Thursday, December 07, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, December 7, 2006 Photo: Armed militants drive through Ramadi, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006. Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, is located in Anbar province, where many Sunni-Arab insurgent groups are based. It has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents. (AP Photo) Bring 'em on: Ten American troops died in Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. military reported, matching the highest number of U.S. service members killed on a single day in the past year. The U.S. troops died in four incidents, a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, said Wednesday night. He declined to provide details about how or where they were killed because family members were still being notified.
The U.S. military confirmed Thursday that another soldier died in fighting the day before, raising to 11 the number of American troops killed in a single day.
The soldier was shot Wednesday while manning a machine gun nest on the roof of an outpost in Anbar province, according to an Associated Press reporter who was on the scene.
The military also released details about five of the other troops killed on Wednesday, saying they were Task Force Lightning soldiers who were struck by a roadside bomb while conducting combat operations in vicinity of the northern city of Kirkuk.
Bring 'em on: A suicide truck bomber struck a U.S.patrol in northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, damaging two U.S. Humvees, local police said. "A suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden refrigerator truck into a U.S. patrol at about 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) in the Muthanna neighborhood in eastern Mosul City and detonated it," a well-informed police source in the city told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The U.S. troops cordoned off the area, preventing the local police from approaching, said the source, adding that two U.S. Humvees were totally destroyed. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Gunmen broke into a school in western Baghdad on Wednesday, killing its Sunni headmaster in his office, then instructing teachers not to return, an Iraqi army officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to security concerns. The attack came after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday urged university professors and students to ignore a Sunni Arab insurgent group's warnings to avoid class, calling them "desperate attempts." The group had sent e-mails to students and posted signs at schools and mosques saying students should stay away while it cleanses the campuses of Shiite death squads, according to a statement from al-Maliki's office late Tuesday. An Iraqi police officer was shot dead along with his two bodyguards by unknown gunmen in eastern Baghdad on Thursday morning, a well-informed police officer said. "Maj. Basim Mu'ideed Abdullah, from Baghdad police was gunned down with his two bodyguards at a road junction near the Sha'ab Stadium in eastern Baghdad," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Gunmen assassinated the assistant director of Sadun police station, and two of his bodyguards in an ambush at the Al-Shaab intersection in Baghdad, a security official told foreign media. The head of security in the Iraqi Ministry of Education, Brigadier General Mohsen al-Yaseri, was killed in western Baghdad. Police told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that militants stopped al- Yaseri's car in Mansur district and shot him dead. An Iraqi academic was killed in central Baghdad. Sources in the Ministry of Education told dpa that Professor Abdul Hameed al-Harith, the head of the psychological and educational studies office in Baghdad University, was killed in Gaderiya district in central Baghdad on his way to work. Several mortar rounds landed in Baladiyat neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, wounding four people. An Iraqi civilian was killed and two others were wounded in an explosion in the central Baghdad district of Wehda. Today 35 dead bodies were found in Baghdad, 4 were found in Sadr City, 2 New Baghdad, 3 Husseiniyah, 1 Shaab, 3 Hurriyah, 3 Amil, 2 Bayaa, 2 Saidiyah, 4 Doura, 2 Abu Atsheer, 2 Jihad, 2 Furat, 2 Kadhumiyah, 2 Adil, 2 Mansour, 2 Yarmouk 1 Washash and 1 Iskan.
Police said they found 48 bodies with gunshot wounds and signs of torture in different areas of Baghdad.
A car bomb exploded in Salman Faiq street near the National Theater, it exploded in an Iraqi police patrol, no casualties were reported. Diwaniyah: Gunmen murdered a former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Part in the city of Diwaniyah south of the capital. Iskanriryah: Police found the bodies of two unidentified civilians, shot in the head and chest and with their hands bound behind their backs, in Iskandriyah. Balad: According to Tikrit police this morning, 2 from the oil protection forces were killed and 2 others were injured by unknown gunmen who made a false checkpoint at the main highway near Balad town. Riyadh: A roadside bomb exploded near a car and killed a person and wounded another in the town of Riyadh, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Fatha: Eight people bunkering crude oil from a pipeline near the town of Fatha, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk were killed in an explosion. late on Wednesday, police said. The source said seven other people were arrested. Fallujah: A car bomb explosion targeted a police patrol and killed three officers in the western city of Fallujah. Basra: A British solider was injured Wednesday after armed clashes between British troops and an armed group in the city of Basra in southern Iraq. A statement by British Spokesman for the Armed Forces did not give any other details, however it added the injured soldier was transferred to British field hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, the Spokesman said earlier this morning one of the British bases stationed at Shatt Al-Arab hotel was attacked by mortar shells and that no injuries were reported. >> NEWS Bush rebuffed key recommendations from the Iraq Study Group but agreed after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to launch a new Middle East peace push. The embattled US president announced that Blair would soon travel to the region for talks with Israel and the Palestinians and promised "concerted efforts to advance the cause of peace." A day after getting the heavyweight Iraq commission's stinging report, Bush kept tight conditions on any talks with Iran and Syria and refused to endorse the panel's target date of early 2008 for withdrawing most US combat troops. "I've always said we'd like our troops out as fast as possible," he said, while insisting on the need to be "flexible and realistic" and tying any change in troop level to advice from US military commanders, as he has in the past. Bush initially described soaring violence in Iraq, which the report warned may spiral into a regional war even with a US strategic overhaul, as merely "unsettling" -- but revised his diagnosis when a reporter challenged him. "It's bad in Iraq. That help?" he fired back. "You want frankness? I thought we would succeed quicker than we did. And I am disappointed by the pace of success." The Iraq Study Group's plan for an orderly U.S. exit from Iraq hinges on the cooperation of some of the most anti-American forces in the region -- Iran, Syria and radical Iraqi Shiite leaders -- as well as President George W. Bush's support. (...) Speculation in Washington during the runup to the report's release centered on whether Bush would accept the recommendations. When he met with commission members yesterday, Bush, while not committing himself, seemed open and willing to listen to their advice, according to one member who spoke on condition of anonymity. Yet Iranian cooperation may be even more problematic, as James A. Baker III, the study group's co-chairman, acknowledged at a news conference. "We didn't get the feeling that Iran is chomping at the bit to come to the table with us to talk about Iraq,'' Baker said. "We say we think they very well might not. But we also say we ought to put it to them, though, so the world will see the rejectionist attitude that they are projecting by that action.'' European leaders welcomed the U.S. advisory group's report on Iraq as a "necessary course correction" and a first step in a more realistic American view of the conflict. The report's proposal to engage Iran and Syria found approval - although talk of beginning a U.S. withdrawal made some officials wary that Washington may press European governments for help they are reluctant to give. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told the new French international news channel France 24 late Wednesday: "I think that it is a first step for the Americans to at last see this war in Iraq for what it is." Karsten Voigt, the German government's coordinator on relations with the U.S., said on n-tv television that: "We should be happy that there is a course correction in the United States." "If we as Europeans and as Germans can help diplomatically, then we should," he said. "We are also ready to help with reconstruction in Iraq, if the security situation permits." German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he planned to press Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about which of the commission's recommendations the Bush administration planned to implement. Many Arabs on Thursday interpreted the bleak assessment of Bush's Iraq policies as proof of Washington's failure in the Middle East. Mustafa Bakri, an outspoken critic of the U.S. and editor of the Egyptian tabloid Al-Osboa, told a state-run television show that the report indicated "the end of America." Bakri, who supports Syrian President Bashar Assad and the former regime of Saddam Hussein, urged Arab countries to "capture the moment as America now is in its weakest period." The Iraq Study Group's report was the top headline in many Arab newspapers on Thursday, including the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Wafd, which declared: "Bush confesses defeat in Iraq." The paper's editor, Anwar el-Hawari, predicted that "this is the real end of Bush rule, his policies and the neo-conservative groups." >> REPORTS The Iraq Study Group said a careful review of reporting on one day in July 2006 brought to light 1,100 acts of violence rather than the 93 attacks or significant attacks reported by US authorities on that day. In a report released Wednesday, the group said "there is significant underreporting of violence in Iraq." "The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases," it said. "A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or a mortar attack that doesn't hurt US personnel doesn't count," the report said. Iraq will consume an ever greater portion of the International Committee of the Red Cross's budget in 2007, moving to the third highest recipient of aid from the seventh, the aid agency said. The ICRC is targeting 56.3 million Swiss francs (47.1 million dollars, 35.5 million euros) for Iraq in 2007, up 47 percent from 2006. The agency warned last week that continued violence in the country was preventing it from addressing the concerns of the civilian population in a meaningful way. George Comninos, head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa, said the ICRC's current activities in Iraq were "only piecemeal in the face of the immensity of the needs." SPENDING BILLIONS ON WEAR AND TEAR Field upon field of more than 1,000 battered M1 tanks, howitzers and other armored vehicles sit amid weeds here at the 15,000-acre Anniston Army Depot -- the idle, hulking formations symbolic of an Army that is wearing out faster than it is being rebuilt. The Army and Marine Corps have sunk more than 40 percent of their ground combat equipment into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to government data. An estimated $17 billion-plus worth of military equipment is destroyed or worn out each year, blasted by bombs, ground down by desert sand and used up to nine times the rate in times of peace. The gear is piling up at depots such as Anniston, waiting to be repaired. The depletion of major equipment such as tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and especially helicopters and armored Humvees has left many military units in the United States without adequate training gear, officials say. Partly as a result of the shortages, many U.S. units are rated "unready" to deploy, officials say, raising alarm in Congress and concern among military leaders at a time when Iraq strategy is under review by the White House and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, is lobbying hard for more money to repair what he calls the "holes" in his force, saying current war funding is inadequate to make the Army "well." Asked in a congressional hearing this past summer whether he was comfortable with the readiness levels of non-deployed Army units, Schoomaker replied: "No." Lt. Col. Mike Johnson, a senior Army planner, said: "Before, if a unit was less than C-1," or fully ready, "someone would get fired." Now, he said, that is accepted as combat-zone rotations are sapping all units of gear and manpower. "It's a cost of continuous operations. You can't be ready all the time," he said. Across the military, scarce equipment is being shifted from unit to unit for training. For example, a brigade of 3,800 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division that will deploy to Iraq next month has been passing around a single training set of 44 Humvees, none of which has the added armor of the Humvees they will drive in Iraq. The military's ground forces are only beginning the vast and costly job of replacing, repairing and upgrading combat equipment -- work that will cost an estimated $17 billion to $19 billion annually for several more years, regardless of any shift in Iraq strategy. The Army alone has 280,000 major pieces of equipment in combat zones that will eventually have to be fixed or replaced. Before the war, the Army spent $2.5 billion to $3 billion a year on wear and tear. read in full... MY MORTAL HELL IN IRAQ Iraq is an "absolute complete and utter mess" says a Barrow [UK] soldier who has survived more than 1,000 bomb attacks on his base in Basra. Lance Corporal James Larsen, of Helmsley Drive, was just 70 metres away when his Barrow buddy, Lance Corporal Den Brady, died. He also survived a blast just 25 metres away from him. The 23-year-old soldier, who has a two-year-old daughter named Ellie, returned from the war-torn country just over three weeks ago after a seven-month stint in Iraq. He had been serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment at a hotel base in Basra which holds more than 1,000 troops. The camp is next to the Shaat al Arab waterway where four British service personnel, including a female soldier, died in a bomb attack on their patrol boat on Remembrance Sunday. read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Chris Floyd: MEESE OF ARABIA AND THE BAKER GROUP'S GRAB FOR BLACK GOLD The reaction from actual Iraqis on the just-released report by the "Iraq Study Group"? They don't like it; it won't work; it's largely a tissue of fantasies and shows no grasp of the true situation in Iraq; it has nothing to do with solving Iraq's problems but everything to do with the American Establishment's desperate attempt to save face, no matter how many people must be slaughtered in the process. But why should we listen to these wretched malcontents in Iraq? How the hell could they know more about the reality of their lives than Jim "Bagman" Baker and Lee "Whitewash for Hire" Hamilton and Harriet "Here's the PB&J, George" Miers and Ed "Porn Man" Meese? I mean, come on: who on God's green earth knows more about the political, social, ethnic, historical, religious and military complexities of Iraq than Ed Meese? The Heritage Foundation's Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy? Man, he's the go-to guy for all things Iraqi! There's no freaking, frigging way that any Hakim or Abdul or Nouri or Motqada or Mahmoud is gonna have any greater insight on Iraq than Ed Meese. Are you kidding me? Listen, if you start listening to actual Iraqis, you might as well hang it up right now. Because poll after poll shows that actual Iraqis overwhelmingly favor a single option for the U.S. military forces in their country: cut and run, the sooner the better. That's what they want; but of course, they're just like children, aren't they, the precious little primitive critters. And everybody knows you can't give children everything they want. It's not good for them. So we have to hold the Iraqis' hands until they can toddle on their own -- and we have to slap their hands if they don't do what we know is best for them. (…) UPDATE: You simply must read this report by the incomparable Antonia Juhasz, which underlines, in copious detail, precisely the kind of "hay" these elitist insiders hope to make in Iraq: the kind that's thick, black, oozy and slick. That's right: buried in the Iraq Study Group's solemn report -- and ignored by virtually every mainstream story on the subject -- you will find the usual smoking gun of the Bush-Baker power faction...oil. Juhasz writes:
The report calls for the United States to assist in privatizing Iraq's national oil industry, opening Iraq to private foreign oil and energy companies, providing direct technical assistance for the "drafting" of a new national oil law for Iraq, and assuring that all of Iraq's oil revenues accrue to the central government. President Bush hired an employee from the U.S. consultancy firm Bearing Point Inc. over a year ago to advise the Iraq Oil Ministry on the drafting and passage of a new national oil law. As previously drafted, the law opens Iraq's nationalized oil sector to private foreign corporate investment, but stops short of full privatization. The ISG report, however, goes further, stating that "the United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." In addition, the current Constitution of Iraq is ambiguous as to whether control over Iraq's oil should be shared among its regional provinces or held under the central government. The report specifically recommends the latter: "Oil revenues should accrue to the central government and be shared on the basis of population." If these proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will be privatized and opened to foreign firms, and in control of all of Iraq's oil wealth.
read in full... Gorilla's Guides: CONSIGLIGIERE BAKER AND HIS COHORTS MISSED A FEW POINTS ABOUT IRAQ . The Americans and their allied invaders shouldn't be there in the first place. And here's something not mentioned._ . The mercenaries. What will be done to the mercenaries? You know what, I don't care what happens to the mercenaries. No that's wrong. I care deeply what happens to the mercenaries. The United States Troops have committed war crime after war crime after war crime and atrocity after atrocity after atrocity in Iraq. But compared to the mercenaries they're shining angels. The mercenaries? The so called "security contractors" I have considerably less that zero pity for them. "Unlawful combatants" is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too good a status for any dirty mercenary. Barring a deal the US troops are likely to be creamed. The mercenaries however are going to be cheesed. Slower, more thorough, a lot more painful, probably quite smelly, and entirely deserved. They went to Iraq to make money from human misery. Let them reap what they have sown. "Pass the popcorn" as the Americans like to say. link Hassan El-Najjar: NEITHER CIVIL WAR NOR SECTARIAN VIOLENCE. IT'S ETHNIC CLEANSING BEFORE THE PARTITION OF IRAQ For more than three years, US politicians and journalists have been using the term "violence" to refer to the war between US occupation forces and Iraqi resistance groups. During the first half of 2006, they started using the term "sectarian violence" to refer to attacks conducted by perpetrators, who are described as Shi'is (they use the derogatory term Shiite) or Sunnis. During the second half of 2006, some of them started wondering whether the war in Iraq is "sectarian violence" or "civil war." After the Republican defeat in midterm Congressional elections this year, more voices dared finally to describe the US war in Iraq as "civil war." Whether the terms used are violence, sectarian violence, or civil war, the goal is distracting the American people and the world from the truth. What is going on in Iraq right now is neither civil war nor sectarian violence. The presence of foreign occupiers makes the war between the occupier and the occupied, between the invader and the invaded. The US occupation forces have recruited Iraqis to fight the Iraqi resistance. This is an Iraqization of the war, like what happened in Vietnam, when the US used south Vietnamese to fight the resistance (the Viet Kong). Using collaborators from the invaded population is an imperialist tactic to decrease casualties of the invading forces but it never succeeded in crushing the resistance. Lessons from history are numerous but the neo-con don't read history. (…) The US-recruited forces took several forms, like army, police, death squads, and militias. But because they have been recruited by the occupying forces, they are part of these forces. As a result, it's neither a civil war, nor a sectarian violence though majority of US recruits are Shi'is and Kurds, ultimately fighting on the side of the US occupation forces against the Iraqi resistance. What has been going on in Iraq from day one of the illegal US invasion of Iraq, in March 2003, has been an Iraqi resistance to the US invasion and occupation. It is very simple but US politicians and journalists are still playing dumb. They want to say it is anything but resistance to the foreign invasion. (...) Apparently, the new shift to the term of "civil war" is another spin to justify staying in Iraq "until victory," which is apparently dividing the country into better-controlled three mini states: Kurdish North, Shi'i South, and Sunni Middle. The battles raging in Baghdad everyday are nothing but ethnic cleansing to drive Shi'is and Sunnis to specific areas suitable to the partition. If Democrats are truly different from Republicans in Congress, then they should stop the ongoing ethnic cleansing now. The question is how can they do that? Simply, the perpetrators are mainly the Shi'i militias of Badr and Mahdi Army, together with the police death squads of the Interior Ministry. All of these belong to the US-backed ruling Shi'i alliance. They are on the US payroll. The US is in direct control over the Iraqi armed forces, including those of the Interior Ministry. The US is also in indirect control over the Shi'i militias because of its backing of the ruling Shi'i alliance. (...) Is this what Americans want? Wars, death, destruction, and hostility? If the answer is No, then, ethnic cleansing in Iraq must be stopped now, before it is too late, when the Shi'i militias and Interior Ministry death squads no longer listen to US commanders. What about the purported Sunni groups (Ba'athist resistance, Alqaeda, Islamic resistance, etc.)? Who's going to control them? Are they going to stop fighting? Simple answer: Resistance by definition is a reaction to the invasion and occupation of a nation. When the US occupation of Iraq ends, the resistance ends too. Period. read in full... Truth About Iraqis: THE IRAQI RESISTANCE, THE ONLY HOPE FOR IRAQ Once again, Anbar is a no-go zone for US soldiers. As is Baghdad. And pretty much elsewhere. There are currently more than 250,000 US soldiers operating in Iraq ... and they will soon "cut and run" in shame as they did in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and almost every other military misadventure since the Second World War. Yes, 250,000 as a new report indicates there are 100,000 "civilian" contractors in Iraq now. Sixteen less in the past 15 days. 3afya 3aleikum! Fully armed civilians, what a laugh. I know a Canadian man who operated a "civilian" contracting business in Iraq. He told me three of his buddies were killed there. Needless to tell you the pride I felt in hearing that. Come to my country, kill its people, rape and pillage and you cannot but expect such a reaction. Yes. These "civilian" contractors, many of them live in the Green Zone and they have Iraqi whores working for them. Iraqi whores who pretend to speak for Iraqis, shedding crocodile tears. Tsk, tsk, how the mighty have fallen. Weren't you cheering but a few months ago how much pride you felt working with the American liberator? And now you sense your doom is near. As did Hakim who visited Bush in the White House. My, my how the mighty have fallen. Bush sitting there saying we must rid Iraq of extremists as he sat next to the greatest extremist of them all. Hakim, the man who spits at your American values. The man who prostrates before his loathesome religion of this and that, the religion of bloodletting, Kali, the goddess of war. He was in the White House demanding the Americans kill more resistance fighters. Hakim galbi, inta khayef? Liweish khayef? Is it because you have sensed the Americans will abandon you? Is it because you know the valiant resistance will strip you of your clerical robes and reveal the evil that you are? Is it because the Baathists and the nationalists are ready to take back Iraq from you? And Hakim spits at the Arabs trying to help Iraq survive as a nation. He refuses to hold a regional summit because he fears the intervention of foreigners? La3ad shinu Iran ya gawad Najaf? The tide is turning, the traitors will be purged. And they will be hunted down. Long live the Iraqi resistance. Long live the patriotic people of Iraq. read in full... Whatever It Is I'm Against It: HAKIM AGAINST IRAQIS KILLING IRAQIS In a speech later in the day [after meeting with Bush], Hakim also took a position against Iraqis killing Iraqis, calling instead for Americans to kill Iraqis (Sunni Iraqis, of course): “The strikes they are getting from the multinational forces are not hard enough to put an end to their acts.” He made this speech to the US Institute for Peace. read in full… Wafaa' Al-Natheema: FILM ABOUT SADDAM ON AL-ARABIYA TV CHANNEL In this link http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6689352723369212153&pr=goog-sl , I believe the film had insulted the integrity of journalism and everything that is documentary when starting with a comment by a crook and a criminal like Mouffak Ar-Rubaei, the undercover Iranian. It reminded me of the propaganda by the Baathists, themselves, and the subtle propaganda by documentaries made in the USA and the UK. The best example on this subtle propaganda is a recent BBC film made about the death squads of the Shiites. For those of you who watches films like the one shown on Al-Arabiyya TV about Saddam (in the link above) and feel it is worth forwarding to others, then you MUST watch this BBC documentary. It used to be available for view in this link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2672821173995817383 but unfortunately the film has been removed. Although this BBC film made me angry and I include my criticism of it in this link http://zennobia.blogspot.com/2006/11/death-squads-bbc-documentary-film_15.html, I think it still put to shame the message portrayed in the Arabic documentary of Al-Arabiya TV channel about Saddam. It is important to note that Al-Arabiyya TV is a channel that was established by the Saudis to challenge Al-Jazeera TV channel. Al-Arabiyya is a reminder of Al-Iraqiyya and Al-Furat TV channels in the level of cheap and obvious propaganda, which also has that subtle type of propaganda of those made by the BBC, CNN and the like. So the fact that this video was shown on/produced by Al-Arabiyya TV (similar to the fact that the one on death squades was produced by BBC) and the fact that it included commentaries by criminals such as Ar-Rubaei, Ibrahim Al-Jafary, it makes it not worth watching. Its only message is to hate Saddam, the Baathists and Arabs and it makes the Shiites look good, just like the BBC film's message is to be critical of the Shiites of IRAQ and to make the Americans look good and helpless. link Blah3: COMMANDER IN CHIEF EMERITUS Bush didn't heed Colin Powell's Pottery Barn analogy about Iraq, "You break it, you own it." I think often about the Pottery Barn rule, and what it means beyond its face value: Once you break it, pay for it, and own it, you typically don't keep it, do you? No, you don't. Because it lost its value when you broke it. Frankly, you'd probably leave it in the store and not even take it with you. Me, I'd help to clean up the mess I made and then leave. Bush, he'd no doubt leave it to the clerks and skulk out of the store. If stopped, he'd make up a bunch of excuses about some crazy uncontrollable kids running amok who made the mess. Beyond that, I'm troubled by parts of the Gates testimony today in which he said the situation in Iraq needs to be brought under control within the next year or two. Well, in two years Bush gets to go build his library and his successor gets to buy the vase he broke in Pottery Barn. I'm not really too keen on having Bush kick the can down the road, effectively selling someone else the merchandise he broke. So I suggest the following: After leaving the presidency, Bush must remain in charge of prosecuting the war in Iraq until "the mission is accomplished." Let him be personally responsible -- from 2008 until whenever -- for "staying the course" until we achieve "victory" (whatever the hell that means). Make a new post for the Commander-In-Chief Emeritus, reserved for presidents who've fucked up so badly that burdening their successor(s) with the problem is simply not an option. Bush is a 60-year-old man who has yet to clean up his own mess even once in his life, dating back to Arbusto and I'm sure even before that. He's now made what is arguably the biggest mess one person can make, and I'll bet my bottom dollar he's counting the days until it's someone else's problem. And when it becomes someone else's problem, which it invariably will, Bush will be there to snipe from the sidelines that it might have worked out better if he'd been in control, being a self-professed "War President" and whatnot. I say don't let him off the hook. Iraq is his "accountability moment," and that moment shouldn't be allowed to pass until he himself closes the book on it. It's just not enough for me that Bush will go down as the Worst President Ever. That's good, but not enough. link Left I on the News: POLITICAL HUMOR OF THE DAY The New York Times reports:
The White House has resisted the idea of widening its own diplomatic channels with Iran and Syria, saying that even opening a regular dialogue would be a concession to two governments suspected of fomenting violence in Iraq.
Because fomenting violence in Iraq is our job, goddammit! link Needlenose: THE ONION WEIGHS IN ON THE IRAQ STUDY GROUP I'll have some darker thoughts on the relative helpfulness of the Baker boys' handiwork later this morning, but for the moment I'll just pass along that The Onion has lent its distinctive commentary to the subject. As always, though, there's the danger that the Bush/Cheney axis of insanity may read "recommendations" like this...
-- Move operations over to another country that will embrace democracy more readily.
... and not realize that they're intended as satire. link >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: A suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan, leaving 15 civilians killed or wounded, police said. No NATO troops were hurt in the blast in Kandahar, said Squadron Leader Jason Chalk, a spokesman for the alliance. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Saddam's time was the golden age" -- Baghdad hairdresser Um Khaled lamenting the drop in trade over her 25 years in business, echoing many Iraqis who once cheered the fall of the dictator: "Even a year ago, things were much better. I used to have lots of brides come in on their wedding days too. Now I don't take many. I'm too afraid they'll be kidnapped when they leave the shop in their gowns."


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