Saturday, December 02, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, December 2, 2006 Photo: Iraqi citizens celebrate, holding parts of destroyed U.S. military vehicle near Fallujah, Nov. 29, 2006. A roadside bomb struck an American convoy, destroying one Humvee, police said. U.S. military couldn't confirm the attack. (AP Photo/Bilal Fawzi) Three parked car bombs exploded in central Baghdad near an area packed with vendors, killing at least 91 people and wounding dozens, officials said. The bombs were about 100 yards apart in the busy al-Sadriyah shopping district and exploded nearly simultaneously, according to police Lt. Ali Muhsin. At least 10 other parked vehicles were destroyed in the area, where vendors sell fruit, vegetables and other items such as soap. Muhsin and hospital officials said 91 people were killed and 43 were wounded.
A defence official told AFP the first blast appeared to target an Iraqi army Humvee jeep patrolling the central Rusafa district at sunset. There were soldiers among the casualties, but he could not say how many. The second blast followed immediately with the third just a few moments later, rocking windows 500 metres (yards) away on the opposite bank of the Tigris River. Shortly afterwards gunfire erupted around the city. Ten shops were burned out in the blasts near Al-Wathba square, a historic commercial area popular with Shiite Kurds, and 13 civilian cars destroyed, said an interior ministry official, warning the death toll was expected to rise. Around an hour after the detonations, five more blasts were heard, apparently mortars fired by one of the city's warring armed groups. Saturday's attack followed a major security operation the previous day a short distance further north in the Fadhel neighbourhood, in which Iraqi and US forces raided suspected insurgent hideouts and arrested 28 suspects.
(Ramadi?) Bring 'em on: A US soldier was killed in fighting in the volatile Anbar province, the American military said Saturday. The soldier, who was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Armored Division, died Friday from wounds sustained due to enemy action in the insurgent stronghold that stretches west from Baghdad to the Iraqi borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to a statement. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint outside west Baghdad's main Yarmouk hospital, killing at least one policemen and wounding two, an Interior Ministry official said. The official said gunmen in a speeding car had raked the checkpoint with machinegun fire. A security guard at Yarmouk gave a different account, saying three people were killed and seven wounded when gunmen in two cars tried to force their way into the compound, sparking clashes with hospital guards. Assassins gunned down interior ministry official Captain Haider Musa in Jadida district in the east of Baghdad. A Katyusha rocket killed two people and wounded six when it landed in the Adil district of Baghdad. A driver and his assistant were shot to death as they were delivering soft drinks to stores in Baghdad's neighborhood of Dora. Police said they found 44 bodies in different parts of Baghdad. Baqubah: U.S. and Iraqi forces began an offensive operation in the capital of a northern province that has seen fierce fighting with Sunni Arab insurgents, the U.S. command said. At least 36 suspected militants were detained during a predawn raid at a major intersection in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, police said. [Another report puts it as "Iraqi army troops backed by a US battalion have stormed insurgent hideouts in Baquba, hunting for the sectarian gangs that have plunged the divided city into mayhem"; my emphasis -- zig]
Saturday's operation was launched two days after the U.S. military said Baqouba was fully operational, despite media reports that fighting had cleared its streets of cars and pedestrians. The U.S. command's statement said government offices, mosques and stores were open in the city, with Iraqi police and soldiers manning 11 checkpoints across the provincial capital. However, the military acknowledged insurgents had leveled a police station and forced officers to flee.
Attacks by suspected insurgents continued outside the capital of Diyala province. Drive-by shootings in two nearby towns killed two civilians and wounded five, the police said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of concern for their own security. Duluiyah: Clashes broke out between insurgents and U.S troops in the city of Duluiyah 45 miles north of Baghdad. Khalis: North of Baghdad, suspected Sunni insurgents opened fire on a convoy carrying Shiite corpses south from the town of Khalis en route for the holy city of Najaf and its huge cemetery, police said. Two Shiites were killed in the attack. Two civilians died when gunmen opened fire in Khalis market. Al-Wahada: A truck driving at high speed slammed into a bus stop in a town south of Baghdad, killing about 20 people and wounding 15. The truck hit a group of Iraqis in Al-Wahada, 22 miles south of Baghdad, as they were waiting for buses to the capital, said police Lt. Muhammed Al-Shemari. He said it didn't appear to be an accident because the truck, an empty fuel tanker, didn't have a flat tire or any other obvious mechanical problems that would have caused the crash. It was not immediately clear if the driver had survived, Al-Shemari said.
The driver fled the overturned truck but was caught by witnesses and turned over to police, al-Shemari said, adding that other witnesses found a body in the vehicle's cabin. Another police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the probe, said the driver blamed brake failure.
Samawa: Iraqi police clashed briefly with militia fighters in Samawa, 250 kilometres (155 miles) south of the capital, in a battle, which left one 14-year-old male bystander dead. Youssifiyah: A roadside bomb hit a police patrol in Youssifiyah, south of Iraq's capital, killing one policeman and wounding six. Iskandariyah and Musayyib: Roadside booby traps exploded outside Iskandariyah and Musayyib just south of Baghdad, killing two motorists. Police found the body of a young man in the town of Mussayab, about 60 km (37 miles) south of Baghdad. The body had numerous gunshot wounds. Mahmoudiya: Three mortar rounds hit a residential area in Mahmudiya south of Baghdad, killing one person and wounding four. Balad: Five Iraqi soldiers returning to their base north of Baghdad in civilian clothes were killed when insurgents sprayed their cars with automatic fire. Rashidiya: Mortar rounds hit a residential area of Rashidiya north of Baghdad, killing four and wounding three. Mosul: Fourteen labourers kidnapped from a farm near Sinjar, northwest of Mosul, on Thursday have been found dead in a wheatfield. A roadside bomb wounded three policemen in Mosul. Insurgents killed a contractor in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Fallujah: A roadside bomb went off near a passing Iraqi army patrol in the Ezerjiyah village outside Fallujah City, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast damaged an Iraqi Humvee and killed a soldier wounding three others aboard, the source said. Unknown gunmen riding two cars opened fire on civilians in Garma town, some 10 km east of Fallujah, killing six people, including two children. Haqlaniyah: U.S. troops raided a market area in the Haqlaniyah town, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad, but were attacked by dozens of gunmen, witnesses told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The gunmen with machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades cordoned off the U.S. troops at the market area, prompting afierce fight lasted more than an hour, they said. Explosions and gunfire shocked the town while thick smoke rose above the area, they added. It was not known whether there were casualties among both sides as the witnesses fled the scene, they said. The U.S. military did not confirm the incident. >> NEWS Bush will meet with one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite politicians on Monday in a continued bid to find a new approach to ending sectarian violence that is pulling at the seams of the nation. Then, in January, the president will meet with the Sunni vice president of Iraq, a senior administration official said Friday. On Monday, Bush will meet with Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the United Iraqi Alliance - the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe. "President Bush looks forward to an exchange of views and a discussion of important issues facing Iraq today," Johndroe said. Next month, Bush will meet with a Sunni leader - Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, according to a senior administration official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The Sunni leader has said that he wants to see al-Maliki's government dissolved and replaced with a new coalition with guarantees that ensure collective decision-making. al-Hakim denounced U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for an international conference on Iraq to prevent a fast-approaching all-out civil war. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who will hold talks with President Bush on Monday, instead characterized the situation in Iraq as a "political crisis" and an international conference as "illegal." "It is unreasonable or incorrect to discuss issues related to the Iraqi people at international conferences," said al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, at a news conference in Amman, Jordan, according to The Associated Press. "The proposal is unrealistic, incorrect and illegal." Annan had said Monday that an international conference might "arrest the deteriorating situation" and "unless something is done drastically and urgently ... we could be there [at civil war], and in fact we are almost there." Al-Hakim said it was up to the people in Iraq, not a U.N.-spearheaded international conference, to handle Iraq's problems. The last of Italy's troops in Iraq returned to Rome, a few weeks earlier than the date promised by Italian Premier Romano Prodi. FOR NEGROPONTE IRAQ IS NO VIETNAM — IT'S FAR WORSE National Intelligence Director John Negroponte says Iraq is far more precarious than much of Vietnam was when he served as a U.S. diplomat there in the 1960s. An expert on Vietnam and one-time adviser to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Negroponte said he sees more differences than similarities between the two conflicts. In Vietnam, for example, there was a clear enemy, given Soviet support of the North Vietnamese. Additionally, "in Vietnam, the cities were secure. The province capitals were secure. I walked around that country as an unarmed civilian for almost four years without ever having any serious brushes," said Negroponte, who served in the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. "In Iraq, even the capital is highly insecure - perhaps one of the most insecure places in the country." Negroponte made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview that airs Sunday evening on C-SPAN's "Q&A" program. A transcript was made available to The Associated Press. link >> REPORTS About 2,200 Marines left their ships in the Persian Gulf two weeks ago for the dangerous city of Ramadi and other locales around Anbar province, where entrenched and well-financed insurgents use roadside bombs, rocket and mortar attacks, ambushes and snipers to kill American troops at rates approaching one per day. Two battalions from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit have been assigned to this city of mansions with towering, gilded columns and crescent-shaped windows, the capital of a Sunni Arab province that stretches west from Baghdad to the Iraqi borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Only about 20 percent of those in the battalions arriving in Ramadi have fought previously in the Iraq war - though some have combat experience from Afghanistan, Kosovo and the first Gulf War, said 1st Sgt. Eric Carlson from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. He said he didn't want specific numbers to appear in print, fearing it could help insurgents plan. (…) During their short time in Ramadi, one Marine already has been seriously wounded, taking a bullet to the neck in an ambush a few blocks from an Army outpost. He was rushed to Germany for surgery that was able to prevent paralysis. (…) The unit has spent its early days in Iraq conducting raids and house-by-house searches of insurgent strongholds around Ramadi. It was expecting to see heavy combat this weekend [my emphasis -- zig], teaming up with an Army Task Force to sweep an area in the southeastern part of the city rife with disaffected former officers in Saddam's army who have taken up arms against the American troops. >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Revolution: A DIFFERENT STORY Some politicians and media now portray Iraq as a civil war in which U.S. soldiers are "well meaning peacekeepers caught in the middle." But what happened on November 13 in the city of Ramadi, in the western part of Iraq, tells a different story. On that night, U.S. tanks opened fire on homes in the Al-Dhubat area of Ramadi killing at least 35 people. A 60-year-old man, Haji Jassim, told Inter Press Service (IPS), "We heard the bombing and we thought it was the usual fighting between resistance fighters and the Americans, but we soon realized it was bombing by large cannons. We weren't allowed by the Americans to reach the destroyed houses to try to rescue those who were buried, so certainly many of them bled to death... There was a big American force that stopped us and told us the usual ugly phrases we hear from them every day." According to the IPS article by journalists Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily, "Jassim, speaking with IPS while several other witnesses listened while nodding their heads, said that ambulances did not appear on the scene for hours because 'we realized that the Americans did not allow them to move,' and that as a result, 'there were people buried under the rubble who were bleeding to death while there was still a chance to rescue them.'" Iraqi doctors and witnesses at the scene of the attack said that the people killed were civilians. The doctors who spoke with IPS didn't want to talk about too many details of the attack because they fear U.S. military reprisals, but did confirm that many of the people who died had bled to death. According to IPS, "tempers run high in Ramadi because the city has often been the scene of large-scale U.S. military operations and their inherent forms of collective punishment." A report on Al Jazeera's English website quoted Rabah al-Alwan, the head of the Union of Lawyers in Al-Anbar, who said the U.S. Army had seized the whole neighborhood of al-Soufiya in Ramadi's center in January. Al-Alwan said the army had thrown 211 families out of their homes. U.S. snipers have fired at and killed people who approach the area to get their belongings. read in full… The Left Coaster: IRAQ WAR CRUSHING ESTABLISHMENT MEDIA CREDIBILITY (…) there is a current looming fiasco that threatens to really crush corporate media credibility, the horrifying results totally unable to be completely hidden and denied like theft of Election 2000. It's the coming acceptance of defeat in the Iraq war, of course, and our corporate media darlings are starting to get a little more than desperate. Alert liberal media watchers instantly noticed a downplaying of Democratic victory in Election 2006 (oh they did it by running "conservative" Democrats), a hurricane of bullying abuse thrown at Nancy Pelosi over a trivial matter, and two days ago a hilariously pathetic attack on Webb by George Will that, even for the ever-skidding performance of US "journalism," hit yet another new low. It's those ungrateful incompetent Iraqis who have screwed up. The American People, too, are responsible for the coming defeat. Brace yourselves, it's going to get even worse. Corporate "journalism" in the United States owns the Iraq war almost as much as Bush does. Coverage of anti-war sentiment was virtually non-existent and the few times mentioned sneered at as fringe. None of the outlandish, easily refutable lies in the propaganda to start the war were ever investigated or refuted; indeed, they were passed breathlessly on in happy anticipation. (…) As the frantic behavior for the last few weeks shows (surely there can be nothing so disgusting, so weak, so craven, so wussily god damn un-American than blaming the Iraqis for war defeat) the very last thing the corporate "journalism" corps will do is take responsibility for their criminal negligence and propaganda. Nor will they ever truly investigate the lies in starting and continuing the war, they can't, it exposes them for precisely what they are: propagandists. The Iraq war, however, offers no avenue of escape. None. When the day finally comes when it truly has to sink in to the American public that we've lost the war and that all has been utter futility in only making us manifestly less safer, well, the hell to pay will never be fully recovered from, not hardly, not for corporate "journalism." The blogosphere and alternative media are growing by leaps and bounds because corporate "journalism" is often so clownishly bad, true. But the consequences of the Iraq war will vault the new publishing realms of blogging and alternative media into a new stratosphere of credibility and attention. Not a moment too soon, either. read in full… Red State Son: OUR HONOR Began then abandoned three attempts to write about Iraq, or what's left of it. Maybe I've hit a wall when it comes to the war, or maybe there's nothing left to say. When I read all the reports and analysis about the slaughterhouse we helped to erect, I feel paralyzed. I don't know how others can keep offering opinions about this human disaster. At this point, especially for Americans, we should be shamed into silence. Which is not to suggest, of course, that people do or say nothing about the war. Pressure to find alternatives to the present madness must be maintained, or else it'll never end. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that I no longer have anything to add to the chorus. I feel somewhat guilty about this, being a political blogger who's expected to pop off at daily headlines. But that's where I'm currently at, for what it's worth. Besides, there are others, like Juan Cole and Patrick Cockburn, who keep their eyes and ears on the chaos. And my pal Jon Schwarz, who knows quite a bit about US involvement in Iraqi affairs, from pre-Saddam time to now, will always have something to say. Though how he keeps his sense of humor about it eludes me. I will offer this: the notion that the US held "honorable intentions" as it tore the lid off of Iraq is not only self-serving piety, it's a widespread sociopathic delusion. Yet, US politicos from Chuck Hagel to Russ Feingold utter this line whenever possible, keeping a straight face while another thousand or so Iraqis are blown to bits, and a few dozen more US soldiers and Marines have their heads, arms or legs blown off by IEDs, or are felled by snipers. "Honorable"? Are you fucking kidding me? Criminal would be the first word out of my mouth, but then, I'm not trying to appease the fantasies of the political elite nor those among the greater mass who seriously buy into this insane logic. Recall that Richard Nixon called for "Peace With Honor" in Vietnam, then invaded Cambodia and Laos while continuing to rip apart Vietnamese society. If I was someone who lived in the crosshairs of US foreign policy and heard American politicians talk about "honorable intentions," I'd either start building a bomb shelter or pack what I could grab and hit the road. (…) It's too bad that the United States isn't a single person. If it were, it would've been locked away in solitary confinement long ago, after the authorities found a mass grave in its backyard with more bodies rotting in the crawl space and a few survivors chained to the basement wall. In that instance, we could dismiss its claims that it was acting "honorably" toward its victims as the ravings of mad killer. Unfortunately for us, we are it. link 24 Steps to Liberty: REPEATING THE MISTAKE, INTENTIONALLY! If a civil war were to happen in Iraq, "our Sunni brothers will be the ones to lose the most." That's what Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the most powerful criminal group in Iraq, The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said last week. What a powerful, full of hidden and obvious meaning sentence that was. I wonder how many hours or days he had to think about it to make it as smooth as it sounded when he said it. Now we turned into a new era in Iraq. It is time to go public and threaten each other. Because you know what, the Unite States is, again, backing this up. When Abu Musa al-Zarqawi, the late leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, called for an overall war against the Shiites in Iraq, the Iraqi government spared no efforts to call him "a terrorist whose goal is to divide Iraq and provoke a civil war." Most of the lawmakers in Iraq condemned what Zarqawi said and called for Iraqis to unite. Why when the poisonous turbaned snake, Hakim, publicly threatened his "brothers" the Sunnis, the government did not oppose? Why did not the devil-Mullah's speech get enough publicity in Iraq to give an idea what one of the country's most powerful terrorist wants to turn Iraq into? What was a total strange coincidence is that what Hakim said came just a few days before the White House leaked information about what the administration intended to do next: Back the Shiites and Kurds, who make about 80% of Iraq's population, because that's who you should care about. And leave the Sunnis to themselves and to the mercy of the Shiites. When I read this in today's Washington Post, I laughed. You know why? Because in Iraq, we have a proverb that could be roughly translated into "a huge catastrophe makes you laugh." read in full… Baath Party Statement: THE IRANIAN-US UNDERSTANDING ABOUT IRAQ When our Party ascertained that Iran has a strategic partnership with the US and the Zionist entity objectives to share in the Arab homeland after dismembering it .. some people have objected to this, defending Iran and saying : "Iran has an anti Zionist Islamic revolution and we should give it complete opportunity to prove it !" These opportunities were given to Khomeiny's and Khameynei's Iran and what happened on the terrain? The Iraqi facts in particular and the events in the Arab homeland in general have showed that Iran acts according to its national interests and never according to the Islamic notions and these very interests are the basis of its policies be with or against Islam. Today while we are in the fourth year of the Iraq invasion - impossible to achieve if it were not for Iran total support as Khameynei himself admitted. (…) The Iranian-US understanding about Iraq and contrary to what some people believe and say that the US wants to attack Iran and expels it from Iraq.. has now reached the near total agreement to divide and share Iraq loot even though both don't agree on other things..What unite the US and Iran is the Iraqi Resistance looming victory which has become now an ascertained reality, more important than their differences into sharing influences in Iraq and the nuclear plants. Yes ! Indeed the Iraqi Resistance victory will lead to an Arab, regional and world transformation which will not only affect badly the US but also Iran, preventing it from invading the Arab homeland and the Islamic world through sectarian slogans which hide the Persian nationalism. All the events in our country assert this very reality. For the Iranian-US death squads cooperate daily and without respite to tear down Iraq and to lead it to the civil war with the US complete and franc help. Moreover, the US offered the government and the Interior ministry to the Iranian puppets and still agrees to be in their hands for it goes on with their plans to deepen Iraqis wounds. If the US is planning to put aside Iran without giving it a share of Iraq body, this is a secondary matter! For the most important now is that Iran is the US ally number one in Iraq and its ferocious tool to tear apart Iraqi bodies and to build a psychological base to divide Iraq.. There is no other more important role for the US in Iraq and in the region to divide it on sectarian lines than that of Iran's. (…) There is no other way than to confront Iran through a united Arab stand as the US are strongly confronted by the Iraqi Armed Resistance! Safawide Iran doesn't understand but the language of force as any expansionist colonialist movement.. This has been proved by the war imposed by Khomeyni on Iraq he refused to end for eight whole years until the Iraqi forces entered deep into Iranian territories and put his regime on the brink of collapse when he uttered his famous phrase "I accept a cease fire like accepting to drink the chalice of a deadly poison"! read in full… Robert Dreyfuss: BAKER TO BUSH: GAME OVER Today's [Nov. 30] report that the blue-ribbon Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James Baker, will call for a pullback of American combat forces in Iraq is the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq. Stripped of its diplomatic weasel words, the ISG's recommendations are a stunning blow to the administration of George W. Bush and everything it stands for. "We had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out," said one of the ISG's commission members, according to The New York Times. (…) Adding insult to injury, the policy will be carried out by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, a former member of the ISG, who will purge the Pentagon of neocons, Rumsfeld loyalists, and assorted other extremists. The ISG's decision, which will be officially announced on December 6, represents a formal recognition by the American foreign policy establishment that Bush's criminally misguided war of aggression in Iraq is lost. A war that was meant to demonstrate to the world the shock and awe of American power is ending as proof positive that the United States is too weak to subdue a fragmented nation of 25 million. A war that was meant to secure a preeminent place for the United States in the oil-rich Persian Gulf is ending with America in full retreat, leaving a shattered Iraq, a resurgent Iran, and a Saudi Arabia that is angry, bitter and disgusted with American bungling. A war that was meant to enhance Israel's regional might is ending with what is likely, now, to be a reinvigorated push for a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian issue that will come at Israel's expense-in Syria, in Lebanon, and in the Occupied Territories. It is a war that has alienated America's allies, emboldened its adversaries and rivals, inflamed its enemies and eviscerated its prestige. With each day that U.S. occupation of Iraq continues, each one of those effects is amplified. By supporting an end to the war, the Iraq Study Group has decided, at least, to stop the bleeding. It is, however, too late to stop the bleeding in Iraq. Six hundred thousand dead Iraqis later, the United States will depart from Iraq leaving behind a nation whose citizens will be struggling to rebuild their society for decades. The U.S. invasion of Iraq is a war crime of the first magnitude, an illegal war that destroyed a nation that had never attacked the United States, that did not have any weapons of mass destruction, that did not have any ties to al-Qaida, that had no connection to the September 11 attacks, and which-at the start of the war-was a small, impoverished country with a decimated army. The civil war in Iraq may indeed get worse, and it may last for years. Each and every one of those deaths will be on George W. Bush's conscience-if, in fact, the Bible-thumping hypocrite has any conscience left.(…) The wreckage of Bush's Middle East policy sprawls in front of him. As Jordan's King Abdullah impolitely pointed out, the Middle East faces not one, but three separate civil wars: Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. The megalomaniacal Iranian ayatollahs are flexing their muscle throughout the region, training Shiite rebels in Iraq, backing Hezbollah in Lebanon and pressuring the Arab kleptocracies of the Gulf. A surly Israel is stiff-arming the Palestinians, even as it threatens Lebanon and Syria and issues dark warnings about bombing Iran's nuclear installations. Afghanistan is spiraling out of control. Pakistan could fall any day to radical-right Islamists and careen toward war with India. The Bush record in the Middle East is one of breathtaking incompetence. The empty rhetoric of a "Global War on Terror" cannot disguise a policy that has led to chaos and carnage. The ISG's recommendations are not enough. Their reported intent to call for a "pullback" of 15 combat brigades still leaves open the door for a residual U.S. military presence in Iraq far greater than needed. Its apparent failure to call for a specific timetable, though politically expedient-reportedly, a compromise among its Republican and Democratic members-can allow for slippage or a stall. And there are legions of devils in the details. But in starting the process, the ISG has made George Bush an offer that he cannot refuse. read in full… Chan Akya: FERAL CATS, BEWARE The unraveling of Iraq amid political uncertainty in Washington heralds the demise of the American century. With financial markets also voting with their feet on the US dollar, Asia has to confront both the costs and the opportunity presented. The re-emergence of Russia provides a useful time lag for China to prepare the ground for taking over from the US as the world's next superpower. With the US government firmly on the back foot in Iraq and President George W Bush rendered a lame duck by a Democratic Congress, the end of the American century is approaching rather faster than previously expected. [1] My characterization of the United States as Garfield may have been too gentle in the context of what is likely to happen going forward, when the cat becomes feral. The death of any superpower usually carries with it a combination of military and economic defeats and, as with the Soviet Union's demise in the 1990s, America's decline will prove equally cruel. Iraq has descended into a civil war in recent weeks, as a feckless US military attempts to recover lost ground with the same failed tactics of the past few years. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. Bush, reeling from stunning losses in mid-term elections, had to fire defense chief Donald Rumsfeld, but has since failed to signal any changes in strategy. The matter may not be entirely up to him as insurgents and terrorists, sensing a potential shift in US strategy, have stepped up their attacks to record levels. This makes an early US exit not only more likely, but also more ignominious. For a people imbued with a sense of infallibility, this turn of events would be nothing short of a catastrophic reality check. As with the end of the Vietnam conflict, it might take 10 years or more for any resurgence in national optimism in the US. The difference is that this time around, putative successors are much better positioned to inherit the mantle of superpowers. read in full… GI Special: GREATEST MILITARY BLUNDERS Today on the History Channel a nation once called the United States of America invades a small country called Iraq to take a once valuable resource called Oil. The United States Of America had a second Civil War and Revolutions and now consists of the modern nations we call today, Nation of God, New Mexico, Islamic Great Lakes Republic, New Israel, Free Man's Land, Union of Socialist Americana, Soviet Alaska and Hawaii Nation. Historians today agree that in the USA year 2000, President George "War" Bush won in a coup. After the election, George "War" Bush surrounded himself with men and women who were illiterate of war with the exception of General Yes Man. The Insider War sparked when so called "Taliban" used what were called Jet Airliners to crash into buildings located in the modern country we call New Israel. President George "War" Bush then sent his troops into Afghanistan to give chase. One of the Greatest Military Blunders took place when President George "War" Bush invaded Iraq which like Afghanistan is now part of the United Nations of the Middle East. After the Invasion the Iraqi people looted their country in a state of Anarchy. The USA soldiers secured the vast Oil refineries and Pipelines of Iraq. Under years of USA Occupation, George "War" Bush led a bloody Civil War between the Iraqi people after a failed attempt of a USA led Democracy. But the Asymmetrical War against the USA Occupation soldiers caused President George "War" Bush to withdraw all of the soldiers and Military from Iraq and Afghanistan. The War had bankrupted the United States of America as other nations who financed it, wanted their loans paid back. This caused the USA severe unemployment, the collapse of the Stock Market high Inflation, sectarian violence, take overs of Corporations money and factories, Civil Wars between blacks, whites, Mexicans, religions, forms of governments and the breakup of the United States of America. President George "War" Bush and his cronies were captured and hanged for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the nation of Palestine which used to be a country called Israel. This ends one of History's Greatest Military Blunders. -- by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace 50 Michigan, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan link >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: An Afghan policeman was killed and another injured when a U.S. convoy fired on a group of officers in waning daylight in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday. A NATO spokesman said a police officer in civilian clothes first fired on the soldiers in Ghazni province late Friday, prompting them to return fire. The district police chief, who was shot in the right hand in one of two exchanges of gunfire, disputed that account. Whatever It Is I’m Against It: COCKTAILS, SALAD AND QUIDDICH AT GUANTANAMO The Pentagon website has an article about how guards at Guantanamo are hurt that they have been unfairly portrayed. Says one of these sensitive souls, anonymously of course, "I wish they could see how much we care for these individuals. We pay so much attention to these detainees. Our care for them is very extensive. If a guy's salad isn't right, I'll make a phone call to try and get him the correct salad." I'm not sure what "salad" means in the no-doubt-colorful Gitmo prison lingo. Sadly, the prisoners are inexplicably ungrateful for all the care taken over their "salads," and often throw various bodily excreta, mixed together in a "cocktail," at the guards, who are the true victims in all this. As in all such articles, Guantanamo officials like to mention that Harry Potter books are special favorites among the enemy combatant set. I haven't read the books, but Hogwarts is basically a British public school, isn't it?, Eton with magic, so I'm guessing Harry would know what "getting him the correct salad" means. link QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We've managed to make Saddam Hussein look good even to Shias at this point." -- freelance writer Nir Rosen, author of Anatomy of a Civil War in an interview withAmy Goodman of Democracy Now


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