Thursday, November 02, 2006


America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. –George W. Bush, October 7, 2002

Today’s benefits…


Gunmen killed the Shiite dean of Baghdad University's school of administration and economics along with his wife and son on Thursday, four days after the murder of a prominent Sunni academic.

A roadside bomb in a market killed a man and wounded 22 others in the eastern New Baghdad district of the capital.

Gunmen attacked a police patrol and killed three policemen and wounded another in central Baghdad.

Gunmen kidnapped a police colonel, Khalid Ibrahim, on Wednesday in al-Selekh district in northern Baghdad.

Gunmen abducted a top Iraqi basketball official and a blind athletic coach, both Sunnis, on Wednesday, a day after U.S. and Iraqi forces lifted a blockade on Baghdad's Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City. The attack took place at a youth club on relatively prosperous Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad near the Sadr City district.

A roadside bomb exploded on Iraq's most heavily guarded Tigris River bridge, seriously wounding Judge Naeim al-Equeli, a Shiite who was the top jurist for courts in western Baghdad. Two people in his convoy were killed and two others were wounded.

The bodies of two men who had been bound and blindfolded before being shot execution style were found dumped in an eastern suburb of the capital.

A roadside bomb killed two people and injured 25 others near a market in Baghdad's al-Jadeeda district.

A car bomb killed seven people and wounded 45 others as it ripped through a crowded market in Baghdad's Shi'ite Sadr City district on Thursday. The car bomb, detonated by remote control, targeted shoppers in the Shi'ite slum's Mureydi market. Police said the casualty toll could rise.

Bring ‘em on: The U.S. military has announced the death of the first soldier killed in November. The Baghdad based soldier, died yesterday after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by a roadside bomb west of the capital.

Explosions continued to rock the central district of Baghdad near the defence and interior ministries and the Green Zone, the heavily fortified home of the embattled Iraqi government and the US embassy.


Gunmen attacked a police patrol killing two policemen and wounding two others in the religiously mixed city of Baquba.

Gunmen set up a fake security checkpoint and killed the drivers of two fuel trucks and kidnapped three other people near Baquba.

Insurgents murdered 12 people, including three police, in separate attacks in and around the strife-torn town of Baquba, north of Baghdad.

Diyala Province

Two policemen and a civilian were killed in Diyala province.


Gunmen killed a guard of the Northern Oil Company in Kirkuk.

A sniper wounded a policeman near the police headquarters in Kirkuk.

Gunmen murdered Amal Ahmed, a pharmacist and former army officer, as she headed to her shop, one of series of attacks on female professionals by suspected Islamists.

Sarkot Hikmat Shawkat, a policeman from the city’s Oil Protection Police was cut down in a drive-by shooting.

U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested Nahidh Karker, the assistant leader of Ansar al-Sunna, on Wednesday in a village near Kirkuk, the Joint Coordination Centre for Iraqi and U.S. forces said. It was not clear how senior Karker was in the militant organisation.


A car bomb in a market killed a man and wounded four others in the town of Mahmudiya, 30 km south of Baghdad.

The bodies of four people were found blindfolded in Mahmudiya.


A mortar round hit a house killing two people and wounding seven others in the northern city of Mosul.


U.S. forces conducted an air strike in Ramadi and killed a local al-Qaeda in Iraq leader and his driver on Wednesday, the U.S. military said on Thursday. A U.S. statement said Rafa al-Ithawi, the Emir of Shamiya, frequently harboured foreign fighters who entered Iraq illegally.

Tal Afar

Four suspected insurgents were killed and ten arrested in an Iraqi army raid near Tal Afar.


Gunmen killed five people in two fuel trucks after they set up a fake checkpoint in Udhaim, 60 km north of Baquba.


Police found the bodies of three people with their hands tied in the town of Yusufiya.

Statistics I: Four were teenagers. Thirty were 21 or younger. The oldest was 53. They left homes in big cities and small prairie towns and Southern hamlets to answer the call of duty in Iraq, where 103 soldiers, Marines, airmen and seamen died in October — the war's fourth-deadliest month and the worst since January 2005.

Statistics II: A total of 105 American service members died in Iraq in October, the fourth deadliest month since the Iraq war began in March 2003. There have been only three months in which more U.S. forces died in Iraq: 107 in January 2005; at least 135 in April 2004, and 137 in November 2004.

Statistics III: At least 119 Iraqi policemen were killed in shootings, abductions and bomb attacks last month, the Interior Ministry said Thursday, underscoring the toll Iraq's relentless violence is inflicting on the poorly trained and underequipped force.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media, said 185 police were reported injured in October — pointing to an extremely low survival rate among members of the force, who lack the armored vehicles, body armor, and fortified bases of the U.S. troops in the country. In contrast, there is a much higher proportion of injured to slain American soldiers, with 33,838 wounded and 2,817 killed since the war began.

The Iraqi police death toll for October follows an announcement by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, that more than 300 Iraqi police and soldiers died during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began at the end of September and ended early last week.

Altogether, more than 1,000 Iraqis died from violence in October, the highest level since The Associated Press began tracking civilian deaths in April 2005. That count most likely underestimates the true figure because many deaths go unreported. The United Nations puts the monthly death toll at more than 3,000.

Baghdad under siege: Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.

As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.

Dusty truck-stop and market towns such as Mahmoudiyah, Balad and Baquba all lie on important roads out of Baghdad. In each case Sunni fighters are driving out the Shia and tightening their grip on the capital. Shias may be in a strong position within Baghdad but they risk their lives when they take to the roads. Some 30 Shias were dragged off a bus yesterday after being stopped at a fake checkpoint south of Balad.

In some isolated neighbourhoods in Baghdad, food shortages are becoming severe. Shops are open for only a few hours a day. "People have been living off water melon and bread for the past few weeks," said one Iraqi from the capital. The city itself has broken up into a dozen or more hostile districts, the majority of which are controlled by the main Shia militia, the Mehdi Army.

Militia clashes: The intensifying battle between Iraq’s strongest Shiite militias – the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigades – threatens to destabilize Iraq’s oil-rich south and compound chaos in the capital. The outcome also could decide whether Iraq stays whole or breaks up.

The militias have become the largest security threat to a country already rocked by more than three years of attacks by Sunni Arab insurgents on U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Shiite population.

Despite repeated vows to crush the militias, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has resisted U.S. pressure to move against the groups and their roaming deaths squads because he draws most of his support from the politicians who run them.

The Mahdi Army and Badr Brigades have repeatedly clashed since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, most recently in the southern city of Amarah. Mahdi militiamen briefly took control of the city this month and fought gunbattles with the Badr Brigades-dominated police that killed 31 and wounded dozens.

…In Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city and the major southern metropolis, tensions between the two armed Shiite groups simmers constantly, occasionally breaking into conflict.

The militias also have a long history of suspicion and mistrust in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

Terror burros: Iraqi security forces patrolling near the Iranian border found six donkeys carrying dozens of high-explosive anti-tank mines, the U.S. military said in a statement on Thursday.

The military said two men fled the scene in the religiously-mixed Diyala province where the insurgency is active.

It was not clear from the statement where the donkeys, a common form of transport in the region, had come from.

Kidnapping update: The U.S. military confirmed Thursday that a kidnapped soldier was an Iraq-American man who was married to an Iraqi woman.

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell identified him as Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old reserve soldier.

The military spokesman said there was "an ongoing dialogue" in a bid to win the soldier's release, but he would not say with whom or at what level.

Al-Taayie was visiting his Iraqi wife when he was handcuffed and taken away by gunmen during a visit to the woman's family, Caldwell said.

Ugly Stories

Dead children: Staff at the U.S. military hospital in Baghdad are used to horrific injuries but when the limp, bullet-riddled body of a 5-year-old Iraqi boy was zipped up in a grotesquely oversized bodybag, it was different.

It got worse when they heard he was shot by an American.

The child was flown to Baghdad from Taji, 20 km (12 miles) to the north, on Monday evening and rushed into the emergency room with a blue stuffed bear tucked into a blanket wrapped round him.

Half a dozen doctors and nurses quickly unwrapped the naked body, feet already waxy and yellowing. They tore off field bandages to show an elbow reduced to pulp, a head wound that went through to the brain and several other injuries nurses said could be bullet wounds or shrapnel from a bomb.

A nurse pumped the boy's chest, trying to resuscitate him even though others told him there was no pulse and no bleeding from the wounds. "He doesn't have any vital signs," said one.

At 9.46 p.m. (1846 GMT) the boy was pronounced dead, though doctors said he had been dead on arrival, and probably already on departure from the spot where he was hit.

Cluster bombs: Civilians, a quarter of them children, make up almost all the victims of cluster bombs over the last three decades, a humanitarian agency said on Thursday.

In a study of 24 countries and regions, Handicap International said the controversial weapons, which scatter munitions over a wide area, had killed, wounded or maimed 11,044 people of whom 98 percent were civilians.

The under-reporting of victims in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam meant the real total could be almost 10 times higher, it said.

Some 27 percent of the victims were children, mainly boys, who were working or playing in areas where munitions were lying around after failing to explode on impact.

Security And Reconstruction

One Talabani is three years: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Thursday that U.S. troops should stay for up to three more years in Iraq to enable local authorities to build up their own security forces.

At the start of a week-long visit to France, Talabani said his country was not in a civil war and accused the media of focusing only on negative stories.

However, he said that "international terrorists" were still concentrating all their efforts in Iraq which meant the country needed outside help to defeat them.

"We need time. Not 20 years, but time. I personally can say that two to three years will be enough to build up our forces and say to our American friends 'Bye bye with thanks'," Talabani told a conference.

Provincial reconstruction teams - another fiasco: Deteriorating security in Iraq and bureaucratic wrangling between the State Department and the Pentagon have undermined the US government's effort to train provincial governments, according to a report to Congress released yesterday by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The training, done by "provincial reconstruction teams" of soldiers, aid workers, and diplomats, is meant to coach local authorities in Iraq on how to deliver basic services to their municipalities, and to take over duties from the US-led coalition, such as running elections and making decisions over local budgets.

The teams were considered such a critical part of the Bush administration's strategy to build up the new Iraqi government that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presided over the inauguration of the first team in Mosul last November.

But disagreements over which branch of the US government would fund and protect the teams, along with threats and attacks on personnel, have greatly hindered the effort.

Now, a year later, only four provinces out of 13 examined by the special inspector general's office had US personnel that were "generally able" to carry out their missions, according to a detailed audit on the teams released by the inspector general on Sunday. Teams helping nine other provincial governments reported varying degrees of success, from "somewhat able" to "generally unable" to fulfill their missions.

Reconstruction costs: War-ravaged Iraq needs around $100 billion in the next four to five years to recover and rebuild its infrastructure, a government spokesman said Tuesday at the opening of an international aid meeting.

"Until the oil sector picks up ... we will need this much for the infrastructure and for investment expenses," Ali al-Dabbagh told reporters at a preparatory meeting for the International Compact for Iraq, a five-year plan to ensure Iraq's government has funds to survive and enact key political and economic reforms.

Al-Dabbagh called the $100 billion an "unofficial figure," and said he hoped more countries, especially Arab states, would participate in the program.

The End Of The Siege Of Sadr City

Maliki says jump: U.S. soldiers rolled up their barbed-wire barricades and lifted a near siege of the largest Shiite Muslim enclave in Baghdad on Tuesday, heeding the orders of a Shiite-led Iraqi government whose assertion of sovereignty had Shiites celebrating in the streets. The order by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to lift the week-old blockade of Sadr City was one of the most overt expressions of self-determination by Iraqi leaders in the 3 1/2-year U.S. occupation. It came after two weeks of increasingly pointed exchanges between Iraqi and U.S. officials, as well as a video conference between al-Maliki and President Bush on Saturday.

…At midday Tuesday, al-Maliki issued an order setting a 5 p.m. deadline for removal of the U.S. checkpoints. A senior U.S. Embassy official said later that al-Maliki told U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, in a meeting Tuesday that the checkpoints should be lifted. A U.S. military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington, said American soldiers removed the checkpoints at the order of their commanders. "We take military orders," Withington said.

Joe at Americablog’s take: Yesterday, the Iraqi government, in an unprecedented power play, shoved aside US troops who are looking for a missing soldier. Bush, who is apparently powerless to do anything positive or proactive in Iraq, let that happen. Think about this -- Al Sadr just one-upped the leader of the free world who has 140,000 troops in his country. Yet, today, the cable networks are agog over John Kerry. Meanwhile, they're overlooking the entire failed Iraq policy. In just the past 24 hours we learned:

105 troops were killed in October; the US Central Command thinks Iraq is heading toward chaos; and we now know that Al-Sadr, who really, really hates us, rules Iraq and won't even let our forces search for a missing U.S. soldier.

digby: How very convenient for the administration that the press is concentrating on irrelevancies when a story like this breaks, eh? The Maliki government is playing Bush for the cowardly loser he is, apparently threatening him with more bad headlines, so the Americans backed off and left a soldier behind. But look no further, citizens. John Kerry blew a punchline and that requires a full-on media frenzy. Nothing is more fun and exciting to the kewl kidz than going after a simple meaningless anti-Democrat story that pleases the GOP establishment. Everybody wins. Except the American people, of course. Or that abandoned soldier in Iraq.

Contractors Cut And Run

Too hot for mercs: Manhattan security company Kroll has withdrawn its bodyguard teams from Iraq and Afghanistan after it lost four workers in Iraq, its parent company said Wednesday. Michael Cherkasky, president and chief executive of Kroll owner Marsh & McLennan Cos., told The Associated Press that the business in the two countries wasn't worth risking the lives of their employees.

As Josh Marshall pointed out, when Iraq is too dangerous even for the mercenaries, that’s one heckuva job, Bushie. -m

But they’re taking their $2.3 billion with them: Bechtel Corp. went to Iraq three years ago to help rebuild a nation torn by war. Since then, 52 of its people have been killed and much of its work sabotaged as Iraq dissolved into insurgency and sectarian violence.

Now Bechtel is leaving.

The San Francisco engineering company's last government contract to rebuild power, water and sewage plants across Iraq expired on Tuesday. Some employees remain to finish the paperwork, but essentially, the company's job is done.

Bechtel's contracts were part of an enormous U.S. effort to put Iraq back on its feet after decades of wars and sanctions. That rebuilding campaign, once touted as the Marshall Plan of modern times, was supposed to win the hearts of skeptical Iraqis by giving them clean water, dependable power, telephones that worked and modern sanitation. President Bush said he wanted the country's infrastructure to be the very best in the Middle East.

But Bechtel -- which charged into Iraq with American "can-do" fervor -- found it tough to keep its engineers and workers alive, much less make progress in piecing Iraq back together.

Iraqi Politics

I wonder how many people will die because of this: On Wednesday, a fight broke out between Sunni politicians in parliament, where Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani accused other Sunni lawmakers of corruption and of stalling ratification of a religious edict intended to end sectarian clashes.

Al-Mashhadani was holding a news conference to condemn lawmakers for failing to show up for a vote when he suddenly shouted at a rival lawmaker in the audience, Abdel-Karim al-Samarie, a member of the main Sunni parliamentary bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front.

"You did not attend (parliament) because of your corrupt political affiliation," al-Mashhadani screamed, adding: "You are dishonest and a dog" — a deep insult in Iraq and other Arab societies.

Al-Samarie responded by calling al-Mashhadani a false patriot. The speaker, who belongs to a rival Sunni group — The National Dialogue Council — lunged at al-Samarie and tried to punch him, but was held back by bodyguards.

War Criminals

The winning team: President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain in his administration until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-criticized members of his team.

And Bush said he did not foresee a change in the immediate future in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. He said that U.S. generals have assured him that "they've got what they can live with."

Boo fucking hoo: Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who served a tumultuous year as commander of all U.S. forces in Iraq, retired from the Army on Wednesday, calling his career a casualty of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. He pointed to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal as the key reason for his departure. He said for a story in The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, “that's the key reason, the sole reason, that I was forced to retire. I was essentially not offered another position in either a three-star or four-star command."

An Honorable American

What a sad loss: The true stories of how American troops, killed in Iraq, actually died keep spilling out this week. On Tuesday, we explored the case of Kenny Stanton, Jr., murdered last month by our allies, the Iraqi police, though the military didn’t make that known at the time. Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Az., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”

US Politics

Vote!: A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.


Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Odom: The United States upset the regional balance in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops — within six months and with no preconditions — can break the paralysis that now enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public. Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.

But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded. These realities get worse every day that our forces remain in Iraq.

Robert Scheer: Every time I hear President Bush railing against those who would “cut and run” in Iraq instead of pursuing “victory,” as he does almost daily, I think back to similar claims being made for the Vietnam debacle when I reported from Saigon in the mid-’60s. Back then, the U.S. troop presence was lower and casualties fewer than now in Iraq, but the carnage, on all sides, would escalate for the next decade, as we waited miserably for the corner to be turned.

Then, as now, calls for setting a timetable for an orderly withdrawal were rejected as emboldening our enemy to attack America. Instead of a dignified withdrawal, we plunged ever deeper into the quagmire, leaving 59,000 U.S. troops and 3.4 million Indochinese dead as tribute to our stupidity. Finally, there was nothing to do but “cut and run” in the most ignominious fashion. With our U.S. personnel being lifted by helicopter from roofs near our embassy, it seemed like a low point for U.S. influence, and there were dire predictions of communism’s global dominance—just as there is today for the “Islamo-fascist” bogeyman the president has seized upon.

Those predictions, however, proved dead wrong. Communism did not advance as a worldwide force after our defeat in Vietnam. On the contrary, a victorious communist-run Vietnam soon went to war with the China-backed communists of Cambodia—overthrowing Pol Pot’s evil Khmer Rouge—and with communist China itself, in a bloody border war.

Today communist Vietnam is still battling communist China—but now it is for shelf space in Wal-Mart and Costco. The United States, meanwhile, spending itself silly under the haplessly irresponsible President Bush, is now dependent on China both to carry its debt and contain communist North Korea’s nuclear threat.

So why accept the president’s shrill insistence that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster?

LA Times Editorial: The Republican message reeks of desperation; the party seems spent. That's the nature of the political cycle in Washington — parties eventually overreach after governing uncontested for a time, as their loyalists' desire to stay in power outlasts their enthusiasm for their own ideas. The only reason this election is a cliffhanger is the lack of inspired thinking by Democratic opposition leaders. President Bush, meanwhile, is also getting into the fear-mongering. "The Democrat approach," he said this week on the stump in Georgia, "comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses. And that's what's at stake in this election." This is why much of the world considers our president a caricature figure — because on occasion he acts like one. It is expected and appropriate for parties to flesh out their differences on national security issues, but it should be a debate about means, not ends. Part of the Republican playbook consists once again of conveniently confusing the war in Iraq with the post-9/11 war on terror. The disingenuous formulation remains: Criticize the war in Iraq and you're a Bin Laden sympathizer. Voters seem to be growing tired of such manipulation. Who knows, they may even notice that Al Qaeda's leader, in fact, has not been captured — except in the video montages of Republican campaign ads.

New York Times Editorial: As President Bush throws himself into the final days of a particularly nasty campaign season, he’s settled into a familiar pattern of ugly behavior. Since he can’t defend the real world created by his policies and his decisions, Mr. Bush is inventing a fantasy world in which to campaign on phony issues against fake enemies.

In Mr. Bush’s world, America is making real progress in Iraq. In the real world, as Michael Gordon reported in yesterday’s Times, the index that generals use to track developments shows an inexorable slide toward chaos. In Mr. Bush’s world, his administration is marching arm in arm with Iraqi officials committed to democracy and to staving off civil war. In the real world, the prime minister of Iraq orders the removal of American checkpoints in Baghdad and abets the sectarian militias that are slicing and dicing their country.

In Mr. Bush’s world, there are only two kinds of Americans: those who are against terrorism, and those who somehow are all right with it. Some Americans want to win in Iraq and some don’t. There are Americans who support the troops and Americans who don’t support the troops. And at the root of it all is the hideously damaging fantasy that there is a gulf between Americans who love their country and those who question his leadership.

Mr. Bush has been pushing these divisive themes all over the nation, offering up the ludicrous notion the other day that if Democrats manage to control even one house of Congress, America will lose and the terrorists will win. But he hit a particularly creepy low when he decided to distort a lame joke lamely delivered by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry warned college students that the punishment for not learning your lessons was to “get stuck in Iraq.” In context, it was obviously an attempt to disparage Mr. Bush’s intelligence. That’s impolitic and impolite, but it’s not as bad as Mr. Bush’s response. Knowing full well what Mr. Kerry meant, the president and his team cried out that the senator was disparaging the troops. It was a depressing replay of the way the Bush campaign Swift-boated Americans in 2004 into believing that Mr. Kerry, who went to war, was a coward and Mr. Bush, who stayed home, was a hero.

Glenn Greenwald: This is what the ideal world of the Bush follower looks like: If the Government is waging a war and things are going horribly, the Government has the right to lie to its citizens and claim that things are going remarkably well. If a newspaper is furnished with documents prepared by the military that shows that the Government is lying and that things are actually going very poorly, the newspaper should then be barred from informing their readers about that truth -- and ought to criminally prosecuted, perhaps even executed, if they do so. It truly takes an authoritarian mind of the most irredeemable proportions to watch our political leaders have their lies exposed about a war and have as their first reaction the desire that those who exposed the lies be prosecuted and imprisoned. But it isn't just Bush followers here who are demanding that, but the Bush administration itself, through the military, that is threatening to do so. This development ought to receive a lot more attention. Now that it is revealed that even our own military believes that Iraq has been steadily collapsing into civil war and chaos, the Bush administration is seeking to punish those who revealed these truths to the American people, because they want to preserve the right, particularly before an election, to have their blatant lies about the war remain unchallenged. Nobody outside of the dwindling circle of mindless Bush followers would find that to be anything other than repugnant.

Casualty Report

An Ohio Marine was shot in the head while on patrol with his unit in Iraq and flown to a hospital in Germany, where he has been placed on life support, family members said. Lance Cpl. Colin Smith was wounded Monday in Anbar province and suffered a severe brain injury, said his uncle, Douglas Smith.


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