DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, January 9, 2007
: British soldiers from 63 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment drive past children scavenging in refuse as they patrol in the northern suburbs of the southern Iraqi city of Basra, 07 January 2007. (AFP/File/Dave Clark) (See below "A Uniquely Shameful…")
U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, backed by American warplanes, battled suspected insurgents for hours Tuesday on a central Baghdad street
that been an insurgent hot spot for years, and 50 militants were killed, the Defense Ministry said. (…)
U.S. helicopters circled above the Haifa Street area where the fighting took place, and witnesses said they had seen the aircraft firing into the combat zone. Explosions rang out across the area, just north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Shaker, a ministry spokesman, said 21 militants were captured, including seven foreign Arabs — including three Syrians — and one Sudanese.
Police said the clashes began when gunmen attacked Iraqi army checkpoints, and that Iraqi soldiers called for U.S. military help.
Al-Dabbagh said Iraqi forces had decided to wipe out "terrorist hide-outs" in the area once and for all. "God willing, Haifa Street will never threaten the Iraqi people again," he said.
Al-Dabbagh also said followers of Saddam Hussein were to blame for the violence.
"This would never have happened were it not for some groups who provided safe havens for these terrorists. And as everyone knows, the former Baathists provided safe haven and logistics for them to destabilize Iraq," he said.
Haifa Street has long been Sunni insurgent territory and housed many senior Baath Party members and officials during Saddam's rule.
The Defense Ministry issued a statement saying 11 people were arrested in the Haifa Street battle, including seven Syrians. But the U.S. military said only three people had been arrested.
A U.S. military spokesman said American and Iraqi forces launched raids to capture multiple targets, disrupt insurgent activity and restore Iraqi Security Forces control of North Haifa Street.
"This area has been subject to insurgent activity, which has repeatedly disrupted Iraqi Security Force operations in central Baghdad," Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl said in a statement.
Troops were receiving small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fire attacks during the operation, the statement said.
An Iraqi staff member of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been shot dead in Baghdad
, a spokesman said on Tuesday. Janan Jabero, 52, an engineer who had worked for UNICEF since 1999, was killed on Monday night, but the agency did not know the motive nor who was responsible, said UNICEF spokesman Damien Personnaz in Geneva. "Initial reports from local authorities indicate that Mr Jabero...was shot while driving his car," the agency said in a statement.
A policeman was wounded when a roadside bomb hit his patrol car in downtown Baghdad.
Police found 40 bodies in various parts of Baghdad in the past day
, an interior ministry source said.
The US Army reported Tuesday that US-Iraqi forces clashed with militants who sought refuge in a mosque in Diyala province
north east the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Three militants were killed and there was no damage to the mosque, it is reported
Three mortar rounds landed on a house in Mahmudiya
, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, killing one person and wounding three from the same family, police said.
British forces detained four gunmen and wounded another in Basra
, 550 km south of the capital Baghdad, the spokesman for the Multi-National forces in southern Iraq on Tuesday."British forces last night searched two houses in al-Hussein district, 8 km west of Basra, and arrested four gunmen," Tane Dunlop told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) by telephone on Tuesday. He said the British troops later clashed with the gunmen, wounding and arresting one of them.
A cargo plane carrying Turkish construction workers crashed during landing at a foggy airstrip north of Baghdad, killing 32 people and injuring at least one
, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Two people were unaccounted for.
Private Turkish news agencies said the plane was trying to land at the U.S. military base in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. The Foreign Ministry did not say whether the crash was at the base.
An Iraqi security official said the passengers were mostly Turks who worked at the airport in Baghdad. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said initial reports indicated the plane went down due to bad weather and heavy fog. The official also spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not yet been authorized.
The pilot had aborted an initial attempt to land because of heavy fog, then crashed on a second try, the ministry official said.
The Iraqi official said he did not know the cause of the crash, but that visibility had been poor. (…)
On board were 35 people: 29 Turks and one American, as well as a crew of five — three from Moldova and one each from Russia and Ukraine, Gov. Cahit Kirac said.
However, Aeriantur M company director Serghei Caraus said five Moldovans were on the plane.
(update) An Iraqi security official said it wasn't known if the plane was shot down or had mechanical problems.
A roadside bomb missed an Iraqi army patrol in Mosul but wounded an eight-year-old girl nearby.
Gunmen kidnapped the head of the customs department in northern Iraq.
Police found six bodies, including one woman, in the northern city of Mosul.
Iraqi army attacked two gunmen as they were trying to pass their checkpoint near Kirkuk
, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad
A suicide truck bomber killed two policemen and wounded three more at a checkpoint in Ramadi
, capital of Iraq's western Anbar province.
A convoy of Iraqi Sunni Muslim pilgrims who were returning from Hajj in Saudi Arabia was kidnapped by gunmen disguised as police
on Tuesday, Qatar-based pan-Arabic television channel al-Jazeera reported.
"The convoy was seized by Iraqi security vehicles and headed to unknown direction," Alaa Maki, a lawmaker from the Iraqi Consensus Front, a Sunni parliament bloc, told the channel. Maki said that four Sunni clerics were separated earlier from convoy, which was headed to Sunni Ameriyah area in Baghdad.
"Dozens of pilgrims were at the vehicles of the convoy and some of them were calling us by their cellphones since the dawn, saying they were escorted by military vehicles and they don't know where they were heading," Maki said. "They said 'Help us. We are kidnapped' before their calls were cut," he added. As for the four clerics, he said that they were seized earlier and their destiny is not known.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi leadership would welcome a increase in U.S. troops,
which President Bush was expected to announce on Wednesday night in a major policy speech outlining changes in U.S. strategy. He was expected to announce an increase of up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops.
Senior Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy said he will propose legislation requiring Bush to get congressional approval before deploying any additional troops to Iraq.
"President Bush should not be permitted to escalate the war further, and send an even larger number of our troops into harm's way, without a clear and specific new authorization from Congress," the lawmaker said, according to an advanced copy of a speech he was to deliver in Washington Tuesday.
Blair will make clear this week that Britain is not going to send more troops to Iraq even if the US pushes ahead with a "surge" of 20,000 extra soldiers.
The Prime Minister will insist that the UK will stick to its own strategy of gradually handing over to the Iraqi army, as it has been doing with success in Basra and the south.
A new video of Saddam's body surfaced on a Baathist Web site.
The 27-second video shows the late dictator's corpse with a gaping neck wound, his head twisted at a 90-degree angle.
Apparently recorded on a cell phone, the video pans the length of Saddam's body wrapped in a white sheet. Voices in the background say, "Hurry up, hurry up," and "Just one second, just one second ... I'm about finished."
Launching a fervent appeal for funds to cope with the increasing burden, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said around 12 percent of Iraqis have fled their homes as a result of the violence that engulfed the country following the US-led invasion in 2003
"The current exodus is the largest long-term population movement in the Middle East since the displacement of Palestinians following the creation of Israel in 1948," it said in a press release posted on its website.
The UNHCR said $60 million (46 million euros) are badly needed to assist up to 3.7 million refugees and displaced Iraqis, predicting that one million more could flee their homes this year.
The figure is more than double the $29 million that made up the agency's Iraq budget in 2006.
The UNHCR put the current number of internally displaced Iraqis at 1.7 million in addition to another 2 millions who have sought refuge in nearby countries, out of a total population of 26 million.
Roads to Iraq: ATTACK ON "HAIFA STREET" SUNNI NEIGHBORHOODS
- US occupation forces helping Iran's Militias once again to launch an attack on Sunni neighborhood "Haifa street", Haq agency says that the US forces are attacking the area with military airplane and tanks.
Many bodies of women and children seen laying on the streets of the neighborhood
It is a hell out there
Information on the attack: After stiff resistance from the people, it became apparent that the sectarian militias joined the US forces, and began killing people on identity.
Tomorrow, Militias are preparing to attack Sunni neighborhoods with help from US forces.
Nir Rosen: OPEN WAR IN BAGHDAD'S AMEL DISTRICT
The civil war has erupted fully in Baghdad's Amel district. Amel is in Karkh, or the western half of Baghdad, near the airport road and it is now the worst part of Baghdad. Sunni and Shia militias have been engaging in open warfare since last Thursday afternoon. Terrified residents have been hiding in their homes since then but they report fighters running through the streets, shooting and occupying homes. Firefights last for hours and mortar shells are falling. There is no sign of Iraqi police, Iraqi army or American forces. The edge of Amel, close to the Bayaa district is known by the tribal name of al Mughases and is controlled by the Mahdi Army militia.
read in full...
LA Times: IRAQ OFFENSIVE BOGS DOWN IN MUD
A five-day offensive into the troubled rural region east of Baghdad bogged down in the mud Monday after U.S. forces bombarded a warren of tunnels and canals where Sunni Arab insurgents were believed to be holed up.
An icy downpour turned dirt roads into muck that stuck to boots and wheels like cement and stopped American armored vehicles. (...)
Monday night, an American soldier was wounded by friendly fire when an airstrike was called in against insurgents near U.S. positions, authorities said. A later strike later hit the insurgents, but there was no word on casualties.
U.S. and Iraqi forces have swept through sprawling farmland, combing hamlets for fighters, weapons and information. Troops have found numerous arms caches in the mostly Sunni village of 30 Tamuz. One man led soldiers to a canal at the back of his house and pulled an AK-47 assault rifle from the murky depths.
Most men in the village have left, with or without the women and children. U.S. planes dropped leaflets last week indicating that troops were on the way. Villagers told U.S. and Iraqi forces that the men raced off on motorcycles ahead of the offensive and were hiding in canals.
U.S. troops faced fierce resistance when they pressed through the region in November after large stashes of weapons were spotted during reconnaissance flights.
In the new offensive, about 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops are on the move, backed by air support. On Sunday, the U.S. military said, 21 armed men were killed, and a stash containing 1,169 Katyusha rockets, arms and ammunition was found.
Before dawn Monday, U.S. aircraft unleashed strikes in the region that continued into midmorning, sending fireballs into the sky. Throughout the day, troops saw small groups of men maneuvering through nearby canals.
Shortly before 4 p.m., word came over a crackling Humvee radio that a U.S. bulldozer had hit an antitank mine, injuring the driver. A casualty of a different kind, an explosives-sniffing dog, was evacuated with a scratched nose, officers said.
Insurgents have riddled the main roads to their hide-outs with antitank mines. After U.S. and Iraqi forces rolled through, insurgents were seen planting more mines for the return trip.
The improvised explosive devices "are bad, the mud is worse," Spc. Richard Cooper said after spending more than an hour trying to maneuver a Humvee down a muddy road.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Arianna Huffington: WATCHING THE PRESIDENT'S IRAQ SPEECH: A DIAGNOSTIC
Paging Dr. Freud... or at least Dr. Phil.
When it comes to the White House's latest "new approach" to Iraq, we are definitely entering "the lunatics have taken over the asylum" territory.
The judgment behind it -- looking at the advice of military experts, and the unambiguous results of the November election, and deciding the proper response is to escalate our involvement in Iraq -- is straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Psychiatric literature defines delusional thinking as "false or irrational beliefs maintained despite clear evidence to the contrary."
Sound like any commander-in-chief you know?
Indeed, watching Sen. Lindsey Graham shill for the administration on Meet the Press this weekend, and hearing him state with utter conviction and a gleam in his eye, "We've got a new team on the ground. We're going to come up with a new strategy. The strategy is going to be designed to win," I couldn't help but think of the reports from psychiatrists who have treated patients with delusional personalities. The truly deranged are often so committed to their delusions, and so insistent, that part of your brain actually starts thinking: Hmm, maybe this person really is Napoleon! Maybe that woman really is a fried egg! Maybe the surge really will lead to victory in Iraq!
Meanwhile, the other part of your brain -- the rational part -- is reminding you that, no, in fact, that person is not Napoleon or any part of a Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast. They are simply utterly insane.
So now, as the president prepares to preempt Deal or No Deal to lay out his new plan for Iraq in prime time on Wednesday night (and wouldn't it be great if we could all collectively shout "No deal! No deal!!" at him through our TVs?), it might be useful to have a diagnostic checklist -- things we should to be looking for during the speech to help us evaluate where the president currently stands on the "I'm a fried egg" delusion continuum. (Hat tip to Dr. Bill Frist, who paved the way for such video-diagnoses.)
Here are some of the key symptoms of "false or irrational beliefs maintained despite clear evidence to the contrary" we should be looking out for:
Does he display clear indications of denial, continuing to use words like "victory," "win," and "stable democracy"? Does he avoid using the phrase "civil war"? When he repeatedly talks about "sacrifice" does he skip over the fact that this doesn't include me and you, and over 99 percent of Americans?
Does he exhibit signs of the classic layman's definition of insanity: repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting a different result? Look to see if he trots out strategies that have already failed time and time again and acts like he expects them to have a different outcome. Be on particular alert for mentions of a new Baghdad security plan, and see if they are accompanied by any reference to the five previous such plans, all of which have failed to curb the chaos. And keep an eye open for even the slightest acknowledgment that throughout the war the military has repeatedly carried out troop surges of more than 20,000 and the bloodshed in Iraq has continued to increase.
Does the patient -- I mean, the president -- demonstrate magical thinking, signs of a belief that merely wishing for something can make it so? For example, when he talks about sending an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq, does he acknowledge the reality that military commanders have told him they don't have the troops available to deploy more than 9,000 soldiers? Does he appear cognizant of the fact that in order to come up with even 20,000 troops the military would have to remobilize reserves, extend current tours of duty, give new units dangerously little time to train, shorten the amount of time between tours for troops returning home, and leave America even less able to deal with any new security threat?
Does he continue to make the claim that we're fighting them over there so we won't have to fight them over here...even though there isn't a shred of evidence that the war in Iraq has made us safer, and a great deal of evidence that it has, in fact, had the opposite effect?
Does he continue to irrationally link the war in Iraq to 9/11, as Tony Snow did on Monday when he claimed the president "understands there is a lot of public anxiety" about the war, but that the American people "don't want another September 11."
Does he admit that the new top commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Odierno said that even with a troop surge, it could take another "two or three years" for our troops to get the upper hand in Iraq?
Does he explain where the $100 billion in additional war funds he will be asking Congress for next month is going to come from, or do you get the sense that he believes it will come from the exact same place the additional troops will come from?
Sadly, I think the diagnosis is inevitable. Nothing in Bush's history suggests otherwise. This will leave the rational treatment of the war in the hands of Dr. Reid, Dr. Pelosi, and their Congressional cohorts. The prescription? A straitjacket on the president's war funding requests.
It's one thing to believe you're Napoleon. It's quite another to send more young people to die in your Waterloo.
John Doraemi: THE COMING BIG BUSH "SACRIFICE" GAMBIT
In chess, it is sometimes preferable to sacrifice a high value piece, your queen, bishop, rook or knight, in order to manipulate your opponent into giving up a desired slice of real estate.
Pay close attention to Bush's new strategy, and to his repeated mention of the word "sacrifice", for it may hold the key to understanding what is about to unfold.
A real-world chess "sacrifice" gambit could go something like this.
1. US forces attack the Shi'i militias in Baghdad.
2. The Shi'is throughout Iraq retaliate and cut off US supply lines.
3. The US army is overrun in many places suffering huge and catastrophic casualties (the "sacrifice").
4. This stunning defeat causes another "helpful wave of indignation"  across the "homeland," preordaining a new US response.
5. The US regime will reinstate the draft, and it will use nuclear weapons in a first strike against Iran, who will be linked to the Shi'is of Iraq, and thus provide the pretext for this next all-out war.
The pretext to attack Iran becomes the goal of this "sacrifice" ploy, and the scores of dead US troops will be the lives sacrificed (by the criminal and twice unelected Bush regime) in pursuit of this end.
Many commentators have spoken about the precarious position of US supply lines in Iraq. The army there is high-maintenance, and it cannot last for more than a few weeks without re-supply. These supply lines are primarily through Shi'i controlled territory. This is one reason the "counter-insurgency" (or war of imperial conquest) has focused on Sunni targets thus far. That could all change very rapidly.
Paul Craig Roberts recently wrote:
"By manipulating Bush and provoking a military crisis in which the US stands to lose its army in Iraq, the neoconservatives hope to revive the implementation of their plan for US conquest of the Middle East. They believe they can use fear, "honor," and the aversion of macho Americans to ignoble defeat to expand the conflict in response to military disaster. The neocons believe that the loss of an American army would be met with the electorate's demand for revenge. The barriers to the draft would fall, as would the barriers to the use of nuclear weapons." 
To that end, the corporate media (under heavy Zionist influence) has been steadily feeding the public anti-Iran propaganda. Many common citizens now express a bloodlust, and a thirst for preemptive violence toward Iran on message boards across the Internet.
One of the techniques employed was to mistranslate the Iranian president's words  time and again (mainly by Israeli propaganda organ MEMRI) to suggest that the Iranian president is threatening an attack on Israel, which his original words in Farsi do not express. It's also an absurd claim, because Israel possesses at minimum 200 nuclear bombs.
Now recall that the Prime Minister of Iraq, Maliki, recently intervened and had US forces stand down from attacking the Shi'i Mahdi army in November 2006:
"Maliki's decision exposed the growing divergence between the U.S. and Iraqi administrations on some of the most critical issues facing the country, especially the burgeoning strength of Shiite militias." 
This also exposed the tenuous and precarious nature of the US presence in Iraq. The US armed forces actually were forced to accept the wishes of Maliki, over their own generals.
"American soldiers rolled up their barbed-wire barricades and lifted a near siege of the largest Shiite Muslim enclave in Baghdad on Tuesday, heeding the orders of a Shiite-led Iraqi government whose assertion of sovereignty had Shiites celebrating in the streets." 
The questions this incident provokes are:
What would have happened if the US army didn't accept Maliki's orders?
And, what fraction of the population were "celebrating in the streets," about the US humiliation?
A solid majority of Shi'ites wants the US out of Iraq immediately:
"The survey by much-respected World Public Opinion (WPO), taken in September , found that 74% of Shiites and 91% of Sunnis in Iraq want us to leave within a year. The number of Shiites making this call in Baghdad, where the U.S. may send more troops to bring order, is even higher (80%)." 
And that population comprises our "allies" who secure the supply lines for a continued presence there at all.
From one vantage point, an objective observer might conclude that 'the pieces are in place.'
Christopher King: IRAQ WAR AND THE AMERICAN PEASANT
Christopher King explores the phenomenon of the American peasant - that segment of US society which, through suspension of all critical faculties and indifference to the truth, defy logic and evidence by supporting the war against Iraq.
The peasant is a type who has disappeared from Western Europe with excellent effects both socially and politically. The American peasant however has a lot to answer for. This is most vividly shown in the public's judgment about the rightness of the Iraq war where views are sharply divided between Europe and America.
The historical peasant was an agricultural worker who was poor, uneducated and usually worked so hard he had no time or energy for anything else. Any opinions or judgments that such a man might make would necessarily be of poor quality. In America, the land of plenty, opportunity and electronic information which has never seen a peasant class of this sort, how can the peasant possibly exist and indeed be blamed for his judgments? (…)
The infallible test for identifying a peasant is whether he believed that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack. It is an unarguable fact, widely known for years, that Saddam was not behind it, yet large numbers of Americans to this day think that he was. In linking Saddam with 9/11, President Bush simply lied, for reasons that seemed good to him, but his lies are not my concern. I am concerned that he never produced evidence and it was widely publicised at the time that there was no such evidence, yet much of the country believed him. The highest proportion of believers were, and still are, Fox News viewers. (…)
How can this be? I am doubtless gathering up accountants and computer programmers together with McDonalds workers and the odd soya farmer of a few thousand acres who owns a barn full of machinery, two or three cars and sends his children to university. You might say in objection that many of these are highly qualified people with highly developed vocational skills, so they cannot be peasants. I reply that such skills and qualifications are irrelevant; they relate only to earning money rather than knowledge of the wider world. Our traditional peasant had excellent vocational skills as anyone knows who has tried ploughing a field behind a horse, making cheese, salami or maintaining an orchard.
Our Americans are not poor, you might object. They are men and women of substance, churchgoers, even pillars of their communities. True, but they behave as if they are poor since their possessions and money, which are the envy of most of the world, are not enough. They are not preoccupied with producing goods for survival as our traditional peasant is; they are preoccupied with gaining goods and money far beyond a good standard of living. They live in virtual villages where, if they have leisure from their efforts to escape their self-defined poverty, they associate with others who have similar village interests, unaware that their nation expends its wealth, the lives of its soldiers and the lives of uncounted hundreds of thousands of Iraqis half a world away on the basis of lies and deception. This is peasant behaviour.
I do not know the underlying cause of this phenomenon; nor can I suggest a remedy. Perhaps many Americans believe their own slogans about the "Land of the Free", the "American Way", "Only in America" and "American Democracy". Perhaps it is because, having never suffered invasion and occupation, they cannot empathize with those whom they regularly invade. Of course, there are many Americans who are as knowledgeable and sophisticated as anyone anywhere and who genuinely believe that an American life is as valuable as an Iraqi life. I place the responsibility on them to bring their naïve compatriots to an understanding that their behaviour has disastrous consequences for millions of fellow humans who are suffering and dying in other parts of the world. Ultimately, they endanger America and themselves.
read in full…
Needlenose: JUST CALL ME CASSANDRA
More than two weeks ago, I wrote at Firedoglake:
Dubya isn't insane (at least not entirely) - he (or Cheney or Rove, or whoever) is making a calculated gamble that the long-term benefit of sticking with the "resolve" narrative will overcome the short-term unpopularity of escalating the war... and that whatever fuss they might raise, Democrats won't be able to make them pay a permanent price for it.
So the absence of an effective Democratic narrative isn't just an abstract issue. At this point, it's actually enabling the Bushites to lengthen the war.
And sure enough, the Bushites admit this in today's New York Times
The president's advisers are also mindful of polls showing that while the public wants the situation to improve in Iraq, it does not necessarily favor immediate withdrawal.
"They're going to cast it as a choice between withdrawal and surge," said one Republican strategist close to the White House. "The public is not for immediate withdrawal or even a quick withdrawal, but they're not for the status quo. I think they feel as if the public is more likely to support the president's position, which is putting a stake in the ground in Iraq and saying were going to try to win."
Finding better Democratic framing on Iraq isn't an excuse for not stopping the war; it's how
to stop the war.
As long as the warmongers think they've got an argument between those who "want to win" and those who want to admit defeat, they're going to keep pushing forward.
If we can change the argument to one between people who want to face reality and those who want to cling to fantasies, thereby making a bad situation worse ("One more gallon of gasoline, and I'll have this fire out in no time!"
), then the political cost will grow enough that Dubya will have to give in -- or, at least, the public will stand behind the Democrats who take his toys away, instead of feeling guilty about it.
Blah3: THE SURGE IS OFF...
Is it just me, or have we gone completely around the bend (for the 5,679th time) when the "finishing touches" that are being put on Da Beeg Plan have more to do with what to call it than anything else? Because we knew "more troops" were going to be involved nearly a month ago, so what's the delay except marketing? From CNN today:
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And by the way, Kyra, the Pentagon is not calling this option a surge. You know what they're calling it?
KYRA PHILLIPS: What's the word?
MCINTYRE: The operative word now is a plus up. It's a plus up of troops, not a surge.
Sounds like New Coke, if ya asks me...
Invictus chimes in
: Spending as much time as I do with numbers, I can't help but wonder if there's such thing as a "plus down," and if so, what it would entail.
John Pilger: SETTING THE LIMITS OF INVASION JOURNALISM
By On 14 November, Bridget Ash wrote to the BBC's Today programme asking why the invasion of Iraq was described merely as "a conflict". She could not recall other bloody invasions reduced to "a conflict". She received this reply:
Dear Bridget You may well disagree, but I think there's a big difference between the aggressive "invasions" of dictators like Hitler and Saddam and the "occupation", however badly planned and executed, of a country for positive ends, as in the Coalition effort in Iraq. Yours faithfully, Roger Hermiston Assistant Editor, Today
In demonstrating how censorship works in free societies and the double standard that props up the facade of "objectivity" and "impartiality", Roger Hermiston's polite profanity offers a valuable exhibit. An invasion is not an invasion if "we" do it, regardless of the lies that justified it and the contempt shown for international law. An occupation is not an occupation if "we" run it, no matter that the means to our "positive ends" require the violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, and an unnecessary sectarian tragedy.
Those who euphemise these crimes are those Arthur Miller had in mind when he wrote: "The thought that the state . . . is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied." Miller might have been less charitable had he referred directly to those whose job it was to keep the record straight.
read in full...
Gorilla's Guides: A UNIQUELY SHAMEFUL AND BARBARIC ACCOMPLISHMENT
Every time I go to Iraq I see children scavenging in garbage dumps for food.
I find it impossible to describe how I feel when I see a child pick up a piece of rotted food in a garbage dump and eat it. I simply have no words for how I feel when I see that.
On my son Dubhaltach's last trip to Iraq he was approached no less than 5 times by young parents asking him to take their children. Not even selling the poor kids they'd been driven beyond and below even that level of desperation. No, all they wanted for him to just "please take them so that they can eat." Today the photograph that you see to the left came in over the wires. When he tried politely and gently to describe what was going on on a leading so-called "liberal" American site he was told by the denizens their that he was being "shrill" and "rude" and that they didn't like his "tone." This from people who knew that he risks his life daily as a bomb disposal officer. But God forbid that anyone who isn't one of the master race puncture their self-satisfied delusion that their country is a force for good.
Even under Saddam and sanctions there was enough to eat. To succeed in a three year period in behaving worse than that bloodsoaked monster, to succed in a three year period in reducing vast swathes of the population to dependency on miserably inadequate food handouts, to succeed in reducing enormous numbers to the level of hunger where their children die trying to get food to eat is a uniquely shameful and barbaric accomplishment. As I repeatedly point out if you want to see the real values of a society you only have to look at how their soldiers and their police behave.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay was reminded of Afghanistan's volatility when a blast delayed his departure from Kanda- har airfield
last night after a two-day inspection of Canada's mission to the struggling country. As MacKay's Canadian Forces Hercules was warming up for takeoff, a rocket struck near enough to shake tents, sound a wailing alarm and force the camp's inhabitants into blast shelters until they were given the all-clear.
Gordon Brown vowed yesterday to take on President George W Bush and the Americans over foreign policy
as he spelt out plans to break from Tony Blair's approach to the "war on terror".
The Chancellor, who is on course to succeed Mr Blair as [UK] Prime Minister this summer, made clear he wanted to place Britain's national interest above the special relationship with Washington.
Mr Brown also forced Mr Blair, his long-term rival, to authorise No 10 to issue its first statement denouncing the bungled execution of Saddam Hussein.
Mr Blair had declined to make any public comment after video footage emerged of the former Iraqi dictator being harangued by Shia guards as he waited on the scaffold.
But after Mr Brown told BBC1's Sunday AM that No 10 was obliged to issue a statement, Mr Blair rapidly let it be known that he thought the handling of the execution was "unacceptable".
As Mr Brown prepares to take over from Mr Blair, he is determined to signal a dramatic shift in the way No 10 handles its relations with the Bush White House.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "They [al-qa`ida] have their leanings and we have ours, our goal is to liberate the homeland, we do not fight the Americans because they are American, but because the occupy our land"." -- Abu Muhammad, Ba`th Party spokesman