Friday, March 02, 2007

Photo: This picture posted on a Web Site on Friday, March 2, 2007, claims to shows gunmen guarding blindfolded men, some wearing Iraqi military uniforms, at an undisclosed time and location in Iraq. (AP Photo) (See below)
The bodies of 14 policemen were found Friday northeast of Baghdad after an al-Qaida-affilated Sunni group said it abducted members of a government security force in retaliation for the rape of a Sunni woman by members of the Shiite-dominated police.
Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the bodies were discovered Friday afternoon in Diyala province. The policemen were kidnapped Thursday on their way to their homes in Diyala for leave, he said.
Earlier Friday, the Islamic State of Iraq said in a Web statement that it seized 18 Interior Ministry employees in Diyala in retaliation for "the crimes carried out ... against the Sunnis," including the alleged rape last month of a Sunni woman by policemen in Baghdad.
In a second statement, the group announced that its "court" had ordered the "execution" of the men and that a video depicting their deaths would be posted later, according to the SITE Institute, which monitors extremist Web sites.
Photos accompanied the claim, showing up to 18 blindfolded men, seven of them wearing Iraqi military uniforms. All had their hands tied behind their backs.
But Khalaf cast doubt on whether the 14 slain policemen were the same men shown on the Web site photos.
"We found the 14 policemen's bodies, but they are not those who are in the fabricated images on the Web site," he told The Associated Press. "The Diyala police told us that they don't know who those people shown on the Web site were."
Bring 'em on: Two US soldiers and an interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad on Friday, the US military said. The soldiers were conducting a patrol to clear a major road of explosives, when the bomb struck, the military said in a statement. Another soldier was wounded in the blast, it said.
Bring 'em on: A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed Wednesday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province. (MNF - Iraq)
A roadside bomb exploded Thursday alongside the convoy of a prominent Shiite cleric whose high-level political ties have made him the target of past assassination attempts. The imam was not injured, but several bodyguards were wounded.
The attack against Jalal Eddin Sagheer, a prominent member of Iraq's parliament, came on one of Baghdad's quietest days in months.
But the calm was broken after nightfall. The rumbling of artillery fire was heard throughout Baghdad.
In recent days, U.S. gunners have pummeled areas of south Baghdad used as suspected staging ground for car bombings and other attacks.
There was no immediate word from the military on the latest apparent barrage. Residents said the shelling was concentrated on the mostly Sunni area of Dora.
A car bomb killed 10 people and wounded 17 in Habibiya, a district in the Shi'ite militia stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, a police source said. A Reuters photographer on the scene said the blast ripped through a used car market in Sadr City, a Shi'ite militia stronghold in northeast Baghdad. Residents there told him 11 people had been killed
A car bomb exploded close to a police checkpoint in the southwestern neighbourhood of Saydia, killing one policeman and wounding two of his comrades, a security official said.
Salman Pak:
The U.S. military said Friday that eight suspected militants were killed a day earlier in a raid in Salman Pak, just southwest of Baghdad. U.S. forces came under small arms and mortar fire, and killed three armed men moving toward them, the statement said. Twenty minutes later, troops were fired upon again and shot dead four suspects. Another man was killed in a vehicle nearby, the statement said
The U.S. military said insurgents fired mortar rounds that killed four Iraqi civilians and wounded 10 in Iskandariya. A police source had said eight people were killed in clashes there and it was not clear if the reports were referring to the same incident.
An attack on a British military base in Basra in southern Iraq set ablaze fuel stores but caused no structural damage or casualties, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London said Friday. The petrol and diesel storage area caught alight after 'indirect fire' hit the base, which is near the Shatt al-Arab Hotel in the centre of Basra. the blaze, the spokesman said. The fire happened at 7.00 pm (1600 GMT) on Thursday at the base, which comes under regular attack, the BBC said.
A third British soldier was fighting for life last night as crack sniper teams emerged as a terrifying new threat in Iraq. The soldier was critical after a third attack in 24 hours on Our Boys in Basra. On Tuesday one of the hit squads killed Rifleman Daniel Coffey, 21, from the 2nd Battalion, the Rifles. He was shot through the head watching out for enemies while half-in, half-out of an armoured vehicle. A second soldier hit in the chest on Wednesday was stable in hospital last night. At 4.15pm on Wednesday the third victim, in full body armour and a helmet, was also hit in a Warrior fighting vehicle. The Staffordshire Regiment soldier had been detained at a car crash for 40 minutes.
Three elements working for a foreign security company were wounded on Friday as an explosive charge exploded at a convoy of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) west of the southern Iraqi city of Basra, an eyewitness said. "An explosive device went off at a convoy of three SUVs in al-Zubair-Shouiyba road west of Basra," an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Um Qsar:
Two soldiers from the Multi-National forces in southern Iraq were wounded on Friday when an explosive charge went off at their patrol in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, the spokeswoman for the Multi-National forces in southern Iraq said. "An explosive charge was detonated on Friday afternoon at a Multi-National forces vehicle patrol in Umm Qasr town wounding two soldiers," Captain Katie Brown told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) by telephone.
Umm Qasr town is 60 km west of Basra. It hosts the American run Bucca detention centre with more than 10,000 inmates. The spokeswoman did not identify the nationality of the wounded soldiers. British, Danish and U.S. troops are situated in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
Police said six bodies were found in Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, on Thursday.
A security source said an Iraqi army soldier was wounded when he was attacked by gunmen. He was rushed to a hospital in Kirkuk, a city 250 km northeast of Baghdad.
U.S. forces killed two insurgents found placing a roadside bomb on a road south of Hawija, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, the U.S. military said. Another suspect was wounded and detained.
Al Anbar Prv:
Gunmen killed two members of the local soccer team during training in the Western Iraqi city of Ramadi on Friday, police said. One of the dead was a leading member of the Ramadi Footballt. Another soldier was wounded in the blast.
(update) A community leader in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi provided additional information Wednesday about a deadly car bombing earlier this week that U.S. officials said did not occur.
Raad Sabah al-Mukeilef, a sheik who said he lives about 500 yards from where the bomb exploded Monday, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he believes members of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq set off the bomb near a playground after being unable to get past a checkpoint that leads to his house, which is near a government building. "He came in a pickup," Mukeilef said. "Instead of coming in my street, he did it in a small park for children."
Mukeilef said he has participated in a U.S.-backed group of sheiks opposed to Sunni insurgents. Mukeilef's account corroborated information provided Tuesday by Col. Tariq al-Alwani, the security supervisor in Anbar province in western Iraq. Both men said the blast killed 16 children and three women, one of whom died Wednesday from her wounds.
Iraqi and US security forces will be allowed to set up a base in the militia bastion of Sadr City, the district's mayor said Friday, but should rein in a controversial special unit.
Sheikh Rahim al-Daraji, mayor of the large Shiite district of east Baghdad, said local leaders had held talks with US and Iraqi commanders and that a joint security station would begin operating on March 13.
"Other technical details related to Baghdad security plan have also been agreed on. A place at the entrance of the city shall be used as a first centre," he told AFP in a telephone interview on Friday.
But Daraji, who is close to radical anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement, said local people would not cooperate with what he called the "dirty squad", a US-led Iraqi special unit that has carried out arrests in the area .
US troops have no permanent base inside Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite slum area, and the area has become a stronghold of Sadr's Mahdi Army, an illegal militia of black-clad Shiite fighters.
Now, after a year of sectarian violence in Baghdad, a joint force of US and Iraqi troops and police has begun an ambitious operation to regain control of the city district by district.
Already, 15 fortified outposts known as "joint security stations" have been built in flashpoint districts and Sadr city is one of the next places in line for a permament US military presence.
Iraq is nearing partition, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Friday as violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims raged on in Baghdad.
Following talks with his counterpart from Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani, Douste-Blazy on Iraq told reporters: "We are clearly in agreement on one unfortunate fact: We are close to partition."
The French foreign minister said the only solution to Iraq's descent into more chaos was a withdrawal of international forces in 2008 and restoring the rule of law.
A general running a renown US Army hospital for soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan was relieved of command Thursday, becoming the first senior officer sacked in a scandal over negligent patient care.
Major General George Weightman "was informed this morning that the senior army leadership had lost trust and confidence in the commander's leadership abilities to address needed solutions for soldier-outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center," the army said in a statement.
Army Secretary Francis Harvey put Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley, the army's surgeon general, in charge of the medical center on a temporary basis until a replacement for Weightman was found.
The Washington Post, in a series of stories published last month, exposed how wounded soldiers convalescing at the hospital were often lost in a bureaucratic morass as outpatients, or housed in rooms with mold-covered walls, holes in the ceiling and infestations of rodents and cockroaches.
Walter Reed is a renowned army specialty hospital and rehabilitates thousands of amputees and war wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. House of Representatives Democrats will more than fully fund President George W. Bush's request for money to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, but are still debating conditions that could be attached, senior lawmakers said on Thursday.
"There will be $98 billion for the military part," about $5 billion above the Bush administration's request, said Rep. John Murtha, chairman of a defense spending panel overseeing war funds. (…)
The additional money House Democrats want to add in includes $1 billion more for U.S. troops girding for a spring offensive in Afghanistan, Murtha said, and nearly $1 billion more to treat wounded American soldiers suffering from brain injuries and psychological problems related to combat.
With other add-ons to the massive spending bill, including more U.S. Gulf Coast rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, possible aid to farmers who have suffered crop losses and around $3 billion added in to help close some U.S. military bases and modernize others, the price tag could rise significantly above $100 billion, according to several lawmakers and congressional aides.
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The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (1-3ID)is currently engaged in street to street fighting in central Ramadi. The much anticipated attack follows months of hands off policy as troops were routinely sniped and attacked with orders not to retaliate.
After much planning U.S. forces along with a collection of hired local tribesmen from nearby Sofia (a suburb of Ramadi) and other groups are attacking and clearing the are house by house. The tribes have been formed into paramilitary units called "Emergency Response Units" and are linked with U.S. troops.
The 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment (1-9), 2nd Infantry Division has been given the dirty job of house to house combat in Ramadi's center. Many of the houses have been booby trapped in anticipation of the attack. The U.S. Military estimates that there are around 60 insurgents remaining in the area of 15,000 people. Initial estimates put the insurgent numbers at between 100 and 200.
The city of half a million is a Sunni stronghold and the objective is to establish a foothold in a rundown collection of abandoned and destroyed homes called the Mulaab district. Ultimately the U.S. and Iraqi forces hope to build and hold nine fortified police stations to control the city.
Well, you may have already heard that the the antiwar single, a cover of Edwin Starr's 'War - What Is it Good For?' has made it into the top ten already. It's presently at number six in the charts with precious few resources, and could, with sufficient effort, make it to number 1. The BBC, in their infinite rubberiness, have decided to ban it, fearing that its antiwar message will offend the government. It has already appeared in a number of news broadcasts, and news items, and it has been played across the world. However, senior sources in the BBC say that a banning order has been promulgated, preventing the single from being given further coverage on its programmes. This comes after a radio segment that was due for broadcast this afternoon was pulled at the last moment. It would be a little bit embarrassing if the BBC was to avoid playing the number one single in the charts, launched by mass campaign from below, with few resources.
You can watch the video here, and when you've done that, kindly text "peace1" to 78789, whereupon you can collect your own copy. (See below)
Hi Pop Pickers,
You may or may not know that I was in a band at university called Ugly Rumours - which is a coincidence as it was my ugly rumours that got us into the war in Iraq in the first place! The war has killed approximately 650,000 civilians and more than 3000 British and US soldiers, without us finding any weapons of mass destruction.
I've joined up with Stop the War Coalition and CND to release a pro peace song. On the 26/02/07 "Ugly Rumours" - fronted by yours truly - are putting out a cover version of the Edwin Starr classic "War (What is it good for?)". We are aiming to get the track in to the UK pop charts in March. March is the 4th year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and also when Parliament is due to discuss the issue of Trident. We can highlight the lack of support for the government on these issues via the pop charts. The mainstream media will report on it if enough people from StWC, CND and others who care buy our track. (Plus I want to be remembered as the UK's highest charting British Prime Minister of all time!)
You can buy/pre-order the track NOW or at anytime by texting the word "PEACE1" to 78789 or by clicking the button below. The song will only cost you £1.50 (plus standard network charges) with all the profits going to support the good work that Stop the War Coalition do. We only need around 5000 sales to get Ugly Rumours into the charts so please take the time to buy it NOW!
I know I didn't give you a chance to vote on Britain going to war so please think of this as a musical referendum on me before I leave office!
PLEASE forward this site to as many people as you can and tell them about my great new single and video. (Check out my video below with cameos from my old friends, George Galloway, my real life sister in law Lauren Booth and Brian Hoare). You can join my Ugly Rumours fan club by entering you email address below, we will then send you exclusive video links for our other promos and information on how Ugly Rumours are progressing in the charts.
Yours always,
Tony Blair
Born at the Crest of the Empire: WHY US SOLDIERS ARE STILL DYING IN IRAQ
Wesley Clark was on Democracy Now this morning and during his extended interview, he made an observation as to why he felt the US has to stay in Iraq.
If the US were to withdraw, Saudi Arabia would be forced to fill some of the vacuum for their own interests in offsetting Shia power in Iraq and the region. The most likely way the Saudis would accomplish this is by arming Sunni groups in the Iraq civil war. (No surprises yet.)
But then Clark pointed out that the Saudis would likely fund the best trained, most committed Sunni fighters, Al Qaeda.
So, the argument is that US soldiers are dying because "our ally" is threatening to fund, arm, and train the next generation of Al Qaeda who, after fighting US marines for four years, has more than enough hatred and recruits to terrorize the US for a generation.
Not exactly the clean, "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" argument, eh?
(I am struck by the parallel that we are also confronting Iran over its nuclear program to prevent the Israelis from "confronting" Iran.
With "friends" like these........)
When Tony Blair rose in Parliament last week to announce that 1,600 troops would be withdrawn this spring from Iraq, he did not say that an almost equal number would be sent to Afghanistan at roughly the same time. That news only emerged a day and a half later.
Why did the Prime Minister keep silent? Because to have announced the two deployments simultaneously would have made clear that all the problems the military have been complaining about, notably the "overstretch" caused by sending undermanned, inadequately equipped forces into two hostile environments at once, have not been solved.
What Mr Blair managed to disguise was that his long-awaited announcement of the beginning of the retreat from Iraq was in fact a slowdown. Military chiefs were desperate to pull 3,000 troops out of Iraq by summer; instead they got only half that number. The rest may leave by the end of the year - if conditions allow. But as one officer with experience there said: "The security situation on the ground in Basra is very volatile. Nobody knows what is going to happen day to day."
With talk in military circles of further much-needed reinforcements likely to be sent to Afghanistan in coming months, not least because other Nato members are refusing to provide them, the strain on resources can only increase. That will expose the deficiencies in equipment even more starkly.
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"The fellas from 121 started showing up the other day. It's starting to sink in... I'll have to go home, the opportunities to kill these fuckers is rapidly coming to an end. Like a hobby I'll never get to practice again. It's not a great war, but it's the only one we've got. God, I do love killing these bastards. ... Morale is high, the Marines can smell the barn. It's hard to keep them focused. I still have 20 days of kill these motherfuckers, so I don't wanna take even one day off. " -- letter home from an unnamed Marine F/A -18 pilot in Iraq.
The above letter arrived in my inbox via an email circular sent by an acquaintance of mine, a defense analyst and former congressional aide named Winslow Wheeler. It came alongside a pained commentary by another former Pentagon analyst named Franklin (Chuck) Spinney, who is probably best known for the famous "Spinney report" of the mid-'80s which exposed the waste and inefficiency of many hi-tech Defense Department projects. (…)
What worries me about it is this unabashed glee in killing people from high altitudes might not be a psychiatric aberration, but an inevitable consequence of the entire structure of our economy, which is based heavily on government spending in the area of high-technology defense manufacturing. When Spinney focuses on this gruesome and bloody letter from a single Marine pilot, he's not ripping an individual soldier but showing graphically how the tail has, by now, wagged the whole dog -- how a society whose economy is based on hi-tech defense spending will first tend to gravitate inexorably toward hi-tech defense solutions to policy problems, and then over time will raise whole generations instilled with an implicit belief in and enthusiasm for such lunacies as the "surgical strike." Here's how Spinney put it:
We all know that the American Way of War is to use our technology to pour firepower on the enemy from a safe distance. Implicit in this is the central myth of precision bombardment that dates back to at least to the Norden Bombsight in World War II ... Of course this is all hogwash, as the conduct of the Iraq War has proven once again. Real war is always uncertain and messy and bloody and wasteful and accompanied by profound psychological and moral effects. But these preposterous theories are central to the American Way of War, because they justify the maintenance of a high cost hi-tech military which is so essential to the welfare of the parasitic political economy of the military-industrial-congressional complex that is now seamlessly embedded in our political culture.
The reason I'm even writing about Spinney's letter this week is that we're now just seeing come into focus the first outlines of the rhetorical parameters for the 2008 presidential campaign. Among other things, I'm seeing a lot of TV commentators pound home the theme that the Democratic party needs to shed its reputation for "pacifism." An article I saw about Rudy Giuliani last week saluted the former mayor for being sensible on Iraq without being a "peacenik." After four years of Iraq, we still can't talk about peace in public! This evil bullshit has been buried in the commercial media's descriptive campaign language seemingly forever by now, but it may be time -- in the wake of this Iraq disaster -- to start thinking about where it comes from and what effect it may have on the national psyche.
I believe that Marine pilot is driven by the same forces that render the presidential candidacy of someone like Dennis Kucinich impossible in America. A country that feeds itself through the manufacture of war technology is bound to view peace, nonviolence and mercy as seditious concepts. It will create policies first and then people to fit its machines, finding wars to fight and creating killers to fight them. If that's true of us, and I think it is, our troubles won't be over even if someone brings the Iraq war to an end. We'll be treating the symptom and not the disease.
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Democrats are criticizing John McCain and Republicans are criticizing Barack Obama for precisely the same thing - saying that the lives of 3,100+ American soldiers who have died in Iraq were "wasted." Obama has "apologized" for using that word, saying he should have said "sacrificed"; McCain likewise says he should have said "sacrificed" but refuses to apologize.
What an absolutely absurd discussion. How on earth does it "denigrate the troops" (the expression that is being used to describe this "mistake") to say their lives were wasted? They weren't the ones who decided to invade Iraq, or who didn't send sufficient body armor or armored troop carriers, or who made countless other bad decisions which have led to their deaths. It surely wasn't a lack of "bravery" which killed them; it was the decisions of their superiors and the politicians (and behind them, the corporations) who sent them to their deaths. Telling the truth about why they died doesn't "denigrate" them, it honors them.
And when it comes to "wasted" lives, let's say that the ones who are already dead are dead, and arguing about whether their lives were "wasted" or just "sacrificed" is mere pedantic semantics. But when it comes to the lives that will be lost tomorrow, or next week, or next month, we leave the realm of semantics. If you acknowledge that the war was a "mistake" (which it really wasn't, it was quite deliberate and intentional policy, but let's leave that aside for the moment and stick with conventional language), and if you acknowledge that it cannot be "won" (again, a bogus word, but let's move on), then for sure any lives which are lost now will be "wasted," no question about it, and putting someone in harm's way with a decent chance of dying, with no significant chance of achieving any "success," that is "denigrating" them - giving their lives so little worth that they can be sacrificed for nothing.
Enough! Stop the war now! Not next year. Not next month. Now!
By the age of eight or nine, most children realize that Santa Claus isn't a real person, just as they know the Easter Bunny and similar pleasantries are only make-believe, tales of imagination offered to add a bit of fun to the holidays. The great majority of children give up these fantasies without experiencing emotional upheaval that remotely approaches serious trauma. Those very rare children fortunate enough to be raised by adults who accord them the seriousness and respect they deserve know such stories to be ones of invention from the beginning.
Unfortunately, the great majority of Americans -- led by a relentlessly trivial and mendacious political class and a comparably anti-intellectual media -- never approach again the psychological achievement of children who undergo this transition. Still more unfortunately, most of these same children, while able to recognize fabrications of the Santa Claus variety, become prisoners of the American mythology that I recently discussed. Their pathetic plight is understandable in one sense, since almost no one will disabuse them of the lies with which they comfort themselves. Nonetheless, one can legitimately hope and expect that upon attaining adulthood, more individuals would be prepared to exercise even limited independent powers of assessment. But if you have such expectations, you will almost always be disappointed.
Thus it is that we have repellently idiotic episodes of the following kind:
[press reports on the unbelievable "US soldiers: Wasted or sacrificed?" controversy; only in America… -- zig]
"The selfless patriotism" of those "who have died to protect our interests in Iraq..."
What "interests" are those precisely, Senator? Iraq had not attacked us and did not seriously threaten us. Both facts were known to our leaders before the invasion of Iraq began, just as they were known by many "ordinary" citizens, both here and abroad. This was a naked, criminal war of aggression, now continued by means of an equally criminal occupation, against a third-rate country that was virtually defenseless before our onslaught. We have murdered more than half a million innocent Iraqis, and destroyed an entire nation. If by "interests," McCain and the rest of our ruling class mean the "right" of the United States to uncontested world hegemony, then let them say so and be damned. No other "right" or "interest" explains or "justifies" our monstrous acts -- but that one most certainly does.
Moreover, our ongoing occupation of Iraq, which no one is prepared to even try to end, has resulted in the fragmentation and significantly increasing strength of a global jihadist movement -- which many experts (and non-experts) predicted before this catastrophe began. We have created far more enemies than we had before, and we therefore face greater dangers now than we did four years ago. Those dangers continue to increase every day that we remain.
Moreover, the costs of this sickening war and occupation have burdened the United States with a huge and growing debt to be paid off by our children, by their children, and by their children unto infinity, depending upon how much longer this continues. Our economy was already grossly distorted by the ravages of the military-industrial, corporate statist complex -- and now the damages have cracked the foundation wide open. (…)
The truth is infinitely worse than that these lives have been "wasted": these deaths have served to strengthen our enemies and weaken our own country in countless ways that our actual enemies could never have achieved on their own. That these lives have been "wasted" is the best one can say, not the worst. They are the greatest boon our enemies could dream of. These lives have not been "wasted": they are the precious tribute laid at the feet of our enemies, by our own leaders in the pursuit of indefensible and criminal aims.
Of course, the recognition of this truth requires that we act like adults, and that we are capable of coherent thought, shorn of lies. We must be willing to give up the myth of the "noble soldier" who "selflessly sacrifices" his life for the glory of the Perfect and Good United States -- and see that these individuals died in a criminal war of aggression launched to consolidate and expand America's hegemonic role, a goal embraced by almost every leading politician, Republican and Democratic, over many decades of entirely avoidable conflict, chaos and death. (…)
But it is almost impossible to deal with the fact that so many Americans, almost all our political leaders, and our media virtually without exception are so relentlessly stupid, and so resolutely determined to remain so. As this latest episode in national idiocy proves yet again, and for the millionth time, this laughably pathetic state of affairs certainly would appear to be the unalterable truth of where we are.
And so we debate whether these lives were "wasted." With the blind ferocity of religious maniacs, we enforce our new Puritan code, which demands that certain prohibited thoughts may never be uttered. Violation of this code means banishment from public life and from further "serious" consideration. Every matter of importance is reduced to the intellectual level of a remarkably backward house pet.
Meanwhile, no one will stop this criminal war and occupation. And no one will do a goddamned thing to stop the next war, which could alter all our lives forever.
How in the world do most Americans face themselves each morning? Someone needs to explain that to me. I truly would like to know.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Why in God's name should our military, in the words of Chalmers Johnson, regularly 'deploy […] well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations' -- and why should we have over 700 bases in 130 countries around the globe? There is only one reason for insanity of this kind: we are absolutely convinced we are 'entitled' to rule the world, by military force on a scale never before seen in all of world history. If that is what you believe, then say so -- and be damned." -- from Arthur Silber's "A Nation of Stupid Children, Who Refuse to Give Up the Lies" at Once Upon a Time (see above)


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