Monday, January 08, 2007


PHOTO: Iraqis carry a coffin to bring home the body of a victim of sectarian violence, at Yarmuk Hospital in Baghdad. More than 17,000 Iraqi civilians and police officers died violently in the second half of 2006 in what constitutes a sharp increase from the beginning of the year, The Washington Post reported.(AFP/Ali Yussef)

Updates from January 7, 2007

Three U.S. airmen and two soldiers were killed in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday. A car bomb in Baghdad on Sunday killed three airmen assigned to the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Division, the military said in a statement. One airman was also injured in the explosion.

Police found the bodies of 17 people, many tortured and with gunshot wounds, in different parts of Baghdad on Sunday, an interior ministry source said.


Police found four bodies, including one that had been decapitated, in Suwayra, about 45 km (30 miles) south of Baghdad, an interior ministry source said.


It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a UK serviceman died today, Sunday 7 January 2007, in Maysan Province, Iraq. The soldier, from the Queen's Royal Lancers, died as a result of a road traffic accident which occurred this morning. Two other soldiers sustained minor injuries. The accident involved a tracked reconnaissance vehicle.

Security Incidents for January 8, 2007

In Country:

Iraq's Health Ministry said it believed there had been a rise in casualties last year but declined to confirm a report on Monday that its statistics showed nearly 23,000 civilians and police were killed in 2006. The Health Ministry figures reported by the Washington Post showed violence rising during the year, with 17,310 civilians and police killed violently in the second half of the year, compared to 5,640 in the first six months of 2006.


A paramedic says nine people died when gunmen ambushed a bus carrying workers to the Baghdad airport, spraying them with bullets.At least eleven people were wounded in the attack. The victims were mainly Shiite Muslims from Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, and were attacked before reaching the main checkpoint at the airport's entrance.

At least 15 people were killed and as many as 15 injured when gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying dozens of cleaners and other workers to the city’s airport. The bus was carrying the workers from a Shiite neighbourhood of Baghdad down what has been deemed one of the most dangerous routes in Baghdad since the beginning of the war.

A roadside bomb wounded three policemen in a southeastern section of the Iraqi capital.

Gunmen killed six members of a Shi'ite family while they were packing their furniture to move from their neighbourhood in Doura district in southern Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said

Iraqi army troops killed 26 insurgents and wounded 43 others during the past 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said.

A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed a policeman and wounded two, including a civilian, police said.

A roadside bomb exploded near a bus carrying pilgrims and wounded three of them in southeastern Baghdad, police said

A bomb planted under a car killed two people and wounded two others in the southern Zaafaraniya district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

An explosive device went off today morning near a market in Zuafaraniyah district, southeast of Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding four others,”

Another police source said “an explosive charge was detonated on Monday morning at a police patrol vehicle in al-Ghadier neighborhood, east of Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding a policeman.”

A Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol was engaged by small arms fire, killing one Soldier north of the Iraqi capital Jan. 7. The unit was repairing a crater in a road caused by an improvised explosive device when they came under small arms fire, killing one Soldier. No others were injured in the incident. The road is a heavily-traveled main north-south highway leading in and out of the Iraqi capital. .

while a policeman was killed by gunmen in a separate attack in the capital


In the flashpoint city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, four people were killed in different attacks, police said.

Salah Ad Din province:

One Task Force Lightning Soldier based out of Fort Hood, Texas, died of wounds sustained during combat operations in Salah Ad Din province, Sunday


Gunmen kidnapped a senior tribal chief in Salahaddin province named Naji Hussein Jubara, seizing him from his car on the road north of Samarra, police said. Jubara is the brother of the deputy governor of the province


The Iraqi police said on Monday a U.S. vehicle patrol was attacked and unknown body was found in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. “An explosive charge was detonated today morning at a U.S. vehicle patrol in al-Karama neighborhood in east of Mosul,” the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). The U.S. patrol immediately cordoned off the area and it was not possible to know if there were casualties among the U.S. soldiers, the source added.

Meanwhile, the source said “ a police patrol found an unknown body dumped near a mosque in northeast of Mosul.” The body had shot wounds and it was sent to a Mosul morgue, he added.


The Iraqi police said on Monday three Iraqi contractors were kidnapped in al-Hawijah district near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. “Unknown gunmen stormed late last night the houses of three Iraqi civilian contractors believed to work with the Multi-National Forces in the past,” a police source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

Thanks to whisker for the links above.

Fallujah: US forces were ambushed in al-Karma district by gunmen, and then arrested Iraqi civilians while searching nearby homes.

Kirkuk: The Iraqi police said on Monday three Iraqi contractors were kidnapped in al-Hawijah district near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.


Bomb’s Lasting Toll: Lost Laughter and Broken Lives

If the cost of this war is measured in human lives, one block in southeast Baghdad has paid more than its share. On a hot morning two summers ago, 34 children were killed here in a flash of smoke and metal. They were scooping up candy thrown from an American Humvee. The suicide bomber’s truck never slowed down. More than 3,000 Iraqis are dying every month in this war — roughly the total deaths in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or all the American troops killed since the war began. But behind the headlines and statistics, most of the war is experienced in Iraqi living rooms and on blocks like the one here, where families struggle with the intense pain of loss. And while American war planners discuss the way ahead, Iraqis on this scarred block are stuck in the past on the morning of July 13, 2005, when time stopped and the war truly began for them. “Our life now, it’s not a life, it’s a kind of dream,” said Qais Ataiwee Yaseen, whose two boys, ages 8 and 11, were killed that day. “Life has no taste. I even feel sick of myself.” In the early years of the war, the street — a dusty, trash-strewn strip of concrete that runs between Baghdad’s southeast highway and the neighborhood of Naariya — was mostly quiet, home to a mix of Shiite and Sunni families who had known each other for years. But the cruelty of the war intervened when the bomber struck, apparently aiming at a convoy of American Humvees parked at the end of the street. One American soldier and 34 Iraqis were killed. All were boys, and all but four were younger than 15. The youngest was 6. In all, 29 families lost children; one lost three sons.

Inside Iraq: Daily Suffering

I stopped more than 30 taxi drivers. Whenever I told each of them to take me to my house in Hurriya neighborhood west of Baghdad, they just refused or they gave me some silly suggestions like picking me up to a close place. Oh, they have two polite ways to say no. they either say like “ sorry I don’t have much fuel” which is very acceptable comparing to the fuel crisis we live with or they just ask for a double price like asking for 10 $ while I can be few steps away from my home with only 5 or even 4 $. Sometimes, I just feel I want to beat them all because when I saw some of them talking on TV complaining of the bad situation and I know for sure that they participate in the mess everywhere in Iraq because they want things to move according to their laws. I just ask myself the same question everyday, when do we have a real state with real law just like any other nation on this crazy earth?

Displaced Urge Red Crescent to Return

Displaced families in the capital, Baghdad, have urged the Iraqi Red Crescent Society to continue supporting people who have been displaced as a result of sectarian violence. “We need urgent help because since the [Red Crescent] volunteers in the capital stopped their work, we have been seriously suffering with the lack of assistance, medical care at camps, and especially food,” said Ibraheem Rabia’a, a displaced metal-worker who acts as a spokesperson for a group of 120 families living in abandoned government buildings on the outskirts of the capital. The Red Crescent suspended its activities in Baghdad after 36 people were abducted, 30 of them Red Crescent staff members, on 17 December. The move spurred the organisation, which was the main provider of aid in Baghdad, into closing 40 of its subsidiary offices in the capital. Eleven of the abducted employees were released last month, however, 19 others - a mixed group of Shi’ite and Sunni aid workers - have still not been released.

The Exodus of Academics Has Lowered Educational Standards

"You are on the list of the teachers who are going to be killed this month for not obeying our demands to leave Iraq," said a hand-written letter which was left at Dr Hamida Bakri's door. Now the 41-year old professor of gynaecology at the college of medicine at the University of Baghdad, is ready to leave the country with her family before death threats become reality. She said two of her colleagues had already been killed. "My friend, who was a pharmacist and doing his doctorate in toxicology, was killed a week ago just because he was a doctor and nothing else. He was one of the good remaining professionals in Iraq and we have lost dozens who have been killed in recent years," she added. Until she leaves the country, two bodyguards accompany Bakri to the college and clinic. Two months ago, she escaped an attempt on her life but one of her bodyguards was killed.


The other thing that struck me about Aunt W's leaving is that we could not even say our goodbyes to her. The situation has become so bad in Baghdad, that many people are choosing not to travel to different parts of the city, fearing for their lives. We couldn't hold a farewell party for her, we couldn't even drop by for five minutes of goodbyes. One day, she just up and left Baghdad, after making her phone calls to her sisters, mother, nieces and nephews. And the same thing happened with me when I left Baghdad. In the summer time, when I came to the States for a visit, I made my rounds to the relatives, for a short goodbye. This time around, when I will likely not go back for a long while, I could not make those rounds. I could not visit our grandmother in Adhamiya to bid her farewell; and I don't know when I will next see her, if I will ever see her again.

War’s Toll On Iraqis

The Health Ministry's full-year death toll of 22,950, although incomplete, is higher than the 13,896 violent deaths of civilians, police officers and soldiers reported Jan. 1 by Iraq's ministries of defense, health and interior. The United Nations, in a November report, estimated that more than 28,000 Iraqi civilians had died violently in the first 10 months of 2006, but that count was disputed by the government. The differences in the numbers could not be reconciled. Iraq's death toll from violence is controversial because it provides a vivid report card on the difficulty of U.S. and Iraqi efforts to bring order to the country. Neither the U.S. government nor the military provides death totals for Iraqis. "It is often very difficult to gain consensus on the numbers of casualties in Iraq. It really is a government of Iraq issue," said Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, a U.S. military spokesman. U.S. and Iraqi officials have discouraged Baghdad's medical officials from releasing morgue counts. [And the US authorities concern for Iraqi civilians was adequately expressed in Franks’ statement “We Don’t Do Body Counts”. They just don’t care. – dancewater]

Iraqi Exodus

One in eight Iraqis have been forced out of their homes because of conflict, the United Nations Refugee Agency has found. [That would be equivalent to over 37 million Americans. – dancewater]

Shocking Realities

Those neglected open areas are now considered the best places for criminal activities, they are now places known for dumping dead bodies. I know it’s shocking but it’s the bitter reality we have, They usually call such areas now the morgues, so when you have someone missing people would recommend that you look in the morgue, the official one, and if you don’t find him there then go and look in other morgues!! Coz we have many. The first official one is loaded, the hospital ones are loaded, and areas ones are crowded too, the militias would abduct and kill, then they would throw the body at any open space they see, easy and not risky since they own the country, Why value of human beings in Iraq became unworthy? Why people now being killed and thrown at any empty deserted land without having a powerful authority to protect their souls? Why we are counting days and minutes for our deaths? Why death became our loyal companion? Our friend? When we hear about him we don’t feel scared, its one of the regular, normal topics of our lives, and why number of dead people has no longer strong impact on us? Why even the dead have lost their dignity in having decent burial?

Terrified Soldiers Terrifying People

Local Iraqi police estimate that at least five attacks are being carried out against U.S. troops in Fallujah each day, and about as many against Iraqi government security forces. The city in the restive al-Anabar province to the west of Baghdad has been under some form of siege since April 2004. That has meant punishment for the people. "American officers asked me a hundred times how the fighters obtain weapons," a 35-year-old resident who was detained together with dozens of others during a U.S. military raid at their houses in the Muallimin Quarter last month told IPS. "They (American soldiers) called me the worst of names that I could understand, and many that I could not. I heard younger detainees screaming under torture repeating 'I do not know, I do not know', apparently replying to the same question I was asked." U.S. soldiers have been reacting wildly to attacks on them. Several areas of Fallujah recently went without electricity for two weeks after U.S. soldiers attacked the power station following a sniper attack. Thubbat, Muhandiseen, Muallimeen, Jughaifi and most western parts of the city were affected. "They are punishing civilians for their failure to protect themselves," a resident of Thubbat quarter told IPS.


Sadr Meets Top Iraq Shi'ite Sistani

Shi'ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr met the reclusive spiritual leader of Iraq's Shi'ite majority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, on Sunday, aides to Sadr said. The reason for their first meeting in more than a year was not clear. The talks at Sistani's residence in the holy city of Najaf are part of delicate power relationships among the Islamist leaders of Iraq's now dominant Shi'ite majority, all of whom acknowledge Sistani's role as patron of their movement. An aide to Sadr, Issam al-Moussawi, said the meeting was "cordial" and touched on "the security and political situation". Sadr's political bloc is part of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's national unity government but has been boycotting cabinet and parliament for the past month in protest at Maliki's renewal of the U.N. mandate for the U.S. forces. Sadr's Mehdi Army militia is blamed by U.S. and some Iraqi officials for some of the worst sectarian violence afflicting Baghdad and other parts of the country, although Sadr himself has disowned groups carrying out death squad killings. Maliki announced on Saturday a major crackdown in Baghdad on armed groups "regardless of sect", suggesting he may be ready to move against some Mehdi Army groups after months of resisting pressure from Washington and minority Sunni leaders to do so.

Association of Muslim Scholars Issues Army Day Statement

As Iraq's government commemorated that country's Army Day, the Association of Muslim Scholars, an umbrella group uniting many Sunni in opposition to the American occupation issued a statement in the memory of the former Iraqi Army. The Association praised the former Iraqi Army and said "our hope depends on the former Iraqi Army reorganizing themselves and getting ready in the nearest opportunity to liberate the Iraqis from the occupation and its agents, and return to the Iraqis their rights and the smiles on their faces."

Duleimi Iraq's Most Sectarian Politician

In a December 22nd interview with the American sponsored Radio Sawa, Iraqi Sunni politician Adnan al Duleimi continued to show his true sectarian colors. Duleimi, who heads the Islamist Iraqi Accord Front, angered Shia politicians when he spoke at the Istanbul conference of Sunni Iraqi politicians held on the 13th and 14th of December. Duleimi angrily condemned the Safavid threat to Iraq, referring to the Persians and implying that the Shias of Iraq were in league with them. His tearful outburst not only incensed Shias but even the Islamic Party of Iraq was upset.

Brigades to Bolster Iraq Crackdown

Three Iraqi army brigades from the Kurdish north and the Shi'ite south will be brought in for a security crackdown in Baghdad seen as central to hopes of averting civil war, a senior Iraqi official said yesterday. Sami Al Askari, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, said the extra troops were part of the plan which foresees Iraqi forces taking responsibility for inner Baghdad while US-led multinational forces will be in charge of the surrounding areas. Maliki announced the plan on Saturday, vowing to crush illegal armed groups "regardless of sect or politics".

Anger Mounts On Decision To Deploy Kurdish Militias in Baghdad

Kurdish leaders have decided to deploy their own militias in the current fighting in Baghdad where government troops aided by U.S. forces have launched yet another campaign to secure the restive city. The move comes as U.S. President George W. Bush is set to announce his much-awaited for new strategy for Iraq in which he is expected to announce a surge in the number of U.S. troops in the country. Iraqis are skeptical about U.S. plans and experience shows that any fresh initiatives by the U.S. since its 2003 invasion have mostly been counterproductive.

How To Read The "New Baghdad Security Plan"

The Al-Quds al-Arabi editorialist makes a good point this morning when he asks: If Prime Minister Maliki was unable to control a simple sequence of events in the small execution-room on Saturday, how can he be expected to manage the affairs of a big complex country like Iraq? "He harmed his own party, and perhaps his sect too, not to mention his American allies, when he permitted the provocation of a man of the stature of Saddam Hussein who stood within moments of being executed, with the repetition of disgraceful sectarian slogans and then [permitting] some to dance around the body and kick at it with their feet".

Above translated by Badger

Peshmerga Not To Participate in New Baghdad Security Plan

The Kurdish local fighters (Peshmerga) will not participate in a new security plan recently branded by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as an assault on Baghdad to “hunt down all outlaws regardless of their sectarian and political ties,” the spokesman for the defense ministry said on Monday. “Iraqi army and police forces will carry out the new plan to secure Baghdad with backing by the Multi-National Forces,” Mohammed al-Askari told reporters in his weekly briefing in Baghdad. The spokesman denied media reports that Peshmerga and the Shiite Badr forces will take part in carrying out Baghdad security plan.

Sunni Front Wants All Militias Disbanded

A leading Sunni politician urged the Iraqi government on Monday to disband all unconstitutional militias and welcomed involving Kurdish Peshmerga in implementing a new security plan. “Article 9, clause B of the Iraqi constitution provides for dissolving all militias that were formed after the downfall of the former regime without exception,” Hareth al-Obeidi of the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF).

Sadrist Bloc Returns to Government

The Sadrist bloc decided to return to the Iraqi parliament and government after representatives of the Shiite cleric Maqtada al-Sadr’s movement met on Monday the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a source close to the Premier’s office said. “A Sadrist bloc delegation met today noon the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki informing him of the Sadists’ decision to end the Sadr movement legislators and ministers’ suspension of membership in parliament and government,” the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

Iraq Army To Receive 16 Helicopters and 4,000 Armored Vehicles

Iraq has signed contracts for the purchase of armored vehicles and other weapons with European and U.S. weapons companies, a statement by the Defense Ministry said. The statement did not say how much the contracts were worth but a defense spokesman said the value of Iraqi weapons purchases was conditional to budget allocations which he did not specify. But the statement said most of the weaponry will come from the United States and will be a gift to the troops as part of U.S. moves to strengthen Iraqi forces. It said the U.S. has pledged to supply the army with 4,000 armored vehicles and 1,800 Humvees and 16 helicopter gun ships. The statement said the weapons were to arrive in March.


Tapes From 1988 Plan Killing of Kurds

Saddam Hussein and his cousin "Chemical Ali" discussed how chemical weapons would exterminate thousands before unleashing them on Kurds in 1988, according to tapes played on Monday in a trial of former Iraqi officials. "I will strike them with chemical weapons and kill them all and damn anyone who is going to say anything," a voice identified by prosecutors as "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majeed is heard saying. "Yes it's effective, especially on those who don't wear a mask immediately, as we understand," a voice identified as Saddam is heard saying on another tape. "Sir, does it exterminate thousands?" a voice asks back. "Yes, it exterminates thousands and forces them not to eat or drink and they will have to evacuate their homes without taking anything with them, until we can finally purge them," the voice identified as Saddam answers. With Saddam's chair empty, Majeed and five other Baath party officials were being tried for their roles in the 1988 Anfal (Spoils of War) military campaign in northern Kurdistan.

Court Drops All Kurd Charges Against Saddam

Saddam Hussein’s trial for the killing of 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s resumed Monday with the late dictator's seat empty, nine days after he went to the gallows. The court's first order of business was to drop all charges against Saddam. Six co-defendants still face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from a military campaign code-named Operation Anfal during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war.


Bush Sets Goals For Iraqis To Meet

President Bush’s new Iraq policy will establish a series of goals that the Iraqi government will be expected to meet to try to ease sectarian tensions and stabilize the country politically and economically, senior administration officials said Sunday. Among these “benchmarks” are steps that would draw more Sunnis into the political process, finalize a long-delayed measure on the distribution of oil revenue and ease the government’s policy toward former Baath Party members, the officials said. As the policy is being debated in Washington, the new American operational commander in Iraq said Sunday that his plan was to send additional American troops, expected to be part of the policy change, into Baghdad’s toughest neighborhoods, and that under the new strategy it may take another “two or three years” to gain the upper hand in the war. Without saying what the specific penalties for failing to achieve the goals would be, American officials insisted that they intended to hold the Iraqis to a realistic timetable for action, but the Americans and Iraqis have agreed on many of the objectives before, only to fall considerably short.

Future of Iraq: The spOILs of war

How the West will make a killing on Iraqi oil riches

Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days. The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972. The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil.

……… Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq's oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise. But it will operate through "production-sharing agreements" (or PSAs) which are highly unusual in the Middle East, where the oil industry in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world's two largest producers, is state controlled.

US Twists Civilian Arms to Fill Fortress Baghdad

The embassy compound being built inside Baghdad’s Green Zone covers 104 acres, making it six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York. A city within a city for more than 1,000 people, it will have its own water, sewers and electricity, six apartment buildings, a Marine barracks, swimming pool, shops and some walls 15 feet thick. The State Department has told the Financial Times that the US civilian presence in Iraq has “grown considerably beyond the numbers projected for the new embassy compound”, which is scheduled for completion by September 1 at a cost of $592m (€455m, £307m). The department and other agencies, such as the Pentagon and Treasury which also supply staff, are working out how to accommodate the extra numbers that Mr Bush is expected to announce this week. Recruits are being attracted to one-year posts by a mix of cajoling and inducement – an almost doubling of their salary, four trips outside Iraq and guarantees of favourable postings afterwards.


OPINION: Who Benefits From Escalating Chaos In Iraq?

Who possibly benefits from escalating chaos in Iraq? Neoconservatives unabashedly have written about how chaos presents opportunities for promoting their goals. Certainly Osama bin Laden has benefited from the turmoil in Iraq, as have the Iranian Shi'ites who now are better positioned to take control of southern Iraq. Yes, Saddam Hussein is dead, and only the Sunnis mourn. The Shi'ites and Kurds celebrate his death, as do the Iranians and especially bin Laden – all enemies of Saddam Hussein. We have performed a tremendous service for both bin Laden and Ahmadinejad, and it will cost us plenty. The violent reaction to our complicity in the execution of Saddam Hussein is yet to come. Three thousand American military personnel are dead, more than 22,000 are wounded, and tens of thousands will be psychologically traumatized by their tours of duty in Iraq. Little concern is given to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in this war. We've spent $400 billion so far, with no end in sight. This is money we don't have. It is all borrowed from countries like China, that increasingly succeed in the global economy while we drain wealth from our citizens through heavy taxation and insidious inflation. Our manufacturing base is now nearly extinct. Where the additional U.S. troops in Iraq will come from is anybody's guess. But surely they won't be redeployed from Japan, Korea, or Europe. We at least must pretend that our bankrupt empire is intact. But then again, the Soviet empire appeared intact in 1988. ……We get into trouble by not following the precepts of liberty or obeying the rule of law. Preemptive, undeclared wars fought under false pretenses are a road to disaster. If a full declaration of war by Congress had been demanded as the Constitution requires, this war never would have been fought. If we did not create credit out of thin air as the Constitution prohibits, we never would have convinced taxpayers to support this war directly from their pockets. How long this financial charade can go on is difficult to judge, but when the end comes it will not go unnoticed by any American.

OPINION: The Lynching of Iraq

The harsh fact is that the Shiite dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, in its contemptible treatment of a man about to die, laid bare the dark truth of Bush's war. This is what revenge looks like, and revenge (not weapons of mass destruction, not democracy) drove the initial U.S. attack on Saddam Hussein every bit as much as it snuffed out his life at the end. The hooded executioners took their cue from Bush. And why should they not have? Let's remember who this man is. As governor of Texas, he presided over the executions of 152 people, including the first woman put to death in Texas in a century. …….Capital punishment is to individuals what aggressive war is to nations. The 20th century, for all its brutality (or because of it), marked the watershed era when world opinion shifted against both. Once, princes exercised life-and- death power over subjects with unchallenged authority. Once, the only check on a state's freedom to attack another state was its power to do so. …..Bush is the impresario of unnecessary violence. America has followed him into the death chamber of this war, and now he wants us to believe that the way out is through more death. Iraqi loss of life remains mostly unimagined, but every evening on the television news, Americans see the sweet faces of young soldiers who have died in Bush's war. They were heroes, not criminals, yet Bush dragged each one of them up onto a gallows. He positioned them on the trap door, hardly wincing as they then fell through. And now, in perhaps the greatest outrage of all, Bush claims that the way to justify the unnecessary deaths he has caused is to add to them. Escalation is his way of saying, go to hell.

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: “Our long national nightmare in Iraq, far from being over, is about to get a second wind.” – Frank Rich


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