Monday, November 06, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2006
“If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.” - George W. Bush, Speech, Monday, October 7, 2002,
Police said the final toll when forces opened fire on pro-Saddam demonstrators in Baquba on Sunday was two dead and six wounded. Hundreds of people defied a curfew to protest after Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death.
Two U.S. Marines and one soldier died on Saturday and Sunday from wounds sustained in combat in the western
The privately owned Al Sharqiya television station reported the killing of one of its journalists, Ahmed Rasheed, who was gunned down Friday while driving through north
Curfew: A round-the-clock curfew imposed ahead of the verdict against Saddam Hussein kept a relative peace in
No widespread bloodshed was reported in
The security crackdown was one of the heaviest since the February bombing of an important Shiite shrine that unleashed rampant violence between Sunnis and Shiites.
Freedom of the press: Iraqi security forces closed two Sunni Muslim television stations for violating curfew and a law that bans airing material that could undermine the country's stability, the Interior Ministry said. Brig Gen Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said on Sunday that the Al-Zawraa and Salahuddin stations were closed on the approval of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Khalaf said that the stations violated a curfew imposed in three provinces by speaking to people in the streets and airing their comments that were deemed to "incite violence." The owner of Al-Zawraa, legislator Mishan al-Jabouri, said later that Iraqi police raided the headquarters of the station and cordoned them off because of the channel's criticism of the verdict.
Winning Those Hearts And Minds
Stupidity in a class by itself: Even for a people used to waking up to the sound of explosions, Iraqis were jolted by a Friday morning bombshell: the news, first reported on time.com, that Sgt. Santos Cardona, viewed here as one of the villains of Abu Ghraib, had been ordered back to their country. Although Iraqi and Arab media have been slow to pick up on the story (the news cycle here tends to be a day or two behind the
Another pitiful joke: The National Tips Hot Line, as it is known, was founded in 2003 by the Coalition Provisional Authority, guaranteeing callers anonymity and collecting information about insurgent activity, bomb threats, kidnappings, killings and other major crimes. The hot line, which later became a joint coalition-Iraqi venture, was a foreign concept in a country that associated intelligence gathering by the state with brutal coercion.
The American military started a multimedia promotional campaign for the hot line, budgeting $9.9 million through March 2007 for billboard, print, radio and television advertisements, as well as market research. And month after month, officials hailed it as a growing success. A senior American spokesman said at a news conference in March that the rising number of tips represented a “groundswell of support” from citizens for the American-led fight against the insurgency.
Yet too often, Iraqis were calling the number, 130, and not getting through. Some who did later complained that no response by security forces was evident.
The author of a Baghdad Web log, who calls himself Zappy Corleone, described in an entry last month how he saw gunmen in more than 10 cars seal off a street in the Rusafa neighborhood, kidnap a man from his house and stuff him in a car’s trunk. The writer said he called the tips line six times but was unable to connect. In an e-mail response to questions, he said, “The cruel impact of it is that it raises real hopes that somebody would save you, but actually it’s a slap on the face, like everything else in
Meanwhile, after rising slowly yet steadily since the hot line’s inception, the number of tips suddenly started to dry up last summer. From a rate of about 62 usable tips a day in June, the number dropped to about 29 tips a day in mid-September, according to statistics provided by the American military. On Sept. 19, the operators recorded only one usable tip.
Who says the Iraqi government hasn't found something it can excel at?: TI said that corruption was shockingly rampant worldwide with almost three-quarters of the countries in the report scoring below five, including all low-income countries and all but two African states.
The worst levels of corruption were seen in
…Labelle said that because the index is based on subjective perceptions, the fact
But TI chief executive David Nussbaum said the violence and mayhem wracking the oil-rich country were clearly hobbling anti-graft and rebuilding efforts.
"Because there has been conflict across the country and in this case chronic conflict, that tends to mean that the things that uphold integrity in a country are not functioning."
See A Trend Here?
Early retirement: The federal government’s top privacy and information officer announced his retirement Thursday evening during a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Justice Department office he heads.
Daniel J. Metcalfe said little about his departure other than he wanted to teach law after working at the department since the Nixon administration.
His retirement, just shy of his 55th birthday, is raising questions among some about whether it was prompted by concerns over the Bush administration’s commitment to open government.
Pink slip: Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in
And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.
The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.
Mass firing: Last month’s mass firing of House Appropriations Committee investigators followed years of declining appetite for tough oversight and partisan squabbles that the investigators say often stalled their work.
Several members of the team, some of whom spoke on the condition that they not be identified by name, defend their record against committee spokesman John Scofield’s charge that recent work was not good. They suggest instead that majority Republicans had no appetite for oversight of the Bush administration.
The investigators said they identified billions of dollars in potential savings every year, particularly in the Defense budget, and that they heard no complaints until Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., dismissed 60 contractors on Oct. 16.
Joseph Stehr, a retired FBI agent who had been a member of the team off and on since 1985, said he remains stunned by Lewis’ action. “It reeks, it really does,” he said. “It just amazes me that after 60 some years, that just with the swipe of a pencil the thing could all go away.”
If It Took Them This Long Just To Get Skeptical How Long Will It Take To Figure Out They’re Being Played For Chumps?
Army enlistment per capita runs roughly three times the national average, making it one of the top places in the country for recruiting. School authorities in this conservative middle-class suburb say between 25 and 50 seniors from Prattville High -- out of a class of roughly 450 -- sign up each year for the military. They are gung-ho.
"Doesn't that make a mayor proud?" asked Mayor Jim Byard. "Folks here are just very patriotic."
Yet even in
Skepticism? Gee, and after only six years of this? -m
Radical extremism and bald faced lies: At times on the campaign trail, Bush acts as if he recognizes no boundaries for what constitutes responsible debate. In an Oct. 30 speech in
Bush’s supporters may argue that it’s common to distort your opponent’s position in a campaign. But Bush’s extreme rhetoric goes far beyond what is traditionally considered acceptable. He casts aside almost all standards for honesty, logic and fairness.
As he crisscrosses the country in the days before the Nov. 7 election, Bush is showing that his determination to protect one-party control of
What is perhaps even more unsettling is how willing and even eager so many Americans are to be misled, finding some pleasure or a sense of unity in Bush’s lies and deceptions. It is hard to imagine a democratic Republic surviving with such a debased public discourse.
Kaleidoscopically shifting rationales: During the run-up to the invasion of
Now, more than 3 1/2 years later, someone else is asserting that the war is about oil -- President Bush.
As he barnstorms across the country campaigning for Republican candidates in Tuesday's elections, Bush has been citing oil as a reason to stay in
Absolute contempt for what any regular citizen, including the good people of Pratville, think: The White House is dismissing fresh calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's ouster, calling an editorial in leading newspapers for the military "a shabby piece of work."
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Saturday the president has shrugged off an editorial by the Military Times Media Group, which publishes the Army Times, Marine Times, Air Force Times and Navy Times, calling for Bush to fire Rumsfeld. Bushs feels it is merely "grandstanding," he added. The editorial says Rumsfeld has "lost credibility" with top officers.
Snow called the editorial "a caricature" and a "shabby piece of work" filled with inaccuracies. He said it implied the administration's made nothing but "rosy" predictions about
Total fiscal irresponsibility: The total costs of the war, including the budgetary, social and macroeconomic costs, are likely to exceed $2 trillion. As large as these costs are, an equally large set of costs have been omitted. We have not included the costs borne by other countries, either directly (as a result of military expenditures) or indirectly (as a result of the increase in the price of oil.) Then there are the intangible costs – the cost of our reduced capability to respond to national security threats elsewhere in the world, and the cost of rising anti-American sentiment in Europe and the
In responding to cost-based criticisms of the invasion and occupation of
Just as going to war was a matter of choice, staying in
Secrecy and hypocrisy that would make Stalin proud: The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them to talk.
The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage." Terrorists could use the information to train in counter-interrogation techniques and foil government efforts to elicit information about their methods and plots, according to government documents submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 26.
…The government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees, effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should never be shared with the public.
How To End The War In One Easy Lesson
This comment appeared in the Army Times readers forum thread on the Rumsfeld resignation editorial. I don’t normally post the writings of the batshit insane but this little opus is worth pondering. The ignorance, fear, and poisonous hate that form this guy’s thinking! And how many share his views, I wonder? -m
From anonymous: Very few enemy women, children, non-combatants have been killed thus far. The exceptions, usually predator-type attempts against leaders or 'friendly-fire'-class mistakes, are well publicized.
Who decided that the enemy's dearly held assets are officially untouchable, Rumsfeld? In truth, yes, both he and the President are responsible.
If our military was unleashed to deliver all the mayhem of which it is well capable, the 'war', as it has been called, would have long been over and a thousand of our brave men would still be alive to enjoy the benefits of the liberty they had fought to bring to the Middle East and the security they had hoped would have flowed back to America.
Yes, thousands, or more, of enemy so-called 'non-combatants' would have died in their place but THAT IS THE PRICE OF DEFEAT or, should be. But, this 'price' is not being paid by the enemy. Only his suicide fighters are 'fair game'. Fortified by religious zealotry, there are nearly unlimited numbers of them. If those people were to lose their fathers, mothers, siblings, friends to the 'war' as well as their homes and land - they would quickly surrender or find their countries forfeit to
Welcome To The Future
Lovely: Blackwater officials told Pelton they want to field a brigade-sized private army for use in peacekeeping and intervention on behalf of organizations such as the United Nations. They told him the ongoing genocide in
Given the tragedy of
Indeed, one of the British-South African companies Pelton writes about was able to seize much of a small country with just 125 well-trained men, after all.
Pelton, as have other industry experts, believes that companies like Blackwater may start looking at new kinds of work -- perhaps not all strictly defensive -- when the big money in the
Analysis And Commentary
Kevin Drum: Majid Khan, currently being held as an enemy combatant at
"May have come into possession." Indeed he may have. That's a very nice use of the passive voice, isn't it?
Now, Khan may be a cold-blooded killer whose main goal in life is to commit the mass murder of innocent Americans. Then again, he may be guilty of nothing more than yelling "Death to
This highlights the fundamental corruption of the human soul that torture causes. We know it's wrong, so not only do we torture prisoners, but we then do what we must to conceal what we've done. And then we try to conceal even that. Torture and secrecy, secrecy and torture, world without end.
HP: Is a constitution a way of putting certain rights beyond the reach of ambitious men?
AG: If I felt that was the principal effect of having a written constitution, I would say yes. If I were a citizen in your country, I would be in favour of it. But being a citizen of the
HP: The public here and in
AG: Well, they have, but [in America] these rights have been weakened since the Bush-Cheney administration chose to use the war against terror as a basis for both political argument in a partisan context and for an assault on the individual rights, including the right to be free of government eavesdropping. The conversation of democracy has been degraded, emotions and appeals to fear have been given a priority over reasoned debate.
HP: Has there been a pumping up of this climate of fear?
AG: Yes, sure.
HP: What was the purpose? To extend executive powers or to get people to back the war in
AG: A combination of motives. The Bush-Cheney administration was declining in popularity rapidly prior to the 9/11 attacks. In the initial aftermath, Bush responded quite well in rallying public opinion and going after the perpetrators. But then, for whatever reason, he began to make a lot of mistakes in my view; by not pursuing Osama bin Laden until he was captured; by invading a country that hadn't attacked us; by launching this assault on the protections written into the constitution against invasions of liberties. They conflated the threat from al-Qaeda and the purported threat from Saddam which, of course, didn't exist.
HP: In the days after 9/11, did you imagine that we would see this kind of attack on civil liberties?
AG: No, and it should be seen as shocking, in
Jane Arraf: For Will -- Sgt. Willsun Mock -- his buddies talked about his professionalism, how he lived by the motto he had tattooed on his arms: strength and honor. They talked about how his salsa dancing landed him the young woman who became his fiancé. They didn't mention that she broke off the engagement when he was deployed for the second time.
And the photos of Will as a cute baby and an awkward teenager and then a proud soldier didn't quite capture that completely earnest, slightly shy smile that made Will come to mind when I heard the phrase "
For the first two years of this war, we routinely covered memorials in
The stories gave faces to the figures of the fallen. Now, even if the soldier's comrades and family don’t mind, the memorials are deemed by the military too "sensitive" for the mainstream media to cover. I was there because I knew him.
So for almost all Americans, Will would have been a number -- somewhere between 85 and 90 on a list of casualties in October that would grow by more than a dozen more. After his death, a two-paragraph press release read: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldier died at approximately 1 p.m. today after his patrol struck a roadside bomb."
Juan Cole on the partition of
Hakim is widely seen as close to
No one seems to care that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the elected leader of
Also opposed are the Sunni Arab parties, the traditional elite of the country. Young Shiite nationalist leader, the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, insists on a strong central government. Even President Jalal Talabani, a strong advocate for the Kurdistan regional government, rejects partition in the rest of
Talabani was pointing out that a province such as
Likewise, the Sunni Arabs have a claim on
The neighbors of
John F. Burns: The cycle of discord and strained reconciliation that has broken into the open between
Just in the past 10 days, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has rejected the notion of an American “timeline” for action on urgent Iraqi political issues; ordered American commanders to lift checkpoints they had set up around the Shiite district of Sadr City to hunt for a kidnapped American soldier and a fugitive Shiite death squad leader; blamed the Americans for the deteriorating security situation in Iraq; and demanded speeded-up Iraqi control of its own military.
The estrangement has developed despite the two governments’ mutual dependency. The Maliki government needs the United States for the protection its 150,000 troops afford, and without which, most Iraqi politicians agree, the country would slide into full-blown civil war. For the Americans, success for the government that won a four-year term in January’s elections seems central to any hope for an orderly American disengagement from
Without doubt, there has been an element of political grandstanding by Mr. Maliki that reflects his need to rally support among fractious Shiite political partners and the restive masses they represent. With American pressures focusing on the need for political concessions to the minority Sunnis by the majority Shiites — the principal victims of Saddam Hussein’s repression, and, since his overthrow, the main targets for Sunni insurgent bombings — the prime minister cannot afford to be seen to be at America’s beck and call.
Still, the differences between the new Shiite rulers and the Americans are real and growing. And the paradox of their animosity is that the primary beneficiary of the rift is likely to be their common enemy, the Sunni insurgents. Their aim has been to recapture the power the Sunnis lost with Mr. Hussein’s overthrow — and to repeat the experience of the 1920s, when Shiites squandered their last opportunity to wrest power and handed the Sunnis an opening to another 80 years of domination.
Robert Fisk: So America's one-time ally has been sentenced to death for war crimes he committed when he was
Of course, it couldn't happen to a better man. Nor a worse. It couldn't be a more just verdict - nor a more hypocritical one. It's difficult to think of a more suitable monster for the gallows, preferably dispatched by his executioner, the equally monstrous hangman of Abu Ghraib prison, Abu Widad, who would strike his victims on the head with an axe if they dared to condemn the leader of the Iraqi Socialist Baath Party before he hanged them. But Abu Widad was himself hanged at Abu Ghraib in 1985 after accepting a bribe to put a reprieved prisoner to death instead of the condemned man. But we can't mention Abu Ghraib these days because we have followed Saddam's trail of shame into the very same institution. And so by hanging this awful man, we hope - don't we? - to look better than him, to remind Iraqis that life is better now than it was under Saddam.
Only so ghastly is the hell-disaster that we have inflicted upon
Anthony Wade: Be ready
Mike Lupica: The ones who started this war do not want you to see the ceremonies that begin at
There is nothing at section 60 for the people who started this war, who still try to tell the country that it is somehow essential to the safety of this country. The President rolls up his sleeves, like a tough, regular guy, and says, "If we don't stop them there, they will follow us here," as if somehow his war in
He tries to act as if his party is still running on this war and runs away from it instead. George Bush wants this midterm election to be about anything except Iraq, and 100 more dead soldiers in the month of October, and no end in sight, even as his vice president, Dick Cheney, who set a world's record for draft deferments during Vietnam, surrounds himself with soldiers at a campaign stop in Colorado. Suddenly Bush and Cheney want everything to be about John Kerry all over again, now that Kerry sticks a foot in his mouth at a campaign stop of his own.
Only this election is not about Kerry. It is not about a peep show like Rep. Mark Foley's, or an Evangelical minister with a hunky boyfriend, or the cheap lie, peddled door to door by this administration, that opposition to Bush's war makes you some kind of weak, lousy traitor. No. Tuesday will be about this war, about coffins we aren't supposed to see at
Frank Rich: After all this time, you’d think the