Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Anbar Province

Bring ‘em on: A U.S. marine died from wounds sustained in combat in the western Anbar Province.


Police in Baghdad found 29 bodies around the capital in the last 24 hours with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

Mortars that hit the Sunni district of Adhamiya in Baghdad killed one person and wounded 12.

A car bomb in the Mansour district of Baghdad killed one and wounded three.

A car bomb killed a man and wounded six others in northern Baghdad.

A mortar round landed in the northern al-Qahira district of Baghdad and wounded four people.

A car bomb wounded four police commandos in the eastern Baladiyat district of Baghdad.

Two mortar rounds landed near al-Amin square in central Baghdad and wounded eight people.

Two mortar rounds landed near the Ministry of Health in central Baghdad, killing three people and wounding eight.

A car bomb killed three people and wounded three in the southwestern Amil district of Baghdad.

U.S. forces said they killed 14 suspected insurgents, detained 48 and rescued a kidnapped Iraqi policeman in a pair of raids outside Baghdad that began Tuesday.

Mortar rounds struck a soccer field in Sadr City as an afternoon game was in progress between young men from the sprawling slum that is home to about 2.5 million people. At least eight people were killed and 20 wounded, including players and bystanders, he said.

Two mortar rounds struck an area in northern Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least one person.

Authorities had originally called Tuesday's attack on a coffee shop in another Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad a mortar attack, but Lt. Ali Muhssin said Wednesday that it was a suicide bombing. He also raised the death toll in that attack from 14 to 21, with another 25 wounded.

A suicide car bomber slammed into a checkpoint on Baghdad's Palestine Street, killing two policemen and wounding two.

Gunmen killed at least one man and wounded four in an attack on a Shiite-owened bakery in a predominantly Sunni section of western Baghdad.

A car bomb struck near a Sunni mosque in northeastern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding six.

Police found the bodies of three apparent death squad victims were found dumped on Baghdad streets

A car bomb exploded near the Nida mosque in the northern Sunni stronghold of Adhamiyah, killing one person.

Another mortar attack in downtown Jumhuriyah Street killed another person and wounded eight.

A pair of mortars crashed on Kadhimiyah neighborhood, another Shiite stronghold and home to two holy shrines, killing two people and wounding eight.

In Baghdad's southwest Al-Amil neighbourhood, three civilians were killed and another three wounded in a car bomb attack, while a member of the National Police was killed in a suicide car bombing against a southern checkpoint.

Authorities reported finding the bullet-riddled bodies of 15 apparent death squad victims floating in the Tigris south of Baghdad, all blindfolded and bound at the wrists and ankles. The victims apparently were tortured before being shot to death.

Diyala Province

In the flashpoint eastern region of Diyala, which was also under curfew along with Baghdad and Salaheddin provinces, at least 17 people were killed Wednesday, including four in a single car bomb attack, police said. The booby-trapped car exploded in a market of Muqdadiyah town, north of Diyala's capital of Baquba, police said. In a series of shootings across Diyala province carried out by unknown gunmen, eight people were killed, including four in Baquba. And five Iraqis were killed when clashes broke out between two Sunni Arab tribes -- Al-Azah and Al-Rabiya -- in the village of Dhida near Muqdadiyah, police said. The fighting began after an ex-army general from one tribe was killed allegedly by members of the other tribe, police said.


A roadside bomb near a house killed two people on Tuesday night in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km south of Baghdad.

In Iskandriyah, another bomb exploded in a residential area killing a man and his 13-year-old son.


Clashes erupted between gunmen and the Iraqi army near a village 30 km southwest of Kirkuk, killing six gunmen and wounding one soldier, the army said.

Bring ‘em on: A U.S. soldier was killed and three others were wounded on Tuesday in combat in northern Kirkuk Province, the U.S. military said.

Fighting involving U.S. forces also left nine Iraqi gunmen dead in Kirkuk, police Brig. Sarhat Abdul-Qadir said, without giving details. The American military had no comment on the report.


Police found the bodies of two people and a decapitated head in the town of Mahmudiya.

A bomb planted in a minivan exploded in an open-air market in Mahmoudiyah, killing at least six people and wounding 28.


Police found six bodies with gunshot wounds in different parts of Mosul.


A car bomb killed four people and wounded six in a market in the town of Muqdadiya.

Gunmen killed four relatives, two of them policemen, in a village near Muqdadiya.

U.S. forces killed 10 al Qaeda operatives associated with foreign fighter organisations near Muqdadiya and rescued a kidnapped Iraqi policeman, the U.S. military said in a statement.


A suicide car bomb exploded as a U.S. military convoy passed, wounding five civilians.

U.S. forces killed four suspected insurgents and detained 48 others on Tuesday during a raid on an al Qaeda meeting place in Ramadi, the U.S. military said.


Gunmen killed a police lieutenant colonel on Tuesday in front of his house in Samawa, 270 km south of Baghdad.


Two police lieutenants were killed in Saddam's northern hometown of Tikrit, while hundreds of his supporters demonstrated in Salaheddin against the death sentence.

In Country

In all, at least 66 Iraqi civilians were reported killed or found dead in violence across the country.

Statistics: The vast majority -- more than 80 percent -- of American military deaths in Iraq are still being caused by Sunni insurgents, according to an ABC News analysis of data released for the month of October by the Defense Department.

Of the 99 American soldiers killed in hostile action, at least 81 were killed by IED's or hostile fire in areas that are dominated by Sunni Arabs and where U.S. forces have been battling Sunni insurgents since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

By contrast, only three Americans were killed in areas dominated by Shiite Arabs. Fifteen were killed in central Baghdad where populations are mixed with Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and it is therefore difficult to determine the identity of the attackers.

Torture charges: The violence persisted despite a move by the Interior Ministry to charge 57 members of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi police force, including a general, in the alleged torture of hundreds of detainees at a prison in east Baghdad.

…Torture is considered widespread among the poorly trained police force, which has suffered heavy losses at the hands of Sunni insurgents and criminal gangs, but Tuesday's announcement marked the first time the government has pressed charges. Iraqi police are accused of close ties to the Shiite death squads, whose daily abductions and killings fuel sectarian violence convulsing the country.

Some officers were accused of abetting the violence by allowing the gunmen to violate curfews and pass through checkpoints.

The concerns were underscored by the discovery of a police torture chamber in Baghdad last year, and by the apparent complicity of police in a mass kidnapping of Sunni workers that prompted authorities to take an entire police brigade out of service for retraining.

Among those charged in the torture at Site No. 4, the prison in eastern Baghdad, were a general, 19 officers, 20 noncommissioned officers and 17 patrolmen or civilian employees.

Rumors of an accord: Four officials in the Iraqi government and parliament, each in a position to hear about largely secret efforts to reach accord with members of the Sunni insurgency, said al-Douri, Saddam's former vice president, has ordered Baath party bosses still in Iraq to end attacks within the past two days.

The officials, who said they knew about the order independently because of their contacts with members of the insurgency, said the directive was issued through couriers sometime after Saddam was sentenced on Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity. The four answered questions from the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

It was impossible to verify the statements independently.

Status Report

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) report: Have American taxpayers gotten their money's worth? Specific contractor abuses, such as overcharging and shoddy construction, have been well-publicized.

Many press accounts of the latest SIGIR report released Oct. 30 made particular note of the fact that the U.S. government lost track of weapons purchased with reconstruction funds for the Iraqi security forces. “There were a mixture of pistols and assault rifles,” said Bowen. “Primarily, 13,000 of them were semiautomatic nine millimeter pistols.” Where the missing weapons are is unknown.

But, in addition to the exposure of missing weapons, the SIGIR quarterly report and accompanying audit reports present one of the best assessments of U.S. progress in Iraqi reconstruction in specific sectors that is worth taking a closer look at.


More than three and a half years after the U.S. invasion Iraq oil production is 12 percent below prewar levels (p. 36). Iraq currently pumps 2.3 million barrels a day, and exports 1.6 million of that.

Iraq did not meet any of its total critical refined product targets in the latest quarter (p. 40), and continues to suffer from severe shortages in all fuels. (p.39)

Because of smuggling and corruption, a thriving black market exists for fuel with Iraqis paying $4 per gallon, almost eight times the official price (p.44).


Electric production is up only six percent above prewar levels (p. 24) despite major U.S. funding and 88 percent of U.S. projects completed.

Attacks on electric lines in Baghdad on Oct. 20, 2006 reduced power in Baghdad to two hours a day for a week (p.4 ). Baghdad had less than five hours of electricity a day at the end of September (p. 26).

The SIGIR report states: "repairing power lines is nearly impossible because of sniper attacks and death threats to repair crews." (p. 4)

Water & Sanitation

U.S. projects have provided an estimated 4.6 million people with access to water, and 5.1 million people with access to sanitation, but a major challenge is to ensure that U.S. efforts are sustainable (p. 45).

An example of sub-par Iraqi contractors can be seen in sanitation problems at the U.S.-funded Mosul Police Headquarters (p. 170-171). See site photo14 for a tree trunk that was painted white to mimic a concrete pillar rather than removed as the contract required.


Agriculture supports 20 percent of the Iraqi workforce, but despite some rehabilitation USAID estimates Iraq's grain yields last summer were less than half the yields of neighboring countries (p. 52).

Schools Repair

Only 48 percent of the Iraqi schools needing repair in 2003 have actually been repaired, but 100 percent of the U.S.-funding for education projects has been spent (p. 60).

Security & Justice

More than 88 percent of the U.S.-IRRF funds for military and police forces have been spent to train and equip 312,900 Iraqi security forces (p.68). However, "sectarian divisions permeate the leadership ranks of the Iraqi Security Forces," (p.73), and "critical infrastructure remains a high-value target for insurgent attack." (p.75).

“It’s going to cost $3.5 billion dollars to support the Iraqi army in the field next year,” Bowen told NBC News, “We were unable to determine in the course of our audit, and we tried, whether the Iraqi government has made provisions for this.”


While two-thirds of the U.S. money allocated for health care projects has been spent, just over one-third (36 percent) of these projects have been completed, "progress has been impeded by security and management problems"(p.77).


In transportation, 88 percent of railway stations have been repaired, but "only a small number of trains continue to run nationwide because of security concerns." (p. 83)

U.S. projects have rehabilitated five Iraqi airports, and traffic is increasing but "the rise is attributed to a recent increase in military" flights (p. 87).

Currently, only military and charter flights are permitted in Iraqi airspace.

Top Contractors

SIGIR reports the top contractor for the 3rd quarter was Bechtel, awarded $1.26 billion, with five others above $500 million each: Fluor-Amec, LLC, Parson Global Services, Inc, Parsons Iraq Joint Venture, Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., and Washington Group International (p. 92).


Iraq's ability to attract international funds is impeded by a perception of government-wide corruption. The SIGIR report states, "Iraq ranks lower than Egypt, Syria, Iran, and other countries in the region that struggle with corruption" (p. 99).

International Donations vs. U.S. donations

Non-U.S. donors have pledged $15 billion to Iraq reconstruction, less than 40 percent of the amount U.S. taxpayers have contributed (p. 105). It is not clear how much non-U.S. donors have actually contributed to meet their pledges, versus the $38 billion U.S. taxpayers have committed. But it is clear that Iraq reconstruction will increasingly rely on non-U.S. donors who are more skeptical of dealing with the Iraq government than with the Coalition's more transparent accounting.

The Big Picture

SIGIR reports that: "security throughout Iraq remains a challenge to the management and oversight of many projects" (p. 122). For example, because of security concerns, inspectors could not visit the $2.23 million Al Karkh Courthouse in northwestern Baghdad, instead they had to rely on satellite imagery to view the courthouse complex from outer space (p. 160).

The reconstruction of Iraq is underway at enormous cost with an as yet uncertain future. The rebuilding of the country during a time of continued warfare has been fraught with danger and delays, cost overruns and corruption. And now that the Special Inspector General position is in peril, it will be even harder to determine whether the costs of trying to build the cornerstones for success in Iraq have been worth the price.

The cost to the US taxpayer: Council on Foreign Relations analysis: The United States has appropriated well over $300 billion (PDF) to the war in Iraq, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Some economists predict the entire war, based on projections U.S. forces will remain in Iraq until after 2010, may cost over $1 trillion. The price tag has drawn criticism not only because prewar projections by the White House were closer to $50 billion, but because of the manner in which the bill was budgeted: through supplemental requests, often with little time for congressional oversight or full disclosure of how the money is allocated. “It’s a question of budgetary integrity and the degree to which you are doing this outside the normal budgetary process in a way that lacks sufficient oversight,” says CFR Chair in International Economics Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office. The next supplemental request by the Pentagon, expected next February, will be the largest yet at $160 billion.

How the money was spent: A Halliburton subsidiary charged the Iraqi government as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,800 fuel trucks that were to deliver gasoline to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but the trucks often spent days or weeks sitting idle on the border, says a report released yesterday by an auditing agency sponsored by the United Nations.

The agency said in a statement that the auditing firm it hired had found that some of the contract costs that had been questioned earlier seemed to be justified. But the agency said the findings raised new questions about hundreds of millions of dollars billed by the company under a $2.4 billion contract that the Army awarded on the eve of the conflict to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root.

Don’t Let The Door Hit You Where The Good Lord Split You

The failure Khalilzad: Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy in Baghdad who tried to conciliate the Sunni people, is to leave his post in the next few months said a senior member of the US administration.

"Khalilzad really failed because greater Sunni political participation has not reduced the violence and has at the same time angered the Shia," said a senior Kurdish political figure.

Appointed ambassador to Iraq in April 2005 Mr Khalilzad played a highly active role in Iraqi politics but the crisis has worsened dramatically during his tenure.

The failure Rumsfeld: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as defense secretary on Wednesday, one day after midterm elections in which opposition to the war in Iraq contributed to heavy Republican losses.

President Bush said he would nominate Robert Gates, a former CIA director, to replace Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.

Asked whether his announcement signaled a new direction in the war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,800 U.S. troops, Bush said, "Well, there's certainly going to be new leadership at the Pentagon."

The scum also rises: Here are five facts about Robert Gates, 63, who was named on Wednesday by President George W. Bush to replace Donald Rumsfeld as U.S. secretary of defense.

* Served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 until 1993. He was the only career officer in CIA history to rise from entry-level employee to director of central intelligence. Joined the CIA in 1966.

* Recently has been deeply involved in bipartisan discussions on Iraq as member of Iraq Study Group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker. The group is expected by the end of the year to issue alternative ideas for a way forward in Iraq.

* First nominated as CIA director in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan but withdrew amid questions over his and the CIA's role in the secret sales of arms to Iran and the diversion of profits to Nicaragua's contra rebels. In hearings in 1991 Gates admitted mistakes and said he should have done more to get at the truth.

* Had controversial confirmation hearings for CIA director including charges he hid the truth about Iran-Contra affair from Congress when that scandal was breaking.

* Served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 to 1989 and as deputy national security adviser for President George Bush at the White House from 1989 until 1991.

Bush sure does love those Iran-Contra guys, doesn’t he? A demonstrated contempt for the rule of law must be a selling point to the little crackhead. -m

Speaking Of The Rapidly-Expiring Concept Of Rule Of Law

Here’s hoping this blog is a useful resource for the ICC someday: When then-Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton nullified the U.S. signature on the International Criminal Court treaty one month into President Bush's first term, he declared it the happiest moment in his years of service. Bolton referred to the court as a "product of fuzzy-minded romanticism . . . not just naive, but dangerous."

The bipartisan concern then was that American service members deployed overseas risked exposure to a foreign tribunal. President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Treaty on his last day in office in 2000, while registering strong reservations.

Now, as the court prepares to begin public hearings on its first case, the debate among senior U.S. military officials seems to be shifting away from staunch opposition, and a fresh assessment of the court seems to be underway.

This story was datelined the 5th of November. Can you answer the question posed in the last sentence of this excerpt?: The final court session and verdict today were fast, direct and clear, but not clear at all. In less than 10 minutes, Saddam Hussein was told he was guilty of crimes against humanity, but never exactly how or why. Was it the witness testimony that proved Saddam's guilt? Was it Saddam’s own acceptance in court of overall responsibility for the draconian punishment his regime carried out of the villagers of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt in the town? Was it documents the prosecution said Saddam signed ordering the deaths of Dujail residents that ultimately swayed the judges? We still do not know.

The full verdict, a document of several hundred pages, explaining how and why today’s judgment was reached was not released. U.S. officials said it should be ready by Thursday. So why issue the verdict today?

Absolutely infuriating: Since so much was happening this weekend politically, it was easy to miss one story by The Washington Post on Saturday, which covered the Justice Department's declaration that one of our detainees at Guantánamo is a human “state secret.” Meaning the very act of being a detainee had given the man “Top Secret” information which he’s not supposed to share—like with a lawyer. What do you know about our torture techniques and where our black sites are? Sorry, you weren’t supposed to know that, therefore no lawyer for you.

That’s right folks, Majid Khan, one of the detainees from the CIA “black sites” is not allowed to talk about his detention and (likely) torture because the lawyer he could speak to doesn’t have clearance to know about U.S. detention policies and “interrogation” procedures.

That a government lawyer could even offer this kind of Kafkaesque argument means someone truly has drunk the Kool-Aid down at the Justice Department.

Marty Lederman: Why can't Majid Khan have a lawyer, according to the Department of Justice? Because he might tell the lawyer how he was treated by the U.S. government. Think about that for a second. The theory of the government's case here is contained in the remarkable tenth paragraph of the Declaration of Marilyn Dorn, CIA Information Review Officer. Dorn writes:

“Information relating to the CIA terrorist detention program has been placed in a TOP Secret/SCI program to enhance protection from unauthorized disclosure. Because Majid Khan was detained by the CIA in this program, he may have come into possession of information, including locations of detention, conditions of detention, and alternative interrogation techniques, that is classified at the TOP SECRET/SCI level.”

Joe Marguiles, quoted in the Post article, is right: This goes beyond Orwell into Lewis Carroll territory, topping the formidable list of jaw-dropping Bush Administration euphemisms. Khan "came into possession" of top secret classified information, eh? And how might that have happened? Part of his job at the CIA? A leak from a rogue CIA employee? By finding a lost memo sitting around some blind alley somewhere? Or is it, perhaps, that he "came into possession" by virtue of the fact that he is the "classified information"? That is to say, it was the CIA's torture of Khan -- sorry, its "application of alternative interrogation techniques against him" -- that was how Khan "came into possession" of our most closely guarded secrets.

Hey, Rupert

Fuck you: On November 6, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch reportedly said at a conference in Tokyo that U.S. casualties in Iraq, "by the terms of any previous war are quite minute," as the weblog Democratic Underground noted. He further stated: "I believe it was right to go in there. I believe that certainly the execution that has followed that has included many mistakes. But that's easy to say after the event." Murdoch, whose conservative media empire includes Fox News Channel, the New York Post, and The Weekly Standard, vocally supported the war in 2003, citing potential economic benefits. As of November 3, according to CNN, a total of 2,836 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.


Edward Humes: If you visited the official, taxpayer-financed website of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee recently, you would have found a remarkable headline at the very top of the page: “Pelosi Majority would abandon system that provided strong veterans budgets, premier health care and effective oversight.”

A diatribe from committee chairman Steve Buyer, R-Ind., ensued, predicting doom and despair for veterans should voters cast out a supposedly vet-loving Republican majority come November 8 and install in its place that alleged Democratic hater of troops, Nancy Pelosi, as majority leader.

Within a day of my inquiring how the official, nonpartisan website for a standing House committee could be used to present such a nakedly partisan, political message, the item vanished from the committee’s internet presence, and the associated article was scrubbed from view (but not from “The Google,” or from the PDF file preserved on my own hard drive).

Aside from the fact that using government resources for political messages is illegal, and the notion that a Republican majority can be counted on to provide more oversight of President Bush’s veterans policy (or any other of his policies) is laughable on its face, there’s a bigger problem with the fear-mongering headline that sat since October 20 atop the website of the House committee charged with protecting our veterans:

It’s a lie.

The simple fact is that Pelosi’s legislative record on supporting veterans’ health care, education and other benefits is among the best in the House, while Buyer’s ranges from mediocre to atrocious, depending on who’s doing the rating. This is not a subjective judgment, but is based on two separate analyses of voting records by distinctly different veterans organizations—the venerable Disabled Veterans of America, and the upstart Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Juan Cole: What we can say is that the electoral outcome is a bellwether for the future of American involvement in Iraq. It will now gradually come to an end, barring a dramatic disaster, such as a guerrilla push to deprive our troops of fuel and then to surround and besiege them. More likely, the steady grind of bad news and further senseless death will force Bush's successor, whoever it, is, to get out of that country. One cannot imagine us staying in Afghanistan for the long haul, either. Bush's question in 2003 was, can we go back to the early 20th century and have a sort of Philippines-like colony with a major military investment? The answer is, "no." Iraqis are too politically and socially mobilized to be easily dominated in the way the old empires dominated isolated, illiterate peasants. The outcome of the Israel-Hizbullah war this summer further signalled that the peasants now have sharper staves that even penetrate state of the art tanks. The US can still easily win any wars it needs to win. It cannot any longer win long military occupations. The man who knew this most surely in the Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, most egregiously gave in to the occupation route, and will end up the fall guy as the public mood turns increasingly ugly in both countries.

Good call, Juan! -m

Paul Krugman: At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in Iraq. In other words, he’s the sort of man who should never have been put in a position of authority, let alone been given the kind of unquestioned power, free from normal checks and balances, that he was granted after 9/11. But he was, alas, given that power, as well as a prolonged free ride from much of the news media. The results have been predictably disastrous. The nightmare in Iraq is only part of the story. In time, the degradation of the federal government by rampant cronyism — almost every part of the executive branch I know anything about, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been FEMAfied — may come to be seen as an equally serious blow to America’s future.

Bill Gallagher: His shrill voice pains sensitive ears. In the red states of the South and West, he ramps up his Texas twang as he brags on his war and hurls insults and lies about those who don't share his views. President George W. Bush says he's "pleased with the progress in Iraq," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is doing a "fantastic job," and those who support Democrats "want the terrorists to win."

Bush goes well beyond gutter rhetoric and the politics of desperation. He is a delusional madman and a disgrace to our national heritage. When young people hear the president of the United States talking as he does, it's no wonder their perception of politics and public life is so low.

The man who ran for the presidency claiming "I'm a uniter, not a divider" is one of the most divisive figures in American history and he will only get worse as his fiasco in Iraq continues to spiral into the abyss and the nation unravels.

Bush says, with mindless repetition, that we will "win the war," when the fact is, we are slogging it out in a conflict that screams for a political solution he is unwilling to confront as any reasonable leader would.

"Bring 'em on" is the emblem of Bush's sick mentality, as Iraqis and American troops spill their blood for his cowboy machismo.

Margie Burns: The one statement that every candidate for political office should be able to make, and apparently none can, is that the Iraqis didn’t do it. Those poor Iraqis were not the ones behind 9/11. Probably every literate child around the world knows it, yet neither our major parties nor our most powerful media outlets can acknowledge this bloodstained elephant in the room.

…I wish with all my heart—since there is no way to bring the thousands of dead back to life—that at a minimum our three television networks and some of our biggest newspapers would salve the world with this one simple statement. The Iraqis didn’t do it. Failing to hear from our press or our universities, we must hope that some political candidate will eventually say it. Paul Wellstone might have said it. We cannot hope that any of the famous Republicans with an independent power base—John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger—will say it. Obviously the Clinton and Schumer types are not going to come through; their political function is more to protect the Republican Party from the wrath of the people than to protect the people from the depredations of the Bush-Cheney cabal. The idea that Senators like George Allen or Jon Kyl—one of the main protectors of Halliburton in Congress, along with Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia—would voice this simple recognition is just gallows humor. But there is one powerful voice the lockstep feebleness of our leadership cannot silence, and that is the interior voice of intellect and conscience in millions of Americans. I could testify truthfully in court that I have heard better commentary about what’s going on right now from cabbies and in thrift stores than I hear expressed on any of the Sunday morning talk shows.

Casualty Reports

A Mi'kmaq man from New Brunswick who was killed while serving with the U.S. military in Iraq will be buried in his home town on Thursday. Michael Seeley, 27, of Fredericton died on Oct. 30 when a bomb exploded near the U.S. Army vehicle he was travelling in south of Baghdad.

Arizona has lost two more sons to the war in Iraq. Specialist Douglas Desjardins of Mesa was killed Sunday. An improvised explosive device detonated near his tank during combat operations in Ramadi. Desjardins was assigned to the first armored division in Giessen, Germany. Marine Staff Sergeant Jason Whitehouse of Phoenix was killed last Thursday during combat operations in Al Anbar Province. The 27-year old was a member of the second intelligence battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

A U-S Marine from Manchester (New Hampshire) has been killed in Iraq. Family members said Lance Corporal Ryan McCaughn was killed yesterday, less than two months into his deployment. They were still waiting to hear how he died. Mc-Caughn graduated from Manchester's Central High School last year. He was 19.

A Marine from Moberly has died in Iraq. The Department of Defense says 33-year-old second lieutenant Mark C. Gelina died Saturday in a non-hostile incident in Iraq. Gelina was a University of Missouri graduate.

David Vine, 28, of Station Approach, died in Basra after a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction was bombed and veered into the path of the truck he was travelling in. He died instantly as did two Iraqi passengers. The driver of the truck is still in hospital. David had been working with security firm ArmorGroup in Iraq after leaving the Parachute Regiment in 2003.

The Defense Department reports that a 20-year-old soldier from Middleburg was killed in Iraq. Army Private Kevin Ellenburg was killed the first of this month in Baghdad after an improvised explosive device exploded near his armored tank.

Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40, was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb along with Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40, and Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage, 28. All three men were riding in a Humvee in eastern Baghdad.


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