldPublicOpinion.org reveals the depth of Iraqi antipathy towards the contiued American presence in their country. Now a solid majority of all Iraqis, including once pro-U.S. Baghdad Shias, say they want us out of there in a year:
Eight out of ten Shias in Baghdad (80%) say they want foreign forces to leave within a year (72% of Shias in the rest of the country), according to a poll conducted by World Public Opinion in September. None of the Shias polled in Baghdad want U.S.-led troops to be reduced only "as the security situation improves," a sharp decline from January, when 57 percent of the Shias polled by WPO in the capital city preferred an open-ended U.S presence.
This brings Baghdad Shias in line with the rest of the country. Seven out of ten Iraqis overall-including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)-say they want the United States to leave within a year. One statistical difference worth noting: Baghdad Shias, unlike most other Iraqis, do not favor disarming sectarian militias even though 59% say a U.S. withdrawal will lead to more interethnic violence. That's not just a sign of how bad things are in the capital but also an ominous hint of the power struggle to come. But while the U.S. may be providing a temporary buffer, that doesn't mean it's seen as the good guy who simply needs to holster his gun and ride into the sunset. Nearly 60% of all Shias say they support attacks on American-led troops. And 100% of Baghdad Sunnis and 91% of Sunnis elsewhere say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces. link Baath Party Statement: THE OCCUPATION IS ABOUT TO COLLAPSE The US and Iran think that changing the course of the armed Iraqi revolution is possible and that there is still an opportunity to salvage the US and -Iranian project in Iraq and in the region... But these forgot that the people of Iraq is united and is resisting behind its Armed resistance and its patriot symbols and specially the imam of Mujahideens his Excellency the President Saddam Hussein. That is why it is important to indicate that these US-Iranian tactics, whatever harmful, will fail and as the Occupation is about to collapse. Furthermore our Party stresses again that the Iraqi resistance was and will remain the only force controlling the Iraqi arena, and not the US and its collaborators. It is the Resistance which imposes the Combat conditions and its principal course and that the US and the Iranian forces have been defeated and will not be able to change this strategic process whatever they do. Yes Indeed the coming weeks will witness decisive blows against the Occupation which will put Iraq effectively on the path to expel the Occupation and install the Free Patriot Front government. Our Party warns again the US administration from undertaking the reckless sentence to execute his Excellency the President. This is not only a red line but also the supreme red line! We warn again and we say, and we don't only utter threat but we do execute our threats.. and in case the US goes ahead with this crime, many US heads will be falling as fatally Khamnei's will.. For the US and Iran are the direct responsible for what is happening in Iraq.. Our Party while comprehending the gravity of the situation in Iraq and what could happen in the next weeks, appeal to all the Patriot Iraqi forces and in particular the Iraqi Resistance factions to unite and to show higher coordination to prevent the US and Iran from achieving partial successes here and there exploiting few breaches.. The people of Iraq looks towards its heroes combatants from every factions to stand the stand of a single man against the new US' orientations in order to put an end faster to the ordeals of Iraq and the to suffering of its people. read in full Roads to Iraq: IRAQ: THE LOST GENERATION Posted earlier about two weeks ago by the good people of “Information Clearing House”, I uploaded this High-Quality version of Channel4 documentary: The documentary shows how the occupation of Iraq destroyed not only the future of Iraqi youths but their hopes and dreams also. A man, his leg was amputated after he was shot by the US soldiers says it all:
All this sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunnis is a US setup.
You Tube trailer is here >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Reidar Visser: "I AM A SUNNI - AT LEAST THAT'S HOW I AM IDENTIFIED THESE DAYS..." Today (...) analysts who emphasise the point about persisting Iraqi nationalism are routinely dismissed as utopians. References to long trends in history and warnings about the dangers of myopia are criticised for being out of touch with reality. Refusals to take part in forums organised around a "three-community" approach to Iraqi politics are met with raised eyebrows. Perhaps the best thing to do is therefore to stand back, and let some Iraqis speak for themselves. In the 21 October issue of the Iraqi newspaper al-Manara, several residents of Basra - a city characterised by deep divisions of opinion as regards federalism - expressed their views on the decentralisation issue. The interviewees, who were identified by name and photograph, commented on the new law for implementing federalism in Iraq, as well as the more fundamental question of federal versus unitary models of government. Their articulate views and their heroic day-to-day efforts to combat sectarianism offer an effective counterweight to mainstream media reports about an Iraq divided into three mutually antagonistic monoliths. (...) According to many Western analysts, these three citizens of Basra do not really exist. They are ghosts, raving about outdated ideas which "in reality" have been obliterated. Iraqi nationalism is supposedly dead; sectarian values rule supreme throughout the country. Why then, do Basrawis bother to appear in full public with their critical views on federalism? Why do they dare to suggest possible pitfalls concerning its implementation? And why do Iraqis sometimes mock the very sectarian categories they are supposed to belong to? ("I am a Sunni - at least that's how I am identified these days...") Oh, but those people are just Sunnis living as minorities in Shiite areas... OK, perhaps some of them are in fact Shiites, but, you see, they are secularists, a dying sect... Well, then, why is it that the leading Shiite cleric, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in his latest pronouncement (15 October 2006) is at pains to point out that sectarian violence is more than just a problem of "Sunni extremists" (takfiriyyun, literally "those who brand others as unbelievers")? By hinting about sectarian malpractices on both sides ("in addition to the takfiris, there are those who engage in sectarian violence in order to achieve specific gains") Sistani risks quarrels with certain Shiite politicians who prefer to reduce the situation to a "Sunni takfiri problem", but he nevertheless sees a point in trying to transcend the sectarian divide. read in full... Jacob G. Hornberger: TRAPPED IN LIES AND DELUSIONS The world may well be witnessing the beginning of a political collision of colossal proportions - with the American people demanding withdrawal, on one side, and President Bush insisting on "staying but varying the course," on the other. If so, the troops in Iraq, who have faithfully and loyally carried out their commander in chief's orders to attack and occupy Iraq, will continue to pay the price at the hands of snipers and ambushers for at least the next two years. Ask yourself: How in the world could President Bush, from a political standpoint, order the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq? For the past three years, he and Vice President Cheney have been suggesting that people who call for exiting Iraq are nothing more than weak-kneed cowards who would "cut and run" from the battlefield and subject the United States to terrorism. Thus, by ordering a withdrawal from Iraq, would they not be implicitly admitting that they themselves had joined the ranks of the cut-and-run cowards who would put the nation at risk from the terrorists? Indeed, how would they explain a withdrawal to all the Iraqis who collaborated with the occupier and who would then be at the mercy of Iraqis who didn't? Worst of all, how would Bush explain the withdrawal to every American family that has lost a loved one in Iraq? No matter how hard each such family has tried to suppress it, a critically important question would inevitably surface within their consciousness: "What exactly did my son, daughter, spouse, or parent die for, Mr. President?" Indeed, those troops who have come back minus legs, arms, or eyesight or with some other permanent injury would inevitably ask that one-word question that we all asked as children: "Why?" (...) Hanging over the Iraq debacle, however, is that one overriding moral issue that unfortunately all too many Americans have yet to confront: neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. That means that in this conflict, which has killed more than 600,000 Iraqis, the United States is the aggressor nation and Iraq is the defending nation. Why is that issue so important? Because it involves morality, not pragmatics. Do U.S. troops have the moral right to be killing people, when they are part of a military force that has aggressed against another country? Do they have the moral right to kill people who have done nothing worse than defend their nation from attack or attempt to oust an occupier from their midst? Does simply calling an action "war" excuse an aggressor nation from the moral consequences of killing people in that war? In other words, does the United States have the moral right to violate the principles against aggressive war, for which it prosecuted Germany at Nuremberg and condemned the Soviet Union in Afghanistan? By invading and occupying Iraq, Bush and Cheney have put the American people in the uncomfortable position of either supporting their government and its troops or supporting morality. Should a person support the actions of his government and its troops or should he obey the laws of God, when the government has placed its actions in contravention to those laws? What are the moral consequences for each individual faced with that choice? read in full... Born at the Crest of the Empire: THE UNASKED QUESTION ON AN IRAQ "SURGE" Thomas Ricks has a big article on the WaPo front page about the options being considered by Gen. Peter Pace's strategic review. Frankly, it simply reiterates the Guardian report from last Thursday that there will be a "short" surge of US troops in an attempt to "shock" Baghdad into security before a shift of roles to training and deployment outside the cities. The key question I have not seen addressed in any of these "strategy" articles, is how such a surge would affect the Iraqi government. With 70-80% of the Iraqis wanting a US withdrawal, how would this surge be received? Does Maliki call for it? Is it imposed on him? What does it mean for the legitimacy of his government with the Iraqis if he has no choice? Despite the fact that this entire effort would be aimed at staunching the violence and better training for the security services, if it undermines the government it will only lead to greater devolution towards illegitimate power centers. The idea of "training" as a solution is based upon a mistaken understanding of the conflict. The US is attempting to convince the Iraqi military and security forces to fight for an American vision of Iraq, but in reality, the Iraqi conception of the conflict is focused on sect and tribe. They view themselves as currently fighting for their own people, and I don't see how six months of training will change that. The problem is not poor tactics or ill-trained leadership, but idea. read in full… Huffington Post: CALL IT THE "JEFF GANNON PLAN" FOR IRAQ - GO BIG AND LONG Quick: If I say "go big and long," what's the first thing that pops into your mind? If you answered "the Bush Administration's plan for Iraq," you win. Clarity of expression reflects clarity of thought. Its absence is equally instructive. Our nation is entrusting the planning of our war effort - one of the gravest responsibilities a citizen can hold - to people like the decision-maker who said this about the Administration's proposed war plan: "If we commit to (it), we have to accept upfront that it might result in the opposite of what we want." That's a confidence-builder, isn't it? The person responsible for this observation is an "unnamed official" (there's that media overuse of anonymity again) in the Bush Defense Department. (I'm guessing Cambone, but all we know about this philosopher from the wording used to describe him is that he's a civilian.) In this article by Thomas Ricks, the official explains that after military planners offered three possible plans for Iraq - "go big," "go long," or "go home" - the Republican geniuses running DoD chose "none of the above." Do you still think things will get better now that Rumsfeld's gone? Instead of selecting an option, the civilian Republican leadership created what they describe as a "hybrid" - a highflown word that in this context means "indecisive mishmash from a fuzzy-thinking group that still refuses to accept reality as it is and act accordingly." For its sloppy (I mean, "hybrid") plan, the Administration came up with one they call - and I'm not making this up - "Go Big but Short While Transitioning to Go Long." The "big and long" terminology hasn't been lifted from Jeff Gannon's "hotmilitarystud.com" website. It just sounds that way. "Go big" means throwing a lot more troops into Iraq. Nobody knows if it would work. It's moot, anyway, since neither we nor the Iraqis have the troops available. "Go long" means reducing force levels and settling in a protracted, 5-10 year strategy of training and rebuilding. "Go home" means what it says. So what does "go big but short while transitioning to go long" mean, exactly? If words have any meaning left for this outfit - which is a dubious proposition - it means this: throw a lot more soldiers into the mix now, then reduce troop levels to something slightly lower than they are currently for long-term training objectives. The Administration will only do this, or course, after "accepting upfront that it might result in the opposite of what we want." (You know - sort of like what's happened up to now.) Why would it result in the opposite of what we want? Because, as Ricks puts it, the plan
"... could backfire if Iraqis suspect it is really a way for the United States to moonwalk out of Iraq -- that is, to imitate singer Michael Jackson's trademark move of appearing to move forward while actually sliding backward."
Still, the Administration wants to proceed with this approach despite the likelihood of it having the wrong effect. So, in short, our civilian leadership wants to "go big but short while transitioning to go long," while hoping that Iraqis don't see it as a "moonwalk," which would result in "the opposite of what we want" - that, of course, being an unfortunate outcome that we've neverthelesss "accepted upfront." Come on, Mr. and Mrs. America! Sure, you voted for an end to this war. But admit it: this sounds even better! The disorganized civilian amateurs currently running the Pentagon haven't learned much from the armed forces, but they've certainly picked up on this old military saying: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." read in full The Left Coaster: MOVING AHEAD WITHOUT US As the Bush Administration chooses once again its default-position answer for Iraq of another troop increase, blasting Syria and Iran for the instability that Bush himself caused, it looks like Baghdad is moving on without us to do we should be doing already: working on a regional solution.
Iraq re-established diplomatic relations with Syria on Monday, agreeing to restore an embassy in Baghdad after more than 20 years with no formal avenues of communication. [snip] As the United States undertakes a broad review of its role in Iraq, the neighboring countries of Iran, Turkey and Syria have stepped forward to try to position themselves in case of a major change in policy, leading to a recent flurry of diplomatic efforts. The countries are also concerned about the possibility of a political collapse if the Iraqi government sinks into paralysis with its two main sects stuck in a deadlock.
But remember, according to the Bush Administration, signaling our withdrawal would only lead to chaos in the region, surely not these kinds of regional ties and diplomatic bonds that would make us irrelevant. Mark my words: the Iraqis are going ahead with their own future without waiting for Poppy or James Baker to figure out what is in the best interests of the Carlyle Group. link Empires Fall: THE PERP WALK FOR RUMSFELD? This war crimes case in Germany appears to be heating up. The worse for Donald Rumsfeld, it appears to be pretty cut and dried. Rumsfeld's signature is on a number of documents authorizing brutal, barbaric treatment (needles under the fingernails, waterboarding) that are contravened under international law. Even stress positions are iffy under the geneva conventions. And, to them, the endrun of simply calling the victims noncombatants isn't going to be sufficient. No, they're out for some Rumsfeld butt. And I think they might be going to get what they're after. Why? Because, among other things, Rumsfeld's recent booting from the White House means that he's going to be flapping in the breeze, outside of the shelter of the diplomatic immunity usually accorded to dips. Rumsfeld is a private citizen now. Will they come and get him? Sounds outlandish, a bit. Consider, however, the fact that Rumsfeld's own signature is on orders authorizing: *rendition *kidnapping *extra-judicial arrests *CIA actions outside of US borders What's it mean? It means that Donald Rumsfeld might wake up some morning like poor Buttle in Brazil, being bundled off in a burlap sack to a waiting car and a clandestine flight to Nuremburg to stand trial with his buddy Alberto Gonzales. More on Alberto Gonzales later. More on the Salvador Option later. Did I write about that earlier? No matter, it's late... Murder will out, Mr. Rumsfeld. link Spin Watch book review: THE RECORD OF THE PAPER: HOW 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' MISREPORTS US FOREIGN POLICY Authors: Howard Friel & Richard Falk Friel & Falk's incisive analysis provides a searing indictment of the New York Times which has so often facilitated the breach of the constitution and international law by providing cover to government excesses. In May 2003 when it was revealed that Jayson Blair, a staff reporter, had fabricated and plagiarized many of his domestic human interest stories, a 7000-word front-page report in the New York Times described it as 'a profound betrayal of trust and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper'. About the same time in Iraq a bloody invasion had failed to uncover the Weapons of Mass Destruction that served as the rationale for the paper's endorsement of the war. No apologies were forthcoming. Whereas in the Blair case it was only the credibility of the paper that suffered, the latter has since translated into hundreds of thousands of deaths. When the paper did issue an apology, it was a year later, was only 1,100 words long and was tucked safely away from intruding eyes in the inner pages. Unlike Blair, serial fabricators like Judith Miller and Michael Gordon were never mentioned by name and the role of the editorial page in reinforcing government propaganda was overlooked entirely. In their scathing study, The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy, Howard Friel and Richard Falk reveal that far from a lapse, this behavior is consistent with the paper's coverage of past conflicts which were avoidable had International Law been used as a standard for judging the merits of foreign policy. (...) Tracing back the genealogy of this editorial line, Friel & Falk expose the recurring patters in the paper's coverage of earlier conflicts where the failure to consider the legality of foreign policy options removed the single check which may have helped avoid disaster. Vietnam and Iraq are the obvious examples. They argue that even if the paper had no way of knowing if the Gulf of Tonkin incident were real, and whether Iraq possessed WMD's, had the paper emphasized the illegality of US actions in both cases, the truth of both claims could have been ascertained in due time without needless loss of life. But as they demonstrate, this constitutes the least of the paper's concerns. Far from exercising its constitutional role of holding the government's feet to the fire and creating an informed citizenry, the paper offered its pages to propagandists like Kenneth Pollack and liberal apologists like Michael Ignatieff, Anne-Marie Slaughter, George Packer and Ruth Wedgwood. Whereas Ignatieff, a leading scholar on human rights used the paper's pages to argue in favor of torture, Ruth Wedgwood, its resident International Law expert, used her column space arguing the irrelevance of international law. read in full... The News Blog: SIMPLE QUESTIONS, SIMPLE ANSWERS Can't the US bring order [to Iraq]? No. Why? Too many enemies, not enough friends, too few troops and no hope of getting many more. Do people know this? Yes, except in one place, the Oval Office. Why? Because our president has failed his entire life, and is not exactly living in the real world. He's trying to avoid failing one last time, by getting Americans killed. Will it work? Notice the muhajadin in Afghanistan? The red star flag of Vietnam? Well, the locals won and the invaders left humbled. No it won't work and only the President refuses to admit that. Why? Because he's a "dry" drunk failure and this would ruin him. He's never had the ability to face up to his failures and his daddy has saved him, and here he is again. read in full… Empires Fall: FAILURE Faliure. Faliure in Iraq. Faliure in Afghanistan. Faliure in New Orleans. Faliure was what the Bush administration was when it was a success, a raving, flagwaving fireworks show of awesomeness back in 2002 or so. Remember that? Has it really been so long? Now Kissinger has come out saying that the US has no chance of winning the Iraq war militarily. Remember, Kissinger knows all about faliure. He was the architect of the United States' failed policy in Vietnam. In other words, it's a faliure. Complete and abject. Yet another failed hardpower struggle against a shadow enemy that simply won't lie down and die. Another artillery barrage on flies. People should remember that George Bush has been a faliure all his life. He failed as a national guardsman. He failed as a businessman (remember the S&L deal and his failed oil company?) And now he's failed in the war that he led the United States to with lies. It seems to me that most of the supporters of the Bush regime simply don't care about any of this. No, it's submission to authority that matters to them. It's not whether the authority lies, tortures or is just. It's whether the authority looks strong. It may be whether the authority kills. I think it may have something to do with a daddy complex. There's a sector of people, largely people who also believe in a strong daddy in the sky, who want Bush to be their daddy; a strong, protective daddy who beats up the naughty evil guys. It's all cops and robbers to them. link >> BEYOND IRAQ Haaretz reported yesterday (Monday November 20) that Bush told French president Chirac in a recent conversation that his administration "would understand" if Israel decided to launch an attack on Iran. It is a remark that French officials passed on to Israelis in discussions during the past few days, and the Israelis passed it on the Haaretz. The French officials told the Israelis they thought this would not be a good idea. In fact (according to the Haaretz account) the French officials said it would be a catastrophe that would (1) only set back the Iranian nuclear program by two years at most; (2) ensure Iranian exit from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty; (3) probably trigger a broad Iranian military response that would target more than just Israel; (4) cause enormous uproar in the Arab world; and so on. The funny thing is that this Haaretz item doesn't seem to have been picked up by any US news organizations, but it was picked up by Al-Quds al-Arabi on its front page this morning (Tuesday November 21), adding to the above-outlined information the following: Rice subsequently made more ambiguous remarks about the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran, telling European diplomats the US lacks the necessary intelligence to launch such an attack itself; Iran announced further progress in its nuclear program; and the White House denied the existence of a US intelligence report that said there is no evidence of any secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program. The latter report had been referred to in a New Yorker article by Seymour Hersch. Terrorism News: NOT A CHOICE OF WHEN, BUT OF WHICH, TERRORISTS The Bush administration keeps telling us that it's not a matter of whether we will be attacked again by terrorists, but rather a matter of when. Nostradamnthem is here to suggest that they are wrong. It's not so much a matter of when you'll be attacked, but rather you need to be concerned about WHICH terrorists will get you. As the cartoon character Pogo is famous for saying: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." The description of how Jose Padilla was treated will explain. You can read it here and also here. Even if you believe he's guilty of every accusation ever made about him and never presented in court, you should also know that this treatment is now the law of the land and applies to EVERY CITIZEN of this formerly glorious nation, and you have even less protection if you aren't a citizen. THAT should concern you - deeply. link Ben Metcalf: ON SIMPLE HUMAN DECENCY Am I allowed to write that I would like to hunt down George W. Bush, the president of the United States, and kill him with my bare hands? Let me be clear that I have no wish to perform such a deed in fact, nor do I want anyone else to destroy bodily what is, at least in the technical sense, a fellow human being. (Let me be equally clear that the above qualification, although true, is intended primarily as a legal ploy and should in no way be attributed to my claimed pacifism, which today's prosecutor might find a way to use against me. I would also like excused from the proceedings my personal feelings for George W. Bush, embarrassment and rage, as they could probably be turned to my disadvantage as well.) In truth, I bring neither a message nor a promise of violence. I seek only to gauge what level of discourse is still acceptable in this country by asking, in the hope that I might someday participate in that discourse, whether I am free to posit that it would probably be great fun, and a boon to all mankind, if I were to slaughter the president of the United States with my bare hands. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "So long as we continue to approach Iraq as an imperial problem to be 'won' or 'lost' by the Americans, the solutions will continue to stretch farther out of reach. The question that's never asked is, 'What do the Iraqis want?' 'What do they consider 'winning' ?'" -- from "The Unasked Questions on an Iraq 'Surge'" at Born at the Crest of the Empire (see above)


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