Tuesday, January 02, 2007

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, January 2, 2007 Photo: Iraqis carry posters of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein while riding in the back of two police cars during a protest in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 1, 2007. About 350 people, some armed with machine guns and rifles, gathered in Tikrit's eastern Qadissiya district Monday, took to the streets and protested Saddam's execution. (AP Photo/Bassim Daham) Photo: U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment work to get a Humvee released from the mud in Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007 (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A U.S. Marine killed an Iraqi soldier during what the U.S. military described on Tuesday as an "altercation" at a security post in Falluja. A U.S. statement did not say what sparked the fight, which occurred on Saturday, or how the Iraqi soldier was killed. The Marine has been assigned to administrative duties, it said. "An Iraqi soldier was fatally wounded during an altercation with a Marine at a post at the Falluja Government Centre," the statement said, adding that 300 U.S. Marines operate in Falluja alongside 700 Iraqi police and 3,000 Iraqi soldiers. "The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has initiated a criminal investigation," the statement said.
Bring 'em on: The military announced the death of a U.S. soldier by a roadside bomb southwest of Baghdad. The blast Monday wounded three others, including an interpreter, as they talked with residents about sectarian violence, the military said.
This raises the number of American casualties in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to 3,003 killed and more than 22,000 wounded according to U.S. data.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: U.S. forces killed the coach of Iraq's basketball team for the disabled in front of his house in the area of al-Mansour, western Baghdad, according to an official in Iraq's Paralympics Committee. A roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded seven others in eastern Baghdad. Three of those injured were policemen. The bomb was hidden in a pile of garbage in the Camp Sarah neighborhood, a mixed area, police said. Iraqi police patrols found 17 unidentified bodies in separate parts of northern Baghdad district of al-Aazamiya. Police officials in Baghdad said 15 bodies were discovered in the mainly industrial Sheikh Omar district of northern Baghdad. U.S. forces raided the Imam al-Muntazhir mosque in Baghdad's al-Hurriya district and cordoned several streets in the area, eyewitnesses said. U.S. troops killed a suspected al-Qaida weapons dealer and two other people in Baghdad. Five armed men began firing at coalition forces when they approached a targeted building, the military said. "Coalition forces returned fire killing three armed men and wounding a fourth," it said. The building burst into flames. A roadside bomb went off at the Camp Sarah neighborhood in eastern Baghdad early in the morning, wounding six people. Seven Iraqi civilians were wounded when an explosive charge went off southeast of Baghdad, a police source said. Diyala Prv: Gunmen shot dead Ali Majeed Salbokh, a member of the Diyala provincial council, and three of his aides, 20 km (12 miles) east of Baquba on Monday. Fallujah: A roadside bomb exploded at a U.S. patrol in Falluja's district of Saqlawiya, destroying a Humvee vehicle, but it was not clear if there were casualties among troops, eyewitnesses said. Madean: Gunmen forced a minibus to stop and kidnapped a family in the town of Madaen, 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, Interior Ministry sources said. It was not known exactly how many people were missing. Unknown gunmen shot dead six people,including three children, from one family in south of Baghdad on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said. "Armed men stormed the house of a family in the Ja'arah village near Madain town early in the morning and opened fire, killing all the family members," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Nahrawan: Police found five bodies bearing signs of torture and bullet wounds in the town of Nahrawan, 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Mosul: The hospital in Mosul received the bullet-riddled bodies of three brothers on Monday, hospital and morgue sources said.
>> NEWS Bush intends to reveal a new Iraq strategy within days, the BBC has learnt. The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq to focus on ways of bringing greater security, rather than training Iraqi forces. The move comes with figures from Iraqi ministries suggesting that deaths among civilians are at record highs. The US president arrived back in Washington on Monday after a week-long holiday at his ranch in Texas. The BBC was told by a senior administration source that the speech setting out changes in Mr Bush's Iraq policy is likely to come in the middle of next week. Its central theme will be sacrifice. The speech, the BBC has been told, involves increasing troop numbers. The exact mission of the extra troops in Iraq is still under discussion, according to officials, but it is likely to focus on providing security rather than training Iraqi forces. The proposal, if it comes, will be highly controversial. Already one senior Republican senator has called it Alice in Wonderland. The need to find some way of pacifying Iraq has been underlined by statistics revealed by various ministries in the Iraqi government, suggesting that well over 1,000 civilians a month are dying.
Bush grappled with ways to fix his Iraq strategy, amid warnings even among his Republican congressional allies that they oppose escalating the unpopular war. Bush, who was expected to showcase his new proposals in a speech by January 15, has been considering "all options" -- including what some have dubbed a "surge" or "sustained surge" in the number of US troops in Iraq. But most opposition Democrats, a handful of prominent Republicans, and even the top US military commander in Baghdad, General George Casey, have warned against a prolonged expansion in the US military presence. "The longer we in the US forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq's security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias," Casey told the New York Times in a telephone interview on Friday. "And the other thing is that they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq's problems, which are at base their problems," said Casey, whose comments were published Tuesday. Holiday over, Bush set to wrestle with Iraq policy [the title says it all -- zig]
The head of the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the main Sunni insurgent groups, called on Muslims to "save Baghdad from Iranian occupation," in an "urgent message" posted on the Internet. "Iraq is under a double, US-Iranian occupation, the worst being the Iranian Safavid (Shiite Persian) occupation," the IAI's "emir" said in an audio message posted on a website used by Iraqi insurgent groups on Monday. "The Islamic nation should ensure it does not lose Baghdad as it lost Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and, before that, Al-Andalus (Andalucia in southern Spain). It must carry out its Islamic duty of supporting Sunnis in Iraq by all means ... The decisive battle in Iraq is the battle for Baghdad," the voice said. "America is staggering in Iraq ... It ignited the fire of sectarian war before realizing that it had fallen into a trap laid by the Iranians, who seized Iraq and its riches without any losses to speak of," the insurgent chief said. "America is now fully cooperating with the Safavid militias. Iran could not care less for any Shiite in Iraq who is not Persian," he said. The recording was dated Friday and congratulated Muslims on the advent of Eid al-Adha, or feast of sacrifice, which began on Saturday.
Iraq's prime minister ordered an investigation into the conduct of Saddam Hussein's execution in a bid to learn who among the witnesses taunted the former Iraqi leader in the last minutes of his life, then leaked a cell phone video. The video contained audio of some witnesses taunting Saddam with chants of "Muqtada" and of the former leader responding that his tormentors were being unmanly. It surfaced on Al-Jazeera television and the Internet late Saturday, the day Saddam was hanged. The taunts referred to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who is a main backer of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite leader who pushed for a quick execution of Saddam. Al-Jazeera said when it broadcast the video that it was exclusive to them. The pictures appeared on the Web at about the same time. Sami al-Askar, a close al-Maliki political adviser, told The Associated Press that the Iraqi leader had "ordered the formation of an investigative committee in the Interior Ministry to identify who chanted slogans inside the execution chamber and who filmed the execution and sent it to the media." The video was particularly inflammatory not only because the disrespectful chanting was clearly audible, but also because it showed Saddam's death as he dropped through the gallows floor and then swung by his neck, his eyes open and neck twisted dramatically to his right. The clandestine video portrayed a much different scene than the official tape of the execution, which was muted. It did not show Saddam dropping to his death. Munqith al-Faroon, an Iraqi prosecutor whose job was to convict Saddam Hussein of genocide, was one of the small group of witnesses at the hanging and defended Saddam's right to die in peace. He said he knew that "two top officials ... had their mobile phones with them" at the execution, although other witnesses had their phones taken away beforehand. Saddam's execution and the way it was conducted have provoked anger among Sunni Muslims, who have taken to the streets in recent days in mainly peaceful demonstrations in Sunni enclaves across the country.
A crowd of Sunni mourners in Samarra marched to a bomb-damaged Shiite shrine and were allowed by guards and police to enter the holy place carrying a mock coffin and photos of the former dictator. The protest took place at the Golden Dome, a Shiite shrine bombed by Sunni extremists 10 months ago. That attack triggered the current cycle of retaliatory attacks between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, in the form of daily bombings, kidnappings and murders.
Hundreds of residents in Hebheb (20 km west of Baaquba) demonstrated to protest the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, while more people flocked to offer their condolences in other towns, eyewitnesses said. Some 500 people took part in the demonstration, carrying Saddam's pictures, waving Iraqi flags and raising placards denouncing the Iraqi government and violation of Moslem sanctity on the first day of Eid al-Adha (Bairam), the witnesses told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). (…) A large number of armed men escorted the demonstrators, firing heavily into the air in a show of defiance to the government, he said. The witness said the demonstration lasted two hours and the protestors shouted slogans demanding revenge from the Americans and the Iraqi government. ´ Iraqi police forces and national guards watched the protest from a close distance but did not interfere, the witnesses said. In the towns of Hebheb, al-Hadeed and al-Aswad, Diala province, people flocked to mourning assemblies to offer their condolences over the death of Saddam, they added.
The Iraqi government Monday ordered the closure of the Baghdad office of a Dubai-based television station whose newscaster wore black mourning clothes while reporting on the hanging of Hussein. (…) It's not clear how the closure might effect Al-Sharqiya, which broadcasts to Iraq from Dubai by satellite. Al-Sharqiya reported Monday night that its offices in Baghdad were raided and sealed by Iraqi authorities. But the station said those offices were vacated three months ago in response to attacks on staff. Al-Sharqiya remained on the air Monday, broadcasting video of a protest against Saddam's execution that was staged by the Professional Associations — an umbrella group of unions representing doctors, engineers and lawyers — at the group's offices in Amman, Jordan. >> REPORTS IraqSlogger: MARINE'S LETTER FROM IRAQ Viper, a marine officer in San Diego, California, whose blog, OK, So Here is the Deal, runs a piece called "How It Really Is in Iraq," which is from a Marine officer in Iraq. This is a must-read, and probably the most hilarious and poignant account of some of the most courageous, strange, surreal, and ironic things he experienced in Iraq. Excerpts:
I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading. Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for 20 hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno. Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record-setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best. (...) Most Surreal Moment - Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels. Coolest Insurgent Act - Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool. (...) Most Profound Man in Iraq - an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you." (...) Worst City in al-Anbar Province - Ramadi, hands down. The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Lots and lots of insurgents killed in there since we arrived in February. Every day is a nasty gun battle. They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms. We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry. Every day. Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news. We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad. Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million. Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude. I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.
read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Dyab Abou Jahjah: SADDAM HUSSEIN, THE MARTYR OF THE ARAB PEOPLE What a sad day , and what a humiliation to our Arab people and Arab masses when the enemy of our people, The American occupier and its puppets and collaborators execute the legitimate president of Iraq on the day of Eid. Let me set one thing straight, I have never been a fan of Saddam Hussein nor of his regime and I always hoped that the Iraqi people would be able of ousting him and bringing him to justice like I wish he same for all dictators and war criminals around the world including Bush, Olmert and Blair. Nevertheless, not one hair on my head would envisage accepting foreign occupation and the ousting of an Arab leader by the enemy of our nation, no matter how bloodthirsty, oppressive or corrupted that leader can be. And yes I understand the personal anger and emotions of the victims of Saddam's ruthless rule especially among Shi'a Iraqi's and Kurds, but this should by no means be a reason to put personal vendetta above the freedom and the sovereignty of our people as a whole. Should the frustration against the ruthless rule of every Arab dictator be solved by inviting foreign occupation and collaborating with it? And how is that a constructive path towards the future of our people? Are we blind to the violent and chaotic situation in Iraq today and can't we see that under Saddam the situation was much better for the average Iraqi citizen despite an embargo? And did we forget that before the embargo Iraq was one of the most prosperous and developed Arab states? And who is responsible for the death of millions of Iraqi's by Embargo and by war afterwards? Saddam or the occupation? But even if Iraq would be a paradise today, how can honorable men and women enjoy life under the boots of foreign occupation? I am a Shi'a Arab and according to CNN and BBC I am supposed to be cheering the death of Saddam, but instead I am feeling a deep sense of sorrow and sympathy with him that I never had before. Saddam might have been a dictator, but today he is the martyr of the Arab people and of the Arab resistance not only in Iraq, but also in Palestine and in Lebanon. Yes Saddam died as a martyr to his Nation and as a resistance leader in captivity. He walked proudly towards his fate without compromising with the occupier and in my book this alone makes him a hero and this alone makes me forget anything he might have inflicted upon my people. How can I cheer the death of a legal Arabic president who is ousted by force through an illegal invasion based upon false pretexts and lies. And how can I recognize anything based upon that occupation? Whether it is elections, governments, tribunal or any other products of the American rule? The government in Iraq is even less legitimate then the Vichy government that collaborated with the Nazi's. The Vichy government was already in power by the sovereign decision of the French people and decided to collaborate and that was enough for general De Gaulle to consider it as a bunch of traitors and fight it. This Iraqi government is totally a result of occupation and collaboration and is therefore more to be condemned and less legal and legitimate than the Vichi government ever was. The only legal and legitimate representative of the Iraqi people is the National Iraqi resistance. The martyrdom of Saddam was meant to be a poisoned present from Bush and his puppets in Iraq to the Arabs and the Muslims on this Eid Holliday, and they maybe missed the meaning of this Islamic Holliday. The Eid al Adha is the feast of Sacrifice where Muslims celebrate the sacrifice made by Abraham to save his Son Ismael. The symbolism of this is paramount, as Martyrdom is conceived as a sacrifice to save the Nation and its freedom. Saddam would have not wanted to die on any other day, and once again the blunders of the enemy will continue to feed the will of resistance and struggle. (...) Saddam Hussein might have lived as an oppressor and a dictator, but he died as a resistant and freedom fighter and this is how he will be remembered. God bless his soul. read in full... Nabil's Blog: HAPPY OR SAD SHOULD I BE??!! Today...I woke up in the morning, suppose to be Eid's morning, the day that we should have celebration and having fun. At first I went down stairs, hugged my dad and wished him the best for the new year..and after a while he just shoked me with the news, he said that Saddam was executed earlier this morning.. I was feelingless at that point, because I was still sleepy, I stood there speachless, thinking of the whole thing and the consequences of this matter, and about the timing of the execution which is in Eid's morning. Anyway I went up to my room again, dressed myself up, and went straight to my grandpoah's house, where all family comes in Eid's morning and have lunch and enjoy the first day of Eid, I enterd the room where they were all gathered, I noticed the sad look on their faces, I started to hug each one of them and wish them the best for the new year, then sat with them for a while, they were talking about this execution and they were very mad and angry about it, first because they think that this trial is not ligitimate, and secondlly that the timing of this execution is very bad, I remained speachless there too, because I didn't know what to say, I wasn't so sure about my feelings myself, I was like am I happy or am I sad or what the hell am I feeling??! Anyway, Eid continued at grandpoah's house as usuall, we had a nice lunch and everything was okay, thenafter I went to see my friend who wasn't feeling anything about the whole matter and wasn't thinking about the consequences. I returnd home and still haven't decided my feelings whether I'm sad or happy, Now as I'm writing this post I can describe my feelings very well, but still don't know what other people might think of me saying this. I think I'm happy to see this despot recieving a fear verdict and being executed for the crimes he had done to the iraqi people, and for his aggressive behaviour towards the poor people. and yet, I'm so sad actually that This (Great man as he was) this symbol of the Arab nation (as hypocrties used to describe him) is being treated this way.. being hold with disgust by two guards, and executed in this humiliating manner, its too much for me to take easily.. I think the Iraqi government has taken this day to carry out the vedrict to revenge to themselves and to attack sunni community in an indirect way, because today was only the sunni's Eid, not the shiite's Eid.. They were eagred to execute him as soon as they can, to insure their wicked sick minds that the idea of Saddam coming back to power will be terminated, though they know that this won't happen even if he remained alive.. Anyway, carrying out the verdict will not solve anything, and will not make the security situation any better, it will only make it worse, and by this bad timing they attacked an important sect of the Iraqi people, and I don't think that this sect will remain harmless to what they've did.. Finally, I still don't know whether I'm happy or Sad..but to say the truth I'm Sad, because I think that Iraq will never ever have a president that knows how to deal with the bad groups of the iraqi people like Saddam. link
Wake Up From Your Slumber: SADDAM - THE SACRIFICIAL LION The king is dead, but long live the king! Kings never die, and to try to kill them is futile. Exile and imprisonment, rather than regicide, carry far more humiliation for them, but personal humiliation was not the intention here. The intention here was the attempted castration of the Arab world, and another feeble attempt at the emasculation of the Muslim Ummah. Once again, a horrible failure from the other King, the King of Failures, George Bush II. Personally, I never did like Saddam Hussein and I was always told he was a liar and a tyrant, and I believed it. I was told that he was a bad man. I studied the WMD evidence, the Dujail trial, and the evidence at Halabja and was expecting a lot more to come of something that could justify my hatred of this person. Sadly, with all the facts at our disposal now, I have no rational option but to pen this eulogy to one of the greatest Arabs, Saddam Hussein Al-Majid Al-Tikriti Al-Iraqi - the Lion of Baghdad and the Pride of Mesopotamia and Arabia. Every person I spoke to today, Muslim or Christian, devout or atheist, was seething with hidden rage at the timing, the pending trials, the tawdry execution. Iraq Under Saddam, and the subsequent Rape of Iraq Iraq bloomed under him - his Ba'ath party was more Shia than Sunni. Under him, Iraq was secular, with universal free education, resulting in the highest literacy rate with women at par with men. He commissioned sciences, museums and construction of buildings and monuments that reflected the new glory of Mesopotamia. Universal healthcare, pensions, and jobs for everyone. Did he hoard money for himself? I have yet to see the proof. The proof on the other side: had he been a spoilt coward, he would have gone into exile with his supposed billions when he was repeatedly offered it, and so would his sons. Do spoilt playboys fight to the last breath, even his teenage grandson? Iraq should have been encouraged to move to democracy, instead of the unprecedented bloodshed, torture and suffering that has been inflicted on the people of the Iraq by the U.S. The wiping out of intellectuals, academics, libraries, museums and culture is unprecedented in modern history and evoked memories of Hulagu Khan. So much for civilization. So much for democracy. So much for human rights. So much for professional soldiers who rape, torture and kill civilians, in the hundreds of thousands, orders of magnitude more than what Saddam did while keeping his country together, literate and well-fed. Even Hulagu had some scruples: the Mongols rolled the caliph up in a rug, and rode their horses over him, as they believed that the earth was offended if touched by royal blood. All of his sons but one were killed. (Wikipedia). Saddam Killed Many Saddam Hussein sent many people to their deaths, so says Bush, and Bush is an honourable man. So has George Bush, and so has every leader since time immemorial. Would the families of the executed hate him? Of course. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. So what? How many Confederate families hated Abraham Lincoln when he put down a foreign-financed rebellion in the southern part of his country with brute force, killing their loved ones. But Saddam was a bad man. So sayeth Bush, and Bush is an honourable man. There is more torture and mayhem in Iraq now, and Saddam's heavy-handedness has been justified, not on the absolute scale, but the relative scale (compare Putin's actions in Chechnya). Saddam and the Shia Clergy The United States egged him on against Iran, almost forcing his hand. When he did, Iran tried to destabilize him using its Shia clergy connections. He had the conspirators executed. So did Musharraf. Such is statecraft and we all live with it. The subtle duplicity of the media in this is appalling. The Dujail Trial Saddam's convoy was attacked in Dujail. He ordered an investigation and duly constituted judges pronounced death on the attackers and their supporters. During his trial, he was personally exonerated. His actions were in his official capacity as head of state - he did not shoot someone with a revolver in his office. His trial was conducted under new laws invented by the Americans, the same set of laws that give immunity to U.S. soldiers from prosecution in Iraq. Halabja In my opinion, he was executed quickly so as to stop the collection of evidence in the Halabja trials, which were next. The evidence in the Harvard archives is very flimsy, if at all credible. It was the middle of a war, with border parties switching allegiances and both parties using chemical weapons. Saddam's Legacy Saddam was a brutal dictator, but no better or no worse than the many others supported by the United States. Open the files on Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, the Jordanian Kings, Musharraf, Zia-ul-Haq, Niyazov, Putin, Karimov, and many many others. As a secular Arab, he despised the religious fundamentalists, and provided his people with a higher standard of living and access to progress than any one of the Arab states around him. As a street-fighter, he had the smarts and the bravery of someone who has faced death many times. Once he found out the game of the U.S. in the Middle East, he refused to play along, sacrificing himself instead of his country and his nation. For this, he was executed, and for precisely this, he will be remembered for time immemorial. Long after Bush and Blair are shameful footnotes of history, Saddam Hussein will be remembered as the lion that rose from Tikrit, the land of Salahuddin. Yes, the same Saladin, the Crusaders' nightmare. And that land will produce more like them. Like him or hate him, he continued the independence of Iraqis, and the legacy that it will not be colonized, or neo-colonized like other Arab states. Even those who hated him want the Americans to leave, and the Palestinians to prosper. That is his legacy. May Allah forgive his sins and excesses, and may his soul rest in peace. read in full...
Truth About Iraqis: YET ANOTHER MILESTONE - 3000 How many more young Americans are to be sacrificed so that Iran rules the Arab Gulf? 3000 dead. For nothing. Nothing at all. But only death. Death of 650,000 Iraqis. Death of the Iraqi state. And the invasion of Iraq now means the US must either take on Iran or allow a World War to begin in a few months. You reap what you sow. Long live the noble Iraqi resistance. link
Born At The Crest of the Empire: THE WHITE HOUSE ASSURES US THAT BUSH CARES I'm not a historian, but doesn't the recurring insistence that the president "feels" the losses in Iraq seem a little bizarre?
Bush mourns death of 3,000th U.S. soldier in Iraq "The president believes that every life is precious and grieves for each one that is lost," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "He will ensure their sacrifice was not made in vain."
And, it's not just this bit of boilerplate. For the last few months at every press conference, Bush has made the same point. What does it say about his image that it's deemed necessary for the president to assure us time and time again that he is, in fact, human and does care that people are dying? An offshoot of the earlier "bring em on" tough boy rhetoric? A relic from the indifference of Katrina? Or a political necessity in the current politics of the war? link
Barbarian Blog: IS THAT ALL THERE IS? There should be champagne popping and people dancing in the streets tonight in every city, town, and village in the United States, because Saddam Hussein is dead. With no Iraqi connection to al Qaeda, with no weapons of mass destruction, with democracy stillborn in Iraq, this is the payoff, the only payoff, for almost 4 years of war, for hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, for 3000 dead Americans, for tens of thousands of severely wounded Americans, for hundreds of billions of dollars squandered, tens of billions of that plundered under the indifferent eye of the Bush Administration, for the loss of America's moral stature in the eyes of the world, for the crippling of our armed forces, for the fracturing of our political comity. For all that and more, we get one dead former dictator. So pop those bottles and shake a leg. This is the only opportunity to celebrate that this war is going to give us. So let's keep dancing. You were expecting more? Update: I'm sorry, stupid me, I didn't realize that Saddam's execution is going to mark a significant turning point in Iraq. Apparently it's going to have as big an effect as Saddam's capture, the killing of his sons, the various elections over there, and Saddam's conviction (have I missed anything?). Freedom's on the march. link
Blah3: SHORTER WHITE HOUSE: THE DOG ATE OUR PLAN FOR VICTORY I'll tell ya, for a media outlet that is more often than not the preferred whipping boy when things aren't going right for Team Thug, the New York Times always seems to step up when there's history to be re-written. Today, they're helping tell the tale of how the White House really, really did have a plan for victory in Iraq - but the Iraqis fucked it all up by getting all violent and shit.
The original plan, championed by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top commander in Baghdad, and backed by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, called for turning over responsibility for security to the Iraqis, shrinking the number of American bases and beginning the gradual withdrawal of American troops. But the plan collided with Iraq's ferocious unraveling, which took most of Mr. Bush's war council by surprise. In interviews in Washington and Baghdad, senior officials said the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department had also failed to take seriously warnings, including some from its own ambassador in Baghdad, that sectarian violence could rip the country apart and turn Mr. Bush's promise to "clear, hold and build" Iraqi neighborhoods and towns into an empty slogan.
Sheah, right. They were going to do all the stuff that the American people are now saying they want done as regards Iraq. But since those meddlesome Iraqis screwed up the plan, the only thing left to do is toss out General Casey and send another 30,000 American kids into the meat-grinder. Pardon my skepticism, but I can't take this at face value. It fucking reeks of ass-covering. link
Reality-based Educator: INSISTING ON "VICTORY" IN IRAQ The NY Times says the administration knew it's Iraq war policy was a disaster as early as last summer but didn't want to do anything before the midterm elections because it would make it look like the administration didn't have a plan for victory:
This year, decisions on a new strategy were clearly slowed by political calculations. Many of Mr. Bush's advisers say their timetable for completing an Iraq review had been based in part on a judgment that for Mr. Bush to have voiced doubts about his strategy before the midterm elections in November would have been politically catastrophic. Mr. Bush came to worry that it was not just his critics and Democrats in Congress who were looking for what he dismissed last month as a strategy of "graceful exit." Visiting the Pentagon a few weeks ago for a classified briefing on Iraq with his generals, Mr. Bush made it clear that he was not interested in any ideas that would simply allow American forces to stabilize the violence. Gen. James T. Conway, the Marine commandant, later told marines about the president's message. "What I want to hear from you is how we're going to win," he quoted the president as warning his commanders, "not how we're going to leave."
When you read the entire Times article, you come to realize the administration has no "plan for victory" other than saying the words "We have a plan for victory" over and over again:
As security efforts in Baghdad faltered, a confidential briefing on possible "end states" in Iraq was prepared by officials under the command of Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarielli, who until a few weeks ago led the day-to-day operations in Iraq. It suggested the dark vision of a divided nation that haunts the administration. Unless the United States persuaded the Iraqi government to change course, those who prepared the briefing foresaw an Iraq run by a relatively weak central government, which would include a largely autonomous nine-province Shiite region in the south and a Shiite-dominated Baghdad. The Kurds would retain their autonomy in the north. The Sunnis would essentially be relegated to the western Anbar Province and other enclaves. The briefing posed a question: was this an outcome the United States could live with? If so, what could the United States do to minimize the bloodshed? If not, what should be done to alter this course? Mr. Bush still insists on talking about victory, even if his own advisers differ about how to define it. "It's a word the American people understand," he told members of the Iraq Study Group who came to see him at the White House in November, according to two commission members who attended. "And if I start to change it, it will look like I'm beginning to change my policy."
There you have it - this preznut has no endgame plan, no idea how to alter the current course of violence and bloodshed, no way to force the Shia to stop disenfranchising the Sunni, no way to keep Iraq from essentially breaking up into three different states. All he has are his empty words. link
The News Blog: IRAQ Bush hasn't got a clue as to what to do. More training only makes the Mahdi Army stronger. The cuurent government seems to act as Sinn Fein to the Mahdi Army's IRA. So who are we supposed to fight? If Bush thinks we can crush the Mahdi Army to save the government, well we're way past that. Because with Saddam's Mahdi Army sponsored execution, I think it should be clear who is running the show. link
Personally I think that the plan, well....I dont think there is one anymore. It is hard for me to admit, I love conspiracy theories, but, I think, and admitting this comes hard... There isnt any plan other than 1) kill saddam 2) accept flowers from gratful iraqis 3) steal their oil -- comment by timotheus, Jan 02 2007, 05:33 am I don't think there is a plan either. Well, one relating to Planet Earth anyway. This is Hitler-in-the-bunker time. God have mercy on us. -- comment by Lupin, Jan 02 2007, 05:42 am It shouldn't come as any great surprise that Bush will take the most confrontational stance possible. WRT Iraq, he's daring the new Democratic congress to withold funding. He's going to send the troops in no matter what hearings are held or what GOP Senators desert him. He's got nothing to lose, and no compunction about going all in. After all, if he pulls back, or listens to his critics, he'll have to face the reality that the most important, most defining decisions his administration has taken are in fact catastrophic failures. Pulling out of Iraq will make him a goat of american history, the only President to start and lose a war. Impeachment is coming, because it's the only thing that'll stop these bastards. -- comment by jimBOB, Jan 02 2007, 02:28 am e-mail in the News Blog Sacrifice post
>> BEYOND IRAQ Ian S. Lustick: AN ALL-CONSUMING 'WAR ON TERROR' The official mantra is that we fight in Iraq because it is the "central front in the War on Terror." The exact opposite is the case. We are trapped in fighting an unwinnable - even nonsensical - "war on terror" because its invention was required in order to fight in Iraq. After years of slaughter in Iraq, the neoconservative fantasy of a series of cheap, fast, neo-imperial victories is dead. But the war on terror lives on, stronger than ever. How did the war on terror take on a life of its own and trap the entire political class, and most Americans, into public beliefs about the need to fight a global war on terror as our first priority, even when there's little or no evidence of an enemy present in the United States? What accounts for $650 billion worth of expenditures, along with baseless cycles of "sleeper cell" hysteria and McCarthyist policies of surveillance and "pre-emptive prosecution" not seen in this country since the early 1950s? Consider how Congress responded to the war on terror. In summer 2003, a list of 160 potential targets for terrorists was drawn up, triggering intense efforts by members of Congress and their constituents to find funding-generating targets in their districts. The result? Widening definitions of potential targets and mushrooming increases in the number of assets deemed worthy of protection: up to 1,849 in late 2003; 28,364 in 2004; 77,069 in 2005; and an estimated 300,000 in 2006 (including the Sears Tower in Chicago but also the Indiana Apple and Pork Festival). Across the country, virtually every lobby and interest group recast its traditional objectives and funding proposals as more important than ever given the imperatives of the war on terror. The National Rifle Association declared that it means that more Americans should own and carry firearms to defend the country and themselves against terrorists. On the other hand, according to the gun control lobby, fighting the war on terror means passing strict gun-control laws to keep assault weapons out of the hands of terrorists. Schools of veterinary medicine called for quadrupling their funding. Who else would train veterinarians to defend the country against terrorists using hoof and mouth disease to decimate our cattle herds? Pediatricians declared that more funding was required to train pediatricians as first responders to terrorist attacks, because treating children as victims is not the same as treating adults. Pharmacists advocated the creation of pharmaceutical SWAT teams to respond quickly with appropriate drugs to the victims of terrorist attacks. Aside from swarms of consulting firms and huge corporate investments in counter-terrorism activities, universities across the country created graduate programs in homeland security, institutes on terrorism and counter-terrorism, all raising huge catcher's mitts into the air for the billions of dollars of grants and contracts just blowing in the wind. (...) Most instructive of all was the unwillingness of the government to define the enemy posing the terrorist threat. Al-Qaida is a tiny threat compared to the size of the enemy required by the thousands of interest groups crowding toward the counter-terrorism trough. For this reason, the enemy in these scenarios is referred to by the Department of Homeland Security as "the universal adversary," present everywhere and capable of taking on any shape. Instead of responding to real threats posed by real enemies, we find ourselves preparing for an endless list of possible bad things that could happen, as if the devil himself were out to get us. link
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Now the US and Britain are faced with the insurmountable problem of finding a way, at this extremely late date, to restore a rough balance of power to the region by attempting to reconstruct something similar to the mechanisms they eliminated and failed to replace in 2003." -- from More fuel on Iraq's spreading flames by W Joseph Stroupe


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