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Major U.S. paper speaks out against the war
(Editorial, The Toledo Blade, July 27, 2005)
IN SPITE of expressions of determination by President Bush and members of his administration to stay the course, the flow of bad news out of Iraq indicates that it is a mess which will get worse before it gets better. . . . The fighting has transformed itself largely into civil war. The 170,000 Iraqi security forces, largely Shiite in composition, represent the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. They are opposed and targeted by the largely Sunni insurgents. The Kurds of the north mostly go their own way, except that their autonomy is encouraging Kurds in Turkey and Syria to bestir themselves against their host governments. . . . Mr. al-Jaafari's government is taking steps to improve its relations with the Shiite-dominated Iranian government. Minister of Defense Saadoun Duleimi visited Iran earlier this month and concluded a military cooperation pact that provides for Iranian training of Iraqi military forces. . . . This is a step that is painful to the Bush Administration, given its antagonism with the government in Tehran. . . . Iraqi insurgent attacks focus on Americans, when they can get a crack at them, and on the Shiite security forces. U.S. war losses are climbing toward 1,800, from a force now standing at about 140,000. . . . [COMMENT by Lorenzo: There is reason to believe that 9,000 U.S. troops have been killed as a result of Bush's unprovoked attack and war on Iraq.] . . . The bombings in London illustrated that Iraq has increasingly replaced Afghanistan as the primary training ground for terrorists, and the devices used by the suicide bombers appear to have been a form of the explosives developed in Iraq. . . . In the meantime, the U.S. Army said this month that it has signed another extension of its contract with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root for another $5 billion to support U.S. forces in Iraq. The Army had not seen fit to announce the extension when it awarded it in May, in spite of the fact that some of Halliburton's previous billing, which has netted it $9 billion so far in the war, was disputed. . . . None of this has much to do with American elections, or Republican and Democratic wrangling. Mr. Bush will be president until January, 2009, whatever his ratings might be. The Congress shows itself as largely irrelevant to what is going on in Iraq, apart from being required to vote the money to finance the war, now running at about $5 billion a month. . . . It is increasingly clear that this war will not be won in any way that can be discerned as victory, and, in the meantime, it is draining America's blood away, in the lives of our soldiers and in resources that could be used to meet other needs.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:58 AM
Nearly 9,000 U.S. troops dead in Iraq?
A NATIONWIDE CALL FOR INFO FROM SURVIVORS
Has the Bush administration drastically understated the U.S. military death count by redefining "death"? The following article suggests that it has, and it calls for a nationwide campaign to honor deceased service members by naming and counting them. . . . According to the article: "...DoD lists currently being very quietly circulated indicate almost 9,000 [U.S. military] dead"; this far exceeds the "official" death count of 1,831. How can this be? It's largely because "U.S. Military Personnel who died in German hospitals or en route to German hospitals have not previously been counted." . . . In other words, "death" has been redefined. . . . U.S. Military Personnel who died in German hospitals or en route to German hospitals have not previously been counted. They total about 6,210 as of 1 January, 2005. The ongoing, underreporting of the dead in Iraq, is not accurate. The DoD is deliberately reducing the figures. A review of many foreign news sites show that actual deaths are far higher than the newly reduced ones. Iraqi civilian casualties are never reported but International Red Cross, Red Crescent and UN figures indicate that as of 1 January 2005, the numbers are just under 100,000.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:
If you know (or know of) service members who've died in Bush's wars, look for their names on the full, alphabetized "official" Pentagon death list, at http://www.tbrnews.org/Archives/list.htm. IF THEIR NAMES ARE NOT INCLUDED, PLEASE SEND A REPORT TO: tbrnews (at) hotmail.com. You're also encouraged to notify your Congress members, your local newspaper, and other interested parties.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:05 PM
The true, terrible state of Iraq and the London link
(Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, 20 July 2005)
The difference between Britain's disastrous foray into Iraq then and the results of the invasion 88 years later is that those responsible have no need "to sidle back to power". They never lost it either in Britain or the US. It is nevertheless extraordinary to see Donald Rumsfeld, author of so many American failures here in Iraq, still holding his job as Secretary of Defence. . . . But there is a price to be paid in blood for keeping in power those responsible for past disastrous decisions in Iraq. It makes it much more difficult to seek a way out of the savage war that is now engulfing that country. . . . This is because past policies have to be portrayed as successful when they were dismal failures. The true terrible state of Iraq is glossed over. Just before the presidential election last year the White House imported Iyad Allawi, the Iraqi interim Prime Minister, to stand beside President Bush and say that only three or four out of 18 Iraqi provinces were dangerous. I ran this comforting thought past a group of Iraqi lorry drivers, none of them shrinking violets, who laughed sourly and said that the real figures were the exact opposite. Only the three Kurdish provinces in the far north were safe. . . . A current slogan of the powers-that-be in Washington and London is that we should "stay the course in Iraq". Perhaps one needs to live in Baghdad to know that there is no course. "The Americans are making it up from day to day," a senior Iraqi official told me. "They make a mistake and then try to correct it by making a bigger mistake." . . . The need to produce a rosy and quite false picture of Iraq makes it difficult for the US - with Britain trotting along behind - to produce effective policies. Washington has never admitted to itself that since the summer of 2003 Sunni and Shia Iraqis have both loathed the US occupation. The much-resented presence of US troops in Iraq has helped fuel the insurgency and tainted Iraqi governments as puppets of the US. In the short term it should be a priority to get American soldiers out of the cities and towns in order to reduce daily friction. . . . The London bombings are already making it more difficult to have a sane discussion about what course to pursue in Iraq. President Bush is able to deflect criticism of his catastrophic misjudgements by suggesting his critics are soft on terrorism. Now the same thing is happening in Britain with Tony Blair and Jack Straw denouncing Chatham House for suggesting that events in Iraq boosted terrorism. . . . It obviously has. Immediately around my hotel, eight suicide bombers, probably non-Iraqis, have blown themselves up in the past 18 months. It always seemed to me horribly likely that some, at least, of these pious and fanatical young Muslims radicalised by events in Iraq would, instead of perpetrating atrocities here, turn their attention to Britain.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:12 PM
25,000 Civilians Killed since Iraq Invasion!
(Simon Jeffery, The Guardian, 19 July 2005)
The number of Iraqi civilians who met violent deaths in the two years after the US-led invasion was today put at 24,865 by an independent research team. . . . The figures, compiled from Iraqi and international media reports, found US and coalition military forces were responsible for 37% of the deaths, with anti-occupation forces and insurgents responsible for 9%. A further 36% were blamed on criminal violence. . . . Civilian deaths attributed to US and coalition military forces peaked in the invasion period from March to May 2003 - which accounts for 30% of all civilian deaths in the two-year period - but the longer-term trend has been for increasing numbers to die at the hands of insurgents. . . . Figures obtained last week from the Iraqi interior ministry put the average civilian and police officer death toll in insurgent attacks from August 2004 to March 2005 at 800 a month. . . . John Sloboda of the Iraq Body Count project (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/), which co-authored the report with Oxford Research Group(http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/home.htm), said the Iraqi civilian death toll was the "forgotten cost" of the decision to go to war in Iraq. . . . "On average, 34 Iraqis every day have met violent deaths since the invasion of March 2003," he said at the launch of the report in London. . . . "Our data shows that no sector of Iraqi society has escaped. We sincerely hope this research will help to inform decision makers around the world about the real needs of the Iraqi people as they struggle to rebuild their country." . . . The Iraq Body Count project is the most complete attempt of its kind to record the civilian dead in Iraq. The researchers work from media reports, information from mortuary officials and on-the-ground research projects. Its figures, which the group regards as conservative estimates, do not include irregular fighters or others who died while attacking coalition or Iraqi government forces. . . . The figures up to March 2005 do not include the period since the elected Shia-led government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Iraqi prime minister, took office and the insurgency has worked at an increasing rate to kill Iraqi civilians and police officers. . . . In the past week, suicide bombers have wreaked havoc in Baghdad and towns in the so-called triangle of death, to the south of the capital. Bombers also struck with devastating effect in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. . . . According to the Iraq Body Count report, 53% of those who died in the two years since the invasion were killed by explosive devices. Half of the total number died in Baghdad, and a fifth were women and children. . . . The deteriorating security situation has alarmed Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's leading Shia cleric, who urged the Iraqi government to protect the people in "this genocidal war", according to the vice-president, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who held a meeting with him at the weekend.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:53 PM
Baghdad Hospital Doctors on Strike Against Soldiers
(Mussab Al-Khairalla, Reuters, 19 July 2005)
More than two dozen doctors walked out of one of Baghdad's busiest hospitals on Tuesday to protest what they said was abuse by Iraqi soldiers, leaving about 100 patients to fend for themselves in chaotic wards. . . . Physicians said the troubles started when soldiers barged into a woman's wing at Yarmouk hospital, opened curtains and conducted searches as patients lay in their beds on Monday. . . . A 27-year-old internal medicine specialist said a soldier began intimidating and abusing him. . . . "Before he left he said, 'Why are you looking in disapproval?' Then he came and punched me lightly on my arm before sticking his rifle into my stomach and cocking it," the doctor, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, told Reuters. . . . "I stayed quiet but relatives of the patients told him to calm down before pulling him out of the room. Just then, four more soldiers came in and pointed a rifle at my head. At that point I became scared and begged them to leave me alone." . . . Iraq's mayhem has spread even to hospitals, which are overwhelmed by victims of suicide bombings and shootings whose blood is mopped up off the floor after every attack. . . . Yarmouk, a run-down, sparsely equipped building, has treated many of Baghdad's worst cases. Overcrowded with patients and staff, it's emergency room hosts a frenzy of activity every day. . . . Nevertheless, doctors said they would press on with a strike to draw attention to army and security forces, whose wounded comrades are often treated at Yarmouk and other hospitals. . . . "We know the citizens may be a little upset but we have our rights too and we can't operate and provide a service to people if we feel under threat," said Asaad Hindi, standing outside the hospital with other physicians. . . . "One doctor was humiliated and sworn at. Other doctors who were afraid hid in a room. The last time this happened we complained to officials at the defense and interior ministries." . . . "My father has a stroke and no doctor is here to see him, just look at him! This is ridiculous," he said as his father lay in bed with breathing tubes in his nostrils. . . . Some patients sympathized with the doctors, despite their medical needs. . . . "I'm ill and I haven't seen the doctor all day. All I need is a signature from him so I can get an X-ray that I need to see what's wrong with my neck. I think they have every right to strike though, our doctors shouldn't be abused," said Salman Thahir, a frail old man sitting on his bed.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:43 PM
Resistance in Iraq called 'legitimate'
(BBC NEWS, 18 July 2005)
Moqtada Sadr, the radical Iraqi Shia cleric whose militia led uprisings against US troops in Najaf has told the BBC armed "resistance is legitimate". . . . Speaking to Newsnight, Mr Sadr said that even US President George W Bush would agree that fighting an occupation force was a correct course of action. . . . "Resistance is legitimate at all levels be it religious, intellectual and so on," Mr Sadr said. . . . "The first person who would acknowledge this is the so-called American President Bush who said 'if my country is occupied, I will fight'." . . . "I also call on the Iraqi people to exercise restraint and not get enmeshed in the plans of the West or plans of the occupation that wants to provoke them." . . . Mr Sadr argued that it is the presence of foreign troops which is the cause of Iraq's current problems. . . . "The occupation in itself is a problem. Iraq not being independent is the problem. And the other problems stem from that - from sectarianism to civil war," he said. "The entire American presence causes this."
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posted by Lorenzo 5:21 AM
Insurgents Rise Again in Falluja
(Edward Wong, New York Times, July 15, 2005)
Transformed into a police state after last winter's siege, this should be the safest city in all of Iraq. . . . Thousands of American and Iraqi troops live in crumbling buildings here and patrol streets laced with concertina wire. Any Iraqi entering the city must show a badge and undergo a search at one of six checkpoints. There is a 10 p.m. curfew. . . . But the insurgency is rising from the rubble nevertheless, eight months after the American military killed as many as 1,500 Iraqis in a costly invasion that fanned anti-American passions across Iraq and the Arab world. . . . even Falluja residents who favored purging the streets of insurgents last November are beginning to chafe under the occupation. . . . "Some preferred the city quiet, purified of the gunmen and any militant aspect," said Abdul Jabbar Kadhim al-Alwani, 40, the owner of an automotive repair shop, expressing a widely held sentiment. "But after the unfairness and injustice with which the city's residents have been treated by the American and Iraqi forces, they now prefer the resistance, just so they won't be humiliated." . . . Falluja is approaching a turning point, American officials acknowledge, precariously balanced between rebuilding or degenerating into the urban battlefield it once was. . . . Regaining control of Falluja from the American and Iraqi forces is a critical goal for the insurgency, American military commanders here say. For much of last year, this city of 300,000 was the largest haven in Iraq for the guerrillas, suspected of being the source of suicide car bombs in Baghdad and videos showing the beheadings of foreigners. . . . It came to represent resistance to American power, not just for people in Iraq but for many Arabs throughout the Middle East. Now, the city is emerging as the most important test of whether recalcitrant Sunnis can be forced to submit to rule by Shiites and Kurds, who hold the major seats of power in Baghdad. . . . The Americans took control of the city last November, when the military engaged in the fiercest urban combat it had seen since the Vietnam War. Dozens of troops died and hundreds were wounded in the eight-day siege, and half of Falluja, once hailed as the "City of Mosques," was destroyed, while another quarter suffered structural damage. . . . Much of it remains in ruins. The cityscape is punctuated by the stumps of minarets, their tops having been blown off by American bombs or missiles. . . . The political process here could be short-lived, though. Three members of the city council formed in the spring have resigned in recent weeks, including Sheik Hamza al-Issawi, considered the grand imam of Falluja. A fourth sheik stopped showing up for meetings after insurgents detonated a suicide car bomb in his front yard last month. . . . As the level of violence has increased, marines and Iraqi soldiers are stepping up patrols and house raids. That is further alienating residents. The problem is compounded by sectarian tensions between the Shiite soldiers and Sunni residents. Virtually all of the Iraqi soldiers here are from the south, because previous militias of local residents turned out to be disloyal or fell apart when confronted by insurgents. . . . "The Iraqi Army is not trained," Sheik Thaier Diyab al-Arsan, 30, a thin man wearing a red headdress, angrily told Colonel Miles at the meeting downtown. "They're killing people. They're shooting people in the head. You're not in the street. You don't see what's happening."
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posted by Lorenzo 12:33 PM
Remember the families too, both Iraqi and American
Some of you may have already seen this comment that one of our readers posted to one of our blogs, but I think it is important and want to be sure more of you see it. Here is what she said:
I personally think this war was only a way for the so called power of U.S.Presidency and his followers to show they have power. They may have to a point, but this is not the way to show it. Most of the insurgents are not Iraqis anyway!! OIL!!!! That's what I think it is. Yes, he could have paid for it without killing our soldiers, but then it wouldn't have made Bush as noticeable to the world. My husband is stationed in Iraq right now, and we see no reason for this so called war!!! It is only a power struggle for oil and publicity!!! It is nothing to do with right and wrong!!! How many American Soldiers need to die or innocent Iraqis, before it is stopped. Not to mention what it is doing to the families left behind.
I'm a Viet Nam veteran myself. My daughter was born before I was able to get back from that war zone. So I truly understand what you mean about the difficulties families must endure because of Mr. Bush's war. And as you point out, both American families and Iraqi families, all innocent pawns in these oil men's game, are suffering the consequences of this ill-planned war.
. . . Peace, love, & light to all who are struggling to understand what is really going on. May our human family soon collectively "see the light", whatever that may mean . . . Lorenzo
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posted by Lorenzo 8:15 PM