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Is CIA at war with Bush?
(Robert Novak, Sun-Times, September 27, 2004)
A few hours after George W. Bush dismissed a pessimistic CIA report on Iraq as ''just guessing,'' the analyst who identified himself as its author told a private dinner last week of secret, unheeded warnings years ago about going to war in Iraq. This exchange leads to the unavoidable conclusion that the president of the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency are at war with each other. . . . Paul R. Pillar, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, sat down Tuesday night in a large West Coast city with a select group of private citizens. He was not talking off the cuff. Relying on a multi-paged, single-spaced memorandum, Pillar said he and his colleagues concluded early in the Bush administration that military intervention in Iraq would intensify anti-American hostility throughout Islam. This was not from a CIA retiree but an active senior official. . . . For President Bush to publicly write off a CIA paper as just guessing is without precedent. For the agency to go semi-public is not only unprecedented but shocking. George Tenet's retirement as director of Central Intelligence removed the buffer between president and agency. As the new DCI, Porter Goss inherits an extraordinarily sensitive situation. . . . Pillar's Tuesday night presentation was conducted under what used to be called the Lindley Rule (devised by Newsweek's Ernest K. Lindley): The identity of the speaker, to whom he spoke, and the fact that he spoke at all are secret, but the substance of what he said can be reported. This dinner, however, knocks the Lindley Rule on its head. The substance was less significant than the forbidden background details. . . . The Bush-CIA tension escalated Sept. 15 when the New York Times reported a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was circulated in August (not July, as the newspaper reported), spelling out ''a dark assessment of Iraq'' with civil war as the ''worst case'' outcome. The NIE was prepared by Pillar, and well-placed sources believe Pillar leaked it, though he denied that at Tuesday night's dinner. . . . The immediate White House reaction to the NIE, from spokesman Scott McClellan, was to associate it with ''pessimists'' and ''hand-wringers.'' With Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi at his side at the United Nations, Bush said of the CIA: ''They were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like.'' . . . A few hours later, Pillar discussed the Iraqi war in a context of increased aversion to the United States -- an attitude he said his East Asia section at the CIA was aware of three years ago and feared would be exacerbated by U.S. military intervention. When Pillar was asked why this was not made clear to the president and other higher authorities, his answer was that nobody asked -- not even Tenet. . . . Through most of the Bush administration, the CIA high command has been engaged in a bitter struggle with the Pentagon. CIA officials refer to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary Douglas Feith as ''ideologues.'' Nevertheless, it is clear the CIA's wrath has now extended to the White House. . . . Modern history is filled with intelligence bureaus turning against their own governments, for good or ill. In the final days of World War II, the German Abwehr conspired against Hitler. More recently, Pakistani intelligence was plotting with Muslim terrorists. The CIA is a long way from those extremes, but it is supposed to be a resource -- not a critic -- for the president.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:55 PM

Dead Soldier's Mother Handcuffed & Arrested at Laura Bush Speech
(John P. McAlpin, Associated Press, September 16, 2004)
A woman wearing a T-shirt with the words "President Bush You Killed My Son" and a picture of a soldier killed in Iraq was detained Thursday after she interrupted a campaign speech by first lady Laura Bush. . . . Police escorted Sue Niederer, of Hopewell, N.J., from a rally at a firehouse after she demanded to know why her son, Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, was killed in Iraq. Dvorin died in February while trying to disarm a bomb. . . . As shouts of "Four More Years" subsided, Niederer, standing in the middle of a crowd of some 700, continued to shout about the killing of her son. Local police escorted her from the event, handcuffed her and put her in the back of a police van. . . . Niederer was later charged with defiant trespass and released. . . . The first lady continued speaking, touting her husband's record on the economy, health care and the war on terror to those attending the rally in this suburban community of 90,000 people near Trenton. . . . "Too many people here had a loved one that went to work in New York that day," Bush said. "It's for our country, it's for our children, our grandchildren that we do the hard work of confronting terror."

[COMMENT: That quote is quite chilling when thought of in the context of Orwell's "1984". This is definitely newspeak, "the hard work of confronting terror." Give me a break!]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:52 PM

Far graver than Vietnam, the war in Iraq is already lost
(Sidney Blumenthal, The Guardian, September 16, 2004)
'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday. . . . But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends." . . . Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong." . . . Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan." . . . W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy. . . . "We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view." . . . "I think the president ordered the attack on Fallujah," said General Hoare. "I asked a three-star marine general who gave the order to go to Fallujah and he wouldn't tell me. I came to the conclusion that the order came directly from the White House." Then, just as suddenly, the order was rescinded, and Islamist radicals gained control, using the city as a base. . . . "If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation," Terrill explained. "Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators." He describes the religious imagery common now in Fallujah and the Sunni triangle: "There's talk of angels and the Prophet Mohammed coming down from heaven to lead the fighting, talk of martyrs whose bodies are glowing and emanating wonderful scents." . . . "I see no exit," said Record. "We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq." . . . General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies." . . . General Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it - after the election. The signs are all there." . . . He compares any such planned attack to the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Asad's razing of the rebel city of Hama. "You could flatten it," said Hoare. "US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high, there would be inconclusive results with respect to the bad guys, their leadership would escape, and civilians would be caught in the middle. . . . General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 9:47 AM

U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq's Future
(Douglas Jehl, New York Times, September 16, 2004)
A classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, government officials said Wednesday. . . . The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms. . . . "There's a significant amount of pessimism," said one government official who has read the document, which runs about 50 pages. The officials declined to discuss the key judgments - concise, carefully written statements of intelligence analysts' conclusions - included in the document. . . . The intelligence estimate, the first on Iraq since October 2002, was prepared by the National Intelligence Council and was approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under John E. McLaughlin, the acting director of central intelligence. . . . As described by the officials, the pessimistic tone of the new estimate stands in contrast to recent statements by Bush administration officials, including comments on Wednesday by Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, who asserted that progress was being made. . . . I think it is very difficult to see today how you're going to distribute ballots in places like Falluja, and Ramadi and Najaf and other parts of the country, without having established the security,'' Mr. Kerry said in a call-in phone call to Don Imus, the radio talk show host. "I know that the people who are supposed to run that election believe that they need a longer period of time and greater security before they can even begin to do it, and they just can't do it at this point in time. So I'm not sure the president is being honest with the American people about that situation either at this point.'' . . . The situation in Iraq prompted harsh comments from Republicans and Democrats at a hearing into the shift of spending from reconstruction to security. Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, called it "exasperating for anybody look at this from any vantage point," and Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said of the overall lack of spending: "It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing. It is now in the zone of dangerous." . . . The new estimate revisits issues raised by the intelligence council in less formal assessments in January 2003, the officials said. Those documents remain classified, but one of them warned that the building of democracy in Iraq would be a long, difficult and turbulent prospect that could include internal conflict, a government official said. . . . Its pessimistic conclusions were reached even before the recent worsening of the security situation in Iraq, which has included a sharp increase in attacks on American troops and in deaths of Iraqi civilians as well as resistance fighters. . . . Separate from the new estimate, Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued other warnings on Wednesday about the American campaign in Iraq, saying the administration's request to divert more than $3 billion to security from the $18.4 billion aid package of last November was a sign of trouble. . . . "Although we recognize these funds must not be spent unwisely," the committee chairman, Mr. Lugar said, "the slow pace of reconstruction spending means that we are failing to fully take advantage of one of our most potent tools to influence the direction of Iraq." . . . Less than $1 billion has been spent so far. . . . The committee's ranking Democrat, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, one of the harshest critics of the Iraq policies, was far more outspoken. "The president has frequently described Iraq as, quote, 'the central front of the war on terror,' " Mr. Biden went on. "Well by that definition, success in Iraq is a key standard by which to measure the war on terror. And by that measure, I think the war on terror is in trouble."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 9:29 AM

U.N. chief says U.S.-led Iraq war, with no Security Council approval, was ''illegal''
(Associated Press, September 15, 2004)
The U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq without the approval of the U.N. Security Council was ''illegal,'' Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the BBC on Wednesday. . . . ''I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time without U.N. approval and much broader support from the international community,'' he said in an interview with the BBC World Service. . . . The U.N. Charter allows nations to take military action with Security Council approval as an explicit enforcement action, such as during the Korean War and the 1991 Gulf War. . . . But in 2003, in the build-up to the Iraq war, the United States dropped an attempt to get a Security Council resolution approving the invasion when it became apparent it would not pass. . . . At the time, Annan had underlined the lack of legitimacy for a war without U.N. approval, saying: ''If the United States and others were to go outside the Security Council and take unilateral action they would not be in conformity with the Charter.'' . . . On Wednesday, after being asked three times whether the lack of council approval for the war meant it was illegal, he said: ''From our point of view and the [UN ] Charter point of view it was illegal.'' . . . He also said that the wave of violence engulfing Iraq puts in doubt the national elections scheduled for January. . . . There could not be ''credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now,'' he told the BBC.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 7:40 PM

U.S. murders 12 civilians, kills Arab reporter on air
(Adrain Blomfield, Chicago Sun Times, September 13, 2004)
A TV reporter was shot dead as he made a live broadcast from Baghdad on Sunday when U.S. helicopters fired on a crowd that had gathered around the burning wreckage of an American armored vehicle. . . . Mazen al-Tumeizi, a Palestinian working for Al-Arabiya, one of the main Arab satellite channels, was among at least 12 people -- all thought to be civilians -- killed in the incident on Haifa Street. . . . It was the bloodiest in a succession of violent clashes that claimed nearly 60 people Sunday across Iraq. . . . On Haifa Street, a main road in central Baghdad that has long been under the effective control of Saddam Hussein loyalists, there were several hours of gunfire during a U.S. mission to capture 21 men the Iraqi government described as terrorists. . . . A Bradley fighting vehicle rushing to help an American patrol was damaged by a car bomb, the U.S. military said. A total of six American soldiers were wounded in the explosion and during an operation to evacuate the crew. . . . Later, a crowd of Iraqis gathered around the burning vehicle, and some began dancing in celebration. . . . Tumeizi was describing the incident on camera when two helicopter gunships were seen flying down the street and opening fire. Tumeizi was hit by a bullet and doubled over, shouting: "I'm dying, I'm dying." . . . Witnesses said there were no Iraqi fighters in the area at the time.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:30 AM

Iraq: It's Worse Than You Think
(Scott Johnson and Babak Dehghanpisheh, Newsweek, September 20 2004 Issue)
Sixteen months after the war's supposed end, Iraq's insurgency is spreading. Each successful demand by kidnappers has spawned more hostage-takings - to make Philippine troops go home, to stop Turkish truckers from hauling supplies into Iraq, to extort fat ransom payments from Kuwaitis. The few relief groups that remain in Iraq are talking seriously about leaving. U.S. forces have effectively ceded entire cities to the insurgents, and much of the country elsewhere is a battleground. Last week the total number of U.S. war dead in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,007 by the end of Saturday. . . . U.S. forces are working frantically to train Iraqis for the thankless job of maintaining public order. The aim is to boost Iraqi security forces from 95,000 to 200,000 by sometime next year. Then, using a mixture of force and diplomacy, the Americans plan to retake cities and install credible local forces. That's the hope, anyway. But the quality of new recruits is debatable. During recent street demonstrations in Najaf, police opened fire on crowds, killing and injuring dozens. . . . A senior Iraqi official sees no chance of January elections: "I'm convinced that it's not going to happen. It's just not realistic. How is it going to happen?" Some Iraqis worry that America will stick to its schedule despite all obstacles. "The Americans have created a series of fictional dates and events in order to delude themselves," . . . there's widespread agreement that Washington needs to rethink its objectives, and quickly. "We're dealing with a population that hovers between bare tolerance and outright hostility," says a senior U.S. diplomat in Baghdad. "This idea of a functioning democracy here is crazy. We thought that there would be a reprieve after sovereignty, but all hell is breaking loose." . . . It's not only that U.S. casualty figures keep climbing. American counterinsurgency experts are noticing some disturbing trends in those statistics. The Defense Department counted 87 attacks per day on U.S. forces in August - the worst monthly average since Bush's flight-suited visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. . . . Another ominous sign is the growing number of towns that U.S. troops simply avoid. A senior Defense official objects to calling them "no-go areas." . . . The first city lost to the insurgents was Fallujah, in April. Now the list includes the Sunni Triangle cities of Ar Ramadi, Baqubah and Samarra, where power shifted back and forth between the insurgents and American-backed leaders last week. "There is no security force there [in Fallujah], no local government," says a senior U.S. military official in Baghdad. "We would get attacked constantly. Forget about it." . . . "What we see is a classic progression," says Andrew Krepinevich, author of the highly respected study "The Army and Vietnam." "What we also see is that the U.S. military is not trained or organized to fight insurgencies. That was the deliberate choice after Vietnam. Now we look to be paying the price." Americans aren't safe even on the outskirts of a city like Fallujah. Early last week a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into two U.S. Humvees nine miles north of town on the four-lane concrete bypass called Highway 10. Seven Americans died. It was one of the deadliest blows against U.S. forces since June, when Iraqis formally resumed control of their government. . . . As much as ordinary Iraqis may hate the insurgents, they blame the Americans for creating the whole mess. Three months ago Iraqi troops and U.S.-dominated "multinational forces" pulled out of Samarra, and insurgents took over the place immediately. . . . Will Iraq's troubles get even worse? "The insurgency can certainly sustain what it's doing for a while," says a senior U.S. military official. Many educated Iraqis aren't waiting to find out. Applicants mobbed the courtyard of the Baghdad passport office last week, desperate for a chance to escape. Police fired shots in the air, trying to control the crowd. "Every day there is shooting, gunfire, people killed, headaches for lack of sleep," said Huda Hussein, 34, a Ph.D. in computer science who has spent the past year and a half looking for work. "I want to go to a calm place for a while." It's too bad for Iraq - and for America - that the insurgents don't share that wish.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:40 PM

Intense battle shakes up Baghdad
(Associated Press, September 13, 2004)
Insurgents hammered central Baghdad on Sunday with one of their most intense mortar and rocket barrages ever in the heart of the capital, heralding a day of violence that killed nearly 60 people nationwide as security appeared to spiral out of control. . . . At least 37 people were killed in Baghdad alone. Many of them died when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraqs most-feared terror organization. . . . The dead from the helicopter strike included Arab television reporter Mazen al-Tumeizi, who screamed, Im dying! Im dying! as a cameraman recorded the chaotic scene. An Iraqi cameraman working for the Reuters news agency and an Iraqi freelance photographer for Getty Images were wounded. . . . Maimed and lifeless bodies of young men and boys lay in the street as the stricken U.S. vehicle was engulfed in flames and thick black smoke. . . . Across the country, the death toll Sunday was at least 59, according to figures from the Health Ministry, the Multinational Force command and local authorities. . . . About 200 people were injured. . . . As the early morning barrage was under way in Baghdad, insurgents attacked the infamous U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison on the citys western edge. Several mortar shells exploded outside the complex about 6 a.m., and about 20 minutes later a pickup truck packed with artillery shells crashed through the chain-link fence on the outer perimeter. . . . Marines opened fire and the vehicle exploded before reaching the main security wall, killing the driver, a military statement said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:58 PM

One man's resistance: 'Why I turned against America'
(Jason Burke, The Observer, September 12, 2004)
Early one morning this week, when the police have yet to set up too many checkpoints, Abu Mujahed will strap a mortar underneath a car, drive to a friend's in central Baghdad and bury the weapon in his garden. In the evening he will return with the rest of his group, sleep for a few hours and then take the weapon from its hiding place. He will calculate the range using the American military's own maps and satellite pictures - bought in a bazaar - and fire a few rounds at a military base or the US Embassy or at the Iraqi Prime Minister's office. Then Abu Mujahed will shower, change and, by 10am, be at his desk in one of the major ministries. . . . Last week he sat in a Baghdad hotel speaking to The Observer. A chubby man in his thirties with a shaven head, a brown sports shirt, slacks and a belt with a cheap fake-branded buckle, he gave a chilling account of his life fighting 'the occupation'. He talked for more than three hours and revealed: his resistance group, comprising self-taught Sunni Muslim Iraqis, is almost completely independent, choosing targets and timings themselves, but occasionally receiving broad strategic directions from a religious 'sheikh' most of them have never met. . . . it is funded by Iraqis in Europe, including the UK, and from wealthy sympathisers in Saudi Arabia. . . . it has rejected any alliance with al-Qaeda affiliated 'foreign fighters' and Shia militia. . . . it receives intelligence from 'friends' within the coalition forces. . . . it runs a counter-intelligence operation that has resulted in the execution of two suspected spies in recent weeks. . . . it is learning increasingly sophisticated techniques and plans to detonate big bombs in Baghdad soon. . . . He also spoke about the difficulties of continuing security operations against them and admitted that many Iraqis do not support their actions. Much of Abu Mujahed's account is corroborated by various independent sources. . . . Abu Mujahed, worryingly for the analysts, fits into none of these easy categories [of who the U.S. thinks it's fighting in Iraq]. For a start, he was pro-American before the invasion. 'The only way to breathe under the old regime was to watch American films and listen to their music,' he said. He had been a Bon Jovi fan. . . . When I heard that the Americans were coming to liberate Iraq I was very happy. I felt that I would be able to live well, travel and have freedom. I wanted to do more sport, get new appliances and a new car and develop my life. I thought the US would come here and our lives would be changed through 180 degrees.' . . . He spoke of how his faith in the US was shaken when, via a friend's illicitly imported satellite TV system, he saw 'barbaric, savage' pictures of civilian casualties of the fighting and bombing. The next blow came in the conflict's immediate aftermath, as looters ran unchecked through Baghdad. . . . 'When I saw the American soldiers watching and doing nothing as people took everything, I began to suspect the US was not here to help us but to destroy us,' he said. . . . Abu Mujahed, whose real name is not known by The Observer, said: 'I thought it might be just the chaos of war but it got worse, not better.' . . . He was not alone and swiftly found that many in the Adhamiya neighbourhood of Baghdad shared his anger and disappointment. The time had come. 'We realised. We had to act.' . . . Significantly, his group contains several former soldiers, angry at the controversial demobilisation of the Iraqi military by the coalition last year. Others, like Abu Mujahed, have salaried government jobs. The cell is not part of any broader organisation and does not have a name, he said. 'We are just local people ... There is a sheikh who co-ordinates some of the various groups but I do not know who he is.' . . . To start with, the group lacked armaments and know-how. 'We made some careful inquiries. Some people gave us weapons, others sold us stuff they had looted,' he said. The group also sought out experts, often former military officers, who gave impromtu tutorials in bomb-making and communications . . . Over the next months the group varied the tactics. 'One day we try and snipe them, the next we use an IED [Improvised Explosive Device], the next a mine. We never get any orders from anybody. We are just told: "Today you should do something," but it is up to us to decide what and when.' . . . . Black soldiers are a particular target. 'To have Negroes occupying us is a particular humiliation,' Abu Mujahed said, echoing the profound racism prevalent in much of the Middle East. 'Sometimes we aborted a mission because there were no Negroes.' . . . most of our money comes from local people who support what we do but can't fight themselves. . . . Last week US military casualties in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, most killed since the end of the war by the actions of men like Abu Mujahed. The former engineering student said he does not know how many his group has killed: 'It is impossible to say what has been hit. I could boast of killing maybe 25, but to be honest we don't know,' he said. 'Maybe only five or six.' . . . 'I know the soldiers have no choice about coming here and all have a family and friends,' he added. His justification for the struggle was an inconsistent mix of political and economic grievances and wounded pride: 'We are under occupation. They bomb the mosques, they kill a huge number of people. There is no greater shame than to see your country being occupied.' . . . He dismissed the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, as 'the Americans' Barbie doll' . . . 'Iraqis' top priority is to provide a good living for their families. I take home less than 250,000 ID (100) a month and I have four children. I have to pay the rent, doctor's bills, my wife needs something, my house needs something. And a kilo of chicken costs 2,500 ID.' . . . 'The US or the UK are not my enemy. I know that any individual US or UK citizen is very good, but we will keep fighting the occupying forces. We have no choice.'
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:34 PM

Thousands of Iraqis Estimated Killed
(Bassem Mroue, Associated Press, 9/8/2004)
At Sheik Omar Clinic, a big book records 10,363 violent deaths in Baghdad and nearby towns since the war began last year deaths caused by car bombs, clashes between Iraqis and coalition forces, mortar attacks, revenge killings and robberies. . . . While America mourns the deaths of more than 1,000 of its sons and daughters in the Iraq campaign, the U.S. toll is far less than the Iraqi. No official, reliable figures exist for the whole country, but private estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 killed since the United States invaded in March 2003. . . . The violent deaths recorded in the leather ledger at the Sheik Omar Clinic come from only one of Iraq's 18 provinces and do not cover people who died in such flashpoint cities as Najaf, Karbala, Fallujah, Tikrit and Ramadi. . . . Iraqi dead include not only insurgents, police and soldiers but also civilian men, women and children caught in crossfire, blown apart by explosives or shot by mistake both by fellow Iraqis or by American soldiers and their multinational allies. And they include the victims of crime that has surged in the instability that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. . . . ''During Saddam's days killings were silent. Now the killing is done openly and loudly,'' said Ghali Karim Hassan, who lost his 31-year-old son, Ghaidan, last April. . . . He said Ghaidan was killed in Najaf when a demonstration called by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr led to a gunbattle with coalition troops, mainly Spaniards and Salvadorans. Ghaidan, who left a wife and three children, was one of 22 protesters killed. . . . In a country where the dead are often buried quickly without proper accounting by authorities, the real number of Iraqis whose lives were cut short in the Iraq conflict may never be known. . . . Iraq Body Count, a private group that bases its figures in part on reports by 40 media outlets, puts the number of civilian deaths since the conflict began at between 11,793 and 13,802. . . . Hazem al-Radini at the Human Rights Organization in Iraq said his group estimates the toll at more than 30,000 civilian deaths. He said the group didn't have any statistics and based the figure on reports by Iraqi news media. . . . In some cases, it is uncertain whether individuals were killed by insurgents or soldiers or were killed by criminals or rivals who used the turmoil of war as a cover for settling scores. And even in cases where the cause was known, records sometimes don't specify. . . . However, Iraqis argue, even those killed by criminals could be considered indirect victims of a war that destroyed Iraq's security services and brought a spike in crime. . . . ''Our work here multiplied by at least 10 times compared to prewar periods,'' said Dr. Abdul-Razzak Abdul-Amir, head of the Baghdad coroner's office. . . . Al-Radini at the Human Rights Organization in Iraq agreed. ''The main responsibility behind these Iraqi civilians deaths lies with the occupation because those victims would not have fallen had there not be an occupation,'' he said.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:05 PM

Seven Marines Killed, Several Wounded in Iraq Attack
(Associated Press, 06 September 2004)
A massive car bomb exploded on the outskirts of Fallujah on Monday, killing seven U.S. Marines and wounding several others, a U.S. military official said. . . . The strength of the blast sent the engine from the vehicle used in the bombing flying "a good distance" from the site, a military official said on condition of anonymity. . . . Wounded troops were being treated Monday afternoon, the official said. . . . U.S. forces have not patrolled inside Fallujah since April, when U.S. Marines ended a three-week siege. The city has since fallen into the hands of insurgents who have used it as a base to manufacture car bombs and launch attacks on U.S. and Iraqi government forces. . . . The U.S. military has retaliated by launching several airstrikes on insurgent safe houses in the city. . . . Witnesses said the attack took place nine miles north of Fallujah and destroyed two Humvees. . . . Medical teams in helicopters swept into the dusty barren site to ferry away the injured. Troops sealed off the area surrounding the wreckage. . . . With Monday's deaths and those of two U.S. soldiers in a mortar barrage outside Baghdad a day earlier, 985 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq in March 2003, according to the Defense Department.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:39 AM

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