Friday, January 05, 2007


PHOTO: A U.S. armoured vehicle burns fter a roadside bomb attack in Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, January 5, 2007. A roadside bomb hit what appeared to be a U.S. tank or armoured vehicle in Falluja, residents said, and television footage showed it burning and billowing black smoke. U.S. officials had no immediate comment on the attack or whether there were any casualties. REUTERS/Mohanned Faisal (IRAQ) [Round up of what various agents have said about this in the prior comments. – dancewater]

Security Incidents for January 5, 2007


Armed clashes between have broken out between residents of the Amel district in western Baghdad and terrorist militants, Iraq's state television channel al-Iraqia TV reported in an urgent news bulletin Friday. The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq had warned Baghdad's residents in a statement Thursday about the aim of 'terrorist, sectarian militias' to attack a number of districts in Baghdad on Friday. Meanwhile, residents have blocked streets in several districts in Baghdad in a bid to prevent attacks or clashes, reports in the Iraqi capital said.

Also Friday, clashes broke out between Sunni Arab and Shiite militants in Baghdad's mixed western Amil district, minutes after a mortar round hit a house in a Sunni neighborhood, injuring five civilians, police said. One Shiite militiaman was killed and three others were wounded. The fighting ended when U.S. and Iraqi forces rushed to the area, according to police.

Mortar rounds hit a crowded market in Zafaraniya district in southeast Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 11, police said.

Also Friday, bomb stashed in a garbage can at a market exploded, shaking parts of central Baghdad, but police said there were no reports of injuries.


A U.S. civilian and two Iraqi interpreters were kidnapped in northern Basra. "The American and two Iraqis kidnapped today morning in the area of Bawabat al-Basra were coming to Basra from the province of Misan in a civilian vehicle," maj. general Mohammed Hamadi al-Musawi told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

A foreign civilian contractor has been taken hostage near the southern Iraqi city of Basra, a British military spokesman said on Friday, and an Iraqi security source said the man taken was a U.S. citizen. Captain Ollie Pile said he could give no further details of the incident and he could not confirm a report by the security source in Basra that two translators were also seized. U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad had no immediate comment on the report.


Gunmen killed a former Baath party member and his son inside his house in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

Police said they found three bodies bearing signs of torture and bullet wounds in Iskandariya

Deloiya: (Duluiyah)

An armed group attacked on Friday morning an Iraqi army checkpoint in northern Deloiya, Salah Eddin province, killing four soldiers and wounding two others, a police source in Deloiya said. “Gunmen in two civilian cars attacked at dawn al-Motassem army checkpoint… killing four army soldiers and badly wounding two others, one of them in critical condition,” the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). The checkpoint force engaged with the attackers using machineguns for more than 15 minutes after which the gunmen withdrew. It was not clear if the attackers sustained any casualties, the source said.

Gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint in Duluiyah town, some 70 km north of Baghdad, on Friday morning, killing four soldiers and wounding two others, local police said.


A roadside bomb detonated near an Iraqi army patrol, killing a captain and wounding four soldiers in the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, army sources said.


Gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint killing four soldiers and wounding two in the northern part of Dhuluiya, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


Iraqi army troops killed two gunmen in the town of Riyadh, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, army sources said.


A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two policemen, including a major who was in serious condition, in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said.


Gunmen shot dead a former colonel in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


A U.S. tank was set on fire in an ambush by gunmen on Friday on a U.S. patrol in central Falluja, 45 km, west of the capital Baghdad, an official security source said. "The patrol included tanks and Hummer vehicles, which were pushing deep into Arbaieen street at 11:00 a.m. today," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). The gunmen "attacked the patrol with an RPG missile, completely destroying a tank," said the source, adding the U.S. forces quickly sealed off the area. The source said the attack might have caused “injuries amidst American soldiers as the explosion of the tank was powerful. Store owners closed their nearby shops lest clashes or arrests by U.S. forces should take place.

A roadside bomb hit what appeared to be a U.S. tank or armoured vehicle in Falluja, residents said, and television footage showed it burning and billowing black smoke. U.S. officials had no immediate comment on the attack or whether there were any casualties.

A Marine tank struck an improvised explosive device today in Fallujah. The tank was severely damaged and caught fire, but no casualties to Coalition force members have been reported. Marines cordoned the area and established security around the damaged vehicle in order to protect local citizens and begin recovery of the vehicle.

Thanks to whisker for the links above.


Major Risks To Childbirth In Today’s Iraq

Noor Ibrahim lay shivering underneath two blankets on a bed at al-Jarrah Hospital. Steps away was a red plastic bassinet. It was empty. A few doors down, her recently born son lay wrapped in a pink blanket. He was a chubby boy of nearly nine pounds with a big patch of black hair. His eyes were closed, his head cocked to the left, his mouth slightly open, his skin soft and pale. The boy was not in a bassinet. He was in a cardboard box. He was not heading to his mother's room. He was heading to the morgue. "Fresh death," Ibrahim's obstetrician said as she reached into the box and lifted the boy's limp right arm, still covered in blood and amniotic fluid.

……..According to a December 2006 report by the Washington-based Brookings Institution, 34,000 physicians were registered in Iraq before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Since then, about 12,000 have fled and 2,000 have been killed, it said. At al-Jarrah, two doctors have been kidnapped and killed. Two were kidnapped and released. Three have left Baghdad. Thirteen remain on staff. "It's a campaign to drain the country," said Aviad Najeed, a surgeon at al-Jarrah. "A very, very well-organized one. We don't know who's behind it."

Gardeners Shed Blood To Beautify Baghdad

The flowers appear overnight, and in the unlikeliest of places: carnations near a checkpoint, roses behind razor wire, and gardenias in a square known for suicide bombings. Sometimes, U.S. armored vehicles hop a median and mow down the myrtle, leaving Baghdad parks workers to fume and reach for their trowels. When insurgents poured kerosene over freshly planted seedlings, landscapers swore a revenge of ficus trees and olive groves. It's all part of a stealthy campaign to turn the entire capital into a green zone. Jaafar Hamid al Ali, the Baghdad parks supervisor, leads the offensive. He's got a multi-million-dollar budget, along with 1,500 intrepid employees and a host of formidable enemies. There's the fussy climate, salty soil, and nonstop violence that killed 30 of his workers in 2006. Every fallen gardener, Ali said, is a martyr in the struggle to beautify Baghdad. "My principle is, for every drop of Iraqi blood, we must plant something green," he said. "One gives disappointment, the other gives hope."

Media Bias “Threat” To Iraq

Information about Iraq propagated by Western media is often woefully inaccurate or downright wrong, according to leading Arab figures, and such distortions are damaging any chance of peace in the country. Tariq al-Hashimi, Iraq's Sunni Arab vice-president, says that one idea - widely accepted in the West as true but which lacks evidence to support it - has upset the balance of power in Iraq to such an extent that violence was an inevitable outcome. Western media often refer to Iraq as being "overwhelmingly Shia", or use other phrases to imply a large Shia majority. This, he says, is wrong - and it has resulted in over-representation of Shia parties in the Iraqi government at the expense of Sunni Arabs. Al-Hashimi said: "The false allegations promoted by Western media have resulted in an [inappropriate] political process, and everyone is paying the price for its wrong foundations." …… The spokesman for the Arab Baath Socialist Party, which ruled Iraq from 1968 to 2003, who asked to be identified as Abu Muhammad for security reasons, said: "Most Western media outlets have been helping the US occupation authorities to portray the Baath party as a Sunni party which suppressed the Shia and deprived them of their rights. "Actually, sect was never an issue in Iraq. I am a Shia and I have been a senior Baath official ... No Baath party official - no Iraqi official - ever asked me about my sect. "When the US army occupied Iraq they issued a list of 55 wanted top Iraqi officials, starting with President Saddam Hussein; half of those senior officials were Shia. "The Committee of Debaathification issued a list of 100,000 senior Iraqi Baathists who would not be allowed to enjoy governmental posts, 66,000 of them were Shia - so how is the Baath party a Sunni party? "It is a character assassination campaign instructed by Western lobbies and carried out by Western media." Abu Muhammad voiced resentment at the the term "Sunni insurgency", saying that Iraqis from different backgrounds are fighting the foreign presence in Iraq. "This term plays down Iraqi nationalism," he said. "I repeat, I am a Shia and I am resisting the US forces in Iraq, and we know for sure that resistance fighters from all background are fighting. Why do the Western agencies insist that only Sunni are fighting? Big question mark, I think."

Minorities Living Tormented Days

Like other minority members in Iraq, Mardon Matrood, a 44-year-old Assyrian shopkeeper in Baghdad, has had enough of the country’s sectarian violence. “Minorities in Iraq are targeted by insurgents and militias, who want us out of the country as they promote what they call the ‘cleansing of Iraq, of non-Muslim communities’,” said Matrood who is living with his family of six in an abandoned government building. Four months ago Matrood’s family failed to pay a ransom of US $50,000 to kidnappers who had abducted his nephew. The nephew was later found dead. “We are a poor family…we couldn’t pay [the ransom money] and after two weeks we were informed that the police had found his body near a mosque in Adhamiyah district (northern Baghdad). It was totally mangled, burned and tortured,” Matrood said.

…….According to Iraq’s last census in 1987 there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq at that time. But, the Ministry of Migration and Displacement has said that nearly half of that population has fled Iraq since 2003. “Each day more Christians and members of other ethnic and religious minorities flee from Iraq because they are scared of the violence. Because they are not Muslims many foreign countries in the West help them by giving them visas. In a way, it is sometimes easier for them than for Muslims to leave the country. But then there are many Christians who are stuck here because they don’t have enough money to process their exit from Iraq,” said Mowafaq Abdul-Raoof, a spokesman for the Ministry of Displacement and Migration. “According to our estimates, nearly half of the minority communities have already fled to other countries,” Abdul-Raoof added. Although there are no official statistics on the total number of gypsies in Iraq, their tribal leaders say that there are more than 60,000 in the country and all of them are living like displaced persons, with very few having financial conditions to flee Iraq. Yazidis, Bahais, Jews, Sabeans and Kaka'I communities are believed to have nearly totally fled the country in the past three and a half years.

Diary of the Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive (Dec 23 -28, 2006)

It is another bad week for the NLA. On Sunday, I learnt that Ahmed Salih, who was on leave, was murdered by a Death Squad in his own house. Ahmed came from a poor family. After his father's death, he raised his younger brothers and sisters. He worked very hard to educate them. I also learnt that Ahmed was engaged to a girl two weeks before his death. On Monday, I received more bad news. The older brother of Maiadah, who works in the Periodical Department, was murdered by a group of terrorists. I learnt that some sniper fired at a car in the Republican Street, killing the driver and all the passengers. It was a Christmas period and the security situation was as bad as ever. We have four Christians in our institution. The first two, 'A' and 'B', work in the Archive, the third, 'C', in the Library, and the fourth, 'D', in my office. I gave them 5 day-break to celebrate Christmas. 'D' took just one day off. She continued to show up, even when the main roads were blocked. I advised her to cover her hair, when passing through dangerous areas (i.e. under the control of the militias and armed gangs). She said that she was wearing Hijab for some time to hide her identity (i.e. being Christian). I had a meeting with my Minister on Tuesday. As usual, we talked about the security situation and the safety of the staff. As we were talking, the head of the Minister's office, Mahmud, entered the room. He informed the Minister that the security situation became worse around the Ministry of Culture; the terrorists murdered two people near the cinema (around 200 meters away from the Ministry). As I left the Ministry, I heard that some suspected cars were roaming the area. The Ministry moved to its old building four months ago. The old building is located in al-Haifa Street, which is known to be the strong hold of the Ba'athists and al-Qa'ada. Just after I arrived to my office, I learnt that some armed groups blocked al-Haifa Street, and attacked a number of government buildings. The fighting between the armed groups and the guards of government building lasted for three hours. The NLA will be closed between 28 Dec. 2006 and 7 January 2007. I hope my staff will enjoy their Eid al-Atdha holiday.

Kurdish Struggle for Oil

Despite sitting on huge reserves of oil, it is still difficult for people of this region to get access to petrol through formal means. Instead, cars and trucks fill up at these illegal roadside operations. 19-year-old Mustafa, who works at one, says he has to smuggle fuel from Iran because the petrol from domestic refineries is too low grade. "We buy the Iranian one, which has this red colour," he says. "It's not legal, of course, and it's expensive. We don't make much profit. We wouldn't be doing this if the government distributed good petrol."


Gunmen Slay Local Politician in Karbala District

Unidentified gunmen on Thursday shot dead a prominent Shiite member of the Karbala's provincial council, Sheikh Akram al-Zubaidi, and two of his body guards outside the central city of Karbala. The gunmen, who had set up a false road block, opened machinegun fire on al-Zubaidi's car three kilometres from Karbala was he was heading home, killing him instantly, before fleeing, police sources said. The gunmen wounded two other bodyguards in the attack, the sources added. Al-Zubaidi was disciple of the revered Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Mohammed al-Sistani. Karbala is the site of an important Shiite shrine. Scores of people have been killed and wounded in several bomb attacks there in the past year.

A Country Where Violations Are Legal!

Terrorist militias, operating under the nose of U.S. and Iraqi forces, are wreaking mayhem in Baghdad. Their power, weapons and means of murder are growing in intensity; their murderous acts increasing and have turned Baghdad, home to nearly six million people, into a wild city. They have become so emboldened that they mount attacks on government ministries and offices belonging to factions they do not like or administered by officials they see as a threat to their authority. They kill, maim and kidnap with impunity and under official cover of the U.S. occupiers or their lackeys in the government. Many Iraqis call them “black death squads” as they routinely clad in black clothes and instill fear and horror in the hearts of the people spotting them. These black squads operate freely and sometimes they wear the official army or police uniforms during their operations. They are courageous enough not to hide themselves as they mount their own checkpoints and carry out summary arrests and executions.

Sadrists Urging A Common Front With Government, Against US Assault on Mahdi Army

Al-Hayat says the Sadrist movement is urging the Maliki government to cooperate with it in getting ready for what it expects will be the next US military operation, namely an expected "attempt to draw the Mahdi Army into an armed confrontation, on the thin pretext of revenge for their losses suffered in the 2004 uprisings." The journalist quotes Sadrist leader Abdulamir abu Sara, to the effect "the only way to help stop or hinder these (American) plans is to accelerate the takeover of the security function (by the government from the Americans)" Abu Sara went on: Our current efforts are directed to containment of the artificial crises that are continually being concocted by the occupation forces, and their continued killing and arrest of leaders and other important people in the (Sadrist) movement, while going about our peaceful activities in two main areas: The first is strengthening the government and supporting it in its nationalist endeavors. And the second is repairing the sectarian gulf between sectors of the Iraqi people, by finding civil (civilian) activities that Sunnis and Shiites can both rally around.

Translated by Missing Links Blog – read more at link.

Iraqi PM Says Sunnis Stoke Tension

Al-Maliki's office said on Friday: "The statement from the Muslim Clerics' Association is totally baseless and raises tension, and we hold the Muslim Clerics responsible for any action that results from this." Sectarian tension has been high in Iraq since the hanging of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president, on Saturday. The statement of the MCA, an umbrella grouping of Sunni religious leaders, did not identify the armed groups or say that they were Shia. However, the suggestion in the statement that the fighters had links to government parties is a strong indication to Iraqis that it was accusing Shia groups.

Iraqis Decline To Give US Information on Car Bombs

U.S. and Iraqi troops lack reliable tips on imminent attacks by insurgents and armed groups. “I think they are in the dark and most of their operations target the wrong persons and areas,” said M. Hamed who did not wish his first name be revealed for security reasons. Stories of U.S. troops arresting or killing the wrong person and attacking the wrong house abound in Baghdad. As for Iraqi forces, most of their operations are carried out for purely sectarian reasons. The reason is not hard to tell. Iraqi rebels are always ready to punish any Iraqi believed to have tipped U.S. or Iraqi troops about their operations. Iraqi resistance is not a gathering of rag-tag groups as occasionally U.S. commanders would like us to believe. The resistance is highly organized with intelligence gathering systems superior to those at the disposal of U.S. troops. “Iraqi armed groups have infiltrated police and army. They usually kill any one suspected of informing on their activities,” said A. Abed. He said most of the Iraqis who informed police on the presence of explosives, car bombs and roadside bombs have been killed.

New Leader of the Baath Party In Iraq

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam Hussein’s faithful henchman, now leads the deceased dictator’s Baath party in its fight against the US-backed Iraqi Government. The 64-year-old fighter, stricken with leukaemia, who befriended Saddam as a young man, supposedly cried and read the Holy Koran when he heard that his comrade had been executed early Saturday morning, a senior Baath official said. Mr al-Douri had been nominated as the acting general secretary of the Baath party, the official said, who went by the pseudonym “Abu Abdullah”. Mr al-Douri has had a $10 million US bounty on his head since November 2003. The grizzled hardman defied the odds, staying on the run long after Saddam was captured, hiding three years ago in Ad-Dawr, a village belonging to Mr al- Douri’s tribe.


Arrested Iranian ‘Were Trying To Influence Iraqi Government’

Five Iranians detained by US forces in Baghdad last month were senior intelligence officers engaged in a covert political mission to influence the Iraqi government, the BBC said. "There were five senior officers in various intelligence organisations... It was a very significant meeting... These people have been collared, relatively speaking, up to no good," one unnamed British official told the broadcaster. US forces detained 10 people on December 21 on suspicion of weapons smuggling after finding what they said were documents, maps, photographs and videos in a raid at pro-Iranian Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's compound. Military commanders said the 10, two of whom were Iranian, were linked to "illegal activities," including potential attacks on coalition forces. Three Iranian diplomats were detained in a vehicle in Baghdad the previous day but later released.

Fast Track to Hell

Inspired by a fellow Montanan's recent diary, "It’s the Contractors, Stupid- A Plan to Get Out of Iraq," I went rooting for truffles on the internet today and discovered that Iraq is nearing a critical point for a process many of us and almost all ordinary Iraqis know almost nothing about: The Bearing Point plan for Iraq is predicated on WTO membership. Despite Iraq's not meeting the basic requirements for WTO membership, the application has been fast-tracked since Paul Bremer first put his boots on Saddam's old desk. Although Iran has applied for and been denied observer status 15 times, Iraq, occupied and already in the throes of civil war, was granted observer status right on Bremer's schedule, in February of 2004 and is now in the final stage of securing full WTO membership. Is the WTO accession process is part of a duplicitous, Machiavellian plan by the occupying powers and their globalist corporate backers? Can it be stopped before the Iraqis surrender economic sovereignty in perpetuity? [Thanks to Sam for pointing this one out. – dancewater]

US May Dump PM

The U.S. is frustrated with the government of Nouri al-Maliki and is seeking ways to dump him, well-placed sources say. The prime minister has failed drastically in efforts to reconcile the country’s warring factions and is even thought to be unable to solve difference among his own ruling Shiite-dominated coalition. Maliki, the sources say, has caused the U.S. deep embarrassment through his government’s inefficiency in running the country and the way former leader Saddam Hussein was put to death. Maliki himself does not seem to be interested to continue and is reported to have openly expressed a willingness to his advisers to step aside even before the end of his term. The U.S. publicly backs Maliki but covertly it is hugely disappointed by the performance of his government, the sources say. Maliki has his own grievances. The sources say he blames his failures squarely on the U.S. which is still the real decision maker in the country.

Bush To Replace Top Generals

Bush will replace Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the chief general in Iraq, in the coming weeks, according to media reports Thursday. A revamping of the administration's national security team was already under way. Bush wants to replace Abizaid with Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific, and Casey's replacement will be Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who headed the effort to train Iraqi security forces, the reports citing administration officials said.

Changes in Key Advisers In Iraq

The changes are part of a major realignment of administration personnel as Bush seeks to adjust his approach to Iraq, where nearly four years of a large U.S. military presence has failed to bring stability and an end to violence. The current U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, is expected to replace Zalmay Khalilzad in Baghdad as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Khalilzad is expected to be nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the UN, three senior US officials said on Thursday.

Bush Prepares For Congress Battle Over Iraq

George Bush will embark this week on the toughest phase yet of his presidency, with a Democratic-controlled Congress arrayed against him for the first time, ahead of his expected - and certain to be controversial - decision to send more US troops to Iraq. ……But whatever he decides will face intense scrutiny in the new 100th Congress, where many Republicans, as well as Democrats, argue that the administration should start withdrawing troops, rather than sending servicemen into a civil war which any American presence, however large, is powerless to control for long. Those tensions have been exacerbated by the sectarian taunts exchanged at Saddam Hussein's execution on Saturday. Mr Bush has been careful not to tip his hand. But every sign is that he is leaning towards a temporary "surge" in US strength - 20,000 to 30,000 is the figure most commonly mentioned - above all to regain a grip on Baghdad.

And Americans Citizens Need To Do Battle In Return

On Saturday, Jan. 27th, people from every corner of the country will march on Washington, DC. Our message will be clear, our voice will be strong: End the war in Iraq, Bring all the troops home now! We urge you to join us! On Mon., Jan. 29th, we will take our message directly to the new Congress during our lobby day. Click here for more info and to sign up to participate.

And If You Cannot Visit DC

Then call, call, call and tell them to get out of Iraq and to cut the funding. There is a link below to sign a petition on cutting the funding, another link to impeachment information, and the link above will give you phone numbers and a chance to email or fax (for free) your elected officials.


OPINION: Dear People of Iraq,

I am an American, and as and American, I often find it very difficult to take responsibility for my actions. This letter is my effort to take responsibility for some of the things I have done to harm you. I speak for no other American but myself. I am responsible for the many decades of suffering and hardship you have faced (and may well likely continue to face). I helped bring Saddam Hussein to power in order to control your natural resources and to use you as a state agent against Iran. I furnished Saddam with political support, money and deadly weaponry, much of which was used against you with my silent blessings. I protected him and allowed him create a world of misery for you in return for his loyalty to me. Eventually, for political reasons, I found it useful to make him a bogey man. To his credit, this was a roll he played very well. However, when I punished him with sanctions, you were the ones who starved. When I punished him with bombs, you were the ones who died. When I removed him from power without a workable transition strategy, you were the ones who were thrust into lawless chaos. When Saddam was of no more use to me, I had him killed. I know this letter means next to nothing to you, as you struggle to survive day to day, but I think it is important for at least one single American to acknowledge his silent responsibility in your suffering.

Sincerely, An American

OPINION: Shi’ite Haste Creates More Chaos in Iraq

The details of Saddam Hussein's execution on the first day of the holy Eid holiday are creating more problems for Iraq than the Iraqi leaders bargained for. It is becoming apparent that the Shiite majority in the government forced the hasty execution while the Americans and Iraqi Kurdish leaders had serious misgivings about the timing. We objected to the execution immediately after it was announced that the appeals court had approved the execution of Saddam and two of his colleagues. We stated this openly in our editorial last week. We felt that Saddam alive was better than Saddam executed and dead. We believed that the former Iraqi tyrant who ordered the execution of so many of his countrymen, including Kurds and Shiites as well as whoever ever opposed him in the Sunni camp, should have been kept alive and should have suffered on a daily basis as he was forced to remember the blood of so many people on his hands. Executing him only made him a martyr in the eyes of his followers and a hero among many Sunni Arabs. As soon as I heard the news of the execution the day I returned from Iraq, a hollow feeling gripped me, knowing that things would take a turn for the worse. Some Kurds may feel satisfied that Saddam is now dead simply because he ordered the execution and massacres of tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds and felt no remorse over this. But even then there are Kurds who resent the haste with which the Iraqi Shiite forced the quick execution of Saddam.

Washington Post's Thomas Ricks Courageously Waits Four Years To Tell Us What He Thought About Iraq's WMD

Here's Thomas Ricks, telling us in a recent Time Magazine roundtable that he never believed Iraq had WMD:

TIME: On the eve of the war, which of you believed that we would go in and find no WMD?...Why did you feel that way, Tom?

RICKS: I thought that at most they would find some old mustard gas buried out in the '91 war that somebody had forgotten about. I remember asking the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs about a week before the invasion, "You don't know where the stuff is, do you?"

Here's Thomas Ricks before the war—not telling us what he believed, but instead writing down exactly what the U.S. government said. Note that Myers was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to whom Ricks addressed his "You don't know where the stuff is, do you?" question:

Myers Depicts War on Two Fronts

By Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, March 5, 2003

...One major early mission of U.S. forces would be to locate and secure Iraq's suspected arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, [General Richard] Myers said. The U.S. government expects to learn far more about those weapons programs once its forces invade Iraq. At that point, he said, the "giant shell game" played by the Iraqi government to conceal its weapons "would come to a halt," and instead "people would come forward and say, 'Here's where this is, here's where that is.' "


Audacious Mission, Awesome Risks

By Rick Atkinson and Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, March 16, 2003

...Overhanging the entire operation is the prospect that Iraq could use chemical or biological weapons...

A major risk is that Iraqi units might try to lie low as the ground attack thrusts northward and then try to attack the vulnerable supply columns that follow...An even darker scenario would involve a key chokepoint, such as a major river crossing, being "smeared" by a persistent chemical weapon...

Special Operators have already been conducting missions inside Iraq...During a war they also are expected to help detect and target enemy formations, and prevent the use of chemical and biological weapons by watching over suspected sites...

A major mission of Special Operations will be leading the hunt for chemical and biological weapons. A major unknown is how Hussein will act if U.S. forces are closing in on him. In order to capture those weapons as quickly as possible, some U.S. troops may move into cities earlier than commanders might prefer


U.S. Airstrikes Open War on Iraq

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post Foreign Service Thursday, March 20, 2003

One Army commander put the odds of Iraq possessing chemical weapons at "80 to 90 percent," but there still is no consensus on whether those weapons are likely to be used, much less used effectively...

Now, here's Robert Fisk:

FISK: How do we journalists get it so wrong?

What's gone wrong in the American press? I ask myself this, partly because I have a lot of friends among the American journalists working in the Middle East. I enjoy having dinner with them. But the odd thing is that when I'm having dinner with them I learn quite a lot, they know quite a lot...but when I open the paper in the morning it's so boring I could fall asleep. The knowledge isn't there.

An Eyes-Wide-Open Prayer For Peace

PEACE ACTION: Progressive Democrats of America has been working and organizing support for HR 4232 since Rep. McGovern introduced this important bill in November of 2005. Rep. McGovern spoke at the PDA "Get out of Iraq" Town Hall meeting the day after he introduced HR 4232. We continue to work for its passage as a top legislative priority. We urge you to continue organizing support for HR 4232 and to ask your Congressional member to co-sponsor the bill.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Investigate, De-escalate, Troops Home NOW.” – protesters at Democratic Party meeting in DC yesterday.


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