Saturday, December 23, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, December 23, 2006 Photos: Bush's Iraq and Bush's dog. Announcer: Ladies and gentleman, welcome to "Barney's Holiday Extravaganza!" (The Holiday Extravaganza features dancers with red ribbons dressed in vibrant colors, sing-along caroling, leaping ballerinas and marching soldiers. The show ends and the audience applauds as Barney [Bush's dog] takes a bow on stage joined by Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Transition to Mrs. Bush sitting with Barney, Miss Beazley and Kitty in front of the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room.) Mrs. Bush: Barney, Miss Beazley and Kitty, you put on a wonderful Holiday Extravaganza. I know you're tired now. I'm so proud of you. President Bush and I wish everyone a very happy holiday. -- from Barney Cam V: "Barney's Holiday Extravaganza" at The White House site. (See below "A Christmas Present", Layla Anwar's own Happy Holidays wish to the American people) Clashes between Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militiamen loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have left five people dead and wounded 17 others in the usually calm city of Samawa, police sources said on Saturday. The sources said that the fighting began on Friday afternoon when Sadr's armed followers protested against the continuous detention of their comrades by the police. Four of the dead were policemen.
Six people have been killed and 15 wounded in clashes between Iraqi police and militiamen loyal to Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, a policeman said Saturday. "Since last night, the hospital has received six dead -- five policemen and one civilian -- and 15 wounded, including seven policeman," said Lieutenant Ahmed Hadi, in charge of security at Samawa hospital. There was no news on militia casualties. Two policemen were killed when a mortar round crashed into the impoverished town's police headquarters on Saturday. The others were killed from gunshot wounds during the clashes, Hadi said. The troubles flared when Iraqi authorities objected to the militiamen taking weapons to the Friday prayers, and continued to rage after police made various arrests, police said. Amid the violence, two influential clans, backed by police, raided an office of the Sadr movement in downtown Samawa "to revenge the death" of two policemen from their tribes, a police source said. They took over the building and were hunting down militia from the so-called Mahdi Army loyal to Sadr, the source said.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS: Baghdad: Militia members kidnapped a Sunni mosque Imam Emad Al Shamari from Al Bunouk neighborhood. Police said that they found 12 dead bodies all over Baghdad. The corpses carried multiple gunshots. 4 bodies found on Rusafa side, eastern side. 8 bodies found on Karkh side, western side. An IED exploded targeting police patrol in Al Saadon street, central Baghdad. The blast injured 8 citizens including 2 policemen. Hawija: A roadside bomb killed two civilians as their car passed a road just outside the town of Hawija, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Latifiya: Local residents in Latifiya claim three civilians were killed and four others were wounded in an airstrike on the town. They said that the attack happened when the residents of the area repelled an attack on their houses by a group of gunmen in military uniforms. Diwaniya: An Iraqi military intelligence officer was slain in a drive-by shooting on Saturday south of Baghdad, police said. Gunmen attacked 1st Lt. Hussein Jabir at 7:30 a.m. as he was leaving his home in downtown Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad, police said. The body of an unidentified civilian was discovered southeast of Diwaniyah on Friday. Samarra: Two policemen were killed when a roadside bomb targeted their patrol in central Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. A policeman was shot down by unknown gunmen near Samarra. Dour: An Iraqi soldier was killed by insurgents in the small town of Dour, near of Tikrit, north of Baghdad. Mosul: Two explosive charges went off targeting U.S. vehicle patrols in the northern Iraq's city of Mosul with no reports of casualties, a security source said on Friday. Gunmen assassinated Wathaah Abid-Rabbuh, a tribal figure from the large mainly Sunni Jubour tribe, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a hospital official there said. It was not clear why the tribesman was targeted. Three Iraqi civilians were killed Saturday including Sheikh of the Al-Jbour tribe in scattered accidents in Mosul north of Iraq. Baaquba: At least six people were killed and five others wounded on Saturday morning as a car bomb was detonated in Baaquba, 57 km northeast of Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi combined force arrested 21 suspects, including an armed group leader, during raids in Baaquba city, 57 km northeast of Baghdad, a security source said on Saturday. Diyala Prov: Five people have been killed and 17 wounded, after a US air strike destroyed a house in a city north of Baghdad, according to residents. It has been claimed that the planes attacked the al-Mafraq area, west of Baquba. Two women and a 4-year-old child were reportedly among the dead. Resident Abdel Razzaq al-Azzawi said: "The (dead) one is one of my relatives. Her husband and her 4-year old child were wounded and she is pregnant. "They destroyed the house only my handicapped sister has survived. Our neighbour was killed and this is his body (points) and two others wounded." The US military have not commented on the attack. At a fake checkpoint set by gunmen in police uniforms at the main road to Kanan village, south of Baqouba, 4 citizens were kidnapped after a vehicle search and checking IDs. Gunmen attacked a civilian car using machine guns. The attack claimed the life of one woman, Hiba Abdullah, and caused serious injuries to her two year old son Mohammed Ahmed in Al Sarai neighborhood of Baqouba. Around the same time gunmen assassinated Safaa Nusseif, in Al Mualimeen neighborhood, west of Baqouba. One unknown body was found with multiple gunshots in the head in Al Khalis city, north of Baqouba. Karbala: The Iraqi police arrested on Saturday two policemen suspected of killing 14 Pakistanis in September while on their way home coming from Saudi Arabia. Wassit: The Iraqi police patrol found on Saturday two bodies in Kut, 180 km southeast of Baghdad, a security source said. A police officer's body was one of the two found bodies. Fallujah: Two Iraqi soldiers were killed in an insurgent mortar attack targeting an observation post on the eastern approach to Fallujah, Commander Sattar Latif al-Jomaili said. Jomaili said the army post had come under attack twice earlier but that Saturday's assault marked the first time that such weapons have been used. Ramadi: A U.S. large base near Ramadi came under attack with three Katyusha rockets in early Saturday, an Iraqi security source said. The U.S. army has yet to confirm the incident. U.S.-led forces killed one person and detained nine other suspects in a raid on a militant hideout in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. Anbar Prov: Fierce clashes erupted on Saturday in the western Anbar's city of Ana between masked gunmen and a U.S. vehicle patrol, an eyewitness said. Najaf: The Iraqi police said on Saturday its patrols found a weapons cache on the highway between Najaf-Karbala. Kirkuk: Two Iraqi civilians were killed on Saturday morning when an explosive charge went off near Kirkuk. Three suspects were arrested during a raid carried out by a U.S. and Iraqi combined force in a village near Kirkuk. Tikrit: An Iraqi soldier was killed with gunmen's fire in Dawr district. Basra: The British forces killed three gunmen in clashes erupted in western Basra, while three British bases came under attack with Katyusha rockets and mortar rounds, the spokesman for the Multi-National forces in southern Iraq said on Saturday. Deloiya: Unmanned U.S. surveillance plane was shot down with unknown gunmen's fire in Deloiya district in Salah-el-Dein province, a police source said. In Country: The U.S. army said in a statement on Saturday the Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. troops, arrested 91 suspects in raids carried out across Iraq during the last 48 hours. >> NEWS Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric withheld support Saturday for a U.S.-backed plan to build a coalition across sectarian lines, Shiite lawmakers said, jeopardizing hopes that such a show of political unity could help stem the country's deadly violence. Members of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite coalition that dominates parliament, met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf after traveling to the holy city over the past few days. Al-Sistani holds no political post and rarely emerges from his home and adjacent office, but he has strong influence over Shiite politics. Some members of the Shiite alliance have sought a coalition that would include Kurds and Sunnis, and sideline Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose militia is blamed for much of Iraq's sectarian violence. Lawmakers who attended the meeting with al-Sistani said the cleric opposed any move that would divide Shiites. "There are obstacles in the face of forming this coalition, because al-Sistani does not support it. So we will work to strengthen the (Shiite) alliance," said Hassan al-Sunnaid, of the Dawa Party of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Ali al-Adib, also a Dawa Party member, said al-Sistani "does not support such blocs because they will break Shiite unity." An official close to al-Sistani, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the cleric "will not bless nor support any new bloc or front. He only supports the unity of the Shiites." Top U.S. military commanders in Iraq have decided to recommend a surge in the number of U.S. combat forces there, the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday, citing a defense official familiar with the plan. As President George W. Bush searches for a new policy to stem the mounting violence in Iraq, he is to meet with his new Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday at Camp David to discuss Gates' findings from his trip this week to Iraq. The newspaper said top U.S. commanders in Iraq including Gen. George Casey and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno have decided to recommend a temporary increase in combat forces, a plan that appears to be gaining favor in the administration.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates rushed back to Washington Friday to give President Bush his advice on transforming U.S. policy in Iraq after holding three days of talks in the war zone with military and political leaders. Gates was scheduled to see Bush at Camp David first thing Saturday morning, said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, Stephen Hadley and deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch, who has been coordinating Bush's review of Iraq policy, were also to attend the discussions at the Maryland mountain retreat where Bush was spending Christmas.
The purported leader of an al-Qaida-linked militant group offered U.S. troops a one-month truce for withdrawing from Iraq without being attacked, according to a speech posted on an Islamic Web site Friday. The leader of Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, also called on former officers in Saddam Hussein's disbanded army to join his militia, promising to provide them with a salary and house so long as they could recite three "suras," or groups of verses, of the Quran. The 20-minute audio tape appeared on an Islamic Web site known for displaying militant groups' statements. In Washington, a senior U.S. intelligence official said the CIA was reviewing the tape to determine its authenticity. The "Islamic State of Iraq" declared itself in October. It is believed to be an umbrella group for militant organizations, including al-Qaida in Iraq. Addressing the United States, al-Baghdadi said: "We order you to withdrew your troops immediately, using troop carriers and aircraft, and taking only your personal weapons. Don't withdraw any heavy weapons. Instead you should hand over those and your military bases to the holy warriors of the Islamic State." For one month, he said, "we will allow your withdrawal to proceed without being attacked by explosives or any other form." Al-Baghdadi claimed that Washington had tried to negotiate with his group through the Saudi government. "The giant has started to fall. It is looking for an escape and seeking to negotiate with all the other groups and parties," al-Baghdadi said. He claimed he spurned the offer because "we are not ones to negotiate with those who killed our children." The Iraq war has endangered the lives of Christians across the Middle East, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in a commentary published Saturday that criticized the U.S.-led coalition. The failure to develop a strategy to prevent Christians from being seen as "supporters of the crusading West" worsened the difficult situation they already faced in the Middle East, Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, wrote in a commentary in The London Times. >> REPORTS BBC's roundup of Iraq blogs: LIFE UNDER THE MILITIAS I have been living in this mainly Shia neighbourhood for 20 years. Although I am Sunni, I haven't suffered any ill-treatment in this area, even after the increase of sectarianism in the country. People in my area come to me for medical help any time day or night. However, I think that the existence of militias is a problem. I fear that I may be attacked if the Shia militias in the area were to be provoked by Sunni militias. One day I found a threatening note pinned to my door warning me to leave the neighbourhood. I took the note and I went to the militia's headquarters. They told me that it was not their work, and asked me to call them should anything untoward happen. They assured me they knew me very well, and that they were aware that I helped people and that I did not behave in a sectarian way. But I am not happy or comfortable that the militia have control. The only authority that should carry arms is the government police and security, or else we will have chaos. But for the time being, they make the place more secure, because the government is still weak. -- Abu Mustafa, doctor's assistant read in full… Hannah Allam: ONE WOMAN'S JOURNEY LIFTS VEIL ON SADR'S APPEAL Maha Adel Mehdi's awakening came during her college years. She'd ached to hear a voice - just one - that dared to criticize the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the policies that stifled the dreams of her generation. Mehdi found her "light of righteousness" in Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, a Shiite Muslim cleric who openly called for political reform and religious freedom until he was killed in a hail of gunfire, along with two of his sons, in 1999. "There was something in his voice I couldn't resist. I found myself listening until the very end. His speeches were something different," Mehdi recalled. "At the time, I needed someone to set me on the right path. Sadr did that." Millions of Shiites sought solace in Sadr's words, but Mehdi's story was different: She was a Sunni Muslim when she first heard Sadr's call. Now a 32-year-old mother of two, Mehdi is still serving Sadr, as one of the 11 female legislators loyal to his son, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia is [said to be -- zig] at the forefront of Iraq's violence. Mehdi prides herself on the rebellious streak that compelled her to give up her family, her sect and her safety to begin a new life. Her journey helps explain the broad appeal of a militant movement that's able to turn even the unlikeliest of supporters into devotees prepared to face death. "I read many books until I reached a very clear point that the Shiite way is my way," Mehdi said. "I am ready to sacrifice my life for this path." Critics accuse the younger Sadr of sullying his father's reputation by sending adolescents to their deaths in two bloody uprisings against U.S. forces, fielding death squads to carry out revenge attacks on Sunnis and turning the family's venerated name into a synonym for thuggery. Diehard followers such as Mehdi, however, view the younger Sadr's brand of resistance as a natural words-to-deeds progression of his father's defiance. Now, however, the cause isn't toppling a dictator but driving out the American troops who once were hailed as liberators. "Saddam was a small devil, and now the devil is bigger," Mehdi said. "I either have to get the occupiers out of my country or meet my martyrdom." (...) The Americans, she said, "brought nothing but destruction so they could divide us." (...) In her mind, blame for the nonstop sectarian bloodshed goes to enemy No. 1: the United States. She said her overarching goal in parliament was to help pass a resolution calling for a timetable for U.S. forces to withdraw. "When I was elected, we were happy because we have this aim in our minds to serve Seyyid Muqtada," she said, using an honorific for a Muslim cleric. "But I'll really celebrate only when I get the occupation out of my country." read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Rebecca Solinit: BUSH, THE ACCIDENTAL EMPIRE SLAYER For a brief period, in the early years of that second decade of this chaotic century, a whole school of conspiracy theorists gained popularity by suggesting that Bush the Younger was actually the puppet of a left-wing plot to dismantle the global "hyperpower" of that moment. They pointed to the Trotskyite origins of the "neoconservatives," whose mad dreams had so clearly sunk the American empire in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of their proof. They claimed that Bush's advisors consciously plotted to devastate the most powerful military on the planet, near collapse even before it was torn apart by the unexpected Officer Defection Movement, which burst into existence in 2009, followed by the next year's anti-draft riots in New York and elsewhere. The Bush administration's mismanagement of the U.S. economy, while debt piled up, so obviously spelled the end of the era of American prosperity and power that some explanation, no matter how absurd, was called for -- and for a while embraced. The long view from our own moment makes it clearer that Bush was simply one of the last dinosaurs of that imperial era, doing a remarkably efficient job of dragging down what was already doomed. If you're like most historians of our quarter-century moment, then you're less interested in the obvious -- why it all fell -- than in discovering the earliest hints of the mammalian alternatives springing up so vigorously with so little attention in those years. Without benefit of conspiracy, what Bush the Younger really prompted (however blindly) was the beginning of a decentralization policy in the North American states. During the eight years of his tenure, dissident locales started to develop what later would become full-fledged independent policies on everything from queer rights and the environment to foreign relations and the notorious USA-Patriot Act. For example, as early as 2004-2007, several states, led by California, began setting their own automobile emissions standards in an attempt to address the already evident effects of climate change so studiously ignored in Washington. In June of 2005, mayors from cities across the nation unanimously agreed to join the Kyoto Protocol limiting climate-changing emissions -- a direct rejection of national policy -- at a national meeting in Seattle. Librarians across the country publicly refused to comply with the USA-Patriot Act, and small towns nationwide condemned the measure in the years before many of those towns also condemned what historians now call the U.S.-Iraq Quagmire. read in full... Lee Rockwell: RULERS, REAL RULERS, AND WAR The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are lost, but our pretend ruler can't admit it or even plan for stopping the wars and pulling out. After all, one's image is at stake, and that is all-important. It must be protected at any cost. Bush is said to see himself as a War President and therefore, ipso facto, a "Great President." I am sure that, to bring these wars to a successful, that is, a triumphant conclusion, Bush would gladly hurl an atom bomb or two, but Higher Levels are currently nixing that. (You ask me who are these Higher Levels? I wish I knew. But I do know they are the same clever folk who saw to the almost miraculous accomplishment that we got to choose between two precommitted-to-war Skull-and-Bonesmen in 2004.) At some point Higher Levels (you have no doubt realized that I see them as in service to Lucifer, or Mammon, or War - all more or less synonymous terms) may decide we have had enough of George II and pull the plug on him. But it could also be that they view him as performing right well. He is speeding this once-fair nation along the path to destruction, and that may be, as I have suggested before, what they want. (...) I have, however, made a firm, irrevocable decision to sign on with the incorrigible optimists. I think Higher Levels, those anonymous servants of Lucifer, or Darth Vader if you like, whose legions of flunkies have brought us Iraq and Afghanistan and would obligingly bring us more of the same if we will put up with it, are going to go down in flames. They can't win in the long run. But they can (and have) destroyed many a nation and even many an empire in their previous incarnations. When all these posturers are gone, and all their days and ways, what is left is the people, and the people, as all true artists and poets have always known and said, are mostly jolly good fellows willing to work and help out. This is true, that is, as long as God and God's laws are honored and nobody gets too big an idea of his power and might and starts drumming up an army to attack his neighbor and steal his goods. read in full... Huffington Post: PLACE YOUR BETS: PRO OCCUPATION, OR PRO IRAQ? The Bush administration wants to support "moderate Iraqis" now. The administration is trying to support a new front led by Al-Hakim of SCIRI (the Iranian-backed Shia fundamentalist), Al-Hashimi of the Islamic Party, and the Kurdish ruling coalition. This is not the first time that the Sunni Islamic Party, SCIRI, and the Kurdish coalition are working together. In Dec 2002, the same names and faces participated in the Iraqi Opposition Conference in London and came away with a long list of promises to turn Iraq into heaven on earth when they reached power. After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, members of these three fronts along with other foreign-backed groups like Allawi and Chalabi tried to return to Iraq and create coalitions with other Iraqis still inside the country. In fact, the last elections in December 2003 demonstrated just how such political groups from outside Iraq who carried with them some kind of foreign agenda were able to successfully infiltrate Iraqi politics. They blended in with other Iraqis. They created bonds based on sectarian backgrounds. Thus, groups like SCIRI ended up working with Al-Sadr and Al-Fadila and formed one coalition based on the fact that they were all Shia groups. Their strategy was similar to that of the Islamic Party who formed a Sunni Coalition with other Iraqis. But, in October 2006, 10 moths after the elections, reality hit home and realignment occurred. The Iraqi Parliament passed a new regional law that had been pushed for by SCIRI, the Kurdish coalition and others. The law lay the foundation for splitting Iraq into three regions - something all Iraqi nationals inside the country before the fall of Baghdad were dead set against. Passage of the law was unconstitutional for many reasons and technicalities. Yet, its passage served something good. It was a good wake up call for the pro-Iraq politicians: Iraqi politicians who are for keeping Iraq's unity and for ending the occupation of their country. The newest push by the Bush administration that supports the creation of a "new alliance of moderate Iraqis" is doomed. This "new alliance" is made up of the same old people who failed over and over during the last four years. They are not a real alliance. They are not new. And each of them is working on a different foreign agenda. They are not moderate enough either. Notice that their militias are slaughtering Iraqis right and left. And they are not even Iraqi enough! The only quality they share in common is their desire to keep the coalition troops in Iraq longer. The Bush administration is not just beating a dead horse, it is betting all our tax money on it. link Needlenose: SURGING ON A DEAD HORSE Hearing all this talk about surges reminds me of this piece I saw a while back:
Riding a Dead Horse Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In the military planning world, however, it seems that we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following: . Buying a stronger whip. . Changing riders. . Saying things like "This is the way we always have ridden this horse." . Appointing a committee to study the horse. . Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses. . Increasing the standards to ride dead horses. . Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse. . Creating a training session to increase our riding ability. . Comparing the state of dead horses in today's environment. . Change the requirements declaring that "This horse is not dead." . Hire contractors to ride the dead horse. . Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed. . Declaring that "No horse is too dead to beat." . Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance. . Do a cost analysis study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper. . Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster. . Declare the horse is "better, faster and cheaper" dead. . Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses. . Revisit the performance requirements for horses. . Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable. . Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
— "But the horse isn't 'dead' - Sure, the brain is gone, the heart isn't beating and the cells are kaput - but there's still plenty of good news for the bacteria feeding on what the negative nellies in the MSM call the 'corpse.' " -- comment by RepubAnon at December 20, 2006 - 11:12pm
link Blah3: SURGE? WHAT A SPLENDID IDEA, SIR! Well, that was quick. So let's all do the surge. It's hip, it's now. We don't know what it's for, but damb! Don't it sound surge-o-rific? It's a SURGE!
Top U.S. military commanders in Iraq have decided to recommend a "surge" of fresh American combat forces, eliminating one of the last remaining hurdles to proposals being considered by President Bush for a troop increase, a defense official familiar with the plan said Friday. [....] "People are warming to the realization that some sort of surge is necessary," said another military official. [....]
Which mission is selected could determine the size of the troop increase. "If it is a surge to take on Sadr, that is one size. If it is to do something else, that is another size surge," said the military official.
Some folks might say having a plan of action without first having a purpose in mind is bass-ackwards. In BushWorld, it's par for the course. Because for those about to surge, theirs is not to reason why, theirs is but to do and...oh, the other thing. read in full… Layla Anwar: A CHRISTMAS PRESENT ... Today, The Emperor Bush declared :" More sacrifices will take place in Eye Raq." Take it to mean : More Iraqi blood will be spilled , more death, more carnage, more torture, more mayhem, more rape, more theft...more of the same . A Christmas present. Maliki, the not so smart , not so bright puppet said to the effect : " Ok I agree, more troops. On condition that we finish off the Resistance, contain the lunatic Muqtada and oh well , as for the Badr Brigades and the Magawir of the Ministry of Interior - later, later." They gave him Nejef as a token of appreciation and handed it to the "Iraqi Army." Another Christmas present. Brace yourselves for a massive attempt at a deadly blow to the Resistance. Resist , we have and we will. Nothing can stop us now. But let us leave aside realpolitik for a moment . Let us concentrate instead on the spirit of Christmas. Since America is being so generous with her presents ,I, as a good hospitable Arab would like to reciprocate. I am thinking of offering you a special gift on this holy occasion. I heard that in America (by the way, I don't like to call it U.S.A - I like the sound America better- hope you don't mind- it's more musical to my ears), there is a traditional craft called patchwork. Seems you folks and specially the women are very skilled at it. In Britain, and if I am not mistaken , they are called quilts. Do correct me if I am a little "behind" in my terminology. Good old, hand made, home covers. Women sit for days on end taking pieces of disregarded fabrics , diligently sewing those single bits together. What you get at the end is a work of art. A story emerging from behind those abandoned, tattered cloths. I would like to offer you my Iraqi patchwork. I will do my utmost, despite the current economic circumstances, to buy for you top quality fabric and thread. Something solid that will last you for long. Something that you can proudly show to your great grand children. Something you can remember us by. Something that will withstand the signs of Time. Something for you to keep till Eternity. I will be guided by candle light or cheap kerosene lamps since electricity is not available. But I assure you this will not diminish the quality in any way. Actually, to be honest with you, I am not the only craftswoman here. I have over 655'000 artisans with me and a countless others who are in a zombie vegetable state dictating to me how to go about it. Consider each of the 655'000 plus dead , pieces of fabric. And consider the hundred thousands amputated, paralyzed, raped, tortured,bereaved,widows and orphans ...the thread. Bear with me as this is hard studious work. After all a present of such magnitude cannot be "composed" swiftly. Patchworks need time to emerge into a full story. Right ? No need to worry, I will ensure to have it delivered before Christmas. In order for the "piece" to become completely alive and real, I need to infuse it with pulsating beings. "They" cannot remain anonymous numbers from the Lancet. I will revive them like the goold old American women do when they patchwork together. I will take each single one of them and ask them to tell you their personal story. All the way to their Ancestors. Her birth place, his wishes, her struggles, his beliefs, her pain, his suffering, her victories, his hopes , their families, those left behind, their friends ... I will also ask them to tell you how they died, what they felt when they did, their last thought , their last sentence, their unspoken word... They will tell you tales. Each part carefully crafted , delicately sewn onto another. Ad infinitum... And the survivors : the paralyzed, the downtrodden, the sick, the abandoned,the amputated, the maimed, the raped, the humiliated, the tortured, the grief stricken, the strugglers - the silent majority with no voice- they are the Thread that stitch the living to the dead. And we are all gathered here right now , needle working , weaving patterns, sewing this beauty for you. One by one, taking turns, approaching it so delicately, like an artistic composition , like a melody. We don't want it to be macabre or morbid, so we are coloring it with a thousand colors. Greater than a rainbow. Greater than Death. And now that it is completed , we offer it to you in "gratitude". You can cover yourselves with it and keep warm. All hand made in good old Iraq. In Memoriam. Merry Christmas. link QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Most ordinary Iraqis now believe that America is determined to subdue Iraq, control its oil and fragment it into warring cantons. You may find this utterly groundless. They don't." -- Abu Khaleel in Letter to Congress - Iraq Options in Iraqi Letters, November 15, 2006 OTHER QUOTES OF THE DAY: "The Repukes only want to pad the force so the 'Last Chopper Out of Saigon' photo op is on a DEMOCRATIC Preznit's watch post-2008." -- comment by ReasonIsMyReligion on December 18, 2006 at 11:14pm at The Huffington Post "I said to my driver casually the other day, 'If I get out of this car, take off my flak jacket or get rid of all my security and walk down the street, how long would I last?' He said, 'Four or five seconds.' " -- ABC's Dan Harris on reporting from Baghdad "We're setting ourselves up for a potential national disaster in which some Iraqi divisions could flip and take 5,000 Americans hostage, or multiple advisory teams go missing in action." -- Military affairs commentator General Barry McCaffrey in the December 18 issue of Newsweek


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