Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Photo: US troops secure the site as a humvee burns in the back after being hit by a road side bomb in Baquoba, Iraq, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007. There were no immediate reports on casualties. (AP Photo/Adam Hadei) [Incident unreported elsewhere -- zig]
Five civilians have died in the Baghdad crash of a helicopter owned by the private security company N.C.-based Blackwater USA, according to a U.S. military official.
> A senior Iraqi defense official said a private U.S. security company helicopter was shot down over central Baghdad.
The official, who would not allow use of his name because the information had not been made public, said a gunman downed the small helicopter Tuesday afternoon over the heavily Sunni Fadhil neighborhood in north-central Baghdad.
A U.S. military official in the Middle East confirmed the helicopter crashed in a heavily populated Baghdad neighborhood but had no information on why or how many were on board. That official also refused to be identified because he was not authorized to release the information.
> Witnesses said the chopper was forced to land in the central Baghdad district of al-Fadl after coming under fire during clashes between gunmen and U.S. forces. (...)
"Heavy firing was heard in al-Fadl district and surrounding areas. U.S. forces are heavily present in the area...which has been closed," one eyewitness said.
"A helicopter different from the types used by the U.S. army was flying at a low altitude. A sniper fired at it and one occupant who was clearly visible from the ground was hit," he added.
"The helicopter swung before coming down," the witness said.
Earlier in the day, gunmen opened fire indiscriminately in the district, killing one person and wounding four, a police source said.
> The clashes took place on the east bank of the Tigris river in the centre of old Baghdad. A reporter working for Reuters said up to around 50 military vehicles were in the area, backed by several helicopters, and there was sustained gunfire.
US helicopters have buzzed the Iraqi capital's Sunni stronghold of Adhamiyah, a day after security forces launched a joint "Operation Wolf" against insurgents in the area.
> Up to nine US combat and private security helicopters circled the area for several hours, as heavy machine-gun fire was heard coming from the district in northeast Baghdad Tuesday.
Bring 'em on: One Marine assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died Sunday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in the Multi National Division-Baghdad area of operation, south of Baghdad.
Bring 'em on: One Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Monday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.
Bring 'em on: An 89TH Military Police Brigade Soldier died Monday of wounds suffered after an improvised explosive device exploded next to his vehicle north of Baghdad.
ABC news anchor Chris Cuomo was unhurt after the convoy of military police he was riding with in Iraq was struck by a roadside bomb. The vehicles returned to safety following a small arms battle, and Cuomo reported on the attack on "Good Morning America," where he is the news anchor.
A blast occurred when a parked car bomb exploded at about 9 a.m. near the Finance Ministry, which is run by Bayan Jabr, a Shiite and former interior minister. One civilian was killed and four other people were wounded, including a ministry guard, police said.
A bomb planted under a car exploded about 45 minutes in the commercial district of Karradah in downtown Baghdad, killing four people, including a woman and a 7-year-old boy, and wounding seven other people.
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol struck the neighborhood of Azamiyah in Baghdad, wounding a child.
Six people waiting to collect welfare benefits were wounded when a bomb left in a sack exploded at a social welfare department in eastern Baghdad.
A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol, wounding three police officers in al-Baladiyat district in eastern Baghdad.
An explosive charge explosion injured three in an Iraqi police patrol vehicle in al-Baladiyat district, southeast of Baghdad.
An official at the Iranian embassy in Baghdad denied a report U.S. and Iraqi forces were raiding its compound on Tuesday and an embassy source said private security guards were there with a visiting U.N. official. An Iraqi journalist said he had spoken to a colleague who had seen U.S. and Iraqi army vehicles surrounding the embassy. But an official who answered the telephone there said: "There is nothing happening ... There are no American forces here." The source at the embassy said U.N. envoy Ashraf Qazi had visited the Iranian ambassador and his security guards were parked outside.
Men allegedly wearing uniforms of the Iraqi security forces abducted a group of 17 Palestinians in Baghdad early on Tuesday, the UN refugee agency said. Several uniformed men entered the building rented by UNHCR at 5 a.m., broke doors and windows and took away 17 Palestinian men but left women behind, the agency's spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters. Some of the Palestinians were released later on Tuesday, he said. But Redmond was unable to say how many and how they were released.
At least two people were killed and ten others were wounded when a car bomb went off in central Baghdad, a police source said. "A car bomb parked near a main road in al-Sadriyah area in central Baghdad went off today afternoon killing two people and wounding ten," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
Gunmen shot dead an Iraqi professor in northeastern Baghdad, a security source said. “Unidentified gunmen intercepted the car of Dr. Diaa al-Mokotar, a professor in the faculty of administration and economics of al-Mustansiriyah University, in al-Aazamiya district in northeastern Baghdad” the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
Iraqi army troops killed eight insurgents and arrested 37 others during the last 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said
Police pulled a bullet-riddled body that showed signs of torture from the Tigris River in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad.
Several mortar rounds landed on a residential district and killed six people, including five members of a Shi'ite family, and wounded nine others in the town of Suwayra, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.
Gunmen shot to death an Iraqi contractor in the town of Musayyib, 40 miles south of Baghdad.
Police found the bullet-riddled body of a policeman near a car bomb but the police managed to dismantle the bomb in the town of Mussayab.
Police found the body of a man with gunshot wounds on Monday in the town of Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.
Several mortar rounds landed on a residential district and killed a woman and wounded two children in the town of Iskandariya.
Two insurgents were killed and a policeman and a child were wounded when clashes erupted between police and insurgents in the town of Latifiya, in an area dubbed 'The Triangle of Death' south of Baghdad, police said. The police managed to release a number of Shi'ite families being held by the insurgents.
Residents in Madain, southeast of Baghdad, on Tuesday afternoon held a funeral in Najaf for 25 severed heads that had been found in the district. "Madain residents yesterday found 25 severed heads in deserted areas. Most were identified as residents of the district. But the bodies were not found," one mourner, who declined to be identified, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
Five British soldiers and two Iraqi civilians were wounded last night in an accident on the highway in western Basra when their patrol vehicle collided with an Iraqi civilian vehicle," Capt. Katie Brown, the spokeswoman for the Multi-National forces in southern Iraq, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
Two British soldiers sustained wounds after two Katyusha rockets were fired onto the British base in the former presidential palaces in central Basra. Guards of the British base in al-Shaabiya, 40 km west of Basra, came under fire by gunmen but no casualties were reported.
A roadside bomb exploded near a minibus carrying workers in the Northern Oil Company while they heading to the oil-refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
A roadside bomb struck a police patrol in Mosul, killing one policemen and wounding two.
Gunmen clashed with Iraqi police in the northern city of Mosul, leaving three police dead. Three insurgents also were killed and two arrested, police said.
Clashes erupted between insurgents and Iraqi security forces, killing five policemen and wounding three others in several districts in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad.
"A suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the headquarters of Youth Federation in Nineveh provincial Mosul City," a police source from Nineveh province told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. "10 people were injured by the blast, including three Kurdish guards," the source said. Youth Federation is affiliated to the leading Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) headed by Massoud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region.
Gunmen opened fire and killed two people and wounded another in a drive-by shooting on the main road between Hawija and Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.
A police source said "a policeman was wounded last night when a police vehicle patrol came under attack on a main road in southwest of Kirkuk." The attackers opened small-arms fire at the patrol, he added.
A parking car bomb detonated near an Iraqi army patrol in Sinjar town, some 100 km west of Mosul, damaging an army vehicle and wounding four soldiers aboard.
U.S. helicopters blasted a lakeshore militant hideout north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing seven gunmen, after several fled there by boat to escape pursuing U.S. troops, the U.S. military said. The air strike took place during a raid targeting "foreign terrorist facilitators" northwest of Haditha in the volatile Anbar province, heartland of the Sunni insurgency, the U.S. military said in a statement. It said two militants were killed and six others detained in the initial raid.
Three escaped by boat on nearby Lake Qadisiya to a tent encampment on a small peninsula where they were met by four more men, also armed. "Coalition Forces engaged the enemy force with rotary wing aircraft killing seven terrorists. Several weapons including grenades, machine guns and pistols were found in the tents," the statement said.
The bodies of four people were found, shot dead and tortured, on the highway near the town of Rutba, northwest of Baghdad near the Syrian border.
Tal Afar:
Gunmen killed two teachers in Tal Afar, 420 km (240 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
An Iraqi hospital official in Ramadi, Ahmed Jassem, said at least 10 Iraqis were killed and 13 injured during apparent fighting between U.S. troops and insurgents in the war-torn western provincial capital. The account could not be confirmed.
A sniper killed two Iraqi soldiers in Falluja, police said. In a separate incident, gunmen killed three butchers inside a local market.
> The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday predicted the Senate would overwhelmingly reject the Bush administration's plan to send more troops to Iraq.
"My guess is there will be an overwhelming rejection, on the record, of ... 'stay the course' with 20,000 more," Sen. Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat, told the committee.
Biden noted there were now two bipartisan proposals in the Senate -- one drafted by himself and several other senators, and a second by Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner and others -- that said "almost the same thing" opposing Bush's plan to add 21,500 troops to Baghdad and Anbar province.
> The Army general who would carry out President Bush's new war plan urged a skeptical Congress and American public Tuesday to be patient, but acknowledged "The situation in Iraq is dire."
"None of this will be rapid," Lt. Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The way ahead will be neither quick nor easy."
> Iraq will not let United States use its territory to launch strikes against Iran, according to the leader of the parliamentary bloc of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr [ Voices of Iraq, in Arabic].
"We will not allow the American forces to strike Iran to achieve what it wants because the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of our neighbours." He said. "Iran is our big neighbour who and deals with us diplomatically without meddling in our internal affairs."
> More than 600 fighters of the Sadr's Mahdi army were arrested during several raids made recently in Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). The U.S. army added that 33 Sunni leaders of extremists' cells were also detained throughout Iraq.
> Al-Qaida's deputy leader mocked Bush's plan to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq, challenging him to send "the entire army," according to a new al-Qaida videotape released Monday by a U.S. group that tracks terror messages.
Excerpts from the video were distributed by the Washington-based SITE Institute, which said it had intercepted the footage of Ayman al-Zawahri. The tape had not yet been posted on Islamic militant Web sites, where his messages are usually placed.
Al-Zawahri said the U.S. strategy for Iraq, outlined by Bush in a Jan. 9 speech, was doomed to fail.
"I ask him, why send 20,000 (troops) only - why not send 50 or 100 thousand? Aren't you aware that the dogs of Iraq are pining for your troops' dead bodies?" said al-Zawahri in the footage released by SITE, an independent group that researches and analyzes terror-related intelligence.
"So send your entire army to be annihilated at the hands of the mujahideen (holy warriors) to free the world from your evil," he said, "because Iraq, land of the Caliphate and Jihad, is able to bury ten armies like yours, with Allah's help and power."
I tried to leave the hotel at night to buy some cigarettes, when one of the hotel security guys took me a side and asked me where I was going?
I told him that I was going to buy some cigarettes from the corner shop, he smiled and said "No go back." I found that strange and asked him why?
He said "believe me and go back" I questioned him again?, he then informed me that there was some thing fishy going on out side, and that there were three cars driving back and forth in front of the hotel, the guard told me that they had stopped the car and asked them what they were doing in the neighborhood?"
(Because after dark you don't find cars driving because of the security situation and only militia forces will move around looking for random Sunni targets)
They told him that they are looking for some one called Omar!!
Guess what my name is?
I think I might stop smoking!!
I've written several times (e.g., here) about the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Most people who pay attention to things like this probably know that the second person hanged was Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence chief, Barzam al-Tikriti, sometimes described as "one of the most feared men in Iraq." But what about the third victim of U.S. "justice"? That was a man named Awad Hamad al-Bandar, who was the judge in the two-year trial which resulted in the conviction and eventual hanging of 148 men for the attempted assassination of Saddam Hussein. His "crime" was signing the death warrants of 148 people, 4 fewer than signed by George Bush while he was governor of Texas.
One of Judge Bandar's lawyer's, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, has written an extremely informative article about the trial and execution of Judge Bandar (and the others), containing the kind of material you simply aren't going to read in the corporate media, which I highly recommend to readers.
read in full...
I think this report on addustour Jordanian newspaper is true
Villagers from the Iraq-Kurdish Sulaymaniyah province said that American forces asked residents of 12 villages to leave their villages because of the construction of a large American military base in the area and promised to compensate the families of those villages
Added: "The Americans told us they will block all roads leading to these villages".
[the villages named in the report]
Now, compare what you read above, with this report on Turkish newspaper "todayszaman":
US-coordinated Turkish military action into N. Iraq soon
Reliable intelligence sources predict a US- coordinated Turkish cross-border operation into Northern Iraq against PKK camps due to take place most possibly in late February or early March
How to coordinate these operations without a military base?
The coterie of Arabs who supported the U.S.-led invasion were never the target of expensive American propaganda efforts. Their unpopular stands in the Arab world earned them inboxes full of angry e-mails; a few claimed they got death threats. And nearly four years after the invasion they backed, their sense of frustration, resentment and even betrayal speaks volumes about how withered American standing is in the Middle East today and how far the region itself has deteriorated, riven as it is by escalating conflicts, worsening sectarian tension and a simmering struggle with an ascendant Iran.
"It's a success story for al-Qaeda, a success story for autocratic Arab regimes that made democracy look ugly in their people's eyes. They can say to their people: 'Look at the democracy that the Americans want to bring to you. Democracy is trouble. You may as well forget about what the Americans promise you. They promise you death,' " said Salameh Nematt, a Jordanian analyst and the former Washington bureau chief for the Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Hayat.
Added Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian writer and proponent of the invasion, "Everything, everything is very gloomy."
read in full...
It seems the US authorities were not eager for the US public (or anyone else) to know the details of the lethally effective raid mounted against US occupation forces in Karbala last Saturday.
These details clearly indicate the size and creativity of the unit that undertook the attack, as well as the existence of significant collaboration between the anti-US attackers and members of the "Iraqi security forces" who were co-deployed with the targeted Americans at the "Provincial Joint Coordination Center" (PJCC) in Karbala.
There are a number of significant layers to this story. One is, it seems, the ineffectiveness of the attempt the US forces have been making to establish "information dominance" over the whole of the Iraqi area of operations...
But first, let's go to what today's WaPo story reported about the raid:
Which presumably was a major reason why the US authorities in Baghdad did not want to divulge the details of the attack too widely. (...)
Today's WaPo account says this:
. U.S. military officials said Sunday that they could not discuss the attack in Karbala in detail because it remained under investigation. But they said the version of events provided by the governor's office was consistent with their preliminary findings.
This a serious admission. It is an admission, in effect, that Bleichwehl and his fellow officers-- who are, of course, extremely strongly concerned about the wellbeing of all the US soldiers in the field in Iraq-- are unable to hide the fact that some members of an Iraqi unit co-deployed with those Americans were most likely complicit in the anti-US action, while the others were either unwilling or unable to intervene to foil the attack.
Bush's new "surge" plan for Greater Baghdad-- and the whole of the US counterinsurgency effort in Iraq-- depends crucially on effecting a large increase in mthe numbers of US soldiers co-deployed with members of the "Iraqi security forces."
But the news from Karbala-- which is only the latest, though perhaps the most serious, incident in which Iraqis co-deployed with Americans have apparently given aid to anti-US attackers-- is likely to make the US commanders in Baghdad, Qatar, and Washington more wary than ever about such co-deployments. "Force protection", that is, the protection of the lives and wellbeing of their own soldiers, has been the overwhelming mission of the US deployment in Iraq all along, and has been pursued even at the cost of risking the lives of much greater numbers of Iraqi soldiers or civilians.
Given the US public's strong concern about US casualties, this emphasis on force protection is, perhaps, politically understandable. In announcing the most recent "surge", Bush has tried to signal that the US public might need to accept that there could be some increased US casualties during its early phases-- but he "promised" us, as well, that these would not last for long...
But all in all, for the Bushites, it's an extremely inopportune time for detailed news about an attack like the one in Karbala to get out and be disseminated to a wide US readership.
And yet, they proved unable to suppress the news. This, primarily because the Karbala provincial governor was apparently unwilling to participate in their cover-up...
Which is an indication of the Bushites' large and continuing political problems in Iraq, as well.
read in full...
Missing Links: A WORD TO THE WISE
Al-Hayat tells about yesterday's big car-bomb attack at a central Baghdad market in this way:
"Unknown persons" anticipated the beginning of the new security plan in Baghdad by blowing up two cars in the "poor peoples' market" leading to the deaths of 88 persons of various affiliations [meaning not predominantly Shiite or Sunni] and injuries, many of them serious, to a large number of marketers and customers. ...
The vehicles exploded yesterday afternoon at the Haraj market, which specializes in used goods and clothing. It is only separated from the fortified Green one by the Bridge of the Republic, and it is considered a central meeting place for poor people of Baghdad of all sects.
And these violent operations--which follow the start of implementation of the new American strategy of sending 21,000 additional troops to strengthen security in Baghdad--shed light on a change in the nature of the violent operations, which have now come to target large groups of people of mixed affiliations, on the model of the [recent] targeting of Mustansariya University and the Bunuk neighborhood in east Baghdad. And this is being done at the same time as the security plan announced by Prime Minister Maliki, to divide the capital into nine districts, each to be controlled by a special force of 3000 Iraqi and American soldiers.
The Al-Hayat reporter doesn't elaborate or speculate on possible reasons for this tendency to target mixed-sect groups. But it is clear than as between sectarian-motivated and resistance-motivated, his interpretation is that this has many of the earmarks of the latter: Timed for the start of the new American strategy; right next to the Green Zone; and targeting a group that isn't particularly of one sect or the other.
(At the same time, Americans are being told this is sectarian-motivated. See this [Juan Cole post -- zig]:
The Sunni guerillas killing of over 100 Shiites [!] in Baghdad and Khalis on Monday was therefore no ordinary carnage, even in an Iraq where to have 70 persons blown up by a single bomb is no longer a novelty to say the least. But for it to be done during these days is to drive Shiites wild with grief, to push them to take revenge. It is to universalize the martyrdom of Husayn, making all Shiites martyrs. The guerrilla movement depends on people taking revenge, from every side.)
Born at the Crest of the Empire: GRIPPING
If you haven't seen the NYTimes piece on the first "joint security station" in Ghazaliya, you've got to give it a read. There's too much to even excerpt it.
This is the Bush plan, and they want 20 more. Read it. [see an excerpt below -- zig]
The New York Times this morning pays a visit to the leading edge of Dubya's "new way forward" in Iraq, and the sacrificial lambs troops involved don't seem thrilled:
Their outpost here, a cluster of fortified houses officially designated a joint security station and unofficially called the Alamo by some of the soldiers, is a test case for President Bush's new Baghdad security plan. The strategy envisions at least 20 more facilities like it in other troubled neighborhoods, all jointly staffed by Iraqi and American forces.
Even after the stations are set up, American commanders say, it will be many months, at best, before they can even hope to prevent bombings like the one that killed at least 88 people in a central Baghdad market area on Monday.
In the week since the Americans arrived, however, the troops have seen the truth of what their commanders warned in announcing the plan: it leaves Americans more exposed than ever, stationary targets for warring militias.
The outpost sits on the fault line between Sunni and Shiite enclaves: Ghazaliya to the south, where fighters with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia have moved in among the Sunni population, and Shula to the north, a base for Shiite militias that have been raiding this neighborhood for months.
Over the course of three days spent with the 105 soldiers here - Company C of the Second Battalion, 12th Cavalry - four American vehicles were hit by roadside bombs near the outpost. No soldiers from Company C were wounded, but they know the fighting will intensify.
"I'm a juicy target they are just trying to figure out," said Capt. Erik Peterson, 29, the commander at the outpost.
During the week, the soldiers also received their first glimpse of the green Iraqi forces who will share the mission and eventually, they hoped, take it over. The soldiers talked about them with a mixture of bemusement, disdain and mistrust.
"You could talk about partnership, but you would be lying," said one soldier who asked that his name not be used, for fear of punishment by his superiors.
And just think, things haven't started getting worse yet. This is as close as the new plan is going to get to a "honeymoon" phase.
Born at the Crest of the Empire: IS SPINNING HARD PART OF THE "NEW PLAN" IN IRAQ?
The US forces appear to be spinning hard. I guess the idea is to create the impression of success to change the momentum.
(WaPo) The plan is to start with the easy neighborhoods to show success: "The battle for Baghdad will start in mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods chosen by military strategists as being the least likely to offer stiff resistance, raising the odds of early success, according to military planners and officials familiar with the thinking of the incoming Iraq commander, Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus."
(AFP) 600 "Sadr fighters" arrested. (Only 56,400 to go.)
In a teleconference to the Green Zone because Baquba isn't safe for reporters, the local US and Iraqi commanders say that Baquba is stabilized, and any other statements are "rumors."
(AP) The residents call "stable" Baquba a "ghost city."
(The mayor of Baquba was kidnapped on the same day. (WaPo) "After seizing Mayor Khalid al-Sanjari, one of the armed men grabbed a loudspeaker from a police car and taunted the chief of police." The Iraqi press is saying "Before leaving the building, the gunmen placed explosives in the municipal hall and demolished it.")
(LATimes) Mosul is promoted by the US military as an example of stability and Iraqi troops taking charge. (Yet he and others blanch at the possibility of American troops leaving the region..... "It is not a good idea for them to leave right now," said Mosul's police chief, Gen. Mohammed Wathiq.)
(Reuters) Mosul is plagued by violence, too.
I understand the strategy here, we have to change Iraqi minds, but I wonder how effective that effort will be when the Iraqis see the counterevidence every damn day. (Or is it just aimed at us?)
Left I on the News: THE U.S. "OCCUPATION" OF IRAQ
Those of us who oppose the U.S. (and allied) presence in Iraq frequently speak of the "occupation" of Iraq. There may be no better term, but the fact of the matter is that, aside from the Green Zone and the inside of its massive military bases, the U.S. doesn't actually "occupy" Iraq at all, as two prominent incidents that occurred on Saturday demonstrated, and as even the U.S. media implicitly acknowledged in their reporting of those incidents.
The first incident was the shootdown of a U.S. helicopter, killing all 12 people aboard. Why were they in a helicopter? Because, we're told, it's too dangerous for U.S. troops to travel on the ground. And the second incident, in which five U.S. soldiers were killed in Karbala? It turns out the assailants passed through three different checkpoints just by flashing American army credentials. And why did they get through so easily? Because "U.S. personnel insist on passing without going through a security screening." Not, according to a report on CNN, because they are arrogantly above such things (although that's probably true as well), but because the danger to them of standing too long at a checkpoint is just too great.
The truth is that Americans are not safe anywhere (outside of their bases), because they aren't actually "occupying" Iraq at all. And, the corollary of that, which is that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis not only want them gone, and, if not actively engaged in actions to that end, are at least passively engaged in such activities.
End the "occupation" now!
A bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of workers outside a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan, killing as many as 10 and wounding more than a dozen others in the deadliest suicide attack in four months, officials said. Matt Hackathorn, a U.S. military spokesman, said there was no immediate word of any U.S. military casualties.
I guess only Chavez has the cajones to actually say it. ["Venezuela's Chavez tells U.S. to 'go to hell' in broadcast", USA Today]
UPDATE (Tuesday AM): This story in the NY Times confirms it:
The BBC World Service poll of 26,000 people in 25 countries showed just 29 percent now feel the United States has a mainly positive influence on the world, compared with 36 percent a year ago and 40 percent two years ago.
Forty-nine percent now believe it plays a mainly negative role internationally. Even in the U.S., the number who believe the U.S. is overall a force for good in the world has dropped to 57 percent from 63 percent a year ago and 71 percent two years ago.
As Bush prepares to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq, the survey showed that 73 percent of those polled in 25 countries disapprove of how the U.S. government has dealt with that country.
This was the first time the annual poll posed a question on the conduct of the Iraq war and other specific policy areas, including the U.S. stance on global warming and Iran's nuclear program. In all these areas, those polled registered strong disapproval of the U.S. position.
''According to world public opinion, these days the U.S. government hardly seems to be able to do anything right,'' said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which conducted the survey with pollsters from the GlobeScan organization.
Overall, the poll showed 73 percent disapprove of the Iraq war while 67 percent disapprove of the way the United States has treated terror suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay.
And 60 percent disapprove of Washington's strong opposition to allowing Iran a nuclear program. Fifty-six percent disagree with Bush's view that climate problems are not necessarily the result of global warming. (…)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The public really says [of Bush's presidency], 'I just think it's over.' If we had a British parliamentary system, there would be a call for a vote of no confidence. Essentially what the poll is, is a vote of no confidence." -- Peter D. Hart, one of the WSJ/NBC News pollsters summing up Bush's new low approval ratings; via Reality-Based Educator


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