Wednesday, November 22, 2006


“In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic.”

- Richard Cohen, justifying his support of the Iraq invasion, The Lingo of Vietnam, Washington Post, November 21, 2006

Today’s therapeutic activities:


Two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession, wounding two policemen when they went to retrieve the bodies of three people in Haifa street in central Baghdad.

Update to item in yesterday’s post: Backed by U.S.-led coalition advisers, Iraqi security forces battled insurgents early Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, the U.S. military said. At least five people were killed in the fighting, including a mother and her 8-month-old child, and 18 others were wounded.

Gunmen shot dead a bodyguard of the parliament speaker and wounded another, a day after a small bomb exploded in one of the speaker's cars. The bodyguards were attacked by a group of gunmen in several cars. The attack occurred a day after an apparent attempt to kill al-Mashhadani in a car bomb attack inside the heavily fortified Green Zone. (See below for more on the car bomb incident. –m)

At least 13 Iraqis were killed and six wounded Wednesday in attacks by suspected insurgents using drive-by shootings and bombings in Baghdad and other areas of Iraq.

Raad Jaafar Hamadi, an Iraqi journalist working for the state-run al-Sabah newspaper in Baghdad, was killed in a drive-by shooting Wednesday, police said. The slaying raised to at least 92 the number of journalists who have been killed in Iraq since the Iraq war began. Thirty-six other media employees — including drivers, interpreters and guards — also have been killed, all of them Iraqi except one Lebanese.

A U.S. soldier died of a non-hostile injuries north of Baghdad on Tuesday, raising to at least 2,866 the number of U.S. servicemen who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. So far this month in Iraq, 48 American service members have been killed or died.


Gunmen attacked a police patrol and killed three policemen in Baquba.

Four policemen were killed when unidentified gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in Baquba early on Wednesday morning.


Gunmen killed a policeman in Falluja.


A roadside bomb planted near members of the Facility Protection Services (FPS) killed seven and wounded another on Tuesday afternoon in Iskandariya.


Police found the body of police major Basim Hasan al-Hasnawi with bullet wounds in the head in central Kerbala, police said, adding that he was abducted by gunmen two days earlier.

A tribal leader, Ahmed al-Allawi, was seriously wounded when gunmen opened fire on his car in central Kerbala.


Clashes erupted between gunmen and the police on Tuesday, wounding six people, including three women, in Mosul.

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded three policemen in Mosul.


A car bomb near an Iraqi army check point and an attack by gunmen killed four people -- a university professor, a traffic police officer and two soldiers -- and wounded three civilians, in a village near the town of Muqdadiya, 100 km northeast of Baghdad.


Police found the bodies of three people near Ramadi.


A U.S. soldier died of "non-battle" injuries in Salahaddin province on Tuesday, the U.S. military said.


A bomb intended to kill the contentious speaker of the Iraqi Parliament exploded inside one of his armored cars today while the car was rolling through the fortified Green Zone, injuring the driver and trapping members of Parliament inside the legislative building as the American military shut down the area for hours, a parliamentary aide said.

Though the speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, was unscathed by the explosion, the assassination attempt was one of the most serious breaches of security in the four-square-mile Green Zone in recent memory. The Green Zone houses the seat of the Iraqi government and the American embassy, and lies on the west bank of the Tigris River.

The explosion took place in mid-afternoon, as the car was leaving a parking area, said the parliamentary aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to talk publicly about the incident. The bomb had been planted inside a decoy armored car that resembles the one usually used by Mr. Mashhadani, he said. The decoy car belongs to Mr. Mashhadani’s regular convoy.

Only part of the bomb exploded, and so the driver lived, the aide said.

This is the second time in two days there has been an incident involving explosives inside the Green Zone. One of these days, and it won’t be long, there is going to be a very successful attack in there. That should be therapeutic for all concerned. -m

Group therapy: A U.N. report said 3,709 civilians were killed in October, a record high, and 3,345 were killed in September.

The report said 418,392 people were displaced within Iraq due to sectarian violence since the February bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra. Nearly 100,000 more were fleeing to Syria and Jordan every month.

Physical therapy: "Bodies found at the Medico-legal Institute often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin, broken bones, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails"

Life In A Therapeutic Setting

Higher education: Academics, along with other professionals, have been increasingly targeted by sectarian violence which continues unchecked across much of Iraq. Thousands of professors and university researchers have long since fled the war-torn country. An administration manager of a large university in Baghdad spoke with IPS on condition of anonymity: "Iraqi universities have turned into militia and death squad headquarters... Pictures of clerics and sectarian flags all over are not the only problem, but there is the interference of clerics and their followers in everything." The university employee, who said he fears for his life each day he goes to work, explained that religious clerics now had the authority to "sack teachers and students, forbid certain texts, impose certain uniforms and even arrest and kill those who belong to other sects or those who object to their behaviour." He angrily added, "Our government seems to approve all that, as no security office ever intervened to protect teachers and students or make any change to the situation."

Primary school: "Every day I come back home and tell of the latest kidnapping of a teacher or student, the killing of a colleague or the new insults that the students have learned and told me," Ala'a said. "Last week, a seven-year-old student told me that I was nothing else than a servant of Iraq's good families and that I deserve worse treatment than his mother gives to their dog. "There is no respect for us [now] and sometimes even the school director is afraid to punish a child because she is scared that his or her family might kill her, as many such cases have already happened in our country [due to sectarian violence]," she said. Ala'a said she knew that she could change jobs and do something else less demanding but she felt she had a role to play in educating the younger generation and ensuring a better future for Iraq. And because teachers are becoming scarce in Iraq, with thousands fleeing to Jordan and Syria, or being forced to stay in their homes, she felt even more compelled to carry on. Since February this year when sectarian violence began to escalate, nearly 210 teachers have been killed and at least 3,700 have fled Iraq to neighbouring countries, according to the Ministry of Higher Education. But Ala'a said she will not flee, though she worries for the safety of her family and herself.

The workaday world: Taxi driver Ali Haydar, 36, has to be careful about choosing his customers. Two of his fellow drivers were killed recently when suicide bombers used their cabs to get close to their intended targets and detonate themselves. "Once a guy got into my car and asked me to just drive him around the city. I found it strange but I needed to work so I couldn't say no. But then I started to feel that this man was dangerous and was trying to find a place to carry out an attack. I asked him what was wrong and he simply told me that he was looking for a place to explode. I stopped at a traffic light and ran from my car, leaving him inside," Haydar said. "Can you believe it? He was bold enough to tell me that in my face. When I came back to my car, he had left and the police were there. They then accused me of being a terrorist and beat me until some people who knew me intervened and explained to them that I am a taxi driver," he added.

Travel opportunities: After one of his sons was kidnapped and killed, Sachid left the home he owned and sold his car to buy corrugated iron and bricks to build the three-room hut that now houses himself, two sons, their wives and children. With night-time temperatures already chilly, he says there is no prospect of their returning.

"If you paved the road from here to Haswa with gold, I would never go back," he said. "I can't sleep at night because I'm always worried. I don't feel safe travelling through Shi'ite areas so how can I even think of passing Sunni areas again."

Sachid is one of at least 420,000 people to move to other parts of Iraq in the nine months since the bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine at Samarra sparked tit-for-tat reprisals that are dividing the country and Baghdad in ways resembling Bosnia or Lebanon and which many fear pave the way for all-out civil war.

Sattar Nowruz of Iraq's Migration Ministry said the figure may be much higher as many do not register their move. And he added ominously: "We expect this to increase."

Another 100,000 a month leave the country, the U.N. said -- proportionately equivalent to a million Americans emigrating every month -- draining Iraq of badly needed skills.

Iraqi Politics

More fractures: 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." Sixty-five-year-old Harith al-Dhari heads the influential Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), the leading Sunni religious leadership of Iraq. Al-Dhari is currently in Jordan; he left Iraq five months back for fear of personal safety. The AMS is known to have contacts with the Iraqi resistance, and has been opposed to the U.S. occupation and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

Reconciliation: 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.

The step came on the second day of a two-day visit by Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, who met with the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, in the international Green Zone here.

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.

Poodle approval: Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem's visit to Iraq on Tuesday and encouraged Damascus to play a helpful role in its neighbour's affairs.

Moualem made the first visit to Iraq by a Syrian minister since U.S. and British forces toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraq and Syria agreed to restore diplomatic ties after 25 years, and Moualem accepted that U.S.-led troops should stay in Iraq as long as the government in Baghdad wants them.

"I welcome the fact that the Syrian foreign minister went to Iraq," Blair said at a news conference after a meeting with the visiting president of Kazakhstan.

"The very thing that we have been seeking is to ensure that Syria becomes a help to Iraq ... rather than a hindrance. So from our perspective this is the right thing to do."

This should solve everything: U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced they will meet Nov. 29-30 in Jordan to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. "We will focus our discussions on current developments in Iraq, progress made to date in the deliberations of a high-level joint committee on transferring security responsibilities, and the role of the region in supporting Iraq," they said in a statement.

US Military Begins To Face Reality…?

Power Point expertise: The U.S. military's effort to train Iraqi forces has been rife with problems, from officers being sent in with poor preparation to a lack of basic necessities such as interpreters and office materials, according to internal Army documents.

The shortcomings have plagued a program that is central to the U.S. strategy in Iraq and is growing in importance. A Pentagon effort to rethink policies in Iraq is likely to suggest placing less emphasis on combat and more on training and advising, sources say.

In dozens of official interviews compiled by the Army for its oral history archives, officers who had been involved in training and advising Iraqis bluntly criticized almost every aspect of the effort. Some officers thought that team members were often selected poorly. Others fretted that the soldiers who prepared them had never served in Iraq and lacked understanding of the tasks of training and advising. Many said they felt insufficiently supported by the Army while in Iraq, with intermittent shipments of supplies and interpreters who often did not seem to understand English.

The Iraqi officers interviewed by an Army team also had complaints; the top one was that they were being advised by officers far junior to them who had never seen combat.

Some of the American officers even faulted their own lack of understanding of the task. "If I had to do it again, I know I'd do it completely different," reported Maj. Mike Sullivan, who advised an Iraqi army battalion in 2004. "I went there with the wrong attitude and I thought I understood Iraq and the history because I had seen PowerPoint slides, but I really didn't."

Moving past Rumsfeld: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may be leaving under a cloud of criticism over his handling of the Iraq war, but his invasion plan -- emphasizing speed over massive troop numbers -- has consistently been held up by the administration as a resounding success. With Iraq near chaos 3 1/2 years later, a key Army manual now is being rewritten in a way that rejects the Rumsfeld doctrine and counsels against using it again.

The draft version of the Army's Full Spectrum Operations field manual argues that in addition to defeating the enemy, military units must focus on providing security for the population--even during the heat of a major combat operation. "The big idea here is that stability tasks have to be a consideration at every level and every operation," said Clinton Ancker III, head of the Army's Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate and an author of the guide.

Manpower crunch: The U.S. Marine Corps may need to increase in size in order to sustain continued deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan without sacrificing needed training or putting undue stress on the corps, the Marine commandant said Wednesday.

At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Gen. James Conway said the current pace of rotations to Iraq — seven months there and a bit more than seven months back home — is limiting other types of training and could eventually prompt Marines to leave the service.

The goal, he said, is to spend twice the amount of time at home that was spent on deployment — for example seven months deployed and 14 months at home.

Conway, who took on the Marines' top job just eight days ago, said there are two ways to deal with the ongoing stress on the Marines, and that "one is reducing the requirement, the other is potentially growing the force for what we call the long war."

Three years in and it had to come from the guys on the ground: Marine commanders are outfitting their troops with flame-resistant flight suits in Iraq to ward off burns from the No. 1 killer here: roadside bombs.

It’s another sign of how troops in the field have adapted to the deadly insurgency. Earlier in the war, troops added their own armor to vehicles and devised their own makeshift electronic jamming devices to foil the growing power and sophistication of the bombs they encountered.

Marine commanders in Iraq took the initiative to issue flame- and heat-resistant clothing made from a DuPont-manufactured fiber called Nomex, said Lt. Col. Bryan Salas, a spokesman for Multi-National Force-West.

More Poodle News

We flush dollars, they flush pounds: Late last week Mr Blair and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, trumpeted special funding to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan totalling £844 million. This is in addition to the estimated £5 billion cost to British taxpayers of the Iraq war so far, and £1 billion to date on the British deployment in Afghanistan.

The funding announcements came just days after Mr Blair admitted in an interview with the satellite channel Al Jazeera English that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a disaster.

On Sunday opposition and Labour MPs attacked the Blair Government's strategy.

Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said Mr Blair had poured away billions of pounds. "Money that might have been spent on assisting the poorest countries has been squandered in illegal military action against Iraq," he said.

War Profiteer News

Or, rather, torture profiteers: Consider the unique problems faced by the corporate suits at CACI International, a defense contractor whose services have included "coercive" interrogations of prisoners in Iraq -- interrogations most people simply call "torture."

Think about the image problems a major multinational corporation faces after becoming inextricably linked with the abuses at Abu Ghraib, a firm whose employees have contributed to the iconic images of the occupation of Iraq -- the symbols of American cruelty and immorality in an illegal war. What can a company like that possibly do to protect its brand name after contributing to the greatest national disgrace since the My Lai massacre?

CACI's strategy has been two-fold: its flacks have distorted well-documented facts in the public record beyond recognition, and its senior management has lawyered up, suing or threatening to sue just about every journalist, muckraker and government watchdog who's dared to shine a light on the firm's unique role as a torture profiteer.

The Struggle For America

State secrets: When USA Today published an article on May 11 alleging that the National Security Agency (NSA) had teamed up with major telecommunications companies to obtain access to Americans’ communication records, Cowie sent an e-mail to Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, asking if the company was taking part in this program. After ambiguous responses from Verizon, Cowie filed a complaint with the Maine PUC. According to Cowie, the “PUC is supposed to determine whether the complaint has merit and if it does, it’s supposed to open an investigation and have a hearing.” (He would know—part of his former position there was managing these very complaints.) After two months of silence, the PUC finally acted, asking Verizon to swear under oath to the veracity of a May press release the company issued in response to the USA Today allegations.

That release claimed that Verizon was not providing records to the government, but was ambiguous enough to leave room for doubt. A deadline was set for Verizon to respond and about an hour after the deadline passed, a response was received—a Justice Department announcement that it was suing the state of Maine.

The department invoked the state secrets privilege and claimed that for Verizon to even affirm that their previous statement was true would endanger the country. That’s ridiculous, says Cowie. “[If] Verizon’s public statements had classified information in them, they would have gone to jail.”

Minutes after receiving notice of the Justice Department suit, Verizon submitted their filing, which stated that it could not verify its previous press statement because of the lawsuit that had just been announced.

Dangerous precedent: Former Attorney General Janet Reno and seven other former Justice Department officials filed court papers Monday arguing that the Bush administration is setting a dangerous precedent by trying a suspected terrorist outside the court system.

It was the first time that Reno, attorney general in the Clinton administration, has spoken out against the administration's policies on terrorism detainees, underscoring how contentious the court fight over the nation's new military commissions law has become. Former attorneys general rarely file court papers challenging administration policy.

…The Justice Department said in court papers last week that a new anti-terrorism law strips detainees such as al-Marri of the right to challenge their imprisonment in court.

"The government is essentially asserting the right to hold putative enemy combatants arrested in the United States indefinitely whenever it decides not to prosecute those people criminally - perhaps because it would be too difficult to obtain a conviction, perhaps because a motion to suppress evidence would raise embarrassing facts about the government's conduct, or perhaps for other reasons," the former Justice Department officials said.

…"The existing criminal justice system is more than up to the task of prosecuting and bringing to justice those who plan or attempt terrorist acts within the United States - without sacrificing any of the rights and protections that have been the hallmarks of the American legal system for more than 200 years," the attorneys wrote.

Protecting the US from islamofascist Quakers: An antiterrorist database used by the Defense Department in an effort to prevent attacks against military installations included intelligence tips about antiwar planning meetings held at churches, libraries, college campuses and other locations, newly disclosed documents show.

One tip in the database in February 2005, for instance, noted that “a church service for peace” would be held in the New York City area the next month. Another entry noted that antiwar protesters would be holding “nonviolence training” sessions at unidentified churches in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

A Legal Question

What was it that made it aggravated assault? The kidnapping part? Or the murder?: A Marine lance corporal willingly participated in the kidnapping and shooting death of an Iraqi civilian and should spend 10 years behind bars, a military prosecutor charged Tuesday.

The prosecutor, Capt. Nicholas Gannon, said that Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., could have stopped the April 26 slaying of Hashim Ibrahim Awad but failed to act.

"Instead, he agreed to do the wrong thing and snuff out a human life," Gannon said.

Rather than the 10-year sentence that Gannon sought, an agreement in which Shumate pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice resulted in a 21-month term with credit for six months already served.

Another Question

Why do so many people think this clown is presidential?: Amid intense speculation about whether he will run for president, Sen. Barack Obama on Monday used the spotlight to showcase his strategy for the war in Iraq, excoriating the Bush administration for its "misguided" war and describing a solution that includes dialogue with hostile nations in the region. In his speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Illinois Democrat said the U.S. should end its "coddling" of the Iraqi government by beginning a reduction of troops in the next four to six months and pressuring Iraqis to work out agreements among their warring factions.

Poor Misunderstood George

Cry me a river: The oil-rich Persian Gulf used to be safe territory for former president Bush, an oil man who brought Arab leaders together in a coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's troops out of Kuwait in 1991.

But gratitude for the elder Bush, who served as president from 1989-93, was overshadowed by the foreign policy of his son, whose invasion of Iraq and support for Israel are deeply unpopular here.

"We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," a woman audience member bluntly told Bush after his keynote speech.

Bush appeared stunned as the audience of young business leaders whooped and whistled in approval.

The retired president had just finished a folksy address on leadership by telling the audience how deeply hurt he feels when his son the president is criticized.

"This son is not going to back away," Bush said, his voice quivering. "He's not going to change his view because some poll says this or some poll says that, or some heartfelt comments from the lady who feels deeply in her heart about something. You can't be president of the United States and conduct yourself if you're going to cut and run. This is going to work out in Iraq. I understand the anxiety. It's not easy."

Commentary And Opinion

Greg Mitchell: Cohen, who had so demeaned those "French" lovers who, as it turns out, correctly opposed the Iraq catastrophe from the start, now explains he was encouraged to back the invasion by the "offensive opposition to the war -- silly arguments about oil or empire or, at bottom, the ineradicable and perpetual rottenness of America." Of course, there were some who made such arguments, but the vast majority of those who opposed the war did so on the grounds (again sustained, as it soon turned out) that the Iraqi WMDs were far from proven and that, as Chris Hedges put it, an occupied Iraq would likely turn into America's "West Bank." Yet Cohen says "few envisaged" this. It gets worse. Referring to his willing "volunteers," Cohen writes: "If they thought they were going to rid the region of weapons of mass destruction and sever the link between al-Qaeda and Hussein, they now are entitled to feel duped by Bush, Vice President Cheney and others." I love that "others." Who could those unnamed others be? Certain influential pundits who once declared that there was "no choice" but to invade Iraq? He goes on to say the "exaggerations" that led to war were "particularly repellent. To fool someone into sacrificing his life to battle a chimera is a hideous abuse of the public trust." Exactly. "Daily," he reveals, "I read the casualty list from Iraq -- and I invent reasons to make the deaths less tragic." And no wonder.

Glenn Greenwald: The invasion of Iraq constituted a radical departure from decades-long American foreign policy doctrine governing what constitutes a justifiable war against another country. To justify the war which Kaplan wanted so eagerly, the Bush administration issued a National Security Strategy in 2002 which "shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States." That militaristic hubris is the doctrine which drove our invasion (and it is still in place, as the Bush administration re-affirmed it earlier this year). What makes Kaplan's revisionism all the more reprehensible is that it distorts not only the administration's justification for the Iraq invasion but also Kaplan's own rationale in favor of it. In a lengthy Atlantic Monthly article in November, 2002, devoted to all the great benefits we would reap from invading Iraq, Kaplan does not at all rely upon the magnanimous idealism that he now dishonestly claims animated support for the war. Again, the opposite is true.

…The invasion of Iraq and those who advocated it, such as Kaplan, were anything but "idealistic." They were and are nothing other than malicious warmongers who invented new "theories" to "justify" waging war on countries that didn't attack us and posed no real threat to us. What the failure of Iraq demonstrates is not -- as Kaplan so earnestly suggests today -- that the rosy-eyed, slightly naive but well-intentioned neonconservative idealists just need to be a little more restrained in their desire to do Good in the world. It demonstrates that they are deceitful, radical and untrustworthy warmongers who led this country into the worst strategic disaster in its history and should never be trusted with anything ever again. And it equally demonstrates that starting wars with no justification and with no notion of self-defense is an idea that is as destructive as it is unjust.

TVNewsLies.org: The neocon plan was very simple and so beautifully underhanded that it has evaded many people in this nation and the world. The architects of the invasion knew that the greater the instability, the worse the insurrection, and the greater the possibility of out and out civil war, the more the US would appear to be needed in Iraq. And so it has come to pass, and so it is now the mantra of those who no longer talk of WMD’s or Al Qaeda or democracy in Iraq.

Understand that all is going according to the PNAC plan: The US cannot leave Iraq because the dangers of our leaving are too horrible to imagine. Fear that moment, America, because if we leave Iraq things will only get worse and worse and, as John McCain reminded us this week, all those evil terrorists will follow us here and attack us in our beds. Got that? We cannot withdraw, we will not withdraw. Don’t even think about it.

That fantastic American Embassy, larger than Vatican City is well under way in Baghdad. The $592 million facility will stand as a symbol of our influence in that nation and signal to the Iraqis that we will never leave. At the same time, 14 “enduring” permanent military bases are under construction in Iraq, all of which are to be consolidated into four mega-bases. That’s 14 huge bases in a country only twice the size of Idaho. No, we’re there to stay.

Ken Silverstein: “Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush,” was the headline of a front-page Washington Post story yesterday that detailed how former Iraq hawks have broken with the Bush Administration over the war. Exhibit A was Ken Adelman, a onetime Reagan Administration official and “onetime member of the Iraq war brain trust,” who has fallen out with Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and who told the Post that “the President is ultimately responsible” for the “debacle” in Iraq.

Adelman's hypocrisy is stunning. In 2002 it was he who famously predicted that American forces would enjoy “a cakewalk” in Iraq, and during the run-up to the invasion he derided war critics for their stupidity and naiveté. “There's always the chicken littles, running around and saying 'oh my God, it's terrible,'” he said on Hardball, six days before the war began, when asked about the possibility that things might not go as smoothly as he and his fellow-hawks had predicted.

The following month, he was gloating to the New York Times that his “cakewalk” prediction had been remarkably prescient. Adelman, according to the story, “scorned recent complaints by retired generals and military analysts that the Pentagon had deployed too few troops” to Iraq. “I always thought that was ridiculous,” Adelman told the newspaper. “It turned out they were factually wrong. I never understood what having three times as many troops would have done.”

But what's most astonishing about Adelman's current criticism of the Bush Administration is that he argued for a “stay the course” approach long after it became clear that the war was a burgeoning disaster.

Allan Uthman: Bush needs to be impeached because Bush worshippers just plain deserve it. It was they that were giddy with self-righteous rage, so desperate to take Clinton down that they didn’t care how pathetic their excuse was. They need to be paid back, and to know they asked for it. They need to be demoralized and dismissed before they take the government back and damage it further. They need, after all, to know their reign was a colossal failure, a blight on the record. They need to know that now and forever, George W. Bush will be to presidents what OJ Simpson is to all-star running backs. These people understand things in terms of winning and losing, and they need to know that, in the end, they lost.

Bush needs to be impeached because the only language these people understand is power. Their hearts will not be touched by forgiveness. Any mercy is a sign of weakness to them. If you want to earn a thug’s respect, you’ve got to kick his ass up and down the block. No negotiation. No compromise. Slash and burn. Teach these assholes a lesson. Leave them broken and gasping in a puddle of their own urine. Don’t ever let them forget the humiliation and the shame of it.

But beyond revenge and humiliation—the reasons that Republicans will actually understand—Bush needs to be impeached because he is a criminal of the highest order, and because tolerating criminals at the seat of power is itself a crime against the nation. The core problem in Washington today is not the president’s lack of respect for the law; it’s that congress has done nothing about it. The first step toward restoring a reasonable government is correcting that.

Bush needs to be impeached for the same reason any conservative will tell you that drug offenders need to go to jail forever. In other words, if a president abuses his power, misleads the nation, flouts the constitution, breaks longstanding international laws and ignores congress—and then, when the opposition takes power, nothing happens—what kind of message does that send to the next power-mad president? Bush—and Cheney—need to be impeached because that’s how this thing works.

Bush needs to be impeached, but it’s not going to happen. Not a chance. Because as wrong as the Republicans are, they’re right about one thing: the Democrats just don’t have the courage to do what’s right.


The U.S. Army promoted 1st Lt. Ryan Dennison to the rank of captain after he was killed in Balad, Iraq on Nov. 15, Army officials said Tuesday. The honor was bestowed upon the 2000 Urbana High School graduate posthumously because he had been close to a promotion at the time of his death, officials said.

Casualty Reports

A funeral is being held Wednesday for a Rockland County soldier killed in Iraq. Family and friends gathered Tuesday during a wake to remember Army Specialist Justin Garcia. The Valley Cottage resident died last Tuesday in a bombing in Baghdad.

Lance Cpl. Michael David Scholl grew up in this northwest end of Lincoln. Years ago, he attended this church at the invitation of his friend and fellow Marine, Jason Hilker. Scholl was killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha, Iraq, last Tuesday. He was the 36th soldier with Nebraska ties to die in the Middle East since Sept. 11. And on Monday, friends, family and at least a dozen men in Marine Corps dress uniforms gathered to tell him goodbye.

A 21-year-old Army sergeant from Albuquerque has been killed while serving in Iraq, according to his family. Eric Vizcaino, a 2003 graduate of West Mesa High School, had talked to his father Sunday morning and told him about a mission in Baghdad that he was scheduled to do the next day. The mission proved fatal, his father, Juan Vizcaino, told Albuquerque television station KOB-TV. Eric Vizcaino was shot and killed Monday, his father said.


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