Wednesday, November 29, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2006
"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" —President George W. Bush, joking about his administration's failure to find WMDs in Iraq as he narrated a comic slideshow during the Radio & TV Correspondents' Association dinner, March 25, 2004
More funny jokes from the
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents have killed two
Bring ‘em on: Three Fort Hood soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb explosion in
The bodies of 50 torture victims were discovered, most of them in
The Army said one man from
In all, 13 insurgents, six policemen, and six civilians had been killed in fighting across
Unconfirmed report: Three helicopters of the US Air Force crashed in
Bring 'em on: A U.S. Marine died from wounds sustained in combat while operating in western Anbar province, the
A bomb planted beneath an oil pipeline in the al-Rashid district started a fire at around 11 a.m., an official with Iraqi civil defense said, adding that the civil defense put out the fire in about 2 hours. The pipeline carries crude oil from storage tanks near Latifiya, south of
Gunmen kidnapped three Iraqi facility protection services guards (FPS) outside the
In the eastern
Three Iraqis were killed and 15 others wounded in a mortar attack on a residential area in the southeastern
Two Iraqi police officers were killed Monday during a police raid on houses in the southern
An Iraqi police patrol was attacked by gunmen in the western
Gunfire crackled for most of the morning around
A roadside bomb exploded Wednesday morning near a police patrol in a commercial center of
Two mortar rounds exploded near the Health Ministry, wounding two civilians. Guards at the building opened fire randomly after the attack.
A suicide car bomber targeting a police patrol killed a policeman and wounded seven people, including three policemen, in southwestern
A suicide car bomber exploded near a police patrol, killing a policeman and wounding five civilians in al-Nidhal street in central
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded three people in Ouqba Bin Nafie square in central
Iraqi soldiers killed three insurgents and arrested 28 during the past 24 hours in different parts of
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed two policemen and wounded seven people, including two policemen, in
Gunmen fired on the Shi'ite-run Health Ministry building in central
A mortar attack on an oil distribution center triggered a massive fire that halted the flow of crude oil to
On Tuesday, Diyala police said they found 11 bullet-riddled bodies around Baquba.
Fierce fighting Wednesday between coalition forces and insurgents shut down the city of
Police said they found the body of a teacher with gunshot wounds in Diwaniya. Gunmen had kidnapped him on Tuesday.
A suicide car bomber targeting a police station killed one civilian and wounded 23 in the northern city of
In a town in Salaheddin province, suspected insurgents attacked a police checkpoint, killing two policemen and wounding two others.
In other fighting Wednesday, insurgents killed four policemen and wounded four others in a carefully coordinated attack on a police station in
Same attack?: Six policemen were killed and four wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police station in a town near
So Much Incompetence In Three Short Paragraphs
Wow: …in a sign of the discord in
Wow. So we’re planning to back the Shiites in the civil war but the government’s forces still need three years of training and we’re letting 2,000 enemy fighters go free to resume the battle every month. Wow. What can I add? Even sarcasm seems pointless…-m
Propaganda And Reality
An ugly story in so many ways: The Associated Press first reported on Friday's incident that evening, based on the account of police Capt. Jamil Hussein and Imad al-Hashimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, who told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were soaked in kerosene, then set afire, burning before his eyes.
AP Television News also took video of the Mustafa mosque showing a large portion of the front wall around the door blown away. The interior of the mosque appeared to be badly damaged and there were signs of fire.
The AP received no comment Friday when it first asked the
The Iraqi Defense Ministry later said that al-Hashimi, the Sunni elder in Hurriyah, had recanted his account of the attack after being visited by a representative of the defense minister.
The dispute comes at a time when the military is taking a more active role in dealing with the media.
The AP reported on Sept. 26 that a Washington-based firm, the Lincoln Group, had won a two-year contract to monitor reporting on the
That contract succeeded one held by another
Seeking further information about Friday's attack, an AP reporter contacted Hussein for a third time about the incident to confirm there was no error. The captain has been a regular source of police information for two years and had been visited by the AP reporter in his office at the police station on several occasions. The captain, who gave his full name as Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, said six people were indeed set on fire.
On Tuesday, two AP reporters also went back to the Hurriyah neighborhood around the Mustafa mosque and found three witnesses who independently gave accounts of the attack. Others in the neighborhood said they were afraid to talk about what happened.
Those who would talk said the assault began about 2:15 p.m., and they believed the attackers were from the Mahdi Army militia loyal to radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. He and the Shiite militia are deeply rooted in and control the
The witnesses refused to allow the use of their names because they feared retribution either from the original attackers or the police, whose ranks are infiltrated by Mahdi Army members or its associated death squads.
Two of the witnesses — a 45-year-old bookshop owner and a 48-year-old neighborhood grocery owner — gave nearly identical accounts of what happened. A third, a physician, said he saw the attack on the mosque from his home, saw it burning and heard people in the streets screaming that people had been set on fire. All three men are Sunni Muslims.
The two other witnesses said the mosque assault began in earnest about 2:30 p.m. after the arrival of the four vehicles filled with arms. They said the attackers fired into the mosque, then entered and set it on fire.
Then, the witnesses said, the attackers brought out six men, blindfolded and handcuffed, and lined them up on the street at the gate of the mosque. The witnesses said the six were doused with kerosene from a 1.3-gallon canister and set on fire at intervals, one after the other, with a torch made of rags. The fifth and sixth men in the line were set afire at the same time.
The witnesses said the burning victims rolled on the ground in agony until apparently dead, then the gunmen fired a single bullet into each of their heads.
The witnesses said residents, in the meantime, had taken up arms and began a gunbattle with the suspected militiamen that raged in the neighborhood until 4 p.m. They said eight to 10 gunmen were killed and left in the streets.
Preparing To Blame The Victims: The Sham Jordan Summit
It’s Maliki’s fault for not telling the US military how to train Iraqi forces: President Bush is asking embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at their summit in Jordan how best to train Iraqi forces faster so they can shoulder more responsibility for securing the nation torn apart by escalating violence.
The president, under pressure on both sides of the Atlantic to find a new blueprint for the war, wants to hear al-Maliki's plan for mending his nation's bitter sectarian divide and how the two leaders can chart a stable future for the fragile government.
Bush was holding two days of urgent talks with al-Maliki in
He better have some answers…or else!: With violence raging in Iraq and pressure mounting at home for a solution, President Bush said today that he expects to hear some answers from the Iraqi prime minister when the two leaders meet later this week to discuss how to stem the bloodshed.
…"My questions to him will be: What do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?" Bush said, addressing reporters in the Estonian capital of Tillann on the first day an overseas swing that included afternoon meetings in
…Bush's intention to ask questions — rather than provide some of his own solutions — underscores the uncertainty within his administration over how to bring peace to the country that was supposed to be a regional model for democracy and freedom.
But it seems our assessment is he’s just not up to the job: President George W. Bush will press Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to develop a plan for quelling sectarian violence, the same day a
Bush arrives in
The New York Times today published a memo written by White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley after a trip to
``The reality on the streets of
The whole thing’s a setup to let Bush, once again, shift the blame: When President Bush meets in Jordan on Wednesday with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, it will be a moment of bitter paradox: at a time of heightened urgency in the Bush administration’s quest for solutions, American military and political leverage in Iraq has fallen sharply.
Dismal trends in the war — measured in a rising number of civilian deaths, insurgent attacks, sectarian onslaughts and American troop casualties — have merged with growing American opposition at home to lend a sense of crisis to the talks in
They say they see few policy options that can turn the situation around, other than for Iraqi leaders to come to a realization that time is running out. It is not clear that the
Many of the proposals appear to be based on an assumption that the White House memo itself calls into question: that Prime Minister Maliki can be persuaded to break with 30 years of commitment to Shiite religious identity and set a new course, or abandon the ruling Shiite religious alliance to lead a radically different kind of government, a moderate coalition of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians.
The memo’s assessment of Mr. Maliki tracks closely with what his American and Iraqi critics in
These critics say, in effect, that the 56-year-old Iraqi leader has failed, so far, to meet the test set by Mr. Bush when the two men met for the first time in
Against these judgments, some key passages in the Hadley memo seem at odds with the reality on the ground, as if the steady worsening of America’s prospects here has driven the White House to reach for solutions that defy the gloomy conclusions of America’s diplomats and field commanders, not to mention some of Mr. Maliki’s closest political associates.
Sucks To Be Maliki
Muqtada turns up the pressure: Lawmakers and Cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Wednesday they have carried out their threat to suspend participation in Parliament and the government to protest Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's summit with U.S. President George W. Bush.
The 30 lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers said their action was necessary because the meeting in
Mahdi army has the weight to throw around: In a reflection of the growing new dimension of civil strife, a senior
The Iraqi army has about 134,000 men, but about half are doing only stationary guard duty, the official said. Of the half that conduct operations, only about 10 battalions are effective -- well under 10,000 men.
No support for Maliki from fellow Arab governments: From the perspective of Arab governments, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been too tolerant of Shiite militias and unable of control his war-ravaged country, Arab officials said.
"Most Sunni Muslim Arab countries believe that Maliki (a Shiite) and members of his government are tolerant of, and even connive with, Shiite militias, especially the Mehdi Army" of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, one official who declined to be identified said in a telephone interview.
Arab intelligence reports implicate Maliki government members in the activities of the Mehdi Army and the Badr Brigade, the former armed wing of the powerful Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in
"The Maliki government is ignoring the security violations of these militias," the official said, hours before
The council acted ahead of a key meeting in
The Security Council responded to a request from al-Maliki, who said a top government priority is to assume full responsibility for security and stability throughout
"The issue of establishing security in
The meeting between Talabani and Ahmadinejad, which was delayed for two days amid a security clampdown in
And the Iraqi state is falling apart: The present state of
Another damaging oil attack this week, the prospect of British troops handing over the oil city of Basra and virtual civil war have all but crushed hope for Iraqi officials battling to keep exports flowing to world markets.
"One thing is sure. The worst is yet to come," an Iraqi oil industry source said by telephone from
His task is made harder still by gross mismanagement at the oil ministry and chronic underinvestment in the vital sector -- already neglected for decades due to sanctions and wars.
"There is no line of authority at the oil ministry," said an oil official in the capital. "We are crippled. We have the resources and the finances and we are still failing."
With Baghdad in chaos, technocrats fear the oil producing regions in the Shi'ite south and in the north near Kurdistan may seize control of exports and effectively dismember the country that holds the world's third biggest oil reserves.
Stating The Obvious, Three Years Late
But at least someone’s finally saying it:Two senior members of the House Armed Services Committee and several former Defense Department officials yesterday criticized poor
…Yesterday's criticisms were expanded upon in the latest study by Anthony H. Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A Pentagon official in the Reagan administration and a specialist in Middle East intelligence and military matters, Cordesman just returned from
One of Cordesman's central issues is that public statements by the Defense Department "severely distorted the true nature of Iraqi force development in ways that grossly exaggerate Iraqi readiness and capability to assume security tasks and replace
The Final Word On The Civil War Question
Not that we won’t hear a lot more about it…: Events over the past week, including the deadliest attacks since the war began in March 2003, have created a new sense of diplomatic urgency about finding a viable strategy to contain Iraq's violence and limit spillover damage across the region. The White House again resisted assertions that
"While the situation on the ground is very serious, neither Prime Minister [Nouri al-] Maliki nor we believe that
At least one Iraqi leader says otherwise. "It's worse than a civil war. In a civil war, you at least know which factions are fighting each other," lamented a senior member of
Too funny: Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region that it basically summoned Vice President Cheney for talks over the weekend, according to U.S. officials and foreign diplomats. The visit was originally portrayed as
Well, the chain of command in the Bush administration just got a little clearer. Apparently there is someone higher than Cheney. -m
Speaking Of Dick…
You don’t think he had anything to do with this little story, do you?: A senior American intelligence official said Monday that the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah had been training members of the Mahdi Army, the Iraqi Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr.
The official said that 1,000 to 2,000 fighters from the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias had been trained by Hezbollah in
…The claim about Hezbollah’s role in training Shiite militias could strengthen the hand of those in the Bush administration who oppose a major new diplomatic involvement with
Evidence? We don’t need no stinking evidence!: The intelligence official (apparently Stephen Hadley and not necessarily the same senior intelligence official cited in the story above. –m) said that he "never saw any evidence" that Sadr's organization sent personnel to Lebanon this summer to fight against Israel, but said he had heard talk that some were sent there to be trained by Lebanese members of Hezbollah, an organization funded by Iran's Shiite government.
He said there was evidence that the Iranian government this year had escalated its efforts inside
"The whole year, yes, it has stepped up," he said. "More training in and out of
The Happy Feet Coalition
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said his country, a
British Defense Secretary Des Browne was the second senior official in recent days to talk of reducing the number of British troops in
The Sham Saddam Trial
What a circus: The genocide trial of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was once again thrown into chaos when the chief judge ejected a key defence lawyer only to recall him later the same day.
Soon after the hearing opened on Wednesday, Judge Mohammed al-Oreibi al-Khalifah ordered the arrest of Badie Aref, always a vocal presence in the trial, for "violating professional conduct".
Aref is defending Farhan al-Juburi, former head of military intelligence in northern
Khalifah clashed with Aref over the manner in which he was addressing the court.
What a joke: UN human rights experts called on
The UN working group on arbitrary detention said the Iraqi tribunal had lacked independence and impartiality, had not given Saddam enough time to prepare his defence, and had restricted his access to his lawyers and right to call his own witnesses.
"The working group also urges the Iraqi government to refrain from carrying out the sentence of death by hanging imposed in a proceeding, which does not meet applicable basic standards of a fair trial," it said in a statement.
The Iraq Study Group Scam
Just a diversion: The blue-ribbon Iraq Study Group (ISG) headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton will meet today in
Analysis by Andrew J. Bacevich: Even as Washington waits with bated breath for the Iraq Study Group (ISG) to release its findings, the rest of us should see this gambit for what it is: an attempt to deflect attention from the larger questions raised by America's failure in Iraq and to shore up the authority of the foreign policy establishment that steered the United States into this quagmire. This ostentatiously bipartisan panel of Wise Men (and one woman) can't really be searching for truth. It is engaged in damage control.
Their purpose is twofold: first, to minimize
The group's composition gives the game away. Chaired by James Baker, the famed political operative and former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, former congressman and fixture on various blue-ribbon commissions, it contains no one who could be even remotely described as entertaining unorthodox opinions or maverick tendencies.
Instead, it consists of Beltway luminaries such as retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and lobbyist
Charging this crowd with assessing the
They Say We Fight For Freedom But I Don’t Think They Know What That Word Means
Habeas corpus: Since the Middle Ages, habeas corpus—“You should have the body”—has been the principal means in Anglo-American jurisprudence by which prisoners can challenge their incarceration. In habeas-corpus proceedings, the government is required to bring a prisoner—the body—before a judge and provide a legal rationale for his continued imprisonment. The concept was so well established at the time of the founding of the
The law, known as the Military Commissions Act of 2006, was a logical culmination of an era of one-party rule in
Due process: Buried within a recent government brief in the case of
Freedom of speech: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.
Gingrich, speaking at a
"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.
Note to Newt: Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither
This probably won’t lead to much but it’s a start: The Justice Department has begun an internal investigation into its handling of information gathered in the government's domestic spying program. However, Democrats criticized the review as too narrow to determine whether the program violated federal law.
The inquiry by Glenn A. Fine, the department's inspector general, will focus on the role of Justice prosecutors and agents in carrying out the warrantless surveillance program run by the National Security Agency.
Fine's investigation is not expected to address whether the controversial program is an unconstitutional expansion of presidential power, as its critics and a federal judge in
A blow for the Constitution: A federal judge struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutionally vague, according to a ruling released Tuesday.
The Humanitarian Law Project had challenged Bush's order, which blocked all the assets of groups or individuals he named as "specially designated global terrorists" after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
"This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists," said David Cole, a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Constitutional Rights that represented the group. "It was reminiscent of the McCarthy era."
A step toward accountability: The United States looks set to face renewed pressure tomorrow when the European parliament releases a report on allegations that the CIA flew terrorism suspects to secret prisons around the world.
Italian MEP Claudio Fava was today presenting the report to the parliament's four-strong temporary committee on illegal CIA activities in Europe, and will hold a press conference in
They are likely to be similar to those he produced in April in an interim report that said the US intelligence agency had operated more than 1,000 so-called "extraordinary rendition" flights over EU territory in the past five years.
It said the CIA had kidnapped terrorism suspects, and Mr Fava suggested some EU governments were fully aware of the flights.
One happy day she’ll testify in court: Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski has told
Commentary, Opinion and Analysis
Heather Wokusch: Rumsfeld will lose his legal immunity when he ceases to be Defense Secretary, a fact which must weigh heavily on Bush and others. Unsurprisingly, the administration has taken pre-emptive action against future war crimes charges, including pushing through the scandalous Military Commissions Act, which provides them retroactive domestic protection from prosecution regarding prisoner abuse cases.
On the world stage, the administration's primary battleground for immunity has been the International Criminal Court (ICC), set up in 2002 to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Roughly 100 countries have ratified the ICC Statute, and over 40 others have signed it, but the Bush administration renounced the treaty on grounds it could lead to "frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions."
The administration has done everything in its power to enervate the ICC, including setting up bilateral "Article 98" agreements which arm-twist other countries into not prosecuting US nationals or foreign nationals working for the
Yet such bribery will only go so far. The administration's "no limits" approach to foreign policy has alienated global allies, and in many parts of the world, Bush is regarded as a greater danger to world peace than
Bottom line, as calls for impeachment build at home, Bush might heed advice he once gave to Osama bin Laden: "You can run but you cannot hide."
Tom Englehardt: A while back Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard's Linda Bilmes tried to tote up the long-term costs of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on an American troop withdrawal somewhere between 2010 and 2015. Their most conservative estimate of total costs to the
So let's be conservative. At those levels of funding, assuming that Iraq's Sunni fighters continue to motor their movement at the financial upper levels of the secret interagency estimate -- $200 million -- their insurgency could run for another 5,000 years.
Or perhaps we should subtract some zeroes and enter the micro-world of the
Imagine how strong "Insurgent Strong" must be then, since Iraq's ragtag, minority insurgency continues to fight the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines (all of whom have their own ad contracts) to a standstill for a mere $200 million.
Talk about "standing up" some Iraqi fighters.
Mike Hudson: A few years ago, President George W. Bush made a surprise Thanksgiving Day trip to
The big bird was made of plastic, and once again our feckless leader provided ample evidence that he wouldn't know the difference between reality and fantasy if it came up and bit him, as it has in
Still, those were happier times for Bush. Basking in the warm afterglow of Shock and Awe, with reruns of his "Mission Accomplished" aircraft-carrier strut still being shown on television by Chris Matthews, and the stench of war crimes at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as yet unsmelled, the president was still enjoying the kind of high that can only come to the leader of a superpower through the devastation of a small and impoverished nation.
Since then, of course, the war in
Oh yeah, Vice President Dick Cheney. The coward who wheedled five deferments to keep him out of Vietnam and thinks guns are for shooting penned-up pheasants and the occasional trial lawyer made news this Thanksgiving with an alleged trip to Baghdad that allegedly never took place.
Robert Parry: While in charge of the CIA’s analytical division in the mid-1980s, Robert M. Gates made wildly erroneous predictions about the dangers posed by leftist-ruled
Gates – now President George W. Bush’s nominee to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary – expressed his alarmist views about
The memo has new relevance today because Gates’s private advice to Casey suggests that Gates was either more of an extremist ideologue than many in
Either possibility raises questions about Gates’s fitness to run the Pentagon at a time when many observers believe it needs strong doses of realism and independence to stand up to both a strong-willed President and influential neoconservative theorists who promoted the invasion of Iraq.
The Iraq War – now exceeding the length of U.S. participation in World War II – has been marked by politicized intelligence, over-reliance on force, fear of challenging the insider tough-guy talk, and lack of respect for international law – all tendencies that Gates has demonstrated in his career.
A. Alexander: On Monday afternoon Cirque Du Bush and his troupe of clowns claimed that
Bill Keller: The main shortcoming of "civil war" is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in
PM Carpenter: Yesterday the L.A. Times ran one of those deadly serious leads that only provokes uneasy laughter:
Angry Shiite Muslims pelted Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's motorcade with stones Sunday after the Iraqi leader pleaded for national reconciliation at a memorial held in
Being pelted for boosting reconciliation is not a good sign that the whole reconciliation thing is going to work out. It generally doesn't when contemporary reports on attempts at "national reconciliation" also include phrases like, "victims of a large-scale bombing attack."
Poor Mr. Maliki. He is not only in way over his head, events are way ahead of him. And in recognition of this reality, those events have now been officially redefined by NBC News as "civil war." So long, familiar sectarian violence.
The language change by a principal member of the mainstream media is a huge development, simply because words have meaning that can instantly change perceptions. And to the American public, which largely gets its news in 90-second television clips, NBC's usage of "civil war" as opposed to "sectarian violence" means American troops in Iraq are no longer battling "them" over there so "they" won't attack us here. It means, rather, that American troops are now hapless, helpless referees in someone else's vicious, internal fight.
No one knows this better than the Orwellian language masters at the White House, those happy warriors of "clean skies," "healthy forests" and "compassionate conservatism." Predictably, they reacted to NBC's phrasal change like vampires to the rising sun.
Helena Cobban: The text of the memo itself seems, for a number of reasons including the apparently embarrassed reaction to its publication from Tony Snow, to have been "authentic". (Unlike, perhaps, the report that Michael Gordon and Dexter Filkins published yesterday to the effect that one of their Iraqi reporters last summer interviewed a "mid-level Mahdi Army commander who told him that his militia had sent 300 fighters to
So anyway, do go and read the memo. It is written in the earnest style of someone still struggling to understand the realities of Iraqi society and politics as well as the "responsibilities" of a distant imperial power. It is mind-bogglingly formless and repetitive, and reveals a mind reduced to clutching wildly at any straw that's available.
Here are some of the aspects of it I find most revealing:
(1) Hadley evidently judged, as of Nov 8, that
(2) It spoke frankly about the existence of "the current four-brigade gap in
(3) There are some passages that explicitly urge that the
... Well, I guess these kinds of thing go on all the time in the conduct of internatinal affairs. But it is really depressing to see not only how bullying and imperialistic this top-level adviser is trying to be, but also how very clueless and intellectually bankrupt he is. This makes the situation even more dangerous.
Harold Myerson: In Vietnam, at least the
As for the Sunni minority, it's among that group that the insurgency against both the
So -- which side are we on?
In the face of escalating civil war, of an increasingly Hobbesian conflict of each against all, the calls still coming from the
Edward Luce and Demetri Sevastopulo: Many argue that the true costs of
Much of the human cost of the war has been kept out of sight, including the return of the dead given the Bush administration’s ban on the televising of bodybags.
But the extended tours of duty imposed on volunteer part-timers in the National Guard and Reserves as well as regular units has ruptured military morale, according to Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, Mr Bush’s first secretary of state.
As a result the Pentagon has been forced to dilute recruitment standards – waiving academic requirements and lifting the age limit from 35 to 40. “This is a war that is being fought by poor people while the rest of the country drives round in its SUVs barely noticing it is happening,” said Mr Wilkerson, who served in Vietnam.
Mr Campbell, a former naval officer, describes
“If you think of the
John Nichols: Something important in the overall scheme of the American experiment happened this week.
On Monday morning, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer appeared on cable television screens across the
The statement followed a similar decision by the Los Angeles Times to drop the pretense of referring to the fighting in
What is important about this development is that, for the first time since the debate about
Major media's on-bended-knee approach to the White House has forestalled an honest dialogue about the crisis into which
By abandoning the role intended by the founders when they enshrined "freedom of the press" protections in the Constitution--that of checking and balancing executive excess, particularly during periods of one-faction or one-party political dominance--major media failed the Republic at precisely the point when its intervention on the side of realism was most needed.
Gary Younge: Last Saturday the newly elected House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, suggested that the Americans would pull out because the Iraqis were too disorganised and self-obsessed. "In the days ahead, the Iraqis must make the tough decisions and accept responsibility for their future," he said. "And the Iraqis must know: our commitment, while great, is not unending."
It is absurd to suggest that the Iraqis - who have been invaded, whose country is currently occupied, who have had their police and army disbanded and their entire civil service fired - could possibly be in a position to take responsibility for their future and are simply not doing so.
For a start, it implies that the occupation is a potential solution when it is in fact the problem. This seems to be one of the few things on which Sunni and Shia leaders agree. "The roots of our problems lie in the mistakes the Americans committed right from the beginning of their occupation," Sheik Ali Merza, a Shia cleric in Najaf and a leader of the Islamic Dawa party, told the Los Angeles Times last week.
"Since the beginning, the
Also, it leaves intact the bogus premise that the invasion was an attempt at liberation that has failed because some squabbling ingrates, incapable of working in their own interests, could not grasp the basic tenets of western democracy. In short, it makes the victims responsible for the crime.
Withdrawal, when it happens, will be welcome. But its nature and the rationale given for it are not simply issues of political point-scoring. They will lay the groundwork for what comes next for two main reasons.
First, because, while withdrawal is a prerequisite for any lasting improvement in
If we don't, we risk seeing Bono striding across airport tarmac 10 years hence with political leaders who demand good governance and democratic norms in the Gulf, as though
Second, because unless we understand what happened in
In other words, the problem with Vietnam was not that the US invaded a sovereign country, bombed it to shreds, committed innumerable atrocities, murdered more than 500,000 Vietnamese - more than half of whom were civilians - and lost about 58,000 American servicemen. The problem with
"You learn more from a game you lose than a game you win," argued the chess great Capablanca. True, but only if you heed the lessons and then act on them.
Friends and family packed the
More than a dozen American flags fluttered in a slight breeze Tuesday afternoon at
Even in the deadly context of the
The U.S. Defense Department said a north
When Heath Warner was 12, he visited
A soldier from
Hussein Abid Mohammed, from
At least three Hawai'i Marines have been killed by snipers in Haditha, Iraq, since early October, reflecting an increase in the insurgent tactic in that area of western Anbar province. Lance Cpl. Jeromy D. West, 20, became the third when he was struck Saturday while standing guard on a roof-top, his family said.