Tuesday, December 19, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, December 19, 2006 Photo: A man cries as he waits to claim the bodies of his two sons, who were among the 44 bodies found on Monday, outside Yarmouk hospital morgue in Baghdad December 19, 2006. REUTERS/Ali Jasim (IRAQ) [On the subject, no Christmas miracles for these Iraqis either: Photo 2 - Photo 3 - Photo 4 - Photo 5 - Photo 6 - Photo 7 - Photo 8 - Photo 9; all photos from the past few days -- zig] Bring 'em on: One Marine assigned to 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable died Dec. 18 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS: Baghdad: Thirteen men convicted of murder, kidnapping and other crimes were hanged in a Baghdad jail, lining up shortly before their execution in hoods and green jumpsuits, their hands bound behind their backs. Gunmen including some wearing police uniforms stole at least 1.25 billion Iraqi dinars ($875,000) in cash in the second major heist in central Baghdad in 10 days, a police source said on Tuesday. The source said the gunmen took the money from Industry Ministry employees who were picking up money for salaries from a bank in the Karrada district of Baghdad on Tuesday morning. An Interior Ministry source said the gunmen stormed the bank itself and took as much as 2 billion dinars ($1.4 million). There were no injuries reported in the robbery.
Hours later, guards at another Baghdad bank opened fire on a funeral procession, wounding a mourner. Police said the guards thought the coffin was fake, and that criminals were masquerading as mourners as part of an elaborate attempt to rob the bank. Police intervened and found the mourners to be genuine.
A roadside bomb in a popular market wounded four people in Zaafaraniya district in the southern outskirts of Baghdad. One roadside bomb went off during the morning rush hour near an electricity plant in southern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding nine others. In the city's western Yarmouk district, a roadside bomb narrowly missed a police patrol, wounding four civilians and setting several vehicles ablaze. Police said they detained 18 employees at a power station in Dora in western Baghdad, but did not say why the group was arrested. At least two Iraqi civilians were killed and ten others wounded when an explosive charge went off in southeast of Baghdad. Al-Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad said on Tuesday it received over 40 unidentified bodies during the last 24 hours. (update) The Iraqi Red Crescent said the total number of people seized in a mass kidnapping at the aid group's Baghdad office on Sunday was 42, and that 26 had been released. The Red Crescent, which has links to the international Red Cross, previously said 30 people were abducted. Diyala Prv: Four Iraqi senior tribal leaders were assassinated by unidentified militants in Diyala after participating in a conference of the province's tribes, a security source told KUNA here Tuesday The source indicated that the militants kidnapped Hardan Al-Burhan Al-Azzawi, Taha Khalil Al-Awadi, Shanif Yasir Al-Hamdani, and Abdulqader Ali Al-Hadidi, as they were leaving Baghdad after the conference, and that their bodies were dumped later by a road side. Baqubah: A total of 12 bodies, including two women, were found in different parts of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.
The morgue in the city of Baqouba said it received 12 bodies, including those of two women and an Iraqi soldier.
Rasheed: Three mortar rounds landed on a residential district killing one person and wounding three others in the town of Rasheed, just south of Baghdad. Mosul: The bodies of four people were found on Monday in different parts of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. A suicide bomber struck near an American convoy in Mosul, about 225 northwest of Baghdad, wounding two civilians. Kirkuk: A roadside bomb wounded seven policemen when it exploded by the convoy of Lieutenant-Colonel Kamil Ahmed in southern Kirkuk, police said. Ahmed was not hurt in the attack. The Iraqi army troops, backed by Multi-National forces, arrested ten suspects and seized quantities of weapons near Kirkuk. Ramadi: U.S. forces early on Tuesday arrested the correspondent of Reuters news agency in Ramadi, Iraqi police said. "A large number of U.S. Hummer vehicles cordoned the house of Ammar al-Dulaimi, a correspondent for Reuters in Ramadi, and Marines raided his house and scattered his papers and equipment," a police source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). The source said "the Marines arrested the journalist and confiscated his possessions including a camera," adding the journalist "was taken to the U.S. base of al-Warrar in western Ramadi." U.S.-led forces captured two suspected insurgents near Ramadi, the U.S. military said. Fallujah: U.S.-led forces killed two insurgents and wounded another in Fallujah, and captured two suspected insurgents near Ramadi, the U.S. military said. Hit: U.S. forces killed the preacher of a mosque in Hit town, Anbar province, and arrested three of his brothers, eyewitnesses in Hit said on Tuesday. "The U.S. forces launched after midnight on Monday a massive raid in al-Dawara neighborhood and adjacent areas in search for gunmen and were using stun grenades while raiding houses in the neighborhood," one of the witnesses in Dawara told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). Using the stun grenades led to the death of Sheikh Jameel Khairi Obeid, 40, who is the Imam and preacher of Abu al-Taib mosque in Dawara, he added. The raiding forces also arrested three of Sheikh Obeid's brothers and took them to a U.S. detention center located 2km west of Hit. Hit is 180 km west of Baghdad. Three women were killed and a man was wounded in the town on Monday night when U.S. forces fired randomly after coming under fire in downtown. The U.S. forces made no comment on the reported death of Sheikh Obeid and the arrest of his brothers. Tikrit: The U.S. forces shot dead an advisor for the Iraqi culture ministry while repairing a flat tire on the highway to Baghdad in southern Tikrit. The Iraqi legal advisor was killed when U.S. soldiers opened fire at him fearing of being a suicide attacker, the Iraqi police said on Tuesday. Basra: Two people, including a policeman, were wounded on Tuesday in two separate attacks in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The spokesman for the British forces in southern Iraq said on Tuesday one gunman was killed and five others wounded when several British patrols clashed with gunmen in different parts of Basra. Wassit: A U.S. force detained a leader in Sadr movement in Wassit along with his brother after it raided several houses in Kut, capital city of Wassit province, an eyewitness said. >> NEWS Bush is considering increasing the number of US troops in Iraq, the White House confirmed, denying a rift with top military commanders over such a move. "It's something that's being explored," spokesman Tony Snow said amid media reports that the president might add tens of thousands of US soldiers to help quell what the Pentagon now warns is the worst violence on record. (...) Snow also denied a news account that the US Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously disagree with a White House plan to send between 15,000 and 30,000 more US troops to Iraq for as many as eight months. The newspaper [Washington Post], citing unnamed US officials familiar with the "intense" debate, said the military commanders were against the plan because the force's mission has not been defined. And top Pentagon officials have told Bush that a short-term troop increase could give a boost to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq, without strengthening the position of the US military or Iraq's security forces in the long term, the Post reported. (…) "I think people are trying to create a fight between the president and the joint chiefs where one does not exist," said Snow. "He has asked military commanders to consider a range of options and they are doing so." But Bush, due to unveil a new plan for Iraq next month, "has not made a decision on the way forward," said Snow. "The president is going to do things in response to military necessity, and he will work with the joint chiefs." The Iraqi parliament's foreign relations committee urged on Tuesday the government to recall the country's ambassador to Turkey in protest against its hosting of a conference on Iraq lately. (...) Turkey had hosted a conference on Iraq on December 13, held in Istanbul, with the aim of focusing on Sunnis in the war-torn country. Iraqi and non-Iraqi figures participated in the meeting. The civil administration in Najaf, 180 km southwest of the capital Baghdad, announced a curfew effective as of midnight on Tuesday until 06:00 p.m. on Wednesday as a parade of Iraqi forces will take place in preparation for handover of security responsibility. A former electricity minister jailed on corruption charges remained at large after escaping Sunday from a police station inside the heavily fortified Green Zone. Ayham al-Samaraie, a dual U.S.-Iraqi citizen, walked out of the station on the weekend with the help of private guards [US nationals - zig] who arrived at the station in sport utility vehicles, officials said. >> REPORTS The Pentagon report said attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops and Iraqi civilians jumped sharply in recent months to the highest level since Iraq regained its sovereignty in June 2004. From mid-August to mid-November, the weekly average number of attacks increased 22 percent from the previous three months. The worst violence was in Baghdad and in the western province of Anbar, long the focus of activity by Sunni insurgents, the report said. A bar chart in the Pentagon's report gave no exact numbers but indicated the weekly average had approached 1,000 in the latest period, compared with about 800 per week from the May-to-August period. Statistics provided separately by the Pentagon said weekly attacks had averaged 959 in the latest period. Over the past six months, Baghdad has been all but isolated electrically, Iraqi officials say, as insurgents have effectively won their battle to bring down critical high-voltage lines and cut off the capital from the major power plants to the north, south and west. >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS QUESTION, AMERICA: I have a son in Iraq: the 1st Armored Division of the Army, stationed at a remote outpost near the hotbed Ramadi. Last week his platoon lost two to injuries -- one a result of shrapnel to the testicles, the other a leg wound from small arms fire. They're down to 15 in the platoon. Nearly every day they're out on patrol, generally by foot. Every day, they're vulnerable, their lives held open to the potential of death or injury. Two weeks ago he called by satellite phone, awakening Amy and me in the dead of the night. Machine gun fire was all around him, the sound of war filling our ears and hearts with grief and fear of loss. He wanted to tell us that he loves us, that he was on a dangerous patrol and that if anything happened to his life, he would take his love for us to his death and beyond. He made it through that day and night. As this is written, he is still here with us. His tour was to end the first week in November but he was extended until next February. He said that the morale of the platoon was at an all-time low. He said that the war is creating more insurgency, rather than less. He says that he cannot trust anyone in an Iraqi military uniform. He said that most of the Iraq people do not want us there. He says that this war cannot be won! He has no faith in the politicians who sent him there. Question, America: Whom would you listen to, the soldier in the field or the padded politician in office in reference to how this war is really going? -- LARRY TURNER, Malin link Mark Morford: AMERICA LOSES ANOTHER WAR The good news is, we're all back in harmony. All back on the same page. No more divisiveness and no more silly bickering and no more nasty and indignant red state/blue state rock throwing because we're finally all back in cozy let's-hug-it-out agreement: The "war" in Iraq is over. And what's more, we lost. Very, very badly. Sure, you already knew. Sure, you sort of sensed from the beginning that we couldn't possibly win a bogus war launched by a nasty slew of corrupt pseudo-cowboys against both a bitterly contorted Islamic nation and a vague and ill-defined concept that has no center and no boundaries and that feeds on the very thing that tries to destroy it. It was sort of obvious, even if half the nation was just terrifically blinded by Bush administration lies and false shrieks of impending terror. But now it's official. Or rather, more official. Now it's pretty much agreed upon on both sides of the aisle and in every Iraq Study Group and by every top-ranking general and newly minted defense secretary and in every facet of American culture save some of the gun-totin' flag-lickin' South. We lost. And what's more, we have no real clue what to do about it. After all, it's not easy to accept. It's the thing we do not, cannot easily hear, the thing most Americans, no matter what their political stripe, just can't quite fathom because we're so damned strong and righteous and handy with a gun and we are the superpower and the God among men and the bringer of light to the world and therefore we never lose. Except, you know, when we do. It's not like we were overpowered. We weren't outmanned or outgunned or outstrategized and hence we weren't defeated in any "traditional" kick-ass take-names sign-the-peace-accord way. Nor was it because our beloved, undefeatable, can't-lose military doesn't have the latest and greatest killing tools of all time, the biggest budget, the most heroic of baffled and misled young soldiers sort of but not really willing to go off and fight and die for a cause no one could adequately explain or justify to them. We still have the coolest, fastest planes. We still have the meanest billion-dollar technology. We still have the most imposing tanks and the most incredible weaponry and the badass night-vision goggles with the laser sights and the thermal heat-seeking readouts and the ability to track targets from two miles away in a dust storm. It doesn't matter. What we don't have is, well, any idea what the hell we're doing, not anymore, not on the global stage. We lost this "war" and we lost it before we even began because we went in for all the wrong reasons and with all the wrong planning and with all the wrong leadership who had all the wrong motives based on all the wrong greedy self-serving insular faux-cowboy BS that your kids and your grandkids will be paying for until about the year 2056. (...) Yes, technically, the "war" is still on. The fighting is not over. And yes, you can even say we (brutally, tactlessly) installed ourselves with sufficient ego to give us a modicum of violent, volatile control over the Gulf region's remaining petroleum reserves -- which was, of course, much of the point in the first place. But the nasty us-versus-them, good-versus-evil ideology is over. Ditto the numb sense of Bush's brutally simpleminded American "justice." Any lingering hint of anything resembling a truly valid and lucid and deeply patriotic reason for wasting a trillion dollars and thousands of lives and roughly an entire generation's worth of international respect? Gone. What's left is one lingering, looming question: How do we accept defeat? How do we deal with the awkward, identity-mauling, ego-stomping idea that, once again, America didn't "win" a war it really had no right to launch in the first place? After all, isn't this the American slogan: "We may not always be right, but we are never wrong"? (...) But what happens to a country if they lose the thing that supposedly defines them most? If we don't have our bogus "victory," if we don't always win, if we don't have a sense of righteousness so strong and so inflated and so utterly impenetrable that even when it seems like we've lost, we still stumble through some sort of offensive end zone victory dance, well, what's left? What, conscience? Humility? Humanitarianism? Or how about the realization that we could maybe, just maybe learn to be defined by something other than rogue aggressiveness and the vicious need to win? Something like, say, a mindful, flawed, difficult but oh-so-incredibly-essential move toward that most challenging and rewarding of human ideals, peace? Yeah, right. Who the hell wants that? read in full... Blah3: ALWAYS THE OTHER GUY'S FAULT Nothing seems to change on the Sunday morning talk shows these days. Every Sunday brings the same drivel from the same talking heads. It's on every channel. Here's a tidbit you could have picked up this morning just about anywhere:
HOST: Let's take a look at what you said on this show in late 2002. [Text appears on screen.] "There's no doubt in my mind, [fill in host's name], that we can win this war in Iraq -- should we ultimately have to go there (snicker, snicker) -- with far fewer military personnel than we've ever needed for any previous conflict." HOST: Given where we are now, how do your square your position then with your position now, that we need to send an additional 30,000 - 50,000 troops to secure Iraq?" DISCREDITED NEOCON: If you go back and look at exactly what I said at the time, [fill in host's name], I proposed sending 151,000 troops to Iraq. The president did not heed my advice, and instead sent only 150,000, 1,000 short of the number I advocated. And that, [fill in host's name], is why we now find oursleves with no good options.
Knowing it's the same on every other channel, I simply shake my head in disgust and turn on SpongeBob Squarepants. link IRAQI JUSTICE COMING TO USA? The New York Times has a great piece today on sham justice in Iraq. The US military now holds almost twice as many Iraqi detainees as it did when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. The U.S. set up a Central Criminal Court in Baghdad that usually has a Soviet-like disregard for due process. The system reduces paperwork burdens by routinely excluding defense lawyers. The Times noted, " One American lawyer said that in 100 cases he handled, not one defense lawyer had introduced evidence or witnesses." The U.S. military is heavily involved in prosecutions - but even when an Iraqi judge finds a defendant not guilty, the U.S. sometimes refuses to release him. What is the standard used for holding Iraqis (for as long as two years)? The Times reported:
The military conducts reviews in the camps to screen detainees for release. Many have been swept up at the scene of bombings or other violence, and the detention camp boards have recommended releasing as many as 60 percent of the detainees whose cases they reviewed. Officials have sought to tighten the evidentiary standards used in deciding whether to detain suspects. Last year, for example, Maj. Gen. William H.Brandenburg, then the task force commander, became concerned about a swipe test that soldiers used on suspects to detect gunpowder. The test was so unreliable that cigarette lighter residue and even a common hand lotion would register as gunpowder.
The Iraqi courts are sentencing people to hanging based on often flimsy evidence. Iraqi courts have relied on tortured confessions in some cases. Remember how Bush brags about having brought the "Rule of Law" to Iraq? Remember that Bush also brags about the "Rule of Law" in America. Rather than bringing American-style justice to Iraq, Bush is more likely to bring Iraqi-style justice to America. The Military Commissions Act is a harbinger of things to come. link Felicity Arbuthnot: LAME DUCK VISITS DEAD DUCK WALKING Fresh from a visit by Scotland Yard officers to No 10 Downing Street, to question the Prime Minister, Anthony Blair, Q.C., pitches up in Iraq to assure quisling 'Prime Minister' Maliki, of Britain's continued support for the slaughter and carnage of every day Iraq, as "democracy takes hold". For those unfamiliar with the Scotland Yard saga, it centers on the outrageous suggestion that our dear leader, a qualified barrister, sworn to uphold the law, might, broadly, have asked for loans from the very, very rich, for the Labour Party, in exchange for recommending them for a peerage. Unthinkable. But then if he could swear blind about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and go to war on a plethora of lies, little should surprise any more. There is also a bit of an uproar that he might have had a hand in calling off an eighteen month investigation into whether British Aerospace paid substantial commissions to Saudia Arabian officials, in exchange for a whopping great contract for "planes which drop bombs". As a result of these two local difficulties, it seems he is off the Christmas card list of two of his greatest former supporters, his powerful tennis partner Lord Levy and his Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. No wonder even Baghdad seems more inviting that the "Westminster village". The invasion - oops, sorry, "war" - Prime Minister, so quick to commit the young lives of others, refusing, like George W. Bush, to meet with bereaved soldiers families, snuck into Baghdad, helicoptered the twenty minute drive from the airport to the Green Zone (his arrival only announced one he was safely inside, for fear of some angry, bereaved, liberated Iraqis, taking revenge) to stand "four square" with the puppet Prime Minister. Lame duck meets dead duck walking, comes to mind. The previous day, the dead duck held a conference of "national reconciliation", asking even former Ba'ath Party officials to get him out of the mess in which he is mired. The affair was reminiscent of those embarrassing parties when only the host and a couple of flunkies turn up. As Blair arrived, officials from the Red Crescent office in Baghdad, who brave bombs, disasters, gunfire and assaults by U.S. forces, to save humanity, were being kidnapped by people in uniforms representing the Iraqi 'government' - in broad daylight, unapprehended by either the might of the US Army or local "U.S. trained" security forces. Three days ago, U.S. forces were reported as breaking in to the Red Crescent offices in Falluja, trashing them, then setting them alight and burning one of their vehicles. The Red Cross/Red Crescent is protected by the 1949 Geneva Convention (Article 38) and the Additional Protocols of 1977. If this scum, as the torturers, rapists of Abu Ghraib and across Iraq, represent America's finest, forget "God Bless America" . God help it! link Faiza Al-Arji: THEY SLAUGHTERED US WITH THE DEMOCRATIC TUNE Alas; I regret, as a lot of other Iraqis regret, like me, having participated in the elections process, thinking we were making a better future for our country, that we were giving the chance to new, nationalistic leaderships to lead the country's fate. One year passed since the last elections, here we are asking ourselves; what have we reaped from this government? We saw nothing but destruction and ruin, political stupidness and narrow, selfish viewpoints, while at the time of the elections the slogans were like honey... We shall solve the country's problems... We shall have a national unity government... We shall... We shall... And then what? We saw nothing but dust. So, how to get out of the dilemma? Is there a way to kick those foolish losers out of the office? Of course not. President Bush is happy with them, patting them on the backs, and showing them off. And they slaughtered us with the tune: this is a legally elected government. And the poor Iraqi people are biting their fingers in regret. Which finger? The same finger we stained with violet stamp color and elected them with. By God, it was a black hour........(...) The [Iraq Study Group] report also put the responsibility of all the errors on the stupid Iraqi government, of course that was right, but that made the occupation forces free from any responsibility. It always gave them the role of the nice cutes, seeking the deliverance of the Iraqi people, but no one is helping them. Oh, yah? Well, the simplest proof would be the testimony I put on my blog, from one of the people who were arrested in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, in Al-Jaderria cellar, look how was the role of the occupation forces? They watched the human rights violations silently, then withdrew from the direct interrogations with the poor detainees, but were in agreement with what was going on in front of them. Let an Iraqi kill an Iraqi... this is their program, as it seems, and what was achieved by the criminal militias also pours down into the interest of that motto, too... Let an Iraqi kill an Iraqi... Who blames the Iraqis if they hated the occupation and whoever collaborated with it? Innocent people taken from their houses to be insulted, detained, and tortured, to have their nails ripped off, and to be hanged from the ceiling, the human's dignity in them is insulted, then, to be released after months or years, as there is no charge against them, their innocence is proved, simply, just like that? Are these the interrogation methods in the happy, free, democratic Iraq? They made us sick with as much they talked about human rights. May the liar be damned, where are those human rights? The report didn't talk about the raids and shelling of people's houses in Iraqi towns and villages, just for suspicion, perhaps there is an Iraqi citizen whose personality is mean and lowly, who is seduced by money to present a false report against his neighbor, accusing him of being a member of the resistance, or of being a terrorist, would that be enough to bombard the whole house? It didn't mention the thousands of innocent men locked up in American prisons; the Airport prison, Poka, and others. Nor did it mention the tens (or hundreds, no one really knows), of women who are taken as hostages when they cannot find their men who would be accused of struggling against the occupation, these women are in prisons and detention centers... there are also children there, who could be taken as hostages to pressure their fathers... Iraq has not only become the land of violence and bloodshed, but injustice in it became limitless, greater than the injustice that was committed by Saddam Hussein in his time, and enough to mention is the subject of threatening families and getting them out of their homes in this cold weather, for sectarian reasons, to end up living on the streets, without any committed fault. That alone is unspeakable injustice... (...) I want to get back to Iraq... Life has another meaning there, despite the daily terror, but our hearts are united, we live through the same grief and the same injustice, much worst than the burden of living under the Saddam Regime... and in more injustice than what we saw in the days of Saddam... But the parable says: "the continuity of circumstances is an impossibility", meaning; it is impossible for things to remain like this for long. The night must pass sometime... And we await the coming of dawn, to see the sunrise, Hoping it would be soon... This sunrise we waited for too long... Hoping it would be soon... read in full… >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: Gunfire was reported on Tuesday near the Canadian position in the Panjwaii district of Afghanistan, the first sign Canadians were engaged in a NATO operation against Taliban insurgents. The gunfire could be heard for about a half an hour, the CBC's Laurie Graham reported from the Panjwaii district. "Artillery, tanks and light-armoured vehicles armed with cannons fired at an area known as a Taliban stronghold," Graham said. There was no sign of return fire and giant plumes of smoke could be seen in the distance, she said. Dutch Apache helicopters also participated in the mission called Operation Baaz Tsuka. Iran has announced it would replace the dollar with the euro in foreign transactions and state-held foreign assets, in an apparent response to mounting US pressure on its banking system. Firedoglake: MUCH ADO Via Josh Marshall, we learn that the AP is trying to find out what happens to Guantanamo Bay detainees once they are released. These are, after all, the people who were so very dangerous that we desperately needed to legalize torture, whom the Pentagon referred to as "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth." The AP tracked 245 of them in an investigation including 17 countries where they had been released, and found: . Once the detainees arrived in other countries, 205 of the 245 were either freed without being charged or were cleared of charges related to their detention at Guantanamo. Forty either stand charged with crimes or continue to be detained. . Only a tiny fraction of transferred detainees have been put on trial. The AP identified 14 trials, in which eight men were acquitted and six are awaiting verdicts. Two of the cases involving acquittals - one in Kuwait, one in Spain - initially resulted in convictions that were overturned on appeal. . The Afghan government has freed every one of the more than 83 Afghans sent home. Lawmaker Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, the head of Afghanistan's reconciliation commission, said many were innocent and wound up at Guantanamo because of tribal or personal rivalries. . At least 67 of 70 repatriated Pakistanis are free after spending a year in Adiala Jail. A senior Pakistani Interior Ministry official said investigators determined that most had been "sold" for bounties to U.S. forces by Afghan warlords who invented links between the men and al-Qaida. "We consider them innocent," said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. . All 29 detainees who were repatriated to Britain, Spain, Germany, Russia, Australia, Turkey, Denmark, Bahrain and the Maldives were freed, some within hours after being sent home for "continued detention." So did the government just sweep up a group of swarthy people on shaky evidence and then undermine deeply held core values of the American public abhoring the notion of torture as part of a big exercise in machismo posturing, or did they just release a passel of stone killers into the wild? read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Consider what happened in New Orleans just weeks after its government was knocked out of commission: rumors -- unfounded it would turn out -- of marauding gangs of killers and rapists emerged and neighboring communities armed themselves and withdrew into their own little fortified towns. That was in just a small area of an otherwise functional country, and followed just days after the loss of government services. Jesus, look at the chaos that often goes down during a black-out, or following a major hurricane. Viewed in that context, the Iraqis were actually quite slow to revert to a Hobbesian state of nature." -- from Actually, the 'Bad News' From Iraq is "Significantly Underreported" by Joshua Holland at the Gadflyer


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