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US Soldiers re-enact Ben Hur prior to Fallujah assault
(Abhay Mehta, OutlookIndia.com, December 20, 2004)
In the first siege of Fallujah in April 2004, the Iraqi Resistance inflicted a severe defeat on the Americans. In April 2004, while over 1,200 Iraqis were killed, blown up, burnt or shot alive by the Americans -- two thirds of them civilians, mostly women and children -- while 2,000-pound bombs were falling on the the city, AC-130 Spectre gunships were demolishing entire city blocks in less than a minute and of course silence of the plop as Iraqis targeted by marine snipers hit the ground, nonetheless the operative portion remains: the Marines were beaten back in no uncertain terms. This was followed by a "truce". . . . The truce did not hold for very long. . . . This humiliation of the American military was spun as a "strategic retreat" but the desire to get rid of the "weeping sore that Fallujah was" has been on top of the US agenda since then. Fallujah represented a "stellar act of defiance" one that allowed the resistance to "actually secure and control a city, and to beat off the US military" . . . The second formal large scale assault on Fallujah (Nov./Dec 2004) pitted images of the world's most powerful military force against fighters in tennis shoes, wielding homemade rocket launchers. There were three declared tactical objectives. The first was to either kill or capture the Jordanian born "terrorist" "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" (if indeed he exists) and to "battle and destroy some 4000 to 5000 suspected fighters". The Americans also vowed to "liberate" the residents of Fallujah from "criminal elements" and to "secure Fallujah" for the January elections. Lastly, it appears an additional declared tactical/political objective of the American Military's task was to engage in a "fight of good versus evil". Additionally it appears (presumably per their intelligence reports) that the mission also was to "destroy" "Satan" since it appears that "he lives in Fallujah" . . . On the face of it, it appears as if none of these tactical/military objectives have been met, including, it appears, the desire to presumably meet Mr Satan, resident of Fallujah. . . . As for the other very laudable and rationally quantifiable objectives including that of stuffing democracy into a city by simply obliterating it, all of these seem to be a bit astray. . . . The assault has left as many as 10,000 civilian dead--perhaps much much more . The Red Cross/Red Crescent estimate was upwards of 6000 as of November 25th. . . . What the images of Phantom Fury did not convey is that this assault is the largest concentration of heavy armor in one place, since the fall of Berlin. This was the first time since World War II that "an American armored task force" has been turned "loose in a city with no restrictions". . . . More to the point, the force of as much as 20,000 soldiers (12,000 to 17,000 American/coalition soldiers, about 2000 odd Iraqi "National guards" and perhaps 1000 odd peshmergas) were supported by an estimated 1100 to as much as 2000 armored vehicles and tanks. Air support was largely carrier based out of the gulf and B-52's from bases outside of Iraq. . . . The armor alone represents the heaviest ever concentration of armor since the fall of Berlin (1945) in one place against a single military objective. . . . Despite being flattened (perhaps about 12,000 to as much as 20,000 homes out of an estimated 50,000 razed) by the application of, as US Army Gen. John Abizaid put it, "more military power per square inch than anybody else on earth". . . . The mightiest military machine ever in world history with the mightiest firepower the world has ever seen has been mightily trying to capture Fallujah. But no luck so far. . . . Instead the Americans faced an opposition that broke the back of the assault. Instead of "breaking bone by bone" and crushing "the backbone of the insurgents", it seems to appear that the same has been done unto them as they were planning to do unto the resistance. . . . At the peak of the assault, the Americans held no more than 35-40% of Fallujah (largely the north on or around the 18th of November) Thereafter, they appear to have been steadily repulsed and in fact the coalition forces currently have been repulsed to where they were on November 13th or thereabouts and to the outskirts of Fallujah. . . . The mightiest military in the world cannot control an 8 km stretch of road, perhaps the single most important road in all of Iraq the Airport Road from the center of Baghdad to the airport. The purported troop concentration is 120 soldiers per km of a open road and despite that the Australian defence minister could not even make it to the green zone and simply flew back from the airport. . . . Unlike Vietnam, where the American were largely in control of the cities for most parts (save Tet, and even there complete control was not lost), the US/UK garrisons are isolated in the middle of a hostile population. . . . They cannot even traverse a km or two out of the 'green zone". Their supply convoys have come to a standstill over the last month and a salvage operation of re-supplying by air has started over the last 10-12 days. Air supplies are limited and there is no reason to believe that these can be significant (a max of 400 tonnes a day, slated to rise to 1600 tonnes a day against an estimated minimum 20,000 odd tonnes needed daily to keep a force of 160,000+ fed, watered, armored and resupplied). . . . The 300 mile long supply line is toast. Well, at least any thing dark, metallic, armored or otherwise. (4000 pounds of armor on a humvee that can carry a max load of 5000 pounds) Can it move? And even that is not helpful in the words of the great military strategist, Rumsfeld, circa Dec 04, even tanks blow up. . . . Against the most heavily armed opponent in the history of War, Fallujah has still not let itself be "taken" to date (As of 20th Dec, 2004). Falluah and indeed the rest of Iraq post April 2003, heralds "supersymmetrical" warfare and the end of conventional warfare. This represents a turning point in military affairs the end of warfare--as practiced by the Americans i.e the application of overwhelming force to obtain a victory. . . . If this is indeed correct (and there is no reason to consider any other alternative) then the Iraqi Resistance's repulsing the assault and indeed the forcing back of the American positions represents not only a turning point in the American occupation of Sovereign Iraq but in fact a turning point in warfare itself. . . . In fact, it would certainly be one of the greatest military victories in history. . . . The cost/personnel advantage is noteworthy. With minimal or no training, just about any one can operate a RPG. A squad of say 3 would cost perhaps no more than $5000 to equip. Against this, the M1 Abrams ("the mightiest tank", 70 odd tonnes of steel, a few million a pop). . . . Now consider the mightiest Gun in the West against the rookie squad of three. Throw in a street. Add cover (even rubble will do, in fact quite nicely, thank you) . . . Even odds? . . . There is more, but you get the idea. Not very state of the art weapons, far from it. But very very functional. Now, consider the sheer amount of counter offensive power these represent . . . Add to that pre-prepared defensive positions, not very fancy for sure but very functional and very very functional minefields with a variety of triggers. Throw in, the "most ingenious" booby traps ever. . . . Add the Iraqi resistance--the bravest of the brave--operating these. Well now, it is state of the art. The State of the Art of Urban Warfare. . . . Oh yes, And yes, how can I forget toys. Well, one needs to buy those since "remote controls from toys" (Well at least as per the American Military) are a primary trigger in IEDs. . . . So we add a few 10s of dollars per toy car and remote kit, say from your local K-mart.K-mart?. Turns out that an army cannot be equipped from K-mart, to quote the great military tactician Rumsfeld once again, circa early Dec 0). Also turns out Centcom claims that they cannot jam these (circa Dec 04,) , , , It does appear that we have a problem here. Toy remotes. Rather sad, would you not say? . . . Short of using a neutron or a nuclear bomb (the Americans did use chemical weapons in Fallujah), despite all efforts, what the Americans have been able to achieve is relatively little, if anything at all, even in the best case estimates of the official narrative. . . . 45 days and going on and on and on and on. . . . Oh, oh, but, but, but we took Baghdad in 21 days. . . . 45 days for 16 sq kms.....The opposing American army in this case has not been able to be actually "take" them out. Never mind control or physically occupying 16 sq kms. . . . In fact, even a neutron bomb would not be militarily significant. You need to "take" it and keep it and keep on keeping it and keep on and on and on. . . . And they have not. They will not. They cannot . . . The limits of raw firepower have been reached and no matter what the American military objective is no longer possible. . . . Shoulder-held surface to air weapons limit the role of armored copters. In fact there are several 'copter graveyards in and around Fallujah. Big ones. Some of them are quite near the tank killing fields. Yes, several hundred armored vehicles resting, not quite in peace but hey... Raw unopposed firepower has reached its limits. Never have so few battled against so many in face of overwhelming odds and brought a superpower to its knees. And the nightmare continues. . . . It is indeed the greatest military victory in history. The self proclaimed mightiest empire that ever was, in fact, turns out to have had the shortest reign ever. This Empire met its match in the land between the two rivers.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:48 PM
No peace on Earth during unjust war
(Andrew Greeley, Chicago Sun-Times, 24 December 2004)
One reads in the papers that the Pentagon expects the war in Iraq to continue till 2010. Donald Rumsfeld will not guarantee that it will be over by 2009. How many dead and maimed Americans by then? How many sad obituaries? How many full pages in the papers with pictures of all the casualties? Why? The reasons change: weapons of mass destruction, war on terror, freedom and democracy for the people of Iraq, American credibility. All are deceptions. This cockamamie and criminally immoral war was planned before the Sept. 11 attack in which Iraq was not involved. It has nothing to do with the war on terror. American-style freedom and democracy in Arab countries are hallucinations by men and women like Paul Wolfowitz and Condi Rice whose contribution to the war is writing long memos -- Republican intellectuals with pointy heads. The "Vulcans," as the Bush foreign policy team calls itself, are the criminals, and they ought to face indictment as war criminals. One of the criteria for a just war is that there be a reasonable chance of victory. Where is that reasonable chance? Each extra day of the war makes it more unjust, more criminal. The guilty people are not only the Vulcans but those Americans who in the November election endorsed the war.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 6:51 AM
Poll: Most Americans Think Iraq War Not Worth Fighting)
(Christopher Muste, Washington Post, December 20, 2004)
Most Americans now believe the war with Iraq was not worth fighting and more than half want to fire embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the chief architect of that conflict, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. . . . The survey found that 56 percent of the country now believes that the cost of the conflict in Iraq outweighs the benefits, while 42 percent disagreed. 4It marked the first time since the war began that a clear majority of Americans have judged the war to have been a mistake. . . . Barely a third of the country approves of the job that Rumsfeld is doing as defense secretary, and 52 percent said President Bush should sack Rumsfeld, a view shared by a big majority of Democrats and political independents. . . . The political fallout over the continuing bloody chaos in Iraq clearly is taking its toll on President Bush . . . Nearly six in 10 -- 57 percent -- say they disapprove of the way the president has handled the situation in Iraq.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:02 PM
The Three Stooges
(Charley Reese, Antiwar.com, December 18, 2004)
Anybody who has any doubts that George Bush is a true believer in himself should finally be convinced by his awarding the Medal of Freedom to the three blunderers of the war in Iraq. Gen. Tommy Franks allowed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to browbeat him into planning a war with fewer troops than were needed. He no doubt noted that when Gen. Eric Shinseki and the secretary of the Army publicly said many more troops were needed, they were gotten rid of. Shinseki was humiliated when the Pentagon announced his replacement a year and a half before he was due to step down. Secretary of the Army Thomas White was fired. Today, there is no doubt that Shinseki and White were correct, but Franks, who sacrificed his professional judgment to Rumsfeld's ideological rigidity, gets the medal. Then there's Paul Bremer. Nobody could have made more mistakes as head of the occupation than Bremer. He and Franks allowed the looting that proved disastrous. He fired all the civil servants who could have helped run the government, and he disbanded the army. All the problems we face today in Iraq stem directly from these blunders. But he gets the medal. And finally there is George Tenet, the former CIA director. He failed to detect the attack on 9/11, and he padded the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to please the president. "It's a slam-dunk," he said. Sure. He makes a blunder of stupendous importance and gets the medal. What should alarm people is the president's iron-tight refusal to acknowledge that any mistakes have been made. That's exactly what he was saying when he handed out those three medals: I have not made any mistakes whatsoever. Rumsfeld, Franks, Tenet and Bremer have made no mistakes. The only people who are wrong are people who disagree with me. Such arrogance is characteristic of fanatics. Apparently, when the president and his ideologues get an idea into their heads, they view any facts to the contrary as evidence of hostility and disloyalty. Nobody in recent history has been more arrogant and more wrong than the Bush administration has been in its dealing with Iraq. When a leader makes it clear that he doesn't want anyone around who will tell him things he doesn't want to hear, he guarantees that he will be surrounded by sycophants and manipulators.
COMMENT*****Personally, I don't put much faith in this Administration not making more major mistakes. As long as Bush continues to believe that he has a mandate from God to crush and control the Muslims there will be no peace and security. But, as this is what Bush and Company want - the more uncertainty and disharmony in the US the more they control through fear and rhetoric - I don't see much chance of a change of philosophy. But that is just this old Curmudgeon's opinion.******
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 5:27 AM
He lost an arm in Iraq; the Army wants money
(Dianna Cahn, Times Herald-Record, December 10, 2004)
He lost his arm serving his country in Iraq. . . . Now this wounded soldier is being discharged from his company in Fort Hood, Texas, without enough gas money to get home. In fact, the Army says 27-year-old Spc. Robert Loria owes it close to $2,000, and confiscated his last paycheck. . . . "There's people in my unit right now one of my team leaders [who was] over in Iraq with me, is doing everything he can to help me .... but it's looking bleak," Loria said by telephone from Fort Hood yesterday. "It's coming up on Christmas and I have no way of getting home." . . . Loria's expected discharge yesterday came a day after the public got a rare view of disgruntled soldiers in Kuwait peppering Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with questions about their lack of adequate armor in Iraq. . . . Like many soldiers wounded in Iraq, Loria's injuries were caused by a roadside bombing. It happened in February when his team from the 588th Battalion's Bravo Company was going to help evacuate an area in Baqubah, a town 40 miles north of Baghdad. A bomb had just ripped off another soldier's arm. Loria's Humvee drove into an ambush. . . . When the second bomb exploded, it tore Loria's left hand and forearm off, split his femur in two and shot shrapnel through the left side of his body. Months later, he was still recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and just beginning to adjust to life without a hand, when he was released back to Fort Hood. . . . AFTER SEVERAL MORE MONTHS, the Army is releasing Loria. But "clearing Fort Hood," as the troops say, takes paperwork. Lots of it. . . . Loria thought he'd done it all, and was getting ready to collect $4,486 in final Army pay. . . . Then he was hit with another bomb. The Army had another tally of money it says Loria owed to his government. . . . A Separation Pay Worksheet given to Loria showed the numbers: $2,408.33 for 10 months of family separation pay that the Army erroneously paid Loria after he'd returned stateside, as a patient at Walter Reed; $2,204.25 that Loria received for travel expenses from Fort Hood back to Walter Reed for a follow-up visit, after the travel paperwork submitted by Loria never reached the correct desk. And $310 for missing items on his returned equipment inventory list. . . . "There was stuff lost in transportation, others damaged in the accident," Loria said of the day he lost his hand. "When it went up the chain of command, the military denied coverage." . . . Including taxes, the amount Loria owed totaled $6,255.50. The last line on the worksheet subtracted that total from his final Army payout and found $1,768.81 "due us." . . . "It's nerve-racking," Loria said. "After everything I have done, it's almost like I am being abandoned, like, you did your job for us and now you are no use. That's how it feels." . . . AT HOME in Middletown, yesterday, Loria's wife, Christine, was beside herself. . . . "They want us to sacrifice more," she said, her voice quavering. "My husband has already sacrificed more than he should have to." . . . For weeks now, Christine has been telling her 3-year-old son, Jonathan, that Robbie, who is not his birth father, will be coming home any day now. . . . But the Army has delayed Loria's release at least five times already, she said, leaving a little boy confused and angry. . . . "Rob was supposed to be here on Saturday," she said. "Now [Jonathan] is mad at me. How do you explain something you yourself don't understand?" . . . "I don't want this to happen to another family," Christine Loria said. "Him being blown up was supposed to be the worst thing, but it wasn't. That the military doesn't care was the worst." . . . The Army was discharging her husband, Robert, after he lost his arm and suffered other severe injuries in Iraq, without even gas money to drive his car home. . . . "I am up here and he's there. That's 1,800 miles away," she said. "I had to call his chain of command and scream at them." . . . Their reaction she said, was "very mature." . . . "If he feels that way, why is his wife talking for him? Why doesn't he come talk to us himself?" she remembers them asking her. . . . "Because on some level, he still respects you," she answered. "I don't have that problem."
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posted by Lorenzo 4:12 PM
Humvee Armor Production Increase of 22% Available and Waiting for Three Years
Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army. . . . U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday the Army was working as fast as it can and supply is dictated by "a matter of physics, not a matter of money." [COMMENT: He's lying and everybody knows it. Some people are getting rich from this war, but the money isn't being used to protect our troops. Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheny, and the rest of them should be put on trial for the war criminals they are.] . . . Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the company's aerospace and defense group said in a telephone interview today. . . . "We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month," Mecredy said in the interview. "I've told the customer that and I stand ready to do that." . . . Insurgent attacks on the vehicles with homemade bombs and rocket-propelled grenades are accounting for as much as half of the more than 1,000 U.S. deaths and 9,000 U.S. wounded in Iraq, according to Congressional estimates. . . . U.S. troops preparing for deployment to Iraq told Rumsfeld yesterday they are salvaging armor from landfills to install "hillbilly armor" on their Humvees. Rumsfeld replied that "you have to go to war with the Army you have." . . . Armor Holdings has already boosted output from 60 vehicles a month a year ago, said Mecredy, 58. As a result of the increased output, Armor Holdings has cut the price for the armor its supplies for the trucks to $58,000 per vehicle, from $72,000 per vehicle a year ago, Mecredy said. . . . When he was asked about current production yesterday, Rumsfeld wasn't sure of the exact figure saying "it's something like 400 a month are being done." . . . "It's a matter of production and capability of doing it," Rumsfeld, 72, said. . . . AM General spokesman Lee Woodward also said that truck output could also be increased. . . . "If they ordered more trucks, we'd build more trucks," Woodward said. "We're not close to capacity." . . . The main reason there isn't enough armor is because the military has underestimated its own needs, said Meghan Keck, spokeswoman for Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat. Bayh wrote a letter to Rumsfeld in October calling for a more accurate estimate of Humvee needs. . . . "If the Army would be up front about the number of Humvees needed, the companies would be able to set their production accordingly to meet the need," Keck said in a phone interview.
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posted by Lorenzo 3:48 PM
U.S. Troops Massacre Fallujah Civilians
(Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches, December 9, 2004)
Two weeks ago someone was allowed into Fallujah by the military to help bury bodies. They were allowed to take photographs of 75 bodies, in order to show pictures to relatives so that they might be identified before they were buried. . . . These pictures are from a book of photos. They are being circulated publicly around small villages near Fallujah where many refugees are staying. . . . The man who took them was only allowed to take photos and bury bodies in one small area of Fallujah. He was not allowed to visit anywhere else. Keep in mind there are at least 1,925 other bodies that were not allowed to be seen. . . . "The Americans shot every boat on the river because people were trying to escape Fallujah by the river. They shot all the sheep, any animal people owned was shot. Helicopters shot all the animals and anything that moved in all the villages surrounding Fallujah during the fighting." . . . He said that none of the roads into Fallujah, or around Fallujah were passable because anyone on them was shot. "I know one family that were all killed. There are no signs on these roads that tell people not to use them-so people dont know they aren't supposed to use them. No signs in English or Arabic!"
[Here are the photos.] WARNING: These pictures are very graphic.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:26 PM
Paranoia and Pre-emption
Is the Bush Administration Certifiable?
(Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch, December 6, 2004)
Has President Bush lost his grip on reality?
In his December 1 speech in Halifax, Nova Scotia, President Bush again declared his intention to pre-emptively attack "enemies who plot in secret and set out to murder the innocent and the unsuspecting." Freedom from terrorism, Bush declared, will come only through pre-emptive war against enemies of democracy. How does Bush know who and where these secret enemies are? How many more times will his guesses be wrong like he was about Iraq? What world does Bush live in? The US cannot control Iraq, much less battle the rest of the Muslim world and beyond. While Bush threatened the world with US aggression, headlines revealed the futility of preemptively invading countries: "Pentagon to Boost Iraq Force by 12,000," "US Death Toll in Iraq at Highest Monthly Level," "Wounded Disabled Soldiers Kept on Active Duty." We are getting out butts kicked in Iraq, and Bush wants to invade more countries? Bush would serve our country and the rest of the world far better by ceasing his macho aggressive talk and working to create trust and good will. Bush is a very foolish man if he thinks America will bear no consequences for his support for Israel's appalling treatment of the Palestinians. Is Bush really as stupid as he sounds? Is the President of the United States so poorly informed that he believes that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have nothing to do with US support of Israel's destruction of the Palestinian people? Surely the American president is not so dumb as to believe that Osama bin Laden went to all the trouble of bringing down the World Trade Center simply because Muslims hate freedom and democracy?
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 5:53 PM
Wars And Their Aftermath - Things Seldom Spoken Of
(Fred Reed, Fred On Everything, December 4, 2004)
"The years will go by. Iraq will fade into the mist. Wars always do. A generation will rise for whom it will be just history. The dismembered veterans will find first that almost nobody appreciates what they did, then that few even remember it. ... Yet the wounds will remain. Arms do not grow back. For the paralyzed there will never be girlfriends, dancing, rolling in the grass with children. The blind will adapt as best they can. Those with merely a missing leg will count themselves lucky. They will hobble about, managing to lead semi-normal lives, and people will say, 'How well he handles it.' An admirable freak. For others it will be less good. A colostomy bag is a sorry companion on a wedding night. These men will come to hate. It will not be the Iraqis they hate. This we do not talk about."
COMMENT:***** It has already begun... But that is just this old Curmudgeon's opinion******
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 4:49 PM
Navy Investigating Photos Showing Prisoner Abuse
(TheWBALChannel.com, December 3, 2004)
The U.S. military has launched a criminal investigation into photographs that appear to show Navy SEALs in Iraq sitting on hooded and handcuffed detainees, and photos of what appear to be bloodied prisoners, one with a gun to his head. . . . Some of the photos have date stamps suggesting they were taken in May 2003, which could make them the earliest evidence of possible abuse of prisoners in Iraq. The far more brutal practices photographed in Abu Ghraib prison occurred months later. . . . An Associated Press reporter found more than 40 of the pictures among hundreds in an album posted on a commercial photo-sharing Web site by a woman who said her husband brought them from Iraq after his tour of duty. . . . These and other photos found by the AP appear to show the immediate aftermath of raids on civilian homes. One man is lying on his back with a boot on his chest. A mug shot shows a man with an automatic weapon pointed at his head and a gloved thumb jabbed into his throat. In many photos, faces have been blacked out. What appears to be blood drips from the heads of some. A family huddles in a room in one photo and others show debris and upturned furniture. . . . A reporter found the photos, which since have since been removed from public view, while researching the prosecution of a group of SEALs who allegedly beat prisoners and photographed one of them in degrading positions. Those photos, taken with a SEAL's personal camera, haven't been publicly released.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:01 PM
The Horror of Fallujah
(Baghdad Burning, November 29, 2004)
The situation in Falloojeh is worse than anyone can possibly describe. It has turned into one of those cities you see in your darkest nightmares- broken streets strewn with corpses, crumbling houses and fallen mosques... The worst part is that for the last couple of weeks we've been hearing about the use of chemical weapons inside Falloojeh by the Americans. Today we heard that the delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Health isn't being allowed into the city, for some reason. . . . I keep having flashbacks of that video they showed on tv, the mosque and all the corpses. There was one brief video that showed the same mosque a day before, strewn with many of the same bodies- but some of them were alive. In that video, there's this old man leaning against the wall and there was blood running out of his eyes- almost like he was crying tears of blood. . . . The wounded in Falloojeh aren't getting treatment and today we heard about a family with six children being bombed in the city. It's difficult to believe that in this day and age, when people are blogging, emailing and communicating at the speed of light, a whole city is being destroyed and genocide is being committed- and the whole world is aware and silent. Darfur, Americans? Take a look at what you've done in Falloojeh. . . . The situation in Baghdad isn't a lot better. Electricity has been particularly bad. Our telephone has been cut off for the last week which has made communication (and blogging) particularly difficult. The phone difficulties are quite common all over Baghdad. It usually happens in an area after a fresh bombing. . . . Elections are a mystery. No one knows if they'll actually take place and it feels like many people don't want to have anything to do with them. They aren't going to be legitimate any way. The only political parties participating in them are the same ones who made up the Governing Council several months ago- Allawi's group, Chalabi's group, SCIRI, Da'awa and some others. Allawi, in spite of all his posturing and posing, has turned himself into a hateful figure after what happened in Falloojeh. As long as he is in a position of power, America will be occupying Iraq. People realize that now. He's Bush's boy. . . . There's a collective exhaustion that seems to have settled on Baghdad... it feels almost like an epidemic sometimes.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:25 AM