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Lies, Mischief And The Myth Of Western Intelligence Services
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 28 September 2003)
They were at it again last week, the liars of our Western "intelligence" community. John Bolton, the US under-secretary of state for arms control and one of Donald Rumsfeld's cabal of pro-Israeli neo-conservatives, was giving testimony before the decidedly pro-Israeli sponsors of the Syria Accountability Act. . . . Mr Bolton, who once ludicrously claimed that Cuba had a biological weapons programme, accused Syria of maintaining a stockpile of sarin and of working on VX and biological weapons. And Congressmen Eliot Engel announced that "it wouldn't surprise me if those weapons of mass destruction that we cannot find in Iraq wound up and are today in Syria". For Baghdad, read Damascus. . . . Some, indeed much, of this nonsense comes from the myth-making intelligence service of Israel, which really does have weapons of mass destruction, although Engel's imaginative intervention probably had its roots in the claim of a US intelligence officer in Baghdad last April. He went on insisting Iraq had transferred its non-existent WMD to Syria by rail - before being shown a map that proved the only railway line from Iraq to Syria passed through Turkey. . . . The liars in the intelligence services, of course, have been getting it wrong from the start. Remember all those bombs we dropped on innocent people in the hope that we might - just might - kill Saddam? This started back in 1991 when we sent a missile into a hardened air-raid shelter at Amariya in Baghdad and killed upwards of 400 civilians. The Americans were trying to assassinate Saddam but he wasn't there - and never had been. We have never apologised for this atrocity. . . . And still it goes on. Only last week, the Americans used two jets to strike - at night - a house in Fallujah and claimed they killed a gunman. In fact, it's now clear that they killed three members of a perfectly innocent family. This happened scarcely three miles from the spot where soldiers of the supposedly elite 82nd Airborne gunned down eight of their own Iraqi policemen on a darkened roadway, an act which has still not been explained and which was only grudgingly acknowledged two days after the killings. . . . And all the while, the myth-making continues. Iraq is getting better, safer, more democratic. All untrue. . . . No, I don't think we're going to invade Syria. For starters, it hasn't got enough oil to make it worth invading. But we've been fed so much of this tosh about WMD that I don't think anyone - other than the Blairs and Bushes and their idiotic spooks - really believes it. As for the "intelligence community", maybe this is the moment to close it down.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:21 PM
Terror and fear gripping U.S. soldiers in Iraq
(John Brand, D.Min., J.D., YellowTimes.org, September 22, 2003)
The fear of having civilians shoot at you is quite different from the fear experienced in combat. After the initial Baptism of Fire and the moments of initially paralyzing terror, a total change takes over the psyche of the combat soldier. There is a subconscious realization, I believe, that one's chances of survival diminish if one remains in a state of terror. Terror paralyzes and petrifies. To survive in combat, fear must be replaced with a healthy apprehension, a form of fear. One knows that the enemy is out there and that he has the same intent as you. The objective is to kill the enemy on the other side before he kills you. While terror immobilizes, fearful apprehension creates caution, alertness, and vigilance. They are all mental factors assisting survival. It does not take long for most combat soldiers to go into this survival mode. . . . I do know that there is a difference between terror and fear. . . . I believe that the psychological make-up of our troops in Iraq bounces back and forth between fear and terror. The fear is constant. It is nature's way of staying alert. Terror is ever renewed with each shot coming from an unseen source. Terror comes when a buddy is hit. Terror comes when you want to shoot back but are afraid you might hit a non-combatant. Terror comes when another unit has been ambushed; another vehicle hit a mine; another shoulder-mounted rocket has been fired at a tank. . . . To the constant fear, interlaced with intermittent terror, another dimension of anxiety is added when told that your unit will not return when first promised that your tour of duty would come to an end. To then learn that the president is intent on not increasing benefits for soldiers, that a move is under way to limit disability evaluations of returning soldiers, and to dismiss the move to pay larger death benefits to surviving family members adds to the pressure, the stress, the tension of our soldiers. . . . I wonder what President Bush's and Vice President Cheney's attitude might be if they would spend seven days as enlisted men in the Fourth Infantry Division in Iraq? That is quite different from putting on a flight uniform and strutting around on an aircraft carrier. . . . The fear interspersed with ever more frequent moments of terror will take a heavy toll on our troops. The ultimate questions are "Is it really worth it now?" and "Will it be really worth it in the future?"
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posted by Lorenzo 4:28 PM
Pilger claims proof of WMD lies [ 23sep03 ]
(Paul Mulvey, The Sunday Times, 23 September 2003)
AUSTRALIAN investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie that could cost George W. Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them. . . . A television report by Pilger aired on British screens overnight said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice confirmed in early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been disarmed and was no threat. . . . But after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 that year, Pilger claimed Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of these new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of its oil. . . . Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours." . . . Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." . . . Pilger claims this confirms that the decision of US President George W Bush - with the full support of British Prime Minister Blair and Howard - to wage war on Saddam because he had weapons of mass destruction was a huge deception. . . . "And it's unravelling in America and Bush could lose the election next year. . . . "I've not seen political leaders survive when they've been complicit in such an open deception for so long." . . . Pilger also claims that six hours after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he wanted to "hit" Iraq and allegedly said "Go Massive ... Sweep it all up. Things related and not." . . . He was allegedly talked down by Powell who said the American people would not accept an attack on Iraq without any evidence, so they opted to invade Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden had bases. . . . Pilger claimed war was set in train on September 17, 2001 when Bush signed a paper directing the Pentagon to explore the military options for an attack on Iraq.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:53 PM
"Why am I here?" asks an American soldier in Iraq
(Tim Predmore, Los Angeles Times, 17 September 2003)
as a soldier preparing to take part in the invasion of Iraq, the words "shock and awe" rang deep within my psyche. Even as we prepared to depart, it seemed that these two great superpowers were about to break the very rules they demanded that others obey. Without the consent of the United Nations, and ignoring the pleas of their own citizens, the U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq. "Shock and awe"? Yes, the words correctly described the emotional impact I felt as we embarked on an act not of justice but of hypocrisy. . . . From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned. After the broadcasting of recorded images of captured and dead U.S. soldiers over Arab television, American and British leaders vowed revenge while verbally assaulting the networks for displaying such vivid images. Yet within hours of the deaths of Saddam Hussein's two sons, the U.S. released horrific photographs of the two dead brothers for the world to view. Again, a "do as we say and not as we do" scenario. . . . As soldiers serving in Iraq, we have been told that our purpose here is to help the people of Iraq by providing them the necessary assistance militarily as well as in humanitarian efforts. Then tell me where the humanity was in the recent Stars and Stripes account of two children taken to a U.S. military camp by their mother, in search of medical care. The children had been unknowingly playing with explosive ordnance they had found and as a result were severely burned. The account tells how they, after an hourlong wait, were denied care by two U.S. military doctors. A soldier described the incident as one of many "atrocities" he had witnessed on the part of the U.S. military. . . . So then, what is our purpose here? . . . Was this invasion because of weapons of mass destruction, as we so often have heard? If so, where are they? Did we invade to dispose of a leader and his regime because they were closely associated with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof? Or is it that our incursion is a result of our own economic advantage? Iraq's oil can be refined at the lowest cost of any in the world. Coincidence? . . . This looks like a modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination but a crusade to control another nation's natural resource. At least to me, oil seems to be the reason for our presence. . . . There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying. There are 10 to 14 attacks on our servicemen and -women daily in Iraq, and it would appear that there is no end in sight. . . . I once believed that I served for a cause: "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States." Now I no longer believe that; I have lost my conviction, as well as my determination. I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies. . . . With age comes wisdom, and at 36 years old I am no longer so blindly led as to believe without question. From my arrival at Ft. Campbell, Ky., last November, talk of deployment was heard, and as that talk turned to actual preparation my heart sank and my doubts grew. My doubts have never faded; instead my resolve and commitment have. . . . My time is almost done, as well as that of many others with whom I serve. We have all faced death in Iraq without reason or justification. How many more must die? How many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader's interest?
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posted by Lorenzo 5:04 PM
Rumsfeld: No Link Between Iraq, 9/11 Attacks
(FOX News [Can you believe it? FOX actually published something truthful.], September 16, 2003)
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld (search) said Tuesday he had no reason to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (search) on the United States. . . . At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved. . . . "I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that," Rumsfeld said.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:53 PM
U.S. to face hostile ordinary Iraqis
(Douglas Jehl and David E. Sanger, New York Times, Sept. 17, 2003)
New intelligence assessments are warning that the United States' most formidable foe in Iraq in the months ahead may be the resentment of ordinary Iraqis increasingly hostile to the U.S. military occupation, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday. . . . That picture, shared with U.S. military commanders in Iraq, is very different from the public view currently being presented by senior Bush administration officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who once again on Tuesday listed only "dead-enders, foreign terrorists and criminal gangs" as opponents of the U.S. occupation. . . . they said it was a mistake for the administration to discount the role of ordinary Iraqis who have little in common with the groups Rumsfeld cited, but whose anger over the U.S. presence appears to be kindling some sympathy for those attacking U.S. forces. . . . Other U.S. government officials said some of the concerns had been prompted by recent polling in Iraq by the State Department's intelligence branch. . . . The findings, which remain classified, include significant levels of hostility to the U.S. presence. . . . The officials said indications of that hostility extended well beyond the Sunni heartland of Iraq, which has been the main setting for attacks on U.S. forces, to include the Shiite-dominated south, whose citizens have been more supportive of the U.S. military presence but have also protested loudly about raids and other U.S. actions. . . . As reasons for Iraqi hostility, the Defense officials cited not just disaffection over a lack of electricity and other essential services in the months since the war, but cultural factors that magnify anger about the foreign military presence. . . . "To a lot of Iraqis, we're no longer the guys who threw out Saddam, but the ones who are busting down doors and barging in on their wives and daughters," one Defense official said.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:49 PM
Secret slaughter by night, lies and blind eyes by day
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 14 September 2003)
In the suburbs of Baghdad and the Sunni cities to the north the American military policy of 'recon-by-fire' and the breakdown of law and order is exacting a heavy toll on a war-torn people. . . . They've already committed many of the French mistakes in Iraq, and the guerrillas of Iraq are well into the blood tide of the old FLN. Sixteen demonstrators killed in Fallujah? Forget it. Twelve gunned down by the Americans in Mosul? Old news. Ten Iraqi policemen shot by US troops outside Fallujah? "No information," the occupation authorities told us last week. No information? The Jordanian embassy bombing? The bombing of the UN headquarters? Or Najaf with its 126 dead? Forget it. . . . In Baghdad, up to 70 corpses - of Iraqis killed by gunfire - are brought to the mortuaries each day. In Najaf, for example, the cemetery authorities record the arrival of the bodies of up to 20 victims of violence a day. Some of the dead were killed in family feuds, in looting, or revenge killings. Others have been gunned down by US troops at checkpoints or in the
increasingly vicious "raids" carried out by American forces in the suburbs of Baghdad and the Sunni cities to the north. Only last week, reporters covering the killing of the Fallujah policemen were astonished to see badly wounded children suddenly arriving at the hospital, all shot - according to their families - by an American tank which had opened up at a palm grove outside the town. As usual, the occupation authorities had "no information" on the incident. . . . But if you count the Najaf dead as typical of just two or three other major cities, and if you add on the daily Baghdad death toll and multiply by seven, almost 1,000 Iraqi civilians are being killed every week - and that may well be a conservative figure. . . . Even when US troops on a raid in Mansour six weeks ago ran amok and gunned down up to eight civilians - including a 14-year-old boy - the best the Americans could do was to say that they were "enquiring" into the incident. Not, as one US colonel quickly pointed out to us, that this meant a formal enquiry. Just a few questions here and there. And of course the killings were soon forgotten. . . . Worse still, their intelligence information is still as warped by ideology as was the illegal Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Having failed to receive the welcome deserved of "liberators", the Americans have to convince themselves that their tormentors - save for the famous Saddam "remnants" - cannot be Iraqis at all. They must be members of "al-Qa'ida", Islamists arriving from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan ... Among its 1,000 "security" prisoners at Baghdad airport - the total number of detainees held without trial in Iraq is around 5,500 - about 200 are said to be "foreigners". . . . In reality, no one has produced a shred of evidence al-Qa'ida men are streaming into the country. Not a single sighting has been reported of these mysterious men, save for the presence of armed Iranians outside the shrines of Najaf after last month's bombing. Yet President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have talked up their supposed presence to the point where the usual right-wing columnists in the US press and then reporters in general write of them as a proven fact. . . . What is becoming apparent is that we don't really care about the Iraqis. We may think we want to bring them democracy but, on an individual level, we don't care very much about them or their lives. We liberated them. They should be grateful to us. If they die now, well, no one said democracy was easy. . . . Donald Rumsfeld - who raged away about weapons of mass destruction before the invasion - now admits he didn't even discuss WMD with David Kay, the head of the US-led team looking for these mythical weapons, on his recent visit to Baghdad. Of course not. Because they don't exist. Mr Rumsfeld is equally silent about the civilian death toll here. It's the followers of his nemesis Bin Laden that now have to be publicised. . . . Bin Laden must be grateful. So must the Palestinians. In the refugee camps of Lebanon last week, they were talking of the events in Iraq as a form of encouragement. "If Israel's superpower ally can be humbled by Arabs," a Palestinian official explained to me in one of the Beirut camps, "why should we give up our struggle against the Israelis who cannot be as efficient soldiers as the Americans?" That's the lesson the Algerians drew when they saw France's mighty army reduced to surrender at Dien Bien Phu. The French, like the Americans, had succeeded in murdering or "liquidating" many of the
Algerians who might have negotiated a ceasefire with them. The search for an interlocuteur valable was one of de Gaulle's most difficult tasks when he decided to leave Algeria. But what will the Americans do? Their interlocuteur valable might have been the United Nations. But now the UN has been struck off as a negotiator by the suicide bombing in Baghdad. And the Bin Ladens and the adherents of the Wahabi sect are not interested in negotiations of any kind. Mr Bush declared "war without end". And it looks as though Iraqis - along with ourselves -- are going to be its principal.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:39 PM
Iraq: Invasion That Will Live in Infamy
(Noam Chomsky, Dissident Voice, August 12, 2003)
The new "imperial grand strategy", as it was termed at once by John Ikenberry writing in the leading establishment journal, presents the US as "a revisionist state seeking to parlay its momentary advantages into a world order in which it runs the show", a unipolar world in which "no state or coalition could ever challenge it as global leader, protector, and enforcer." . . . Washington told the United Nations that it could be relevant by endorsing US plans, or it could be a debating society. The US had the "sovereign right to take military action", the administration's moderate Colin Powell told the World Economic Forum, which also vigorously opposed the war plans: "When we feel strongly about something we will lead, even if no one is following us." . . . President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair underscored their contempt for international law and institutions at their Azores summit meeting on the eve of the invasion. They issued an ultimatum, not to Iraq, but to the Security Council: capitulate, or we will invade without your meaningless seal of approval. And we will do so whether or not Saddam Hussein and his family leave the country. The crucial principle is that the US must effectively rule Iraq. . . . The grand strategy authorizes the US to carry out preventive war: preventive, not pre-emptive. Whatever the justifications for pre-emptive war might be, they do not hold for preventive war, particularly as that concept is interpreted by its current enthusiasts: the use of military force to eliminate an invented or imagined threat, so that even the term "preventive" is too charitable. Preventive war is, very simply, the supreme crime that was condemned at Nuremberg. . . . That was understood by those with some concern for their country. As the US invaded Iraq, the historian Arthur Schlesinger wrote that Bush's grand strategy was "alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at the time of Pearl Harbor, on a date which, as an earlier American president [Franklin D Roosevelt] said it would, lives in infamy". . . . It is impressive to see how easy it is for political leaders, while recounting Saddam the monster's worst crimes, to suppress the crucial words "with our help, because we don't care about such matters". . . . A reluctant US population had to be whipped to a proper mood of war fever. From September grim warnings were issued about the dire threat that Saddam posed to the US and his links to al-Qaida, with broad hints that he had been involved in the 9/11 attacks. Many of the charges that had been "dangled in front of [the media] failed the laugh test," commented the editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, "but the more ridiculous [they were,] the more the media strove to make whole-hearted swallowing of them a test of patriotism." . . . The US administration's concerns now extend as well to Northeast Asia, the world's most dynamic economic region, with ample resources and advanced industrial economies, a potentially integrated region that might also flirt with challenging the overall framework of world order, which is to be maintained permanently, by force if necessary, Washington has declared.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:33 PM
U.S. Failures in Iraq Set Stage For Deeper Trouble
(Georgie Anne Geyer, Universal Press Syndicate, 29 August 2003)
In only the last week, the war in Iraq has entered a phase characterized by two amazingly contradictory developments.
First, it is generally accepted (except by the war's avid authorities) that the reasons for invading Iraq were false. Second, the war party around the White House and the Pentagon are responding to their incredible failures of judgment not by modifying their policies in the Middle East, but by doing more and still more of the same. And in one of those bizarre turns of history, their acts have brought them (and us) within a hair's breadth of creating exactly the situation they claimed forced us to go to war in the first place. . . . No one believes anymore that there were ties in the beginning between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda (in fact, their beliefs and their interests were antithetical). But with the now-daily attacks on Americans and others in Iraq, plus a sense that Iraq is becoming the international center for terrorists, even American generals say the old secular Saddam Baathists and the religious Al Qaeda militants are working together. . . . President Bush's starry-eyed rhetoric has changed this week in his speeches; he speaks little of the original purposes of the war, like weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda, and instead regales the nation with warnings of a vast metaphysical struggle between "civilization and chaos." . . . The joke around town is that the Bush zealots had all along been scheming to attack Iraq to get all the terrorists in the world to pour in there--to get them all in one place. . . . Finally, the idea is creeping in that, looking at the entire Middle East, the next "solution" will be to put American troops into Israel to fight Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups. . . . Such an act, of course, would pit the United States irrevocably against the entire Arab and Islamic world--and encourage and create anti-American terrorism on a scale yet unseen. . . . In Iraq, American authorities have become so desperate for information about the country they pretend to rule that, after foolishly disbanding the Iraqi army and leaving tens of thousands of men roaming the streets, they are recruiting the hated intelligence agents and torturers of the Saddam Hussein government, the Mukhabarat , to work with us. . . . This administration shows no indication of changing its ways; thus the situation can only grow worse.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:26 PM
Resistance in Iraq Is Home Grown
(Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 02 September 2003)
Despite the U.S. government's insistence that Iraq has become the new battlefield of global terrorism, most of the resistance is home grown. The guerrillas are militants from the deposed regime, but they are also ordinary Iraqis opposed to occupation. They are ex-intelligence officers and farmers, militiamen and merchants, bombers and fishermen, according to more than a dozen interviews with Americans and Iraqis. . . . The Najaf attack and the bombings in Baghdad at United Nations headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy, all within 22 days, reflect a new, higher level of coordination. For the dozen or so daily ambushes targeting American troops, however, there is little indication of an overarching coordination uniting cells. . . . "The former regime left behind a huge military arsenal, and it's enough to fight for tens of years," . . . An alliance with Islamic extremists allows guerrillas to cast their fight in religious terms, which also helps to distance them from the discredited Hussein regime. The puritanical Wahhabi brand of Islam, for example, is especially anti-Western. Adherents believe that any non-Muslim who trespasses on Islamic land is an invader who must be repelled. Its members have also clashed with the Shiites for generations. . . . "Our religion asks of us jihad whenever we are being occupied," said the guerrilla . . . The insurgents are able to blend into their villages and towns, eluding capture, thanks largely to tribal networks and ancient friendships. Those connections also help pay their bills. . . . "It was a mistake to let Saddam sit and rule us as he did, and not resist," said the affluent manager of an import-export business from Fallouja. "We won't make that mistake again." . . . "After this occupation, the American government became the enemy," . . . "We tell our people they must be patient, but patience will not last."
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posted by Lorenzo 8:19 PM
'The Entire Adventure Was an Immense Fraud'
(Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, 02 September 2003)
Oops. There are no weapons of mass destruction after all. That's the emerging consensus of the second team of weapons sleuths commanded by the U.S. in Iraq, as reported last week in the Los Angeles Times. The 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group found what the first wave of U.S. military experts and the United Nations inspectors before them discovered — nada. . . . Nothing, not a vial of the 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin or the 25,000 liters of anthrax or an ounce of the materials for the 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent claimed by George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech as justification for war. Nor any sign of the advanced nuclear weapons program, a claim based on a now-admitted forgery. Nor has anyone produced any evidence of ties between the deposed Hussein regime and the Al Qaeda terrorists responsible for 9/11. . . . The entire adventure was an immense fraud. . . . How distressing that it turns out to be Bush, leader of the world's greatest democracy, who is the true master of denial and deception, rather than Hussein, who proved to be a paper tiger. Bush is such a master at deceiving the American public that even now he is not threatened with the prospect of impeachment or any serious congressional investigation into the possibility that he led this nation into war with lies. . . . It means Bush ignored all the cautions of career diplomats and intelligence experts in every branch of the U.S. government over the unsubstantiated word of Iraqi renegades. . . . Clearly, the administration, from the president on down, did not want expert advice and intelligence that would have undermined its excuse for invading Iraq. This was a shell game from beginning to end in which Americans' legitimate fear of terrorism after Sept. 11 was almost immediately and cynically exploited by the neoconservative gang that runs U.S. foreign policy. . . . American soldiers standing guard over the White House's imperial ambitions — a new Middle East as linchpin to a new world order — are now being shot like fish in a barrel. . . . In the disarray and dissolution of the U.S. role as leader of the free world, we sadly witness America's pathetic and isolated effort to rule Iraq with some of the same émigrés who deceived us with the false information that led us into a war that suited their ambitions. . . . More American soldiers have died since Bush declared the war over than during the war itself. This misadventure is costing nearly $4 billion a month just for the troops, and billions more for reconstruction by U.S. companies like Dick Cheney's old firm Halliburton. But too many Americans betray the proud tradition of an independent citizenry by buying into the "aw shucks" irresponsibility of a president who daily does a grave injustice to the awesome obligations of the office that he has sworn — in the name of God, no less — to uphold.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:12 PM
Number of Wounded in Action on Rise
(Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, September 2, 2003)
U.S. battlefield casualties in Iraq are increasing dramatically in the face of continued attacks by remnants of Saddam Hussein's military and other forces, with almost 10 American troops a day now being officially declared "wounded in action." . . . The number of those wounded in action, which totals 1,124 since the war began in March, has grown so large, and attacks have become so commonplace, that U.S. Central Command usually issues news releases listing injuries only when the attacks kill one or more troops. The result is that many injuries go unreported. . . . Indeed, the number of troops wounded in action in Iraq is now more than twice that of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. . . . Fifty-five Americans were wounded in action last week alone, pushing the number of troops wounded in action since May 1 beyond the number wounded during peak fighting. From March 19 to April 30, 550 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq. Since May 1, the number totals 574. The number of troops killed in Iraq since the beginning of May already has surpassed the total killed during the height of the war. . . . Although Central Command keeps a running total of the wounded, it releases the number only when asked -- making the combat injuries of U.S. troops in Iraq one of the untold stories of the war. . . . The number includes the 1,124 wounded in action, 301 who received non-hostile injuries in vehicle accidents and other mishaps, and thousands who became physically or mentally ill. . . . "The orthopedic surgeons are very busy, and the nursing services are very busy, both in the intensive care units and on the wards," he said, explaining that there have been five or six instances in recent months when all of the hospital's 40 intensive care beds have been filled -- mostly with battlefield wounded.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:02 PM