DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, December 12, 2006
: A Sunni woman holds a framed image of powerful anti US radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as they are visited by his representative, sheik Rahim Al-Alaaq, in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, Sunday Dec. 10, 2006. Shiite delegation visited few remaining Sunni families in Sadr City, Iraq, to express support and solidarity on a day when Baghdad has been suffering from a series of attacks aimed at driving Sunnis or Shiites out of neighborhoods of the capital where they form a minority. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Bring 'em on
: Three U.S. airmen were killed in action in western Iraq on Monday and two other soldiers died in separate incidents, the military said on Tuesday.
The U.S. military in Baghdad said the three airmen were killed by enemy action in Anbar province. One Marine died in "non-hostile action", the ususal term for an accident, in the same area. A fifth serviceman died of what the army described as apparent natural causes.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A suicide bomber targeting poor laborers killed 70 people in Baghdad on Tuesday, a day when President Bush was talking to his military chiefs in Iraq to help him draft a new U.S. strategy. (...)
Interior Ministry sources said 236 people were wounded in the Baghdad blast after the suicide bomber lured a crowd of day laborers to his vehicle with the promise of work. They said 70 people were killed.
The 7 a.m. bombing took place in Tayaran Square, a popular gathering point for construction workers who frequent the cafes and street vendors while waiting for the chance of some work. Many of the workers who gather in the area are poor Shi'ites.
"A driver with a pickup truck stopped and asked for laborers. When they gathered around the car it exploded
," said a witness, who was helping a stumbling survivor with a blood- stained bandage covering his head.
"They were poor laborers looking for work. The poor are supposed to be protected by the government," he said.
Calling the attack a "horrible massacre," Maliki blamed it on Saddam Hussein sympathizers and Sunni Islamist al Qaeda.
At least 60 people were killed and 221 wounded in the devastating blasts that ripped through the busy Tayaran square at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) where Shiite labourers from Sadr City gather to look for day work.
Witnesses described how a pair of vehicles were involved in the attack.
First a BMW car rear-ended a police vehicle and exploded, prompting crowds of day labourers and stall holders to take shelter on the other side of the square. Two minutes later a pickup truck ploughed into the crowd and exploded.
"After the explosion, not a single person in the square was standing. I thought everyone was dead," said Khaled Nasser, a labourer who searched the wreckage for four of his companions.
"I found them all cut in half -- no legs -- and for some I could only find their heads," he told AFP.
Iraqi police found 47 bodies in different parts of Baghdad
, all apparent victims of sectarian violence.
A suicide car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint in Radwaniya in southern Baghdad
, killing one person and wounding eight.
At least four civilians were wounded on Tuesday when an explosive charge went off in in Karada district of central Baghdad
, wounding four civilians.
A television cameraman working for The Associated Press was shot to death by insurgents
while covering clashes in the northern city of Mosul.
A bomb has exploded at Iraq's famed golden-domed mosque in Samarra
, site of a February bomb attack that sparked nationwide civil strife, causing minimal damage, the US military has said.
Samarra police discovered the bomb at the mosque entrance in a routine patrol and called in a US army bomb squad, a statement said Tuesday.
"The EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team was successful in removing the detonation wire and fuse," it said. "However, during their attempt to remove the bomb, it exploded and caused minimal damage to the door and entryway.
Gunmen in a car shot dead a man standing at a railway station.
Five people were killed and 15 wounded when a suicide car bomber blew himself up near an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern city of Kirkuk.
A mortar round landed on a house, killing a mother and her two children and wounded two others in the town of Riyadh
60 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.
Gunmen shot dead two policemen near the town of Hawija
70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.
Police found a body with gunshot wounds in the town of Chemin
, 15 km (8 km) north of Kirkuk.
Police found the bodies of four people, including an elderly woman, in different parts of Mosul.
All had gunshot wounds.
Gunmen killed an Iraqi army colonel north of the southern city of Basra as he headed to his office.
Four South African security workers have been kidnapped north of Baghdad
and their whereabouts remain unknown, South Africa's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The men were employed by OSSI-Safenet security service, a sub-contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Eight farmers were kidnapped on the road between Dujail and Tikrit in Salahaddin province north of Baghdad.
Bush on Tuesday put off until early next month announcing a new approach to the Iraq war.
"It only makes sense for the president to take whatever time he needs to have confidence in the course that he will put forward before the American people," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The White House initially indicated Bush would deliver the speech before Christmas.
While administration officials said Bush had largely decided on where he wants to go in terms of a new policy, he gave no public hint of his plan at a meeting with the country's Sunni vice president.
The Baghdad night was filled with the sound of small arms fire as inhabitants celebrated Iraq's 1-0 victory over South Korea in the semi-final at the Asian Games
The chorus of hand guns and assault rifles was joined by the staccato rap of PKC light machine guns as tracer rounds arced into the sky and the air was filled with the smell of cordite.
With each new victory of Iraq's football team in the Asian Games, the volume of gunfire has grown, echoing from all parts of the sectarian divided city.
Though much of the city was dark, due to frequent electricity cuts, people were actually dancing in the streets in reasonably secure neighborhoods like Sadr City, a bastion of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia.
The celebrations were not confined to Baghdad either, with reports of happy gunfire and joyous crowds coming from the many southern cities like Najaf and Basra.
Iraqi television even showed images of celebration coming from the violence-plagued city of Baquba.
A senior Iraqi government official said Tuesday he expected the judicial panel studying the ousted dictator's appeal to confirm death sentences on Saddam
, his half brother Barzan al-Tikriti and a former judge, Awad Ahmed al-Bandar.
"We are considering the possibility of executing the three, Saddam, Barzan and Bandar at one time on the same day," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity because the court is supposed to be independent.
"We may bury Saddam at a secret location," he said.
"His body may later be handed over to his relatives, as under Muslim rituals we can exhume the body after it is buried. But one thing the government will ensure is that there is no memorial built for Saddam anywhere in Iraq."
Three British soldiers have been jailed and thrown out of the army after admitting a plot to smuggle guns out of Iraq
to sell them for cash in Germany, a spokesman has said.
Between 4.3 million and 6.5 million Americans are likely to know someone who has been killed or injured in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan
, according to new estimates by a Duke University sociologist.
Although the number of soldiers killed or wounded is known, the social effect of those deaths and injuries stretches beyond those directly affected to their social network -- family, friends and acquaintances -- which is harder to count but likely important in shaping beliefs and behaviors.
"We look at the news and it seems like something in a movie far away," said James Moody, associate professor of sociology at Duke. "It's very different when there's an empty chair at the Christmas table."
Alive in Baghdad video: NOT ENOUGH CEMETERY TO GO AROUND
The Abu Hanifa Mosque is a famous Sunni mosque in Adhamiya. After the invasion the mosque constructed a new cemetery originally for fighters in the war but it has since been expanded.
Now the cemetery takes all manners of victims of Iraq sectarian violence and it has open to Shi'as as well.
Although stories about Iraq accentuate sectarian violence and the possibility of a looming civil war, there are many accounts of Iraqi's coming together in opposition to sectarianism. One story is about how the Abu Hanifa mosque helped survivors of the Kadhmiya bridge tragedy in 2005.
Unfortunately this new cemetery can not hold all of the martyrs and others dieing each day in Iraq, and they expect to build many more in the coming months. The caretaker of the Abu Hanifa cemetery says they dig an average of 4-5 graves each day, and this is just for one cemetery in a city of five million inhabitants.
As the Iraq study group returns dire statistics from the situation in Iraq, one wonders when the stories of mutual aid and collective support in Baghdad's communities will begin to get more play in the media. Although a civil war now seems inevitable, perhaps a better understanding of the solidarity present within Baghdadis and Iraqis can provide another direction for Iraq's future.
Dahr Jamail: IRAQ AS A LIVING HELL
Terrible as life is when Iraqis across the country find themselves essentially camping out in their own homes with few or no basic services, it pales in comparison to life in Baghdad, the country's capital and home to nearly one quarter of its population. A friend of mine, who works there as a freelance cameraman, sent me this grim summary a couple of weeks ago:
"Life here in Iraq has become impossible because of the militias, sectarian violence, and the occupation [U.S.] forces. Every day we see the dead bodies near our homes which have been killed by militias. We watch how the U.S. troops see these dead bodies and... do nothing to stop this violence. Two of my brothers just left their houses and rented a new place because they were living in a Shia area. They had to run away just because they are Sunni.
"Every day the U.S. troops raid so many houses in my area and arrest so many innocent people. Yet, when the Americans arrest one of the [Shia] militia members they release him the very next day! Why?
"I hope I can show you how the dogs have started eating the dead bodies which lie in the streets of Baghdad now. I filmed one of the dead bodies while there was a dog eating on it. The U.S. troops and Iraqi police leave the dead bodies in the streets for one or two days... I think they intend to do this because they want everyone, including the children, to see this. Three days ago my young son saw some of the Shia militia as they killed an innocent Iraqi in front of his eyes just near his school.
"Oh Dahr, I don't know what to say about my wounded country. Every Iraqi wants to bomb himself because of this shit life. Now Iraq is nothing like it was when you were here last, as bad as it was then. It has become very difficult to find someone who smiles. Everyone is sad and crying. This is true and this is our life now."read in full...
Time: THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN IRAQ
There wasn't much blood on the last casualty of the day in Ramadi, the capital of al-Anbar Province. The bandages on the face of the American soldier who arrived at the U.S. field hospital in the area around midnight Dec. 6 were only a little red as medics crowded around him at the operating table. Navy Commander Carlos Brown, the chief surgeon at Camp Ramadi, peered at the bullet wound in the soldier's lower face as his team quickly cut clothes off the man and readied surgical equipment. "Stop," Brown said suddenly. All hands fell away from the table, and everyone grew silent. "He's dead." (...)
Usually the U.S. casualties in Ramadi come in twos and threes during lightning insurgent strikes like the one Marines faced Dec. 4 in the downtown area. Hundreds of Marines and a handful of Navy medics hole up every day inside several newly established police stations in central Ramadi. In the latest push to gain control of the city, U.S. forces man what amount to a string of inner-city garrisons across town, offering training and support to small groups of Iraqi police who warily walk the surrounding streets. The patrols rarely venture far. The blocks around the compounds are flush with insurgents who watch the movements of Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops, waiting to attack at unpredictable moments.
Eleven days had passed without a major assault on one such station in central Ramadi when suddenly a mortar slammed into a door leading to an outside toilet. The yells rose even before the sound of the massive blast faded. An Iraqi policeman dangling a bloody arm yowled in Arabic as he ambled down a corridor away from the smoke and dust of the explosion. Worried shouts and the barking of orders surrounded one of the American wounded as he lay on his back in the same hall, bleeding heavily. Another wounded American sat stunned with blood flowing from his mouth and gashes on his head and neck. Outside, a Navy medic lay dead from shrapnel wounds. And on the roof of an adjacent building, a Marine was dead after getting shot in the face in gunfire that came with the mortar. About half an hour later, the dead and the wounded were brought to Brown, who says at times he struggles with his emotions when treating fellow servicemen and -women.
read in full...
Poll: 4% OF AMERICANS SAY STAY THE COURSE IN IRAQ
Americans believe the war in Iraq is going badly and getting worse, and think it's time for the U.S. either to change its strategy or start getting out, according to a CBS News poll.
Forty-three percent say the U.S. should keep fighting, but with new tactics, while 50 percent say the U.S. should begin to end its involvement altogether. Only 4 percent say the U.S. should keep fighting as it is doing now.
Opposition to the war is now taking on historic proportions, with 62 percent saying it was "a mistake" to send U.S. troops to Iraq - slightly more than told a Gallup Poll in 1973 that it was a mistake to send U.S. forces to Vietnam.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Steve Gilliard: WE'RE NOW IN STUPID LAND
From the New York Times:
Iraqis Consider Ways to Reduce Power of Cleric
By EDWARD WONG
BAGHDAD, Dec. 11 - After discussions with the Bush administration, several of Iraq's major political parties are in talks to form a coalition whose aim is to break the powerful influence of the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr within the government, senior Iraqi officials say.
The talks are taking place among the two main Kurdish groups, the most influential Sunni Arab party and an Iranian-backed Shiite party that has long sought to lead the government.
They have invited Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to join them. But Mr. Maliki, a conservative Shiite who has close ties to Mr. Sadr, has held back for fear that the parties might be seeking to oust him, a Shiite legislator close to Mr. Maliki said.
Officials involved in the talks say their aim is not to undermine Mr. Maliki, but to isolate Mr. Sadr as well as firebrand Sunni Arab politicians inside the government. Mr. Sadr controls a militia with an estimated 60,000 fighters that has rebelled twice against the American military and is accused of widening the sectarian war with reprisal killings of Sunni Arabs.
The Americans, frustrated with Mr. Maliki's political dependence on Mr. Sadr, appear to be working hard to help build the new coalition. President Bush met last week in the White House with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Iranian-backed Shiite party, and is to meet on Tuesday with Tariq al-Hashemi, leader of the Sunni Arab party. In late November, Mr. Bush and his top aides met with leaders from Sunni countries in the Middle East to urge them to press moderate Sunni Arab Iraqis to support Mr. Maliki. (...)
We're now in stupid land.
Sadr once had about 10,000 members of the Mahdi Army. Now he has US trained and armed members.
A lot of people still have no respect for Sadr, they call him crazy, or a pain, anything but the most powerful politician in Iraq. Because this is who he is.
A couple of weeks ago, he went into the US funded state TV station and took it over, doing two hours of live remotes from Sadr City, where they denounced the government. Someone rolled up into the Higher Education ministry and kidnapped a couple of dozen people.
And it wasn't Hakim and his Badr Organization.
It is late in the day to be talking about rolling up and isolating Sadr as if the Madhi Army wasn't taking over Baghdad block by block. But what is so insanely reckless is that the people doing it are running to Washington for permission. Not even realizing that Sadr's strongest appeal is his impecable nationalist credentials.
When his father was killed by Saddam in 1999, agents came to pay him off. Sadr refused to shake his hand and rejected the money, knowing it was a death sentence. One of his aides made nice, took the money and saved his life.
He has been making one consistent nationalist argument, which is the Americans have to leave, since 2003. He has fought them since 2004.
The idea of the US attacking Sadr is desperately insane. It is a serious question if Iraqi units wouldn't quit or turn on US forces if ordered to turn on their families. But it now means the US has two enemies, the Sunni resistance and the Sadrists. Which is not going to result in any kind of victory, but could undo what government is there and leave Sadr the unquestioned master of Iraq.
It's 2006, it's late to be picking sides in Iraq, and the outcome can only be bad.
read in full...
CRAWFORDOLOGY IS NOT AN EASY SCIENCE
[Bush's] yesterday's visit to the State Department in ostensible quest of advice produced some interesting and characteristic verbiage: (...)
Saul Kanowitz: CAN THE U.S. RULING CLASS ADMIT DEFEAT IN IRAQ?
I'm looking forward to continuing my deliberations with the military.Later on in the same speech we get some hint of a new Party line, or at least some new Party Chinese, when Mr. Bush is emboldened to proclaim This is really the calling of our time, that is, to defeat these extremists and radicals.
Not "terrorists," only "extremists and radicals"! What's going on here? Have all or some of the former global terrorists been demoted, or are "extremists and radicals" a different group altogether -- even possibly the Mahdí Army specifically?
Crawfordology is not an easy science, but who can deny that it is a fascinating one? Stay tuned everybody.
-- Comment by JHM at Juan Cole's Informed Comment, Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A documentary aired in October by the PBS TV series Frontline, "The Lost Year," argues that the current situation can be traced back to mistakes made by the civilian and military administrations during the first year of the occupation. The program blames poor planning, a lack of coordination between the Pentagon and the Civilian Provisional Authority headed by L. Paul Bremer and a flood of ill-trained and poorly vetted neoconservative operatives responsible for reconstituting Iraq according to their own colonial vision. (...)
In a series of interviews, "The Lost Year" intentionally or unintentionally shows the racist attitude of the U.S. personnel who administered the occupation on a day-to-day basis.
In one interview, for example, Barbara Bodine, an ambassador with the Office of Humanitarian Assistance, tries to discredit the resistance movement by saying its origins could be found in the civil unrest and chaos that occurred in Baghdad after the collapse of the Iraqi state. She equates the growth of the resistance movement to a disease with its biological origin in those events.
This racist analogy for the heroic Iraqi people standing up to occupation, coming from a "humanitarian" ambassador supposedly more versed in the art of diplomacy, provides a useful insight into how the military and policy planners of U.S. imperialism view an occupied people. (...)
The U.S. military cannot be defeated in the formal military sense-on the battlefield with tanks, planes and ships. But war is not just a military project. An army of soldiers with no material interest in victory-in this case, the subjugation of an entire people for the sake of oil profits-is no match for a resistance deeply rooted in the population and infused with the drive for national liberation.
It was a lesson that the Vietnamese liberation forces re-taught the Pentagon generals and imperialist politicians. It was the dream of the Bush gang to prove that lesson false. (...)
The problem facing the Bush administration and the new Democratic-controlled Congress is that the Pentagon cannot militarily defeat the resistance or insurgency in Iraq nor can it easily withdraw without potentially igniting other anti-U.S. insurrections in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Avoiding the perception of a military defeat has thus become a central objective for Pentagon policy makers and the imperialist establishment as a whole. This is somewhat of a repeat of a predicament that faced the Nixon administration when it assumed office in 1969.
Nixon and the military realized by late 1969 that victory in Vietnam, in the military sense, was impossible. Their new goal was to escape a catastrophic defeat. Thirty thousand additional U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese died between 1969 and 1973 before the U.S. political establishment recognized that defeat was indeed impossible to avoid.
read in full...
Gorilla's Guides: YES I AM ANTI-AMERICAN
For the record: Yes I AM anti-American. America invaded Iraq illegally for its own selfish purposes based upon a pack of lies. For its own selfish thieving purposes America has conducted a savagely vicious campaign of occupation against the Iraqi people, including routine artillery attacks against civilians including the use of phosphorus rounds in such quantity that the effect is that of using a chemical weapon, routine airstrikes against civilians, taking children hostage to force their families to surrender, denial of food to entire civilian populations, denial of water to entire civilian populations, denial of medicines to entire civilian populations, torture, sexual assault against civilians and I include in that the sexual assault of imprisoned children. For its own selfish thieving purposes America has trained and funded the most savagely vicious of the deathsquads now operating in Iraq. For its own selfish thieving purposes America is trying to divide the country by promoting civil war. It's a tribute to the decency and the courage of most of the Iraqi people that the revoltingly barbaric and viciously racist campaign being waged against them by America for its own selfish thieving purposes has thus far failed to achieve its goals.
That courage and decency is shared by those few, those very few, Americans who campaigned against this disgusting and evil American war against the people of Iraq from the start - it's a sad commentary on the State of American society that they're in such a minority.
I and the Iraqis who write here are pro-life, anti-rape, anti-torture, anti-theft, anti-sectarian, anti-murder. Because of how your country has behaved and continues to behave in Iraq that means that these days we're Anti-America. Stop whining and get used to it.
read in full...
A Tiny Revolution: IT'S HARD TO STOP LYING WHEN YOUR NAME IS "LYIN' COLIN POWELL"
So Colin Powell was in Dubai last for something called the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum:
[Powell] said that if the US had known at the time there were no weapons of mass destruction 'it would have been a whole different equation' in Iraq.
'If Saddam Hussein had come forward with a full and complete declaration and he had not thrown the UN inspectors out, a war could have been avoided.'
You'd think eight years after the UNSCOM inspectors were withdrawn with the encouragement of the US, this particular lie might be showing signs of age. You also might think Colin Powell would occasionally slip up and tell the truth. But no, the Powell Lie Train keeps rolling along same as always.
Abdujabbar al-Samarai, Azzaman: WEST'S ATTEMPT TO DIVIDE IRAQ ON SECTARIAN GROUNDS
Several years before the 2003 U.S. invasion, western media had already divided the Iraqi society into several ethnic and sectarian groups. Even western powers, particularly the U.S. and the U.K. had their prior invasion policies based on the fact that Iraq was divisible into at least three separate ethnic, sectarian and geographical regions.
The two powers even resorted to military means to translate their strategy of partitioning the country on the ground. They create two no-fly zones one in the north and one in the south ostensibly to protect the northern Sunni Kurds and the southern Arab Shiites from the 'oppressive' Arab Sunni regime in the center.
When the two powers occupied Iraq, they pressed ahead with their strategy. Instead of working for a unified and multicolored Iraq, they began driving one wedge after another between the different components of the society.
In the pre-invasion period they had two no-fly zones. In the post-invasion period they destroyed the country's institutions in which the various sects, faiths and nationalities were represented.
In the institutions they dismantled differences like those surfacing currently in Iraq were non-existent. There were Arab Shiites and Sunni Kurds serving at the various levels of administration. In fact many Iraqis would even not bother to ask whether the president of a university, the dean of a college, the governor of a province or even the head of the security or intelligence at the provincial levels was Shiite, Sunni, Christian or Kurd.
There were Christian and Shiite Baathists at the head of Baath party organizations in many provinces in Iraq. Iraqis rarely asked whether the boss who reported to former leader Saddam Hussein was Shiite, Sunni, Kurd or Christian. Those were rarely issue of concern to them.
Today, conditions are different in what is supposed to be a democratic Iraq. Every where and at any level of government - civil or military - the first thing to know is who is who at all ranks of the newly formed institutions.
Not only that. The ministries are now divided on sectarian and ethnic grounds. So are almost all the new institutions the invaders or their lackeys have set up. A ministry could be Shiite, for example. Not only that. It could be under the hegemony of a certain Shiite faction. The minister owes his presence and loyalty to the faction he belongs to and not to the nation.
Every new brick the invaders added to our institutions is tainted with sectarianism. The first thing Iraqis would like to know now is whether the police or military commander of the force assigned to protect them is Shiite, Sunni or Kurd and which faction he belongs to. Some communities would rather have the anti-U.S. rebels or even al-Qaeda-related insurgents govern their areas than relinquishing control to units led by commanders of opposite sect.
The invaders are the reason of this mistrust. They nourished these divisions right in the aftermath of their occupation. They are to blame for the carnage and atrocities taking place now because they fueled the sectarian divide in a country where sectarian borders are impossible to draw.
Take the Iraqi Arabs who make up more than 80 per cent of the population. The major Arab tribes like the Shammar, the Zubaid, the Rabiaa, the Jibour, the Tai, the Iza and many others straddle the sectarian divide the invaders have created. These tribes are composed of both Arab Sunni and Shiite members who for centuries defended each other and have been connected through bonds of blood and marriage.
Kurds and Turkmen, the other two major minorities, are present throughout the country. There are about one million Kurds in Baghdad alone and it is almost impossible to have them distanced from the rest because of the ties of marriage and shared cultural and religious values.
The invaders have indeed destroyed the fabric of coexistence and tolerance that unified the country. This is why most Iraqis would rather have them leave in humiliation. Their presence is part of the problem and not solution.
Cartoons: WORLD VIEW ON IRAQ
Cartoonists from around the world pen their dissatisfaction with the war.
From the Philippines [Norman Isaac/Manila Bulletin
] comes a humbling depiction of a superpower learning to crawl before it can cut and run
Chris Floyd: AMERICA'S SHAME: BROUGHT LOW BY A GANG OF CRETINS
Only Six Fluent in Arabic at U.S. Embassy in Iraq (Reuters)
Among the 1,000 people who work in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, only 33 are Arabic speakers and only six speak the language fluently, according to the Iraq Study Group report released on Wednesday.
This tells you pretty much all you need to know about the American debacle in Iraq. Imagine the arrogance and stupidity of conquering, occupying and trying to run a country without being able to speak its language. A nation of 26 million people - and your embassy has only six people who can actually understand what is being said, written, and broadcast there. This is a folly that amounts to a monstrous crime in itself, aside from the inherent evil of launching an unprovoked war of aggression.
Evil is the only word to describe the wilful ignorance at work throughout the entire process of the Iraq War, from its inception to its execution to the catastrophic endgame now unfolding before our eyes. The reality of the situation is almost unimaginable, almost unendurable: that the most powerful nation in the history of the world has thrown itself, deliberately, for no compelling reason whatsoever beyond the selfish interests of a few elitist cliques, into a cauldron of mass murder and moral ruin, whose financial, political and spiritual costs will be felt, with deep suffering, for generations.
read in full...
Arianna Huffington: GOOD NEWS, EVERYBODY: WE'VE GOT A NEW IRAQ SLOGAN!
Not surprisingly, the Bush administration is already backing away from most of the proposals put forth by the Iraq Study Group. The New York Times
, with unintended comic irony, noted it this way: "Administration officials say their preliminary review of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's recommendations has concluded that many of its key proposals are impractical or unrealistic." Thank God we have George Bush to protect us from doing anything impractical or unrealistic in the Middle East.
But there is one thing in the proposal we can be sure Bush will take from the report -- the slogan. Bush may not be into things like facts, truth, or reality, but he loves a good slogan.
So while Bush may not like any of the Group's 79 proposals (so impractical and unrealistic), he's ready to adopt its slogan, "New Way Forward." Newsweek
says that next week "Bush is expected to announce what he calls 'The New Way Forward,' his latest plan to salvage the mission in Iraq."
Of course, that's been the problem during this entire fiasco -- the substitution of rhetoric for policy -- the belief, even at this late date, that reality can be changed simply by changing the language used to describe it. Bush makes a big show of his religious faith, but what's truly impressive is his incredible faith in the power of PR, and, accordingly, his lack of faith in the American people.
Nowhere was this rationale laid out more succinctly than in the internal memo Donald Rumsfeld wrote in his last month in office, which included this slippery strategy: "Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not 'lose.'"
It's not about losing and winning, but, rather, about "losing" and "winning," which are very, very different things.
So now we're going from "Stay the Course" to "New Way Forward." Will that change anything? Not likely. But, in Bush's mind, it'll buy him some time, at least until the next slogan.
And what will that be? Following is the HuffPo Iraq War Slogan Timeline -- past, present, and, yes, future:
AXIS OF EVIL
SHOCK AND AWE
FIGHT 'EM THERE, NOT HERE
ADAPT TO WIN
STAY THE COURSE
NEW WAY FORWARD
THE NEW NEW WAY FORWARD
STAY THE NEW NEW WAY FORWARD
A NEW WAY BACKWARD
A FASTER NEW WAY BACKWARD
HOLY SHIT, LET'S GET OUT OF HERE
A NEW WAY OF FORGETTING THAT EVER HAPPENED
THE NEW GATHERING THREAT
AlQuds editorial: FAILED SECTARIAN GOVERNMENT
Yesterday, AlHoreyah District which lies at the heart of the capital Baghdad witnessed yet another hideous crime against the innocent people of Iraq. 50 Iraqis were killed in broad daylight. Eyewitnesses said that this massacre took place yards from a policing station belonging to the security services of the current ruling regime in Iraq, and under the gazing eyes of the occupation's forces whose high-tech flying machines continue to roam the skies of Iraq. Neither the security services forces nor did the occupation's forces respond to the cry out for help by those who were being slain, in a clear sign of the intricate coordination between the occupation, the despicable rule-by-terror regime in Iraq and the militias who carried out this latest grotesque atrocity.
A truly sovereign government is expected to represent the people irrespective of their race, sect and religion. The non-sovereign regime along iwith its AlMaliki's government in Iraq clear does not fall within this category. It continues its despicable crimes against humanity and the people of Iraq on a daily basis.
Saddam's dictatorship has been accused of sectarianism by AlMaliki and AlHakeem when the two were living in exile. Yet, Saddam's regime never attempted to ignite a civil war between the Arabs, Kurds, Shias and Sunnis of Iraq. Whilst, its evil had spanned across all Iraq's ethnicities alike, but for decades Saddam's regime provided security for all. Even Ayatullah Ali AlSistani, Iraq's top Shia clergyman, had testified to this.
There is no doubt in the minds of the decent that this evil despicable regime, which has given birth to two governments (AlMaliki's and AlJaffari's) is responsible for these crimes against the innocent people of Iraq, because evil sectarianism lies deep in its hearts and minds; and flows in its filthy blood.
Sheikh Dr Harith AlDhari, the head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, had correctly demanded from the Arab regimes and the international community to withdraw recognition and collaboration with the evil rule-by-terror regime in Iraq which is behind the daily massacres in Iraq, and is taking every step to hide its crimes of sectarian and ethnic cleansing in Baghdad and Basrah.
Dr AlDhari must condemn all political parties and groups, and including the Sunni ones as well, which supported this government, and all of whom now have the blood of the innocent people of Iraq on their filthy hands. Dr AlDhari condemnation must also include the Sunni political factions because they are part of this evil regime and its despicable government, and whose danger on the people of Iraq equals that of the blood-thirsty militias, and make all responsible for the sectarian bloodbath and daily massacres.
The authors had opposed Dr AlDhari's participation in the reconciliation circus that was fostered by the Arab League in Cairo, which had invited the warring Iraqi factions. That comedy show was clearly scripted by the hands of the US occupation to give its local 'Iraqi' collaborators a face-lift, as an attempt to help the survival of the illegitimate despicable rule-by-terror regime in Iraq that was conceived in the womb of the occupation and is being breast-fed from its milk.
There is no doubt that the Cairo circus has failed, and the Arab League's participation in the occupation of Iraq project is beyond any doubt.
Despite our differences, yet we add our voice to Dr AlDhari's and demands from the Arab governments and the international community to stop collaboration with and recognition of the illegitimate despicable rule-by-terror regime in Iraq, whose crimes against the people of Iraq in particular, and humanity in general, are beyond any doubt in the minds and hearts of the decent. This fascist regime in Iraq has failed to represent all Iraqis irrespective of race, ethnicity or sect; failed to take the first step towards national reconciliation by providing for security for all, stopping the daily massacres, dissolving the militias and bringing those who are responsible for the daily crimes against the people of Iraq to justice.
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Born at the Crest of the Empire: SUNNIS SHOOTING DOWN AIRCRAFT IN ANBAR WITH MISSILES?
Another helicopter went down in Anbar, no fatalities, 18 wounded. This is the third aircraft to go down in Anbar in two weeks.
At this point there's no evidence to say that these were shot down, the military holds that all three went down for mechanical reasons, but I do want to point back to this unconfirmed AP report four days ago.
In one recent case, an Iraqi official said $25 million in (private) Saudi money went to a top Iraqi Sunni cleric and was used to buy weapons, including Strela, a Russian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile. The missiles were purchased from someone in Romania, apparently through the black market, he said....
The U.S. military said it had no information about the cause of the (F-16) crash. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman, said he would be surprised if the jet was shot down because F-16's have not encountered weapons capable of taking them down in Iraq.
But last week, a spokesman for Saddam's ousted Baath party claimed that fighters armed with a Strela missile had shot down the jet.
"We have stockpiles of Strelas and we are going to surprise them (the Americans)," Khudair al-Murshidi, the spokesman told the AP in Damascus, Syria. He would not say how the Strelas were obtained.
Saddam's army had Strelas; it is not known how many survived the 2003 war. The Strela is a shoulder-fired, low-altitude system with a passive infrared guidance system.
I would treat this as iffy rumor at this point, but even the threat of an effective anti-aircraft missile would be disastrous for the US.
If you look back to the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, it was the arrival of the US made Stinger AA missiles that really crippled their operations by limiting air mobility, not to mention the atrocious large scale casualties. The inability to move troops by helicopter put every mission at risk on the road, and rapid response and reinforcement was crippled.
So this maybe nothing, but keep an eye open.
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Claus Jacobsen: DO IT YOURSELF OP-ED ABOUT THE IRAQI STUDY GROUP
Ever since the Iraqi Study Group. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rejects direct talks. No exit strategy. A reasonable proposal to many. Led by James Baker and congressman. IED were identified. Outcome. And other media dubbed it "a civil war". Syria and Iraq opened up. The large US embassy in Baghdad is thought to. Include other incentives, but so far little. Abu Ghraib. Only option is to.
Quagmire. Talking about dignified. Rumsfeld twice offered to resign. The number of US casualties. Since the invasion in 2003 the political climate. The mid term elections pointed toward. Diplomacy. In spite of repeated efforts. Iraqi prime minister Talabani. Hizbollah. Setting themselves up for disappointments, if. A multilateral approach. A man like Kissinger, who may not. Grave disaster. Said. Mass scale corruption amounting to a loss of as much as. (...)
Reduce to rubble. Another dangerous proposal with potentially disastrous consequences. Olmert that there would be no. Official reports, however. In any way, shape or form, the spokesman said. A clear case of the tail wagging the dog. Either you are with us, or you. Expectations. Killed in another massacre committed by. Iraqi government. The receiving end of such violence, the Iraqi. Undoubtedly the involvement of Britain and Germany.
In a final analysis, it all depends on. New approach is unlikely to produce the. Bush Sr. left the White House. A permanently unresolved situation that the Democrats. Responses from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Illegal. Claims that they are funded by. Officer who wants to remain anonymous. Protests. Destabilization. Demand evidence that the accusations. If president Bush is going to.
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Roads to Iraq: AGELESS IRAQ: IRAQ 1954
This a propaganda clip from 1954 made by the British invaders of Iraq showing that the occupation of Iraq is a "success story", contributing all the country developments and achievements for themselves.
The importance of this video is not only its contains [for us as Iraqis we know all these images, in their recent shapes, situation and places
]. Much more significant is the need of such piece of propaganda at that time.
It was just less than a year after this video Iraq joined US/British sponsored "Baghdad Pact" [which was something like Bush's fake "War on Terror" recent days
], first task was given to Iraqi troops after "Baghdad pact" is to attack Syria and detach it from the just-formed United Arab Republic with Egypt (which is dissolved in 1961).
Iraqi troops bravely, instead of attacking Syria they turned their weapons "180 degree" and overthrow the pro-US/British regime [give you a hint why first thing the US did after occupying Iraq is to dissolve the Iraqi Army?
Two days later U.S. Marines land in Lebanon to protect the right-wing government of Camille Chamoun, which had been engaged in battles with Arab nationalists in that country. Three days later British paratroopers land in Jordan to shore up the regime of King Hussein, which was also under nationalist pressure.
Watch it here:
Ageless Iraq: Part 1
Ageless Iraq: Part 2
To be continued.....
Uri Avnery: BAKER'S CAKE: IS BUSH GOING TO BAKE IT?
No one likes to admit a mistake. Me neither. But honesty leaves me no choice.
A few days after the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, I happened to go on a lecture tour in the US.
My message was optimistic. I expected some good to come out of the tragedy. I reasoned that the atrocity had exposed the intensity of the hatred for the US that is spreading throughout the world, and especially the Muslim world. It would be logical not only to fight against the mosquitoes, but to drain the swamp. Since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was one of the breeding grounds of the hatred - if not the main one - the US would make a major effort to achieve peace between the two peoples.
That was what cold logic indicated. But this is not what happened. What happened was the very opposite.
American policy was not led by cold logic. Instead of drying one swamp, it created a second swamp. Instead of pushing the Israelis and Palestinians towards peace, it invaded Iraq. Not only did the hatred against America not die down, it flared up even higher. I hoped that this danger would override even the oil interests and the desire to station an American garrison in the center of the Middle East.
Thus I committed the very mistake that I have warned others against many times: to assume that what is logical will actually happen. A rational person should not ignore the irrational in politics. In other words, it is irrational to exclude the irrational.
George W. Bush is an irrational person, perhaps the very personification of irrationality. Instead of drawing the logical conclusion from what had happened and acting accordingly, he set off in the opposite direction. Since then he has just insisted on "staying the course".
Enter James Baker.
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Iranian students disrupted a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
, the Iranian president, at a prestigious Tehran university, setting fire to his picture and heckling him.
The Fars news agency, which is close to Ahmadinejad, said on Monday: "Some students chanted radical slogans and inflamed the atmosphere of the meeting" at the Amir Kabir University.
"A small number of students shouted 'death to the dictator' and smashed cameras of state television but they were confronted by a bigger group of students in the hall chanting: 'We support Ahmadinejad'," it said.
Ahmadinejad responded by calling the rebellious students an "oppressive" minority.
This is the first time in two years that such protests have taken place on this scale at Iranian universities.
"A small number of people who claim there is oppression are creating oppression and do not let the majority hear my words," he said.
According to the student news agency ISNA, Ahmadinejad responded to the students' chants of "students can die but they do not accept degradation" by criticising the US. (...)
The Iranian president's speech was also interrupted by firecrackers, ISNA said.
A group of Amir Kabir's top students had earlier expressed objections to the government's economic and political agenda as well as confrontation with student activists and ridding universities of independent lecturers. (...)
The incident came after hundreds of Iranian students protested at Amir Kabir on Sunday to denounce a crackdown on a reformist-led university association, according to the ISNA news agency.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 students also demonstrated at Tehran University on Wednesday to mark students' day, chanting slogans such as "for freedom and against despotism", said ISNA.
Tim Andersen: HISTORY WILL NOT TREAT US KINDLY
Most Americans are hiding. We are like the good Germans of 1933 who knew an authoritarian regime was consolidating its power, but thought we could avoid personal consequences if we kept quiet. We remained silent as enemies of the State were rounded up, and everyones' liberties curtailed. It did not happen all at once. It was a process of conditioning. (...)
Who could have imagined ten years ago that Congress would permit the Bush regime to eliminate habeas corpus? Our founders understood this was the bedrock fundamental principle of a free people. No political opponents could be rounded up and jailed by a tyrant. No one could presume to be above the law. Yet there was hardly a peep from blasé American consumers. The mainstream press reassured us that good Americans had nothing to worry about.
Many people refuse to recognize the corruption and evil of our government, because the thought is simply intolerable. It undermines their fundamental beliefs and trust, and makes most of what occupies their days utterly trivial. The "solution" for these people is to tune-out any potentially upsetting epiphany. They welcome reassuring propaganda that reinforces our noble purposes in the Middle East and elsewhere. They do not care to investigate personally, or even listen to, the evidence of our considerable crimes.
So, it's strange to realize we have no real representation in Congress or control over America's future. Millions of Americans see the ship of state headed straight for an iceberg, and despite our protests the course will not change. It's a classic nightmare.
History will not treat us kindly. We will be remembered as the Americans who insulated themselves from reality and remained self-absorbed, concerned with their own personal comfort and privilege while our government wrecked havoc on the world and destroyed our own culture. It will not be difficult for future generations to understand what happened and the sequence of events. The evidence is abundantly clear. The only question will be why Americans didn't rise up and save themselves.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Today is better than tomorrow." -- "one of the more popular sayings in Baghdad nowadays" according to Dahr Jamail (See above)