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Powell says world should recognize Iraq at civil war
(Diala Saadeh, Reuters, November 29, 2006)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday Iraq had descended into civil war and urged world leaders to accept that "reality". . . . Powell's remarks came ahead of a meeting between Bush and Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki in the Jordanian capital to discuss the security developments in Iraq. . . . "I would call it a civil war," Powell told a business forum in the United Arab Emirates. "I have been using it (civil war) because I like to face the reality," added Powell. . . . He said world leaders should acknowledge Iraq was in civil war. . . . Bush is under growing pressure to find a new policy to curb sectarian strife in Iraq and to secure an exit for 140,000 U.S. troops . . . Powell, speaking at a world leaders forum in Dubai, said Washington should adopt a more balanced policy toward Iraq's political parties and sects to avoid marginalizing Sunni Muslims. . . . "We have to accept what all Iraqis accept, not to end up seeing a Shi'ite-dominated regime," he said. . . . "The coming strategy has to be an Iraqi strategy, not American strategy," said Powell.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:22 PM
Marine Corps Admits Defeat in Anbar Province
(Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, November 28, 2006)
The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province. . . . The Marines recently filed an updated version of that assessment that stood by its conclusions and stated that, as of mid-November, the problems in troubled Anbar province have not improved, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday. "The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality" remain the same, the official said. . . . The Marines' August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far bleaker than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq's Sunni minority as "embroiled in a daily fight for survival," fearful of "pogroms" by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital. . . . True or not, the memo says, "from the Sunni perspective, their greatest fears have been realized: Iran controls Baghdad and Anbaris have been marginalized." . . . Between al-Qaeda's violence, Iran's influence and an expected U.S. drawdown, "the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point" that U.S. and Iraqi troops "are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar," the assessment found. In Anbar province alone, at least 90 U.S. troops have died since Sept. 1. . . . The Post first reported on the memo's existence in September, as it was being circulated among military and national security officials. Several officials who read the report described its conclusions as grim. . . . "the potential for economic revival appears to be nonexistent" in Anbar, the report says. The Iraqi government, dominated by Iranian-backed Shiites, has not paid salaries for Anbar officials and Iraqi forces stationed there. Anbar's resources and its ability to impose order are depicted as limited at best. . . . "Despite the success of the December elections, nearly all government institutions from the village to provincial levels have disintegrated or have been thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by Al Qaeda in Iraq," or a smattering of other insurgent groups, the report says. . . . The five-page report -- written by Col. Peter Devlin, a senior and seasoned military intelligence officer with the Marine Expeditionary Force -- is marked secret, for dissemination to U.S. and allied troops in Iraq only. It does not appear to have been made available to Iraqi national forces fighting alongside Americans. . . . Devlin suggested that without the deployment of an additional U.S. military division -- 15,000 to 20,000 troops -- plus billions of dollars in aid to the province, "there is nothing" U.S. troops "can do to influence" the insurgency. . . . Al-Qaeda itself, now an "integral part of the social fabric of western Iraq," has become so entrenched, autonomous and financially independent that U.S. forces no longer have the option "for a decapitating strike that would cripple the organization," the report says. That is why, it says, the death of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June "had so little impact on the structure and capabilities of al-Qaeda," especially in Anbar province.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:40 AM
Iraq War Longer Than U.S. Invlovement in World War II
(Michael Moore, 26 November 2006)
Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II. . . . That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad. . . . And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even include a friggin' helmet. . . . Is this utter failure the fault of our troops? Hardly. That's because no amount of troops or choppers or democracy shot out of the barrel of a gun is ever going to "win" the war in Iraq. It is a lost war, lost because it never had a right to be won, lost because it was started by men who have never been to war, men who hide behind others sent to fight and die. . . . Let's listen to what the Iraqi people are saying, according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland: ** 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq. ** 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops. . . . Yes, the vast majority of Iraqi citizens believe that our soldiers should be killed and maimed! So what the hell are we still doing there? Talk about not getting the hint. . . . So I don't want to hear another word about sending more troops (wake up, America, John McCain is bonkers), or "redeploying" them, or waiting four months to begin the "phase-out." There is only one solution and it is this: Leave. Now. Start tonight. Get out of there as fast as we can. As much as people of good heart and conscience don't want to believe this, as much as it kills us to accept defeat, there is nothing we can do to undo the damage we have done. What's happened has happened. If you were to drive drunk down the road and you killed a child, there would be nothing you could do to bring that child back to life. If you invade and destroy a country, plunging it into a civil war, there isnít much you can do 'til the smoke settles and blood is mopped up. Then maybe you can atone for the atrocity you have committed and help the living come back to a better life. . . . The responsibility to end this war now falls upon the Democrats. Congress controls the purse strings and the Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi now hold the power to put an end to this madness. Failure to do so will bring the wrath of the voters. We aren't kidding around, Democrats, and if you don't believe us, just go ahead and continue this war another month. We will fight you harder than we did the Republicans. . . . In closing, there is one final thing I know. We Americans are better than what has been done in our name. A majority of us were upset and angry after 9/11 and we lost our minds. We didn't think straight and we never looked at a map. Because we are kept stupid through our pathetic education system and our lazy media, we knew nothing of history. We didn't know that WE were the ones funding and arming Saddam for many years, including those when he massacred the Kurds. He was our guy. We didn't know what a Sunni or a Shiite was, never even heard the words. Eighty percent of our young adults (according to National Geographic) were not able to find Iraq on the map. Our leaders played off our stupidity, manipulated us with lies, and scared us to death. . . . But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that "Mission Accomplished" banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again. . . . Unfortunately, we can't. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness. . . . We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:38 PM
Monthly Iraqi civilian deaths exceed 3 Year U.S. military death total
(Ameer N. Yacoub, ABC News, 22 November 2006)
The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion and another sign of the severity of Iraq's sectarian bloodbath. . . . The U.N. tally was more than three times higher than the total The Associated Press had tabulated for the month, and far more than the 2,866 U.S. service members who have died during all of the war. . . . The report on civilian casualties, handed out at a U.N. news conference in Baghdad, said the influence of militias was growing, and torture continued to be rampant, despite the government's vow to address human rights abuses. . . . "Hundreds of bodies continued to appear in different areas of Baghdad handcuffed, blindfolded and bearing signs of torture and execution-style killing," the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq report said. "Many witnesses reported that perpetrators wear militia attire and even police or army uniforms." . . . The report painted a grim picture across the board, from attacks on journalists, judges and lawyers and the worsening situation of women to displacement, violence against religious minorities and the targeting of schools. . . . Based on figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry, the country's hospitals and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, the report said October's figure was higher than July's previously unprecedented civilian death toll of 3,590. . . . UNAMI's Human Rights Office continued to receive reports that Iraqi police and security forces are either infiltrated or act in collusion with militias, the report said. . . . It said that while sectarian violence is the main cause of the civilian killings, Iraqis also continue to be the victims of terrorist acts, roadside bombs, drive-by shootings, crossfire between rival gangs, or between police and insurgents, kidnappings, military operations, crime and police abuse.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:10 AM
Iraq Descending To Chaos. Military Times Calls For Rumsfeld To Go
(Brent Budowsky, BuzzFlash, 4 November 2006)
This past week something extraordinariny and ominous happened. An American soldier was kidnapped. Going all out to leave no one behind, our mlitary established checkpoints. What happened next? The government in Iraq, under the control of pro-Iranian Shi'ite leaders, surrending to the will of murderous Shi'ite militia, ordered the checkpoint closed. . . . This is the government that more than 2800 Americans have given their lives for. This is the government of rampant corruption. This is the government that has virtually no police force to speak in the fourth year of this war and whatever police force does exist is heavily infiltrated by even more of these murderous military. . . . Meanwhile secretarian violence and bloodshed continue to rise in November and every day brings news of more carnage and corruption. . . . And the Republican Congress now wants to cashier even the Republican Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, to protect those who have been stealing, pillaging, misusing, losing and corrupting more than $10 billion of our money. . . . Now, in one of the most extraordinary and important moments in the history of this war, the Military Times newspapers are calling for the removal of Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld. . . . Marine Corps Times, Army Times, Air Force Times and Navy Times are taking a principled and courageous stand sending a powerful pre-election message about what must be done. . . . In fact, what I and others have been arguing for some time is that what the Military Times now publicly calls for, is what the commanders and most troops have believed for some time. . . . Lack of armor. . . . Lack of protected vehicles. . . . Lack of bandages and helmets. . . . Lack of adequate pay for troops. . . . Lack of respect for commanders from the President and his neoconservatives who are now cutting and running themselves by blaming each other for their shared value. . . . Arrogance, dishonesty and delusion from Republican leaders in Washington. . . . Corrupted Iraq Reconstruction. . . . Crony deals, stolen money, wasted programs in which American troops give their lives and limbs for a government dominated by Iranian supported militia. While the blood of our troops is spilled multi-millionaire crooks, with ties to one party Republican government lard their bank accounts, and use our money to pay for their super bowl parties. . . . As the Miltary Times editorial says, for years the sergeants and captains have reported back that their urgent efforts to train Iraqi troops were not succeeding because those they trained were not loyal to the cause, and were in it for the money. . . . As the Military Times editorial says, the Secretary of Defense is a disaster and it is time for him to go. . . . As Vanity Fair reports, the pathetic theorists of neoconservativism are now turning against the President, saying they would have opposed the war if they knew how he would mismanage it. . . . MIlitary Times, Marines Corps Times, Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times: they speak for the troops, they speak for the families, they speak for the commanders and it is time for this madness to end.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:31 AM
U.S. Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques
(Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher, 4 November 2006)
[The true stories of how American troops, killed in Iraq, actually died keep spilling out this week. Now we learn, thanks to a reporter's FOIA request, that one of the first women to die in Iraq shot and killed herself after objecting to harsh "interrogation techniques."] . . . Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation methods used on prisoners. . . . She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a "non-hostile weapons discharge." . . . She was only the third American woman killed in Iraq, so her death drew wide press attention. A "non-hostile weapons discharge" leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials "said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson's own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging, or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian." (Her parents now say they were never told about her objections to interrogation techniques.) . . . But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston, unsatisfied with the public story, decided to probe deeper in 2005, "just on a hunch," he told E&P today. He made "hundreds of phone calls" to the military and couldn't get anywhere, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Hereís what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston now works, reported yesterday: "Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed. . . . She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. "But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle," the documents disclose. . . . The Army talked to some of Peterson's colleagues. Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told E&P: "The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were." . . . Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, which suggested that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide. He has now filed another FOIA request for a copy of the actual note.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:01 AM
Bush tells Rush he's 'deeply concerned' about the US leaving the Middle East
(RAW STORY, November 1, 2006)
During an interview with conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh, US President George Bush expressed deep concerns about the possibility of the United States leaving the Middle East, raising fears that extremists could topple governments to "control oil resources." "Give me a second here, Rush, because I want to share something with you," Bush said. "I am deeply concerned about a country, the United States, leaving the Middle East." Bush said that he was "worried that rival forms of extremists will battle for power...that they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West." 'If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.'" "You couple that with a country that doesn't like us with a nuclear weapon, and people will look back at this moment and say, 'What happened to those people in 2006?' and those are the stakes in this war we face," Bush said. Bush goes on to say that he has a plan to "protect you from immediate attack..." as well as a long term strategy that consists of "staying on the offense". The fat man passes judgement on Bush's plans by calling his statements "extremely visionary."
Comment: So, after nearly 4 years and nearly 3000 US dead and untold numbers of US military maimed for life Bush admits that the reason we are in Iraq is to secure a source of oil and protect Israel from a nuclear Iran. Spreading democracy has nothing to do with the real issues other than getting Bubba and the "true believers" to wave the flag. I wonder what Bubba is going to say when we (or most likely the Israelis (with Bush approval)) use nuclear weapons against a sovereign nation we are not at war with. Maybe that'll be visionary also. But that's just this old Curmudgeon's opinion.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 8:48 AM